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Ex-WoW lead Rob Pardo says industry devs are avoiding the ‘MMO’ label

MMOs aren’t going anywhere, but the label may be on the way out. This comes from former World of Warcraft lead Rob Pardo, who said in an interview that developers are avoiding the term “MMO” like the plague these days.

“If anything, I think people are even avoiding the term MMO,” Pardo said. “A really good example is Destiny. It clearly is an MMO. But they’re really trying to avoid calling it that, and obviously it is a very different type of game. But I think that’s a good example of how with MMOs, the term has been eliminated. But you kind of continue to see the influence in games that are persistent world games that have spawned out of that. It’s just people seem to avoid the term MMO now.”

Pardo also affirmed that Blizzard hasn’t given up on MMOs, even though the studio canceled Titan last year. “I think there’s still a big belief within Blizzard that MMOs are a great genre to be in,” he commented, going on to say that WoW’s success meant that the studio kept more people on that team instead of farming them out to Titan and other projects.

Source: Develop via Gamasutra

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RIFT community manager: ‘RIFT is in zero danger’

The health of a game is always important to the players; no one wants to make a home that’s going to be shut down in a few weeks. Players on the RIFT forums were asking about precisely that, and community manager Ocho responded with a rather lengthy post on the state of the game from the development side. While he stopped shy of giving an actual number for the development team, he did state that it is the largest he has ever worked with and that the game is in absolutely zero danger of shutting down or fading away.

Meanwhile, fans with less fear for the future are keeping their eyes on Gamescom with speculation that the aforementioned developers will finally discuss the game’s fifth calling. Rumors have swirled for some time based upon test server builds that the new calling will be Primalist, but the most recent speculation is that something definitive will be said during the convention.

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Make My MMO: August 1, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon met its Kickstarter goal with over 23 days to spare. The fantasy sandpark benefited from some positive word-of-mouth in the MMO community, due in no small part to the fact that the title features a pre-alpha build that anyone can pick up and play right now.

In other news, Shroud of the Avatar pushed its big Release 20 patch live, and Star Citizen continued to set the internet on fire with the latest in a long line of much-ado-about-nothing brouhahas. Catch up on all of the week’s crowdfunding news after the break.

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Worlds Adrift team shows off gliders, cameras, and more

Bossa Studios has published a new Worlds Adrift video focused on some additional gameplay features cooked up during a recent jam session.

The new stuff includes a pretty sweet glider that can be used in tandem with the game’s grappling hook to travel over and around all of the floating islands. Also new is an in-game camera which, when equipped, captures all of your memorable moments. You can even craft picture frames to display your handiwork if you’re feeling really frisky. Finally, the team worked on ship horns and lamps.

The video says that there’s no guarantee that any of this new stuff will make it into Worlds Adrift’s production schedule as full features, but it’s nonetheless neat to see. Click past the cut for the full clip.

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Betawatch: July 31st, 2015

I’m not going to pretend to fully understand why people are super excited about Tree of Savior, but I’m still very happy that the people who are super excited about it are seeing forward motion with its first English beta test on August 4th. Seriously, that’s great news; Phantasy Star Online 2 fans have been waiting for that much news since the game was announced, and that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Other beta news? Oh, yes.

And yes, folks, there’s a list of games below! There always is. Plus, we’d love to know if a game slipped into a different testing phase but we missed it; let us know in the comments.

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Camelot Unchained wants stealth but not the sucky kind

Today’s Camelot Unchained update is a long one, and that’s because Mark Jacobs has a lot to cover. He talks about everything from backer benefits to the game’s terrain code and, oh yeah, there’s a little bit about the new stealth stretch goal.

Jacobs goes to great lengths to describe how Camelot Unchained’s version of stealth won’t be easy mode, or an I-win button, or any of the other things that you may have groaned about when you read the word stealth. “It is a word loaded with more baggage than the Kardashian household on a family vacation,” Jacobs says.

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Bashiok bids Blizzard adieu

Blizzard’s long-time community manager, Bashiok (known in the earlier days as Drysc), is leaving the studio after more than a decade of wrangling the World of Warcraft forums. Bashiok, who has been a constant figure in the WoW community since October 2003, has announced that he’s leaving to pursue a new opportunity. In a short-but-sweet post on the official forums, he notes that his time with the studio and the community had “an incredible and positive impact” on who he is, and he signs off by wishing players the best: “I’m looking forward to what’s next, and wishing you a life of joy, insatiable curiosity, and happy gaming.”

Source: Departure announcement via Blizzard Watch. Thanks, Scott!

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Guild Wars 2 is up, WildStar is down in NCsoft’s 2015 Q2 financial report

NCsoft has published its second quarter 2015 financial report, and it’s basically a repeat of quarter one.

The company attributes its quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year boosts primarily to Blade & Soul’s “strong performance” in East Asia and momentum in Taiwan as well as the Lineage series’ continued dominance.

Western sales for the company rose slightly over last quarter but are down year-over-year, probably because its major expected releases, expansions, and conversions in 2015 haven’t happened yet. Guild Wars 2 and Aion are both up on the quarter and year. WildStar, on the other hand, continues to struggle, having lost a fifth of its sales since the May report.

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EverQuest II’s prog server isn’t as fun as the real thing

I’ve been playing the crap out of EverQuest II for the past week. Funnily enough, the vast majority of said playtime hasn’t been on the new progression servers. I hit Stormhold hard when it launched last week, and I got multiple characters up to level 10ish and firmly ensconced in a post-Isle of Refuge quest line or two.

And then I realized how much better I like the current version of the game.

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Here’s how to tell what features are on your EverQuest II account

I recently returned to EverQuest II, and since it’s been over a year since I played it seriously, I figured I had better pony up and buy all of the expansion content that I missed. Trouble is, I couldn’t remember what I already owned, nor had I really kept up with all of the content released since I played last, and Daybreak currently offers no obvious way of viewing all of your account entitlements.

EQ2Wire to the rescue, though, as the site sussed out what appears to be a hidden link that does indeed list every expansion, adventure pack, veteran reward, SOE Live exclusive, and Legends of Norrath card game claim item that you can use in EQII. Naturally you’ll need to be logged into your Daybreak account via the company’s website for the link to work, and it’s also worth noting that all of your entitlements appear twice as of press time.

In other franchise news, Daybreak’s Holly Longdale posted a brief producer’s update on the official EverQuest forums.

Source: EQ2Wire

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Starr Long on story focus and Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 20

Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 20 is accessible right now, assuming you’re a backer at the First Responder level and above, or that you attended the recent Classic Game Fest.

Producer Starr Long has penned a lengthy instruction post that’s a good read for anyone new to the fantasy title’s community, which Long says “continues to be the most amazing community” he has ever worked with. Release 20 is one of SotA’s biggest patches to date, and it includes “a wealth of new content” that moves the fantasy sandbox closer to alpha, according to Long.

He also mentions that Portalarium will be visibly ramping up its focus on SotA’s story, now that many of the game mechanics are in place. “We have to build the entire simulation first and then put the narrative over that foundation, so the story has had to wait until that time,” Long explains.

Source: Release 20 instructions

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Heroes & Generals releases anniversary infographic, claims 5.5 million users

A year ago this month, Heroes & Generals launched on Steam. To celebrate the anniversary, developer Reto-Moto has released a huge infographic featuring a boat load of stuff that’s been added to the World War II shooter over the past 12 months.

When I say stuff, I mean combat badges, scopes, dozens of new weapons and vehicles, the forward airfield map, officer and general characters, and more. In terms of numbers, Reto-Moto claims 5.5 million users for its free-to-play title and it says that it has crushed 2,296 bugs since the Steam launch.

Get your scroll wheel ready and click past the cut for the graphic!

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WoW Factor: Speculating on WoW’s next expansion

On August 6th, we now know, we’ll be hearing the name and some details on the next World of Warcraft expansion. What we don’t know is what that expansion will actually contain. The space after this expansion is a blanker space than usual, with lots of possible directions and an absolute dearth of information indicating what direction the story will go in from here.

More to the point, the next expansion is going to be judged pretty harshly simply by virtue of coming immediately after an expansion best described as “maybe worse than Cataclysm.” It’s an uphill battle all around. Now that we know for certain that we will be hearing about the next expansion in a little over a week, let’s look a little bit at what we might be exploring in the next expansion in both story and mechanical terms.

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