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Massively Exclusive: FusionFall gets new nanos and more

Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, FusionFall, Kids, Family

Two years ago, Cartoon Network Digital unleashed its browser-based MMO FusionFall on the world with a velvet-rope freemium option. Players could try out the first four levels (the FutureWorld) for free, but getting past that and into the current-day world zones involved a subscription. A year later, the studio opted to take its game to a fully ad-supported free-to-play model so more people could have fun stomping around in the Cartoon Network universe with their favorite characters. Now, just past the game's second birthday, Cartoon Network Digital has decided to crank things up yet again with a bunch of major changes that will rock the world of FusionFall -- and we've gotten an exclusive first look!

Set to launch on February 16th, this bigger, badder version of FusionFall will add in the number one change that players have been asking for since the game's launch: new nanos! Indeed, the team at Cartoon Network Digital has been hard at work creating a slew of brand-new nanos that will be added over the next year -- a whopping 20 in all. However, this isn't just an update in terms of smacking a handful of levels on the end and calling it good. Instead, the dev team has decided to change the nano system entirely so that picking up new nanos will no longer be tied to leveling up. No more nano level-lock means players can pick them up as they adventure!

Sound exciting? There's even more in store with the update. Join me behind the break for the rest of the details -- including an exclusive reveal of two of the three all-new nanos that players can expect to see this Wednesday in FusionFall!

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FusionFall & Ben 10 Omniverse heading overseas

MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, FusionFall, Kids

When it comes to free-to-play games, normally we hear about companies from Asia importing their games to us here in the US and EU. This time around, we get to turn the tables, as Cartoon Network Digital is sending its popular free-to-play browser-based games to the Eastern markets. That's right, with the creation of Turnout Ventures -- a combination of Turner Entertainment Asia and Outblaze Investments -- people in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand will get a chance to check out FusionFall and Ben 10 Omniverse for themselves.

"The launch of the incredible online experience FusionFall in the Asia-Pacific region and mutually beneficial partnerships with Ben 10 MMOG publishers such as Omedia and c2vision, are set to bring gamers never-before-seen levels of immersive game play, as well as create even more localized, partnership opportunities," said Benjamin Grubbs, Regional Director, Interactive Media, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia and General Manager, TurnOut Ventures. "Most importantly, these initiatives build on and extend our iconic properties into the online space, so that fans can be part of the Cartoon Network experience anytime and anywhere."

Meanwhile, here in the States, FusionFall has noted that over 9 million accounts have been created in the West, which certainly bodes well as a start for this venture. Considering World of Warcraft has easily half of their entire 11.5 million players overseas, then spreading the FusionFall and Ben 10 Omniverse love is a wise strategic decision.

Exclusive: FusionFall free to play launch details

Screenshots, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, MMOFPS, FusionFall

Near the end of last year, Cartoon Network, the developers of FusionFall, announced that the game would move from a freemium/velvet rope type of pricing structure to a completely free-to-play model. While the fans waited, the developers were a bit silent as to when the new version would be released. Well, wait no more. We have received the official date, along with some exclusive shots of new characters and the new armor that subscribers would receive for being loyal to the game!

If you haven't tried it yet, FusionFall is a browser based first-person style shooter that mixes elements of platforming, social gaming, and fashion. Think of Tabula Rasa's combat system, complete with its "soft lock" mechanism, and add tons of your favorite Cartoon Network characters. It makes for a very fun, actiony and surprisingly deep experience. Join me after the jump for an exclusive look at new characters and new armor!

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Free for All: How free is freemium?

Business Models, MMO Industry, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Free Realms, FusionFall, Wizard101, Free for All

Welcome to Free for All, a weekly column highlighting the world of Free to Play/Freemium games! The new generation of free-to-play games are not only of the same quality as many "standard" MMOs, but they give players a chance to try them out before they ever spend a dime (if they choose to). I am going to try to make sense out of the masses with this column, so wish me luck and thanks for reading!

Freemium is one of those rare hybrid terms that is used to describe some games in the MMO market. Yet, what does it mean? I prefer to use the term "velvet rope", because it places a good picture in your head as to how the game might work.

I decided to examine what the term means, and what it might say to a potential player. The best way for me to do this is to look at some "freemium" games that not only do it well, but are some of the most successful games out there, regardless of subscription model.

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How do you support players that don't trust your support?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, FusionFall

Let's face facts -- people don't like admitting that they don't know something or need help. They'd rather hammer at the problem until they solve it themselves, or they'd rather ask a trusted friend for help. Kids are super guilty of this, as they'd rather not tell an adult when they can't do something themselves.

So how do you work with kids when you're the support staff of their favorite game?

Steve Wilson, customer service manager of FusionFall, decided to do some digging with support groups to find what they could do better in their customer support. What did he find out? Simplicity is key -- something that goes way beyond just the 8 to 13-year-old demographic.

Customers don't want to be railroaded through a knowledgebase, nor sent to be put on hold with phone support. They'd rather perform a quick in-game chat to have their problems solved.

He also found out that players would rather consult with other players than a member of a support team, which is why why FusionFall puts such a strong emphasis on their community forums and the support section. Players can ask questions of their fellow players while a support agent can chime into the threads when necessary. It maximizes the agent's time, and it allows the player to feel comfortable. A win-win all around!

[Via Parature]

Massively Exclusive: 5 million accounts, vehicles & more in FusionFall

Expansions, New Titles, News Items, Browser, FusionFall, Kids

This past January, Cartoon Network launched their first foray into the MMO space with the wildly successful FusionFall, offering families who like to game together a great deal at $9.95 a month for up to four separate MMO accounts. Since those exciting first days of launch, they've given away all manner of funky swag, racked up over 5 million accounts, and started a whole new generation of explorers down the road of MMO enjoyment. With this summer, however, they're planning on adding even more to their fantastic freemium game with their first major content patch since launch - Dexlabs Upgrade 1: Speed and Style!

This super souped-up update, slated to launch later this summer will bring vehicles to the lands of FusionFall. The first one will be a cool new limited-time availability promo vehicle which will be collectible by both paid and free members. After the first vehicle is launched, players will then be required to reach level 10 to start their collection of other vehicles. What types of nifty ways to get around will there be? Well, as you can see above, we have an exclusive first-ever look at FusionFall's Jetbike, Hoverboard, and a very special guest appearance by Kimchi from Chowder! We're not sure, but considering FusionFall still remains the only MMO where players can get around via flying monkeys, we'd bet that whatever they come up with will be cool.

Kids exploring the Wastelands of FusionFall in ways devs never intended

Exploits, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, FusionFall, Kids

Cartoon Network has done fairly well for itself with its IP-centric FusionFall. In fact, the words 'wildly successful' may come to mind when you take into account that FusionFall has already gained over 4 million registered users since its January launch. Having a TV network to promote the game is advantageous, of course, but with that many kids running around in the game's world, it was inevitable that some of them would get up to mischief.

This topic came up in an interview conducted by MMORPG.com's Carolyn Koh with FusionFall community director Richard Weil. It's interesting to note that some kids are basically testing the limits of the game world by finding ways into the "Wastelands" -- vast in-game areas where the developers test aspects of FusionFall. These players have managed to find holes in the game code and slip into these off-limits areas that were thought hidden and inaccessible to them in the first place.

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FusionFall gets new VP and some Webby love

MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Browser, FusionFall, Kids

Things have been exciting at the Cartoon Network offices. FusionFall, their first-ever outing in the MMO space, got a warm welcome from players and critics alike when it launched in January. Their game hit 4,000,000 accounts earlier this month, showing the power of the Cartoon Network stars combined with really fun gameplay. Now, Chris Waldron, the Executive Producer for FusionFall has been awarded with his own special new (non-bubblehead) hat; he has been named Vice President of Gaming Operations for Cartoon Network!

According to Paul Condolora, Senior Vice President for Turner's Animation, Young Adults & Kids media group; "Chris continues to be one of the great leaders of our digital team, overseeing the successful launch of our largest and most ambitious game to date - FusionFall. His commitment to quality gaming, relationships with game developers and expertise in the industry make him ideally suited to oversee our gaming efforts."

Added to this is the news that not only will FusionFall continue to grow with Chris at the helm as both Exec. Producer and VP of gaming - but they've also been nominated under the games category for a Webby alongside games like Club Penguin, Kongregate, and Facebook's new crack, Mafia Wars. Considering how short a period of time FusionFall has been out before the Webby nominations, that's a pretty tremendous achievement in itself. Congrats to the Cartoon Network games team on their success thus far, and we'll be waiting to see what new surprises they have in store for the fusion-permeated future.

FusionFall offers spring chicken hunting fun

Events (In-Game), New Titles, News Items, FusionFall, Kids

While many of the spring festivities in various MMOs have sprung, Cartoon Network has saved their particular brand of spring silliness in FusionFall for this next week! That's right - from tomorrow (4/22) to next Wednesday (4/29) Coco's helpers, who are dressed as Spring Chickens will be hiding in the Alternate Earths of FusionFall, and are just waiting for you to find them. When you do manage to locate them, they'll transport you to a secret Egg Hunt Zone, just filled with some special Spring holiday eggs - which means lots of goodies for you!

As you zoom through the special Egg zones, the different eggs you'll collect will not only yield little surprises "to keep things interesting" according to the Cartoon Network devs, but there are two special bubbleheads available to those who are lucky enough to find them. Keep in mind that other players can warp in and out of the Egg Zones, so you'll need to be quick on your toes to pick up the special holiday eggs - and the related bubbleheads! Free-to-play players in Future World will be able to pick up one of the two, and Unlimited access players - at either $5.95 for one account or $9.95 for up to four accounts - will be able to find the Future World helmet and another bonus bubblehead.

If you still can't find out where to look for Coco's helpers, check in on the FusionFall forums for some special riddles that have clues on where to go, or check with the other players in FusionFall and see if you can get a hand. After all, gaming is much more fun if you make some friends along the way!

FusionFall hits the 4 million mark (with bonus Bubblehead, free!)

MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Browser, FusionFall

We got some great news today from our friends over at Cartoon Network. It appears that their freemium family browser-based MMO, FusionFall, has crossed the 4-million registered member mark since their official launch in January! That's a tremendous chunk of growth, and we're glad to see FusionFall getting the love. (Any game that incorporates flying monkeys as a method of traveling around in-game rates an "awesome" in our book.)

To celebrate this excellent milestone, the crew over at FusionFall headquarters decided to whip up a special in-game item, the Zak Saturday Bubblehead Helmet, as a way of saying thanks to everyone for playing. All you have to do to get your hands on this limited-edition special celebratory goodie is to head over to the FusionFall site, grab the code, and add it to your account. Of course while you're logged in, you'll want to check out all the new missions and crazy items that the FusionFall team have been hard at work adding in.

FusionFall Executive Producer explains the importance of accessibility

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Browser, Casual, FusionFall, Kids

By this time, you've probably heard about Cartoon Network's FusionFall MMO. We've given our extensive first impressions here, and it's managed to create its own little buzz already. How much of a buzz? How about 2.5 million accounts created during beta?

So what makes a game like this so popular? According to a recent interview with Worlds in Motion, Executive Producer Chris Waldron says it's all about accessibility. "From our experience with the Sneak Peek weekends, we realize that FusionFall is going to be the first MMO for a lot of players. We based a lot of our design decisions on that, and so far it's working out pretty well." Check out the entire interview for more from FusionFall's Chris Waldron.

Get factual with FusionFall guide for parents and gamers alike

News Items, Free-to-Play, FusionFall

We're definitely fans of FusionFall here at Massively. It's really easy to love an MMO that takes cartoons from your childhood and creates a wonderfully fun free-to-play experience around them. So when we saw this guide over at What They Play, we just had to share it with you, our readers.

It's a fairly thorough guide detailing just about every key aspect a concerned parent -- or really anyone in general -- would want to know about what the game is, how you play it, how you sign up for it, how much it costs and much more. They even cover what the community is like and how safe the game is for younger players in general. It's a very impressive look at the title from a parent's perspective. So check it out or send it to any curious parental figures you know who may be scratching their heads about FusionFall.

First Impressions: Cartoon Network's Fusion Fall

Launches, Opinion, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, First Impressions, FusionFall, Kids

In First Impressions, Krystalle takes on a MMOG and reports back at what you can expect from the game. Is it painful? Awesome? Find out as she takes an unscientific (and highly opinionated) view of a game you may not have seen. Also remember, this is not a review; simply a First Impression - as such, we always recommend you give games that seem interesting a shot and decide for yourself.

Cartoon Network's MMO, FusionFall, is definitely a strong first entry into the market. With the Cartoon Network stars as the basis for their IP, and many industry names involved in the project, the hopes have been high. The story is set in a future version of Cartoon Network's own variant of Earth, where the characters are now teenagers - and a bit more anime-styled than their counterparts we know from TV. The premise is that Planet Fusion, a big nasty greenish planet-devouring ball of space-muck run by a terribad guy named Fuse, has come to snack on our beloved home. The only thing standing between Fuse, his sludge minions and the total annihilation of Future Earth is you - and the people playing in the world with you. Along the way Fuse is also spawning evil green versions of all the Cartoon Network characters to aid him in his sinister plan.

Now that you've got the general back-story, I've included the FusionFall opening cinematic behind the cut to set the mood before we move on. So far as opening cinematics for web-based games go, this one is definitely worth watching. From there, be sure to jump into the gallery for the full First Impressions on FusionFall.

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FusionFall presses the big shiny red button -- launches

New Titles, News Items, FusionFall

(Open in new tab for dramatic effect)

What's that sound? Do you hear it? It's the sound of something being unleashed onto an innocent world -- the sound of a big red button being pressed!

Thankfully, it's not DeeDee -- it's FusionFall. It's officially launched as of today, and if you've in any way got a thing for Cartoon Network shows of today or the past -- such as Ben 10 Alien Force, Dexter's Laboratory, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Ed, Edd' n Eddy, The Powerpuff Girls, Kids Next Door and Samurai Jack -- we highly recommend heading over to the website right now and giving this browser-based MMO a go.

Actually, even if you're just looking for just a fun browser-based MMO to enjoy you should give it a look. FusionFall is primarily subscription-based, however it does offer a free play area called Future Zone. A subscription is $5.95 per month, but there's a family plan with four connected accounts at $9.95 per month as well. So while you can check it out for free, it's also possible to put a little money into the game and experience more.

FusionFall announces subscription model with free-to-play areas

Business Models, New Titles, News Items, Browser, Casual, FusionFall

Cartoon Network's eagerly anticipated first entry into the MMO genre, FusionFall, is set to launch next Wednesday. For those who have checked out the Preview currently going on, and may have been wondering just what kind of pricing Cartoon Network would be implementing, you need wonder no longer. Today we got word that the powers that be at Cartoon Network have decided to run it as a subscription based model, but with a very solid free-to-play portion.

Free-to-play members will have access to all areas in the Future Zone, which includes quite a few of the Cartoon Network favorites, such as The Kids Next Door, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack to name a few. The paid membership offers not only the Future Zone, but the rest of the game's many areas. In addition, traveling to these areas will unlock additional cool things for your character, such as different gear, new nanos (pets), and more. Paid subscription accounts will cost a very reasonable $5.95 per month, offering full access for one account. For those who have lots of kids who don't want to share an account - or want to check out this game for themselves - Cartoon Network also offers a family plan: at $9.95 per month, you can have four paid accounts to enjoy all the content that FusionFall has to offer.

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