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Leaderboard: What's your favorite EverQuest II expansion?

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Leaderboard

EverQuest II has been playable for over a decade, and in that decade SOE has pumped out a whopping 11 expansions. And that's not even counting adventure packs like The Bloodline Chronicles and The Splitpaw Saga from the fantasy themepark's early days.

For this week's Leaderboard, vote on your favorite EQII expansion, and don't forget to explain your choice in the comments!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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World of Warcraft vows faster expansion development

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Interviews, Subscription

Many Azerothian eyes are fixed on tomorrow's release of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, but what happens after that? Will players face a severe content drought as they just did while they wait for expansion #6?

Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas said that the team is pushing to increase the pace of expansion development: "Our goal is certainly to release expansions a little faster than we have been... we've increased the size of our team, and we feel like we're in a place where we should be able to move faster than before." He also fielded the eternal question of a hypothetical World of Warcraft 2, saying that the team would need "a different vision" and mechanics that allowed for new types of gameplay.

To help with your Warlords of Draenor countdown, Blizzard put out a few expansion-themed posters as well as an Age of Iron trailer that you can watch after the break!

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Watch the unboxing of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's CE

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

Does not include intangible emotions from unboxing, such as brief excitement followed by boredom followed by disappointment and regret.
Tomorrow is the launch day for World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor. It's quite possible that you already have your collector's edition pre-ordered and ready to go, and you can't wait to open it up and see what's inside. So wouldn't you like to watch someone else open it up and see what's inside before you get to do that yourself?

Michele Morrow (who also helped host the official coverage of BlizzCon 2014 this past weekend) has posted an unboxing video for the Warlords of Draenor collector's edition, going over the various bits and gewgaws located within the box. Sure, you've known about what's in the box for a while, but here's your chance to see it before you get it. If you can't wait until tomorrow to peek inside, jump on past the break to see the video.

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EverQuest's 21st expansion, Darkened Sea, is now live

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE

EverQuest's 21st(!) expansion is now live, quite a feat for the 15-year-old MMO. The Darkened Sea raises the level cap to 105, adds six new zones and two re-imagined ones, and features the usual assortment of new quests, items, and raids. SOE describes the storyline:
On a mission to restore balance to Norrath, heroine Firiona Vie travels to Katta Castrum, a city in the Buried Sea, to heal the Combine Emperor, Tsaph Katta. However, a corrupt splinter faction of the Combine, along with the treacherous Lanys T'vyl, attacks the city and kidnaps the Combine ruler. It is up to the heroes of Norrath to track down Lanys and her compatriots, rescue the Emperor and put an end to whatever designs Lanys has planned for Norrath.
Check out the new screenshots below.

[Source: SOE press release]

SWTOR's Assassin, Shadow discipline changes detailed

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic fans, I'm sure you know the drill by now. The Shadow of Revan expansion is introducing major class changes and basically revamping talent trees in favor of a new discipline system. BioWare has been putting out a dev diary every couple of days to outline the tweaks to each of the game's classes. Today's installment focuses on the Jedi Shadow and the Sith Assassin.

EverQuest II: Altar of Malice goes live

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

Everyone must be drawn to the magical allure of "11/11" as a release date, for here's another one for you: EverQuest II's expansion, Altar of Malice, is now available to play.

Altar of Malice adds the new playable Aerakyn race as well as bumps the level cap for adventurers, tradeskillers, and guilds up to 100. There's a gob of more stuff in this expansion, including an additional 29 zones of various types, an increase of prestige abilities to level 100, gem sets for armor, over a hundred new quests, and spiffy PvP gear. And since Altar of Malice is the new expansion on the block, free players can now access Chains of Eternity without paying.

To help you jump into the expansion, we have not only the patch notes but also a preview and an interview about Altar of Malice's controversies for you to read while you update!

EVE Evolved: Clone upgrades and skill loss are gone!

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
While the player activity stats might suggest otherwise, the past few years have been a real rennaisance for EVE Online. Developers have gone back and iterated on dozens of old game features that were starting to show their age, and some of them have been pretty huge. The war declaration and criminality overhauls in 2012 were fundamental changes to core gameplay that had been stagnant for almost a decade, and the recent industry and warp acceleration changes were equally fundamental shifts. These were all features we had previously been told were essentially off-limits for iteration because they relied on undocumented legacy code from 2003, and none of the programmers wanted to poke that sleeping beast.

Now it seems that no idea is off-limits, and developers aren't afraid to challenge fundamental parts of EVE's original design that may not make sense today. This week's Phoebe update revisited capital ship force projection for the first time since the ships were added in 2004, for example, and it removed the 24-hour skill queue limit that CCP insisted on adding in Apocrypha. In Thursday's episode of The EVE Online Show, developers announced the next big legacy feature to be put on the chopping block in the game of progress: As part of December's Rhea release, clone upgrades and skill point loss on death will be completely removed from the game.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the problems caused by the cloning system, why it needs to be removed, and what could possibly replace it.

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The end is coming to Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, Lore, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

And so the expansion we never expected to get ends around when it was expected.
All good things must come to an end. So it goes for Final Fantasy XI's most recent expansion, Seekers of Adoulin, which will be wrapping up its story in the version update going live next week. Players will be pitched into a final battle to determine the fate of the land, lest darkness overtake it... and it probably won't. These stories don't usually end with the heroes totally failing, after all. It'd be a downer back in Jeuno.

The rewards available for clearing the main scenario include a special coat and matching gloves as well as a dozen different rings that should prove quite useful for filling out any player's equipment sets. Tanking, dealing damage, using pets, and even crafting can be improved through use of these rings, giving players more than enough incentive to see the story through to the end. Along with finishing out the story as a whole, too, that's incentive.

SWTOR's Vanguard, Powertech discipline changes detailed

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Did you catch yesterday's Star Wars: The Old Republic dev blog about update 3.0's changes to Mercenaries/Commandos? Good, because now we're on to Vanguards and Powertechs. If you're just joining us, SWTOR's talent trees are going bye-bye in favor of disciplines when Shadow of Revan launches early next month.

Click through the links below to learn what's becoming of your favorite class!

BlizzCon 2014: Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion announced

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

It's about to get all funky and explosive up in Hearthstone. At BlizzCon today, the team announced that the upcoming expansion is called Gobins vs. Gnomes and will be releasing next month.

Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes will contain over 120 new cards that draw upon the innovations of these clever and mad inventors. Two of the cards mentioned were the Explosive Sheep and the Annoy-O-Tron. Currently, the expansion is "in a final balance pass" prior to its December launch.

Hearthstone will also be coming out on Android devices next month.

SWTOR's Commando, Mercenary 3.0 discipline changes detailed

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries

Do you play a Commando or a Mercenary in Star Wars: The Old Republic? If so, you'll want to read BioWare's latest dev diary because it explains the discipline changes scheduled to hit your advanced class with the game's 3.0 update.

There's a lot to digest, including the fact that the game's new discipline system will allow players to select utility skills that were previously tied to a particular skill tree under the old system.

SWTOR's Shadow of Revan expansion launches on December 9th.

New TERA vid explores expansion dungeon

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, TERA, Dungeons

Ready for some new TERA dungeons? They're coming in the new Fate of Arun expansion and they're also showcased briefly in the preview vid we've embedded after the break. There are four new instances including Sabex Armory (level 61 and up), Macellarius Catacombs (64 and up), Ravenous Gorge (65 and up), and Bathysmal Rise (65 and up).

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EverQuest: The Darkened Sea officially launching on November 11th

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Launches, Lore, Free-to-Play

While All-Access members are currently enjoying EverQuest's newest expansion, The Darkened Sea, non-subscribers are still twiddling their thumbs waiting to get in on the fun. The good news is that the wait will be over soon, as the expansion will officially launch on November 11th for all who purchase it.

To help drum up excitement, SOE posted a brief story dev diary to set the scene for the expansion. "The Darkened Sea hides many secrets," the team teased. "A coral castle, enchanting sirens, watered-down dwarves, and even dinosaurs! On a remote island in the vast ocean is a mysterious city with an intricate citadel floating above it."

For a full grasp on what The Darkened Sea has to offer, check out our in-depth look into the game's 21st expansion.

Blizzard updates WoW's garrison game guide

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry

Blizzard has updated its game guide to World of Warcraft's garrisons. In case you missed it, garrisons serve as your Draenor ops center and allow you to collect resources, send followers on missions, and "create wondrous items to aid you in your journey," the firm says.

You've still got a few days before Warlords of Draenor releases on November 13th, so why not give the new guide a look-see?

Enter at Your Own Rift: Do my bidding, minions!

Fantasy, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Guides, Enter at Your Own Rift

RIFT: Nightmare Tide is here at last, and the one overriding thought that permeates my every gaming minute is this: I am going to get totally addicted to minions. Heck, I already am.

I'll be getting into other aspects of the expansion in coming weeks (spoiler: sidekicking is way tubular), but since this one feature is available to everyone right now and it's completely new to the game, I wanted to discuss minions today. There isn't a lot of information out there on the minion system thus far, which is surprising considering how much I've seen guildmates and general chat buzz on about it. Perhaps it's simple enough not to require detailed explanations, but there's still enough depth to elicit a few questions.

So what's the minion system like? How does it benefit players? How much money does it require of free players? What are some good strategies for it? I'm all over this today, so let's get into it!

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