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PAX South 2015: Massively's Larry Everett to guest on MMO community panel

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, Massively Meta, Roleplaying, Events (Massively's Coverage), Community Q&A, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content

PAX South
For MMO fans headed to Penny Arcade's inaugural PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend, there's one panel not to miss: Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go?. Massively's Larry Everett will guest on the community-oriented panel, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday in the Bobcat Theater. You can probably figure out the topic from the title, but here's the official blurb:
In early MMORPGs, interacting with other community members in places like taverns and main cities were a necessity for advancement and survival. Today, interacting with random players has become a rare event instead of the tools for survival. Is this what we all wanted to happen? Join Alex Albrecht alongside Larry Everett and Patrick Mulhern to discuss the future of communities in MMORPGs.
Larry will join Zerg ID Co-Founder Alex Albrecht, Lorehound Editor-in-Chief Patrick Mulhern, YouTube Gaming Strategic Partner Manager Meg Campbell, and Camelot Unchained Community Manager Jenesee Grey for the panel.

Massively's big sister Joystiq will also be represented at the show; Joystiq Editor in Chief Ludwig Kietzmann and Community Manager Anthony John Agnello will host the In(s)ane Joystiq Quiz on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. local time in the Falcon Theater.

Sky castles and a gun-using class coming to TERA in 2015

Fantasy, Classes, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, TERA, Dungeons

Peer into the ball, strange bear thing with a skull cowboy hat, and tell us what future TERA holds. Or better yet, we could just read the brand-new producer's letter with all sorts of spoilers about the coming year! But the ball, that's cool too.

The team is gearing up for an ambitious 2015, if this letter is any indication. Plans for February include sky castles for guilds, the Sky Cruiser Endeavor dungeon, and a 5v5 version of Champions' Skyring. Past that, TERA will host more frequent small events, a community costume design contest, the opening of the Dreadspire, and a brand new "gun-toting" class.

Finally, the team promises to be better about talking to its playerbase. "As for our communication of the process -- yes, it has to get better, and it'll start with me," Producer Treeshark said.

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]

Crowfall teases fealty system, ad/disad mechanics

Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Crowfall

Upcoming MMO Crowfall is rolling out new teases this week, including some concept art of guild banners and a screenshot of character creation, which suggests an advantage/disadvantage system no doubt intended to tug the heartstrings of former Shadowbane players.

But what has our attention is the newly unveiled fealty chart, which definitely whisks Shadowbane or Asheron's Call immediately to mind. "This isn't a guild org chart," Crowfall's J. Todd Coleman cautions. "We support guilds (and guild structures) but we've laid a different system on top of that, which ties player fealty directly to land ownership. More on that system, and how it ties to siege conquest, will be coming soon."

Coleman promises "a more substantial update coming later this week." We've included all three images below.

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Life is Feudal unveils its 2015 roadmap

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Previews, News Items, Sandbox

Go ahead and make any and all jokes you want about building a castle in a swamp, I made the same jokes.
So what will the next year bring for Life is Feudal? Lots of things, since the game is still in its early access phase. But you don't have to take our vague and noncommittal words for it; you can just take a look at the game's official 2015 roadmap. The page outlines what will be coming to the game each month from here until September, along with progress bars to give hopeful players an idea of how far along the team has gotten on these features.

The team is going to be taking a break on all of this during their first trip to a convention, though; the staff from Bitbox will be in-person at PAX South, displaying at Booth 1261 for fans and those who have never heard of the game before. In other words, it should be a pretty busy 2015 for the game.

[Thanks to Saxxon for the tip!]

Trove vows to become 'the ultimate sandvox'

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Economy, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Trove

Trove Game Director Andrew Krausnick isn't above making grand statements, saying in his 2015 preview letter that he wants the title to become the ultimate sandvox. "Modest, right?" he begins. "Simply put, if there's something fun to do with voxels in an MMO adventure setting, we're going to be there and we're going to be the best."

With that out of the way, Krausnick goes on to outline some of the big goals for the coming year. He said that the team is working to add gliding, sky islands, rune crafting, water islands, fishing, swimming, more block types, more mechanics, and definitely more classes.

Another big focus Krausnick mentions is to expand the economy: "We also think it should be easy and rewarding for everyone to trade and participate in the economy, so we'll be creating a system this year to make the trade channel simply a small part of a larger economic system!"

He finished his letter by saying that the open beta test will be ending "sooner rather than later," indicating an early 2015 launch.

Guild Wars 2 to nerf might, buff confusion

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

There will be a few small but significant balance changes coming to Guild Wars 2 with its January 27th patch as outlined in a new dev diary today.

The devs declared that the might boon is "exceptionally strong" and will see a nerf with the patch, bringing down the amount of power and condition damage that might stacks emitted. On the flip side, confusion will hit for 33% more, but in PvE combat only.

Other patch balance changes include nerfing a few items and tweaking professions due to the might nerf. "The profession-specific updates this time around will be a bit more focused on the general usability of certain skills, with targeted reductions on outlier skills," the team said.

Black Desert readies sieges for January 17th

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Black Desert

Avon calling!
Ready to lay siege to your enemies and take control of whatever strikes your fancy (as long as it's a castle) in Black Desert? The developers are getting ready to let players do just that. Sieges will be enabled on a single server on January 17th for a live test, and as long as nothing breaks horrendously, all servers will have the mechanics enabled on January 24th.

Each guild will be able to build two towers and one command center as part of the lead-in to the warfare; the last guild standing after a siege will take control of the castle and be the defenders during the next assault. Still no word has been offered on an exact date for a North American release, for those of you watching this with hungry eyes. You'll have to find out how the siege tests go from the sidelines.

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Final Fantasy previews dungeons and plans maintenance for patch 2.5

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Dungeons, Subscription

Oh, good, two decades of dragon corpse can still move around and fight us.  Super.
The last pre-expansion patch for Final Fantasy XIV is going to be a big one. So big, in fact, that the game is dropping 12 hours of maintenance for the first part. Servers will go down at 6:00 p.m. EST on January 19th before coming back online at 6:00 a.m. EST on January 20th. As always, exact completion time is subject to change.

If you missed yesterday's trailer, you can get an idea of some of the fuss by checking out today's dungeon preview, which shows off the Keeper of the Lake, Amdapor Keep (Hard), Wanderer's Palace (Hard), and the World of Darkness. While the exact item level requirements for these dungeons are hidden, it is clear that the Keeper of the Lake will once again be part of the main scenario quests like Snowcloak was in patch 2.4. So get ready to fight a dragon corpse, slaughter various voidsent, and most importantly rescue a whole lot of far-less-rancorous Tonberries.

RIFT plans improvements to dimensions and minions

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries, Housing

Two of RIFT's more popular systems, dimensions and minions, will be getting some major dev love when Patch 3.1 arrives.

In a new dev diary that went out yesterday, the team lays out a list of improvements for these systems. Dimensions will be getting a free-fly camera to allow for even more building precision, permissions options for visitors, ban lists, and -- prepare for this to blow your mind -- a bigger +1 button.

As for minions, players will have even more options in how they deploy these hard-working followers. The team is adding minion stamina potions, the ability to shuffle adventures, and the option to link to minions in the chat window.

Final Fantasy XIV drops a trailer for patch 2.5, Before the Fall

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Patches, Previews, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Although since it's coming out in the winter, it's more like AFTER the fall!  Haha!  Seriously, though, every single part of Eorzea is getting wrecked.
The final patch before Final Fantasy XIV's first expansion is a week away, and it's got plenty going on, so much that it's being split into three parts. A new trailer for the patch has been unleashed today, showing off bits and pieces of the whole thing but focusing chiefly on the content that will be going live on January 20th. You can view the whole thing just past the break, assuming you have 10 minutes to see all of the various hints and spoilers.

Patch 2.5 brings with it more main scenario quests, three new dungeons (Keeper of the Late, Amdapor Keep Hard, and Wanderer's Palace Hard), the World of Darkness raid, a battle against the primal Odin, and a continuation of the Hildibrand storyline. Patch 2.51 is confirmed in the trailer for late February and will include the Manderville Gold Saucer, while part 2 of Before the Fall will wrap up the main scenario and set up the story of Heavensward in late March.

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Not So Massively: SMITE's tourney, Shadow Realms' do-over, Heroes of the Storm's new mode

Betas, Video, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Age of Conan has its eye on achievements, crafting for 2015

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Is Hyboria one of your planned destinations for 2015? If so, then you're in luck, as Joel Bylos has a taste of what's in store for Age of Conan this year in a new game director letter.

The two big initiatives for the year revolve around the brand-new achievement and revamped crafting systems. The first iteration of achievements are coming with update 4.5 in a few weeks. These will include achievements for completing speed challenges for dungeons. Following that, players will get to dive into a richer crafting experience.

Bylos hinted at a few other highlights for 2015, including the return of the world boss system and PvP festivals. "We are still nailing down our production schedule for the year," he wrote. "You can expect to hear more about the status of Palace of Cetriss and The Slithering Chaos in an upcoming letter."

Elder Scrolls Online tweaks champion points conversion rate

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Endgame, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

The new endgame champion system coming to Elder Scrolls Online in Update 6 is the talk of Tamriel, and ZeniMax is evaluating feedback carefully to make sure that it launches without a hitch. The studio announced on Friday that it will be making a change to how it will convert veteran ranks to champion points.

Originally, the studio was going to give a blanket 30 champion points to any player who had at least one veteran rank on a character. Based on feedback, ZeniMax will now be converting veteran ranks to champion points at the rate of 200,000 XP per point at the moment of Update 6's release, for a maximum of 70 potential champion points for one's entire account.

The studio made it clear that champion points will not cost 200,000 XP after Update 6; this conversion rate is specifically for veteran ranks pre-release.

Betawatch: January 3 - 9, 2015

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Previews, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

PlanetSide 2
SOE confirmed this week that the beta for PlanetSide 2's PlayStation 4 edition will begin on January 20th. This month is shaping up to be a big one for the studio; its zombie MMO H1Z1 will kick off its own early access next week. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Read on for our complete Betawatch roundup.

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