Are you revved up for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion? How about revved up enough to test it? If that sounds like fun to you, you’ll be pleased to know that the beta test will be kicking off “shortly” after this and next weekend’s PAX and Rezzed events. How will it work? First, there’s no NDA.
There will be no nondisclosure agreements for these beta tests. Those of you who are selected as testers will be free to talk about your experiences and to post streams and videos of the content you play. Please understand that these are early beta tests designed to stress core systems of an expansion that’s still in development. Because we’re stressing core systems, we’ll start with a very small pool of testers and then grow a little with each successful test.
It’s been four years since RIFT came out and the Trion Worlds team hosted a party in Boston to celebrate the game, so it’s high time for another fan gathering. That’s the logic behind Trion’s upcoming PAX East party in Boston, which celebrates the game’s anniversary and the first day of the convention with a fan gathering, complete with a free Arclight Rider and some real-world loot while supplies last.
RIFT fans with no need for the various bits of swag might still want to attend, as the party will include face time with the developers and some announcements about the future. The party is a bit offsite, and space is limited, so head over promptly at 6 p.m. EST on Friday if you want to get in. There’s even a trailer for the party just past the break, for those who need a little more urging.
When Funcom recently teased an upcoming forum-only event for The Secret World, my interest was immediately piqued. Though we have scant details right now, said announcement was met with equal enthusiasm by many other fans. There were those, however, who questioned why time and effort isn’t being directed toward more in-game activities and content to enhance the game itself. The reason is that this is TSW!
What I think those folks are missing is that this particular title is in fact an experience, not just a game. The Secret World draws you in like nothing else can. No where is the suspension of disbelief so masterfully created as in this game that is literally set in our world, using our very customs, myths, and folklore to weave a tale. Blurring the lines between the game and reality is what TSW is all about. That’s why things like ARGs are so perfect for it: The game is quite literally brought to life, and you are left questioning what is real and what isn’t.
Funcom wants to offer more play out of the game? Bring it on! To do anything less would be to waste one of the game’s biggest strengths.
The latest salvo in the ongoing free-to-play culture war comes courtesy of former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert. In a GDC talk titled “Embracing the Paradigm Shift: Converting a Premium Team to an (Enthusiastic!) Freemium Team,” Schubert advocates for a terminology shift from the word “whale” to the word “patron.”
“These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect,” Schubert told his audience.
GameIndustry.biz summarizes the presentation, which saw Schubert advance the narrative that F2P is the future. “Imagine if you will that EA and DICE manage to figure out how to make a true Battlefield 5 experience that is actually a good free-to-play experience,” he said. “They’ll have an increase in profits, they’ll claim the free-to-play first-person shooter experience, Call of Duty will have to flip, and then the whole genre will flip.”
Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic
will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player
, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.
I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.
In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.
This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.
Those of you looking forward to that Star Wars: The Old Republic
speed-run e-sports thing
are out of luck, at least for now. BioWare
community manager Eric Musco
says that the firm is “canceling its ESL Operation Victory
competition,” and he cites problems with the Coratanni encounter as the primary issue.
“We spent a lot of time this week testing bug fixes to see how viable the fixed version would be in a speed running environment,” Musco explained. “We have applied improvements to the Coratanni encounter as of tomorrow’s patch but there are still situations that could impact players focused on a timed run.”
The next big thing coming for The Secret World won’t be in the game itself — it’ll be in the forums.
Funcom, which has had a long record of doing out-of-the-box activities for TSW, has been hinting that it’s preparing an “epic contest” for March. The studio’s already put out a call for cabals to contribute a prize package to the proceedings.
Massively OP reader Nordavind passed along a note from one of the game’s community managers about the event, who said, “This is not going to be a one-day event. This will not be in-game. This will only be in our forums. We even have super-secret forums already set up for this! When we say that every facet of TSW is represented in our contest, we’re talking about: PvP, RP, cosplay, audiophiles, fashionistas, social gamers, handcrafters, and even videographers!”
[Source: Official forums
. Thanks to Nordavind for the tip!]
Shroud of the Avatar isn’t even in proper alpha testing yet, but the fantasy title has already been host to its first in-game wedding.
Players Roper and Keira tied the virtual knot in an action-packed proceedings that included intense vow-making, fiery battles, and a knighting ceremony. Lord British and several members of the dev team also made appearances to bestow blessings on the newlyweds.
You can watch the highlights of the ceremony after the jump!
While players hold solemn vigils
for the late, great Leonard Nimoy, MMO developers are working quickly to place tributes in-game to the actor who played Star Trek’s Spock.
“Everyone at Cryptic Studios was saddened to hear of his passing and we want to make sure we never forget the cultural impact of the man or the character he played,” posted Executive Producer Steve Ricossa. “To that end, the Star Trek Online team will implement a standing in-game memorial to Spock and Leonard Nimoy this Thursday March 5th with our regular weekly maintenance.”
Based on how many awards it won last year and how many Massively OP writers and guildies have been sucked into it, I know I am not alone in my apparent crush on Marvel Heroes and its MMO-ish loot piñata “one more mission” ways. A good MMOARPG is the video game equivalent of comfort food. It’s cheap and delicious. (Plus, I get more of a City of Heroes vibe from it than any other [launched] superhero MMO I’ve tried.)
But the events, guys. There is literally an event every single weekend. It’s overwhelming. Right now, there’s not just one bonus weekend going on but two. Buffs. Loot drops. Experience gain. It’s pretty crazy. It must be working for them, but I admit I get fatigued by the avalanche of events. It actually makes me feel less pressure to log in and play because I know if I miss an event this weekend, next weekend will bring another one. Maybe two!
How about you? Do you get MMO “event fatigue”?
Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
It’s hard to believe that in a few days on March 1st, RIFT will turn four years old. According to the site, the fantasy title has racked up “two expansions, four islands, six dragons, and 22 updates.”
So how will RIFT celebrate the occasion? By throwing a carnival, of course! The annual birthday Carnival of the Ascended will be returning with plenty of minigames, quests, and prizes for all to enjoy. There’s even a new twisted carousel ram mount to go with loot piñatas and a party duck pet. Party duck never commits a party fowl!
The anniversary event will continue through March 18th.
“Fledgling adventurers continue to arrive in Eorzea in droves,” says Square
, “and we are pleased to announce that the realm is now home to four million registered accounts.” According to Square, that number represents global registered accounts and does not include trial accounts.
To celebrate, Final Fantasy XIV is hosting a free login campaign that starts Friday, February 27th, at 3:00 a.m. EST and runs through Monday, March 9th, at 4:00 a.m. EST. You’ll need to have previously purchased and registered your copy of A Realm Reborn and have an inactive account to be eligible. Alternatively there’s a 14-day Steam demo.
The four million figure represents a healthy increase from the 2.5 million reported by Square in December, 2014.
; thanks Kev and Wratts!]
has partnered with e-sports company ESL Gaming
to host a competition dubbed Operation Victory
. It involves speed-running eight-player story mode operations from Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
recent Shadow of Revan
expansion, and qualifying heats start next Tuesday, March 3rd.
Prizes include cash, in-game items, and a trip to the Star Wars: Celebration convention. BioWare says that further contest info is forthcoming.
[Source: SWTOR forums