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The Game Archaeologist: Perpetual's Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, Legal, The Game Archaeologist

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sto
If you're among the legions of Trekkies, then you are almost certainly aware of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online. Since early 2010, players have boldly gone where no one has gone before in this MMO that blends spaceship battles, ground combat, and faithful tie-ins to the long-running franchise. Star Trek Online appears to be thriving following a free-to-play adaptation and two expansions, and some see it as the only official continuation of the TV series right now.

But what players encounter in Star Trek Online is not what it originally started out as. You may or may not know that STO began development under Perpetual Entertainment, which handled the game for several years until it went bankrupt and passed the license and art assets to Cryptic.

It's another tantalizing historical "what if?" scenario to think about what this game would look like if Perpetual had taken it to launch and beyond. But what did this version of Star Trek Online look like? Let's investigate.

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WRUP: Lucky Korea

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Lost Ark
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 how sad we are that Korea is getting a crapton of MMOs we'll probably never see.

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The Daily Grind: Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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wow
Yeah, we need to sort this out today because it's been bugging me. Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

I mean, I can squint hard and ignore how mounts poof in and out of existence like some sort of incredible magic trick that everyone in these virtual worlds can do. But when they leave, where do they go? Alternate dimension? Shrunk down and stuck inside of your back pocket, where your miniaturized horse can nibble on a carrot that's now the size of its head? Handed to an off-screen assistant who faithfully jogs along just outside of camera range until you need your sweet ride again?

How have you settled this issue internally? I need to know because this is (no pun intended) driving me nuts!

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: November 15 - 21, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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Betawatch - Lineage Eternal
Lineage Eternal wowed G-Star attendees with the news that it will beta in 2015 and hit its worldwide simultaneous launch in 2016. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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Riot will pay you cash to find League of Legends bugs

Fantasy, Bugs, Free-to-Play, League of Legends

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lol
A discovered vulnerability in League of Legends led Riot Games to the conclusion that it not only needed to react to such issues when they arise, but to be more proactive in discovering these weak spots in the game. To wit, the studio has implemented a bug bounty program that will reward players who find vulnerabilities in LoL's code.

The studio has been testing out the program with a smaller group and has given $100,000 in rewards so far: "Currently in closed beta, the Riot bug bounty program is only available to a few security professionals who we've already identified. These professionals have helped us squish more than 75 bugs, vulnerabilities, and exploits, including client crash exploits, vision related exploits, and vulnerabilities that could potentially lead to player impersonation on forums."

'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

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

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If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack for a clip that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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Warframe's Archwing update hits consoles

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS

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Space is 80% lens flares by volume.
Ready to go to space in Warframe? Just kidding! You're already in space. The whole premise is robotic space ninjas, after all. But the Archwing update that just dropped for consoles yesterday lets you slip past obstacles like "not being able to fly in space" by... well... allowing you to fly in space. The Archwing is a harness that lets you fly in space. This, from a practical standpoint, means that you get to enjoy spaceflight antics without spaceships.

Aside from the eponymous Archwing systems, the update also adds a new (equally eponymous) Warframe, more visual customization options, and a new reputation system allowing you to represent one of six Syndicates. So if you're floating about on consoles with Warframe, you too can now enjoy all of the fun of spaceflight without a spaceship. Hopefully not including the harness accidentally detaching whilst you're accelerating, leading your body to go hurtling off into space at a trajectory you can no longer control forever.

[Source: Digital Extremes press release]

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MapleStory 2 shows off a new trailer for G-Star 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, News Items, Free-to-Play

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Anywhere but here, driver, anywhere but here.
MapleStory 2 looks pretty different from its predecessor, but it still has its heart in the right place. You can see some of that on display in the game's latest trailer, released as part of the G-Star 2014 festivities going on right now in South Korea. The are ducklings to ride, walls to climb, and boss monsters for huge numbers of players to desperately thwack at until they die. Nature of the beast and all.

The game's next beta test has also been confirmed for January of next year, although it will not be a global test at this time. This new test will include 32 new areas for players to explore, more classes to play, and a new Shadow World with open PvP. More player customization and creation options will be unlocked as well. While you might not be able to participate in the test yourself, it'll at least help to know it's hurtling toward completion.

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Guild Wars 2 streamlines PvP queuing, adds map voting

Fantasy, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
How can Guild Wars 2's PvP experience be improved? By streamlining the flow, baby!

A new dev diary posted today talks about how ArenaNet is working to improve match flow, starting with the elimination of PvP rosters and simply allowing players to queue solo or with a party. Other significant changes include replacing AFK players before matches begin, group voting on favorite maps, and using the dishonor system to ding those who leave or go AFK during matches.

To get into PvP matches, players will now be required to go to the Heart of the Mists, which is being outfitted with additional core services so that it can be a fun social hub between games.

The Stream Team: No more Landmark tour deaths!

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

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Thanks to the disabling of fall damage, Massively's MJ is able to take a tour of more Landmark builds without the fear of imminent death! Even without mobs, travel in-game has been dangerous for her; MJ's died many a time just trying to visit cool spots from the gallery. But that's all changed (at least for now), and not a moment too soon: She's seen plenty of impressive possibilities to check out this week. There are Egyptian builds, Orc builds, tree houses and ruins galore... even pinball machines! Pretty much anything you can imagine is being built somewhere in game. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to check out some of the latest in Landmark creativity. Then grab a beta code and try it out for yourself!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, November 21st, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Raph Koster explains how WoW changed MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

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There's liable to be a lot of virtual ink spilled over World of Warcraft as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month. You can save yourself some time by just reading famed MMO designer Raph Koster's lengthy and informed analysis, though. He covers a ton of ground, both negative and positive, including WoW's roots in EverQuest and the DikuMUD while also touching on all of the genre features that Blizzard cut in the name of "fun" and accessibility.
Among the things left by the wayside were features that were proven. Gone were the richer pet systems that had driven so much engagement from players in earlier games. Player housing, past and future source of endless devotion (and revenue) in other games, absent. Never mind stuff like towns and politics and the like. Crafting took massive steps backwards from the heights it had been developed into in [Star Wars] Galaxies or even Sims Online, and went back to being more like that in EverQuest. Even the robust character customization that we slaved over in Galaxies, a system which today is in every RPG on earth, was gone.
Koster credits WoW as the true innovator of the quest-led game, but he also points out that the game stifled MMORPG innovation in numerous ways.

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LotRO begins testing fellowship version of Pelargir epic battle

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

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lotro
The newest epic battle added to Lord of the Rings Online in Update 15 is about to get even bigger. Retaking Pelargir, the offensive-focused battle, was initially released in a solo/duo version, but testing has begun on a fellowship version.

This change will come with Update 15.1, according to the preliminary patch notes: "A fellowship version of Retaking Pelargir is now ready for limited release on Bullroarer, where we'll be taking important balance feedback from preview players. The timing of its release will depend on the feedback we get about this new version."

Update 15.1 will also contain plenty of tweaks and bug fixes for the Beorning class as well as allow players to track nearby quests inside of structures.

TOME: Immortal Arena MOBA lands on Steam today

Trailers, Video, Launches, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items

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TOME
KIXEYE's brawler-MOBA -- not to be confused with those other daisy-picking MOBAs -- TOME: Immortal Arena officially launches on Steam this afternoon.

TOME's claim to fame is the voice of Evil Dead's Bruce Campbell, who acts as the title's in-game announcer. Feature-wise, it boasts short matches, in-lane healing, no last-hitting, auto-buying, and 20 playable characters to date.

The latest trailer awaits your eyes below.

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The Soapbox: In praise of SWTOR's 12X experience

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic

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It's taken 12 times the normal XP rate, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally my main MMO (at least for another week or so). Well, OK, it's also taken a series of spectacularly ill-considered decisions by XLGAMES and Trion, but that's a rant for another day.

I've been playing SWTOR quite a lot over the past month since BioWare's subscriber-only pre-expansion boost has cut all of the godawful grindpark garbage right out of a galaxy far, far away. Too bad it's just a temporary fix, though -- here's hoping that the devs give veterans the option of keeping the XP bonus long after December 1st.

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Elite: Dangerous considers granting even more refunds

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

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Elite: Dangerous might grant refunds to more people than originally thought.

Last week, Frontier admitted that it had canceled a planned offline mode for the game, which led to David Braben's announcement that limited refunds would be given to preorder customers who'd never logged in to test the game but not to other backers. As of last night, Frontier is apparently reconsidering that decision. Wrote the studio boss,
We initially declined some people's request for refund as our records showed they have already played Elite: Dangerous online. After listening to many of the comments I received after my AMA here, we have since re-opened these requests and informed those people that we will be contacting them so that we can fully understand their individual situation before making a more informed decision. We will be contacting them each in the next few working days.
If any Massively readers have successfully received a refund, let us know in the comments.

[Thanks, Cotic.]

RIFT brings back Unicornalia

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

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Every one you meet will be the last of its kind.
As the holiday season swiftly approaches, RIFT reminds us all of an important issue that doesn't get much discussion over the year: Unicorns. Oh, sure, the plight of these noble creatures can easily be dismissed with a waved hand and a claim that "these are fictional animals that do not actually exist," but RIFT's Unicornalia returning is a chance for everyone to adopt a unicorn in peril.

During the event, which runs until November 26th, you can provide a home for an Onyx Unicorn or an Opal Unicorn. Both can potentially be received from the limited edition Sparkle Troves in the RIFT store. You can also obtain the Onyx Unicorn as a rare drop from an event in Moonshade Highlands or by completing the "A Rainbow in the Dark" achievement, while the Opal Unicorn can be received via Unicornalia dailies. Please, take time out of your day to consider the unicorns. They're not just for virgins any more.

WoW previews Highmaul raid, kicks off anniversary events today

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Lore, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, Subscription

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And this time, slightly less than a year between updates!
Are you ready to start in on the raid cycle of Warlords of Draenor? Yes you are; that's what you do here. You can start by checking out the latest World of Warcraft development blog that shows off Highmaul in all its glory. The raid's release will be staggered into four parts, with Normal and Heroic releasing on December 2nd, Mythic and the first part of the Raid Finder difficulty releasing on December 9th, and the final two wings being added to the Raid Finder on December 16th and January 6th.

Highmaul contains seven bosses, three of which are optional and two of which are mandatory. Players will take on Kargath Bladefist to kick off the raid experience, while the ultimate encounter leads players against Imperator Mar'gok, the pinnacle of ogre power in the region. You can also take the time to play around with the game's new Twitter hashtag campaign while you wait. That won't help you with the raid at all, really, but it will help pass the time.

In other WoW news, Blizzard will be kicking off its previously announced anniversary events today. Both the 40-man, level 100 version of Molten Core and the Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground will become available to players through the raid finder and battlemaster queue, respectively. Everyone who logs in will receive a molten corgi pet as a happy birthday present from the team. The events end January 6th.

Lost Ark is a full-featured MMO; check out the new trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Free-to-Play

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lost ark
Lost Ark made quite a splash in our community here when we got a first look at the game last week. Despite its isometric hack-and-slash facade, Lost Ark is now revealing that it will have a range of features to put it firmly in the MMO camp.

Steparu has a great writeup on the new information surfacing about this game, including some of Lost Ark's class lineup. Players will be able to roll as a Battle Master (monk), Devil Hunter (ranged guns), Arcana (gambling skills), Warlord (rifle tank), Infighter (melee attacker), Summoner (pet master), and Berserker (AoE attacks). Lost Ark will also feature an open world with hidden quests and locations, drinking minigames, raids, PvP arenas, and even ship sailing.

Don't believe that this could be an MMO? Check out the new 20-minute gameplay trailer after the jump and let us know what you think.

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The opening cinematic for Destiny's first DLC has been leaked

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Previews, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Destiny

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It is dark.  And you are below something.
You remember Destiny, don't you? Come on, folks, it was only a few months ago. Science fiction shooter? Made by Bungie? It had a cave that you shot until candy came out? Well, the opening cinematic for the game's first major DLC, The Dark Below, appears to be out in the wild via a leak. You can watch it just past the break, complete with ominous chanting and creepy voice over explaining what the title actually means.

The DLC is planned for launch on December 9th for $20, or included as a part of the game's Season Pass for $25. There's no way to confirm if this is indeed the trailer, but it certainly looks legitimate, and it lays out a reasonable story pitting players against the Hive and its ultimate designs on Earth. You can check out the trailer for yourself just past the cut.

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The Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you?

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

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A reader discussion in a past Guild Wars 2 update article made me realize, once again, how much I loathe special event currencies. You know the type: It's patch day, and here's an event, and if you want the rewards, you have to grind a shiny new currency to get them! Never mind that you already have a pile of gold (and in Guild Wars 2's case, karma and gems) earned through your adventures up until now; those credits are mysteriously useless at the new reward vendors, who accept only some new currency.

Commenters rightly pointed out that if modern devs did what old timey devs did, players would just rush in and buy everything on day one and not do the grind. But so what? Why should it bother us that people get to actually use the currency they've already earned and banked? That's the whole point of gathering money in MMOs in the first place. And if there's so much existing currency in the world that everyone could buy everything without additional grind, that's the studio's problem for providing insufficient sinks and a poor economy in the first place, not ours. In fact, special events themselves could be an awesome gold sink! Instead, event currencies signal to players that their existing achievements and savings matter not at all and that the event isn't really going to be much fun on its own merits.

What do you think? Are you also sick of special currencies in MMOs? What would you prefer to see in their stead?

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!

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The Crew Dec. 2, 2014
Destiny: The Dark Below Dec. 9, 2014
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Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015

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