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Puzzle Pirates sails into new frontier: Tablets

Fantasy, Puzzle, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser

Puzzle Pirates sails into new frontier  tablets
Avast ye mateys! After 10 years of working together to sail ships and fight foes utilizing puzzles, players in Puzzle Pirates get to set off on a completely new adventure. Well OK, to be precise the adventures will actually remain the same, but how players can access them will change; the pirate-themed social game focusing on cooperation is heading to tablets.

Three Rings co-founder and CEO Daniel James explained that the company has been exploring the possibility of bringing the game to mobile devices since last year, and now it's reached the point where expanding platforms is feasible. Players will be able to switch between the PC and the tablet, playing the same game on the same account. Plans are also in the works to make the game accessible on other devices as well. James did note that with this change, anticipated upcoming features such as the Kraken will be delayed until after the launch of the game on tablets.

Want to learn more about Puzzle Pirates? Check out Massively's exclusive interview with James.

Why I Play: Clone Wars Adventures

Puzzle, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Reviews, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, MMORTS, Hands-On (Massively's), Kids, Family, Clone Wars Adventures, Why I Play

Clone Wars Adventures - Dueling Shaak Ti
I'm Jef, and I love Star Wars. This is the part where the rest of you addicts chime in with "hi Jef," before we go about trying to cure ourselves of a life-long obsession. Except we're not going to do that today, are we? In fact, I'm going to dangle another death stick that you may not have considered as of yet.

It's called Clone Wars Adventures.

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The Game Archaeologist: EA's Majestic

Puzzle, Real-Life, Sci-Fi, Culture, Browser, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

The Game Archaeologist EA's Majestic
"This is not a game. Or is it?"

Conspiracy theories and paranoia were hot with pop culture in the 1990s, largely thanks to movies like The Net and TV shows like the X-Files, which had the tagline of "I want to believe." With the rise of the internet during the decade and the fantastic leaps and bounds technology had been making, people were not only experiencing new ways to play games but also growing suspicious that these tools could have a sinister side.

It was into this niche that EA stepped to create an ambitious $20 million project that would fuse massively multiplayer interactivity, the growing variety of technological mediums, and conspiracy theories together. The project was Majestic, an alternate reality game (ARG) that would be the most expensive and highest profile attempt to date. It generated great amounts of interest and publicity, had a promising start, and then flared out hard by the end of 2001.

Considering how ARGs and MMOs have crossed paths since, most recently with The Secret World, I wanted to take a closer look at an attempt to develop a game that would run parallel in many ways with the industry that we love today.

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Yo ho ho: Happy 10th birthday, Puzzle Pirates

Fantasy, Historical, Puzzle, Video, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Casual, Interviews (Massively's), Kids, Family, Anniversaries

Puzzle Pirates artwork
Puzzle Pirates is still way ahead of its time, despite the fact that it just turned 10 years old. For many years, MMOs have tried to get players to work together in real time in myriad ways, yet Puzzle Pirates is the only one that has approached the problem exactly in this way: having each player work a different puzzle to represent different activities. One player controls the direction and speed a ship travels, two players work a "bilging" puzzle to help keep water from filling in, perhaps a few more players man the sails, and another plays a puzzle that represents keeping the ship repaired.

What you end up with is a pretty realistic depiction of a team working together to sail the high seas, fight NPCs, and attack other players. This same puzzle-based gameplay works its way throughout the entire game, making for a very unique and in-depth experience. It also ensures that players become experts at certain puzzles, something that easily represents the way a real-life sailor would become an expert at his or her station.

In a word, it's brilliant. Massively checked in with CEO Daniel James on the occasion of the game's birthday. Read on for the scoop!

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Previously on MV TV: The week of September 1st

Fantasy, Puzzle, Real-Life, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Professions, Wurm Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Virtual Worlds, MMOFPS, Interviews (Massively's), World of Tanks, Post-Apocalyptic, Guides, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Previously on MV TV

Previously On MV TV banner
This week I have quite the selection of tasty video tidbits for you to enjoy. What better way to spend the weekend than staying inside away from the nasty pollen and wasps, watching amazing gameplay videos hosted by yours truly and his band of fellow pixel-heads? That's right! You don't even have to buy MMOs anymore! By simply clicking on the "continue reading" link below, you step into an expansive world of MMO exploration, teeming with sights and sounds unlike you have ever seen or installed before! Why should you go through the trouble of standing in line, purchasing a box, spending two days installing it on your massive PC, pulling up that huge plastic chair, waiting for the game to patch, and attempting to make a character who doesn't look like a 17 year-old pop-punk band member only to find that you suck at PvP?

The simple answer to your problem is to watch us play ALL OF THE GAMES! Which games, you might ask? Well, this week I have some Piggy action as he streams Fallen Earth, followed by Richie with some Guild Wars 2, Mike with some more EVE Online, World of Tanks and Tribes: Ascend. And I follow it all up with a trip through Wurm Online to view the mystery behind the Puzzles deed and then chat with Illyriad CEO James Niesewand about his game's new patch! Check it out!

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The Secret World on sale for 50% off this weekend on Amazon

Fantasy, Horror, Puzzle, Real-Life, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, The Secret World

The Secret World on sale for 50% off this weekend on Amazon
Anyone who has been on the fence about purchasing Funcom's horror/sci-fi MMORPG The Secret World can hop off and grab the game for just half price this weekend from Amazon. For just $24.99 for the digital download, players can delve into the world of conspiracies to fight zombies, solve puzzles, and experience the immersive stories.

Players who prefer a box will have to lay out a little more cash as the price jumps a bit to $29.44, which is still a significant savings of over 20 bucks. However, these players will have to act quickly as game boxes are going fast.

Of course, both purchases include 30 days of game time.

The Secret World's first content update is coming July 31st

Fantasy, Horror, Puzzle, Real-Life, New Titles, Patches, News Items, The Secret World, Sandbox

The Secret World Issue #1: UnleashedBack in the day, avid mystery fans relied on getting monthly doses of case-solving goodness from magazines such as Ellery Queen. Today, the same can be found in The Secret World. Delivering on its recent promise of monthly updates, Funcom has released the details for July's free content update in true mystery magazine style with Issue #1: Unleashed.

On July 31st, TSW players will find a number of new missions featuring a best-selling author, a daredevil, and even a crazy cat lady. Another mission will explore a character who may be more than she pretends to be. Two current dungeons are also getting a new nightmare mode; if you thought Ankh and Hell Fallen were challenging before, just wait until you test yourself in this mode.

Another upcoming feature is a cross-dimensional marketplace. Not only can players group and play together cross-dimensionally, but soon they will be able to buy, sell, and ship items across dimensions as well.

Unleashed is just the first of many updates. Issue #2 for August's update is already in the works and will be revealed soon, so stay tuned! And keep an eye on the ongoing construction in London, Seoul, and New York as new tenants prepare to move in.

[Source: Funcom press release]

Rise and Shiny recap: Puzzle Pirates

Puzzle, Video, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream

Puzzles Pirates is pretty deceiving when you first look at it. The decade-old game looks closer to what you might have expected from LEGO Universe than it does a strategic, puzzle-based combat game. But as you get more into the basics of the game, you realize that many of the tricks up Puzzle Pirate's sleeve would be awesome if featured in other games. The puzzles are integrated into your experience flawlessly, and the grouping system is wonderful.

In fact, I couldn't stop thinking about why other games don't feature systems like those in Puzzle Pirates. Name me a game that does group combat, ship combat or even crafting based on puzzles! I think that the perceived silliness of puzzles, or the perceived juvenile nature of puzzles, keeps them out of popular developer's minds. It's not as though raiding or other group activities in other games are high art or much more than a very basic puzzle. Stand here, push that. Repeat. Now move. Push that, followed by this. Repeat.

So let's look at how Puzzle Pirates plays, how the community members fare, and what issues I did have with this brilliant puzzler. Click past the cut!

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First Impressions: Spiral Knights

Betas, Puzzle, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, Humor, First Impressions, Kids, Family

If you were one of the lucky few who grabbed a Spiral Knights beta key recently, then you will appreciate the joy I feel when talking about this game. It's simply a toy -- a ray-gun or a tin robot. It does what it is supposed to do and does it on a variety of machines without many issues. It is mechanized fun, simple and to the point, yet somehow also endearing and even sweet.

Perhaps the tiny robots and adorably destructive weaponry implemented by the folks at Three Rings help to bind the game to our hearts, because I found myself worrying that the little robot I was aiding would never find the materials he needed to escape from the dreadful gearworks and steam engines I was forced to investigate.

Confused? Well, go log in and try it out or click past the cut to hear my explanation!

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Free for All: Twenty-five free MMOs for that shiny new laptop

Fantasy, Puzzle, Sci-Fi, Culture, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Kids, Free for All, Family, Miscellaneous

So there you are, reading a column from your favorite Massively writer on your shiny new laptop. You might be stuck with your parents and family because of the snow, or you might simply want to find a new MMORPG to play on the device. Perhaps you broke down and bought that cute pink netbook at Target, and now you need something to do with it besides reading your favorite writer of all time?

Don't worry, because I've taken the time to compile and test 25 MMOs that will work wonderfully on your new toy! Yes, there are real MMOs out there that are not dependent on the latest graphics card or six gigs of ram. These are fully realized worlds, complete with chat windows and socializing. I will make a note if the game might have some difficulty on the oldest of hardware -- or the least powerful -- so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, download away!

For the record, this is my new toy. I got it for work, but you know the first thing I had to do was try out gaming on it. Click past the cut to see the list!

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E3 2010: Hands-on with Clone Wars Adventures

Betas, Puzzle, Sci-Fi, New Titles, Previews, Browser, Hands-On, Virtual Worlds, Hands-On (Massively's), First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Clone Wars Adventures

Arriving at the SOE booth at E3, one is assaulted with the shininess of their latest upcoming titles, DC Universe Online and The Agency. But scattered about the booth were demo stations for many of their other upcoming games including the recently announced Clone Wars Adventures. We haven't heard much about this game since it was announced (and our subsequent interview with the lead designer), but we got to sit down at E3 and find out what's involved.

As a quick refresher, CWA is less a traditional MMORPG and more a virtual lobby where players can access a number of minigames. There's no leveling or quests or equipment with stats. It's more Free Realms and less EverQuest. It will be free-to-play as a Flash-based browser title when it arrives this fall. But how does all this actually play? Click past the jump for more info.

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Mysterium calls the Myst Online faithful

Puzzle, Myst Online: URU Live, Events (Real-World)

Shorah, Myst faithful! It's time once again to make your plans to attend this year's Mysterium, the gathering for devoted D'ni scholars and fans of Cyan Worlds' Myst -- including, of course, Myst Online: URU Live. This year's event will be held August 5th through the 8th in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with tickets currently going for the low price of $20.

As with previous years, the team behind Mysterium are soliciting designs for a convention logo as well as submissions of stories and other original works based on the worlds of Myst for inclusion in the convention book. (Mind you, all submissions must fit Cyan Worlds' guidelines for fan-created content.) The events are still in the early stages of planning, but they currently show live quests, puzzle challenges, and we'd bet there will be some bevin meetups for Myst Online: URU Live cavern-dwellers in the mix.

Considering CAVCON (or "cavern condition" for those unfamiliar) is currently standing at 4 (read: good) in regards to the current funding for Myst Online: URU Live, perhaps we'll see some official representatives from Cyan sign up to host a panel or two this year as well. Either way, it should be fun for all the D'ni devotees!

GDC10: A first glimpse at The Secret World

Puzzle, Galleries, Screenshots, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, Opinion, The Secret World, Crime, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage)

I bet you thought we were done with news from GDC 2010, right? Well, not exactly. The embargo on our demo of The Secret World lifts today and we're oh-so eager to tell you all about what we saw.

While Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist's team at Funcom has been doing an excellent job of teasing us with just enough information to keep us excited (although they'll deny the websites are from them), there are still many aspects of the game we have yet to discover. This GDC demo doesn't even scratch the surface on what we can expect from the released game, but it gives us quite a bit more to chew on until that time comes.

Follow along after the jump for our impressions of what we saw in the game's combat, in-game cinematics, storyline and a brief Q&A with Ragnar himself. Plus, be sure to check out the screenshot and concept art galleries below for some gorgeous eye candy.

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Anti-Aliased: What is Love?

Betas, Puzzle, Guides, New Titles, Tips and tricks, Opinion, Hands-On, Love, Anti-Aliased

So what is love? That's certainly the metaphysical question of the ages, isn't it? Is it simply an attraction to another gender, or is it a deep bond between two people that goes beyond mere friendship, and more into the realm of headbanging, suit and sunglasses wearing pride? Do I have the authority to take on questions such as this in my editorial column?

Heck no! That's why we're going to spend this week talking about Eskil Steenberg's indie-MMO, Love! We've been covering Love extensively this week, announcing that the alpha was available and showing off some really beautiful in-game footage. But, even with all of that, we never got into the meat of the game. What is Love about? What do you do in it? Why is it so special to us on the Massively staff?

Those questions and more will be answered in this week's edition. So come on in, the Love is great!

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The Secret World approaches revelation

Historical, Horror, Puzzle, Trailers, Video, Forums, MMO Industry, New Titles, The Secret World

If you're unaware of Funcom's newest project, The Secret World, it's about time you knew that the secret is about to be unveiled. Forget the stigma associated with Funcom and Age of Conan, and consider the fact that The Secret World comes to us from Ragnar Tørnquist, the man behind The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. The unraveling of clues that lead up to this game's reveal is impressive, but not as impressive as the fact that The Secret World's community is comprised of some of the most intelligent gamers you'll find this side of EVE. We have games that are hardcore for strategists, games that are hardcore for economists, games that are hardcore for the combat-savvy, but with The Secret World, we will finally get an MMO that was made for the hardcore conspiracy theorists, history buffs and puzzle solvers out there.

Case in point, a recent teaser video was released showing certain decipherable codes that led to a new Alternate Reality Game website called Sanctuary of Secrets. Leave it up to the TSW community to crack the codes and discover the hidden secrets. Of course Funcom has not officially commented on their involvement with this site, but it goes to show the passion brewing in the people anticipating this game. Ever since our demo at GDC last month, we've been itching to let our readers know what's in store. Tomorrow the embargo will lift and everything we know will be revealed, so stay tuned!

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