Remember Runescape: Idle Adventures? Probably not, which is probably a good part of the reason why the game is rather quietly shuttering its doors on May 15th. The farewell letter to the community explains that while the community for the game was solid, people weren’t sticking around to justify the cost of developing new content, which meant the title fell into that perilous trap where there’s no new content, so people leave, so there’s no reason to develop more, etc.
The spinoff launched into early access back in September of last year with microtransactions and a free-to-play business model. Multiplatform development was planned but never materialized. Our apologies to the players who are losing a game they enjoyed and the developers forced to pull the curtains on the project.
Long before Hearthstone, HEX, and the avalanche of other games trying to cash in on the legitimized online lottery that is TCGs, there was the bizarre and wonderful hybrid Pox Nora. In fact, you MMORPG vets will likely remember the game from when it was published by SOE, though now the 2006 online tactical turn-based strategy game (“with collectible card and fantasy MMORPG elements”) flies under the flag of Desert Owl Games, which was founded by two of the game’s original creators. And Desert Owl has built on the game since the sale, most notably with last year’s expansion.
This year, however, Pox Nora will expand to console. The studio announced this week that its PS4 debut is set for May 23rd with proper cross-platform play and PC-to-PS4 account copying.
“To celebrate the console debut, Desert Owl Games will simultaneously deliver exclusive content to the PlayStation community that can be used against PC players via cross-play. PlayStation players will have access to all of Pox Nora’s currently-released PC expansions. Upon launching the game the first time, players will be awarded the ‘Ironfist Inquisition’ deck. They will also receive a bonus login pack for playing on PlayStation 4 and an additional pack if they have a PlayStation Plus account. An exclusive pack of eight character skins and special bundles packed with exclusive content is also available. Additionally, PC gamers will have the option to copy their existing PC account’s inventory to the PlayStation 4.”
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.
When EVE Online
releases its next big patch on May 9th, PLEX is changing in a big way
. For example, the old days of ships carrying around a huge number of PLEX packages and getting blown up will be a thing of the past; PLEX will now be stored in a central vault that can be accessed from anywhere, meaning that it’s no longer incredibly valuable (and volatile) cargo. It’s also being converted into currency in its own right, broken into 500 PLEX rather than a single PLEX item used to extend subscription time.
This makes the name “pilot license extension” rather inappropriate, but since everyone just calls it PLEX all of the time anyhow, the actual impact will be lessened.
All of the changes will also mean that PLEX will be the new go-to microtransaction currency while being less vulnerable to destruction in the game. A month of subscription will cost 500 PLEX, so that elemet of gameplay remains fundamentally the same, even though it’s possible to earn PLEX in smaller increments over time with the shift. So if you’ve got some vulnerable haulers full of PLEX… maybe just leave those in the dock until May 9th. Then you can have them haul something less expensive.
RuneScape’s been teasing its Menaphos: The Golden City update for what seems like months, but today, the expansion’s getting a hard date: June 5th. Jagex says it’s just the first in a series of free expansions on the way for the game, spaced out every three months. This one comes with a level cap bump, new raids, and new quests.
“Menaphos is full of untold riches and stories waiting to be unearthed by the game’s millions of players. However, players will arrive in the city as unknown outsiders and must build their reputation within the city to become both exalted and legendary among the inhabitants. As they explore the city, it won’t be long until they discover the dark secret of corruption spreading through the metropolis. In addition, there will be new quests, a constantly shifting network of tombs that can be raided for their ancient riches and a new Slayer Dungeon, which will see the Slayer Skill level cap raised from 99 to 120 for the very first time.”
The update announcement is getting a bit lost on Reddit, however, where players are still fuming over the newly released Spring Fayre, which apparently rolled out with rather hefty microtransactions (MTX). Jagex, however, posted this morning that it plans to change how the Fayre works, increasing rewards and making play periods fit a global audience.
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.
Making money in free-to-play games isn’t as simple as pursuing a single revenue stream. Often studios are looking at multiple approaches to coax players to part with their money in exchange for various goods and services. Now we all know that psychological manipulation is a key part of monetization, which is why it behooves you to read this Gamasutra article on a specific type of microtransaction moneymaking called “gacha.”
Gacha is derived from Japanese vending machines that people would pay for a random toy that is part of a set. The idea is, in both the physical and video game space, that by convincing customers to repeatedly buy objects for a chance to complete a set, the customer will often end up purchasing many repeats (and thus buy the same thing more than once). Gacha can be implemented in many interesting ways in video games, turning the process into a game in and of itself (that costs real money to play).
Is this method evil or entertaining? The article says that it leans toward the latter: “Gacha is a powerful game design technique that allows developers to successfully monetize on F2P market. It’s worth to remember that gacha may be designed in numerous ways that don’t exploit human addictions to gambling but entertain and monetize in a synergy.”
A couple of years ago, The Force Awakens introduced us to (among other things) a lightsaber that looks poorly made, like a little kid made it
. So Star Wars: The Old Republic
added a version of it to a lockbox, and everyone got pissy. Then it got added to direct sales
, and everyone got pissy.
Including me! Except, in my case, not because I feel like one side or the other is being hard done by. No, it’s that rare situation wherein I consider pretty much everyone involved to be whining about something that really requires not the slightest bit of whining. Yes, everyone here is being dumb and I am on absolutely no one’s side here. Except for the side of tegu.
As such, I’ve compiled my thoughts briefly below, with sections dedicated to both “sides” of the debate and all of the people who are mad. I’ve also included a few pictures of big old lizards because I was told that I couldn’t write an entire column about liking lizards and I can be petulant, too. So if you don’t care about this debate, check out some lizard pictures. That’d be fun.
The Repopulation is indeed on track to resume early access later this month as planned.
“Servers will be opening up to all current players on the 12th of this month,” Idea Fabrik COO Sarrene’ Grant told forumgoers this afternoon.
“All backers and current players of The Repopulation can enter the game starting at midnight EST on Sunday. Downloads are open, as some of you already know. Your game account login will be exactly the same. Nothing has changed there. We wanted to make sure that everyone that bought and supported the game had the same access as before. If you forgot your password you can use the link provided on the launcher to reset your password. If you have any problems logging in please feel free to post that up. A ticket system will be in place after the transfer is complete. We will be turning The Repopulation sales on at Steam between the 19th and the 26th of this month depending on how the servers hold up to the Alpha testing.”
Path of Exile’s 2.6 patch
last week was a whopper, but it wasn’t without issues, some of which are rectified in today’s update. In addition to swatting a number of pesky bugs, Grinding Gear Games
has made several much-welcomed changes to leaguestones
“The Leaguestone progress bar now appears red when the leaguestone has not activated because it is underleveled for the area that the player is in.
Added minimum generation levels to some mods on Leaguestones where they could drop before that content could spawn.
Perandus Leaguestones that drop after this patch will now have a 20% chance to spawn Cadiro in the next area.
Onslaught Leaguestones that drop after this patch will now have 20% increased Quantity of Items found in the next area.
The Aspect of Ruination unique monster from the Luring Rampage Leaguestone mod now does 20% less damage.
The Ancient Reliquary is now Normal difficulty.”
Brodiro memes right here.
We’ve all griped and grumbled about how MMO lockboxes are too much like gambling
and tend to swindle players out of money for a chance at getting desired items. But what if an MMO came out with a lockbox that told you up front what your odds are of winning rare items, promised you an item of equal value or more to what you spend on it, and said that any of its offerings would be put up for sale on the store at a later date?
That’s exactly what Path of Exile is doing with its new classic mystery box. “We’ve taken a look at how our mystery boxes are designed, and have revamped our systems to be more ethical, transparent and provide more value than ever before,” the studio said. “We’ve flattened out the odds of possible outcomes to make it more likely to receive the most valuable microtransactions than in previous boxes.”
The odds are no secret; players have a 20% chance of winning a rare item, 35% chance of an uncommon, and 45% chance of a common in each box. Additionally, while the boxes won’t tell you what’s inside, they will post the price up front of the value of each box’s contents so that you can make a more informed purchase.
Check out what some of the offerings look like in the classic mystery box after the break!
The Paladins community was not terribly happy with the changes made to the game’s microtransaction model for, let’s face it, entirely understandable reasons. Introducing Legendary cards, swapping things out for Essence, and then making Essence accumulate at such a slow rate as to be irrelevant? The good news is that the developers have heard the complaints and are rolling out fixes to make Essence easier to acquire from all sources.
Players will need 12,000 Essence rather than 18,000 to purchase Legendary cards, while duplicate Common cards will offer 250 Essence rather than 60. Players can also earn 1000 Essence per achievement, and Mastery bonuses achieved before the chest rewards were put into place will retroactively award a large amount of Essence rather than retroactive chests. That doesn’t necessarily mean that players will be totally all right with the changes made so far, but it’s a step in the direction of correcting course.
Don’t look now, but we’re putting the cap on “the biggest year in digital games and playable media ever,” according to SuperData Research.
Thanks to digital PC, mobile, and console game sales, the industry cleared a staggering $91 billion in revenue, demonstrating a far wider audience than ever before. Out of that, $6.6 billion was spent on downloading games to consoles, while $34 billion was spent on PC games and free-to-play microtransactions.
E-sports is becoming more and more the focus of studios and advertisers, so don’t expect that to go away any time soon. The report did hit a cautious note, saying that the first year of virtual reality media was “sobering” due to high prices for the equipment and a lack of a strong field of games.