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Perfect Ten: Mobile apps to enhance your MMO lifestyle

World of Warcraft, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Fallen Earth, Opinion, RuneScape, Mobile, Wizard101, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, DUST 514, Guides, EverQuest Next, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Landmark

We're living in the age of smart phones, when there are more cell phones than there are people on this planet. I can't go anywhere without seeing people constantly whipping out their little rectangular companions for the constant stream of information, social connection, and Candy Crush interludes.

While MMOs aren't making great headway on these devices, in part due to the limited input scheme, several wise studios have made good use of the mobile market to give players a way to keep in touch with their games even while AFK. Today we're going to count down, count up, and count sideways 10 official mobile apps that will enhance your MMO lifestyle.

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Wizard101 and Pirate101 rack up 50 million players combined

Fantasy, Kids, Wizard101, Giveaways, Family, Pirate101

The Spiral, KingsIsle's online universe, is one of the most underrated success stories in the MMO genre. After six years of operation, Wizard101 (and its spin-off Pirate101) have tallied up over 50 million lifetime players (that's total players ever).

The big numbers don't stop there, either. These two games have seen more than 1.46 trillion gold earned, 2.1 billion quests completed, and 3 million player homes inhabited. One pet-happy player even collected 4,986 companions and thus earned a place in the history books.

To celebrate the milestone, KingsIsle is giving away a free monolith housing item in both Wizard101 and Pirate 101. You can check out more crazy numbers in the infographic after the break.

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Wizard101 adds four new dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Patches, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family, Dungeons

Wizardry is not a safe profession these days. Wizard101 has grown even more dangerous with the addition of four brand-new dungeons spread across the game's level range, and Massively fully expects multiple online casualties to result from this irresponsible action.

The new dungeons are the snowy Shangri-Baa Mountains (level 25), Barkingham Palace (level 40), the House of Scales (level 60), and Castle Darkmoor (level 100). The latter is vital for wizards seeking a new spell for their arsenal, as a Castle Darkmoor quest will award one new shadow-enhanced card for each school of magic.

The November update came with other improvements to the game, including bypassing combat idlers' turns, more member benefits, and savable equipment sets. We've got a video covering the shadow-enchanced spells for you to watch after the break.

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The Stream Team: Win goodies while playing Wizard101

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Wizard101, Giveaways, Livestream, The Stream Team

What's better than cool Wizard101 stuff? Free Wizard101 stuff! Massively's MJ is diving into the kid-friendly game to dabble in a bit of magic as well as fishing, and she's got some Mystic Fishing Bundles and Evergreen Bundles to give away to other budding wizards. She'll also be joined by KingsIsle's new community manager, who can answer any questions you have about the Wizards Academy. Join us live at 1:00 p.m. for your chance to nab a few in-game goodies and to watch MJ zap a few foes.

Game: Wizard101
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, November 15th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Get free gifts for Wizard101's birthday

Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Wizard101, Giveaways, Anniversaries

The magical world of Wizard101 turns six years old today, the perfect age for reveling in gifts and fun! Along with the in-game festivities that include decorations and secret hidden gift-giving packages (even the chance to catch a rare mystery fish!), all players can get a free birthday gazebo for their homes as well as 6,000 gold in honor of the game's sixth birthday. But the presents don't stop there: A new candle on the Wizard101 cake will reveal yet another free item each week throughout the month of September! Additionally, there will be special offers available to in the Crown store, including two brand-new items: the six-year-wizened Grampa Piggle pet and an updated Birthday Snack Pack. To join in the revelry, jump in game and visit the official site to grab your special gifts.

Wizard101 introduces Fishing

Fantasy, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family

It's also fishing for your money, but that's sort of how games stay in operation.
Fishing is the eternal side activity of MMOs, the reason for players to sit about and cast their line over and over in the hopes of receiving something worthwhile. Wizard101 joins the lineup of fantasy games offering a fishing option today with a new patch, although you will be fishing in an appropriately magical fashion. Rather than a mundane line and sinker, players summon magical orbs to help snare fish; the ones they catch can be sold, used for crafts, or displayed as trophies around your house.

If this is the one thing you've been waiting for before you get into the game, you can also take advantage of the new promotional bundle on sale at Target. The Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle includes a new housing item, a new pet, new clothes, and a new mount for players, along with either a month's subscription or 5000 crowns. You can pick it up for $39 and then jump right back into casting orbs and looking for fish. Or doing other things, presumably.

[Source: Kingsisle Entertainment press release]

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #30-21

Aion, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Wizard101, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online, Jukebox Heroes, Age of Wushu, Music

We're back with our second part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown, this time digging into the middle of the pack. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed the first part, check out themes #40-31. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Wizard101 fulfills a child's wish

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101

The Make a Wish foundation: reminding people of the fact that other human beings can be decent basically forever.
Wizard101 is a kid's game. It's designed to be played and enjoyed by kids. So what does Kingsisle Entertainment do when the Make-a-Wish foundation calls up with a wish from a child who's a big fan of the game? Apparently, the staff brings him in to the studio and surprises him with a brand-new character modeled and designed by the child in question, making him a permanent part of the game. What better way to wrap up a tour of the offices where your favorite game is made, right?

Allan GhostDust and his pet, Lord Snoopie, can be found in Khrysalis as part of a new quest titled "Message in a Bottle." Any player who has completed the "Secret Heart" quest in the region is eligible to take on the new quest. If you'd like to read more about Allan's story, take a look at the full dispatch for your daily dose of heartwarming.

Sharks, skulls, and ships: One year of Pirate101

Fantasy, Expansions, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Mac, Kids, Wizard101, Family, Anniversaries, Pirate101, MMORPG

Pirate101 is a strange beast. It is a family-friendly, free-to-play, colorful MMO with silly characters, simple design, and quirky environments. Adventuring in Pirate101 sometimes demands that you investigate the secrets of a city that literally sits on top of a flying whale or that you and your friends (a fencing crab, perhaps, or a sharpshooting fox) leap onto a flaming, flying pirate ship in order to punch sharks in the face and steal their treasure.

Hidden underneath the silliness, however, is a relatively deep turn-based strategy game designed to engage younger gamers while ensuring their adult counterparts have a good time. KingsIsle Entertainment isn't in the business of making kids games; instead, the studio strives to create titles that kids and parents can play together. The success of Pirate101 in its first year demonstrates that KingsIsle might just be on to something.

Let's take a little peek back on the last 12 months of Pirate101 to examine its major milestones.

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MMO Family: A cornucopia of kid-friendly Halloween events

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Kids, Wizard101, MMO Family, Family, Clone Wars Adventures, Miscellaneous, Pirate101

MMO Family  A cornucopia of kidfriendly Halloween events
Part of the fun of MMOs is the chance to dress up our characters, so it's no surprise that the month of October is a big one for kid-friendly MMOs. There's a plethora of pumpkins, countless costumes, and copious amounts of creepy housing decor. And the vast tonnage of treats available makes those real-life treat bags look minuscule in comparison.

In this week's MMO Family, we've got a roundup of several Halloween celebrations in kid-friendly games. And while most are about the "stuff," there are also several creative contests and events that are worth a look. Get your scare on below!

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Deaf gamer connects, educates through Wizard101

Fantasy, Culture, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family

Deaf gamer connects, educates through Wizard101
Even though she can't hear any of the music or sound effects in the game, Kelsey Fireheart professes a strong love for Wizard101. In a guest post on the KingsIsle blog, Kelsey shares a little of what it's like to be a deaf gamer and why this MMO means so much to her.

Shortly after starting her adventures in the game, Kelsey had a profound encounter: "I remember questing in the Pyramid of the Sun of Krokotopia and I bumped into a fellow wizard named Diana Wildheart. She mentioned that she was deaf, and I gasped in astonishment. I replied, I am deaf too! That's when I realized that I could meet fellow deaf gamers through games like Wizard101."

Kelsey said that this friendship made her realize that MMOs could be used for more than just fun and to educate others about what it's like to be deaf. "This game is a wonderful educational tool that I can use to teach countless others and it gave me a way of communicating with no barriers. In fact, it gave me a greater purpose within the game," she wrote. Kelsey said that the visuals of the game are quite important to her and that she wished sign language would be available as in-game emotes.

Wizard101 gives away presents for its birthday

Events (Real-World), News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Promotions, Family, Anniversaries

Wizard101 gives away presents for its birthday
Happy birthday Wizard101! Starting today, the magical kid-friendly title celebrates turning five years old by offering gifts to players. Besides a confetti cannon to put in their houses, players will also receive other mystery gifts based on how old their accounts are; the longer you've been a Wizard101 player, the more gifts you'll receive!

But why have a birthday when you can have a birth month? The festivities will continue all through September. Until the 30th, there will be decorations throughout Wizard City and special sales in the Crown Shop. Additionally, five new hairstyles and a brand now mount, the Arcus Cloud, are also available.

Make-a-Wish boy becomes KingsIsle honorary producer

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Wizard101, Pirate101

MakeaWish boy becomes KingsIsle honorary producer
We've all heard the incredible dreams that the Make-a-Wish foundation accomplishes for seriously ill children, but what if a boy with brain cancer wanted to tour his favorite game studio and become an honorary producer instead of go to Disney World? No problem: wish granted!

Eleven-year-old Ryan and his family were granted an all-access tour of KingsIsle Studios through Make-a-Wish's efforts. The studio posted an article with Ryan's adventures throughout the day, including a voice recording session, a Pirate101 play session with developers, and time spent learning about what each department does.

Ryan's mother related how important the day was to her son: "For him to see some of the actors and creators in person and see how a game he loves to play is created is just so special. It's something we could never give him and just an amazing opportunity for him."

KingsIsle had a special surprise in store for Ryan at the end of the day. The team created a new Pirate101 NPC named Ryan the Relentless and equipped the character with the sound files from Ryan's recording session that day. Ryan the Relentless and his Yum-n-ade stand will be added to the live game this week.

MMObility: Bridging the gap between mobile and client-based MMOs

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, Casual, MMORTS, Wizard101, MMObility, PlanetSide 2

Grepolis mobile app screenshot
A mobile MMO is a great thing. A mobile app, one that acts as an extension of an existing game, can be an odd thing. Do players really use mobile apps to access information? Speaking for myself, I tend to use mobile apps to do particular things. I like to check up on PlanetSide 2 to see how the battles have gone while I've been away, for example. I can see a time when mobile apps play a much more important role in the world of client-based gaming, but what would those apps look like?

A few developers seem to have the right idea. Instead of releasing apps that concentrate on imitating the core game, these developers have released an app that is a game in itself, one that results in loot or goods that are redeemable in the standard game. Let's take a look at some of those developers and apps, as well as look for an example of some designs that we might see in the future.

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The Perfect Ten: Cutest creatures

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Wizard101, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten Cutest creatures
I vividly remember a conversation I had with my then-girlfriend's parents back in 1996 about the potential of this growing "internet" phenomenon. With my limited understanding, I made it sound downright noble, a Library of Congress available at the fingertips of the average Joe or Jane. What I really should have said that it would be a tool for the distribution of pornography, nerd rage, and cute animal pictures.

I have no idea how big the cute animal picture industry is, but there have got to be millions of aspiring photographers daily who prod little baby critters with encouragement sticks in the hopes of eliciting a few "awws" out of strangers. Even when the serious business of MMOs came a-calling, cuteness infested fantasy lands near and far.

Whenever I see something absurdly cute in an MMO, I always smile because I know that somewhere, some uber-elite, way-too-serious player is developing facial tics from being in the same game world as it. So twitch away, as here are 10 of the cutest critters as seen in-game!

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