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Endgame

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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Tamriel Infinium: Examining Elder Scrolls Online's first major update

Fantasy, New Titles, Patches, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, MMORPG, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium: Examining the Elder Scrolls Online first major update
I've often wondered if my frustration with game creators should be taken out on the game itself. This goes for any game, not just Elder Scrolls Online. Perhaps I love the game, but I believe the creators have had missteps that drag down production, or maybe they set customer expectations to a certain level then didn't quite deliver.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's latest Live Letter

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

Can't get there from here, apparently.
As of this writing, the Letter from the Producer LIVE took place yesterday, and that means we have a whole bunch of Final Fantasy XIV news to discuss! It's a happy time for people like me, because it's at least a couple weeks of very chewable information to discuss. And at just the right time, too, we were in the middle of a serious drought there.

Not that all of the information is good, mind you. Every time I think about Atma my hands instinctively ball into fists.

Still, there's stuff to chat about, there's good stuff in with the bad, and perhaps most importantly there's enough to fuel some speculation and some off-the-cuff reaction before we dive into the meat of E3 and we learn even more about the future of the game. So let's get right into it, starting with the bit of news that I already foreshadowed in the intro.

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WoW Archivist: Tier 0.5, the epic conclusion

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Dungeons, WoW Archivist

Incendius
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on May 21st and is included here by permission.

Last time on WoW Archivist, we reviewed the first half of the Tier 0.5 quest line, including the controversial 45-minute Baron run in Stratholme. As we left off, the ghost of Anthion Harmon had asked us to assemble the pieces of Valthalak's medallion. He sent you into Blackrock Depths with an enchanted banner to challenge the gladiator Theldren.

Laying down the law

The next step required a 5-player group to enter the Ring of Law inside Blackrock Depths. As you were being sentenced, you summoned the Banner of Provocation. Theldren and his team stepped in instead of the usual BRD bosses. Now you were in for a scrap, and it was a wildly different fight that any other in classic WoW.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal level cap for an MMO?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Anarchy Online
Massively commenters recently debated whether a game without levels is the same as a game without a leveling cap thanks to Black Desert's proposed character advancement system, an increasingly common lateral advancement system that allows players to build their characters more sideways than up. But outside of such sandboxes, most themepark games stake their mechanics on levels, for good or bad.

And that got me thinking about the ideal level cap for an MMO. Even if two games require roughly the same amount of time to cap, a bigger number can seem so much more intimidating. Asheron's Call's 150 levels and Anarchy Online's 205 320 always seemed unreachable to me, and wasn't it cute back when World of Warcraft expected but 60 levels out of you?

What do you think -- what's the ideal level cap for an MMO with levels?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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