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All Posts by SBFord

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Bioware is actively looking for players to participate in a beta test for the upcoming patch that will see some significant improvements to Dragon Age: Inquisition. Interested players will be able to sign up soon via the Dragon Age Keep, though beta testing is only available to PC users.

The patch will be featuring:

  • The Black Emporium - a special shop where Inquisitors will be able to purchase materials, schematics, a "mirror of transformation" to change appearance, weapons, armor and more
  • Auto attack
  • The ability to bind more mouse buttons than are currently available
  • Party storage at Skyhold
  • Tints to alter the color of armor
The patch will also include bug fixes and feature enhancements that players have been asking for since launch.
 
Read the entire blog post on the Dragon Age: Inquisition site.
 

The Crowfall team is the latest to embrace the notion that the old standards of revenue generation have stagnated and that something else needs to be brought into the mix. Up to the last couple of years, MMO revenue was generated either with subscriptions or through item malls in free-to-play games. Yet with today's more mercurial MMO community, those tried and true ways of generating cash seem to be inadequate for the task.

The F2P MMO movement that has been so widely prevalent in the last few years seems to be ending its reign, with more and more MMOs choosing alternative ways to provide players with a great gaming experience. Subscriptions, too, seem to be headed the way of the dodo with only a few titles, most notably World of Warcraft, able to sustain themselves by requiring all players to pay a monthly fee to access the game.

Which brings us to the so-called hybrid movement of revenue generation:

Crowfall's "buy once, play forever" is not the first of its kind. Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World have blazed a path to this new way of generating much-needed finances to continue developing the game by offering players the chance to make a one time purchase the "box" for the normal cost of a console title ($50-60 or so).  Other MMOs have changed from subscription-only to hybrid revenue models. Star Wars: The Old Republic and Elder Scrolls Online have both opted to change course this way.

The advantage of the B2P movement is that players are not required to put in any additional money unless they choose to do so through optional "VIP" programs that offer super-currency and in-game perks such as accelerated XP, etc. Players can also buy items from an in-game shop that are cosmetic in nature or that do not in any way affect game play. Even with the boosts that VIP players may receive on a monthly basis, all players have access to the same game, the same content, the same items, though it may take "normal" players longer to achieve those things.

B2P seems to have it all going for it: The ability for developers to actually make money, pay their employees and continue to develop the games we love. In addition, players have wide options on how they want to finance their relaxation and can choose how much beyond the base price of the game they wish to pay.

Is it enough to revive the MMO industry? Will more and more titles adopt this revenue model? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

A post has appeared on the PlanetSide 2 Reddit from now-former Creative Director Matt Higby indicating that he has left Daybreak Game Studio. Higby claims that he had been considering leaving Daybreak prior to the staff firings earlier this week and said that the timing, given these events, provides the opportunity.

Hey guys -

Working on Planetside 2 has been the absolute highlight of my career, but after 4 years working on the game, it's time for a change. Today was my last day on the Planetside 2 team and at Daybreak games. This is a move I've been considering for a while now, and the reorganization provided the right opportunity for me to exit.

Planetside 2 is in great hands, with terrific people who honestly care about the game and the players. I can't stress this enough, the folks working on every aspect of the game, developers, marketing, community are talented, hard working people who care more than you can imagine - I'm fully confident they're going to do an amazing job on the next leg of the journey.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of you in the Planetside 2 community with whom I've shared the last few years, whether in stream chat, tweets, pms or comments you guys have motivated and inspired me all along. You are an amazing community that I'm looking forward to remaining a member of for a long time.

See you on Auraxis!

Matthew Higby

Former Creative Director

Planetside 2

Edit: thanks a ton for all the positive comments, it's been a super emotional week and it really means a lot to me. I want to state the obvious though: making video games is a team sport. If you love Planetside 2, or it is your favorite game, it makes me really really happy and proud... But, "I" didn't make the game. I just was lucky enough to be able to play a role on a TEAM that made the game. A lot of that team is still there, still working their asses off, and they need your support right now.

Read more at the link above.

Blizzard is bringing a brand new character into Heroes of the Storm in the form of Anub'arak aka The Love Bug. Players can purchase Anub'arak and his special Love Bug skin just in time for Valentine's Day. The pair sell for $14.99 from the HotS Shop.

Check out the cute little BUGger in the video below and then head to the Heroes of the Storm site to find out more.


The number one term applied to the development of Crowfall so far seems to be the H-word. Yes, folks, the hype train has left the station and it has a long journey ahead of it, but that's part of the fun of being an MMO fan, right? Many of us enjoy the excitement that comes from seeing a new MMO peek its head up over the horizon, as we hope and pray that it will fill the hole in our heart that was left after the last dozen games promised us the world.

Read more of Shawn Schuster's Crowfall: 5 Things that Crowfall's Countdown Could Reveal.

Daybreak Game Company has announced that the thirteenth DLC for DC Universe Online is now available for all. Amazon Fury Part II picks up where the first episode left off and players are charged with invading the Underworld to take on Hades and Ares. The DLC is squarely focused on cooperative play and includes raids and operations. There is also a single player mission included.

  • Amazon Fury Part II marks the debut appearance in DC Universe Online of Ares (God of War), Hades (God of the Underworld), Cerberus and more from Greek mythology.
  • DCUO's 13th DLC features a diverse array of content, introducing both new single and multiplayer adventures:
    • Three Eight-Player Raids - Halls of Hades, Labyrinth of Lost Souls and Throne of the Dead
    • One Elite Eight-Player Raid - An elite version of Throne of the Dead will be available for players seeking a greater challenge
    • Two Four-Player Operations - Act of Defiance and Return to the Nexus
    • One Single-Player mission - Heroes and Villains will be tasked with an important single-player mission in the open-world, Gotham Under Siege version of Gotham City
    • Amazon Fury Part II includes new player rewards, such as themed base items, feats and collections, eight new skill points and new player gear inspired by Wonder Woman and Circe. 

Find out more on the DC Universe Online site.


ArenaNet developers Josh Davis and Hugh Norfolk will be on hand for a Guild Wars 2 live stream event this Friday, February 13th to show off the forthcoming Stronghold PvP mode. Stronghold will make its debut in the Heart of Thorns expansion.

The live stream will take place at 1:00 pm Pacific / 4:00 pm Eastern on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch.tv channel. Team members will play through a Stronghold match. ArenaNet also announced that PAX East attendees will be able to try out Strongholds during the convention.

Read the Strongholds developer blog on the Guild Wars 2 site and check out our earlier synopsis of Strongholds right here.

As MMO gamers, we’re conditioned to expect a handful of specific tropes in our favorite genre.  When a new game hits the shelves, we’re certain to line it up against a series of checkboxes to determine if it represents our cultured interests.  For some, that means an MMORPG has to have a solid character progression system and an open world worth interacting with and exploring.  For others, a new game had better incorporate community-dependent features like crafting, a player economy, or a fully realized PvP system.  Furthermore, most all of these hallmarks of the MMO genre are reliant upon one of the oldest RPG tropes: loot.

Read more of Som Pourfarzaneh's Does Loot Matter?

Bioware made it official this week: Shadow Realms has been cancelled. The promising idea -- a never-ending 4-versus-1 RPG -- wasn’t enough to keep the tide from turning at Bioware Austin and now a wide swath of hopeful fans are disappointed. But should we be? Read on as we  look at what might have happened and the gilding on this otherwise sorrowful lily.

Read more of Christopher Coke's The RPG Files: The End of Bioware's Never-Ending RPG.

A short but significant post has appeared on the Guild Wars 2 forum penned by Lead Writer Bobby Stein. In it, Stein lets players know that the "My Greatest Fear" storyline will be returning to the game's personal story and that the personal storyline will be returned to its original order.  The removal of My Greatest Fear and the reordering of the GW2 personal storyline created quite a stir last year, though the intention was to streamline the new user experience. Veteran players, however, did not approve.

There is no ETA on when these changes will be implemented, though Stein promises that more information will be posted as the time for re-deployment of My Greatest Fear nears.

Check out more of the conversation on the Guild Wars 2 site.

The Crowfall site has a trio of goodies for fans today. The first comes in the form of the first revealed spell caster called the Confessor. The Confessor's page has a small, but interesting, back story as well as both male and female screenshots.

The second treat is a rather large lore article that gives the first information about the origins of the known Universe, and a look at Valkyn's children. Called "War of the Gods Part 1, it can be read here.

Lastly, potential players get the first information about the pricing model that Crowfall will utilize in a new FAQ. Crowfall will be a "buy once, play forever" game. According to estimations, the price will hover around the $50 mark but optional VIP membership will be offered for $15 a month. Benefits of VIP include:

  • “Behind the scenes” access to the development of the game
  • VIP members can use passive training for all 3 character slots (not just 1)
  • Priority access to all game servers
  • VIP frame / badge on the forums
  • Discount pricing on any purchases
  • Other cool (non-balance affecting) benefits as we think of them!

Additionally, players can trade goods and services to other players and attain VIP status. At this time, the pricing model is for North America only until such time as international publication rights are purchased.

Read the entire FAQ on the Crowfall site.

The Valkyon Federation's biggest and baddest new airship is going on the offensive in TERA's next major update. Striking at the heart of the archdevans, the Endeavor is damaged in battle by the archdevans and demokrons. The ship was abandoned, but the baddies take command of the Endeavor and plan to turn the ship's engines into mighty explosives, decimating the baraka city of Highwatch. Your role in this dungeon is to stop this from happening, at all costs.

Read more of Bill Murphy's TERA: Rising - Say Hello to the Sky Cruiser Endeavor and check out our exclusive word premier video after the jump.

    

Originally posted by gobik
Why people congratulate Blizzard instead of players? They are the ones that send money.

Because without Blizzard's efforts to raise the funds, it wouldn't have happened.

Additionally, if you read Blizzard's post on the site linked in the article, they do indeed thank the players.

 
Originally posted by thunderC
So many in need right here at home ......

Of course there is but imagine the hue and cry if they left the money in the US:

1) Blizzard only cares about its own country

2) So much need everywhere else in the world

But Blizzard isn't about one nation, it's about a worldwide community of gamers, probably more than a few in Africa. Ebola is a horrific disease and the fact that they gave nearly TWO MILLION dollars to the Red Cross to expand preventative treatment and to ease the suffering of the affected speaks volumes to their charitable mindset.

Two interesting pieces of news have arrived over night. In the first, the EverQuest Next Reddit has been updated with a full list of SOE/Daybreak employees affected by yesterday's firings. Eric Smith, Jeff Butler and Steve Danuser join Dave Georgeson from the EQ franchise team as those now seeking employment.

The list goes on to show other employees from other IPs as well:

Everquest Franchise


Planetside 2


H1Z1


DC Universe Online


General Staff

MMORPG.com user ice-vortex also dug up a letter written by now-former PlanetSide 2 producer Dave Carey where he asks the community for calm during this transition and further explains that the new management company, Columbus Nova, has done the right thing with the firings to give the current franchises a new direction and a chance to survive.

Columbus Nova deserves no hate in all this. They are more like white knights than negative forces here. SOE needed a shake up/new direction, and CN provided that. They have done nothing but been gracious in their new ownership, and they went out of their way to make sure that Devs and support teams that got laid off were taken care of. Right now things seem shitty, and of course for the folks that were let go, today was rough, but CN and DB were both very open about the need for restructuring. This wasn't a surprise to folks in the company.

Back to the subject - if you guys feel angry or betrayed, it would be misdirected to place that at the feet of the new company. They didn't bring in new staff to replace us, or say we did a shitty job and treat us poorly - they looked at the bottom line and the numbers just didn't line up. The new layout lines up now, and the goal is that DB can be successful and move on from this and eventually expand again. Saying "I'm cancelling my sub" or "I'm never buying another thing in PS2" isn't the right tactic, as much as the former Devs appreciate the intent of your support. If you want to make a positive impact, then keep doing what you're doing - if you like the game, play it. Give feedback. Get your friends to play. Buy what you want to, and what you feel gives you value. If you aren't happy, tell DB through the means you do now, social media and /bug reports. The game will grow or shrink depending on how you guys act, which is how it should be. If you make a statement on principal for the dearly departed devs, you will be hurting the remaining staff who have worked just as hard to make you guys a game you like to play. They may not be all names you know, but trust me, they put their blood, sweat, and tears into this.

You can discuss Carey's letter and read the full post in this MMORPG.com forum thread.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

With Wednesday’s news about the layoffs at Daybreak Game Company (formerly SOE), including Dave Georgeson and Linda Brasse, we started thinking. There could be any number of reasons those two were let go, but being some of the highest profile members of SOE’s staff causes alarm. We were reminded of SOE Live just this past year, the bits of EverQuest Next info we were given… and why it just wasn’t enough for the press or the fans.

Read more of Bill Murphy's How a Timely Video Can Make or Break a Game.

Blizzard announced today that the sale of its charity pet, "Argi" the Space Goat, has earned $1.9M for ebola relief in Africa through the Red Cross. The charity pets were sold in the World of Warcraft item shop, with 100% of the price going to support the Red Cross efforts in Africa.

Congratulations to World of Warcraft players and to Blizzard for making a difference in the world.

In January 2014, Lucasfilm basically axed the entire Star Wars Expanded Universe, sweeping it all aside in favor of its new, more singular canon leading into the new movie trilogy and side projects.  Like the rest of the EU, Star Wars: the Old Republic was slapped with a 'Legends' imprint and sent on its merry way, and quite rightly the fans worried that it meant doom for the BioWare Austin MMO.  Almost a year later, SWTOR's status has become an increasing question of debate as the new movies approach and the announcement that there will be a Cantina Tour stop at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of being labeled as either canon or Legend'.

Read more of Jean Prior's Star Wars: The Old Republic - Does It Actually Matter if SWTOR is Canon or Not?

Multiplayer gaming isn’t what it used to be. Yes, MMORPGs have cornered the market on truly massive numbers, but there are a lot of games out there that feature the ability to play with large (but not quite massive) groups of players or smaller, tight-knit groups of friends, similar to what a MMO player would do while raiding. While I am a huge fan of “true” MMOs, I just as often enjoy logging in for some quick action or fun roleplay with a more immediate game.

Read more of Beau Hindman's Not So MMO - The Games that Almost Make the Cut.

I’m trying my best right now to be eloquent about the recent news of layoffs in Daybreak Game Company. Sadly, it’s 4:00 am as I write this, a reactionary submission to MMORPG.com in light of my tenure as the Everquest Next and Landmark columnist.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s EverQuest Next: On Removing Pillars of the Everquest Community.

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