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Norrathian Notebook: Landmark update highlights the power of players

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

As a long-time gamer, I have to admit: I never expected I'd really see the day. What day is that? The one where a studio says one thing... and does it!

True to SOE's word, the development process for Landmark has been quite open. Between social media, livestreams, and posts, the devs have been very forthcoming about where they are and where they are going, giving players a pretty clear picture of what's going on. But that's only the half of it. What impresses me most about this whole situation is that player input is actually recognized as a valuable commodity, not a nuisance to be brushed aside and ignored. I'm not just referring to the opinions offered during the various Round Table polls either, even though those are a welcome component to the the mix. I'm talking about the fact that players are a driving force behind the direction of Landmark's development. And yesterday's update really brought that fact home.

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Today's Landmark update introduces glass, removes air

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, Patches, Free-to-Play, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Life just got easier for Landmark developers: Today's update introduces new crafted glass props to enhance building as well as makes construction itself more precise by eliminating air when copy and pasting.

Although not a building material (yet), the glass props will enable players to put windows into their homes or construct any number of transparent creations. A more widely applicable change, however, is the ability to remove the air when putting down templates or pasting something. Previously, empty space in a template counted as a voxel itself, meaning that the space would be placed or pasted along with the filled voxels. While helpful in some cases, this same principle caused undesirable effects when trying to combine templates.

As promised previously, the light orbs that were made available for purchase in the Showcase last week can now be crafted in game. Additional tweaks and fixes, including a UI compass, are detailed in the update notes.

The Stream Team: Exploring Origins of Malu's alpha with devs

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, New Titles, Livestream, Housing, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content

It's been quite a while since we have heard about Origins of Malu, the upcoming sandbox from indie developer Burning Dog Media. That definitely makes it a good time to sneak into the alpha and take peek! Massively's MJ is joined by devs today to show you what's been going on since the team pulled back from beta and started reworking things. Of course, MJ plans to give the housing system a go too! Join us at 2:00 p.m. EST for this jaunt through the unique wilds of Malu.

Game: Origins of Malu
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Camelot Unchained discusses resource systems, BOP gear, and housing

Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, News Items, Community Q&A, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Camelot Unchained, Player-Generated Content

Camelot Unchained
The Camelot Unchained devs have just released issue seven of their Piercing the Veil series, blog posts dedicated to answering player questions about the upcoming PvP sandbox. The highlights?
  • Not every tree in the game will be harvestable, but the devs are considering (not promising!) a dynamic resource ecosystem.
  • There will be expandable storage, but inventory management annoyances will be downplayed.
  • The team isn't planning NPC cities beyond the starter cities. The players will be creating that part of the world.
  • Bind-on-pickup gear "does not make good sense for [the] game given that all but the starter gear will be crafted, rather than dropped."
  • Housing will differ in format based on whether it's in the open world or safe zones, and you won't need to be a crafter to set up a basic home yourself.
  • Non-stat player clothing will be in the game.
  • The devs will most likely put limits on guild sizes.
  • Solo play will probably be a viable option.
You can read the complete Q&A on the official site.

You can milk cows in Black Desert

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Black Desert

Black Desert - Can your MMO do this?
Ready for another achingly awesome Black Desert trailer? That's good, because Pearl Abyss has released one that features "everyday life" in its action combat fantasy sandbox MMO.

Activities on display include crafting, trading, mount taming, housing, camping, and even cow-milking. There's more, too, but you should really just click past the cut and see for yourself.

[Thanks everyone who tipped us!]

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ArcheAge feature guide delves into more housing details

Fantasy, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Guides, Dev Diaries, ArcheAge, Housing

You've seen the 37-minute video showing off ArcheAge housing (and if you haven't, you really should); now, you can get all that juicy information and more in one fact-filled feature guide. Trion has released a housing and farms guide as a companion to the livestream that aired last week. Want a concise listing of types of housing and a guide to building the place of your dreams? Check out this easy-to-reference piece that goes into construction, furnishings, and upkeep. Then be on the lookout for future feature guides following the Exploring ArcheAge livestream series.

If you don't have 37 minutes to watch the full original stream, check out the more concise version that hits the highlights below.

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Trion shows off ArcheAge housing in dev video

Fantasy, Video, Previews, ArcheAge, Housing

A new dev video from Trion Worlds showcases the housing system in ArcheAge, including tips on claiming the land and building your new house in the game.

If you were curious about ArcheAge's housing system, the Trion community team shows off the process of claiming your desired land and the details on placing a house from your inventory. Of course, there's an intricate construction process that goes on while the house is being built (in which players can attack the construction site and loot the materials!).

What happens when you don't pay your taxes? Will that lurking alpha player loot the dev team's stone packs? Check out the full video after the cut to see more!

[Thanks to everyone who sent us this tip!]

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Landmark roundtable video on giving the toolset love

Betas, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

In this week's Landmark roundtable video, SOE Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani is joined by Lead Building and UI Designer Jake Sones to discuss the results of a player poll about which Landmark tool needs the most work and love. Sones tells viewers that the results of the poll were even; apparently there's no one tool that needs serious work, just plenty of player sentiment that many of them need something. He specifically addresses changes being made to how tweak mode handles pasting large objects; ideally, the game will detach the preview from the mouse cursor and provide menus similar to those used by the prop tool.

The pair also explain the studio's hesitation in implementing specialized and redundant tools like the cylinder tool, citing microvoxels -- a feature the developers didn't even know the game could do -- as something players came up with that might never have been discovered had every imaginable tool already existed to stifle their creativity.

Enjoy the full video!

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ArcheAge FAQ mentions testing plans, optional subscription, and housing limitations [Update]

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Housing

Trion Worlds has published a new FAQ for ArcheAge today that concentrates on testing plans and core features of its upcoming Western version.

The team said that alpha testing is imminent and will be followed by beta events leading up to launch, still set for sometime in 2014. While fans can sign up on the site for a chance at a key, Trion said that soon-to-be-revealed founders packs will guarantee beta access.

ArcheAge will be adopting a hybrid F2P model including an optional subscription. This subscription will be necessary if a player wants to own his or her own house in the game, as the "limited real estate" will be earmarked for paying customers only.

Trion addressed its level of control over the title in its relationship with developer XLGAMES and indicated that the Korean 1.0 patch changes will not be coming to the West: "We work with XLGAMES to understand and new features that are added to ArcheAge in the East to determine how well they will be accepted in our regions, and then offer feedback. XLGAMES has been fantastic in addressing that feedback as best as they can. In situations where a feature is added that we don't think will be appropriate for our audiences, we work with XLGAMES to modify or remove that feature from our version."

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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The Daily Grind: Should WoW's garrisons count as 'housing'?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing, Subscription, MMORPG

Every time we cover World of Warcraft's upcoming garrison feature -- the one that will grant an upgradeable town to every WoW player -- someone scoffs that it's not housing and shouldn't be considered such. And to the extent that it isn't a house or a zone that you can customize tile by tile or object by object like some of the more epic housing systems in MMOland, I'd agree. Even WoW Insider's Matt Rossi wrote that the garrison system seemed more like "bringing the RTS [genre's] whole 'construct a base, generate resources, use them for battle' gameplay into the MMO" than like the game's farms, let alone like traditional houses where you can stash your loot.

Still, I have to wonder how that's so different from a housing system like WildStar's, which also attempts to create a private and mechanically useful space for players rather than offer a purely creative, mercantile, or social space. What do you think: Should WoW's garrisons count as MMO housing, or are they just upjumped farms?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

RIFT opens up player PvP dimensions

Fantasy, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

This move is in no way meant to interact with WildStar's Warplots.  We don't know what those are.  We've never heard of WildStar.  In fact, we were out of town.  What's new?
Do you like instanced PvP but hate being subject to the PvP maps that the game's designers have put together? Maybe you have an idea for an even better map in RIFT, one that would really give even veteran players a run for their money. Good news, then: Now you can go ahead and make that map a reality with the addition of player PvP dimensions to the game's cash shop.

PvP dimensions are available as part of two-team or three-team Starter Packs, or they can be purchased individually. These maps also give you access to another personal dimension, but their real purpose is letting you build custom maps with the use of scoreboards, damage areas, invisible tiles, and plenty of other tricks to create a truly memorable experience. If you've ever wanted to design an MMO battleground like an old DOOM deathmatch arena, you can go ahead and get started crafting your ideal arena now.

World of Warcraft garrisons won't cost you gold

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, News Items, Housing, Subscription

And it didn't cost me a single silver piece.
You know that World of Warcraft's next expansion is going to feature housing. Not just housing, in fact, since Garrisons are sprawling complexes under your direct control. So you know you need to figure out how you can afford it. You've been farming diligently, even resorting to shaking down repair vendors for gold, although that one hasn't worked out so well. But as it turns out, you don't need to worry. According to a tweet by Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel, Garrisons won't cost you gold.

Feasel specifies in the tweet that Garrisons will use their own resource, stating that more information about what that resource is and how it can be gathered will be available soon. So you can rest easy knowing that your hard-won gold won't be needed to build your fortress. Or you can rest despondent that all of your gold won't buy you a nicer place. Either one, really.

SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion coming in August

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

SWTOR housing
Ready for Star Wars: The Old Republic's next expansion? Ready or not, it's called Galactic Strongholds, and it's coming some time in August of 2014. If you're a subscriber you'll get early access beginning on June 24th, and you'll also get a handful of exclusives including a Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace Stronghold.

Expansion features include customizable player housing known as strongholds, the ability to live on multiple planets, and guild flagships.

BioWare says that housing decor will be available in a number of ways. "Many decorations will be available on existing vendors throughout the game as new rewards for Reputations, PvP, Crew Skills, and more," according to the SWTOR website. "While some of these decorations will be available for credits and other currencies, many will require components created by crafters. Decorations can also be obtained as loot drops from Flashpoints and Operations. Finally, a variety of unique decorations can be purchased with Cartel Coins on the Cartel Market. "

Click past the cut for the trailer!

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Shroud of the Avatar celebrates one-year Kickstarter anniversary with giveaways and events

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Giveaways, Anniversaries, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar is bearing down on its one-year anniversary since the title was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and Portalarium has several giveaways and events planned for the occasion.

The events planned include several hour-long developer hangouts, an all-day hangout telethon on April 7th, and access to Release 4 for backers on the 7th as well. The studio will be giving away an Alienware gaming laptop, a trip to Austin to visit with the team, Founder adventure pledges, and weekend passes for Release 5.

Portalarium also announced that it's creating a fourth housing lot size to fit castles for Lords of the Manor. It's a four-fold increase in size over city lots and even comes with a moat -- because why have player housing if you're not able to drown your visiting friends?

The Think Tank: Housing or bust! Right?

Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Housing, The Think Tank, Player-Generated Content

With Star Wars: The Old Republic's new player apartment system apparently on the way and several other major MMOs set to launch with or receive housing this year, what better time than now to debate whether housing belongs in MMOs? Sandbox fans are probably choking on the idea that it might not, raised as they were on the idea that housing is such an obvious hub for social interaction and creativity, but a lot of gamers can take it or leave it, figuring that they don't really need another resource-intensive place to stash loot in between raids or PvP matches.

I polled the Massively team members to see whether they consider player housing a vital component of MMORPGs. Feel free to chime in!

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