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Xsyon enters early access on Steam

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Launches, News Items, Xsyon, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

Because who could resist this?
Want to play Xsyon but hate the mere concept of not being able to play it natively through Steam? Then we have good news! The game is now available on Steam as an early access title, so if you don't already own the game, you can start playing there. If you're wondering how the game could be considered early access when it's been launched and playable for some time, well... that's a good question. Sharp thinking!

If you're already an Xsyon player and want to have the game on your Steam account, you can shoot off an email to a special account requesting a Steam key for no extra cost. Everyone else who's already playing will just want to look forward to the hopeful influx of new players enjoying the game for the first time.

[Source: Notorious Games press release]

Revival talks about death, decoration, and defenses

Game Mechanics, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Nice rendered still of a house, though.
You remember Revival, right? You know, the game funding its development by selling in-game houses? That one. The developers haven't been quiet over the holiday season, with several recent blog posts detailing the high-end concepts behind several of the game's key mechanics -- for example, dying, which doesn't simply leave you to run back to your corpse but forces you to traverse the spirit realm, fighting off malicious spirits and seeking the Mortality Gate to drag yourself back from the dead.

Of course, you can stay alive longer by making use of combat mechanics like the shield wall to defend yourself from dying. You can also use your continued "being alive" status to take advantage of the decoration kits available for housing, which allow you to convert existing rooms with certain fixtures to more functional equivalents. It's all interesting stuff and worth considering if you're sorely tempted to drop a bunch of money on the promise of virtual real estate.

The Daily Grind: Does your WoW garrison feel like home?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

I've been a fascinated outside observer in regard to World of Warcraft's recent expansion and its much-touted garrison feature. I have no doubt that garrisons have filled a lot of purposes and gone all-out on functionality. It's certainly been a powerful carrot for Blizzard to wave in front of players.

But what I've been wondering is whether garrisons are so functional that they forgot to be personal. In other words, do garrisons feel like "home" in-game even if you can't decorate and customize them the way that you can in other MMO housing systems? Has your character finally set down roots or does this feel like just another mission hub?

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: The 2014 MMO blogosphere in review

Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous

The end of the year is a traditional time of reflection, especially among writers and gamers who want to put a pretty bow on progress and journeys made before the next chapter is explored. So it is with bloggers, as practically everyone is using the last days of 2014 to look back at the year and its MMOs.

So today we'll be going on a trip to see what the blogging community members thought of this year, what they did in it, and whether their January 2014 predictions came true. My summary of each article will be shorter than usual simply because there are so many of them!

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Massively Speaking Episode 328: Back in the saddle

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

The Massively Speaking podcast is booting back up after being shut down over the holiday season, only to emerge in one of the most notorious news wastelands of the year: early January. Still, there are a few important stories to talk about, such as one game soft launching and another suspiciously dropping a certain payment option. What do these omens portend for the coming year?

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.
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Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Kickstarter successfully aided 1,980 gaming projects in 2014

MMO Industry, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

We've been wondering around the office if crowdfunded MMOs are on the downswing after previous years' highs. It might well be the case, but even so, Kickstarter continues to be a funding powerhouse in the games industry.

GamesIndustry reports that 1,980 gaming projects were successfully funded via Kickstarter in 2014, with a total of $89.1 million raised between them. Those projects were just a fraction of the year's 22,252 funded campaigns.

For more Kickstarter and crowdfunding news, make sure to read Massively's Make My MMO column every week.

New Kickstarter sandbox Identity promises 'complete freedom and a focus on player interaction'

Betas, Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Crime, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play

Who's ready for some new Kickstarter MMOs for 2015? How about an ambitious modern-day sandbox? That'd be Identity, an MMO by indie studio Asylum Entertainment, headed up by Mortal Online vet John "Paratus" VanderZwet. The game promises a dynamic, player-run open world, player-driven economy, player housing, minigames like karaoke and paintball, and what sounds like open PvP complete with "player police force, gangs, cartels, [and] businesses."

The title's business model isn't discussed in detail, but it appears to be buy-to-play; VanderZwet says it won't have a sub and won't be pay-to-win: "We hate 'pay to win' games as much as anybody, and will always ensure that items and upgrades purchased with real money will not give a notable advantage in-game."

A 10 CAD pledge is the cheapest with game access; pledges run all the way up to 5000 CAD. Asylum is seeking 150,000 CAD. Closed beta has not been announced, but pledge awards are scheduled for "delivery" by December 2016.

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The Daily Grind: Does your MMO guild use social networking tools?

Culture, Guilds, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

The apparent popularity of ZergID, the most recent social network and online gathering spot for MMO players and guilds, made me wonder just how many gamers actively use these types of tools. I can remember them at least as far back as the early 2000s, when ezBoard was king (remember ezBoard?!). More modern versions, like Enjin, expanded on the message board format to include profiles and calendars and even DKP.

But my guild has shied away from most such tools. We've always had a custom-built website with our own tools, some purchased software and some handcrafted just for us. I wouldn't want to risk losing data on another network, and truthfully, most of my guild's communication is done through other outlets anyway, like Steam, voice chat, and text-based chat channels.

What about you folks? Do you use ZergID, Enjin, or other sites to organize or track your friends and guildmates online?

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: Destiny's rumored DLC, Elite's server blip, Hearthstone's new season

Video, Bugs, Business Models, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone, E-sports

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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Lizard Squad hacker arrested for cyber-fraud

MMO Industry, Legal, Miscellaneous

lizard squad
A form of justice may have come to bear on one of the members of Lizard Squad. Today, police in Britain have arrested 22-year-old Vinnie Omari, who has connections to the hacker group, for alleged cyber-fraud.

The arrest is unrelated to some of the recent activities of Lizard Squad, which includes shutting down the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over Christmas, DDoS attacks on Destiny this past September, and a bomb threat made on a plane carrying SOE President John Smedley last August. Omari was sought in connection to PayPal thefts from 2013 to 2014.

Perfect World founder seeks to take the company private

MMO Industry, Legal, Miscellaneous

perfect world logo
Perfect World may be going private in the future, if its founder and chairman of the board Michael Yufeng Chi has anything to say about it.

Chi submitted a proposal on December 31st of last year to buy up all remaining shares of the studio. He already owns some of the company's stocks, although it is unclear what percentage he has. The company has put together a committee to evaluate the proposal.

Perfect World is the Chinese parent company of North America's Perfect World Entertainment, which in turn oversees Cryptic Studios. It recently appointed Yunfan Zhang as its new COO.

MMO Week in Review: The fastest way to lose $1500 in an MMO

MMO Industry, Massively Meta, 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, a player in EVE Online, most likely someone involved in an RMT deal, managed to kick off the new year right: by getting his unprotected ship and its cargo, $1500 worth of PLEX that didn't need to be transported that way to begin with, blown to smithereens. Is there an MMO Darwin award yet?

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories, though I promise that none will make you facepalm as hard as this one.

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One Shots: Shadow play

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online

Welcome to a new year -- and the best year of One Shots you'll ever see. I know this because I've been to the future (December 31st, 2015) and spent those precious time-bending moments flipping through all of the One Shots column this year. Amazing stuff, people. Really well done.

Well, we might as well get started with your glorious photo journeys! Our very first pic of the year is from reader Becca, who sends us this groovy bit of shadow play in Elder Scrolls Online: "While waiting for a boss to spawn in a public dungeon, my friend Arkslan and my character Rozyn had some fun with lighting."

Great. Now I know what will be lurking under my bed tonight: a sing-songy bard. Terror knows no name, but it does sing harmony.

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One Shots: Midnight sun

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

Reader Sid is out for a midnight fishing expedition in this ArcheAge screenshot, and I have to envy him of the breathtaking view. Although, why not fish during the day? Less kraken that way, my granny always said.

So this wraps up our two-week series of daily One Shots! Tomorrow we'll be back to normal with the weekly column. I hope you got inspired to send in your own screenshots and stories to oneshots@massively.com, because I'd love to feature them!

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Fantasy, MMO Industry, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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