ItÂs been a very active week in online gaming. EVE Online players started the week off by amassing one of the largest PvP battle ever fought with the Battle of B-R5RB, SOE announced the start of the EverQuest Next: Landmark alpha, and the studios of Brad McQuaid and Richard Garriott partnered up for a crossover promotion. All this and more along with a dramatic reading from Mark Meer this week in the news.
Thousands Perish in Massive Space Battle
One of the top stories this week undoubtedly belongs to the epic EVE Online community, who once again showed us why the space game is in a class all by itself. A simple missed payment earlier this week caused sovereignty to drop in a Pandemic Legion staging region, prompting CFC and Russian coalition forces to move in to secure the area. The incident quickly escalated as N3 and Pandemic forces responded, turning a simple mistake into what has now become the most destructive battle in EVEÂs decade-long history.
The battle included nearly 21 hours of fighting, the destruction of 75 very expensive titans, and over 11 trillion isk (EVEÂs in-game currency) worth of damage by the end, which translates to an estimated value of $300k-$330k USD, or as I like to call it, the price of a house. 55 unique alliances, 717 unique player coalitions, and over 7,500 unique characters took part in the massive engagement.
To commemorate the massive Battle of B-R5RB, CCP will be adding a new Titanomachy memorial to the 7th planet in the B-R5RB solar system in memory of the thousands of pilots and countless ships lost in the battle.
If you missed out on watching or taking part in the fight, be sure to check out this fantastic video for a look at just how beautiful massive destruction can be in the EVE universe.
Funcom, developer of The Secret World, received its own bit of raiding this week. And by raid I donÂt mean so much the large groups of players hitting NPCs for epic loot, though the process of this one is quite similar. The Economic Crime Unit authorities raided FuncomÂs Norwegian office this week and charged the developer with Âviolating the Securities Act as well as not taking insider lists properlyÂ according to an E24 report. Several boxes of files were confiscated (looted?) during the raid and Funcom stocks were temporarily halted on the Oslo Stock Exchange following the news. Funcom was said to be Âfully cooperating with Ãkokrim."
Luckily for players, Funcom is now reportedly back to business as usual while the investigation is ongoing according to a report from Massively.
From the Realm of Kickstarter
The Repopulation recently concluded its second successful Kickstarter campaign, amassing $176,525 in additional funding. The additional funding unlocked several new stretch goals ensuring that The Repopulation will receive new rocharus and calprates mounts, adversarial camps, points of intrigue, cooperative structure placement, beta round 3 slot for a friend, traveling shops, unique renaming of items, and PvP gladiator arenas for both NPC and player cities.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has been all over the Internet this week as has Visionary Realms CCO Brad McQuaid. The studio revealed five new races on its Kickstarter page this week with the elf, human, dwarf, ogre and undead revenant, the cities of Armada and Archway, and several new community Q&A videos. Additionally, developers also took part in a Twitch livestream event, Brad McQuaid held a Reddit AMA and then took a YouTube video interview with Boogie2988. We even had our own interview with McQuaid. Like I said, everywhere.
Along with all of that stuff above, Brad McQuaidÂs Visionary Realms studio also announced a new collaboration with Richard GarriottÂs Portalarium studio to develop a cross-promotion in-game cloak item for players that back both projects. Each cloak will feature the an emblem from the other game with the Pantheon cloak emblazoned with Lord BritishÂs Coat of Arms and the Shroud of the Avatar cloak sporting the Pantheon symbol. New options for the cross-promotional items have been added to the Pantheon Kickstarter and Shroud of the Avatar website.
Pre-Orders, Teasers, and Zombie Mutations
The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) revealed details for its pre-order options this week and some of that has caused a bit of a stir in the community as one of the pre-order perks for picking up any version of TESO is the option to create any race and then play them on any alliance without restriction, something that has sparked a lot of debate about the three-faction system. Not only that, one of the races has been put behind a paywall with the Imperial, who also comes with unique bonuses, crafting styles, gear, and more. Though this is likely mostly cosmetic, it has sparked quite a bit of rage across the Internet.
Most of the things provided in the Imperial Edition are cosmetic and no greater than skills or items found within the normal game according to Zenimax, but itÂs still a topic of much discussion. Given that TESO will also have an item shop itÂs very likely that the Imperial will find itself on the microtransaction block at some point. Time will tell, but in the interim, itÂs not a well-received move by fans.
In other news, digital retailers are already adding some extra incentive offers for you to pre-order from their services. One of those is UbisoftÂs Uplay, which is offering a free copy of AssassinÂs Creed III with Standard Digital Editions and a copy of AssassinÂs Creed IV: Black Flag with the Imperial Edition.
SOE boss John Smedley, a man renowned for his fondness of teasing new game stuff on Twitter, once again took to the web this week to tease us once more. Smed posted a pair of new images that may be from the next unannounced MMOG from the studio, which Smed has stated Âis dedicated to fans of Star Wars Galaxies.Â Smed also took any speculation that this was an actual Star Wars-based game out behind the shed and shot it.
Undead Labs is also looking a lot more like ArenaNet these days. This week the studio added a second of the original three ArenaNet co-founders to the team with the addition of Patrick Wyatt, who will likely be lending his veteran talents to the Class4 team. Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain was also one of the original three of ArenaNet. The only one left out of the trio now is the current president of ArenaNet, Mike OÂBrien.
Alpha & Launches
Grab the tools! ItÂs time to start building. EverQuest Next: Landmark will officially kick off alpha testing later today. SOE made the announcement at its San Diego community event earlier today, confirming that alpha invitations will be heading out to players that purchased Trailblazer and Explorer founderÂs packs sometime soon. The invitations will likely come in waves, so don't be worried if someone you know gets in before you.
Be sure to keep your eyes focused on EQHammer for all the latest Landmark alpha news.
Last up is Final Fantasy XIV with a confirmed launch window for the PlayStation 4 set to happen sometime this April. That announcement comes complete with three flavors of pre-orders without an exclusive race: Standard Edition ($39.99), Digital CollectorÂs Edition ($59.99), and CollectorÂs Edition ($79.99).
New Content & Birthday Celebrations
There's no shortage of new stuff for the MMOG fan this week. TERA is hosting its Rootstock and Pond Faire Festivals with various new in-game activities, festivities, and new items. And NCsoft deployed AionÂs 4.5: Steel Cavalry update on Wednesday, adding their final new class, the cipher-blade wielding Aethertech, the Illuminary Obelisk and Iron Wall Warfront instances, and more.
Marvel Heroes headed deeper into Asgard with the 2.14 update, which opens up the new zone of Bovinheim complete with Allfather Brevik, an enemy that IÂm sure in no way is related to Gazillion boss David Brevik.
Finally, from our better late than never department, Alganon launched its long-awaited Rise of the Ourobani expansion. The expansion was first announced back in June 2011, but for a number of reasons it saw several delays. But after two and a half years, the expansion is now live, adding the new Ourobani race, the new Warden class, the continent of Aeon, flying mounts, an alliance system, and other content.
For the bittersweet portion of our news, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes celebrated its 7th and final birthday this week. SOE announced last week that the MMORPG will be sunset on July 31st, 2014. As part of the anniversary celebration, SOE is holding a contest for prizes along with a double XP and Faction event that will remain available until the servers go dark later this year.
I originally came to Ten Ton Hammer as a volunteer for the Vanguard team prior to the start of beta. And while Vanguard was birthed through controversy, troubled development, and little support for new content following its release, itÂs a game that I still had a great deal of fun with. So I am quite sad to see this one go.
Star Trek Online also kicked off festivities to celebrate its upcoming 4th anniversary with daily C-Store item giveaways, the release of its 8.5 update, and a new 4th anniversary event. The new content includes a brand new feature episode starring Tim Russ, who reprises his role of Tuvok from Star Trek Voyager. Additionally, Q is also dancing the night away on Earth Spacedock, Qo'noS and New Romulus Command to provide players with new missions, items, and his omnipotent blessing.
And that about does it for this week folks. Enjoy the new events and Landmark alpha if you're in it and have a great weekend. To close this out, here's a look back at all the exclusive content available from Ten Ton Hammer this week.
In case you missed it...
Opinions, Features, & Satire
- Grumpy Gamer: In Remembrance of the Retail Box
- The Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition and the Free Market
- Universal PvP Toggle for PvE Realms in Warlords? Yes, Please!
- Top Five Worst Starting Zones After the Cataclysm
- The Elder Scrolls Online's Big-Name Voice Talent
- A Critical Look at Brad McQuaidÂs Pantheon
- A Small Anthology of MMO Haikus
- EVEÂs Battle of B-R5RB Claims Over 75 Titans and ISK Losses in the Trillions
- The War Report: Mind-blowing Class Customization
- Term of the Week - Alpha Testing
- Landmark vs. Minecraft - What's the Difference?
- Hammer and Nail - What class do you want to see in EQN?