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Dungeons

Skyforge demos the Paladin and the Cryomancer in a solo dungeon

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Skyforge

This looked far better than it had any right to.
The latest video from Skyforge isn't a trailer. It's all gameplay footage, and it's all about showing off how two of the classes function in combat and what players can expect from the game's solo dungeons. Development director Eric Demilt and class designer Aidan Karabaich take two of the game's starting classes, the Paladin and the Cryomancer, through the Lanber Catacombs while narrating how the combat systems and ability mechanics work.

The Paladin, as you'd likely expect, is as tanky as you'd like and features a variety of sword swipes, holy bolts of damage, and drawing in enemies for large attacks. The Cryomancer, meanwhile, focuses on control, creating decoys, and blasting groups down after they're frozen in place. The video also shows off solo mechanics like environmental puzzles and solo bosses. If you've got a chunk of time to sit down and watch it (it's 14 minutes long), check the whole thing out just past the break.

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Watch six videos of TERA's new dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Free-to-Play, TERA, Dungeons

tera
If you haven't heard from your TERA-playing friends, don't worry -- they're merely in the thick of enjoying the new Fate of Arun expansion. As with many MMO expansions, Fate of Arun came packed with tough new dungeons, and intrepid YouTuber Skill Graal filmed adventures through several of them.

You can watch six of these dungeon dives after the break, including looks at Bathysmal Rise and Ravenous Gorge.

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WildStar's next big update and holiday surprise

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Now if you'd jut say that Glory is available from shiphands, we'd be moving somewhere!
The first major WildStar update of 2015 is available on the test servers now. Yes, there's a little time before it actually goes live for everyone. Creative Director Chad Moore took the opportunity today to explain to the community everything contained within the new update, starting with the addition of two new dungeons (the Protostar Academy and the Ultimate Protogames), a new Shiphand mission, and the addition of veteran-level Shiphand missions that can still be cleared solo or in a group as you'd like.

This update also includes new housing options, cosmetic options for characters (including the ability to edit your appearance post-character creation), and the addition of the new Glory currency for completing dungeons and raids, which can be exchanged for high-end equipment. Last but not least, it's the update that includes the long-discussed drop of the Datascape raid down to 20 players, making it less of a challenge to assemble a roster for this content. While it remains to be seen how well the update actually plays, it looks to be filled with a number of positive changes for the game.

In other WildStar news today, the studio is running holiday promotion during December. "Carbine wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and spread some cheer by giving out 12 Days of Boom Boxes," wrote Community Manager Tony Rey yesterday. "Everyone that has logged into WildStar during the month of December (12/1-12/15) will receive these sweet little bundles of potential."

LotRO patch nerfs essences, adds group Pelargir epic battle

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

LOTRO
A small but significant patch hit the Lord of the Rings Online servers last week, bringing with it a new fellowship-size version of the Retaking Pelargir epic battle. This version comes with additional secondary missions and tougher elite mobs (naturally). Also, the team announced that, "Aragorn's voice can FINALLY be heard summoning the dead to fulfill their oaths."

Update 15.1 also nerfed essences by only allowing one of each type to be equipped at a time, as multiple copies were deemed too powerful and an obvious threat to Sauron's dominance over Middle-earth. Also, Beornings got a bear-load of tweaks, as well as the permission to use the "-beorn" suffix with names.

The Daily Grind: Are DPS meters bad for MMOs?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

DPS Meters - WoW Interface
In the comments of Eliot's Soapboxes about MMO raiding, one Massively reader declared his own most-hated element of the raiding scene: DPS meters. In MMOs that allow mods, players invariably find a way to slice and dice the combat logs with a plugin that parses who did what and how much of it, spitting those data out into a tidy list that shows who's king of DPS and who's just being "carried."

I don't think most MMO players want to see math and numbers driven from the genre in favor of rock-paper-scissors simplicity -- I sure don't, anyway; I like my crafting spreadsheets. But the vast majority of MMO combat really truly doesn't require the rotational precision of the top raiding guilds in the world, so why do we see DPS meters being trotted out for every basic dungeon? Repeatedly seeing people as numbers isn't exactly generating warmer MMO communities, and sometimes I wonder whether our obsession with judging everyone around us "by the numbers" is a crutch to help us avoid unpleasant conversations. Did we really need a DPS meter to clue us into the fact that Bob is half AFK tapping his 1 key over and over instead of paying attention to the fight? I think we knew that without the mod.

What do you guys think? Are DPS meters bad for MMOs?

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!

WildStar begins testing Drop 4 and 20-player Datascape raid

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription

wildstar
WildStar's upcoming Drop 4 is now on the public test realm, and despite Carbine's reluctance to post patch notes, the news on the street is that this content update will be a doozy.

Among the changes and additions coming to next year's Drop 4 are new costumes for all of the races, more daily and weekly quests, an underground bunker housing option, the ability to see different armor models at character creation, a character customization vendor, loads of class changes, and a low-level shiphand mission called Fragment Zero.

Datascape, the former 40-player raid that is now being retooled as a 20-player instance, is also on the test server for those with 19 good friends.

The Elder Scrolls Online's Undaunted Pledge system promotes daily dungeons

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guides, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
Are you wandering around The Elder Scrolls Online in a post-Update 5 haze, lost on what to do? Wander no more: ZeniMax has released a dev blog today to give you some guidance.

The guide details the pledge system of the Undaunted, whose tasks are reminiscent of daily dungeon quests in other themeparks. Starting at level 45, players can swear themselves to the Undaunted faction, which offers two daily quests to complete dungeons, one veteran and one not. Depending on how well they complete the dungeon and the difficulty of the encounter, players will be awarded reputation with the faction as well as a key to unlock a sweet chest of loot. "The Undaunted chests can contain a variety of helpful loot, from valuable Ornate items and soul gems to unique items sets and attention-grabbing shoulder pieces fashioned from the very brutes you've slain," writes ZOS.

The full guide is on the official site.

DDO Update 24: Heart of Madness goes live tomorrow

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

ddo
Tomorrow, Dungeons and Dragons Online will be getting its last big patch of the year, Update 24: Heart of Madness. Considering the cheery title, one might expect scarring challenges and experiences that will drive your average player insane (including using yourself as a puzzle piece to get through a fiendish game).

The crux of the patch centers around an invasion from the plane of madness to Eberron, with popular D&D figures like the Lord of Eyes, the Lord of Stone, and Yalthoon the Mindflayer. Players will tackle a trio of high-level madness-themed dungeons in this paid adventure pack, although there will also be a fourth free dungeon that's part of the ongoing Wizards of the Coast Tyranny of Dragons event.

Update 24 will also come with cosmetic armor effects, smarter AI monster champions, and a revamp of Barbarian enhancements.

WoW Archivist: Upper Blackrock Spire

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

Whelps and eggs in the Rookery
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 December 4th and is included here by permission.

You may have taken Upper Blackrock Spire, Warlord Zaela, but the classic version lives in our hearts, where your orc friends can't get to it. In 2005, UBRS was the dungeon everyone desperately aspired to run. We begged to run it. We paid to run it. We sat in capital cities for hours just hoping, dreaming, that someone, somehow, would put together an UBRS group.

The dungeon was the pinnacle of content for classic WoW's "nonraiders" and the gateway to raiding for raiders. Quests here attuned you for Onyxia's Lair and Blackwing Lair. (And who doesn't love a good lair?) Another quest allowed your Molten Core raid to summon Majordomo Executus. No endgame PvE'er could avoid UBRS, even if he or she wanted to. We didn't avoid it, though, because the original "Ubers" (ooo-berz), as players affectionately called it, was awesome.

What made it so special? Why was it so revered, and why are some players sad that it has been removed from WoW forever? Let's turn back the Empowered Hourglass to 2005 to find out.

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen previews an upcoming dungeon

Fantasy, News Items, Dungeons, Crowdfunding, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

If you're not getting enough of an echo, build a smaller echo chamber.
The volunteer team behind Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is apparently hard at work following the release of the game's most recent update video. A new dungeon preview is available on the game's Facebook page, showing off a single in-progress screenshot and discussing the design principles behind Amberfaet, the Kingdom Underneath. It's not mentioned exactly what it's underneath, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that it lies buried deep below the ancient drive-in movie theater. Or some surface ruins; who knows.

Amberfaet is proudly held up as a sprawling dungeon containing content for mid-level players all the way to max-level raids, with a great deal of time within dedicated simply to navigating the crumbling ruins up and down. OSHA compliance is apparently not a standard feature in the Kingdom Underneath. There's a bit more information on the official preview, if you're so inclined.

Pantheon began collecting donations through Patreon in November following the collapse of its initial funding and paid development team last spring.

World of Warcraft opens the doors of Highmaul

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Dungeons, Subscription

wow
The raid cycle of World of Warcraft's endgame begins anew today with the advent of Highmaul. While this raid did not go live with Warlords of Draenor's release, Blizzard is now opening the doors a crack to let in players for their first taste of epic combat.

Highmaul is a seven-boss raid, although only two of those bosses are mandatory for players to down (but c'mon, only cowards tiptoe by the big baddies). Even though the raid is open for business today, it will feature only normal and heroic difficulties and will not be listed on the raid finder. In the coming weeks, mythic difficulty and raid finder functionality will be added to the instance.

The Stream Team: Bashing it up in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
This month's Final Fantasy XIV Choose My Adventure is almost at an end, leaving Massively's Mike Foster with just a few more hours to punch monsters in the face and perform adorable emote dances. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as Mike runs his first dungeon and tries extremely hard to remember all of the positional requirements of his Pugilist's abilities. Spoiler alert: It's not going to go great.

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 3

Culture, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Sometimes you just need to cut away the disease.
In parts one and two of this Soapbox miniseries, I tackled four of the reasons the MMO genre should abandon raiding as a central gameplay element, but one key argument has been left out until now: The social aspect of raiding.

Whatever else is true of raiding, it is definitely social. Communities spring up and keep going largely based on that raiding community, to the point that it's easy to assume that everyone in a game's population raids. There are lengthy discussions about raiding, about how to raid, about tips and tricks for clearing raids. The social aspect of raids is what I think has kept them around so long; it's easy for a designer to look at that sort of engagement and see it as vital.

Yet there's more to the story than might be available at a glance, and the social aspect is not without steep costs. Those social elements do not carry the weight of everything else... mostly because they aren't as strong as they appear.

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The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 2

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Time to take on the stock.
In yesterday's Soapbox, I had some things to say about why it's time to dump raiding. I'm writing this before I've seen the comment responses, but I'm willing to bet that a fair amount of angry shouting was involved in the comments because that's what I usually expect. But I wasn't done, as suggested by the whole "part 1" thing in the title header.

For those don't feel like reading the whole thing, the short version is that raiding is too expensive to develop for too small a portion of the players. This is a solid argument, but it's standard: You hear it every time this debate comes up. In some ways, it's the foundation of the argument against raiding beyond the reality that most people say they just don't like raiding.

There's more to be said, though, and there are more serious issues up for discussion. Raiding isn't just expensive in terms of development. It's expensive in lots of ways.

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The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 1

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Sorry, Truce.  You deserve better, but you get this.
Raiding is no longer doing MMOs any favors.

I've compared raiding to open PvP in the past, and the comparison still holds up. It's something that a lot of games developed in response to a specific genre-defining game have featured. But it's not doing those games any favors, and it might be time to take a hard look at this gameplay element that games survive in spite of rather than because of. If we learn nothing else from WildStar's issues when it launched into what should have been an ideal environment, it's that raiding certainly isn't driving players into a game's waiting arms.

But I don't want to just say that and let it roll around on the floor. Let's actually break the argument down across a couple of articles this week. Why does raiding need to shuffle off of the main stage, definitely as the default endgame model, perhaps altogether? I can give you six good reasons.

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