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MMO Industry

Firefall gets a Chinese publishing deal

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

Gliding across the shores on wings of rainbow and light!
It's been a long road to Firefall's release on its native shores, but the game has more places to go just the same. Red 5 Studios and The9 have entered into an agreement with System Link Limited to publish the game in China for a five-year period. This will result in at least $160 million being paid to The9 for licensing fees and royalties.

System Link Limited is itself a joint venture formed by The9 and Qihoo 360 Technology Corp, so it's a fairly dense nest of interrelationships. It can only be hoped that the game's release will be met with open arms in China.

[Thanks to SolaRSaphire for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: What's the longest you've anticipated a new MMO?

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

When Trion announced ArcheAge's western launch date last weekend, the first word that came to mind was finally. I'm not looking to bust anyone's chops here, but damn have I been waiting to play this game for forever.

The only other MMO I've followed so closely from its public announcement to its release was Star Wars: Galaxies, and that was only three years of waiting compared to over four for ArcheAge. What about you, Massively readers? What's the longest amount of time you've spent anticipating a new MMO? Which MMO was it?

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!

Star Citizen's Arena Commander V0.9 patch delayed

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

If you were hoping to get your hands on Arena Commander V0.9 this weekend, you've probably guessed by now that that's not happening. Star Citizen's website published an update blurb that details the reasons behind the delay.

It's also worth reading if you're a casual SC follower and weren't aware of all the stuff that 0.9 will bring to backers. There's the new Murray Cup racing map and game mode, a co-op Vanduul Swarm mode, and two new flyable ships (the M50 and the 350R). The update also features Star Citizen's first stab at private match functionality and a few other bells and whistles.

Cloud Imperium says that it "will be working around the globe through the holiday weekend to deliver on the promise of V0.9."

[Thanks Cardboard!]

The Daily Grind: Do you have an ArcheAge guild yet?

Fantasy, Guilds, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge has a launch date. And a founder's launch date. And an open beta date. I'm ready to go, but for the fact that I'm going it alone. I don't have an AA guild, and I've been purposefully steering clear of my alpha and beta access over the last few months so as not to spoil more of the game and instead savor the experience when it counts.

So I've missed the usual pre-launch guild recruitment opportunities, basically.

What about you, ArcheAge fans? Do you have a guild yet, or are you just going to play it by ear?

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!

Make My MMO: August 24 - August 30, 2014

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week's MMO crowdfunding news was headlined by Project Gorgon's second Kickstarter drive as well as TUG's upcoming "major content and engine updates."'

Gorgon is described as having "an unusual, original feel," by creator and former Turbine producer Eric Heimburg. It mixes "ideas from older and newer MMOs with a whole bunch of ideas never before seen in any MMO." TUG, meanwhile, is pretty well documented here on Massively, and fans can get an eyeful of the latest Nerd Kingdom shenanigans via the team's new video releases.

The rest of our crowdfunding roundup can be found past the break.

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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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PAX Prime 2014: PlanetSide 2 meets the PlayStation 4

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), PlanetSide 2

ps2
PlanetSide 2 is waging a war for your attention on two platforms these days. The big push by SOE as of late is to prepare the title for its testing and release on the PlayStation 4. At this year's PAX Prime, the team said that the MMOFPS should be going into a beta later this year after the devs finish refining the UI for use on the controller.

The PlayStation 4 version won't be sharing the same server as the PC, although SOE predicts that it will become the more popular edition due to the number of first-person shooter fans on the console. Great effort is being made to keep the game as fast and responsive as other FPS titles on that platform. As in many other FPS games on the PS4, voice chat will be a must-have for squads.

The team will be attempting to keep the updates for the PS4 edition as close as possible with the release of the PC title. Because of the approval process by Sony, it won't be possible for the devs to assure a same-day release across platforms.

We asked whether PlanetSide 2 could be coming to the PlayStation 3 as well, but the studio said that the older hardware simply can't handle the title without a serious compromise in game quality.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

PAX Prime 2014: RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion launches October 8th; Trove's closed beta begins September 25th

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, RIFT, Sandbox, Defiance

Trion made a bunch of ArcheAge fans happy earlier this evening, so now it's time to do the same for followers of RIFT, Defiance, and Trove.

RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion officially launches on October 8th, while Defiance will get "a massive end-of-September" update called Aftermath that includes new missions and events.

Last but not least, Trove will enter closed beta on September 25th. Massively's Justin Olivetti learned today on the show floor that this phase of beta will not be wiped prior to launch. Players who have purchased currency will receive half again as much back.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

PAX Prime 2014: ArcheAge is launching on September 16th

Betas, Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Yes, I know she turns into a bad angel
And lo, a new MMO came upon them, and the glory of non-linear gameplay surrounded them, and they were sore afraid.

Actually, they weren't afraid. They were exuberant. They sang "funk yeah!" -- their voices an angelic choir -- because frickin' finally, four years after discovering ArcheAge and three years after initially playing it, they received a western launch date.

That date, as we learned tonight at PAX Prime, is Tuesday, September 16th. Other dates to bear in mind are September 12th (the Founder head-start) and September 4th through September 8th (the open beta).

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

Betawatch: August 23 - 29, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Landmark
This week, SOE injected a limited version of combat into its really-truly-still-a-beta Landmark sandbox. Massively's MJ Guthrie streamed and wrote about her initial experiences with the system. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup awaits.

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Study suggests MMOs boost English skills

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Justin
Researchers from Sweden's Karlstad University and University of Gothenburg have found that MMOs might just improve your language skills. The scientists subjected a group of Swedish students aged 10 and 11 to English language tests to examine the relationship of digital games and English ability, gender, and learning motivation. They found that regularly playing online games and MMOs in particular correlates with having a stronger English vocabulary. Yay us!

They also found differences between the genders, though the paper's abstract attributes that to its male subjects' heavier gaming schedules vs. its female subjects' preference for social media activities.

I can't be alone in having MMO guildies whose first language isn't English, and having seen their language skills improve dramatically over the years the more they type and interact with native speakers, I bet I'm not alone in not being surprised, either.

Camelot Unchained alpha postponed half a year [Updated]

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Livestream, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

On Twitter and during a Twitch broadcast yesterday, Camelot Unchained developers announced that the alpha test for the crowdfunded RvR MMO has been broken into three phases and delayed, which will result in a similar delay for beta and launch. Originally planned to begin this month, the third phase of alpha has been postponed until February of next year; devs cited insufficient programmers as the main culprit, though that's a problem they say they've rectified now. Backers will have limited access to alphas 1 and 2, though dates for these have not yet been set.

In a post announcing the new Camelot Unchained website today, Mark Jacobs apologized for the alpha's delay, writing, "I want to thank all of our Backers for their understanding and support regarding the delay of the commencement of Alpha Testing. It is gratefully appreciated by myself and the team."

[Thanks to Andy for the tip.]

[Update: We've included the revised explanatory video below. Mark Jacobs also forwarded us his letter to backers, which hasn't yet been uploaded to the new-new site. We've embedded it below as well.]

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Elite's latest newsletter talks upcoming mission additions and more

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Itching for the latest Elite: Dangerous news? Newsletter #38's got it in the form of blurbs about ship weathering, the Ocellus starport, and Frontier's plans to expand the space sim sandbox's mission framework.

"We plan to build this out as we move through the beta to release and beyond, with escort missions, assassination missions, tail-and-report missions, group missions, policing duties, in addition to guns-blazing mercenary assignments," the firm says.

[Thanks Cotic!]

Black Gold's Campaign of Ashes arriving a week early

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Earlier this week Snail announced that Black Gold's first major update would debut on September 10th. As of this morning the firm has changed its mind, according to a press release that says Campaign of Ashes will instead release a week prior on September 3rd.

The update features a new skill surge system, new high-level gear, new battle carriers, and more.

Tamriel Infinium: Five reasons to return to Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Today seems as good a time as any to mention returning to Elder Scrolls Online. I'm not talking personally, mind you, as I've been playing pretty consistently since early access. The winds of MMO change are doing their thing, though, and I'm seeing a bunch of thinking-about-returning-but-have-some-questions threads at my usual ESO forum hangouts.

Maybe this is due to all the fail trolls glomping onto WildStar while eyeing the fast-approaching North American version of ArcheAge. Or maybe it's because ZeniMax has added quite a bit of post-launch tastiness to its ESO recipe.

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