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The Stream Team: Swordsman with a little help from Perfect World

Fantasy, Historical, Video, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
Massively's Mike Foster has concluded his October Swordsman Choose My Adventure and can think of no better way to go out than in a blaze of incompetent glory. Join Mike tonight as he hops onto a max-level Swordsman character and runs some late-game instances. The Swordsman team will be in-stream to answer viewer questions and presumably sigh in frustration at Mike's inability to understand his new skills.

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Swordsman
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Why I Play: ArcheAge

Fantasy, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Why I Play

Addicted may be too strong a word when talking about my relationship to ArcheAge... but not by much! Have I logged in every day since the early access? Do I look forward to logging in? Have I said, "I'll go to bed right after I plant a couple more things" only to find more hours have slipped by before I finally do sleep? Do I get excited about the next trade run? Have I set alarms to wake up to try and nab a prime piece of land? Have I had dreams about ArcheAge when I sleep?

The answer to all of these is yes.

ArcheAge may not have everything I have ever wanted in a game (entertainment classes should be a requirement), but it checks more than a few of my boxes. I haven't had this much fun throwing myself into a game in a very long time. I look forward to each play session, and I tend to spend hours in game each day enjoying whatever I happen to be doing, be it sailing, trade runs, sneaking into enemy territory, or even just staring at my plants waiting for them to grow.

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CCP explains EVE's upcoming mission guidance system, CSM changes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

CCP released another Phoebe-focused dev diary earlier today, this one detailing the new mission objective system coming to EVE Online next month. The firm is walking a fine line between general guidance and "brain-dead instructions to follow," and as such it is asking for feedback relative to how the new feature is presented in today's diary. It's a lengthy read, but you can also see the new system in action if you log onto EVE's Singularity test shard.

CCP has also delivered minutes from the Council of Stellar Management's summer summit earlier than expected. CCP Leeloo explains that the studio will make further changes to the CMS next year, starting with lengthening the winter summit and shortening the current CMS's term to better align with next year's Fanfest. Applications for CSM10 open on January 30th.

Choose My Adventure: Closing off our time in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
I've spent quite a bit of time in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman this month. Thanks to the unique layout of October 2014, Swordsman ended up getting an extra week compared to most Choose My Adventure endeavors. And while I'm ready to move on to the next game, it was nice to have some extended time with Swordsman before sending it to that magic hard drive in the sky. Sometimes a few extra days can give you time to see things in a game you didn't see before.

Swordsman is definitely a game that grows on you. The experience continually improves. If you're willing to stick through the slow opening and limited early experience, there's a pretty interesting game waiting to be discovered.

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WildStar opens up free, indefinite megaserver transfers

Culture, PvP, News Items, PvE, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

It's generally seen as discouraging if your fix for a problem still leaves it broken.
How's your server's population in WildStar since the switch to megaservers? Does it still feel a little empty? Community manager Tony Rey says that the team has heard the complaints that the PvP servers are quiet, and the team is responding by opening up indefinite free transfers between the PvE and PvP megaservers in both directions. You can move your PvE character to the PvP megaserver as you wish, and vice versa.

Rey says that while the team was initially happy with the stats on the PvP realms, the EU PvP megaserver in particular had certain difficulties with player numbers after PvP-to-PvE transfers were opened up but before the megaservers went live. Having free transfers in place does carry the risk of allowing people to level on a PvE server only to transfer over at the level cap, but players are assured that the team is watching for shenanigans and will shut down untoward transfers. These transfers are currently open for an indefinite period of time; Carbine will decide whether or not these free transfers will remain in place after monitoring the health of the server system.

Final Fantasy XI adding new factions with Unity Concord System

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Patches, News Items, PvE, Subscription

If you were looking for another reason to get together with your fellow Final Fantasy XI players for riches and glory, the new Unity Concord System is for you. These upcoming NPC-based factions, each run by one of Vana'diel's more popular personages, come complete with special tasks, rewards, and even rankings.

Membership in a Unity will have its privileges: Each one has a special chat channel as well as new Records of Eminence objectives that allow you to earn a new currency called accolades. These accolades can be spent on participating in the new "Wanted" objectives (where players are given the task to defeat a specific monster), buying special items, enhancing equipment looted from the Wanted battles, and more. Once a week the Unities will be ranked based on points accumulated by members; the higher a Unity is ranked, the better the equipment players can earn from the wanted objectives. And that's only the beginning. Devs note that even more systems and content related to the Unity Concord are scheduled to be added in future updates.

EVE Evolved: Could permadeath work in EVE?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Permadeath has been one of the most contentuous features in online gaming since as far back as I can remember. The feeling of permanently losing a character you've spent months training up and playing with because of a single mistake or lag spike would be horrifying to most people, yet the idea continues to intrigue both players and developers. Diablo II's Hardcore mode is probably the most successful permadeath mechanic in an online game to date, separating the hardcore players onto a different server so that they develop their own game economy and leaderboard. Several MMOs have experimented with permadeath servers or mechanics over the years, but they're almost always reverted as failures.

In a recent presentation at EVE Vegas 2014, EVE Online developer CCP Rise discussed the idea of permadeath characters as something he's wanted to add to the game for the past few years. This is particularly problematic for EVE as the game uses passive time-based skill training and the whole game takes place on one massive shard. The hardcore players would need to have enough incentive to risk their characters' lives on a daily basis, their abilities would have to be balanced with non-hardcore players, and abuse of the system to suicide gank players would need to be handled. But if those problems are tackled, is it possible that there's a place for permadeath in EVE?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how permadeath could be added to EVE Online without disrupting the rest of the game.

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Juggernaut is Marvel Heroes' 40th playable character

Super-hero, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Marvel Heroes, OARPG

Marvel Heroes' 40th(!) playable character is Juggernaut, which Gazillion says will give gamers a chance to feel the power of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak while using Cain Marko -- aka, Professor Xavier's stepbrother -- to smash everything in sight.

The new baddie's powers aren't limited by a resource, according to Gazillion designer and community manager Ryan Collins. "We wanted you to feel unstoppable and I believe that we've captured that essence with his powers, visual effects, movement speed, and even running animations changing as you build Momentum," Collins says.

Watch ArcheAge's leviathan raid boss smash a player ship

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Curious about ArcheAge's endgame? 2P has published a partial look at it in the form of a level 50 leviathan raid. Unlike most MMO raids, though, this one features seven phases of PvE action followed by a PvP portion that pits pirate players vs. non-pirate players for the right to claim the beast's body.

It's worth noting that 2P's information comes from the Chinese version of ArcheAge. You can watch a Chinese-language trailer featuring the leviathan after the break.

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The Stream Team: Living it up in Life is Feudal: Your Own

Fantasy, Video, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Life is Feudal: Your Own is a sandbox game of brutal combat and artisan crafting set back in medieval times. And it is now on Steam! With so many things to do -- including hunting, taming wild animals, mining, logging, building a house, waging war, and so much more -- Massively's MJ will have no trouble filling her time. The tricky part will be deciding on what to do (and figuring out how to do it)! Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to be a part of her adventures in this new world.

Game: Life is Feudal: Your Own
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, October 25th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Dungeoning in Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Video, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
According to Perfect World, the real meat of Swordsman is to be found in its dungeon content (and its PvP). Join Massively's Mike Foster tonight as he continues his Choose My Adventure exploration of Swordsman by queuing up for some mid-level instances and seeing where his whips take him. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EDT -- assuming, of course, that the instance gods show Mike some pity and give him a group.

Game: Swordsman
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, October 24th
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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The Repopulation tweaks healing, creates viable Combat Medics

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, The Repopulation

Sandbox healers, listen up! The Repopulation released a new featurette this week titled Healing and You.

"Gone is the idea of an unengaged, rear-guard healer with zero choice," the diary explains, before mentioning a new healing ability set, First Aid ability enhancements, and some "support and damage abilities for Medics who want to pack a punch." These and other tweaks lead to "an expansive system that creates viable Combat Medics," according to the post, which also says that these CMs are necessary in both PvE and PvP.

ArenaNet teases Guild Wars 2's road to war

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
After a break, a feature pack, and the yearly antics of the Thorn family, the second season of Guild Wars 2's living world will soon be back in business. The business is, of course, preparing to fight Elder Dragons; the

We got to talk with ArenaNet's Lead Writer Bobby Stein and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about how the living world story has marked out what the team calls the "road to war" against Mordremoth and its minions. But as Game Director Colin Johanson said in his latest blog post, "The road to war is paved with points of no return." That doesn't exactly sound good for Tyria, but it may be exciting for GW2 fans who are looking forward to something big.

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Choose My Adventure: The once and future Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
For the last three weeks, I've been whipping and kicking every bad guy I can find in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman in the hopes of understanding this peculiar wuxia MMORPG. My Choose My Adventure experience thus far has been mixed; I've enjoyed Swordsman's theme and setting, but its mechanics and hard-to-follow narrative have made the experience a touch less manageable. Swordsman from 1-30 seems at best like an extended tutorial and at worst like a game that plays itself.

That's not just my opinion. All of the feedback I can find on the game seems to point in one direction: Swordsman's early levels aren't the main attraction. The real Swordsman exists in PvP (unlocked at level 30), guild quests (unlocked at level 35), and instances (unlocked at 15 -- not bad). Last week's combat discipline discovery at 25 further cemented the idea that Swordsman is a game designed to reward players who stick through the initial grind.

I didn't have much time to play this last week, but I did get a chance to sit down with PWE product manager Gabrielle Heiland to talk about Swordsman's first expansion, the future of the game, and how Perfect World feels about the game's current "wait and see" design.

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