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Here’s everything you can expect from BlizzCon 2016 next week

Every year, BlizzCon arrives. And every year, Bree and I sit down and liveblog about the most pertinent event for our readers to follow along at home because we love you. We just don’t love you enough to put on pants and head to California. That’s expensive.

The part where we go to California, that is. Pants are not expensive. We both own at least one pair of pants. I own several, but I don’t want to presume to speak for Bree. [Do PJ pants count? -Bree]

Of course, all of this raises a rather important question: What can we expect from this year’s BlizzCon? Unlike last year, this year we don’t have a new World of Warcraft expansion coming down the pipe, and the game just received its first big post-launch patch. What new and exciting things will be revealed at BlizzCon? What should we keep our eyes on? What will have exciting new developments added into the comments as it happens? Why did we have to suffer through Metallica and Linkin Park in previous years when we could have had Weird Al all along? Read on for the answers to some of that as we look at what to expect from this year’s BlizzCon!

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EverQuesting: EverQuest II’s public quest event — fun or flop?

Last year when EverQuest II had a prelude event before the launch of its expansion, it was a two-parter. And thanks to logistics at the time, I ended up missing participating in the first half, a fact that bugged me all year. And still does honestly! I hate missing EQII events, especially one-off live events that will never return. So I was prepared and ready to go for this year’s pre-expansion event. I was excited to dive into these public quests that popped up over a variety of zones; I was going to fully participate this time around and not miss out on any of the things. Besides doing something that is new, you know it’s about collecting all the things! And I wanted All. The. Things.

It was fun… at the start. Sadly, after a short time the excitement ebbed away. Worse, it was replaced with disappointment. On the plus side it hasn’t morphed into apathy for me, and I haven’t written the entire event off yet. But many have. So what happened? This was meant to be a build up for Kunark Ascending. Was it a bad event, or was it just executed poorly? Did it perhaps just lack a special something to keep players invested and engaged? Or is it that players simply expect too much? What went wrong, and how can future events do better?

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Massively OP’s guide to MMO Halloween 2016

“Two things I did on Hallows Night: / Made my house April-clear / Left open wide my door / to the ghosts of the year.”  ~ “All Hollows Night” by Lizette Woodworth Reese

Is your door open to the ghosts and ghouls of MMORPGs this season? They are definitely shambling up your walkway, looking to tell you of the grim delights of the holiday in your favorite online games. Indeed, Halloween season is upon us, which means that MMOs have an excuse to break out their favorite yearly festivities.

With so much to look at and do, you might be in a terrible fright trying to figure out what to do first. We consulted our Massively OP gravedigger Bram (he’s on retainer), who offers surprisingly good advice for sorting out the Halloween season in MMOs and getting the most out of the holiday. We recorded his words in this guide, although beware to the soul that reads them all — Bram might be seeing you before the week is up. MUAHAHAHA.

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Massively OP’s guide to the best upcoming indie MMORPGs, part three

Over the last couple of weeks, we shared with you part one and part two of our guide to the best upcoming and current indie MMORPGs on the market. Naturally, there were always those titles that we overlooked or couldn’t fit into the space, so we are back with the third and final part of this guide to make sure that all of your favorite games got mentioned.

As a side note, we won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too much for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.

On with part three!

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Massively OP’s guide to the best upcoming indie MMORPGs, part two

Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs — yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we’re back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We’re not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.

On with part two!

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Massively OP’s guide to the best upcoming indie MMORPGs, part one

When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators’ moms don’t even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids’ names (after all, space is limited), but it’s nearly an impossible task. There’s just too much out there.

And lately I’ve noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into “state semi-regionals”). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it’s stressing us out.

Enhance your calm, citizen. Here’s the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It’s not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!

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What to do in World of Warcraft when you’re level 110

Let’s start with something simple and straightforward: When you hit level 110 in World of Warcraft: Legion, you aren’t done. At all. Even if you have no interest in raiding whatsoever, you have a ton of further stuff to do, plenty of content awaiting you, and a lot more going on than just sitting and waiting for dungeon queues. You’re arguably not even done leveling.

All of that is good information. But once you hit the level cap… what are you supposed to do? You’re suddenly barraged by several quests, all of which seem to have equal priority and none of which screams “do me first to advance storylines and be helpful!” You wind up just sort of staring blankly, aware that you’ve got a bunch of further stuff to do but unclear on how to prioritize it.

I don’t think I have the absolute answer for what to do, but I’ve done this before, and I have a pretty good idea. So why not take a metaphorical walk with me as we examine what you should be doing once you hit the big 110, roughly in order.

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EVE Evolved: Free-to-play PvP cruiser fitting guide

EVE Online‘s new free-to-play account option will be going live as part of an upcoming expansion this November, allowing new players to delve into the game and its community for free without the time limit of a standard free trial. Free players will be restricted to a subset of the game’s skills to limit the types of ships they can fly, and they should max out those skills within about four months. I imagine that most new players will take the alpha clone limitations as a challenge to work within, and many will attempt to collect enough ISK within those first months to begin buying PLEX and effectively subscribing for free.

I discussed the free account limitations and their implications for gameplay in my previous EVE Evolved column two weeks ago, which sparked off some interesting discussion on exactly how powerful free players would be. What kinds of ships will they be able to fly, and how will they fare against subscribers? Is there a useful place for hordes of new players in EVE, or will they just be cannon fodder for the wealthy and established elite? I’ve been investigating various alpha-clone-ready ship setups this week in an attempt to answer these important questions, and my conclusion is that free players may be a lot deadlier in PvP than many people think.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at four cheap but effective PvP ship setups that free players will be able to use.

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Chaos Theory: Tips for returning to The Secret World for Halloween

It’s almost that time of year — the best time of year! It’s the most wonderful time of the year in fact, especially in The Secret World. Halloween is coming! And if there was ever a time for folks to return to the game, this is it. The Samhain missions are arguably the most looked-forward to events, and every year Funcom tops itself with a mission that’s even more awesome than the year before. While you can do all the previous Halloween missions every year, they are all are only available for about a month between October and November. That gives you about one month to prepare yourself so that you don’t miss out on the experience of the year. Because if you do, you have to wait an entire 12 months for Samhain to return! And that wait is excruciating.

To help you with that, this is a guide to prepare you to make the most of the Halloween season in TSW. The slant here is toward returning players who’ve just been gone for a (possibly very long) time. There’s definitely stuff that has changed! If you’ve been gone for many years or you are brand-spanking new, you might want to also check out our series: six tips for new players part one and part two. To ensure you don’t miss out on the holiday, keep reading! Read more

EverQuesting: Five EverQuest II features you may have forgotten

Use it or lose it. I may have learned that little gem in relation to skills and talents, but it applies to the world of MMOs as well. And I am not just talking on a meta people-must-play-the-game-or-it-will-shut-down level; I’m referring to features you can totally forget exist in a game, especially a long-running one like EverQuest II.

Whether you haven’t logged into game for a long while or you’ve been playing regularly for years, there are certain features that get lost by the wayside. Many folks either don’t know about them or just plain don’t remember. I know it has happened to me more than once! EQII is so feature-rich, it’s understandable that a few can slip our minds. That’s exactly what happened with researching spell upgrades. Yet these features can really enrich our experience. So here’s a reminder of five fun features you may have forgotten (or perhaps never knew existed!).

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Chaos Theory: Is it possible to complete The Secret World’s Doomboard challenge? Maybe

When The Secret World’s devs teased the Doomboard, I was pretty excited. I was totally on board for getting that sweet ride even though I hadn’t ever actually done any challenges yet. I mean, who wouldn’t want a flaming hoverboard? All I needed to do to earn it for free was complete 70 total weekly and daily challenges on a single character before September 21st. The question is, could I actually accomplish this in the given time frame?

In a word: no. Or most likely not. Not me, anyway. For the first time, I really looked into what the challenges entailed, and I became disheartened. I can’t see how I can possibly manage it. I’m not alone, either; other folks have expressed sadness at the impossibility of it. It’s not that people don’t want a challenge to be a challenge, but this one seems aimed only at the most extreme hardcore players, and PvPers at that. Forget attempting it at all if you are newer to the game. And without graduated levels of rewards to help those who want to participate but aren’t at a level to reach the ultimate goal, it is really all or nothing. You could put in tons of effort and hours over the next month and still walk away with nothing. That is beyond a bummer.

Despite the disappointment, I am still plugging along doing whatever I can. (I have mentioned before how stubborn I can be in the face of a challenge, right?) Perhaps I will at least get close. Just maybe I will be able to squeak in a win. I’ve devised a few tips and tricks to help me check off a number of challenges, and they may help you, too. Here’s a breakdown of what all is involved and a look at some ways of getting it all done.

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Dive deeper into Path of Exile’s Atlas mechanics

Path of Exile’s next big expansion, Atlas of Worlds, launches next week. What is Atlas of Worlds? Producer Chris Wilson previously touched on the expansion’s new mechanics during our interview, but fans are always hungry for more details. Grinding Gear Games has obliged, offering up plenty of juicy details in a dev blog and a video detailing everything from the map drops to cumulative map quantity bonuses to shaper’s orbs and cartographer’s sextants to legacy maps. Read up or watch below for everything you need to know about the upcoming Atlas.

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EverQuesting: Researching for your free EverQuest II skill upgrades

Who doesn’t like free? Because I certainly do! And today is all about getting stuff for free in EverQuest II. Sadly, I don’t mean from the cash shop (although that would be cool). I am talking about skill upgrades and recipes that you don’t have to loot, barter for, or buy. No in-game coin or real life cash is involved in acquiring these.

Did you know you could upgrade skills for free? Not everyone does. I even have friends who didn’t know this feature existed for the longest time. And it doesn’t matter that I have played EQII for over decade — this tidbit continues to slip my mind as well! How do you get these skill upgrades? By researching them. Don’t worry, it’s actually the easiest thing ever: no actual study is involved. All you need is time, be it online or off, and a couple mouse clicks and you have stronger, better skills. Well, you need the memory to actually do it, of course.

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