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Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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RIFT 2.7: Binding of Blood delayed [Update: It's live now!]

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT Binding of Blood
Trion has identified a "major issue" with RIFT's 2.7 update and will not be deploying the Binding of Blood patch today as planned. The firm does not have an ETA on either a fix or the revised update as of yet.

Update: As of this evening, the patch is now live! Here's what today's part of the overall update includes:
Four new souls: Available at the RIFT Store, the four new Souls allow Warriors and Rogues to heal, Mages to tank, and Clerics to support like never before!
New Quests: All new multi-chapter Soul Quests (available to everyone) will explore the lore behind the origin of these new souls.
UI Upgrades: Crafting, Quests, Macros, Wardrobe, and Achievement Tracking UIs have all been improved for RIFT 2.7. Trion is also adding all new text color options, to grant players full control over text displays.

RIFT concept art contest tainted by copycat design [Updated with Trion's investigation]

Fantasy, Contests, Free-to-Play, RIFT

The winners of RIFT's Concept Weapons and Cloaks contest were announced this weekend with prizes going out to the best designs in the Swords, Staves, and Cloaks categories. But one particular sword entry (the second place winner) caught the keen eye of a few RIFT fans.

As it turns out, the impressive golden sword that won second place is actually copied from Deviant Art user Wen-M, who uploaded the original version in 2004. "LOL, thanks," Wen-M said when a fan congratulated him on his entry. "Unfortunately I did not enter, someone lacking honesty used my work without permission. some friends informed me about it. XD ah...people."

You can read more on the other contest entries on the official forum thread.

[Thanks to all who sent this in!]

Update: Trion has responded with an explanation of its investigation of the accusations. In an email to Massively, the studio wrote, "Thanks to our users we were able to verify that this image was indeed appropriated from another artist. We of course disqualified the entry, and did a more thorough search to make sure that no other entries were also inappropriately submitted. We've reached out to the artist (who does absolutely amazing work, and is definitely worth checking out) both publicly and privately apologizing for this use of his art. We've adjusted the list of winners (viewable here), and congratulate all of the incredibly talented folks who participated in this contest." Congratulations to all of the legitimate winners!

Portions of RIFT's May cash shop proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT and Doctors Without Borders
Trion and Doctors Without Borders have partnered to further the latter's humanitarian efforts around the globe. From May 1st through May 31st, purchases of the lab coat or doctor bundle from the RIFT cash shop will trigger a $5.00 donation to the charity organization.

[Thanks Zuji!]

RIFT 2.7: Binding of Blood arrives May 7th

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Launches, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

RIFT's 2.6.1 patch may have teased the Binding of Blood raid, but now we finally have a solid date for the full 2.7 patch: May 7th.

The 2.7 update will initially incorporate the four new souls unveiled over the last few months (Arbiter, Physician, Oracle, and Liberator), new quests, and an upgraded UI. Trion Worlds will roll out additional changes over the span of the including tier 3 raids, the Greenscale warfront, a hellbug promotional tie-in with Defiance, the annual Summerfest, and a unicorn celebration. We're not judging. Every game needs a unicorn celebration.

RIFT sends players back in time to fight dragons

Fantasy, Patches, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

Set your time machines back 1,500 years, RIFT players, because Patch 2.6.1 is flinging Ascended heroes into the past to help round up a few rowdy dragons.

The patch, which landed today, opens up a new Tier 3 raid called Bindings of Blood. In this raid, players are experiencing the binding of the dragons from a first-hand perspective, and in so doing they actually change the "present" history of their personal game.

Trion Worlds told us on the phone that the 20-person raid contains four portals to four instances, each with its own mini-boss, dragon, and unique theme. The instances are on separate lockout timers, and currently two are open with two more scheduled for next month. The bosses are reworked versions of Greenscale, Akylios, Laethys, and Maelforge, and will drop best-in-slot gear and weapons.

One Shots: Up close and very personal

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous

I am pleased as punch today because several of you took me up on the screenshot challenge to get an "up close and personal" picture of an enemy. Without stealth or a sniper scope, this is a very tricky proposition, but even so, three of you came out with the photographic proof.

First up is reader Wolfger, who escaped by the skin of his teeth in Guild Wars 2. "Here's a shot of Brewer Foster getting up in the face of one of the game's favorite loot piñatas, the champion boar in Queensdale. It catches the beast reeling from a blast as our hero is facing it down with a... slingshot?"

Mmm... anyone want a ham dinner? Either way, scoot closer to your monitor and prepare to have your eyeballs blown from the awesome images to come in this week's edition of One Shots!

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RIFT opens up player PvP dimensions

Fantasy, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

This move is in no way meant to interact with WildStar's Warplots.  We don't know what those are.  We've never heard of WildStar.  In fact, we were out of town.  What's new?
Do you like instanced PvP but hate being subject to the PvP maps that the game's designers have put together? Maybe you have an idea for an even better map in RIFT, one that would really give even veteran players a run for their money. Good news, then: Now you can go ahead and make that map a reality with the addition of player PvP dimensions to the game's cash shop.

PvP dimensions are available as part of two-team or three-team Starter Packs, or they can be purchased individually. These maps also give you access to another personal dimension, but their real purpose is letting you build custom maps with the use of scoreboards, damage areas, invisible tiles, and plenty of other tricks to create a truly memorable experience. If you've ever wanted to design an MMO battleground like an old DOOM deathmatch arena, you can go ahead and get started crafting your ideal arena now.

Four videos of RIFT's new souls in action

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Previews, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, RIFT

RIFT subreddit moderator Seatin has posted to YouTube complete videos of all four of RIFT's upcoming 2.7 souls and how they perform in combat. To recap, the update will deliver: Enjoy the videos after the break!

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RIFT's upcoming Arbiter soul melds wizard with tank

Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, RIFT

Mage-tanks are a source of dreams for some and targets of derision by others (jealous Paladins?), and they will soon be spicing up RIFT with their oddball combo.

RIFT posted its official reveal of the Arbiter this week. The new soul is a tanking Mage who shields herself with magic rather than thick metal; she uses primarily water and air spells to weave shields, taunt enemies, and fry the opposition.

Trion Worlds promises that the Arbiter will be able to stand "toe-to-toe" with the other callings' tanking souls when it is added to the game in the upcoming 2.7 update.

RIFT's got a new conquest map and a new rogue soul on the way

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT's Steppes of Infinity
RIFT's Steppes of Infinity features "all-new objectives and opportunities for exciting PvP action," according to an update on the free-to-play fantasy MMO's website. Combatants may choose to battle for control of the Brevo and Antapo forts or ferry charges between them, and "powerful rewards for the winning team" are at stake, Trion says.

The studio also confirmed the next soul reveal: the Physician, a healing-centric soul for Rogues.

Trion Worlds introduces Glyph gaming platform

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, RIFT, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Defiance, Trove

Trion Worlds is getting into the digital gaming platform business, as the studio announced today that it will be releasing its own "lightweight digital hub" called Glyph.

Glyph was created to connect developers with audiences, and is purported to be friendly to use from both sides and DRM-free. The platform will take over the responsibility of being the launcher for Trion's titles, including RIFT, Defiance, and Trove (we'll believe ArcheAge when we see it). Trion says that the studio has already handled "more then 10 million gamers" in the past three years and that Glyph will be a great help to pair those players up with current and future titles.

Glyph will also handle games from Trion's partners, as the studio has already begun signing on developers. It will launch shortly after GDC 2014.

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

RIFT's Arbiter and Physician are incoming

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

And they will come for you on the backs of squirrels.
Patch 2.7 is delivering a bundle of four new souls to RIFT, and that means that every calling will be able to play every role in the game. The support Cleric soul (Oracle) and the healing Warrior soul (Liberator) have already been revealed, but what will Rogues and Mages get? The details were in the most recent livestream: Rogues get Physician as a specific healing soul, while Mages will be able to tank with the addition of the Arbiter soul.

According to the most recent development livestream, a great deal of internal testing is being done to ensure that all four new souls remain functional and competitive, even though they're being added before an expansion. Players can keep their eyes peeled for later in the week when the Physician and Arbiter both get revealed ahead of their test realm implementation. These four souls will be purchasable as a bundle, although no announcements on price have yet been made.

RIFT, ArcheAge, Defiance, and Trove acquire new community managers

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Defiance, Trove

Three weeks after the departure of Trion Worlds Director of Global Communications Elizabeth Tobey comes the news that Trion has appointed two new community managers to helm its core MMOs RIFT, Defiance, Trove, and ArcheAge.

Evan "Scapes" Berman, whom gamers might recall from his days on the TERA community team, will take over the Defiance and ArcheAge communities, while Eric "Ocho" Cleaver of City of Heroes fame will defend Trove and RIFT players from waves of angry trolls. May the planar gods have mercy on their souls.

Massively Exclusive: RIFT reveals the Oracle soul

Fantasy, Screenshots, Classes, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

Tomorrow, Trion Worlds is set to reveal another of RIFT's planned new souls, the Oracle, but Massively has an exclusive preview and lore piece for you today.

Arriving in RIFT's 2.7 upcoming patch, the Oracle is a Cleric soul that allows the equipper to buff and debuff large groups using water and death magic.
Oracles arrive from a dark future where their mastery-level support skills have forestalled the annihilation of Telara. Gifted with powers of Water and Death, these versatile casters can lift entire raids to triumph with a repertoire of powerful boons, shields, heals, buffs, and curses. As a group member, they're indispensable. As an enemy, they're impossible to ignore.
We've got another screenie and the official background story for the Oracle tucked after the cut. Read on!

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