We’re not even going to try to sort out the patches from the updates from the iterations from the campaigns and expansions and expanshalones. If it’s something going into an MMO that’s already out, it lands in this category! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
Given enough time, the most exciting moment in any video game will become mundane. If you were one of the earliest Guild Wars 2 players fighting the Shatterer, you probably have fond memories of the fight before everyone knew how to fight the dragon. Stand in the right spots, blind the dragon completely, rinse and repeat until done. Boring. So rather than letting the iconic fight remain stolid and boring, the team is introducing a new and improved Shatterer that will require more than just the same old strategies.
The Shatterer now has a Defiance bar to avoid the issue of constant blindness, while his crystals also need to be properly broken to stop healing the Shatterer. Safe zones are no longer fixed throughout the entire fight, and the Branded adds in the fight are more dangerous. The siege equipment around the dragon has become far more useful, however, and players will have roles to undertake if they glide into battle against the Shatterer. It’s enough to make the fight feel iconic and dangerous all over again.
We’ve looked back at 2015 for the launched games EverQuest and EverQuest II, the long-lasting beta of Landmark, and the MIA-and-presumed-dead (by some) EverQuest Next. Now it is time to look ahead at 2016. Instead of noting what we know, we get to speculate on what could be. What is on the horizon for this franchise? How will Norrath weather the next four seasons? Obviously a working crystal ball would be ideal right about now, but without one, we are left with trends, hopes, and outright wishful thinking. In 12 months we’ll see just how many of these were accurate predictions! Here’s what I see happening, what I want to happen, and what needs to happen in this next year for my favorite franchise.
Senior Producer Matthew “Denommenator” Denomme has the honor of penning TERA’s 2016 community address
this week. In the post, he tells players that “2015 was TERA’s most successful individual year” to date. “In fact,” he says, “TERA
had more unique active players in 2015 than in any previous year.”
“We’ll release our first major build of 2016 in early March. This build will increment us several versions ahead of our current version, bringing not only new content, but also several new EME-developed systems and initiatives. For content, this update features a hard mode for the recently released Forsaken Isle max-level dungeon, an upgrade to the Dreadspire challenge dungeon (dubbed “Dreadspire Season 2” by the developers), and the transformation of the Island of Dawn into a max-level hunting zone. En Masse Entertainment is also working internally on some development projects to be released alongside this update.”
The in-game store is “first up” on the to-do list; you can also expect a new VIP loyalty system. February will see the “romantic return” of Kyra’s Pop-Up Potion Shack.
But TERA forumgoers have responded to the dev post by downvoting it into oblivion. The anger centers on accusations of poor community management, game issues arising from the recent so-called “half patch” that introduced the Brawler, and the apparent delay of core game updates until March.
Good news, World of Warcraft tanks – you’ll be taking more damage in Legion! And that really could be the good news, depending upon how you look at a lengthy diatribe about the philosophy of tanking and healing in the next expansion. The designers note that there was a consistent issue in most content of tanks being almost completely self-sufficient in dungeons, with healers only needing to occasionally heal the tank and any damage needing to reach absurd levels to actually threaten the tank. This also meant that anything breaking away from the tank would usually kill a healer or DPS in one or two shots due to damage scaling.
The result is something of a paradigm overhaul, with tanks taking more damage and active mitigation being toned down while enemy damage is also toned down on a whole. So tanks will be taking more damage, but the end result will likely be an environment where healers have reason to heal more, tanks aren’t purely ironclad damage sponges, and everything undergoes a subtle paradigm shift until the next expansion shifts it again.
PWE’s Forsaken World
is due for another big update this month. Awakening, dubbed the game’s 16th expansion by PWE, launches on January 20th and carries on the story of the war against Storm Legion. It includes a level bump to 100, a new “elemental relics” system, and a new map called the Ever Abyss.
Lore? It’s got that too.
After launching a successful counterattack against the Storm Legion during Vengeance, Eyrda’s military forces push their way up the River Styx and encounter a magic seal that blocks their path. In order to continue their journey, they must help Ayrshi, the Rose Princess, who will grant them special light or dark awakening powers to break the seal. Adventurers must begin their quest at the source of the River Styx – the Ever Abyss.
Forsaken World’s new map, the Ever Abyss, allows players to explore the depths of the underworld, while battling fierce creatures and participating in exciting new quests. Completing these challenges may earn them an Elemental Relic, a shard of ancient light that once contained great power. These relics can be upgraded in a new gear slot to increase character attributes. When infused with a Relic Spirit, the evolved relic will make characters even more powerful. While traversing the darkness of the Ever Abyss, players can also earn rewards by teaming up with others to defeat three new bosses and participate in new gear instances.
We’ve included the new screenies below.
The player characters in Gloria Victis are not the only moving pieces in the game world. Even without players there, NPCs are still undertaking actions. The latest patch to the game’s alpha highlights this with NPC battles – foxes sneak off to pick up chickens, opposing factional mercenaries will charge one another, and bears do battle with beehives in one-sided combat. (The last one may be speculative.) Future patches will expand upon this functionality, with full-scale war between NPCs that players can either take part in or simply work around.
The patch is also adding in gathering nodes that become exhausted, forcing players to move on and find new sources of materials. Other quality-of-life improvements include a more straightforward character selection screen on logging in and improvements to the options window. It’s not a content-heavy patch, but it should provide players with plenty of new ways to interact with the existing world.
The second part of ELOA‘s first big expansion is dubbed “The Smash,” but it will be an exercise for readers how smashy the two new dungeons introduced really are. They could be extremely smashy, and one could theoretically be overseen by a character named “Smashtown Smasherson, Smash-Lord of Smashburg.” Probably not, though; there are three difficulties available for each dungeon, and it’s far more likely that Smasherson shows up in none of them.
Balance changes are also included in this patch, preventing the use of certain movement skills and rebalancing some elements of Mages and Snipers. There’s also a small contest running on the forums to see which players can clear the two new dungeons first, with the three winners receiving a special cosmetic outfit. So get ready, gear up, and smash your way through the dungeons until you get a screenshot at the end. Perhaps that’s what makes the expansion smashy?
Being a god in Skyforge doesn’t simply mean getting lots of power; it also means you need to face challenges and deal with greater risks over time. You need more power to ascend further, and that means entering more dangerous areas. Hence, a new area preview on the official site for the Hostile Territory known as Ontes Valley. It’s not a friendly place, even though it’s shrouded in the same sort of picturesque landscape that define the world as a whole.
The region’s tasks are focused around using powerful Resonators to gather additional enemy, with more powerful monsters found deeper into the valley and by more powerful Resonators. Each individual sub-zone also features a boss that players can take out to reach local objectives that much faster, assuming you reach the boss before anyone else in the zone manages it. It’s a challenging zone, but that means great rewards; being a deity isn’t easy, apparently.
Here’s what will be necessary to start gliding in central Tyria once it’s unlocked in Guild Wars 2: unlocking the start of the Mastery gliding line. That’s it. Yes, it’s no more complicated than gliding anywhere else. The biggest restriction that players will encounter is that a few areas have been designated as no-fly zones, chiefly to avoid people bypassing jumping puzzles unfairly. Other than that, glide away.
Instances and the like will still be off-limits for gliding, as the areas were not designed to be seen from the air. Similarly, it’s quite possible that players will be able to get to places that were not meant for gliding in the old world, but the maps haven’t been redesigned in any way with updrafts and the like. It really will just be gliding in the bulk of Tyria, just as advertised. (You may want to check out our most recent installment of Flameseeker Chronicles on this exact feature, among others.)
Wargaming has just announced that World of Tanks is all ready for its formal PlayStation 4 debut next week — January 19th, to be specific. “New and existing players subscribed to PlayStation Plus will get access to a very unique Premium vehicle: the exclusive German Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J-PS,” says the studio. You can pick it up in the PlayStation Plus section of the PlayStation Store and check out the relevant videos below.
Good news to those of you testing World of Warcraft‘s next expansion – the alpha for Legion will be coming back online today! No word on exactly when, but it’s a known fact:
You may remember that it was not so long ago that fans and testers were told that the return would mean a new build with new issues, benefits, downsides, and so forth. No word yet on what’s in the new build, but then, we only just found out that it’s coming back up today. Keep your eyes peeled for more information once those test servers are back online and running.
Guild Wars 2
Game Director Colin Johanson
dropped a massive amount of information about the direction development will take in the first quarter of 2016 and beyond in his Q1 state of the game update
yesterday. This is the second of this sort of update since the launch of Heart of Thorns
and it most definitely hasn’t disappointed in its scope and breadth of information. General comments on ArenaNet
‘s development rationale paired up with plenty of welcome Q1 improvements that will begin rolling out as soon as January 26th as well as more far-reaching outlines for the rest of 2016 that cover future expansion development, more fractals, a major overhaul of WvW, and the commencement of the Living World Season 3. With so much ground covered in one dev post, I thought it’d be helpful to summarise that information and add my thoughts for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
Update 13.1 has landed with an ominous thud in the middle of The Secret World’s Kaidan, and players can only shudder at what unholy visions they will see when the patcher gets to 100%.
The first small patch for Issue #13 adds some more content to the game in the form of four side missions in Tokyo: “Furious Road,” “Pieces of Jack,” “The Corpse and the Key,” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit Jung.” The patch also includes two rare bosses in the area and several bug fixes and balance tweaks.
The Secret World and its single-player spin-off The Park are both on sale this week on Steam.