Welcome to the first installment of Back to Basics. For the next few months we’re going to use this series to help explain some of the features and mechanics in Trials of Ascension. Throughout this series you’ll notice that the mechanics / features we discuss will differ than what some people would consider “normal” in today’s MMORPG market.
Read more of our exclusive developer diary, Trials of Ascension: Back to Basics - Dynamic Spawning.
R2Games has announced that a major update has been deployed for Zombies Ate My Pizza. The update includes the addition of PvP systems, weapon crafting and dungeons. The new content is aimed at those players of level thirty and above.
Some of the highlights include:
- 3v3 Cross-Server Arena: Unlocked at Level 38, in this PvP system players form parties of three in their own server and are then matched against equivalent parties from other servers. Points are granted to a victory, and players can get points up to 10 times each day.
- Convert and Refine Systems: Unlocked at Levels 37 and 40 respectively, these systems allow players to enhance their weapons by equipping them with Retrofits or changing their Firepower, Luck and Hit attributes.
- Militia Meatwall: This dungeon unlocks for a Level 2 Militia and can be started at any time by a Militia Commander. Only Militia members can join, and participants kill monsters to earn points for Gold and Honor rewards.
Find out more about Zombies Ate My Pizza.
If you haven’t played Heroes before but you have MOBA experience, it’s pretty easy to look at some of the things Blizzard is doing with Heroes and say they’re dumbing things down to reach an even broader audience. I’ll remind you again, the same was said for Hearthstone, and clearly there is more to that story.
Read more of Michael Bitton's Heroes of the Storm: The Hearthstone of MOBAs.
Bioware's Bruce Maclean has penned a new Producer's Letter on the Star Wars: The Old Republic site that announces a delay in the release of the Galactic Strongholds expansion. According to the letter, the June early access will be shifted to August to give the team more time to make the expansion "truly feel like an expansion". From there, Maclean lays out some of what the team hopes to accomplish with the extra time.
This additional time allows us to add:
- Conquest Events: use the power of your Stronghold to dominate these events and earn rewards
- Guild Flagships will now offer expanded functionality for Guilds:
- Provide powerful buffs to Guild members from orbit
- Transport entire groups to your personal coordinates instantaneously
- Compete in Conquest Events to conquer entire planets
- New Stronghold: Tatooine Homestead
- Vehicles, Mounts, Pets, and Companion Characters can be placed as decorations in Strongholds
The additional features and time shift means some adjustments in other parts of our plan:
May 4th remains the Subscriber deadline for Bonus Cartel Coins Grant to the sweet tune of 1000 Cartel Coins!
May 11th is no longer the deadline for Strongholds Early Access rewards but as a thank you to all of our Subscribers as of this date, we are giving you the following rewards:
- Exclusive Subteroth minipet (delivered in Update 2.7.2)
- Two Character Titles “The Intrepid” (delivered in Update 2.7.2) and “The Illustrious” (delivered in Game Update 2.9)
- A sprawling Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with five additional rooms unlocked
- Stronghold Name "Galactic Stronghold"
July 15th is our new deadline for Subscriber Rewards for Early Access, and you must be a Subscriber by this date to claim the Subscriber Early Access Rewards:
- The luxurious Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with three additional rooms unlocked
- Stronghold Name "Galactic Stronghold"
- Character Title "The Illustrious" (delivered in Game Update 2.9)
August 19th is Game Update 2.9: Galactic Strongholds Digital Expansion Subscriber Early Access!
Preferred Early Access and the Official Launch will follow in September and October. Be sure to visit www.swtor.com/galactic-strongholdsfor more specific dates and details.
GameInformer.com continues its revelation of all things Fortnight with their latest article. This time around, the team delves into the Fortnight bestiary to profile some of the baddies that players are likely to encounter.
Epic is crafting a rogues' gallery of unique beasts to complicate your adventures in Fortnite's procedurally generated world. These monsters originate from The Storm, the mysterious purple clouds that form at night and during certain level objectives. While there might not be a whole lot of backstory behind The Storm, this nebulous menace allows Epic to flex its creative muscles when designing enemy types. "We started off with ultimately what feels like a stylized zombie," says Fornite's art director, Pete Ellis. "And then we felt, 'Well, we don't just want zombies. We want some cool ethereal creatures as well.'"
Unlike the enemies you find in most action games, each monster type in Fortnite has been designed with its own purpose and technique for breaching your strongholds and causing havoc.
Read more at the link above.
This week we’re pleased to be joined by Belghast of the Tales of the Aggronaut blog and Aggrochat podcast. Together, we break down how ESO earns its subscription and gives other MMOs a run for their money, especially with an excellent dungeon system. We also discuss SOE’s H1Z1, World of Darkness’ cancellation, LotRO’s new class, and Liore’s reflections on the ArcheAge alpha (!!).
Give Game On a listen!
The Destiny team is ramping up the information release for the upcoming MMO from Bungie. The official site has been overhauled and now features a metric ton of new information about three of the game's classes: Titan, Warlock and Hunter. Launching the site, fans should select "Choose Your Guardian" to see each of the three before being given some background information and a look at each in action.
The same scenario presents itself to "View Your Enemies".
Check out the new website and information about the Destiny classes and enemies.
CD Projekt RED has announced that the second in a five part comic series based on The Witcher series has been released. House of Glass #2 sees Geralt facing off against an army of the undead.
Find out how to get a copy of The Witcher: House of Glass #2.
The EVE Online Fanfest 2014 schedule has been released. This year's convention will include several unique events that set it apart as a refreshingly new and exciting event.
Now in its tenth year, the massive, three-day fan celebration (May 1-3) in Reykjavik, Iceland will feature several unique events to go along with the amazing programming, round tables and sessions EVE fans have come to expect, including:
- The official dedication of the World Within a World monument to EVE Online players in Reykjavik’s harbor the night before Fanfest begins. This event should prove to be a touching event and thank-you to those who made EVE’s first decade possible. More information about the monument can be found at http://eve.com/monument
- The EVE OF DESTRUCTION battle that pits 10 CCP developers and special guests against the undefeated MMA fighter and world-class Jiu-Jitsu specialist Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson in back to back submission wrestling. More information about the match can be found at http://www.ccpgames.com/en/
public-relations/press- releases/article/77208/eve-of- destruction-ccp-developers- brawl-mma-fighter-at-eve- fanfest/
- In this year’s “Make EVE Real” session, Les Johnson, physicist, author and NASA technologist, will give a presentation about how mankind can overcome the challenges of interstellar travel to someday visit and settle other habitable planets using technologies that don’t violate the known laws of physics.
- Announcements about the future of EVE Online, DUST 514 and EVE: Valkyrie, as well as hands-on demos of all three games, and more EVE universe news and special surprises.
- The legendary Party at the Top of the World, featuring three stellar musical acts: Z-Trip (US), FM Belfast (Iceland) and Ásgeir (Iceland). Z-Trip, best known as a founder of the mash-up movement, returns triumphantly from last year’s crowd-thumping performance; local pop-electronica band FM Belfast kicks-off its European tour at the festival; and Ásgeir, having outpaced Sigur Ros and Bjork as the fastest-selling artist in Iceland’s history, is taking a short break from his world tour to perform at Fanfest 2014.
Download the full EVE Online Fanfest 2014 brochure.
Snail Games has announced that the Age of Wushu expansion, Tempest of Strife, is scheduled to launch on May 7th. Tempest of Strife includes new features and several new classes. To celebrate the announcement, the Age of Wushu team has released a brand new trailer. See what you think before leaving your thoughts in the comments.
TERA is turning two this year and is ready to celebrate. We caught up with Producer Patrick Sun to talk about TERA. See what he has to say in this exclusive interview.
Read more of Bill Murphy's TERA: Rising - Ready to Celebrate Its Sophomore Year.
It might be time to add another R to the old acronym, because Ubisoft is building what might be the first major AAA MMORPG built entirely around racing and building an arsenal of cars. With the entirety of the continental United States at your disposal, The Crew (due to launch later in 2014) is a fully-fledged MMO based entirely on racing both AI and your human counterparts. There will be missions, a full overworld to explore, levels to gain, gear to collect and outfit your cars with, and players to meet and compete against. On top of the usual MMO staples, it’ll also be one of the first next gen console MMOs, alongside a PC release when it launches. We went hands on with the game at PAX East and came away highly impressed. The foundation is solid, and if the MMO-ness of a massive world filled with other drivers can be pulled off convincingly, we’re all in for a treat when the rubber hits the road.
Read the rest of Bill Murphy's The Crew: A True Racing MMORPG
After the successful re-launch of Ghost Recon Online: Phantoms, Ubisoft has announced that the redesigned Attica Heights map has been added to the game.
The redesign will allow for more circulation and flanking opportunities for both teams. According to Ghost Recon Phantoms producer Corey Facteau, “Attica Heights Reloaded will make it more difficult for a team to keep control of the capture point, which will require teams to craft new strategies to hold control.”
Find out more about Ghost Recon Online: Phantoms.
Matt Firor has taken to the Elder Scrolls Online forum to speak to player concerns. He addresses black market activity, bots and gold spammers, the duping issue and goes into a bit of detail about some of the fixes Zenimax has put into place already.
As it’s now two and a half weeks since we officially launched on April 4, I think it’s a good time to bring everyone up to date on The Elder Scrolls Online service, maintenance windows, and what we’re doing to add content, make the game better, and address some issues that are near and dear to the community.
First and foremost, please know that we are doing everything we can to combat the gold spammers and bots – especially ones that “camp” dungeon bosses – that you see in game. I play the game every day; I see them too, and yes, they drive me crazy. We have had a daily running battle with them ever since the game launched – moving them from global chat, to in-game email, to creating bogus guilds and inviting players – and we continue to take measures to keep them away from players, even when it isn’t always apparent that we are. Most of the battle has been on the back end of the game – we regularly ban accounts involved in spam and bot activity – our teams are working on better systems to identify those accounts and characters that are doing black market activities, and we’re also working on some game feature refinement to make it harder for them to acquire gold in the first place. Fighting black market activity like gold selling spam and farming bots is a marathon, not a sprint, but we will do whatever we can to reduce their impact on the game.
The scope of the black market activity accounts for up to 85% of Customer Service emails/calls. Because of this huge influx of contact relating to this one issue, our CS team has been slower to react to other problems than planned – our sincere apologies if you have been held up for a long period of time waiting for CS to respond to you. Again, our goal is to keep this activity away from you so you don’t have to contact Customer Service in the first place.
Also very visible was last week’s gold “duping” (duplication) bug – where players could manipulate stacks of items in their inventory to create copies. We fixed the problem and banned the accounts of the worst offenders And yes, we erroneously caught up some legitimate accounts in that ban, for which we apologize – all erroneously banned accounts were reinstated within about 8 hours. Contrary to some reports, exploitation of this bug did not result in destabilizing the ESO economy in any way. We did turn off guild banks to limit the spread of the problem, but that was only until we put up a new version of the game that fixed the exploit later that evening.
All of these fixes have resulted in several more maintenance periods than we planned for – we know that everyone wants to play the game and hates downtime – but please be aware that every time we take down the servers for maintenance, it is either to fix a problem or put up an update that makes the game better. We are working on shortening the length of maintenances, this will get better over time.
So, here’s the list of our more prominent fixes since launch, as well as info about ongoing support that we’re doing for ESO:
- Fixed the bug where a small percentage of players lost their expansion bank slots.
- Fixed quest-blocking bugs, especially ones in Coldharbour, that prevented players from completing either a main quest step, or the Coldharbour zone.
- Fixed many other quest bugs not related to the above where items/NPCs didn’t spawn properly.
- Fixed the Greenshade (Aldmeri Dominion zone) problem, which caused the zone to crash every few hours. This one was fixed on 4/4, but was a problem during early access.
- Fixed two dupe issues: the above one involving stacked items, and another (on a much smaller scale) involving crafting hireling emails.
- Put many back-end fixes and procedures in place to block black market gold farmer activity.
We still have much to do – there still other quest problems on our fix list, most of them involving the situation where they become “de-synched” from the zone and don’t spawn their items or NPCs properly. We are in process of putting up our first major update to the game on our Play Test Server (PTS), which includes many updates to the game, including class and weapon ability tweaks, content fixes, and updates to almost all game systems. It also contains our new end-game Adventure Zone, Craglorn, with Veteran content aimed at 4 and 12-man groups. So stay tuned for PTS patch notes for all the other fixes that we’ve been working on. This is a major update to the game, so it will be on PTS for at least a week or 10 days for testing before we take it live.
We’re working on fixing problems, we’re combatting black market gold farmers, and we have a hefty new patch coming shortly. ESO is already an awesome game, and it will only get better from here. Thanks for your patience and support, and I’ll see you in Tamriel. - Matt
The World of Warcraft team has produced a new video to give players and fans an inside look at PvP and class changes coming in Warlords of Draenor. Also, for the first time, players get a chance to see a bit of the massive war zone, Ashran. Check it out!
The sky is falling. Or it isn’t. Depending who you talk to about The Elder Scrolls Online lately, you might get one or the other of those two responses. The game’s first month has been plagued by a few limited, yet sometimes significant exploits and bugs. These have resulted in criticism toward Zenimax, especially when taken in conjunction with things like a payment mistake that resulted in people being charged upfront by surprise when activating their games to get their included first 30 days, and accidental ban sweeps that affected those found to have done no wrong.
Read more of Christina Gonzalez's Elder Scrolls Online: It's Raining But the Sky Isn't Falling.
The latest WildStar DevSpeak video has been released by Carbine Studios. In this one, the team looks at Warplots, the 80-player PvP extravaganza that combines elements of housing with all-out warfare. Check it out and let us know what you think!
A week or so ago, a Black Desert video showing character customization in Black Desert was released that amazed many fans of the upcoming game. This week, Steparu.com has a pair of in-depth videos that show off customization for two of the game's classes: Sorcerer and Warrior. Prepare your eyes for even more astonishing levels of customization. Let us know what you think!
Ghost Recon Phantoms is the latest in the venerable Tom Clancy series, this time in the form of the Free to Play Model and an instant download. When you start, you will be able to choose from 3 Classes, Assault, Recon and Support, with each class having the ability to use 2 technological devices that allow you to provide tactical support to your teammates. Currently there are over 40 customizable weapons with a wide range of tweaks on top of that.
Read more of Ripper X's Ghost Recon Online: Phantoms - A Promising Departure from Pay-to-Win.
The Dark Souls II team has released a brand new trailer called "Longing" that celebrates Friday's PC release on Steam. Check it out and let us know what you think! Will you be trying out Dark Souls II on PC?