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Camelot Unchained's territory control isn't just for uberguilds

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Previews, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're examining the RvR map and territory control.
Massively: Taxes and maintenance costs are absolutely necessary to keep territory from being owned by absent players, but if they're too burdensome, they can prevent people from wanting to claim or improve land at all, figuring that a richer guild will do it. How does the team plan to solve that problem?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Balance is always a PITA, and this is a perfect example. There is no magic formula to solve this problem, but one thing I will say is that while money may not buy happiness, it may also not buy a piece of land. Just like crafters, players will not be able to simply have money dumped on them by an alt, friend, etc. and then be able to buy whatever land they want. They will have to earn the right to buy it, and that won't happen Launch Day +1 (or 2 or 3).

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Camelot Unchained plans a robust, anti-mule crafting economy

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're digging into my personal favorite: crafting and economy.
Massively: I just wrote about a game with excessive recovery time for crafters, likewise implemented for economic reasons, and wow, players hate those restrictions. Doesn't introducing (I'm going to say it) "designed downtime" for crafters encourage crafter mules and arbitrarily interfere with the natural economy? Aren't there more organic ways to slow down crafting? Why allow combatants to fight 24/7 but not allow crafters to craft equivalently?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: It's a really good question and a definite concern for us. My feeling was that I wanted to create a system where crafters don't have to sit around, crafting 24/7 in a manner that could lead to carpal tunnel. Other games, including Dark Age of Camelot, were more like that. Crafters shouldn't have to sit around and simply click-click-click, etc. The comparison isn't totally correct though, because combatants have downtime to recover their health or power, during travel, etc. (especially in an RvR MMORPG), while crafters can sit in a shop and use the Vox Magus to craft.

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Camelot Unchained will feature a customizable 'component combat' system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this morning, we picked his brain about the game's innovative combat system.
Massively: Can you explain why the component combat system and player design of combat abilities doesn't render the concept of classes moot?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Absolutely! Think of the combat system in the same way you would magic. As a member of a certain Realm, you might not have access to particular components, whether for magic or melee combat. Further, your class might have further restrictions in terms of combinations of components. For example, the HelBound will be able to use some healing components that pure fighter classes can't, but they won't have access to the vast majority of magical components.

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Camelot Unchained isn't 'recreating WoW' with its magic system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, Classes, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week on the game's livestreams; today, let's talk about making magic.
Massively: When developers use the word "spellbook," visions of meditating into an EverQuest-style spellbook and repeatedly switching commonly used spells come to mind. Far from creating welcome immersion, that spellbook created headaches for casters [enough that SOE changed it]. But CU's spellbook seems more like a cross between an achievement panel and a spell design tool. How else will CU's spellbook improve on the concept?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: First, I think the characterization of the EQ spellbook as a headache for casters is a very personal one. Let's keep in mind that EQ was the most successful MMORPG prior to the coming of WoW [We presume he means in the West -ed], so not everybody could have hated it. In our game, being a caster will come with some disadvantages, and having to deal with a spellbook is one of them. However, it will also come with advantages. Like so many other things in Camelot Unchained, we're not afraid to say players won't love everything. Indeed, as I've said all along, I know that certain things we are going to do will piss off some people.

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Camelot Unchained's use-based stat system will trade grind for immersion

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Camelot Unchained
This week, the folks at City State Entertainment have a massive game mechanics infodump planned for Camelot Unchained fans as part of its "batshit-crazy" reveal week. A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being presented to backers this week on Twitch, so to coincide with today's announcements, we asked about the mechanics of the sandbox's proposed stat system. Enjoy the reveal and the interview!
Massively: Can you explain the thinking behind allowing players to fall into "gotcha" builds, unwittingly creating characters that simply will not perform well in the game? By the same token, does the studio not anticipate the preset classes to result in attendant cookie cutter stat builds?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: We've been very clear from the beginning of the Kickstarter that we are going to allow players to create builds that aren't 'ideal' for their class or even race selection. Now, having said this, we've also been clear we will present plenty of information so they can make informed choices. I want to give players the freedom to play a race/class/stat combination that is not ideal, but to also warn them and give them the ability to read lots of information at the same time. We are also considering giving out a limited respec after creation just in case, for example, you quickly realize trying to play a Luchorpan tank that you made as small and weak as possible wasn't a great idea.

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Massively Liveblogs: SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, MMORPG

Liveblog: SWTOR Coruscant Skyrise Apartment
The upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic has the potential to completely change player perception of the game. Galactic Strongholds gives players the ability to own and decorate a home on four different planets: Nar Shaddaa, Tatooine, Coruscant, and Dromund Kaas. Last week, the developers showed off the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace; today, we see the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment.

Over the next couple of weeks, developers have promised to answer questions, including, "Who can visit your stronghold when you're not looking?" and "How many people can visit before your skyrise topples to level 1313?" They also said that they will give an in-depth tour of the prestige system and the legacy bank.

We are liveblogging right now in the comments as the developers are speaking, so join us!

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Hyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hyperspace Beacon, Housing, MMORPG

‚ÄčHyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds
When I first hopped into MMOs way back when Ultima Online hit the scene, I believed that the best thing about the game wasn't the gamey side. I wasn't interested in the monsters that I could kill nor the mechanics of taking down a daemon or a lich lord. I was most interested in living in the world of Ultima with Lord British and the town of Trinsic then. Although my tastes have changed in the 14 years since, I still feel the longing to live in the world created online.

The next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic gives me nostalgic feelings of when I first stepped into Ultima. True, owning a house in UO was more complicated than what Galactic Strongholds gives us, but there is a great level of complexity all the same.

In the livestream last week, the developers gave us a tour of the Nar Shaddaa stronghold and layout many of the decorating tools. The "hooks" on the floors, walls, and ceilings can be configured into many different configurations of large, medium (column-like), and small areas, with a couple of large exceptions, like centerpiece and starship hooks. Developers Troy McCall, Jack Wood, and Eric Musco dropped many items on the floors, walls, and ceilings of the stronghold, showing over 250 items in the various menus. Even if you watched the livestream as it was happening, you couldn't have caught all 250+ items. Let's look at some of the most interesting.

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Asheron's Call is now buy-to-play

Fantasy, Asheron's Call, Business Models, Events (Real-World), News Items, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

As announced back in May, Asheron's Call (and by extension, Asheron's Call 2) has shifted from a subscription to a buy-to-play model this week.

Turbine wrote in May that the last sub payments would be processed on June 30th and that the game would become buy-to-play thereafter. Massively can confirm that logging into the Turbine account site and attempting to resume an old account currently allows players to select a "Lifetime AC Plan" for $9.99, which matches the buy-to-play price for all gamers who wish to play for the first time. Players who were subbed at the transition should be grandfathered in and will no longer be billed every month.

While both games will continue in maintenance mode, Turbine still plans to facilitate player-run servers this year.

[With thanks to Arpeggio.]

SWTOR stream reveals the secrets of galactic housing

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

SWTOR livestream
Star Wars: The Old Republic has been touting its next expansion, Galactic Strongholds, for months, but the studio hadn't revealed how decorating will work. During the latest livestream, all that changed. Decorators, prepare yourself; it's better than you might think. We've compiled a list of the highlights:
  • Guilds will have both a capital ship and a headquarters.
  • Sitting, lying down, and leaning are not tied to a specific item; they're slash commands.
  • Multiple groups of people (up to 70 on the livestream) can visit your stronghold.
  • You can place jukeboxes (four were shown) in your stronghold for ambient music.
  • Your stronghold can be decorated only by you.
  • Guild headquarters and ships can be decorated by different people within the guild.
  • You can place your starship (among other large vehicles) on the landing pad.
  • There's no rent or maintenance for upkeep.
  • Strongholds can be bought with both credits and Cartel Coins.
  • Dueling is an uncertain possibility.
  • NPCs can be placed in multiple spots around the stronghold.
  • The legacy bank is an item.
  • Twi'lek NPC table-dancing has been confirmed!
If you have an hour, the whole livestream is available after the break; otherwise, stay tuned next Tuesday for the Hyperspace Beacon's impressions and detailed breakdown of the SWTOR livestream.

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Ultima Online patch delayed because of Mythic shutdown

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

While last month the Broadsword Online team reassured players of its games that they would not be affected by the shutdown of Mythic Entertainment, Ultima Online Producer Bonnie "Mesanna" Armstrong has admitted today that update 86, originally slated for July, has been delayed until at least mid-August. "The shutdown of the Mythic Studio [...] has caused us to move the rest of our build machines from that office to the office in Herndon before we were expecting," she wrote in her producer's letter today. "So that has caused a delay in our publish time."

But there's also some good news for players of the veteran MMO. Here's some of what Armstrong says the team is currently working on:
  • a new trade quest to acquaint players with the world,
  • new Clean-up-Britannia rewards,
  • a new interface for the enhanced client (helped along by a well-known player modder),
  • a revamp of the Advisor program (what used to be called the Counselor program),
  • revisions to the global loot system,
  • anniversary rewards for the game's 18th birthday in September,
  • and a return-to-UO promotion for former players in August.
Armstrong also notes that the UO team is looking to hire an engineer and site designer.

Hyperspace Beacon: Fixing SWTOR's community representation problem

Sci-Fi, Classes, Culture, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Subscription, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Fixing SWTOR's community representation problem
You might be aware that I was once a community representative for Star Wars Galaxies. The player governing body was called the Senate. I don't remember who started it, but I do remember the formal revamp during the time Kelly "Valara" Knox served as Community Manager. It was during that period that I represented the roleplay community in the SWG Senate.

Because of my time serving as an MMO community representative and my vested interest in the Star Wars: The Old Republic community, I can say that the representative system employed by BioWare is ineffective. But I don't solely blame the BioWare community team for its shortcomings. Indulge me as I discuss how it could be better and how we could better utilize the current system.

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EVE Evolved: Four top tips for living in wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
One of the biggest goals you can reach for in many sandbox MMOs is building your own empire and controlling a small corner of the game world. For much of EVE Online's lifetime, that privilege was reserved for the powerful few leaders of the game's large territorial alliances, which carve up vast swathes of space between them. A handful of alliances still control the lawless nullsec regions today, but there are still opportunities for smaller corporations and even individuals to stake a claim in the chaotic world of wormhole space.

Exploring and farming in wormholes is very profitable activity, but permanently moving in and setting up a starbase can be an intimidating prospect. One wrong decision might lead to pilots getting stranded in the void without bookmarks, your starbase coming under attack, or the whole expedition being robbed blind by a corporate infiltrator. The early days of wormhole exploration were rife with stories of hardship, heists, and devastating wars fought through shifting networks of wormholes. A lot has changed since the wormholes first opened in 2009, and today many of those problems have solutions.

In this EVE Evolved opinion piece, I look at some of the ways wormhole life has improved since Apocrypha and give four of my favourite tips for anyone planning to colonise wormhole space.

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E3 2014: Hands-on with Swordsman and Dawn of the Immortals

Fantasy, Historical, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, First Impressions, MMORPG

I have a problem: I like a lot of the mechanics in Wuxia games like Age of Wushu, but I have trouble getting into them. Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman Online, while lacking some of the mechanics of AoW, might have a mixture that catches people off-guard. And while you're off-guard, PWE's Dawn of the Immortals might come in and show you how the world of mobile MMOs is starting to progress.

I had a look at both Swordsman Online and Dawn of the Immortals at this year's E3. Read on!

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Working As Intended: The forgotten fields of Green Acres

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Humor, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Paolo Neo
My first trip to Ultima Online's Green Acres was in 1998. The first guild I'd ever joined had just split up into a bunch of... let's call them "philosophically incompatible" groups, and I was still hanging out with some of the shadier types because I was a clueless teenager in my first MMO and wanted desperately to fit in and hadn't yet figured out where I belonged.

"Hit this rune," my new guild leader commanded. His favorite murderin' weapon was a poisoned warfork. He was not a nice man. "I'm being evicted from my safehouse in Green Acres. Help me move my crap."

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Tamriel Infinium: The big thing that Elder Scrolls Online got right

Fantasy, Lore, PvE, Opinion, Mac, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium: The big thing that Elder Scrolls Online got right
I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks explaining and complaining about the issues I have with Elder Scrolls Online. Some of my readers got the impression that I neither like nor play the game. The reality is that I do like the game, but I'm horribly frustrated with it. Many of the ideas and promises that the developers set up for the game just aren't happening (or aren't happening fast enough). That's made me not want to log into the game. The fact that the game isn't roleplay-friendly hasn't helped, either.

Despite all my misgivings, ESO does compel me to log in for one main reason: the story. And not just the story but how well the characters are written and how the story is told. The subject matter isn't bland and cliche. The characters are taken seriously, even when the story is humorous, regardless of gender or race. Although I cannot give you every example here, I would like to touch on a couple of the stories that exemplify what I mean by great storytelling in an MMORPG.

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