expansions

Hearthstone alters its e-sports plan for 2018 while continuing to get more expensive

People who enjoy playing or watching competitive Hearthstone will probably be excited about the recently announced changes to the game’s competitive play circuit. The game is significantly upping the prizes for playing in official competitive events as well as instituting a point-based “Masters” program to keep solid players in the tournament circuit. If you’ve been around the competitive card game block before, the structure is more than a little reminiscent of some other card game that seems to have done all right for itself over the years. And it means more matches and more incentive for players to take part, which is all good.

Of course, if you’re not into the competitive scene but still really enjoy playing it, you may be feeling a bit more of a pinch for the game; the title is still free-to-play, but it’s also getting more expensive year-over-year as the title moves away from single-player adventures toward more card sets. Of course, that’s also the price of getting every card rather than just the cards you want… but then, you can’t really control which cards you get from randomized packs, can you? But you can choose which cards you craft as you open more packs. So it balances in several directions.

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EVE Evolved: Calling time on EVE Online’s five-year vision

When Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren walked onto the stage at EVE Fanfest 2013 and delivered her long-term vision for the future of EVE Online, the excitement in the room was palpable. EVE was riding its highest peak concurrent player numbers in the game’s history following the overhauls of the Crucible, Inferno, and Retribution expansions, and players were ready for a new blockbuster feature to fire their imaginations. CCP delivered its ambitious five year vision to hand the reins of EVE‘s living universe over to its players, with player-built stargates and deep space exploration in completely uncharted star systems.

We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on Final Fantasy XIV’s future job from the past of the series

Speculating is fun, as I’ve opined in the past. We’re a while away from the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion, obviously, but one of the interesting things about the game as it stands is that we have already nearly exhausted the usual suspects for likely future jobs. Seriously, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I keep databases about these things; most of the jobs that show up in multiple games with job systems or the equivalent have already showed up by now or have fundamental structural issues with FFXIV.

So, for this bit of future speculation, I want to start by talking about the jobs that I imagine are still on the table from the past. I’m leaving out the ones that are almost certainly off the table, either for reasons that I’ve discussed before or because they don’t really work with job mechanics as they stand (don’t hold out hope on getting Onion Knight). From the remaining jobs we could turn to, which ones have some odds of showing up?

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will have no personal boats, no big class overhauls, and no lockboxes

It’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to be upset about the idea of no lockboxes in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Sure, Blizzard makes use of them in several other games, but at this point there are no plans to bring them into Azeroth, according to a new interview. (Whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen.) Of course, the same interview that confirms that also confirms that we will not be getting our own personal boats, so it’s sort of good news, bad news.

Other interviews have indicated that the team wants to bring forward Mission Table-style content, so that doesn’t mean we won’t have anything similar; it just means it won’t be a boat.

Last but not least, there’s another “no” on the list that will either make you happy or sad depending on how you feel about the Legion mechanics for classes. While every class and spec will be adjusted and altered moving into the next expansion, there will be no major overhauls on par with the Legion shift, certainly nothing like the large-scale rework of Survival Hunters. Exactly how things will be balanced remains to be seen, but this is good news if you like your current spec’s playstyle. If you don’t… well, it’ll be adjusted, not wildly changed.

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WoW Factor: Understanding World of Warcraft’s upcoming Heart of Azeroth system

The release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is going to bring with it a lot of core system changes. This is neither surprising nor unwelcome. We’ve also been warned for ages that we won’t be carrying Artifacts forward, and at this year’s BlizzCon we got our first glimpse at the system that will ultimately replace that system in terms of gameplay, the Heart of Azeroth.

I usually find what works pretty well as a quick litmus test for systems like this is to see how fast we all “get” the system in the newsroom. If some of us are confused as to how the system is supposed to work, it’s not being explained all that well. And I can’t tell you that the Heart of Azeroth has been particularly well-explained so far; it’s a straightforward and positive change to the game, but we’ve had better-explained systems. So let’s take a look at how things are meant to work, based on what we know now.

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BlizzCon 2017: World of Warcraft what’s next panel liveblog

So let’s be honest with you, folks: We are writing this before we actually know what happened in the BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony. We know that in all likelihood, this panel is going to be all about World of Warcraft: Expansion Titles Go After The Colon, but we don’t actually know what title goes after that colon. All we know is that it’s probably not National Lampoon’s Vacation.

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SWTOR celebrates KOTOR’s Xbox One launch with cash-shop outfits and free expansions

It’s been a while since the classic RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic first launched, but Xbox One players are just getting to jump in on October 24th. Of course, odds are high that anyone playing Star Wars: The Old Republic is already familiar with that game… but have you played the sequel expansion where you go and beat the snot out of Revan a few hundred years later?

Look, it makes sense in context. You can find out yourself by taking part in the MMORPG’s new promotion, which is giving away the first two expansions (Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan) and a KOTOR-inspired speeder for all players. So there’s something fun even if you already have the expansions.

BioWare is also opening direct sales for SWTOR stuff inspired by KOTOR, including Darth Malak’s outfit, the Revan’s Heir title, an Ebon Hawk model for your personal stronghold, and a pack of multiple armors. So why not celebrate a new group of people playing an old game by dressing up like the characters?

Source: Expansion giveaway, Cartel sales; thanks to Cardboard for the tip!

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New datamining points to potential World of Warcraft subraces for the next expansion

First of all, a disclaimer for those who need it: Using datamining to figure out what’s going to be in the game in the future can be a mug’s game anyhow, and doubly so in World of Warcraft. Datamining can point the way to future content, but it can also point to Azshara Crater. Still, the prospect of four new sub-races in the game’s files may well mean that players can try these races out… or it may mean that Wowhead’s datamining just found a new way the game is organizing data.

Still, the possibility of having four new subraces is enticing, isn’t it? The four options found are Nightborne and Highmountain Tauren for the Horde, and Void Elves and Lightforged Draenei for the Alliance. They all make a certain amount of sense, but their inclusion is far from certain; these might be racial files stored differently or even just an abortive effort. We’ll know more once BlizzCon rolls around and we find out about that next expansion.

Source: Wowhead

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World of Warcraft (briefly) shows off the 8.0 expansion in testing

Can we officially declare the next World of Warcraft expansion announced yet? Technically, no. But the game’s beta version testing very briefly turned to 8.0 yesterday, as screenshotted by a quick-moving Reddit user. For those of you unfamiliar with the game’s version numbers, each expansion winds up being another tick up of the main number, and thus Legion is currently 7.3. So seeing 8.0 on the beta test servers means the next expansion is likely already in the early test stages.

This all pans out to line up nicely with the planned expansion announcement at BlizzCon next month and a release in about a year (although whether or not there will be more patches for the current expansion through that year is more ambiguous). As for what the expansion will be about… well, there are tons of rumors and leaks already, but we’re going to go ahead and bet that it’s all about herding animals. Sure, it’s almost certainly wrong, but imagine how cool it would be if that’s correct.

Source: Reddit via MMORPG

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Yes, you can still use artifact appearances in future World of Warcraft expansions

The bankers in Stormwind have seen some stuff, man. You can just see them chilling on their lunch breaks talking about how the Ashbringer used to be whispered in legends, but now banks are just clogged with Ashbringers. That’s the way the World of Warcraft turns, though, and the good news is that you won’t have to stop looking like you’re swinging around Ashbringer or any other artifact weapon once the next expansion rolls around. Yes, you can transmog that slightly better green weapon to look like a mythical artifact, why not?

Of course, the flip side is whether or not you can even obtain the appearance, and the answer to that is also an affirmative… with two caveats. If you’re hoping to obtain the Mythic keystone appearance or the Mage Tower appearances, unlock those before the next expansion comes out; those will be going away once you can make the challenge trivial. If you’re hoping to just have the normal artifact appearance, though? Don’t fret, it’ll still be there with the next expansion, and on through the next one beyond that.

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World of Warcraft confirms a next expansion reveal at BlizzCon in new video

Let’s be fair, World of Warcraft’s recap of 2017 doesn’t outright say that the game’s next expansion will be revealed at BlizzCon. But if you don’t want to take a trip down memory lane, that’s the big takeaway from the very end of the video, that this year’s convention will discuss where the game can possibly go after facing off against the Burning Legion. So you can expect an expansion reveal.

Of course, if you would like to take a trip down memory lane, that’s what the whole video is all about. So go ahead and take a trip back from the opening of the Nighthold to the most recent patch depositing players on Argus and everything in-between, narrated by Ion Hazzikostas discussing each major milestone and what it meant for the game as a whole. And, obviously, keep your eyes peeled for that reveal next month.

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The Daily Grind: What would an old MMO have to do to win you back?

Something odd hit me recently. As I was sitting and planning my MMO play schedules, I realized that whatever announcements about expansions we get from World of Warcraft, I’m really not sure if I’ll go back. I only went back for Legion for very specific reasons after Warlords of Draenor really failed to impress, and looking at it now… boy, I don’t know what the developers could do to win me over.

Well, no, that’s not true; I know exactly what they could do. A full housing system in multiple locations, better character customization, no level cap bump, continued artifact weapons, reintroducing more esoteric systems… I’ve got a whole list. So the problem is less that I don’t know what could win me back and more that I don’t expect it will actually happen.

This is not, in and of itself, unique. I think we’ve all got a game or two on our lists that we still have fond memories of, but we’re not going to play it again unless something happens which, let’s face it, isn’t going to happen. So do share, dear readers. What would an old MMO have to do to win you back, and are you pretty certain that’s never going to happen?

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Here’s what’s changed since you last played Guild Wars 2, including Path of Fire’s spec changes

Hey, there’s a Guild Wars 2 expansion coming: Path of Fire. Maybe you’re coming back for that. Maybe you left the game only a few months back, or maybe you played the game at launch and then left a long time ago. Why not take advantage of a huge chart to catch up on all the features that have changed since the last time you logged in?

Redditor KyrgyzManas lays out everything that’s been added to the game along the way and everything you might have missed along the path, color coded and blocked by year. Some things, of course, you just can’t catch up on, but at least this way you’ll have some idea of what you missed and what you can still see in action. Even if you’ve played straight, there’s bound to be something you forgot and can re-appreciate given the format.

Meanwhile, if you last played Guild Wars 2 during the Path of Fire preview weekends, you’ll have some catching up to do too. That’s because ArenaNet posted notes for some balancing changes to all of the new specs right ahead of the launch tomorrow, sending Reddit into a bit of an uproar, particularly Necromancers.

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