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PlanetSide 2 smashes world record for biggest FPS battle

Sci-Fi, PlanetSide, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

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ps2
Those of you who turned out to help PlanetSide 2 set a world record this past Saturday now have the satisfaction of knowing that you're officially a part of gaming history.

The Guinness World Records title for "Most Players Online in a Single FPS Battle" was set by the combined efforts of three factions and 1,158 players on January 24th in the game. The immense fight took place in a single instance and surpassed the previous record holder of Man vs. Machine, which reached only 999 players in 2012. The title will be included in the Gamer's Edition of the World Records.

PlanetSide 2 Producer David Carey wanted to thank those who participated, adding that this put the title right back where it belonged: "PlanetSide held the original record for this achievement and we're thrilled to have officially taken it back with PlanetSide 2."

[Source: SOE press release]

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV 2.5 dungeons

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

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Being the champion after all.
I mentioned a while back that it was kind of neat how the whole setup of Final Fantasy XIV had come full circle. At the start of the 2.0 patch cycle we were scurrying away from tonberries and bashing our heads against Demon Wall; in the final patch, we're back to both of those spots, along with the oft-seen and never-explored Keeper of the Lake in the midst of Mor Dhona's wreckage. It's a neat counterpoint.

Having played through all of the dungeons now, well, you get to rescue tonberries. That alone makes the last set of dungeons worthy.

As in every set of dungeons, there are winners and losers amidst the bosses, good points and bad ones. The dungeons as a whole are very reluctant to let you do much speeding through, with pulls being pretty aggressively gated. So let's talk mechanics, let's talk atmosphere, and let's carefully coach you through the process of kicking the crap out of your final expert roulette competitors.

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PAX South 2015: Why aren't MMOs more social?

World of Warcraft, Culture, Economy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Endgame, Star Wars Galaxies, Virtual Worlds, Events (Massively's Coverage), Crafting, MMORPG

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PAX Panel
On Friday, Alex Albrecht from ZergID and formerly of the Totally Rad Show headed up a PAX South panel about the social side of MMOs, inviting Patrick Mulhern from Lorehound, Jenesee Grey from Camelot Unchained, and me to join to discuss community in MMOs and why it's seemed so absent in recent years. Meg Campbell from YouTube moderated the panel discussion, calling us the PAX MMO guild.

I admit that I considered naming this piece, "How Star Wars Galaxies did everything right and World of Warcraft did everything wrong" because I am obviously biased. But I really was completely surprised at how much SWG came up during the panel. Many former Galaxies players will tell you that there was a lot about that game that was pure crap, but when you talk about the social implementations of SWG, there just aren't many games that compare.

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Defiance developers answer a dozen player questions

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance, Buy-to-Play

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We hope you like shooting, because it's all shooting from here on out.
Good news, Defiance fans: Your questions have been answered. Assuming that your questions were closely tied to the 12 questions answered here, of course. Otherwise your questions remain unanswered. But if you want to know more about expeditions or the upcoming Alcatraz hub, the answers have you covered. Whether or not you'll like the answers is another story entirely; expeditions are very much about straightforward shooting engagements with a full group using a drop-in-drop-out approach to forming a party.

At this point there's no exact ETA for when the Alcatraz update will be available on the game's test server, although the developers are hopeful for "soon." The answers also discuss some long-standing issues and a few bugs as well as take on the issue of character customization, which isn't going to be expanded any time soon. Even if your question isn't among the ones answered, it still would behoove Defiance players to take a peek at what's in store for the game.

PAX South 2015: Moonrise and State of Decay shine at the Undead Labs booth

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Buy-to-Play

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Undead Labs
Most media appointments at an event like PAX South 2015 work like this: You meet the person you're supposed to meet, that person shows you the game her studio is working on, and then you rush off to the next booth on your list while cursing yourself for not scheduling time for a snack. Undead Labs handled my PAX appointment a bit differently, sitting me down for back-to-back play sessions with brand-new tablet game Moonrise and a remastered version of State of Decay, the zombie survival game that put the studio on the map.

It was a little jarring to go from adorable pet battles to being torn in half by a zombie, but the two-for-one session provided a nice glimpse of where Undead Labs has been and where it intends to go.

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The Elder Scrolls Online answers player questions on its buy-to-play model

Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

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It's fine.  I'm fine.  We're fine.  Everything is fine.
Even if you were among the many players predicting a business model shift for The Elder Scrolls Online, a change in business models can be kind of disturbing. Suddenly the game doesn't behave according to all of the same rules you've been familiar with since launch. To help alleviate that confusion, the ESO dev team hosted a quick question-and-answer session with players over the weekend to help answer some of the major questions about the change, the next major patch, and balance issues moving forward in the game.

To start with, if you've still got time cards for the game on your desk, fret not; you can still use them after the model transition to add the equivalent amount of subscription time to your account. You might want to use them ahead of time, though, since there are plans to add in a special veteran reward for players who stayed subscribed during the game's entire subscription lifespan. DLC prices are not finalized, but they are intended to be around the normal DLC price points for other games. Take a look through the whole of the answers for more details on balancing and issues like controller support.

The Daily Grind: Did you get anything out of PAX South?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Citizen

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PAX South came and went, and outside of the jumpgate and mobiglass UI reveals for Star Citizen, none of the news coming from the con really interested me. What about you, Massively readers? Did you get anything out of this year's PAX South?

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: Expansion or riot

Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

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GW2
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.

You gotta love a week with tons of huge MMO news! Guild Wars 2 avoided a riot by announcing its first expansion, The Elder Scrolls Online revealed it's going buy-to-play ahead of its June console launch, and Star Citizen declared that its persistent MMO portion will roll out to testers this year. Meanwhile, PAX South has wrapped up; here's a look at what we've published so far:
PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns
PAX South 2015: Garriott and Long talk Shroud of the Avatar
PAX South 2015: Camelot Unchained's proactive community management
PAX South 2015: Hangin' with Frontier, playin' Elite on the Oculus Rift
PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year
PAX South 2015: Notes from a Star Citizen town hall
PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic
PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be
PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience
Read on for the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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PAX South 2015: Camelot Unchained's proactive approach to community management

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

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A different kind of community management
In the crowdfunded independent industry, we are starting to see some ups and downs. Backers have seen some games fail and other games soar. One of those games that seems to be doing very well, at least if you ask its Community Manager Jenesee Grey and its legions of fans, is Camelot Unchained. At this weekend's PAX South, I spoke to Grey about her experience as a CM for a crowdfunded game.

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One Shots: Haiku edition

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Elite: Dangerous

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ff14
Believe it or not, I have been listening to you guys in the comments, and I know that there's been an ongoing desire for One Shots to provide the full-size pictures that are otherwise shrunk by our size limitations. So I'm happy to announce that starting this week, I'm including a gallery at the end of the column that will allow you to pull up larger screenshots if so desired.

A few weeks ago I issued a screenshot challenge for folks to send in a haiku poem in addition to their picture. A select few of you did, starting with this striking pose from Final Fantasy XIV by reader Wolfyseyes:

Facing this challenge
One thought repeats in my mind:
Please, please, please don't suck

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MMO Burnout: Engineers in spaaace

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Sandbox

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I missed the whole Minecraft craze. I was stupidly grinding my virtual life away in various MMORPGs, plus I couldn't get past Minecraft's so-fugly-it's-hip aesthetic. No matter, though, because Space Engineers takes Minecraft's core concepts and dolls them up with pleasing visuals, a nifty near future sci-fi setting, and addictive gameplay that's much more than the sum of its parts.

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PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, PvP, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

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Gigantic
Motiga's Gigantic is one part Team Fortress, one part Dota, and one part Monster Hunter. The basic match structure will sound familiar to MOBA lovers -- two teams of five slug it out for superiority by controlling resources, leveling up, and killing one another -- but the skill-based mechanics, multiple maps, and shifting strategy priorities make the game more than a three-lane farm fest. Gigantic isn't about last-hitting or memorizing meta. Instead, it's about slaying giants and aiming true.

I hopped in on a quick Gigantic match with some other press folks this afternoon at PAX South 2015, and in the midst of delivering an absolute drubbing to the scrubs (kidding!) on the other side of the table, I was able to get a feel for the game's combat system, characters, and the way its massive guardians change the way battles play out.

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PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
ArenaNet's Mike O'Brien and Colin Johanson (and Commander Shepard) took to the PAX South 2015 stage yesterday morning to announce Heart of Thorns, the first-ever expansion for Guild Wars 2. If you're not up to speed, check out our post covering the announcement and the official site to get the broad strokes on the expansion's new zone, new profession, new progression system, and more.

News of the expansion raised many a question from our readers (and our staff!). Massively's Larry Everett and I sat down with O'Brien and Johanson to try to get those questions answered and dive a little deeper into the changes coming to Guild Wars 2's living world.

And no, there isn't a release date.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO devs cause you to follow a project?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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Raph Koster's involvement with Crowfall has increased my interest in the game. I still doubt the title is for me, but given Koster's role at the forefront of my two favorite MMORPGs, I kinda have to pay attention.

What about you, Massively readers? Are there any MMO devs whose involvement causes you to follow a project?

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!

PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

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Charr v Dragon
As MMO players surely know by now, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion ever for the ArenaNet MMORPG. In fact, most everyone suspected the announcement thanks to the leaked trademark information. But that didn't stop fans from being excited about it, nor did that bit of information satisfy their hunger.

The emcee for the reveal event was none other than voice actor Jennifer Hale, whose voice players might recognize as Queen Jennah's. President and CEO of ArenaNet Mike O'Brien and game director Colin Johanson teased the PAX South crowd of over 1,500 fans waiting in the main theater. But the anticipation for the new expansion started well before anyone even came to the stage.

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Make My MMO: January 18 - 24, 2015

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen's release window made headlines, as did the new VAT tax that's about to hit Euro fans of the space sim opus. We also heard from TUG and Shroud of the Avatar, while Pantheon hosted a dev roundtable and promised a public vision.

Click past the cut for our weekly crowdfunding news roundup.

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Norrathian Notebook: Five reasons to support EQ Next and Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

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I like Landmark and am looking forward to EverQuest Next. There, I said it. It should be no surprise. And as such, I certainly have a vested interest in how these games fare throughout their development and launch. I want to see them succeed. But the thing is, so should you -- whether or not you actually want to play them.

Unfortunately, it seems all too fashionable lately for folks to tear something down instead of build it up. So often when I'm following the discussions about EQ Next and Landmark, I hear plenty of reasons why folks don't like the games, and the reasons frequently have nothing to do with the games themselves. Detractors are going on about longstanding gripes and grudges instead of judging the games on their own merits (a practice that the whole world could certainly do without). Amid all the scathing comments I've heard directed at SOE for slights real and imagined, one recently gave me pause and made me reflect on the reasons that supporting these two MMO endeavors is worthwhile.

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PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvE, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

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The Untitled Game, better known as TUG, is one of the many recent titles that have earned a small crowdfunding fortune by shouting the word "sandbox" as loud as the internet will allow. The game's initial Kickstarter campaign raised $293,000; launching on Steam's Early Access marketplace helped Nerd Kingdom rake in an unspecified amount of additional dollars. The studio had a bold plan for an open-world, innovative crafting MMORPG, and it appeared as though players were ready to pay for it.

Things haven't gone so swimmingly since then. Funding issues in late 2014 forced the studio to lay off around half of its staff. Many MMO industry followers have been wondering whether the project will ever be released or it's just another crowdfunded pipe dream.

I took a look at TUG on the show floor at PAX South 2015 and talked to COO Brennan Priest about crowdfunding, layoffs, and killing things with axes. The one thing I can say for sure is that there is definitely a game here, and it seems as if it could be a good one.

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PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

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Pax South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plan for the year
When Eric Musco, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager, took the stage at the Community cantina last night at PAX South, he revealed that in 2015 the team wants to do something a bit different with this and future cantina crawl events. In the past, it has been policy not to reveal anything at the cantinas; they were intended to be social events where players could get some face-time with the developers of the game that they both enjoyed. However, going forward, the community and development teams have decided that each cantina will reveal that had not been mentioned before.

The reveal at this weekend's cantina came in the form of the yet-to-be-published producer's letter by Bruce Maclean. The completely made-up story is that it was stolen from his computer while he wasn't looking and printed out to share with us at the cantina.

After the break, you'll find a copy of that letter as it was dictated to cantina goers. The caveat, of course, is that this is not the final version of the letter that will appear on the official site in two weeks, so everything is subject to change.

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PAX South 2015: Notes from a Star Citizen town hall

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

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Star Citizen
Star Citizen is such a big fancy deal that instead of having a panel or booth at PAX South 2015, Cloud Imperium booked a theater down the street and hosted 10 straight hours of forums and chit-chats with backers. That's right: There wasn't enough room in the PAX convention hall to accommodate all the Star Citizening Star Citizens needed to Star Citizen, so they had their own one-day mini-convention dedicated just to their game of choice.

One has to respect a development team willing to spend the entire day with its community (for a nominal fee, of course). I'm sure Star Citizens were absolutely amped to pay the same amount of money as a PAX day pass to hang out with CI all day. Unfortunately, I attended only the evening town hall with Chris Roberts, which I would describe as impenetrable to anyone without a license to pilot one of Star Citizen's $350 ships.

I did take some notes. I will try to parse them here.

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