Author Archives: Justin Olivetti

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!]

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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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ArcheAge adds three servers for next round of closed beta testing

aa Trion Worlds is anticipating a flood of new players for the third ArcheAge closed beta test, saying that it expects the weekend event will be "four times" the size of the first test. The studio is sending out "hundreds of thousands" of email invites, noting that players will need a new CB3 invitation to participate and cannot rely on an old CB2 key for access.

The team is adding three new servers for CB3: two in North America and one in Europe. These servers will plug into the cross-server auction house that's shared by their associated regions.

ArcheAge's beta will "pick up right where it left off," as the devs promise that progress made during CB2 will be retained and characters will not be wiped. The beta test begins on August 14th and continues through August 18th.

MassivelyArcheAge adds three servers for next round of closed beta testing originally appeared on Massively on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Landmark: Guilds are a go!

landmark It's a very special day for Landmark's community, as after a brief delay yesterday and today, SOE has finally activated guilds in the game. The new system interface allows for guild creation, news, roster, and administration options. The studio says that it deliberately kept the UI simple for this first draft and that it will be refining and adding onto the guild system in the future.

Today's patch wasn't just about guilds, however. The team added in glass voxels, ice materials, multi-screenshot functionality for claims, dozens of new party-themed props, and PlanetSide 2 outfit tints. The patch also increased the claim upkeep advance payment to 15 days and synced up friends lists with Steam friends.

MassivelyLandmark: Guilds are a go! originally appeared on Massively on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Stomping Land is switching to Unreal Engine 4

Dino-delay or evolutionary upgrade? The situation might be both for The Stomping Land, which has been on the down low while its developer works to bring it to a new game engine after the old engine lost studio support.

"It has been quiet in The Stomping Land community but that is certainly not the case behind the scenes!" Developer Alex "Jig" Fundora told Kotaku. "The game is being moved to Unreal Engine 4 to take advantage of technical and creative opportunities, and while the game was so early in development, I didn't want to keep working for years with a game engine (UDK) that had officially lost support by Epic. The move has put a bit of more work on my plate, but the already discovered opportunities using UE4 are exciting, and I'm confident fans will be satisfied with the long-run decision."

The dinosaur-themed survival sandbox went into early access this past May 30th.

MassivelyThe Stomping Land is switching to Unreal Engine 4 originally appeared on Massively on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mortal Online claims ‘breakthrough’ with improved client performance

mortal online If you've been frustrated by bad client performance with Mortal Online, then you'll be glad to hear that developer Star Vault has isolated the problem: It's Gordo the Carniverous Sea Slug (as seen above) who is eating your packets and pings with wild abandon.

In all seriousness, the team has pinpointed the issue as related to the new armor models and is beginning to work on a solution. "We have made a very exciting breakthrough in how to handle player performance cost," a team update reads. "We have identified one big thing that does indeed add quite a bit of drop on client performance when the client sees many players."

In addition to fixing the performance drop, Star Vault announced that the territory control system is "progressing very smoothly" and that the team has added a new concept artist to flesh out the world and lore.

[Thanks to James for the tip!]

MassivelyMortal Online claims 'breakthrough' with improved client performance originally appeared on Massively on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Star Citizen’s latest ship is ready for the races

star citizen Not every spaceship is slated for combat or trade; some ships exist to go as fast as possible. The Origin M50, Star Citizen's newest offering, is a racing ship that can do double duty as a courier or interceptor. The craft is dominated by a pair of engines that provide an incredible amount of thrust and maneuverability.

Players who cough up $90 can put one of these sleek machines in their collection right now. The devs promise that the M50 is "hanger-ready," meaning that you can admire it in person via the hanger module. Taking it out for a spin? That may be a while yet.

[Thanks to James for the tip!]

MassivelyStar Citizen's latest ship is ready for the races originally appeared on Massively on Sat, 02 Aug 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Albion Online’s houses are more than eye candy

albion online Looking for a house in the Albion Online neighborhood? There isn't a lot there at the moment, just empty lots and plenty of potential, but the devs are promising that players will find housing indespensible when the game arrives.

In a new blog post, the team talks about how players will be able to claim a slice of open world land on which to build a lovely villa (or to use for various crafting needs). While housing will fulfill the need of interior decorators, a great deal of thought has been given to make them functional.

Houses will store wardrobes and chests for extra inventory, provide a respawn point, buff your character via trophies, and give a temporary boost to your hit points and energy. Players may choose from one of three permission levels when it comes to allowing others to visit and even modify the place.

MassivelyAlbion Online's houses are more than eye candy originally appeared on Massively on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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