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Camelot Unchained unveils first newsletter, talks vets vs. newbs

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

City State has pushed the first issue of its Camelot Unchained Unveiled newsletter out to backers this week, and the company says that the new format should be "more fun, interesting, entertaining, and informative than our old Afternoon Updates."

Content includes a state-of-the-build section with nods to performance and scalability of the client, server, and patcher as well as an engineering initiative dubbed Team Fireball. There's also an interesting design-related blurb focused on what happens when veteran players battle new players. "No matter what, the difference between a veteran and a new player won't be the same as it is in most, if not all, MMORPGs," explains Mark Jacobs.

[Thanks Maric!]

Gamescom 2014: WildStar abandons monthly update pace

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Yet another MMO has fallen into the trap of promising monthly updates after launch only to realize that it's not as feasible as once thought. A mere two content updates into the live game, WildStar announced that it will be abandoning its monthly pace in favor of major drops every few months.

At Gamescom, Senior Game Designer Megan Starks fessed up to the change of release cadence: "Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there's always things for you to do. Now that we've put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it's a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it's going out no matter what, we're going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there."

When asked if this is going to be the case for updates in the future, Starks said, "Yes."

Robin Williams models possibly spotted in World of Warcraft files

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Subscription

wow
Apparently Blizzard is making good on its word to include the late Robin Williams in an upcoming World of Warcraft build, as players have found a character named Robin <The Entertainer> tucked away in the game files.

Datamining through Warlords of Draenor's files turned up three models for Robin, including a djinn (Disney's Aladdin), a human female with a man's voice (Mrs. Doubtfire), and a human male with suspenders (Mork). There are theories floating around that the djinn will morph into the other two characters while putting on a show for players, although we won't know for sure until the expansion releases this November.

On the day following Robin William's death, fans petitioned the Blizzard to include a tribute to the comedian as he had been an avid WoW player through the years. Blizzard responded by saying that it was "working on it."

Elder Scrolls Online introduces subscriber loyalty program

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just announced a subscriber loyalty program for Elder Scrolls Online that is slated to start in September. If you're eligible, you'll receive an email and subsequently a High Hrothgar Wraith vanity pet provided that you've been subscribed for three months.

"The loyalty program will keep expanding over time," ZeniMax says, and you'll be able to collect pets and other upcoming rewards once you meet the requirements, so don't worry if you've canceled your sub already but plan to return.

EVE Online previews overview and incursion changes in Hyperion

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Just a forever-falling pit in space.
The next major update for EVE Online, Hyperion, is going live in less than a week. Two new development blogs are available to enlighten players about what's going on with the changes to the game, starting with new shareable overviews. This new feature will allow players to share these settings with others while still allowing the recipient to make changes as needed; it's functionality that players have wanted for a while, allowing both new players and veterans to see through someone else's eyes, as it were.

Incursion changes are also on the way, reducing the respawn timers so incursion runners have more to do while also upping rewards. The NCN Wall is also being taken down, and there are new incursions to be concerned with in nullsec space. If you're unclear on what's being added in the update, you can jump past the cut for a video explaining Hyperion's major system changes before it goes live on August 26th.

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The Elder Scrolls Online plans 4v4 arenas, veteran rewards

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
In a fresh entry on The Elder Scrolls Online's official site, Game Director Matt Firor has penned the latest Road Ahead update, in which he discusses the game's recent patch as well as what's in store for players next month. Of note, Firor says ZeniMax aims to make combat "more responsive," push out new Craglorn content, complete the last trial in the constellation storyline, and introduce a new 4v4 PvE arena. Work on the champion system, which revamps the MMO's character development and customization mechanics, continues; in fact, ZeniMax implores players to help test the inbound content on the public test server.

The team plans to formally announce a loyalty program later this week; it's expected to dole out traditional MMO veteran rewards like minipets.

Final Fantasy XIV throws free week for its first anniversary

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Final Fantasy XIV, Anniversaries, Subscription

ffxiv
Here's a good way to round out your August: by returning to Final Fantasy XIV for a free week courtesy of Square Enix.

The studio is celebrating the first anniversary of the game's relaunch (no, there never was a game before A Realm Reborn. You must forget... forget...) by giving a week of free game time to former subscribers. Anyone who previously played FFXIV can enjoy the title from Friday, August 22nd, through Monday, September 1st.

Final Fantasy XIV recently released Patch 2.35 with hunting and crafting improvements.

Carbine Studios explains WildStar housing prices for music

Sci-Fi, Culture, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Housing, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Because this deserves a stirring march.
If you'd like to change the music on your housing plot in WildStar, you'll be able to do so with the next major update. But it's going to cost you a pretty penny. Players have been a little upset about this for understandable reason, so Social Systems Lead Victoria Dollbaum took to the forums to explain why the prices for this feature -- as well as wallpaper options, atmosphere, and similar points -- were being set so high.

Dollbaum explains that rather than simple changes, these purchases unlock the feature forever, rather than incurring another cost each time you decide to change. While the current system is less expensive, it also requires you to buy changes to wallpaper, sky, and so forth every time you change; with the new system, once you've bought it once, you'll never have to do so again. It doesn't fully ameliorate the issue, but understanding the reason might make it a bit more palatable.

EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink shutting down [Updated]

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Spin the wheel, but you will no longer win.
Fans of popular EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink received some bad news yesterday. After four years of operation, the site is going inactive, with a shutdown that its front page calls a temporary and perhaps permanent hiatus. All players with prizes waiting will be able to claim those prizes, and all ISK in the system will be returned to players over the next several months, starting with those players who had over 5 million ISK in their accounts.

What led to this shutdown? The site administrators claim that CCP created a toxic environment and reversed previous statements without warning, resulting in a situation which made the site no longer enjoyable to work with. CCP has issued its own statement, expressing regret at the loss of a community site while stating that the promotion that caused the controversy "was not representative of the original proposal that was brought to CCP." The community team will provide further information soon, although there will be no interference in the refund process.

[Thank to Dab for the tip!]

[Update: CCP has today commented in detail on the situation. We've included CCP Falcon's full statement below.]

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Final Fantasy XIV launches birds and hunt balances in patch 2.35

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

I know you're tempted, but you probably don't want to look up a translation for what they keep calling you.
Another wave of beast tribe daily quests has flown in to Final Fantasy XIV, and this time around players will need to get crafty. Patch 2.35 ushers in Ixali daily quests, but these quests are focused on crafting items and turning in crafted pieces for benefits rather than simply hacking through enemy legions. The new quests also make use of special crafting facilities and help level your crafting classes faster, an excellent boost to adventurers who haven't picked up a craft beforehand.

The patch also introduces major revisions to the game's hunt mechanics. All hunt bills have had their rewards increased significantly, while B-rank marks have been given a dramatically shortened respawn timer and no inherent rewards for killing them. This is balanced by the addition of extra rewards to unique weekly bills, which are now assigned to players individually rather than server-wide. Check the patch notes for the full details; the patch also makes minor Frontline adjustments and Chocobo Stable improvements.

The Mog Log: Expectations for Final Fantasy XIV 2.35

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Playable Tengu!  I mean Ixali.  (This is for you, Anatoli.)
I realize it's kind of silly, but I'm still annoyed at Final Fantasy XIV's methods for numbering interquel patches. I get the schema, I really do, but "2.35" to me says a patch that's preceded by 34 others. "2.3.5." would indicate a patch partway through the 2.3 patch cycle. Could we get another dot in there? Please?

No, evidently not. And yes, I know we'll probably have an expansion long before we'd be that far through 2.x, it's the principle of the thing.

As I write this, we still don't have a preliminary set of patch notes or anything on 2.35, but while it's a "minor" patch it's still adding a fair amount of stuff into the game. This is one of the great parts about playing the game, that however bad some parts of it might be when it comes to balance, it pumps out content as minor patches that makes other studios look painfully lazy. Specifics are left to the audience for speculation. So what am I expecting from this week's little patch, the known and the unknown?

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WoW getting a price hike in the UK

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

A Blizzard moderator spilled the beans regarding World of Warcraft's upcoming price hike over the weekend. The catch, so far, is that the increase only applies in the UK. The fantasy MMO will transition from £8.99 ($15.00) to £9.99 ($16.72) per month, while 90- and 180-day sub prices will also rise.

The firm mentions "changes in light of local and regional market conditions" as factors behind the price increase.

EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been playing EVE Online lately or just following the major events in the game, it can't have escaped your notice that nullsec has become a bit stagnant. The lawless nullsec regions are supposed to be politically unstable territories claimed by hundreds of warring player-run alliances, but today they're dominated primarily by just two or three mega-coalitions. Individual alliances can no longer hold out against the combined forces of the coalitions and must either pick a side or be annihilated. The coalitions have even signed agreements not to take space from each other by force, and players are being bored to death as a result.

Two weeks ago, I examined the history of force projection in EVE Online and made the argument that capital ships and jump drives ultimately created today's nullsec problems. Increases in mobility have led to alliances teaming up over vast distances, making mega-coalitions an inevitable outcome. It's obviously too late to remove capital ships or jump logistics, but there are plenty of other ways to potentially fix the nullsec problem. We had some great discussions in the comments of the previous article about how this complex problem could be solved without making warfare the painful slog it was back in 2004, and I believe it's possible.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out some ideas for new game mechanics that could solve the current nullsec crisis and may meet CCP's goals for the eventual sovereignty revamp that's on the way.

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Gamescom 2014: Blizzard says World of Warcraft 2 is 'something we have talked about'

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, Subscription

wow
World of Warcraft fans are not the only ones who have speculated about a sequel to the hit MMO. Blizzard Game Director Tom Chilton gave a surprisingly non-evasive answer at this year's Gamescom about whether the company was thinking about creating World of Warcraft 2.

"It's something we have talked about," Chilton said. "It's something we have talked about for 10 years. I think that there are a lot of challenges there in seeing how World of Warcraft 2 relates to World of Warcraft, do they live alongside each other, does one feed into the other, what is that product, etc. These are challenges that have to be figured out before that becomes a reality."

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Hands-On, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Lucifron
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on August 15th and is included here by permission.

Are you ready to return to the Core? Last week, we learned that Blizzard is planning a 40-player LFR version of classic's Molten Core raid as part of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration. Regardless of what the studio has in mind, the experience is certain to be very different than it was back in 2005.

Sure, you've probably solo'ed MC or cleared it with a few friends. But what was a Molten Core run like during classic WoW, when conquering Ragnaros and his fiery lieutenants was the pinnacle of endgame content?

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