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Hands-On

Choose My Adventure: The proud wanderers of Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
Since commandeering Choose My Adventure in August, I've been on something of a sci-fi rampage. First we took a second look at a post-release Firefall; then we spaced out with a beta build of Frontier's Elite: Dangerous. And while spaceships and rocket boots are certainly wonderful things, Choose My Adventure is as much about investigating new worlds and new genres as it is about checking out new games. Thus, it's time to leave the world of science fiction behind in search of something a bit more classical.

This month, we're adventuring into Imperial China -- as far from deployable sentry guns and pulse lasers as possible -- with Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman.

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The Think Tank: Remembering our first MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

UO
This week, my very first MMO, Ultima Online, turns 17 years old in what can only be an intentional effort to make classic MMO gamers feel very, very old indeed. I've been thinking a lot about the game and returned to it recently to scope it out, so for today's Think Tank, I polled the Massively writers about their own "first MMOs," their first memories of the genre, and whether their firsts have survived the test of time.

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The Stream Team: Throwing fire in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Massively's Mike Foster continues his investigation of the changes made to Guild Wars 2's starting experience, dropping flaming dragon's teeth on every bandit that stands in his way. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch ArenaNet's streamlined introduction to its massive fantasy game, and feel free to ping Mike in-game (Elerit) if you'd like to tag along. When it comes to Guild Wars 2, more is always merrier.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Basically Han Solo in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
When Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous eventually launches, I'm guessing there will be two primary types of pilots cruising its vast expanses: quiet, peaceful types who enjoy exploring and courier-ing, and destructive, violent types who prefer interacting with NPCs and other players via pulse lasers. Elite's loose structure has room for other archetypes, though, such as the savvy trader working the marketplace and the under-the-radar smuggler who lives on the wrong side of the law but avoids drawing attention to himself. Being peaceful doesn't mean you have to be lawful.

Last week's Choose My Adventure poll set me on the path of the smuggler, challenging me to secure illegal goods and to sneak those goods by the feds to net a healthy profit.

Results were mixed.

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The Stream Team: Adios, Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Frontier Developments
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has had a good four-week run in September's Choose My Adventure, but it's time to step out of the spaceship and into some heavy armor or a wizard's robe. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he adventures out into Elite's current beta one last time, with Twitch chat as his guide. It's not the end for Elite around here, but it's the last shot we'll get to see the game before Beta 2 launches on the 30th.

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

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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StarCraft II: An MMO player's perspective

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMORTS, Buy-to-Play

StarCraft II
StarCraft is of immense importance to the world of online gaming. It's one of the franchises responsible for establishing Blizzard Entertainment as a titan (get it!?) of the games industry. It serves, for many, as the ideal example of what an RTS game should aspire to be. And it was among the first titles to transcend one-off competitions and contests to become a global e-sport featuring pros who make the big bucks and events watched by millions.

Without StarCraft, there would be no Dota 2, no League of Legends, perhaps no SMITE or Infinite Crisis. The MOBA niche, now one of the most profitable areas of online gaming, might not exist if not for the original StarCraft's custom three-lane Aeon of Strife map. StarCraft and its sequel, StarCraft II, represent the quintessential essence of small-scale online warfare.

As a fan of MOBAs and an ardent lover of clicking things quickly, I took a spin in StarCraft II in an effort to better understand the foundation of the games I enjoy. What I discovered was a difficult, punishing game that demands your full attention and gives you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.

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The Stream Team: Custom decks with HEX: Shards of Fate

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, HEX

HEX: Shards of Fate
In last week's stream of Cryptozoic's HEX: Shards of Fate, Massively's Mike Foster opened 20-ish booster packs and used the cards he discovered to build a haphazard custom deck. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time left in the stream to actually hop into a live match with another player. In tonight's stream, Mike will take his probably terrible deck into the wild and see how it fares against a real-life HEX opponent.

Card-slinging begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: HEX: Shards of Fate
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, September 19th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Think Tank: Surveiling ArcheAge's launch

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Think Tank

ArcheAge
Some of the Massively staff have been playing ArcheAge during its head start and launch week, and some haven't, but all of us have been watching to see how the first major sandbox launch in recent memory fares. For today's Think Tank, I polled the Massively writers about their impressions of the game whether they are playing it personally or examining the launch from an industry perspective.

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The Stream Team: New is new in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
The good folks at ArenaNet have revamped Guild Wars 2's starting experience, and Massively's Mike Foster is prepared to meet that new new player experience head-on. The revised approach involves better direction for those who aren't sure where to go and promises to help streamline the leveling process; no longer should brand-new Guild Wars players be left lost and confused.

Does it work? Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST and find out.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day six - P2W and the early verdict

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Is ArcheAge pay-to-win? That's a question I've been asked several times in recent days. Before I answer it, let's get something out of the way up front. And by "out of the way," I mean that this is the most important part of the article and needs to be emphasized in the intro.

Pay-to-win is 100% subjective.

There is no scientific or universally accepted definition of pay-to-win. Some things in this life are absolutes. Pay-to-win is not one of them.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day five - Random knowledge

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Today's diary entry is going to skip around a bit, as I'm still dabbling all over ArcheAge and finding it nearly impossible to convey everything important inside of a few thousand words. If you're just joining us, this is day five of Massively's launch chronicle because even though the game "launched" yesterday, it really launched last Friday via the founder head start.

I'm aware that some people had disconnect issues and nightmare two-hour login queues on the 16th. I did not have much trouble with either, presumably because of my Patron account status regarding the latter. Trion does have some work to do, though, as I noticed a lot of slow-down in high-traffic areas throughout much of my play session last night, and I also logged into a black screen more than once and had to re-queue as a result.

In other words, it was a typical MMO launch day. I've seen better, but I've also seen far, far worse.

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Choose My Adventure: Exploring exploration via Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Being an explorer is overrated. Sure, Lewis and Clark are remembered as bold adventurers who set out across the untamed American west, charting charts and mapping maps and becoming famous along the way. It's less memorable that the expedition frequently feasted on dogs, slept with more locals than a touring indie rock band, and included at least one accidental butt shooting. In other words, between an explorer and fame there lies a whole lot of gristle.

Last week, Choose My Adventure voters set me on the exploration path in Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous. While exploration hasn't yet been implemented as a viable career, it's still a thing you can do just because you feel like doing it. It's also a pretty great way to see your life end in a cacophony of flames and shrapnel or to find yourself staring at a map in complete and utter confusion.

Still, it beats roasting a Labrador and passing it around the campfire.

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The Stream Team: Black market dealings in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Massively's Mike Foster has spent the last two weeks investigating the friendlier and more legal areas of Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous. In tonight's stream, however, he'll be investigating the shady underbelly of Elite by attempting to take on (and complete) black market contracts for some of the game's less-than-honorable individuals. Choose My Adventure's voters have spoken; it's time for Mike to get his hands dirty.

Will he end up blown to bits by overzealous federal ships? Or can he make a career as one of Elite's next great outlaws? Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to find out.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day four - Trade runs, sea beasts, and pirates

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Lost Continent

I got ganked in ArcheAge last night, and believe it or not, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in an MMORPG in quite some time.

I'm usually apathetic about MMO PvP. I mean, I will PvP with friends, but I don't think I've ever sat down to play an MMORPG and thought, "Hmm, maybe I'll go kill some players tonight!" PvP factors heavily into ArcheAge's design, though, so I knew going in that I'd be doing it more than in most of my other MMOs.

I just didn't know it would end up being as fun as it was on last night's trade run.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day three - PvE, quests, and story

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Welcome back to Massively's ArcheAge launch diary. I can't believe we're already on the third installment because there's still so much to see, do, and learn. That's a good thing, though, isn't it?

Yeah, it is, and while ArcheAge has its share of issues, its breadth and depth is incredibly welcome in a genre that's gotten far too comfortable repackaging the same tired experience.

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