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Swordsman launches today

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play

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Did you know that Perfect World is launching Swordsman today in the West? Well, now you do. You can view a gameplay teaser for the free-to-play wuxia MMO -- along with today's press release -- after the break.

[Source: Perfect World press release]

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Massively Speaking Episode 307: Oh to be a dragon

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

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Dragons are great and all, but why can't we be one? The podcasters make a wish on a falling star and then -- poof! -- they find out that they can, indeed, become one of the dragon people. MMOs: Making little boys' and girls' wishes come true since 1981. Other topics on today's show include a new business model for an old MMO, an imminent launch, and the continuation of a story in a galaxy far, far away.

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:
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Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Hyperspace Beacon: First impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Roleplaying, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

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Hyperspace Beacon: First Impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion
It's been an exciting weekend: I've spent many hours just absorbing the contents of the new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Of course, the largest part of Update 2.9 is Galactic Strongholds. I'll come right out to say that the SWTOR livestreams do not do it justice. I'm finally glad that I could get my hands on it to see exactly what the hook system feels like, where I can find all the furniture, and mostly importantly, how much it is going to cost.

Beyond the strongholds themselves, BioWare also introduced a new planet and flashpoint this weekend. I took some time to also visit Manaan, and I know I'm going to sound like a fanboy when I say that it blew me away. I was absolutely not expecting something that gorgeous for a simple flashpoint.

We have a lot to talk about, and if you've spent some time on the SWTOR PTS, I'd like to read your opinions in the comments. But first here are a few of my thoughts.

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Black Gold bumping level cap, adding cross-server PvP and more

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

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Black Gold is entering its second month of open beta, and Snail Games wants you to know that significant changes are on the way. Said changes include a level cap bump to 45, a new tier of skill upgrades, cross-server PvP functionality, and more.

How much more? Well, you'll just have to click past the cut and read the full press release, won't ya?

[Source: Snail Games press release]

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Firefall's launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, MMOFPS, Firefall

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Firefall
MMOFPS Firefall officially launches today after several years of development drama and 180-degree design turns that saw CEO Mark Kern ousted last December as the game shifted from a PvP-oriented e-sport extravanganza to a game with no PvP at all to a game that just reintroduced battlegrounds in the last few weeks.

To celebrate the fact that Firefall is (finally!) launching, we've rounded up some of our best news, opinions, and videos of the game from the past year after the cut. Enjoy!

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Guild Wars 2 launches part one of The Dragon's Reach today

Fantasy, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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Guild Wars 2
It's Tuesday, so you know what that means: Another installment of Guild Wars 2's living story is here. Today, ArenaNet releases The Dragon's Reach: Part 1. "The third episode in this second season of Living World sees the whole of Tyria now threatened by the Elder Dragon Mordremoth," says the studio. "Attacks by Mordremoth's minions have stretched ever-farther, from the arid Maguuma wastes to the Timberline Falls and the heart of Kryta. [...] Now the threat is making itself felt in the far reaches of Ascalon. The charr in the Iron Marches have witnessed an outbreak of Mordremoth's corruptive power, and they're in need of your aid!"

Massively's GW2 expert Anatoli Ingram wrote in-depth about the lore behind this episode last week, and we've included some new screenshots and the trailer below.

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The Daily Grind: What constitutes a grind in an MMO?

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

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Photography by Mylius
I can't remember when I first heard the term grind, but I imagine it might have been Ultima Online, when you could grind your way to Glorious Lady status killing a mongbat a minute (or was it five?). Then there was grinding mobs for levels in EverQuest, grinding missions for skill and money in Star Wars Galaxies, and then, finally, deliverance in the form of World of Warcraft, in which we'd level by completing quests! No more grinding! Right?

Well, not really. After a while, quests became grinds. Daily quest grinds. Achievement grinds. Faction grinds. Crafting grinds. Guild grinds. Pretty much everything can be made into a grind if studios infuse enough repetition into a game. We don't know what grind is, but we know it when we see it!

Let's try to define it once and for all. What constitutes a grind in an MMO?

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!

League of Legends previews Gnar without a word

Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

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Well, this won't work out badly at all.  Ain't nothing terrible going to happen today!
Who is Gnar? An upcoming champion for League of Legends. How does he or she play? We don't know. All we know is a little bit of what Gnar is all about, and that is shown in a quick teaser site that manages to convey a story without using a single word other than Gnar's name.

Gnar seems like a pretty happy sort at first, but when a calamity befell Gnar's family, Gnar didn't handle it too well. Gnar can be seen breaking out of an ice tomb and setting forth on what we can only assume will be a rampage filled with enemy champions. Take a glance at the preview page to watch the whole thing play out, and keep your eyes peeled for more information on how Gnar will play. (Speculation has him focused on crowd control and area denial.)

Not So Massively: SMITE's championships, LoL's cinematic, and Destiny's brief beta

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Launches, New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Path of Exile, Hearthstone

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NSM
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.
  • Destiny closed the gates on beta until its launch in September. Analysts predict as many as 20 million units could be sold.
  • SMITE posted dates for its world championship event in Atlanta, Georgia: January 9th through 11th, 2015.
  • Heroes of the Storm announced new hero Rehgar Earthfury.
  • Former Destiny composer Marty O'Donnell settled his lawsuit against Bungie for "$95,000 in unpaid work, vacation time and damages."
  • League of Legends unveiled new cinematic, A New Dawn, and cracked down on bad seeds.
  • ESPN says it is "delighted" with Dota 2's tournament performance.
  • Warframe has opened up PC-to-PS4 account migrations through Friday. (Thanks, Olorunsegun Adewumi.)
  • Firefall implemented new raids just ahead of its relaunch.
  • Hearthstone opened up the first wing of Naxxramas.
  • Transformers Universe now has motorbikes because of course it does.
  • Games of Glory launched Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter campaigns.
  • Path of Exile ends the sale of its supporter packs at midnight tonight.
  • DUST 514 shut down its Oceania server.
  • Riot Games promised to increase diversity in League of Legends.
  • Shroud of the Avatar posted beta release 8, which emphasizes tutorials and PvP.

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RuneScape announces Twitch integration

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

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Imagine this, but moving.  That's what it's like.
Do you want to show the world your adventures in playing RuneScape? It's going to be just a wee bit easier to do so now. Jagex has announced today Twitch has been successfully integrated into the game, allowing players to start streaming at a moment's notice with no need to run external software. The community team celebrated with a four-hour livestream event delving into the lair of the spider lord Araxxor, a new boss voted on by the player community as a whole.

Jagex has gone on to announce that RuneScape will not be the only game to feature built-in streaming capability, with Transformers Universe (currently in open beta) set to receive the functionality as well. Marketing director Neil McClarty stated that RuneScape is already one of the most popular games in terms of audiance, so players taking part in the streaming process will find it that much easier to keep viewers happy with this integration.

[Source: Jagex press release]

Get the full story of Warcraft in 40 minutes

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Lore, Subscription

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wow
The story of Warcraft is large, if I'm in the mood to be understating the real truth. If you feel overwhelmed by the decades of lore that Blizzard's built up around the game and have only scratched the surface of who did what and why this is here, then we have a way to help you get a handle on it all.

In just a little over 40 minutes, an annotated video covers the highlights of the entire Warcraft timeline and universe. Even without going into great depth, it's an excellent crash course for the aspiring loremaster. It's too bad you don't get an achievement once you've mastered it! You can give it a watch after the break.

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Path of Exile Supporter Packs are about to disappear

Fantasy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Path of Exile

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Speaking of support, this guy could use some.  Like, a heal, a potion... maybe even just a cheering section?
If you love Path of Exile but haven't converted that support into monetary form yet... well, that's fine, the game is free-to-play. But you're running out of time to take advantage of the Supporter Packs that were introduced as part of the game's launch. The packs will be officially discontinued very shortly, so if you haven't grabbed one yet, now's the time to do so.

The official announcement notes that you will be able to arrange a payment plan and/or upgrade your pack, but you need to set that in motion before the packs are gone for good, not after. So if you've been loving the game and want to buy a little power boost... do it now. You're running out of time.

First Impressions: LEGO Minifigures Online

Betas, New Titles, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, Kids, Family

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LEGO Minifigures Online
Besides being an avid gamer myself, I am raising three children who are also avid gamers. You might have seen past livestreams that I've done with my youngest son and my daughter. In fact, my son and I are going to stream with the Super Hero Squad Online crew here in the next few days. As a gaming dad, I keep my eyes out for games that lend themselves to being kid friendly and fun for adults, too.

When Free Realms shut down, my youngest, now 9 years old, was heartbroken. Although he didn't really do much questing, he loved the other activities in the game like kart racing and exploring the housing system. I have attempted to get him to jump into games like Wizard101 and Pirate101, whose combat systems were more complex than his liking. But he's a fan of combat in SHSO. He also plays Minecraft daily and has really adhered to the whole culture that surrounds it.

So when LEGO Minifigures Online opened its beta, I thought it would be an excellent combination of both SHSO combat and the building systems of Minecraft. I was wrong on one count but right on the other. My son loved the combat system, at least.

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EU Elder Scrolls megaserver migration scheduled for July 30

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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European Elder Scrolls Online fans, consider this your heads-up for the datacenter migration which will take the EU megaserver offline for much of July 30th. The migration is scheduled to run from 8:00 a.m. EDT to 5:00 p.m. EDT (1:00 p.m. BST to 10:00 p.m. BST).

ZeniMax says that nothing will change with your characters, and there won't be a patch to download, either. The company explains that the migration is happening during Euro prime time because many of its engineers and support staff hail from both Europe and North America, and it's vital that "everyone we need for the process is awake, ready, and available."

The Stream Team: More heroes in Marvel Heroes

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

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The Stream Team:  More heroes in Marvel Heroes
Massively's MJ is of the opinion you can never play a super hero too often, so she's donning her cape and flying right back into more Marvel Heroes adventures. Only now there are even more heroes to choose from! That means some decisional paralysis might come into play. Which will she select? Will it be her long-time favorite Storm? What about Nightcrawler or Psylocke? Maybe she'll pull out an even newer hero to showcase! Regardless, it will be a mighty adventure of smashing bad guys -- along with nearby trashcans, cars, and hot dog carts. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. EDT for some super fun.

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Dark Age of Camelot adjusting New Frontiers again

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Subscription

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Shedding a bit of light on the dark age, am I right?  Huh?  I'm sorry.  I'll show myself out.
Sometimes adjustments seem like a good idea right up until they're implemented. That's the case with Dark Age of Camelot's recent changes to New Frontiers. The game's most recent producer's letter states that they were made and quickly proved to not have the desired effects, which means that several elements need to be tweaked and re-balanced. This includes several rollbacks -- Relics will return to Relic Temples, docks will be returned to their original location, and players will no longer be able to port to shore-keeps.

The updates to the game in the near future won't be limited to PvP, however, as the development team is also looking for ways to spruce up PvE content by modernizing mechanics and adding in new loot. In the longer term, there are also plans to revamp the game's LFG interface and provide a Champion Level increase. Check out the full producer's letter for all the details.

The Nexus Telegraph: Another WildStar patch approaches!

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

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It's where I have my fun, It's where I point my gun.
I honestly expected the second patch for WildStar to take much longer to show up on test servers, but here it is. In some ways, I'm not surprised, since we're in the just-after-launch pattern of finishing and polishing stuff that wasn't quite ready for launch with the rest of the game, but still. It's a small one, but you know, I can live with frequent small patches just as well as I can live with more spaced-out large patches.

As it stands right now, we've had about a month to get used to the Strain drop, and I imagine we'll be seeing Daggerstone pass on live sooner rather than later. (With my luck, tomorrow.) So let's talk a little about the last patch, the upcoming patch, and what we can see about how Carbine Studios handles its patches overall.

Oh, and dropping bombs on your teammates. I'm sure that'll factor into this discussion at some point.

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Tree of Savior Q&A 10 talks item customization and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries

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Korean publisher Hangame has yet to announce whether or not Tree of Savior will be localized for the Western market, but developer Hakkyu Kim continues to post lengthy blog updates in English. So that's something.

Q&A #10 is now live, and it details everything from item grades and set bonuses to jewelry additions and other attribute tweaks. Read all about it, and feast your eyes on some gorgeous game assets, on the official Tree of Savior blog.

SDCC reveals new details about the Warcraft movie

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous

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You are officially allowed to request a refund if the name Leeroy Jenkins is uttered during the film's runtime.
Are you excited for a movie about World of Warcraft? Because the Warcraft movie won't be about that, exactly; it's focused on the backstory of World of Warcraft, specifically how the First War got started before the first Warcraft game. At SDCC, some new details were revealed about the title, which is currently set for release in theaters in March of 2016.

The story will focus on both sides of the conflict, with Durotan being the central character of the orcish side and Anduin Lothar taking up the protagonist mantle on the human side. A teaser trailer was also shown with a blend of both CGI and live effects, although the trailer has not yet been released to the general public. Director Duncan Jones stressed that he wants the film to be accessible to everyone and not just existing fans of the fanchise; it'll be a couple more years until fans can see how well that goal was accomplished.

Landmark on sale on Steam

Fantasy, News Items, Promotions, Sandbox, Landmark

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Because you make your mark on the land and... yeah, you got the joke, fine.
If you want to get in on testing Landmark, you've got to drop some cash first. That's just the way it is. But the good news -- aside from the fact that buying test access also involves owning the game when it launches for real -- is that you can get away with dropping substantially less cash for a little while longer. Landmark is on Steam as an early access title, and it's currently having a sale that shaves 66% off of every founder's pack available right now.

Due to the sale, prices range from $6.79 for the lowest tier to $33.99 for the highest. Already bought one of the entry packs? You can also pick up an upgrade for your founder's pack at a similar discount, so if you bought the lowest tier a while back you can upgrade to the top for a cool $27.20. Act fast, though; this sale is only running for a little while longer.

[Thanks to Christian for the tip!]

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The Stream Team


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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
AoW: Warrior's Ascension July 31, 2014
Destiny September 9, 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
Firefall 2014
WoW Warlords of Draenor 2014

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
Eliot Lefebvre Contributing Editor
Shawn Schuster Contributing Editor
MJ Guthrie Contributing Editor
Anatoli Ingram Columnist
Brendan Drain Columnist
Larry Everett Columnist
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Massively Speaking Episode 307: Oh to be a dragon

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