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Vice vs Virtue PvP system arrives on Ultima Online's test center

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Dungeons, Subscription

In testing now on Ultima Online's test server is publish 86.3, better known as the Vice vs Virtue patch. You remember the virtues, those iconic and ambiguous philosophical principles guiding the Avatar? OK, now forget all that because peeveepee, guys.

Yes, Vice vs Virtue is a a new system designed to bring a fresh version of Order and Chaos consensual PvP -- any PvP, really -- to landmasses that are currently PvE, including Trammel and most of the expansion territories launched in the last forever. The opt-in faction-based system brings the battle to the core cities of the game and rewards participants with a special currency that can be traded for everything from mounts and artifacts (gear) to murder pardons and hair dye. Look, UO players take their hair dye very seriously.

The patch also introduces new trader quests to the game and revamps dungeon loot spawns to encourage ventures to the open-PvP Felucca facet. The devs have invited players to help stress test the systems this afternoon.

Destiny unlocks its first raid and goes on sale

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

Reacting to tepid launch reviews with a raid may not be the selling point the developers are hoping for?
Destiny hasn't been out for every long now, but if you've been power-leveling along, you might very well be level 26 or above. And that's a good thing if you want to take on the game's first raid, which has just been unlocked for players. The Vault of Glass can now be entered, with hardcore enthusiasts already rushing to be the first one to clear its challenges. As with all of Destiny's raid content, a fire team must be assembled out of members of your friend list, as there is no matchmaking option for Vault of Glass.

Haven't yet picked up the game? Well, you can do so now at a discount; despite the short amount of time Destiny has been out, retailer BrandsMart is reportedly offering the game for $30, which larger retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart may or may not price match. (Reports are conflicting.) While you likely won't be ready for the Vault of Glass if you take the offer, you will be able to get in on the ground floor a fair bit cheaper, so it's still a win.

Kotaku argues that as of this morning, Destiny has "resoundingly mediocre review scores" with "76.29% on GameRankings and a 77 on Metacritic." Our sister site Joystiq reviewed the game this morning, giving it four out of five stars.

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 3

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Classes, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvE, Hands-On, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

Ragnaros
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 September 12th and is included here by permission.

If you missed part 1 and part 2, that means you were late for the raid and we're docking you 50 DKP. Next time get here early to help the warlocks farm soul shards.

OK, fellow archivists! We've cleared trash, we've decursed, we've pulled Geddon to Garr's room, we've brefriended the Duke, and we've doused every fiery rune. It's time to delve into the core of the Core to take on the Majordomo and Ragnaros himself, 2005 edition.

The invincible majordomo

Undefeated in battle, Executus rose through the ranks of Ragnaros's lieutenants to become the Firelord's majordomo. He did not appear until you doused all the runes, so the earliest raids on Molten Core had to stop after Golemagg and Sulfuron due to an Aqual Quintessence shortage.

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Full SWTOR expansion information coming this month

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons, MMORPG

Full SWTOR expansion information coming this month
If you're like many other players of Star War: The Old Republic, then you've been wondering and waiting to hear what the fabled next expansion is supposed entail. Producer Bruce Maclean told forumgoers earlier this week that they will have to wait only until the end of the month, explaining that the team didn't want to give away any content spoilers.

Now that the gurrcat is out of the bag with Update 2.10, information about 3.0 is right around the corner. Maclean wrote today, "We're letting folks have a little time with Rakata Prime and then spilling the beans on 3.0. Look for a teaser within a week, and then a full announce before the end of [the] month!"

We're guessing the Rakata Prime flashpoint has more than a little to do with it...

The Daily Grind: What's the ideal MMO raid length?

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

Destiny
I thought it was interesting earlier this month when Bungie explained Destiny's raids: They're smaller than what MMO players would expect from a raid (six players), but they come with some rather old-school MMO lengths, lockouts, and death penalties. One test group, the devs said, took 45 minutes just to get to the front door!

Bungie doesn't expect MMO-savvy players to take nearly that long once they've soaked up some internet guides, of course, but the article did make me wonder what gamers are willing to tolerate raid-length-wise nowadays. I remember giant raids that went on for days in EverQuest all the way up to quickie group-finder raids in World of Warcraft. Making them shorter (and cutting out the trash) didn't really make them easier or less fun, but it sure did enable more people to play them, which seems like a better way to justify the dev time spent on them. What do you think: What's the ideal MMO raid length?

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 trims back attunement requirements

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

So that got fixed up real nice.
If you're still slamming your head against the wall of WildStar's raid attunement, the game's most recent small patch will make your life a bit easier. The medal requirements for Veteran dungeons have been lowered to only Bronze, achieved simply by clearing the dungeons. Players will also be required to kill only 12 out of 18 bosses to complete a step of the chain, with progress applied retroactively via achievements where applicable. It won't strip away the overall length and complexity of the process, but it will make it a bit less onerous.

This patch also improves the process of acquiring new AMP and Ability Tier points, adding them to PvP vendors, including them in Path progression, and upping their world drop rates. Aside from a handful of bugfixes and balance changes, the patch doesn't contain any new content, but it should give players trying to get into content a little more incentive to keep moving.

World of Warcraft outlines anniversary plans, delays Draenor raid

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Subscription

WoW
Blizzard has released a new World of Warcraft dev blog clarifying its 10th anniversary plans in light of Warlords of Draenor's impending launch on November 13th. In short, the festivities will begin on November 21st and run until well after the holidays on January 6th. Those who pony up for a sub in that time period will be awarded the Molten Corgi minipet. If you rush to the new level cap in time, you'll also be able to play through the new level-capped Molten Core raid; if not, then you can still play the new Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground, which comes in both level 90-99 and level 100 brackets.

Blizzard further notes that the new PvP season and the normal and heroic versions of Draenor's first raid dungeon, Highmaul, will not open until December 2nd to "make sure that everyone [has] had time to level up." Highmaul's LFR and mythic modes will open another week after that.

Massively's sister site WoW Insider also has some good news for Draenor devotees this morning: It appears that facial recustomization is now part of the regular barber shop in beta, possibly alleviating the fears of those worried about being saddled with an ugly pixel face once the new race models are live.

Star Wars: The Old Republic launches the Legacy of the Rakata

Sci-Fi, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons, Subscription

In hindsight I sort of wish any of us knew how to read Rakata writing.  We can't feed this into HoloGoogle Translate.
The Rakata are kind of a big deal in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Their influence is everywhere in both the leveling game and in the overall lore, and finding out what their deal is kind of trumps other priorities of the week. So the new Legacy of the Rakata flashpoint that's just been added to the game should be of particular interest to lore hounds, as well as anyone looking to the completion of the game's Forged Alliances storyline.

The flashpoint sees players exploring the ruins of Rakata Prime, learning more about the Star Forge with Agent Theron Shan and Lord Lana Beniko, and exploring the ruins with smuggler Jakarro. It's a tactical flashpoint, as well, which makes it that much easier for players to explore and discover more of the story while leading into the next major expansion storyline. If you're interested in seeing what the Rakata left behind, you can log in now and try the flashpoint out.

Pirate101 adds Tower of Moo Manchu, tweaks Cool Ranch

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Pirate101

Are you a high-level pirate in Pirate101? Have you completed all of Mooshu and all of the Moo Manchu side quests? If so you can partake of the Tower of Moo Manchu, a ten-level group dungeon that KingsIsle says is the toughest content that Pirate101 players have ever faced.

This week's update also revamps the world of Cool Ranch with fast transport services and content tweaks including improved drop rates and encounter overhauls. There's plenty more to Pirate101's latest patch, but you'll need to head to the official site to read it all!

Destiny's live-action trailer and Dust Palace Strike walkthrough

Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny
We've got two new videos from upcoming sci-fi shooter-MMO Destiny today. The first is the live-action "Become A Legend" trailer from Bungie. The second is from the official PlayStation blog, and it highlights Destiny's three-man level 18 Dust Palace Strike mission, a "long-form, loot-dropping mission" in which players "team up with two friends and take down the Cabal in an ancient ruin on Mars." The replayable, 30-minute mission is exclusive to PlayStation editions until later this fall.

Buy-to-play Destiny launches next week for those who have a PS3 and PS4. Catch the videos after the break!

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WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 2

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

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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Tamriel Infinium: Five reasons to return to Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Today seems as good a time as any to mention returning to Elder Scrolls Online. I'm not talking personally, mind you, as I've been playing pretty consistently since early access. The winds of MMO change are doing their thing, though, and I'm seeing a bunch of thinking-about-returning-but-have-some-questions threads at my usual ESO forum hangouts.

Maybe this is due to all the fail trolls glomping onto WildStar while eyeing the fast-approaching North American version of ArcheAge. Or maybe it's because ZeniMax has added quite a bit of post-launch tastiness to its ESO recipe.

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The scoop on Elder Scrolls Online's Dragonstar arena

Fantasy, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's fourth update arrives next month, a new type of content will open to players: themed PvE arenas. The first of 10 such arenas, Dragonstar, is the subject of a new developer essay on the official site today.

The Dragonstar Arena is located in Craglorn and will pit a group of four players against five waves of monsters with "escalating intensity," though not necessarily escalating numbers; ZeniMax promises there will be no "cannon fodder" to waste your time. Hazards inside the arena -- like poisonous clouds, lava flows, and immobilizing blizzards -- will further impede groups' progress through the challenges.

ZeniMax says that arenas are intended to provide difficult combat encounters and elite rewards to small, highly skilled groups, but more casual players can skip Veteran mode for normal mode if they choose. We've included the brief Dragonstar arena trailer below.

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Elder Scrolls' fourth major update teased in new concept art

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

When Elder Scrolls Online's fourth major update lands in September, players will be able to "discover the ruins and delves of the last region of Craglorn," according to a teaser on the fantasy MMO's website. Upper Craglorn holds the key to the mystery of the fallen constellations, apparently, and it also boasts something called "the Serpent Trial" and "treacherous new delves."

ZeniMax has posted a few concept art wallpapers to whet your appetite for the new content.

Guild Wars 2's feature pack will improve dungeons and the crafting UI

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dungeons, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

I think we can all agree that the Norn fellow on the right is quite striking and will hopefully show up in a variety of future promotional materials.
September is just around the corner, which means that the next major update for Guild Wars 2 -- the September feature pack -- isn't far behind. The pack aims to improve several parts of the game, starting by demolishing the concept of dungeon owners. Currently, the first player to zone into a dungeon is counted as the "owner" of the dungeon, which can lead to problems if that player disconnects; by contrast, after September there will be no dungeon owner, avoiding issues with progression if that owner leaves or gets kicked.

The game's crafting UI is also receiving an overhaul, making it faster and easier to access crafting sub-components without navigating away from the main item that you want to craft. The update will also bring a number of performance improvements to make the game run faster and better on various bits of hardware. Take a look at the full update for a few more details as the feature pack release approaches.

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