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The Daily Grind: What do you hope to see at this year's PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

PAX East
Massively will be on the ground in Boston at this year's PAX East, which officially starts on Saturday. We'll be scurrying all over convention land to check out WildStar, Landmark, EVE Valkyrie, Warlords of Draenor, Guild Wars 2, Star Citizen, The Repopulation, PlanetSide 2, Guns of Icarus, State of Decay, and Infinite Crisis, among others. A few big MMO studios won't be present, of course; I think everyone will grok why ZeniMax Online might be a bit too busy for another con just now. But big guns like Carbine and SOE and Blizzard will all be in attendance at the first gamer-centric rather than media-centric con of the year.

So what are you looking forward to seeing out of PAX?

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!

World of Tanks shows off new game modes for 2014

Historical, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

All of these modes feature, well, tanks.
World of Tanks continues rolling along and updating, and it has some big features on deck for 2014. The latest video development diary shows off some of the new game modes which will be coming to the game in the near future, starting with Fortifications. The Fortification system allows clans to build structures and collect bonuses while at the same time defending their fortifications against other clans. The result is a complex interplay of new elements like pillboxes and aerial strikes that give both sides the tools to take fortified structures or defend them as needed.

That's not the least of the additions being made, however, as Historical Battles are also incoming. While this game mode has been in discussion for a long time, due to massive differences in tank capabilities, it's been tricky to create battles with an equal chance of victory for both sides. The solution is asymmetrical team composition, a rebalancing of stats for this specific game mode, and respawning lighter support tanks. Take a look at the video past the cut for a more in-depth examination of these changes.

[Source: Wargaming.net press release]

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Darkfall's territory control update has arrived

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, MMORPG

Greek indie dev Aventurine has just announced that the much-foreshadowed territory control update for PvP sandbox Darkfall: Unholy Wars arrives today. The studio hopes to draw upon its "sandbox PvP and massive-battles heritage" for the update, which allows players to claim, hold, and control "areas of influence" and tax each other into oblivion -- just in time for tax day in the US!

Enjoy the patch notes on the official site and the new trailer below.

[Source: Aventurine press release]

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Trion shows off ArcheAge housing in dev video

Fantasy, Video, Previews, ArcheAge, Housing

A new dev video from Trion Worlds showcases the housing system in ArcheAge, including tips on claiming the land and building your new house in the game.

If you were curious about ArcheAge's housing system, the Trion community team shows off the process of claiming your desired land and the details on placing a house from your inventory. Of course, there's an intricate construction process that goes on while the house is being built (in which players can attack the construction site and loot the materials!).

What happens when you don't pay your taxes? Will that lurking alpha player loot the dev team's stone packs? Check out the full video after the cut to see more!

[Thanks to everyone who sent us this tip!]

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Transformers Universe shows off Catapult and Shellshock

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Transformers Universe, MOBA

More Arcee than Arcee.
Two new warriors are being shown off by Transformers Universe today. First on the list is Catapult, an Autobot sniper with a penchant for long-ranged abilities. Catapult's core arsenal depends upon her long-range sniper rifle and electro-cloud launcher, but she also carries a shotgun for backup in close-range combat. She also heals nearby Autobots slightly each time she manages to take a Decepticon off-line, making her ranged support that much more helpful to her allies in the fray.

On the other side of the coin is Shellshock, a massive Decepticon warrior covered in heavy armor and wielding a pair of cannons and an axe. His two cannons focus on dealing shield damage or spark damage, while his axe allows him to carve up and knock down nearby enemies. Shellshock also heals nearby allies when he downs an opponent, making this behemoth a force to be reckoned with in closer engagements. To see a glimpse of both characters in action, check out the videos past the break.

[Source: Jagex press release]

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Massively's Elder Scrolls Online's launch-day roundup

Fantasy, Launches, Previews, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG

Though The Elder Scrolls Online launched its early access period Sunday, the game's official launch day is today, and those of you who didn't preorder can finally log in and kick some Molag Bal butt. To celebrate the launch and help out anyone who's wandering around Tamriel lost and confused, we've rounded up the best of our Elder Scrolls Online content -- our guides, key news, livestreams, previews, and opinions. Enjoy!

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Star Trek Online shows off new head options for Season 9

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

It's good to see that lizard people and cave-dwelling mutants are getting more equal representation.
The character creator in Star Trek Online is pretty robust, but it has its limitations. There are only so many complexion options and only so many head shapes, and trying to create certain looks took an extraordinary amount of effort. So it's good news for all captains that Season 9 will bring with it a far more robust character creation setup with three new head shapes and three new complexions for everyone.

It all started with bringing Tuvok into the game; creating a model that matched Tim Russ' actual face required the creation of a framework that segued naturally into more robust player options. It also gave the team an excuse to redo facial textures that had always been seen as problematic, replacing them with slightly higher-resolution versions that have better mapping. Take a look at the full development blog for more details on the process as well as a closer look at what can be done with the new options.

How Guild Wars 2 megaservers affect guilds, WvW, events, and world bosses

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday, ArenaNet announced that it will soon begin to roll out megaserver technology for Guild Wars 2 in order to eliminate overflow and underpopulated servers. Today, it has delivered a pair of blog posts intended to clarify those plans.

The first post tackles guilds and WvW. ArenaNet aims to unify guild chapters split across home-worlds so that all members contribute to and benefit from the same version of the guild. But the studio does note that WvW won't be negatively affected by megaservers and will continue to be based on competition between worlds.

The second and more meaty entry focuses on world bosses and events. The API governing boss timers on individual worlds will be replaced by a more consistent schedule such that world boss events will start at the same time across the entire game. There's even a 24-hour proposed schedule ready to go.

Star Citizen updates backers on progress in March

Sci-Fi, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

It looks like it's loaded for bear.  But there are few bears in space.
Eagerly anticipating Star Citizen? Then you'll be happy to see that the latest development update from the team is now live, focusing on the many projects in development for the game. At the top of the list, of course, is the much-anticipated dogfighting module, which has dominated the attention of all departments. The update goes to great lengths to try and show off just what has been the result of the extra time and effort sunk into the module as a whole.

The dogfighting HUD has been revised to ensure that a great deal of information is accessible without cluttering the display. There's also been a push to improve the visuals on the ships, making them look more realistic and detailed when in motion. And that's not getting into the other work being done in fields like personal weaponry... but you don't have to take our word for it. Take a look at the March progress update and see for yourself.

Star Trek Online shows off a revamp to player kits

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Hooray for fabrications!
Kits are your main method for grabbing ground combat abilities in Star Trek Online. You equip a kit and you're good to go. Despite that, they're also rather limited, as there are a limited number of different kit types and each kit of a given type contains a very set number of abilities. Season 9 is thus deploying an extensive overhaul of the kit system, allowing players to build the sorts of kits that they want to use in a more flexible framework.

The core of the system is simple. Abilities are split into two categories for each profession: Assault and Strategic for Tactical, Medical and Research for Science, and Fabrication and Mechanic for Engineering. Kits will become frameworks that contain skill bonuses as well as slots to equip abilities, with each slot allowing any skill within a given category. For more details on how the new kits can be acquired and how the flexibility will benefit players, take a look at the full development blog.

EVE Online plans drone renaissance

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

EVE Online is giving much-needed love to its drones come this summer, and a new dev blog posted today has all of the copious details. "There are several aspects of drone balance that are not yet up to our current standards," the devs posted. "In the summer release we will be implementing a wide ranging balance rework for drones of all sizes."

The changes will include balancing drones between the different empires, between quality levels, and between drone sizes. There will also be modifications made to drone skills and sentry drones.

These changes will also impact skills and modules for fighters and fighter bombers. After the update, these "larger drones" will have reduced base damage and can only be hosted 10 at a time on a supercarrier instead of 20.

WoW Archivist: Warlords of Draenor hates The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Family, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG, WoW Archivist

Draining a naaru
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on March 28th and is included here by permission.

In many ways, The Burning Crusade was the birth of modern WoW. Most of TBC's innovations are still going strong in WoW today and have been ever since their introduction. Looking back, I find it's striking how many key features of WoW were absent in classic, unveiled only during the game's first expansion.

Even more striking, however, is how many of these innovations Warlords of Draenor seems poised to undo. Just as Garrosh will undo the transformation of Draenor into Outland, Warlords seeks to unravel most of what Blizzard innovated during TBC. The next expansion will take us through a portal into a very different WoW.

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Camelot Unchained previews the Giant race and Helbound class

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Previews, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Camelot Unchained
A Camelot Unchained update blog penned by City State Entertainment's Mark Jacobs this afternoon provides two bits of eyecandy for fans and backers.

The first is the concept art above, "a teaser for the Giant race of the Tuatha Dé Danann." The second is the video embedded below, which is a first-cut animation test for a Helbound, the game's death-flavored Viking healer class. "Neither the model nor the animation cycles are final yet," Jacobs warns. "In keeping with our intent to always show you folks truly representative models and not ridiculously high-poly count models that won't work for most gamers, this Helbound represents a pretty good approximation of how a Helbound could look in the game at launch."

[Many thanks to tipster Guinness!]

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Bohemia Interactive acquires a new team for DayZ and assembles a roadmap

Horror, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Marching forward, relentlessly consuming every bit of zombie gaming we can... wait a second.
Are you ready to kill your fellow survivors and take their stuff in DayZ? If so, you've got plenty of company; according to creator Dean Hall, the game has sold 1.7 million copies on Steam thus far. It's given the team good reason to expand, at that. Bohemia Interactive has acquired Cauldron Studios, now renamed Bohemia Interactive Slovakia, and will be putting that team to work developing more content and systems for the zombie sandbox experience.

Hall also outlined a roadmap of the game's coming updates, stating that the end of April should see the inclusion of fireplaces, loot respawns, and crossbows. New pistols and AI pathfinding are next on the list, followed by a 64-bit upgrade and the inclusion of animals for players to hunt and cook. Whether you're looking forward to what comes next or just like the current state of beating up players and taking what they've found, if you're a fan of the game you should take a look at the full rundown.

Trion: We control prices in ArcheAge's cash shop

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Earlier this afternoon, ArcheAge Community Manager Scapes hopped on the forums to kick off a local question-and-answer session with ArcheAge fans and answered a number of queries, chief among them a question about how much control Trion will have over the prices in ArcheAge's western cash shop. "Lots, actually," Scapes told the forum-goers. "We decide what's in it and at what price, simple as that."

He also dashed the hopes of those pining for special server rulesets like PvP and RP, promised server farms for both NA and Europe, and suggested that cosmetics might be a part of the game's westernization.

The Q&A is still ongoing on the official forums. Those who participate have a chance at winning an alpha invite.

[Update: The Q&A is over now, but you can read the complete transcript on ArcheAge Source.]

[Thanks to tipsters Inporylem and Dengar!]

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