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TUG's multiplayer goes live

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Patches, Sandbox

Yesterday, the first stage of TUG's multiplayer went online with its 0.8.1 alpha patch. Players can now bump into each other in both survival and creative modes. But wait -- there's more! The patch also sports a brand-new terrain engine, a new UI, better mod capabilities, additional AI characters, and a handy return stone.

The TUG team will be at booth #1483 at PAX South this weekend and will be selling access to the game at a discount for the duration of the convention. Massively will be reporting on TUG from the show floor, so stay tuned!

RuneScape's sub fee hike goes into effect March 1st

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

Jagex announced a sub rate hike for long-running sandbox RuneScape back in November, and this week, the studio has declared that the new fees will go into effect beginning March 1st. While the game is still free-to-play, the optional sub will increase from $8 US to $9.49 US; the official site includes a conversion chart for the international community and multi-month subbers. For existing Premier Club customers, Jagex posted a reminder about grandfathering in the old rates as long as the sub is maintained:
Don't forget - as long as you're a member and don't lapse out for more than 14 days, you're eligible to keep your current rate of membership. Subscribe now to secure access to all of RuneScape's members' content at current prices.
The studio is also talking up its inbound ports expansion; there's a fresh trailer on the mechanic after the cut.

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WoW's new Blood Elves arrive in update 6.1

World of Warcraft, Patches, Previews, News Items, Races, Subscription

Our sister site WoW Insider reports this morning that World of Warcraft's Blood Elves, left off the roster of races that received model revamps with the Warlords of Draenor expansion last November, will finally meet their new faces. Actually, it's just the bodies: The male faces aren't entirely done yet and currently share the same facial geometry.

"While we're excited to share with you our progress on these new models, I do want to stress that the models, textures, and animations are not entirely finished. Bug fixing and iteration can and will occur, and that's where you come in!" writes Blizzard QA on the US and EU forums, soliciting costructive feedback.

MMO Champion has full-size, head-to-toe bikini shots of both the female and male models because of course it does.

Also arriving in update 6.1 are class tweaks, new heirloom gear, garrison expansions, follower mission fixes, and the chance to buy (with gold) those followers you missed while questing. The first iteration of the update landed on the PTR in early January; the patch's launch date on production servers has not been announced.

RIFT's 3.1 Storm at Sea arrives next week -- with capes

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, RIFT

There's a preview of RIFT's new Tyrant's Throne content on the game's official website. On January 28th, Trion says, players will see some "titanic zone events" as well as a new 20-player raid, a 2-player chronicle, and more.
The journey into RIFT 3.1 Storm at Sea is nearly at hand. On January 28, players will make landfall at the harbor of Tyrant's Throne – just in time for titanic zone events that bring ancient akvan lumbering out of the abyss! Ascended will have one week to wipe them from the island before the opening of Tyrant's Forge, a new 20-player raid pitting the strongest Guardians and Defiant against the Dragon Queen of Air.
The most important bit, of course, is capes. Yes, capes. "New capes debut for all," says the studio.

Elite's February patch to feature 'community goals'

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous is readying something called "Community Goals" for its 1.1 patch. Executive producer Michael Brookes told PCGamer that community goals are a "new type of story-driven collaborative content."

The first such goal will involve supply and bounties, with "massive player migrations [that] will have a knock-on effect on galaxy-wide economy and power structures."

February's 1.1 update will also feature a new gas giant shader and city lights on planetary dark sides, Brookes says.

Take a tour of DCUO's Amazon Fury raid with the devs

Super-hero, Video, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, Dungeons

Coming soon to DC Universe Online is the Amazon Fury Part II DLC, because Amazons are not known to be timid, quiet souls. All about the fury, they are. Anyway, part of this upcoming patch is the new Halls of Hades raid, and the devs are inviting you to go along with them on a tour of this intimidating experience.

We've got a 43-minute video of the Halls of Hades with devs and test center players after the break if you want to get a good feel for what's going to be faceplanting your heroes in the near future.

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WildStar explores the design of Veteran Shiphand missions

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Better late than never, although better earlier than now.
Veteran Shiphand missions are coming to WildStar, and that's great, but their design also posed a lot of unique challenges to the design team. Those challenges are outlined in the game's most recent development diary, starting with a core set of assumptions that had to be true for these missions: They had to remain scalable, they had to still be soloable, and they had to offer appropriate rewards. This meant making challenging combat that could scale up or down for party sizes and didn't require tanks, healers, or pre-made groups.

To settle nicely into the gap between other solo content and Veteran Adventures, the Shiphand missions reward Renown even for solo play, as well as various appropriate bells and whistles for higher medal performance. Renown vendors will soon sell variety of gear as well as social items to ensure that playing through feels rewarding. Veteran difficulty will also offer remixed elements of the missions to give players a taste of something novel even if they've been through the base mission before. If you've been looking for more scaling content in the game, this one's for you.

ArcheAge patches in Divine Gifts and land expansion certs today

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

Not that you can always expand the land you're on, see.
Following today's ArcheAge patch you'll want to keep a close eye on the bottom left of the game's UI. You'll see a little icon light up to indicate that you have a new gift awaiting you, and then... you get free stuff. That's it. That's all you have to do. The newest patch will offer these Divine Gifts to players regularly, allowing you to open as many as 10 in a given day for rewards like Lunarites, bonus food, and Hereafter Stones.

Players will also be able to craft land expansion certificates (which will also be available from the Marketplace in a future update) and larger storage chests. That's in addition to new rewards for maxing skill trees and new portals leading directly to Serpentis and the Sea of Drowned Love. Whatever your focus is in ArcheAge, you'll have plenty of opportunity to take part in it when today's patch goes live.

EverQuest patch improves the look of old NPCs

Fantasy, EverQuest, Patches, Free-to-Play

Happy EverQuest Patch Day, Norrathians! The team has put out the usual hodge-podge of fixes, tweaks, and updates to make your play experience all that much better. Go tell yourself back in 1999 how you will be living the high life now that this patch is out in 2015.

Today's patch makes it easier to land hits with The Darkened Sea melee abilities, increases health of high-level mercs, improves older NPC character models, and improves water-related sound effects. You can read the full patch notes to see if any of these changes will impact your adventures.

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]

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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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.

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."

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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