One of the more common occurences as more games go free to play is to see "soft launches", so-called open betas, where the team can hide behind the beta moniker but simultaneously profit by taking players' money for cash shop items. In his latest column, Bill Murphy takes on this troubling trend. Read on and then tell us what you think in the comments.
I could probably make this a video rant, but in the interest of just getting it all out there, I thought I’d keep it to the old print format that we serfs have dominated since the movable type was invented (thanks, Mr. Gutenberg!). It’s a topic that’s been bothering me quite a bit lately: the idea of “open beta” meaning “we’ll take your money, there will be no wipes, but please don’t call it launch”. The most recent case of this is of course Neverwinter, but Firefall seems to be doing the same thing (someone can correct me if there will be character wipes there). And it’s been the standard practice of the F2P MMO industry for years now.
Read more of Bill Murphy's The Beta Is a Lie.
As we continue our journey through Neverwinter, we come to the third installment of our Beta Diary. This week, we take a closer look at the Neverwinter cash shop and game currencies as well as PvP. Check it out before leaving your thoughts in the comments.
Being open beta, this is our, the players’, chance to influence the final release of the game. Constructive criticism is always a good thing in any game and Cryptic has shown willingness to listen to its community. I love Neverwinter. I really, honestly do. But there are things that need to be changed to give it a chance at a long and healthy life and I only bring all these up, because aside from these issues, Neverwinter is a fantastically fun experience.
Read more of Suzie Ford's Neverwinter Open Beta Diary #3.
The Jagex team just released a new behind the scenes video focusing how the audio-scape of Runescape (seewhudIdidthar?) is changing with the launch of version 3.0. Check the video out below, and leave us your thoughts in the comments!
If you've got any questions on WildStar for executive producer Jeremy Gaffney, start posting 'em in the comments below. DaGaffer himself will be answering questions live, beginning right now!
Please remember to abide by our Rules of Conduct when posting. This is not a WildStar discussion thread, so please only post questions for Jeremy and/or follow-up questions to his answers. Thanks and have fun!
Carbine Studios is ramping up coverage of WildStar, a game that is beginning to look like a genre changer. We spent a long while speaking with Jeremy Gaffney and have a tome of new information to share. Read on and then tell us what you think in the comments.
Carbine Studios’ WildStar is gaining more and more steam in the hearts and minds of expectant MMO gamers as it drives through Closed Beta on its way to launching later this year. Mixing the traditions of theme-park MMOs with the sensibilities of play-how-you want sandbox MMOs, WildStar seems like it’s poised to please a lot of gamers when it finally does launch. That is, if they can make good on all of the design principles and promises they hold so dearly... because lordy, if they do pull it all off? Carbine’s flagship title is going to be a world rife with fun for just about every MMO player out there. We caught up with Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney to find out how Closed Beta 1 has gone, and what’s coming up in Closed Beta 2 and beyond.
Read more of Bill Murphy's WildStar: The Summer of WildStar is Upon Us.
Conquer Online will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in May and to celebrate the occasion, Conquer Online will be hosting a series of events and here is one of them! MMORPG.com is now teaming up with Conquer Online to give away glorious packs to make your journey easier. The gift codes are limited. Don't miss out the chance!
Gift Packs Include:
As Funcom's The Secret World nears its first birthday, we decided to take a look back at where the game was at launch and where it is today. See what we have to say before leaving your thoughts in the comments.
I threw myself into The Secret World heavily for the first month the game was out. I spent many hours streaming it on our MMORPG.com stream channel. While the PvP was lacking and turned into a Merry-go-round for control points, and everywhere you looked people seemed to complain about the combat animations (they never really bothered me), I thought the game was innovative enough to overlook these flaws. I still think the 5-man dungeons in the game are some of the best I have ever played. They contain very little trash, and the packs they do have prepare you for a mini-boss or boss fight. Also the boss encounters themselves feel like they are not constant rehashes of fights we have seen one hundred times before in other MMOs. Toss that in with a unique setting that offers an alternative to anything else that was out there and you have an instant winner. I was not alone in my praise for TSW, it even received a good review from this site. But as most of us know a good review doesn’t guarantee a huge commercial success.
Read more of Rob Lashley's The Secret World A Year Later.
There's been a good deal of controversy surrounding the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic's Game Update 2.1: Customization. We break down some of what we're hearing and offer our own take in this week's SWTOR column.
Let’s start with the existing pre-patch controversy (yup!) though. Players have been concerned about the basic idea that the update would be focused almost exclusively on Cartel Market content. With updates coming to the game every six to eight weeks, I honestly wouldn’t fault anyone for being upset that an entire game update was dedicated to features that mostly required players to open up their wallets. Fortunately, BioWare has explained that another Game Update is scheduled for release shortly after the launch of 2.1, and this update will be focused more on content or other systems unrelated to the Cartel Market.
Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: 2.1: Color & Collection Chaos.
On the patch release page on the Guild Wars 2 site, a new graphic has cropped up that indicates a new patch will be released on May 28th and will be called "Last Stand at Southsun". No further information is available but we'll keep you posted!
Despite a somewhat rocky launch, Trion Worlds' Defiance team is hard at work to make the game that players want. We scored an interview with Nathan Richardsson, VP of Development & Executive Producer Defiance to talk about what's happened since launch and what the future will hold for the groundbreaking transmedia game. See what he's got to say and then tell us what you think in the comments.
MMORPG: First, let me congratulate you on the launch. I know it's been a rough one, but it's still one hell of a milestone for any studio. What is the day-to-day like in the office now that the show and game are up and running?
Nathan Richardsson: Thank you! The day-to-day is always pretty interesting as nothing really compares to that launch month. You get far more player feedback to respond to than in Alpha or Beta, everything is on the line, we're working with a large set of unknowns since we're doing so many industry firsts that it's as exciting as it is frustrating. It's an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I use a new strategy, multiple personalities. Being a man I can't multitask so I found having many personalities each doing one thing helps me work on all the facets of this entire venture simultaneously without going insane.
Read more of Bill Murphy's Defiance: Looking to Push the Envelope.
We're happy to announce that we've linked up with NCsoft and Carbine Studios to put together a live forum Q&A with WildStar executive producer Jeremy Gaffney tomorrow, May 15 at 3:30PM ET (12:30PM PT).
If you've got questions for DaGaffer on anything WildStar, we invite you to stop by and ask the man himself tomorrow afternoon!
We reached our to WorldAlpha's development team with a few questions about what the game has in store for 2013. Read up on our mini-interview to see what the strategy MMO has planned for the year ahead.
WorldAlpha is a niche MMO, with a focus on social strategy. There are only a handful of games out there that really put a great emphasis on the political and economic side, as well as the military side. WorldAlpha will allow players to specialize, so that those only interested in economics, can focus on being a business tycoon. Those interested in politics, can focus on getting voted in by other players, and creating a country of their own choosing.
DC Universe Online players have a lot to look forward to with today's launch of Origin Crisis, the latest major update to the game. We scored a developer tour of some of the content in Origin Crisis and have a full preview to share. See what's new in DCUO and then let us know what you're most looking forward to in the comments.
Yesterday, we had the chance to sit in with DC Universe Online’s Creative Director Jens Andersen to tour DCUO’s 7th DLC: Origin Crisis. The update has been available for the past week to those members of the DCUO community who are Legendary subscribers, but goes live today (May 14th) for all to purchase at the price of $9.99. Origin Crisis not only includes the brand new Quantum power set based on the manipulation of time and space, but also two new endgame raids, four new operations, and the all-new “Iconic Anomalies” which have you playing solo as either Bizzaro or the Huntress through a computer simulation of each character’s origin story. It’s lot of bang for the buck, and Jens gave us a nice overview of what the DLC brings to the table.
Read more of Bill Murphy's DC Universe Online: Delving into Origin Crisis.
When the Star Trek Online expansion, Legacy of Romulus, goes live on May 21st, the Haakona Advanced Warbird will be part of the game. Players who take advantage of Legacy Packs will receive the ship when the expansion launches.
Equipped with a Romulan Battle Cloaking Device, your foes won’t know what hit them when you emerge from behind in combat. Equipped with a universal Haakona Separation console, divide your Haakona into two separate ships to confuse the enemy and choose to pilot either one. The Haakona Advanced Warbird is one of the most feared Romulan ships in the galaxy, and will make a deadly addition to any commander’s fleet.
Learn more about this formidable ship on the Star Trek Online site.
RuneScape is one of the most enduring MMOs in the entire online game space. Now entering its third incarnation, we have a terrific preview to share with our readers. See what we have to say before adding your voice to the discussion in the comments.
And so while a lot of you deem RuneScape as one of those products that lots of other people play, Jagex are looking to remedy the situation, and with the 3rd iteration are pulling back the curtain to the wider world and showing off their game beyond their own, humongous, community.
Read more of Adam Tingle's Introducing RuneScape 3.0.
Ubisoft has announced that the open beta for Anno Online has officially kicked off as of today. Interested players can swing by the site to sign up and get started playing Anno Online which brings classic Anno series features to the game as well as new features that fit a persistent online world.
The closed beta of Anno Online® was a great success due to the high stability and the good performance provided by the game. To celebrate the end of the closed beta, players current accounts won’t be wiped and active users will automatically receive a decorative gift to thank them for their involvement: a nice deco statue. Players who continue to play the game during the first week of the open beta will also be rewarded and will get an exclusive in-game item: a premium ship. This boat gives access to some nice features as it can carry more freight and is faster than usual ones.
Head to the Anno Online site to get started.
Sony Online Entertainment has announced that DC Universe Online Update 7: Origin Crisis is now live and in the game. Origin Crisis brings new raids, operations, feats, gear and the new Quantum Powers set into DCUO.
In Origin Crisis -- the space/time continuum has been compromised, and though Brainiac has been defeated, war wages on. Players must battle through new Raids and Operations and fight alongside Future Batman or Future Lex Luthor in order to shift the balance of destiny for Heroes and Villains forever. The two will summon their forces in an attempt to modify fundamental events in the histories of iconic characters and transform their futures. As the story unfolds, players gain access to an assortment of new multiplayer adventures and solo simulations.
Find out more about Origin Crisis in the new Producer's Letter on the DC Universe Online site.
BioWare has released a great new trailer to show off all the ways that players will be able to further customize their characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Check it out before heading into the game to give your characters new looks!
Trion Worlds is ready to rock the MMO-niverse with today's announcement that Rift is officially going free to play with no restrictions, no pay gates, nothing that bars a player from experiencing the game in its totality. We caught up to Creative Director Bill Fisher to find out more. Rock your world and then head to the comments with your reactions.
MMORPG: Many of the gaming populace see the shift from subscription to F2P as a sort of swan song or last ditch effort for a game to stay alive. How do you combat this stigma?
Bill Fisher: I think that as time has passed people really are more accepting. Will there be a stigma for a subset of folks out there? Sure. It really isn't our job to combat the stigma though - it's our job to make RIFT the best possible game we can. We feel that the game can speak for itself and letting more people experience it really is the next logical step on the road of continual improvement.
Read more of Bill Murphy's Rift: Going Free to Play on June 12th.
Trion Worlds has announced that Rift will be going free to play beginning June 12, 2013. According to the press release, Trion has heard its community to bring about this momentous decision for Rift. Devs have indicated that no content or gear will be pay-gated and that players can level all the way to 60 with no restrictions.
All players will be able to explore the entire world of Telara for free and will have access to the expanded in-game RIFT Store where a variety of services--mounts, boosts, wardrobe items, and more--will be available for purchase. An optional subscription will still be available that grants a slew of “Patron” benefits and bonuses to maximize the RIFT experience. Trion will celebrate its current and previous subscribers with loyalty and currency rewards for their time spent playing RIFT thus far.
Check out the full details of the revenue shift on the Rift F2P site.