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MMO Industry

Betawatch: April 12 - 18, 2014

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Betawatch
This week, Trion expanded Trove's "adventurer" supporter tier, which costs $20, to include instant access to the game's ongoing alpha test. What else is new in the world of MMO betas this round?
  • Shards posted a survey for hopeful alpha test candidates (thanks, Siphaed!).
  • WildStar showed off new body customization options in its latest round of beta.
  • Face of Mankind's open beta begins... today!
  • Swordsman joins our list with its closed beta signups.
  • Archlord 2 opened its closed beta registration earlier this week.
  • Landmark implemented a major building patch for its beta.
  • We streamed Origins of Malu's alpha with the developer team.
  • Icarus Online's Korean open beta got a video preview.
  • HEX announced its closed beta will begin on April 23rd.
  • Monkey King Online soft-launched into open beta.
  • CasinoRPG, which does call itself an MMORPG, officially moved from beta to launch on April 16th.
Read on for the complete Betawatch roundup!

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Ascent: The Space Game on building a better sci-fi sandbox

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Browser, Sandbox, MMORPG

Ascent
You'd be forgiven for not having heard of Ascent: The Space Game before. EVE Online is the sci-fi sandbox dominating headlines, and Star Citizen and other upcoming games are breathing down its neck. Is there room in the genre for, well, an indie space MMO that isn't all about cutthroat politics or hardcore ganking?

James Hicks, the founder and CEO of Fluffy Kitten Studios and the man behind Ascent, says yes. He took the time this week to answer our questions about his already-playable-but-still-in-development game in deep detail, focusing on the game's complexity, player feedback, business model, mechanics, and how Ascent can truly expand the genre.

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Atlantica Online gets new class, dungeons, and more

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

Atlantica Online Celestial Hunter
Nexon has added new dungeons, a new merc, and a new class to Atlantica Online. The Empires of Gold update boasts dungeons including the Forgotten City of Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, the Golden City of El Dorado, and the Gold Empire of Defense.

Atlantica's new class is the Celestial Hunter, "a fierce archer who can best any challenger with her bow and arrow skills."

We've embedded the update trailer for you after the break!

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Ask Massively: What's with all the WoW hate?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

WoW
Today's Ask Massively question comes from Kirk because he wanted to open up a can of worms all over the column apparently.
Why do people have to hate on World of Warcraft so much? I quit playing WoW about two years ago and never looked back, but that game encompassed the best gaming experience of my life! Now everyone wants to say its crap. But I have roamed the landscape without a real home for gaming; nothing has ever been as much fun as WoW. What person who plays MMOs didn't play Warcraft? How many of us had a great time in that game at some point? Can't we just leave it at that? I look back and admire a game that brought even my wife to the MMO table! I have no hate, just love for a game that I no longer play, and I think that's OK. Can we all move on now? What is the hold up? Let people who play WoW play WoW, and everyone else can play the game of his or her choice. Why does every chat panel in every game need to have the WoW topic constantly flowing through its veins? Honestly, I'm tired of it. Let's move on already!
Because hating is fun! No, wait, that's true, but there's so much more to it than that.

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FFXIV's Yoshida on successful relaunches, switching from sub to F2P

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

FFXIV NPCs
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida speaks from a unique position, both because he's responsible for an ultra-rare triple-A MMO relaunch and because Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuted with -- and continues to sport -- a subscription model.

Gamasutra recently interviewed Yoshida about FFXIV's success, whether or not he feels any sort of vindication, and his thoughts on the future of future subscription-based MMOs. While Yoshida says that there are pros and cons to both subs and F2P, he ultimately prefers subs, and he believes that most other MMO developers do as well.

"Some titles have to make the hard decision to switch over to free-to-play and try to gain a quick buck, pretty much, and raise their ARPU, and try to gain revenue in that manner," Yoshida explains. "I feel that they're not flipping over because they want to; sometimes, they're forced to go into that because they need to update."

World of Tanks' 9.0 out this week, includes Historical Battles

Historical, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

WoT 9.0
Wargaming has released World of Tanks' ninth iteration, complete with redesigned battlefields and vehicles and a new game mode called Historical Battles.

"With a focus on competitive balance and exciting gameplay, combat locations including Severogorsk, Pearl River, Malinovka, and Serene Coast have all received an overhaul," Wargaming says. The firm has also revamped many of the game's vehicles with new high-resolution models and textures.

Finally, the new Historical Battle mode aims to recreate famous tank engagements and simultaneously fill your garage with credits and XP. Don't forget to watch the Update 9.0 trailer after the break.

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SOE's new Player Server initiative debuting in H1Z1

Horror, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, H1Z1

There aren't many H1Z1 screens to choose from
Did you watch SOE's late-breaking H1Z1 livestream last night? Are you excited for the zombie survival sandbox MMO? Well, here's another nugget to chew on courtesy of CEO John Smedley and his Twitter feed.

The game will feature private servers.
Today I'd like to announce H1Z1 will be the first game to implement our new Player Servers. In addition to the traditional servers that we set up and run (what you've come to expect in MMOs), we will allow the players to come together in any way they wish and if they can get enough people together to vote for the server we will make it for them.

At first this will be for specific pre-defined rulesets. Later we will expand past rulesets into adding more features. For example perhaps one community prefers to go more militaristic. So they add more military vehicles. So we're truly letting you, our players get exactly the kind of thing you're looking for.

Mechanically this will allow players to buy pledge tokens in Station Cash to vote on a proposal. However, should the vote [succeed] we refund.
[Thanks BabaGraPL!]

The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best economy?

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting, Player-Generated Content

SWG
I'm an incurable trader and merchant, maybe even more than I'm a crafter, so I'm forever droning on about the good ol' days in long-gone sandboxes where players, not raid bosses, delivered all the objects used in the world. Making stuff is great, and lots of MMOs, even themeparks, have that, but I also I like setting up shops, trading on auction halls, finding great deals, and knowing just when to buy low to sell high, which isn't always the type of creative PvP gameplay that modern MMORPGs enable, let alone embrace.

But you can't trade in long-gone sandboxes, either, so today I want to tap the collective wisdom of the Massively readers: Which MMO has the most vibrant crafting and trading economy, right now, in a legally playable and living MMO? Specifically, where's the best MMO to truly be a player merchant?

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!

The Think Tank: Thoughts on PAX East 2014

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

PAX East came and went last weekend, and as we do most years, the Massively writers got together to discuss the highlights and the disappointments of the con. Join the conversation -- what did you think was the best (and worst) MMO or reveal at PAX?

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Destiny parts ways with composer, growing 'close to shipping'

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, MMOFPS, Music, Destiny

Destiny
Destiny Composer Marty O'Donnell was either fired or peacefully left Bungie last week, depending on whether you take his or the studio's testimony on the event. In either case, the fact remains that O'Donnell is no longer part of the studio.

Bungie Chief Operating Officer Pete Parsons refused to comment on the specifics of the decision but said that the game is still on track for release. He said that O'Donnell's contributions will remain part of the soundtrack, which is also being worked on by a few others.

"We have a fantastic team. We're pretty close to shipping. There's a lot of polish left to do, lots of tweaking and tuning, but a lot is already complete," Parsons said to Eurogamer.

Bungie claims that the studio and O'Donnell parted as "friends" while the composer tweeted yesterday that he was "terminated without cause."

Elite's latest newsletter talks hyperdrives, the Cobra MK III, and more

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous Cobra MK III
Frontier has sent out issue #19 of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. As usual, there's plenty of interesting info on the upcoming space sim sandbox, from how heat (and heat management) factors into Elite's gameplay to the design philosophy behind the iconic Cobra MK III.

This latest letter concludes with more "mostly harmless questions" from the community, including bits about Kepler data and traversing Elite's mind-bogglingly big playfields.
There are two modes of super luminal (faster than light) travel. Super cruise (or frame shifting) is used for travel inside systems. It was originally conceived as a sub-luminal drive, but based on the fantastic collaboration we have been having with our Design Decision Forum backers it was re-worked and is now itself a super luminal system to allow relatively rapid travel within systems. Hyperspace drives are used to travel between star systems.

Hyperdrives with different ranges, charge up times and fuel consumption parameters are available, and so your particular model of hyperdrive governs your specific ability to move around the galaxy.

Both will make their debut in Alpha 4 (not counting the early version of hyperspace in Alpha 3).

Sony: VR 'might be quite a social experience'

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Consoles, Virtual Reality

Project Morpheus
Sony is following Facebook onto the mass-market virtual reality bandwagon, according to comments made by the firm's London studio boss.

Speaking with MCV, Dave Ranyard says that Sony has worked "quite hard" on something called the social screen in concert with its Project Morpheus VR headset, the former of which will attempt to link tablets or phones to a TV version of what the Morpheus user sees and thereby facilitate companion app play.

"The 1970s future vision of virtual reality was a very solo experience of people playing on their own, Ranyard says. "But actually it might not be that, it might be quite a social experience."

Trion hosting ArcheAge combat and crafting livestream tonight

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

ArcheAge caption contest screenshot
If you're an ArcheAge fan and you're not in Trion's alpha, you'll want to set aside 45 minutes starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT to watch the latest dev livestream hosted by producer Victoria Voss and community guru Evan Berman.

The duo will examine ArcheAge's combat classes and crafting skills live on Twitch.

Trion also announced its first official AA competition which takes the form of a caption contest. The prize is a spot in the sandpark's alpha, and you've got until April 23rd to work on your entry.

[Thanks WNxArcticwolf!]

Archlord 2 closed beta registration is open

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play

Archlord 2
Webzen wants you to play Archlord 2, and as such the company is inviting you to pre-register for the fantasy sequel's upcoming closed beta test. You can use your existing Webzen, gPotato.com, or gPotato.eu account as well as your Facebook profile.

It's worth noting that registration does not guarantee closed beta access, according to the company's press release. Rather, you'll be entered into a key lottery. The closed beta is currently scheduled to begin in June.

"Archlord 2 is a medieval fantasy-based MMORPG that takes place in the mysterious and dangerous world of Chantra," Webzen explains. "Players will join in a never-ending conflict between the two opposing factions of the Azuni and the Crunn. They will be able to satisfy their thirst for power by participating in enormous PvP battles holding up to 400 players and fighting to claim the ultimate prize and to become the Archlord -- the world's supreme ruler."

[Source: Webzen press release]

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The Secret World's new ARG opens signups for loyalists [Updated]

Horror, Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

TSW
A newsletter sent yesterday to current and former players of The Secret World invites them to sign up for the game's upcoming Black Watchmen alternate reality game, which is due to officially kick off in September. Here's the hard pill to swallow for those of you used to the B2P nature of TSW: The ARG isn't free. Players who sign up will be funding the game's previously announced Crowdtilt crowdfunding campaign and will receive a year's worth of ARG gameplay and missions and a special in-game outfit for $20 ($10 off the normal fee).

Massively's MJ explored the ARG in detail just a few weeks ago. Enjoy the trailer below!

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip.]

[Update: It turns out that if you're a lifetime member of TSW, this deal is even sweeter: Not only do you pick up the in-game goodies, but you get a free sub to the ARG for a year.]

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Featured Stories

Betawatch: April 12 - 18, 2014

Posted on Apr 18th 2014 8:00PM

Hands-on with Windborne's early access

Posted on Apr 18th 2014 5:00PM

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