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STO Free to Play | STOked 96

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The free-to-play announcement leaked out this week, and we’re here to discuss the details that are available so far. We’ve got the original smoking gun, dev posts, and some tea leaves to read as well. Wouldn’t you know it… we take a week off for PAX and the whole world of STO goes topsy-turvy!

Then we’ll discuss the Borg DSE Red Alerts, a few quick Tweet Leaks, and then it’s time for another round of the Foundry Files!

It’s a great big show, so hold on tight!

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Show Notes:

Rumor Busting with Al

TOS Phaser Fiasco?

  • Solution: TOS Phasers are no longer unique, but are lower in quality than the leveled version you get from completing the Devidian series of missions.

New Ships on TRIBBLE:

  • Feds get a Galaxy variant – the Venture Class
    • Special Ability is an AOE Jam Sensors (short range), plus Confuse, and Perception debuff.
    • Console can only be equipped on Galaxy-type ships, but all tiers.
    • The power looks like the spread used in Best of Both Worlds, to “blind” the Borg to the shuttle containing Data and Worf, when they went over to the cube to rescue Picard.
    • The ship design actually was inspired by a design from Perpetual Entertainment
  • KDF gets a Vor’cha variant – [the Vor’Kang class]
    • Special Ability is a chain lightning attack that gets more powerful with each jump.
    • Console is universal, but only fits on a battle cruiser, carrier, or orion cruiser.

Feedback Threads:


STO goes F2P
Original “announcement” came as a bullet point during an investor meeting, from PWE’s CEO

Follow-up posts by Devs:

Details we know so far:


/Jeremy’s Thoughts/ –

  • Increase number of people at low levels
  • Churn / turnover could have a negative impact on the community if not watched closely
  • STO has one HUGE leg up on the rest of F2P games: The Foundry

/Chris’ Thoughts/ –

  • Could lower the barrier for existing Trek fans, that are not gamers.
  • Weeklies + Foundry = sure fire ticket to get freebies to upgrade to a full sub.
  • Helps those who get butt hurt over content drought’s coast out the dry times, and pop right back to monthly when the goods are there.

POLL: Share your thoughts:

/“STO Free to Play: Good or Bad?”/

Dan Stahl appears on “Computer Ed” talk show

  • He talks about Steam’s adoption of F2P
  • Digital distribution overcoming shelf space for PC gaming, but you have to eliminate the barrier for entry to entice people to download.
  • Content creation will SPEED UP, due to PWE (they know that CONTENT drives MTs)
  • PWE and Atari were already swapping MMO war stories as far back as a year ago
  • Some minor info about the “Core Team” and their work on the “Secret Project”

The BORG INVASION has begun!

  • join the “REDALERT” global chat channel
    • A little tiny bit dumb that there’s no in-game option to track them.
  • Tons of accolades! OMG
  • Jeremy doesn’t like the V’Ger tie-in. Booooooo.


A new Star Trek TV show being pitched?


“Time the Enemy” by Havraha


How do you keep your fleet strong?

Leave your feedback below for next week’s episode!

Written by chris

September 5th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Great Linux Games | LAS | s18e01

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Linux isn’t known for gaming, today we change that forever! We’ve got a batch of games that will keep you fragging for hours!

Then – We load you up on the details for the next Ubuntu release and the Gnome 3 outburst heard around the world!

All this week on, The Linux Action Show!

Thanks to: Use our codes LINUX to save 10% at checkout, or LINUX20 to save 20% on hosting!

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Episode Show Notes:

Runs Linux:

Flying Drone Can Crack Wi-Fi Networks, Snoop On Cell Phones, Runs Linux

Android Pick:

Linux Pick:


Linux Gaming:


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Catch the show LIVE at 10am on Sunday:

Rusty Hearts | MMOrgue 12

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As convention season rolls on, we’ve begun gearing up for GamesCom and PAX Prime. NCSoft and ArenaNet have started their hype engines in anticipation, and we’ve got information and opinions to share with you regarding their announcements.

The heart of today’s episode will be a hands-on first-impression gameplay extravaganza, of Perfect World Entertainment’s new side-scroller action RPG, Rusty Hearts. The game recently entered Closed Beta, and I’ve got gameplay and info to show you whether or not it’s worth your gaming time to get excited for the impending launch of this title.

Also, share your thoughts regarding the psuedo-MMO, League of Legends! Should the MMOrgue cover this wildly popular arena-style PvP game, or does it not have a place among discussion of the MMO industry?

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Show Notes:

T-Shirt of the Week:

“I am the Chosen One”

* I am the Chosen One – Baseball Jersey
* I am the Chosen One – Tee

Officially attending PAX Prime 2011

Aug 26-28
Maybe we can meet up?
+ Watch my Twitter (@JBJeremy) and Jupiter Colony for more info on that, but definitely let me know if you’re planning to attend.
+ This might also mean no official episode the week following, but I’m hoping to roll out mini-episodes filled with footage from the floor, interviews, and anything else I can shove my camera in front of.
+ More scheduling information on that will be announced in a future episode, as we draw closer to the convention.

Before we move on to today’s main editorials, I’d like to request your feedback on the topic of…

League of Legends

Are you interested? A current player?
I’m considering a future episode about the title due to some recent news coverage, to discuss the psuedo-MMO nature of this online arena game, but would like to hear thoughts from the community before I move forward with the planning and research.

Recent LoL news that’s caught my eye:

Ten LoL matches are created each SECOND (3.7 mil hours a day in-game)
LoL boasts 15million registered accounts

If you have any opinions to share on the matter, please head to our show page and post a reply at the bottom of that page.

NCSoft – new developments…

NCSoft announcing new MMO title at Gamescom

Announcement from developer = Carbine Studios
+ “…games that can adapt to you instead of the other way ‘round.”
+ While the game will be unveiled at Gamescom, they will also be at PAX where I’ll try and drag out more information, if they’re really innovating the MMO market.

MMOCrunch researches recent trademark registrations … but it’s just names, no details
* Influx
* Blighted Empire (rumored to have something to do with Guild Wars)
* Wildstar

The artwork on Carbine’s site gives the game world a decidedly fantasy flair, but also with what COULD be steampunk elements.

NCSoft obtains a controlling interest in smart phone app company, Hotdog Studios
(makers of mobile action RPG, Dark Shrine)
+ As an article on Massively points out, NCSoft has been very cautious about moving into the mobile gaming space so far, so this move came as something of a surprise.
+ May have something to do with the intention to develop an online mobile presence for Guild Wars 2…

Rusty Hearts – First Impressions

Official Homepage and Beta Signups

A side-scroller-ish hack & slash adventure grind, reminiscent of older console games like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. But with the addition of persistent character advancement in the forms of skill and gear progression.

  • Gender-locked classes (cut scenes, story a focal point)
  • Camera-locked scroller experience
  • Repetitive grinding
  • Unique controls with a strange learning curve
  • Best on a controller, but UI doesn’t feel like a console port
  • Cash shop (items obtainable in-game via crafting, mostly)
  • STAMINA system limiting grind of dungeons (doesn’t eliminate ability to play, just lessens rewards)

So far, I get the impression that the gameplay is not deep enough to satisfy the average gamer, but may interest anyone that would enjoy an anime-take on a Castlevania-like story. And with its low-low pricetag (free), maybe a weekend jaunt would be in order to find out whether or not this unique multiplayer experience is up your alley.

Rusty Hearts is still in Closed Beta, but more invites are being sent out on a fairly regular basis. Keep your eyes on Perfect World Entertainment’s website to find out more about Open Beta, and the eventual launch.

Tease of the Week

Guild Wars 2 PvP and Customization Coming at GamesCom
Since these same demos are likely to be available at PAX, I may hold off on reporting until I’ve gotten a load of them myself.

Unless something BIG happens in the MMO world, next week’s episode will be dedicated to the Best of MMO music, using many of the suggestions sent in by you guys.

Written by chris

August 6th, 2011 at 9:45 am

All Hail F2P! | MMOrgue 7

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Since the beginning of the year, nearly a dozen different subscription-driven titles have announced their intention to switch to various versions of Free-to-Play subscription models, across the MMO landscape. In today’s episode we’ll look at a few of the most recent additions to this playing field, and discuss the ins-and-outs of their particular takes on the F2P concept. How are they moving from premium subscriptions without alienating existing consumers? How will they market themselves to new gamers? Find out on this week’s MMOrgue!

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Show Notes:

Fallen Earth
Being republished by GamersFirst, who also recently resurrected APB 

Corrections about GamersFirst — Ep. 2 of MMOrgue
Response from GamersFirst

  • I incorrectly stated that they are an Asian company. This is just flat-out incorrect, and I’d like to apologize to the crew over there for getting my wires crossed during my research phase.
  • To be frank, I got their acquisition and relaunch of APB mixed up with Hanbitsoft and the relaunch of Hellgate. Embarassing!
  • GamersFirst is actually a California-based company, and entirely stationed here in the Western market. And while they have a world-wide presence, they don’t consider themselves to be marketing to an “eastern” market by any means.
  • That being said, I believe my criticisms about their “Pay To Win” cash shop still stand, including the fact that this type of F2P model is more common, and more accepted, in the East.

Now… moving on to CURRENT news, GamersFirst announced about a week ago that they were partnering up with the makers of Fallen Earth. Shortly after that announcement, the info surfaced that Fallen Earth would soon be relaunched under a new F2P subscription model.

Since I have never gotten my hands on Fallen Earth, the best thing I can say about this move is that I will soon be able to do so. Without it costing me a cent.

  • This, I think, is a very important statement to nail home, about the concept of F2P in general…
    • MMOs are seen as long-term investments, by the typical MMO gamers. We’re not generally looking for a game that will keep us entertained for a weekend, or a summer. We want longevity, community, commitment, and enough content to satisfy the cost of investing in a title.
    • This attitude was ingrained in us from the standard Premium Subscription model, where a box costs as much as a standalone game, but then you also have to pay monthly to continue to play.
      • Under a F2P model, the client is generally given away free, and a huge portion of the gameplay is available without spending one red cent.
      • By eliminating this barrier of entry, you can accomplish two separate financial goals:
        • 1) MMO gamers accustomed to monthly subscriptions are now more willing to “try out” your title without having to drink your kool-aid.
        • 2) Gamers that are unwilling to pay monthly subscription fees are introduced to a whole new style of gameplay.
        • Even if only a small % of either type of gamer stick around, it’s still an improvement.

The core Fallen Earth team of devs will be staying in their current location, and remain employed as a separate game studio under Reloaded Productions (GamersFirst’s dev wing).

According to their dev blog, they hope that an influx of new players, and possibly more funding, will allow them to follow up on features and content that they’ve had plans for, but no resources to follow up on.

Subscription Tiers:

  • Free: Unlimited free trial. No reward points. Similar restrictions on trade & crafting to current “Trial” accounts.
  • Low Premium: Costs less than current sub. No reward points.
  • Mid Premium: Same as current sub ($15/mo). Monthly reward points. XP bonus.
  • High Premium: More than current sub. Monthly reward points. Bigger XP bonus. “Premium Aura” which allows many bonuses to be shared with their teammates. This aura stacks.

All tiers enjoy unlimited content. FE devs want you to play in their world with your friends, regardless of how much money either of you decide to spend on the product.
I’ll also say this: I’m not a fan of many of the design choices made in APB, but there appear to be different minds behind Fallen Earth’s transition. If they can steer away from the money-grubbing attitude present in APB – which they SEEM to be doing, based no their dev blog and community posts – then I could definitely see this breathing new life back into this rather unique, but barely alive, title.

These changes are supposed to take place in Q4 of 2011. Vague!

LEGO Universe

My Review at Ten Ton Hammer

Raise your hand if you didn’t see this coming. *raise*

Press Release

Why didn’t I see it coming? I mean, it was already cheap, and only a moderate success in the online space. Gazillion Entertainment already sold it back to LEGO Corp a few months back. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, so why does it?

Because it’s aimed at KIDS.

Cash Shops are a necessity of F2P models – it’s how you make money. LEGO U would need to make its shop easily accessible, without putting Daddy’s credit card in the hands of a spendy 10 year old with a passion for fashion.

So what is LEGO doing? NO CASH SHOP! Problem solved… kinda…

This is not a truly free-to-play version of LEGO Universe, as the headlines indicate. This free TRIAL version of LEGO U will only include 2 adventuring zones and one personal property area, whereas the full game features almost a dozen of each.

This is insidious!

The adventuring side of LEGO is not its true selling point. If you want a good LEGO-themed adventure game, you’re far better-off playing one of their standalone console or PC titles, like LEGO Star Wars, etc. The mini-games, like racing and a shooting gallery, are the only bits that stand out.

So what does that leave you with? Building things! This is the core joy of LEGO to begin with, and they’re allowing you access to it in the Free Trial version… kinda…

With only one property to build on, the canvas for your bricky masterpieces is limited. Furthermore, with only 2 adventuring zones available where you can collect bricks, the amount of models you can effectively construct will be massively limited. Anyone hoping to build a truly epic construction of their own will likely be FORCED to subscribe to the full game, simply to gain access to the full range of Brick and Model vendors available in zones that will otherwise be beyond their reach as Trial Accounts.

In summary, I’d like to say “Shame On You” to LEGO Corp for their misleading Press Release and disingenuous use of the phrase “Free to Play.” And a secondary “check your info” to every MMO news site out there that ran with the headline before reading the fine print.

The FREE TRIAL of LEGO U will become available in August of this year.

City of Heroes

Download Link:

Renaming the project, City of Heroes Freedom.

No colon? No apostrophe? That’s terrible grammar! ARRGH.

I don’t have much to say about this, except that this swap was simultaneously, inevitable and a surprise to me.

  • Inevitable: The superhero market is reaching saturation, between COH, CO, DCUO and the upcoming Marvel MMO. With CO being a primary player in that subcategory, and offering its content under a F2P subscription model.
  • Surprise: NCSoft has never shown itself to be a proponent of this model. 4 out of their 5 big titles are currently subscription-driven, with the remaining title still charging a box fee.

Details of subscription model:

Current subscriptions = VIP access. Full content + 400 Paragon Points per month
Prior subscription = Premium access. Free + Anything you previously purchased or earned with Reward Points (expansion packs, etc)
No subscription = Free. Limited content. Buy Paragon Points with cash.

VIPs will also have access to an exclusive server (no F2P allowed!)

Free players will not have access to Mission Architect.
Unsurprising, but kind of a let-down. UGC is a big draw for this game. But I suppose you have to convince new players to pay for SOMEthing.


These three up-and-comers join a cast of dozens, including prominent titles like:
Age of Conan
Global Agenda
Ragnarok Online
Champions Online
and of course, DDO and LOTRO

On a completely different topic, I’d like to drop this week’s big speculation on you: Pottermore

By the time this episode airs, we may already know the answer as JK Rowling’s YouTube page says that a big announcement will be forthcoming on June 23rd. I won’t lie – I’m a Harry Potter fan, and firmly believe that an MMO in that universe could potentially be a BLAST to play. Or could fail so hard it would make the entire island of Great Britain sink into the ocean. Either way, I’m keeping an eye on this one.

Next Week:
Player Housing
Some of the best examples, and the worst, and perhaps even get to the bottom of why this particular feature has such a spotty implementation history throughout MMOs.

  • Best current example, EQ2
  • Worst, STO
  • CO getting “Hideouts” soon
  • Gods & Heroes will have “Estate System” (releasing today)

So until then… play smart, and target their healers first!

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