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Allods Online offers ship test arenas

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Dev Diaries

Players looking to learn the ropes of their flying ships in Allods Online will soon have a friendlier and cheaper option: the Astral Arena.

Coming with the 5.0.02 update, the Astral Arena is essentially a series of test rooms for players to pit their ship against others with a variety of rulesets. The arena won't be as hardcore as normal PvP encounters, as ships can be repaired after fighting in them for no cost.

The Astral Arena is divided into the maintenance system (for ship repair), the firing zone (with dummy ships), the stable zone (PvP with three astral anomalies), and the scintilliation zone (another PvP mode with two anomalies).

Not So Massively: Star Citizen's Guinness record, Dota 2's mega patch, and GTAO's last team standing

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Crime, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Dota 2
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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H1Z1's senior designer on item degradation, crafting, and more

Horror, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, H1Z1

SOE has released a new H1Z1 dev spotlight video. The dev in question is one Paul Carrico, senior game designer on the open world survival sandbox.

Carrico spends the vid's four-minute running time fielding fan-generated questions, one of which pertains to crafting. "Crafting can get really deep," he says, before giving an example of makeshift weapon fabrication. Carrico also mentions ammo variation, though he says that flaming, exploding, and poison-tipped arrows will have to wait until after H1Z1's early access goes live.

Finally, Carrico talks about item degradation, which will affect everything from weapons to structures to tools. Click past the cut to watch the full clip.

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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

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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Aion punts Hackshield, talks transfers and 4.7

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items

What's up, Aion? Long time no talk. Looks like your EU community manager has released a community report that talks up everything from Hackshield integration to character transfers to the upcoming 4.7 update. Hackshield will be going away, as the devs have "decided to halt the integration and look for something new," though that something new hasn't been finalized yet.

Transfers are also in the works, but the devs have to plan carefully to avoid borking the game's server-based factional/racial balance.

There's no date on 4.7 yet, but localization is current in process and the team hopes to "update you about the content and features of 4.7 anytime soon."

Firefall's having another devs-vs.-players event this weekend

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Firefall

Firefall's having another devs-vs.-players live event this weekend, with the former controlling bosses in the sci-fi shooter and the latter getting a shot at various in-game prizes including titles, currency, glider wings, and more. The official Firefall website has all the details including a list of rewards.

Just past the cut we've got the full press release and a dev-produced Q&A with Scott Rudi, Red 5's director of design.

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Dark Age of Camelot grants accounts free playtime for its birthday

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Anniversaries, Subscription

Like its sibling Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot is currently welcoming old players back with free account time just in time for its October anniversary. Unlike UO, though, DAOC's Come Back to Camelot promotion extends to the most ancient of accounts and runs for two weeks only:
All accounts that were inactive on or before September 24th, 2014 are eligible for 13 free days! Simply login to the account center, re-subscribe, and the 13 free days will be applied to your account automatically! This campaign will run until October 31st.
Broadsword Online also touted a hot fix that permits a dozen previously unrollable race/class pairings. If you've ever wanted a Troll Warlock or Sylvan Champion, now is the time.

Das Tal revamps skills, adds stealth and tracking

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Indie PvP sandbox Das Tal has revamped its skill system in its most recent alpha update. Fairytale Distillery has also added stealth and tracking features as well as tweaked audio for both the game's ambient tracks and its attack sounds.

There's an October update video and a copy of the full press release after the break!

[Source: Fairytale Distillery press release]

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EVE Online hopes to rescue nullsec with dramatic travel changes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

CCP has big plans to shake up the EVE Online sandbox. The studio has just published a dev blog declaring that nullsec, the most lawless area in the game, is "stagnant and needs a change." Phase one of CCP's plan for that change is to "significantly" increase travel times for capital ships by introducing both a jump cooldown and a new mechanic called jump fatigue, which will effectively limit how often those ships ship can jump. CCP Grayscale explained the expected results of the overhaul:
In the short term, we would anticipate a reduction in the degree to which the average non-trivial capital fight escalates, and the number of parties involved. This seems likely to increase the frequency of capitals being deployed in small-scale engagements, in both lowsec and nullsec.

Over the medium term, we see the potential for more substantial changes in the nullsec status quo as the various competing parties work to adjust their internal objectives to the new situation; it seems plausible that the general reduction in travel capabilities will lead to more localism, but we don't want to make any firm predictions in this area. We're confident that these changes improve the overall system of lowsec and nullsec gameplay and take them in better directions, but any set of changes that would allow us to accurately predict their consequences would by their nature be too simple to be interesting for very long.
Phase two and three, CCP vows, will focus on starbases and territorial capture and control.

Massively EVE expert Brendan Drain has documented modern nullsec problems in his long-running EVE Evolved column.
EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare
EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

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World of Warcraft offers up the complete Tales of Pandaria

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Lore, PvP, News Items, Subscription, E-sports

No more silly pandas that we voluntarily added to the game!
Do you feel that you got a sense of all the storytelling to be found in Mists of Pandaria? Probably so; you've had more than a year to get through everything, after all. But there's more to the lore than just what's found in World of Warcraft. The complete Tales of Pandaria series of short stories has been collected on the official site, complete with the option to download the stories for offline reading. None of them is essential for understanding what took place on Pandaria, of course, but each of them provides a larger context that questing can sometimes miss.

Not really your thing? More interested in watching players beat one another up in-game? Then you can watch the World of Warcraft North American Arena Tournament this Sunday. Starting at 9:45 a.m. EDT, the live stream will cover the best-of-five matches between the current teams in the running, with the three best teams getting a shot at the championships at BlizzCon. If that's more interesting to you than fiction, get the full details on how to watch and who's in the running.

The Stream Team: Dota 2's 6.82 madness

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2
The last few months in Dota 2 have come with a sense of stagnation. The professional and high-tier play meta, on display most prominently in this year's $11 million International championship, was in a rut. Something had to change before players grew bored or frustrated with facing the same three or four team strategies. Last week, Valve delivered an earthquake of a content patch, providing a ridiculously huge update that changed items, heroes, abilities, game modes, core mechanics, and even the map itself. For the next few months, pros and casuals alike must sift through the wreckage and try to re-optimize how they play.

Tune in tonight as Massively's Mike Foster takes one of Dota's newly-reworked heroes for a spin and tries to make sense of the post-6.82 carnage. The action begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE's Oceanus release is now live

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

EVE players fight like the French
EVE Online's latest update has been successfully pushed to the sci-fi sandbox's live Tranquility server, according to a CCP announcement post.

Oceanus includes new cloak effects, notification tweaks, new burner missions, easier fitting import/exports, French localization, and some other stuff that you can read about via the full patch notes.

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

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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Dark Age of Camelot builds statues of King's Tournament champions

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Events (In-Game), PvP, Anniversaries, Subscription

Have you ever fancied the notion of having a giant in-game statue erected in your honor? This egotistical dream may come true for you in Dark Age of Camelot... if you are one of the winners of the October's King's Tournament.

This brand-new event in DAoC kicks off tomorrow to commemorate the game's 13th anniversary. Each of the three realms will be tracking RvR stats for everyone in the game, and at the end of the month the top two players from each realm will be crowned champion. These six winners will have a statue of their character constructed in their realm's capital city.

To track the progress of the tournament, players can check out an in-game leaderboard which will be updated on an hourly basis.

How Blizzard is improving World of Warcraft's e-sports appeal

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Subscription, E-sports

WoW Insider
World of Warcraft is no stranger to e-sports, though its cousins deeper in the Blizzard family tree have fared far better. During the Hearthstone qualifiers at last weekend's DreamHack Stockholm, Blizzard Senior Manager of eSports Kim Phan spoke to PCGamesN about the challenges faced by World of Warcraft in the e-sports subgenre.

"I can definitely say that WoW 3v3 Arena right now is kind of hard to watch, in the form that it is, and so there are things that we want to evaluate," she explained. "World of Warcraft was obviously created well before e-sports blew up to the way it is now. We knew there was a competitive element to World of Warcraft, and then it just kind of blew up from there.

Warlords of Draenor's upcoming spectator mode is intended to address the difficulty of following arena matches, but Blizzard isn't stopping there. Even raids might be worth watching, Phan says. "Ideas have been brought up like Battlegrounds. People enjoy watching live raids at BlizzCon. What makes something an e-sport really depends on what people want to see. We are taking a close look into how we can better support e-sports."

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