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The Stream Team: Getting decked in HEX: Shards of Fate

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, HEX

HEX: Shards of Fate
HEX: Shards of Fate is an all-new (well, maybe) online trading card game that raised over $2 million on Kickstarter in 2013 and just recently entered closed beta. Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster will leap into HEX to see how it feels compared to its most high-profile competitor, and to take a thorough lashing from players who are much better at playing card games than he.

Join Mike at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of HEX in action.

Game: HEX: Shards of Fate
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Elite gets release pricing but no release date yet

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

Elite: Dangerous is still on track for a Q4 2014 launch. As such, Frontier today revealed the sci-fi sandbox's launch pricing plan as well as a pre-order option.

The standard game will set you back $59.99 (or £39.99 and €49.99 for our friends across the pond). The pre-order Mercenary edition -- available to purchase from now until release day -- will run you $50 (£35.00 or €40) and features an Eagle fighter, a digital guide, a digital concept art book, decals, and more. If you've already pre-ordered or backed through alpha and beta, you'll receive a Merc edition by default.

In other Elite news, Eurogamer reports that the game's original budget was £8 million, most of which came out of Frontier's own pocket prior to its successful crowdfunding campaign. And don't forget about this week's Elite newsletter, which talks more about the Mercenary edition and plans for the franchise's 30th anniversary celebration.

[Source: Frontier press release]

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HEX is not Hearthstone: A look at HEX's closed beta

Betas, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, HEX

It's been a while, HEX. Last time I saw you was E3 2013. I hadn't yet started to play Hearthstone, and truthfully, I doubted it could hold a candle to you. In a lot of ways, I was right. It's so much simpler, it's less complex, and at the time, it felt less imaginative. But my card game days are behind me. I don't have the kind of time I used to, so Hearthstone's faster games and accessible drafts (called "arenas" in HS) reminded me of the things I love about the genre while allowing me to keep my grown-up schedule intact and being easy on my wallet.

Just the same, HEX, when I got the closed beta invite to see you again, my heart skipped a beat. I was ready to drop some big money on you, but I've been burned a few times. While I've been in betas and alphas for other games, there's been a trend of letting people pay to play unfinished products. I've been burned, and while I don't regret the experience, I do regret the purchases at the moment. I mean, when a game suddenly disappears from the market, it does make you question your decisions, so I decided we should go out a few times first before I really invest in you.

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The Stream Team: Going deep in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Massively's Mike Foster is a big fan of space exploration. Which is why in tonight's Elite: Dangerous stream, he's going to see what the game's current beta has to offer in terms of venturing into the great unknown. Frontier Developments claims that Elite will eventually contain around 400 billion star systems; Mike is content to visit just a few. And with exploration being touted as a viable career path in the launch version of Elite, it's certainly worth investigating even in its bare beta form.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to boldly go where no Mike has gone before.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Transverse used to be Wing Commander Online

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Crowdfunding

Transverse, the new crowdfund project from Piranha Games, could have been called something far different and more familiar: Wing Commander Online.

Piranha Creative Director Bryan Ekman confirmed that the studio currently holds the Wing Commander license but decided to go another way: "By late 2013 we found ourselves in possession of an exclusive license to Wing Commander and assembling a small team to craft a new experience. We spent six months developing, designing, and working on a marketing video with help from outsourcing partners [...] We reached a pivotal moment when some of our best design ideas were being pushed to the side as they just didn't fit within the constraints of a WC game. We looked carefully at what our WCO product was, looked at other competing products, and decided that we needed to move away from the Wing Commander universe."

Ekman said that if Transverse does not completely fund by the end of its campaign, the studio will fully refund its backers and investigate "traditional models" for investment. In the meantime, the entire studio has been shadowbanned from Reddit for creating a Transverse sub and is looking to overturn the ban.

PvP sandbox Life is Feudal hits Steam early access next week

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding

Life is Feudal is one of several indie sandbox MMOs striving to become this generation's Ultima Online, and next week, you can actually play it... if you fork over a few bucks for early access, that is. The game unlocks on Steam on September 19th; existing alpha players will be able to claim their early alpha keys on Steam and partake in the smaller-scale, non-MMO test version of the game.

Billing itself as a realistic medieval sandbox, Life is Feudal includes city construction and invasion, a freeform character building system, a single seamless world, terraforming, farming, crafting skills like cooking and alchemy, and full open PvP with looting. The developers maintain a document explaining how the game is similar to and different from other MMOs with such features, however.

The game failed to reach its Indiegogo goals last year.

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The Seldon Crisis Kickstarter is officially a thing

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Last month we told you about Seldon Crisis, a sci-fi sandbox MMO purportedly inspired by Asimov's Foundation series. Today Chaos Interactive launched the game's Kickstarter campaign, which runs for 30 days and seeks £250,000.

The devs are "looking for a commitment from gamers who enjoy hard science fiction and expansive player-driven massively multiplayer online games to help bring this deep space odyssey to reality." You can read the full PR blurb after the break.

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Choose My Adventure: I am Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Space is not a very good place for people to hang out. Humans have a specific list of things that are needed for survival, and space is in a continual state of being fresh out of all of them. Thus, the space race isn't just about firing objects into the universe and seeing how far they can go but about building contraptions that deliver enough tender love and care to keep folks alive for the journey. Space travel is immensely expensive and complicated; humanity is still decades or even centuries away from easily accessible personal spacecraft.

Space sims like Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous let you skip ahead a bit to see what things might be like when launching yourself into space will come with all the grandiosity of running to the store for some bread. "Yeah, you have a spaceship," Elite says, "but what exactly do you intend to do with it?"

In this, the second week of our Elite-focused Choose My Adventure, we'll be seeking an answer to that very question.

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Piranha unveils Transverse, a sci-fi MMORPG coming in 2015

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding

The makers of MechWarrior Online have announced Transverse, a new sci-fi MMORPG scheduled to launch in 2015. Transverse is a "galactic flight-based MMORPG" featuring "incredibly detailed ship and station construction, massive solar-system-wide player events and real-time, physics-based combat," according to a Piranha press release.

It also features some sort of crowdfunding component judging by the funding and backer counters on the official website, though the PR doesn't mention how far along the game's development actually is.

You can read the full announcement and watch the associated trailer past the break.

[Source: Piranha press release]

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Not So Massively: LoL's lore reboot, Destiny's launch, and Firefly Online's beta

Betas, Video, Business Models, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

NSM - Destiny
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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Yogventures gives Landmark keys as additional consolation gifts

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Crowdfunding, Landmark

Supporters of Yogventures have another consolation gift to go in take the edge off of the loss of their dream game: a key for Landmark.

Massively readers might remember that Yogventures was a Kickstarter campaign that over-funded, was mismanaged, and then imploded, taking over almost $570,000 from 13,000 backers with it. Owner Yogcast then partnered itself with TUG, providing free TUG Steam keys for those backers and transferring all Yogventures assets to Nerd Kingdom.

It looks as though Landmark has some sort of alliance with Yogcast, as the official site encourages gamers to play with the Yogcast crew. Further compensation for Yogventures backers may be forthcoming.

Star Citizen updates backers on the status of Arena Commander V0.9

Betas, Sci-Fi, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen's latest update to the Arena Commander module has not come out yet. Yes, V0.9 is being held back slightly, but there's a good reason for that. A recent dispatch from the development team explains that the update just had not been rigorously tested enough to release, especially with the overall goal of making fast progress from V0.9 to V1.0.

Of course, the V0.9 update also offers a significant number of upgrades to the experience as a whole, which makes the change that much more understandable. Improvements include the addition of the Murray Cup Racing Mode and the Vanduul Swarm Co-op Mode, leaderboard functionality, and improvements to existing hangars. The update also includes the M50 and 350R ships for all modes and adjustments to make flight options more robust. So you'll have to wait a little longer for the update, but the hope is that it's more than worth the wait.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

Make My MMO: August 31 - September 6, 2014

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

Star Citizen dominated crowdfunding news headlines this week, which is nothing new. Pumpkin Online is new, though, and it might be worth checking out the game's Kickstarter if you're interested in a hybridization of Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing in an online context.

The rest of our weekly crowdfunding news roundup is just past the cut.

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The Daily Grind: Would you pay a sub for an alpha?

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

The MMO community is fast becoming inured to the idea that we're now expected to pay a lump sum for alpha and beta access rather than exchange our testing time for early access. But what about paying a subscription for that access?

Pathfinder Online is banking on it. At last weekend's PAX Prime, we learned that the Goblinworks dev team will be charging players $15 a month to play the alpha (they're calling it "early enrollment" to their "minimum viable product," but it amounts to what most of us would call an alpha). The upside is that character data won't be wiped, so that makes it more like a very incomplete soft launch, but it's still a novelty in the industry.

Would you pay a sub for an alpha?

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!

The Stream Team: Getting spacey with Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG

Elite Dangerous
What happens when you take a space sim rookie, strap him into a starship, and tell him he's free to explore the stars as he pleases? Join Massively's Mike Foster as he discovers the answer to just that question in the current beta build of Elite: Dangerous. Elite, built by Frontier Developments and funded by the crowd, is the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure, and there's no better way to start our journey than by broadcasting our maiden voyage for all to see.

The death parade beings at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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