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Fantasy

The Stream Team: Esper adventures in the WildStar beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

It's time once again for Massively's MJ to grab her ectoplasmic throwing stars and leap back into the WildStar beta! There are plenty more adventures to be had (and Dominion to eradicate) on her journey to a level that allows housing. That's right -- MJ is going to push for the exalted level of 14! How much experience can she store up in one hour? Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for the wild XP ride.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, April 19th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Skyforge posts Q&A on character development and more

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, Skyforge

The Skyforge team today selected and answered 10 community questions on the official forums ranging from "when's beta" (effective answer: no comment) to "how will names work" (answer: given name plus surname). Perhaps the most interesting tidbits focused on character development: The team confirmed that you can switch classes on the fly "whenever you like" and that because of this mechanic, you're unlikely to need alts. Moreover, says the team, "character progression in the game is not level based," and "players will always have ways to advance their characters further."

The free-to-play sci-fantasy MMORPG's full Q&A is available on the official forums. The developers have promised to post more answers every two weeks.

[Thanks to Paul for the tip!]

Camelot Unchained dishes on design progress, racial lore

Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment's Mark Jacobs has been a busy bee over on the Camelot Unchained blog today, delivering two posts about the game. The first discusses the world editor and progress on the programming front. Writes Jacobs,
We've kicked it up a notch with our combat system. We've now got character stats in the game. We've got more interesting abilities that can apply buffs and debuffs and affect your character's stats. Active effects on the character are passed to the UI layer so you can see what effects are active on your character. Abilities are saved to the database and updates can be pushed straight to the Live or Stable server. Cooldowns are in place and can affect one or more abilities.
The second blog post includes new concept art and a lengthy lore piece on the Caretakers of the Tuatha De Danann. Enjoy both on the official site.

Hands-on with Windborne's early access

Fantasy, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play

Screenshot -- Windborne
The breakout success of Minecraft has inspired a slew of creative sandbox games since its release in 2011, and the trend has shown no signs of dying down given the ever-increasing number of sandbox titles hitting the market. Hidden Path Entertainment's in-development title Windborne is certainly one such game, and at first glance one might be tempted to write it off as a clone of Mojang's golden child, but that would be more than a little disingenuous.

The folks at Hidden Path were generous enough to provide me with a key to get some hands-on experience with Windborne, but I'd like to make special mention of the fact that the game is currently part of Steam's Early Release program, which of course means that it's still unfinished and under constant development. With that in mind, I dived into Windborne's world of mystical floating islands, and I've got more than a few thoughts about the game, where it's going, and where it needs to be.

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Atlantica Online gets new class, dungeons, and more

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

Atlantica Online Celestial Hunter
Nexon has added new dungeons, a new merc, and a new class to Atlantica Online. The Empires of Gold update boasts dungeons including the Forgotten City of Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, the Golden City of El Dorado, and the Gold Empire of Defense.

Atlantica's new class is the Celestial Hunter, "a fierce archer who can best any challenger with her bow and arrow skills."

We've embedded the update trailer for you after the break!

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FFXIV's Yoshida on successful relaunches, switching from sub to F2P

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

FFXIV NPCs
Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida speaks from a unique position, both because he's responsible for an ultra-rare triple-A MMO relaunch and because Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn debuted with -- and continues to sport -- a subscription model.

Gamasutra recently interviewed Yoshida about FFXIV's success, whether or not he feels any sort of vindication, and his thoughts on the future of future subscription-based MMOs. While Yoshida says that there are pros and cons to both subs and F2P, he ultimately prefers subs, and he believes that most other MMO developers do as well.

"Some titles have to make the hard decision to switch over to free-to-play and try to gain a quick buck, pretty much, and raise their ARPU, and try to gain revenue in that manner," Yoshida explains. "I feel that they're not flipping over because they want to; sometimes, they're forced to go into that because they need to update."

Classic Guild Wars' ninth anniversary celebration is underway

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

GW1
If you're not too busy checking out the new feature pack in Guild Wars 2's version of Tyria, you might be interested to know that the more classic edition of the game world is celebrating its ninth birthday this month. Also, it has Cantha. Just saying.

Yes, Guild Wars 1 is having a party, and you're invited. Though the anniversary update was originally scheduled to begin on April 22nd, a note from Joe Kimmes on the official wiki mentions that a fortuitous typo led to the event's partial stealth-implementation on April 2nd instead, so while you'll have to wait until next week for the complete event, players are reporting that bonus items have been dropping all month and that some of the minigames are underway as of today.

The official site is silent about the anniversary so far, but the login screen announces the festivities:
The party is on for the anniversary of Guild Wars! Starting April 22nd at Noon Pacific (-7 GMT), we open Shing Jea Boardwalk, Dragon Arena, and the Rollerbeetle Races. In addition, Birthday Cupcakes and many other special items will drop all throughout this weeklong event.

The Elder Scrolls Online launches Craglorn teaser site

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
ZeniMax has just launched a sub-site for The Elder Scrolls Online featuring Craglorn, the adventure zone that will serve as host for the MMORPG's first major content update. Aimed at veteran groups, the zone promises new quests and delves for four-person groups, a plotline revolving around "the mystery of the missing constellations," 12-man trials and leaderboards, and new gear.

While the teaser site is light on new information and does ask you to click through yet another age-gate (yes, we all know you were born January 1st, 1900), it does feature some gorgeous artwork and the Craglorn trailer released earlier in the month. We've embedded it after the cut.

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Pathfinder Online shows off its map

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
Lead Game Designer Lee Hammock is your host and guide to a tour through Pathfinder Online's detailed maps.

Pathfinder's maps look a little different than a typical MMO map, offering more of a malleable report on shifting allegiances and events in a hex layout. The main map is color-coded to show terrain type, with symbols and lines representing cities, trade routes, player towns, security levels, and points of interest. Knowing which resources come from which terrain type will be crucial to building up player settlements.

Hammock and his beige shirt of stunning good looks star in a nine-minute developer video that you can watch after the break.

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Neverwinter launching Curse of Icewind Dale on May 13th

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Lore, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

All right, I can get this thing to work, don't worry.
If you're ready to have some chill adventures in Neverwinter, you'd better be ready on May 13th. That's when the Curse of Icewind Dale module will launch for players, bringing with it two new adventure zones, a new open PvP region, and new factions for players to fight over. Also a new Hunter Ranger Paragon path, but that really only affects Hunter Rangers, which as infographics show make up only half of the characters in the game.

But why are you going to Icewind Dale? What's so important? If only there were some sort of lore trailer past the break that will give a concise explanation of exactly what's going down in the region and why players are taking part, as well as outline the factions fighting over the valuable Black Ice. That would be very convenient, wouldn't it? Perhaps you should click past the break to check out that exact trailer, then.

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World of Warcraft kicks off Azeroth Choppers

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

I can't even internet any more.
Are you ready to ride through Azeroth and Draenor in style? Because that's the goal of the new web series fusing American Chopper and World of Warcraft. The first episode is out now, and you can guess the heart of it just from the premise. Two bikes will be designed -- one for the Horde, one for the Alliance -- and fans will vote on which bike winds up in the game as a mount.

The first episode, of course, is very much the proof of concept; it features a very early glance at the starting point for both bikes as well as a discussion of Horde and Alliance aesthetics. You can watch the whole episode just past the cut. It's going to be running at least through the end of May, so you'll get a front-row seat to see both choppers brought from concept into execution.

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Hands-on with Hearthstone for iPad

Fantasy, Launches, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Hearthstone
While I was part of the early beta crowd for Hearthstone last year, I haven't played it in quite some time. It wasn't because I became disenfranchised with the game but rather because I felt it truly belonged on a tablet -- and playing it on a PC just felt wrong somehow. So I've been waiting for Hearthstone to finally make the leap to the iPad, and when that happened yesterday, I was all over it like a murloc swarm on a noobie.

In many ways, Hearthstone is absolutely tailor-fit for mobile gaming. It requires minimal manipulation; poking, holding, and the occasional swipe is about as complex as the physical mechanics get. It's a turn-based thinker's game that gives you ample time to plot your strategy and get a few other things done between moves. On an iPad, that's pretty easy; I would read a book while my opponent took his/her/its turn.

The game actually kept me up past my bedtime because of the "just one more match" temptation, which tells me that the magic that fueled my interest in this game in beta is roaring more now than ever. But how does it actually handle on Apple's devices?

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The Stream Team: Landmark's castles and manors and gardens, oh my!

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, EverQuest II, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

No matter how long you have been wandering around in Landmark, you'll still stumble across new things! Massively's MJ has noted a number of spectacular creations throughout her journeys, including castles without compare. But what if you are more at home in something less grand? MJ has found some impressive manors fit for even the most discerning Norrathians. Of course, homes aren't the only thing built; creative players have designed bowling alleys, underground gardens, and so much more. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. EDT to tour some of these great places, and maybe stumble upon a few more!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Norrathian Notebook: Landmark update highlights the power of players

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

As a long-time gamer, I have to admit: I never expected I'd really see the day. What day is that? The one where a studio says one thing... and does it!

True to SOE's word, the development process for Landmark has been quite open. Between social media, livestreams, and posts, the devs have been very forthcoming about where they are and where they are going, giving players a pretty clear picture of what's going on. But that's only the half of it. What impresses me most about this whole situation is that player input is actually recognized as a valuable commodity, not a nuisance to be brushed aside and ignored. I'm not just referring to the opinions offered during the various Round Table polls either, even though those are a welcome component to the the mix. I'm talking about the fact that players are a driving force behind the direction of Landmark's development. And yesterday's update really brought that fact home.

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Trion hosting ArcheAge combat and crafting livestream tonight

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

ArcheAge caption contest screenshot
If you're an ArcheAge fan and you're not in Trion's alpha, you'll want to set aside 45 minutes starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT to watch the latest dev livestream hosted by producer Victoria Voss and community guru Evan Berman.

The duo will examine ArcheAge's combat classes and crafting skills live on Twitch.

Trion also announced its first official AA competition which takes the form of a caption contest. The prize is a spot in the sandpark's alpha, and you've got until April 23rd to work on your entry.

[Thanks WNxArcticwolf!]

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