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EVE Fanfest 2014: EVE's Kronos expansion is an industrial revolution

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, Events (Massively's Coverage), Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, MMORPG

EVE Online title image
The EVE Online keynote presentation finished just a few hours ago at EVE Fanfest 2014, and it looks as if there are big plans for the year ahead. This summer will bring us the Kronos expansion, which is scheduled for June 3rd and aims to revolutionise every aspect of industrial activity in EVE Online in terms of both gameplay and accessibility. The economy has become quite stagnant over the past year as players have long since worked out all the most efficient ways to manufacture and trade, so CCP has planned its very own industrial revolution with a complete overhaul of industrial gameplay.

Kronos also marks another important milestone for CCP, as the company will be switching from releasing two major expansions per year to a more agile strategy of releasing 10 smaller updates each year. The Kronos release was originally planned as a full expansion before the changeover to a 10-release schedule, so it's as packed as a full expansion. In addition to a deluge of industry overhauls, we'll be getting a shiny new mining ship, major pirate faction ship revamps, an enhanced new player experience, and a cool new effect when players warp into or out of an area.

Read on for a breakdown of the EVE keynote presentation and to find out why CCP is moving away from its usual two expansions per year.

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World of Warcraft wraps up its raiding retrospective

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, Subscription

Hopefully you weren't too attached to Pandaria's model.
What does the future of raiding in World of Warcraft look like? It looks like Warlords of Draenor, obviously, but what does that entail? That's the focus of the final installment of a feature that's examined the past of raiding and now looks to the future. While the changes in raid sizes and raid modes have been known since the expansion was first announced, there are more alterations incoming that should shake up the way that players currently move through the game's raiding content.

The article explains that having a static group hitting the same content for quite some time stays engaging, while hitting a raid finder group is more or less the same each time. As a result, raid finder loots will be altered to lack set bonuses and have different art from the normal raids while also dropping more loot than other modes. Each raid difficulty will also have a separate lockout, while changes to Valor and the caps on same will diminish the importance of re-running old content that no one needs. Take a look at all of the changes in the new article.

World of Warcraft continues its raid retrospective

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

It's raid night every night.  Still.
The launch of Warlords of Draenor is going to shake up the raiding experience in World of Warcraft, and if raiding is what you like to do in the game, that's pretty important. But rather than just explain how raiding will be in the new expansion, Blizzard has opted to look past through the previous expansions and examine how revisions have affected the game over the years. Yesterday's blog covered launch through Wrath of the Lich King, while this entry focuses on Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

Cataclysm removed the difficulty gap between 10-person and 25-person raids, but the side effect was a pressure to produce smaller raid groups rather than grow to bigger groups. It also introduced the raid finder as a mechanic, encouraging more people to experience the content. Mists of Pandaria, on the other hand, suffered from bottlenecks that prevented non-raiding groups from making any progress, although flex raiding was deemed a better way to get groups in and playing. Take a look at the full article for more details on the ups and downs, with part 3 set to address the future of raiding in Warlords of Draenor.

Tamriel Infinium: Beta testing Elder Scrolls Online for consoles

Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Launches, New Titles, Endgame, Opinion, Mac, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium: Beta testing Elder Scrolls Online for consoles
With so many fixes, changes, and new bugs, it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on in The Elder Scrolls Online in a biweekly column. So instead of trying to discuss every minute detail of ESO's progress towards perfection, I'd like to look at the bigger picture. Why are these things happening and to what end? And the core question is this: "Was this planned all along?"

Paid betas appear to be an unfortunate trend cropping up in MMOs as of late. And I know I'm going to sound like a hater, but I don't like to pay for beta. Yet being the idiot that I am, I still bought the $60 alpha for SOE's Landmark. I'm a sucker; I'll admit it. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel the shame that pours over me like gooey green slime -- a bucket for every dollar spent. Perhaps it's because I am not max level yet, but I'm starting to feel like a sucker when it comes to pre-ordering ESO. Don't get me wrong: I believe it's a great game. I just feel that it's not done, and I'm paying to participate in the console beta test.

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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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Global Chat: Wrongs and rights

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