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MMO Industry

Warner Bros. confirms Turbine layoffs [Updated]

Asheron's Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, Rumors, Miscellaneous

turbine
Turbine appears to be going through another round of layoffs that are possibly affecting the Lord of the Rings Online team, according to Twitter messages.

Former Community Manager Rick Heaton seemed to confirm this in a tweet sent earlier today: "Thinking of my friends at #Turbine and #LOTRO and elsewhere today. I'm easy to find if you need me."

Massively has reached out to the studio for an official comment.

[Update: Warner Bros. has confirmed unspecified layoffs by issuing the following statement to Massively: "As part of our normal business process, we're routinely looking at the strategic alignment of our company. Unfortunately, in order for us to invest in growth areas at Turbine, we have to eliminate some positions. These are always tough decisions, which we don't approach lightly, but it's crucial that Turbine is structured in a way that reflects the current and coming marketplace."]

World of Warcraft bounces back to 7.4 million subscribers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

We just use this header every time.  It's easier than really analyzing.  Don't hate.
The launch of Warlords of Draenor is still a month away, but just the approach is enough to bump the numbers for World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment announced that the game is at 7.4 million subscribers as of the end of September, a bump of 600,000 over the previous announcement of 6.8 million subscribers.

As this is a statement from Blizzard rather than the usual earnings calls with subscriber numbers, no reasons are given for the upswing; since the subscriber numbers were listed as of September 30th, the jump occurred before the pre-expansion patch. Regardless, it's another point of data for those who are tracking these things with a chart.

Ubisoft is bringing The Crew to a college football game near you

Real-Life, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Races

Do pseudo-MMOs and college football mix? We'll soon find out since Ubisoft is taking The Crew on a roadtrip to various rivalry games across the country starting this month."Two trucks outfitted with gaming stations will simultaneously tour the country allowing fans from each school to play The Crew and go head to head with their rival school's fans before the big game on Saturday," according to the racing MMO's website.

Highlights include the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (otherwise known as Georgia vs. Florida) on November 1st, Florida State vs. Miami on November 15th, and USC vs. UCLA on November 22nd.

The Crew launches on December 2nd.

Gaijin on the creation of War Thunder's Victory is Ours short film

Historical, Trailers, Video, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, War

Remember that spiffy War Thunder short film that we watched earlier this month? Gaijin has published a blog post that gives a little background on its creation.

The script came together rather quickly, and Ukrainian studio Postmodern was chosen to handle filming duties which were then completed near Kiev in "a record two-day shoot." Gaijin says that an additional half day was spent on a studio stage, and that the abbreviated process was helped along by the fact that the entire film was "pre-visualized and made in a 3-D sketch." The company also says that more details on the making of Victory is Ours will be forthcoming.

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ZeniMax seeking feedback on Elder Scrolls' Update 5

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

Elder Scrolls Online's Update 5 is big. It's so big that ZeniMax is offering test server players a lengthy list of suggestions as to what they should be testing.

More specifically, the dev team is seeking feedback on the veteran City of Ash dungeon as well as on crafting writs and the new crafting tutorials. That's just a partial list, too. You can view the full breakdown on the official ESO forums.

Massively Speaking Episode 317: Jiggery pokery

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

ff14
On this week's podcast, we've got all of the answers to the industry's most critical questions. Will WildStar's plans be enough to turn this title around? Will Final Fantasy XIV soon be infested with so many Ninja that they will blot out the sun? Why are Dragoons named that? And does Hackshield help or hurt gamers more?

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:
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Here's everything that happened at SC's Citizen Con 2014

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

If you're a Star Citizen fan, you've likely already seen the mind-blowing planetside video released during last weekend's Citizen Con 2014. You may not have seen everything else that happened at the event, though.

Fortunately for you, Cloud Imperium has posted the full two-hour presentation on YouTube and we've embedded it for you after the break. While you're at it, don't forget Episode 41 of 10 for the Chairman!

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Art director Matt Mocarski leaves WildStar

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Free-fallin', I'm free-fallin'.
We'd heard about recent departures, but this one is new. Former art director Matt Mocarski has apparently left Carbine Studios to work at Amazon Game Studios; no specific date for the departure has been given beyond the fact that he has already started his new job. WildStar has already seen two high-profile names leave the game post-launch, president Jeremy Gaffney and design producer Stephan Frost.

We wish Mocarski the best of luck in his new workspace.

[Thanks to JesLyck for the tip!]

Destiny hotfixes out a loot cave, players uncover more DLC areas

Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

Here we go, here we go, here we go again.
Destiny has a bit of an issue with caves, particularly those that allow players to stand around and shoot until candy comes out. An upcoming fix will adjust auto-rifle damage, boost scout rifles, and also cut off another loot cave from the players. The development team is also working on fixes to under-performing Exotics and tweaking overall class balance.

Meanwhile, the game's players have managed to uncover another DLC area in the video past the break, uncovering unpopulated regions on the Moon that tie into an unknown portion of the game's expansion content. Analyst Michael Pachter weighed in briefly on the game when he predicted that game sales for September 2014 would be in a slump compared to September 2013, stating that Destiny's ubiquitous media presence would provide an overall figure around 2.75 million, a bit below Bungie's stated 3.2 million daily logins.

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Latest Skyforge dev diary enables your god complex

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Skyforge

Want to become an MMO god? Watching the newest Skyforge dev diary video is probably a good place to start. The clip focuses on the game's followers and adepts and hints at how players with an eye on godhood will develop their adepts, send them on missions, build temples, and receive both abilities and bonuses.

Click past the cut to view the video and read the associated description of Skyforge's order mechanics.

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The Daily Grind: Do you miss maker's marks in MMOs?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Crafting

UO
An off-hand joke in the Massively team email last week prompted a neat conversation about items in MMOs -- specifically, crafted items that have maker's marks attached to them so that players know which characters made them, even as they're traded from player to player through the years. Sadly, MMOs' insistence on bind-on-pickup items frequently makes discovering a crafted item made by someone famous, someone with a cool name, or someone who left the game years ago less possible.

Do you miss such items in MMOs? Can you think of modern MMOs that include maker's marks?

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 science of language, community, and MMORPGs

Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, Opinion, Virtual Worlds, Miscellaneous, MMORPG

Johannes Jansson
Back in August, Massively wrote a little post about Swedish research on MMOs and language learning. That article provoked me, a gamer and teacher of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), to hunt down the original research and talk directly to the researchers, Dr. Liss Kerstin Sylvén from the University of Gothenburg and Dr. Pia Sundqvist from Karlstad University, to better understand their research and findings.

Note that we'll be talking here about games and language learning specifically, not other forms of game-related education. Also, Sylvén and Sundqvist don't consider themselves "gamers." Sundqvist remembers Pac-Man as her first game, both admit to playing Angry Birds on their cell phones, and Sundqvist is "allowed" to sometimes watch her 17-year-old son play League of Legends. I find this interesting because they are non-gamers who seriously consider games capable of being educational without specifically being developed to do so. This isn't a simple merger of a hobby with work; this is work in a field of interest that's still being explored.

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These LotRO Update 15 vids are all about the Beorning

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE

Ready for some more videos from Lord of the Rings Online's forthcoming Update 15? Unlike this morning's crop, these latest blurbs are all about the new Beorning class. Click past the cut for a look at character creation, the new Beorning starter area, and some level 50 combat.

[Thanks Joel!]

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Here's an early look at Star Citizen's planetside gameplay

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Did you miss CitizenCon last weekend? I sure did, and as a result I also missed this rather exciting 11-minute clip that shows off a boatload of Star Citizen sights and sounds.

Better late than never, though, right? Click past the cut to see an early version of the game's planetside gameplay and environments!

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WildStar's megaservers deploy this week

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
Carbine has just announced that WildStar's megaserver implementation, first revealed in September, will deploy this Wednesday. Megaservers are intended to increase server capacities and deal with fading populations without disrupting players, though they have the side effect of muddying server communities and eliminating the ruleset servers on which players originally rolled.

The servers will go offline on Wednesday, October 15th, at 8 a.m. EDT, for up to 24 hours. To make up for the extended downtime, Carbine is giving all players a month's worth of in-game Boom-Boxes and a free day of game-time.

Characters level 3 and up, as well as guild, arena teams, circles, mail, and auction items, will move intact, but characters under level 3 that haven't been played in the last month will be nuked. The team is simultaneously introducing surnames to avoid duplicate name conflicts.

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