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EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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The Stream Team: Experiencing Landmark's first combat arenas

Betas, Video, PvP, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Folks have had a few days to get their bearings with Landmark's new PvP combat system, and that means more arenas have opened their doors. Want to see what's sprung up? Massively's MJ is taking a tour to see and experience -- and most likely die in -- some of the new builds focused on the fledgling fighting system. She's sure there are many creative ways to perish at the hands of her fellow players! With any luck, at least some will involve proximity mines. Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for the two-hour tour (as well as a chance to win more codes).

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, August 30th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Norrathian Notebook: I tasted Landmark's combat and I like it!

Betas, PvP, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook

Better late than never, right? At long last, after months of only mining and voxel magic (and then an overnight delay), I have finally partaken of the Landmark combat fruit. And oh, how sweet it is! Of course the system was just barely implemented and is in only its first iteration, but that doesn't stop me from sharing the experience I had upon first logging in to check things out. So in I jumped just as soon as servers went live... and there I lost the rest of my day.

Even with the inevitable bugs, I was not disappointed by my first few hours of this update. There are flingers and teleporters, weapons and proximity mines -- plenty of things to keep a slightly wacky mind occupied. And who can leave out the new joys of fall damage? Here are my unadulterated first impressions of that much-anticipated system.

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Landmark's combat patch goes live

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Combat has finally come to Landmark, but there's much more to this update than just armor, weapons, and death. There are plenty of new Kerran-themed props, new materials (10 new color of Stucco variations and 16 new Burled Wood tints), movement props, and bug fixes. On top of that, there's a new way to pay claim upkeep; those who desperately want to keep their claims but don't want to bother with copper now have the opportunity to pay with Station Cash at a cost of 10 SC per day per claim.

And here's probably some of the best news from the mouths of the devs themselves:
"We've made a number of optimizations that should improve framerates for many players. This does not include the Multithreaded Rendering, which we are still working on."
If you plan to dive in and check out combat, SOE has posted instructions for setting up the PvP games on the forums to help answer any questions. Full details on the update can be found in the patch notes. For now, all claims will be flagged for PvP until the observer mode can be added.

Finally, the Workshop livestream is moving! Starting August 28th, the show focusing on the collaborative development of racial buildings will be broadcast on the EverQuest Next Twitch Channel Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

SOE Live 2014: More on Landmark's islands and combat

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Player-Generated Content, Landmark

I think there's a consensus that you can never get too much information about Landmark, and the devs at SOE Live certainly delivered more juicy details about the game's islands and its upcoming combat system. For instance, did you know that Franchise Director Dave Georgeson revealed this little fun fact for RP: All the player characters in Landmark are actually from somewhere else and were just placed on these islands. How or why, Georgeson didn't say! We've got a slew of other tidbits for you here, everything from island rulesets to the use of grappling hooks in PvP to more info on the game master system. And that's just the beginning!

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SOE Live 2014: Yes, there will be new shapes! (and other Landmark building news)

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

New building shapes are coming! Creative Director Jeff Butler announced at SOE Live that new building shapes really will be coming to Landmark. Do you want columns, cones, or pyramids? They are planned! Franchise Director Dave Georgeson also shared the team's new idea of collectable shape templates. (Georgeson let it slip that players are getting two more attached claims, bringing the total to two main claims and five attached.)

Butler noted that the goal is to make the entire process of voxelmancy easier for players. Besides having new shapes -- and more claims -- to work with, players will see a host of other features aimed at making building a better experience for all. These include dynamic fluids, voxel physics, a new UI that's more intuitive and easier to search, personal palettes, and more.

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The Stream Team: Drag racing in ArcheAge

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

Want to drag race? Well, you can! ArcheAge's Mirage Isle lets you test drive many of the game's vehicles, so you can take a roadster for a spin on the track even before you are rich enough to own one yourself. Come watch as Massively's MJ tries to make it through the entire course before crashing or running out of time. You can even join in live at 7:00 p.m. EDT and see if you can beat her to the finish line!

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Get the SOE Live scoop while playing Landmark

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Giveaways, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Massively's MJ has survived SOE Live, and now she's back and excited to talk about Landmark! Do you have questions you want to hear answered live? Do you want to nab yourself a beta code so you can jump in and play? Maybe you want to try for the item codes she has to give away thanks to her trek to Las Vegas, including Feather in a Bottles, Colonist's Flight Suits, Gemm Seekers Brooches, and even a Portcullis or two! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to gab about the game and get some goodies!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare

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

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been playing EVE Online lately or just following the major events in the game, it can't have escaped your notice that nullsec has become a bit stagnant. The lawless nullsec regions are supposed to be politically unstable territories claimed by hundreds of warring player-run alliances, but today they're dominated primarily by just two or three mega-coalitions. Individual alliances can no longer hold out against the combined forces of the coalitions and must either pick a side or be annihilated. The coalitions have even signed agreements not to take space from each other by force, and players are being bored to death as a result.

Two weeks ago, I examined the history of force projection in EVE Online and made the argument that capital ships and jump drives ultimately created today's nullsec problems. Increases in mobility have led to alliances teaming up over vast distances, making mega-coalitions an inevitable outcome. It's obviously too late to remove capital ships or jump logistics, but there are plenty of other ways to potentially fix the nullsec problem. We had some great discussions in the comments of the previous article about how this complex problem could be solved without making warfare the painful slog it was back in 2004, and I believe it's possible.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out some ideas for new game mechanics that could solve the current nullsec crisis and may meet CCP's goals for the eventual sovereignty revamp that's on the way.

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SOE Live 2014: Combat comes to Landmark August 27th

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

If you've got a thing for combat, have we got the perfect date for you! Landmark launches the ability to fight -- and die -- on Wednesday, August 27th. That means everyone who's been waiting in the wings for the new sandbox to get more systems before diving in only have to hold out two more weeks before they can finally experience Landmark.

Are you ready to die? The first phase of combat includes death, armor, weapons, landmines, PvP, and many possibilities! We got the scoop on this much-anticipated system at SOE Live from Creative Director Dave Georgeson and Senior Producer Terry Michaels at SOE Live, including some great video clips of the upcoming content.

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Elder Scrolls Online's 'Tales of the Dead' contest seeks storytellers

Fantasy, Contests, Culture, Events (Real-World), Lore, Roleplaying, The Elder Scrolls Online, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

ESO
If you've spent even an hour in an Elder Scrolls RPG, you're certain to have stumbled into one of the iconic corpse-and-letter storytelling scenes created by the writers and world builders. This week, ZeniMax is giving Elder Scrolls Online players the chance to join in the fun via a contest titled Tales of the Dead, which asks gamers to put pen to paper in the service of describing this cheerful scene:
To participate, take a good look at the image [above]. Then, create your own fictional entry of 500 words or less that tells us more about the scene. You can write a short story, a journal entry, or any other kind of fictional text that sheds more light on what happened to cause this grim tableau. Once you're happy with your creation, post it in the contest entry thread.

We'll start accepting entries today, August 11th, and will close the contest this Friday, August 15th at 11:59PM EDT. If you're one of the three winners we announce on August 29th, you'll receive a $25 electronic gift certificate to the Bethesda Store and an ESO t-shirt of your choosing!
The complete rules are available on the ESO forums. Good luck topping A Falling Wizard!

The Stream Team: Check out glass, guilds, and get your Landmark codes before SOE Live!

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

With SOE Live starting later this week, fans can look forward to an earful of Landmark news. But that doesn't mean that there aren't cool new things to check out now! Massively's MJ jumps in to show off the newly released glass building material as well as the first iteration of guilds. She'll also demonstrate easy ways to make arches and cylinders. And better yet, she'll be giving away more beta and goodie codes! There's no better week to try out Landmark, so join us live at 7:00 p.m. for some building tips and tricks and a chance at winning phat loot (including the Colonist's Flight Suit!).

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, August 11th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Working As Intended: The unfortunate conflation of sandboxes and PvP

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Working As Intended

A certain perplexing belief about sandboxes pervades the blog comments, forums, and general chats of MMOs:

All MMO sandboxes are free-for-all PvP games. If it doesn't have free-for-all PvP, it's by definition not a sandbox because sandboxes let the players make all the rules and decisions. Free-for-all PvP adds the necessary spice to keep you on your toes and keep a game fresh. Without it, you may as well be playing The Sims.

All of these statements are wrong.

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Now you can get paid for making War Thunder content

Historical, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content

Want to make a little real-world money from your War Thunder addiction? Now you can thanks to Gaijin's newly announced revenue-sharing initiative. In April of 2014, the devs released the War Thunder CDK which allows users to make their own content in the form of missions, locations, and vehicle skins.

If any of these creations are selected by Gaijin for inclusion in the game's 1.43 update, the authors "will receive reasonable reward." You can read a more detailed FAQ on the initiative at the game's official website. We've also embedded a video dev diary with more details after the break.

Elsewhere in the War Thunder universe, Gaijin is running a "Summertime Madness" promotion this weekend that features bonus RP gains and 30 percent vehicle discounts.

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Norrathian Notebook: How to improve your Landmark building skills

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

What goes through your mind when you come across show-stopping Landmark builds? Do you just admire them, or do they also pierce your confidence and remind you of your own less-than-phenomenal skills? Some folks see another player's masterpiece and are inspired. while others get discouraged. Don't let it discourage you! Previously, I offered a few hints on how to avoid discouragement; remember, it's perfectly natural and OK to not have uber building skills. Besides that, you don't even have to build because when all is said and done (and released), there will be game enough for everyone, regardless of construction prowess.

But what if you really want to improve your skills? In that case, the first thing you need to do to restore hope in your skills is to stop comparing your abilities to others. Trust me, there will always be someone who can create circles (literally) around you in Landmark. Instead, focus on what you can do and on improving from there. If you really desire to make some specific awesome creation that you can see in your mind's eye but can't it make work in voxels, take the time to hone your skills. You may never join the upper echelons of the truly constructionally gifted, but that doesn't mean you can't make something great that you can be proud of! This guide will help point you in the direction of polishing and practicing those voxel manipulation skills.

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