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Expansions

World of Warcraft bumps up graphical settings

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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While they're not big bullet point features for Warlords of Draenor, technical improvements will benefit those who want to keep their game looking the best. In a new dev diary posted today, Blizzard gave a detailed explanation about how it's putting new anti-aliasing tech into World of Warcraft for the expansion.

"In short, we're taking strides to improve the performance of World of Warcraft, while also ensuring there's plenty of potential to further increase graphical fidelity and enhance our support of high-end CPUs and graphics hardware," the studio posted.

Blizzard said that the changes represent the team "thinking long-term" for the game.

Forumgoers speculate on the name of SWTOR's next expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

So Obviously Revan
Forum poster Jerba explored the files posted on the official teaser page for the next Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion... and may just have stumbled on its name. Without any datamining or any breach of EULA, he found three files with the initials SOR in the filenames (SORTeaser_854x480.jpg, SORTeaser_550x120.jpg, and gt_sor_FINAL_US.mp4).

Forumgoers speculate that it stands for "Shadow of Revan," although some runners up are "Spawn of Revan" or "Shroud of Revan." Unfortunately, BioWare is not commenting on the name just yet, but that gives players room to continue speculating. Maybe it's "Same Old Revan" or "So, Obviously Revan."

Look for more information regarding the new expansion later this month.

Star Trek Online's Delta Rising arrives October 14th

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Subscription

Have you tried reversing the polarity though.
Cryptic has just announced that Star Trek Online's Delta Rising expansion will be released on October 14th, 2014. As previously discussed, it will not only raise the level cap but jump into Voyager story space with new territory and famous figures from the franchise.

Developers have also released a new dev blog detailing equipment in the expansion. One of the simple rules of existence is that when Delta Rising goes live, a lot of your old equipment in Star Trek Online is going to be a lot less relevant. There's no way around it. A jump in the level cap that leads to Mark XIV equipment naturally makes Mark XI stuff less potent by comparison. But rather than forcing you to earn a whole new set of loot, the expansion's upgrade system for gear should allow you to take an old favorite and bring it up to par. Players can buy, trade, or craft upgrade kits, which add a certain number of tech points to an item being upgraded. Once enough tech points are acquired, a small dilithium fee is paid and the item can be upgraded to the next rank, possibly increasing in quality along the way. For more details on how to accelerate the procedure, check out the full blog entry; it looks as if you won't have to say farewell to all of your old equipment after all.

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RIFT: Nightmare Tide to introduce Minions

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

You're not in Azeroth any more, despite how many things will remind you of it.
Today's adventurer in RIFT is busy. There are a lot of villains all across Telara, after all, and let's not forget those rifts opening up all the time. So instead of having to help another random NPC find a missing coat, wouldn't it be nice to just have some of the NPCs you've met solve problems for you? Good news, then, because the Minion system being added with the game's Nightmare Tide expansion will allow you to do just that.

Minions come from a variety of sources across Telara, and they can be dispatched on a variety of different missions. Once they've completed their tasks, they'll return with a variety of rewards including crafting items and dimensional rewards. Minions can only be sent on so many missions before they need a break, though, so a player won't be able to do everything with just a handful of loyal troops. Check out the full preview for a bit more insight into the upcoming system.

Star Trek Online details the art of the new Intelligence ships

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

No one seemed to much mind the darker hull finish option back in the day.
The Intelligence ship designs in Star Trek Online are like nothing else in the game, especially for the Federation. They're dark, angular, and aggressive. A new development blog on the official site sees art director Brad Stokan explaining how the new designs went from concept to finished ships and how the art department juggled the tasks of adhering to the design principles that make a ship distinctly Federation while also making something new and unique.

Stokan explains that most of the choices going into the design were weighed against these two rules, such as adding in glowing sensor panels that both highlighted the ships' scanning functionality while providing a distinct silhouette. The design blog also stresses that players can expect extra customization for these ships, including the option to make the hull finish look a bit more typical for Federation craft. Check out the whole process and more bits of concept art in the full blog entry.

[Thanks to Lonegun for the tip!]

EverQuest begins Darkened Sea beta

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play

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While The Darkened Sea, EverQuest's 21st expansion, debuts in a little over a month, you can check out the beta as soon as... well, right now.

Producer Thom Terrazas posted a letter on the forums yesterday informing players that the beta would begin today and continue through October 24th. Terrazas also put out a call for raiding guilds to sign up to test the expansion's raid content on September 22nd. Following that, the early access launch for The Darkened Sea will start on October 28th and the full release will follow on November 11th.

There will not be a pre-order for the expansion. "We are also working on an easy way for players to purchase the expansion plus a monthly subscription to get in quickly and avoid getting left behind. Stay tuned for those details very soon," Terrazas promised.

Coming next week to EverQuest is an update that will include a robe category for the player studio and a way to transfer large amounts of currency at a time.

This video reveals part of SWTOR's new expansion

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

A deadly force
Be careful watching this video because there are huge spoilers about the Forge Alliance series of flashpoints. However, if you have played all the flashpoints, then you will not be surprised that the star of the next Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion is someone we've seen before.

Writer Charles Boyd and Community Manager Eric Musco blasted through the Rakata flashpoint in a live stream today, then premiered the video for "A Deadly Force Returns," which is hopefully not the name for its next expansion. However, it does make for a great teaser.

You can catch the full 22 seconds of it after the break.

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Captain's Log Supplemental: A look at Star Trek Online's history with lead designer Al Rivera

Sci-Fi, Culture, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

You can amost hear the cries for coffee now.
Star Trek Online is a game that's got some history, not just by virtue of the franchise that's been running for half of forever but because the game itself has a rather madcap development history. Cryptic Studios got the license to develop the game at the eleventh hour, and the caveat was that the game needed to be shipped in the same timeframe as the original developer had promised -- leaving almost no time for development.

I sat down and talked with lead designer Al Rivera about the game's history, its development ethos, and where the game is going with the upcoming release of the second expansion, Delta Rising. It's been a long process, but Rivera shed some light on how the game is designed by its modern team, why things launched the way they did, and what players can expect as the game continues toward its five-year anniversary.

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World of Warcraft reclaiming abandoned names for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Subscription

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Your mothballed Gnomes and Tauren might be losing their names if you haven't logged into World of Warcraft recently (and by "recently," we mean "in the last six years."). Blizzard announced that it will be reclaiming old and abandoned names to free them up for the expansion.

Names in danger of reclamation are those belonging to any characters that haven't logged in since November 13th, 2008. The names will be reclaimed with the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch 6.0.2 this fall. Blizzard suggests that anyone in danger of losing a desired name should log on before the patch hits.

EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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Final Fantasy XIV Q&A teases future content and pacing

Fantasy, Classes, Expansions, Final Fantasy XIV, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries, Subscription

ff14
Final Fantasy XIV has been a little pokey in rolling out major new systems. Will this be the case going forward? Not so much, according to a new producer's letter Q&A, in which the team says that future updates should be coming more frequently.

"Due to scheduling issues and circumstances surrounding implementation, we've been prioritizing the implementation of party-based challenges utilizing the duty finder whenever possible," the letter states. "As a result, we were a step behind in implementing systems that make use of the open world, or those that require time but can be completed at one's own pace. With the introduction of zodiac weapons followed shortly after by the Hunt, it may seem as though we're shifting focus toward time-consuming systems, but rest assured this is not the case, and we plan to strike a balance with party-based activities as we move forward."

Other topics of discussion include the upcoming Rogue class and Ninja job, the approximate release window for Patch 2.38 (about a month), word of a new expansion release, and hints about the expansion and new race.

World of Warcraft cleans up UI for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Subscription

world of warcraft
In a new dev diary, Blizzard vows to clean up the user interface in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. "We're making a number of changes to the WoW user interface -- changes that are designed to eliminate clutter, free up more of your inventory space, help you find your stuff more easily, and improve your quality of life in-game," say the devs.

The changes begin with a new UI that combines the map and quest log and promises to be more responsive to mouse control. The expansion will also feature a "toy box" that will collect all of a player's fun items in one place and make them available across the entire account. Players will also be able to use the improved UI to summon a random mount, designate loot to certain bags, enjoy reagent storage space in the bank, and more.

The Daily Grind: Are you playing RIFT?

Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, RIFT

RIFT
RIFT's upcoming expansion, Nightmare Tide, got me really amped to get back into the game after I previewed it at PAX Prime. I've always had a soft spot for this game, loving its ease of use, multiple content paths, and flexible mix-and-match class system. I've almost never quit under duress, which has made returning pretty simple every time.

Are you playing RIFT right now? Have you been playing it for a good long while or did you come back as I have, for next month's expansion? For a bonus discussion topic this morning, what do you like about this MMO?

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!

Full SWTOR expansion information coming this month

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons, MMORPG

Full SWTOR expansion information coming this month
If you're like many other players of Star War: The Old Republic, then you've been wondering and waiting to hear what the fabled next expansion is supposed entail. Producer Bruce Maclean told forumgoers earlier this week that they will have to wait only until the end of the month, explaining that the team didn't want to give away any content spoilers.

Now that the gurrcat is out of the bag with Update 2.10, information about 3.0 is right around the corner. Maclean wrote today, "We're letting folks have a little time with Rakata Prime and then spilling the beans on 3.0. Look for a teaser within a week, and then a full announce before the end of [the] month!"

We're guessing the Rakata Prime flashpoint has more than a little to do with it...

World of Warcraft outlines anniversary plans, delays Draenor raid

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Subscription

WoW
Blizzard has released a new World of Warcraft dev blog clarifying its 10th anniversary plans in light of Warlords of Draenor's impending launch on November 13th. In short, the festivities will begin on November 21st and run until well after the holidays on January 6th. Those who pony up for a sub in that time period will be awarded the Molten Corgi minipet. If you rush to the new level cap in time, you'll also be able to play through the new level-capped Molten Core raid; if not, then you can still play the new Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground, which comes in both level 90-99 and level 100 brackets.

Blizzard further notes that the new PvP season and the normal and heroic versions of Draenor's first raid dungeon, Highmaul, will not open until December 2nd to "make sure that everyone [has] had time to level up." Highmaul's LFR and mythic modes will open another week after that.

Massively's sister site WoW Insider also has some good news for Draenor devotees this morning: It appears that facial recustomization is now part of the regular barber shop in beta, possibly alleviating the fears of those worried about being saddled with an ugly pixel face once the new race models are live.

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