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World of Darkness drawing inspiration from sandbox survival games while EVE CE goes on sale

Betas, Horror, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Interviews, World of Darkness, Promotions, Sandbox

CCP assured World of Darkness fans that the project is "evolving rapidly" despite recent layoffs, will have a presence at Fanfest in May, and is even taking cues from sandbox survival games for its development.

CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson told RPS that survival games have given the team inspiration for World of Darkness' social dynamics: "DayZ and Rust have shown us the power of a sandbox when you bring it into a more recognizable context. The creators of those experiences often reference EVE Online as an inspiration for their things. We're now cross-inspired by what we're seeing there. How the absence of all these structured game mechanics -– by just allowing these natural interactions to happen -– that is something we're definitely incorporating into how we think about World of Darkness."

Speaking of EVE, the space game's collector edition has gone on sale for $99.99. This 33% discount will last from today through February 17th.

McQuaid: 'Vast majority' of early Vanguard players quit by level two or three

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Vanguard

Vanguard horse and rider
If you can't get enough of the sad saga that is Vanguard, IGN has published an interview with creator Brad McQuaid that might pique your curiosity. There are some interesting nuggets relating to McQuaid's early days as well as the relationship between Sigil and SOE that allowed Vanguard to release, albeit in an early and extremely buggy state.

"The game sold very well at retail. Around 250,000 units just blew out of the stores. But the game wasn't optimized, the client wasn't optimized, and the server wasn't optimized," McQuaid explains. "The vast majority of people who played it early on left by the time their characters hit level two or three."

Prepare to escape from Lion's Arch in Guild Wars 2's next content release

Fantasy, Trailers, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Aetherblade ships surround Lion's Arch
For over 250 years, the city of Lion's Arch has been a place for players of Guild Wars 2 and its predecessor to call home. It's iconic enough that the ruins of the original city can still be explored beneath Sanctum Harbor. Unfortunately, one of Scarlet Briar's mysterious probes has been discovered within those ruins -- and if she gets her way, the people of Tyria may not have to wait very long at all to pick through the ruins of the city's current incarnation.

On February 18th, Scarlet will bring her armies and all of their horrible weaponry to the city in the Escape from Lion's Arch release. Players will join forces with the Orders of Tyria, the allies they've gained through the living world story, and each other to help innocent citizens evacuate and try to mount a counterattack. ArenaNet's Colin Johanson, Steve Hwang and Steven Waller sat down with Massively to deliver both a new teaser trailer and a grim warning: Nothing lasts forever.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online allies with Ed Greenwood to revive Haunted Halls of Eveningstar

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Along with the names Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Ed Greenwood is a keystone figure in the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. It was from his mind that the Forgotten Realms and Elminster sprang, and it's to his mind that Turbine has turned to make DDO's next update something truly memorable. So to celebrate D&D's 40th anniversary, Turbine and Greenwood have collaborated to bring the players an online version of the classic Haunted Halls of Eveningstar module.

Even if you've played Haunted Halls as a pen-and-paper adventurer, you'll be in for a new treat this time around. Turbine's created two versions of the dungeon, one that mimics the original module and an extended version that uses Greenwood's unpublished notes. Plus, for the first time in DDO, Greenwood himself will provide the narration and optional commentary as the module's DM.

We sat down with Turbine to take a look at how Update 21: The Legendary Halls is shaping up and what players will be in for when the past of pen-and-paper meets the present of online gaming.

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Georgeson on Landmark's crafting specializations, NDA, and roadmap

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Crafting

You might have heard a wee bit about this little thing called EverQuest Next Landmark this past weekend. With the surprise dropping of the NDA not even a full day after the alpha was launched, it's been the talk of MMO town. Along with the first impressions pieces, livestreams, and plenty of news, there is a quite a cacophony of chatter about the new sandbox on everything from forums to Twitter. And yet that's still not enough, so we grabbed Director of Development Dave Georgeson to learn even more.

Although currently busy with a slew of EQN Landmark work (if you doubt that, follow him on Twitter), Georgeson sat down with me to talk a bit about the game's alpha and the plans moving forward, revealing some promising tidbits about incoming crafting specializations, fast travel options, landownership, and the upcoming alpha roadmap. He also expounded on the world's shortest NDA.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The official launch of SWTOR's second expansion

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Announcing the official launch of SWTOR's second expansion!
Today, Galactic Starfighter officially launches in conjunction with Star Wars: The Old Republic Update 2.6. Free-to-play players as well as preferred and subscribed players can now jump into 12v12 freeform space battles. All players can choose to pilot one of four Starfighter archetypes: scout, strike fighter, gunship, or bomber. Two team deathmatch maps joined the pre-launch domination maps, giving pilots four possible arenas to dogfight. But if space isn't your thing, BioWare also introduced a new dynamic flashpoint called Kuat Drive Yards that changes every time you run it.

It's not often that the Hyperspace Beacon coincides with the launch of a SWTOR update let alone the official launch of an expansion. This week, I intend to give you all the juicy details of the new type of starfighter, the new Starfighter PvP maps, and the brand-new flashpoint. I also had a moment to ask a few of questions of Producer Blaine Christine and GSF Lead Designer Michael Backus. But first, let me show you a few screenshots from the new content below and a launch trailer after the break.

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Civilization Online is 60% done

Betas, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Casual

civilization online
XLGAMES' Civilization Online is 60% completed, Jake Song said in a recent interview.

Song said that the multiplayer online version of the classic Civilization series is more than halfway done in preparation for its open beta. He also announced that testing should commence in the first half of this year.

One interesting tidbit that came out of the interview was a classification of Civilization Online as a more casual spin on the series that won't require as much time invested as the single-player variants.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Rise and Shiny revisit: Alganon's new expansion

Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Alganon, Rise and Shiny, Livestream

Alganon screenshot
It's been quite a while since I dived into Alganon, the indie MMO by Quest Online. The game has had a bit of an up and down development cycle, but I always found it to be a pretty unique game with a nice mix of mechanics. Granted, according to many readers, the game is nothing but a World of Warcraft ripoff thanks to its similar avatar graphics, but the game is only as similar to World of Warcraft as most other themepark titles are. There are quests, skill trees, and other things in Alganon that you'll find in a score of titles, but Alganon also offers a few things that together make for a pretty unique combination of gameplay in spite of superficial similarities to other games.

The game is still rough around the edges, however, and needs some patching and tweaking in order to be nearly as polished as many other titles. The team is small, and I tend to forgive small teams for the these oversights as long as the game runs smoothly for the most part. Alganon does run smoothly and offers quite a few interesting and immersive systems.

Let's go over what was added with this expansion as well as what's still missing.

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Brad McQuaid on Pantheon's partnership with Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

PantheonIf today's Pantheon Elf reveal and the news that the Kickstarter-hopeful Pantheon MMO has formed an alliance with Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar for some cross-promotional goodies aren't enough for you, perhaps you'd like to hear some of the details from Visionary Realms' CCO Brad McQuaid himself. He provides a bit of insight on the decision to partner with SOTA, offers hints about what players can expect from the promotion besides the special cloak announced this morning, and touches on the impact of Vanguard's sunset on his fledgling MMO. Read on!

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Guild Wars 2 Edge of the Mists Q&A with Devon Carver

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Edge of the Mists
The newest addition to Guild Wars 2's World vs. World map family, Edge of the Mists, began beta testing in late November of 2013. With February 4th's content release, ArenaNet will introduce it to the live game, at which point it will be set upon by Scarlet Briar's forces and players will most likely get to punt plenty of Aetherblades right off the edge of the Mists and into the formless void of the Mists proper. Gosh darn it, Scarlet, this is why we can't have nice things.

It's a good thing Devon Carver, head of the WvW design team, has penned a blog post about the real business of WvW: players punting each other into the formless void of the Mists. Massively got to chat with him about the upcoming release, so jump past the break to get the scoop on what the WvW team has in store!

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Journey to the Edge of the Mists in Guild Wars 2's next content release

Fantasy, Trailers, Interviews, Lore, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Edge of the Mists
Guild Wars 2's new World vs. World map, the Edge of the Mists, has been in beta testing for several months. Soon, players will get to experience it in the live game, along with (hopefully) reduced WvW queue times and new opportunities to beat up players from rival realities. There's trouble in PvP paradise, though, and it comes in familiar red airships.

ArenaNet's Colin Johanson and Meelad Sadat sat down with us to talk about the upcoming content release, appropriately named Edge of the Mists. Jump past the cut to grab some info and watch the teaser video!

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The Stream Team: Alganon's new expansion with Beau and the devs

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Alganon, Livestream, The Stream Team

Alganon screenshot
Join Beau Hindman and members of the Alganon team as they explore some of the features of the brand-new and long-awaited expansion. Come ask questions, or if you've never seen it before, check out the gameplay during our livestream!

Game: Alganon
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, January 27th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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Pantheon interview offers glimpse of economy, housing, and more

Fantasy, Economy, Interviews, MMO Industry, Housing, Crowdfunding, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

With the imminent shut down of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes on the horizon, eyes are turning to the upcoming Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen project spearheaded by one of the earlier fantasy game's creators. Brad McQuaid, first known for his work on the original EverQuest, is looking to fill the niche for old-school games that focus on group content and slow progression.

How much will Pantheon fit the bill as the go-to game for all those old-school gamers looking for a challenging new home? Before the weekend announcement caught everyone off-guard, we nabbed McQuaid and Director of Development Salim Grant to find out a few more details about the game and its economy (no bind-on-pickup!), crafting, housing, and classes and races.

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Trove: You make it, we play it

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Trove

Trove is growing by pixelated leaps and bounds week after week with the community directly contributing to the game's development, Trion Worlds Creative Lead Andrew Krausnick told us in an interview call earlier today.

The title, which is still in deep alpha, has yet to implement core features such as world cycling and additional classes. But what it is adding, day after day, are items and weapons created by fans. Krausnick said that the decision to turn over the item creation toolset to players has been a resounding success, with over 100 weapons created and 10 to 20 player-created items going into the game with each patch. One player even volunteered to create housing trophies for each creature in the game, which the team is now putting in as rare drops.

Trion is rewarding players who create chosen designs with credit in a tooltip for their effort, a special hat, and game access if they haven't paid into it yet. That's right: If you want an alpha invite but don't want to shell out cash, then making a good-looking axe could be your ticket into Trove.

We've got more to share about Trove's ongoing development and a video walking you through player-designed items after the break!

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Captain's Log Supplemental: STO's Stephen D'Angelo speaks

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log

STO Defiant Bridge
Last week we reported on the announcement that Star Trek Online has a new Executive Producer. Daniel Stahl, who held the position for the past several years, has moved on to another "secret" project at Cryptic Studios. The game's new (and returning) EP, Stephen D'Angelo, has taken the chair once again and has already posted his first blog outlining a few of his desires for the future of Star Trek Online. We had the opportunity to interview D'Angelo and ask him a few more questions about the game and what direction he sees the ship heading.

Massively: Congratulations on your new position as Executive Producer of Star Trek Online! Of course, this isn't your first time in the command chair. What's the first challenge you were faced with when you finally took the seat, and how is it different from the challenges you faced the last time you were at the helm?

Stephen D'Angelo: Any time there is a change in leadership, there's a period of learning how the team operates. This time it was a pretty smooth transition, with no significant challenges. I've got a great working relationship with the team, and because there was nothing eminently shipping, I was able to ramp up at a reasonable pace. The last time was much more challenging. I was given the team without warning, and it was only weeks before converting the game to free-to-play. That was a pretty mad scramble.

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