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Fantasy

Here's how to steal from NPCs in Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online

"Justice is coming to Tamriel," according to ZeniMax's latest website notice. It's probably more accurate to say that criminality is coming to Tamriel, though. More specifically, Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming Update 6 features the justice system which will enable your avatar to participate in a variety of underhanded activities including murder and thievery.

The latter involves relieving hapless NPCs of their valuables while avoiding those pesky town guards, and the former involves assaulting and even killing AI citizens. At some point you'll end up with a bounty on your head, which in turns affects how guards react to your presence. Click through the links below to read the rest of the details.

PAX South 2015: Life is Feudal revives the good ol' MMO feel

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG

The good ol' MMO feel
When the assignment for Life Is Feudal came to me, I questioned why I was covering a game that really didn't seem to be an MMORPG in my eyes because of its separate servers and the survival feel of the setting. It felt to me initially that I was covering another DayZ, one set in a medieval era and no zombies. But as I found out at this year's PAX South, I was completely wrong.

Interestingly, I didn't find out what kind of mistake I made from the head honcho of Bitbox, Vladimir Piskunov. I found out from someone who has been playing for a long time and was invited to play at the Life Is Feudal booth. His name is Bill, and he's the "superfan" who demoed the game for me. He explained the ins and outs of the mechanics until I started having Ultima Online flashbacks. We discussed the skill system and trekked around the world, and then reminded me that LiF will eventually be an MMORPG. And I could certainly see how. If sandboxes are your thing as they are mine, then maybe this game is up our alley.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV 2.5 dungeons

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

Being the champion after all.
I mentioned a while back that it was kind of neat how the whole setup of Final Fantasy XIV had come full circle. At the start of the 2.0 patch cycle we were scurrying away from tonberries and bashing our heads against Demon Wall; in the final patch, we're back to both of those spots, along with the oft-seen and never-explored Keeper of the Lake in the midst of Mor Dhona's wreckage. It's a neat counterpoint.

Having played through all of the dungeons now, well, you get to rescue tonberries. That alone makes the last set of dungeons worthy.

As in every set of dungeons, there are winners and losers amidst the bosses, good points and bad ones. The dungeons as a whole are very reluctant to let you do much speeding through, with pulls being pretty aggressively gated. So let's talk mechanics, let's talk atmosphere, and let's carefully coach you through the process of kicking the crap out of your final expert roulette competitors.

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PAX South 2015: Moonrise and State of Decay shine at the Undead Labs booth

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Buy-to-Play

Undead Labs
Most media appointments at an event like PAX South 2015 work like this: You meet the person you're supposed to meet, that person shows you the game her studio is working on, and then you rush off to the next booth on your list while cursing yourself for not scheduling time for a snack. Undead Labs handled my PAX appointment a bit differently, sitting me down for back-to-back play sessions with brand-new tablet game Moonrise and a remastered version of State of Decay, the zombie survival game that put the studio on the map.

It was a little jarring to go from adorable pet battles to being torn in half by a zombie, but the two-for-one session provided a nice glimpse of where Undead Labs has been and where it intends to go.

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The Elder Scrolls Online answers player questions on its buy-to-play model

Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

It's fine.  I'm fine.  We're fine.  Everything is fine.
Even if you were among the many players predicting a business model shift for The Elder Scrolls Online, a change in business models can be kind of disturbing. Suddenly the game doesn't behave according to all of the same rules you've been familiar with since launch. To help alleviate that confusion, the ESO dev team hosted a quick question-and-answer session with players over the weekend to help answer some of the major questions about the change, the next major patch, and balance issues moving forward in the game.

To start with, if you've still got time cards for the game on your desk, fret not; you can still use them after the model transition to add the equivalent amount of subscription time to your account. You might want to use them ahead of time, though, since there are plans to add in a special veteran reward for players who stayed subscribed during the game's entire subscription lifespan. DLC prices are not finalized, but they are intended to be around the normal DLC price points for other games. Take a look through the whole of the answers for more details on balancing and issues like controller support.

PAX South 2015: Camelot Unchained's proactive approach to community management

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

A different kind of community management
In the crowdfunded independent industry, we are starting to see some ups and downs. Backers have seen some games fail and other games soar. One of those games that seems to be doing very well, at least if you ask its Community Manager Jenesee Grey and its legions of fans, is Camelot Unchained. At this weekend's PAX South, I spoke to Grey about her experience as a CM for a crowdfunded game.

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PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, PvP, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

Gigantic
Motiga's Gigantic is one part Team Fortress, one part Dota, and one part Monster Hunter. The basic match structure will sound familiar to MOBA lovers -- two teams of five slug it out for superiority by controlling resources, leveling up, and killing one another -- but the skill-based mechanics, multiple maps, and shifting strategy priorities make the game more than a three-lane farm fest. Gigantic isn't about last-hitting or memorizing meta. Instead, it's about slaying giants and aiming true.

I hopped in on a quick Gigantic match with some other press folks this afternoon at PAX South 2015, and in the midst of delivering an absolute drubbing to the scrubs (kidding!) on the other side of the table, I was able to get a feel for the game's combat system, characters, and the way its massive guardians change the way battles play out.

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PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
ArenaNet's Mike O'Brien and Colin Johanson (and Commander Shepard) took to the PAX South 2015 stage yesterday morning to announce Heart of Thorns, the first-ever expansion for Guild Wars 2. If you're not up to speed, check out our post covering the announcement and the official site to get the broad strokes on the expansion's new zone, new profession, new progression system, and more.

News of the expansion raised many a question from our readers (and our staff!). Massively's Larry Everett and I sat down with O'Brien and Johanson to try to get those questions answered and dive a little deeper into the changes coming to Guild Wars 2's living world.

And no, there isn't a release date.

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PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Charr v Dragon
As MMO players surely know by now, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion ever for the ArenaNet MMORPG. In fact, most everyone suspected the announcement thanks to the leaked trademark information. But that didn't stop fans from being excited about it, nor did that bit of information satisfy their hunger.

The emcee for the reveal event was none other than voice actor Jennifer Hale, whose voice players might recognize as Queen Jennah's. President and CEO of ArenaNet Mike O'Brien and game director Colin Johanson teased the PAX South crowd of over 1,500 fans waiting in the main theater. But the anticipation for the new expansion started well before anyone even came to the stage.

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Norrathian Notebook: Five reasons to support EQ Next and Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

I like Landmark and am looking forward to EverQuest Next. There, I said it. It should be no surprise. And as such, I certainly have a vested interest in how these games fare throughout their development and launch. I want to see them succeed. But the thing is, so should you -- whether or not you actually want to play them.

Unfortunately, it seems all too fashionable lately for folks to tear something down instead of build it up. So often when I'm following the discussions about EQ Next and Landmark, I hear plenty of reasons why folks don't like the games, and the reasons frequently have nothing to do with the games themselves. Detractors are going on about longstanding gripes and grudges instead of judging the games on their own merits (a practice that the whole world could certainly do without). Amid all the scathing comments I've heard directed at SOE for slights real and imagined, one recently gave me pause and made me reflect on the reasons that supporting these two MMO endeavors is worthwhile.

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PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvE, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

The Untitled Game, better known as TUG, is one of the many recent titles that have earned a small crowdfunding fortune by shouting the word "sandbox" as loud as the internet will allow. The game's initial Kickstarter campaign raised $293,000; launching on Steam's Early Access marketplace helped Nerd Kingdom rake in an unspecified amount of additional dollars. The studio had a bold plan for an open-world, innovative crafting MMORPG, and it appeared as though players were ready to pay for it.

Things haven't gone so swimmingly since then. Funding issues in late 2014 forced the studio to lay off around half of its staff. Many MMO industry followers have been wondering whether the project will ever be released or it's just another crowdfunded pipe dream.

I took a look at TUG on the show floor at PAX South 2015 and talked to COO Brennan Priest about crowdfunding, layoffs, and killing things with axes. The one thing I can say for sure is that there is definitely a game here, and it seems as if it could be a good one.

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PAX South 2015: Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns is an expansion

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Previews, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet has just announced that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is indeed an expansion.

Speaking from a packed main theater at PAX South 2015, ANet President Mike O'Brien formally confirmed the rumored expansion, saying it will take players "deep into the heart of the Maguuma jungle" and will avoid traditional expansion powercreep and gear treadmills by not raising the level cap. The expansion will introduce new group challenges, new profession specializations, and an account-based "masteries" system for character progression through the new territories.

Game Director Colin Johanson told cheering fans that new legendary weapons and precursors are inbound, as are epic quests that help players acquire their precursors. The expansion will include one new class, the Revenant, which is a heavy armor class that channels the spirits of the mists and famous characters from Guild Wars lore. Each existing class will receive new mechanics and weapons that "fundamentally" change how they play; for example, Rangers can become druids and Necromancers will be able to use greatswords. WvW will also finally get some love, and there will be a new GvG game mode called Stronghold, which of course means... guild halls!

The official site is live now, and the brand-new trailer is now below the cut. Massively's Larry Everett and Mike Foster are live at the event; we'll have more from San Antonio later this afternoon. Fans can follow the festivities on Twitch.

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PAX South 2015: Garriott and Long talk Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, PvE, Hands-On, Roleplaying, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Shroud of the Avatar, MMORPG

SOTA
In 2013, Ultima Online creator Richard Garriott took to Kickstarter in the hopes of funding an old-school, sandbox-y MMO. Titled Shroud of the Avatar, the new project would be built in Unity and aimed squarely at those MMO fans who longed for the days of player-driven economies, crafting as a focus instead of a side activity, and the ability to impact the game world in a real way.

The plan worked. Shroud of the Avatar pulled $1.9 million on Kickstarter alone, almost doubling its $1 million funding goal. Since then, the team has been hard at work bringing Garriott's vision to life (and keeping backers happy).

I spoke with Garriott on the PAX South 2015 show floor about crowdfunding, loot, and the mistakes of the modern RPG. I also got to play a bit of SOTA with the help of executive producer Starr Long, who kindly did not make fun of me when I was killed by the second mob in the demo.

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TUG's multiplayer goes live

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Patches, Sandbox

tug
Yesterday, the first stage of TUG's multiplayer went online with its 0.8.1 alpha patch. Players can now bump into each other in both survival and creative modes. But wait -- there's more! The patch also sports a brand-new terrain engine, a new UI, better mod capabilities, additional AI characters, and a handy return stone.

The TUG team will be at booth #1483 at PAX South this weekend and will be selling access to the game at a discount for the duration of the convention. Massively will be reporting on TUG from the show floor, so stay tuned!

The Stream Team: Analyzing ArcheAge's latest update

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

ArcheAge just introduced a new gift event meant to help the economy in a controlled way (according to the latest producer's letter, at least). Another anticipated change ushered in with this update was the gazebo farm, the largest single farm plot a player can own. It's a beaut, but it costs an awful lot -- especially in labor points! That means Massively's MJ needs to earn gold while simultaneously conserving her labor. Can she manage that? Only if she finds plenty of trouble to get into! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for a chat about the latest updates (including the recent sloth addition) while MJ tries to make progress on her plans to acquire this fancy new real estate.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Featured Stories

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV 2.5 dungeons

Posted on Jan 26th 2015 12:00PM

PAX South 2015: Why aren't MMOs more social?

Posted on Jan 26th 2015 11:00AM

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