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EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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WoW Archivist: More beta surprises

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Opinion, Subscription, WoW Archivist

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Sylvanas models through the years
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on July 18th and is included here by permission.

As the Warlords of Draenor beta rolls onward, Blizzard keeps managing to surprise us. Recently we've learned about a huge overhaul to guild systems, random upgrades for quest rewards, and an extra-awesome core hound mount.

In the last WoW Archivist column, we looked at the surprises from the original beta and the betas of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. This time, we continue with Wrath and also look at the surprises during the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria betas. As before, I won't go into storyline surprises here. And I won't cover surprises announced at BlizzCon outside of a beta. BlizzCon already has its own feature for controversial surprises.

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One Shots: Life isn't fair

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

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ff14
Today, this boss mob woke up to the harsh realization that life just is not fair. Even with his impressive stature and the rather expensive sword that his grandma gave him for Christmas, he's unable to hold down any full-time job. What's worse is that every would-be "hero" in the world keeps ganging up on him. Even if he emerges victorious, everyone sneers and jeers at him. He just can't win.

So let's meet our first antagonist, reader William, who documented this shameful moment from Final Fantasy XIV. "The new hunts are incredibly fun and have added a lot of variety to the game!" he chirped. "My friends and I recently tackled this S-Rank Hunt, Agrippa the Mighty, along with some additional help from people in the zone. Don't worry; I healed that poor Black Mage lalafell after taking this screenshot."

But did you heal Agrippa and try to make friends with him? That's what would lead to a true storybook ending!

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite LotRO update or expansion?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

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I'm kinda slow-poking my way through Blackroot Vale in Lord of the Rings Online's latest update. So far it's pretty standard fantasy themepark fare, but I'm enjoying it well enough thanks to the setting (Gondor!) and the general ease with which I can wander through it.

As far as LotRO updates go, I think my favorite would have to be the Riders of Rohan expansion, both because of its sweeping vistas and a delightful soundtrack. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite major update or LotRO expansion?

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: July 13 - July 19, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Camelot Unchained dominated the headlines. Oh sure, Star Citizen made its money and the Elite: Dangerous devs said a couple more interesting things, but by and large we were all oohing and ahhing over City State's week-long batshit-crazy reveal schedule.

Whether or not the finished game actually incorporates all of these awesome ideas is anyone's guess, but for now it sure makes for fascinating reading! Click past the cut for the rundown on the rest of this week's crowdsourcing news.

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Shroud of the Avatar preps PvP update and asks for player music submissions

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Sandbox, Music, Shroud of the Avatar

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Shroud of the Avatar is ready to pull the trigger on Release 8 and the game's PvP system. Release 8 will come out next week and feature a massive host of PvP changes that have apparently gotten the dev team hooked. "The team's 30 minute PvP play sessions every morning are growing longer and longer as we're having too much fun to stop," the devs wrote.

Portalarium is also putting out a call to the community to help crowdsource Shroud of the Avatar's soundtrack. The team has a list compiled to guide player composers in creating and submitting their own music for the game.

Elder Scrolls Online shows new zones, active world PvP, and more at Quakecon

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

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Quakecon is the place to be if you want the latest Elder Scrolls Online news. Last night during the Future of ESO panel, ZeniMax showed off a boatload of upcoming features including video of new zones, further discussion of the veteran rank revamp, and details on the justice system.

This last bit is particularly interesting since it involves some sort of "active world PvP" outside of Cyrodiil. In a nutshell, the system allows players to murder NPCs and steal items. If caught, you can choose to pay a bounty (and lose the stolen goods) or run, exposing yourself to guards. You can also be a guard and hunt down player bounties, hence the PvP.

In terms of new zones, there are videos for Imperial City, Murkmire, and Wrothgar after the cut, as well as a look at the stealing and justice system mechanics. Dulfy has a breakdown of the panel, too, including info on new armor and weapons, spellcrafting, and more!

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McQuaid says a playable Pantheon will happen 'in a matter of months'

Betas, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

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Pantheon
Brad McQuaid is back with a mammoth 3,200-word update (treatise?) on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, specifically to rebut misinformation about the project without returning to his former "evangelist" mode. What's most interesting is how he indicates that there will be a playable build much sooner than anticipated.

Pantheon is now "truly client-server," he explains, allowing users to log in and explore the game's single zone, Halnir's Pass, while the database saves persistent information. McQuaid said that the team is revising the game lore and working on a world map. The plan is for Pantheon to have nine playable races and three starter cities when it launches.

"Our goal is to make adventure, exploration, and combat working pre-alpha," McQuaid wrote. "We're going to be grouping up, exploring, and killing mobs in a matter of months, not years."

[Thanks to Kirsan for the tip!]

The Stream Team: Visiting Vanguard before it's gone

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets

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It's hard to see an old friend leave, so Massively's MJ is heading back into Vanguard to spend a little quality time with the title before it's gone. But don't think the visit will be all sadness and moping! There are still tons of dungeons to delve, landscapes to explore, and friends to reminisce with. Maybe there is a particular place you want to see or memories you want to share. Let us know! Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to be a part of this walk down memory lane that celebrates the world of Telon.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, July 19th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Perfect Ten: Why the second half of 2014 will be awesome for MMOs

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Landmark

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In the midst of mid-summer doldrums, it's easy to fall into a mild depression thinking that everything cool that was going to happen this year already has -- especially in gaming. The spring launch blitz is now officially over, with two highly anticipated MMOs launched, and now some people might be wondering if the rest of 2014 will be all downhill.

Spoiler: It will not be.

We started talking the other day in the Massively office about just how much there's coming for the latter half of this year and why we're excited to see what the fall and winter months bring. There's so much to look forward to, in fact, that it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to a mere 10 entries. But that's my job, and that's what I did. Here's why the second half of 2014 will be awesome.

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WRUP: Just a beta

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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wowwww
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you tell us how gaming journalists who are paid to preview games should handwave worrying fundamental problems in a major pre-launch MMO because, you know, it's just a beta. After all, you definitely don't want to hear about games before they launch, unless it's an opinion that perfectly mirrors your preferred reality, which is why you don't patronize MMO websites. Right? Right.

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The Daily Grind: Should old MMOs retire gracefully while they still can?

EverQuest, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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eq
You can't deny that certain MMOs from the dawn of the genre are getting a bit long in the tooth. Heck, some of them lost their teeth a while ago and replaced them with wooden dentures of power. Take EverQuest, for example. Even with a free-to-play transition, numerous updates, and a dev team that's pushed that game engine as far as it can go, it's still an old title with a high-water mark that peaked before most current players started on their first MMO.

So here's a contentious question for the day: Should games like EverQuest retire? Should they go out with some dignity right now rather than face future humiliation by becoming increasingly obsolete? Wouldn't studios be better off focusing resources on new additions to their franchises? What do you think?

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!

Betawatch: July 12 - 18, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

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ArcheAge
ArcheAge officially dropped into closed beta mode this week; according to Trion Worlds, the beta saw over a million sign-ups, with so many logins that the team was forced to open new beta servers on short notice. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup follows.

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The Stream Team: Seeking danger in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Livestream, The Stream Team, Elite: Dangerous

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You don't have to be an ace pilot in Elite: Dangerous to enjoy flying, as Massively's MJ can certainly attest. She's hopping back in her cockpit and is ready to take on those nefarious waste containers! Or maybe she'll just accidentally shoot down some other players again. Hey, space is a dangerous place! Either way, it's sure to be an entertaining flight, so join us live at 8:00 p.m. to discuss the game with other fans in chat.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, July 18th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Ultima Online overhauls factional PvP in publish 86

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

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Broadsword Online has announced that Ultima Online's publish 86 will arrive on the test server this evening. Notably, the patch includes the first phase of the game's new Vice vs Virtue system, a massive ground-up rework of the existing faction PvP system intended to bring rewarding, objective-based PvP back to the cities. The update also features a new trading-based quest system, new property generation mechanics for spawned loot, and a refreshed Cleanup Britannia vendor.

Check out the complete patch notes on the official site. If you're a former player thinking of dropping by your old haunt to see how it's doing, recall that last month, the developers hinted at a return-to-UO promotion coming in August.

PlanetSide 2 opens up double XP to celebrate new Hossin map

Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Promotions, PlanetSide 2

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PlanetSide 2
To help celebrate the release of Planetside 2's Hossin content, Sony Online Entertainment is opening up a Double XP weekend for all players from July 18th (today) through the 20th.

This double XP can stack with other in-game XP boosts including VIP membership, Hossin continent lock, purchased consumables, and more. If you want to go a step further and track your XP gain in its newly doubled state, you can do so through the Planetside 2 Players site, the PS2 app, the Recursion Stat Tracker, or the DasAnfall Stats page.

Warlords of Draenor encourages the return of free-form world PvP in Ashran

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, PvP, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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wow
World of Warcraft players who pine for the "good old days" of open world PvP may get to sup from that cup again come Warlords of Draenor. The devs are whipping up a new island, Ashran, that pulls upon lessons from past PvP zone designs to create something that encourages as close to the real open world PvP experience as one can get (and still have it designed).

Ashran is for level 100 players who want to pop in and engage in up to 100v100 battles. Unlike past PvP zones, players won't have to join a raid group to partake in the fun and can choose between world and objective-based PvP. "We want players to get caught up in the moment and become emotionally invested in the outcome of each new encounter, whether it's just getting the drop on a member of the opposite faction player or getting revenge for a stolen kill," Blizzard wrote.

The team also previewed another one of Warlords of Draenor's zones with Gorgrond. Gorgrond is an area split between the themes of creation and destruction and the biomes of heavy flora and barren wasteland.

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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The Stream Team


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Release Dates

Core Games | In Testing | Crowdfund Hopefuls
AoW: Warrior's Ascension July 31, 2014
Destiny September 9, 2014
The Crew November 11, 2014
LEGO Minifigures Online Fall 2014
ArcheAge 2014
Firefall 2014
WoW Warlords of Draenor 2014

Meet the Team

Brianna Royce Editor-in-Chief
Jef Reahard Managing Editor
Justin Olivetti Contributing Editor
Eliot Lefebvre Contributing Editor
Shawn Schuster Contributing Editor
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