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LEGO Universe

LEGO Universe publishes new World Build League zones

Patches, News Items, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

LEGO Universe hasn't been out that long (it launched on October 26th to be exact), but NetDevil and the LEGO Group are already expanding the family-friendly MMO with three new zones developed by the World Build League. The WBL, formerly known as LEGO Universe Partners, is a group of LEGO fans from around the world who have partnered with NetDevil to create professional-quality player content. To access the new content, travel to Starbase 3001, jump on the launch pad, and select the new area of your choice. DeepFreeze, MoonBase, and Portabello await.

As you might expect, DeepFreeze is a winter-themed zone where you can build a snowman or ride a Zamboni. MoonBase is designed to delight your inner sci-fi geek, as the low gravity atmosphere lets you high-jump to your heart's content while you're keeping a wary eye out for alien encounters. Portabello brings a fantasy feel to the game complete with dragon quest-givers and other genre staples.

Check out the video after the break, and hit up the official website for more details.

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MMO Family: A parent's look at LEGO Universe

Launches, LEGO Universe, Kids, MMO Family, Family

MMO Family is your resource for leveling a gaming-specced family, from tips on balancing gaming with family life to finding age-appropriate online games for everyone in the family.

Most kids who play video games have at least seen one from the LEGO franchise. There are a ton of them -- enough, in fact, for a whole page listing them. They're fun games; I'll bet you've played at least one of them, at least in bits and pieces in a demo somewhere. After all, who doesn't love LEGOs?

Still, there was a decided "ho-hum" reaction among my team of young playtesters when I announced we were going to test the ropes of the brand new LEGO Universe MMO. Oh sure, they were willing enough, but it seemed there was always something shinier and more appealing to play on any given day than the game about good ol' LEGOs.

Until they played LEGO Universe -- and had a (brick-)smashing good time.

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GameStop throws its hat into the digital distribution ring

Aion, Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, LEGO Universe, Promotions

As brick-and-mortar stores are struggling in this day and age, digital distribution has been taking off into the stratosphere. Seeing where the winds of change are blowing, GameStop has announced that it is joining the ranks of Steam, Amazon and Direct2Drive by offering a digital distribution service through its website.

If players are comfortable sacrificing a physical box copy in exchange for the speed and convenience of a digital product, GameStop's service will allow them to purchase and download games, trials, expansions and various add-ons in the comfort of their own home. Players will be allowed to install the game on one to three PCs, depending on the product. Unfortunately, because the service is being handled by a third party, GameStop gift cards and certificates are not accepted as payment.

GameStop's downloads page
features a number of MMOs for purchase, including Need for Speed World, LEGO Universe, Aion and Age of Conan. If you haven't given Final Fantasy XI a whirl, the Ultimate Collection is on sale for $9.99 in both boxed and digital form.

LEGO Universe launch day roundup

Launches, LEGO Universe, Kids

Many of us at Massively have been looking forward to the launch of LEGO Universe, and we're pretty sure a lot of you have too. Most of us never really outgrow LEGO bricks, so translating them into an MMO format seems like a recipe for fun.

The months leading up to today's launch have been full of opportunities to check out the game -- we took multiple trips into the world of LEGO Universe to check out different areas and report on what we found. In between were interviews, some awards, and an avalanche of images and trailers.

Follow along after the jump for the highlights of the past months, from the launch date announcement to the heaps of just-before-launch-day goodies!

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LEGO Universe releases lots of launch goodies

Galleries, Trailers, Video, Launches, New Titles, News Items, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

The doors to the LEGO Universe have been thrown open in the EU as of today, where LEGO maniacs are starting their own journey into the lands that NetDevil created. Meanwhile, those in North America who didn't get in on the Founder's pre-order must continue to wait for the launch on Tuesday, October 26th. But have no fear, Massively readers. If you're looking for more information on the game beyond the First Impressions piece we published yesterday (and the two smaller impression pieces on the Gnarled Forest and Forbidden Valley prior), then we've got you covered.

Indeed, NetDevil sent us a veritable deluge of new stuff, including trailers, a literal "making the DVD" video, the opening cinematic (voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart, even), and a plethora of screenshots -- you know, in case the 131 screenshots we took for our First Impressions weren't enough. For those awaiting their copy of the game, this should help pass the time a bit. You'll find all the shiny LEGO Universe video newness tucked behind the break, and the bricktastic gallery below.

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First Impressions: LEGO Universe

Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, First Impressions, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

Playing. It's one of our earliest lessons from childhood, and one that we as gamers hold on to with gusto. Let's face it -- in just about every gamer out there is a kid who, at least in some small way, refuses to grow up entirely. We love to play. It's that love, coupled with childhood memories of clicking tons of brightly colored LEGO blocks together, that has made the idea of LEGO videogames a huge hit. Now have a new contender to the LEGO gaming play-space: LEGO Universe. It's a game that has the potential to offer all the things we as MMO gamers would love: an open-ended world, a great known IP that reminds us of youthful days, and the social aspects many of us enjoy.

Aside from this, LEGO Universe also offers many things that parents of young gamers will value. As someone I spoke with recently asked: "What's stopping people from building offensive adult-themed content with LEGO bricks that my child might see?" The answer lies in LEGO Universe's moderation team, known as the Mythran (a shadowy group actually written into the lore of the game), which personally reviews personal free-build areas for compliance. The Mythrans also oversee character and pet names. When combined with a speedchat and whitelisted word chat system, it makes for a very workable solution to keeping kids safe online.

Curious about a look into LEGO Universe? Join me behind the break as I take a more detailed look at this colorful game, and be sure to check out the extensive gallery below!

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LEGO Universe nabs three awards and steals Germany's heart

MMO Industry, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

Germany, they say, is a place where people know good workmanship. If that's the case, then the folks at Gazillion have a right to be proud today. LEGO Universe picked up three awards in Germany lately, adding to the as-of-yet unreleased MMO's pile of accolades.

At the GIGA-Maus awards ("GIGA-Maus" is terrific fun to say out loud), LEGO Universe was given a place of high honor: Best Online Game and Overall Winner in the Children's Category Age +10. The jury seemed to love the game's family bent: "Online games don't necessarily have the best reputation among parents. However, that might well change after getting acquainted with LEGO Universe as there's not alone tech support but a team of moderators working around the clock as well."

However, LEGO Universe's last award may be the best of them all. The MMO was voted third place in the TOMMI awards, which was decided solely by 3,000 kids who field-tested several up-and-coming titles. Seeing as how this is the target demographic for the title, Gazillion should feel like it hit the mark.

LEGO Universe lets pre-order customers start extra early

Events (Real-World), Launches, News Items, LEGO Universe, Family

Anticipation for LEGO Universe has been building ever since the foundation was laid for the game. Considering the way in which players have assembled for the game's release, it seems no surprise that the team behind the game has put together something special for launch. We had known that there would be an early access event to allow players to start piecing things together, but now it seems that an even earlier release is being opened up for "Founders" to start playing -- one that starts this weekend.

Starting at 10:08 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 8th, the pre-order customers known in community terms as "Founders" will be able to log in and start playing the game, allowing them full access over the weekend. If you can't wait until then and still haven't pre-ordered, however, you aren't out of luck yet, as the official announcement encourages players to visit the nearest LEGO store to pre-order the game and get a special mini-figure. LEGO Universe players will have to keep their eyes peeled for further instructions, as the end of the week is quickly approaching, and it promises quite a set of experiences.

LEGO Universe creative director on building a LEGO MMO

Betas, Interviews, LEGO Universe, Kids

The thought of a LEGO MMO seems like a pretty simple one. LEGO bricks themselves are a pretty basic concept, but that doesn't translate to quick and easy development according to Ryan Seabury.

Ryan is the creative director of LEGO Universe, and he gave Gamasutra some insight into how things work behind the scenes. From the first days of planning to the current state of beta testing, the interview is one of the most in-depth discussions of the game that we've seen so far. Ryan explores the possibility of LEGO Universe on consoles, talks about the game's target audience, LEGO's insistence on keeping the in-game bricks true to the brand and even NetDevil's plans for keeping player-crafted structures rated PG.

Check out Gamasutra for the full interview.

First Impressions: LEGO Universe's Forbidden Valley

Betas, Galleries, Previews, Opinion, First Impressions, LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

Welcome back to our series of First Impressions on the upcoming title, LEGO Universe. Before we get started, I must note very clearly that the experiences chronicled here are in the current beta client of the game. The reason for this note is that while my previous experience in the Gnarled Forest was largely bug-free and polished, the Forbidden Valley zone is a microcosm of the bugs that still reside within the game currently. But even with the bugs clearly showing themselves, the zone also has some of the more ambitious art, design, and amusing (if not punnier) quest writing currently in the game.

Curious about how this new area in LEGO Universe stacks up? Join me after the break as we navigate the dangerous lands of the Forbidden Valley.

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PAX 2010: How to build LEGO Universe, piece by piece

New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, Hands-On (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage), LEGO Universe, Kids, Family

The world of LEGO is being destroyed by the mighty Maelstrom. Imagination is being sucked into its evil vortex, and only you and your friends can stop it! Customize your minifig to fit your personality, choose your favorite faction, and launch into battle against Maelstrom and its minions. Save imagination!

LEGO Universe Online
is the LEGO brand's first leap into the MMO genre. After LEGO's success with single-player games, such as the extremely popular Star Wars and Indiana Jones series, it only seems natural for the company to jump into the massively multiplayer universe. The design team of over 150 people has built a wild and whimsical world, Brick and Knob by Brick and Knob, and the crazy thing is, you can add to this world, too.

At PAX, LEGO was kind enough to give me a personal guided tour through this universe of adventure and creativity. Follow me after the break as I guide you through my hands-on with LEGO Universe Online.

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New LEGO Universe trailer: "Bring your world to life" [Updated]

Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, LEGO Universe, Family

The newest trailer from the team at LEGO Universe gives a closer look at what most players consider to be the core of the game: building and customization.

Developers Ryan Seabury, Mads Purup, Randall Furino, and Scott Brown lead us through the different building models that offer varying amounts of freedom and creativity, along with some interesting LEGO twists on character customization. Among other things, the game allows you to decide how you want to die. Do you want to fall apart into a pile of LEGO bricks, or something else?

Want to see all the options for yourself? Follow along after the jump for the newest look at LEGO Universe!

[Editor's note: At the request of NetDevil, we've replaced the European version of the trailer with the US version. Enjoy!]

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New LEGO Universe trailer highlights building

Trailers, LEGO Universe, Kids

With the LEGO Universe release date just a few months away, information on the game is coming at a faster pace. We've gotten game news on everything from pets to factions to character creation, and this latest LEGO Universe trailer takes us back to the basics with a look at building.

The video illustrates some truly impressive building examples as an enthusiastic character sets out to impress his friends with a huge castle and courtyard, complete with a dragon. If a medieval castle's not quite your thing, try a frontier-style stockade, or even a farm.

There is also a bit of battle footage, but the central idea is one that LEGO fans are counting on this game to provide: the ability to build whatever your heart desires. Check it out at the LEGO Universe site.

LEGO Universe unleashes Comic-Con videos

Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, News Items, LEGO Universe, Kids

If you didn't make it to this year's Comic-Con, you're missing out on a brick-ton of new information on the forthcoming LEGO Universe MMORPG. Luckily MMOCrunch has you covered in a piece that mentions the game's four playable factions (Assembly, Sentinels, Paradox, and Venture League). Each faction is built to cater to a different type of player, and though you're probably smart enough to figure them out on your own (you played with LEGO bricks after all), they correspond to builders, warriors, ninjas, and explorers.

While it's not quite in line with the famous achiever, explorer, socializer, and killer metric made famous by Bartle, it's nice to see the LEGO team designing the title with a wide audience in mind. Also debuting at Comic-Con this week are three new videos featuring the factions, Pet Cove and taming footage, and a piece highlighting various LEGO Universe development partners.

Check them out after the cut or at MMOCrunch.

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First Impressions: LEGO Universe's Gnarled Forest

Betas, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, LEGO Universe

Yarr matey, are ye lookin' for more information on NetDevil's upcomin' MMO, LEGO Universe, then we've got a treat for you today! In an interesting move, the team at NetDevil has decided to drop the NDA one zone at a time, thereby allowing us to give you some early impressions of the game while it's still in beta. With that said, I must reinforce that due to the game being in beta, some of this may well change. Nonetheless, the story should still hold true -- and it's a story chock full of pirates, monkeys, bananas and other bizarre things you might expect to find in a place called the Gnarled Forest.

Before we start, I should perhaps explain a bit about the game's known back-story for those who haven't been watching too closely. The idea is that this dark force known as Maelstrom Energy (that's the weird purple glowy funk you see spread throughout these screenshots) has corrupted certain parts of the LEGO universe, and it's your job to help stop it. In the case of the Gnarled Forest, ships full of pirates touched down on the nearby beach and after adventuring into the forest, found large cracks in the ground that contained glowing purple crystals. Being pirates, they figured the glowing purple crystals were probably valuable gems. So, they greedily stuffed them into their pockets and treasure chests, only to wind up witless, mutated minions of this dark force.

Curious? Join me for more on LEGO Universe's Gnarled Forest behind the break, and be sure to check out the screenshots in the gallery below too!

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