Following Jagex’s sale to China’s Fukong Interactive Entertainment back in 2016, there’s been some concern and curiosity over the fate of the studio and its flagship MMO RuneScape. In an interview with Games Industry, Acting CEO Phil Mansell revealed that the transition to this new era has been a “relief” and resulted in growth for both Jagex and RuneScape.
Mansell said that the new ownership has been a net positive for the company: “[Fukong] want us to grow, of course, and they’re being supportive. But they are not looking for some crazy, transformative, risky things. They want us to focus on what we’re good at. They’ve looked at RuneScape and said you can do more with that. Can you make more games? Yeah, we can. Can we work on multiple platforms? Yes. It is a measured approach and the right things to be doing.”
Mansell said that Fukong is setting itself up to be a global entertainment powerhouse with Jagex forming the hub of its western arm. While RuneScape 3 and Old School RuneScape remain at the core of the business, Jagex is branching out into other ventures, such as looking at other studios to acquire, VR tech for RuneScape, adding new games teams, and prototyping ideas dreamed up by the team during designated brainstorming time. No matter what, however, he said that the company under his leadership will see projects driven by player desires and feedback.
“Pay-to-win” is old news now — game designers’ new plan for hoovering all the cash out of our wallets is “pay-to-loot.”
According to IGN’s Nathan Lawrence, who dives into the topic today, that’s the term game psychologists are using to describe what online gamers have been derisively referring to as gambleboxes and lockboxes for years: You’re essentially buying chances at a thing, paying to roll the dice and let the RNG gods determine your reward, padding the game’s coffers all the while.
The gambling references aren’t accidental; one expert calls lootboxes a “poker machine-like experience,” while another points to the phenomenon as an exploitation of human nature:
As we reported back in February, long-time ArenaNet artist Daniel Dociu left the studio after many years of helping to shape the distinctive visual style of the Guild Wars franchise. The baton of art director was passed down to his son Horia, who has worked off and on with studio since 2003.
Horia Dociu sat down with Rock Paper Shotgun for an interview last Friday to talk about the challenge of succeeding his father. “I think we share a lot of ideas,” he said. “It’s easy to say that I learned it all from him, but the truth is, I learned from seeing his methods work over the years […] I certainly am not trying to fill my dad’s shoes. That’s the first thing I had to tell myself — it’s impossible to be someone else, so just be yourself.”
Dociu said that under his direction, Guild Wars 2 will not be stagnant but will innovate and embrace “constant change” as it always has without ruining the foundation that’s been built: “I love the world of Guild Wars, and it’d be equally a crime for me to force a change in it arbitrarily as it would be for me to try and rehash anything we’ve done before. ”
Funcom’s Joel Bylos features in a Twitch interview on Gamasutra this week talking up Conan Exiles and explaining the core difference between server-based survival games versus Funcom’s “old MMOs,” as the interviewer put it. Bylos’ answer actually makes a lot of sense.
“[In] The Secret World, we focused very strongly on making really cool and interesting content and story, and the idea was to make it interesting to play. The thing is, with an MMO, a lot of focus goes into repeatable content. A lot of focus goes into things like ‘I’m gonna run this dungeon six times’ or 20 times or 200 times, right? So we need reward systems that give you tokens, that let you build or buy better items. There’s a lot of itemization discussion in MMOs. In a game like Conan Exiles, people are going to lose stuff, and we know that. We need to make it so that they can keep rebuilding stuff, keep creating stuff, keep progressing in the game, but not necessarily wanting them to go, ‘Oh, I want you to go grind this dungeon 50 times so that you can do the next dungeon – slightly harder.’ So [Conan Exiles] is not so much about this very small percentage of power increase to increase your character’s progression. That’s what I would say is a big difference in these type of games.”
Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet
Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer
, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule
, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.
Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?
Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!
After a week-long delay, Star Wars: The Old Republic
launches its first major patch to the Knights of the Eternal Throne
expansion as Update 5.2: The War For Iokath today. The update continues your story directly where Eternal Throne
left off and reintroduces classic companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorne.
Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke at length and answered a few of our most pressing questions about the update — everything from Quinn and Galactic Command ranks to raiding dynamics and win trading. Boyd doesn’t shy away from addressing any of them. Watch our interview with him in the video below to get caught up on everything coming in the update — plus check out the update’s official trailer!
Just a week ago, Niantic told Pokemon Go players that “all new cooperative social gameplay experiences” were on the way, which led to speculation — backed up by datamining — that the content was gym raids. Now a Japanese blog has an interview out appearing to confirm that rumor.
K-Tai Watch spoke to Niantic’s Yoshiji Kawashima and Kenji Suka, who confirmed that a “huge” event “unlike anything we’ve seen so far” is coming this summer, complete with brand-new mechanics to support it. Pokemon Go Hub, which translated the interview from Japanese to English, says that “PvP, Trading and Raids are in development, but the release dates for these features are not yet finalised” and reiterated that “Niantic confirmed that cooperative gameplay is coming this spring.”
“I hope you are looking forward to this huge event this summer,” Kawashima is quoted as saying (translated to English). “Please look forward to it. Engineers are working hard now so that new functions can be implemented.”
Today’s EVE Online
is a far cry from the empty but hopeful sandbox released back in 2003, having constantly re-invented itself for over 14 years and put together some incredibly ambitious visions for the future. Executive Producer Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren
shared one of these visions in her Fanfest keynote speech four years ago
, laying out the long-term goal of having players build their own stargates, explore deep space and colonise previously undiscovered star systems. This trajectory has brought us Citadels, Engineering Complexes, and soon Upwell Refineries, but it isn’t the only plan for evolving EVE
and it may not even be the most impressive one.
Last year we heard from CCP Burger and CCP Affinity on some amazing advances that had been made in NPC AI for the powerful roaming Drifter ships, and broad plans to integrate parts of that more widely into the game, possibly even creating something CCP Burger called “PvPvE.” We got our first taste of the end result after EVE Vegas 2016 when NPC mining operations began appearing in certain star systems and mimicking the activity of real player mining ops — They had mining barges hoovering up rocks in the belts, haulers picking up the ore, and even combat ships using PvP setups and strategies modelled on real players that would chase attackers around the star system. This first iteration of the feature was impressive, but at EVE Fanfest 2017 we discovered that an even more incredible future awaits EVE players.
Read on for a breakdown of the next stage in EVE‘s PvE gameplay and an interview with CCP Seagull on how this feature will be rolled out over high-security space and beyond.
Recently, the Dark and Light team posted an interview with… itself, which is a totally normal thing to do. It’s actually a pretty interesting read about the tack that the team is taking with its worldbuilding design, particularly in the first section of the game.
Players will begin their journey in Dark and Light in a 20-area region called The Sacred Path. Here they’ll enjoy protection and resources of one of three capital cities before venturing off to create their own houses and outposts. The devs said that there are plenty of places to explore and secrets to uncover, particularly those floating about in the sky. With about 70 to 100 people per server, the devs expect that everyone will have enough elbow room to explore and build without worrying about the crush of crowds.
Earlier this month, we covered SuperData’s report on the state of gambling practices in digital games, in which one of the analysis firm’s claims was that Valve’s ordeal last year — whereby government regulatory boards investigated the company’s level of complicity in illegal gambling of Dota skins — have put a chill on other studios considering similar arrangements, to say nothing of the CS:GO legal drama. “No other company wants to be next,” SuperData said.
But apparently there’s one company: Wargaming. The studio’s Head of Global Competitive Gaming, Mohamed Fadl, told Gamespot that betting in gaming could become “one of the major incomes for esports or streaming platforms.”
“You’re stupid to say betting is bad,” Fadl reportedly said. “It’s a natural part of sports.”
Last month, TERA’s community chose the name of its new class, and next week players will get to not only see that Valkyrie in action but play her when Honorbound launches on April 11th. Ahead of the launch, I got to get my hands on the class while joining the devs for a run through if the dungeon Vault of Kaprima. Michael Santora, product manager, acted as tour guide and shared interesting tidbits about the class as we warmed up for our run on the BAMS in the dungeon. With Scott Magner (writer) as tank and Robin MacPherson (associate product manager) as healer, what could go wrong?
One should really never ask that question and tempt fate! I might have suffered a death or three in the dungeon as I played this melee class for the very first time, but it was still fun to do — and I am not even a fan of melee. Here are my first impressions of the class, and don’t forget to tune in later today and tomorrow for official livestreams showing her off.
In an interview with Pantheon Senior Game Designer Corey LeFever on MMO Play, LeFever said that the dev team is “very satisfied” with the progress that the team has made over the past couple of years.
The interview serves as a decent overview of what Pantheon is about, although knowledgeable fans might find it slim pickings for new information. LeFever does discuss the open world aspect of the game as well as climates, class roles, and Pantheon’s group-centric philosophy.
“We really have put a lot of our blood, sweat, and tears into this project, and we hope that comes across when our fans see the streams and public facing updates,” LeFever said. “It’s a rare opportunity to work on a project like this in the manner that we do, and we take that seriously. As far as the next dev steps? We’re pretty focused on continuing on all fronts: systems, classes, new zones… you name it.”
Did you get your fill of Secret World Legends
answers from the first half of our exclusive interview
with Game Director Romain Amiel
? Us neither. Luckily, we have the scoop on much more regarding the Secret World
reboot. (Hey, we did mention we had lots of questions!) Here, Amiel focuses on the story and the missions, monetization, transferring your favorite cosmetics, content releases, optimization, and more. Keep reading to learn the 411.
Don’t panic! Nothing has been taken away from the story. In fact, it has been added to. Amiel described how in some places you move to the next part of the main story mission without even knowing why — you just do. Illustrating with the example of Egypt, he noted that bits have been added to make it clearer why players must move from one place to another The basic story is the same, and the awesome cut scenes are the same, there’s just more. Whew.