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Final Fantasy XI previews Incursion battles, September version update

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

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We're going deep inside here.  What?
Ready to strike against the heart of the Velkk kingdom in Final Fantasy XI? The new Incursion system will allow players to do just that, rewarding combatants with experience points, capacity points, and of course, plenty of loot. The dungeon can also scale its difficulty upward, posing an ever-greater challenge for larger groups and more experienced players alike. All players need are Velkk Fetishes looted from Marjami Ravine, with a minimum of six people allowed in; monster HP will increase for larger groups.

Once inside, players will have 45 minutes to tackle the battles within, including six Notorious Monsters wandering the area. Collecting key items from those Notorious Monsters will allow players to face a harder version of the Incursion the next time around, improving rewards all around for a successful clear. Check out the full preview for all of the details on how to take the fight to the heart of enemy territory.

The team has also released more details on the upcoming September version update.

Flameseeker Chronicles: What's next for Guild Wars 2?

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

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Amhlaigh one year later!
Happy second anniversary, Guild Wars 2! We've heard news on the September feature pack, did a cupcake run for ArenaNet to celebrate (I heard that there were bacon cupcakes, but why would you do that), and got some previews of the profession balance changes we can expect to see soon.

As happy as I am about that cleave on Necromancer's mainhand dagger, updated axe animations, and being able to resurrect others while in Death Shroud -- and I think the other professions got some stuff, too -- it's been a rocky few weeks for GW2. We've had the privilege of having an unusually close relationship with the developers behind our favorite game, and unfortunately that can lead to tempers running hotter when things go awry. Nevertheless, I think most of us would like to see that relationship continue to flourish and improve. So what went wrong?

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LEGO Minifigures Online rolls out a mythological update

Betas, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Kids, Family

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It's not mythical, that would mean it didn't actually exist.
With a month or so to go before LEGO Minifigures Online fully launches, the game has brought forth its biggest update yet. So what does it contain? Nothing less than the new Mythology World, which also brings an increase in the level cap to 25 along with its new areas and monsters. The area also continues the main story if that's more of your thing.

Aside from the new area, the Series 11 minifigures have been added to the game, along with the first batch of cash shop figures that includes the Yeti, the Mountain Climber, and the Pretzel Girl. Players can also find their friends more easily with the addition of a friend code, and the loot system has been overhauled to allow players a chance to build minifigures from loot. Check out the full set of update notes for more detail and get building in the game if it's just what you've been waiting for.

Previewing LotRO's Dead Marshes patch on the test server

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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These don't look too lively.  I suppose that's the point.
The next major update for Lord of the Rings Online is up on the test server now. If you want to explore Update 14.2, you can. But what if you aren't in the mood for going through the process of a beta install just to wander around in the new area? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just get a quick look at the zone without having to roam about yourself?

Good news, then, as a new video from LOTRO Players highlights the Dead Marshes and what players can expect in the new zone. The patch is quite large for a small update addition, and it contains some new enemy arrangements, some new pets, and plenty of new activities for players. Check out the full video just past the cut if you'd like to take a tour without going yourself.

[Thanks to Andang for the tip!]

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Pumpkin Online Kickstarter promises farming and dating

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

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Yeah, it looks rough, but the idea is great.
If you've ever spend hours plugging away at Harvest Moon and thought that the game would be better if it were online, Pumpkin Online is aimed directly at you. The game is on Kickstarter now, and it's intended to be a combination of the best elements of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing while also creating a robust environment for players to work, craft, and interact together.

Players will have access to a variety of professions and goals as well as the ability to customize the inside and outside of their farms. They can also pursue friendly or romantic relationships with the townsfolk, with an emphasis on inclusive relationships and character options for all players. As of this writing, it's about halfway to its goal, so if you like the idea of an inclusive game or just want to farm with your friends, you might want to toss a few dollars into the bucket.

PAX Prime 2014: I wonder as I Wander

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Consoles, Casual, Events (Massively's Coverage)

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wander
We've been keeping our eyes on Wander for a year now, and during PAX Prime I caught up with Lead Developer Loki Davison to see how this collaborative exploration title's been going.

For someone who only now got a first look at this game, it was a jarring shift from the adrenaline-fueled rides in booths all around. Instead, Wander is something akin to an interactive nature screensaver. You slowly move through the beautiful tropical setting to poke around looking for secrets and more scraps of the overarching story. There is no death. There are no other creatures, except for fellow players. And your top speed is capped at something like two miles per hour.

Davison said that this style of game is meant to be both relaxing and rewarding to the inquisitive mind. Discovery and sharing those findings with other players to figure out the larger secrets is the driving force here, but if you simply want to walk around as a giant tree with hands or flutter about as a butterfly, nobody is going to stop you.

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Black Desert gets an official Russian trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

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Back in the 90s, I was in a very famous TV show.
If your eyes are closely fixed on Black Desert, you're probably soaking up any piece of information you can get about the game. So you'll be happy to learn that an official trailer is now available. The down side is that it's in Russian, which will render the words of the trailer a bit impenetrable to those who don't speak the language.

Then again, language hurdles have always been an issue for fans of this game in America, and you can still enjoy the game footage just past the break. There's no announced release date on these shores, but with a certain publisher lined up, it's only a matter of time.

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Destiny unveils more raid details

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

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They're like every raid except now they're in a FPS, basically.
Destiny is coming out very soon, and that means future players are probably thinking about what the endgame will be like. The latest update on the official site shares some more details about how raids will work in both Normal and Hard modes and elaborates on the differences between difficulties. In short, Normal mode is meant to be far easier and allow for more diverse clearing strategies; Hard mode demands coordination and execution.

Opening raids for the first time is meant to be challenging; the devs shared an anecdote about players taking 45 minutes just to get in the front door. The developers are confident that players will be able to tackle raids more quickly once the raids are better known. There's also discussion about the weekly lockout, which will save your progress as you move through the raids. Take a look at the official update for more details.

NCsoft might allow players to resurrect the City of Heroes IP

Super-hero, City of Heroes, MMO Industry, News Items

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Rise.
There's good news for City of Heroes fans to celebrate now, even if it's not a finished thing yet. Nate Downes, President of Missing Worlds Media, has posted about a project wholly unrelated to City of Titans and yet entirely tied to it: the quest to resurrect the City of Heroes IP. He explains a story that began in September of last year, starting with a few contacts within NCsoft who led to the ultimate goal of resurrecting the last version of the game as well as licensing out the IP to its spiritual successors.

The proposal currently on the table before NCsoft would allow the game's spiritual successors to drop the "spiritual" portion of their title, enable a restoration of the game's servers for the last update (albeit with no saved character data), and create the potential for a "transition" server between the original game and its successors. While it's far from a done deal, it's the best news that the former residents of Paragon City have heard since the lights went dark -- there may be brightness on the horizon.

The Daily Grind: What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in an MMO?

Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous

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Zentia
I loved Zentia before it was shuttered in the West, but it has to be one of the most bizarre games I've ever played. Not only did it mix cartoony graphics and Daoist mythology and conga lines in the streets, but you could play a baby. No, really. An actual baby. I rolled my Vajra Guardian (a tanky character) as a baby in a diaper because why not? You don't get opportunities like that every day.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in an MMO?

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!

Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

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Moonrise
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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PAX Prime 2014: Strife learns from the past

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

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strife
S2 Games is a big believer in learning from the past. Whereas many other MOBA developers are creating their very first such title, S2 already has a MOBA -- Heroes of Newerth -- under its belt. Taking key lessons from that experience, the devs are creating what they call the next generation of MOBA: Strife.

Strife was definitely in full force around PAX Prime this weekend. The team had not only a prime spot by the show doors (complete with a mechanical dragon that players could ride) but a spot at a local grill where prizes and cosplay repairs took place.

My key question for the devs was, "What makes Strife any different from the dozens of other MOBAs on the market?" This question led into a discussion of how the team has been pulling the best elements from the genre while discarding what didn't work -- denying, for example, is not a part of Strife in the least, nor is the commonplace "last hit" mechanic.

Instead, Strife seeks to be enjoyable both as a MOBA and as a single-player experience. The solo content was put in to flesh out the story of the world (MOBAs have story?) and give players a different kind of experience between matches. I was also interested in the pets that characters can acquire and wield for their special abilities.

Strife went into open beta this past weekend, so give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

Firefall gets a Chinese publishing deal

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

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Gliding across the shores on wings of rainbow and light!
It's been a long road to Firefall's release on its native shores, but the game has more places to go just the same. Red 5 Studios and The9 have entered into an agreement with System Link Limited to publish the game in China for a five-year period. This will result in at least $160 million being paid to The9 for licensing fees and royalties.

System Link Limited is itself a joint venture formed by The9 and Qihoo 360 Technology Corp, so it's a fairly dense nest of interrelationships. It can only be hoped that the game's release will be met with open arms in China.

[Thanks to SolaRSaphire for the tip!]

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 2

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvE, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

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A rune in Molten Core
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on August 26th and is included here by permission.

In the last WoW Archivist, we covered the early parts of Molten Core: the "attunement," the grueling trash clear to Lucifron, and the weird hunter-focused mechanics of Magmadar. As we left off, the raid had just reached its first rune. To douse the rune and (eventually) summon Majordomo Executus, you had to make friends with an angry royal guy made of water.

The duke of douse

Duke Hydraxis, as a water elemental, wasn't very fond of other elemental types, particularly Ragnaros or his fiery kin. His Hydraxian Waterlords were the first raid-based reputation in WoW. You could rep up with them before setting foot in Molten Core by killing certain elementals out in the world, but only up to just shy of honored. After that, you had to run MC to get additional rep. Trash gave rep until revered, but only boss kills got you through the slow grind to exalted.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with The Crew

Betas, Hands-On, Races, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

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the crew
Ubisoft's The Crew was part of two different booths on the PAX Prime exhibit floor this year, giving ample opportunity to anyone who would like to take a test drive of this online racing game. Being the brave soul that I am and a driver of several years, I got into an elaborate car setup to see if I had the chops to handle such a machine.

While we didn't get to see the larger world of the game, I did get to race alongside/against three other players in two mission modes. The first mission, which was prefaced with a short cutscene, had us chasing down a target car to ram into oblivion. The second was a standard street race supposedly set up to prove what an awesome driver I am to an NPC. In both of these, I failed spectacularly to accomplish the goal.

I don't think it was necessarily my or the game's fault but the specific game steering wheel used for the demo. It was hyper-responsive and kept jerking around, causing my car to go into unrecoverable fishtails and spins. It was during one of these lovely spinouts that I learned just how indestructible the cars in this game are.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade

Sci-Fi, PvP, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Warhammer 40k

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war40k
After getting the pitch from Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade at PAX Prime, I was given the opportunity to sit down and experience a PvP bout first-hand. I'll share a little pet peeve of mine before we get into the meat of the hands-on, which is that I really don't like it when developers stand over your shoulders at demos barking instructions to you. I wasn't given much of an opportunity to do what I wanted to; instead, I was constantly responding to the dev's commands!

In any case, for a pre-pre-alpha build, I'm somewhat impressed that Eternal Crusade was able to cobble together a very playable deathmatch with several classes and two vehicle types (Rhino and Predator). My first class was something of a lumbering tank, well-armed but a clunky jumper. I opted instead to get a jetpack as an assault trooper, willingly trading firepower for the awesome ability to do huge leaps and be able to clutch on to the side of a building and jump once more.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hearthstone eyes an expansion

Fantasy, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Events (Massively's Coverage), Hearthstone

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hearthstone
The PAX Prime Blizzard booth was one of the larger and more populated venues on the show floor this year. A slow-moving line wrapped around it as players waited eagerly to try out Warlords of Draenor or to see Heroes of the Storm for the first time. Yet it was Hearthstone -- a free-to-play game available to anyone at anytime -- that was winning gamers over.

I talked with Game Director Eric Dodds about how this small project at Blizzard blew up into a great success story. He said that when the team noticed that Twitch livestreams of Hearthstone were drawing in thousands and tens of thousands of viewers is when the studio knew that it had a hit on its hands.

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The Mog Log: Happy birthday, Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Anniversaries

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They grow up so fast.
Congratulations, Final Fantasy XIV! It's been a year and you're still going after the relaunch, much to the surprise and consternation of the many people who were hoping for the opposite outcome for... well, I'm not clear on that exit strategy. Bragging rights, I guess. The point is, you turned out to surprise pretty much everyone, you've been posting incredibly solid numbers for a while now, and you don't seem likely to go anywhere in the near future. You can take a load off, maybe take a nap.

Now that I've gotten the congratulations out of the way, let's talk about Final Fantasy XIV and the many ways that the designers have screwed up so far. Sort of. I mean, over the past year I've been more than willing to fire with both barrels when a screwup was made, which has happened... about once every major patch. But here's the thing: I'm glad to see that happening, on some level. It gives me hope for the future.

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PAX Prime 2014: Heroes of the Storm is friendly, zany fun

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

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heroes of the storm
Heroes of the Storm's beginnings are rooted in a mod that Blizzard made in 2010 to encourage StarCraft II players to get into the modding scene. Not only was this unnecessary (the StarCraft II comunity took to modding like fish to water) but the mod gradually became so well-liked internally that proper development began in 2012 to make it a full-fledged MOBA.

At PAX Prime, I asked the team what was going to make Heroes of the Storm stand out from the rest of the MOBA pack -- or whether it was merely content to ride the Blizzard name to big sales. The response was that this game is shaping up to be one of the most friendly and welcoming MOBAs on the market. Gone are mechanics like denying and last hits and in are new concepts like shared team levels. The devs said that the root of the toxic atmosphere seen in many MOBAs is game design that focuses more in individual selfishness and potential ways to hurt your own team. There also won't be any chatting with the opposing team in HotS to cut down on potential sass-mouth.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Subscription

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wow
If you've played World of Warcraft once, have you played it for all time? I was wondering this as I slipped back into Azeroth for a look at the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion at PAX Prime. After all, it had been three years and two expansions since I've really played this MMO, but as I learned, even new shinies don't make this game feel any more or less like the good ol' WoW that I remember.

The floor demo allowed us to create instant level 90 characters and jump into the second zone, Shadowmoon Valley. I selected a character at random and naturally ended up with a Shadow Priest, a class that I've never played. Figures. I spent a minute selecting a specialization, random talents, and outfitting my hotbar with enough of a skill rotation that I wouldn't be laughed out of the next Priest conclave. Then it was off to check out this brand-new zone.

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