endgame

EverQuesting: EverQuest II’s Proving Grounds prove to be a tad frustrating

Prove it.

EverQuest II recently introduced a new feature with the release of GU103 back on May 10th called the Proving Grounds. That place is no joke. I can assure you that it is pretty aptly named; this little instance is all about showing you and your group what you are made of.

When this feature was first announced, I was pretty excited. Who doesn’t like new content, especially something with replayability? It sounded fun. Initially I had thought (hoped?) that the new Proving Grounds content would be a feature enjoyable by the majority of the population. What I learned — quite quickly — was that my hopes and reality were two very different things. And I learned that the hard way. Hard as in double-digit-death-counter hard. Instead of sinking my teeth into this content, it sunk its teeth into me! Now that’s not necessarily a problem. I enjoy a challenge, and I do so look forward to conquering this one and exacting some revenge. However, I just wish my first experiences with the Proving Grounds didn’t come with more disappointment and frustration than fun because I do think it’s a good idea filled with promise. Read more

LOTRO Legendarium: Bingo Boffin’s unexpected journey

In addition to playing a lot of fantasy and sci-fi MMORPGs, I’m an avid reader of novels in the same genres. I never quite get tired of heroes growing into their own and then going on a journey of discovery and salvation over the course of one or more books.

It’s natural for me to compare the journeys I read in novels to the ones I experience in MMOs, and in some ways, online RPGs have forgotten or overlooked some of the elements that make the fantasy journey so gripping. Our characters start out already grown, already powerful, already killing machines that will save the world numerous times over. Our grand quest is usually nothing more than seeking even more power, gear, and experience points. Due to this, the whole process of progressing through a game is streamlined into a well-honed but somewhat soulless loop.

But what if a game took the time to reexamine the journey outside of the pressure to provide an optimal leveling and narrative path to the next world boss that needs extermination? What if there was a mission chain that took the inconsequential and made it essential, that was structured in such a way to more resemble books than eroded gameplay design?

Enter Bingo Boffin, the unlikeliest hero of them all, and his unique journey across Middle-earth with you in tow.

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Perfect Ten: The perfect MMO cosmetic system

Whenever I hear about or get into a new MMO, one of the very first things I’ll be asking is if the game has a cosmetic outfit system and how involved it is. Wardrobes used to be a rarity in the genre, although as time went on these systems thankfully became more prevalent.

So yes, I’m a grown adult man and I’m totally into playing dollies with my video game characters. C’mon, it’s a pretty fun thing to do. You get to stand out from the clones around you and express your own personality through fashion that costs you, if not nothing, then far less than you’d buy at the mall.

But not every cosmetic system is created alike. When I was thinking about the best systems found in MMORPGs, I realized that many of them had drawbacks and advantages that differentiated them from other games. So what makes for the “perfect” MMO cosmetic system? I have a few ideas. Several ideas. OK, 10 ideas.

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ArcheAge’s June 7 Erenor Eternal expansion has something for every playstyle

A fresh expansion is on the way for ArcheAge, Trion announced this afternoon. It’s called Erenor Eternal, and you’ll be downloading it in all its 3.5 glory on June 7th.

The expansion seems to deserve the label, as it’ll add three new ocean-themed zones – Whaleswell Strait, Aegis Island, and Whalesong Harbor – with their concomitant quests and leveling hubs, plus a new housing province and a revamp for the game’s trading system.

Endgame achiever and crafter types can expect to grind their way up the new Ancestral skillset, work through a newly RNG-free equipment crafting advancement system, and push through the overhailed regrade mechanics.

And there’s something for the PvPers too: a pair of open-world battlegrounds. “Possessing a unique PvE focus, players will hold off waves of enemies with not just their skills, but mines and heavy artillery as well,” Trion says. “Upon completion of either tower, players will be rewarded with Honor and materials used to craft the new Erenor-tier equipment.”

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Global Chat: Is Ashes of Creation worth backing?

With all of the hullabaloo going on concerning Ashes of Creation and its Kickstarter campaign, a few bloggers are asking themselves whether or not this is an MMO worth backing, especially if they’ve been burned before by grand promises and poor execution.

“All of this adds up to an enticing package and ought to spark the embers of hope that maybe there will be something new under the sun when it comes to the fantasy MMORPG genre,” The Ancient Gaming Noob wrote. “So why am I not excited about this? Why isn’t this helping me shake off the MMO malaise?”

“I’m not on the hype train by a long shot. Not that I see anything particularly wrong with the game, it’s just way, way too early to even think about commenting on it,” Endgame Viable said.

“Am I going to pony up? Mmmm. Maybe,” mulls Inventory Full. “I’m still thinking about it, although, after reading the Kickstarter page, I’m actually less interested in the game than I was.”

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Erectus stiffens up its competition with the launch of its endgame

While everyone would like to be the great shaft at the heart of progress in Erectus the Game, the stiff backbone around which all other play revolves, only one person can truly be the Erectus King. This is the endgame, and it’s just been thrust into the spotlight with the game’s most recent update, when the Erectus King NPC begins his ritual and surrounds the land with erupting volcanoes. This phase of the endgame takes two weeks, and players must wrestle the king down before his explosive ritual can reach its climax.

Assuming the king is defeated, players will then have to hold and control the king for a time while other players try to get their own hands on the surging lord. Success, of course, means that a new king has risen, so players will have to work hard to achieve a satisfying conclusion. Remember, it doesn’t matter how strong your empire is if you can’t successfully maintain a bid for the Erectus King.

Source: Maata Games press release

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Skyforge’s Risen Exiles brings the Monk, Witch, and Necro to PlayStation 4 today

Skyforge has pushed its Risen Exiles update over to the game’s PS4 version today. If you’re a PC player thinking that you’ve never heard of the Risen Exiles expansion, that’s because it seems to be a mish-mash of patches you already have.

“Unlock and experience the deadly power of the Necromancer, balanced strength of the Monk, and dark spells of the Witch. Players can rise from exile today by downloading the free expansion for the PlayStation store and take on new endgame challenges in the Tacid Dunes, mastering the new dungeons alone or with their friends. Also, all competitive immortals are invited to ready themselves for deadly conflicts with the addition of new 10 player versus 10 player battlegrounds.”

The class bundle will be on sale in the PS store later today, and there’s a free bundle in there too with Patriot Formal Armor, one thousand argents, and 3 days of Premium, so you may as well grab that.

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Shroud of the Avatar works on endgame storyline

Will Shroud of the Avatar finish fleshing out its main storyline in time for this summer’s official release? It might be a photo finish, as the team is currently working on the endgame storyline that all players will encounter.

“Now that all three paths (Truth, Love, and Courage) are playable we have begun work on the Finale part of the plot, aka The Path of the Oracle,” the team said in this past weekend’s newsletter. “One of the crucial scenes of that path is the Oracle Colossus. This is of course the famous depiction of the Oracle from the concept painting by Stephen Daniele inspired by passages from The Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman.”

It behooves us to remind you that Shroud of the Avatar is currently testing its free trial program through the end of May, which means that anyone can check out the game and see if it is to their liking until May 31st.

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TERA pushes Velik’s Fate live, highlights the challenges of Demokron Factory

Velik’s Fate is live in TERA today, with tier 12 gear and the opening of four rebalanced dungeons (and the closing of a whole bunch more).

“The update is named after a pair of new dungeons featuring an attack on the goddess Velik in her own home. In Velik’s Hold, the players learn of the threat to Velik, and in Velik’s Sanctuary, the players do battle with that threat…with not only Velik’s fate—but the fate of the entire world—at stake.”

It might be hard to believe TERA has been around for five years now, but it’s the truth. As part of the game’s anniversary celebration, it’s showing off all of the dungeons in the game, and that means that the developers want you to descend into the most monster-infested pits of the land for appropriate challenge. First on the list: Demokron Factory, offering improved rewards for players until May 15th.

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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The Daily Grind: Do you think useful MMO tools get misused by the community?

DPS meters, in theory, are a really great tool for players who want to push the envelope in content. That is, however, just in theory. World of Warcraft has made them more or less ubiquitous bragging mechanisms. Heck, even if they could be useful, they lack a lot of useful data; simply knowing that someone is doing lower DPS doesn’t necessarily provide a lot of information as to why. And since they’ve become almost constant bragging tools, most people who aren’t interested in that side of gameplay react negatively to meters no matter how important the meters might be.

Of course, it’s hardly the only example of a useful tool becoming less useful via implementation. Players can turn lots of things into ego manipulation. Do you think useful MMO tools get misused by the community? Does it seem that good tools wind up being used either for unintended purposes or find their useful elements get sidelined? Or do you think it’s more a matter of emerging uses that are equally as valid as the intended use?

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Final Fantasy XIV offers its first glimpse of the dungeons in Stormblood

There will be a lot of dungeons to explore in Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. That’s not a spoiler, that’s a fact of life, just like there have been a lot of dungeons to explore in the game so far. The latest blog post teases players with a brief glimpse at some of these new dungeons while carefully avoiding showing us any of the new abilities or talking too much about what players can expect from the mechanical changes coming with the expansion.

The dungeons we see are largely centered in Othard, with one appearing to be an outdoor dungeon in the Azim Steppes. One, however, appears to be an octagonal arena in some sort of Garlean facility, which seems like something to be found around Ala Mhigo. It’s all speculation right now, although it’s possible that players will need to match a bit more positional challenge in the expansion, since the game appears to be adding a fourth waymark in Stormblood.

Source: NA Blog, JP Blog

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