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Sci-Fi

Destiny previews its endgame systems

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

The desert of the endgame pattern.
The team at Bungie has been talking a lot about Destiny's systems, but there hasn't been a great deal of discussion about the long-term game. What's going to keep players going in the long term? According to a recent interview with the designers, it's raiding. They'll be focused six-person runs that are meant to take a long chunk of time to accomplish, with no matchmaking services to fall back upon -- players will need to clear time, sit down, and get ready to really chew through challenging content.

Not into that sort of play? There's also a set of bounties available on a daily basis, aimed at rewarding players for what they're already doing and creating a parallel progression path along that line. There are also daily challenges and Nightfall activities to keep players going. If you're looking forward to the game and want a closer look at what you can get from endgame, hop on over to the full preview.

[Thanks to Olorunsegun Adewumi for the tip!]

Oort Online strives to create a 'universe-sized' sandbox

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, New Titles, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Oort Online
Why should your sandbox MMO be confined to one measly world? That's the premise of Oort Online, an upcoming sandbox title that involves several worlds that can be explored, conquered, and molded by players. In this voxel-based game, players will exist on the same server and can choose to fight a nasty galaxy-spanning race called the Protectors or carve out a slice of land on which to build a masterpiece.

"We think fans of procedural games are going to love Oort Online! We're making a universe-sized sandbox and giving players control over what happens," developer Wonderstruck said.

Oort Online has been in development for six months and is available right now as an early access prototype for funders who spend $95 or more. The crowdfunded project also has cheaper tiers for alpha and beta access and promises a package of goodies (including a chance to win instant access) for those who send out a tweet promoting the game.

Get a sneak peek of Oort Online in a dev video after the break!

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's eternal crafting problem

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Crafting, Subscription

Out of the wreckage.
I haven't had the chance to really dive into the new crafting system in Star Trek Online just yet, but I can tell it's certainly a valid effort to revitalize the crafting system for the third time in the game's lifespan, this time with an even more fundamental teardown. Memory Alpha is gone now, along with the exploration clusters that used to provide oh-so-many spots to analyze in the hopes of getting more materials.

Back at the start of this year, the column took a look at the state of Star Trek Online's crafting and asked whether there really is a future left for it. After all, crafting as a source of items was up against the fleet stores and reputation items. Could you make something better than those systems without replacing those systems? Would it even be worth it? What could be done to clean up crafting? We've gotten our answer about what will be done, but is it a net benefit for the game as a whole?

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Defiance's Silicon Valley expansion arrives next week

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance

Defiance
Trion Worlds aims to publish Defiance's next expansion, Silicon Valley, next week on August 5th. The "completely free world expansion" will bolster the newly free-to-play MMO with new story content as well as a new modifier, Encryption, for weapons and shields. Says the studio,
Within the world expansion, players will find Karl Von Back has disappeared into Silicon Valley with his EGO-imbued followers, but it's not the paradise they promised. The valley is overrun with Grid, and a strange cult, the Pilgrims of the Guiding Light, have taken hold in locations across the zone. As all new mysteries unravel, the populace of Silicon Valley calls for help, and only ark hunters have what it takes to face the trials ahead.
Trion intends to stream on Twitch this evening at 6 p.m. EDT to answer questions about the update.

[Source: Trion press release]

A whole lot of you played Destiny's beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny's beta phase was what you might call successful, according to a Bungie press release. The company says that 4,638,937 players participated in the testing period that began on July 17th.

"Hosting a beta at this scale is an incredible feat, so we're thrilled to see the phenomenal response. But the beta is just a taste of what's to come," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. "This is the biggest beta of this console generation by a wide margin and the largest console beta ever for a new video game IP to date."

[Source: Bungie press release]

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Elite's Beta 1 starts today, here's a new trailer

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

Frontier has released its Beta 1 build of Elite: Dangerous. It "covers a greatly expanded 38,000 cubic light-year volume of Elite: Dangerous' accurately modeled Milky Way galaxy centered around the Boötes constellation."

Beta 1 also introduces new features including fuel consumption, player communication, docking computers, mission system functionality, and friend management/matchmaking capability. There's more, including a new trailer, which is embedded along with the official press release after the break.

[Source: Frontier press release]

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Destiny hedges on raid info, character names, and chat channels

Betas, Sci-Fi, Interviews, MMOFPS, Community Q&A, Dungeons, Destiny

Destiny
A Destiny community Q&A posted today on IGN is quite illuminating as to Bungie's approach to this upcoming online shooter. The studio is "very cagey" on releasing any details about its raiding system pre-launch, is struggling to figure out whether the game will have a chat system, and is against letting players give their avatars unique names.

"The team thought a lot about how best to have players identify themselves in the world," Bungie said in regard to the last topic. "Ultimately, we've landed on PSN ID and Xbox LIVE Gamertag, so other people don't have to manage a third list of identities (real name, platform tag, Destiny character name)."

Bungie was non-commital following beta feedback that players wanted a chat system: "We've seen the feedback, and there's quite a bit of ongoing discussion happening around this right now." The studio promised that it was hearing out players on this issue, however.

Firefall drops a launch trailer

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

In the game of shooting, you either shoot or be shooted.
After what seemed to be an interminable period of testing, Firefall is finally officially launched -- and in a very different state from its initial testing, at that. Did you play the game once and step away? Are you wondering what it's even like these days? The launch trailer is meant to address exactly that.

A two-minute trailer can provide only a top-level overview, but this one does so while keeping its narrative entirely in-character, which is commendable. Click on past the break to get a picture of just what you can do within the game now, and if it sounds like your sort of shoot-happy armor-swapping festival, you can start playing the game now.

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Hyperspace Beacon: First impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Roleplaying, First Impressions, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: First Impressions of SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion
It's been an exciting weekend: I've spent many hours just absorbing the contents of the new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Of course, the largest part of Update 2.9 is Galactic Strongholds. I'll come right out to say that the SWTOR livestreams do not do it justice. I'm finally glad that I could get my hands on it to see exactly what the hook system feels like, where I can find all the furniture, and mostly importantly, how much it is going to cost.

Beyond the strongholds themselves, BioWare also introduced a new planet and flashpoint this weekend. I took some time to also visit Manaan, and I know I'm going to sound like a fanboy when I say that it blew me away. I was absolutely not expecting something that gorgeous for a simple flashpoint.

We have a lot to talk about, and if you've spent some time on the SWTOR PTS, I'd like to read your opinions in the comments. But first here are a few of my thoughts.

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Black Gold bumping level cap, adding cross-server PvP and more

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold is entering its second month of open beta, and Snail Games wants you to know that significant changes are on the way. Said changes include a level cap bump to 45, a new tier of skill upgrades, cross-server PvP functionality, and more.

How much more? Well, you'll just have to click past the cut and read the full press release, won't ya?

[Source: Snail Games press release]

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Firefall's launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, MMOFPS, Firefall

Firefall
MMOFPS Firefall officially launches today after several years of development drama and 180-degree design turns that saw CEO Mark Kern ousted last December as the game shifted from a PvP-oriented e-sport extravanganza to a game with no PvP at all to a game that just reintroduced battlegrounds in the last few weeks.

To celebrate the fact that Firefall is (finally!) launching, we've rounded up some of our best news, opinions, and videos of the game from the past year after the cut. Enjoy!

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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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The Nexus Telegraph: Another WildStar patch approaches!

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

It's where I have my fun, It's where I point my gun.
I honestly expected the second patch for WildStar to take much longer to show up on test servers, but here it is. In some ways, I'm not surprised, since we're in the just-after-launch pattern of finishing and polishing stuff that wasn't quite ready for launch with the rest of the game, but still. It's a small one, but you know, I can live with frequent small patches just as well as I can live with more spaced-out large patches.

As it stands right now, we've had about a month to get used to the Strain drop, and I imagine we'll be seeing Daggerstone pass on live sooner rather than later. (With my luck, tomorrow.) So let's talk a little about the last patch, the upcoming patch, and what we can see about how Carbine Studios handles its patches overall.

Oh, and dropping bombs on your teammates. I'm sure that'll factor into this discussion at some point.

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The Daily Grind: Did you try Destiny over the weekend?

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Consoles, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

I kinda wanted to check out the Destiny beta over the weekend. I don't typically beta anymore, but for some reason I downloaded the rough cut of Bungie's sci-fantasy opus to my PlayStation 3 and was all set to give it a whirl.

Alas, Comcast had other plans, so I spent the better part of my weekend disconnected. What about you, Massively readers? Did you check out the Destiny beta now that it's open to everyone? If so, what did you think?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

DUST 514 shuts down Oceania server

Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DUST 514

dust 514
Oceania DUST 514 players have gotten an eviction notice from their home. CCP announced that it will be closing the game's Oceania battleserver this upcoming Monday, citing low population and player exploitation of those remaining.

"Due to some players from other battleservers using Oceania battleservers as a venue for farming battles thanks to the lower population there, we will be shutting them down during downtime on Monday, 28th of July 2014. Any players in the Oceania region will be directed to either the Asia battleservers or the US battleservers, depending on their individual ISP routing," CCP posted.

The studio said that Oceania players will be seeing "a slight increase in latency" due to the move.

[Thanks to Ghural for the tip!]

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