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The Daily Grind: Do you defend your favorite MMO?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online

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I think I'm getting old, because there was a time when I'd wade into a forum discussion about my favorite MMO and defend it to the death against all comers. I still catch myself doing that on occasion, but said occasions are getting rarer. The passion hasn't gone anywhere, but I'd rather just go play it than argue about it, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you defend your favorite MMOs?

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!

Line of Defense's Derek Smart recaps ongoing test phase

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries

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Line of Defense
3000AD's Derek Smart has penned a new Line of Defense developer blog outlining the current state of the MMOFPS title's early access test phase. Smart explains that more than half of the game's world stations have been opened to testers so far, with two more stations expected to open soon. The final four will unlock when aircraft are patched in.

Smart also says that his team is working on a public roadmap website so that players can track release progress and vote on new features. He thanks his testers for their patience with the "staggered" test schedule. " It is for the greater good," he writes. "Been doing this a very – very – long time, so you just have to trust that I know what I'm doing."

Earlier this fall, Line of Defense launched on Steam's early access program, but an error allowed the public to download the game without paying for a founder's pack, leading to negative reviews when the games were confiscated and eliciting a fiery response from Smart.

The Stream Team: Pumpkin carving in Landmark

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

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If you hadn't noticed, Halloween is almost here! And Massively's MJ still hasn't carved her Landmark pumpkin yet. That means she has to dive in and get cutting in order to have it done in time for the holiday. Now the question is, what to carve? MJ invites you to come put your creative touches on the soon-to-be masterpiece. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for some slicing and dicing, Landmark style.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Path of Exile now accepting Karma Koins

Fantasy, Economy, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Path of Exile

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poe
Do you need an alternate way to make purchases in Path of Exile? Yesterday, Grinding Gear Games declared to the world at large that it would also be accepting Karma Koins as payment. These are basically point cards that you can pick up from a variety of retailers for $10 to $50 each.

As an incentive for players to try out the Karma Koin system, Path of Exile will give out a Voidgate Portal effect for everyone who uses a card. Karma Koin claims to donate 1% of sales to charities, including one that brings drinking water to families in Cambodia.

[Thanks to Ville Uusitalo for the tip!]

Final Fantasy XI wants you back really bad

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions

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Final Fantasy XI is dangling quite a few incentives for adventurers considering a return to Vana'diel. First up is the Idyllic Vana'diel campaign, which begins on November 10th. You'll get login prizes, double XP, and more.

There's also a discount campaign, which features substantial price reductions on everything from the Seekers of Adoulin expansion pack to the FFXI Ultimate Collection Seeker's Edition. Finally, don't forget about the Adventurer Appreciation campaign, which rewards players who had active accounts between September 1st and October 31st.

Halloween goes live in Anarchy Online

Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, Events (In-Game), Patches, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

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ao
Halloween is officially a "go!" for Anarchy Online, which brings back the seasonal festivities as well as the sinister Uncle Pumpkin Head.

In an October development update posted today, Gameplay Designer Henry Senger confirmed the start of the holiday. Senger said that there will be many varieties of returning Pumpkin Heads in the game, as well as an assault by the Entvined on Enigma Grove. Players can get cool loot not only by defeating these mobs but by merely logging in to claim several free items including a pumpkin helmet.

Anarchy Online recently installed a quality of life patch and confirms that testing is ongoing for the 18.7 update. "Once the Inferno Missions have been patched to Live, the majority of focus will shift back to 18.7, which includes, but is not limited to, the NPE and profession rebalance," Senger said.

CCP explains EVE's upcoming mission guidance system, CSM changes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

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CCP released another Phoebe-focused dev diary earlier today, this one detailing the new mission objective system coming to EVE Online next month. The firm is walking a fine line between general guidance and "brain-dead instructions to follow," and as such it is asking for feedback relative to how the new feature is presented in today's diary. It's a lengthy read, but you can also see the new system in action if you log onto EVE's Singularity test shard.

CCP has also delivered minutes from the Council of Stellar Management's summer summit earlier than expected. CCP Leeloo explains that the studio will make further changes to the CMS next year, starting with lengthening the winter summit and shortening the current CMS's term to better align with next year's Fanfest. Applications for CSM10 open on January 30th.

Guild Wars 2 takes another stab at e-sports

Fantasy, Contests, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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esl
Guild Wars 2 is once again dipping its toes into the world of competitive e-sports, this time in association with the Electronic Sports League. ArenaNet is sponsoring the Go4GuildWars2 Cup as a result, challenging PvP players to fight over weekly cups for money.

The weekly prize for the cup is $500 or €500 per region, with a lead-up to the grand monthly prize of $1,500 or €1,500. Top winners from each weekly cup will be invited to participate in the monthly finale. The cups will take place every Sunday with the first beginning on November 2nd. It's open to everyone who would like to sign up and can be watched by all.

"Our hope is that these weekly cups will help drive our players forward in terms of skill, strategy, and teamwork," ArenaNet stated.

Leaderboard: Is TERA's expansion tempting you to play?

Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, TERA

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I haven't played TERA in a long while. I always to meant to give it more of a shot, but for whatever reason it's never worked out. On the heels of En Masse's first expansion announcement, I'm thinking about it again, though it's going to take some doing to pry me away from ArcheAge.

What about you, Massively readers? Is TERA's Fate of Arun expansion tempting you to play? Vote after the cut!

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The Crew preps second console beta test for November

Betas, Consoles, Miscellaneous

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crew
Gentlemen and ladies, start your virtual engines! The Crew is preparing to roll out its second closed beta test, starting on November 6th and ending on the 10th.

PC players will have to wait in the wings, as this beta test is for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players only. The test will cover two regions of the game, the Midwest and East Coast, and include PvP competitions and both Street and Dirt car specs.

The Crew is currently aiming at a December 2nd launch date.

[Source: Ubisoft press release]

Camelot Unchained devs play music, talk audio stretch goal

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Humor, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

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If you've ever wanted to see Mark Jacobs fend off a wasp attack, the latest Camelot Unchained dev diary video is for you! It's also noteworthy because Jacobs details how the crowdfunded PvP sandbox met its previous stretch goal and how it is now on to a "sound and effects" stretch goal.

"This is a very serious attempt to have triple-A sound and effects," he says, before going on to explain how CityState will hire a dedicated engineer, license a top engine, etc. Click past the cut to watch Jacobs, a wasp, Grumpy Cat, and the CU dev band.

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Global Chat: Wrongs and rights

EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Trove

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trove
So often, bloggers are struggling to succinctly answer the same question in a variety of formats: What is right with this game and what is wrong with it? It gets complicated fast when biases, comparisons, and general drama enters into it, although I wouldn't have it any other way. MMOs should be filtered through our various viewpoints to gain broader understanding and (hopefully) provide better feedback.

This week in our journey around the blogosphere, we'll take a second look at Trove, see where ArcheAge messed up, and attempt to understand why PvP sandboxes will wither and die if they're not welcoming to carebears. What's wrong? What's right? That's up to them -- and you -- to decide!

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Choose My Adventure: Closing off our time in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

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Swordsman
I've spent quite a bit of time in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman this month. Thanks to the unique layout of October 2014, Swordsman ended up getting an extra week compared to most Choose My Adventure endeavors. And while I'm ready to move on to the next game, it was nice to have some extended time with Swordsman before sending it to that magic hard drive in the sky. Sometimes a few extra days can give you time to see things in a game you didn't see before.

Swordsman is definitely a game that grows on you. The experience continually improves. If you're willing to stick through the slow opening and limited early experience, there's a pretty interesting game waiting to be discovered.

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RIFT's Autumn Harvest returns

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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rift
Starting this afternoon, RIFT's annual Autumn Harvest will return, bringing back the special fall-themed realm and all of its related quests and activities. In addition to Halloween rifts and the monster mash, this year's Autumn Harvest will activate seasonal minion adventures and a trio of new followers to boss around.

RIFT is also hotfixing several small issues today, such as tweaking the minion system, increasing XP in Nightmare Tide dungeons, and making sure hit was added to various quest and crafting rewards for endgame activities.

The Autumn Harvest runs from today through November 13th. Both Junkies Nation and RiftGrate have excellent guides for those looking.

Elite: Dangerous' third beta is now live with new systems, ships, and interdiction mechanics

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Elite: Dangerous

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Elite
After a brief technical delay, Elite: Dangerous' "Beta 3.00 is now available," declares a post on the official Frontier forums. The patch notes are extra long; new and updated features include new ships, player-driven interdiction, fuel scooping from stars, asteroid mining, visual overhauls to planets, philanthropy missions, and an expanded game map with now over 2400 systems. Frontier has also added hundreds of audio tweaks and bug fixes. Players have continued reporting stability issues with the new patch.

This episode of beta, like the phases before it, is exclusive to those who've pre-purchased the game and beta access. Massively's Mike Foster spent September playing the game in beta 1 and had enough fun to say that he "would happily recommend it" but for the beta price tag.

We've included the new beta 3 trailer below.

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Valiance Online launches its Kickstarter today [Updated: It's live now!]

Betas, Super-hero, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Promotions, Crowdfunding

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Valiance Online
A post on Valiance Online's Facebook has good news for fans of the upcoming game: SilverHelm Studios will be bringing the game to Kickstarter today. "It's packed with all manner of goodies for you to get your hands on," Design Director Nate "Paramount" Vogeding writes. "These things will be exclusive to our KS backers and backers alone. That's right; it won't be coming back around again." Vogeding also promises more pre-alpha invites and tells readers to "let everyone know that yes, there is a city coming back and very soon!"

Valiance Online is one of several fan-backed superhero MMOs vying to become City of Heroes' spiritual successor. In September, SilverHelm told followers that it will not be licensing the CoH IP if it is eventually secured from NCsoft by City of Titans.

[Update: The Kickstarter is now live, with pledges ranging from $1-$10,000 and a funding goal of $150,000. We've embedded the trailer below.]

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Destiny's The Dark Below expansion launches December 9th

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Dungeons, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

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Destiny
The Dark Below, Destiny's first expansion -- sorry, "Expansion I" -- releases on December 9th, Bungie announced today. What's in store for players?
  • New weapons, armour and gear
  • A new Light Level cap of 32 with 5 additional Bounty slots
  • New story quests and missions revolving around a new character Eris and the Hive
  • A new co-op Strike called The Will of Crota (with a second co-op Strike, The Undying Mind, exclusive to PlayStation gamers for a year)
  • Three new competitive multiplayer arenas: Pantheon, Skyshock, and The Cauldron
  • And a new six-player Raid called Crota's End.
Bungie says the expansion will cost £19.99 standalone or £34.99 for a bundle that includes this expansion plus Expansion II. We've included a few of the new screenshots and concept art pieces below.

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World of Warcraft examines the art of designing proto-Nagrand

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, News Items, Subscription

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Everybody's favorite.
Part of designing an MMO is putting a whole lot of work into things that no one will really notice. If you're playing World of Warcraft and running through Nagrand in Outland, you might be vaguely curious about how the zone is going to translate into its original form in Warlords of Draenor. Odds are, though, that you'll notice only in passing what the latest development blog from art director Chris Robinson talks about extensively.

Robinson details the challenges of building the temporal prototype of an iconic existing zone, especially since the original Nagrand was marked partly by the contrast between its peaceful plains and the floating bits of rock in the distance. The intent was to give the area an almost delicate feel, as if parts of the landscape could rise up and start floating away. Take a look at Robinson's whole piece for more insights about weaving the story of the zone into the art, and take a moment to stop and look around when you reach the zone in-game.

WildStar opens up free, indefinite megaserver transfers

Culture, PvP, News Items, PvE, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

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It's generally seen as discouraging if your fix for a problem still leaves it broken.
How's your server's population in WildStar since the switch to megaservers? Does it still feel a little empty? Community manager Tony Rey says that the team has heard the complaints that the PvP servers are quiet, and the team is responding by opening up indefinite free transfers between the PvE and PvP megaservers in both directions. You can move your PvE character to the PvP megaserver as you wish, and vice versa.

Rey says that while the team was initially happy with the stats on the PvP realms, the EU PvP megaserver in particular had certain difficulties with player numbers after PvP-to-PvE transfers were opened up but before the megaservers went live. Having free transfers in place does carry the risk of allowing people to level on a PvE server only to transfer over at the level cap, but players are assured that the team is watching for shenanigans and will shut down untoward transfers. These transfers are currently open for an indefinite period of time; Carbine will decide whether or not these free transfers will remain in place after monitoring the health of the server system.

The Daily Grind: What's the creepiest MMO locale?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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tsw
Sorry, Halloween's heavy on the mind this week, and as I await the Great Pumpkin's return, I have been seeking out the scariest and most unsettling places in MMOs. Naturally, I found most of them in The Secret World.

Probably one of the most creepy places in TSW is the kindergarten in Savage Coast. You can't go into it and there's no explanation given about it, but when you're near it you hear garbled children's voices and off-key kid music playing. Plus, there are dead zombies draped all over its front yard. Nothing good could have happened there. And I don't want to know what did.

In the spirit of the season, what do you think is the most creepy MMO locale and why?

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!

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FFXIV: Heavensward Date forthcoming
Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014
NW: Rise of Tiamat November 18, 2014
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Destiny: Dark Below December 09, 2014
SWTOR: Shadow of Revan December 09, 2014

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