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The Think Tank: Catching up on WildStar's launch

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Events (Real-World), News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, WildStar, Housing, The Think Tank, Subscription

WildStar's launch has come and gone, and I missed it while I was away on a raid IRL (my loot? A legendary baby drop!). This might just be one of the few major MMORPGs whose launch metas I've missed out on in my entire span of playing MMOs since Ultima Online, so I asked the Massively staffers who've been playing either a lot or a little to catch me up on the state of the launch. How did it go from the perspective of the people on the ground (as opposed to the people in the peanut gallery)? I'd love to hear from our readers, too!

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Shroud of the Avatar sells player-owned towns for a steep price

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

An "epic" Shroud of the Avatar update this week revealed that Portalarium is making significant changes to its pledge tiers and store offerings. These changes include the ability to obtain more than one character per account, two additional pledge tiers, and a stretch goal store with horse mounts.

Portalarium also showed off the new row house, concept art for the city of Ardoris, and announced the ability to purchase player-owned towns. These towns won't come cheap, however: Prices start at $750 and go up to $4000 for the privilege.

Shroud of the Avatar will be re-opening Release 6 for play from June 9th through June 13th.

Take a tour of Star Wars: The Old Republic's Coruscant Skyrise

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

Looking for a new apartment in a galaxy far, far away? Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Strongholds: Return of the Colon wants to move you into a spacious Coruscant Skyrise this summer.

In a new video released today, SWTOR shows off some of the looks and amenities of the Skyrise player apartment. As long as you don't have a strong fear of heights, it could be perfect for your character. Check out the trailer after the break and see if this is the pad for you!

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World of Warcraft starts previewing Garrisons

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

Don't tell us we don't want to play the Sims in World of Warcraft.
Garrisons are one of the big defining features for World of Warcraft's next expansion, but we haven't heard a whole lot about them. That's all changing with the start of a new four-part series explaining how the system works and how players can unlock and improve their Garrison, starting with the absolute basics. The first part is available now, outlining the overall scope of the fortifications and what players will be able to do with them.

The short version is that Garrisons will be centrally located for both the Horde and Alliance, but you'll have access to satellite locations in each of the various zones through the expansion. You'll also have choices about which buildings to construct as you move through Draenor, which will affect both the central location and the satellite region -- building a Lumber Mill, for instance, will mean unlocking one back at your main Garrison as well as offering unique buffs while in the zone with the Mill. Check out all the details in the official posting.

Tree of Savior devs gauging interest in int'l English server

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Housing

Tree of Savior
Ready for more Tree of Savior news? MMO Culture has it, and it includes everything from the max level cap (100) to a housing-like feature to crafting and unique items. Additionally, the site mentions that developer IMC Games is seeking input from potential players on the need for an international English server.

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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ESO's Sage talks justice system and new guilds, 'no firm plans' for housing [Updated]

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Housing, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online ship
Now that Elder Scrolls Online's Craglorn is here, ZeniMax is turning its attention to the game's delayed console release as well as future content updates. Creative director Paul Sage told IGN that players will likely see ESO's justice system prior to the introduction of the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, though there is no date for either set of features just yet.

As for player housing, it's on the back burner. "I will tell you that when we get to player housing, and I think it's one of those things that when you have a game that's been running a long time it's one of those things you want to get to, it has to be something that's done differently and done well," Sage said. "That's about all I can tell you. We have no firm plans for anything on housing at this time."

[Update]: Here are today's Craglorn patch notes!

Elder Scrolls Online's Craglorn update is coming tomorrow

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Housing, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online
ZeniMax creative director Paul Sage told IGN that Elder Scrolls Online's endgame-focused Craglorn update is coming this week. "I think we're still at the tail-end of six weeks[.] I could be wrong there[;] it's all a blur," Sage said. "But we're either in the sixth week or the seventh with this update[,] and I believe our next update is fairly on schedule," he said. After it launches Craglorn, ZeniMax plans to unveil the Crypt of Hearts veteran dungeon. IGN also says that it talked to Sage about player housing, the Thieves Guild, and the Dark Brotherhood, but that information won't be available until later in the week.

[Update: ZeniMax has just posted that in fact the Craglorn update will arrive tomorrow: "We are very happy to announce that Update 1, including Craglorn, will hit the live servers starting tomorrow, when we'll be bringing the servers offline to begin deploying Update 1. [...] Offline maintenance will begin on Thursday, May 22 (tomorrow!) at 8 AM EDT for the North American megaserver and at 10 PM EDT for the European Megaserver. Craglorn and the rest of Update 1 will be available to players after the end of the maintenance period."]

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 6 brings better visuals and combat

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Housing, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar's Release 6 is set to roll out this Thursday with a host of new goodies for backers to enjoy. Release 6 includes visual improvements, player-to-player secure trade, additional crafting animations, combat improvements, looting fixes, revised animals, a new iteration of the overworld map, and a "sanity pass" on NPC dialogue.

The weekend's website update was primarily focused on the improvements being made to the game's housing system, including larger abodes and even new types of homes. The Founder Lord Town Home was scaled up to include more rooms and even a secret hiding spot. Meanwhile, the Benefactor Town Home was displayed in all of its glory, boasting several rooms (including another secret one) and twin decks. If living the high life isn't for you, the team also made a rustic barn house featuring two stories and four rooms.

Albion introduces player-driven cities

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Housing

Albion Online city
Albion's latest press release talks up the fantasy sandbox's new player-driven cities. Initially said cities will be empty and will provide players with the opportunity to both claim them and "create whole new societies from the ground up."

"These new cities will be strewn throughout the world, including deep inside PvP territory; these cities will be places where all players, regardless of their guild affiliations, can build houses and storage for themselves, utilize crafting stations and trade at an auction house, access their vaults, and otherwise prepare themselves for venturing back out into danger," explains lead game designer Robin Henkys.

Cities will be owned by a single controlling guild, which will reap various benefits including market and property taxes. Click past the cut for more details.

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

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Working As Intended: What Guild Wars 2 got wrong

Business Models, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Guild Wars 2, Crafting, Housing, Working As Intended

Back in March, I spent an entire Working As Intended column discussing the game mechanics that Guild Wars 2 got right. But that's just one side of the story. In order to be completely fair to the game and to myself, I want to grump about the things it got wrong. Don't take this as utter condemnation for the MMO; we're most critical of the things we love precisely because we love and know them so well and want them to be so much more. And in spite of all the things I love about Guild Wars 2, it's far too often living in the shadow of its older sibling.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Insider previews future updates

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

That's a nice-looking Hutt statue you got there, boss.  And it's not creepy that you stare at it for hours on end every day, not at all.
Do you want to know what the future of Star Wars: The Old Republic looks like? The latest installment of Star Wars: The Old Republic Insider hosted by community manager Eric Musco is all about that, covering the upcoming Galactic Strongholds expansion as well as what players can expect in terms of PvP and community events.

If you've been avidly following every bit of news about the game, you've quite possibly seen some of what the game has to offer, but if you've been a bit out of the loop it's a great chance to check out the new features of strongholds and the refinements made to PvP. Check out the full video just past the break.

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SWTOR releases Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace video

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Housing: It's the year's MMO buzzword, and Star Wars: The Old Republic is getting it come August. BioWare has just released a new video narrated by producer Jack Wood, who previews the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace due out with this summer's Galactic Strongholds expansion.

We've embedded the new (albeit short!) trailer below.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's plan to survive 2014

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Housing

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's plan to survive 2014
Star Wars: The Old Republic launched successfully but ran into issues shortly thereafter because of its unpolished endgame. Despite this, even the loudest haters agreed that the personal story held the game together. Although thousands of people played through the same questlines, players latched onto these stories because they felt personal and unique to the individual player. Unfortunately, the MMO could not retain that individual feel for a number of reasons, including a focus on larger storylines and a considerable staff reduction.

This year in particular, BioWare wants to turn things around so that it focuses on core ideas that made the game enjoyable in the first place. But how does the development team plan on doing that without creating new personal story arcs? Are there ways to keep the players connected and immersed without class stories? BioWare is going to give it a shot.

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Skyforge discusses PvP philosophy and world space

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Races, Community Q&A, Crafting, Housing, MMORPG, Skyforge

As promised earlier this month, the team behind Skyforge has answered another round of community questions on the official forums. The highlights?
  • Expect no Oculus Rift or gamepad support at launch.
  • The game will not force players to participate in PvE or PvP. In fact, "with both types of activity you gain the same resources for character development."
  • The optional PvP will have a mild death penalty: "By MMO standards, it is practically non-existent."
  • The gameworld is made up of both large open spaces and small instances. It is not seamless, but it will encourage exploration. At one point during development, "the total area exceeded ​​50 square kilometers."
  • The team is planning large guild battles of "at least 100 players."
  • Flying and crafting are both in. Housing is a maybe: The "gods have their own piece of 'property' and it's larger than a hut."
Community Manager ​Freitag also mentions that the Allods Team and Obsidian Entertainment will be monitoring player opinion and metrics during the beta for feedback on planned systems.

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