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The Daily Grind: Is PLEX/APEX/C.R.E.D.D. risky for developers?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar

Trion announced ArcheAge's APEX system recently, and while I'm sure it has its own wrinkles, my first instinct was to compare it to EVE Online's PLEX. It's a fascinating idea, allowing players with knowledge of an in-game economy to leverage said knowledge into enough currency to buy tradeable items that can be redeemed for subscription time.

It's always struck me as a bit risky, though. We can only guess at the number of EVE fans who play the game for free thanks to PLEX, but I imagine it's a pretty significant slice of the game's old money crowd. And while newer games like ArcheAge and even WildStar are aping the system in some fashion, it's too early to tell what sort of effect APEX and C.R.E.D.D. will have on developers' bottom lines.

What do you think, Massively readers? Do these sorts of systems seem risky to you if you put yourself in a dev's shoes, or do you think the number of players taking advantage of these systems is relatively small?

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!

WildStar unveils Strain-themed customization options

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Patches, Previews, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Home is where corruption lies.
It is the doom that slumbers beneath Nexus. It is dread and loathing. It is a vile plague that both the Dominion and Exiles are desperately striving to purge. It's your new housing decor! Yes, the WildStar fashion police have spoken, and with the game's first major update, covering your home in the tentacles, eyeballs, and various protrusions of the Strain is all the rage this year. Also covering your clothing and mounts, because at that point why not, right?

Players will be able to pick up new plugs and decor for houses, new costume items and dyes for their personal equipment, a new hoverboard, and new mount customizations, all of which should make your character look completely Strain-infested. If that's what you want, at least. No word on what functions the new plugs will perform, but we're betting it'll be gross. Take a look at the official drop page for a few more pictures of these customizations in action.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]

Choose My Adventure: Final thoughts on WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, WildStar, Subscription

This week marks my last stint with WildStar for Choose My Adventure, and I'll be giving not only my overall impressions of the game for this final installment but a run-down of my thoughts on the first few levels of each class and path.

When the fantasy/sci-fi MMO launched earlier this month, I had no idea what to expect. I had watched the preview trailers and knew the general premise of the game's feel, but didn't dive too deeply into game mechanics or lore because I like to discover these things myself as I go. WildStar is the perfect game for this, in my opinion, because it's full of surprises... in a good way.

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WildStar previews the zones of the Strain drop

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Can we be fighting a war on one front just for once?  Just to mix things up?  Try it out, see how it feels.
The first major update for WildStar is due out in early July, and it's bringing plenty of content along with it including two zones for players to explore. Blighthaven and the Northern Wastes are being unveiled in more detail today, both of which contain plenty of opportunities for adventurers to take on all sorts of new challenges.

Blighthaven is a landscape dominated by the Strain's mutated minions along with uncontrolled Eldan machinery, featuring such comfortable-sounding regions as the Cankertube Swamps, the Globellum, the Sanctuary of the Keepers, and the Genesis Chamber. It's prime territory for new content to explore what happened to the Eldan as well as understand the virulent opponent that is the Strain.

The Northern Wastes, meanwhile, brings players back to the Northern Wilds after the events in the early game, with both Dominion and Exiles struggling to claim the territory... until a new threat emerges from the Eldan bio-labs in the area. New events, challenges, missions, and path content awaits players in the zone. It's all adding up to plenty of content for a first update; you can check out the official reveal page for a few extra details.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]

The Stream Team: Winding down the workweek in WildStar

Sci-Fi, Video, New Titles, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

Can anything in WildStar ever compete with the carrot and celery conga line? (Ignoring the ending, of course!) Massively's MJ has her doubts, but she's willing to give it a try. After all, nothing as harrowing and heartbreaking as that conclusion can happen again, can it? Can it?! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. EDT to wind down your workweek in the wacky world of Nexus.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, June 20th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Crafting in WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, WildStar, Crafting

This week's Choose My Adventure is all about crafting in WildStar as I'll give my impressions on the creative system that seems to be pleasing finicky MMO fans already. You voted last week for me to focus on Relic Hunting and Technologist as my tradeskills, and I've been having a blast. Get it, blast? Because that's how you collect... the... ahem. Anyway!

First of all, I want to thank you for voting on two compatible tradeskills. That makes things much easier. Both Relic Hunting and the Farming hobby contribute the proper materials for the Technologist trade. Since the additional hobbies are free and don't count toward the two-trade-at-a-time limit, I also played around with the Cooking hobby a bit, too.

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E3 2014: WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney introduces The Strain

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription

Although WildStar launched a mere week before E3 2014, that didn't mean the team didn't have exciting new things to talk about! In fact, Carbine President Jeremy Gaffney revealed the new content coming up at the end of the month. Fans, prepare yourself for the Strain!

If you think the moniker implies some hideous malady that results in freakish mutations, you're right on the money. From ferocious multi-fanged rowsdowers and giant gastrointestinal pustules to an emote that makes a purple alien mouth erupt from your chest, this new content created by the "intelligent virus" shows a whole new side of the planet Nexus. And I got a sneak peek of the new land, new dungeons, strain-infected gear, and other mutated goodies that await players in the Strain Ultradrop. As a bonus, we've even got the official trailer for you.

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WildStar's first update is Strain

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, WildStar, Subscription

"Something is waiting," teases a new page on WildStar's site. The "something" might be nebulous, but it will be packaged in the game's first big update, called the Strain ultradrop.

WildStar will be revealing more details about the ultradrop over the next week and has posted a schedule for those reveals. A video will be coming tomorrow, followed by a spotlight on the new locations of Blighthaven and Northern Wastes on June 24th. Two days later on the 26th will be a focus on housing and customization, and finally a dev speak concerning the patch will come on the 30th.

Massively will have your first look at Strain from E3 coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!

One Shots: Fare game

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, WildStar

We're starting to get a lot of WildStar submissions these days following the launch, which is something I certainly encourage (and where are you people with awesome Elder Scrolls Online pics, by the way?). Today we've got two for our player screenshot column, starting off with reader Darla and a very sour Chua.

"The cabbies in this game don't shut up and my Chua is having a tough time coping," Darla moans. Secretly, I think she loves the weird chatter coming from the driver, but Chua have a reputation to maintain, you know?

It's not just cabbies and expensive space fares after the break, but also pictures to vibrant that they will make your ocular cavities weep saline fluid!

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The Think Tank: Catching up on WildStar's launch

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Events (Real-World), News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, WildStar, Housing, The Think Tank, Subscription

WildStar's launch has come and gone, and I missed it while I was away on a raid IRL (my loot? A legendary baby drop!). This might just be one of the few major MMORPGs whose launch metas I've missed out on in my entire span of playing MMOs since Ultima Online, so I asked the Massively staffers who've been playing either a lot or a little to catch me up on the state of the launch. How did it go from the perspective of the people on the ground (as opposed to the people in the peanut gallery)? I'd love to hear from our readers, too!

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WildStar announces paid realm transfers, path gear vendors

Sci-Fi, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar has now started offering the ability to purchase a transfer from one server to another. The paid realm transfers cost $19.99 a pop. The only caveats, apart from the price, are that players cannot transfer to select realms with full populations and that they may have to change their character's name if someone already has it on the destination realm.

The team is also working on patching in path gear vendors. These new vendors will sell path rewards that players may have accidentally deleted.

Choose My Adventure: Now we're playing some WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, WildStar, Subscription

As promised, this week I've entered the realm of double digits with the character you've helped me create. While my experience has admittedly improved since last week's write-up, I'm still finding WildStar to be a little too similar to the biggest MMOs of the last 10 years or so. But is that a bad thing if it's done right?

Last week I asked you to give me some suggestions on how to play through this week's adventure, and I wanted to not only explain what I've done as I reached level 11 but also touch on some of the suggestions I've followed from the comments.

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WildStar begins to sell C.R.E.D.D. subscription items

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Economy, WildStar, Subscription

When WildStar went live earlier this month, there was one vital piece missing from its business model: the ability to buy and sell C.R.E.D.D. in the game. Today Carbine announced that it has activated the C.R.E.D.D. store, allowing players to buy, sell, and trade this item from here on out.

C.R.E.D.D. is an in-game item that adds 30 days of play time to an account. Players can purchase one for $19.99 to sell on the exchange or purchase one from another player for in-game gold. Basically, it allows you to buy more game time with in-game currency or to gain more in-game currency with your real-world dollars.

WildStar tips for every player

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Guides, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

You can't heal enemies until they become your friends.  Stop trying.
Do you know the fine points of dyeing gear in WildStar? Did you know that interrupting enemies grants you a damage bonus? Are you aware that you can get all the benefits of your gear while being absolutely naked? All of these things are true, and a new video by WOBO just past the break takes a few minutes to point out all of the tips, tricks, and other fine points that you might not have noticed while playing the game.

Sure, some of these are probably familiar to players who have been in the game for a while, but some of them (like the bonus interrupt damage) might be new even to players who have been in since the earlier beta phases. Jump on past the break for the full video!

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The Nexus Telegraph: The first week in WildStar

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Launches, Opinion, WildStar, Dungeons, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Come on baby, don't fear the reaper.
Full launch for WildStar has come and gone, the servers have been up and running for a week, and I've been hacking away at various enemies of the Dominion like a good soldier. As I write this, my main is 23, although I'd probably be a fair bit higher by now if I hadn't stopped quite so many times for roleplaying and to decorate my house. (Not too much of that, though, I need to afford that spacious house once I get to a valid level.)

It's safe to say that I'm enjoying the game a whole lot. Server loads seem to have largely stabilized, at least from my end, and the fullness of time has given me more opportunities to run more stuff and really enjoy a wider variety of what's in the game. There's some good stuff, some annoying stuff, and some things that kind of cut both ways at the same time. So let's just dive in, shall we?

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