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MMO Week in Review: No one wants to say goodbye

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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The last moments before the fall of Dalamud.
At the end of every week, we've been rounding up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then presenting 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 is our final week to say goodbye. We have nothing but thanks and praise for our readers, even the trolls. We have a lot of memories we've shared over the years. And we know that you guys have lots of memories of the site that you've been reading for the past several years.

But as Freddy Mercury said, the show must go on. So jump on past the break one last time to hear all about the other top MMO stories of the week.

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EVE Evolved: The end of EVE Evolved

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Guilds, Lore, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, Sunsets, MMORPG

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¥ title image
By now, you will have heard that Massively is being shut down along with Joystiq and countless other blogs run by AOL. That unfortunately means this will be my final article for Massively and marks an end to the nearly seven-year run of the EVE Evolved column, which now holds over 350 articles on topics ranging from ship fittings and opinion pieces to guides and expansion breakdowns. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your readership and to express just how much playing EVE Online and writing for you really have impacted my life.

I've been asked by so many people over the years for tips on breaking into the games industry as a journalist or MMO blogger, but the truth is that I lucked into this gig. When a post on the EVE Online news page said that some site called Massively was hiring an EVE Online columnist, I almost didn't bother applying. I was a prolific forumgoer back then and had written some guides for EON Magazine and my own blog, but I wanted to get into game development and had very little confidence in my writing ability.

What I didn't know then was that writing for Massively would help improve my writing skills immeasurably and even help give me the confidence to launch my own game development studio. Massively gave me a platform on which to talk about EVE Online and an eager audience to share my game experiences with, but it turned into something much more profound. There have been low points dealing with trolls and organised harassment and tough times with budget cuts, but there have also some incredible experiences like attending the EVE Online Fanfest, investigating monoclegate, watching CCP redeem itself in the eyes of players, and collaborating with some of the best writers in the games industry.

In this final edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the start of the EVE Evolved column, break down my top ten column articles of all time, and try to put into words how much this column has meant to me over the years.

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EverQuest producer's letter looks to the year ahead

Fantasy, EverQuest, Events (In-Game), Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play

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New year, new-ish year, same diff.
The luster on 2015 has come off at least a little bit by now, but that doesn't mean that it's too late for the EverQuest team to start looking to the year ahead, and it's going to be a big one for this classic MMO. The most recent producer's letter looks to the upcoming year, starting with Erollisi day to serve as a suspiciously similar substitute to Valentine's Day. You know how these things work.

Moving along through the year, the development team is looking forward to celebrating the game's 16th anniversary, along with an improved looting system and a stream of steady updates to the game. There's a lot of life left in the original EQ, even with the next big installments of the series just around the corner. If you'd like to see what the next year will hold, read the full letter.

FACTIONS: Origins of Malu opening early access in 'a couple weeks'

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Origins of Malu

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After Origins of Malu got the green light on Steam, developers went to work getting the sci-fantasy sandbox ready to release to players on that platform. All that work is about to come to fruition: Producer Michael Dunham told Massively that the early access release for the game's PvP build is only a couple of weeks away. FACTIONS: Origins of Malu is launching an invite-only closed release to ensure the systems are in check as far as user capacity, client integration, and the like today, February 1st, 2015; the EA will follow shortly after. Dunham anticipates early access to open before the 15th.

To learn more about FACTIONS and future plans, read our exclusive interview with Dunham, then check out MassivelyTV on Monday, February 2nd, at 9:00 p.m. EST for a special Stream Team sneak peek of the game with devs.

TUG's multiplayer has arrived

Betas, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Miscellaneous

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Where else can you hunt cats inefficiently in a group?  Aside from poorly planned trips to adoption centers.
The team behind TUG is about to let you play in the sandbox with your friends. The most recent update on the game's Kickstarter page includes multiplayer support so that you can built shelters with all of your friends. Moreover, this update adds in non-blocky voxel support. You won't just build houses out of dirt blocks; you'll build smooth, sprawling mansions! Out of, um, dirt. That part needs a bit of an update.

You can check out the video just past the break for a comprehensive look at all of the features being added with this next patch to the alpha client. There are also several bug fixes and usability improvements for the client, including tweaks to rid the game of issues with small rocks and seed growth and improvements to tool use factors. If you're an alpha tester, the game you're playing will be that much better after the patch.

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Camelot Unchained offers a status update for the end of January

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Camelot Unchained

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A lady archer unlike any you've seen before, unless you've played Final Fantasy XIV.
So, is Camelot Unchained going to have those alpha servers ready in February? That's a great question! No, really, it is; the most recent official development update makes it clear that even the staff is unsure whether they'll be ready to go, as the team is currently a bit short on programmers and is trying to make do. A lot of bugs have been fixed up and several of the items on the game's update checklist have been crossed off, though, and the team is confident that any delays will be for less than six months.

The update post also contains new concept art for camouflaged archers as well as a mission statement regarding some of the systems that should be coming to the test version soon. If you can't wait to see the latest news on the game's progress, head along and check out the full update now.

Pantheon removes its web store

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

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There's not a lot of blood coming out of this stone.
If you were waiting to grab something from the website store for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, you are now officially too late. A forum post this week states that after internal developer discussion, the devs made the decision to remove the store in prep for a redesign of the interface and a re-evaluation of the various items up for sale.

Any orders already placed via the store will still be honored, so you don't need to worry if you had purchased something just before the shutdown. The post also makes note that if the store is brought back, no items with any sort of statistics or concrete advantages will be sold there, although there are no hard and fast decisions about when or whether it will be brought back. Of course, it's probably a little early to be worrying about that anyhow, but points for thinking ahead.

The Daily Grind: Why do you love your favorite game?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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I can also describe it in many sentences.
Yes, we know what's coming. But we don't want the next few days to be a cavalcade of sorrow because this is a site and a community built around our shared love of MMOs. So let's spread some cheer today. Why do you love your favorite game?

I make no secret about my affection for Final Fantasy XIV, obviously. It's a great game that fuses progress organically with stuff that you'd have fun doing anyway and gives you no shortage of freedom in what you want to do in the game. It's a great time.

But my favorite game might not be yours. So let's share. No bashing, no whining, no complaining; let's make this a positive time for everyone. Why do you love your favorite game, be it a critical darling or a title you feel doesn't get nearly enough love?

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!

WildStar outlines its plans for the future of PvP

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

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Here comes the face smashing.
Do you want to smash faces on Nexus? Do you not give the smallest toss about being able to unravel ancient mysteries so long as you can find the opposite faction and crack their collective skulls? Then good news, cupcake: WildStar still has PvP on its docket. A new post outlines the game's plans for PvP in 2015, starting with new daily and weekly PvP quests in the next major patch to the game.

What else is coming in 2015? How about gear sets that can be purchased with gold, a removal of rating from higher-tier PvP sets, the end of season 1, and same-faction battlegrounds? Because those are all in the pipeline, along with bigger improvements for later in the year. If you just can't get enough of that factional warfare, check out the full post and get ready to carve up the other side.

[Thanks to Cap for the tip!]

SWTOR dishes out punishment for a major exploit

Sci-Fi, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

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Ravagers
Last last week, BioWare community manager Eric Musco wrote a detailed post regarding a recent exploit that's plagued the PvE endgame for Star Wars: The Old Republic, explaining the planned punishments and the team's reasoning behind them.

"We didn't take these actions lightly," Musco posts, "and reviewed every account to determine where we could be lenient. From our end, this was a no win situation. We feel responsible for allowing the exploit to occur and remain in the game for an unreasonable length of time, but we also cannot and will not condone cheating."

Penalties applied to the affected accounts ranged from a warning and one day ban to even full and permanent suspensions. Musco finished up the post by encouraging players to continue to report potential exploits as soon as they are found.

Massively Speaking Episode 331: The long goodbye

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking

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Recent events call for a total podcast party, dontcha think? Join us for one last episode (or is it?) as the entire crew recounts favorite Massively memories and says goodbye (for the moment!) to our wonderful listening audience.

NSFW warning: The stinger on the end is not safe for work or children.

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Get organized with The Elder Scrolls Online's collections system

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

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Chase the shiny!
So you have a whole lot of stuff in The Elder Scrolls Online. That's great. How are you going to organize it all? With a house? Don't be ridiculous; what you need is the new Collections feature going live in the game's next major update. A new development blog explains how the system will allow players to organize mounts, pets, and costumes through a few tabs and a handful of blood sacrifices. (Mostly the tabs.)

Items that belong in Collections will automatically be moved over when Update 6 goes live, removing any need to worry about inventory space when you need to summon a mount or don a costume. Any new items will also be tossed right in your Collections if they fit the criteria. The Collections also allow you to see vanity pets that you haven't yet obtained, thus giving you all the more reason to hunt down those elusive little critters for your collection-related purposes.

The Stream Team: Popping back into The Repopulation

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, The Repopulation

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Sandbox Saturday continues! Massively's MJ loves the freedom of this genre, and The Repopulation definitely has plenty of sand in its box. The hardest part is choosing what to do each time she logs in. Will MJ actually settle on a specific weapon type, or will she just dance the hour away? Maybe she'll grind up her storytelling skill! Heck, MJ might even finally leave the starter area! Join us live 2:00 p.m. for another romp through this sci-fi world.

Game: The Repopulation
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, January 31st, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: More Albion Online winter alpha adventures

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Livestream, The Stream Team

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When you have a whole month of Albion Online alpha, you take advantage of it! Massively's MJ is jumping back in to pound rocks, chops trees, slice and dice heretics, and get ill at the sounds of skinning. What better way to spend a Saturday? Join us live at 12:00 p.m. for another look at this developing sandbox.

Game: Albion Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, January 31st, 2015
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Richardsson replacing Caron atop 40K Eternal Crusade

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

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Behaviour Interactive's Miguel Caron is leaving his post atop the Warhammer 40,000 Eternal Crusade dev team. MMOGames reports that Nathan Richardsson, familiar to MMO gamers from his stints on Defiance and as an executive producer for EVE Online, is succeeding Caron.

War40k moderator Vigilia Mortis posted his farewell to Caron on Twitter yesterday, telling fans that the switch will be final around Valentine's day.

WRUP: Trolls and all

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Ok, so I smudged the comments a bit
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you point out to me that it hasn't been six months yet. But what are you going to do about it -- fire me? Man, this kinda stuff still makes me grin, and I will miss you, my favorite trolls and all.

Why are we still doing this? Because this is what we do.

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The Daily Grind: Do you make tributes to the lost?

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

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I'm not sorry I met you.
There are games I will remember for the rest of my life, even though they're gone. I still have all of my screenshots from the vigil in Atlas Park when City of Heroes was on the chopping block. I have documents I wrote up for defunct guilds in games I no longer play. My wife and I wrote up stories about the ultimate fates of our characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic when we realized we were probably never going back.

Some goodbyes are more permanent than others, but for some people, goodbye is a chance to move on and never look back. For others, even though you say goodbye, you keep a piece of it with you. You make a tribute. So what about you, readers? Do you make tributes to the games, online friends, guilds, and even periods of time that are gone forever? Or are you the first to say out with the old, in with the new?

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!

Betawatch: January 24 - 30, 2015

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

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In the last act, people still await revivals.
Valiance Online will soon be available on Steam Greenlight, making it the first of the spiritual City of Heroes revivals to make it to that hallowed step. That's right, folks, we were the sacrifice required to save City of Heroes. We would have brought back Star Wars Galaxies too, but you know, it's almost February, and ewoks in cupid wings? No. Jump on past the break for our list of other games in testing!

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The Stream Team: Drowning my sorrows in Landmark

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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So by now it isn't really a secret that things are a-changin'. And because they are a-changin', Massively's MJ is not going to spend this last Landmark stream doing the beginner tutorial for crafting that was planned. Nope -- she's going to drown her sorrows., all while celebrating the first anniversary of the sandbox! Maybe she'll have a sit-in protest at the bottom of the ocean, or maybe she'll just visit as many taverns and bars as she can to show off the awesome builds players have created. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. to commiserate together and see cool stuff.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, January 30th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Hunting for friends and foes in H1Z1

Betas, Video, PvP, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, The Stream Team, H1Z1

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Knowing where you are in H1Z1 is not nearly as important as others not knowing that particular info -- especially if you want to survive on the PvP servers. Massively's MJ is heading back into the free-for-all fray that's filled with foes (and only a few of those are zombies!). How well will she fare this time around? Armed with more knowledge about crafting -- and hopefully more weapons -- MJ plans on making the most of one hour. Will she witness any hizzy (H1Z1, get it?) fits out in the wilds? It depends on how much human contact she has! Join us at 2:00 p.m. for this latest apocalyptic adventure.

Game: H1Z1
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, January 30th, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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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
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BlizzCon Fall, 2015

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
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Massively Speaking Episode 331: The long goodbye

Latest episode: Saturday, January 31st, 2015

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