|Massively's 2009 Winter Holiday Event Guide
It's that time of year again -- whatever holiday you are celebrating, the denizens of your favorite MMO are sure to be celebrating it too. Whether it's Festivult in Dungeons and Dragons Online, Wintersday in Guild Wars, or the Starlight Celebration in Final Fantasy XI, the theme is the same. There are presents, some sort of sugary treats, and tons of fun.
|Massively's Guild Wars costume set giveaway
With this year's Wintersday in Guild Wars comes quite a few new features to the game. One of the most significant is the costuming system. These costumes allow your character to dress as they like with costumes that fit into special costume slots, not affecting your normal armor stats.
|Free Realms Introduces player-to-player real money transactions
Sony Online Entertainment is taking an interesting step to help cut down on fraud and gold farming: beating them at their own game. As of today, if you are a Free Realms player over the age of 18 you have the option to use Live Gamer Exchange (LGX), a RMT service set up to allow players to trade virtual goods in Free Realms for real world cash.
|Too late to start playing Lord of the Rings Online?
The trouble with any long-running game is that it gets top-heavy. This is especially a problem in games such as Final Fantasy XI, where you simply have to group to accomplish most things in the game, but it's really a problem even in the most solo-friendly game with an expansion or two. After all, more often than not there's an ever-raising level cap, gear curve, and expected knowledge about the game, not to mention stretches of previously endgame content that's no longer relevant.
|Is Fallen Earth our answer to a Wild West MMO?
I grew up on Clint Eastwood movies. I grew up on Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings songs about cowboy career prevention. Gunsmoke, A Fistful of Dollars and anything else by Sergio Leone are what helped mold my appreciation for what we refer to as the American Wild West.
|Age of Conan offer unlimited free trial
With the Age of Conan expansion Rise of the Godslayer approaching, opportunities for new and returning players to explore the game (or revisit it) have been more frequent than usual these days. The latest offer comes via FilePlanet. If you're a FilePlanet subscriber, you can play the first part of the game for free in an unlimited trial.
|Nearly three-fifths of users buy items in free-to-play games
There's a strong sense in most free-to-play games that the playerbase consists of two people: those who refuse to pay any money unless absolutely necessary, and those who will happily part with their income on a voluntary basis. This is largely true. What's apparently less true is the notion which goes hand-in-hand, that there are a decided minority of players forking over cash for in-game perks.
|Runic Games talks Torchlight, the upcoming MMO, Diablo comparisons, more
Can't wait for Diablo III? Try Torchlight. The single-player action-RPG, available for just 20 bucks via digital distribution, has got PC gamers talking. But why should Massively readers care, you ask? Because eventually, in about two years or so, developer Runic Games will make it a full-fleged MMO.
|Analyzing the newest Guild Wars 2 trailer
ArenaNet has a very early, very wonderful holiday gift for Guild Wars fans this morning: a brand new Guild Wars 2 trailer. (Take a moment to cheer, then we'll move on.) The trailer is amazingly beautiful, something we've come to expect from ArenaNet and particularly Guild Wars 2.
|Massively's End-of-the-Year Reader's Choice Awards
The end of 2009 is almost upon us, and Arthur C. Clarke's dreams are all about to come true in less than a month. It's been an interesting year for MMOs, including everything from Tabula Rasa's official closure to the launch of LotRO's second paid expansion. While it's inevitable that the Massively staff all have their own favorite games in several different categories, we figured it would be best to get the readers involved this year.
|Hands-on with Star Trek Online's space combat
Space battles in Star Trek Online are going to be a big selling point for many a Trek fan. I recently got some hands-on time with the closed beta and found several interesting talking points to deliver like hot fresh delicious phasered pizza. I imagine some of you are quite up to snuff on the basics of combat in Star Trek Online, so if you find your interest waning I suggest skipping ahead into the analytical aspect of this feature.
|MMO developers speak on the state of betas
Is beta testing something of a mystery to you? Do you wonder about the how and why of a developer's beta process? Well, you're in for a treat! We recently got in touch with several MMO developers to ask them each a series of questions about MMO beta testing. In this feature you'll find opinions from Cryptic Studios, Fallen Earth LLC, Mythic Entertainment, Turbine, Runic Games and Hi-Rez Studios.
|Boobs and you
This week's topic is one that's near and dear to my heart. Well, it's near to my heart, at least, and I mean that quite literally. It's also a perfect topic for today's holiday! I mean, who doesn't like to talk about large breasts on Thanksgiving? (Score one for the terrible synonym.)
|Disguising the grind
Believe it or not, grind is an essential part of an MMO and we might be pretty lost without it. Repetitive content is the cornerstone of the MMO genre but it's not all just smacking monsters over the head for hours on end or completing yet another "kill ten rats" quest. The repetitive elements in an MMO give us predictable gameplay in a form we can digest.
|The trouble with goals in MMOs
One of the major problems of a game in which you can do anything is that... well, there's not necessarily much of a reason to do anything. That's a Terrible Idea recently had an interesting piece on the difficulty of generating goals and objectives in MMOs, especially in contrast with single-player games where your goals are equally pre-generated.
|The9 sees enormous drop in profits after split with Blizzard
In a news story that we're sure will surprise precisely nobody at all, The9 -- China's previous operator for World of Warcraft -- has reported a serious decline in profits for this last quarter. Since last year when The9 still had World of Warcraft in its stable of games to now, they have seen a staggering 94% drop in revenue.
|A visual tour of LotRO: Siege of Mirkwood
If you haven't had a chance to see Turbine's latest creation, check out our video tour of the expansion just after the jump below. Also, be sure to watch Massively for more coverage on Siege of Mirkwood from now to December 1st and beyond!
|Win 15 months of EVE Online gametime with Massively
We let you know earlier this week that Massively is running a contest where you can win up to 15 months of EVE Online game time! We're kicking this off today, and the contest will run over two weeks leading up to the Dominion expansion launch.
|MMOrigins: The only living boy in Vana'diel
When I was still young, I was out on a walk with my father in the woods next to my great-aunt's house. The woods were an offshoot of the Devil's Hopyard state park, which meant that they were old and vast. As the family often congregated around the house, there were a number of paths we knew that wove their way through the forest, but I remember where we always stopped, and I remember the day when I asked what was further along.
|Star Trek Online open beta dates announced
According to a press release put out today, Star Trek Online will hold its open beta from January 12th through January 26th. There are some preorder deals that will give you an open beta key, and there are bound to be numerous opportunities to win one at various spots around the net.
|First Impressions: Allods Online
In this one for gPotato's upcoming free-to-play Allods Online, we did something a bit different. Instead of just a write-up, we've also done a short video to show the visual side of our impressions. Why? Because Allods Online deserves it, in our opinion. Keep reading after the jump for the embedded video and a brief run-down of what we thought.
|Massively's Star Trek Online community Q&A: Space combat!
The subject of this week's Star Trek Online community Q&A is probably one of the most popular considering its importance in the game. In fact, we're well aware that many questions in last week's inaugural first post were about space combat. So while we couldn't address those last week, we certainly can do so now!
|Anti-Aliased: We put the no in innovation
David is a person who I certainly admire, as he was the brain behind Istaria, and he really presented some very innovative gameplay mechanics in that game. Alganon, however, is not innovative nor is it cutting edge. It is, quite frankly, another World of Warcraft. Something that, in my opinion, this genre does not need another of.
|Massively interviews WAR's producer on the future of the game
Warhammer Online has gone through big changes recently, both in-game and out. Mythic recently released the title's 1.3.2 patch, which had some controversial changes, and this week we learned that staffers at the studio were let go as part of Electronic Arts' new business strategy.
|It's official: Star Trek Online releases February 2nd, 2010
It looks like the rumors were true and Star Trek Online will indeed be hitting in early February, 2010. The dates are February 2nd in North America and February 5th in Europe, so start warming up your nacelles now because it won't be long before we'll all be warping into Cryptic's first non-superhero title.
|Star Wars: The Old Republic reveals Imperial Agent its newest class
We've got Trooper, Smuggler, Jedi Knight, Bounty Hunter, Sith Warrior, and now Imperial Agent. BioWare revealed the sixth class for Star Wars: The Old Republic today on their forums. This news comes as absolutely no surprise to those who attended the EA Press Tour earlier this week -- they enjoyed advance information from producer Blaine Christine.
|80 more layoffs hit Warhammer Online developers
Gamasutra is reporting that another 80 layoffs have hit Mythic Entertainment as well as several other Electronic Arts studios, although Mythic was the only MMO group to feel the sting of sudden unemployment. That would equate to 40% of the team, which would make for a brutal staff blow. Our best wishes go out to everyone finding themselves without a job and we sincerely hope they all find steady work as soon as possible.
|Welcome to Massively's third year!
Massively.com officially turns two years old today, and while that may be quite young for an MMO news site, we'd like to think we've really made a name for ourselves in that time. Starting out as the secret love child of Second Life Insider, WoW Insider (now WoW.com) and the rest of the Joystiq network, we've come a long way in our 730 days.
|Demo impressions of Star Trek Online from Eurogamer Expo 2009
We recently mentioned that Star Trek Online fans would get a chance to play through a demo of the game at Eurogamer Expo last week. One of the first reports we've read about the Star Trek Online demo comes from Oli Welsh at Eurogamer who was uniquely positioned to check out the game (it was their Expo after all.) Welsh begins by writing, "Trekkies can put one fear to rest right now: Star Trek Online feels just like Star Trek."
|The perils of MMO tourism
MMOs are a big business these days. This hasn't always been the case -- Ultima Online might have been the first real game of the genre, but it didn't make everyone want to build a competitor. It was the success of World of Warcraft that really opened up the idea that there was a huge amount of money to be made from the genre, and that in turn has brought almost everyone to the table in a rush to build a game, find a method that works, and try to hook as many subscribers as possible.
|Massively's Star Trek Online beta interview
With beta now beginning, we shot some relevant questions at Cryptic's Craig Zinkievich, executive producer on Star Trek Online. He gave us his insight on what the team's goals are during beta and what some of their toughest challenges were from their point of view. Plus, we even got him to spill the beans on when Klingons would be entering the fray for beta testers -- hopefully the rest of us get to see and hear more about the warrior race soon thereafter.
|LotRO: Siege of Mirkwood developer tour
If you've been faithfully following along with the Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood beta, you may be excited by what you've heard -- or even seen yourself -- so far. The new expansion, which is set to launch on December 1st of this year (December 3rd for EU), centers around the forest of Mirkwood, just to the east of Lothlorien.
|GameX 2009: Massively.com talks with The Guild
GameX 2009 was insane this weekend and we were all over the place, but one of the first groups that we set a chunk of time aside for was Jeff Lewis (Vork), Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), and Robin Thorsen (Clara) from The Guild. We weren't missing out on catching up with those three.
|A look back at Aion's first month and impressions
43,829 minutes. That's roughly how long Aion's been out in the West. Depending on your tolerance for grinding, it may or may not have felt like that amount of time passed. There's no doubt it's been a busy month full of ups and downs, so we'd like to take an extensive look back at the last 30-days and give our impressions on the game.
|Star Trek Online closed beta has begun
The Star Trek Online closed beta has officially begun as of today, October 22, Cryptic Studios announced. Rekhan from Cryptic Studios writes: "If you've signed up, keep an eye on your email, as we'll periodically be inviting people to join in and share their feedback." He also pointed out that the "Closed Beta" graphic seen on the game's homepage will change to read "ACCEPTED" in big, bold letters once you're in.
|All Points Bulletin closed beta has begun
Urban crime (game) enthusiasts, rejoice! The All Points Bulletin closed beta has begun, according to reports at both Eurogamer and Kotaku. It was rumored that the beta would begin this month and it seems there are presently three windows of gameplay a week in the All Points Bulletin CBT -- Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, says Eurogamer's Oli Welsh. Those interested in ripping up the streets as either a Criminal or an Enforcer can still apply to become an All Points Bulletin beta tester at the game's official site.
|Fallen Earth fan: "Don't play Fallen Earth"
You should most definitely not be playing Fallen Earth. How can you tell? Why, because Bio Break recently posted a long article explaining exactly why you shouldn't be playing it. And this isn't coming from a fan who's just disgruntled about a certain update or class rebalancing (though the latter would be pretty funny) -- it's from one of the game's most adamant fans who has no shortage of good things to say about the game. So why would he tell you not to play the game?
|We're missing something in our MMOs
Game design has certainly come a long way from Ultima Online, the first real example of what we now think of as the MMO genre. We've gone from games with no restrictions on behaviors to games where it's almost impossible to be truly horrid to other people, from ones without any real structure to a clean path of progression, from obtuse game mechanics to transparent and clear information.
|Stargate Worlds site returns, but funding still tight
Over the weekend the Stargate Worlds site had planned a bit of maintenance which took their site offline on the 9th. From what we know now, the plan was that they would be migrating servers since they've been experiencing problems with their hosting. Many expected the site to be back up within a day or so - a normal time-frame for a DNS change and many cases of forum maintenance.
|Call to Arms: Temple of Kotmogu||4/11 - 4/15|
|Call to Arms: Strand of the Ancients||4/15 - 4/18|
|Call to Arms: Deepwind Gorge||4/18 - 4/22|
|Noblegarden||4/21 - 4/28|
|Call to Arms: Isle of Conquest||4/22 - 4/25|
|Call to Arms: Arathi Basin||4/25 - 4/29|
|Children's Week||4/28 - 5/5|
|Call to Arms: The Battle for Gilneas||4/29 - 5/2|
|Call to Arms: Eye of the Storm||5/2 - 5/6|
|Darkmoon Faire||5/4 - 5/11|
|Call to Arms: Twin Peaks||5/6 - 5/9|
|Call to Arms: Alterac Valley||5/9 - 5/13|
|Call to Arms: Silvershard Mines||5/13 - 5/16|