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StarCraft II: An MMO player's perspective

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMORTS, Buy-to-Play

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StarCraft II
StarCraft is of immense importance to the world of online gaming. It's one of the franchises responsible for establishing Blizzard Entertainment as a titan (get it!?) of the games industry. It serves, for many, as the ideal example of what an RTS game should aspire to be. And it was among the first titles to transcend one-off competitions and contests to become a global e-sport featuring pros who make the big bucks and events watched by millions.

Without StarCraft, there would be no Dota 2, no League of Legends, perhaps no SMITE or Infinite Crisis. The MOBA niche, now one of the most profitable areas of online gaming, might not exist if not for the original StarCraft's custom three-lane Aeon of Strife map. StarCraft and its sequel, StarCraft II, represent the quintessential essence of small-scale online warfare.

As a fan of MOBAs and an ardent lover of clicking things quickly, I took a spin in StarCraft II in an effort to better understand the foundation of the games I enjoy. What I discovered was a difficult, punishing game that demands your full attention and gives you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.

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Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar seeks Steam Greenlighting

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar

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sota
Richard Garriott has conquered outer space, but can he get a foothold on Valve's popular digital distribution service? He sure hopes so; he and his team announced that they launched a Steam Greenlight campaign this past week for Shroud of the Avatar.

"SotA's long-term success depends upon us reaching as wide an audience as possible, and Steam is a great way to do that," the team posted.

Portalarium said that the possible Steam version will be not a replacement for the direct download of the game but an additional option. There is also speculation about giving current Shroud of the Avatar backers Steam keys so that they would not have to buy the game twice.

E-thugs target Destiny with DDoS attacks

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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This seems like the exact opposite of worthwhile discourse on the quality of a game.
Destiny has been made the target of a round of DDoS attacks, coming from the same group that previously took credit for executing a similar attack against Sony Online Entertainment and a bomb threat on John Smedley's plane (among other harassment). Players were told that the game was facing issues with logging in and matchmaking across the board, but Bungie declined to elaborate further at the time; the tweet on the matter has since been deleted. Our sister site Joystiq reports that the servers are up again.

Hacker group Lizard Squad has taken credit for taking parts of the game offline, an attack which also affected Call of Duty: Ghosts. Congratulations are in order for Destiny, since nothing says you've arrived like people taking down your servers as part of a petty show of power.

One Shots: The sacred bosom dance

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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gw2
It's one thing to dance for the fun of it. But it's another thing entirely to dance to save lives. Apart from an exotic snake charmer who rescued me from a king cobra last year, I've never witnessed a boogie performed for someone's health. At least... not until now.

Reader Jesse kicks off today's community screenshots with this silly-yet-serious jig from Guild Wars 2: "I am submitting this screenshot of my character and a few friends celebrating Pink Day in Lions Arch in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness. Here we are dancing around (and on) a podium."

All she wants to do is... all she wants to do is dance, dance, dance! I wish that I was Jesse's girl! Now I'm dancing for my life!

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The Daily Grind: What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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So yesterday I picked up piles of dookie in ArcheAge. Yes, there really is a quest in Anvilton that requires you to go around and fill your bag with yata manure, yatas being those floppy-eared rabbit/kangaroo mount things.

As if stuffing crap in my quest bag wasn't enough, there's an occasional overpowering stench status effect that causes my character to temporarily pass out and fall down. Finally, the end of the quest required me to deposit a huge helping of poo on an NPC's workbench, complete with buzzing fly and rising steam animations.

How about you, Massively readers? What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

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!

Make My MMO: September 14 - 20, 2014

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

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Pumpkin Online achieved its Kickstarter goal and Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen's Facebook page was updated with a few more screens from the fledgling Brad McQuaid-designed title.

Apart from the that, it was pretty slim pickings, so you'll forgive us if we once again call your attention to Project Gorgon's Kickstarter. It has a week left to go, and it's worthy of your support if your into full-featured MMORPGs that tread well off the beaten grindpark path.

The rest of this week's crowdfunding roundup lies just beyond the cut.

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Perfect Ten: Terrible, terrible MMO names

EverQuest, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Dragon's Prophet, Elite: Dangerous, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

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ever jane
A catchy, vivid title is essential to getting your game noticed and establishing a strong brand. Yes, we as gamers will get used to pretty much any dumb name (unless it's Daikatana), but a great one allows us to mention it in polite society without getting spat on or rejected for dates.

The best MMO names in my opinion are single words that sound cool or conjure up a strong association. I'm less fond of ALL CAPS ACRONYMS and any game that can't be more inventive with its title than to put "Online" after it. For the most part, MMOs play it safe and boring with titles, with only a few outliers in the awesome or terrible fringes. Today, we're going to examine the latter.

I want to make a couple of quick qualifiers here. I'm not judging these games by their names; an MMO can be good or bad independent of how silly its name is. And while I know that some of these names make more sense in context, I generally feel that if I have to have it explained to me, then it's a fail.

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The Stream Team: Anchors away in ArcheAge!

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

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Braving the hostile enemies or ArcheAge's queue -- which is worse? At least fighting enemies is fun, even if you lose. Massively's MJ has beat down the queue monster but now must face a sea of reds as she attempts to get the battle pet from the other continent. That means a trek across the water depths. Can the Massively Minions be successful in this raid? Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to cheer them on.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, September 20th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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ArcheAge battles queues with new servers, character creation blocks

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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ArcheAge
In a post on the official ArcheAge site last night, Trion Worlds confirmed that it had opened two new servers and shut down character creation on others to alleviate some of the queue congestion plauging players since the game's head start last weekend. The entry reads,
We've added two new worlds to our North American server list: Ezi (NA) and Lucius (NA)! These servers were racked (physically installed) and imaged (updated with ArcheAge server software) in our Texas data center all in the past day. Here you can see Ezi (NA) and Lucius (NA) in their new home with Senior Systems Engineer Jonathan Johnson. These two servers will be on the new Auction House cluster 5 (AH5). These new servers are now online and available to play right now: Friday September 19 at 4:15 PM PDT (GMT-7).
Critically, four US servers -- Kyrios, Ollo, Salphira, and Aranzeb -- have been "temporarily closed to new character creation," so we sure hope you aren't trying to join friends there today.

The studio also says new European servers are physically en route to the Amsterdam data center.

[Thanks, Siphaed.]

WRUP: Queue zen

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 long you waited in the queue to post on this article.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite "Oh %$#@" button?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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wildstar
I'm not the best under pressure in video game sometimes. When something really bad starts happening that I'm not prepared for, what I need the most -- and am always denied -- is the time to think it through. Whoops, I accidentally aggroed 25 hellbugs in RIFT when I only meant to grab three, and there's no place to run. What do I do?

Well, my friends, that's why devs give you the informally named "Oh %$#@" buttons. When the crap hits the fan and you need a little bit of breathing room to figure out how you're going to survive, these skills help by making you invulnerable, upping your dodge chance to 75%, completely refilling your health bar, or knocking all enemies away into the next time zone.

So what's your favorite "Oh %$#@" button? And how often does it get used?

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: September 13 - 19, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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EQ
This week, classic EverQuest began the beta test for Darkened Sea, its 21st expansion. You read that number correctly! What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The full Betawatch roundup is below.

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The Stream Team: Custom decks with HEX: Shards of Fate

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, HEX

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HEX: Shards of Fate
In last week's stream of Cryptozoic's HEX: Shards of Fate, Massively's Mike Foster opened 20-ish booster packs and used the cards he discovered to build a haphazard custom deck. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time left in the stream to actually hop into a live match with another player. In tonight's stream, Mike will take his probably terrible deck into the wild and see how it fares against a real-life HEX opponent.

Card-slinging begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: HEX: Shards of Fate
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, September 19th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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This EVE LEGO ship will rock you like a hurricane

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox

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Imgur user Dinklebob has uploaded pics of his latest LEGO creation, an homage to EVE Online's Hurricane battlecruiser. The project is currently in-progress, according to Kotaku, and it even features a drone bay filled with cute widdle LEGO drones.

Gaile Gray returns to the community team for Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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Just another day in paradise.
If you played Guild Wars when it launched, you remember Gaile Gray. Heck, odds are you remember her if you've been at all active in the community for Guild Wars or Guild Wars 2 over the past decade; she's worn many community-facing hats over the years. She's donning a new one now, or perhaps more accurately re-donning an old favorite, as game support lead Michael Henniger recently took to the forums announcing that Gray has moved from customer support to the community team.

Community interactions were a large part of Gray's role when the original Guild Wars launched, and long-time fans in the thread are happy to see her making the move. If you had a sudden sweep of nostalgia, you're not alone.

Elite: Dangerous beta 2 coming September 30

Betas, Sci-Fi, Giveaways, Anniversaries, Elite: Dangerous

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elite
Those cockpits weren't meant to look fresh off the factory floor forever; it's time to take Elite: Dangerous' ships out for another tour of duty. Frontier announced that beta 2 for Elite: Dangerous will begin on September 30th.

This round of testing is being promoted as a great improvement on the last, with combat ratings, reputations, 500 new star systems, and the Lakon Asp Explorer ship added to the mix. The team is still on track for a late 2014 release for the space sim, but in the meanwhile Frontier is giving away free copies of the original Elite as part of the franchise's 30th anniversary celebration.

[Source: Frontier press release]

The Stream Team: Wandering through Wakfu on Steam

Fantasy, Video, Launches, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team

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Wakfu has launched on Steam, and Massively's MJ is taking her first steps into the game to check it out. That means there is plenty to of places to explore while wandering around this world. There's also crafting, cannons, and a host of other things to get into (including trouble!). What kinda of adventures will she uncover? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to see!

Game: Wakfu
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, September 19th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Wakfu lands on Steam, nixes subs

Fantasy, Business Models, Launches, Free-to-Play

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The unique tactical MMO Wakfu is getting sort of a re-launch today with a debut on Steam. This "new and revamped" version of the game will feature a new beginner experience and completely eliminate subscriptions. The studio is selling booster packs as one of the ways to make ends meet.

Ankama COO Olivier Comte celebrated the release: "We are proud to bring Wakfu on Steam and give the opportunity to more and more players to discover this universe. We are starting with English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Thai players, but more will follow soon."

[Source: Ankama press release]

World of Warcraft's next Lord of War is Kilrogg Deadeye

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Expansions, Lore, News Items, Subscription

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WoW
Were you tired of the parade of Orcs in World of Warcraft's Lords of War video series? We're sorry to disappoint you once again. Today's Warlords of OrcnorDraenor lore video features Kilrogg Deadeye, the one-eyed chieftan of the Bleeding Hollow clan. This guy is so brutal that he tore out his own eye and ran headlong into his foretold doom. OK, maybe he's worthy of a video after all. Enjoy it below!

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Working As Intended: Lessons from the history of MMO housing

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Vanguard, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Working As Intended, Landmark

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Hustis House - Daniel Case
Once upon a time, a subscription MMORPG sandbox had open-world housing, only there wasn't quite enough for everyone. Well, there was, but there wasn't enough of it in safe lands, so a lot of the people who wanted a place to live had to live in dangerous places they didn't like, places where they could be killed on their doorstep by other players. Even most of the plots in the safe lands were so remote or allowed for such small homes that they were undesirable. In fact, there were only a few housing plots on every server that afforded a strategic advantage in PvP or trade or storage, and if you didn't own one of those, you were at a distinct disadvantage. And when new lands opened up, scripters and gold farmers were first in line to grab the best plots and sell them on Ebay for hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars. And legit players were pissed.

I speak, of course, not of ArcheAge but of Ultima Online.

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The Stream Team


Stream Schedule | Twitch Channel | Past Streams
 

Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
ArcheAge September 16, 2014
LEGO Minifigures October 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
Eliot Lefebvre Contributing Editor
MJ Guthrie Contributing Editor
Mike Foster Contributing Editor
Anatoli Ingram Columnist
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