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MMO Week in Review: The end of the World of Darkness

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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WoD
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

Early this week, CCP announced it had canceled World of Darkness, a hardcore Vampire: The Masquerade sandbox that had been languishing in development since 2008. A pre-production video was shown at 2013's EVE Fanfest, but layoffs slammed the studio last December.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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ArcheAge boasts 120 class combinations

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Classes, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

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ArcheAge
Forget MMOs that have a petty eight, 16, or even 23 classes; ArcheAge is strutting about with 120 builds thanks to its mix-and-match class structure. In a new developer diary and video, the team talks about the way classes are set up in the game as well as the crafting options at the player's disposal.

Players construct their class by picking three skillsets at levels 1, 5, and 10, with the option to respec for a fee. Skillsets can be leveled up independently, allowing players to invest in far more than three of them, and those skillsets have certain synergies between them. The 10 skillsets in the game are Archery, Auramancy, Battlerage, Defense, Occultism, Shadowplay, Songcraft, Sorcery, Vitalism, and Witchcraft.

ArcheAge wants you to know that you have the option to level to the cap entirely through crafting professions if desired. The 21 professions are leveled through a slowly regenerating resource called Labor, and eventually they hit a hard cap until the player chooses a handful for specializations.

You can watch the dev video walk you through the intricacies of classes and crafting after the break!

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Mortal Online patch will add more blood and Oculus Rift support

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, PvP, Mortal Online, Virtual Reality

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Mortal Online
Mortal Online is about to both look better and play better with the coming of Patch 1.80.00.00. Wait, is that a patch version or an IP address? Never you mind.

The new patch contains a boat-load of tweaks and upgrades, including the switch to an updated Unreal Engine. The dev team has improved the UI, rebuilt the gathering system, added more custom helmet overlays, created a unified options system, and even added support for Oculus Rift rendering and control.

And if you worried that Mortal Online might be losing its savage edge, then you'll be glad to read the following patch note: "Tweaked decapitation blood for more... blood."

[Thanks to Graham for the tip!]

Elder Scrolls Online accidentally bans legitimate accounts

Fantasy, Bugs, Legal, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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ESO
Mark this down in the "oops!" category: ZeniMax admitted that it got a little too zealous in its war against EULA breakers in Elder Scrolls Online by accidentally banning some players who had done no wrong.

"As part of our continuing effort to combat gold spammers, botters and exploiters, we recently banned a number of accounts," the studio posted. "After several players appealed, we were able to investigate the matter further and discovered some legitimate accounts got caught up in the sweep. We unbanned accounts last night, and have email responses going out for those affected from our support group. It is never our intention for legitimate players to be harmed as we work to keep your game free of cheaters, and we sincerely apologize for the mistake."

ZeniMax also said that this past week's maintenance accidentally deleted some characters' bank expansions and the items held inside of them. The studio put up a process how to regain those slots and items if it happened to you.

PAX East 2014: The future looks bright for the next generation of MMOs

Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

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While last weekend saw a surprising lack of noteworthy announcements at PAX East 2014, one panel gathered several industry veterans to answer a not-so-simple question: How does the future look for the MMO industry as a whole? The panel, titled Next Generation MMO Games: What's Next for Multiplayer Trends?, featured Ian Fisher (Director of Design, Robot Entertainment), Stephen Frost (Game Design Producer, Carbine), Dave Georgeson (Director of Development, SOE), Kjartan Pierre Emilsson (Principal Game Designer, CCP), and Stephen Johnston (President, Guild Launch) in a roundtable discussion about where MMOs have been and where they're headed. While panelists agreed that there is a huge barrier to entry when funding, developing, and launching a new MMO, their outlook was positive overall, and in general they believe there is still plenty of room for growth in the industry.

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Stick and Rudder: On crowdfunding and 'dev abuse'

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

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Stick and Rudder Hornet header
The DFM PAX reveal came and went, and it was exactly what I expected: full of bugs befitting an alpha state and still absolutely stunning in terms of its potential.

And that's all that really needs to be said about that, at least until we get our hands on it in the comfort of our own homes! I'm more interested in riffing off some of the trollish behavior from the pre-PAX backer-only gala. If you watched the full presentation, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, it was basically drunks being drunk, but it leads into something I've wanted to talk about for a while, which is mass appeal, niches, and the gaming industry viewed through the prism of Star Citizen.

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One Shots: You won't believe what color this horse is

Screenshots, EverQuest II, Culture, One Shots, Free Realms, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online

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EQ2
Let's start our time together today by playing a game! The game is this: You have until you hit the "continue reading" button to figure out what color this horse (well, technically a unicorn) is. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

This picture comes from reader Becca: "Here is my EverQuest 2 Fury, Sarense, riding her mighty steed. I spent a few hours grinding out candy hearts to get this mount, which shoots hearts out of his eyes and hooves (unfortunately not captured here). He's a hardcore stallion. Look at his cocky stare. He knows that you know he's a badass."

My apologies in advance for our colorblind readers who think that this game is unfair. I'll tell you the answer to be fair: It's purple. Shh! Don't tell the rest of our readers, OK?

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The Daily Grind: What's the silliest thing you've done for an MMO achievement?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Anniversaries

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LotRO Grindaversary fireworks
It's festival time in Lord of the Rings Online, which means that it's time to do all manner of inane activities in order to collect tokens and trade them for mounts, clothing, etc.

I'm actually more amenable to this sort of thing than I used to be, probably because I'm maxed out and looking for any sort of excuse to visit Middle-earth. And what better excuse is there than a series of achievements that grants the title of Master Blaster, provided you have the patience (and the silver) to stand around and fire off 300 vendor-purchased fireworks?

Yep, that's my what's-the-silliest-thing-you've-done-for-an-MMO-achievement story. What's yours?

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!

WildStar's new interface profiled in video

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, WildStar

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WildStar
Friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio is back with yet another WildStar video, this one focusing on the beta title's brand-new user interface 2.0, which flattens some of the UI elements that before floated a little bit too high into the field of play. Of course, as he notes, the UI is moddable and can be altered to taste by each player. Combat popups, inventory, and menu options have also been tweaked.

If you missed it, Bogotter covered the new character creation options in yesterday's video. Enjoy his UI preview after the break!

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Make My MMO: April 13 - April 19, 2014

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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Make My MMO header
MMO crowdfunding news this week centered on industry titans Richard Garriott and Chris Roberts, as well as The Secret World's new ARG companion game called The Black Watchmen. The title kicks off in September and is currently being funded through a Crowdtilt campaign that still has 49 days left to run.

For more info on the title, click past the cut or check out Massively's Black Watchmen interview.

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PAX East 2014: Can World of Warcraft's garrisons live up to the hype?

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Housing

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Like many players, I have very mixed feelings about the garrisons being added to World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. At this year's PAX East, I sat down with Blizzard Entertainment to discuss the feature, and the studio reps explained garrisons as a way for Blizzard to bring a bit of Warcraft into the WoW universe. As a fan of WarCraft 3, I left the interview feeling hopeful and excited. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to worry that garrisons will boil down to one of three things: an expanded version of Mists of Pandaria's farms, a new daily quest hub, or just another time-sink that will keep players isolated from one another.

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The Stream Team: Esper adventures in the WildStar beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

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It's time once again for Massively's MJ to grab her ectoplasmic throwing stars and leap back into the WildStar beta! There are plenty more adventures to be had (and Dominion to eradicate) on her journey to a level that allows housing. That's right -- MJ is going to push for the exalted level of 14! How much experience can she store up in one hour? Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for the wild XP ride.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, April 19th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Perfect Ten: Strategies for juggling multiple MMOs

Humor, Guides, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

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Among my friends, I have a reputation for being "that guy who plays all the games." People are constantly asking me how I manage to handle so many MMOs simultaneously on top of work and family, as if I've managed to clone myself or I never sleep. The truth is far more mundane: Work and family get top priority with my time, and what I have left for gaming is simply spent wisely.

The thing is that I'm just always enamoured with so many MMOs that I can't just play one and nothing else. I have to be a "juggler:" a player who balances online worlds. With limited time at my disposal and a desire to be in three or four MMOs at any given time, I've done a lot of experimenting with different ways to juggle titles.

There is no one best way, I've found. It depends on how "fair" you want to be to your MMOs and whether it's a priority to you to give each of them more or less the same attention and time. Each of the following strategies has pros and cons, and if you're trying to handle two or more titles, you're simply going to need to figure out what works best for you and your allotment of time.

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WRUP: Oversaturation

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Hearthstone
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game where we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you try to convince us that what the genre needs next is a zombie MMOTCG or possibly a zombie MOBA. With motorcycles. And then we make this froggy face at you.

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The Daily Grind: What naming restrictions do you approve of?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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WildStar
A recent beta patch in WildStar included several changes to its naming rules. Numbers in names are out but special characters are in. I'm really not a huge fan of most special characters because they're used to circumvent the fact that your desired name was chosen and so you're going to create a similar-looking name that will be all but impossible for your friends and guildies to type.

Of course, in some games this isn't a problem because players can pick any name they like as long as it's attached to their permanent handle. But that's got its pros and cons too.

What naming restrictions do you approve of? Personally, I wish all MMOs allowed for first and last names, since this usually solves the problem of taken names while increasing variety. I also don't know how prevalent "leet-speak" is these days to necessitate the removal of numbers.

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!

Skyforge posts Q&A on character development and more

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, Skyforge

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The Skyforge team today selected and answered 10 community questions on the official forums ranging from "when's beta" (effective answer: no comment) to "how will names work" (answer: given name plus surname). Perhaps the most interesting tidbits focused on character development: The team confirmed that you can switch classes on the fly "whenever you like" and that because of this mechanic, you're unlikely to need alts. Moreover, says the team, "character progression in the game is not level based," and "players will always have ways to advance their characters further."

The free-to-play sci-fantasy MMORPG's full Q&A is available on the official forums. The developers have promised to post more answers every two weeks.

[Thanks to Paul for the tip!]

Betawatch: April 12 - 18, 2014

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

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Betawatch
This week, Trion expanded Trove's "adventurer" supporter tier, which costs $20, to include instant access to the game's ongoing alpha test. What else is new in the world of MMO betas this round?
  • Shards posted a survey for hopeful alpha test candidates (thanks, Siphaed!).
  • WildStar showed off new body customization options in its latest round of beta.
  • Face of Mankind's open beta begins... today!
  • Swordsman joins our list with its closed beta signups.
  • Archlord 2 opened its closed beta registration earlier this week.
  • Landmark implemented a major building patch for its beta.
  • We streamed Origins of Malu's alpha with the developer team.
  • Icarus Online's Korean open beta got a video preview.
  • HEX announced its closed beta will begin on April 23rd.
  • Monkey King Online soft-launched into open beta.
  • CasinoRPG, which does call itself an MMORPG, officially moved from beta to launch on April 16th.
Read on for the complete Betawatch roundup!

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Camelot Unchained dishes on design progress, racial lore

Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

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Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment's Mark Jacobs has been a busy bee over on the Camelot Unchained blog today, delivering two posts about the game. The first discusses the world editor and progress on the programming front. Writes Jacobs,
We've kicked it up a notch with our combat system. We've now got character stats in the game. We've got more interesting abilities that can apply buffs and debuffs and affect your character's stats. Active effects on the character are passed to the UI layer so you can see what effects are active on your character. Abilities are saved to the database and updates can be pushed straight to the Live or Stable server. Cooldowns are in place and can affect one or more abilities.
The second blog post includes new concept art and a lengthy lore piece on the Caretakers of the Tuatha De Danann. Enjoy both on the official site.

Dark Age of Camelot plans character transfer service and new art

Dark Age of Camelot, Previews, Community Q&A, Family, Sandbox, Subscription

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DAoC
Dark Age of Camelot's grab bag -- written by Sir Grabford B. Bagsworth III Esq., no less -- is back, and at the top of the most pressing questions is the issue of character transfers. Broadsword said that these are indeed in the works: "We would like to provide the opportunity to allow consolidation. This will be among the many updates and upgrades to the Broadsword account center that is currently underway. Currently, it's planned as a premium service –- but there are no details on the prices as yet."

Broadsword mentions how art improvements have been going in the game following the studio's acquisition of DAoC. "We have renewed investment in this area, and we're really excited about updating art for various features in DAoC. Things we're currently discussing are: fixes for art-related bugs, new maps, UI skins, new items, monsters, and more!"

Other topics in the grab bag include the return of in-game surveys, the status of the new website, and details of the next patch. The studio teased that it will be adding "a new long-term live event with a very cool surprise" with the update.

Hands-on with Windborne's early access

Fantasy, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play

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Screenshot -- Windborne
The breakout success of Minecraft has inspired a slew of creative sandbox games since its release in 2011, and the trend has shown no signs of dying down given the ever-increasing number of sandbox titles hitting the market. Hidden Path Entertainment's in-development title Windborne is certainly one such game, and at first glance one might be tempted to write it off as a clone of Mojang's golden child, but that would be more than a little disingenuous.

The folks at Hidden Path were generous enough to provide me with a key to get some hands-on experience with Windborne, but I'd like to make special mention of the fact that the game is currently part of Steam's Early Release program, which of course means that it's still unfinished and under constant development. With that in mind, I dived into Windborne's world of mystical floating islands, and I've got more than a few thoughts about the game, where it's going, and where it needs to be.

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The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
Elder Scrolls Online April 4, 2014
WildStar June 3, 2014
Destiny September 9, 2014
Neverwinter Module 3 Spring 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Summer 2014
The Crew Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
Firefall 2014
WoW Warlords of Draenor 2014

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