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The road ahead for Darkfall Unholy Wars

Fantasy, Darkfall, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Subscription

Hopefully not involving a third take-down-and-relaunch plan.
Darkfall Unholy Wars has seen its ups and downs during its operation, but the latest post from the team is about moving forward. The development team's roadmap was shared with players over the weekend, providing a peek at what's coming in the future to make the game more interesting. No dates are included with the roadmap, as it's focused on concepts rather than specifics, but it still includes plenty of things for veteran players to be excited about.

Among the large-scale changes planned for the game in the future are improvements to the AI and PvE combat in general, along with systems to help players more firmly align themselves within the game world. The developers would like to minimize instant travel while promoting fast travel where possible, creating a more localized economic model that emphasizes journeying between markets. There's also an ongoing commitment to keeping all combinations of skills and powers viable, supporting a wide variety of playstyles. Take a look at the full roadmap for more details on what's coming around the bend.

The Nexus Telegraph: How to fix WildStar

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

I've been thinking about fixing my brain, but... actually, don't think about it.  Just do it.
It's been a quiet couple of weeks for WildStar, which could be taken as indicating the team is making major changes, or it could just be pre-patch preparations that are taking half of forever. It'd look the same either way. We know the next patch is coming, and we have some idea of what it's going to contain, but we still haven't gotten anything resembling a release date. Still, leaving aside the obvious shift in patch schedules, I'd like to think this is the start of a paradigm shift for the game's development as a whole.

This ties into the last column's topic quite well. The game has issues at the moment; it's not hitting the notes or player numbers it wants. What can actually be done to address this? How can the game draw players back and keep them engaged, especially when it's in need of some pretty serious server consolidation so early in its life?

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Final Fantasy XIV shows off footage from the Tokyo Game Show

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

The snow glows white on the mount tonight, not a footprint to be seen.  A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like we're going to be hearing Frozen references for the next several months.
Final Fantasy XIV players were treated to a preview of the game's next major patch over the weekend as the Tokyo Game Show wrapped up. Producer and director Naoki Yoshida showed off the first trailer for the patch as well as a quick preview of the new dungeons, the upcoming Rogue and Ninja, and the arena where players will face off against Shiva. While all of the videos are in Japanese, most of them have very little narration, making them just as accessible if you don't speak the language.

The trailer is embedded past the cut, but it's only one of the four videos. Shiva's arena features a central dais and a lower area connected by staircases, implying that players can be knocked off or may even choose to jump off at certain times. Sunken Temple of Qarn and Sastasha are receiving the hard mode makeovers for the patch, while Snowcloak takes the role of the new dungeon. A few more tidbits are also revealed by the Rogue/Ninja video, including a sneak peek at the class's stealth mechanics. Jump past the break for the trailer to get a taste of what's coming.

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World of Warcraft drops spoiler-filled cinematics

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Subscription

Actually none here, but you get the idea.
Some World of Warcraft players want to know the whole story of an expansion before they've even started playing. Some others would prefer to know nothing about the game until it's time to play, experiencing everything completely fresh. If you belong to the latter group, you won't want to click on the latest update from Blizzard Entertainment because it's full of spoilers. It is, in fact, the spoiler-filled cinematics from all through Warlords of Draenor, conveniently collected in a single place.

Why? Essentially, the development team would rather give players a clear picture of the story than force them to rely upon datamined reveals and guesses. If you'd like to be spoiled on the storyline before you can even play it, you can click on over and watch through all of the in-game cinematics in quick succession, painting a broad if not detailed picture of the game as a whole. If you'd rather not be spoiled... well, avoid that link. And the comments. And the forums. Basically, just shut off your discussion venues for a couple of months.

World of Warcraft's next Lord of War is Kilrogg Deadeye

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Expansions, Lore, News Items, Subscription

WoW
Were you tired of the parade of Orcs in World of Warcraft's Lords of War video series? We're sorry to disappoint you once again. Today's Warlords of OrcnorDraenor lore video features Kilrogg Deadeye, the one-eyed chieftan of the Bleeding Hollow clan. This guy is so brutal that he tore out his own eye and ran headlong into his foretold doom. OK, maybe he's worthy of a video after all. Enjoy it below!

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RIFT shows off the City of Nightmares

Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

Would you like to hear about the good word of going to work naked and having all of your teeth fall out?
What's your next vacation spot in RIFT? Have you not yet decided? Then perhaps you'd like to consider Draumheim, City of Nightmares! Don't worry; it's just a name. It's really more of a collection of eldritch horrors and faceless creatures shaped of dread. Some of them are even downright pleasant!

Draumheim is home to the Onir, creatures of dream born in the unconscious thoughts of Telara's residents. Some of them are perfectly happy and well-adjusted people who will be happy to make your acquaintance, while others are just as nightmarish as their place of residency would imply. Lord Arak has taken much of the city, however, raising new nightmares and taking control of the local government through violent means. As you can imagine, that means it will be up to the player characters to set things right. So get ready for a visit to the city of nightmares itself! (For the record, Silent Hill is just a small town of nightmares.)

World of Warcraft addresses upgrading to the Warlords of Draenor CE

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

It's like two expansion keys for the price of... two!  Actually, that's exactly what it is.  It's just buying it again.
Were you one of the people who pre-purchased Warlords of Draenor as soon as the digital option was open? Do you have a mighty need to pick up the physical collector's edition but no clear process for upgrading from the digital copy? The good news is that Blizzard Entertainment has World of Warcraft fans covered with a new post detailing how you can upgrade to a physical collector's edition. Just buy another copy, contact Blizzard's customer support, and then give a friend the code from the digital upgrade that you no longer need!

Yes, that's what it says. Just buy another one. Which is a system that works out pretty well for your friend, at least. If you were hoping for a simpler way to use the level 90 character boost and still get the physical doodads, however, you are apparently out of luck. The Collector's Edition is priced at $89.99 and includes both digital items and physical bonuses.

Star Trek Online explains the Voyager MSD redesign

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

With this much attention to detail, you would think that the powers that be could ensure that the same button fires all weapons from one week to the next.
If you're even passingly familiar with the various Star Trek shows, you'll recognize the MSD. It shows up on the bridge of every single Federation ship, offering a detailed breakdown of what is where for eagle-eyed viewers. Star Trek Online's next expansion is bringing the game into the Delta Quadrant, the stomping grounds of the eponymous USS Voyager, so it was only fair that the Intrepid-class MSD could get a nice new redesign to reflect the years of upgrades that the ship has received.

The new MSD represents a much clearer picture of the ship from the series, with several elements improved to more accurately reflect in-show layouts and incorporating modifications made after Voyager's maiden flight such as the airponics bay. Take a look at the full development blog for a closer look at how much work has gone into what seems like a little detail but still forms a vital part of the aesthetics.

Watch the fourth EVE Online video in the Clarion Call series

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Opinion, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE
Back in 2009, player corporation Rooks and Kings produced an EVE Online video called Clarion Call: Triage Special, which went viral among space MMO enthusiasts and had a profound influence on PvP tactics in the game. Clarion Call 2 and 3 were released to similar acclaim, and now a fourth installment has arrived. The lushly illustrated, hour-long Clarion Call 4 narrates one perspective of modern EVE tactical history with footage and sound from individual pivotal battles. Don't worry if you're not an EVE aficionado; it's accessible even for a newbie. Just be warned that some of the language and terminology is graphic. Enjoy the video below.

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World of Warcraft bumps up graphical settings

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

wow
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

wildstar
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!]

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