Last night I watched a procession of CCP developers wrestle with undefeated MMA fighter Gunnar Nelson. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t win, but it certainly was a spectacle—especially when the last guy, who looks like Zangief and towered over Nelson—arrived in in the arena from above, suspended in the air by ropes. CCP know how to have fun, but Fanfest is also, as players often say about EVE, serious business. Throughout the day fans join developers in round table meetings to steer the direction of the game based on their own experiences. It’s a remarkable community event as well as a way for people like me to see what new projects, and updates of existing ones, the company is working on.
If it's good to be the king, then being emperor must be a pretty nice gig, too. The Elder Scrolls Online's first player-emperor goes by the name "Morkulth." He has his own battle cry and a horse named Moonbeam. In a new interview at the official ESO website, Morkulth says he relied on his guildmates, early access to the game, and a lot of trail mix to make it to the top.
The very first virtual world ever created by humans—the ancestor to every online chatroom, MMO, and multiplayer lobby—has been acquired by the librarians at Stanford University. The creators of the Multi-User Dungeon (MUD for short) have generously given Stanford permission to make the source code public, which the Stanford Library plans to do in the future.
Oh yeah, Defiance! For all its cross-media promises, neither the TV show nor its related MMO shooter made a compelling case to visit the future Earth it depicted. We've danced the dance of MMO indifference before, and so at this point know the steps: Trion Worlds have announced that the game will relaunch as a free-to-play title next month.
From intrigue and assassination to all-out war, EVE Online is a game rich with stories. But these systemic, player-driven narratives come at a cost: it's a complex game to learn. For CCP that posed a problem: how to introduce EVE's universe to new players, without further increasing the complexity of an already expansive MMO. The answer, CCP say, lies in games like EVE Valkyrie and Dust 514—titles that are still connected to the EVE universe, but present a separate and more accessible set of systems.
"For the longest time we were in the process of adding features to EVE in a way that made it horizontally complex," said CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, in an interview with PC Gamer. "It was a bad complexity. We want the game to be complex and challenging, but it shouldn’t be difficult to understand. Your achievements should be overcoming obstacles and collaborating with players, but it shouldn’t me managing too much complexity."
Last night I watched the mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, unveil a monument to EVE Online on the city’s waterfront. "I don't believe in reality." he said, inexplicably, as he swung a giant knife at a rope, dropping a sheet and revealing the sculpture by artist Sigurður Guðmundsson. Thousands of EVE pilots' names are inscribed at the base of the sculpture; a fitting tribute to a game that is defined by its player base.
The first month of existence for the sprawling lands of The Elder Scrolls Online is fast approaching. By the Tamriel calendar, that day falls this Sundas of Second Seed. (No, I'm not crazy: The Elder Scrolls series has a full calendar system.) For many adventurers, it'll simply be another turn of the sun to foil Molag Bal's plots, steal various food items off tables, and fend off swarms of mudcrabs. But for ZeniMax, it's the beginning of its update guideline for the upcoming Craglorn adventure zone and beyond as explained in a post by game director Matt Firor.
I applaud Sony Online Entertainment's transparency lately. The MMO developer and publisher has been extremely forthcoming with new details on H1Z1, its in-development zombie apocalypse MMO. CEO John Smedley has addressed lots of community questions on the game's subreddit, and we're bound to learn a lot of info from the 12 hours of livestream that the development team is doing today.
Wildstar doesn't seem interested in revolutionising the MMO. Instead, Carbine are overhauling some of the genre's most entrenched systems and attitudes. At a recent press event for the game, we had the chance to sit down with game design producer Stephan Frost, to talk about Wildstar's end game content, and how the team are preparing to support all corners of the player-base after they've hit the level cap.
The Old Republic's Galactic Strongholds expansion adds player housing and a bunch of other stuff, giving bounty hunters a place to hang their boots, their Wookies and their sarcastic Han Solo-style grins between missions. If you're a subscriber you were probably looking forward to the expansion's Early Access period on June 24th - so you'll be disappointed to hear that it's been delayed to August 19th, just one month before Preferred Early Access begins in September, and the content launches for free-to-play players in October. As a reward for your patience, the DLC will be getting a new stronghold location (Tatooine), conquest events and a few other things, as detailed in this announcement post. Hey, remember when games/expansions had a single release date? Simpler times.
As a story generator, EVE: Online is nearly peerless. But for every individual player, there's still the vastness of the MMO's universe to contend with. Andrew Groen, a games industry journalist, wants to tell the story of EVE through its own grand, narrative history. And now that his Kickstarter project to document that history has been funded, it appears he'll be able to do just that.
Inside the social economy of The Elder Scrolls Online, almost everything is up for sale—even vampirism. But House Annunaki, an Ebonheart Pact vampire guild in TESO, wants to turn that economy on its head by offering the precious vampire bites for free beginning May 1, according to the most recent issue of developer Zenimax Online's Tamriel Chronicle.
While heroes across Tamriel journey to reclaim their souls from that jerk Molag Bal in The Elder Scrolls Online, the MMO's devs have kept to their own quest to vanquish lingering glitches and loopholes such as a pretty serious duping exploit and the dreaded Spell of Disappearing Bank Items. In a message posted today on the official forums, director Matt Firor addressed these issues and other problems in a general evaluation of TESO's current state and the studio's plans for improving it.
DayZ has received a new stable update, and one that introduces some significant features to the game. More importantly, it removes some significant features. So, as we welcome a new village, a recipe for bow crafting and the ability to melee attack with a frying pan, we also bid good riddance to mouse acceleration (or, to go by its scientific name, "weird floaty mouse times").
Last week, Wildstar introduced the general concept behind its PvP Warplots: 40 vs 40 hovering battlegrounds that max-level players can own and customise. That's the pitch, but what about the specifics of a single battle. Step forward Carbine's theatrical DevSpeak series. The latest shows how a large team can be organised and deployed around the strategically designed death-traps.
Survarium—the Stalker-ish free-to-play online shooter—is preparing for "Doors Open Day" this Friday. Think of it like the opening of Pandora's box, only instead of all the world's evil, it's letting loose limited access to the game. And instead of a slow descent into guilt and madness, you've got a gun.
For 24-hours only, the game will be available to try in open beta, after which, its doors again slam shut. As early warning for what to expect, creators Vostok have created a video preview of the game's progress.
H1Z1 footage shows that, yep, it looks a lot like DayZ [Update: DayZ similarities addressed in Reddit post]
The Long Dark's creative director reckons the apocalypse doesn't have to feature zombies - but, erm, here's one more open world post-apocalyptic game that does. As announced last week, Sony's entry into the DayZ genre is the wittily (if clinically) named H1Z1, a game that differentiates itself from Dean Hall and Bohemia's game by...well, that part's not totally clear yet, but it's been a fairly democratic process so far. H1Z1 game designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and technical director Tom Schenk took to Twitch a few hours ago to show off the game as it stands now; you'll find 50-odd minutes of walking, zombie-battering, scavenging and driving, in a game that admittedly looks very pretty but so far doesn't seem to boast any distinguishing characteristics.
Square Enix have announced that their once disastrous, now pretty good Final Fantasy XIV has accrued over 2 million registered accounts, and all without using the Steal command to pilfer them from other games. A little bit of Final Fantasy humour for you there. It's hardly World of Warcraft numbers, but it is a notable achievement from a game that launched in a state fit to be thrown to the dogs, before being shut down and extensively remade at the developer/publisher's own cost. Square Enix are currently celebrating with some vials of Elixir, a big haunch of chocobo meat, and other Final Fantasy references.
World of Warcraft was released a decade ago. Thanks to Moore’s law, in terms of advancements made in PC hardware, that might as well be a century. After all that time, Blizzard is finally ready to update the character models in the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion. They’ll look better, but don’t worry. Even if you’ve been playing World of Warcraft on the same machine for years, you probably don’t need to upgrade it for Warlords of Draenor.
The Elder Scrolls Online's latest patch takes aim at a list of frustrating quest bugs that have surfaced since the game launched earlier this month. Although flat-out broken quests weren't highlighted as an issue in our recent review of ESO, if you've spent any time in-game during the last two weeks, it's likely you've run into a few buggy roadblocks.