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Hands-On

E3 2014: Hands-on with H1Z1

Betas, Horror, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
I'm coughing. My head hurts. I'm tired, hungry, and thirsty. I'm not hearing things anymore, but when I close my eyes for too long, I feel disoriented. And this was before I got my hands on H1Z1! I'm sick at E3, but well enough to see through some spin while looking at a winner. If you're tired of hype, false promises, and pay-to-play alphas, come read between the lines with me as I recount the experience of my H1Z1 demo.

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E3 2014: Hands-on with Elite: Dangerous and the Oculus Rift

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, New Titles, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous

Is it possible that a hands-on demo of Elite: Dangerous and a talk with Frontier Development's Adam Woods, producer, and David Braben, CEO, would make a space sim fan out of me? Yes! I liked what I'd heard about the game before, but after experiencing it for myself at E3 2014, I can definitely say I am hooked. And it isn't just because of the Oculus Rift. I got a tour of the newest playable build, a sneak peek of the upcoming system and space station, and watched a brand-new trailer on top of the VR time.

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Choose my Adventure: Dipping my toes into WildStar

Sci-Fi, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
The month of June is all about WIldStar as the game has officially launched this week and I'm playing the heck out of it for Choose my Adventure.

This last weekend saw the headstart, so I was able to jump in a little early and play around with some alts before making the character you've chosen for me. Speaking of which, let's get right to the introductions, shall we?

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Chaos Theory: Touring Tokyo with TSW's Joel Bylos

Horror, Real-Life, Patches, Hands-On, The Secret World, First Impressions, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

It's Tokyo time! That's right, an end to the wait is finally upon us. Come Wednesday, everyone who buys Issue #9 The Black Signal for The Secret World and has acquired The Council's Seal will be able to cross the threshold into Tokyo.

Like you, I've been dying to get in and check out this new zone, the first new area introduced to the horror game since launch. Thanks to a special tour with Game Director Joel Bylos and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen, I was able to preview the first of the three Tokyo zones so I could share that experience with you. We not only explored the city itself, but we completed one of the new -- and might I add, really spooky -- missions and utilized the new AEGIS system.

So, how is it? Let me just say, it's worth the wait! And not just for the creepy homages to the Illuminati handler, Kirsten Geary.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Beating the system in the new SWTOR event

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Beating the system in the new SWTOR event
​I'm not a huge fan of gambling in general. "The house always wins" isn't a motto, it's the truth. But if you have fun while you're doing it, then it's fine that the house wins. However, I don't have fun playing most gambling games, especially the overly simplistic ones like slot machines. Some gambling establishments will claim to have the loosest slots in the business, but I can tell you that the slot machines in Club Vertigo and the Star Cluster Casino are not that loose. But there is a best way to play the game.

On June 10th, Star Wars: The Old Republic launches Update 2.8: Spoils of War, and the casino event called the Festival of Splendor along with most of the patch already resides on the public test server. Over the last week or so, Voidmynx (a.k.a Laura Williams from Gamebreaker's The Republic and HSB Sci-Fi MMO Show) and I have tried multiple methods to beat the slots. And I believe we've found a decent one.

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Choose my Adventure: Goodbye Defiance, hello WildStar

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Defiance, Buy-to-Play

Defiance
​In my final week with Defiance in this Choose my Adventure series, I want to talk about my overall impressions of the game as it stands.

First off, I'm sad to say that I didn't reach my goal of a 1000 EGO rating, because seriously, what was I thinking? I am, however, happy to say that I had fun and experienced more of the game than I ever had before. But will I continue to play when it goes free-to-play next week?

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First look at Civilization Online's beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Hands-On, MMORTS

Civilization Online
Civilization Online's first beta test is in full swing and Steparu has some impressions based on last night's initial test.

First off, you need a Korean ArcheAge account to access XLGames' Civ MMO, but for now, we can live vicariously through Steparu, who describes the game as a "3rd person RTS with RvR mechanics."

Be sure to check out the entire impressions article as well as an hour-long video that we've embedded after the cut.

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Working As Intended: Dabbling in indie sandbox Villagers and Heroes

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Working As Intended

Villagers and Heroes
Villagers and Heroes is not the sort of sandbox that gets a lot of coverage in the gaming press. You can't gank in the game. No one will murder you for your ore or your logs. There are no petty internet crime lords generating scandals or developers being ousted for cheating. Clichéd zombies are not waiting to slaughter you come nightfall. You cannot fall off a cliff or treetop pathway to your death. You never have to walk 10 miles uphill in the snow both ways to get to your house. You don't have to wait in line for an instance. You don't really have to fight at all.

In fact, the worst thing that might happen to you is that you'll run out of energy.

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Choose My Adventure: Week three in Defiance

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Defiance

Defiance
In this third week with Trion World's Defiance, our adventure continues with my Irathient Outlaw as she just surpasses the 600 EGO level threshhold. Considering the fact that this is already higher than I got my original main character from launch, you can tell I'm having fun.

As voted upon last week, I've been trying out a bit of everything I could get my hands on, from Incursions to Arkfalls and the main storyline to random side quests.

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Choose My Adventure: Starting out again in Defiance

Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance

Defiance
For the month of May, I'll be playing in Trion Worlds' Defiance for this Choose My Adventure column. I played the game a bit at launch and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Since then, the MMOFPS has grown significantly, with five DLC packs added to its stable in only one year as well as another season renewal for the Defiance TV show on Syfy.

But does all of this ultimately mean that the game is good? I'm going to take another look at everything while you guide my path a bit. This week, you'll be voting on how I'll spend my EGO points as well as my progression through the story.

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Massively's hands-on with EVE Valkyrie on the Oculus Rift DK2

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Opinion, Hands-On, Casual, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous title image
At last year's EVE Fanfest, the press and attendees got a rare glimpse into something other than CCP's major IPs -- a virtual reality tech demo produced by a handful of developers during their down time. Originally codenamed EVR, this VR dogfighter on the original Oculus Rift development kit drew a surprising amount of attention and went on to win several awards at E3. It's now been a year since that project first sprouted legs, and last week at EVE Fanfest 2014 it sprouted wings as well.

Now named EVE Valkyrie, what started as a side-project has become one of CCP's key intellectual properties and the poster-child for virtual reality gaming. The game's success now ultimately relies on the adoption of VR tech and the appeal of its gameplay, both of which are still open questions at this point. I got some hands-on time with the latest build of Valkyrie during Fanfest to see how the game and the technology that powers it have come along in the past year, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Read on to find out how Valkyrie has changed in the past year and for a first look at the new Oculus Rift Development Kit 2.

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Choose My Adventure: Defiance edition

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Defiance

Defiance
A funny thing happened last week after I decided to play Trion Worlds' Defiance for this month's Choose My Adventure: Trion announced the game will go full free-to-play! Should I consider this perfect timing to show off the game a bit before the transition? Yes, yes I should.

But before I can jump into the game, guns blazing, we have some work to do. Follow along after the cut to vote on how I'll play Defiance throughout the month of May.

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Choose My Adventure: Goodbye for now, Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

TESO
My time with The Elder Scrolls Online has come to a close for this month's edition of Choose My Adventure, and while I have enjoyed myself, I've taken a lot more away from this experience than I expected. One month and 14 levels later, I have not only this character we've built together but several alts spanning every race, class, and alliance.

But did I like the Nightblade the most? Will I continue to play after this Choose My Adventure is over?

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EVE Evolved: Six years of EVE Evolved

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Guides, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Six years ago to this exact day, I joined the Massively crew and published the first edition of this column dedicated to the ins and outs of EVE Online. The column has been home to over 300 featured articles since its creation, offering everything from guides and expansion reveals to opinion pieces, fiction, and tales of real in-game events. It's been my pleasure in the past six years to offer the Massively readers a digestible glimpse into the ordinarily somewhat impenetrable world of EVE Online and to introduce new players to the only game (other than Master of Orion II) that's managed to keep me hooked for over a decade.

It's been a fantastic year to be a fan of EVE Online, with CCP announcing its long-term vision for deep space colonisation and the game being revitalised through the Odyssey and Rubicon expansions. I've had the opportunity to explore both expansions in this column and to share some hands-on experience with DUST 514 and CCP's upcoming dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. There's been no shortage of opinion pieces this year either, with articles on everything from PvP consequences and twitch controls to whether Star Citizen and Elite are a threat to the sandbox giant.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I round up the best articles from the column's sixth year of operation in one place.

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Choose My Adventure: Testing addons in The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Screenshots, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Gratuitous cleavage shot
My adventure in The Elder Scrolls Online continues this week with my Nightblade Fa'saad making his way through Stonefalls for the Ebonheart Pact. As the format of Choose My Adventure has changed slightly, the polls from the first two articles mold my journey through the rest of the month. At the end of it all, I'll give my summary impressions and tips I learned along the way.

This week it's all about addons as I tried out a dozen or so to report back on my favorites. Addons can aid your gameplay in so many different ways, from stat counters to UI mods to quality of (virtual) life improvements, but they're not for everyone. I'm not usually an addon fan because I think they verge on cheating in a way, so I've approached these addons from the perspective of a skeptic. Did they really help my game? Will I continue to use them?

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