‘Buy-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that have box or download fees associated with them but do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid B2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.
Telwyn at GamingSF asks a question that I’ve contemplated from time to time: When an MMO gets a sequel, what happens to the original game? After all, MMOs aren’t quite like the rest of the video game industry.
“It’s easier for gaming companies to control the playerbase,” he writes. “The bluntest instrument would be to shut down the old game forcing players to move to the new, although risking they’d abandon the franchise entirely.”
While you debate whether a quick death or a prolonged demise is preferrable, take a gander at some other notable articles from the gaming blogosphere. In this edition, writers question Guild Wars 2’s (second) trait revamp, celebrate internet dragons, and critique Neverwinter’s slot machine problem.
Elite: Dangerous players are in the midst of an ARG based around in-game artifacts that were tracked down by a coordinated community effort. Producer Michael Brookes subsequently suggested listening to the newly discovered cargo item, and scuttlebutt says that it relates to the insect-like Thargoid race from previous Elite titles.
Brookes hinted at the Thargoids as early as 2013 in a dev diary. “You will start to learn some of the secrets of the Thargoids, and they’ll certainly be present in the game when it starts, but they’ll very much be a background encounter,” he wrote.
Today’s lesson is that you shouldn’t cheat in online games. Alas, a Guild Wars 2 character had to die to provide this valuable information if you couldn’t come up with that one on your own, as players captured video of a rather notorious cheater doing that cheat thing. If you were wondering if video evidence was enough for ArenaNet to ban you, well, yes it is.
How do we know that? Because Chris Cleary, game security lead, posted video of the team logging in to the character, stripping him of his gear, flinging him to his death in the middle of Divinity’s Reach, and then deleting the character. And to add insult to injury, yes, the player is banned now. So “don’t be filmed while cheating” could be the lesson here, but we prefer to go with “don’t cheat.”
One of the very first RPGs that I played was Final Fantasy for the NES. I remember pouring over the manual at my friend’s house and becoming fixated on the concept of how characters would transition from their starting class to an advanced one when they “grew up” in the game a bit.
Classes that evolve or change into entirely new ones is something that MMOs have dabbled in from time to time, including the old version of EverQuest II and the upcoming Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. It seems a tricky line to walk with established characters, because while a new build can be refreshing, it can also disrupt the satisfaction and stability that the class used to deliver.
Do you like the idea of advanced classes? Should more MMOs add them?
Heroes of Newerth received a colossal patch this week to celebrate its fifth anniversary, introducing a new intelligence carry hero, a capture the flag game mode, dozens of events and countless balance changes and improvements. League of Legends revisited two of its oldest champions with a full redesign of Ashe in the works and the recent Ryze overhaul being rolled into Patch 5.8. Upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age got a confirmed free-to-play release date of May 8th following over a year in Early Access. Details of Path of Exile‘s new Divination Card system coming in its upcoming expansion were revealed.
Dota 2‘s digital compendium for the upcoming world championship tournament has raked in almost $14 million US in its first few days on sale, and Valve is prepared for it to gross as much as $53.6 million. Star Citizen hit $81.14 million in pre-sales after answering fans’ questions on the recently revealed MISC ship hull series. And Jagex‘s new online FPS Block N Load has now released and is being described by fans as “Minecraft meets Team Fortress 2.”
Read on for detailed breakdowns of all the above stories and links to more news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.
The next elite specialization for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns may be out of the bag, as ArenaNet posted a new piece of concept art this morning that shows what appears to be a Guardian wielding a bow. The character also has a pair of bright wings sprouting from between his shoulderblades. We’ll put in our official guess for the name of this specialization right now: the Cupid.
If this is a preview of a new class build, this will be the second elite specialization announced from the expansion, following the Chronomancer, a Mesmer build that uses a shield that stops time.
Elite: Dangerous is a work of science fiction; that’s not under discussion. So as in all science fiction, the developers just created a galaxy by selecting random areas and dropping in planets or stars. By which we of course mean that the game has based as much of its space as possible on NASA data about what’s out there in the galaxy.
Obviously, NASA has only a picture of what’s present in a small portion of our galaxy. The game uses a bit of technology called Stellar Forge to take what data is available about points of the galaxy, however, and match it to in-game representations. So if you’re gliding through a system with four planets, one covered in ice and one a breathtaking gas giant, that’s meant to be as close as possible to what you’d see in the real world, assuming you could get there. Ain’t science grand?
In other Elite news, PC Gamer reports that space destruction derbies are back, so you can stop spamming Twitter with goat pictures now.
I can’t help myself. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I have folders stuffed with screenshots that attest to my habit of always stopping to photo-document my journey. And, on occasion, to take a picture that proves that The Secret World contains a restaurant called Pam the Clam.
I know I’m not alone; I’ve met many gamers, including some who work here at Massively Overpowered, who jam on that screenshot key as if it delivered donuts and dollars to their front door. It’s a good thing that such players exist, because they keep One Shots in business.
Are you a fellow obsessive screenshotter? If so, what’s your reason for doing it?
Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
If you’ve enjoyed the hand-crafted cinematics in The Secret World over the past couple of years, then chances are you’ve benefited from the efforts of Cinematic Director Davichi. Alas, Davichi announced on the forums that he’s transferred from the TSW team to work on unspecified Funcom projects.
“After almost five years of working on cinematics for TSW it is time to move on,” Davichi said. “It has been a great project to work on and I will miss it. […] One thing to remember: I have not made the cinematics alone. There has been many other involved making assets we needed to make the cinematics, as good as possible within time and cost. Most of these will continue to work on TSW, whether it be for assets for cinematics or gameplay.”
Davichi follows former TSW Producer Joel Bylos, who left in February for the aforementioned secret projects.
[Source: Official forums
It’s crunch time! The Secret World‘s Issue #11: Reaping the Whirlwind is launching next week, and MassivelyOP’s MJ still hasn’t found the White Rabbit! That means she’s got to wrap up Issue #10 as quick as she can in order to be ready for the conclusion of the Tokyo story arc. With Justin along to help (or is that hinder?) her progress, MJ aims to unmask that murderer tonight. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as the duo adventures through the Fear Nothing Clubhouse, hot on the trail of that elusive bad bunny. Warning: story spoilers ahead!
What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie & Justin Olivetti
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Being a member of the Mac gaming tribe no longer means that you have to be quarantined from the glorious PC master race, at least in Elite: Dangerous. The devs shot out a post today to say that the crossplay testing between the Mac beta and the PC version is underway, and they asked for players’ help isolating any issues or bugs.
The team also took the opportunity to summarize many of the changes with the coming Powerplay system, especially involving the bounties that players can accrue. Further expansion of this system was teased with the possibility of interstellar bounties: “These occur when fines and/or bounties for minor factions within a major faction cross a threshold, then they are combined into an interstellar bounty. They work in the same way as normal bounties except that the jurisdiction is counted as the whole of the major faction.”
[Source: Dev update
. Thanks to Phoenix_Dfire for the tip and Krazy_Wabbit for the header pic!]
Let’s talk history for a moment. Before Guild Wars 2 was a thing, before it was even an idea, the team at ArenaNet was working on the third Guild Wars standalone campaign. Like its last two predecessors, Guild Wars: Utopia was slated to feature two new classes, one of which was the Chronomancer. It’s taken quite some time since then, and it’s not in the form anyone might have expected, but the Chronomancer has arrived at last as the first Elite Specialization for Heart of Thorns to be catalogued and dissected.
Sure, it took plenty of time, but given the nature of the concept that’s sort of to be expected.
The Chronomancer specialization is, as mentioned, limited to Mesmers, employing a variety of time-based tricks like reversing the events of combat and stopping time as necessary. You can read more on the official blog post detailing the specialization, but if you don’t have the time for that, you can watch the video below to preview what it looks like in action. Better late than never, indeed.
Guild Wars — the first Guild Wars — celebrates its 10th birthday this week alongside several of my characters who are equally old. I originally picked up Guild Wars as a diversion from World of Warcraft, and at the time, I liked everything about it but actually playing it. Pre-Searing felt like home; it was pastoral and lovely with a haunting score. But back in 2005, the game past the Searing was difficult to traverse in a small party, let alone solo, and the deeper into the game I got, the less I liked it. In fact, I didn’t Ascend in 2005. I gave up on the grueling PUGs right around the time I got to the Crystal Desert.
But I went back, and went back again, and eventually I fell in love. That’s just the first of Guild Wars’ many lessons. Here are 10 things I learned from Guild Wars — in honor of its 10 years of fun.