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City of Steam powering down, switching to new name and ownership [Updated]

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, City of Steam, Steampunk, Sunsets

City of Steam is powering down Novemeber 22st
It's the end of the line for the free-to-play steampunk game City of Steam -- at least on R2Games servers. The publisher has announced that doors will be closing at 2:59 a.m. EDT on November 22nd. Even with what are probably the most impressive graphics in a browser-based game, CoS apparently couldn't keep enough players to remain viable. With the closure, the in-game currency Electrum can no longer be acquired, but all previously bought Electrum can be spent on store items throughout the month.

Does this mean that CoS is powering down for good? Not according to developer Mechanist Games, which has announced that it plans on releasing a new version of the game the same month:
Circumstances have contributed to a significant loss of players and we've decided to cease the current game operations for the Global English version and take City of Steam back. This is a decision we have taken months to reach, and are confident that it's best for the health of the players, the community and the game itself. City of Steam is not shutting it down. We at Mechanist Games will improve and self-publish the game, and endeavor to make it available to as many of the original fans as possible by cooperating with popular English language browser-gaming platforms (to be announced). City of Steam will be upgraded during the time it is offline to better suit the player demographics of the new browser-gaming platforms publishing the game; new content, new features, new systems, massive change to the economy and statistics, new equipment and cosmetics, new quests and an overhaul of most of the level art and main quests. Some features will be removed. There will also be a massive flying fortress for characters of any level to congregate in. Because of these numerous and sizeable changes, the game will be re-launched in November under the title City of Steam: Arkadia.
[Updated with the statement from the press release from Mechanist!]

Black Gold could possibly start beta in early 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold could possibly start beta in early 2014
Dying to get your hands on the scrumptious-looking Black Gold? If you've already registered for a beta key and need a little hope, here it is: Snail Games said the game could possibly start its closed beta in the first quarter of 2014.

"The first closed beta is planned to launch at the earliest Q1 2014," the studio posted in a recent Ask the Devs segment. "We are ensuring quality when it's ready to meet the public eye. All players who have registered prior will have a high chance of receiving first round of beta codes via their email."

Black Gold's beta and release is initially aimed at North America, although Snail Games said it is "not ruling out" the possibility of future releases elsewhere. There will also be no region block for the title.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

MMObility: Introducing Deepworld to Minecraft fanatics

Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Casual, Humor, Family, Miscellaneous, MMObility, Sandbox, Crafting, Steampunk, Player-Generated Content

Deepworld screenshot
My nephews are visiting this week; they are nine and seven years old. And if there is one truth about these two, it's that they love Minecraft. Oh, they're also creative and smart young kids, but Minecraft is always a ready topic of conversation. Jeff, the younger one, loves to drill me on my knowledge. "Did you know..." is how it starts off, followed by some cool fact about the game. John, the older one, is calmer about the situation, and he has gained the ability, thanks to his elder status, to pull his gaze away from the game (I have it running on three different PCs and three iPads) in order to maintain an air of politeness. When I ask him something, he can give me an answer that has nothing to do with Minecraft!

I thought this week would be a cool time to introduce Deepworld to both of them. Deepworld is a fantastic iOS-based Minecraftian MMO that is free-to-play with optional and fantastic cash-shop items. The last time I looked at it, I bought an entire private server for only 10 bucks! I logged in this week for the first time in ages and found my server still sitting, waiting for my creations.

Then I showed it to my nephews.

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Rise and Shiny: City of Steam

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Post-Apocalyptic, Rise and Shiny, Livestream, Steampunk

City of Steam screenshot
The first thing that people say when they see City of Steam is, "Wow, this is a browser game?" I've seen the comments on videos and even talked about it during my own livestream (you'll find it embedded after the cut), but in the back of my mind I know that browser-based games have looked good for a while now. Still, the game does look good. It looks darn good in many places. It's a world of oily, smoky machinery and grimy dungeons, and the graphics do their job. With the dirtier styles and dungeon crawlers, however, comes the risk of repetitive design that toes the line between neat and bland as cold porridge. City of Steam mostly wins in the graphics department but does fail occasionally.

It's still fun to tell people it's a browser game. The beginning intro alone feels like a well-made MMO, while some of its staging and tutorials make the game feel as if it cost more than it did to make. The rest of the game isn't bad, either, aside from occasionally repetitive gameplay.

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Black Gold Online introduces the Yuton race

Sci-Fi, Video, Lore, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Races, Dev Diaries, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold Online introduces the Yuton
Snail Games has unveiled the second race in its new steampunk MMO Black Gold Online. The Yutons, considered more of a primitive (yet not barbaric) race of humans, were the first to settle in Erlandir. They saw the introduction of steam technology as their salvation and ticket to freedom from Kosh rule. This eventually led to a split between those who followed Hoca and steam, and those who rejected this new power.

You can learn more about the Yutonian humans on the lore page and a short video just after the jump.

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PAX Prime 2013: Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, features, and PS4 version

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, Events (Massively's Coverage), Steampunk, Buy-to-Play

PAX Prime 2013 Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, more features and info about the PS4 version
Guns of Icarus' Online's concept of crewing airships in a steampunk future might be a little strange at first, but it's something that Muse Games is really passionate about. I linked up with founder Howard Tsao yesterday at PAX Prime to talk about the game's upcoming Adventure Mode, which will add new context to battles over the unfriendly skies.

The new online mode won't replace Guns of Icarus' current lobby-based multiplayer mode, but it will add new content, including missions and factions to provide a backdrop for actions in the game's steampunk world.

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Black Gold: Introducing the Buvont

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Lore, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, MMORPG, Black Gold

Black Gold
Snail Games today released a video and blog post centered on the Buvont, marking the first in-depth exploration of any of Black Gold Online's races. A group of science-loving humans, the Buvont live peacefully with Black Gold's dwarves and are responsible for the militarization of steam technology. Accordingly, Isenhorst (one of the two competing Black Gold kingdoms) is considered to be under the thumb of the Buvont dynasty.

Buvont can take on the role of Inquisitor, Mystic, or Tech Adept and dress in the neo-Victorian style. You can learn more about this race by checking out the reveal video after the break.

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Guns of Icarus Online coming to PlayStation 4

MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Steampunk

Guns of Icarus Online coming to PlayStation 4
Muse Games is bringing Guns of Icarus Online to the PlayStation 4. Muse's Howard Tsao penned the announcement post on the official PlayStation blog earlier this week, and it's worth a read since it details the game's long and often arduous three-year journey from napkin sketch to PC release.

There's no official date attached to the the game's PS4 debut yet, but you can keep your eyes peeled via the game's website. You can also see what we thought of Muse's dieselpunk airship extravaganza when we checked it out late last year.

Jukebox Heroes Extra: A chat with City of Steam's composer

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Interviews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, City of Steam, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Steampunk

Jukebox Heroes Extra A chat with City of Steam's composer
When you're called in to create a score to an off-kilter steampunk game like City of Steam, then you had better bring a unique sound that highlights the difference between this and all of the yet-another-fantasy-MMOs (YAFMMOs) that litter the field. Composer Daniel Sadowski fully invested himself in this project to make that happen, and I wanted to talk with him about the making of this interesting soundtrack (which you can purchase on iTunes and Amazon, by the way).

So for this follow-up interview, Sadowski shares his soundtrack influences, how he got involved with City of Steam, and what he used to make a steampunk world come alive through music.

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Jukebox Heroes: City of Steam's soundtrack

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, City of Steam, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Steampunk

Jukebox Heroes City of Steam's soundtrack
City of Steam has to be the first MMO soundtrack that I've seen sold prior to the game actually launching. I mean, it's probably happened before, but I can't recall when. In any case, I had a good listen to this steampunk-inspired score months before its launch, but its lack of a presence on YouTube kept me from writing it up.

Enter Composer Daniel Sadowski, who emailed me asking why I hadn't covered his soundtrack yet. I was like, "Well, it's not on YouTube," and he was like, "Well it is now," and I was like, "I saw Ferris pass out at 31 flavors last night." True story.

I'm glad he did because this is a surprisingly decent score. With many browser-based MMOs, it might be easy to dismiss the music with the same wave of the hand that some dismiss the game itself, but that would be a shame. There's a lot of passion and ingenuity at work here. Let's listen!

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Black Gold Online secures $97M in funding from Chinese banks

Betas, Sci-Fi, Economy, MMO Industry, New Titles, Steampunk

Black Gold Online secures $97M in funding from Chinese banks
After the successful launch of Age of Wushu, Snail Games is looking ahead to its latest MMO title, Black Gold Online. And thanks to a recent $97 million loan from four Chinese banks, the future of BGO is looking brighter.

Snail Games and publisher Shanda Games will also be chipping in a cool $32.6 million for marketing the steampunk MMO title. Black Gold Online is currently in closed beta in China with a North American launch to come next year.

If you'd like to read more about the game, check out our impressions from E3 this year.

Black Gold's Chinese business model built on loot locks

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold's Chinese business model built on loot locks
Black Gold Online, Snail Games' steampunk followup to Age of Wushu, has announced the business model for its upcoming Chinese release. It's not subscription-based, but it's not traditional free-to-play or buy-to-play, either. What exactly is it, then?

The only word that springs to mind is strange, since the model relies on some sort of inventory- and loot-locking system. According to MMO Culture, the game automatically locks your loot on an hourly basis. Some looted items will actually be looted and available in your inventory, while others will be locked. To unlock them, you'll need to purchase in-game gold using real-life cash.

There's also an RNG element which may result in unlock discounts or possibly freely unlockable items. You can see a Chinese-language video of the business model in action after the break.

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Guns of Icarus adds new ship, upgrades chat and more

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Steampunk, Buy-to-Play

Guns of Icarus adds new ship, upgrades chat and more
Now might be a good time to check in with Guns of Icarus Online if you're fond of steampunk airships or blowing them out of the sky. Muse Games' buy-to-play title recently updated to version 1.3 of its client, which adds a new ship type, a new gun, and plenty of upgrades to the game.

The new ship is called the Mobula, and Muse says that it's ideal for both standoffs and pursuit. "Of course, this comes at a price," the company's press release says. "Its slow turning speed makes it vulnerable to flanking maneuvers, and its repair points are tucked away inside the hull."

Also new this patch is the ability to form parties, assemble crews prior to entering a match, and a "bigger, better, faster, stronger" chat system. Various other systems have been tweaked, and we highly recommend visiting the official website to find out how.

City of Steam's Tears of the Oracle patch hails the return of the greenskins

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Races, Dungeons, Crafting, City of Steam, Steampunk

City of Steam's Tears of the Oracle patch hails the return of the greenskins
When City of Steam threw open its browser-based beta doors to all players, certain classes and races were noticeably missing from the soirée. But some fan-favorites have finally gotten their invitation and will be rejoining the party when the 1.3 patch Tears of the Oracle hits next week; greenskins, dwarves, and Channelers will once again be available to play.

And that's not even the half of it! This next patch will also be raising the level cap, expanding questlines, and adding plenty of new things, including the Founder's Annex suburb, a PvP event, a collection system, rare mobs in dungeons, plenty of cosmetic items, and even a new crafting system. On top of that, levels one through nine can resurrect for free in dungeons and the salvage system got an overhaul. So get ready to get your goblin (or hobbe, or orc) on next week!

[Source: Mechanist Games press release]

City of Steam dev journal discusses game events

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, City of Steam, Steampunk

City of Steam dev journal discusses game events
With a name meaning the center, you'd expect City of Steam's Nexus to be a happening place even in beta, right? That means plenty of events for folks to get in on. Well, it just so happens that there are two general events already in game and a third on the way, and Mechanist Games gives players the lowdown on how to get in on the action in the latest dev journal.

Unlike temporary in-game events, events in CoS are permanent instances you queue for. Of course, victory promises reward. Of the two current events, the Arena is all about survival of the soloist as waves of mobs crash into you whereas Tesla Defense is a five-man tower defense. When patch 1.3 releases, the PvP-based Siege of the Spire will join the event lineup as a MOBA-inspired arena that includes mobs, turrets, and team bases. Players can join the regular events as well as daily and weekly events with larger rewards. For more details, check out the official site.

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