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Star Trek Online announces its final Iconian War episode

Star Trek Online has announced the final episode of its Iconian War arc. The Iconians have been a constant threat for more than five years, writes STO executive producer Stephen Ricossa. “With their backs against the wall and the temporal prime directive in mind, the alliance is poised to make an unthinkable decision,” he says. “These are dark times filled with tough choices and personal sacrifice, the future can be bright again but it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

The post doesn’t specify when the final episode — titled Iconian War: Midnight — will be released.

Source: Final episode; thanks Grand Nagus!

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Gazillion shares more about the recent Marvel Heroes layoffs

During a David Brevik’s weekly Marvel Heroes livestream, the Gazillion CEO confirmed two of the casualties of last week’s layoffs.

The two employees among those who have parted ways are Creative Director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais and Items Designer “Amthua.” Donais wrote a farewell post and mentioned that at least for him it was an amicable split while the other layoffs were cost-related and not due to performance.

“I knew I was getting to be an old man and for the last year or so I’ve talked with [Brevik] on who we could grow at the company and make a smart succession plan for me,” Donais said, going on to hint that he might still be involved in the company in a smaller capacity.

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The Daily Grind: What cultural influences do you like to see in MMOs?

One of the things I miss about Age of Conan is the Chinese influence in the Rise of the Godslayer expansion. Robert E. Howard’s Khitai was more of an East Asian pastiche than a one-to-one recreation of any particular country, but Age of Conan’s Khitai nonetheless added a great big wall, bamboo forests, and plenty of traditional Chinese sound in Knut Haugen’s orchestral score.  I enjoyed AoC’s base game too, but it trod the overly familiar path that most MMOs take by styling themselves after medieval European cultures with dashes of fantasy thrown in for good measure.

I’d love to see more Asian aesthetic influences in fantasy MMOs, but it’s admittedly a personal preference. What about you, MOP readers? Which cultural influences would you like to see more of in your MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Here’s what happened in RuneScape this week

Jagex has offered up a handy post that summarizes the current goings-on in RuneScape. The annual RuneFest fan event is front and center thanks to a behind-the-scenes video that talks about the schedule, the livestream, attendee souvenirs, and the Golden Gnome Awards.

A second video recaps the recent developer Q&A, which also touches on RuneFest but mainly concerns itself with questions generated by the free-to-play fantasy MMO’s community. You can see both clips after the cut.

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Hi-Rez Studios’ COO Todd Harris on Paladins, Tribes: Ascend, and e-sports

It was kind of a surprise when Tribes: Ascend fans were told this week to expect new stuff for the game after it sat in maintenance mode for such a long time. Usually, that’s the kiss of death. And yet here we are, with the game facing a new lease on life. Will this be the new state of things? Is Global Agenda next on the list of games to be reanimated? Why is stuff so hard?

Obviously, we couldn’t figure all of this out based purely on speculation and possible Metalocalypse references. We asked a few questions about the future of Hi-Rez Studios and received answers from studio co-founder and COO Todd Harris. Read on to find out more about development plans for both tribes fans and the extended catalog of the studio as a whole.

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Shards Online newsletter talks housing, the economy, and more

Shards Online’s latest newsletter is out, and with it an update from project lead Derek Brinkmann. He says that the dev team is currently focused on game balance, the user interface, and general polish, which represent the “biggest barriers to fun” in the current pre-alpha build. Brinkmann also hints at a Fall release for phase three of pre-alpha testing.

Elsewhere in this month’s letter, Citadel’s Austin Fain talks about balancing the game’s economy and engaging players in the process. One way of this, he says, is by making sure that Shards‘ items are tangible. “When a player goes to buy an item from a vendor, they actually browse items that are placed in the physical world. Items are not just displayed in lists like most other games, they are physical objects within the world, filling up your backpack, chests, or house,” Fain explains. “You can place them anywhere in the world, trade them, use them for crafting, sell them, etc. Every item, whether it be an apple or a house, has a value and importance in Shards Online.”

The newsletter also includes a video look at pre-alpha player housing. You can view it after the break.

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Star Citizen gets weekly and monthly reports, free DragonCon trial

If you’re attending DragonCon this weekend, you might see various Star Citizen developers chatting up gamers and sharing their perspectives on various dev panels. You might also snag a game code on the show floor, which you can redeem for free access to Star Citizen’s pre-alpha Arena Commander dogfighting module.

Per the announcement and activation instructions on the RSI website, the codes are good through September 14th. Pew pew!

In other Star Citizen news, CIG published its monthly studio report for August as well as its weekly look at progress on the Star Marine FPS module.

Source: Announcement; thanks fastcart!

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The Game Archaeologist: Lucasfilm’s Habitat

Some of you reading this may simply never have known a world before the internet existed by virtue of your age. It’s not your fault, but as generational divisions go, this was a biggie. The internet saturates so much of our lives now that it’s even difficult for those of us born prior to the ’90s to remember how we functioned without smartphones, Google searches, and terabytes of cheap entertainment on demand. I think there were video game arcades in the mall or something.

Because of this, some of you will not understand how it felt when technology advanced to the point that people could reach out online and interact with others, first through written communication and later through applications and games. What we take for granted in today’s MMOs — the constant presence of thousands of real humans interacting with us in a virtual space — simply blew the minds of those who first encountered it.

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Betawatch: September 4th, 2015

The pre-alpha testing for Crowfall has started, which is really great even if it’s mostly just people beating the snot out of one another whilst I complain about the very notion of “pre-alpha” as a test phase. Seriously, we have a term for when parts of the game are in an early test stage, that’s what an alpha is. You can also check out how the game has evolved and check out some community answers.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the testing community:

And as always, there’s our listing of games in testing down below. Notice something that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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GTA Online is having a Labor Day sale plus bonuses

Rockstar has announced that Grand Theft Auto Online is having a Labor Day sale. No, it’s not a cash shop sale, but an actual in-game sale where various merchants including Elitas Travel, Dock Tease, Warstock Cache & Carry, and Legendary Motorsport are offering their wares at a discount.

Each vendor gets a dedicated sale day starting on September 4th (Elitas) and ending on September 7th (Warstock). Rockstar is also gifting players with bonus GTA$ payouts and double XP for air races (and parachuting jobs), land races, sea races, and death matches.

Source: Rockstar newswire

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Here are the winners of Guild Wars 2’s emblem contest

Remember Guild Wars 2’s guild emblem contest? Well, it’s over! And ArenaNet has chosen five winners from more than 500 entries, after a judging process that the company described as “very tough.”

The first place winner received 2000 gems, a Heart of Thorns t-shirt, a Heart of Thorns lanyard, a signed art book, and a Mist Herald Back Item Skin Set. Frankly I have no idea what that last thing is, but it must be spiffy since ArenaNet capitalized it. You can take a peek at all the winning entries prior to their inclusion in the live game by clicking the link below!

Source: Announcement

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EverQuest II is throwing a double XP party all weekend

Looking for something to do on Labor Day? If you’re not going outside, you could always go to Norrath and enjoy a 100 percent XP bonus in EverQuest II. You’ll need to be an All-Access member, and of course the bonus is a no-go on the new progression servers. But if you’re playing on one of the regular shards, you can enjoy three full days of double XP that starts at 3:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, September 5th. The event concludes at 2:59 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 8th.

Source: EQ2Wire

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RSI’s attorney responds to Smart’s Star Citizen demands

The strange saga of Derek Smart’s quixotic campaign against Star Citizen continues. The game developer sicced his lawyer on RSI last month, delivering a series of legal demands that include a public audit of the company paid for by Smart and the resignation of Chris Roberts. While RSI declined to post its response by its lawyers, the studio did anticipate that Smart would make it public anyway.

Sure enough, Smart posted what he claims is the gist of the response on his blog, arguing that the letter was meant to “intimidate and silence” him. He also confirmed that his “investigators” are continuing to compile information that will be sent to the feds.

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