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Interviews

Star Citizen's new persistent universe director loves economic, strategic gameplay

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

How important is Star Citizen's persistent universe? Important enough that Chris Roberts has hired game industry veteran Tony Zurovec to oversee its direction.

"The game has become so big that I can't actually direct every single aspect of it every single moment of the day," Roberts explains at the outset of a new 40-minute interview vid posted on Cloud Imperium's official site. Zurovec previously worked with Roberts at Origin and Digital Anvil. He also developed the Crusader series and brings a love of economic and strategic gameplay on a galactic scale to the table.

Roberts also mentions Zurovec's work on an unreleased Digital Anvil game called Loose Cannon that was essentially "Privateer on wheels" and a pre-cursor to the sort of open-world sandbox mayhem found in Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels.

Click past the cut to watch the full interview.

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E3 2014: Warhammer 40K devs on development and founders packs

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Events (Massively's Coverage), Warhammer 40k, Buy-to-Play

As part of an established IP, Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade has had a fanbase from the get-go. And those folks have been watching and proving the development of the MMO fairly closely. How closely will the game resemble the IP? Will it hold to the lore and fit into the known universe, or will it splinter off and do its own thing?

I sat down with Warhammer 40K Creative Director David Ghozland, Senior Producer Stephanie Marchand, and Behavior Online studio head Miguel Caron at E3 2014 to talk about how development is progressing, discuss how the MMO fits in to the IP, and find out more about founders packs.

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E3 2014: Recapping Guild Wars 2's first season

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Interviews, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), Buy-to-Play

With Season Two of Guild Wars 2's living story starting up on July 1st, players are eager for more information. So far, only snippets and clues have teased fans. To try and glean more details, I sat down with Associate Game Director Steven Waller and Studio Design Director Chris Whiteside at E3 2014. Before moving on to what lies in store, however, the devs wanted to look back at the impact of the first season. Oh, and they offered a new trailer that adds a bit more fuel to the teasing fire!

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E3 2014: Shroud of the Avatar's Garriott and Long emphasize immersion

Fantasy, Interviews, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Touted as the spiritual successor to Ultima Online by its creators, Shroud of the Avatar aims to fill a sandbox-shaped void in the modern MMOverse. Judging by the successful crowdfunding campaign and continued support by backers, I know there are plenty of players who are eager for that to happen and believe SotA is the game to do it.

Are backers getting what they paid for? One weekend every month they can jump in and experience a new release of the game and offer feedback to the development team. And thanks to E3 2014, I also got to jump in and get some hands-on time with the latest release of the game. On top of that, I spoke with Richard Garriott and Executive Producer Starr Long about everything from player economy and pay-to-win concerns to combat, immersion, and player-contributed content.

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E3 2014: PlanetSide 2 PS4 demo showcases visuals, performance

Sci-Fi, Interviews, PvP, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), PlanetSide 2

While PlanetSide 2 has been out since the end of 2012 on the PC, it isn't due out on PlayStation 4 until later this year. At E3 2014, we got a hands-on demo of the game with lead game designer Luke Sigmund and executive producer Clint Worley to check out how the console version of the MMOFPS is coming along. And it's definitely coming along.

Sigmund said that In order to get PS2 ready for release on the PS4, the team has been focusing a lot of attention on optimization and getting the controls feeling right. Currently, the team is doing daily playtests to get feedback on the look and feel of the builds. Sigmund emphasized, "The things we are focusing on for the PS4 are usability, new player experience, and optimization. For us, it's just a matter of getting it right. We don't want to put it out there and not be happy with the way it looks."

So how does it look right now? Pretty darn good!

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The Game Archaeologist: Tales from Neverwinter Nights' Arelith

Fantasy, Culture, Interviews, Free-to-Play, The Game Archaeologist

NWN
Back in May, I touched on the fascinating field of Neverwinter Nights' persistent worlds (PWs). I never expected it to draw so much attention, least of all from the folks still running these communities. But it did, and I was contacted by one of the player developers of Arelith, Mark "Artos" Friebus.

Artos and his colleagues wanted to share more about the history and makeup of this 12-year-old server and why, in 2014, they're still as crazy about doing it as ever. If you want an insider's point of view as to what goes on in a persistent world -- and perhaps are open to be tempted to roll a character on one of them -- then stay tuned for the fascinating tale of Arelith.

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E3 2014: Underground and underwater with Landmark's Terry Michaels

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

You didn't need to be at E3 2014 to partake in Landmark's latest (literally) groundbbreaking patch. In fact, if you were at the con as I was, chances are you haven't been able to log in and experience it for yourself yet! Luckily, Producer Terry Michaels was on hand to offer me a peek at the new features before I broke down in heap of deprivation-induced agony from my Landmark withdrawals.

What was the big deal with this latest update? It included the first iteration of caves and the second phase of water. Players can now go spelunking deep in the earth to find large veins of minerals, explore uncharted biomes with new plants, and even find treasure chests filled with special items. On top of that, they can swim through the bright blue oceans that surround each island. As Michaels helped me get my Landmark fix, we talked about everything from the newest content to heroic movement to my pet topics: player books and theme-enforced islands. Oh, and did I mention that combat is planned to appear by SOE Live in August?

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Crytek's Arena of Fate aims to change the MOBA as we know it

Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, MOBA

Arena of Fate
Crytek's new MOBA Arena of Fate is best described by our sister site Joystiq as a MOBA for people frustrated by MOBAs. Sitting down with Crytek Producer David Bowman at E3 this week, the Joystiq interview focuses on what makes AoF different from every other MOBA out there by removing the "toxic elements that exist in [...] some of the other products."

How is this done, exactly? "The store is gone, getting the last hit on a minion doesn't matter, matches operate on a 20-minute countdown, and the first team to 10 points wins," according to the interview.

Be sure to check out more on Arena of Fate as the game approaches beta later this summer.

E3 2014: FFXIV's Yoshida on 2.4, 3.0, new classes, and more

Fantasy, Interviews, Events (Massively's Coverage), Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

After the recent E3 2014 announcement that Final Fantasy XIV was getting a new class and a marriage system, fans have been understandably eager to learn more. And the best way to do that is go to the source! We sat down with producer Naoki Yoshida to discuss the content slated for upcoming patches and expansions.

Before delving into the new, Yoshida spoke about the old. He noted that since last year's expo, FFXIV has enjoyed a successful relaunch, added a couple of major updates, and given millions of gamers around the world the opportunity to play. He then led into the new by saying, "We want to continue to grow the game from here. We have a lot of exciting content building up to 3.0." Part of said growing includes expanding the availability of the game by getting it into even more regions; this summer, for example, FFXIV will launch in China. Another part of the growth process is expanding the content and introducing new features, which is where patch 2.4 and the 3.0 expansion come in.

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Player-driven development at 'core' of SOE's philosophy

Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play

landmark
SOE President John Smedley is preaching the gospel of player-created content to any and all who will hear, saying, "Our player-driven development process is really at the core of who we are and who we've evolved into."

In a new interview with Fortune, Smedley talked about the approach that SOE is taking with its open development, player-created content, and community monetization opportunities. "What we're trying to do is to expose the development process to our players and get them excited, let them see the stuff we're making as early as possible and get their opinions on shaping our games," he said.

Smedley praised the "revolution" of Twitch streaming as a communication pathway, saying that it's helped players to truly understand what goes into making MMOs. He also pointed out how free-to-play has finally been embraced by the console crowd: "There's evidence now. It's fair to say that consoles took longer to get to free-to-play simply because the business model has been the same way for quite a while now. But they're seeing this amazing revenue generator from micro-transactions in free-to-play games."

Graphical upgrades en route for Age of Wushu

Fantasy, Historical, Interviews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

I can't believe I'm not really running the risk of being struck by lightning!  Also, I should get inside.
How do you feel about Age of Wushu's graphics? Do you think that they could really use an upgrade? It seems that they'll be getting one. Shi Hai, CEO of Snail Games, was recently interviewed in China, and a translation of that interview reveals that graphical upgrades are definitely in the works. While he declined to specify exactly what sort of upgrades would be coming, he did joke that the rumors about the Unreal 3 engine might well be true.

Shi Hai also commented on the potential of a subscription server for Age of Wushu, noting that while several free-to-play games have dabbled with the idea, they seem to inevitably wind up going back to the free-to-play model in time. He stated that the company is currently focusing on porting the game to home consoles rather than exploring the possibility of any sort of subscription server. You can read a few more translated statements at MMOCulture.

Massively Speaking Episode 300: WildStar's launch with Jeremy Gaffney

Podcasts, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

WildStar's launch day is finally here, and we've got Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney on the show to talk about the struggles and joys of getting a fledgling MMO off the ground. This is also our 300th episode, so we indulge in a bit of retrospection and celebration.

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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WildStar's Gaffney: 'Achievement is the love of watching bars grow, that's our industry'

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
Carbine executive producer Jeremy Gaffney is interviewed over at Gamasutra, and he has plenty of interesting things to say regarding the MMO industry and WildStar's place in it. Particularly illuminating is Gaffney's philosophy regarding progression and the journey versus the destination.
If there is a fun thing to do that is inefficient and a horribly boring thing like smacking yourself in the face with a shovel next to it that gives more XP, players will do more XP. They'll try the fun thing once or twice but then go, 'No, I can't help it. I need to hit level 50. I want my end goal more than I want my journey.' So it's very easy to have the journey trivialized.

Achievement is the love of watching bars grow -- that's our industry. I don't think there's a more fundamental human need that gets tapped into by these games than watching your bars advance, and that feeling of progression -- of being able to say, 'I am tougher than I was before.'

ESO's Sage talks justice system and new guilds, 'no firm plans' for housing [Updated]

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Housing, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online ship
Now that Elder Scrolls Online's Craglorn is here, ZeniMax is turning its attention to the game's delayed console release as well as future content updates. Creative director Paul Sage told IGN that players will likely see ESO's justice system prior to the introduction of the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, though there is no date for either set of features just yet.

As for player housing, it's on the back burner. "I will tell you that when we get to player housing, and I think it's one of those things that when you have a game that's been running a long time it's one of those things you want to get to, it has to be something that's done differently and done well," Sage said. "That's about all I can tell you. We have no firm plans for anything on housing at this time."

[Update]: Here are today's Craglorn patch notes!

Massively Speaking Episode 298: WildStar's raid team

Podcasts, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

WildStar
Continuing with our series of pre-WildStar interviews, Eliot and Justin grapple with the (ahem) "hardcore" endgame of raiding as we welcome Brett Scheinert and Mike Donatelli onto the show. Hey, 36 more people on this podcast and we could actually get a group going!

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

Continue Reading


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