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A look at the last test session for Black Desert

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Previews, News Items, Black Desert

Run around, smack some things, get covered in blood.  The usual.
Black Desert had its last beta event recently, and if you're not in the Korean beta, you can only watch and wait from the sidelines. So how was it? Steparu has a full review and discussion of the experience available now, and while it's not perfect, it seems to be hitting the notes it's aiming for. There are also plenty of videos if you would prefer to watch and evaluate for yourself; we've embedded a bit of gameplay past the cut.

According to the review, the game's biggest weaknesses are the enchanting system (which is a good system but hard to gain access to and unbalancing for endgame PvP) and the endgame PvE content (which is largely absent). The review praises graphics, customization, side activities, and the overall feel of combat. Check it out if you're looking for an opinion on the game before it launches, and keep your eyes peeled for more details as it approaches localization for the US post-launch.

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RIFT explores the heights of Tarken Glacier

Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

I can't hear you!  I said, what's cooler than being cool?
Beneath the waves lies the city of nightmares, but RIFT players exploring the Nightmare Tide expansion will not stop there. Far above those waters sits Tarken Glacier, a massive edifice of frost that stretches to the very boundaries of the cosmos. Players will be exploring this towering mass of ice, obviously, starting at the most basic ascent before moving up to the most distant reaches of the land.

Along the way, players will be working with Skelf pilgrims, fighting off vicious frost giants, and seeking the last stronghold of the near-annihilated Pelagic Order. There are port cities nestled within the glacier, great structures devoted to researching the frostbitten land, and marauding enemies from all sides. In short, it's exactly the sort of place players will love exploring and fighting through when the expansion goes live; check out the full preview for more details on the lore of this region. The open beta for the expansion went live yesterday, with the full launch planned for October 8th.

Analysts suggest video game Kickstarters are in decline

MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

People are less willing to put down money on these gambles for some reason.  In unrelated news, have an Embers of Caerus header.
If you're still holding out hope for Kickstarter as the new face of funding video game development, you may want to revise that projection. Analyst group ICO Partners has been tracking Kickstarter through 2014 and has observed a marked drop in successful projects, funds pledged, and overall scale of projects on the site. Based on projections, the group expects a 20% drop in successful projects by the end of the year -- not a collapse, but a definite shrink.

The downturn is attributed to a variety of factors, including the lack of several big-name projects to draw people to the service and a number of high-profile failures. ICO Partners analyst Thomas Bidaux also notes that the amount being received by successful projects is diminishing, which he attributes to fans being less willing to drop money on a potential game when some of their already funded games have yet to materialize. The full report has more data and is well worth a read for anyone interested in crowdfunding and its future.

Hearthstone set for an expansion with over 100 new cards

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Like Magic, only in slow motion.
Hearthstone's little trip to Naxxramas went pretty well, but the game is headed for something bigger. An expansion has been confirmed to be in the works for the game, as we first reported during PAX Prime this year. Production Director Jason Chayes has now revealed that the expansion will add over 100 new cards with a central theme tying all of the additions together, far more than the 30-odd cards added to the game during the Curse of Naxxramas adventure series.

Chayes told Polygon that one of the big concerns for the team is making sure that the pace of new content for the game neither bores veteran players nor overwhelms new arrivals, making an expansion something of a challenging prospect. If the expansion goes well, the plan will be to mix up full expansions and single-player challenges over the course of a year, giving players more things to look forward to. No hard and fast details have been announced yet, but expected them in the near future.

Star Citizen hits 55M in crowdfunding, sets a new Guinness record, and rolls out Arena Commander v0.9.1

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen

This is $55 million of development.
Ready to command the heck out of the arena? Star Citizen has just rolled out the latest patch to the Arena Commander module, which includes the welcome introduction of customizable keybindings. If you find the default controls for dogfighting or racing to be not to your liking, you can change them now. The keybinds currently support mouse and keyboard options as well as joysticks and and controllers; moving forward, the team wants to allow for options like allowing double-tap bindings and device-specific tuning.

This update also includes a fix for SLI/Crossfire display drivers and an option for backers to control exactly which ships appear in the hangar for use. Of course the full patch notes also explain some other assorted balance tweaks and bug fixes, but we imagine no shortage of people will be happy just by virtue of being able to set up the control scheme just the way they like it.

In more meta Star Citizen news, the game officially crossed the $55 million crowdfund threshold last evening. In his ensuing letter from the chairman, Chris Roberts noted that according to Guinness World Records, the game is now not just the largest crowdfunded game of all time but "the largest crowdfunded anything of all time!"

[Thanks, Cardboard and Oliver!]

Star Trek's Rivera talks story design and the Delta Quadrant

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Trek Online

If you've been wondering why Star Trek Online is going to the Delta Quadrant for its upcoming expansion and what sorts of stories will be available when it gets there, a new dev diary has the answers. Lead designer Al Rivera writes about the game's "story process," which involves examining where the game's already been and deciding what sorts of additions will fit STO's production schedule.

"We have to determine how many missions we need to tell this story," Rivera says. "How many do we want? Do we want adventure or battlezones? Ground or space? What about patrols, queues and STFs? Does our story work for the type of content we need to create?"

You can read the rest of his thoughts at the official Star Trek Online website.

SOE devs on EverQuest Next's 'life of consequence'

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

We've known for a while that SOE is cooking up some sort of emergent AI concoction for EverQuest Next. The company famously partnered with Storybricks last year to bring its fantasy NPCs to life, and a newly released video sheds a bit more light on what exactly that means.

The clip stems from a panel that was originally conducted at this year's SOE Live, which has now been distilled to a more manageable five-minute running time. Click past the cut to find out about EQN's lack of traditional quest hubs and how to make NPCs bow before your mighty axe of authority.

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RIFT's Nightmare Tide now in open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, RIFT

Trion wants you to know that RIFT's Nightmare Tide open beta is now live. You'll need the company's Glyph launcher, and you'll need to navigate to the server list under the RIFT heading where you can select "PTS."

From there it should be pretty straightforward. If you're not inclined to play a pre-release version of the expansion, you can pick up the real thing on October 8th.

Elsword reveals the Arc Tracer class... for science

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play

Elsword
KOG Games has just revealed Add the Arc Tracer, a new class coming to Elsword on October 1st. The Arc Tracer is a tech specialist who can manipulate drones, laser cannon, and flying disks to kick butt with science. At level 35, the Arc Tracer can become a Mastermind (eventually -- but not in this patch!). We've got brand-new screenshots, details, and an exclusive trailer after the cut!

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Bungie confirms Destiny DLC leaks, but DLC is not 'finished'

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny
Leaked info about Destiny's upcoming The Dark Below and House of Wolves DLC is accurate but incomplete, says Bungie Community Manager DeeJ on the official forums today.
"We noticed that you noticed that we already have plans for upcoming content packs in Destiny. We do! They have activity names (which may or may not change) and we have a really good idea what they're going to contain. They even have placeholder nodes in the Director, as you've already discovered. But neither of the Expansion Packs we've announced [is] finished. People at Bungie are hard at work to complete content for our first post launch pack, The Dark Below, as I type these words. It will be finished soon. It releases in December. Soon, we'll detail it out for you so you can see exactly what we've been working on."
In other Destiny news, Massively's sister site Joystiq offered a handy PSA this morning about unofficial website DestinyPublicEvents.com, which tracks in-game events on timers so you know exactly where the action is.

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Casual escapists, Skyforge hasn't forgotten you

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, News Items, PvE, Skyforge

Skyforge
A new MMOGames interview with Obsidian Executive Producer Eric DeMilt sheds light on inbound sci-fantasy MMO Skyforge, which he says is angling to provide a deep experience for players with tons of time -- as well as players with very little. As he put it,
"We are striving to make a great high quality free to play MMO that would have action oriented combat and allow for short rewarding session time. We wanted to make something that could accommodate short session game play as allow for enjoyable longer play sessions. It's about escapism and being larger than life."
DeMilt also discusses power creep, player retention, character progression, the Facebook-inspired social network within the game, and monetization; on the last, he's reluctant to give details, but he vows that Skyforge is "not going to be a flat-out pay-to-win game."

How Blizzard is improving World of Warcraft's e-sports appeal

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Subscription, E-sports

WoW Insider
World of Warcraft is no stranger to e-sports, though its cousins deeper in the Blizzard family tree have fared far better. During the Hearthstone qualifiers at last weekend's DreamHack Stockholm, Blizzard Senior Manager of eSports Kim Phan spoke to PCGamesN about the challenges faced by World of Warcraft in the e-sports subgenre.

"I can definitely say that WoW 3v3 Arena right now is kind of hard to watch, in the form that it is, and so there are things that we want to evaluate," she explained. "World of Warcraft was obviously created well before e-sports blew up to the way it is now. We knew there was a competitive element to World of Warcraft, and then it just kind of blew up from there.

Warlords of Draenor's upcoming spectator mode is intended to address the difficulty of following arena matches, but Blizzard isn't stopping there. Even raids might be worth watching, Phan says. "Ideas have been brought up like Battlegrounds. People enjoy watching live raids at BlizzCon. What makes something an e-sport really depends on what people want to see. We are taking a close look into how we can better support e-sports."

BioWare delays SWTOR's Revan expansion reveal

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Dulfy.net has collected BioWare forum statements to confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic's upcoming expansion announcement has been delayed. The studio had originally slated the reveal for September, but it's been delayed by "a couple of weeks." Community Manager Eric Musco advised players not to read too deeply into the delay because "the delay of announcement has no effect on the expansion schedule":
"In short, the process we go through internally to announce something as big as an expansion is actually quite complex and extensive. Although you are correct in that the end process may be a video, a landing page with some copy, etc. the process to get there requires a large amount of moving parts across multiple teams. Aside from just the assets and webpages there is arguably one of the most important aspects of these types of announcements, the game!

"By the time we announce we have to have a concrete idea of what will be coming in the game with the expansion, what types of perks we might give our subscribers, etc. Unfortunately with so many moving parts, we can sometimes run into the scenario like we did today. If we are not 100% confident in what we are going to put out, for a multitude of possible reasons, it can lead to a delay of announcement."
Forumgoers suggested the expansion will be titled "Shadow of Revan," "Spawn of Revan" or "Shroud of Revan"; dataminers have carved "Shadow of Revan" in stone. Musco reiterated BioWare's "commitment [to] launching it this year."

Season Two of WoW's Brawler's Guild detailed

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

Blizzard has broken down the changes coming to Brawler's Guild content in World of Warcraft. Season One achievements (i.e., pre-6.0.2 achievements) will be marked as legacy and will be replaced by new Season Two goals. Additionally, all tiers "have had their boss line-ups remixed," according to today's dev blog.

You can read the rest of the changes on WoW's official website.

Not So Massively: Patches for Destiny, Path of Exile, and Diablo III

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Dungeons, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Path of Exile, E-sports, OARPG

Destiny
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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