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Interviews

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, Senior 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.

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Guild Wars 2's Festival of the Four Winds launches today

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Interviews, Launches, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Gw2
As promised, today ArenaNet will update Guild Wars 2's western servers with the Festival of the Four Winds, a Chinese-themed patch that will return the Zephyrite festival to the game and mark the game's launch in China. Says the studio,
The Zephyrites have returned to Labyrinthine Cliffs in their large-sailed flying ships to support Lion's Arch in its time of need. Although Lion's Arch suffered a devastating blow as a result of Scarlet's nefarious plans, Captain Ellen Kiel of the Captain's Council is grateful to see the Zephyrites return with their generous offer of materials and moral support. And to help reinvigorate trade and provide some joy to its citizens, the Zephyrite Master of Peace and Queen Jennah of Kryta are hosting a festival to honor Lion's Arch. Visit Labyrinthine Cliffs and experience the rush of Aspect movement skills, take part in the Sanctum Sprint, or enjoy one of the brand-new events; then take a hot-air balloon to Divinity's Reach and enjoy the reopened Crown Pavilion, including a new version of the Queen's Gauntlet, the Boss Blitz. Join Braham, Rox, Marjory, Kasmeer, Taimi, and Scruffy as they enjoy the festivities and usher in the return of Lion's Arch services!
We spoke to ArenaNet Game Design Lead Mike Zadorojny and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about the update and how players will gradually aid in the rebuilding of the Tyrian capital.

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Nearly 300 people are working on Skyforge

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

Skyforge
MMO Culture has posted part three of a Q&A with Allods Team and Obsidian developers. The subject is Skyforge, an upcoming sci-fantasy MMORPG that lets players become gods. Interesting interview tidbits include the size of the dev team (nearly 300 people), the lack of trash loot ("every item that you can loot in the game has its impact upon your character's powers"), and the level-free progression system.

"A leveling system is hard to manage, that is why we decided to get rid of it. Basic specification of Skyforge heroes can be compared to gear score," the team says.

Jukebox Heroes: A civil chat with Dawngate's Jeff Broadbent

Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Dawngate
Massively: Today we have tea, crumpets, and the ever-so-delightful company of Composer Jeff Broadbent. Mr. Broadbent is here to talk about his work on the score for the upcoming MOBA Dawngate. So is working in the online video game world becoming a habit for you, going from PlanetSide 2 to Dawngate?

Jeff Broadbent: It does seem the online video games are becoming the norm! I am actually working on a couple of new online games also at the moment. The interesting thing about the game market today is that there are many different platforms including mobile, downloadable, online, and console, so it's quite diversified.

The Dawngate gig came about through audio director Caleb Epps. I was staying in touch with Caleb, and he let me know about a new project he was working on. He had me create a couple of demo tracks for the game, and based on that material, I was given the opportunity to score the game.

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Massively Speaking Episode 297: WildStar's Chad Moore

Podcasts, Interviews, Opinion, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

Chad Moore
We're on a countdown to WildStar's launch, and so we welcome Carbine Studios Creative Director Chad Moore to the show to talk about the ins and outs of life on Nexus. Eliot and Justin also check out the top news of the week and your pressing mail queries.

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.

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Braben on Elite's GTA successors and friendly competition with Star Citizen

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous alpha
Space sims are in vogue again, thanks in large part to crowdfunded darlings like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen. Prior to the past couple of years, though, the genre was basically dead in the water aside from occasional indie gems. Elite mastermind David Braben says the lull happened because game devs and publishers lost sight of the freedom that defines space sims.

"The true successors to Elite and Frontier were the Grand Theft Auto games. For me, the setting is secondary to the feeling of freedom," Braben recently told Tech Radar. "The success of the Elite series has always been based on the freedom that players are given. It's all about individual choice in an open world -- you don't select 'pirate' or 'bounty hunter' or 'trader' from a list, you simply do what you want and events will unfold accordingly."

Braben also addresses the "friendly competition" between Elite and Star Citizen, saying that he and Chris Roberts are "both alpha backers of each other's games and both want the other to succeed."

WildStar unveils the details of raids

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Interviews, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Gather 39 of your closest friends, and... wait, do you seriously have 39 close friends?  I don't even understand how that's possible.
WildStar wants to have its raids be big. Big in size. Big in rewards. Big in engagement. Big in lots of ways, in short. The team has talked about them in passing elsewhere, most notably at PAX East 2014, but there still hasn't been a nice big info drop about raids that potential players could really sink their teeth into. Like the sort of reveal that accompanies a new DevSpeak video.

So guess what's past the cut? Go ahead, guess.

Very good, it's the raiding video (something you could have concluded from the headline, yes), but there's more besides. We had a chance to sit down and talk with Brett Scheinert, the dungeon & raid lead developer, regarding these high-end encounters and what will set WildStar apart from other titles offering a raiding endgame. And despite what those opening lines might have made you think, it's not just about size. (It's also Spinal Tap references. You can guess which ones.)

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