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The holidays have arrived in SOE's MMORPGs

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Business Models, Culture, Events (In-Game), Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Dragon's Prophet, Landmark

EQ2
If you're a fan of SOE's MMOs and also a fan of Christmas, good news! SOE's MMOs also have Christmas! The studio posted a roundup of its holiday festivities earlier today:
  • EverQuest II: The Frostfell Wonderland Village returns this year along with a brand-new quest called The Great Candy (Cane) Chase.
  • DC Universe Online: Players will confront Larfleeze's Orange Lantern Corp. Old feats and rewards are back, as are "new base items, styles, a feat, and collection."
  • PlanetSide 2: It's Auraximas, which means it's time to murder snowmen. Special camo will also be on sale in the in-game store because of course it will be
  • EverQuest: Frostfell in this classic MMO brings Santug Cluagg and a host of new quests rolled out in phases.
  • Dragon's Prophet: Celebrate the The Silver Dragon Festival through January 15th.
A moment of silence, of course, for the SOE games no longer with us after this year's purge. Ahem.

If you're more the type to moon after Landmark and its futurespawn, EverQuest Next, check out MJ's hands-on with Landmark's PvE content update, which launches today. And peek back early next week for Massively's traditional MMO holiday event roundup for all the big games across the genre.

EVE Online nixes industry teams

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
Not every new idea is going to take off and be a smash hit, as CCP definitely understands this as much as anyone. The EVE Online developer said that the implementation of industry teams earlier this year has been vastly underused, and as a result, teams will be removed from the game entirely in 2015.

"We have been closely tracking all related industry metrics and dials and it is apparent to us that usage of teams has been very low relative to the goals we set for it -- with single figure percentage use in manufacturing jobs and near nonexistent use in research," CCP wrote.

Industry teams had allowed players to hire NPCs to help out with industry jobs. The feature will be "methodically removed" over the next few months, although players will be able to use teams until they are forceably retired.

On another note, EVE tweeted that it has freed up over six million names from former trial players and has made them available for general use.

Leaderboard: Are you playing Elite: Dangerous this week?

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Leaderboard, Elite: Dangerous

I'm vacationing from Massively this week, but I'm not vacationing from MMOs. Unless Elite: Dangerous isn't technically an MMO. Maybe it isn't, I dunno, because I haven't played long enough to form an opinion just yet. Anyway, Elite! Launched yesterday! Yay! Maybe after my vacation I'll manage to write something more in depth, but for now that will have to suffice.

What about you, Massively readers? Are you playing Elite this week? If so, what do you think?

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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Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs on the warrior class and development transparency

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment -- an indie studio that's becoming better known to our readers, I imagine, after it ran away with our poll for best studio last week -- has today posted its first class concept reveal. The tentatively named Drengr is the Viking warrior class, and in its long design document, the studio has outlined just how the archetype fits into the proposed Path system that will govern character development in the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG.

We spoke to CSE's Mark Jacobs about the Path system, warrior reveal, and the impact of transparency on the game development process. Enjoy the interview below!

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Landmark's PvE arrives today; SOE shifts to EQ Next full-time in 2015

Interviews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

We've waited a long time for the chance to have our faces eaten off by vicious monsters in Landmark, and now that opportunity is almost here! After a bit of delay, the infamous PvE patch is heading into our favorite sandbox today. This is seriously going to be a game-changer. Of all the patches throughout the whole year, this one is the biggest -- surpassing the August PvP update and even the original alpha launch, at least according to Creative Director Dave Georgeson. And he's not kidding! I got to check out Landmark's new mobs, linking and triggering, armors, props, and more with Georgeson and Senior Producer Terry Michaels. I didn't think it was possible to be even more excited for this patch, but I am! Can I hear a squeeeee?!

Oh, and for everyone who is waiting anxiously for EverQuest Next news, here's a tidbit from Georgeson you might enjoy:
When we get to those game mastering systems [after the start of the year] that means we are working on EQN full time. Because those are the systems we need for EQN, and that's what we're building when we're building those game mastering tools. So we're so close to transitioning the team almost entirely to EQN, and then we'll take the elements that we build for EQN and port them over into Landmark, but our focus will shift almost entirely to EQN after the new year.

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EVE Online speeds up game installation and access

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
To "get people into the game quicker," CCP is smoothing out the download and installation process for EVE Online. This new method of deployment is scheduled to go into service at the start of 2015.

This means that the installation package will go from a 7GB download to a zippy 200MB one instead. Once that game client is up and running, it will then download the rest of the game's resources as needed.

"On a fast connection you probably won't notice much of a difference -– load times may be slightly longer at times. As you play more, more resources will be cached and fewer and fewer need to be downloaded. The client will be smart about pre-fetching resources it expects will be needed soon," the team said.

Wurm Online adds in a new Challenge mode

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Wurm Online, News Items, Sandbox

Sandbox, noun: a version of gameplay wherein no actual content is provided, thus inciting players to punch one another in hopes of something happening.
Sometimes you don't want to fuss about with leveling; you just want to jump into the meat of a game and start accomplishing things. Wurm Online's new Challenge mode is all about that, giving new characters created just for these month-long challenges enough skills to get started right away and a faster advancement rate to boot. It sounds pretty magnanimous until you realize that the other two sides are also starting ahead and moving just as fast, so players are going to need to step up fast if they want to keep going.

The Challenge server offers a 64 square kilometer space for three player factions to feud over control. Everything on the server remains persistent for a month, after which point prizes are awarded to the players and factions that have advanced the furthest in specific categories. The update also includes siege weaponry, strategic resource spawns, and defensive fortifications to hold off attackers. It's the equivalent of throwing players in a box and shaking it until the fireworks start flying; if that sound like fun, you can jump into that box now.

[Source: Code Club press release]

Elite: Dangerous has no offline mode for story reasons

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

These just keep going, huh.
Frontier Developments head honcho David Braben has been working overtime to defend the 11th-hour revelation that Elite: Dangerous will have no offline play option. A recent video interview with Braben includes his response to these issues; he states that it's not off the table, but it's incompatible with the way that the game handles storytelling. The game world is meant to change over time based on player actions, and it wasn't as functional without players being affected by each another.

Braben explains that the game's missions are generated in part by aggregates of player activity; if a majority of players choose to support a rebel faction on a given planet, for example, then that faction becomes more powerful, and the nature of missions related to those rebels changes. Keeping the game online ensures that these changes can be reflected in gameplay, making the experience more dynamic and engaging. The full interview also covers the details of beta testing and control setups, if you're not as interested in the fine details of staying online while playing in single-player mode.

Elite: Dangerous formally launches tomorrow.

Landmark's monster update delayed until Wednesday

Betas, Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

With such a monster update coming to Landmark, SOE was open about the possibility of troubles and a delay. After keeping the community updated on progress and pitfalls over the weekend, Creative Director Dave Georgeson confirmed it: The PvE patch is delayed until Wednesday, December 17th, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Apparently the mobs themselves are scared of the introduction of players -- as well they should be! Mobs were found all clustering in a single cave. To fully fix this, SOE has to regenerate the islands. But don't worry, builders; there is no claim wipe involved, just time. Once the servers are up and running, watch for a Stream Team tour to check out the new Landmark wildlife.

Get a closer look at Star Citizen's Gladiator bomber

Betas, Sci-Fi, Sandbox, Star Citizen

star citizen
So just what is the Gladiator, Star Citizen's newest ship, and why might it have some players salivating? Recently, the team posted additional information and technical specs on this carrier-based bomber for all those interested to check out.

According to the description, "The Gladiator is the UEE Navy's premiere carrier-based torpedo-plane and space-to-ground dive bomber. Operating with Hornet escort fighters, Gladiators have seen service with great success in battles across known space. Rugged to a fault, the Gladiator is the most capable bomber chassis ever designed."

Star Citizen is selling the Gladiator as a not currently flyable pledge ship for $165, or or you can pay $180 for the ship and an extras package. It will be available for pre-purchase only through December 22nd, although it will eventually be in the full game upon release.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

Make My MMO: December 7 - 13, 2014

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online pretty much stole the show. Sure, Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous made some noise like they always do, but the player-driven sandbox world-builder from Citadel Studios not only polished off a successful Kickstarter campaign but also started getting a bit of pub outside the usual MMO blogging circles.

Click past the cut for the rest of this week's crowdfunding roundup.

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The Stream Team: A last look at Landmark (pre-PvE, that is)

Betas, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Landmark

The Stream Team: A last look at Landmark (pre-PvE, that is)
Landmark as you know it is going the way of the dodo and dinosaurs -- not that there ever were any dodos or dinosaurs in Landmark. There wasn't any wildlife at all. But that's the point: Come Monday, the game is changing in a major way with, among other things, the addition of PvE and mobs. Multi-tiered islands, deep cavers with independent biomes, gaveyards, and underground ley lines for travel... calling it a whole new world is not very far off. *cue Disney music* So Massively's MJ is taking one final stroll through the islands to soak up their final hours as they are, all so she can tell all the young whippersnappers, "Back in my day we didn't have no mobs, and we had to walk the whole way, on our feet!" Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for a last look at this version of Landmark, and get your beta code to take part in its rebirth.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday,December 13th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Shards closes its successful Kickstarter campaign with a livestream

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Shards Online has already met its Kickstarter goals, and now Citadel Studios is throwing a celebratory wrap-up livestream as the clock winds down. And when we say now, we really mean now, since the stream runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT today. The team will be giving away alpha codes and riffing on some of the gameplay viewable in the new campaign highlight video that we've embedded after the break.

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SOE bracing for 'enormous' Landmark update

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, Landmark

So next week's Landmark update is big. Real big, according to SOE's Dave Georgeson. The patch includes "caves down to the world core," salvaging, crafting tweaks, transportation systems, monsters, new loot, and more.

Georgeson also cautions that SOE "fully expects this update to be problematic." He says that the firm will keep players updated via Twitter and that it will announce on Sunday whether or not the update will occur on Monday as currently planned.

Elite newsletter talks new ships, Voyager 2

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous

Frontier has emailed the 53rd edition of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. It features everything from Voyager 2 ("still traveling and in the correct location for the year 3300") to the new Adder and Lakon Type 7 player ships to a bit of lore and the usual community chatter.

The Adder is a new exploration-focused craft designed to complement the pre-existing combat- and trade-focused ships. The Type 7 is a mid-range trading vessel with signifcant cargo capacity and the ability to take a beating.

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