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Expansions

Star Trek Online lays out the path to level 60 with stellar rewards

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Previews, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

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One of the selling points (so to speak) of Star Trek Online: Delta Rising is the game's first-ever level cap increase. Ever since player captains heard that they'll be able to level up to 60, they've wondered what that might entail. Fortunately, today Cryptic posted a dev blog that gives a good idea of what to expect as players progress to become Fleet Admiral or Dahar Master.

"The level cap increase is meant to be a simple solution to rank progression and yet the resulting change to the endgame play will be very noticeable," the team said.

The big change with these new levels is that skill points will be used for specialization trees, the details of which are still forthcoming. Players can keep earning specialization points after hitting 60 until they max out these trees. Cryptic also has several rewards planned along the way, including a duty officer pack, upgrades to abilities, and a new bridge officer.

SWTOR's Galactic Strongholds expansion is live

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dungeons

SWTOR
Early access to Star Wars: The Old Republic's Galactic Strongholds expansion is now live for subscribers.

BioWare Producer Jack Wood welcomed players to SWTOR's third expansion with a lengthy developer blog about the studio's goals in this housing-centric update, boasting that it offers "something for everyone," whether you want to "sit back and relax in your personal stronghold," establish a guild base, participate in conquest leaderboard content, or take on the new tactical flashpoint, Depths of Manaan.

We've included a brand-new guild flagship launch trailer below.

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SOE Live 2014: More tidbits about EQII's Altar of Malice expansion

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

One of the great things about SOE Live is that not only do you get announcements like the EverQuest II expansion but there are also many panels to delve even deeper into the upcoming content. On top of that, you have Q&A sessions where dedicated players draw out more useful information! Here are a few more tidbits that came from the rest of the con.

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Blizzard's Chilton: Expansions are barriers to people coming back

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items

In the aftermath of World of Warcraft's latest subscriber number downturn, Blizzard game designer Tom Chilton says he's unsure if the fantasy MMORPG will rebound like it has in the past. "We really don't know if it will grow again," he said, according to MCVUK. "It is possible, but I wouldn't say it's something that we expect. Our goal is to make the most compelling content we can."

Chilton also touched on Blizzard's decision to provide a level 90 character with its Warlords of Draenor expansion. "By building expansions, you are effectively building up barriers to people coming back. But by including the level 90 character with this expansion, it gives people the opportunity to jump right into the new content," he said.

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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Check out Warlords of Draenor's collector's edition

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Diablo III, Subscription, Hearthstone

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With yesterday's announcement of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's launch date fresh on fans' minds, Blizzard has followed up on the hype with details concerning the contents of the expansion's collector's edition.

The CE, which is priced at $89.99 on Amazon, includes the full game, a behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray set, the soundtrack, a 160-page art book, and a mouse pad. Of course, if digital goodies are more your style, then you'll be happy to know that you'll get a Dread Raven mount and Dread Hatchling pet for World of Warcraft, two StarCraft II portraits, a pennant for Diablo III, and a custom card back for Hearthstone.

Blizzard said that supplies of the collector's edition are limited.

SOE Live 2014: EverQuest will release The Darkened Sea expansion October 28th

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

As is custom, the next EverQuest expansion was announced at SOE Live 2014. And while Thursday's keynote shared the title, The Darkened Sea, it divulged little else. Players were going to have to wait until EQ's individual keynote address later today to get any actual details. However, for those who just can't wait that long, I sat down with Senior Producer Thom Terrazas and Creative Director Akil Hooper to get an early scoop on the game's upcoming 21st expansion and more.

What do players have to look forward to? How about the return of the classic characters Firiona Vie and Lanys T'Val, a personalized looting feature, a higher level cap of 105, a new mount storage system, and eight new zones! Oh, we can't forget the dinosaurs! And did I mention that The Darkened Sea launches on October 28th for All Access members?

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SOE Live 2014: EverQuest II's Altar of Malice expansion and a new playable race

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest II, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

SOE Live 2014: EverQuest II's Altar of Malice expansion includes new playable race
On the 11th day of the 11th month, EverQuest II will get its 11th expansion, Altar of Malice. With only the title and launch date announced during SOE Live's welcome keynote address on Thursday, fans are understandably eager for more juicy details. We talked with Senior Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper to glean some valuable intel before EQII's official keynote later this afternoon. They even shared some future plans and revealed the 10-year veteran reward. As a special treat, Longdale shared a very serious video on how the vaunted leaper bunny mounts came into being (which we've included here for you).

As is pretty standard for expansions, Altar of Malice will include new zones (two regular overland and one specialized PvP deathmatch), new dungeons, new quests, a level cap increase, and some revamped systems. And if that wasn't enough, there are also dinosaurs. In addition to the expansion, sometime this fall players will have the opportunity to purchase access to a new playable race!

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SOE Live 2014: Thursday keynote liveblog announces EQ and EQII expansions, more

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Expansions, MMO Industry, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Dragon's Prophet, H1Z1

Are you looking forward to getting a hint of what's to come for your favorite SOE games this next year? SOE Live's Thursday keynote has just kicked off, and SOE notables like John Smedley are taking the stage to give fans a hint of the announcements coming over the course of the weekend. We're here live to give you the scoop directly from the devs, and we'll be keeping this post updated as it progresses. You can also can watch the presentation streamed live below.
  • Keynote announcements on Friday have all the juicy details, so don't miss them!
  • Four awards for Player Studio: Highest creator - BeastBuster with over $25,000 to date; Most Prolific creator - Rollen; Most Improved Creator - Jerry "Rawl" Dechant; and Most inspirational - Neko Zero.
  • Player Direct awards -- you can see all full-length film on the official site.
  • H1Z1 is coming out on the PS4.
  • The Play it Forward initiative is gamers helping others, in game or in life.
  • Tournaments: Prize money on the line for participants.
  • Dragon's Prophet is introducing a new system where you find and raise dragon hatchlings.
  • EverQuest is introducing a new category to Player Studio.
  • EQ working on a new advanced looting feature.
  • EQ's next expansion is The Darkened Sea.
  • EverQuest II's 10th anniversary in November, the 11th expansion Alter of Malice is launching on 11/11.
  • New classes for EverQuest Next will be announced tomorrow.
  • A touching video tribute to EQII's Ribbitribbit was presented.
  • SOE encouraged support for AbleGamers, Gamers4Life, and Military Gamers.

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World of Warcraft adding party finder functionality

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

You might think this is the same functionality that's been in addons and in other games for a year or more, but there are key differences.  For example, this one is part of the expansions!  That's a big different.  Also, look over there.
World of Warcraft is expanding the functionality of its group finder tool in Warlords of Draenor so that making a group is easier than just inviting your friends and shouting in a city. The new group finder interface is designed to help players locate parties looking for the same content, from pre-made PvP groups to teams trying to take out a particularly obnoxious group quest in the zone.

Group finder groups can be designated for PvE or PvP, with the former allowing for a variety of group-based PvE encounters (quests, dungeons, raids) and the latter opening up for PvP options (rated battlegrounds, arenas of all sizes, faction leader assaults, and so on). Players can either join a group or start a new one, with leaders setting both the designated goal and the requirements for would-be party members to join. Take a look at the full preview for more information on this expanded functionality.

Massively Exclusive: Previewing Path of Exile's Tora, Master of the Hunt

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

Girls don't like boys, girls like hunts and nature.
The newest expansion to Path of Exile is all about the eponymous Masters -- their goals, their attitudes, and what they can teach the player. Tora is fairly straightforward in all of the above. She is all about the hunt, taking out the monsters that surround Wraeclast, and in her own words, she wants to root out the corruption that has taken root in her world now, before it does any further harm to the natural balance.

I had a chance to speak with producer Chris Wilson about Tora and the expansion as a whole the other day, and he happily shared details both about Tora herself and one of the new challenge leagues that will be going live with the expansion on August 20th. Hop on past the break to see Tora's video introduction and to learn more about what players can expect from the huntress, the challenge league, and the expansion in general.

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor releasing November 13th

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, MMO Industry, Subscription

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World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor will be coming to players this November 13th.

"The age of the whimsical panda is over!" Chris Metzen proclaimed to a crowd of cheering fans at the Ace Theatre in Los Angeles.

During the street date announcement, Blizzard talked about the lore of the expansion and showed the first episode of a new five-part animated lore mini-series called Lords of War. The studio also showed the opening cinematic for Warlords of Draenor, after which the release date was mentioned for the first time.

We've got the first episode of Lords of War, the animated series teaser, and the cinematic for you after the break!

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Neverwinter's Tyranny of Dragons expansion live today

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, Neverwinter

Perfect World has officially launched Tyranny of Dragons, the latest expansion for Neverwinter. The update features a new class (the Scourge Warlock), new heroic encounters, a new dungeon, and a new skirmish. Don't forget to check out the gameplay clip after the cut!

[Source: Perfect World press release]

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Gamescom 2014: SWTOR boasts over a million monthly players

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

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"Every month, more than a million players are logging in, playing with their friends, and embarking on their own personal Star Wars Saga," EA claimed today at its Gamescom press event.

If you're one of those million players, then you'll also want to know that Galactic Strongholds will release next Tuesday, August 19th, for subscribers. We've got the new trailer from Gamescom that quickly demonstrates the expansion's selling points, including its player housing system, guild flagships, and plantary conquest. What are you waiting for? You can bask in its glory after the jump!

[With thanks to Hagu.]

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Jukebox Heroes: Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer's soundtrack

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Fans (or ex-fans?) of this column might recall that I went against the grain of popular opinion by pronouncing Age of Conan's soundtrack "adequate" rather than an "outstanding masterpiece." I think that I can extend an olive branch to the player army that's been chasing me since then, however, as I hold the expansion soundtrack in much higher regard.

Composer Knut Avenstroup Haugen returned for Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer, creating a 22-track journey through all new barbaric lands. Unlike his first score for this MMO, this one latches onto the Asian themes of the expansion and takes the score in a decidedly Chinese direction. It's well-done across the board and aided by a full orchestra. Really, my biggest complaint is that it's not easy to purchase here in the states for some reason. You can listen to and even download a few samples from the official soundtrack site, which still remains in operation.

So let's head to the far east for this week's exploration of MMO soundtracks, looking at the highlights from Rise of the Godslayer!

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