Diablo III’s sixth season kicks off next week, but seasons aren’t coming to console

Diablo III’s sixth season is bearing down on us — are you prepared? The fun kicks off on Friday, April 29th, at 8 p.m. EDT. As promised at last year’s BlizzCon, seasons are expected to run three months, including this one, so you’ve got about 90 days to rush through the tiers and get your loot. Blizzard reminds players that getting your set gear will be a matter of completing individual chapter objectives — specifically, reaching Level 70, besting Izual at level 70 on Torment II or higher, and completing a level 20 Greater Rift solo.

The studio also addresses the potential for seasonal content on console:

“Some features on console are best designed for that platform, and the same is true for the PC version of the game. A large part of the fun of Seasons is the entire community rerolling heroes together at the same time. Because the offline and disconnected nature of console does not support this style of play, we do not currently have plans to implement Seasons on console.”

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Elite Dangerous works on experimental mods, traffic control, and better mission system

Never let it be said that Elite Dangerous isn’t an ambitious title. Right now, Frontier has projects going on to benefit three versions of the game: Elite 1.6, Horizons 2.1, and The Engineers 2.1.

In its 121st newsletter, Frontier talks about some of the improvements coming to the game in the near future. The studio started off by talking about the upgraded mission system, which will soon give players a face and personality to go with the NPC mission handlers. “As well as informing you of available missions and your progress, the individuals giving you the missions will tell you how your mission affects the system and your reputation and influence,” the studio said.

Missiles and torpedoes are getting a lot of work, traffic control should be a lot more chatty, and ice mining will soon become an in-game activity. One project that is being handled for The Engineers is an experimental modification system which will “improve and upgrade the stats on every module of your ship, and add rare, experimental effects to your weapons.”

Sounds good to us!

Source: Newsletter. Thanks to Cotic for the tip!

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Guild Wars 2 begins testing WvW world linking today

ArenaNet is kicking off the first stage of Guild Wars 2’s WvW World Linking beta tonight beginning at 10 p.m. EDT for North American servers; Europe’s began earlier this afternoon. The goal? To even out the populations in the mass-scale WvW battlegrounds.

“We used factors like the world’s current rank and population numbers to define pairings,” writes ArenaNet. “For NA we will be able to divide the total number of worlds in half, and give every world a partner. However, pairings for EU are a lot trickier, both because there is an odd number of total worlds, and because there is an odd number of specific language worlds. EU also has a greater number of well populated worlds, so it makes sense to link fewer worlds. The result is that a number of worlds in EU will not be linked.”

The studio says that as populations “drift” in the future, it may link more than two worlds together for WvW purposes.

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Gigantic hosts one last weekend stress test event

The Gigantic closed beta is closing soon, but not without one last big closed beta event. The team is looking for as many people as possible to log in and stress test the game’s server hardware on Saturday, April 23rd. Participants will have their names entered eternally upon a list that records the people who took part in the final stress test of Gigantic‘s servers, assuming that someone is in fact recording such a list eternally for some reason.

Stress testing will take place between 3:00 p.m. EDT and 5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, with two maps available for participants to storm across. If you want to give the current closed beta one last spin before the game enters another phase of testing, you know when to show up.

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The Stream Team: Looking for Landmark dungeons

With the beginnings of Landmark’s storyteller system in place, MassivelyOP’s MJ is on the prowl for some player-made dungeons to dive! She’s already had fun creeping through her neighbor’s crypt, but there’s so much more to be found. Will she bust up a ring of dark-elf wizards plotting to take over the island, or maybe storm a castle overrun with skeletons? And what new bosses will MJ stumble into? Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as she searches for some fun player-made content.

What: Landmark
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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EVE Fanfest 2016: EVE Valkyrie launching a carrier assault later this spring

The virtual reality EVE Valkyrie is striving to prove that it’s not just a passing fad. The starship dogfighting game announced that it’s prepping a free content update for late May or early June that will take players into a brand-new battle mode.

This update is themed around an assault on a giant carrier. Obviously, this is a pretty daunting challenge for smaller fighters and will take place over three stages. The first stage is a skirmish to take out the carrier’s shields, the second is an attack on and around the carrier itself, and the third will take pilots inside the carrier to destroy its core.

To keep players from getting bored due to long travel distances during the carrier assault, the devs are adding in a speed boost gate that will give fighters a temporary rush of extreme velocity.

We’ve got the carrier assault gameplay video after the jump!

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Perfect Ten: What I loved about Dungeons and Dragons Online

Dungeons and Dragons Online was a very strange game at first glance.

Ten years ago, I ventured into Stormreach with no more motivation than a longstanding desire to play D&D and an idle curiosity to see what an MMO version of this famous pen-and-paper RPG would be like. DDO was so very unlike World of Warcraft and its ilk that it took a large mental readjustment to get into the spirit of the game.

But adjust I did, and off and on I spent the next five years enjoying what this title had to offer. It was one of the first games that I helped to cover on Massively-that-was (yes, DDO had its own weekly column back in the day), and I looked forward to my weekly runs with a team of friends and colleagues. It’s bizarre to look back and realize that DDO is now a decade old and still gamely forging on, and in the spirit of this anniversary I wanted to offer up some of my favorite aspects of this unique title.

Without further ado, here are 10 things that I really loved about Dungeons and Dragons Online.

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Crowfall adjusts the performance of armor to improve diversity

Armor in Crowfall is about more than just stacking the biggest armor values and praying for rain; it’s meant as a tactical choice for every given player. Your character isn’t forced to wear plate or leather armor based on archetype; instead, you base that decision on what is giving you a better advantage for what you’re trying to do. While the initial pass of the game’s armor systems had some trouble, the developers have outlined a new set of restrictions and benefits that should make armor more meaningful as a player choice.

Most archetypes have had their damage buffed, but to compensate, heavier armor now actually decreases damage done when worn. The counterpoint, of course, is that heavier armor also provides better defense against most physical attacks (not necessarily magical ones). There’s also a new set of armor benefits in place for archetypes wearing gear of the same type in all slots. It’s doubtlessly not the final pass of the game’s armor system, but it should force a rethink of some of the existing assumptions for wearing a set.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: Industrial citadels and drilling platforms in EVE Online

EVE Online‘s Citadel expansion goes live in just a few days on April 27th, opening the floodgates on a new era of space colonisation for players. The new citadel structures will give players the ability to build their own fully dockable space stations anywhere in the EVE universe to be used as everything from storage depots and mining outposts to huge market hubs and colossal military staging outposts. It’s an exciting time for both players and CCP as it’s the first big expansion in over a year and no-one really knows what players will ultimately do with citadels.

This expansion is very much in keeping with EVE‘s core design philosophy of giving players versatile sandbox tools and then seeing what happens, and there is plenty more to follow after the initial release. At this year’s EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP has discussed plans to follow up on the first installment of Citadel with some epic additions stretching out for the rest of the year, adding huge industrial and factory citadels, resource-gathering drilling platforms, mining super-drones reverse engineered from rogue drone parts, and more. The NPC pirate factions of New Eden will begin building their own terrifying capital ships, and fleet warfare will see a change with a fleet boost rework.

Read on for a breakdown of what’s coming to EVE throughout 2016.

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Lord of the Rings Online celebrates nine years in Middle-earth

In the Lord of the Rings, it took Frodo and Sam less than a year to travel from the Shire to Mt. Doom. In Lord of the Rings Online, players have been on a journey to Mordor that’s already stretched to nine years — and that’s something to celebrate!

This month marks the ninth anniversary of LOTRO’s launch in 2007, and you know what that means: fireworks, and lots of them. The anniversary festival kicks off today and will run through May 8th, with several in-game events to refresh the spirits of road-weary travelers.

Turbine’s also prepared new gifts for the game’s birthday. All players will receive fireworks, while members will get a gift package dependent on how many years they’ve been in LOTRO. New this year is the nine-year bundle, which includes white tree fireworks, a palantir orb emote, a portrait frame, and some goodies for monster players.

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Vanilla WoW petition hits 200K signatures, invokes Mark Kern

Fans have now propelled the Nostalrius petition asking Blizzard to reconsider World of Warcraft vanilla servers to over 200,000 signatures, which means that former WoW team lead Mark Kern is following through on his promises by

1) Printing the petition. All 5000 pages of it.

2) Writing an open letter to [Blizzard CEO] Mike [Morhaime], and sharing it with the community.

3) Shooting a video of the open letter and uploading it to @SodaPoppinTv’s channel

4) E-mailing the whole thing to Mike on Friday and making the letter/video public on Friday as well.

5) Following up on Monday with a call to Mike on his cell and office.

Kern has been no stranger to notoriety in the MMO space since his departure from Blizzard. As founder and CEO of Red 5 Studios, he went on the record suggesting then-modern WoW was a stale formula and had made MMOs too easy. “Sometimes I look at WoW and think ‘what have we done?’ I think I know. I think we killed a genre,” he famously said in 2013. His own game, Firefall, was at one time a hopeful contender for transcending the “circle of suck,” but he himself was forcibly removed from the company following layoffs and the suspension of PvP in the game; former employees called out his behavior as CEO “erratic” and mocked his infamous e-sports bus project. He founded a new studio for a VR MMO in 2014.

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Overwatch posts McCree comic book, talks about its birth from Titan’s death

It’s going to be hard to escape Overwatch’s presence this spring as Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter revs up for release at the end of May. Part of the promotion for the superhero-themed game is coming in the form of digital comic books, the first of which you can read right now. This ten-page comic features the gunslinger McCree and an action sequence aboard (and on top of) a train.

For those more curious about the making of the game and its roots, Gamespot has posted the first part of a documentary about Overwatch’s creation. What’s interesting about it is that Blizzard talks candidly about its work on Titan and how that massive project ultimately failed — and led to the birth of Overwatch.

You can watch the 20-minute video after the break.

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The Daily Grind: Are we ever going to see a WoW-killer-killer?

On this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I tried to answer a question from a listener named Kenny, who proposed that we consider the idea of games other than World of Warcraft being used as a prop in the “WoW-Killer” paradigm.

“Do you think we’ll get to a point where a game other than WoW could take a majority of the playerbase away from another game, essentially ‘killing’ it?” he wondered. “Will Blade & Soul or Crowfall ever be called a Guild Wars 2-killer? Will Star Citizen someday be labeled The EVE-killer?”

What do you think? Are we ever going to see a WoW-killer-killer? What MMORPG has the best chance of being the next “x-killer” meme in the genre?

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