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Win part of a $50,000 pool at Guild Wars 2's PAX East tournament

Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
Fancy yourself a not-half-bad PvP player? Are you keen on the notion of winning enough money to avoid work or school for a year so that you can concentrate on MMO gaming? Then step right up to Guild Wars 2's World Tournament Series Championship at PAX East next spring, where the winners will dip into a $50,000 prize pool.

The tournament will take place on March 7th, 2015, at the gaming convention in Boston. Players from several countries are welcome to face off against each other, although teams will have to compete and win in earlier qualifiers to make it to the championship. You'll have to be at least 18 and from the US, Canada, Mexico, or the EU to participate. A cool perk of making it to the championship is that ArenaNet will foot the bill for teams' airfare, hotel, and a per diem.

Marvel Heroes adds Venom, throws 50% off sale

Super-hero, Classes, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Promotions

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marvel heroes
'Tis the season for deep discounts and disturbing heroes, as has come to pass in the merry lands of Marvel Heroes. The jolly figure known as Venom has come to distribute pain, suffering, and alternative dental plans for those who pick this new playable figure.

The Marvel Heroes team is also offering a half-off sale on most -- but not all -- of the in-game store. This includes many of the title's heroes, costumes, team-ups, and pets. And even if you don't want to spend money, you'll still be getting treats all month with the game's Winter Wonderland & Season's Givings event. Presents and buffs will be available all over the game, in addition to new daily log-in rewards.

War Thunder's Steel Generals expansion beta is live

Betas, Historical, Galleries, Screenshots, Video, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS

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War Thunder
War Thunder, Gaijin Entertainment's WWII-flavored MMO, updated with its Steel Generals patch this week, just ahead of the holidays. It includes new vehicles, tow cable mechanics, retooled artillery strikes, and new damage modeling. Gamers can also jump into three new maps: White Stone Fortress for air and ground battles, an Eastern Europe map with "varied open ground and urban terrain features," and the massive air-combat Battle for Moscow, which reconstructs the city during the Winter Campaign of 1941-1942. The Steel Generals content, however, "steals" the show:
The biggest addition to War Thunder with this update is the beta of the Steel Generals expansion, which includes the first six American tanks available now. By the end of Q1 2015, more than 30 US WWII tanks will be available. This release schedule allows Gaijin Entertainment to test each of the tanks to ensure that they are ready for battle when commercially launched. In honor of the update launch, special packages are available for purchase that contain premium US tanks and other bonuses alongside closed beta access. Players can participate in the Steel Generals beta by entering into contests and in-game events in War Thunder.
Check out the new screenshots and walkthrough video below.

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Albion Online's winter test begins January 26th

Betas, Fantasy, Sandbox

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albion online
Backers of Albion Online have been sitting on their hands for a while now, waiting for the next alpha test of this isometric sandbox. The good news is that Sandbox Interactive has announced that the alpha winter test will begin in a little over a month on January 26th.

There will be plenty of new and updated systems to check out during this testing cycle, including an extensive farming system, consumables, more weapons, more skills, and player and guild islands. Another significant change is that players can flag themselves as friendly or hostile in PvP areas, effectively adding consensual PvP into the game.

Albion Online's winter test will be available to legendary ($100) and epic ($50) founders and will last for four weeks.

Trove introduces the Ice Sage

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, Trove

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TROVE
It's that time of year again when the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and a disproportionate number of songs playing everywhere you go relate to ice crystals covering the ground. (Unless you live south of the equator, in which case you're just wondering what we're on about.) To accompany the winter weather, voxelbox MMORPG Trove has introduced its newest class, the Ice Sage. You can probably guess what that one's all about; the name is not exactly a mystery.

Ice Sages chill enemies with their basic attacks and avoid slipping on icy surfaces. They can also summon icicles, absorb attacks, and create a deep freeze in their immediate area to freeze and damage enemies. If that sounds cooler than being cool, you can pick the class up in the in-game store now.

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: MMO of the Year

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards come to a close today with our 12th and final award, this one the biggun (and usually the most contentious): our MMO of the Year. To be eligible for this award, MMOs must have launched in 2014, full stop. (If you want to know what would win the staff's best-MMO-ever vote, it's Star Wars Galaxies, and now I've saved us all that discussion, and you're welcome.) All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Best MMO of 2014 is...

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Elite: Dangerous scores a HUD color mod and grats from Chris Roberts

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

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If the people making their living this way can be civil, you can do the same in the comments, hmm?
The stage was set for a truly epic battle of words with the launch of Elite: Dangerous. In one corner, David Braben and Elite, a project that's launched and offers a space sandbox experience with the controversy of a removed offline mode. In the other corner, Chris Roberts and Star Citizen, another space sandbox that hasn't actually launched but hasn't managed to irritate its fans yet. The intense rivalry between these two developers is... well... it's nonexistent, actually, as Roberts recently released a letter congratulating Braben and his team on the launch and wishing them the best of luck.

Roberts states in the letter that he's happy to see more games like Elite: Dangerous on the market; he says everyone benefits from having the game on the market, especially since his game and Braben's game both feeling distinct from one another. He also states that he's looking forward to playing the game himself during his time over the holidays. And thus the battle of words never happened because the rivalry doesn't actually exist. Hint, hint.

In other Elite: Dangerous news, an intrepid modder has released a tool to help players change their UI HUD colors. How cool is that?

[Thanks to Oliver, Cardboard, and Carson for the tips!]

Skyforge demos the Paladin and the Cryomancer in a solo dungeon

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Skyforge

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This looked far better than it had any right to.
The latest video from Skyforge isn't a trailer. It's all gameplay footage, and it's all about showing off how two of the classes function in combat and what players can expect from the game's solo dungeons. Development director Eric Demilt and class designer Aidan Karabaich take two of the game's starting classes, the Paladin and the Cryomancer, through the Lanber Catacombs while narrating how the combat systems and ability mechanics work.

The Paladin, as you'd likely expect, is as tanky as you'd like and features a variety of sword swipes, holy bolts of damage, and drawing in enemies for large attacks. The Cryomancer, meanwhile, focuses on control, creating decoys, and blasting groups down after they're frozen in place. The video also shows off solo mechanics like environmental puzzles and solo bosses. If you've got a chunk of time to sit down and watch it (it's 14 minutes long), check the whole thing out just past the break.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you wish you hadn't waited to try?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, OARPG

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Marvel Heroes
Marvel Heroes is one of those MMOs (OK, pseudo-MMOs) that I reaaaaallly should have given a try a long time ago. Diablo-clone? Check! Superheroes? Check! Picking cars up and slamming them into the pavement? Check! Loot falling outta the sky? Check! When I finally gave it a spin earlier this month, I felt silly for having waited so long, but I kept telling myself it wasn't different enough from the OARPGs I already had to make it worth the download.

Plus, lookit how pretty this part of the UI is. I mean, that is color wheel gamer nirvana right there. I can't even explain how much I want to hug this tab. Happy Christmas to me; now I have a new game with a ton of content stocked up and just waiting for me.

What about you, Massively readers? What MMO are you kicking yourself for not having tried sooner?

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 Think Tank: Massively's MMO industry predictions for 2015

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous

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SWTOR
It's that time of year for looking ahead and trying to predict just what will happen in the MMO industry in the year ahead of us. Will we play it safe this year or predict all sorts of wild and crazy things that everyone can quote and laugh about next December? Magic 8 ball says yes. Go big or go home when it comes to predictions!

Join the Massively staffers for this next-to-last Think Tank of the year and share your own predictions in the comments.

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The Stream Team: CM Ryan Collins dishes on Marvel Heroes' X-23 and Venom (who launches tomorrow)

Super-hero, Video, Classes, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

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The new heroes (and villains) may be coming too fast for Massively's MJ to keep up, but that won't stop her from checking out every single one in Marvel Heroes! And this time around, she has Creative Designer and Community Manager Ryan Collins to help show the newest additions off. Not only will Collins demonstrate X-23, but he plans to dish some details on Venom as well. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to revel in the newest heroes and ask those burning Marvel Heroes questions!

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MechWarrior Online patches in 64-bit client

Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, MechWarrior Online, MOBA

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mwo
If you want to hang with the cool kids, you're going to want to ditch that creaky 32-bit client and get with the sleek 64-bit crowd! It worked for the Nintendo 64, and it's now working for MechWarrior Online.

As part of the big patch rolling out today, MechWarrior Online is offering an "experimental release" of its new 64-bit client. This client supposedly uses all available RAM for better performance, but can be only handled by 64-bit versions of Windows.

Other changes with the patch include several UI improvements that will make it easier to see who is queueing up for matches and which side is winning certain territories.

EVE Online and DUST 514 celebrate the holiday season

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Sandbox, Subscription

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It's usually hard to find a way to mention a good year and DUST 514 in the same space.
The year is wrapping up and EVE Online players are getting presents to celebrate. CCP Games has posted a short recap of the past year and an announcement of the holiday gifts players can expect to receive as a paid subscriber. That includes snowballs, fireworks, jackets, and a set of trinkets to commemorate the past year. Players can also look forward to 20 free days of multiple character training as a final additional gift. All of these promotions are available until January 11th.

Meanwhile, for those of you who prefer to explore this particular universe via a console shooter, DUST 514 is having a holiday event with its 12 Days of DUST. Starting on December 25th, each day will bring a new reward to players who finish three daily missions, so you'll have to keep playing through January 5th to unlock all the rewards. A special reward is awaiting those who clear everything, so get strapped in and ready to shoot if you want to celebrate the holidays that way.

Allods Online grants players two weeks of a free sub

Fantasy, Business Models, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Promotions, Subscription

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Allods
Allods Online is one of the few MMORPGs in existence that began free-to-play and added a subscription server well after its original launch. And as part of its winter holiday celebration, Allods is granting everyone the chance to play on that subscription server for two weeks -- entirely for free.
From the 18th of December until the 1st of January, all Allods players - veterans and newcomers alike - will be granted two weeks of free subscription time for the premium server "Smugglers Paradise". If you have never played on the server before, now is a good time to check it out - while those who already play there will gain two weeks of extra playtime. We hope you enjoy this New Year gift - and don't forget, we've got many other events and celebrations on the horizon as well, so stay tuned and enjoy the festivities!
The Allods team is currently toiling away on its Brothers in Arms patch, which is set to include "multi-personnel combat mounts, additional PvP skirmishes with new objectives, new PvE adventure mechanics, and many other improvements," according to a dev blog posted to the official site yesterday. Unfortunately, the dev diary vid is in Russian, so you'll just have to take the official site's word for it.

Camelot Unchained prepares to cross $3M in fundraising

Betas, Fantasy, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

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camelot unchained
As of the writing of this post, Camelot Unchained is on the verge of hitting $3M in fundraising donations at $2,952,875. City State Entertainment said that when that already-impressive sum climbs to $3,025,000, the team will sign on a sound engineer to kick the game's audio up a notch.

"Part of this goal will cover licensing the Audiokinetic Wwise engine and technical support for it, as well as some great plug-ins, while the rest will go toward the salary and expenses of the sound engineer," CSE posted.

To help prompt more of those donation dollars, Camelot Unchained began selling unveiled lifetime subscriptions today at the builder's level.

Black Desert is officially in open beta... in Korea

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Classes, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Hands-On, Sandbox, Black Desert

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Black Desert
Still pinning hopes and dreams on Daum's breathtaking sandbox MMORPG Black Desert? If you're in South Korea, those hopes and dreams are a reality this week, as the game officially entered open beta in that region yesterday.

Blogger Steparu has already posted one video from the event, a snapshot of progress on a mid-level Sorceress. We've included it below. If you're bilingual and already enjoying the game, we'd love to hear about it, as those of us in the West will be waiting until at least 2016.

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World of Warcraft proposes tradable subscription currency

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Previews, Subscription

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wow
Six-point-one. That's all you World of Warcraft players need to hear to get psyched for the new year. The dev team took a brief pause in rolling in all of the money from Warlords of Draenor sales to talk about what's coming up with Patch 6.1 as well as a proposed new subscription currency.

The patch, which will go into testing soon, will contain improvements to garrisons, a legendary follower, the ability to send tweets from the game, the new Blood Elf models, shorter flight master routes, incentives for visiting friends' garrisons, and the new heirloom collection tab.

Even bigger than this news is word that Blizzard is "exploring" adding a subscription currency that sounds like EVE Online's PLEX. The proposed idea would allow players to buy and sell game-time tokens for in-game gold: "Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system."

Claims that MMOs are a 'threat to public health' are 'exaggerated' says new study

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

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Dr. Rachel Kowert, lead author on the relationship between shyness and online gaming paper that we covered back in October, has just released another study relating to MMOs, this one investigating the psychosocial causes and consequences of online video gameplay.

Due to be published in the science journal Computers in Human Behavior in April 2015, the paper seeks to improve on past research that links online video gaming to loneliness, depression, social anxiety, poor self-esteem, and social incompetence. Kowert and her colleagues from the Universities of Muenster and Hohenheim studied 4500 gamers over 1- and 2-year periods to determine whether negative psychological traits are a consequence of engaging in online games like MMOs or simply act to draw people to online games that help them compensate for those negative traits (the "social compensation hypothesis").

MMORPG gamers will be happy to know that the findings suggest that the latter is true; no, your MMOs won't make you depressed or suddenly unable to manage interpersonal communications:
The results uncovered here do not support the claims that exposure to, or prolonged engagement within, OVG [online video game] spaces negatively impacts players' psychosocial well-being. In that respect, concerns regarding OVGs being a threat to public health seem to be exaggerated. These findings do, however, provide the empirical evidence for a social compensation model among young adult participants, indicating that OVGs have likely become alternative social outlets for young adult players with [low] social and psychosocial resources, as reflected by lower reported life satisfaction and social competence.
In fact, the effect was strongest for young gamers: "For adolescent players, being a member of the online game playing community was found to bolster their reported life-satisfaction."

Stay tuned later this month for a full Massively report on Kowert's MMO-related research.

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Steam discounts lots of MMOs for the holidays

Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

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Steam
Steam's winter sale is upon us, which means it's time to celebrate the season the way gamers do: by opening up our wallets. Here are just some of the MMOs running sales through Steam: Anybody spot anything else?

The Secret World's Christmas Conspiracies event takes the stage

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), News Items, The Secret World, Buy-to-Play

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What's Christmas without a clown and a chainsaw? Nothing -- if you're in The Secret World. The game that excels as conspiracies has turned one into a holiday event for players to unravel. It all starts with attending a show at London's Albion Theater and winds its way through gathering clues and solving Musical "Magic Flute" puzzles, even discovering Old Saint Nick's tomb.

And what's a Christmas without gifts? TSW offers new pets like an undead polar bear, funky hats, and more outfits and costume pieces -- including a carrot nose -- in the Rucksacks of Saturnalian Delights. The bags are rewards for finishing the holiday missions as well as available in the item shop. As during the Halloween event, players who purchase a special bag (this time the Bag of Wassail) in the shop to share with players will be rewarded with an all-new dance.

As in years past, previous holiday events are also live and running. However, the launchpad warns players that the End of Days event is currently experiencing issues and the team is working to resolve them.

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
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H1Z1 Early Access Jan. 15, 2015
PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
GDC March 2, 2015
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015

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