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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.

The Elder Scrolls Online plans 4v4 arenas, veteran rewards

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
In a fresh entry on The Elder Scrolls Online's official site, Game Director Matt Firor has penned the latest Road Ahead update, in which he discusses the game's recent patch as well as what's in store for players next month. Of note, Firor says ZeniMax aims to make combat "more responsive," push out new Craglorn content, complete the last trial in the constellation storyline, and introduce a new 4v4 PvE arena. Work on the champion system, which revamps the MMO's character development and customization mechanics, continues; in fact, ZeniMax implores players to help test the inbound content on the public test server.

The team plans to formally announce a loyalty program later this week; it's expected to dole out traditional MMO veteran rewards like minipets.

SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion is live

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons

SWTOR
Early access to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Galactic Strongholds expansion is now live for subscribers.

BioWare Producer Jack Wood welcomed players to SWTOR's third expansion with a lengthy developer blog about the studio's goals in this housing-centric update, boasting that it offers "something for everyone," whether you want to "sit back and relax in your personal stronghold," establish a guild base, participate in conquest leaderboard content, or take on the new tactical flashpoint, Depths of Manaan.

We've included a brand-new guild flagship launch trailer below.

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WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Hands-On, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Lucifron
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 15th and is included here by permission.

Are you ready to return to the Core? Last week, we learned that Blizzard is planning a 40-player LFR version of classic's Molten Core raid as part of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration. Regardless of what the studio has in mind, the experience is certain to be very different than it was back in 2005.

Sure, you've probably solo'ed MC or cleared it with a few friends. But what was a Molten Core run like during classic WoW, when conquering Ragnaros and his fiery lieutenants was the pinnacle of endgame content?

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Gamescom 2014: WildStar reveals new dungeons and raid tweaks

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Refreshing?
WildStar is on the ground at Gamescom 2014, and it's got something new for players to explore. Specifically, it's got the game's newest dungeons. The Protostar Academy and the Ultimate Protogames are intended for level 10 and level 50, respectively; the former is meant to help introduce players to mechanics found throughout group content, whilst the latter will provide a new top-level experience with heretofore unseen mechanics and content. And, of course, plenty of bosses that tested very well in marketing, because this is Protostar we're talking about. You can see the dungeon in action on this archived Twitch stream, starting at 4:45:00.

But what about players looking into getting into the raiding scene? Will this help bridge the gap? According to the latest dispatch from the developers via the Nexus Report, while there are no content nerfs incoming, attunement processes are being eased. Silver medal requirements are being lowered to bronze, rune slots are being added as definite additions to both crafted and dungeon gear, and attunement item requirements are being tuned down as well to make life just a little bit easier.

[Thanks to Syphaed for the tip!]

World of Warcraft adding party finder functionality

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

You might think this is the same functionality that's been in addons and in other games for a year or more, but there are key differences.  For example, this one is part of the expansions!  That's a big different.  Also, look over there.
World of Warcraft is expanding the functionality of its group finder tool in Warlords of Draenor so that making a group is easier than just inviting your friends and shouting in a city. The new group finder interface is designed to help players locate parties looking for the same content, from pre-made PvP groups to teams trying to take out a particularly obnoxious group quest in the zone.

Group finder groups can be designated for PvE or PvP, with the former allowing for a variety of group-based PvE encounters (quests, dungeons, raids) and the latter opening up for PvP options (rated battlegrounds, arenas of all sizes, faction leader assaults, and so on). Players can either join a group or start a new one, with leaders setting both the designated goal and the requirements for would-be party members to join. Take a look at the full preview for more information on this expanded functionality.

Neverwinter's Tyranny of Dragons expansion live today

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Neverwinter

Perfect World has officially launched Tyranny of Dragons, the latest expansion for Neverwinter. The update features a new class (the Scourge Warlock), new heroic encounters, a new dungeon, and a new skirmish. Don't forget to check out the gameplay clip after the cut!

[Source: Perfect World press release]

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BioWare announces Shadow Realms, a D&D-inspired co-op dungeon crawler

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Titles, PvP, Dungeons

shadow realms
BioWare has just announced a brand-new IP for the studio: Shadow Realms, a "4v1 story-driven online action RPG" that was inspired by the team's love of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons.

Shadow Realms isn't a full-fledged MMO, but will put players in the shoes of contemporary Earth heroes who will jump between our world of technology and another of magic. The twist for the game is that a team of four heroes will be opposed by one player who will assume the role of a dungeon master-like Shadowlord.

"With Shadow Realms, we decided that the Shadowlord should interact with and see the gameplay world in a similar way to the hero players –- albeit with better tactical knowledge," BioWare wrote. "Their objective is to stop the group of heroes by haunting them, setting traps, casting spells, summoning monsters, and controlling any monster in the level."

The game will grow with episodic storytelling, offer "deep combat customization," and feature six classes. Shadow Realms is set to go into closed beta this fall.

Elder Scrolls' Update 4 coming next month, here's a trailer

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

Elder Scrolls Online's next major content drop is scheduled for September. That's only a couple of weeks away, crazily enough, so ZeniMax has released a new teaser vid designed to whet your appetite for Update 4. It focuses on Craglorn and includes a new adventure zone, a new trial, and the new Dragonstar Arena group challenge.

See it all via the new vid embedded after the cut.

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RIFT launches patch 2.8, Madness Wakes

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

And Madness is really cranky from its nap, let us tell you that much.
It's not quite time for the next RIFT expansion, but it is time to prep for it. Patch 2.8: Madness Wakes adds a new series of quests to lead into the story of the next major version update, with players heading to Tempest Bay to confront some dark dreams. That pairs up with the addition of a new five-person level 60 dungeon, Nightmare Coast, with new items and quests to send players after a mysterious cult.

Players also have access to a revamped auction house (which has caused some player consternation regarding its fees), major updates to the Pyromancer soul, and the ability to see the source of an item when inspecting another player. There are also various bugfixes, balance changes, and the like. Check out the full patch notes here, and if you're ready to start gearing up for the game's second expansion, log in and start getting crazy.

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World of Warcraft will offer minipets and nostalgic gameplay for its anniversary

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Anniversaries, Subscription

WoW
As World of Warcraft gears up for its 10th anniversary in November, Blizzard has announced its plans for celebrating.

Of note, the team is creating a 40-player raid finder version of Molten Core for "max-level" characters, who can "relive the experience of hunting down Ragnaros and his minions" and snag a new mount and achievement. A new deathmatch-style battleground will also be opened in an attempt to replicate the early Tarren Mill/Southshore PvP experience.

If you don't really care about nostalgic raids and PvP, how about some free stuff? WoW will bestow a Molten Corgi minipet on everyone who logs in during the event.

Not So Massively: Destiny's endgame, Path of Exile's expansion, and LoL's new champion

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, Mobile, MMOFPS, World of Tanks, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, Dungeons, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone

NSM - Path of Exile
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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