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EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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Star Citizen aims to redefine avatar death, combat realism

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

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Remember way back in February of 2013 when Chris Roberts posted his Death of a Spaceman concept? It was a high-level look at how character death would function in Star Citizen, and it broke from gaming industry norms by aiming for an immersive system with strategy and consequences rather than the typical run-and-gun and die-and-respawn mechanics common to MMOs, FPSs, and most other games.

This week Roberts and company have released another extensive design doc called Healing Your Spacemen, which greatly expands the original concept. "In the end, the team decided to run counter to the standard FPS mechanics of regenerating health and instantly respawning on death to make every fight a calculated decision that can have ramifications that impact your character and place in the 'Verse," Cloud Imperium says.

Character health involves a limb-based system featuring four levels of health for each limb, and the system deliberately avoids "the current trend of hiding behind cover for blood to clear off your screen and jumping back in the fight ready for more." The post also explains how characters may be dragged to safety and how the spaceflight portion of the game will include "a robust rescue system" that complements the character death and damage mechanics. Read all about it via the official site links below!

[Thanks Cardboard!]

WoW Archivist: Epics

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

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Bulwark of Azzinoth
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on November 21st and is included here by permission.

Leveling through Draenor has been a blast, but as I am a player from classic WoW, a few things have struck me as incredibly strange. Triple-digit numbers in the guild panel. Sending NPCs to do quests on my behalf. And most of all, getting epic armor and weapons from solo leveling quests.

Many players in classic WoW (and not just raiders) opposed making epics more available to players. They called Blizzard's evolving attitude a slippery slope. "What's next," they argued, "epics for doing solo quests?" They never actually imagined that would happen. In 2005 it would have been unthinkable. Eight years later, here we are. But it's all been by design -- an evolving design with many steps along the way. Let's look at how we got here, one random drop at a time.

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One Shots: Nowhere to hide

Screenshots, Age of Conan, Culture, Ultima Online, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

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uo
Generally, I don't like to be pessimistic, but I have to say that things don't look good for reader Brad here. Sooner or later his childish game will fall apart, and when that happens, it will be all teeth and claws and slavering fangs. But at least it's for a good cause, right Brad? Oh, it's just to level up his skills.

"To get your skills up in Ultima Online, you had to use them over and over," Brad explains. "As they got higher, you had to do more difficult things with some skills. This was me trying to up my hiding skill. Lets just say, trying to hide in front of this many Ophidians, was not easy... but I was gaining skill! They could not get to me up here."

Who here feels bad for the Ophidians? Raise your hands please. I thought as much.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite physical MMO memento?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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I was doing some housecleaning recently and found a box of old game geekery. Most of it was junk since I've gone digital, but there were a couple of odds and ends that I put on the shelf in my office where I keep mementos from titles that made an impression.

In terms of MMO stuff, I found an original Neocron box and a hefty stack of all those EON magazines from EVE Online. What about you, Massively readers? Have you kept or collected any physical MMO-related mementos? Which is your favorite?

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!

Make My MMO: November 16 - 22, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, a lot of people got mad at Elite: Dangerous. Developers of the sci-fi sandbox subsequently started offering refunds to customers who felt duped by the company's decision to excise a previously mentioned offline mode.

Elsewhere, Shards Online met its Kickstarter goal, while Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen started taking donations via Patreon. You can see what else happened in the crowdfunding sphere by click through to our roundup.

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Superdata CEO: F2P audience has 'reached its limits'

Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

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SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen spoke yesterday at the GameON: Finance conference in Toronto. He posited that the F2P monetization model is declining in popularity. "So I think what's really happening is on the one hand you have the free-to-play audience, and I think that's reached its limits, to some degree," van Dreunen said. "And then there's the premium audience saying, 'Yes, I want to buy a game. I don't want to deal with the ads and in-game items. I want premium.' While in the mobile market, three-quarters of stuff is built with free-to-play as its dominant monetization model, you see somewhat of a backlash."

He cited Apple's recent decision to remove the word "free" from F2P App Store titles, and he also mentioned Warlords of Draenor's success as an indicator of healthy demand for paid titles.

H1Z1 dev vid talks cities, barricades, and more

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, H1Z1

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SOE has published another H1Z1 dev spotlight vid. Environment artist Ruby Opfer is your host, and she spends the clip's three-minute running time expounding on various fan-submitted questions.

Want to know about the zombie gankbox's underwater exploration potential? What about cities and the ability for players to take them over? How about structural barricades and whether or not you can line your bunker with crafted wooden spikes?

All these questions and a few more are touched on just past the break.

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The Stream Team: Joining the Shards Online dev playtest

Video, New Titles, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

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Shards Online recently met its Kickstarter goal, and Citadel Studio's Co-Founder Derek Brinkmann joins Massively's MJ to show off the game's latest developments (not the least of which is female avatars!). If you've been watching this game, you know that the future sandbox offers players the chance to really develop their own gaming worlds -- literally. So now that the funding goals are met, what's next? Now is the time to get all your questions answered by the dev team, as well as see what things are in store! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a look at the devs latest playtest.

Game: Shards Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Game Archaeologist: Perpetual's Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, Legal, The Game Archaeologist

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sto
If you're among the legions of Trekkies, then you are almost certainly aware of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online. Since early 2010, players have boldly gone where no one has gone before in this MMO that blends spaceship battles, ground combat, and faithful tie-ins to the long-running franchise. Star Trek Online appears to be thriving following a free-to-play adaptation and two expansions, and some see it as the only official continuation of the TV series right now.

But what players encounter in Star Trek Online is not what it originally started out as. You may or may not know that STO began development under Perpetual Entertainment, which handled the game for several years until it went bankrupt and passed the license and art assets to Cryptic.

It's another tantalizing historical "what if?" scenario to think about what this game would look like if Perpetual had taken it to launch and beyond. But what did this version of Star Trek Online look like? Let's investigate.

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WRUP: Lucky Korea

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Lost Ark
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you remind us how sad we are that Korea is getting a crapton of MMOs we'll probably never see.

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The Daily Grind: Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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wow
Yeah, we need to sort this out today because it's been bugging me. Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

I mean, I can squint hard and ignore how mounts poof in and out of existence like some sort of incredible magic trick that everyone in these virtual worlds can do. But when they leave, where do they go? Alternate dimension? Shrunk down and stuck inside of your back pocket, where your miniaturized horse can nibble on a carrot that's now the size of its head? Handed to an off-screen assistant who faithfully jogs along just outside of camera range until you need your sweet ride again?

How have you settled this issue internally? I need to know because this is (no pun intended) driving me nuts!

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!

Betawatch: November 15 - 21, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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Betawatch - Lineage Eternal
Lineage Eternal wowed G-Star attendees with the news that it will beta in 2015 and hit its worldwide simultaneous launch in 2016. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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Riot will pay you cash to find League of Legends bugs

Fantasy, Bugs, Free-to-Play, League of Legends

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lol
A discovered vulnerability in League of Legends led Riot Games to the conclusion that it not only needed to react to such issues when they arise, but to be more proactive in discovering these weak spots in the game. To wit, the studio has implemented a bug bounty program that will reward players who find vulnerabilities in LoL's code.

The studio has been testing out the program with a smaller group and has given $100,000 in rewards so far: "Currently in closed beta, the Riot bug bounty program is only available to a few security professionals who we've already identified. These professionals have helped us squish more than 75 bugs, vulnerabilities, and exploits, including client crash exploits, vision related exploits, and vulnerabilities that could potentially lead to player impersonation on forums."

'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

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If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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Warframe's Archwing update hits consoles

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS

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Space is 80% lens flares by volume.
Ready to go to space in Warframe? Just kidding! You're already in space. The whole premise is robotic space ninjas, after all. But the Archwing update that just dropped for consoles yesterday lets you slip past obstacles like "not being able to fly in space" by... well... allowing you to fly in space. The Archwing is a harness that lets you fly in space. This, from a practical standpoint, means that you get to enjoy spaceflight antics without spaceships.

Aside from the eponymous Archwing systems, the update also adds a new (equally eponymous) Warframe, more visual customization options, and a new reputation system allowing you to represent one of six Syndicates. So if you're floating about on consoles with Warframe, you too can now enjoy all of the fun of spaceflight without a spaceship. Hopefully not including the harness accidentally detaching whilst you're accelerating, leading your body to go hurtling off into space at a trajectory you can no longer control forever.

[Source: Digital Extremes press release]

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MapleStory 2 shows off a new trailer for G-Star 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, News Items, Free-to-Play

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Anywhere but here, driver, anywhere but here.
MapleStory 2 looks pretty different from its predecessor, but it still has its heart in the right place. You can see some of that on display in the game's latest trailer, released as part of the G-Star 2014 festivities going on right now in South Korea. The are ducklings to ride, walls to climb, and boss monsters for huge numbers of players to desperately thwack at until they die. Nature of the beast and all.

The game's next beta test has also been confirmed for January of next year, although it will not be a global test at this time. This new test will include 32 new areas for players to explore, more classes to play, and a new Shadow World with open PvP. More player customization and creation options will be unlocked as well. While you might not be able to participate in the test yourself, it'll at least help to know it's hurtling toward completion.

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Guild Wars 2 streamlines PvP queuing, adds map voting

Fantasy, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
How can Guild Wars 2's PvP experience be improved? By streamlining the flow, baby!

A new dev diary posted today talks about how ArenaNet is working to improve match flow, starting with the elimination of PvP rosters and simply allowing players to queue solo or with a party. Other significant changes include replacing AFK players before matches begin, group voting on favorite maps, and using the dishonor system to ding those who leave or go AFK during matches.

To get into PvP matches, players will now be required to go to the Heart of the Mists, which is being outfitted with additional core services so that it can be a fun social hub between games.

The Stream Team: No more Landmark tour deaths!

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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Thanks to the disabling of fall damage, Massively's MJ is able to take a tour of more Landmark builds without the fear of imminent death! Even without mobs, travel in-game has been dangerous for her; MJ's died many a time just trying to visit cool spots from the gallery. But that's all changed (at least for now), and not a moment too soon: She's seen plenty of impressive possibilities to check out this week. There are Egyptian builds, Orc builds, tree houses and ruins galore... even pinball machines! Pretty much anything you can imagine is being built somewhere in game. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to check out some of the latest in Landmark creativity. Then grab a beta code and try it out for yourself!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, November 21st, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Raph Koster explains how WoW changed MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

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There's liable to be a lot of virtual ink spilled over World of Warcraft as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month. You can save yourself some time by just reading famed MMO designer Raph Koster's lengthy and informed analysis, though. He covers a ton of ground, both negative and positive, including WoW's roots in EverQuest and the DikuMUD while also touching on all of the genre features that Blizzard cut in the name of "fun" and accessibility.
Among the things left by the wayside were features that were proven. Gone were the richer pet systems that had driven so much engagement from players in earlier games. Player housing, past and future source of endless devotion (and revenue) in other games, absent. Never mind stuff like towns and politics and the like. Crafting took massive steps backwards from the heights it had been developed into in [Star Wars] Galaxies or even Sims Online, and went back to being more like that in EverQuest. Even the robust character customization that we slaved over in Galaxies, a system which today is in every RPG on earth, was gone.
Koster credits WoW as the true innovator of the quest-led game, but he also points out that the game stifled MMORPG innovation in numerous ways.

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The Crew Dec. 2, 2014
Destiny: The Dark Below Dec. 9, 2014
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Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
TERA: Fate of Arun Dec. 16, 2014
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