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Hands-On

The Stream Team: Breaking a world record with Age of Ascent

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (In-Game), Interviews, New Titles, PvP, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding

Age of Ascent screenshot
If you've ever wanted to be part of gaming history, check out this livestream with Massively's Beau Hindman and members of the Age of Ascent developer team. They'll be attempting to literally break a Guinness World Record for the largest videogame PvP battle, currently standing at 4,075 players! Age of Ascent launched its Kickstarter yesterday and is offering pledge rewards from special in-game ships to dinner with the devs. Join us live at 3 p.m. EDT.

Game: Age of Ascent
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Friday, March 14th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Hitting the Mark: Turbine's sublime Rohan recreation in Lord of the Rings Online

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions

Lord of the Rings Online - Riders of Rohan
I've written before about my on-again-off-again love affair with Lord of the Rings Online, and after finally getting my launch-day character to Rohan a few weeks ago, I think it's most definitely on again.

Yeah, I'm still a sandbox fan first and foremost, and yeah, LotRO is still a dyed-in-the-wool nod to the World of Warcraft school of linear MMO development. But it's got a pleasing topcoat of Tolkien paint that often masks the pedestrian mechanics, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Riders of Rohan and Helm's Deep expansions.

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Choose My Adventure: Heavy Assault with PlanetSide 2

Sci-Fi, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, PlanetSide 2

Planetside 2
Jumping back into PlanetSide 2 is always fun because, as they say, war never changes. Sure, the maps might get tweaked and new vehicles might be introduced here and there, but it's still a contest of shooting one's enemy in the face repeatedly.

For this edition of Choose My Adventure, you voted for me to play a gutsy heavy soldier fighting for the Terran Republic, someone who's not afraid to run into the thick of battle with guns blazing. This goes against every fiber of my nature, but you might be pleased to hear that I'm really enjoying the polar opposite of what I usually play.

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Battlegrounds, arenas, and warplots: How PvP works in WildStar

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription, MMORPG

Battlegrounds in Wildstar
PvE is a staple of MMORPG gameplay, but if you prefer the challenge and adrenaline rush of fighting against another human being while bashing on a keyboard and circle-strafing to dizzying effect, then you, my friend, are a PvPer. And if you've PvPed in other games, you'll be familiar with WildStar's battlegrounds and arenas. But warplots? What's a warplot? That's just one of the PvP-related questions I asked at a press event last week at Carbine Studios with the WildStar team.

Battlegrounds Designer Kevin Lee and Lead PvP Designer Jen Gordy explained to me that PvP is one of the key focuses of the game; all PvP content in WildStar will be on a cross-realm queue. Your level and gear stats will be normalized to provide an equal playing field. WildStar's telegraph system ensures that PvP is extremely reactive, which is typical, but what's not typical is being able to see where your enemy is aiming that AoE or conal attack.

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Time for some thrilling heroics in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Lore, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Humor, Buy-to-Play

GW2
If you're curious about the conclusion of Guild Wars 2's first seasonal living world arc but are too busy leveling up your 15th alt or throwing your savings into the Mystic Toilet to experience that conclusion yourself, fear not: Friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio will do the hard part of playing through the final leg of the story for you. His new 18-minute video will lead you through the showdown as he resists the tug of the gripping plot to make sure to use a bunny finisher and dance on corpses.

It should go without saying that there be spoilers ahead, but just in case: big spoilers ahead!

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Choose My Adventure: PlanetSide 2

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvP, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, PlanetSide 2

Planetside 2
Welcome to this all-new edition of Choose My Adventure! We've made some changes to the way this veteran Massively column works, so I wanted to take some time to explain how things will work from here on out.

In the past, you chose mostly everything for the column's writer to do in a particular game (that you also chose). We've decided to streamline the process and make it more of a three-part "review" of sorts with a fourth part set aside for voting. I will select the game to prevent the recent problems we've had with cheating, and you will choose my path within it. That means there will be one week of voting and three weeks of my impressions of those choices for each game.

So let's go ahead and get into the polls for this PlanetSide 2 edition of Choose My Adventure.

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Hands-on with the Elite: Dangerous alpha

Betas, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Hands-On, First Impressions, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous alpha test
I don't have much history with Elite. I played the original, circa 1985 on my dad's green monochrome Apple II, but frankly I didn't understand a bit of it and subsequently went back to Sundog and subLOGIC's fledgling wireframe Flight Simulator as a result.

By the time Elite II and Frontier: First Encounters shipped in the early to mid 1990s, I was already losing copious amounts of my adolescence to Wing Commander, Privateer, and X-Wing, all of them of course indebted to the space trading flight sim thing that David Braben and Ian Bell published a decade earlier. For all intents and purposes, then, I'm an Elite virgin despite a lifetime of playing nearly everything in the genre it inspired.

And if the Elite: Dangerous alpha client is an accurate barometer, gosh have I missed out.

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EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2014

Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content

EVE Evolved title image
Almost 10 years ago, EVE Online developer CCP Games started a new tradition with the first ever annual EVE Fanfest. The event started out as a largely informal gathering in a tiny venue that allowed players and developers to mingle on a more personal level, but it's now grown into something massive. Over a thousand players now make the annual pilgrimage to EVE Online's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland, to hear what the future holds for their favourite MMO. For many, the event is also a social gathering, a chance to swap stories with other players, and a rare opportunity to meet the corpmates they fly with every day in the virtual galaxy of New Eden.

The Fanfest weekend is typically a packed schedule of panels, talks, roundtable discussions with developers, and keynote speeches revealing the future of the game. While the event is understandably focused on EVE Online, it's recently expanded to cover aspects of DUST 514, the latest goings-on with World of Darkness, and even CCP's new virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. CCP has announced that this year's event will see a monument to the EVE playerbase unveiled in Reykjavik Harbor as well as the first reveal of EVE's summer expansion, but what else can we hope to glean from this year's event at the start of May?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I delve into the EVE Fanfest announcement and speculate on what we might expect to hear from this year's event. Will this be the year that World of Darkness gets some serious news? And what's new for DUST 514?

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Video: The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition goodies

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Previews, News Items, Hands-On, The Elder Scrolls Online

Video by Richie Procopio
Friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio has YouTubed up for MMO fans a detailed tour of all of the bells and whistles included in The Elder Scrolls Online's super-special Digital Imperial Edition. His new video walks players through the creation of an Imperial character, the adorableness of the mudcrab minipet, and the extra bonuses Imperials can brag about. Butt sliders are included! Enjoy it after the break.

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The Stream Team: Piloting an Imperial character in The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Video, Classes, New Titles, Hands-On, Races, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG

ESO Imperial livestream
The Imperial race during the time of Elder Scrolls Online was caught in the (literal) middle of the attack by Daedric Prince Molag Bol. However, some of the citizens escaped the enslavement by fleeing to other outlying alliances. To play this Imperial race, you have to have bought the collectors edition of ESO. But you could settle for joining Massively's Elder Scrolls Online columnist Larry Everett at noon EST today as he jumps into the beta and the creates an Imperial for the first time.

Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Friday, February 28th, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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CCP Games reveals big plans for EVE Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, DUST 514, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription

EVE Online title image
The universe of EVE Online may be best known as a crazy virtual galaxy full of back-stabbing pirates and political betrayal, but for a few days each year it becomes something altogether more tangible. At the annual EVE Fanfest, hundreds of the game's most devoted fans make the long pilgrimage to the game's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland. In addition to the official talks and reveals on the game's future from developer CCP Games, Fanfest plays host to charity raffles, roundtable discussions with developers, and informal get-togethers for players to share their stories.

Last year's 10th anniversary Fanfest was the biggest one yet, with information included on World of Darkness and DUST 514 and the official reveal of Oculus Rift-based dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. This year's attendees can look forward to the first ever live demo of EVE's yet-to-be-revealed summer expansion, hands-on experience with the next major evolution of DUST 514, and playtests of a brand-new build of the virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie.

This year's Fanfest will also see a special monument dedicated to EVE Online players revealed to the world; The "Worlds Within a World" monument will be installed in Reykjavik Harbor and will be etched with the names of all active EVE subscribers on March 1st. It's also hoped that crowdfunded EVE Online documentary A Tale of Internet Spaceships will be premiered during the Fanfest weekend, and we'll reportedly hear the latest on CCP's new EVE comic book and live action TV series. The event takes place from May 1st to May 3rd, and I'll be attending this year's event on behalf of Massively to bring you in-depth first-hand coverage of all the big reveals. Stay tuned!

The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame

Sci-Fi, Video, Guilds, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, MMORPG

The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame
Endgame can be trying; a well-coordinated group can be hard to keep together. The guild Nefarious Intent isn't without these struggles. However, the members have come to the understanding that in order to remain progressive, they have to remain fluid. Join Massively's Larry Everett at 9:00 p.m. EST as he and his guild mix it up in the Star Wars: The Old Republic endgame.

Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: A fond farewell 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
Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game, and Massively's Mike Foster can think of no better place to spend his last Stream Team broadcast than in the hills of Tyria. Tune in and watch tonight as he swings his sword through Guild Wars 2's open world, or log in and guest on the Blackgate server to join him on his final Massively adventure. The action begins at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Free for All: Villagers and Heroes adds bells, whistles, and more sand

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Family, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Crafting, Housing

Villagers and Heroes screenshot
Villagers and Heroes is a favorite of mine, but let's be honest: The game looks old. When talking to Damon Slye, President of Mad Otter Games, I found that many people agree. According to Slye, it's one of the most frequent concerns he hears from potential new players. The engine that the game currently uses is old and needs to be upgraded big time. And that's just what the developers are doing with this large patch and expansion that should be due in early March.

I sat down with Slye, Associate Designer Cameron England, Head Writer Sarah Skibinski, and Head Artist Adam Alexander to discuss just how different the game will be once the patch goes live. I was given access to a test account loaded up on gear, cash, and other goodies. Even though I found my backpacks full, I mainly wanted to look around the game and explore. Fortunately, the difference between the original client and the new one is literally night and day.

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The Stream Team: Cannonballing through EVE Online's deep black

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Online
EVE Online is full of danger. Traveling through the game's low-security systems is an invitation to the pirates and plunderers of the world to take your stuff, and to take it by force. But flying into the deepest depths of EVE's space doesn't have to be a frightening prospect, which is why Massively's Mike Foster is hopping in a rookie ship and daring to test the waters of New Eden's most dangerous systems.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST to see if things go horribly awry.

Game: EVE Online
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, February 24th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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