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MMO Week in Review: ArcheAge has arrived

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream, if you're incredibly lucky or maybe just invisible, you won't get PKed in the face
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.

A huge MMO launched this week! No, not Destiny, although that launched too. I'm talking about ArcheAge, the long-awaited Trion/XL Games sandbox MMORPG that has finally sailed its way across the pond to western shores, probably in an actual boat because, you know, this game has actual boats. Yes, ArcheAge's head start is now live for founders, though it's not been without the usual round of long queues and server instability and DDoS attacks and people waiting in polite and tidy lines for quest mobs. We've been chronicling the head start in a series of launch diaries and streams and will continue doing so this week as we approach the formal launch.

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

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EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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Final Fantasy XIV Q&A teases future content and pacing

Fantasy, Classes, Expansions, Final Fantasy XIV, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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ff14
Final Fantasy XIV has been a little pokey in rolling out major new systems. Will this be the case going forward? Not so much, according to a new producer's letter Q&A, in which the team says that future updates should be coming more frequently.

"Due to scheduling issues and circumstances surrounding implementation, we've been prioritizing the implementation of party-based challenges utilizing the duty finder whenever possible," the letter states. "As a result, we were a step behind in implementing systems that make use of the open world, or those that require time but can be completed at one's own pace. With the introduction of zodiac weapons followed shortly after by the Hunt, it may seem as though we're shifting focus toward time-consuming systems, but rest assured this is not the case, and we plan to strike a balance with party-based activities as we move forward."

Other topics of discussion include the upcoming Rogue class and Ninja job, the approximate release window for Patch 2.38 (about a month), word of a new expansion release, and hints about the expansion and new race.

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Classes, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvE, Hands-On, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

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Ragnaros
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on September 12th and is included here by permission.

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day two - Classes, skills, combat

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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Welcome to day two of Massively's ArcheAge launch diary. Technically, by the time you read this, it'll be day three, but you know how these things work. And I know, I know, it's not really launch; it's head start. But Trion's not wiping this weekend's progression, so I'm going to keep referring to this as a launch diary!

Thanks to a bunch of virginal script kiddies who thought it would be cool to DDoS the ArcheAge servers on Saturday, I didn't get to play all freakin' afternoon as planned. That's OK, though, because we've got a lot to talk about with regard to the game's basic mechanics.

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One Shots: Avian servitude

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Humor, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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rift
Birds? I don't hate them, but I don't trust them either. Anything that can travel passportless with impunity is something to be wary of, especially if it has access to flight without clearing it with the FAA. And ever since the bird flu scare, I'm quite sure that our feathered "friends" are out to eradicate our entire race.

That said, I'm happy for reader Bill because he's finally putting birds where they belong: under us in full service of their land-masters. "Luck has found me again on RIFT patch day when this 'Lovely Budgie" popped out of a box. I can't help but think there is evil hidden beneath pink feathers and those big black eyes!" Bill wrote.

Oh, but there is evil, Bill. No doubt about it. Hopefully the rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots will not reek of foul intent the way that this cute birdie does.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal MMO gold sink?

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD
I realize that asking "what's your favorite gold sink" is a bit like asking "what's your favorite way to eat poop," but I'm confronting an MMO reality here: MMO economies generally spiral out of control when the currency poured into the game isn't drained out at the other end somehow, whether it's through decay costs or housing maintenance or people leaving the game forever and literally taking their gold piles with them. Obviously, this last one is not ideal.

I was impressed at Neverwinter's recent move to auction rare companions off to the playerbase, a system that won't solve the inflation/duping problem in one pass but could, given time and repetition, drain money from player moguls voluntarily and reward them with prestigious but non-game-breaking and effectively worthless trinkets.

That's my favorite kind of gold sink. What's yours?

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!

World of Warcraft cleans up UI for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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world of warcraft
In a new dev diary, Blizzard vows to clean up the user interface in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. "We're making a number of changes to the WoW user interface -- changes that are designed to eliminate clutter, free up more of your inventory space, help you find your stuff more easily, and improve your quality of life in-game," say the devs.

The changes begin with a new UI that combines the map and quest log and promises to be more responsive to mouse control. The expansion will also feature a "toy box" that will collect all of a player's fun items in one place and make them available across the entire account. Players will also be able to use the improved UI to summon a random mount, designate loot to certain bags, enjoy reagent storage space in the bank, and more.

Make My MMO: September 7 - 13, 2014

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

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Elite: Dangerous released information about launch pricing and an optional pre-order pack. Star Citizen released its long-awaited racing mode, and Piranha released a whole bunch of internet rage by revealing a crowdfunded sci-fi MMO called Transverse. Which used to be called Wing Commander Online, funnily enough.

Oh, and the Seldon Crisis Kickstarter officially kicked off. Click past the cut for the rest of our weekly crowdfunding roundup.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day one

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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I'm standing on a sun-baked rock along Nuia's northern coast. The waves lap at my feet, little bubbles are visible just off shore. Wispy strips of white cirrus float overhead, framing a baby blue sky that meets the ocean somewhere beyond a hazy horizon I can't quite see.

I've been standing here a while because there goes the sun, melting into the water and leaking red-orange streaks across the purplish waves as I watch. Up the cliff face behind me, a gaggle of green-named newbs mosh about in the newb area doing what MMO newbs do.

A couple of them make their way down the cliff face to join me. One of them jostles my character and apologizes. He didn't realize there was collision detection and he's very sorry and wow, this game is pretty, isn't it?

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The Stream Team: Reveling in Rogue's release in Marvel Heroes

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

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Massively's MJ has been waiting a long time to play Rogue in Marvel Heroes, and now she finally can! The popular hero was just released, so folks can jump in and start siphoning others' powers. The hardest part is going to be deciding which heroes to steal powers from; there are so many mutants to choose between. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to check out the newest addition to the the Marvel Heroes lineup. You can even take this opportunity to start out a brand-new character with MJ and soak up all the loot and XP that will rain down upon you.

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, September 13th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Game Archaeologist: How Hellgate survived being Flagshipped

Horror, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, The Game Archaeologist, Post-Apocalyptic

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hellgate
It seems that it really wasn't too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.

There's no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I'm betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence -- how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I'm just saying that you can't judge me.).

I didn't buy the lifetime sub, if you were wondering, but I did play. I even enjoyed Hellgate: London for a month or so, although something about it never quite clicked with me. It was only after I bailed that I watched with horror that one of the most infamous chapters of video game disasters took place. It's kind of like when you look at pictures of an earthquake and say to anyone near, "I was just standing there a week ago..."

From its giddy heights of pre-launch hype to the crash simply known as being "Flagshipped" to its subsequent resurrections (yes, plural), Hellgate is a fascinating tale of a good idea, a terrible launch, corporate scapegoating, and improbable survival.

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Marvel Heroes welcomes Rogue into its fold

Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Classes, Patches, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

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marvel heroes
There's a new addition to Marvel Heroes' roster, but this one might be a total game-changer. Added to the game yesterday, Rogue is a superhero who not only possesses super strength and flight but can steal powers from enemies to customize a unique powerset.

You can get your first look at Rogue in a trailer after the jump and see whether this absorbant lass is the hero for you!

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WRUP: LFG for joy, PST no noobs, link achieves, no reply = noty

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you remind us that games are supposed to be about joy, dammit. How did we go so wrong?

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The Daily Grind: Are you playing RIFT?

Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, RIFT

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RIFT
RIFT's upcoming expansion, Nightmare Tide, got me really amped to get back into the game after I previewed it at PAX Prime. I've always had a soft spot for this game, loving its ease of use, multiple content paths, and flexible mix-and-match class system. I've almost never quit under duress, which has made returning pretty simple every time.

Are you playing RIFT right now? Have you been playing it for a good long while or did you come back as I have, for next month's expansion? For a bonus discussion topic this morning, what do you like about this 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!

Betawatch: September 6 - 12, 2014

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Betawatch, Crowdfunding

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ArcheAge
We say farewell to ArcheAge this week as it emerges from open beta into its head start period. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup lies ahead.

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The Stream Team: The fight for a farm in ArcheAge's early access land rush

Fantasy, Video, Launches, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Housing, The Stream Team

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And they're off! With ArcheAge's early access in full swing, it's a race to try to get plots of lands for farms and houses. That means Massively's MJ will have to blaze through those early levels to get her paws on the scarecrow deed or earn enough Gilda Stars to buy a housing deed. But of course, everyone else will be doing the same. Just how crowded are the newbie lands? And how quickly are the plots of land being snatched up? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for a glimpse into this land rush.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Getting decked in HEX: Shards of Fate

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, HEX

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HEX: Shards of Fate
HEX: Shards of Fate is an all-new (well, maybe) online trading card game that raised over $2 million on Kickstarter in 2013 and just recently entered closed beta. Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster will leap into HEX to see how it feels compared to its most high-profile competitor, and to take a thorough lashing from players who are much better at playing card games than he.

Join Mike at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of HEX in action.

Game: HEX: Shards of Fate
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Line of Defense targets September 16th for early access

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMOFPS, Promotions

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line of defense
Line of Defense is just a few short days from beginning its early access program, which will begin on Tuesday, September 16th. Fans of the game can go ahead and buy their way into it with one of three early access packages.

However, from now until the 16th, the early access packs are half-off on Steam. So instead of costing between $40 and $100, they currently range from $20 to $50 for this limited time.

What will Line of Defense's early access content look like? It will mostly be sight-seeing, as we understand it. According to a dev post on Steam, players will be able to check out the Heatwave starbase and poke around a nearby orbiting Starguard carrier. "Since this is a world testing build, no weapons, vehicles, aircrafts, inventory items, etc. are player usable. You will be able to explore both of these massive areas and carry out various actions," the early access FAQ states.

Elite gets release pricing but no release date yet

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

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Elite: Dangerous is still on track for a Q4 2014 launch. As such, Frontier today revealed the sci-fi sandbox's launch pricing plan as well as a pre-order option.

The standard game will set you back $59.99 (or £39.99 and €49.99 for our friends across the pond). The pre-order Mercenary edition -- available to purchase from now until release day -- will run you $50 (£35.00 or €40) and features an Eagle fighter, a digital guide, a digital concept art book, decals, and more. If you've already pre-ordered or backed through alpha and beta, you'll receive a Merc edition by default.

In other Elite news, Eurogamer reports that the game's original budget was £8 million, most of which came out of Frontier's own pocket prior to its successful crowdfunding campaign. And don't forget about this week's Elite newsletter, which talks more about the Mercenary edition and plans for the franchise's 30th anniversary celebration.

[Source: Frontier press release]

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
ArcheAge September 16, 2014
LEGO Minifigures October 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
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