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The Stream Team: Living like a Teir'Dal in Landmark (and a beta giveaway)

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

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The Stream Team:  Touring racial builds in Landmark (and code giveaway)
Landmark just wrapped up its first racial contest and will soon be exploring the building styles of the next. That makes it a perfect time for Massively's MJ to show off some of the Dark Elf contest submissions that players have built. Come join MJ as she tours various bridges, towers, and castles in all their sinister glory. Need more incentive than just staring at awesome creations? How about free beta and portcullis codes! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for the latest tour and a chance at your own codes to join in the fun.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, July 11th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Here's 13 minutes of Moonlight Blade in HD

Betas, Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

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Steparu is still playing around in martial arts MMO Moonlight Blade. In addition to this week's beta review-in-progress, there's now a lengthy hi-def video that captures the title's beautiful environments as well as a few of its fancier outfits.

Click past the cut to see for yourself!

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Heroes & Generals on Steam today

Historical, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play

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Did you know that Heroes & Generals was one of the first titles to ever be Greenlit by the Steam community? Yep, it was, and today developer Reto-Moto is launching the World War II shooter/strategy FPS on Valve's ubiquitous PC platform.

But wait, isn't Heroes & Generals a browser game? Well, partly, but Reto-Moto says not to worry. "The browser version will also still be operational and both versions offer the same game and access to the same wars," the firm explains via press release. If you're already an H&G player, you can use your existing account with the new Steam version.

Click past the cut to have a look at the Steam launch trailer!

[Source: Reto-Moto press release]

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Tamriel Infinium: Immersion matters in Elder Scrolls Online and every other MMO

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

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Grahtwood art
I'm fully on board with all of the changes ZeniMax listed in its latest state-of-the-game update. My only concern has more to do with personal OCD issues than it does with any long-term effects on Elder Scrolls Online. See, as I mentioned in a previous piece, I love the fact that ZOS allows me to play all of the game's quest content, which is spread across three different factions, on a single character of a single faction. I hate alts, or more accurately, I hate the need for them because they pull me right out of the game world.

Oh yes, I'm going to talk about immersion, even at the risk of inviting a bunch of anti-immersion comments. I'll even define the dreaded "I" word, though of course it's pretty subjective.

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ArcheAge Korea getting 1.7, new PvE and PvP content next week

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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While Western ArcheAge fans are getting all hot and bothered by Trion's upcoming closed beta, it's worth remembering that XLGAMES' sandpark has been live in its native Korea for a while now. As such, it's scheduled to receive a version update (1.7) next week that will add new PvE and PvP content. There's an aquatic world boss called Leviathan in the works, as well as something called Attack of the Abyss that features PvP capture-and-defend objectives as well as PvE pirate ghost ships.

The update will also feature a new PvP area called Dew Plains. You can view trailers for Leviathan, Attack of the Abyss, and Dew Plains after the break.

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David Braben explains Elite's high prices

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Buy-to-Play

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If you looked at the £200 alpha and £100 premium beta price tag for Elite: Dangerous and thought, wow, that's pretty damn expensive, you're not alone. Frontier boss David Braben recently explained the price points to Eurogamer.

"We've taken flak for it," Braben said. "But the important thing for the alpha is, for it to be a genuine alpha, we didn't want huge numbers. Maybe we shouldn't have restricted it by price but it seemed like a logical thing to do. It seemed like a fair thing to do."

He goes on to say that while Frontier could have "thought more carefully" about how the prices would appear to gamers outside of Elite fandom, the devs "planned it this way for sound reasons, and part of that is going toward backing the game. We don't have a publisher here," Braben said. "That backing helps financially."

World of Warcraft's male Draenei gets only minor cosmetic tweaks

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

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wow
Blizzard continues to show off the new character model art that's coming with World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, this time with the male Draenei.

Unlike some of the other races, Big Blue here only required small changes as the dev team considered the model already pretty well-done. The changes made were to increase fidelity and provide better animations for emotions. Rawr!

The Daily Grind: Is the term free-to-play intentionally misleading?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Mobile, Miscellaneous

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Earlier this month, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority barred EA from advertising its mobile game Dungeon Keeper as "free-to-play." Why? Because Dungeon Keeper has a countdown timer that blocks progress in the game, a timer that can be bypassed with money. "From the information available in the ad, players would expect the gameplay progression and their ability to advance to be unhindered by unexpected and excessively onerous delays," wrote ASA, "and we therefore considered that the length and frequency of these countdown events was beyond that which would be reasonably expected by players. [...] While we understood that the average consumer would appreciate that free-to-play games were likely to contain monetization functions, we considered that they would also expect the play experience of a game described as 'free' to not be excessively restricted."

Welcome, ASA, to the MMO community's endless debate over what constitutes free-to-play! This "free-to-wait" game mechanic is nothing new to us; it pervades mobile titles as well as many MMORTS titles and indie MMOs (Glitch and Villagers and Heroes come to mind). As a gamer, I find the mechanic not so much exploitative as obnoxious, and I'd rather not see it spread. But I spy a slippery slope here. Do you think the ASA is right? Are MMOs with this mechanic (or similar mechanics) misleading consumers? Which F2P games could be legitimately F2P under the ASA's understanding of the term?

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!

ArcheAge's closed beta begins on July 17th

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Interviews, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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The time has finally come: ArcheAge fans who've been been anxiously awaiting a beta date now can mark their calendars and start canceling other plans. Next weekend the closed beta doors will swing open at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday the 17th and remain so until they close at the same hour on Monday the 21st. Founders and invited testers will have a chance to dive in and experience ArcheAge's sandbox world, including -- but not limited to -- pirating, farming, questing, crafting, fishing, PvPing, or even just in gliding from the mountaintops.

With so many possible adventures by land and by sea, it may be impossible to get to them all during the first beta weekend. But don't despair -- there will be more! We sat down with Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman to chat about the upcoming beta tests. We've also got the beta trailer for you.

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Hunted Cow releases Eldevin 1.16, desktop client

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

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Hunted Cow wants you to know that its Eldevin MMORPG is no longer exclusively browser-based. The firm's latest update features a desktop client along with new systems like story mode dungeons. The 1.16 patch also "lays down some preparatory work" for Eldevin's hardware rendering engine, which Hunted Cow says will improve graphics, frame rates, and overall performance in "a few weeks' time."

The game will also be launching on Steam, and the full 1.16 notes are embedded after the break.

[Source: Hunted Cow press release]

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EverQuest II throws bonus XP weekend, extends summer promotion

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Promotions

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eq2
EverQuest II is opening up the throttle on in-game promotions this month, as Executive Producer Holly Longdale announced on Twitter that the game will be host to a double XP weekend from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.

In addition to that, EverQuest II is extending its Gear Up, Level Up promotion through the end of July. During this period, players will get bonus Etyma and a discount on the upcoming expansion. Subscribers are treated to even more goodies, including a 25% XP bonus and a discount on purchasing heroic characters.

SOE teases H1Z1's dynamic weather

Horror, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

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H1Z1
We all know that the most important thing to your MMO immersions when you're neck-deep in zombies and dastardly corpse-looting player-killers is whether you can wear a t-shirt in a blizzard with impunity. Worry not, roleplay fiends, for SOE has today teased its dynamic weather system for upcoming survival MMO H1Z1 via a septet of screenshots that show the effect of changing seasons on the environment. Enjoy!

RuneScape players vote overwhelmingly in favor of traditional combat option

Fantasy, Patches, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

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runescape
RuneScape has never shied away from interesting ideas and democratic experiments, a fact that is well illustrated by today's announcement that the game will be implementing a "legacy mode" option on Monday, July 14th.

Over 80% of players polled voted to add in the mode, which modifies the current game to work with the traditional rather than the new combat system. Legacy mode uses the traditional combat system, pre-RuneScape 3 interfaces, the old mini-map icons, the old animations, and a life point cap of 990. When it goes live in the game, players can switch it on and off as desired.

Jagex is also pushing through a few global changes to combat across the board, including an equal balance between melee, ranged, and magic attacks.

The Think Tank: Finding the magic in MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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About a month ago, a Massively reader wrote to our team to ask for help on an issue many of us -- and probably many of you -- struggle with: a genre with lots of games and not enough stickiness (and patience!).
I've been around the MMO block (since EverQuest); I even dabbled in Meridian 59. And I keep seeing game articles that make me want to try or retry lots of MMOs, but between my schedule and investment in other titles already, I cannot bring myself to jump into old or new games for more than a few play sessions. There's so many to play that I just can't bring myself to settle down for a little bit to really get enough of the experience to enjoy it.

For example, I recently played Asheron's Call for a total of three hours after subbing and reading articles that compelled me to try it. But it felt foreign and clunky. I couldn't stick around to really appreciate it. I fear the same results in other games I'd like to try. Can you give me advice on shedding the urge to judge and dismiss a game if it doesn't click with me immediately? Is there a way to not be jaded or lazy with being a newbie (yet again) in older titles? Help me play more MMOs for the sake of experience and new loves!

- MMO junkie seeking help "finding the magic"
I polled the team for advice in this week's Think Tank!

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Star Trek Online introduces Research & Development packs

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Subscription

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Just put it all in a box.  A crafting box, if you will.
The next major Star Trek Online update is all about new stuff for the crafting system. That means that you're going to need lots of materials, and the designers are making sure that there are even more ways to get them. If you don't want to just harvest, you can also try your luck with the new Research & Development Material Packs.

How do you get the packs? For starters, you can grab these packs as a bonus for PvE queue content. Normal packs contain 20 materials and are awarded from normal queue missions, while Advanced packs contain 25 and are awarded (predictably) from Elite queues. Advanced packs also contain rare materials based on the nature of the particular mission, letting you focus in your efforts if you need something specific. Players can also purchase additional packs from the in-game store for 300 Zen each or 1000 Zen for four. Read the full article for more details on how you can pick up extra packs without harvesting.

Massively Liveblogs: SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, MMORPG

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Liveblog: SWTOR Coruscant Skyrise Apartment
The upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic has the potential to completely change player perception of the game. Galactic Strongholds gives players the ability to own and decorate a home on four different planets: Nar Shaddaa, Tatooine, Coruscant, and Dromund Kaas. Last week, the developers showed off the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace; today, we see the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment.

Over the next couple of weeks, developers have promised to answer questions, including, "Who can visit your stronghold when you're not looking?" and "How many people can visit before your skyrise topples to level 1313?" They also said that they will give an in-depth tour of the prestige system and the legacy bank.

We are liveblogging right now in the comments as the developers are speaking, so join us!

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Landmark contest winners enshrined in game world

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

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landmark
The vaunted Landmarks of Landmark Competition is over, and the player architects who out-designed the rest have secured a spot in special claims across the game world. These structures will be retained for and used when the game goes live.

The contest winners' displays are one part of a modest-sized patch for Landmark that was released today. The patch also added customizable keybindings, Marketplace recommendations, and new craftable outfits that come in various colors (mmm... minty).

Blizzard's Morhaime responds to player concern for diversity in WoW

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture

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Mike Morhaime
Diversity is certainly a hot topic everywhere in the world today, and MMO communities are no exception. In particular, World of Warcraft has been under the microscope several times in the last few years for an imbalance of gender representation.

When WoW player Starcunning wrote an open letter to Blizzard president Mike Morhaime that questioned the studio's treatment of its female players, including then-CCO Rob Pardo's statement that diversity isn't something that Blizzard is actively trying to do, she probably didn't expect a real response. Interestingly enough, Morhaime did respond with some real promise about making diversity a priority for the team.

"We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible," Morhaime promised. "Blizzard's employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content."

Vote for your Guild Wars 2 International All-Stars tourney reps

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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ArenaNet and Twitch are joining forces to bring you the "first-ever truly global" Guild Wars 2 competition. It's going down at Gamescom 2014 and it's called the Guild Wars 2 International All-Stars Tournament since it matches players from North America, Europe, and China.

Fans can choose their regional representatives via a voting drive that starts today, and the winners will receive all-expenses paid trips to Germany to compete.

Raptr's Most Played PC list shows strong start for WildStar

MMO Industry, New Titles, Miscellaneous

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Raptr
Raptr has released its Most Played PC Games list for June 2014 and we spot six MMOs gracing the company's list this time around. As no surprise to anyone, World of Warcraft still dominates in the number 3 spot, behind League of Legends and Dota 2, but we also see WildStar's debut at number 6. World of Tanks, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, and The Elder Scrolls Online finish out the remaining MMOs on the list.

Interestingly enough, The Elder Scrolls Online's hours played were nearly cut in half from May to June, and Star Wars: The Old Republic was bumped from the list entirely. It's important to note that these rankings are only based on hours played by those who use Raptr for each play session. Check out the complete infographic and press release after the cut.

[Source: Raptr press release]

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Destiny September 9, 2014
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