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Marvel Heroes studio Gazillion hit with layoffs [Confirmed]

It’s sad news for fans of Marvel Heroes and Super Hero Squad Online as at least one of the teams behind Gazillion‘s successful titles appears to have gotten a bit smaller. Michael Parks, formerly of the company, tweeted that friends of his were out of work:

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The Daily Grind: Why don’t more PvP sandboxes have consequences?

Eco’s recent stretch goal reveal tickled my fancy, mainly because I’ve been ranting about the lack of meaningful criminal justice systems in PvP sandboxes for years. If you missed the announcement, Eco’s proposed system has teeth in that possible consequences for criminal behavior include not only permadeath/character deletion but a ban that prevents the account from creating another character on a particular server!

As I did that Citizen Kane clap and mouthed the word “finally” while reading the announcement, I got to thinking about why all these other PvP sandbox devs lack the stones to do something similar. Is it too hard? Is it too impractical? Is it because they don’t care about building an actual sandbox and would rather build another meaningless me-too MMO that’s a combat simulator instead of a virtual world? What do you think, MOP readers? Why don’t more PvP sandboxes have harsh consequences for criminal gameplay?

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Pathfinder Online lays off almost entire staff

Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens has announced to Pathfinder Online supporters that the majority of the Goblinworks team working on the game has been laid off.

We knew we needed a certain amount of money to finish to build the game, and we came really damn close, but we just couldn’t find the last bit of funding that we needed. […] Last Friday, we had to lay off most of the staff. […] I couldn’t pay them anymore. We gave them lots of warning, so they all knew this was coming.

CTO Mark Kalms, Art Director Mike Hines, and Designer Bob Settles are all that remain of the studio. According to Stevens, Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey left the company two weeks ago for personal reasons unrelated to the layoffs. Lee Hammock and Steven Cheney were also apparently among those let go.

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Eco’s proposed death penalty doesn’t mess around

Eco, the global ecosystem survival game that recently blew through its $100,000 Kickstarter goal, has added a player-run criminal justice PvP system as a stretch goal.

Currently, the game design will “prevent laws from being broken” by stopping various player criminal actions before they occur. If Eco tops $200,000 in funding, the devs will implement a flagging system that allows players to break laws and also opens them to consequences including arrests and some pretty harsh punishment. The game’s Kickstarter page details the theoretically nifty mechanics, including criminal flags that are only visible to players who actually witnessed the crime as well as forensic skills that enable highly skilled players to become a witness upon investigating a crime scene.

Consequences for lawbreakers include automatic currency/item fines, in-game jail time, and a death penalty that sees the offending character deleted from the server and the user banned from logging into that server in the future.

Source: Kickstarter; thanks Dengar!


SWTOR vets form new studio, partner with Nexon

Korean F2P giant Nexon announced today that it has entered into a “strategic partnership” with newly formed QC Games. Nexon America will publish and market the fledgling company’s first project, an unannounced multiplayer online action game, according to today’s press release.

QC is headed up by Dallas Dickinson, former production director on Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as a veteran of PlanetSide, Star Wars: Galaxies, and Shadow Realms. SWTOR, Shadow Realms, and BioWare alums make up the majority of QC’s roster, which includes devs like Gabe Amatangelo who may be familiar to MMO fans.

The release also says that QC is accepting resumes for positions on its first game.

Source: Business Wire; thanks Heather_PLS!


Ask Mo: The state of Massively Overpowered

Ask Mo is back, and today Mo and I are answering a few meta questions about Massively OP itself. Our first question is from long-time supporter Pierre:

Hello guys! I’ve been worrying for a long time now about something. I think I know the answer to my question, but I wanted to be sure because MOP is such a great website and I feel you’re in your element with the freedom you get from running the site yourself, and I don’t want to see the site disappear in the near future. So my question basically is: How does it go financially? Can the site live on with all the incomes from the Patreon (not much but normal for Patreon) and from advertising? Do you need another Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaign?

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Valiance teases its character creation progress

In-development superhero MMO Valiance Online updated its website today with a few pics showing off its character creation system. The textual description refers to the images as work-in-progress concept art for “future updates” to the character creator.

Still, they seem pretty slick and they boast a broad range of customization options ranging from color palettes to costume pieces with multiple layers and multiple material selections like cloth, leather, and metal. The images also provide a glimpse of Valiance’s power set customization, as you can see above.

Source: Official website; thanks MagmaFist!


This is how Crowfall has evolved over the past 16 weeks

Crowfall’s latest video is a 25-minute affair that shows you how the crowdfunded PvP fantasy title has progressed from stacks of Post-It notes, index cards, and little round stickers to a playable virtual world over the past five months.

The piece is titled Combat Strike Team, Milestone 1, and as you might expect, it features an in-depth look at a 16-week development sprint courtesy of design lead Thomas Blair and designer Tully Ackland. See for yourself after the break.

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SMITE tweaks the old gods and the new

SMITE’s latest patch is here, and it features a new god (Xing Tian), new skins, new voice packs, new emotes, new avatars, and new wards. That’s a lot of new, and Hi-Rez has also tweaked a number of its old gods as well as changed several of the MOBA’s items. You can read all of the changes via the patch notes, or watch the patch overview video behind the break.

There’s also a six-minute god reveal video focused on Xing Tian, which shows off his passives, actives, and a bit of lore and gameplay.

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DC Universe’s Episode 16 launches tomorrow

If you’re a DC Universe Online member, you can get your hands on its newest bit of DLC tomorrow. Episode 16 launches for subscribers on September 2nd, and it includes a new alert called Desecrated Cathedral that Daybreak has highlighted in its latest website update.

The story involves Raven, daughter of Trigon, but players will need to deal with a “greater disturbance” happening in the Gotham Wastelands Cathedral in order to get at the new narrative bits.


ARK’s tourney championship features a giant ass dragon

Studio Wildcard is hyping the championship round of ARK: Survival Evolved’s Survival of the Fittest tourney which takes place tomorrow, September 2nd at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The event throws 144 contestants into a high-stakes grudge match where they must “murder each other to death,” according to a company press release. Prizes include $20,000 for the winning tribe and $100 Steam gift cards for everyone who made it to the championship round.

There’s also a 90-foot tall fire-breathing dragon, which you can preview after the cut.

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Camelot Unchained’s newsletter recaps August, looks to DragonCon

Camelot Unchained fans, I hope you have a caffeinated beverage and a lot of free time, because the 13th edition of the game’s newsletter is here and it’s looooong.

It recaps all the development updates for the previous month, as well as the current stealth stretch goal, which CityState says is coming along nicely and which has been well-received by the community. There’s also a state-of-the-build update penned by Brian Green, as well as details about the dev team’s upcoming trek to Atlanta where they will show off the game at this weekend’s DragonCon.

And of course, there’s a whole lot more to the newsletter. Click the link below to read it for yourself.

Source: Newsletter #13; thanks Flying Dutchman!


A fireside chat with Firefall’s executive producer

For a tumultuous period of time, Firefall was in freefall, having crossed the spectrum of gamer goodwill about as fast as was humanly possible. This talked-up title was soon dismissed for Red 5’s radically shifting design that alienated more than it attracted.

However, Firefall’s been making steady and encouraging progress over the past year with content updates, welcome features, and market expansion. We checked in with Executive Producer Chris Whiteside to get more details on what’s going on behind the scenes, both in development and operation, of this sci-fi MMO.

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