The latest Shards Online newsletter has been released that details the activities of a very busy game studio. Derek Brinkmann starts the discussion with a brief overview of what the team is working on followed by several interesting announcements including the $250,000 stretch goals.
Clusters are coming along with the new release puts the underpinnings in place for connected clusters. In addition, the Catacombs dungeon is progressing well and will include a randomly generated environment for players to fight through. Animators are working on major improvements to character animations and a brand new trailer is in the works.
Brinkmann also revealed that Alpha 1 will be slipping to Spring 2016 with Early Access coming several months later. According to Brinkmann, this allows the team to work out issues before opening to a much broader player base.
Other news of interest:
You can read the full Shards Online newsletter here.
Reto-Moto has announced that its World War 2-based MMO, Heroes & Generals, has passed the seven million registered users mark with players in 173 different nations throughout the world. The company cites solid growth in large part due to the WWII setting and consistent quality updates.
Over the coming weekend, Reto-Moto will be celebrating the milestone by giving each player a free Veteran Membership voucher code.
You can read more on the Heroes & Generals site.
During a special live stream event where Blizzard is hosting World of Warcraft streamers and YouTube personalities from both Europe and North America, viewers will be among the first to view some never-before-seen Legion alpha content that is not yet in the live alpha version currently running. Teams will be running the Maw of Souls dungeon (never before shown) and the Halls of Valor in a race against the clock...and each other.
Assistant Game Director Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas will join Community Manager Josh “Lore” Allen to provide commentary and insight as each team fights through the dungeons in a race to earn the fastest time possible. The winning team will claim victory not only for themselves, but for the region they represent!
The event will take place in the World of Warcraft Twitch.tv channel beginning at 3:00 pm Pacific / 6:00 pm Eastern.
Ahead of its investor presentation, Activision-Blizzard has released the 2015 full year financial results. According to the report, A-B grew 32% year-over-year with record digital revenues leading the way both for Q4 2015 and the year overall.
Destiny is described as having 25+ million registered users with over three billion hours played. Activision-Blizzard is anticipating a significant expansion for Destiny in 2016 and Destiny 2 in 2017.
Blizzard titles are experiencing all-time high MAUs in 2015 with high player engagement. Hearthstone is reporting 40M registered users. Heroes of the Storm will leave beta and be fully released in 2016. The only mention of World of Warcraft is that it "remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world". This is the first quarter where subscription numbers have not been revealed for WoW, keeping to Blizzard's vow not to reveal sub numbers but to focus on player engagement.
Head here to see the full Activision-Blizzard Full Year 2015 Investor Report. You can also view the Power Point presentation.
Listen up Trove fans: your game is about to get its biggest update ever in the coming weeks when the Mantle of Power expansion lands on the live servers. Focused intensely on progression, there are 10 new levels per class, and a brand new Gem System that augments each of the game’s 14 classes with dozens of new abilities. Read on for the full details on this and more.
Read more of Bill Murphy's Trove: The Mantle of Power Changes the Game Forever.
Psuedo-Professor Red Thomas delves into the details of what makes virtual economies function, and conducts an analysis of the component pieces. Warning - Hardcore nerdiness within. Readers should click at their own risk.
Read more of Red Thomas's ECON 4024 - Macro-Economics in Virtual Environments.
Blizzard has revealed that over $1.7M has been raised for the Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International through the sales of the World of Warcraft battle pet, Brightpaw. During the month of December, 100% of all pets sold went to Make-A-Wish.
This week on Game On, Chris, Ryan, and Braxwolf sit down to discuss Jeff Grubb's departure from Arenanet and into the vacuum of Amazon Game Studios. A little later we talk about the much needed and long overdue tech overhaul coming to RIFT, just how well Ubisoft did with The Division beta, and much more.
Check it out on the Game On podcast page.
Techland and Game UK are offering fans of Dying Light a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a star in an upcoming film based on the popular survival RPG. One person, one very rich $10,000,000 spending person, will be given acting lessons, and star in a supporting role in the forthcoming movie.
Charlotte Knight, UK Retail MD at GAME says: “Dying Light is one of the most exciting survival games around and what’s more – it’s Oscar season so what better time than now to head to the Hollywood hills! We know our community like to get in character and will have no doubt been inspired by the leading actors on the big screen – so this is a really exciting opportunity for any gamer wanting to hit the silver screen in style!
For $10,000,000, the buyer will also receive the following:
Find out more by visiting Game UK Dying Light site.
Fans of survival type games with a twist will want to check out The Culling and sign up for the closed alpha that is expected to kick off later this month. In addition, interested fans can grab an early access copy of The Culling for $14.99 during the week of March 8th to March 14th on Steam.
Check out The Culling site for more information and to sign up for closed alpha testing.
Women are becoming an increasingly significant sector in games development, taking part in every aspect of bringing games to life. As one of the often lesser-known sectors of the industry, we wanted to shine the spotlight on some incredible leaders including our once (and future!?) columnist, Sanya Weathers from Undead Labs.
Read more of Suzie Ford's Women in Gaming: Undead Labs' Sanya Weathers.
Gamesco has announced that it is developing a new survival PC title called Grimm: Dark Legacy that is based on the Grimm television show. The game will take place several hundred years prior to the events of the television show and will challenge players with tactical survival combat, mission-based game play, and cooperative multiplayer opportunities.
The game will encourage players to explore the expansive Old World while completing different types of missions to win rewards, transform themselves and their equipment and become formidable Grimm hunters. Combat will also be integral to the gameplay with gamers having to fend off ferocious Wesen attacks by equipping a wide variety of weapons similar to the ones that Nick wields in the series.
Find out more and sign up for beta testing by visiting the Grimm: Dark Legacy site.
Bossa Studios is inviting fans of Worlds Adrift to head to the game's official site to form an Alliance, the WA version of clans or guilds. Once registered on the site, leaders can create an Alliance. Those not interested in leadership can browse the available Alliances to find one worth joining.
By way of incentive, Bossa has a number of pretty cool prizes available for those creating or joining an Alliance including an Alienware Alpha or a Razer Chroma Keyboard.
Find out more on the Worlds Adrift site and be sure to check out the step-by-step Alliance creation video below.
Phoenix Online publishing has announced that its open world fantasy RPG, Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim, will be launching on April 26th. Players are invited to preorder through the Phoenix Online Studio store, GoG, the Humble Store or through other online vendors. The game retails for $15.99.
Action role-playing, puzzle solving, and crafting combine in this sprawling open-world fantasy epic, which invites you to take on a range of sweeping quests, battle unforgettable adversaries, and experience the adventure of a lifetime. An interactive, physics-based world of wonder bursting with colorful characters and exotic islands filled with tricks, traps, and treasures to explore awaits your conquest as you gather fantastical artifacts and equipment which can be crafted into playable vehicles and more.
Find out more on the Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim store page.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! This week, Chris talks about sweet, sweet love, erm… workin’ it, and how modern RPGs really seem to hate monogamy.
Plus, Dragon Age loses its lead writer, Dying Light launches its expansion, Sword Coast Legends is super cheap on consoles, and more Dark Souls 3 footage makes its way to the internet and looks a lot like Bloodborne!
Read more of Christopher Coke's The RPG Files: Sister Wives - The Tale of the Modern RPG.
The World of Warships team has produced a new developer diary video to show off how team battles function in the game. Team battles will feature 7v7, with up to a 10 player pool to participate, will be launching soon, a feature that players have been asking for since the game launched last year. Team battles are the next step on the way to clan battles. Check out this work in progress and leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Battlestate Games has posted a new video to show behind the scenes footage of how the first cinematic trailer for Escape from Tarkov was made. Scenes include motion capture actors as well as 'gray box' footage prior to the addition of textures and more. It's a fascinating look at the process behind a very detailed cinematic. See what you think!
The first in a series of developer diaries to give behind the scenes look at Conan: Exiles, an upcoming survival title by Funcom and based on the Conan IP. The video diary gives players a first look at some of the features in the game as well as a look at several locations throughout the game.
Conan: Exiles is due out in Early Access this summer.
Check it out!
NCSoft has released its Q4 2015 revenue report that shows quarter-over-quarter growth across the board, including a significant surge for Guild Wars 2 seemingly tied to the release of the Heart of Thorns expansion.
Lineage, Lineage 2, Aion, Blade & Soul and WildStar all experienced growth from Q3 2015 to Q4 2015. You can check out the graph below or download the full PDF here.
You can also check out this MMORPG.com forum thread for more reactions.