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Latest EVE dev blog outlines notifications in Oceanus

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

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CCP's latest dev blog details another feature coming in EVE Online's September 30th's Oceanus update. That feature is notifications, which "will give you feedback and information about all the deadly, creative, regretful, and/or awesome things your characters are doing in New Eden."

Notifications are sort of a pre-cursor to EVE's eventual new player experience revamp, with the end goal being a more user-friendly sandbox and a removal of the current tutorial in favor of "a more open-ended experience."

Aion's 5th anniversary video thanks players, teases upcoming zones

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Aion, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

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While Aion's fifth anniversary celebration kicked off early with social media events, Daeva's Day -- with all its gifts and goodies -- is just getting started today. And Associate Product Manager Sean Orlikowski has shared with us a special video commemorating the occasion that highlights a bit of the journey through Atreia over the past years and thanks players for joining it. But this clip does more than just take viewers on a jaunt down memory lane; it also jumps ahead to the future! The second half sweeps through the new zones coming in the next update, showing off the places players will soon be able to visit. Go ahead and take a moment to reminisce a bit about what has been and sneak a peek at what's to come in the video below.

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RIFT: Nightmare Tide to introduce Minions

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

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You're not in Azeroth any more, despite how many things will remind you of it.
Today's adventurer in RIFT is busy. There are a lot of villains all across Telara, after all, and let's not forget those rifts opening up all the time. So instead of having to help another random NPC find a missing coat, wouldn't it be nice to just have some of the NPCs you've met solve problems for you? Good news, then, because the Minion system being added with the game's Nightmare Tide expansion will allow you to do just that.

Minions come from a variety of sources across Telara, and they can be dispatched on a variety of different missions. Once they've completed their tasks, they'll return with a variety of rewards including crafting items and dimensional rewards. Minions can only be sent on so many missions before they need a break, though, so a player won't be able to do everything with just a handful of loyal troops. Check out the full preview for a bit more insight into the upcoming system.

Skyforge eschews gank PvP, teases PvPvE battles

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Skyforge

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Skyforge
"Fighting fair is the name of the game," say Skyforge's devs in a press release today, which is totally what the characters pictured here represent. (Sorry, that was a... low blow.)

My.com says Skyforge will allow small-scale PvP in designated maps with varying team sizes; it will also include a matchmaking system to protect noobs and make it "almost impossible to gank someone." Large-scale PvP, known as Pantheon Wars, is another story, one the studio isn't telling just yet except to hint that it'll involve "complex PvPvE-battles where proper role assignment is crucial."

Enjoy the new screenshots.

The Elder Scrolls Online pushes players to Upper Craglorn in Update 4

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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I'll up YOUR Craglorn!  I... no, wait, please don't draw your weapons, adventurers.  I'm... I'm so lonely.  I don't know what I'm saying any more.  My life just hurts, and every time I think it's not going to hurt any more it keeps going.  I walled myself away so I could live better, but all it did was make me long for contact I don't know how to have.  I just want friends.  All I need is for you to hear me out, and maybe we - oh.  Okay, you can stab me.  Maybe it's better this way.
You've been to Craglorn? Pff, that's boring now. Upper Craglorn is where the real action is these days. And by complete coincidence, Upper Craglorn is now open on The Elder Scrolls Online's servers, as the game's fourth major update has just dropped. The zone will wrap up the Celestial storyline as your character takes on the Scaled Court. That also ties into the new trial, Sanctum Ophidia, which is a direct strike against the heart of the Court; players will take on the minions and end up fighting the Celestial Serpent.

The new Dragonstar Arena also debuts with this patch, asking players to fight against waves of oncoming enemies. Plus there's a new crafting trait available, improved grouping mechanics, various bugfixes, the usual assortment. So if you can't wait to go knife up a really important snake and check out the places that all the hip new kids are heading for, go check out the update.

The Daily Grind: How should studios handle server merges with open world housing?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

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archeage
We had an interesting question come up in the office the other day concerning all of the open world housing in ArcheAge. What if the game (perish the thought) shrunk in population and then faced server merges. How would the studio handle merging populations that had equal claims on housing plots?

It seems to be a recipe for disaster any way that you look at it. One solution would be to force everyone out of the pool, er, server and then make a completely new server for those populations to fight over. Another solution would be to award a housing plot to the character with the most seniority.

What do you think? How should studios handle server merges with open world housing?

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!

Pumpkin Online hits its funding goal

News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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It might look rough, but it seems like it'll go.
Starting out with a niche premise of farming and inclusivity, Pumpkin Online was never going to hit record-breaking numbers during its Kickstarter campaign. But fans can rejoice today, as the game met its funding goal with just a bit over 48 hours to go on the overall campaign. That's a far sight from hitting any stretch goals, but it means that development on the game should continue.

The Kickstarter page launched with a modest goal of $30,000 in funding; the game is also seeking entrance on Steam Greenlight. If you were fond of the concept but didn't want to toss money in without the safety of a funded campaign, there's still a little more time to throw money into the pot.

[Thanks to wolfyseyes for the tip!]

Grimoire asks for funding to put FPS wizard multiplayer in your hands

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, MMOFPS, MOBA, Crowdfunding

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grimoire
You've played pretty much every first-person shooter that there is, but have you done a multiplayer FPS where there are no soldiers but wizards and no guns but fast-flung magic spells? This unusual bent on the formula is the basis for Grimoire, which has just begun a crowdfunding campaign.

According to the Kickstarter description, "Grimoire is a multiplayer mage FPS with MOBA-style abilities that puts the player in control of devastating magic." Players can fight from first- or third-person views and take on the role of one of 10 wizard classes.

Grimoire's been in development for a year, is currently being voted for on Steam Greenlight, and even has a combat preview demo that you can download and try right now. The makers said that the game's had "practically no budget" up this point, which is why they're looking to raise $42,000 to improve what's already been made. The soundtrack is being composed by Pirates of the Caribbean Online vet Marcus Zuhr.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

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Global Chat: Blaugust triumphant

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Humor, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Elite: Dangerous

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blaugust
Last month, Tales of the Aggronaut issued a community-wide challenge for MMO bloggers to commit to posting (at least) once a day for all 31 days. This challenge was called Blaugust, and it caused a tidal wave of additional posts, top 10 lists, and random cat pictures as writers struggled to keep up with the rate of output.

While not everyone who signed up succeeded in sticking out the entire month, it certainly injected some life into summer doldrums and got people talking. The 2014 Blaugust Wrap-up does a great job giving an overview of the challenge and a list of all of the blogs involved. If you're looking for outspoken opinions put forth at a prodigious rate, I'd suggest checking these out.

Speaking of outspoken opinions, we've also got plenty of them in the form of the most interesting posts from the past two weeks! Global Chat... away!

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The Stream Team: Black market dealings in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

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Elite: Dangerous
Massively's Mike Foster has spent the last two weeks investigating the friendlier and more legal areas of Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous. In tonight's stream, however, he'll be investigating the shady underbelly of Elite by attempting to take on (and complete) black market contracts for some of the game's less-than-honorable individuals. Choose My Adventure's voters have spoken; it's time for Mike to get his hands dirty.

Will he end up blown to bits by overzealous federal ships? Or can he make a career as one of Elite's next great outlaws? Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to find out.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively Speaking Episode 313: ArcheRivals

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

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destiny
With several major launches and releases this past week, MMO gamers have been drowning in so much good stuff. As such, we brought Jef on the podcast today as our designated lifeguard who is certified in digital CPR. Join the crew today as we talk about the ever-changing landscape of this industry and what these releases mean for you!

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Guild Wars 2 launches new WvW meta-contests

Fantasy, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Promotions, Buy-to-Play

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I'm sorry - someone said Overwolf, and that made me think of Wolf Spiders, and that made me think of Crab Spiders, and then someone said that they weren't talking about City of Heroes but I already wasn't listening.
Most PvP contests require you to actually be good at PvP. That seems fair, really, just as cooking contests generally work best when they feature people who are at least passingly familiar with cooking. But the two new Guild Wars 2 WvW contests don't actually require you to be any good at WvW, just good at showing the feature off. ArenaNet has partnered with Overwolf to kick off two WvW contests that are all about promoting and celebrating WvW, even if you aren't much of a player.

The first contest is looking for the players who use the Overwolf application while streaming, aiming for the highest number of concurrent viewers on Twitch. Whoever wins gets some SteelSeries peripherals as well as 8,000 gems. Meanwhile, if that's not your thing, you can also create a WvW War Report, share it via YouTube, and be eligible to win 5,000 gems if your offering is the best. So it's not about your PvP skill here, just about your ability to entertain people via that skill (or lack thereof).

Firefall patch 1.1 brings elemental destruction

Sci-Fi, Patches, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Firefall

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firefall
A major new update has gone live for Firefall, bringing with it new types of weapons and weapon damage types.

As the name suggests, Patch 1.1: Elemental Destruction is all about ways to unleash different elements upon enemies to bring about their ruin. The update's newest weapons are the plasma flak cannon and bio injector, however even older weapons can get new modifiers to change their damage type. The additional weapon modifiers include thermal, flaming thermal, bioactive, virulent bioactive, electrical, charged electrical, beam, laser beam, microplasma, and emissive microplasma. Even grenade launchers have gotten love with new ways to throw out explosives in a spread or cluster.

Patch 1.1 also adds five dynamic encounters, two new ARES job boards, and a hardcore version of Kanaloa the Destroyer.

Check out Massively's previous in-depth look at the new weapon types of Patch 1.1.

ArcheAge's launch trailer shows you the way home

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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If there hasn't been quite enough ArcheAge news for you lately, here's the latest in the form of the fantasy sandpark's Western launch trailer. "Craft, claim, conquer," says the two-minute clip, which briefly dips a toe into the title's racial lore and shows off plenty of gameplay in the process.

View it in full after the break.

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Raptr shows MMOs and MOBAs dominating the top 20 in August

Culture, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

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raptr
Raptr's tracking of play choices among the service's gamers in August paints a picture of a wide love for MMOs and MOBAs. World of Warcraft holds a respectable #2 spot, followed by Final Fantasy XIV (#10), Warframe (#11), Guild Wars 2 (#12), Star Wars: The Old Republic (#14), and Firefall (#20). However, former Raptr #6 holder, WildStar, has dropped out of Raptr's top 20 entirely.

"With a late July release, Firefall made a 40-spot jump into the top 20 for August. Not too surprisingly, Firefall is converting more players from fellow F2P shooter Warframe than any other game, with Dota 2 coming in second," Raptr posted.

Other online titles fleshed out the list, such as League of Legends (#1), Dota 2 (#3), SMITE (#5), and World of Tanks (#13). Card battler Hearthstone is still hanging onto the top 10 at #8.

Star Trek Online details the art of the new Intelligence ships

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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No one seemed to much mind the darker hull finish option back in the day.
The Intelligence ship designs in Star Trek Online are like nothing else in the game, especially for the Federation. They're dark, angular, and aggressive. A new development blog on the official site sees art director Brad Stokan explaining how the new designs went from concept to finished ships and how the art department juggled the tasks of adhering to the design principles that make a ship distinctly Federation while also making something new and unique.

Stokan explains that most of the choices going into the design were weighed against these two rules, such as adding in glowing sensor panels that both highlighted the ships' scanning functionality while providing a distinct silhouette. The design blog also stresses that players can expect extra customization for these ships, including the option to make the hull finish look a bit more typical for Federation craft. Check out the whole process and more bits of concept art in the full blog entry.

[Thanks to Lonegun for the tip!]

EverQuest begins Darkened Sea beta

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play

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eq
While The Darkened Sea, EverQuest's 21st expansion, debuts in a little over a month, you can check out the beta as soon as... well, right now.

Producer Thom Terrazas posted a letter on the forums yesterday informing players that the beta would begin today and continue through October 24th. Terrazas also put out a call for raiding guilds to sign up to test the expansion's raid content on September 22nd. Following that, the early access launch for The Darkened Sea will start on October 28th and the full release will follow on November 11th.

There will not be a pre-order for the expansion. "We are also working on an easy way for players to purchase the expansion plus a monthly subscription to get in quickly and avoid getting left behind. Stay tuned for those details very soon," Terrazas promised.

Coming next week to EverQuest is an update that will include a robe category for the player studio and a way to transfer large amounts of currency at a time.

Vice vs Virtue PvP system arrives on Ultima Online's test center

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Dungeons, Subscription

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In testing now on Ultima Online's test server is publish 86.3, better known as the Vice vs Virtue patch. You remember the virtues, those iconic and ambiguous philosophical principles guiding the Avatar? OK, now forget all that because peeveepee, guys.

Yes, Vice vs Virtue is a a new system designed to bring a fresh version of Order and Chaos consensual PvP -- any PvP, really -- to landmasses that are currently PvE, including Trammel and most of the expansion territories launched in the last forever. The opt-in faction-based system brings the battle to the core cities of the game and rewards participants with a special currency that can be traded for everything from mounts and artifacts (gear) to murder pardons and hair dye. Look, UO players take their hair dye very seriously.

The patch also introduces new trader quests to the game and revamps dungeon loot spawns to encourage ventures to the open-PvP Felucca facet. The devs have invited players to help stress test the systems this afternoon.

Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day four - Trade runs, sea beasts, and pirates

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content

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I got ganked in ArcheAge last night, and believe it or not, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in an MMORPG in quite some time.

I'm usually apathetic about MMO PvP. I mean, I will PvP with friends, but I don't think I've ever sat down to play an MMORPG and thought, "Hmm, maybe I'll go kill some players tonight!" PvP factors heavily into ArcheAge's design, though, so I knew going in that I'd be doing it more than in most of my other MMOs.

I just didn't know it would end up being as fun as it was on last night's trade run.

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Destiny unlocks its first raid and goes on sale

Sci-Fi, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Promotions, Dungeons, Destiny

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Reacting to tepid launch reviews with a raid may not be the selling point the developers are hoping for?
Destiny hasn't been out for every long now, but if you've been power-leveling along, you might very well be level 26 or above. And that's a good thing if you want to take on the game's first raid, which has just been unlocked for players. The Vault of Glass can now be entered, with hardcore enthusiasts already rushing to be the first one to clear its challenges. As with all of Destiny's raid content, a fire team must be assembled out of members of your friend list, as there is no matchmaking option for Vault of Glass.

Haven't yet picked up the game? Well, you can do so now at a discount; despite the short amount of time Destiny has been out, retailer BrandsMart is reportedly offering the game for $30, which larger retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart may or may not price match. (Reports are conflicting.) While you likely won't be ready for the Vault of Glass if you take the offer, you will be able to get in on the ground floor a fair bit cheaper, so it's still a win.

Kotaku argues that as of this morning, Destiny has "resoundingly mediocre review scores" with "76.29% on GameRankings and a 77 on Metacritic." Our sister site Joystiq reviewed the game this morning, giving it four out of five stars.

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ArcheAge September 16, 2014
LEGO Minifigures October 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014

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Massively Speaking Episode 313: ArcheRivals

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