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Elite's February patch to feature 'community goals'

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is readying something called "Community Goals" for its 1.1 patch. Executive producer Michael Brookes told PCGamer that community goals are a "new type of story-driven collaborative content."

The first such goal will involve supply and bounties, with "massive player migrations [that] will have a knock-on effect on galaxy-wide economy and power structures."

February's 1.1 update will also feature a new gas giant shader and city lights on planetary dark sides, Brookes says.

Echo of Soul unveils new NA website

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play

echo of soul
Echo of Soul is quickly becoming known around these parts as a title that is talking big talk prior to its North American debut, and now the Korean fantasy game has a new website to match these boasts.

The US version of the website has now gone live, with information, art, community hub, and the vitally important beta sign-up button. It also has a short section on the game's mobile app that will feature access to chat and trading. Echo of Soul's North American beta test is planned for sometime this spring.

[Source: Aeria Games press release]

Take a tour of DCUO's Amazon Fury raid with the devs

Super-hero, Video, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, Dungeons

Coming soon to DC Universe Online is the Amazon Fury Part II DLC, because Amazons are not known to be timid, quiet souls. All about the fury, they are. Anyway, part of this upcoming patch is the new Halls of Hades raid, and the devs are inviting you to go along with them on a tour of this intimidating experience.

We've got a 43-minute video of the Halls of Hades with devs and test center players after the break if you want to get a good feel for what's going to be faceplanting your heroes in the near future.

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Pre-orders for Marvel Heroes' Winter Soldier are now open

Super-hero, Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

On the one hand, the Winter Soldier is cool.  On the other hand, now we are legit wondering when Uncle Ben gets his angsty cyborg reboot.
After years of being mostly notable for being supposedly dead, Bucky Barnes turns out to have actually been kept alive as an elite assassin known as the Winter Soldier. You know, as comics do. The important things to note about the character for our purposes are the fact that he's coming to Marvel Heroes and you can pre-order him right now. You can also hear David Hayter voicing him as a closely related cousin of Solid Snake in the video past the cut, but that probably shouldn't influence your purchase.

The hero pack is at a 10% discount before the character is released and includes the character himself, two costumes for Bucky (comic and MCU incarnations), an extra hero-specific inventory, six Fortune cards, and a retcon token. With the discount, it's just a hair over $16; if that sounds like a bargain for playing a mildly psychotic unfrozen Hydra assassin, you can pick it up now.

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SWTOR Q&A mentions 12x, soloable flashpoints

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Werit has posted a Q&A with Star Wars: The Old Republic's community team. It touches on the well-received 12x experience boost, which BioWare says it will be discussing "later this year." There's also a bit about making older flashpoints soloable and while BioWare says it doesn't want to make all group content accessible to single players, it does have "some major story moments that [it] would like every player to see."

APB: Reloaded coming to PS4 and Xbox One in Q2 2015

MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Consoles, All Points Bulletin

Last fall we heard that APB: Reloaded was reportedly working on bringing the crime spree MMO to consoles but was struggling with the companies to make that happen. Fortunately, it seems as though all of the details have been paved out, as APB is gearing up for its console debut in the latter part of the second quarter of this year.

APB: Reloaded will be coming to both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a free-to-play title, although it will require Xbox owners to be part of the Xbox Live Gold service. The console adaptation is being handled by a joint effort between Reloaded Games, Deep Silver, and The Workshop.

The Workshop CEO Peter Akemann says that the title will shine on the new hardware: "Because APB is such a technically complex game, featuring thousands of destructible objects and heavily customized players and vehicles in every scene, we are thrilled to help make APB a reality on these brand new high performance hardware platforms."

To date, APB has had five million PC downloads since 2011.

[Source: Reloaded Games press release]

Pathfinder details corpse looting and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Pathfinder Online

GoblinWorks CEO Ryan Dancey has published a new blog post touching on today's Pathfinder early enrollment release.

Version two of the fantasy sandbox adds player husks, which is another way of saying lootable corpses. "The extent of your losses will be related to how quickly you are able to return to the site of your husk and if you are able to recover the inventory that remains on the husk before others are able to take all of its contents or its timer expires," Dancey writes.

There's a bit more to the update, but you'll need to click through to the GoblinWorks website to read it!

RuneScape opens RuneLabs for player suggestions

Fantasy, Video, Culture, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

If you have a terrific idea that you'd like to get implemented into an MMO, then RuneScape's your best bet these days. The ever-creative MMO recently launched RuneLabs as a formal structured suggestion process that will take the best player ideas and make them an in-game feature.

RuneLabs works like this: Players will make a pitch to that month's studio-assigned criteria. If it gets enough community support, it will be reviewed by Jagex and (barring a studio veto) voted on by fellow players. The winner of the poll will go from concept to reality.

You can watch an amusing video explaining RuneLabs after the break!

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Skyforge unveils the Gunner

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Classes, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Skyforge

Mmm, what you say, ooh, that you only meant well, well of course you did
The Beatles once opined that happiness is a warm gun. Skyforge's Gunner class has a warm gun that also transforms into different modes and allows the class to call down orbital strikes, so one can only conclude that it is a very happy class indeed. Its opponents are somewhat less so. You can see the class in action in the video just past the break, or you can read through the reveal page to get a better idea of how this multi-mode class will play.

The cannon has three main modes as well as a variety of sub-firing options, allowing gunners to mow down targets at long range with missile barrages or take out hardened targets with bursts of plasma. Since it's meant to stay at range, the class also sports a variety of defensive tricks like teleporting back and forth. It's exactly the sort of class for you if you like having a big gun, even more so if you want that big gun to shoot all sorts of different stuff.

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DDO trumpets the start of its Winter Games

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play

Just because we're in the heart of winter in the northern hemisphere doesn't mean that we can't enjoy snow-themed festivities! That's the attitude of Dungeons and Dragons Online, which has started a slew of activities under its Winter Games umbrella.

For starters, there's the Midwinter Festival in the Forgotten Realms which includes speed skating, snowflake collecting, and vole smashing. Meanwhile in Eberron, the ever-popular Risia Ice Games are back with more ice sliding action. Then there's an ice skating rink in the harbor, an ice jump off a cliff, and a frozen half-pipe in the Bogwater Tavern. Participation in all of these activities will not only result in embarassing fun, but rewards from the various tokens won.

Here's a 23-minute Elder Scrolls Online 'supercut' CG trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax has released a 23-minute "supercut" of its Elder Scrolls Online trailer series. The firm says that the CG production was "over a year in the making," and the final bit -- dubbed The Confrontation -- brings the battle for Imperial City to an end and reveals "a new and horrific threat to Tamriel."

Click past the cut to have a look.

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World of Warcraft player hits 100th level 100

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

And then comes the realization.
Do you like playing World of Warcraft? Would you like to play a thousand levels of World of Warcraft? Because the player known as Watola did just that. Watola has 100 characters at level 100, a project that started during the exceptionally long twilight of Mists of Pandaria. With 20 characters already at the level cap back then, another 80 apparently seemed like a doable project, which started a cycle of very efficient leveling and copious use of recruit-a-friend tricks.

The method outlined on the the forums involves essentially rotating through full rest state on various characters and having a set plan of attack, along with using tank characters via recruit-a-friend to ensure that queues for dungeons are more straightforward. If you'd like to do the same, it's still perfectly functional now, although you'll have to do so knowing full well that you can never have a world-first level 1,000. (That seems a fair nod for the achievement.)

The Stream Team: Peeking into H1Z1's PvE server

Betas, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, H1Z1

When the servers were finally sorted last weekend, Massively's MJ was able to bring you a first look at H1Z1's early access on one of the many PvP servers. But folks have been asking to see the world on the PvE server, so she's diving back into the sandbox and facing death at the hands of zombies, bears, wolves, and any really peeved deer. Oh, and let's not forget starvation! Will MJ find friends as she did in the first part of her PvP journey, or will folks be more like those near the end? Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to see.

Game: H1Z1
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar explores the design of Veteran Shiphand missions

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Better late than never, although better earlier than now.
Veteran Shiphand missions are coming to WildStar, and that's great, but their design also posed a lot of unique challenges to the design team. Those challenges are outlined in the game's most recent development diary, starting with a core set of assumptions that had to be true for these missions: They had to remain scalable, they had to still be soloable, and they had to offer appropriate rewards. This meant making challenging combat that could scale up or down for party sizes and didn't require tanks, healers, or pre-made groups.

To settle nicely into the gap between other solo content and Veteran Adventures, the Shiphand missions reward Renown even for solo play, as well as various appropriate bells and whistles for higher medal performance. Renown vendors will soon sell variety of gear as well as social items to ensure that playing through feels rewarding. Veteran difficulty will also offer remixed elements of the missions to give players a taste of something novel even if they've been through the base mission before. If you've been looking for more scaling content in the game, this one's for you.

Perfect Ten: My mobile MMO experiment, part 2

Fantasy, Mobile, Hands-On, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

hello hero
Last week on Perfect Ten I began an experiment to "taste test" a batch of mobile MMOs to see if there's anything out there that's worth playing in this day and age (apart from the often-recommended Order & Chaos Online and Spacetime Studio's lineup). For the record, I would absolutely love a great mobile online RPG, but it would need to be a game that's tailored to such devices and offers a compelling experience beyond trying to clone a generic MMO.

Let me sum up my adventures so far: While I did discover a couple of interesting titles, there was nothing in the first five games that made me want to keep them on my smartphone. Let's hope that this week's group brings out the big guns because I will be despondent if this experiment is in vain!

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Raph Koster is collaborating on Crowfall [Updated with video]

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowfall

Does it have your attention NOW
So here's a funny story: Yesterday, the Massively writers were shooting the breeze in team chat when the subject of sandbox devs who were not also closet-gankers came up. "When do you think Raph Koster will finally make a new sandbox?" I asked, half kidding and half wistful. "Never," Jef answered. Then we commiserated for a bit.

It turns out we were remarkably prescient because that day is... today. ArtCraft, the studio working on the nebulous PvP MMO Crowfall, announced today that Koster, the backbone of sandbox legends Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, has been collaborating with the Crowfall team on the game's design for a year already as a "formal advisor and design consultant."

"Raph and I have been working together for about a year on the design architecture for Crowfall," ArtCraft's J. Todd Coleman wrote. "At the heart of this game, we have two core systems: dynamic territorial conquest and a player-driven economy. Marrying these two concepts is the holy grail of MMO development, and Raph is arguably the best person in the world to help us solve this puzzle."

Koster gets a blurb of his own in the PR: "There isn't anything on the market like Crowfall, and it has been a long time since some of these design ideas were explored. There's a very specific audience out there waiting for a game like this -- the conflict, the real economy -- that has been looking for new steps beyond the games of ten years ago."

Your move, MMO genre.

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ArcheAge patches in Divine Gifts and land expansion certs today

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Not that you can always expand the land you're on, see.
Following today's ArcheAge patch you'll want to keep a close eye on the bottom left of the game's UI. You'll see a little icon light up to indicate that you have a new gift awaiting you, and then... you get free stuff. That's it. That's all you have to do. The newest patch will offer these Divine Gifts to players regularly, allowing you to open as many as 10 in a given day for rewards like Lunarites, bonus food, and Hereafter Stones.

Players will also be able to craft land expansion certificates (which will also be available from the Marketplace in a future update) and larger storage chests. That's in addition to new rewards for maxing skill trees and new portals leading directly to Serpentis and the Sea of Drowned Love. Whatever your focus is in ArcheAge, you'll have plenty of opportunity to take part in it when today's patch goes live.

PAX South 2015: Jennifer Hale will host Guild Wars 2 panel, herald 75% off sale

Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Events (Massively's Coverage), Community Q&A, Promotions, Buy-to-Play

So you already knew about Guild Wars 2's big event at PAX South this Saturday, the Point of No Return panel, which has players crossing their fingers for an expansion announcement. If you can't go in person, you can watch the whole shebang on Twitch for the low, low price of nothing. And that deal just got even sweeter, as ArenaNet has just declared this morning that gaming icon and voice actress Jennifer Hale, known to GW2 fans as the voice of Queen Jennah and to everyone else as the voice of approximately eight million other characters, will be hosting the livestream.

Meanwhile, the studio has vowed to slash the price of the buy-to-play MMO to $9.99 on Saturday and Sunday in honor of the hoopla, marking the biggest sale for the game it's held to date. Characters in-game will be showered with sales on boosters and a free double-experience bonus that lasts all weekend.

Massively GW2 expert Anatoli Ingram speculated about the possible expansion and analyzed the final season 2 episode in his most recent columns.

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The Daily Grind: Will you play Elder Scrolls Online once it's B2P?

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday's news that The Elder Scrolls Online is going buy-to-play in time for its console launch surprised... well, not many of Massively's readers. You pretty much saw it coming. Some folks around here said this move was a certainty even before launch and consequently refused to buy it, deciding that patience would pay off. (And it did!)

But what about now? I admit I'm much more tempted by a game that isn't charging an unwarranted fee and isn't abusing a cash shop. B2P is a great model for gamers, especially when they avoid lockbox crap (yay!). How about you? If you didn't play ESO when it launched last April, will you give it a try in March when it's down to just a box fee, a mild cash shop, and more traditional DLC?

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!

Forsaken World's Freedom Falls expansion coming February 4

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

Forsaken World's upcoming expansion is called Freedom Falls. When, exactly, is it upcoming? That would be February 4th, according to a Perfect World press release.

Said release also tells us that Freedom Falls features a new playable race and class as well as a new high-level progression path called Apotheosis which allows players to "join the ranks of the gods of Forsaken World." New zones include the Land of Origination and the Polar Borderlands region.

[Source: Perfect World press release]

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PAX South Jan. 23, 2015
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