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SWTOR expansion trailer is nominated for a Webby

Here’s a welcome shot of publicity for Star Wars: The Old Republic this week. Knights of the Eternal Throne’s “Betrayed” trailer was nominated for a Webby Award for the Long Form (Branded) category alongside companies such as BMW and Chipotle. The public can view and vote for whichever short film they think is the best, so obviously SWTOR would appreciate your help in propelling it to the top.

The trailer, created by Blur and directed by Dave Wilson, was released to promote last fall’s expansion. It shows the backstory of a powerful Force-using family and the separate paths that certain members took over the course of their lives. Also, it has a girl Force-crushing an armored soldier like he was a soda can, so that’s pretty awesome.

If you need a refresher on the trailer in question, we’ve got it for you after the break.

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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Leaderboard: How much did your family support gaming as a hobby when you were a kid?

I was chatting with my mom this morning when I was surprised to hear her say that she was impressed with how good my five-year-old son has gotten with video games. I wasn’t surprised because it’s not true; he’s phenomenal, and letting him play games, including MMOs (in moderation and under supervision!), has improved his reading skills, focus, coordination, and puzzle-solving. I’ve watched it happen!

What surprised me is that I wouldn’t have imagined adults saying that when I was a teenager, never mind when I was a kindergartner. Oh sure, we had a few consoles growing up, but PC gaming, especially the online sort, got side-eyes. Now I have a nephew whose tech-savvy parents send him to video game design camp. It’s a different world now!

Or is it? For today’s Leaderboard, I want to hear from you: How much did your family support or enable gaming as a hobby when you were growing up?

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Wizard101, Pirate101 newsletters tease big ‘monstrology’ update for the Spiral

KingsIsle has just put out a pair of monthly newsletters for its 101 games — heads-up to any lost Club Penguin peeps that there are some non-mobile MMOs still catering to your tastes!

While Pirate101’s community letter is more of the social sort, Wizard101 is currently in the midst of plotting a new update for players.

“Please download the Test Realm and join us in Testing the Monstrology system, three new Skeleton Key Bosses, the level 118 school pet quests, Aquila fishing, and much more,” the Wizard101 crew says.

There’s a teaser video too down below so you know just what to expect.

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The Soapbox: Why is Pokemon GO still a tech demo?

I’ve been a bit frustrated with Niantic lately. I love some of its ideas, but I watched someone else play Ingress prior to Pokemon GO’s release, and I noticed very similar problems between the two games after release — problems that the company should have noticed and corrected in its followup.

Recently I decided to try out the former. Both are totally unintuitive. You have to search the UI for the tutorials, though Ingress’ can be accessed only near objectives. You’re asked to join a faction sooner there than in PoGO and with no context beyond 2-3 sentences. The game throws jargon with little to no context at you throughout the tutorial, making it difficult to follow. I walked around, clicking things and used items that I don’t fully understand, not because I’m too lazy to read but because I wanted to understand a game without consulting google. I saw portals get taken without anyone around me as I stood by an objective near a government-restricted area where standing still longer than it takes to read “No Trespassing” could trigger security. I couldn’t get into it, not just because it was simple but because it was poorly designed.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most stable MMORPG (besides WoW) right now?

Massively OP reader Gail made an interesting observation in one of the City of Heroes Master x Master drama threads about what she called “corn flake games.” A family she knew that ran a grocery store quibbled over how to stock it: One sister “always wanted to cram the cereal aisle with the latest cartoon character high sugar high profit fads.” The other sister’s refrain?

“‘Corn flakes. People in this town buy corn flakes.’ Corn flakes, while not hugely profitable, were steady dependable sellers. In the MMO market, CoH was a corn flake game. It wasn’t going to magically turn into WoW overnight. It wasn’t going to suddenly break out and take the gaming world by storm, though with the huge surge in superhero movies I wonder what some good advertising would have done. But it had a sizable group of steady customers who provided a stable profit. That’s nothing to sneeze at.”

That’s precisely why the sunset was so baffling when most games would kill for a subscription playerbase of 100K: It was a steady earner. And it was and is surely not alone. What else do you think is a “corn flake” MMO? Or to put it another way: What’s the most stable and dependable MMORPG (besides WoW) right now?

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Guild Chat: Tips for meeting guildmates in real life

Welcome along to Guild Chat, my column in which I join forces with commenters to help a reader in need with a guild-related concern. This edition’s submission is all about deciding to meet up with your guildmates in real life: Reader Xenos is great online friends with many of his guildmates and is considering either inviting them over to visit him or travelling out to see them. In Xenos’ case this would require international travel, Before he makes the leap, however, he is looking for our advice on whether real-world meetups are a good idea and how to approach it safely. Keep reading for my thoughts on organising guild meets and Xenos’ full submission, then don’t forget to add your thoughts in the comments.

“I’ve been gaming with the same bunch of people for a long while now and we get along super well. I have the entire summer off classes and plan to travel anyways so was wondering if I should suggest a guild meet or ask my best friends in the guild if I can come visit them. I haven’t brought it up yet so I don’t know if they’d like to meet and I also worry about how safe it is and seeming weird or suspicious by asking. Any advice?”

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week’s Overthinking, I asked our team of writers — both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it — what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week’s show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

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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WildStar’s Jen Ortiz leaves Carbine

WildStar is down another high-profile member of its development team this week with the loss of Carbine Senior Product Manager Jen Ortiz.

On Twitter Friday, Ortiz said that she had just punched in her last day at the studio and was leaving for undisclosed opportunities. “Today was my last day at Carbine Studios (moving on to other opportunities),” she wrote. “I wish the team the best… we’ve done a lot in the past years […] To the fans, I appreciated the hell out of you and so do the rest of the Carbine crew. Thanks for everything. You’re the best.”

WildStar Game Director Chad Moore expressed his sadness at seeing Ortiz go: “We’re going to miss you, Jen! Couldn’t have asked for a better partner this year. Family won’t be the same without you.”

Source: Twitter

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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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Roblox is taking the online kid world by storm with 48M monthly users and $92M in new investment

Have you ever heard of this game Roblox? If not, you probably will be in the future, because this title has come out of nowhere to grab an enormously large audience with its LEGO-meets-Minecraft setup. According to the site, “Every day, virtual explorers come to Roblox to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3-D environment.”

Formed back in 2005 and growing significantly over the past few years, Roblox now boasts over 48 million monthly users across all of its platforms (the game can be accessed on PC, mobile, VR, and console), with most of its demographics being made up of children ages six to 16. The game has seen activity peak at one million concurrent players and has paid out $9.2 million to community creators.

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Ship of Heroes will seek $400,000 in Kickstarter funding

Indie superhero MMO Ship of Heroes has just announced the details of its planned Kickstarter campaign, which was previously noted to begin on April 4th: The crowdfunding event will run five weeks and hopes to raise $400,000. Alpha is expected to begin late in 2017.

“The key point to realize is that if you want to play in the Beta, you need to back us in the Kickstarter,” Heroic Games CEO Casey McGeever writes. “If you want to start even earlier and be part of the Alphas starting this year, then your chances go up depending upon how much you donate.”

McGeever argues that his team has shown off more of the game at its one-year mark than most comparable games do and that Ship of Heroes is angling to become a “family-friendly gaming community” and “a destination game that one plays for years, rather than content that gets played once and is then abandoned.”

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