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Guns of Icarus Online overhauls progression and matching

Trailers, Video, Patches, News Items, Miscellaneous, Steampunk, Buy-to-Play

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This may have been an ill-considered approach.
The latest patch for Guns of Icarus Online is going to make it a great deal easier for characters to get better. The game's progression system has been completely overhauled, with level now tied to experience earned via matches rather than to achievements. This is accompanied by a reorganization of stats and traits and a bump in the level cap to 45, which will also bump existing characters and give them more levels to play around with.

Said patch also improves the game's matchmaking system, which helps get players into the action more quickly while also providing a more balanced system for everyone. A new tutorial to introduce new players to the game and a spectator system that makes it easier to watch games unfold have also been added, giving players new and old alike plenty to enjoy. Check out the full patch notes or just steal a glance at the video showing off these new features past the break.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR and the transparency dilemma

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Community Q&A, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

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Hyperspace Beacon
This past week on The Republic, I talked to prominent community members about transparency and broken promises in regard to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Both Heather from Corellian Run Radio and Redna from Ootinicast agreed that BioWare's community team has communicated too little and too infrequently with the players and has actually driven people away from the game because of that lack of dialogue.

Also this past week, former Operative Class Representative Snave interviewed Community Manager Eric Musco, asking why the community team has been so quiet as of late and why it promised to deliver information by the end of September but it didn't. Snave also asked why there hasn't been more transparency from community team, especially when Musco specifically said that one of the things that he wanted from the community team was more transparency. Snave accused Musco of speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he said that he wanted more transparency but then wouldn't reveal what was going on with the announcement.

Compounding recent events was a kerfuffle over the ongoing Cantina Tours. Players became upset when the Cantina Tour date for Las Vegas was moved from November 7th to November 15th, even though back in February, Community Coordinator Courtney Woods posted the planned dates of the Community Cantina Tour with the caveat that they were "subject to change."

As a community, SWTOR players don't seem to be happy with or without transparency. The SWTOR community team cannot, as the saying goes, win for losing. What is the solution here? Let's discuss the details and maybe a solution or two.

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Hallowtide begins in ArcheAge today

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge

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ArcheAge
Trion Worlds will update ArcheAge's western servers today with a new patch reverently named Version 1.2 Build 4.13. Notably, it ushers in Hallowtide, ArcheAge's autumn event, which runs until November 4th, when the Conquest of Auroria patch launches. Today's update also includes several gameplay and bug fixes, including bugs relating to trial account chat. The studio has promised a full reveal of Hallowtide later today.

In other ArcheAge news, numerous players and Massively readers report that the free subscription time promised by Trion in compensation for launch issues is not properly triggering on their accounts.

[Thanks, dirtyklingon.]

WildStar reveals big lore drops on the Aurin and the Mechari

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

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Boy, this information could have been really useful back when the game launched, but...
It's time to learn everything about the WildStar races that you were afraid to ask. Or, more likely, that you did ask. There's a lot of lore in the game, but it's possible to miss some pieces of important information, and players always have lore questions no matter what happens. So the team at Carbine Studios asked for player questions, and creative director Chad Moore has posted the first set of answers in the form of pages for the Aurin and the Mechari.

Both pages contain an overview of the racial histories, culture, social structures, relations with other races, lifespans... everything you could want to know at a glance regarding the operations of these species. Veteran players will find some elements of this unsurprising, but there's more to learn and some longstanding theories confirmed (like the functional immortality of the Mechari or the Aurin preference for analogies). Take a look at both pages for more information.

The Daily Grind: Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild?

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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Image courtesy of Joystiq
A recent Gamasutra piece chronicled a monetization design consultant's journey into what he calls a "social elder game." Author Ethan Levy participated in multiple high-end, time-limited guild-vs.-guild events in an unnamed online game to see just how much guild members would need to pay out to keep their guild competitive. Hundreds of dollars later, he was able to push his guild into the top 100 to receive what he called "B tier" gear. In fact, he estimated that the top 100 guilds spent between $85,000 and $100,000 -- just on that one event.

I'm willing to give my guildies a lot of things -- Steam games, a spot on my couch, my old video card, thesis proofreading -- but I wouldn't drop that kind of money just to make us competitive in a video game, especially if I felt a studio was being exploitative with its "social elder game." Would you? Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild? How much?

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!

EQII's Altar of Malice pricing, bonuses announced

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play

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During my recent dev tour of EverQuest II's upcoming Altar of Malice expansion, Senior​ Producer Holly Longdale revealed the new part Shaman/part Warrior elite merc that comes with the purchase of the collectors edition and said "We're really excited about what we're offering there -- some really special stuff this year." And now we've got all those details!

The standard edition will cost $39.99 and comes with a special housing item. This large painting depicts an AoM scene of an angry Lanys T'Vyl and plenty of skulls. The collectors addition for $89.99 adds the elite battle-mystic mercenary Kluuron V'Lon as well a Striped Savage Pterodon flying mount, a tyrannodon house pet, two 40-day spell research potions, three Gems of Armor Advancement, and a multi-appearance mage tower housing item to teleport to the new content. Check out what each bonus looks like in the gallery below.

Altar of Malice is available to November 11th for All Access members (who also get 10% off the purchase prices) and on November 28th for everyone else.

Not So Massively: LoL's world championship victors, Elite's shindig, and Citizen Con 2014

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, E-sports, OARPG

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LoL Samsung White
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 history of EverQuest Next, Cliffs Notes version

Fantasy, Lore, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next

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If there was ever a world with a deep, rich history behind it, it's Norrath. But EverQuest Next is giving its own spin to the lore. If you're tired of feeling left out and clueless in conversations about the Dragon War because you haven't had time to read through the 11 lore e-books that have been published, you've got a chance to get in the know! EQHammer offers a handy Cliffs Notes-style overview that gives fans a foundation of the story, from the formation of the world up though the Combine Era. Go ahead and read through it to grab the major highlights, then you can delve into the full story in the e-books when you find larger chunks of spare time.

Eternal Crusade shows off space marine model updates

Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Warhammer 40k

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Are you a Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade fan? Would you like to see some updated models for the Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine?

You're in luck, because Behaviour has released a two-minute pre-alpha video showing just that, along with some earlier footage for a point of reference. Click past the cut to have a look.

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Camelot Unchained 'in great shape' following first pre-alpha test

Betas, Fantasy, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

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cu
Camelot Unchained's first pre-alpha test wrapped up after running this past weekend, and according to reports from the devs, the MMO saw strong server stability and performance. Mark Jacobs reported that a "vast majority" of testers approved of the detailed character creation system and up to 200 players were able to duke it out in the same battleground area.

"It is safe to say that, considering where we are in development as compared to other games Andrew and I have worked on, that we are in great shape. Especially since we are building almost the entire engine from scratch," Jacobs said.

Camelot Unchained will continue to run pre-alpha tests, with the devs promising "at least one testing day" every week or two.

Life is Feudal reports 100,000 copies sold in the first month

Fantasy, Historical, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox

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If you bought this, please.  Explain why.
After a month of availability on Steam and via its own website, Life is Feudal has apparently sold 100,000 copies. Bitbox has clarified to Massively that the current build of the game "is a 64-player version" and that the "thousands of servers [...] are all persistent."

Producer and project lead Vladimir Piskunov attributes the early success of the title to the freedom allowed for players to build while emphasizing that these sales will help fund the development of the game's full MMO experience. No specific target date for the game's MMO incarnation has been set.

[Source: Bitbox Ltd. press release]

ArcheAge jumps into Raptr's 10 most-played games in September

MMO Industry, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

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raptr
ArcheAge is seeing its debut month popularity reflected in Raptr's own tracking, as the digital service saw the MMO rise 25 spots as it transitioned from beta to launch. "Based on current trends, ArcheAge has a good chance of remaining in the top 10 in October," the company predicted.

Other MMOs in Raptr's top 20 include World of Warcraft holding strong at #2 as well as Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, Warframe, and Star Wars: The Old Republic vying for spots #12 through #15.

Guild Wars 2 teases upcoming festivals, living story season conclusion

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Lore, Previews, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
ArenaNet's Colin Johanson has penned a new Guild Wars 2 dev blog teasing just what the remainder of the fall season will bring for the two-year-old MMO.

Outside of ANet's e-sports push, the game's buzz has been relatively subdued since the second feature pack released in early September. That will change tomorrow, October 21st, with the arrival of the much-loved Halloween festival; Wintersday, the winter festival, is scheduled to kick off on December 16th. "Both of these releases," Johanson says, "will feature the same content as last year but with refreshed rewards, giving you fun new festival-themed items to earn."

Season 2 of the living story itself returns from intermission on November 4th, having been on hiatus for just under two months. Johanson promises the plotline will feature "stories with roots deep in the very heart of Guild Wars lore" and an "unforgettable" final episode for the season.

Massively Interview: Spinning Neverwinter's tall tales

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

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neverwinter
Massively: Today we're joined by Neverwinter Senior Content Designer Randy Mosiondz to talk about the game's story. So Randy, how does the story of Neverwinter run parallel to the pen-and-paper campaign and how does it differ? In the cases of its divergeance, why did the team take those paths?

Randy Mosiondz: In Neverwinter we usually try to parallel a lot of the Forgotten Realms story development that Wizards of the Coast has been doing over the last few years. At launch, the majority of our adventure zones were based on stories were being told in the Realms, primarily focusing on Valindra, the Crown of Neverwinter, Gauntlgrym, and the aftermath of the Spellplague. One of our main sources of inspiration was the D&D 4th edition Neverwinter Campaign Guide, which had a number of great story seeds.

We did add a number of new zones that were not directly connected to that book but were still drawn from Realms lore. In a lot of these cases we simply wanted to make sure there was enough variety in storylines, environments, and monsters you encountered to ensure we covered all of the high points of the D&D adventuring experience. Whenever we do this, we consult with Wizards of the Coast on a weekly basis to ensure these storylines match up to their expectations of what fits in the Forgotten Realms.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's post-fanfest shakedown

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

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Honestly, if the existence of the cash shop is the only rude surprise awaiting us, I'll be happy.
So Final Fantasy XIV players like yours truly have a mouthful of fanfest information to chew on. How did it all shake down, in the final assessment?

Well, I'm not going to lie: My aim was mixed at best. A minority of demo stations covering content I hadn't anticipated, patch 2.4 a week after my prediction, and mentions of 2.5 in brief. But we did get gear details and an expansion announcement. I'd call it a mix and a wash, at the end of the day. You tried, gold star, etc.

But enough about what I did and didn't get right; there's plenty more to talk about from the various panels, the Live Letter, and other revelations. So let's start in on it, kicking off with the elephant in the room that I've already been hearing about for the entirety of the past day for obvious reasons. Yes, it's a cash shop.

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EVE Vegas 2014 roundup: Tech 3 destroyers, permadeath and more

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

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An event that started out several years ago as an impromptu EVE Online player gathering, EVE Vegas has grown so large that this year it was was officially taken over by developer CCP Games. This year's event was organised like a mini-Fanfest, with Executive Producer Andie Nordgren's keynote address and some interesting talks from both players and developers. Players got a chance to compare notes with developers on the game's recent progress, CCP let out a few exciting reveals, and the whole event was streamed live to viewers at home for free.

This year's big reveal was a new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class that can transform into one of several tactical configurations mid-fight to boost power to the engines, shields, or weapons as required. We also heard rumblings of new "glass cannon" weapons that deal increased damage but lower your ship's damage resistances, and CCP tested the public response to the controversial idea of adding permadeath characters to EVE. Player talks were equally informative, giving insights into the world of nullsec Fleet Command and the custom Region Commander software that the game's biggest coalitions use to maintain their grip on power.

If you missed out on the event, read on for links to Massively's coverage of the stream or to watch the stream recordings for yourself.

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LEGO Minifigures Online shows off the Space World

Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

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It's the Space Police!  We're guilty!  The crime?  Not being in space!
Space is big. Really big. You wouldn't believe how vastly, mind-bogglingly huge it is. I mean, you might think it's a long way from your bed to your computer, but that's just peanuts compared to space. So while labeling a single area in LEGO Minifigures Online as the "Space World" might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, just think of it as a sampling of the mind-boggling hugeness of what space has to offer. In this case, it's aliens and evil space marines.

A new video is now available showing off the Space World and everything that players can do therein: fighting off alien invaders, huge robots, strange wildlife, and flying saucers. Yes, it's all a bit silly and strange, but when you're marching into battle with a team consisting of a pirate, a DJ, a guy in a chicken suit, and a knight, you kind of expect to be thrown into strange scenarios. Check out the video just past the break.

[Source: Funcom press release]

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Path of Exile video reveals the shocking truth behind Update 1.2.4

Fantasy, Video, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

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path of exile
This week Path of Exile will get a substantial content upgrade to version 1.2.4, and we've got a preview video to share with you that covers its highlights.

One of the big additions with 1.2.4 is an electrifying Lightning Tendrils, along with new store options and the Herald of Thunder. The patch will be dropping on Wednesday, at which time the team will also post the Race Season Nine schedule.

You can watch the video after the jump!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best fishing?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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I've always liked fishing in MMOs. Funnily enough I don't care for meatspace fishing all that much, but sitting on a virtual dock reeling in catch after catch never gets old.

ArcheAge has taken my appreciation for MMO fishing to a whole other level, though. I'm still fairly newbish at it, but I did land my first successful sport catch the other day, and it's a ton of fun to go cruising around the ocean looking for telltale flocks of birds before chumming up the water and settling in for a lengthy battle with a sturgeon.

What about you, MMO fishing connoisseurs? Which game does it best?

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!

MMO Week in Review: Drifting back to World of Warcraft

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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WoW
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

This week, World of Warcraft saw subscriptions rise to 7.4 million ahead of its long-awaited pre-Warlords of Draenor patch. Meanwhile, news rolled in from EVE Vegas, where CCP and players discussed the ships of the Rhea update, the allure of spaceship spreadsheets, the importance of community involvement, and the new player experience and potential for permadeath.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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