business model

RIFT Prime progression server launches March 7, with pack preorders available now

[AL:RIFT]Can you believe RIFT’s been around for almost seven years? Neither can we. Trion is celebrating by releasing the long-awaited progression server, RIFT Prime, on March 7th. The server will be open to players who pay for RIFT’s otherwise optional subscription fee, though you can get a jump on paying with the $29.99 Primogenitor Pack, also announced and preorderable today.

“The Primogenitor Pack contains 30 days of Patron and two additional 15-day Patron vouchers that can be given to friends to prep them prior to the server going live or used on alts. The pack also has a Cloak of the Void, a ‘Primogenitor’ prefix title, an Armored White War Tiger mount, and a Rift Prime portrait frame; these four items are specific to the Prime-created character and can only be used in RIFT Prime!”

As MOP’s Justin points out, Trion has not offered any additional clarification on the rules of this particular progression server that were still hazy. During our interview a few weeks ago, Producer Amanda Fry reiterated that the server is intended to eventually come to an end and be replaced with future alternative servers, with characters and rewards not expected to carry over significantly to home servers, something that has RIFT players frustrated. In other words, we still don’t have a timeline on how long each leg of Prime will last and what you’ll get to keep, as Trion told us it’s still “actively discussing” how it’ll work.

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Make My MMO: Camelot Unchained’s beta will be born on the fourth of July (February 17, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained invites you to break out the sparklers because the game will finally launch its long-delayed beta one on July 4th. That’ll follow the “feature lock” date of June 12th. We got the whole scoop in our interview earlier this week!

Meanwhile, Star Citizen posted a new ship sale, had a nice friendly chat with the BBB, and talked about the thrilling topic of refueling. Plus, Crowfall got a lore update, Albion updated its Kay build, Pantheon teased its pre-alpha, Project Gorgon detailed its Steam preparation, and mecha-shooter Pantropy updated its ongoing Kickstarter.

And Maguss, the wizarding MMOARG that raised almost half a million bucks on Indiegogo, launched its open beta on iOS and Android this morning.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon pushes for crowdsourcing and a freemium model

Do you have talent? Then Darkfall: Rise of Agon wants you to chip in and help out — for pay, of course. The team behind this indie PvP MMO announced the formation of its Agon’s Community Talent (ACT), an initiative to recruit talented artists that can help design resources for the dev-strapped game.

Players can submit their own decorations, weapons, and armor designs with the hopes of having them added to Rise of Agon’s cash shop. Those that do will be rewarded: “While getting new items and artwork you created added to the game you love sounds great and all, we want to also reward you for your hard work. Everyone who finds one of their entries added to the Nithron Coin Shop will officially join ACT, providing them not only with forum and in-game recognition but with financial reward as well.”

ACT will help with the game’s transition to a freemium model that should open the doors to more players giving it a try. In addition to this initiative, the team is hard at work on a market patch with a new auction house interface and a global wallet.

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EverQuest announces ‘true box’ progression server

These days, EverQuest seems to exist to be a test bed for different progression server concepts. Its community certainly doesn’t tire of starting all over again, which Daybreak is banking on for the launch of the Coirnav progression server on March 16th.

As part of the game’s 19th anniversary, the rollout of Coirnav will give players a slightly different way to experience the game: without multiboxing. This “true box” server only allows one EverQuest account per computer as a way to encourage players to group up with friends instead of relying on armies of alts.

Other rules for this server ruleset including instanced raid bosses, a 12-week cadence of content unlocks, and slightly slower XP rates than most other progression servers. As with all of EverQuest’s progression shards, you’ll have to have a subscription to be able to access Coirnav.

Source: EverQuest

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Cyberpunk 2077’s CD Projekt Red takes a stand against lockboxes and unfinished games

The studio behind The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t mincing words when it comes to business practices that involve lockboxes and partially delivered games.

“If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay,” said Co-Founder Marcin Iwiński. “The moment [the community] feels you are reaching out for their wallet in any unfair way, they will be vocal about it. And — frankly speaking — I think it’s good for the industry. Things often look great from a spreadsheet perspective, but decision makers often aren’t asking themselves the question of ‘How would gamers feel, or is this offer a fair one?’ Gamers are striking back, and I really hope this will change our industry for the better.”

Iwiński said that the studio is focusing on its sci-fi game instead of another Witcher title: “In terms of big RPGs, it’s time for Cyberpunk 2077.” He admitted that the game is “a huge responsibility” but that the studio will step up to the challenge and deliver.

Fans should be able to hear about and see more of Cyberpunk 2077, as the title is widely rumored to be coming to this year’s E3 in June.

Source: PC Gamer

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Lineage 2 players are upset over Circlets of Power

So let’s do our best to break down how the latest kerfuffle in Lineage 2 started up. First, the game introduces a new set of items in the cash shop, the Circlets of Power, which are the best items you can get for that particular slot when fully upgraded. That’s going to definitely attract some cries about pay-to-win. Then, the upgrade process for those Circlets is also not assured. That’s also bad, but at least you still have the Circlet, right? Oh, except you have to upgrade them to +5 and a failed enchantment reverts the item to +0, that’s worse.

But… what if you also made the upgrade item a cash shop purchase? It’s like a lockbox where you gamble on how much more money you have to spend!

Do we even need to specify that players are unhappy about this? Because they really, really are. The announcement thread has also become the discussion thread, which prompts some speculation about whether or not the game will be balanced around the upgraded circlet or if it’ll be balanced around worse gear, thus rendering the circlets game-breakingly powerful. It also doesn’t really matter, because… yeah, this is kind of gross.

Source: Official Site, Official Forum; thanks to Martin for the tip!

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Bless Online looks ahead to new races, housing, and a possible console edition

Six months. Six months is the countdown timer from the start of Bless Online’s early access to the game’s official launch, according to developer Neowiz. Although with no planned character wipe, the open beta should act more as a soft launch than anything else, especially to fans who have been eager to get their hands on this good-looking title for years now.

The studio fielded another interview about the incoming MMO in which it hedged a bit on the topic of grind, promised improved optimization, and confirmation that there will not be a region lock for the title. Neowiz said that it is planning to introduce a new race as early as 2019 and that housing is also on its way to the game.

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Sea of Thieves may have microtransactions, but it will never have lootboxes

In Sea of Thieves, your character is a pirate roaming the high seas for boxes of treasure, but in real life you won’t need to exchange your own treasures for random in-game treasures. Design director Mike Chapman has stated that microtransactions are possible for the game post-launch, but loot boxes are definitely out of the question for future development. So you might drop a little coin to get a nice skin or cosmetic gear or whatever, but you won’t be looking at lootboxes no matter what.

Of course, if your computer can’t handle the game you probably won’t be looking at anything whatsoever, so you might want to check out the game’s system requirements before eagerly declaring that it’s a sailor’s life for you. The bare minimum specs still require a Windows 10 machine, so if you’ve stuck by an older operating system we’re sorry to inform you that Windows ME is no longer going to keep you in the game. Check out the chart to see if you need to upgrade, and if you refer to buying new hardware as “trimming up the mainsail” in the checkout line, the employees at the store likely won’t care.

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Bless Online interview: Soft launch plans, why Gamigo bowed out, and avoiding pay-to-win

Bless Online is one of the biggest MMORPGs we’re expecting to launch in the west in 2018. Over the last six years, we’ve watched it blossom in South Korea, switch publishers, and even go back to the drawing board for a revamp before Neowiz pushes it westward. That’s left a lot of gamers, including us, with questions about the game’s future. And to get answers to those questions, we spoke with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon all about the game’s planned monetization, early access, and just what sets Bless apart in a field of high-quality import MMORPGs. Read on for the details!

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Make My MMO: Dual Universe’s second crowdfunding effort and Massively OP’s third birthday (February 10, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Dual Universe is still zooming along in its pre-alpha, and it’s addressed just that in a new AMA this week. The studio acknowledges that the game’s development has become delayed (you’ll recall it was originally supposed to launch a full alpha last fall) but that money isn’t an issue. “Don’t worry, we are OK,” Novaquark tells backers. “We are going to publish a roadmap before Summer. For the 24/7 [testing], this is a high level priority, and we hope to be able to get you there in a few weeks. It won’t be full time however, but more like full week-ends to start with.” The studio also says it’ll launch a second crowdfunding effort later this quarter.

On a more meta note, today marks Massively OP’s third birthday as an independent MMORPG website, and the plain truth is that wouldn’t be here today without the generous donors who contributed to our original Kickstarter back in 2015, our Patreon and PayPal donors, our Twitch subbers, our Amazon clicky-clickers, and you lovely folks who whitelist our ads. You and we are living proof that crowdfunding can work! Thank you all so very much from the whole team. Here’s to three and many more!

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Sweden scrutinizes loot boxes under gambling laws

Loot boxes might not be as welcome in Sweden come next year. A Public Administration minister told a news station that in-game lockboxes could be classified as gambling by 2019 as the government moves to “regain control” of the gambling sector.

“I don’t want to rule out the possibility [of classifying loot boxes as gambling],” said Minister Ardalan Shekarabi. “It is obvious that there are many people suffering from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money because of it.”

Currently, loot boxes — as in many countries — are not covered by gambling laws and do not have governmental oversight. With the increase in exposure over the business model practices recently, some politicians in various countries have proposed legislation and regulation.

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Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes brings an anime adventure to SMITE

For a MOBA, SMITE sure doesn’t play by rules, or at least any rules we recognize. Hi-Rez seems to be constantly reinventing the game and its modes and toons, a pattern on display once again this week as the game rolls out its first adventure of the year: Anime Horde Mode.

Da Ji and the Legend of the Foxes transports players to a colorful realm, complete with anime inspired artwork, where they’ll defeat relentless waves of enemies. Lending her talents to this new experience is renowned voice actress Cristina Vee (Sailor Moon, Pokemon, and Hunter x Hunter), who stars as the Adventure’s main character Senpai Da Ji. […] Da Ji needs help defending the sacred fox from waves of various enemies. Surviving the ninja hordes will pit players against one of the epic bosses in an exciting battle. No two Adventure playthroughs will be the same as each bossfight is randomized, with more bosses being added each patch. With every victory, players will level up and earn in-game rewards to help their progress.”

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You will go to the moon in Project Entropia – and own a slice for six bucks

Wanna own a part of a moon? Entropia Universe is putting one up for sale, and you can even play on it this year.

“Arkadia Moon will orbit the popular Planet Arkadia within Entropia Universe allowing players to travel there by space craft,” says long-running MMO studio MindArk. “The new moon will be 64 square kilometers in size and features High Stakes mining opportunities, seven brand new creatures and new adventure missions.”

The equivalent of six bucks will get you one of the 200,000 deeds up for sale in prep for the moon patch coming later this year (third quarter, the PR says), though it’s slightly cheaper if you buy one earlier than later. And yes, you can go there on your spaceship.

And why on earth – er, on Entropia – would you buy this thing? You’ll recall that the 15-year-old Entropia Universe has a real-cash economy, meaning that if property in the game gains in value, you can cash out and actually turn a tidy profit. Here’s Entropia’s spiel:

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