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Norrathian Notebook: Landmark update highlights the power of players

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

As a long-time gamer, I have to admit: I never expected I'd really see the day. What day is that? The one where a studio says one thing... and does it!

True to SOE's word, the development process for Landmark has been quite open. Between social media, livestreams, and posts, the devs have been very forthcoming about where they are and where they are going, giving players a pretty clear picture of what's going on. But that's only the half of it. What impresses me most about this whole situation is that player input is actually recognized as a valuable commodity, not a nuisance to be brushed aside and ignored. I'm not just referring to the opinions offered during the various Round Table polls either, even though those are a welcome component to the the mix. I'm talking about the fact that players are a driving force behind the direction of Landmark's development. And yesterday's update really brought that fact home.

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Trion hosting ArcheAge combat and crafting livestream tonight

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

ArcheAge caption contest screenshot
If you're an ArcheAge fan and you're not in Trion's alpha, you'll want to set aside 45 minutes starting tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT to watch the latest dev livestream hosted by producer Victoria Voss and community guru Evan Berman.

The duo will examine ArcheAge's combat classes and crafting skills live on Twitch.

Trion also announced its first official AA competition which takes the form of a caption contest. The prize is a spot in the sandpark's alpha, and you've got until April 23rd to work on your entry.

[Thanks WNxArcticwolf!]

Archlord 2 closed beta registration is open

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play

Archlord 2
Webzen wants you to play Archlord 2, and as such the company is inviting you to pre-register for the fantasy sequel's upcoming closed beta test. You can use your existing Webzen, gPotato.com, or gPotato.eu account as well as your Facebook profile.

It's worth noting that registration does not guarantee closed beta access, according to the company's press release. Rather, you'll be entered into a key lottery. The closed beta is currently scheduled to begin in June.

"Archlord 2 is a medieval fantasy-based MMORPG that takes place in the mysterious and dangerous world of Chantra," Webzen explains. "Players will join in a never-ending conflict between the two opposing factions of the Azuni and the Crunn. They will be able to satisfy their thirst for power by participating in enormous PvP battles holding up to 400 players and fighting to claim the ultimate prize and to become the Archlord -- the world's supreme ruler."

[Source: Webzen press release]

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The Stream Team: Advancing as Firran in ArcheAge's alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Advancing a Firran in ArcheAge's alpha
Last week Massively's MJ showed off character creation and the beginning quests for ArcheAge's feline race, the Firran. Can her continuing adventures top that first rush of leaping off a cliff with a hang glider and lighting everything on fire? There is so much more of the world to see, including farming and intercontinental transport (and definitely more trouble for her Sorcerer to cause!) Join us live at 8:00 p.m to see how the rest of the beginner quests play out.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Today's Landmark update introduces glass, removes air

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, Patches, Free-to-Play, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Life just got easier for Landmark developers: Today's update introduces new crafted glass props to enhance building as well as makes construction itself more precise by eliminating air when copy and pasting.

Although not a building material (yet), the glass props will enable players to put windows into their homes or construct any number of transparent creations. A more widely applicable change, however, is the ability to remove the air when putting down templates or pasting something. Previously, empty space in a template counted as a voxel itself, meaning that the space would be placed or pasted along with the filled voxels. While helpful in some cases, this same principle caused undesirable effects when trying to combine templates.

As promised previously, the light orbs that were made available for purchase in the Showcase last week can now be crafted in game. Additional tweaks and fixes, including a UI compass, are detailed in the update notes.

Watch the first 14 minutes of the Icarus Online Korean open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE

Icarus Online cutscene
WeMade Entertainment's new fantasy MMO Icarus Online began its Korean open beta yesterday. ThisIsGame was there, and the site has published a 14-minute video detailing the tutorial, early gameplay, and a few cutscenes.

The open beta client features five classes (Berserker, Guardian, Assassin, Wizard, and Priest) as well as a level 25 cap, the new Hakanas Ocean map, and a new raid. TIG reports that WeMade will add a dedicated player-killing area and an Archer class "after the OBT."

Click past the cut to watch the gameplay clip.

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Star Citizen tops $42 million, adds towels

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Humor, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen's damaged towel
The Star Citizen money train is still chugging along, as Chris Roberts' latest chairman letter makes clear. What's the occasion? The crowdsourced space sim sandbox just passed $42 million in funding, which unlocked several "celebratory goals" including an updated observist guide, an explorer-class mobiGlas rig for backers, a new Squadron 42 fighter craft called the Gladius, and most crucially, a towel for your hangar that comes complete with its own damage state.

Roberts says that the SC team is back at work on the dogfighting module after its PAX East hiatus, and he also provides a poll for choosing the next stretch goal reward.

New Black Desert trailer boasts formation-based combat

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert group
Last month we learned about Black Desert's formation-based combat gameplay. While it sounds slick and -- dare we say it -- innovative, it was greeted with a healthy amount of skepticism by Massively commenters.

To recap, Black Desert eschews traditional trinity roles for combat formations. For example, a group that arranges itself in a circle will boast higher defenses while a straight-line formation will boost the DPS of the lead avatar. If you're still not convinced, well, that's probably why Pearl Abyss has released a new party-based gameplay trailer. Give it a look-see after the break!

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Pantheon slows development, cites lack of funding

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, Crowdfunding

Pantheon
After Brad McQuaid's Pantheon Kickstarter campaign fell short of its $800,000 goal in February, Visionary Realms said that development would continue. But today we've gotten word that it will slow until further funding is secured.

"The downside now is that our initial resources have depleted," a post on the official site states. "Which regrettably means that development is going to slow down until finances can be secured. It's not something we want to do by any means, but as we cannot guarantee paychecks to the team, they each need to be able to spend time on other things to pay the bills."

The post goes on to say that all donations at this point will be used for website maintenance and not development until a large enough investment is made to get studio space. Check out the official announcement on Pantheon's main site for more info.

The Stream Team: Double trouble in The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Stream Team

What happens when you throw two of Massively's crew together in The Elder Scrolls Online? Double the trouble, of course! Tamriel won't know what hit it when MJ and Shawn take on the newbie experience of the Ebonheart Pact. As a bonus, viewers can help guide the adventure as part of Shawn's Choose My Adventure series. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to be a part of the shenanigans of two Nightblades on the town.

Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Host: MJ Guthrie and Shawn Schuster
Date: Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Make My MMO: April 6 - April 12, 2014

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

Make My MMO header
This week a reader named TrollsRoyce (no relation to Massively Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce, we swear) brought a new crowdfunding project called Red Blood to our collective attention. The game's IndieGoGo campaign will run through May 5th and the staff, which includes former CABAL Online and Perfect World developers, could use your help.

What exactly is Red Blood? It's a "triple-A MMORPG title that's based on the popular comic book series Red Blood," the project site explains. "Set in a post apocalyptic future, the world is a changed land where science and magic coexist and humans have been recreated by changing DNA. Four opposing countries have risen in an attempt to gain total control of the world using their new armies of genetically modified mercenaries."

Listed features include a full pet system, non-targeting combat, and an infinite number of instance dungeons. User Games and Gorilla Banana have released a trailer, and Steparu has posted an extensive review of an early build.

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The Stream Team: Exploring Origins of Malu's alpha with devs

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, New Titles, Livestream, Housing, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content

It's been quite a while since we have heard about Origins of Malu, the upcoming sandbox from indie developer Burning Dog Media. That definitely makes it a good time to sneak into the alpha and take peek! Massively's MJ is joined by devs today to show you what's been going on since the team pulled back from beta and started reworking things. Of course, MJ plans to give the housing system a go too! Join us at 2:00 p.m. EST for this jaunt through the unique wilds of Malu.

Game: Origins of Malu
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Smedley talks H1Z1's map size, population density

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
SOE CEO John Smedley's not done talking about zombie sandbox survival MMO H1Z1. Earlier this afternoon on Reddit, Smed posted a lengthy comment addressing questions about the game's map size. Rather than summarize it for you, I'll just go ahead and leave the whole thing here.

I've seen a bunch of people asking questions about the map size. Forgelight is built to handle arbitrarily sized worlds. Our plan is simple -- we're building the core of "anywhere USA". When we first open it up to users the map will be huge, but nowhere near as big as it's going to be in short order. Our map editing system allows us to quickly add massive areas. We want to make sure we clearly understand how the players are playing the game before we do that. On PlanetSide 2 we made a mistake by making multiple continents before we had a strong enough idea of what worked and what didn't. This game is different. We're doing it smarter.

When we open up the early access there will be a massive map for players to enjoy. Over time (very quickly) they'll magically just be able to keep going further than they've gone before. It's a very unique way of doing it, but we actually think this is a better way to go.

So not to worry. Zombie Apocalypse isn't going to be any fun if it's like Disneyland on Spring Break and super-crowded. We want remote... haunting... being scared when you see someone. Your first instinct needs to be to hide. If there are 20 players in your view it's not a very convincing Apocalypse.

So how many players per server? Who knows. As we add more land the number of people we can hold on a server goes way up. So we're excited. We have a ton of zombies for you to fight too. You'll be seeing hordes, oh yes you will.

The Stream Team: Beginning ArcheAge's alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Believe it or not, the chance to play ArcheAge in the West is finally here! No, we aren't kidding. And Massively's MJ is going to jump in and give you a preview of what you can expect in this sandpark's alpha. Want to see how involved character creation is? What about the combat and beginner quests? She'll dive into it all, so join us live at 4:00 p.m. EDT to get your first taste of ArcheAge in English.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, April 11th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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You can milk cows in Black Desert

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Black Desert

Black Desert - Can your MMO do this?
Ready for another achingly awesome Black Desert trailer? That's good, because Pearl Abyss has released one that features "everyday life" in its action combat fantasy sandbox MMO.

Activities on display include crafting, trading, mount taming, housing, camping, and even cow-milking. There's more, too, but you should really just click past the cut and see for yourself.

[Thanks everyone who tipped us!]

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