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Getting to know H2O: SOE explain H1Z1's dynamic weather system

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Getting to know H2O: SOE explain H1Z1's dynamic weather system

What’re the most atmospheric weather conditions under which to endure a zombie attack? Fog has them lurching from the white at an uncomfortably close draw distance. A no-brainer, as it were. But then, blazing sunshine offers that horrible juxtaposition of death and the domestic that the Walking Dead excels at.

Luckily, sandbox shooter H1Z1 can do both, and plenty in between. SOE programmer Ryan Favale's had rain, clouds, surface wetness and a host of other weather systems working for a while now - and is currently finishing up dynamic snow which forms and melts according to temperature, humidity and wind.

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Planetside 2 continent two years in development is now live in "early exploration" state

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Planetside 2 continent two years in development is now live in "early exploration" state

Hossin. If the name of Planetside 2’s new continent sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been bandied about since the game’s launch - and been in development even longer.

“We’ve figured out that creating a ‘good’ outpost in Planetside 2 takes about 2-3 weeks of level design, art playtesting and iteration time minimally, per outpost," said SOE’s Matt Higby. “Multiply that by 80 or so, and you’ll get a good idea of how much work is required for a high-quality continent."

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ProSiebenSat.1 and Planetside 2 part ways; EU accounts to migrate back to SOE

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ProSiebenSat.1 and Planetside 2 part ways; EU accounts to migrate back to SOE

The division between the European Planestide 2 community and its international counterpart became much starker with the introduction of the game's Player Studio, which wasn't available on ProSienbenSat.1's EU servers.

So the atmosphere today is of quiet gratitude on the official SOE forums, and of sweary celebration over on the Planetside Reddit. SOE have announced the near-future migration of all ProSienbenSat.1 accounts for Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and EverQuest II back to SOE.

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A new you: PlanetSide 2 gets implants and gives the medic class a fresh coat of paint

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A new you: PlanetSide 2 gets implants and gives the medic class a fresh coat of paint

PlanetSide 2 has been in for a spot of surgery, and has come out with some implants. Not pert buttocks or enhanced pecs, but bits of tech implanted into soldiers that allow them greater flexibility, improving loadout choices. 

Three tiers of implants are available to players, and everyone will receive a tier-1 implant: Enhanced Targeting to kickstart the body modification craze. More implants can “drop", a bit like a traditional loot system but absent the actual act of looting, or can be purchased for certs or Station Cash. 

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Landmark’s Landmarks of Landmark contest goes live with Landmark video depicting landmark landmarks made in Landmark

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Landmark’s Landmarks of Landmark contest goes live with Landmark video depicting landmark landmarks made in Landmark

SOE’s EverQuest Next tie-in game, Landmark, allows players to construct buildings out of voxel parts. It’s something the game’s community have latched onto with a passion and used to make incredible architecture.

On top of a video showing off the creative work of players, SOE have announced a contest. The winners of the Landmarks of Landmark competition will see their work permanently added to the game’s world.

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SOE think they've figured out how to make paid-for items lootable in H1Z1

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SOE think they've figured out how to make paid-for items lootable in H1Z1

H1Z1 is SOE’s DayZ-inspired zombie survival sim, about killing a man for his sweet goggles. But it’s also a fully-fledged free-to-play MMO - with permanent gear purchasable from its in-game store.

Do you see the problem yet? SOE do - and they reckon they’ve already come up with an acceptable solution. One that’ll uphold the game’s values of inventory murder, without leaving paying players screaming.

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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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