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Previews

Trove vows to become 'the ultimate sandvox'

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

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

gw2
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

SMITE
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

aoc
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

eso
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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You'll soon be able to buy WoW garrison followers directly

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Previews, Subscription

wow
If you missed out on snagging one of your World of Warcraft garrison followers or are willing to trade gold for time to complete your collection, then Blizzard is prepared to humbly accept your patronage. The studio announced on the forums that it will be adding a follower vendor in the next patch.

"One specific change I can share is in the next patch we're planning to add a new NPC to tier 3 garrisons who will sell followers you might not have access to based upon which buildings and outposts you've chosen," Community Manager Crithto wrote. "You'll be able to browse for followers you did not choose from quests and any you might have missed from failed missions."

EVE Online video gives brief 'recon' of Proteus

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
Sometimes all it takes is a good preview video to ratchet up one's personal excitement and anticipation over an upcoming release. If you're an EVE Online fan, then you might get that rush from the following brief video in which the devs outline Proteus' main features.

One of the biggest features of Proteus is a full rebalance for recon ships, including making them more sturdy and completely immune to directional scanners. The update will also contain the module tier side project, beta starmap tweaks, permanent places for newbies to mine, and visual improvements to one of the ships and asteroid belts.

Check out the video after the break!

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Age of Wushu previews new school abilities after server merge

Fantasy, Historical, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Yeah, the spectral head thing, I know.  You showed me, Wan Xiu.  Very impressive.  I'm sure that was totally worth abandoning your family.  Your daughter weeps furiously every night, but that'll fix things right up.  Great job.
The fifth inner skills for each of the eight schools are arriving in the next Age of Wushu update, and if you're a player, you'd probably like to know what they do, wouldn't you? I mean, one of them might instantly kill everything in a seven-meter radius, and the other might summon a moderate quantity of breadsticks and marinara sauce. That seems unlikely, though, as the preview of these new abilities mentions neither sort of talent. They do include attack buffs, HP drains, and major defensive buffs, though, so that's good.

You'll be able to show these skills off to a wider range of players after the game's server merges from yesterday. The Golden Kirin and White Tiger servers have been merged into the Blue Dragon server; players whose names will need to change should receive name changing scrolls within the next few days. If you weren't able to log in yesterday and aren't sure about how the merge went down, you can double-check the quick guide to the process.

Star Trek Online revamps bridge officers

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

sto
Your loyal Star Trek Online crew deserves some recognition for its tireless work at raking you in XP, don't you think? Well, even if you don't agree, Cryptic is planning to give some major love to bridge officers in an upcoming patch.

The team posted a dev diary today outlining the revamp to players' faithful companions: "From a high-level standpoint, the updated bridge officer training system is focused on allowing players to invest in their bridge officers by training them in any of their class and specialization abilities, which can then be easily swapped in and out on the fly."

These changes will allow for a more flexible and customizable crew that can cross-train in intelligence and other potential specializations. The dev diary goes on to detail how officers will be trained going forward and what benefits players will get from these buffed-up buddies.

Shroud of the Avatar shows off zone diversity

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

sota
If this week's Shroud of the Avatar newsletter is any indication, there will be something interesting to look at in this game no matter which direction you take.

The team showed off several different areas and biomes in the letter, including the undead realm of Brightbone Pass, the craters of Shardfall, the graveyard of Wyrmsands, and the desolate Dragon Pass. The Shardfall biome will be available for the first time in-game with the upcoming Release 14.

Shroud of the Avatar will be on the floor at CES in Las Vegas next week as part of a partnership with Plantronics.

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