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Neverwinter previews post-60 advancement plans

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

Riding on a bear is its own reward.
You've hit the level cap in Neverwinter. You are officially as hardcore as you can ever be, and that brings a smile to your face. But it also makes you kind of wistful. After all, there are still so many roaming bags of experience points vicious monsters to fight, and all of the experience from those is going to waste. But that's going to change when Module 3 comes out and all of your otherwise unnecessary XP turns into sweet, delicious piles of extra loot.

When Module 3 goes live, characters will continue accumulating experience as before when they hit level 60. Once they accumulate 250,000 XP, the character will be rewarded with a special pack that can contain extra Power Points, Enchants, account-bound XP Scrolls, and other useful goodies. The Power Points can only be used to add a total of 20 points to your character's Power Tree, but it still means that hitting 60 doesn't mean the end of your character growth. So go out, slay, and enjoy a little bit of extra potency as a result.

The Elder Scrolls Online's releases Craglorn patch notes, Shadow Knight guide

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

The notes are up within a month, that's a pretty good first salvo there.
The Elder Scrolls Online hasn't sent its first major patch to the live servers just yet, but you don't need to wait much longer to get an idea of what the patch contains. In fact, you don't need to wait at all; the patch notes for patch 1.1 are available now thanks to Dulfy, outlining the many changes taking place. The big centerpieces are the addition of Craglorn and trials; the former is a zone designed for four Veteran Rank 10+ characters, while the latter are two 12-person runs.

Beyond that, the patch contains a number of changes to class and weapon skill lines as well as several adjustments to the Alliance War systems. Players can also benefit from an increase of Veteran Ranks to 12 and the doubling of veteran XP from killing monsters. There's a massive list of updates and bug fixes, as well, so avid adventurers of Tamriel would be well-served by looking at the full list of patch changes before everything goes live.

[Update: The studio released today the first of its new series on player builds. First up is the Shadow Knight.]

The Mog Log: Why aren't there more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV?

Fantasy, Culture, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Sometimes you say things you would think to be obvious.
To the surprise of pretty much no one, tanks are the rarest thing to find in Final Fantasy XIV at the moment. It's so rare to see a role other than tank in need on the Duty Roulette that people take notice of the times when it changes. Everyone knows that tanks are in short supply, leading to the supposed "tank rewards" introduced in 2.2 that don't seem to hit the mark.

I've seen a number of posts in which people ask why there are so few tanks and what can be done about it, and most of them seem to miss the mark, either by completely misunderstanding what tanking actually entails or by misunderstanding why people aren't tanking. Really, I don't think it's terribly complicated. Why aren't there more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV? Three pretty straightforward reasons, none of which tends to be addressed when I see people asking that question.

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DC Universe Online begins prototyping survival mode gameplay

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, Dungeons

In response to player requests for a gameplay mode that will challenge endgamers in the lull between DLC packs, SOE is experimenting on what it's calling "survival mode" for superhero MMO DC Universe Online.

According to a post on the official forums, the team is prototyping a wave-style event "where 8-player groups face off against waves of progressively tougher enemies and bosses," which ends with a full wipe and properly marks and rewards survival, though not in a way that makes the events "necessary to progression." Writes SOE's JackFrost,
We will return to an existing environment and use existing (but ever more challenging) enemies. Initially, we are planning to use Oan Sciencells, and feature a multitude of Lantern-related characters. Reusing existing resources means we can do this without impacting future content planned for DLCs. The event will likely be available only for limited amounts of time, cycling in and out of the game. It will not be attached to any DLC, but it will require a high (end-game) Combat Rating. Finally - and most importantly - it is intended to be a FUN, extra event for leagues and groups of players to throw themselves at, see a completely new experience in DCUO, and take real satisfaction in their accomplishments.
Survival mode is early in development and subject to change; the developers have requested player feedback on the forums.

The Elder Scrolls Online expounds on Craglorn's 12-man trials

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just published a dev diary about the brand-new 12-player trials en route to The Elder Scrolls Online with its upcoming Craglorn patch. Trials, the studio stresses, are more than your average raid experience:
One of the first things you'll notice about Trials is that they bring a new experience to ESO designed to test even the toughest veterans. You'll need a group of 12 to take them on, but they're not just dungeons that require a large group-we're applying additional pressure. Your team will only have a limited number of resurrections available, and additional rewards will be granted to those who defeat the weekly challenge with one of the top times across the megaserver.
What makes 12 players the sweet spot for these encounters? ZeniMax hopes to downplay the organizational hassle of putting together groups, to telegraph fights without too much distraction, to keep them to about 90 minutes in length, and to appropriately rely on player skill rather than zerging. Another bonus raiders will welcome? No lockout timers!

Scope out the video below for a first-hand look at the new trials.

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The Nexus Telegraph: In which no WildStar injuries happened

Betas, Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), Endgame, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Parting is such sweet sorrow for another month or so.
My performance on the dance floor during PAX East 2013's WildStar party is the stuff of dark legends (in my mind, anyway), but it was not replicated this year. Indeed, when I tried to get into this year's WildStar community party, the entranceway was inaccessible due to the sheer mass of people. As I naturally handle crowds about as well as a Mechari handles knock-knock jokes, I opted to turn around and go back to my hotel room.

There was a Ghostbusters marathon on, so it was still kind of awesome.

This did not, however, mean that the convention was devoid of interesting stories; it just was devoid of stories in which I sustained injuries greatly impacting my normal hiking routes. So let's talk about what things really stuck out in my mind through the whole con. For my money, that comes down to the focus on the endgame and a really stupid statement. Where to start?

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The Elder Scrolls Online launches Craglorn teaser site

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ZeniMax has just launched a sub-site for The Elder Scrolls Online featuring Craglorn, the adventure zone that will serve as host for the MMORPG's first major content update. Aimed at veteran groups, the zone promises new quests and delves for four-person groups, a plotline revolving around "the mystery of the missing constellations," 12-man trials and leaderboards, and new gear.

While the teaser site is light on new information and does ask you to click through yet another age-gate (yes, we all know you were born January 1st, 1900), it does feature some gorgeous artwork and the Craglorn trailer released earlier in the month. We've embedded it after the cut.

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PAX East 2014: WildStar shows off Warplots at last

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

To fight monsters we created monsters.
Do you want to go to war in WildStar? Then you're going to want a stronghold. No, that's not right, you're going to want a fortress. You're going to want a fortification that makes others quake in terror. And then you're going to want to drop that fortification down on your enemy's front lawn and claim their territories while laying waste to their fortifications.

Welcome to Warplots. They're the game's answer to player-made fortresses and high-end battlegrounds all at once. More specificially, they're team-based 40 vs. 40 maps that drop you into a race to tear down your enemy. At either end sits the carefully constructed fortress held by each team, in the middle sit resource nodes, and both sides are pushed together to be the last side standing or the one putting a fortress back together post-battle.

Want to know more? That's a good thing. Take a look at the typical WildStar trailer past the cut, and then let's talk details.

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PAX East 2014: Pre-launch words with WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney

Sci-Fi, Economy, Interviews, Launches, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

This is the sort of stuff that got me excited for the game in the first place.
WildStar is being released in about a month and a half. It feels as if it's been forever since the game first revealed its announcement trailer. Now we've finally got a release date in sight, and the last few features for the game are being revealed to the public. It's one of the last chances that we'll have to talk about the game before it releases.

On the last day of this year's PAX East, I had a chance to sit down with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney to chat a little bit more about the game before it launches. While the game has gone gold and the discs are being manufactured, the team is still refining and improving the game and plans to do so up until the day of launch. That meant talking about the endgame, the development process, and the changes that have been made already in the most recent stages of beta.

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The Mog Log: More time in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2

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

Writing ahead to not get blindsided by PAX, it's witchcraft!
I was pressed for time when Final Fantasy XIV patched at just the wrong time. I'm on a schedule, you know. My first impressions of the patch were far less comprehensive than I would have liked, although I did try to fill in the blanks as best I could down in the comments. But that was two weeks ago, and you doubtlessly expected that by now I would have gotten through the rest of the patch for more impressions.

Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.

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PAX East 2014: WildStar's panel is all about the endgame

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Maybe get a pet?
So what happens when when you reach the end of WildStar?

You've got a while to think about it, obviously, the game isn't even out just yet. But it's an obvious concern. People are going to hit the level cap, and what are they going to be doing then? Staring at the walls, singing songs, perhaps clawing desperately at the metaphorical walls in the hopes of getting the next major patch somewhat sooner?

According to the WildStar panel at PAX East, the development team is hoping to launch with a fairly robust endgame no matter what you're hoping to do. The panel went through pretty much every part of the game, from items to PvP to solo story questing, all of which is intended to work together to create an environment wherein you don't run out of things to do and don't find yourself forced out of what you find fun. How well it will work remains to be seen, but there's certainly a lot on the table to start with.

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The Mog Log: A couple of days in Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.2

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons

I can't say a week, that would be a lie.
After a couple of weeks of a break from Final Fantasy XIV, I happily patched up and got back into the mix on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, I'm writing this up on Sunday morning, and honestly there's too much for me to have a firm grasp upon the entirety of it after three days. Due to schedule weirdness, I haven't even finished my usual dungeon diving. There's a whole lot to see, and I've been able to get only a top-level overview.

That having been said, I've assembled a nice new outfit via Glamours, I've tired the most brand-spanking-new dungeon, I've started in on questing, and I've submitted myself to challenges. I don't think I love this patch quite as much as its predecessor, partly since this one is more heavily focused upon the endgame portion I'm not fond of, but there's still a lot of great stuff buried in there and plenty of elements to love.

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The Soapbox: Let me tell you how little I want to raid

Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

Over the past several years, Blizzard has been very attentive when it comes to making it easier for players to raid. Raid sizes have gone down, then they've moved over to a flex structure. The raid finder was added to the game. Mechanics were toned down, while getting drops has been made even easier. With the next expansion, you won't even need to toy around in difficult instances to get ready for raiding; you can just jump in pretty much from the point you hit the level cap.

All of this in response to a lot of people saying that they don't want to raid -- all of this so thoroughly missing the point of that statement.

This is one of those hurdles a lot of designers can't seem to conceptually get over. World of Warcraft's design team has had years of people saying this, and every response from the team has been missing the point so completely that it's almost absurd. I don't want to raid, at all, ever. End of discussion.

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Star Trek Online previews the new Undine battlezone in Season 9

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

There's a lot of space in these spheres for stuff to happen.
Star Trek Online captains have been diligently fighting against the Voth in the Dyson Sphere for some time now, but when Season 9 comes out, the Undine will arrive. That means players will have to face off against new challenges, starting with the Undine battlezone. While this region of the sphere was previously under Voth control, the Undine have taken this area for their own, forcing Starfleet, the KDF, and the Romulans to work together in order to drive them out.

The Undine Battlezone will be accessible directly from the Ground Combat Zone and the Contested Zone. Players will be tasked with taking control of nine points within the map, followed by assaulting the Undine's planet-killer ships. Success earns Dilithium and Undine Marks, while failure... well, you can imagine what that involves. For more details on access and the point control, check out the full development blog.

Star Trek Online overhauls reputation bonus abilities

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

Yeah every day is like Dyson JC, popping Borg with homies, on Nukara in a suit made for the EV, but you don't care - you're running STFs in your sleep.  New Romulus needs another rep mark, Event project has another hour to start, but you don't care until we buff crit severity.
Reputation in Star Trek Online doesn't just give material rewards; higher reputation is directly tied to new abilities and enhancements for both ships and captains. Season 9 is already improving and renovating the system for advancing in reputation, and that means the developers are taking a closer look at the existing system as explained in the latest development blog. That examination showed off some real issues with the extra powers for veterans compared to new characters at the level cap. It came down to the simple fact that the setup was not viable forever, and as more reputations came in, the gap in power would start becoming sizable.

So what does it mean? A new setup for the various reputation powers. Starting with Season 9, powers will be renamed to Reputation Traits, with all captains receiving four slots for Ground Traits, four slots for Space Traits, and four slots for active abilities. These slots can be reallocated at any time, as well, letting you choose from a wider pool of tricks as your reputations advance. Take a look at the latest development blog for details on how the existing abilities will be changing to be more powerful with the new system.

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