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Elite: Dangerous

The Daily Grind: Can you get immersed in an accessible MMO?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous

I like Elite: Dangerous. The game's not a revelation at this point, but it's a solid space shooter that could grow into something more. My favorite thing about ED is the docking. I imagine that most people find it tedious, but personally it adds an extra layer of escapism and conjures plenty of old-school flight sim nostalgia. And, of course, it's mechanically satisfying to fly an efficient approach, squeak a big boat through the slot, and micromanage your thrusters all the way down to the landing pad.

All I do in ED is take courier missions, investigate unknown signal sources, and dock. Technically I guess I'm progressing toward a bigger bank account and thus bigger ships, but my particular gameplay experience is pretty simplistic and pretty slow-paced. Is it sandboxy? Eh, not really, but at least it doesn't feel directed, linear, or otherwise pre-planned even when I'm purposely repeating gameplay patterns. There's this sense of being a small part of a larger world, which allows ED to deliver -- somewhat paradoxically -- bite-sized chunks of deep immersion.

What about you, Massively readers? Assuming you're a fan of immersion, have you found it in accessible games or do you think it mostly stems from prolonged engagement with more feature-rich titles?

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!

EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Elite: Dangerous

EVE Evolved title image
Like many EVE Online players, I grew up playing early sci-fi games like Elite and its sequel Frontier. In fact, CCP's recently released stats on the distribution of ages within the EVE community shows a peak around 29 years old, meaning that most players grew up in that same gaming era. A big part of what initially drew me to EVE Online was the prospect of playing the same kind of massive trading and space exploration game with other people, and for over 10 years it's scratched that sci-fi sandbox itch. I've watched EVE grow from a relatively unknown game with around 40,000 subscribers and laggy cruiser skirmishes into a vast game where thousands of players wage war for territory, profit, or just the adrenaline rush of PvP with something valuable on the line.

Now that Elite: Dangerous is finally here, I want to see whether it can scratch the same sandbox itch as EVE and to what extent the two games can be compared. Both feature customisable ship fittings, open-world PvP with a criminal justice system, and real financial loss on death, for example, but the end result is two very different gameplay styles. And both also have that same intoxicating notion of exploring the unknown and try to make you feel like you're in a living world, but they take very different approaches to world design, content, and travel. Elite may not be a full-fledged MMO, but with a sandbox made of 400 billion procedurally generated stars and an open play mode that seamlessly merges players' games together, does it matter?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I compare my experiences in Elite: Dangerous to my experiences in EVE Online and look at their differing strategies with regard to server model, active and passive gameplay, and the new player experience.

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Elite: Dangerous scores a HUD color mod and grats from Chris Roberts

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

If the people making their living this way can be civil, you can do the same in the comments, hmm?
The stage was set for a truly epic battle of words with the launch of Elite: Dangerous. In one corner, David Braben and Elite, a project that's launched and offers a space sandbox experience with the controversy of a removed offline mode. In the other corner, Chris Roberts and Star Citizen, another space sandbox that hasn't actually launched but hasn't managed to irritate its fans yet. The intense rivalry between these two developers is... well... it's nonexistent, actually, as Roberts recently released a letter congratulating Braben and his team on the launch and wishing them the best of luck.

Roberts states in the letter that he's happy to see more games like Elite: Dangerous on the market; he says everyone benefits from having the game on the market, especially since his game and Braben's game both feeling distinct from one another. He also states that he's looking forward to playing the game himself during his time over the holidays. And thus the battle of words never happened because the rivalry doesn't actually exist. Hint, hint.

In other Elite: Dangerous news, an intrepid modder has released a tool to help players change their UI HUD colors. How cool is that?

[Thanks to Oliver, Cardboard, and Carson for the tips!]

Leaderboard: Are you playing Elite: Dangerous this week?

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Leaderboard, Elite: Dangerous

I'm vacationing from Massively this week, but I'm not vacationing from MMOs. Unless Elite: Dangerous isn't technically an MMO. Maybe it isn't, I dunno, because I haven't played long enough to form an opinion just yet. Anyway, Elite! Launched yesterday! Yay! Maybe after my vacation I'll manage to write something more in depth, but for now that will have to suffice.

What about you, Massively readers? Are you playing Elite this week? If so, what do you think?

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Elite: Dangerous offers cash prizes in the race to 'Elite'

Sci-Fi, Contests, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Promotions, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Why launch a space MMO when you can launch a space MMO and a giant competition for cash money? That's exactly what Elite: Dangerous is up to just a day after its formal launch. Frontier is offering several huge cash prizes for players who reach the "Elite" rank in various gameplay categories.
Entrants must start from a fresh save on the release version of Elite: Dangerous, starting with the Sidewinder and 1,000 CR, and use 'Open Play' multiplayer mode only. They can use the slight advantage of the Eagle starship offered as part of Elite: Dangerous' Mercenary Edition, but otherwise it should be a level playing field. If in Frontier's sole opinion, there has been any cheating, then an entry may be disallowed. This is a skill-based competition with the following prizes for the first person to reach:
1. Elite in combat - £1,000 or $1,500 or €1,200*
2. Elite in exploration - £1,000 or $1,500 or €1,200*
3. Elite in trading - £1,000 or $1,500 or €1,200*
4. Elite in all three - £10,000 or $15,000 or €12,000*
(* currency as applicable)
Participants must clear their saves, start their journey post-release, and play entirely in open play mode. Anyone out there going for it?

Elite: Dangerous' launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Business Models, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Successfully Kickstarted just over two years ago, David Braben's space MMO Elite: Dangerous formally launched early this morning, a rare buy-to-play entry in the MMO market and one of the most high-profile Kickstarter MMOs to actually reach launch to date. If you're heading to the comments right now to inform us that Elite isn't an MMO because of its single-player mode, know that the tide's against you; even Frontier, in the midst of controversy over the cancelation of its originally promised offline mode, justified that decision because Elite is an MMO and "technically [...] always has been."

Elite: Dangerous won Massively's Most Underrated MMO of the year by a hair just last week. Check out the launch trailer and our roundup of the best Elite news, streams, and hands-on articles by the Massively staff below!

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Not So Massively: HEX gets new cards, Dota 2 cancels Christmas, and Hearthstone lands on Android (sorta)

Betas, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, HEX, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

HEX
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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Elite: Dangerous has no offline mode for story reasons

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

These just keep going, huh.
Frontier Developments head honcho David Braben has been working overtime to defend the 11th-hour revelation that Elite: Dangerous will have no offline play option. A recent video interview with Braben includes his response to these issues; he states that it's not off the table, but it's incompatible with the way that the game handles storytelling. The game world is meant to change over time based on player actions, and it wasn't as functional without players being affected by each another.

Braben explains that the game's missions are generated in part by aggregates of player activity; if a majority of players choose to support a rebel faction on a given planet, for example, then that faction becomes more powerful, and the nature of missions related to those rebels changes. Keeping the game online ensures that these changes can be reflected in gameplay, making the experience more dynamic and engaging. The full interview also covers the details of beta testing and control setups, if you're not as interested in the fine details of staying online while playing in single-player mode.

Elite: Dangerous formally launches tomorrow.

Elite newsletter talks new ships, Voyager 2

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

Frontier has emailed the 53rd edition of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. It features everything from Voyager 2 ("still traveling and in the correct location for the year 3300") to the new Adder and Lakon Type 7 player ships to a bit of lore and the usual community chatter.

The Adder is a new exploration-focused craft designed to complement the pre-existing combat- and trade-focused ships. The Type 7 is a mid-range trading vessel with signifcant cargo capacity and the ability to take a beating.

Elite: Dangerous is due for zero more wipes, releases launch trailer

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
If you weren't clear on whether Elite: Dangerous has launched yet, prepare to remain slightly unclear. Frontier Community Manager Edward Lewis hit the forums earlier this week to clarify that the gamma 2 test phase open to backers will not be wiped prior to next week's official launch:
Hi guys, This is just a quick update to confirm that there won't be a wipe at launch.
So it's not formally launched until December 16th, but it's pretty much launched in the ways that matter. Lewis further dismissed concerns about exploits benefiting early access players. "We're looking at ways to find people who have used exploits. Don't worry about that! But also, don't worry about it if you have used an exploit - the guys on the dev team know the difference between testing something out and abusing the systems!"

Massively's Mike Foster toured the game a few weeks ago, writing that "the gamma version finally brings Frontier's full vision into focus, and the result is a challenging, complex title." The buy-to-play MMO took home Massively's Most Underrated award this year.

We've got the new launch trailer tucked behind the break!

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Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion, The Crew's launch, and Dead Island: Epidemic's beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Expansions, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, League of Legends, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone

NSM - Hearthstone
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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Frontier teases Elite: Dangerous trailer, gives away old-school Elite for Mac

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Promotions, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Frontier has published newsletter #52 for Elite: Dangerous. It contains a bit of lore, a sneak peek at the game's newest trailer, and a nifty offer for Mac users in the form of the original 1984 Elite game.

It's free, and all you need to do is log into Frontier's store, put the title in your cart, and check out. If you're currently playing the Elite: Dangerous Gamma or you're planning to play at launch later this month, don't forget to peruse the newsletter's comm chatter section to see how your fellow pilots are flying.

Not So Massively: LoL's Rek'Sai, DayZ's price hikes, and The Crew's launch

Trailers, Video, PvP, News Items, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Not So Massively, MOBA, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, E-sports, OARPG

HoN
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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Living and dying in the Elite: Dangerous gamma build

Betas, Sci-Fi, Launches, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Hands-On, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
When we last looked at Elite: Dangerous during August's Choose My Adventure, the game was in a barebones beta format with just a few of its promised eventual features. Frontier Developments' crowdfunded space-sim certainly brought a lot to the table with its pretty graphics, realistic flight physics, and down-to-the-details sim structure, but anyone not interested in running courier missions or blowing up other ships was probably left wanting.

Now, however, Elite is a different beast. Just two weeks from final official launch, Elite is in what Frontier Developments is calling the "gamma" stage. It's as close to the finished version of the game anyone is going to get until launch on December 16th. So naturally, I took another dive in Elite to see what exactly has changed.

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The Stream Team: Elite Dangerous returns

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

Elite
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has just entered Beta 3 or Gamma 1 or some other pre-launch version of itself, and Massively's Mike Foster is all set to fire up his Sidewinder and fling himself into parts unknown to see exactly what's new. Tune in tonight as he explores Elite's open play mode and tries desperately not to crash his ship in front of a live viewing audience (again).

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, November 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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