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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s 12x XP leveling guide and Ziost’s finale

Happy Revenge of the Fifth! Because this column comes out on Tuesday, I’m a wee bit behind on wishing you a happy Star Wars day, but that said, some very important things happened yesterday. Not only was there exciting news in the Star Wars theatrical universe, but Star Wars: The Old Republic started its 12x XP and opened up the rest of Ziost.

I’d like to cover those two areas today. First, I want to give you a guide on how to prepare yourself properly for 12x XP so that you get the most out of it. Believe it or not, if you do 12x XP “wrong,” it can kill some of the fun. And I’d also like to talk about the second part of Ziost. If you saw my livestream yesterday, then you saw the spoiler, but I will try not to spoil anything that hasn’t already been spoiled by the Shadow of Revan expansion.

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An aircraft spotter’s guide to GTA Online, part one

I love airplanes. I love the Grand Theft Auto series. A big reason I love the Grand Theft Auto series is its airplanes, and more specifically, the way they’re basically comic book analogues of real-world craft. GTA has always been more of an arcade game than a sim, at least when it comes to control inputs, but developer Rockstar has nonetheless done a bang-up job with what I like to call pseudo-realism.

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EverQuesting: A guide to EverQuest II’s dungeons

It’s no secret that EverQuest II has a plethora of quests. The moniker surely fits: There are so many quests that it’s impossible to do everything in a zone before out-leveling it. But you could just as well call it EverDungeon! Unlike many games that have a dungeon or two per zone or level range, EQII has an abundance of them; a player of literally any level has a selection to choose from when preparing to go for a dive. There are many different types to cater to different whims, be it open public dungeons, instanced group dungeons, raids, mini zones, and even two-man solo instances. There are even small instances within other dungeons! Now top it all with the ability to mentor or chronomentor (which opens up all the dungeons you’ve already leveled past) and the repurposing of lower-level dungeons to level 95+ Fabled Dungeons and there’s a seemingly endless supply of them to do.

With so many, how do you know where to go? If you are looking for a certain type, level, or just want to make sure you don’t miss a single one, this guide is for you — it lists out the available dungeons to help you decide where you want your next trip to be.
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Tamriel Infinium: The 18 words an Elder Scrolls Online newbie needs to know

One of my favorite things about the storytelling in Elder Scrolls Online is that the quest-givers don’t fill their dialogue with exposition regarding Tamriel lore. For instance, NPCs will throw around terms like Ayleid and Dwemer as if you are just supposed to know what that means. That’s not to say they don’t share a lot of expository dialogue; it just usually contains the information that you need in your quest, not the story behind the story.

I thought it fitting to give you a list of terms and names that you will run into while playing the Elder Scrolls Online that you need to know, especially if you’re a novice to the franchise. I’ve run into most of these myself, and I reluctantly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant. For instance, what’s the difference between Tamriel, Nirn, and Mundus? The Prophet seemed to use these terms interchangeably in his dialogue, but they certainly mean different things, and he’s not using them arbitrarily.

So this week, I’m going to do something different from what I usually do. I’m going to make a lexicon of sorts. I have 18 terms that I think you should know going into ESO in order to understand the deeper meaning behind some of the quests that you will be running.

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Chaos Theory: Six more tips for new Secret World players

You didn’t seriously think that six tips could come close to encapsulating the knowledge needed to start in The Secret World, did you? Of course not — that’s why we have 12 tips in total! Last time I gave a hodgepodge of helpful hints that ranged from skills to socializing to saving money. This week’s list, however, zeroes in on a single topic: how to get the most out of your missions.

Since some aspects of questing in TSW are slightly different from what MMO players are used to, it can cause confusion. And while some confusion while puzzling out clues is expected, unintentional overdoses are harmful to the game’s long-term health. So if you’re a new player, avoid what you can by utilizing these easy bits of advice.

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Chaos Theory: Six tips for new Secret World players

Now that Blingzilla is no longer roaming the lands tempting everyone with goodies galore (or turning movement into a stroll through a mire of molasses), players can get back to the business of experiencing all that The Secret World has to offer. And with the recent tweaks and enhancements, not to mention the incredible sales, there are definitely more folks getting in on the conspiracy-laden action. For those who absolutely love the game, it’s awesome to see so many new faces wandering the streets of Solomon Island. We know that these new players are definitely in for a real treat — if they can stick with it!

Even knowing that TSW is unlike the other MMOs out there doesn’t insulate newbies from how jarring it can be when playing for the first time; the sheer unfamiliarity of it all can leave folks floundering and feed frustration. That’s where players throw in the towel, thereby missing out on all that is great about the game. No one wants that! So here are the first six of my 12 total tips — ranging from hints to help shift the way you think about this MMO to practical tricks during gameplay — to ease your transition to becoming a TSW player and maximize the beginner experience.
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Perfect Ten: 10 MMOs that let you turn real money into MMO money

Two days ago, World of Warcraft launched the WoW Token service, which will kill the game forever. It thus joins the list of every expansion and change to the game since launch as a herald of certain doom.

Joking aside, it’s understandable that players would be a wee bit apprehensive, since this is a bold new direction for the game. Sure, people have always traded real money for in-game currency, but before it was usually under the table, shady, and generally the sort of thing that resulted in bans and accounts being stolen. Now it’s totally legitimate. Plop your credit card on the table and get some game money.

But while it’s new territory for World of Warcraft, it’s not new territory for MMOs. There are a lot of titles that have, in various ways, codified the idea that you can drop some real coin and pick up virtual coins. To the great surprise of no one, none of these games has erupted in flames as a result of it.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online sucked me in with werewolves

A couple of weeks ago in Massively Overthinking, we talked about making a game sticky without vertical progression. Although the question was a bit loaded because it kind of assumed that a game couldn’t be sticky without vertical progression, I talked about storytelling ideals, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s storytelling and Neverwinter‘s Foundry. However, one element that I think is extremely interesting for those who like gameplay, not just storytelling, is character growth. Usually, character growth is accomplished through skill points. But what if you could combine storyline with a compelling skill tree. To my surprise, Elder Scrolls Online did just that… with werewolves.

Remember how I told you that I was roped back to the game by the Justice system? How I literally spent hours just trawling the cities in the Daggerfall Covenant stealing from everyone that I saw? The same thing happened when I experienced lycanthropy, or werewolf-ism, in The Elder Scrolls Online. Again, I spent hours upon hours doing things to level up my werewolf skills without even touching my regular skills or questlines, not because I felt that it would make me better at some endgame thing but because it was just fun.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s Steps of Faith

It happened, just as expected. A day after I posted a lengthy column discussing Final Fantasy XIV‘s last big pre-expansion patch, that patch dropped, and wouldn’t you know it, nearly every single thing that I predicted turned out to be largely wrong, mostly because of carefully constructed misdirection, which is a trick I respect immensely. It made for a more and less surprising finale, that’s for sure, even as someone who was doing the whole thing on the day that the content game out.

Yes, all of it, on the same day. I was just that tedious.

Obviously, there are several people here who have not gotten through the story just yet, due in no small part to the trial before the conclusion. Since it’s been less than a week, I want to minimize or wholly avoid spoilers in this piece, so I won’t be discussing the details of the story (I’ve got an entire spoiler-heavy podcast to do that), but I will be discussing the Steps of Faith. And even if you don’t like being told the mechanics of something beforehand… well, you should read it anyway.

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Massively OP’s MMO April Fools’ Day roundup

It’s April 1st, and in the MMO space that means that studios morph into merry tricksters and devious liars. But how will you keep track of all the goings-on today? With this article, of course!

We’ll be endeavoring to collect and link to all of the fun and wacky April Fools’ Day pranks that are going on in MMOs and on studios’ websites. If you know of one that’s not on the list, send us a tip or leave a comment below, as we’ll be updating this post all day.

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Three Elder Scrolls Online mods you shouldn’t play without

If you have not jumped into Elder Scrolls Online yet, you should really give it a shot. With its latest update and B2P transition, it’s finally feeling like Skyrim or another Elder Scrolls game — just online.

Of course, I can’t say that ESO is perfect; there are a few things missing. And at times, you can tell that this game was made by a staff that doesn’t necessarily specialize in creating an MMORPG. Fortunately, ESO allows for mods. And while you won’t need to replace character models as you likely did for past Elder Scrolls games, this UI doesn’t exactly cater to MMO players. And so crafty players have designed UI mods to help with everything from item sorting to roleplay. I use a lot of mods myself, but there are three specific sets of mods that I don’t think I could play without — and neither should you.

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Hyperspace Beacon: What you need to know about SWTOR’s Outfit Designer

Update 3.2 for Star Wars: The Old Republic is, in a lot of ways, my update. From the beginning of the game, I wanted to visit the planet Ziost. My favorite Star Wars comic book of all time is the Tales of the Jedi series. The part of the series appears to revolve around Gav and Jori Daragon, but the truth is that Tales of the Jedi is about the old Sith Empire. The wintery world of Ziost was the capital planet of the old Sith Empire. I’ve always wanted to know what happened to that world during the time of The Old Republic, but the writers have been rather silent about it.

As many of you are aware, I’m a big roleplayer in all the MMOs that I play. I like to immerse myself into the world, the lore, and the community of each MMO. That’s probably one of the reasons that I can play only one or two MMOs at the same time. Unfortunately, SWTOR has never been particularly roleplay friendly. It’s always seemed that we roleplayers RP in spite of the mechanics of the game. And now, for the first time in the history of the game, we have been given a tool that is completely designed for roleplayers: the Outfit Designer.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Five off-the-beaten path locales you must visit

Lord of the Rings Online is a big, big game that has grown over the years to encompass a wide swath of Middle-earth. One of the first things any fan of the franchise does when getting into the game is see whether the devs have put in the places and details straight from the books or the movies. More often than not, they have.

Today I took a trip through my screenshot folder to jog my memories about places in this game that aren’t heavily visited but are pretty neat to see even so. There are several spots where nary a quest leads you there, but exist to reward the explorer and the dedicated lore-finder. Here are five of them!

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