Shroud of the Avatar player band records musical performance

Do you enjoy blundering around in your online worlds, encased in darkness with no torch? Good news for you: The latest Shroud of the Avatar newsletter introduces a former palace overrun by kobolds, Holt Fortress, and it’s dark. I mean it. I had to boost the lighting on this picture just to see it!

Portalarium also included a video montage of the game’s scenery from a player named Myrcello and a video of a seven-player musical troupe performing onstage — “the performers included: Margaritte (lute), Leostorm (drum), Arkah EMPstrike (harp), Minerva (piano), Kazyn PhoenixFyre, Jack Knyfe and Kal Tasker (flute)). Check ’em out below.

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The Secret World kicks off 12 days of deals

Do you love The Secret World and have some disposable income to toss in its direction? Then Funcom’s 12 Days of Deals could be the temptation you need to go broke! Starting today, TSW will put one “top-selling” item in the store on sale (excluding issues and sidestories). Today’s deal, for example, is… 40% off mystery boxes. OK, maybe tomorrow’s deal will be better. Hang in there.

The Secret World also provided a preview of its new gift-giving system that will be coming with Issue #13. Through this system, friends can send each other items from the store purchased with Funcom points. Not everything in the store will be available as a potential gift at the start; for example, clothing isn’t on the table for the initial release of this system.

Source: Giving and you, 12 days of deals. Thanks to Crow for the tip!


Guild Wars 2 plans post-Heart of Thorns balance changes

On the Guild Wars 2 official forums today, ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray has outlined a number of balance changes heading to the game, once again shifting the meta and generating salt from the usual suspects.

[O]ur strategy for adjusting the meta-game in Guild Wars 2 after the release of Heart of Thorns focuses on releasing balance updates on a set cycle – each and every quarter. We began this cadence with the release of HoT in October which undoubtedly changed the way that the game is played across all game modes. In the weeks following the launch of HoT we made a number of tweaks to elite specializations as we began to notice trends that did not align with our design goals. Today we stand about a month and a half since Heart of Thorns was released, and once again we feel it is necessary to make some adjustments for the overall health of the game. This week we will be making a few changes to address some emergent gameplay that has cropped up across multiple game modes.

In particular, expect tweaks (read: nerfs) to Runes of Durability, Mesmers’ Echo of Memory, Meditation interaction in Temple of the Silent Storm, and Revenant skills including Demonic Defiance, Radiant Revival, and Coalescence of Ruin.

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Crowfall aims siege warfare at February

If you’re enjoying the current round of testing for Crowfall, we have both good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that it’s coming to an end on December 18th, and further bad news is that the next major round of testing is slated for February, which means that it’ll be a while before bigger testing rolls out. The good news, on the other hand, is that there will be a handful of snap tests in January once the team gets the new client controller ready for prime time, which was unfortunately never quite ready for this round of testing.

The even better news? February’s testing will not just be more hunger dome testing but will move on to the siege perilous, testing the destruction and capture mechanics of the game. It’s still going to be session-based conflict, but it’s going to be much larger and much closer to what players will actually aim for in large-scale battles. You can wait a couple of months for that, can’t you? Sure you can.


World of Warcraft: Legion tosses in more celeb cameos

World of Warcraft is no stranger to hobnobbing with real-world celebrities, from hiring them for commercials to putting them into the game as not-so-secret digital cameos. Players in Legion’s alpha have spotted two such celeb alter-egos so far: UFC’s Ronda Rousey and actress Mila Kunis.

The Monk class hall is home to both Rousey (as a human Monk) and Kunis. Kunis’ character is currently a garrison follower, so this move keeps her amid the current content. Both celebrities are gamers and vocal enthusiasts of World of Warcraft. So if you’ve had a desire to be immortalized as a WoW character, it seems that the formula is: become famous and talk about WoW a lot in interviews. Easy peasy!

You can see the two in a video after the break.

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Wisdom of Nym: Looking back at Final Fantasy XIV’s 2015

I realize that this is arguably a little early. We’ve still got a couple of weeks left in 2015, after all, and patch 3.15 is going to be dropping later this week so that we all have new stuff to undertake for weapons. But you know, I feel confident evaluating Final Fantasy XIV now. I feel as if it’s in a state wherein there’s more to see, but not more that needs to be seen for a report card, so to speak.

Everyone who plays the game (and even several people who do not) knew at the start of the year that this would be a big year. It was the game’s first expansion, it involved the wrap-up of the previous storylines, and it was up against several other big high-profile launches. So how did the game do for its second full year of post-relaunch operation? Assuming you’ve forgotten all of the columns I wrote about how it was doing along the way, I mean.

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Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: MMO Trend of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO trend of 2015.

Last year, we chose sandbox and social gameplay as the awardee in this category. This year, all trends were back on the table. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Trend of 2015 is…

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SWTOR lets former subscribers play first chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire for free

As many of you know, to get in on Star Wars: The Old Republic’s recent expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire, you at least have to subscribe for a month to unlock the first batch of chapters. However, there is another Skywalk… um, way to check it out: BioWare is now offering former subscribers a sneak peek into the expansion with a limited-time trial.

From now through January 4th, 2016, former SWTOR subscribers can log in and play the first chapter of the expansion (The Hunt) for free. This offer does require players to opt in to BioWare’s emails, but on the up side, it also includes the ability to create a level 60 character to keep.

Source: SWTOR. Thanks to I-Spy for the tip!


Trion compensates Devilian players for lost progress on the Seadrift server

There’s nothing quite like logging in over the weekend to play some Devilian, logging out after a little while, and then logging back in… to find all of your progress completely gone. A server restart on Saturday, December 12th resulted in several players on the Seadrift server losing progress with characters rolled back to an earlier state, with no way to directly recover the experience earned, items gained, or quests completed.

Players were promptly informed that the community team was aware of the issue and would be granting compensation to affected players. Since then, regular updates have been given to the community regarding the compensation status. All affected players should have received level-appropriate gear tokens as well as replacements for any marketplace items consumed during the period. Players have also received free Enigma Boxes, Enigma Keys, and Archgemstones based on character level. It’s not good to lose progress, but the community team seems to be working overtime to ensure that players feel compensated for the loss.


The Daily Grind: Which MMO studio maintains the best community presence?

Last week, when the Massively staff was debating internally which MMO company deserved our best MMO studio of 2015 award, I argued that overseas studios like Square-Enix have a much easier time impressing playerbases here in the West than home-grown studios. Square in particular has the benefit of being literally far away, delaying update info for the English-speaking audience, skimping on press releases, and occasionally sending a much-beloved Naoki Yoshida out onstage to make people fall in love with Final Fantasy again (it works, too). But Blizzard, ArenaNet, Daybreak, Trion? They’re expected to man a dozen different forms of forums and social media, show up on Twitch, and coddle Reddit day in and day out, and so even their minor screw-ups are utterly public.

I’m not saying Square has never screwed up (hi, Final Fantasy XIV 2010) or that it doesn’t deserve the award (it does, particularly for its classy handling of Final Fantasy XI’s maintenance mode), but there are a lot of other great studios out there that work their communities too. So which MMO studio maintains the best community presence?

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MMO Week in Review: Star Citizen’s ambitions (December 13, 2015)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Star Citizen dazzled gamers this weekend with its new alpha 2.0 version. It also crossed the $100,000,000 crowdfunding threshold, setting off a fresh wave of awe and drama. And don’t forget Trion’s MMOARPG Devilian, which looks to be the last major MMO launch of the year.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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EVE Evolved: Operation Frostline patch and event guide

Practically every MMO does some kind of event for the holidays, but how do you bring the holiday cheer to a dystopian sci-fi universe set in the far-future of a warring galaxy? EVE Online usually just gives us gifts and snowball launchers, but this year CCP Games has gone all-out with its new Operation Frostline holiday event that ties in with the game’s core storyline and offers a whole series of prizes to be found. Players have reported finding lots of avatar clothing, Quafe Ultra speed-boosters, ship skins, and synth boosters as loot. If you’re lucky, you can also find limited run copies of the new Endurance tech 2 ice mining frigate, valuable impants, and even PLEX or multiple character training certificates. The patch also adds a heap of new stuff to the game, including new battle damage and thruster graphics and new logistics frigates.

The Operation Frostline sites themselves can be easily completed by a new player in a cruiser and spawn throughout the game, even in highsec and wormhole space. The storyline surrounding the site’s appearance all over EVE revolves around the ongoing arms race between the various pirate factions in EVE Online. Over the past year we’ve seen covert research labs belonging to several major pirate factions being uncovered, each one introducing some new piece of tech into the game and kicking off a mini gold rush. This time it’s the Serpentis pirate faction that has been caught with its pants down, as Mordu’s Legion has begun revealing the locations of their secret research facilities across the universe.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the lore behind the Operation Frostline sites, give some tips on completing them, and highlight some other major changes that landed with this week’s patch.

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The MOP Up: GTA Online makes every bullet count (December 13, 2015)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week GTA Online players got to play a new ammo-limited mode, two Lineage games were announced for mobile, Eternal Crusade streamers made fun of their own mistakes, Hearthstone talked about basic cards, and more!

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