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Camelot Unchained is a go for pre-alpha testing

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

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Camelot Unchained takes another big step forward today toward launch with the release of its pre-alpha test for founders. The test is actually starting ahead of the original schedule, to the presumed delight of the game's fans.

In late August, City State Entertainment announced that it was pushing back its alpha and beta tests in order to bring on more programmers to the team.

Details of the alpha test were sent out to backers in emails yesterday. The test will run today, Friday, and Sunday. The studio spent an hour the other day discussing this test in a livestream that you can watch after the break.

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Warner Bros. confirms Turbine layoffs [Updated]

Asheron's Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, Rumors, Miscellaneous

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turbine
Turbine appears to be going through another round of layoffs that are possibly affecting the Lord of the Rings Online team, according to Twitter messages.

Former Community Manager Rick Heaton seemed to confirm this in a tweet sent earlier today: "Thinking of my friends at #Turbine and #LOTRO and elsewhere today. I'm easy to find if you need me."

Massively has reached out to the studio for an official comment.

[Update: Warner Bros. has confirmed unspecified layoffs by issuing the following statement to Massively: "As part of our normal business process, we're routinely looking at the strategic alignment of our company. Unfortunately, in order for us to invest in growth areas at Turbine, we have to eliminate some positions. These are always tough decisions, which we don't approach lightly, but it's crucial that Turbine is structured in a way that reflects the current and coming marketplace."]

Star Trek Online's Delta Rising cinematic has... arisen

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

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Star Trek Online's Delta Rising expansion technically went live yesterday, but today's the official launch, and that means a brand-new cinematic and fresh screenshots. The update bumps the character level cap to 60, ushers in a partial Voyager cast, and adds a new tier of ships, gear, and officers to the roster. Enjoy the trailer and pics!

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Star Citizen pimps out the Drake Cutlass

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen

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Spoiler warning!
Are you considering purchasing a new ship in Star Citizen? Do you anticipate yourself frequently dodging raider attacks while listening to up-tempo instrumental music? Are you generally fond of using car commercials to determine your purchases? If you answered in the affirmative for all of that, you might be well-served by checking out the new commercial for the Drake Cutlass embedded just past the break.

The entire commercial is rendered in-game (except for one specific gesture), so it serves the dual purpose of showing off the ship and showing off the ships themselves. If you'd like, you can view the commercial in stereoscopic 3-D as well. And if you like what you see from the commercial, you can step into your own Cutlass starting at $115, although you can currently only explore the ship rather than actually using it for anything.

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Armor and new weapon abilities are just the beginning of Landmark's latest update

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

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It's back to bigger updates for Landmark! After a September spent dedicated to mostly bug fixing, more content has finally arrived in today's update. Much more. From a third weapon ability to armor to new building textures, there's plenty for players to sink their teeth into. Changes were also made to the Heroic Movement system, the UI got tweaked a bit more, and an appearance slot was added.

Combat enthusiasts will have a third ability for each weapon (accessed by pressing E) to get accustomed to in addition to facing the choice of which type of first-generation armor they want to wear: tank, DPS, or mixed. The Heroic Movement changes will also have an impact on combat; each ability is now assigned to a pair of boots, relegating players to only one heroic Movement at a time.

On top of that, there is a slew of a new textures players get to use while building, including various stones, metal, and lava. Yes, that's right -- lava! Although not occurring naturally in game yet (and therefore not harvestable), players can use this oozy orange liquid by utilizing stone resources.

World of Warcraft bounces back to 7.4 million subscribers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

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We just use this header every time.  It's easier than really analyzing.  Don't hate.
The launch of Warlords of Draenor is still a month away, but just the approach is enough to bump the numbers for World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment announced that the game is at 7.4 million subscribers as of the end of September, a bump of 600,000 over the previous announcement of 6.8 million subscribers.

As this is a statement from Blizzard rather than the usual earnings calls with subscriber numbers, no reasons are given for the upswing; since the subscriber numbers were listed as of September 30th, the jump occurred before the pre-expansion patch. Regardless, it's another point of data for those who are tracking these things with a chart.

The Daily Grind: Do you like having NPCs fight alongside you?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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The news that some garrison NPC followers will be able to become your bodyguards and fight alongside you is the first Warlords of Draenor information that's interested me at all. I love such systems in other games, such as companions in Star Wars: The Old Republic and Neverwinter.

It's probably the same reason why I like pet classes: Having a combat NPC there makes me feel less alone and more in charge of a team, even if there's only code on the other end and not an actual human face. (Or so I assume.) Although, as in SWTOR, it might be a little awkward in WoW to see dozens of people running around with the same companion you have.

Do you like it when a game gives you an NPC to be your bodyguard?

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!

Chinese World of Warcraft fan has created a flying machine

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Subscription

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Like this, but a bit less mobile.  (Picture from WoWpedia)
Where are you going to find Khorium in the real world? Or Felsteel? Those substances are relatively rare even in World of Warcraft; you have to assume that they're even harder to find in the real world. But an enterprising fan apparently located them, as evidenced by the fact that he built himself a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine in real-life for the rest of the world to look at in admiration.

Before you ask, no, it obviously does not fly. It's also designed to fit a small Goblin doll rather than allowing anyone who walks past it on the street to slide into the cockpit. It's still an awesome feat of engineering, and you can check out pictures of the finished project and the manufacturing process over on NGA.

Global Chat: Going negative

Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

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It's hard to be positive as a blogger, I'd say. It's not only really easy to get whipped up into a writing lather when you're upset about something, but negativity sells as well, at least in the short-term. People love a good rant, especially when it mirrors their line of thinking and doesn't bash a game they like. Even I, though I try to stay positive as a rule, have fallen into such patterns.

This week in Global Chat, we're going to see more negativity than normal -- or perhaps, more critical analysis with vivid metaphors. That doesn't mean it's all downers nor mindless emotional wordsplosions. But I thought it was fascinating how these stories caught my eye over the past couple of weeks of MMO blog reading.

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Ubisoft is bringing The Crew to a college football game near you

Real-Life, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Races

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Do pseudo-MMOs and college football mix? We'll soon find out since Ubisoft is taking The Crew on a roadtrip to various rivalry games across the country starting this month."Two trucks outfitted with gaming stations will simultaneously tour the country allowing fans from each school to play The Crew and go head to head with their rival school's fans before the big game on Saturday," according to the racing MMO's website.

Highlights include the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (otherwise known as Georgia vs. Florida) on November 1st, Florida State vs. Miami on November 15th, and USC vs. UCLA on November 22nd.

The Crew launches on December 2nd.

Gaijin on the creation of War Thunder's Victory is Ours short film

Historical, Trailers, Video, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, War

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Remember that spiffy War Thunder short film that we watched earlier this month? Gaijin has published a blog post that gives a little background on its creation.

The script came together rather quickly, and Ukrainian studio Postmodern was chosen to handle filming duties which were then completed near Kiev in "a record two-day shoot." Gaijin says that an additional half day was spent on a studio stage, and that the abbreviated process was helped along by the fact that the entire film was "pre-visualized and made in a 3-D sketch." The company also says that more details on the making of Victory is Ours will be forthcoming.

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ZeniMax seeking feedback on Elder Scrolls' Update 5

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online

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Elder Scrolls Online's Update 5 is big. It's so big that ZeniMax is offering test server players a lengthy list of suggestions as to what they should be testing.

More specifically, the dev team is seeking feedback on the veteran City of Ash dungeon as well as on crafting writs and the new crafting tutorials. That's just a partial list, too. You can view the full breakdown on the official ESO forums.

World of Warcraft moves toward Warlords of Draenor with Patch 6.0.2

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Promotions, Subscription

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wow
You won't need to wait until next month to start experiencing Warlords of Draenor, as the expansion's preparation patch released today with several new features.

Patch 6.0.2: The Iron Tide will destroy World of Warcraft's famous Dark Portal landmark, prune away some class abilities, enact the talked-about "stat squish," update most of the racial models with better visuals, put in a toybox, include a special revised version of the Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon, and add prologue quests in the Blasted Lands against the Iron Horde.

With the patch also comes a change in the game's retail package. The Mists of Pandaria expansion is now bundled with with the rest of World of Warcraft and is on sale for $20. You can get an overview of Patch 6.0.2 in the video after the jump.

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Asker Online beta review says Korean game 'missing something'

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Hands-On

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Curious about the new Korean action-MMO Asker Online? One tester says that you really shouldn't be.

Steparu spent time in the first closed beta and reports that the game is treading over familiar territory. He noted that while he's disappointed with Asker's choice of gender-locked classes (with only three classes in total so far), he found the boss fights challenging and enjoyable and the graphics pleasing to behold.

"After spending a couple of days testing the game, Asker Online felt like it was missing something," Steparu writes. "I couldn't really get into the game as much as I thought I would have. Mainly because it didn't have anything new to present. The breakable environment and combat is a lot similar to Vindictus. The size of the maps are extremely small which reminded me of Dragon Nest or Continent of the Ninth. Asker just didn't have much of a flare or impact on me."

Massively Speaking Episode 317: Jiggery pokery

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

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On this week's podcast, we've got all of the answers to the industry's most critical questions. Will WildStar's plans be enough to turn this title around? Will Final Fantasy XIV soon be infested with so many Ninja that they will blot out the sun? Why are Dragoons named that? And does Hackshield help or hurt gamers more?

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Star Trek Online: Delta Rising is live today

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Launches, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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I look forward to the patch in which Kate Mulgrew reveals that Janeway is now running a kitchen in a prison.
It's time to start boldly going all over again. Star Trek Online's second expansion, Delta Rising, is live today. That means that players can find their way into the Delta Quadrant, explore an expanded level cap, and take flight in a new set of starships as they take on familiar and yet novel enemies. The expansion also brings in several veteran Star Trek actors to reprise their roles: Robert Picardo (The Doctor), Garrett Wang (Harry Kim), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Tim Russ (Tuvok), and Ethan Phillips (Neelix).

Delta Rising introduces captain specializations for leveling past the previous cap of 50, allowing players to reach the ranks of Fleet Admiral and Dahar Master while exploring new specialization trees and unlocking passive and active benefits. But there's no need to take our word for it, as the expansion is live now. Log in, patch up, and head out into the Delta Quadrant.

Here's everything that happened at SC's Citizen Con 2014

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

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If you're a Star Citizen fan, you've likely already seen the mind-blowing planetside video released during last weekend's Citizen Con 2014. You may not have seen everything else that happened at the event, though.

Fortunately for you, Cloud Imperium has posted the full two-hour presentation on YouTube and we've embedded it for you after the break. While you're at it, don't forget Episode 41 of 10 for the Chairman!

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Art director Matt Mocarski leaves WildStar

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

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Free-fallin', I'm free-fallin'.
We'd heard about recent departures, but this one is new. Former art director Matt Mocarski has apparently left Carbine Studios to work at Amazon Game Studios; no specific date for the departure has been given beyond the fact that he has already started his new job. WildStar has already seen two high-profile names leave the game post-launch, president Jeremy Gaffney and design producer Stephan Frost.

We wish Mocarski the best of luck in his new workspace.

[Thanks to JesLyck for the tip!]

Destiny hotfixes out a loot cave, players uncover more DLC areas

Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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Here we go, here we go, here we go again.
Destiny has a bit of an issue with caves, particularly those that allow players to stand around and shoot until candy comes out. An upcoming fix will adjust auto-rifle damage, boost scout rifles, and also cut off another loot cave from the players. The development team is also working on fixes to under-performing Exotics and tweaking overall class balance.

Meanwhile, the game's players have managed to uncover another DLC area in the video past the break, uncovering unpopulated regions on the Moon that tie into an unknown portion of the game's expansion content. Analyst Michael Pachter weighed in briefly on the game when he predicted that game sales for September 2014 would be in a slump compared to September 2013, stating that Destiny's ubiquitous media presence would provide an overall figure around 2.75 million, a bit below Bungie's stated 3.2 million daily logins.

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Sneaking a peek at EQII's Altar of Malice with SOE

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, EverQuest II, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play

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When EverQuest II's next expansion, Altar of Malice, was announced at SOE Live in August, we heard about upcoming features, perused concept drawings, and even saw some screenshots. As exciting as all that can be, nothing compares to actually getting in the game and seeing the living breathing world of Norrath. And that's exactly what I got to do last week on a tour with Senior​ Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper.

While we have to wait a bit longer to hear more about the Aerakyn (the new winged dragonkind race) and what special goodies will be included in the collector's edition, the tour of the zones allowed me to bask in the beauty of the artwork while weaving through dinosaurs, pygmies, and my favorite-yet-long-lost starting zone. And it definitely made me even more excited for the upcoming release of Altar of Malice!

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