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Endgame

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.

EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
All throughout EVE Online's lifetime, compelling stories of incredible events, daring heists, and colossal battles with thousands of players have periodically surfaced and spread across the gaming media like wildfire. Most of the recent stories have been about record-breaking battles between huge alliances of players in the lawless depths of null-security space, and each one has been met with an influx of new players who want to participate. The surprising truth behind nullsec warfare, however, is that many of those on the front lines are simply fed up with the political state of the game.

In EVE's early years, the map was split between hundreds of small alliances, each of which slowly expanded its influence by conquering the star systems bordering its space. Skirmishes and pirate incursions were brief and commonplace, while border wars over territory were long and protracted affairs. Today's nullsec is a different animal entirely, with nearly the entire map carved up between two colossal mega-coalitions of alliances (N3/PL and CFC), each one internally held in a state of perpetually monotonous peace. No alliance in a coalition can break away and stand on its own for fear of being demolished by the others, and so all of nullsec is at peace with its neighbours and bored to tears by it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine how nullsec got to the state it's in now and why it's badly in need of an overhaul.

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The Think Tank: Building an MMO without levels

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Welcome back to another Think Tank! This week, I charged the Massively team with a single task: Elevator-pitch an MMO without levels. What should an MMO without levels look like? Can it even be done in this modern MMO era? Here's what we came up with -- we'd love to hear your take too.

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Destiny previews its endgame systems

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

The desert of the endgame pattern.
The team at Bungie has been talking a lot about Destiny's systems, but there hasn't been a great deal of discussion about the long-term game. What's going to keep players going in the long term? According to a recent interview with the designers, it's raiding. They'll be focused six-person runs that are meant to take a long chunk of time to accomplish, with no matchmaking services to fall back upon -- players will need to clear time, sit down, and get ready to really chew through challenging content.

Not into that sort of play? There's also a set of bounties available on a daily basis, aimed at rewarding players for what they're already doing and creating a parallel progression path along that line. There are also daily challenges and Nightfall activities to keep players going. If you're looking forward to the game and want a closer look at what you can get from endgame, hop on over to the full preview.

[Thanks to Olorunsegun Adewumi for the tip!]

Final Fantasy XI previews Alluvion Skirmishes

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

So I had this great new shield, I put it down in here for a minute, and now it's gone!
Alluvion Skirmishes are the next evolution of skirmish battles for Final Fantasy XI players, pitting adventurers against a changing layout and shifting foes. Why would you take it on? Well, for a chance at great items and shields, naturally. Did you really expect otherwise? And, you know, for content that accommodates a variety of different party sizes and roles, that's nice too.

Players can take on Alluvion Skirmishes solo or in groups containing up to six players; Alter Egos are usable to fill out a party's ranks. The NPC Oston will assemble a special statue called a eudamon for players who can then enter through the pre-existing Augural Conveyers, with Rala Waterways and Cirdas Caverns being the first pair to function with Alluvion Skirmishes. For more details on time limits and inscribing shields with Arcane Glyptics, take a look at the full preview on the official site.

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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Firefall reintroduces its open-world PvP

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, MMOFPS, Firefall

Firefall
In the lead up to Firefall's official launch on July 29th, Red 5 Studios has released a new video outlining the game's open-world PvP.

Formal PvP takes place in a separate zone called Broken Peninsula, where players are divided into corporate teams to beat the crap out of each other over resources, territorial bases, and a series of outposts and watchtowers that grant their holders special bonuses. NPCs called the Chosen do their best to interfere with players along the way.

How soon can a newcomer participate? "Firefall's open world PvP is primarily intended to be end-game content," says the studio, but skilled lowbies can "make an impact" at their own peril. Check out the video after the cut.

[Source: Red 5 press release]

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's 2.3 primer

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

Chant the ancient prayer, children - it can't be as bad as the last one.
Tomorrow, patch 2.3 will descend upon Final Fantasy XIV like a flight of angels. If you can't tell, I'm pretty excited. While I was by and large disappointed with 2.2, 2.3 is adding a lot of features I want, undoing some of the dumb features added in 2.2, and adding in a few more features that I didn't realize I wanted before but now know are immensely important to me. Kind of like the Challenge Log, except more.

Unfortunately, the fact that it's landing tomorrow as of the time you're reading this means I have not yet actually played this patch. But I can still put a guide of some preliminaries together so that you can at least know what you're doing even if you haven't necessarily examined the patch notes with a fine-toothed comb just yet. So let's dive into it. When the patch goes live tomorrow, pick your destination, and go to it.

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WRUP: Lucky Korea

Posted on Nov 22nd 2014 10:00AM

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