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Not So Massively: SMITE's championships, LoL's cinematic, and Destiny's brief beta

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Launches, New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Not So Massively, Sandbox, MOBA, League of Legends, Firefall, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Path of Exile, Hearthstone

NSM
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.
  • Destiny closed the gates on beta until its launch in September. Analysts predict as many as 20 million units could be sold.
  • SMITE posted dates for its world championship event in Atlanta, Georgia: January 9th through 11th, 2015.
  • Heroes of the Storm announced new hero Rehgar Earthfury.
  • Former Destiny composer Marty O'Donnell settled his lawsuit against Bungie for "$95,000 in unpaid work, vacation time and damages."
  • League of Legends unveiled new cinematic, A New Dawn, and cracked down on bad seeds.
  • ESPN says it is "delighted" with Dota 2's tournament performance.
  • Warframe has opened up PC-to-PS4 account migrations through Friday. (Thanks, Olorunsegun Adewumi.)
  • Firefall implemented new raids just ahead of its relaunch.
  • Hearthstone opened up the first wing of Naxxramas.
  • Transformers Universe now has motorbikes because of course it does.
  • Games of Glory launched Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter campaigns.
  • Path of Exile ends the sale of its supporter packs at midnight tonight.
  • DUST 514 shut down its Oceania server.
  • Riot Games promised to increase diversity in League of Legends.
  • Shroud of the Avatar posted beta release 8, which emphasizes tutorials and PvP.

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Landmark on sale on Steam

Fantasy, News Items, Promotions, Sandbox, Landmark

Because you make your mark on the land and... yeah, you got the joke, fine.
If you want to get in on testing Landmark, you've got to drop some cash first. That's just the way it is. But the good news -- aside from the fact that buying test access also involves owning the game when it launches for real -- is that you can get away with dropping substantially less cash for a little while longer. Landmark is on Steam as an early access title, and it's currently having a sale that shaves 66% off of every founder's pack available right now.

Due to the sale, prices range from $6.79 for the lowest tier to $33.99 for the highest. Already bought one of the entry packs? You can also pick up an upgrade for your founder's pack at a similar discount, so if you bought the lowest tier a while back you can upgrade to the top for a cool $27.20. Act fast, though; this sale is only running for a little while longer.

[Thanks to Christian for the tip!]

The Stream Team: Poking in the Pathfinder Online alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Video, First Impressions, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Pathfinder Online

Have you been eager to see what is happening behind the Pathfinder Online developmental curtain? Massively's MJ has sneaked in and will be poking around the alpha to see how things are coming along. Starting with character creation, she'll peek into as many corners as possible to show off this upcoming crowdfunded sandbox. Can she get to housing, crafting, adventuring, and exploring? Obviously because it is alpha, things won't be finished, but chances of experiencing everything in a short time is still pretty low! Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to let MJ know what aspects you want to see the most while she has the chance to show you.

Game: Pathfinder Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, July 26th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Working As Intended: It's not the journey or the destination

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG, Working As Intended

FFXIV
If you play MMORPGs, you've no doubt been told, hundreds of times, "Slow down! Don't rush! Stop to smell the flowers! It's the journey, not the destination!"

Typically, you're being told to slow down in an MMO whose focus is the destination: the endgame. All the good stuff is at the end. The best dungeons are there. The best gear is there. The best PvP content and titles and achievements are there. The players the devs cater to are there. Patches and expansions provide new content there. In fact, the only reason to play the rest of the game is to level up to get there. The midgame is a hindrance, a barrier to the "real" game, and it's usually neglected by developers once most players are through it.

So if games themselves reward you only for arriving at the destination, why on earth should you feel bad for not savoring the journey?

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Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Online title image
If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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Get a good (and hilarious) overview of Trove with this video

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Trove

Trove
Have you ever caught yourself wondering what Trove is, exactly? Is it a sandbox? Is it a Minecraft clone? Is it a bizzaro pixelated version of Second Life? It's certainly hard to adequately describe what this quirky Trion Worlds title is going for, which is why it's simply better to see it.

TheHiveLeader created a four-and-a-half-minute video in which he touches on Trove's selling points, from its existing classes to what players can do with cornerstones. It's also pretty funny and moves along at a brisk pace, which is why it's earned today's Massively Seal of Community Approval. Check it out after the break!

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Shroud of the Avatar's Release 8 is here, and so are its tutorials

Betas, Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

It's time for Shroud of the Avatar's Release 8. No really, it's time right now, as you're reading this. Portalarium has published instructions and a lengthy list of features (both included and not included) in this particular build.

The focus is on PvP this time around, and to that end both Scott Jennings and Chris Spears have posted tutorials. Jennings' takes the form of a PvP deck-building guide that's hosted on the SotA forums, while Spears narrates a 24-minute video that you can watch after the break.

Release 8 started at 11:30 a.m. EDT this morning and it runs until 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 28th.

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Black Desert's NA and EU publisher is Daum

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert's search for a Western publisher has made news on more than one occasion in recent months. As it turns out, though, the fantasy sandbox MMO will be published in North America and Europe by the same company publishing it in its native Korea.

That company is Daum, one of South Korea's largest internet conglomerates. News of the deal was confirmed by Steparu via an email exchange with a representative of Black Desert development studio Pearl Abyss. While there is no information available regarding Western beta dates, Pearl Abyss began working on an English client over seven months ago. Black Desert Korea will kick off its third closed beta sometime in late August or early September.

ArcheAge's second beta event starts July 30th

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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With one jam-packed closed beta event out of the way, ArcheAge is revving up for another one. The title's second closed beta event, Settling Sail, will take place from Wednesday, July 30th, through Monday, August 4th.

Trion Worlds announced that the first closed beta's servers filled up within 18 minutes, and as such, it will be expanding the second beta event to be "three times as big" as the first with more invites rolling out.

The good news from the packed beta event last weekend is that the hardware performed great on Trion's side and that the devs have made changes to improve the game: "You also helped us to identify and fix challenges with some of the custom integration for our version! During the event, we were also adapting our own anti-spam and anti-bot software in real time. With your input, we're reviewing a number of systems with XLGAMES, including use of labor while you're hunting and looting, labor regeneration rates for online and offline players, and the availability of Archeum. We're also looking into the feasibility of XLGAMES adding an ability queue and mouse inverting."

EVE Online: Crius launches today

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Patches, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription

crius
EVE Online is just churning out expansions (or plus-sized content updates, if you will) lately, with today's Crius release being the latest of the bunch.

Crius' main focus is on revising and expanding the industrial and crafting portions of the game. Players can join industrial teams to get important jobs done, enjoy an overhauled research interface, partake in dynamic pricing of tasks, and add industry-related upgrades to starbases.

Other fun features of this update include interior atmospheric audio, a new reprocessing system, the ability to opt out of fleet warps, and API support for the industry features of this patch.

UemeU shows off concept video and screenshots

Betas, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Home, home on the range!  Where OH DEAR LORD THE SKY IS SWALLOWING ALL.
If you want to roll your own game these days, you're certainly not lacking in tools to do so. UemeU is another game aimed at giving players the ability to do whatever they want, whether they'd like to build a huge, sprawling online game or just a nice house to settle down and call your own. The official reveal trailer past the break explains the goals of developer Omnigon Games in detail: The game is meant as a sandbox allowing players to create their own servers, structures, rules, and settings as they desire.

Lead developer Jeremy Hindle explains that the game will allow players to both create and play, with creation governed by a simple set of basic shapes that can be combined as players wish. Players will be able to create and modify abilities, change the rules for servers, and create a robust series of interactions via the use of action triggers. Check out the full video just past the cut if this sounds right up your alley.

[Souce: Omnigon Games press release]

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Elite's expansions to include planetary landing, ship interiors

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Frontier's latest newsletter for Elite: Dangerous talks post-launch plans for the sci-fi space sim sandbox. Launch is currently scheduled for sometime in Q4 of 2014, after which Frontier will continue to expand the game.

"Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces," the firm says. Elite users with a lifetime expansion pass will get "all such significant expansions" at no extra charge. The LEP is currently packaged with the game's premium beta access or available separately via the Frontier store.

[Thanks Peteris!]

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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Shroud of the Avatar preps PvP update and asks for player music submissions

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Sandbox, Music, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar is ready to pull the trigger on Release 8 and the game's PvP system. Release 8 will come out next week and feature a massive host of PvP changes that have apparently gotten the dev team hooked. "The team's 30 minute PvP play sessions every morning are growing longer and longer as we're having too much fun to stop," the devs wrote.

Portalarium is also putting out a call to the community to help crowdsource Shroud of the Avatar's soundtrack. The team has a list compiled to guide player composers in creating and submitting their own music for the game.

Ultima Online overhauls factional PvP in publish 86

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

Broadsword Online has announced that Ultima Online's publish 86 will arrive on the test server this evening. Notably, the patch includes the first phase of the game's new Vice vs Virtue system, a massive ground-up rework of the existing faction PvP system intended to bring rewarding, objective-based PvP back to the cities. The update also features a new trading-based quest system, new property generation mechanics for spawned loot, and a refreshed Cleanup Britannia vendor.

Check out the complete patch notes on the official site. If you're a former player thinking of dropping by your old haunt to see how it's doing, recall that last month, the developers hinted at a return-to-UO promotion coming in August.

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