Massively has word on permanent bans that have been handed out in Guild Wars 2 for users taking advantage of a way of exploiting snowflakes during their Wintersday event. They point to the Guild Wars 2 Forum and Reddit for details on this, but we can only find the relevant post on the latter, while VG247 points the way to this post with more on the topic. In the post on the GW2 Forum there is also a promise of a long-term roadmap for ArenaNet's MMORPG. Here's what they are saying for now:
To set expectations accordingly, the January release will be a relatively small release that sets the table for the stories and features we plan to roll out with the Feb/March releases and beyond. Also, there will be no new race, profession, or new region with these larger Feb/March releases. One of our major goals with these releases is making our existing world as strong as possible, ensuring there are reasons to go to all the locations in the world we’ve already built, and strengthening the core game we’ve provided. In saying this will be an expansions worth of stuff in these releases, we’re talking about the number of new features that will be rolled out across PvE, WvW, and PvP in early 2013, which usually you’d only find in an expansion for a traditional MMORPG.
GarageGames announces a Kickstarter campaign for 3 Step Studio, planned as a free suite of tools for the development of video games with no programming experience. The Torque engine developers seek a half-million dollars for this, and here is part of the pitch:
The 3 Step Studio suite includes free genre-specific templates and tools that help aspiring game designers create and share their game for iPad, iPhone, Windows and Mac in three easy steps: Select a template, customize the game play and art – or upload your art to ‘make it your own’, and then publish the results for others to play. The basic tools and templates will be available for free to use, with advanced tools, templates and additional content available through micro-transactions.
The Age of Empires Online Blog announces that Ensemble is ceasing the development of new content for the multiplayer RTS game, though there is a small amount of new stuff still in the pipeline that they will complete before shutting off the tap. They stress that nothing else is changing, and that the game will continue to operate as before, and will be fully supported. They explain the reason for the change in a brief FAQ: "Because creating top-tier content, as we have been for the last year and a half, is very expensive—too expensive to maintain for long, as it turns out. We can no longer afford to keep creating it. AOEO already has a very large amount of high-quality, hand-crafted entertainment, and adding more is no longer cost-effective." Thanks Massively.
1Reason - In The Base Case by Kim Swift (thanks GamesIndustry International) So, I have a secret wish. Whenever I’m in the public eye, whether it’s doing PR or giving a talk – and this is going to sound amazingly corny — I hope that there’s a little girl out there that sees me and thinks to herself, “Oh look! Girls make games too.” I say this because this problem isn’t going to change on a dime. A grown adult isn’t going to change their mind about their inherent beliefs or their personality because someone gave them the stink eye (or an Internet reaming).
A post on All Games Beta shows tweets from Evolve PR dude Tom Ohle revealing his excitement over a Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, saying this look at CD Projekt RED's upcoming cyberpunk RPG will be released for all to see 'next weekish.' As far as we can see, there are no longer the tweets in the feed corresponding to what they posted, but there is a conversation that refers to a trailer using nearly the same "Next week. Ish" phrase, which suggests the AGB story may be based tweets that were deleted after this became news. Ish. Thanks VG247.
Trion Worlds announces a weekend beta event for Defiance to run from January 18-20 in their upcoming open world MMO first-person shooter. The event, which they call "Advanced Mission Beta 1," will include full access to the tutorial along with the following content: "the expansive terraformed terrain of Mt. Tam, the Waterfront competitive multiplayer map, and the fierce Shadow War open world competitive multiplayer and Arkfall massive co-op boss battles." Those hoping to participate should sign up on the viral Von Bach Industries Website.
The World of Warcraft Website announces the promised version 5.2 patch for World of Warcraft is now live on the Public Test Realm for the MMORPG. They offer a series of notes on the new version, though they warn that these are not final. Here's an overview: "By logging in you can help us test a massive new raid dungeon, a multi-faceted new quest hub, Pet Battle improvements, new world bosses, significant class balance changes, brand new pets and mounts, assorted bug fixes, and more." On a related note, VG247 notes a post on WoW Serbia pointing to a trailer showing "Defense of the Alehouse" to feature some sort of MOBA gameplay, which they suggest will also be part of this version 5.2 patch, though this is just speculation at this point. Continue here to read the full story.
Giant Bomb has an explanation of the origins of the new trailer for The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct. It turns out the clip uses in-game footage from an IGN feature on the upcoming shooter. Hand-wringing over having been fooled ensues, but as they note, the footage is genuine. Thanks VG247.
The Humble Bundle Website shows that sales of Humble Indie Bundle 7 have concluded, raking in over two and a half million dollars: "Humble Indie Bundle 7 is over, with 395,940 bundles sold for a total of $2,650,507.68. Type in your email address below and be among the first to know about our future projects!"
The Paintball Website has a recently released patch for Digital Paint: Paintball 2, the standalone paintball shooter that started off as a Quake II modification. The last we heard of this was over five years ago, but a build 36 was released in September and a newer build 37 came out at the end of November. They want to celebrate this with a reunion for players on Saturday, going full on old-school by organizing on IRC.
The Sven Co-op Website offers a new version 4.7 that was released on Christmas for this Half-Life modification as support for this old-school shooter mod continues into a third decade (or second century if you want more drama, or second millennium if you want full-on hype). They say they are not running out of steam, as plans for version 5.0 are already on the boards, which they say will represent a "major stepping stone for the mod." Here's word on the new release: "This release includes fixes and improvements to Half-Life co-op, Opposing Force co-op, They Hunger Co-op, etc., as well as Linux server support, new and updated maps, new features, fixes etc."
Wall Street Journal - The Year Video Games Became Art. 2012 was an important year for video games. Prime examples of the form were curated for the first time by museums such as the Smithsonian, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Museum of Modern Art—with the MoMA even going so far as to add video games to its permanent collection. This is not to say that videogames were not art beforehand, or even to accept that “art” is the best term to use in describing video games. Video games are still, on some level, “ones and zeroes.” And they always will be. But it’s nonetheless culturally significant that a curator from an institution as hallowed as the MoMA finally said that they are also “ones and zeroes that get to form whole spatial structures and whole experiences.”
Well, the cautious part of my cautious optimism about our car turned out to be more accurate than the optimism part, as it refused to start after having a couple of days to drain the battery. It spent the night at the mechanic: He found a problem with a dome light that stayed on when the door was closed, but he's not sure that's the entirety of the problem (and I'm pretty sure he's right that it isn't), so he's taking some more time to suss it out.