Eliot Lefebvre

Senior Reporter

Eliot Lefebvre has been writing on Massively Overpowered since it was created after a long and illustrious career of writing about video games for half a decade on some other site that you might have heard about. He currently pens Wisdom of Nym for Final Fantasy XIV, WoW Factor for World of Warcraft, and the rotating adventures of Choose My Adventure. He also shares writing duties on Perfect Ten and writes some nonsense for What Are You Playing. No photos of him standing next to Abraham Lincoln have surfaced, coincidentally.

Personal blog: Eliot-Lefebvre.com
Twitter: @eliot_lefebvre

Pathfinder Online shows off group play video

What does it look like when you get a whole lot of players in Pathfinder Online taking on monsters, fighting one another, and milling about in public spaces? We could tell you, but that’s not nearly as helpful as watching a video with plenty of players doing exactly that. Visual medium and all, you understand.

The video includes some older footage from January and covers both PvP and PvE combat as well an ending note of players happily milling about at the nearest tavern. If you want to see how the game looks in action but don’t want to spend the money required to do so in person, jump on past the break and check it out.

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EverQuest Next opens up the Qeynos Foundation Museum contest

EverQuest Next is getting ready to lay the groundwork for the city of Qeynos, and the design team is turning to Landmark to make that happen. Players can now take part in a contest to help craft the Qeynos Foundation Museum, with winning entries promised a permanent space on an island for others to visit and a potential place within Qeynos once EverQuest Next goes live.

The contest thread contains several design templates and suggestions for players to ensure that their designs meet both the visual and practical requirements of the setting for each of the given Qeynos districts. Submissions are open until April 5th, and there’s no limit to how many submissions a given individual may make. So if you want your architecture to make a permanent mark on Norrath, jump into Landmark and start crafting those voxels like you mean it.

[Thanks to Dean for the tip!]

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WoW Factor: The design slide from start to present

After more than a decade of operation, a curious thing has happened to World of Warcraft: It’s circled back around on an awful lot of its design principles, not in the sense that Warlords of Draenor is only a hop and a skip away from the game’s original incarnation, which is demonstrably untrue, but in the sense that a lot of what has changed over that original incarnation has slowly wound up coming back to the same place.

This is something that I think has been cycling around for a while, due in no small part to the simple fact that designers are people too, and the people designing WoW are big fans of the game’s original design without understanding the iterative improvements that happened over the years. Whether or not these changes are good or bad depends on individual taste, but it’s educational insofar as understanding why the game is what it is now.

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Skyforge begins second closed beta on March 24th

If the first week-long test of Skyforge just whetted your appetite, you’ll be able to get a second helping very soon. The game is kicking off its second closed beta test on March 24th; previous participants will be welcomed back and joined by new invitees. Even if you’re picking up where you left off, there’s plenty of new content in the second test to try out, starting with four new classes for you to unlock and use.

Aside from trying out Archer, Necromancer, Kinetic, and Slayer, players will have access to a new open world zone in Naori Island, 8v8 Superiority PvP, two new squad adventures, a new five-person dungeon, and the new CUBE-style instance dubbed Nedder Test Area. There will also be special PvP events taking place during the two weeks of testing. Would-be players who aren’t lucky enough to get into the tests but still want to participate should consider picking up a Founder’s Pack, which provides definite access to this and all future betas.

[Source: CBT2 Announcement]

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Final Fantasy XI halts updates this year with one last storyline

How long should a game last? Final Fantasy XI has had an impressive run, but its glory days are indisputably past. That’s why Square-Enix has announced that the game’s active updates will be ending this year following one final main scenario, releasing during three updates in May, August, and November. The game’s service will continue “indefinitely,” and small updates to improve balance and fix bugs will still occur, but November’s update will feature the conclusion to a main scenario drawing from the game’s full history and will serve as the final large update.

PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 support for the game will be “concluding” in March 2016, allowing the developers working on the game to enhance the Windows experience of those still playing as well as improve the mobile client. Yes, the game will be getting a mobile version through partnership with Nexon, along with a spin-off mobile game which is currently planned for release only in Japan. It’s the end of an era for Vana’diel, but the game is going out with one last hurrah, and it’s not shutting down, both of which should be cause for celebration.

[Source: FFXI forums. Thanks to Nyttyn and Matt for the tip!]

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Star Trek Online lines up a new feature episode, improved Pilot spec

The entirety of Star Trek Online‘s run to date has featured an obvious villain waiting in the wings: the Iconians. Everyone knows they’re out there, but they’re a little hard to just find and deal with, what with the whole “elusive ancient enemies” thing. But on March 26th, the game is launching a new feature episode, Uneasy Allies, which picks up with the imprisoned Empress Sela as the full Iconian plot finally begins to surface. It’s meant to appeal to players who’ve been invested in the game’s storyline to this point.

The designers are also looking to the future beyond that with plans to expand the Pilot specialization in the Season 10 update. Currently it’s a secondary specialization, but the next major update will flesh it out further and make it a primary specialization, along with adding the ability to slot any specialization as a secondary specialization for limited benefits. Check out the newly expanded abilities in the tree in the full development blog.

[Source: New Episode, Pilot Specialization. Thanks to The_Grand_Nagus for the tip!]

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What Shadow Realms was and what it might have been

Shadow Realms was an idea that didn’t actually make it to “game” stage. It was cancelled a month ago, and odds are high-to-absolute that it’s never coming back. But what would the game have been like if it hadn’t been cancelled, and what led the team at BioWare Austin to start and then shelve it? Would you like to browse a whole bunch of information on it and watch a video answering exactly those questions? Good!

Among the surprising revelations is the fact that the game was being played internally in June of 2014 with lukewarm reception, despite being in a state with decently modeled characters and combat. Character customization in the modern gothic setting — including support for transgender characters — was planned. Jump on past the break for the video, or read through the full article for details on the game’s eight classes and long-term plans.

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Allods Online is shutting down in China

So long, Allods Online; you will be remembered. The Russian-made fantasy MMO is shutting down… in China. The English servers are still just fine. We probably should have specified that. Yes, the game is going away after three years of operation, with the shutdown planned for late August and a slow shutdown along the way.

The end of August coincides with the end of the contract that Chinese publisher Giant Interactive held with Allods Team, so it may be more accurate to say that the publisher simply declined to renew that contract for another period of time. Western games have a tendency to not last very long in China, but still, our sympathies to any players in the country losing their preferred game.

[Source: MMOCulture]

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Final Fantasy XI will hold a press conference on the future, but what will it say?

Final Fantasy XI feels a bit neglected with all of the hype surrounding Final Fantasy XIV‘s expansion, doesn’t it? That’s probably part of the reason the development team is hosting a livestream on Thursday at 3:00 a.m. EDT regarding the future of the game. (It makes more sense when you consider, you know, Japan.) What will be announced in that stream, though, is still up in the air, with nothing but the very vague promise that it will concern the game’s future.

The most reasonable assumptions would be that the game is swapping business models, dropping support for an older platform, or shutting down altogether. None of these quite fits the character of Square-Enix‘s usual livestream events, however, which are generally more celebratory and encouraging. It seems odd to imagine that the game would be announcing another expansion, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility, nor is it unbelievable to think that the game might move into a quiet maintenance mode. We’ll find out on Thursday, when we’ll all get surprised by the fact that the game is launching a single-player version and bringing back Tetra Master.

[Source: Gamer Escape]

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Perfect World Entertainment hit with potentially massive layoffs

Layoffs have hit Perfect World Entertainment. It was first rumored in a tweet by Ben PerLee, who had previously worked as PR for the company; the tweet has since been deleted, but a response calling it “a slaughter” remains [Nope, that one’s been deleted too now]. Matt Miller also tweeted today confirming that he had been laid off, having previously been working on Star Trek Online.

Captain Smirk, community manager for Star Trek Online, also appears to have removed references to his job with the game from his Twitter account. No official word has yet been put out regarding these layoffs or whether they extend beyond the one game into Neverwinter or non-Cryptic properties, and the threads discussing them on the official Star Trek Online message boards have been locked quickly by moderators. We are reaching out to PWE for confirmation and will have more on this story as it becomes available; until then, our sympathies extend to those affected by this staff reduction.

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Crowfall details mount mechanics as it clears $1.2 million

There’s no doubt at this point that Crowfall will be funded, but there is some question about how much extra stuff will be in the game when the funding period finishes. The project needs less than $100,000 to hit its next major stretch goal, unlocking mounts and caravans. With the goal so close, the team has decided to post an FAQ on mount mechanics a little early, detailing how your noble steed will work in the game and how Kickstarter backers can get a little edge.

Mounts in the game are creatures in the world, and mount figurines can be used to summon the mounts repeatedly, but those figurines can be lost, damaged, or otherwise made useless. Kickstarter backers will be able to reclaim the appearance of the special backer mounts, but that’s purely a cosmetic effect. As with all else in the game, nothing lasts forever. The team also posted two new behind-the-scenes videos, so you can check those out just past the break.

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Wisdom of Nym: The end of Final Fantasy XIV’s 2.X cycle

The last part of Final Fantasy XIV‘s pre-expansion storyline is going live on March 31st. That’s about two weeks away. And while you’ll be able to do such things as “no longer worry about the weekly lockout on World of Darkness” and presumably “buy those Ironworks weapons from the CT weekly,” you’ll also be facing the last dose of content from the game until the expansion drops on June 23rd — or June 19th if you have it pre-ordered, which will almost certainly be the case for the people who are reading this column with the intent of actually playing the game. But that’s still nearly three months without much new to do.

I’m going to assume that no one needs any suggestions about finishing the content that’s already available in the game; if you haven’t done the Hildibrand story yet, well, there’s enough content to keep you occupied for a week or so right off the bat. But let’s assume that you’ve kept up with the story and within a week of the second half of this patch, you’ll know what there is to be done. What can you use to fill in the gap other than grinding?

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