4 November 2010
| | iTZKooPA
The dust from BlizzCon 2010 has settled, and so we’ve decided to turn our attention to the biggest announcement of that weekend and give it the full attention that it deserves. Yes, the announcement of Tribes Universe far out-shinned anything Blizzard announced. But, like Blizzard, Hi-Rez Studios didn’t really announce all that much.
We know that the company now owns the beloved intellectual property, and that the company is working on turning the property in to an MMOFPS. But that’s about all we know. And that’s not enough for us. So we put on our thinking caps – they have light bulbs on top – dug deep for some questions and chained the CEO of Hi-Rez and Chief Designer of Tribes Universe, Erez Goren, to a computer until our questions were answered.
Lore Hound: The company recently announced that it was taking Alpha registration for Tribes Universe. How far along is the game at this point? How large is the team?
Erez Goren: The majority of the work that has gone directly into the game thus far has been in building the technical foundation to support large battles on massive, open landscapes. We are much earlier on when it comes to gameplay.
Fortunately, when we built Global Agenda, we did so in a way that left us with an amazing platform for building a Shooter/MMO on top of the Unreal Engine. This means that much of the work around adding weapons, tuning gameplay, etc, is now able to go very fast as we finish the core technical work.
LH: Speaking of the Alpha, it is currently restricted to max-level Global Agenda players. Is this to reward those who continue to support GA, or do you believe these players are the best testing group? Continue Reading
18 August 2010
| | iTZKooPA
Turbine Entertainment dropped us a line today to clarify the release date for free-to-play The Lord of the Rings Online. Turbine’s other white meat will be making the move on September 10, 2010.
Announced in early June, LotRO is following its former red-headed stepbrother into the freemium business model. Turbine Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are hopeful that LotRO can recreate the waterfall of money poured on when Dungeons & Dragons Online went freemium. A move that was a last ditch effort to save the MMORPG. Turbine’s “final fantasy” dramatically increased DDO’s subscriber base with the DDO cash shop raking in additional dough. Its success lead directly to LotRO’s new business model, despite the game having healthy subscriber numbers. Sony Online Entertainment is attempting to join the money train by creating a new EverQuest II payment option and server structure.
Turbine hasn’t been burning the extra money or using it as toilet paper, at least not all of it. The company has invested its profits into DDO’s development to rapidly produce new content packs and even television commercials. Case in point, Update 6 just went live, and we’ll see Update 7 in a few weeks at PAX Prime.
Hit the jump to check out the latest screens. Continue Reading
20 May 2010
| | pixiestixy
It was only a matter of time. Members of the WoW audience were not the only ones who took notice last month when Blizzard made the move to sell its first mount for IRL dollars. Of course not. At 25 bucks a pop, those sparkle ponies sold like hotcakes (and I, too, am guilty of this indulgence.) And in result, Blizzard surely made millions off of one single in-game item that looks pretty. How could the world not take notice of such a large amount of real-life cash being spent on a virtual item?
Some of us worried that this would set a precedent for things to come. And it looks like that is starting to unfold. Today, Sony Online Entertainment announced that it would sell its first ever marketplace mounts, called the Prowlers — available in “Ethereal” purple, “Sinister” green and “Ulteran” blue. And unlike the Celestial Steed that looks pretty but pretty much offers no advantage otherwise, these guys come with built-in buffs:
“Each mount comes in your choice of one of the following versions: Fierce and Arcane. The Fierce version increases Slashing, Aggression, Ranged, Piercing and Crushing of caster by 5, while the Arcane version increases Focus, Ordination, Disruption, Subjugation and Ministration of caster by 5. Both versions of the mount have a 65% run speed.
The Prowlers are guaranteed to be available for at least one month and adventurers can now purchase these new mounts for 2500SC (Pixie’s note – this equates to $25 each, the same as the Celestial Steed) from the Marketplace. These are the first Station Cash items of their kind and are immediately available in-game, upon purchase.
So even though we all pretty much saw this coming, it still bothers me. One of the huge caveats that supporters of the Celestial Steed — including myself — have been saying all along is that they support it because it does not provide any in-game advantage over other mounts. Not the case with The Prowlers. Does this raise the bar for what we’ll see in the future? Slippery slope, folks. That’s all I’m sayin’.
I love my shiny pony. But what will be the price that we ultimately pay for this service? Would those of you who supported the Celestial Steed like myself still agree with the idea if we start seeing more items that provide an in-game advantage?
3 May 2010
| | iTZKooPA
In the early days of the Internet nerds were actually charged per hour for access to the tubes. Some of you were probably still having your diapers changed when this occurred (looking at you, Heartbourne). Me, well, I was beginning to realize that girls don’t have cooties! I digress. A paradigm shift in Internet monetization happened thanks companies like CompuServe and AOL. These start-ups began offering a bajillion free hours of usage as incentive. Finally, the numbers were trashed and the service became unlimited, but with a monthly cost. This is the same format that many MMOGs have used since the ‘internet’ stopped being a capitalized word.
Everyone (in the West) was happy with a subscription model initially. Then more publishers and developers began paying attention to the lucrative genre. As time has rolled on, additional companies have attempted to make a mark, from AAA endeavors to niche games with dedicated fans. Us consumers began having to make hard choices. Do we subscribe to MMOG A or MMOG B? Both? But then we run the risk of not getting our “worth” from the subscription fees. What to do…
Electronic Arts and Realtime Worlds is taking the high ground for All Points Bulletin. Subscription-minded players can do just that for only $9.99 a month (discounts for three and six month packages). Interested in making APB your second, or third MMOG? Then the pay-as-you-go method is for you. Additional 20 hours chunks will run players $6.99.
APB will not offer 30 days of free play. Realtime Worlds changes the payment game again by including 50 hours of “action game time” as part of the initial purchase. That’d be your questing, maiming, murdering and bounty-hunting time. Taking a page out of Global Agenda’s book, the customization and social aspects described in the PAX East preview are free, forever. It looks like we’re finally seeing a divergence arise in payment structures for mass-market MMOG, niche and AAA alike.
APB will be available June 29. Early adopters receive a bonus ten hours of action play, access to pre-launch events and exclusives emotes, decals, clothing, even a vehicle. Beta sign-ups are still open. APB is available for pre-order at Amazon now.
Tempted by having options and the segregation of content?