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Neverwinter spoofs game-within-a-game

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, Humor, Neverwinter

Neverwinter has jumped the gun on April Fools' Day with its "preview" of Respen's Marvelous Game.

The idea is that Neverwinter will add a game-within-a-game, allowing characters in the MMO to sit down and engage in some good ol' fashion tabletop D&D: "Respen's Marvelous Game takes place atop a table, with your character being transformed into a miniature statuette. This new event will challenge you on a whole new level. Now you will know what it is like to be on the other side of a tabletop game!"

Of course, this is just a joke. Or is it? Cryptic teased the possibility of earning a green slime companion and said that it will be revealing more details tomorrow.

Senator who crusaded against game violence arrested on corruption charges

Legal, Humor

Leland Yee says don't play with pretend guns, but real gangsters are OKCalifornia state senator Leland Yee, a Democrat best known in gamer circles for authoring Assembly Bill 1179 that sought to prevent the sale of violent titles to minors, has been arrested on public corruption charges.

SFGate reports that the predawn raid of Yee's San Francisco office involved hundreds of federal and local authorities. The ongoing investigation also "targeted notorious former gangster Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow who was once sentenced to 25 years in prison on gun charges."

Senator Yee was previously arrested for shoplifting a bottle of suntan oil and was twice stopped by San Francisco police officers who suspected him of "cruising the Mission District in search of prostitutes."

Yee made headlines in the wake of the 2013 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting by telling gamers to shut the heck up. "Gamers have got to just quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument," he said. "This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest."

Perfect Ten: Why I'm looking forward to WildStar

Betas, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, WildStar, Subscription

Sometimes you just know when a game is going to click for you before you even get much time in it. It has a personality that agrees with your own, visuals that cause your retinas to salivate, features that were probably stolen by devs from your dream journal, and a good balance of comfortable familiarity and exciting newness.

That, to me, is why I'm on board the WildStar train.

Listen, I'm not one of those people who feels that a game needs to "win" or dominate all of the rest of the landscape. I don't care whether WildStar is more or less popular that the rest of the field or whether it goes free-to-play or not (obviously, I would like it to do well so that it doesn't close up shop!). If it's not your thing, fine, but that won't stop me from being giddy as its release approaches.

WildStar is definitely my most anticipated MMO for 2014. Hit the jump and let me tell you 10 reasons why!

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Free for All: How a smaller workload affects my MMO playstyle

Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Miscellaneous

Genia Brain Storm screenshot
As I'm sure you have all heard, we recently went through some budget and workflow changes here at Massively. For me, the revamp meant that I went from three columns, several livestreams, and the occasional news post down to a single column and an occasional stream or feature.

A strange thing has happened, but I can't say that it's uncommon in the industry: Once my workload decreased, my gaming MMO habits changed. I have been sort of reset to the position I was in before I worked so much for this site, back to when I was a silly blogger who wrote and played just for fun.

Allow me to explain.

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Albion Online trailer shows the dire consequences of wardrobe selection

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Humor, Sandbox

Albion Online
"Heroes aren't born, they're made," the new Albion Online trailer states. "You are what you wear."

Sandbox Interactive's latest alpha trailer delivers a humorous illustration of how the gameplay can abruptly change with a simple costume switch. Players have different abilities, including gathering and fighting, depending on their outfits. The trailer's point is that it's important to identify what a player is wearing for his or her capabilities, but also that it's vital not to assume that's the only outfit they own.

You can check out the short trailer and the full press release after the jump!

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

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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

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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Fat Chocobo dashing out of Weight Watchers and into Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Launches, Humor, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Face it: You have gone far too long without seeing a giant chicken's giant butt.

Happily, Square Enix has your well-being in mind, for the studio has posted a preview of an upcoming Final Fantasy XIV mount that is brimming with chunky avian posterior visuals. A brief and bizarre post on the official site introduces "Fat Chocobo," a special mount that would rather not move unless it has food comically dangled in front of its beefy face.

The chocobo mount is confirmed as a special goodie for those who order the PlayStation 4 collector's edition of FFXIV as well as those who have purchased one of the other CEs. No word as of yet what the studio will do to compensate players if said mount collapses after taking six rapid steps in succession.

Perfect Ten: The journey from announcement to launch

Betas, Launches, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

One of the aspects that I love about MMOs is just how dang fun the build-up to launch can be. I know this period can make some people cranky (Jef) because they'd rather have Santa randomly kick in their door, toss in a bunch of unwrapped video games and Minecraft foam accessories, and refuse to stay for milk and cookies. Not me; I love the build-up, the anticipation, and the goofy fun of partaking in all of this with a like-minded community.

There's something awesome about each stage of the journey from announcement to launch, even if it brings out the crazy in many of us. Now that I think about it, if MMOs didn't exist, where would the drama llamas go to bleat out their discontent? Would trolls go extinct under their mossy bridges? That sounds just awful.

I don't care if liking all of this stuff makes me a big lame-o. I eat lame-os for breakfast because they're high in fiber and there's a free beta key in every box. So get ready to face the full might of my unadulterated joy in three... two... one...

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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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Rise and Shiny revisit: Stronghold Kingdoms

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMORTS, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream, Sandbox

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Stronghold Kingdoms is probably one of my top favorite MMORTS titles out there. There are many reasons it holds a special place in my slightly crumpled gamer heart, and I will be sure to get to those, but there are also many gameplay elements that could use some improvement. It's a pretty typical MMORTS in most ways; players build up a town, trade goods, fight each other, and swear loyalty to others. In fact, the genre is quite bloated with games that perform in largely the same way, many of them being delivered to us within the browser.

For many players, these defining characteristics are exactly why they are attracted to the genre. In the same way, shooter fans appreciate many of the same basic mechanics from game to game, and trading card players need specific systems in place in order to feel satisfaction. So the existence of these repeated designs is not a problem for me.

It's especially not a problem in Stronghold Kingdoms.

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The Daily Grind: What's the silliest thing you've witnessed in PvP?

Culture, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

Yes, I was a black mage in the Valentione's dress.  This made perfect sense at the time.
PvP is not generally thought of as something that can be silly. It's serious. It's competitive. It's engaging. And sometimes, it's also something that involves a team running out on to the field wearing holiday equipment and hiding until the other team finds them. I've run several PvP nights with my current Final Fantasy XIV free company, and while some of them are serious matches, by the end of the night we're usually just having whatever fun we can think of.

That's not even counting unintentional hilarity, like avoiding death by running in circles around a column for a minute (that happened) or watching a healer in high-end PvP gear do nothing for most of the match before soloing an entire enemy team (also happened). And sometimes it's even in your favor, like when you're running a battleground in World of Warcraft and the other team barely even manages to capture one objective. So what's the silliest thing you've witnessed in PvP?

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!

Massively Rewind: ESO's crafting, WoW's quickie 90s, and the CU pledge

Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Massively Rewind

Massively Rewind
It's Friday once again, and that means it's time for you to snap out of the work week haze and watch Massively Rewind to catch up on the latest MMO news. Don't worry if this is your first time watching because there's honestly not much you need to do at all. Just grab a cup o' joe and listen.

This week Salem offers up a pair of stories: one involving porn stars and the other all about wiping. Thankfully, they aren't related. ZeniMax released a video showing off the crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online, while Mark Jacobs promised Camelot Unchained fans that there will be no launch delays. Finally, it looks as if Blizzard is considering charging World of Warcraft players $60 for a boost to level 90. Check out the video after the break.

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Rise and Shiny: Inferno Legend

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream

Inferno Legend screenshot
This week's game was a giant gamble, one that I should have known would not have worked out at all. The problem is that I have this crazy inborn optimism that tells me that even though many MMOs look and play the same way, you never know how they truly play until you actually play them. I've literally played hundreds of MMOs for this job and probably a hundred or so before that, so I've seen my share of games that look one way and play the other.

So this week I decided to go ahead and roll in Inferno Legend, a new MMO by GameBox, even though it appeared to be an auto-player like League of Angels from a few weeks ago and other titles before that. I picked my character from five different classes: the Cyclops, Vampire, Samurai, Faerie, and Mummy. I barely got past the incredibly bad voice-acting that was presumably supposed to add life to the characters and popped into the game.

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Massively Rewind: WildStar's adventure time, GW2's Lion's Arch destruction, and ESO's Oculus Rift prospects

Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Massively Rewind

Massively Rewind
Can you think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than by watching Massively Rewind to catch up on this week's top MMO stories? We can too. Fortunately, this will eat up only a few minutes of your day, and then you can go back to cuddling on the couch in a Snuggie and watching zombie movies.

This week, Smedley's tweets once again make headlines, while Elder Scrolls Online gets unofficial Oculus Rift support. And both WildStar and Guild Wars 2 pumped out new trailers this week to discuss instanced adventures and the attack on Lion's Arch respectively. Check out the full episode after the cut.

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Happy Valentine's Day from ArenaNet! Here's the corpse of your vanquished foe

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Buy-to-Play

Lovely assistant displays hideous jungle wurm
Remember when you were in third grade and some other little kid put worms in your desk, and your teacher said he did it because he liked you? Or maybe you were the one expressing the depths of your feelings by delivering creepy crawlies. Either way, giving worms to people has long been associated with affection, and tradition mandates the trading of worms between friends and paramours alike on Valentine's Day.

ArenaNet, the developer of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, has set the bar a little higher this year. We didn't receive just a worm from ArenaNet: It's a giant jungle wurm, one of the terrors of the Bloodtide Coast. Its terrorizing days are over, according to the text on the thoughtful card, which reads, "We pulled this wurm fresh from Tyria just for you! This one won't be bothering Bloodtide Coast any more!" Looking at its bright blue innards, we here at Massively are overcome with emotion. We're also a little bit hungry, and that's causing some mixed feelings. Thank you, ArenaNet.

If you're looking at the tub of nightcrawlers you planned to present your special someone with tomorrow and feeling a little inadequate, it's OK. The bait store is probably still open.

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One Shots: Hello, autumn

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