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25 Oct 2013

Design a Golem, Win Mister Sparkles!

Zojja_01_concept_art

Earlier this month, I ran a competition where you could win a Mini Mister Sparkles for Guild Wars 2. But there was a catch: to enter, you needed to design a competition that someone else could win. It was a little fiendish and so very meta, generating a huge number of ideas. Well done to everyone that took part, and congratulations to the winners!

I still have five more Mister Sparkles Mini codes to give away. After taking the best entries from the previous contest, I think I’ve come up with a fair but flexible way that you could win one of the remaining codes.

Update: The competition is now closed, and I’ll be announcing the winners early next week. Thanks to everyone that took part!

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15 Oct 2013

Mister Sparkles Mini: The Winners (Part 1)

mister sparkles competition copy

Wow, a lot of you really wanted to get your hands on a Mister Sparkles Mini! And thanks to the kind folks at ArenaNet, I’m able to share even more of them. I’ve chosen five winners this time around, and one of those entries will be the basis for another competition.

That second competition starts later on this week and will run till the end of the month, so keep your eyes peeled if you weren’t lucky this time round. But before I announce who won, here’s some ideas that came close…

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10 Oct 2013

Free to Play: Myth or Miracle?

It’s become almost a perennial tale: an MMO in distress makes the switch to free-to-play and becomes instantly successful. But, without hard numbers, it’s been difficult to appreciate just how much a difference it can make.

That has now changed. In a great interview with Daniel Tack at Forbes, Rift Creative Director Bill Fisher revealed some fascinating figures. It’s worth reading the entire article, but the headline number is staggering: revenue increased five times. That’s difficult for any developer to ignore.

It gives rise to a number of follow-up questions. Was the uplift a momentary surge or sustained growth? What does the average revenue per active player look like? How reliant are they on a certain subset of players? Has the change improved Rift’s long-term fortunes, or was it just a blip on the radar?

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9 Oct 2013

Pew Pew Pew! Weeeeeeeee-oooow!

Over a year ago, I was drinking an ice-cold lemonade in EA’s Gamescom business suite. Across from me sat Jeff Hickman, VP for Live Services and head of Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare had just announced the switch to a hybrid free-to-play approach, and was planning an aggressive update schedule.

During the interview, we also discussed the state of SWTOR’s space game. I mentioned that I was a fan of the old X-Wing and Tie-Fighter series, and was hoping to see something similar in the MMO. Hickman wouldn’t be drawn on any plans, but told me that he had a dedicated space team working on “interesting things.”

As we wrapped up, I shared a promise with Hickman: I’d subscribe just for the chance to dogfight in space once again. Today, some 14 months later, BioWare finally revealed the Space game.

I’m a man of my word, and I’m going to stick to what I said. Later this month, I’ll be resubscribing as promised.

For the Empire!

(Note: I previously put the meeting at Gamescom 2011, not 2012. I’m an idiot.)

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8 Oct 2013

Upgrade Season

w7u

Just over two years ago, I built a PC that would be able to play the ‘next generation’ of MMOs. It was a silly notion considering that, at the time, I didn’t have an idea what next generation truly meant. I just wanted to build something that would provide obscene frame rates without leaving me penniless.

It’s a strategy that worked. I’ve gone from WoW: Cataclysm, to SWTOR, to TERA, to The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, all without a hitch. I’ve managed to run them on high settings and capture stunning video. Whatever game I’ve wanted to play, my hardware hasn’t held me back.

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