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CBS looks at the rise of spectator e-sports

Video, Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, Miscellaneous, E-sports

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cbs
In a "Game On" segment, CBS Sunday Morning featured an in-depth look at e-sports and the spectator community that has grown up around them. It showed how games like StarCraft II and League of Legends have packed stadiums full of people who watch and cheer on their favorite teams of gamers.

"I think I'm too old to understand what's going on in online gaming now," the reporter comments at one point. Our dear friend Research Analyst Michael Pachter replies, "You probably are."

You can watch the entire eight-minute segment after the jump.

[Thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!]

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Wurm Online adds in a new Challenge mode

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Wurm Online, News Items, Sandbox

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Sandbox, noun: a version of gameplay wherein no actual content is provided, thus inciting players to punch one another in hopes of something happening.
Sometimes you don't want to fuss about with leveling; you just want to jump into the meat of a game and start accomplishing things. Wurm Online's new Challenge mode is all about that, giving new characters created just for these month-long challenges enough skills to get started right away and a faster advancement rate to boot. It sounds pretty magnanimous until you realize that the other two sides are also starting ahead and moving just as fast, so players are going to need to step up fast if they want to keep going.

The Challenge server offers a 64 square kilometer space for three player factions to feud over control. Everything on the server remains persistent for a month, after which point prizes are awarded to the players and factions that have advanced the furthest in specific categories. The update also includes siege weaponry, strategic resource spawns, and defensive fortifications to hold off attackers. It's the equivalent of throwing players in a box and shaking it until the fireworks start flying; if that sound like fun, you can jump into that box now.

[Source: Code Club press release]

Borderlands Online will use heavy instancing

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

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bo
So, Borderlands Online. You know, that popular game-turned-MMO conversion that we'll probably never get to see in the West? At least we have a few new details that will taunt us forever with our lack of this sci-fi western title.

The title looks to be a more instance-heavy MMO, akin to Dragon Nest or the original Guild Wars, with co-op adventure zones but no mass shared open world zone. Instanced MMO gaming isn't everyone's cup of tea, of course, but it doesn't automatically mean it will be horrible, just different. Other details that Chinese game site Sina discovered is that there will be over 20 million guns, plenty of hidden secrets, and some form of PvP.

Guild Wars 2 celebrates the holidays with a player murder spree

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), PvP, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

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gw2
Don't get too comfy and cozy with that hot cocoa and crackling fire; Guild Wars 2 is calling all fighters to arms for epic PvP conflict over the next month. Today, the team posted details for the game's two upcoming PvP events, both starting tomorrow and ending on January 13th.

The fun and casualties begin with the WvW Sneak Attack event, which will change some of the established rules for this setting to make it harder to see who is attacking what and give a bonus to experience and rewards earned. Then the team is testing out a PvP ladder season, with prizes such as mini llamas and glorious hero's armor pieces to those who kick and claw their way up the rankings.

Elite: Dangerous has no offline mode for story reasons

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

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These just keep going, huh.
Frontier Developments head honcho David Braben has been working overtime to defend the 11th-hour revelation that Elite: Dangerous will have no offline play option. A recent video interview with Braben includes his response to these issues; he states that it's not off the table, but it's incompatible with the way that the game handles storytelling. The game world is meant to change over time based on player actions, and it wasn't as functional without players being affected by each another.

Braben explains that the game's missions are generated in part by aggregates of player activity; if a majority of players choose to support a rebel faction on a given planet, for example, then that faction becomes more powerful, and the nature of missions related to those rebels changes. Keeping the game online ensures that these changes can be reflected in gameplay, making the experience more dynamic and engaging. The full interview also covers the details of beta testing and control setups, if you're not as interested in the fine details of staying online while playing in single-player mode.

Elite: Dangerous formally launches tomorrow.

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's Eternal Bond

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

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WEDDINGS WE CAN JUST SAY WEDDINGS COME ON YOSHI-P
Weddings in MMOs always feel like content aimed directly at me. However many side benefits might exist, weddings are fundamentally roleplaying tools, ways for people to mark themselves as bound together in a virtual space that serves no purpose beyond character establishment. So even if I weren't planning on taking part in the marriage ceremony in Final Fantasy XIV, I'd be happy it existed for that reason alone.

Of course, since my actual real-life wedding was objectively the best day of my life and the best possible wedding, there's no way that the Eternal Bond setup could quite match that. But for roleplaying purposes, my character was engaged, so I was still looking forward to it. All that's left is to take part in the actual ceremony, but there's a lot of stuff to be looked at about how it's handled thus far and what's praiseworthy or just plain baffling in the setup stages.

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Landmark's monster update delayed until Wednesday

Betas, Patches, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Landmark

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With such a monster update coming to Landmark, SOE was open about the possibility of troubles and a delay. After keeping the community updated on progress and pitfalls over the weekend, Creative Director Dave Georgeson confirmed it: The PvE patch is delayed until Wednesday, December 17th, at 1:00 p.m. EST. Apparently the mobs themselves are scared of the introduction of players -- as well they should be! Mobs were found all clustering in a single cave. To fully fix this, SOE has to regenerate the islands. But don't worry, builders; there is no claim wipe involved, just time. Once the servers are up and running, watch for a Stream Team tour to check out the new Landmark wildlife.

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: Biggest MMO Blunder of 2014

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Biggest MMO Blunder of the year. This is also not a fun award to give or receive, but criticism is a necessary element of growth. This category focuses on a mistake made by a game or developer or the genre as a whole, something that has far-reaching negative consequences for the industry. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Biggest MMO Blunder of 2014 is...

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ArcheAge Korea adding second-story housing upgrades, treehouse

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Housing

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When update 1.8 hits in Korea, ArcheAge housing will reach new heights -- literally. Two different models of houses, the thatched farmhouse and the medium house, are getting a special upgrade that will elevate them to two-story dwellings. Available in the cash shop, this upgrade item is applied to existing homes; there's no need to tear down and build anew. In addition, there are new models of houses being developed for release in Korea, including a house nestled high in a tree. Yes, folks, there's an outline of a genuine treehouse to tantalize housing aficionados!

There's also talk of an exclusive housing district, but the details of the translated notes are fuzzy. Whether the Western market gets this update, however, remains to be seen; if it does, it's likely a long way off.

Black Desert's sieges are purposeful chaos

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Black Desert

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black desert
Believe it or not, Black Desert's appeal doesn't begin and end at darn fine looks; the Korean MMO has a wealth of other features as well. Two of those features are the subject of a new trailer today, half of which shows off the mighty field boss fights and the other half showing the chaos of castle sieges.

We've got a five-minute look at both of these features in a gameplay trailer after the break! Our favorite part is the musician who is merrily wandering around the field of combat belting out sweet tunes, oblivious to the carnage all around.

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The Daily Grind: Which tabletop setting would make a great MMO?

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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Tabletop RPG properties haven't fared too well as MMORPGs. Yeah, Dungeons and Dragons Online has lasted for eight years and as far as anyone knows, Neverwinter is profitable. But then you have Champions Online and Pathfinder, which aren't exactly setting the world on fire. And we all know how World of Darkness went.

I must be a glutton for punishment, though, since there are a couple of other tabletop settings I'd love to explore as MMOs. Chief among them is 7th Sea. What about you, Massively readers? Which tabletop property do you think would make a great MMO?

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!

MMO Week in Review: Zombies incoming

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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H1Z1
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

SOE announced this week that its post-apoc zombie survival sandbox MMO (do we have an acronym for that yet?) H1Z1 will enter early access testing on January 15th. Like Landmark's beta before it, H1Z1's early access represents a serious test phase, says studio boss John Smedley. Tickets for early entry will run you just under 20 bucks.

And don't forget Massively's ongoing 2014 awards, the first seven of which have already been announced. We're leading up to our MMO of the year on Friday!

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Listen to Shroud of the Avatar's player-created soundtrack

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Music, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

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sota
The fact that approximately 90% of the soundtrack for Shroud of the Avatar will be player-created may have escaped your attention, but the devs have not forgotten. In fact, in this past week's newsletter, several of the successful submissions were featured, including the track called Truth.

The team is getting ready to unleash another grand tour quest and has announced that the reward for completing this journey will be a seasonal yule hat. Another addition planned for the upcoming Release 13 is the ability to light weapons on fire via magic. Why have magic if you're not making the world burn, right?

True fans of the genre, get thee hence to Cabal II's closed beta

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Humor

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cabal 2
Are you a "true fan" of the MMO genre? If so, then according to a hyperactive press release by ESTGames, you'll surely want to sign up for Cabal II's closed beta on the official site.

The beta sign-ups for the sequel to Cabal Online are indeed live, and a focus test is already in the works for December 19th through the 22nd. Cabal II is an action-MMO with "fluid, skill-based combat"; it's aiming for a 2015 release in both North America and Europe.

[Source: ESTGames press release]

Get a closer look at Star Citizen's Gladiator bomber

Betas, Sci-Fi, Sandbox, Star Citizen

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star citizen
So just what is the Gladiator, Star Citizen's newest ship, and why might it have some players salivating? Recently, the team posted additional information and technical specs on this carrier-based bomber for all those interested to check out.

According to the description, "The Gladiator is the UEE Navy's premiere carrier-based torpedo-plane and space-to-ground dive bomber. Operating with Hornet escort fighters, Gladiators have seen service with great success in battles across known space. Rugged to a fault, the Gladiator is the most capable bomber chassis ever designed."

Star Citizen is selling the Gladiator as a not currently flyable pledge ship for $165, or or you can pay $180 for the ship and an extras package. It will be available for pre-purchase only through December 22nd, although it will eventually be in the full game upon release.

[Thanks to Cardboard for the tip!]

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: Best MMO Trend of the Year

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Best MMO Trend of the year. We're not talking about a single article or game here; we are looking for trends, memes, and ideas that have seen a rise to prominence and have the potential to influence our genre for the better. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Best MMO Trend of 2014 is...

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One Shots: It came from the comments section!

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Vanguard, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, TERA, Miscellaneous

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In addition to sending in your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, some of you have taken to the comments section in these columns to share your pictures and stories as well. That's totally fine with me, by the way, as long as the email submissions continue as well! However, today I'd like to call attention to a few of these comments section shots and give them a little more attention up above the line.

Our first entry is from commenter Ausj3w3l, and I have to admit that it made me laugh. I think it's something about the way that this character is standing. Fat and proud, just like Mother Nature intended! "Most of the armours in TERA are completely over the top but fabulous, but eh... nothing beats the fuzzball in swim pants," she posted.

The fun doesn't stop here! We've still got three more smashing pics to go!

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite MOBA?

Super-hero, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, MOBA, Infinite Crisis

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I'm a bit late to the MOBA party, but this past week I've been having a grand old time playing Infinite Crisis. Previously I'd dabbled in SMITE and Guardians of Middle-earth, but I'd never seriously considered a MOBA as part of my regular fun-time rotation.

That's all changed thanks to IC, though, and I've downloaded a few other genre titles to try while I'm at it. What about you, Massively MOBA players? Which is your favorite?

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!

Make My MMO: December 7 - 13, 2014

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online pretty much stole the show. Sure, Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous made some noise like they always do, but the player-driven sandbox world-builder from Citadel Studios not only polished off a successful Kickstarter campaign but also started getting a bit of pub outside the usual MMO blogging circles.

Click past the cut for the rest of this week's crowdfunding roundup.

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ArcheAge details its upcoming update, PTS, and holiday events

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge

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What do stockings, a vengeful sea goddess, and a dragon have in common? No, it's not a titillating new fantasy paperback. It's ArcheAge's next update. Version 1.2 Build 4.6 (as it is officially known) heralds the introduction of the Red Dragon to Erenor, an insane ancient Wyrmkin that will test the mettle of the strongest adventurers. Additionally, the jealous sea goddess Dahuta will make traveling the waters near her domain even more treacherous. Other update tidbits include a five-second forced delay between land claim attempts "in order to disrupt rapid spam-placement attempt tools" and the sale of the Comet speedster for 800 gilda. Players can test these new experiences out on the newly launched public test server. More information on all this and instructions for installing the PTS can be found on the official site and the PTS FAQ.

This update also introduces the Winter Maiden Festival for the holidays. Featuring buff-giving trees you decorate and stockings you assemble all from loot drops, the event sees players decking the mobs with swords and staffs all through the season. Plushie collectors have the chance to acquire seven new snowman plushies to decorate their homes.

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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
Elite: Dangerous launch Dec. 16, 2014
TERA: Fate of Arun Dec. 16, 2014
H1Z1 Early Access Jan. 15, 2015
PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
GDC March 2, 2015
FFXIV: Heavensward Spring 2015

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