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  • World of Warcraft dispels free-to-play 'Veteran Edition' rumors

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    01.16.2015

    Pretty much anything in the world will start the World of Warcraft free-to-play rumors these days, but this set of rumors had a bit of basis in reality, at least. Datamining uncovered references to a "Veteran Edition" for players, which prompted speculation that it would be a preferred account status for players who were on the free side but still had played in the past. It turns out that's not quite accurate, but it's also not entirely wrong: Veteran Edition will allow players to play for free, essentially, with Starter Edition restrictions. Community Manager Bashiok addressed the rumors, explaining that while someone who never had played the game before could jump in with Starter Edition restrictions, veteran players could not. Veteran Edition, then, places almost all of the same restrictions on players, but it will allow you to roll up a new character and play through level 20 or at least log in to chat with friends. No word on exactly when this will be rolled out, but it should put the free-to-play rumors to bed until they start again in a month.

  • Rumor: The Elder Scrolls Online console version may be close

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    01.09.2015

    Let's just start with the disclaimers, for those who have forgotten: Online retailers do not necessarily know the date of releases any more than you do. They just enter a future date for preorders and go. Amazon's release date for the console launch of The Elder Scrolls Online is still December 31st, 2015, which isn't a prediction so much as a way of keeping it in the system for this year. But Microsoft's listing of the game for Xbox One on February 24th, 2015, does merit at least a little attention. Sure, it could just be a placeholder date, but it's awfully soon for a placeholder when the store could easily list December. It would also make a certain amount of sense, since the console version was originally slated for last month after its initial delay. So what do you think, readers? Is The Elder Scrolls Online just around the corner for console owners? Or is it just another placeholder date? While you're munching on that rumor, you can also speculate about the fact that Australian EB Games stores are recalling all boxed copies of the game and all time cards, supposedly as part of a normal post-holiday stock recall. Or as a prelude to free-to-play. You decide. [Thanks to squidgod2000 for the tip!]

  • EVE Evolved: Fixing EVE's player activity

    by 
    Brendan Drain
    Brendan Drain
    10.12.2014

    It's been a sort of running gag in EVE Online throughout the years that players spend inordinate amounts of time docked in stations and spinning their ships around in the hangar, but this is oddly close to the truth. Those of us who have been hooked to EVE for years know just how intense the game can get at its most frantic and how incredible it is to be present for historic events and important PvP battles, but those moments are rare, and there's typically a lot of downtime between periods of activity. For every PvP battle fought, incursion fleet formed or wormhole op organised, players often have to spend hours in stations or in space amusing themselves or doing busywork. With gamers now spreading their increasingly limited free time across a growing catalogue of online games, some EVE players log in for only a few minutes per day to queue skills, chat with corpmates, and see if anything interesting is happening. The recent announcement that the upcoming Phoebe release will contain infinite length skill queues has some players concerned that people will lose the motivation to pop their heads into New Eden each day and see what's going on. Since the best sandbox gameplay is emergent in nature, just getting players to log in so they're available to take part in something awesome when it happens is extremely important. In this edition of EVE Evolved, I ask whether EVE is in trouble due to its recent decline in player activity, look at the impact of people with just a few hours per week to play, and suggest a new app idea that could help solve all of those problems.

  • Villagers and Heroes' latest update introduces subscriptions

    by 
    Bree Royce
    Bree Royce
    09.29.2014

    Indie sandbox Villagers and Heroes' latest patch, Sands of the Equinox, landed last week. Of note, the patch adds a new all-level zone called the Oases of Anuk'Amon, where players can fight new bosses, collect new gear, and gather craft components. To address player complaints about the combat system, Mad Otter added a new optional dodging mechanic. And here's something you don't see a lot of indie F2P games doing well past their launch: With this update, Mad Otter implemented an optional subscription plan. Ardent Society Memberships, as the subscriptions are called, boost experience gained from most activities, grant unlimited travel hops and bonus consumables, eliminate house rent, and create extra shared storage. A month-to-month sub is $7.95. Massively last explored Villagers and Heroes in the wake of its April 2014 update and Steam launch.

  • Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs

    by 
    MJ Guthrie
    MJ Guthrie
    07.24.2014

    This question was posed to me recently by a few different readers and stream viewers: Are The Secret World's DLCs a good value? As I pondered the question, I decided that instead of answering each query personally, it would be a good topic to explore here in Chaos Theory. Besides, the answer is definitely not a short one! (It can't even fit in a single column!) So why can't I just fire off a simple yes or no to this question? The biggest problem is trying to provide an objective answer to a very subjective situation. While the meaning of value itself is clearly defined, said definition emphasizes that the judgment is individual to whoever is involved. How each player defines value is very personal, so I can't really answer for anyone except myself. What I can do, however, is provide as much of the objective information that I can so you can make your own subjective judgment on the value. Are TSW's issues and sidestories packs worth it? Let's look at the value from various viewpoints and you decide!

  • World of Warcraft earns over $1 billion a year

    by 
    Elizabeth Harper
    Elizabeth Harper
    07.21.2014

    According to statistics from SuperData Research, World of Warcraft still dominates the MMO market with 36% market share. The game raked in just over a billion dollars in revenue in 2013, putting it well ahead of its nearest competition -- $253 million for NCSoft's 1998 title Lineage. The ranking of top subscription titles suggests that MMOs need staying power -- WoW is nearly 10 years old and Lineage is 16 -- and a strong Asian presence -- the top 3 are all big titles in Asia -- to sustain them over the long haul. However, even though WoW continues to pull in strong subscription numbers, the industry has seen the subscription model declining sharply while microtransaction revenue has been on an upswing. With both a healthy subscriber base and its own microtransaction strategy, WoW seems prepared to succeed no matter which direction the industry goes. However, the overall subscription trend begs the question: will we ever see a free-to-play version of WoW? Blizzard has said no, and with subscription stats like this we can see why.

  • EVE Evolved: Growing the EVE Universe

    by 
    Brendan Drain
    Brendan Drain
    06.08.2014

    For much of EVE Online's early history, the playerbase saw consistent organic growth with no end in sight and developer CCP Games was able to stay laser-focused on its single game. The EVE universe has even had to grow several times to accomodate the increase in players, most notably with the opening of the drone nullsec regions and Apocrypha's addition of 2,499 hidden wormhole systems. EVE has survived the launch of countless high-profile MMOs in its lifetime and even weathered the monumental industry shift toward free-to-play business models, but it hasn't been plain sailing. While subscriptions have reportedly grown year-on-year, EVE's average concurrent player numbers haven't really increased since 2009. The active EVE playerbase isn't really growing, so it should come as no surprise that CCP has been trying to expand the EVE universe on other fronts. Though the first attempt with console FPS DUST 514 was an unmitigated disaster, EVE players still seem quietly optimistic about its PC reboot as EVE: Legion. Dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie has also piqued the interest of the emerging virtual reality community and has the potential to introduce EVE to thousands of fresh faces. EVE's Creative Director Torfi Frans Olafsson even hinted during Fanfest 2014 that EVE Online, Valkyrie and Legion might all share a single login and that characters may eventually be able to switch between games at will. In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at why I think a shared login could be a stroke a genius, and interview EVE's Creative Director and Valkyrie's Executive Producer to find out what the future holds for the EVE universe.

  • EVE Online phases out time codes, releases Bloodbath of B-R5RB video

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    05.20.2014

    If you want to subscribe to EVE Online, you aren't lacking for options. You can sign up for a monthly subscription, of course, but you can also purchase EVE time codes and PLEX. PLEX have the advantage of being tradeable within the in-game market, and you can use them to upgrade from a trial account to a full account. Or you can carry them around in a ship so that when it gets blown up, people can attach a real currency number to how much you lost. Clearly, PLEX have more to offer, which is why EVE Online is phasing out EVE time codes in favor of PLEX activation codes. The net prices are identical, but the effect is that subscription time will be awarded as PLEX, which you can use in all of the many ways you already use PLEX. For more details and a quick rundown of how PLEX work, check out the official blog entry. In other EVE news, CCP has released to its YouTube channel a Recording History video chronicling the events that triggered the Bloodbath of B-R5RB. We've included it below. [With thanks to tipster J!]

  • EVE Evolved: Eleven years of EVE Online

    by 
    Brendan Drain
    Brendan Drain
    05.11.2014

    ​It seems that every year another few MMOs have closed their doors or convert to free-to-play business models to stay afloat. EVE Online has always enjoyed a level of insulation from these market trends elsewhere in the genre, and just last week on May 6th it celebrated its 11th year of year-on-year subscription growth. Following on from my previous column celebrating the EVE Evolved column's sixth year of operation, this week I'll be summarising all the major EVE news stories throughout the year. It's been a big year for EVE fans, one that many of us can be proud to have been a part of. The EVE community turned its financial wizardry toward the real world and raised over $190,000 US in relief aid following a typhoon hitting the Philippines, and CCP even built a monument dedicated to the community. Several massive player battles once again put EVE on the global media's radars, and the Odyssey and Rubicon expansions revitalised the game for explorers and PvPers alike. But not everyone can hold his heads up high this year, with details of more cyberbullying within EVE coming to light and several players being banned for defacing the EVE monument in Reykjavik. In this anniversary retrospective, I summarise all the major EVE news from the year in one place and take a look at what the future may hold for the EVE universe.

  • The Daily Grind: Are you subbing to Elder Scrolls Online?

    by 
    Jef Reahard
    Jef Reahard
    05.08.2014

    Elder Scrolls Online's 30-day free period ends this week, as does the five day grace period that ZeniMax granted customers on account of the game's launch issues. I'm still having quite a lot of fun in Tamriel, so transitioning to the monthly subscription was a personal no-brainer. What about you, Elder Scrolls purchasers? Are you continuing with the game now that the free period is over? Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

  • How to cancel App Store magazine subscriptions

    by 
    Steve Sande
    Steve Sande
    04.16.2014

    The subscriptions to a few digital magazine apps started innocently enough -- you knew the editors and contributors, some of the articles you read were really good, and that US$1.99 monthly or bi-monthly charge gave you something to do other than play games on your iPad. But after a while you started to find more than half of the articles in every issue to be either irrelevant to your interests or just downright annoying. So how do you cancel your subscription so you don't keep getting charged $1.99 or more every two or four weeks for something you're not reading? Mac or PC It's actually pretty easy. From a Mac or PC running iTunes, simply launch the iTunes app, sign in, then click on your Apple ID (email address) in the toolbar of the app and select Account to view your account information. You'll see a lot of information on the screen -- scroll to the bottom where you see the heading "Settings". Under that heading are things like the nickname you use for doing iTunes reviews, settings for Genius recommendations, and the ever-important Subscriptions. To the right of Subscriptions you'll see a Manage link -- click it, and that takes you to a list of the subscriptions you currently have or have had at some point in time. Click the Edit link to turn auto-renew on or, in this case, off, and click Done. With that, your subscriptions will automatically stop -- or start again if that's what you chose to do. iOS Devices On iOS devices, launch the iTunes app. Looking at the Featured page, scroll down to the bottom until you see a button marked Apple ID, followed by your Apple ID email address. Tap on that, and a pop-up appears. Tap View Apple ID to see your account settings. Partway down the Account Settings screen you'll see a listing for Subscriptions, along with a link marked Manage -- tap that to see your subscriptions and either turn off auto-renewal or turn it back on. So there you have it -- how to actually stop spending money on magazine subscriptions you're not reading. Enjoy spending that hard-earned cash on something else, like a copy of my latest book (just kidding...).

  • The Soapbox: Launching with a subscription is still a good idea

    by 
    Matthew Gollschewski
    Matthew Gollschewski
    01.14.2014

    The massively multiplayer online game industry is constantly changing, but one thing about it never will so long as capitalism stands: MMOs have ongoing costs, and those costs are passed on to the end user. Exactly how they're passed on is one of the things that has been changing, but new methods don't mean old methods don't have their place. New isn't good because it's new. New is good because it can provide solutions to old problems. When an old method is seen as the source of a problem actually caused by something unrelated, shoving a new method in there can just create new problems. So why all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over games trying out a subscription before they move onto other models? And why all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in retaliation to this opinion?

  • SOE cancels previous subscription changes, rolls out a bigger all-access pass

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    01.07.2014

    When Sony Online Entertainment first announced its changes to the way subscription benefits would work from February on, players weren't happy. One of our columnists explained the reasons why the changes were a bad idea in great detail. SOE listened, stepped back, and according to a post on Reddit by John Smedley, is revising the plans again to better fit player needs. The subscription reward will still be in the form of Station Cash on a monthly basis rather than a single free item worth up to 2000 SC. Under the new system, subscribing to the company's all-access pass will be priced at $14.99 a month, and subscribing to any PC title makes you an all-access member automatically. You still get 500 SC every month, and you can still stockpile it as before, but you will need to claim that benefit on a monthly basis rather than see it automatically dropped into your account. For more of the fine details on children's games with subscriptions and console games, take a look at Smedley's full post.

  • The Secret World offers special membership deals

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    12.03.2013

    You don't need us to tell you that Cyber Monday is over, seeing as it is currently Tuesday. But that doesn't mean that sales are over; The Secret World is just starting a special promotion for membership. So if you know you're going to spend the next few months joyously exploring various mysteries, why not get some extra time and some AP boosts while you're at it? Subscribing for a three-month stretch earns you an extra month (so four total) along with a timed AP boost. A six-month subscription nets you two extra months (eight total) along with two timed AP boosts, five XP potions, and five Venetian Exemptions to remove scenario cooldowns. Last but not least, a year earns you an extra four months (16 in all), three timed boosts, 15 XP potions, and 15 Venetian Exemptions. These deals will only be active until December 16th, so if you're going to lay down the bucks, you might as well get some extra bang.

  • Azeroth and beyond: Nine years of World of Warcraft

    by 
    Mike Foster
    Mike Foster
    11.22.2013

    In 1999, Blizzard Entertainment was well on its way to becoming something of a titan in the PC gaming space. Riding high on hits like Diablo, Warcraft II, and the barely-a-year-old StarCraft, Blizzard had established itself as a purveyor of quirky, well-made, and entertaining games mostly of the RTS variety. However, something else was brewing behind closed doors at Blizzard's Irvine campus. While sequels to Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo were all in development (and hotly anticipated), the company had also quietly started work on a brand-new massively-multiplayer online game set in one of the studio's existing game universes. That game, of course, was World of Warcraft. And nine years ago tomorrow, it completely changed the face of MMO gaming.

  • Tis the season to subscribe: What's on my annual service renewal lists

    by 
    Erica Sadun
    Erica Sadun
    11.19.2013

    As November rolls around, it's generally time for me to take stock, look at my current service subscriptions (as opposed to entertainment subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu) and weigh what items I'm going to invest in for the next twelve months. Some of my subscriptions are annual choices. They time out after 12 months. Others are ongoing, so a time to evaluate and choose is especially helpful. Of course, services are a highly personal thing. The ones I subscribe to may or may not meet your needs and vice versa. So I've tried to keep my list of the services I'm considering fairly general and Apple consumer specific. If you have suggestions to add, please drop them in the comments -- and let me know if you run across particular deals that crop up near Black Friday. Offsite Backup. Time Machine, which I swear by, will get you only so far in life. Unless you're backing up offsite, you're exposing your data to enormous risk. Any physical damage to your workspace will probably affect your onsite backups as well as your main system. Offsite means greater peace of mind. Personally, I'm a Crashplan customer due to the unlimited backups and reasonable yearly fees. (Plus Mike Evangelist really sold me on the service.) Regardless of which provider you go with, you really should be thinking about adding an offsite plan to your Black Friday grab bag. Last year, Crashplan offered an insanely sweet deal for new customers (which I missed out on by two freaking weeks) so keep your eyes open for theirs and other deals on the day. VPN Service. If you lean towards the Wi-Fi lifestyle (and I do), when hanging out at Panera, Einsteins, Starbucks, and so forth, you'll probably want to consider picking up a VPN subscription for the year. There's a lot of give and take between Wi-Fi and onboard cellular, but the biggest difference is security. When you grab data directly over cellular, you can generally feel pretty good about privacy. Using shared Wi Fi means compromise -- speed, reliability, transparency. Using VPN enables you to shop, read mail, and perform other personal tasks without worrying about snooping. I've been using Witopia this year and it's been pretty good. I find it much better for light surfing and email when on the go than for privacy when at home, so about 90% of my use has been on my iPad and MacBook Air. Although I had intended to use VPN for day-to-day work, I found that heavy data loads (such as downloading new versions of Xcode) over VPN is just an exercise in frustration. Cloud. I want my data wherever I am. I'm a big fan of Dropbox and not such a big fan of iCloud but that's just me. Your mileage will, of course, vary -- and there are many new providers now out there in the field. This is a really good time of year to hunt for cloud deals for pro level accounts. Just be aware that real life stories like Everpix demonstrate why you need to be very, very careful as to where you trust your data. Online Apps. Unlike last year, this is the year that subscribing to cloud-based applications really took off. You might want to take a peek at Adobe, Microsoft Office, or Apple's iWork to see if their offerings might be what you need for next year. I'm intrigued by iWork in particular, and looking forward to seeing how well it transforms my work flow from desk-based to mobile. What services do you subscribe to? And which ones are you considering testing for the first time this year?

  • Target Ticket video-on-demand service exits closed beta, is now open for everyone

    by 
    Dana Wollman
    Dana Wollman
    09.25.2013

    We heard whispers just a few weeks ago that Target was about to open up its video-on-demand service to the general public. Turns out, those rumors were on the money: Target Ticket exited its closed beta today, and is now live for anyone to try out. Like Amazon Video on Demand, it offers a mix of movies and TV shows, with a choice of rentals and the option to buy outright. At a cursory glance, too, it looks like all the most popular stuff is included. (All six seasons of Breaking Bad? Check.) As for pricing, there's no consistent rule here, and we can't totally explain why some shows are more expensive than others, either ($15 for the third season of Downton Abbey seems like a steal, if you ask us). It's the same thing with the movie selections: there are lots of recent titles on tap, with prices generally ranging from $13 to $20. We've included the link below, along with a link to Target's new online-only subscription service for buying the same items over and over again. Unfortunately, though, that last one is limited to baby supplies for the time being, so unless you need to stock up on diapers, there's not much to see there.

  • Adobe XD's Mighty and Napoleon prepare for retail, Contour and Parallel apps introduced (eyes-on)

    by 
    Joe Pollicino
    Joe Pollicino
    09.17.2013

    As you've likely read today, Adobe XD has announced its plans to officially bring Projects Napoleon and Mighty -- a drafting ruler and cloud-connected stylus for iPads -- to retail in 2014. Rather than make the consumer-facing hardware itself, the company's relying on Adonit's manufacturing prowess. Creative professionals can rest assured that the tools will function with Creative Cloud. The retail versions will be much like the prototypes, except that Adobe ditched Bluetooth in the 'short ruler,' Napoleon. It now uses only capacitive touch and a single button (see above) to act as a selector for options within apps. Mighty will ship with a non-replaceable tip that's just under 2mm, but it's otherwise the same and includes a lipstick-style carrying case / charger. On top of all that, Adobe's introducing Projects Contour and Parallel as its next serious experiments in the area. They will serve as reference apps to highlight the kinds of functionality the tools could afford designers. Contour is Adobe's take on a draft-sketching app, while Parallel is an iPhone app that lets you grab photos of objects in real life and instantly convert them into vectors -- as you'd expect, both intermingle. No word on whether these apps will make it out of Adobe's in-progress lair just yet, but a rep gave us a coy smile and note to stay tuned. You'll find a video of the apps after the break, as well as our early hands-on with Napoleon and Mighty from June.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud hits 1 million subscribers, Projects Mighty and Napoleon available in 2014

    by 
    Billy Steele
    Billy Steele
    09.17.2013

    During today's Q3 earnings report, Adobe announced that its Creative Cloud software service had passed one million subscribers since launching in June. In addition to reaching that milestone much faster than expected, the outfit officially removed the "technology exploration" label from both Project Mighty and Project Napoleon, and confirmed plans to release them as full-fledged products in 2014. Experience Design team lead Michael Gough and crew will work with experienced maker outfit Adonit in order to complete the pair and ship it out in the first half of next year. In case you need a brief refresher, our hands-on video with the two cloud-connected peripherals is embedded below.

  • Tamriel Infinium: The one where we talk about the Elder Scrolls Online's payment model

    by 
    Larry Everett
    Larry Everett
    08.23.2013

    It's difficult to watch another beloved game developer make the same mistakes a previous beloved game developer did. I cannot express the depth of my sincere disappointment in the subscription payment model announcement coming from ZeniMax this week. I'm interested in seeing games succeed, but I'm especially interested in seeing The Elder Scrolls Online succeed, not just because I'm doing a column on the game but because the franchise is wonderful and the fans deserve an amazing online experience in the world of Tamriel. But I was floored when the ESO team announced it will be a subscription-based game.