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The Stream Team: Hug it out in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
You know what's awesome? Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, that's what. Join Massively's Mike Foster tonight as he crushes some hard mode encounters from the perspective of a White Mage. Or, more realistically, join Massively's Mike Foster as he wipes over and over again in encounters that the rest of FFXIV's player base can probably do blindfolded.

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

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Skycastles coming to TERA on February 24

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, TERA, Housing

Have you recently come home to TERA? OK, maybe you never left. Either way, En Masse is betting you'll get excited about the Skycastle guild housing system that's heading your way on February 24th.

The castles float above major cities and are available "to the top-ranking guilds on each server via two new ongoing four-week guild competitions that track guild points earned from dungeons, battlegrounds, and guild-vs.-guild battles," according to an En Masse press blurb.

The patch will also include a new dungeon set aboard the Sky Cruiser Endeavor as well as a hard-mode version of Bathysmal Rise.

[Source: En Masse press release]

PAX South 2015: Pox Nora is the coolest online card game you've never heard of

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Interviews, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Events (Massively's Coverage)

Pox Nora
Pox Nora is a game that's hard to categorize. It's like Hearthstone, you see, because it's an online card game. But it's also like Civilization because it uses turn-based combat on a variety of maps with terrain that affects the battle. And maybe it's like Minecraft as well because it was built by a tiny team and developed incrementally through the feedback of a passionate fan base.

Pox Nora was free-to-play before free-to-play was a thing. It's gone from tiny little indie to SOE-backed product and back again. And through its eight years, it's managed to fly quietly under the radar while its developers continually churn out content, implement community ideas, and expand its possibilities.

At PAX South over the weekend, I sat down with Arthur Griffith, CEO of Desert Owl Games and co-creator of Pox Nora, to learn more about the game and its latest content additions.

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PAX South 2015: Moonrise and State of Decay shine at the Undead Labs booth

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Buy-to-Play

Undead Labs
Most media appointments at an event like PAX South 2015 work like this: You meet the person you're supposed to meet, that person shows you the game her studio is working on, and then you rush off to the next booth on your list while cursing yourself for not scheduling time for a snack. Undead Labs handled my PAX appointment a bit differently, sitting me down for back-to-back play sessions with brand-new tablet game Moonrise and a remastered version of State of Decay, the zombie survival game that put the studio on the map.

It was a little jarring to go from adorable pet battles to being torn in half by a zombie, but the two-for-one session provided a nice glimpse of where Undead Labs has been and where it intends to go.

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MMO Burnout: Engineers in spaaace

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Sandbox

I missed the whole Minecraft craze. I was stupidly grinding my virtual life away in various MMORPGs, plus I couldn't get past Minecraft's so-fugly-it's-hip aesthetic. No matter, though, because Space Engineers takes Minecraft's core concepts and dolls them up with pleasing visuals, a nifty near future sci-fi setting, and addictive gameplay that's much more than the sum of its parts.

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PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Interviews, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
ArenaNet's Mike O'Brien and Colin Johanson (and Commander Shepard) took to the PAX South 2015 stage yesterday morning to announce Heart of Thorns, the first-ever expansion for Guild Wars 2. If you're not up to speed, check out our post covering the announcement and the official site to get the broad strokes on the expansion's new zone, new profession, new progression system, and more.

News of the expansion raised many a question from our readers (and our staff!). Massively's Larry Everett and I sat down with O'Brien and Johanson to try to get those questions answered and dive a little deeper into the changes coming to Guild Wars 2's living world.

And no, there isn't a release date.

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PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Charr v Dragon
As MMO players surely know by now, Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion ever for the ArenaNet MMORPG. In fact, most everyone suspected the announcement thanks to the leaked trademark information. But that didn't stop fans from being excited about it, nor did that bit of information satisfy their hunger.

The emcee for the reveal event was none other than voice actor Jennifer Hale, whose voice players might recognize as Queen Jennah's. President and CEO of ArenaNet Mike O'Brien and game director Colin Johanson teased the PAX South crowd of over 1,500 fans waiting in the main theater. But the anticipation for the new expansion started well before anyone even came to the stage.

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PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvE, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

The Untitled Game, better known as TUG, is one of the many recent titles that have earned a small crowdfunding fortune by shouting the word "sandbox" as loud as the internet will allow. The game's initial Kickstarter campaign raised $293,000; launching on Steam's Early Access marketplace helped Nerd Kingdom rake in an unspecified amount of additional dollars. The studio had a bold plan for an open-world, innovative crafting MMORPG, and it appeared as though players were ready to pay for it.

Things haven't gone so swimmingly since then. Funding issues in late 2014 forced the studio to lay off around half of its staff. Many MMO industry followers have been wondering whether the project will ever be released or it's just another crowdfunded pipe dream.

I took a look at TUG on the show floor at PAX South 2015 and talked to COO Brennan Priest about crowdfunding, layoffs, and killing things with axes. The one thing I can say for sure is that there is definitely a game here, and it seems as if it could be a good one.

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PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

Pax South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plan for the year
When Eric Musco, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager, took the stage at the Community cantina last night at PAX South, he revealed that in 2015 the team wants to do something a bit different with this and future cantina crawl events. In the past, it has been policy not to reveal anything at the cantinas; they were intended to be social events where players could get some face-time with the developers of the game that they both enjoyed. However, going forward, the community and development teams have decided that each cantina will reveal that had not been mentioned before.

The reveal at this weekend's cantina came in the form of the yet-to-be-published producer's letter by Bruce Maclean. The completely made-up story is that it was stolen from his computer while he wasn't looking and printed out to share with us at the cantina.

After the break, you'll find a copy of that letter as it was dictated to cantina goers. The caveat, of course, is that this is not the final version of the letter that will appear on the official site in two weeks, so everything is subject to change.

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PAX South 2015: Garriott and Long talk Shroud of the Avatar

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, PvE, Hands-On, Roleplaying, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Shroud of the Avatar, MMORPG

SOTA
In 2013, Ultima Online creator Richard Garriott took to Kickstarter in the hopes of funding an old-school, sandbox-y MMO. Titled Shroud of the Avatar, the new project would be built in Unity and aimed squarely at those MMO fans who longed for the days of player-driven economies, crafting as a focus instead of a side activity, and the ability to impact the game world in a real way.

The plan worked. Shroud of the Avatar pulled $1.9 million on Kickstarter alone, almost doubling its $1 million funding goal. Since then, the team has been hard at work bringing Garriott's vision to life (and keeping backers happy).

I spoke with Garriott on the PAX South 2015 show floor about crowdfunding, loot, and the mistakes of the modern RPG. I also got to play a bit of SOTA with the help of executive producer Starr Long, who kindly did not make fun of me when I was killed by the second mob in the demo.

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PAX South 2015: Hangin' with Frontier, playin' Elite on the Oculus Rift

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Interviews, PvE, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
Readers of the Choose My Adventure column may remember that I spent the month of September smuggling beer, shooting NPCs, and dodging space rocks in Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous. Though the game was in early beta, I found lots to do and lots to love about the space simulator that isn't that other space simulator. Realistic physics, challenging flight controls, and beautiful design work made the game stand out to me as unique and promising (other Massively staffers seem to agree), and I've revisited it since and enjoyed it every time.

Thus, I jumped at the chance to check Elite out again at PAX South 2015, this time with the experience enhanced by a rad HOTAS setup and the ever-so-popular Oculus Rift. Guided by producer Eddie Symons, I bluffed my way through a combat demo and discovered that when it comes to shooting things in space, being able to look and fly separately is a great thing indeed.

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RIFT's 3.1 Storm at Sea arrives next week -- with capes

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, RIFT

There's a preview of RIFT's new Tyrant's Throne content on the game's official website. On January 28th, Trion says, players will see some "titanic zone events" as well as a new 20-player raid, a 2-player chronicle, and more.
The journey into RIFT 3.1 Storm at Sea is nearly at hand. On January 28, players will make landfall at the harbor of Tyrant's Throne – just in time for titanic zone events that bring ancient akvan lumbering out of the abyss! Ascended will have one week to wipe them from the island before the opening of Tyrant's Forge, a new 20-player raid pitting the strongest Guardians and Defiant against the Dragon Queen of Air.
The most important bit, of course, is capes. Yes, capes. "New capes debut for all," says the studio.

Red 5 tweaking Firefall's reputation system

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Firefall

Firefall's latest news blurb concerns reputation. It's not all about grind and 20 different currencies that will clog up your inventory, though. In fact, Red 5 says that the work-in-progress rep system will ultimately feature reputation points that function like experience. Which, OK, is still about grind. But yay for inventory space!

The devs are also enthused about the future of the rep system, which they say will make use of Firefall's NPC corporations that "aren't much more than flavor" in the current build. You can read all about rep at the official Firefall website.

Elite's February patch to feature 'community goals'

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is readying something called "Community Goals" for its 1.1 patch. Executive producer Michael Brookes told PCGamer that community goals are a "new type of story-driven collaborative content."

The first such goal will involve supply and bounties, with "massive player migrations [that] will have a knock-on effect on galaxy-wide economy and power structures."

February's 1.1 update will also feature a new gas giant shader and city lights on planetary dark sides, Brookes says.

SWTOR Q&A mentions 12x, soloable flashpoints

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

Werit has posted a Q&A with Star Wars: The Old Republic's community team. It touches on the well-received 12x experience boost, which BioWare says it will be discussing "later this year." There's also a bit about making older flashpoints soloable and while BioWare says it doesn't want to make all group content accessible to single players, it does have "some major story moments that [it] would like every player to see."

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