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Launches

Perfect Ten: My World of Warcraft launch memories

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Subscription

wow
I'm really not a big fan of those constant reminders from the media as to how much time has gone by using pop culture as reference points. I'm really not. So I kind of hate myself for saying this, but friends, next month will be World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary! Ten years! How old are we now!

Back in November of 2004, I was a wide-eyed 28-year-old bachelor who had just met his future wife and was generally leery about MMOs to date. Now I'm a grizzled 38-year-old journalist, father of three, and veteran of more MMOs than I can count (because I cannot count past 22). A decade can contain so much history, especially when looked back all at once.

I played World of Warcraft for many years, and while most of the memories have faded and merged together in a technicolor morass, there are a few vivid recollections of the launch period that stir emotions in me even today. Ten years, 10 launch memories. I think that's appropriate.

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BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion launches today

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Launches, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

RIFT
After a brief postponement, RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion will launch today. It opens up the Plane of Water, introduces a minion system, revamps endgame classes with masteries, ushers in endless nightmare rifts of all levels, and tweaks the mentor system to scale players' level upward, not just downward.

Earlier this month, Massively's Justin Olivetti explored the expansion's key features and weighed the pros and cons of the collectors editions. He noted that free players who don't pay for the expansion will be able to play most of it but will lose out on earring slots, Planeswalker: Water gear, and the Manguo League, though some of the restrictions can be removed with in-game effort.

West coast-based Trion Worlds says to expect the rollout this afternoon.

Not So Massively: LoL's world championship victors, Elite's shindig, and Citizen Con 2014

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, E-sports, OARPG

LoL Samsung White
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Sevencore launching globally on November 4th

Betas, Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play

sevencore
Sevencore might not be your typical Cinderella comeback, but the tenacious little science-fiction title will have a fairy tale moment when it releases globally last month after being shut down in 2013.

Sevencore's previous provider, Route Entertainment Korea, Inc. will be merged into Webzen, which will then operate the title worldwide through its game portal. There will be two servers for this launch, one in English and one in Spanish, although there are plans for other languages.

Focusing on mounted combat as players explore an alien world, Sevencore features three races, three classes, and "incredible depth" of customization.

[Source: Webzen press release]

Star Trek Online: Delta Rising is live today

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Launches, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

I look forward to the patch in which Kate Mulgrew reveals that Janeway is now running a kitchen in a prison.
It's time to start boldly going all over again. Star Trek Online's second expansion, Delta Rising, is live today. That means that players can find their way into the Delta Quadrant, explore an expanded level cap, and take flight in a new set of starships as they take on familiar and yet novel enemies. The expansion also brings in several veteran Star Trek actors to reprise their roles: Robert Picardo (The Doctor), Garrett Wang (Harry Kim), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Tim Russ (Tuvok), and Ethan Phillips (Neelix).

Delta Rising introduces captain specializations for leveling past the previous cap of 50, allowing players to reach the ranks of Fleet Admiral and Dahar Master while exploring new specialization trees and unlocking passive and active benefits. But there's no need to take our word for it, as the expansion is live now. Log in, patch up, and head out into the Delta Quadrant.

LEGO Minifigures Online sheds the beta tag with full toy integration

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Family

Internet ghost ships.
Good news, friends! The latest round of LEGO Minifigures is out on shelves now, so if you enjoy buying blindpacked figures and seeing what you get, you can get some more. And this newest series is fully integrated with LEGO Minifigures Online right from the start, so you can grab a new figure, put it together, and start playing with it online in the time it takes you to get back home and get playing. Isn't that fun?

The game has also shed its beta tag without ceremony, which makes sense as it had previously been hanging about in its open testing phase. If you've heard rumblings about the game but have yet to take a peek at it yourself, there's a new trailer just past the cut designed to show off what you can do in the game once you assemble some figures.

[Source: Funcom press release]

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ArcheAge boasts two million registered players

Fantasy, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Subscription

Next month, meanwhile, is a different story.
ArcheAge's local launch has gone pretty well, according to producer Scott Hartsman. A recent letter to the players confirms last week's whispers that over two million players have registered for the game, which certainly goes a long way to explaining those launch queues. Between North America and Europe, the game currently has 21 active servers in total, and Hartsman stated that character creation restrictions are being rolled back as the populations begin to stabilize.

The letter goes on to address the issue of bots, many of which have already been unceremoniously ejected from the game. The game's most recent patch restricts chatting in several channels (Faction, Trade, Nation, Shout, and Need Party) to characters who are level 15 or higher, and a learning anti-spam feature is on track to be integrated into the base game. There's also discussion about catching up with holiday content and the like, so those two million registered players should have plenty of stuff to do.

The Daily Grind: Are you happy with the MMO genre at the moment?

Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

Now that WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge have gotten their launches out of the way, it's kinda slim pickings for players looking forward to the next big MMO. There really isn't one in the pipeline unless you count Warlords of Draenor. And I'm not counting it because it's an expansion and it's more of the same old Blizzard.

The MMO genre we've got today is basically the MMO genre we're going to have for the next little while, barring some out-of-nowhere new game announcement. So, how do you feel about that? Are you happy with the MMO genre at the moment? Why or why not?

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!

Betawatch: September 20 - 26, 2014

Betas, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Trove
Trion Worlds ended Trove's alpha yesterday... and soft-launched its paid beta (complete with a brand-new class) in its place. Beta, mind you, will not be wiped again, but you've still got to pony up for a starter pack of one flavor or another to access it. What else is new in the land of MMO testing this week? Read on for the complete Betawatch roundup.

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Derek Smart responds to Line of Defense early access mishaps

Betas, Sci-Fi, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Well, we all knew how this would go down once we got on this ship.
So guess what happens when you flag a game as both early access and free-to-play on Steam? Apparently, everyone can get in and play with or without buying the founder's packs that your game is selling. That was the lesson that the Line of Defense crew learned last week when that exact scenario took place. Some players were a little miffed by that turn of events, which led to Derek Smart's penning an explanation and response to the situation.

Smart lambastes those who peppered the game's store page with negative reviews based upon the unexpectedly revoked access, claiming that those who did not own the game but submitted negative reviews were violating the terms of service for Steam. He stresses that the game is currently still very much in testing and access is not being given away to any form of media simply because the game is far from feature-complete at this time. You can read the full update on the official site.

Massively interviews Trion's Scott Hartsman on ArcheAge's rocky launch

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, MMORPG

ArcheAge
ArcheAge's server issues, endless queues, and housing woes are the subject of hot debate in comment sections across the MMO world this week as players wonder just how in the heck the sandbox's launch went so awry. Massively spoke to Trion Worlds' Scott Hartsman to ask him exactly what went wrong with the launch and what the studio is doing to fix it.

Massively: Prior to the head start, Trion seemed to be aware of the huge interest in ArcheAge, citing a million signups for beta and knowing of the launch problems faced when the game launched in other countries. And yet Trion has seemed largely unprepared for the deluge of players for the head start and even for the F2P launch. Why? Were there really far more people trying to play than expected?

Scott Hartsman: Yes. There's a lot of science that goes into forecasting how many people are going to show up for a new game, when they're going to show up, and how long they'll stick around. Beyond that, external factors such as what else is going on in online games can also have a huge impact.

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ArcheAge opens still more servers, promises compensation [Updated]

Fantasy, Business Models, Launches, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge
Trion's Scott Hartsman has delivered a "progress report" following another shaky weekend for ArcheAge's servers. He writes that patron queueing changes and three new North American servers (Ezi and Lucius Saturday and Calleil yesterday) have helped alleviate some though far from all of the login issues and queue times. To Europeans, he issues an apology, saying the new hardware for that region is still in customs and should arrive Tuesday. Daily restarts will also "flush out AFKs clogging the server," and he claims that around 10,000 botters and fraudsters have been recently banned.

What about the reportedly long customer service wait times?
"Our CS capacity has continuously been increasing even in the short time since launch. Chat wait times are about two thirds faster than what they were last week, even though the weekend's been the busiest time ArcheAge has seen as a whole. We're still pushing hard here to make sure even more people are wanting to help, and the next group of folks ready to help starts work first thing Monday morning."
Hartsman notes that players will likely be compensated for last week's problems. "We are continuing to look into ways to make sure that everyone's made good for their troubles during this launch," he wrote.

We have reached out to Trion to follow up. [Update #2: Hartsman has spoken to us about the game's launch troubles here.] [Update #1: Trion says the EU hardware has cleared customs early and is currently being set up.]

The Stream Team: Wandering through Wakfu on Steam

Fantasy, Video, Launches, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team

Wakfu has launched on Steam, and Massively's MJ is taking her first steps into the game to check it out. That means there is plenty to of places to explore while wandering around this world. There's also crafting, cannons, and a host of other things to get into (including trouble!). What kinda of adventures will she uncover? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to see!

Game: Wakfu
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, September 19th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Wakfu lands on Steam, nixes subs

Fantasy, Business Models, Launches, Free-to-Play

The unique tactical MMO Wakfu is getting sort of a re-launch today with a debut on Steam. This "new and revamped" version of the game will feature a new beginner experience and completely eliminate subscriptions. The studio is selling booster packs as one of the ways to make ends meet.

Ankama COO Olivier Comte celebrated the release: "We are proud to bring Wakfu on Steam and give the opportunity to more and more players to discover this universe. We are starting with English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Thai players, but more will follow soon."

[Source: Ankama press release]

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