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RIFT sends players back in time to fight dragons

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

Set your time machines back 1,500 years, RIFT players, because Patch 2.6.1 is flinging Ascended heroes into the past to help round up a few rowdy dragons.

The patch, which landed today, opens up a new Tier 3 raid called Bindings of Blood. In this raid, players are experiencing the binding of the dragons from a first-hand perspective, and in so doing they actually change the "present" history of their personal game.

Trion Worlds told us on the phone that the 20-person raid contains four portals to four instances, each with its own mini-boss, dragon, and unique theme. The instances are on separate lockout timers, and currently two are open with two more scheduled for next month. The bosses are reworked versions of Greenscale, Akylios, Laethys, and Maelforge, and will drop best-in-slot gear and weapons.

The Mog Log: More time in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2

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

Writing ahead to not get blindsided by PAX, it's witchcraft!
I was pressed for time when Final Fantasy XIV patched at just the wrong time. I'm on a schedule, you know. My first impressions of the patch were far less comprehensive than I would have liked, although I did try to fill in the blanks as best I could down in the comments. But that was two weeks ago, and you doubtlessly expected that by now I would have gotten through the rest of the patch for more impressions.

Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.

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Working As Intended: There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Dungeons, Working As Intended

A Massively community member recently wrote into the podcast to tell us that he prefers to solo, to craft for himself, to avoid group quests, and to skip guilds. Still, he told us, he loves MMOs and doesn't want to leave them to play single-player RPGs. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he asked.

Nothing. Nothing at all. There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs.

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Here's a look at ESO's first major content update

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

ESO Craglorn
Ready for Elder Scrolls Online's first major content update? Me too, but since it's not out yet, we'll have to make do with this video preview. It's a four-minute clip detailing the Craglorn adventure zone, which is aimed at high-level players and features new quests, incentives to explore, main story updates, dungeons, and quite a bit more. Click past the cut to see for yourself!

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See players take down WildStar's Forgemaster Trogun

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription

If there's one thing that MMOs have taught us, it's that blacksmiths are eternally on the verge of snapping and becoming supervillains. It was true in many fantasy titles, and it's true in WildStar, where Forgemaster Trogun dominates as the final boss of the Ruins of Kel Voreth dungeon.

Bog Otter survived his encounter with Trogun in the beta to bring us back a 13-minute boss fight full of tricky telegraphs, giant hammers, and oh so much fire. Give it a watch after the jump and see if you can't figure out a strategy or two that might work when you come up against this dastardly fiend in the live game.

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The Mog Log: A couple of days in Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.2

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

I can't say a week, that would be a lie.
After a couple of weeks of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, I happily patched up and got back into the mix on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, I'm writing this up on Sunday morning, and honestly there's too much for me to have a firm grasp upon the entirety of it after three days. Due to schedule weirdness, I haven't even finished my usual dungeon diving. There's a whole lot to see, and I've been able to get only a top-level overview.

That having been said, I've assembled a nice new outfit via Glamours, I've tired the most brand-spanking-new dungeon, I've started in on questing, and I've submitted myself to challenges. I don't think I love this patch quite as much as its predecessor, partly since this one is more heavily focused upon the endgame portion I'm not fond of, but there's still a lot of great stuff buried in there and plenty of elements to love.

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WoW Archivist: Warlords of Draenor hates The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Family, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG, WoW Archivist

Draining a naaru
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 March 28th and is included here by permission.

In many ways, The Burning Crusade was the birth of modern WoW. Most of TBC's innovations are still going strong in WoW today and have been ever since their introduction. Looking back, I find it's striking how many key features of WoW were absent in classic, unveiled only during the game's first expansion.

Even more striking, however, is how many of these innovations Warlords of Draenor seems poised to undo. Just as Garrosh will undo the transformation of Draenor into Outland, Warlords seeks to unravel most of what Blizzard innovated during TBC. The next expansion will take us through a portal into a very different WoW.

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Black Desert downplaying trinity in favor of formations

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Dungeons, Black Desert

Black Desert boss formation
2P has translated an interview with Black Desert producer Kim Daeil that originally appeared on GameMeca.com. Among the more interesting nuggets is the fact that the fantasy sandbox won't feature traditional MMORPG dungeons. This is due largely to the Pearl Abyss team's feeling that "dungeons seem to isolate players from the outside open world" and subtract from "the charm of MMORPG[s]."

The piece also touches on something called "collaboration gameplay," which appears to omit traditional tank, DPS, and support roles in favor of formations. For example, a group of players that forms a circle will be rewarded with higher defense bonuses while a straight-line formation leads to high DPS from the front-line player.

The interview also touches on adventure nodes, mazes and hidden underground cities, and much more.

Paul Sage on Elder Scrolls' endgame

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online concept art
"When your character in Elder Scrolls Online reaches level 50," ZeniMax says, "the journey isn't over." This is good news for those of you concerned about Elder Scrolls' endgame, and creative director Paul Sage has authored a lengthy blog post that spells out the current post-50 options.

Said options include solo or duo PvP, small group PvP, large group PvP, solo or duo PvE, four-person group PvE, and 12-person group PvE. Sage also talks up ESO's first adventure zone, an area called Craglorn that is built for a four-person group despite being the size of a standard PvE zone.

Read all about it via the links below.

Ask Massively: Too many MMOs still lack serious LFG tools

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

David is angry. No, David is pissed. And he's right to be. He wrote to Ask Massively with the following rant:
Developers clearly see PvE instances as a key part of the MMO experience. So why do so many of them fail to ensure I can access this content with a solid group finder? I have been trying to play something other than World of Warcraft (which does have a group finder) for a number of years. But even my current pick, The Secret World, commits this sin. I usually end up annoyed at spending time in LFG channels trying to form a group, so I give up, first on grouping and then on the game.

So why do they design games where they assume I am joining the game with four like-minded individuals who have the same gaming schedule as I do? Why do they assume I want to spend time in public channels showing how little I know about the game whilst trying to form a group?

Don't make me go back to WoW. Unless I can access your content, there is no point in making the content!
I have a theory, but you're not going to like it, and you might end up back in WoW when I'm done.

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Here are five videos for Diablo III's new level 61 skills

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

D3 - Reaper of Souls level 61 skills
Blizzard has released a quintet of post-60 skill videos for its forthcoming Diablo III expansion. Reaper of Souls, which launches on March 25th, grants each class a new skill at level 61. These skills are Avalanche (for Barbarians), Vengeance (for Demon Hunters), Epiphany (for Monks), Piranhas (for Witch Doctors), and Black Hole (for Wizards).

Click past the cut to see all five vids.

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Working As Intended: Endgame is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, EverQuest, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Ultima Online, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, WildStar, Dungeons, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Taken by Bree Royce in Sacramento, CA
Endgame is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs. I tweeted this last year, and it won't stop rattling around in my head. Every time a developer dodges concerns and leaps to his version of the "elder game," every time a reader claims a reviewer who doesn't get to endgame is irrelevant, and every time someone justifies a weak game mechanic because it doesn't matter at max level anyway, it rattles around some more. Endgame is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs.

Having an endgame, thinking you need one, and designing your game around it -- this is the core problem of the MMO genre. No matter how hard you spin it, when you create a game with an endgame, you create a game with an end... and not much else.

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Here's Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2 trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Crafting, Subscription

FFXIV's Whorleater
Square has released an eight-minute trailer for Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2 patch. Titled Through the Maelstrom, the clip shows off a boss fight with The Whorleater along with new hairstyles, gardening, a fishing update, hard-mode versions of existing dungeons, and more.

Click past the cut to have a look!

[Thanks zengar!]

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The Secret World's Scenario Weekend starts March 14th

Fantasy, Horror, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, The Secret World, Dungeons, Buy-to-Play

The Secret World's Scenario Weekend
From Friday, March 14th, until Tuesday, March 18th, The Secret World will be hosting a little something that Funcom calls a Scenario Weekend. Players can take advantage of a 50 percent Aureu boost both when looting scenario loot tokens and when receiving Aureu as an end-of-scenario reward.

The firm is also gifting five scenario cooldown removers to everyone who logs in over the weekend. Finally, TSW's cash shop features 30% extra Funcom points with every purchase.

Exploring WildStar's endgame raids and dungeons

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG

A dungeon in Wildstar
For those who like endgame PvE content, Carbine's upcoming MMO WildStar is hoping provide not just lots to consume but a variety of ways to consume it. I'm no longer the type of gamer who has to race to max level, and fortunately for me, WildStar plans to give us that "raid feeling" even while we're leveling via adventures and shiphand missions and world bosses and even public quests. But there's much more to PvE than that. At last week's press event, I sat down with Lead Combat Designer Chris Lynch and Lead Dungeons and Raids Designer Brett Scheinert to talk about endgame and PvE in the next big themepark.

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