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Hands-On

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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EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Classes, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvE, Hands-On, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

Ragnaros
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 September 12th and is included here by permission.

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day two - Classes, skills, combat

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

Welcome to day two of Massively's ArcheAge launch diary. Technically, by the time you read this, it'll be day three, but you know how these things work. And I know, I know, it's not really launch; it's head start. But Trion's not wiping this weekend's progression, so I'm going to keep referring to this as a launch diary!

Thanks to a bunch of virginal script kiddies who thought it would be cool to DDoS the ArcheAge servers on Saturday, I didn't get to play all freakin' afternoon as planned. That's OK, though, because we've got a lot to talk about with regard to the game's basic mechanics.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day one

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

I'm standing on a sun-baked rock along Nuia's northern coast. The waves lap at my feet, little bubbles are visible just off shore. Wispy strips of white cirrus float overhead, framing a baby blue sky that meets the ocean somewhere beyond a hazy horizon I can't quite see.

I've been standing here a while because there goes the sun, melting into the water and leaking red-orange streaks across the purplish waves as I watch. Up the cliff face behind me, a gaggle of green-named newbs mosh about in the newb area doing what MMO newbs do.

A couple of them make their way down the cliff face to join me. One of them jostles my character and apologizes. He didn't realize there was collision detection and he's very sorry and wow, this game is pretty, isn't it?

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The Stream Team: Getting decked in HEX: Shards of Fate

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

HEX: Shards of Fate
HEX: Shards of Fate is an all-new (well, maybe) online trading card game that raised over $2 million on Kickstarter in 2013 and just recently entered closed beta. Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster will leap into HEX to see how it feels compared to its most high-profile competitor, and to take a thorough lashing from players who are much better at playing card games than he.

Join Mike at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of HEX in action.

Game: HEX: Shards of Fate
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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HEX is not Hearthstone: A look at HEX's closed beta

Betas, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, HEX

530
It's been a while, HEX. Last time I saw you was E3 2013. I hadn't yet started to play Hearthstone, and truthfully, I doubted it could hold a candle to you. In a lot of ways, I was right. It's so much simpler, it's less complex, and at the time, it felt less imaginative. But my card game days are behind me. I don't have the kind of time I used to, so Hearthstone's faster games and accessible drafts (called "arenas" in HS) reminded me of the things I love about the genre while allowing me to keep my grown-up schedule intact and being easy on my wallet.

Just the same, HEX, when I got the closed beta invite to see you again, my heart skipped a beat. I was ready to drop some big money on you, but I've been burned a few times. While I've been in betas and alphas for other games, there's been a trend of letting people pay to play unfinished products. I've been burned, and while I don't regret the experience, I do regret the purchases at the moment. I mean, when a game suddenly disappears from the market, it does make you question your decisions, so I decided we should go out a few times first before I really invest in you.

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The Stream Team: Going deep in Elite: Dangerous

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

Elite: Dangerous
Massively's Mike Foster is a big fan of space exploration. Which is why in tonight's Elite: Dangerous stream, he's going to see what the game's current beta has to offer in terms of venturing into the great unknown. Frontier Developments claims that Elite will eventually contain around 400 billion star systems; Mike is content to visit just a few. And with exploration being touted as a viable career path in the launch version of Elite, it's certainly worth investigating even in its bare beta form.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to boldly go where no Mike has gone before.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: I am Elite: Dangerous

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

Elite: Dangerous
Space is not a very good place for people to hang out. Humans have a specific list of things that are needed for survival, and space is in a continual state of being fresh out of all of them. Thus, the space race isn't just about firing objects into the universe and seeing how far they can go but about building contraptions that deliver enough tender love and care to keep folks alive for the journey. Space travel is immensely expensive and complicated; humanity is still decades or even centuries away from easily accessible personal spacecraft.

Space sims like Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous let you skip ahead a bit to see what things might be like when launching yourself into space will come with all the grandiosity of running to the store for some bread. "Yeah, you have a spaceship," Elite says, "but what exactly do you intend to do with it?"

In this, the second week of our Elite-focused Choose My Adventure, we'll be seeking an answer to that very question.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Five tips for making SWTOR conquests work for smaller guilds

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

Hyperspace Beacon: Five tips for making SWTOR conquests work for smaller guilds
In my last column, I explained the shortcomings of the conquest system in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Despite the issues I have with the system, I still think it's a great way to encourage players to revisit older content, and most importantly, to build guild unity. I know there are some guilds on my server in which members don't even have to participate at all in conquests for that guild to appear on the top ten. But what about those guilds who don't have hundreds of members? What about those guilds who have maybe 20 or so members? Can they even compete?

My guild has about 20 people who log in on raid nights; when the raid is done, maybe five or six will stick around. Now, I'm not saying that this is a healthy state for a guild (we are looking for more members!), but the few dedicated members pulled us ahead. For the last two weeks, our guild was in the top 10, and not barely in the top 10 either. This week we hit number seven, and the week before we were six.

Here are my tips for how your small guild can get ahead in conquests, too.

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The Stream Team: Getting spacey with Elite: Dangerous

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

Elite Dangerous
What happens when you take a space sim rookie, strap him into a starship, and tell him he's free to explore the stars as he pleases? Join Massively's Mike Foster as he discovers the answer to just that question in the current beta build of Elite: Dangerous. Elite, built by Frontier Developments and funded by the crowd, is the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure, and there's no better way to start our journey than by broadcasting our maiden voyage for all to see.

The death parade beings at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: It's lonely out in Elite: Dangerous

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

Elite: Dangerous
In 1990, hurtling across the edge of our solar system at around 40,000 miles per hour, NASA's Voyager 1 space probe performed a quick rotation and snapped a parting photograph of the planet on which it had been conceived, built, and launched. The resulting image, known as the Pale Blue Dot photo, features a tiny Earth surrounded on all sides by an infinite blackness. It was this image, transmitted a distance of 3.7 billion miles at the speed of light, that inspired Carl Sagan to write, "There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world."

In other words, space is big. Really big. And it is into this great unknown, this unimaginable void wrapped in darkness and silence, that Choose My Adventure now boldly goes via Elite: Dangerous, a crowdfunded space simulator (no, not that crowdfunded space simulator) from Frontier Developments. With 55 star systems and 38,000 cubic light-years of space to explore, Elite's Beta 1 release should offer us plenty of freedom to sate our interstellar cravings and to thrive or die as an independent pilot.

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The Stream Team: Seeking chaos with Dota 2's ability draft

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2 Ability Draft
One of the most important steps in mastering a MOBA like Dota 2 is developing a deep understanding of every hero's skills. When you know what a hero can and cannot do, you can play effectively both as that hero and against him/her. But what happens when you take hero abilities, stick them in a blender, and force players to fight using whatever skills they can grab? Ability Draft, that's what.

Join Massively's Mike Foster at 7:00 p.m. EDT as he investigates Dota 2's Ability Draft mode (by viewer request!), where skills are picked up à la carte and chaos reigns supreme. He may win, or he may lose, but in Ability Draft, it's more about the journey than the destination.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with The Crew

Betas, Hands-On, Races, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

the crew
Ubisoft's The Crew was part of two different booths on the PAX Prime exhibit floor this year, giving ample opportunity to anyone who would like to take a test drive of this online racing game. Being the brave soul that I am and a driver of several years, I got into an elaborate car setup to see if I had the chops to handle such a machine.

While we didn't get to see the larger world of the game, I did get to race alongside/against three other players in two mission modes. The first mission, which was prefaced with a short cutscene, had us chasing down a target car to ram into oblivion. The second was a standard street race supposedly set up to prove what an awesome driver I am to an NPC. In both of these, I failed spectacularly to accomplish the goal.

I don't think it was necessarily my or the game's fault but the specific game steering wheel used for the demo. It was hyper-responsive and kept jerking around, causing my car to go into unrecoverable fishtails and spins. It was during one of these lovely spinouts that I learned just how indestructible the cars in this game are.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Warhammer 40k

war40k
After getting the pitch from Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade at PAX Prime, I was given the opportunity to sit down and experience a PvP bout first-hand. I'll share a little pet peeve of mine before we get into the meat of the hands-on, which is that I really don't like it when developers stand over your shoulders at demos barking instructions to you. I wasn't given much of an opportunity to do what I wanted to; instead, I was constantly responding to the dev's commands!

In any case, for a pre-pre-alpha build, I'm somewhat impressed that Eternal Crusade was able to cobble together a very playable deathmatch with several classes and two vehicle types (Rhino and Predator). My first class was something of a lumbering tank, well-armed but a clunky jumper. I opted instead to get a jetpack as an assault trooper, willingly trading firepower for the awesome ability to do huge leaps and be able to clutch on to the side of a building and jump once more.

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Why I Play: ArcheAge

Posted on Oct 30th 2014 12:00PM

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