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E3 2014: Skyforge previews classes and customization in new video and images

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Dungeons, Skyforge

Sci-fi MMORPG Skyforge has landed at E3 with a brand-new video and new screenshots. Allods Team and Obsidian Entertainment promise players "a glimpse of Skyforge's unique Ascension Atlas, the Sunken Temple location, and three new character classes: the weapons-centric Gunner, the ruthless Berserker, and the merciful Lightbinder." The atlas itself allows players to customize their characters in "billions of ways with adapted skills, talents and spells."

We'll have more from our E3 Skyforge demo later this week, but for now, enjoy the previews!

[Source: My.com, Allods Team and Obsidian Entertainment press release]

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SWTOR's Spoils of War update offers casinos, tweaks group finder

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, Dungeons

In Star Wars: The Old Republic's most recent dev blog, designers Chris Schmidt, Alex Modny, and George Smith discuss the major game systems headed to servers with the 2.8 Spoils of War update -- specifically, the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event, PvP tweaks, and the story mode ops group finder.
  • Nar Shaddaa casinos will feature slot machines that award special buffs, weapons, armor, cosmetic abilities, and mounts -- like a ridable Rancor -- to lucky gamblers.
  • Participants in Galactic Starfighter matches and Warzones will begin receiving double rewards, and two new ship variants, the Assault Bomber and Skirmisher Gunship, will become available.
  • In an effort to reduce queue time, the group finder will utilize the 16-man story mode difficulty for operations and bolster gear rating for all players. Rewards will also be increased.
Read the full dev blog at the official site.

The Nexus Telegraph: The first week in WildStar

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Launches, Opinion, WildStar, Dungeons, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Come on baby, don't fear the reaper.
Full launch for WildStar has come and gone, the servers have been up and running for a week, and I've been hacking away at various enemies of the Dominion like a good soldier. As I write this, my main is 23, although I'd probably be a fair bit higher by now if I hadn't stopped quite so many times for roleplaying and to decorate my house. (Not too much of that, though, I need to afford that spacious house once I get to a valid level.)

It's safe to say that I'm enjoying the game a whole lot. Server loads seem to have largely stabilized, at least from my end, and the fullness of time has given me more opportunities to run more stuff and really enjoy a wider variety of what's in the game. There's some good stuff, some annoying stuff, and some things that kind of cut both ways at the same time. So let's just dive in, shall we?

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Tamriel Infinium: Examining Elder Scrolls Online's first major update

Fantasy, New Titles, Patches, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium: Examining the Elder Scrolls Online first major update
I've often wondered if my frustration with game creators should be taken out on the game itself. This goes for any game, not just Elder Scrolls Online. Perhaps I love the game, but I believe the creators have had missteps that drag down production, or maybe they set customer expectations to a certain level then didn't quite deliver.

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WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5, the epic conclusion

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

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 May 21st and is included here by permission.

Last time on WoW Archivist, we reviewed the first half of the Tier 0.5 quest line, including the controversial 45-minute Baron run in Stratholme. As we left off, the ghost of Anthion Harmon had asked us to assemble the pieces of Valthalak's medallion. He sent you into Blackrock Depths with an enchanted banner to challenge the gladiator Theldren.

Laying down the law

The next step required a 5-player group to enter the Ring of Law inside Blackrock Depths. As you were being sentenced, you summoned the Banner of Provocation. Theldren and his team stepped in instead of the usual BRD bosses. Now you were in for a scrap, and it was a wildly different fight that any other in classic WoW.

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ZeniMax invites you to watch other people play The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Contests, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just announced a streamed Elder Scrolls Online competition in which selected guilds will rush through one of the brand-new trials launching with the Craglorn patch... and you can tune in to watch them succeed or fail live on Twitch this coming Saturday. Trials are intended as 12-player raids with hardcore mechanics like limited resurrections and complex encounters. "When it's all over," says the studio, "the guild with the best Aetherian Archive completion time (if [it] can finish!) will be declared the winner."

Here's the complete schedule of start times on Saturday and Twitch channels for each guild:
2:00 p.m. EDT (8:00 p.m. CEST): German Allstars, Reddithium
3:00 p.m. EDT (9:00 p.m. CEST): BIG Nation, Resurrection
4:00 p.m. EDT (10:00 p.m. CEST): Entropy Rising, Fate
5:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 p.m. CEST): The Noore

Carbine spotlights WildStar's PvE raid design

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, PvE, WildStar, Dungeons, MMORPG

WildStar's raid team has just completed a Reddit ask-me-anything about -- you guessed it -- raids in the upcoming sci-fantasy themepark. Lead Dungeon and Raid Designer Brett Scheinert (aka CRB_Timetravel) was joined by an array of Carbine Studios developers to answer player questions about the large PvE encounters in the elder game. Here are a few highlights:
  • Which encounter will "cause the most tears"? That'd be Avatus, the last boss of Datascape, Scheinert says, but the elemental pairs in Datascape will be rough too. "Because [they] change every week (and there are 9 possibilities, each of which is almost an entirely new encounter), guilds will spend an entire week reaching then learning a pairing... then the instance will reset and they'll be back to ground zero."
  • At least at launch, raid tools will be "in the hands of the addon developers."
  • "Voice chat definitely helps but is not necessary."
  • Additional post-launch raid content is "in development," so raid tiers will be flexible.
  • The team won't "admit defeat that easily" should 40-man raids prove unpopular.
  • Enrage timers "just feel lame," so the devs are using them sparingly.
  • Casual players won't be able to extend lockout timers at launch.
  • Carbine is still sorting out how latency will affect Oceanic players in raids.
There's plenty more to consume over on Reddit!

RIFT opens up new raids and improves ascend-a-friend program

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

RIFT's Update 2.7 wasn't released in one giant package; Trion Worlds held some of it back to deliver piece-meal to the community. As such, today we've been treated to the second pair of new tier 3 raids with the Binding of Laethys.

Trion also announced that it's improved its ascend-a-friend program with even more goodies than before. Players will earn referral coins when their recruit makes a purchase in the game, while recruits can teleport to their mentor, earn a 25% XP bonus when grouped up with their friend, and pick up several freebie items. These items are a 16-slot bag, a weapon-glowing rune, a cloak, and a title.

Leaderboard: Are you raiding in WildStar?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, WildStar, Dungeons, Leaderboard

Even more over-the-top WildStar art
Carbine came clean with its plans for WildStar raiding yesterday. We got a good look at what's in store via a new DevSpeak video and a Q&A with dungeon and raid lead Brett Scheinert. This all lends itself to a poll of some sort, so what say we all click past the cut and vote on whether or not we'll be raiding in WildStar?

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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WildStar raid dev: 'Our raids are the best blend of challenging and fun'

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

Do you wonder what it takes to make the toughest PvE content in an MMO? Then you'll want to virtually meet WildStar Dungeon and Raid Lead Designer Brett Scheinert, who stars in a new "A Moment in the Life" video talking about his job.

"The biggest thing to be excited about with our raids is that they're the best blend I've seen between being challenging and fun," Scheinert claims. He goes on in the video to talk about his past experience in the industry and how he thinks it's really cool to see his ideas become reality.

The video is a three-minute interview with several glimpses into WildStar's raids, although we suspect that Scheinert was using GM codes to solo them. You can give it a watch after the jump.

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WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5 and the birth of modern dungeons

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

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 May 9th and is included here by permission.

For a long time in classic WoW, non-raiders felt neglected. Dungeons were the only endgame PvE option for non-raiders. Back then, dungeons didn't have a five-player limit. They could be "raided," even though they weren't considered raids. Blizzard added new raiding content on a regular basis, but the developers didn't release new dungeons after adding Dire Maul in patch 1.3, four months after the game's release. Until the launch of The Burning Crusade in early 2007, non-raiders ran the same dungeons for almost two years.

Amidst a storm of complaints, Blizzard said it wanted to offer additional content for non-raiders. In patch 1.10, Blizzard delivered a new endgame quest line using existing dungeons. Composed of 29 steps in all, this was one of the game's most elaborate -- and most punishing -- quest lines ever. Blizzard called it the "high-level armor set" quest line. Players called it Tier 0.5. To create it, Blizzard had to reimagine what WoW's dungeons should be.

This quest line was removed, like many others, when Deathwing brought the Cataclysm. Let's walk through what once was and explore how it gave rise to the modern dungeons we tackle today.

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RIFT 2.7: Binding of Blood arrives May 7th

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Launches, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

RIFT's 2.6.1 patch may have teased the Binding of Blood raid, but now we finally have a solid date for the full 2.7 patch: May 7th.

The 2.7 update will initially incorporate the four new souls unveiled over the last few months (Arbiter, Physician, Oracle, and Liberator), new quests, and an upgraded UI. Trion Worlds will roll out additional changes over the span of the including tier 3 raids, the Greenscale warfront, a hellbug promotional tie-in with Defiance, the annual Summerfest, and a unicorn celebration. We're not judging. Every game needs a unicorn celebration.

World of Warcraft wraps up its raiding retrospective

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, Subscription

Hopefully you weren't too attached to Pandaria's model.
What does the future of raiding in World of Warcraft look like? It looks like Warlords of Draenor, obviously, but what does that entail? That's the focus of the final installment of a feature that's examined the past of raiding and now looks to the future. While the changes in raid sizes and raid modes have been known since the expansion was first announced, there are more alterations incoming that should shake up the way that players currently move through the game's raiding content.

The article explains that having a static group hitting the same content for quite some time stays engaging, while hitting a raid finder group is more or less the same each time. As a result, raid finder loots will be altered to lack set bonuses and have different art from the normal raids while also dropping more loot than other modes. Each raid difficulty will also have a separate lockout, while changes to Valor and the caps on same will diminish the importance of re-running old content that no one needs. Take a look at all of the changes in the new article.

Tamriel Infinium: Beta testing Elder Scrolls Online for consoles

Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Launches, New Titles, Endgame, Opinion, Mac, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium: Beta testing Elder Scrolls Online for consoles
With so many fixes, changes, and new bugs, it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on in The Elder Scrolls Online in a biweekly column. So instead of trying to discuss every minute detail of ESO's progress towards perfection, I'd like to look at the bigger picture. Why are these things happening and to what end? And the core question is this: "Was this planned all along?"

Paid betas appear to be an unfortunate trend cropping up in MMOs as of late. And I know I'm going to sound like a hater, but I don't like to pay for beta. Yet being the idiot that I am, I still bought the $60 alpha for SOE's Landmark. I'm a sucker; I'll admit it. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel the shame that pours over me like gooey green slime -- a bucket for every dollar spent. Perhaps it's because I am not max level yet, but I'm starting to feel like a sucker when it comes to pre-ordering ESO. Don't get me wrong: I believe it's a great game. I just feel that it's not done, and I'm paying to participate in the console beta test.

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Blizzard reviews World of Warcraft raiding history

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, Subscription

A new raiding game will be coming to World of Warcraft with this fall's Warlords of Draenor, and as part of this transition Blizzard is penning a series of dev blogs looking at the past and future of raiding design. The first one is up on the site, covering everything from launch through Wrath of the Lich King.

"In many ways, that was the most challenging aspect of classic WoW raiding: the logistics of assembling and maintaining a sufficient roster with sufficient gear," the studio posted.

Blizzard said that reducing the maximum size of raids in The Burning Crusade had two objectives: to improve the gameplay experience for members of raid groups and to make raiding more accessible in terms of requirements. But it was Wrath of the Lich King's many patches that really shaped the raiding scene into what it's become today, the studio said.

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