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World of Warcraft bumps up graphical settings

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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While they're not big bullet point features for Warlords of Draenor, technical improvements will benefit those who want to keep their game looking the best. In a new dev diary posted today, Blizzard gave a detailed explanation about how it's putting new anti-aliasing tech into World of Warcraft for the expansion.

"In short, we're taking strides to improve the performance of World of Warcraft, while also ensuring there's plenty of potential to further increase graphical fidelity and enhance our support of high-end CPUs and graphics hardware," the studio posted.

Blizzard said that the changes represent the team "thinking long-term" for the game.

Star Trek Online's Delta Rising arrives October 14th

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Crafting, Subscription

Have you tried reversing the polarity though.
Cryptic has just announced that Star Trek Online's Delta Rising expansion will be released on October 14th, 2014. As previously discussed, it will not only raise the level cap but jump into Voyager story space with new territory and famous figures from the franchise.

Developers have also released a new dev blog detailing equipment in the expansion. One of the simple rules of existence is that when Delta Rising goes live, a lot of your old equipment in Star Trek Online is going to be a lot less relevant. There's no way around it. A jump in the level cap that leads to Mark XIV equipment naturally makes Mark XI stuff less potent by comparison. But rather than forcing you to earn a whole new set of loot, the expansion's upgrade system for gear should allow you to take an old favorite and bring it up to par. Players can buy, trade, or craft upgrade kits, which add a certain number of tech points to an item being upgraded. Once enough tech points are acquired, a small dilithium fee is paid and the item can be upgraded to the next rank, possibly increasing in quality along the way. For more details on how to accelerate the procedure, check out the full blog entry; it looks as if you won't have to say farewell to all of your old equipment after all.

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WildStar's housing gets huge with Drop 3

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, Previews, Housing, Subscription

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Housing fanatics (including those eternal level 14s) in WildStar have great reason to cheer for the upcoming Drop 3. Carbine Studios is giving a ton of love to the player housing system, including a huge expansion of how many items can be placed.

In yesterday's Nexus Report, the team answered many housing questions and outlined some of the big changes coming with Drop 3. When it hits, players will be able to place up to 1,000 decor items both indoors and outdoors, which is an increase from the current 300 exterior and 800 interior limits. Other improvements include musical selection, more lights, separate sharing privileges for gardens, and a blank housing choice. The team has also been discussing new base terrains and the ability to move FABkits around.

We've got the full video for you after the break, so chow down!

[Thanks to Greg for the tip!]

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RIFT: Nightmare Tide to introduce Minions

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

You're not in Azeroth any more, despite how many things will remind you of it.
Today's adventurer in RIFT is busy. There are a lot of villains all across Telara, after all, and let's not forget those rifts opening up all the time. So instead of having to help another random NPC find a missing coat, wouldn't it be nice to just have some of the NPCs you've met solve problems for you? Good news, then, because the Minion system being added with the game's Nightmare Tide expansion will allow you to do just that.

Minions come from a variety of sources across Telara, and they can be dispatched on a variety of different missions. Once they've completed their tasks, they'll return with a variety of rewards including crafting items and dimensional rewards. Minions can only be sent on so many missions before they need a break, though, so a player won't be able to do everything with just a handful of loyal troops. Check out the full preview for a bit more insight into the upcoming system.

The Elder Scrolls Online pushes players to Upper Craglorn in Update 4

Fantasy, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

I'll up YOUR Craglorn!  I... no, wait, please don't draw your weapons, adventurers.  I'm... I'm so lonely.  I don't know what I'm saying any more.  My life just hurts, and every time I think it's not going to hurt any more it keeps going.  I walled myself away so I could live better, but all it did was make me long for contact I don't know how to have.  I just want friends.  All I need is for you to hear me out, and maybe we - oh.  Okay, you can stab me.  Maybe it's better this way.
You've been to Craglorn? Pff, that's boring now. Upper Craglorn is where the real action is these days. And by complete coincidence, Upper Craglorn is now open on The Elder Scrolls Online's servers, as the game's fourth major update has just dropped. The zone will wrap up the Celestial storyline as your character takes on the Scaled Court. That also ties into the new trial, Sanctum Ophidia, which is a direct strike against the heart of the Court; players will take on the minions and end up fighting the Celestial Serpent.

The new Dragonstar Arena also debuts with this patch, asking players to fight against waves of oncoming enemies. Plus there's a new crafting trait available, improved grouping mechanics, various bugfixes, the usual assortment. So if you can't wait to go knife up a really important snake and check out the places that all the hip new kids are heading for, go check out the update.

Star Trek Online details the art of the new Intelligence ships

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

No one seemed to much mind the darker hull finish option back in the day.
The Intelligence ship designs in Star Trek Online are like nothing else in the game, especially for the Federation. They're dark, angular, and aggressive. A new development blog on the official site sees art director Brad Stokan explaining how the new designs went from concept to finished ships and how the art department juggled the tasks of adhering to the design principles that make a ship distinctly Federation while also making something new and unique.

Stokan explains that most of the choices going into the design were weighed against these two rules, such as adding in glowing sensor panels that both highlighted the ships' scanning functionality while providing a distinct silhouette. The design blog also stresses that players can expect extra customization for these ships, including the option to make the hull finish look a bit more typical for Federation craft. Check out the whole process and more bits of concept art in the full blog entry.

[Thanks to Lonegun for the tip!]

Vice vs Virtue PvP system arrives on Ultima Online's test center

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Dungeons, Subscription

In testing now on Ultima Online's test server is publish 86.3, better known as the Vice vs Virtue patch. You remember the virtues, those iconic and ambiguous philosophical principles guiding the Avatar? OK, now forget all that because peeveepee, guys.

Yes, Vice vs Virtue is a a new system designed to bring a fresh version of Order and Chaos consensual PvP -- any PvP, really -- to landmasses that are currently PvE, including Trammel and most of the expansion territories launched in the last forever. The opt-in faction-based system brings the battle to the core cities of the game and rewards participants with a special currency that can be traded for everything from mounts and artifacts (gear) to murder pardons and hair dye. Look, UO players take their hair dye very seriously.

The patch also introduces new trader quests to the game and revamps dungeon loot spawns to encourage ventures to the open-PvP Felucca facet. The devs have invited players to help stress test the systems this afternoon.

Final Fantasy XIV introduces personal housing (badly) with patch 2.38

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Housing, Subscription

WHO CAME UP WITH THIS SERVER ARCHITECTURE AND WHY CAN I NOT DO THIS YET?
After more than half a year of waiting, Final Fantasy XIV players can finally purchase houses of their own. Provided, of course, that they have an exceptional amount of disposable gil and were on the servers early. Patch 2.38 introduces the option of purchasing land in the housing wards as an individual, but with prices starting at 4 million on the most populated servers for the smallest plot and with only two new wards introduced, many players who had been hopeful for a new house will find their hopes quickly dashed.

Producer Naoki Yoshida took to the forums to apologize for the land shortage, promising that more wards will be introduced with or following the launch of patch 2.4, which should double the amount of available land. While the prices are equal for both personal and free company houses (being built on the same plots), these prices are significantly lower than those when housing was first introduced, even after adjustments to Legacy worlds. The update also contains other features, including new emotes, new Relic Weapon quests, and update loot in Syrcus Tower and the Second Turn of the Binding Coil.

Captain's Log Supplemental: A look at Star Trek Online's history with lead designer Al Rivera

Sci-Fi, Culture, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

You can amost hear the cries for coffee now.
Star Trek Online is a game that's got some history, not just by virtue of the franchise that's been running for half of forever but because the game itself has a rather madcap development history. Cryptic Studios got the license to develop the game at the eleventh hour, and the caveat was that the game needed to be shipped in the same timeframe as the original developer had promised -- leaving almost no time for development.

I sat down and talked with lead designer Al Rivera about the game's history, its development ethos, and where the game is going with the upcoming release of the second expansion, Delta Rising. It's been a long process, but Rivera shed some light on how the game is designed by its modern team, why things launched the way they did, and what players can expect as the game continues toward its five-year anniversary.

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World of Warcraft reclaiming abandoned names for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Subscription

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Your mothballed Gnomes and Tauren might be losing their names if you haven't logged into World of Warcraft recently (and by "recently," we mean "in the last six years."). Blizzard announced that it will be reclaiming old and abandoned names to free them up for the expansion.

Names in danger of reclamation are those belonging to any characters that haven't logged in since November 13th, 2008. The names will be reclaimed with the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch 6.0.2 this fall. Blizzard suggests that anyone in danger of losing a desired name should log on before the patch hits.

The Mog Log: On the twilight of Final Fantasy XIV's story

Fantasy, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

I want to talk about the screaming, because by rights it's probably coming, but I just don't know it yet.
As I write this, we don't yet have the patch notes for Final Fantasy XIV 2.38. Supposedly this is when we're getting personal housing, and people are abuzz with speculation about how that will be rolled out, what will work, what will be broken, and so forth. Alas, I can't yet address any of it -- not prices, not availability, not any of that. It's all just guesswork until the powers that be let us know what's going on, which will likely be in the evening after you read this.

My guess is that there's going to be something to make people angry, but there usually is.

So since I've nothing to offer regarding Final Fantasy XIV's mini-update other than speculation, it's best to turn to something that can be much more clearly seen. We're not at the end of the 2.0 update cycle just yet, but it seems pretty obvious that we're on the back nine, so to speak. So where are we going from here? What awaits? And what does all this mean from a storyline perspective? (If you'd like to avoid any potential spoilers, do look away now.)

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EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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Final Fantasy XIV Q&A teases future content and pacing

Fantasy, Classes, Expansions, Final Fantasy XIV, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries, Subscription

ff14
Final Fantasy XIV has been a little pokey in rolling out major new systems. Will this be the case going forward? Not so much, according to a new producer's letter Q&A, in which the team says that future updates should be coming more frequently.

"Due to scheduling issues and circumstances surrounding implementation, we've been prioritizing the implementation of party-based challenges utilizing the duty finder whenever possible," the letter states. "As a result, we were a step behind in implementing systems that make use of the open world, or those that require time but can be completed at one's own pace. With the introduction of zodiac weapons followed shortly after by the Hunt, it may seem as though we're shifting focus toward time-consuming systems, but rest assured this is not the case, and we plan to strike a balance with party-based activities as we move forward."

Other topics of discussion include the upcoming Rogue class and Ninja job, the approximate release window for Patch 2.38 (about a month), word of a new expansion release, and hints about the expansion and new race.

World of Warcraft cleans up UI for Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Subscription

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In a new dev diary, Blizzard vows to clean up the user interface in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. "We're making a number of changes to the WoW user interface -- changes that are designed to eliminate clutter, free up more of your inventory space, help you find your stuff more easily, and improve your quality of life in-game," say the devs.

The changes begin with a new UI that combines the map and quest log and promises to be more responsive to mouse control. The expansion will also feature a "toy box" that will collect all of a player's fun items in one place and make them available across the entire account. Players will also be able to use the improved UI to summon a random mount, designate loot to certain bags, enjoy reagent storage space in the bank, and more.

The Stream Team: Advancing the Aurin adventures in WildStar

Fantasy, Video, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

Mega servers are coming in WildStar, so Massively's MJ is trying to cover as much ground as possible in her Aurin adventures before she starts tripping over other folks. Or is that tripping them? Definitely the latter if they are evil Dominion, and especially if they are right near the edge of a cliff! Either way, it's high time she moved on from the memories of the bombed tree and found somewhere new to frolic. And there's always new stuff to collect for her first home (if she ever levels enough to get one!). Join us live at 3:00 p.m. EDT to watch as MJ tries to avoid distraction enough to advance to the next zone.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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