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TUG's multiplayer goes live

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

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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RuneScape's sub fee hike goes into effect March 1st

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

Jagex announced a sub rate hike for long-running sandbox RuneScape back in November, and this week, the studio has declared that the new fees will go into effect beginning March 1st. While the game is still free-to-play, the optional sub will increase from $8 US to $9.49 US; the official site includes a conversion chart for the international community and multi-month subbers. For existing Premier Club customers, Jagex posted a reminder about grandfathering in the old rates as long as the sub is maintained:
Don't forget - as long as you're a member and don't lapse out for more than 14 days, you're eligible to keep your current rate of membership. Subscribe now to secure access to all of RuneScape's members' content at current prices.
The studio is also talking up its inbound ports expansion; there's a fresh trailer on the mechanic after the cut.

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RIFT's 3.1 Storm at Sea arrives next week -- with capes

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, RIFT

There's a preview of RIFT's new Tyrant's Throne content on the game's official website. On January 28th, Trion says, players will see some "titanic zone events" as well as a new 20-player raid, a 2-player chronicle, and more.
The journey into RIFT 3.1 Storm at Sea is nearly at hand. On January 28, players will make landfall at the harbor of Tyrant's Throne – just in time for titanic zone events that bring ancient akvan lumbering out of the abyss! Ascended will have one week to wipe them from the island before the opening of Tyrant's Forge, a new 20-player raid pitting the strongest Guardians and Defiant against the Dragon Queen of Air.
The most important bit, of course, is capes. Yes, capes. "New capes debut for all," says the studio.

New ArcheAge producer promises communication, game improvements

Fantasy, Culture, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Subscription

No word yet on whether or not there will be a chicken in every pot, although it seems likely.
There's someone new at the head of ArcheAge, producer Marv Lee Kwai. Kwai posted a lengthy letter to the players on the forums recently outlining the major standing issues that the team still sees in the game along with several of the changes and additions set for the game over the next year. He stresses that the developers are well aware of unusual market fluctuations, sieges being too costly and difficult, and the balance of top-end rewards; moving forward, the team means to see them all tweaked and improved.

The letter goes on to mention that the team is planning to add a global trade channel to reduce faction chat spam. Also en route is The Diamond Shores, a new area in southern Auroria that accompanies a bump in the level cap to level 55. It's a little past the start of the new year, but Kwai's tone is hopeful that the game can rise above its somewhat buggy and controversial launch.

The Think Tank: Analyzing Elder Scrolls Online's B2P model

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Think Tank, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday's reveal that The Elder Scrolls Online will go buy-to-play in March has prompted much speculation about the nature of the cash shop, the ethics of the switchover, the continued viability of the game, and the quality, cost, and frequency of the promised DLC. In today's Think Tank, the Massively staff will discuss the decision. Is B2P the right call for ESO? Was the exceedingly long delay of the console launch a huge mistake? What do we expect from the DLC? And is "Tamriel Unlimited" in fact the worst rebrand ever?

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Echo of Soul unveils new NA website

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play

echo of soul
Echo of Soul is quickly becoming known around these parts as a title that is talking big talk prior to its North American debut, and now the Korean fantasy game has a new website to match these boasts.

The US version of the website has now gone live, with information, art, community hub, and the vitally important beta sign-up button. It also has a short section on the game's mobile app that will feature access to chat and trading. Echo of Soul's North American beta test is planned for sometime this spring.

[Source: Aeria Games press release]

Pathfinder details corpse looting and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey has published a new blog post touching on today's Pathfinder early enrollment release.

Version two of the fantasy sandbox adds player husks, which is another way of saying lootable corpses. "The extent of your losses will be related to how quickly you are able to return to the site of your husk and if you are able to recover the inventory that remains on the husk before others are able to take all of its contents or its timer expires," Dancey writes.

There's a bit more to the update, but you'll need to click through to the GoblinWorks website to read it!

RuneScape opens RuneLabs for player suggestions

Fantasy, Video, Culture, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

If you have a terrific idea that you'd like to get implemented into an MMO, then RuneScape's your best bet these days. The ever-creative MMO recently launched RuneLabs as a formal structured suggestion process that will take the best player ideas and make them an in-game feature.

RuneLabs works like this: Players will make a pitch to that month's studio-assigned criteria. If it gets enough community support, it will be reviewed by Jagex and (barring a studio veto) voted on by fellow players. The winner of the poll will go from concept to reality.

You can watch an amusing video explaining RuneLabs after the break!

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Skyforge unveils the Gunner

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Classes, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Skyforge

Mmm, what you say, ooh, that you only meant well, well of course you did
The Beatles once opined that happiness is a warm gun. Skyforge's Gunner class has a warm gun that also transforms into different modes and allows the class to call down orbital strikes, so one can only conclude that it is a very happy class indeed. Its opponents are somewhat less so. You can see the class in action in the video just past the break, or you can read through the reveal page to get a better idea of how this multi-mode class will play.

The cannon has three main modes as well as a variety of sub-firing options, allowing gunners to mow down targets at long range with missile barrages or take out hardened targets with bursts of plasma. Since it's meant to stay at range, the class also sports a variety of defensive tricks like teleporting back and forth. It's exactly the sort of class for you if you like having a big gun, even more so if you want that big gun to shoot all sorts of different stuff.

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DDO trumpets the start of its Winter Games

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play

Just because we're in the heart of winter in the northern hemisphere doesn't mean that we can't enjoy snow-themed festivities! That's the attitude of Dungeons and Dragons Online, which has started a slew of activities under its Winter Games umbrella.

For starters, there's the Midwinter Festival in the Forgotten Realms which includes speed skating, snowflake collecting, and vole smashing. Meanwhile in Eberron, the ever-popular Risia Ice Games are back with more ice sliding action. Then there's an ice skating rink in the harbor, an ice jump off a cliff, and a frozen half-pipe in the Bogwater Tavern. Participation in all of these activities will not only result in embarassing fun, but rewards from the various tokens won.

Here's a 23-minute Elder Scrolls Online 'supercut' CG trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax has released a 23-minute "supercut" of its Elder Scrolls Online trailer series. The firm says that the CG production was "over a year in the making," and the final bit -- dubbed The Confrontation -- brings the battle for Imperial City to an end and reveals "a new and horrific threat to Tamriel."

Click past the cut to have a look.

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World of Warcraft player hits 100th level 100

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Subscription

And then comes the realization.
Do you like playing World of Warcraft? Would you like to play a thousand levels of World of Warcraft? Because the player known as Watola did just that. Watola has 100 characters at level 100, a project that started during the exceptionally long twilight of Mists of Pandaria. With 20 characters already at the level cap back then, another 80 apparently seemed like a doable project, which started a cycle of very efficient leveling and copious use of recruit-a-friend tricks.

The method outlined on the the forums involves essentially rotating through full rest state on various characters and having a set plan of attack, along with using tank characters via recruit-a-friend to ensure that queues for dungeons are more straightforward. If you'd like to do the same, it's still perfectly functional now, although you'll have to do so knowing full well that you can never have a world-first level 1,000. (That seems a fair nod for the achievement.)

Perfect Ten: My mobile MMO experiment, part 2

Fantasy, Mobile, Hands-On, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

hello hero
Last week on Perfect Ten I began an experiment to "taste test" a batch of mobile MMOs to see if there's anything out there that's worth playing in this day and age (apart from the often-recommended Order & Chaos Online and Spacetime Studio's lineup). For the record, I would absolutely love a great mobile online RPG, but it would need to be a game that's tailored to such devices and offers a compelling experience beyond trying to clone a generic MMO.

Let me sum up my adventures so far: While I did discover a couple of interesting titles, there was nothing in the first five games that made me want to keep them on my smartphone. Let's hope that this week's group brings out the big guns because I will be despondent if this experiment is in vain!

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ArcheAge patches in Divine Gifts and land expansion certs today

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Not that you can always expand the land you're on, see.
Following today's ArcheAge patch you'll want to keep a close eye on the bottom left of the game's UI. You'll see a little icon light up to indicate that you have a new gift awaiting you, and then... you get free stuff. That's it. That's all you have to do. The newest patch will offer these Divine Gifts to players regularly, allowing you to open as many as 10 in a given day for rewards like Lunarites, bonus food, and Hereafter Stones.

Players will also be able to craft land expansion certificates (which will also be available from the Marketplace in a future update) and larger storage chests. That's in addition to new rewards for maxing skill trees and new portals leading directly to Serpentis and the Sea of Drowned Love. Whatever your focus is in ArcheAge, you'll have plenty of opportunity to take part in it when today's patch goes live.

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