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Jukebox Heroes: Lord of the Rings Online's housing music

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Housing, Jukebox Heroes, Music

One of the interesting features (but by no means unique) of Lord of the Rings Online's housing system is the option to slot a music box item so that visitors can enjoy your favorite tunes while they check out your pad. Like the rest of the housing system, music boxes haven't been added to or expanded much over the years, but I still think they're pretty keen.

Most of the music boxes contain a medley of three or so similarly themed tracks. Most of these are pulled from all over the game, but some are rarely heard outside of houses, so I thought these deserved another look. Plus, the original music for LotRO is quite gorgeous in spots and holds up very well over the years.

For those looking for a buyer's guide to these ambient themes, may I point you to CSTM? For the rest of us, I have six favorite music boxes waiting for you after the jump.

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WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: The disappointment of garrisons

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Housing, Subscription

This house is not a home.
Once a player finishes the introductory quests for Warlords of Draenor, the Horde and Alliance gangs go in separate directions, and I had slightly higher hopes for the rest of my beta experience. The introduction was kind of a wash, a climactic third act delivered we'd been left out of the first two acts unless we'd read novels and participated in an event that's not yet live. But Shadowmoon Valley was where I could start seeing the pure promise of this expansion realized, the beautiful idea of a Draenor still filled with Draenei before the corruption and assault of the Horde, an alien landscape far from what was familiar on Azeroth. Not too far, of course, but just far enough to feel like we'd really come to a strange new place. And, of course, the first thing you do is unlock your Garrison.

If my first impression of the WoD beta, which I posted last week, was negative, then this is where it took a sharp nosedive into something resembling rage. But let me start off with a statement that might seem to make no sense, in this context: I've always been fine with housing never being a part of World of Warcraft.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic will allow you four strongholds per legacy

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing, Subscription

But how could you ever give up living in the midst of a harsh, trackless waste?
Eagle-eyed players following the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic's next major expansion, Galactic Strongholds, have probably noticed that players will have the option of deactivating a stronghold, which will incur a credit fee if players want to reactivate that stronghold in the future unless it was purchased via Cartel Coins. But why would anyone deactivate a stronghold? Is there an upkeep system? Is it tied to account activity? Eric Musco took to the forums to explain that there's no reason to retire a stronghold now... but there might be in the future.

Musco makes it clear that each Legacy will be limited to four strongholds total, which at launch is equal to the number of different strongholds available. The distinction is there because if you own all four and want to pick up an additional stronghold in the future, you will need to deactivate one. So rest assured that between your four options, you will never be forced to abandon one.

Massively Liveblogs: SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, MMORPG

Liveblog: SWTOR Coruscant Skyrise Apartment
The upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic has the potential to completely change player perception of the game. Galactic Strongholds gives players the ability to own and decorate a home on four different planets: Nar Shaddaa, Tatooine, Coruscant, and Dromund Kaas. Last week, the developers showed off the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace; today, we see the Coruscant Skyrise Apartment.

Over the next couple of weeks, developers have promised to answer questions, including, "Who can visit your stronghold when you're not looking?" and "How many people can visit before your skyrise topples to level 1313?" They also said that they will give an in-depth tour of the prestige system and the legacy bank.

We are liveblogging right now in the comments as the developers are speaking, so join us!

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Hyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hyperspace Beacon, Housing, MMORPG

‚ÄčHyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds
When I first hopped into MMOs way back when Ultima Online hit the scene, I believed that the best thing about the game wasn't the gamey side. I wasn't interested in the monsters that I could kill nor the mechanics of taking down a daemon or a lich lord. I was most interested in living in the world of Ultima with Lord British and the town of Trinsic then. Although my tastes have changed in the 14 years since, I still feel the longing to live in the world created online.

The next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic gives me nostalgic feelings of when I first stepped into Ultima. True, owning a house in UO was more complicated than what Galactic Strongholds gives us, but there is a great level of complexity all the same.

In the livestream last week, the developers gave us a tour of the Nar Shaddaa stronghold and layout many of the decorating tools. The "hooks" on the floors, walls, and ceilings can be configured into many different configurations of large, medium (column-like), and small areas, with a couple of large exceptions, like centerpiece and starship hooks. Developers Troy McCall, Jack Wood, and Eric Musco dropped many items on the floors, walls, and ceilings of the stronghold, showing over 250 items in the various menus. Even if you watched the livestream as it was happening, you couldn't have caught all 250+ items. Let's look at some of the most interesting.

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Take a video tour of SWTOR's Tatooine homestead

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing

Yep, it's time for another housing-focused Star Wars: The Old Republic news story. BioWare has released a new video of the Tatooine homestead stronghold and while it's incredibly brief, the clip offers quick glimpses of the sprawling setup as well as a few examples of how you might use its decorating hooks.

Dulfy also has a still image breakdown of various shots from the trailer. Click past the cut to have a look!

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SWTOR stream reveals the secrets of galactic housing

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

SWTOR livestream
Star Wars: The Old Republic has been touting its next expansion, Galactic Strongholds, for months, but the studio hadn't revealed how decorating will work. During the latest livestream, all that changed. Decorators, prepare yourself; it's better than you might think. We've compiled a list of the highlights:
  • Guilds will have both a capital ship and a headquarters.
  • Sitting, lying down, and leaning are not tied to a specific item; they're slash commands.
  • Multiple groups of people (up to 70 on the livestream) can visit your stronghold.
  • You can place jukeboxes (four were shown) in your stronghold for ambient music.
  • Your stronghold can be decorated only by you.
  • Guild headquarters and ships can be decorated by different people within the guild.
  • You can place your starship (among other large vehicles) on the landing pad.
  • There's no rent or maintenance for upkeep.
  • Strongholds can be bought with both credits and Cartel Coins.
  • Dueling is an uncertain possibility.
  • NPCs can be placed in multiple spots around the stronghold.
  • The legacy bank is an item.
  • Twi'lek NPC table-dancing has been confirmed!
If you have an hour, the whole livestream is available after the break; otherwise, stay tuned next Tuesday for the Hyperspace Beacon's impressions and detailed breakdown of the SWTOR livestream.

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DC Universe Online adding League Halls this summer

Super-hero, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DC Universe Online, Housing

Just because reruns dominate the TV during the summer doesn't mean that geeks need to submit to rehashed entertainment during these months. Why, DCUO has canceled the annual family road trip to pump out a new DLC that's coming later this summer, just to keep everyone happy.

The game's 11th DLC is called Halls of Power Part 1, and it will send player heroes into a new saga looking back at the ancient past in the Fourth World. The DCUO dev team is creating five additional raids, alerts, and operations to go with the update, and players will have six new skill points to earn.

However, the crown jewel of Halls of Power Part 1 is the implementation of League Halls, which looks to be DCUO's answer to guild housing. League Halls will be added shortly before the DLC for free to all players.

[Source: SOE press release]

SWTOR's housing, decor acquisition explained

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Crafting, Housing

BioWare is revealing more of its Star Wars: The Old Republic Galactic Strongholds content today via a new dev diary. The piece details everything from decorating hooks to the decorations themselves, which will be available as loot drops or from crew skills, reputation/PvP grinds, or the game's cash shop. Unlike previous unlocks, decor is available across your entire Legacy by default.

Crafters have some part to play in the process, too, as BioWare says that tradeskillers "of all levels will provide the components required to obtain these decorations."

SWTOR announces new Galactic Living stream series

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing

If you love Star Wars and spend way too much time mentally designing your dream home while watching HGTV, then rejoice because Star Wars: The Old Republic's new Galactic Living Twitch Series will combine my your two weird passions. Your. We're talking about you here, not me. Yeah.

Beginning July 2nd and continuing on Wednesdays thereafter, the BioWare devs will dust off the official SWTOR Twitch channel to preview the houses arriving in the Galactic Strongholds expansion this August.
From live tours of the various strongholds like the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace to a behind-the-scenes look at the decoration items and tools, get an inside preview of all the ways you'll be able to customize your own stronghold in the new Digital Expansion, Galactic Stronghold[s].
The first show starts at 4:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow.

Final Fantasy XIV previews private chambers

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Housing, Subscription

And then we'll get proper houses too, and all will be right with the world.
You devoted a lot of money to your free company's house in Final Fantasy XIV, and now you have it. It's yours. It's all of yours. Except, of course, for the fact that it's not quite yours. Sure, you get a vote about what's in the building, but not sole control. Wouldn't it be nice if instead you could have a part of that house to call your own? That's what private chambers are for, an apartment just for you set off of the main house.

Private chambers cost 300,000 gil and require a player to have reached level 50 as well as the rank of Second Lieutenant in their grand company of choice. They can have 50 items placed therein, and just as with company houses, you can control who's allowed to enter the room. You can't leave your free company while you still have a private chamber, although you can vacate your chamber if you so choose. Read more details on the official preview; this feature will be added to the game with the launch of patch 2.3 next week.

The Stream Team: See Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7

Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, Sandbox, Housing, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

You've seen the crowdfunding, now see the game! Massively's MJ jumps into Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 to show off the current state of the game's development. Additions to this release include NPC collision, player trading, water lots, a 3D over-world map, and more. Join us live at 1:00 pm EDT to peek in and see the world as it takes shape.

Game: Shroud of the Avatar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, June 28th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 adds water lots and more

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 7 access began this morning. It runs through Sunday, June 29th at 11:00 p.m. EDT. Producer Starr Long has posted a lengthy update that details some of the changes you can expect if you're a backer of the fantasy sandbox.

Chief among these are new water lots and water-based buildings, a 3-D overworld map system, player-to-player secure trading, animal reskins and improved animations, and more. Full details as well as a list of known issues and instructions is available at the official SotA website.

EVE Evolved: Four top tips for living in wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
One of the biggest goals you can reach for in many sandbox MMOs is building your own empire and controlling a small corner of the game world. For much of EVE Online's lifetime, that privilege was reserved for the powerful few leaders of the game's large territorial alliances, which carve up vast swathes of space between them. A handful of alliances still control the lawless nullsec regions today, but there are still opportunities for smaller corporations and even individuals to stake a claim in the chaotic world of wormhole space.

Exploring and farming in wormholes is very profitable activity, but permanently moving in and setting up a starbase can be an intimidating prospect. One wrong decision might lead to pilots getting stranded in the void without bookmarks, your starbase coming under attack, or the whole expedition being robbed blind by a corporate infiltrator. The early days of wormhole exploration were rife with stories of hardship, heists, and devastating wars fought through shifting networks of wormholes. A lot has changed since the wormholes first opened in 2009, and today many of those problems have solutions.

In this EVE Evolved opinion piece, I look at some of the ways wormhole life has improved since Apocrypha and give four of my favourite tips for anyone planning to colonise wormhole space.

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Working As Intended: The forgotten fields of Green Acres

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Humor, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Paolo Neo
My first trip to Ultima Online's Green Acres was in 1998. The first guild I'd ever joined had just split up into a bunch of... let's call them "philosophically incompatible" groups, and I was still hanging out with some of the shadier types because I was a clueless teenager in my first MMO and wanted desperately to fit in and hadn't yet figured out where I belonged.

"Hit this rune," my new guild leader commanded. His favorite murderin' weapon was a poisoned warfork. He was not a nice man. "I'm being evicted from my safehouse in Green Acres. Help me move my crap."

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