Convenience and cosmetics. These are the foundational pillars of Guild Wars 2’s
microtransactions, and back at GDC earlier this year, Game Director Crystin Cox opened up about how ArenaNet monetized its game
using these pillars along with the free market and lootboxes.
“Expressing yourself, relating to other people, showing off, making a visual representation of who you are, is hugely important to a lot of MMO players, so that was always very high on our list,” she said. As for convenience items, Cox emphasized how the studio “respected people’s time” and wanted to make items that could trade time and money if so desired.
As for the dual currency system, Cox said that it has turned out quite well for the MMO: “I think we’ve done incredibly well with the free market because it accurately represents the value of the things that people are purchasing.”
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.
If, like me, you are still quite disappointed from the announcement that the beloved Bestiary League won’t be included
in the core of Path of Exile
, perhaps Grinding Gear Games
can interest you in the game’s next league? Opening its doors on June 1st, Incursion continues the studio’s tradition of offering new content every three months. But it’s more than just a league: Incursion has all the trappings of an expansion.
What is Incursion? Producer Chris Wilson and I sat down to discuss the ins and outs of this next step forward for PoE, which in actuality is a step back — in time. While I may not be able to go back in time to quell those hopes of keeping my bestiary, Incursion will have me going back to manipulate my access to an ancient Vaal temple so I can return and loot it for treasure in the present. Wilson described the league as having two layers: one’s a place where you go and kill monsters in every room in a timed trial like Breach, and the other’s a deeply strategic temple building for a customized zone experience.
After we explored the new content, Wilson made the vision clear. “Our philosophy with Path of Exile releases: The two important things to do are to add compelling new content for people to play and compelling new ways for the players to play it.” With every new league I wonder if GGG can hit that mark, and every time I chat with Wilson I think, By Jove, I think they’ve got it! Read more
When you work in video games, you often get asked what new titles you are looking forward to. While experience has been teaching me to temper my enthusiasm, I do have one that I’m excited to play. I first got to experience Dual Universe in-person at PAX West last September, and since then I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release! Why? That title pretty summed it up well: It’s a persistent, seamless, sandbox universe. More than that even, it is a hotbed of creativity thanks to its voxel foundation. So I’ve had a taste of what can happen in a world that customizable, and I hunger for more!
That meeting with Jean-Christophe Baillie, the president and founder of NovaQuark, was seven months ago. How has development been coming along since then? How does the game look today? I got to sit down with Baillie for an update on progress and a new tour through the universe a few weeks ago. In my first demo, I saw promise. This time, I saw more of that promise realized.
Sick of battle royale? Yeah, it hit saturation levels in a hurry. Undead Labs is over the craze too, which might sound funny given that the original State of Decay was right on the forefront of the zombie craze.
VG247 has a brief but interesting interview out with the studio design director, Richard Foge, as part of a State of Decay 2 media blitz. Foge basically says there’s no point for a studio like his to try battle royale at this point.
“It’s like there’s this field of wheat, right? And somebody built this perfect, glorious combine and went over that field of wheat. If somebody then comes up and asks you, ‘Would you also like to build a combine to go over this field of wheat?’ I’m like, there’s no wheat left! These giant combines have been rolling through this space – there’s nothing left for us to harvest. I would much rather us focus on what we’re doing, trying to find something unique in the space to excite and inspire them. Some new thing as opposed to trying to follow what other folks are doing, trying to see what scraps I can get from that.”
It’s no secret that Otherland, the MMO based on Tad Williams’ popular sci-fi series, has had an extremely rough go of it through development and launch. It really did look like a game that was destined to be shut down (or to fade into obscurity) within weeks. However, Drago Games is making a valiant effort to shore up the game with tons of new quests and a summer expansion.
Drago sat down with MMORPG.com for an interview on the game, saying that it is attempting to “starting the process from scratch” of building up the game’s playerbase.
“We are now going back to the way it was in the game’s early access where developers communicated directly with players,” Drago said. “We already see from various responses that we are on the right track and we plan to go further to strengthen that relationship, do events of different kinds, but first and foremost be there and answer.”
It’s safe to say that it’s been a rough year for CCP Games, with the company pulling out of VR game development and laying off around 100 staff worldwide. The entire EVE Online
community team was reported to have been slashed down to just two employees, and many of the studio’s most experienced PR staff were let go when the Atlanta office was shuttered. EVE
players (including me
) came down hard on CCP and on CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson in particular, and some inside the company were notably shaken.
EVE Online Community Manager Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy was one of the few members of the community team left after the layoffs, suddenly finding himself organising the 15th anniversary Fanfest without a team. It’s now been almost five months since the layoffs, so I caught up with Paul at EVE Fanfest 2018 recently to find out how the company has coped with the loss of so many skilled community staff. He also clarified CCP’s role in tackling harassment outside the game client in the wake of a recent virtual scuffle on the Open Comms show, and gave a fascinating account of how Hilmar himself dealt with the recent layoffs and how he’s been getting more involved with EVE lately.
Read on for our massive in-depth interview with EVE‘s Community Manager Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy.
recent update is called Legends Return, a title that works on a couple of levels when you consider that the game’s creator, Jake Song, came back to give the title some personal attention after working on other projects. He is now the executive producer on the game, and as such, he sat down for a Q&A video to talk about the guidance that he’s brought back to the MMO.
“The change in development we made this year is that we are going to make sure to release a monthly update, even if there is only a small amount of change,” he told fans.
Song discussed how the team is working to restore some of the fun to the game while retaining “minimal character limitations” that was at the core of his original vision. It’s a pretty breezy six-minute interview, so do yourself a favor and give it a watch when you get some time!
With a dozen members of the all-star cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returning to reprise their roles for this June’s Star Trek Online: Victory is Life
, one actress has the advantage over the others. Chase Masterson is back for at least her third stint in the MMO, having played fan favorite Leeta in past updates (including as a hologram and as a Mirror Universe villain
With the heavy Deep Space Nine focus on the game’s third expansion, it’s good to see the reunion of a cast from a show that’s now 25(!) years old. Masterson has since gone on to act in many TV shows and movies, perform as a jazz singer, and found an anti-bullying organization called Pop Culture Hero that uses film, comics, and TV to take a stand against bullying in schools and communities.
We sat down with Masterson to talk about reprising the role of Leeta, the continuation of Deep Space Nine, the benefits of maturity, and how we all can be heroes.
Now that Lord of the Rings Online
has emerged from Mordor, it’s preparing to go back in the future. SSG’s Rob Ciccolini and Jerry Snook
opened up about next couple of updates with MMO Central, teasing an epic confrontation with the giant spider Shelob. Before this takes place, however, Update 23 is going to deliver what sounds like a new region and lots of new instances.
“Our next update will move towards the Grey Mountains, but as we expand we expect to have some reference or maybe even a short appearance because that will be the beginning of [Shelob’s] storyline,” said Ciccolini.
One of the most common comments you’ll see in articles about big events in EVE Online
is that it’s a lot more entertaining to read about than to play, and that’s certainly true if what you’re reading is Empires of EVE
. Written by EVE
Historian Andrew Groen back in 2015 and published thanks to the support of over 3,000 players through a crowdfunding campaign
, Empires of EVE tells the story of some of EVE
‘s earliest and most deadly wars and political schisms.
Cutting through all of the propaganda and player self-motivations in a political sandbox like EVE is no small task, and it’s complicated by over a decade of shifting loyalties, misinformation, propaganda, and misremembered events. Andrew is uniquely equipped to cut through many of those issues, collecting as accurate historical records as possible and delivering it all as a coherent, deeply compelling narrative that even plenty of non-players have thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew recently announced that Empires of EVE had broken the 15,000 sales mark, and at EVE Fanfest 2018 he announced a sequel is now in the works.
I caught up with Andrew at Fanfest to find out how the first book’s success has affected him and what the future holds for Empires of EVE: Volume II.
How big a deal with the lootbox controversy that finally hit the mainstream last year? Pretty big, SuperData argues. In a new blog post, the analytics firm argues that “the loot box controversy hampered Star Wars Battlefront II out of the gate” as shown by the game’s monthly active users compared to its predecessor’s, and that the resulting dumpster fire has caused publishers to rethink lootboxes and self-regulate or at least modulate their greed – an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.
“At the upcoming E3, we’re likely to see presenters announce ‘no loot boxes’ or that paid content is ‘cosmetic only’ in order to get on the good side of creators and hardcore gamers,” SuperData predicts. “Loot boxes won’t disappear anytime soon given their success in games like Overwatch (over $600M of loot boxes sold through February 2018). In the short term, though, ‘No loot boxes’ will be the game industry’s own ‘gluten free water’ — and we’re likely to even see this slogan used to market titles where loot boxes would not make sense such as adventure games.”
It’s easy to have little to no idea about how Final Fantasy XIV
is localized. Obviously the localization team has advanced beyond the days of Final Fantasy Tactics
(which apparently was translated by someone with Babelfish and a rampaging hangover), but it’s still pretty easy to picture the localization as a matter of the Japanese staff dropping a stack of untranslated text on someone’s desk with a laugh and a note to have fun figuring it out.
The note, presumably, would also be in Japanese.
This is not just wrong, but it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the actual localization process. I had the chance to talk with main scenario writer Natusko Ishikawa and localization lead John Crow, who helpfully went into some details on both the localization process and their personal feelings about the story and characters therein. You can also check out the embedded footage of the panel below, which goes into more detail on the writing process.