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Shroud of the Avatar's Release 8 is here, and so are its tutorials

Betas, Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

It's time for Shroud of the Avatar's Release 8. No really, it's time right now, as you're reading this. Portalarium has published instructions and a lengthy list of features (both included and not included) in this particular build.

The focus is on PvP this time around, and to that end both Scott Jennings and Chris Spears have posted tutorials. Jennings' takes the form of a PvP deck-building guide that's hosted on the SotA forums, while Spears narrates a 24-minute video that you can watch after the break.

Release 8 started at 11:30 a.m. EDT this morning and it runs until 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 28th.

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Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs

Horror, Real-Life, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs
This question was posed to me recently by a few different readers and stream viewers: Are The Secret World's DLCs a good value? As I pondered the question, I decided that instead of answering each query personally, it would be a good topic to explore here in Chaos Theory. Besides, the answer is definitely not a short one! (It can't even fit in a single column!)

So why can't I just fire off a simple yes or no to this question? The biggest problem is trying to provide an objective answer to a very subjective situation. While the meaning of value itself is clearly defined, said definition emphasizes that the judgment is individual to whoever is involved. How each player defines value is very personal, so I can't really answer for anyone except myself. What I can do, however, is provide as much of the objective information that I can so you can make your own subjective judgment on the value. Are TSW's issues and sidestories packs worth it? Let's look at the value from various viewpoints and you decide!

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Play Destiny this weekend, get an exclusive beta emblem

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

In case you needed a reason to log into Destiny's beta this weekend, Bungie is offering an incentive in the form of an exclusive in-game emblem. You'll need to be online at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 26th, to qualify.

Previewing WildStar's Daggerstone Pass PvP battleground

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, PvP, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

What a beautiful day it's going to avoid being.
Before I talk about the upcoming PvP map for WildStar, I feel I should really defend myself for my usual performance in PvP. Here's the simple version: I am all right at PvP. I know enough about what I'm supposed to do to avoid completely shaming myself. I am not the best. But can I turn a ragtag group of other journalists into a fighting force capable of defeating preformed groups of people wearing PvP gear?

Definitely not.

Along with several other journalists, I took to the field with Carbine Studios staff members yesterday, boosted my fresh Exile character up to 50, and took on all comers in the rated version of the new Daggerstone Pass. We lost several times. On the bright side, we lost in such a way that I was able to get a better sense of the map and can talk about it with some confidence, so that's good. In my weak defense, I don't think we had a chance against a fully premade team in PvP gear anyway.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Introducing Guild Wars 2's Dragon's Reach

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Can this sharktoothed flopears gnaw through Mordremoth's vines?! Stay tuned!
Today's edition of the Flameseeker Chronicles is a little bit special. We've got the teaser trailer for Guild Wars 2's next living world release, The Dragon's Reach: Part One. We've got some sweet screenshots provided by ArenaNet to feast your peepers on: aw, yeah. And if that's not enough, I got the chance to chat with Associate Game Director Steven Waller about next week's episode. Check out the video, and then read on!

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Elite's expansions to include planetary landing, ship interiors

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Frontier's latest newsletter for Elite: Dangerous talks post-launch plans for the sci-fi space sim sandbox. Launch is currently scheduled for sometime in Q4 of 2014, after which Frontier will continue to expand the game.

"Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces," the firm says. Elite users with a lifetime expansion pass will get "all such significant expansions" at no extra charge. The LEP is currently packaged with the game's premium beta access or available separately via the Frontier store.

[Thanks Peteris!]

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Eye of the North's soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Buy-to-Play

The final Guild Wars soundtrack not only took the first game out in style but instantly became one of the best of the series to date. I'm not willing to put it above Prophecies, but it's not too far behind, either. As a whole, it's a wonderful symphonic journey through new lands and new themes, and just about every track is quite listenable.

You can't deny that this is Guild Wars to its very core, as composer Jeremy Soule only adds on to the franchise's legacy rather than supplants it with a different direction. Even so, it represents a mastery that wasn't quite there in past albums. If I listened to this soundtrack without knowing its source, I would have pegged it as a major motion picture release rather than a video game with angry bears.

It was definitely a difficult score to pick a mere six examples from; I'd recommend that soundtrack enthusiasts listen through its entirety. For a Guild Wars 2 player, it's really interesting to go back and hear the early versions of tracks that Soule would later reprise for the sequel.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: The true nature of Guild Wars 2's Sylvari

Fantasy, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Races, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Honey, you've got a big storm comin'.
Remember last week, when I made a comment about how neat the little touches in Guild Wars 2's Gates of Maguuma release are? Stuff like a vine poking at a waypoint in Dry Top and making it spark? Hey, it was actually kind of cute! Aww, the big fella probably doesn't know what a waypoint is. Maybe he's hungry. Those aren't for snacking on, you silly vine.

Right. Well, hide your Miracle-Gro because more vines are now spreading eastward across the waypoint network. As of this writing they've gotten as far as Lion's Arch, which as we all know hasn't seen enough trouble lately. Some of them have even fully entangled the floating waypoint doodlehoppers, growing larger in the process. So I may have been right about the snack part, but that doesn't exactly bode well. What exactly is going on?

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The Division's director on gameplay, customization, and The Cleaners

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Buy-to-Play

Ubisoft has released a video filmed at last month's E3 featuring The Division game director Ryan Barnard and a bunch of slick-looking footage. Barnard touches on gameplay, character customization, Clancy-style tech, and a group of baddies known as The Cleaners who take no prisoners when it comes to dealing with The Division's infected populace.

Click past the cut to have a look!

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Guild Wars 2 launches Entanglement today

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Launches, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 fans, prepare yourselves for some tangly living world action today as ArenaNet launches Entanglement, episode two of the ongoing second season of the game's story content. Players will continue the established plot arc that has them joining a now-familiar cast of NPCs in the newly opened zone in the Maguuma Wastes.
The lethal, fast-growing vines that have plagued the Brisban Wildlands have begun to spread. Word reaches you of trouble in the town of Prosperity, where the asuran prodigy Taimi was left alone to research the threat. Get back to Prosperity, meet up with Braham, and check in on Taimi. [...] There are secrets hidden within the newly revealed area of Dry Top, just waiting to be discovered. Learn more about the mysterious denizens lurking beyond Prospect Valley and come face-to-face with never-before-seen foes. Follow the trail you picked up in the last release and continue your search for the ley line hub. Stay wary! In Dry Top, danger and discovery go hand in hand.
Don't forget that if you can't play the episode in the next two weeks, you can log into the game and save the episode for a later date.

ArenaNet has also released new screenshots for the event's launch; enjoy them below.

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Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion fee, Elite's console potential, and Destiny's mobile app

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Mobile, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

POE
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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Star Citizen's $48 million mark means a commercial for the Retaliator

Betas, Sci-Fi, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

star citizen
Move over, feathered millionaires, for Star Citizen now has more money than Scrooge McDuck. The space sim crossed the $48 million mark in crowdfunding today.

The stretch goal for this particular occasion is the creation of a commercial for the Retaliator spaceship. "The symbol of the United Empire of Earth's power is the next ship to receive a slick commercial," the site posted on its stretch goals page. "Aegis Dynamics is in dire need of good publicity since the end of the of the Messer era. We currently have the Cutlass and the Constellation commercials in production and now the Retaliator will be added to that list."

So what epic stretch goal reward is in store for $49 million? If players hit that milestone, then the team will add a plant to the game. But it's a Xi'An space plant, so you know you're getting your million dollars' worth.

The Nexus Telegraph: The basics of crafting a WildStar build

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Have I used this before?  I think I've used this before.  Please, let me know if I've used this before.
There are few things I love so much as writing a column for June 30th only to find out on the 30th that the patch I'm discussing is going live on July 1st. You know, when it's too late to change anything. I really would have been happy to have found that out before the day.

But, hey, WildStar's first patch came out, and now I've had a couple of weeks to explore it a bit. Am I happy with it? Sufficiently, yes, although I haven't yet digested it in full. For one month out from launch, I can't complain much.

Of course, that's not the first thing that I want to talk about today. I want to talk about builds. Rather than giving you the absolute best-of-the-best builds for tanking and DPS and so forth, which I can't quite do, I want to help you figure out how to make a build that works. It's a satisfyingly interactive, and there are lots of very functional options however you choose to build your character.

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Braben: We 'would be stupid not to' look at Elite on consoles

Sci-Fi, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Consoles, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Frontier is considering console versions of Elite: Dangerous, according to Eurogamer.

"I don't want to do something that constitutes an announcement," studio boss David Braben said, "but we would be stupid not to support other platforms, including console."

Frontier has experience making both Sony and Microsoft first-party games, and Elite uses the same engine as Xbox One launch title Zoo Tycoon. A possible Elite console port will take a while, though, as Frontier is currently laser-focused on the PC release. "We will then do the game on Mac and during that time we will be looking at other platforms as well," Braben said.

The Daily Grind: What's your favorite Secret World deck outfit?

Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World, Buy-to-Play

Before I get to the traditional question that powers the Daily Grind, I'd like to give a pre-emptive heads-up to any Massively newbs in the audience. Yes, it was a slow news day when this piece was published (8:00 a.m. EDT). Yes, this is pure fluff meant for fun and perhaps discussion over a cup of coffee.

With that out of the way, let's talk The Secret World. More specifically, let's talk about the game's spiffy deck-based outfits. I just finished collecting all of them on my Templar. Some of them are truly butt-ugly, but a handful of them make my character look even more badass than he actually is (which is pretty badass, don't get me wrong). Anyway, which deck outfit is your favorite?

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!

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