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Guild Wars 2's revamped sPvP rewards skillful play, not just wins

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet's Justin O'Dell is on dev blog duty today for Guild Wars 2, and his post is all about planned updates to the game's sPvP matchmaking and ladder ranking systems.

"We decided to move to a score-based search method that takes into consideration several metrics that we believe are important for a match to be fun," he explains. "We chose a score-based system over other methods because we found that it's a good compromise between the often competing goals of match quality and short queue times." The system will do its best to match players by skill level, rank, party size, and so forth.

Points awarded through the ladder ranking system are determined by final score and odds of victory in an attempt to ensure that playing well in spite of a loss is encouraged and that luck isn't the driving force in ranking.

"Imagine a world where everyone took the saying 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game' seriously," O'Dell says. "Wouldn't that be great?"

TERA's Fate of Arun expansion is coming December 16th

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, TERA

TERA fans, mark December 16th on your calendars, as that's the launch date for the fantasy MMO's first proper expansion. Fate of Arun features a mysterious new continent, a level cap bump (65), new class skills, new dungeons, and a new battleground based around competitive PvE.

The game's enchanting mechanics will also be simplified, and a new quest UI will "streamline 60 to 65 leveling, allowing players to teleport right to the action, find groups, or turn in quests from any location."

Finally, you'll want to log into TERA prior to December 16th and pick up your free Northern Initiative Pack. It includes rare potions, campfires, buff charms, a white tiger mount, and more. TERA's Fate of Arun expansion will be a free content update via Steam and the game's official website.

[Source: En Masse press release]

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Elite: Dangerous has begun issuing refunds over offline play debacle

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Elite: Dangerous' latest newsletter has arrived, and predictably, Q&A about the game's recently canceled offline mode dominate the post. David Braben reiterates his statements from earlier this week that the single-player mode will still be accessible, just online-only. "Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty," Braben explains, stressing that Elite: Dangerous is an MMO and "technically [...] always has been" and that "always-online entertainment is already a reality for the majority." He also says that Frontier has already begun issuing refunds strictly to those who pre-ordered the game through the online store and had not accessed the alpha and beta; Kickstarter backers and active testers are not eligible.

Of note to MMO fans in particular, the studio boss promises to "take regular archives of the game and the servers, to preserve the game for the future," with plans to release the server code publicly if the servers are ever shut down.

The newsletter also highlights Beta 3.9, which arrives on the test server today, bringing with it overhauls to the map and ship outfitting, new ways to reach the rank of Elite, and open-mic voice comms. Beta 3.9 will be followed by Gamma 1.0 this coming Saturday. The game is still set for an official launch on December 16th.

Lineage Eternal gets a gameplay demo at G-Star 2014

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items

If you're wondering where in the hell her shirt went, well, you aren't the only one.
We've known about Lineage Eternal for a while, but actual details have been in short supply despite that fact. The game's showing at G-Star 2014 might put some of that curiosity to bed, however, as according to Steparu there's a gameplay demo and a 25-minute look at the game in play just past the break. While full character customization was not available on the show floor, those at the con can choose to play the heavily armored Guard Knight or the transparently armored Element Warlock while previewing different allegiances, outfits, and clothing colors.

As for the actual gameplay... well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, nearly half an hour of moving pictures is surely worth even more words. So jump on past the break and check it out! The demo covers the early stages of several game regions as well as a 20-person quest leading players to defeat various raid monsters.

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Tree of Savior shows off its gameplay at G-Star 2014

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items

Puppy!  Who's a puppy?  Yes, you're a puppy!
There's no denying that even in static shots, Tree of Savior looks like a very pretty isometric game. The title is on display at G-Star 2014 and showing off a new trailer courtesy of Steparu that highlights some of the game's big field bosses, playable classes, and the general look of the world as a whole. And you can watch that trailer just after the break to see all of these moving parts in action.

Nexon has been confirmed as the Korean publisher for the game, but there are still no announcements to be had about any sort of publication in the US. The game's control layout has been revealed to be a far cry from the point-and-click interface suggested by the overhead view; movement is handled with the arrow keys, and the first two rows of the keyboard serve as hotbar bindings. Check out the video past the break to see if it looks like something you'd like to play in the future.

[Thanks to Yorai Dragon for the tip!]

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Activision Blizzard resolves class action lawsuits

MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Miscellaneous

Allegations of backroom deals were sorted by further backroom deals.
When Activision Blizzard bought itself to be freed from Vivendi, there was no shortage of unhappy shareholders, leading to several class action lawsuits filed against the company and other attendant actors in response to the whole process. Those suits have now been resolved and the case is now closed; the parties have settled out of court, with the proposed settlement seeing some of the defendants paying a total of $275 million to Activision Blizzard as well as multiple insurance companies.

The Board of Directors wrote in a statement that "the transaction, structured through the efforts and significant personal investment of Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly, has contributed to the creation of over $3 billion of value for shareholders" and that they are "pleased to be able to put this matter to rest."

Adjustments have also been made to said Activision Blizzard board of directors and aspects of the corporate structure, with the company paying all legal fees of the plaintiffs. Since multiple defendants were involved in the suit (including Activision Blizzard itself), it's still unclear exactly who took the hit for this particular lawsuit, but it does mean that the matter has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Peria Chronicles puts sandbox features front and center at G-Star 2014

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox

because the real test of a game is whether or not you can use it to play a different game which is available on every platform ever.
If you're not looking forward to Peria Chronicles, that's sort of understandable since you've probably never heard of it before now. It's a new Korean anime-inspired sandbox game with -- wait, don't walk away, I'm just getting to the part that's interesting! It's more like a cel-shaded Minecraft, you see, and the latest trailer shows off some of the reasons you should care even if seeing the words "Korean" and "anime" and "sandbox" in close proximity give you the urge to run for the hills.

You can check out the G-Star trailer courtesy of Steparu just past the break. While it only goes over some of the game's features in rapid succession, it shows off floating player-created landscapes, player-made objects with varied functions, and the monster taming system. If that sounds interesting, jump on down and check out the trailer. No sort of US release has been discussed at this time.

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WoW subs back over 10 million, WoD sells 3.3 million

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

World of Warcraft's global subscriber base now numbers over 10 million, and several of those subscribers can even log in and play!

In all seriousness, Blizzard did announce that its MMO is experiencing "growth across all major regions," not to mention that it sold 3.3 million copies of the Warlords of Draenor expansion in its first 24 hours.

Blizzard defines subscribers in its press release:
World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet game room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.

Here's a supra new World of Speed trailer

Real-Life, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races

Supra fans, here's a World of Speed trailer that'll tickle your fancy. Slightly Mad's upcoming MMO racer has a new teaser focused on Toyota's Supra Mk 4. Unfortunately the video is over and done with in under a minute, but that's still enough time to see one of Japan's most iconic sports cars burning through various environments at 155 MPH.

Click past the cut to have a look!

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Destiny demo now available

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Promotions, Destiny

Bungie is dangling a demo of megahit Destiny in front of the three of you who haven't played it yet. You can now pick up a digital download of the sci-fantasy shooter in both the Xbox and PlayStation storefronts.

The download is a whopping 20 GB on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems, while last-gen users will only need six GB of console hard drive space. If you decide to upgrade and purchase the full version of the game, all of your character's progress will carry over from your demo.

Click through to Bungie's website to read the rest of the details.

New SMITE vid reveals the Dragon King of the Eastern Seas

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items

I keep thinking that SMITE is going to run out of minor gods to turn into MOBA characters. And I keep being wrong since every week or so, Hi-Rez takes a deity I've never heard of and plops him or her down in the middle of its free-to-play fight club.

The latest example is Ao Kuang, the Dragon King of the Eastern Seas that we mentioned last week. This week, though, he's got a video! Click past the cut to see how he fares in the online battleground of the gods.

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Black Gold's water-themed Bloodied Tides DLC arrives next week

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold
Snail Games has today announced that a huge new update will land in Black Gold on November 24th. Bloodied Tides, the steampunk MMO's second DLC since its soft launch last summer, will up the level cap as well as add Aurek Brute and Upyrian Vampire races, a brawler class, a new 4v4 arena, tweaks to the time vial system, and a weapon engraving system. There's also a ton of water-themed content in the form of underwater dungeons, underwater maps, naval warfare, and aquatic battle carriers, which had better be as cool in practice as they sound, darnit.

We've got the update's teaser video embedded for you below.

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Shards Online's Kickstarter has already reached its $50k goal

Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

Shards
Sandbox MMO hopeful Shards Online has met its Kickstarter goal of $50,000 with 23 days still to go. Citadel Studios' first Kickstarter for the ambitious game reached only $73,401 of its $320,000 goal last June.

Project lead Derek Brinkmann dropped by the Massively comments last week to reassure potential donors and explain the thinking behind the new campaign:
I'd like to personally address the concerns about our new goal. After our previous campaign winded down, we put our heads together and created a refocused plan to get to alpha. The minimum amount we could get to alpha with was 100k. It doesn't seem like much, but we have been in active development for over a year and have already personally invested quite a bit of money into the project.

We reached out to our friends and family and found we were able to raise 50k from small investments. That gets us half of the way there. We decided that reaching out to our fans would be the best way to get the rest of the funds. The alternative was to approach angel investors which would have forced us to change the spirit of the project.
Stretch goals begin at the $60,000 mark and include emote animations, new craft skills, and a permadeath ruleset.

The Repopulation devs on the mission system and non-violent gameplay

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, The Repopulation

Blogger Werit has an exclusive Q&A with Above and Beyond, the team behind upcoming sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation. In it, the developers discuss dynamic missions, which are intended to provide "purpose" to players who crave it rather than to serve as the core means of advancement through the sandbox. In fact, you don't have to do the missions at all to advance your skills, and they'll tailor themselves to your character's choices along the way. Tendencies toward greed, shadiness, and crafting, for example, will all be reflected in mission offerings. "There are taming missions, underworld (thievery/assassination/smuggling) missions, crafting and harvesting missions, etc.," say the devs.

As for non-violent gameplay, there's plenty of it:
Our game and its economy are heavily trade skill oriented. Our crafting system is very complex and has a high degree of customization. Moreover crafted equipment is the top of the line. If you never wanted to pick up a gun, it's completely possible for you to just go out and harvest, or buy resources from other players and then do your crafting. I think most players will also do a little fighting, if for no other reason than mobs will jump you while your out harvesting.

But crafting advancement is not coupled in any way with combat advancement. There are other non-combat skills, as well. Things like the entertainment line which provides long-term buffs for players. Taming mobs to be trained as mounts and sold to other players. Diplomatic skills. Different players enjoy doing different types of things. And we've tried to cater to many playing styles, rather than forcing players down a combat oriented path.
Check out the full interview at Werit's Blog.

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is now taking donations through Patreon

Fantasy, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

So is this officially the point when Captain Ahab shows up and says that it's time to let it go?
Brad McQuaid has apparently started a new Patreon to fund Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, the third crowdfunding source that the game has employed. Let's recap: The game was first announced by the former Vanguard lead with a Kickstarter campaign that failed to meet its target goal. That was followed by an on-site fundraising campaign that abruptly ended when McQuaid admitted (against a backdrop of worrisome rumors) that there was no more money to pay the studio employees, at which point he told fans that development was starting again with an all-volunteer team.

So what do you get for backing the game's development? Videos. The current funding goals are $1,000 increments for monthly development videos through January; they'll show the volunteer team's progress on the game. Those who donate large amounts of money will also be granted exclusive screenshots of the in-development version of the game (so far those we've seen include placeholder assets) and a spot in the credits of a development video. The page claims that any and all funds raised will fund the team as well as defray hardware and server costs.

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