H1Z1 Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com H1Z1 RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network H1Z1 Infects PS4 This May https://www.gameskinny.com/f4f8c/h1z1-infects-ps4-this-may https://www.gameskinny.com/f4f8c/h1z1-infects-ps4-this-may Tue, 24 Apr 2018 14:57:32 -0400 Zach Hunt

Attention, Fortnite and PUBG players: The granddaddy of them all, H1Z1, is coming to PS4 on May 22 with an open beta -- and you're invited!

Created specifically for the PS4, this version of H1Z1 introduces brand-new mechanics tailored to console players, such as a revised control scheme, a new loot collection/inventory system, a radial menu for choosing weapons, and a revamped HUD system. The crafting mechanics of the game have also been removed from this version of the game.

In addition to these changes, H1Z1's gas pacing has been sped up, and airdrops have been altered to encourage full player engagement. Players will now have access to only six level-one weapons to begin with, and mass airdrops will provide not only weapons but also high-powered armor that's been retooled to give players a health bonus.

Radio chatter and signal beacons will indicate where to find rare crates that contain level-two and level-three weapons and gear. And for PS4 Pro owners, a silky-smooth 60 FPS should make the lack of PUBG considerably less painful. 

To sign up for the closed beta, head over to the game's official website, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below. As always, stick with GameSkinny for all the latest news, tips, and info on H1Z1 and all things gaming. 

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H1Z1 Tips and Tricks Guide (2018) https://www.gameskinny.com/wsxv3/h1z1-tips-and-tricks-guide-2018 https://www.gameskinny.com/wsxv3/h1z1-tips-and-tricks-guide-2018 Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:53:14 -0400 Sergey_3847

Battle Royale games are now everywhere. But one of the earliest contenders for the best BR game was H1Z1: King of the Kill. Recently, the game left Early Access and was released on Steam for free. With that release, we wanted to drop our own updated tips and tricks guide for 2018. 

Why? Because the full release has brought some changes to H1Z1's core gameplay in 2018, many changes you may not be aware of -- especially if you haven't played in a while. If you do decide to give this great game a try and want to know how to play it well, then follow our extensive guide with tips and tricks below.

Tip #1: Choose a Safe Spawn Location

a landing zone encircled in green in H1Z1

In terms of choosing your drop location, H1Z1 is not too different from every other Battle Royale game. You need to jump off the airplane with a parachute and choose the location where you want to land.

If you look on the game's map, it shows several zones with different colors. The zone encircled by green is a safe zone. It doesn't mean that it is absolutely safe, but you will encounter far fewer players there.

The yellow and red zones are the most dangerous. If you've just started playing the game, then it's better to avoid these zones, as there are a lot of experienced H1Z1 players there and you will get yourself killed rather quickly.

Tip #2: Find a Backpack and Gather Some Loot

H1Z1 player with a very colorful backpack

One of the distinct features that separates H1Z1 from other Battle Royale games is the importance of a backpack. You really need to find one as soon as possible. In other games, you most likely want to find a weapon and some protective gear first, but that's only because there isn't much time to begin with.

However, in H1Z1, you'll be finding a lot of loot, and you will have a relatively long time to do that in the safe area, so you need something to be able to store it all up. The best backpack is a military backpack, which is the most spacious. There are also smaller backpacks like satchels and waist packs, but finding the military backpack early is really a must.

Once you find a backpack, you can search for weapons, ammo, and clothes. If you decide to drive vehicles, you will need fuel, which can only be found at gas stations. The fuel becomes increasingly more important with the introduction of the Auto Royale mode.

The last (but not least) item you need to look out for is the shoes. The better shoes you find, the faster you will move and the less damage you will take from falling. The best shoes in the game are Conveys, but Boots are also very good.

Sighting a falling airdrop through binoculars

Also, be sure to look out for airdrops in H1Z1. Be careful when approaching an airdrop, as there is a plane also flying over and dropping bombs. Just wait it out, and then you can approach the airdrop safely.

H1Z1 Airdrops usually contain very good loot, such as:

  • Sniper Rifle
  • Fuel
  • Ghillie Suit
  • 20x Explosive Arrows
  • AR-15
  • AK-47

Tip #3: Look Out for Crafting Items

H1Z1 inventory and crafting screen

Crafting is also a very important aspect of H1Z1. It allows you to make explosive arrows, better armor, and necessary healing items right in your game menu. Below you will find the recipes for all craftable materials in H1Z1:

Explosive Arrow

An arrow that explodes on contact.

  • 1x Frag Grenade
  • 5x Gauge Shells
  • 5x Wooden Arrow
  • 1x Duct Tape
Flaming Arrow

An arrow that sets the target on fire.

  • 1x Molotov Cocktail
  • 5x Gauge Shells
  • 5x Wooden Arrow
  • 1x Duct Tape
Makeshift Armor

An armor with a bulletproof vest effect.

  • 4x Composite Fabric
  • 2x Armor Scrap
  • 1x Duct Tape
Bandage

A healing item, which heals 12 HP over time.

  • 10x Cloth Scrap
Procoagulant

A healing item, which heals 6 HP instantly and stops bleeding.

  • 10x Bandage
  • 1x First Aid Kit

Tip #4: Vehicles and Auto Royale Mode

Post-match results screen for someone scoring first place

If you want to cover long distances relatively quickly and safely in H1Z1, then you simply ought to get a hold of a car. Of course, you need to refuel it from time to time, meaning that you will have to stop by a gas station. Just be careful, as those are usually hot spots where other players congregate.

You can also hide behind the car during a shootout, and if you find a really good vehicle, then you can take a short route over the hills, creating your own shortcut. Here is the short list of cars you can get in H1Z1:

  • Police Car: the fastest and most reliable vehicle on the flat road
  • ATV: also pretty fast, and mostly designed for off-road driving
  • Jeep: not the fastest car in the game, but it's quite big, and you will feel protected inside of it
  • Truck: the least realiable and the slowest vehicle in the game
H1Z1 Auto Royale Mode

Auto Royale Mode was implemented right after H1Z1 left Early Access, and it is very much similar to your typical Battle Royale experience. However, here you start immediately inside a car with three other players. One is driving, and the others are shooting.

The point of H1Z1's Auto Royale mode is to pick up as many power-ups and to shoot as many crates as possible, as well as prevent other cars from doing the same by blowing them up with the help of grenades.

Tip #5: How to Get Season Rewards

H1Z1 post-match screen showing rewards earned for first place

At the end of each H1Z1 season, you will get certain rewards depending on your resulting rank. The ranking system is divided into seven tiers, with the following rewards:

  • Bronze: 100 skulls
  • Silver: 300 skulls
  • Gold: 500 skulls + 1 emote
  • Platinum: 1000 skulls + 1 emote
  • Diamond: 2000 skulls + 1 emote
  • Master: 3000 skulls + 1 emote
  • Royalty: 5000 skulls + 2 emotes

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With the tips and tricks in this guide, you can safely play H1Z1 in 2018 -- and stay competitive while doing it. Whether you're playing the game's traditional Battle Royale mode or the new Auto Royale Mode, H1Z1 still has a lot to love in the current Royale-crazed climate.

Be sure to come back soon for more H1Z1 guides here at GameSkinny!

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PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS Completely Outclasses H1Z1’s Battle Royale https://www.gameskinny.com/j5jdc/playerunknowns-battlegrounds-completely-outclasses-h1z1s-battle-royale https://www.gameskinny.com/j5jdc/playerunknowns-battlegrounds-completely-outclasses-h1z1s-battle-royale Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:00:02 -0400 Marc Hollinshead

One of, if not the most enjoyable, aspects of online multiplayer is free-for-all deathmatches. Everyone pitted against each other in a chaotic massacre can be exhilarating if you’re in the heat of battle. Many games have portrayed it in different ways, and one such game is H1Z1 from 2015. However, a more recent imagining of this style of play has been released for Steam members, though, as well as console players in the not-too-distant future. The mouthful that is PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has proven to be a bit of a smash hit with gamers and it appears that it is completely outclassing H1Z1 that came before it. At least that is what I believe.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

H1Z1 released at the beginning of 2015 as a Steam early access title, and was a zombie apocalypse survival game. The focus was on co-operation as you and the rest of your group worked together to fend off incoming zombies and potentially hostile survivors. Sounds pretty unoriginal, right?

Well, further down the line the game got split into two, with the original being repackaged as H1Z1: Just Survive and the other half being dubbed H1Z1: King of the Hill. The latter title had a different approach to gameplay in larger scale environments with a couple of different modes on offer. One of these modes was the infamous Battle Royale. Whether in 2-player, 5-player, or even in solo, players will parachute into an area and the aim was to kill absolutely everyone. It’s not as though this concept was completely revolutionary at the time, but it felt like much of a refreshing sidestep from what is now seen as very uninspired in zombie settings.

h1z1, gas

The mastermind behind the “Battle Royale” genre as a whole, Brendan Greene, the Creative Director of Bluehole inc., was the very person who brought both of these experiences into existence. Starting out with the ARMA series, Greene incorporated the new mode and then went on to licence it for inclusion in H1Z1 as we see it today. Of course, this meant that it was somewhat of an experiment, as Greene himself was constantly improving on his original vision. That vision eventually became BATTLEGROUNDS, with Greene at the helm, otherwise known as PLAYERUNKNOWN.

Back to H1Z1, The Battle Royale mode is just one part of the entire King of the Hill package. Modes such as Skirmish are also on offer, so the primary focus of this title isn’t only on Battle Royale. H1Z1 can be described as “sloppy fun” if someone asks about it. It has a charm to it, but it isn’t necessarily a smooth ride. 

Why is this? There are a few reasons. The game's graphics are inferior in every sense when compared to BATTLEGROUNDS. Many gamers deem this as an unimportant factor in a game's success, but all it takes is a quick look at H1Z1 and BATTLEGROUNDS and the difference is obvious.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Driving physics were occasionally criticized in H1Z1 as well, as fences could prove to be lethal as a quad bike made a sudden turn to dodge them, inevitably causing the player to be flipped over. The multiple vehicles on offer in BATTLEGROUNDS definitely feel far more responsive and there isn’t (as much) worry of the game screwing you over and getting yourself killed without another player’s aid. Bouncy police cars that are ever present in H1Z1 don't litter the field in the latter game.

Inventory management must be easy to master in games of this type, and while both offer reasonably simple menus, BATTLEGROUNDS, once again, takes the cake. H1Z1 has a tighter-fitting inventory screen that isn't quite as inspired, barely going below the surface when it comes to equipping your character. BATTLEGROUNDS spreads things out a little more, offering more room to play with. Your character will also be on show so you can see all your gear in action. Weapons mods can easily be placed in a weapon slot and the overall look of the menu is much slicker. 

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, guns, inventory

Another staple of the survival game is a UI that isn't too overbearing. Of course, every game in existence needs a functioning one but a Battle Royale title needs it to provide enough information so players always know what's going on as well as not having it flood the screen, therefore impairing their vision. H1Z1 and BATTLEGROUNDS are very similar in this regard but there is one detail that gives BATTLEGROUNDS an edge -- a minimap. The map of H1Z1 appears to be accessible only by clicking out of the action and scoping the area for a few seconds, but in BATTLEGROUNDS, a handy map in the corner will follow your movement so you have a little extra help in traversing the environment. 

The over-the-shoulder third person camera is also sits just a little closer to the character in a BATTLEGROUNDS, allowing the player to feel even closer to the action. This also helps the character to feel more realistic in their own movement as the camera needs to be snappy and responsive to keep up with them. The camera can be the life and death of particular games, and in Battle Royale, it's another factor that needs to be perfect. BATTLEGROUNDS manages it in both player movement and weapon aiming.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

Greene himself is also acknowledging a lot of player feedback with this one. ARMA and H1Z1 were his experiments as he began to understand the genre more, but BATTLEGROUNDS is his pride and joy, and all it takes is a simple visit to the game's website to realize this. Under the overview of the game, we see “Community-Driven Development” emblazoned on the screen, followed by the following:

“Since we started this project a year ago, we have reached out to the Battle Royale community to gather suggestions and feedback about what they want and expect from the game.

Ever since we started our pre-alpha testing, we have worked with them to implement suggestions, get feedback about gameplay, and ask their help when we ran alpha and beta testing.”

Developers that are so in sync with their fanbase deserve a lot of recognition and respect. With BATTLEGROUNDS relying heavily on the very people who play it to make it better, that alone is causing it to outshine every Battle Royale-type game/mode that came before it.

We know that the Battle Royale mode of H1Z1 was made thanks to Greene’s work, but the undeniable fact that BATTLEGROUNDS is the amalgamation of all his ideas and experiences gained through previous projects means that it’s practically a no-brainer that it’s the better portrayal of all-out player war.

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Smedley to Head San Diego Amazon Game Studio https://www.gameskinny.com/6dduf/smedley-to-head-san-diego-amazon-game-studio https://www.gameskinny.com/6dduf/smedley-to-head-san-diego-amazon-game-studio Wed, 15 Feb 2017 14:24:40 -0500 Emily Parker

Former Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley, will be leading Amazon's new game studio in San Diego. 

Smedley made a name for himself in the 90s when he was tasked to help create a persistent online universe for Sony. By 1999 his development team was ready to launch Everquest, which was a huge success and could be considered the game to bring MMORPGs to the masses.

He continued to lead projects for Sony Online Entertainment, including Star Wars: Galaxies, Everquest II, Planetside 2 and H1Z1. He even stayed on to help SOE transition to Daybreak Studios, after many of his colleagues and projects went to the chopping block. 

Stepping down from his position at SOE coincided with a heavy dose of harassment from the cybervandal group Lizard Squad. The conflict between a prominent member, Julius Kivimaki and Smedley came to a head with a bomb threat that landed the CEOs plane. 

Whether the harassment and his career transition are related or not is unknown, but it appears he won't be backing down with his new position at the head of Amazon's new Studio. Smedley has always been an innovator, and his team is already hard at work using Amazon Web Services Cloud and Twitch to create a new gaming world. 

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What Makes Multiplayer Sandbox Games So Damn Addicting? https://www.gameskinny.com/a2x0m/what-makes-multiplayer-sandbox-games-so-damn-addicting https://www.gameskinny.com/a2x0m/what-makes-multiplayer-sandbox-games-so-damn-addicting Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:00:01 -0500 Will Dowell

Multiplayer sandbox games have dominated the market. Titles such as H1Z1 and Ark: Survival Evolved have captured and maintained an audience in the hundreds of thousands. Minecraft, the poster child of these multiplayer sandbox games, is still riding strong with nearly a million daily players. The success of this genre is due to the variety of motivations and engagements available to the player. It's not about creating a singular playstyle to satisfying everyone, but creating a game open enough to have multiple playstyles targeting different people.

One of the core engagements of these sandboxes is exploration. Players navigate procedurally generated worlds that create wonder and fear. Each world gives new adventures to experience and stories to tell. This style of play is rewarded with resources to craft better gear and in turn, explore more. For example, Minecraft rewards players with precious metals the further they explore. Even if the base exploration is boring, the occasional surprise or reward makes the game memorable and enjoyable. Again, Minecraft's mining itself isn't engaging, it is the occasional diamond or lava flow that makes the play through memorable.

Self expression is the second core engaging element of these sandboxes. Players use the vast tools at their disposal to create impressive structures and worlds in their image. Using crafting systems, players can customize their equipment and land to create a truly unique experience. May it be the large fortresses in Ark: Survival Evolved or the sculptures made in Minecraft; players can express themselves through the game mechanics.

Player interaction enhances these mechanics while providing new experiences to enjoy. The multiplayer creates constant variety as you meet new people and handle the challenges that come from social interaction. In H1Z1 you can either befriend players and survive the zombie outbreak, or kill anyone you meet for precious loot. It gives social challenges and stories simply not seen in traditional multiplayer games.

As you can see by now, these core and thus most engaging features hit different audiences all at the same time. These multiplayer sandboxes give players a choice in how to experience its mechanics and world. This sense of choice leads to players finding their own sense of enjoyment and becoming invested in the game world.

How do you enjoy multiplayer sandboxes? Let us know in the comments!

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Early Access Success Stories – Common Ground Successful EA Game Share https://www.gameskinny.com/q54v0/early-access-success-stories-common-ground-successful-ea-game-share https://www.gameskinny.com/q54v0/early-access-success-stories-common-ground-successful-ea-game-share Tue, 24 May 2016 04:50:37 -0400 Ray Hachey

For the thousands of Steam users out there, there are hundreds of game developers looking to get money into their digital bankbooks through the steadily growing mode known as Early Access (EA). Perhaps we get so busy gaming and playing this game called Life that we rarely stop to reflect on just how successful Early Access can be for some developers.

There are a number of articles bemoaning the state of Early Access, and others that give fascinating detail on the gauntlet that developers must endure. This article will take a brief snapshot of the top five Early Access games on Steam right now and share what they have in common. Future gaming gurus, take heed!

The Data: In the Steam interface, anyone can go to Store > Stats to find out the top 99 games by Player Count. We used these numbers as well as information found on each game’s Store Page to inform our findings.

Here are the top five Early Access games, shown by their rank on Steam Stats:

Number 3: ARK: Survival Evolved

Number 11: Rust

Number 19: Unturned

Number 26: H1Z1: King of the Kill

Number 42: Factorio

But other than just knowing what these games are, what can we learn from them? Turns out, we can learn quite a few things.

1. Great reviews do not guarantee great sales.

Odd but true. The lowest-ranked Indie game on our list is The Forest, which has 90% positive reviews but sold a fraction of the top-ranked Early Access ARK: Survival Evolved.

2. Multiplayer brings out the worst in gamers, but also their wallets!

The four top-ranked EA games offer multiplayer action. Some include co-op as well, but generally these games involve bringing pain to the gamers on your server.

3. Games do get better with age, like a fine wine.

Only one of the top-ranked EA games (H1Z1: King of the Kill) was released in this calendar year. Rust is indeed getting rusty, as it was originally released on December 11, 2013.

4. Cross-platform brings home the bacon.

Only H1Z1 does not offer Mac and Linux versions along with the PC. Every other game on this list does. It seems that these smaller companies want to reach the widest audience.

5. Early Access does not mean “unknown, small-budget indie team”.

Daybreak Game Company (developer of H1Z1) owns several big-name games, including the Everquest Franchise and DC Universe Online. Facepunch Studios (developer of Rust) owns the highly popular Garry’s Mod. Clearly there is something attractive about the Early Access model that makes financial sense to the big players in the industry.

What does this teach us about Early Access?

To get to the top in Steam rankings, a team needs to develop a game that is both multiplayer and multi-platform. The creators need to keep updating the game with feedback from the community; some of the top-ranked games have had hundreds of patches and bug fixes. Ultimately, it is tough to create a game that pleases everybody, so focus on the final product and prove the naysayers wrong.

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H1Z1 is splitting into two games! https://www.gameskinny.com/5x9ko/h1z1-is-splitting-into-two-games https://www.gameskinny.com/5x9ko/h1z1-is-splitting-into-two-games Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:51:43 -0500 Jessi_Cat

A huge announcement from the developers of H1Z1 will change the game forever...and in a good way. The game will be splitting into two different games -- survival and PvP -- on February 17th. These new games will be known as H1Z1: Just Survive and H1Z1: King of the Kill, respectively. 

If you already have the game, don't panic! You will have access to both versions of the game after they split, and they will show up in your Steam library when the split happens. Any airdrop tickets will be put on your survival account, while any battle royale tickets will be put on your PvP account. Your items on the Steam market, skins, and crates will be duplicated and split between both accounts. That means if you have 2 crates in your game now, you will have 2 crates on your survival account, as well as 2 crates on your PvP account. 

If you don't have the game and you get it before February 16th, you will still get both games when the split happens. If not, you will need to buy both versions separately in the future. 

Both games will still be in Early Access when the split happens. There is no news on when H1Z1: Just Survive will leave Early Access, but H1Z1: King of the Kill will phase out sometime during summer and to launch fully on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. 

As far as the game becoming free-to-play, like players originally thought when it first became Early Access - the chances of that still happening are fairly unlikely. In the Q&A section of the announcement, the developers stated: 

At this time, we do not have any plans to make either H1Z1: Just Survive or H1Z1: King of the Kill Free-to-Play titles.

-- H1Z1 development team

If you were waiting to get it when it came out as free-to-play, sorry -- it looks like plans have changed.

The development team will be splitting into two groups. One group will focus on the survival game, and the other on the PvP game. There will be different dev blogs for each game. There will also be separate live streams and social accounts to help ensure players who prefer one or the other will be able to keep track of the developments of that particular game.  

As stated earlier, the official split will happen on February 17th. You can purchase the game on Steam; however, you also need a Daybreak account to access it.

How do you feel about the split? Do you think it will make the game better or worse? Let us know in the comments.

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The 11 most anticipated MMO releases of 2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/9sctj/the-11-most-anticipated-mmo-releases-of-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/9sctj/the-11-most-anticipated-mmo-releases-of-2016 Tue, 17 Nov 2015 03:26:45 -0500 Ty Arthur

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The coming year is bringing an absolute storm of new massively multiplayer worlds, with a heavy focus on the fantasy side this time around. Unfortunately some of those games that fans have been looking forward to for years probably won't arrive as expected.

\n

One of the biggest upsets comes from Pathfinder Online, which is technically available in an Early Access version, but isn't finished and is unlikely to ever actually be completed. This one hurts for me specifically as I've been a huge fan of Paizo since long before the pen and paper Pathfinder RPG came to dominate the roleplaying landscape.

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It was a gamble to begin with as a book company ventured into developer territory, and sadly it didn't pay off. All but three of the employees working on Pathfinder Online were just laid off, and there's been a lot of discontent from beta players about the ruleset going a different direction than expected, focusing on PVP in a way the base Pathfinder rules really don't support. Of course its always possible some other publisher will pick it up, polish it off, and get it released in full format, but for now if you want a Pathfinder PC experience, you'll have to instead look towards the upcoming Obsidian-developed rendition of the Pathfinder card game instead.

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In another cancellation with a silver lining, the World Of Darkness MMORPG officially got a stake through the heart now that White Wolf has been bought out by Paradox Entertainment. While that's a downer for fans of huge online worlds, that's also a plus for fans of the various World Of Darkness lines, as it means we'll likely get some Vampire, Werewolf, or possibly even Mage single player games in the near future.

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Last off, the newest iteration of Everquest, simply titled Everquest Next, is now solidly in development but doesn't have a specific release date or even basic window. There's not a ton of solid info yet, other than that it will be a re-imagining of Norrath rather than a sequel game in the exact same setting.

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What MMORPG are you most excited about diving into next year, and what didn't make this list that you think should have been added? Let me know in the comments!

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Bless

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Another Korean developed fantasy title, Bless is shaping up to be an excellent addition to the 2016 MMORPG lineup for fans of anything from Lineage to Lord Of The Rings Online. This one looks like it will hit all the classic tropes, from the JRPG graphical styling to the large class and race combination covering everything from elven wizards to cat folk rangers.

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Crowfall

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This crowd-funded game with a slick, stylized graphical theme aims to blend a real time strategy with a persistent MMORPG, described by the developers as a “throne war” simulator.

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The ideas for mixing together those opposing genres are intriguing, with different campaigns available that will last for several months of real time before wiping out and moving on to another iteration. Stay tuned for a lot more info on this one to come shortly as a release date is nailed down.

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Albion Online

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Closed beta starts at the end of the month for this upcoming free-to-play fantasy entry. A strong focus is being placed here on player interactivity with the economy and locations, with shops carrying primarily what people have previously sold and areas changing based on player conflict.

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The overall aesthetic and siege-based combat against large groups of attackers almost gives off a MOBA meets MMORPG feel. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of this one in particular, and while waiting for some beta game play to drop, check out a video from the developers below.

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World Of Warcraft: Legion Expansion

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Following the Warlords of Draenor update from back in 2014, Legion will be the sixth expansion to the MMORPG that just won't quit: the world-famous World Of Warcraft. If you're still clinging on to the most famous multiplayer fantasy game of them all, Legion will raise the level cap to 110, pop in additional areas and dungeons, and even offers up a new demon hunter class.

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H1Z1

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We've had post apocalyptic MMORPGs and zombie-based shooters, but now the two finally collide, allowing you to live in a persistent sandbox world overrun with the undead. Scavenge supplies from dead cities, avoid hordes of shambling zombies and above all, be afraid of your fellow man!

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If The Walking Dead is a weekly event for you, you'll want to get in on this title that's already available in Early Access through Steam. Unfortunately the game suffered from negative reviews over reports of hackers and exploits in the early days, and hopefully that gets resolved before the final release in 2016.

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Camelot Unchained

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Partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign, this successor to Dark Age Of Camelot will focus more on PvP over the PvE that so many games highlight these days, as large realms of players come into conflict.

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Rather than going for dwarves and elves, the three major factions focus on berserker vikings, Arthurian knights, and the fae-inspired Tuatha De'Danann. If you want to be part of a band of brothers battling against foes from a rival faction who lack in chivalry and honor, this one's for you.

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"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/8/6/986de545958a28a82c5b4a169385dfa8.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/9/8/6/tiny_986de545958a28a82c5b4a169385dfa8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"92271","description":"

Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

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A legend returns as Richard Garriott arrives with the spiritual successor to Ultima Online, one of the first true MMORPGs to actually catch on and show what could be done with the genre. As a bonus to fantasy fans, Tracy Hickman of Dragonlance fame is handling the story design in this re-imagining of the standard multiplayer dungeon-stomping good time.

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Of course there's the usual massively mutliplayer aspects, but in an interesting twist, the game can actually be played entirely offline for those who don't want to interact with other players, and a separate mode is also being implemented where only your specific friends show up in your instance of the game world.

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Black Desert

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It's been a long development cycle so far for this upcoming sandbox entry in the MMORPG genre; its development has been going for almost six years now, and beta testing has been open in Korea since all the way back in 2013.

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A finished product is finally expected to launch for European and North American fans in 2016 as that development draws to a close (or at least to a low simmer, as work on massively multiplayer games never really ends). For fans of the high fantasy genre who want to fling fireballs while laying siege to an enemy castle, this is the big title to look out for next year.

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In a promise that is hopefully delivered on fully, the huge and seamless environments are reportedly going to be much more interactive than in the standard MMORPG, and of course the visual appeal is worth mentioning, with both the environment and characters showcasing a high level of polish.

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Star Citizen

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It's been a crazy roller coaster ride following Star Citizen's development, from the huge ups of the crowdfunding campaign and massive hype to the lows of some very negative articles about what's going on behind the scenes. Whether you believe it's never coming out or were swayed by the negative press, there's no denying that what Star Citizen proposes is a very ambitious melding of different genres, aiming for total immersion in a near future space society.

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While it remains to be seen if Cloud Imperium Games can deliver on the promises made, a mashup of first person shooter, space combat and intergalactic economy simulator in a persistent world sounds like an excellent time if the game actually arrives next year as projected.

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"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/e/1/d/e1d9922aeaf7accc088b225ee1b606a4.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/e/1/d/tiny_e1d9922aeaf7accc088b225ee1b606a4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"92269","description":"

Lineage Eternal

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Although they have a sizable and dedicated fan base, the Lineage games have been oft-maligned for their unnecessary level of grinding and absurdly inflated prices for even basic gear. We'll have to see if any of that will change in latest entry Lineage Eternal, which has been in development for several years without any major updates, but is expected out finally next year.

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Based on the footage and brief snippets of info that have made it online so far, it looks like Eternal is going more of a hack 'n slash route, with a greater focus on large scale battles with significantly more enemies on the screen at any one time.

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Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade

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It was beyond time for this to happen: the eternal war raging through the grim darkness of the 41st millenium hits the MMORPG circuit! Now entering closed alpha, Eternal Crusade pits Imperial Space Marines, the forces of Chaos, Orks, and the enigmatic Eldar against one another in mission-based, third-person combat.

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Eternal Crusade is reportedly redesigning the standard MMORPG quest system to be quite different from the overused genre norm of approaching someone in a city and having them ask you to kill X number of enemy Y. Projected to see release in 2016, the base game will have to be bought like any other, but it will also be available without a monthly subscription fee (as they put it in Orkish terms, it will be “Free to Waaaaaagh!”)

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While the ever-evolving hive of the Tyranid is listed as a faction, it seems like they'll again be the enemy and sadly not a playable race – an option that's been missing from most Warhammer 40k titles. You can all fight for that desiccated corpse emperor on his broken throne, but I'm going to spill blood for the blood god and spread the glory of Chaos!

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Looking back at the genre's beginnings, who would have ever thought such a staggering number of massively multiplayer titles would be available today? Or that a lot of them would be thriving? While some have fallen to the wayside, many of the biggest names are continuing on a decade or more later, somehow still finding hundreds of thousands or even millions of players to populate their servers.

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Not only has the number of MMOs steadily increased over the years, but overall interest in them continues to climb from gamers who normally prefer other styles, in no small part due to the gradual shift towards a free-to-play model. Most notably this year, Wildstar just went the free route and Guild Wars 2 is still going strong using that strategy.

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The advent of Early Access titles is also a boon both for the genre and (more importantly) for the players, as it ensures quality titles with strong mechanics will get the funding and word of mouth required to thrive, while those games that are more half baked either get the extra attention needed to succeed or they fall by the wayside.

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Despite those advantages, there have been some major speed bumps in the industry, with a handful of anticipated titles getting cancelled or failing in early access. Looking forward to the year ahead, you can expect more to succeed than fail as expansions to classic games arrive, long-running series finally enter the MMO realm, and entirely new IPs arrive to shake things up.

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If you want to know about more highly-anticipated games coming out next year, don't forget to check out our looks at the best horror games, first person shooters, and RPGs coming in 2016.

"}]]]>
The best in-game events for Halloween 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/r0de0/the-best-in-game-events-for-halloween-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/r0de0/the-best-in-game-events-for-halloween-2015 Fri, 23 Oct 2015 21:08:53 -0400 Brandon Morgan

If you're anything like me, then Halloween is your favorite holiday of the entire year. The time when spooky spirits come out to play, random strangers give you candy, and horror movies play on television for hours and hours on end. It's easily the best day of the year, hands down.

However, as gamers, we get to enjoy another facet of the holiday: the in-game holiday events that happen in our favorite games. These generally include some spoopy atmosphere, characters in their own costumes, candy that offers some stat boosts, and a quest or two involving a headless horsemen or other legendary creature.

So, without further ado, here are the best in-game events to explore for Halloween 2015.

1. EverQuest II

Oct. 8 - Nov. 11

Players of of the old-school massively multiplayer online role-playing game can enjoy Nights of the Dead once more this year, where freaks abound and scary happenings occur in the world of Norrath. Festivities, obviously, are plentiful, and previous year's items and events have returned, including Halloween-themed Player Studio items, costumes, and weapons.

2. PlanetSide 2

Sept. 23 - Nov. 12

Most people wouldn't even consider a first-person shooter as a game that would have a Halloween event, but PlanetSide 2 certainly does. Sony will bring about the Nanite of the Living Dead, where players may collect pumpkin seeds by shooting said pumpkins to obtain Halloween Helmets. Season-themed weapons are included in your arsenal, too!

3. DC Universe Online

Oct. 1 - Nov. 2

The city of Gotham is about to become a little more twisted than usual, as the Witcher Hour has returned for this Halloween season. Players will earn themselves Spooky Bites every single day they play the game during the event, which can be used to visit Skeet's Boo-tique to buy creepy tricks, treats, and items for their bases or guild halls.

4. H1Z1

Oct. 27 - Nov. 12

Sony, obviously, loves Halloween. Just look at all of their in-game Halloween events for proof of that. In H1Z1, the studio is delivering zombies with pumpkin heads to celebrate, which can be killed for special tricks and treats. A rare scarecrow mask has also been included in Battle Royale airdrops.

5. Landmark

Oct. 8 - Oct. 29

While this one may end soon, the Halloween Livestream Party is well worth checking out. The Landmark developers are going to visit "Halloween Island," where Halloween builds and other spooky stuff has been constructed for the event. Players can visit the island and check everything out themselves, too.

6. ARK: Survival Evolved

Late October

Dinosaurs may not be what most people think about during Halloween, but the developers of ARK certainly are! ARK: Fear Evolved will take place over one week near the end of October. We will see bats, creepy-themed creatures, carvable pumpkins, and "bloodthirsty zombie Dodos."

7. Guild Wars 2

Oct. 23 - ?

Beginning today, Guild Wars 2 will introduce their annual Halloween event, entitled The Shadow of the Mad King. Nearly two weeks of holiday fun, including undead armies, decorations, Candy Corn, and visits from King Thorn, complete with his pumpkin head and all.

8. WildStar

Oct. 19 - Nov. 2

WildStar recently went free-to-play, which means now is the perfect time to get into the Halloween spirit in-game this year. Shade's Eve, the in-game event, is a celebration after a dreadful plague nearly wiped out life centuries ago. Daily quests, public events, and housing challenges will be available.

9. World of Warships

Oct. 20 - Nov. 2

This year, the Rise of the Phantom Fortress event will allow players to battle against ghostly enemy ships in random PvP to earn boxes of new items and goodies. A spirit Japanese destroyer, the Fujin, has been added to the Premium Shop for purchase.

10. World of Warcraft

Oct. 18 - Nov. 1

Every single year around this time, Hallow's End comes to the world of Azeroth to celebrate the Forsaken stepping away from the Scourge. Players can receive event-exclusive collectibles, go trick-or-treating for costumes and candy, bob for apples, and plenty more this season.

Will you be participating in any of these events? What else is going on for Halloween in your favorite games? Let me know in the comments!

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Daybreak Games announces tons of Halloween updates https://www.gameskinny.com/kkjd7/daybreak-games-announces-tons-of-halloween-updates https://www.gameskinny.com/kkjd7/daybreak-games-announces-tons-of-halloween-updates Thu, 22 Oct 2015 18:30:44 -0400 Jordan_Biazzo

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Landmark: Oct. 8 – Oct. 29
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Get ready for a Halloween Livestream Party! On October 29, the Landmark developers will host a special livestream to visit “Halloween Island”, the place that was created specifically for Halloween builds to celebrate all things spooky. Players can visit the island, see the builds, and hang out with other players as the event unfolds live. There will be giveaways for players during the event if they find the livestream hosts on Halloween Island.

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What do you think of these updates? Will you be taking advantage of any of them? Let me know in the comments!

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H1Z1: Oct. 27 – Nov. 12
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As if things weren’t scary enough, the zombies seem to be catching the Halloween spirit. Survivors can expect to come across zombies with pumpkin heads, which they can kill and loot for special treats. Battle Royale also offers players a chance to find a rare scarecrow mask from airdrops.

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PlanetSide 2: Sept. 23 – Nov. 12
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Do not beware the pumpkins; shoot them all! In this year’s Nanite of the Living Dead, players can collect pumpkin seeds from shooting pumpkins to purchase Halloween Helmets. All-new, menacing seasonal weapons can be added to players’ arsenals! So whether they are into slashing or shooting, there is an abundance of tricks and treats for everyone!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/e/e/7eeb8ad7910a6ebce6a5b92feba37d5f.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/7/e/e/tiny_7eeb8ad7910a6ebce6a5b92feba37d5f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"88642","description":"
EverQuest II: Oct. 8 – Nov. 2
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Marketplace Items: Oct. 1 – Nov. 2

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Nights of the Dead rises again! Frights and freaks are on the prowl in Norrath, but the festivities are bountiful! All the previous year’s items and events are back with a vengeance, including new Halloween-themed Player Studio Items, costumes, and weapons to make every Norrathian a little more frightening.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/f/01f29befbe379e46594961954c36d4bb.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/1/f/tiny_01f29befbe379e46594961954c36d4bb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"88641","description":"
EverQuest:  Oct. 28 – Nov. 11 
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Marketplace Items: Oct. 1 – Nov. 11

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Players can enjoy this year’s Nights of the Dead celebration with the return of their favorite holiday events! Both tricks and treats are plentiful as festive merchants return to starting cities just in time for the holiday festivities. Tricks and Treats abound for Norrathians, with the reappearance of 35 previous Halloween marketplace items, along with some new ones as well!

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/b/c/0bc8fee496c0bf89230a300bcafe6c12.jpg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/0/b/c/tiny_0bc8fee496c0bf89230a300bcafe6c12.jpg","type":"slide","id":"88640","description":"
DC Universe Online: Oct.1 – Nov. 2
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Gotham is a lot darker than it usually is, as the Witching Hour theme event returns with some new twists. Players have a chance to earn Spooky Bites every day during the event. Earn enough and you can pay a visit to Skeet’s Boo-tique to purchase creepy tricks, treats, and items for their base or guild hall.

"},{"image":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/0/e/f0ea75fe34c5677273e0b645597ec860.jpeg","thumb":"http://s3.amazonaws.com/gameskinnyop/f/0/e/tiny_f0ea75fe34c5677273e0b645597ec860.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"88639","description":"

The Halloween season is upon us, everyone! Fright Fest is on AMC, the weather is cooling down, and the games are nearly here! And on that note, Daybreak Games is kicking off its annual Halloween seasonal events and promotions for players across their multiple games.

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The Halloween event is starting now and will last until early November. During this time period, players will have a chance to participate in various in-game Halloween events, contests, and activities as well as gettig showered with promotional items. Here are all the details.

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H1Z1 update adds female zombies and a hospital https://www.gameskinny.com/eeqjo/h1z1-update-adds-female-zombies-and-a-hospital https://www.gameskinny.com/eeqjo/h1z1-update-adds-female-zombies-and-a-hospital Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:58:01 -0400 Jessi_Cat

H1Z1, developed by Daybreak Game Company LLC, just released a new game update, and this one is not pretty. Well, she is not pretty. Yes, the zombie game now has a female model, and she will have you running in terror.

Along with this new zombie release, a whole new building has also been added. That building is a hospital - and if you've seen The Walking Dead, you know that hospitals are no joke.

The hospital comes with many levels and tons of zombies, which means good loot. In an earlier live stream with the developers, they mentioned there is a lock box somewhere on one of the floors. You can retrieve the keys for the lock box in the world. There is no mention of whether this lock box will have special loot in it, but it sure does sound like. Any loot is good loot, though, right?

Some new items are coming with this update, too. Among them are the long-awaited ghillie suits, tactical helmets, Kevlar armor, and an ATV. The ghillie suit will appear in the world with many different colors. For those who buy airdrops, it will appear in crates that have hunting rifles. Tactical helmets will block 95% of gunfire to the head only, and they will break after a couple of shots. Finally, Kevlar armor is the highest grade armor for players wanting good torso protection. Though it isn’t mentioned how many shots it takes to break the armor, it can break. This armor will provide 95% of protection to the torso only.

If you want more information on changes in the game, like bug fixes, you can check out their Reddit page here.

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Can the Smach Zero be the new king of the handheld market? https://www.gameskinny.com/78kyb/can-the-smach-zero-be-the-new-king-of-the-handheld-market https://www.gameskinny.com/78kyb/can-the-smach-zero-be-the-new-king-of-the-handheld-market Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:57:10 -0400 mrivera269

There is a new portable handheld, running Valve's Steam OS, on the block being released in November--alongside other Steam Machines. Formerly known as the Steamboy, the handheld has now been renamed to the Smach Zero. The device seems to resemble a Steam Controller, however other than the design, specifications, and retail price; we know very little about the device said to play over 1000 games from the Steam library. 

With the information known, we can speculate on how good this system could become. If it is capable of having access to all of Steam's library (which is doubtful) the system could give the 3DS a run for its money. The possible ability to play MMOs such as Tera, Ark, H1Z1, or even Tree of Savior (when released) could set this system up for greatness. But not only would the Smach Zero play MMOs but also triple A games such as Fallout 4, No Man Sky(if released on Steam), Call of Duty, or even the Witcher. Once again it is doubtful that the Smach Zero will have the power to play any of these games, maybe if the system has Steam link capabilities.

As for a more reasonable prediction on the system, the Smach Zero could without a doubt become an Eden for indie games. Steam is already crawling with indies, now given a new piece of hardware to develop on; we can see indie games made from all over--using all kinds of engines never seen before on a handheld. This would be a feat the PlayStation Vita (which mildly has success with indie games) and the Nintendo 3DS never fully accomplished. A feat only really taken advantage of on iOS and Android devices. 

This is all merely speculation and we will not know what the Smach Zero is capable of until more information comes out. Sound off on the comments below about what you think of Steams new device? Do you think it will overthrow the Nintendo 3DS as king of handhelds? 

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Transparency: A look at John Smedley's influence on games https://www.gameskinny.com/jyt9a/transparency-a-look-at-john-smedleys-influence-on-games https://www.gameskinny.com/jyt9a/transparency-a-look-at-john-smedleys-influence-on-games Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:32:14 -0400 Larry Everett

I have actually only talked to John Smedley once during an interview in 2012. He talked about Planetside 2 and a little bit about EverQuest Next, but mostly he talked about the direction of SOE and the influence of free-to-play games on the MMO industry. During that discussion, he said and reiterated that he didn't think that SOE would ever create a game that wasn't free-to-play ever again. 

As the driving force behind many of the games that I played, he has had an influence on my gaming career for about 12 years. I believe that everyone that pays attention to SOE or Daybreak Games was floored when the word came out that Smedley was taking a break from gaming for awhile and stepping down as CEO.

Of course, everyone that I know wishes him well and hopes that he returns soon. Anyone who has talked to him for any period of time knows that he has a passion for online gaming like no one else, and many hope that he returns to Daybreak very soon.

I know that many people have had issues with some of what Smed has said in the past. He said things that didn’t quite sit well with the gaming community at large, and he’s also made some decisions that didn’t make people happy.

But what I’d like to do today is talk about some of the amazing things that have happened and many groundbreaking steps in gaming that Daybreak and SOE made under John Smedley's leadership.

The popularization of the MMORPG

We cannot talk about John Smedley without talking about one of the greatest accomplishments in not just online gaming but gaming as a whole: EverQuest. Of course, EQ wasn’t the first fully online game to release. We had seen Ultima Online, Meridian 59, and a handful of others before the release of EverQuest. However, if anyone were to look at gaming historically, it would be EverQuest that brought MMORPGs to the forefront of gaming.

For many people EverQuest became much more than a game, it became a lifestyle. Although I cannot condone people becoming addicted to games, it was with EverQuest that we really began hearing stories of over a hundred hours a week being spent on games.

Mainstream media even picked up on it. Of course, mainstream media didn’t understand it, but the community managers, developers, and yes, John Smedley understood the importance of the game in people’s lives.

I believe it’s safe to say that EverQuest was a first. Although EQ wasn’t the first MMORPG, it paved its own path, and without EQ -- without John Smedley’s work -- there would be no World of Warcraft or many of the other MMORPGs that we enjoy today.

Taking huge risks with major IPs

My first major influence in the realms of MMORPGs was Star Wars Galaxies. I had played Ultima Online and Asheron's Call, but they didn’t hold me for a number of reasons that weren’t at all related to the games themselves. However, serendipity would allow me to play Star Wars Galaxies for a lengthy period of time. I had told my wife that I would likely not play the game for more than a couple of months before quitting. But this game grabbed me.

Of course, I don’t think that Smedley was the primary reason that I stuck with the game. In fact, given Smed’s statements about how H1Z1 would be the new home for Star Wars Galaxies player, I don’t really know that he understood why people played that game in the first place. But it was his influence as CEO of SOE that allowed the game to be made.

I think one of Smed’s primary skills isn’t necessarily being able to do everything himself, but he knows how to find and motivate good talent. And that’s what happened with SWG. Smed put together an amazing team of designers including the much beloved Raph Koster.

Although there were many major failures with Star Wars Galaxies, it still stands as an example of a company taking huge risk, not something you see very often anymore. And although Smedley gets more hate from the NGE than credit for taking a risk with SWG in the first place, I will give him credit and thanks for bringing that game into my life.

Leading the way for free-to-play in the western market

If creating Star Wars Galaxies was taking a big risk, then Free Realms was even bigger. I don’t think people give Free Realms enough credit for being a huge, groundbreaking MMORPG. Many of the things that we now take for granted were first found in Free Realms. I beta-tested this game, and I can tell you that Smedley was leading the charge in some of this games’ most innovative features.

The MMO press and players like to credit Dungeons and Dragons Online as proving that free-to-play MMOs can turn a profit and make a viable game. Then Lord of the Rings Online did it, too, giving developer Turbine the press-power to show the world that F2P works. But six months before the F2P conversion of DDO, another game launched and made amazing bank for its developer. Free Realms released in April 2009. I remember talking about it with other SOE fans and influencers, saying that there is no way for SOE to make money off this game unless they have a subscription. But Smed and his crew insisted that F2P was the wave of the future for MMOs in the west, and it would start with Free Realms.

The first persistent online first-person shooter

Alongside Star Wars Galaxies, another MMO launched in 2003 from SOE, it was an MMOFPS called Planetside. Some people called it way ahead of its time, and wish I could comment on it, but really wasn’t my kind of game at the time.

However, I can talk about Planetside 2.

In many ways this game was Smed’s baby. You could tell by the way that he would post random pieces of concept art on Twitter that he was really looking forward to this game’s release. In fact, it’s possible that Smed’s desire to get this game into players’ hands pushed its soft release too early. Regardless, the game was groundbreaking. The ability to have foot soldiers, vehicles, and aircraft all in one persistent had never been accomplished to the level of Planetside 2 before. Some can even say that it hasn’t been done since.

Needless to say, Smed’s made a huge impact on the gaming world. There are many I haven't even mentioned. I have not always agreed with every decision that he’s made nor every game that’s he’s spearheaded, but I cannot deny the influence he’s had on the gaming world. Speaking for myself, I’m glad that he’s taking a break from games and the like.

But, I do hope that he returns soon. The gaming industry needs more risk-takers and positive influences.

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Transparency: 4 Reasons Gaming PR Isn't the Ultimate Evil https://www.gameskinny.com/s2s7i/transparency-4-reasons-gaming-pr-isnt-the-ultimate-evil https://www.gameskinny.com/s2s7i/transparency-4-reasons-gaming-pr-isnt-the-ultimate-evil Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:49:13 -0400 Larry Everett

Most of the time we look at the Public Relations team as glorified salesmen for the gaming industry. It’s comical sometimes how little some PR teams know about the game or games they represent. And if you’ve worked with as many PR teams as I have, you’ll know that it’s beyond funny and into the realm of sad how many of these teams come across like they are trying to sell you snake oil, even when they are actually selling a really good game.

These PR teams also seem to personify the barrier between gaming journalism and the “real story.” Needless to say, PR doesn’t have the best rep and is often seen as the enemy when it comes to games journalism.

However, we saw this week four very specific and important reasons why game companies need PR teams. Maybe they aren't as evil as we like to think.

1. Stopping Daybreak DDoS

CEO of Daybreak, John Smedley, was rightfully upset at the wrist-slapping that the Finnish justice system gave the member of the hacking group Lizard Squad. Although the kid wasn’t tried for the bomb threat that forced Smedley’s plane to turn around earlier this year, he was partially responsible for the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) many gaming companies experienced this year, costing those companies large sums of money.

Lizard Squad not-so-subtly claimed that it was Smed’s rants that lead them to retaliating with a DDoS attacks on Daybreak itself. Of course, this particular attack was fixed rather quickly, but it did cause downtime for Daybreak’s games and websites.

Smedley eventually deleted his Twitter and Reddit account. He said on Reddit that it was of his own accord, but many people suspect that it was highly influenced by his friends and PR team. Many times the PR team acts as a much-needed filter for developers when dealing with high-profile issues that can and will affect a huge business. I’m not blaming Smed -- he was was only exercising his right to free speech -- but if what he said had been filtered by his PR team, it might have mitigated or prevented the resulting DDoS attack.

2. Clearing the Cloud of Misinformation

Also this week, we saw Line of Defense developer Derek Smart stir up trouble for Cloud Imperium, the company creating Star Citizen. Smart demanded, among many other things, that President and CEO Chris Roberts resign so that the game can actually release and not become the vaporware Smart is claiming it to be.

While I’m not even going to try to take sides in this argument, it is clear that the game needs a PR team to better propagate information to the public so that everyone knows better the state of affairs with the game. Of course, Roberts and his team have been very open and vocal about clearing up this mess, but much of what PR teams do is spread that word to the ether, giving more people the correct information -- hopefully.

3. Shutting a Smart Mouth

In the same instance as above and a previous blog post, Smart could have used a PR team, too, but for a different reason. Sometimes, even when you have a good point, if you continue to harp on the issue, it doesn’t make the right impression.

Also, if you mock or belittle the opposition, it paints even a justified accuser in a bad light and spoils what could have been a very legitimate reason for calling out someone for wrong-doing.

In Smart’s specific case, not only did he belittle Chris Roberts, but he also belittled the people who defended Roberts. Those are the people you’re trying to convince, man! Had Smart (a developer with his own company to concern himself with) had a PR team backing him up, it could have convinced him to stop talking when the battle was at a standstill. Pouring more words on a heat battle only serves to fan the flame against you.

4. RaiderZ and the missing developer

I know everyone is sad about Perfect World Entertainment's shutdown of RaiderZ. (I’m kidding, most people have probably never heard of the game.) This game, originally created by MAIET, was intended to be stiff competition for TERA with its action combat. However, as it turns out, MAIET shut down months ago, yet PWE continued to run the game without telling its western audience.

Now, I don’t know who could have used a better PR team, PWE or MAIET, but someone needed better communication because the press release reads like PWE called up MAIET for its monthly meeting only to find out that the phone was disconnected:

“In the past, we have been working with MAIET, the developer of RaiderZ, in order to troubleshoot and solve issue to keep the game available for the players. Unfortunately, MAIET is no longer operating anymore.

“Since there’s no more active developer, it’s very difficult to troubleshoot any issue that happen to RaiderZ. We’re unable to deliver a quality experience to you, our players, so we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down RaiderZ.”

Well, duh, you’re shutting it down. I’m not sure where the communication breakdown happened, but it’s clear that PWE’s PR team is attempting to cover up some odd SNAFU. That said, had its PR team got ahold of this information faster or if MAIET had an actual PR team, this public weirdness could have been smoothed over.

 

As much as I dislike dealing with some of the loopholes PR teams create, we need to understand why they're here in the first place. Despite some of the clearly jargon-filled press releases, these teams of wordsmiths can do an amazing job of preventing internet explosions and painting a realistic picture of the company they represent.

I do not envy the jobs of these marketing managers and PR workers; it’s clearly important that public companies need them, if only as a buffer.

But the conversation doesn’t end here. Let me know your thoughts on these situations in the comments below. How could they have been handled better, and are there any big PR blunders that happened this week that I missed?

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Texas Film and Video Game Lobbyists Argue a Funding Cut https://www.gameskinny.com/28ksy/texas-film-and-video-game-lobbyists-argue-a-funding-cut https://www.gameskinny.com/28ksy/texas-film-and-video-game-lobbyists-argue-a-funding-cut Sat, 30 May 2015 08:36:31 -0400 Bryan C. Tan

Film and video game companies in Texas will have to tighten their belts for the next two years, as support from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program will be cut down to about a third of the program's current funding.

House and Senate negotiators reached a two-year budget deal last week that will cut $63 million from the incentive program, leaving the film and video game industries with only $32 million to share amongst themselves.

Since 2008, the program has given $150 million in incentives to production companies that hire Texas workers to develop film, television, commercial, or video game projects in the state, which in turn has generated spending of more than $1 billion, according to the Texas Film Commission. 

In March, film lobbyists pushed to separate the funding for film and video game incentives, which lead to arguments about the differences between the two industries. Video game lobbyists objected to the split, citing that the film groups intended to cut them out of the budget completely. Without a general agreement from both sides, and with less support from politicians, the program ended up with the same amount of money it received in 2011.

After such a measly conclusion to the conflicting negotiations, film industry lobbyist Lawrence Collins had a rather bleak outlook on the industry, saying that "film and television in Texas will disappear."

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Thoughts on Early Access, DayZ, H1Z1, CastleminerZ, Assassin's Creed, PS4 and PC! https://www.gameskinny.com/y7k69/thoughts-on-early-access-dayz-h1z1-castleminerz-assassins-creed-ps4-and-pc https://www.gameskinny.com/y7k69/thoughts-on-early-access-dayz-h1z1-castleminerz-assassins-creed-ps4-and-pc Thu, 28 May 2015 08:27:52 -0400 LordTurf

Today we are discussing Early Access, DayZ, H1Z1, CastleminerZ, Assassin's Creed, Ps4 and PC!

This video will outline some personal views about a couple of games notorious for allow early access to games just to get money from consumers for a game they never have intentions to finish the game. Some video games will come out with a pre alpha test game and almost charge full price because of the stigma and following of the game. 

Come enjoy a cup of coffee with me and give me some input! I want to know what you guys think!

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Transparency: Why Early Access is a Horrible, Horrible Thing (For Everyone) https://www.gameskinny.com/ix280/transparency-why-early-access-is-a-horrible-horrible-thing-for-everyone https://www.gameskinny.com/ix280/transparency-why-early-access-is-a-horrible-horrible-thing-for-everyone Fri, 20 Feb 2015 12:24:49 -0500 Larry Everett

Many of us think that it’s super cool to play a game before anyone else does. There were hipster battles in the middle of Orgrimmar in World of Warcraft or Theed, if you played Star Wars Galaxies like me. One player would say that he’d played since beta, and another would claim to have played in beta 1 or friends-and-family beta. The funniest were those who claimed to have played in alpha. However, it’s unmistakable the sense of pride that pops up when you type “/played” and your number is bigger than another person’s.

Unfortunately, game developers, or more so, the publishers are well aware of the fact that players love to be able to be in on a game before the rest of their friends. That’s why beta-key giveaways are so popular. There was a time when every publisher under the sun was giving away beta keys to their latest games. 

However, that trend has fallen off because of a new trend that truly takes advantage of the player’s desire to join a game early. It’s called Early Access, and it’s not good for the developer nor the player.

The Development Process

Before diving is into the ins and outs of why Early Access is a horrible, horrible thing. Let’s take a look at the stages of game development. It should be understood that there is a process of game development, and there are names to go with the stages of that process and milestones that are hit along the way. But instead of giving you the long and boring way to describe these pieces, I’m going to give you a list and definitions, so that way if you think you know what all these things mean, then you can skip to the end where I tell you why Early Access is a bad, bad thing.

I should clarify that these definitions of the stages of game development are the general definitions, and that every developer is slightly different and so are the development stages.

Pre-alpha isn’t really a stage, it’s just something that happens. I include this in the list because you’ll hear people throw this term around, and it’s really not a term that game developers use while the game is in development. But this term encompasses everything that takes place before there is a game to speak of. Art is made here. Story development and engine testing usually takes place here. Pre-alpha ends when the basic decisions have been made and the actual game starts to be produced.

Alpha is a weird stage, and every game developer begins and ends alphas at different times. But basically, alpha is when the basic features are in place and play testing can begin. During this stage we see an actual game and many of the elements that will eventually be in the game when it finally launches. The biggest thing to keep in mind with most alphas is that anything and everything can change during this stage of the game. Nothing is married to the game; no single feature safe. If the whole thing needs to be scrapped and revisited, that can happen at this stage.

Beta usually starts when the developer has decided which specific features will be in the game. Although we might not see all of these features in the game yet, the suite of features has been decided on, and the new ideas hitting at this stage are generally based on the existing ideas already in the game. For instance, we might see a change from first-person to third-person, but we will likely not see an FPS combat system turn into a turn-based combat system. The end of beta, usually when large-scale testing starts taking place, the game is virtually indistinguishable from the launched game.

Open-beta is a term you’ll see a lot for online games. This is the stage where anyone who wants to join the game can. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but the primary reason for open-beta is to test the load capacity. Any real and meaningful changes to the game will likely not happen here. Sure, something might be altered or fixed if there is a glaring error, but that’s rare.

Launch is when the developers are ready to say it’s done. This could be when the capital has dried up, and the studio has no more money. But ideally, this is when all the bugs have been fixed and the game is ready for public consumption.

Where Early Access Goes Wrong

Where does Early Access fit in? Technically, you can drop Early Access in anywhere in this timeline. Traditionally, early access was the stage between open-beta and launch. It was when early adopters of the game could be some of the first to play on live servers. However, there is a new trend to plop Early Access just after alpha as a way to start earning money for the game before it is even close to done.

This. Is. Bad.

In a recent post on MMORPG.com, former SOE developer David Georgeson talked about what it was like to work on MMOs for the last 15 years, and he pointed out something very interesting. He compared making an MMO to making a television series.

“The closest parallel that you can make is supporting a hit TV series with more seasons after the first season was successful. The execution is completely different between games and TV, but the overall theories behind it all are similar.”

He said that the first season has a huge budget and attracts a major audience, but from that point on things travel downhill as far as budget and audience is concerned. That’s not a negative, it’s just the way it is. Very few games or TV shows actually increase the base audience after the first season.

This is all true, so why would developers think that it’s a good idea to allow people to start playing the game well before it’s finished? Well, the simple answer is money.

Don’t get me wrong; I think games need to make as much money as the market can bear, but this kind of Early Access doesn’t make things good. The audience that the game had when it started charging for Early Access might grow a bit because Early Access is usually done in stages, but for many of the games the audience is not going to increase drastically, like Georgeson said.

Selling Crap

The way I look at it is that Early Access is a way for developers to sell people a crap game and milk as much money out of players before too many resource have been dropped into the game. We only have to look at Georgeson’s own “EverQuest” Landmark and SOE’s H1Z1 to see the repercussions of selling a game too early.

Many people have lost interest in Landmark. It’s a good game. But not many people play it and its audience isn’t increasing. Now the developers have a game that isn’t officially out of beta that’s already had the huge revenue drop off that you’d see in a game three months after launch. Although a very select group of people like H1Z1, many of the game critics weren’t sure what to make of the game. I’d venture to guess that many of its audience already has a game in DayZ or Rust, and H1Z1 isn’t going to pull them away from that game. Why would they want to buy an unfinished survival game, let alone another unfinished survival game?

I should clarify that Early Access isn’t the same as crowdfunding, where the backers should be a part of the development process, but that story will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments.

Read more of this column by going to our "Transparency Column" tag.

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H1Z1's G29 Keeping Thousands of Players Out of The Game https://www.gameskinny.com/4gwyg/h1z1s-g29-keeping-thousands-of-players-out-of-the-game https://www.gameskinny.com/4gwyg/h1z1s-g29-keeping-thousands-of-players-out-of-the-game Tue, 03 Feb 2015 10:51:54 -0500 Tobbpitt

If you've been trying to log into H1Z1 today and have been getting game error G29, don't panic: You and thousands of other players are stuck in the same log in hell.

The G29 error is a worrying one, stating your Station Account does not have access to H1Z1 -- which at first glance looks like you may be banned. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) this is widespread enough to be an issue with the Station Account system, and for the time being probably is not a problem on your end.

These issues come immediately after Sony Online Entertainment was acquired by Columbus Nova, and after the acquisition changed their name to Daybreak Game Company to better reflect their studio.

Is there any way to fix the G29 error? Not really...

The timing of the error along with the change in ownership is worrying to some H1Z1 community members, but it is very likely big changes are needed on the backend to accommodate the shift to Daybreak Game Company. This would explain today's issues after yesterday's change in ownership.

H1Z1 is meant to see a character/world wipe sometime this week, as warned yesterday by dev Steve George. Don't be surprised if those are coming soon or immediately after the widespread G29 error has been dealt with. 

Time to sit back and hope our characters are still there once the error has been sorted.

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Bigger Game Worlds Aren't Always Better! https://www.gameskinny.com/vxi4u/bigger-game-worlds-arent-always-better https://www.gameskinny.com/vxi4u/bigger-game-worlds-arent-always-better Tue, 17 Mar 2015 05:26:55 -0400 StayNoLonger

It seems that a lot of developers are using a rather flawed idea: "make the map as big as we can!" 

This often seems the case with a lot of the Indie Early Access games found on Steam. A lot of them are survival games that offer you massive worlds for you to explore! Although the only experience I have had from DayZ, for example, (this was the mod for Arma 2, not the standalone version), was running away from zombies for 45 minutes in the dark until I found an axe only to get shot by a sniper through a window. I never actually met up with the friend I planned on playing with because we had spawned on opposite sides of the map. 

Problem with Large Worlds

The big problem with large maps is that you need to fill them with content. Games like Skyrim and Fallout both have large maps, although they did not seem as big as you always come across things to do, such as going into a cave full of bandits or coming across Tenpenny Tower.

The only thing is that a lot of games with big maps only go big to show off that the engine can handle the rigorous demands; this usually leaves the world feeling hollow. You may have a massive terrain to explore, only there isn't anything to do there. A lot of the open world survival games like Rust seem to have a lazy design, making it feel like they have given you a basic world and then set you to work to make content.

Instead of giving you a world and content, then setting you out to find more and more things to do. It is obvious in some cases that they are trying to create the next Minecraft, which is an unbelievable goal. Not even Everquest Next Landmark has been able to do this, and Landmark has Sony Online Entertainment developing it. (One thing they need to do is ditch the patch idea and allow people to use the entire map to build greatness!)

It is no way near as hard to create game worlds as it was a number of years ago. 

There are now tools that allow you to generate areas to use after just inputting a few numbers, or even allow you to simply mold the terrain with in-engine sculpting tools. By making it easier for people to create games and the introduction of Steam Greenlight, which doesn't seem to have any consistency or quality control whatsoever, allows people to develop empty games. These then sometimes get put up for retail with only promises of what the game might contain if developer is able to finish it. We're seeing this a lot: early access or Kickstarter games have run out of money or even just motivation, and the developers have stopped developing the game.

It's a lot like filling a cup with water, the bigger the cup the more water you will need, if you pour the contents of a smaller cup into a bigger cup it won't fill it up.

Problem with Smaller Worlds

One of the biggest issues of using smaller worlds is that it is hard for a developer to allow the player to break from the chains and do what they want. Most games with small maps are very linear and don't allow you that much choice in what you experience. A good example of a game using small maps is Medal of Honor: Warfighter. This game holds your hand and objectives are so much of a checklist that at one point the game asks you to bomb a building that a sniper is hiding in, if you try to move on even if you shoot the sniper you get killed instantly.

TotalBiscuit (CynicalBrit) talking about linear aspects of Medal of Hono(u)r: Warfighter

Advantage of Large Worlds

The big appeal of large worlds is that the size allows you to break out of the linear boundaries of some the smaller maps from games like in Call of Duty and Battlefield. This gives the player the chance to go where they want to go, rather than feeling like the game is holding their hand and showing them where the developer wants them to go.

It is a lot easier to really connect to a world that is big enough to give you the freedom to roam around the map throughout the game. A great example of this is the Mass Effect Universe, this combines lots smaller areas into one big open world game. To this day, I would say this is the series I have had the most attachment to. 

Advantage of Smaller Worlds

Obviously the potential content of smaller worlds is greatly reduced; sometimes this could be a good thing. It is much easier to fill a world with content if it has smaller scale. Then there are some genres that are more suited to it, such as platformers.

Not every game wants to copy games like Skyrim. Look at Thomas Was Alone, it has small levels and only takes 2-3 hours to complete. This is great for a game like this because if it had been any longer it would start to get boring, thus losing its charm. A long playtime would probably lead to most people not finishing the game.

It is still in Alpha on Steam Early Access, but H1Z1, the zombie survival game from Sony Online Entertainment, uses a smaller game world to that of its counterparts. From what I have heard it benefits from this, other than a few misconceptions which got blown out of proportions on Reddit, people's experiences with the game are positive.

As the map is not so big as games like DayZ, you can meet up with your friends quickly rather than having to travel for nearly an hour to meet up with someone. That is, if you even managed to get to the correct place or if they told you the right one.

Sometimes games with smaller worlds can benefit from this, take RTS games like Warcraft 3, you have lots of small maps which you navigate your forces around to complete objectives. If you were to make the maps much larger, it would start to become a pain maneuvering while keeping an eye on what the enemy is doing. This franchise evolved into World of Warcraft, the most successful open-world MMORPG ever made. It still has a higher number of players than any other game in the genre, and this is over ten years after its original release in 2004.

In conclusion

Large open world games are great and I would hate to see them disappear, although I feel that having a big game world just for the sake of it, causing players to get bored whilst traveling through a vast emptiness. One of the first things developers should question themselves when creating a world is "can I fill it?" If you don't believe you can, maybe you should think about making it smaller so that you don't have expanses where there is nothing to do.

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