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Path of Exile

Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vaal expansion lands today

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Launches, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Path of Exile

Path of Exile
Get your mouse-clicking fingers ready because today developer Grinding Gear Games releases Sacrifice of the Vaal, a mini-expansion for online roguelike Path of Exile, the first of the game's promised triannual updates. Expect a showdown with the Queen of the Vaal, new skill gems, new Vaal-themed areas, a free-for-all PvP mode, and new leagues that dare players to undertake specific challenges before the timer runs out.

GGG reminds players that the first 50 folks to defeat the Queen in each of the new challenge leagues will receive an exclusive Vaal effect, so go get your murderin' gear on.

We've tucked the expansion's official trailer after the break in case you missed it.

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Grinding Gear's Wilson talks F2P ethics in Path of Exile

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Crowdfunding, Path of Exile

Path of Exile
Gamasutra reports that over five million people have signed up to play Grinding Gear's Path of Exile title. The company hasn't disclosed how many of those people are actually paying for the free-to-play Diablo-style game, but Path of Exile's critical and financial success invites a closer examination of its business model.

Unlike most F2P titles, Path of Exile completely avoids gameplay gates and delaying mechanisms and thus avoids the dreaded pay-to-win stigma. Microtransactions are purely cosmetic, and Grinding Gear's crowdfunding campaign has now morphed "into a permanent rewards-based structure for monetization."

Managing director Chris Wilson tells Gamasutra that PoE's supporter packs are a big part of the game's success story in addition to traditional microtransactions, the latter of which offer "enough money to run the company on" by themselves. Wilson says that players want to support PoE because its business model puts gameplay first. "We've been careful when designing the game so there's no paying for game content or advantage in the game," he explained. "We've purposefully divorced any game mechanics from the monetization."

Here's a trailer for Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vaal mini-expansion

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Path of Exile logo
How do you like your game trailer voiceovers? If you said creepy-with-a-side-of-demonic-possession, you'll probably dig the new Sacrifice of the Vaal spot for Path of Exile.

The dark fantasy dungeon dive from Grinding Gear Games is getting a "mini-expansion" featuring Queen Atziri, secret corrupted areas, 60 unique new bosses, and a bunch of other stuff that you can see by clicking past the cut and viewing the teaser.

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MMO Mechanics: Predicting the future of MMO game mechanics

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, EverQuest Next, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, MMO Mechanics

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I've been thinking heavily about the future since our parent network's budget cuts were announced, so I decided it would be very apt to pen my last edition of MMO Mechanics with that same train of thought. The industry has changed remarkably over the last decade with trends like the free-to-play revolution and innovations in everything from loot distribution to quest design. In my previous article, I looked at the trend toward using procedural generation and what that might mean for the future of MMOs.

In this article, I'd like to give a better overview of where I think the genre is headed in the coming years and what that means for game mechanics. My predictions are based on market patterns and technology developments, including the great indie revolution, the effects of declining subscriptions on investment, and upcoming virtual reality technology. Pie-in-the-sky fantasy or an accurate predictor of things to come? Let me know what you think.

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Not So Massively: Star Citizen's procedural planets, Diablo III's Paragon 2.0, and Pokemon's Democracy mode

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Star Citizen reached a whopping $39 million in crowdfunding this week amidst controversy over feature creep and the delayed dogfighting module. The next stretch goal will fund an R&D team to look into the possibility of procedurally generating entire planets for players to explore, but this feature will not be coming until after release. Developers on Elite: Dangerous were surprised this week when two games they developed as part of a company game jam event led to $6.2 million in signed publishing contracts on a yet-to-be-named platform.

Blizzard revealed the final details of Diablo III's upcoming Paragon 2.0 update that will provide theoretically endless progression, and players have figured out how to power-level characters with Diablo II style runs. As the release of Path of Exile's first mini-expansion draws near, Grinding Gear Games revealed details of what will be in the expansion, including a strange new Vaal Orb currency that can significantly buff items.

Valve announced that it will be releasing a new feature-length documentary named "Free to Play" next month, which chronicles the struggles of three participants in Dota 2's first ever million-dollar tournament. SMITE's launch event has been expanded into a new GameVid Expo event featuring prominent livestreamers and YouTube celebrities, and old character Agni received a graphical overhaul. And Twitch Plays Pokemon continues to grow in popularity, reaching over 100,000 simultaneous viewers this week and adding new Democracy and Anarchy modes.

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Not So Massively: 50,000 play Pokemon together, Heroes of the Storm leak, and PoE's Sacrifice of the Vaal

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Star Citizen, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile

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A bizarre experiment is currently taking place on Twitch.tv as thousands of gamers have tuned into a stream of Pokemon Red/Blue that puts the viewer in control. Almost five million people have tuned into the stream so far, with hundreds competing to control the game via chat. League of Legends revealed plans for its upcoming Hexakill featured game mode that turns Summoner's Rift into a 6v6 battle. Leaked screenshots of the Heroes of the Storm client surfaced this week, giving previously unknown details on unrevealed characters that will be in the upcoming MOBA. Infinite Crisis expanded its roster of super-heroes with the addition of Star Sapphire, and turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes has now been released for Android devices.

Blizzard's Wyatt Cheng told fans of Diablo III's Wizard class that he's been experimenting with decreasing the Arcane power on Crit stat to better balance resource generation. Changes will not apply retroactively but will apply to all gear dropped after the Loot 2.0 patch. Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vall mini-expansion was revealed in a teaser ahead of the March 5th release date. And Star Citizen sent five more players through to the second round of the Next Great Starship contest; Chris Roberts answered 10 fan questions in another Ten for the Chairman video.

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Path of Exile previews its first mini-expansion, Sacrifice of the Vaal

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Path of Go Ahead, Be Here If You Want, You're Welcome.
The first mini-expansion for Path of Exile is coming out on March 5th, and it's meant to be a big one. This isn't supposed to just improve and expand the core game but to set the pace for the game's upcoming update structure and future expansions. So today is serving as the first preview of the update, teasing the lore behind Sacrifice of the Vaal as well as outlining the future reveals.

Players will be set against Queen Atziri and the Vaal corruption she has spread throughout the land, as they try to harvest these malicious powers for their own ultimate ends. It's also hinted that players may have to sacrifice before the expansion is over if they want to put down this threat. The development team is hoping that Sacrifice of the Vaal will be the start of a four-month update schedule for the game, so players should keep their eyes peeled -- more reveals are coming before the March 5th launch date.

Not So Massively: Elite's Alpha 2.0, Star Citizen hits $38m, PoE's first expansion, and MOBA news

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Elite: Dangerous released the second phase of its alpha testing this week, giving early adopters the chance to smash each other to bits or play co-operative horde-style missions. Star Citizen hit the $38 million crowdfunding mark to unlock a solar system with an interesting oceanic planet where terraforming is banned, and it showcased the talents of its modders in episode 1.2 of The Next Great Starship.

Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes asked for votes on its Greenlight campaign to help the game secure a free-to-play release on Steam. SMITE revealed the deadly and barely-dressed Greek goddess Nemesis in a new god reveal video. League of Legends made a change its ladder system that allows highly skilled players to actually skip the promotion series matches, and week four of the Legends Championship Series ended with further upsets for European team Fnatic.

Blizzard revealed that Diablo III's sales have topped 15 million worldwide on all platforms, putting console sale figures at somewhere below three million units. We also discovered that items dropped before Reaper of Souls will not be enchantable when the expansion hits, and several legendary and set items will be exclusive to Torment mode. And Path of Exile announced that its first mini-expansion will land in March and has promised teasers with more info all this month.

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Not So Massively: Star Citizen design contest, Dota 2's New Bloom, and LoL tournament controversy

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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The first round of Star Citizen's Next Great Starship competition got underway this week, pitting 24 teams of artists and technical wizards against each other for a chance to get their ship design in the game and win the $30,000 top prize. The latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter clarified that there are three major alpha stages coming and that each stage will proceed onto the next only when developers consider it ready.

The League of Legends Championship Series is off to a great start with Gambit breaking Fnatic's undefeated winning streak in the EU circuit. On the smaller end of the competitive scene, Razer has come under fire for allegedly unfairly disqualifying a team in its own $1,000 tournament. Dota 2's New Bloom update has introduced a hilarious new game mode that lets players trade skills with each other and added a clever new feature that lets players jump into recorded games and take control of them.

Third-person MOBA SMITE introduced its first limited edition skin and has pledged to add $5 from each purchase to the prize pool of its upcoming launch tournament. Turn-based MOBA Arena of Heroes hit version 1.44 this week and got its official release on iPhone and Linux. Diablo III showed off the contents of its Reaper of Souls expansion collector's edition box, and a new Path of Exile video shows content update 1.0.6's awesome new summoning spells in action.

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Not So Massively: LoL update blocked by porn filter, Firefall's story campaign, and PoE's summoning skills

Betas, Video, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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​Star Citizen hit $37 million in crowdfunding this week, unlocking the strange new Tanga solar system in a rectangular planetary nebula. In the latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter, developers revealed plans for the upcoming multiplayer alpha stage, the travel and trading alpha, and the eventual full beta release. Red 5 Studios secured $23 million in funding for additional development on Firefall and revealed plans to launch in 2014 with a full story campaign.

Several League of Legends players in the UK have reported that innocuous game files in the latest patch are being inadvertently blocked by the new country-wide internet pornography filter. Heroes of Newerth indulged lore-hounds this week with a new content website for artwork and game fiction. Diablo III's latest public test realm patch doubled the drop rate of legendary items, and developers clarified that XP gain for players grinding paragon levels will be drastically increased in the next update. And Path of Exile revealed the four new summoning skills coming in patch 1.0.6 that will make necromancer Witch builds a lot more viable.

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Not So Massively: LoL's LCS tourney, Star Citizen's death mechanics, and PoE's race infographic

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Patches, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Rumours over former World of Warcraft designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street's reasons for quitting were quelled when it was revealed that he's now a lead game designer at Riot Games. League of Legends also kicked off its 2014 competitive season with the first round of the Legends Champion Series. Dota 2 extended the deadline for its 3-D modeling competition until tonight, and Russian MOBA Prime World revealed plans to merge its English and Russian servers together.

Star Citizen's head honcho Chris Roberts answered more questions from fans this week, touching on topics from character death and contracts to NPC AI and playable alien races. The next stage of the Elite: Dangerous alpha was revealed to be a focused test of the multiplayer ship combat gameplay, but its release will cause the first beta stage to be delayed.

Diablo III enabled background downloading for its upcoming Patch 2.0.1 and the Reaper of Souls expansion, allowing players to download the game's 6GB pack of artwork and models ahead of launch day. The treasure hunters among you will also be happy to hear that dozens of legendary and set items have been significantly buffed in the latest public test realm patch. And a new infographic published on Path of Exile's hardcore new-year race shows that over 25,000 characters were made for the event and just over half survived the entire week.

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Not So Massively: LoL team cheated out of winnings, SMITE's $100,000 tournament, and Star Citizen on plotting jump points

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Legal, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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Members of competitive League of Legends team Absolute Legends revealed this week that they still haven't seen a penny of the combined $11,500 in winnings from November 2012's IEM Singapore tournament. Absolute Legends CEO Tim "WetDreaM" Buysse has been accused of holding onto all of the prize money despite his contracts with players entitling him to only a small cut. Dota 2's unique monthly player total broke the 7,000,000 mark this week, and new stats suggest that almost 10% of those logged into Steam may be playing the game. And SMITE announced details of its $100,000 launch tournament, which will see four of North America's best teams take on Europe's finest four at the end of March.

Chris Roberts answered more fan questions on Star Citizen this week, revealing further details on exploration and mapping space and confirming that plotting a new jump point will be a very risky business. In a new interview on Elite: Dangerous, David Braben outlined the massive scope of the game's upcoming online features, which will include huge conflicts between NPC factions that players can influence. Blizzard announced that it's aiming to release the pre-download for Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion by the end of January and confirmed that vendor-sold items will no longer be salvageable in the next expansion beta patch. Finally, Path of Exile kicked off race season six this week with some fantastic prizes and revealed that PvP tournaments may be coming in Patch 1.0.6.

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Not So Massively: LoL downed by DDoS attack, Star Citizen hits $36 million

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Contests, Culture, Events (In-Game), Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Legal, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Path of Exile

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Livestreamer James Varga became the target of a vicious online attack this week that started with the League of Legends servers being shut down by a DDoS attack. A group calling itself "Derp" claimed responsibility for the attack, which ended with a hoax 911 call that sent armed police to Varga's home address. The Dota 2 servers also came under attack, but Valve extended its holiday event by a few days to give players a final chance to grind up some Phantom Fragments.

Path of Exile celebrated the new year by releasing some interesting stats on the game's performance in 2013 and launching a special week-long ladder event with the properties of both the Domination and Nemesis game modes. Despite speculation to the contrary, Blizzard confirmed this week that Diablo III players will not be getting a seventh skill slot. And Star Citizen has hit its $36 million stretch goal, unlocking a new solar system named Tamsa that's collapsed into a black hole.

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Path of Exile boasts 3.7 million registrations, prepares for patch next week

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

path of exile
Path of Exile's team is celebrating a gangbuster 2013, but has plans for an even better 2014 starting with a new patch next week.

A forum post from the devs lists all of the accomplishments from 2013, starting with the fact that the game went from closed beta to launch during that time frame. Other significant numbers include 87 patches, 35 new team members, a peak of 70,000 concurrent players, and 3.7 million registered players.

Patch 1.0.5 is scheduled for Thursday, January 9th, and will add an Enlighten support gem, new cosmetic microtransactions, more vendor recipes, unique items, and achievements. The team said that 1.0.6 will be "even larger" when it hits.

Not So Massively: Diablo III's Nephalem Rifts, PoE season six, and Firefall's ex-CEO comes under fire

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Casual, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Path of Exile

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There's just one day left to sign up to Star Citizen's Next Great Starship game modding competition, and 198 teams have signed up to compete. Following the recent delay of the dogfighting module, players who missed the livestream got an early peek at the delayed and buggy combat gameplay when the full video was uploaded to YouTube this week. League of Legends was hit with its own scary bug this week that appears to make players on the other team teleport across the map toward you.

Blizzard has now confirmed that the Nephalem Rifts feature coming to Diablo III will now be exclusive to Reaper of Souls expansion holders rather than the free update accompanying the game. Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games announced that its sixth race season will begin on January 10th, and players have recently discovered some odd stats spawning on fishing pole items originally thought to be worthless. And Firefall's ex-CEO Mark Kern defended himself on Twitter this week, stating that he wasn't fired but instead resigned after losing his status as CEO. Developers working under Mark have been writing about their discontentment with his command style this week on Glassdor and Reddit.

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