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Destiny reveals beta dates, expansion pass, and special edition pricing

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, MMOFPS, Destiny

It's open war across the cosmos, and your wallets look to be the first casualty in Destiny's interplanetary conflict. Bungie announced today that it will be pre-selling two DLC packs and revealed the contents of its special editions. The studio also said that the PlayStation beta will start on July 17th, with the Xbox beta kicking off a week later on July 23rd.

Despite the name, the Destiny Expansion Pass isn't for full-fledged expansions but for the first couple of post-launch content additions. The first pack, The Dark Below, will explore an ancient tomb underneath the Moon's surface. Bungie is promising exclusive PlayStation content for both expansion packs. Players can buy the expansion pass for $34.99 or individual packs for $19.99 apiece.

Alternatively, thrifty Destiny fans can pick up one of the special editions that come with the two DLC packs included. These packages include the Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99), the Limited Edition ($99.99), and the Ghost Edition ($149.99). While the editions each contain a different mix of goodies, by pre-ordering any of them players will have early access to weapons, gear, and emblems.

Bungie also released the official beta trailer, which you can watch after the break.

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Perfect World Entertainment buys Digital Extremes

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS

And now it's going to be all about making money, because... it used to be a charity?  Not clear on this point.
Perfect World Entertainment is adding another studio to its cap. Digital Extremes Ltd., the studio behind Warframe, is having all of its outstanding shares purchased by PWE in cooperation with Sumpo Food Holdings Limited. This agreement is non-binding and was first announced on June 30th, although nothing has come up since to indicate any sort of a change or reversal.

Players have taken to the forums voicing a certain amount of displeasure with the deal, with several comparisons to PWE's acquisition of Cryptic Studios when it was sold by Atari. As it stands, no official statement beyond the business dealings has been made by the studio.

[Thanks to Clinton for the tip!]

DayZ switches over to DirectX 11 and reworked controls

Betas, Horror, Interviews, MMOFPS, Buy-to-Play

The days of DayZ as we knew it are over; all hail the upcoming changes to everyone's favorite gankfest featuring the occasional zombie!

In an interview this week, DayZ creator Dean Hall outlined six improvements that the team is working on for the standalone version of the game. Right out of the gate is the decision to add an option to toggle DirectX 11 to make everything look a lot better. "Implementing DirectX 10 or 11 will have a dramatic, instant visual difference and quite a significant performance difference," Hall said.

Other changes include new 64-bit server architecture, better hunting mechanics, improved controls, a reworked loot system, and an early game experience fashioned specifically for new players.

Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion, God of Destiny's greenlighting, and Dead Island's MOBA

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Age of Wushu, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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SOE explains PlanetSide 2 patch scheduling

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

Have you ever wondered why MMO studios patch their games when and how they do? Well, wonder no more, at least in PlanetSide 2's case. SOE producer David Carey recently took to Reddit to explain why the MMOFPS' server downtime typically starts during European prime time.

PS2 is a worldwide game, Carey says, and so bringing the EU shards down independently isn't feasible. "We can't have multiple client or server versions out in the wild at the same time," he explains. "Another reason is that we update once a week or more on average," Carey continues. "We need people to run the patches, so we really can't just say 'hey you guys are working overnight tonight and maybe two other nights this week, we'll let you know.' I mean, they have families and that's just not fair. So that rules out some time slots like 2:00 a.m. local other than for emergencies."

PlanetSide 2's Hossin update is live but not entirely done

Betas, Sci-Fi, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox

PlanetSide 2 players are today logging into the Hossin patch, a major update with a new continent with more than 80 new bases in a new biome. The update includes the first phase of the new continent locking mechanic for territory control and perks for guilds -- sorry, outfits -- including new recruiting, decal, and capturing systems.

Creative Director Matt Higby warns, however, that "Hossin is not finished":
If we wanted to "finish" Hossin without sacrificing the quality level we've established, it would probably be 3 months before it was ready to go live - we don't want to wait that long, and we don't think you want to either. [...] Right now about 50% of the bases on Hossin are "done" to the point that we're completely satisfied with the quality of the level design and visuals, about 25% of the bases are first pass [...] and another 25% are [placeholders]. We expect these bases to function correctly, provide all the necessary utilities to make the game work - they're just not 100% up to our standards of level design quality quite yet.
Higby calls this the "Early Expedition" approach and says the teams will continue work on the "beta" continent over the next few months.

[Thanks, theKavorka.]

Not So Massively: GTAO's update, Hearthstone's tourney, and LoL's Summoner's RIFT revamp

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, The Division

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Destiny's alpha testers have played 6,461,871 games

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Guilds, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Humor, Destiny

"A lot of our friends asked us if this was a real Alpha," Bungie wrote today of its recently begun PlayStation 4 alpha test for Destiny. "It was. [...] You'll see the fruits of [our] labor as early as next month, assuming we're lucky enough to have you in our Public Beta."

The studio just released a new blog post chronicling player achievements from the first few days of the alpha, among them 149,522,313 primary weapon kills, 667,966 public events joined, 60,491,944 fallen dregs dispatched with extreme prejudice, and 6,461,871 player games played. There are also new screenshots from the alpha and handful of Q&A responses, in which Bungie teases more tidbits about the upcoming beta and explains the purpose of clans within the game.

World War II Online crowdfunds a client update

Historical, Patches, MMOFPS, Crowdfunding, Subscription

WW2 online
In an effort to update an aging client without breaking the developer's bank, World War II Online: Battleground Europe turned to the community to crowdfund the project -- and the community delivered.

A $9,250 fundraiser on Indiegogo dedicated to the creation of a new test server, PC client, and Mac client was met and surpassed this past week. The update, which should roll out within six months, will include billing tools for Steam and improved audio and visuals.

The crowdfunding campaign is now aiming for stretch goals that could add community upgrades, improved tech infrastructure, and additional marketing.

Beasts of Prey is a dinosaur-themed survival sandbox MMOFPS

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play

Can your zombie survival MMO do this -- I didn't think so.
If The Stomping Land and Durango aren't enough to sate your appetite for dinosaur-themed survival MMO gameplay, then here's a third game to add to that growing menu: Beasts of Prey. It's currently in early access alpha on Steam for $34.99, though developer Octagon Interactive hopes to launch beta in October. What does your money pay for right now, exactly?
"Beasts of Prey has been funded privately and your purchase will help us to further develop the game and pay bills for designers/coders & infrastructure. Additionally and more importantly we need your feedback on what we have created so far so we can make the right adjustments to successfully change game-play & mechanics."
The game boasts a single-server infrastructure, a detailed crafting and gathering system, a randomly generated world that adjusts its size based on the population, and dinosaurs that can wreck a camo-colored car much faster than a zombie ever could.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Firefall introduces personalized missions-on-demand

Betas, Sci-Fi, Previews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Firefall

With Firefall's official launch approaching, the devs are in a frenzy proclaiming the new features and systems that players will be seeing when that day arrives. In a new dev diary today, the team highlighted a personalized mission maker, called ARES.

ARES Jobs allow players to create and launch dynamically generated quests during downtime. Players can choose from several story and gameplay options, and the system will pull together a mission that can be completed solo in the game world. The devs promise that ARES jobs will keep mixing it up with objectives and locations to avoid any danger of the missions growing stale. There are reportedly "hundreds" of jobs, and if a player so desires, he or she could level up exclusively through ARES.

"ARES jobs also help to make the world feel more alive: in the current system, it is rare that you run into another player in the world by random chance," the devs wrote. "ARES missions take place in a number of predetermined locations, and dynamic events like tornados or crashed thumpers draw players to them in a predictable manner."

E3 2014: The Division recaps its demo

Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Previews, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

It's going to be better than The Multiplication, sure, but maybe not as good as the Differential Calculus.
Eager to hear more about The Division in the wake of the E3 media blitz? For those of you not on the ground during the convention, the latest development blog recaps the fine points on display in the game's E3 demo. As the blog explains, the core conceit of The Division is that you're not accepting the collapse of civilization but pushing back against it, chiefly by shooting the heck out of bandits and creeps until they're not a problem any longer.

As described by the blog post, the game utilizes a complex AI for enemies -- sniping a bandit but not his friends results in the others running back for reinforcements, leading to a pitched firefight and a chance to use special unlocked abilities. The demo also showed off using the support app to take control of a drone, allowing you to see around walls and provide important data to allies even without being directly in the game. Check out the full recap for a thorough breakdown of where the game is right now in terms of game mechanics.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

Not So Massively: Destiny, Star Citizen, and Elite at E3

Betas, Historical, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Mac, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warships, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Virtual Reality

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

Continue Reading

Destiny's PlayStation players will receive exclusive co-op content and maps

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, MMOFPS, Dungeons, Destiny

When Bungie's Destiny launches on the PlayStation 3 and 4 in September, gamers on those consoles will be entitled to a bevy of "timed" exclusives that they can crow about to the likes of Xboxers (never mind PC gamers who might never see Destiny at all). The official PlayStation blog revealed the full list of bonuses coming first for PlayStation gamers earlier today; it includes:
  • a unique three-player co-op Strike located on Mars, in which you'll "track a Cabal extraction team through the husks of an ancient human skyscraper [...] buried in the shifting dunes of Mars and face a new enemy, the Psion Flayers";
  • the Exodus Blue exclusive competitive multiplayer map, a "mid-sized Crucible arena that pairs perfectly with Control and Skirmish game modes";
  • special armor for each of the three core classes;
  • an exotic assault rifle (The Monte Carlo) and exotic hand cannon (The Hawkmoon); and
  • three special ships known as the Aurora Wake, Crypt Hammer, and Outrageous Fortune.

Derek Smart justifies Line of Defense's early access fee, new playable female characters

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, MMOFPS

3000AD announced last week that its MMOFPS Line of Defense will arrive on Steam's early access platform in July, sporting a hefty $99 buy-in. In response to gamer rumblings over the status of the early release and the price, studio president and lead developer Derek Smart posted on Twitlonger to explain that the game is fully funded already but can't afford to let "freeloaders" in:
"The $99 EA price tag - which has a LOT of perks - ensures that only serious people who can provide meaningful feedback through their commitment, need apply. And for that they get a lot more than they would if they waited for the final game release. We're simply not interested in letting freeloaders gain early access to the game, not provide meaningful - if any - feedback, while we foot the bill for the backend services, servers, bandwidth etc. We're a SMALL independent game dev making a MASSIVE game in a genre dominated and monopolized by SOE and their popular @planetside2 series. [...] And unlike those other guys, we don't take your money, then plonk you in useless assets (how do you like that hanger now?), a largely unfinished product or a product that may not even see the light of day."
Smart also alerts potential players to the fact that the studio has altered its original plans to omit female characters from the game: "My decision to now fund and add two bad-ass female characters comes from the fact that, well, we as an industry need to start making a concerted effort to cater to our female players because good faith can only get you so far."

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