microtransaction

Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath beta is live with a brand-new trailer

The beta for Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath expansion is officially live this evening right on schedule.

● Act 5: The Fall of Oriath: Return to Oriath, home to the oppressive Templar theocracy. Explore frozen mountaintops, pristine temples and anarchic city streets. Leave a trail of furious destruction as you seek vengeance for your exile.
● A Single Playthrough, a Complete Story: We’re removing the previous difficulty level system to make room for another five brand new acts, bringing the total to ten. In these five acts, you will weave through both new and familiar locations and witness the results of your past actions.
● Claim the Power of the Gods: Path of Exile’s new Pantheon system provides you with potent powers taken from the Gods themselves. But beware, the Gods won’t go down without a fight.
● New items, new skills, a new challenge league and more, only available at launch!

The microtransaction system won’t make it into today’s update; we chronicled the tech issues swirling around that update this morning. Check out the brand-new screenshots and beta release trailer, and stay tuned for our impressions tomorrow!

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Path of Exile preps Fall of Oriath beta amidst technical problems

The beta for Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath expansion is expected to launch today, but it hasn’t been without its technical issues. On Monday, Grinding Gear Games had to roll back the 2.6.1 microtransaction system for fixes. The same thing happened last night, causing the team to once again roll back to 2.6.0.m and inform players that the microtrans system won’t be included in today’s 2.6.2 patch.

The beta is anticipated to include acts 5 through 7, the visual upgrades for earlier content, balance changes, item changes, the Labyrinth restructure, new minimap, and the Pantheon feature for acts 6 and beyond. Act 8 will be added to the beta later (9 and 10 won’t be); there are no unique items to test right now, nor any new support or skill gems. And of course, the microtransaction system won’t be live.

GGG has also warned players that Atlas of Worlds supporter packs and their exclusive bits will vanish forever once this beta begins, so grab one while you can.

Stay tuned for more coverage from us on the expansion, and in the meantime, check out this video of an act seven boss!

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Path of Exile streamlines its microtransaction system

You get a lot of stuff for free in Path of Exile. If not for the fact that the game appears to still be a financial success, it could be argued that it might even be too much for free. For those of you who have dropped some money on the game’s microtransactions, though, the latest update is all about making your life a bit easier with a new inventory and equipment slots for microtransaction items, so you should have a much easier time swapping and sorting your various cosmetic effects.

Players who aren’t into cosmetic effects can also take advantage of this weekend’s stash tab sale, offering discounts on every different type of stash tab to make storage that much easier. Players can also still grab purple footsteps, portals, and weapon effects by signing up for Twitch Prime. You can check out the new microtransaction system and the Twitch Prime cosmetics in the videos just below.

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Secret World Legends outlines how its free-to-play model allows you to unlock things without cash

The good news for Secret World Legends players is that you won’t need to pay money for the game. You won’t even need to pay money for things in the game that would otherwise cost money. The game offered a new post today detailing the free-to-play model, which will allow players to exchange Aurum (the microtransaction currency) for Marks of Favour (earned through daily challenges and normal play) and vice-versa. So if you never want to drop a cent, you can avoid it.

Weapon unlocks, some vanity items, weapon upgrades, the auction house, cosmetic changes, and some undisclosed elements all require Marks of Favour. Aurum, meanwhile, is used for unlocking inventory slots, character slots, progression boosts, bank space, other vanity items, and so forth. Allowing you to exchange between the two means you can always get more Aurum without necessarily spending money, although only time (and player purchases) will tell how generous the exchange rate is.

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Runescape Idle Adventures is shutting down on May 15

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.

Source: Steam board

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2006 MMOTBS Pox Nora lands on PlayStation 4 this month with solid cross-platform support

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.”

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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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EVE Online rolls out major PLEX changes on May 9

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.

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RuneScape plans Menaphos update for June 5, addresses Spring Fayre uproar

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.

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EVE Evolved: What’s the deal with EVE’s PLEX changes?

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.

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Why gacha is the ‘gotcha’ tactic of MMO sales

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.”

Source: Gamasutra

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The Soapbox: Everyone’s being dumb about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s lightsaber

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.

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The Repopulation will be playable Sunday, back on Steam later in March

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.”

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