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Endgame

EVE Evolved: Features coming in Oceanus and beyond

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
It's been almost four months since EVE Online switched from publishing two major expansions per year to releasing ten smaller updates, and so far it looks like the new schedule has been a huge success. Rather than forcing the industry overhaul out the door in Kronos before it was ready, CCP was able to push it forward to the Crius release window seven weeks later and the extra development time meant the feature launched in a very polished state. It may be too early to tell if the new schedule's success can be seen in the concurrent player graph for Tranquility, but the numbers have remained steady for the past few months in what is typically the annual low-point for player activity.

The Oceanus update is scheduled to go live in just two day's time, adding several graphical upgrades, more difficult burner missions, an experimental new notification feature, and other small improvements. The scale of the update seems to be on par with the recent Hyperion release, consisting of mostly small features and minor iterations on gameplay. While we're told that CCP is still working on large projects behind the scenes, the new release schedule means they won't be rushed out the door and so we may not see them for some time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise everything we know about Tuesday's Oceanus update, and take a look at what's to come in further releases.

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The Elder Scrolls Online pushes players to Upper Craglorn in Update 4

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

I'll up YOUR Craglorn!  I... no, wait, please don't draw your weapons, adventurers.  I'm... I'm so lonely.  I don't know what I'm saying any more.  My life just hurts, and every time I think it's not going to hurt any more it keeps going.  I walled myself away so I could live better, but all it did was make me long for contact I don't know how to have.  I just want friends.  All I need is for you to hear me out, and maybe we - oh.  Okay, you can stab me.  Maybe it's better this way.
You've been to Craglorn? Pff, that's boring now. Upper Craglorn is where the real action is these days. And by complete coincidence, Upper Craglorn is now open on The Elder Scrolls Online's servers, as the game's fourth major update has just dropped. The zone will wrap up the Celestial storyline as your character takes on the Scaled Court. That also ties into the new trial, Sanctum Ophidia, which is a direct strike against the heart of the Court; players will take on the minions and end up fighting the Celestial Serpent.

The new Dragonstar Arena also debuts with this patch, asking players to fight against waves of oncoming enemies. Plus there's a new crafting trait available, improved grouping mechanics, various bugfixes, the usual assortment. So if you can't wait to go knife up a really important snake and check out the places that all the hip new kids are heading for, go check out the update.

Destiny unlocks its first raid and goes on sale

Sci-Fi, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Promotions, Dungeons, Destiny

Reacting to tepid launch reviews with a raid may not be the selling point the developers are hoping for?
Destiny hasn't been out for every long now, but if you've been power-leveling along, you might very well be level 26 or above. And that's a good thing if you want to take on the game's first raid, which has just been unlocked for players. The Vault of Glass can now be entered, with hardcore enthusiasts already rushing to be the first one to clear its challenges. As with all of Destiny's raid content, a fire team must be assembled out of members of your friend list, as there is no matchmaking option for Vault of Glass.

Haven't yet picked up the game? Well, you can do so now at a discount; despite the short amount of time Destiny has been out, retailer BrandsMart is reportedly offering the game for $30, which larger retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart may or may not price match. (Reports are conflicting.) While you likely won't be ready for the Vault of Glass if you take the offer, you will be able to get in on the ground floor a fair bit cheaper, so it's still a win.

Kotaku argues that as of this morning, Destiny has "resoundingly mediocre review scores" with "76.29% on GameRankings and a 77 on Metacritic." Our sister site Joystiq reviewed the game this morning, giving it four out of five stars.

The first chunk of Champions Online's Steel Crusade is live

Super-hero, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

Champs
As we previewed back in August, the first leg of Champions Online's Steel Crusade update went live last week. Your task in the update? Stop people from spontaneously bursting into flames. No, really.
The Steel Crusade update begins in Millennium City, where things are really heating up as citizens are spontaneously bursting into flame. With the help of Professor Silverback, you'll need to help save citizens by shrinking down to microscopic size to enter the human brain and investigate the cause of the malady.
The update introduces a new archetype for max level characters (Reawakened Automaton), new missions to combat Mechanon, and yeah, a new lockbox with a chance at new costumes and a vehicle.

The second and final part of the update launches this Thursday with a "space-station showdown."

WildStar trims back attunement requirements

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

So that got fixed up real nice.
If you're still slamming your head against the wall of WildStar's raid attunement, the game's most recent small patch will make your life a bit easier. The medal requirements for Veteran dungeons have been lowered to only Bronze, achieved simply by clearing the dungeons. Players will also be required to kill only 12 out of 18 bosses to complete a step of the chain, with progress applied retroactively via achievements where applicable. It won't strip away the overall length and complexity of the process, but it will make it a bit less onerous.

This patch also improves the process of acquiring new AMP and Ability Tier points, adding them to PvP vendors, including them in Path progression, and upping their world drop rates. Aside from a handful of bugfixes and balance changes, the patch doesn't contain any new content, but it should give players trying to get into content a little more incentive to keep moving.

Destiny unveils more raid details

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

They're like every raid except now they're in a FPS, basically.
Destiny is coming out very soon, and that means future players are probably thinking about what the endgame will be like. The latest update on the official site shares some more details about how raids will work in both Normal and Hard modes and elaborates on the differences between difficulties. In short, Normal mode is meant to be far easier and allow for more diverse clearing strategies; Hard mode demands coordination and execution.

Opening raids for the first time is meant to be challenging; the devs shared an anecdote about players taking 45 minutes just to get in the front door. The developers are confident that players will be able to tackle raids more quickly once the raids are better known. There's also discussion about the weekly lockout, which will save your progress as you move through the raids. Take a look at the official update for more details.

EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been playing EVE Online lately or just following the major events in the game, it can't have escaped your notice that nullsec has become a bit stagnant. The lawless nullsec regions are supposed to be politically unstable territories claimed by hundreds of warring player-run alliances, but today they're dominated primarily by just two or three mega-coalitions. Individual alliances can no longer hold out against the combined forces of the coalitions and must either pick a side or be annihilated. The coalitions have even signed agreements not to take space from each other by force, and players are being bored to death as a result.

Two weeks ago, I examined the history of force projection in EVE Online and made the argument that capital ships and jump drives ultimately created today's nullsec problems. Increases in mobility have led to alliances teaming up over vast distances, making mega-coalitions an inevitable outcome. It's obviously too late to remove capital ships or jump logistics, but there are plenty of other ways to potentially fix the nullsec problem. We had some great discussions in the comments of the previous article about how this complex problem could be solved without making warfare the painful slog it was back in 2004, and I believe it's possible.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out some ideas for new game mechanics that could solve the current nullsec crisis and may meet CCP's goals for the eventual sovereignty revamp that's on the way.

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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!]

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.

DC Universe Online unleashes the Halls of Power

Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DC Universe Online

Somewhere, Jack Kirby is either very happy or very disappointed.
It's been years since DC Universe Online launched, and yet players have spent all of that time without nearly enough material on the New Gods. But that's changing now; the Halls of Power part I DLC has just been released, and that includes exactly what you'd expect if you know who the New Gods are. Darkseid's son Kalibak and the villainous Mantis are seeking out relics beneath the surface of Apokolips and New Genesis, leading Mister Miracle and Big Barda to recruit heroic forces to stop their malevolent designs.

The DLC contains two new Raids and one new Operation for eight players, along with an Alert and an Operation for four players. It also offers six new Skill Points, new styles and gear, new feats, and all of the other widgets like base items that you'd expect. This content is available now for players on both consoles and PCs, so even if you're not versed enough in DC lore to understand what's going on, you can still take part and start smashing (or helping) the villains.

[Source: Sony Online Entertainment press release]

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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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The Mog Log: Exploring Final Fantasy XIV's 2.3 dungeons

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

Hooray, the parts of the game that don't make you seem like a chump for playing at all.
It's been just about a month since 2.3 went live in Final Fantasy XIV, and while we're still waiting for the arrival of our full personal housing and the addressing of the hot mess that is the Hunt, we do still have new dungeons. More than that, we have three really good dungeons. Since everyone knows I am an absolute glutton for dungeons, it's almost shocking that I haven't talked about these yet.

Unlike the first two sets of added dungeons, this set doesn't really have a loser in the lot; even the worst dungeon is just kind of meh alongside its contemporaries, not actively bad. So whether you've just been waiting for me to talk about them or you've been Hunt-spamming for weeks and haven't even thought about any other form of content, let's talk about Stone Vigil, Tam-Tara, and Hullbreaker Isle long after I would normally yammer on about them.

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Path of Exile developers explain the systems behind Forsaken Masters

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Nothing like having your hideout look like the center of a circus attraction, right?
If you're a fan of Path of Exile, you've probably already digested the preview information about the game's next major update, Forsaken Masters. The latest post by the developers is meant not to introduce the concepts but to explain how the various systems of the update are supposed to work. In short, the idea is to create content that rewards both constant players and occasional logins, with the former obviously getting the lion's share of the bonuses.

For example, the various Masters whom players will be courting feature reputation tracks that can be increased in two different ways. Players can get a single daily mission from Masters in towns, but Masters can also show up randomly in endgame maps. The daily mission provides the most reputation, but players who play a lot of the endgame will pick up lots of repeatable endgame missions that add up to a substantial boost. Check out the full post to see how the hideouts and crafting systems will work and what players can expect when the update goes live this month.

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