trion worlds

Studio known to MMO players for games like RIFT, Defiance, Trove, and Devilian.

Trove’s exploration-centric Geode expansion is launching June 26

Remember last week when Trion Worlds announced that its popular voxelbox Trove is getting a battle royale mode called Bomber Royale? The studio is on a roll because now it’s announced that Bomber Royale will be part of a whole expansion dubbed Geode, which Trion says is the “next step in Trove’s evolution.”

“Geode sends players on a journey of exploration and discovery to a brand new planet filled with oodles of wonders and remarkable sights. Explore Geode’s intricate network of caves, reveal new lore about Geode and its people, and be a part of story-driven adventures in an enormous all-new world!”

The studio is talking up exploration this time, saying “combat takes a backseat” to new collectibles, companions, and “story-driven quests through Geode’s maze of tunnels and cave systems.” Looks like new biomes to me in the screenies below too! Expect both Geode and Bomber Royale on June 26th on PC and console.

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Trove hauls out a small patch while the community goes crazy over gem rumors

Trove’s May update is here and threatens to undo the very foundations of the game, starting with the change from cube voxels to geodesic spheres. Oh, the blockmanity!

Actually, the real patch is nothing quite so radical. Trion decided to retire some items from Chaos Chests, added a new set of dream dev allies, provided more information on the welcome screen for events and changes, and made a number of other adjustments to the crazy sandbox.

While that’s happening, the playerbase is trying to sort through rumors that Trion is doing… something with gems. Adding a new tier? Introducing a different type? Giving players alternative ways to make and collect them? It’s not completely certain, but there is movement on this front. Check out the video below for more speculation on the matter!

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RIFT hotfix brings soul changes, dragons, and events to the servers

While its rollout has been rocky today, RIFT’s “lucky” 13th hotfix brought a lot of content and changes to both the regular and Prime servers.

The major focus of the hotfix was on the game’s souls and callings, with a particular focus on the progression server’s class balance. You’re going to want to run down the whole extensive list (are we sure this is a mere hotfix?) for all of the details, but Trion did note that it made a big fix to buff stacking that could help or hurt certain builds depending.

On the live server, the Seeker event is going on from now through June 15th. By discovering and solving puzzles, players can earn free silver tier loyalty in the game store.

Then, over on Prime, the Greenscale’s Blight raid has gone live, a new vigil challenge is underway, and crafting rifts are now a thing. Players can log in to get a couple of nice freebies: a third character slot and a Verde companion pet.

Source: Patch notes

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Defiance 2050 records over 3 million dead hellbugs from its closed beta

If you were taking part in the closed beta for Defiance 2050, you were probably killing Hellbugs. Just from a statistical standpoint. There are over 3 million dead hellbugs thanks to beta testing; that is a lot of hellbugs. Or was a lot of hellbugs, we should say. Now they’re piles of mush and chitin. An important distinction, to be sure, but one that we feel obliged to make in light of the statistics from the game’s closed beta.

Of course, players apparently liked shooting Mutants even more, racking up nearly 5 million kills there; along the way, testers gained more than 200,000 levels and 420 people hit the level cap. All of this provides useful feedback for the developers as the game moves close to its proper launch over the summer, which is good news for fans who had a fun time during the testing. And awful news for hellbugs.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 170: Mild West Online

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do their darndest to shape the MMO industry by holding up Wild West Online as a cautionary tale and talking about how studios need to think before applying real-world labels to games.

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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ArcheAge holds back the next phase of its Fresh Start server

Hope you didn’t take off any time this week for the next phase of ArcheAge’s fresh start server, because Trion Worlds informed its players that it needs to hold back on this update until it figures out some issues with the help of XLGAMES. The delay should only be a day or so, the studio said.

“We found that there were discrepancies that require feedback and action from XL before [Phase 2] can be released,” said Trion on the forums. “Due to this situation, we’ll need to delay the release, and thus the weekly maintenance, by 24 hours. There is a chance for this to be delayed further, so we’ll update this thread with any new information regarding intended release time.”

Source: ArcheAge

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Global Chat: The MMO expansion lifecycle

With the ever-developing, ever-growing nature of MMORPGs, the expansion truly has a life of its own. By now we are well acquainted with the cycle that runs from gestation to obsolescence and can usually point to where any particular expansion is on this chart.

The Lazy Goldmaker outlined the typical progression of MMO expansion packs with a six-step cycle that focuses heavily on the economy and raiding: “After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.”

Read on for more MMO blog essays, including ones that cover EVE Online, Wizard101, SWTOR, and LOTRO!

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The Daily Grind: Is it possible for an MMORPG to offer an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win?

Last week, in the comments under the Bless optional subscription brouhaha article, I made an offhand comment that apparently got MOP commenter Sally’s gears grinding. I was trying to sort through why Bless fans are mad, and I wrote, “Neowiz has been promising no P2W for months, but it’s really hard to have an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win.”

Sally didn’t disagree but said it was a “shock” to see it spelled out on Massively OP of all places: “In the current free-to-play climate, I see [the MOP] community as one of the last bastions for subscriptions. So a shot at subs from here struck me as ‘et tu, Brute?'” And Sally’s right! A lot of MMORPG vets enjoy F2P and B2P games but also hate double-dipping, and the subscription, or at least a mandatory sub without the usual gamblebox and pay-to-win trappings, is one way to guarantee healthy game design for the players.

On the other hand, if I’m honest, I truly cannot think of an MMORPG with an optional subscription that isn’t pay-to-win in some way. They’re trying to incentivize you to sub, after all, so they have to make the perks worthwhile, and very rarely do they stop at cosmetics. My Trove sub makes experience and drops fall from the sky. My Ultima Online sub lets me own a house and run vendors and hoard most everything. I’d say that games like Elder Scrolls Online, which hands out generous amounts of cash-shop credit for subbing, are on the better end of this argument, but then there’s that pesky crafting bag to contend with.

What do you think: Is it possible for an MMORPG to offer an optional sub that isn’t pay-to-win in some way? Got a contender in mind?

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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The Daily Grind: Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor or cash-shop cosmetics?

Take a look at your main character in your main MMORPG right now. What is he or she wearing? And did you get it through play or from the cash shop?

This topic came to me as I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit earlier this week; a Redditor was polling players on whether they thought there was a good balance of cash-shop cosmetics vs. cosmetic gear acquired through actually playing the game. It’s a tiny bit hard to answer this one for Guild Wars 2, as multiple people pointed out, as you can convert the gold you get while playing legitimately into gems to buy cash-shop cosmetics (or just buy lockbox skins with gold from the gamblers). Plus, GW2 isn’t called Fashion Wars for nothing. But still: Almost all of my characters are running around in cash-shop cosmetics there. I may complain about the lack of new skins and the overabundance of buttcapes, but I like to spend money on games I want to support, and cosmetics are one of the least objectionable ways to do it. And GW2’s are still slick (vs. a lot of the in-game armor, which is grindy or group-centric).

In Trove, which is another of my favorite games lately, most of my characters are running around wearing at least core outfits from ancient Steam pack sales.

Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor of cash-shop cosmetics? And do you see that as a problem, one way or another?

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Even Trove is getting a battle royale mode – it’s called Bomber Royale

Trion’s voxelbox Trove is getting its very own battle royale mode, after a fashion. It’s called Bomber Royale, and its plain aim is to revivify the game’s wilted PvP, complete with destructible terrain and the now-classic playfield shrink as the match wears on.

Trove Bomber Royale brings a new spin on the game’s competitive combat, allowing for throwdowns of up to 20 people in an exciting and chaotic new twist on battle royale gameplay, whipping bombs at each other, collecting power-ups, and wrecking the terrain until only one Trovian is left standing! In Trove Bomber Royale, the gameplay is fast and frenetic, where players are placed onto one of three different maps together, and must throw bombs at each other in order to be the sole survivor of the skirmish. There are several different bomb types at your disposal, including bouncing bombs, sticky bombs, and more. Players can also utilize a variety of moves and power-ups, including a grappling hook to zip away from (or towards) danger and healing-based items.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 169: Farscape and RuneScape

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin look ahead at the next generation of MMORPGs in development while saying farewell to a couple of the old guard. It’s a podcast full of conspiracies, time magic, debates over subscriptions, and way too much talk about Farscape!

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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Global Chat: MMOs need to do ‘difficulty’ right

A thinkpiece that we had back in April about the difficulty levels (or lack thereof) in MMORPGs sparked some interesting discussion among gaming bloggers as they grappled with the concept of challenge levels and how MMOs should improve in presenting them.

GamingSF thinks that there is much room for improvement in offering players varied challenges: “I also want to see more MMORPGs introducing non-combat challenges through puzzles and quests that require thinking to complete (e.g. following lore clues).”

And Inventory Full chimes in with this distinction: “I also strongly agree with whoever it was who said that gamers these days equate difficulty with time spent. Indeed, more often than not when someone complains that something is ‘too difficult’ what they really mean is it takes longer than they want to spend doing it.”

Continue on for this week’s Global Chat, as we look at Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor, feelings concerning Defiance 2050, the whole Daybreak mess, and more!

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