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Events (Real-World)

The Think Tank: Thoughts on PAX East 2014

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

PAX East came and went last weekend, and as we do most years, the Massively writers got together to discuss the highlights and the disappointments of the con. Join the conversation -- what did you think was the best (and worst) MMO or reveal at PAX?

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SOE is streaming H1Z1 live right now

Historical, Horror, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, H1Z1

H1Z1
SOE has just announced that members of the H1Z1 dev team will be streaming the recently revealed zombie survival sandbox for the first time tonight on Twitch starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT, which is right this very minute. We've included the stream embed after the cut for your entertainment. Popcorn sold separately.

[Update: The devs streaming are Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and Technical Director Tom Schenck]

[Source: SOE press release]

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Richard Garriott holds contest to recreate his first teletype RPG

Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

This pic never gets old
Before Tabula Rasa and even before the Ultima games, Richard Garriott made a teletype game he called D&D #1. A high school student at the time, Garriott built the RPG after his astronaut dad told him he'd split the cost of an Apple II as incentive. D&D #1 eventually branched out into 27 more versions of the game, with D&D #28 being rewritten as Akalabeth, his famous first money-maker sold in plastic Ziploc bags.

But now Garriott wants fans of his work to play that first D&D #1 game once again. No, not on a teletype machine, but from within his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar MMORPG.

Starting today, a new contest will reward the best version made on Unity and the best version made as a plug-in browser port. Winners will receive the Citizen-level Kickstarter pledge reward ($550 value) and both runners-up will receive the Collector's level pleadge reward ($165 value).

If this sounds like something up your programming alley, snatch up the original code for the game at Shroud of the Avatar's official site.

MMO Week in Review: PAX East 2014

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Week in Review, Miscellaneous

Blizzness
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

Massively took on the wilds of PAX East 2014 this weekend. Here's what we've seen so far:
PAX East 2014: WildStar's panel was all about the endgame
PAX East 2014: First impressions of Warlords of Draenor
PAX East 2014: Landmark's current tools and future crafts
PAX East 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Hall on the future of the game
PAX East 2014: Hands-on with Infinite Crisis
PAX East 2014: State of Decay eyes multiplayer, stays offline
PAX East 2014: Guns of Icarus Online's expanding environment
PAX East 2014: PlanetSide 2's Matt Higby on weekly updates
PAX East 2014: Hearthstone reveals Naxxramas single-player adventure
PAX East 2014: Star Citizen and the DFM are 'more than just PvP'
There's more to come over the next few days. Read on for the rest of this week's top stories!

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The Daily Grind: Did you reconnect with any games thanks to PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage)

State of Decay campaign ending
Now that PAX East is winding down, it seems as good a time as any to take stock of the news coming from this year's convention. On a personal level, I was excited to hear about the (eventual) MMOification of one of my favorite games. I also enjoyed catching up with Guns of Icarus, an indie title already holding its own and with its eyes on a larger persistent world prize.

What about you, Massively readers? Did you glean any useful nuggets from PAX East or perhaps rediscover a game you'd not thought about in a while?

Massively's on the ground in Boston during the weekend of April 11th to 13th, bringing you all the best news from PAX East 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, Landmark, or any MMO in between, we aim to have it covered!

PAX East 2014: Star Citizen and the DFM are 'more than just PvP'

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen: We're more than just PvP!
Chris Roberts took the stage at a backer-only pre-PAX event in Boston last night to show off some of Star Citizen's alpha dogfighting footage. Despite a few technical glitches, fans were able to get an extended glimpse of the game's first playable module, which Roberts said will likely release in a month or so.

The dogfighting module will be presented as part of the in-universe fiction and thus will take the form of a space sim called Arena Commander which released to gamers in the year 2944. Players will load into the DFM through their pre-existing hangar module where they'll choose between five alpha game modes: Free Flight, Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, Capture the Core, and Vanduul Swarm (basically a horde mode). Cloud Imperium is including leaderboards and plenty of stats which will show up both on Star Citizen's web-based player and organization profiles as well as in the finished game.

The upcoming module will also feature co-op capabilities along with PvE AI. "At the end of the day, for me, it's not all about combat," Roberts explained, "so if [combat's] not your thing you don't have to worry about it."

Click past the cut to watch the full livestream.

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The Think Tank: Putting The Elder Scrolls Online's launch in context

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), Launches, New Titles, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Think Tank, Subscription

ESO
If you've been around the MMO industry long enough, you know that MMO launches rarely go smoothly for everyone. Some of them even crash and burn in such spectacular ways that veterans are still invoking their names a decade later. This week, I polled a few of the Massively staffers about the launch of the Elder Scrolls Online. How did it fare compared to some of the trainwrecks in MMO history?

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Let's all gape at Azeroth Choppers, a WoW motorcycle-themed reality show

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, Humor, Miscellaneous

Full disclosure: I built my husband a Mekgineer's Chopper as a gag Christmas present.
We can't decide whether this is completely awesome or bizarrely terrifying, but because there really aren't adequate words for World of Warcraft's latest marketing stunt, I'll just let Blizzard explain it:
Grab a front-row seat for the ultimate road showdown! Legendary custom motorcycle designer Paul Jr. has assembled two handpicked teams of bike experts to bring to life a pair of asphalt-kicking chopper designs inspired by World of Warcraft®'s two warring factions. Joining each crew on their epic quest are members of the World of Warcraft development team, on board to help to infuse the essence of the Horde and the Alliance into each bike. In the end, only one chopper will reign supreme as the undisputed king of Azeroth's roads in a winner-takes-all showdown voted on by World of Warcraft players around the globe.
Get to da choppa already. And by the choppa I mean the trailer -- it's after the break.

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The Daily Grind: What do you hope to see at this year's PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

PAX East
Massively will be on the ground in Boston at this year's PAX East, which officially starts on Saturday. We'll be scurrying all over convention land to check out WildStar, Landmark, EVE Valkyrie, Warlords of Draenor, Guild Wars 2, Star Citizen, The Repopulation, PlanetSide 2, Guns of Icarus, State of Decay, and Infinite Crisis, among others. A few big MMO studios won't be present, of course; I think everyone will grok why ZeniMax Online might be a bit too busy for another con just now. But big guns like Carbine and SOE and Blizzard will all be in attendance at the first gamer-centric rather than media-centric con of the year.

So what are you looking forward to seeing out of PAX?

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!

HD Streaming for EVE Fanfest now on sale

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), News Items, Subscription

I kind of prefer Star Trek Online's Dyson sphere ships to EVE's apparent Dyson vacuum ship.
Are you a big fan of EVE Online? Do you want to go to EVE Fanfest but can't fit a trip to Iceland into your budget? Do you have a spare PLEX sitting around? Are you thinking about marzipan? Because right now you can buy a high-definition stream of the entire Fanfest from CCP Games for $19.95 or one PLEX, whichever works better for you. (The marzipan thing you'll have to sort out on your own.)

Buying the stream gets you access to three days of high-definition coverage, the pre-convention livestream from developers, your choice of one of four industrial ship skins, subscriber-only giveaways, and a digital version of the Fanfest shirt for 2014. Sound good to you? Then head on over and drop your money! Or you can just watch the festivities streamed for free on Twitch, but you'll have to put up with normal definition footage, like an animal.

The Secret World's Joel Bylos takes on mankinigate

Horror, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, The Secret World, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

The Secret World's Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos has just posted an explanation for last week's mankinigate episode. As we reported on April 4th, a mankini outfit for male characters was added to the game's cash shop as part of the April Fools' Day patch but was later removed from that shop and from those who had purchased it, with no reason given. Today, Bylos told forumgoers that the mankini wearables were always intended to be a limited-availability April Fools joke and that players were meant to keep them. But...
Funcom management feels strongly that the Mankini outfit goes against what The Secret World intellectual property (IP) is all about and they did not want this item to stay in the game permanently. We all agree on the fact that The Secret World should be the best urban contemporary horror MMO out there, and they want to make sure that everything we bring into the game stays true to the setting and the atmosphere we have created – however it is safe to say that there is sometimes disagreement on nuance. For that reason, Management made the decision to pull it from the game entirely.
While he disagrees with purging the gear from those who bought it, he stresses that it was "pulled due to concerns over the integrity of the IP, not because of the gender or skimpiness of the outfit." The female wetsuit has also been removed from the store but will remain wearable by those who purchased it.

[With thanks to tipster Snurx! We've included Bylos' entire post after the cut.]

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World of Tanks crowns new e-sports world champion

Contests, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks, MOBA

WoT
In the ultimate showdown between hulking metal death machines, World of Tanks has crowned one victorous team that emerged triumphant over the battlefield.

Wargaming announced today that team Na'Vi won the world championship in the grand finals of its e-sports league. The new champions will take home $110,000 in prize money, with the runner-ups Virtus.Pro and The RED Rush: Unity receiving $100,000 and $40,000, respectively.

The Wargaming.net League World Championship took place in Warsaw, Poland, as 14 teams battled over three days for the top spot. According to the studio, "millions" tuned in to watch the grand finals on Twitch.

[Source: Wargaming press release]

Ultima Online's April state of the game address

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, News Items, Ultima Online, Community Q&A, Sandbox, Subscription

UO
On Friday, Ultima Online Producer Bonnie Armstrong and the Broadsword Online Games crew took to Google Hangouts for an informal state of the game address and player question-and-answer session. The event marked one of the first times we've heard from the Broadsword team about its plans for the game since its pseudo-acquisition a few months ago. The highlights?
  • The artwork update is still on the way, as are new housing tiles.
  • A resurrection of the old MyUO.com website is planned, along with a revamp of the new and returning player experience.
  • The team hopes to resume putting out one expansion or booster every year.
On the downside, the team isn't currently working on new housing areas, new items for the cash shop, or storage expansions, and there's no ETA for the bug-free return of vendor search, which was implemented and promptly went kaput just a few weeks ago.

An interesting factoid pointed out by Stratics poster Nails Warstein: The player split between the old classic client and the newest enhanced client is now 50-50.

Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO April Fools' pranks of all time

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

WoW
There are two types of people on April 1st: those who are annoyed and indifferent to the tomfoolery going on all around them, and those who gleefully embrace the zany antics and baldfaced lies. For the record, I am of the latter crowd. I love April Fools' Day and the humor and creativity that it inspires. While this day is by no means contained to our neck of the woods, MMOs have a long-running streak of trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a good goof has to have several qualities to make it truly memorable. It needs to be original. It needs to be actually amusing, whether or not you "fell for it." And it needs to tweak our expectations and understanding of how MMOs work. Sometimes there are even important ideas that emerge from these jokes that could, indeed, make these titles better.

So let's go through my favorite MMO April Fools pranks of all time, as catalogued by yours truly!

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SOE Live 2014 begins registration, offers early bird deals

EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Events (Real-World), DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Dragon's Prophet

SOE Live
The registration for this summer's SOE Live is now open for business! The convention, which will take place from August 14th through 17th in Las Vegas, will feature panels, parties, contests, and more.

If you register before May 12th, you'll be eligible for the early bird deal of $129 for the premium pass. Evening passes are $99, day passes are $49, and kids under 12 may attend the convention for free. There are also options to pay more for a Sunday brunch with the developers and reserve an entire table for a group.

SOE will mail badges to folks who register by May 12th and has made a deal with Planet Hollywood Hotel to offer discounted room rates.

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