In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.
Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).
Next week, EverQuest II is opening up Fallen Gate, a new “time-locked expansion server” that’s going to function a little bit differently than other progression servers have in the game’s history. Essentially, it’s going to unlock new expansions every 12 weeks and allow players to complete heritage quests to earn rewards for all of their characters across all of the game’s servers.
If you’re curious about the finer details of this new server and are weighing your decision whether to roll a character or not, you’re probably going to want to read the FAQ that the team put out yesterday that clears things up.
The team did mention that combat encounters are going to be a bit tougher on this server. “While items drops are not the same as they were in the early days of EverQuest II, both items and encounter power have been adjusted to approximate the play experience of launch. So while items have more stats, such as DPS, potency, or critical bonus, the encounters have been tuned to expect those stats, so the fight balance should be relatively the same.”
It’s time for a new expansion in Final Fantasy XIV, and that means for me that a lot of people are going to not know how to get through content. Heck, I don’t know how to get through all of the content; it’s new to me too. I’m still figuring it out, and while there are a few people who are progressing even faster than I am and know how to clear everything, they are in the decided minority. I mean, the expansion, counting early access, has only been out for five freaking days.
So that means I get to enjoy the old standby of offering advice when clearing group content. And some people are… let’s be polite and say that they’re better at it than others. An entire guide about how to give advice which will actually have a positive impact is a bit beyond the scope of this article, of course, but we can at least look at the advice that never, ever works. Or if it does, it is entirely by coincidence, not design.
Phoenix Labs’ not-Monster Hunter monster-hunting game Dauntless is obviously standing in a big shadow after E3 2017. I wasn’t yet fully aware of what Monster Hunter World was doing, but I’ve seen solid games lose to their larger rivals who are slower to innovate in the past. Capcom, while constantly disappointing Mega Man fans, is generally quite good with its co-op hunting series. RaiderZ, a Perfect World published not-MH game that also tackled the monster hunter genre, made minor changes to the formula and came as an actual MMO but still shut down. Though the Phoenix Labs guys weren’t aware of RaiderZ‘s failure, they seemed barely fazed by Capcom’s announcement, and maybe they’re right. Surprisingly, they’ve innovated a few things Capcom itself is doing while also adding a few things Capcom isn’t.
This may account for some of the game’s server issues over the past few days; countermeasures are still being worked on. The game has also had a minor patch to address other technical issues and bugs, so players should have a better Stormblood experience waiting once they log on if the DDoS attacks don’t make it unplayable. (And if they get through the queues, but that’s just to be expected.)
Blizzard has just announced that the BlizzCon-announced Rise of the Necromancer pack is launching for Diablo III on all platforms next week on June 27th. It’ll run $14.99 on both PC and console, a bit cheaper than some folks were anticipating.
“From the crypts deep beneath Blizzard Entertainment today came a dark invocation proclaiming that the Rise of the Necromancer™ pack, which summons the much-anticipated necromancer class into Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, will be unleashed June 27 – available to those in the living realm digitally in-game on PC or through the online Blizzard Shop, PlayStation Store, and Xbox One Store.”
As previously leaked by the ESRB, the game package includes an in-game pet, cosmetic wings, two extra character slots, two new stash tabs on PC only, plus the Necro portrait, banner, sigil, and accent, and pennant.
And also as leaked by the ESRB, console players can grab a base-game-plus-expansion bundle Blizz is calling the Diablo III: Eternal Collection “at a special introductory price of $39.99.”
There have basically been two attitudes throughout the past weekend with Final Fantasy XIV’s early access to Stormblood. Here, we’ll run it like a Tumblr meme; tag yourself appropriately in the comments:
- “Wow, all of this stuff is really cool!”
- “A system error occurred during event movement.”
I spent Friday and Saturday stuck in the latter, but Sunday I moved on the the former. But I can’t really talk about this early access period without talking about the server errors, what may have been causing them, and what should be considered when discussing them.
Because, make no mistake, this was not a fun weekend to be trying to play FFXIV much of the time. It was often dizzying in its frustration, and it was made all the worse because there’s always a communication gap with the game despite the best efforts of the staff. This in and of itself is something I really should write a column about, but that’s not today’s column.
Funcom Lead Designer Oscar Lopez Lacalle and Community Manager Jens Erik Vaaler helmed an E3 recap livestream for Conan Exiles on Friday, and if you missed it, it’s worth a quick look now that the E3 hype is dying down. During the convention, Funcom announced big moves for Conan, including a date for its Xbox One launch (August 16th), a planned Xbox One X launch (sometime after November 7th, we gather), and a big freebie expansion for the game, which doesn’t have a name just yet but will go live alongside the Xbone preview release.
In the meantime, however, the devs showed off new tree modeling, climbing — including monkeybar animations — and the exploration system previously teased. As the two wander around the game, players see an old-school type of “you have discovered” pop-up indicating the point of interest they’ve just bumbled into. “There’s a lot of spots in the world which are significant because they have good vistas or because they are places of power or places where there are camps of foes or capital cities or many different interesting locations to find,” Lacalle says. Turns out you get “generous” experience for exploring too, and it’s based on how many spots you’ve discovered in total — explore a lot, and you get more XP per spot. “It is a pretty significant source of XP if you’re into exploration.”
Regarding the congested worlds and long queues, Square Enix explained that it has to function this way: “The following worlds have consistently had the number of players logging in reach maximum capacity, with queues of 1,000 to 5,000 players waiting to log in during peak hours. When the number of characters logged into a world has reached its limit, a player can only login when another player has logged out, in order to avoid worlds crashing.”
The team is working on ways to increase the population limit of worlds and urges players to consider transferring to lower-pop servers. In the meantime, the current crush of players is being blamed for the game’s congestion and server crashes in connection with instanced content and the duty finder (which has caused a severe bottleneck in one part of the main scenario questline that requires players to jump into an instance).
I ask for “camp” from all of you — and camp is what I got, although not necessarily what I envisioned. Sometimes it’s better than that! So what did Rees Racer immediately go to when I requested pictures of summer camp?
“There’s no pretending TERA is an open-world sandbox,” he said. “It is straight-up themepark. This means there are plenty of towns (large and small) along with various and sundry other quest hubs cleverly disguised as camps. I’m having good fun leveling the newest Valkyrie class, and here she is during a brief respite at the Desert Research Station in Val Aureum.”
May I float the suggestion that saddling a lion and pulling on its mane while shouting “GIDDYUP!” only has one logical and unfortunate conclusion?
You see, ever since Siege of Mirkwood came out with LOTRO’s second expansion, I’ve always been quite partial to this odd little zone in Middle-earth. Perhaps this makes me the odd man out among the community; I rarely see anyone speak highly of Mirkwood (or, these days, speak of it at all). It seems like it’s forgotten, this strange cul-de-sac of the game world that only exists to be a stopping point on the epic story before players have to turn around and go back the way they came.
Yet as I was running all over the place trying to secure first AND second breakfastses for Bingo Boffin, I was reminded of how much I love this zone. I’d even say that Mirkwood is in my top five zones of the game as a whole (alongside The Shire, Forochel, West Rohan, and North Ithilien). It’s time this forgotten land got some recognition, so here goes.
Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has been doing his best to keep players updated, but at this point getting past this early instance is largely a matter of clicking for entry repeatedly and hoping to not get the now-dreaded error message stating that the instanced battle could not be started. It’s not exactly surprising that the game would have some issues with early access, but players are left unable to progress beyond the first two areas of the expansion without some appreciable luck (and the instance servers aren’t at their most stable even for other purposes). The issue is being addressed, so keep your eyes peeled for updates when the logjam is finally broken.