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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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Not So Massively: GTA Online's expansion, Reaper of Souls on console, and LoL's Braum spotlight

Betas, Horror, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Community Q&A, World of Tanks, Post-Apocalyptic, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, H1Z1

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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Meet The Secret World's Tokyo cast

Sci-Fi, Lore, Previews, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Buy-to-Play

Tokyo is coming -- no, really! -- to The Secret World later this month, and Funcom is fueling fans' anticipation by introducing to them several of the primary NPCs who will be in the new zone.

These characters include Sarah, a Council of Venice occult investigator; Gozen, a samurai leader who protects Japanese leadership from demons; Inbeda, an Oni demon mercenary; Daimon Kiyota, a leader of the Yakuza occult branch; and Kurt 'Buster' Kuszczak, an Orochi tank commander who is having a very bad day.

Interestingly enough, players have already met Sarah. She was the character through whom players explored the tutorial; we saw the aftermath of the Tokyo disaster through her eyes.

[Thanks to Cotic for the tip!]

SOE's Jimmy Whisenhunt on the paranoia and potential of H1Z1

Betas, Horror, Interviews, Previews, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

What's more dangerous to your survival after the apocalypse: undead abominations or your fellow humans? OK, that's certainly not a new question in the zombie gaming genre, although it's not going to stop H1Z1 from asking it. In fact, there's a haze of extreme familiarity that's settled around this title, even though it's the first full MMO on this scale to tackle a zombie survival sandbox. Is it almost too familiar for its own good? Will that familiarity be an asset or a drawback? Is SOE merely trying to cash in on the DayZ craze without trying much new? Or are these assumptions blinding us to the grander plan?

To get a better feel for H1Z1, we got on the phone with Senior Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt. To start off, Whisenhunt gave us a quick summary of the game for those who aren't clued in to the whole. H1Z1 is a post-apocalyptic survival MMO that's more focused on physicality than stats. So instead of needing to level up, you'll find your initial challenges will be things like foraging for food, finding a shelter, building a campfire, and getting your hands on a weapon because everything wants to kill you. And when Whisenhunt says "everything," he means not just zombies but the environment, infection, weather, wildlife, and even other players.

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Fallen Earth posts its update on development in May

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

Oh, what could have been.
If you're a Fallen Earth player eagerly awaiting the release of the Outpost (the player-built town originally meant for live implementation this month) you're going to have to wait a little longer. But you're not being forgotten, either. The latest development update states that while it's taken a while to even bring the new feature to the test server, the team is still hard at work testing all of the ways it interacts with other systems in the game, and it's still on its way.

Additionally, this update reveals that another developer has joined the team. The Scapegoat is a systems developer who will be responsible for tweaking the game's skills and mutations, with a build and patch notes due to arrive on the test server very shortly. While it's still largely quiet for the post-apocalyptic game, players should be happy that there are still signs of life.

Rust, H1Z1, and the emerging 'survival MMO' genre

Betas, Opinion, Virtual Worlds, First Impressions, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

I'm naked and alone again, but that's OK. After having to level up in other games a million times, deal with boring tutorials, repeatedly turn in quests that add no value to my play time, and then watch as my guild slowly bleeds members to the next MMO asking us to repeat the whole ordeal, "naked and alone" is actually nice. Well, maybe just the naked part.

And that, my friends, is the horror-survival/post-apocalypse genre. I love MMOs, but recent themeparks and building games have left me wanting something a bit more dangerous but still not a pointless murderfest. For the most part, these games are less about levels and quests and more about finding items to make sure you don't die. Hunger meters, diseases, and limited supplies in a world filled with enemies who loot you certainly feels like a good throwback to classic RPGs mixed with the multiplayer I've been craving since Asheron's Call first hooked me on MMORPGs.

But community-wise, these games have seemed more like lobby shooters than MMOs, which for a long time made me hesitate to try them. If you've been finding yourself in the same situation, hopefully my little plunge into this bloody genre will give you some ideas of what to expect.

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The Secret World's Tokyo story missions will be replayable

Horror, Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Patches, Previews, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

The Secret World's Issue #9: The Black Signal is coming this month (when, Funcom, when?), and in today's newsletter, the studio announced that all of the main storyline missions for Tokyo will be replayable for the first time in the game.

Funcom posted a three-page comic for the issue and promised that it will be talking about Tokyo quite a bit in the coming weeks. "With Issue #9, we will be releasing the first part of the zone, the first chapter in the continuation of the main story, several side missions, and of course, the AEGIS system," the studio summed up.

To fill the weeks between now and then, Funcom is triggering a repeat of all of the stages of the Whispering Tide event. This encore event will begin on May 7th and end on May 21st.

Xsyon adds over 200 tutorial panels

Fantasy, Patches, Xsyon, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Let it not be said that Xsyon is trying to discourage new players from learning how to play this sandbox. On the contrary, today's patch primarily focuses on including a detailed tutorial that includes "over 200 panels of instructions."

The new tutorial serves to guide players through various in-game mechanics, such as building fires, foraging, and crafting. New players to the game now begin with several tools and items to aid in their survival. From the get-go, a player should be able to craft a set of grass armor and all of the basic tools. Because nothing says "survival" like pasting lawn clippings onto your torso!

Other improvements with today's patch include interface refinements, tweaks to campfires (which also look better), and adjustments to energy, hunger, and thirst mechanics.

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