Diablo III previews the armor, powers, and rift improvements of patch 2.2

Diablo III‘s next major patch is a quality-of-life patch, meaning that it’s not going to come with a huge influx of new content. If you’re tired of seeing the exact same rift layouts every single time you jump into a rift, though, it’s a very good thing. The patch will include new tilesets and new layouts both, so you’ll be finding something new to explore instead of familiar and worn-out places.

And what awaits you for exploring? New armor, for one. Three new endgame armor sets are being added to the game with the patch, along with 15 new Legendary powers. You’ll also have new bounties, new goblins to chase, and a new cosmetics window for all the pretty toys that don’t affect gameplay. Along with the usual variety of bugfixes, it’s not going to be a patch replete with new content, but it should make playing through familiar content more enjoyable.

[Source: First Look: Patch 2.2.0]

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The Stream Team: Final Fantasying

Final Fantasy XIV is a game about Chocobos, crystals, and cat people as far as the eye can see. Join MassivelyOP’s Mike Foster tonight as he runs some hard modes and prays to the RNG gods for even one piece of loot he can roll on (and lose to a Scholar).

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

What: Final Fantasy XIV
Who: Mike Foster
When: 7:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 20th, 2015

Enjoy the show!

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Trials of Ascension attempts another Kickstarter campaign

Permadeath, corpse looting, and no mini-map: Will this be tempting enough to get the community on board with donations? Trials of Ascension hopes so, as the fantasy sandbox has launched a new Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $600,000 for further development. The team says that it already has a product worth backing: “We have a playable prototype on very stable network code along with a solid server infrastructure.”

Forged Chaos undoubtedly hopes to overcome its failure from its 2013 Kickstarter campaign. After only pulling in $86,835 out of a $750,000 goal, the studio canceled the campaign and switched to an open donation system.

If all goes well with the campaign, Trials of Ascension is looking at alpha and beta tests in 2016 and a planned 2017 launch.

[Source: Kickstarter, old Kickstarter]

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Ex-Bioware doc Zeschuk building virtual playground apps

When last we heard from Greg Zeschuk, it was 2012 and the games industry was swiftly receding in his rearview mirror. Now, though, one half of BioWare’s founding doctor duo is back for more with a company called Biba. The Vancouver-based outfit is making augmented reality apps that work with playground equipment, according to GamesIndustry.Biz.

The firm is “creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play,” Zeschuk says. “I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father.”

One of the company’s initial apps involves a partnership with recreational equipment company PlayPower that will see a playground reimagined as a derelict spaceship that kids can explore with a “virtual sidekick” under the watchful eye of referee parents.

[Source: GI.biz]

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long on gameplay vs. graphics

Shroud of the Avatar executive producer — and original Ultima Online director — Starr Long was interviewed by The Escapist this week. Long discusses his early Origin days, where he worked on everything from the Wing Commander series to a long list of Ultima products.

He also talks about Tabula Rasa, Kickstarter, and of course his newest project as well as his general design philosophy. “If I see a light, I should be able to turn it on and off. If I see a candle, I can blow it out. If there is a door, I should be able to open and close it, to lock it and unlock it. I should be able to take that cup off the table, hold it in my hand, and drink ale out of it,” Long explains. “That requires a lot of computing horsepower and a lot of memory, which means you have to take it from somewhere else. The easiest place to take it from is the graphics, but I would always much rather have a high degree of simulation than the best, newest graphics.”

[Source: The Escapist]

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Elite is getting wings but not wing commanders

Elite: Dangerous lead designer Sandro Sammarco spoke with PC Gamer this week about the sci-fi title’s upcoming 1.2 patch. The major feature is of course wings, which will allow four players to patrol Elite’s vastness in a group.

In addition to receiving telemetry data on their wingmates (targets, hull status, etc.), grouped pilots will encounter “larger, more dangerous signal sources where single ships would be at a serious risk,” Sammarco says.

Why the four-player limit? “It prevents a single wing from being able to completely dominate through sheer numbers,” Sammarco explains. “There’s always room in any star system for more players than any single wing can accommodate but at the same time, a wing of four still represents a significant increase of capability over a lone vessel provided players cooperate effectively.” Finally, Sammarco says that in lieu of hard-coded wing commanders, players will be left to their own management devices. “Everyone in a wing has equal status and makes their own decisions. The wing is meant to be flexible and adaptable, always.”

Frontier currently plans to beta test the 1.2 patch in early March.

[Source: PC Gamer; thanks Colin!]

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Otherland beta test focuses on server stability

Otherland continues its trek back to public consciousness and notability after being dropped by Real-U and picked back up by Drago. Currently, the multi-world MMO is heading into its second closed beta test. This time around the team says that the main focus is on server stability.

“Based on this data, we have made changes to the server in an effort to make them more stable than they were before,” the team posted. “[These] changes now will need to be tested to verify that the changes did the job.”

Other aims of CBT 2.0 including tweaking DPS balancing, implementing the crafting system, and adding the auction house. The team promises that it will be handing out more beta keys compared to those distributed for the first test.

[Source: Official forums]

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Working As Intended: ‘Multiplex monotony’ and the death of the mid-budget MMORPG

Back in December, film editor and author Jason Bailey wrote a piece on Flavorwire called How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA. He spins a tale of the booming movie industry of the ’80s and ’90s, when mid-budget films were commercially feasible and commonplace. By the turn of the century, however, the movie industry had bisected itself; studios stopped committing resources to mid-budget films, “betting big on would-be blockbusters” instead and generating a hard-scrabble indie scene in their wake. As Bailey’s title suggests, that dramatic shift uprooted a generation of brilliant filmmakers and cheapened the art of films and filmmaking for everyone.

It’s no stretch to say we’re witnessing the same phenomenon in the world of MMORPGs.

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Kickstarter Overpowered: Week two’s new video

The Massively Overpowered Kickstarter campaign is now half over: two weeks in, two weeks left to go. We’re tickled to now have over 1400 backers who’ve busted through our goal, Kool-Aid Man style. Oh yeah!

In honor of the occasion, we have a new video! I present to you the Massively Overpowered Kickstarter Mid-Point video, once again crafted by our very own Jef Reahard and this time narrated by Larry Everett. We’re pretty sure you’ll get the reference.

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Defiance switches up leads while ArcheAge and RIFT elaborate on game worlds

Trick Dempsey is out as Defiance’s creative lead, but he’s pleased to pass the project on to his successor: Carble Cheung. Cheung has been with the team since 2013 and has grand plans for Defiance going forward. “Speaking of the future: ‘YES!’ we are planning for Season 3 and beyond,” he said. “This includes updates to arkfalls, sieges, expeditions, and more.”

In other Trion Worlds news, ArcheAge posted a dev diary about the Ayanad Library and RIFT spent time interviewing Lead Content Designer Julia Fleming. Fleming did drop a not-so-subtle hint about one change coming with Patch 3.2: “One of the Senior Designers (Tacitus) and I have been talking a lot about improving some of the INSTANT aspects of the game, especially those related to ADVENTURE. He’s got some interesting plans on how to make the current system more engaging for players of all levels — and a few surprises as well.”

[Source: Defiance, ArcheAge, RIFT. Thanks to Celestial for the tip!]

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Star Citizen developers respond to feedback on Rental Equipment Credits

When Star Citizen recently announced its plans to sell temporary rental equipment this week, the online response was pretty mixed. While most backers seemed happy with the idea of adding some much-needed progression to the Arena Commander dogfighting module, questions were raised as to how much grinding would be involved, why equipment needs to be temporary, and how the rental will eventually tie into the main game. In response to feedback, Star Citizen producer Travis Day and tech designer Calix Reneau joined this week’s episode of Around the Verse to discuss the thought process behind the system’s design and answer some player feedback.

As Reneau explains it, the REC system was developed because the Arena Commander developers were adding cool new pieces of equipment but they were generally lost on people. The goal behind the REC system is to let players set equipment goals and then spend a few hours working toward accomplishing them. This turns Arena Commander into a place where players can earn new equipment and test out certain ship builds before buying the equipment in the main game or the online persistent shard. Clarifying how the duration system will work, Reneau explains that each item will come with seven days of usage, which can be activated one day at a time. For more details, check out Reneau and Day’s in-deph discussion of the REC system in the video below.

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Camelot Unchained teases alpha start, ‘major feature’

Yesterday’s Camelot Unchained update delivered quite a bit of good news to fans of the fantasy RvR sandbox. City State boss Mark Jacobs revealed the fourth iteration of the pre-alpha test checklist, several items of which have already been addressed, leaving the dev team in a good spot relative to its end-of-the-month alpha goal.

Jacobs says that potential snags may still delay the alpha launch a week or two, but he does promise “one major feature that wasn’t expected to be in until this summer” for the kickoff. “It is safe to say that by the time summer comes along, that major feature will be a lot further along than we thought it would be based on our last year’s schedule,” Jacobs writes.

[Source: Afternoon update. Thanks Amber!]

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WoW’s Iron Docks have been delayed to patch 6.2

Are you looking forward to the Iron Docks quests in World of Warcraft‘s patch 6.1? Even though they haven’t been mentioned in any patch notes or by developers or shown any signs of materializing? Because despite what was expected by players, they’re not in there. Community manager Bashiok confirmed that the Iron Docks, which were expected to be a new quest hub centering around Blackrock Foundry, have been moved to patch 6.2. He also took the time to stress that this is simply a quest chain, not a hub or any “substantial content.”

Player reaction has been intensely negative, with patch 6.1 and the current expansion already meeting with significant critique on the lack of meaningful content at the level cap. The changes coming to Apexis Crystals may serve to ameliorate some of the frustration, but it’s still easy to feel a bit slighted by the absence of new content in this patch. But on the bright side, you will be able to post to Twitter with your updated Blood Elf models whilst you explore the same content that has been in place since the expansion launch.

[Source: Twitter, Forums, Gearing up with Apexis Crystals, via: Blizzard Watch]

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