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'World's biggest LGBT guild' celebrates FFXIV's same-sex marriage

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Members of the Rough Trade Gaming Community, which bills itself as "the world's biggest LGBT guild," staged an Eorzean parade last weekend to celebrate Final Fantasy XIV's decision to reverse its restrictions on same-sex marriage.

You can watch highlights from the event in the 11-minute video after the cut.

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The Stream Team: Returning to Aurin roots in WildStar

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

The Stream Team: Returning to your roots in WildStar
Even though she was even closer than ever to her ultimate goal of housing in WildStar, Massively's MJ just couldn't take it anymore! She had to start over so she could choose the Aurin starting area instead. The more she leveled, the more it nagged at her that she abandoned her own people to hang out with those humans. So she's gone back to make it all right. Join us live at 7:30 p.m. to see if the switch was worth it!

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Let's all dye our armor black in The Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's third patch arrives next month, players will be bombarded with customization options, says a new developer blog on the official website. ZeniMax outlines its plans for armor dyes, which come in over 200 colors in accordance with the "artistic scheme" of the game, including rare iridescent shades. Just wanna dye everything black to show what a badass you are? You're in luck; in ESO, unlike many other MMOs, black will be a snap to obtain. In fact, dyes unlock as players complete specific achievements in a variety of gameplay modes from PvP to questing to crafting.

The studio will also shower guild leaders with new guild ranks to play with, new heraldry for use on guild tabards, and new traders that guilds can rent to vend guild goods to the public.

EVE Online: Crius launches today

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Patches, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription

crius
EVE Online is just churning out expansions (or plus-sized content updates, if you will) lately, with today's Crius release being the latest of the bunch.

Crius' main focus is on revising and expanding the industrial and crafting portions of the game. Players can join industrial teams to get important jobs done, enjoy an overhauled research interface, partake in dynamic pricing of tasks, and add industry-related upgrades to starbases.

Other fun features of this update include interior atmospheric audio, a new reprocessing system, the ability to opt out of fleet warps, and API support for the industry features of this patch.

Previewing WildStar's Daggerstone Pass PvP battleground

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, PvP, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

What a beautiful day it's going to avoid being.
Before I talk about the upcoming PvP map for WildStar, I feel I should really defend myself for my usual performance in PvP. Here's the simple version: I am all right at PvP. I know enough about what I'm supposed to do to avoid completely shaming myself. I am not the best. But can I turn a ragtag group of other journalists into a fighting force capable of defeating preformed groups of people wearing PvP gear?

Definitely not.

Along with several other journalists, I took to the field with Carbine Studios staff members yesterday, boosted my fresh Exile character up to 50, and took on all comers in the rated version of the new Daggerstone Pass. We lost several times. On the bright side, we lost in such a way that I was able to get a better sense of the map and can talk about it with some confidence, so that's good. In my weak defense, I don't think we had a chance against a fully premade team in PvP gear anyway.

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The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's Hunts are broken

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Useful data!
It's been nearly two weeks since Final Fantasy XIV's patch went live, and I'm at once surprised and not surprised that we haven't seen anything really addressing the problem with Hunts. I'm not surprised because Square has a bad history of reacting to broken elements about as quickly as a narcoleptic sloth with poor motivation, and I'm surprised because players have been screaming about it for... about two weeks now? Yes, that sounds right.

And not just screaming in the usual disorganized fashion. This is pretty targeted and logical screaming, helped substantially by the fact that Hunts are currently very, very broken and need fixing. So let's explain the mess that the game has made for itself and the numerous simple solutions that can be implemented really any time now. Not that I'm saying they're all easy, just simple. Straightforward. And no, increasing mark HP is not one of those solutions.

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WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: The disappointment of garrisons

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Housing, Subscription

This house is not a home.
Once a player finishes the introductory quests for Warlords of Draenor, the Horde and Alliance gangs go in separate directions, and I had slightly higher hopes for the rest of my beta experience. The introduction was kind of a wash, a climactic third act delivered we'd been left out of the first two acts unless we'd read novels and participated in an event that's not yet live. But Shadowmoon Valley was where I could start seeing the pure promise of this expansion realized, the beautiful idea of a Draenor still filled with Draenei before the corruption and assault of the Horde, an alien landscape far from what was familiar on Azeroth. Not too far, of course, but just far enough to feel like we'd really come to a strange new place. And, of course, the first thing you do is unlock your Garrison.

If my first impression of the WoD beta, which I posted last week, was negative, then this is where it took a sharp nosedive into something resembling rage. But let me start off with a statement that might seem to make no sense, in this context: I've always been fine with housing never being a part of World of Warcraft.

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See the savage beasts of WoW's Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Subscription

Blizzard released a dev blog on World of Warcraft's Shadowmoon Valley over the weekend, and it's filled with prose and images detailing the regions beasts. These include riverbeasts, podlings, elekk, and even "enormous sentient trees" that may give would-be lumber collectors a bit of pause.

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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WoW Archivist: More beta surprises

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Opinion, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Sylvanas models through the years
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on July 18th and is included here by permission.

As the Warlords of Draenor beta rolls onward, Blizzard keeps managing to surprise us. Recently we've learned about a huge overhaul to guild systems, random upgrades for quest rewards, and an extra-awesome core hound mount.

In the last WoW Archivist column, we looked at the surprises from the original beta and the betas of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. This time, we continue with Wrath and also look at the surprises during the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria betas. As before, I won't go into storyline surprises here. And I won't cover surprises announced at BlizzCon outside of a beta. BlizzCon already has its own feature for controversial surprises.

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Elder Scrolls Online shows new zones, active world PvP, and more at Quakecon

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Quakecon is the place to be if you want the latest Elder Scrolls Online news. Last night during the Future of ESO panel, ZeniMax showed off a boatload of upcoming features including video of new zones, further discussion of the veteran rank revamp, and details on the justice system.

This last bit is particularly interesting since it involves some sort of "active world PvP" outside of Cyrodiil. In a nutshell, the system allows players to murder NPCs and steal items. If caught, you can choose to pay a bounty (and lose the stolen goods) or run, exposing yourself to guards. You can also be a guard and hunt down player bounties, hence the PvP.

In terms of new zones, there are videos for Imperial City, Murkmire, and Wrothgar after the cut, as well as a look at the stealing and justice system mechanics. Dulfy has a breakdown of the panel, too, including info on new armor and weapons, spellcrafting, and more!

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Ultima Online overhauls factional PvP in publish 86

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

Broadsword Online has announced that Ultima Online's publish 86 will arrive on the test server this evening. Notably, the patch includes the first phase of the game's new Vice vs Virtue system, a massive ground-up rework of the existing faction PvP system intended to bring rewarding, objective-based PvP back to the cities. The update also features a new trading-based quest system, new property generation mechanics for spawned loot, and a refreshed Cleanup Britannia vendor.

Check out the complete patch notes on the official site. If you're a former player thinking of dropping by your old haunt to see how it's doing, recall that last month, the developers hinted at a return-to-UO promotion coming in August.

Warlords of Draenor encourages the return of free-form world PvP in Ashran

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, PvP, Dev Diaries, Subscription

wow
World of Warcraft players who pine for the "good old days" of open world PvP may get to sup from that cup again come Warlords of Draenor. The devs are whipping up a new island, Ashran, that pulls upon lessons from past PvP zone designs to create something that encourages as close to the real open world PvP experience as one can get (and still have it designed).

Ashran is for level 100 players who want to pop in and engage in up to 100v100 battles. Unlike past PvP zones, players won't have to join a raid group to partake in the fun and can choose between world and objective-based PvP. "We want players to get caught up in the moment and become emotionally invested in the outcome of each new encounter, whether it's just getting the drop on a member of the opposite faction player or getting revenge for a stolen kill," Blizzard wrote.

The team also previewed another one of Warlords of Draenor's zones with Gorgrond. Gorgrond is an area split between the themes of creation and destruction and the biomes of heavy flora and barren wasteland.

WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: A disappointing start

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Subscription

Yeah, I know those feels, all right.
My time with the Draenor beta has been an overwhelming disappointment.

Warlords of Draenor is to World of Warcraft as Man of Steel is to the Superman mythos. It's an effort to collect classic elements with no regard for the setting in which they make sense, throwing them together like line items. It's aware of the history of the franchise only as a resource to mine, and it's just giving us all of the old familiar pieces without the parts that made those pieces memorable.

Imagine watching Harrison Ford pretending to be Indiana Jones despite being far too old for the role now, locked in a script with no sense of momentum or energy, going through the motions in a way that's not just lackluster but actively kind of shameful. Imagine Frank Miller writing Batman as a parody of what people thought his original versions of Batman were anyway without the slightest sense of irony. That should give you some idea of where I am when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. It's loads of classic ideas, stuff that I desperately want to like, but it's ultimately just not very good, and it certainly doesn't come together.

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Report: SWTOR fourth biggest sub MMO, Elder Scrolls has over 770k subscribers

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Market intelligence firm Superdata says that Star Wars: The Old Republic earned $165 million in worldwide revenue last year. This would make SWTOR the fourth biggest sub MMO in the world (behind World of Warcraft, Lineage, and TERA).

Superdata's report also says that the pay-to-play MMO market has been in a constant decline since 2010, with monthly active worldwide subscribers bottoming out at 23.4 million. "Despite the overall decline, this category has so far managed to maximize their ability to monetize a shrinking yet loyal player base," the firm says.

Finally, Superdata says that Elder Scrolls Online has a subscriber base of 772,374 while WildStar is seeing "four to five times" as many concurrent users as it saw during open beta. Superdata's information is purportedly "pulled directly from publishers and developers."

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