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General : How a Timely Video Can Make or Break a Game

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

DC Universe Online : Amazon Fury Part II Released for All

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.


Guild Wars 2 : Stronghold PvP to be Shown During Friday's Live Stream

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

Star Wars: The Old Republic : Does It Actually Matter if SWTOR is Canon or Not?

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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?

Guild Wars 2 : My Greatest Fear Storyline to Return

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

General : Sword Coast Legends Announced - Tabletop on PC

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by William Murphy

n-Space and Digital Extremes have announced that they are working to bring the tabletop DnD experience to PC users with Sword Coast Legends. The game will feature five character classes and will allow players to work through what is described as an immersive story line. Most excitingly, Sword Coast Legends will offer "Dungeon Master Mode" that allows DMs to lead players through custom-created adventures, though it can also be played cooperatively as a more traditional RPG as well.

n-Space and Digital Extremes are working in concert with Wizards of the Coast to bring Sword Coast Legends to players some time in 2015 and will feature the 5th Edition Ruleset for DnD. According to IGN, Sword Coast Legends is being created by some of the team behind Bioware's Dragon Age: Origins, including Dan Tudge.

 “With Sword Coast Legends we are also continuing the legacy of the Baldur’s Gate series so you will see strong influences from not only those games, but from Dragon Age: Origins as well. You will definitely feel the influence in the tactical party-based combat, pause and play and character progression, but it’s the rich story and memorable characters where the influence is strongest.“

Preorders of Sword Coast Legends have already begun. Check out the brand new Sword Coast Legends site for more information.


General : The Daily Quest - Now What Happens to Norrath?

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by William Murphy

A bit of a somber Daily Quest for you all today. In the wake of Norrathian leaders Dave Georgeson and Steve Danuser, plus so many others leaving Daybreak/SOE... we have to ask the impossible. What's going to become of EverQuest as a franchise?

Many can say that Norrath hasn't been the same since it lost the battle with WoW in 2004, but for a great many gamers the folks who were let go as a part of Daybreak's restructuring were EverQuest for the past decade. And with little being shared of what EQ Next is to become over the past several months, we're all wondering just how close EQN will be to its original design manifesto. 
 
Will Daybreak soldier on with the plans laid down by Smokejumper and others, or will the overall goals change to something less grandiose and more "easy target"? Will EQ1 remain a part of the live game catalog or will it be closing up shop now that Thom Terrazas is gone?
 
The future of Norrath is a confusing and worrying one, from my own standpoint. Landmark may just have been the testbed for the tools being used to make Next, but now I wonder if Next ever will er... be next.

So let's hear it... what do you think will happen to the EverQuest franchise under Daybreak Games?

General : Not So MMO - The Games that Almost Make the Cut

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

Crowfall : "Buy Once, Play Forever" Revealed as Revenue Model

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

General : Affected Daybreak Employees & A Call to End Hate

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

World of Warcraft : $1.9M Headed to Africa to Assist the Red Cross

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

EverQuest Next : On Removing Pillars of the Everquest Community

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

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.

Dying Light : Hard Mode Incoming

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The Dying Light team has some big plans for the coming months, not the least of which is the announcement that hard mode is incoming as a direct result of player feedback. Hard mode will be implemented in the first update and will feature night time play, bigger, harder, stronger monsters, an increased need for silence and stealth, and more that the team is keeping up their sleeve for the time being.

”A few gamers have already finished Dying Light and are asking for more. So we’re going to give our community a new challenge that will put everything they learnt in the game to the test. Hard Mode is exactly that. We’re aiming to have it out around the start of March, if not sooner. Depends on how brutal we wanna make this on people” – Tymon Smekta?a, Producer.

Read more on the Dying Light site.

Michael Bitton : The Bizarre Life and Death of Shadow Realms

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Michael Bitton

The short period of time between Shadow Realms’ announcement and its subsequent cancelation has left me back where I started: scratching my head. I can’t help but wonder what went on internally to make for such a sudden shift within a couple of months.

Read more of Michael Bitton's The Bizarre Life and Death of Shadow Realms.

EverQuest Next : Dave Georgeson and Linda Carlson Let Go from Daybreak

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

When SOE turned into Daybreak Game Studio after being acquired by investment company Columbus Nova, readers began to speculate when staff shake ups would begin. A week later and rumors are beginning to float our way that at least two major players at Daybreak have received pink slips.

Posts on social media for both David Georgeson and Linda Carlson indicate that each major player in the SOE (now Daybreak Games) group have been let go from their work at the studio. Dave was the franchise lead behind all EverQuest titles, while Linda was the head of all community at SOE/Daybreak.

UPDATE from the SOE/Daybreak forums:

Dear Players, Partners & Friends,

Last week we announced that we were acquired and are now operating independently as Daybreak Game Company. To better position our newly independent studio for future growth opportunities and to deliver on our legacy of making top online games, we have had to make some tough choices including realignment of resources.

Unfortunately, this realignment means adjusting staffing as well. We announced today that we will eliminate positions in our San Diego and Austin studios. We deeply value our employees and never take these decisions lightly so we’ve done our best to do what’s right for the people affected. Although extremely difficult, these are necessary actions that will ultimately drive improved results and help strengthen our company’s foundation for success. Many of us are saying goodbye to close friends and colleagues who we’ve worked with over the years, and we are grateful for the memories and all that they’ve contributed. They will be greatly missed, and we wish them nothing but the best for the future.

These reductions will not affect the operation of our current games and as mentioned above, will help better position our company for future success. As we move forward, we are committed to delivering the best online games and working side-by-side with our players to drive the future of our online games.

Thank you for your continued support,
The Daybreak Games Team

We will keep you posted as the story develops and as we learn if there are more people affected.

UPDATE @ 9:55pm ET: Steve Danuser, the Lore Master himself, has also been let go from SOE. 

   

 

Skyforge : Using Stats to Create the Character You Wish

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The latest Obsidian Entertainment and the Allods Team have posted lengthy and comprehensive look at how Skyforge players will be able to create the precise characters they wish to play by utilizing stats and abilities. According to the article, players are able to experiment with different synergies of abilities and stats on items to gain specific advantages for their chosen character class and play style.

Players begin with a basic set of stats that are somewhat interchangeable regardless of class. However, there are certain stats that are attached to a player's basic character class as well.  Players can enhance their class abilities and chose stat preferences with equipment, the Ascension Atlas and through developing their Order.

Equipment will feature five tiers from Common to Legendary, with each tier having more modifiers than the last. By choosing ahead of time which stats are preferable to increase, players can adequately choose the correct equipment to bring that goal closer to fruition.

Players develop their Order by placing patrons in territories, building chapels and monuments, etc. Altars are attached to chapels that will see players receive bonuses that can then be applied to a preferred stat.

The article goes into more detail, so head to the Skyforge site to check it out.

General : Blast from the Past (Kinda) - Atari's Asteroids: Outpost

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

Fans of the old arcade classic "Asteroids" will be happy to hear that Atari is resurrecting the IP in a sense with the newly announced Asteroids: Outpost, an open world sandbox survival MMO for PC. The game will feature players gathering resources, staking claims, crafting equipment and protecting all their worldly (or otherworldly) goods.

Players are sent to our Solar System's asteroid belt to claim their rock in order to reap the mineral harvests the Earth colonies need.

“Asteroids is one of the most iconic titles in Atari’s portfolio of more than 200 games and franchises, and we’re looking forward to ushering the game into today’s digital gaming era,” said Fred Chesnais, Chief Executive Officer, Atari. “We’re paying homage to the original Asteroids by incorporating classic features such as asteroid blasting capabilities, while introducing a completely new premise and gameplay. Asteroids: Outpost will appeal to both fans of the classic Asteroids as well as enthusiasts of immersive survival games and expansive MMOs.”

According to the press release, PC early access is slated to begin soon. In the meantime, head to the Asteroids: Outpost site.

    

Star Trek Online : Tier 6 Command Battlecruisers Introduced

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

The Star Trek Online site has been updated with a new post that introduces the forthcoming Tier 6 Command Battlecruisers. The Command Captain Specialization tree and Command Bridge Officers were recently introduced into STO during its anniversary update and, according to the blog post, players will be able to take full advantage of these new features with a Command Battlecruiser.

The new ships will be available in one of three ways via the in game shop:

  • individual ships will cost 3000 Zen
  • faction specific bundles with all three variations for 6000 Zen
  • super bundle that contains all three variations for all three factions for 12000 Zen

Command Battlecruisers will utilize the new "Inspiration" mechanic. Player ships gain inspiration by activating bridge officer abilities. Once certain levels of inspiration have been achieved, ships can use special abilities:

  • Against All Odds: a bonus to damage as well as a reduction in weapon power cost
  • Battle Preparation: Bridge Officer abilities receive a reduction in recharge time
  • Turn the Tide: regenerate hull hit points very quickly and have damage resistances increased

Read more about these massive and impressive new ships on the Star Trek Online site.

ArcheAge : Diamond Shores - Additional Content Coming Soon

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

In an effort to give high-level players more areas in which to level, Trion Worlds will be introducing the Diamond Shores to ArcheAge as well as altering the level of monsters in other areas. The e has been updated with a preview of the Diamond Shores with a small bit of background and a fairly precise location with instructions how to get there.

The Diamond Shores will launch with a forthcoming update and will begin its tenure in the game as a contested PvP zone. Open world PvP will be both supported and encouraged. By enabling PvP throughout the entire zone, players are encouraged to continue working their way to zones further south of the Diamond Shores and to keep fishing activities spread throughout the entire Arcadian Sea.

Read more about the background and location of the Diamond Shores on the ArcheAge site.

Bill Murphy : Everything is Not Alright

Posted Feb 11, 2015 by Suzie Ford

We’re at a turning point, people. Or rather, we have been. The MMORPG boom is over, and we’re settling into a new era for these games. For many of you, that’s scary. Some even seem ready to state that the MMO is “dead”. I’m biased, but I’m not so bleak. In my eyes, everything that’s gone wrong in the industry for the past 5 years or more has done nothing but make us free to explore the potential of what I consider the greatest genre there has ever been or will be.  Everything is not alright in the MMO world, but that’s OK.

Read more of Bill Murphy's Everything's Not Alright.

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