The Game Archaeologist: What Star Wars Galaxies life was like before the NGE

A decade after Star Wars Galaxies’ “New Game Enhancements” hit the game, controversy, grumbling, and revelations still pop up about the notorious decision to overhaul the entire game. Some maintain that it ruined the game, while others acknowledge that what came after actually ended up being better.

As the 2003 to 2005 pre-NGE era is quickly vanishing into the distant past, I wanted to preserve some of the history of what the game was like before that fateful patch day. To aid in this project, I asked six Star Wars Galaxies veterans to share some of their memories and stories from that time. Here’s what they had to say about what in-game life was like in those first few years.

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The Stream Team: A life of GTA Online crime

You might have always thought of MassivelyOP’s MJ as a nicer, gentler sort of person… but that all changes when you toss her into the streets of Grand Theft Auto Online! She’s waist-deep in car thefts, guns, drug deals, and other unlawful mischief. Join us live at 12:00 p.m. to watch her spin wildly into a deeper life of crime.

What: Grand Theft Auto Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 24th, 2015

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WRUP: What ever happened with that button thing edition

Does anyone remember this? This was a thing that happened. I wrote a news post about it. A thing was done with a button, stuff took place… I mean, I seriously never bothered checking up on it again, what happened when the timer on that ran out? Does anyone know? Was that the button that kept the world turning? Is the world still turning? We might want to get out and check.

The important thing is that I’m curious about what ever wound up happening with the button, but not curious enough to do the five seconds of research on Google to answer the question. Maybe there were kittens involved, who knows.

Anyhow, that was all I had for the week. I’m packing for a trip again, I’m distracted. Listen, just… head on down to the comments and let us know what you’re playing this weekend, like we did up above. It’s What Are You Playing, you know how the deal works. Read more

The Daily Grind: Would you pay for MMO mods?

The entire internet (only a slight exaggeration there) exploded this week over Valve’s decision to work with selected game studios to allow modders to charge for their amateur game plugins on the Steam Workshop, cutting Valve and said studios a huge slice of the profit pie. Regardless of whether you think paid mods are acceptable, most people seem to agree that Valve hasn’t handled it very well at all, given the number of stolen mods and fraudulent DMCA take-downs flying around the Workshop right about now.

I’ve been modding video games a really long time, both creating my own and obsessively downloading, playing, and tweaking mods made by others. Half the reason I still play World of Warcraft is to tinker with UI addons, and I even created some housing retexes for the late great Star Wars Galaxies. I’ve also made money on some of my non-MMO mods — yes, made money on game mods, 15 years ago when it was a broadly accepted thing. Anyone who was gaming back then remembers Sims paysites, the bandwidth bubble, and the Skindex fiasco; in a weird way, this is all just a little bit of history repeatin’.

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Betawatch: April 24th, 2015

Rather than languishing in beta for all eternity, Heroes of the Storm is launching on June 2nd! Sure, there will be no further wipes and the game goes into open testing on May 19th, but that’s not the same as launching. Why? I’m glad you asked!

Here are other testing news stories.

Oh, hey, we never did explain how an open test with no wipes and a cash shop is different from launch, did we? Check out our full testing list just past the break!

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Echo of Soul offers several different flavors of founder’s packs

So Echo of Soul is an upcoming free-to-play title. You probably already knew that it was going to feature founder packs which include instant access to the beta, because of course it would. But did you think it would feature a variety of different styles of founder’s pack based on what you want out of the packs? Quite possibly not!

While there are several games that offer tiered founder’s packs, aside from the base “starter pack” pegged at $20 each of the different Echo of Soul packs offers different items not found in the other packs at the unified $50 price point. It’s up to you whether you consider this a nice opportunity to only buy the features that you want for $50 or a cynical cash grab forcing you to drop $150 for all three if you want all the items. Heck, it could even be both.

[Source: Echo of Soul Founder’s Packs; thanks to Dystopiq and Kyle for the tip!]

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Cabal 2 video focuses on plate classes

ESTsoft has released a new Cabal 2 video that focuses on the free-to-play fantasy MMO’s plate classes. The Force Shielder is a prototypical tank, sporting heavy armor and wielding both a sword and a shield.

The Warrior is a high-damage class that boasts a slow attack speed in comparison to the Force Shielder but will nonetheless inflict “serious pain” on the enemy. The 13-minute video features plenty of gameplay footage as well as advice related to abilities and rotations. You can view it after the cut.

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The Secret World’s Issue 11 is launching on May 6

The Secret World’s Issue 11 content now has a release date. Lead designer Romain Amiel tweeted the news this afternoon, so mark your calendars if you’re a fan of Funcom’s horror-conspiracy MMO.

Issue 11 drops on May 6th and it’s slated to conclude the game’s Tokyo-centric story arc. It will also allow players to explore the huge Orochi headquarters in the middle of the city.

[Source: Twitter; thanks Vikaernes!]

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ArenaNet is hosting a Guild Wars 10th anniversary contest

Do you fancy yourself a Guild Wars expert? If so, you should enter ArenaNet’s new Guild Wars 10th anniversary contest. There are 10 questions that need answering, and 10 winners will be randomly drawn from the pool of people who submit correct answers to said questions.

ArenaNet hasn’t spelled out the prizes in detail, but a quick scan of the contest rules reveals that “each winner will receive a piece of Guild Wars swag such as a t-shirt or pin, not to exceed $25 USD each.”

[Source: Announcement, Trivia questions]

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French MMO DOFUS heads to tablets and the big screen

You might think a game launched in 2004 not named World of Warcraft might be curbing its ambition here in 2015, but if you’re talking about French MMO DOFUS, you’d be mighty wrong. Ankama and Wizcorp this week announced that the game is due for a tablet version with a refreshed mobile UI. The downside is that it won’t be “synchronized with the desktop and streaming version, available on dedicated servers,” meaning tablet players will be starting fresh.

Desktop players have a new update of their own to look forward to; Raiders of the Temples of the Twelve launched this week and infested the game with brand-new bounty monsters.

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Crowfall reaches its graphics programmer stretch goal

Like many big crowdfunded projects, Crowfall didn’t stop reaching for stretch goals just because the game’s main Kickstarter project ended. The project has hit its first post-Kickstarter stretch goal this week, so the team will be hiring a dedicated graphics programmer to make the game extra-flashy and satisfying to play.

Players will also be able to take advantage of backer badges on the game’s official forums from this point onward, with different designs available for those who pledged during the Kickstarter campaign and those who jumped on board afterward. The next stretch goal for the title is localization in several languages, and after that… well, there’s a video just below that outlines what comes next.

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The Crew publishes ‘Raid Live’ update video

Ubisoft has announced that a new update and new car DLC for its racing game The Crew are now live. The Raid Car Pack, “the last of four themed packs,” comes with exclusive cosmetic bits, livery, and three new cars: the 2012 Cadillac Escalade, the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg NF, and the McLaren F1. Vroom.

Don’t want to buy DLC? You’ll still get something out of today’s update in the form of some new freebie turning specs and faction missions:

Four new faction missions are now available for all players, free of charge, with the Raid Live Update. Smash crates in Treasure Hunt, go back to America’s prehistoric past in Jurassic Raid, saddle up for a roller-coaster of a dirt race in the Black Hills and race against the clock in the harsh conditions of Let It Snow.

We’ve got the DLC’s new trailer below! More vroom!

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GTA Online: All the open world feels, none of the MMO grind

Any minute now I’m going to log out of Grand Theft Auto Online so I can finish this not-a-review. Seriously, I’ve played this game for, oh, 65 hours since it launched on the PC last week? At least that’s what Steam says. I’m not sure I believe it, though, because it feels like five minutes, and the few times that I’ve managed to log off and go outside have been sweet, sweet sorrow.

Say what you will about Rockstar’s fondness for smutty protagonists and its penchant for dialogue that would make Joe Pesci blush, but no company does action sandbox gameplay better than these guys. And hey, most of the really objectionable content lurks in GTA V’s story-driven single-player campaign, which leaves GTAO as a sort of virtual playground for adults, the likes of which most modern-day MMOs can only dream of providing.

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