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The List : 5 Best In-Game Gifts from Developers

Posted Dec 25, 2014 by Suzie Ford

One of the best ways to spread holiday cheer is to give presents to other people, but let’s be honest: getting a gift that you want (or one that you didn’t know you wanted) is sure to make you feel just as warm and tingly inside.  Last week, David Jagneaux shared 5 Awesome Gift Ideas for the MMO Gamer, and I’d be just as happy buying one of those items for myself as I would be getting it for one of my guildmates.

Read more of Som Pourfarzaneh's The List: 5 Best In-Game Gifts from Developers.

Michael Bitton : Four Things We Want from Marvel Heroes in 2015

Posted Dec 24, 2014 by Michael Bitton

We re-reviewed the game earlier this year, bumping our score up from our initial 5.6 to an 8.2, reflecting all the improvements we found in the game. Still, there are a number of issues that have presented since then and today we’re offering up our list of improvements we’d like to see Gazillion make over the course of the next year.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Marvel Heroes: Four Things We Want from Marvel Heroes in 2015.


Elder Scrolls Online : The Champion System Changes Everything, Leaves Questions

Posted Dec 24, 2014 by Suzie Ford

The Elder Scrolls Online team has been active with reveals in recent weeks, due to how much will be changing in update 6, which itself is just the beginning for subsequent phases of changes, additions, and overhauls. So it’s not surprising that the year closes out with (finally!) details about the Champion system. While no one will get a taste of the actual update until it hits the PTS after the new year, there’s already much feedback and discussion to tide us all over until January and beyond. With all of the changes over the past six months or so and the scope of what’s to come, even Zenimax’ Eric Wroebel called this similar to an ESO 2.0. For many, it’s all a mark of the game’s improvements and the studio’s commitment to its community. Yet there are still a few elements of the update that leave unanswered questions.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's Elder Scrolls Online: The Champion System Changes Everything, Leaves Questions.

Star Wars: The Old Republic : Shadow of Revan - Final Thoughts

Posted Dec 24, 2014 by Suzie Ford

On December 2nd, early purchasers of the Shadow of Revan expansion were granted access to two things: the new content that was being added for the $20 purchase of the expansion pack, and the new skills and streamlined combat systems. For people who have played SWTOR in the past and are just curious about the new discipline system, I’d recommend just logging in and trying it for yourself. There is also a lot of information (and opinion) on forums and in the blogosphere about how successful or not those changes were. For this portion (part three of a three parter: 1,2) of the review, I’d like to focus on the content that was added specifically for the expansion.

Read more of Pete Schwab's Star Wars: The Old Republic - Shadow of Revan Final Thoughts.


The tasks may be repetitive, but at least the scenery is pleasant.

SMITE : World Championship Purse Rises Over $2.1M

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Surpassing even the League of Legends prize purse juggernaut, Hi-Rez Studios has announced that the prize pool for the SMITE World Championships to be held in January has risen to over $2.1M. Funds were 'crowd-sourced' through the purchase of special in-game items that contributed to the overall amount to be awarded to the winners.

The SMITE World Championship prize pool is a crowdfunded effort fueled by the Odyssey, an in-game promotion which sells exclusive content to SMITE players. Each microtransaction generated by the Odyssey contributes directly to the overall jackpot that eight teams from around the world will battle for in front of a live auditorium and online audience next month. The Odyssey will continue to add to the final payout of the SWC in the coming weeks. The final sum - which is still growing - will be awarded in front of the world at the conclusion of the SWC, January 9 – 11, 2015 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.

Find out more about the SMITE World Championships.

Check out the developer diary about how the team implemented the SMITE prize pool crowd funding initiative below.

Marvel Heroes : Send the Gift of a Hero

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Thanks to the new gifting option in the Marvel Heroes 2015 store, players can now send items to others. Players can send Heroes, Costumes, Team-Ups, Pets and Fortune Card bundles, many of which are discounted right now just in time for the holidays.

“Gifting has been one of the most requested features from our players since launch and we are excited to be adding this feature during a time where the game has more than doubled the number of available heroes and has never been more fun or addictive to play,” Ryan Collins, Creative Designer and Community Manager of Gazillion. “There has never been a better time to be a Marvel Heroes 2015 player and now you will be able to give the gift of the ultimate online Marvel gaming experience.”

Find out more on the Marvel Heroes 2015 site.

The Free Zone : Year-End MMOG Hopes And Wishes

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

This being my final Free Zone column for 2014, my first inclination was to choose a topic in the looking back vein. When I started considering possibilities, I immediately dismissed the idea of doing something “me too” like best of awards, which the site does far more prominently than I could anyway. Instead, I decided to discuss a few ways I'd like to see the MMOG development and publishing industry change, however unlikely they may be.

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: Year-End MMOG Hopes & Wishes.

Eldevin : A Chat with Hunted Cow

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

If you have a knack for some old-school dungeon and sandbox MMO fun, you really should check out Eldevin. With a recent launch of Steam, the game is better than ever. It’s a mix between a sandbox, a linear questing game and interesting virtual world. The game features a top-down look that makes many comment about its similarity to the very popular RuneScape. In fact, people often refer to RuneScape when describing Eldevin, but I’m not so sure about the connection.

Read more of Beau Hindman's Eldevin: A Chat with Hunted Cow.

General : ArtCraft Aims to Fix Where MMOs Went Wrong

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Yesterday’s announcement of the formation of ArtCraft and a new game with new approach to MMORPG design should have people talking by now. We were lucky enough to go right to the source and spend some time with founders Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton talking about their philosophy on MMOs, their new project, and all that we have experienced over the last decade of online gaming. If you have not seen the site or read their manifesto, please do so. Here is what Gordon and Todd had to say about their new project, and what we can expect when it’s unveiled in the coming weeks.

Read more of Garrett Fuller's Artcraft Aims to Fix Where MMOs Went Wrong.

Landmark : "This is *not* the final form of combat." ~ Dave Georgeson

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

In a short, but meaningful, post on the Landmark forum, Dave "Smokejumper" Georgeson acknowledges that the team should have better prepared players for combat in Landmark. Choosing, he says, to get input from the community releasing it in its early form without that preparation was a mistake.

I've been reading a bunch of the threads here. Reactions are pretty understandable and predictable. We should have done a better job of preparing you for what you are seeing here.

These are the first steps into combat and dungeoneering right now. This is in no way the final shape of combat in Landmark *or* EverQuest Next.

You are seeing *basic* foundational elements here. Nobody on the design team likes circle-strafe as the core combat mechanic. That's just how the system works right now until we get more tuning and more AI into the system.

We had the option to wait until the new year (February sometime) to release what you have now, or we could release it now and listen to opinions and discussion over the holidays.

We chose the latter, of course, because we've always opted to listen to you and your feedback rather than work in a vacuum.

But this is *not* the final form of combat.

That being said, we are not returning to hard-locks either. The final form of combat and dungeoneering will be built on the bones you see today, but it's going to get a lot better, more tactical, and more fun.

Combat will improve just as the rest of the game has improved since Alpha. You'll see.

This is still Closed Beta and this game is still in development. More to come!

Read the community comments on the Landmark forum.

Not sure what the kerfuffle is about? Check out the combat video released by SOE below:


Black Desert : Korean Closed Beta Preview

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Pearl Abyss is a studio with something to prove. That’s the feeling I get after spending a day beta testing the Korean version of Black Desert. The game has plenty of dull edges that need to be polished out, but the basic shape is already visible.

Read more of Mark Wilhelm's Black Desert: Korean Closed Beta Preview.

General : The Great MMO Face-Off of 2014 - Semifinals

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by William Murphy

We are down to the Final Four in this year's inaugural Great MMO Face-Off! Can EVE beat down Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? Can Elder Scrolls Online defy the niche powerhouse known as The Secret World? Click through and cast your votes!

CAST YOUR VOTE IN THE SEMIFINALS!


Conquer Online : Kingdom War to Synthesize Servers, Introduce New Mechanics

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

The Conquer Online team has sent out the first information about the upcoming Kingdom War expansion set to hit the game in the first quarter of 2015. The first order of business is the consolidation the game's servers into six large 'kingdoms' where players will be able to face off in a battle to rule. In addition, cross server battles will also pit player against player to crown the champion of all.

The Kingdom War will allow thousands of heroes from different servers to fight in the same areas, becoming the biggest and most crowded battlefield since the beginning of Conquer Online! The update of this gameplay will bring more excitement for players from all over the world. It could even turn out that players from the Middle East, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, form their own kingdom. Players from North America can form the frontline as the US and Canada, and European players can also assemble their own kingdom, to make the Kingdom War into a true world war!

On the eve of the upcoming Kingdom War expansion, the Kingdom Guild War will have already begun. The Kingdom Guild War is a stress test battle for the coming Kingdom Wars. In the battle, players from 5 different servers, which included Faith, Honor, Lion, Triumph and Phoenix, were split into two forces. Heroes of the first 4 servers comprised the offensive force, and heroes from the Phoenix server became the defensive force.

Find out more on the Conquer Online site.


General : Knights of the Old Republic Now on Google Play

Posted Dec 23, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Though out for iOS tablets for awhile now, Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic Android fans have been waiting for their chance to play one of the most heralded RPGs of all time. With today's deployment to Google Play, Android fans can now set out on an epic journey through the Star Wars universe. Even better, to celebrate the launch, KOTOR is only $5, half off what will become its normal price.

Check out Knights of the Old Republic on Google Play or iTunes ($9.99).

Source: Eurogamer

Guild Wars 2 : 5 Things We Want from GW2 in 2015

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by Suzie Ford

2014 saw quite a few changes to Guild Wars 2, both good and bad.  Now 2015 is right around the corner, and we’re all wondering what ArenaNet has in store.  While they have their own plan for the game, there will always be what we, the players, are hoping for.  Here’s the 5 things players hope to see in 2015.

Read more of David North's Guild Wars 2: Top 5 Things We Want in 2015.


An expansion is what we need to reach far away lands in Tyria.

The Repopulation : Early Access Begins, NDA Lifts

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Fans of The Repopulation will be glad to hear that the Steam Early Access program has started. Along with that heady news also comes the announcement that the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has lifted that will give the opportunity for much more information to be learned as players are given the opportunity to write and speak about their experiences. To celebrate these two big announcements, The Repopulation's team has put together a new video. Check it out!

The biggest news is the launch of Alpha Round 4 this weekend. This will be the final stage of alpha testing, and includes a new client and three new servers: One in central Europe, and one on each U.S. coast. Invites went out this weekend to all of our backers, be sure to check your mailboxes. If anyone hasn’t received an email yet, please contact us using the Support System.

We are also happy to announce that the Repopulation has hit Steam Early Access this morning. As a special Christmas gift you will be able to purchase Gold Memberships at a 15% discount over the holidays. Backers from Kickstarter or our on-site Early Adopters will also soon have the option of using the Steam Based Client if they prefer.

Read the full announcement on The Repopulation site.


World of Tanks : Ten British Tanks and Three Classic Maps Arrive

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Wargaming has announced the deployment of World of Tanks patch v9.5 in both Europe and North America (with Korea and SEA getting the patch later this month). Update 9.5 brings ten new British tanks into the game as well as the return of three classic maps.

Check out the British tanks:

The newest update to World of Tanks brings a new force of British vehicles rolling out onto the battlefield with a line of impressive British Tank Destroyers. Beginning at Tier 5, the line includes the very distinct Archer with its backward facing gun, the powerful and agile Charioteer, and the FV4005 Stage II. In addition to the Tank Destroyer line, the British tech tree receives 3 new Medium vehicles including the iconic and highly anticipated Sherman Firefly, Sherman II and Grant, along with 2 Light Tanks, the M2 and Stuart I-IV.

Along with the patch news, Wargaming also revealed this interesting information about individual missions coming soon:

Beginning Jan. 15, 2015 tankers will be able to put their skills to the test in new missions called Personal Missions. Unlike the current Mission system, Personal Missions allow players to select the mission they want to complete and missions will not have a time limit. Upon completion of these missions, players will receive a variety of great rewards including unique high-tier vehicles, medals and female crew members.

Find out more on the World of Tanks site.


Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn : New Race Announced for Heavensward Expansion

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by Suzie Ford

During a weekend fan event, Final Fantasy XIV's producer Naoki Yoshida announced that a new race will be included in the forthcoming Heavensward expansion. Called the Au Ra, little else was revealed other than a screenshot. Also in Heavensward, players will be able to check out a pair of new Astrologian and the Machinist.

Keep your eye on the Final Fantasy XIV site for more information as it becomes available.

Source: MMOGames.com

The Social Hub : Trust - Why DayZ is Early Access done Right

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by Suzie Ford

Just over a year ago, in December of 2013, a little game known as DayZ was released to the public on Steam Early Access. Just last week, an anniversary notice, video, and a 2015 roadmap were released to show where the game has been and indicate where it is going. Along with that came an update to the experimental build. Altogether, the game has sold 2,830,000 copies as of December 16th, 2014. With a consistent presence on the Steam charts, frequent updates, a favorite of streamers, and as a platform for friendly and not so friendly trolling, DayZ might just be the best current example of Early Access done right since Steam launched the program. I’ve been thinking about trust in this age of so many ways to pay for games before they’re ever remotely finished.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Trust - Why DayZ is Early Access done Right.

General : Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton form ArtCraft to make new MMO

Posted Dec 22, 2014 by William Murphy

Industry veterans Todd Coleman (W101, Shadowbane) and Gordon Walton (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies) just announced the formation of their own new studio ArtCraft in Austin, Texas. Guess what they're making? That's right... a brand new MMORPG.

From the press release:

Founded by two of the most experienced executives in the history of online gaming, ArtCraft is dedicated to pushing the design of Massively Multiplayer Online games in bold new directions.  A teaser website and signup page for ArtCraft’s first unannounced title is now live at http://www.play2crush.com.

"In the last decade, Gordon and I have had the opportunity to work with almost every game artist, designer and engineer in Austin,” said Coleman, CEO and creative director. “We drew on those contacts to recruit a team of all-stars – and we’re building something completely different, completely unique. We believe the MMO industry has grown stale. It’s time to create something new.”

Coleman brings a wealth of creative and entrepreneurial experience to ArtCraft. He founded Reliant Data Systems (acquired by Compuware Corporation in 1999), Wolfpack Studios, Inc. (acquired by Ubi Soft in 2004) and was the VP of production and creative director for KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc.  As the co-creator and creative lead ofShadowbane, Wizard101 and Pirate101, Coleman has built a reputation for pushing the boundaries of MMO design.  His games have received numerous awards (including Game of the Year, Audience Choice and Family Game of the Decade) and he was personally recognized by Gamasutra as one of the top 50 developers in the industry and by Massive Gamer magazine as the #1 Most Influential Game Developer in the World.

“Todd’s creative vision is what makes this partnership work, and my job is to ensure his vision gets realized,” said Gordon Walton, president and executive producer for ArtCraft. “Our mission is to create must-play experiences that redefine existing genres. We must delight and challenge players in equal measure.”

Walton has been building games and managing game development for more than 35 years, with the last 20 years managing massively multiplayer online games. He has been VP of online at Origin Systems, managing Ultima Online, VP and executive producer at Maxis, managing the Sims Online and VP and executive producer at Sony Online Entertainment on Star Wars: Galaxies. Walton then went on to become the Co-studio GM at BioWare Austin, on Star Wars: The Old Republic and was most recently the VP and executive producer at Disney Playdom. Walton has personally developed more than 35 games and overseen the development of more than 200 games.

If you head to the teaser site: www.play2crush.com, you'll find a bit more hint at what they're building, with a simple email opt-in beta sign-up.  What do you think of their motto? The game, still unannounced, but with a timer counting down to 63 days from now will be an epic fantasy MMORPG. We'll be waiting and watching with the rest of you.

WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

There was a time when our industry took CHANCES.

Our games didn’t have to appeal to everyone, and we didn’t judge ourselves solely on mass market success.

With amusement park games, it’s impossible to lose. With sandbox games, it’s impossible to win.

If you can’t win and you can’t lose, then

WHAT'S THE POINT OF PLAYING?

I don’t want to kill more rats, fill another experience point bar or collect another meaningless badge.

I want to play a GAME, against PLAYERS where my actions, my decisions and my SKILL will determine if I win or lose.

Allies. Enemies. Alliances. Betrayal. Risk. Conquest. To compete with THOUSANDS of other players for a chance to claim the THRONE.

Even if I lose, the experience won’t feel hollow. I don’t want another worthless trophy.

I WANT TO PLAY TO CRUSH.

 
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