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ArcheAge's closed beta begins on July 17th

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Interviews, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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The time has finally come: ArcheAge fans who've been been anxiously awaiting a beta date now can mark their calendars and start canceling other plans. Next weekend the closed beta doors will swing open at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday the 17th and remain so until they close at the same hour on Monday the 21st. Founders and invited testers will have a chance to dive in and experience ArcheAge's sandbox world, including -- but not limited to -- pirating, farming, questing, crafting, fishing, PvPing, or even just in gliding from the mountaintops.

With so many possible adventures by land and by sea, it may be impossible to get to them all during the first beta weekend. But don't despair -- there will be more! We sat down with Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman to chat about the upcoming beta tests. We've also got the beta trailer for you.

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Hunted Cow releases Eldevin 1.16, desktop client

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

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Hunted Cow wants you to know that its Eldevin MMORPG is no longer exclusively browser-based. The firm's latest update features a desktop client along with new systems like story mode dungeons. The 1.16 patch also "lays down some preparatory work" for Eldevin's hardware rendering engine, which Hunted Cow says will improve graphics, frame rates, and overall performance in "a few weeks' time."

The game will also be launching on Steam, and the full 1.16 notes are embedded after the break.

[Source: Hunted Cow press release]

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EverQuest II throws bonus XP weekend, extends summer promotion

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Promotions

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eq2
EverQuest II is opening up the throttle on in-game promotions this month, as Executive Producer Holly Longdale announced on Twitter that the game will be host to a double XP weekend from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.

In addition to that, EverQuest II is extending its Gear Up, Level Up promotion through the end of July. During this period, players will get bonus Etyma and a discount on the upcoming expansion. Subscribers are treated to even more goodies, including a 25% XP bonus and a discount on purchasing heroic characters.

SOE teases H1Z1's dynamic weather

Horror, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

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H1Z1
We all know that the most important thing to your MMO immersions when you're neck-deep in zombies and dastardly corpse-looting player-killers is whether you can wear a t-shirt in a blizzard with impunity. Worry not, roleplay fiends, for SOE has today teased its dynamic weather system for upcoming survival MMO H1Z1 via a septet of screenshots that show the effect of changing seasons on the environment. Enjoy!

RuneScape players vote overwhelmingly in favor of traditional combat option

Fantasy, Patches, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

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runescape
RuneScape has never shied away from interesting ideas and democratic experiments, a fact that is well illustrated by today's announcement that the game will be implementing a "legacy mode" option on Monday, July 14th.

Over 80% of players polled voted to add in the mode, which modifies the current game to work with the traditional rather than the new combat system. Legacy mode uses the traditional combat system, pre-RuneScape 3 interfaces, the old mini-map icons, the old animations, and a life point cap of 990. When it goes live in the game, players can switch it on and off as desired.

Jagex is also pushing through a few global changes to combat across the board, including an equal balance between melee, ranged, and magic attacks.

The Think Tank: Finding the magic in MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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About a month ago, a Massively reader wrote to our team to ask for help on an issue many of us -- and probably many of you -- struggle with: a genre with lots of games and not enough stickiness (and patience!).
I've been around the MMO block (since EverQuest); I even dabbled in Meridian 59. And I keep seeing game articles that make me want to try or retry lots of MMOs, but between my schedule and investment in other titles already, I cannot bring myself to jump into old or new games for more than a few play sessions. There's so many to play that I just can't bring myself to settle down for a little bit to really get enough of the experience to enjoy it.

For example, I recently played Asheron's Call for a total of three hours after subbing and reading articles that compelled me to try it. But it felt foreign and clunky. I couldn't stick around to really appreciate it. I fear the same results in other games I'd like to try. Can you give me advice on shedding the urge to judge and dismiss a game if it doesn't click with me immediately? Is there a way to not be jaded or lazy with being a newbie (yet again) in older titles? Help me play more MMOs for the sake of experience and new loves!

- MMO junkie seeking help "finding the magic"
I polled the team for advice in this week's Think Tank!

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Star Trek Online introduces Research & Development packs

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Subscription

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Just put it all in a box.  A crafting box, if you will.
The next major Star Trek Online update is all about new stuff for the crafting system. That means that you're going to need lots of materials, and the designers are making sure that there are even more ways to get them. If you don't want to just harvest, you can also try your luck with the new Research & Development Material Packs.

How do you get the packs? For starters, you can grab these packs as a bonus for PvE queue content. Normal packs contain 20 materials and are awarded from normal queue missions, while Advanced packs contain 25 and are awarded (predictably) from Elite queues. Advanced packs also contain rare materials based on the nature of the particular mission, letting you focus in your efforts if you need something specific. Players can also purchase additional packs from the in-game store for 300 Zen each or 1000 Zen for four. Read the full article for more details on how you can pick up extra packs without harvesting.

Massively Liveblogs: SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, MMORPG

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Liveblog: SWTOR Coruscant Skyrise Apartment
The upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic has the potential to completely change player perception of the game. Galactic Strongholds gives players the ability to own and decorate a home on four different planets: Nar Shaddaa, Tatooine, Coruscant, and Dromund Kaas. Last week, the developers showed off the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace; today, we see the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment.

Over the next couple of weeks, developers have promised to answer questions, including, "Who can visit your stronghold when you're not looking?" and "How many people can visit before your skyrise topples to level 1313?" They also said that they will give an in-depth tour of the prestige system and the legacy bank.

We are liveblogging right now in the comments as the developers are speaking, so join us!

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Landmark contest winners enshrined in game world

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

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landmark
The vaunted Landmarks of Landmark Competition is over, and the player architects who out-designed the rest have secured a spot in special claims across the game world. These structures will be retained for and used when the game goes live.

The contest winners' displays are one part of a modest-sized patch for Landmark that was released today. The patch also added customizable keybindings, Marketplace recommendations, and new craftable outfits that come in various colors (mmm... minty).

Blizzard's Morhaime responds to player concern for diversity in WoW

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture

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Mike Morhaime
Diversity is certainly a hot topic everywhere in the world today, and MMO communities are no exception. In particular, World of Warcraft has been under the microscope several times in the last few years for an imbalance of gender representation.

When WoW player Starcunning wrote an open letter to Blizzard president Mike Morhaime that questioned the studio's treatment of its female players, including then-CCO Rob Pardo's statement that diversity isn't something that Blizzard is actively trying to do, she probably didn't expect a real response. Interestingly enough, Morhaime did respond with some real promise about making diversity a priority for the team.

"We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible," Morhaime promised. "Blizzard's employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content."

Vote for your Guild Wars 2 International All-Stars tourney reps

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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ArenaNet and Twitch are joining forces to bring you the "first-ever truly global" Guild Wars 2 competition. It's going down at Gamescom 2014 and it's called the Guild Wars 2 International All-Stars Tournament since it matches players from North America, Europe, and China.

Fans can choose their regional representatives via a voting drive that starts today, and the winners will receive all-expenses paid trips to Germany to compete.

Raptr's Most Played PC list shows strong start for WildStar

MMO Industry, New Titles, Miscellaneous

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Raptr
Raptr has released its Most Played PC Games list for June 2014 and we spot six MMOs gracing the company's list this time around. As no surprise to anyone, World of Warcraft still dominates in the number 3 spot, behind League of Legends and Dota 2, but we also see WildStar's debut at number 6. World of Tanks, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, and The Elder Scrolls Online finish out the remaining MMOs on the list.

Interestingly enough, The Elder Scrolls Online's hours played were nearly cut in half from May to June, and Star Wars: The Old Republic was bumped from the list entirely. It's important to note that these rankings are only based on hours played by those who use Raptr for each play session. Check out the complete infographic and press release after the cut.

[Source: Raptr press release]

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Dino-survival: Hands-on with Beasts of Prey's early access alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Post-Apocalyptic, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

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Beasts of Prey
When I first dived into the horror-survival genre, I knew there would be zombies, but I never expected dinosaurs. You don't get much bigger than a T-Rex stomping around your neighborhood (though I am still waiting for an underwater survival game that randomly has blue whales unintentionally ruining your kelp fort as they hunt for krill). When dinosaurs started to replace zombies, I knew that my inner child would drag me in, even if I once again had to pay for alpha.

It's this very idea of "paid alpha" that inspired me to tackle not one but two titles from the newly spawned dino-survival based genre. Apologists will say that it's just alpha, but the reality is that you get only one launch, and to me, launch is you start letting people buy your game and don't hold them under an NDA. With this in mind, I decided to try my hand at both Beasts of Prey and The Stomping Land to see which, if either, feels the most deserving of my time (and money). Today, I'll start with BoP.

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TERA's level cap to hit 65, new continent on its way

Fantasy, Patches, TERA

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TERA
Bluehole Studio and En Masse Entertainment have announced today that their fantasy MMO TERA will be receiving a level cap increase and expand into a new continent later this year.

The level cap will increase to 65, adding new skills and glyphs in the process. Along with this will come the Northern Arun continent and the world's fourth largest city, new instance dungeons, quest guide, enchanting system improvements, and more. Mention of a special competition for seasonal guild housing is also in the notes, and players are speculating in the forum thread about what this might mean.

While Korea will get this new content in late July, En Masse says that the goal is to make it available for North American players by the end of the year.

[Thanks to Leiloni for the tip!]

Guild Wars 2 selling well in China

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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Chinese MMO players love Guild Wars 2, according to an NCsoft census that was translated on Reddit. The two-year old fantasy MMO has eclipsed 3.8 million Chinese users, which indicates far faster growth than the game has exhibited in the rest of the world. The title launched in August of 2012 and topped the 3.5 million sales mark a year later. China's 3.8 million sales happened in just two months.

GamesIndustry.biz posits that GW2's Chinese success is an indication of a lucrative and untapped market for Western developers as well as evidence that buy-to-play business models can succeed in an area dominated by F2P.

[Thanks 7BitBrian!]

Chaos Theory: The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), The Secret World, Guides, Anniversaries, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

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Chaos Theory:  The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!
It's that time of year again: time to celebrate another anniversary in The Secret World! And that means taking on world bosses, soaking up oodles of AP, and collecting lore, clothes, and (the best part) pets. Yep, definitely sounds like a party. The birthday bash lasts through July 17th, but the double AP portion of it ends on the 11th, so if you have new builds you want to test and you like the feel of all that AP popping up every few steps, now is the time to get into the game.

If you attended last year's Guardians of Gaia celebration, you're no doubt familiar with the set up of the event; you may have even completed everything. If not, you now have the chance to catch up on everything, including collecting all the lore and pets. On top of that, there are new goodies to collect this time around. There's even a new achievement involving all the pets! Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of TSW's second anniversary celebration.

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The Daily Grind: Do you tend to believe dev statements?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Dungeons

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Fangorn waterfall
Lord of the Rings Online community manager Rick Heaton created a stir recently when he said that raiders are few and far between in Middle-earth. After he explained that Turbine's data show raiders, PvPers, and forum posters as tiny fringe groups, he ended his announcement with the following statement.

"I fully appreciate and understand you won't believe a word of this. That's perfectly fine. It doesn't change the facts of the matter."

Predictably, a slew of comments ensued in which Heaton was accused of lying. Plenty of commenters, both on the Turbine forums and here on Massively, then posited that of course there are no raiders because LotRO's raid content sucks, Turbine's definition of "raider" is different from the commonly accepted definition (whatever that is), and dozens of other reasons. Which leads to an interesting question regarding official dev statements. Do you tend to believe them? Even when they irritate you or don't align with your personal wishes for a given game?

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!

Path of Exile comic books hint at upcoming expansion

Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

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path of exile
We all know that you haven't made it as a video game unless you're immortalized in a comic book. Path of Exile has joined that very select club as it announced today that it will be the focus of an official comic book mini-series.

The four upcoming Path of Exile graphic novels will be based on the lore of the game and penned by Dynamite Entertainment. The comics are slated for some time this summer and will be 22 pages apiece, with a compilation release in early 2015.

So other than the cool factor, why should players care? Well, not only will the comics feature a lead-in to the game's unannounced expansion, but each issue will have codes for in-game goodies such as cosmetics.

Dark Age of Camelot brings back character and guild searches

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Culture, Subscription

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daoc
Looking for a particular person or group in Dark Age of Camelot? Fortunately for you, Broadsword has made it that much easier to track those people down for a hopefully not-at-all-creepy reunion.

The devs announced that they have brought back character and guild searches to DAoC. Currently, these searches are limited to the Ywain server but will expand to other servers in the future. The team also said that it's going to be adding more in-game lists for realm point earners and champions of the realm in the near future.

Character and guild search used to be in DAoC until Mythic took it down several years ago.

Choose My Adventure: Adventuring in ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, Polls, Video, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

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Although ArcheAge has many different things to do, you decided that Massively's MJ should continue her adventures with quests, so that's what she's been doing. After showing off her favorite spot in game and brilliantly demonstrating death by jellyfish, she's been running to and fro delivering notes, assembling statues, and killing whatever vermin are bothering the locals. And there's certainly no lack of vermin!

During those questing adventures MJ has come across a dungeon, and she's looking forward to taking you inside. Hopefully she'll find other in-game companions to enter with her as well, else she'll surely experience death in a new and spectacular way! If she's alone, will you still have her enter? Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to decide her fate live! And don't forget to participate in the next vote to decide which crafting profession MJ should pursue next week.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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