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LEGO Minifigures Online shows off the Space World

Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

It's the Space Police!  We're guilty!  The crime?  Not being in space!
Space is big. Really big. You wouldn't believe how vastly, mind-bogglingly huge it is. I mean, you might think it's a long way from your bed to your computer, but that's just peanuts compared to space. So while labeling a single area in LEGO Minifigures Online as the "Space World" might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, just think of it as a sampling of the mind-boggling hugeness of what space has to offer. In this case, it's aliens and evil space marines.

A new video is now available showing off the Space World and everything that players can do therein: fighting off alien invaders, huge robots, strange wildlife, and flying saucers. Yes, it's all a bit silly and strange, but when you're marching into battle with a team consisting of a pirate, a DJ, a guy in a chicken suit, and a knight, you kind of expect to be thrown into strange scenarios. Check out the video just past the break.

[Source: Funcom press release]

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LEGO Minifigures Online sheds the beta tag with full toy integration

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Family

Internet ghost ships.
Good news, friends! The latest round of LEGO Minifigures is out on shelves now, so if you enjoy buying blindpacked figures and seeing what you get, you can get some more. And this newest series is fully integrated with LEGO Minifigures Online right from the start, so you can grab a new figure, put it together, and start playing with it online in the time it takes you to get back home and get playing. Isn't that fun?

The game has also shed its beta tag without ceremony, which makes sense as it had previously been hanging about in its open testing phase. If you've heard rumblings about the game but have yet to take a peek at it yourself, there's a new trailer just past the cut designed to show off what you can do in the game once you assemble some figures.

[Source: Funcom press release]

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Jukebox Heroes: LEGO Universe's soundtrack

Opinion, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family, Jukebox Heroes, Music

lego universe
I'm still incensed that nobody had the courtesy of informing me that LEGO Universe had such a great soundtrack until well after the title was shuttered. I guess it doesn't make a big difference -- at least I know now -- although I might have mourned its passing more.

Composed by Brian Tyler and Michael Jason Corder, the LEGO Universe score was never released, although it looks as though there were once plans to do so. This is an incredible shame because the wider listening audience is missing out on one of the most diverse, cheeky, and fun soundtracks from online gaming. The one word that kept popping into my mind while listening to this was "personality" -- as in, it has so much of it. At so many points I kept thinking that I was hearing the score to a well-done kids movie and not a "mere" video game.

I'm limited to six picks (and a bonus feature!) in this space, but I highly recommend that you use this column as a jumping point to listening to the LEGO Universe soundtrack in its entirety. If you do, I think you'll agree with me that this score is simply a triumph.

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The Stream Team: Aiming for the gods in LEGO Minifigures Online

Video, Patches, Kids, Family, Livestream, The Stream Team

Though still in beta, LEGO Minifigures Online recently introduced Mythology World, a LEGO land where Greek gods like Zeus and Hades strut their stuff (and possibly try to squish players). A big fan of mythology, Massively's MJ is eager to hop in and work her way into this new land, but her biggest challenge will be leveling enough to get there! Will she earn enough power to make it to the mythical land to face off against Minotaurs and maybe even Medusa? At least maybe she'll find the pieces to make a new minifigure. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for the race to the gods.

Game: LEGO Minifigures Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, September 5th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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LEGO Minifigures Online rolls out a mythological update

Betas, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids, Family

It's not mythical, that would mean it didn't actually exist.
With a month or so to go before LEGO Minifigures Online fully launches, the game has brought forth its biggest update yet. So what does it contain? Nothing less than the new Mythology World, which also brings an increase in the level cap to 25 along with its new areas and monsters. The area also continues the main story if that's more of your thing.

Aside from the new area, the Series 11 minifigures have been added to the game, along with the first batch of cash shop figures that includes the Yeti, the Mountain Climber, and the Pretzel Girl. Players can also find their friends more easily with the addition of a friend code, and the loot system has been overhauled to allow players a chance to build minifigures from loot. Check out the full set of update notes for more detail and get building in the game if it's just what you've been waiting for.

The Daily Grind: Are kids poor MMO consumers?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

LMFO
Earlier this year after announcing sunsets for the apparently popular Free Realms and three other titles, SOE's John Smedley declared that his studio was done with MMOs aimed at children. "No more kid's games," he said on Reddit. "Kids don't spend well and it's very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out kids do mean stuff to each other a lot."

The last comment is no doubt true and manifests primarily in unfettered chat, as former Massively writer Karen Bryan explored a few years ago. But is it likewise true that "kids don't spend well"? Kid-friendly games like Wizard101 and Super Hero Squad Online seem to be doing just fine. Funcom sure thought the market was ripe for another go at a LEGO MMO. And I suspect that tweens are heavily responsible for some of the crazy IAP spending going on in the mobile space. If I were a kid now instead of in the '90s, I would have blown my allowance on Guild Wars 2 microtrans instead of comic books and trading cards.

What do you think? Are kids truly as terrible an MMO audience as SOE believes?

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: Family MMO night with the Super Hero Squad Online devs

Super-hero, Video, Patches, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Kids, Family, Livestream, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Live with Super Hero Squad Online devs!
Super Hero Squad Online has been a favorite for several of Massively's writers, Larry Everett being one of them. Today, Larry and his son, Zach, will show off the new SHSO Recharged. And for extra fun, they've invited the developers along. (Maybe they'll have free stuff for you!) Join us at 7:00 p.m. to find out just how awesome this family MMO is for both kids and adults.

Game: Super Hero Squad Online
Hosts: Larry Everett, Zach, and the Gazillion devs
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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First Impressions: LEGO Minifigures Online

Betas, New Titles, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, Kids, Family

LEGO Minifigures Online
Besides being an avid gamer myself, I am raising three children who are also avid gamers. You might have seen past livestreams that I've done with my youngest son and my daughter. In fact, my son and I are going to stream with the Super Hero Squad Online crew here in the next few days. As a gaming dad, I keep my eyes out for games that lend themselves to being kid friendly and fun for adults, too.

When Free Realms shut down, my youngest, now 9 years old, was heartbroken. Although he didn't really do much questing, he loved the other activities in the game like kart racing and exploring the housing system. I have attempted to get him to jump into games like Wizard101 and Pirate101, whose combat systems were more complex than his liking. But he's a fan of combat in SHSO. He also plays Minecraft daily and has really adhered to the whole culture that surrounds it.

So when LEGO Minifigures Online opened its beta, I thought it would be an excellent combination of both SHSO combat and the building systems of Minecraft. I was wrong on one count but right on the other. My son loved the combat system, at least.

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Wizard101 introduces Fishing

Fantasy, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family

It's also fishing for your money, but that's sort of how games stay in operation.
Fishing is the eternal side activity of MMOs, the reason for players to sit about and cast their line over and over in the hopes of receiving something worthwhile. Wizard101 joins the lineup of fantasy games offering a fishing option today with a new patch, although you will be fishing in an appropriately magical fashion. Rather than a mundane line and sinker, players summon magical orbs to help snare fish; the ones they catch can be sold, used for crafts, or displayed as trophies around your house.

If this is the one thing you've been waiting for before you get into the game, you can also take advantage of the new promotional bundle on sale at Target. The Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle includes a new housing item, a new pet, new clothes, and a new mount for players, along with either a month's subscription or 5000 crowns. You can pick it up for $39 and then jump right back into casting orbs and looking for fish. Or doing other things, presumably.

[Source: Kingsisle Entertainment press release]

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Super Hero Squad Online revamps cash shop, posts Recharged trailer

Super-hero, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Casual, Family

SHSO
Kid-friendly Super Hero Squad Online is today touting its recent Recharged patch, the game's biggest ever release. Recharged brings new starter heroes, new gear, new achievements, and new missions to the game. Players and parents will want to know that the cash shop has been revamped and prices on buyables like heroes have been reduced. Currency acquisition has also been redesigned and simplified; the game's currencies have been merged into one currency called fractals, which are now obtainable in larger quantities and through more activities.

Gazillion boasts that its active playerbase has more than doubled in size since the update. Enjoy the game's fresh trailer below.

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LEGO Minifigures Online open beta progress to carry over

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

Funcom wants you to know that it has officially kicked off the open beta for LEGO Minifigures Online. The game's proper launch is still scheduled for Fall 2014, but as of now you can download the free-to-play beta client and have at it!

Current locations include Pirate World, Medieval World, and Space World, and the firm is "hard at work finishing up more great content," according to the news blurb on its web site.

Player progress and cash shop purchases will carry over from open beta to launch.

The Stream Team: Leaping into LEGO Minifigures Online's open beta

Betas, Video, New Titles, Kids, Family, Livestream, The Stream Team

Massively's MJ is beyond excited to delve into the wonderful world of LEGOs in the new LEGO Minifigures Online. That's right, she gets to live out her LEGO fantasies as an adorable little figurine who is out for adventure. The hardest part may be choosing what to play: Will she be a Librarian, a Mermaid, a Trendsetter, or a Forest Maiden? Perhaps she'll bust out of her female mold and be a Skydiver, a Cyclops, or even a Grandpa. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for a look at all the choices and MJ's first moments in the game's newly opened beta.

Game: LEGO Minifigures Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Toontown Online 'homage' illustrates emulator quandary

Culture, MMO Industry, Legal, Family, Miscellaneous

toontown
Disney's Toontown Online was shut down last year, but that hasn't kept fans from working on a so-called "homage" to the game.

A team of 24 or so volunteer developers have been working on making Toontown Rewritten with publicly available images and their own skills as programmers and artists. While the team isn't charging players to access the title, its status as a de facto emulator could put it in jeopardy with the Mouse House. Disney hasn't commented on it yet, but copyright attorney Scott Landsbaum noted the quandary that such projects face: "When does a fan homage that is beneficial to your brand cross the line to infringement that can no longer happen?"

Analyst Michael Pachter claimed that it was "unusual" for fans to take on such emulator projects, which was rebutted by Raph Koster, who tweeted, "Sorry Pachter, but hasn't EVERY shuttered MMO (and some open ones) been remade by fans?"

A similar project for the also-defunct Pirates of the Caribbean Online claims that Disney has given the emulator its blessing.

Super Hero Squad Online brings out achievements

Super-hero, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

SHSO
The achievements are coming! Hear ye, hear he! The achievements are coming!

Sorry, we're trying a new type of news dispersal technique at Massively that involves riding around on horses and shouting at townfolk. In any case, Super Hero Squad Online is prepping a "doozy" of an update for the game, and one of the big additions that will be in it is an achievement system. According to the team, achievements "range from simple things like destroying a Troublebot to silly things like farting in the Asgard throne room to really hard things like getting an Adamantium score 1,000 times."

There will be over 5,000 achievements added to the game including destiny achievement sets that earn special rewards.

Assemble to try the LEGO Minifigures Online open beta

Betas, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

Brick by brick.
If you miss being able to play with LEGO bricks in an online environment, you'll be happy to know that LEGO Minifigures Online has just entered open beta. The last time a LEGO-themed game came out, it didn't turn out so well, but the new game is a very different experience, allowing players to take control of the many LEGO minifigures currently available to adventure in a variety of LEGO-themed environs.

Currently, the beta test is available only for Windows computers in English, with other localizations and a tablet client slated for release during the test process. Open beta will also see the refinement of game mechanics and the free-to-play business model, so nothing that's in the game right now is set in stone. If you've been feeling the loss of brick-based gameplay, now might be the time to jump in and start playing for yourself.

[Source: Funcom press release]

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