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MMO Week in Review: Happy New Year!

I always try to make a joke title for the Repopulation and it always comes out dirty and inappropriate so I delete it
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.

Inbound indie sandbox The Repopulation dived into its last alpha phase this week, dropping its NDA for testers and landing on Steam in early access form.

At Massively, we discussed our end-of-the-year awards, selected our favorite content of the year, gave out a ribbon for the best MMO soundtrack, and made our list of MMOs to get excited about next year.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories, and may you many happy holidays. Week in Review will see you next year.

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Outfit your Hyrule Warriors with costume DLC, now available

If you missed out on pre-ordering Hyrule Warriors to snag retailer-exclusive costumes inspired by Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time (or wanted more than one set of said costumes), there's good news waiting for you in the eShop, as four costume packs are now available for $0.99 each. Note: While the full game can be purchased via Nintendo's website, the DLC waits in the wings of the Wii U eShop.

The Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time costume packs each provide Link and Zelda with costumes inspired by the respective game. A fourth pack, called the Demon King Costume Set, provides two new costumes for Ganondorf - one inspired by his appearance in Ocarina of Time and one inspired by Twilight Princess.

All of the costume packs now for sale are the same as those given to customers who pre-ordered (or in the case of the Ganondorf costumes, those in Club Nintendo) so be careful not to make a double purchase.
[Image: Nintendo]

Play through a spoiler-free Night In The Woods ghost story

It will be a while until we can follow a cynical, college-dropout cat's struggle with growing up by playing Night In The Woods, but a taste of the game's universe is available right this moment. Developer Infinite Fall has released a supplemental game on PC, Mac and Linux called Lost Constellation, which plays out as a ghost story told within the Night in the Woods universe.

Lost Constellation follows Adina Astra's side-scrolling trek through a mystical stretch of woods, weaving light puzzles between quirky introductions and playful dialog. It's a standalone game rather than a demo or preview for Night In The Woods, and a tweet from the latter game's account states that Lost Constellation is "a lot like Night In The Woods and nothing like Night In The Woods at all."

A separate tweet suggests that comparable projects are planned, explaining that "NITW supplementals are weird, off-the-cuff, jammed out little games." Regardless of what's to come, Adina's journey lasts for roughly an hour and is available now at the price of your choosing. And don't worry about dampening Night In The Woods' surprises early – Lost Constellation is spoiler free.
[Image: Infinite Fall]

PSA: PlayStation Network back online, service restored [Update]

The PlayStation Network appears to be fully armed and operational, according to an update post on the PlayStation Blog. The update confirms that the PSN suffered a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on Christmas Eve Day, and though the group that took credit for bringing the service down claimed to have ceased its attack on December 25, it was not until late last evening that service was restored. Sony now reports in no uncertain terms that "PlayStation Network is back online."

If you received or purchased a PlayStation system over the holidays, you should be free to enjoy your new console.

Update: If you're a PS4 user still having difficulties logging in, the Ask PlayStation Twitter account suggests that age-old fix of restarting your system. A tweet reads, "PS4 users: If you are still having issues signing in to PSN today, please reboot the console and try again."
[Image: Sony]

Buy Pokemon XY - Primal Clash cards, get cards for TCG Online

Primal Reversions debuted in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as yet another way to boost the power (and cool factor) of particular Pokemon, and the Pokemon Trading Card Game's upcoming expansions will proceed accordingly. Fresh booster packs and two themed decks under the banner of XY – Primal Clash will shuffle into battle on February 4, 2015, introducing 12 Pokemon-EX cards such as Wailord-EX, Camerupt-EX and Sharpedo-EX.

While the Primal Groudon-EX and Primal Kyogre-EX cards seen above will lead themed decks (Earth's Pulse and Ocean's Core, respectively), both the decks and booster packs will reward trainers with codes that unlock digital XY – Primal Clash cards for the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. With the XY – Primal Clash lineup hosting new Spirit Link, Special Energy, Trainer and effect-granting Ancient Trait cards, there should be a fair amount to add to both physical and digital collections.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online recently opened a stadium on iPad, but you can also find battlegrounds on PC and Mac.
[Image: Pokemon]

Destiny's Xur has an extended stay in the Tower this week

'Twas the Friday after Christmas, and all through the Tower / not a Guardian was stirring, not even 420xXxPower.

PlayStation Network and Xbox Live outages kept many Destiny players offline this weekend, and while that may sound like inconvenience enough, Bungie's sci-fi shooter happens to feature a merchant, named Xur, who only appears on the weekend to sell high-level gear. His assortment of goods is also different each time he appears, so if you miss him the weekend that he has something you want, it can be a good, long while before you'll get another chance to barter.

Thankfully, Bungie is keeping Xur around just a little bit longer this week in an effort to give players time to browse ol' tentacle-face's otherworldly wares. In a post on the Destiny forums, Community Manager David "DeeJ" Dague announced that Xur will remain in the tower with his current inventory until Monday, 10 p.m. Pacific. Dague also wrote that the team will "keep an eye on the overall situation, and prolong the extension, as needed, for as long as is feasible."

"No problem," said Xur. "I'll stick around. / After all, no one can buy when the internet's down." / His tentacles curved into a smile of delight / "Merry Xur-mas to all, and to all a good night!"
[Image: Activision]

Weekly Webcomic Wrapup got good gifts this year

Welcome back, Joystiq readers! Last year around this time, I asked you what you gave someone as a gift for the holidays. This year, it's okay to brag a little bit about what you got. But of course, as I am a sentimental sort, I'll tell you one of my favorite gifts I got this year: time with my dad.

Now, this wasn't some super sappy father-son heart-to-heart moment or anything. On Christmas, my dad wanted to go into town and workout at the gym, and since I had some extra time before I needed to head out, I joined him. We played some classic rock that we both liked and did our routines, and he showed me some new tips and tricks to help me out (he's a big guy himself, and has trained with a former Mr. Universe competitor). Again, nothing deserving of a Lifetime movie, but I still appreciated his help and the time we spent together doing something we both enjoy.

How about you? Tell us about your favorite gifts in the comments, after you vote for your favorite webcomic after the break!

Critical Miss (Critical Missmas)
ReadySoup (Cockadoodle-who) (NSFW-ish)
Ctrl+Alt+Del (Anything is game)
ActionTrip (Merry But Not Very)
Nerf NOW!! (Mourning)
Awkward Zombie (Easy-Bake Coven)

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Mistwalker head shares trailer for canceled JRPG, Cry On


Cry On, a JRPG collaboration from Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey developer Mistwalker and the now-dissolved Cavia, was once planned for release on the Xbox 360. While the project was canceled on Christmas Day in 2008 due to the state of the market, studio lead Hironobu Sakaguchi took to YouTube yesterday to share the above concept trailer.

As archived by Unseen64, Cry On's story was intended to star a young girl named Sally in a Middle Age-esque time period. In this world, miniature creatures called Bogles were placed on rooftops as protective charms. Bogles once lived beside humans as giants, and with knowledge of their past in mind, humans attempted to restore their towering figures for the sake of war. Players would have progressed through the game with the aid of a special, human-language-speaking Bogle, allowing them to experience puzzle-focused, RPG scenarios while playing as Sally and slightly action-like bouts while guiding Sally's Bogle.

Neither the studio nor potential fans may ever get the chance to see a full realization of Cry On, but with more-recent outings like The Last Story and the mobile, tile-based Terra Battle, at least the studio is still crafting RPGs.
[Image: Mistwalker]

Mevius Final Fantasy to suffer from amnesia on iPhone, Android

There are fresh Final Fantasy games to play or look forward to on most gaming platforms, and Square Enix is looking to expand its RPG portfolio with Mevius Final Fantasy on Android and iPhone. Touted as a "full-scale, high-quality RPG," Mevius FF is due to reach Japan this spring, with a Western release date still to be announced.

A Gematsu report touched on Mevius FF's story earlier this month, which plays out in Paramatia, a bleak land with a populace untouched by the "Light of Hope." Players wake in this world without a single memory, but a mysterious voice will guide them along their path.

As busy as Square Enix is working with the Final Fantasy series, those that would prefer a fresh RPG adventure should still have something to anticipate – the developer began assembling a studio to make a brand-new console RPG three months ago.
[Image: Square-Enix]

Please notice the Crunchyroll app on Wii U, senpai

Thousands of hours of anime are now available on Wii U consoles via the Crunchyroll app on the eShop, Nintendo and Crunchyroll have announced. The app, which hosts shows like Naruto Shippuden, One Piece and Sword Art Online, features sample videos for free, but if you want total access, you'll need a Premium membership.

Crunchyroll offers several different Premium memberships: one that provides unlimited selection of manga ($4.95/month), one providing unlimited selection of anime ($6.95/month), and an "all-access" version which combines anime and manga while adding drama shows to the mix ($11.95/month).
[Image: Crunchyroll]

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse trailer shows 4-player gameplay


Nintendo recently shared a new trailer for Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, and while its voiceover is in Japanese, that doesn't stop anyone from enjoying its gameplay. The trailer grants a few examples of how players can use lines traced on the Wii U GamePad for things other than guiding Kirby, as well as glimpses of transformations like Tank, Rocket and Submarine Kirby. Multiplayer scenes are also shown, with Waddle Dee characters appearing to move freely and having the capability to carry Kirby through stages.

According to Serebii translator StreetsAhead, the above trailer also explains the extent of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse's amiibo support. StreetsAhead noted that Kirby amiibo allow players to use the star dash ability at any time, while Meta Knight amiibo dole out a character-themed mask and higher attack power. King Dedede amiibo also lend a mask, in addition to a more resilient health bar. StreetsAhead added that players will be able to use each amiibo once per day on one stage.

You can trace a trail from store shelves to your Wii U when Kirby and the Rainbow Curse launches on February 13.
[Image: Nintendo]

Temple Run VR gets Demon Monkeys in your Oculus-wearing face

The Temple Run games have virtually defined the endless runner genre, so it's fitting that virtual reality defines the latest entry, Temple Run VR. Designed for the Samsung Gear VR (a more portable version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset that substitutes a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for its screen), Temple Run VR puts you into the first-person view of an explorer who steals an ancient idol and is subsequently hunted by Arctic Demon Monkeys.

Well, it won't win any awards for best writing, but sometimes you just want to get straight into the action.

"We're thrilled to see this new virtual reality technology in the hands of consumers, and are inspired by the potential for new game experiences," Keith Shepherd, co-founder of developer Imangi Studios said in a press release. "It's been a pleasure working with Samsung and Oculus to bring Temple Run VR to life, and we can't wait to see what players think of the chase."

Temple Run VR is now available to download via the Gear VR's digital storefront for free.
[Image: Imangi Studios]

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Rockstar extends GTA Online's Christmas gift window due to XBL, PSN outage

If you had trouble opening your Christmas Day inventory gifts in Grand Theft Auto Online, you weren't alone. Between apparent DDoS attacks and the likely holiday rush of player traffic, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have suffered connectivity issues over the past few days. Rockstar Games is no Grinch however – in recognition of the downtime seen with online services, the developer is extending its Christmas day gift-giving streak "for the time being."

Rockstar's initial press release specified that a seasonal tree for GTA Online apartments is among its Christmas Day bundle, but it also encouraged players to check their inventory for "a few extra gifts." The festivities will continue on for New Year's, offering firework launchers to help welcome 2015, and the celebratory chaos will be available through January 5.

At the time of this writing, the outlook for presents is good – a status page for Xbox Live is currently showing green lights for online play.

Update: The PlayStation Network has gone offline since this story was published. Recent activity from the Ask PlayStation Twitter account notes that an estimated revival time cannot be given, but adds that engineers are currently working on resolving the issue. We recommend keeping an eye on Ask PlayStation and also checking the related status page before making plans to play on PSN.
[Image: Rockstar Games]

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Omega Ruby soundtracks now on iTunes

If you found an iTunes gift card stuffed in your stocking this week, feel free to think of it as a real-world Master Ball from the Pokemon series. Why? Because you can use it to capture Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre (or at least their theme songs) thanks to the recent release of the Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire soundtracks.

There are 160 songs waiting to be captured by your iPod/computer hard drive, all for $9.99. We gave the games four and a half stars in our review, writing that, "Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire do little to overhaul the major pillars of a series that's long relied on the same set of classic ideas, but they don't have to. The core mechanics of Pokemon remain immensely addictive, and Game Freak's latest coat of polish only enhances an already captivating adventure."
[Image: The Pokemon Company/Nintendo]

Joystiq's favorite new characters of 2014

It takes all sorts to make up the video game worlds we explore, and sometimes a few characters stand out as our favorites. From the buffoonery of Ratbag to the big splash made by the Troupple King, this year featured a host of unique new faces.

As we close out another year of gaming, we look back at some of our favorites. Of course we couldn't highlight them all, so we ask: What are your favorite characters of 2014?

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Super Joystiq Podcast 127: Notable games of 2014 and GotY discussion

Latest episode: Friday, December 26th, 2014

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