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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: Pre-launch words with WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney

Sci-Fi, Economy, Interviews, Launches, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

This is the sort of stuff that got me excited for the game in the first place.
WildStar is being released in about a month and a half. It feels as if it's been forever since the game first revealed its announcement trailer. Now we've finally got a release date in sight, and the last few features for the game are being revealed to the public. It's one of the last chances that we'll have to talk about the game before it releases.

On the last day of this year's PAX East, I had a chance to sit down with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney to chat a little bit more about the game before it launches. While the game has gone gold and the discs are being manufactured, the team is still refining and improving the game and plans to do so up until the day of launch. That meant talking about the endgame, the development process, and the changes that have been made already in the most recent stages of beta.

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The Mog Log: More time in Final Fantasy XIV's 2.2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

Writing ahead to not get blindsided by PAX, it's witchcraft!
I was pressed for time when Final Fantasy XIV patched at just the wrong time. I'm on a schedule, you know. My first impressions of the patch were far less comprehensive than I would have liked, although I did try to fill in the blanks as best I could down in the comments. But that was two weeks ago, and you doubtlessly expected that by now I would have gotten through the rest of the patch for more impressions.

Honestly, I could probably spend quite a bit of time talking about all the various aspects of the game altered by this particular patch, but I'd prefer to narrow my focus slightly and zoom in on the most immediately relevant bits. So let's talk a little bit more about 2.2. Let's talk about the dungeons I didn't cover last time, the quest lines, the big battles (sometimes on a bridge), and a couple of problematic elements that have cropped up.

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Here's FFXIV's PS4 launch trailer

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Final Fantasy XIV cutscene
It's Final Fantasy XIV's launch day... on the PlayStation 4. Square's fantasy MMO reboot -- and Massively's 2013 MMO of the year -- has been dazzling gamers on the PC and the PlayStation 3 for some time now, but a new trailer reminds us that next-gen console owners can now join in the fun.

You can view the clip in its entirety after the break.

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The Daily Grind: Do you feel pressured to level faster?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO Redguard Nightblade
I've been playing Elder Scrolls Online pretty much daily since early release, but I just now dinged level 25 on my main character. I'd probably be a bit further along if I hadn't been consumed with altitis and some early-game decisional paralysis, not to mention I've spent a significant chunk of time crafting.

I'm seeing a bunch of level 50s, though, and even though ESO is one of those rare themeparks that offers incentives for exploration and things to do off of the beaten paths, I'm feeling somewhat envious of all these higher-level folk.

What about you, Massively readers? Do you feel any pressure -- either from yourself or from others -- to speed up your leveling process?

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!

EVE Evolved: Anatomy of a mining op

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Game Mechanics, PvE, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When EVE Online was first released in 2003, it was designed as a massive universe of competition and conflict between space-faring megacorporations in the distant future. Players bought into the premise completely and soon set about building their own empires and waging wars with neighbours. Corporations ran regular mining operations for resources to build frigates and cruisers for their members, and some of the larger corps co-operatively mined to build the first ever battleships in the game. The mining op has been a staple activity in the game ever since, providing a way for groups to work together on large manufacturing projects or just make some ISK during their down-time.

Mining gets a lot of flak for being one of the most boring and least profitable professions in the game, but that's not exactly true. Solo mining can be a great way to spend your downtime while doing other activities, and it ensures that you're online when something exciting happens like a live event, your wormhole system being invaded, or a titan being tackled by your alliance. Co-operative mining ops also offer the social value of bonding with your corpmates when there's nothing else going on. Some players even run dozens of accounts at the same time to turn this ordinarily placid activity into an intensive profit-making activity focused on efficiency and organisation skills.

With mining due to make a resurgence in the summer expansion, this edition of EVE Evolved is dedicated to the humble mining operation. I'll take a look at the various options for mining ships, the different haulers available, and the four different areas you can mine in.

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PAX East 2014: WildStar's panel is all about the endgame

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Maybe get a pet?
So what happens when when you reach the end of WildStar?

You've got a while to think about it, obviously, the game isn't even out just yet. But it's an obvious concern. People are going to hit the level cap, and what are they going to be doing then? Staring at the walls, singing songs, perhaps clawing desperately at the metaphorical walls in the hopes of getting the next major patch somewhat sooner?

According to the WildStar panel at PAX East, the development team is hoping to launch with a fairly robust endgame no matter what you're hoping to do. The panel went through pretty much every part of the game, from items to PvP to solo story questing, all of which is intended to work together to create an environment wherein you don't run out of things to do and don't find yourself forced out of what you find fun. How well it will work remains to be seen, but there's certainly a lot on the table to start with.

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Elder Scrolls Online lowers the banhammer

Fantasy, Legal, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
Elder Scrolls Online cheaters beware! ZeniMax is taking aim at your head with its mighty banhammer.

Community Manager Jessica Fulsom posted an announcement today of the studio's opening shots against evil-doers: "Today, we made our first major strike against those who choose to cheat in ESO, permanently banning thousands. This is only the beginning of our ongoing efforts to keep the game free from botters, speed hackers, and gold spammers. We want to thank everyone who has sent in-game reports about these individuals in ESO -- your reports helped us identify many of the accounts we banned today."

PAX East 2014: First impressions of Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Subscription

One thing I'll definitely give Blizzard, they do a great job of modeling slope-browed drooling ogres.  I don't know if that is exactly a compliment.
The biggest problem that Warlords of Draenor is facing right now is one of first impressions.

This isn't a mark against World of Warcraft so much as it's the nature of the beast. I wrote a while back about how World of Warcraft can't really be back, all things considered; it's too firmly a part of the establishment to ever shake the image that it's created over the past several years. You know what it is. You know how it plays. Odds are good that you've played it.

Warlords of Draenor also features no new races, no new classes, no overhaul of the talent system, and in the build I got to play, very few of the new models. That's where the first impression problem crops up. A lot of the things that are being baked into the expansion just don't show up at first glance. That isn't to say that the first glance is bad, just that it overwhelmingly sends the message of "this is still World of Warcraft; no need for elaboration."

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The Think Tank: Putting The Elder Scrolls Online's launch in context

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), Launches, New Titles, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Think Tank, Subscription

ESO
If you've been around the MMO industry long enough, you know that MMO launches rarely go smoothly for everyone. Some of them even crash and burn in such spectacular ways that veterans are still invoking their names a decade later. This week, I polled a few of the Massively staffers about the launch of the Elder Scrolls Online. How did it fare compared to some of the trainwrecks in MMO history?

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Elder Scrolls Online recommends third-party auction forum for trading

Fantasy, Economy, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
One of the more interesting omissions from Elder Scrolls Online's feature set is a lack of an in-game auction house, as the team preferred guild stores instead. But that hasn't stopped the fans from filling in the gap and even the developers from pointing players to the workaround.

ZeniMax tweeted a recommendation today that fans check out TESO Elite's Marketplace forum as a facilitator of in-game trading: "Looking to buy, sell, and trade in-game goods and services in #ESO? Then @TesoElite's new marketplace is for you."

The studio previously explained why it decided to omit an auction house from the MMO: "You don't necessarily want to do a global auction house for a game with one giant server because that generally leads to all the best gear being available at very, very cheap prices. A lot of times that can trivialize the game. You cannot have a healthy economy when there are no restrictions on getting the best stuff in the game."

HD Streaming for EVE Fanfest now on sale

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), News Items, Subscription

I kind of prefer Star Trek Online's Dyson sphere ships to EVE's apparent Dyson vacuum ship.
Are you a big fan of EVE Online? Do you want to go to EVE Fanfest but can't fit a trip to Iceland into your budget? Do you have a spare PLEX sitting around? Are you thinking about marzipan? Because right now you can buy a high-definition stream of the entire Fanfest from CCP Games for $19.95 or one PLEX, whichever works better for you. (The marzipan thing you'll have to sort out on your own.)

Buying the stream gets you access to three days of high-definition coverage, the pre-convention livestream from developers, your choice of one of four industrial ship skins, subscriber-only giveaways, and a digital version of the Fanfest shirt for 2014. Sound good to you? Then head on over and drop your money! Or you can just watch the festivities streamed for free on Twitch, but you'll have to put up with normal definition footage, like an animal.

WildStar's elder gem system to get post-launch love

Sci-Fi, Launches, Patches, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
What you see is only half of what you get, at least in regard to the elder gem system in WildStar.

Carbine Studios Product Director Mike Donatelli churned out a good-sized post on the forums this morning concerning WildStar's elder gem system and what the studio has planned for it after the game's launch. He said that what's currently in-game is "only half of the intended final system," and while the team can't get in the full deal by release, the rest will be included in the first major post-launch patch.

Elder gems are a type of currency that players will earn with XP once they hit the level cap. There's a weekly limit to the number of gems that can earned, and players can use these gems to buy gear and items from special vendors. Future plans for the system include the ability to buy amp and ability tier points that haven't been procured elsewhere and weekly and daily quests to earn more gems.

Blizz shows off WoW's actual female Draenei revamp

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

WoD female draenei
Blizzard has followed up its April Fools' Day prank with a look at the actual female Draenei model. Senior art director Chris Robinson says the space goat girl is very much a work-in-progress and currently lacks body and facial animations.

Still, it's worth seeing where Blizz is going in Warlords of Draenor, and you can do so via World of Warcraft's official website.

Choose My Adventure: Elder Scrolls Online welcomes another Khajiit

Fantasy, News Items, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

The Elder Scrolls Online
I'd like you all to welcome your new character in The Elder Scrolls Online: Fa'saad! Get it? Fa'saad...like façade because he's a sneaky Nightblade ... oh nevermind.

The character you created for me is a male Khajiit Nightblade from the Ebonheart Pact. I will be playing him for the rest of the month from the perspective of a veteran MMO gamer who is excited to see what this year's triple-A MMO can bring to the table not only for MMO fans but for fans of the Elder Scrolls series. This week's article will be an introduction to the character and more polls for you to vote on to help this character progress in the early game.

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