Allods Online redesigns its June Catacombs trials

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Dev Diaries

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allods
After identifying "a few flaws" in its June Catacombs trials, the Allods Online team is preparing to overhaul the experience with the upcoming 5.0.02 patch to make it more fun and less predictable.

In the first round of the revised trials, players will be chasing after golems in order to destroy them for their Amalgam packages. During the second round, players will each have a fair shot at winning a race -- but this time as a golem with four abilities. And the third round will forbid mounts from being used and decrease the effectiveness for invisibility spells.

Global Chat: Let it go

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Star Citizen

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frozen
Now that I've cursed your day by triggering that earworm song from Frozen, you're probably going to be in a grumpy mood. Don't fret; snow empowerment isn't the only way to set you free. Sometimes it's the well-penned prose of MMO bloggers who put to the page what only previously existed in your thoughts.

On today's edition of Global Chat, one blogger and developer has a gaming heresy to share, another has a few harsh words to say about crowdfunding, and a third thinks that the future of the genre is all in getting smaller, not bigger. Check out these great posts from the past couple of weeks!

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The Stream Team: Seeking chaos with Dota 2's ability draft

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

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Dota 2 Ability Draft
One of the most important steps in mastering a MOBA like Dota 2 is developing a deep understanding of every hero's skills. When you know what a hero can and cannot do, you can play effectively both as that hero and against him/her. But what happens when you take hero abilities, stick them in a blender, and force players to fight using whatever skills they can grab? Ability Draft, that's what.

Join Massively's Mike Foster at 7:00 p.m. EDT as he investigates Dota 2's Ability Draft mode (by viewer request!), where skills are picked up à la carte and chaos reigns supreme. He may win, or he may lose, but in Ability Draft, it's more about the journey than the destination.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Get free gifts for Wizard101's birthday

Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Wizard101, Giveaways, Anniversaries

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The magical world of Wizard101 turns six years old today, the perfect age for reveling in gifts and fun! Along with the in-game festivities that include decorations and secret hidden gift-giving packages (even the chance to catch a rare mystery fish!), all players can get a free birthday gazebo for their homes as well as 6,000 gold in honor of the game's sixth birthday. But the presents don't stop there: A new candle on the Wizard101 cake will reveal yet another free item each week throughout the month of September! Additionally, there will be special offers available to in the Crown store, including two brand-new items: the six-year-wizened Grampa Piggle pet and an updated Birthday Snack Pack. To join in the revelry, jump in game and visit the official site to grab your special gifts.

PAX Prime 2014: World of Warships balances historical accuracy with big boat fun

Betas, Historical, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Warships, MOBA

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wows
A warship is understandably larger and more complicated than a tank or plane, which is why Wargaming is diverging slightly with its third online title. At PAX Prime, I sat down with the dev team for World of Warships to see how the alpha is progressing and what a fleet of ships looks like with all guns blazing.

There are four types of ships from which players can choose when they step into a match. Destroyers are smaller and faster with torpedoes, battleships are hulking gun platforms, and cruisers are straddling the line between the two. Then there are carriers (which we did not get to see) that eschew big guns for a squadron of planes to send out. Unfortunately, submarines aren't part of the mix, as the team decided that they wouldn't be fun for this type of game.

Each ship is as historically accurate in its looks and is hideously detailed, with up to 500 parts and 270,000 polygons. This detail comes into play when ships are damaged in certain sections, disabling features and abilities. The team is planning on launching with around 75 ships between the starting nations of the United States and Japan.

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The Stomping Land vanishes from Steam

Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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Things aren't looking good for fans of The Stomping Land, a dino-themed sandbox that made the leap from a successful Kickstarter campaign to Steam earlier this year.

Gamasutra reports that the game still has a Steam store page, but purchasing options have been disabled. Developer SuperCrit last issued a statement in August regarding the decision to upgrade the game engine from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4.

PAX Prime 2014: Tome makes for a more aggressive MOBA

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

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tome
One interesting trend that I noticed among the up-and-coming MOBAs that I previewed at PAX Prime this past weekend was how there's this real desire to challenge the status quo and cut out what's hurting rather than helping the genre.

Tome may not look much different than its contemporaries, with a grounded fantasy setting and typical setup, but underneath the hood it's sporting a few ideas that should make it more friendly and convenient to a larger audience. The team's decided against including last hitting while putting in handy features such as healing quickly and buying items anywhere while not in combat.

Another core principle of Tome is that it embraces aggressive gameplay. Matches should take 12 minutes or less to complete, with design elements such as hardier minions and limited ammunition towers making turtling an undesirable option.

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See RIFT: Nightmare Tide's underwater vistas

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Expansions, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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RIFT
RIFT: Nightmare Tide is not only shaping up to be one full-featured expansion for later this fall, but a darn good-looking one at that. We've got 10 new screenshots from the expansion for you to check out including the minion screen. And while you're at it, why not read our PAX Prime preview of Nightmare Tide?

PAX Prime 2014: Upsilon Circuit debuts to the public

Betas, Sci-Fi, Previews, Free-to-Play, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage)

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upsilon circuit
I'll echo what Eliot wrote back at PAX East earlier this year: Upsilon Circuit is almost certainly one of the strangest and most intriguing video game concepts I've ever seen. Part Diablo clone, part Smash TV, part Hunger Games, and part Max Headroom, it's a virtual game show there eight contestants fight to stay alive while the larger player audience helps or hurts the contestants as they wish. This is all overseen by a Ronald Reagan-ish game show host who will snark and deadpan the proceedings.

The Robot Loves Kitty dev team said at this year's PAX Prime that the genesis for Upsilon Circuit came from seeing the surge of popularity for folks who watched other people livestream games. Why not take that voyeurism and make it more interactive? Thus, Upsilon Circuit was born.

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WildStar announces megaservers

Sci-Fi, PvP, PvE, WildStar, Subscription

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wildstar
WildStar will be cleaning up its server list and condensing populations in the future, as Carbine Studios announced today that it will be implementing megaservers for the game. The team did caution that it "still some ways away" from the change but wanted to get the news out now.

"Going the megaserver route means that we vastly increase server capacity allowing for greater critical mass of our player base, resulting in more people, more groups, more activity and more raids... more of everything that makes WildStar so fun," the team posted.

The new megaservers will eliminate the old rulesets and replace them with one PvP and one PvE server per region (North America and Europe). The region lock will still apply, however. The team will also be putting specific chat channels (such as roleplay or French) to offset this elimination of old rulesets.

All players will be getting an increased number of character slots to 12 when the megaservers go live, and Carbine will be adding last names to avoid name conflicts. In the meantime, Carbine is allowing for free realm transfers for everyone.

Guild Wars 2's minipets move into the wardrobe

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
The ever-so-popular wardrobe in Guild Wars 2 is getting several upgrades with this month's features pack. A new dev diary posted today lists the benefits coming to the fashion conscious among us, including a search feature, a separate section for outfits, and a new finishers panel that delivers previews.

Probably one of the biggest changes coming to this screen is that all minipets will be moved out of the bank and into this UI. Once players select a mini from the bank or inventory, the game will destroy the item and unlock the mini for use account-wide. Players won't just select and preview minipets from the wardrobe, but they will be able to equip it in a new slot. Equipped minipets will show up automatically even after waypointing into a new map.

Star Trek Online announces more Voyager cast members in Delta Rising

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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STO
When you're out exploring the Delta Quadrant, you want people around you who have been there before. It's a big, unfriendly place, after all. Star Trek Online players will have a bit more help than they had previously expected, though. In addition to Tim Russ (Tuvok) and Garret Wang (Harry Kim) reprising their roles from Star Trek: Voyager, Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), and Robert Picardo (The Doctor) will be making appearances in the game.

No details on these appearances have yet been revealed, although Neelix is likely still in his role as ambassador, and the game's backstory has Seven of Nine working with the Daystrom Institute. It's likely that more lore will be uncovered as the expansion approaches its release this fall.

[Source: Cryptic Studios press release]

Final Fantasy XI previews Incursion battles, September version update

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

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We're going deep inside here.  What?
Ready to strike against the heart of the Velkk kingdom in Final Fantasy XI? The new Incursion system will allow players to do just that, rewarding combatants with experience points, capacity points, and of course, plenty of loot. The dungeon can also scale its difficulty upward, posing an ever-greater challenge for larger groups and more experienced players alike. All players need are Velkk Fetishes looted from Marjami Ravine, with a minimum of six people allowed in; monster HP will increase for larger groups.

Once inside, players will have 45 minutes to tackle the battles within, including six Notorious Monsters wandering the area. Collecting key items from those Notorious Monsters will allow players to face a harder version of the Incursion the next time around, improving rewards all around for a successful clear. Check out the full preview for all of the details on how to take the fight to the heart of enemy territory.

The team has also released more details on the upcoming September version update.

Flameseeker Chronicles: What's next for Guild Wars 2?

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

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Amhlaigh one year later!
Happy second anniversary, Guild Wars 2! We've heard news on the September feature pack, did a cupcake run for ArenaNet to celebrate (I heard that there were bacon cupcakes, but why would you do that), and got some previews of the profession balance changes we can expect to see soon.

As happy as I am about that cleave on Necromancer's mainhand dagger, updated axe animations, and being able to resurrect others while in Death Shroud -- and I think the other professions got some stuff, too -- it's been a rocky few weeks for GW2. We've had the privilege of having an unusually close relationship with the developers behind our favorite game, and unfortunately that can lead to tempers running hotter when things go awry. Nevertheless, I think most of us would like to see that relationship continue to flourish and improve. So what went wrong?

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LEGO Minifigures Online rolls out a mythological update

Betas, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids, Family

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It's not mythical, that would mean it didn't actually exist.
With a month or so to go before LEGO Minifigures Online fully launches, the game has brought forth its biggest update yet. So what does it contain? Nothing less than the new Mythology World, which also brings an increase in the level cap to 25 along with its new areas and monsters. The area also continues the main story if that's more of your thing.

Aside from the new area, the Series 11 minifigures have been added to the game, along with the first batch of cash shop figures that includes the Yeti, the Mountain Climber, and the Pretzel Girl. Players can also find their friends more easily with the addition of a friend code, and the loot system has been overhauled to allow players a chance to build minifigures from loot. Check out the full set of update notes for more detail and get building in the game if it's just what you've been waiting for.

Previewing LotRO's Dead Marshes patch on the test server

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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These don't look too lively.  I suppose that's the point.
The next major update for Lord of the Rings Online is up on the test server now. If you want to explore Update 14.2, you can. But what if you aren't in the mood for going through the process of a beta install just to wander around in the new area? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just get a quick look at the zone without having to roam about yourself?

Good news, then, as a new video from LOTRO Players highlights the Dead Marshes and what players can expect in the new zone. The patch is quite large for a small update addition, and it contains some new enemy arrangements, some new pets, and plenty of new activities for players. Check out the full video just past the cut if you'd like to take a tour without going yourself.

[Thanks to Andang for the tip!]

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Pumpkin Online Kickstarter promises farming and dating

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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Yeah, it looks rough, but the idea is great.
If you've ever spend hours plugging away at Harvest Moon and thought that the game would be better if it were online, Pumpkin Online is aimed directly at you. The game is on Kickstarter now, and it's intended to be a combination of the best elements of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing while also creating a robust environment for players to work, craft, and interact together.

Players will have access to a variety of professions and goals as well as the ability to customize the inside and outside of their farms. They can also pursue friendly or romantic relationships with the townsfolk, with an emphasis on inclusive relationships and character options for all players. As of this writing, it's about halfway to its goal, so if you like the idea of an inclusive game or just want to farm with your friends, you might want to toss a few dollars into the bucket.

PAX Prime 2014: I wonder as I Wander

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Consoles, Casual, Events (Massively's Coverage)

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wander
We've been keeping our eyes on Wander for a year now, and during PAX Prime I caught up with Lead Developer Loki Davison to see how this collaborative exploration title's been going.

For someone who only now got a first look at this game, it was a jarring shift from the adrenaline-fueled rides in booths all around. Instead, Wander is something akin to an interactive nature screensaver. You slowly move through the beautiful tropical setting to poke around looking for secrets and more scraps of the overarching story. There is no death. There are no other creatures, except for fellow players. And your top speed is capped at something like two miles per hour.

Davison said that this style of game is meant to be both relaxing and rewarding to the inquisitive mind. Discovery and sharing those findings with other players to figure out the larger secrets is the driving force here, but if you simply want to walk around as a giant tree with hands or flutter about as a butterfly, nobody is going to stop you.

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Black Desert gets an official Russian trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

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Back in the 90s, I was in a very famous TV show.
If your eyes are closely fixed on Black Desert, you're probably soaking up any piece of information you can get about the game. So you'll be happy to learn that an official trailer is now available. The down side is that it's in Russian, which will render the words of the trailer a bit impenetrable to those who don't speak the language.

Then again, language hurdles have always been an issue for fans of this game in America, and you can still enjoy the game footage just past the break. There's no announced release date on these shores, but with a certain publisher lined up, it's only a matter of time.

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Destiny unveils more raid details

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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They're like every raid except now they're in a FPS, basically.
Destiny is coming out very soon, and that means future players are probably thinking about what the endgame will be like. The latest update on the official site shares some more details about how raids will work in both Normal and Hard modes and elaborates on the differences between difficulties. In short, Normal mode is meant to be far easier and allow for more diverse clearing strategies; Hard mode demands coordination and execution.

Opening raids for the first time is meant to be challenging; the devs shared an anecdote about players taking 45 minutes just to get in the front door. The developers are confident that players will be able to tackle raids more quickly once the raids are better known. There's also discussion about the weekly lockout, which will save your progress as you move through the raids. Take a look at the official update for more details.

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Destiny September 9, 2014
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