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Endgame

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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Final Fantasy XIV shows off patch 2.4's story and Shiva

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

This image is nothing to Sneeze at.
The next major Final Fantasy XIV patch will bring more story content. Every major patch does, after all. A new preview on the official site makes it clear that players will continue working with the Crystal Braves, delving further into the conflict that's brewing deep within Ishgard the threatens all of Eorzea. It also makes it very clear that players will be facing off against fan favorite Ultros in the next installment of the ongoing Gentleman Inspector Hildibrand storyline, which should delight Final Fantasy VI fans even more than their magitek armor mounts.

You can also take a peek at a preview of the coming battle against Shiva; the Hard version is part of the storyline, while the Extreme battle requires players to first clear The Striking Tree (Extreme). It promises to be a pretty cool fight. Take a look at the previews, and keep your eyes peeled for when the patch is going live.

Path of Exile shows off a prototype Grandmaster battle

Fantasy, Video, Culture, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

It's like PvP, except it's PvE.
The Hall of Grandmasters in Path of Exile, the home of characters that have ascended beyond the mortal realm, will be a place for players to go and admire the best of the best. And by "admire" I of course mean "kill." A new video has been released by the developers showing an early prototype match between a Grandmaster and a player character, with the former having a combat style best described as "what players do, taken to 11."

Of course, this is just an early prototype, as the finished version is supposed to feature players fighting against several of these foes at once, complete with jets of flame roasting characters from every conceivable angle. You can check out the video just past the break; there's still no release date for this feature, but the developers are happy with how it's been turning out.

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Final Fantasy XIV shows off the dungeons of patch 2.4

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Subscription

Take a shot every time pirates are involve in a story around Limsa Lominsa.  Oh dear, now you've died of alcohol poisoning.
We don't know exactly when patch 2.4 will drop for Final Fantasy XIV, but we know it will be soon -- and not just because it's been about three months since the last major patch, but we've also got a peek at the three new hard mode dungeons coming in patch 2.4. The Sunken Temple of Qarn and Sastasha will be updated in new forms, while Snowcloak takes the role of the completely new dungeon for players to navigate.

While the massive ice wall of Snowcloak is visible in the game now, a series of tunnels will be navigable in 2.4, allowing players to enter the depths searching for the source of this formidable barrier. Meanwhile, Sastasha has become invested with a new group of apparent pirates straight from the depths of the sea, and the Sunken Temple of Qarn has proven to be less conquered by adventurers than originally thought. Take a look at the full preview for more details; you can also check out the details on viewing livestreams from the upcoming fanfest in Las Vegas.

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