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Valve scrapped an MMORPG at the dawn of the genre

Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

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Prospero
Did you know that Valve was once hard at work on a third-person MMORPG called Prospero? Alas, the studio scrapped the project around 1997 in favor of a little tiny game called Half-Life, which "absorbed" the developers working on the MMO.

Website Valve Time has dipped into the mysterious history of the game, said to be a "moody, literary" science-fantasy epic influenced by Myst with its focus on story and exploration. Though Prospero was canceled, some of its groundbreaking social and map features were eventually realized in Steam and Portal.

The video also includes some wonderfully dated screenshots and quotes from developers who worked on the title.

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Not So Massively: Destiny's big beta, Dota 2's big tourney

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Launches, New Titles, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Hearthstone, The Division

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Destiny
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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UemeU shows off concept video and screenshots

Betas, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

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Home, home on the range!  Where OH DEAR LORD THE SKY IS SWALLOWING ALL.
If you want to roll your own game these days, you're certainly not lacking in tools to do so. UemeU is another game aimed at giving players the ability to do whatever they want, whether they'd like to build a huge, sprawling online game or just a nice house to settle down and call your own. The official reveal trailer past the break explains the goals of developer Omnigon Entertainment in detail: The game is meant as a sandbox allowing players to create their own servers, structures, rules, and settings as they desire.

Lead developer Jeremy Hindle explains that the game will allow players to both create and play, with creation governed by a simple set of basic shapes that can be combined as players wish. Players will be able to create and modify abilities, change the rules for servers, and create a robust series of interactions via the use of action triggers. Check out the full video just past the cut if this sounds right up your alley.

[Souce: Omnigon Entertainment press release]

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Take a road trip through The Crew's beta features

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous

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The Crew
The Crew's closed beta test began today and will continue through Friday, July 25th. Since there are plenty of features to this online racing title for testers to explore, the developers have put together a six-minute video to point players in the right direction.

The beta features tour begins with story missions and continues through skill challenges, PvP missions, customization, free roaming, co-op connections, and a few more. You can get the full beta features overview after the jump.

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The Stream Team: A first look at Swordsman's beta

Betas, Video, First Impressions, Livestream, The Stream Team, Swordsman

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Are you in the mood for a MMO with an oriental flair? Massively's MJ is peeking into the open beta of Swordsman, a game based on the books of Louis Cha. What does this martial arts title have to offer players? Now is the time to come and see! Join us live at 5:00 p.m. for a look at MJ's first steps into this new world.

Game: Swordsman
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, July 21st, 2014
Time: 5:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's Hunts are broken

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

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Useful data!
It's been nearly two weeks since Final Fantasy XIV's patch went live, and I'm at once surprised and not surprised that we haven't seen anything really addressing the problem with Hunts. I'm not surprised because Square has a bad history of reacting to broken elements about as quickly as a narcoleptic sloth with poor motivation, and I'm surprised because players have been screaming about it for... about two weeks now? Yes, that sounds right.

And not just screaming in the usual disorganized fashion. This is pretty targeted and logical screaming, helped substantially by the fact that Hunts are currently very, very broken and need fixing. So let's explain the mess that the game has made for itself and the numerous simple solutions that can be implemented really any time now. Not that I'm saying they're all easy, just simple. Straightforward. And no, increasing mark HP is not one of those solutions.

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DC Universe Online highlights the creation of Batman

Super-hero, Video, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DC Universe Online

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Batman created by Bill Finger, credit swiped by Bob Kane.
It's been 75 years since Batman's creation, and that means everyone is talking about the Dark Knight. More than usual, even. DC Universe Online has gotten in on the action with a series of short videos exploring how Gotham's protector was brought into the game, what players can do to really feel like a part of the bat-family, and what the future holds for everyone's favorite nocturnal billionaire aside from beating up clowns.

The videos feature artist Jim Lee, voice actor Kevin Conroy, and various members of the DCUO development team looking at every aspect of the character in the game. There are three different videos past the break, but each one is fairly short -- you can watch them all at once or take them in chunks, whichever you'd prefer. It's a great dose of bat-nostalgia for fans of the game.

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LotRO's Summer Festival runs July 22 - August 5

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

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There's no shortage of things to do in Lord of the Rings Online these days, what with the recent release of Update 14, Western Gondor, and the level cap bump to 100. If you're already burned through all of that, though, you'll be glad to know that the game's annual Summer Festival starts tomorrow and continues through August 5th.

Events include keg races, horse races, fishing challenges, the Taste of Hobbiton, and the usual Ale Association vs. Inn League shenanigans.

Tree of Savior introduces new classes in Q&A #9

Fantasy, New Titles, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries

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Tree of Savior
Tree of Savior, the upcoming MMO from Korean studio IMC Games, has unveiled its ninth Q&A about the game, revealing more classes, costume details, an explanation of the Chronomancer's time-travel skill, and some special hidden content.

With an advertised 80 classes in the game, these four new class introductions just scratch the surface, but we do get some details and animations from the Thaumaturge, Archer, Pyromancer, and Centurian.

Be sure to check out the video after the cut for more on the new classes. If you have any questions for the dev team that you'd like answered in the next Q&A, send them along to the game's Facebook page or the developer's blog.

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WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: The disappointment of garrisons

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Housing, Subscription

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This house is not a home.
Once a player finishes the introductory quests for Warlords of Draenor, the Horde and Alliance gangs go in separate directions, and I had slightly higher hopes for the rest of my beta experience. The introduction was kind of a wash, a climactic third act delivered we'd been left out of the first two acts unless we'd read novels and participated in an event that's not yet live. But Shadowmoon Valley was where I could start seeing the pure promise of this expansion realized, the beautiful idea of a Draenor still filled with Draenei before the corruption and assault of the Horde, an alien landscape far from what was familiar on Azeroth. Not too far, of course, but just far enough to feel like we'd really come to a strange new place. And, of course, the first thing you do is unlock your Garrison.

If my first impression of the WoD beta, which I posted last week, was negative, then this is where it took a sharp nosedive into something resembling rage. But let me start off with a statement that might seem to make no sense, in this context: I've always been fine with housing never being a part of World of Warcraft.

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Bungie explains no cross-platform play for Destiny

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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Destiny
As most new video games are striving for a cross-platform multiplayer experience, Bungie decided against it with Destiny. Sure, the game can be played on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One consoles, but the studio feels that there are too many major disadvantages to allowing those consoles to battle against each other in the upcoming game.

"I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a next-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen and I'm four pixels on his," Bungie engineer Roger Wolfson told Digital Trends. "You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage."

This is especially true when you consider the fact that the Xbox One version won't have 1080p resolution at the beta launch on July 23, but Bungie is still gunning for 1080p on all consoles for September's launch.

See the savage beasts of WoW's Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Subscription

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Blizzard released a dev blog on World of Warcraft's Shadowmoon Valley over the weekend, and it's filled with prose and images detailing the regions beasts. These include riverbeasts, podlings, elekk, and even "enormous sentient trees" that may give would-be lumber collectors a bit of pause.

Elite's expansions to include planetary landing, ship interiors

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

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Frontier's latest newsletter for Elite: Dangerous talks post-launch plans for the sci-fi space sim sandbox. Launch is currently scheduled for sometime in Q4 of 2014, after which Frontier will continue to expand the game.

"Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces," the firm says. Elite users with a lifetime expansion pass will get "all such significant expansions" at no extra charge. The LEP is currently packaged with the game's premium beta access or available separately via the Frontier store.

[Thanks Peteris!]

The Daily Grind: Do you craft for fun?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Crafting

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Yesterday I spent an hour or so crafting a full set of gear and mods for one of my Star Wars: The Old Republic alts. I guess I could have farmed slightly better equipment in the lowbie flashpoints, but it would have taken longer and relied on the RNG gods, so it seemed more satisfying to hop on my main(s) and trick out the new guy with homemade armor mods, enhancements, stims, and weapons. Plus, I just like to make stuff, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you like MMO crafting enough to do it for fun?

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!

MMO Week in Review: Crime and punishment in Elder Scrolls Online

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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ESO
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.

The Elder Scrolls Online enjoyed another big reveal week, this time from its throne at QuakeCon, as it launched on Steam and announced new zones as well as a new system for active world PvP and criminal justice that embraces players' compulsive kleptomania. Massively ESO expert Jef Reahard examined some of the proposed updates in his Tamriel Infinium column.

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

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EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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WoW Archivist: More beta surprises

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Opinion, Subscription, WoW Archivist

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Sylvanas models through the years
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on July 18th and is included here by permission.

As the Warlords of Draenor beta rolls onward, Blizzard keeps managing to surprise us. Recently we've learned about a huge overhaul to guild systems, random upgrades for quest rewards, and an extra-awesome core hound mount.

In the last WoW Archivist column, we looked at the surprises from the original beta and the betas of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. This time, we continue with Wrath and also look at the surprises during the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria betas. As before, I won't go into storyline surprises here. And I won't cover surprises announced at BlizzCon outside of a beta. BlizzCon already has its own feature for controversial surprises.

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One Shots: Life isn't fair

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

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ff14
Today, this boss mob woke up to the harsh realization that life just is not fair. Even with his impressive stature and the rather expensive sword that his grandma gave him for Christmas, he's unable to hold down any full-time job. What's worse is that every would-be "hero" in the world keeps ganging up on him. Even if he emerges victorious, everyone sneers and jeers at him. He just can't win.

So let's meet our first antagonist, reader William, who documented this shameful moment from Final Fantasy XIV. "The new hunts are incredibly fun and have added a lot of variety to the game!" he chirped. "My friends and I recently tackled this S-Rank Hunt, Agrippa the Mighty, along with some additional help from people in the zone. Don't worry; I healed that poor Black Mage lalafell after taking this screenshot."

But did you heal Agrippa and try to make friends with him? That's what would lead to a true storybook ending!

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite LotRO update or expansion?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

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I'm kinda slow-poking my way through Blackroot Vale in Lord of the Rings Online's latest update. So far it's pretty standard fantasy themepark fare, but I'm enjoying it well enough thanks to the setting (Gondor!) and the general ease with which I can wander through it.

As far as LotRO updates go, I think my favorite would have to be the Riders of Rohan expansion, both because of its sweeping vistas and a delightful soundtrack. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite major update or LotRO expansion?

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: July 13 - July 19, 2014

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

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Camelot Unchained dominated the headlines. Oh sure, Star Citizen made its money and the Elite: Dangerous devs said a couple more interesting things, but by and large we were all oohing and ahhing over City State's week-long batshit-crazy reveal schedule.

Whether or not the finished game actually incorporates all of these awesome ideas is anyone's guess, but for now it sure makes for fascinating reading! Click past the cut for the rundown on the rest of this week's crowdsourcing news.

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Game Columns

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Release Dates

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AoW: Warrior's Ascension July 31, 2014
Destiny September 9, 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
Firefall 2014
WoW Warlords of Draenor 2014

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