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Meet Civilization Online's four civs

Betas, Historical, Classes, MMORTS

Civ Online
XLGAMES announced its four civilizations from Civilization Online today, although sadly the Mole People were absent from this list.

The four civilizations are China (led by Qin Shi Huang), Rome (led by Julius Caesar), Egypt (led by Hatshepsut), and Azteca (let by Montezuma). Civilization Online will be going into closed beta testing within the next few months and is slated to launch in Asia in 2014.

Not So Massively: Hearthstone's launch, Infinite Crisis' soft launch, and Diablo III's auction house termination

Betas, Video, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Buy-to-Play

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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Rise and Shiny revisit: Stronghold Kingdoms

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMORTS, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream, Sandbox

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Stronghold Kingdoms is probably one of my top favorite MMORTS titles out there. There are many reasons it holds a special place in my slightly crumpled gamer heart, and I will be sure to get to those, but there are also many gameplay elements that could use some improvement. It's a pretty typical MMORTS in most ways; players build up a town, trade goods, fight each other, and swear loyalty to others. In fact, the genre is quite bloated with games that perform in largely the same way, many of them being delivered to us within the browser.

For many players, these defining characteristics are exactly why they are attracted to the genre. In the same way, shooter fans appreciate many of the same basic mechanics from game to game, and trading card players need specific systems in place in order to feel satisfaction. So the existence of these repeated designs is not a problem for me.

It's especially not a problem in Stronghold Kingdoms.

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The Stream Team: Revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms

Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Beau is revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms, a game that he really liked before. Will he like it again, even with all of its changes? Come check out this stream if you like MMORTS games and strategy!

Game: Stronghold Kingdoms
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, February 17th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MMObility: Line of Defense Tactics is a fun start for an IP

Betas, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, MMOFPS, MMORTS, MMObility, Buy-to-Play

Line of Defense Tactics screenshot
Line of Defense is an upcoming MMOFPS created by 3000AD. It looks like an interesting twist on the shooter genre, complete with large battles and vehicles to control. It offers only a beta sign-up right now, so if you are interested in diving into the LoD universe, you can download the newly released Line of Defense Tactics standalone game. It's not an MMO, but it still introduces players to the IP. If you're a fan of real-time turn-based combat and challenging gameplay, you might want to give it a go on your portable device or PC.

I downloaded a version of Tactics from Steam and tried it on my Android tablet as well. Both experiences felt pretty much the same, and my game save synced between both devices easily. Today I am going to cover the mobile version mostly, but it should be noted that the PC version looks and acts pretty much identically.

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European Warfare commences as Stronghold Kingdoms hits 200,000 monthly users

Historical, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMORTS

With the newly launched European Warfare update, Stronghold Kingdoms players can now make war not love across the entire European continent. Firefly Studios also revealed that Georgia has been added to this world's map, bringing the total of countries to conquer to 33; that means that instead of a single king ruling over a map, there will be 33 (with a whole slew of sheriffs and governors besides!). And just how many players will be storming across all these countries vying for control? The studio has announced that the MMORTS has more than 200,000 monthly active users and nearly 3 million registered players total from over 100 different countries.

[Source: Firefly Studios press release]

Lord of Ultima shutting down in May

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORTS, Sunsets

Lord of Ultima shutting down in May
The land of Caledonia will soon be swallowed up by the sea of game closures. On Monday, May 12th at 2:00 a.m. EST, Lord of Ultima services will be stopped permanently. Announcing the closure, the developers of Lord of Ultima thanked players for their continued support over the years. Starting now, the ability to buy Play4Free Funds is disabled, but players who currently have the in-game currency are encouraged to spend it before the shutdown. New account creation has also been disabled; those who are already in the game, however, can continue their quest to be one of the final lords ruling over the land.

[Thanks to all who sent in tips!]

Stronghold Kingdoms update brings warfare to Europe

Historical, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMORTS

The MMORTS Stronghold Kingdoms is bringing war to medieval Europe! With the upcoming European Warfare update, Firefly Studios is opening up the largest game world to date, complete with 32 different countries each having its own political structure and ruled by its own player king. Players can also band together and seize control of large portions or even the whole of Europe, bringing the likes of Bulgaria, Austria, Sweden, Ireland, and Russia all under the rule of one house. But future emperors should be cautious of spreading their forces too thin and risking it all as they defend themselves from all sides.

To get in on the action, visit the official site and download the game for free. The war commences at 10 a.m EST on February 13th, 2014.

Kingdom Under Fire II interview highlights development

Betas, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Consoles, MMORTS

Kingdom Under Fire II, which is finally releasing this summer, has undergone a number of changes during its six-years-plus of development. And in a recent interview, Executive Producer Sang Youn Lee sat down with Worlds Factory to discuss the evolution of the game and highlight its upcoming features. Players can look forward to guild-owned territories, a persistent world, territory disputes and sieges, PvE dynamic events, and much more. Sang Youn Lee also noted that while the game will be available on multiple platforms, it will not have cross-platform play. Check out the full interview for all the details.

[Thanks to David for the tip!]

The Stream Team: DC Universe Online anniversary interview

Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Video, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMORTS, DC Universe Online, Livestream, The Stream Team

DC Universe Online screenshot
Join Massively's Beau Hindman as he sits down with Jens Andersen from Sony Online Entertainment to discuss the upcoming DC Universe Online DLC, and the three-year anniversary (yes, three years!) that was celebrated earlier this month! This would be a great time to come out, ask questions, and watch Beau destroy everything with his mighty superheroicish powers!

Game: DC Universe Online
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Noobing it up in StarCraft II

Sci-Fi, Video, PvP, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMORTS, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team, Buy-to-Play

StarCraft II
Massively's Mike Foster has never played StarCraft II before, but that's not going to stop him from checking the game out live and on-stream for all of Massively TV's viewers. StarCraft II has long been a tentpole franchise for Blizzard Entertainment and Mike is keen to find out why. Join him as he learns about Protoss, Zerg, Terran, and why everyone cares so much about pylons.

The insane display of elite APM skill starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: StarCraft II
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, January 20th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: League of Angels with Beau

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Browser, Hands-On, MMORTS, Livestream, The Stream Team

League of Angels screenshot
Join Massively's Beau Hindman as he attempts to discover gameplay and strategy behind League of Angels, a new browser-based game that appears to combine MMORTS features with side-scrolling combat. Jump in the chat room to ask any questions or to give him advice!

Game: League of Angels
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, January 20th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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MMObility: Innogames' Fabio Lo Zito details Tribal Wars 2

Betas, Fantasy, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvP, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORTS, MMObility

Tribal Wars 2 screenshot
Tribal Wars 2 is the successor to Innogames' oldest title, Tribal Wars. The original is (to put it gently) ugly as sin, but that has never stopped it from being one of the most popular titles the German publisher produced. As a matter of fact, 2013 was the biggest year for the original game... after a decade in existence! You might have heard of some of the other titles in the Innogames lineup or watched an advertisement for two of its largest games, Grepolis and Forge of Empires. So how does Tribal Wars 2 compare to these other games?

First of all, it offers much of the same intense gameplay as the publisher's other, larger titles. Grepolis is sort of the spiritual successor to Tribal Wars and features water-based gameplay that makes ships and deities an integral part of play. Grepolis also offers a more wide-ranging playerbase, thanks to television advertising that helped to pull in more casual players.

Tribal Wars is much more hardcore, and Tribal Wars 2 will be no different. It will look a heck of a lot prettier than its earlier sibling, though! I sat down with Fabio Lo Zito of Innogames to talk about the changes.

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Study shows intense gaming can cause changes in real-life perception

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Virtual Worlds, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Miscellaneous, MOBA, MMORPG

Surgeon Simulator 2013
A new study published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction has linked changes in visual perception and "pseudo-hallucinatory experiences" with intense video gaming. According to the study, intensive playing can cause the player's mind to perceive real-life objects through a gaming lens and can also create a situation in which the mind generates visual distortions based on gameplay.

Examples offered in the study, which was done by gathering 656 posts from 54 different forums, include a subject seeing the Mass Effect dialogue wheel in his or her mind during conversations and another mistaking in-flight airplanes for Modern Warfare 2 UAVs. Mentioned as a basis for the study are the visual "waviness" some gamers experience after long sessions with Guitar Hero, the "Tetris effect" that involves seeing how real-life items could stack after playing the famous puzzler, and "Minecraft sickness" in which gamers see square-shaped themes in everyday objects.

The full study breaks down a number of different types of gaming after-effects as reported by participants and proposes that the effects can be caused by "the interplay of physiological, perceptual, and cognitive mechanisms."

MMORTS Kingdom Under Fire 2 picks a platform, will release this summer

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, MMORTS

MMORTS Kingdom Under Fire 2 picks a platform and will release this summer
If Kingdom Under Fire 2 sounds vaguely familiar but you just can't quite place it, that could be because the MMORTS was announced six years ago this month then went underground, popping its head up only a couple times in 2010 and resurfacing once in 2013. And over the coarse of those years, the game switched platforms, from the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 3. Now, Kingdom Under Fire 2 has returned, and it will launch this summer on the PlayStation 4 (which will feature content exclusive to the platform) and the PC after a period of open beta testing.

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