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Not So Massively: Elite's refund controversy, Civ Online's closed beta, and Ghost in the Shell's G-Star debut

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Hearthstone, E-sports

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NSM - Ghost in the Shell
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.

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The Stream Team: Through Warlords of Draenor's Dark Portal

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

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World of Warcraft
Now that the server carnage has died down and everyone's off running dungeons and farming loot, Massively's Mike Foster is ready to pick up the Warlords of Draenor story line to see where it takes him. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as Mike ghost-wolfs his way through Draenor and catch a glimpse of the World of Warcraft expansion responsible for bringing over three million players back to Blizzard's content buffet.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, November 24th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Chinese MMO Revelation Online entering open beta January 15th

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

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You might even meet this guy!  Who is this guy?  What's his deal?
Want to combine the free flight of Aion with action combat and an open skill progression system? That's a quick gloss of how testers report Revelation Online plays. But you don't have to take anyone else's word for it, as the game will be entering open beta on January 15th... in China. So you will have to muddle through not speaking the language of the game to test it. Alternately, you can start studying now and hope you have a natural gift for learning it in two months.

Steparu reports that setting up an account will work even for international players, although there is the possibility that the game will require a cell phone or some other region-lock method. Players who don't want to fuss with that can rest somewhat easier knowing that the development team is looking into US publishing deals as well, but if all goes well, you can still try the game out early next year.

Destiny's Dark Below gameplay previewed in new video

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Destiny

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Bungie's response to last week's Destiny expansion leak takes the form of a new dev diary video. Joystiq reports on the "one way trip" nature of The Dark Below's design on display in the new clip. The vid also introduces Eris Morn who serves as a quest giver and offers insights based past encounters with the expansion's baddies.

The Dark Below will cost you $20 when it launches on December 9th, unless you already have the $35 Destiny season pass, of course. Game Informer holds exclusive rights to the diary video, so you'll need to follow the links below to watch it.

Project HON trailer offers half an hour of mechanized action

Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Miscellaneous

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Mai waifu
Project HON appears to be more or less the sum total of everything you could expect to see from a mecha shooter. What's the story? What's the main game mechanic? What's the business model? The correct answer to all of those questions, as you can see in the trailer past the cut, is that none of those questions matter right now because just look at how gorgeous it all is.

And it's not just the Unreal Engine 4 graphics on display. Over the course of the video you will see a robot that transforms into an aerial weapon platform or a motorcycle, a robot wall-running while shooting, and giant robots that climb into and dock with even bigger robots to have a Pacific Rim-style smackdown fight. No other details needed. Jump on past the break to watch the full trailer; let's not sully this moment any further with words.

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SWTOR's Revan Returns trailer has a lot of Revans in it

Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic

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How many times can you say Revan inside of a minute? Quite a few, if the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion trailer is any indication. It's called Revan Returns, and it's all about the Shadow of Revan expansion slated to launched on December 9th. Click past the cut to have a look!

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Elite's Duxford event launches Gamma, iOS app

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

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Frontier held an Elite: Dangerous premiere event at RAF Duxford Imperial War Museum last Saturday. The gala served as a launching pad for the sci-fi title's final Gamma build and its new iOS companion app.

Gamma is open to everyone who crowdfunded via Kickstarter or Frontier's website prior to mid-December 2013, and it unlocks "the full 400 billion star systems of the most advanced virtual representation of the Milky Way galaxy ever created for a videogame," according to a company press release.

You can download the Elite companion app via iTunes right now. Frontier says Android and Windows Phone versions are "expected before the end of the year.

[Source: Frontier press release]

EVE rookies, look here first

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

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Are you an EVE Online newb? Are you a vet who's returned thanks to that trailer and who's basically forgotten the game's finer points? CCP is calling your attention to a new blog post designed to mitigate a bit of the sci-fi sandbox's infamous learning cliff.

You'll find a terminology and new player FAQ, EVE University guides, chat tips, and more, all waiting for you via the links below.

Blade & Soul teases a new Shaman trailer, gives us a sad

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Blade & Soul

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Blade & Soul
Have you got 35 seconds? Good! Because 35 seconds is all you'll need to watch this new Blade & Soul trailer featuring the Shaman class, whose pistols and magic cards are probably not what most western fantasy fans think of when they think of Shamans, that's for sure. Then you can feel free to spend the next couple hours moping because we still don't know whether the game will ever land on our hard drives. Enjoy!

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Skyforge details the Berserker's rage mechanic

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Skyforge

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Skyforge
A new Allods Team/My.com dev post today reveals yet another class for upcoming sci-fantasy MMORPG Skyforge: the Berserker. Wanna rush into battle, smash enemies in the teeth with a giant chainsword, dish out massive AoE damage, and annoy opponents with AoE crowd control? Of course you do. But there's a catch: This classic RPG archetype comes with a rage mechanic.
The Berserker's powerful attacks consume Rage. Outside of battle, they only have half their maximum level available but once engaged in a fight, damage inflicted upon or by the Berserker will cause their Rage to build and rapidly reach its limit. Only then will the Berserker be able to use their most effective abilities - inflicting massive damage on all who would oppose them
Skyforge concluded its first tech beta period last week. Check out the Berserker trailer after the cut.

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Shroud of the Avatar enters Steam early access today

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Shroud of the Avatar

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Same dance, different days.
There's a certain feeling that you get when you walk around in a game with a new hat, as if you're making a statement: "Hello, world, I have a new hat." And you can get a new hat by logging into Shroud of the Avatar and doing the Grand Tour quests added in the game's most recent release. The new pilgrim hat will be available only during Release 12's testing schedule, so you'll want to get the hat soon if you want that new hat.

Release 12 does offer more than just a new hat, though; the update offers a comprehensive new user experience, 15 new skills, 50 new weapon and armor recipes, 40 new songs, new maps, guilds, and other improvements. Studio boss Richard Garriott has also weighed in on the state of the game and updates for the solo play version of the game.

Check out the full update on the official site for more details and community news. SOTA officially enters early access on Steam today.

The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 1

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

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Sorry, Truce.  You deserve better, but you get this.
Raiding is no longer doing MMOs any favors.

I've compared raiding to open PvP in the past, and the comparison still holds up. It's something that a lot of games developed in response to a specific genre-defining game have featured. But it's not doing those games any favors, and it might be time to take a hard look at this gameplay element that games survive in spite of rather than because of. If we learn nothing else from WildStar's issues when it launched into what should have been an ideal environment, it's that raiding certainly isn't driving players into a game's waiting arms.

But I don't want to just say that and let it roll around on the floor. Let's actually break the argument down across a couple of articles this week. Why does raiding need to shuffle off of the main stage, definitely as the default endgame model, perhaps altogether? I can give you six good reasons.

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The Mog Log: The end of Final Fantasy XIV's 2.0 cycle

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

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I'm betting end of May 2015, just to push it out as far as possible.
It's going to be a little while until we see the next major patch for Final Fantasy XIV. I'm not expecting to see patch 2.5 in the wild until February, to be honest. That's a little longer than the standard three months, but we've also got a holiday season through there and a not exactly clockwork schedule to begin with. It's enough time to get plenty of Poetics kit, make headway into Second Coil, and get thoroughly sick of the expert roulette dungeons. Perhaps the game shouldn't always just keep the three most recent dungeons on there...

But we still have interquel patches to consider, starting with the promised inclusion of Eternal Bonds in 2.45. While we've still got a little bit of time until the next Live Letter (which will no doubt reveal more about what's coming for the next few months), we've got enough information to speculate, prognosticate, and forecast, which is exactly what I want to do for this week. It's a thing I do.

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CCP Games kills a fan remake of Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines

MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, World of Darkness, Miscellaneous

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If CCP were any more dedicated to preventing people from using things they're not using, they'd be Harmony Gold.
With World of Darkness canned, the closest fans can get to experiencing the source material in video game form comes from Activision's 2003 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Unfortunately, the game was released in a half-finished state and suffers from multiple glitches, balance issues, and general weirdness, not to mention graphics that have aged very poorly. Fortunately, the fan community rallied and set to work on an unofficial remake requiring the original. Double-unfortunately, CCP Games sent that fan remake a cease-and-desist.

Although Activision technically owns the rights to the game, the IP remains in the hands of CCP due to its acquisition of White Wolf several years prior. The fans responsible for the remake are attempting to negotiate a way to keep development going, as the remake would have been unplayable without the original game. It's bad news for fans of the flawed but brilliant title and really anyone who would like to play a game based off the franchise any time within the next decade.

Trion shuts down ArcheAge APEX purchases again

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

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Another exploit with currency ♪ / So much for this game's economy ♪
Good news, ArcheAge fans! APEX purchases have been disabled again following reports of another exploit! Wait, did we say good news? That's not good news. That's bad news. Familiar bad news, but bad news. Community manager Evan "Scapes" Berman addressed a thread calling attention to the exploit on Sunday, stating that the development team was looking into the issue to determine whether or not an exploit existed while disabling APEX purchases as a preventative measure.

This is hardly the first time APEX purchases have been disabled due to exploit issues; the same problem was being dealt with last Wednesday, with various hotfixes rolled out to prevent the issue. No ETA has been provided for when APEX purchases will be reinstated, nor have any declarations of rollbacks for characters been made at this time.

[Thanks to Siphaed for the tip!]

Star Wars: The Old Republic hit by DDoS attacks

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Subscription

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Gosh, we're all super impressed.
If you were playing Star Wars: The Old Republic yesterday, you may very well have been hit with some lag and disconnections. The good news is that it's not a problem with your ISP; the bad news is that it appears to be yet another installment in the ongoing saga of irritating twits with nothing better to do than try to damage servers. Yes, it looks like this was another DDoS attack.

Community manager Eric Musco's last update on Sunday night indicates that most of the issues should be resolved now, but it's possible that players may still experience intermittent connection difficulties. The representatives from BioWare have not officially stated that it was a DDoS attack, but it lines up perfectly with a DDoS attack made against Electronic Arts servers, leading to the accepted conclusion.

[Thanks to Leiloni for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: What does your scariest avatar look like?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

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I don't generally roll evil characters, but in service of chasing some Star Wars: The Old Republic legacy achievements, I made that dude up there in the header. He's not particularly fun to play, given his despicable dark side acts, but at least he provided me with a Daily Grind topic.

What about you, Massively readers? What does your scariest avatar look like?

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: WoW's rebound

World of Warcraft, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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WoW
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.

After a shockingly long content drought and disappointing expansion previews, World of Warcraft proved that no one cares about content droughts and disappointing expansion previews by resecuring over 10,000,000 subscriptions, just in time for its 10th anniversary celebration. To compensate for the trainwreck launch of Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard granted the entire playerbase five extra days of gametime.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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Star Citizen aims to redefine avatar death, combat realism

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

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Remember way back in February of 2013 when Chris Roberts posted his Death of a Spaceman concept? It was a high-level look at how character death would function in Star Citizen, and it broke from gaming industry norms by aiming for an immersive system with strategy and consequences rather than the typical run-and-gun and die-and-respawn mechanics common to MMOs, FPSs, and most other games.

This week Roberts and company have released another extensive design doc called Healing Your Spacemen, which greatly expands the original concept. "In the end, the team decided to run counter to the standard FPS mechanics of regenerating health and instantly respawning on death to make every fight a calculated decision that can have ramifications that impact your character and place in the 'Verse," Cloud Imperium says.

Character health involves a limb-based system featuring four levels of health for each limb, and the system deliberately avoids "the current trend of hiding behind cover for blood to clear off your screen and jumping back in the fight ready for more." The post also explains how characters may be dragged to safety and how the spaceflight portion of the game will include "a robust rescue system" that complements the character death and damage mechanics. Read all about it via the official site links below!

[Thanks Cardboard!]

Game Columns

The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
Norrathian Notebook EverQuest Next Column
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Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR Column
Lost Continent ArcheAge Column
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Stick and Rudder Star Citizen Column
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The Stream Team


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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
The Crew Dec. 2, 2014
Destiny: The Dark Below Dec. 9, 2014
SWTOR: Shadow of Revan Dec. 9, 2014
Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
TERA: Fate of Arun Dec. 16, 2014
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
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MJ Guthrie Contributing Editor
Mike Foster Contributing Editor
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