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PvE

Villagers and Heroes' latest update introduces subscriptions

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Subscription

Villagers and Heroes
Indie sandbox Villagers and Heroes' latest patch, Sands of the Equinox, landed last week. Of note, the patch adds a new all-level zone called the Oases of Anuk'Amon, where players can fight new bosses, collect new gear, and gather craft components. To address player complaints about the combat system, Mad Otter added a new optional dodging mechanic.

And here's something you don't see a lot of indie F2P games doing well past their launch: With this update, Mad Otter implemented an optional subscription plan. Ardent Society Memberships, as the subscriptions are called, boost experience gained from most activities, grant unlimited travel hops and bonus consumables, eliminate house rent, and create extra shared storage. A month-to-month sub is $7.95.

Massively last explored Villagers and Heroes in the wake of its April 2014 update and Steam launch.

EGX London 2014: Guild Wars 2 promotes e-sports

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

GW2
ArenaNet was in London this past weekend promoting its Guild Wars 2 e-sports angle to show-goers, including some who might never have played or even heard of the MMO. A pair of videos serve to explain how Guild Wars 2 works; the first covers PvE from character creation to skills to armor, and the second, hosted by Competitive Community Manager Joshua "Grouch" Davis, covers all things PvP. We think having a Competitive Community Manager is a pretty serious declaration of your e-sports intent. Enjoy the vids below.

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EVE Evolved: Features coming in Oceanus and beyond

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
It's been almost four months since EVE Online switched from publishing two major expansions per year to releasing ten smaller updates, and so far it looks like the new schedule has been a huge success. Rather than forcing the industry overhaul out the door in Kronos before it was ready, CCP was able to push it forward to the Crius release window seven weeks later and the extra development time meant the feature launched in a very polished state. It may be too early to tell if the new schedule's success can be seen in the concurrent player graph for Tranquility, but the numbers have remained steady for the past few months in what is typically the annual low-point for player activity.

The Oceanus update is scheduled to go live in just two day's time, adding several graphical upgrades, more difficult burner missions, an experimental new notification feature, and other small improvements. The scale of the update seems to be on par with the recent Hyperion release, consisting of mostly small features and minor iterations on gameplay. While we're told that CCP is still working on large projects behind the scenes, the new release schedule means they won't be rushed out the door and so we may not see them for some time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise everything we know about Tuesday's Oceanus update, and take a look at what's to come in further releases.

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The Stream Team: Throwing fire in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Massively's Mike Foster continues his investigation of the changes made to Guild Wars 2's starting experience, dropping flaming dragon's teeth on every bandit that stands in his way. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch ArenaNet's streamlined introduction to its massive fantasy game, and feel free to ping Mike in-game (Elerit) if you'd like to tag along. When it comes to Guild Wars 2, more is always merrier.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar adopts quarterly update cadence: 'No more drops before their time'

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription

WildStar Product Director Mike Donatelli has penned a new state of the game post to address concerns about the themepark in the wake of Jeremy Gaffney's resignation as Carbine President and the announcement of server merges in the form of megaservers.

Donatelli says that WildStar will now function under a quarterly cadence for major updates. In August, he told players that the team was adopting a "when it's done" approach to drops instead of its originally planned monthly cadence. "If it's not ready, we'll hold it until it is," he reiterates today, citing quality as his motivator. "This doesn't mean we won't have other activities available to experience on a more regular basis; we're just taking the necessary time to get the major drops right." The next drop, scheduled for November, will include both solo and world story content.

He also promises improved elder game itemization, disincentives for toxic PvP behavior, attunement adjustments, and a new training dungeon to prepare players for WildStar's controversial raid content. "I want to stress that we're not nerfing raids," he writes. "We're just giving you the tools to succeed when tackling them."

Choose My Adventure: Basically Han Solo in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
When Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous eventually launches, I'm guessing there will be two primary types of pilots cruising its vast expanses: quiet, peaceful types who enjoy exploring and courier-ing, and destructive, violent types who prefer interacting with NPCs and other players via pulse lasers. Elite's loose structure has room for other archetypes, though, such as the savvy trader working the marketplace and the under-the-radar smuggler who lives on the wrong side of the law but avoids drawing attention to himself. Being peaceful doesn't mean you have to be lawful.

Last week's Choose My Adventure poll set me on the path of the smuggler, challenging me to secure illegal goods and to sneak those goods by the feds to net a healthy profit.

Results were mixed.

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The Stream Team: Adios, Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Frontier Developments
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has had a good four-week run in September's Choose My Adventure, but it's time to step out of the spaceship and into some heavy armor or a wizard's robe. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he adventures out into Elite's current beta one last time, with Twitch chat as his guide. It's not the end for Elite around here, but it's the last shot we'll get to see the game before Beta 2 launches on the 30th.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT for all the spacey action.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Neverwinter announces Rise of Tiamat module

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Neverwinter

Neverwinter
Perfect World Entertainment has today announced Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat, another chunk of the Tyranny of Dragons plotline that just so happens to coincide with the story in new Wizards of the Coast tabletop series of the same name. The module "brings a new paragon path for the recently released Scourge Warlock class" with both solo and group play. Highbies can hunt for artifact gear as they prep for the resurrection of the goddess Tiamat and the epic battle being so heavily foreshadowed.

We've got screenies and the new trailer below.

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The Daily Grind: When's the last time you stopped to smell the MMO roses?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting

I got my first aquafarm in ArcheAge over the weekend, and after I'd planted some coral and laid a few bamboo fish traps, I floated up to the surface and sat in my rowboat. My farm is situated inside a picturesque bay that almost always features player clippers cutting to and fro as well as beautiful weather and water effects that I've talked about before.

So I just sat there, taking screenshots and taking it all in. It's been quite a while since I've played an MMO that made me want to simply exist in it and it's nice to be virtually home, so to speak. What about you, Massively readers? When did you last stop to smell the MMO roses? What were you seeing or doing at the time?

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!

The Daily Grind: What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

So yesterday I picked up piles of dookie in ArcheAge. Yes, there really is a quest in Anvilton that requires you to go around and fill your bag with yata manure, yatas being those floppy-eared rabbit/kangaroo mount things.

As if stuffing crap in my quest bag wasn't enough, there's an occasional overpowering stench status effect that causes my character to temporarily pass out and fall down. Finally, the end of the quest required me to deposit a huge helping of poo on an NPC's workbench, complete with buzzing fly and rising steam animations.

How about you, Massively readers? What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

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!

The Stream Team: New is new in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
The good folks at ArenaNet have revamped Guild Wars 2's starting experience, and Massively's Mike Foster is prepared to meet that new new player experience head-on. The revised approach involves better direction for those who aren't sure where to go and promises to help streamline the leveling process; no longer should brand-new Guild Wars players be left lost and confused.

Does it work? Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST and find out.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Champions' Steel Crusade now live with new instances and more

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

Champions Online's newest content update is now available. Steel Crusade finds Millennium City under attack by Mechanon, "a robot supervillain determined to eradicate all organic life." The drop includes three new instances, a new mission hub (the United Nations Tribunal on International Law space station), and a Reawakened Automaton Archetype.

[Source: Perfect World press release]

Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day six - P2W and the early verdict

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Is ArcheAge pay-to-win? That's a question I've been asked several times in recent days. Before I answer it, let's get something out of the way up front. And by "out of the way," I mean that this is the most important part of the article and needs to be emphasized in the intro.

Pay-to-win is 100% subjective.

There is no scientific or universally accepted definition of pay-to-win. Some things in this life are absolutes. Pay-to-win is not one of them.

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Massively's ArcheAge launch diary: Day five - Random knowledge

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Today's diary entry is going to skip around a bit, as I'm still dabbling all over ArcheAge and finding it nearly impossible to convey everything important inside of a few thousand words. If you're just joining us, this is day five of Massively's launch chronicle because even though the game "launched" yesterday, it really launched last Friday via the founder head start.

I'm aware that some people had disconnect issues and nightmare two-hour login queues on the 16th. I did not have much trouble with either, presumably because of my Patron account status regarding the latter. Trion does have some work to do, though, as I noticed a lot of slow-down in high-traffic areas throughout much of my play session last night, and I also logged into a black screen more than once and had to re-queue as a result.

In other words, it was a typical MMO launch day. I've seen better, but I've also seen far, far worse.

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Choose My Adventure: Exploring exploration via Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Being an explorer is overrated. Sure, Lewis and Clark are remembered as bold adventurers who set out across the untamed American west, charting charts and mapping maps and becoming famous along the way. It's less memorable that the expedition frequently feasted on dogs, slept with more locals than a touring indie rock band, and included at least one accidental butt shooting. In other words, between an explorer and fame there lies a whole lot of gristle.

Last week, Choose My Adventure voters set me on the exploration path in Frontier Development's Elite: Dangerous. While exploration hasn't yet been implemented as a viable career, it's still a thing you can do just because you feel like doing it. It's also a pretty great way to see your life end in a cacophony of flames and shrapnel or to find yourself staring at a map in complete and utter confusion.

Still, it beats roasting a Labrador and passing it around the campfire.

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