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Here are two great guides for the new LOTRO anniversary scavenger hunts

Yesterday, Lord of the Rings Online kicked off its momentous 10th Anniversary celebration with fireworks, dragon kites, and a brand-new series of scavenger hunts that will run through mid-summer.

These scavenger hunts are very involved and time-intensive, involving a lot of criss-crossing Middle-earth on a nostalgia tour to end all nostalgia tours. While they’re mostly straight-forward, requiring players to travel to certain locations and perform certain actions, the sheer number of activities and scavenger hunt cards (30 cards in all) mean that there’s no shame in looking for some help.

Enter the Department of Strategery, a fan blog that has put together two well-done quest guides for the first six scavenger hunt cards (Year One and Year Two). The author not only outlines where to go for each but also provides a map of the world so that you can plan your tour in the most efficient manner possible. Cheers!

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The Survivalist: Massively OP’s guide to survival games, single-player and beyond

As Massively OP is centered on the “massively” part of gaming, it makes sense that my first guide to survival games was focused on multiplayer titles. Similarly, The Survivalist will mostly (but not always!) concern itself with the multiplayer games in the survival genre. However, after researching this topic, I felt that not highlighting the single-player offerings would be a serious disservice to the genre. There are occasions when you want to test your survival mettle without the interference of other players; sometimes you just want to live or die on your own merits and not at the hands of someone elses decisions. Besides that, some of these titles — like Subnautica — offer an awesome premise you can’t get elsewhere.

Ready to survive on your own? Here’s a a taste of a number of games you can dive into when you want to scratch that survival itch in private.

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The Survivalist: Massively OP’s guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya’ll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn’t as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I’m not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller — and oft times privately managed — scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we’re going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here’s a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Revelation Online’s guilds can give you a boost up

Let’s just put this right out there: You definitely are going to want to join a guild in Revelation Online unless you genuinely enjoy having fewer stats than everyone else in the game.

This is thanks to Revelation’s character cultivation system. Essentially, it allows guilds to build up a spot in their base so that all members can train up bonus skill points. Both guilds and individual players will need to pay into the system for those rewards using (among other things) fruit. Plumblossom Fruit to be exact.

And just in case you were wondering if you could join a guild, get the extra stats, and then take off with them… you can’t: “The caveat being that it is guild-centric passive, thus leaving a guild will disable the ability until you re-join a guild that has character cultivate unlocked. Until that point, you will retain your cultivation progress, but not be able to enjoy its effects outside of a guild, or within a guild that does not have the passive unlocked for its members.”

Revelation Online soft launched this week as a free-to-play title. Curious about it but too lazy to install? MOP’s MJ will be streaming it at 8:00 p.m.!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Getting to grips with Guild Wars 2’s Bastion of the Penitent

ArenaNet launched a new standalone raid tier, dubbed Bastion of the Penitent, alongside The Head of the Snake Living World chapter, but I’ve not had a moment to discuss it since the launch last month until now. I realise that raiding doesn’t have the broad appeal of the Living World content, and that affects how I prioritise coverage of new Guild Wars 2 developments, but I always come back to raiding content since I personally get so much enjoyment out of it. This raid wing has been no exception: The encounters start off at an achievable level of difficulty and ramp up to pose more of a challenge fairly quickly, and even the easier encounters have clever mechanics that keep things fun.

In the first part of my Bastion of the Penitent coverage for Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll talk you through the rough mechanics of each boss fight, ignoring for now the lore you’ll find locked behind the raid wing’s door until the next part and also refraining from giving very specific meta or group composition advice. I’ve decided to leave that for any requested in-depth boss encounter guides you require so that I don’t bore you with more raid coverage than you want to see! This edition is more of a what-to-expect rundown than a definitive guide to the encounters. As ever, let me know your thoughts on the raid in the comments and feel free to request detailed, phase-by-phase encounter breakdowns if a particular boss is giving you trouble. I haven’t yet attempted the bosses on challenge mode, but if you’d like me to do so and provide you with any successful strategies I employ, then I will – all in the name of gamer science!

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Elder Scrolls Online opens preorders for the official Morrowind guide book

Remember before the internet, when printed guide books were actually a thing and we would drop ridiculous sums of money on these tomes to help us get through our favorite video games? Well who knew: They’re still out there and even being made for MMORPGs.

Bethesda has started taking pre-orders for the official Prima guide to Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, which will certainly not be rendered obsolete by the day one patch. The guide will ship when the expansion goes live and will contain “leveling, crafting, and combat information gets players fully up to speed with this sprawling new expansion.”

In addition to getting the physical printed book, which you can immediately donate to museums to show future generations what printed guide books looked like, purchasers will also get an online “eGuide” that can be accessed via browser. The guide costs $25 to preorder or $40 if you want to go with the collector’s edition. Hey, you just might want to snag that last one, because this could well be the final Prima guide ever made!

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LOTRO Legendarium: A guide to starting fresh in Lord of the Rings Online

This past week, I received this letter from reader Thurro: “Your recent LOTRO resurgence has my interest, and from the sounds of you on the podcast I might not be the only one. Would you consider writing a beginners guide or even just a list of tips for getting started from scratch?”

Sure, why not? It’s still a little too early to tell, but we could be seeing a nice little LOTRO renaissance right now, and I bet that there are more than a few players who are checking the game out for the first time after reading the news and hearing recommendations from others. Considering that it’s a massive MMORPG with 10 years of content and expansions, I could see how it might be overwhelming during your first week.

A true guide would probably take so much longer than the space I have this week, so let me present a quick and dirty starting guide to the this wonderful MMO and then point you to LOTRO Wiki for any further questions (seriously, it’s a great resource!). Let’s get started!

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Take a primer on Revelation Online’s character paths

Hands up if you’re already in Revelation Online’s open beta early access! Anyone waiting until next week to try it out then? Are you reserving judgment until more reviews are in? In any case, why not go through a brief primer on one of the key ways you’ll grow your toon, with character paths.

The dev team said that this system is mandatory if you play: “Character paths are unavoidable for players that want to become the best and reach the very top of their rank. Not only do they provide additional stats, they also increase the amount of skill cultivation your character can learn — which is essential.”

Character progression paths begin at level 29 and involve six stages that go up through level 79. You’ll also have to accomplish missions, get a couple of travel skills, and meet other requirements to “break through” the paths and unlock these improved abilities. It sounds a little convoluted, but it’s probably one of those systems that makes sense once you see it in practice in the game itself.

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Hands-on: Digging deep into Crowfall’s pre-alpha crafting systems

Last weekend, Crowfall developer ArtCraft Entertainment held the last of its February playtest weekends, inviting the game’s Early Access backers to jump into the gameworld to play, test, and provide feedback on the game in its current state of development. As one of said Early Access backers (full disclosure there), I was among those invited to take part in the test, and having last played the game sometime early last year, I figured now would be a good time to pop in and see how the game’s coming along.

At present, the game build is a very early one that the devs have dubbed Pre-Alpha 2.0, so the features on display during the playtests are both limited and almost certain to undergo radical changes between now and Crowfall’s eventual launch. The game’s current, rather bare-bones incarnation includes the frameworks, in varying stages of completion and polish, for its basic gathering, crafting, and PvP combat features, though my playtime over the weekend was limited largely to the former two, with relatively little in the way of bloodshed. I don’t consider that to be altogether a bad thing, though; even this early implementation of Crowfall’s gathering and crafting systems is intricate enough that I reckon it deserves a column in and of itself, so let’s go ahead and dig in.

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World of Warcraft helps you get your pilot’s license for Legion

Remember how a while back Blizzard told fans that it was looking at eliminating flying from all World of Warcraft expansions going forward? Yeah, so that went down as one of the more bone-headed statements the studio ever said and then quickly reversed. It’s hard to ignore the irony that here we are, less than two years later, and the studio is now giving us tips on how we can gain flight clearance in Legion.

While players won’t be able to regain their ability to fly until Patch 7.2, they can complete one of the two necessary achievements for eventual takeoff. The achievement, Broken Isles Pathfinder Part 1, is made up of four sub-achievements, each which requires a significant amount of work (but fortunately, most of that work is covered naturally in the process of going through the expansion).

If you’re confused about what you need to do or where to go, check out this guide (or simply read the Wowhead guide instead, since that’s been out for a while now and Blizzard keeps linking to it anyway).

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Flameseeker Chronicles: A guide to Forsaken Thicket, Guild Wars 2’s first raid

I have to apologise to raiders for not finishing my boss guides I began back in 2015: This is one of those articles that I’ve been meaning to write for quite a while, but ArenaNet has been doing a fantastic job of throwing shiny distractions in my path that have some sense of urgency (or at least a topical timing factor I can’t ignore) to its deliverance. My Guild Wars 2 raiding experience so far has taken a backseat to Living World developments over the past few months, so rather than attempting to draw up more raid boss guides to round out the set I commenced before season 3 became my article content focus that would just regurgitate known information to most current raiders, I thought it would be a better idea to summarise the Forsaken Thicket experience and share my thoughts on its encounters to wrap up the first raid in writing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look at each wing of Forsaken Thicket and the encounters contained in them, presenting my opinions on the battles and providing a rated-and-hated sort of summary on the three wings in the process. I’ll link up the few boss guides I compiled where relevant, but the main focus will be on how the encounter plays rather than how best to approach it. This article should prove useful for those who haven’t yet completed Forsaken Thicket and are considering raiding in GW2 as well as those who raid in other MMORPGs and are interested in comparing Anet’s offerings to their raids of choice.

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Perfect Ten: Mobile MMOs coming in 2017

This past year, we couldn’t seem to go a week without bumping into news of some new mobile MMO or a tablet spin-off of some existing franchise. It seems as though the mobile market is still blowing up, and MMORPG developers are looking for a way to take advantage of the popularity and market penetration that these devices offer.

What does this mean? It means that in 2017, we have a whole lot of games heading our way. With any luck, some of them might unseat the low-quality half-breeds that seem to make up a bulk of the existing mobile MMO library and set a higher standard for fun and engagement.

Let’s take a look at about two dozen mobile MMOs we could be getting in 2017 — and which ones might be the new contenders for our undivided attention. Unless we mention otherwise, these titles will be coming out for both iOS and Android platforms.

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Massively OP’s MMO guide to the Steam Winter Sale

Do you have any money left after all of that holiday shopping, travel, and dining out? Steam would very much like to have what remains, if you please, and is willing to trade you some discounted games in return.

Yes, the annual Steam Winter Sale is up and running, which means all sorts of deals for the frugal MMORPG player. We’ve compiled a huge list of all of the deals — including discounts of up to 90% off! — to help you navigate the holiday promotion. The sale ends on January 2nd. Hope it helps!

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