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Smedley talks H1Z1's map size, population density

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
SOE CEO John Smedley's not done talking about zombie sandbox survival MMO H1Z1. Earlier this afternoon on Reddit, Smed posted a lengthy comment addressing questions about the game's map size. Rather than summarize it for you, I'll just go ahead and leave the whole thing here.

I've seen a bunch of people asking questions about the map size. Forgelight is built to handle arbitrarily sized worlds. Our plan is simple -- we're building the core of "anywhere USA". When we first open it up to users the map will be huge, but nowhere near as big as it's going to be in short order. Our map editing system allows us to quickly add massive areas. We want to make sure we clearly understand how the players are playing the game before we do that. On PlanetSide 2 we made a mistake by making multiple continents before we had a strong enough idea of what worked and what didn't. This game is different. We're doing it smarter.

When we open up the early access there will be a massive map for players to enjoy. Over time (very quickly) they'll magically just be able to keep going further than they've gone before. It's a very unique way of doing it, but we actually think this is a better way to go.

So not to worry. Zombie Apocalypse isn't going to be any fun if it's like Disneyland on Spring Break and super-crowded. We want remote... haunting... being scared when you see someone. Your first instinct needs to be to hide. If there are 20 players in your view it's not a very convincing Apocalypse.

So how many players per server? Who knows. As we add more land the number of people we can hold on a server goes way up. So we're excited. We have a ton of zombies for you to fight too. You'll be seeing hordes, oh yes you will.

Marvel Heroes now featuring Team-Ups

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes team-ups
Gazillion has unveiled a new Team-Ups feature for Marvel Heroes. You can now recruit a few of your favorite heroes to battle by your side, according to the game's latest website update. Current Team-Up possibilities include Spider-man, Falcon, Firestar, and Magik. More heroes will be added "in the weeks, months, and years ahead," Gazillion says.

Team-Up heroes have "their own unique set of skills and abilities," as well as a few other specifics that you can learn about by reading the FAQ.

[Thanks Sounder!]

You can milk cows in Black Desert

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Black Desert

Black Desert - Can your MMO do this?
Ready for another achingly awesome Black Desert trailer? That's good, because Pearl Abyss has released one that features "everyday life" in its action combat fantasy sandbox MMO.

Activities on display include crafting, trading, mount taming, housing, camping, and even cow-milking. There's more, too, but you should really just click past the cut and see for yourself.

[Thanks everyone who tipped us!]

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PAX East 2014: Star Citizen and the DFM are 'more than just PvP'

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen: We're more than just PvP!
Chris Roberts took the stage at a backer-only pre-PAX event in Boston last night to show off some of Star Citizen's alpha dogfighting footage. Despite a few technical glitches, fans were able to get an extended glimpse of the game's first playable module, which Roberts said will likely release in a month or so.

The dogfighting module will be presented as part of the in-universe fiction and thus will take the form of a space sim called Arena Commander which released to gamers in the year 2944. Players will load into the DFM through their pre-existing hangar module where they'll choose between five alpha game modes: Free Flight, Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, Capture the Core, and Vanduul Swarm (basically a horde mode). Cloud Imperium is including leaderboards and plenty of stats which will show up both on Star Citizen's web-based player and organization profiles as well as in the finished game.

The upcoming module will also feature co-op capabilities along with PvE AI. "At the end of the day, for me, it's not all about combat," Roberts explained, "so if [combat's] not your thing you don't have to worry about it."

Click past the cut to watch the full livestream.

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Let's all gape at Azeroth Choppers, a WoW motorcycle-themed reality show

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, Humor, Miscellaneous

Full disclosure: I built my husband a Mekgineer's Chopper as a gag Christmas present.
We can't decide whether this is completely awesome or bizarrely terrifying, but because there really aren't adequate words for World of Warcraft's latest marketing stunt, I'll just let Blizzard explain it:
Grab a front-row seat for the ultimate road showdown! Legendary custom motorcycle designer Paul Jr. has assembled two handpicked teams of bike experts to bring to life a pair of asphalt-kicking chopper designs inspired by World of Warcraft®'s two warring factions. Joining each crew on their epic quest are members of the World of Warcraft development team, on board to help to infuse the essence of the Horde and the Alliance into each bike. In the end, only one chopper will reign supreme as the undisputed king of Azeroth's roads in a winner-takes-all showdown voted on by World of Warcraft players around the globe.
Get to da choppa already. And by the choppa I mean the trailer -- it's after the break.

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ArcheAge Korea adding XP for player kills, lots of other stuff

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge PvP
ArcheAge may finally be getting on track in the West, but in its native Korea the fantasy sandpark title is already gearing up for its 1.2 update.

Said update brings significant changes in the form of new crafting materials, new farm products, substantial XP boosts for open-world monster kills, and XP from player kills.

Venus Rising's internal alpha has started

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

Venus Rising threesome
Venus Rising, the MMO "where intense battle meets passionate lust," has launched its internal alpha. Foxysoft's ancient Rome-based title exceeded company forecasts for paid subscriptions over its first 10 days, and the game's initial alpha is expected to conclude either on May 15th "or at 500 total users."

Foxysoft founder and CEO Alex Allen says that the firm is "relying on [its] users to really dive in and tell us what they want from the game experience for the beta release in Q4."

The full press release is embedded after the break.

[Source: Foxysoft press release]

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Age of Wushu's latest class sect features 'fatal musicians'

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu
Snail Games has introduced yet another new sect slated to appear in Age of Wushu's Tempest of Strife expansion.

The latest class addition is called Peach Blossom Island, and it's an archetype skilled in both ranged and melee combat. "These masters of art combine elegant music notes with lethal crowd-control moves to excel in group battles," Snail explains on its website. "For centuries, Peach Blossom Island has been an idyllic retreat for martial art experts and hermetic musicians. They are here to escape worldly concerns, and to bide their time until their services are needed once again. Trespassers come at their own peril; to arrive at Peach Blossom Island unannounced is to meet a swift death at the hands of a true master."

Click past the cut to see a preview video of the class in action.

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Elite's premium beta starts today, expands May 30

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite Dangerous
Frontier has announced that the premium beta for Elite: Dangerous "effectively starts today." Backers may download a single-player combat build and play around with it until the full testing phase starts on May 30th.

Prior to that, the devs will roll out the fourth and final phase of Elite's alpha, wherein the sci-fi sandbox title will expand with two new modes of faster-than-light travel as well as the full Milky Way galactic map featuring 400,000,000,000 star systems.

You can read the full press release after the jump.

[Source: Frontier press release]

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Wurm testing 64x64 kilometer non-instanced mega-server

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Wurm Online, News Items, Sandbox

Wurm Online
Wurm Online's largest current server measures 16x16 kilometers, but the developers have their eyes on a much bigger prize. Today at 10:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time (4:00 p.m. EDT), Code Club will be testing a 64x64 kilometer non-instanced mega-server.

You can join in if you like, as the Wurm devs are looking for anyone and everyone to see how many players the server can simultaneously support. No registration is required for the test.

Lead developer Rolf Jannson says that 50,000 critters will be roaming the fantasy sandbox title's wilderness during the test, which is actually "a fairly low population in Wurm terms." Jannson also says that no other MMO has launched a modifiable map of this scale, and "running this many players in one game zone is pretty unusual in itself and will be an interesting experience."

[Thanks bdew!]

World of Tanks makes more per user than LoL, GW2, and everyone else

Historical, Business Models, Economy, MMO Industry, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

Highest ARPU
Wargaming's tank-based lobby battler generated more revenue per user than League of Legends and Dota 2 over the past 12 months.

In fact, World of Tanks generated more ARPU than any other major F2P title, according to Superdata. "There's World of Tanks, which has a monthly active user base of around 9.1 million and makes $4.51 per month per user. And there's League of Legends, with 58.5 million average monthly actives over the past twelve months, and a $1.32 spend per user. Five times the audience, but less than [a] third of the earnings per player," Superdata says.

After WoT, the top five includes Team Fortress 2, Guild Wars 2, War Thunder, and PlanetSide 2.

World of Tanks shows off new game modes for 2014

Historical, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

All of these modes feature, well, tanks.
World of Tanks continues rolling along and updating, and it has some big features on deck for 2014. The latest video development diary shows off some of the new game modes which will be coming to the game in the near future, starting with Fortifications. The Fortification system allows clans to build structures and collect bonuses while at the same time defending their fortifications against other clans. The result is a complex interplay of new elements like pillboxes and aerial strikes that give both sides the tools to take fortified structures or defend them as needed.

That's not the least of the additions being made, however, as Historical Battles are also incoming. While this game mode has been in discussion for a long time, due to massive differences in tank capabilities, it's been tricky to create battles with an equal chance of victory for both sides. The solution is asymmetrical team composition, a rebalancing of stats for this specific game mode, and respawning lighter support tanks. Take a look at the video past the cut for a more in-depth examination of these changes.

[Source: Wargaming.net press release]

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SMITE now features Bastet, the Goddess of Cats

Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

SMITE's Bastet
Hi-Rez has revealed its latest SMITE deity in a new five-minute video focusing on Bastet, the Goddess of Cats. The clip delves into Bastet's Egyptian lore, her passive and active abilities including Pounce, Razer Whip, and De-claw as well as her ultimate Cat Call.

The clip also features plenty of in-game scenarios showing off said abilities, so click past the cut if you want a preview of Bastet in action.

[Thanks Soren!]

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SOE's H1Z1 is a zombie-flavored sandbox after all

Historical, Horror, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, MMORPG

SOE
SOE has just released more information on its upcoming F2P zombie MMO H1Z1. In a letter posted to Reddit just moments ago, President John Smedley explained his vision for the game. "It's a massively multiplayer game in which players fight for survival in a world where death is the only sure thing," he writes. Set in middle America with a distinct zombie flavor, the game will be a sandbox with a "deep crafting system" with which "players can build shelters out of resources in the world" and "work together to make amazing fortresses complete with weaponry to help defend against both the Infected and other players."

How is the game different from the multitudes of other kill-or-be-killed post-apoc zombie sandboxes already in existence? Smed says it's a persistent MMO with thousands of players and different rulesets, a strong economy, open looting in PvP, access to devs, an emphasis on "player ownership and building," and cool tech borrowed from PlanetSide 2. The studio plans to have a player-playable version within four to six weeks; it will fall under the $15 All Access Pass and have microtransactions but will not be P2W.

Have a look at the first released screenies below. The Game Talk Live stream is now over.

[Source: SOE press release]

Make your own kind of music in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Music, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play

And now the song is in your head, too.
You could be forgiven for overlooking the new drum in Guild Wars 2's cash shop -- it's just a cosmetic thing for roleplayers who stand around town, right? Well, not exactly, and a developer diary from ArenaNet audio programmer Aaron McLeran aims to explain why you should care (and buy all the things). The drum actually allows players to select from two modes: a pre-set groove mode, which lets you auto-play several drum tracks solo or in time with other players' tracks, and user groove mode, which starts to travel into Lord of the Rings Online territory. Says McLeran,
The first five skill buttons have five unique drum sounds respectively. Each sample can be triggered individually so the drum can perform like our previous instruments in free-play mode. The only difference is the drum will quantize beat events so that they always sound good to you – and in rhythm. If you push the sixth or seventh skill slot, you put the drum into "loop-record" mode. If this is the first time you've pushed it, you'll hear a nice little click-track (that only you can hear!) that gives you an idea of where the "global" pulse is. Think of it like a count off: "A one, a two, a one two three four!" Then, when you push the drum sample set skill buttons again, they'll actually loop back on themselves. You can build up ever more complicated and funky grooves.
We just have one question: Where's our Bard class?

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