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The Stream Team: Touring Vanguard's first dungeons on Kojan

Fantasy, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

So far the dungeons of Vanguard have been confined to caves, but that's not always the case. In fact, some dungeon experiences are right out in the open! So it is with the first low-level dungeon on Kojan, Vaelwyn Citadel. Join Massively's MJ as she travels to Ca'ial Brael and works her way through first the Citadel and then Glade of the Lost. As a bonus, the two dungeons are close to each other! This next tour departs promptly at 3:00 p.m., so don't miss it.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Time: 3:00p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Visiting Vanguard's lowest-level dungeons on Qalia

Fantasy, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

All aboard for the next stop on Dungeon Tours! We got a taste for the first two dungeons of Vanguard's Thestra last week; now it's time to check out the desert lands of Qalia. Massively's MJ has put on her sunblock and plans to visit Rockspine Lair near Pankor Zhi. If time permits, she might also poke into Ksaravi Hollow near Khal. If you have a new character on Qalia, now is a great time to jump in and test yourself in these dungeons in the level 5 to 11 range.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, December 20th, 2013
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Tackling Vanguard's lowest-level dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

With over 80 dungeons to choose form in Vanguard, sometimes Massively's MJ gets paralyzed with indecision: Which one this time? Well, she's solved that dilemma for good; she'll just start at the first one and do them all from there, in order! And so the very first Dungeon Tour begins. We kick off our tour on Thestra with the lowest of low dungeons in the racial starting areas. First up: Rindol Storehouse on Thestra with an extra trip to Oathbreaker Caves! Join us live at 1:00 p.m. EST for the a look into the dungeons available for players under level 10 on Thestra, and stay tuned for more as the series continues.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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Next SOE Live hits Vegas August 14 - 17, 2014

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Dragon's Prophet

If you're still kicking yourself for missing the big reveals of SOE Live 2013, you've got plenty of time to make preparations for next year's convention. Mark your 2014 calendars for August 14th through the 17th; that's when fans from the whole arsenal of SOE games will descend upon Las Vegas to mingle with devs, participate in contests and tournaments, attend player and dev panels, and catch reveals of upcoming content in their favorite games. SOE Live 2014 will also features access to beta programs as well as plenty of in-game and real world swag.

The annual fan convention will return to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and tickets will be available for purchase in early 2014. Additional information will be forthcoming later, but you can catch the reveal trailer below.

[Source: SOE press release]

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Leaderboard: How many same-genre MMOs can you play at once?

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, Vanguard, Leaderboard

Vanguard unicorns
I have a hankering for Vanguard. I don't know why, other than it's one of those MMOs that I've always enjoyed despite playing it rather infrequently. This hankering is problematic, though, because I'm already dabbling in Final Fantasy XIV, Lord of the Rings Online, and an offline RPG.

All of these games have a fantasy bent, and when you couple that with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, I'm sure you can understand my dilemma. Failing some sort of uber-MMO that manages to combine all of the best features from each of these titles, I guess I'll just have to pick one for a primary game and glance longingly at the also-rans every now and again.

What about you, Massively readers? How many same-genre MMOs can you play at the same time? Two? Three? None? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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SOE patches Vanguard database fixes, eyes Cave of Wonders

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Vanguard, Free-to-Play

SOE has patched the latest version of Vanguard to the live server. Today's downtime was used to implement the database performance improvements that showed up on the game's test server a while back. SOE says that after it's satisfied with server performance, it will be looking to "patch out the first wing of the Cave of Wonders," hopefully in time for the Christmas holidays!

[Thanks Mikegonz!]

The Stream Team: Slaying Vanguard's server beast (and dungeon mobs, too)

Fantasy, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

Neither sleet nor snow nor server offline will keep Massively's MJ from Vanguard dungeons! OK, well the server being offline can, and actually did last week. But she won't give in that easily! She's back and ready to slay the mighty server beast that refused her her dungeon adventures.

Now the question is, which one will she hit up today? That depends on who is brave enough to join the group! With over 70+ to choose from at her level, the possibilities feel endless. If some lower levels join the party, she'll head to one they can access. If not, perhaps the group will venture into Dreadfang Hovel, Lair of the Drake Riders, or Stonefist Scarp. Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to see where the crew ends up. Or better yet, log in and be a part of the crew!

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: A dungeon a day keeps monotony away in EverQuest II

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest II, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe -- to which dungeon will we go? In Vanguard, that can be a difficult question to answer. In fact, with so many to choose from in every level range, picking where to get your dungeon-diving on is basically slaying the first (and possibly the hardest) boss! But that won't stop Massively's MJ from gathering some friends and delving into one. Join us live at 12:00 p.m. to see which one the group faces in the latest Telon dungeon adventures.

Game: Vanguard EverQuest II
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2013
Time: 12:00 p.m. EST

[Update: Due to Vanguard server being offline, the livestream has been switched to EverQuest II]

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Playing Vanguard using 'Immersion Rules'

Video, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Roleplaying, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Vanguard Saga of Heroes screenshot
Years ago Beau set out to play Vanguard: Saga of Heroes in a unique way that would add depth to the game. He came up with a set of rules -- the Immersion Rules -- and followed them for a long time. Some of the rules include seeking shelter during bad weather, using a real-life map only, eating and drinking at particular times and even resting or sleeping. He even added in permadeath and lost one of his most beloved characters that way. Join him as he tries the rules out once again, on camera!

Game: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Host: Beau
Date: Friday, November 8th, 2013
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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One Shots: The people pillar

Screenshots, Culture, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, Firefall

One Shots The people pillar
How are MMOs different than real life? There are many answers to that question, but our opening screenshot today reminds me that I don't actively seek to run into a sweaty, heaving mass of humanity just because they'll provide localized healing and damage boosts. Everyone always tries to use that excuse at conventions, and all I come away with is an intestinal debuff.

Reader Eri had this observation while playing a recent beta: "Firefall seems to have quite a few community events regularly going on and it always amuses me at the end how it devolves into the ancient art of people stacking. This tower was during the stress test a month or so ago after a few invasions had finished. There were a lot of people around and a rival tower was being built in Sunken Harbour as well. Everyone was laughing and having a lot of fun, talking in chat while serving as a human pillar, and there was usually a dance party going on at the bottom of it. While this one did get big, apparently the dastardly Sunken Harbour Folks beat us."

Are you ready to jump into the people pile? If so, we've got more for you after the break!

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Perfect Ten: MMO industry moves I didn't see coming

Asheron's Call, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, Final Fantasy XIV, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Defiance, The Elder Scrolls Online

Perfect Ten MMO industry moves I didn't see coming
Despite -- or more accurately, because of -- my love for video games, I would never want to work in the games industry as a developer or what have you. I think it's an industry that doesn't have a good track record of job security, sane hours, or products that you could feasibly spend years working on that might not make it to ship. But I love writing about the industry. I love the news. That's why I adore being at Massively.

I also love the news because MMOs and studios constantly surprise me. Hey, maybe you're an amazing clairvoyant person who can not only predict but accurately foresee all of the jukes and twists that the industry makes. I am not. When mental superpowers were being handed out, I got "setting people on fire with a mere thought" instead of what appears to be the widespread "know it all" ability. I don't regret it. I mean, you probably already knew that I was going to post a picture of Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi being attacked by bees on the front page of Massively.

But I think that the surprises are part of the fun. No matter what we've seen in the past and no matter how knowledgeable any of us is about MMOs, the strange developments keep on coming. So this week I want to list 10 stories that I really didn't see coming at all.

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Vanguard gets a development roadmap

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

Vanguard apparently has giant bug mounts now
Vanguard's gone and got itself a roadmap. No, really!

SOE has issued an upcoming content schedule that includes "major performance upgrades" and the introduction of mentor stones. Said stones will be placed at the entrance to all of Vanguard's dungeons in order to give players the option to set their levels appropriately.

The update post also touches on the Cave of Wonders raid content, which SOE says is now slated to go live via four separate installments. There's more on the schedule, too, but you'll need to head to Vanguard's official website to read it all!

The Game Archaeologist: Classic MMOs in August

Anarchy Online, Asheron's Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest, Lineage 2, PlanetSide, The Matrix Online, News Items, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

The Game Archaeologist Classic MMOs in August
How few players do you need to have before operating an MMO becomes ridiculously unprofitable and in need of closing? In the case of The Matrix Online, we found out that the magic number was 500. I wouldn't have even guessed that so few people were in that game when its shutdown was announced, especially considering the vocal anguish that arose when SOE lowered the boom.

I guess it goes to show that we're often quite clueless what goes on behind the curtain. There's always this balance between the number-crunchers (who need players and money to justify continued operations) and the passionate creators (who are often developers putting in the effort because they simply love the game and its community). If nothing else, it reinforced my belief that SOE does bend over backwards to keep these games running as long as possible, much longer than some other studios would in a similar situation.

So what other news regarding classic MMOs happened this past month? It's time for another one of my patented roundups, complete with archaeological commentary!

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Free for All: My top four MMOs for relaxation

Trailers, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, Wurm Online, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Free Realms, Free for All, Livestream, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Wurm Online screenshot
Say you come home from a long day's work, dreaming about the vacation that you've yet to take and how nice it would be to turn off your brain for a while, to kick back and watch the wide world walk by. Unfortunately, vacations cost a pile of money. You have to pay someone to watch the dogs and water your plants and work is a real pain about letting you out of the shackles even for a week.

The good news is that much of the benefit of vacation comes from the mental release. Sure, nothing beats the real, true feeling of pressing your toes into warm water and sand, but it can be fun and relaxing to visit virtual worlds, to take in virtual sights and sounds. MMOs are perfect for blowing off some steam, for taking a moment to realize just how nice it is to have access to such landscapes from the comfort of your desk.

Here are some of my favorite virtual worlds that bring on that feeling of relaxation.

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SOE Live 2013 recapped in just two minutes

Fantasy, Super-hero, Video, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Free Realms, Events (Massively's Coverage), DC Universe Online, Clone Wars Adventures, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Dragon's Prophet, MMORPG

SOE Live
SOE Live 2013 was a blur of tournaments, panels, announcements, and keynotes. It brought news for games like PlanetSide 2, Vanguard, Free Realms, Dragon's Prophet, and DC Universe Online, along with the industry-shaking reveal of EverQuest Next.

In other words, it was kind of a big deal. And you can see what it was like to be there in person by watching the two-minute recap video just released by SOE. Check it out after the break, and feel free to browse back through our coverage for in-depth looks at everything that was on display.

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