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Hands-On

Choose My Adventure: Air travel is not very safe in TERA

Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, TERA, MMORPG

TERA
Massively multiplayer online games are collections of interlocking systems. A character's skills allow her to interact with the world, interacting with the world gives her experience points, experience points give her levels, levels give her skills, and so on. Inventory, items, professions, quests, and social interactions are also systems, layered on top of the core combat and gameplay mechanics.
When you have mastery over an MMO, you don't just have mastery over skill rotations; you have mastery over all of the systems underneath. By the time a normal person hits 60 in En Masse's TERA, for example, that person can probably tell the difference between good gear and bad gear, organize a character's inventory, and use the game's menus. This is the stuff you take for granted when you've been playing an MMO for weeks, months, or years.

Leaping into expansion content with a near-max-level character but little core game experience is, thus, not very smart. But I did it anyway, charging into TERA's Fate of Arun with a brand-new-yet-level-60 Castanic Warrior for Choose My Adventure.

It went okay.

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The Stream Team: Ramping up for TERA's Fate of Arun

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, TERA, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG

TERA
Choose My Adventure is headed into TERA's Fate of Arun expansion, and tonight, Massively's Mike Foster is shaking off the cobwebs by logging in to his old character and tanking whatever he can tank. Next week marks the start of his expansion adventure; tonight's all about remembering what buttons do what. Polls are still live if you want to vote on which type of character Mike will end up with for this month!

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST to catch all the action.

Game: TERA
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, January 8th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: TERA's Fate of Arun

Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, TERA, MMORPG

TERA
As was mentioned many times during our end-of-year awards and the comments surrounding them, 2014 was a much better year for adding to existing properties than releasing new ones. Some of the biggest launches of the year came in the form of expansions like Rift's Nightmare Tide, Star Trek Online's Delta Rising, and Star Wars: The Old Republic's Shadow of Revan. Choose My Adventure even took the expansion route last month by investigating World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor.

En Masse's TERA, too, received a huge update in 2014, though it launched with significantly less fanfare than some of the other major expansions of the year. Fate of Arun introduced new zones, added new dungeons, and raised the level cap (as expansions are wont to do). It also brought a new game mode in The Coliseum, a PvP/PvE hybrid arena-type thing. Perhaps most notably when compared to the other expansions of 2014, Fate of Arun is free to all TERA players.

Since TERA so often flies under the radar with MMO fans, I thought it might be fun to dedicate this month's CMA to Fate of Arun. So get ready because it's time to start slaying some big-ass monsters.

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Choose My Adventure: World of Warcraft High

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft launched on November 23rd, 2004. For anyone having a hard time putting that date into context, consider this: My sister, who's now in college, was eight years old when WoW's gates first opened. Some of our readers with nice jobs and adorable children were still in middle school or high school. I've personally been playing WoW off and on since 2005, giving me about nine years of history with the game.

This month's Choose My Adventure was two parts adventure and one part nostalgia. And as it turns out, sometimes the past really does belong in the past.

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The Stream Team: Final Fantasy XIV's white magery

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
Massively's Mike Foster has finally unlocked his Final Fantasy XIV job and he's ready to heal some dungeons. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as he cures his way through FFXIV's duty finder as a white mage, the core single-target healing job available to FFXIV players. Dungeons and guildhests are both on deck!

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever been hacked in an MMO?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Hands-On, Miscellaneous

WildStar
The Massively tip line frequently receives notes from MMO gamers who are upset about being hacked in one MMO or another. Sometimes it's the result of a serious security flaw in the game, but sometimes it's just a lapse in a player's personal security. One way or another, it sucks.

I've never had an MMO account of mine hacked, but a guildie or two of mine has in the past, which has resulted in our guild vault being cleaned out. Fortunately, the studio (Blizzard, in this case) restored the accounts and every scrap of loot and gold that was taken. But I know not all studios respond that way when it's not their fault but ours, and some folks find they've lost their accounts and characters forever.

Have you ever had an MMO account hacked? How did the studio handle it? And what did you do to safeguard yourself afterward?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Stream Team: Goodnight, World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft's Choose My Adventure is coming to a close and Massively's Mike Foster is trying to get as much out of it as possible before the new month begins. Join him tonight as he storms a couple of battlegrounds, completes a few quests, and takes advantage of his brand-new garrison buildings. It's the last hurrah for Warlords of Draenor as a CMA subject!

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST for all the action.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, December 29th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Warlords of Draenor dungeon fun

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Massively's Mike Foster has been having a grand old time with this month's World of Warcraft-focused Choose My Adventure. Tonight, he ventures into the dungeon finder to check out Warlords of Draenor's new group content, as was requested by voters in last week's polls. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST to see his shadow priest in action.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Sunday, December 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: On autopilot in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Life as a shadow Priest in World of Warcraft is pretty mellow. Mostly you bounce around from quest to quest and enemy to enemy, ticking off objectives by murdering orcs with dark magic and scaring everyone with your spooky shadow face. It's not a career path I'd recommend for your average citizen, but if you're looking to become an instigator in the clan wars of Warlords of Draenor, there are worse paths to take.

We accomplished quite a bit this week in Choose My Adventure. Our Blood Elf Priest gained a couple of levels, DPSed his very first Warlords of Draenor dungeon, and completed the Frostfire Ridge set of story quests. And while it's all been very, very good, I'm still having a hard time connecting to this latest World of Warcraft expansion.

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The Stream Team: On to Gorgrond in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Choose My Adventure Live continues as Massively's Mike Foster says farewell to Frostfire Ridge and heads into Gorgrond, the second of Warlords of Draenor's all-new zones. Experience World of Warcraft's latest expansion with Mike as he quests, fights, and garrisons his way to level 100 from the perspective of a voter-created shadow Priest.

The action begins at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST.

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Elite: Dangerous

EVE Evolved title image
Like many EVE Online players, I grew up playing early sci-fi games like Elite and its sequel Frontier. In fact, CCP's recently released stats on the distribution of ages within the EVE community shows a peak around 29 years old, meaning that most players grew up in that same gaming era. A big part of what initially drew me to EVE Online was the prospect of playing the same kind of massive trading and space exploration game with other people, and for over 10 years it's scratched that sci-fi sandbox itch. I've watched EVE grow from a relatively unknown game with around 40,000 subscribers and laggy cruiser skirmishes into a vast game where thousands of players wage war for territory, profit, or just the adrenaline rush of PvP with something valuable on the line.

Now that Elite: Dangerous is finally here, I want to see whether it can scratch the same sandbox itch as EVE and to what extent the two games can be compared. Both feature customisable ship fittings, open-world PvP with a criminal justice system, and real financial loss on death, for example, but the end result is two very different gameplay styles. And both also have that same intoxicating notion of exploring the unknown and try to make you feel like you're in a living world, but they take very different approaches to world design, content, and travel. Elite may not be a full-fledged MMO, but with a sandbox made of 400 billion procedurally generated stars and an open play mode that seamlessly merges players' games together, does it matter?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I compare my experiences in Elite: Dangerous to my experiences in EVE Online and look at their differing strategies with regard to server model, active and passive gameplay, and the new player experience.

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WoW Archivist: A Glyphmas story

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, PvP, Hands-On, Crafting, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Scrolls of glyphs
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on December 17th and is included here by permission.

Professions in Warlords of Draenor feel completely different than in any other era in WoW. Creating powerful items is no longer a matter of farming, luck, or gold. Instead, we have to produce their key ingredients via garrison work orders. Leveling crafting professions is no longer about creating a bunch of useless items that we instantly vendor or disenchant, and reaching max level is now a slow burn instead of a quick grind. This is the first expansion where I haven't hit max level on all my professions within the first week or two.

The profession that has changed the most is the most recent: Wrath of the Lich King's inscription, added in 2008. Even the interface changed: The glyph window was originally part of the spellbook UI, not the talent pane. Because of those changes, for a few very special weeks, inscription transformed the financial futures of countless WoW players. I was one of them. We called it Glyphmas, and it was magical.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you wish you hadn't waited to try?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, OARPG

Marvel Heroes
Marvel Heroes is one of those MMOs (OK, pseudo-MMOs) that I reaaaaallly should have given a try a long time ago. Diablo-clone? Check! Superheroes? Check! Picking cars up and slamming them into the pavement? Check! Loot falling outta the sky? Check! When I finally gave it a spin earlier this month, I felt silly for having waited so long, but I kept telling myself it wasn't different enough from the OARPGs I already had to make it worth the download.

Plus, lookit how pretty this part of the UI is. I mean, that is color wheel gamer nirvana right there. I can't even explain how much I want to hug this tab. Happy Christmas to me; now I have a new game with a ton of content stocked up and just waiting for me.

What about you, Massively readers? What MMO are you kicking yourself for not having tried sooner?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Black Desert is officially in open beta... in Korea

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Classes, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Hands-On, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert
Still pinning hopes and dreams on Daum's breathtaking sandbox MMORPG Black Desert? If you're in South Korea, those hopes and dreams are a reality this week, as the game officially entered open beta in that region yesterday.

Blogger Steparu has already posted one video from the event, a snapshot of progress on a mid-level Sorceress. We've included it below. If you're bilingual and already enjoying the game, we'd love to hear about it, as those of us in the West will be waiting until at least 2016.

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Choose My Adventure: World of Warcraft and the shadowy priest

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

It's been one week since Choose My Adventure's voters sent me on the path of darkness in World of Warcraft, daring me to cast off my healing roots and adventure forward as a Priest who deals only in shadow. I've gained a couple of levels, tinkered with my garrison, and killed hundreds and hundreds of orcs. I've even managed to work out some of last week's confusion, finding a spell rotation that works for me and laying waste to any PvE enemies that cross my path.

I've also completed about a million quests, Warlords of Draenor-style.

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