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Choose My Adventure: TERA's Fate of Arun

Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, TERA, MMORPG

TERA
As was mentioned many times during our end-of-year awards and the comments surrounding them, 2014 was a much better year for adding to existing properties than releasing new ones. Some of the biggest launches of the year came in the form of expansions like Rift's Nightmare Tide, Star Trek Online's Delta Rising, and Star Wars: The Old Republic's Shadow of Revan. Choose My Adventure even took the expansion route last month by investigating World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor.

En Masse's TERA, too, received a huge update in 2014, though it launched with significantly less fanfare than some of the other major expansions of the year. Fate of Arun introduced new zones, added new dungeons, and raised the level cap (as expansions are wont to do). It also brought a new game mode in The Coliseum, a PvP/PvE hybrid arena-type thing. Perhaps most notably when compared to the other expansions of 2014, Fate of Arun is free to all TERA players.

Since TERA so often flies under the radar with MMO fans, I thought it might be fun to dedicate this month's CMA to Fate of Arun. So get ready because it's time to start slaying some big-ass monsters.

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EVE Evolved: Fitting the Confessor for PvE and PvP

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

EVE Evolved title image
December was a great month for EVE Online players, with the Rhea update opening new wormhole systems for the first time since 2009, updating the star map and all ships with amazing new visuals, and advancing the Sleeper storyline with mysterious cloaked structures appearing all over EVE and Sleeper NPCs making incursions into normal space. The update also brought us a ship-carrying freighter called the Bowhead and the first of a new line of tech 3 tactical destroyers called the Confessor. While every race will eventually get its own tech 3 destroyer, the Amarr Confessor was the first to be released due to the Amarr winning a research race player event.

Tactical Destroyers are a completely new class of ship in EVE with the ability to transform between three different combat modes in the middle of a fight to adapt to changing circumstances. Defense Mode boosts armour resistances and reduces the ship's signature radius, Propulsion Mode increases the ship's speed and agility, and Sharpshooter Mode increases turret optimal range and boosts the ship's sensors. With Confessor prices having now dropped below the 100 million ISK mark and more pilots finishing the skill training required, people have started figuring out some interesting ship setups for it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I check out a few of the Confessor setups players have devised so far and look at what makes this transforming terror tick.

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Choose My Adventure: World of Warcraft High

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft launched on November 23rd, 2004. For anyone having a hard time putting that date into context, consider this: My sister, who's now in college, was eight years old when WoW's gates first opened. Some of our readers with nice jobs and adorable children were still in middle school or high school. I've personally been playing WoW off and on since 2005, giving me about nine years of history with the game.

This month's Choose My Adventure was two parts adventure and one part nostalgia. And as it turns out, sometimes the past really does belong in the past.

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The Stream Team: Final Fantasy XIV's white magery

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
Massively's Mike Foster has finally unlocked his Final Fantasy XIV job and he's ready to heal some dungeons. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as he cures his way through FFXIV's duty finder as a white mage, the core single-target healing job available to FFXIV players. Dungeons and guildhests are both on deck!

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, December 30th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Five SWTOR predictions for 2015

Sci-Fi, Classes, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR predictions for 2015
It's that time again to make my educated guesses on what BioWare will attempt to accomplish in the coming year with Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the last Hyperspace Beacon, I gave my grade card for how I think 2014 went, but now I extinguish the Force ghost of Christmas past and get a visit from the blue-glowy of Christmas yet to come.

I don't always get everything right, but I like to make a guess anyway. When you've finished reading my predictions, let's continue the discussion in the comments. I want to hear your thoughts as well.

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The Stream Team: Goodnight, World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft's Choose My Adventure is coming to a close and Massively's Mike Foster is trying to get as much out of it as possible before the new month begins. Join him tonight as he storms a couple of battlegrounds, completes a few quests, and takes advantage of his brand-new garrison buildings. It's the last hurrah for Warlords of Draenor as a CMA subject!

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST for all the action.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, December 29th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Warlords of Draenor dungeon fun

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Massively's Mike Foster has been having a grand old time with this month's World of Warcraft-focused Choose My Adventure. Tonight, he ventures into the dungeon finder to check out Warlords of Draenor's new group content, as was requested by voters in last week's polls. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EST to see his shadow priest in action.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Sunday, December 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Choose My Adventure: On autopilot in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Life as a shadow Priest in World of Warcraft is pretty mellow. Mostly you bounce around from quest to quest and enemy to enemy, ticking off objectives by murdering orcs with dark magic and scaring everyone with your spooky shadow face. It's not a career path I'd recommend for your average citizen, but if you're looking to become an instigator in the clan wars of Warlords of Draenor, there are worse paths to take.

We accomplished quite a bit this week in Choose My Adventure. Our Blood Elf Priest gained a couple of levels, DPSed his very first Warlords of Draenor dungeon, and completed the Frostfire Ridge set of story quests. And while it's all been very, very good, I'm still having a hard time connecting to this latest World of Warcraft expansion.

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The Stream Team: On to Gorgrond in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Choose My Adventure Live continues as Massively's Mike Foster says farewell to Frostfire Ridge and heads into Gorgrond, the second of Warlords of Draenor's all-new zones. Experience World of Warcraft's latest expansion with Mike as he quests, fights, and garrisons his way to level 100 from the perspective of a voter-created shadow Priest.

The action begins at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST.

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MapleStory 2 begins closed beta signups next week, will include a jail system

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

MapleStory 2
Another day, another game we can't have yet. This one's MapleStory 2, the sequel to Nexon's MapleStory, which in spite of its cuteness is still one of the biggest MMORPGs in the world. Steparu reports that MS2 is set to enter its first closed beta phase on January 21st; signups go live for Korean players on Christmas eve.

Over on the official site (in Korean), Nexon further discusses the MMO's jail system, something fans of games like Ultima Online and ArcheAge know well. This particular jail is meant to hold those who make wreckage of chat channels, though Nexon says will punish counter-abuse "severely." What could possibly go wrong?

We don't yet know whether the game will come here, but since classic MapleStory has a global version that's earned Nexon boatloads of money, it's pretty darn likely.

We've embedded Steparu's MapleStory 2 customization video below.

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Choose My Adventure: World of Warcraft and the shadowy priest

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

It's been one week since Choose My Adventure's voters sent me on the path of darkness in World of Warcraft, daring me to cast off my healing roots and adventure forward as a Priest who deals only in shadow. I've gained a couple of levels, tinkered with my garrison, and killed hundreds and hundreds of orcs. I've even managed to work out some of last week's confusion, finding a spell rotation that works for me and laying waste to any PvE enemies that cross my path.

I've also completed about a million quests, Warlords of Draenor-style.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's 2014 report card

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's 2014 report card
In 1996, Richard Bartle published a study of MMO gamers that eventually led to his 2003 book Designing Virtual Worlds, which was at the time the de facto MMO genre's design bible. Of course, this was before World of Warcraft hit the scene, but many of the principles Bartle laid out still hold true. In fact, if you don't believe me, take it yourself: GamerDNA still has an online test based on the Bartle study.

Bartle categorized players based on their interests in the game; I would like to do the same this year as I did last year for Star Wars: The Old Republic since it's a good way to measure the game against the average expectations of certain types of players. Bartle divides us all into Achievers, Socializers, Explorers, and Killers. I'll explain what each of those means as I discuss the different aspects of SWTOR. If you know what that means and so you have a point of reference, my profile is SEAK, which means that I interact with all types of players.

For fun, I've added a grade-card-style of rating system: A, B, C, D, or F. Just remember the information I give about that score counts for more than the score itself.

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Choose My Adventure: I am so confused in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Last week's Choose My Adventure polls for World of Warcraft set me on a very unexpected path. Male Blood Elf? Really? If you had asked me to predict the result of the class/race/gender/faction polls, I would have been extremely super-wrong. I thought for sure Massively's readership was full of carebear Alliance sympathizers who spend their WoW hours hosting hug parties in Darnassus.

Anyway. This week saw me creating our new character, using the included-with-Warlords of Draenor instant level 90 character boost, and diving through the Dark Portal to experience the starting moments of Blizzard Entertainment's latest bundle of WoW content.

It was... something.

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The Stream Team: World of Warcraft's instant 90

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Choose My Adventure is heading into World of Warcraft this month, and it all begins with the creation of a brand-new character that will immediately receive an instant boost to level 90. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he investigates the instant-leveling process and explores the tutorial system Blizzard has put in place to explain dozens of skills to a fledgling WoW player.

The chaos begins at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE Evolved: The Sleepers are coming!

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, Roleplaying, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Ever since the announcement of 100 new wormhole systems and the unique Thera wormhole hub system, some interesting things have been going on in EVE Online. A new star appeared in the night sky and began rapidly growing in brightness like a supernova, and curiously, the light from that star was able to be seen from every star system in New Eden simultaneously in clear violation of the laws of physics. Two days prior to the event, Sansha's Nation were seen scattering from an Incursion site and leaving the area without using wormholes, hinting that something big was happening in their home system. Combined with the intruiging story of Thera, this has had even non-roleplayers scrambling through the EVE lore to come up with theories about what's to come.

Players slowly set apart picking the mystery to pieces, conducting a galaxy-wide search to find the origin of the bright star and sending people into the test server to get clues. The mystery intensified when players discovered that the star was likely near or within restricted Jove space, and soon after they began finding strange cloaked structures throughout known space. While observing these structures, players even found that an all-new form of Sleeper NPC called the Circadian Seeker was periodically warping into the site and using some kind of scanning beam on the cloaked structure. All of this comes in anticipation of the public release of the Rhea patch on Tuesday 9th, which will introduce hidden Sleeper sites in known space and kick off the arms race to discover tech 3 destroyers.

In this lore-heavy edition of EVE Evolved, I look at everything we know of EVE's new Sleeper storyline event and try to figure out how it all fits together.

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