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Massively's Elder Scrolls Online launch diary: Day five - The (early) verdict

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Hands-On, First Impressions, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online Harborage
Is it Friday already? Huh. This launch week has gone by fast, which I guess is a good sign for ZeniMax since time flies when you're having fun.

My fifth day in Elder Scrolls Online was a bit more subdued than the previous four. I'm currently floating around Glenumbra between levels 12 and 13, waiting on my healer and tanker friends to catch up so that we can run Spindleclutch, also known as ESO's first proper Daggerfall Covenant PvE dungeon. There are numerous public crypts available for exploration and pillage prior, but Spindleclutch is the first big-boy boss-based four-man.

But I didn't feel like pugging it last night, so instead I started crafting.

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Molten Games lays off staff, halts work on Blunderbuss

MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Miscellaneous

Blunderbuss Jenner
Molten Games, which sent out press releases last year touting everything from its lineup of former SOE and Blizzard devs to its NCsoft funding, has apparently laid off its entire staff.

The company was working on some sort of Unreal 4-powered multiplayer title called Blunderbuss, but Gamasutra reports that all that is out the window as of this week. Molten director of technology Joshua Kriegshauser shared some alpha footage of the company's project through his Twitter account, and Gamasutra has collected multiple links from affected staffers around the web.

You can click past the cut to view the alpha vid.

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Trials of Ascension details dynamic spawning feature

New Titles, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

Trials of Ascension
Trials of Ascension started its life with an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in November of last year that grew into a determination to rise up and continue making the player-driven sandbox MMO.

Now the team is back this week to update us on the progress of several features including Dynamic spawning. Dymanic spawning allows the dev team and GMs to pick points for the world to change with spawn markers. This change could include everything from animal migration to creeping flora, and the dev blog states that all testing has blown the team away so far.

Be sure to check out the full dev diary for more on the world map, an innovative inventory system, housing, and more.

[Thanks to Cik for the tip!]

Phantasy Star Online 2 gets English localization... in SE Asia

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE

PSO2 Southeast Asia
Phantasy Star Online 2 may not be coming to America any time soon, but an English version is coming to southeast Asia courtesy of publisher Asiasoft.

MMO Culture took the newly localized client for a test drive and the site reports that the game's visual customization is outstanding, as is the English translation. The piece also has nice things to say about the game's combat from the perspective of a machine gun- and grenade launcher-wielding Ranger.

Snail introduces Black Gold's Thaumaturge

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold Thaumaturge
Snail Games has added a new summoning class to its Black Gold Online steampunk MMO. The Thaumaturge "beckons dark spirits and miraculous forces for powerful long-range continuous damage casting," the company says.

Thaumaturges may be played by characters from the Buvont and Lokemean races, and they use magic staffs, enchanted scepters, and mystic vials to do their dirty work. As you might expect, they also wear cloth armor. More details are available via the Black Gold website.

Norrathian Notebook: Grading Landmark's first beta week

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

Closed beta is now in session! After a couple of days of downtime to prepare for the transition, EQN Landmark moved out of the alpha phase. And now, the first week of this long-awaited beta has concluded. Like most initial weeks, it's been an eventful one; from opening itself to a slew of new players to ditching part of its name to announcing the launch of Player Studio, the voxel-based sandbox has changed and evolved from its previous state. But how exactly is this beta different from alpha? What is new, what has improved, and what still needs improvement? How did Landmark fare during its first week? Norrathian Notebook is here to bring you the game's one-week report card!

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There are 5.0952187*10^58 possible character variations in Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Big ESO numbers
On the eve of The Elder Scrolls Online's "official" launch, Bethesda has released an infographic with all kinds of big numbers relating to its new fantasy MMO opus. For example, did you know that you would need to kill 119,050 mud crabs to reach level 50?

Or how about the fact that there are 2,235 books filled with 480,000 words in the game? There are over 40 million weapon variations too, as well as some huge number of possible character variations that my math-averse mind can't even read, let alone comprehend.

Click past the cut for the full infographic.

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Massively's Elder Scrolls Online launch diary: Day four - PvP

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO - PvP mages in a keep
My fourth day In The Elder Scrolls Online didn't start until well after 3:00 p.m. thanks to the North American megaserver going down in the wee watches of Wednesday morning and remaining down for several hours.

When it came back up, the first thing I did was load into Doshia's Lair outside Daggerfall with a pickup group that intended to finish a Fighter's Guild quest called Anchors From the Harbour. Unfortunately none of us could see the others' avatars inside the instance, so after several attempts at reloading and relogging, we abandoned ship [Ed. note: Yes it's a solo quest, which wasn't in any way made clear to the group trying to enter it!].

While additional data like this has caused me to reassess my earlier observations about ESO's smooth (pre-)launch, it hasn't affected my overall enjoyment of the game. In fact, ESO would need quite a few more bugs and several more days of downtime to qualify as a "bad" launch. If you disagree, well, I question how many MMO launches you've actually experienced.

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Skyforge shows off the Paladin class

Fantasy, Classes, New Titles, Skyforge

Skyforge Paladin
After revealing the Cryomancer a few days ago, the Skyforge team is showing off the second class that was spotlighted during its GDC demo: the Paladin.

In addition to the usual fighter abilities you'd find with a Paladin, Skyforge's holy warrior wields a powerful artifact that is used to both inspire allies and threaten enemies.

"The Paladin is capable of performing devastating attacks and engage in prolonged battles with abilities such as the Righteous Blow, Seal of Light, Punishing Bolt and Celestial Shield," the forum announcement states. "The Paladin is one who not only inflicts damage on his enemies, but also protects his friends, making him an excellent brother in arms!"

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

The Stream Team: Scoping out the land in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Have you seen a giant Voxopoly or checker board and played a game or two in Landmark? If not, you're going to see them now! After a week of upgrading tools and gathering resources in closed beta, players have finally been able to put some of their impressive alpha creations down. New players have joined in the onslaught of creativity as well! That means it's time for Massively's MJ to head in and tour some of these pièces de résistance. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. EDT for a look at what's new and to talk about all things Landmark.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Leaderboard: What's your favorite aspect of Elder Scrolls Online so far?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Roleplaying, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online Imperial horse
Judging by the masses of players I see running around in The Elder Scrolls Online, it's a safe bet that many of you are joining me in the game's early access launch. So far I'm having a good time with it, but I'm more interested in what you think.

Assuming you're playing and enjoying ESO, what's your favorite aspect of the game thus far? Questing? PvP? Lore? Something else? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Choose My Adventure: The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online has launched into its early access period, and I couldn't be more excited for the timing on this new edition of Choose My Adventure. I've always been a huge fan of the Elder Scrolls series, but I didn't have access to this MMO beta for various reasons. As I stated in my last column, I even avoided reading impressions articles here at Massively because I wanted this to be a fresh experience for me. I'm kinda weird like that.

But I've purchased the game now and have been enjoying myself this week during early access. Of course, I'm still saving the good stuff for this column, and I don't plan to release my impressions until a future article, but I'll reiterate that I'm very excited about this next month.

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Player Studio goes international in Landmark and more this spring

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Economy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

You've already seen a number of the amazing player-designed creations in Landmark; come Spring, you will be able to own some as well! SOE has announced that Player Studio will be live in the sandbox game on or before May 1st, 2014. But the even bigger news is that Player Studio will expand internationally for all the studio's games that support it!

Designers in select regions outside the United States will be able to submit items for consideration to be sold to their peers in EverQuest, EverQuest II, and PlanetSide 2 as well as Landmark. Approved items will then be added to the marketplace and the creators will make a real-life profit from each sale. In Landmark, Player Studio is a vehicle by which players will submit templates for various building contests, and winners could see their creations end up in EverQuest Next.

[Source: SOE press release]

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Massively's Elder Scrolls launch diary: Day three - Questing, story, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO Betnikh ship
I'm just about to level 10 as the sun sets on day three of my Elder Scrolls Online pre-launch experience. After plenty of decisional paralysis on Sunday, I settled on a Redguard Nightblade and spent Monday and Tuesday leveling him through Stros M'kai, Betnikh, and the city of Daggerfall.

Now I'm working my way northeast through the wilds of Glenumbra, stopping occasionally to assist the citizens of Deleyn's Mill and clean up the Vale of the Guardians.

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Landmark's Georgeson 'hugely interested' in VR, Project Morpheus

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Virtual Reality

Landmark girl
EverQuest franchise director Dave Georgeson is "hugely interested" in Sony's Project Morpheus VR headset, according to IGN. While Georgeson said that the PC pedigree of EverQuest Next and Landmark prevent the company from currently embracing the PS4-only Project Morpheus, he also said that he sees VR as "the future of gaming."

"We need to build the game, and then we can talk about virtual reality and stuff beyond that," Georgeson explained.

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