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BioWare explains SWTOR's commendation changes

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

BioWare community manager Eric Musco has published a "one stop shop" post that details what's happening to Star Wars: The Old Republic's commendations in the forthcoming Shadow of Revan expansion.

In a nutshell, all basic, classic, planetary, elite, and ultimate comms will be converted to basic commendations. The classic and planetary types are going away completely, while warzone and ranked warzone comms will remain as they are now. There are more details -- including bits about the basic conversion rates -- on the official SWTOR forums.

Bless Online reveals a new trailer for its second beta

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items

Wow, a PvP game with a trailer featuring a random battle between two groups.  It's shocking, if you find predictability shocking.
The second beta test for Bless Online is coming next month, and the game is currently looking for more testers. Before you throw your hat into the ring, however, keep in mind that testers need to have both a Korean PMANG account and the ability to confirm their signup with a Korean cell phone. The goal here, if you haven't grasped it yet, is to have people from Korea testing the game. But you don't have to be in Korea to see the game's latest trailer.

The trailer follows the format the game's prior trailers have established, looking gorgeous without saying a great deal beyond "two groups of people are fighting and some of them die in the process." It is very pretty, though. Jump on past the break if you'd like to see for yourself.

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Get ready to grow: Albion online adds farming

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting

If you are all thumbs at PvP but have a green thumb in real life, Albion Online has the calling for you: farmer. The upcoming sandbox is adding an agriculture system for players to engage in when not out braving the dangers of the world. On top of a relaxing alternative to combat, farming will provide buffs via foodstuffs and potions made from the bounty of the land.

The system is an involved one. Players can grow crops on farms and/or raise livestock on pastures. The farmed produce and grains can then be processed via mills and cooking pots into consumables or fed to the cattle, goats, chickens and more (which in turn produce consumables like eggs, milk, and meat). So grab your overalls and get ready to share some cakes, kabobs, pies, and potions with hungry friends and customers.

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

Black Desert's Korean launch lands in December

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Launches, Previews, News Items, Black Desert

Black Desert
A new announcement on the official Black Desert website confirms that the sandbox MMO will launch before the end of the year. Beta is expected to launch in the next few weeks. That's the Korean beta, of course. No details on a western launch have been given. Last summer, we learned that Daum would be publishing the game in the west.

We've embedded the G-Star 2014 Black Desert trailer and all of the new screenshots -- there's a ton, and they're gorgeous -- below.

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WoW's Dark Portal has reopened in a Shanghai subway

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Lore, News Items, Subscription

WoWA Shanghai subway station now boasts its very own World of Warcraft-flavored Dark Portal, and all we got was this lousy beat-up taxi.

Polygon reports that in honor of the Warlords of Draenor launch, the Xujiahui subway station in Shanghai has been decorated with WoW promotional materials, including a scaled-down but still swanky replica of the Dark Portal with a flat screen positioned in the center where the portal ought to go. Cameras embedded in the structure teleport subwaygoers into the action.

In WoW lore, the Dark Portal was once the gateway between Azeroth and Outland but now links Draenor to the core gameworld. Plus, it looks pretty badass as a real-life simulacrum.

We've included the promo video below.

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Economy exploits plague ArcheAge [Updated]

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

How invigorating for the genre to have a game with so many exploits it's hard to keep track of them.
If you were hoping that this would be the week in which there were no stories of ArcheAge bugs or exploits hitting the news, we're sorry to say that reality has dashed your hopes. Players are reporting numerous exploits hitting the game, some of which have been publicly detailed on the game's subreddit, such as a method to force the game to offer specific loot when random boxes are opened. The exploits are being investigated and will be rolled back illegal character gains will be reversed if discovered, according to Trion Worlds.

Further posts clarify that players who were unknowingly involved in these exploits (through the Marketplace or simple dumb luck) will not be targeted, although players are advised to use caution in their dealings and avoid obviously suspicious deals.

[Thanks to squidgod2000 and Thunder for the tips! Our original story conflated the words rollback and reversal. Trion Worlds has told us that server rollbacks are not on the table. The studio says it will reverse characters found to have knowingly benefited from the exploit. The marketplace has been taken offline while the exploit investigation continues.]

Elite: Dangerous won't feature offline play after all

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

Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier has seemingly reneged on an earlier promise to deliver an offline version of its popular spacefaring title. Fans of the crowdfunded hit caught wind of Frontier's plans via the game's 49th newsletter, and executive producer Michael Brookes confirmed the decision in subsequent forum posts.

"We have always said the way to play the game is online - indeed it says so in the quote of me being circulated," Brooks wrote. "The choice was develop the game in the way we wanted, or not. Trying to make it offline would have made both experiences worse than we were willing to tolerate. We had to make the decision and have done so. I would say that an offline rewrite of the game is unlikely for the future."

[Thanks golden radish!]

MMO Week in Review: Let's hunt some orc

MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

WoW
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, launched on Thursday, and predictably, the combination of design blunders and brutal DDoS attacks turned the first few days of launch into a circus of clownshoes. So, you know, an MMO launch. Here are the highlights:
Warlords of Draenor's rocky launch saga and Reddit controversy continue
World of Warcraft hit by DDoS attack on expansion launch day
World of Warcraft deals with downtime, bugs, DDoS attacks
World of Warcraft vows faster expansion development
You're too late: People are already 100 in WoW
WoW's Iron Horde declares war on Times Square
World of Warcraft's garrisons 'like a personal guild'
Watch the unboxing of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's CE
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor launch-day roundup

Read on for the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Marvel Heroes publishes Thor's level 52 review

Super-hero, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Marvel Heroes, Dev Diaries, OARPG

Gazillion has published one of its Marvel Heroes level 52 reviews, which is basically a dev blog focused on endgame goals and designs for a particular hero. In this case, that hero is Thor.

Thor's Odinforce is a big part of his current review. It functions as his secondary resource and allows players to unlock upgraded versions of his powers by building Odinforce and managing its decay over time. And don't forget about God Blast, his new ultimate that unleashes "the full might of the mighty Mjolnir in a terrifying, concentrated blast of white-hot divine intervention."

Shroud of the Avatar shows new screens, preps for Steam

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar's weekly update is here, and as always, there's a good bit of info packed into the lengthy post. There are a few new screenshots featuring scenes from Release 12, though you'll need to explore the game world to find them since Portalarium is coy about the new locations.

There's also a blurb about interacting with SotA's Steam community as well as a helpful how-to list in case you're unsure how to upload screens. Portalarium reiterates that SotA will become purchasable on Steam in early access form on November 24th.

The Daily Grind: Should EVE Online add manual flight controls?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

The Daily Grind title image
On Friday, developer CCP Games stunned us with the news that EVE Online will be adding manual flight controls in December's Rhea update. Gamers have been asking for twitch controls since EVE launched in 2003, but the idea has always been shot down as infeasible because it would put the server under extremely heavy load. CCP mentioned its interest in twitch controls during Fanfest 2013, and I speculated on a possible server-friendly implementation in an EVE Evolved article shortly after, but the fact that the feature is about to be released still comes as a huge surprise.

The new controls will be optional and quite limited. Ships will be able to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and pitch their ships up vertically up and down, but we won't be able to do loops or rolls like in a dogfighting game. Developers also want to add joystick support soon, but so far there are no plans to add manually targeted ship weapons. Many players are excited for the new controls, and some of them are already asking for further features like the ability to lock the camera behind their ships for a more hands-on flight experience.

The announcement has prompted debate in the EVE Online community, and not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. Some have complained that twitch controls don't suit EVE as the ships are supposed to be massive starships with full crews rather than single-pilot fighter craft. There's also some cynicism over whether the feature is only being worked on now due to the growing popularity of Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. EVE could be positioning itself as a viable alternative for any players who are disappointed with the new space games, a strategy that has worked in the past to help it absorb players from games like Earth & Beyond and Star Wars Galaxies.

What do you think? Should EVE add manual flight controls, and is this an attempt to appeal to the mass market?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Make My MMO: November 9 - November 15, 2014

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online returned to Kickstarter seeking $50,000 and a coat of polish for its player-driven multiverse sandbox. Citadel Studios developers also visited the Massively comment section to answer questions about the upcoming title, which is well over halfway to its goal with 27 days remaining.

Elsewhere, Star Citizen continued to roll around in piles of money, while Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen stirred from its slumber to offer up some early development screenshots. Click past the cut for the rest of this week's MMO crowdfunding news.

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Ankama teaser melds Dofus, Wakfu

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox

Did you catch that cryptic teaser vid Ankama put out earlier this month? If not, and if you're a fan of quirky sandbox games with goofy names, click past the cut to have a look. The clip hints at some sort of joining between Ankama titles Dofus and Wakfu.

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Darkfall axes tutorial, for now

Fantasy, Video, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Aventurine has decided to temporarily remove Darkfall's Vale of the Custodian, otherwise known as the game's tutorial.

The move comes "after some deliberation," and for now players will spawn into the fantasy PvPbox and begin their gameplay immediately. Aventurine's announcement post says that the firm will "be looking into revamping and improving the Vale area to provide a better and smoother starting experience for new players."

In the meantime, the devs have created a new seven-minute tutorial video that you can watch after the break.

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Betawatch: November 8 - 14, 2014

Betas, Business Models, Expansions, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

EverQuest
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor launched this week, departing the halls of Betawatch. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Our complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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