EverQuest was the first MMORPG of its technological and social scale, eventually growing to a volume of millions of players and landing on the “traditional news” cycles to spotlight the outliers. It was a period of firsts: people getting married in-game eventually became real-world spouses, in some cases; we recall a 2005 story of a newborn being named after Fioriona Vie, in another. But for the more casual players – those who did treat EverQuest as more of a game and less of a social hub – its MMORPG mechanics and 3D landscape offered a sense of wonder and exploration, blinding us to the underlying grind.

The original, pre-PoP game wouldn't hold up today. Were EverQuest to release now, even with updated graphics, it wouldn't make quite the splash; too much has changed, and gamers experienced with MMOs are no longer able to see past the grindy nature of many of today's MMORPGs.

Brad McQuaid, the man who brought us the vision of EverQuest and Vanguard, is now working on Visionary Realms' Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The MMO hopes to blend classic RPG elements that have faded – common areas of meeting, more co-operative PvE that builds friendships, and fascinating landscapes – with new gameplay mechanics, culling some of the old-school grind in between.

Last week's game news was primarily dominated by actual, emergent games -- a good thing, given the abundance of lawsuits and industry items over the past few weeks. Granted, we haven't been able to escape the legal side of the industry: Palmer Luckey of Oculus VR is still being sued by Total Recall, and that lawsuit has been allowed to proceed (barring some of the more poignant and critical points of the plaintiff).

As for the more fun, gaming-oriented content, we saw major moves for Black Desert Online as it has continued a push into the public eye, Epic Games' Paragon released an alpha gameplay trailer, Minecraft: Education Edition was announced, and Humble Bundle has more sales.

Written and video content below -- take your pick of consumption!

Korean developer Pearl Abyss (or, more likely, Dutch publisher Daum Games) has proven itself PR-savvy with the release of a free, standalone character creator for its “open-world action MMORPG,” Black Desert Online.

PAX East 2015 kicked-off to an energetic, populous crowd earlier today, and the day’s activities concluded with similar veracity: A panel of MMO & RPG veterans collected to discuss the future of massively online gaming, filling-in the entirety of the assigned theater.

The ability to hook players into a game -- ideally without requiring a never-ending grind to get to the "fun part" -- is an ever-challenging quest for companies. This problem is one that actually benefits the modding community, which is probably one of the ultimate forms of complimenting a game's developers. Modding communities show that players are so committed to what they were given that they want to keep it alive as long as possible. Morrowind is a prime example of this; even after a decade, players are still keeping the game alive by porting it into newer engines -- even the game's Lead Designer acknowledges this, 10+ years later.

Trion Worlds announced at PAX Prime this weekend that its westernized fantasy MMORPG ArcheAge will release on September 16. “Founders,” those who have financially backed the game to get access to the alpha and beta, can begin enjoying ArcheAge on September 12.

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ArcheAge has been in closed beta since July 17 and will release an open beta from September 4-8 so that newcomers can try it out before fully committing. That said, ArcheAge is free-to-play, but it will also offer Patron subscriptions and non-recurring passes for more in-game content & bonuses.

Korean studio XL Games offered Korean and Japanese gamers a chance to enjoy the freedom of creating a player-specific experience while enjoying core MMORPG gameplay when they released ArcheAge last year. Bay Area-based studio Trion Worlds (End of Nations, Rift, Defiance) has been working with XL Games ever since to bring the sandbox MMORPG to Western audiences. 

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We caught up with Producer Victoria Voss at last week’s Game Developers Conference to learn more about and the game’s extensive crafting skills, XP system, and unique treatment of crime and punishment.

ArcheAge is a fantasy MMORPG that creates massive PVP battles and features 15 crafting skills; in this preview, we’ll look at the game’s merits in the MMO marketplace.

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