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Lore

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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The Mog Log: A primer for Final Fantasy XIV patch 2.5

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

These preliminary patch notes are a blessing and a curse.
Ladies, gentlemen, and those who fall into neither category: The end approaches swiftly. Final Fantasy XIV's last pre-expansion patch is about to drop, and just like the bass, it won't be the same afterward. Tomorrow you've got a whole lot of new content to play through, enough to probably keep you well occupied for the next three months. The fact that the second portion of the patch will be dropping in about a month just makes it all the more occupying.

As we've done many times before, today's column is meant chiefly to take apart the patch elements we know of and get you up to speed so you can start playing without any issues once you can log in again. So let's start in on the first part of Before the Fall, complete with its new mystery trial and the promise of many revelations. Even if the big fireworks are coming in March.

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Final Fantasy XIV shows off story content and trials for 2.5

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

Run on, for a long time; Run on, ducking and dodging; Run on, for a long time; Let me tell you, child, Odin gonna cut you down.
The last pre-expansion patch for Final Fantasy XIV is titled Before the Fall, not That Time When The Heroes Fixed Everything. There needs to be a fall, doesn't there? And there's a lot of stuff that can start falling, as demonstrated in today's preview from the official site. Ul'dah can fall. The Scions can fall. Ishgard can fall. Eorzea can fall. Or if you decide to face off against the Dark Divinity himself, you can fall.

Players not confronting the dread primal directly will still have plenty of opportunities for pratfalls, as the Hildibrand storyline is wrapping up with the final confrontation between the Gentleman Inspector and his thieving rival. There's also a second confrontation with Gilgamesh Greg in the Battle at the Big Keep, with the victor winning the Treaty-Blade... which sounds like pretty good loot, but Greg carries a lot of weapons, so it seems rather natural.

Patch 2.5 drops on January 20th.

A new World of Warcraft comic book series is on the way

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Lore, Subscription

wow
Lore doesn't just have to come at you via in-game text boxes; there are other mediums, such as comic books, that can help you understand a particular fantasy world. For example, Dark Horse Comics is preparing a new World of Warcraft series to explore the ancient history of Azeroth.

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 will be the first of several issues that trace the backstory of the world in a time before the Horde and Alliance. Blizzard COO Paul Sams says that it's being done to sate fan curiosity: "We often get questions from players who want to know more about the origins of the Warcraft universe, and the rise and fall of their favorite characters. This new series digs deeply into all of that -- we can't wait for players to read it."

Unlike most comic books, Chronicle Volume 1 will be a hardbound edition. The series will go on sale this November in comic shops and book stores.

Final Fantasy XI laps the Year of the Sheep

Fantasy, Final Fantasy XI, Events (In-Game), Lore, Anniversaries, Subscription

ff11
Here's a fun Final Fantasy XI fact: When the game launched in the west in 2003, it was the Year of the Sheep on the Chinese zodiac calendar. Now it's 2015, and the Year of the Sheep has arrived once more, putting the team in an interesting position.

"When we first created the new year's event, we never imagined that it would ever come full circle, and thus the festivities are especially moving for me," writes Producer Akihiko Matsui.

To celebrate the new year, the team posted a short story on the site and is in the midst of a sheep-related new year's event. Players are encouraged to "consort and cavort" with sheep for prizes until the event ends on January 14th.

The Mog Log: What we know thus far about Final Fantasy XIV 2.5

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

This is where it ends.
With all the cool stuff we heard about Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion, it's easy to forget that we also heard a bunch of stuff about the last patch of the current patch cycle. I think that's kind of intentional, not just because the expansion is a bit more eye-catching, but because things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. 2.5 is titled "Before the Fall," the Heavensward trailer does not predict sunny times for Ishgard, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what happens next.

There's no actual release date for 2.5 just yet, although I imagine it's fairly soon, especially given the two-part structure and the proximity of the proposed expansion launch. So let's talk about what we know so far to look forward to before everything comes crashing down. (I'm betting around the end of January, although I'll admit to being a bit less anxious than I was with 2.4's release.)

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The Daily Grind: Are you keeping up with your current MMO's lore?

Sci-Fi, Lore, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous

I just finished reading all of the entries on the Elite: Dangerous GalNet news page. It's a sort of in-character feed service that keeps pilots up to date with lore and associated happenings around the Milky Way in the year 3300.

The lore doesn't impact my gameplay at all, but it's kinda fun to peruse the headlines while docked at an in-game station in between trade runs. What about you, Massively readers? Are you keeping abreast of the lore in your current MMO? Why or why not?

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!

Massively's MMO guide to the 2014 winter holidays

Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, News Items, Massively Meta, Humor, Promotions, Miscellaneous

creepy snowman gonna get you. i... might be the wrong person to do this roundup, being not-a-fan of holiday mmo events. ah well.
Winter break: that time of year when I think woohoo time to sit around all day in my jammies and play video games but instead I have to work and bake junk food and wrap presents and go to family gatherings. First world MMO problems, right? Those of you who get to game this week better bank some experience points for me, and maybe check out some of the MMORPG genre's winter holiday events and promotions, conveniently rounded up for you in our guide below. The list isn't exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with any we've missed that you love.

Happy holidays from the Massively crew!

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Elite: Dangerous

EVE Evolved title image
Like many EVE Online players, I grew up playing early sci-fi games like Elite and its sequel Frontier. In fact, CCP's recently released stats on the distribution of ages within the EVE community shows a peak around 29 years old, meaning that most players grew up in that same gaming era. A big part of what initially drew me to EVE Online was the prospect of playing the same kind of massive trading and space exploration game with other people, and for over 10 years it's scratched that sci-fi sandbox itch. I've watched EVE grow from a relatively unknown game with around 40,000 subscribers and laggy cruiser skirmishes into a vast game where thousands of players wage war for territory, profit, or just the adrenaline rush of PvP with something valuable on the line.

Now that Elite: Dangerous is finally here, I want to see whether it can scratch the same sandbox itch as EVE and to what extent the two games can be compared. Both feature customisable ship fittings, open-world PvP with a criminal justice system, and real financial loss on death, for example, but the end result is two very different gameplay styles. And both also have that same intoxicating notion of exploring the unknown and try to make you feel like you're in a living world, but they take very different approaches to world design, content, and travel. Elite may not be a full-fledged MMO, but with a sandbox made of 400 billion procedurally generated stars and an open play mode that seamlessly merges players' games together, does it matter?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I compare my experiences in Elite: Dangerous to my experiences in EVE Online and look at their differing strategies with regard to server model, active and passive gameplay, and the new player experience.

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A dragon interloper is approaching ArcheAge

Fantasy, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

I think he's kind of angry.
ArcheAge is gearing up for its December update, and that means getting ready for a dragon. A long time ago in the in-game lore, the dragon Misagon tried to take the land of Erenor for himself and his kin, which led to the Nuon rising up and killing him because that's just a really rude way to move in. The dragons panicked and left, but one among them started planning for Dragon Invasion II: The Dragoning.

That invasion is going down as part of the December update, with the somewhat uncreatively named Red Dragon leading his minions in an assault on Erenor. This is the same dragon who resorted to feeding on other dragons to get stronger, so you know he's... well, not a good guy. Go ahead and check out the lore post for a slightly less irreverent explanation of what flies forth on crimson wings, and get ready to undertake some dragon hunting in the game's next major patch.

Echo of Soul story trailer tells of the war between gods and giants

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Lore, Free-to-Play

echo of soul
With Echo of Soul heading from Korea to North America and Europe next year, it may be time for those interested in the fantasy MMO to discover a little about its world and lore. For those fans, we present Echo of Soul's story trailer, which gives an overview of the conflict and struggles that players will be facing in this game.

Players will take part of an ongoing battle between gods and the giants by attempting to prevent the giants from assembling six fragments of a "shadow soul" (Arrogance, Sloth, Jealousy, Rage, Despair, and Discord) that could spell the end for, y'know, everything. You can watch the full minute-and-a-half video after the break.

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Professor to hold open course in Lord of the Rings Online, asks for bodyguards

Fantasy, Video, Lord of the Rings Online, Lore, Free-to-Play, Livestream

lotro
Dr. Corey Olsen, better known as Washington College's Tolkien Professor, will be holding an open course in Lord of the Rings Online for any and all who would like to understand the lore of the books by exploring the game.

The course will take place on the Landroval server. Here, Olsen (who has a mid-level Guardian) will go through the epic storyline, explore the areas, and compare those to passages from Tolkien's writings. He asked for players to help fight off mobs during his explorations so that he will be free to examine and lecture without distraction.

Olsen's teachings will initially be livestreamed on LotRO's official Twitch channel, although the course will be recorded for viewing later on as well. No dates for the course have been set as of yet.

[Thanks to Braxwolf for the tip!]

Carbine's Chad Moore on WildStar's fresh focus on lore

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Lore, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Sure, you could make some jokes about corresponding events, but that just seems like a series of cheap shots.
There's a big focus on WildStar's lore recently. Aside from the big lore drops, dubbed "Loremageddon" by Carbine Studios, the game's official site has begun releasing a series of short stories detailing important moments in the game's history, from the first space voyage of the Cassian people to dealing with the Genesis Prime now. That's a lot of storytelling, the sort that should be continuing on well into next year.

We had a chance to sit down and ask a few questions of creative director Chad Moore regarding what we've seen thus far for the game and what the goals are with this renewed focus on the game's setting and story. If you'd like to know a little more about the setting and what players can expect from the ongoing history lesson, check out the interview just past the break. There's also a new story available today detailing the first contact between the Cassians and the Eldan.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Planting the seeds of memory in Guild Wars 2

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

Little glowing friends. Shiny, happy people. Plant joke.
They say that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I don't know who "they" are, but I don't think that particular truism was ever meant to cover a literal repeat of history. Guild Wars 2's latest living world content release has players doing exactly that: planting memory seeds, taking an uncomfortably invasive peek into Caithe's past, and trying to figure out exactly what might have led her to abscond with Glint's egg in the previous chapter.

This stroll down memory lane technically takes place over 20 years in GW2's history, but it's new information to us, and so the statute of limitations on spoilers hasn't expired. You'll probably want to play the content before reading any further, unless you think my writing is improved by a lack of context (if that's the case, don't tell me).

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The Daily Grind: Would you have played a Diablo MMO?

Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Diablo III, OARPG

Diablo 3
A few weeks ago, Blizzard content designer Kevin Martens admitted that the studio once considered turning the Diablo IP loose on an MMORPG. It's off the table now, but it still got me wistful. I've been strangely attached to the Diablo franchise and its clones for a very long time. Seriously, it's not even possible to pry the Torchlight series or Titan Quest off my harddrive. But Diablo itself just has a compelling, gritty gloom to the world that would make an MMO version a welcome in a genre that's obsessed with bright and happy fantasy worlds.

Massively's Brendan Drain once opined that Path of Exile is the sequel that Diablo II deserved, but is it MMO enough to count here? Would you have played a Diablo MMORPG, and what would you want it to look like?

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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