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Endgame

WoW previews Highmaul raid, kicks off anniversary events today

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

And this time, slightly less than a year between updates!
Are you ready to start in on the raid cycle of Warlords of Draenor? Yes you are; that's what you do here. You can start by checking out the latest World of Warcraft development blog that shows off Highmaul in all its glory. The raid's release will be staggered into four parts, with Normal and Heroic releasing on December 2nd, Mythic and the first part of the Raid Finder difficulty releasing on December 9th, and the final two wings being added to the Raid Finder on December 16th and January 6th.

Highmaul contains seven bosses, three of which are optional and two of which are mandatory. Players will take on Kargath Bladefist to kick off the raid experience, while the ultimate encounter leads players against Imperator Mar'gok, the pinnacle of ogre power in the region. You can also take the time to play around with the game's new Twitter hashtag campaign while you wait. That won't help you with the raid at all, really, but it will help pass the time.

In other WoW news, Blizzard will be kicking off its previously announced anniversary events today. Both the 40-man, level 100 version of Molten Core and the Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground will become available to players through the raid finder and battlemaster queue, respectively. Everyone who logs in will receive a molten corgi pet as a happy birthday present from the team. The events end January 6th.

The Nexus Telegraph: Is WildStar's raid size change too late?

Sci-Fi, Endgame, Opinion, WildStar, Dungeons, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

You cannot play potential.  You cannot enjoy what could be fun.  You can only play the game that there is, and a pile of wasted potential does not make a game worth caring about.
Very few people are going to contest that scaling WildStar's biggest raid down to 20 people is a good move. Some will, yes, but when 400 players are working on content five months after release, that's a good sign that it's not doing the most basic job of getting people to play it. Bringing Datascape's size down is an indisputable good thing.

The question, of course, isn't about that. It's about whether it's too small a change too late in the game.

Make no mistake, this is a change that is significant enough to merit an announcement, but it's one that just missed the big patch we finally received not too long ago. (My initial reaction to that is middling, for the record, neither bad nor really a break from form or something that justifies its long delay.) I would be surprised if we see this change actually live in the game before next year. And it's a change of more conceptual significance than anything else because unless someone very quietly managed to clear Datascape without telling anyone, the end of that raid has gone unseen.

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WildStar is scaling Datascape down to 20 players

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

Yeah, it's all right to just comment with LOL to this one.
WildStar brought 40-player raids back to the forefront. The game is now pushing said raid size back away from the forefront, as the game's 40-person raid pinnacle is getting scaled down to 20 players. The official post on the subject notes that the number of people entering was far too low and the attrition rate far too high, so the raid is being rebalanced (but not nerfed) to account for having only half of its originally designed population inside.

Several reasons are cited for the changed, such as the game's combat working best with a smaller number of people, the lowered demands on computers, and a consistent raid size for future raid content which will hopefully make guild management easier. While the topic stops shy of saying that the 40-player versions are never coming back, that is certainly the implication. So it'll at least be marginally easier to form a group for Datascape soon if you're able to get through the first raid successfully.

Final Fantasy XIV's Yoshida on housing, test servers, and post-Fanfest

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Housing, Subscription

Two Massively employees in the same game at once?  The world is madness.  (No, you get no hints about who.)
Final Fantasy XIV has had a busy year, and it looks to be having a busy next year to boot. The game's first expansion is in the works and planned for a release in spring of 2015, along with another major patch to cap off the game's current patch cycle. And director/producer Naoki Yoshida continues steering the ship, working what I can only assume is a 200-hour week.

I had a chance to ask a few questions of Yoshida around the time of the first two fanfests of the year (the final one is scheduled for December in Tokyo), ranging from housing questions to the promise of public test servers to how hard it will be to establish an Eternal Bond. Jump on past the break to read the full interview!

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs have a 'raid stat'?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Miscellaneous, WildStar

Last week, WildStar dev J-Tal outright apologized for the game's poor solo progression, stating that Carbine is "well aware that solo progression in WildStar is pretty much non-existent" and is working on the problem. But as I was researching that quote, what caught my eye is the post right after J-Tal's mea culpa, a benign little question by a player named Nike Online:
If progression is driven by need, why is there not a budget-hungry 'raid stat' that only provides benefit inside raid instances and keeps those drops more sedate when taken out into the open world? [...] PvP gear has its own stats to protect its environement from outside gear coming in and dominating. PvP power/defense also drain budget from those items so that it's not the optimal open-world gear.
Lots of games have tried PvP stats (for example, World of Warcraft's now-defunct spell penetration and resillience), but I've never seen the equivalent for raid gear. It's definitely a band-aid on a game with innate design and balance issues, but it does seem to solve the problem of overgeared raiders trampling the open world. What do you think: Should MMOs have a "raid stat"?

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!

EVE Evolved: Clone upgrades and skill loss are gone!

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
While the player activity stats might suggest otherwise, the past few years have been a real rennaisance for EVE Online. Developers have gone back and iterated on dozens of old game features that were starting to show their age, and some of them have been pretty huge. The war declaration and criminality overhauls in 2012 were fundamental changes to core gameplay that had been stagnant for almost a decade, and the recent industry and warp acceleration changes were equally fundamental shifts. These were all features we had previously been told were essentially off-limits for iteration because they relied on undocumented legacy code from 2003, and none of the programmers wanted to poke that sleeping beast.

Now it seems that no idea is off-limits, and developers aren't afraid to challenge fundamental parts of EVE's original design that may not make sense today. This week's Phoebe update revisited capital ship force projection for the first time since the ships were added in 2004, for example, and it removed the 24-hour skill queue limit that CCP insisted on adding in Apocrypha. In Thursday's episode of The EVE Online Show, developers announced the next big legacy feature to be put on the chopping block in the game of progress: As part of December's Rhea release, clone upgrades and skill point loss on death will be completely removed from the game.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the problems caused by the cloning system, why it needs to be removed, and what could possibly replace it.

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The Stream Team: Finally taking the first steps on ArcheAge's Auroria

Fantasy, Video, PvP, Endgame, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

The Stream Team: Finally taking the first on ArcheAge's Auroria
Auroria is here, and that means there are fresh new lands to explore in ArcheAge -- if you are lucky enough to be able to log in! Massively's MJ can finally log in, so what more of an invitation does she need to explore? Sure, death may really be waiting around every corner, but that won't stop MJ from prowling around the new continent and poking into everything interesting she can find. With any luck she can dodge enough PvP to check out where the new castles will soon go. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for this peek at the new shinies of Auroria.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Firefall teases update 1.2

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Firefall

Just a shot in the dark.
An update is coming to Firefall, and it promises to be a big one. A brief overview of the game's next major update has been posted on the official site to show off some of what players can expect, starting with the new Operation: Miru. This is endgame instanced content designed for five players at level 40, featuring a combination of mechanics and gunfights that heretofore have not been present in the game.

The update will also feature a new piece of open-world content via the Accord Skydock, a new form of watchtower content, and a new live event. Broken Peninsula has also received updates to make it less broken from a mechanical standpoint rather than a geographical one. You can read up on all the sketchy details here, and keep your eyes peeled for more hard information as it becomes available.

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Shadow of Revan FAQ

Sci-Fi, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Roleplaying, Rumors, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Shadow of Revan FAQs
With every expansion, there are questions -- a lot of questions. Star Wars: The Old Republic is no exception. Shadow of Revan changes a lot of game mechanics and expands the story of SWTOR. With all the interviews and Cantina Tour chatter, it's difficult to tell what is true and what isn't. So I thought it'd be best to make an FAQ to answer some of those ponderings.

When does Shadow of Revan release?

The official release date for Shadow of Revan is December 9th. However, if you preordered before November 3rd 2:59 a.m., then you will gain early access, which starts on December 2nd.

Do I have to subscribe to play Shadow of Revan?

No, Shadow of Revan is a paid expansion and can be accessed by a free-to-play player. However, to be eligible for the 12x XP bonus, you do have to be subscribed to the game.

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The Mog Log: Exploring Final Fantasy XIV's 2.4 dungeons

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

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.
The first time I ran the new dungeons added to Final Fantasy XIV in patch 2.4, I was kind of surprised. They seemed a lot harder, and I hit more wipes on the way to the end than I had while learning the 2.3 dungeons. After a couple of additional runs, though, I don't think they're really all that bad, just replete with mechanics that are sort of designed to trip groups up and with more than a few nasty surprises.

It also helped that I was running with Ninja after the first runs, so that felt more natural.

As it's been less than a week since the dungeons were added, it seems like a fine time to give you lovely folks a guide to what's going on in here and what needs to be done. So let's chatter about the new dungeons you'll be running in Expert roulettes for that beautiful poetics armor.

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Final Fantasy XIV posts preliminary notes for Patch 2.4

Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

First Naruto reference gets you kicked from the server.
Ready to take on the lady of ice, twist down the last coil of Bahamut, and start stabbing from the shadows? Final Fantasy XIV's next patch won't drop until October 28th, but you can finish any last-minute preparations you need now with the release of preliminary patch notes. The patch includes new sidequests, new main story quests, new trials and dungeons, and of course the new Rogue and Ninja.

This patch also adds in the Allagan Tomestones of Poetics, several new recipes for both Rogue/Ninja gear as well as other high-level options, and the usual assortment of bugfixes and balance improvements. Whether you're making sure to grab everything you'll need for Ninja before the patch goes live or just want to know how far you must progress before fighting Shiva, the patch notes hold a wealth of information.

BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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The Daily Grind: Would you play an all-endgame MMO?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

I'm hard on MMOs with endgames, especially endgames that focus on a single repetitive activity. The problem isn't so much what that activity is but that MMOs spend so much time making you do something else before you can get to that activity -- instead of just letting you just do that presumably ideal and fun activity from the start. That's prompted some clever players to wonder, why not just make an all-endgame -- an all-raiding -- MMO?

To be clear, I'm not talking about sandboxes or persistent PvP games that can be perceived as entirely endgame. I'm talking about a classic themepark experience with the levels and questing ripped out -- just endgame dungeons and raids, pure PvE group challenge, from the moment you log in to the moment you log out. If raiding really is about the challenge and the thrill of big group PvE, such a game would be welcomed by hardcore raiders... right?

And more importantly: Would you play it?

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!

Carbine's Donatelli and Moore on WildStar's population and philosophy

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

No comment.
Two weeks ago, Carbine Studios offered us the opportunity to interview product director Mike Donatelli and creative director Chad Moore regarding the state of WildStar and what future updates would bring to the game. We have their thorough answers in their entirety for you today; Carbine assures us that there was no animosity or conspiracy in the delay, and we thank the studio for that. So let's get to it: Read on as the duo discuss WildStar's current population, business model, development strategy, and plans for the near future.

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The Mog Log: Predictions for Final Fantasy XIV's fanfest

Fantasy, Classes, Events (Real-World), Endgame, News Items, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Someone said to me at one point that they were sorry I had to go on an anniversary trip with my wife instead of going to fanfest.  I can't begin to explain the degree of wrong involved in that statement.
There's less than a week to go now. Final Fantasy XIV players nationwide will congregate in Las Vegas for the fanfest starting on October 17th, and I... will be nowhere near there. I'll be on a trip with my wife celebrating a year since our wedding. But it's not as if I could talk about the revelations from the festival now anyway, since it's not for another several days. I'm going into this just as blind as you are.

But we can still speculate, can't we? Of course we can. In fact, there's some stuff that's almost a certainty going into the fanfest and some stuff that remains a bit more speculative. So I'm going to make some guesses about what we'll see at the festival and shortly thereafter, and next week we can all either laugh at my guesses or not. I won't be watching all of it in purely real-time, but I'm pretty sure we'll see the following.

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Featured Stories

Make My MMO: November 16 - 22, 2014

Posted on Nov 22nd 2014 8:00PM

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