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Events (Real-World)

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

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

PAX Prime is the last major Western multi-game tradeshow of the year relevant for MMO enthusiasts, making it the last big wave of mass studio announcements until PAX South's debut in January. Massively's Justin Olivetti will be on the PAX Prime show floor for us this year, checking out Warlords of Draenor, Landmark, ArcheAge, H1Z1, WildStar, The Repopulation, Pathfinder Online, Hearthstone, Trove, Shroud of the Avatar, and other MMOs and not-so-MMOs both big and small.

But sometimes game announcements come out of nowhere during conventions, and we discover something we weren't expecting at all. What do you hope to see from this year's PAX Prime?

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!

Anarchy Online's graphics engine upgrade suffers delays

Betas, Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

Anarchy Online
Funcom has announced that two Anarchy Online developers, Genele and Macrosun, are leaving the studio and "relocating back to their homelands in Scandinavia." That's bad news for MMO gamers patiently awaiting the game's promised new graphics engine, as the devs' departures mean delays for both the upgrade and the next patch. Creative Director Joel "Nusquam" Bylos explained the situation to players on the official forum:
[L]osing competent and knowledgeable people does have some impact on our development schedule, so we've had to rearrange some things and tune our schedules to make sure we can deliver on our vision for the game. Originally we were planning to patch 18.7 to live this month. We have now delayed it until we have had the chance to give it a thorough going over with the new designers. It is a large and complex patch and we want to be a hundred percent certain that we understand all of the intricacies of the patch before we make it live.

Additionally, because Macrosun was the technical coordinator on the new engine, it causes some challenges on the code side. It will take our live coders some time to get themselves acquainted with the engine and all that it entails. The beta will remain up and running and we hope to get past beta status as soon as we can.
Nusquam noted that Henry "Michizure" Senger will take over for Genele and that the existing live team was organized with "competence sharing" across the studio's games to minimize the impact of personnel shifts. Funcom earlier this week tweeted about new job openings in its Durham, North Carolina, location.

[Thanks to tipster Divalicious Diva. Image credit: Azzura.]

GX3 Kickstarter gets a big boost from Blizzard

Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Miscellaneous

Points where they're due.
Conventions are expensive, and unless you have a major publisher or media franchise backing them, it's very easy for a convention to be successful without being successful enough to keep going. GaymerX managed two conventions, but the third round is currently on Kickstarter, trying to raise funds for another convention focused on inclusiveness and support of all different types of gamers. That goal is being helped significantly by a big name in online gaming: Blizzard Entertainment.

The Kickstarter site for the convention lists the World of Warcraft developer as pledging "over $10,000" to making the convention a reality. There are still 23 days for the project to reach its funding goal, but that kind of money certainly helps kick a project along. If you're interested in donating yourself, the convention will be in the Bay Area of California in either November or December of 2015.

Trion Worlds denies ArcheAge server security breach, recommends new passwords

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, ArcheAge

AA
Over the weekend, the ArcheAge beta forums erupted with claims that testers' credit cards were being charged for unauthorized purchases of founders packs. Trion has today responded with a forum post that denies a widespread server security breach. Community Manager Scapes writes,
Let us start by saying this very clearly: Trion Worlds' security has not been compromised in any way. There has been absolutely no breach in Trion's servers.

What happened in the last few hours is sadly nothing new: Every day, bots obtain user credentials from various unprotected sites around the Internet, build lists of login and passwords, and try them on Trion's servers (along with many other sites). If players consistently use simple or repeated passwords across different online services, these bots may get access to their accounts. Because of the current momentum around ArcheAge, hundreds of millions of such attempts were made from well over a million different IP addresses in the last few weeks, only a fraction of which ended up being successful today.
Trion says that it has begun issuing refunds to affected users and is (by coincidence) buffing its Glyph launcher with new device-specific security features. The studio recommends strengthening all game passwords.

[With thanks to tipster Boinya.]

RuneScape celebrates player creativity with Golden Gnome Awards

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), RuneScape, Free-to-Play

runescape
Nominations have opened for RuneScape's Golden Gnome Awards, the fourth such award ceremony devoted to celebrating player creativity and talent.

"We want to continue to recognise all forms of talent, moving beyond just the video making awards given in the past," the team posted. "Whether you're an artist, video maker, cosplayer, or a role model for the community, there's a Golden Gnome out there waiting for you."

This year the categories have expanded to award excellence in video and live streaming, art, cosplay, and being a community champion. The latter is an "unsung hero" whom players feel should be recognized for his or her contributions. The Golden Gnome Awards will be given out at the next RuneFest.

Hackers' bomb threat allegedly reroutes SOE's president's plane

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Miscellaneous

Smed
Hackers who implicated themselves in this weekend's PlayStation Network outage have apparently stepped up their attacks on Sony with a casual bomb threat made over Twitter that may have diverted a plane carrying SOE president John Smedley. In addition to tweeting several mocking threats about the flight as well as an image purporting to be Smed's e-ticket, the hacker account sent this message to American Airlines:
.@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley's plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this.
Smed tweeted earlier today that his plane had been rerouted to Phoenix over "security reasons." Local news stations report that the FBI is investigating the threats.

[Developing]

Stick and Rudder: Star Citizen is standing on the shoulders of genre giants

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

It's confession time, folks. My Star Citizen fandom has been on the fritz. It's not that I'm less enamored with Cloud Imperium's sci-fi sandbox opus; it's just that the interminable waiting coupled with a pretty severe case of themepark MMO burnout (help me, ArcheAge, you're my only hope) has conspired to foul my gaming mood of late.

Fortunately, CIG read my mind and pulled me back in with its gangbusters Gamescom reveals.

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Gamescom 2014: WildStar abandons monthly update pace

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Yet another MMO has fallen into the trap of promising monthly updates after launch only to realize that it's not as feasible as once thought. A mere two content updates into the live game, WildStar announced that it will be abandoning its monthly pace in favor of major drops every few months.

At Gamescom, Senior Game Designer Megan Starks fessed up to the change of release cadence: "Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there's always things for you to do. Now that we've put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it's a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it's going out no matter what, we're going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there."

When asked if this is going to be the case for updates in the future, Starks said, "Yes."

Robin Williams models possibly spotted in World of Warcraft files

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Subscription

wow
Apparently Blizzard is making good on its word to include the late Robin Williams in an upcoming World of Warcraft build, as players have found a character named Robin <The Entertainer> tucked away in the game files.

Datamining through Warlords of Draenor's files turned up three models for Robin, including a djinn (Disney's Aladdin), a human female with a man's voice (Mrs. Doubtfire), and a human male with suspenders (Mork). There are theories floating around that the djinn will morph into the other two characters while putting on a show for players, although we won't know for sure until the expansion releases this November.

On the day following Robin William's death, fans petitioned the Blizzard to include a tribute to the comedian as he had been an avid WoW player through the years. Blizzard responded by saying that it was "working on it."

Star Citizen's next stretch goal is a player dispute staff position at CIG

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

If you missed Star Citizen at Gamescom this year, Chris Roberts' latest Letter from the Chairman is worth parsing both for its written content and for the one-hour video embed that hits the highlights.

Roberts explains how Cloud Imperium's Gamescom goal was to demonstrate how SC will grow beyond dogfighting. The big focus over the weekend was co-op crewed ship play, centered around the Constellation, which Roberts says is something he's wanted to achieve since his Wing Commander days. He also thanks backers for pushing the game past the $50 and $51 million stretch goals before outlining the next two goals.

The $53 million milestone is the most interesting, as it seeks to establish a staffed position at CIG for dealing with in-game player disputes "without leaving our world." Click through the links below to read more, and don't forget about the Gamescom embed after the cut.

[Thanks Cardboard!]

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SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion is live

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons

SWTOR
Early access to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Galactic Strongholds expansion is now live for subscribers.

BioWare Producer Jack Wood welcomed players to SWTOR's third expansion with a lengthy developer blog about the studio's goals in this housing-centric update, boasting that it offers "something for everyone," whether you want to "sit back and relax in your personal stronghold," establish a guild base, participate in conquest leaderboard content, or take on the new tactical flashpoint, Depths of Manaan.

We've included a brand-new guild flagship launch trailer below.

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Not So Massively: Path of Exiles' Master of the Hunt, Destiny's expansion, and BioWare's Shadow Realms

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

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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Gamescom 2014: Skyforge's crew narrates a 30-minute tour

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, Skyforge

skyforge
Skyforge is a title that has caught my attention for several reasons, including its pretty graphics, its science-fiction bent, and its flexible class build system. Past that I'm a little ignorant, which is why I appreciated the following video from Gamescom.

After Skyforge's trailer, the team delivers a crash course on the game's lore, features, and combat. One of the interesting aspects is how the game can zoom out to show you the entire world so that you can easily see where quests for your character are waiting.

If Skyforge is on your radar, do yourself a favor and give the Gamescom panel a watch when you have a moment!

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The Daily Grind: What was your favorite Gamescom reveal?

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Star Citizen

Gamescom 2014 came and went, but not before a handful of interesting MMO-related news blurbs made their way from Cologne, Germany to your monitor. My personal favorite was Star Citizen's quartet of new videos, not to mention a fifth that showed off a multiplayer-crewed Constellation fighting for its life.

What about you, Massively readers? What was your favorite Gamescom reveal? Or did nothing much catch your eye this year?

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!

Gamescom 2014: Star Citizen gets racing, FPS, hangar, and Connie teasers

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

Star Citizen fans, we hope you're sitting down, because Cloud Imperium released not one, not two, not three, but four separate trailers during its Gamescom livestream. Let's see, there's one about racing, one about the upcoming hangar update, a commercial for the Constellation, and oh yeah, how about some FPS combat footage?

Feast your eyes after the cut!

[Thanks Cardboard!]

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