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It's time to pilfer Elder Scrolls NPCs' pockets on the PTS

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE

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Ready to kill and steal your way through Elder Scrolls Online's NPC population? You can thanks to Update 6's recent appearance on the public test server. The justice system is a big part of the patch, but so is the champion system which tweaks endgame progression.

Read all about it on the official ESO site!

Crowfall maps its universe, tells Forgemaster tales

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

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Ready for a Crowfall update? Good, me too. ArtCraft has educated us about the Stoneborn Forgemaster archetype as well as provided some sample illustrations on how the game world's laid out. The Forgemaster is some sort of support class, and if you're into lore there's a bit of that on offer.

There are also a couple of very interesting drawings that show the "architecture of the Crowfall universe, which should you a hint why being able to travel between worlds is so important," ArtCraft says.

The Daily Grind: What do you love about MMOs?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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lotro
Being critical and even cynical is part of any "serious" fandom, although we must never lose sight of the passion and wonder that made us fall for this hobby. Today, I invite all of us to put aside our gripes and jeers, and instead focus on what drew us into online gaming.

So.

What do you love about MMOs?

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: Repairing the 'social' in MMORPGs

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Roleplaying, Community Q&A, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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Our writeup of the Why aren't MMOs more social? panel from PAX South last weekend racked up almost 500 comments, and for good reason: Interaction is at the heart of making MMOs more sticky. But is it going away, and if so, why, and how do we get it back? That's the subject of this week's Think Tank.

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The Stream Team: Hug it out in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

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FFXIV
You know what's awesome? Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, that's what. Join Massively's Mike Foster tonight as he crushes some hard mode encounters from the perspective of a White Mage. Or, more realistically, join Massively's Mike Foster as he wipes over and over again in encounters that the rest of FFXIV's player base can probably do blindfolded.

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST!

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Trove adds pirates and promotes pets

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Trove

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trove
Yesterday was a fairly important update for the blocky world of Trove, as the new patch introduced genuine, bonafide pirates to the game. Players can now hunt down pirate ships to plunder them for goods while looking forward to future sea-themed updates.

Also notable in the patch is that player pets have been promoted to allies. It's not just a name change, either; allies have "extra special powers" that can be used to help players in their journeys. Check out the patch notes for the full details.

Otherland plans a second closed beta test for February

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

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otherland
After hints and rumors, the Otherland dev team is finally prepared to confirm that a second closed beta test is indeed on the way -- and it will be happening next month.

"Otherland is starting into the second CBT in February. We don't have an exact date yet and it can be delayed, but we don't want to tease you anymore. We polished a lot of stuff and put a lot of effort in it to provide you with more content, more quests and new features," the team said on the forums.

The next closed beta test will include crafting, the auction house, storage, and vendors. Those who didn't get in the first time around can take heart in knowing the team will be handing out more beta keys than the last round.

The Game Archaeologist travels to Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds

Fantasy, Lineage, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, The Game Archaeologist, ArcheAge

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nexus
I confess that I have a particular fascination for MMOs that came into existence in the 1990s. It's not only the fact that I was oblivious to them at the time (er, wild college days?) but that practically each and every one of them were true pioneers in their own fashion. And while your standard MMO fan might think that there were only three such games in that decade (four, if they are gracious and include Meridian 59), the truth is that there were far more of them.

Today we are going to look at one of the most important MMOs to emerge from that time period, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, although its influence was primarily located in Korea while being vastly downplayed in North America. Still, here's a successful MMO that not only beat Ultima Online out of the door by a year but has since won a Guinness World Record for longevity!

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Marvel Heroes plans for a more awesome team-up system

Super-hero, Previews, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Dev Diaries

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marvel heroes
While it's all groovy to have a sidekick to run around with your superhero in Marvel Heroes, apparently the team and the community felt as though the team-up system needed more work. That's why Gazillion has a major revamp of team-ups planned for Q1 2015.

According to a new dev diary on the subject, the revamp will cover a range of improvements to the system. Team-up characters will see more customization, expanded power trees, a level cap of 60, increased survivability, synergy bonuses, and new powers on top of improvements to old powers. Players will also gain more control over what their team-up companions do on the battlefield.

In addition to the developer diary, there's also a forum FAQ to deliver even more information on the planned revamp.

The Stream Team: Making my merchant ship in ArcheAge

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

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It took plenty of saving up, but Massively's MJ now has everything she needs to build a better ArcheAge boat: a merchant schooner! Why haul packs just one, three, or even seven at a time when you can load up and haul 21? And that makes overseas trading that much more profitable (while simultaneously making you more of a target!). Join us live at 2:00 p.m. EST as MJ leaps into this new era of sea trade.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2015
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Valiance Online is coming soon to Steam early access

Betas, Super-hero, City of Heroes, Miscellaneous

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valiance online
Great news for Valiance Online, as the fledgling superhero title announced recently that it has been voted onto the Steam Greenlight program by the community.

This means that Valiance Online will "soon" be available to play through the digital platform via early access. The team said that it still discussing its release and pricing plan, although fans can currently access it in the open pre-alpha test going on right now.

Valiance Online is making good progress as a City of Heroes spiritual successor and even picked up a former artist from the sunsetted superhero game in December.

Chaos Theory: These are a few of my favorite Secret World things

Horror, Real-Life, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

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Chaos Theory:  These are a few of my favorite Secret World things
There's a lot about The Secret World to like. So much so, in fact, that you just can't name it all in once place! I've had to split talking about the best parts of this conspiracy-laden masterpiece into a number of different Chaos Theorys, from my favorite first moments to amazing NPCs to fabulous places to favorite missions. Even Massively's Justin Olivetti chimed in with his favorite characters. But not even that can cover it all. That means today I'll tackle another topic: my favorite things. TSW has a plethora of little gems scattered throughout the game that enhance the play experience and attest to the level of detail put into development. And I'll totally go all Julie Andrews and sing their praises, hilltop or not. I only have so much room, however, so these are my top choices; be sure to add your own in the comments below!

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Sail to Tyrant's Throne with RIFT 3.1

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT

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rift
RIFT's Patch 3.1: Storm at Sea came out yesterday, building upon the water-based madness that came with last fall's Nightmare Tide expansion.

The biggest addition to the Plane of Water is the Tyrant's Throne zone (which is so very fun to say six times fast), which includes five new story quests that cover the tale of Crucia's horrible experiments. The patch also adds three zone events, more planar attunement levels, a new nightmare rift type, a new chronicle, and improvements to the minion, dimension, and crafting UI systems.

Perfect Ten: My top 10 top 10 lists

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

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futurama
I've been doing top 10 lists here at Massively for well over four years now, mostly as a public service to make you feel good when I forget something that should really, truly belong on a particular countdown. On a biweekly basis I got to plaster the front page of the site with garish cartoon pictures -- and my editors never said boo about it.

Some of my lists were tongue-in-cheek, some were heavy-duty research, and some were off-the-top-of-my-head-because-I-had-a-deadline crazy. As I look back over the field of weird and wonderful lists that I've made, I can pick out a few of my favorites. So today let's look at my top 10 top 10 lists here on Massively with a little color commentary.

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Skycastles coming to TERA on February 24

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, TERA, Housing

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Have you recently come home to TERA? OK, maybe you never left. Either way, En Masse is betting you'll get excited about the Skycastle guild housing system that's heading your way on February 24th.

The castles float above major cities and are available "to the top-ranking guilds on each server via two new ongoing four-week guild competitions that track guild points earned from dungeons, battlegrounds, and guild-vs.-guild battles," according to an En Masse press blurb.

The patch will also include a new dungeon set aboard the Sky Cruiser Endeavor as well as a hard-mode version of Bathysmal Rise.

[Source: En Masse press release]

The Daily Grind: What's the ideal guild size in an MMO?

Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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Last week, a Massively commenter mentioned that he was in a 700-person guild in The Elder Scrolls Online. Yep, you read that number right! He inspired an impromptu discussion about the problems inherent in a guild of that size, such as the difficulties of managing it, the potential for dozens of smaller cliques, and the frequently negative impact a big mob of people can have on a server community and a game's development.

Personally, I found that a 50-person guild was a real challenge to lead well; I prefer a much smaller group, 20 members or so, just enough that I feel I know everyone well and there aren't competing cliques of people creating drama. Conveniently, that's the kind of guild I'm in, too. How about you? What's the ideal guild size in an MMO?

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 Stream Team: Accessing Aion's Abbeys

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

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As Aion just opened the new Abbeys (a place for returning players to grab some bonuses before heading out into the wilds of Atreia), now is the perfect time for Massively's MJ to unfold her wings and dive back in! She'll be dusting off her Elyos Cleric and setting out to explore the familiar lands -- and maybe even poking into a few new places. Join us live at 8:00 p.m.to check out this new permanent feature.

Game: Aion
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Leaderboard: When did you start reading Massively?

MMO Industry, Leaderboard

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This site has been around a while. Not as long as some, but still a while. For today's Leaderboard, tell us how long you've been around Massively. Assuming it's more than a week or so, you already know that there's a poll just past the cut.

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One Shots: Shroud of the Santa

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Shroud of the Avatar

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sota
Well, this pleases me like punch: One Shots' very first Shroud of the Avatar screenshot submission! I recall thinking that this indie MMO looked so much better than I previously thought when I got my hands on it last August, so I'm glad to see Massively readers going on a photo safari in it.

Reader JohnD is responsible for this unusual sight: "Here is a shot of Johanis Lolar, who is busy adventuring. I'm not sure his Santa cap helps him blend, but he's doing his best."

I always like to assume that Santa spends his off-season lurking in weeds and ambushing stray travelers with presents, so this picture plays into that fantasy. What? I'm normal; my parents had me tested.

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Global Chat: Can MMO stories rise above mediocrity?

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Allods Online, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, The Elder Scrolls Online

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tsw
Players have long debated the importance, relevance, and quality of stories in MMOs. Some have called for an abolishment of dev-driven narrative entirely, some enjoy what's there, and some have pressed for better writing and storytelling techniques. This week we'll hear from one blogger who is struggling with "mediocre" stories in MMOs and what might be done with them.

But wait, that's not all! We'll also hear from writers about MMO inventory systems, aging games, and how pretty much nobody in the world was shocked when Elder Scrolls Online ditched its sub.

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Game Columns

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
GDC March 2, 2015
PAX East March 6, 2015
EVE Fanfest March 19, 2015
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015
E3 Summer, 2015
SOE Live Summer, 2015
Gamescom Summer, 2015
PAX Prime Summer, 2015
DragonCon Fall, 2015
BlizzCon Fall, 2015

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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Latest episode: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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