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Comics

Hyperspace Beacon: The Lost Suns

Sci-Fi, Lore, New Titles, Opinion, Comics, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon

This week, we are taking a break from studying the class powersets, although I do plan to return to them eventually. As I was contemplating what to write, it occurred to me that I really haven't covered any lore for quite some time. While my editors and I are talking about doing a specific series of lore-based articles leading up to the game's release, I definitely wanted to focus on more of the canon history behind the game. After all, this is Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it epitomizes the fourth pillar of MMO design: story.

I finally got my hands on the latest comic book with direct ties to SWTOR this past week. It's called The Lost Suns, and while it's fresh on my mind, we should probably discuss some of the main points and characters in the story. BioWare writer Alexander Freed and comic book artist Dave Ross collaborated to bring us this first of a five-issue comic book series about Theron Shan. As Freed said on the official TOR forums, "I like to describe The Lost Suns as our 'ninth story' -- every class in The Old Republic tells its own Star Wars epic, and Theron's tale intersects with the other eight and pushes the greater game story forward, just as they do." Follow after the break to discover how this "ninth story" is starts out.

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Hero up! Hands-on with Marvel Super Hero Squad Online

Super-hero, Business Models, New Titles, Previews, PvE, Free-to-Play, Browser, Comics, Hands-On, Casual, Hands-On (Massively's), Family, Super Hero Squad Online

Back in May, I scored Massively's first real look at Super Hero Squad Online, the Marvel-flavored, kid-friendly MMO from Gazillion Entertainment and The Amazing Society. I was smitten with the game at the time, and so when Gazillion offered me the opportunity to take a peek at the newest build earlier this week, I jumped at the chance. Who can resist some hands-on time with such an adorable toy! (Answer to rhetorical question: no one, which is why you should go sign up for beta right now.) Plus, if I learned anything the last time, it was that I have a duty to relentlessly inquire about Squirrel Girl. Am I right?

Gazillion PR Manager Keith Mutzman and The Amazing Society's Director of Games Jay Minn wasted no time bringing me up to speed on the progress of the game as the team heads to PAX this weekend, so I'll pay that forward -- join me after the break and we'll dig in and hero up!

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Exclusive Interview: DCUO's Game Director Chris Cao

Super-hero, Interviews, New Titles, Comics, Interviews (Massively's), DC Universe Online

What gamer hasn't wanted to be a superhero at one time or another? Superheroes and comic books have been a part of gaming culture as long as computers. Of course, everyone has wanted to be Superman soaring through the skies of Metropolis, or Batman scaring the pants off the criminal underworld of Gotham City. Sony Online Entertainment has teamed up with Warner Bros. and DC Comics to bring this world -- nay, this universe -- to life. On November 2nd, DC Universe Online will blast its way to game store shelves everywhere.

DCUO
gives fans of comic books, action video games, and MMOs a reason to come together and celebrate this incredible amalgam of genres. Create your own superhero! Thrill to the art of Jim Lee! Soak up the voice-acting of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy! On top of that, if you preorder this deliciously intense action RPG, you will have exclusive rights to a token that will allow you to join a 2v2 PvP arena as the caped crusader himself, using his abilities, gadgets, and fighting style. Plus you'll get all the other preorder bonuses like confetti bombs and batarangs.

Massively snagged an exclusive interview with DCUO Game Director Chris Cao about this groundbreaking game. Up, up, and away! (OK, that was cheesy. Just hit "read more" to read our lengthy interview after the break!)

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SDCC 2010: A SWTOR Managing Editor who doesn't solve problems by killing all the kittens

Sci-Fi, Classes, Interviews, New Titles, Comics, Events (Massively's Coverage), Star Wars: The Old Republic

We all know that know that story is the fourth pillar for The Old Republic. We also know BioWare has the reputation for having some of the most compelling stories in the gaming industry. In fact, story is written into its mission statement: "BioWare's vision is to deliver the best story-driven games in the world." So it is no surprise at all that when the team came to Comic-Con this past weekend, it consisted of mostly writers.

Massively's Dan O'Halloran nabbed the Managing Editor on SWTOR, Alexander Freed, for a conversation. Freed has scribed much of the story and dialogue for this epic MMO, as well as been the writer for the exciting adventures of Teneb Kel in The Blood of the Empire webcomic.

Continue on after the break to catch Alexander Freed's insight into what the different types of quests will be available in SWTOR, what compelling choices players have to make, and what it takes to write for a project of this magnitude.

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Free for All: Assumptions based on assumptions

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Darkfall, Business Models, Culture, Economy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Comics, Casual, Kids, Free for All

I decided to write this article based on a nagging feeling. It's not something I would normally look into, being that the questions I have are not that easy to ask, or not that easy to clarify. But, as I sink deeper and deeper into the world of international websites, games and toys, I always find certain attitudes pop up during my conversations about my findings. Perhaps it is because I am used to the sights, sounds and styles of free-to-play titles, and have learned to look beyond some of the long titles and odd descriptions. I no longer see games divided into groups and sub-groups.

When hearing the complaints about "foreign" games, I rarely see the counterbalance to the comments. If "Asian" games are grindy, that would mean that North American games are not? If free-to-play games "force" you to spend money, then that means that North American subscription titles do not? The descriptor "free-to-play" is accurate, nine times out of 10, yet there seems to be an issue with using that term, because at some point the player might need to spend money to go at a pace she wants to.

In fact, I am confused by the constant use of the words free-to-play to describe, essentially, a class of game. Where is the counterbalance to that? Does that mean that all subscription games are from a different world of higher quality?

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DCUO preorders available for North America, more to come

Super-hero, News Items, Comics, DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online fans, are you ready to preorder? You'll have to think carefully about what retail outlet you use, because preorders are available for those in the US and Canada, and there are special bonus items depending on where you place that order.

Quite a few bonuses are up for grabs: an exclusive 2v2 arena battle in which you will play as Batman (Yes, you will actually be Batman), the first issue of the DCUO comic Legends, a Batman figurine, and a variety of in-game weapons. The collector's edition includes even more extra goodies.

If you're not in NA, sit tight because there are preorder options for Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, all labeled "coming soon." Check out the official preorder page on the DCUO site for all the details.

Updated: DCUO didn't stop with the preorder goodies! Open beta signups are now available, and we got a first look at The Joker. VIsit the site to sign up for beta, and check out the gallery below for a first look at DCUO's newest familiar face!

Star Wars: the Old Republic expands Blood of the Empire

Sci-Fi, Lore, Comics, Star Wars: The Old Republic

If there's one difficult task that Star Wars: The Old Republic has set for itself -- well, it's set several, but if there's one difficult lore task it would be transforming the Sith into a sympathetic and likable player faction. After all, they've got years and years and years of fiction painting them as unrelentingly evil bastards, while BioWare wants them to be heroic in their own way. It's no surprise, then, that the most recent installment of Blood of the Empire continues to show both the brutality of the Sith as well as their more compassionate side.

Expanding the focus from the young Teneb Kal from the first issue, this installment shows us what happens to Sith who decide to strike out on their own -- successfully or not. It also gives a look into some of the morality of the Sith, where attempts to seize power are expected, but failure to do so means you overstepped your bounds. With a closer look inside Dromund Kaas at the heart of the empire, the latest installment should be of interest to every Star Wars: The Old Republic lore scholar.

What does Disney buying Marvel have to do with us?

Super-hero, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Comics, Marvel Heroes


Earlier today, it was announced that Disney is buying Marvel for $4B, divided among the current Marvel shareholders. This type of news is nothing groundbreaking, and it probably doesn't affect you, as an MMO gamer, right?

You're mostly right. Disney's purchase of Marvel will certainly affect the enormous hold that Marvel has on general gaming now (in a good way, we hope), but don't forget there's also a Marvel MMO in the works. When we asked Gazillion Entertainment how this purchase will affect their Marvel Universe Online project, we were told that all they can relay at this point is a quote from Lowell Singer, Disney's senior vice president of investor relations: "On the video game front, Marvel has some smart licensing agreements with some of the best video game manufacturers in the business. As these licensing deals expire we have the luxury of considering what's best for the company and the products."

Gazillion also reminded us that their MMO licensing deal with Marvel is until 2019.

Massively webcomic: Grinders - Incumbent versus Reform

Super-hero, Comics, Humor, Grinders

The superhero MMO debate is upon us, with hot button topics like PvP and Character Customization being thrown around as if we were trying to reform health care. Grinders has not picked a side, but in a year or two when the fresh car smell is gone from Champions Online and City of Heroes has either sank or swam, we'll have a clear idea of what we really actually want out of these games. Still, the competition is healthy for the market, and I say pile it on.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will be allowed to hack into your brain. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and inventing a paint-drying MMO, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

Massively webcomic: Grinders - A Backup Plan

Comics, Humor, Grinders

Looks like the Matrix Online is taking it's last breath today, which is just the way these things go sometimes. It was a niche game, but the idea of playing a video game inside a computer world is still a nifty hall of mirrors. Personally I hope the new TRON movie revitalizes the franchise and puts an MMO on the table. I sure would like to take on the Master Control Program myself someday.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will be allowed to hack into your brain. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and inventing a paint-drying MMO, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

Massively webcomic: Grinders - See, It's a Metaphor

Comics, Humor, Grinders

Especially during press and publicity events like San Diego's Comic Con, we are teased with what future games are to come, and lament the games that we cling to yet so desperately yearn to abandon. Grinders understands your pain. We're also pretty entertained by all the silly acronyms.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will be allowed to ripen on the vine. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and inventing a paint-drying MMO, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

Free Realms comic to be released on July 29th

Fantasy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Comics, Free Realms


The first issue of a brand new comic based on Free Realms will be released next week, on the 29th of July. The series comes from a collaboration between WildStorm and SOE, with J.S. Lewis (best known for his Grey Griffins series of children's books) writing the story. MMORPG is also reporting that those who pick up the first issue will be eligible to receive an in-game item, the "Spider Bite Sword". Each comic in the series should continue in this manner, offering a new in-game item for the 12 issues that are planned.

A handful of pages from the first issue can be previewed right now, along with a short snippet of the plot:

The story begins when a young boy is abducted and dragged into a darkened forest teeming with twisted monsters. It's up to a relic hunter and a pixie to save him, but their mission is cut short when a horde of troll-like creatures captures them!

Maybe we're just wusses, but that sounds kind of scary.

[Via MMORPG]

Massively webcomic: Grinders - Cronyism Cronies

Comics, Humor, Grinders

The Grinders gag today is from our own James Egan, who made a critical typo while working on an All Points Bulletin article. Swapping words in the title gave us a whole different game concept, the gritty underground world of white collar crime. Which reminds me, time to check my Swiss bank account, I'm sure Realtime Worlds' check has cleared by now.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will be held over the shredder until they talk. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and inventing a paint-drying MMO, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

Massively webcomic: Grinders - Leave the Vase, Take the Cannoli

Fantasy, Comics, Humor, Grinders

Every MMO with a floating economy seems to have problems with gold farming, but Final Fantasy XI makes the issue even more peculiar by having actual plant cultivation involved in the process. With Grinders I'd prefer to imagine some angry moogle mafioso running an underground botanical operation for money and power.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will be ruthlessly sold by moogles for fun an profit. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and inventing a paint-drying MMO, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

Massively webcomic: Grinders - Gender Equality

Super-hero, Comics, Humor, Grinders

City of Heroes continues to fulfill items on the long list of player requests, next up being the option to change your height and gender, the only to pieces to the costume editor left static. While I think it's neat you'll finally be able to make that Mr. Hyde knockoff you've been waiting to build, Grinders today reflects other possible gameplay options.

On a side note, I wonder what this'll do to the character gender debate. Now in CoH, your character doesn't need to have a gender, just a costume slot does. You could make a character that is in fact five distinct characters. Food for thought.

Have a funny story of your own? Submit your tale complete with a screenshot to lemuel@massively.com. The best will also probably involve boobies in some form or another. Or just put in the comic.

Lemuel PewLemuel Pew is a webcomic artist and MMO player with the attention span of a guppy. Between sketching gamers in cartoon form and making glib social commentary, he draws an online comic called Blank It. Feel free to watch his Twitter at your own risk.

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