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MMO Industry

Betawatch: August 16 - 22, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

This building is really taking shape!
Who doesn't want more building shapes? Landmark players can look forward to more shapes to use in their structures, including cones and pyramids. Meanwhile, ArcheAge testers can explore the game again in another closed beta event starting today and running until August 27th.

Not your cup of tea? Maybe The Crew is more your speed? You can pre-order for a closed beta key, as well as picking up some discounts if you pre-order through GMG or GameFly. That beta starts up on August 25th. Rising Generals also hit closed beta testing, so if you'd prefer to take a more strategic approach to your combat, that's an option.

Wait, none of that is what you're looking for? Huh. Well, then, maybe you should just jump on past the cut into our full list of betas, where you can find several other options. As always, if something's missed our notice, let us know in the comments!

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World of Warplanes' latest Flight School video talks team play

Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Warplanes

Wargaming has released the latest episode of its Flight School video series for World of Warplanes. The clip concentrates on crew assembly, aircraft class characteristics, and effective team communication during battles.

Click past the cut to have a look!

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Das Tal's next alpha test happens August 24

Betas, Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items

PvP sandbox Das Tal has sent out 800 single-use alpha keys for its next alpha test, according to the latest dev blog update. The test happens Sunday, August 24, and it's designed to stress test the game's servers.

Fairytale Distillery has also published a couple of alpha weekend videos that show off small-scale PvP. You can view them after the break.

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EverQuest II gifting members a double XP weekend

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

If all that EverQuest II news from SOE Live has rekindled your interest in the game (or if you're already a faithful player), you'll probably be glad to know that there's a double XP period starting today and running through the wee hours of Monday morning.

Members will receive boosts to adventuring, tradeskill, and alternate advancement experience throughout the weekend.

New Elite newsletter features outposts, smuggling, and more

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

The latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter is here, and it's worth parsing if you're high on Frontier's gorgeous space-sim sandbox. Outposts are coming to Beta 2, which might cause some of you to ask "what's an outpost?" Well, it's the "equivalent of the run-down road-side cafe, the isolated fuel station, the research outpost, the deep-space shack where Joe the Hermit lives."

Outposts are generally exposed, zero-G, and unsafe, but they do offer cheap fuel and a place to temporarily lie low. Speaking of lying low, this week's newsletter also features a player-made video illustrating how Elite's stealth mechanics may be used for smuggling. You can view that after the break.

[Thanks Cotic!]

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Camelot Unchained unveils first newsletter, talks vets vs. newbs

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

City State has pushed the first issue of its Camelot Unchained Unveiled newsletter out to backers this week, and the company says that the new format should be "more fun, interesting, entertaining, and informative than our old Afternoon Updates."

Content includes a state-of-the-build section with nods to performance and scalability of the client, server, and patcher as well as an engineering initiative dubbed Team Fireball. There's also an interesting design-related blurb focused on what happens when veteran players battle new players. "No matter what, the difference between a veteran and a new player won't be the same as it is in most, if not all, MMORPGs," explains Mark Jacobs.

[Thanks Maric!]

Ask Massively: Emergency soccer practice

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Today's Ask Massively question comes to us from a reader named Chris, who has had it up to here with you quitters! Yes, you, guy who just AFKed out of Warsong Gulch!
After playing my fifth consecutive round of SMITE with an AFK player, I am fed up. AFKer, quitters, or whatever you want to call them -- they suck. Why is it unreasonable to expect gamers to commit to finishing a simple (even possibly enjoyable) 30-minute activity? Why can't they stay in their seat and just freakin' click some buttons? Leaving doesn't cost the quitter anything, but it certainly sucks for the team you leave short-handed. If this were a little league baseball game, we wouldn't say, "It's just a game, so you go ahead and eat pizza with your buddies instead of playing with us." And why can't game companies find a way to make this problem go away? Reporting systems are just a small step away from absolutely useless!

I know that real-world stuff happens. The doorbell rings, the power goes out, or the kids set the kitchen on fire. But AFK rates seem way too high for just that. Gamers seem to conveniently forget what it really means to finish what they started. And if you can't do it for a simple game, how in the hell will you do it when it is something truly hard?
Unfortunately, I know this problem well. In my guild, we call it "emergency soccer practice," an actual reason someone once gave us for quitting a dungeon group.

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Explore The Crew's gameplay options in new vid

Real-Life, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Races, Buy-to-Play

Ubisoft has released a new promotional video for The Crew which highlights the racing MMO's 1900 square mile open world, its highly detailed cities, and its vast swathes of drivable/explorable terrain. "If you can see it, you can drive there," the vid explains.

Driving off the beaten path can be profitable, too, as you'll occasionally find car wrecks and junk yards from which you can scavenge rare parts to help further customize your ride. See all that and more in the clip just past the cut.

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The Daily Grind: Are MMO mods and emulators on their way out?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Legal, Miscellaneous

E&B
We don't talk about emulators on Massively often because we're forbidden to encourage illegal activities or link or name specific emulators save those rare few publicly sanctioned by studios (so please don't). In fact, we've written before that emulators are a frustrating topic for many of our writers since gamers pour boatloads of creativity and technical skill into both legal and illegal emulators for games dead and alive, creativity that we can't write about even when we'd like to.

I can't be the only one who's wondered whether legit modders and underworld emulator coders are abandoning their craft in favor of more legal ventures, however. There might be more sunsetted MMOs, moddable UIs, and calls for "classic" game versions than ever, but the rise of low-risk crowdfunding, easy Steam greenlighting, and modular multiplayer titles that encourage customization makes me suspect that people who once modded shady MMO emulators or built interfaces for the masses are being lured away to work on something more legitimate or profitable or resume-worthy.

What do you think? Are emulators and modding going out of fashion? (Please don't link to anything illegal!)

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!

Gamescom 2014: WildStar abandons monthly update pace

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Yet another MMO has fallen into the trap of promising monthly updates after launch only to realize that it's not as feasible as once thought. A mere two content updates into the live game, WildStar announced that it will be abandoning its monthly pace in favor of major drops every few months.

At Gamescom, Senior Game Designer Megan Starks fessed up to the change of release cadence: "Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there's always things for you to do. Now that we've put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it's a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it's going out no matter what, we're going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there."

When asked if this is going to be the case for updates in the future, Starks said, "Yes."

Here's Destiny's launch trailer

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Can you spare two minutes and 29 seconds? Are you looking forward to Destiny? If you answered "yes" to both of those questions, you should click that big green button down there and watch Bungie's newly released launch trailer!

The sci-fantasy shooter releases for PlayStation and Xbox platforms on September 9th.

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TERA Korea is getting guild fortresses that float

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, TERA

Let's all take a moment to lament that what I'm about to share is currently specific to the Korean version of TERA. There. Now that that's out of our system, we can appreciate the fact that Bluehole's new guild sky fortresses are pretty dang impressive, even if we won't see them in the En Masse version of the game for a while.

MMO Culture reports that TERA Korea is also removing side quests from the fantasy MMO's quest log and placing them in a new interface nugget called Scouting Command, ostensibly to allow for more focus on the game's main story. But you really wanted to see the guild fortresses, right? Click past the cut for the vid.

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Elder Scrolls Online introduces subscriber loyalty program

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just announced a subscriber loyalty program for Elder Scrolls Online that is slated to start in September. If you're eligible, you'll receive an email and subsequently a High Hrothgar Wraith vanity pet provided that you've been subscribed for three months.

"The loyalty program will keep expanding over time," ZeniMax says, and you'll be able to collect pets and other upcoming rewards once you meet the requirements, so don't worry if you've canceled your sub already but plan to return.

World of Warplanes 1.5 adds PvE

Historical, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, War, Free-to-Play, World of Warplanes

World of Warplanes' 1.5 update is now live, and with it comes a new PvE mode called Battle Against Bots. Wargaming says it's the perfect tool for newcomers looking to learn the game alongside a few co-op companions.

Ground targets have been redesigned as a collection of smaller parts rather than a single objective, meaning that attack aircraft pilots now must account for things like AA guns, ship towers, tank squads, and buildings when planning their approach.

The 1.5 patch has also added a new map called Canyon that offers "a mix between Asian Border and Fjords. There's more to the update, but you'll need to visit the official WoWP website to read about it.

The Daily Grind: Do you comment on headlines before you read articles?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

I'm not a Twitter fan. I never use it outside of work, and the time I spend manning the Massively Twitter feed is one of the least enjoyable portions of my workday. This is due mostly to the large numbers of people who read our headlines via Twitter and then proceed to comment or tweet back without reading the article. I know; it's a game of trolls and the winner gets to feel like a special snarkanaut for cramming his invaluable insight into 140 characters or less and hopefully provoking some sort of reaction. But like all casual games, it gets tiresome rather quickly.

Ultimately, we, like most writers on the internet, design headlines specifically to entice reading, not to sum up a post in 10 words. How about you, Massively readers? 'Fess up: Do you comment on headlines before you read articles, either on Twitter or elsewhere?

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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