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Events (Real-World)

Citizen Con 2014 celebrating SC in LA on October 10

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

Are you a Star Citizen fan? Will you be in Los Angeles on October 10th? You might want to grab some tickets to this year's Citizen Con if you answered both of those questions in the affirmative. The two-year(!) anniversary of Star Citizen's announcement will serve as a platform for Cloud Imperium to "celebrate the progress of the game's development to date and honor the contribution of the community."

There will be a livestream, a recap of what's been accomplished thus far, and a sneak peak at what's upcoming. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. They're $40 each, but there are only 300 available so mark it on your calendar! Further details are available via the links below.

Destiny's launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny is officially live today around the world. While it may never arrive on the platform most of us MMO players prefer and it's not squarely an MMORPG, we can still cheer the arrival of a worthy mainstream crossover. Welcome to the fringes of our genre!

We've rounded up our Destiny coverage from announcement to launch to celebrate today's official release. Enjoy! (And if you want to see it live, our sister site Joystiq is streaming it right now!)

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BlizzCon offers up virtual tickets

World of Warcraft, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Hearthstone

Hear in exciting details all of the way that our games will make you angry for another year!
If you really want to check out BlizzCon but can't quite manage a flight out to California, a solution is available. Virtual tickets are now available from Blizzard for $39.99, allowing you to watch the panels, the competitions, and the events live from the comfort of your own home. Sure, you won't get to actually be packed in the convention hall, but this way no one cares whether you're wearing pants or not, so you even come out ahead.

Purchasing a virtual ticket will give you access to bonus in-game goods for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone, although the details are not yet available. All of the streams are also available in high definition and can be re-watched, so you needn't worry about missing something. If you've already purchased a physical ticket, you still have access to a virtual ticket as well, so you can still take advantage of the streaming. Everyone who wants to attend can at least get something like that experience.

The Think Tank: The best of PAX Prime 2014

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

ArcheAge
This year's PAX Prime has drawn to a close, as has our coverage, but how did it fare, on the whole, for MMO players?

I polled the Massively writers for their favorite announcements and showings from the con. Here's what we think was the best and most interesting MMO news to come out of PAX Prime.

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E-thugs are actively attacking Trion's stable of MMOs, ArcheAge open beta 'going forward as planned'

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Defiance, Trove

Trion Community Manager Ocho has just posted an announcement to players of RIFT, ArcheAge, Defiance, and Trove that the studio is currently under a denial-of-service attack affecting some game services. He writes,
Following last night's ISP maintenance, our overnight team has confirmed a DDOS that is currently aimed at Trion's services. We're actively working with our ISP partners and the authorities on both mitigating its effects and ensuring this group gets caught.

Our live games are up and ArcheAge's open beta is going forward as planned. While the attack persists, there may be some effects on network stability and some website unavailability. You also may need to use the Resend Code option for our login security and RIFT's Coin Lock if the email doesn't reach you at first.

We'll keep you informed as the situation evolves.
If I'm bored of writing about the lame antics of script-kiddies, I'm sure MMO studios are livid about being forced to divert resources to combat them.

Massively's PAX Prime 2014 roundup

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

Sypster
Massively's Justin Olivetti soloed the PAX Prime boss for us this year, and he kicked its butt! His loot drop? A whole week of well-earned relaxation on the Massively golden yacht. Just kidding! Back to work, Olivetti!

We've rounded up all of his awesome PAX coverage below. What did he think of ArcheAge, Warlords of Draenor, and H1Z1? How many parties did he crash? Did he really cosplay as an angry Chua? Read on to find out!

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ZeniMax, Elder Scrolls Online hit with layoffs

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

eso
ZeniMax has confirmed earlier Twitter rumors of layoffs -- sorry, "adjusted staffing" -- within the Elder Scrolls Online studio with the following statement made to our sister site Joystiq:
As is the norm for games of this type, we had ramped up a large workforce to develop a game of vast scale, and ramped up our customer service to handle the expected questions and community needs of The Elder Scrolls Online at launch. Now that we are nearly 6 months post launch, we have a thriving online community in a game that runs smoothly. We have adjusted staffing to meet the ongoing needs of the studio, which continues to operate with a large work force.

We remain strongly committed to The Elder Scrolls Online, and continue to invest heavily to develop new content for PC players, prepare the game for its console launch, and handle our planned expansion into important international territories. As for customer service, we continue to operate large support centers in Hunt Valley, MD and Galway, Ireland.
Former ESO animator Nate Walpole attributed the apparent layoffs to the team's large size and the unpredictability of the MMO industry:
Large layoffs reported ongoing at #ZeniMaxOnline today. MMO dev coupled with a #huge team size - GL and reach out if you need contacts. :(0
Massively extends its sympathies to those affected.

Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
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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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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