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Massively on the Go: Our basic guide to Pokemon Go gameplay and questing

Pokemon Go has come a long way since its early days of just catching and gym battling. Those are still core gameplay elements, but there’s a bit more to it now. It’s not just about catch and release, but catching specific Pokemon, catch several in a row, catching with a specific kind of throw, and more, mostly thanks to questing.

Yes, there are quests in POGO now, including dailies. I’m not just talking about the old system either. Now, at the very least, you want to catch one Pokemon, spin one PokeStop, and do one “Field Task,” the game’s equivalent of dailies. If you understand that, you can probably stop here, but for those looking to dig a bit deeper, keep reading.

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EVE Online overhauls a half-dozen ships and improves the starter experience

You notice how other studios, rather than scrambling away from next Tuesday’s World of Warcraft expansion release, seem to be trying to compete with it in some way? EVE Online is certainly not the only MMO that’s pushing out alternative entertainment for the larger community. The August release for EVE should improve the game overall with some spiffy ship redesigns, an update to the tutorial, and client performance.

Six iconic ships — the Navitas, Thalia, Tayra, Bustard, Badger, and Crane — are all slated for visual reworks when the patch lands on August 14th. These are all getting better models, textures, visual effects, and animations, so the ship you end up with next Tuesday may seem like a completely new experience.

And speaking of new player experiences: “This update focuses on delivering a new basic starter site for rookie pilots, as well as combat challenges displayed via The Agency and a new Agency UI for training tasks. These challenges are repeatable, but new pilots will only be rewarded with skills upon first completion as part of the rookie orientation process.”

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Hands-on with mobile Old School Runescape, plus a chat with the Jagex devs

I experienced a couple firsts recently that you may not have expected from me, and they can both be summed up in two words: Old School RuneScape mobile. Why so unexpected? Well for one, you might not have expected me to try OSRS (can I call it that?) because I started playing RuneScape only recently; I had no nostalgic draw to the game back in that iteration. Two, I am not a mobile player. I just don’t play any games on mobile, preferring my gaming time to be at my PC. But hey, doing the unexpected can be fun, and I am all for new experiences! This experience included sitting down with Jagex’s Senior Communications Manager Jon Wilcox and Product Manager John Colgrave, who shared info and answered questions as we worked our way through the tutorial together.

Now the question is, how was the experience? Would I continue to play on mobile even though the full cross-platform play allows me to move my game seamlessly back to the PC whenever I want? That’s what we are here to answer.

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Leeta Tactical Bridge Officer on Xbox and PS4 from PWE and MOP

Are you hyped for Deep Space Nine in Star Trek Online? Victory is Life launched on console last week, complete with a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, the Deep Space Nine crew, the Jem’Hadar playable faction, bumped level cap, seven new episodes, and more goodies. And to celebrate the release for console, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to raffle to our PS4 and Xbox One readers! We’ve got codes for the Leeta Tactical Bridge Officer, 25 apiece for each console.

Do note that PS4 codes are restricted to North American players; the Xbox One codes are universal. And if you win, you’ll need to complete the tutorial with a Federation or Klingon character to redeem the codes.

Read on to enter to win!

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The Survivalist: Hands-on with survival MMO Rend’s closed alpha

It’s been nearly a year since I met with Frostkeep Studios at PAX West and got an early first-hand look at Rend, the three-faction fantasy survival sandbox with a timer. And I’ve been waiting since then to be able to play for myself; I saw the housing and learned about pet taming, and knew I wanted in. Even though I don’t play PvP for PvP’s sake, I liked the sounds of its implementation in Rend. And the whole thing about the temporary lifespan of the server? Newer information (namely that I can use ascension points to keep my favorite pets with me!) has helped alleviate that trepidation.

And now, finally, I’m in! The question is, what do I think about it? It is still in development — it is only closed alpha at the moment — and it shows. But there is also promise. I already know I am going to be playing it more. Here are my first impressions of surviving in Rend.

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Previewing Rend: Frostkeep studio visit, early access, PvP, factions, and more

If something goes wrong with Frostkeep’s early access launch of Rend, blame me. While I was at the office, I distracted Co-Founders Jeremy Wood and Mat Milizia, caused an update to get rolled back because I was offered the chance to play with cheats, stole someone’s chair, possibly delayed Global Communications Director Michele Cagle’s GamesCon prep, and pointed out to the team that the new bald and clean-shaven character customization options were missing. We’ll also go ahead and take credit for the Ascension system being implemented, getting icons, and Wood finding a major long-term gathering bug the night before because clearly Massively OP is important enough for the devs to come in at 3 a.m. just to prepare for us.

All jokes aside, I recently had a studio tour with Rend‘s creators as part of the game’s ramp-up for alpha this week. The team’s working hard and losing sleep, but they’re nailing it. It may not be perfect, but the Frostkeep is making my job a little harder because very soon, you’ll see just how in touch with the MMO and survival genres Frostkeep is. There’s a reason we awarded Rend Most Innovative PvP at E3 2018.

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Star Trek Online warps into Discovery’s universe as Stephen Ricossa steps down as exec producer

While Star Trek Discovery has proven to be a divisive entry into the long-running franchise, with some fans hating its take on the Trek universe and some loving the new direction, it would have been impossible for Star Trek Online to ignore it. And in fact, the all-franchise-inclusive MMO will be sending players into the Discovery universe this fall.

With Age of Discovery, Star Trek Online will give players the opportunity to dip their toes into this earlier period by creating a Discovery-era captain and exploring a new tutorial, fighting in a new queue, and beating a pair of additional missions. The content update will be bolstered by the addition of Starfleet Academy Cadet Sylvia Tilly, voiced by the TV show’s Mary Wiseman.

“The first installment from Age of Discovery will introduce a brand new starting experience allowing players to create a Federation character from the Discovery era,” Cryptic said in a press release. “The update also includes two new Discovery episodes available to all characters, a new Task Force Operation to defend Starbase 1 and an expansion to the game’s Reputation System to Tier 6 that unlocks powerful new rewards. Additional details — including the release date for Age of Discovery’s first installment on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation®4 — will be announced later this year.”

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This week’s Shroud of the Avatar patch includes an R2-D2 lookalike in homage to Star Wars

Shroud of the Avatar’s release 56 is coming on Thursday, which means Portalarium’s latest newsletter includes recaps of some of the content the team’s working on. Of note, that includes the first playable version of the Obsidian Trials, which is basically the game’s version of PvP: 10-minute matches with a battle royale-esque shrinking map and a special currency for PvP-themed emotes, titles, and consumbles.

The studio also gives a preview of the ongoing revamp of the newbie tutorials, though that won’t be fully complete until September’s update. “We are also removing the tutorial elements and having them be almost entirely focused on story,” the team says. “In the case of Solace Bridge this means rebuilding it which we are excited to show you progress on in this week’s update.”

But I can’t help it: My eye was drawn to the part of the newsletter where Shroud of the Avatar basically puts R2-D2 into the game in the form of “the cylinder automaton pet.” Yes, he goes live this week as part of the “Sky Navy” suite of items. I’m smitten.

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EVE Evolved: Four changes to improve EVE Online for new players

A few months ago, I created a new character and ran through the new player experience for an article on how to get new players to stick with EVE Online. One of the first things I did was change some of the default settings, followed by re-arranging the chat windows, modifying the overview settings, and fixing the camera field of view. I’d usually dismiss this as me just being used to having the screen set up just the way I like it, but the truth is that the default settings new players are exposed to could really stand some improvement.

At the same time, there are a few gameplay changes that would undoubtedly help improve EVE Online‘s long-term retention of new players if CCP Games would commit to investigating them. War declarations need a serious overhaul to allow groups of friends to safely form social corporations, for example, and lone players should ideally be directed more forcefully toward corporate recruitment.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at four relatively low-impact changes which I believe could have a positive impact on new players and long-term retention.

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Wizard101’s main city gets a magical makeover

When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101 managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update.

The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!

Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.

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Multiplayer survival sandbox Outpost Zero hits Steam early access

The super pretty survivalbox Outpost Zero has planted roots in Steam’s early access program. It’s currently $15.99; tinyBuild and Symmetric Games say it’s a fully featured version of the game, though the devs are still working on more mechanics and balancing, particularly in regard to PvP and base raiding. The full launch is expected early next year.

“This Early Access version is a fully featured version of the game. Animals, Pirate Raids, PvP combat, Base Building, Corporations, and Bot AI are all implemented to create a full cohesive survival experience. We will continue to polish and improve these systems over the course of Early Access release. […] In the final version of the game we will be introducing many more powerful and fun Bot AI classes to craft, many additional Pirate Raid mechanics, Flying Vehicles, Massive Battle Mechs, several additional game modes (like horde mode and team vs team base defense), and of course a ton more content, from Equipment and Weapons, Structure types, Animal classes, and more.”

Massively OP’s MJ has been touring the game this summer as part of her deep-dive into multiple survival games for her ongoing column; you can check those streams out below, along with the official quickstart tutorial and trailer.

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Pokemon Go’s second anniversary report card sees high marks for content and innovation

Today is Pokemon Go’s second-year anniversary. Last year’s report card had to grapple with things like the game’s rapid rise and fall as a fad, its severe lack of promised content even with its first major update, crimes associated with the game, and being somewhat anti-social – and that was before the disaster known as Pokemon Go fest 2017. It was probably the worst way to start off a new year for your game, and it’s probably no surprise that our coverage of the game waned after the fallout.

But something happened. Whether it was because series Director/Producer Junichi Masuda was there to witness the horror or because some internal change in Niantic’s process changed, we’ll probably never know. But change came. Generation 3 became Pokemon Go’s One Tamriel. Suggestions I’d made previously happened and are still happening. The numbers are showing that the improvements are paying off, as the game’s playerbase is at the highest it’s been since its 2016 peak, after having gone through a brutal 80% dropoff. I thought I was being overly optimistic with my 2018 predictions for the game, but so far, so very good!
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Enjoy the Fallout 76 experience in Fallout: New Vegas… in a way

As people who are intimately familiar with the online game space (source: you read this site), most everyone here can imagine the worst excesses of player behavior to be found in Fallout 76 before the game launches. But why not experience it firsthand? A new mod for Fallout: New Vegas will allow you to have that online experience for the game right now, well in advance of release.

No, it’s not adding online functionality, why would it do that? It’s adding an NPC with a flamethrower who shows up right after the tutorial and will try to kill you while shouting racist epithets.

Yes, you can probably guess the joke right from there, but there is a video just below for those who would rather just watch something rather than trying to actually play with this mod installed. And if you have some time to play with it yourself… well, don’t say you weren’t properly warned. You knew what to expect.

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