Dust514 [Uprising 1.2 (details below and in the link) coming to the PS3 MMShooter and CCP also gave some details on what they have planned in the next 6 months - faster updates, core improvements (aiming, vehicle handling, controls), both being heavily requested by the playerbase.] - Official Site
The biggest thing we’re adding in Uprising 1.2 is a brand new dropsuit role: the Commando. Only Commando dropsuits let you equip two light weapons such as Swarm Launchers and Assault Rifles, offering extreme versatility at the cost of some punch.
We are expanding the Planetary Conquest experience to let corporation officers remove teammates from Conquest battles in the war barge, and districts are no longer locked once conquered by a new owner. We’ve also enabled ISK transfers between characters, and from corporation wallets to any player or corporation, as described in Team True Grit’s latest dev blog.
Planetside 2 [Player generated missions are coming to the game, in an effort to create more diversity on the battlefields. I really like this in theory, I wonder how well it will work out in practice.] - RPS
Planetside 2′s missions are pretty general. They’re mostly focused around the push and pull of attack and defense at specific spots on the map. That’s fine for just getting teams to fight each other, but it doesn’t take advantage of Auraxis. All those valleys and mountains, all the connecting roads, all that space can feel unused. While there’s probably an argument to be made for letting the game generate smaller missions for people to take part in away from the larger territory control meta-game, SOE are doing it differently: soon they’ll allowing players to request support via player-generated missions, mini-alerts that will create hotspots on the map for players to drop into.
Upcoming / Beta
Pathfinder Online [for those that don't know, PO is a recently Kickstarter funded fantasy sandbox. One of its main features is player-created settlements, and this of course includes the buildings as well. In this last dev blog they provide some details on the process and it's a woozy; definitely not your average click and craft MMO.] - GoblinWorks blog
Settlements in Pathfinder Online are essentially groups of plots into which buildings are designed to fit. These plots are grouped into several large districts, each with its own potential building sites for buildings of various sizes. Some structures gain a benefit from sharing a district with other structures of similar or linked purpose. Settlement layouts aren't grid puzzles like the game Cathedral; they're more like planned subdivisions with curving roads, some predefined open spaces and lots of various sizes. The largest and most important buildings can't all be crammed into the same district, but deciding which buildings you want, which districts to put them in, and which plots in the districts to build on will provide settlement leaders with plenty of customization options.
Players with the appropriate level of settlement permissions are able to initiate the construction of structures from the mayor's desk in the settlement's hall. Normally, these will be characters who are assigned to a settlement leadership position. To build a structure, an authorized character must select an available plot on the settlement map, choose the type of building to build there, and meet all the necessary prerequisites. Building requirements usually include minimum DI (development index) ratings, prerequisite buildings, or more rarely a specific settlement alignment or faction standing . When the desired building is chosen, the appropriate resources are set aside, and players can sign up for the construction of the building.
Wildstar [interview with Carbine's Content Director, Mike Donatelli, about the ongoing Closed Beta 3 to which I still haven't received any invites (or have I? mwaha *chokes and starts coughing* ... no I haven't). Great interview, definitely read it in full as I'm only able to highlight just a few responses.] - ZAM
Are you glad to get to the moment where we’ll have two factions facing off against each other?
I think so. We had some PvP in the last [phase of beta]; we’ve actually opened it up this time, not only just open world where you can get in there and if you wanted to fight somebody you could. We brought in a lot of the PvP stuff we’ve been itching to test, like rated battlegrounds and what not.
We saw a lot of class updates in the patch notes. What’s keeping your designers busy: is it responding to feedback from players, or continuing to roll out and generate new content?
I would say a large majority of the actual mechanics and the rollout of abilities are pretty much solid. What we’re doing now, and the intention is from now until ship, is pretty much 90% iteration at this point in time.
The idea of Farside--a zone on a moon--sounds awesome. What was the story behind it?
If we go back to the root of it, we’re talking about space westerns and having the ability to go from place to place. We didn’t want to be terrestrially bound the entire time either. We were saying we could go to moons, we could go to planetoids, and we could go to asteroids.
Farside is the first step; there are other tracks and zones and places that are off-planet, this is just the first one that [players are] going to see. And we can get to do a lot of great things that we didn’t get to do here. The number one thing is gravity, or anti-gravity in this case
Revisiting Ultima Online [A modern look at the grandafather of MMOs. Still holding strong on many accounts and still more MMO than most of the new comers.] - Massively
The granddaddy of MMORPGs and one of the only true sandboxes still standing turns 16 this autumn, having survived EverQuest, World of Warcraft, the internet bubble, EA's blundering, Mythic's takeover, layoffs, price hikes, a recession, and disastrous design shifts. But is it still worth playing?
So I spent my first few nights in-game hunting for a new house spot, not an easy task on Atlantic, which remains overcrowded (other servers seldom rise above "low population," by comparison, and most have large house plots to spare). But I did find one, a good one near the Shrine of Honor, and so I took a few more days customizing every tile from the ground up, decorating it, and filling it up with the loot I'd stashed on all my characters for my eventual return. Home. It might be isometric and stylized, but even today, few MMOs offer this level of housing personalization.
Worst of All Worlds [A critical look at the F2P model and why it's in many ways reducing the fun for some types of players] - InAnAge
The real kicker though is the fact that F2P more or less invalidates any real sense of optimization. All of us already know that the most efficient move in a F2P game is to load up on XP potions, convert cash into in-game currency to clean out the AH, and open lockboxes all day until we have everything of any value. There is no possible way to beat that. “Just figure out the most efficient path without spending money.” Playing with an artificial handicap is simply not as engaging to me. You can technically increase the difficulty of a FPS by decreasing your mouse sensitivity, but that will never feel as satisfying as having more intelligent opponents.
Have MMOs Become too Easy? [Mark Kern, ex-team lead on WoW and founder of Red 5 (Firefall) has a thing or two to say about the incredible casualness that is predominant in almost every MMO these days.] - MMORPGcom
It all started with the drive to make MMOs, which in the EQ and Ultima days were a niche and hard core game, more accessible. Accessibility was the mantra when I was leading the World of Warcraft team. We labored over the user interface for the game, going through many iterations, to find one that would be easy and intuitive for players new to the genre. We created a massive number of quests to lead the player through the world, making sure that they never had to think about what to do next.
And it worked. Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost? Sometimes I look at WoW and think “what have we done?” I think I know. I think we killed a genre. There are many reasons I feel this way, but I’d like to discuss one in particular, the difficulty curve.
The main thing we lose when lowering the difficulty curve is a sense of achievement. When the bar is lowered so that everyone can reach max level quickly, it makes getting to max level the only sense of accomplishment in the game. We lose the whole journey in between, a journey that is supposed to feel fun and rewarding on its own.
The Prototype Problem[Or why the first 3 quarters of making a game will usually take less than finishing up the last quarter of developing] - RampantGames
There are parts of the software development cycle that may seem counter-intuitive to people new it. Thanks to crowd-funding and the increased visibility into the development process from the indies, gamers and crowd-funding “backers” may find themselves in a difficult place of witnessing what may appear as a train-wreck as they follow development. Oftentimes, it’s just business as usual in this crazy field we call game development. And sometimes, it really is a train-wreck. It’s hard to tell the difference.
In my experience, one of the main things that causes indie game development projects to fail is the incredible gulf between prototype and product.
It’s not uncommon for indie game developers to put forth a herculean effort to get a prototype up and running – to get that first level humming along – and then get bogged down when it comes time to turn it into a full-fledged product. It is ten times easier to hard-code something for a demo or prototype than to create a true general purpose system that can handle all the things you want to throw at it.
Misc / Off-Topic
Starcraft 2 [check-out some really nice plays from last week's SC2 esports action! Guaranteed to leave you wanting more.] - WCS Today
Tour de France [talk about off-topic.. :) Anyway, TdF, cyclism's most prestigious competition is just one day away from starting and it's going to be a crazy one! It's the 100th edition so the terrain was chosen to be as entertaining as possible and it also promises to be a very contended race, with many favorites lining up for a chance to win.] - INRG
Chris Froome is so far ahead do the others have to settle for second place? No, the Tour brings 20 stages where a crash or a puncture can be enough to ruin anyone’s chances and he’s as prone as anyone to have a bad day, it happened in Tirreno-Adriatico where the weather iced him and Contador and Vincenzo Nibali rode away. Froome is my pick to win the race but I would not bet with the prices now.
What’s striking is the number of riders capable of a top-10 finish. Richie Porte, Tejay van Garderen and Alberto Contador seem to be the safe choices but what of all the others? It’s this uncertainty that promises plenty.
Daily AMA: Got any questions about today's news or MMOs in general? Leave them in the comments. You'll probably get quick and awesome answers from TF's members, but if not, I'll give it my best to give you an answer in tomorrow's article.
Stream Highlight: Artosis - One of the most popular SC2 commentators out there, maybe even #1, that recently started streaming on a regular basis. Great commentary, good matches and also some World of Tanks action from time to time, together with his commentating partner, Tasteless.