“AMA” stands for “ask me anything,” a type of mass-interview popular on Reddit and other online forums where the interviewee offers to answer any questions thrown at him or her by the audience.

Hearthstone’s game director fields questions about the expansion, ladder experimentation, and new heroes

With Knights of the Frozen Throne coming to Hearthstone next month, excitement is reaching a fever pitch for this already-popular card title. Game Director Ben Brode took advantage of this interest to raise awareness of the game and answer community questions in a recent AMA session.

Among the topics covered were minion placement, the collection manager, the expense of the game, and confirmation that the team is experimenting with a new ladder format.

Possibly the most exciting news is that the team is working on both a Druid and Warlock hero, although Brode indicated that we shouldn’t be expecting a new class anytime soon. “I think we are already having trouble carving out awesome space for nine classes,” he said. “I want us to find more unique things for Warlock to do, for example. I think adding a 10th class makes this problem much more difficult, as we could be using that space to make our core nine classes more fun.”

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You’ll need to put in about 20 hours in Albion Online to become competitive in PvP

As Albion Online barrels toward a summer release, the crew took to Reddit yesterday for a marathon AMA session to tackle any pressing community questions.

Asked how much work an average player will need to put in before being of any use in PvP, the team responded, “A general principle of Albion Online — as a game with a strong PvP focus — is that the combat power curves for gear and character progress are very flat […] When you start out a new character, you could expect at least 10 to 20 hours of gameplay before you could be considered competitive in PvP.”

What about super-experienced and -geared players taking over the game’s landscape and making it miserable for everyone else? “Of course, well-organized guilds will always have an advantage over more casual players – it would be weird if that was not the case. However, it is extremely unlikely — and has never happened in any of our tests, two of which lasted around six months — that a single faction will dominate the world.”

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon team updates community on progress

Transparency is vital to smaller, indie MMO projects, especially ones driven by a volunteer team. The crew over at Darkfall: Rise of Agon have no problem being as open as possible with the community, as evidenced by the team’s recent AMA on Reddit.

Much of the AMA tackled what the team was doing to different features and how Rise of Agon would differ from classic Darkfall: “We are also in the process of making enhancements to the in-game textures to make them look more modern as well as enhancing the capabilities of the engine itself. With all that said though, as a team we believe it is more important to make a great game than a pretty-looking game, although we understand the importance of the latter to many modern gamers.”

You can check out an overview of all of the closed beta progress and get ready for the upcoming early access launch with the developer video below!

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H1Z1: Just Survive gets a dedicated team and fix-it leader

New H1Z1: Just Survive General Manager Landon Montgomery is attempting to show that his leadership will see a more open and forthcoming Daybreak with the survival game’s fanbase. In last week’s AMA, Montgomery took on a wide range of questions on everything including base building, weather, and storytelling.

“Base building is our #1 priority for next year. I can’t give you a timeframe, but modularity is massively important for us,” Montgomery said, going on to clarify: “We’re still in ‘fix now, cool later’ mode but that’s top of the list for ‘cool later.'”

He said that he turned down a position at Blizzard in favor of fixing this MMO: “I think Just Survive has so much potential. True, it hasn’t received the love it needs this past year, but do believe I can help turn that around with this team. We have an amazing, dedicated team whereas we didn’t really have that before. There was some split between KotK and JS, but we don’t have that now. We have a full team 100% focused on nothing but JS now.”

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Conan Exiles answers questions about its upcoming early access launch

With Conan Exiles’ early access launch just around the corner, you can better believe that the community has a mountain of questions about the survival sandbox. Funcom’s Joel Bylos stepped into the Xbox One Reddit yesterday to tackle many of these, although some, like queries about pricing, he declined to answer (Conan Exiles won’t have microtransactions or a sub, however).

Bylos said that the primary inspiration for the game comes straight from Robert E. Howard’s books. “Conan Exiles has a tighter focus on melee combat, a world that can be explored to find lore and stories, a religion system that allows access to magic and god avatars, a thrall system that allows you to enslave and turn your enemies into allies,” Bylos said. “Oh and no flying mounts, because those tend to make the world too small.”

Players will have a wide range of rulesets from which to choose, with each server hosting up to 70 players apiece during the early access period.

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Skyforge AMA discusses pay-to-win and future content updates

Skyforge just released a major update, but it’s also making an effort to reach out to its community more enthusiastically. Western producer Volker Boenigk hosted an AMA on Reddit yesterday, inviting players and onlookers to ask any and all possible question about the game, its localization process, and future updates. That included a big question front and center about accusations of pay-to-win gameplay.

Boenigk explained that past a certain point, the game really cannot financially support itself solely on costumes and cosmetics, but the goal is always to ensure that players have a positive experience whether or not money is spent. He stressed that it’s something the game’s team takes very seriously and is always happy to discuss constructively with players.

Questions also covered improved rewards for directives (which are coming) and the localization process of the game (which suffers slightly for speed, as the team wants to get updates from the Russian version into the Western version as quickly as possible). If you want a peek behind the scenes of the game or just want to learn more about adapting a foreign game for Western localization, it’s a worthwhile read.

Source: Reddit


Crowfall team answers dozens of community questions, confirms beta 1 players will test this year

Crowfall fans are in for a long, tall drink of information this weekend, poured straight from the minds of creators J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton. The pair sat down for a lengthy Reddit AMA on Friday, tackling dozens of questions from the community.

Coleman said that the team is currently working on the core of Crowfall: “Our next milestone is focused on making the foundation of the MMO work: large scale world(s), persistence across days (…then weeks, then months), scalability of the game service. There are some new systems coming online (harvesting and crafting, revised chat, revised skills), but MOST of the next milestone revolves around the theme of ‘laying the foundation for the real game.'”

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Yes, you can punch camels in Conan Exiles

Funcom knows that its fans have one overriding concern when it comes to the upcoming Conan Exiles: whether or not players will be able to punch camels in the game. It turns out that yes, yes you can. You can punch anything, Mr. or Mrs. Barbarian.

This shattering revelation is part of yesterday’s AMA. Funcom posted a summary of some of the important details revealed, listing systems such as religion, thralls, and purges as what will set Conan Exiles apart from other sandbox survival titles. “Keep in mind we will have a roadmap for early access and not all of these things are planned for launch,” the studio said.

One highlight is that Funcom revealed that once early access starts, it’s not planning on wiping the game after that: “We would like to avoid resetting player progress. Unless we find something major that we are forced to wipe for, we won’t do it.”

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Chronicles of Elyria AMA on alpha, middleware, griefing, and B2P

The Chronicles of Elyria team submitted itself to the wilds of an AMA on Reddit earlier this afternoon, allowing players to bombard the developers with questions about the soon-to-be-Kickstarted MMORPG. Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • Pre-alpha/alpha 1 testing will begin “as early as possible,” potentially “as early as Q1 2017, with beta beginning in the summer.”
  • CEO Jeromy Walsh previously worked at Microsoft developing automated test infrastructure; Elyria’s will be similar.
  • How will the studio pull off something so ambitious? Experience, partly, but also middleware. “We’re leveraging as much middleware as we possibly can,” Walsh says. “We don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and where others have made progress and have license-able technology available, we’ll be looking to leverage that.”

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TERA interim CEO: ‘TERA and En Masse aren’t going anywhere’

En Masse Interim CEO Sam Kim participated in a Reddit AMA for TERA players today, ostensibly to calm nerves after the company announced a round of layoffs and downsizing earlier this week.

One of the topics Kim addressed was the specific relationship between En Masse and BlueHole, a topic that’s been big in our own TERA comments lately.

“At the super high level, BlueHole is the developer of TERA and En Masse is the North American publisher for TERA. There are variations to the model but, at its base-core, the roles and responsibilities break down as such: The developer is responsible for the game, content update, balance, in-game features, event tools, web, monetization systems, and backend integration pieces. The publisher is responsible for account integration, billing, community engagement, player support, marketing, web development, event planning, monetization feedback (as it pertains to their market), gameplay feedback (as it pertains to their market), and testing (market testing, possibly some QA).

The extra thing with En Masse and BlueHole is that we’re part of the same company (En Masse is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueHole). And because of that, we’ve been able to work more closely with BlueHole on a lot of things. We had more access to in-game mechanics than a publisher typically would with games. And while things haven’t been perfect ALL of the time, we’ve seen impact that we wouldn’t have seen in a super-traditional partnership.”

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The future of Guild Wars 2 under Mike O’Brien

The news coming from ArenaNet has been very interesting since the company’s President Mike O’Brien took over as Guild Wars 2 Game Director, so I thought it might be a good time to look at some of his decisions made at the helm of ANet and throw in my two cents. We’ve seen references to the GW2 Manifesto, drastic shifts in dev team focus, and a promise to focus on sustainability and quality, but also sustained player outcries over issues such as legendary weapons being put on hold. One thing that’s certain is that this is a time for decisive action and O’Brien surely needs to do something to make players happy.

It’s undeniable that a significant proportion of GW2 fans — particularly those who have bought into Heart of Thorns —  are feeling more than a little bit frustrated with the on-again-off-again nature of content delivery, and distrust is spreading because of the perceived non-delivery of ANet’s promises. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look at the raging debates happening between the new Game Director and the playerbase, and I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on how O’Brien can win us over going forward to resecure a solid basis to build upon with the second expansion.

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Blade & Soul adjusts anti-cheater measures, says server transfers are in the works

NCsoft is making a few changes to its anti-cheater software in Blade & Soul and says that its efforts to combat sneaky behavior are improving.

“Gameguard is not the only anti-hack tool we have in our arsenal,” the studio said, “there are many other client and server-side tools we are using to catch cheaters. We actually made a breakthrough this week and banned many of the most popular cheat users.”

And in case you missed it, you should check out the round-up of NCsoft’s AMA with the community from this past weekend. The studio addressed several topics of player concern, including what is and is not planned for the future. A server transfer system is in the works, but it doesn’t sound as if it will be arriving soon. As for the import of the Soul Fighter/Qi Master class, NCsoft was predictably coy on the topic.

Source: Reddit #1, #2. Thanks to Temp for the tip!


Smed’s OARPG Hero’s Song adds $15 Kickstarter pledge tier

Were you a little puzzled by the fact that the Kickstarter for Smed’s OARPG Hero’s Song was offering a $25 base pledge when the game will be only $20 at launch? Well, you weren’t alone, and Pixelmage is addressing it today.

“We’re also listening carefully to feedback from our backers, and so we’ve added a $15 tier that gets you the retail copy of the game (Delivered through Steam) for less than the retail price. We understand a lot of people felt like this kind of tier should be there, so we’ve added it. This tier doesn’t get into the beta early, but it does give you a $5 discount.”

The game has pulled in almost $60,000 of its $800,000 goal so far. You can get caught up on the game with yesterday’s interviews with John Smedley and Patrick Rothfuss.

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