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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.

Path of Exile launches Forsaken Masters

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

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I have too many choices about where to go from here!
If you've been following Path of Exile news at all, you know that Forsaken Masters is set to shake up a fair amount of the game with its addition of masters, hideouts, crafting changes, new challenge leagues, and so forth. But did you realize that you can start exploring all of that right now? It's live! Well, maybe you can't explore it right now, you might be at work. But once you get home.

The biggest addition is the eponymous masters, who will show up randomly throughout the game world in search of players willing to aid their personal missions. Earning their trust will unlock access to their hideouts, crafting facilities, and special item rewards. Players can also take part in the new challenge leagues or just enjoy reduced mana costs across the board; they're all in place now, providing new entertainment to veterans and new players alike.

[Source: Grinding Gear Games press release]

EVE Online previews overview and incursion changes in Hyperion

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

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Just a forever-falling pit in space.
The next major update for EVE Online, Hyperion, is going live in less than a week. Two new development blogs are available to enlighten players about what's going on with the changes to the game, starting with new shareable overviews. This new feature will allow players to share these settings with others while still allowing the recipient to make changes as needed; it's functionality that players have wanted for a while, allowing both new players and veterans to see through someone else's eyes, as it were.

Incursion changes are also on the way, reducing the respawn timers so incursion runners have more to do while also upping rewards. The NCN Wall is also being taken down, and there are new incursions to be concerned with in nullsec space. If you're unclear on what's being added in the update, you can jump past the cut for a video explaining Hyperion's major system changes before it goes live on August 26th.

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The Daily Grind: Do you comment on headlines before you read articles?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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I'm not a Twitter fan. I never use it outside of work, and the time I spend manning the Massively Twitter feed is one of the least enjoyable portions of my workday. This is due mostly to the large numbers of people who read our headlines via Twitter and then proceed to comment or tweet back without reading the article. I know; it's a game of trolls and the winner gets to feel like a special snarkanaut for cramming his invaluable insight into 140 characters or less and hopefully provoking some sort of reaction. But like all casual games, it gets tiresome rather quickly.

Ultimately, we, like most writers on the internet, design headlines specifically to entice reading, not to sum up a post in 10 words. How about you, Massively readers? 'Fess up: Do you comment on headlines before you read articles, either on Twitter or elsewhere?

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!

Neverwinter's summer festival starts tomorrow

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

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Neverwinter
If it's Neverwinter, it must be summer, right? Now that you've stopped groaning, you might be interested to hear that the D&D MMO is kicking off its summer festival tomorrow.

Cryptic is building on the previous year's festival by adding more content to the event. There will be a new summer-themed zone with daily quests, a water battle, new profession tasks, and a new dungeon for the web game Sword Coast Adventures. Players can try to grab a reward that they missed from last year or strive for one of the new prizes, such as the piñata or the Sunite Steed.

The summer festival will run from Thursday, August 21st, through Thursday, September 11th.

The Elder Scrolls Online plans 4v4 arenas, veteran rewards

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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ESO
In a fresh entry on The Elder Scrolls Online's official site, Game Director Matt Firor has penned the latest Road Ahead update, in which he discusses the game's recent patch as well as what's in store for players next month. Of note, Firor says ZeniMax aims to make combat "more responsive," push out new Craglorn content, complete the last trial in the constellation storyline, and introduce a new 4v4 PvE arena. Work on the champion system, which revamps the MMO's character development and customization mechanics, continues; in fact, ZeniMax implores players to help test the inbound content on the public test server.

The team plans to formally announce a loyalty program later this week; it's expected to dole out traditional MMO veteran rewards like minipets.

Pantheon previews Halnir, promises to show more soon

Fantasy, Screenshots, News Items, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

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Yep, that... sure is light.  Cool.
Still waiting eagerly for the release of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen? While development has been fairly quiet, the official Facebook page has just seen an update showing off the zone of Halnir in six new screenshots. They show a small hint of the game's day/night cycle, as well as a few other relevant landmarks in the zone.

The post also promises that the development team is getting ready to demonstrate some major forward progress on the game. Although there's no exact time frame, the goal is before the weekend hits. Fans can take a look at the preview and keep their eyes peeled for more on the official Facebook page.

Game Columns

Tamriel Infinium Elder Scrolls Column
The Nexus Telegraph WildStar Column
Norrathian Notebook EverQuest Next Column
Flameseeker Chronicles Guild Wars 2 Column
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Stick and Rudder Star Citizen Column
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Release Dates

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Destiny September 9, 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
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WoW Warlords of Draenor November 13, 2014

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Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
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Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
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MJ Guthrie Contributing Editor
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Massively Speaking Episode 310: SOE Live 2014

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