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Fantasy

Final Fantasy XI previews Incursion battles, September version update

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Consoles, Subscription

We're going deep inside here.  What?
Ready to strike against the heart of the Velkk kingdom in Final Fantasy XI? The new Incursion system will allow players to do just that, rewarding combatants with experience points, capacity points, and of course, plenty of loot. The dungeon can also scale its difficulty upward, posing an ever-greater challenge for larger groups and more experienced players alike. All players need are Velkk Fetishes looted from Marjami Ravine, with a minimum of six people allowed in; monster HP will increase for larger groups.

Once inside, players will have 45 minutes to tackle the battles within, including six Notorious Monsters wandering the area. Collecting key items from those Notorious Monsters will allow players to face a harder version of the Incursion the next time around, improving rewards all around for a successful clear. Check out the full preview for all of the details on how to take the fight to the heart of enemy territory.

The team has also released more details on the upcoming September version update.

Flameseeker Chronicles: What's next for Guild Wars 2?

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Amhlaigh one year later!
Happy second anniversary, Guild Wars 2! We've heard news on the September feature pack, did a cupcake run for ArenaNet to celebrate (I heard that there were bacon cupcakes, but why would you do that), and got some previews of the profession balance changes we can expect to see soon.

As happy as I am about that cleave on Necromancer's mainhand dagger, updated axe animations, and being able to resurrect others while in Death Shroud -- and I think the other professions got some stuff, too -- it's been a rocky few weeks for GW2. We've had the privilege of having an unusually close relationship with the developers behind our favorite game, and unfortunately that can lead to tempers running hotter when things go awry. Nevertheless, I think most of us would like to see that relationship continue to flourish and improve. So what went wrong?

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Previewing LotRO's Dead Marshes patch on the test server

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Subscription

These don't look too lively.  I suppose that's the point.
The next major update for Lord of the Rings Online is up on the test server now. If you want to explore Update 14.2, you can. But what if you aren't in the mood for going through the process of a beta install just to wander around in the new area? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just get a quick look at the zone without having to roam about yourself?

Good news, then, as a new video from LOTRO Players highlights the Dead Marshes and what players can expect in the new zone. The patch is quite large for a small update addition, and it contains some new enemy arrangements, some new pets, and plenty of new activities for players. Check out the full video just past the cut if you'd like to take a tour without going yourself.

[Thanks to Andang for the tip!]

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Pumpkin Online Kickstarter promises farming and dating

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Yeah, it looks rough, but the idea is great.
If you've ever spend hours plugging away at Harvest Moon and thought that the game would be better if it were online, Pumpkin Online is aimed directly at you. The game is on Kickstarter now, and it's intended to be a combination of the best elements of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing while also creating a robust environment for players to work, craft, and interact together.

Players will have access to a variety of professions and goals as well as the ability to customize the inside and outside of their farms. They can also pursue friendly or romantic relationships with the townsfolk, with an emphasis on inclusive relationships and character options for all players. As of this writing, it's about halfway to its goal, so if you like the idea of an inclusive game or just want to farm with your friends, you might want to toss a few dollars into the bucket.

PAX Prime 2014: I wonder as I Wander

Betas, Fantasy, Previews, Consoles, Casual, Events (Massively's Coverage)

wander
We've been keeping our eyes on Wander for a year now, and during PAX Prime I caught up with Lead Developer Loki Davison to see how this collaborative exploration title's been going.

For someone who only now got a first look at this game, it was a jarring shift from the adrenaline-fueled rides in booths all around. Instead, Wander is something akin to an interactive nature screensaver. You slowly move through the beautiful tropical setting to poke around looking for secrets and more scraps of the overarching story. There is no death. There are no other creatures, except for fellow players. And your top speed is capped at something like two miles per hour.

Davison said that this style of game is meant to be both relaxing and rewarding to the inquisitive mind. Discovery and sharing those findings with other players to figure out the larger secrets is the driving force here, but if you simply want to walk around as a giant tree with hands or flutter about as a butterfly, nobody is going to stop you.

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Black Desert gets an official Russian trailer

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Back in the 90s, I was in a very famous TV show.
If your eyes are closely fixed on Black Desert, you're probably soaking up any piece of information you can get about the game. So you'll be happy to learn that an official trailer is now available. The down side is that it's in Russian, which will render the words of the trailer a bit impenetrable to those who don't speak the language.

Then again, language hurdles have always been an issue for fans of this game in America, and you can still enjoy the game footage just past the break. There's no announced release date on these shores, but with a certain publisher lined up, it's only a matter of time.

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Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
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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PAX Prime 2014: Strife learns from the past

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

strife
S2 Games is a big believer in learning from the past. Whereas many other MOBA developers are creating their very first such title, S2 already has a MOBA -- Heroes of Newerth -- under its belt. Taking key lessons from that experience, the devs are creating what they call the next generation of MOBA: Strife.

Strife was definitely in full force around PAX Prime this weekend. The team had not only a prime spot by the show doors (complete with a mechanical dragon that players could ride) but a spot at a local grill where prizes and cosplay repairs took place.

My key question for the devs was, "What makes Strife any different from the dozens of other MOBAs on the market?" This question led into a discussion of how the team has been pulling the best elements from the genre while discarding what didn't work -- denying, for example, is not a part of Strife in the least, nor is the commonplace "last hit" mechanic.

Instead, Strife seeks to be enjoyable both as a MOBA and as a single-player experience. The solo content was put in to flesh out the story of the world (MOBAs have story?) and give players a different kind of experience between matches. I was also interested in the pets that characters can acquire and wield for their special abilities.

Strife went into open beta this past weekend, so give it a whirl and let us know what you think!

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience, part 2

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvE, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

A rune in Molten Core
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 August 26th and is included here by permission.

In the last WoW Archivist, we covered the early parts of Molten Core: the "attunement," the grueling trash clear to Lucifron, and the weird hunter-focused mechanics of Magmadar. As we left off, the raid had just reached its first rune. To douse the rune and (eventually) summon Majordomo Executus, you had to make friends with an angry royal guy made of water.

The duke of douse

Duke Hydraxis, as a water elemental, wasn't very fond of other elemental types, particularly Ragnaros or his fiery kin. His Hydraxian Waterlords were the first raid-based reputation in WoW. You could rep up with them before setting foot in Molten Core by killing certain elementals out in the world, but only up to just shy of honored. After that, you had to run MC to get additional rep. Trash gave rep until revered, but only boss kills got you through the slow grind to exalted.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hearthstone eyes an expansion

Fantasy, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Events (Massively's Coverage), Hearthstone

hearthstone
The PAX Prime Blizzard booth was one of the larger and more populated venues on the show floor this year. A slow-moving line wrapped around it as players waited eagerly to try out Warlords of Draenor or to see Heroes of the Storm for the first time. Yet it was Hearthstone -- a free-to-play game available to anyone at anytime -- that was winning gamers over.

I talked with Game Director Eric Dodds about how this small project at Blizzard blew up into a great success story. He said that when the team noticed that Twitch livestreams of Hearthstone were drawing in thousands and tens of thousands of viewers is when the studio knew that it had a hit on its hands.

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The Mog Log: Happy birthday, Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Anniversaries

They grow up so fast.
Congratulations, Final Fantasy XIV! It's been a year and you're still going after the relaunch, much to the surprise and consternation of the many people who were hoping for the opposite outcome for... well, I'm not clear on that exit strategy. Bragging rights, I guess. The point is, you turned out to surprise pretty much everyone, you've been posting incredibly solid numbers for a while now, and you don't seem likely to go anywhere in the near future. You can take a load off, maybe take a nap.

Now that I've gotten the congratulations out of the way, let's talk about Final Fantasy XIV and the many ways that the designers have screwed up so far. Sort of. I mean, over the past year I've been more than willing to fire with both barrels when a screwup was made, which has happened... about once every major patch. But here's the thing: I'm glad to see that happening, on some level. It gives me hope for the future.

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PAX Prime 2014: Heroes of the Storm is friendly, zany fun

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), MOBA

heroes of the storm
Heroes of the Storm's beginnings are rooted in a mod that Blizzard made in 2010 to encourage StarCraft II players to get into the modding scene. Not only was this unnecessary (the StarCraft II comunity took to modding like fish to water) but the mod gradually became so well-liked internally that proper development began in 2012 to make it a full-fledged MOBA.

At PAX Prime, I asked the team what was going to make Heroes of the Storm stand out from the rest of the MOBA pack -- or whether it was merely content to ride the Blizzard name to big sales. The response was that this game is shaping up to be one of the most friendly and welcoming MOBAs on the market. Gone are mechanics like denying and last hits and in are new concepts like shared team levels. The devs said that the root of the toxic atmosphere seen in many MOBAs is game design that focuses more in individual selfishness and potential ways to hurt your own team. There also won't be any chatting with the opposing team in HotS to cut down on potential sass-mouth.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Subscription

wow
If you've played World of Warcraft once, have you played it for all time? I was wondering this as I slipped back into Azeroth for a look at the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion at PAX Prime. After all, it had been three years and two expansions since I've really played this MMO, but as I learned, even new shinies don't make this game feel any more or less like the good ol' WoW that I remember.

The floor demo allowed us to create instant level 90 characters and jump into the second zone, Shadowmoon Valley. I selected a character at random and naturally ended up with a Shadow Priest, a class that I've never played. Figures. I spent a minute selecting a specialization, random talents, and outfitting my hotbar with enough of a skill rotation that I wouldn't be laughed out of the next Priest conclave. Then it was off to check out this brand-new zone.

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The Daily Grind: What's the longest you've anticipated a new MMO?

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

When Trion announced ArcheAge's western launch date last weekend, the first word that came to mind was finally. I'm not looking to bust anyone's chops here, but damn have I been waiting to play this game for forever.

The only other MMO I've followed so closely from its public announcement to its release was Star Wars: Galaxies, and that was only three years of waiting compared to over four for ArcheAge. What about you, Massively readers? What's the longest amount of time you've spent anticipating a new MMO? Which MMO was it?

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!

Return for a free week and get major discounts during Final Fantasy XI's anniversary event

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Expansions, News Items, Anniversaries

This fall marks Final Fantasy XI's 12th anniversary, and as part of the lead up to the celebration, former players are invited back for a free week of play! Dubbed the Return Home to Vana'diel Campaign, the event lets all players who have ever previously paid for a subscription to FFXI return from Wednesday, September 10th, at 11:00 p.m. EDT, to Wednesday, September 17th, at 10:59 a.m. EDT. To be eligible, accounts must either be currently canceled or have the "To be Canceled" status as of September 8th at 10:59 a.m. EDT.

Starting at the same time but lasting a week longer are special discount offers for everyone. Until 10:59 a.m. EDT on Tuesday the 23rd, players can grab the following digital downloads and services for significant savings:
  • Seekers of Adoulin Expansion Pack -- $4.99 (83% off)
  • Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Seekers Edition -- $9.99 (75% off)
  • World Transfer Service -- $9.00 (50% off)
All deal are through the the Square Enix e-Store. If you've wanted to get back into the game to see what has changed or want to pick it up and check Vana'diel out yourself, this is a good opportunity to dive in.

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