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Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

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Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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Play Trove for free this weekend

Betas, Events (In-Game), News Items, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play, Trove

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Trove
If you've been itching to playtest Trion Worlds' voxel-based sandbox Trove but haven't wanted to pony up cash for the beta, then you're going to love the next three days. Trion has announced a free weekend event starting today at 2:00 p.m. EDT; everyone is invited to dip in and give the game a look.The only catch? You'll have to play through Trion's Glyph client. "Trove will automagically appear in your Library game list this weekend!" says the studio.

The freebie weekend is timed perfectly to coincide with Trove's ongoing Shadow's Eve Halloween event, which offers bizarre prizes like piñata mounts and Smashing Pumpkin recliners.

The free play period ends at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 27th. Shadow's Eve ends November 2nd.

Guild Wars 2 emerges unscathed by NCsoft's layoffs

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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GW2
Last night's revelation that a large chunk of the WildStar team had been let go is not the only bad news to come from NCsoft this week. According to a letter sent to Polygon, the NCWest layoffs affected all of NCsoft's western branches... except ArenaNet, which runs Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars. Here's what NCsoft wrote:
Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.

TERA announces Fate of Arun expansion

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, TERA

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TERA
En Masse Entertainment has just announced Fate of Arun, the first-ever expansion coming to action-MMO TERA. And at least on paper, it actually looks like a classic MMO expansion, too, complete with a level cap bump and new zones.
The mysterious continent of Northern Arun is finally open – and it's under siege by a soul-sucking bloodmage army. In Fate of Arun, players will explore this lost world, discover the home city of the Barakan race, fight for the freedom of the native Khirians, and take on a powerful new evil.

Fate of Arun represents the first and biggest expansion for TERA to date, featuring a new level cap of 65 and the lands of Northern Arun to explore through a brand-new storyline, new quests, zones, dungeons, skills, gear and a new PvP battleground, in addition to vast systematic improvements to the gameplay experience.
Producer Patrick Sun declates that "Fate of Arun will be, without a doubt, the biggest addition to the world of TERA new and returning players have ever seen." A launch date has not yet been confirmed. Enjoy the teaser pics and video below.

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BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

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SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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The Daily Grind: Where did all the MMO bars go?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous

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SWTOR
No, not those bars. The fun kind of bars.

Massively reader Serrenity recently posted a provocative comment lamenting the loss of gathering places in MMORPGs: "Why aren't there many bars in games anymore? There's virtually no communal space. In capital cities everything has a numbers-related function -- learn to craft, spend money, repair your gear, auction, etc. [...] Everything is purely functional in games, without any 'flavor,' to the point of being the digital equivalent of getting socks for Christmas."

And Serrenity is right. Many MMOs don't have bars or taverns or cantinas anymore, and those that do usually fail to imbue them with a purpose, but it wasn't always that way, so why and how did it happen? Where did all the bars go, and do we need them back?

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!

Warframe welcomes space ninjas, passes 12M registered players

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, Patches, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS

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warframe
It is hard to beat around the bush on this one, so we are going to be blunt: Yes, Virginia, there are space ninjas. And yes, they're going to be arriving in Warframe whether or not you are prepared for them.

Tomorrow, the sci-fi MMO will be releasing its 15th update, Archwing. The update will include the ability for players to fly characters through space as space ninjas (because why not?), using new weapons and fighting previously unknown enemies. Archwing will also add the Limbo warframe and a reputation system for added depth.

Digital Extremes claims that Warframe has accumulated over 12 million registered players and is the most downloaded PlayStation 4 game. You can watch the Archwing trailer after the jump.

[Source: Digital Extremes press release]

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The Think Tank: What will MMOs look like a decade from now?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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WoW
A reader in my Working As Intended column last week penned this thought-provoking gem:
"I have no idea what games will look like say in 10 years time. I am sure some of these current games will still be going and doing well because of the investment of those playing them now. What new stuff will be coming out then, I have no idea, especially as the 'Minecraft generation' gets older."
What will the Minecraft generation make of World of Warcraft? What will MMOs look like in 10 years? These are the questions I asked Massively's writers in today's Think Tank.

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Shroud of the Avatar Release 11 helps prepare for Steam debut

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Patches, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

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sota
With Shroud of the Avatar's launch on Steam Early Access next month, the team is eager to test crucial systems to prepare for a wider playerbase. As such, Release 11 has gone into testing from today through Monday, October 27th, and will allow backers to access a Steam-specific test as well.

Release 11 patches in a character advancement system, major combat improvements, crafting additions, and a big change to the game's overworld map. "We are also moving towards each of these maps being visually distinct (albeit similar when part of the same area)," the team posted. "The result, we feel, is a map that is MUCH easier to navigate and coordinate with other players. We know this is slightly different than what we have presented in the past, but we feel this is the right direction for the game."

Shroud of the Avatar will go live on Steam Early Access on November 24th. The video guide on how to install the Steam test is all yours after the break!

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You can probably afford this McLaren F1 in World of Speed

Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races

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Want to drive a McLaren F1? Me too, except I'm several million short of the asking price. Fortunately there's World of Speed, which today announced that it will feature the legendary V12 sports car that was produced between 1992 and 1998.

If you're into car porn, it's worth noting that the World of Speed devs released a brief F1 teaser video. You'll find it just past the break.

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DC Universe adds Green Arrow to Legends PvP

Super-hero, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, DC Universe Online

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SOE has plucked Oliver Queen from the mean streets of Star City and plunked him down in DC Universe Online's Legends PvP mode. That's right, you can now fight as Green Arrow and if you're keeping score at home, this release marks the first time a bow user has been made available for Legends play.

You can see Green Arrow in action via a recent SOE livestream that we've embedded past the cut.

[Source: SOE press release]

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The Repopulation tweaks healing, creates viable Combat Medics

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, The Repopulation

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Sandbox healers, listen up! The Repopulation released a new featurette this week titled Healing and You.

"Gone is the idea of an unengaged, rear-guard healer with zero choice," the diary explains, before mentioning a new healing ability set, First Aid ability enhancements, and some "support and damage abilities for Medics who want to pack a punch." These and other tweaks lead to "an expansive system that creates viable Combat Medics," according to the post, which also says that these CMs are necessary in both PvE and PvP.

Layoffs hit WildStar's Carbine Studios

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Rumors, WildStar, Subscription

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wildstar
Word is bubbling up from several sources that layoffs are impacting Carbine Studios and WildStar today. NCsoft confirmed the rumors in an official statement: "While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment. Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors."

Community Manager Tony Rey said that the remaining team would soldier on: "Today NC West announced staff reductions across its Western operations. While this impacted several colleagues, the teams here at Carbine are committed to supporting WildStar to ensure you get the experiences you want well into the future. We wish all of our friends well and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future."

Polygon reports that an unnamed source claims that 60 employees were let go. One employee affected was Chief Client Engineer Bitwise, who said farewell on Twitter: "My amazing time at Carbine has come to an end. I can't adequately express my appreciation to the company and players. Thank you!"

The WildStar developer recently saw several high-profile members of its team depart. Massively sends its regards to those impacted by the decision.

Swordsman ventures into the Gilded Wasteland

Fantasy, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Swordsman

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swordsman
Capture the Flag? That's PvP for little babies who need changing every two hours. Now, Capture the Lion -- that's a game for grown-ups with hair on their chest and thickening inner ear fluid!

Capture the Lion is but a sliver of the new content update that's hit Swordsman today. The Gilded Wasteland patch has raised the level cap to 94, improved the leveling curve, and added a slew of regions, dungeons, and PvP modes.

Curious about the game? Our own Mike has been exploring the ins and outs of Swordsman in his Choose My Adventure series as of late.

[Source: Perfect World press release]

Norrathian Notebook: Remembering that Landmark is in beta

Betas, Bugs, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

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Norrathian Notebook:  Remembering that Landmark is in beta
An interesting thing happened on my way to pay upkeep. It hit me full force that Landmark is indeed in a true beta. I know, I know -- I have said this before. And I know that I know it. Yet sometimes that fact still sneaks up and wallops me in the face! I mean, it's pretty obvious the game is incomplete (hurry to me, AI editor!) and that there are definitely bugs to squash. But for the most part, I have not be too inconvenienced by bugs, so I guess the fact that it's a beta just floated to the back of my mind.

That all changed this past week. I encountered a bug so big that it squashed me. In fact, it was so intense that it effectively prevented me from continuing my gameplay. That's when it hit me: After eight months of playing and enjoying Landmark, I had forgotten that this can actually happen. But it is important to remember, to keep this fact at the forefront of our minds. Why? It's not to be a defensive rallying cry for why something isn't in game/isn't working as intended; it's so we can get the game we want, sooner! How? By doing our job as beta testers.

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Donate to Age of Conan board game Kickstarter for an in-game MMO mount

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Crowdfunding

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AoC
If you're an avid player of Funcom's Age of Conan MMORPG, chances are good you're a Conan fan and a gaming geek, so why not combine the three with an Age of Conan board game? Funcom posted today that Ares Games is remaking the Conan-flavored strategy board game complete with a new expansion called Adventures in Hyboria.

The catch is that the board game's designers are seeking Kickstarter funding, but it's already raised $52,000 more than asked for as of the time of this writing, so faith in the project appears high. There's even a tie-in for Age of Conan MMO players who pledge funds to the campaign. Writes Funcom,
[W]e are happy to announce that anyone who contributes to this Kickstarter will get the all new Strategist's Steed mount in our Age of Conan Unchained MMORPG! Once the Kickstarter is finished, anyone who has contributed will receive a key which can be used on the Age of Conan account pages. This key gives the Strategist's Steed armored swift horse in-game (requiring advanced riding training to use), which can then be claimed in the Item Shop once per account.
Stretch goal rewards for the Kickstarter include special miniatures, bonus cards, and die-cut board pieces.

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ArenaNet teases Guild Wars 2's road to war

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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GW2
After a break, a feature pack, and the yearly antics of the Thorn family, the second season of Guild Wars 2's living world will soon be back in business. The business is, of course, preparing to fight Elder Dragons; the

We got to talk with ArenaNet's Lead Writer Bobby Stein and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about how the living world story has marked out what the team calls the "road to war" against Mordremoth and its minions. But as Game Director Colin Johanson said in his latest blog post, "The road to war is paved with points of no return." That doesn't exactly sound good for Tyria, but it may be exciting for GW2 fans who are looking forward to something big.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic gears up for Revan and new collections

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Subscription

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This holiday season, give your friends and family the gift of pretty lightsaber hilts and former Jedi.
Revan is kind of a big deal in Star Wars: The Old Republic. As in the past, the team behind the game has already started posting lore pieces about the upcoming expansion, Shadow of Revan, and those pieces are equally clear about what a big deal he is. The latest official entry is a look at the Revanites, a group that low-level Sith players likely remember dealing with extensively. There's more going on, and intelligence operations are taking note of far more ornate and subtle activity than the group had previously displayed.

If the brief lore tease isn't enough, the game's latest patch has also teased out some new items that should soon be available in the game's store: decorative lightsaber hilts, rotating-barrel blasters, and a new vanity outfit. Check out the full preview to see just how you can prepare to take on Revan's machinations in style.

World of Warcraft to relocate Oceanic servers to Aussie data center

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items

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WoW
Blizzard has just announced a new Australian server infrastructure for World of Warcraft, deploying ahead of the release of Warlords of Draenor in November. The existing Oceanic servers (Barthilas, Frostmourne, Thaurissan, Saurfang, Caelestrasz, Jubei'Thos, Khaz'goroth, Aman'Thul, Nagrand, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, and Gundrak) will physically move to a new Australian data center, ensuring reduced latency for players down under. Aussie and Kiwi players currently housed on North American shards will be granted free but optional character transfers and guild master realm transfers in the two weeks leading up to Draenor; Blizzard assures Oceanic players that LFG and PvP pools and queue times won't suffer unduly as a result.

In other WoW news, PC Gamer has a new interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, in which he discusses the "obstacles" facing aging games, the dilemma of graphics upgrades, and the non-Blizzard MMOs he enjoys. When asked about subscription models across the industry, Hazzikostas reiterated that subs still make sense for WoW: "We deliver high value for the monthly subscription because it allows us to provide a steady stream of content, and we don't have any plans to move away from that any time soon."

Final Fantasy XIV 24-hour patch downtime and cash shop controversy [Updated]

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

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Bring it on already.
If you've got any lingering business in Final Fantasy XIV you want to get finished before patch 2.4 launches on Tuesday, you'd better get it taken care of on Sunday. Yes, Sunday. Because of the new wards being added, database maintenance will also be undertaken while the patch is being applied, and it comes down to a 24-hour maintenance downtime from 3:00 a.m. EDT on October 27th until 3:00 a.m. EDT on October 28th. The maintenance might take a bit longer to complete, but players will want to be finished up and logged off before it starts. [Edit: Square-Enix has announced that the maintenance will be extended by one hour until 4:00 a.m. EDT on October 28th.]

Patch 2.4 also introduces to the game the cash shop, which has already provoked extensive player discussion, including requests to keep past seasonal items out of the shop. Opinion on the matter is split, and there has been no official word yet from Square-Enix, although it is possible that there will be more concerns addressed during the London Fanfest this weekend.

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