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City of Steam getting new US and EU servers

MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, City of Steam, Steampunk

City of Steam Riven Gunner
Mechanist Games has announced that its steampunk browser MMO City of Steam is on the cusp of delivering a long-awaited European server. There's no firm launch date just yet, and Mechanist also notes that EU players who have been biding their time on the existing US servers will not be able to transfer their characters to the new EU shard. Electrum will be transferable, though, so there's that.

The devs also said that a new east coast US server is in the works.

Ascent: The Space Game on building a better sci-fi sandbox

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Browser, Sandbox, MMORPG

Ascent
You'd be forgiven for not having heard of Ascent: The Space Game before. EVE Online is the sci-fi sandbox dominating headlines, and Star Citizen and other upcoming games are breathing down its neck. Is there room in the genre for, well, an indie space MMO that isn't all about cutthroat politics or hardcore ganking?

James Hicks, the founder and CEO of Fluffy Kitten Studios and the man behind Ascent, says yes. He took the time this week to answer our questions about his already-playable-but-still-in-development game in deep detail, focusing on the game's complexity, player feedback, business model, mechanics, and how Ascent can truly expand the genre.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite browser MMO?

MMO Industry, Opinion, Browser, The Daily Grind

Heroes & Generals is still badass
Browser-based MMOs aren't normally my bag, but yesterday's Heroes & Generals update reminded me that there are a couple of nifty ones out there. Aside from H&G and SOE's late great Clone Wars Adventures, though, I don't have much experience with the genre.

So, help me out, Massively readers. What's your favorite browser-based MMO title?

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!

Heroes & Generals gets a huge update

Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Browser

Heroes & Generals is badass
We haven't heard from Heroes & Generals in a while, but that's because the devs at Reto-Moto have been working like dogs to update the F2P FPS.

What's Heroes & Generals, you say? It's a nifty blend of massive online shooter and strategic persistent elements that gives you the ability to fight in the trenches, in the air, or as a campaign mastermind. If you'd like to know more about it, see our various hands-on articles, or just go to the game's website and play it for yourself.

The latest update, codenamed Oster, adds plenty of new weapons, more campaign battlefields, improved weapon handling and avatar behavior, the ability to steal vehicles, and more. Click past the cut for the update vid.

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Today's your last chance to play Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Free Realms, Kids, Clone Wars Adventures, Sunsets

Clone Wars Adventures main cast
Per SOE's announcement last January, today is your final opportunity to play its Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures MMOs. If you can't play, be sure to join Massively's Larry Everett for a farewell stream later tonight.

An analysis of the Glitch auction house

Economy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

When the moon was high, they would march.
Glitch is gone, but it lives on in our hearts, and it makes for a fascinating case study. The game arrived, enraptured, and departed so quickly that a great deal can be extrapolated about the game. A new analysis over on Gamasutra focuses on looking at the game's economy over time, seeing how it kicked off and where it wound up, and uses that to draw conclusions about handling player-run economies in other games as well.

The article outlines how Glitch handled currency and items, then notes the market trends and how players interacted with both one another and the economy. It concludes that in addition to monitoring the economy, designers need to keep an eye on the small number of players who serve as major economic drivers and watch them closely. The behaviors of players will also vary over time, meaning that past data have to be checked against more recent data to be relevant. If this is your sort of analysis, by all means, read the article in its entirety.

The Daily Grind: Are we ever going to get over our disdain for browser MMOs?

Business Models, Culture, Opinion, Browser, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Glitch
Go into any WildStar discussion and you'll see people decrying the graphics as too cutesy, and that's WildStar -- a robust AAA MMORPG with a custom client that taxes even a strong gaming PC. For browser games, that stigma is even worse. Either the graphics are too cutesy or people convince themselves that no game in a browser can ever rise above social spamalots like FarmVille.

It's silly since so many deep and detailed MMOs have browser clients or exist only in a browser. Glitch may have been superficially cutesy and may have been Flash-bound, but it was a serious sandbox with incredible exploration, clever questing, an impressive crafting system, skill-based advancement, and a unique and completely customizable housing system with loads of player-generated content. And for all that, a lot of people, even sandbox fans, refused to even try it because it was lodged firmly inside Chrome or Firefox.

Are we ever going to get over our disdain for browser MMOs? Can we judge games based on their content and not on stereotypes about their delivery?

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!

Marvel: Avengers Alliance to shut down on Playdom

Super-hero, Browser, Sunsets

Avengers Alliance
Playdom has announced that Marvel: Avengers Alliance will be shutting down for good on April 20th, 2014.

"Although it is a difficult decision to shut down a game," a note to the players states, "this decision will allow us to focus on building new, more engaging games."

This shutdown will affect only the Playdom version of the game, not the Facebook version. Playdom says that it will offer no refunds or credits for "virtual goods, game currency or other items purchased" once the game stops being offered on Playdom's platform.

The Stream Team: Breaking a world record with Age of Ascent

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (In-Game), Interviews, New Titles, PvP, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding

Age of Ascent screenshot
If you've ever wanted to be part of gaming history, check out this livestream with Massively's Beau Hindman and members of the Age of Ascent developer team. They'll be attempting to literally break a Guinness World Record for the largest videogame PvP battle, currently standing at 4,075 players! Age of Ascent launched its Kickstarter yesterday and is offering pledge rewards from special in-game ships to dinner with the devs. Join us live at 3 p.m. EDT.

Game: Age of Ascent
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Friday, March 14th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Arcane Legends announces The Dragon Enclave expansion

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Previews, News Items, Browser, Mobile

Arcane Legends
Spacetime Studios has just announced the newest expansion for its most recent browser-and-mobile MMO, Arcane Legends. The new update, which launches today and brings the game's total number of expansions to five, will lift the level cap to 41 and introduce a brand-new island with new dungeons, bosses, daily quests, currency, gear, and crafted items. Enjoy the new screenies and video below!

[Source: Spacetime Studios press release]

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RuneScape's got a new 'one of a kind' grandmaster quest

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

RuneScape dragon rider
Jagex has announced RuneScape's new 'One of a Kind' grandmaster epic quest, which it says is both the first major update of its "lore-packed March" as well as part of an initiative to take the fantasy game's questing "back to its roots."

"You'll travel the world, uncover the lost library of Robert the Strong, and the fate of a dying people will rest in your hands," according to the announcement on the RuneScape website. As you might imagine, there are plenty of spiffy rewards, but the quest does boast some significant entry requirements.

City of Steam heads to Steam with a fresh new server [Updated]

Business Models, Events (Real-World), Patches, News Items, Browser, City of Steam, Steampunk

City of Steam
Steampunk browser MMO City of Steam is landing on, er, Steam today, bringing with it a brand-new server. Says developer Mechanist Games,
Coupled with the latest game version 2.4 ([which] will also be available on the established server), the new server will provide improved team-up function, restructured tourney events, new level content (lvl 50-60), and of course exciting new server event. This time, new server events will become goal-based so that they are capable of benefiting as many players as possible.
The studio tweeted that the Steam launch might be slightly delayed but that developers are "talking with Valve to make the launch ASAP."

Massively alum Matt Daniel dived into City of Steam in December to scope out last year's Arkadia relaunch.

[Update: Mechanist has postponed the Steam launch thanks to "critical issues (discovered) when testing (the) live server on the Steam version." The studio promises an update during local business hours.]

Free for All: Five reasons to continue loving MMORPGs

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Second Life, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Free for All, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG

RuneScape screenshot
It's been all gloomy around here lately, hasn't it? Well there's a good reason for that, as you might know. Luckily I have survived the cuts that affected much of the AOL Tech network, although that means that Rise and Shiny and MMObility, my two other regular columns, will be consolidated into this one. While it might seem like less work for me, in actuality it means that I have less room to tell you, fair reader, about all of the fantastic MMOs that continue to come out.

Yes, I said continue to come out. It's easy to become a Seymour ("I hate my interests!") in these days of non-stop hype, but the truth is that the MMO genre has continuously pumped out content for many, many years and will keep doing so for some time. So to celebrate the fact that three of my columns are now coming to you in one megacolumn, I thought it'd be fun to remind ourselves just why we enjoy this hobby.

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Twitch Plays Pokémon... beats Pokémon

Culture, News Items, Browser, Miscellaneous

The pokiest of all men.
When is a single-player game an MMO? When you hook it up to a chat parser and let everyone fight for controls, much like wrestling with five other people to play a single-player game. Twitch Plays Pokémon has garnered a great deal of attention based on its quirky premise and execution, but all good things must come to an end. After 16 days of play, the game has finally concluded with victory for the multitudes.

The channel is currently counting down to something happening on Sunday morning. Will it be a restart? Another Pokémon title? An attempt to use a similar premise on another game? No one knows. (Most theories involve a restart or the next generation of Pokémon titles, though.) You can keep an eye on the page to see what happens next, or you can just enjoy one of the strangest stories of turning a single-player game into a multiplayer online one... even if it was just for half a month.

MMObility: Age of Ascent hopes to beat EVE Online's battle concurrency record

Betas, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMObility, Sandbox

Age of Ascent screenshot
Age of Ascent is the new work-in-progress from Illyriad Games, the maker of one of my current favorite MMORTS titles, Illyriad. I've written about Illyriad before and have always enjoyed its epic scale and massive numbers, but with this new project, the team is promising something that is not only larger than anything it has ever done but larger than anything that has been done before... by anyone.

The studio is working closely with Microsoft in the hopes of achieving massive numbers in a twitch-based sandbox MMO that runs in your browser. I've gone through a few test runs with tons of other players and had no issues whatsoever, even while running it on a $200 Chromebook! It's an exciting prospect, but I had to ask some more questions about the upcoming title.

I asked James Niesewand, CEO of Illyriad Games, to clear up some of my confusion.

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