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Previews

Albion Online's closed beta trailer promotes player cities and maps

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Albion Online
Ahead of the opening of Albion Online's alpha doors on September 15th, Sandbox Interactive has released a new gameplay video detailing what's inbound for testers and new founders. Specifically, the team has been hard at work on mounts (horses for you and oxen for your stuff), guild alliances, fast-travel via ships, the housing system, improved maps (like the slick and shiny one above), castle sieges, and the player-governed cities that serve as the foundation of the game's political content.

Enjoy the video after the break -- we're still oohing and aahing over that shiny skill web.

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The Repopulation's new alpha trailer features pets, housing, and the open world

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Community Q&A, Sandbox, The Repopulation

The Repopulation
Above and Beyond has just released another alpha teaser video for upcoming sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation. The two-minute trailer sweeps through panoramas and highlights riding mounts, dual-wield electricity-sword combat, fishing, pet taming, dancing, and building and decorating houses in the open world, a set of activities no doubt intended to appeal to fans of a certain other sci-fi sandbox -- not that we're complaining.

The team has also promised another live giveaway and question-and-answer session with fans on Twitch coming up this weekend on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

The video is below.

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The Daily Grind: Are day-one reviews of MMOs fair?

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, Previews, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Destiny

This is pretty much how I feel during launch week
We've discussed the issues associated with previewing and reviewing MMOs on Massively before (we don't do "reviews" at all, you'll recall), but Bungie has brought the topic to the surface of MMO discussion once again. Ahead of Destiny's launch this week, Bungie wrote a blog post echoing what most MMO developers have long known: Experience with a launch MMO, with its systems not fully formed and its players not swarming the zones, can't really produce a review that fully captures the feel of a game with millions of people fluttering around in it. And even in a game with only 20 levels, a day-one reviewer can't possibly have completed enough content to deliver more than a snapshot of the gameplay.

Bungie didn't even mention the likelihood of the day-one MMO launch disasters that we're all so unfortunately familiar with, disasters that often make MMOs unplayable, never mind unreviewable. Still, if a game sucks at launch, isn't it fair to say so? A snapshot is useful for what it is, and there's no reason a developer should get a free pass on criticism at launch just because MMOs usually improve with age and warm bodies.

What do you think -- are early MMO reviews fair? How do you weigh them when deciding whether to purchase a game?

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!

Not So Massively: LoL's lore reboot, Destiny's launch, and Firefly Online's beta

Betas, Video, Business Models, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

NSM - Destiny
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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Elite: Dangerous explores the path of... exploring

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous

They traveled thousands of light-years to discover the terrifying secret: Space is stupid.
So what do you want to do in Elite: Dangerous? Do you want to get into space dogfights? Build up a trade empire? Or do you really just want to accelerate to high speeds, jump out into the unexplored portions of space, and start seeing what's there? The latest newsletter for the game discusses precisely that with the exploration mechanics. Just exploring in the broadest sense is fairly simple, but being the first person to visited an unseen system won't count as exploring a heretofore unexplored location.

To really explore a system, players need to determine how many major bodies there are in orbit around the star and scan the lot of them before returning home to tell about it. Having a full set of data and being the first to return with it will provide big rewards to the explorer, but if another ship comes across yours and it wants the prize of being the first to explore the system... let's just say there are no laws against loading weapons and opening fire.

Previewing Guild Wars 2's September feature pack

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
Friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio is back with a new video helpfully summarizing all of the features coming in Guild Wars 2's September feature pack. It's... kind of a lot of stuff: PvP standard enemy models, new PvP armor sets, an improved combat log, a new golem-themed WvW siege ability line, new consumables, improved commander tags, a new WvW season, guild megaserver prioritization and other megaserver tweaks, a revamped crafting UI, new crafted backpack skins, leveling-friendly loot tweaks, minimap directional arrows, a new level-up screen, a regorganized achievement panel with new collections, and a revamp of the outfit wardrobe, finisher, and minipet UIs. There's also a balance pass for every class and -- drumroll -- a complete do-over for the auction house. Hallelujah.

Check out Richie's preview video below and get caught up.

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DDO's Update 23 to buff melee characters and add guild storage

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

ddo
Preview patch notes are on Dungeons and Dragons Online's forums for the upcoming Update 23. These notes paint a picture of a considerable patch that includes a significant buff for melee fighters.

"Update 23 brings a series of changes aimed at improving the ability of melee-focused characters to face some of DDO's toughest challenges, and bring increased balance between melee, ranged, and spell-casting characters," the team posted.

Also slated for Update 23 are epic versions of the Orchard of the Macabre, guild storage on airships, a special mirror that allows the user to make a cosmetic variant of an armor piece, and a new feat called Epic Power that gives +3 melee power to characters level 21 and up.

The Secret World announces Sidestories: The Last Pagan mission pack

Horror, Sci-Fi, Previews, PvE, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

tsw
The summer content drought for The Secret World is almost at an end, as Game Director Joel Bylos announced today that the game will be releasing a new mission pack "in the next couple of weeks."

Sidestories: The Last Pagan will contain six additional missions to the game, including two investigation quests. These missions will all be located in or around Tokyo, and when all six are completed, they will reward the players with a teleport to Tokyo from anywhere else in the game.

Bylos said that the team is also making improvements to the AEGIS system with two new skills and installing an on-screen notifications system to facilitate communication between the game and the player. It also looks as though TSW will be selling emotes, hairstyles, and makeup unlocks in the store as well as adding them as mission rewards.

Past the sidestories pack will be Issues #10 and #11, the latter of which will contain a unification of the raiding experience.

RIFT previews Nightmare Tide's Goboro Reef

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries

RIFT
Trion Worlds has begun showcasing the new zones and content coming in RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion in this week's dev post on Goboro Reef, which will soon become your new favorite spot to drown to death. Expect mesmerizing mermaids, an endangered reef, a threatened well, a critter hatchery, untrustworthy guards, a quest to save the Plane of Water, and the Grotto of Horror.

So basically, California.

Trion promises that a peek at the Pelagic Order and more bits about the zone are en route. Catch the whole post on the official site.

Aion prepares for September update and birthday

Fantasy, Aion, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

aion
Today's Aion community report is sprinkled with a lot of anticipation over this month's 4.6.2 update. The patch is schedule to arrive on September 24th, bringing with it many balance changes among other game improvements. Aion also will be celebrating its birthday around this time, and the team urges players to look forward to "lots of in-game events" during this momentous occasion.

One of the best parts of the report is already in the game: Players should be seeing performance improvements following work done on Aion's network. The team also said that players will be getting an improved My Aion on the official website at an undetermined point in the future.

Mortal Online details its territory control mechanics

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mortal Online, Subscription

Yes, I see, your siege engine has human heads on the tips of the blades.  Super impressive.  Very hardcore.  Wow, etc.
Do you want some land in Mortal Online? Then why beat around the bush? Why not just reach out and take it? The game's territory control system is arriving soon, and the developers have offered an introductory guide at the system to give players a better look at how everything will fit together.

Players will be able to place and upgrade a variety of structures in controlled territory, with most structures requiring skills to be placed but not improved. NPC contracts can also be used for shopkeepers, guards, and the like. What can and cannot be placed is determined by guild stones, which are gated by the number of members in your guild. Players can also choose the behavior of guards in the town, ranging from law-abiding to attacking any players not in the guild on sight.

The update is also bringing in a minor change for free-to-play players, limiting free accounts to logging in from one computer per day, which is intended to prevent players from creating free accounts and logging into all of them in short order to boost guild sizes. You can take a look at the full territory control guide on the official site.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Guild Wars 2's trading post is reworked from the ground up

Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Previews, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

gw2
It seems as though you are not really a Guild Wars 2 player until you have had a good rant about the trading post at some point. Those rants might become scarce with this month's patch, as ArenaNet has reworked the game's auction house to be more user friendly.

"The first iteration of the trading post didn't do a great job of exposing its offerings to users, and that's something we've worked hard to improve," the team posted in a new features pack dev diary. To facilitate this desire, the team rebuilt the trading post using a new browser engine.

The improvments to the trading post include a revamped user interface, faster loading, better browsing and search functions, clearer categories, and a cleaner buy/sell screen. The end result is "an objectively better product" for all users, according to the studio.

Destiny's live-action trailer and Dust Palace Strike walkthrough

Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny
We've got two new videos from upcoming sci-fi shooter-MMO Destiny today. The first is the live-action "Become A Legend" trailer from Bungie. The second is from the official PlayStation blog, and it highlights Destiny's three-man level 18 Dust Palace Strike mission, a "long-form, loot-dropping mission" in which players "team up with two friends and take down the Cabal in an ancient ruin on Mars." The replayable, 30-minute mission is exclusive to PlayStation editions until later this fall.

Buy-to-play Destiny launches next week for those who have a PS3 and PS4. Catch the videos after the break!

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New leadership steps up to fill Anarchy Online vacancy

Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

anarchy online
Following the loss of two of Anarchy Online's developers late last month, Funcom has promoted Henry "Michizure" Senger to fill the role of gameplay designer. Senger was a former member of the AO team who is now thrilled to be back: "It is a great honor and privilege to be able to focus all of my effort on Anarchy Online once again, and I greatly look forward to what we will accomplish."

Senger updated the playerbase on what's been going on with the upcoming patches. As previously announced, patch 18.7 was delayed due to feedback. The team will be focused on putting in the new Inferno mission in the meantime. Past 18.7, patch 18.8 will feature the new graphic engine.

"The new engine beta is still active, and the resulting feedback has been very helpful in identifying all the growing pains this process has presented. I look forward to having more tangible news to present in an upcoming developer update," Senger said.

Path of Exile unveils more of the Hall of the Grandmasters

Fantasy, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Other acceptable song choices include You're The Best, Highway to the Danger Zone, and anything off the Saints Row The Third soundtrack.
Is your character in Path of Exile the greatest of all time? Do throngs of people spontaneously assemble around her to sing Eye of the Tiger when she's just walking down the hall to the kitchen? More specifically, did you purchase the Grandmaster Founder Pack for the game? Then you can be immortalized in the Hall of the Grandmasters, a unique map canonizing player characters whilst pitting everyone against these champions. The development team has recently posted screenshots of the map still under development in addition to some planning details.

Players will be able to challenge specific hallways within the Hall of the Grandmasters, which pit players against several random grandmasters who must be beaten to continue onward. This allows the developers to continue expanding as more grandmasters are added in the future. Check out the full thread for more details and preview shots of the map under development.

The team has also posted two new skill effect microtransactions; the videos showing them in action are below.

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