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Sci-Fi

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.

CIG kicks off Star Citizen Meet the Devs video series

Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Star Citizen

Cloud Imperium has kicked off a new video series called Meet the CIG Devs. Episode one focuses on production coordinator Darian Vorlick, who is profiled via a question-and-answer vignette that's long on personal info but relatively short on game-specific stuff.

Still, it might be worth watching if you're curious about the personalities behind the curtain on the largest crowdfunded project of all time. Click past the cut to view Episode 1.

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SWTOR's Sentinel, Marauder discipline changes detailed

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries

No, Sentinels and Marauders, BioWare hasn't forgotten you. Star Wars: The Old Republic's latest class-based dev diary went live today and it's focused on -- you guessed it -- Sentinels and Marauders. More specifically it outlines how your favorite dual-saber class will play after December 9th's Shadow of Revan expansion.

Head to the official SWTOR website to read all about the changes.

Braben clarifies Elite: Dangerous' lack of an offline mode

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Well, this should mollify no one.
When fans were told that Elite: Dangerous will not feature an offline mode, they were a little upset, considering it had been one of the explicit promises made during the game's Kickstarter campaign. Head honcho David Braben took the opportunity to clarify the situation, promising that while the game will not have any sort of offline play offered now or (likely) in the future, there will still be single-player options. You'll just have to be online to play them.

Braben defended the decision as a fundamental creative decision, an attempt to deliver the best possible version of the game rather than an inferior offline experience. However, Braben also admitted that the team should have communicated more openly with players regarding the state of the offline version of the game. He also said that individual requests for refunds by anyone dissatisfied by this change are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Elite: Dangerous is still on track for an official release on December 18th.

NCsoft releases more Project HON trailers for G-Star 2014

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS

Don't call me hon.
As part of its G-Star 2014 push, NCsoft has revealed another set of teasers for mech-happy maybe-MMOFPS Project HON. Steparu reports that Korean media outlets are publishing conflicting descriptions of the game; some say it's a "mecha MMORPG," while others argue it's a "third-person shooter with RPG mechanics." There's no culture divide here, folks; the debate over what constitutes an MMO is in fact the universal language.

Check out the new trailers below.

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Firefall update 1.2 goes live today, makes facial customizations free for all

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Firefall

Firefall fans are eagerly anticipating the release of new content patch Together Toward Victory later today. Along with more open-world encounters and improvements to the Broken Peninsula PvP continent, this free update includes the shooter's first five-man instance, Operation: Miru. Set in a molten cavern, the operation tasks players with putting a stop to the Chosen's plan to release a colossal monstrosity on the Accord. The open world encounters include battling to protect the supply lines at Accord Skydock and repelling multi-stage enemy assaults on the watchtowers. Broken Peninsula now offers missions via the new job boards so players can contribute to their faction. Need something to help set the mood for battle? Check out the propaganda-style clip below.

What's more, Red 5 Studios is changing up basic cosmetics by making all hair, facial hair, and head cosmetic choices available to all players for free. And that's permanently, folks, not just for a limited time. Anyone who's bought any of those cosmetics within the last three months will receive a full Red Bean refund for the purchase price.

In addition to all this, players will be able to try out the Rhino Dreadnaught frame -- with its increased mobility and firepower -- for free from Friday, November 21st, at 7:00 p.m. EST until Monday, November 24th, at the same time.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Concerns about SWTOR's 3.0 combat

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Concerns about SWTOR 3.0 combat
BioWare has finally begun revealing the specifics of the Discipline system landing in the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion. We have seen the Bounty Hunter, Trooper, Inquisitor, and Consular paths. We have seen in detail how the Discipline system changes the leveling process in SWTOR. We've seen that tanks become tanky faster; we've seen that healers gain healing abilities earlier in the leveling process. A primary goal of the new system has been to ensure advanced classes learn role-specific abilities earlier without worrying about those abilities being exploited by hybridization.

With characters now able to level to 60, BioWare gave each advanced class at least one new ability. For instance, Deception Assassins gain Ball Lightning, a 10-meter ranged ability that inflicts 2652 to 2780 damage and costs 32 Force. Many of the new abilities were specifically designed to make your character feel more powerful, which makes sense, right? You should feel that your character is growing with each level. But do these changes and additions actually make you feel more powerful, or are they just unnecessary impedences to the current priority flow or rotation?

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Big Destiny patch adds expansion stuff, shaders, and more

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Destiny

If you're a Destiny fan and you're planning to play later this evening, you'd best be patching now. Today's update is a whopping 2.44GB and it adds everything from team chat to multiplayer map tweaks to shaders to the new Iron Banner mode.

Does all that really add up to 2.44GB, though? Not exactly, according to Bungie's Twitter account which says that the patch also includes "new playable spaces to support The Dark Below" expansion that launches on December 9th.

BioWare explains SWTOR's commendation changes

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare community manager Eric Musco has published a "one stop shop" post that details what's happening to Star Wars: The Old Republic's commendations in the forthcoming Shadow of Revan expansion.

In a nutshell, all basic, classic, planetary, elite, and ultimate comms will be converted to basic commendations. The classic and planetary types are going away completely, while warzone and ranked warzone comms will remain as they are now. There are more details -- including bits about the basic conversion rates -- on the official SWTOR forums.

The Nexus Telegraph: Is WildStar's raid size change too late?

Sci-Fi, Endgame, Opinion, WildStar, Dungeons, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

You cannot play potential.  You cannot enjoy what could be fun.  You can only play the game that there is, and a pile of wasted potential does not make a game worth caring about.
Very few people are going to contest that scaling WildStar's biggest raid down to 20 people is a good move. Some will, yes, but when 400 players are working on content five months after release, that's a good sign that it's not doing the most basic job of getting people to play it. Bringing Datascape's size down is an indisputable good thing.

The question, of course, isn't about that. It's about whether it's too small a change too late in the game.

Make no mistake, this is a change that is significant enough to merit an announcement, but it's one that just missed the big patch we finally received not too long ago. (My initial reaction to that is middling, for the record, neither bad nor really a break from form or something that justifies its long delay.) I would be surprised if we see this change actually live in the game before next year. And it's a change of more conceptual significance than anything else because unless someone very quietly managed to clear Datascape without telling anyone, the end of that raid has gone unseen.

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Elite: Dangerous won't feature offline play after all

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier has seemingly reneged on an earlier promise to deliver an offline version of its popular spacefaring title. Fans of the crowdfunded hit caught wind of Frontier's plans via the game's 49th newsletter, and executive producer Michael Brookes confirmed the decision in subsequent forum posts.

"We have always said the way to play the game is online - indeed it says so in the quote of me being circulated," Brooks wrote. "The choice was develop the game in the way we wanted, or not. Trying to make it offline would have made both experiences worse than we were willing to tolerate. We had to make the decision and have done so. I would say that an offline rewrite of the game is unlikely for the future."

[Thanks golden radish!]

The Daily Grind: Should EVE Online add manual flight controls?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

The Daily Grind title image
On Friday, developer CCP Games stunned us with the news that EVE Online will be adding manual flight controls in December's Rhea update. Gamers have been asking for twitch controls since EVE launched in 2003, but the idea has always been shot down as infeasible because it would put the server under extremely heavy load. CCP mentioned its interest in twitch controls during Fanfest 2013, and I speculated on a possible server-friendly implementation in an EVE Evolved article shortly after, but the fact that the feature is about to be released still comes as a huge surprise.

The new controls will be optional and quite limited. Ships will be able to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and pitch their ships up vertically up and down, but we won't be able to do loops or rolls like in a dogfighting game. Developers also want to add joystick support soon, but so far there are no plans to add manually targeted ship weapons. Many players are excited for the new controls, and some of them are already asking for further features like the ability to lock the camera behind their ships for a more hands-on flight experience.

The announcement has prompted debate in the EVE Online community, and not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. Some have complained that twitch controls don't suit EVE as the ships are supposed to be massive starships with full crews rather than single-pilot fighter craft. There's also some cynicism over whether the feature is only being worked on now due to the growing popularity of Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. EVE could be positioning itself as a viable alternative for any players who are disappointed with the new space games, a strategy that has worked in the past to help it absorb players from games like Earth & Beyond and Star Wars Galaxies.

What do you think? Should EVE add manual flight controls, and is this an attempt to appeal to the mass market?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Make My MMO: November 9 - November 15, 2014

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online returned to Kickstarter seeking $50,000 and a coat of polish for its player-driven multiverse sandbox. Citadel Studios developers also visited the Massively comment section to answer questions about the upcoming title, which is well over halfway to its goal with 27 days remaining.

Elsewhere, Star Citizen continued to roll around in piles of money, while Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen stirred from its slumber to offer up some early development screenshots. Click past the cut for the rest of this week's MMO crowdfunding news.

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EVE Online turns manual control of ships over to players

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

eve
For the first time ever in its history, EVE Online is experimenting with giving players manual control of their starships. The change was prompted by observing new players who were frustrated that the game didn't include standard WASD controls. These "simple" controls will be introduced as an optional beta feature in next month's Rhea update.

CCP also posted a list of other features that we'll be seeing with the upcoming content patch. Players will enjoy an improved star map, try out new ships such as the Confessor tactical destroyer, experience more atmospheric asteroid belts, and no longer lose skill points or clone grades when podded.

PlanetSide 2's PS4 beta is expected by the end of the year

Betas, Sci-Fi, Interviews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox

The PlayStation 4 version of PlanetSide 2 is still on track for beta before the end of this year, SOE says.

SOE's Matt Higby told Eurogamer that the nearly-two-year-old MMOFPS sandbox has been slow to arrive on the PS4 because SOE didn't want it to feel like just another cruddy console port.
"As much as it sounds like we're blowing smoke, we're working hard to release a game that feels like a full-on console experience and not just like a port. So it's taken us quite a long time to re-jigger our user interface and our controls. There's a lot that needs to get done."
The PS4 edition will also sport a slightly different business model in that microtransactions will be purchased with Marketplace Cash (as in DC Universe Online) in place of Station Cash.

More details, Eurogamer reports, are expected in December at the PlayStation Experience event.

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