carbine studios

An NCsoft studio known primarily for WildStar.

Perfect Ten: Understanding MMORPG Warriors

There is always a Warrior. Every game has a Warrior. No matter what other class options it has, a Warrior is in that list. Star Wars: The Old Republic takes place in a galaxy far, far away (and thousands of years before the more well-established long time ago) where you have force adepts instead of mages or healers, operatives and Force assassins instead of rogues, and… Sith Warriors. And Sith Warriors still manage to tick off every single box on the Warrior Bingo card, which is why this is a list as opposed to just a bingo card.

I feel I have a reasonable and healthy relationship with Warriors. There are some games with Warriors I love, some with Warriors I don’t like, but in every single one I can make immediate assumptions just because it’s called a Warrior. From Guild Wars 2 to World of Warcraft, from Final Fantasy XI to Final Fantasy XIV, if you see something called a Warrior, you know what you’re getting into.

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NCsoft’s Q1 2017 financials: Tumbles for Lineage, Guild Wars 2, plus new leadership for Lineage Eternal

NCsoft’s first quarter financials for 2017 have released, and… well, let’s get the bad news out of the way. While sales dropped only slightly since the preceding quarter and in line with last year, the company’s operating profits and incomes fell sharply, in the -60 to -77% range both quarter over quarter and year over year. The company says that’s “due to incentives paid on the back of record-high earnings last year.” In particular, Lineage 1’s sales were down significantly on the quarter and the year (“due to the early sales recognition in 4Q and weaker traffic from anticipated Lineage M demand”). Aion’s and Lineage II’s sales dropped ever so slightly, as did Guild Wars 2’s, which has fallen by more than half following the late 2015 launch of Heart of Thorns.

The good news? Blade and Soul saw a small boost.

During the conference call, NCsoft announced that it has overturned the development leadership working on Lineage Eternal, suggesting that the closed beta failed to “reflect NCsoft’s characteristics” and promising a retooled dev schedule in the months ahead.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 116: Bree’s virtual garage sale

Is Ashes of Creation destined to be the Kickstarter event of the year? Today on the ‘cast, Bree and Justin talk about this crowdfunding tsunami, several MMO patches, a superhero preview, and even a launch. Also, Bree is selling the entire contents of her virtual garage. It was a busy week!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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WildStar is finishing its switch to ProtoBucks instead of NCoins

The conversion to a proprietary currency for WildStar microtransactions is almost complete. While WildStar has been using NCoins (NCsoft’s microtransaction currency), it introduced ProtoBucks some time ago. When patch 1.7.2 releases, players will no longer be able to convert NCoins to ProtoBucks, meaning that NCoins will no longer be usable within the game in any fashion. The change appears to be chiefly aimed at allowing the game to hold promotions and sales for its own currency without affecting the overall exchange rate for NCoins, although if you want to speculate about deeper meanings, who are we to stop you?

Patch 1.7.2 is also introducing community plots, and the map for these plots has been posted by an enterprising Reddit user. If you’ve got a cluster of friends playing the game and you all want to live together, it’s well worth checking out the sort of landscape you’ll be dealing with.

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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WildStar begins testing prime raids and housing communities

With WildStar’s Patch 1.7.1 out of the way this week, the team at Carbine can kick back, open up a cold one, and… apparently go full-tilt with the next update on the test server. What is this madness, indeed?

As the game continues to expand its instance offerings with prime-levels of difficulty, Patch 1.7.2 will debut a raid with this same challenge. Y-83 Level 1 is being tested with its Prime difficulty setting on, giving players a tougher ride with greater rewards. And while housing communities aren’t slated for 1.7.2, they are on the PTR right now for players to fiddle with and break. Communities have been one of the most desired housing features since their initial reveal, tantalizing players with the thought of connecting player islands together to form neighborhoods.

The team is also tweaking the drop rate of Progenitor Access Particles for the next update: “We’ve made a change that you’ll see on the PTR, the goal of which is to ease the current PAPs burden. In 1.7.2 they now have a rare chance to drop throughout Prime Dungeons, during Arcterra five-player encounters, and in World Boss and Arcterra Boss loot bags. In addition, the chance to obtain a PAP has increased slightly at the end of Prime Dungeons and when turning in Tier-2 Contracts.”

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WildStar patch 1.7.1 arrives tomorrow, complete with expert Skullcano

Ready to challenge a few more bits of group content at Prime difficulty in WildStar? You’ll have your chance when patch 1.7.1 arrives on May 3rd. Why, that’s tomorrow, isn’t it? How positively wonderful!

The patch adds Skullcano (which is still the most metal dungeon name ever), Outpost M-13, and Rage Logic to the Prime difficulty rotation. Players can also check out how they’re doing relative to other players with the addition of new PvE leaderboards, which will let you see how you measure up against solo players and other groups.

The patch also brings in a new shared realm bank for your characters and new fortunes from Madame Fay, which will be perfect for players who would rather not be on the competitive side of things. You can take a look at the full set of patch notes to find out more about the features included, or you can just jump in and start going for new group content immediately.

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Battle Bards Episode 97: The sound of magic

“Magic can be ANYthing!”

The forces of magic run deep within MMORPGs, casting shadows of wonder wherever we look — and listen. In today’s show, Syl sparks a musical revolution as her fellow Bards struggle to rise to the challenge of defining what, exactly, constitutes a “magical” track and evokes that particular feeling. Did we nail it? You’ll have to join us for the journey to find out!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 97: The sound of magic (or download it) now:

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 114: Moving to the big city

What does a week where the news douses us in a shower of smaller stories look like? Bree and Justin wring out of their clothes, shaking loose tales of metropolises in the planning, console features, anniversary parties, and dance studios. Maybe it won’t flood the world of MMOs, but it definitely waters the lawns of our interest!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Carbine Studios is hiring for an unspecified new project

The general consensus for WildStar has been that the game is running on borrowed time for several reasons. That’s a sad conclusion, but an understandable one. And so that probably also means curtains for Carbine Studios, and… wait, the studio is hiring people? For a new team to work on a new project of some sort? They’re not just sitting around and waiting for things to come crashing down?

All right, if one of you wished for this on a monkey’s paw, you need to tell someone now before the consequences shock and horrify everyone.

The listed positions are for Concept Art, Graphics Engineering, Tools Engineering, and Combat Design, which… could mean lots of things. If not for the fact that the listings state this is part of a new team for a new project, it’d be easy to assume this was an attempt to shore up WildStar, but the fact that it is for a new project is enough to light one’s imagination on fire. What happens next? We don’t know, but we sure are excited to find out.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon

Do you want to date my space avatar? She’s a star and she’s hotter than a supernova by far. Or maybe you’re a loony tooner? What’s the socially acceptable way to reference your character in an MMORPG without coming across like some weirdo from another gaming era? Bree and Justin will devote their lives to figuring out this question.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Massively Overthinking: MMOs, from hardcore to casual and back again

Massively OP reader Suikoden wrote this great question to the podcast — too good to let just Justin and me answer it. It’s a two-parter!

“Back when I used to be a hardcore MMO gamer circa 2000-2010, I felt that MMOs of that era were designed more toward the hardcore gamer and even catered to us more. Within the last 5 years, I’ve had to develop into more of a casual player. However, I now feel that games once again cater to me and my current playstyle. Did the MMO genre evolve alongside me, from a more hardcore-centric genre to a more casual playerbase? Or is it the same as it always was and I just feel that it caters to me because it’s designed to feel like it caters to all playstyles? And if there was a change, do you feel it is for the better or for the worse for the genre?”

I posted Suikoden’s questions to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking!

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WildStar looks forward to more Prime difficulty content over the next year

The first major WildStar patch of 2017 unlocked the Primal Matrix and added the Prime difficulty level for select dungeons. What’s next for the game? According to the newest state of the game letter, it’s time for even more Prime difficulty, including Prime difficulty raids! No longer will you have to suffer through the normal difficulty raids like some sort of sucker, assuming you could actually get a full raid group together to even take on the content, much less clear it.

The Prime difficulty is also coming to other dungeons and adventures over the remainder of the year. The other big addition is the new Communities feature, allowing players to come together and collaborate on housing plots instead of working separately. If you’re tired of how easy the raids in WildStar are, we’re sure you’ll be happy at the thought of making them even harder. If you’re not a big fan of the difficulty hike at this point, though… well, there are more Primal Matrix levels coming, so that’s something?

Source: Official Site; thanks to GreaterDivinity for the tip!

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