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Allods Online redesigns its June Catacombs trials

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

allods
After identifying "a few flaws" in its June Catacombs trials, the Allods Online team is preparing to overhaul the experience with the upcoming 5.0.02 patch to make it more fun and less predictable.

In the first round of the revised trials, players will be chasing after golems in order to destroy them for their Amalgam packages. During the second round, players will each have a fair shot at winning a race -- but this time as a golem with four abilities. And the third round will forbid mounts from being used and decrease the effectiveness for invisibility spells.

The Stream Team: Seeking chaos with Dota 2's ability draft

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

Dota 2 Ability Draft
One of the most important steps in mastering a MOBA like Dota 2 is developing a deep understanding of every hero's skills. When you know what a hero can and cannot do, you can play effectively both as that hero and against him/her. But what happens when you take hero abilities, stick them in a blender, and force players to fight using whatever skills they can grab? Ability Draft, that's what.

Join Massively's Mike Foster at 7:00 p.m. EDT as he investigates Dota 2's Ability Draft mode (by viewer request!), where skills are picked up à la carte and chaos reigns supreme. He may win, or he may lose, but in Ability Draft, it's more about the journey than the destination.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar announces megaservers

Sci-Fi, PvP, PvE, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
WildStar will be cleaning up its server list and condensing populations in the future, as Carbine Studios announced today that it will be implementing megaservers for the game. The team did caution that it "still some ways away" from the change but wanted to get the news out now.

"Going the megaserver route means that we vastly increase server capacity allowing for greater critical mass of our player base, resulting in more people, more groups, more activity and more raids... more of everything that makes WildStar so fun," the team posted.

The new megaservers will eliminate the old rulesets and replace them with one PvP and one PvE server per region (North America and Europe). The region lock will still apply, however. The team will also be putting specific chat channels (such as roleplay or French) to offset this elimination of old rulesets.

All players will be getting an increased number of character slots to 12 when the megaservers go live, and Carbine will be adding last names to avoid name conflicts. In the meantime, Carbine is allowing for free realm transfers for everyone.

Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
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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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Warhammer 40k

war40k
After getting the pitch from Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade at PAX Prime, I was given the opportunity to sit down and experience a PvP bout first-hand. I'll share a little pet peeve of mine before we get into the meat of the hands-on, which is that I really don't like it when developers stand over your shoulders at demos barking instructions to you. I wasn't given much of an opportunity to do what I wanted to; instead, I was constantly responding to the dev's commands!

In any case, for a pre-pre-alpha build, I'm somewhat impressed that Eternal Crusade was able to cobble together a very playable deathmatch with several classes and two vehicle types (Rhino and Predator). My first class was something of a lumbering tank, well-armed but a clunky jumper. I opted instead to get a jetpack as an assault trooper, willingly trading firepower for the awesome ability to do huge leaps and be able to clutch on to the side of a building and jump once more.

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EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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PAX Prime 2014: Landmark comes into its own

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Landmark

landmark
After the better part of a year of being both an excellent building simulator and the sparse skeleton of an actual MMO, Landmark is finally starting to fill out in all sorts of pleasing ways. At this year's PAX Prime, Dave Georgeson was gushing about the joy that's been unleashed with the recent PvP combat patch. Not only are players reveling in the slaughter of their fellow humans, but a new market for death match arenas has sprung up virtually overnight.

"Players are having stupid amounts of fun with the PvP, even if they aren't typically into PvP," Georgeson noted. He said that contrary to popular belief, PvP is tougher to put into an MMO because it deals with a very unpredictable foe (a thinking human). But it's also better for the team to implement that first and home in on what makes the combat click to make PvE combat sparkle when that's added later on. More PvP customization options are on deck for the future as well.

Also part of the crazy fun are the new platforming elements: teleporters, moving platforms, and "flingers." Georgeson predicted that once the playerbase gets a handle on what these elements can do and how they can be chained together, the game will grow several orders of magnitude wilder.

From here, Landmark's progress will only speed up. The team is going to focus on bug fixes and polishing the new systems while listening to what the players think about the new toys. One thing that the devs have to do is separate ideas that are possible (such as allowing players to order voxel structures to obey the laws of physics) from those that are not (such as allowing players to create enemy creature models). The team does have a release date for the game in mind, although it is not sharing.

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The Stream Team: Experiencing Landmark's first combat arenas

Betas, Video, PvP, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Folks have had a few days to get their bearings with Landmark's new PvP combat system, and that means more arenas have opened their doors. Want to see what's sprung up? Massively's MJ is taking a tour to see and experience -- and most likely die in -- some of the new builds focused on the fledgling fighting system. She's sure there are many creative ways to perish at the hands of her fellow players! With any luck, at least some will involve proximity mines. Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for the two-hour tour (as well as a chance to win more codes).

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, August 30th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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PAX Prime 2014: Paying a premium for Pathfinder Online

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, PvP, Sandbox, Subscription, Pathfinder Online

pathfinder online
Would you pay to get into an alpha test? Well, would you continue to pay a monthly subscription to keep on playing a title that's not yet launched? If you've answered "yes" to these questions plus the special one that I ask at the end of this article, then you're one of the folks that Pathfinder Online hopes to recruit for early enrollment come September 15th.

I sat down with Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey and Game Designer Stephen Chaney at PAX Prime yesterday to talk about this next big step for the game. Pathfinder Online is still far from feature complete, but the team considers it done enough that it can monetize the game in the form of a monthly sub. The 20,000 or so folks who will be admitted into early enrollment play (a number that includes the 7,000 Kickstarter backers) are expected to pay $15 a month as the team continues to develop the title. In exchange, characters and progress will not be wiped, and players will get to see the game take shape around them.

Goblinworks' philosophy is to have a robust game design first and then wrap the rest of the game around it afterward. Dancy said that the monetization is necessary to keep the lights on and the development rolling. The budget for a finished Pathfinder Online is $5 million (89% of which is salaries), but only $1.4 million has been raised so far.

Being only passingly familiar with Pathfinder Online, I asked why the MMO with its territory control seems so different from the small party, adventure-oriented tabletop game. The reason for this is that the pen-and-paper game doesn't completely translate to software boundaries, plus it draws from an adventure pack that Paizo tested a while back that went on to become one of its best-selling products. In both versions of Pathfinder, the long game is to rule the land and establish a legacy, not merely fill up a bag with XP and loot.

So is it worth it to you to pay a full subscription price for a half-finished game? That's up to you.

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PlanetSide 2 reveals its newest vehicle, the Valkyrie

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, PlanetSide 2

PS2
SOE has today revealed the Valkyrie, the first new vehicle added to PlanetSide 2 since last year. What's the Valkyrie?
Packed with a front-facing turret for up-close-and-personal air support, the Valkyrie is a fast-attack gunship that serves as a nimble transport for up to six soldiers (pilot, forward gunner and four rumble seat passengers). Whether it is flying over the dense swamplands of Hossin or through the narrow canyons of Indar, this fast-moving versatile aircraft is sure to change the war on Auraxis.
In the making-of video below, Senior Art Director Tramell Isaac explains the process by which the developers conceptualize and then "jazz up" ship models.

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Star Conflict launches September 4th

Betas, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play

Star Conflict
Sci-fi space sim MMO Star Conflict has today announced its official launch date: September 4th.

The EVE-like soft-launched as an open beta title on Steam last year; this formal release will include a special invasion mode still currently in closed beta. What's invasion mode?
Invasion Mode features an underlying story in which an alien race that disappeared into another dimension of space and time has now returned to invade and conquer. Players must team up in parties of four to explore the new 'Open Space' area and combine forces as they take on new quests and engage in PvP and PvE battles. These new activities provide new loot, which players can use to construct unique armament options and protection for their spaceships.
While the game is ostensibly free-to-play, it offers half a dozen purchaseable DLC packs running from $19.99 to $79.99.

[Source: Press release]

Dark Age of Camelot patch spruces up keeps and relic raids

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Patches, PvP, Subscription

daoc
Patch 1.115c went live on Dark Age of Camelot's servers today, bringing with it a slew of changes to the game's relic raids, keep art, and New Frontiers system.

Players will log in to discover that relics are back in the possession of relic temples, bringing back the old raid mechanics for a new age. To steal a relic, teams have to open up certain relic milegates first and then plunder the item from its respective keep. Keeps have also received a visual upgrade and can be captured and upgraded by the three factions.

There are several new RvR quests as well as plenty of fixes for bugs that may vex ye, so check out the patch notes and give the updated classic MMO a whirl!

The Stream Team: Random drafting in Dota 2

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

Dota 2
Newcomers to Dota 2 often stick to the game's All-Pick mode when searching for matches. In All-Pick, every hero currently in the game's hero pool is available for selection. This makes character selection more manageable for new players (since you can pick heroes you know), but it also leads to an All-Pick All-Stars syndrome in which the same few heroes show up time and again to crush teams and bust ancients.

Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster is exploring a different game mode known as Random Draft. In Random Draft, players take turns choosing from a pool of randomly selected heroes. There's still flexibility in terms of individual hero choice, but the full pool isn't available, and thus teams must get creative using the heroes that appear. Sometimes this goes well; sometimes it doesn't.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to see how it turns out for Mike.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Norrathian Notebook: I tasted Landmark's combat and I like it!

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, PvP, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Better late than never, right? At long last, after months of only mining and voxel magic (and then an overnight delay), I have finally partaken of the Landmark combat fruit. And oh, how sweet it is! Of course the system was just barely implemented and is in only its first iteration, but that doesn't stop me from sharing the experience I had upon first logging in to check things out. So in I jumped just as soon as servers went live... and there I lost the rest of my day.

Even with the inevitable bugs, I was not disappointed by my first few hours of this update. There are flingers and teleporters, weapons and proximity mines -- plenty of things to keep a slightly wacky mind occupied. And who can leave out the new joys of fall damage? Here are my unadulterated first impressions of that much-anticipated system.

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Heroes & Generals tops 2.6 million registered players, releases 'Rommel' update

Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Dev Diaries

Heroes & Generals' latest update is codenamed "Rommel," which seems rather appropriate given the new general characters and officer rank overhaul. "The Rommel update is an important update, as it wraps up our vision with the character progression tree," explains Reto-Moto game director Jacob Andersen. "So you may start your career as a foot soldier and work your way up to become an officer and finally a general in order to command armies and wage war resources."

Rommel also adds FG 42 and M1 carbines for paratroopers, new win conditions for wars, a "much larger" campaign map, improved tank handling, and more.

Reto-Moto's press release says that Heroes & Generals now has more than 2.6 million registered players. Don't forget to view the seven-minute Rommel dev vlog after the break.

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