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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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The Daily Grind: Have you made any friends via groupfinder mechanics?

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

EverQuest II group builder
Raid finders, dungeon finders, and various LFG mechanics are becoming a modern MMO staple, but apart from throwing together five or six strangers and hustling them through a piece of content, they don't strike me as being particularly social.

I do use them to clear content I otherwise can't do, of course, but whenever I've attempted small talk I've been met with indifference. On one occasion I even got some outright hostility! "Less talking, more DPS," was the family-friendly gist of it.

What about you, Massively readers? Have you made any MMO friends via group finder mechanics, or are they simply a means to an end?

[Image source: EQ2Wire]

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!

Black Gold dungeons to feature 'consequential death,' traps, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold dungeon
Snail has updated its Black Gold website with a look at the steampunk title's dungeons and instances. The post highlights groupfinder functionality as well as several gameplay mechanics including "difficult maps with no clear path," consequences in the form of respawning at the dungeon entrance after a death, and "hidden perils" like static and dynamic booby traps.

The update also features a few dungeon-centric screenshots, which you can see by clicking the links below.

Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vaal expansion lands today

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Launches, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dungeons, Path of Exile

Path of Exile
Get your mouse-clicking fingers ready because today developer Grinding Gear Games releases Sacrifice of the Vaal, a mini-expansion for online roguelike Path of Exile, the first of the game's promised triannual updates. Expect a showdown with the Queen of the Vaal, new skill gems, new Vaal-themed areas, a free-for-all PvP mode, and new leagues that dare players to undertake specific challenges before the timer runs out.

GGG reminds players that the first 50 folks to defeat the Queen in each of the new challenge leagues will receive an exclusive Vaal effect, so go get your murderin' gear on.

We've tucked the expansion's official trailer after the break in case you missed it.

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The Daily Grind: What's your ideal small group size for instances?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

I love hanging out with friends in-game, especially when we get enough of us on to go run a dungeon or two. However, I've noticed that the standard small group size in MMOs isn't exactly "standard;" it fluctuates from four to six depending on the game in queston.

Four has the benefit of assembling a group easier and faster, although it perhaps makes it more difficult to slot all of the needed roles. On the other hand, six might be too many depending on how few folks log in that evening. But I'm not going to Goldilocks you folks by saying that five is "just right." The truth is, I don't know what I prefer in a small group size. Flexibility, I guess.

So what's your ideal small group size for instances? Would you be open to MMOs boasting, say, a three-person or seven-person small group?

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!

The Stream Team: Finally fighting Flappy in The Secret World

Horror, Real-Life, Video, Events (In-Game), The Secret World, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Buy-to-Play

For months the nefarious flying nemesis of The Whispering Tide has been flinging Filth at everyone during The Secret World. Now that players finally have a chance exact some sweet revenge, Massively's MJ is front and center on that firing line! She's taking advantage of every opportunity to fight the four-winged Flappy (and consequently soak up the sliver and fragment rewards) and is inviting you along on TSW's first-ever instanced 40-man raid. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for your chance to flip Flappy the bird.

Game: The Secret World
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame

Sci-Fi, Video, Guilds, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, MMORPG

The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame
Endgame can be trying; a well-coordinated group can be hard to keep together. The guild Nefarious Intent isn't without these struggles. However, the members have come to the understanding that in order to remain progressive, they have to remain fluid. Join Massively's Larry Everett at 9:00 p.m. EST as he and his guild mix it up in the Star Wars: The Old Republic endgame.

Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Free for All: Villagers and Heroes adds bells, whistles, and more sand

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Family, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Crafting, Housing

Villagers and Heroes screenshot
Villagers and Heroes is a favorite of mine, but let's be honest: The game looks old. When talking to Damon Slye, President of Mad Otter Games, I found that many people agree. According to Slye, it's one of the most frequent concerns he hears from potential new players. The engine that the game currently uses is old and needs to be upgraded big time. And that's just what the developers are doing with this large patch and expansion that should be due in early March.

I sat down with Slye, Associate Designer Cameron England, Head Writer Sarah Skibinski, and Head Artist Adam Alexander to discuss just how different the game will be once the patch goes live. I was given access to a test account loaded up on gear, cash, and other goodies. Even though I found my backpacks full, I mainly wanted to look around the game and explore. Fortunately, the difference between the original client and the new one is literally night and day.

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The Stream Team: Advancing through solo dungeons in EQII

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest II, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

EverQuest II's Tears of Veeshan expansion added quite a few Advanced Solo dungeons to the already decently sized list, and Massively's MJ hasn't been able to visit them all yet. With so many interesting places to explore, she's going to drop in and try her hand at a new one tonight. With any luck, she'll have a live comrade alongside her instead of the fickle and sometimes amusing antics of her mercenary. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to watch the adventure unfold.

Game: EverQuest II
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Facing facers in FFXIV's Sunken Temple of Qarn

Fantasy, PvE, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

In every MMO there's one dungeon that heralds the end of sleeping on your keyboard being a valid combat strategy, and, in Final Fantasy XIV, that dungeon is The Sunken Temple of Qarn. These ruins come complete with triggering platforms, murderous bees, deadly lasers, and boss fights sporting hefty, nonnegotiable "don't stand there" phases. Join Massively's Jasmine live at 3:00 p.m. EST for her absolute least favorite dungeon in all of Eorzea!

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Jasmine Hruschak
Date: Tuesday, February 25st, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Chaos Theory: Every game needs a Gatekeeper like The Secret World

Horror, Real-Life, Endgame, The Secret World, Dungeons, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

It finally happened. I've been playing The Secret World since launch, wading through lots of lore, wracking my brains on investigations missions, collecting clothes, and soaking up the amazing atmosphere, among other things. But there is one activity that I have successfully dodged participating in that entire time until the moment came when I could no longer justify evading it. I'm talking about the Gatekeeper.

For those who aren't familiar with TSW's Gatekeeper, here' the scoop: He's the giant golden golem that stands between you and the PvE endgame. He's the feature that all players who want to participate in the hardest mode of dungeons and acquire the best purple PvE gear must prove themselves against before being allowed to move their play to that next level. Consequently, he prevents those who are completely unprepared for that level of challenge from getting in over their heads and dragging down their groups in the process. Golden boy is a powerful (and merciless) teacher who can humble those not ready for the fight as well as those who are by really testing their knowledge about the game's combat system and forcing all to face up to their inadequacies.

So I finally faced this Agarthan nemesis, and he was all I expected him to be. And yes, I was initially schooled. But I did end up laying the smack down on him, learning a few important things in the process. And one of the top lessons? I think every single game should have a Gatekeeper!

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The Stream Team: Returning to Vanguard's Thestran dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team

The trek through all of Vanguard's dungeons is a long one that spans the vast terrain of multiple continents. Thankfully, Vault of Heroes near Helgarad in Thestra has two low-level dungeons close together for players to enjoy: Cave of the Urugog and Vault of the Heroes. During the next Dungeon Tours, Massively's MJ intends to show off both of these, if not a third; if things go really well, she might even make it to Rift Seekers Torrent. Join us live at 11:00 a.m. to be a part of this latest dungeon diving expedition in Telon.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, February 22st, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: The Secret World's First Nightmare (dungeon)

Horror, Real-Life, Video, The Secret World, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Buy-to-Play

The time has come for Massively's MJ to face the nightmares... dungeons that is! After dispatching the Gatekeeper, she's all set to delve into the hardest Secret World dungeons. Luckily for her, she has an experienced team dragging... er, leading her in. Just how different is Nightmare mode compared to Elite? Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to see as MJ visits her first ever Nightmare dungeon, Polaris.

Game: The Secret World
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar's Adventures skew toward the unusual

Betas, Sci-Fi, Dev Diaries, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription

Did you read Eliot's first-hand tour of WildStar's Adventure content and find yourself wanting to know more? Carbine Studios posted an excellent follow-up today giving players the full scoop on this unique group content.

Adventures aren't to be confused with WildStar's dungeons and Shiphand missions, a point the studio wants to make clear. Instead of being a linear challenge, Adventures are simulated scenarios that offer a "choose your own adventure" tour through an open zone, throwing in options for specific paths and even a MOBA-like battle. These also have demphasized traditional combat (although it's still present) and created "unusual" encounters instead.

There will be six Adventures at launch that will come in both normal and veteran modes, with the first one opening up at level 15. Carbine said that there will be a wide variety of loot for Adventure seekers, including housing items, recipes, and gear. Veteran-mode Adventures are also presented as a good method of gearing up for raids.

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