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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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Get your free League of Legends soundtrack now

Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, MOBA, League of Legends, Music

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lol
You know what's awesome? Free stuff. Free stuff is awesome. And League of Legends is notable for giving away free goodies over the years, so we're not surprised to see that Riot's put the game's brand-new soundtrack album up on the site as a free download -- before it's going to be sold elsewhere.

So if you want to get 15 generally excellent tracks (we know; we've listened to it), then head on over and snag it now!

New Das Tal vid explains combat, playstyles, and more

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

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Das Tal's devs have released a new video and are currently adding player settlements, resource warfare, crafting, and progression to the PvP sandbox, according to a new press release.

The video runs for nearly 10 minutes and explains a good bit about the game's combat abilities. It also summarizes possible playstyles based on weapon and armor choices, as well as a high-level look at the game's "MOBA meets MMO" combat system.

Click past the cut to see for yourself!

[Source: Fairytale Distillery press release]

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I just reupped my sub so FFXIV is having a free weekend

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV

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Last night I re-upped my Final Fantasy XIV subscription. Naturally this made it an ideal time for Square to announce a free weekend for its fantasy MMORPG.

I haven't been in the game since late 2013, and given my dissatisfaction with pretty much everything at the moment, I figured why not return to a fun title that treats crafting (and fishing!) as more than a half-assed sideline activity.

So, yep. That's pretty much that. Free FFXIV weekend -- for inactive accounts -- from Friday, January 30th through Monday, February 2nd. Have fun!

[Source: Square press release]

The Daily Grind: What long-running bugs are you dying to see fixed?

Bugs, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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swtor
There are few things more aggravating than long-running bugs that impact you daily and have never been fixed by the team. That picture right up there? That's one of the very few screenshots that Star Wars: The Old Republic has allowed me to take due to an inconsistent glitch that goes practically back to the launch of the game. Since it's been around for so long, I have severe doubts that it will ever be addressed at this point.

I'm sure that this is not the only long-running bug out there that annoys players, so let's give free rein to our petty gripes today! Which ones would you love to see fixed?

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 Albion Online's winter alpha test

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team

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It's back to bunny butchering for Massively's MJ -- if she can manage to do it! Albion Online has started its winter alpha test, and MJ excitedly jumped in to explore more of this game. And then she remembered: In order to make armor and weapons so she can explore, she's faced with having to participate in a few rounds of bunny punching. (Let's not even remind her of the skinning sounds!) Can she do it? Or can she find something a little less cuddly that will work? Or maybe she won't even worry about new clothes and just become a farmer instead! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for a look at how far Albion has come since its summer test.

Game: Albion Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shards producer letter talks maps, admin servers, and more

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

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We've been wondering what's up with Shards Online, and today we're learning a little bit about that via its new producer's letter.

Looks like the team is "making progress on the first map and getting the server in the hands of early admins." Project lead Derek Brinkmann has also been "working to optimize the Lua script engine to make sure we have the ability to support enough servers" for those early admins.

There's much more to the report, but you'll need to visit the official Shards website to read it!

[Thanks Omedon!]

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
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