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Trove: 'Let everything in the game be made by the community'

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Trove

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trove
User-generated content isn't just a pipe dream of the Trove team; it's the central tenet of its design philosophy. In a new video, the devs talk about why allowing players to design the world, both inside the game and outside of it, is vital to drawing the community into it.

One of the results of listening to player feedback is the creation of a new biome called Dragonfire Peaks, which is full of canyons, lava, and most likely heartburn.

"We've taken the development cycle and pried it open for everyone to see," says Art Lead Brian Clarke. The team goes on to show off several player-made dungeons and talk about how the community has made better content than the dev team thought possible. We've got the video after the break, so check it out and see if you've got the Trove stuff!

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

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Destiny beta changes Dinklage's voice after criticism

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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Destiny
When Peter Dinklage, aka Tyrion Lannister, was announced as the voice of Destiny's voice-in-your-head companion, Ghost, fans went nuts. That is, until they heard the lines in the game's alpha build. Many complained that the Game of Thrones star wasn't giving the role his best effort, and a bit of a meme even formed from some particularly lackluster lines in the game's trailer.

But now, it seems Bungie listened to players and added a bit of effect to Dinklage's voice to spice things up a bit. The studio even went so far as to remove the now-internet-famous line, "That wizard came from the moon." Take a listen to the voiceover comparisons in the CVG video after the break to decide for yourself: did the mechanization of the audio improve things? Heck, it supposedly works for Britney Spears, right?

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Nerd Kingdom on Yogventures!'s implosion and the future of TUG

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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Yesterday, Massively reported on the impending bankruptcy filing and cancellation of Kickstarted Winterkewl/Yogscast game Yogventures! and the alleged transfer of its assets over to TUG, a sandbox game by Nerd Kingdom that we've written about since its reveal last year. Journalists and gamers have suggested that in spite its claims to the contrary, Yogscast itself might be liable for refunds, as would any beneficiary of assets entangled in a future bankruptcy filing. We spoke to TUG's Peter "Ino" Salinas to shed light on the situation and its implications for TUG.

Massively: Yogscast has distanced itself from Winterkewl, the studio making Yogventures!, but statements made by Winterkewl seem to suggest that Yogscast is simply transferring its support for Winterkewl's game to your pre-existing game, TUG, causing Yogventures to go bankrupt and disavowing any obligation to underwrite the spent half million in Kickstarter funds. Is that your understanding of the situation? Can you clarify it for our readers?

Nerd Kingdom's Peter Salinas: There are a lot of details to the discussions that Yogs and Winterkewl had before we started to develop our friendship with the Yogscast. We were also honestly wary of the situation ourselves at first, having been aware of Yogventures! around the time we did our own Kickstarter campaign. The reality of the situation was this: A young and ambitious developer overscoped a project... this would not be the first time that happened; it's just a total bummer that it had to happen with a massive community involved. And during that time, the Yogscast group, knowing little enough about development, agreed to let them use their likeness in their own project. Yogs knew that Yogscast itself was not equipped to manage the project, so they let Winterkewl use their brand and a community to build on. Sadly in that process, all the milestones that were set by Winterkewl, which would have allowed the Yogscast to promote the project, never were hit. How can you promote or make an experience with nothing to share? Even we had our own time to put in before we were able to demonstrate anything reasonable.

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Elite: Dangerous aims to be future-proof

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Elite: Dangerous

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Elite: Dangerous
Time is not always kind to video games -- especially MMOs. So Frontier Developments decided to plan ahead by future proofing its sci-fi space MMO Elite: Dangerous.

"Moore's law is our friend," company head David Braben told Eurogamer in a recent interview. "Even if your PC of today can't run [Elite] with all the features on, your PC of tomorrow might." The thought is to plan ahead by implementing graphical features that are so advanced, they can't even be run on modern computers yet. So when technology catches up, the advancements will already be in place.

Check out the entire interview for more on how the team at Frontier aims to plan for the future in Elite: Dangerous.

WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: A disappointing start

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Subscription

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Yeah, I know those feels, all right.
My time with the Draenor beta has been an overwhelming disappointment.

Warlords of Draenor is to World of Warcraft as Man of Steel is to the Superman mythos. It's an effort to collect classic elements with no regard for the setting in which they make sense, throwing them together like line items. It's aware of the history of the franchise only as a resource to mine, and it's just giving us all of the old familiar pieces without the parts that made those pieces memorable.

Imagine watching Harrison Ford pretending to be Indiana Jones despite being far too old for the role now, locked in a script with no sense of momentum or energy, going through the motions in a way that's not just lackluster but actively kind of shameful. Imagine Frank Miller writing Batman as a parody of what people thought his original versions of Batman were anyway without the slightest sense of irony. That should give you some idea of where I am when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. It's loads of classic ideas, stuff that I desperately want to like, but it's ultimately just not very good, and it certainly doesn't come together.

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The Crew's PC closed beta starts July 21

Betas, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

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Shelby GT500
Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew kicks off its PC closed beta on July 21st. The firm has posted a news blurb on its website stating that the first test phase will run through July 25th, which is earlier than previously announced.

Players will be able to "explore the entire United States with no loading screen" including all missions and skill challenges in the Midwest, all skill challenges on the East Coast, and free roaming in the South, Mountain State, and West Coast regions.

The Crew launches on November 11th.

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Report: SWTOR fourth biggest sub MMO, Elder Scrolls has over 770k subscribers

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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Market intelligence firm Superdata says that Star Wars: The Old Republic earned $165 million in worldwide revenue last year. This would make SWTOR the fourth biggest sub MMO in the world (behind World of Warcraft, Lineage, and TERA).

Superdata's report also says that the pay-to-play MMO market has been in a constant decline since 2010, with monthly active worldwide subscribers bottoming out at 23.4 million. "Despite the overall decline, this category has so far managed to maximize their ability to monetize a shrinking yet loyal player base," the firm says.

Finally, Superdata says that Elder Scrolls Online has a subscriber base of 772,374 while WildStar is seeing "four to five times" as many concurrent users as it saw during open beta. Superdata's information is purportedly "pulled directly from publishers and developers."

Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls' ginormous post-50 update plan

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

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Tamriel Infinium - Elder Scrolls art header
Earlier this week, Elder Scrolls Online creative director Paul Sage dropped by the Elder Scrolls OTR podcast and proceeded to drop a ton of update info on fans of ZeniMax's fantasy themepark MMO. We put out a corresponding news post, of course, but there was so much meat on those bones that I couldn't let an issue of Tamriel Infinium go by without adding my two cents.

Plus, hey, it was only two weeks ago that I was advocating for an adjustment to the game's post-50 approach. Ask and ye shall receive, right?

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal death penalty for an MMO?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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Fallen Earth
If your first MMO was a modern themepark MMO, you might not realize that a corpse run and a small repair bill are fairly light penalties for death. In Ultima Online, if you couldn't make it back to your body in time, a devious player (or mob) might come along and relieve your corpse of its loot. If you were a murderer, you'd even lose stats! Your gear was safer in EverQuest, but you'd lose experience, and you'd still have to run from your bind spot back to your body, assuming it wasn't in such a dangerous place that you needed a Necromancer to summon it. And games like Asheron's Call and City of Heroes once had experience penalties so harsh that it was possible to cripple a character so much that you might as well just reroll.

MMOs are torn between wanting to make death feel meaningful enough that people are careful but not so punitive that players would rather log out than recover. What do you think is the ideal death penalty for an 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!

Final Fantasy XIV offers a free weekend to lapsed accounts

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XIV, Promotions, Subscription

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ff14
Final Fantasy XIV is looking to pull back in its lost brothers, sisters, and furries with a free login weekend. From 3:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 18th, through Monday at the same time, inactive accounts will be switched on.

The free weekend is only for previous players who purchased the game and have since stopped paying for it. Square Enix is hoping that the new Patch 2.3 and its features will woo returning players to sub back up after getting a taste during these three days.

Vindictus highlights its new character with fashion silhouettes

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Vindictus

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This was a really meaty trailer.
When you think about it, catwalk struts are seriously underused as a means of introducing new content to an MMO. Vindictus is taking the genre in a bold new direction with its latest reveal. The Korean reveal page for the new character makes it clear that Arisha is bringing a whole new style to the game. That style is... well... style, perhaps?

Seriously, the trailer doesn't reveal anything but a silhouette. Datamining has revealed that she's a hybrid melee/magical character, although that could go a lot of different routes. Still, you can get a very shadowy peek at her in the trailer past the break.

Based on that, she'll attack primarily with six-inch heels and fishnet stockings because hot pants, heels, and plunging necklines are crazy useful in combat.

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World of Tanks delivers big Xbox 360 update

Trailers, Video, Patches, War, Free-to-Play, Consoles, World of Tanks, MOBA

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wot
The Xbox 360 edition of World of Tanks has grown by leaps, bounds, and treads today with the sizable Rapid Fire update.

This patch added two new maps to the game: Arctic Region and Erlenberg. In addition, Rapid Fire has introduced American autoloader tanks and a group of additional German tank destroyers. We've got the action-packed trailer for this update lurking right below the cut, so be careful!

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The Stream Team: Building with water in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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There's a new building material in Landmark town, and Massively's MJ is eager to get her hands on it! Non-dynamic water has been introduced, and the possibilities are endless. Could MJ make a water trap deep in her maze? What about a moat? She could even just build a water house, declare herself a mermaid, and swim through the walls! Come share your ideas. As a bonus, MJ also has a few more of the popular portcullis item codes as well as beta codes to give away. Join us live at 7:30 p.m. to check out some wet and wild building!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MapleStory details Tower of Oz content coming July 23

Fantasy, Video, MapleStory, Patches, Free-to-Play

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Maplestory
MapleStory's new Rising Heroes: Tower of Oz update is highlighted in this week's official update notes on the site. This Wizard of Oz-themed content allows players to traverse 50 levels of monsters, jump quests, and more, including battles with the monstrous versions of Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, and Dorothy herself.

This new v.151 content will be available for free in game on July 23.

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Dota 2's 10 million dollar e-sports tourney will stream on ESPN

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), PvP, News Items, Promotions, Miscellaneous, MOBA

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Whether or not you believe e-sports are real sports, Dota 2 is at least big enough for sports TV.

Valve today publicized a deal that will bring streaming coverage of its MOBA's The International tournament to ESPN. Well, ESPN3, which is sort of like ESPN in the same way Dota 2 is like a sport. We're kidding. ESPN3 will broadcast matches live, and come Sunday, "viewers can tune in to ESPN2 for an exclusive preview of the tournament's final match, featuring highlights from the games, expert analysis, plus interviews with the players and Valve's Gabe Newell."

The International championships begin tomorrow in Seattle with a prize pool worth over $10 million. It turns out your mom was wrong: You can get rich and famous playing video games.

[With thanks to tipster Mike!]

The Think Tank: Star Citizen and armchair speculation

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, The Think Tank, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

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Star Citizen pew pew
This week, Star Citizen announced it's now raised a total of $48 million in crowdfunding and revealed its $50 million stretch goal, which is an absurd amount of money (but still not as absurd as how much some other AAA MMOs reportedly spent). "As a professional gamer and armchair developer with several failed armchair projects under my belt," wrote Massively commenter computerhelfer with his tongue firmly in cheek, "I can safely say this project has acquired too much money. This project makes my armchair feel uncomfortable."

Apparently, large sums of money and large-scale projects make a lot of people uncomfortable, at least judging by the huge and sometimes nonsensical debates that sprawl across our Star Citizen posts. In today's Think Tank, I've asked some of the Massively writers to speculate on the future of the game, its impact on the genre, and how much higher that crowdfund number might go before all of the core pieces of the game have launched.

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Yogscast's TUG partnership comes alongside a cancelled game

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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What never was and never will be.
If you're a fan of Yogscast and TUG, you're probably happy to learn that Yogscast is going to be working closely with Nerd Kingdom to promote the game. Of course, you might not be such a fan if you were originally a backer of Yogventures!, the Yogscast-inspired game that very recently announced it was cancelled despite reaching double its Kickstarter goal in 2012. All of the Yogventures! assets and code are being transferred over as well, allowing TUG to reap the benefits of what had been done on the cancelled game.

According to the Yogscast crew, the partnership with TUG and the distribution of serial codes are meant as an effort to make things right, although the official communication makes it clear that they are not on the hook for the game's cancellation (which might be legally debatable). Many of the Yogventures! backers are still very unhappy with the situation, though, as TUG is not the game they backed in the first place. Time will tell how this shakes out in the long run, as very few Kickstarter backers are likely to be fully mollified by receiving a copy of a game they never wanted.

Hearthstone's Naxxramas adventure begins rollout next week

Fantasy, Expansions, Launches, Free-to-Play, Hearthstone

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hearthstone
Naxxramas is almost open for business once more. Blizzard announced today that Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas solo adventure will begin its rollout on Tuesday, July 22nd.

Initially, Naxxramas will only feature one wing, the Arachnid Quarter, but will open one of the remaining four wings each week thereafter. While the first wing is free, subsequent wings will cost to purchase, either with money or with in-game gold.

Curse of Naxxramas will be launched across all of Hearthstone's platforms: Windows, Mac, and iPad. By beating each of the wings, players can earn new cards to use in competitive matches.

Warlords of Draenor's Talador is at the heart of the Draenei civilization

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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wow
World of Warcraft continues its exploration of the new zones of Warlords of Draenor, this time with the gorgeous land of Talador.

Talador is the predecessor to what eventually becomes Outland's Terokkar Forest, and while players will see familiar sights like Shattrath, it won't be quite as they remember. The area is a warzone as the Iron Horde has besieged it, and players must do all they can to push back the wave of invaders.

"Talador is home to the heart of Draenei civilization," Blizzard writes. "It is stunningly beautiful, and the zone has a palette of oranges, golds, and greens that make it incredibly vibrant. The zone really showcases the breadth of Draenei life: the sprawling trade hub of Shattrath, the massive mausoleum that is Auchindoun, the iconic city of Tuurem, the mythical Telmor (it does exist!), and so many others."

ArcheAge begins beta with one million sign-ups [Updated]

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

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aa
The world is ready and eager for ArcheAge's beta program, as evidenced by the million-plus sign-ups on the site. The first closed beta event started today and will continue through July 21st.

"We're also happy to announce today that over one million of you have already joined our community of ArcheAge supporters, even before the first beta event began!" Trion Worlds posted today. In fact, the beta launched to far more players than Trion anticipated, prompting the studio to open up two new servers to handle the demand.

To bring the Korean MMO overseas, Trion has translated two million words, set up technical infrastructure, and localized quests. The closed beta event will feature the version 1.2 patch for both North America and Europe.

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AoW: Warrior's Ascension July 31, 2014
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