endgame

NetEase soft-launches WoW-like mobile MMORPG Crusaders of Light today

Soft-launching today on both the iOS and Android markets is a new mobile MMORPG from Netease dubbed Crusaders of Light. It was originally released as Land of Glory overseas last month (and was tremendously popular in China), but it’s gotten a name-change and a spruce-up for the western market. You’ll notice immediately that it seems to have an awful lot in common with vanilla World of Warcraft, from its stylized graphics to its 40-man PvE raiding endgame. It boasts 25×25 battlegrounds, small-scale ranked arenas, guild ladders, mounts, and loot out the wazoo too.

As I write this, it’s not yet up for download publicly on either platform for me in the US; it looks to be trickling out to Oceania first today, then Europe, Russia, Brazil, and North America in time for the official launch this summer. You can preregister on the official site, and yes it’s free-to-play with plenty of stuff to buy on the side.

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs?

There’s an interesting discussion which pops up on the Final Fantasy XIV Reddit from time to time regarding the differences between American and Japanese players. For this topic, the most pertinent discussion is one of strategy. The American community, as a whole, prefers to have static groups of players who will often undertake risky but fast strategies; if the strategy works, it’s a quick and solid clear, but as soon as someone screws up it’s all down the tubes. By contrast, the Japanese community prefers strategies which are safer and more reliable, giving everyone more leeway… and possibly resulting in a slow clear when you get the group together.

Obviously, this applies to other games. From World of Warcraft to Black Desert, you always have the option of playing it safe or going big. Pulling one enemy at a time to farm for drops means you’re unlikely to ever get overwhelmed, which can certainly happen if you pull half a dozen… but if you succeed, that half a dozen can probable be minced faster than pulling them one by one. So what about you, dear readers? Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs? Are you happier with a sure-fire win, or would you rather risk losing in exchange for a big victory?

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Video: Everything you need to know about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s 5.2 War for Iokath, live today

After a week-long delay, Star Wars: The Old Republic launches its first major patch to the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion as Update 5.2: The War For Iokath today. The update continues your story directly where Eternal Throne left off and reintroduces classic companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorne.

Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke at length and answered a few of our most pressing questions about the update — everything from Quinn and Galactic Command ranks to raiding dynamics and win trading. Boyd doesn’t shy away from addressing any of them. Watch our interview with him in the video below to get caught up on everything coming in the update — plus check out the update’s official trailer!

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Neverwinter’s Shroud of Souls endgame quest comes with a new companion

Endgamers are getting lots of love in Neverwinter’s Shroud of Souls campaign. That’s the takeaway from today’s PWE dev blog, which covers the new “featured quest” en route for endgame players, underpinning the storyline of the content.

“The quest begins with the appearance of a strange shadowy tower in the skies above the skies of the River District of Neverwinter,” the dev blog says, setting the stage. “Wraiths now creep around the back alleys and shadows, draining the life of anyone unfortunate enough to wander nearby.”

Rewards for the quest include “a unique chest piece draped in the dark essence of a powerful necromancer that lets the weak survive when their foes do not” as well as a Netherese Arcanist companion.

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Massively Overthinking: MMOs, from hardcore to casual and back again

Massively OP reader Suikoden wrote this great question to the podcast — too good to let just Justin and me answer it. It’s a two-parter!

“Back when I used to be a hardcore MMO gamer circa 2000-2010, I felt that MMOs of that era were designed more toward the hardcore gamer and even catered to us more. Within the last 5 years, I’ve had to develop into more of a casual player. However, I now feel that games once again cater to me and my current playstyle. Did the MMO genre evolve alongside me, from a more hardcore-centric genre to a more casual playerbase? Or is it the same as it always was and I just feel that it caters to me because it’s designed to feel like it caters to all playstyles? And if there was a change, do you feel it is for the better or for the worse for the genre?”

I posted Suikoden’s questions to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking!

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Carbine cracks down on WildStar Primal Matrix exploiters

Let this post serve as another reminder that cheating is bad, and if the game is too hard or time-consuming for you to win at, the solution is to get good or walk away, not cheat your way to victory with sub-Tonya Harding levels of guile, as my dear colleague Eliot put it.

Apparently, Carbine has cracked down on WildStar players who took advantage of a pair of economy exploits that essentially let them zip through the Primal Matrix alternate advancement system introduced to the game earlier this year. Both permanent bans and suspensions have been reported.

While forumgoers are concerned that Carbine has banned too many endgame guilds and players for the game to remain healthy, Reddit is, shall we say, completely unsympathetic to the plight of the banned and is singing them right on off stage, though of course the thread is full of people claiming they’re innocent and were wrongly banned. A few folks who’ve copped to the exploit basically say they were sick of grinding and cheated to get it over with, knowingly taking on the risk of getting caught.

WildStar.

Source: Official forums, Reddit. Thanks, Mike!

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Final Fantasy XI’s April update arrives with a new Ark Angel ally

It’s been a very long time since the Ark Angels have been a going concern in Final Fantasy XI, but they were most definitely antagonists when they showed up. Not the tragically misunderstood sort of antagonist, either; these were just straight-up enemies you had to fight. So it’s a little on the nose that the game’s most recent update adds the Ark Angel MR to your lineup of summoned Alter Egos to accompany you into battle. Then again, considering that particular Ark Angel represented envy, perhaps you just wanted it enough.

The version update also adds new Records of Eminence, new enemies and mechanics for Ambuscade, and improved display for Escutcheon crafting. In other words, it’s a usual monthly update for the game that gives players just a little more to do until the next monthly update. So go ahead, hop in, and start walking around with your literal avatar of envy. You know you want to.

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Global Chat: The fallout over Secret World Legends

The fallout over The Secret World’s reboot into Secret World Legends has spread far and wide over the MMO blogging community, with many expressing dismay while others signal intrigue.

“This is bad in pretty much every way that it possibly could be,” laments Superior Realities, while Through Wolfy’s Eyes said that the reboot “seems like a solution that isn’t doing a great job of communicating its intent too well, which makes me feel a tiny bit worried.” GamingSF doesn’t know if he has it in him to repeat all of the content, saying that it is “too big of an ask at the moment.” And Inventory Full calls the move “an act of desperation” on the part of the studio.

“I am also really hoping that stripped of MMO shackles that this title can truly excel,” I Has PC notes on the other hand, and Endgame Viable comments that Legends “sounds like a good thing.”

We’ve got more MMO blogger essays to share with you this week, including a requiem for Club Penguin, a judgment on SWTOR’s galactic command, and a summation of the average LOTRO player.

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Perfect Ten: More terminology the MMORPG genre needs

Many moons ago (so, a few months), I wrote a column about terminology that we need for the MMO genre. This made our Editor-in-Chief Bree extremely happy, and she informed me immediately that we would be going back to that well because it was such fertile ground for future exploration. Thus, for the past several weeks, every single time I write a Perfect Ten, she wonders if this is the one wherein I’m finally going to deliver more terminology.

The answer, this week, is yes. Partly because these are pretty easy to come up with, and partly because we have so many things we see over and over without specific names. It’s just a matter of giving these things words.

Here, then, are another ten bits of terminology we may immediately begin working into our lexicon. I’m happy to see that some of these are already becoming used, so that’s a good thing; now we’ve got a need for more. Place them in your appropriate forum signature immediately.

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Skyforge prompts players to investigate the Emerald Stream

There’s a new outbreak of a heretofore unknown species of Phytonides in Skyforge, which is… not normal, but it’s well within the usual wheelhouse of things that the game’s deities have to deal with. (When you have this many gods running around, you wind up stopping just shy of cat-up-in-tree services being handled by said gods.) But then there are a whole lot of precious meteor stones from the eponymous Emerald Stream event going missing from homes across the planet. Why is all of this taking place? Are these events connected? What can be done? Why not take part in the event to find out?

If the promise of learning the mysterious connection isn’t enough to entice you, perhaps you’ll be enticed by the prospect of getting to ride your very own treant mount wherever you go. You can just tell people you’re an exceptionally good gardener when they ask where you got it. The event runs until April 12th at 4:00 a.m. EDT, so you’ll have plenty of time to earn rewards, decipher the mystery, get yourself a new mount, and eventually get kind of tired of plants.

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Stardust adds an amusement park inside Revelation Online

If you weren’t sure before that Revelation Online’s open beta is really a soft launch, does the fact that the game is getting a massive new update convince you?

It’s called Stardust, which is adorable, and in fact I thought it might be an early April Fools’ Day joke based on the pics alone until I read the text. It’s not a joke, but it is for fun!

“This update includes the new Guild vs. Guild map Starshatter Island, the long-awaited Faerie’s Funland map, localization refinements and various gameplay enhancements. Revelation’s new Funland is an amusement park that offers leisure activities and is the magical place where players can become part of a living board game in which the tiles represent various games within the game. Roll the dice, complete the minigames and challenges and walk away with the latest rewards!”

FFXIV’s Golden Saucer, anyone? My.com is dubbing the new content as endgame content and saying it’s coming “soon.” Check out the trailer below!

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World of Warcraft implements undocumented item level scaling in patch 7.2

The reward scaling in World of Warcraft has always been pretty straightforward. At the start of the expansion, everything at max level is a pretty close match for you; by the end of the expansion, all of that work you put into acquiring better items pays off because every enemy lies dead at your feet. It’s how things work. Sure, there are a larger number of things at your level in Legion due to scaling, but the way gear works remains constant. After all, if you made enemies scale with gear, you’d have no reason to actually get better gear, so you would… oh, wait, they actually did that with patch 7.2. Huh.

Yes, this is something players noticed, and according to Ion Hazzikostas on the forums it is completely intentional. The developer rationale is that it allows for creatures to scale more organically to various gear levels so that open-world enemies never became trivial or easy for players. The intent is for enemies to scale up slower than gear level (so gear still feels like a reward) but still scale with your power in terms of items.

So, get excited about the next set of world events! They promise to reward you with gear that makes everything else around you stronger as well, making the effort put into acquiring that gear a complete waste of time.

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Final Fantasy XI previews its April version update

The monthly update cadence of Final Fantasy XI is continuing into April, but this time around the game is actually moving backwards a little bit. Just a little bit, though; it’s bringing back one of the more popular Ambuscade foes for players to face once more, complete with new rewards available. If you couldn’t get enough of fighting the Gigas, you’ll have another opportunity.

Players can also see another old foe with a long history of being fought as another Ark Angel joins the list of Trust companions, this time the Ark Angel MR. There’s also new log messages in the chat window for crafting gains to facilitate the Escutcheon line, new Records of Eminence objectives, and a few other quality of life features. Just because some of the monthly update content is glancing backwards doesn’t mean the game as a whole isn’t moving forward just the same.

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