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Player-Generated Content

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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Trove: 'Let everything in the game be made by the community'

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Trove

trove
User-generated content isn't just a pipe dream of the Trove team; it's the central tenet of its design philosophy. In a new video, the devs talk about why allowing players to design the world, both inside the game and outside of it, is vital to drawing the community into it.

One of the results of listening to player feedback is the creation of a new biome called Dragonfire Peaks, which is full of canyons, lava, and most likely heartburn.

"We've taken the development cycle and pried it open for everyone to see," says Art Lead Brian Clarke. The team goes on to show off several player-made dungeons and talk about how the community has made better content than the dev team thought possible. We've got the video after the break, so check it out and see if you've got the Trove stuff!

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

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The Stream Team: Building with water in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

There's a new building material in Landmark town, and Massively's MJ is eager to get her hands on it! Non-dynamic water has been introduced, and the possibilities are endless. Could MJ make a water trap deep in her maze? What about a moat? She could even just build a water house, declare herself a mermaid, and swim through the walls! Come share your ideas. As a bonus, MJ also has a few more of the popular portcullis item codes as well as beta codes to give away. Join us live at 7:30 p.m. to check out some wet and wild building!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Living like a Teir'Dal in Landmark (and a beta giveaway)

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Races, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

The Stream Team:  Touring racial builds in Landmark (and code giveaway)
Landmark just wrapped up its first racial contest and will soon be exploring the building styles of the next. That makes it a perfect time for Massively's MJ to show off some of the Dark Elf contest submissions that players have built. Come join MJ as she tours various bridges, towers, and castles in all their sinister glory. Need more incentive than just staring at awesome creations? How about free beta and portcullis codes! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for the latest tour and a chance at your own codes to join in the fun.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, July 11th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE Evolved: Making ISK from the Crius release

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
‚ÄčEVE Online's economy has been studied over the years for its resemblance to the real world, and it is often cited as an example of a hyper-capitalist society with no laws or regulation. But underneath the emergent interplay of supply and demand that has fueled everything from freighter businesses to virtual investment banks, EVE is ultimately a game. The biggest influence on the markets by far has always been CCP Games and the changes it deploys in expansions, which shake the universe up and force players to adapt to new circumstances.

There's always money to be made from major gameplay changes, and accurately predicting how an expansion will impact on the market can put you on the head of a short-lived but very lucrative gold rush. Though EVE's updates now come in the form of ten smaller releases per year, the upcoming Crius release scheduled for July 22nd has practically a whole expansion's worth of changes to industry and research. That gives you just over two weeks to prepare for the change, train any skills you might need, and figure out how to cash in on EVE's industrial revolution.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run down some tips for how to prepare for the upcoming industry revamp in Crius and make some ISK.

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Norrathian Notebook: Building EverQuest Next in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Norrathian Notebook: Building EverQuest Next in Landmark
From the first surprise announcement of Landmark at SOE Live last year, fans have been interested to know how exactly that sandbox would tie into the much anticipated EverQuest Next. In big bold letters on the main site, the devs declare, "EverQuest Next is still in development... and you can help us build it!" So how exactly is that going to come to pass? Through Landmark.

Landmark might be a separate game in and of itself, but players can actually build structures there that might one day be gracing the landscape of EQN. At first, we knew only that those structures would be judged and picked through contests. However, with May's racial Round Table vote and the recent implementation of The Workshop, the actual process has begun. And you can get in on it right now!

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SWTOR stream reveals the secrets of galactic housing

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Housing, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

SWTOR livestream
Star Wars: The Old Republic has been touting its next expansion, Galactic Strongholds, for months, but the studio hadn't revealed how decorating will work. During the latest livestream, all that changed. Decorators, prepare yourself; it's better than you might think. We've compiled a list of the highlights:
  • Guilds will have both a capital ship and a headquarters.
  • Sitting, lying down, and leaning are not tied to a specific item; they're slash commands.
  • Multiple groups of people (up to 70 on the livestream) can visit your stronghold.
  • You can place jukeboxes (four were shown) in your stronghold for ambient music.
  • Your stronghold can be decorated only by you.
  • Guild headquarters and ships can be decorated by different people within the guild.
  • You can place your starship (among other large vehicles) on the landing pad.
  • There's no rent or maintenance for upkeep.
  • Strongholds can be bought with both credits and Cartel Coins.
  • Dueling is an uncertain possibility.
  • NPCs can be placed in multiple spots around the stronghold.
  • The legacy bank is an item.
  • Twi'lek NPC table-dancing has been confirmed!
If you have an hour, the whole livestream is available after the break; otherwise, stay tuned next Tuesday for the Hyperspace Beacon's impressions and detailed breakdown of the SWTOR livestream.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever volunteered for an MMO?

Fantasy, EverQuest, Business Models, Culture, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content

EQ
A few weeks ago in my Working As Intended column, I brought up the role gamemasters and officially appointed player helpers had in fostering communities, directing roleplaying, and aiding newbies and event organizers in early MMOs. We're not talking about just floating a HELPER tag over your head (though most modern MMOs lack even that); old-school games literally ran programs that traded game time (or just a hearty thanks!) to players who would log into special accounts or robed characters and lend a hand, officiate a wedding, or help a clueless nooblet find the bank.

While I was focusing primarily on Ultima Online in that article, just a few days later, SOE tweeted a post about the EverQuest franchise's alive-and-kicking volunteer Guide program. Participating player Guides are now expected to run dynamic events and quests rather than interact in chat, but the concept is the same, even in 2014, however strange it must seem to newcomers to the genre.

Today I'm wondering how many of our readers have ever volunteered in a semi-official or official capacity within their MMO of choice. How did it treat you, and do you want to see programs like these become more widespread?

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!

Pathfinder Online takes crowdforging seriously

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Pathfinder Online

Pathfinder
Goblinworks, whose sandbox MMO Pathfinder Online entered alpha earlier this month, is turning to hopeful players for crowdforging purposes by way of the IdeaScale platform. You've probably seen the concept used for software and mobile development already: Players post mechanics and gameplay suggestions and ideas, and other contributors vote them up to show the developers where to focus time and effort.

The Goblinworks team has highlighted a number of ideas via Twitter, including player books, gender neutrality, clothing dye, beast taming, and terrain as impediment. You can check out and contribute to the entire list of suggestions on the official site.

EVE Evolved: Four top tips for living in wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
One of the biggest goals you can reach for in many sandbox MMOs is building your own empire and controlling a small corner of the game world. For much of EVE Online's lifetime, that privilege was reserved for the powerful few leaders of the game's large territorial alliances, which carve up vast swathes of space between them. A handful of alliances still control the lawless nullsec regions today, but there are still opportunities for smaller corporations and even individuals to stake a claim in the chaotic world of wormhole space.

Exploring and farming in wormholes is very profitable activity, but permanently moving in and setting up a starbase can be an intimidating prospect. One wrong decision might lead to pilots getting stranded in the void without bookmarks, your starbase coming under attack, or the whole expedition being robbed blind by a corporate infiltrator. The early days of wormhole exploration were rife with stories of hardship, heists, and devastating wars fought through shifting networks of wormholes. A lot has changed since the wormholes first opened in 2009, and today many of those problems have solutions.

In this EVE Evolved opinion piece, I look at some of the ways wormhole life has improved since Apocrypha and give four of my favourite tips for anyone planning to colonise wormhole space.

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The Stream Team: Start summer with some Landmark spelunking and free stuff

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

The Stream Team:  Start summer with some Landmark spelunking
It's spelunking time! Massively's MJ is on a Landmark treasure hunting expedition, and she's inviting you along for the trip into the caves to try and find the fabled zephyr belt. You know she needs one before falling damage and death make it into game! Could be this is her lucky day, and it can be yours, too! MJ has both beta keys and the new portcullis item keys to give away. So join us live at 2:00 p.m. to start the summer off right -- with some spelunking and free stuff!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Norrathian Notebook: SOE says bye-bye ProSiebenSat.1, hello Landmark Player Studio

Fantasy, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Double the pleasure, double the fun! SOE made two big announcements Wednesday that brought smiles to the faces of many fans. One said goodbye; the other said hello. But both were good news indeed, especially for Norrathians.

Sometimes parting is just sweet, without the sorrow. Such is the case with the first bit of news: the departure of ProSiebenSat.1 from SOE. That's right, my European compadres, rejoice because SOE is bringing you back into the fold! The deal that quickly went sour for fans squished between the US company and the European partner is over, and SOE's titles are returning fully to its portfolio while region locks are being lifted. I can hear you all singing hallelujahs and dancing in the street!

The second bit of news worthy of celebration was the launch of Player Studio in Landmark. Although it arrived later than anticipated thanks to the international tax registration processes, the wait was worthwhile because players from not only the U.S but also Canada, Sweden, France, the UK (yes, including Ireland), Germany, Norway, and Denmark can now submit items for sale to other players. That means that aspiring money-makers and non-builders who want to buy their cool items can finally find one another and do business. And that just paves the way for the system to work in EverQuest Next.

As great as the announcements are, neither is without a few downs mixed in with the ups. Norrathian Notebook explores both bits of news to get you the necessary details.

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Beasts of Prey is a dinosaur-themed survival sandbox MMOFPS

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Buy-to-Play

Can your zombie survival MMO do this -- I didn't think so.
If The Stomping Land and Durango aren't enough to sate your appetite for dinosaur-themed survival MMO gameplay, then here's a third game to add to that growing menu: Beasts of Prey. It's currently in early access alpha on Steam for $34.99, though developer Octagon Interactive hopes to launch beta in October. What does your money pay for right now, exactly?
"Beasts of Prey has been funded privately and your purchase will help us to further develop the game and pay bills for designers/coders & infrastructure. Additionally and more importantly we need your feedback on what we have created so far so we can make the right adjustments to successfully change game-play & mechanics."
The game boasts a single-server infrastructure, a detailed crafting and gathering system, a randomly generated world that adjusts its size based on the population, and dinosaurs that can wreck a camo-colored car much faster than a zombie ever could.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

The Stream Team: Spelunking in Landmark's caves

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

Now that E3 2014 is over, Massively's MJ can finally dive into Landmark's new caves. She's been dying to go on a spelunking expedition to see all the new flora and find out just how deep caves go. Want to see these natural beauties for yourself? She's got more beta codes to give away! So join us live at 1:00 p.m. to see how easily MJ can get lost in a cave and maybe lose yourself in Landmark as well.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Working As Intended: The forgotten fields of Green Acres

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Humor, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Paolo Neo
My first trip to Ultima Online's Green Acres was in 1998. The first guild I'd ever joined had just split up into a bunch of... let's call them "philosophically incompatible" groups, and I was still hanging out with some of the shadier types because I was a clueless teenager in my first MMO and wanted desperately to fit in and hadn't yet figured out where I belonged.

"Hit this rune," my new guild leader commanded. His favorite murderin' weapon was a poisoned warfork. He was not a nice man. "I'm being evicted from my safehouse in Green Acres. Help me move my crap."

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