This week CCP Games
announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX
in EVE Online
. The PLEX or "30-day Pilot's License EXtension" is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX
The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE's business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There's been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what's the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.
If you were sad as I was that The Elder Scrolls Online's Homestead housing patch this past week didn't offer much for the provincial Morrowind fan, take heart: ZeniMax was as expected just holding back the good stuff for the Morrowind release. Spoilers follow!
Russian fan site ElderScrolls.net managed to get its hands on a leaked Game Informer article (Game Informer is owned by Gamestop) covering the Morrowind expansha-chapter, complete with some gorgeous images of what is clearly some of the iconic cities on Vvardenfell, from the towering mushroom towers of the Telvanni east coast and the sandstone Hlaalu dwellings to the Velothi cantons of Vivec and thatched-roof construction of the Bitter Coast. In fact, if you squint, you can see scaffolding surrounding parts of Vivec and what appears to be Balmora's canals. I don't spy any Redoran shells!
There are a few interesting tidbits in the translation, including the fact that there are five great houses (plus one) in play during this time period (presumably the extras are Indoril, Dres, and Dagoth) and the fact that there's a quest to become a skooma drug lord. See, mom, memorizing Morrowind lore did come in handy some day.
Check out the shots below!
Recently we've been following the story of the biggest war in gaming history kicking off inside EVE Online and its far-reaching consequences for the EVE universe. The conflict that has come to be known as World War Bee has seen EVE's largest and most dominant military power (known as CFC or The Imperium) face off against a huge coalition of alliances calling itself the Moneybadger Coalition. The story so far reads like something out of a sci-fi novel, except that it's playing out right now inside EVE Online, so if you've missed it, then I recommend going back and reading our coverage of the war from the beginning.
In our last report, the Imperium was up against a wall and unable to match the fleet sizes fielded by MBC. The group walled itself up inside the uncapturable lowsec system of Saranen and switched to guerilla strategies, employing interceptor and stealth bomber fleets. Since then it's lost billions of ISK in strategic assets, it's given up dozens of star systems and stations, and it's been shedding members by the thousands. The Russians have unexpectedly entered the war, director level spies have been discovered, and Goonswarm's home fortress in Deklein is under assault. Now The Imperium itself looks as if it may be shattering, and its only hope may be to consolidate its power into one massive super-alliance.
Read on for an update on the latest from EVE Online's World War Bee, the toll it's taking on the alliances involved, and The Imperium's plan to form what players are calling a super-alliance.
I know, I know: Solid information about Heart of Thorns is coming really slowly from the Guild Wars 2 PR machine, making for a bunch of very nervous potential players who have a whole list of unanswered questions. The elite specializations haven't all been released at this stage, and we still don't know that that "challenging group content" we've been promised will look like. There are so many moving parts still whirring along the road to the expansion's release, each one hovering just out of reach for the eager playerbase. With at most four months until HoT is in our hands and pre-orders already flowing, we really want to know as much as we can about the product we're spending our hard-earned gaming budgets on.
Having said that, I dislike how we, as a community, are spoiling the moment for ourselves and the team at ArenaNet by extensively datamining for goodies and avidly jumping on the information unearthed. I guess there's nothing immoral or directly damaging about datamining, but I feel as if we sometimes poke, prod, and shake the shiny expansion-shaped present so much in our quest to guess at its contents that we inadvertently end up tearing the wrapping paper and spoiling the magic. We're looking at little snippets of an unfinished product that are still largely open to interpretation, and while that's good for speculation, it's not so good for gleaning concrete details. For this week's edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I wanted to depart from my usual content to touch on why I find datamining to be more than a little bit of a buzzkill rather than the tasty teaser it's usually presented as.
MMO companies do their collective best to make sure that people don't find out certain pieces of information ahead of time, which makes it all the more obvious when people do find out ahead of time. And it happens with fair regularity. Rumors come out, leaks happen, teaser images go out, and someone posts a byte-by-byte analysis that concludes what's coming next. You've probably seen it happen with your favorite title more than once.
Of course, leaks and rumors can both be false, and speculation can be wrong. But in the wake of the most recent set of leaks, you might be wondering whether you generally trust rumors, leaks, and speculation. Does it strike you as worthwhile listening, or do you generally assume that rumors are false until definitively proven true? And do these unplanned bits of information make you less excited for the official announcement or more?
You can never be sure if a leak is on the level or if it's just a bunch of speculation. But you can make an educated guess, and the news that Destiny's next expansion, The Taken King, will launch on September 15th certainly seems plausible. It's not as if anyone was planning on doing anything else in September, right?
According to the leak the expansion will be priced at $40 and will include a new subclass for each of the main classes, a new elemental super ability, and a new raid pitting players against Oryx, father of Crota. This leak lines up with what players already know about future updates to Destiny, but you can feel free to speculate on whether or not it's completely legitimate or complete hogwash.
Nintendo's quriky new online paint-battle game Splatoon officially launched this week to very positive reviews. Monster-battling game Moonrise entered early access and promises Pokémon-like online arena battles. EA revealed that the recently announced Need for Speed reboot will require an internet connection to play. Star Citizen's devs accidentally leaked secret assets from the game's development, including hidden star systems and jump points on the game's map. And Path of Exile revised the release estimate of its upcoming expansion from late June to early July.
League of Legends released new champion Ekko this week as part of a huge balance patch and revived the old Hexakill featured game mode. Heroes of the Storm announced plans for its official launch, including a live show, game livestreams, and a week-long XP bonus for players. Elite: Dangerous detailed a ton of additional improvements and features coming in its upcoming Powerplay update. And as the prize pool for Dota 2's upcoming world championship tournament broke the $10,000,000 mark, two Korean teams decided to spend over $13,000 flying to Singapore to lower their latency and increase their chances of qualifying.
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!