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Betawatch: July 26 - August 1, 2014

Betas, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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Firefall
Both Firefall and Swordsman officially launched this week, ending their tenures on the Betawatch list and landing on hard drives everywhere. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup follows.

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Wizardry Online is now... Wizardry Offline

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Livestream, Wizardry Online, Sunsets

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The MMO world mourned Vanguard's sunset yesterday, but as The Ancient Gaming Noob reminded us, Vanguard wasn't the only MMO SOE shuttered in July. Wizardry Online also closed its doors permanently last night, bringing to a end one of the stranger games SOE has published in its long career.

Over on the official forums, where players have been posting their goodbyes, a player named Dremlock published a video of the game's last moments. We've included it below (start at about 1:29:00 to see the final curtain call).

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Dawn of the Immortals drops a launch trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile

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All the waves of things to stomp on that you can imagine.
If you've been looking forward to Dawn of the Immortals, we've got half of good news for you. The game has launched on the iTunes store for potential players using iPhones or iPads. If you're using an Android device, though, you're going to have to wait just a little bit longer. Halfway to good news, then. But it's still reason enough for the game to put out a launch trailer.

Dawn of the Immortals sells itself as a fully 3D MMO on your phone or tablet, with an emphasis on action combat and a customizable pet system. If that sounds like something you'd like to carry along with you, jump past the break and check the game out on iTunes.

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Royal Quest begins early access... for a price

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Steampunk

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royal quest
Royal Quest, an MMO "full of magic, technology, and alchemy," opened the doors to its early access test yesterday. While the game promotes itself as being free-to-play, this only applies starting the second week in August. Before then, anyone interested in checking it out needs to purchase one of the DLC packs.

Players who hop into the game will be assigned a regional server (out of three available) based on their location. To access the website's comments and forum, players have to level up a character to 5.

Royal Quest is being developed by Katauri Interactive (King's Bounty) and is only being offered through Steam for English users. Among other options in the game, players can own pets, eventually move into their own castle, and engage in special PvPvE zones in the game.

[Thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!]

Albion Online's houses are more than eye candy

Betas, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Housing

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albion online
Looking for a house in the Albion Online neighborhood? There isn't a lot there at the moment, just empty lots and plenty of potential, but the devs are promising that players will find housing indespensible when the game arrives.

In a new blog post, the team talks about how players will be able to claim a slice of open world land on which to build a lovely villa (or to use for various crafting needs). While housing will fulfill the need of interior decorators, a great deal of thought has been given to make them functional.

Houses will store wardrobes and chests for extra inventory, provide a respawn point, buff your character via trophies, and give a temporary boost to your hit points and energy. Players may choose from one of three permission levels when it comes to allowing others to visit and even modify the place.

World of Warcraft adds the Alliance motorcycle after all

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, News Items, Subscription

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Has no one realized this thing looks like a broken snowmobile yet?
In a twist that will stun everyone who is easily stunned, it turns out that the Alliance chopper is indeed being added to World of Warcraft with the arrival of Warlords of Draenor. Those of you who watched Azeroth Choppers from start to finish might have been surprised at the whole idea of only one bike design seeing implementation, but odds are you (and pretty much everyone else) saw this coming.

Worth noting, however, is that the chopper will cost money and will be available only to Alliance players. By contrast, the Horde chopper will be given away for free to players who log in before September 30th. Since it will not be possible for the opposite faction to ride a given chopper, this does mean that the Alliance version will end up being something of a gold sink for Alliance-only players. But, hey, you're getting it in the game; isn't that the important part?

EverQuest Next unveils a new lore eBook

Fantasy, Lore, News Items, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

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Spot the ridiculous parts of her outfit; we lost count at twelve.
While Landmark has been the star of the show lately (being in very open and active testing), EverQuest Next is still humming along behind the scenes. A new eBook has just been released for players looking to get a headstart on lore for the game. "From Ash Comes Fire" focuses on twins dealing with the events following the Dragon War, a major conflict detailed in previous eBooks for the game.

If you're not a dedicated fan the overall importance of the sweep of events might be lost on you, but you can still enjoy the story. It also offers a peek at the formation of the Ashen Order, which will have great importance in the main game's storylines. You can grab the novella now if you're interested.

Firefall partners with The9, Qihoo 360 in China

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

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Firefall finally launched in the West this week. Red 5 also entered into a business agreement with Chinese megapublisher The9 and Qihoo 360 to bring its long-gestating sci-fi shooter to the Far East. The deal will last for three years and will see profits and equity split equally between the The9 and Qihoo 360, according to GamesIndustry.biz.

[Thanks D Houser!]

Tamriel Infinium: My love/hate relationship with Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

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Quakecon was certainly interesting, wasn't it? Whether you're looking forward to new zones, the veteran system's extreme makeover, active world PvP via the thieving system, or combat upgrades, Elder Scrolls Online acquitted itself pretty well at this year's ZeniMax Media shindig.

The reveals even led to positive ESO comment vibes here on Massively, which added some much-needed love to the love/hate relationship that everyone seems to have with this particular MMO. I've got my own twisted take on said dynamic, so join me after the cut to celebrate the good and ask for more of it.

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Destiny's level cap is sorta 20, but not really

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

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Destiny may not be an MMO in the eyes of many, but it sounds as if Bungie's designers have got the genre's endgame gear treadmill mechanics down pat.

Eurogamer reports that while the level cap is technically 20, you'll convert post-20 XP into something called Motes of Light, which can then be used to make special armor. Said armor will give you a stat boost that is necessary for some of Destiny's endgame raids.

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RIFT's 2.8 update coming August 6

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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Trion is teasing RIFT's 2.8 update which is currently scheduled to release on August 6th. It's called Madness Wakes, and it's got something to do with "a dream-born invasion rippling through the Plane of Water."

More info is coming next week, according to Trion's news blurb.

Obsidian explains Skyforge's class-swapping system

Fantasy, Screenshots, Classes, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, MMORPG, Skyforge

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Skyforge
Obsidian and My.com are back today with another new Skyforge dev diary, this one a lengthy explanation of the game's class system. Skyforge allows class-swapping that will remind players a bit of RIFT: You'll pick a base class and then unlock intermediate and advanced classes as you play, swapping your current played class along the way. Check out the team's full explanation!

Skyforge: Classes

Many people have made the observation that the Skyforge class system is non-traditional and unique for an MMORPG. Our decision to design our class system this way was influenced by changes we see in gamers. In recent years we've seen a change in the way people play games, specifically, with the new found popularity of MOBA games. They have fast become the most popular online games and are consistently beating records for participation in various tournaments.

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The Daily Grind: Does world PvP have to be spontaneous to be fun?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind

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I love big battleground PvP. I admit it. I may have cut my teeth in the FFA ganker land of classic Ultima Online, but I didn't enjoy it nearly so much as I enjoy two (or three!) huge swarms of people crashing into each other Pelennor Fields style. That's why World of Warcraft's attempt to recreate world PvP in upcoming expansion zone Ashran intrigues me. Yet Massively commenters have criticized Blizzard, suggesting that it's impossible to bottle up the fun of old Southshore and pour it back out into Ashran because Southshore's magic was in its spontaneity.

At least that was the fun if you weren't on a server where your faction just got rolled repeatedly. Or if you weren't a newbie trying to quest in Southshore while the level 60s farmed each other for points. It didn't feel all that spontaneous on my server, come to think of it, since both sides would line up outside the village automatically every day; the vast majority of spontaneous PvP I see on my PvP server is just ganking lowbies or soloers, not the epic GvG sort you tell stories about later. And I'm pretty sure I'd trade the cheap thrill of spontaneity for a fair fight with some real objectives, the bigger the better.

How about you? Must world PvP be spontaneous to be fun?

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!

Chaos Heroes Online MOBA arrives this fall

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

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If it were any more generic, it'd be Warcraft III!
It's safe to say that there are a lot of MOBAs on the market at the moment. Do you want another one? Because Chaos Heroes Online looks as if it's set to be just that. If you've found yourself saying that you've got only a limited number of MOBAs to play and really need another one on the pile, this game will completely satisfy you by virtue of being a MOBA and being released this fall.

Chaos Heroes Online is based on a variant of the original genre-defining Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, and its main claim to fame is offering players the ability to gear up from anywhere on the map rather than requiring anyone to return to base. Beyond that, it offers... well, you can probably guess what it offers if you're familiar with other MOBAs. Because that's what it is. Purely. You can check out the trailer past the cut if you have a mighty need for another MOBA.

[Source: Aeria Games press release]

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The Think Tank: Building an MMO without levels

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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Welcome back to another Think Tank! This week, I charged the Massively team with a single task: Elevator-pitch an MMO without levels. What should an MMO without levels look like? Can it even be done in this modern MMO era? Here's what we came up with -- we'd love to hear your take too.

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The Stream Team: A final farewell to Vanguard as it sunsets

Fantasy, Screenshots, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets

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It's finally here: The end of the world. And that world is Vanguard's Telon. Tonight the game sunsets, and Massively's MJ will be there to wish it a fond farewell while celebrating all that's unique about it. She'll be sharing different Vanguard memories and inviting you to do the same. On top of that, there will be an end-of-the-world party that sails from continent to continent, ending at Ahgram with the biggest barge party. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for the two-hour final farewell.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Project Gorgon seeks Kickstarter funding

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Crowdfunding

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The spider considers its next move.
Is your Kickstarter fund depleted yet? Designer Eric Heimburg is hoping that you've got a bit more money left in there for his small-scale game, Project Gorgon. A long post on the game's official site outlines several major updates to the game's systems as well as what the Kickstarter funding will be used for, with an eye toward an official launch date in fall/winter of 2015.

Heimburg's post explains the current state of the game's testing, including what is working and what is not in the current build. He also explains why some skills level faster than others; Necromancy, for example, requires you to fight a boss, while Swords can be advanced from the start of the game. Take a look at the site if it seems like your sort of game and consider funding it if you like what you see; Heimburg states that while he'd like to bring on additional staff, he won't allow extra funding to change the launch date.

Snail's King of Wushu MOBA gets a new trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, MOBA

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Snail Games' newly announced King of Wushu MOBA is still something of a mystery, but the company has unveiled a new trailer at this week's ChinaJoy 2014. The clip features six playable heroes and some pretty visuals.

King of Wushu is powered by CryEngine 3 and currently slated for the Xbox One and PC platforms. Click past the cut to view the vid!

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Ultima Forever will sunset August 29th

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

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Ultima Forever is unfortunately not so forever after all: EA/Mythic has just announced that its Ultima-flavored mobile MMO will be shutting down on August 29th. Forever.
Strangers, Seekers and Avatars all,

While the past year has certainly been quite the adventure – in Britannia and beyond! – that adventure is now drawing to a close, as the time has come for us to say goodbye. As of Aug 29th 2014 (11:00 AM EDT), Ultima Forever will be shutting down its online services, and will no longer be available to play.

This was a very difficult decision for us to make. We've seen the game through ups and downs, and hope that you've enjoyed playing it every bit as much as we had making it! Through it all, it's been players like you who've made it all worthwhile.
The team says that during this final month of operation, it will boost rewards and drops, halt equipment decay, and cease selling premium currency.

WildStar's Sabotage update is now live

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

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WildStar
PvP fans who were miffed at the PvE focus of WildStar's first major content update, Strain, will be mollified by today's release, Sabotage, which is now live. It introduces a new level 30+ 15v15 battleground called Daggerstone Pass and adds new achievements and decorative housing items -- because nothing says PvP like new housing items.

PvE gamers needn't worry, however; Carbine says "the next drop is for you!"

Massively's WildStar expert Eliot Lefebvre previewed Daggerstone Pass and the rest of the patch earlier this month.

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