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Hyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hyperspace Beacon, Housing, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: 250 reasons you don't want to miss SWTOR Galactic Strongholds
When I first hopped into MMOs way back when Ultima Online hit the scene, I believed that the best thing about the game wasn't the gamey side. I wasn't interested in the monsters that I could kill nor the mechanics of taking down a daemon or a lich lord. I was most interested in living in the world of Ultima with Lord British and the town of Trinsic then. Although my tastes have changed in the 14 years since, I still feel the longing to live in the world created online.

The next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic gives me nostalgic feelings of when I first stepped into Ultima. True, owning a house in UO was more complicated than what Galactic Strongholds gives us, but there is a great level of complexity all the same.

In the livestream last week, the developers gave us a tour of the Nar Shaddaa stronghold and layout many of the decorating tools. The "hooks" on the floors, walls, and ceilings can be configured into many different configurations of large, medium (column-like), and small areas, with a couple of large exceptions, like centerpiece and starship hooks. Developers Troy McCall, Jack Wood, and Eric Musco dropped many items on the floors, walls, and ceilings of the stronghold, showing over 250 items in the various menus. Even if you watched the livestream as it was happening, you couldn't have caught all 250+ items. Let's look at some of the most interesting.

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Not So Massively: Destiny's beta, The Witcher's MOBA, and the IeSF's gender ban fiasco

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Transformers Universe, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone

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.

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Entropia Universe comes to smartphones with pet battle system

Sci-Fi, Entropia Universe, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

If you couldn't get enough of Entropia Universe's RMT-based virtual world gameplay on your PC, the devs have announced today that the game will soon be coming to several additional platforms, including smartphones and tablets.

Through the new Competitive Pet (ComPet) system, players can battle their pets through various "maturity and price levels available to fit players of all types, including a free-to-play version." Before the ComPet system is launched, 200,000 ComPet deeds will be sold at 100 Project Entropia Dollars (10 USD) each and players will earn 30% of all deeded pet revenue.

ComPet is set to be available in Q1 of 2015.

Star Trek Online's Tribble patches in Star Clusters, uniforms, and crafting prices

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

If we had just crafted slightly better shields, this could have been avoided.
If you're looking forward to Star Trek Online's big crafting revamp, you've still got a little while longer to wait. But the latest patch notes for the Tribble server makes it clear that it's closer than ever. Prices on Dilithium crafting goods have been lowered to values far closer to their final point (although they're still not quite there), the Aegis set has been fully revamped and brought up to par, and a number of lesser crafting issues have been resolved already.

This patch also sees the addition of Foundry options so that players may use the defunct Star Clusters in missions, although the old versions of these maps remain gone. Players can also enjoy a wider selection of uniforms, as the Odyssey uniforms have been made available to all players, with fleets gaining access to a new set of uniforms at a discounted cost. Read the full patch notes for more details, and jump on the test server if you want to see the changes up close and personal.

Destiny reveals beta dates, expansion pass, and special edition pricing

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, MMOFPS, Destiny

It's open war across the cosmos, and your wallets look to be the first casualty in Destiny's interplanetary conflict. Bungie announced today that it will be pre-selling two DLC packs and revealed the contents of its special editions. The studio also said that the PlayStation beta will start on July 17th, with the Xbox beta kicking off a week later on July 23rd.

Despite the name, the Destiny Expansion Pass isn't for full-fledged expansions but for the first couple of post-launch content additions. The first pack, The Dark Below, will explore an ancient tomb underneath the Moon's surface. Bungie is promising exclusive PlayStation content for both expansion packs. Players can buy the expansion pass for $34.99 or individual packs for $19.99 apiece.

Alternatively, thrifty Destiny fans can pick up one of the special editions that come with the two DLC packs included. These packages include the Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99), the Limited Edition ($99.99), and the Ghost Edition ($149.99). While the editions each contain a different mix of goodies, by pre-ordering any of them players will have early access to weapons, gear, and emblems.

Bungie also released the official beta trailer, which you can watch after the break.

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WildStar rewarding loyal players with Strain Facesnuggler

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar in a nutshell right here, folks
Carbine is celebrating WildStar's first month "by giving you something unique, and... gross." If you've applied a retail key to your account as of today, you'll be receiving an account-level Facesnuggler reward item tomorrow!

The Daily Grind: Are there any long-term MMO goals that you plan to complete in 2014?

Sci-Fi, Classes, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I managed to finish another couple of class stories thanks to Star Wars: The Old Republic's double XP week. Though the game has been out for nearly three years, getting through all eight arcs is taking a while since I dabble in so many other MMOs.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and I think that even without another double XP event, I'll finally be finished before the end of the year. What about you, Massively readers? Are there any long-term MMO goals you plan to complete in 2014?

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!

EVE Evolved: Making ISK from the Crius release

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
​EVE Online's economy has been studied over the years for its resemblance to the real world, and it is often cited as an example of a hyper-capitalist society with no laws or regulation. But underneath the emergent interplay of supply and demand that has fueled everything from freighter businesses to virtual investment banks, EVE is ultimately a game. The biggest influence on the markets by far has always been CCP Games and the changes it deploys in expansions, which shake the universe up and force players to adapt to new circumstances.

There's always money to be made from major gameplay changes, and accurately predicting how an expansion will impact on the market can put you on the head of a short-lived but very lucrative gold rush. Though EVE's updates now come in the form of ten smaller releases per year, the upcoming Crius release scheduled for July 22nd has practically a whole expansion's worth of changes to industry and research. That gives you just over two weeks to prepare for the change, train any skills you might need, and figure out how to cash in on EVE's industrial revolution.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run down some tips for how to prepare for the upcoming industry revamp in Crius and make some ISK.

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Skyforge abandons leveling in favor of a prestige system

Betas, Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, Skyforge

The Skyforge development team has been on a streak of answering pressing community questions over on the game's Facebook page, with one question answered per day over the previous week.

A few of the questions centered around how Skyforge has eschewed a traditional leveling format in favor of a "prestige" system. Prestige is like gearscore, a sum total of the stats from a player's equipment. As a player gains more prestige, more content, gear, and followers are unlocked. "Instances are tied to the amount of prestige your character has," the team explained. "The better your character[s are] developed, the higher their prestige is and the more adventures they can go on."

Other questions concerned whether there will be a test server (there will be) or a global chat channel (there won't be). The team did indicate that there would be a multi-platform chat system on launch, however: "Our programmers wrote a special chat service that will allow players in the game to chat to friends that are reading messages from other devices. This means that you can chat with other players regardless of whether they are in the game or not."

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: What untried portion of an MMO have you been playing lately?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

So it's double XP week in Star Wars: The Old Republic right now, and I'm pretty sick of the Kuat Drive Yards flashpoint. I popped into a Galactic Starfighter queue out of sheer boredom, and while it's a far cry from the space sims I love, it was a pleasant diversion.

What about you, Massively readers? What previously uninteresting or untried portion of an MMO have you discovered of late?

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 Repopulation allows you to queue up 100 recipes at a go

Betas, Sci-Fi, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, The Repopulation

The Repopulation
If you consider that The Repopulation will feature crafting so heavily, is it any surprise that the team is working hard to beef up that portion of the game during its alpha test? In its end-of-June update, the devs say that they've added a batching system into the game that allows players to queue up 100 items at once. Even so, doing the job by hand will generate better results, albeit over a longer time frame.

Other changes in the game include improvements to harvesting info and the inquiry system. Players can now use the latter to generate missions to take camps in order to get better resources.

According to the letter, The Repopulation is "getting closer" to transitioning into beta testing.

Cryptic removes exploration clusters from Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Patches, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Crafting

If you were particularly attached to Star Trek Online's exploration clusters, you'll probably want a shoulder to cry on for the next sentence. Cryptic has decided to remove them from the game altogether with this month's Season 9.5.

The team explained the rationale behind the decision, saying that while these clusters were created to fill an exploration niche, the end result was too limited and simple. "With the steadily improving quality of mission content available throughout STO as well as our recent efforts to explore more distant parts of the galaxy, exploration clusters have become something we're reluctant to steer new players towards because they are not up to our current standards," Cryptic posted.

With the reworking of the crafting system, exploration clusters are no longer needed as crafting mat havens, and so they have reached the end of their usefulness in the game. However, the team said that Foundry users can still whip up player missions that use exploration cluster settings.

Minor criminals in Elite: Dangerous will incur fines, compound interest

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

Frontier has published the 30th edition of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. This issue features tidbits on ship decals, new code systems meant to enforce law and order within radar range of authority ships or space stations, and potential fines for minor criminal offenders.

Fines will "give the authorities a proportionate level of response rather than shooting to kill regardless of the severity of a crime. Minor crimes and non-threatening infractions will incur a fine, which can be paid off to your local space station authority representative," Frontier explains. "If you don't pay off your fines, they will initially attract compound interest and then, once the authorities lose patience with your tardiness they will be converted into a bounty, and lead to you being hunted down."

There's a lot more to this week's newsletter, so follow the links below to give it a read!

[Thanks Cotic!]

The Secret World releases new Love & Loathing mission pack

Horror, Sci-Fi, Lore, Patches, The Secret World, Crime, Anniversaries

A new mission pack has hit the item store in The Secret World and you're all invited to check it out. Sidestories: Love & Loathing is now available for 960 Funcom points. This mission pack arrives just in time for The Secret World's second anniversary today and it features five missions that dive deeper into the story of Kaidan.

Speaking of that anniversary, Funcom is gifting players with double AP and various other bonuses through July 11th!

Take note that you'll need to own Issue #9: The Black Signal and have access to Tokyo to play the Sidestories: Love & Loathing content.

Take a video tour of SWTOR's Tatooine homestead

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing

Yep, it's time for another housing-focused Star Wars: The Old Republic news story. BioWare has released a new video of the Tatooine homestead stronghold and while it's incredibly brief, the clip offers quick glimpses of the sprawling setup as well as a few examples of how you might use its decorating hooks.

Dulfy also has a still image breakdown of various shots from the trailer. Click past the cut to have a look!

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