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    Seraphina Brennan

    Seraphina Brennan

    seraphina@massively.comColin \"Seraphina\" Brennan has wasted more money on MMOs than most third-world countries possess in their entirety. She's touched almost every single game on the market, and has been playing MMOs since the MUD DragonRealms and the era of Mplayer's Underlight. When she's not stuck to a beta test or playing a new MMO, she's at the University of Pittsburgh finishing up her Psychology/English Writing degree. Sera's also been in the developer's chair, being the lead writer of two grassroots Alternate Reality Games.

  • Win your guild a voice server by looking cool in our Guild Photo competition!

    Quick, what are the two most important things for a guild to have?! If you answered being well-coordinated and looking cool, then you're already qualified to enter into our newest contest! We're looking for screenshots of your guild looking awesome! Whether you're posing in front of your guild hall or a monument in your favorite game, or you have a great action screenshot of your guildies doing something awesome, we want to see it! But even better, we have something in it for you besides immortal fame here on Massively! We've teamed up with voice server hosting pros MMO Mumble, so you might just win a few free months of voice server service (try saying that five times fast) for your guild! If you're looking for more information on how to enter and what you can win, look after the break for all of the information!

  • Anti-Aliased: End of line

    Yeah, it's exactly what you think it is. It's one of those columns where the writer announces that she's packing up and moving out. It's a column where the writer talks about how she's been here for two years and 199 days, and has written over 1,018 posts that have included over 534,580 words. It's a column where the writer says goodbye, wishes that she wasn't moving on, but knows that she must. Guys and gals, it's been an amazing two and a half years and it has been nothing but an honor to write for all of you. I know sometimes we all disagree, and I know I say some really insane stuff that leaves people going, "Wow, she really said that aloud?" But, I'm glad that all of you still come back to discuss gaming here on my column, despite some of our disagreements. Anti-Aliased has remained one of the most popular columns here on Massively throughout these two years and I am very grateful for your readership. As I prepare to leave Massively and say goodbye, I'd like to take one final look at the MMO genre as a whole. Plus, I have a surprise announcement to make at the end! Yay surprises!

  • Reminder: Attend our Global Agenda Halloween event this Thursday at 7 PM

    Did you forget about our Halloween event in Global Agenda? You forgot, didn't you? Tsk, tsk. Well, good thing this post is here to remind you! This Thursday, please take out your level 30 characters and join us in Global Agenda for a frightfully fun Halloween raid mission with the developers! All you need to do to participate is log on between the hours of 7:00 p.m. EST and 9:00 p.m. EST and queue a level 30 character up for a raid. Raids are starting when you see the red flashing lights in Dome City go off! The Global Agenda developers, Hi-Rez Studios, will be queuing up for raids as well, so you might just run into a few of them while you play! If you're still not high enough level but want to try out the raid, don't forget about the new microtransaction boosts. They could get you the experience you need! If you're not in a raid, then join the Massively.com editors in City Chat as we tease you all with Global Agenda trivia! Winners of the Global Agenda trivia contest will win the raid instance's Halloween swag -- so if you're a lower level player, you can always try to get some flair by answering some questions about the game! Either way, we invite you to come have a great night with us in Global Agenda, so don't miss out!

  • The Friday Livestream: Global Agenda [Updated]

    It's another Friday, and that means it's another edition of the Friday Livestream! Tonight we have an agenda... a Global Agenda, in fact! We're going to be going through the various play modes of Global Agenda, live! So come join us as we get thrashed in PvP, tour the new Sonoran Desert open zone, and maybe even give PvE missions a go. But, PvP action is where we'll be at for most of the night, so I hope you all enjoy watching me die over and over again! As always, click the picture above or hit the button below to get to the video. If you're feeling social, you can also join us in the Livestream chat located at http://www.livestream.com/massivelytv! [Update: The stream is over, but the video lives on! Check it out after the break!]

  • Massively Mob Halloween event: Global Agenda's Oasis Checkpoint... Of Doom!

    Happy Halloween Mobsters! It's another Massively.com community event, and this time we're getting spooky! The team at Hi-Rez Studios has put together a brand new Halloween-themed raid, and you're invited to come along and raid with the developers! Next Thursday, October 28th, join us in Global Agenda from 7:00 p.m. EDT to 9:00 p.m. EDT to lay the smack down on some ghostly robots inside the game's level 30 raid queue. In celebration of Halloween, all of the level 30 raid queues will be converted over to run the brand new raid mission: "The Oasis Checkpoint... Of Doom!" During our two-hour-long event, the staff of Hi-Rez will be jumping into the raid queue to play as well, so you might get the chance to play with one of the Global Agenda developers! Not level 30? No worries! You have plenty of time to level up before Thursday, or you could use a Global Agenda boost to double your experience while you play. (Use boost to get through?) Plus, while you're waiting for the raid to pop, Massively.com editors will be in Dome City, holding a Global Agenda-themed trivia contest. Ten lucky contest winners will get Halloween head flair for their character, so you can celebrate Halloween all the time! So be sure to join us next Thursday, and keep an eye out for a post on Tuesday where we'll break down the entire schedule of events!

  • Anti-Aliased: What happened to building worlds pt. 2

    "And, no, sandbox design does not mean making your players PvP where the sun don't shine." Well, the first thing (beyond actually convincing your investor that your game is a great idea and that they shouldn't make another theme park clone because there's more to the market than just those games) is understanding that there is a bridge between the theme park model and the sandbox model. If you think a sandbox design is only PvP, you're missing 9/10ths of the sandbox equation. The hand-holding design that we seem to understand in theme park games needs to be crossed over into a sandbox title.

  • Anti-Aliased: What happened to building worlds

    I hope you guys have taken the time to check out our GDCO coverage, specifically our interview with Richard Bartle. If there's anything that has really been on my mind for these past weeks, it's been that. Dr. Bartle's approach to MMOs is very similar to my own personal approach to MMOs: these are games, but they are also worlds. And it's been that line of thinking that has lead me to today's column. What happened to creating worlds in our games? Now, I'm not saying that our games don't include vast settings for us to explore. All of our MMOs include some great settings, but they seem to fall flat anymore. Instead of focusing on how players can interact with the world and each other, many developers are focused on creating the coveted "theme park" environment. We have worlds filled with pre-planned obstacles and challenges that rarely change and evolve over time, instead of allowing players to interact with the world and vice-versa. So, with all of our new knowledge on how games work, what's stopping us from tackling the challenges we used to tackle regularly? How can we make world building and sandbox practices approachable? How can we re-ignite the creative fire?

  • Put the pedal to the metal with a beta key for Test Drive Unlimited 2's beta event this weekend

    You know, we don't get many racing games around these parts. Need For Speed World was one of the first games, for sure, but there was another game before that -- Test Drive Unlimited. Test Drive Unlimited is back with a sequel, and this time it's coming to the PC crowd in addition to the consoles. TDU2 will be taking place on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Ibiza. Just like before, your single-player and multiplayer experiences are blended together in TDU's "always online" M.O.O.R state (Massively Open Online Racing), so you'll pass/meet other players, even if you're choosing to play the single-player mode. This version of TDU also finally allows you to get outside your car and walk around as an avatar, buying clothing and customizing your look. And, if you missed not being able to form your own social cliques in the last game, no worries! This sequel features the ability to create "clubs" -- groups of drivers racing for power and profit. This weekend is a special beta event for the game, and we here at Massively are holding 1,500 keys to give away! Be the first to check out the new Test Drive Unlimited by jumping past the break for your key and the full instructions on how to get into the beta weekend!

  • Caption this, win a white Vindictus wolf hood! [Updated 11/5]

    See that picture above? Yeah, it needs a caption, and we need you to caption it! Of course, we're not asking you to be creative for absolutely nothing. We know that it's hard coming up with funny captions for screenshots, and that's why we're adding a little bit of an incentive into the mix. How would you guys like, oh, a Vindictus wolf hood? And we're not talking about the common, everyone-has-one, red Vindictus hoods either. No, no, we're talking about the new white wolf hoods! Our good friends at Nexon have sent us five white Vindictus wolf hoods, and we really want to give them away to the five best captions we receive for this picture. If you're interested in throwing your caption into the ring, then just click the "read more" button to get the full scoop on this contest! [Update: Check behind the break for an update to the contest!]

  • The Friday Livestream: Dynasty Warriors Online... er... FFXIV [Updated]

    Yes, that's right dear readers, it's another edition of the Friday Livestream! It's almost time for the weekend, and that means it's time for us to get down and enjoy another MMO. Tonight we're going to give Dynasty Warriors Online a try, because I've always had a soft spot for the Dynasty Warriors series. Sure, the games are horribly repetitive and always occur in the same timeline with the same battles in every iteration, but there's just something really satisfying about walking into a battle and taking on a whole army by yourself. It's just an amusing amount of fun. Oh, and did I mention we're giving out beta keys to the game? Yeah, you should totally get in on that. So, if you want to check out the action of DWO, hit the "read more" button below or click the picture above. Either way, you'll be taken to our livestream of the game, or you could visit us at http://www.livestream.com/massivelytv and join in on the live chat too! [Update: Well that was interesting. Instead of DWO, we did World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Final Fantasy XIV! The video is, as always, after the break for those who missed the stream!]

  • Take a Dynasty Warriors Online beta key, or we'll send Lu Bu to camp your gate

    Look at that man and his fancy beard. Do you want a piece of that? Do you, punk? Lu Bu (and our good friends at Aeria Games, but mostly Lu Bu) has given us 2,500 beta keys for Dynasty Warriors Online that we're giving to you guys! Now you too can step into the shoes of a Three Kingdoms officer and fight the good fight against thousands of nameless soldiers who will inevitably die at your feet! Huzzah! If you've never played a Dynasty Warriors title before, let us sum it up for you. You take control of an officer in the military, specialize in some sort of neat, exotic weapon, and then win entire battles by yourself. It's the ultimate game of one versus 1,000, and the one person usually comes out triumphant. Epic battles are epic. But now since it's online, you'll be doing the same thing with friends! So if you want a key then look no further than after the break.

  • Massively tours EverQuest's House of Thule expansion pt. 2

    Houses burn, demons run free, and crows peck out the eyes of dead bodies as you progress across the surreal landscape. The graphics of the entire zone, including you, are rendered in black and white inside of the game's engine. Al'kabor is, for those of you unfamiliar with EverQuest's lore, possibly the greatest mage in Norrath.

  • Massively tours EverQuest's House of Thule expansion

    The House of Thule. Not to be confused with the Summer Cottage of Thule, or the Awkwardly-Small-Yet-Expensive Inner City Apartment of Thule. Thule's house is a scary place, and it's a place that all denizens of Norrath shall soon be intimately familiar with. Sony Online Entertainment recently gave us a deep tour of its 17th EverQuest expansion, and it's the first time I've set foot in pre-EQII Norrath in years. Luckily I can report that Sony isn't letting EverQuest lie on its laurels. While this next expansion may not sound like much (it's just a house... or is it?), it's packed with enough content to send me through a two-and-a-half hour long developer tour. Plus, I should mention that I only got to see about half of the new zones, and none of the new raids. But why should we stand outside of this lovely home when there's so much madness hidden within? Come, journey with me, and lose all sense of what is reality.

  • Grab a key for Iris Online here and be prepared for its October 15th closed beta

    Do you need more cute in your life, or do you have a deep appreciation for tarot cards? If you said yes to either of those statements, then we here at Massively may just have the title for you. It's gPotato's newest free-to-play entry: Iris Online. Information about the game is just starting to surface, but let me give you a brief rundown. You're a gypsy-fantasy-themed hero who's out to save the world by utilizing tarot cards. The cards can be used to enhance your weapons and armor, and you can have your hero's fortune told to lay on the buffs and other types of special boosts. The game also features 22 dungeons, each one tied into a specific major arcana card. Plus it's cute, and you really can't argue with cute. Unless you want to be a cute hater, in which case I ask you to argue against this. (Conclusion: Don't be a cute hater.) But if all of this seems like it's up your alley, then I encourage you to jump after the break, where you can claim a key for the game! We've got 5,000 keys to give away, so there's plenty for everyone! %Gallery-104882%

  • Extra Life extravaganza: Donate to (and watch) our 24 hours of live marathon MMO gaming

    Hey Massively readers! We need you guys to rally up and help us help an awesome cause! As we reported on earlier, the Extra Life charity video game marathon is going on this weekend, and we're participating in it! Beau Hindman and I (Seraphina Brennan) will be stepping up to our keyboards for 24 hours of non-stop grinding this weekend, and we'd love it if you could support us! Extra Life is asking for donations of $24 (but you can donate whatever amount you wish), and this year the money is going to Children's Miracle Network. Beau is supporting the Texas Children's Hospital, while I will be supporting the UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Every dollar donated is 100% tax deductible and will go towards helping out these two fine hospitals and the many kids who depend on them. So please click on this link to support Beau, or click on this link to support me (Seraphina). If you're participating, you can also join our site's team and lend your fundraising efforts to the Massively.com Mob! For more information on participating, check out the Extra Life homepage here. Even if you can't spare the money, you can still join us this weekend and cheer us on as we livestream our gaming to the masses! I will be livestreaming my gaming on Massively TV, while Beau will be streaming on his own channel, Beau Turkey TV. The madness begins at 9:00 a.m EDT for Beau and me, but you can drop by at any time that day to watch us and cheer us on! Please contribute if you can. Every amount helps, and your donations will help give kids an extra life in their fight!

  • The Friday Livestream: Aion

    Hooray, it's finally Friday! Once again, because it's the best day of the week, it's time to fly into another edition of the Friday Livestream! This week we're soaring into the (literally) war-torn world of Atreia as we check out the early levels of NCsoft's Aion. We're going to be checking out the sunny-side of the game as we step into the shoes of an Elyos chanter and work our way through some of Aion's PvE content. Will we finally put to rest the age-old mystery of "Where's Tutty?" Well you'll have to tune in to find out! To watch the stream, either click the picture above, hit the continued reading button below, or access our Livestream directly at http://www.livestream.com/massivelytv. If you want to get all interactive with us, be sure to join the Livestream chat to ask questions of Seraphina Brennan about Aion, the MMORPG industry, or anything you want, really. It's all fun and games on Friday! [Update: The stream is over, but the recording is available for those of you who are interested! Check it out by clicking the picture above or the continued reading button below!

  • Embark on the age of adventure: Win a copy of Final Fantasy XIV!

    Final Fantasy XIV. OK, now that the first sentence has stoked the inevitable flame war, let's get to the meat of this post. The nice people over at Square-Enix have sent us a copy of Final Fantasy XIV, and we're excited to give it away to you lovely readers! We know that the game might not be everybody's cup of tea, but this is a contest you should jump into if you have been considering the title. Our winnable copy is a standard editon of the game, and it comes with the standard 30 days of play before charging you a subscription fee. (I feel like I'm detailing the features on a new car, or something.) And, as an added bonus, the game comes wrapped in cellophane! Oooooh! Shiny! Interested in how you can win this game? Hit the continue reading button, and you'll soon find out!

  • Massively.com and GameBreaker.TV: Coming to you live from GDC Online!

    GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) is rapidly approaching, and we here at Massively.com are making sure that we're on the front lines of coverage from the event. We have plenty of interviews lined up with a huge variety of companies, and we're teaming up with our friends at GameBreaker.TV to deliver live coverage of the event via GameBreaker's live show at the Vivox booth! To get you excited for the coming conference, we've provided the list of companies we're meeting with just after the break! The list isn't fully extensive, as we'll be covering a variety of panels as well, but it will give you an idea of whom we're meeting with. Plus, keep an eye out for a link to the live GameBreaker.TV broadcast on our right-hand sidebar! Their coverage of the event will be starting on Wednesday, October 6th at 12:00 p.m. EDT!

  • Friday Livestream: EverQuest II [Updated]

    Thank God it's Friday! And, once again, it's time to celebrate Friday the only way we know how -- by playing a video game and chatting with you lovely readers! This week's selection is EverQuest II, and no, I don't mean EverQuest II Extended. We're going back to the original servers for a session of non-free-to-play questing! We'll embark on a few quest-lines throughout the game, and hopefully we'll give you a sense of why the land of Norrath is still such a great place for adventuring. So if you're up to joining us, click the continued reading button below or the picture above to jump right to our Livestream and watch Seraphina attempt not to make a fool of herself! [Update: The livestream is over, but the recording lives on! Click the picture above or the continued reading link below to check out our tour of EverQuest II!]

  • Anti-Aliased: How I mine for craft pt. 2

    There's one thing that amazes me about Minecraft, and that's how a simple, elegant game can be so absolutely fascinating. "There are plenty of untapped ways to have fun without creating these overly elaborate systems or wastefully throwing your money at eye/ear-candy." Minecraft proves that games don't need all of that crap to be successful. Secondly, Minecraft also proves that you don't need to hold the user's hand every two freaking seconds to make sure he/she understands your game.