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MMObility: A newbie's look at the fantastic Therian Saga

Betas, Screenshots, Video, Economy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous, MMObility, Sandbox, Crafting

The Therian Saga screenshot
I'm tired today. I was up too late playing The Therian Saga, a new browser-based MMO by Studio Virtys. It's a seemingly simple game and might even appear to be easier than it is, but I have found these last several hours of play to be more immersive and satisfying than much of what I have played over the last several months. Essentially, the game is an in-depth representational game, meaning that most of the time you will spend your time giving commands and watching -- or waiting for long periods -- for the commands to work out. Think of the gameplay sort of like Words With Friends with some real-time combat. No, you won't be spelling against your enemies, but the pace is definitely casual with optional, faster combat.

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Free for All: What my Raptr stats say about my gaming style

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, MMOFPS, Free for All, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Raptr stats screenshot
I've had a love/hate relationship with Raptr, the free game tracking service and social network. I used it much of the time when it first came out but then fell out of love with it when it stopped detecting many of the indie and browser-based MMOs that I played. I picked it up again recently and have been attempting to keep it going any time I game. I like being able to communicate with people through the network, but I mainly enjoy looking over my stats as a gamer to see just how flighty I can be.

The system isn't perfect, of course. Either I need to set the app to start when my PC does, or I just need to get better at remembering to start it when I begin a gaming session. And even though I play many, many different types of games and MMOs, the network still doesn't automatically recognize many of the smaller titles I like to play.

So even though there are some gaps in my wall, I thought it'd be interesting to look at the info there to see just how much gaming I am doing.

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RuneScape gets a bank-robbing minigame

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

RuneScape
Jagex has added a new bank-robbing minigame called Heist to its long-running RuneScape MMO. "Players form two teams and are pitted against each other in a contest of espionage, deception, and grand larceny," the firm explains.

While the setup is pretty simple, Jagex says that the Heist minigame requires skill to master. "The best robbers will be able to mimic the island's citizens to fool the guards," the company says, "while the most successful guards will be the ones who can spot suspicious behaviour a mile off.

Start your adventures in bankrobbing by climbing the airship ladder north Falador, and hit up the RuneScape home page for further details.

Rise and Shiny: Inferno Legend

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream

Inferno Legend screenshot
This week's game was a giant gamble, one that I should have known would not have worked out at all. The problem is that I have this crazy inborn optimism that tells me that even though many MMOs look and play the same way, you never know how they truly play until you actually play them. I've literally played hundreds of MMOs for this job and probably a hundred or so before that, so I've seen my share of games that look one way and play the other.

So this week I decided to go ahead and roll in Inferno Legend, a new MMO by GameBox, even though it appeared to be an auto-player like League of Angels from a few weeks ago and other titles before that. I picked my character from five different classes: the Cyclops, Vampire, Samurai, Faerie, and Mummy. I barely got past the incredibly bad voice-acting that was presumably supposed to add life to the characters and popped into the game.

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League of Angels introduces two new angels for official full release

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Free-to-Play, Browser

League of Angels intruduced two new angels for official full release
Forget cupids, League of Angels has added two other heavenly beings to its angelic arsenal. Amora and Nyssa join the list of angels players can select to take on their adventures. R2Games also announced that the game is now officially official, noting that all previous releases of the game were still beta. This full release also includes a marriage system and new ranking tables.

R2Games also revealed the four cosplayers who will be representing some of the free-to-play game's angels in a live action shots: Maridah, Ginny McQueen, HezaChan, and Riki LeCotey, who plays Riddle in Heroes of Cosplay. Fans who sign up for the official LoA newsletter will see these exclusive shots as well as get further game news and updates.

[Source: R2Games press release]

FlapMMO brings non-combat gameplay to new heights

Culture, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Humor, Sandbox

No, we are not good at this game.  Nor are most people.
For years, players have sought MMOs that truly offered a combat-free experience. FlapMMO, a massively multiplayer version of the sadly defunct Flappy Bird (not officially sanctioned), is that rare gem that delivers precisely that. In fact, it delivers everything you could ask for in the genre -- no combat, no levels, and a wide-open world to simply explore. It even offers exclusively horizontal progression (since that's the way the screen scrolls, you can't go backward).

If all this sounds too good to be true, you should consider also the fact that the game is entirely free-to-play without so much as a cash shop. Chat functions are currently limited, as is character customization, but there's no word from the developer on whether or not this is part of the design or something that will be addressed in the first expansion. You might want to consider giving this wide-open combat-free exploration simulator a try if you've got some free time on your hands.

Lord of Ultima shutting down in May

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORTS, Sunsets

Lord of Ultima shutting down in May
The land of Caledonia will soon be swallowed up by the sea of game closures. On Monday, May 12th at 2:00 a.m. EST, Lord of Ultima services will be stopped permanently. Announcing the closure, the developers of Lord of Ultima thanked players for their continued support over the years. Starting now, the ability to buy Play4Free Funds is disabled, but players who currently have the in-game currency are encouraged to spend it before the shutdown. New account creation has also been disabled; those who are already in the game, however, can continue their quest to be one of the final lords ruling over the land.

[Thanks to all who sent in tips!]

Transformers Universe now a 'MOTA,' set for summer release

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Transformers Universe

Transformers Universe promotional art
The last we heard about Jagex's development of Transformers Universe was in July of 2013 when it was announced that 13 employees had been laid off from the game's development team. Today, however, Jagex CEO and CTO Mark Gerhard announced some big news regarding the would-be Transformers MMO. Specifically, he announced that... it's not exactly an MMO anymore.

Transformers Universe is now being called a "massively online, tactical action game, or MOTA," and Gerhard states that it offers "fast-paced, battle centric, tactical action with a selection of game modes for core gamers, casual gamers, and Transformers enthusiasts alike." All the nitty-gritty gameplay details can be found in the official post, but Gerhard specifically addresses the studio's long radio silence, stating that "from today onwards [fans] can expect regular updates, and soon all start participating first-hand" in the game's ongoing development. He mentions that the studio is "100% set to launch Transformers Universe this summer" and that they will be progressively inviting registered players into the game's beta testing. To get all the full details on this new "MOTA" or to sign up for beta, head over to the Transformers Universe official site.

Bigpoint's DarkOrbit Reloaded launches

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser

Fans of the original browser-based Dark Orbit that launched seven years ago are in for a treat today: Bigpoint announced the release of Dark Orbit Reloaded. The space MMO's new iteration has a new UI, a redesigned game entry (including bonuses for newcomers), over 200 new missions, an epic storyline, new maps, and new faction characters. Taking advantage of newer technology, Dark Orbit Reloaded also boasts high-resolution graphics as well as has other features in the works for players to look forward to. Check out the official trailer below.

[Source: Bigpoint press release]

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The Stream Team: League of Angels with Beau

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Browser, Hands-On, MMORTS, Livestream, The Stream Team

League of Angels screenshot
Join Massively's Beau Hindman as he attempts to discover gameplay and strategy behind League of Angels, a new browser-based game that appears to combine MMORTS features with side-scrolling combat. Jump in the chat room to ask any questions or to give him advice!

Game: League of Angels
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, January 20th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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Led by mobile and free-to-play, U.S. digital sales see big gains in 2013

Fantasy, Real-Life, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, MMOFPS, Dungeon Fighter Online, Miscellaneous, MOBA, League of Legends, MMORPG

MMO Chart
The digital games market is still on the rise, generating $11.7 billion in sales in 2013. According to market research firm SuperData, this total marks an 11% increase over digital sales in 2012. SuperData noted that Christmas and New Year's occurring in the middle of the week may have helped spiked end-of-year numbers; December 2013 saw a 36% increase in digital sales compared to December 2012.

Mobile titles claimed the largest percentage of the digital pie, representing $3.6 billion in sales. Free-to-play titles were up 45% year-on-year to $2.9 billion. Perhaps most interesting for MMO players is the fact that F2P MMO offerings from games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic landed in the top ten, though the top three free-to-play earners in 2013 were CrossFire, League of Legends, and Dungeon Fighter Online.

Data used by the firm is gathered by collecting digital transaction data directly from developers and publishers.

[Thanks to Hagu for the tip!]

MMObility: Innogames' Fabio Lo Zito details Tribal Wars 2

Betas, Fantasy, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvP, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORTS, MMObility

Tribal Wars 2 screenshot
Tribal Wars 2 is the successor to Innogames' oldest title, Tribal Wars. The original is (to put it gently) ugly as sin, but that has never stopped it from being one of the most popular titles the German publisher produced. As a matter of fact, 2013 was the biggest year for the original game... after a decade in existence! You might have heard of some of the other titles in the Innogames lineup or watched an advertisement for two of its largest games, Grepolis and Forge of Empires. So how does Tribal Wars 2 compare to these other games?

First of all, it offers much of the same intense gameplay as the publisher's other, larger titles. Grepolis is sort of the spiritual successor to Tribal Wars and features water-based gameplay that makes ships and deities an integral part of play. Grepolis also offers a more wide-ranging playerbase, thanks to television advertising that helped to pull in more casual players.

Tribal Wars is much more hardcore, and Tribal Wars 2 will be no different. It will look a heck of a lot prettier than its earlier sibling, though! I sat down with Fabio Lo Zito of Innogames to talk about the changes.

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Doctor Who: Worlds in Time shutting down

Business Models, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sunsets

Doctor Who Worlds in Time
It's a day that ends in 'Y,' which means that somewhere someone is shepherding a free-to-play pseudo-MMO through its death rattle. Today that title is Doctor Who: Worlds in Time, a browser-based thing from developer Three Rings that's been operating since March of 2012.

According to the official website, the game will shut down on February 28th. Microtransaction services have already been suspended.

League of Angels goes live today

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Launches, New Titles, Browser

League of Angels
Youzu Interactive's hybrid turn-based fantasy MMO League of Angels will officially launch today, and co-publisher R2Games is celebrating with events rewarding in-game items and LoA merchandise. In addition, fans will get a peek at special event cosplay from "established names in the community" by signing up for the game's newsletter.

League of Angels features a training system for your team of angels, massive PvP arenas, crafting, and character customization with mounts, cosmetics, and other accessories. Interested players can sign up and play straight from the game's official portal via GTArcade.

[Source: R2 Games/Youzu Interactive press release]

Eldevin making a run at Steam Greenlight

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORPG

Eldevin
Browser-based MMO Eldevin, which launched at the end of November and was named by our own Beau Hindman as indie browser MMO of the year, is now entering the fray that is Steam Greenlight's open voting pool. Fans of Eldevin can vote for the game if they want to see it come to Steam; Hunted Cow aims to create a standalone Java-based version of Eldevin that will run on Valve's digital distribution platform.

Greenlight has proven a boon to many small studios. Since its inception, hundreds of games have been greenlit for distribution on Steam with the most recent batch landing just today. If Eldevin clears the vote threshold, it might just make it through Valve's approval process and onto Steam's digital shelves.

Check out the Eldevin launch trailer after the break and have a look at the game's Greenlight listing for more information.

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