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Fantasy

Return to Britannia campaign starts tomorrow in Ultima Online

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Patches, Ultima Online, Anniversaries, Subscription

uo
For the entire month of October, Ultima Online will be running another Return to Britannia campaign in the hopes of luring both the old guard and the new generation for the game's 17th anniversary.

From October 1st through the 30th, former players will be able to return to the game for free, mirroring previous Return to Britannia events.

There's a lot to celebrate in UO these days above and beyond its birthday. The game recently implimented its Publish 86 with the vice vs. virtue system, added more sea adventures, and is working on a new UI for the enhanced client. You can check out video of the 17th anniversary festivities after the break.

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SOE devs on EverQuest Next's 'life of consequence'

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

We've known for a while that SOE is cooking up some sort of emergent AI concoction for EverQuest Next. The company famously partnered with Storybricks last year to bring its fantasy NPCs to life, and a newly released video sheds a bit more light on what exactly that means.

The clip stems from a panel that was originally conducted at this year's SOE Live, which has now been distilled to a more manageable five-minute running time. Click past the cut to find out about EQN's lack of traditional quest hubs and how to make NPCs bow before your mighty axe of authority.

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Dark Age of Camelot to build a statues of King's Tournament champions

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, Events (In-Game), PvP, Anniversaries, Subscription

daoc
Have you ever fancied the notion of having a giant in-game statue erected in your honor? This egotistical dream may come true for you in Dark Age of Camelot... if you are one of the winners of the October's King's Tournament.

This brand-new event in DAoC kicks off tomorrow to commemorate the game's 13th anniversary. Each of the three realms will be tracking RvR stats for everyone in the game, and at the end of the month the top two players from each realm will be crowned champion. These six winners will have a statue of their character constructed in their realm's capital city.

To track the progress of the tournament, players can check out an in-game leaderboard which will be updated on an hourly basis.

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.

Elsword reveals the Arc Tracer class... for science

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play

Elsword
KOG Games has just revealed Add the Arc Tracer, a new class coming to Elsword on October 1st. The Arc Tracer is a tech specialist who can manipulate drones, laser cannon, and flying disks to kick butt with science. At level 35, the Arc Tracer can become a Mastermind (eventually -- but not in this patch!). We've got brand-new screenshots, details, and an exclusive trailer after the cut!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2's gender divide

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

I'm about to disappoint anyone who thought I might be okay with GamerGate.
When I sit down to write an installment of this column that is strongly critical of Guild Wars 2 -- a game I love, in case that was ever in doubt -- I try to follow a simple format in order to keep my criticism from turning into a venting session. That format is to establish that there is a problem, explain why it's a problem requiring a solution, and finally to offer any ideas or suggestions I think might be useful to that end. I do this because I want my articles to be helpful on some level to both ArenaNet and other fans, and while blowing off steam is excellent for the bilious humors, it's not so great for creating actual change.

Sometimes, though, the only suggestion I can offer is to please stop doing something because the fact that it's a problem is reason enough for it to require that solution. This is especially important when the issue isn't gameplay or monetization but rather something that personally affects me and the people I play with.

As a warning, several of the source links in this article lead to discussions of graphic and disturbing language and events.

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Casual escapists, Skyforge hasn't forgotten you

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, News Items, PvE, Skyforge

Skyforge
A new MMOGames interview with Obsidian Executive Producer Eric DeMilt sheds light on inbound sci-fantasy MMO Skyforge, which he says is angling to provide a deep experience for players with tons of time -- as well as players with very little. As he put it,
"We are striving to make a great high quality free to play MMO that would have action oriented combat and allow for short rewarding session time. We wanted to make something that could accommodate short session game play as allow for enjoyable longer play sessions. It's about escapism and being larger than life."
DeMilt also discusses power creep, player retention, character progression, the Facebook-inspired social network within the game, and monetization; on the last, he's reluctant to give details, but he vows that Skyforge is "not going to be a flat-out pay-to-win game."

How Blizzard is improving World of Warcraft's e-sports appeal

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Subscription, E-sports

WoW Insider
World of Warcraft is no stranger to e-sports, though its cousins deeper in the Blizzard family tree have fared far better. During the Hearthstone qualifiers at last weekend's DreamHack Stockholm, Blizzard Senior Manager of eSports Kim Phan spoke to PCGamesN about the challenges faced by World of Warcraft in the e-sports subgenre.

"I can definitely say that WoW 3v3 Arena right now is kind of hard to watch, in the form that it is, and so there are things that we want to evaluate," she explained. "World of Warcraft was obviously created well before e-sports blew up to the way it is now. We knew there was a competitive element to World of Warcraft, and then it just kind of blew up from there.

Warlords of Draenor's upcoming spectator mode is intended to address the difficulty of following arena matches, but Blizzard isn't stopping there. Even raids might be worth watching, Phan says. "Ideas have been brought up like Battlegrounds. People enjoy watching live raids at BlizzCon. What makes something an e-sport really depends on what people want to see. We are taking a close look into how we can better support e-sports."

Season Two of WoW's Brawler's Guild detailed

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

Blizzard has broken down the changes coming to Brawler's Guild content in World of Warcraft. Season One achievements (i.e., pre-6.0.2 achievements) will be marked as legacy and will be replaced by new Season Two goals. Additionally, all tiers "have had their boss line-ups remixed," according to today's dev blog.

You can read the rest of the changes on WoW's official website.

Dark Age of Camelot passes the torch to a new producer

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, MMO Industry, PvP, Dev Diaries, Anniversaries

daoc
It's a season of change over at Dark Age of Camelot, as the team is transitioning from former producer Talal Saad to the new one, John Thornhill.

Saad said that he's not leaving the studio, but moving into a role that oversees more than just one game. "Rather than serving at the helm of one particular game, my responsibility will be to act as advocate and to use my time and energy to focus on how Broadsword can have a bigger impact, provide more investment, and achieve greater success for multiple products," he wrote.

Thornhill introduced himself as the former lead designer for DAoC and outlined what the team would be focusing on for the future. He said that there are plans for the game's 13th anniversary (including new race and class pairings), the release of patch 1.116 around the end of November, the increase to champion level 15, an addition of a casual group finder, and more interaction with the community.

"Our focus is going to be updating and modernizing the user experience of Dark Age of Camelot for the foreseeable future," Thornhill promised.

Villagers and Heroes' latest update introduces subscriptions

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Subscription

Villagers and Heroes
Indie sandbox Villagers and Heroes' latest patch, Sands of the Equinox, landed last week. Of note, the patch adds a new all-level zone called the Oases of Anuk'Amon, where players can fight new bosses, collect new gear, and gather craft components. To address player complaints about the combat system, Mad Otter added a new optional dodging mechanic.

And here's something you don't see a lot of indie F2P games doing well past their launch: With this update, Mad Otter implemented an optional subscription plan. Ardent Society Memberships, as the subscriptions are called, boost experience gained from most activities, grant unlimited travel hops and bonus consumables, eliminate house rent, and create extra shared storage. A month-to-month sub is $7.95.

Massively last explored Villagers and Heroes in the wake of its April 2014 update and Steam launch.

ArcheAge's Auroria continent is on the way

Fantasy, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play

Although players can see the continent of Auroria on the map in ArcheAge, they can't access it. All that, however, is about to change: Junkies Nation reports that Trion says the third continent will unlock within the next couple of weeks, rather than months, before the release of Patch 1.7. The 1.7 patch itself has no ETA; it's currently being translated. The opening of Auroria will usher in not only new adventures but more land for player homes and farms. The exact date will be announced soon so that guilds can prepare for castles, and the release time will be region-specific.

Trion also confirms that fishing tournaments are coming, that the 10-man Dahuta raid is purposefully being held back but may release with Auroria, and that there's no ETA on new races. Additionally, for those who prefer to keep all their games organized on Steam, Trion is working on getting the game back on that platform. For more details, check out the report on Junkies Nation.

DDO beefs up melee characters in Update 23

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Free-to-Play

ddo
All hail patch day for Dungeons and Dragons Online! Hear the mighty dragons roar and witness the ancient vaults break open and spill their content goodness! For Update 23 hath arrived to change the game forevermore.

Update 23 may not be the largest DDO patch to date, but it does contain several significant improvements. The biggest of these is a large buff to melee characters to balance that playstyle with those of other roles. Melee characters have new stats to help them with their efforts, including melee power, ranged power, and magical resist rating.

Turbine has also unlocked the epic version of the Orchard of the Macabre instances, added in a new raid, included guild storage, and offered players the ability to create cosmetic variants of armor pieces with the new Mirror of Glamering.

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV and the housing mess, part 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Housing, Subscription

Because I really enjoy writing this sort of column again.  Thanks, guy.
Wait, part 2? When was part 1 a thing? January, my friends. And while I had prayed for sun, I planned for rain, and that turned out to be a wise move. What happened in the end was unpleasant but entirely unsurprising, as Final Fantasy XIV's second implementation of housing went little better than the first.

In the interests of full disclosure, yes, I am one of the vanishingly small number of people with an in-game house at the moment. I work at home and happened to have both the money and the time to grab myself a place to live in-game. That doesn't mean the system is anything remotely approaching good or even acceptable, which is why I want to spend this week talking about the mess that has been made and what, if anything, can be done to correct this fact. Housing in Final Fantasy XIV is a sore spot right now, and that's a problem, especially when it doesn't have to be.

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EGX London 2014: Guild Wars 2 promotes e-sports

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet was in London this past weekend promoting its Guild Wars 2 e-sports angle to show-goers, including some who might never have played or even heard of the MMO. A pair of videos serve to explain how Guild Wars 2 works; the first covers PvE from character creation to skills to armor, and the second, hosted by Competitive Community Manager Joshua "Grouch" Davis, covers all things PvP. We think having a Competitive Community Manager is a pretty serious declaration of your e-sports intent. Enjoy the vids below.

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