| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Fantasy

Norrathian Notebook: First impressions of EQII's Altar of Malice

Fantasy, Galleries, EverQuest II, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, First Impressions, Crafting, Norrathian Notebook

Norrathian Notebook:  First impressions of EQII's Altar of Malice
Although Altar of Malice has been available to All Access subscribers for two weeks, EverQuest II's 11th expansion just opened up to everyone on Tuesday. That makes this a great time to share my initial impressions of the new lands and new content. Mind you, these are literally only first impressions: I am not one to blow through the content at a break-neck speed just so I can consume it all in as little time as possible. That's relegated to pecan pie. MMOs aren't a race to me. I prefer to gradually savor the content, stretching it out so the experience lasts. I've actually also been holding myself back from doing too much so I can run through things with those who can finally join me now that the expansion is fully released. I will continue to poke though it at my pace while I continue my other endeavors (do you realize just how long it takes to decorate a house?!). As such, a full review of everything will have to come at a later date.

So what my thoughts as I amble amble my way through the land of the lost... er, jurassic park... I mean, Altar of Malice? EQII's dino-riffic expansion definitely has its highlights, like offering a heaping helping of nostalgia, but it has its disappointments as well. Here's my take.

Continue Reading

The Stream Team: Enjoy a heaping helping of pre-holiday ArcheAge adventures

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

What do ArcheAge and Thanksgiving dinner have in common? A plethora of turkeys, ducks, geese, pumpkins, yams, corn, cream, and more. Tonight, Massively's MJ is taking a break from holiday preparations to dive into more ArcheAge adventures. (OK, let's be honest here -- she's been taking a break from ArcheAge to actually try to prepare for the holiday!) What's on the menu? It could be the Minions in a dungeon, some sneaking around the Nuian continent, or maybe just having a few hauler races! Join us live at 7:00 p.m. to enjoy a slice of ArcheAge life before your yearly turkey coma.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

Continue Reading

Perfect World's Q3 results down

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

Perfect World's third quarter profits fell, according to a financial results document published yesterday by the free-to-play giant. CEO Robert Xiao blamed PW's American operations for the drop, though he said the firm remains "confident in the long-term prospects of our US subsidiary given its strong R&D and operational capabilities as well as [its] promising pipeline."

Perfect World declined to comment on the performance of Neverwinter's Q3 console launch. It did note that it is localizing the fantasy MMO for China, where the company has seen its concurrent user numbers drop from 778,000 to 623,000 inside of a year.

A whole bunch of MMOs are discounted on Steam

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions

Is your wallet ready for Steam's annual holiday assault? We hope so, because in addition to the usual triple-A and indie single-player smorgasbord, quite a few MMORPGs are getting in on the act. Discounted titles include RIFT, LotRO, The Secret World, EVE Online, Shroud of the Avatar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Defiance, Star Trek Online, and perhaps most appropriately, City of Steam.

Journey to the West opens up its international beta on Saturday

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play

JTTW
Want a new game to try out this holiday weekend? Journey to the West International might be up your alley if you have a high tolerance for goofy imports. It's yet another MMO inspired by the Chinese epic tale of the same name, and its open beta launches on November 29th. Players can actually reserve their character names for the beta starting today.

JTTW boasts a level cap of 40, instanced dungeons, four classes, recurring events, and a psyche system that transforms characters into powerful elemental manifestations. It's also got an open cash shop, meaning the game is effectively soft launching this weekend.

We've embedded two game videos below, courtesy of MMO Culture. Enjoy!

Continue Reading

Choose My Adventure: The final Final Fantasy

Fantasy, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
It's amazing how time flies when you're punching things. Just a few weeks ago our Choose My Adventure-forged Final Fantasy XIV pugilist was an aspiring adventurer with no pants; today, she's a certified hero (still with no pants). It's been an impressive ride to say the least. Square Enix has done some things so phenomenally right it's hard to believe the studio botched the game so badly the first time around.

Final Fantasy XIV is definitely a traditional fantasy MMO. But it makes enough changes and innovates in enough places to make itself feel unique and compelling. If I had to pay a subscription for a game (which I hate doing), FFXIV would be the one to get my credit card number.

Continue Reading

Secure a Skyforge beta key through a gems minigame

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Events (Real-World), News Items, Promotions, Skyforge

Skyforge
Wanna win a beta key for Skyforge, the upcoming sci-fantasy MMORPG from My.com/Allods Team? I hope you like minigames, then, because Skyforge is going to make you play a minigame to earn that video game beta key. From today to December 23rd, players can log into the game's website to play a daily round of the minigame, called Aelion's Treasure. There's more at stake than just keys, though:
In the mini-game, players have seven attempts daily to find as many blue gems as possible on a board of 21 gems. To win a closed beta key one should collect 5 blue gems. Along the way they'll find several surprises, and a special leaderboard will keep track of players' progress. The top 20 players on the leaderboard each week will also receive an invitation to Skyforge closed beta. Additionally, the player who places in first in the leaderboard rankings each week will receive a Sound Blaster EVO ZXR Headset. Other prizes include an exclusive Skyforge Souvenir Gift Set, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 graphics card.
Hey, at least it's novel, right? The game's first technical beta ran earlier in November. We don't yet know exactly when the beta will begin, though given the duration of this promotion, we can hazard a guess.

Black Desert posts new screenshots ahead of open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert
The Korean open beta for upcoming sandbox Black Desert arrives next month, and Daum has refreshed the game's website with a ton of new screenshots.

They've got lady archers wearing garters, a knight with spiked hair, a castle siege, a leprechaun with a basket of herbs, a strangely sweaty ranger, a butt shot of a girl, a butt shot of a pack horse, sunsets, fishing, and murder -- so it's pretty much everything you'd expect from a Korean sandbox MMORPG. Enjoy!

Turbine's customer support department spreads holiday cheer

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

The players that the team disliked were mailed images of rats being dropped from the tops of stairwells.
Working customer support for an MMO means that even the best times of your job are still spent dealing with upset players. Sure, the player might recognize that whatever went wrong was just an accident or a bug, but you've still got player issues to manage. It's the sort of work that can make you bitter or cynical, but not so with the customer support team at Turbine Entertainment, which decided to reach out to fans in a slightly happier fashion with holiday cards. Seriously. Real ones.

Players on the Lord of the Rings Online forums have reported receiving physical holiday cards from the game's customer service department with hand-written messages and gift cards for 500 Turbine points inside. The community team has stated that this is exactly what it seems to be: a random gesture of kindness and appreciation for the game's playerbase. That message also reminded players to keep their mailing addresses up to date, as this is unlikely to be the only such event.

[Thanks to Fredelas for the tip!]

Guild Wars 2's Leah Hoyer discusses the importance of story

Fantasy, Lore, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Story: let's me and you fight.
It's fair to say that Guild Wars 2 sells its story pretty highly, as living world progress and story updates are a major part of its content strategy. Head of narrative Leah Hoyer stated in a recent interview that this is one of the core things that games as a whole need to embrace: Story is important in getting players invested. Hoyer went on to say that while story lacks the central importance in games that it has in media like television, it's still an important element of player investment.

Still, she argues, it's harder to tell a good story in a game than it is in a television show, simply because the latter is focused only on story while the former cannot be. This doesn't mean that it's less important, nor does Hoyer feel that it justifies using lore and background as an excuse for not telling a story; a good story requires immediacy. While she believes that lore is highly important, it should help support storytelling rather than replace it. There's a lot of interesting thoughts in the full interview, so whether you like Guild Wars 2's take on story or not, it's well worth a look.

RuneScape sub price to increase in 2015

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, RuneScape, Subscription

RuneScape's subscription fee is going up in 2015, but Jagex hasn't said exactly when or by how much. A posting on the fantasy title's official website pegs the timeframe as Q1 2015 and says that the hike will affect new members as well as members who have been unsubscribed for more than 14 days.

"If you're a member when the price rise happens, you'll see no change," Jagex explains. "You'll stay at your price as long as your active membership started before the date of the price rise. This applies for all previous grandfather rates, for those of you who've been subscribed for a long time. Should your membership end, you'll keep any lower price you're eligible for, as long as you resubscribe within 14 days. After that, though, you'll be moved to the new price."

Icarus Online releases trailer for The Evil Desert

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items

You said we were going to Red Lobster.  This is not Red Lobster.  Are you listening?  I WANTED RED LOBSTER, TRISHA!
We have to be honest and say we don't know a whole lot about Icarus Online, due to the fact that it hasn't been released over here and isn't in a language that most of us can speak. Those are barriers to education right there. But we do know it's getting a new expansion, and a trailer for that expansion is available just past the break.

The expansion is dubbed The Evil Desert, and you can guess what the focus is from the title alone, really. It's not a benevolent tundra. From the trailer, it should feature new storyline quests, at least one massive new boss, and a lot of people speaking ominously whilst conjuring cards. Check out the trailer for yourself just past the break; it'll take only a minute of your time.

Continue Reading

Flameseeker Chronicles: Navigating Guild Wars 2's Tangled Paths release

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

What a nice day for a war.
I was late playing Guild Wars 2's latest update, Tangled Paths, because I was on an airplane when it went live. That might be a better excuse than "the dog ate my homework," but I don't have one for "a dog ate my character," which is exactly what happened as soon as I got home and logged in.

Read on for the reason I actually welcome our vicious new dog overlords, as well as why Caithe and I need to have a long talk. You'll also find an exclusive photograph of Bellevue, Washington, taken from the roof of ArenaNet's studio, which is exciting primarily because I got the Seattle skyline in the very same shot without it coming out blurry, even on my awful camera phone. I'm proud of that and nobody can take it from me. As usual, spoiler warnings apply!

Continue Reading

Take a look at World of Warcraft's updated Blood Elf models

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

These could have been in at launch, sure, but it would have cost a raid tier.
Blood Elves kind of got the short end of the World of Warcraft stick when Warlords of Draenor launched. All the classic races got an updated model, the Draenei got an updated model, and the Blood Elves didn't. The result is that the race is notably older than its contemporaries. That's going to change soon; the updated models for the race are swiftly moving through development, bringing the Horde's magical addicts up to par with the rest of the faction.

As with the other updated models, the differences are subtle but notable. Blood Elf women have slightly wider torsos and a more defined neck, while the men have better anatomy and a more natural stance. There's no precise ETA, but the team is hoping to have these updated models into the game soon, as rigging and animating are currently underway. You can get some idea of what the finished product will look like by checking the preview.

WildStar releases Voyage of the Nomad, plans story rollout

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Lore, News Items, Roleplaying, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
Carbine Studios has just announced new content for WildStar... well, for the WildStar website, anyway. Voyage of the Nomad, a short story that "recollects the tale of the Cassians' first steps into the vast world of deep-space exploration," will go live on the official site's story page today.

And it won't be a lone entry. Carbine plans to publish 11 such tales starting today and running every other Tuesday until the plots are played out. "The stories will unfold chronologically, until they reach the events that players have already experienced in WildStar's main story," says the press release.

Hey, at least the lore-fiends among the greater MMO playerbase will be happy!

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW