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The U.S. Navy solicits players for 'massively multiplayer online war game'

Remember back in 2011, when the U.S. Navy rolled out the world's first MMOWGLI -- that is, massively multiplayer online wargame leveraging the internet? We do, since that piece was penned by our own Justin on Old Massively back in the day. The idea at the time was that the Office of Naval Research wanted to draw upon gamer skills to work through training programs for everything from pirate attacks to hostage situations, ostensibly helping the military wing generate new ideas and observations for dealing with real-world crises.

Now, Frankengadget reports that the Navy is launching an updated version of the program that asks players to interact in a browser-based game to battle the AI that are totally going to eventually take over humanity, thereby giving the Navy new strategies to cope in a "post-Singularity world."

Of course, now they're just calling it an MMOWG -- massively multiplayer online war game. Shall we play a game?

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Conan Exiles contemplates official server wipes following massive duping exploit

Funcom says it's "weighing its options" following a series of rampant duping and apparent character hacking exploits in Conan Exiles.

Players on Reddit have begun recording the exploits and demanding full wipes of the early access survival sandbox.

"Just killed a player who had several True Names on him, then used one to wipe a vault that was full of them + another vault with thousands - literally thousands - of T3 materials and building pieces," writes one player. "As gamebreaking events go, this is pretty much as bad as it gets short of all character data becoming irrevocably corrupted. If you're not going to wipe after 2-3 days of rampant duping (which has apparently been going on since launch, in some cases) then what DO you wipe for? These servers are completely destroyed now. You're going to lose more people by refusing to wipe than you will by ripping the band-aid off. Please do the right thing, Funcom."

Funcom has responded to the community by saying it's still working out what to do:

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2013 MMOARPG Path of Exile hit peak concurrency in March thanks to its latest patch

Path of Exile just keeps getting bigger and bigger in terms of both players and team size, and it's actually providing the numbers to back it up.

A press release out from Grinding Gear Games declares that update 2.6.0 propelled the MMOARPG to a peak online concurrent player count of 112,800 earlier this month, with 65,000 of those playing concurrently through Steam, putting the game behind only Dota 2 and CS:GO during that chunk of time. According to the studio, that makes 2.6.0 the "franchise's largest and most successful to date with a 40-percent increase in the number of players online for the launch."

2.6.0 was big, but it's not even the biggest thing happening to the New Zealand-based game this year: It's got a huge expansion called The Fall of Oriath coming out in 2017. It most recently made headlines for creating a "transparent lockbox" with declared odds for the best stuff inside.

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Wakfu postpones server merges but plans account purge in 30 days

Wakfu players should be advised that Ankama is undergoing a purge of inactive Wakfu accounts. If you haven't logged into the website or the game in the past two years, have never subbed, and have never spent anything in the cash shop, your account (and its characters) will be subject to the purge. You can log into the website to keep your account within the next 30 days.

Meanwhile, the studio says it will be postponing its planned server merges until the end of the year to "give the team more time to find the very best solutions."

"The decision to postpone the merge is based on the concerns you expressed in our forums: What will happen to our Haven World? Our guilds? The server economy? Our equipment? We have gathered all of your questions and requests and passed them on to the team. We also know about the abusive player killing (PK) issue and we will work to find solutions. We are aware that problems exist and we realize how important they are."

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Eternal Crusade prepares for its free-to-play shift

It is important to note that the official Eternal Crusade line is that the upcoming free-to-play option is not a full conversion to free-to-play, and that's largely accurate. Free players will still be limited in what they can access. But it does mean that you will be able to play the game for free, while those who already have bought the game and are playing not for free get some fun stuff. For example, you get a bunch of in-store credit for the game, all four factional DLC packs, unique Venerable items, and something else as-yet-undisclosed to offer another little bonus.

Free players, of course, will have access to all of these things for purchase separately (aside from Venerable items) and can jump in to fill out the game's queues, so they win as well. This also coincides with another patch to the game trimming up balance issues and outstanding bugs, so whether or not you're already a player or just look to jump in when the game goes free, you can know you're playing the most polished version of the game possible.

Source: Steam

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Trion will gquit its old studio tonight, moves into new digs this weekend

You might not notice, since the servers are fine and customer service is operating from Austin, but Trion's Redwood Shores studio is packing up and moving "just a stone's throw away" over this coming weekend.

"Your RIFT team will be out of office from 5:00 PM PST on Thursday, March 16 until 10:00 AM PST on Monday, March 20!" says the studio. "All of Trion is excited to be moving into a new space, one that looks more like a game studio than a cube farm – plus it saves us money!"

That does mean there won't be the usual round of Friday livestreams for those lucky folks who can watch livestreams on Fridays, but somehow we figure there are thousands of other streams to watch if you're in that lofty position. Good luck on the move!

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EVE Online overhauls PLEX currency system, ending tales of PLEX-stuffed ship destruction

CCP announced this morning that it's overhauling PLEX in EVE Online. As the currency works now, players buy the 30-day sub token known as PLEX with cash and then either use it or sell it to other players in exchange for in-game currency, isk.

"We really like PLEX because it lets you players in the in-game market decide what trade-offs you want to make between time, isk, and real money," CCP Seagull explains in a new video today. "It also gives us at CCP a type of income that doesn't mess with the integrity of the game design." The overhaul won't impact that philosophy, but here's what is changing:

PLEX will be broken down into smaller chunks; one current PLEX, worth around $15 or 30 days of sub time, will now work out to 500 new PLEX, which is intended to allow players more flexibility in trade and allow CCP to effectively sell smaller sub lengths (although it has not announced its intention to do this) as well as smaller items in the cash shop using PLEX as currency.

Possibly of more interest to non-EVE players is the fact that the new PLEX Vault in the player inventory will allow players to move PLEX without actually putting it in their ships. No more wacky stories about people losing thousands of dollars' worth of PLEX while dragging them in ships across the galaxy!

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Blizzard seeks $8.5M from cheat software company Bossland

It's all fun and games... until you start selling software to help players cheat, then it's all lawsuits and court dates.

Blizzard is asking the California district court to pronounce a judgment upon Bossland, the maker of cheat software for World of Warcraft and Overwatch. The game company filed a lawsuit last year against the cheat maker for copyright infringement and unfair competition. Bossland stopped responding to the court, and Blizzard is now asking the court to make a default judgment.

Blizzard claims that Bossland sold over 42,000 hacks in North America, which the studio considers to be worth $8.5 million in damages. "In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00," the studio posted. "While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages. Blizzard does not seek such damages as a 'punitive' measure against Bossland or to obtain an unjustified windfall."

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Hi-Rez puts SMITE Rivals development 'on hold'

Bad news for those who were looking forward to another SMITE spinoff game; it appears that the digital card game version of the game, SMITE Rivals, is taking a vacation from development. According to Hi-Rez Studios president Stew Chisam, the game's development is being put on hold to focus on developing SMITE Tactics:

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Sony is going to let you access PlayStation 4 games through your PC

Don't let the lack of a PlayStation 4 in your house stop you from, y'know, playing the console's games. On Monday, Sony announced that it will be paving a path for players to get their hands on PS4 titles even if they're on a PC.

This is thanks to the growing popularity of Sony's PlayStation Now cloud streaming platform, which allows PS4 and PC users to access hundreds of PlayStation 3 titles. With the upcoming expansion to the service, gamers will be able to get their grubby mitts on PlayStation 4 titles as well for those who subscribe for $20 a month.

Obviously, this is good news for MMO players who would like, for whatever reason, to access online titles exclusive to PlayStation. Sony has not revealed how many PS4 games will be available at first or when the studio will be rolling out the expanded service. A "private test" of the new PlayStation Now is set to commence over the next few weeks.

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Final Fantasy XIV discontinues 90-day subscription option for PS3 players on March 18

If you're playing Final Fantasy XIV on a PlayStation 3, your days are numbered. Support for the platform is being discontinued with the launch of Stormblood, something that the official site is reminding remaining console players about on a regular basis. This is why the option to pay for a 90-day subscription for PS3 users is being removed on the weekend of March 18th; you won't have more than 90 days to play, so it's unfair to have you pay for that full subscription.

Of course, if you are on PS3 and want to keep playing, the game is still running on PC and PS4, and you can take advantage of the game's upgrade option to move your account to the PS4 at no additional cost. (If you don't already own a PS4, it's still a bit pricey.) It's just the end of support for the old hardware already struggling on occasion, but it's being done with an eye toward transparency for players on every platform.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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BlizzCon 2017 to be held on November 3-4

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and another BlizzCon every year even if Blizzard has absolutely nothing new to announce. Then again, we don't know if Blizzard has nothing new to announce yet; it's only March, and BlizzCon isn't until November. The event page has just been updated to indicate that this year's event will be on November 3rd and 4th in the usual convention center in Anaheim, CA. Tickets will go on sale on April 5th and April 8th.

Of course, we don't yet have information on virtual tickets, associated digital swag, or anything else. But we know it's happening, and you can start blocking out the time for it. Meanwhile, we'll get our liveblogging posts ready well in advance of the actual event, as you know we'll have coverage is you can't make the actual convention. Feel free to join us in the official drinking game: Every time someone says e-sports, you can take a shot, and oh dear you now have alcohol poisoning.

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