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H1Z1 releases E3 gameplay demo

Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, H1Z1

Unless you were personally at E3, you didn't get to see the H1Z1 gameplay demo shown to the media, but SOE rectifies that injustice today with a new video in which Senior Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt walks viewers through a version of the same demo shown at the con. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, the video demonstrates resource acquisition, crafting, driving, scavenging, archery, dynamic weather, and more gameplay elements. You know -- killin' baddies, choppin' trees, just a day in the life of a dude with a rusty jeep and a zombie plague chasing him down.

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Xsyon's terrain reversion adds decay, resets land

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Xsyon, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Notorious Games has released a terrain reversion update for its post-apocalyptic Xsyon sandbox. Xsyon allows players to sculpt terrain and "over the years, many unsightly mounds and ruins of abandoned sites have built up across the land."

The reversion patch "gradually restores this neglected land to its original state," Notorious explains via press release. The update also allows tree stumps and logs to decay over time. Notorious says that the decay will be a constant process in order to provide "expansive areas of pristine terrain" for new players and existing players who want to branch out and build in new or bigger locations.

[Source: Notorious Games press release]

Not So Massively: GTAO's update, Hearthstone's tourney, and LoL's Summoner's RIFT revamp

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, The Division

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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E3 2014: The Division recaps its demo

Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Previews, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

It's going to be better than The Multiplication, sure, but maybe not as good as the Differential Calculus.
Eager to hear more about The Division in the wake of the E3 media blitz? For those of you not on the ground during the convention, the latest development blog recaps the fine points on display in the game's E3 demo. As the blog explains, the core conceit of The Division is that you're not accepting the collapse of civilization but pushing back against it, chiefly by shooting the heck out of bandits and creeps until they're not a problem any longer.

As described by the blog post, the game utilizes a complex AI for enemies -- sniping a bandit but not his friends results in the others running back for reinforcements, leading to a pitched firefight and a chance to use special unlocked abilities. The demo also showed off using the support app to take control of a drone, allowing you to see around walls and provide important data to allies even without being directly in the game. Check out the full recap for a thorough breakdown of where the game is right now in terms of game mechanics.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

Fallen Earth discusses the state of the game in June

Sci-Fi, Fallen Earth, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

It's so close, isn't it?  Yet so far.
The Outpost isn't just a new player-created town; it's also the first peek that players in Fallen Earth will have of Alpha County and how different the landscape there really is. A new development blog has just gone live discussing where the Outpost update is in terms of development, including why it's taken so long to get the update pushed to live. In short? Because during internal testing the area was shooting server stability to pieces, and the team had to step back and fix those issues.

While the blog still doesn't offer a definitive date for the update, it does note that the server issues from before have largely been corrected at this point, so players can look forward to testing the content soon. While the team would prefer the update be live already, it won't take long to finish if testing goes well. Read more about the structure of the region itself in the official update.

The Secret World ARG fails to fund

Horror, Culture, The Secret World, Virtual Worlds, Post-Apocalyptic, Crowdfunding

The Secret World's spin-off alternate reality game, The Black Watchmen, failed to meet its crowdfunding goal of $100,000 this week. As a result, all donations will be refunded and the team will hand out in-game outfits for its supporters.

The team hasn't said die yet, stating: "We are working hard to find alternative solutions for funding this great project and we hope we will be able to count on you in our future endeavours."

Currently, the team is doing a post-mortem and considering its next steps. Some of the possible options for future funding that the team is looking at include a Kickstarter campaign and a publisher. The Black Watchman was intended to be a long-running persistent ARG based in The Secret World universe.

E3 2014: The Division will get content updates on Xbox One first

Patches, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

Microsoft's new strategy appears to be ransoming content to move units.
While The Division has been delayed until next year, players will have their choice of platforms on which to play it. Unless, of course, those players really want to have the newest updates every time, in which case they're going to need to play on the Xbox One. At Microsoft's E3 opening presentation, developers revealed that content will come to The Division on the console first, prior to the PlayStation 4 or the PC.

The announcement was accompanied by a brief gameplay trailer and some recap of the game's mechanics and setting. While it was originally scheduled to launch this year, the game was officially delayed until 2015 last month.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

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The Division's E3 teaser is all... Christmasy

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Post-Apocalyptic

The Division
The Division may not be coming out until next year, but you can get a (very) brief taste of it in Ubisoft's new E3 teaser.

Really, it's nothing more than a teaser for the show and the upcoming reveals, but the shot of New York City in fast motion set against a soft voice singing "Silent Night" delivers on atmosphere if not details. You can check it out after the break.

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Defiance goes free-to-play

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance

It's not free of bugs, though.  Hellbugs, to be specific.  See, it's a joke, because... oh, never mind.
We've known it was happening for a while, but now it's coming to fruition -- as of today's patch, Defiance is free-to-play. On the PC, anyhow. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will be going free-to-play on July 15th, although they're still getting all of the updates associated with the free-to-play patch. And while the patch contains a lot of the requisite store upgrades and so forth, there's more stuff in there for everyone.

For example, players will now receive special lockboxes for each DLC that they own as part of the game's daily and weekly login rewards. Score mechanics have also been trimmed up, allowing players to more easily get credit for participating in events. And there's the usual array of bugfixes and the like to produce a more polished game for everyone, whether you're a long-term veteran of the game or just want to hop in now that you can play for free.

Argo Online slides into open beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic

Bhagpuss over at Inventory Full pointed out that Argo Online has transitioned from closed to open beta in the past week or two. The steampunk post-apocalyptic MMO is now accepting any and all players who want to give this title a try. The open beta patch includes the opening of the in-game arena.

Argo Online was formerly run by Alaplaya in 2011, killed, and then subsequently resurrected by the current operators, UserGames.

H1Z1 floats possible server rulesets

Betas, Horror, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, H1Z1

A short Reddit post from SOE revealed a few possible server rulesets that the team has been discussing for H1Z1. While these aren't set in stone, it is an interesting peek into the possibilities of both official and player-run servers. The possible server rulesets include:
  • Hardcore ruleset (wipes all ownership and recipes upon death)
  • PvP vs. PvE
  • Military weapons toggle
  • Guns toggle (melee/bows only server)
  • Roleplay (VOIP attracts zombies and other tidbits)
  • World chat vs. area chat
  • Hardcore ruleset #2: Starvation! (food and water consumption are much higher)
  • Hardcore ruleset #3: Zombies and wolves are deadlier, faster, and hardier
  • Base destructibility (easy, hard, not at all)
SOE also indicated that it would be possible to create rulesets that mix-and-matched between these ideas.

Why do games prompt cruel behavior?

Culture, Game Mechanics, News Items, Opinion, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Because when you're bored, you have to create something to do?
Games like DayZ and Rust have become a whole genre unto themselves: open-world survival sandboxes that quickly turn into simulations of human cruelty. But why is that, exactly? Why do people in a sandbox devote so much of their energy to tearing one another down with such vigor? A recent article on Wired asks exactly that question, exploring these open-world games and why they tend to provoke such abject cruelty in their participants.

The piece comes to no hard and fast conclusions, speaking both from personal experiences and from interviews with other players. One player speculates that the core of it is that these games give you nothing but tools, so players invent their own fun by using other players as content. Another possible explanation is the very nature of catharsis, envisioning dark behaviors whilst knowing that you would never carry them out in the real world. Take a look at the full article if you'd like a deeper look at why players spend so much time in games where anything goes by clubbing others with rocks.

The Division developers explain the 2015 delay

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Post-Apocalyptic

Because sometimes you can't have what you want when you want it?
A lot of people weren't particularly surprised to learn that The Division was being delayed until 2015, but it's still nice to find out exactly why. After all, if you're looking forward to the game at all, you would like to see it sooner rather than later. Gamereactor recently spoke with the development studio, and the developers explained the core reason behind the delay as simply being a matter of properly exploring the concept rather than releasing an unfinished game on a tighter schedule.

According to the interview, the development team was upset at the original announcement of a 2014 release, as there had been no in-house discussion of release dates. The game's engine is quite powerful, but even the 2015 date may be overly optimistic, with The Division's multiplayer components still having major issues with implementation. Hopefully the delays will help ensure that the game is more polished and playable when it does release, whether that's in 2015 or later.

Xsyon's Raccoon Roundup kicks off a summer of in-game events

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Xsyon, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Xsyon survivors
Notorious Games is hosting a series of events this summer in Xsyon, its player-driven post-apocalyptic sandbox MMORPG. The festivities start Saturday, May 17th with the Raccoon Roundup, a combat event that sees players hunting wild raccoons in a "hectic competition to become the Raccoon Rajah."

The latest Notorious press release says that the hunt will happen on Xsyon's PvE and PvP servers, as will upcoming races, obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, skill contests, combat arenas, architecture competitions, "and much more."

[Source: Notorious Games press release]

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Choose My Adventure: Starting out again in Defiance

Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance

For the month of May, I'll be playing in Trion Worlds' Defiance for this Choose My Adventure column. I played the game a bit at launch and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Since then, the MMOFPS has grown significantly, with five DLC packs added to its stable in only one year as well as another season renewal for the Defiance TV show on Syfy.

But does all of this ultimately mean that the game is good? I'm going to take another look at everything while you guide my path a bit. This week, you'll be voting on how I'll spend my EGO points as well as my progression through the story.

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