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WRUP: WildStar's sadface

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 tell us how WildStar still totally justifies its subscription fee.

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The Daily Grind: What are you doing for MMO Halloween?

Culture, Events (In-Game), Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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Ah... don't you just love this time of year: Pumpkin spice pepper spray, eternally uneaten Charlston Chews, and decaying tree dandruff everywhere. And in many of our MMOs, spooky festivities and events have arisen to mark the passage of Halloween.

So what are you doing for Halloween in-game this year? There's a lot going on, but I'm most excited to be jumping back into my favorite haunted berth, The Secret World, and exploring a brand-new seasonal questline with friends. Of course, every day in TSW is Halloween, but this time of year it's more so than ever!

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 Warplanes rolls out MiGs in update 1.6

Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, World of Warplanes

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They then proceeded to slowly taxi down the runway with the pilot duckfacing and slapping the back of his seat.
Ready to fly some of the most iconic Soviet airplanes in history? World of Warplanes update 1.6 introduces the Soviety MiG line at Tier V and above, allowing players to take the controls of these historic crafts and use them in mid-air dogfights with other planes. There are also five new premium aircraft available in the game, offering another way to take to the skies with this patch.

Aside from new vehicles, the patch also adds in a new multirole classification, placing some planes between fighters and heavy fighters. The net effect is creating planes that can use a more varied loadout and switch roles in battle more effectively. Map boundaries for the El Halluf location have also been extended, giving the update plenty of features for players to enjoy.

Betawatch: October 18 - 24, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

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Camelot Unchained - Betawatch
Camelot Unchained ran a pre-alpha test for backers this past weekend, allowing players to test out character creation and PvP. What else is new in the realm of MMO testing?
  • Justin test-drove Lord of the Ring's Online's in-testing Beorning race/class.
  • Trove has a fully open, no-wipe, everyone-welcome beta test running this weekend.
  • World of Warcraft previewed the creatures of Gorgrond, a zone in the upcoming Warlords of Draenor.
  • The Repopulation discussed its plans for healers and combat medics.
  • Shroud of the Avatar's Release 11 preps players for its Steam debut.
  • MJ pondered what "beta" means for Landmark and what backers' obligations to the game really are.
  • Life is Feudal sold 100,000 copies of its survival MMO in its first month on Steam early access.
  • EverQuest Next devs discussed playable Ogres and Dwarves.
  • Goblinworks defended the FFA PvP design of Pathfinder Online, currently in alpha.
Read on for our complete Betawatch roundup.

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The Stream Team: Dungeoning in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Video, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Swordsman

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Swordsman
According to Perfect World, the real meat of Swordsman is to be found in its dungeon content (and its PvP). Join Massively's Mike Foster tonight as he continues his Choose My Adventure exploration of Swordsman by queuing up for some mid-level instances and seeing where his whips take him. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EDT -- assuming, of course, that the instance gods show Mike some pity and give him a group.

Game: Swordsman
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, October 24th
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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RIFT performs extensive rollback following hardware outage

Fantasy, Bugs, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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rift
Denizens of one of RIFT's more populated servers are experiencing the raw end of a 23-hour rollback following hardware issues. Trion Worlds Executive Producer Bill Fisher announced that a hardware outage hit three servers early this morning, with one of them -- Faeblight -- lacking a recent data save point and requiring a one-day rollback.

"This is a significant loss for players on this shard and we fully understand that," Fisher said. "We are currently in the process of identifying and refunding RIFT Store purchases for users from Faeblight, as well as tracking down any Instant Sixty potions that were granted on this shard. This process may take several hours but we will ensure that any credits spent during this time are returned."

Fisher said that the studio is giving bonuses to the affected servers and is contemplating more compensation. Trion also implemented a hotfix that is giving a false error to players, stating that the update requires a full re-download. The actual patch is much smaller than that.

EVE Online loosens restrictions on trial accounts

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

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eve
In an effort to draw in more prospective pilots, EVE Online is removing and reducing some of the current restrictions for its trial accounts once the Phoebe update hits on November 4th.

Come the update, trial accounts will be able to send and receive ISK without limits, can post in trade chat channels, participate in incursions, and can apply to up to five corporations at a time. While many restrictions on skills will be lifted, those remaining will be easier to identify thanks to a clearer interface.

"The goal of these changes is to open up the game to new players so they can explore a greater variety of the content available in EVE," the team reasoned. "We believe getting new players invested in the game early on will keep them playing longer than if we throw all the good stuff behind a subscriber wall."

Seldon Crisis rebrands as Sudden Crisis

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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sudden crisis
Seldon Crisis -- the name, at least -- is no more. The science-fiction sandbox has rebranded itself as Sudden Crisis following an IP dispute that left its Kickstarter campaign neutered.

"We want to let everyone know that the project and game now has a new name: Sudden Crisis," the studio posted to Facebook. "Everything stays the same, this is the last change needed to separate us from one world and open a new one, one wholly created by us and you. You will shortly see the change take effect across our sites."

Sudden Crisis is currently in the middle of an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the project.

League of Legends poised to generate $1 billion in annual revenue

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, League of Legends

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Few things mystify me more than League of Legends. I just don't get MOBAs in general and Riot's juggernaut in particular. Judging by a new report from SuperData Research, though, I'm fairly alone in that assessment as the title is poised to break the $1 billion annual revenue barrier.

According to SuperData, LoL generated $946 million via in-game spending between January and September of 2014 and, get this, it makes more money than World of Tanks, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Hearthstone combined.

Star Wars: The Old Republic team 'investigating' character cap

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

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Experience this all over again.  But probably not, like, exactly this.
With accelerated class story leveling, it's pretty easy at this point to start and play a new character in Star Wars: The Old Republic. So easy, in fact, that players are starting to really run up against the game's hard cap of 22 characters per server. Community manager Eric Musco took to the forums to explain that the cap was implemented originally simply because that was the upper limit before it would impact performance.

Does that mean there's no hope for the future? Not necessarily. Musco states that the team has heard the demand and is currently looking into what it would take to raise the global cap beyond 22; it all comes down to whether or not the cap can be increased while keeping performance stable. So while there's unlikely to be an increase within the next few days, there's possible good news on the horizon.

The Stream Team: Fighting for riches on ArcheAge's Freedich Island

Fantasy, Video, Economy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

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The Stream Team: Fighting for riches on ArcheAge's Freedich Island
Last week Massively's MJ showed you the safest and quickest way to nab five gilda stars in ArcheAge every day. Now she's going to (try to) show you how to pocket four in just a single trip. That means she'll be braving the high seas and heading out to the wilds of Freedich, the island that pays a whopping four gilda per every trade pack. With it all being open PvP, the trick is to not only survive the ocean voyage but to live on land long enough for the turn in. Can she do it? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to cheer her on and get a glimpse of the beauty of the island in the process.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, October 24th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Final Fantasy XIV posts preliminary notes for Patch 2.4

Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

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First Naruto reference gets you kicked from the server.
Ready to take on the lady of ice, twist down the last coil of Bahamut, and start stabbing from the shadows? Final Fantasy XIV's next patch won't drop until October 28th, but you can finish any last-minute preparations you need now with the release of preliminary patch notes. The patch includes new sidequests, new main story quests, new trials and dungeons, and of course the new Rogue and Ninja.

This patch also adds in the Allagan Tomestones of Poetics, several new recipes for both Rogue/Ninja gear as well as other high-level options, and the usual assortment of bugfixes and balance improvements. Whether you're making sure to grab everything you'll need for Ninja before the patch goes live or just want to know how far you must progress before fighting Shiva, the patch notes hold a wealth of information.

World of Warcraft gives a week of free game time to lapsed players

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Promotions, Subscription

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mists
If you're a former World of Warcraft player who's been away from the game for a while, you might want to check your account for a nice surprise. Blizzard has activated a free seven-day pass to the game for all lapsed players. This pass includes all of the content up through Mists of Pandaria.

World of Warcraft is also throwing a 25% off sale for its extra services, including character transfers, faction changes, guild transfers, and (you guessed it) guild faction changes.

Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

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Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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Play Trove for free this weekend

Betas, Events (In-Game), News Items, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play, Trove

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Trove
If you've been itching to playtest Trion Worlds' voxel-based sandbox Trove but haven't wanted to pony up cash for the beta, then you're going to love the next three days. Trion has announced a free weekend event starting today at 2:00 p.m. EDT; everyone is invited to dip in and give the game a look.The only catch? You'll have to play through Trion's Glyph client. "Trove will automagically appear in your Library game list this weekend!" says the studio.

The freebie weekend is timed perfectly to coincide with Trove's ongoing Shadow's Eve Halloween event, which offers bizarre prizes like piñata mounts and Smashing Pumpkin recliners.

The free play period ends at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 27th. Shadow's Eve ends November 2nd.

Guild Wars 2 emerges unscathed by NCsoft's layoffs

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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GW2
Last night's revelation that a large chunk of the WildStar team had been let go is not the only bad news to come from NCsoft this week. According to a letter sent to Polygon, the NCWest layoffs affected all of NCsoft's western branches... except ArenaNet, which runs Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars. Here's what NCsoft wrote:
Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.

TERA announces Fate of Arun expansion

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, TERA

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TERA
En Masse Entertainment has just announced Fate of Arun, the first-ever expansion coming to action-MMO TERA. And at least on paper, it actually looks like a classic MMO expansion, too, complete with a level cap bump and new zones.
The mysterious continent of Northern Arun is finally open – and it's under siege by a soul-sucking bloodmage army. In Fate of Arun, players will explore this lost world, discover the home city of the Barakan race, fight for the freedom of the native Khirians, and take on a powerful new evil.

Fate of Arun represents the first and biggest expansion for TERA to date, featuring a new level cap of 65 and the lands of Northern Arun to explore through a brand-new storyline, new quests, zones, dungeons, skills, gear and a new PvP battleground, in addition to vast systematic improvements to the gameplay experience.
Producer Patrick Sun declates that "Fate of Arun will be, without a doubt, the biggest addition to the world of TERA new and returning players have ever seen." A launch date has not yet been confirmed. Enjoy the teaser pics and video below.

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BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

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SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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The Daily Grind: Where did all the MMO bars go?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous

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SWTOR
No, not those bars. The fun kind of bars.

Massively reader Serrenity recently posted a provocative comment lamenting the loss of gathering places in MMORPGs: "Why aren't there many bars in games anymore? There's virtually no communal space. In capital cities everything has a numbers-related function -- learn to craft, spend money, repair your gear, auction, etc. [...] Everything is purely functional in games, without any 'flavor,' to the point of being the digital equivalent of getting socks for Christmas."

And Serrenity is right. Many MMOs don't have bars or taverns or cantinas anymore, and those that do usually fail to imbue them with a purpose, but it wasn't always that way, so why and how did it happen? Where did all the bars go, and do we need them back?

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!

Warframe welcomes space ninjas, passes 12M registered players

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, Patches, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS

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warframe
It is hard to beat around the bush on this one, so we are going to be blunt: Yes, Virginia, there are space ninjas. And yes, they're going to be arriving in Warframe whether or not you are prepared for them.

Tomorrow, the sci-fi MMO will be releasing its 15th update, Archwing. The update will include the ability for players to fly characters through space as space ninjas (because why not?), using new weapons and fighting previously unknown enemies. Archwing will also add the Limbo warframe and a reputation system for added depth.

Digital Extremes claims that Warframe has accumulated over 12 million registered players and is the most downloaded PlayStation 4 game. You can watch the Archwing trailer after the jump.

[Source: Digital Extremes press release]

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