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The Stream Team: Swordsman's Five Venoms

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

Swordsman
Swordsman is this month's Choose My Adventure game and Massively's Mike Foster is ready to spend his evening whipping bad guys and poisoning their friends with his Five Venoms character. Poll voters wanted to see the female-only martial arts school in action, so tonight's the night. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to check out Perfect World Entertainment's latest free-to-play juggernaut and to see if Mike can make any sense out of its Mandarin voice acting.

Game: Swordsman
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Wednesday, October 8th
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: Cracking whips in Swordsman

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

Swordsman
In last week's Choose My Adventure poll, I asked two simple questions of the Massively community: Which gender should our character be in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman, and what path should that character take among the game's 10 available schools of combat? The result was a resounding win for the female-character-exclusive Five Venoms school (probably because whips) and for the creation of a female character.

Since the polls closed on Saturday, I've created our character and spent a little time with Swordsman's intro sequence, tutorial missions, and the earliest chapters of its main storyline. I've whipped a bunch of dudes, summoned giant frogs, and set a few horses on fire. And while it's early yet to declare Swordsman a success, failure, or mediocre in-betweener, thus far I would describe the experience as decidedly mixed.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Eight quests you should play before SWTOR's Revan expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Eight quests you have to run before SWTOR's Revan expansion
The next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming in December, and any BioWare fan already knows the primary antagonist: Revan.

Revan has been BioWare's focal Star Wars character since its first Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic. SWTOR even features Revan in multiple questlines. I could recommend that you read Drew Karpyshyn's book Revan, but there are plenty of ways to get Revan's story in-game. In fact, there are eight different questlines that you should run if you want to get caught up, and more importantly, if you want to prepare yourself for the next expansion. If you have been living under a rock for the last three years, be forewarned that this article will contain spoilers for you.

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Destiny knows you want a looking-for-raid tool

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, PvE, Consoles, Community Q&A, Dungeons, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

In Destiny's latest letter to the playerbase, Bungie Community Manager Deej says that a looking-for-raid tool might be on the table. "You've been heard," he tells a player asking for raid matchmaking. "We're having conversations about how Matchmaking might support the more challenging activities in Destiny." He suggests that PUGs for dungeons thought mostly un-PUGgable are already happening.
You don't need to sell us too hard on the value of Matchmaking at Bungie. It's something we helped to pioneer. Yet, we understand its limitations. In the recipe of a Bungie game, Matchmaking has always contributed the ingredient of a team built to play one match of competitive multiplayer. As you've probably witnessed in recent weeks (or years), many of those fresh allies have failed to go the distance together.

The Raid was designed for solid teams of killers who have made a commitment to solve a dense and explosive riddle. Most of the raiding parties who have emerged victorious from the Vault of Glass have sworn that one weak link would have doomed their chain. There have been other stories, of course. We've heard tell of Guardians who met each other just outside the door that leads into that vault. Strange tales have reached our ears - tales of total strangers who have banded together to see the Raid all the way through to a triumphant finale.
After announcing that he wouldn't be fielding queries about rumors, Deej also addressed the companion app, factions, feedback, and class balance. "The next batch of enhancements, refinements, fixes, and tweaks," he says, will be released "very soon."

The Stream Team: Guild Wars 2's fire and ice

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 has been having a grand old time with the recently revamped Guild Wars 2 starting experience and his brand-new Elementalist character, so he's keeping things rolling this week with more starter content and more centaur mass-murders. If you're curious about Guild Wars 2 or what's new with the updates, tonight's stream is the place to be.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch the action or join the fun; Mike's always on the market for party members and will gladly accept any help you can offer.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: CMA Live with Swordsman

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

Swordsman
Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman has been officially outed as October's Choose My Adventure title, and Massively's Mike Foster is ready to jump in with his fists flying. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. to get an idea of how Swordsman sets up its story, what options the character creator offers new players, and what the game's action combat looks like in motion.

As an added bonus, there will definitely be at least one quest centered on drinking wine.

Game: Swordsman
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Skyforge will spawn multi-stage alien invasion events

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Skyforge

Skyforge
If you like random scripted events in games like RIFT, Defiance, and Guild Wars 2, you're going to love Skyforge's alien invasions. Announced today, alien invasions in the upcpming sci-fantasy MMORPG are huge events that will roll out to the open world in multiple stages and spawn waves of enemies full of loot and esclalating challenge. If ignored, invasions "will grow and defenders will be overrun by more dangerous creatures from the most distant corners of the universe." So maybe don't ignore them.
Upon defeating invading hordes, players can rally the troops and board the enemy ships, where they will encounter bizarre alien monsters in various forms and vicious, unexpected traps. If these can be surpassed, parties must then defeat the avatar of an alien god; presenting a true challenge, staying alive on board an alien ship and defeating the enemies within will reap huge rewards and bring recognition to all victors.

Players that deal most deftly with the alien god's avatar will be able to participate in a championship match. This is a special raid adventure with a new, stronger avatar. Here, even the slightest tactical mistake can deprive you of victory, but the winners will receive a unique reward. The outcome of this battle may have certain consequences for the entire server. After all, the gods are not just immortal heroes. Their actions have an impact on the whole world.
Obsidian has posted a new video showing off the invasion system; we've included it below.

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Leaderboard: Nightmare Tide vs. Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, RIFT, Leaderboard

There are a couple of big fantasy MMO expansions coming out in short order. RIFT's Nightmare Tide drops on October 8th, while World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor releases on November 13th.

Given those facts, I bet you can guess the content of today's Leaderboard, can't ya? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Choose My Adventure: The proud wanderers of Swordsman

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

Swordsman
Since commandeering Choose My Adventure in August, I've been on something of a sci-fi rampage. First we took a second look at a post-release Firefall; then we spaced out with a beta build of Frontier's Elite: Dangerous. And while spaceships and rocket boots are certainly wonderful things, Choose My Adventure is as much about investigating new worlds and new genres as it is about checking out new games. Thus, it's time to leave the world of science fiction behind in search of something a bit more classical.

This month, we're adventuring into Imperial China -- as far from deployable sentry guns and pulse lasers as possible -- with Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman.

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Casual escapists, Skyforge hasn't forgotten you

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, News Items, PvE, Skyforge

Skyforge
A new MMOGames interview with Obsidian Executive Producer Eric DeMilt sheds light on inbound sci-fantasy MMO Skyforge, which he says is angling to provide a deep experience for players with tons of time -- as well as players with very little. As he put it,
"We are striving to make a great high quality free to play MMO that would have action oriented combat and allow for short rewarding session time. We wanted to make something that could accommodate short session game play as allow for enjoyable longer play sessions. It's about escapism and being larger than life."
DeMilt also discusses power creep, player retention, character progression, the Facebook-inspired social network within the game, and monetization; on the last, he's reluctant to give details, but he vows that Skyforge is "not going to be a flat-out pay-to-win game."

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."

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