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Atlantica Online gets new class, dungeons, and more

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

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Atlantica Online Celestial Hunter
Nexon has added new dungeons, a new merc, and a new class to Atlantica Online. The Empires of Gold update boasts dungeons including the Forgotten City of Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, the Golden City of El Dorado, and the Gold Empire of Defense.

Atlantica's new class is the Celestial Hunter, "a fierce archer who can best any challenger with her bow and arrow skills."

We've embedded the update trailer for you after the break!

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Ask Massively: What's with all the WoW hate?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

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WoW
Today's Ask Massively question comes from Kirk because he wanted to open up a can of worms all over the column apparently.
Why do people have to hate on World of Warcraft so much? I quit playing WoW about two years ago and never looked back, but that game encompassed the best gaming experience of my life! Now everyone wants to say its crap. But I have roamed the landscape without a real home for gaming; nothing has ever been as much fun as WoW. What person who plays MMOs didn't play Warcraft? How many of us had a great time in that game at some point? Can't we just leave it at that? I look back and admire a game that brought even my wife to the MMO table! I have no hate, just love for a game that I no longer play, and I think that's OK. Can we all move on now? What is the hold up? Let people who play WoW play WoW, and everyone else can play the game of his or her choice. Why does every chat panel in every game need to have the WoW topic constantly flowing through its veins? Honestly, I'm tired of it. Let's move on already!
Because hating is fun! No, wait, that's true, but there's so much more to it than that.

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FFXIV's Yoshida on successful relaunches, switching from sub to F2P

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

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FFXIV NPCs
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida speaks from a unique position, both because he's responsible for an ultra-rare triple-A MMO relaunch and because Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuted with -- and continues to sport -- a subscription model.

Gamasutra recently interviewed Yoshida about FFXIV's success, whether or not he feels any sort of vindication, and his thoughts on the future of future subscription-based MMOs. While Yoshida says that there are pros and cons to both subs and F2P, he ultimately prefers subs, and he believes that most other MMO developers do as well.

"Some titles have to make the hard decision to switch over to free-to-play and try to gain a quick buck, pretty much, and raise their ARPU, and try to gain revenue in that manner," Yoshida explains. "I feel that they're not flipping over because they want to; sometimes, they're forced to go into that because they need to update."

World of Tanks' 9.0 out this week, includes Historical Battles

Historical, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

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WoT 9.0
Wargaming has released World of Tanks' ninth iteration, complete with redesigned battlefields and vehicles and a new game mode called Historical Battles.

"With a focus on competitive balance and exciting gameplay, combat locations including Severogorsk, Pearl River, Malinovka, and Serene Coast have all received an overhaul," Wargaming says. The firm has also revamped many of the game's vehicles with new high-resolution models and textures.

Finally, the new Historical Battle mode aims to recreate famous tank engagements and simultaneously fill your garage with credits and XP. Don't forget to watch the Update 9.0 trailer after the break.

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SOE's new Player Server initiative debuting in H1Z1

Horror, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, H1Z1

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There aren't many H1Z1 screens to choose from
Did you watch SOE's late-breaking H1Z1 livestream last night? Are you excited for the zombie survival sandbox MMO? Well, here's another nugget to chew on courtesy of CEO John Smedley and his Twitter feed.

The game will feature private servers.
Today I'd like to announce H1Z1 will be the first game to implement our new Player Servers. In addition to the traditional servers that we set up and run (what you've come to expect in MMOs), we will allow the players to come together in any way they wish and if they can get enough people together to vote for the server we will make it for them.

At first this will be for specific pre-defined rulesets. Later we will expand past rulesets into adding more features. For example perhaps one community prefers to go more militaristic. So they add more military vehicles. So we're truly letting you, our players get exactly the kind of thing you're looking for.

Mechanically this will allow players to buy pledge tokens in Station Cash to vote on a proposal. However, should the vote [succeed] we refund.
[Thanks BabaGraPL!]

The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best economy?

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting, Player-Generated Content

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SWG
I'm an incurable trader and merchant, maybe even more than I'm a crafter, so I'm forever droning on about the good ol' days in long-gone sandboxes where players, not raid bosses, delivered all the objects used in the world. Making stuff is great, and lots of MMOs, even themeparks, have that, but I also I like setting up shops, trading on auction halls, finding great deals, and knowing just went to buy low to sell high, which isn't always the type of creative PvP gameplay that modern MMORPGs enable, let alone embrace.

But you can't trade in long-gone sandboxes, either, so today I want tap the collective wisdom of the Massively readers: Which MMO has the most vibrant crafting and trading economy, right now, in a legally playable and living MMO? Specifically, where's the best MMO to truly be a player merchant?

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!

Classic Guild Wars' ninth anniversary celebration is underway

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

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GW1
If you're not too busy checking out the new feature pack in Guild Wars 2's version of Tyria, you might be interested to know that the more classic edition of the game world is celebrating its ninth birthday this month. Also, it has Cantha. Just saying.

Yes, Guild Wars 1 is having a party, and you're invited. Though the anniversary update was originally scheduled to begin on April 22nd, a note from Joe Kimmes on the official wiki mentions that a fortuitous typo led to the event's partial stealth-implementation on April 2nd instead, so while you'll have to wait until next week for the complete event, players are reporting that bonus items have been dropping all month and that some of the minigames are underway as of today.

The official site is silent about the anniversary so far, but the login screen announces the festivities:
The party is on for the anniversary of Guild Wars! Starting April 22nd at Noon Pacific (-7 GMT), we open Shing Jea Boardwalk, Dragon Arena, and the Rollerbeetle Races. In addition, Birthday Cupcakes and many other special items will drop all throughout this weeklong event.

The Think Tank: Thoughts on PAX East 2014

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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PAX East came and went last weekend, and as we do most years, the Massively writers got together to discuss the highlights and the disappointments of the con. Join the conversation -- what did you think was the best (and worst) MMO or reveal at PAX?

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EverQuest II producer's letter outlines All Access changes

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Making your own access.
On April 23rd, big changes are coming to Sony Online Entertainment's All Access membership. The latest producer's letter for EverQuest II outlines how those changes will affect players as well as what updates are around the corner. All Access players in EverQuest II will have seven available character slots, a boost to both coins earned and mount speed, and doubled gain rates for alternate currencies earned in-game. There will also be early access to content and promotions available for members.

The first bit of early access content will be the contested version of the High Keep dungeon, exclusive to members for two weeks and sporting all-new story and characters therein. There are also plans to create a more reliable resource to look up what's being updated in the game's near future, a necessity as the updates switch to a weekly schedule. Take a look at the full letter for more details on exclusive member perks as well as the immediate agenda for updates.

SOE is streaming H1Z1 live right now

Historical, Horror, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, H1Z1

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H1Z1
SOE has just announced that members of the H1Z1 dev team will be streaming the recently revealed zombie survival sandbox for the first time tonight on Twitch starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT, which is right this very minute. We've included the stream embed after the cut for your entertainment. Popcorn sold separately.

[Update: The devs streaming are Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and Technical Director Tom Schenck]

[Source: SOE press release]

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The Elder Scrolls Online launches Craglorn teaser site

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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ESO
ZeniMax has just launched a sub-site for The Elder Scrolls Online featuring Craglorn, the adventure zone that will serve as host for the MMORPG's first major content update. Aimed at veteran groups, the zone promises new quests and delves for four-person groups, a plotline revolving around "the mystery of the missing constellations," 12-man trials and leaderboards, and new gear.

While the teaser site is light on new information and does ask you to click through yet another age-gate (yes, we all know you were born January 1st, 1900), it does feature some gorgeous artwork and the Craglorn trailer released earlier in the month. We've embedded it after the cut.

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Destiny parts ways with composer, growing 'close to shipping'

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, MMOFPS, Music, Destiny

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Destiny
Destiny Composer Marty O'Donnell was either fired or peacefully left Bungie last week, depending on whether you take his or the studio's testimony on the event. In either case, the fact remains that O'Donnell is no longer part of the studio.

Bungie Chief Operating Officer Pete Parsons refused to comment on the specifics of the decision but said that the game is still on track for release. He said that O'Donnell's contributions will remain part of the soundtrack, which is also being worked on by a few others.

"We have a fantastic team. We're pretty close to shipping. There's a lot of polish left to do, lots of tweaking and tuning, but a lot is already complete," Parsons said to Eurogamer.

Bungie claims that the studio and O'Donnell parted as "friends" while the composer tweeted yesterday that he was "terminated without cause."

Pathfinder Online shows off its map

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

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Pathfinder
Lead Game Designer Lee Hammock is your host and guide to a tour through Pathfinder Online's detailed maps.

Pathfinder's maps look a little different than a typical MMO map, offering more of a malleable report on shifting allegiances and events in a hex layout. The main map is color-coded to show terrain type, with symbols and lines representing cities, trade routes, player towns, security levels, and points of interest. Knowing which resources come from which terrain type will be crucial to building up player settlements.

Hammock and his beige shirt of stunning good looks star in a nine-minute developer video that you can watch after the break.

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Neverwinter launching Curse of Icewind Dale on May 13th

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Lore, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

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All right, I can get this thing to work, don't worry.
If you're ready to have some chill adventures in Neverwinter, you'd better be ready on May 13th. That's when the Curse of Icewind Dale module will launch for players, bringing with it two new adventure zones, a new open PvP region, and new factions for players to fight over. Also a new Hunter Ranger Paragon path, but that really only affects Hunter Rangers, which as infographics show make up only half of the characters in the game.

But why are you going to Icewind Dale? What's so important? If only there were some sort of lore trailer past the break that will give a concise explanation of exactly what's going down in the region and why players are taking part, as well as outline the factions fighting over the valuable Black Ice. That would be very convenient, wouldn't it? Perhaps you should click past the break to check out that exact trailer, then.

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The full scoop on Marvel Heroes' team-ups

Super-hero, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

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Marvel Heroes
Massively: Last week Marvel Heroes added a new feature to the game in the form of "team-ups." While we know the basics of this new system, we wanted to go into more detail. To help us with this, Gazillion Community Manager Ryan Collins sat down to answer a few questions. So Ryan, let's strip away the game-specific terminology: Are team-up heroes NPC companions? Pets? If you had to compare them to another game's features, what would it be to help us understand what they're like?

Ryan Collins: Team-ups would be most similar to companions or hirelings. Like Diablo II's hirelings, team-up heroes have their own gear (with four brand-new item types just for them) that allow you to customize your team-up's stats. Some team-up items even convey bonuses to your hero directly. Team-ups also have a power tree that allows you to customize the way they function, the powers they use, and the passive bonuses they have. The first choice you get to make with your team-up is how they behave, for which there are three "modes."

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World of Warcraft kicks off Azeroth Choppers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Culture, News Items, Subscription

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I can't even internet any more.
Are you ready to ride through Azeroth and Draenor in style? Because that's the goal of the new web series fusing American Chopper and World of Warcraft. The first episode is out now, and you can guess the heart of it just from the premise. Two bikes will be designed -- one for the Horde, one for the Alliance -- and fans will vote on which bike winds up in the game as a mount.

The first episode, of course, is very much the proof of concept; it features a very early glance at the starting point for both bikes as well as a discussion of Horde and Alliance aesthetics. You can watch the whole episode just past the cut. It's going to be running at least through the end of May, so you'll get a front-row seat to see both choppers brought from concept into execution.

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Hands-on with Hearthstone for iPad

Fantasy, Launches, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

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Hearthstone
While I was part of the early beta crowd for Hearthstone last year, I haven't played it in quite some time. It wasn't because I became disenfranchised with the game but rather because I felt it truly belonged on a tablet -- and playing it on a PC just felt wrong somehow. So I've been waiting for Hearthstone to finally make the leap to the iPad, and when that happened yesterday, I was all over it like a murloc swarm on a noobie.

In many ways, Hearthstone is absolutely tailor-fit for mobile gaming. It requires minimal manipulation; poking, holding, and the occasional swipe is about as complex as the physical mechanics get. It's a turn-based thinker's game that gives you ample time to plot your strategy and get a few other things done between moves. On an iPad, that's pretty easy; I would read a book while my opponent took his/her/its turn.

The game actually kept me up past my bedtime because of the "just one more match" temptation, which tells me that the magic that fueled my interest in this game in beta is roaring more now than ever. But how does it actually handle on Apple's devices?

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The Stream Team: Landmark's castles and manors and gardens, oh my!

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, EverQuest II, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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No matter how long you have been wandering around in Landmark, you'll still stumble across new things! Massively's MJ has noted a number of spectacular creations throughout her journeys, including castles without compare. But what if you are more at home in something less grand? MJ has found some impressive manors fit for even the most discerning Norrathians. Of course, homes aren't the only thing built; creative players have designed bowling alleys, underground gardens, and so much more. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. EDT to tour some of these great places, and maybe stumble upon a few more!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Elite's latest newsletter talks hyperdrives, the Cobra MK III, and more

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

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Elite: Dangerous Cobra MK III
Frontier has sent out issue #19 of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. As usual, there's plenty of interesting info on the upcoming space sim sandbox, from how heat (and heat management) factors into Elite's gameplay to the design philosophy behind the iconic Cobra MK III.

This latest letter concludes with more "mostly harmless questions" from the community, including bits about Kepler data and traversing Elite's mind-bogglingly big playfields.
There are two modes of super luminal (faster than light) travel. Super cruise (or frame shifting) is used for travel inside systems. It was originally conceived as a sub-luminal drive, but based on the fantastic collaboration we have been having with our Design Decision Forum backers it was re-worked and is now itself a super luminal system to allow relatively rapid travel within systems. Hyperspace drives are used to travel between star systems.

Hyperdrives with different ranges, charge up times and fuel consumption parameters are available, and so your particular model of hyperdrive governs your specific ability to move around the galaxy.

Both will make their debut in Alpha 4 (not counting the early version of hyperspace in Alpha 3).

Sony: VR 'might be quite a social experience'

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Consoles, Virtual Reality

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Project Morpheus
Sony is following Facebook onto the mass-market virtual reality bandwagon, according to comments made by the firm's London studio boss.

Speaking with MCV, Dave Ranyard says that Sony has worked "quite hard" on something called the social screen in concert with its Project Morpheus VR headset, the former of which will attempt to link tablets or phones to a TV version of what the Morpheus user sees and thereby facilitate companion app play.

"The 1970s future vision of virtual reality was a very solo experience of people playing on their own, Ranyard says. "But actually it might not be that, it might be quite a social experience."

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Elder Scrolls Online April 4, 2014
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