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John Smedley on DayZ and H1Z1 similarities: “this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse”

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John Smedley on DayZ and H1Z1 similarities: “this is our take on the Zombie Apocalypse”

“Not going to give some politically correct dodgy b.s. answer," SOE president John Smedley wrote on Reddit. “[H1Z1] is a survival in a Zombie Apocalypse game. So is Day Z. [Bohemia] have made a brilliant game (first I might add). They have a great vision for it and can count myself and most of the people on our team as fans and contributors."

So, how do they differ? Well, for one, SOE can spawn zombie hordes on servers whenever they’d like.

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Why EverQuest's dev director thinks we should want all MMOs to be free-to-play

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Why EverQuest's dev director thinks we should want all MMOs to be free-to-play

The imminent release of The Elder Scrolls Online - not to mention Wildstar, that other, underdog hope for the post-WoW MMO - has dredged up that argument for the ages (and ages, and ages): will free-to-play really replace the subscription?

EverQuest development director David Georgeson has helped shift his series over to the former, but won’t speak ill of the subscription model. Instead, he’ll tell us why he thinks free-to-play is better for players.

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Everquest Landmark closed beta review

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Everquest Landmark closed beta review

Landmark just hit closed beta, dropping several things - the words 'Everquest' and 'Next' from its name, and $40 from the cost of entry. The first bit seems a bit odd, but there's no complaining about the latter.

The final version will be free to play, and the only real benefit of jumping in now is, well, being able to jump in now. $20/£14 is a much more reasonable fee though, especially as Landmark has come on a long way since our first visit. It's still far from finished, but it's increasingly coming together into what Sony wants it to be.

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Planetside 2 vehicle revealed: the Valkyrie

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Planetside 2 vehicle revealed: the Valkyrie

There’s an itch in Planetside 2 that needs to be scratched. It’s helicopter shaped and there’s a tinge of Norse mythology to it. Yup, we didn’t know it but till this day we’ve been wanting the Valkyrie, a fast attack aircraft which is designed for dropping small squads of troops at the front line.

It’s coming this Summer.

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Everquest Next Landmark first impressions: building an empire

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Everquest Next Landmark first impressions: building an empire

At the moment, £30 will get you a little flag to plant in Everquest Next Landmark, but it takes good fortune and a lot of walking to find somewhere worth sticking it. This is not Minecraft, where a whole server will happily be your oyster. It's not due to be Minecraft, as awesome as Sony's demos where people just fly around and build cool things without a care in the world have been. For all its frontier aspirations, this is a corporate take on the sandbox, up to and including planning to charge upkeep on your sandcastles. Summed up in a sentence or two, Minecraft was a game that started as a toy and exploded into a phenomenon with the force of exactly seventeen neutron bombs. Landmark was built to be part of an empire.

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SOE closing four MMOs “consolidating” their franchises; working on new game “dedicated” to Star Wars Galaxies fans

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SOE closing four MMOs “consolidating” their franchises; working on new game “dedicated” to Star Wars Galaxies fans

SOE have made a lot of people un/happy in a single Reddit AMAA. On the one hand they announced the closure of four of their MMOs - Vanguard, Wizardry Online, Free Realms, and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - and, on the other, they revealed they’re working on a new IP, an MMO “dedicated" to the fans of Star Wars Galaxies.

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EverQuest Next Landmark wants a corner of your hard drive and all your internet for itself

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EverQuest Next Landmark wants a corner of your hard drive and all your internet for itself

SOE have announced the minimum system specs for EverQuest Next Landmark. The alpha is pegged to start in the next two months (SOE have become cagey as to exactly when). The specs will likely also apply to EverQuest Next when that launches in 2015.

In two aspects in particular EverQuest Landmark looks to be particularly demanding. It asks 20gb of your hard drive and at least a 10Mbit/sec internet connection.

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Planetside 2 Hossin continent due in May, a year after originally planned

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Planetside 2 Hossin continent due in May, a year after originally planned

By all reports the Europe was development hell for God. Her work was set about with delays, budget cuts, and layoffs. It’s been 4.54 billion years but the department of continental creation still won’t release the records of how exactly Slough was commissioned.

With that in mind it’s somewhat more understandable how SOE still haven’t released Hossin, the new continent for Planetside 2 which was due for release in April last year.

Well, it has a new deadline. May, 2014. And that’s not the only thing.

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SOE plan $14.99 subscription to cover their whole PC catalogue - including EverQuest Next

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SOE plan $14.99 subscription to cover their whole PC catalogue - including EverQuest Next

Sony Entertainment Online are on the verge of adopting a new subscription plan to replace those they’ve had in place individually for each of their games. For a fixed fee of $14.99, PC players would gain access to all of the MMO developers’ games.

“That's a benefit most companies simply can't offer because they don't have our portfolio of games," said CEO John Smedley.

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EverQuest Next Landmark video shows off impressive array of building tools

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EverQuest Next Landmark video shows off impressive array of building tools

We still only know the cusp of what SOE have planned in EverQuest Next. Their MMO aims to break from conventions laid down since the original EverQuest, no D&D ruleset, destructible terrain, dynamic events and AI. It’s all very fancy. However, before we get our hands on it we’ve Landmark to play through.

The tie-in game is a little like Minecraft in that you’ve a world to explore and resources to collect with which to build impressive structures but your structures can then be sold to other players for real money.

SOE have put out a video that explains this all a little better.

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Planetside 2 to gain progression systems that "aren't tied to gear or player power"

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Planetside 2 to gain progression systems that "aren't tied to gear or player power"

The one feature Call of Duty has unquestionably glued to the contemporary first-person shooter is the personal player upgrade system - a simulation of actual modern warfare, in which soldiers are granted necessary equipment for survival in piecemeal fashion based on how many murders they’ve committed.

It’s difficult for a game like Planetside 2 to accommodate that kind of expectation - it’s a massively multiplayer game designed to be played for years on end, and players are already beginning to ‘cap out’ on the existing unlock system. SOE have a sort-of plan, though.

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Planetside 2 is one, and celebrating the fact with double XP til Sunday

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Planetside 2 is one, and celebrating the fact with double XP til Sunday

Planetside 2 is one-year-old. You can tell, because it’s starting to run a lot faster, and its parents are getting an awful lot more sleep than they did 12 months ago. SOE are commemorating the year past and the six million players who’ve pledged to-the-death allegiance to either Terrans, Vanu or NC with double XP and, um, a $39.99 USD anniversary bundle - home to special camos, weapons, decals and a six-month heroic boost.

Regardless of whether or not you buy into that, however, you can enjoy a look back over the massively-multiplayer man-shooter’s short history.

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Nagafen tamed: EverQuest's iconic worm lands in Dragon's Prophet as a pet

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Nagafen tamed: EverQuest's iconic worm lands in Dragon's Prophet as a pet

There isn’t a developer making PC RPGs who hasn’t invoked Tolkien, so we might as well too. Anybody passingly familiar with the events of The Hobbit will know that dragons are attracted to conspicuous wealth like slugs to beer, taking huge mounds of coins and jewels for beds, though they cannot tell 24 carat from gold-painted carrots. So it should come as no surprise that as EverQuest’s subscription numbers dwindle with age, one of its most iconic worms should fly up into the air and settle on the peak of a new MMOuntain.

The dread Nagafen has come to Dragon’s Prophet. Albeit briefly.

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EverQuest Next Landmark Founder’s Packs let you buy into next year’s alpha

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EverQuest Next Landmark Founder’s Packs let you buy into next year’s alpha

EverQuest Next is one of the most promising games currently in development. That is, SOE have made a lot of promises of what the game will be capable of but we’ve seen exceedingly little of it in action. You can be among the first to see if the developer has managed to follow through and create a destructible MMO that does away with the D&D ruleset and static design model we’ve come to know so well.

Well, sort of.

SOE have begun selling Founder’s Packs for EverQuest Next Landmark. The offshoot project that will precede EverQuest Next.

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Dragon's Prophet: Everything We Know

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Dragon's Prophet: Everything We Know

Over in Nintendo land all the cool kids are raving about some game that lets you catch a bunch of cute little monsters and do battle with them. Here on the PC we’ve got something a bit similar, except our monsters are neither cute nor little. Ours are bloody great dragons with massive gnashers, strong enough to rip a man in two. They also double up as winged steeds and - provided you’re nice to them - might become a companion for life. 

Monstrous flying lizards are at the core of Dragon’s Prophet, a free-to-play MMORPG that looks more towards creating your own fire-breathing army than dungeon raids and PvP. Genre purists need not fly away though; all that stuff is still firmly a part of Dragon’s Prophet’s foundations. This isn’t just an MMO for dragon fetishists. 

So what makes up an epic tale of a boy/girl and their dragon? Here’s everything we know.

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Planetside 2 optimisations bring up to “30% increase in framerate.” Aiming for 23 October release

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Planetside 2 optimisations bring up to “30% increase in framerate.” Aiming for 23 October release

“Overall we're running faster across all our hardware test cases, in some cases with up to a 30% increase in framerate, and we're not even done yet," said creative director Matt Higby. “We know everyone here is anxious for news so we wanted to share some tentative dates of when we expect to have some of these efforts released to you guys."

That first major patch should be released on 23 October, “assuming that our testing goes well."

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