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RIFT's Unicornalia returns through July 30

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, RIFT

Did you miss out on RIFT's Unicornalia event last May? Well, it's back, according to a post on the fantasy MMO's website. Refugee unicorns from the Plane of Life require your assistance, and you'll need to "find the PRI representatives in your capital city to discover how you can help."

Onyx Unicorn mounts are obtainable via rare drops from the Hooves and Horns event in Moonshade Highlands, as a reward for completing the Rainbow in the Dark achievement, or from the game's cash shop. Opal Unicorn mounts can be had from daily quests or the store.

Unicornalia runs through July 30th.

Elder Scrolls Online publishes video of its QuakeCon panel reveals

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
If you missed the hoopla of last week's QuakeCon, you lost out on some startlingly cool Elder Scrolls Online announcements, including news about an "active world PvP" system for thievin' and murderin' that makes the game feel just a bit more like a true Elder Scrolls title. Fortunately for you, ZeniMax has today released a video of the entire Future of The Elder Scrolls Online panel, which runs almost two hours and covers everything from PvP to the veteran ranks overhaul. Enjoy!

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SWTOR's lead writer teases future story updates

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare writer Charles Boyd has posted a blurb on the Star Wars: The Old Republic website that talks about the game's story and how it will move forward. Boyd says that the first chapter of the next major storyline is currently available via the Assault on Tython and Korriban Incursion flashpoints.

This three-part Forged Alliances arc will lead "directly into our next major story expansion, our largest since Rise of the Hutt Cartel," Boyd teases. He says more info will be coming soon.

Defiance gets new TV show crossover content

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Defiance

Defiance players who have access to the game's Arkbreaker DLC pack can now "deploy ark spikes with a chance to pull new modules out of orbit," according to a news post on the game's website. Said modules feature "new Grid enemies and a Gulanee warrior in massive battles at the center of the arkfall."

The new content is part of Trion's weekly tie-in to the Defiance television show, the second season of which is currently airing on SyFy.

[Thanks Gaius Cavadus!]

LotRO's Summer Festival runs July 22 - August 5

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

There's no shortage of things to do in Lord of the Rings Online these days, what with the recent release of Update 14, Western Gondor, and the level cap bump to 100. If you're already burned through all of that, though, you'll be glad to know that the game's annual Summer Festival starts tomorrow and continues through August 5th.

Events include keg races, horse races, fishing challenges, the Taste of Hobbiton, and the usual Ale Association vs. Inn League shenanigans.

See the savage beasts of WoW's Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Subscription

Blizzard released a dev blog on World of Warcraft's Shadowmoon Valley over the weekend, and it's filled with prose and images detailing the regions beasts. These include riverbeasts, podlings, elekk, and even "enormous sentient trees" that may give would-be lumber collectors a bit of pause.

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite LotRO update or expansion?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

I'm kinda slow-poking my way through Blackroot Vale in Lord of the Rings Online's latest update. So far it's pretty standard fantasy themepark fare, but I'm enjoying it well enough thanks to the setting (Gondor!) and the general ease with which I can wander through it.

As far as LotRO updates go, I think my favorite would have to be the Riders of Rohan expansion, both because of its sweeping vistas and a delightful soundtrack. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite major update or LotRO expansion?

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!

Elder Scrolls Online shows new zones, active world PvP, and more at Quakecon

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Quakecon is the place to be if you want the latest Elder Scrolls Online news. Last night during the Future of ESO panel, ZeniMax showed off a boatload of upcoming features including video of new zones, further discussion of the veteran rank revamp, and details on the justice system.

This last bit is particularly interesting since it involves some sort of "active world PvP" outside of Cyrodiil. In a nutshell, the system allows players to murder NPCs and steal items. If caught, you can choose to pay a bounty (and lose the stolen goods) or run, exposing yourself to guards. You can also be a guard and hunt down player bounties, hence the PvP.

In terms of new zones, there are videos for Imperial City, Murkmire, and Wrothgar after the cut, as well as a look at the stealing and justice system mechanics. Dulfy has a breakdown of the panel, too, including info on new armor and weapons, spellcrafting, and more!

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls' ginormous post-50 update plan

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium - Elder Scrolls art header
Earlier this week, Elder Scrolls Online creative director Paul Sage dropped by the Elder Scrolls OTR podcast and proceeded to drop a ton of update info on fans of ZeniMax's fantasy themepark MMO. We put out a corresponding news post, of course, but there was so much meat on those bones that I couldn't let an issue of Tamriel Infinium go by without adding my two cents.

Plus, hey, it was only two weeks ago that I was advocating for an adjustment to the game's post-50 approach. Ask and ye shall receive, right?

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Camelot Unchained emphasizes horizontal progression, won't rule out story

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Lore, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, on the last and final day of BSC, let's tackle character power and progression.
Massively: We're curious about how, exactly, the vertical progression will keep new players competitive. After the initial rush, new players will spend a long time being less powerful than their player enemies. What exactly is the benefit to creating the equivalent of a long level grind in a PvP game that lacks PvE? Isn't the team worried that power discrepancy might cause newcomers to wash out the same way raid gear or levels might in a game with both PvE and PvP?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Not at all. First, the horizontal nature of this game means that while the veteran player will have some scaling in his stats and abilities, the difference will be a lot less than in any MMORPG I've played. Please keep in mind one of the things I said during our Kickstarter, which is that I want a new player to be able to meet a veteran (just for example, say a six-month one) on the field in a 1:1 match. The new player needs to know he has a chance of either winning or at least putting up a good fight. Now, compare that to any other MMORPG that has meaningful PvP or RvR, and can you say the same thing? I know it wouldn't be true in any I have played.

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Camelot Unchained will feature a customizable 'component combat' system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

CU
Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this morning, we picked his brain about the game's innovative combat system.
Massively: Can you explain why the component combat system and player design of combat abilities doesn't render the concept of classes moot?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Absolutely! Think of the combat system in the same way you would magic. As a member of a certain Realm, you might not have access to particular components, whether for magic or melee combat. Further, your class might have further restrictions in terms of combinations of components. For example, the HelBound will be able to use some healing components that pure fighter classes can't, but they won't have access to the vast majority of magical components.

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Star Conflict adds Invasion and Observer modes

Betas, Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, PvE, Dev Diaries

Star Conflict
Gaijin Entertainment's Star Conflict was updated recently with a new Invasion and Observer mode, as well as several UI and bug fixes as the game continues its beta testing (but is technically launched on Steam) this month.

The space-based MMO's Invasion mode is described as a PvE and PvP game feature that allows players to join up against alien invaders. This includes quests, resource gathering, and crafting to work toward certain goals. Be sure to check out the video embedded after the cut below as well as the official patch notes for more information.

[Thanks to Simon for the tip!]

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Camelot Unchained isn't 'recreating WoW' with its magic system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, Classes, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week on the game's livestreams; today, let's talk about making magic.
Massively: When developers use the word "spellbook," visions of meditating into an EverQuest-style spellbook and repeatedly switching commonly used spells come to mind. Far from creating welcome immersion, that spellbook created headaches for casters [enough that SOE changed it]. But CU's spellbook seems more like a cross between an achievement panel and a spell design tool. How else will CU's spellbook improve on the concept?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: First, I think the characterization of the EQ spellbook as a headache for casters is a very personal one. Let's keep in mind that EQ was the most successful MMORPG prior to the coming of WoW [We presume he means in the West -ed], so not everybody could have hated it. In our game, being a caster will come with some disadvantages, and having to deal with a spellbook is one of them. However, it will also come with advantages. Like so many other things in Camelot Unchained, we're not afraid to say players won't love everything. Indeed, as I've said all along, I know that certain things we are going to do will piss off some people.

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Guild Wars 2 launches Entanglement today

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Launches, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 fans, prepare yourselves for some tangly living world action today as ArenaNet launches Entanglement, episode two of the ongoing second season of the game's story content. Players will continue the established plot arc that has them joining a now-familiar cast of NPCs in the newly opened zone in the Maguuma Wastes.
The lethal, fast-growing vines that have plagued the Brisban Wildlands have begun to spread. Word reaches you of trouble in the town of Prosperity, where the asuran prodigy Taimi was left alone to research the threat. Get back to Prosperity, meet up with Braham, and check in on Taimi. [...] There are secrets hidden within the newly revealed area of Dry Top, just waiting to be discovered. Learn more about the mysterious denizens lurking beyond Prospect Valley and come face-to-face with never-before-seen foes. Follow the trail you picked up in the last release and continue your search for the ley line hub. Stay wary! In Dry Top, danger and discovery go hand in hand.
Don't forget that if you can't play the episode in the next two weeks, you can log into the game and save the episode for a later date.

ArenaNet has also released new screenshots for the event's launch; enjoy them below.

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