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MMO Week in Review: Maintenance mode is better than a sunset

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

AC1
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

As one of the first three MMORPGs ever, Asheron's Call made its mark in the genre with live events, hybrid character development, and a failed but later resurrected sequel. This week, Turbine comforted veteran players with the news that the venerable old sandbox will retreat to maintenance mode rather than sunset in the wake of the company's recent layoffs. The studio plans to make both classic AC and its sequel, Asheron's Call 2, free-to-play and allow player-run servers by the end of the year.

Read on for the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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WRUP: You're doing it wrong

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

IT'S A CLANKET
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game where we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you tell us how we're doing it wrong. This week, we're bidding a fond farewell to some (but not all!) legendary Massively staffers thanks to budget cuts across the AOL Tech and Joystiq networks, so today's WRUP will celebrate the Massively crew, past and present. Clanket sold separately.

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The Stream Team: A fond farewell in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game, and Massively's Mike Foster can think of no better place to spend his last Stream Team broadcast than in the hills of Tyria. Tune in and watch tonight as he swings his sword through Guild Wars 2's open world, or log in and guest on the Blackgate server to join him on his final Massively adventure. The action begins at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Riding into the sunset in EverQuest

Fantasy, EverQuest, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Choose My Adventure, Housing

Choose My Adventure: Riding into EverQuest's sunset
No matter how much I want to hang on, no one can manage to forever; this wild Choose My Adventure bronc is just about to buck me right off, freeing the saddle for yet another rider. But woooeee, what a ride we've had together! From the jailbreak of Gloomingdeep Mine to the infamous Battle of Big Badgers, we've gotten a taste of gaming on the EverQuest frontier. And thanks to ya'll, it's been an adventure worth having.

But the show ain't over quite yet! Before I grab my ten-gallon hat and ride off into the sunset, we've got some unfinished business to attend to. Ya'll told me to go out and poke through the native EQ dwellings, which I surely did. I even got me my own little spread. So come on in to my home on the Norrathian range and sit a spell while we chew the fat and I share the impressions of the run I've wrangled up just for ya'll.

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Massively Speaking Episode 286: The gang's all here

Podcasts, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

Massively Speaking is experimenting with a new technology that will change podcast recordings each and every time you listen to them, offering an unlimited array of opinions and branching conversations. Maybe this time you'll hear Justin sing, or Bree rant, or special guest star Snoop Dog offer keen insight into Middle East politics. You'll never know! And the best part is that you can listen to it again... and again... and again!

This week we've invited several Massively staffers on board to answer a few roundtable questions, a couple of pieces of news, and an interesting mailbag query.

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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The Stream Team: Cannonballing through EVE Online's deep black

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Online
EVE Online is full of danger. Traveling through the game's low-security systems is an invitation to the pirates and plunderers of the world to take your stuff, and to take it by force. But flying into the deepest depths of EVE's space doesn't have to be a frightening prospect, which is why Massively's Mike Foster is hopping in a rookie ship and daring to test the waters of New Eden's most dangerous systems.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST to see if things go horribly awry.

Game: EVE Online
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, February 24th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Grand finale edition, February 24 - March 2, 2014

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

Like two-hour movie specials that end a favorite series or the final fireworks on the Fourth of July, wouldn't it be neat if everything in life had a grand finale? You know, something really special to wrap everything up neatly before you have to move on? Granted, grand finales are by their very nature bittersweet; their whole reason for being is the end of something which you may not have wanted to end. But you can't stop it, so why not make the best of it? Done with work for the day? Join a jubilee! Is the weekend over? Celebration central! Finished with my homework? Party time... oh wait, that already happens enough (with or without the "finished" part!). And The Stream Team is right here with live shows and reruns on Massively TV to help you get the gala going.

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MMO Week in Review: Destroying something beautiful

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

GW2
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

This week, ArenaNet unleashed Guild Wars 2's latest living story update, setting the great city of Lion's Arch ablaze and tasking players with rescuing citizens from an insidious chemical attack and fending off archvillain Scarlet's minions. Meanwhile, Massively's Mike surveyed the game beyond the living story via livestream, and our columnist Anatoli mused on how the living story can bolster roleplay.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Make My MMO: Crowdfunding February 9 - 22, 2014

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

In the world of MMOs, no news is not necessarily good news -- especially when it comes to crowdfunding. Silence often denotes a lack of progress on a game, and that can certainly make investors nervous. Thankfully, many games provide players with updates that we, in turn, provide for you here.

If no news is bad, then news is good, right? Unfortunately, this doesn't hold true. In the case of Star Rider and Hot Rod Hustle, the news is that neither met its funding goals. So we say farewell to these two games from Make My MMO. And Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen's campaign was chock-full of news, but in the end, its Kickstarter didn't succeed either; Pantheon, however, is continuing the fundraising effort on its official site.

At least some news is good! War of Omens also leaves this round up, but for different reasons: Players can hop in and play the game! Likewise, HEX: Shards of Fate and StarCraft Universe move on now that both have moved into testing. Another sandbox, Terrayn, also joins the Kickstarter ranks. To hear other good news, keep reading.

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The Stream Team: Saturday afternoon Dotas

Fantasy, Video, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2
There's no better way to recover from a crazy (or lazy) Friday than by jumping in for a little MOBA action. Today's brunch menu includes last-hitting creeps, stunning enemy players, building powerful items, and of course, buying lots of wards. Join Massively's Mike Foster in Dota 2's three-lane arena as he clicks his way to victory and avoids becoming a first-blood victim.

The action starts at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WRUP: Collectible card job edition

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Collect these and make it work, I guess.
My wife has been getting super into collectible card games lately, so I've designed the world's first collectible card job. You perform thankless tasks that you hate for several hours, and then bad things happen if you don't have enough cards to avoid them. So after four hours of shuffling and meticulously cleaning off all your cards and aligning them in a perfect pile... oh, no. You didn't earn enough cards. Now you lose all of your cards and I take your television.

I think it'll be a real winner.

If you want to work another few rounds, you might be able to keep your pets. Or you could just skip on ahead to WRUP, which is the usual assortment of Massively staff members planning for the weekend. As always, let us know what you'll be up to down in the comments below.

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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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Ask Massively: Why we cover what we do, part three

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Fun fact: The only Brad who beats Brad McQuaid in our network tag system is Brad Pitt.
For this week's Ask Massively, longtime reader Avaera has asked us to do another round of "why we cover what we do," and I am happy to oblige. Avaera wrote,
Can I ask (with what I hope is genuine curiosity) what guidelines you generally try to follow when choosing which news stories to cover? I do understand that it just isn't feasible to cover every update, patch, developer's announcement, press release, expansion, research paper, Kickstarter project, or success/failure story relating to the thousands of MMORPGs out there, but sometimes the criteria seem opaque to me. As an example, since the start of 2014, I counted 22 news articles exclusively focused on Brad McQuaid's Pantheon Kickstarter. In contrast, the active and available MMOs that I am most interested in don't seem to make much of a splash at all. Is this just a reflection of the gaming community's hunger for something new and original, of hype and promises being much more satisfying and desirable than the tangible and playable worlds from which the curtain of hopes and dreams has been stripped away? Is it a reflection of the personal interests of the Massively team, who certainly can't be expected to take up much time with games that simply don't do anything for them? Or is there something unfortunate about the gaming media that unknowingly feeds the hype and disappointment cycle through disproportionate reporting of developer plans and marketing over actual development?
Complicated questions demand complicated answers. What do we consider when deciding whether something is newsworthy?

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Massively Speaking Episode 285: Back to the future

Podcasts, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

DDO
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. With NDA lifts and layoffs, previews and promises, this past week-in-MMO didn't leave us speechless. On the contrary, Justin and Bree have many words to utter about all of the craziness going on in the industry -- almost an entire hour's worth. Can you believe it?

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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The Stream Team: Lots to do in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
One of the beautiful things about Guild Wars 2 is that there's always plenty to do in its vast open world. Whether it's helping a farmer fight off centaurs, fighting giant spiders in a mysterious cave, or cleaning up a few bandit camps for a nearby township, heroic activities abound. Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster continues his quest through Guild Wars 2's ever-changing content. Tag along with him on the Blackgate server or tune in live to watch all the sword-swinging action.

The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, February 17, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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