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The Think Tank: The best of PAX Prime 2014

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, First Impressions, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

ArcheAge
This year's PAX Prime has drawn to a close, as has our coverage, but how did it fare, on the whole, for MMO players?

I polled the Massively writers for their favorite announcements and showings from the con. Here's what we think was the best and most interesting MMO news to come out of PAX Prime.

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Hearthstone announces its sixth season and a new card back

Fantasy, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Boy, I'm super glad that pirates are still a shared point of pop culture obsession.
Are you ready for the sixth season of competitive Hearthstone play? Because it's live right now, complete with a new card back for players to show off. This season offers a nautical look with the Pirate back available through September. Players who have hit at least Rank 20 or higher in ranked play mode will be awarded the card back at the end of the month.

As in previous months, success in ranked play will earn you bonuses toward the next season, but even if you start at or above Rank 20 this season you'll need to play at least one ranked match to earn the new card back. Fortunately, you have plenty of time to do just that if you want your deck to tell opponents that they'd better buckle their swashes.

E-thugs are actively attacking Trion's stable of MMOs, ArcheAge open beta 'going forward as planned'

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Defiance, Trove

Trion Community Manager Ocho has just posted an announcement to players of RIFT, ArcheAge, Defiance, and Trove that the studio is currently under a denial-of-service attack affecting some game services. He writes,
Following last night's ISP maintenance, our overnight team has confirmed a DDOS that is currently aimed at Trion's services. We're actively working with our ISP partners and the authorities on both mitigating its effects and ensuring this group gets caught.

Our live games are up and ArcheAge's open beta is going forward as planned. While the attack persists, there may be some effects on network stability and some website unavailability. You also may need to use the Resend Code option for our login security and RIFT's Coin Lock if the email doesn't reach you at first.

We'll keep you informed as the situation evolves.
If I'm bored of writing about the lame antics of script-kiddies, I'm sure MMO studios are livid about being forced to divert resources to combat them.

Massively's PAX Prime 2014 roundup

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

Sypster
Massively's Justin Olivetti soloed the PAX Prime boss for us this year, and he kicked its butt! His loot drop? A whole week of well-earned relaxation on the Massively golden yacht. Just kidding! Back to work, Olivetti!

We've rounded up all of his awesome PAX coverage below. What did he think of ArcheAge, Warlords of Draenor, and H1Z1? How many parties did he crash? Did he really cosplay as an angry Chua? Read on to find out!

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The Daily Grind: What does your player house look like?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

swtor
Last month we saw the release of Galactic Strongholds for Star Wars: The Old Republic, an expansion that was primarily focused on providing a robust player housing system for the game. Whether or not you play SWTOR, chances are that your MMO has a housing system of its own. The question is, what do you do with it?

Is your house a holding ground for your trophies? Is it an extension of your creative spirit? Did you mold it into a theme house or open it up for roleplay events? Today, go on and brag about your house -- and even show us a screenshot or two in the comments if you like!

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!

Global Chat: Let it go

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Star Citizen

frozen
Now that I've cursed your day by triggering that earworm song from Frozen, you're probably going to be in a grumpy mood. Don't fret; snow empowerment isn't the only way to set you free. Sometimes it's the well-penned prose of MMO bloggers who put to the page what only previously existed in your thoughts.

On today's edition of Global Chat, one blogger and developer has a gaming heresy to share, another has a few harsh words to say about crowdfunding, and a third thinks that the future of the genre is all in getting smaller, not bigger. Check out these great posts from the past couple of weeks!

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Pumpkin Online Kickstarter promises farming and dating

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Yeah, it looks rough, but the idea is great.
If you've ever spend hours plugging away at Harvest Moon and thought that the game would be better if it were online, Pumpkin Online is aimed directly at you. The game is on Kickstarter now, and it's intended to be a combination of the best elements of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing while also creating a robust environment for players to work, craft, and interact together.

Players will have access to a variety of professions and goals as well as the ability to customize the inside and outside of their farms. They can also pursue friendly or romantic relationships with the townsfolk, with an emphasis on inclusive relationships and character options for all players. As of this writing, it's about halfway to its goal, so if you like the idea of an inclusive game or just want to farm with your friends, you might want to toss a few dollars into the bucket.

The Daily Grind: What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in an MMO?

Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous

Zentia
I loved Zentia before it was shuttered in the West, but it has to be one of the most bizarre games I've ever played. Not only did it mix cartoony graphics and Daoist mythology and conga lines in the streets, but you could play a baby. No, really. An actual baby. I rolled my Vajra Guardian (a tanky character) as a baby in a diaper because why not? You don't get opportunities like that every day.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in an MMO?

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!

Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
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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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with The Crew

Betas, Hands-On, Races, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

the crew
Ubisoft's The Crew was part of two different booths on the PAX Prime exhibit floor this year, giving ample opportunity to anyone who would like to take a test drive of this online racing game. Being the brave soul that I am and a driver of several years, I got into an elaborate car setup to see if I had the chops to handle such a machine.

While we didn't get to see the larger world of the game, I did get to race alongside/against three other players in two mission modes. The first mission, which was prefaced with a short cutscene, had us chasing down a target car to ram into oblivion. The second was a standard street race supposedly set up to prove what an awesome driver I am to an NPC. In both of these, I failed spectacularly to accomplish the goal.

I don't think it was necessarily my or the game's fault but the specific game steering wheel used for the demo. It was hyper-responsive and kept jerking around, causing my car to go into unrecoverable fishtails and spins. It was during one of these lovely spinouts that I learned just how indestructible the cars in this game are.

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MMO Week in Review: PAX Prime 2014

Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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, Massively's Justin Olivetti braved the halls of PAX Prime and wrote all the things. Here's what he's tackled so far!
PAX Prime 2014: ArcheAge is a go for launch!
PAX Prime 2014: The mystery behind WildStar's Nexus
PAX Prime 2014: Landmark comes into its own
PAX Prime 2014: ArcheAge is launching on September 16th
PAX Prime 2014: RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion launches October 8th
PAX Prime 2014: Unpredictable water flows through RIFT: Nightmare Tide
PAX Prime 2014: H1Z1's bears will end you
PAX Prime 2014: Going on a deer hunt in H1Z1
PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Shroud of the Avatar
PAX Prime 2014: The Repopulation's Josh Halls on beta, fishing, and houses
PAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online
PAX Prime 2014: Warhammer 40k trains players to think like soldiers
PAX Prime 2014: Defiance defies barriers to play
PAX Prime 2014: Trove moves at the speed of lightrail
PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Undead Labs' Moonrise
PAX Prime 2014: State of Decay takes steps toward something larger
PAX Prime 2014: PlanetSide 2 meets the PlayStation 4
PAX Prime 2014: Marvel Heroes is the industry's surprise success story

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One Shots: The big plunge

Screenshots, EverQuest, Culture, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Miscellaneous, WildStar

gw2
For someone like myself who is mortally terrified of heights, MMOs are not a good form of immersion therapy. I still feel my stomach clench when I fall from a ledge or, in the case of our first screenshot of the day, witness someone else doing it.

"This was my first jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2," Reader Chiara said. "You don't forget those things. I was all excited when I found a secret passage -- I wasn't even aware of the existence of jumping puzzles back then -- and as luck would have it, I found one of the toughest ones. Of course. My character is always camera-ready, as you can see -- even when she's plunging to her death. I think she was trying to wave, actually."

What happened next? In my mind, she'll always be falling, falling. Well, we all might as well take the big plunge into the rest of these screencaps!

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The Game Archaeologist: Ironman modes and elective permadeath

Asheron's Call, Dofus, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Wizardry Online, Star Citizen, H1Z1

wizardry online
One facet of video games that's been around almost since the very beginning is the difficulty level. This has allowed the player to choose how hard or easy a game would be from the onset, influencing factors such as the number of enemies, hardiness of bad guys, fragility of the player character, and available loot (or lack of it). I used to love how some of those '90s shareware titles would mock me for picking easy, sometimes portraying my character wearing a baby bonnet and sucking its thumb. Real gamers, the devs implied, go tough or go home.

With a few exceptions, MMOs operate on a fixed level of difficulty for all of their players. Instead of assigning blanket difficulty client-side, the game world portions difficulty into areas, usually according to level or activity. Some games have instances with adjustable difficulty levels, but past that what you get is also what I get.

This might be changing. A very fringe but dedicated group of players have championed such ideas as elective ironman and permadeath modes for their MMOs, and at least one studio is responding positively to that desire. Would you choose to make your MMO experience harder than everyone else in exchange for nothing more than a bigger challenge and a more "realistic" experience?

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WRUP: WoW's next-next expansion

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you try to guess what World of Warcraft's sixth expansion's theme will be. If you say pandas, time-travel, or orcs, you lose.

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The Daily Grind: Who is your favorite in-game companion?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

swtor
While not every MMO features companions, there are enough out there that I wager you've played a title or two with a strapping NPC at your side. One of my absolute favorite features of Star Wars: The Old Republic is its companion system. The day that I finally earned my HK-51 was one of the most glorious moments of my life, just narrowly edging out the birth of my children and the return of Arrested Development.

Who is your favorite in-game companion? Did you choose that companion based on personality, looks, or general combat assistance? What is one of your favorite stories involving that character?

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!

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