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Enter at Your Own Rift: Do my bidding, minions!

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

rift
RIFT: Nightmare Tide is here at last, and the one overriding thought that permeates my every gaming minute is this: I am going to get totally addicted to minions. Heck, I already am.

I'll be getting into other aspects of the expansion in coming weeks (spoiler: sidekicking is way tubular), but since this one feature is available to everyone right now and it's completely new to the game, I wanted to discuss minions today. There isn't a lot of information out there on the minion system thus far, which is surprising considering how much I've seen guildmates and general chat buzz on about it. Perhaps it's simple enough not to require detailed explanations, but there's still enough depth to elicit a few questions.

So what's the minion system like? How does it benefit players? How much money does it require of free players? What are some good strategies for it? I'm all over this today, so let's get into it!

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Shadow of Revan FAQ

Sci-Fi, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Roleplaying, Rumors, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Shadow of Revan FAQs
With every expansion, there are questions -- a lot of questions. Star Wars: The Old Republic is no exception. Shadow of Revan changes a lot of game mechanics and expands the story of SWTOR. With all the interviews and Cantina Tour chatter, it's difficult to tell what is true and what isn't. So I thought it'd be best to make an FAQ to answer some of those ponderings.

When does Shadow of Revan release?

The official release date for Shadow of Revan is December 9th. However, if you preordered before November 3rd 2:59 a.m., then you will gain early access, which starts on December 2nd.

Do I have to subscribe to play Shadow of Revan?

No, Shadow of Revan is a paid expansion and can be accessed by a free-to-play player. However, to be eligible for the 12x XP bonus, you do have to be subscribed to the game.

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The Mog Log: Exploring Final Fantasy XIV's 2.4 dungeons

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Guides, Subscription

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.
The first time I ran the new dungeons added to Final Fantasy XIV in patch 2.4, I was kind of surprised. They seemed a lot harder, and I hit more wipes on the way to the end than I had while learning the 2.3 dungeons. After a couple of additional runs, though, I don't think they're really all that bad, just replete with mechanics that are sort of designed to trip groups up and with more than a few nasty surprises.

It also helped that I was running with Ninja after the first runs, so that felt more natural.

As it's been less than a week since the dungeons were added, it seems like a fine time to give you lovely folks a guide to what's going on in here and what needs to be done. So let's chatter about the new dungeons you'll be running in Expert roulettes for that beautiful poetics armor.

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Chaos Theory: Exploring the Halloween that almost wasn't in The Secret World

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), The Secret World, Guides, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: Exploring the Halloween that almost wasn't in The Secret World
Funcom just about blew it. I have cut The Secret World plenty of slack for hiccups and bumps over the years (and I am willing to do so in the future because it just doesn't have an equal in the MMOverse and it does what it does so well), but this last one can't be brushed off. This latest misstep could have cost TSW dearly in good will, patience, and even players. You don't take the holiday that the game is essentially based on and not celebrate it!

Luckily, TSW's much-anticipated Halloween event did finally show up, albeit 10 days late -- barely in time for the holiday. I am betting that the delay has cost the company some cash. The build-up to this holiday is a huge part of the excitement; the weeks preceding All Hallows' Eve is the perfect time to get people who are in the Halloween mood to return to the game or dive in and try it for the first time> Not to mention it's the time when folks are more apt to buy costumes! Funcom squandered that. And why the delay, anyway? During my Issue #8 tour last year, Creative Director Joel Bylos teased, "Our Halloween next year is going to be amazing! I wrote it for this year, but we didn't get done in enough time." Wasn't 12 more months enough time? We've been waiting with bated breath!

So after all that wait, and then even more, is the event worth it? My answer is...

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The Mog Log Extra: Hands-on with Final Fantasy XIV's new Ninja

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Guides, Subscription

Don't be a ninny!
This week's patch 2.4 for Final Fantasy XIV added in a new class and job: the Rogue and Ninja. It's the first addition to the game since 2.0's Arcanist, Summoner, and Scholar, and as was true with those classes those, this week you could not take two steps outside of Limsa Lominsa without seeing a flurry of Rogues everywhere, thus rather obviating the "stealthy" part of the whole stealthy assassin gimmick they have going.

Of course, only a few Rogues reach maturity from their Limsan spawning grounds.

But maybe you're in it for the long haul. You want this to be your new main, you want to understand how to play this class in the endgame, and you want to be one of the best darn dagger-wielding maniacs the game has ever seen. I cannot tell you how to be one of the best, but I can at least give you the benefits of my insights from having relentlessly pushed at the class and learned what makes it tick.

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Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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WildStar's megaservers shouldn't impact addons much

Sci-Fi, Patches, Guides, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Carbine Studios took to the forums earlier today to address how player addons may have been affected by WildStar's recent megaserver merge and name changes. The good news is that "most third-party addon users" will not be impacted whatsoever.

For addons that were impacted by the transition, Carbine posted tips on how to bring broken addons up to par. The team encouraged those dealing with broken mods by saying that the data is still there and that recovering it won't be difficult at all. This post is somewhat technical and relevant only to addon creators, but important to everyone who's mods are borked.

Hyperspace Beacon: Eight quests you should play before SWTOR's Revan expansion

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Lore, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Eight quests you have to run before SWTOR's Revan expansion
The next expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming in December, and any BioWare fan already knows the primary antagonist: Revan.

Revan has been BioWare's focal Star Wars character since its first Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic. SWTOR even features Revan in multiple questlines. I could recommend that you read Drew Karpyshyn's book Revan, but there are plenty of ways to get Revan's story in-game. In fact, there are eight different questlines that you should run if you want to get caught up, and more importantly, if you want to prepare yourself for the next expansion. If you have been living under a rock for the last three years, be forewarned that this article will contain spoilers for you.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Five tips for making SWTOR conquests work for smaller guilds

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Guilds, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: Five tips for making SWTOR conquests work for smaller guilds
In my last column, I explained the shortcomings of the conquest system in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Despite the issues I have with the system, I still think it's a great way to encourage players to revisit older content, and most importantly, to build guild unity. I know there are some guilds on my server in which members don't even have to participate at all in conquests for that guild to appear on the top ten. But what about those guilds who don't have hundreds of members? What about those guilds who have maybe 20 or so members? Can they even compete?

My guild has about 20 people who log in on raid nights; when the raid is done, maybe five or six will stick around. Now, I'm not saying that this is a healthy state for a guild (we are looking for more members!), but the few dedicated members pulled us ahead. For the last two weeks, our guild was in the top 10, and not barely in the top 10 either. This week we hit number seven, and the week before we were six.

Here are my tips for how your small guild can get ahead in conquests, too.

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Norrathian Notebook: Ten must-see PvP arenas in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Guides, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

As soon as Landmark's PvP combat launch date was announced at SOE Live, a number of players dived in and started building arenas in anticipation. Not even hours after the update went live, there were fully functioning battle claims ready to welcome players to their death. Over the holiday weekend, that number exploded. In fact, there are now 10 (and growing) pages of PvP-labeled claims in the gallery to sort through with 50 claims per page. With so many choices already, how do you know where to go to check things out? Folks don't always have the time to mosey through all the choices themselves. That's where Norrathian Notebook comes in!

From the first PvP claim I poked my head into (live, no less!), I planned to visit as many as possible and build a guide to highlight these creations. So I've compiled a list of 10 -- of the many -- Landmark arenas that I personally think are worth a visit. Please note, this list is by no means all-inclusive, and narrowing down the field was no easy task! There are plenty more out there and more coming all the time, so be sure to explore any that catches your eye and send your finds to us!

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Norrathian Notebook: How to improve your Landmark building skills

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

What goes through your mind when you come across show-stopping Landmark builds? Do you just admire them, or do they also pierce your confidence and remind you of your own less-than-phenomenal skills? Some folks see another player's masterpiece and are inspired. while others get discouraged. Don't let it discourage you! Previously, I offered a few hints on how to avoid discouragement; remember, it's perfectly natural and OK to not have uber building skills. Besides that, you don't even have to build because when all is said and done (and released), there will be game enough for everyone, regardless of construction prowess.

But what if you really want to improve your skills? In that case, the first thing you need to do to restore hope in your skills is to stop comparing your abilities to others. Trust me, there will always be someone who can create circles (literally) around you in Landmark. Instead, focus on what you can do and on improving from there. If you really desire to make some specific awesome creation that you can see in your mind's eye but can't it make work in voxels, take the time to hone your skills. You may never join the upper echelons of the truly constructionally gifted, but that doesn't mean you can't make something great that you can be proud of! This guide will help point you in the direction of polishing and practicing those voxel manipulation skills.

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Get a good (and hilarious) overview of Trove with this video

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Trove

Trove
Have you ever caught yourself wondering what Trove is, exactly? Is it a sandbox? Is it a Minecraft clone? Is it a bizzaro pixelated version of Second Life? It's certainly hard to adequately describe what this quirky Trion Worlds title is going for, which is why it's simply better to see it.

TheHiveLeader created a four-and-a-half-minute video in which he touches on Trove's selling points, from its existing classes to what players can do with cornerstones. It's also pretty funny and moves along at a brisk pace, which is why it's earned today's Massively Seal of Community Approval. Check it out after the break!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), The Secret World, Guides, Anniversaries, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory:  The Secret World anniversary celebration, take two!
It's that time of year again: time to celebrate another anniversary in The Secret World! And that means taking on world bosses, soaking up oodles of AP, and collecting lore, clothes, and (the best part) pets. Yep, definitely sounds like a party. The birthday bash lasts through July 17th, but the double AP portion of it ends on the 11th, so if you have new builds you want to test and you like the feel of all that AP popping up every few steps, now is the time to get into the game.

If you attended last year's Guardians of Gaia celebration, you're no doubt familiar with the set up of the event; you may have even completed everything. If not, you now have the chance to catch up on everything, including collecting all the lore and pets. On top of that, there are new goodies to collect this time around. There's even a new achievement involving all the pets! Here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of TSW's second anniversary celebration.

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EVE Evolved: Four top tips for living in wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
One of the biggest goals you can reach for in many sandbox MMOs is building your own empire and controlling a small corner of the game world. For much of EVE Online's lifetime, that privilege was reserved for the powerful few leaders of the game's large territorial alliances, which carve up vast swathes of space between them. A handful of alliances still control the lawless nullsec regions today, but there are still opportunities for smaller corporations and even individuals to stake a claim in the chaotic world of wormhole space.

Exploring and farming in wormholes is very profitable activity, but permanently moving in and setting up a starbase can be an intimidating prospect. One wrong decision might lead to pilots getting stranded in the void without bookmarks, your starbase coming under attack, or the whole expedition being robbed blind by a corporate infiltrator. The early days of wormhole exploration were rife with stories of hardship, heists, and devastating wars fought through shifting networks of wormholes. A lot has changed since the wormholes first opened in 2009, and today many of those problems have solutions.

In this EVE Evolved opinion piece, I look at some of the ways wormhole life has improved since Apocrypha and give four of my favourite tips for anyone planning to colonise wormhole space.

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Blizzard serves up some Hearthstone tips

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Casual, Guides, Miscellaneous

Tip 1: Cards do things.
So maybe you've been playing some Hearthstone while waiting for the next World of Warcraft expansion to actually be a thing. That's not a difficult prospect if you're used to card games, but it's going to throw you for several loops if you haven't played them before. Senior designer Mike Donais has penned a new article full of tips for new players on how to build and play a new deck that can hold its own.

Veteran card game players will probably already be familiar with most of the fundamentals -- start with a theme, have early-game cards, play with plenty of minions -- but it's all good advice. It also offers some suggestions for cards worth building around whether you want a fast and aggressive deck or a slow controlling force. Check out the full article for a few ways to improve and refine your deck, hopefully making you that much more formidable on the ground.

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