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Events (Real-World)

City of Steam heads to Steam with a fresh new server [Updated]

Business Models, Events (Real-World), Patches, News Items, Browser, City of Steam, Steampunk

City of Steam
Steampunk browser MMO City of Steam is landing on, er, Steam today, bringing with it a brand-new server. Says developer Mechanist Games,
Coupled with the latest game version 2.4 ([which] will also be available on the established server), the new server will provide improved team-up function, restructured tourney events, new level content (lvl 50-60), and of course exciting new server event. This time, new server events will become goal-based so that they are capable of benefiting as many players as possible.
The studio tweeted that the Steam launch might be slightly delayed but that developers are "talking with Valve to make the launch ASAP."

Massively alum Matt Daniel dived into City of Steam in December to scope out last year's Arkadia relaunch.

[Update: Mechanist has postponed the Steam launch thanks to "critical issues (discovered) when testing (the) live server on the Steam version." The studio promises an update during local business hours.]

EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2014

Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content

EVE Evolved title image
Almost 10 years ago, EVE Online developer CCP Games started a new tradition with the first ever annual EVE Fanfest. The event started out as a largely informal gathering in a tiny venue that allowed players and developers to mingle on a more personal level, but it's now grown into something massive. Over a thousand players now make the annual pilgrimage to EVE Online's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland, to hear what the future holds for their favourite MMO. For many, the event is also a social gathering, a chance to swap stories with other players, and a rare opportunity to meet the corpmates they fly with every day in the virtual galaxy of New Eden.

The Fanfest weekend is typically a packed schedule of panels, talks, roundtable discussions with developers, and keynote speeches revealing the future of the game. While the event is understandably focused on EVE Online, it's recently expanded to cover aspects of DUST 514, the latest goings-on with World of Darkness, and even CCP's new virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. CCP has announced that this year's event will see a monument to the EVE playerbase unveiled in Reykjavik Harbor as well as the first reveal of EVE's summer expansion, but what else can we hope to glean from this year's event at the start of May?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I delve into the EVE Fanfest announcement and speculate on what we might expect to hear from this year's event. Will this be the year that World of Darkness gets some serious news? And what's new for DUST 514?

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MMObility: Age of Ascent hopes to beat EVE Online's battle concurrency record

Betas, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMObility, Sandbox

Age of Ascent screenshot
Age of Ascent is the new work-in-progress from Illyriad Games, the maker of one of my current favorite MMORTS titles, Illyriad. I've written about Illyriad before and have always enjoyed its epic scale and massive numbers, but with this new project, the team is promising something that is not only larger than anything it has ever done but larger than anything that has been done before... by anyone.

The studio is working closely with Microsoft in the hopes of achieving massive numbers in a twitch-based sandbox MMO that runs in your browser. I've gone through a few test runs with tons of other players and had no issues whatsoever, even while running it on a $200 Chromebook! It's an exciting prospect, but I had to ask some more questions about the upcoming title.

I asked James Niesewand, CEO of Illyriad Games, to clear up some of my confusion.

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CCP Games reveals big plans for EVE Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, DUST 514, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription

EVE Online title image
The universe of EVE Online may be best known as a crazy virtual galaxy full of back-stabbing pirates and political betrayal, but for a few days each year it becomes something altogether more tangible. At the annual EVE Fanfest, hundreds of the game's most devoted fans make the long pilgrimage to the game's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland. In addition to the official talks and reveals on the game's future from developer CCP Games, Fanfest plays host to charity raffles, roundtable discussions with developers, and informal get-togethers for players to share their stories.

Last year's 10th anniversary Fanfest was the biggest one yet, with information included on World of Darkness and DUST 514 and the official reveal of Oculus Rift-based dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. This year's attendees can look forward to the first ever live demo of EVE's yet-to-be-revealed summer expansion, hands-on experience with the next major evolution of DUST 514, and playtests of a brand-new build of the virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie.

This year's Fanfest will also see a special monument dedicated to EVE Online players revealed to the world; The "Worlds Within a World" monument will be installed in Reykjavik Harbor and will be etched with the names of all active EVE subscribers on March 1st. It's also hoped that crowdfunded EVE Online documentary A Tale of Internet Spaceships will be premiered during the Fanfest weekend, and we'll reportedly hear the latest on CCP's new EVE comic book and live action TV series. The event takes place from May 1st to May 3rd, and I'll be attending this year's event on behalf of Massively to bring you in-depth first-hand coverage of all the big reveals. Stay tuned!

Not So Massively: Star Citizen's procedural planets, Diablo III's Paragon 2.0, and Pokemon's Democracy mode

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

Not So Massively title image
Star Citizen reached a whopping $39 million in crowdfunding this week amidst controversy over feature creep and the delayed dogfighting module. The next stretch goal will fund an R&D team to look into the possibility of procedurally generating entire planets for players to explore, but this feature will not be coming until after release. Developers on Elite: Dangerous were surprised this week when two games they developed as part of a company game jam event led to $6.2 million in signed publishing contracts on a yet-to-be-named platform.

Blizzard revealed the final details of Diablo III's upcoming Paragon 2.0 update that will provide theoretically endless progression, and players have figured out how to power-level characters with Diablo II style runs. As the release of Path of Exile's first mini-expansion draws near, Grinding Gear Games revealed details of what will be in the expansion, including a strange new Vaal Orb currency that can significantly buff items.

Valve announced that it will be releasing a new feature-length documentary named "Free to Play" next month, which chronicles the struggles of three participants in Dota 2's first ever million-dollar tournament. SMITE's launch event has been expanded into a new GameVid Expo event featuring prominent livestreamers and YouTube celebrities, and old character Agni received a graphical overhaul. And Twitch Plays Pokemon continues to grow in popularity, reaching over 100,000 simultaneous viewers this week and adding new Democracy and Anarchy modes.

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Study says what you play can affect who you are

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

Does playing an evil character influence gamers to be less than nice in real life? A recent study conducted at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests just that. Gunwoo Yoon, lead author on the project, told Reuters Health, "The biggest finding of the paper is that virtual representation of your avatar can profoundly affect real world behavior [...] And the fascinating thing is that the participants did not perceive these effects."

The experiment involved a group of college students that played for five minutes as one of three avatars in a game: Superman (hero), Voldemort (villain), or a circle (neutral). After the gaming session, participants then had to decide how much chocolate sauce or chili sauce to give to other participants in a supposedly unrelated taste test. As it turns out, those who used the Superman avatar poured twice as much chocolate sauce (symbolizing a "good" deed) than chili sauce (a "bad" deed), whereas those who played as Voldemort did exactly the opposite. The study authors suggest a possible explanation for these effects might be related to the lasting influence of total immersion in a virtual environment.

[Thanks to Jose for the tip!]

Dragon's Prophet EU creating player council [Updated]

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dragon's Prophet

Dragon's Prophet players in Europe will soon have a new way to influence their game: the Osiran Council. This player-elected body will give the community more influence over Dragon's Prophet EU's future development. Those who want a seat on this council in order to weigh in on game-relevant decisions, assist in the development and publishing process, and submit suggestions and criticisms directly need to send an email to community@dragonspropheteurope.com with the following information:
  • Character name and server
  • Forum name
  • Spoken languages (English skills should be present)
  • Level of the highest character,
  • Previous MMO experience
  • Values and expertise
  • Reasons why you want the candidacy
Today's patch also introduced the Dragon Compendium for the European community. This feature contains valuable information on all dragons that can be captured as well as resources to upgrade your dragon with other elite skills. SOE also announced a new zone, Olandra, as well as updates to the treasure hunt, mounted combat, and class systems.

[Source: Infernum Productions/SOE press releases]

CCP plans monument to EVE Online players in Iceland

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

CCP plans monument to EVE Online Players in Iceland
More than an in-game monument to a single battle, EVE Online fans will soon be able to visit a tangible monument in Reykjavik, Iceland recognizing and honoring all players. The monument will feature two main elements facing each other through a reflective stainless steel barrier, a quote from the EVE universe, and the names of all main characters created as of March 1st, 2014 (including a special mention of players who have passed away). Underneath the structure, a laptop containing videos and messages from players and staff will be buried as a time capsule. The completed work will be unveiled April 30th, just in time for Fan Fest 2014.

Of this endeavor, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson stated,
"Our intention is to immortalize the contributions of the millions of people of the EVE universe in a way that extends beyond their immortality in our games. Honoring them as part of a timeless monument shows how virtual lives and adventures have reached a new level of meaning and impact that weaves into and enhances those that happen in this world. We are humbled by all those that have joined us on the journey so far, and it's our hope that this physical piece will continue to gather energy and relevance into decades to come, becoming like EVE Online and outliving us all."
[Source: CCP press release]

The Elder Scrolls Online hosting another beta event this weekend

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

With the NDA still firmly in place, the best way to know what is happening in The Elder Scrolls Online is to see for yourself, and many fans will be doing just that this weekend during the game's next beta event. And according to the official site, even more invitations are going out than before, so players should be sure to check their spam folders as well as Gmail's promotions tab. The event itself starts Friday, February 7th at 12:00 p.m. EST and lasts until Monday, February 10th at 11:29 p.m. EST. Characters that players created during the previous test will be available to play.

[Thanks to all who sent in tips!]

Star Citizen's starship design competition down to 24 teams

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

Star Citizen's Next Great Starship
Star Citizen's Next Great Starship competition is getting serious. A total of 270 teams from 65 different countries entered the event with hopes of seeing their spaceship design realized inside of Chris Roberts' upcoming space sim sandbox.

The judges have eliminated all but 24 teams, with the next round of cuts scheduled for January 31st. You can watch some of the judging via the Roberts Space Industries YouTube channel at 6:00 p.m. EST on the 31st.

"The quality of the entries has been amazing," said Roberts via press release. "And we had quite a variety of entrants including a husband-and-wife team, a father-and-son team, several high school level teams, automotive designers, bartenders, DJs, filmmakers, and of course several professionals from the gaming industry."

[Source: Cloud Imperium Games press release]

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen to livestream game development tonight, reveals the Ogre

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Community Q&A, Livestream, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen to livestream game development
If you've ever wanted to get an insider's look at MMO development, Visionary Realms is offering that chance. The studio will stream sessions of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen's development from the desktop of Senior Artist Vu Nguyen live on Twitch while various team members offer commentary and answer audience questions from chat. The first show airs on the Rob and Dan Show tonight, January 27th, at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Additionally, Chief Creative Officer Brad McQuaid will host a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything at 4:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, January 29th. "We've said from day one that we want the community involved every step of the way, and this is a chance to prove that we're committed to that," noted Director of Development Salim Grant.

The team has also just revealed the Ogre.

[Source: Visionary Realms press release]

Guild Wars 2 announces PvP tournament schedule

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), PvP, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2 has a full PvP dance card for the next few months, which is why ArenaNet posted a schedule today of the many tournaments and events coming up for the community.

First up is the Electronic Sports League best-of-three tournament on Thursdays for EU players and an even bigger European Gw2match.net Champion of the Mist Tournament that's planned for January 24th.

Both NA and EU can engage in the Good Fights Invitational on January 25th or the upcoming vVv Gaming Kings of the Mists 2 tournament on February 1st. Finally, there's a month-long open invitational in February hosted by Mistpedia.net that will have weekly events.

Rumor: World of Warcraft movie starts shooting today

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Rumors, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment originally announced plans to make a World of Warcraft live-action movie in 2006. After eight years of delays, disputes, and false starts, it looks as though someone is finally yelling, "Action!" on one of the most anticipated game-related movies ever to swirl through the rumor mill. Last night, director Duncan Jones tweeted, "Going to start shooting the movie tomorrow. Crikey! Better find my specs!"

While Jones didn't mention World of Warcraft specifically, the movie was expected to start shooting this month with a planned release date of March 11th, 2016. Dominic Cooper, Paula Patton, Clancy Brown, Toby Kebbell, and Travis Fimmell have all been confirmed as stars.

Jack Black plans MMO mockumentary Wizard's Way remake

Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry

Jack Black secured rights to remake MMO mockumentary Wizard's Way
MMOs in movies are all the rage now (if by rage we mean exist or are currently casting), and Jack Black is getting in on act. The actor and his production company, Electric Dynamite, have secured the rights to remake a British mockumentory Wizard's Way, a film that focused on MMOs and the people who play them. The plot centers on two gamers who spend their time playing a fantasy game called Wizard's Way and includes the pair discovering secrets about the game and one's real-life quest to find his in-game wife. While there's no release date for the remake, you can catch a screening of the 2012 original on January 19th at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. And don't miss a sneak peek of the original trailer below.

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Not So Massively: LoL team cheated out of winnings, SMITE's $100,000 tournament, and Star Citizen on plotting jump points

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Legal, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

Not So Massively title image
Members of competitive League of Legends team Absolute Legends revealed this week that they still haven't seen a penny of the combined $11,500 in winnings from November 2012's IEM Singapore tournament. Absolute Legends CEO Tim "WetDreaM" Buysse has been accused of holding onto all of the prize money despite his contracts with players entitling him to only a small cut. Dota 2's unique monthly player total broke the 7,000,000 mark this week, and new stats suggest that almost 10% of those logged into Steam may be playing the game. And SMITE announced details of its $100,000 launch tournament, which will see four of North America's best teams take on Europe's finest four at the end of March.

Chris Roberts answered more fan questions on Star Citizen this week, revealing further details on exploration and mapping space and confirming that plotting a new jump point will be a very risky business. In a new interview on Elite: Dangerous, David Braben outlined the massive scope of the game's upcoming online features, which will include huge conflicts between NPC factions that players can influence. Blizzard announced that it's aiming to release the pre-download for Diablo III's upcoming Reaper of Souls expansion by the end of January and confirmed that vendor-sold items will no longer be salvageable in the next expansion beta patch. Finally, Path of Exile kicked off race season six this week with some fantastic prizes and revealed that PvP tournaments may be coming in Patch 1.0.6.

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