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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]

Guild Wars 2 announces its second Tournament of Legends [Updated]

Events (In-Game), PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Family, Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet has just announced Guild Wars 2's Tournament of Legends 2, the prelim matches for which are scheduled to begin in July for European and American participants. PvP-inclined players can sign up as early as this Friday. Says the studio,
The sign-ups for Tournament of Legends 2 will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis and will accommodate up to 128 teams. Participating teams will be evenly divided between four qualifier tournaments, and the top two teams from each qualifier will move on to the Tournament of Legends Championships. All matches will be hosted on the weekends, with qualifying matches beginning in July. You can expect a full schedule of dates and times to be released later this week.
Prizes for the top-finishing team include legendary weapons; other competitors are eligible to win precursors, Black Lion Weapon Tickets, and an exclusive llama minipet.

[Update: Signups are now live!]

New LEGO Minifigures Online vid features Medieval World

Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

LEGO MFO
Funcom's latest LEGO Minifigures Online video reveals the game's Medieval World. Players of the "brickalicious" free-to-play title will need to capture the Medieval World's "wicked Elementius the Pieromancer (wanted for pie-throwing) while facing pointy-teethed monstrosities such as trolls, ogres, and dragons."

Click past the cut to have a look!

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See MapleStory 2's bubbly 3-D in action

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MapleStory, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family

MapleStory 2
"Oh yeah," you think, looking at the headline. "They are working on a MapleStory 2. I forgot about that!"

That's right, buckaroos: Nexon is charging ahead with a sequel (well, technically a prequel) to the colorful 2-D MMO, and today the publisher has a gameplay trailer to prove it. In the trailer, you can see the transition to chunky 3-D graphics as characters boogie, battle, and be Little Bo Peep to a flock of sheep.

MapleStory 2 will be throwing a "Supporter's Day" for select fans in late June and should enter Korean closed beta later this year. We've got the new trailer for you after the break.

[Source: Nexon press release]

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Pirate101's spring 2014 update is live

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Kids, Family, Pirate101

Pirate101
Pirate101's spring 2014 update is now live. The patch has added new free-to-play areas, advanced pets, and advanced companions to the game. KingsIsle has published a lengthy list of update notes, and you'll probably also want to take a(nother) look at the update trailer. We've embedded it for you after the break.

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Dark Age of Camelot plans character transfer service and new art

Dark Age of Camelot, Previews, Community Q&A, Family, Sandbox, Subscription

DAoC
Dark Age of Camelot's grab bag -- written by Sir Grabford B. Bagsworth III Esq., no less -- is back, and at the top of the most pressing questions is the issue of character transfers. Broadsword said that these are indeed in the works: "We would like to provide the opportunity to allow consolidation. This will be among the many updates and upgrades to the Broadsword account center that is currently underway. Currently, it's planned as a premium service –- but there are no details on the prices as yet."

Broadsword mentions how art improvements have been going in the game following the studio's acquisition of DAoC. "We have renewed investment in this area, and we're really excited about updating art for various features in DAoC. Things we're currently discussing are: fixes for art-related bugs, new maps, UI skins, new items, monsters, and more!"

Other topics in the grab bag include the return of in-game surveys, the status of the new website, and details of the next patch. The studio teased that it will be adding "a new long-term live event with a very cool surprise" with the update.

Super Hero Squad Online commemorates its third birthday

Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Casual, Kids, Family, Anniversaries

SHSO
Who says kids MMOs are dead? Not Super Hero Squad Online! The adorable chibi-superhero MMO turns three this week, boasting seven million registrations since launch, 144 different playable heroes, playable villains, and even a new crafting system.

The celebratory game additions and perks include new characters (Spider-Ham, Captain America Stealth, Falcon EXO-7, and Winter Solider), new world event heroes, hero sales, Facebook giveaways, a 20%-off sub sale through April, and a birthday card contest.

Enjoy the festivities in the brand-new trailer below.

[Source: Gazillion press release]

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The Daily Grind: Are kids MMOs in danger of dying out?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Kids, Family

Pirate101
As a parent of toddlers, I have often wondered what games I will be playing with them when they get old enough to want to dive into MMOs (if they ever want to, that is). Considering that during this past year we've seen several kid-friendly titles shut down, I'm worried that there might not be any left in a few years.

Recall that Clone Wars Adventures, Free Realms, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Toontown Online have been terminated in the past 12 months and answer me this: Are kids MMOs in danger of dying out? I can take heart that KingsIsle is still going strong and that LEGO Minifigures Online is in development, but I don't see a lot of interest in studios making MMOs for the much younger set. What do you think?

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 Inochi Project offers adorable robot-animals in exchange for Kickstarter money

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Kids, Family, Crowdfunding

Inochi
If you've got some money burning a hole in your pocket and a love for all things robot and cute, then Forwardfor's Inochi Project Kickstarter campaign would like to have a chat with you.

Launching today, the campaign seeks £30,000 (about $50,000 US) to help accelerate further development on the MMO. The game will allow players to create their own robot animals (ani-mechs), customize homes, participate in battle arenas, explore cities, and fight against the rust plague that is turning ani-mechs into rust-covered villains.

Stretch goals climb upward to £350,000 (about $586,000 US), but pledges begin at $1.60 US. If you want to play the beta, $16 is your buy-in. We've got the trailer after the cut!

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WoW Archivist: Warlords of Draenor hates The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Family, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG, WoW Archivist

Draining a naaru
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on March 28th and is included here by permission.

In many ways, The Burning Crusade was the birth of modern WoW. Most of TBC's innovations are still going strong in WoW today and have been ever since their introduction. Looking back, I find it's striking how many key features of WoW were absent in classic, unveiled only during the game's first expansion.

Even more striking, however, is how many of these innovations Warlords of Draenor seems poised to undo. Just as Garrosh will undo the transformation of Draenor into Outland, Warlords seeks to unravel most of what Blizzard innovated during TBC. The next expansion will take us through a portal into a very different WoW.

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The best of Massively's MMO Family column

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Casual, Kids, MMO Family, Family, Miscellaneous

Pirate101
While young children aren't Massively's target demographic, we frequently encounter MMOs that appeal to kids as well as MMO gamers with kids. That's why we ran the MMO Family column for over four years. Helmed first by Lisa Poisso and then Karen Bryan, the column reviewed kid-friendly games and offered advice and insight on how to survive as the parent of budding MMO gamers.

Enjoy our picks for the very best of their collected work in MMO Family.

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LEGO Minifigures Online previews a world of pirates

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Kids, Family

I apologize for the opening except not.
It's a world of peg-legs and hooks for hands, it's a world of parrots and coastal lands. It's a giant pastiche on the wide-open seas, it's a pirate world after all. Yes, that's the obvious takeaway from the newest preview from LEGO Minifigures Online, showing off the game's nautical land of cutthroats and cutlasses for all to see. And as you might expect, it's playing the routine straight to the hilt.

So what can you expect from the game's Pirate World? If you said "pirate ghosts, sea creatures, and gold," you've seen a movie within the last decade and you are entirely right. Still, it looks to be exactly the sort of broad-strokes swashbuckling that can provide plenty of fun. So if you're eager to slap on an eyepatch and say "arr" more than entirely necessary, hop on past the break to check out the full video.

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