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One Shot: The eternal vigil

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online

Some MMO tableaus attempt to tell a wordless story, and some of those stories are up for personal interpretation. I love finding these scattered around the world because they invite my imagination to be a part of the experience instead of spelling it out for me.

Reader Chiara came across our first screenshot of the week here in Elder Scrolls Online, and it brought out strong emotions: "I don't really know what this man's story is -- but I can't help but wonder about it since I've first seen him. Did he die there? Did someone arrange his skeleton? I've no idea, but the scene just struck me as incredibly sad."

Maybe he was keeping a vigil for a loved one. Maybe that vigil is not yet over. Who knows?

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Aion's Black Cloud Marketplace celebrates in-game grand opening, deals and freebies ensue

Fantasy, Aion, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

Usually when a store opens in a new location, a grand opening celebration soon follows. Aion's Black Cloud Marketplace is no different. Starting today, players can access the marketplace right from inside the game instead of having to tab out to buy items on the official site. And to celebrate this grand in-game opening, NCsoft is offering a free pet and a special deal! From now until March 12th, players can get a permanent Palmist Acarun pet (a three-headed baby dragon) through the in-game store. Additionally, the winning Shugo Aethertech design by player EMPIREinWAR will become available for purchase; those who grab theirs before the 12th will get 20% off the purchase price. Check out the new Aethertech in the new images below.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #30-21

Aion, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Wizard101, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online, Jukebox Heroes, Age of Wushu, Music

We're back with our second part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown, this time digging into the middle of the pack. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed the first part, check out themes #40-31. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Aion EU celebrates F2P anniversary with XP and drop boosts, 4.5 announcement, and infographic

Fantasy, Aion, Classes, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Two years ago today, Gameforge converted Aion EU to a free-to-play game. And just like for the first anniversary, the company is offering special celebrations as well as announcing a new update coming in April. This year, however, Gameforge also includes a new infographic to show off a few interesting statistics about the game at a glance.

Players who log in between now and March 5th will find XP and drop rate boosts in effect. On top of that, Daevas can look forward to the chance of acquiring additional Aion coins. Then on April 9th, update 4.5 will bring the second Engineer class specialization, the Rider, to join the current choice of Gunner.
The infographic, seen below, highlights various statistics since the fantasy game went F2P, such as favorite classes and how many hours of play time have been invested in it. The game is also now playable in Spanish, Italian, Polish, and Turkish alongside English, French, and German.

[Source: Gameforge press release]

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AionSource shutting down

Fantasy, Aion, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play

The timeline seems wacky, but accurate.
It's been a good eight-year run for one of Aion's longest fan sites, but that run is over now. AionSource, a fansite operated by Curse, is shutting down over the next few weeks, first going into read-only mode before being shut down altogether. The site's current administrator has set up a new site for the community members who would like to migrate.

No reason has been stated for the shutdown; the site is not the only fan site that Curse has shut down in recent years, most likely due to a lack of cash flow. Users are encouraged to back up forum posts and the like before the shut down, while site administrators attempt to copy over some of the most useful community guides. Our best wishes to the community organizers attempting to keep the group together through the move.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

NCsoft boosts numbers in Q4 2013 while Nexon names new CEO

Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Legal, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft is thanking its lucky Blade & Soul these days, as revenues from the game's popularity in China have helped to boost its financial status.

In the recently released Q4 2013 earnings report, NCsoft announced that sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were up over Q3 2013. Overall, 2013 was profitable for the company as its income went up year-over-year. NCsoft credited a growing Lineage and a "strong" and "solid" Guild Wars 2 for this effort, as well as cost savings initiatives. While sales in Korea improved from 2012 to 2013, those in Japan, Europe, and North America all declined over the same time period.

Lineage is by far NCsoft's biggest earner, followed by Guild Wars 2, Aion, and Blade & Soul. The company said that WildStar is on track to launch in mid-2014 and that the key GW2 focus is not on an expansion but with bringing the game to China.

Meanwhile, NCsoft's biggest investor, Nexon, just named Owen Mahoney as its new president and CEO, replacing Seungwoo Choi. Nexon also announced a revenue and income increase in 2013 and acknowledged that it is underperforming in Japan and the West.

The Soapbox: Stop ganking, you ganking gankers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Aion, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, TERA, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Subscription, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Lineage II
For me, player vs. player interaction is a necessary component of any online game. The urge to engage with skilled human opponents is the reason I spent countless hours defending flags in World of Warcraft and likely the main motivating factor in my slide away from traditional MMOs and toward MOBAs like Dota 2 and Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming Heroes of the Storm. Simply put, I like a good fight.

I especially like a good fight when it occurs unscripted and out in the wilds of the world. If you catch me unaware while I'm grinding out one of TERA's BAMs or plucking gold from an ore vein in Aion, I'll be more than happy to cross swords (or trade frostbolts) with you. Winning or losing isn't important to me; the constant threat of attack heightens my enjoyment of and connection to the game's universe.

Unfortunately, open world PvP doesn't attract exclusively those people interested in fair fights. And in the games that make it possible, a certain small segment of players is working hard to ruin everyone else's good time. I speak, of course, of gankers.

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Get the scoop on Aion's new Glory Points and dungeon systems

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

When Aion's Steel Cavalry launches tomorrow, Daevas will have their first chance to experience the new Glory Points and instanced dungeon entry systems. To help players better understand these changes, NCsoft has compiled two helpful guides.

Glory Points (GP) are a new form of Abyss currency that will determine the rankings from officer on up. While soldier ranks will still be determined by Abyss Points (AP), ranking for officers, generals, commanders, and the Governor will not be affected by gain or loss of AP at all. GP can only be earned in specific ways, such as the Arena of Glory (61+), GP Quests, and fortress sieges in Katalam, Danaria, and the inner upper Abyss.

The dungeon entry system is changing from a specific timed-cooldown to an entry count. This means that players will no longer be forced to wait a specific amount of time to re-enter an instance after one run, but instead have a set number of opportunities to do so within a time frame. The entry count for each dungeon will reset on its own schedule, either daily, weekly, or even several times per week.

Aethertechs arrive in Aion January 29th

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Aion, Classes, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

If you thought you'd have to wait until the end of Q1 for Aion's Steel Cavalry expansion, NCsoft has a surprise for you! Once dubbed patch 4.5, Steel Cavalry -- with its new Aethertech class, two new instances, and all-new skills -- is launching next week. As of January 29th, players can slip into the long-awaited final new class that uses a mechanized suit as a weapon. Daevas can also adventure through The Illuminary Obelisk and Iron Wall Warfront, the two newest instances to open in Atreia. Want a taste of what awaits you next week? Check out the trailer below.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

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Aion's medical professionals are on the scene to keep you healthy

Fantasy, Aion, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play

So is this the medical show like ER or is it more like Scrubs?  I like one of those.
Even though you might spend most of your time in Aion being healed by magical sources, the hard-working medical professionals of Atreia are still out there and keeping a close eye on your health. Did you know that cold weather is the fifth most common cause of death among Daevas, making it ten thousandth overall? If not, you may wish to stop by one of Atreia's many free clinics for a careful health examination.

From now until January 29th, all Daevas may stop by one of the medical camps set up through the world for special benefits. Doctors provide potions and scrolls to players at level 10+, whilst the rotating nurses will provide players with a variety of buffs to improve their performance in battle. So are you keeping a solid watch on your health? Stop by one of the medical camps now, and ask the doctors if consuming large quantities of potion is right for you.

One Shots: All outta soul

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Champions Online, Allods Online, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous

Blade and Soul
Man, there are few things worse in the gaming world than to see players of other regions get a hold of titles that have yet to make it to your neck of the woods. First comes the flush of jealousy, then the slow burn of envy, then the mountaintop proclamation of vengeance upon the studio in the middle of a rainstorm.

Reader Dynatos is one of the fortunate to be able to try out this particular game: "I've recently stepped back into Blade and Soul with the Chinese release, and while I'm not very far along into the game (it's a little tough when I don't understand the language!), I'm completely in love with the art style and combat mechanics. Here's my Kung Fu master looking at the foreboding building up the walkway -- not very inviting!"

I WILL RAIN HOT DOOM UPON YOU NCSOFT! DOOM! Er, sorry, I just advanced to stage three.

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Jukebox Heroes: Reader request 3

Aion, Final Fantasy XI, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Miscellaneous, Jukebox Heroes, Music

jukebox heroes
Since it's our very last Jukebox Heroes column of the year on the very last day of the year, I thought it would be most appropriate to open up the reader request lines once again and feature MMO tunes that are your favorites. If you'd like to put in your own request for the next time I run one of these columns, please list your favorite MMO music track in the comments along with an explanation as to what you love about it!

So check out what your fellow soundtrackophiles appreciate and stay tuned for a totally rockin' 2014!

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The Stream Team: Healing adventures in Aion

Fantasy, Video, Aion, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team

It's no secret that Massively's MJ prefers to play healers. Other than her Assassin, all the classes that she plays with regularity in Aion are ones that can give your health bar a boost. No, the real question is: Which one should she play now? She has an Asmodian Songweaver slowly inching up the level ladder, an Elyos Chanter that never sees enough play time, and of course her Elyos Cleric that needs a few more levels herself to hit max. So who will the lucky healer be that gets the love and attention (not to mention the air time) today? Join us live at 11:00 a.m. to see.

Game: Aion
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, December 28th, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. EST

Enjoy our Steam Team video below.

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The Aethertech class will debut with Aion's Steel Cavalry expansion

Fantasy, Aion, Classes, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Mech-lovers, rejoice: The Aethertech class is finally on its way to Aion! Although we don't have an exact date, NCsoft has just announced that the third new class for the free-to-play fantasy game will arrive in the first quarter of 2014 as part of a new expansion dubbed Steel Cavalry. That means that players will be able to suit up as an Aethertech before the end of March.

Previously referred to as patch 4.5, Steel Cavalry (so named for the battle machines that are joining the fray) will be also adding two dungeons to Atreia: The Illuminary Obelisk and Iron Wall Warfront. In The Illuminary Obelisk, players work to regain control of a shielding device in Katalam in order to repair it. The Iron Wall Warfront is a new battle to claim the Eternal bastion from the weakened forces of Pashid. We'll keep you posted as we learn more!

[Source: NCsoft press release]

Choose My Adventure: The weather outside is frightful

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Aion, Guild Wars, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMOFPS, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Choose My Adventure
December is here, which means it's about time to throw some logs on the fire, grab every blanket in the house, and collapse under the mantle in a freezing, sobbing heap. This week's arctic blast has left the United States feeling a lot like Northrend, but for those of us in certain parts of the country it's just the beginning of what's sure to be a long, hellish winter.

However cold it may be outside, there's always a warm, toasty inn waiting in our favorite games. MMOs also provide sunny vistas, hot deserts, and steamy swamps, all of which make great places to escape nasty real-life weather. Even when it's cold in an MMO, it's still warm at our desks. In this edition of Choose My Adventure, I'm depending on you to help me hide from the snow that's piling up outside of my window.

You don't have to send me somewhere warm, but I'd appreciate it if you send me somewhere fun.

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