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Fantasy

Shards Online's Kickstarter has already reached its $50k goal

Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

Shards
Sandbox MMO hopeful Shards Online has met its Kickstarter goal of $50,000 with 23 days still to go. Citadel Studios' first Kickstarter for the ambitious game reached only $73,401 of its $320,000 goal last June.

Project lead Derek Brinkmann dropped by the Massively comments last week to reassure potential donors and explain the thinking behind the new campaign:
I'd like to personally address the concerns about our new goal. After our previous campaign winded down, we put our heads together and created a refocused plan to get to alpha. The minimum amount we could get to alpha with was 100k. It doesn't seem like much, but we have been in active development for over a year and have already personally invested quite a bit of money into the project.

We reached out to our friends and family and found we were able to raise 50k from small investments. That gets us half of the way there. We decided that reaching out to our fans would be the best way to get the rest of the funds. The alternative was to approach angel investors which would have forced us to change the spirit of the project.
Stretch goals begin at the $60,000 mark and include emote animations, new craft skills, and a permadeath ruleset.

Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasy XIV's thaumaturgery

Fantasy, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
One of the more frustrating elements of helming Choose My Adventure is that I start every game with hopeless incompetence and spend four weeks trying desperately to reach some level of understanding with that game's core mechanics. MMO players take for granted the basic masteries they have over the systems they command and forget that the first 20 or so levels of any new game are usually spent in a fog of half-understandings and misconceptions.

Because it's so difficult to continually learn a game's idiosyncrasies, I was a bit wary of last week's Choose My Adventure polls. Having just grown comfortable with our Miqo'te Pugilist and the basic rotations that power her damage, I found the thought of taking on an entirely new class fairly intimidating. Aren't Thaumaturges hard to play? Don't they have confusing ability combos and weird buffs?

Luckily, Final Fantasy XIV understands the challenge in switching classes and isn't afraid to babysit you while you re-learn the ropes.

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is now taking donations through Patreon

Fantasy, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

So is this officially the point when Captain Ahab shows up and says that it's time to let it go?
Brad McQuaid has apparently started a new Patreon to fund Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, the third crowdfunding source that the game has employed. Let's recap: The game was first announced by the former Vanguard lead with a Kickstarter campaign that failed to meet its target goal. That was followed by an on-site fundraising campaign that abruptly ended when McQuaid admitted (against a backdrop of worrisome rumors) that there was no more money to pay the studio employees, at which point he told fans that development was starting again with an all-volunteer team.

So what do you get for backing the game's development? Videos. The current funding goals are $1,000 increments for monthly development videos through January; they'll show the volunteer team's progress on the game. Those who donate large amounts of money will also be granted exclusive screenshots of the in-development version of the game (so far those we've seen include placeholder assets) and a spot in the credits of a development video. The page claims that any and all funds raised will fund the team as well as defray hardware and server costs.

Hartsman addresses ArcheAge APEX exploit: 'There isn't a dupe bug'

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Falling with style.
ArcheAge has been having a bit of trouble with bugs and exploits since its launch, if you haven't noticed. Trion Worlds head Scott Hartsman has weighed in on the APEX bug that has been affecting the game; specifically, he's said that the bug is not a dupe bug. Players were rather upset as soon as this announcement was made, pointing out that the bug is a known issue that has been affecting the game and the playerbase since it was first discovered.

Community manager Evan "Scapes" Berman clarified that the bug in question is not, strictly speaking, a dupe bug; rather than duplicating an item multiple times, the bug was allowing players to continue to reap the benefits of an item without consuming it as intended. APEX are still unavailable as more hotfixes are put into place to prevent further abuse of exploits, with action already being taken to both patch out the issue and remove funds accumulated by abuses of the exploit.

Final Fantasy XIV has been besieged by DDoS attacks

Fantasy, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Stop being immature, kids, some of us have things to do here.
If you've been playing Final Fantasy XIV over the past few evenings, you've probably noticed some issues: odd disconnections, login difficulties, things like that. Turns out it wasn't just some general server weirdness; apparently the game is being hit by DDoS attacks that are leading to heavy server load and all of the fun that comes along with it.

The official post states that the attacks are being carried out by a currently unknown third party, with Square-Enix working to try to stop the attacks from all possible angles. It also apologizes for the issues that players are having. So the good news is that it's not just your connection, and the bad news is that someone decided that it's fun to be a jerk. Again.

Guild Wars 2 plans a big PvP patch for December 2nd

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Aw, right in the face.
On December 5th, the first World Tournament Series for Guild Wars 2 will conclude with a showdown between the four best teams across the United States, Europe, and China. Right before that, on December 2nd, the Guild Wars 2 team will be deploying several large-scale updates to the game's PvP. So if you've been watching the tournament with rapt interest, you'll have a number of shiny new systems to test out; if you haven't, you can still reap the benefits of an improved PvP system in the game.

Matchmaking is one of the biggest game mechanics seeing alterations. Players will be sorted by Glicko2 ratings for matchmaking purposes and subjected to a dishonor system that punishes behavior like leaving mid-match. The net result is a full ladder system for the game that will serve as a foundation for large-scale league play, with a test season planned for mid-December to make sure all of the parts work properly. There are more adjustments to be revealed over the next two weeks, but for now, dedicated PvP fans can rest easy knowing that more boosts are coming.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

The Stream Team: What really happened to EQII's Isle of Refuge?

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team

Did you get enough of EverQuest II's new Altar of Malice expansion last week? Neither did Massively's MJ! She was too distracted by nostalgia to do much last time, so this week's she's diving deeper into the story to find out exactly what happened to the island. What dastardly deeds caused such a calamity? Inquiring minds want to know! Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to watch this EverQuest Two-sday adventure unfold.

Game: EverQuest II
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Server move delays Age of Wulin Chapter 3 until December 2nd

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

European Age of Wulin players may be disappointed to hear that the release of Chapter 3 will be delayed a week until December 2nd -- until they hear the reason why, that is. Webzen has announced that the Golden Dynasty game server will be moving from Ireland to Frankfurt, Germany, on November 25th. The move is to address the issues of server stability that players have long noted, and aims to provide enhanced server security, stability, ping, and server security. Because the server move had to be pushed back a week, the studio also moved the launch of the next chapter in order to ensure better connectivity and stability during the launch period. Webzen invites players to share their thoughts on the server move on the official forums.

Catch a glimpse of Wander in Wednesday's live machinima

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Lore, Previews, News Items, Roleplaying, Livestream, Sandbox

Wander
We've been keeping an eye on no-combat, exploration-driven sandbox Wander since its debut at PAX over a year ago. This week, you can keep an eye on it too. Creator Loki Davison says that his studio will be livestreaming the game tomorrow, but it won't be just any ol' gameplay walkthrough; it'll be a "pioneering live streamed drama" set in the gameworld, a piece of live machinima rarely seen in the genre. "Join Sylvania as she explores her dream of flying and realizes that what she is, isn't all she can be," Davison hints. "Azar however, might not approve."

The stream begins at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 19th, on the official Wander Twitch channel.

Das Tal's latest stress test happens this Saturday

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

Fantasy PvP sandbox Das Tal is hosting a pre-alpha stress test this weekend, according to developer Fairytale Distillery's latest press release. The test runs from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 22nd. Das Tal's previous stress test attracted a population nearly three times as large as a normal test, and as a result the devs have increased capacity which means that the "servers will be packed full of PvP."

To get in on all the killing, you'll need to sign up as an alpha tester and then check your inbox for an invite. There's also a sneak preview available for viewing via the alpha test footage after the break.

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Stormthrone strikes open alpha tomorrow

Betas, Fantasy, Lore, Free-to-Play, Browser

stormthorne
Get ready, get set, and go right into open alpha with Stormthrone tomorrow!

R2Games recently announced that the isometric browser-based MMO will transition into open alpha testing on Wednesday, November 19th. The official Stormthrone website had been running a series of minigames leading up to the alpha release through which players could earn in-game loot.

Stormthrone also released a new lore diary today about the birth of Aeos and the war that ensued between the gods.

[Source: R2Games press release]

Trove gets a sugar high with its Candy Barbarian class

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Trove

trove
Feed your sweet tooth in your gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane: Trove has added the Candy Barbarian to the game today.

The Candy Barbarian is the sixth class added to this quirky sandvox; it stands alongside other characters like the Neon Ninja and the Fae Trickster. It uses twin swords and has a small array of candy-themed attacks, including Vanilla Swirlwind and Sugar Crash.

Currently Trove is in open beta and has no plans to wipe progress going forward.

World of Warcraft apologizes and compensates for Warlords of Draenor issues

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Subscription

wow
Blizzard is so, so sorry for the expansion launch issues -- and it is trying to make things right.

This is the word from World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack, who issued a public mea culpa on the forums for the problems with Warlords of Draenor's launch. "The quality of the content does not excuse the subpar launch experience we delivered, and I apologize for that," Brack wrote.

He outlined the events and studio response over the past weekend, saying that the team is expanding its instancing tech to reduce queues on realms. To compensate players for their troubles, Brack said that Blizzard is giving five days of game time for all subscribers as of last Friday.

Enter at Your Own Rift: How to tell a great story in an MMO

Fantasy, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Enter at Your Own Rift

rift
My character still hasn't (ahem) ascended to Nightmare Tide levels yet, so today's RIFT story will instead be about Storm Legion. I had been working my way through the Eastern Holdings in Brevane when I encountered a quest chain that floored me with brilliant storytelling that showed exactly how MMOs can utilize this platform to tell tales in ways that other mediums cannot. It is audacious, bold, and incredibly dark, especially for RIFT. And I cannot praise it enough, especially in light of long-held claims that RIFT is often weak on story.

I have two caveats before we go through what made this quest chain so great. First, I'm going to spoil it from start to finish, so if you haven't played it and want to remain innocent, just bookmark this column to read later on. Second, there are some truly edgy themes in this recap. Got it? Let's go!

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Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat goes live today

Fantasy, Expansions, Launches, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

After rising, please immediately sit back down.
Who's afraid of the big bad dragon goddess? Wait, scratch that, who isn't afraid? She is a dragon with five heads that can breathe fire, chlorine gas, lightning, acid, and frost. She is enormous. That is scary. Unless you're a player character in Neverwinter, which launches the Rise of Tiamat expansion today; then she's just another target down the inevitable road of dragon-slaying. Technically your goal is to stop her from being summoned altogether, but let's face it, we know how this sort of thing works out.

So what else awaits adventurers aside from stopping the Cult of the Dragon and saving the eponymous city of Neverwinter (and by extension the world)? Well, Scourge Warlocks can pick up the new Soulbinder paragon path, and players of all stripes can pick up new artifact equipment for four different slots (neck, belt, main-hand, off-hand). This is, of course, assuming going toe-to-clawed-toe with the queen of dragons herself wasn't motivation enough.

[Source: Cryptic Studios press release]

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