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Expansions

Previewing RIFT's new masteries system

Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries

RIFT
Trion Worlds has today previewed the new "masteries" system coming in RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion later this month. Masteries take the place of the soul points normally earned as players level up. Instead of spending soul points to take new powers in your soul trees (which would have created class imbalances), players will essentially buy powers from a new set of skills open to all characters within the same base class. Trion outlines the types of powers available:
Most Masteries provide a general primary bonus and a secondary bonus that focuses on individual abilities and Souls. These secondary bonuses have several types of effects ranging from increasing the functionality of a given ability (or type of ability) to improving utility and hybridization options for others. Masteries from level 61 to level 64 focus on passive bonuses. The primary bonus on these Masteries will generally fit a theme for all Masteries at the same level:

Level 61: Survivability
Level 62: Healing
Level 63: Utility
Level 64: Damage

When you hit level 65, you'll unlock the final tier of Masteries along with an array of active abilities. These are aimed at supplementing multiple builds, allowing you to add damage to a healing build, or even give some healing to a pure DPS build.
Masteries are saved per role and can be swapped out of combat.

Star Trek Online's Kobali hijack corpses to stay alive

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

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Out of all of the races that players will encounter with this month's Star Trek Online: Delta Rising, the Kobali might be the most skin-crawling. According to a new dev diary posted today, the NPC race reproduces by taking corpses and injecting their DNA into them for a twisted "rebirth."

Even though they reappropriate dead things, the Kobali are peaceful, nomadic folk who have recently settled down on a new homeworld of Kobali Prime. It's on this planet that players will get to visit the capital city and go on several adventures through the surrounding landscape.

World of Warcraft shows off the dungeons of Warlords of Draenor

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

Comes pre-loaded with all the draenei you can eat.
As the release of Warlords of Draenor inches ever closer, it's no surprise that players might want to know what dungeons they'll be running religiously for the next several months. The official World of Warcraft site has been updated with a preview of the eight new dungeons being added with the expansion, four of them intended for leveling along the way and four of them pegged at level 100 for players who have already reached the top.

On the leveling path, players will stop in the Bloodmaul Slag Mines, the Iron Docks, Auchindoun, and Skyreach. Once at the cap, they can start exploring the Shadowmoon Burial Grounds, the Everbloom, and the Grimrail Depot... or they can take a trip back to Azeroth to view the revamped Upper Blackrock Spire. Take a look at the full preview for more of the lore backdrop for the newest dungeon drives coming to the game in November.

See Star Trek Online: Delta Rising's feature briefing

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play

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"The biggest and most inspired expansion" for Star Trek Online has Cryptic thrilled to show it off. So thrilled, as a matter of fact, that you can hear the narrator of this new features video quivering with excitement as he talks about encounters with new worlds, returning aliens, "and even Seven of Nine!"

This Delta Rising trailer discusses the new open world adventure zone that includes elite challenges, the reunion of the bulk of the Voyager cast, the Tier 6 intelligence starships, and the races of the Delta Quadrant. You can catch the excitement by watching it after the jump!

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Trion delays RIFT: Nightmare Tide's launch [Updated]

Fantasy, Expansions, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Livestream

rift
RIFT: Nightmare Tide's October 8th release date is no longer set in stone -- if it ever was. In a livestream yesterday, Trion Worlds devs said that there is a possibility of a release delay based on feedback and that the team will decide soon if that delay will happen. Whatever date Nightmare Tide ends up releasing, it will go live in both Europe and North America at the same time.

Many smaller details about the expansion launch were discussed during the livestream. The devs said that players will have a way to buy Planewalker: Water Attunement using in-game experience as well as purchasing it through the expansion bundle. Nightmare Tide will release with three new armor sets, new aquatic pets, additional housing dimenasions, four new dungeons, two "return to" dungeons, and the 10-person Rhen of Fate raid. The 20-person Mount Sharax raid will launch at a later date.

Trion also admitted to already discussing RIFT 4.0 and 5.0 (i.e., the next two expansions) but declined to give specifics apart from a mention of "an over-arching plan" with them.

Update: Trion announced tonight that the expansion will be delayed until October 22nd.

Enter at Your Own Rift: How Nightmare Tide brought me back to RIFT

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

rift
Wow -- it's been a year and a half since I last sat down to pen this column. Obviously, around that time I had left the game and focused on other writing projects here at Massively. It wasn't a bad break-up with my former stomping grounds in Telara; it was a "goodbye for now" type of situation. There were other vistas to be viewed and other worlds to conquer.

Yet RIFT has this power to eventually pull me back in. I'll admit that I hadn't even thought of the game for the most part in 2014 until one fateful morning at PAX Prime in September when I sat down with Trion's devs to get an overview of the new expansion. The more I watched, listened, and asked questions, the more I groaned inwardly because I knew that my carefully tuned play schedule was about to witness another upheaval. I knew I'd have to go back to RIFT to experience Nightmare Tide.

In less than a week, Nightmare Tide will roll into this game, bringing with it several new features, zones, and most likely fellow lookie-loos who will be equally curious how the game's improved with its second expansion. For this returning edition of Enter at Your Own Rift, I want to highlight four factors that were instrumental in grabbing my attention and convincing me to come back for another go in this fantasy world.

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Leaderboard: Nightmare Tide vs. Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, RIFT, Leaderboard

There are a couple of big fantasy MMO expansions coming out in short order. RIFT's Nightmare Tide drops on October 8th, while World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor releases on November 13th.

Given those facts, I bet you can guess the content of today's Leaderboard, can't ya? Vote after the cut!

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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RIFT explores the heights of Tarken Glacier

Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

I can't hear you!  I said, what's cooler than being cool?
Beneath the waves lies the city of nightmares, but RIFT players exploring the Nightmare Tide expansion will not stop there. Far above those waters sits Tarken Glacier, a massive edifice of frost that stretches to the very boundaries of the cosmos. Players will be exploring this towering mass of ice, obviously, starting at the most basic ascent before moving up to the most distant reaches of the land.

Along the way, players will be working with Skelf pilgrims, fighting off vicious frost giants, and seeking the last stronghold of the near-annihilated Pelagic Order. There are port cities nestled within the glacier, great structures devoted to researching the frostbitten land, and marauding enemies from all sides. In short, it's exactly the sort of place players will love exploring and fighting through when the expansion goes live; check out the full preview for more details on the lore of this region. The open beta for the expansion went live yesterday, with the full launch planned for October 8th.

Hearthstone set for an expansion with over 100 new cards

Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Like Magic, only in slow motion.
Hearthstone's little trip to Naxxramas went pretty well, but the game is headed for something bigger. An expansion has been confirmed to be in the works for the game, as we first reported during PAX Prime this year. Production Director Jason Chayes has now revealed that the expansion will add over 100 new cards with a central theme tying all of the additions together, far more than the 30-odd cards added to the game during the Curse of Naxxramas adventure series.

Chayes told Polygon that one of the big concerns for the team is making sure that the pace of new content for the game neither bores veteran players nor overwhelms new arrivals, making an expansion something of a challenging prospect. If the expansion goes well, the plan will be to mix up full expansions and single-player challenges over the course of a year, giving players more things to look forward to. No hard and fast details have been announced yet, but expected them in the near future.

Star Trek's Rivera talks story design and the Delta Quadrant

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Trek Online

If you've been wondering why Star Trek Online is going to the Delta Quadrant for its upcoming expansion and what sorts of stories will be available when it gets there, a new dev diary has the answers. Lead designer Al Rivera writes about the game's "story process," which involves examining where the game's already been and deciding what sorts of additions will fit STO's production schedule.

"We have to determine how many missions we need to tell this story," Rivera says. "How many do we want? Do we want adventure or battlezones? Ground or space? What about patrols, queues and STFs? Does our story work for the type of content we need to create?"

You can read the rest of his thoughts at the official Star Trek Online website.

RIFT's Nightmare Tide now in open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, RIFT

Trion wants you to know that RIFT's Nightmare Tide open beta is now live. You'll need the company's Glyph launcher, and you'll need to navigate to the server list under the RIFT heading where you can select "PTS."

From there it should be pretty straightforward. If you're not inclined to play a pre-release version of the expansion, you can pick up the real thing on October 8th.

BioWare delays SWTOR's Revan expansion reveal

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

Dulfy.net has collected BioWare forum statements to confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic's upcoming expansion announcement has been delayed. The studio had originally slated the reveal for September, but it's been delayed by "a couple of weeks." Community Manager Eric Musco advised players not to read too deeply into the delay because "the delay of announcement has no effect on the expansion schedule":
"In short, the process we go through internally to announce something as big as an expansion is actually quite complex and extensive. Although you are correct in that the end process may be a video, a landing page with some copy, etc. the process to get there requires a large amount of moving parts across multiple teams. Aside from just the assets and webpages there is arguably one of the most important aspects of these types of announcements, the game!

"By the time we announce we have to have a concrete idea of what will be coming in the game with the expansion, what types of perks we might give our subscribers, etc. Unfortunately with so many moving parts, we can sometimes run into the scenario like we did today. If we are not 100% confident in what we are going to put out, for a multitude of possible reasons, it can lead to a delay of announcement."
Forumgoers suggested the expansion will be titled "Shadow of Revan," "Spawn of Revan" or "Shroud of Revan"; dataminers have carved "Shadow of Revan" in stone. Musco reiterated BioWare's "commitment [to] launching it this year."

Star Trek Online: Delta Rising exposes androids and isolationist aliens

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

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We're mere weeks away from entering the delta quadrant in Star Trek Online, but there is so much more left to learn about this new space and its inhabitants. Cryptic posted an intelligence briefing today about two additional races that one might encounter in Delta Rising: the Automatic Personnel Units and the Turei.

The APUs are androids built by a long-dead civilization to wage war by proxy. The androids turned on their creators, continued fighting with each other, and searched for a way to reproduce (pro tip: Newegg should have some in stock). In contrast, the Turei are reptilian, isolationist aliens who use the Underspace corridors to traverse the delta quadrant. They're kind of jerks but have been known to engage in trading in their journeys.

EVE Evolved: Features coming in Oceanus and beyond

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
It's been almost four months since EVE Online switched from publishing two major expansions per year to releasing ten smaller updates, and so far it looks like the new schedule has been a huge success. Rather than forcing the industry overhaul out the door in Kronos before it was ready, CCP was able to push it forward to the Crius release window seven weeks later and the extra development time meant the feature launched in a very polished state. It may be too early to tell if the new schedule's success can be seen in the concurrent player graph for Tranquility, but the numbers have remained steady for the past few months in what is typically the annual low-point for player activity.

The Oceanus update is scheduled to go live in just two day's time, adding several graphical upgrades, more difficult burner missions, an experimental new notification feature, and other small improvements. The scale of the update seems to be on par with the recent Hyperion release, consisting of mostly small features and minor iterations on gameplay. While we're told that CCP is still working on large projects behind the scenes, the new release schedule means they won't be rushed out the door and so we may not see them for some time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise everything we know about Tuesday's Oceanus update, and take a look at what's to come in further releases.

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Captain's Log Supplemental: Exploring the art design of Star Trek Online's Delta Rising races

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

It's like the Yamato, only in a series I like.
If you asked me about my favorite antagonistic race through all of Voyager's seven-year run, my answer wouldn't have been any of the regular suspects. It would have been the Vaadwaur, and not just because of their funky appearance; the race really twisted the usual formula of a Star Trek one-off villain, and besides that, they had a culture that hinted at something very unusual in the show. I was kind of sad that they never showed up again after their one episode.

Obviously, I was happy to see one of my favorite races get the upgrade treatment in Star Trek Online. But that poses a problem just the same because it's not as if the producers on the show detailed dozens of ship classes and a huge amount of culture for a race that showed up for 50 minutes. I chatted with art director Brad Stokan about bringing these smaller races of Star Trek into a fully fleshed-out form in Star Trek Online, discussing both the Vaadwaur and the Kobali and how his team took a one-off guest appearance and made a full race out of it.

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