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The Nexus Telegraph: WildStar ain't doing so good

Sci-Fi, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

We were thinking about something else.
If you somehow missed it, last week the WildStar team announced that the game will be squishing into megaservers to help bolster populations. What the hell happened?

Contrary to what the developers would like you to believe, this is not good news. It's especially bad news if you're part of the roleplaying community, as you're about to get shoved into a server configuration that's almost specifically designed to prevent you from roleplaying outside of a handful of shared plots, but it's bad news for everyone. And it's bad news for the game when server merges are a reasonable reaction after less than three full months of operation.

We all know that the game launched to good reviews, and it's far too early to say, "Well, it failed." At the same time, this is not a sign of a robust and vibrant future. This is the first stage of an organized retreat, and it doesn't inspire confidence. So what, exactly, took place that brought the game from the high of its launch to server mergers today?

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Destiny's launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny is officially live today around the world. While it may never arrive on the platform most of us MMO players prefer and it's not squarely an MMORPG, we can still cheer the arrival of a worthy mainstream crossover. Welcome to the fringes of our genre!

We've rounded up our Destiny coverage from announcement to launch to celebrate today's official release. Enjoy! (And if you want to see it live, our sister site Joystiq is streaming it right now!)

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The Daily Grind: What did you accomplish in your games this weekend?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

This past weekend I played a little Marvel Heroes, a lot of Space Engineers, a bit of War Thunder, and a few other things that I can't justify writing about on an MMO site. I gained some Storm levels in MH and got a few nice drops, but I had the most fun building up my outpost in SE and inviting a friend into my game to serve as my mining slave help me design and craft a few essentials.

What about you, Massively readers? What did you accomplish in your MMOs or multiplayer games over the weekend?

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!

Landmark releases official combat trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

You've heard the hype involving Landmark's new action combat system introduced last week, but have you seen it? Nothing compares to actually laying your own eyes it. Now thanks to the official combat trailer, you can do that whether you are in closed beta or not. Watch how weapons either slice up the environment and foes alike up close (sword) or rain death down from a distance (staff and bow). All that action is packed into the short clip below.

Even if seeing is believing, nothing beats experiencing it for yourself. If the combat piques your interest, jump right in to give it a go yourself; you can test the combat out in one of these must-see PvP arenas or any one of the hundreds of others. Need a code? Let us know right here!

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Stick and Rudder: Even more sims to fill the Star Citizen void

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Sandbox, Crafting, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen

I was hoping to use this week's column to talk in glowing terms about Star Citizen's newly released racing mechanics. The only problem with that plan is that Arena Commander 0.9 hasn't launched just yet, purportedly on account of a few pesky bugs that Cloud Imperium is still in the process of squashing.

Sooo, I thought I'd dust off an old Stick and Rudder standard wherein we talk about which genre games are worth playing while we're waiting on the "best damn space sim ever."

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Star Trek Online's artist explains Tier 6 ship designs

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

One of these things is not quite like the others.
The new Federation ship designs in Star Trek Online's upcoming expansion are a pretty big departure from the norm. Sure, the shape of the ships is familiar, but instead of the usual bright Federation white and sweeping curves, they're all hard angles, dark shades, glowing lines, and so forth. They don't look much like the Federation. Concept artist Hector Ortiz took to Reddit recently to explain why the ships look as they do and how the design of the new ships ties into their point of origin despite the departure.

Ortiz explains that with the heavy emphasis on intelligence operations in this expansion, it was only appropriate to design ships that resembled nothing so much as spy planes: angular, stealthy, and dark. That led to the inclusion of the blue lines to help the ship silhouettes stand out against the blackness of space, with the unique nacelle designs also part of an effort to minimize the ship profile. There's no assurance that you'll like the new designs after reading his comments on the rationale, but at least you'll understand why they look the way they do.

The Secret World announces Sidestories: The Last Pagan mission pack

Horror, Sci-Fi, Previews, PvE, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

The summer content drought for The Secret World is almost at an end, as Game Director Joel Bylos announced today that the game will be releasing a new mission pack "in the next couple of weeks."

Sidestories: The Last Pagan will contain six additional missions to the game, including two investigation quests. These missions will all be located in or around Tokyo, and when all six are completed, they will reward the players with a teleport to Tokyo from anywhere else in the game.

Bylos said that the team is also making improvements to the AEGIS system with two new skills and installing an on-screen notifications system to facilitate communication between the game and the player. It also looks as though TSW will be selling emotes, hairstyles, and makeup unlocks in the store as well as adding them as mission rewards.

Past the sidestories pack will be Issues #10 and #11, the latter of which will contain a unification of the raiding experience.

Ask Massively: Destiny is not the boss of me

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Destiny, MMORPG

Bungie's Destiny launches next week, and since it is by most appearances an MMO (or possibly a fragrance), we've been covering it, albeit lightly since our primary audience is not a console-only audience.

But hasn't Bungie said that Destiny isn't an MMO? That was Massively reader icnoevil's primary objection to our coverage:
So if the devs themselves have said the game is not an MMO, why does it keep showing up on this site?
There's a little thing I repeat to myself every once in a while when studio reps are being pushy about our coverage: I don't work for them. I work for Joystiq.

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The Stream Team: Getting spacey with Elite: Dangerous

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

Elite Dangerous
What happens when you take a space sim rookie, strap him into a starship, and tell him he's free to explore the stars as he pleases? Join Massively's Mike Foster as he discovers the answer to just that question in the current beta build of Elite: Dangerous. Elite, built by Frontier Developments and funded by the crowd, is the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure, and there's no better way to start our journey than by broadcasting our maiden voyage for all to see.

The death parade beings at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Repopulation rolls out open-world housing and tournaments

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, The Repopulation

'Cause every time we touch, I get this feeling.
The Repopulation is looking back over its updates through the month of August and letting fans and backers alike know how the game is developing. The biggest addition was the rollout of open world housing in PvE regions; the team has changed how plots are placed to allow players more freedom in choosing locations. City plots will see a similar restructuring for contested regions. More people than before will get to try these changes, as well; the price for early access to the game has been dropped to $100 and all of the Round 1 backers should be invited to the game's test by the coming weekend.

Player-created tournaments were also rolled out for testing; while the final version will be available in player-run cities, the current implementation is in a testing instance. The minigame system got its basic implementation, and of course there was the usual array of tweaks, balance changes, and bugfixes. Check out the full update for all of the details if you're watching the game from afar with eager eyes.

Norrathian Notebook: Ten must-see PvP arenas in Landmark

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

As soon as Landmark's PvP combat launch date was announced at SOE Live, a number of players dived in and started building arenas in anticipation. Not even hours after the update went live, there were fully functioning battle claims ready to welcome players to their death. Over the holiday weekend, that number exploded. In fact, there are now 10 (and growing) pages of PvP-labeled claims in the gallery to sort through with 50 claims per page. With so many choices already, how do you know where to go to check things out? Folks don't always have the time to mosey through all the choices themselves. That's where Norrathian Notebook comes in!

From the first PvP claim I poked my head into (live, no less!), I planned to visit as many as possible and build a guide to highlight these creations. So I've compiled a list of 10 -- of the many -- Landmark arenas that I personally think are worth a visit. Please note, this list is by no means all-inclusive, and narrowing down the field was no easy task! There are plenty more out there and more coming all the time, so be sure to explore any that catches your eye and send your finds to us!

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New leadership steps up to fill Anarchy Online vacancy

Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

anarchy online
Following the loss of two of Anarchy Online's developers late last month, Funcom has promoted Henry "Michizure" Senger to fill the role of gameplay designer. Senger was a former member of the AO team who is now thrilled to be back: "It is a great honor and privilege to be able to focus all of my effort on Anarchy Online once again, and I greatly look forward to what we will accomplish."

Senger updated the playerbase on what's been going on with the upcoming patches. As previously announced, patch 18.7 was delayed due to feedback. The team will be focused on putting in the new Inferno mission in the meantime. Past 18.7, patch 18.8 will feature the new graphic engine.

"The new engine beta is still active, and the resulting feedback has been very helpful in identifying all the growing pains this process has presented. I look forward to having more tangible news to present in an upcoming developer update," Senger said.

Here's what Star Citizen's devs accomplished in August

Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Wondering what Star Citizen's devs accomplished in August? The latest monthly report is written with you in mind. As always, it's a wall-of-text comprised of reports from the heads of Cloud Imperium and contractor studios around the world.

The TLDR version boils down to "massive progress on everything from the first-person shooter module to the soon-to-be-playable racing mode." Don't forget to watch Star Citizen's Gamescom presentation, if you haven't already. It's embedded past the break.

[Thanks Cardboard and Oliver!]

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Choose My Adventure: It's lonely out in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Polls, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG

Elite: Dangerous
In 1990, hurtling across the edge of our solar system at around 40,000 miles per hour, NASA's Voyager 1 space probe performed a quick rotation and snapped a parting photograph of the planet on which it had been conceived, built, and launched. The resulting image, known as the Pale Blue Dot photo, features a tiny Earth surrounded on all sides by an infinite blackness. It was this image, transmitted a distance of 3.7 billion miles at the speed of light, that inspired Carl Sagan to write, "There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world."

In other words, space is big. Really big. And it is into this great unknown, this unimaginable void wrapped in darkness and silence, that Choose My Adventure now boldly goes via Elite: Dangerous, a crowdfunded space simulator (no, not that crowdfunded space simulator) from Frontier Developments. With 55 star systems and 38,000 cubic light-years of space to explore, Elite's Beta 1 release should offer us plenty of freedom to sate our interstellar cravings and to thrive or die as an independent pilot.

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Roberts discusses Star Citizen's inventory system, balancing, and factions

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, Community Q&A, Sandbox, Star Citizen

In summary, Libya is a land of contrasts.
Star Citizen fans can get some answers from Chris Roberts, assuming that the questions they have match up with the five questions featured in the latest video. There's nothing fancy about this one, just Roberts sitting down and answering top fan questions about the game as collected from the game's Reddit directory.

Roberts starts off by discussing inventory and how it will be influenced by player outfits, along with the different inventories for ships, player characters, and the like. He also talks about balancing with weapons and items in the present and in the future, the interplay of organization membership with enemy NPC factions, ship durability, and the details on the Caterpillar. If you want to hear about all of that, jump on past the break to watch the full video; it's only eight minutes long, but it contains plenty of information for fans to consider and discuss in depth.

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