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Sins of a Dark Age plans to evolve the MOBA genre

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, PvP, Wallpapers, News Items, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's), MOBA, League of Legends

League of Legends title image
Over the past few years, the Defense of the Ancients-inspired MOBA genre has spawned some of the biggest games on the planet. League of Legends has become one of the most played PC games in the world, and both it and Dota 2 now pump millions of dollars per year into competitive tournaments. It looks like MOBAs are here to stay, but the genre is still relatively young and there's plenty of room to experiment with new gameplay.

Upcoming MOBA Sins of a Dark Age plans to evolve the genre with the addition of a new Realm Quest feature. At random points throughout a match, quests may spawn that change the rules of the game and provide new opportunities for conflict. Developer Ironclad Games, known for its Sins of a Solar Empire franchise, hopes this will add a new strategic level to the game that favours players who can adapt to changing circumstances and take advantage of the opportunities that quests present. Sins of a Dark Age will be free-to-play on release but you can join the closed beta now by purchasing a Founder Edition package.

Read on for our interview with Ironclad co-founder and producer Blair Fraser on the Realm Quest system and plans to support competitive gaming in Sins of a Dark Age.

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EVE Evolved: Touring a galaxy reborn

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Wallpapers, Hands-On, EVE Evolved, Sandbox

EVE Evolved title
EVE Online recently celebrated the release of its incredible Crucible expansion, noted as one of the most feature-heavy expansions in the game's history despite the majority of its features being produced in a period of just a few weeks. Two years' worth of graphical upgrades, features, balance upgrades and quality-of-life fixes hit Tranquility all at once, and the response from players has been incredibly positive.

Last week I rounded up all the information there is to know about the Crucible expansion, but reading articles and news posts is no substitute for hands-on experience. This week I took a tour around parts of New Eden to explore the incredible new graphics Crucible delivered. As I have a background in graphics programming, the graphical upgrades are obviously the most exciting change for me. The astounding background nebulae are even more impressive when you know just how difficult it would be to build a nebula system that looks this incredible from any location.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I explore a reborn galaxy and catalogue my adventures in a massive HD gallery.

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ArenaNet unearths treasure trove of lost Guild Wars concept art

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Culture, Lore, MMO Industry, Wallpapers, News Items, Dev Diaries

Lost Guild Wars concept art
ArenaNet has always taken Guild Wars concept art very seriously, edeavouring to make the in-game graphics match the concept as closely as possible. This is particularly true of Guild Wars and its upcoming sequel Guild Wars 2, both of which feature gorgeous vistas and impressive architecture. A lot of the original Guild Wars concept art has made its way to the public, where it offers us a glimpse of the visual targets for Ascalon, Kryta, Tyria and beyond.

In a new devblog, ArenaNet's David Campbell unearths a treasure trove of previously unseen concept art for Guild Wars' Eye of the North expansion. David explains that these five postcard-style pieces were experiments by the art team to create distinctive environments using a variety of colour palettes. Among the postcards, you'll find forested areas, epic cliff-faces, enclosed valleys and even frozen tundra.

Cardmon enters open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Screenshots, Wallpapers, News Items, Free-to-Play

The time has come for CardMon Hero's card-summoning free-to-play MMO action to be released on the masses -- although there's still a bit of testing to go. That's why they've finally started open beta for the game as of today. Now players who have been curious are able to get in and check it all out, and T3 Entertainment, Redbana, and Hanbitsoft can get valuable feedback about the direction they're headed from a wider variety of gamers. (As well as the inevitable stress testing that generally goes on during this phase.)

With CardMon Hero's card-based systems, players can build up a store of Mercenaries, skills, and more to set their character up however they'd like to play the game. Whether you are the overlord of a series of powerfully-built minions, or prefer to get into the thick of combat yourself, it offers quite a variety of styles. Aside from that, players will find a deep card crafting system, lots of quests to do, and much to explore. So, if you're interested in checking out the open beta -- or just remember it from back when it was Camon Hero and want to sign up to see the changes -- then head over to the CardMon Hero site. If you'd like a preview before signing up, we have a series of new screenshots and exclusive wallpapers in our gallery below!

If you'd like a full-sized image of any of the exclusive wallpapers, you can snag them by clicking the images after the break to get the large image.

Gallery: CardMon Hero

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Guild Wars 2 necromancer revealed

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Classes, Wallpapers, Guild Wars 2

This is not your ancestor's necromancer. Much like the ranger, the necromancer in Guild Wars 2 is bigger, badder, and deadlier than her Guild Wars counterpart.

The Guild Wars 2 necro was officially revealed today, and though we've pretty much known it was coming since Killeen made fallen soldiers dance in the sewers of Ebonhawke, it's still nice to see descriptions, videos, and screenshots straight from ArenaNet.

Follow along after the jump as we take a look at the necro and all of her glowy green skills and abilities.

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Cats invade Star Wars: The Old Republic in this week's Fan Friday

Sci-Fi, Fan art, New Titles, Wallpapers, Star Wars: The Old Republic

The community of Star Wars: The Old Republic did not quite make the Twitter and Facebook goals, so the developers decided to punish us by announcing another species that we will not be able to play. (Just kidding, it wasn't punishment.) In addition to spotlighting fan art and video, this week's Fan Friday column mentions Cathar as being another species players of SWTOR will bump into on their travels across the galaxy. The feline species from the planet bearing the same name was first mentioned by name in Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith, but gamers are probably more familiar with it from the other BioWare game, Knights of the Old Republic. Although the devs did not say where or how the players will run into this highly anticipated species, fans are hoping for a Cathar companion character.

As mentioned above, the social media goal was not reached. Even so, the community team did give the fans some gifts. The Fan Site Kit has been updated with more digital goodies. New avatars, screenshots, and biographical images can now grace your SWTOR fan site. Not to mention, the team has included six new desktop wallpaper images straight from the exciting "Hope" trailer.

Be sure to check out all of this and the amazing new fan art on the official SWTOR site.

Fan-run EVE competition offers prizes for best wallpaper

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, EVE Online, Contests, Wallpapers

EVE Online player Xiphos83 has teamed up with our friends over at Crazykinux's Musing to make an EVE competition that's definitely worth entering. Always on the look-out for a new desktop background, for this competition he wants to see your best attempt at a visually stunning EVE wallpaper. With all the graphical upgrades EVE has received over the years, it's always kept its spot as one of the most visually stunning MMOs out there. It lends itself spectacularly to taking awesome screenshots and making dramatic videos. Entries must be at a minimum resolution of 1280 x 1024 and should fit into either an "Action" or "Scenic" theme. Anything from well-posed snaps of your favourite EVE planet to full-on PvP shots are in with a chance to win.

Entry costs 10 million ISK and the winners will split the entire pot between them, with an additional 175 million ISK contributed by donors. Judging by the number of comments the competition has received so far, there could be a lot of ISK in that prize pot up for grabs. To enter, simply email your screenshot to crazykinux [AT] gmail [DOT] com along with your EVE character's name and wire your entry fee to character "CrazyKinux" in-game. Entries must be in by March 26th and to be in with a chance to win, make sure you read the contest rules.

BioWare details new TOR planet, web comic

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, Wallpapers, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare has released preliminary details on another planetary play field from their upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG. Belsavis plays host to an ominous Republic prison facility, apparently used to process all manner of Sith, Mandalorians, and troublesome aliens of various species. Check out Belsavis' HoloNet entry, don't forget to watch the video, oh and there's also the media section featuring screens, wallpapers, and lore.

BioWare has also partnered up with Lucasarts and Dark Horse Comics to bring you Blood of the Empire, a new web comic by senior writer Alexander Freed. The title, set prior to the Treaty of Coruscant, promises to shed some light on the machinations of the Emperor's inner circle as well as inform portions of The Old Republic's extensive back story.

Check out a preview panel from the forthcoming comic.

EVE spaceships artfully designed into nature

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Wallpapers, News Items

Regardless of whether or not you play EVE Online, this is something you have to see -- especially if you're a lover of either science fiction or pretty things.

This Russian blog has a whole lot of cool spaceships from EVE Online that have been turned into all sorts of cool pieces of art. And yes, not all of them are necessarily "nature" art, but most are more or less -- with the major exception of a robot and alien from, er, Aliens. There's one that's even a sneaker! Although, we're personally fans of the apple, eagle and Star Wars images. They come in wallpaper format for your laptop or desktop and honestly, there's not too much more to say about them besides praise them. Mmm.... beautiful wallpapers.

Begin 2010 with Turbine's wallpaper calendars and more

Fantasy, Screenshots, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Wallpapers, Free-to-Play

Happy New Year from Massively, and from Turbine! Whichever of their two popular games -- Dungeons and Dragons Online or Lord of the Rings Online -- you prefer, Turbine has just the thing for your desktop to ring in the new year.

Both games are offering free quarterly wallpaper calendars featuring some of the gorgeous screenshots that Turbine is known for providing to its fans. Three different choices are offered for each game, depending on your preference: flashy new Siege of Mirkwood, or good old dependable Gollum? Close-up character shot or faraway landscape shot in Dungeons and Dragons Online?

If a calendar's not really your thing but you still love the artwork from Turbine, some nice alternatives are offered on each site. A full Siege of Mirkwood shot is available with no calendar, or you can try the three different pieces of concept art from DDO. An extensive archive of past wallpapers is available too, if this is new to you, or if you missed any. You can get the LotRO wallpapers here, and the DDO wallpapers here. Enjoy!

Reakktor Media drops new batch of Black Prophecy wallpapers

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, New Titles, Wallpapers, Black Prophecy

One of the upcoming titles making its way to the sci-fi MMO scene is Black Prophecy, which is being developed by Reakktor Media. We're hoping that we'll have some new info about the game for you soon, but in the meantime Reakktor Media has released a batch of new wallpapers of the genetically optimized Genides faction and the cybernetically augmented Tyi.

You can find the new wallpapers in our Black Prophecy gallery below, but you could also head on over to the official game site to get them in different resolutions, with gorgeous panoramic views at the highest resolutions.

EVE Evolved: Postcards from EVE: Reader Submissions

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, EVE Online, Culture, Wallpapers, Hands-On, EVE Evolved

As a tribute to EON Magazine's "Postcards from the Edge" feature, last week I started this two-part series of postcards from all around EVE Online. In last week's first part I presented a gallery full of postcards from my own travels in EVE. I then asked readers to email in any of their own screenshots that they wanted to appear as postcards. This week, I finish the series with a mixture of reader submissions and my own remaining postcards. As with last week, they're all high-resolution shots suitable to be used as widescreen backgrounds. Feel free to save them out from your browser to get them at full resolution.

Thanks go to Massively readers "Mike", "Mark Pittam" and my corpmate "Retalus" for their submissions. Included are some shots of the new planets coming with the Dominion expansion in December and a lot of pictures from Sleeper space. Hope you enjoy!

EVE Evolved: Postcards from EVE: Wish you were here!

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, EVE Online, Culture, Lore, Wallpapers, Hands-On, EVE Evolved

Whether you love EVE Online or hate it, there's one thing people tend to agree on - it makes for some great screenshots. EVE has a history of players producing some amazing videos, screenshots, artwork and fiction. YouTube is filled with intense PvP action videos and over four hundred players write the stories of their travels on personal blogs. People have even created some incredible papercraft ship models. Because we all love eye candy, screenshots from EVE even make a regular appearance in Krystalle's daily MMO screenshot column "One Shots".

EVE's Official magazine EON runs a regular feature called "Postcards from the Edge" where players write in with a screenshot and a short story about it. As a tribute to EON, who I wrote for before coming to Massively, this week and next I present galleries full of postcards from my own travels in EVE. They're all high-resolution shots suitable to be used as widescreen backgrounds, feel free to save them out from your browser to get them at full resolution.

Do you have a particularly awesome screenshot you'd like to see as a postcard? Email it to me at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com along with a few words describing its contents and I'll make it into a nice postcard for next week's second part of this gallery piece.

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Fallen Earth releases new fan assets

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Fallen Earth, New Titles, Wallpapers

A number of our readers at Massively have been playing MMOs for years, but of course this means that some people out there have had their fill of the fantasy genre. There are more genres to be explored in the coming years, one of which should please fans of games like Fallout 3: post-apocalyptic MMOs. Perhaps chief amongst these upcoming titles is Fallen Earth, a Mad Max-like take on a post-apocalyptic setting... but populated with mutants and factions of zealots.

Some gamers like the idea of playing in a very different kind of setting from what we've seen in MMOs thus far, and the Fallen Earth team's latest announcement is for those post-apocalyptic fans out there. They've put out a fansite pack, with all the art assets (new screenshots, wallpapers, textures and backdrops) you'd need to build your fan site. This will lead up to their Fallen Earth Official Fan Site Program, where approved sites will be eligible for "special site promotions and early access to Fallen Earth news and updates."

If you find this appealing, you can grab the zipped assets (66mb) linked in the announcement over on the official Fallen Earth site.

CrimeCraft's box art unveiled

At a glance, Wallpapers, Crime, CrimeCraft

The box art for the gang warfare MMO CrimeCraft has been revealed, showing an interesting blend of the game's art style and in-game screenshots on the front of the box. The top of the box is dominated by this image, while the bottom blends in a screenshot of the game's gang based action.

What we have above is just a small sampling of the game's front cover, but if you're intrigued by the thought of seeing the full version then go on ahead and jump over to the picture at MMORPG.com.

CrimeCraft's action packed gameplay will be unleashed on the masses next month on August 25th, but you can certainly pre-order the game over at Best Buy or apply for the closed beta to keep your destructive tendencies in check until then.

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