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Endgame

Final Fantasy XIV releases the first half of patch notes for 2.2

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

These kobolds do not care about your patch notes.  They're like honey badgers.
Final Fantasy XIV is dropping its next major patch on March 27th. Are you ready? Have you been relentlessly following news on the coming content? Then you'll want to get an eyeful of the first half of the patch notes for patch 2.2. Yes, it's only the first half. And it still outlines a number of huge changes, not the least of which are the addition of a new primal fight, three new dungeons, more main story quests, and two new beast tribe reputations.

Philosophy tomestones are no longer being distributed -- everything that used to award Philosophy will now award Mythology, with Allagan tomestones of Soldiery taking Mythology's place as the limited-per-week currency. Existing dungeons Amdapor Keep and Pharos Sirius have both been toned down, as well, with the former easing up boss fights and the latter reducing the challenge of both bosses and enemy groups. There are also details on the new Venture system, new items available from the Grand Companies, and plenty more to be seen even in this first (partial) list of changes.

The Mog Log: The last stretch before patch 2.2 in Final Fantasy XIV

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

Me, I'm on a bit of a low pulse for the game until 2.2 comes out.  Not for lack of love, but you know, you can't run the same things forever without getting a little bit tired, you know?
The past week has brought up an interesting problem regarding the timing of this column and upcoming releases. On the one hand, I had planned to talk today about why there aren't more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV. On the other hand, we also have received a lot of news about patch 2.2, which is launching in a little over a week. Do I push back discussing the patch previews in favor of talking about a larger structural issue?

I don't think I can, especially when the reason there aren't as many tanks is one that's been explained dozens of times in other games whilst still being applicable here. Instead, let's talk about 2.2. We've got a week and change until this drops, and while I've already discussed a good portion of the endgame elements, we've got a clearer picture of what's coming out other than that. So while we'll doubtlessly learn more during the next live letter, let's talk about what we've got now.

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Exploring WildStar's endgame raids and dungeons

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG

A dungeon in Wildstar
For those who like endgame PvE content, Carbine's upcoming MMO WildStar is hoping provide not just lots to consume but a variety of ways to consume it. I'm no longer the type of gamer who has to race to max level, and fortunately for me, WildStar plans to give us that "raid feeling" even while we're leveling via adventures and shiphand missions and world bosses and even public quests. But there's much more to PvE than that. At last week's press event, I sat down with Lead Combat Designer Chris Lynch and Lead Dungeons and Raids Designer Brett Scheinert to talk about endgame and PvE in the next big themepark.

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Battlegrounds, arenas, and warplots: How PvP works in WildStar

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription, MMORPG

Battlegrounds in Wildstar
PvE is a staple of MMORPG gameplay, but if you prefer the challenge and adrenaline rush of fighting against another human being while bashing on a keyboard and circle-strafing to dizzying effect, then you, my friend, are a PvPer. And if you've PvPed in other games, you'll be familiar with WildStar's battlegrounds and arenas. But warplots? What's a warplot? That's just one of the PvP-related questions I asked at a press event last week at Carbine Studios with the WildStar team.

Battlegrounds Designer Kevin Lee and Lead PvP Designer Jen Gordy explained to me that PvP is one of the key focuses of the game; all PvP content in WildStar will be on a cross-realm queue. Your level and gear stats will be normalized to provide an equal playing field. WildStar's telegraph system ensures that PvP is extremely reactive, which is typical, but what's not typical is being able to see where your enemy is aiming that AoE or conal attack.

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World of Warcraft's new Warlords of Draenor trailer wishes you were here

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Endgame, News Items, Subscription

How many of these is she going to send me?
So your friends in World of Warcraft have finally convinced you to come back to the game. Great, but they're all Level 90 and you're Level Seriously Who Even Cares. They're decked out in epic garments while you're apparently dressed like some sort of drifter with plate armor. What are you going to do? How could you ever take part in their adventures?

Well, you could buy Warlords of Draenor and just hit 90 immediately on the character of your choice. A dramatization of exactly that is available in the trailer just past the cut, with a Gnome taking the plunge and bypassing a whole lot of leveling content in the interim. Click on past the break to see it in action, and perhaps you'll be inspired to also vault past a whole bunch of leveling to get right to the top.

[Thanks to Schippie for the tip!]

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Final Fantasy XIV previews the new dungeons of patch 2.2

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

Gardening: not even once.
If you've been playing Final Fantasy XIV since launch, odds are good that you've seen what remains of the Amdapori civilization -- a dungeon crawling with cultists. The game's next major patch is going into more detail than that, though, giving players the opportunity to explore the new Amdapori Township dungeon and see what rank creatures have grown to fruit in the decaying town. This new dungeon is accompanied by two new hard modes to provide a triumvirate of options which have just gotten an official preview.

The hard mode of Brayflox's Longstop sees players battling the Goblin Illuminati to protect a secret recipe pilfered by the eponymous Brayflox, while Haltali's hard mode pits you against denizens in the refurbished and reclaimed training grounds. All three dungeons require a minimum item level of 55 for challengers, with the promise of rewards far greater than those of the current max-level dungeons. Take a look at the full preview for more lore and unlock requirements.

The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame

Sci-Fi, Video, Guilds, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, MMORPG

The Stream Team: Hitting the SWTOR endgame
Endgame can be trying; a well-coordinated group can be hard to keep together. The guild Nefarious Intent isn't without these struggles. However, the members have come to the understanding that in order to remain progressive, they have to remain fluid. Join Massively's Larry Everett at 9:00 p.m. EST as he and his guild mix it up in the Star Wars: The Old Republic endgame.

Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Free for All: Villagers and Heroes adds bells, whistles, and more sand

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Family, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Crafting, Housing

Villagers and Heroes screenshot
Villagers and Heroes is a favorite of mine, but let's be honest: The game looks old. When talking to Damon Slye, President of Mad Otter Games, I found that many people agree. According to Slye, it's one of the most frequent concerns he hears from potential new players. The engine that the game currently uses is old and needs to be upgraded big time. And that's just what the developers are doing with this large patch and expansion that should be due in early March.

I sat down with Slye, Associate Designer Cameron England, Head Writer Sarah Skibinski, and Head Artist Adam Alexander to discuss just how different the game will be once the patch goes live. I was given access to a test account loaded up on gear, cash, and other goodies. Even though I found my backpacks full, I mainly wanted to look around the game and explore. Fortunately, the difference between the original client and the new one is literally night and day.

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World of Warcraft aims to restructure currencies in Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Subscription

Raiding just gets easier.  We do hope you enjoy it.
World of Warcraft has been running for a decade, and that means a lot of changes have taken place over the years. One of those changes was the addition of the special currencies like Justice and Valor points, designed to ensure that bad luck on raiding loot drops doesn't lock people out of getting upgrades. But according to lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, this system may well be on the chopping block when Warlords of Draenor comes around.

Hazzikostas explains that the bonus roll system can be expanded and refined to ensure that players wind up with appropriate loot from encounters, replacing the current currency system altogether. The developers are also hoping to simplify the game's PvP currencies, giving players fewer things to keep track of while providing a more organic system of rewards. While nothing has been finalized yet, it's a fair bet that by the time the expansion comes out, you'll have fewer currencies to track on your character sheet.

Hyperspace Beacon: The end of a SWTOR season

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: The end of a SWTOR season
Uncle Owen talked about Luke staying on for another season, but when you're on a desert planet, what does that mean exactly? More importantly, can you imagine what would have happened if Lars had allowed Luke to leave for the Academy -- the Imperial Academy, I might add -- with his friend Biggs Darklighter? We would have a completely different story and certainly a far different Luke Skywalker.

BioWare developers slated the end of Star Wars: The Old Republic PvP season one to coincide with the launch of Update 2.7, which hits servers on April 8th. With that, the SWTOR leaderboards will reset and bring a few other changes. I think the biggest surprise for everyone is the ranked rewards for the end of season one. These rewards have hit extremely late in the season, which could give some players an unfair advantage in ranked warzones, sparking the question, "Should I stay on the moisture farm or try to jump into PvP to nab these rewards?" Or maybe there's another option -- a Ben Kenobi out in the Dune Sea, if you will.

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Diablo III's Paragon 2.0 just might be going live today

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Endgame, News Items, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

Although there is no official word on Diablo III's site, Senior Producer Alex Mayberry tweeted that patch 2.0.1 will be going live today. The major feature of this patch, also known as Paragon 2.0, is that it adds more end-game character advancement and replayability with the updated Paragon leveling system. The changes include removing the level cap for earning Paragon experience, making Paragon levels account-wide, and allowing players the freedom to allocate Paragon Points however they want within the category (defense, offense, core, or utility) that each specific level's point is awarded. Catch more details about Paragon 2.0 on the official site.

[Thanks to Wesley for the tip!]

Not So Massively: Star Citizen's procedural planets, Diablo III's Paragon 2.0, and Pokemon's Democracy mode

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Sandbox, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

Not So Massively title image
Star Citizen reached a whopping $39 million in crowdfunding this week amidst controversy over feature creep and the delayed dogfighting module. The next stretch goal will fund an R&D team to look into the possibility of procedurally generating entire planets for players to explore, but this feature will not be coming until after release. Developers on Elite: Dangerous were surprised this week when two games they developed as part of a company game jam event led to $6.2 million in signed publishing contracts on a yet-to-be-named platform.

Blizzard revealed the final details of Diablo III's upcoming Paragon 2.0 update that will provide theoretically endless progression, and players have figured out how to power-level characters with Diablo II style runs. As the release of Path of Exile's first mini-expansion draws near, Grinding Gear Games revealed details of what will be in the expansion, including a strange new Vaal Orb currency that can significantly buff items.

Valve announced that it will be releasing a new feature-length documentary named "Free to Play" next month, which chronicles the struggles of three participants in Dota 2's first ever million-dollar tournament. SMITE's launch event has been expanded into a new GameVid Expo event featuring prominent livestreamers and YouTube celebrities, and old character Agni received a graphical overhaul. And Twitch Plays Pokemon continues to grow in popularity, reaching over 100,000 simultaneous viewers this week and adding new Democracy and Anarchy modes.

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Chaos Theory: Every game needs a Gatekeeper like The Secret World

Horror, Real-Life, Endgame, The Secret World, Dungeons, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

It finally happened. I've been playing The Secret World since launch, wading through lots of lore, wracking my brains on investigations missions, collecting clothes, and soaking up the amazing atmosphere, among other things. But there is one activity that I have successfully dodged participating in that entire time until the moment came when I could no longer justify evading it. I'm talking about the Gatekeeper.

For those who aren't familiar with TSW's Gatekeeper, here' the scoop: He's the giant golden golem that stands between you and the PvE endgame. He's the feature that all players who want to participate in the hardest mode of dungeons and acquire the best purple PvE gear must prove themselves against before being allowed to move their play to that next level. Consequently, he prevents those who are completely unprepared for that level of challenge from getting in over their heads and dragging down their groups in the process. Golden boy is a powerful (and merciless) teacher who can humble those not ready for the fight as well as those who are by really testing their knowledge about the game's combat system and forcing all to face up to their inadequacies.

So I finally faced this Agarthan nemesis, and he was all I expected him to be. And yes, I was initially schooled. But I did end up laying the smack down on him, learning a few important things in the process. And one of the top lessons? I think every single game should have a Gatekeeper!

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EVE Evolved: Top five tips for new EVE players

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, Guilds, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
I often hear people say that EVE Online is a lot more fun to read about than actually play, and I've even caught myself saying it jokingly to friends and writing it in articles. But the truth is that amazing stories like the recent world record-breaking Bloodbath of B-R5RB are a hell of a lot better when you're a part of the action or have the first-hand experience to put the event into a wider context. All of EVE was impacted by that battle, with its effects rippling through the in-game markets and reshaping the political landscape of New Eden. But to read about it, you'd think the carnage in B-R5RB ended when $310,000 US worth of titans went up in smoke.

EVE has seen a huge influx of fresh faces since that colossal battle at the end of January, with thousands of new characters being created and the Rookie Help channel bursting at the seams. Whether you've always been a closet fan of EVE who has finally been convinced to take the plunge or you just want to join the ranks of the warring alliances you've read so much about, starting out can be a daunting experience. The sheer amount of information there is out there to absorb and sort through is overwhelming, and not all of it is up to date. CCP released a great new player guide recently to help newcomers assimilate, but I've still received several emails asking for advice on getting started.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I delve into the new-player experience with a 14-day free trial and reveal my top tips for starting out on the road to creating your own sandbox story.

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Diablo III upgrading Paragon endgame system

Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, Endgame, Dev Diaries, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

Diablo III
Level-capped players will have a "Paragon 2.0" system to look forward to when Diablo III: Reaper of Souls releases.

Blizzard outlined three major changes yesterday that will affect the endgame progression system. First, there will be no level cap for Paragon levels. Second, Paragon levels will be shared account-wide, with all normal characters sharing levels and all heroic characters doing the same between them. Third, players will get new Paragon points to spend in four categories: core, offense, defense, and utility.

When the expansion goes live, players will receive their new Paragon levels based on the sum of the accumulated Paragon experience on each account. Hardcore heroes who died at 60 will also contribute to this XP pool. Players without the expansion will transition to Paragon XP at level 60, while players with Reaper of Souls will do so after hitting level 70.

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