e3 2015

A surprise awaits EverQuest II progression server players

Back at E3 2015, Producer Holly Longdale revealed an exciting tidbit of information that may very well put a smile on EverQuest II players’ faces. And now, we can share that secret with you! What’s with all the secrecy? Longdale noted that as much as Daybreak initially wanted to broadcast the news immediately, the studio decided to give the players who wanted to a chance to discover this surprise for themselves. So, in keeping with that, we’re warning you: Do not click ahead if you want to be taken by surprise in the game.

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DC Universe Online’s Bombshells, Black Lanterns, and bases

While at E3 2015, we got to sit down with Jens Andersen, creative director for DC Universe Online, to chat more about the changes coming through the game’s pipeline, changes we can finally talk about today. Back in May, he spoke about how the switch from DLCs to episodes would help the game be more timely with the comics; one of those specifics was that the Bombshells would be making an appearance in DCUO This time, Andersen expounded on the addition of these period-inspired heroines. On top of that, he discussed two other things future game content is focusing on, one being The Black Lanterns and the other being something he’d only hint at related to upcoming base decorations.

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MMO Mechanics: Four inspiring indie developments worth watching

The MMO genre has immense sticking power in terms of tenure, staying relevant to players for decades despite such fluid and rapid development in the larger gaming industry and particularly in relation to online gaming. With such an extensive back catalogue of games in the genre, it’s not surprising to see so many recycled mechanics being employed in new releases due to the significant financial risks associated with MMO development. The latest batch of promising indie developments, however, has me sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation — moderated with a heavy dose of trepidation, of course — for what new, reimagined, or creatively employed mechanics we’ll see in the MMOs of tomorrow.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll break down the mechanics under the work-in-progress bonnets of some of the indie and fledgling offerings that have captured my attention for all the right reasons. I’ll look at what each game proposes to do differently and why that makes me excited for its release.

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E3 2015: Holly Longdale on the EverQuest franchise’s progression servers

Progression servers are definitely a hot topic in the EverQuest franchise right now. EverQuest recently opened up a new one for those nostalgic for the original version of the original game (and then quickly had to open another to handle the load!), and now EverQuest II has announced that both PvE and PvP time-locked servers are in the works (beta starts July 7th). It’s definitely an exciting time for players who yearn for the simpler days, who want to travel back and experience the games before the years and years of expansions and flooded each Norrath with so much more content.

However, even positive news is not without its negatives. While there are some concrete benefits to these servers, there are also some downsides. I sat down with Producer Holly Longdale to discuss the status of the progression servers, from the things that make you go whoa to the woes that plague them.
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E3 2015: Garriott and Long share Shroud of the Avatar secrets

This past year, Shroud of the Avatar moved from a monthly weekend-release cadence to being online 24/7, but the major updates have been no less frequent and new features are introduced regularly. Perhaps even more impressive is that the open communication philosophy between the developers and the players has remained constant throughout the entire process. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still secrets to learn about the game. We caught up with Portalarium’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long at E3 2015 to discuss the state of the game and see what things are in store. And yes, we learned a few new tidbits the pair hadn’t planned on sharing!

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E3 2015: WildStar is adding much more than F2P this fall

The fact that WildStar is transitioning to a free-to-play model this fall is old news now. Folks have been hashing out their opinions on the matter for the last month and have indeed been talking about the possibility for far longer. So what more could be added to the conversation by talking to Carbine at E3?

Information — lots of information! Sitting down with Creative Director Chad Moore and Product Director Mike Donatelli, I learned more details about the both transition itself and the mega content update coming with it. The pair also announced that WildStar will be releasing in China soon, its first step in expanding globally.

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E3 2015: Previewing Wargaming’s Master of Orion reboot

As you’ve all heard by now, MMO giant Wargaming announced a reboot of the classic game Master of Orion during this year’s E3. The company might be known best for its free-to-play war franchises, but it actually started out as a single-player strategy game company with the Massive Assault games, which makes it uniquely equipped to handle this franchise. The original MOO (yes, even the Wargaming team affectionately says “moo” when discussing the game) is a strategic, turn-based RPG from 1993 that gave rise to the 4X genre and phrase: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate. You play the commander of one one of 10 races in a galaxy of other civilizations leaving their homeworlds to conquer the stars. But across the franchise (there were three games in the original series), players aren’t just asked to blast their enemies; they win through a point system that covers everything from, yes, raw power, but also things like research and diplomacy.

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E3 2015: PlanetSide 2 launches on PS4 today with a better build than beta

Console fans rejoice: After a lenthy beta-testing period, PlanetSide 2 finally launched on the PlayStation 4 in both North America and Europe today. Now folks who don’t want to want to sit at their monitors to play this MMOFPS can hunker down with their PS4s and televisions to join the ongoing war that their PC counterparts have been participating in for the last couple of years. Interestingly, what those players will see when they log in is not exactly what they expect. I sat down with Andy Sites, the game’s director of development, at E3 2015 to discuss what awaits when players jump into the game on their consoles.

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E3 2015: Blade & Soul’s ‘full-access F2P’ model and hands-on

Long before NCsoft officially announced that Blade & Soul was heading west, fans were eager for the chance to get their hands on the game — including a number of us here at MassivelyOP. So I might have had a slight grin on my face when I sat down to experience a bit of gameplay on the Summoner class at this year’s E3. I also talked shop with Producer Nicolas Coutant, Social and Community Director Omeed Dariani, and Brand Manager Julianne Harty, who revealed Blade & Soul’s “full-access free-to-play” business model for the western market. We also touched on subjects ranging from story to closed beta and pre-order packs to cats.

Yes, cats. According to Dariani, “This game is all about cats.”
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Not So Massively: All the online gaming news from E3 2015

It’s been a big week for online gaming, with several high-profile reveals and announcements made at E3 2015. The latest version of MOBA-esque space dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie was playable on the event floor using the Crescent Bay Oculus Rift. MassivelyOP freelancer Andrew Ross also got some hands on time with newly announced MOBA Gigantic and picked developer David Braben‘s brains on Elite: Dangerous‘ recently announced Close Quarters Combat feature. Cory Jones discussed the history of online card game HEX, and Bethesda announced its own card game named The Elder Scrolls Legends.

Blizzard showed up at E3 this year to reveal the next character coming to Heroes of the Storm and demo the latest progress of its upcoming team-based shooter Overwatch. We also heard of online racing game The Crew‘s upcoming expansion that adds motorcycles and monster trucks, and H1Z1 revealed plans to let players build their own structures. The biggest news for online gaming is that we finally got to see gameplay footage of the highly anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront reboot, and the game got a firm release date of November 17th. The Division will be entering closed beta at the end of this year and releasing on March 8th 2016.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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E3 2015: SWTOR’s upcoming expansion builds on the ‘legacy of KOTOR’

So what’s with Knights of the Fallen Empire? Inquiring Star Wars: The Old Republic fans want to know! That’s why we sat down with the BioWare devs at E3 to suss out some answers for you. We also got to see some of the expansion in action; Senior Producer Bruce MacLean and Studio Creative Director James Ohlen walked us through a demo of part of chapter three in the new story sequence. Afterward, Lead Designer Michael Backus fielded more of our questions.

What is Fallen Empire? It’s more than just the biggest SWTOR expansion to date. MacLean summed it up succinctly by arguing that this expansion is “a return to BioWare’s cinematic storytelling — it is a Star Wars epic where you are the central hero.” He emphasized that this expansion is about going from heroic story moment to heroic story moment and described the game as “cinematic action-packed RPG experiences thick with plot twists, surprises, betrayal, redemption, and hard choices.”

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E3 2015: Life is Feudal isn’t just another gankbox

I’m standing with my PR contact at the Life is Feudal booth when suddenly a guy with a thick Russian accent walks up to me, picks up a toy of a wooden bear at a computer, and starts to move it so the bear paws at the keyboard. “This is how we make games in Russia” he laughs.

This was my E3 2015 introduction to Vladimir Piskunov, CEO of Bitbox and friend to veterans of ShadowbaneDarkfall, and other PvP games (or at least, the guy inviting the veterans to Life is Feudal‘s alphas).

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E3 2015: The Division’s Dark Zone demo does the game no favors

After covering the development of Ubisoft’s The Division since 2013, I finally got my hands on the game itself — and its PvP — at this year’s E3. It’s not exactly a true MMO, but it’s got online co-op, tablet-assisted play, and an “end of the world” setting free of zombies, all of which should translate to hype. [Apparently that tablet app has been canceled as confirmed earlier today.] New details on the Dark Zone may have scared some people off, but my interest was piqued.

For my part, I’m a big fan of organic, open-world PvP; instanced PvP doesn’t do much for me unless it’s about more than just accruing points or climbing ranks or even loot. Unfortunately, the Ubisoft PR rep at E3 began the demo by telling the participants our objective was to kill the other teams in a 3v3v3 “match.” Up until that point, I hadn’t realized that Dark Zone was being billed as an arena for loot gain. In fact, the official description of the demo implied a much more free-form experience.

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