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Free Realms

Free for All: MMOs for players with a penchant for The Wolf Among Us

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Screenshots, Culture, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Free Realms, Champions Online, Free for All, EverQuest Next, WildStar, Firefall

The Wolf Among Us screenshot
Ah, graphics. It's hard to describe why we like the graphical styles we do. I like the stylings of many games, but some are just so perfect that the graphics reach beyond a visual style and become a sort of textural memory in my gamer's heart. Each year, scores of games come out, and though I enjoy many of them, most do not affect me the way the look of games like The Chronicles of Spellborn or even Free Realms does.

There are a lot of single-player titles that just blow me away as well. Recently I was absolutely transfixed by Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I stayed up late one night to finish it, and the graphics just kept getting better the entire time. Then there's The Wolf Among Us, a new title by Telltale Games, the same studio that made The Walking Dead series. It's made me remember just how amazing graphics can be without requiring a massive gaming rig.

Did you like the look of The Wolf Among Us as well? Here are some MMOs that feel similar.

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Choose My Adventure: Indecision 2013

Aion, Opinion, Hands-On, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, Choose My Adventure, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Neverwinter

Choose My Adventure Indecision 2013
My goodness, it's been a long time since I've done Choose My Adventure. I cannot wait to dive into it again. But first, I should probably break down the rules and let you know how my Choose My Adventure will likely differ from those who have come before me.

Besides the weekly column that comes out on Wednesday, I will also run a livestream whenever I play the game. Of course, Massively's livestream sessions are abbreviated, so I cannot stream on that channel for the number of hours that it will take me to accurately get a taste of what the game is like. So I will run the regular livestream on my channel, then take over Massively's stream when I can. That also means that some of the choices made during the course of this adventure will be made on the livestream and not in this column. However, I will attempt to let the readers of this column make the major choices.

So let's decide what game I'll be playing for you. After the break, I've listed five games that I am interested in revisiting or visiting for the first time. Read the descriptions, then at the end, vote on the game you'd like to see me play. I will have to close the voting on Fridays, so that I will have the weekend to actually implement the choices you make. Happy adventuring!

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MMO Family: A cornucopia of kid-friendly Halloween events

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Kids, Wizard101, MMO Family, Family, Clone Wars Adventures, Miscellaneous, Pirate101

MMO Family  A cornucopia of kidfriendly Halloween events
Part of the fun of MMOs is the chance to dress up our characters, so it's no surprise that the month of October is a big one for kid-friendly MMOs. There's a plethora of pumpkins, countless costumes, and copious amounts of creepy housing decor. And the vast tonnage of treats available makes those real-life treat bags look minuscule in comparison.

In this week's MMO Family, we've got a roundup of several Halloween celebrations in kid-friendly games. And while most are about the "stuff," there are also several creative contests and events that are worth a look. Get your scare on below!

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Free for All: My top four MMOs for relaxation

Trailers, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, Wurm Online, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Free Realms, Free for All, Livestream, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Wurm Online screenshot
Say you come home from a long day's work, dreaming about the vacation that you've yet to take and how nice it would be to turn off your brain for a while, to kick back and watch the wide world walk by. Unfortunately, vacations cost a pile of money. You have to pay someone to watch the dogs and water your plants and work is a real pain about letting you out of the shackles even for a week.

The good news is that much of the benefit of vacation comes from the mental release. Sure, nothing beats the real, true feeling of pressing your toes into warm water and sand, but it can be fun and relaxing to visit virtual worlds, to take in virtual sights and sounds. MMOs are perfect for blowing off some steam, for taking a moment to realize just how nice it is to have access to such landscapes from the comfort of your desk.

Here are some of my favorite virtual worlds that bring on that feeling of relaxation.

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MMO Family: MMO trends from kid-friendly game conventions

Opinion, Free Realms, Kids, MMO Family, Family, Clone Wars Adventures

MMO Family MMO trends from kidfriendly game conventions
Summer is convention season, and adults weren't the only ones who got to celebrate their favorite games and talk to the developers who make them. Young fans of Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures attended panels at SOE Live, while Roblox fans recently wrapped up the third leg of the BLOXcon tour, which was held in Chicago, London, and New York City. And Minecraft fans scooped up tickets to MineCon as soon as they were made available.

Kid-gamers are a force to be reckoned with, and they can be just as passionate about their games as adults. What can we learn from them about trends in MMOs? Let's take a look in this week's MMO Family.

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SOE Live 2013 recapped in just two minutes

Fantasy, Super-hero, Video, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Free Realms, Events (Massively's Coverage), DC Universe Online, Clone Wars Adventures, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Dragon's Prophet, MMORPG

SOE Live
SOE Live 2013 was a blur of tournaments, panels, announcements, and keynotes. It brought news for games like PlanetSide 2, Vanguard, Free Realms, Dragon's Prophet, and DC Universe Online, along with the industry-shaking reveal of EverQuest Next.

In other words, it was kind of a big deal. And you can see what it was like to be there in person by watching the two-minute recap video just released by SOE. Check it out after the break, and feel free to browse back through our coverage for in-depth looks at everything that was on display.

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MMO Family: Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures at SOE Live

Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Events (Massively's Coverage), Kids, MMO Family, Family

MMO Family  Catching up with Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures at SOE Live
While we've heard lots of news this past weekend about SOE's lineup of titles for the adult audience, there's an ever growing presence of children at the convention thanks to the popularity of Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures. They might not have as many years of experience gaming as the "grown-up" crowd, but they still had lots of questions and insight to share with the developers of both games. To meet that demand, there were two panels for SOE's kid-friendly MMOs; one focused on the art of the games, while the other talked about some of the ways that the team designs their games around a younger audience. And there was some exciting news about what's planned for the future as well. Read on for the highlights!

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Coming soon to a console near you: MMOs

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Previews, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Casual, MMOFPS, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, Final Fantasy XIV, DUST 514, World of Tanks, Family, Post-Apocalyptic, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Diablo III, Defiance, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Console MMOs
Remember E3 2013? That huge video games conference thing from earlier in the summer? Weeks have passed since Microsoft and Sony squared off in the Los Angeles convention center (while Nintendo posted up at Best Buy and Ouya sulked in the parking lot), but the news made there continues to reverberate through the games industry.

One curious trend seems to have been missed amid the clashing of proverbial titans: There sure are a lot of MMOs and online-focused games due on consoles this generation. And since MMOs are the business of Massively, we thought it might be fun to compile a quick list of all the ones we can find that are either already available on our current consoles or set for launch on the next batch.

The list, as it turns out, is pretty extensive.

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Player panel submissions open for SOE Live 2013

EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Vanguard, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Dragon's Prophet

Player panel submissions open for SOE Live 2013
Last year, SOE threw a new ingredient into its convention mix -- player panels. The result was such a hit that the studio is not only bringing them back this year, but extending their availability; Sunday has been added to the player panels schedule, and that means there are plenty of openings!

Do you have a subject involving any SOE game that you think would be of interest and benefit others? Maybe you are a whiz at livesteaming or you have primo tips and tricks on cosplay to dispense. What about sharing your fan site or holding a raid clinic? Whatever your idea, submit your proposal by 3:00 a.m EDT June 1st for consideration. If selected, you and up to three other panel members will receive All Access passes to SOE Live 2013 (no other expenses are covered, including food, travel, or add-ons). Panel selection -- which is not on a first-come, first-served basis -- will be completed mid-June.

PAX East 2013: SOE's Linda Carlson on the state of the community

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Business Models, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage), The Guild Counsel

The Guild Counsel  SOE's Linda Carlson on the state of the community
How many times have you found yourself asking, "Why won't the devs just listen?!" For any loyal MMO fan, it can be extremely frustrating to see feedback seemingly get ignored, and sometimes it feels as if there's a huge wall separating the fans from the developers.

Linda Carlson, SOE's Director of Global Community Relations, spoke with Massively at this year's PAX East to talk about SOE's efforts to break down that wall and improve the relationship between players and developers into something that's more collaborative, rather than contentious. Whether you're the most loyal SOE fan or someone who's vowed never to play another SOE game, you might be surprised at what she has to say.

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Sony officially announces SOE Live 2013

EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Events (Real-World), Vanguard, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Wizardry Online

Sony officially announces SOE Live 2013
While we've known that SOE Live was moving location and dates this year to Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from August 1st through the 4th, we now have official confirmation from the studio itself.

SOE Head of Global Relations Linda Carlson drafted up an accompanying post about the upcoming convention that includes several pictures from previous years. "We're all gamers too," she writes, "and can hardly wait to hang out with you again! Everyone at the company LOVES going to SOE Live, the one event each that focuses solely on our players. We have everything in common!"

Carlson explained that the change in venue was made for several reasons, primarily to keep costs down, have more flexible meeting space, and experience better air quality. She confirmed that, as in previous years, kids will get in free to the event.

70% of DCUO's revenue on PlayStation 3, Smedley mum on PlanetSide 2 console port [Updated]

Super-hero, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2 - TR Sundy
Would you believe that 70% of DC Universe Online's revenue comes from the PlayStation 3 version of the game? According to the UK version of the official PlayStation magazine, the superhero title and Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms could possibly be joined on the PS3 by PlanetSide 2 in the future.

When asked directly about the possibility of the new sci-fi MMOFPS showing up on a console, SOE president John Smedley offered an artful deflection. "What I'd say is -- SOE has proven that we can bring our games to the PS3, and it's fair to say that we've got some other stuff out there cooking. I can't tell you what platforms it's for, but we're really excited about it."

[Update: We have corrected the 70% figure quoted directly from PlayStation magazine. According to SOE, Smedley intended to say that the percentage refers to DCUO's revenue, not SOE's revenue as a whole.]

The Tattered Notebook: A closer look at Player Studio with SOE's Joe Shoopack and Rick Reynolds

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Interviews, MMO Industry, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, The Tattered Notebook, PlanetSide 2

The Tattered Notebook  A closer look at Player Studio with SOE's Joe Shoopack and Rick Reynolds
Just a few days ago, SOE launched the first wave of items submitted by players through Player Studio. EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Free Realms all have player-made items for sale in the Marketplace; the players who created the items receive 40% of the revenue. EverQuest launched its first player-made weapon, the Stormlord's Bludgeon; EverQuest II featured the Heroic Salesman's Chest and Cloak of the North Star; and Free Realms revealed the Swirly Railed Gazebo and Happy Heart T-Shirt.

We had a chance to talk to Rick Reynolds, Senior Manager of SOE's E-Commerce team, and Joe Shoopack, Director of Artistic Development, both of whom have played key roles in the successful launch of Player Studio. They shared insight into what goes on behind the scenes after a player submits an item, and they hinted at future plans for the system. Read on!

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SOE launching first Player Studio items for EQ, EQ II, Free Realms

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Free Realms

Exclusive  A first look at Player Studio items launching today
During SOE Live, we got a more in-depth look at Sony Online Entertainment's Player Studio, a new feature where players can design items to be sold to others in game via the marketplace. Today, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Free Realms will see some of those player-created items go live!

When checking the in-game store today, EverQuest II players will find the cloak of the North Star and the heroic salesman's crate. Free Realms fans will get to choose a swirly-railed gazebo or a happy heart T-shirt. In EverQuest, hammer users will have a new skin they can slap on their weapon.

Although this first wave of Player Studio items is not very extensive for any of the games, SOE has over 60 other trinkets spread across the three games ready to go, and more stuff will be introduced each week. Be sure to check the Tattered Notebook this Saturday for even more details and an interview with Rick Reynolds, SOE's Senior Manager of E-Commerce and Joe Shoopack, Director of Artistic Development!

MMO Family: Winter roundup of kid-friendly MMOs

Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Browser, Casual, Free Realms, Kids, Wizard101, MMO Family, Family, Pirate101

MMO Family  Winter roundup of kidfriendly MMOs
Winter is always my favorite time of year for family-friendly MMOs. Holiday events tend to be the norm now in most MMOs, but they're tailor-made for games with a younger audience. Winter also seems to usher in lots of new changes and updates as well, so it's time again to revisit some popular titles to play catch up.

Over the past year, we've looked at several new titles and visited veteran MMOs titles to see what's changed. From Club Penguin to Pirate101, we'll look at recent updates and upcoming news in MMO Family's winter roundup!

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