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General : PC Gaming to Dominate to the Tune of $35B by 2018

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Those proclaiming the death of the PC may want to consider a new report that shows steady and dominating growth in PC gaming over the next three years. Open Gaming Alliance has released a detailed graph showing the growth of PC gaming from its current $26B to $35B by 2018. The growth is attributed heavily to the eSports movement popularized by games like League of Legends and Hearthstone, as well as more broad support for PC gaming in Asia. (Source: Venture Beat)

“In past years much of the growth in PC games has been due to adoption of the platform in Asia. Now we are estimating a potential 86 million PC gamers outside Asia that we have targeted as market growth drivers,” DFC analyst David Cole noted in an e-mail sent to us along with the projections. “These are the consumers that are driving spending not just on software, but also on PC hardware, as they buy expensive equipment to play, view, and record games.”

In semi-related news also out of this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is a survey given to the attendees about the importance of the PC to gaming's future. 75% of those responding say that the PC and / Steam integration is vital to gaming's future.

Seventy-four percent of developers rank the “advancement of game design” as being a “very important” issue for the industry’s future growth. “More diversity in game content” was at second place with 65 percent, and “advancement of storytelling” was third with 60 percent.

We'll leave the graph right here to speak for itself. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Skyforge : Ultimate Founder's Pack Giveaway #5

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Michael Bitton

MMORPG.com has partnered with My.com to give away five of their recently announced Skyforge Founder's Packs. These aren't the entry level packs, either! We've got five of the Wrath of the Gods Ultimate Edition packs today. Read on to learn how to enter for your chance to snag one!

Entering is simple: all you need to do is post in the comments below and tell us why you're super excited for Skyforge. We'll accept entries through tonight at 8PM EST. Winners will be announced later this evening and codes will be sent out shortly after.

Today is your last chance to win! Good luck!

Please ensure that you only submit a single entry. Users found to have submitted multiple entries will be disqualified.

 

Marvel Heroes : David Hayter Chills with Us About Winter Soldier

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Winter Soldier recently was added to Marvel Heroes 2015. We had the opportunity to talk to WS's voice actor David Hayter, best known as Solid Snake, to find out more about Winter Soldier. Check out what he had to say in our exclusive mini-interview.

MMORPG.com: What is it about the Winter Soldier character that attracted you to the role?

David: It was the name on the audition call sheet, and it was a Marvel game.  Seemed worthwhile, no?

MMORPG.com: How did you prepare for voicing Winter Soldier? Was there anything you found out in your preparation that surprised you about the character?

David: First thing was to cut off my arm. You just can't do the Winter Soldier with two arms. After that, my preparation gets a little hazy.

MMORPG.com: Did you bring anything from your years of experience voicing Solid Snake for the Metal Gear Solid series into your performance as Winter Soldier?

David: Winter Soldier was fairly straightforward, but exceptional fun. He's pretty deep. He was once the young best friend/sidekick of Captain America, until he was tortured, and turned into a mindless assassin.  So there's a lot of pain and resentment that goes into his history.  I tend to think that he stays pretty isolated from the other heroes, with the possible exception of Captain America, who saved him from being just a soulless killing machine.

MMORPG.com: What was your favorite line to perform?

David: "I never thought an analyst of military technology would be so... cute." --Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid

Crowfall : The Embargo Vault & Account Bank Explained

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The Crowfall KickStarter page has been updated with an FAQ that goes into some detail about the two main types of storage to which players will have access.

The Embargo Bank is a campaign, or world, specific storage that allows players to salt away items and gear acquired during the campaign. Yet storage doesn't mean that these items can be accessed or that all things will make it past the destruction of the world.

On completing a campaign, gear will be transferred to a player's Account Bank based on:

  • how well the player's faction or guild did up to the destruction of the world
  • how much an individual participated in the campaign
The more participation and the better one's faction performs equals more gear/items to be transferred.
 
Embargo Banks are located in specific locations throughout a world and items placed inside will be safe from looting. The size has yet to be determined, though the team seems adamant that more risk / more reward will influence the overall size of a campaign's Embargo Bank.
 
The Account Bank, as the name implies, is an account-wide storage that all of a player's characters can access.
 
The Crowfall KickStarter page has lots more information so be sure to head there and check it out!
 

General : The Daily Quest: Incremental Info or One Big Announcement?

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

A trend that seems to be gaining a lot of ground in games development these days comes in the way that information is released to the public. In days past, new information about an upcoming title was teased out in a series of big announcements over time. Such a way of releasing news about anticipated games was both frustrating and exciting. Frustration set in when we wanted to know more, more, more. Excitement set in after a big revelation that gave us tons to discuss and analyze.

These days, however, it seems to have become more and more popular to give frequent, minuscule updates regarding the process of creating a game. Little nuggets of information are handed out, often several times a week, if not more frequently.

It seems that this has become especially prevalent with the rise of Kickstarter and the heavy involvement of the community with independent developers. Daily blogs are often posted, weekly updates at the minimum. Even games with years to go until any sort of release see frequent, some would say too frequent, updates bombarding our inboxes and dominating the news on our favorite sites. Even the most ardent supporter of a game can become weary from the bombardment of information and become jaded and burned out by TMI.

Many developers have yet to find the sweet spot between too little information being disseminated and too much being sent our way.  Balance, as it is said, needs to be achieved.

What about you? Do you prefer your information coming in big updates, but less frequently? Or do you prefer lots of little updates more often? Let us know!


Image source: Forbes.com

Guild Wars 2 : Playing Heart of Thorns is Like Coming Home

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

It’s no secret I’m a fan of ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2. But, like many of you, I’ve been dying for something meatier to chew on than the Living World for some time now. There seem to be so many features and additions we’ve all be waiting for ages to see added. With Heart of Thorns, the first full expansion to Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet seems poised to offer us all those things and more.

Read more of Bill Murphy's Guild Wars 2: Playing Heart of Thorns is Like Coming Home.


Temportal Rift, baby!

Shadowrun Chronicles : New Name Applied & Launch Date Announced

Posted Mar 03, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Cliffhanger Productions has announced that Shadowrun Online will now be known as Shadowrun Chronicles. The team has been considering a name change for awhile and took community input in order to come up with the new name. The first chapter in the Chronicles series will be Boston Lockdown, with further adventures to follow later.

Even more exciting for fans of Shadowrun Chronicles, the release date for the first chapter has been revealed. Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown will officially launch on April 28, 2015 via Steam and other digital retailers.

Read more about Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown on the KickStarter page.


Star Wars: The Old Republic : Cancelled: ESL Operation Victory Competition

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The ESL Operation Victory competition has been cancelled according to a new post on the Star Wars: The Old Republic site. The contest was designed for teams of players to race through operations in an effort to submit the best time to Bioware. However, issues cropped up in the Coratanni encounter that produced issues for those attempting to move through quickly. While tomorrow's patch will address some of the issues, the team felt that others remained that would render the competition problematic.

We thank you for your feedback around the contest and should we decide to do something like this in the future, we will let you know. Also, let us know your feedback on the concept of doing a speedrun contest. As we explore options like this in the future it would be great to know your thoughts.

Participate in the forum thread about the ESL Operation Victory event on the Star Wars: The Old Republic site.

Camelot Unchained : Alpha Stress Test & Potential Alpha Start Tomorrow

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The path to the beginning of the Camelot Unchained alpha continues tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3rd. Thanks to MMORPG.com user will75, we know that the team will be on Twitch.tv during a planned stress test of the game servers in an effort to see if improvements to the game client's stability have been effective. During the event, developers plan contests, chat with the development team and a live look at the work that's going into getting the Camelot Unchained alpha underway.

The live stream will open up at 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 7:00 a.m. Pacific and if the stress test proves successful, the alpha will likely kick off at the end of the day.

I’m truly touched by what I’ve read…and you folks who have been following us since the Kickstarter know that when I say something like that, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. As usual with me, it is more than just words. Part of the proof for that will come in the little surprise that some of our IT folks have been testing for the last few weeks. We’ll talk about it more tomorrow, but it is just one of the ways that I and CSE can say thanks to our Backers. You folks have earned this surprise.

Read Mark Jacobs' full post on the Camelot Unchained  site.

Rift : Carnival of the Ascended Celebrates Four Years

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Rift players are heading into the game to try out the new Carnival of the Ascended that is ongoing now through March 18th. The event will feature new masks, pets, treasures, and more. All players have to do is head to Sanctum or Meridian to get started.

NEW 4th ANNIVERSARY LOOT

  • 4 Masks and Sea Colossus Balloon
  • Windup Pony, Valmera Cub, and Party Duck pets
  • 4th Anniversary Cape and Carnival Weapons!

Find out more on the Rift site.

Star Trek Online : Overhauling Sector Space

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The Star Trek Online team has posted a lengthy developer blog about how Sector Space is being overhauled to make it a more seamless journey through space without invisible walls and dead ends to hang players up.

One of the best pieces of news for players and fans of the entire Star Trek IP is the realignment of sectors to place them in the correct locations based on existing Star Trek lore. Cryptic acknowledges that over time several key sectors had been placed outside the norm.

Utilizing Star Trek: Star Charts, a well-documented and organized map of sector space, the team realigned the game's sectors to correspond. However, some sectors on the Star Charts map lie outside what is considered "playable space" in STO (namely Ferenginar, Iconia, Romulus, Boreth and others). As a result, these sectors were "nudged" into the closest available space on the game map to place them as close as possible to their true location according to Star Charts.

Lastly with regard to the sector map, Tellar, Trill, Betazed sectors have been added as Cryptic considered them too important to leave out and will utilize these locations for future content.

The map's underlying grid system is also receiving some attention and will feature a more uniform appearance rather than utilizing a color scheme depending on faction space being traversed. Each major grid line will represent one light year of travel. Much of the clutter of the sector space map is also being removed and, in fact, will be "toggle-able" so that those who wish to can simply fly through the blackness of space.

The blog is packed with even more details and other topics that include:

  • Scale & System Art
  • Doffing
  • Transwarp
  • Touring the Galaxy
  • The Foundry
It's a fascinating look at the creative force behind the revamp of Sector Space. Check it out on the Star Trek Online site.
 

Neverwinter : Elemental Evil Module to Drop March 17th

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios have announced that the Neverwinter Elemental Evil module will hit live service on March 17th. The module includes a level cap increase, the new Oathbound Paladin playable class, new locations and, of course, the return of Minsc and Boo to a D&D game. The Neverwinter team has put together a nice summary of many of the new and improved features that players can expect to find when Elemental Evil launches in a couple of weeks.

Check out all of the Elemental Evil developer blogs and videos on the Neverwinter site.

ArcheAge : Starter Pack Sweepstakes!

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Craig McGregor

MMORPG.com is very pleased to present this exclusive sweepstakes event! We have partnered with Trion Worlds to give away 10 Silver Starter Packs ($49.99 value) and ONE grand prize of a an Archeum Starter Pack ($149.99 value)! For more information on these starter packs please visit THIS LINK

NOTES:

  • Trion Worlds is not a sponsor or administrator of this offer and assumes no responsibility for this offer.
  • Winners must reside in one of the following regions: Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia or New Zealand.
* As with all sweepstakes on MMORPG.com - the more days you login to the site during the event the better your odds of winning! (see official rules for details)
 

Crowfall : $900K and Counting - Todd Coleman on Kickstarter Success

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by William Murphy

We grabbed Todd Coleman to pester him about the Kickstarter for Crowfall, Artcraft Entertainment's new Throne War Simulator MMO. With $900K in just five days, it's time to start looking at stretch goals. We asked Todd about the few that have been announced so far, and what may come down the road after the Kickstarter ends.

MMORPG: On the female Centaur: does this race's female counterpart being a stretch goal mean there are other races who may need stretch goals to receive the opposite sex? Except Guiniceans, because let's face it... how would we know the difference?

Todd Coleman: We certainly could, though the remaining gender-locked races all have a pretty strong narrative reason for the restriction.  The only real candidates would be the Fae (currently female only), the Guineceans (as you mention, they would look the same except for clothing choices) and the Elken, which I'm afraid might look rather silly.  The centaurs were the most obvious choice of the group, because there wasn't any narrative reason not to include them; it was simply done for cost reasons.

MMORPG: On the subject of mounts: if the 1.3 mln goal isn't hit, does this mean we'd never see mounts in Crowfall, or that we'd just have to wait until after launch? 

Todd: It means we'll have to wait until we can afford it.  That doesn't mean launch -- we'll keep raising money via crowdfunding. And potentially via other means as well -- and IMO mounts and caravans are something pretty key to the design vision.  Hopefully we'll hit that stretch goal, though, and be able to move on them immediately!

MMORPG: Being optimistic, do you have any other hints about what other stretch goals we might see?

Todd: We have a long list of items that we would love to work on, but that just didn't make the cut of being "core" to the vision.  The first priority after mounts and caravans is to go back to the idea of variant rulesets and really flesh those out.

MMORPG: When the KS funding is over, do you plan to keep allowing pledges similar to how your friends at Shards Online, or even Portalarium allow? And if so, will further pledges get players additional goodies like more parcels for their Eternal Kingdom, and so forth?

Todd: Yes, absolutely -- it helps us funding the ongoing development of the game, which is better for everyone.  We won't be offering the Kickstarter exclusive rewards any more, however.  

MMORPG: My last questions brings up an interesting thought I don't think we've covered quite yet... Crowfall launches, sells a ton of copies, and then what? How will you guys obtain further revenue? Do you have any ideas we could talk about yet, even if there's nothing specific? 

Todd: We have an optional subscription that we'll be offering players -- our hope, obviously, is that the optional subscription (which grants the ability to passively train multiple characters in parallel) will be attractive enough to our players that it will create a sustainable revenue base for the game service.  We're also going to sell cosmetic items at some point, which has proven to be pretty effective in other games for generating incremental revenue.

MMORPG: Okay, one more. $900k in just 5 days. That's pretty astounding. What does the reaction to your Kickstarter say to you about the design of Crowfall, and are you feeling any pressure to deliver now?

Todd: Yeah, it's amazing how quickly your brain can shift from the stress of "will they like it?" to the stress of "OK, now we have to build it!"  

Overall, the response has been astounding.  We are incredibly grateful.  We knew that Crowfall would be a niche title, the only question was "Will the niche be large enough to support us?"  That was the gamble -- a leap of faith that 'if we build it, they will come'.  So far, so good.

And remember, the success of our Kickstarter is great -- even for players who aren't interested in Crowfall.  Whenever a studio can find success with a niche vision, other developers think, "maybe we should take a risk, too!”

We wouldn't have tried Crowfall if not for previous successes like Shroud of the Avatar and Star Citizen.  If our success helps convince other studios to try different ideas, to target other potential audiences -- that's a huge win for everyone.  Innovation begets innovation.

If you're interested in backing Crowfall, you can find more about the game and their fundraising at Crowfall.com.

The List : 5 Big Kickstarter MMOs to Keep an Eye On

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Kickstarter is a massive driving force in game development today. Anyone with an idea and the skills to make it a reality can get their game funded and in the hands of gamers across the world. It’s an incredible time for game development. On the other hand, if a major studio with veterans at the helm want to create their dream project without the constraints that AAA development often entail, they can use crowdfunding to circumvent all of that as well.

Read more of David Jagneaux's The List: 5 Big Kickstarter MMOs to Keep an Eye On.

World of Warcraft : The Daily Quest - Will You Buy or Sell WoW Tokens?

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by William Murphy

With today's announcement of Tokens coming to World of Warcraft (think EVE's PLEX or WildStar's CREDD), we're asking: will you be getting in on the action? Do you think the addition of Tokens will do anything to stave off gold sellers in Azeroth?

I'll admit it, the proposition is a good one. There are a lot of gold sinks in WoW, and as the type of gamer who doesn't play one MMO, the thought of being able to buy a bunch of gold to get a shiny mount or something else I might want seems like a good deal. Especially when it's sanctioned and internally hosted by the game itself. 

In fact, much of the Gems I've bought in Guild Wars 2 have been converted to gold instead of just used on cosmetic items.

So today's Daily Quest is a short one: will you use WoW's Token system and do you think it'll stave off the rampant gold selling and spam in Azeroth?

World of Warcraft : Tokens Introduced as Currency for Subscription Time

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Blizzard has announced that a new token system will be introduced to World of Warcraft that will allow players to purchase tokens with real world cash via the Blizzard Store and resell the token in-game at the auction house for gold. Players purchasing a token in game will find it account bound but can use it for 30-days subscription time.

The auction house will have a set price for tokens based on market pricing and no bidding will be required. Players simply purchase the token with in-game gold and receive it in the mail. Further, tokens will have no expiration date and can be used at any point in time when additional days of subscription are needed.

Q: Why are you introducing the WoW Token feature?

A: We’ve heard feedback from players that they’d be interested in a secure, legitimate way to acquire gold that doesn’t involve the use of unauthorized third-party gold-selling services—one of the primary sources of account compromises. We also know players who’ve amassed large amounts of gold through regular play would be interested in the ability to trade some to other players in exchange for game time, helping cover their subscription costs. The WoW Token feature gives players on both sides of the equation a secure and straightforward way to make that exchange. It opens up a new kind of payment option for World of Warcraft players, and we hope that it will also help lead to fewer account compromises and a better game experience overall.

Read more on the World of Warcraft community site.

 

World of Warcraft : Play to Play for Free

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Big news today for World of Warcraft players. Blizzard has announced plans to allow players to purchase game time with gold! Similar to the PLEX system in EVE or C.R.E.D.D. in Wildstar, you’ll soon be able to purchase a WoW Token from the auction house using gold that can be consumed for 30 days of game time. This is huge.

Read more of Reza Lackey's All Things Warcraft: Play to Play For Free.

Might & Magic Heroes Online : Win a Next-Gen Console in New PvP Effort

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Might & Magic Heroes Online players have the chance to score a next-gen console for winning a month-long PvP competition, Champions of Ashan, that begins today. It's unclear which console is up for grabs, however. Players can also win special tokens and gift cards as the competition moves along. Players can keep track of their progress via the in-game leader boards that will be updated regularly.

Check out the Might & Magic Heroes Online site to get started.


General : Unreal Engine Goes Free For All

Posted Mar 02, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Epic has announced that the Unreal Engine will now be available free to all developers. Previously, use of the Unreal Engine cost developers $19.00 per month and a 5% royalty above $3000 per month. Epic is still asking developers to contribute 5%, though the engine itself remains free and will include all tools and future updates.

"Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself - and then share it with others. The state of Unreal is strong, and we've realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That's why we're taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free."

Read the full announcement and information at GamesIndustry.biz.

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