interviews

IGN has apparently bought up the Humble Bundle company

IGN has just announced that it’s scooped up a pretty sweet acquisition: It now owns the company behind Humble Bundle, known best for its cheap game bundle deals and originally famed for its charity work (reportedly over $100M for charity since 2010).

In an interview with Gamasutra, the top men of both Humble and IGN say they have no grand plans to change anything about the platform.

“We want to stick to the fundamentals in the short term. We don’t want to disrupt anything we’re doing right already,” Humble’s John Graham reportedly said. “Because of the shared vision and overlap of our customer bases, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities.”

No doubt.

Source: Gamasutra. With thanks to TJ and OneEyeRed.

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Legends of Aria awakens something nasty during its final alpha

Something evil and sinister has awakened in Legends of Aria, but that is actually pretty exciting news for alpha testers seeking new challenges and content to conquer. Wednesday’s alpha patch activated “Dragon’s Den awakening spawn” that provide access to Tier III prestige abilities and loot when defeated.

The update also made crafting armor and weapons easier than before, with decreased difficulty in making them and an increased spawn rate for resources. Stealthing around is now a little more difficult but also less random, with players not being able to suddenly hide while in plain sight of others.

If you’re curious about this indie fantasy sandbox as it wraps up its alpha and eyes beta testing, check out our recent podcast interview with Lead Developer Derek Brinkmann as he gives the inside scoop into all things Legends of Aria!

Source: Patch notes

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 139: Catching up with Legends of Aria

On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!

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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Riot employee fired over toxic chat comments says he deserved it

Last week, news that Riot Games Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge had insulted a banned League of Legends streamer in a public chat under the Riot tag, calling him a “humunculus” and remarking, “[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci.” Following the circulation of the comments on Reddit, Rutledge initially appeared to deflect criticism and defend his comments before being digitally strung up by the community and dressed-down by Riot. And while the target of the slurs, so-toxic-he-was-already-banned Tyler1, dismissed the insult, saying he had no hard feelings, within a few days Rutledge announced he was no longer with the company.

That’s apparently because Riot, a massive online gaming studio ostensibly at the forefront of the push to reduce toxicity in gaming, fired him. In fact, in an interview with Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog, Rutledge says he respects Riot’s decision to boot him, saying he’d have done the same in the studio’s position and noting he’s since checked himself into rehab, as “too many whiskeys” contributed to his lapse in judgment (and to what he now refers to as his “spectacularly stupid” defense).

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The Daily Grind: Do MMORPGs still need traditional guilds?

In the game’s design docs and our interviews, Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs is positively adamant that multiguilding (that is, being able to join more than one guild at a time on the same character) is harmful and will not be possible in the game. Specifically, the doc argues that multi-guilding is “one of the things that has hurt the viability and attractiveness of guilds in modern MMORPGs” and that “multi-guilds have contributed to the decline of meaningful guilds in MMORPGs.”

My subsequent questions, you probably noticed, fought back against the idea that multiguilding is a problem. That’s because I’ve been a guild leader for a very long time, from hardcore to casual, and I’ve seen how strict and inflexible lines between guilds can actually cause massive rifts in communities and friendships, outstripping their potential for stickiness or society-building, and I’ve seen how blurring the lines, making the unit of play smaller teams or even larger factions or player cities, brings people together in ways structured, hierarchical guilds do not. Making people choose between my guild and somebody else’s was a friendship mistake, one I’d rather not be forced to make again.

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Exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview on Path of Fire’s launch and philosophy

Spurred on by my excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire, I reached out to ArenaNet shortly before release to secure a post-launch interview to ensure all my most burning questions could be answered. I drafted my questions not long after launch, and while I most definitely wished to discover whether the initial launch hiccups affected the immediate uptake of the expansion, beyond that I sought more information on the development of such a decisively different expansion than Heart of Thorns was.

This launch diary installment will share ArenaNet’s responses to my PoF questions: Mounts, elite specializations, and the new maps were huge topics of discussion aside from the more general launch and development questions I had. Read on!

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Indie space sandbox MMO Dual Universe launches pre-alpha with a fresh trailer

Happy pre-alpha, Dual Universe! The ambitious indie space sandbox MMORPG kicked off the pre-alpha over the weekend, bringing 2500 backers in to test. You’ll recall that it was the alpha that was meant to start this fall, but studio Novaquark didn’t believe it was ready enough, hence the birth of a pre-alpha to “honor [the studio’s] commitment to [its] backers.” This particular round of testing is open to “gold founders” and up who contributed to the game ahead of September 7th.

In today’s press release, Novaquark CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie talks up both the game’s funding ($7.4M to date) and single-shard tech. “Our proprietary CSSC (Continuous Single-Shard Cluster) and voxel engine technologies are now benchmarked for the first time with real players and not just bots,” he says. “It is truly amazing to think that when you see a moon in the sky, it’s actually there, you can fly to it with a proper spaceship. And you could carve out half of it, given enough time, as the world is entirely editable. Everyone will see it. This kind of giant continuous world experience has never been seen before in gaming. We can’t wait to see what people are going to build over the next weeks.”

The studio has a brand-new trailer out today in honor of the pre-alpha; you can watch it down below, and then when you’re done, take a peek at our demo and interview with Baillie from PAX West, after which MJ dubbed it “Landmark in space but better.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 138: Mystery MMOs and the mobile revolution

On this week’s show, the amazing duo of Bree and Justin look at another beefy Camelot Unchained interview, talk about several new mystery games in development, and boggle over the mobile MMO revolution that has arrived.

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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Brad McQuaid: MMO devs are ‘making the very, very early foundations of the Holodeck’

Pantheon and MMOs like it are bringing our dream future one step closer (or at least, Lt. Barclay’s dream future), Brad McQuaid suggests in a new interview this week. MMORPG veterans know McQuaid as a pioneer of the genre, first with EverQuest, then with the stalled and now sunsetted Vanguard, and now with the upcoming MMO Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.

“I want to be immersed, I want to escape into a fantasy or sci-fi world. [MMO developers are] making the very, very early foundations of the Holodeck. Letting people recreate the 1930s or build new virtual worlds – that’s what MMOs are, they’re the genesis of that. Because they involve real people and that social aspect, because they’re so immersive – and will be even more so in the future, with VR coming – I lose myself in them. I don’t sit there thinking I’m playing a game; I’m really there. And that’s what interests me.”

McQuaid says the MMO is not dead and that he’s working to change that perception by catering to an “underserved” audience of virtual world gamers and “abandoned MMO fans.”

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Crowfall clarifies Kickstarter ‘proof-of-concept’ statements

The folks at Procedural Worlds have a new interview-slash-testimonial from Crowfall Lead Environment Artist Jon O’Neal, in which he talks up that company’s enviromental design tools as employed in the service of building the Crowfall world, but he also talks a bit about the game’s 2015 Kickstarter and the point of the platform. O’Neal opines that the game’s Kickstarter was not about getting money and then making a game. “That’s not really what Kickstarter’s about; it’s to show interest to the real investors,” he says, since whatever Kickstarter brings in presumably won’t actually cover the game, just a “proof of concept.”

We reached out to ArtCraft about the statements for clarification, as we were unaware that the Kickstarter was intended to fund a proof-of-concept. That’s because it wasn’t. ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman told us that O’Neal simply misspoke on camera.

“The goal of the Kickstarter wasn’t a ‘proof-of-concept’,” he told us. “We already had a proof of concept: That is what we showed in the campaign’s video. The stated goal of our Kickstarter campaign was to build a ‘core module’ of the game. A proof-of-concept usually includes a fair amount of throw-away work, whereas the core module is the foundation of the actual game. It was created using parts of the PoC + a ton of new systems and content.”

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Sea of Thieves debated stoking the console vs. PC rivalry with faction sails

You know what we need more? PC players arguing with console players about superiority, system specs, and exclusive titles. That would really bring peace to our times.

Or maybe we get enough of that already?

This silly friction between gamer camps might have been exacerbated if Sea of Thieves’ developers had pushed through an idea to promote rather than discourage platform tribalism. In a recent interview, the team revealed that it had debated giving players PC and Xbox sails as a way to boast about the superiority of their gaming machine.

Instead, the team elected to “seamlessly” integrate the crowds with Sea of Thieves’ crossplay capability. While you wipe the flopsweat off of your brow in relief, check out some more pirate tunes from the game after the break!

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Hyperspace Beacon: Outside-the-box features to look for in a SWTOR guild (or any MMO guild)

On my server in Star Wars: The Old Republic, there are more guild advertisements than chatter in the general channel on the starter planets and fleet. This can quickly become overwhelming to those who don’t know what to look for. I have actually seen these advertisements turn people away from joining a guild altogether. The SWTOR population has also fluctuated quite a bit, so it’s difficult to find a guild that is active and has been in the game for an extended period of time. In other words, general chat is flooded with advertisements for guilds that aren’t very old. In fact, there are many who advertise needing a person or two to help start a guild.

If you are returning to SWTOR or maybe jumping in for the very first time, you are going to want to find a good guild. It’s possible to play the game without interaction with other people, but you will not really get the full experience until you join up to play the game with like-minded individuals.

My advice on finding a guild will avoid some of the obvious questions: Are they friendly, do they have regular events, and do they fit your playstyle? Instead, I would like to focus on the questions that are a little outside-the-box but are just as important if you want to find a guild that actually makes you want to stay in the game instead of flee it.

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Guild Wars 2’s Mike O’Brien on classic Guild Wars, PvE-PvP ratios, and building social MMOs

Forbes has a new interview out this week with ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien all about the Guild Wars franchise, beginning with something most people have probably forgotten: Classic Guild Wars was inspired as much by Magic The Gathering as by MMORPGs, specifically in the idea that card games allowed players to collect far more skills than they could use at a time. The strategy for playing such a game came in choosing which skills to tote along, not in how many skills you’d accrued.

Eventually, however, the team wanted to expand the world itself. “You can’t go halfway on a world,” he argues. “A world is such a powerful thing. It’s where your friends are. It’s the relaxing place where you hang out in the quiet moments between challenges. It’s the home that you grow to love, and that you’re ready to fight to defend when the story asks you to. We came to realize that the world wasn’t the setting; the world was the game.”

And that led ArenaNet to Guild Wars 2, with its focus on horizontal progression, character customization, and social systems. In fact, O’Brien suggests megaservers amounted to crucial tech for the development of the game and its social emphasis.

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