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Choose My Adventure: The distraught wives of Firefall

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Firefall, MMORPG

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"There is no problem in this world a gun can't solve." These words, to my knowledge, are never explicitly stated in Firefall. There's no wise-in-his-grizzledness war veteran to rub his stubbled chin, frown into the distance, and impart such wisdom upon the player. But make no mistake, Firefall's world is one in which most tough situations are resolved with the thunderclap of gunfire. In Firefall's New Eden, violence really is the answer.

In last week's Choose My Adventure column, I asked you to help guide my path through this dangerous world, to give my character an identity, a role to play, and a purpose to fulfill. Votes were cast; suggestions were made. I've since created a new character and blasted my way through the re-re-re-re-designed tutorial/opening experience. And while I am, as always, having a wonderful time, I still can't get over my one recurring Fireball criticism: I'm shooting a lots of stuff but I don't care or know why.

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EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink shutting down

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

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Spin the wheel, but you will no longer win.
Fans of popular EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink received some bad news yesterday. After four years of operation, the site is going inactive, with a shutdown that its front page calls a temporary and perhaps permanent hiatus. All players with prizes waiting will be able to claim those prizes, and all ISK in the system will be returned to players over the next several months, starting with those players who had over 5 million ISK in their accounts.

What led to this shutdown? The site administrators claim that CCP created a toxic environment and reversed previous statements without warning, resulting in a situation which made the site no longer enjoyable to work with. CCP has issued its own statement, expressing regret at the loss of a community site while stating that the promotion that caused the controversy "was not representative of the original proposal that was brought to CCP." The community team will provide further information soon, although there will be no interference in the refund process.

[Thank to Dab for the tip!]

Star Citizen's next stretch goal is a player dispute staff position at CIG

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

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If you missed Star Citizen at Gamescom this year, Chris Roberts' latest Letter from the Chairman is worth parsing both for its written content and for the one-hour video embed that hits the highlights.

Roberts explains how Cloud Imperium's Gamescom goal was to demostrate how SC will grow beyond dogfighting. The big focus over the weekend was co-op crewed ship play, centered around the Constellation, which Roberts says is something he's wanted to achieve since his Wing Commander days. He also thanks backers for pushing the game past the $50 and $51 million stretch goals before outlining the next two goals.

The $53 million milestone is the most interesting, as it seeks to establish a staffed position at CIG for dealing with in-game player disputes "without leaving our world." Click through the links below to read more, and don't forget about the Gamescom embed after the cut.

[Thanks Cardboard!]

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Transformers Universe introduces Macro and Firebreaker

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Transformers Universe, MOBA

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Transformers Universe
Jagex hopes to add "diversity" to Transformers Universe's character roster with the addition of two new warriors announced today: Macro and Firebreaker.
Macro, in his warrior form, carries a heavy broadsword for up close melee combat which he wields like a chivalrous knight. In addition, his shield dome cloaks all allies within its boundaries, removing them from enemy line of sight for a limited time.

At the other end of the spectrum, Firebreaker is the first Decepticon in Transformers Universe to feature cloaking capabilities. Sacrificing his shield meter he can extend the duration of the cloak, and can also unleash a computer virus on himself that will devastate the first Autobot he comes into contact with.
The studio says over 700,000 players have participated in beta so far. Videos for both characters are embedded below.

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The Daily Grind: What do you buy in MMOs?

Culture, Economy, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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neverwinter
Every so often I like to be nosy and pry into your personal finances. Wow, you blow through a lot of Candy Crush microtransactions, don't you? And your Pez eBay purchases have gotten out of control.

But let's just pretend that I don't have unparalleled access to your checking account and ask you to share what you buy in MMOs with real money. Looking back, probably my biggest purchases from the past six months were a subscription to WildStar, various cosmetic outfits and minipets in Guild Wars 2, the new mission packs in The Secret World, and a ghost companion in Neverwinter.

What do you buy?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

SMITE raises money for world championship pot by selling items

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Economy, Free-to-Play, MOBA

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smite
SMITE has a new plan to raise money for its World Championship prize pool called The Odyssey. Basically, the Odyssey program allows players a limited-time window to purchase exclusive items and sets for the game that will never be sold again. Part of the proceeds from those sales will go into the prize pool for the championship.

In other SMITE news, the game has added a new Mayan god. Cabrakan is a "destroyer of mountains," which is a good thing if you have a mountain coming at you down a lane. He's good at crowd control, protecting allies, and blocking enemy progress.

We've got videos on both Cabrakan and the Odyssey program for you to watch after the break.

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The Stream Team: Get the SOE Live scoop while playing Landmark

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Giveaways, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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Massively's MJ has survived SOE Live, and now she's back and excited to talk about Landmark! Do you have questions you want to hear answered live? Do you want to nab yourself a beta code so you can jump in and play? Maybe you want to try for the item codes she has to give away thanks to her trek to Las Vegas, including Feather in a Bottles, Colonist's Flight Suits, Gemm Seekers Brooches, and even a Portcullis or two! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to gab about the game and get some goodies!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Global Chat: A dozen MMO podcasts you should check out

Culture, Global Chat, Miscellaneous

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global chat
Quite a few MMO bloggers that I know wear more than one hat. Some are book reviewers, some do livestreams, some have regular YouTube shows, one deluded guy has a Pinterest board, and several host podcasts. In fact, I've seen several bloggers develop friendships by deciding to do a show together.

In this week's edition of Global Chat, I thought we'd take a break from sharing interesting MMO blog posts to pointing you toward a dozen excellent MMO podcasts that I heartily endorse. Most of them fall in the category of "general MMO" discussion, although a few hew to a specific title. It's often a hoot when you get two or more opinionated and informative podcasters together, so if you're looking to fill up your MP3 player (in addition to the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Massively Speaking show, of course), I've got just the 12 things for you!

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Neverwinter expands artifact system

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Neverwinter

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neverwinter
Cryptic is clearly in love with the artifact system in Neverwinter, having expanded it to include weapons and belts in the recent Tyranny of Dragons update. In a dev diary today, the team delivers additional details behind the new types of gear that will grow in power over time.

Leveling up artifact equipment will take a lot of refinement, apparently: "These artifacts will use the familiar item refinement interface; however the primary difference being that other equipment is used to refine these artifacts rather than enchantments. Basically anything that can be equipped in the 12 slots on your character sheet can be used to empower these artifact."

With Module 4 are six new level 60 artifact belts and 21 artifact weapons. The belts have a base attribute (such as strength) that can be increased from +1 all the way to +4, while artifact weapons have the potential for "the highest base damage numbers in the game." The studio said that it might expand the artifact system further if players show support for it.

SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion is live

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons

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SWTOR
Early access to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Galactic Strongholds expansion is now live for subscribers.

BioWare Producer Jack Wood welcomed players to SWTOR's third expansion with a lengthy developer blog about the studio's goals in this housing-centric update, boasting that it offers "something for everyone," whether you want to "sit back and relax in your personal stronghold," establish a guild base, participate in conquest leaderboard content, or take on the new tactical flashpoint, Depths of Manaan.

We've included a brand-new guild flagship launch trailer below.

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Perfect World Entertainment continues to rake in money

Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Swordsman

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pwe
Perfect World Entertainment continues its hot streak of revenue generation, posting gains both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. The company released its Q2 2014 financials this past week, and reported revenues of $149.6 million, of which $138.8 million come from PWE's online games. Gross profit was $109.4 million during the same quarter.

PWE CEO Robert Xiao attributed the company's financial success to Swordsman's release, Dota2's launch in China, and several new mobile titles. Xiao said that the company was looking forward to releasing Legend of the Condor Heroes, as well as pushing Neverwinter into the Chinese market.

SOE Live 2014: More tidbits about EQII's Altar of Malice expansion

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

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One of the great things about SOE Live is that not only do you get announcements like the EverQuest II expansion but there are also many panels to delve even deeper into the upcoming content. On top of that, you have Q&A sessions where dedicated players draw out more useful information! Here are a few more tidbits that came from the rest of the con.

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RuneScape hit with denial-of-service attacks

Fantasy, News Items, RuneScape, Browser, Sandbox

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Jagex has posted to its official forums the news that both modern RuneScape and its classic servers are in the midst of service disruption attacks. Moderator Tyran explained:
As you may be aware, we're currently experiencing service disruption across both game and web services, this is affecting both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape.

We are aware that RuneScape (as well as other games) are being targeted by attacks which are causing connectivity issues for our players.

We are doing everything we can to mitigate any impact on your gameplay experience - our Systems Team are currently working to improve stability across our core hosting platform to improve the situation.
The studio warns players to avoid high-risk content where items might be lost, but customer service will investigate items already compromised by the outages. A large-scale rollback is not currently planned; Moderator Ronan posted, "Unfortunately, Old School RuneScape does not have the tool required to roll back or to confirm what items were lost by players and so it will not be possible to refund any lost items."

Threshold spiritual successor Stash seeks to 're-imagine the genre'

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, Crowdfunding

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stash
The team behind the classic MUD Threshold is back with Stash, a new MMO in the making that claims to "re-imagine the genre" with a growable base of operations, turn-based combat, and wide character customization. The inspiration for Stash comes from tabletop D&D, miniature gaming, D&D computer RPGs and Planescape: Torment.

"We put a large emphasis on rewarding player skill in addition to character skill," the devs posted. "Your character's abilities and gear are very important, but the tactics and strategy of the actual players is equally important."

Developer Frog Dice claims that this is a full-fledged MMO, although it remains to be seen how much of Stash is actually massively multiplayer (the site mentions clans, co-op play, and PvP). The team is looking to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to fund development on the title. You can check out Stash's early development trailer after the break!

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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Guild Wars 2 plans siege additions for world-vs.-world PvP

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

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GW2
As part of its September feature pack rollout, ArenaNet has today discussed the world-vs.-world improvements coming to Guild Wars 2 next month.

Specifically, the team is adding a new Siege Golem Mastery ability line, which renders your character "an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction" with super speed, AoE healing effects, and (of course) an ejection seat to amuse your guildies.

ArenaNet will also add consumable tricks; the first, called a Siege Disabler, is deployed like a grenade and disables weapons and golems and can be purchased with badges and coins rather than karma.

If you aren't into the PvP additions, well, you could always join the folks in Rata Sum protesting the absence of Super Adventure Box. [Thanks, thegirlwiththehair.]

Hey look, it's another ArcheAge closed beta event

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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ArcheAge's fourth closed beta event starts Friday, August 22nd and runs through Wednesday, August 27th. Trion expects the event to be "twice as large" as CBE3, and the company notes that you're not automagically eligible for this shindig even if you participated last time. Trion is making keys available through its usual partner suspects, while ArcheAge alpha and founder account invites do carry over.

New to CBE4 is multilanguage support on every server including English, French, and German.

Final Fantasy XIV launches birds and hunt balances in patch 2.35

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

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I know you're tempted, but you probably don't want to look up a translation for what they keep calling you.
Another wave of beast tribe daily quests has flown in to Final Fantasy XIV, and this time around players will need to get crafty. Patch 2.35 ushers in Ixali daily quests, but these quests are focused on crafting items and turning in crafted pieces for benefits rather than simply hacking through enemy legions. The new quests also make use of special crafting facilities and help level your crafting classes faster, an excellent boost to adventurers who haven't picked up a craft beforehand.

The patch also introduces major revisions to the game's hunt mechanics. All hunt bills have had their rewards increased significantly, while B-rank marks have been given a dramatically shortened respawn timer and no inherent rewards for killing them. This is balanced by the addition of extra rewards to unique weekly bills, which are now assigned to players individually rather than server-wide. Check the patch notes for the full details; the patch also makes minor Frontline adjustments and Chocobo Stable improvements.

Flameseeker Chronicles: Taking command in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

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I hope you're not tired of my Elementalist yet, because I'm not tired of taking screenshots of her.
Last week, ArenaNet wrapped up Guild Wars 2's two-parter story arc, The Dragon's Reach. It's a doozy, especially since part one of the chapter was, in my opinion, the weakest of the living world story's second season so far. It wasn't bad, mind you; it just didn't leave me staring at my calendar in thwarted anticipation the way previous installments did.

Part two brings that feeling back, which is almost too bad since we're going to be waiting until autumn for the story to start up again. In the meantime, we've got a bunch of stuff to talk about, so jump past the cut -- but only if you're cool with spoilers for pretty much everything.

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Hellgate is back, again, this time on Greenlight

Fantasy, Horror, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items

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Hoo boy, Hellgate. It's back, again, this time as a Steam Greenlight hopeful sponsored by T3Fun and Redbana. The latest incarnation is called Hellgate Global, which should again sound familiar. It includes the Tokyo expansion, 24 new levels, and plenty of new monsters.

T3Fun has put a couple of cinematic trailers up on its Greenlight page. You can see both of them past the break.

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Roberts talks Star Citizen's flight model, story, and more

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

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Chris Roberts is back to answer another batch of Star Citizen subscriber questions in this week's episode of 10 for the Chairman. He touches on quite a lot of stuff during the video's 22-minute running time, most notably flight model concerns and single-player story elements as they relate to both the persistent universe and the Squadron 42 campaign.

"If I was going to pitch [the S42 story] to you I would say that it would be the opening of Gladiator, mix it with the Ninth Legion and Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, all set in space," Roberts explains.

In terms of the flight model, Roberts talks about the current implementation vs. the upcoming "additive mode" that will basically allow for inputs without autocorrect centering tendencies (and thus true six-degrees-of-freedom control). Cloud Imperium is aiming for a best-of-both-worlds solution, with players able to switch between assisted flight, temporary decoupled 6DoF for certain maneuvers, or full 6DoF as the situation requires. You can learn more by watching the video after the break.

[Thanks Cotic!]

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Game Columns

Tamriel Infinium Elder Scrolls Column
The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
Norrathian Notebook EverQuest Next Column
Flameseeker Chronicles Guild Wars 2 Column
Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR Column
Stick and Rudder Star Citizen Column
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Release Dates

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Destiny September 9, 2014
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LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
WoW Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
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Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
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