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Star Wars: The Old Republic axes skill training costs

Sci-Fi, Economy, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

SWTOR penny-pinchers rejoice, for the oppressive tyranny of skill costs are about to become history. In a post on the forums this afternoon, BioWare announced that it will be abandoning skill training costs as of next week.

"One thing has become clear from the player feedback in not only this thread, but since launch: players do not like training costs. It is a situation where every level you will see your hard earned credits go to a holographic Hutt doctor in order to make yourself a bit stronger. We have been talking about this topic internally for quite some time and when you add player feedback to the mix one thing becomes clear... We should make training costs a thing of the past," the studio said.

[Thanks to the five million people who sent this tip in!]

World of Warplanes teaches you how to do a canopy roll

Video, War, Free-to-Play, Guides, World of Warplanes, MOBA

When Peppy Hare's advice to do barrel rolls fails to get you out of tricky situations in the sky, then you need to turn to the real aviation experts. The devs over at World of Warplanes say that in the event of an enemy dogging your tail, the most effective move is actually a canopy roll.

In a new video -- which we coincidentally have for you after the break -- you can get a quick lesson on how to perform the three varieties of canopy rolls and which fighter craft are best suited for such maneuvers.

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Console popularity powers DC Universe Online past 18M registered players

Super-hero, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DC Universe Online

Eighteen million sets of eyeballs on your MMO is no number to dismiss, and SOE is definitely glad that DC Universe Online is the subject of so much attention. The studio said yesterday that more than 18M players have registered with DCUO since its inception.

The real reason behind DCUO's phenomenal growth is thanks to the reception it's been getting on the PlayStation 3 and 4, as over three-fourths of the game's playerbase is on consoles. SOE President John Smedley said that 40% of new registered users are on the PlayStation 4 these days, and they have created almost 3M superheroes to date.

Even more interesting, it seems as though console players are willing to spend more on this free-to-play title than their PC counterparts. Smedley said that PlayStation sales per capita accounted for 3.5 times more than PC sales.

Soloing through SWTOR's Shadow of Revan

Sci-Fi, Expansions, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

Impressions of soloing through SWTOR: Shadow of Revan
Some people question how you can be a solo player in an MMO. To be honest, I, too, question how someone can do the whole game solo, but I do understand the desire to experience the game at your own pace. I believe the creators of Star Wars: The Old Republic understand this, too. Game director James Ohlen said that the biggest thing players wanted was the continuation of Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. Although part of the SWTOR story did continue the Revan and Exile stories, a lot of players haven't even touched on that storyline.

In a multiplayer game, it's hard sometimes to experience the story solo with all the group-only material. However, Shadow of Revan creates an amazing opportunity for the solo MMO player to really experience the full story it has to offer.

Fair warning: I will not spoil major plot points for the expansion, but I will reveal some key characters in order to talk you through this leveling experience.

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Lost Continent: Yep, F2P sucks for ArcheAge

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Thus far I've put up with quite a lot of crap in my quest to like ArcheAge. There was the launch debacle in which no one realized that many millions of people will show up and expect a working service if you yell "come play for free!" Then there was the Auroria debacle, in which no one cared about server accessibility during a competitive launch event.

And of course there's ArcheAge's easily exploitable code, the ramifications of which include hacks, cheats, and bot-related problems that continue to be visible to anyone taking Trion's really-guys-it's-only-a-tiny-minority spin with a grain of salt.

Finally, there's the grossly intrusive monetization plan that prevents subscribers from playing certain parts of the game unless they spend additional money in the cash shop. ArcheAge has a comically long list of problems, but it's this last one that's finally wearing me down.

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RIFT announces Christopher Junior as game director

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

Please stop playing The Who, guys.  These days the riffs from that song usually just indicate to listeners that someone just made a pun.
The release of RIFT's latest expansion has led to a minor changing of the guard over at Trion Worlds. It's still the same guard, though, just in different positions. A shuffling of the guard, if you will. The game's new executive producer Bill Fisher announced in a letter to the community that Christopher "Archonix" Junior is getting brought up to the director position following the release of Nightmare Tide.

Junior, by his own words, has been working with RIFT focusing chiefly on the systems end of design. The game's holiday event is scheduled to live next week, followed by the first major patch since the launch of the expansion. The patch, tentatively titled Storm at Sea, will include a new open-world area, extensions to the existing raiding area, and updates to the Minion systems that were introduced with the expansion. Check out the full letter to the community for another few details and a bit more introduction to the game's new director.

Trion compensates ArcheAge players with cash shop potions, play time

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Are you still playing ArcheAge? If so you might be interested in the stuff Trion's giving away as compensation for this week's lengthy server outage brouhaha.

If you're a patron or former patron, you'll be able to claim a patron pack that contains five days of patron time and a bunch of cash shop potions that will help you bypass some of ArcheAge's more annoying gameplay restrictions. And of course they'll whet your appetite for more cash shop potions!

If you've never been a patron, well you get fewer potions and no patron time.

[Thanks David!]

Path of Exile Update 1.3 will start tournament season one

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Events (In-Game), PvP, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

path of exile
A massive update for Path of Exile is a little over a week away, and when it arrives, it will bring joy, goodwill, and a walloping as the first season of tournaments commences.

There will be a lot of choices to consider when partaking in the tournament activities, too. Path of Exile will boast both European and American seasons with both standard and hardcore events. There will be free-for-all matches, blitz events, capture the flag, and weekend Swiss matchmaking rounds. Winners will have a shot at gaining alternate alt pieces for their characters.

Update 1.3 has a lot of other goodies for fans, including new Torment and Bloodlines challenge leagues. If you want to get an advance look at the Torment league, check out the video after the break!

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Pick up a SWTOR stronghold for practically nothing

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Anniversaries, Housing

If you haven't planted roots in Star Wars: The Old Republic's strongholds or are on a quest to collect them all, then BioWare has a nice surprise for you. Buried in the patch notes for this week's Shadows of Revan expansion is an announcement that the studio is selling two of its strongholds for a pittance.

"To celebrate our impending 3rd anniversary, the Dromund Kaas and Coruscant Strongholds are now available for three credits!" BioWare posted. Typically, these strongholds go for 5,000 credits or 50 cartel coins.

PvE, full caves hit Landmark December 15th

Betas, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

In two weeks, Landmark fans will celebrate the holidays early by indulging in a content feast! On Monday, December 15th, the sandbox will get a meaty update that includes something players have craved all year: PvE! Creative Director Dave Georgeson and Senior Producer Terry Michaels announced the upcoming content extravaganza during Wednesday's Landmark Live stream. But mobs are not the only addition on the way; Georgeson went so far as to call last August's huge PvP content patch small in comparison. Along with the PvE, the December 15th patch brings the rest of the cave system (meaning all islands will now be tiered down to the core), graveyards for player resurrection (a must for when mobs chew your face off), claim vendors, and more.

Sound too good to miss? If you want to jump in and check these new features out, send an email to mj@massively.com for a seven-day beta key!

The Stream Team: Starting over in Landmark

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

December is set to be a big month for Landmark, and Massively's MJ isn't going to miss a thing! But to get ready for all that's coming, she has a bit of work to do. See, she pressed the reset button on her claim, so she's now got a blank canvas on which to create something worthy of the upcoming AI. The possibilities are endless. Want to come be a part of this? She's got beta codes to give away and welcomes your input on this new build. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for the start of something amazing!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Age of Conan gives rewards for testing achievement system

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Age of Conan is hopping on board this cool, hip achievement train that all of the kids are talking about these days with its Update 4.5. In November's game director letter, Joel Bylos said that the upcoming achievements will be merely "the first wave" in an ever-expanding system. In fact, if players help the team test achievements before they go live, they will be given a random pet as a thank-you.

Bylos said that work is also progressing on revamping the world boss event "to provide a more entertaining experience." He also asked the community for its input on which one of two styles of lore entries that players preferred.

Infinite Crisis dredges up Swamp Thing

Super-hero, Video, Classes, Previews, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Infinite Crisis

Swamp Thing, you make my heart sing! You make everything groovy... especially when you show up to stomp evildoers with the power of peat.

Coming to Infinite Crisis on December 17th, Swamp Thing will be the newest super-powered character in the game. According to his description, "Swamp Thing can endure tremendous damage and is capable of complete regeneration. He also has control over plant life, and can command it to do his bidding."

We've got a video preview of Mr. Thing after the break, so check it out and then hug a tree afterward so that you'll end up on his good side.

[Source: Turbine press release]

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EverQuest II plans bug bash and preps Frostfell celebrations

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Bugs, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play

The EverQuest II team isn't going silent during the last month of the year; on the contrary, a new producer letter outlines several events that are scheduled throughout December and into January.

The holiday event of Frostfell will go from December 11th through January 8th and promises "new content, rewards, gifts, crafted, and merchant items." The team's also coding in Ethereal armor adornment drops into Altar of Malice instances starting on December 6th and will be making past expansion house items available on loyalty merchants beginning January 6th.

While it's not the sexiest item on the list, a December 9th Bug Bash is planned to stamp out pesky issues and implement player feedback, such as creating shared bank space for exile characters.

Hearthstone launches Goblins vs. Gnomes on December 8th

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Casual, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Yes, this is a thing that's happening.
It seems as if it was only a month ago that Hearthstone players learned the title of the game's first expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes. Probably because it was a month ago. That expansion is launching on December 8th, adding 120 new cards into the card pool and displaying an alacrity that other Blizzard titles could only dream of achieving. The new expansion cards can be crafted, purchased, or earned via the Arena, just like the existing packs except with new cards.

If you're interested in having a launch party, Blizzard is also interested in your launch party. If you plan your event, have it registered as a proper gathering by notifying the community team, and then submit pictures and stories about the event by December 22nd, you could win a little Hearthstone care package. Or you could just kick back and enjoy the new expansion by playing. Your call.

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