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World of Warcraft shows off the 'redesigned' female Draenei

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

For far too long, Draenei have existed as bastions of unassailable beauty and elegance in World of Warcraft. We're told the race has fallen to the depths of the Broken and the Lost Ones, but you don't really see that in the game. Fortunately for fans, the new redesign to the female Draenei shows a closer connection between the various subtypes of the races, while simultaneously emphasizing the roots of the game's resident space goats. (Those roots would be "space" and "goat," incidentally. Truly.)

Among the major changes Blizzard threatens to make to the model are the addition of fur, a slimming of the lower legs and hooves, and the removal of the ridiculously long tail from the model. The eye design also speaks to the ways in which this ancient and mystical race sees things in a way that most of Azeroth's residents can only imagine. It's a bit more of a departure from the existing model than the other redesigns, but take a look at the full diary for a closer look. And then remember what day it is. You don't need to reroll your Shaman as a Dwarf. We promise.

Guild Wars 2 inflates your character's head

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

It's going to your head.
So everyone thought that Guild Wars 2 was just going to do Super Adventure Box again. But no, this year is going a different route. After all, you're super important in the game, aren't you? So why not let all of that importance go straight to your cranium? The designers have turned on the game's big head mode, and it's probably going to significantly improve your experience within the game as a whole. Maybe. Who knows, it could happen.

The point is that the super adventure is now in your skull, which is greatly engorged, and you can log into the game right now to start playing with the biggest head your character has ever had in Tyria. Bigger even than Trahearne's head! Check out the full infographic on the update just past the break (click for a larger version) and enjoy the new visuals as you head into battle.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

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The Massively April Fools' Day Quest [We have a winner!]

Contests, Events (Real-World), Humor, Miscellaneous

No secrets in the alt text here either, sorry!
As a citizen of the internet, you know what to expect on April Fools' Day: lots of sites trying to trick you into believing outrageous lies or attempting to make you laugh. As Massively is a paragon of both truth and humorlessness in journalism, we promise to do neither today.

Instead, we challenge you to a quest: a Massively April Fools' Day Quest. We have created a super-secret page here on the site that can be discovered only by finding five special words. So your task is to play scavenger hunt with our posts today -- specifically, to look at the tags at the bottom of each post that goes out during the day and find five separate tags (total) that clearly do not belong with the rest. All posts published today are eligible!

Once you find these five words, you'll use them to assemble the url, starting with "massively.joystiq.com/" and then adding the five words separated by hyphens. For example, if the five words were apple, banana, pear, mango, kiwi, you could try "massively.joystiq.com/apple-banana-pear-mango-kiwi" to see if that worked. Yes, part of the challenge of the quest is to experiment with the order of the words because there is only one path to the solution.

If you complete the quest, please be a good sport and keep the answer to yourself. The first person to figure out the solution and leave us a tip with the correct answer in it will have his or her name added to this post and will forevermore be internet famous. Good luck!

[Update: We have a winner! Reader Nathan was the very first person to submit the correct URL, followed by Greaterdivinity just a few minutes later. Congrats to both of you! Here's the "prize page" with the words in order -- don't look if you're still working on the puzzle.]

Final Fantasy XIV teases human-NPC relationship system

Fantasy, Humor, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Well it's April 1st already, at least in Japan, and Final Fantasy XIV has something to contribute to this off-beat day: a Favour system for the game.

Allegedly, this system will help players curry favor with NPCs and develop relationships with them because that's not creepy at all. To build an NPC's affection, players will have to perform certain tasks, hand out gifts, and even sport a particular look because that's not demeaning at all. As a player rises in affection, he or she will move to later "phases" and have access to new features (such as minigames) and interactions with the NPC.

So if you've ever wanted to start a relationship with a cute NPC that will result in an over-possessive, jealous lover who will deny you the ability to group with members of the opposite sex, here you go. Because that's not bizarre at all.

Neverwinter spoofs game-within-a-game

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, Humor, Neverwinter

Neverwinter has jumped the gun on April Fools' Day with its "preview" of Respen's Marvelous Game.

The idea is that Neverwinter will add a game-within-a-game, allowing characters in the MMO to sit down and engage in some good ol' fashion tabletop D&D: "Respen's Marvelous Game takes place atop a table, with your character being transformed into a miniature statuette. This new event will challenge you on a whole new level. Now you will know what it is like to be on the other side of a tabletop game!"

Of course, this is just a joke. Or is it? Cryptic teased the possibility of earning a green slime companion and said that it will be revealing more details tomorrow.

Senator who crusaded against game violence arrested on corruption charges

Legal, Humor

Leland Yee says don't play with pretend guns, but real gangsters are OKCalifornia state senator Leland Yee, a Democrat best known in gamer circles for authoring Assembly Bill 1179 that sought to prevent the sale of violent titles to minors, has been arrested on public corruption charges.

SFGate reports that the predawn raid of Yee's San Francisco office involved hundreds of federal and local authorities. The ongoing investigation also "targeted notorious former gangster Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow who was once sentenced to 25 years in prison on gun charges."

Senator Yee was previously arrested for shoplifting a bottle of suntan oil and was twice stopped by San Francisco police officers who suspected him of "cruising the Mission District in search of prostitutes."

Yee made headlines in the wake of the 2013 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting by telling gamers to shut the heck up. "Gamers have got to just quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument," he said. "This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest."

Perfect Ten: Why I'm looking forward to WildStar

Betas, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, WildStar, Subscription

Sometimes you just know when a game is going to click for you before you even get much time in it. It has a personality that agrees with your own, visuals that cause your retinas to salivate, features that were probably stolen by devs from your dream journal, and a good balance of comfortable familiarity and exciting newness.

That, to me, is why I'm on board the WildStar train.

Listen, I'm not one of those people who feels that a game needs to "win" or dominate all of the rest of the landscape. I don't care whether WildStar is more or less popular that the rest of the field or whether it goes free-to-play or not (obviously, I would like it to do well so that it doesn't close up shop!). If it's not your thing, fine, but that won't stop me from being giddy as its release approaches.

WildStar is definitely my most anticipated MMO for 2014. Hit the jump and let me tell you 10 reasons why!

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Free for All: How a smaller workload affects my MMO playstyle

Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Miscellaneous

Genia Brain Storm screenshot
As I'm sure you have all heard, we recently went through some budget and workflow changes here at Massively. For me, the revamp meant that I went from three columns, several livestreams, and the occasional news post down to a single column and an occasional stream or feature.

A strange thing has happened, but I can't say that it's uncommon in the industry: Once my workload decreased, my gaming MMO habits changed. I have been sort of reset to the position I was in before I worked so much for this site, back to when I was a silly blogger who wrote and played just for fun.

Allow me to explain.

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Albion Online trailer shows the dire consequences of wardrobe selection

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Humor, Sandbox

Albion Online
"Heroes aren't born, they're made," the new Albion Online trailer states. "You are what you wear."

Sandbox Interactive's latest alpha trailer delivers a humorous illustration of how the gameplay can abruptly change with a simple costume switch. Players have different abilities, including gathering and fighting, depending on their outfits. The trailer's point is that it's important to identify what a player is wearing for his or her capabilities, but also that it's vital not to assume that's the only outfit they own.

You can check out the short trailer and the full press release after the jump!

[Source: Sandbox Interactive press release]

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Time for some thrilling heroics in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Lore, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Humor, Buy-to-Play

If you're curious about the conclusion of Guild Wars 2's first seasonal living world arc but are too busy leveling up your 15th alt or throwing your savings into the Mystic Toilet to experience that conclusion yourself, fear not: Friend of Massively Richie "Bogotter" Procopio will do the hard part of playing through the final leg of the story for you. His new 18-minute video will lead you through the showdown as he resists the tug of the gripping plot to make sure to use a bunny finisher and dance on corpses.

It should go without saying that there be spoilers ahead, but just in case: big spoilers ahead!

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Fat Chocobo dashing out of Weight Watchers and into Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Launches, Humor, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Face it: You have gone far too long without seeing a giant chicken's giant butt.

Happily, Square Enix has your well-being in mind, for the studio has posted a preview of an upcoming Final Fantasy XIV mount that is brimming with chunky avian posterior visuals. A brief and bizarre post on the official site introduces "Fat Chocobo," a special mount that would rather not move unless it has food comically dangled in front of its beefy face.

The chocobo mount is confirmed as a special goodie for those who order the PlayStation 4 collector's edition of FFXIV as well as those who have purchased one of the other CEs. No word as of yet what the studio will do to compensate players if said mount collapses after taking six rapid steps in succession.

Perfect Ten: The journey from announcement to launch

Betas, Launches, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

One of the aspects that I love about MMOs is just how dang fun the build-up to launch can be. I know this period can make some people cranky (Jef) because they'd rather have Santa randomly kick in their door, toss in a bunch of unwrapped video games and Minecraft foam accessories, and refuse to stay for milk and cookies. Not me; I love the build-up, the anticipation, and the goofy fun of partaking in all of this with a like-minded community.

There's something awesome about each stage of the journey from announcement to launch, even if it brings out the crazy in many of us. Now that I think about it, if MMOs didn't exist, where would the drama llamas go to bleat out their discontent? Would trolls go extinct under their mossy bridges? That sounds just awful.

I don't care if liking all of this stuff makes me a big lame-o. I eat lame-os for breakfast because they're high in fiber and there's a free beta key in every box. So get ready to face the full might of my unadulterated joy in three... two... one...

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Free for All: Villagers and Heroes adds bells, whistles, and more sand

Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Free for All, Family, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Crafting, Housing

Villagers and Heroes screenshot
Villagers and Heroes is a favorite of mine, but let's be honest: The game looks old. When talking to Damon Slye, President of Mad Otter Games, I found that many people agree. According to Slye, it's one of the most frequent concerns he hears from potential new players. The engine that the game currently uses is old and needs to be upgraded big time. And that's just what the developers are doing with this large patch and expansion that should be due in early March.

I sat down with Slye, Associate Designer Cameron England, Head Writer Sarah Skibinski, and Head Artist Adam Alexander to discuss just how different the game will be once the patch goes live. I was given access to a test account loaded up on gear, cash, and other goodies. Even though I found my backpacks full, I mainly wanted to look around the game and explore. Fortunately, the difference between the original client and the new one is literally night and day.

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Rise and Shiny revisit: Stronghold Kingdoms

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMORTS, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream, Sandbox

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot
Stronghold Kingdoms is probably one of my top favorite MMORTS titles out there. There are many reasons it holds a special place in my slightly crumpled gamer heart, and I will be sure to get to those, but there are also many gameplay elements that could use some improvement. It's a pretty typical MMORTS in most ways; players build up a town, trade goods, fight each other, and swear loyalty to others. In fact, the genre is quite bloated with games that perform in largely the same way, many of them being delivered to us within the browser.

For many players, these defining characteristics are exactly why they are attracted to the genre. In the same way, shooter fans appreciate many of the same basic mechanics from game to game, and trading card players need specific systems in place in order to feel satisfaction. So the existence of these repeated designs is not a problem for me.

It's especially not a problem in Stronghold Kingdoms.

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The Daily Grind: What's the silliest thing you've witnessed in PvP?

Culture, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

Yes, I was a black mage in the Valentione's dress.  This made perfect sense at the time.
PvP is not generally thought of as something that can be silly. It's serious. It's competitive. It's engaging. And sometimes, it's also something that involves a team running out on to the field wearing holiday equipment and hiding until the other team finds them. I've run several PvP nights with my current Final Fantasy XIV free company, and while some of them are serious matches, by the end of the night we're usually just having whatever fun we can think of.

That's not even counting unintentional hilarity, like avoiding death by running in circles around a column for a minute (that happened) or watching a healer in high-end PvP gear do nothing for most of the match before soloing an entire enemy team (also happened). And sometimes it's even in your favor, like when you're running a battleground in World of Warcraft and the other team barely even manages to capture one objective. So what's the silliest thing you've witnessed in PvP?

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!

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