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Gloria Victis is all up in your beeswax

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Sandbox

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gloria victis
In yesterday's pre-alpha patch, Gloria Victis shattered all sense of boundaries and decided that it was going to make your beeswax its business. Yes indeed, we are finally living in an era when beeswax has been added to beehives in an MMO, and life will never be the same again. (Actually, my editor informs me that Ultima Online has that as well because it has everything.)

Other changes with the patch included global buffs for capture-the-flag winners, cattle horns as "by-products of [the] animal skinning process," a buff to gear durability, a higher change to get weapon drops from humans, and a rework of the mob spawning system.

Betawatch: December 13 - 19, 2014

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

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Elite Dangerous
Elite: Dangerous formally launched this week, departing our Betawatch (Gammawatch?) list and flying free into the wilds of the MMO jungle. What else is new in the land of MMO testing?
  • Landmark's closed beta launched PvE combat this week; SOE says it will shift full-time to working on EverQuest Next in early 2015.
  • Shroud of the Avatar's devs spoke to us about its community and development process.
  • Black Desert officially launched into open beta in Korea.
  • Sandvox SkySaga began its alpha phase for UK players.
  • Skyforge launched a beta contest and demoed two classes.
  • Cabal II's closed beta is taking signups; the first focus test is slated for this weekend.
  • Valiance Online kicked off a Steam Greenlight campaign. It's currently in pre-alpha stress testing.
  • Space strategy MMO AD2460 leaves testing and launches on December 29th.
  • MapleStory 2 will begin closed beta signups in Korea next week.
  • Albion Online's winter test begins January 26th.
  • Rainbow Saga softlaunched into open beta.
  • MMORTS Siegelord's closed beta began this week as well.
Read on for the complete Betawatch list.

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MapleStory 2 begins closed beta signups next week, will include a jail system

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

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MapleStory 2
Another day, another game we can't have yet. This one's MapleStory 2, the sequel to Nexon's MapleStory, which in spite of its cuteness is still one of the biggest MMORPGs in the world. Steparu reports that MS2 is set to enter its first closed beta phase on January 21st; signups go live for Korean players on Christmas eve.

Over on the official site (in Korean), Nexon further discusses the MMO's jail system, something fans of games like Ultima Online and ArcheAge know well. This particular jail is meant to hold those who make wreckage of chat channels, though Nexon says will punish counter-abuse "severely." What could possibly go wrong?

We don't yet know whether the game will come here, but since classic MapleStory has a global version that's earned Nexon boatloads of money, it's pretty darn likely.

We've embedded Steparu's MapleStory 2 customization video below.

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The Stream Team: Slaugs and wisps and chompers, oh Landmark!

Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, First Impressions, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Landmark

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OK, so Landmark's PvE does not include any lions, tigers, or bears as the original phrase indicates, but there are still some hungry critters who want to munch on you if you get too close. Along with the slaugs, wisps, and chompers, there are abominations and fiery fungi waiting down in the caverns to bring death to adventurers. And you know what that means: Massively's MJ is going to dive down into the thick of it to find some! She'll be excitedly exploring the new cavern system while trying to dodge death around every turn. Join us live at 6:00 p.m. for a first look at Landmark's long-awaited PvE, then experience it for yourself by nabbing your own beta code!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, December 19th, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Sandvox SkySaga hits alpha in the UK

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content

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Skysaga
Sandvox SkySaga has officially entered alpha, says developer Smilegate. The team announced the start of the testing phase over social media yesterday and today:
Great news! We've just started up the Alpha servers (UK only still, I'm afraid), and from now on they'll be running 24/7 (with the exception of maintenance periods!).
You read that right: The alpha's open only to UK players right now, though we've had reports that there's no IP blocking just yet. Release is still set for next summer. The game is a voxel-based sandbox with the usual trapping: crafting, harvesting, combat, arena PvP, and an "evolving" online world shaped by the players themselves.

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Win part of a $50,000 pool at Guild Wars 2's PAX East tournament

Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
Fancy yourself a not-half-bad PvP player? Are you keen on the notion of winning enough money to avoid work or school for a year so that you can concentrate on MMO gaming? Then step right up to Guild Wars 2's World Tournament Series Championship at PAX East next spring, where the winners will dip into a $50,000 prize pool.

The tournament will take place on March 7th, 2015, at the gaming convention in Boston. Players from several countries are welcome to face off against each other, although teams will have to compete and win in earlier qualifiers to make it to the championship. You'll have to be at least 18 and from the US, Canada, Mexico, or the EU to participate. A cool perk of making it to the championship is that ArenaNet will foot the bill for teams' airfare, hotel, and a per diem.

Marvel Heroes adds Venom, throws 50% off sale

Super-hero, Classes, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Promotions

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marvel heroes
'Tis the season for deep discounts and disturbing heroes, as has come to pass in the merry lands of Marvel Heroes. The jolly figure known as Venom has come to distribute pain, suffering, and alternative dental plans for those who pick this new playable figure.

The Marvel Heroes team is also offering a half-off sale on most -- but not all -- of the in-game store. This includes many of the title's heroes, costumes, team-ups, and pets. And even if you don't want to spend money, you'll still be getting treats all month with the game's Winter Wonderland & Season's Givings event. Presents and buffs will be available all over the game, in addition to new daily log-in rewards.

War Thunder's Steel Generals expansion beta is live

Betas, Historical, Galleries, Screenshots, Video, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS

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War Thunder
War Thunder, Gaijin Entertainment's WWII-flavored MMO, updated with its Steel Generals patch this week, just ahead of the holidays. It includes new vehicles, tow cable mechanics, retooled artillery strikes, and new damage modeling. Gamers can also jump into three new maps: White Stone Fortress for air and ground battles, an Eastern Europe map with "varied open ground and urban terrain features," and the massive air-combat Battle for Moscow, which reconstructs the city during the Winter Campaign of 1941-1942. The Steel Generals content, however, "steals" the show:
The biggest addition to War Thunder with this update is the beta of the Steel Generals expansion, which includes the first six American tanks available now. By the end of Q1 2015, more than 30 US WWII tanks will be available. This release schedule allows Gaijin Entertainment to test each of the tanks to ensure that they are ready for battle when commercially launched. In honor of the update launch, special packages are available for purchase that contain premium US tanks and other bonuses alongside closed beta access. Players can participate in the Steel Generals beta by entering into contests and in-game events in War Thunder.
Check out the new screenshots and walkthrough video below.

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Albion Online's winter test begins January 26th

Betas, Fantasy, Sandbox

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albion online
Backers of Albion Online have been sitting on their hands for a while now, waiting for the next alpha test of this isometric sandbox. The good news is that Sandbox Interactive has announced that the alpha winter test will begin in a little over a month on January 26th.

There will be plenty of new and updated systems to check out during this testing cycle, including an extensive farming system, consumables, more weapons, more skills, and player and guild islands. Another significant change is that players can flag themselves as friendly or hostile in PvP areas, effectively adding consensual PvP into the game.

Albion Online's winter test will be available to legendary ($100) and epic ($50) founders and will last for four weeks.

Trove introduces the Ice Sage

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, Trove

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TROVE
It's that time of year again when the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and a disproportionate number of songs playing everywhere you go relate to ice crystals covering the ground. (Unless you live south of the equator, in which case you're just wondering what we're on about.) To accompany the winter weather, voxelbox MMORPG Trove has introduced its newest class, the Ice Sage. You can probably guess what that one's all about; the name is not exactly a mystery.

Ice Sages chill enemies with their basic attacks and avoid slipping on icy surfaces. They can also summon icicles, absorb attacks, and create a deep freeze in their immediate area to freeze and damage enemies. If that sounds cooler than being cool, you can pick the class up in the in-game store now.

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: MMO of the Year

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards come to a close today with our 12th and final award, this one the biggun (and usually the most contentious): our MMO of the Year. To be eligible for this award, MMOs must have launched in 2014, full stop. (If you want to know what would win the staff's best-MMO-ever vote, it's Star Wars Galaxies, and now I've saved us all that discussion, and you're welcome.) All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Best MMO of 2014 is...

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Elite: Dangerous scores a HUD color mod and grats from Chris Roberts

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

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If the people making their living this way can be civil, you can do the same in the comments, hmm?
The stage was set for a truly epic battle of words with the launch of Elite: Dangerous. In one corner, David Braben and Elite, a project that's launched and offers a space sandbox experience with the controversy of a removed offline mode. In the other corner, Chris Roberts and Star Citizen, another space sandbox that hasn't actually launched but hasn't managed to irritate its fans yet. The intense rivalry between these two developers is... well... it's nonexistent, actually, as Roberts recently released a letter congratulating Braben and his team on the launch and wishing them the best of luck.

Roberts states in the letter that he's happy to see more games like Elite: Dangerous on the market; he says everyone benefits from having the game on the market, especially since his game and Braben's game both feeling distinct from one another. He also states that he's looking forward to playing the game himself during his time over the holidays. And thus the battle of words never happened because the rivalry doesn't actually exist. Hint, hint.

In other Elite: Dangerous news, an intrepid modder has released a tool to help players change their UI HUD colors. How cool is that?

[Thanks to Oliver, Cardboard, and Carson for the tips!]

Skyforge demos the Paladin and the Cryomancer in a solo dungeon

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Skyforge

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This looked far better than it had any right to.
The latest video from Skyforge isn't a trailer. It's all gameplay footage, and it's all about showing off how two of the classes function in combat and what players can expect from the game's solo dungeons. Development director Eric Demilt and class designer Aidan Karabaich take two of the game's starting classes, the Paladin and the Cryomancer, through the Lanber Catacombs while narrating how the combat systems and ability mechanics work.

The Paladin, as you'd likely expect, is as tanky as you'd like and features a variety of sword swipes, holy bolts of damage, and drawing in enemies for large attacks. The Cryomancer, meanwhile, focuses on control, creating decoys, and blasting groups down after they're frozen in place. The video also shows off solo mechanics like environmental puzzles and solo bosses. If you've got a chunk of time to sit down and watch it (it's 14 minutes long), check the whole thing out just past the break.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you wish you hadn't waited to try?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, OARPG

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Marvel Heroes
Marvel Heroes is one of those MMOs (OK, pseudo-MMOs) that I reaaaaallly should have given a try a long time ago. Diablo-clone? Check! Superheroes? Check! Picking cars up and slamming them into the pavement? Check! Loot falling outta the sky? Check! When I finally gave it a spin earlier this month, I felt silly for having waited so long, but I kept telling myself it wasn't different enough from the OARPGs I already had to make it worth the download.

Plus, lookit how pretty this part of the UI is. I mean, that is color wheel gamer nirvana right there. I can't even explain how much I want to hug this tab. Happy Christmas to me; now I have a new game with a ton of content stocked up and just waiting for me.

What about you, Massively readers? What MMO are you kicking yourself for not having tried sooner?

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!

The Think Tank: Massively's MMO industry predictions for 2015

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous

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SWTOR
It's that time of year for looking ahead and trying to predict just what will happen in the MMO industry in the year ahead of us. Will we play it safe this year or predict all sorts of wild and crazy things that everyone can quote and laugh about next December? Magic 8 ball says yes. Go big or go home when it comes to predictions!

Join the Massively staffers for this next-to-last Think Tank of the year and share your own predictions in the comments.

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The Stream Team: CM Ryan Collins dishes on Marvel Heroes' X-23 and Venom (who launches tomorrow)

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

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The new heroes (and villains) may be coming too fast for Massively's MJ to keep up, but that won't stop her from checking out every single one in Marvel Heroes! And this time around, she has Creative Designer and Community Manager Ryan Collins to help show the newest additions off. Not only will Collins demonstrate X-23, but he plans to dish some details on Venom as well. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to revel in the newest heroes and ask those burning Marvel Heroes questions!

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MechWarrior Online patches in 64-bit client

Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, MechWarrior Online, MOBA

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mwo
If you want to hang with the cool kids, you're going to want to ditch that creaky 32-bit client and get with the sleek 64-bit crowd! It worked for the Nintendo 64, and it's now working for MechWarrior Online.

As part of the big patch rolling out today, MechWarrior Online is offering an "experimental release" of its new 64-bit client. This client supposedly uses all available RAM for better performance, but can be only handled by 64-bit versions of Windows.

Other changes with the patch include several UI improvements that will make it easier to see who is queueing up for matches and which side is winning certain territories.

EVE Online and DUST 514 celebrate the holiday season

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Sandbox, Subscription

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It's usually hard to find a way to mention a good year and DUST 514 in the same space.
The year is wrapping up and EVE Online players are getting presents to celebrate. CCP Games has posted a short recap of the past year and an announcement of the holiday gifts players can expect to receive as a paid subscriber. That includes snowballs, fireworks, jackets, and a set of trinkets to commemorate the past year. Players can also look forward to 20 free days of multiple character training as a final additional gift. All of these promotions are available until January 11th.

Meanwhile, for those of you who prefer to explore this particular universe via a console shooter, DUST 514 is having a holiday event with its 12 Days of DUST. Starting on December 25th, each day will bring a new reward to players who finish three daily missions, so you'll have to keep playing through January 5th to unlock all the rewards. A special reward is awaiting those who clear everything, so get strapped in and ready to shoot if you want to celebrate the holidays that way.

Allods Online grants players two weeks of a free sub

Fantasy, Business Models, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Promotions, Subscription

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Allods
Allods Online is one of the few MMORPGs in existence that began free-to-play and added a subscription server well after its original launch. And as part of its winter holiday celebration, Allods is granting everyone the chance to play on that subscription server for two weeks -- entirely for free.
From the 18th of December until the 1st of January, all Allods players - veterans and newcomers alike - will be granted two weeks of free subscription time for the premium server "Smugglers Paradise". If you have never played on the server before, now is a good time to check it out - while those who already play there will gain two weeks of extra playtime. We hope you enjoy this New Year gift - and don't forget, we've got many other events and celebrations on the horizon as well, so stay tuned and enjoy the festivities!
The Allods team is currently toiling away on its Brothers in Arms patch, which is set to include "multi-personnel combat mounts, additional PvP skirmishes with new objectives, new PvE adventure mechanics, and many other improvements," according to a dev blog posted to the official site yesterday. Unfortunately, the dev diary vid is in Russian, so you'll just have to take the official site's word for it.

Camelot Unchained prepares to cross $3M in fundraising

Betas, Fantasy, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

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camelot unchained
As of the writing of this post, Camelot Unchained is on the verge of hitting $3M in fundraising donations at $2,952,875. City State Entertainment said that when that already-impressive sum climbs to $3,025,000, the team will sign on a sound engineer to kick the game's audio up a notch.

"Part of this goal will cover licensing the Audiokinetic Wwise engine and technical support for it, as well as some great plug-ins, while the rest will go toward the salary and expenses of the sound engineer," CSE posted.

To help prompt more of those donation dollars, Camelot Unchained began selling unveiled lifetime subscriptions today at the builder's level.

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
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H1Z1 Early Access Jan. 15, 2015
PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
GDC March 2, 2015
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015

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