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Valiance Online is coming soon to Steam early access

Betas, Super-hero, City of Heroes, Miscellaneous

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valiance online
Great news for Valiance Online, as the fledgling superhero title announced recently that it has been voted onto the Steam Greenlight program by the community.

This means that Valiance Online will "soon" be available to play through the digital platform via early access. The team said that it still discussing its release and pricing plan, although fans can currently access it in the open pre-alpha test going on right now.

Valiance Online is making good progress as a City of Heroes spiritual successor and even picked up a former artist from the sunsetted superhero game in December.

Chaos Theory: These are a few of my favorite Secret World things

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

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Chaos Theory:  These are a few of my favorite Secret World things
There's a lot about The Secret World to like. So much so, in fact, that you just can't name it all in once place! I've had to split talking about the best parts of this conspiracy-laden masterpiece into a number of different Chaos Theorys, from my favorite first moments to amazing NPCs to fabulous places to favorite missions. Even Massively's Justin Olivetti chimed in with his favorite characters. But not even that can cover it all. That means today I'll tackle another topic: my favorite things. TSW has a plethora of little gems scattered throughout the game that enhance the play experience and attest to the level of detail put into development. And I'll totally go all Julie Andrews and sing their praises, hilltop or not. I only have so much room, however, so these are my top choices; be sure to add your own in the comments below!

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Sail to Tyrant's Throne with RIFT 3.1

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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rift
RIFT's Patch 3.1: Storm at Sea came out yesterday, building upon the water-based madness that came with last fall's Nightmare Tide expansion.

The biggest addition to the Plane of Water is the Tyrant's Throne zone (which is so very fun to say six times fast), which includes five new story quests that cover the tale of Crucia's horrible experiments. The patch also adds three zone events, more planar attunement levels, a new nightmare rift type, a new chronicle, and improvements to the minion, dimension, and crafting UI systems.

Perfect Ten: My top 10 top 10 lists

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

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futurama
I've been doing top 10 lists here at Massively for well over four years now, mostly as a public service to make you feel good when I forget something that should really, truly belong on a particular countdown. On a biweekly basis I got to plaster the front page of the site with garish cartoon pictures -- and my editors never said boo about it.

Some of my lists were tongue-in-cheek, some were heavy-duty research, and some were off-the-top-of-my-head-because-I-had-a-deadline crazy. As I look back over the field of weird and wonderful lists that I've made, I can pick out a few of my favorites. So today let's look at my top 10 top 10 lists here on Massively with a little color commentary.

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Skycastles coming to TERA on February 24

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, TERA, Housing

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Have you recently come home to TERA? OK, maybe you never left. Either way, En Masse is betting you'll get excited about the Skycastle guild housing system that's heading your way on February 24th.

The castles float above major cities and are available "to the top-ranking guilds on each server via two new ongoing four-week guild competitions that track guild points earned from dungeons, battlegrounds, and guild-vs.-guild battles," according to an En Masse press blurb.

The patch will also include a new dungeon set aboard the Sky Cruiser Endeavor as well as a hard-mode version of Bathysmal Rise.

[Source: En Masse press release]

The Daily Grind: What's the ideal guild size in an MMO?

Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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Last week, a Massively commenter mentioned that he was in a 700-person guild in The Elder Scrolls Online. Yep, you read that number right! He inspired an impromptu discussion about the problems inherent in a guild of that size, such as the difficulties of managing it, the potential for dozens of smaller cliques, and the frequently negative impact a big mob of people can have on a server community and a game's development.

Personally, I found that a 50-person guild was a real challenge to lead well; I prefer a much smaller group, 20 members or so, just enough that I feel I know everyone well and there aren't competing cliques of people creating drama. Conveniently, that's the kind of guild I'm in, too. How about you? What's the ideal guild size in an MMO?

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!

The Stream Team: Accessing Aion's Abbeys

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

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As Aion just opened the new Abbeys (a place for returning players to grab some bonuses before heading out into the wilds of Atreia), now is the perfect time for Massively's MJ to unfold her wings and dive back in! She'll be dusting off her Elyos Cleric and setting out to explore the familiar lands -- and maybe even poking into a few new places. Join us live at 8:00 p.m.to check out this new permanent feature.

Game: Aion
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Leaderboard: When did you start reading Massively?

MMO Industry, Leaderboard

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This site has been around a while. Not as long as some, but still a while. For today's Leaderboard, tell us how long you've been around Massively. Assuming it's more than a week or so, you already know that there's a poll just past the cut.

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One Shots: Shroud of the Santa

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Shroud of the Avatar

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sota
Well, this pleases me like punch: One Shots' very first Shroud of the Avatar screenshot submission! I recall thinking that this indie MMO looked so much better than I previously thought when I got my hands on it last August, so I'm glad to see Massively readers going on a photo safari in it.

Reader JohnD is responsible for this unusual sight: "Here is a shot of Johanis Lolar, who is busy adventuring. I'm not sure his Santa cap helps him blend, but he's doing his best."

I always like to assume that Santa spends his off-season lurking in weeds and ambushing stray travelers with presents, so this picture plays into that fantasy. What? I'm normal; my parents had me tested.

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Global Chat: Can MMO stories rise above mediocrity?

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Allods Online, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, The Elder Scrolls Online

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tsw
Players have long debated the importance, relevance, and quality of stories in MMOs. Some have called for an abolishment of dev-driven narrative entirely, some enjoy what's there, and some have pressed for better writing and storytelling techniques. This week we'll hear from one blogger who is struggling with "mediocre" stories in MMOs and what might be done with them.

But wait, that's not all! We'll also hear from writers about MMO inventory systems, aging games, and how pretty much nobody in the world was shocked when Elder Scrolls Online ditched its sub.

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Get your free League of Legends soundtrack now

Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, MOBA, League of Legends, Music

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lol
You know what's awesome? Free stuff. Free stuff is awesome. And League of Legends is notable for giving away free goodies over the years, so we're not surprised to see that Riot's put the game's brand-new soundtrack album up on the site as a free download -- before it's going to be sold elsewhere.

So if you want to get 15 generally excellent tracks (we know; we've listened to it), then head on over and snag it now!

New Das Tal vid explains combat, playstyles, and more

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

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Das Tal's devs have released a new video and are currently adding player settlements, resource warfare, crafting, and progression to the PvP sandbox, according to a new press release.

The video runs for nearly 10 minutes and explains a good bit about the game's combat abilities. It also summarizes possible playstyles based on weapon and armor choices, as well as a high-level look at the game's "MOBA meets MMO" combat system.

Click past the cut to see for yourself!

[Source: Fairytale Distillery press release]

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I just reupped my sub so FFXIV is having a free weekend

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV

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Last night I re-upped my Final Fantasy XIV subscription. Naturally this made it an ideal time for Square to announce a free weekend for its fantasy MMORPG.

I haven't been in the game since late 2013, and given my dissatisfaction with pretty much everything at the moment, I figured why not return to a fun title that treats crafting (and fishing!) as more than a half-assed sideline activity.

So, yep. That's pretty much that. Free FFXIV weekend -- for inactive accounts -- from Friday, January 30th through Monday, February 2nd. Have fun!

[Source: Square press release]

The Daily Grind: What long-running bugs are you dying to see fixed?

Bugs, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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swtor
There are few things more aggravating than long-running bugs that impact you daily and have never been fixed by the team. That picture right up there? That's one of the very few screenshots that Star Wars: The Old Republic has allowed me to take due to an inconsistent glitch that goes practically back to the launch of the game. Since it's been around for so long, I have severe doubts that it will ever be addressed at this point.

I'm sure that this is not the only long-running bug out there that annoys players, so let's give free rein to our petty gripes today! Which ones would you love to see fixed?

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!

The Stream Team: Accessing Albion Online's winter alpha test

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team

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It's back to bunny butchering for Massively's MJ -- if she can manage to do it! Albion Online has started its winter alpha test, and MJ excitedly jumped in to explore more of this game. And then she remembered: In order to make armor and weapons so she can explore, she's faced with having to participate in a few rounds of bunny punching. (Let's not even remind her of the skinning sounds!) Can she do it? Or can she find something a little less cuddly that will work? Or maybe she won't even worry about new clothes and just become a farmer instead! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for a look at how far Albion has come since its summer test.

Game: Albion Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shards producer letter talks maps, admin servers, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox

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We've been wondering what's up with Shards Online, and today we're learning a little bit about that via its new producer's letter.

Looks like the team is "making progress on the first map and getting the server in the hands of early admins." Project lead Derek Brinkmann has also been "working to optimize the Lua script engine to make sure we have the ability to support enough servers" for those early admins.

There's much more to the report, but you'll need to visit the official Shards website to read it!

[Thanks Omedon!]

Firefall video previews Amazon Warzone

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

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firefall
Listen up grunts, did you honestly think you'd live forever? Well, you won't. No sir, you're going to head back to the front lines of Firefall with its upcoming patch and probably die. Then we're going to drag your corpse back to the base, jolt it with enough juice to make you glow in the dark, and send your reanimated wimpering frame into even more harm.

But that's the fun, eh?

Firefall's posted a new video that highlights the big upcoming patch. Features incoming include the Amazon Warzone, the big game hunt, the reputation system, and improvements to loot and ranged weapon modules.

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Jukebox Heroes: The quieter side of LotRO's soundtrack

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Jukebox Heroes, Music

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lotro
Yes, I'm kind of nuts about the Lord of the Rings Online soundtrack. It could be because I've played this MMO more than most any other at this point, but I like to think that it's also due to a really well-done score that does more for world-building than most soundtracks.

Even though I've talked about the soundtrack as a whole, interviewed Composer Chance Thomas, discussed my favorite housing themes, and reviewed both the Riders of Rohan and Helm's Deep scores, there's still more that I wanted to cover.

Today, I want to share with you exactly why I love this soundtrack: for the quiet moments. There are a select few tracks that are nearly ambient but are also perfectly immersive. I can't help but get kicked in the feels every time one of these comes on, and I know that for years to come I'll have fond memories of LotRO whenever I play them. Let's get a little mellow and hear the whispers of Middle-earth today.

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Bungie aims to fix parts of Destiny's economy in House of Wolves

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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For a given value of fix, obviously.
Bungie made some mistakes with the first bit of Destiny DLC. That's not editorializing; that's a takeaway from a post that designer Luke Smith made regarding mistakes that will not be repeated for the game's second bit of downloaded content, House of Wolves. Smith explains the shard economy essentially functioned as a barrier to prevent people from actually equipping their shiny new pieces of kit, thus invalidating and minimizing the effort put forth by players.

Ultimately the goal is to make reaching level 32 with gear easier while giving players more incentive to keep tweaking their setup via new upgrades and better traits on items. Smith also states that the economy is not going to be adjusted this tier simply to ensure that the people who have already put this much work in will not find themselves invalidated again. It's a change to be made moving forward, one that will hopefully improve everyone's experience in the game once the second DLC update drops.

Crowfall's Legionnaire is a four-legged powerhouse

Betas, Fantasy, Screenshots, Classes, Crowfall

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crowfall
Today's a series of firsts for Crowfall reveals. It's the first glimpse of the game's second announced class, the Legionnaire. It's the first look at a character who is other than human -- and is in fact a Centaur. And it's the title's first in-game environment screenshot.

Crowfall has also posted a handy FAQ that goes into depth about the character creation process, teases Mac support, and eschews traditional MMO levels as a means of progression.

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
GDC March 2, 2015
PAX East March 6, 2015
EVE Fanfest March 19, 2015
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015
E3 Summer, 2015
SOE Live Summer, 2015
Gamescom Summer, 2015
PAX Prime Summer, 2015
DragonCon Fall, 2015
BlizzCon Fall, 2015

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
Eliot Lefebvre Contributing Editor
MJ Guthrie Contributing Editor
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