Author Archives: Justin Olivetti

EVE Online tightens things up for Phoebe

eve A new blog post at EVE Online reveals that the team is working on streamlining a few of its existing features for the upcoming Phoebe patch.

The first tweak is to exploration, as the team will be making data sites more valuable and frequent. Career agents will also stop blabbing so much in the mission boxes, with shorter text messages to emphasize the objectives.

Finally, the team is bringing its semi-hidden expedition content into the light with easier-to-follow breadcrumbs and bug fixes: "We've added in some messaging to guide you towards these specific structures. We have also increased the percentage chance of the rarer types of expedition occurring as we simply found these figures to be too low. These combined changes should help somewhat in bringing this 'hidden' content to the surface for you to enjoy."

MassivelyEVE Online tightens things up for Phoebe originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pathfinder Online begins alpha stress test

pathfinder Pathfinder Online has thrown open its doors to all of its supporters for an important alpha stress test as the game transitions into Alpha 9.1.

The Alpha 9.1 update is primarily focused on bug fixes but also includes "more fluid and lifelike" animations, a faster character selection process, the ability to tab-target enemy players, and a doubled drop rate for common refining recipes. The team has also removed energy resistance from heavy armor to make light armor more desirable in various situations.

This stress test is part of the build-up to the repeatedly delayed early enrollment launch, which is currently scheduled for October 30th.

MassivelyPathfinder Online begins alpha stress test originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darkfall makes plans for a localized economy

darkfall The Darkfall team is deep in preparations for the creation of a "localized economy package" to boost this critical part of this fantasy title. "For us, as well as the community from what we see, a functional economy is the stepping stone for a proper sandbox, so our attention is focused on it," the team stated.

In a forum post today, the goals of these plans were outlined. This package will include new raw materials, additional recipes, a better inventory system, tiered clan vaults, nerfed instant travel, quicker land travel, beasts of burden, and a focus on localized markets instead of a worldwide trading system.

This economy update is tentatively planned for either December 2014 or January 2015.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

MassivelyDarkfall makes plans for a localized economy originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EVE Online: Phoebe improves quality-of-life for subscribers and trial members

eve Unpacking EVE Online's Phoebe content update is so involved that it takes another one of CCP's epic posts to do it. The big thing to take away from the notes is that this update features several quality-of-life improvements for both regular and trial players.

When Phoebe hits on November 4th, players will have to adjust to jump fatigue during long-distance travel. To offset that, there will be the ability to set skill queues to unlimited length, place multiple market sell orders, enjoy better exploration rewards, and experience new cloaking effects.

Trial players will also see some of their limitations lifted after the update, such as being allowed to fly battleships and be a part of faction fights.

MassivelyEVE Online: Phoebe improves quality-of-life for subscribers and trial members originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 10 Oct 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Repopulation is focusing on feature completion

repop In what its devs are calling a "very busy month," The Repopulation pushed out three major patches in September, not to mention another one this past week. Above and Beyond says is all being done to fill out the game: "We've been pushing hard to get our experimental tweaks and additions out of the way now as we push towards feature completion."

In addition to pages and pages of patch notes, The Repopulation made significant changes to Medics, added a Points of Ingrigue extension to its enemy camp system, and completely overhauled the tutorial. The sandbox title promises that another round of testers will be invited into the game in the middle of October.

MassivelyThe Repopulation is focusing on feature completion originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 05 Oct 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Star Citizen working to develop ships faster than before

sc In a new monthly report, the makers of Star Citizen said that they have restructured their internal process so that they can pump out new ships even faster. Some of these new ships include the Herald, Carrack, Reclaimer, Avenger variants, and 890 Jump.

"We have been hard at work refining our process and improving our workflow so that we can develop ships more quickly and more efficiently than we have ever done before," the team writes. "The creation of new ships for Star Citizen is an incredibly complex and detailed process, so it made sense to move it to LA where Chris [Roberts] can maintain oversight and provide direction to everyone involved."

The report also touched on the fleshing out of Arena Commander, preparations for upcoming conventions, the hiring of new personnel, and improvements to ships' HUDs. One thing to look forward to is a brand-new cinematic that should arrive within the week.

MassivelyStar Citizen working to develop ships faster than before originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 05 Oct 2014 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Your worship of EverQuest Next’s deities will shape the world

eqn The gods of Norrath are slated to return for EverQuest Next, and who players choose to worship will have a profound effect on the game itself.

Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser penned a lore blog to introduce Veeshan and the Nor'I for the upcoming fantasy MMO. He said that the team is striving to stick to the "thematic core" of Veeshan for her reimagining: "Veeshan looms large in our story. It wouldn't be an EverQuest game without her!" And while Veeshan is well known by fans, the Nor'l is a new figure, the world spirit of Norrath. The Nor'l gives birth to mortals and flows through the entire world, communicating only through song.

"Your actions in the world determine who controls territory and resources, and one of those key resources is the belief of Norrath's inhabitants," Danuser said. "How strong will Veeshan's influence grow after the Combine return to Antonica? Will the Nor'I be protected or exploited? These are questions that you'll get to decide through the choices you make in game."

MassivelyYour worship of EverQuest Next's deities will shape the world originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Trials of Ascension will include playable dragons

toa Pay attention, students: Trials of Ascension is coming up to the head of the class to give a progress report. Don't be timid, fledgling game. We're all listening.

First of all, Trials of Ascension has hit its $60,000 crowdfunding goal. This means that Forged Chaos will be including a playable dragon race at launch, so prepare your Dragonheart names now.

And in a new progress video, Trials of Ascension showed off its new dynamic spawning tech for mobs and plants, its resource gathering system, improvements to combat with full-body animations, items that persist when dropped in the game world, and a naming and chat system that won't automatically identify strangers. There's more to it than that, of course, so check out the full progress video after the break.

[Source: Forged Chaos press release; thanks to Azrile for the tip!]

Continue reading Trials of Ascension will include playable dragons

MassivelyTrials of Ascension will include playable dragons originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EVE Online nukes named modules

eve One thing that we're becoming increasingly convinced about the purpose of EVE Online's dev diaries is that they are secret recruiting and training grounds for future CCP employees a la The Last Starfighter. If you're willing to chew through thousands of words and a dozen or so charts on something called "Module Tiericide," then you should be awarded with a salary plus benefits.

That theory aside, today's new Oceanus dev diary explains (at great length) how the team is retuning its approach to module balance in order to give all ships significant strengths and weaknesses and purposes. One such change is that named modules are on their way out: "Our solution to this problem is to replace the meta-based named module system with a new role-based system."

CCP promises that this is but part of the overall and continuing effort to balance ships and prepare for new additions to the game.

MassivelyEVE Online nukes named modules originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EVE shows off Oceanus’ features

eve Oceanus is coming next Tuesday to EVE Online, and if you haven't been reading the novelization of the patch notes in the form of dev diaries as of late, CCP has a more succinct video overview of the changes coming with the update.

In fact, there's a new dev post that's a gripping tale of how CCP saves spaceship data. It's a wild ride through numbers, software modules, and save files. Of course, such technical rejiggering must mean a vast improvement for you, the gamer, right? "What does this new system change for players?" CCP asks. "Visually? Nothing right now actually."

OK, maybe it's a dull dev diary, but there's a much more fascinating video after the break. Promise!

Continue reading EVE shows off Oceanus' features

MassivelyEVE shows off Oceanus' features originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EVE Online improves cloaking graphics

eve Portraying stealth in games can be tricky, especially if the player is piloting a cloaked ship in the midst of outer space. EVE Online's team has acknowledged that the game's current cloaking effects sometimes makes it hard to see how these ships are positioned and has announced that the next content update will vastly improve this feature.

The new stealth graphics will not only look spiffier but be easier to see, according to the devs: "Fully transparent is not what we want! Pilots need to see their ships, remember, so we have a static effect that pulses along the surface of the ship from the spot where the cloaking started."

There are more details about what gets cloaked and how other characters see you (hint: They usually don't) in the rest of the dev diary. This change will come with EVE's Oceanus release on September 30th.

MassivelyEVE Online improves cloaking graphics originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar seeks Steam Greenlighting

sota Richard Garriott has conquered outer space, but can he get a foothold on Valve's popular digital distribution service? He sure hopes so; he and his team announced that they launched a Steam Greenlight campaign this past week for Shroud of the Avatar.

"SotA's long-term success depends upon us reaching as wide an audience as possible, and Steam is a great way to do that," the team posted.

Portalarium said that the possible Steam version will be not a replacement for the direct download of the game but an additional option. There is also speculation about giving current Shroud of the Avatar backers Steam keys so that they would not have to buy the game twice.

MassivelyRichard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar seeks Steam Greenlighting originally appeared on Massively on Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New burner missions scrap nearly 20,000 EVE Online ships, CCP happy with results

eve CCP is "extremely happy" with the positive player reception of EVE Online's new burner missions that came in Hyperion. The studio said that the high level of difficulty in these missions was intentional in order to challenge the playerbase, and cited a bloodbath of 19,962 destroyed player ships as of September 14th as proof. The cost of the lost ships has topped 870 billion ISK so far.

Due to the embrace of these missions, CCP is prepping a new batch of burner missions for September 30th. These new burners, believe it or not, will be even tougher than the current ones, working in teams of three against players. CCP will be putting these missions on the test servers later this week.

MassivelyNew burner missions scrap nearly 20,000 EVE Online ships, CCP happy with results originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation’s Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses

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Above & Beyond Technologies Lead Developer Josh Halls has been on a very long journey with The Repopulation, a journey that began back in 2009 and isn't even close to being over yet. I met with Halls at PAX Prime to talk about where this sci-fi sandbox has been and where it's going as it angles for beta testing.

The Repopulation released its Alpha 3 build this past April and will be sticking with that for the duration of alpha testing. Halls told me that there's a pretty dedicated group of testers in the game, with around 1,500 having picked up the title so far and around 20 to 40 playing at any given moment. Those numbers are primed to increase when the game transitions into beta and Steam Early Access later this year.

While it's not terribly sexy, bug tracking and fixing is vital to the development process and foremost on the team's mind. Player feedback during the alpha has helped to refine the game in other ways, such as to make gathering less of a click-fest and more of a community effort. Right now a group of players can work together to enhance a region in order to gather better materials.

Other big to-do items include putting in a fishing minigame and opening the doors (so to speak) for open-world housing. Fishing will pave the way for other possible minigames, and open-world housing is the next step from the game's existing instanced homes.

Halls said that the dozen or so members of the team are hard at work to prepare The Repopulation for the larger gaming public and that the studio is currently operating in the black.

Continue reading PAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses

MassivelyPAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses originally appeared on Massively on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online

pathfinder online Would you pay to get into an alpha test? Well, would you continue to pay a monthly subscription to keep on playing a title that's not yet launched? If you've answered "yes" to these questions plus the special one that I ask at the end of this article, then you're one of the folks that Pathfinder Online hopes to recruit for early enrollment come September 15th.

I sat down with Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey and Game Designer Stephen Chaney at PAX Prime yesterday to talk about this next big step for the game. Pathfinder Online is still far from feature complete, but the team considers it done enough that it can monetize the game in the form of a monthly sub. The 20,000 or so folks who will be admitted into early enrollment play (a number that includes the 7,000 Kickstarter backers) are expected to pay $15 a month as the team continues to develop the title. In exchange, characters and progress will not be wiped, and players will get to see the game take shape around them.

Goblinworks' philosophy is to have a robust game design first and then wrap the rest of the game around it afterward. Dancy said that the monetization is necessary to keep the lights on and the development rolling. The budget for a finished Pathfinder Online is $5 million (89% of which is salaries), but only $1.4 million has been raised so far.

Being only passingly familiar with Pathfinder Online, I asked why the MMO with its territory control seems so different from the small party, adventure-oriented tabletop game. The reason for this is that the pen-and-paper game doesn't completely translate to software boundaries, plus it draws from an adventure pack that Paizo tested a while back that went on to become one of its best-selling products. In both versions of Pathfinder, the long game is to rule the land and establish a legacy, not merely fill up a bag with XP and loot.

So is it worth it to you to pay a full subscription price for a half-finished game? That's up to you.

Continue reading PAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online

MassivelyPAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online originally appeared on Massively on Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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