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Guild Wars 2 teases upcoming festivals, living story season conclusion

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ArenaNet's Colin Johanson has penned a new Guild Wars 2 dev blog teasing just what the remainder of the fall season will bring for the two-year-old MMO.

Outside of ANet's e-sports push, the game's buzz has been relatively subdued since the second feature pack released in early September. That will change tomorrow, October 21st, with the arrival of the much-loved Halloween festival; Wintersday, the winter festival, is scheduled to kick off on December 16th. "Both of these releases," Johanson says, "will feature the same content as last year but with refreshed rewards, giving you fun new festival-themed items to earn."

Season 2 of the living story itself returns from intermission on November 4th, having been on hiatus for just under two months. Johanson promises the plotline will feature "stories with roots deep in the very heart of Guild Wars lore" and an "unforgettable" final episode.

Editor's Note: We Are Always Fighting

We are always fighting.

The first video game I ever played, Space Invaders, rendered fighting in a sickly green hue, with squid-like aliens descending down the bulbous surface of a beige monitor. As much as I admired their patient and orderly see-saw attack pattern on our planet, it made it easy to blow them away from below. You see, it's not about the violence, but timing and pattern recognition.

My other starting game was some kind of Mad Libs program, which accepted a list of nouns and verbs and then spat out a boring or comical story, depending on how creative your input was. The key to playing this game well, I determined, was baking a well-timed "pie" into the plot. The archer reaches into his quiver and removes ... a pie! Help, the sheriff's been shot in the pie! The crowd sucked the air out of the room as the boxer fell to a critical blow from his opponent ... the PIE. You see, a video game lets players control (and probably ruin) the story.

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The Borderlands timeline unfurled

With the recent release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Gearbox knows it may have some fans with questions on how the series' timeline is organized. That's understandable when your latest game is sub-titled "The Pre-Sequel." To bring order to the chaos, the series developer offered an "ultimate Borderlands timeline" on its blog late last week.

The comic-style timeline divulges major plot points from before the original Borderlands through its direct sequel, Borderlands 2. Viewers beware: Gearbox didn't shy away from spoiling those major events in the timeline, including that of The Pre-Sequel. Our review of the latest game noted that the game is "missing just a bit of soul," but still "has the makings of a pretty great Borderlands game." The series' overarching story will continue with The Walking Dead developer Telltale's adventure game, Tales From the Borderlands, which is expected to launch this year.

EVE Vegas 2014 roundup: Tech 3 destroyers, permadeath and more

An event that started out several years ago as an impromptu EVE Online player gathering, EVE Vegas has grown so large that this year it was was officially taken over by developer CCP Games. This year's event was organised like a mini-Fanfest, with Executive Producer Andie Nordgren's keynote address and some interesting talks from both players and developers. Players got a chance to compare notes with developers on the game's recent progress, CCP let out a few exciting reveals, and the whole event was streamed live to viewers at home for free.

This year's big reveal was a new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class that can transform into one of several tactical configurations mid-fight to boost power to the engines, shields, or weapons as required. We also heard rumblings of new "glass cannon" weapons that deal increased damage but lower your ship's damage resistances, and CCP tested the public response to the controversial idea of adding permadeath characters to EVE. Player talks were equally informative, giving insights into the world of nullsec Fleet Command and the custom Region Commander software that the game's biggest coalitions use to maintain their grip on power.

If you missed out on the event, read on for links to Massively's coverage of the stream or to watch the stream recordings for yourself.

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Thursday's Nintendo Direct is all about Wii U's Smash Bros.

Nintendo is hosting a new livestream event on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. EST (3:00 p.m. PST), and this one is focused on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. The publisher says it will reveal "50 new things" for the game, which will launch on November 21.

It's possible the latest announcements for the fighting game will include the level editor and board game mode mentioned in an Amazon listing late last week. Thursday's Nintendo Direct may also show off poses for trophies in the game, which Game Director Masahiro Sakurai noted in a Miiverse post over the weekend. We're nearly one month out from our review of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, which praised the fighter as "a game that every 3DS owner should play."

Living without a head in The Evil Within

Image Having a head is so last season. All the stylish kids get through the trial and error of The Evil Within without a head.... Continue Reading

Fifa fo fum, who smells the blood of an English man?

Chart-Track's post-FIFA portion of the year rolls along on the UK charts, with the footie franchise holding the top spot now for four straight weeks. Hunting the perennial performer was The Evil Within and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in second and third, respectively.

Although Chart-Track doesn't share unit sales, it should be noted Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's third place showing is impressive given that it's only available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC (nor does this count digital distribution). Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is fighting death in fourth place despite a 51 percent drop from last week. Alien: Isolation is holding on tight in sixth before it gets sucked out the airlock. Run past the break for the UK top ten.

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Stiq Figures, October 6 - 12: Why did I earn that achievement edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don't matter.

Achievements can either feel like cool challenges to chase or irrelevant hoops to jump through. However, this conversation is less about the concept's merits and more about the achievements that we're still unsure why we ever bothered with. Why did we force ourselves through games with an arm effectively tied behind our backs, wielding only our weakest weapon? Was it actually fun? Is there much for bragging rights if you regret spending the time to this day?

I'm definitely not one to judge – when my obsession with achievements was at its prime, my afterschool routine was hours of Perfect Dark Zero, feebly chasing the 1,000-match achievements for multiplayer match types. Before I convinced myself that I didn't care anymore, I cleared Grand Theft Auto 4 of pigeons, found every last Animus fragment in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, and chased Gears of War's 10,000-kill "Seriously" achievement for far longer than I should have.

Which outlandish achievements did you conquer (or attempt to) before realizing you weren't having fun anymore? Share your virtual points-related regrets with us, right after you check out the New 3DS' debut in the Japanese hardware sales numbers after the break!

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Non-PS4 versions of Oddworld: New 'n Tasty still underway, still not dated

PS4 users have been able to enjoy Oddworld: New 'n Tasty, developer Just Add Water's overhauled take on the original release of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, since July of this year. Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, Vita, PC, Mac, Linux and Wii U owners only have a TBA 2014 window to anticipate however, and series creator Lorne Lanning's recent appearance on the Fragments of Silicon podcast hasn't changed that.

When asked about the remaining releases, Lanning said that while each version is being "adamantly worked on," he would be "an idiot to give you a date." Lanning added that the team is "committed to making sure those games are as good as they can possibly be on those platforms. We're far more committed to that than we are a date."

In terms of the Wii U version, Lanning noted the team is "having challenges with not having a hard disk," and added that "if you're gonna make a game for the Wii U, it better run on the 8 gig unit." Considering the PS4 version of New 'n Tasty is 4.5 GB and the Wii U operating system takes a hefty chunk of the 8 GB model's internal memory, external devices would be the only way to fit New 'n Tasty on that model, unless crafty compression is achieved. A tweet from the series' official account later clarified that space is not the only issue with launching New 'n Tasty on the Wii U.

"At the end of the day, it's ultimately time and money and 'Can you do it?'," Lannon continued, adding that the team is still giving the Wii U version their all. Whichever non-PS4 platform you're anticipating New 'n Tasty's arrival for, your eagerness seems justified based on Weekend Editor Sam Prell's review.

Strike a pose with trophies in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Say cheese, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - you're getting a photo mode. According to a new post from Game Director Masahiro Sakurai on the Super Smash Bros. Miiverse, players of the console version of Nintendo's brawler will be able to pose the character trophies they've earned and take pictures in the game's Photo Studio mode.

"Pic of the day. Zael from The Last Story grabs some Superspicy Curry from Master Hand. 'No...! You mustn't let that curry lure you in...!!'" Sakurai writes, describing the scene you see above.

Photo Studio won't be the only difference between the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. though; according to an Amazon listing, we can also expect a stage build mode and board game mode when the game launches on November 21.
[Image: Nintendo]

MMO Week in Review: Drifting back to World of Warcraft

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At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

This week, World of Warcraft saw subscriptions rise to 7.4 million ahead of its long-awaited pre-Warlords of Draenor patch. Meanwhile, news rolled in from EVE Vegas, where CCP and players discussed the ships of the Rhea update, the allure of spaceship spreadsheets, the importance of community involvement, and the new player experience and potential for permadeath.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Destiny's next patch to address Vault of Glass' buggy boss

If you've been running and re-running Destiny's Vault of Glass raid in hopes of obtaining exotic gear, you may have already learned about various tricks and exploits people are using to speed up their adventures. One of the most popular involves knocking the raid's final boss, Atheon, off a ledge, letting gravity do the dirty work of killing him.

It's quick, efficient and relatively easy, but not exactly what Bungie had in mind for an epic final showdown. To that end, they're patching the Atheon battle so that he can't be knocked off, while simultaneously changing how he targets players. Currently, Atheon will send the three players furthest from him through space and time to an alternate battlefield, where they'll stay until their teammates open a portal for them so they can return. Once the fix goes live, he'll target three players at random.

Enjoy knocking a titan of terror off into the dark depths of the Vault of Glass while you can, Guardians; Atheon's fixes go live next week.
[Image: Activision]

EVE Vegas 2014: Getting players involved in EVE's development

Back in 2011, EVE Online developer CCP Games was rocked by controversy when players outraged over the Incarna expansion's microtransactions and CCP's indifference to player feedback spoke with their wallets and quit the game. In what became known as the monoclegate scandal, an estimated 8% of players quit, and CCP eventually laid off 20% of its staff worldwide. Some tough lessons were learned about keeping players looped into the development process, and CCP began involving players more closely in the development process.

At EVE Vegas 2014 today, developer CCP Fozzie looked at the ways that CCP gathers ideas and feedback from the community. As a sandbox MMO with a very dedicated community, EVE is in the interesting position that many of the players know more about the game than the developers themselves and can identify problems with ideas very early in the development process. Plans are now announced earlier in development to gather feedback, some new features are now made optional on release to gauge usage, and failed ideas will even be rolled back if necessary.

During the talk, Fozzie confirmed that each SCRUM team within CCP focuses on one particular area of gameplay and that player ideas are often brought into internal meetings for discussion. A new rig named the Higgs Anchor is even being introduced based on player suggestions; it will decrease movement speed by 75% but increase agility to make it easier to align to warp out if hostiles approach the player's location. If this level of player participation keeps up, hopefully disasters like monoclegate will never happen again.

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Ex Diablo, Torchlight devs unveil faction-based Rebel Galaxy


Space-age video game futures have plenty of spotless, sleek ships under the command of yawning empires, but Rebel Galaxy seems to focus on the scrappier spacecrafts flying between planets and asteroids. The game's PlayStation Blog post welcomes future pilots to play as mercenaries, traders, pirates and rogue heroes, surviving in a sandbox universe with a faction system connected to a player's actions and conversation-based choices.

Rebel Galaxy is the work of Double Damage Games, a studio co-founded by Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer (Game Designer on Diablo 1 & 2), the same pair that founded Torchlight series developer Runic Games. Baldree likens its take on zero-gravity dogfights to naval combat like what's found in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, though the PS Blog post notes that players will pilot the "big, weapon-bristling ships" rather than pecking away at them with speck-sized vessels.

Rebel Galaxy's larger ships will follow a 2D plane, whereas smaller crafts are free-flying fodder for turrets, be they personally piloted or manned by player-assigned AI. Dialog choices are also tied more to general relations with factions than individual characters or romance-based subplots.

Baldree has clarified that Rebel Galaxy will not feature multiplayer and won't be $60, but somewhere "in the downloadable title price range." Though the trailer above gives a decent sense of what to expect, Rebel Galaxy won't reach the final frontier until 2015 on PS4, Steam and, according to the official site's announcing post, "maybe" Xbox One.
[Image: Double Damage Games]

Samsung White wins League 2014 World Championship

Korean pro-gaming team Samsung Galaxy White has taken home the championship title and $1 million prize from the 2014 League of Legends World Championship, developer Riot Games announced today. The team went 3-1 against Chinese team Star Horn Royal Club, dominating their rivals in the first two matches, faltering on the third, and finally sealing the tournament on the fourth.

Samsung White's Mata, who functions as the team's support role, won the title of 2014 World Championship MVP, finishing the tournament with 18 kills, 27 deaths and 253 assists. Samsung White lost only two games throughout the entire 2014 tournament, one less than 2013 champions SK Telecom T1. This is the second year in a row that Star Horn Royal Club has taken runner-up.

Last year's World Championship totaled 32 million viewers, the highest number in eSports recorded history. Riot has not yet released the numbers for the 2014 World Championship.
[Image: Riot Games]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 117: The Evil Within, Far Cry 4, Bayonetta 2

Latest episode: Friday, October 17th, 2014

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