Blizzard testing a real money cash shop in WOW

8 07 2013

Since 2004 World of Warcraft has been the king of the MMO hill.

Challengers have tried to emulate it’s success and have come and gone, many of them have vanished without a trace and those that are left have slipped into the murky realm of Free to Play.

For a mighty nine years now Blizzard have been gorging on the millions of monthly subscriptions that it’s cash cow has generated.

However those days seem to be coming to an end. As the postponement of Project Titan has suggested even the mighty Blizz has to tighten it’s belt on occasion.

Whilst this by itself doesnt imply that the end is nigh for WOW’s subscription model there are other signs that change is afoot in the World of Azeroth.

Sharp eyed dataminers have come across links to real-money items – for instance, a 100 percent XP boost called the Enduring Elixir of Wisdom – while trawling through test server updates.

Rather than crush the rumour or just ignore Blizzard have actually come forward with an explanation on the official forums:

“We are currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game. As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the PTR. We’ll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses.”

Does this mean that Blizzard have hit the free to play panic button? Of course not. However it does suggest that this isn’t as ridiculous a suggestion as it would have seemed 12/18 months ago.





RIft is going Free to Play

15 05 2013

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Well it is finally official. Rift is going free to play.

Trion Worlds have announced that as of June 12th 2013 anyone will be able to experience the fun of exploring Telara without having to stump up their hard earned cash.

The change in pricing model will go live at the same time as patch 2.3 – Empyreal Assault launches and will see a number of changes including a cash shop and a tiered model which will see subscribers rebranded as “Patrons”

Patrons will benefit from a number of different perks which will set them apart from their non paying brethren:

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On top of the above rewards people who purchased the original game or the Storm Legion expansion will receive access to additional character slots, starting bag slots and access to the expansion souls (Storm Legion purchasers only)

I guess it was inevitable that Trion would take this approach with Rift at some point but personally after the success of Storm Legion I didn’t think it would be quite this soon.

I am not typically a big fan of F2P as a model and I am especially wary of cash shops, probably as a result of way too many hours spent playing PWI when I was younger.

That said I like what Turbine have done with Lord Of The Rings Online and have to admit that going F2P was probably the best thing which could have happened to the game.

Likewise I am really enjoying the Beta of NeverWinter so maybe there is hope after all.





An update from Telara

2 08 2012

Last week I mentioned how I had decided to get myself in shape ready for the first expansion to hit Rift since it’s launch, Storm Legion.

Well so far, so good! I have tried to be a good boy and have pretty much focused on just two characters:

A Guardian warrior and a Defiant rogue.
I have to say this is my first rogue in Rift and I have to say they rock…seriously.

I have two main roles set for him at the moment; one is mostly specced as an assassin and the other is set up for ranged dps with a few points thrown in bard to spice things up a bit.

The assassin specced role just feels really, really sneaky and nasty – I love it!

Through some odd stroke of fortune both characters have ended up sitting at level 31 at the moment so all is looking well on track for the expansion launch.

The well-rounded nature of the classes, the stunning graphics and the more mature community in-game has just served to really remind me why I was so smitten with Rift first time around.

Long may it continue!





Ascend a friend…

24 07 2012

Squee…

If you have read any of my gaming related posts you might be aware that I very excitedly ventured into playing Rift last year.

Well far from being the 2 minute wonder that I thought it would be I’m still there and going strong and more importantly so is the game.

So strongly in fact that the developers of Rift, Trion, made over $100 million last year. Not too shabby at all!

I have recently become very excited as the new expansion, Storm Legion is due this Autumn and is set to triple the size of the in game World. Triple!!!

So that I am nice and ready I have taken this opportunity to roll a couple of new characters. Gijuin, my rogue, is now up to level 21 and Ferren, my Dwarf Warrior is a lofty 32.

So all in all everything is well in hand.

In case you would like to share in the fun you can click here to take advantage of Rift’s “Ascend a Friend” program. Hope to see you in Telara real soon.





Have LotRO will travel…

21 06 2011

American  performance artist Jordan Long plans to ship himself across the US in a crate with only  Lord of the Rings Online as company.

Avid Lord of the Rings Online player and performance artist; Jordan Long is taking his theories about in-game communities and their benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to new levels.

Long has shipped himself from his home in Bald Knob, Arkansas to a final destination in Oregon locked in a crate with nothing but his computer and his LOTRO companions along for the ride. 

According to Long, the purpose of his most recent “art” project is to study “trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and claims that he has found that many who are confined to their homes due to such trauma tend to find their escape in the form of online games such as LotRO where they can ‘enter and exit whenever they choose, be whoever they want to be and feel like functioning members of society again.'”

Good thing he isn’t playing WOW or people would want to know the gear score of his crate….





It’s coming…

13 10 2010

There is still a goodly amount of time to go until Cataclysm hits
the World of Warcraft but already the rumblings of it’s arrival can be felt…

Patch 4.0.1 is going live today allowing players to experience the start of the changes which will be fully realised on December 7th when Cataclysm is released upon an unsuspecting Azeroth.

The update will add the new Cataclysm Launcher, which allows you to download new content while you play, reducing the time it takes to download, install and patch World of Warcraft, this is great news as it will hopefully bring an end to the agonizing wait whilst you get your hands on the latest 800 megs or so of content that Blizzard do enjoy spewing at us on a regular basis.

It is rather ironic though that an upgrade which is designed to allow you to maximise your playing time is going to result in a full 24 hours of maintenance :S

It is also adding Reforging NPCs who will allow you to modify the stats on your items so as to help with the for the forthcoming changes which are going to see a lot of stats being combined, tweaked or just plain removed.

Every class are going to get major overhauls to their talents, spells and abilities. This is always both the most enjoyable and also the most controversial of the changes that Blizz make.

As soon as everyone is back online the whole debate of who is now the most over powered class will rear it’s ugly head (not that it ever really goes away…) Skipping merrily hand in hand with the OP discussion will be the good old argument as to which class fell out of the nerf tree and hit every branch on the way down.

Surprise surprise there are changes to the currency system with all emblems of Frost and Emblems of Triumph being converted into Justice Points for all the new shinies that you are just going to have to have.

Oh and Paladins are getting a new resource bar





DING 70!

10 06 2010

Well I am surprisingly tardy in reporting this but I hit 70 on Tuesday evening.

Obviously it’s not the big deal it used to be but it still gives me a sense of achievement, there are now only 10 measly levels between me and the Lich King.

Because I actually really like the Burning Crusade content I have decided against jumping ship to Northrend straight away, I really want to work my way through some of the greatraids that there are in TBC, in particular Sunwell Plateau and Mount Hyjal.

I only ever got to complete Sunwell once before I took my gaming hiatus and would really like to give it another whirl.

Being a few years further on as a gamer and having been a bit more patient and focused on making some gold I am really enjoying the benefits of having good gear.

Ret Pallys are really gear dependant and I see some of my compatriots really struggling in comparisson to other classes for two simple reasons; either their gear sucks balls or they aren’t bothering with  can’t afford the little things that make all the difference like decent gems and enchants.

Sure I might have taken a week  or so longer in order to get here but good god the time spent farming has sure payed off!

So if you happen to be hanging around Boulderfist (not likely) and want to run some TBC raids then hit me up 🙂





Lord of the rings online…for FREE?!?!?!

8 06 2010

Well it turns out that the rumours  that have been rumbling away for a while now were true, Lord of the rings online (LOTRO) is going free to play (F2P).

Turbine dropped this not so unexpected bombshell on Friday and it would seem on the face of things that this is going to work out pretty much the same way that things did with Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO).

So why has this happened, well the population in LOTRO has never really hit the heights that it might of and on my recent visits to Middle Earth I have even found that it has dropped off a bit.

If DDO is anything to go by and it probably is, we can expect to see a big spike in the number of “subscribers” when F2P goes live and then for things to settle down a bit but still be a lot higher than current population levels in LOTRO.

Whilst I can see the big plus sides to going F2P I do remain a little bit skeptical of how it is going to work out in the long run. I worry that with the game suddenly being free there will be a vast influx of new players and the chat channels etc will suddenly be full of the sort of idiocy that you see so regularly in WOW etc, the reasonably mature standard of players in LOTRO has always been one of the big attractions for me (other than the hobbits of course) and I know it is a big factor for a lot of other players as well.

The biggest worry for me is that the standard of content that is released for the game is going to suffer as a result. Already we have seen Siege of Mirkwood released even though it wasn’t a patch on the original game or Mines of Moria and I can envisage a time down the line when we will look back fondly on SoM and long for the good old days.

Whilst I can see that from a numbers point of view F2P makes sense I jsut can’t see how it makes sense in the life of the game, this isn’t some tired old MMO that has been kicking around for far too long and needs to be put out to stud, Turbine have only taken us into a very small part of Middle Earth so far and there is plenty of scope not only for future expansions but even to give the game a bit of a mid-life overhaul.

One things for sure at least I won’t have to worry about having too many subscriptions now!





My WOW wishlist

17 05 2010

I love games, it doesn’t hugely matter what type of game, I have played or would play more or less any type of game what so ever.

However due to being a great big geek of a certain age and disposition I have always had a soft spot in my heart for D&D style RPG, be it table top, text based scroller, Baldur’s Gate style PC fun or more recently MMORPGs.

As a result it  was more or less inevitable that I would end up falling into the life consuming black hole that is World of Warcraft, I first played about 4 years ago  now and needless to say I was impressed, there was a sheer sense of scale that I hadn’t come across before in a video game.

Times change and things move on, I grew dissillusioned with WOW and set out n search of other MMOs to pit my skills against.

I settled on Lord of the rings online by Turbine, I was very pleased with LOTRO and have been an avid player ever since I first set foot in the Shire.

 For starters the game is stunning and I don’t just mean for an MMO it is stunning compared to more or less any game out there that you care to mention! The story is also very well done and the whole game does feel plot driven, no mean feat considering that the game runs parallel to the story of the fellowship and other than crossing paths with the members occasionally runs completely separately.

The only problem with LOTRO is that it doesn’t have that same sense of  scale that WOW has and I’m not talking about the size of the world map. WOW has always felt sort of limitless and like there is always something that you haven’t quite managed to do yet.

LOTRO has lost that for me a little bit, some of  the end game content has been a little bit weak and the new expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, didn’t really add to the game in the same way that Mines of Moria did.

So I went back to WOW after a 2.5 year hiatus. A LOT has changed for starters Wrath of the Lich King has been launched and we are very rapidly approaching the launch of Cataclysm, the third expansion pack.

Backstory over.

I was day dreaming on Saturday about ways in which I would try and improve WOW if I could and I actually hit upon a few ideas that I thought were actually quite feasible and would add just that little bit extra to the game, the glace cherry on top of the already delicious cake if you will.

LOTRO players might notice a theme here so I am going  to come out and say it these are ideas that are implemented in LOTRO, they aren’t unique to there but I do feel that Turbine have implemented them particularly well.

So here in no particular order is my WOW wishlist:

1. Player houses.

A simple idea and some might say a extraneous one but there is something about having your own piece of in game real estate that just adds to the overall sense of immersion.

Imagine having your tree house in Un Goro crater or a mud hut to call your own in the Barrens! Also It needn’t just be a status symbol for you to decorate and show off, you could have additional storage that you could purchase and your own little mailbox right at your front door (I’m blatantly stealing at this point!)

This is saying nothing of guild halls, imagine if you will a starter guild with some drafty two room hall in Brill, it’s humble but for you and the guys its home, contrast this with the mini-fortress on the outskirts of Orgrimmar owned by a mighty raiding guild, the walls are festooned with trophies from their countless victories and a sense of pride and strength eminates from the very building itself filling all who enter it with a sense of awe.

2. An outfit system.

If you are a player on an RPG server or just someone who likes to have a bit of a backstory and make themselves that bit different what would be better than a change of outfit.

Maybe you have some comfortable “town clothes” you want to wear after a hard days questing, perhaps you love the stats on your armour but hate how it looks?

Well what if you were to have separate tabs on your character viewer, your main tab would have the armour and equipment that you are actively using and gaining stats from, the other tabs could have items dropped onto them that would simply display; are you a mage that always wanted to run around in full plate looking like a warrior go for it, you will still be squishy and dead but you will certainly look badass!

I know this is purely for the sake of vanity but it isn’t as if this would be a first look at the whole collection of vanity pets out there that not only do people go nuts for but they pay RL money to get em. Blizzard could so much money off of this it would be nuts, we are talking fat stacks of paper just for giving people imaginary clothes.

3. Legendary Weapons.

In LOTRO there is a class of weapon that makes everything else look like a blunt fruit knife by comparison, Legendary Weapons.

Basically these are a better class of wepaon that becomes available to you late on in the game, they have a variety of different sockets – nothing new there, they can be enchanted – again no great shakes but they gain xp .

The more you use them and the more badass mothers you take down the more xp your weapon of choice gains and as we all know points make prizes, when you reach certain levels of xp you can add points to the various stats on your item.

There are even two types of NPC just to support legendary weapons; lets say you find a new legenday axe, you need to identify it before you can use it, so off you trot to an expert and find out that this particular axe has x,y,z stats, don’t like these stats? Well in that case pop next door to his buddy and melt the axe down, on melting it down you will end up various relics, gems and runes that made the axe what it was that you can either slot into other weapons or combine together to make even more powerful relics etc.

Personally I don’t like how frequently legenday weapons drop in LOTRO but I can see it working in WOW, imagine being able to have a completely customisable sword or axe or staff that would grow with you, we aren’t talking some all conquering death bringer but it would certainly be a damn damn fine weapon.

Maybe it would be a class of weapon that would only be available at end game and would add yet another face to what is available to do whilst waiting for the next expansion to come out, maybe they would be PvP only and you would get the relics etc by looting the corpses of your HKs, to my mind there are a whole range of possibilities.

Well that is it, I’m spent, I’m all wished out.

Feel free to suggest your own ideas or tear mine into shreds, healthy discussion makes the world go round after all 😉





Ding 50 :D

12 05 2010

DING!

No that isn’t the sound of a particularly obnoxious microwave signalling that it has finsihed making food frozen on the outside but viciously magma hot on the inside.

It is instead the sound of me hitting level 50 in WOW.

This isn’t as auspicious as it once would have been;  pre The Burning Crusade hitting level 50 would have meant that you were a mere 10 levels away from reaching the holy grail of end game content.

These days the bar has been raised yet again, Wrath of the Lich King laughed at level 70 and taunted and teased us with new raids and better gear until we the struggled to the summit and hit level 80.

Even so I still think of level 50 as a bit of a landmark if only for the fact that at this point you are now more than 50% of your way through the grind of levelling and that hopefully by this point you have come some way towards mastering your particular class.

Alterac Valley here I come!








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