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Choose My Adventure: It's lonely out in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG

Elite: Dangerous
In 1990, hurtling across the edge of our solar system at around 40,000 miles per hour, NASA's Voyager 1 space probe performed a quick rotation and snapped a parting photograph of the planet on which it had been conceived, built, and launched. The resulting image, known as the Pale Blue Dot photo, features a tiny Earth surrounded on all sides by an infinite blackness. It was this image, transmitted a distance of 3.7 billion miles at the speed of light, that inspired Carl Sagan to write, "There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world."

In other words, space is big. Really big. And it is into this great unknown, this unimaginable void wrapped in darkness and silence, that Choose My Adventure now boldly goes via Elite: Dangerous, a crowdfunded space simulator (no, not that crowdfunded space simulator) from Frontier Developments. With 55 star systems and 38,000 cubic light-years of space to explore, Elite's Beta 1 release should offer us plenty of freedom to sate our interstellar cravings and to thrive or die as an independent pilot.

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Choose My Adventure: Firefall as it stands

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Firefall, MMORPG

As I noted in the first week of this month's truncated Choose My Adventure, Firefall is finally an honest to goodness real-life video game. The extended extended beta is over, the launch trailer has released, and the game has been cut loose into the world. One might argue that Red 5 is now officially out of excuses; if something isn't satisfactory in Firefall, it must be unsatisfactory by design. We have stepped beyond the point where "it's a beta" is a fair explanation of the game's rougher edges.

Because what we're dealing with is theoretically intended to be a full retail product, it's not useful to talk about what Firefall used to be, nor is it useful to speculate on what Firefall might become. The only honest evaluation of the game, if evaluation is the goal, must center on the current iteration of the product, the one that Red 5 considered complete enough to release as the finished version of its vision. Is Firefall, in its current state, worth playing? Does it offer enough content to keep players engaged? Is it finally delivering on the promise we have glimpsed in its systems?

For the first time since my initial encounter with the game in early 2013, I'd say the answer is yes.

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Choose My Adventure: The distraught wives of Firefall

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Firefall, MMORPG

"There is no problem in this world a gun can't solve." These words, to my knowledge, are never explicitly stated in Firefall. There's no wise-in-his-grizzledness war veteran to rub his stubbled chin, frown into the distance, and impart such wisdom upon the player. But make no mistake, Firefall's world is one in which most tough situations are resolved with the thunderclap of gunfire. In Firefall's New Eden, violence really is the answer.

In last week's Choose My Adventure column, I asked you to help guide my path through this dangerous world, to give my character an identity, a role to play, and a purpose to fulfill. Votes were cast; suggestions were made. I've since created a new character and blasted my way through the re-re-re-re-designed tutorial/opening experience. And while I am, as always, having a wonderful time, I still can't get over my one recurring Fireball criticism: I'm shooting a lots of stuff but I don't care or know why.

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Leaderboard: What the heck is Guild Wars 2's Pale Tree?

Fantasy, Polls, Lore, Guild Wars 2, Races, Leaderboard, Buy-to-Play

I've heard of Mad King Thorn, but this is ridiculous.
Since Guild Wars 2's humble beginnings, players have been debating the exact nature of the seemingly benevolent Pale Tree, an entity who has acted as a mother to the playable Sylvari race. Season two of the living world story has been throwing more fuel on this particular fire with almost every chapter, and this week's release of The Dragon's Reach: Part Two is no exception.

Since ArenaNet has announced a mid-season break in the story, it seems like a good time to cast our votes once and for all and ensure bragging rights for those of us who turn out to be correct. What's your favorite explanation for the existence of the Pale Tree? Click past the break to vote (but be warned that while this poll is spoiler-free, the comments may not be)!

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Choose My Adventure: Firefall is finally a real game

Sci-Fi, Polls, Launches, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, Firefall

Forgive me, Massively readers, for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last Choose My Adventure. Luckily, absolution is readily available via a 50-pound desktop computer, a mostly stable internet connection powered by one of the most hated companies in the United States, and three or four Hail Proudmoores. In summary: I have stared into the face of an eternal offline purgatory, clenched my teeth, and growled, "Not today."

No, today I'm going to play Firefall. And you're coming with me.

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Choose My Adventure: The crafty side of life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Polls, Video, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Choose My Adventure:  The crafty side of life in ArcheAge
After last week's exciting dungeon and boating adventure, Massvely's MJ was ready to settle into the quiet life of crafting in ArcheAge. And crafting can definitely be a whole way of life, taking all your time, attention, and funds. If you want to specialize in multiple crafts, it can gobble up that much more!

Since you voted for MJ to try all the crafting, she's been trying to dabble in everything. However, getting all the various materials necessary for all the different professions turned out to be quite the undertaking, so she's been paying special attention to armor (which tied for first in votes) and housing items (which came in second). Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to see the crafty side of life in ArcheAge and help direct MJ's two-hour adventures during this CMA Live. Then don't forget to vote and direct next week's (and this weekend's) adventures!

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Adventuring in ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, Polls, Video, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Although ArcheAge has many different things to do, you decided that Massively's MJ should continue her adventures with quests, so that's what she's been doing. After showing off her favorite spot in game and brilliantly demonstrating death by jellyfish, she's been running to and fro delivering notes, assembling statues, and killing whatever vermin are bothering the locals. And there's certainly no lack of vermin!

During those questing adventures MJ has come across a dungeon, and she's looking forward to taking you inside. Hopefully she'll find other in-game companions to enter with her as well, else she'll surely experience death in a new and spectacular way! If she's alone, will you still have her enter? Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to decide her fate live! And don't forget to participate in the next vote to decide which crafting profession MJ should pursue next week.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Choose My Adventure moves to ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, Polls, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

If you've wanted the chance to direct Massively's MJ in her ArcheAge adventures, here's that chance! Choose My Adventure is hooking up with The Stream Team for a full month of viewer-driven escapades in the sandbox's alpha. First up, choosing which race she'll play for the two-hour adventures throughout July. Should MJ be a humanesque Nuian or Harani, an elegant Elf, or remain as a feline Firran? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to try and convince the other viewers to support your choice, then vote in the poll below!

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Leaderboard: Do you need to spend money to enjoy Marvel Heroes?

Super-hero, Polls, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Leaderboard

Marvel Heroes' Avengers
I think I might play me some Marvel Heroes. Which is somewhat odd since I'm neither a Diablo nor a Marvel fan. It's not that I have anything against the latter, it's just that I've always read Batman comics and nothing but, so my knowledge of the Marvel-verse is restricted to The Avengers flick and Bryan Singer's old X-Men films.

Anyway, Gazillion's game is of course free-to-play and I'm installing it via Steam as I type. My question for you, though, is should I spring for any of the cash shop bundles or should I just take what the devs are giving away? Which route did you go, and was it the right decision? 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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The Daily Grind: What was the best WoW expansion?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, MMORPG

Last November, Massively's sister site WoW Insider posed this very simple question to its readers: What was your favorite World of Warcraft expansion? Wrath of the Lich King took over half the vote, with Burning Crusade trailing far behind, which surprised me. I'd consider Wrath to have been the game's peak myself, but I always assumed TBC would beat it in a straight-up poll.

But maybe the difference here is that WoW Insider's fanbase is made up mostly of current players, whereas on Massively we're catering to more of a pre-and-post-WoW community. So today, we're asking you: What was the best WoW expansion?
What was the best WoW expansion?
The Burning Crusade1643 (31.1%)
Wrath of the Lich King2144 (40.6%)
Cataclysm149 (2.8%)
Mists of Pandaria220 (4.2%)
It'll be Warlords of Draenor!120 (2.3%)
All of them. I love all my children equally.125 (2.4%)
None of them. Vanilla or bust!502 (9.5%)
None of them. Hating WoW is cool. Rabble rabble.376 (7.1%)

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!

Choose My Adventure: PlanetSide 2

Sci-Fi, Polls, PvP, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, PlanetSide 2

Planetside 2
Welcome to this all-new edition of Choose My Adventure! We've made some changes to the way this veteran Massively column works, so I wanted to take some time to explain how things will work from here on out.

In the past, you chose mostly everything for the column's writer to do in a particular game (that you also chose). We've decided to streamline the process and make it more of a three-part "review" of sorts with a fourth part set aside for voting. I will select the game to prevent the recent problems we've had with cheating, and you will choose my path within it. That means there will be one week of voting and three weeks of my impressions of those choices for each game.

So let's go ahead and get into the polls for this PlanetSide 2 edition of Choose My Adventure.

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The Stream Team: Grand finale edition, February 24 - March 2, 2014

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

Like two-hour movie specials that end a favorite series or the final fireworks on the Fourth of July, wouldn't it be neat if everything in life had a grand finale? You know, something really special to wrap everything up neatly before you have to move on? Granted, grand finales are by their very nature bittersweet; their whole reason for being is the end of something which you may not have wanted to end. But you can't stop it, so why not make the best of it? Done with work for the day? Join a jubilee! Is the weekend over? Celebration central! Finished with my homework? Party time... oh wait, that already happens enough (with or without the "finished" part!). And The Stream Team is right here with live shows and reruns on Massively TV to help you get the gala going.

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The Stream Team: Broadway edition, February 17 - 23, 2014

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

I've got Broadway on the brain. The drama, the music, the energy -- there's nothing quite like seeing a show live. And that is one of the great things about Massively TV! You don't have travel to that famed street to catch some fun-tastical live shows; you've got a front-row seat right at home. Just tune in and watch your favorite Stream Team hosts and follow their adventures as they happen. And who knows, you might even catch the warblings of a host or two. Check out this week's schedule so you don't miss any of the shows (or possible showtunes)!

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SOE teases Landmark development plan, polls build contests

Fantasy, Polls, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

EverQuest Next Landmark
Sony Online Entertainment director of development Dave Georgeson has posted a new update over on the official EverQuest Next Landmark forum outlining the team's plans for moving forward and asking players for opinions on possible upcoming build contests. In the post, Georgeson notes that SOE's first order of business with Landmark is focusing on communications, rating systems, and ways for players to better cooperate with one another. Teams will also be working on systems like combat, AI, and water.

Additionally, Georgeson revealed that SOE is going to start running Landmark building contests. The first contest revolves around designing a landmark for island hubs, but future contests are left up to a poll in the post. Choices include homages to buildings in previous EverQuest games, new architecture for Norrath, and genre-specific contests that center on modern, sci-fi, or fantasy designs.

You can vote for your preference on Georgeson's forum post.

The Stream Team: Hearts aflutter edition, February 10 - 16, 2014

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

It's that time of year again: the time for in-game festivals and real-world chocolate! For MMO enthusiasts, the middle of February heralds the chance to load up on seasonal goodies in various in-game celebrations. It doesn't matter that the majority of things are pink, red, or shaped like a heart -- it's still limited-time loot! And unlike the aforementioned chocolate, and overindulgence won't appear on your waistline, so jump on in and nab as much as you can.

While your at it, make sure you spend some quality time with those special folks in your life who are always there for you -- like The Stream Team! Tune in to Massively TV and watch us doing what we love: showcasing the games you love (or love to hate) all week long.

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