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Chaos Theory: Sidestories lead The Secret World in the right direction

Horror, Real-Life, Business Models, Lore, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: Sidestories lead The Secret World in the right direction
Let me just start by saying that the fact that I have not completed all four of The Secret World's new investigation missions in the recently released Sidestories: Further Analysis does not in anyway diminish the awesomeness of the pack. You don't have to do them all -- or even do them at all -- to appreciate this new content. That's because the beauty of these new missions goes beyond the actual investigative content; it's the fact that it is additional content!

If there is one thing that TSW fans have been clamoring for, it's more content, especially content that tosses players deeper into the world and expounds on the story. (The popularity of last Halloween's Spooky Stories of Solomon Island quests sure proved that!) So even those who would rather stab their eye repeatedly with their mouse instead of puzzling out an investigation mission should be fistpumping this new development. With this new type of content release, Funcom has hit on an idea that can satisfy nearly everyone! And that certainly bodes well for the future of the game.

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Final Fantasy XIV updates PvP in patch 2.25

Fantasy, Patches, PvP, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

More vanity gear, more rank grinding, please look forward to it.
When was the last time you were in the Wolves' Den in Final Fantasy XIV? A week ago? A month? Was it never? Well, perhaps you should drop back in, because there's some new stuff in there. New armors. Attractive armors. And don't worry that veterans will have them right away when you log in; these armors require climbing the PvP ranks further, as this patch also adds ranks 31-40 to the ladder. So there's that much more reason to jump into the arena and start earning your Wolf Marks.

Patch 2.25 also adds a couple of other features. Players can now use materia transmutation to exchange unwanted materia for a (hopefully more desirable) piece of materia at random. Darklight gear has been made dyeable, and Ventures have been added as a possible reward from treasure hunts. Take a look at the full notes for a few more details as well as a list of bug fixes included with the patch.

WildStar dev donates LEGO sculpture to Child's Play charity

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Kids, WildStar

At PAX East 2014
WildStar developer Carbine Studios made a special donation at PAX East this year that included a $10,000 check and a 50,000-piece LEGO Rocket House that will be auctioned off for the Child's Play charity.

The rocket house LEGO sculpture stands three feet tall and four feet long and was created by LEGO artist Mariann Asanuma specifically for the charity. The sculpture will be auctioned off at the annual Child's Play Dinner later this year with all proceeds going towards partner hospitals and facilities.

"We wanted to not only find a fun way to bring a small piece of WildStar to life, but also see the efforts go to a good cause," said Mona Hamilton, vice president of brands, Carbine Studios. "Child's Play is a wonderful charity doing really great things with the gaming industry and we're looking forward to seeing the result of the auction later this year. It was also important for us to say thanks by giving back to the Boston community; they've been great to us over the years at PAX East."

You can check out a video of the LEGO sculpture being assembled just after the jump below.

[Source: Carbine press release]

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Trion's latest ArcheAge livestream is all about gliders

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

ArcheAge glider
When it comes to unique ArcheAge features, hang-gliders are pretty near the top of my personal list. Even the dinky little starter glider you get as part of a newb zone quest is more fun than it has any right to be, which is why I'll be watching Trion's latest livestream.

Said stream is all about gliders, and you can catch it tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Trion's Twitch channel!

[Thanks WNxArcticwolf!]

Landmark Live showcases tool and template upgrades, offers sneak peak of water

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

As announced in the latest livestream, Landmark's weekly beta update was pushed out until Thursday in order to get new systems ready to deploy into the game. (Sadly, none of them includes water, although players did get a sneak peak of it!) Today, players will be able to utilize the new tool upgrading system, the new detailed template interface, and the claim gallery.

The tool upgrade system adds a level of depth to crafting, allowing players to increase the stats of all tools made after the update launches. Unlike the initial craft that has elements of RNG dictating the final product, the upgrade system shows players exactly how the tool will be altered.

The template interface provides many more details, including which and how many materials are needed for each build and which props are involved, and even it provides a screenshot for ease of reference. Also utilizing the screenshot feature is the new gallery section of the showcase; in or out of game, players will be able to search and view claims by tag or owner name, see where they are located, and upvote them.

If you missed the special sneak peek of the first phase of water (oceans) or you want to hear even more details about the impending update or other tidbits (like upcoming changes to the EQ Worlds app, including Landmark-themed games and exclusive Jeremy Soule music), you can watch the entire livestream below.

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The Daily Grind: How can bots be so prevalent in a sub game?

Fantasy, Bugs, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO - Bots in Cryptwatch
Have you ever wondered why MMO devs do (or don't do) certain things? I have, and my latest bit of wondering concerns The Elder Scrolls Online and its bot problem. "Problem" is used somewhat subjectively here, because the infestation of AFK players in Tamriel hasn't harmed my personal play to any measurable degree, though I'm sure it's doing no favors for the long-term health of the in-game economy.

But when I see a cluster of five or six AFK melee bots around every single public dungeon boss, "problem" is the only word that comes to mind. I'm not exaggerating, either, I have literally seen 24/7 bot camps in all of the public dungeons from Glenumbra to the Alik'r desert.

Yeah, ZeniMax says it's aware of the problem and is doing something about it. But, let's get back to my wondering in the opening paragraph up there. What, exactly, is the company doing about it? ESO is a subscription game, which means that all of those bots entered credit card numbers that can be immediately and permanently banned. Is ZeniMax doing this? If so, why not say that instead of the nebulous devspeak in yesterday's update letter. If not, why not?

I understand the futility of trying to ban bots in a F2P game where new accounts are as easy as a new Gmail address and an IP spoof, but I don't understand how so many of them can continue to exist in a game that requires a CC for access. And hey, I would ask ZeniMax myself if I thought I would get anything other than a PR non-answer. So instead, I'm asking you, Massively readers! What do you think? How can bots be so prevalent in a sub game? Bonus points if you have any relevant development insights to share in the comments.

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

SMITE unveils Bastet's 'Night Prowler' catsuit

Fantasy, Historical, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Humor, MOBA

SMITELest you think catgirls are the private domain of Asian and superhero games, Hi-Rez Studios has upgraded SMITE heroine Bastet with a brand-new "Night Prowler" skin that leaves neither curve nor tail to the imagination. For a small fee, you can ensure that your version of the Egyptian goddess of cats does all of her ass-kicking in a black leather catsuit, just as the Ancient Egyptians would have wanted it.

We've got the video after the break. You're going to go click on it now.

[Source: Hi-Rez press release]

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The Stream Team: Snagging your first mount in ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Livestream, ArcheAge, Sandbox, The Stream Team

Those who don't want to adventure around ArcheAge on their own two feet (or paws) have two options: hop on the back of someone's mount or get one of their own. This week, Massively's MJ is going to secure her very own cute and cuddly kitten and raise it into a massive mount. Then she'll have to worry about random stray passengers! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to experience more of ArcheAge's alpha.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, April 23th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls soundtrack available on iTunes

Fantasy, Expansions, News Items, Diablo III, Music

Come on, baby, don't fear the reaper.
Sure, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has the perfect soundtrack when you're playing Diablo III. But what can you do when you're not playing the game but you're just out reaping souls on your own time? You can't hum the songs; you'll just look like an idiot. Well, don't despair, because you can now purchase the expansion's soundtrack on iTunes and forever have access to the perfect reaping music in your day-to-day life.

The full soundtrack can be purchased for $9.99 and contains 22 tracks with a total running time of just over an hour. Clips are available on the official page in case you just want a couple of tunes and aren't quite sure what they're called; at 22 tracks, though, it's almost more economical to just buy the whole thing.

Leaderboard: Do you need to spend money to enjoy Marvel Heroes?

Super-hero, Polls, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Leaderboard

Marvel Heroes' Avengers
I think I might play me some Marvel Heroes. Which is somewhat odd since I'm neither a Diablo nor a Marvel fan. It's not that I have anything against the latter, it's just that I've always read Batman comics and nothing but, so my knowledge of the Marvel-verse is restricted to The Avengers flick and Bryan Singer's old X-Men films.

Anyway, Gazillion's game is of course free-to-play and I'm installing it via Steam as I type. My question for you, though, is should I spring for any of the cash shop bundles or should I just take what the devs are giving away? Which route did you go, and was it the right decision? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Neverwinter will make players choose between mercenaries

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Neverwinter

When Icewind Dale arrives with Neverwinter's Module 3, players will have a difficult decision to make: whether to join up with the Ten-Towners or the Arcane Brotherhood.

In a new post, Cryptic explains that these two groups are at conflict with each other in the effort to collect the precious Black Ice. Ten-Towners want the Ice for profit and for those who have lived in the north, while the Arcane Brotherhood desires the substance to increase its members' knowledge. Once a group is chosen, that faction will deliver daily contracts that the player can take up. By repeating the dailies, players can earn enough Black Ice to create a new armor set. Players shouldn't fret too much about their choice, as their allegiance can change on a daily basis with no penalty.

Cryptic will also be introducing account shared banks with the module to help pass items between characters with ease. Module 3 arrives on May 13th.

The Elder Scrolls Online expounds on Craglorn's 12-man trials

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just published a dev diary about the brand-new 12-player trials en route to The Elder Scrolls Online with its upcoming Craglorn patch. Trials, the studio stresses, are more than your average raid experience:
One of the first things you'll notice about Trials is that they bring a new experience to ESO designed to test even the toughest veterans. You'll need a group of 12 to take them on, but they're not just dungeons that require a large group-we're applying additional pressure. Your team will only have a limited number of resurrections available, and additional rewards will be granted to those who defeat the weekly challenge with one of the top times across the megaserver.
What makes 12 players the sweet spot for these encounters? ZeniMax hopes to downplay the organizational hassle of putting together groups, to telegraph fights without too much distraction, to keep them to about 90 minutes in length, and to appropriately rely on player skill rather than zerging. Another bonus raiders will welcome? No lockout timers!

Scope out the video below for a first-hand look at the new trials.

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CCP posts EVE Fanfest 2014's schedule

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), DUST 514, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

EVE Fanfest
EVE Fanfest 2014 is just a week away, and participants will be pleased to know that CCP has posted the full schedule for the show.

The Fanfest schedule includes the dedication of a monument to EVE's players, the wrestling matches between the staff and CCP, a lecture by NASA's Les Johnson on interstellar travel, news about the future of CCP's game roster, and a blowout party-slash-concert.

The studio is psyched about the event: "Ask anyone at the CCP what their favorite time of the year is, they will say Fanfest. It is not just the players who look forward to attending, it's a highlight for us developers as well because interacting with the community is both the soul of our games and a thrilling reward."

The 10th EVE Fanfest runs from May 1st through 3rd in Reykjavik, Iceland. The entire convention will be streamed for free on CCP's Twitch channel for fans who can't attend. And stay tuned on Massively, as we will be there on site!

League of Legends introduces Braum, the Heart of the Freljord

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

Is there a Mrs. Heart of the Freljord?
For too long, there's been a hole in the many champions of League of Legends. Braum, the Heart of the Freljord, fills that hole, introducing the first truly impressive moustache to the game and allowing everyone to marvel at every perfectly waxed hair. Oh, and he also serves as a tank support character, which is also a first, but mostly it's about that glorious lip-blanket.

Right, you probably want to know a little bit more about what Braum can do. Well, he applies a stacking debuff that stuns enemies with his basic attack, but once the first tap is in place, attacks from allies will also increase the stack count. He also attacks with line-based AoE attacks that snare targets, blocks attacks with his enormous shield, and can dash to his allies to help protect them from further attacks. In short, he's a traditional MMO tank tearing up the League of Legends lanes. And he has a moustache. Did we mention that?

New Final Fantasy XIV producer's letter talks China and 2.25

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Naoki Yoshida, seen here being a friend to all mankind.
Final Fantasy XIV is doing pretty well for itself at the moment, and it's still expanding. The latest letter from producer Naoki Yoshida discusses preparations for the game's launch in China, with the cooperation of Shanda Games. Service is expected to launch this summer; the game has just recently launched on the PlayStation 4, expanding its range of available platforms.

Yoshida also discusses patch 2.25, which will be live tomorrow. Originally, the patch was slated to include an expansion to the current Zodiac weapon quests; however, Yoshida states in the letter that this system is being pushed back until patch 2.28 goes live in May. The team is hoping to incorporate feedback on the existing quest line and allow players more time to upgrade and receive their Animus weaponry. 2.25 will contain improvements to the Wolves' Den PvP system as well as a new system involving materia, so while further weapon upgrades are on hold, there's still going to be plenty of new things to do.

Age of Wushu's expansion hits May 7th; here's a trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

It's raining in Age of Wushu
Age of Wushu's Tempest of Strife expansion launches on May 7th. To celebrate, Snail has released an action-packed trailer that shows off new classes, new environments, and the new weather system. ToS also brings new face-lifting customization options, personalization-enabling equipment inscription, and new sects to the table.

The martial arts sandbox MMO also boasts a new website as of this morning. Don't forget to click past the cut to watch the trailer!

[Source: Snail Games press release]

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SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds early access delayed for more features

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing

SWTOR Galactic Strongholds apartment
Star Wars: The Old Republic senior producer Bruce Maclean has penned a new producer's letter focused on the upcoming Galactic Strongholds expansion.

He states that for GS to truly feel like an expansion, "it needs to include the full set of features including those originally coming later in the year." As such, BioWare is delaying the start of subscriber early access from June 24th to August 19th. Maclean says the additional time will allow the devs to add conquest events, expanded guild flagship functionality, the Tatooine Homestead stronghold, and the ability to place vehicles, mounts, pets, and companions as player housing decorations.

BioWare has also moved the deadline date for subscribers who are looking to get early access rewards. It's now July 15th instead of May 11th, meaning that you'll need to sub up by the former date if you want the Nar Shaddaa Sky Palace with three additional rooms and the other promised goodies. After the August 19th subscriber early access period, preferred early access and the official launch will follow in September and October.

[Thanks ninjonxb!]

Choose My Adventure: Testing addons in The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Screenshots, New Titles, Opinion, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Gratuitous cleavage shot
My adventure in The Elder Scrolls Online continues this week with my Nightblade Fa'saad making his way through Stonefalls for the Ebonheart Pact. As the format of Choose My Adventure has changed slightly, the polls from the first two articles mold my journey through the rest of the month. At the end of it all, I'll give my summary impressions and tips I learned along the way.

This week it's all about addons as I tried out a dozen or so to report back on my favorites. Addons can aid your gameplay in so many different ways, from stat counters to UI mods to quality of (virtual) life improvements, but they're not for everyone. I'm not usually an addon fan because I think they verge on cheating in a way, so I've approached these addons from the perspective of a skeptic. Did they really help my game? Will I continue to use them?

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The Elder Scrolls Online's Matt Firor posts on the state of the game

Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO's Alik'r desert
Elder Scrolls Online lead developer Matt Firor has posted a state-of-the-game address on the fantasy MMO's forum.

Firor says that, yes, ZeniMax sees the groups of bots clustered around the game's dungeon bosses and that yes, it is taking steps to address the problem. "We regularly ban accounts involved in spam and bot activity," Firor says, but the scope of said activity is so large that it accounts for nearly 85 percent of ESO's customer service tickets.

There's also a blurb about de-synched quests as well as a brief preview of the game's first major update that ZeniMax is currently prepping for ESO's test server.

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WoW Source vid on WoD's PvP, class updates

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Subscription

Warlords of Draenor
WoW Source's latest episode features World of Warcraft lead designer Ion Hazzikostas, lead class designer Kris Zierhut, and senior game designer Brian Holinka. The trio discuss everything from Warlords of Draenor's class changes to PvP to skirmishes. There's also a sneak peek at the new Ashran PvP zone.

Click past the cut for the full video!

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AoW: Tempest of Strife May 7, 2014
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