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Camelot Unchained's fourth newsletter covers the state of the game

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

While you were enjoying turkey, they were... um... well, also enjoying turkey.  Queued dispatches.
The build for Camelot Unchained is constantly improving in functionality. Dual-targeting is now implemented, allowing players to have separate friendly and hostile targets for various effects. The hotbar UI is improving. Auto-run is in the game. How do we know all of this? It's all in the latest newsletter from the development team, which discusses every aspect of the title from the stability and performance of the current build to future plans and technology integration.

Aside from the current state of the alpha testing build, the newsletter answers several community questions about possible new races and weaponry, shows off some of the armor designs that are being explored for mages, and talks about the game's reward structure. And even that isn't a full rundown of everything in the dispatch. If you're a fan of what's going on with Camelot Unchained, it might be best to just curl up with some holiday leftovers and read the full newsletter.

Massively's Black Friday MMO sales and deals roundup

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

WoW
Happy Black Friday, everyone! We've been keeping an eye on MMO-related sales and promotional events just for you. Here are a few of the bigguns that might be worth taking advantage of today and through the weekend:

And don't forget all the MMOs and MMO bundles/DLC on sale on Steam for the fall sale, as well. Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World are among them!

If you know of others -- and we're sure there are several -- sound off in the comments!

Lost Saga now on Steam

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

Does the West need another free-to-play "MMO action" brawler import from Korea? Smilegate and Steam Greenlight voters think so, and as such Lost Saga is now available on Steam.

How MMO is it? Well, not very, since it's limited to 16-player PvP action. That said, Smilegate has included MMOish mechanics like PvE dungeons and customizable gear. You can catch a brief trailer after the break.

[Source: Smilegate press release]

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Star Citizen eclipses $63 million, adds pets

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Cloud Imperium has a lot to be thankful for, including the fact that Star Citizen surpassed the $62 and $63 million crowdfunding plateaus during Thanksgiving week. Chris Roberts has published a new celebratory letter in which he outlines the latest stretch goals (the Genesis-class Starliner at $62 million and the Reliant at $63 million).

The upcoming $64 million goal should please pet lovers. "From Jones the cat in Alien to the Battlestar Galactica's Daggit, pets have a place onboard starships," Roberts writes, "and we want to give you that option in Star Citizen."

What about $65 million? "We have a major feature we're investigating as an option. Suffice it to say, we've heard a lot of your feedback about modular ships and we want to expand our plan for how to do them," Roberts teases.

PSA: Elite pre-order customers can play right now

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

I didn't back Elite: Dangerous through its various crowdfunding stages, but I'm nonetheless playing Frontier's space sim today in between trips to the kitchen.

How so? Well, I pre-ordered the Mercenary Edition this week, and the devs have graciously allowed latecomers like me to partake of the game's single-player combat tutorials from now through the December 16th launch. It's a good thing, too, because my dogfighting skills are a little rusty and there's a lot to learn about Elite before the big day.

If you are a backer, you can play the full game via the gamma client. Don't forget to catch up on all the latest Elite happenings via Newsletter #51.

Bungie's COO thinks Destiny and games like it are hard to review

Sci-Fi, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Destiny

Bungie continues to hype its Destiny shooter post-launch, with the latest bit of messenging courtesy of COO Pete Parsons and an interview at GamesIndustry.biz.

"The launch of Destiny was the starting line," Parsons says, before going on to explain how Bungie's Destiny operations center "looks like a NASA control room" and how "it's very difficult to sit down for nine hours, 11 hours, and write up a review of game like Destiny."

Parsons takes that notion a step further and asks how similar titles will be reviewed in the future when game journos face "a nearly impossible challenge" due to an inability to experience PvP, the campaign, and endgame activities on a deadline.

Perfect World's Q3 results down

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

Perfect World's third quarter profits fell, according to a financial results document published yesterday by the free-to-play giant. CEO Robert Xiao blamed PW's American operations for the drop, though he said the firm remains "confident in the long-term prospects of our US subsidiary given its strong R&D and operational capabilities as well as [its] promising pipeline."

Perfect World declined to comment on the performance of Neverwinter's Q3 console launch. It did note that it is localizing the fantasy MMO for China, where the company has seen its concurrent user numbers drop from 778,000 to 623,000 inside of a year.

A whole bunch of MMOs are discounted on Steam

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions

Is your wallet ready for Steam's annual holiday assault? We hope so, because in addition to the usual triple-A and indie single-player smorgasbord, quite a few MMORPGs are getting in on the act. Discounted titles include RIFT, LotRO, The Secret World, EVE Online, Shroud of the Avatar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Defiance, Star Trek Online, and perhaps most appropriately, City of Steam.

SWTOR players love that butt-ugly black-yellow lightsaber blade

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare has released another Shadow of Revan dev blog focused on Star Wars: The Old Republic's class changes. This time, Scoundrels and Operatives take center stage.

The firm has also published one of those really long infographic things that gives your scroll wheel a workout. Among the stats are the number of active players (one million), the number of PvP kills since launch (1,790,161,866), and the game's most popular lightsaber crystal (that godawful yellow-with-a-black-center debacle).

Click past the cut to see all the numbers!

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Journey to the West opens up its international beta on Saturday

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play

JTTW
Want a new game to try out this holiday weekend? Journey to the West International might be up your alley if you have a high tolerance for goofy imports. It's yet another MMO inspired by the Chinese epic tale of the same name, and its open beta launches on November 29th. Players can actually reserve their character names for the beta starting today.

JTTW boasts a level cap of 40, instanced dungeons, four classes, recurring events, and a psyche system that transforms characters into powerful elemental manifestations. It's also got an open cash shop, meaning the game is effectively soft launching this weekend.

We've embedded two game videos below, courtesy of MMO Culture. Enjoy!

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Secure a Skyforge beta key through a gems minigame

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), News Items, Promotions, Skyforge

Skyforge
Wanna win a beta key for Skyforge, the upcoming sci-fantasy MMORPG from My.com/Allods Team? I hope you like minigames, then, because Skyforge is going to make you play a minigame to earn that video game beta key. From today to December 23rd, players can log into the game's website to play a daily round of the minigame, called Aelion's Treasure. There's more at stake than just keys, though:
In the mini-game, players have seven attempts daily to find as many blue gems as possible on a board of 21 gems. To win a closed beta key one should collect 5 blue gems. Along the way they'll find several surprises, and a special leaderboard will keep track of players' progress. The top 20 players on the leaderboard each week will also receive an invitation to Skyforge closed beta. Additionally, the player who places in first in the leaderboard rankings each week will receive a Sound Blaster EVO ZXR Headset. Other prizes include an exclusive Skyforge Souvenir Gift Set, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 graphics card.
Hey, at least it's novel, right? The game's first technical beta ran earlier in November. We don't yet know exactly when the beta will begin, though given the duration of this promotion, we can hazard a guess.

Hear the Glitch soundtrack in concert

Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Miscellaneous, Music

Whether Glitch was brilliant or not is a debate I am not interested in having.  Ever.  Yes, I heard you, you miss it.  Please do not flood my inbox.
How many of you like to talk about Glitch? Wow, that many? That's great, but please quiet down for right now; there's time to talk in the comments. It's not a question you need to answer out loud. Besides, if you're super enthusiastic about the memory of the game, you have an opportunity to experience a slice of it for yourself in concert.

To celebrate the release of Glitch's soundtrack, a concert is being held on January 24th, 2015, in Toronto. Tickets are $20, and all proceeds go directly to the musicians taking part in the concert. As of this writing, the planned attendance isn't high, but we're pretty sure that will change as more people get wind of the concert.

Can't make it to Canada in the middle of January? The Glitch website still offers free downloads for many of its music tracks.

Black Desert posts new screenshots ahead of open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert
The Korean open beta for upcoming sandbox Black Desert arrives next month, and Daum has refreshed the game's website with a ton of new screenshots.

They've got lady archers wearing garters, a knight with spiked hair, a castle siege, a leprechaun with a basket of herbs, a strangely sweaty ranger, a butt shot of a girl, a butt shot of a pack horse, sunsets, fishing, and murder -- so it's pretty much everything you'd expect from a Korean sandbox MMORPG. Enjoy!

Turbine's customer support department spreads holiday cheer

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

The players that the team disliked were mailed images of rats being dropped from the tops of stairwells.
Working customer support for an MMO means that even the best times of your job are still spent dealing with upset players. Sure, the player might recognize that whatever went wrong was just an accident or a bug, but you've still got player issues to manage. It's the sort of work that can make you bitter or cynical, but not so with the customer support team at Turbine Entertainment, which decided to reach out to fans in a slightly happier fashion with holiday cards. Seriously. Real ones.

Players on the Lord of the Rings Online forums have reported receiving physical holiday cards from the game's customer service department with hand-written messages and gift cards for 500 Turbine points inside. The community team has stated that this is exactly what it seems to be: a random gesture of kindness and appreciation for the game's playerbase. That message also reminded players to keep their mailing addresses up to date, as this is unlikely to be the only such event.

[Thanks to Fredelas for the tip!]

Guild Wars 2's Leah Hoyer discusses the importance of story

Fantasy, Lore, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Story: let's me and you fight.
It's fair to say that Guild Wars 2 sells its story pretty highly, as living world progress and story updates are a major part of its content strategy. Head of narrative Leah Hoyer stated in a recent interview that this is one of the core things that games as a whole need to embrace: Story is important in getting players invested. Hoyer went on to say that while story lacks the central importance in games that it has in media like television, it's still an important element of player investment.

Still, she argues, it's harder to tell a good story in a game than it is in a television show, simply because the latter is focused only on story while the former cannot be. This doesn't mean that it's less important, nor does Hoyer feel that it justifies using lore and background as an excuse for not telling a story; a good story requires immediacy. While she believes that lore is highly important, it should help support storytelling rather than replace it. There's a lot of interesting thoughts in the full interview, so whether you like Guild Wars 2's take on story or not, it's well worth a look.

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