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The Stream Team: Becoming a TERA BAM killer

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, TERA, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG

TERA
En Masse's Kickstarter-esque Bam Killer TERA event is too adorable for Massively's Mike Foster to pass up, so tonight he's lacing up his lancer boots and setting off on a course for monsters and mayhem. Join him as he scours the world for BAMs (Big Ass Monsters) to kill and works to help TERA's community reach its murderous stretch goals. The ultimate goal is five million BAM kills in 21 days; surely Mike can put a considerable dent in that number?

The action starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: TERA
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, August 29th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Get Skyforge closed beta keys in a social media scavenger hunt

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, Giveaways, MMORPG, Skyforge

Did the upcoming title Skyforge grab your attention during its Gamescom panel earlier this month? Are you now looking forward to delving into the class-swapping system for yourself? If so, we've got good news: You have the chance to nab a key that guarantees access to the closed beta! Obsidian is having a scavenger hunt giveaway on the game's official Twitter and FaceBook page, getting a total of 100 keys into the hands of fans. Numerous keys have been posted already, so if you want one of them, keep your eyes peeled. If you don't win, however, you can still sign up for a chance to get one on the official site.

[Thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!]

Choose My Adventure: Firefall as it stands

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Firefall, MMORPG

Firefall
As I noted in the first week of this month's truncated Choose My Adventure, Firefall is finally an honest to goodness real-life video game. The extended extended beta is over, the launch trailer has released, and the game has been cut loose into the world. One might argue that Red 5 is now officially out of excuses; if something isn't satisfactory in Firefall, it must be unsatisfactory by design. We have stepped beyond the point where "it's a beta" is a fair explanation of the game's rougher edges.

Because what we're dealing with is theoretically intended to be a full retail product, it's not useful to talk about what Firefall used to be, nor is it useful to speculate on what Firefall might become. The only honest evaluation of the game, if evaluation is the goal, must center on the current iteration of the product, the one that Red 5 considered complete enough to release as the finished version of its vision. Is Firefall, in its current state, worth playing? Does it offer enough content to keep players engaged? Is it finally delivering on the promise we have glimpsed in its systems?

For the first time since my initial encounter with the game in early 2013, I'd say the answer is yes.

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The Stream Team: Firefall's farewell

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Firefall
Massively's Mike Foster is prepping for one last go-round with Firefall, the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure. According to the results from last week's poll, readers are hoping to catch a glimpse of Firefall's newly-implemented campaign in action. So, with guns blazing and rocket boots flaming, Mike steps once more unto the breach. Join him live at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR conquests are good but not there yet

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Guilds, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Crafting, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR conquests are good but not there yet
I'm writing this late on Sunday night, and I have some disappointing news: My Star Wars: The Old Republic guild did not make the top 10 on the planet we were attempting to conquer. It's partly my fault; I happened to choose the planet that would be the most hotly contested. Who knew that other guilds would flock to Makeb when conquests went live?

It wasn't all bad. In fact, I'd say that SWTOR kind of pulled our guild together a bit. We participated in content we hadn't done in a long time. It was a rallying cry for us: "Hey, look, this stuff is fun, and you can still have fun doing it." On top of that, it's reintroduced the idea that open-world PvP is possible. But with all the good that it's done -- player housing, guild housing, and open-world PvP -- there are somethings that have fallen short of what it could be.

I think the best way to explain is to tell you about my week.

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The Stream Team: Shooting all the things in Firefall

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Red 5's Firefall
If there's one thing you can say about Firefall, it's that there's never a shortage of things to shoot. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he continues his adventures in Firefall by exploring the world, checking our ARES jobs, and shooting everything silly enough to come within his field of vision. There's only one week left of Choose My Adventure for Firefall, so now's the time to come along for the jet boot-powered ride. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Exploring Firefall's campaign

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Firefall's rocket boots in action.
Firefall's second Choose My Adventure is in full swing, and Massively's Mike Foster is leaping headlong into the game's recently added campaign to see if Red 5 has finally delivered the epic experience it has been promising players since 2012. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of Firefall's PvE content; if you're interested in grouping up, Mike's Firefall character is named GiantButt, which he swears came from the random name generator.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: The distraught wives of Firefall

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Firefall, MMORPG

"There is no problem in this world a gun can't solve." These words, to my knowledge, are never explicitly stated in Firefall. There's no wise-in-his-grizzledness war veteran to rub his stubbled chin, frown into the distance, and impart such wisdom upon the player. But make no mistake, Firefall's world is one in which most tough situations are resolved with the thunderclap of gunfire. In Firefall's New Eden, violence really is the answer.

In last week's Choose My Adventure column, I asked you to help guide my path through this dangerous world, to give my character an identity, a role to play, and a purpose to fulfill. Votes were cast; suggestions were made. I've since created a new character and blasted my way through the re-re-re-re-designed tutorial/opening experience. And while I am, as always, having a wonderful time, I still can't get over my one recurring Fireball criticism: I'm shooting a lots of stuff but I don't care or know why.

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EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been playing EVE Online lately or just following the major events in the game, it can't have escaped your notice that nullsec has become a bit stagnant. The lawless nullsec regions are supposed to be politically unstable territories claimed by hundreds of warring player-run alliances, but today they're dominated primarily by just two or three mega-coalitions. Individual alliances can no longer hold out against the combined forces of the coalitions and must either pick a side or be annihilated. The coalitions have even signed agreements not to take space from each other by force, and players are being bored to death as a result.

Two weeks ago, I examined the history of force projection in EVE Online and made the argument that capital ships and jump drives ultimately created today's nullsec problems. Increases in mobility have led to alliances teaming up over vast distances, making mega-coalitions an inevitable outcome. It's obviously too late to remove capital ships or jump logistics, but there are plenty of other ways to potentially fix the nullsec problem. We had some great discussions in the comments of the previous article about how this complex problem could be solved without making warfare the painful slog it was back in 2004, and I believe it's possible.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out some ideas for new game mechanics that could solve the current nullsec crisis and may meet CCP's goals for the eventual sovereignty revamp that's on the way.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR guild ships and Rakghouls

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR guild ships and Rakghouls
This weekend was full of space zombies and capital ships in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I ended up dividing my time between the live servers hosting the Rakghoul event on Tatooine and attempting to make the most out of having a guild ship on the public test server.

Unfortunately, my guild's capital ship fell victim to the Bermuda Triangle bug that makes ships completely disappear, and I wasn't even able to buy a new one. I chalk that up to testing. And I certainly will not cry foul because of it. Besides, the ship was eventually restored, just not in time for my guild to really make any headway in the conquests for this week.

However, I did get to experience the ship some because I was on the SWTOR official livestream last week, and I also created my own guild on PTS to test out the capital ship features.

But first, let's talk about Rakghouls.

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Obsidian explains Skyforge's class-swapping system

Fantasy, Screenshots, Classes, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, MMORPG, Skyforge

Skyforge
Obsidian and My.com are back today with another new Skyforge dev diary, this one a lengthy explanation of the game's class system. Skyforge allows class-swapping that will remind players a bit of RIFT: You'll pick a base class and then unlock intermediate and advanced classes as you play, swapping your current played class along the way. Check out the team's full explanation!

Skyforge: Classes

Many people have made the observation that the Skyforge class system is non-traditional and unique for an MMORPG. Our decision to design our class system this way was influenced by changes we see in gamers. In recent years we've seen a change in the way people play games, specifically, with the new found popularity of MOBA games. They have fast become the most popular online games and are consistently beating records for participation in various tournaments.

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Hyperspace Beacon: First impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Roleplaying, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: First Impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion
It's been an exciting weekend: I've spent many hours just absorbing the contents of the new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Of course, the largest part of Update 2.9 is Galactic Strongholds. I'll come right out to say that the SWTOR livestreams do not do it justice. I'm finally glad that I could get my hands on it to see exactly what the hook system feels like, where I can find all the furniture, and mostly importantly, how much it is going to cost.

Beyond the strongholds themselves, BioWare also introduced a new planet and flashpoint this weekend. I took some time to also visit Manaan, and I know I'm going to sound like a fanboy when I say that it blew me away. I was absolutely not expecting something that gorgeous for a simple flashpoint.

We have a lot to talk about, and if you've spent some time on the SWTOR PTS, I'd like to read your opinions in the comments. But first here are a few of my thoughts.

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Working As Intended: It's not the journey or the destination

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG, Working As Intended

FFXIV
If you play MMORPGs, you've no doubt been told, hundreds of times, "Slow down! Don't rush! Stop to smell the flowers! It's the journey, not the destination!"

Typically, you're being told to slow down in an MMO whose focus is the destination: the endgame. All the good stuff is at the end. The best dungeons are there. The best gear is there. The best PvP content and titles and achievements are there. The players the devs cater to are there. Patches and expansions provide new content there. In fact, the only reason to play the rest of the game is to level up to get there. The midgame is a hindrance, a barrier to the "real" game, and it's usually neglected by developers once most players are through it.

So if games themselves reward you only for arriving at the destination, why on earth should you feel bad for not savoring the journey?

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Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Online title image
If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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