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Jukebox Heroes: Chatting with Neverwinter's Kevin Manthei

Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Jukebox Heroes, Music

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neverwinter
This week on Jukebox Heroes, we're sitting down with Cryptic Studios Composer Kevin Manthei to talk about his work on the studio's most recent title, Neverwinter. So Kevin, Can you introduce yourself and give us a little background on you and your history with the company?

Kevin Manthei: Hi! I am Kevin Manthei, a Minnesota-born, California-living composer. I write music for film, TV and games. I have been doing this for over 20 years and have worked with most of the big publishers in the gaming world and have scored music on feature and indie films, television shows, and animated projects.

Currently I just finished scoring the Guardians of the Galaxy section of Disney's Infinity 2 video game and am in the middle of scoring Season 3 of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series for Marvel/Disney XD. I also recently started work on the animated series Transformers: Robots In Disguise for Hasbro/The Hub network.

I have been working with Cryptic on music for its games since City of Villains. I have scored music for City of Villains, Champions Online, Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. Each project I worked on for more than a year, and each game has about 100 minutes of music I scored.

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The Stream Team: Adios, Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

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Frontier Developments
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has had a good four-week run in September's Choose My Adventure, but it's time to step out of the spaceship and into some heavy armor or a wizard's robe. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he adventures out into Elite's current beta one last time, with Twitch chat as his guide. It's not the end for Elite around here, but it's the last shot we'll get to see the game before Beta 2 launches on the 30th.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT for all the spacey action.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MapleStory 2 shows off its housing system

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items, Housing

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Oh, good, we're going to hear another round of complaints about land pricing and availability.  Boy, this will be fun.
MapleStory 2 is not going to make your character live on the streets. Probably not, anyway; the new video on housing makes it appear that space is limited for buying and building a house or a room, but players will have the option of doing either. Yes, there's housing, and the video just past the break shows it off in all its glory, even if the narration will be a bit difficult to follow for the non-Korean-speaking members of our audience.

While open-world plots are rather expensive, rooms can also be purchased for characters to use, offering many of the same benefits. Some decorations are purely cosmetic, while others offer a function; the video shows off using a cabinet for storage and a mannequin for quickly changing to a new gear set. There's also the option to quickly teleport back to your home as necessary once you own one. Check out the full video past the break for a clearer picture of the housing setup.

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Albion Online makes it onto Steam

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP

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albion online
Albion Online is the latest upcoming MMO to garner enough community approval to make it onto Steam. Sandbox Interactive said that the sandbox title was successfully greenlit and is now an official member of the Steam family.

As with other MMOs available through Valve's digital distribution platform, Albion Online will remain accessible apart from Steam. The game is currently in alpha and has founder's packs available for purchase.

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

Massively Speaking Episode 314: Queue queue

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

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You are at position 1,001 in the Massively Speaking queue. Your estimated wait time until you can access the podcast is 3 hours and 52 minutes. Do not leave your computer. Do not attempt to engage in a normal life. Just look at the graphic above until the time is up.

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
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Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Skyforge teases retro skycar, seeks tester guilds

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Guilds, Previews, News Items, Skyforge

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Skyforge
If you had any fear that Skyforge is just a pure fantasy title -- and judging by our past comment discussions, I know this is a common assumption -- then you can put that fear to rest. Obsidian and My.com have released new vehicle concept art for the game, including these teasers of an almost-steampunk souped-up classic car with retro styling.

In other Skyforge news, if you're part of a guild that might be interested in playtesting, the team wants to hear from you. "We're looking for everything from small groups of friends to big clans," says the post.

EVE Online improves cloaking graphics

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

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eve
Portraying stealth in games can be tricky, especially if the player is piloting a cloaked ship in the midst of outer space. EVE Online's team has acknowledged that the game's current cloaking effects sometimes makes it hard to see how these ships are positioned and has announced that the next content update will vastly improve this feature.

The new stealth graphics will not only look spiffier but be easier to see, according to the devs: "Fully transparent is not what we want! Pilots need to see their ships, remember, so we have a static effect that pulses along the surface of the ship from the spot where the cloaking started."

There are more details about what gets cloaked and how other characters see you (hint: They usually don't) in the rest of the dev diary. This change will come with EVE's Oceanus release on September 30th.

Hyperspace Beacon: Exploits and SWTOR_Miner

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

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Hyperspace Beacon: Exploits and SWTOR_Miner
Over the last couple of years, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community has changed. I believe it's matured. We changed from a community that wants everything yesterday to one that understands timetables but is still very interested in what's coming next. When we hear about the next storyline, we want to see how that's going to fit with everything that came before. Originally, I wanted to talk to the king of predicting the future of the game, SWTOR_Miner, about where the game is headed and what hidden secrets are in the client files.

However, last week something happened that redirected my thinking. Late last Monday night, Miner posted on Twitter, "Just got word that @SWTOR is cutting ties with fan sites that have dealings with me. Guess I won't be coming in from the cold." Of course, the whole community went bug-eyed, wondering what exactly had happened. So when I sat down to talk to SWTOR_Miner, the only thing I wanted to talk about was what's going on?

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Guild Wars 2 opens limited free trial access [Updated]

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), News Items, Guild Wars 2, Promotions, Buy-to-Play

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OK, guy in the comment section who always asks whether Guild Wars 2 has a free trial: The answer is finally yes.

But there's a catch; free access to the game lasts for one week only, beginning at 3 a.m. EDT on September 25th and ending 2:59 a.m. EDT on October 2nd. ArenaNet says it has already opened registration for the trial so that interested gamers can start downloading the client ahead of time. Old trial accounts will work for this promotion.

Earlier this month, Guild Wars 2's second feature pack overhauled the early game experience, making this an ideal time to be a newbie in the buy-to-play title.

[Update: ArenaNet has posted a number of mechanics changes that will be in place for the trial and affect trial accounts, including restrictions on mail and chat.]

Blizzard officially cancels Titan

World of Warcraft, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

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blizzard
If you were holding onto hopes that Titan would be the next great thing from Blizzard, it's time to douse yourself with a cold bucket of reality. Polygon is reporting that Blizzard has officially canceled the Titan project, saying that it ultimately wasn't fun.

"We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs, so we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine," CEO Mike Morhaime commented. "And it didn't come together. We didn't find the fun. We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."

Senior Vice President Chris Metzen said that the decision was necessary as the studio goes forward: "We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place."

The studio didn't put out details on what Titan was going to be, except that it had "some cool hooks." Blizzard also said that it isn't going to be working on another MMO at this time, but won't rule out the possibility of a follow-up to World of Warcraft in the future. If you want to tease yourself with "what if," you can read Massively's summation of the Titan project.

The Elder Scrolls Online asks players for a tale of the dead

Fantasy, Lore, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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And I bet someone's wondering why he doesn't write any more.
Aw, jeez. That can't have been happy. There's a story behind that picture, you just know it; people don't just grow spears while sitting down with some wine and cheese. And what is that story, you ask? Well, that's up to you! The Elder Scrolls Online is challenging players to construct yet another tale of the dead, a 500-word story in any format outlining how the unnamed skeleton in this screenshot wound up in this unfortunate predicament.

Players who'd like to participate need only post their entry to the official contest thread before 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 26th. The three winners will each receive a $25 electronic gift certificate to the Bethesda store as well as a free t-shirt. If that sounds good to you and you think you can tell a convincing story about this guy, it's time to crack your knuckles and get writing.

Trove transitions to beta on Thursday

Betas, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Trove

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Trove transitions to beta on Thursday
If you've enjoyed alpha adventures in Trove, your world has already come to an end! But don't worry; new worlds will be ready for your next adventures come Thursday afternoon, September 25th, when the closed beta kicks off. And this time, the worlds are for keeps! Alpha servers for the sandbox game shut down at 1:00 a.m. EDT this morning in preparation for the transition to beta. Even though the beta is closed, the dev team promises that these beta worlds and characters will never be wiped; you'll be able to build and play to your heart's content and know that your progress is permanent. In addition, the newest class, Neon Ninja, will be joining the game soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

TERA players killed 5,000,000 BAMs during the BAM Killer event

Fantasy, Video, Contests, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Humor, TERA, Promotions

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TERA
Back in August, TERA's devs adopted a faux Kickstarter page and a funny video to solicit help in the in-game campaign against BAMs (big-ass monsters). Players who contributed to the overall BAM kill count were showered with special loot.

That event came to an end last week, and En Masse has released another tongue-in-cheek video as a capstone to the festivities and a thank-you to the players. Community Manager Tonka tells us that the Mount Tyrannas server racked up the most kills but also the most deaths. In fact, over 5,000,000 BAMs were slain during the event, which works out to 165 BAMs per minute. "That's a lot of BAMs," Tonka says, wide-eyed.

The outtakes at the end are worth the watch all on their own. We've embedded the video below.

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WildStar puts megaserver names up for a vote

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

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I promposed naming one of them something to the effect of 'so long, roleplayers' but the suggestion was not heeded.
Do you have strong feelings about the name of your server? Then you'll want to make sure to get involved with the poll for WildStar players that's running until September 24th at 12:30 p.m. EDT. While the megaserver system has not yet been rolled out, the team is nearly ready and is looking for feedback on just what to call the new PvE and PvP servers for each region.

Both server types have five names to choose from. Currently, the North American vote is leaning toward Entity for the PvE server and Deadeye for the PvP server, but there's still enough time for players to change that trajectory. If you don't care about your server name, it's nothing to worry about, but if it matters a lot, jump on over and share your feelings.

Why Omeed Dariani left EverQuest Next

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Landmark

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Don't fall in love with videogames, they'll just break your heart.
When SOE Brand Manager Omeed Dariani left the EverQuest Next team suddenly, there was no small amount of curiosity and speculation over his reasoning. Obviously he knew something that fans didn't, but what was it? He recently appeared on Reddit to briefly explain his departure, stating that it was the result of an ideological difference that could not be corrected. Dariani states that his immediate supervisors did not support the community-first structures that have been established for both Landmark and EverQuest Next, so he ultimately felt that he had no options beyond resigning in protest.

No personal issues were involved, contrary to some fan speculation, and Dariani was quite clear that his departure was entirely voluntary and he was in no way given an ultimatum. He maintains that he has the utmost respect for the teams still working on the games and that neither of them caused his departure. It might not be the happy news of another job just waiting in the wings that fans would like, but it at least explains why he left.

Neverwinter announces Rise of Tiamat module

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Neverwinter

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Neverwinter
Perfect World Entertainment has today announced Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat, another chunk of the Tyranny of Dragons plotline that just so happens to coincide with the story in new Wizards of the Coast tabletop series of the same name. The module "brings a new paragon path for the recently released Scourge Warlock class" with both solo and group play. Highbies can hunt for artifact gear as they prep for the resurrection of the goddess Tiamat and the epic battle being so heavily foreshadowed.

We've got screenies and the new trailer below.

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The Daily Grind: What's the best loot system in an MMO?

City of Heroes, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

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Massively commenters recently reminded me that one of the things that bug me about retro themeparks is the loot that drops in dungeons and raids -- or to be more specific, the lack thereof. You want me to pile how many people into a multi-hour raid and reward only one or two of them with a boss drop? Why we're so happy to bash lockboxes that abuse our money but not RNG lotteries that abuse our time stymies me.

I'd love to see more games like City of Heroes that reward everyone with his or her own drops for making it through to the end of a mission -- no roll window required, no DKP necessary, no ninja-looters possible. You do a thing and you get a thing, not just a dim chance at a thing.

What do you guys think is the best loot-drop system in an MMO, past or present?

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!

Kickstarter project aims to revamp galactic sandbox Chosen Space

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Browser, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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Not every Kickstarter fundraiser is for a brand-new IP; some campaigns are launched in an effort to fund a more fully realized version of an existing property. And so it is with the browser-based galactic sandbox Chosen Space, which launched in 2006 and is now asking for funds to be reborn as a far better version.

Developer MMO Lab is attempting to secure £5,400 to finish the previously self-funded project. The new Chosen Space: Relaunched will feature improved graphics, new features, and additional features. "We've developed our own game engine called MMO Lab which will allow us to finally make the Chosen Space we've always imagined, and which the players have always deserved," the studio posted.

Chosen Space is a "living" sandbox that balances strategy and RPG elements as players customize ships, explore the galaxy, and engage in trading and conquest. The new version is preparing to go into alpha testing at the start of the new year.

We've got the crowdfunding pitch video after the break for your edification.

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Not So Massively: SOTA's greenlight campaign, LoL's free song, and Destiny's first raid

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Mobile, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warships, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous

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NSM
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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The Stream Team: Celebrating Aion's 5th birthday with GM events

Fantasy, Video, Aion, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Anniversaries, The Stream Team

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Today marks five years that Daevas have been flying about the wild world of Atreia in Aion, and Massively's MJ is jumping in to join the party. GMs will be in the game setting off the candle buffs for an hour as well as offering a chance to win random prizes during this special event. Want to get in on the fun, or maybe just reminisce about the good old days when you were a young Daeva just starting out? Join us live at 8:00 to celebrate this auspicious anniversary -- there's sure to be cake!

Game: Aion
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, September 22th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Game Columns

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The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
Norrathian Notebook EverQuest Next Column
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ArcheAge September 16, 2014
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Massively Speaking Episode 314: Queue queue

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