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Elder Scrolls Online kicks off ‘#10MillionStories’ campaign in honor of 10M players

Back at E3, the ZeniMax Elder Scrolls Online team announced that it had accumulated 10 million unique players since its original launch in 2014 – not a shabby number at all in this day and age, even if you’d probably rather see concurrency figures. In celebration of the big 10-M, the studio is running a “#10MillionStories” campaign designed to get you to put your tall-tales to work for the game on social media.

“If you have a tale of adventure and excitement you’d like to share with us and the ESO community, send them to us via email at community@elderscrollsonline.com or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag “#10MillionStories.” We’ll be sharing our favorites via our official social channels, and we will even feature some on ElderScrollsOnline.com as part of a larger celebration and event which we’ll be sharing the details of in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!”

If it sounds familiar, that’s because Bethsoft ran a #MillionReasonsToPlay marketing campaign on Twitter exactly two years ago, though this version begins with a minute-long reminiscing from ZeniMax’s own Rich Lambert.

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Grab a Total War: ARENA closed beta key from Wargaming and MOP

At the tail end of last year, Wargaming’s then-new publishing label, Wargaming Alliance, announced it was picking up SEGA’s Total War: ARENA, a “free-to-play, real time tactical strategy game featuring epic scale 10v10 multiplayer battles led by historical commanders from the past.” In fact, you’ll recall that we spoke to the studio about at E3, where we discussed its historical roots and what MMO players might appreciate in it.

While you could grab a founder pack to play right now, you might prefer to check it out while it’s in testing first, and that’s where the current closed beta test — and the beta keys Wargaming has kindly granted us for our readers — come in! This leg of the closed beta runs until October 20th and is open for accounts in North America only. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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The Game Archaeologist: Climax’s Warhammer Online

Let’s begin with a little personal history. Back in 2008, I decided to get into the blogging scene by jumping on board the latest MMO hotness — in this case, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. As I was growing increasingly tired of World of Warcraft, WAR seemed to offer a refreshing alternative: a darker world full of brutal PvP and awesome new ideas. So I joined the elite ranks of bloggers (hey, stop laughing so hard) and spent the better part of two years jawing about Mythic’s latest fantasy project.

And while Warhammer Online was, in my opinion, a solid product, it certainly failed to live up to the extremely high expectations held by both the development team and the players. No matter how it turned out, I really enjoyed talking about WAR, especially in the days leading up to its launch.

As with other IP-related MMOs like Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online had its roots with another company and another vision. It’s a “what if?” tale that’s tantalizing to consider — an entirely different studio, Climax Online, creating a much darker version of Warhammer.

So what if Climax had brought its version of Warhammer Online to bear? Would it have eclipsed Mythic’s vision or been its own animal? Hit the jump and let’s dive into the pages of ancient history!

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Massively Overthinking: The best and worst MMOs of 2017’s PAX West

PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.

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CCP’s VR sports game Sparc has arrived on PSVR today

Remember CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc? We first heard about it back in February, and now as planned, the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has formally launched the game on PSVR for $29.99 as of today. It’s not really an MMO or even trying to be; the idea is that players will be sparring in a 1v1 arena playing a VR-based match of what is essentially fancy neon ping-pong/dodgeball versus friends or frenemies plucked from the matchmaker, then when that’s over, you even get to play dress-up.

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

We’ve tucked the brand-new trailer down below, but we warn you: You won’t burn any calories watching it.

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Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida on Stormblood’s release, AI issues, and MMO history

After all this time, I’m sure some of you forgot that my original E3 2017 interview with Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida was supposed to have a part two. That’s OK, since, well, the team’s been a bit busy since then. With the expansion out and some fires smothered, the much loved game director finally was able to get back to some of my questions.

Naturally, the first question I had to ask was how Yoshida is feeling about Stormblood following early access, launch, and the release of the first content patch updates. For now, he said (through translators) that he’s relieved but that the expansion had “an unexpectedly high number of new and returning players [who] came back to the game, which caused some issues and frustration.” One of them was the DDOS attack, for which he again offered apologies.

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The Stream Team: Dabbling in the Dauntless alpha

The Dauntless alpha started yesterday, and thanks to server issues, Massively OP’s MJ had difficulty getting in. But today she is determined to check this new game out! Will she be impressed like Andrew was during his E3 play test? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to see as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…

What: Dauntless
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 19th, 2017

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Dauntless’ founder alpha has begun

Don’t miss our hands-on with Dauntless from E3!
We’ve been keeping an eye on Dauntless, the sci-fantasy online co-op action RPG from the former BioWare, Riot, and Blizzard devs now fronting Phoenix Labs, ever since its first reveal back in December. Today, regular gamers can leap in themselves — at least if they’ve ponied up the 40 80 bucks needed for a founder’s pack with access to the alpha. [Thanks for the clarification, jinarra!] Otherwise you’ll be waiting until the game launches later this year, at which time it’ll be free-to-play.

Following his E3 hands-on with the game, MOP’s Andrew Ross said the game was surprisingly solid and natural, impressive even, though he worried over rival Monster Hunter World.

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Ubisoft on Skull and Bones’ business model, ‘treasure chest’ lootboxes, and live events

If you thought that Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones pirate MMO wasn’t going to have lootboxes, seriously, what rock are you living under? (And is it comfy? And can you maybe scoot over and make room for the rest of us?)

In a new interview with Gamespot, Ubisoft creative director Justin Farren says that the studio is going for “more of a service-based approach so that when you pay for this game, you have a commitment from us to develop content, new gameplay, modes, new content for the player to earn, and then of course, new regions to explore, and those things will unfold as the game launches and provide service over time.”

“We don’t want to create pay to win,” he says. “We don’t want to create something where players have to pay to compete. Our PvP is completely horizontal in a way that gives players a chance to develop their skills and compete against other players.”

But Overwatch-style lootboxes are definitely still on the table.

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Anthem lead gameplay designer Corey Gaspur passes away

The official BioWare blog announced last night that Anthem lead gameplay designer Corey Gaspur has passed away. Gaspur had been a staple of the studio for most of the last decade, known best to our audience for his work on Dragon Age: Origins, the Mass Effect series, and of course Anthem, the last of which was only just recently revealed at E3 and already has MMO and multiplayer fans champing at the bit.

The studio didn’t elaborate on the circumstances of his death, but as VG247 points out, BioWare employees have intimated it was sudden and unexpected.

Our heartfelt condolences to all of his family, friends, and colleagues.

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CCP’s VR sports game Sparc launches August 29

First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc was all set for a summer launch as of E3, and now the date is firming up: The Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has picked August 29th for the game’s debut on PSVR. Expect it to run $29.99.

Sparc is a virtual sport, or ‘vSport’ – a unique full-body experience only possible in virtual reality, where the player’s VR equipment is their sports gear. In Sparc, players connect online to compete in fast-paced and physical one-on-one gameplay. Players use their two PlayStation®Move motion controllers to throw projectiles across the court at their opponent, while dodging, blocking or deflecting any incoming shots.”

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

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Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath has just begun Xbox One beta

Hey, Path of Exile console fans. Have you been moping on the sidelines throughout the long PC beta for Fall of Oriath? Were you sad to find out it’s launching on PC on August 4th? Then I have good news for you!

“Grinding Gear Games has announced today that its highly anticipated massive expansion, Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath, will launch its beta for Xbox One at 2pm pacific on Wednesday, July 26th.”

That’s literally right as this post is going live; you can run over and register right now. “Space is limited and players selected will receive their Xbox One beta keys via email,” warns the studio.

As we’ve previously covered, the expansion adds literally new everything, from new skills and bosses to new locations, plus the new pantheon system, five new acts, and the difficulty level system. Just getting caught up? Don’t miss our February preview and reveal, our steam and hands-on with the PC beta, and our E3 interview on the expansion!

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Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago is pretty much a trainwreck

If you’ve ever been to a massive gathering of tech-savvy people — like say, a gaming convention — you know better than to rely on the internet for sending emails or tweeting consistently, let alone for gaming itself. That’s just one of the lessons being learned by Niantic and the thousands of people who paid for tickets to Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago this weekend.

Multiple outlets are reporting that not only can many people inside the park not connect to play, but there have been huge lines outside the park as people still wait to get in. When Niantic CEO John Hanke took the stage to calm everyone, he was subsequently booed and heckled while issuing apologies. Ouch.

Popular fansite The Silph Road reports that Niantic is offering refunds and chunks of currency, but that won’t help all people who flew in from out of state — or out of country — for an event that’s gone south.

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