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Sci-Fi

Activision sees industry-wide pre-order decline

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Activision publishing boss Eric Hirshberg says his company's pre-orders are declining. He made the remarks to investors and media on a conference call yesterday, and he also said that the downturn is an industry-wide trend.

Hirshberg cited digital consumption upticks as well as wide launch-day availability as factors in the declining popularity of pre-orders. He also said that pre-orders are "just one data point that we look at when determining the momentum of a franchise," and that awareness and "purchase intent" on Activision's Destiny is "at an all-time high and climbing when compared to any other new game intellectual property this distance from launch."

Meet PlanetSide 2's new producer, Directive achievements

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

A solid base for future operations, you know.
It's important to know the development team of your game of choice, isn't it? SOE's David Carey recently took on the role of producer for PlanetSide 2, and he hopped on the forums to introduce himself, explaining to fans who he is, what he hopes to accomplish in the game, and what he hopes to receive from the community.

Carey reveals that he has spent a long time working with Matt Higby and has plenty of experience working on other titles. His primary goal is to have an informed playerbase with a clear picture of why changes are being made, even in the event that the players and devs disagree. He also stresses the importance of constructive criticism over personal attacks and the team's need for open communication with the fans. If you're a regular PlanetSide 2 player, you owe it to yourself to check out the full letter.

In other PS2 news, SOE has implemented a new achievement system called Directives. You can view the full press release after the break.

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SWTOR's Rakghoul Resurgence event is back

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic's Rakghoul Resurgence event is back, and as of this morning it's live on Tatooine. Dulfy reports that it will likely run through August 12, and she also has an extensive guide for navigating the event's mess of dailies, rewards, and rare spawns.

Star Trek Online expansion details emerge from Las Vegas convention [Updated]

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Rumors, Subscription

The Janeway Maneuver, also known as just shooting the Borg.
Star Trek Online fans at the recent Star Trek Las Vegas convention were treated to a special developer panel on Saturday, and information is starting to trickle out about what was discussed during the panel. And wouldn't you know it? It was expansion information. Fans on Reddit have compiled the available information, although there's been no official reveal on the forums or through other media regarding what will be coming (so far).

According to fan notes, the expansion will be dubbed Delta Rising and will take place in the eponymous Delta Quadrant, introducing species such as the Talaxians, the Ocampa, the Kazon, and the Malon to the game's lineup. Captains will be able to hit level 60, with a new method of alternative advancement and a new set of Tier 6 ships to be unlocked and flown. New Voyager interiors and Intrepid models will be available, along with voiceovers by Tim Russ and Garret Wang (Lt. Commander Tuvok and Ensign Harry Kim, respectively). If it's all true, all we're waiting on are pictures -- and of course, news about the new ships.

[Thanks to Anon E. Moose for the tip!]

[Update: Tipster Anthony let us know that TrekMovie.com has more information and photographs from the event at which the expansion was announced.]

WildStar teases new ambient housing music

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, Previews, News Items, WildStar, Music, Subscription

Are you a fan of Massively's Jukebox Heroes column? Do you love MMO music so much that you keep it on even when it annoys your voice-chat mates? Good news for you today: WildStar composer Jeff Kurtenacker tweeted that more housing music is on the way for the sci-fantasy space opera and provided a link to a preview... er, pre-listen.
More options for housing music... yeah... it's coming!!
We've embedded 18 minutes' worth of new tunes via WildStar Center below.

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Chris Roberts: 'If I were a little saner, I wouldn't be biting off as much as we're doing here'

Sci-Fi, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen will top $50 million in crowdfunding at some point over the next few weeks, and when it does, chances are good that you'll see increased media coverage. Some of that coverage has already started, if a new piece at The Verge is any indication.

There's nothing new here for fans or backers, but it's a great high-level primer for your on-the-fence friends that focuses on creator Chris Roberts and his desire to build the ultimate space sim. "If I [were] a little saner, I wouldn't be biting off as much as we're doing here," Roberts explains, "but it's the game that I've wanted to play and dreamed about playing forever."

Destiny infographic reveals massive beta numbers

Betas, Sci-Fi, Consoles, Destiny

Destiny
We already know that Destiny's beta was big -- on the order of 4.6 million testers big -- but a recently released infographic by Bungie piles on the numbers to give you a clue as to what this avalanche of fans has been up to during the testing process.

Among the stats revealed were 6.5 million characters created, an 853K concurrency rate on Saturday, 3.7 billion kills, and 777K users of the official phone app. "At its peak, the Destiny beta became the most simultaneously played Bungie game of all time," Bungie said. "There were more people online at the same time to play Destiny than any other game in our history."

You can check out the full infographic after the jump!

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The Repopulation looks back at its July test updates

Betas, Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, The Repopulation

The world is big, and so are we.
The end of the month means a new update for those on the outside looking in at The Repopulation, and July brought with it some sizable changes. For example, the game introduced 27 new areas, with several existing areas seeing new improvements and a lot of extra paths opening up. Any explorer has plenty of new stuff to see throughout the game, from new ways to see old regions to old regions just filled with new things.

July also saw the inclusion of the training mechanic, which allows players to spend training points to improve various abilities. Pharmaceuticals, equipment fittings, and music also saw large-scale overhauls for players, and the development team launched a survey to get a better idea of the player types watching the game closely. You can see the full list of patch changes with the official update, along with more details on the overhauls and plans moving forward.

EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
All throughout EVE Online's lifetime, compelling stories of incredible events, daring heists, and colossal battles with thousands of players have periodically surfaced and spread across the gaming media like wildfire. Most of the recent stories have been about record-breaking battles between huge alliances of players in the lawless depths of null-security space, and each one has been met with an influx of new players who want to participate. The surprising truth behind nullsec warfare, however, is that many of those on the front lines are simply fed up with the political state of the game.

In EVE's early years, the map was split between hundreds of small alliances, each of which slowly expanded its influence by conquering the star systems bordering its space. Skirmishes and pirate incursions were brief and commonplace, while border wars over territory were long and protracted affairs. Today's nullsec is a different animal entirely, with nearly the entire map carved up between two colossal mega-coalitions of alliances (N3/PL and CFC), each one internally held in a state of perpetually monotonous peace. No alliance in a coalition can break away and stand on its own for fear of being demolished by the others, and so all of nullsec is at peace with its neighbours and bored to tears by it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine how nullsec got to the state it's in now and why it's badly in need of an overhaul.

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Star Citizen's latest ship is ready for the races

Betas, Sci-Fi, Promotions, Sandbox, Star Citizen

star citizen
Not every spaceship is slated for combat or trade; some ships exist to go as fast as possible. The Origin M50, Star Citizen's newest offering, is a racing ship that can do double duty as a courier or interceptor. The craft is dominated by a pair of engines that provide an incredible amount of thrust and maneuverability.

Players who cough up $90 can put one of these sleek machines in their collection right now. The devs promise that the M50 is "hanger-ready," meaning that you can admire it in person via the hanger module. Taking it out for a spin? That may be a while yet.

[Thanks to James for the tip!]

Firefall partners with The9, Qihoo 360 in China

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

Firefall finally launched in the West this week. Red 5 also entered into a business agreement with Chinese megapublisher The9 and Qihoo 360 to bring its long-gestating sci-fi shooter to the Far East. The deal will last for three years and will see profits and equity split equally between the The9 and Qihoo 360, according to GamesIndustry.biz.

[Thanks D Houser!]

Destiny's level cap is sorta 20, but not really

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny may not be an MMO in the eyes of many, but it sounds as if Bungie's designers have got the genre's endgame gear treadmill mechanics down pat.

Eurogamer reports that while the level cap is technically 20, you'll convert post-20 XP into something called Motes of Light, which can then be used to make special armor. Said armor will give you a stat boost that is necessary for some of Destiny's endgame raids.

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Destiny previews its endgame systems

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

The desert of the endgame pattern.
The team at Bungie has been talking a lot about Destiny's systems, but there hasn't been a great deal of discussion about the long-term game. What's going to keep players going in the long term? According to a recent interview with the designers, it's raiding. They'll be focused six-person runs that are meant to take a long chunk of time to accomplish, with no matchmaking services to fall back upon -- players will need to clear time, sit down, and get ready to really chew through challenging content.

Not into that sort of play? There's also a set of bounties available on a daily basis, aimed at rewarding players for what they're already doing and creating a parallel progression path along that line. There are also daily challenges and Nightfall activities to keep players going. If you're looking forward to the game and want a closer look at what you can get from endgame, hop on over to the full preview.

[Thanks to Olorunsegun Adewumi for the tip!]

Oort Online strives to create a 'universe-sized' sandbox

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, New Titles, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Oort Online
Why should your sandbox MMO be confined to one measly world? That's the premise of Oort Online, an upcoming sandbox title that involves several worlds that can be explored, conquered, and molded by players. In this voxel-based game, players will exist on the same server and can choose to fight a nasty galaxy-spanning race called the Protectors or carve out a slice of land on which to build a masterpiece.

"We think fans of procedural games are going to love Oort Online! We're making a universe-sized sandbox and giving players control over what happens," developer Wonderstruck said.

Oort Online has been in development for six months and is available right now as an early access prototype for funders who spend $95 or more. The crowdfunded project also has cheaper tiers for alpha and beta access and promises a package of goodies (including a chance to win instant access) for those who send out a tweet promoting the game.

Get a sneak peek of Oort Online in a dev video after the break!

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's eternal crafting problem

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Crafting, Subscription

Out of the wreckage.
I haven't had the chance to really dive into the new crafting system in Star Trek Online just yet, but I can tell it's certainly a valid effort to revitalize the crafting system for the third time in the game's lifespan, this time with an even more fundamental teardown. Memory Alpha is gone now, along with the exploration clusters that used to provide oh-so-many spots to analyze in the hopes of getting more materials.

Back at the start of this year, the column took a look at the state of Star Trek Online's crafting and asked whether there really is a future left for it. After all, crafting as a source of items was up against the fleet stores and reputation items. Could you make something better than those systems without replacing those systems? Would it even be worth it? What could be done to clean up crafting? We've gotten our answer about what will be done, but is it a net benefit for the game as a whole?

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