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Interviews

Final Fantasy XIV's Yoshida on housing, test servers, and post-Fanfest

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Housing, Subscription

Two Massively employees in the same game at once?  The world is madness.  (No, you get no hints about who.)
Final Fantasy XIV has had a busy year, and it looks to be having a busy next year to boot. The game's first expansion is in the works and planned for a release in spring of 2015, along with another major patch to cap off the game's current patch cycle. And director/producer Naoki Yoshida continues steering the ship, working what I can only assume is a 200-hour week.

I had a chance to ask a few questions of Yoshida around the time of the first two fanfests of the year (the final one is scheduled for December in Tokyo), ranging from housing questions to the promise of public test servers to how hard it will be to establish an Eternal Bond. Jump on past the break to read the full interview!

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NCsoft 'sees a future' for WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Interviews, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

I also see a future for WildStar. I'm not sure it's the same future.
Eurogamer recently spoke to WildStar Creative Director Chad Moore and Product Director Mike Donatelli to counter concerns that WildStar is a "sinking ship." Fortunately for players, NCsoft, which controls Carbine, apparently doesn't think so. "They specialise in MMOs, that's what they do. And they see a future for WildStar," Donatelli explained. "And as far as NCsoft is concerned, they're going to support us, and I take them at their word for that when they've made a commitment to us for the future, so I feel very comfortable making that statement." Moore noted that Carbine still has "hundreds" of employees in spite of recent layoffs, and while he wouldn't outright condemn negative Glassdoor reviews, he did recommend they be taken "with a grain of salt."

Regarding sales, Donatelli told Eurogamer the game sold "many, many, many times" the hoped-for 250,000 boxes, but he doesn't mention current subs. Back in October, he told Massively that the game had "hundreds of thousands of active players." NCsoft declined to clarify that ambiguous phrasing when asked.

WildStar's Mystery of the Genesis Prime patch launched yesterday.

Norrathian Notebook: Talking EverQuest II's 10th anniversary with Holly Longdale

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Interviews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries, Norrathian Notebook

The big 1-0. EverQuest II has just joined the ranks of games in their double digits; today marks the 10th anniversary for the fantasy game. And while that's a pretty impressive feat in itself, just growing older isn't all that has happened to EQII in the past year. There have been plenty of content updates (and a change in how those update occur), holiday celebrations, and major news happenings during the course of the past 12 months.

However, instead of just highlighting the major events and changes of the year in a standard retrospective piece, I'm going to do something a little different this year. On top of wandering down memory lane, I've pulled in Senior Producer Holly Longdale to answer a few questions and address some current concerns on the minds of players. Longdale talks about the high price of both the Altar of Malice Collector's Edition and the new Aerakyn race as well as shares some fun facts about who's been working on the game since the beginning.

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Touring DCUO's War of Light Part II before next week's release

Super-hero, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online

The DC universe is a big one, and DC Universe Online has multiple storylines involving various heroes and villains playing out through its DLC trilogies. So far, however, only the first part of each trilogy has been available to play. But that's all about to change! Starting next week, players finally get to sink their teeth into the continuation of one when the second part of War of Light, which premiered earlier this year, finally releases. Members will be granted early access to War of Light Part II on November 11th while everyone else gets the DLC on the 18th (with the exception of European players who will get it on the 19th). But thanks to a tour with Creative Director Jens Andersen and Assistant Creative Director SJ Mueller, we didn't have to wait until next week to see what's in store.

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The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles

Video, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

Ubisoft Massive says that PC gamers looking forward to its Division shooter won't be sacrificing any presentation quality because of their console counterparts. "Obviously we want to make a game that looks the best it can on its respective format, so Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC," Massive's Martin Hulberg told Open World Games.

"We address every console, every platform as its own version, so we try to stay away from the thing where you go for the least common denominator and everybody suffers for it," Hulberg explained.

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Watch the sped-up creation of Das Tal concept art

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Interviews, Sandbox

das tal
It's always great to get two things for the price of one, isn't it? Well, that's what you're going to get when you watch today's developer video from Das Tal, as it not only contains an interview with the game's art director but shows the sped-up creation process of one of Das Tal's pieces of concept art.

Art Director Michail Mamaschew discusses his priorities for each day's work, what programs he uses, where he gets his inspiration, and all of the aspects of art that he has to consider as he creates pieces for the team. You can watch the formation of concept art and listen to his interview after the jump!

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Marvel Heroes' Juggernaut, multi-speccing, and upcoming story content

Super-hero, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Classes, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, OARPG

After a bit of a delay, Marvel Heroes fans saw the release of Juggernaut as a playable hero over the weekend. A new hero alone is enough for many players to dive in and try things out, but Juggernaut also comes with a power system unlike that of any other on the game's roster. To learn a little bit more about this villainous hero, we talked with Ryan Collins, Creative Designer and Community Manager of Gazillion, who also dished some details on the much anticipated multi-spec feature a well as upcoming story content.

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EverQuest II's Aerakyn race is spreading its wings November 11th

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Classes, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Races

A few weeks ago we peeked into EverQuest II's impending Altar of Malice expansion with Senior​ Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper. In addition to touring the zones and basking in the beauty of the artwork while weaving through dinosaurs, I also got a glimpse of the newest race coming the game and gleaned a few interesting tidbits about these scaly, winged creatures. Although not technically a part of the expansion, Aerakyn will become available to players for purchase on the same day that AoM goes live for All Access members: November 11th.

Be a dragon!

With a new race incoming, some players are already trying to determine whether they will bump an alt or just buy a new character slot. It's not just the opportunity to be what is arguably the first real dragonkind in the game (sorry Sarnak!) but the chance to experience the game as one of the very few flight-enabled races. The Aerakyn, like the Fae and Arasai introduced in a previous expansion, utilize their wings from day one. Of course, the actual flight mechanic cannot be obtained until the appropriate level (85), but the wings still work and the race can glide around. Unlike the Fae and Arasai, however, the Aerakyn will get to use their personal wings as all three advanced mount types.

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WoW level designers discuss Draenor's callbacks and vignettes

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Lore, Previews, News Items, Subscription

WoW
Blizzard's final Artcraft blog for World of Warcraft has arrived today in the form of an interview conducted by Community Manager Bashiok. Once again, the topic is the design of Nagrand, a zone made iconic in The Burning Crusade expansion and returning in Warlords of Draenor next month.

The five interviewees, all level designers, discuss preserving key landmarks and environments in the proto-zone and how they've incorporated appropriate callbacks for classic content. The popular Ring of Blood arena quests will return, for example, as might everyone's favorite escort quest NPC, Corki. "Vignettes" will sound familiar to fans of more modern MMOs, as well; Senior Level Designer Victor Chong explains:
We've added a lot more vignette stuff, and I was working with Kurt Sparkuhl, a quest designer, on how I could add hidden stuff on the tops of mountains. So we have a lot of vignettes where players have to figure out how to get up there without just being able to walk up. It's stuff like doing some jumping around to get into an area, and then when you get to the top, you find a goblin with a glider that'll let you glide to specific areas that aren't normally accessible. Then if you get through all of that and land on a specific spot, you're rewarded with whatever the prize is there from a chest or something. We're doing a lot of that, and Nagrand was a good test bed for those kinds of things.
The complete interview is available on the WoW official site.

Richard Bartle 'frustrated' with modern MMO development

Interviews, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

richard bartle
A fascinating piece over on Eurogamer about MUD1 and Richard Bartle traces the history of the modern MMO back to this game and this man. Bartle said that he and his partner "wanted to change the world" with his game, although he says that the modern MMO has yet to reach its full potential.

"I am frustrated at its slow pace," Bartle said. "There's so much you can do with virtual worlds. But it's not being done. I wanted them to be places of wonder in which people could go to truly be themselves, away from societal pressure or judgement. My idea was that if you could truly find yourself in a virtual world you might be able to then take that back into the real world. Then we could get rid of these artificial restraints of class, gender, social status and so on that dictate that you are what you are born to be."

Bartle talked about how the goal for MUD1 was to give players "pure freedom" and how he thinks that MMOs should operate on a meritocracy. For more information on this topic, check out Massively's MUD retrospective and interview with Bartle back in 2011.

EverQuest: The Darkened Sea expansion is live today

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play

We got our first glimpse of EverQuest's 21st expansion back at SOE Live, with its impending new features, a slew of new zones, and the promise of the return of two classic characters. For the past month, some folks have even been testing these things out in beta. Now with launch finally just around the corner (as in today!), Designers Jonathan Caraker, Alan VanCouvering, and Doug Cronkhite joined Producer Thom Terrazas and Creative Director Akil Hooper to talk shop while zipping through the newest zones of The Darkened Sea on a tour of what players will get to dive into.

The Darkened Sea actually builds upon a previous expansion, The Buried Sea. "We have some stories and characters... that we liked back then that we wanted to continue," Terrazas explained. "So we're bringing back some familiar characters that have been off the grid a little bit the last few years." The story itself also takes place in the Buried Sea, starting off on a little tucked away island called Tempest Temple.

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The Stream Team: Touring RIFT's Nightmare Tide with Trion's Daglar and devs

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Livestream, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Touring RIFT's Nightmare Tide with Producer Bill Fisher
RIFT's latest expansion Nightmare Tide just launched last week, so there are plenty of new things to do and new places to see. And who better to guide you though those than the folks who made them? Executive Producer Bill "Daglar" Fisher, Senior Development Director Simon "DeadSimon" Ffinch, Senior Systems Designer Chris "Archonix" Junior,and Senior Community Manager Eric "Ocho" Cleaver join Massively's MJ for a romp through the new content. Bring your questions for the team and join us live at 2:00 p.m. to ride through Nightmare Tide.

Game: RIFT: Nightmare Tide
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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ArenaNet teases Guild Wars 2's road to war

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
After a break, a feature pack, and the yearly antics of the Thorn family, the second season of Guild Wars 2's living world will soon be back in business. The business is, of course, preparing to fight Elder Dragons; the

We got to talk with ArenaNet's Lead Writer Bobby Stein and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about how the living world story has marked out what the team calls the "road to war" against Mordremoth and its minions. But as Game Director Colin Johanson said in his latest blog post, "The road to war is paved with points of no return." That doesn't exactly sound good for Tyria, but it may be exciting for GW2 fans who are looking forward to something big.

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Massively Interview: Spinning Neverwinter's tall tales

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

neverwinter
Massively: Today we're joined by Neverwinter Senior Content Designer Randy Mosiondz to talk about the game's story. So Randy, how does the story of Neverwinter run parallel to the pen-and-paper campaign and how does it differ? In the cases of its divergeance, why did the team take those paths?

Randy Mosiondz: In Neverwinter we usually try to parallel a lot of the Forgotten Realms story development that Wizards of the Coast has been doing over the last few years. At launch, the majority of our adventure zones were based on stories were being told in the Realms, primarily focusing on Valindra, the Crown of Neverwinter, Gauntlgrym, and the aftermath of the Spellplague. One of our main sources of inspiration was the D&D 4th edition Neverwinter Campaign Guide, which had a number of great story seeds.

We did add a number of new zones that were not directly connected to that book but were still drawn from Realms lore. In a lot of these cases we simply wanted to make sure there was enough variety in storylines, environments, and monsters you encountered to ensure we covered all of the high points of the D&D adventuring experience. Whenever we do this, we consult with Wizards of the Coast on a weekly basis to ensure these storylines match up to their expectations of what fits in the Forgotten Realms.

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