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Game Mechanics

Camelot Unchained posts new art, dev checklist items

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

If you missed Thursday night's Camelot Unchained update, CityState bossman Mark Jacobs recapped it prior to the close of business on Friday, and he also threw in some new art assets and a project checklist for good measure.

The latter is interesting if you're following the sandbox PvP title's development closely, as it features both recently completed milestones and some new ones that the team will be tackling in the very near future.

SOE's Adam Clegg apologizes for H1Z1 airdrop snafu

Betas, Horror, Business Models, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play, H1Z1

In the wake of this week's H1Z1 early access launch issues and "pay-to-win" airdrop controversy, SOE's Adam "Arclegger" Clegg offered a lengthy apology and explanation to the unruly mob on Reddit.
I wanted to address what I said in an earlier stream with NGTZombies prior to our release. I said you cannot buy a gun or ammo and it had to be found in the world. When you are on a stream, and you are talking about your game, you tend to talk a million miles an hour both to keep the information flowing and to keep it entertaining. But sometimes things get said without completely thinking about what you are saying 100% through. H1Z1 is a massive game with a lot of systems, some of which we were tuning every day and finishing last minute. When I said you can't buy any guns or ammo, I completely disregarded the possibility of airdrops and meant that you can't buy a gun or ammo and have it go into your starting loadout, or your loadout immediately like you were buying a gun from the gun store.

All that being said, I totally understand how what I said was at the time lying to you guys and I apologize. But please understand that's not what I was trying to do. For those of you that don't know me or understand me, know that I'm not trying to be this monster that is conniving and lying in hopes that you get tricked into buying the game. I am very passionate about making video games and I want more than anything in the world for people to love the games that I am a part of making.
Clegg explained that during testing, the loot-heavy airdrops resulted in a "gladiator style brawl" that epitomized the conflict SOE wanted to generate in the game. "Whether you agree with us or not," he wrote, "that is how we want airdrops to work." The second half of his post covers the details of the changes incoming to the system as noted yesterday.

SOE President John Smedley announced last night that the studio will grant refunds to those early access purchasers who request them by Sunday. Self-initiated refunds through Steam are also now possible.

Marvel Heroes gets Omega event, level 52 Hulk review

Super-hero, Classes, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Marvel Heroes

Another weekend, another event in Marvel Heroes! This time it's Operation Omega, back for its first appearance of 2015. You'll get a 24% boost to XP, SIF, and RIF, as well as login rewards, harder enemies, and a faster leveling experience.

Gazillion has also published Hulk's level 52 review as well as a new ultimate costume for the green monster.

This is what it's like in Tree of Savior's closed beta

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

What's it like in the Tree of Savior closed beta? Steparu has the answers in a brief but video-filled impressions piece published earlier today. He says that there's not a lot of customization in this particular build, but he does praise the game's unique barracks system and outlines what it's like to play a Wizard and a Swordsman.

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Massively hands-on: Let's talk about The Repopulation

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, Sandbox, Crafting, The Repopulation

Writing about early access games is the suck. I guess it's something I'll have to get over, though, given how early access is now launch, how alpha is the new beta, and how gamers are lining up to pay big money for ideas.

With that out of the way, let's talk a bit about my first steps in The Repopulation. It's an appropriately ambitious sci-fi sandbox from scrappy indie studio Above & Beyond Technologies. As you might expect, it's somewhat rough at the moment. I see it carving out a successful niche for itself in the future, though.

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H1Z1 bests login issues, justifies and tweaks 'pay-to-win' airdrops [Update: Refunds being granted]

Betas, Horror, Bugs, Business Models, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play, H1Z1

Zombie sandbox MMO H1Z1 launched into early access on Steam yesterday evening only to be plagued with login server issues that caused even us to cancel our planned stream. In other words, it was an MMO launch. Overnight, SOE's John Smedley told Reddit that those problems have been mopped up that that SOE is currently working on G29 and G99 errors, server framerates, disappearing chats, crash bugs, and a "runaway memory situation."

Reddit and Steam's user review section have exploded not over the predictable early access technical issues but over cash-shop airdrops, which some players say constitute pay-to-win in violation of SOE's stated philosophy. Smed denied obfuscating the presence of airdrops, saying SOE has "been straight about it" and justifying the mechanic:
1) You cannot call in airdrops until the servers are 1/4 full. 2) You can't call in airdrops without generating a ton of zombie heat. 3) the airdrops are random in what they deliver. 4) you are not guaranteed to get a single thing out of the airdrop you called in. You could die trying and you're out the money. 5) We fly the plane in very slowly and loudly.. we also stream green smoke from it you can see from very far away.
But he does note that SOE will be "making some big changes" to airdrops, including widening the radius, reducing the chance they'll drop guns, slowing the airdrop planes even more, and increasing the number of players who can call them at any given time. "If you think it's P2W don't buy it. Don't play it," Smed posted. "But I have to say wait until you've personally tried them before making the call."

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Star Wars: The Old Republic will address balance and ranked PvP for update 3.1

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Subscription

Locked in mortal staffblade combat, as always.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is launching update 3.1 in about a month, and the developers are using this patch to address some standing issues. The patch also kicks off the game's fourth ranked play season, which is scheduled to last about three months. This season will be used as the basis for some new ranked play adjustments, such as implementing a "floor" rating for picking up the lowest-tier season rewards in Season 5. The season's titles will also be class-specific based on forum feedback.

Designers are also looking into balancing classes, starting with the Darkness Assassin and the Kinetic Combat Shadow, addressing issues with survivability and damage in the class. If you've been feeling squishier or less resilient or noticed oddities with abilities, you can take part in the thread yourself. Early versions of these changes have already been rolled out to the test servers for the coming update.

[Thanks to Mikey Moo for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: How should hunger work in MMORPGs?

Betas, Game Mechanics, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crowfall

This week's Crowfall character creation screenshot was pretty and all, but it was the unassuming "hunger resistance" stat down in the statistics panel that caught my eye. A huge fan of cooking and food mechanics in games, I was simultaneously excited and concerned over the inclusion. I have seen hunger (and other needs/survival mechanics) done so well in MMOs (Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest II) and in mods for other games that they're genuinely fun to play; they add much-needed flavor and immersion as well as flesh out the economy and give meaning to crafting.

But I've also seen MMOs, RPGs, and player-made mods that make eating, resting, and traveling so arduous and chore-like and downright annoying that they actually distract from the core game, even when those activities weren't originally the point as they would be in an overt "survival" sandbox or roguelike (I'm not talking about those!).

How do you think Crowfall will handle it? How should hunger and similar mechanics work in MMORPGs?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Final Fantasy XI drops a new patch for the new year

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

Still standing!
Another year has come to Final Fantasy XI, and it brings with it a new year's version update with a host of new improvements. From a system standpoint, players can now equip two linkshells at the same time, complete with two separate chat modes. The game will also allow players to send tells and invite other players by clicking their names in the log window rather than relying purely upon text commands.

In terms of content, new quests have been added to Adoulin regions, several Records of Eminence objectives have either been added or had their requirements lowered, and new Wanted objectives have been implemented. Puppetmaster players can also benefit from improved spell lists for their automaton and a new set of automaton improvements. Take a gander at the full list of changes, all of which should make the game less punishing and more engaging for veteran players.

Cross-server dungeons, more level-agnostic dungeons coming to EQII

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Dungeons

EverQuest II producer Holly Longdale says that the dev team is in the process of updating current level-agnostic dungeons to level 94. She says to expect the patch "in the next few weeks" and that more dungeons will be added to the system later in 2015.

Cross-server dungeons are still in the pipeline, too. "Since December, we have been rewriting a lot of the back-end systems (i.e., databases and stuff) which is all part of our foundation for the long and healthy future of EQ2," she writes. "The changes and updates we're making are going to give us a lot of benefits on the dev/server side as well as giving us the ability to do things like cross-server dungeons.

New Skyforge dev diary is all about combat

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Skyforge

Skyforge has just released a new video dev diary focusing on the title's combat, which the devs say is "90 percent of the game" in modern MMOs. Senior designer Dmitry Borodin walks you through a six-minute clip that traces the journey from traditional MMO combat to the "action-oriented combat of Skyforge today."

Further details on the title's combo system as well as Skyforge's healing mechanics are in the video past the break as well as the textual diary on the game's website.

[Thanks Toastngravy!]

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New Crowfall illustration hints at 'core game system'

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox

Creative director J. Todd Coleman has posted a new update on the Crowfall boards that takes a look at the journey from concept art to game asset. There's also an "illustration that provides clues for both a core game system and one of our key narrative threads," he writes.

Crowfall is a new virtual world currently in development at Artcraft, a new studio comprised of MMO industry veterans operating under the mantra of "real skill, real risk, and real consequences."

Elder Scrolls' new Champion Point progression system detailed

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online's Update 6 will introduce the Champion System, which is a "new way to continue your character's growth and customization" at endgame. Once you reach Veteran Rank 1, the system unlocks across your account and allows you to gain Champion Points for participating in activities that normally grant experience.

Only VR-level characters can earn the new points, but once earned the points are available to any of your avatars.

There's also a new account-wide mechanic called Enlightenment that builds over time regardless of whether you're logged in or not and grants a bonus to Champion Point progression. More details on the new system are available on the official ESO website.

Elite: Dangerous maps out update beta schedule, teases expansions

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

In a development post released today, Elite: Dangerous Executive Producer Michael Brookes laid out Frontier's plans for the game's inbound major updates following the tiny 1.05 patch this morning. Update 1.1 is set to enter beta the first week of February, Brookes says, and will focus on mechanics for player collaboration and route planning. Who gets to join that beta?
Currently beta testing will be available for those who already have beta access for the main game. For players participating in the beta tests there will be a separate mechanism for playing so testing does not affect your game and that you can continue to play the retail version as well. Options for players currently without beta access to be able to purchase beta access will be available. Details will be made available nearer the time. Depending on how the update Betas go in test, we expect them to be released to everyone a week or so after the Beta release.‚Äč
Brookes also teased E:D's upcoming paid DLC as well as the multiplayer-focused 1.2 update, the beta for the latter of which is expected in March.

WildStar will reduce grind, focus on 'a multitude of playstyles' in 2015

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

You can see this as something to be repaired or something beyond repair, you're going to argue about it in the comments either way.
Where does WildStar go from here? That's the question that director Mike Donatelli seeks to answer with his latest address to the community. Donatelli says this morning that while he's thankful for the praise the game received toward the end of 2014, there are several areas where the game needs to improve, and thus the team is working on making a better game experience for everyone moving forward. He lays out three chief foci for the team over the next year: listen to feedback to make the game more fun and "less grindy"; support "a multitude of playstyles," group sizes, and levels; and invest, expand, and improve the existing game.

Donatelli targets for these plans the first half of 2015, which will contain better-tuned endgame reward systems to fight fatigue along with a wider breadth of content for solo and small-group players. Over the rest of the year, the team plans to introduce a new Contract system to support different playstyles, continue tuning the rewards, and greatly expand the game's customization options. It's a lot of changes, but the Carbine team seems dedicated to making them work.

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