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Wings Over Atreia: Aion entices returning players, removes reviled manastone mechanic

Fantasy, Aion, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Wings Over Atreia

If you haven't checked back into Aion in a while, now might be the time to start plotting your return. Next week on January 28th NCsoft is introducing a special new experience for those who have been away from the game for more than 30 days; it includes special zones called Abbeys that provide exclusive bonuses as well as quests and gear upgrades. Even better, if one of the reasons you left was the frustration involved in losing all your equipment's manastones when you failed to socket a final stone, you'll be even happier to learn that that particular mechanic is being removed from the game! That's right: Aion players will no longer risk losing already successfully socketed manastones when trying to put another one in (a much needed change that I championed years ago!).

We've got the scoop on these new changes from Associate Product Manager Sean Orlikowski -- along with news of an upcoming Shugo event instance and the breakthrough system that raises enchantment levels -- in this special return of Wings Over Atreia.

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Blizzard has begun selling Heroes of the Storm Founder's Packs

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play

Let's pretend this game is something where characters matter beyond by reference, I guess
If there's any company in the world that could launch a new MOBA title without needing to sell founder's packs, it would probably be Blizzard. But we'll never know beyond the dark realms of speculation, of course, because sales have already started on the founder's packs for Heroes of the Storm. And yes, that pack includes access to the current closed beta, if its $39.99 price tag didn't already create that implication in your mind.

Aside from beta access, the pack includes three heroes: Tyrande, Diablo, and Raynor, each with an alternate skin. Diablo gets to look fishy, Tyrande gets to look like a Blood Elf, and Raynor takes all of that high-powered armor off (which seems like a bad idea on a battlefield, but I guess that's why I'm not a space marine). You also get a mechanical golden wolf mount to ride around on the battlefield and 2500 gold for the game, which is more than enough money to buy anything that costs less than 2500 gold. Check out the pack trailer just past the break.

[Thanks to Siphaed, deathandtexas, and Vincynt for the tip!]

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Elder Scrolls Online to nuke subs ahead of June 9th console launch

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Launches, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

ZeniMax has this morning formally announced what the internet has been suspecting for months: The Elder Scrolls is going buy-to-play and dropping its required monthly subscription on March 17th for PC players, the same deal that will go live on June 9th for console players when it launches on PS4 and Xbox One.

Rebranded as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, ESO will still have an optional premium subscription membership called ESO Plus, which will provide "exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs."
The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited includes all the great gameplay from the original PC/Mac game, plus all the updates and content additions, including the exciting new Justice and Champion systems. All existing PC/Mac game accounts, open or closed, will be updated to the Tamriel Unlimited edition in March and former players will be invited back to the game at that time to experience all that is new in the world. New players will make a one-time purchase of the game and play, without restrictions, for as long as they like – without game subscription fees. Tamriel Unlimited will be supported with special, optional downloadable content available for purchase and an in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges.
The studio will host a livestream at noon EST today to further explain the announcement, but for now, you'll have to be contented with The Confrontation cinematic trailer -- that, and your smug satisfaction if this announcement validated your own hunch.

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Trove unveils a trailer for the Ice Sage class

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Trove

Cold things, yes.
We understand what you're worried about, dear readers, so allow us to reassure you. In the trailer past the cut, there are no references to an animated film from the Disney corporation about cold. There are also only two ice puns, and they're "puns" only by the most generous definition of the term. More like ice-related references for Trove's Ice Sage.

Of course, part of the reason for this is probably the fact that the trailer lasts a grand total of thirty seconds, so there wasn't all that much time for ice-based humor. But if you want to see the class in action, you can do so, and isn't that what you're really after? Glad to hear it. Jump on past the break and chill out.

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Sky castles and a gun-using class coming to TERA in 2015

Fantasy, Classes, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, TERA, Dungeons

Peer into the ball, strange bear thing with a skull cowboy hat, and tell us what future TERA holds. Or better yet, we could just read the brand-new producer's letter with all sorts of spoilers about the coming year! But the ball, that's cool too.

The team is gearing up for an ambitious 2015, if this letter is any indication. Plans for February include sky castles for guilds, the Sky Cruiser Endeavor dungeon, and a 5v5 version of Champions' Skyring. Past that, TERA will host more frequent small events, a community costume design contest, the opening of the Dreadspire, and a brand new "gun-toting" class.

Finally, the team promises to be better about talking to its playerbase. "As for our communication of the process -- yes, it has to get better, and it'll start with me," Producer Treeshark said.

Check out Black Desert's renamed Tamer class in quick combat trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Black Desert fans already knew that a Tamer class was heading into the game; today that class is available to play on the Korean servers under the new name of Beast Master. As the name would suggest, the Beast Master class utilizes summoned magical beasts during battle and has a close-to mid-range fighting style; the skills available will be dependent on whether or not the player is fighting alongside her pet or is mounted during the battle. If you want a quick peek at how the Beast Master plays, check out the class combat trailer below.

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Neverwinter: Elemental Evil bringing the Paladin, higher level cap

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Housing

Elements are the "in" thing for 2015, especially in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. First we found out that DDO will be implementing the Temple of Elemental Evil this year, and now we've gotten word that Neverwinter's newest module will be called Elemental Evil (it's no coincidence; both titles have a relationship with Wizards of the Coast, who likes to do these tie-ins).

This module will be a significant one when it comes early this year. Elemental Evil will add a new class to the game, the Paladin, and increase the level cap from 60 to 70. The increased level cap means more skills and quests for all eight classes.

Cryptic also announced that future updates in 2015 for Neverwinter will include the player guild housing Strongholds system, the Xbox One launch, and the arrival of popular D&D characters.

[Source: Cryptic press release]

Path of Exile unholsters the banhammer for cheaters

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Path of Exile

It's not a resort.
The team behind Path of Exile has been pretty forgiving up to this point. Players have been a bit more commonly warned that there will be penalties if they're cheating. But that's over now. The latest race season has finished, and players who were found to have cheated have been given a grand total of no rewards even if they were technically eligible. Nearly 4,000 players will log in to find a warning to disable any cheats they have running before they get banned.

From this point forward, any incidents with cheating software will result in a ban, end of discussion. This is true even if the player in question argues that the cheat was being used for quality-of-life purposes; those issues will be addressed in the future and don't justify cheating. Players are reminded that they are allowed to run tools that don't require the client to be running and single-action hotkeys without a problem, so don't worry about being punished just for having Fraps in the background. Just... don't cheat.

Flameseeker Chronicles: Rooting through Guild Wars 2's Point of no Return

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

You have been visited by the SPOILER FLOWER. You are safe from spoilers. Now run.
How about that Guild Wars 2 season finale, huh? Although it's not the major event last year's was, it threw a huge chunk of fuel on the ol' rumor bonfires. Despite the buzz surrounding GW2 lately, I know a lot of players expected ArenaNet to underplay the last chapter of season two.

Instead, we got a massive reveal and a surprise look at what ArenaNet plans to show off at PAX South on January 24th, and it's more full of exciting possibilities than I could have predicted. This article will necessarily contain spoilers, more spoilers, and even more spoilers, so make sure you're up to speed before reading further. Or don't, and suffer the consequences (I love saying that).

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Das Tal boasts that it will 'do things better' than ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, ArcheAge

das tal
Consider the gauntlet thrown down from one sandbox to another. Das Tal Head of Communications David Wells posted a new essay today in which he says that his title will best ArcheAge: "Unfortunately I, like a lot of others, have come to the conclusion that ArcheAge is probably one of the worst MMOs to come out recently -- but the reasons why are not straight forward. I am going to go over the good and bad, as well as shamelessly point out how our game will do things better."

Wells says that ArcheAge stumbled with a messy housing system, bad monetization, cultural differences, hacking, heavy grind, lackluster PvE, no solid PvP, shaky server tech, and a lack of good communication by Trion. He goes on to provide a counterpoint for each these items, explaining how Das Tal will succeed where ArcheAge has failed.

Or, if you're looking for a TL;DR version, "How we do it better: To put it simply, we give a s**t."

Did you get a World of Warcraft anniversary statue?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Anniversaries, Subscription

The World of Warcraft community is abuzz with the revelation that Blizzard is sending out a special thank-you to its most dedicated fans for its 10th anniversary: a physical 9" statue of an Orc.

Only fans who have been with the game for the entire ride are eligible to get the statue, however,. According to Blizzard's qualifications, "A player must have created a World of Warcraft account within 60 days of the game launching in the NA or EU regions and maintained their subscription or game time for all 10 years."

Our question today is, if you qualify for this, have you indeed received your spiffy statue? And do you have a picture to prove it?

Hungry? Elder Scrolls Online is revamping provisioning

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

When The Elder Scrolls Online's Update 6 launches later this month, characters with the provisioning skill should go make us a sammich. Just kidding. But if you do decide to make us a sammich, you'll find the process much more streamlined and effective, as ZeniMax is plotting a major overhaul of the profession.

In a dev blog posted last night, the studio explained that it will be reducing the overall number of ingredients in the game, adding new recipes, updating the cooking UI, and giving food additives some oomph. Roleplayers will be happy to learn that lootable food-related objects will soon yield appropriate ingredients (apples from apple baskets, for example), and food buffs will make a bit more sense, like "meat dishes [that] increase your health and fruit dishes [that] increase your magicka."

If you're not actually a cook yourself, all you really need to know is that you should start skinning fish, cows, and chickens for meat and that drink buffs won't suck anymore. Hooray!

Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.5 is live

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Subscription

We dominated the endgame for months and all we got was captured by Mamool Ja.
The day that Final Fantasy XIV players have waited for is finally here. Patch 2.5 has gone live, and it brings with it a host of improvements and additions to the game. The full patch notes also contain no shortage of items that had previously been held back from the preliminary notes, including new crafting recipes, new vendor wares, and new items available for quick exploration ventures.

While this is only the first part of the game's 2.5 patch series, it includes three new dungeons, the new World of Darkness raid, three new trials, and the first half of the pre-Heavensward story conclusion. The servers are up and running, so if you have the day off or just don't have to go to work yet, you can get a jump on all of the new endgame content and start working your way through everything that's been added. Otherwise you can console yourself with the patch notes.

Albion's alpha trailer highlights a whole bunch of new stuff

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox

Albion Online's upcoming alpha event begins on January 26th, and in case you're not already excited, Sandbox Interactive has released a new trailer that may put you in the mood.

The clip runs just over a minute in length, which is more than enough time to tease updated environments and textures, the new farming system, new visual effects, and large-scale PvP. Click past the cut to have a look!

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TUG is pushing out multiplayer updates

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

The multiplayer lifestyle will be all the rage in TUG in the coming weeks, as the devs have said that they're preparing to push updates out to get more people playing together. Survival and creative modes will both be getting multiplayer love, although the team has asked for players to help spot and report bugs during this testing cycle.

The team did warn that these builds will start small: "Multiplayer in this iteration is still fairly early, so don't expect crazy furry parties just yet. With more time and more tech, the experience and player count will improve. As to what that count is, we still cannot say."

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