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The week in Massively features

Michael Zenke

The Digital Continuum: Six planets KOTORO shouldn't be without
There are many worlds to explore in the Star Wars universe. Some are nothing but deserts, while others are covered completely by a single city. So how do you decide which planets to include in something like the upcoming KOTOR MMO?
PAX08: Hands-on with Mines of Moria
his weekend at PAX 2008, Massively had the opportunity to be a part of the first-ever public preview of Mines of Moria with Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel. During this showing, Steefel showed us many of the main features of this first expansion for LotRO, including the Legendary Weapon system, the two new classes, the vastness of the mines themselves and much more.
Massively interview: Multiverse explains the Buffy MMO, Firefly's delay
Yesterday we brought you word that the folks at Multiverse (the developers of the MMO middleware) are in development on an MMO based on Buffy the Vampire slayer. At the same time, news came out the Firefly MMO will now be delayed considerably while they focus their efforts that other IP from writing dynamo Joss Whedon. Yesterday evening we had the chance to speak with Mr. Corey Bridges, Co-founder, Executive Producer and Marketing Director for the company. Mr. Bridges took some time out of his busy schedule at the Virtual Worlds Expo to explain a bit more about the Buffy/Firefly MMO hoopla.
PAX08: Interviewing Champion Online's writer, John Layman
Amidst the rather large -- but also surprisingly polite -- crowd surrounding the Cryptic Studios booth, we were able to talk with the writer for Champions Online, John Layman. Discussions revolved around the breadth and depth of content within the game's zones and the possibilities of space-based zones lying in wait for higher level characters.
The Hyborian Backpackers' Guide: Sanctum of the Burning Souls
Continuing from where we left you last week, the Hyborian Backpackers have headed indoors for a change on this latest adventure -- but being sheltered from the climate didn't mean we were any safer than before. In fact, inside Age of Conan's Sanctum of the Burning Souls, you'll need a whole group of friends of the appropriate level if you intend to survive for very long at all.

Massively goes to WAR: An overview of Melee DPS careers for Order
You don't have to side with Destruction to do some damage in Warhammer Online. Order has two melee classes that crank out the dps up close and personal in two distinctly different ways. The Empire Witch Hunter uses a combination of rapier strikes to build up Accusations and then uses them to power a devastating Execution shot from their pistols. The High Elf White Lion wades into the thick of combat with his faithful pet lion by his side using it to distract and ravage his enemies.
Massively goes to WAR: An overview of Ranged DPS careers for Destruction
Let's face it: DPS classes just have more fun. Tanks have to always worry about being between the squishies and the pointy things. Healers have to make sure their fellows are standing upright. All DPS classes have to do is be pointed in the right direction and relatively sober. That fun factor is even more true than the norm in Warhammer Online, as the Destruction races offer up some gloriously sadistic ways to squick the other side.
Massively goes to Dragon*Con: Funcom Q&A
Funcom was on-hand at this year's Dragon*Con, where they held a Q&A session regarding all things Age of Conan. What follows is as much of the event as could be transcribed from the audio we brought back with us. This writeup was completed based on audio with some garbled sections. Some details may be glossed over as a result.
Massively goes to Dragon*Con: Cryptic Studios Q&A
Cryptic Studios was on-hand at this year's Dragon*Con, where they held a Q&A session regarding all things Champions Online. What follows is as much of the event as could be transcribed from the audio we brought back with us. This writeup was completed based on audio with some garbled sections. Some details may be glossed over as a result.
Anti-Aliased: I should market fanboi pesticide
This week's column is going to be a little different than the norm I usually cover, but it still falls into that which I love and dedicate my craft to -- the analysis of MMO culture. And who better to analyze than the bane of a game's existence, the fanboi!
PAX08: Aion's first U.S. public showing
"Hey, isn't that the game where you have wings and fly around?" This was probably the number one quote heard around the Aion booth at PAX08. NCsoft's Aion: The Tower of Eternity had its first public showing in the States this last weekend at PAX, and the general consensus seemed to be mostly positive. As the opening quote suggests though, many gamers were after that novelty of flight, and we can't help but wonder if that will be enough to carry potential players through the game for the long haul.
PAX08: Interview with Dane Caruthers of Tabula Rasa
At PAX08, we were able to catch up with NCsoft's Dane Caruthers, the Associate Producer for Tabula Rasa, for a quick interview. While the TR booth was busy and Caruthers was swamped with showing attendees all about the sci-fi MMO, he was kind enough to answer a few questions.
How to get to Altdorf, Ekrund, the Blighted Isle, or Nordland at level 1
You've jumped into Warhammer Online, and you're ready to go. You've picked your class and you're happy with your class mechanics ... but perhaps you don't want to play in your race's assigned tiers. Or maybe you just want to head to the mighty human city of Altdorf. We hear it's lovely this time of year. Heading to the Order capital city or one of the other starting zones is as easy as hiking to the first RvR War Camp in your starting zone ... but where is that? If you've never played before, how do you know?
PAX08: Twin Skies interview
Twin Skies is a brand new MMO still in development from Meteor Games, which is fronted by two of the co-founders of the wildly-successful Neopets. Despite the fact that Twin Skies is still in its early stages, their presence at PAX08 seemed to be well-received by gamers. This was the first public showing of the MMO that was only first announced a month ago from a company that was introduced to us only two months ago!
Player Consequences: Getting back to Grouping
It's no secret that modern MMO design has changed drastically in the years following World of Warcraft. The secret of the game's success has been the topic of discussion for every gaming blog and review site for the past four years. Yet while everyone tends to focus on what World of Warcraft did right, there are a few areas where the game underperforms. In particular, the grouping and guild systems seem to encourage quid pro quo relationships between players as they are leveling or gearing up their characters.
TurpsterVision : A Class Act
After last time trying to sell you all on a new form of entertainment media, I thought I'd return to something a little more traditional. Something that all the MMO fans out there, all the World of Warcraft fans, could really get behind. A game that's on everyone's lips and dancing right into their hearts. That's right: Club Penguin.
PAX08: Hermann Peterscheck interviewed on all things Jumpgate Evolution
On the last day of PAX08 we stopped by the Jumpgate Evolution booth, which was full of people with glazed-over eyes as they blasted away at enemy ships in space. After some time with the game, we sat down with the NetDevil producer Hermann Peterscheck. In-between our questions and his answers we also got to watch him blow up some space pirates, fly through a huge asteroid and battle above a super-volcanic planet with chunks of land -- that had a city on it -- floating in orbit around the planet. It was a lengthy look at a game that's already come a long way and is still showing some real promise, too.
PAX08: Talking with Champions Online's content lead, Zeke Sparkes
After speaking with John Layman at PAX08, our second Champions Online interview was with content lead Zeke Sparkes. We talked sound effects, travel powers, character creation, controls and zone creation among other things. In fact, we actually got a short period of hands-on time with the game prior to the interview.
EVE Evolved: Money for nothing
In most MMOs, making currency without actually playing usually involves rule-breaking macro-farming which risks getting your account banned. In EVE Online, however, a number of viable options exist for making ISK with absolutely no effort. From hiring research and development agents to public investment schemes and even a player-run bank, there are plenty of ways to make ISK in EVE without even logging in.
PAX08: WAR's Jeff Hickman on patches, open beta and content rumors
After our interview with both Paul Barnett and Jeff Hickman at PAX08, we talked some more with Jeff about various subjects regarding the upcoming open beta and subsequent launch of Warhammer Online. It was a incredibly casual and open discussion on topics that are usually met with fiery bile depending on what part of the internet you happen to be at any given moment. One particular question we asked revolved around the choice to limit players in the open beta to level 20 out of the 40 total in the game.

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