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SOE Live 2014: PlanetSide 2 plans battle islands, a fight finder, and more

Sci-Fi, Interviews, PvP, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), PlanetSide 2, Sandbox

PlanetSide 2 got some big updates over the last couple of months, but there's plenty more planned for the MMOFPS. Creative Director Matt Higby, Senior Art Director Tramell Isaac , and Lead Designer Luke Sigmund detailed some of those plans at SOE Live. Specifics include the squad mentoring, the Valkyrie aircraft, battle islands, a fight finder, and more. They also showed off the progress of the Playstation 4 version, which will launch in early access before the end of the year.

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SOE Live 2014: Dragon's Prophet to join All Access, add hatching system

Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Dragon's Prophet

While much of the SOE Live attention has been on other titles, Dragon's Prophet was on hand with some announcements of its own. The two biggest pieces of news are the upcoming hatchling system and the addition of the game to SOE's All Access pass, and Producer Todd Carson shared the details with us as well as gave the heads up on a couple other upcoming changes.

The new hatching system will allow players to find and raise their own dragons. Carson explained that how long it takes the egg to hatch depends on what activities players do to care for their eggs. Additionally, the stats of the dragons will be influneced by the egg's care. More specifics on that system will be coming soon.

The other really big (and welcome news) is the addition of Dragon's Prophet to the All Access plan. Carson noted that it has taken time to work out the details because of the unique differences of the game since it is made by Runewaker. Within the next month or so players will be able to become a part of the system that gives special monthly bonuses in all SOE games, 500 station cash, and a 10% discount on all items in the store. Dragon's Prophet players will receive a nine in-game items every month worth $50, including a 30-day repair hammer, teleportation, revive tokens, and more.

Carson also described the recent renovation of the starter experience and the change to the class masteries that give them more defined roles in combat that await new players who try the game out thanks to the All Access changes. He gave us a heads up that a new zone expansion is coming at the end of the year and special roaming merchants that will be added to the territory islands. Another new feature will be the ability to pay to have your house packed up and moved to a different island. Carson is also taking into consideration panel attendees' requests to add Vanguard dragons into the game.

What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporter MJ Guthrie to this year's SOE Live, from which she'll be transmitting all the best fan news on EverQuest Next, Landmark, H1Z1, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.

The Road to Mordor: Has LotRO grown too big for its own good?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Road to Mordor

lotro
Jumping into an MMO that's been out for several years -- let's call it "more than five" -- lends itself to several blessings and curses. While the game has more content, stability, and a playerbase that isn't drunk on launch drama, it can be overwhelming and even lonely to the latecomer who is just trying to figure out the basic ropes while everyone else is milling around at the Level Cap Country Club. Often I see people asking whether it's "too late" to join an MMO, wondering if they're getting into a game that everyone else is getting out of, not to mention considering how long it might take to do meaningful content with those who have been around longer.

Lord of the Rings Online is now most assuredly in that zone. It's been out for seven years, adding along the way numerous updates and systems, a free-to-play conversion, two classes, 50 more levels, a class overhaul, and five expansions. A game that used to occupy a relatively small swath of Middle-earth is now an empire that stretches from the icy bays of the far north to the shoreline of southern Gondor. It's absolutely huge when you step back to consider it, which is what both a new player and a reroller must do.

My question this week is this: Is LotRO getting to be too big and too long for a player to start from scratch these days? Is it suffering from a case of too much of a good thing?

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Star Trek Online sells costumes at a discount this weekend

Sci-Fi, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed Bajoran.
They say that clothes make the man. Is that true? Who knows. But clothes certainly do make your Star Trek Online captains stand out, and wouldn't you like to look particularly pretty with a new expansion coming up? Of course you would. So pick up some costumes this weekend and do so at a steep discount.

All costumes for sale in the game's microtransaction store are priced 20% off until Monday, August 18th, at 1 p.m. EDT. Whether you want to grab Seven of Nine's bodysuit for the upcoming Delta Rising content or just have your eye on a racing uniform, you can nab it now for less. Who wouldn't like that?

SOE Live 2014: Details on EverQuest Next combat, classes, and races

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook

We heard you: You want more EverQuest Next info. We do too! And here at SOE Live we've been getting all of that for you! Between the keynote address and our chats with Creative Director Dave Georgeson, Senior Producer Terry Michaels, Lead System Designer Michael Mann, andLead Designer Darrin McPherson we've discovered the next race to be announced, learned about the three newest classes, and watched a demonstration of those classes in combat. Get your first glmpser of EQN's Teir'DAal race and check out the Cleric, the Elementalist, and the Termpest.

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SOE Live 2014: Combat comes to Landmark August 27th

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

If you've got a thing for combat, have we got the perfect date for you! Landmark launches the ability to fight -- and die -- on Wednesday, August 27th. That means everyone who's been waiting in the wings for the new sandbox to get more systems before diving in only have to hold out two more weeks before they can finally experience Landmark.

Are you ready to die? The first phase of combat includes death, armor, weapons, landmines, PvP, and many possibilities! We got the scoop on this much-anticipated system at SOE Live from Creative Director Dave Georgeson and Senior Producer Terry Michaels at SOE Live, including some great video clips of the upcoming content.

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SOE Live 2014: EverQuest will release The Darkened Sea expansion October 28th

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

As is custom, the next EverQuest expansion was announced at SOE Live 2014. And while Thursday's keynote shared the title, The Darkened Sea, it divulged little else. Players were going to have to wait until EQ's individual keynote address later today to get any actual details. However, for those who just can't wait that long, I sat down with Senior Producer Thom Terrazas and Creative Director Akil Hooper to get an early scoop on the game's upcoming 21st expansion and more.

What do players have to look forward to? How about the return of the classic characters Firiona Vie and Lanys T'Val, a personalized looting feature, a higher level cap of 105, a new mount storage system, and eight new zones! Oh, we can't forget the dinosaurs! And did I mention that The Darkened Sea launches on October 28th for All Access members?

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SOE Live 2014: EverQuest II's Altar of Malice expansion and a new playable race

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

SOE Live 2014: EverQuest II's Altar of Malice expansion includes new playable race
On the 11th day of the 11th month, EverQuest II will get its 11th expansion, Altar of Malice. With only the title and launch date announced during SOE Live's welcome keynote address on Thursday, fans are understandably eager for more juicy details. We talked with Senior Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper to glean some valuable intel before EQII's official keynote later this afternoon. They even shared some future plans and revealed the 10-year veteran reward. As a special treat, Longdale shared a very serious video on how the vaunted leaper bunny mounts came into being (which we've included here for you).

As is pretty standard for expansions, Altar of Malice will include new zones (two regular overland and one specialized PvP deathmatch), new dungeons, new quests, a level cap increase, and some revamped systems. And if that wasn't enough, there are also dinosaurs. In addition to the expansion, sometime this fall players will have the opportunity to purchase access to a new playable race!

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The Stream Team: Firefall revisited

Sci-Fi, Video, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team

Firefall
Massively's Mike Foster is taking Firefall for another spin in this month's edition of Choose My Adventure, which means he needs to spend a little time getting reacquainted with the game, its universe, and its mechanics. Join him live at 7:00 p.m. EDT for a little bit of jetpack-induced, assault rifle-powered shooty chaos. Alternatively, watch in awe as he attempts to complete the account recovery process after completely forgetting his login information.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 14, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively Exclusive: Previewing Path of Exile's Tora, Master of the Hunt

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Girls don't like boys, girls like hunts and nature.
The newest expansion to Path of Exile is all about the eponymous Masters -- their goals, their attitudes, and what they can teach the player. Tora is fairly straightforward in all of the above. She is all about the hunt, taking out the monsters that surround Wraeclast, and in her own words, she wants to root out the corruption that has taken root in her world now, before it does any further harm to the natural balance.

I had a chance to speak with producer Chris Wilson about Tora and the expansion as a whole the other day, and he happily shared details both about Tora herself and one of the new challenge leagues that will be going live with the expansion on August 20th. Hop on past the break to see Tora's video introduction and to learn more about what players can expect from the huntress, the challenge league, and the expansion in general.

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Wakfu relaunch moves into open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play

wakfu
Wakfu's continuing with its "relaunch" strategy by fine-tuning its free-to-play offerings and now announcing the start of its open beta program. As of today, anyone can jump into the game to see how the MMO's improved with its new format.

Ankama Managing Director and COO Olivier Comte makes the pitch that Wakfu is definitely worth checking out: "As we open the updated world of Wakfu to an even broader set of fans, we will continue to focus on the core and essence of our gameplay –- the players. In addition to a broad range of classes to suit varying tastes, colorful environments and our well-known sense of humor, Wakfu gives players a chance to impact the entire game world through their strategic and even political decisions."

[Source: Ankama press release]

Star Trek Online giving away purple-quality duty officers during event

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Giveaways

sto
They may be below decks, but those hard-working virtual duty officers are near and dear to many a player captain's heart. Star Trek Online knows this, which is why the game is hosting a Junior Officer Appreciation Weekend that starts today and goes through Monday morning.

During the event, players will enjoy a 50% boost to commendation XP, additional officers in C-Store purchased packs, and the ability to earn a new duty officer through the Academy partical scanning event. STO is also giving all players who log in during the weekend a free purple-quality duty officer if they didn't claim one from a previous duty officer event.

Defiance goes free-to-play on the PlayStation 3

Sci-Fi, Business Models, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance

The level 1 starting area for PS3 players.
Defiance has already made the transition to free-to-play on the PC, but now players with more focus on consoles are getting in on the free action. PlayStation 3 users can now download and play the game for free without any up-front cost, just in time to coincide with the ongoing second season of the television show. No precise dates have been revealed for the Xbox 360 conversion at this time, although it's still due "soon."

Players who elect to purchase a copy of the game on the PS3 will receive 1000 Arkforge, four character slots, five loadouts, up to 75 Ark Keycodes, and a 70-slot inventory. They'll also receive 30 free days of Paradise Patron status, which boosts gains on everything from XP to scrips along with a 10% discount on cash shop items. If you like the look of the game but wanted to play it for free on your console, your time is now.

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

War Thunder aiming for 360-degree panoramic VR view with Project Morpheus

Historical, Real-Life, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Virtual Reality

War Thunder's been on board the virtual reality train for a while now, given its compatibility with the Oculus Rift. Gaijin isn't stopping there, though, according to a new website posting that touts War Thunder on Sony's PlayStation 4 Project Morpheus VR prototype.

There's no launch date just yet, but Gaijin promises "a 360 degree panoramic view of the battlefield."

WildStar and Guild Wars 2 boost NCsoft profits

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Economy, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, WildStar

ncsoft
The second quarter of 2014 was a very good time indeed for NCsoft, as the publisher announced today that revenues and profits are up thanks to WildStar's launch and Guild Wars 2's move into China.

In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.

As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).

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