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Sci-Fi

The Repopulation expands alpha and focuses on bots

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Housing, The Repopulation, Player-Generated Content

The Repopulation
Above and Beyond has published The Repopulation's end-of-November report, and it's a doozy. The studio discusses the embiggening of its alpha thus far and the addition of new servers to handle the load. The devs have also been working on housing and city locations, a new character versioning system, a new cloning system, nation deeds, facial animations, and tooltips.

Perhaps of most interest to sandbox fans disillusioned with this year's sandbox drama is A&B's focus on its bot detection code. "Our philosophy with bots is that once the game launches it is not really beneficial to ban characters unless they already invested a significant amount of time into the characters, otherwise they can just create a new free account and you need to detect them all over again," the devs wrote. "So we've focused our attention on reducing the benefits of botting. In addition skill gain penalties and stoppage, botters will see their harvesting results capped in quality, and a complete shut off of loot."

Capping off the dev letter are 17,356 words' worth of patch notes. We counted. Check every last one out at the official site.

The myth of Skyforge's Celestial Fortress

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Skyforge

Skyforge
Guess what, story fans? Skyforge has lore!

Today's dev post explains the myth behind the Celestial Fortress, an epic construction project floating in the sky meant to safeguard the planet Aelion from its own inward-spiraling moon. "While historians still argue about its true origin and meaning," intones the narrator, "only one historical fact remains clear: the Celestial Fortress which the symbol represents prevented the destruction of Aelion." Well, that and the Roche limit, but this is sci-fantasy lore, not astronomy. Carry on, storytellers!

We've included the new concept art of the Celestial Fortress below. Don't forget that Skyforge's browser minigame competition to win a beta key and other prizes is still ongoing for the next several weeks.

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EVE's Rhea update profiled in new dev video

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

Curious about EVE Online's forthcoming Rhea update? Have yourself a look at CCP's latest in-development video, which we've embedded just past the break. It features tidbits on the new Thera system, 100 new shattered wormhole systems, redesigned and remodeled ships, manual controls, and a lot of other stuff.

CCP has also released a textual dev blog focused on the cloning changes that Rhea will introduce on December 9th.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Previewing SWTOR's Shadow of Revan

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

Hyperspace Beacon: Playing the Shadow of Revan
When I was first introduced to the expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, there were two things I wanted to see: the continuation of the class story and Yavin 4. And I'm happy to say that this expansion delivered both of those in a satisfying way. When I spoke to studio game director James Ohlen and lead writer Charles Boyd about the expansion a few weeks ago, they told me that Shadow of Revan would close one major chapter and open a new book for SWTOR. After seeing the expansion, I have to agree that Shadow of Revan does put a great cap on a class stories and opens the door for an exciting future for the game.

I don't want to give you the impression that everything in the expansion is exactly what I wanted, though. There is a surprising lack of exploration, the amount of content fell short, and parts of the maps felt slapped together. The screenshots depict beautiful scenes, but sometimes form outweighs function.

Before I continue, I feel obligated to tell you that there are spoilers of previous content in this piece, but the important parts of the new content will remain unspoiled.

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Destiny nerfs Suros rifle, tweaks exotic upgrades

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Destiny

Bungie may not have made an MMO with Destiny, but it's aping traditional MMO nerf/buff cycles with the game's latest patch. Version 1.1 bumps up the usefulness of the Thorn and Bad Juju guns while nerfing the popular Suros Regime auto rifle.

Destiny's gear system has also been tweaked, as exotic armor and weapon upgrades no longer need ascendant materials. Instead, you'll need exotic shards, which you can get from deconstructing exotic gear or buying them outright from an NPC vendor. Click through the links below to read the full patch notes.

Here are some screens from SWTOR's new planet

Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries

Star Wars: The Old Republic's website has updated with a new developer blog called Rishi: Places of Interest. Actually, let me back up. It's not really a developer blog, even though it's listed in the site's developer blog section.

It's actually something of an in-character journal/travel log, but don't worry if you're not a roleplayer. You can still look at the pretty screenshots that focus on points of interest around the planet Rishi, which debuts in this month's Shadow of Revan expansion.

CCP to target EVE Online botters in 2015

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Sandbox

Last week, CCP Games updated its policy on multiboxing and input automation within the spaceship sandbox EVE Online.

Multiboxing -- that is, " playing as multiple separate characters, simultaneously, across a number of accounts, either by using multiple computers to run the game, or by using a number of instances of EVE on a single computer" -- will continue to be allowed, CCP wrote. But input animation is off the table.

"Input Automation refers to actions that are commonly also referred to as botting or macroing," explains the studio. "This term is used to describe, but is not limited to, the automation of actions which have consequences in the EVE universe," including automated "activation and control of ships and modules, navigation and movement within the EVE universe, movement of assets and items within the EVE universe, [and] interaction with other characters."

Botters caught violating the rule after January 1st will be punished with a temporary ban on the first offense and a permanent ban on the second.

Star Citizen opens up a $350 ship for sale

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Because the millions of dollars the game has already accumulated are simply not enough to add another ship design to the game for free.
Do you want to go out exploring with Star Citizen once it's actually possible to do so? It's one of the stated goals of the game, after all. If so, perhaps you'd like to do that exploration inside of the newly revealed Anvil Carrack, a ship that is available for purchase now for the not-at-all low price of $350. And you can't use it in any of the game's current modules once you do purchase it.

According to the official page, the Carrack is being offered as a concept sale, which means that it is currently unavailable for use in any modules. It comes with lifetime insurance once purchased as well as decorative items for the player's hangar, although there's no ETA on when the ship will actually be available for use within the hangar. The ship is available for purchase until December 8th if you want to drop another $350 on the ongoing development of Star Citizen.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

Captain's Log: Why Star Trek Online is kind of a mess right now

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

A little messy and incoherent despite... hmm.  Commentary.
I haven't had nearly as much time to play Star Trek Online lately as I would have liked; I've had other projects to work on, other games to play, and a lot of holiday stuff going on. So my main captain, who's been trekkin' around since launch, is still woefully underleveled. I accept entirely that this is my own fault, but I haven't been stressing out over it; I have no need to rush up to the cap.

That attitude is helped substantially by the fact that the people who are rushing up to the cap or already did rush up are awash with complaints. The speed of leveling. The speed of upgrade mechanics. How the Tier 5 and Tier 6 ships interact. The price of items. The amount of mission content. Gaining new specialization points at the cap. Sure, some of it is pretty normal complaining, but there's a general sense of discontent with the game at the moment. And I'm honestly not surprised because this problem was always going to crop up, and it could have been managed so much better.

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Living and dying in the Elite: Dangerous gamma build

Betas, Sci-Fi, Launches, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Hands-On, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous
When we last looked at Elite: Dangerous during August's Choose My Adventure, the game was in a barebones beta format with just a few of its promised eventual features. Frontier Developments' crowdfunded space-sim certainly brought a lot to the table with its pretty graphics, realistic flight physics, and down-to-the-details sim structure, but anyone not interested in running courier missions or blowing up other ships was probably left wanting.

Now, however, Elite is a different beast. Just two weeks from final official launch, Elite is in what Frontier Developments is calling the "gamma" stage. It's as close to the finished version of the game anyone is going to get until launch on December 16th. So naturally, I took another dive in Elite to see what exactly has changed.

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The Daily Grind: Do you display your MMO minipets?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I had no idea that Star Wars: The Old Republic features so many minipets. Similarly, I had no idea that it features fluff pets that are basically tiny widdle repulsorlift versions of the class ships. So now one of my Jedi has a tiny Defender that follows him around, and it's pretty much the slickest thing ever. OK, maybe not ever, but it's definitely the slickest thing in SWTOR. I mean, come on, it does barrel rolls!

Normally I don't even use fluff pets, both because most of them are annoying and because I forget I have them. I put this one on my hotbar, though, because barrel rolls. What about you, Massively readers? Do you display your minipets?

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!

The Stream Team: Elite Dangerous returns

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has just entered Beta 3 or Gamma 1 or some other pre-launch version of itself, and Massively's Mike Foster is all set to fire up his Sidewinder and fling himself into parts unknown to see exactly what's new. Tune in tonight as he explores Elite's open play mode and tries desperately not to crash his ship in front of a live viewing audience (again).

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, November 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Descendants Kickstarter promises 'real freedom of choice'

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

One thing you can say about Descendants, a new space sandbox that's asking for fan donations via Kickstarter, is that it's certainly not lacking in ambition. This creators of this sci-fi title promise that players really will make a difference: "Our main goal is to create exciting game mechanics with real freedom of choice."

The rundown of Descendants' proposed feature list is staggering: The game will have 20 playable races, 50 base classes, 20 prestige classes, crafting, land ownership, and a full-fledged political system. Cities can be built and spaceships designed from the inside-out. Of course, this sort of ambition doesn't come cheaply; Descendants is asking for $900,000 to get this game cooking.

The team created a 40-minute overview video of the project that you can watch after the jump to see if this is a game worthy of your interest -- and your dollar.

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The Stream Team: Gorging on SWTOR's XP bonus for the holiday

Sci-Fi, Video, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, The Stream Team

Last week Massively's MJ showed what Star Wars: The Old Republic's duodecupled experience rush can do: two levels in one cutscene! But the 12X XP bonus is not over yet, and her level can only skyrocket once she has a speeder to get around on. To take advantage of this final week of bonus, MJ is diving back into the dark side with the aim of getting her Sith through a planet or two's worth of story. Can she keep up the evil on her Inquisitor? Join us live at 9:00 p.m. and see just how many levels she can get this hour!

Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, November 27th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Star Citizen eclipses $63 million, adds pets

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Cloud Imperium has a lot to be thankful for, including the fact that Star Citizen surpassed the $62 and $63 million crowdfunding plateaus during Thanksgiving week. Chris Roberts has published a new celebratory letter in which he outlines the latest stretch goals (the Genesis-class Starliner at $62 million and the Reliant at $63 million).

The upcoming $64 million goal should please pet lovers. "From Jones the cat in Alien to the Battlestar Galactica's Daggit, pets have a place onboard starships," Roberts writes, "and we want to give you that option in Star Citizen."

What about $65 million? "We have a major feature we're investigating as an option. Suffice it to say, we've heard a lot of your feedback about modular ships and we want to expand our plan for how to do them," Roberts teases.

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