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Previews

PAX East 2014: Can World of Warcraft's garrisons live up to the hype?

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Housing

Like many players, I have very mixed feelings about the garrisons being added to World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. At this year's PAX East, I sat down with Blizzard Entertainment to discuss the feature, and the studio reps explained garrisons as a way for Blizzard to bring a bit of Warcraft into the WoW universe. As a fan of WarCraft 3, I left the interview feeling hopeful and excited. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to worry that garrisons will boil down to one of three things: an expanded version of Mists of Pandaria's farms, a new daily quest hub, or just another time-sink that will keep players isolated from one another.

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Dark Age of Camelot plans character transfer service and new art

Dark Age of Camelot, Previews, Community Q&A, Family, Sandbox, Subscription

DAoC
Dark Age of Camelot's grab bag -- written by Sir Grabford B. Bagsworth III Esq., no less -- is back, and at the top of the most pressing questions is the issue of character transfers. Broadsword said that these are indeed in the works: "We would like to provide the opportunity to allow consolidation. This will be among the many updates and upgrades to the Broadsword account center that is currently underway. Currently, it's planned as a premium service –- but there are no details on the prices as yet."

Broadsword mentions how art improvements have been going in the game following the studio's acquisition of DAoC. "We have renewed investment in this area, and we're really excited about updating art for various features in DAoC. Things we're currently discussing are: fixes for art-related bugs, new maps, UI skins, new items, monsters, and more!"

Other topics in the grab bag include the return of in-game surveys, the status of the new website, and details of the next patch. The studio teased that it will be adding "a new long-term live event with a very cool surprise" with the update.

Hands-on with Windborne's early access

Fantasy, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, Sandbox, Buy-to-Play

Screenshot -- Windborne
The breakout success of Minecraft has inspired a slew of creative sandbox games since its release in 2011, and the trend has shown no signs of dying down given the ever-increasing number of sandbox titles hitting the market. Hidden Path Entertainment's in-development title Windborne is certainly one such game, and at first glance one might be tempted to write it off as a clone of Mojang's golden child, but that would be more than a little disingenuous.

The folks at Hidden Path were generous enough to provide me with a key to get some hands-on experience with Windborne, but I'd like to make special mention of the fact that the game is currently part of Steam's Early Release program, which of course means that it's still unfinished and under constant development. With that in mind, I dived into Windborne's world of mystical floating islands, and I've got more than a few thoughts about the game, where it's going, and where it needs to be.

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Check out WildStar's new body customization options

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Previews, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
Earlier this month we discovered that Carbine was planning to add additional (as in "more than one") body types for each race and gender in WildStar. The changes are in with this weekend's beta test update, and YouTube sensation and friend of Massively Richie "BogOtter" Procopio made a 21-minute video looking at all of the new options for characters.

He's got the video broken down into sub-sections, so if you want to skip to a certain race/gender combo, you can do so. He also includes the new hairstyles that went in with the patch. Give the video a watch after the break and let us know whether Carbine did a good job with these additions or not!

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SOE is streaming H1Z1 live right now

Historical, Horror, Video, Events (Real-World), New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, H1Z1

H1Z1
SOE has just announced that members of the H1Z1 dev team will be streaming the recently revealed zombie survival sandbox for the first time tonight on Twitch starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT, which is right this very minute. We've included the stream embed after the cut for your entertainment. Popcorn sold separately.

[Update: The devs streaming are Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt and Technical Director Tom Schenck]

[Source: SOE press release]

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The Elder Scrolls Online launches Craglorn teaser site

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
ZeniMax has just launched a sub-site for The Elder Scrolls Online featuring Craglorn, the adventure zone that will serve as host for the MMORPG's first major content update. Aimed at veteran groups, the zone promises new quests and delves for four-person groups, a plotline revolving around "the mystery of the missing constellations," 12-man trials and leaderboards, and new gear.

While the teaser site is light on new information and does ask you to click through yet another age-gate (yes, we all know you were born January 1st, 1900), it does feature some gorgeous artwork and the Craglorn trailer released earlier in the month. We've embedded it after the cut.

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A fierce weather front is blowing into Age of Wushu

Fantasy, Historical, Trailers, Game Mechanics, Previews, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu
Age of Wushu is introducing dynamic weather effects that will do more than look moody; they will actually herald several events.

Each weather effect will have a different event that it will trigger. The great fog will start a school assassination PvP contest, the sandstorm will begin a treasure hunt in the desert, the eclipse will launch an invasion by the Prince of a Thousand Sentiments, and the thunderstorm will give you the opportunity to find the fight of the century.

This weather system will be coming with the Age of Wushu: Tempest of Strife update. You can check out the weather effects preview video after the break!

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PAX East 2014: WildStar shows off Warplots at last

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

To fight monsters we created monsters.
Do you want to go to war in WildStar? Then you're going to want a stronghold. No, that's not right, you're going to want a fortress. You're going to want a fortification that makes others quake in terror. And then you're going to want to drop that fortification down on your enemy's front lawn and claim their territories while laying waste to their fortifications.

Welcome to Warplots. They're the game's answer to player-made fortresses and high-end battlegrounds all at once. More specificially, they're team-based 40 vs. 40 maps that drop you into a race to tear down your enemy. At either end sits the carefully constructed fortress held by each team, in the middle sit resource nodes, and both sides are pushed together to be the last side standing or the one putting a fortress back together post-battle.

Want to know more? That's a good thing. Take a look at the typical WildStar trailer past the cut, and then let's talk details.

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Darkfall clarifies vision to get 'back on track'

Fantasy, Darkfall, Previews, PvP, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

Darkfall
Aventurine admitted today that it has faltered on its core vision for Darkfall due to "compromises" but is rededicating itself to restoring its focus.

"We are committed to our original vision of a politically and economically driven sandbox PvP MMO where risk dictates the reward, leading to meaningful massive battles," the studio posted.

As such, Aventurine revealed that it will be introducing mix-and-match custom roles, rebalancing the economy, adding in siege engines, and conjuring a quest system to beef up the new player experience. On the way out are timed events and "the purpose of safe zones."

Elder Scrolls Online answers Craglorn questions

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Previews, Community Q&A, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
If you were intrigued by the reveal of Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming Craglorn zone expansion but felt as though there were gaps in your formal education, prepare to get schooled.

ZeniMax posted a new community Q&A today about Craglorn. The studio said that there will be rewards for everyone, not just those who make the leaderboards. Players can expect to spend between a half-hour to 1.5 hours per trial with 60 resurrections allowed for the group as a whole, and they will need to be at least veteran rank 11 to participate.

Some players had asked what these Celestials are, to which ZeniMax responded, "The Celestials are a new concept based on the existing lore of the constellations in The Elder Scrolls games. There's quite a bit of lore in Craglorn that will be interesting for fans to discover."

PAX East 2014: Hearthstone reveals Naxxramas single-player adventure

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Hearthstone
Hearthstone is planning to revisit one of Azeroth's most notorious locations in the card game's first single-player adventure: Curse of Naxxramas.

Blizzard announced at PAX East that a new single-player mode for the game will be coming "soon" starting with a romp through the necropolis of Naxxramas. In it, players will journey through five wings of a dungeon, accumulate new cards, and fight bosses with their own unique abilities. Thirty new cards and nine class challenges will come with the adventure as well as a Naxxramas-themed game board.

Once it's released, Curse of Naxxramas will slowly unlock its wings over the course of five weeks. The first wing will be free, with the remaining four requiring purchase. It will release on all platforms simultaneously.

Massively's on the ground in Boston during the weekend of April 11th to 13th, bringing you all the best news from PAX East 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, Landmark, or any MMO in between, we aim to have it covered!

Let's all gape at Azeroth Choppers, a WoW motorcycle-themed reality show

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, Humor, Miscellaneous

Full disclosure: I built my husband a Mekgineer's Chopper as a gag Christmas present.
We can't decide whether this is completely awesome or bizarrely terrifying, but because there really aren't adequate words for World of Warcraft's latest marketing stunt, I'll just let Blizzard explain it:
Grab a front-row seat for the ultimate road showdown! Legendary custom motorcycle designer Paul Jr. has assembled two handpicked teams of bike experts to bring to life a pair of asphalt-kicking chopper designs inspired by World of Warcraft®'s two warring factions. Joining each crew on their epic quest are members of the World of Warcraft development team, on board to help to infuse the essence of the Horde and the Alliance into each bike. In the end, only one chopper will reign supreme as the undisputed king of Azeroth's roads in a winner-takes-all showdown voted on by World of Warcraft players around the globe.
Get to da choppa already. And by the choppa I mean the trailer -- it's after the break.

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The Daily Grind: What do you hope to see at this year's PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

PAX East
Massively will be on the ground in Boston at this year's PAX East, which officially starts on Saturday. We'll be scurrying all over convention land to check out WildStar, Landmark, EVE Valkyrie, Warlords of Draenor, Guild Wars 2, Star Citizen, The Repopulation, PlanetSide 2, Guns of Icarus, State of Decay, and Infinite Crisis, among others. A few big MMO studios won't be present, of course; I think everyone will grok why ZeniMax Online might be a bit too busy for another con just now. But big guns like Carbine and SOE and Blizzard will all be in attendance at the first gamer-centric rather than media-centric con of the year.

So what are you looking forward to seeing out of PAX?

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!

World of Tanks shows off new game modes for 2014

Historical, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

All of these modes feature, well, tanks.
World of Tanks continues rolling along and updating, and it has some big features on deck for 2014. The latest video development diary shows off some of the new game modes which will be coming to the game in the near future, starting with Fortifications. The Fortification system allows clans to build structures and collect bonuses while at the same time defending their fortifications against other clans. The result is a complex interplay of new elements like pillboxes and aerial strikes that give both sides the tools to take fortified structures or defend them as needed.

That's not the least of the additions being made, however, as Historical Battles are also incoming. While this game mode has been in discussion for a long time, due to massive differences in tank capabilities, it's been tricky to create battles with an equal chance of victory for both sides. The solution is asymmetrical team composition, a rebalancing of stats for this specific game mode, and respawning lighter support tanks. Take a look at the video past the cut for a more in-depth examination of these changes.

[Source: Wargaming.net press release]

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Darkfall's territory control update has arrived

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, MMORPG

Darkfall
Greek indie dev Aventurine has just announced that the much-foreshadowed territory control update for PvP sandbox Darkfall: Unholy Wars arrives today. The studio hopes to draw upon its "sandbox PvP and massive-battles heritage" for the update, which allows players to claim, hold, and control "areas of influence" and tax each other into oblivion -- just in time for tax day in the US!

Enjoy the patch notes on the official site and the new trailer below.

[Source: Aventurine press release]

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