The Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you?
Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 November 2014, 8:00 am

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A reader discussion in a past Guild Wars 2 update article made me realize, once again, how much I loathe special event currencies. You know the type: It's patch day, and here's an event, and if you want the rewards, you have to grind a shiny new currency to get them! Never mind that you already have a pile of gold (and in Guild Wars 2's case, karma and gems) earned through your adventures up until now; those credits are mysteriously useless at the new reward vendors, who accept only some new currency.

Commenters rightly pointed out that if modern devs did what old timey devs did, players would just rush in and buy everything on day one and not do the grind. But so what? Why should it bother us that people get to actually use the currency they've already earned and banked? That's the whole point of gathering money in MMOs in the first place. And if there's so much existing currency in the world that everyone could buy everything without additional grind, that's the studio's problem for providing insufficient sinks and a poor economy in the first place, not ours. In fact, special events themselves could be an awesome gold sink! Instead, event currencies signal to the player that their existing achievements and savings matter not at all and that the event isn't really going to be much fun on its own merits.

What do you think? Are you also sick of special currencies in MMOs? What would you prefer to see in their stead?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

MassivelyThe Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you? originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    The Ubisoft formula versus the Blizzard formula
    Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 November 2014, 4:02 am
    This year there has been some discussion in gaming circles about the "Ubisoft formula" for making an open world game. It is basically a recipe that is shared by various Ubisoft games, from the Assassin's Creed series to Watch Dogs, and which has become so well-known that even open world games that aren't from Ubisoft, like Shadow of Mordor, have been shown to conform to that formula. Meanwhile a lot of pundits seemed somewhat confused about what to make of Blizzard's latest announcement of a new brand, Overwatch. Why is Blizzard making a multi-player shooter? Blizzard isn't know for making multi-player shooters, or even just shooters, so why Overwatch?

    I do believe that Blizzard has a formula as well. And I would say that it is a much better formula than what Ubisoft has. While the Ubisoft formula allows you to churn out a large number of largely identical games with new coats of paints, the Blizzard formula leads a collection of very different games. Blizzard's formula is taking whatever genre is currently popular and then applying great craftsmanship to that genre, basically trying to make the best possible game of that genre.

    That is the secret sauce that game companies making WoW clones for a decade never understood. World of Warcraft isn't successful because it is highly original or the first of its kind or has a specific set of features. World of Warcraft is successful (and currently growing by 3 million players again) because it took a known concept from games like Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot and simply perfected it. Everything just works in a Blizzard game, notwithstanding occasional errors of judgement like the Diablo 3 real-money AH. Blizzard removes barriers to entry and makes games more accessible for a larger audience. And as larger audience means larger income, they get filthy rich in the process.

    The ability to look at existing games, find out what exactly makes them tick, find out what doesn't work, and produce a better version is what makes Blizzard so successful. It is the reason why Blizzard is the market leader in MMORPGs, and not for example SOE or Mythic. It is the reason why Blizzard is the market leader in online trading card games, and not Wizards of the Coast. It is the reason why Blizzard is the market leader in real-time strategy games, and not Westwood Studios. And it is the reason why Riot Games should be nervous when Blizzard makes a MOBA, and Valve should be nervous when Blizzard makes a multi-player shooter. It is extremely likely that the Blizzard version of any game is better than the original, because it is SET OUT to be better than the original. Blizzard isn't making "me too" games, they are in the business of finding and polishing raw diamonds.

    And who knows, maybe one day Blizzard will make an open-world game that makes Ubisoft look like amateurs.
    Tobold's Blog




    The Pledge - Kalista

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    The Stream Team: Experiencing SWTOR's massive XP bonus
    Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 8:00 pm

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    If you're a fan of Star Wars: The Old Republic, you likely already know about the 12x story line experience boost that subscribers who preorder the Shadow of Revan expansion get. But have you seen it? Massively's MJ dives into something new -- the Imperial side -- in order to show just how fast a character can level with this promotion. You seriously have to see it to believe it! And to spice things up a bit, MJ will also try to fall to the Dark Side. Can she manage to channel some evil? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to clock how fast this little force user blasts through her early levels.

    Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
    Host: MJ Guthrie
    Date: Thursday, November 20th, 2014
    Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

    Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

    Continue reading The Stream Team: Experiencing SWTOR's massive XP bonus

    MassivelyThe Stream Team: Experiencing SWTOR's massive XP bonus originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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      The Think Tank: Assessing Draenor's launch
      Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 9:00 pm

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      WoW
      World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor launch has come and gone, driven by the chaos we've come to expect from this year's MMO launches. Was it a bad launch... or the baddest launch ever?! In today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers, as players or industry watchers, how the launch and Blizzard's response stacked up next to those of 2014's other offerings.

      Continue reading The Think Tank: Assessing Draenor's launch

      MassivelyThe Think Tank: Assessing Draenor's launch originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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        EVE gives more market data tools to the mod community
        Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 6:00 pm

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        EVE Online is such a mod-happy game that there's an official site for it, and it's on this site today that CCP said that it will be giving another valuable information-gathering tool to players with the advent of a new searchable resource.

        "We also are making available the MarketType resource. MarketTypes is a collection of all possible MarketType resources," the devs posted. Being able to search market history and orders will help modders pull in data from multiple regions and should be in the game with the Rhea content patch.

        MassivelyEVE gives more market data tools to the mod community originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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        Ultima Online publish brings holiday gifts, veteran rewards
        Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 7:00 pm

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        UO
        You might forgive 17-year-old Ultima Online for long stretches between patches, but fortunately, you don't have to. The antique sandbox's Halloween event is now over, being replaced yesterday with a new patch that ushers in the winter holiday event and its attendant gifts. This year, Santa's bringing us a fireplace, a plant grinder, a power scroll book, and "a steam powered beverage maker that can be used in conjunction with the cooking system to create new items listed in the 'Beverage' section of the cooking menu." Yum.

        The update also includes a new monthly game hunting competition sponsored by the Skara Brae Ranger's Guild, with special hunter-themed rewards like a new title and weapon. PvPers can look forward to a new leaderboard to track PvP progress in the still-fresh vice-vs.-virtue PvP system, and long-term players will find new veteran rewards are available, including new statuettes for youngish accounts, an ethereal hell hound mount at the 15-year-mark, and a sewing machine and smithing press for sevenbies.

        MassivelyUltima Online publish brings holiday gifts, veteran rewards originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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        SWTOR's Guardian, Juggernaut discipline changes detailed
        Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 3:30 pm

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        Another day has brought us another Star Wars: The Old Republic dev blog detailing the class changes coming in the Shadow of Revan expansion. This time around, the focus falls squarely on Jedi Guardians and Sith Juggernauts.

        BioWare says that both versions of SWTOR's single-saber tank will get new passives, new utilities, and more thanks to the discipline tweaks scheduled to hit the game's class trees in December 9th's 3.0 update.

        MassivelySWTOR's Guardian, Juggernaut discipline changes detailed originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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        PlanetSide 2 turns two, celebrates with double XP
        Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 3:45 pm

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        PlanetSide 2 turns two years old today, and if that doesn't make you feel old, well, it should! There's a dev-driven anniversary livestream going on right now, and SOE has also turned on double XP through Sunday, November 23rd.

        [Source: SOE press release]

        MassivelyPlanetSide 2 turns two, celebrates with double XP originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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          The Crew gets an everything-you-need-to-know trailer
          Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 4:00 pm

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          Ready for another trailer featuring Ubisoft's The Crew? This one is a bit meatier than previous clips, as it runs for nearly eight minutes and serves as a sort of everything-you-need-to-know visual guide to the upcoming open world racer.

          You'll learn about the world and its 12 major cities as well as everything from skills to missions to factions to customization and the game's "CarPG" progression mechanics. Hop in and go for a spin just past the cut.

          Don't forget about the game's console open beta which starts on November 25th!

          Continue reading The Crew gets an everything-you-need-to-know trailer

          MassivelyThe Crew gets an everything-you-need-to-know trailer originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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          Pathfinder Online continues to delay early enrollment
          Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 5:00 pm

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          pathfinder
          While Pathfinder Online groupies may get a little excited at the imminent release of a new patch, Goblinworks put it out there that the long-delayed early enrollment start is still on hold.

          "This build does not meet our internal requirements for the early enrollment release candidate," the studio announced to players yesterday. Previously, Goblinworks said that the game must be able to support 2,000 simultaneous logins and 100 characters per hex before it would activate early enrollment.

          However, the good news is that the game is getting better with the release of Alpha 12.1, which is now live. The patch contains balance fixes, better hairstyles, performance improvements, and the activation of the encumbrance system.

          MassivelyPathfinder Online continues to delay early enrollment originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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          Game Update 3.0 Class Changes: Guardian + Juggernaut
          Posted by Bwblog | Star Wars: The Old Republic [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 12:13 pm
          Happy Thursday! It's Juggernaut and Guardian time for our Discipline combat changes blogs.


          Norrathian Notebook: Landmark's AI will be a game-changer
          Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 1:00 pm

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          It's really hard not to be all giddy and excited about the introduction of AI to Landmark; it's quite literally going to be a game-changer. Some might even argue a game-maker! Only one other feature, combat, comes close to the impact that this system will have on the sandbox. Even then, combat doesn't rival it; it complements it. In truth, it will be an early Christmas present for all those players who've been waiting as patiently as possible for this next step: Monsters are slated to be released into the wild on December 10th. I am sure I mirror the sentiments of many when I say the Storybricks system just can't get here soon enough!

          Before you get your hopes up too high, know that this first iteration of the AI system does not include the much-anticipated storytelling features that players will have access to on their personal claims. Those will come in time. But that doesn't diminish the magnitude of what is coming in just a few short weeks. The introduction of mobs will truly be the big bump that makes Landmark an actual MMORPG in the eyes of the world as opposed to "just a building game," an inaccurate description the game's had a hard time shaking. And did I mention, I can't wait?! If you are fairly new to following Landmark, you may not know what all the excitement is about. Let me share that with you.

          Continue reading Norrathian Notebook: Landmark's AI will be a game-changer

          MassivelyNorrathian Notebook: Landmark's AI will be a game-changer originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Guild Wars 2's revamped sPvP rewards skillful play, not just wins
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 1:30 pm

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            GW2
            ArenaNet's Justin O'Dell is on dev blog duty today for Guild Wars 2, and his post is all about planned updates to the game's sPvP matchmaking and ladder ranking systems.

            "We decided to move to a score-based search method that takes into consideration several metrics that we believe are important for a match to be fun," he explains. "We chose a score-based system over other methods because we found that it's a good compromise between the often competing goals of match quality and short queue times." The system will do its best to match players by skill level, rank, party size, and so forth.

            Points awarded through the ladder ranking system are determined by final score and odds of victory in an attempt to ensure that playing well in spite of a loss is encouraged and that luck isn't the driving force in ranking.

            "Imagine a world where everyone took the saying 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game' seriously," O'Dell says. "Wouldn't that be great?"

            MassivelyGuild Wars 2's revamped sPvP rewards skillful play, not just wins originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Closers Online shows off gameplay and characters at G-Star 2014
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 2:00 pm

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            GI Joe (Anime schoolchildren edition)
            Tired of side-scrolling-brawler-style MMOs at this point? Closers Online is a new title coming from Nexon and Naddic Games that works in that mold, allowing players to take on a variety of different opponents in rendered and cel-shaded environments. If that's everything you ever wanted, you'll be happy to know that there's plenty of information on the game at G-Star 2014.

            A variety of gameplay modes are available, ranging from normal story missions to special time-limited emergency events that players can queue up for solo or in groups. Players will also have a daily continue limit (possibly offset with microtransactions) and a skill evolution system based on using Skill Cubes found on monsters. Check out the promotional video just past the break courtesy of Steparu if you want to see a bit of the game in action.

            Continue reading Closers Online shows off gameplay and characters at G-Star 2014

            MassivelyClosers Online shows off gameplay and characters at G-Star 2014 originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            SkySaga videos encourage you to explore its world
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 2:30 pm

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            skysaga
            We've got more to share today about SkySaga, that new sandvox that's trying to woo the Minecraft crowd. Radiant Worlds has released a new pair of videos this week that show off the game's playful and exploratory nature.

            In the videos, you'll follow a trio of adventurers around as they navigate the various biomes of the world and get into nasty scraps with mean foes. Of course, the biggest mystery here might be, "Where are their arms and legs?" See it all after the break!

            Continue reading SkySaga videos encourage you to explore its world

            MassivelySkySaga videos encourage you to explore its world originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Gloria Victis implements dialogues and other improvements
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 3:00 pm

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            Should we talk about the weather? (Hi hi, hi.) Should we talk about the government? (Hi hi, hi.)
            The Gloria Victis pre-alpha is getting a bit more chatty today with the implementation of the dialogue system in the most recent update. Said update also contains the first implementation of bow-wielding NPCs defending cities, the addition of buff and debuff descriptions, and various bugfixes and improvements -- all good things unless you try to open a dialogue with a bow-wielding NPC and get an arrow in response.

            The design team promises that this is just the beginning of major changes, however, with the next patch slated to add the first pass of the questing system into the game. Territory capture mechanics are also coming, allowing an entire nation to benefit from captured lands. So onlookers can enjoy a more robust rollout in the coming weeks as the game adds more features in.

            MassivelyGloria Victis implements dialogues and other improvements originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Dishonored’s Artwork and Lore in The Dunwall Archives
            Posted by Bethesda Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 11:38 am
            Back in August we teased the Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives book from Dark Horse. The 184-paged hard cover tome features every piece of in-game text and artwork (some of which has never been seen before) from the game collected for your convenience. Discover – or rediscover all there is to know in the world of […]


            Elite: Dangerous has begun issuing refunds over offline play debacle
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 11:30 am

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            Elite
            Elite: Dangerous' latest newsletter has arrived, and predictably, Q&A about the game's recently canceled offline mode dominate the post. David Braben reiterates his statements from earlier this week that the single-player mode will still be accessible, just online-only. "Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty," Braben explains, stressing that Elite: Dangerous is an MMO and "technically [...] always has been" and that "always-online entertainment is already a reality for the majority." He also says that Frontier has already begun issuing refunds strictly to those who pre-ordered the game through the online store and had not accessed the alpha and beta; Kickstarter backers and active testers are not eligible.

            Of note to MMO fans in particular, the studio boss promises to "take regular archives of the game and the servers, to preserve the game for the future," with plans to release the server code publicly if the servers are ever shut down.

            The newsletter also highlights Beta 3.9, which arrives on the test server today, bringing with it overhauls to the map and ship outfitting, new ways to reach the rank of Elite, and open-mic voice comms. Beta 3.9 will be followed by Gamma 1.0 this coming Saturday. The game is still set for an official launch on December 16th.

            MassivelyElite: Dangerous has begun issuing refunds over offline play debacle originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            TERA's Fate of Arun expansion is coming December 16th
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 12:00 pm

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            TERA fans, mark December 16th on your calendars, as that's the launch date for the fantasy MMO's first proper expansion. Fate of Arun features a mysterious new continent, a level cap bump (65), new class skills, new dungeons, and a new battleground based around competitive PvE.

            The game's enchanting mechanics will also be simplified, and a new quest UI will "streamline 60 to 65 leveling, allowing players to teleport right to the action, find groups, or turn in quests from any location."

            Finally, you'll want to log into TERA prior to December 16th and pick up your free Northern Initiative Pack. It includes rare potions, campfires, buff charms, a white tiger mount, and more. TERA's Fate of Arun expansion will be a free content update via Steam and the game's official website.

            [Source: En Masse press release]

            Continue reading TERA's Fate of Arun expansion is coming December 16th

            MassivelyTERA's Fate of Arun expansion is coming December 16th originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            civ online
            There's something about a good Civilization trailer that always makes me feel downright nostalgic, and I think that factor is the world music being sung. We've got another trailer in this grand tradition for you to watch today, this one from G-Star covering the upcoming Civilization Online.

            Civilization Online is currently in Korean closed beta, but from the looks of this video, it's coming along nicely. The trailer shows players working together to construct a bridge over a chasm, build cities, assemble armies, and engage on that most sacred of pre-fight rituals, happy drumming. Check it out after the break!

            Continue reading Civilization Online closed beta trailer features building, battles, and drumming

            MassivelyCivilization Online closed beta trailer features building, battles, and drumming originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Moving Slowly in Warlords of Draenor
            Posted by The Ancient Gaming Noob [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 1:00 pm
            So here’s the thing.  Despite the last week being mostly talk about the expansion and such, I haven’t really been playing a lot more World of Warcraft. Part of that is because I was binging pretty hard on the game during the two weeks preceding the launch.  Such a sprint usually leads to some time […]


            Activision Blizzard resolves class action lawsuits
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 10:00 am

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            Allegations of backroom deals were sorted by further backroom deals.
            When Activision Blizzard bought itself to be freed from Vivendi, there was no shortage of unhappy shareholders, leading to several class action lawsuits filed against the company and other attendant actors in response to the whole process. Those suits have now been resolved and the case is now closed; the parties have settled out of court, with the proposed settlement seeing some of the defendants paying a total of $275 million to Activision Blizzard as well as multiple insurance companies.

            The Board of Directors wrote in a statement that "the transaction, structured through the efforts and significant personal investment of Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly, has contributed to the creation of over $3 billion of value for shareholders" and that they are "pleased to be able to put this matter to rest."

            Adjustments have also been made to said Activision Blizzard board of directors and aspects of the corporate structure, with the company paying all legal fees of the plaintiffs. Since multiple defendants were involved in the suit (including Activision Blizzard itself), it's still unclear exactly who took the hit for this particular lawsuit, but it does mean that the matter has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

            MassivelyActivision Blizzard resolves class action lawsuits originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Tree of Savior shows off its gameplay at G-Star 2014
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 10:30 am

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            Puppy!  Who's a puppy?  Yes, you're a puppy!
            There's no denying that even in static shots, Tree of Savior looks like a very pretty isometric game. The title is on display at G-Star 2014 and showing off a new trailer courtesy of Steparu that highlights some of the game's big field bosses, playable classes, and the general look of the world as a whole. And you can watch that trailer just after the break to see all of these moving parts in action.

            Nexon has been confirmed as the Korean publisher for the game, but there are still no announcements to be had about any sort of publication in the US. The game's control layout has been revealed to be a far cry from the point-and-click interface suggested by the overhead view; movement is handled with the arrow keys, and the first two rows of the keyboard serve as hotbar bindings. Check out the video past the break to see if it looks like something you'd like to play in the future.

            [Thanks to Yorai Dragon for the tip!]

            Continue reading Tree of Savior shows off its gameplay at G-Star 2014

            MassivelyTree of Savior shows off its gameplay at G-Star 2014 originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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            Lineage Eternal gets a gameplay demo at G-Star 2014
            Posted by Massively [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 November 2014, 11:00 am

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            If you're wondering where in the hell her shirt went, well, you aren't the only one.
            We've known about Lineage Eternal for a while, but actual details have been in short supply despite that fact. The game's showing at G-Star 2014 might put some of that curiosity to bed, however, as according to Steparu there's a gameplay demo and a 25-minute look at the game in play just past the break. While full character customization was not available on the show floor, those at the con can choose to play the heavily armored Guard Knight or the transparently armored Element Warlock while previewing different allegiances, outfits, and clothing colors.

            As for the actual gameplay... well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, nearly half an hour of moving pictures is surely worth even more words. So jump on past the break and check it out! The demo covers the early stages of several game regions as well as a 20-person quest leading players to defeat various raid monsters.

            Continue reading Lineage Eternal gets a gameplay demo at G-Star 2014

            MassivelyLineage Eternal gets a gameplay demo at G-Star 2014 originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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