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Final Fantasy XIV shows off story content and trials for 2.5

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Run on, for a long time; Run on, ducking and dodging; Run on, for a long time; Let me tell you, child, Odin gonna cut you down.
The last pre-expansion patch for Final Fantasy XIV is titled Before the Fall, not That Time When The Heroes Fixed Everything. There needs to be a fall, doesn't there? And there's a lot of stuff that can start falling, as demonstrated in today's preview from the official site. Ul'dah can fall. The Scions can fall. Ishgard can fall. Eorzea can fall. Or if you decide to face off against the Dark Divinity himself, you can fall.

Players not confronting the dread primal directly will still have plenty of opportunities for pratfalls, as the Hildibrand storyline is wrapping up with the final confrontation between the Gentleman Inspector and his thieving rival. There's also a second confrontation with Gilgamesh Greg in the Battle at the Big Keep, with the victor winning the Treaty-Blade... which sounds like pretty good loot, but Greg carries a lot of weapons, so it seems rather natural.

Patch 2.5 drops on January 20th.

Final Fantasy previews dungeons and plans maintenance for patch 2.5

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Subscription

Oh, good, two decades of dragon corpse can still move around and fight us.  Super.
The last pre-expansion patch for Final Fantasy XIV is going to be a big one. So big, in fact, that the game is dropping 12 hours of maintenance for the first part. Servers will go down at 6:00 p.m. EST on January 19th before coming back online at 6:00 a.m. EST on January 20th. As always, exact completion time is subject to change.

If you missed yesterday's trailer, you can get an idea of some of the fuss by checking out today's dungeon preview, which shows off the Keeper of the Lake, Amdapor Keep (Hard), Wanderer's Palace (Hard), and the World of Darkness. While the exact item level requirements for these dungeons are hidden, it is clear that the Keeper of the Lake will once again be part of the main scenario quests like Snowcloak was in patch 2.4. So get ready to fight a dragon corpse, slaughter various voidsent, and most importantly rescue a whole lot of far-less-rancorous Tonberries.

Final Fantasy XIV drops a trailer for patch 2.5, Before the Fall

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Although since it's coming out in the winter, it's more like AFTER the fall!  Haha!  Seriously, though, every single part of Eorzea is getting wrecked.
The final patch before Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion is a week away, and it's got plenty going on, so much that it's being split into three parts. A new trailer for the patch has been unleashed today, showing off bits and pieces of the whole thing but focusing chiefly on the content that will be going live on January 20th. You can view the whole thing just past the break, assuming you have 10 minutes to see all of the various hints and spoilers.

Patch 2.5 brings with it more main scenario quests, three new dungeons (Keeper of the Late, Amdapor Keep Hard, and Wanderer's Palace Hard), the World of Darkness raid, a battle against the primal Odin, and a continuation of the Hildibrand storyline. Patch 2.51 is confirmed in the trailer for late February and will include the Manderville Gold Saucer, while part 2 of Before the Fall will wrap up the main scenario and set up the story of Heavensward in late March.

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The Mog Log: Speculating on Final Fantasy XIV's Heavensward

Fantasy, Expansions, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Here it comes.
We've got patch 2.5 around the corner, but Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion isn't all that far away either. And that, of course, brings with it no end of speculation about what players will find because so little is certain right now. What previews we've had have been vague by design, just enough to set our minds aflame with possibility without nailing down exactly what we'll find when we start venturing northward.

Lucky for me, I love speculating.

There are several ideas I've already seen regarding what we're getting in Heavensward, some of which are so far out of left field that I tend to think it's a pipe dream of the speculator and some of which seem to be logical predictions about the future of Final Fantasy XIV. So here's a bit of talk about those before we start hearing tons of expansion news and it's all proven transparently true or false. (Midway through the week, maybe.)

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Destiny development blog discusses updates and guns

Sci-Fi, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Dungeons, Destiny

And the winner for this year's weapon of choice is... GUN!  Thanks for playing.
The holiday break is over now, and the team behind Destiny is slowly returning from the collective bacchanalia and getting back to what really matters: giving players guns so that they can shoot aliens in the face and then get better guns to shoot bigger aliens. If you've already gone through Crota's End and are waiting for the hard mode, for example, you should know that it's almost done and should be going on to the live servers soon, although there's not a concrete date yet. It's all in the game's most recent developer blog.

Players can look forward to loot updates in Vault of Glass and system changes in Crota's End as soon as January 13th, which should help soften the delay. The blog also contains information on guns, specifically on the most popular sorts of weapons that players are toting around to use during their alien-shooting sorties. Check out the full update for more details on the patch adjustments and future PvP rotations.

Rumor: The Elder Scrolls Online console version may be close

Fantasy, Business Models, Launches, News Items, Consoles, Rumors, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Second verse, same as the first...
Let's just start with the disclaimers, for those who have forgotten: Online retailers do not necessarily know the date of releases any more than you do. They just enter a future date for preorders and go. Amazon's release date for the console launch of The Elder Scrolls Online is still December 31st, 2015, which isn't a prediction so much as a way of keeping it in the system for this year. But Microsoft's listing of the game for Xbox One on February 24th, 2015, does merit at least a little attention.

Sure, it could just be a placeholder date, but it's awfully soon for a placeholder when the store could easily list December. It would also make a certain amount of sense, since the console version was originally slated for last month after its initial delay. So what do you think, readers? Is The Elder Scrolls Online just around the corner for console owners? Or is it just another placeholder date?

While you're munching on that rumor, you can also speculate about the fact that Australian EB Games stores are recalling all boxed copies of the game and all time cards, supposedly as part of a normal post-holiday stock recall. Or as a prelude to free-to-play. You decide.

[Thanks to squidgod2000 for the tip!]

Bungie gives Destiny players the gift of Legendary weapons

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

The down side was getting a legendary hula hoop, but on the up side, it is a really good hula hoop.
The holidays have come and gone, but Destiny players get a little more to celebrate this week. Bungie promised players a "small but Legendary" gift, and true to form, players have been receiving a single free Legendary weapon by the mail. It's not the same as what you'd get from a vendor, and it's not an engram; it's a random weapon that could be almost anything.

For some players, it's going to be a nice new weapon with just the right perks. That's the gift that keeps on giving. (Specifically, it keeps giving ammunition to enemies at high velocity whether they wanted it or not.) For others, it's going to be another copy of the same weapon you already have or an even worse one. That's how random works. Regardless, if you play the game, go in and check your mail. It's not a fresh pair of socks, at least.

John Smedley praises free-to-play on consoles [Updated]

Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2

If you ignore all the money I spend on it, it's free as heck!
Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley knows a thing or two about running free-to-play MMOs on consoles. The studio already has DC Universe Online as a free-to-play title on PlayStation 4, it's bringing PlanetSide 2 to the console soon, and both titles are already free on the PlayStation 3. And there's good reason for it: Smedley said recently to Gamasutra that players on the PS4 have been monetizing on DCUO at nearly three times the rate of PC players.

This isn't unique to the newest console, as DCUO players on the PS3 shell out cash twice as often as PC users. He also notes that it's a challenge to port to the console, as the lack of a mouse has to heavily influence design, plus it requires a method of dropping simultaneous updates across multiple platforms, which in and of itself can be a tricky venture. Read the full article for more insights from Smedley regarding the console market's free-to-play sustainability.

[Update: Smed further clarified his statements over Twitter earlier today. "People think we're becoming a console first shop. NO! consoles are a great place for F2P, but we have always been a PC first company because that's our heritage. We aren't dumbing down PC ever."]

Not So Massively: Destiny's rumored DLC, Elite's server blip, Hearthstone's new season

Video, Bugs, Business Models, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone, E-sports

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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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's year in review

Fantasy, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Landing stuck.
A year ago, Final Fantasy XIV was in a weird place. The game had already done the impossible one time around, taking a title that had failed badly and re-launching to actual attention from the world at large. Barring a slight misstep with housing, it had done all right. But a year ago, it had to do the hard part: sticking the landing.

Sure, re-launching was rough. But at that point it had to bank on that goodwill and shape itself into a respectable game within the MMO space. And it managed that.

What still astonishes me about the game's year of history is that despite making mistakes and bad choices, the game has continued to earn praise from players and onlookers, more so as each month rolls on and it continues to not collapse. That alone seems surprising, especially after a year like 2014. So let's look back over the year, see what the game did right, and look forward to the new year as well.

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Rumors of a major Destiny expansion swirl

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Rumors, Destiny

Languishing in obscurity is apparently not on the short list.
Speculation on what's coming next for Destiny is a cottage industry for fans, and an old image from October is making the rounds as a possible reveal of the game's future plans. The image may or may not be legitimate, but it suggests that the second expansion/DLC pack for the game is launching on March 10th, 2015, with three new story missions and a playable area (the Reef) that is briefly visited by characters but is not currently a playable region.

The image then suggest a major expansion, Plague of Darkness, launching in September 2015. Speculation is that this would serve as a sort of re-launch of the game, with bundled versions available as well as standalones for players who have already played the game; the expansion would feature another subclass for all three classes as well as a dozen new story missions and new playable areas. Take a look at the compiled information and decide for yourself how likely the rumor is in the end.

FFXIV, FFXI, and Dragon Quest 10 subscribers total(ed) 'nearly' 1M

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

For the benefit of those watching in the cheap seats.
Square-Enix has released its summary of 2014's finances with the start of the new year, and the good news is that it looks pretty rosy. According to the summary of the financial year that ended in March of 2014, the company's fortunes had improved immensely. Of more specific interest to the MMO market, of course, is the fact that the report gives some idea of the subscribers for Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy XI, and the currently Japan-only title Dragon Quest X.

According to the report, all three titles together boasted "nearly" one million subscribers, with the lion's share likely belonging to Final Fantasy XIV. Specifics are not discussed, nor does the report clarify whether these subscriber numbers are from the end of the financial year in March or the end of the calendar year in December (we assume the former). The most recent official word from Square-Enix was 2.5 million registered accounts for FFXIV in December 2014.

The Elder Scrolls Online quietly removes six-month subscriptions

Fantasy, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Well that's not good.
Players are just a little bit leery of the fact that The Elder Scrolls Online has removed the six-month subscription option from the game. Oh, sure, it seems innocent enough; it's just a change in billing options. But it's also one of those changes that's happened in more than a few other games indicating that the game was removing the need for a subscription... or that the game was no longer going to be playable at all, in the case of Warhammer Online.

The official ZeniMax response on the French forums is simply that players indicated they preferred the shorter billing options, so the six-month option was removed. General sentiment in the thread is that this answer is not entirely credible. If it really is a harbinger of something more to come... well, we'll find out about it in about six months. Maybe five.

[Thanks to Siphaed for the tip!]

The Mog Log: What we know thus far about Final Fantasy XIV 2.5

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

This is where it ends.
With all the cool stuff we heard about Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, it's easy to forget that we also heard a bunch of stuff about the last patch of the current patch cycle. I think that's kind of intentional, not just because the expansion is a bit more eye-catching, but because things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. 2.5 is titled "Before the Fall," the Heavensward trailer does not predict sunny times for Ishgard, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what happens next.

There's no actual release date for 2.5 just yet, although I imagine it's fairly soon, especially given the two-part structure and the proximity of the proposed expansion launch. So let's talk about what we know so far to look forward to before everything comes crashing down. (I'm betting around the end of January, although I'll admit to being a bit less anxious than I was with 2.4's release.)

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Final Fantasy XIV prepares for a sheep-filled year

Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

So you can complete that set you previously had going with the horse hats.
Every year, Final Fantasy XIV rings in the new year with a new animal-themed kabuto, and this year is no exception. With the Year of the Ram swiftly approaching, it's time for that most humble of Eorzean denizens to grace the helm, the diminutive sheep dotting the landscape and bleating all over. That means a new sheep-themed hat, a new sheep minion, and the usual assortment of housing decorations for those who want them.

Coming hot on the heels of the rather involved Starlight Celebration, this event has a quest chain which kicks off in Limsa Lominsa to unlock the various seasonal rewards. Players will also be able to purchase additional decorations and the like through seasonal vendors, as is tradition. So ring in the new year with visitors from the Far East and get ready for your own personal woolgathering sessions.

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