expanshalone

Expanshalones are standalone expansions, expansions for which a base game is not required (but not because it’s been bundled with said base game). Classic Guild Wars is particularly well-known for this campaign-style update.

The Game Archaeologist: Guild Wars Utopia

Aztecs. Chronomancers. Mounts. Halberds. Golems. Dual wielding.

These are all but a hint of what a fourth Guild Wars campaign could have been, a campaign that was under development in the mid-2000s but was scrapped by 2007. Replacing it was the expansion Guild Wars: Eye of the North and the workings of a super-secret sequel to the game (which you’ve probably never heard of). It was the forgotten campaign, swept under a rug while it was still under the rug.

But what if, in some alternative timeline, ArenaNet had gone ahead with this campaign? What if it had become an established part of the Guild Wars legacy, as familiar to us today as Nightfall and Factions?

What if Guild Wars Utopia had lived?

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Perfect Ten: Awesome (and unique) MMORPG classes

Class-based systems are one of those holdovers from tabletop RPGs that work surprisingly well in MMOs. I basically put up with class systems in exactly one tabletop game simply because Dungeons & Dragons is likely to abandon classes around the same time that the Earth crashes into the sun and Fifth Edition is pretty good, and the debate over whether MMOs work better with classes and levels or freeform character development systems will still be raging even then.

Even though I’m wholly on board with classes, a surprising number of games wind up trotting out the same basic groups time and again. Here’s the warrior with a two-hander and a big weapon, here’s the caster flinging fireballs, there’s the stealthy guy with paired weapons who stabs things. A lot of those can be really fun to play, too. But my affection always goes toward the odd, the unusual, the classes that you can’t find in many games. Like these classes, basically.

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Tiptoeing through ArcheAge’s 2015

It has been quite a year for ArcheAge. As you look back over the past 12 months, you certainly can’t say 2015 was uneventful; from content to controversies, something was always happening with this sandpark title. Not a month went by that didn’t have some good, some bad, or even both! It was always a roller coaster ride!

The year started with a new man helming the operation: Marv Lee Kwai became producer. In his January Producer’s Letter he stressed that the devs were listening to the community. He also outlined issues that were being addressed while laying out a plan for the rest of the calendar year, saying  “a multitude of positive changes on the horizon.” One thing he promised was better communication, stating, “One of our top goals for the New Year is to be more transparent when we communicate with you. It is our intention to fix a lack of information or detail, starting now.”

How did that plan go? Let’s take stroll down memory lane and see.

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LOTRO’s 2016 roadmap

Everyone always wants to know what’s coming next for their favorite game. As Lord of the Rings Online players are nearing the cusp of Mordor itself, it’s understandable that there are many questions that are out there concerning the game’s future.

Enter the 2016 producer’s letter, with the team discussing the “major initiatives” that are planned for the new year. On the deck for the game is the move to the new datacenter (which was delayed from 2015), a level cap increase to 105, more instances, a 12-player raid, and the start of a collection system.

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Destiny is going to get way better with The Taken King

When Destiny’s The Taken King comes out on September 15th, it’s going to be adding so many features and making so many changes that it might make the game feel brand-new.

In a livestream yesterday Bungie revealed a couple of dozen of features that will be making their way into the expansion. Existing characters will get a new overall level based on their best gear, and Destiny will switch over to a traditional XP-based leveling system with a cap of 40. You will want to be level 25 to get into The Taken King content, although those who buy the expansion will get an item to bump a character to that level.

Among the new toys that players will get to play with is an improved bounty system, additional ghosts, a collection feature, purchasable faction gear, field test weapons, more vault space, more dances, and the ability to wield swords. Swords in space! Truly, we live in glorious times.

Source: Eurogamer

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One Shots: Impossible architecture

When you construct your buildings out of pixels and polygons, you don’t necessarily have to worry about what’s physically possible and what isn’t, just what looks interesting and believable. I always check out the structures that developers come up with because there are always artistic architectural details that often go unnoticed.

Reader Zepheera saw something special in this Dungeons and Dragons Online view: “I’ve always loved the way the enchanted pylons float under the harbor inn. It’s subtle magic; there’s practicality, though it’s more for effect and might escape someone’s notice the first time. It makes me think if I could really be a wizard, I might go into city planning.”

Wizard city planners. That’d be awesome.

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Working As Intended: Ten lessons I learned from classic Guild Wars

Guild Wars — the first Guild Wars — celebrates its 10th birthday this week alongside several of my characters who are equally old. I originally picked up Guild Wars as a diversion from World of Warcraft, and at the time, I liked everything about it but actually playing it. Pre-Searing felt like home; it was pastoral and lovely with a haunting score. But back in 2005, the game past the Searing was difficult to traverse in a small party, let alone solo, and the deeper into the game I got, the less I liked it. In fact, I didn’t Ascend in 2005. I gave up on the grueling PUGs right around the time I got to the Crystal Desert.

But I went back, and went back again, and eventually I fell in love. That’s just the first of Guild Wars’ many lessons. Here are 10 things I learned from Guild Wars — in honor of its 10 years of fun.

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ArcheAge releases the Dread Prophecies update

Ghost ships? An aggravated kraken? Just what in Sam Hill is going on in ArcheAge these days, anyway?

Well, the fantasy sandpark has released one of its biggest updates yet with The Dread Prophecies. The sea-focused patch adds plenty of ways to customize player ships while improving the nautical physics. These souped-up vessels will need to be at their best to tackle a new kraken encounter and fight off world boss ghost ships.

The Dread Prophecies doesn’t stop there, either. The devs have changed Freedich Isle to become a more intense PvP experience, added the Golden Ruins zone, introduced the Mistmerrow battleground, put in more housing in Diamond Shores, and tweaked the archeum and regrade systems. Patron players will also see increased offline labor regeneration as part of their subscription benefits.

On Reddit, usually a grumpy place for ArcheAge fans, the tone is remarkably pleased. Check out the patch’s release video below.

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Guild Wars recalls what a long, strange trip it’s been

As you might have already been aware, today is the original Guild Wars’ 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Community Manager Gaile Gray wrote up a post in which she walks down memory lane to talk about the formation of ArenaNet, the debut of Guild Wars Prophecies, and the game’s subsequent updates.

“I think it says a great deal about the company’s founding philosophy that — years before the release of their game — they were thinking not solely of development but were also thinking about how to communicate with their future players and fans,” Gray notes.

The article covers several quotes from current and former ArenaNet team members while noting some of the game’s important milestones. With 10 years of Guild Wars behind us, what are some of your favorite memories from the game?

[Source: Guild Wars 2]

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Learn about ship customization and more in today’s ArcheAge livestream

There’s lots going on in the world of ArcheAge this week, and most of it is summarized in a Trion website update focused on the upcoming Dread Prophecies update. For starters, there’s an event happening this weekend that grants bonus labor points. Next weekend will feature a trade pack turn-in contest with loyalty point rewards and various prizes for top finishers.

There’s also a livestream happening today that’s focusing on Dread Prophecies’ ship customization, obsidian gear, the new achievement system, and more.

[Source: Omen of Dread Prophecies; Trion livestream]

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Lost Continent: Looking ahead to ArcheAge’s Dread Prophecies patch

Did you miss the latest ArcheAge livestream featuring the Trion dev team? It was a biggun, and it contained quite a lot of information relative to the upcoming Dread Prophecies patch. Currently 1.7 part one is scheduled for the end of this month, though it may slip into early May given how much stuff is jammed into it.

Whether you’re looking for new zones, achievements, PvP objectives, or furniture items, the new patch probably has something interesting in it if you’re an ArcheAge fan.
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