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Das Tal's next alpha test happens August 24

Betas, Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items

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PvP sandbox Das Tal has sent out 800 single-use alpha keys for its next alpha test, according to the latest dev blog update. The test happens Sunday, August 24, and it's designed to stress test the game's servers.

Fairytale Distillery has also published a couple of alpha weekend videos that show off small-scale PvP. You can view them after the break.

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EverQuest II gifting members a double XP weekend

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

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If all that EverQuest II news from SOE Live has rekindled your interest in the game (or if you're already a faithful player), you'll probably be glad to know that there's a double XP period starting today and running through the wee hours of Monday morning.

Members will receive boosts to adventuring, tradeskill, and alternate advancement experience throughout the weekend.

The Stream Team: Playing a Warlock in Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Neverwinter, The Stream Team

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Did you say dragons? Massively's MJ heard that Neverwinter recently released the Tyranny of Dragons expansion, and that means more dragons! Of course MJ can't resist those majestic mythical creatures, so she's hopping in to soak up as much dragon-y goodness she can. She'll also be giving the new Scourge Warlock a go, and you can start a new character right alongside her. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to be a part of the adventure.

Game: Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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New Elite newsletter features outposts, smuggling, and more

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

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The latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter is here, and it's worth parsing if you're high on Frontier's gorgeous space-sim sandbox. Outposts are coming to Beta 2, which might cause some of you to ask "what's an outpost?" Well, it's the "equivalent of the run-down road-side cafe, the isolated fuel station, the research outpost, the deep-space shack where Joe the Hermit lives."

Outposts are generally exposed, zero-G, and unsafe, but they do offer cheap fuel and a place to temporarily lie low. Speaking of lying low, this week's newsletter also features a player-made video illustrating how Elite's stealth mechanics may be used for smuggling. You can view that after the break.

[Thanks Cotic!]

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Camelot Unchained unveils first newsletter, talks vets vs. newbs

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

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City State has pushed the first issue of its Camelot Unchained Unveiled newsletter out to backers this week, and the company says that the new format should be "more fun, interesting, entertaining, and informative than our old Afternoon Updates."

Content includes a state-of-the-build section with nods to performance and scalability of the client, server, and patcher as well as an engineering initiative dubbed Team Fireball. There's also an interesting design-related blurb focused on what happens when veteran players battle new players. "No matter what, the difference between a veteran and a new player won't be the same as it is in most, if not all, MMORPGs," explains Mark Jacobs.

[Thanks Maric!]

Ask Massively: Emergency soccer practice

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

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Today's Ask Massively question comes to us from a reader named Chris, who has had it up to here with you quitters! Yes, you, guy who just AFKed out of Warsong Gulch!
After playing my fifth consecutive round of SMITE with an AFK player, I am fed up. AFKer, quitters, or whatever you want to call them -- they suck. Why is it unreasonable to expect gamers to commit to finishing a simple (even possibly enjoyable) 30-minute activity? Why can't they stay in their seat and just freakin' click some buttons? Leaving doesn't cost the quitter anything, but it certainly sucks for the team you leave short-handed. If this were a little league baseball game, we wouldn't say, "It's just a game, so you go ahead and eat pizza with your buddies instead of playing with us." And why can't game companies find a way to make this problem go away? Reporting systems are just a small step away from absolutely useless!

I know that real-world stuff happens. The doorbell rings, the power goes out, or the kids set the kitchen on fire. But AFK rates seem way too high for just that. Gamers seem to conveniently forget what it really means to finish what they started. And if you can't do it for a simple game, how in the hell will you do it when it is something truly hard?
Unfortunately, I know this problem well. In my guild, we call it "emergency soccer practice," an actual reason someone once gave us for quitting a dungeon group.

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Explore The Crew's gameplay options in new vid

Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races, Buy-to-Play

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Ubisoft has released a new promotional video for The Crew which highlights the racing MMO's 1900 square mile open world, its highly detailed cities, and its vast swathes of drivable/explorable terrain. "If you can see it, you can drive there," the vid explains.

Driving off the beaten path can be profitable, too, as you'll occasionally find car wrecks and junk yards from which you can scavenge rare parts to help further customize your ride. See all that and more in the clip just past the cut.

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SOE Live 2014: Yes, there will be new shapes! (and other Landmark building news)

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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New building shapes are coming! Creative Director Jeff Butler announced at SOE Live that new building shapes really will be coming to Landmark. Do you want columns, cones, or pyramids? They are planned! Franchise Director Dave Georgeson also shared the team's new idea of collectable shape templates. (Georgeson let it slip that players are getting two more attached claims, bringing the total to two main claims and five attached.)

Butler noted that the goal is to make the entire process of voxelmancy easier for players. Besides having new shapes -- and more claims -- to work with, players will see a host of other features aimed at making building a better experience for all. These include dynamic fluids, voxel physics, a new UI that's more intuitive and easier to search, personal palettes, and more.

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Isaac Asimov-inspired Seldon Crisis debuts

Betas, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Video, New Titles, PvP, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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seldon crisis
Fans of both Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and sandbox science-fiction MMOs will find something to appreciate in the newly announced Seldon Crisis. This "completely player-driven MMO" is loosely inspired by Asimov's writing and will be starting a Kickstarter campaign next month to fund its development.

Developer Crisis Interactive is eschewing linear progression for Seldon Crisis, leaving it to players to run the economy and galactic politics. There will be "thousands" of systems to explore, a wide variety of missions for player captains, and work for various factions. Lead Game Designer Mirko Campochiari said that it will be a game for the players: "We are taking MMO gaming back to its roots with an uncompromising game that truly rewards player ability and a return to old-school game mechanics, such as a full loot system, to create a challenging and more involved gameplay environment."

We've got your first look at Seldon Crisis, with concept art, screenshots, and a model video below.

[Source: Crisis Interactive press release]

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The Daily Grind: Are MMO mods and emulators on their way out?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Legal, Miscellaneous

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E&B
We don't talk about emulators on Massively often because we're forbidden to encourage illegal activities or link or name specific emulators save those rare few publicly sanctioned by studios (so please don't). In fact, we've written before that emulators are a frustrating topic for many of our writers since gamers pour boatloads of creativity and technical skill into both legal and illegal emulators for games dead and alive, creativity that we can't write about even when we'd like to.

I can't be the only one who's wondered whether legit modders and underworld emulator coders are abandoning their craft in favor of more legal ventures, however. There might be more sunsetted MMOs, moddable UIs, and calls for "classic" game versions than ever, but the rise of low-risk crowdfunding, easy Steam greenlighting, and modular multiplayer titles that encourage customization makes me suspect that people who once modded shady MMO emulators or built interfaces for the masses are being lured away to work on something more legitimate or profitable or resume-worthy.

What do you think? Are emulators and modding going out of fashion? (Please don't link to anything illegal!)

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: The desirability of world-changing game events

Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

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GW2
World-changing events can have a huge impact on MMORPGs, both positive and negative. Guild Wars 2's living story, which laid waste to Lion's Arch and face-lifted several other areas in the game, is well-known for its permanent plot-based world changes, but EverQuest II, World of Warcraft, and many older games have also dabbled with brazen alterations to the landscape... and players aren't always happy about it. For today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers what they think about such content: Are we fans of permanent, comfortable, unchanging worlds, or do we prefer game worlds to change over time and in our absence, even if that means virtual places we once loved can no longer be visited?

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The Stream Team: Exploring Firefall's campaign

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

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Firefall's rocket boots in action.
Firefall's second Choose My Adventure is in full swing, and Massively's Mike Foster is leaping headlong into the game's recently added campaign to see if Red 5 has finally delivered the epic experience it has been promising players since 2012. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of Firefall's PvE content; if you're interested in grouping up, Mike's Firefall character is named GiantButt, which he swears came from the random name generator.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Gamescom 2014: WildStar abandons monthly update pace

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

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wildstar
Yet another MMO has fallen into the trap of promising monthly updates after launch only to realize that it's not as feasible as once thought. A mere two content updates into the live game, WildStar announced that it will be abandoning its monthly pace in favor of major drops every few months.

At Gamescom, Senior Game Designer Megan Starks fessed up to the change of release cadence: "Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there's always things for you to do. Now that we've put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it's a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it's going out no matter what, we're going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there."

When asked if this is going to be the case for updates in the future, Starks said, "Yes."

SOE Live 2014: The revolutionary intelligence of Storybricks' AI in EQ Next and Landmark

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

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SOE Live 2014 The revolutionary intelligence of Storybricks' AI in EQ Next and Landmark
The most exciting part of EverQuest Next and Landmark for me is the living, intelligent AI brought to the games courtesy of Storybricks. Thanks to a tech demonstration at SOE Live, we got to see that AI in action, and can I tell you I am even more excited having seen it! This technology really will revolutionize the game, creating a living, breathing world in EQ Next that players help shape as it develops as well as give players the power to make their world come alive in Landmark. And to add icing to the cake, the panel also delved into the background of the new Norrath a bit, revealing the world map complete with familiar areas (like Kithicor).

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SOE Live 2014: More EverQuest Next tidbits

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next

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With so many keynotes, panels, Q&As, and opportunities to chat with devs at SOE Live, there's always an avalanche of information to sort through. So here's a compilation of tidbits relating to EverQuest Next that we gleaned from the con.
  • There will be guild homes and towns in EQN; these will be really special and hard to get.
  • The devs are committed to taking all the races through the foundation workshops.
  • SOEmote has improved significantly (and looks much more natural).
  • Players know that Qeynos will exist, but Freeport and it's current state are still a mystery.
  • Devs are experimenting with social hubs that players can check anytime from anywhere, even getting alerts for high-profile happenings.
  • Factions are spread out across the land, so there will be multiple opportunities to learn a class, not just "visit one guy on one mountaintop."
  • Being heroes of the world does not just mean slaughtering things; you can build temples to the gods, open trade routes, even help farmers with crops.
  • Even small changes to world are tangible: If you help merchants become wealthier, they walk around in better apparel and show off that wealth. The "quest completion log" is, in effect, an account of the changes you see.
  • NPC groups will ally with and help each other as well as fight against each other.
  • No decision yet if food and drink will be necessary.
  • The future may hold player-fiction contests for official lore, but there's nothing planned in the short term because of the excessive time involved to review them -- time needed on other aspects of game right now. SOE says, "We need to make sure that every detail of the story that we release fits into the continuity of the world; we're a stickler about that."
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporter MJ Guthrie to this year's SOE Live, from which she'll be transmitting all the best fan news on EverQuest Next, Landmark, H1Z1, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.

Here's Destiny's launch trailer

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

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Can you spare two minutes and 29 seconds? Are you looking forward to Destiny? If you answered "yes" to both of those questions, you should click that big green button down there and watch Bungie's newly released launch trailer!

The sci-fantasy shooter releases for PlayStation and Xbox platforms on September 9th.

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Robin Williams models possibly spotted in World of Warcraft files

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Subscription

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wow
Apparently Blizzard is making good on its word to include the late Robin Williams in an upcoming World of Warcraft build, as players have found a character named Robin <The Entertainer> tucked away in the game files.

Datamining through Warlords of Draenor's files turned up three models for Robin, including a djinn (Disney's Aladdin), a human female with a man's voice (Mrs. Doubtfire), and a human male with suspenders (Mork). There are theories floating around that the djinn will morph into the other two characters while putting on a show for players, although we won't know for sure until the expansion releases this November.

On the day following Robin William's death, fans petitioned the Blizzard to include a tribute to the comedian as he had been an avid WoW player through the years. Blizzard responded by saying that it was "working on it."

TERA Korea is getting guild fortresses that float

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, TERA

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Let's all take a moment to lament that what I'm about to share is currently specific to the Korean version of TERA. There. Now that that's out of our system, we can appreciate the fact that Bluehole's new guild sky fortresses are pretty dang impressive, even if we won't see them in the En Masse version of the game for a while.

MMO Culture reports that TERA Korea is also removing side quests from the fantasy MMO's quest log and placing them in a new interface nugget called Scouting Command, ostensibly to allow for more focus on the game's main story. But you really wanted to see the guild fortresses, right? Click past the cut for the vid.

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Elder Scrolls Online introduces subscriber loyalty program

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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ZeniMax has just announced a subscriber loyalty program for Elder Scrolls Online that is slated to start in September. If you're eligible, you'll receive an email and subsequently a High Hrothgar Wraith vanity pet provided that you've been subscribed for three months.

"The loyalty program will keep expanding over time," ZeniMax says, and you'll be able to collect pets and other upcoming rewards once you meet the requirements, so don't worry if you've canceled your sub already but plan to return.

World of Warplanes 1.5 adds PvE

Historical, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, War, Free-to-Play, World of Warplanes

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World of Warplanes' 1.5 update is now live, and with it comes a new PvE mode called Battle Against Bots. Wargaming says it's the perfect tool for newcomers looking to learn the game alongside a few co-op companions.

Ground targets have been redesigned as a collection of smaller parts rather than a single objective, meaning that attack aircraft pilots now must account for things like AA guns, ship towers, tank squads, and buildings when planning their approach.

The 1.5 patch has also added a new map called Canyon that offers "a mix between Asian Border and Fjords. There's more to the update, but you'll need to visit the official WoWP website to read about it.

Game Columns

Tamriel Infinium Elder Scrolls Column
The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
Norrathian Notebook EverQuest Next Column
Flameseeker Chronicles Guild Wars 2 Column
Hyperspace Beacon SWTOR Column
Stick and Rudder Star Citizen Column
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The Stream Team


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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
Destiny September 9, 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
WoW 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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Larry Everett Columnist
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