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Cities XL

CitiesXL to close multiplayer features

Real-Life, MMO Industry, News Items, Cities XL

Three months after launch, CitiesXL was forced to make a difficult decision. An email was sent out to all players this morning informing them that as of March 8th, Monte Cristo will be putting an end to the Planet Offer: "Three months after the launch we have to admit that the subscription rate is lower than what we expected and therefore the Planet Offer is not sustainable. Not enough players decided to subscribe."

The CitiesXL team has our sympathy -- it's never easy to make such a decision -- but there is a silver lining. While players can no longer visit other cities, trade tokens, and so on, CitiesXL will continue to exist as a single player game.

Monte Cristo has also added an FAQ to their official site, and the complete letter to subscribers can be found below, just after the jump. Presumably, this will be the last time you'll hear about CitiesXL on Massively, so we wish them the best of luck on the single-player version.

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Win an Alienware laptop in the Cities XL photography competition

Contests, Events (Real-World), Cities XL


Photography enthusiasts who'd like to get their hands on an Alienware M15x laptop will want to take note of the latest Cities XL contest -- "Aim, Shoot... Win!". Cities XL developer Monte Cristo writes: "Since the city is at the very heart of CitiesXL, this competition will allow you to immortalize yours by submitting photos to our jury in one of the following categories:

  • Most beautiful photo
  • Best Christmas photo"
Those competition submissions should be photos of actual cities, not screenshots captured in Cities XL. If you've got a nice shot that would fit into either of those categories, check out the contest rules and head on over to the "Aim, Shoot... Win!" announcement and submission form for your shot at winning the laptop, plus other prizes Monte Cristo has on offer. (Those prizes include Kodak cameras, Nvidia GTX 260 video cards, Novotel gift vouchers, and copies of Cities XL Limited Edition.)

The submission deadline is 23:59 (Paris time) on January 17, 2010.

Massively's 2009 Winter Holiday Event Guide

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Aion, City of Heroes, Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Fallen Earth, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, MapleStory, Culture, Events (In-Game), Warhammer Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, MetaPlace, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Dragonica Online, Cities XL

It's that time of year again -- whatever holiday you are celebrating, the denizens of your favorite MMO are sure to be celebrating it too. Whether it's Festivult in Dungeons and Dragons Online, Wintersday in Guild Wars, or the Starlight Celebration in Final Fantasy XI, the theme is the same. There are presents, some sort of sugary treats, and tons of fun. Follow along with us as we check out who's partying in your favorite MMO and what you need to do to get in on the fun.

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Cities XL's new content pack to add bus systems

Real-Life, Patches, News Items, Cities XL

Monte Cristo games announced its second content pack for Cities XL, and it includes some pretty nice items for both planet and solo players, as well as the much anticipated bus system for planet players.

Solo players will enjoy a price drop from the Omnicorp corporation as well as a few new buildings: City Hall and the Central Library of The Hague. Planet players will also receive the new buildings, as well as several more fun features. A New York map -- complete with the Statue of Liberty and some familiar skyscrapers -- is now available. Planet players now also have the ability to construct a fully animated mega-ferris wheel for their citizens to enjoy in their leisure time.

The biggest item in this content pack, however, is one that Planet players have been looking forward to for a while. Bus lines are the latest addition to the growing Cities XL world and a handy solution to increased traffic flow. Larger cities who are beginning to struggle with traffic issues will find this a great help. (Cities under 50,000 can purchase it as well if they use Expert mode.)

The content pack is available now, and more information can be found at the Cities XL site.

Cities XL releases first content pack

News Items, Cities XL

Cities XL is nearing the end of their first month post-launch and beginning to look toward what the future holds for the game.

Their first step is the release of their very first content pack, and Cities XL promises more to come on a regular basis. All Cities XL players will now have a new farm model, a high school, and a Ford dealership to add to their growing towns, with even more new content exclusive to Planet Offer players.

The content pack for Planet Offer subscribers will also include an eye-catching Old England building pack, three new maps (Want to live in a crater? You can now.), and three new megastructures. You can gather the resources to build the megastructures, but Cities XL also offers up an interesting addition to their overview: "Check your profile out on a regular basis to see if you are the lucky winner of an Alcatraz prison, a Tokyo Imperial Palace or a 30 St Mary Axe office building!"

The new content is automatically downloaded and installed through the launcher, so you won't need to do anything extra to receive it.

Cities XL launch day roundup

At a glance, Launches, New Titles, Cities XL


Today is the European launch of Cities XL, while tomorrow is the North American launch of the game. We've enjoyed playing the game throughout beta, and have given some hefty coverage along the way. Check out our best Cities XL posts and articles below, preparing you for getting started easily.
Massively hands-on with Cities XL
As the Cities XL closed beta continues to run strong, we got word that the beta's NDA has lifted [Edit: for press] and we can spill the beans on our first impressions of the game so far. Now, two very important points to be made here include the fact that this is not a review (MMO reviews are bad, mmkay), and this is still in early closed beta stage.
E3 2009: A chat with Cities XL's Alexandre Zambeaux
Last week at E3, we had a chance to sit down with Alexandre Zambeaux, Marketing Director for Cities XL developer Monte Cristo Games, for some more info on the current state of the game, and what MMO gamers can expect from such a project. You may remember a pre-beta Q&A we did with the Monte Cristo team a few months ago, and as the game hasn't hit an open beta just yet, it will later this year.
Cities XL closed beta Q&A
Monte Cristo was founded in 1995, and has mostly been very focused on simulation games. In recent years we have shifted our efforts to the city builder genre, especially with our latest game City Life. We currently employ over 80 people in two studios in Paris and Kiev, and we have been increasing in size a lot (and still are) for Cities XL.
Cities XL Limited Edition box contents revealed
Monte Cristo and Namco-Bandai have recently announced the contents of their Limited Edition box for the upcoming city-builder MMO, Cities XL. These Limited Edition boxes, as well as the Standard Edition boxes, are available in Europe on October 8th.

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Cities XL English demo launches today

Betas, New Titles, News Items, Cities XL


As we mentioned last week, Cities XL has been launching their own demo version of the game for several different languages. The German and French version went up last week, but today marks the official launch for the English version.

Partnering up with Namco Bandai for this English version, the developers at Monte Cristo seem pleased that their city-building MMO is right on track for an October release. This demo for the game can be downloaded at our sister site, Big Download, and is playable throughout the month of September.

Cities XL releases new trailer in preparation for demo

Betas, Video, New Titles, Cities XL


The Monte Cristo team has just released a new sample video depicting some of the major choices you can make in their city-building MMO, set to release on October 8th (EU) and 9th (US). This trailer is out now to prepare us for the new demo version of the game. While the German and French versions have released this week, the English version will release on September 8th.

What exactly is the demo and how is it different from an open beta? Well, the demo is a true demo in the classic sense of the word. You can try out cities, but only build them to 22k citizens (the full version of the game lets you create megalopolises of millions of citizens). You'll have access to 3 maps, while the single player mode will give 25 maps on launch, and the MMO Planet Mode will give you 50 maps. This is Monte Cristo's way of opening the game up to all players, considering their unique business model with a single-player and multi-player modes. Check out our previous coverage and their newly-revamped website for more details.

[EDIT: You can now get the demo here.]

Cities XL launching in North America on Oct. 9th

Launches, New Titles, News Items, Cities XL


This year's October seems like a busy month for gaming, and if you're into city building games it just got a little more crowded. Monte Cristo Multimedia has announced that Cities XL will be released in North America on October 9th and that it will come in two formats. You can either get it through a digital download or by mail order in case you prefer a boxed copy, and shipping is free. Both options will be available through the official website, but it's also possible to get the digital version from Steam, Direct2Drive, Trygames, Impulse Driven and Gametap.

We're sure plenty of you are excited to hear this news, or at least the small legion of you who've been building (or have wanted to be building) massive cities for the past several months.

Cities XL trailer offers glimpse of empires to build

Trailers, Video, News Items, Casual, Cities XL


As the days of fall tick by, many people who just can't wait to get their massive city-building sim on are looking for more details on Monte Cristo's upcoming game, Cities XL. This ambitious project will offer players the ability to build their very own detailed cities (or slap together cities, if you're more interested in seeing what kind of havoc you can wreak by doing it wrong on purpose) and attract residents. With a variety of tools and some interesting twists, this title is raising the bar by adding MMO elements and making city building on persistent worlds an option.

While it's cool to see the cities build up, some of the avatars in this video look like they got hit in the face with a toaster. But to be fair, if you're playing a city building sim, avatar looks really shouldn't matter that much anyway. At the end of the day it's all about making the toaster-faceries drop some of that hard-earned sim cash so you can build more cool buildings. (Perhaps a plastic surgeon's office would kill two birds with one stone?)

If lording over your own online sim-pire is right up there on your list of fun game ideas, be sure to check out the Cities XL "Build your dream cities" trailer behind the break for a quick nibble of things to come.

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Cities XL Limited Edition box contents revealed

MMO Industry, News Items, Cities XL


Monte Cristo and Namco-Bandai have recently announced the contents of their Limited Edition box for the upcoming city-builder MMO, Cities XL. These Limited Edition boxes, as well as the Standard Edition boxes, are available in Europe on October 8th. The North American launch has yet to be announced.

The game's Standard Edition includes the game DVD, two instruction manuals, a 7-day trial key for the MMO part of the game, and a trial key for a friend. A pre-order is said to be available in the coming days, but no definite info has been announced yet. Follow along after the jump for the complete content of the Limited Edition.

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Redefining MMOs: Breaking the Mould

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Leveling, PvE, Opinion, Browser, Virtual Worlds, All Points Bulletin, Crime, Final Fantasy XIV, Cities XL, Redefining MMOs


Just think about that title for a second. Of all the games genres you've played, isn't it MMOs that feel most like carbon copies of one another? Level systems, the character creation process and class archetypes are nearly universal, with hundreds of games sharing the same characteristics. Don't you sometimes wish that MMO developers would step back and reassess the genre they have collectively created? This week, as part of Massively's "Redefining MMOs" series, it's my turn to muse on a topic and I've chosen to look as whether it's time the MMO mould (or mold, as my American editors would say) should be broken and re-examined.

Many aspects of MMOs, such as classes, levelling, raids and bosses, endure simply because they work. After all, if it ain't broke why fix it? But sometimes it feels like you need a breath of fresh air, to step back and smell the roses. This is especially the case when carbon copy MMOs start being rolled out. In the last few months I've tried MMO after MMO and can literally play each one blindfolded. Mages are mages, warriors are warriors and clerics by any other name are still priests. While the archetypes of these classes -- the healer, the tank, the caster, the melee damage-dealer and the pet-toting badass -- differ slightly between genres and titles, they are part of a formula that seems to define the MMO genre.

Skip past the cut to read the rest of the article

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The Daily Grind: Is beta testing just free labour?

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, The Daily Grind, Champions Online, Cities XL

It seems 2009 is the Summer of Betas. There certainly are a lot going on at the moment: Aion, Cities XL and Champions Online are just three of the most popular currently going on but the sheer concept of beta testing is a bit of a bug-bear amongst players. There are basically two camps: those who lap up a beta and treat it is a chance to explore the newest games (and seems to include most of Team Massively) or the latest content months before anyone else. Camp number two is a little more pragmatic. For these folks, betas (while fun and exciting) are just an excuse for Company X to save some money by getting a few million free and eager quality assurance monkeys. After all they ask for detailed bug reports and the same kind of information that is asked of professionals who get paid minimum wage to play games for hours.

So, readers, as you mull over your coffee and cereal this morning, I'm eager to know to which camp you see yourself belonging? Are betas just a cheap ploy to get a few thousand fresh pairs of eyes or a genuine attempt to gauge a new game? Drop your thoughts in the box below.

Another round of Cities XL closed beta keys to give away

Betas, Events (In-Game), Massively Meta, Cities XL


We're pleased to announce yet another round of giveaways for the Cities XL closed beta, but this time it's even easier to get your hands on one! If you remember our previous two giveaways, a comment was needed on the post and a code would be sent to you later in the day or the week. Now, it's as easy as following this link and clicking a button. No comment needed! We have 300 to give away this time, and if the last contests were any indication, these will go quickly.

So head on over to our giveaway page to claim your very own code and follow the instructions there to set up an account and get into the beta. If you'd be interested in learning about these giveaways earlier, you can also join our Facebook fan page for exclusive announcements before we put them up on our main site.

Redefining MMOs: Player developers!

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Second Life, Virtual Worlds, Cities XL, Redefining MMOs

A few weeks ago, we at Massively started the weekly "Redefining MMOs" series, a collection of articles examining how the MMO genre has been redefined during the current generation of games and where it's headed in the next. So far, we've looked at the terminology we use to refer to MMOs, how the art of storytelling has changed over the years, and the rise of the "massively singleplayer" online game. In this week's article, I examine what happens when players are given the reigns of an MMO or have a hand in part of its development. If you have something important to say on the topic, feel free to post a comment on page 3 or even write your own "Redefining MMOs" blog post and leave a comment with the URL.

Traditionally, all content for an MMO is designed by the game's development studio and players have no direct influence on its creation. The idea of handing the reigns of an MMO to its players is considered heresy and we shudder to think of what horrible quests and areas players would construct if given a chance. But is our aversion justified or is it something developers should strive to overcome? Certainly Second Life has successfully capitalised on letting players develop almost every aspect of its virtual world but could successful mainstream MMOs make use of it too? City of Heroes, EVE Online and even World of Warcraft are prime examples which suggest they can. All three of these games have handed at least some part of the game's development over to players, with incredibly promising results.

In this article, I look at these three successful examples of players being allowed to develop aspects of an MMO. I then go on to explain why this works and how the next generation of MMOs could learn from these pioneering feats.

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