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Kingdom Under Fire II took seven years and $50M to complete

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, MMORTS

After spending over seven years in development, Kingdom Under Fire II may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It's currently in beta testing in southeast Asia and has plans for US and EU tests before the end of 2014.

Game Director Sang Youn Lee said that the title's lengthy development was compounded by a format switch from a single-player Xbox title to an MMO for the PC and PlayStation 4. The cost for the game also spiraled upward over the years. "The scale of the game has expanded to three or four times what it was at first," Sang Youn Lee told Kotaku. "$15,000,000 was the first budget for the game. Now it is $50,000,000."

Kingdom Under Fire II blends RPG and RTS elements to allow players to lead up to 500 soldiers in battles against each other rather than against the computer. Reportedly, the game can handle displaying 10,000 troops in combat at the same time.

StarCraft II: An MMO player's perspective

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMORTS, Buy-to-Play

StarCraft II
StarCraft is of immense importance to the world of online gaming. It's one of the franchises responsible for establishing Blizzard Entertainment as a titan (get it!?) of the games industry. It serves, for many, as the ideal example of what an RTS game should aspire to be. And it was among the first titles to transcend one-off competitions and contests to become a global e-sport featuring pros who make the big bucks and events watched by millions.

Without StarCraft, there would be no Dota 2, no League of Legends, perhaps no SMITE or Infinite Crisis. The MOBA niche, now one of the most profitable areas of online gaming, might not exist if not for the original StarCraft's custom three-lane Aeon of Strife map. StarCraft and its sequel, StarCraft II, represent the quintessential essence of small-scale online warfare.

As a fan of MOBAs and an ardent lover of clicking things quickly, I took a spin in StarCraft II in an effort to better understand the foundation of the games I enjoy. What I discovered was a difficult, punishing game that demands your full attention and gives you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.

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Avalon Lords gears up for its Kickstarter campaign

Fantasy, Video, News Items, MMORTS, Crowdfunding

It sounds like the area around Camelot is really going through a dark age.
How do you feel about the MMORTS genre? The folks behind Avalon Lords don't have many nice things to say about it, which is why they're making an MMORTS game that, in their own words, is meant to elevate the game beyond free-to-play titles with microtransactions. The game launches its Kickstarter today, and it's put a trailer into the wild so potential backers can get a sense for what the game will look like.

Backers are being asked for $150,000 for the base game, a fairly humble sum considering other titles. The official support page for the game includes stretch goals starting at $250,000 and moving up, including fully customizable cities, NPC armies, and at the high end, a full-access mobile application. You can check the trailer out past the break, and if you like what you see and think the title will go all the way, you can toss in a few dollars.

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Age of Empires Online shuts down tomorrow

Historical, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Sunsets

After tomorrow, Age of Empires Online will be no more. The online adaptation of the popular Microsoft RTS franchise will be shut down along with the PC Marketplace as of 7:00 p.m. EDT on July 1st.

"On July 01, 2014, Age of Empires Online will shut down permanently. We thank the loyal fans for their support and commitment and look forward to many more battles before Age of Empires Online is retired," the studio posted on Facebook last year.

This will come as a shock to no one, as Age of Empires' population decline was well-known and acknowledged by the dev team itself. The studio hasn't been developing new content for the game since January 2013.

Get a feel for Civilization Online with this beta video

Betas, Historical, Video, MMORTS

Civ online
The first round of closed beta testing for Civilization Online has wrapped up in Korea, and the folks at XLGAMES have put together a video showing off this online spin-off from the classic strategy series.

The nine-minute video shows the collaborative efforts to build up a town and the equally collaborative efforts by enemy forces to destroy it. Also there are Dalek tanks, hot air balloons, and large mosh pits of Roman citizens. See for yourself after the break!

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Civilization Online review rounds out with combat and replay

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, MMORTS

It's kind of like a funhouse mirror for the game you remember.
Looking at Civilization Online with longing might not be a great idea, as there are currently no plans for a release here in North America, but Steparu has been reviewing the beta, and if you'd like to find out what it's about the last part is available now. This final portion covers the game's combat mechanics, how players can get into games in progress, and gives an overall assessment of how the game is shaping up through testing.

While the combat in the game is fairly standard -- tab-targeting, hotbars, and WASD movement rule the day -- it does offer players a variety of options with both main and sub classes, along with a variety of vehicles and mounts that have their own combat uses. Overall, the game gets pretty high marks as what it's meant to be, a very PvP-focused game that sees factions warring for dominance again and again. Which is probably what you expected from the name, really.

First look at Civilization Online's beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Hands-On, MMORTS

Civilization Online
Civilization Online's first beta test is in full swing and Steparu has some impressions based on last night's initial test.

First off, you need a Korean ArcheAge account to access XLGames' Civ MMO, but for now, we can live vicariously through Steparu, who describes the game as a "3rd person RTS with RvR mechanics."

Be sure to check out the entire impressions article as well as an hour-long video that we've embedded after the cut.

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Not So Massively: The Division's delay, Atari's MOBA Minimum, and HEX's lawsuit

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, HEX, 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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Sci-fi MMORTS Astro Lords: Oort Cloud arrives in July

Betas, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMORTS

Astro Lords
Astro Lords: Oort Cloud. Yeah, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but it is a new free-to-play sci-fi MMO en route to English, German, and French gamers this year.

Developer Aratog Studios claims that Astro Lords is "the first MMORTS to combine three major game genres in a consistent world: construction management, arcade-style shooting, and strategic raid warfare." Gameplay progresses as "players manage and grow their asteroid base, their generals board spaceships to shoot and destroy enemy spaceships and bosses, and they raid other asteroids to loot or capture them." It'll be a cross-platform MMO available both in-browser and within a standalone client.

Astro Lords is expected to enter closed beta on June 10th, with open beta a week later and formal launch on July 1st.

[Source: Aratog Studios press release]

Not So Massively: GTA Online's expansion, Reaper of Souls on console, and LoL's Braum spotlight

Betas, Horror, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Community Q&A, World of Tanks, Post-Apocalyptic, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, H1Z1

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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Not So Massively: Minecraft's Realms service, LoL's latest character, and Hearthstone's world championships

Betas, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Buy-to-Play, HEX, 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.
  • Minecraft's Realms subscription service is now officially live and ready to take your money.
  • League of Legends introduced new character Braum, the Heart of the Freljord.
  • Blizzard announced the Hearthstone World Championship for this year's BlizzCon.
  • HEX officially launched its closed beta.
  • Diablo III's Reaper of Souls soundtrack was released on iTunes for 10 bucks.
  • Nosgoth posted new screenshots and a dev blog about its new vampire class.
  • SMITE unveiled a new catsuit for playabler character Bastet.
  • Infestation: Survivor Stories claimed 2.5 million players to date and 100k daily logins.
  • DayZ's Dean Hall praised Steam for helping studios bypass publishers.
  • Destiny got a brand-new website and a bunch of new videos -- they're after the break along with more NSM updates!

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Meet Civilization Online's four civs

Betas, Historical, Classes, MMORTS

Civ Online
XLGAMES announced its four civilizations from Civilization Online today, although sadly the Mole People were absent from this list.

The four civilizations are China (led by Qin Shi Huang), Rome (led by Julius Caesar), Egypt (led by Hatshepsut), and Azteca (let by Montezuma). Civilization Online will be going into closed beta testing within the next few months and is slated to launch in Asia in 2014.

Not So Massively: Hearthstone's launch, Infinite Crisis' soft launch, and Diablo III's auction house termination

Betas, Video, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Buy-to-Play

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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Rise and Shiny revisit: Stronghold Kingdoms

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMORTS, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream, Sandbox

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Stronghold Kingdoms is probably one of my top favorite MMORTS titles out there. There are many reasons it holds a special place in my slightly crumpled gamer heart, and I will be sure to get to those, but there are also many gameplay elements that could use some improvement. It's a pretty typical MMORTS in most ways; players build up a town, trade goods, fight each other, and swear loyalty to others. In fact, the genre is quite bloated with games that perform in largely the same way, many of them being delivered to us within the browser.

For many players, these defining characteristics are exactly why they are attracted to the genre. In the same way, shooter fans appreciate many of the same basic mechanics from game to game, and trading card players need specific systems in place in order to feel satisfaction. So the existence of these repeated designs is not a problem for me.

It's especially not a problem in Stronghold Kingdoms.

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The Stream Team: Revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms

Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Beau is revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms, a game that he really liked before. Will he like it again, even with all of its changes? Come check out this stream if you like MMORTS games and strategy!

Game: Stronghold Kingdoms
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, February 17th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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