expansions

EVE Evolved: Last-minute advice on Abyssal Deadspace in EVE Online

There are just two days to go before EVE Online‘s Into the Abyss expansion lands on May 29th, introducing its new Abyssal Deadspace solo PvE feature. Players will use abyssal filaments to travel into Abyssal Deadspace pockets that exist underneath space throughout the EVE universe, risking their ships in challenging procedurally generated encounters. It’s in these instanced solo encounters that players will come face to face with The Triglavian Collective, a bizarre and twisted subspecies of human with powerful new ships and a new type of subatomic particle weapon called the Entropic Disintegrator.

This new solo content is intended for players of all skill levels, with the lowest tier sites being easy enough to complete in a well-designed tech 1 cruiser and higher tiers requiring considerably more expensive gear. Each site contains 3 randomly generated pockets of deadspace to defeat within 20 minutes, after which time the pocket will implode and destroy your ship. The prizes for risking it all in these dungeons include blueprints to build player-controlled Triglavian ships, plans for Entropic Disintegrators, and Mutaplasmids that can randomly mutate the stats on existing items.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I follow up on last month’s article on preparing for the Into the Abyss expansion with some last-minute guidelines on preparing your ships, how to use drones effectively in Abyssal Deadspace, and useful tips and strategies for tackling the sites.

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EverQuest unlocks the Omens of War expansion on its progression servers

Time keeps on slipping into the future for the EverQuest progression servers, Ragefire and Lockjaw. Both servers have put matters to a vote, and the results mean that both are going to be leaping headlong into the Omens of War expansion. For those of you keeping track, that means that the progression servers are now up to 2004 in terms of expansion unlocks, and you can go and live in that particular time warp right now if you so prefer.

Well, not live in it, but at least play in a version of the game that hearkens back to those halcyon days when no one had a smartphone and everyone was really excited about The Sopranos. It’s a blast from the past, which is the whole point of the time-gated expansion server; feel free to lean in and enjoy the game you remember from back in the day.

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GDC 2018: ARK Park’s Snail Games on VR, science, and the future of the franchise

As you may recall, I was given just a little time to hit up Snail Games’ ARK Park a few days before I left for GDC 2018. I was able to make it to the games’ launch party, but as I’d already played the game, it was mostly useful for talking to people involved in its creation between speeches/demos. However, afterwards, I was allowed to pass some questions on to Snail Games Vice President Tianqi “Sky” Wu about bugs, science, and the future of ARK. We have some exclusive information about that last tip, but don’t worry, no chief engineers, computer programmers, or lawyers were harmed in the making of this game. Well, not physically, at least.

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World of Warcraft improves questing limits and hints at new emotes in Battle for Azeroth

The limit of 25 active quests in World of Warcraft isn’t so bad, so long as you never forget to abandon old quests, always do one zone at a time, and scrupulously clear out lingering tasks ahead of time. In other words, it really is a relic of older times, which makes sense when you consider that the limit was put in place during the game’s first expansion. The good news is that Battle for Azeroth is no longer counting account-wide quests toward that limit, so things like battle pet quests are no longer going to leave you working under limitations.

Players will also notice a special lighting effect around low-level daily quests, so it’ll be that much easier to pick up those when relevant, as well.

For those of you who already have no problem keeping your quest logs free and clear but are mostly interested in more emotes, the expansion seems to also be adding a new emote for booping your fellow adventurers on the nose. No word yet on animations for this emote, but the text files are in there; we can only hope that Druid players are prepared for what will inevitably result.

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Star Trek Online announces its fourth expansion, Victory is Life

It’s time to head back to Deep Space 9 in Star Trek Online with the announcement of the game’s fourth expansion. Star Trek Online: Victory is Life sees players heading through the Bajoran wormhole into the Gamma Quadrant to deal with the mysterious threat of the Hur’q, the invaders who attacked the station as part of the game’s last featured episode. Captains will have to reinforce the station and prepare to fight back against any further invasion.

Aiding players in this are the new Jem’hadar faction, which allows players to start at level 60 with a variety of important unlocks already completed. That won’t start them at the cap, however; players will be able to reach level 65 and take on new missions, which include the voice talents of Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Armin Shimmerman (Quark), Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), and J. G. Hertzler (Martok). Check out the trailer just below, and get ready for the first voyage into the Gamma Quadrant for the game.

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World of Warcraft confirms that Mag’har Orcs and Kul Tiran Humans are joining the allied races

The rumors and speculation are true, according to the most recent World of Warcraft live Q&A. Ion Hazzikostas revealed that both Mag’har and Kul Tiran Humans are on the list of allied races planned for Battle for Azeroth, in addition to Dark Iron Dwarves and Zandalari Trolls. If you feel like your old non-allied race is being left out in the cold, not to worry; while older races won’t be getting heritage armor per se, the developers do want to do something cool for veterans of the core races.

The discussion also ranged to Artifact weapons, which will still be usable at the beginning of the expansion; you won’t have all of the traits associated with it, but it will still be a good and usable weapon. It will sting to not have access to the old traits, but the design position is that it’s necessary for the longer term in the game. There’s also confirmation that crafting will now be split up by expansion rather than in an ever-ascending number, so you’ll have classic Blacksmithing, Northrend Blacksmithing, Outland Blacksmithing, and so forth. While it’s short on hard details at the moment, it’s enough of a nod to spur speculation as the expansion continues on in testing.

Source: Wowhead

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World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth collectors editions, game datamining

When can we start playing allied races in World of Warcraft? Probably as soon as we can pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth, based on current expectation. And when will that be? We just don’t know. What we do know is what the collector’s edition appears to be packing. Yes, it’s mounts and a pet, that’s always what we get, but it looks like it’s going to be two mounts based on faction and the previously spied Tortollan pet!

It looks like Alliance players will be getting an armored Seabraid Stallion (there seem to be new horse models out there) while Horde players get an armored raptor (representing the Zandalari Trolls). Obviously, nothing has been confirmed yet, but that’s what everything is pointing toward… and if that’s showing up in datamining, it might not be that far off.

As far as the actual game rather than the box for the game? Yep, WoWhead is datamining the heck out of that too – check out the mounts and beasties, music, pets, maps, and talents for just a taste of what’s available. Or don’t spoil yourself. You choose.

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World of Warcraft lays out its class adjustment paradigm for Battle for Azeroth

When Legion was on the way, World of Warcraft had a whole series of explanations about the broad and varied changes coming to every single class and spec. Some of them were relatively minor (Frost Mage), some of them made big changes to the spec (Enhancement Shaman), and some of them were huge reworks (Survival Hunter). The good news is that Battle for Azeroth isn’t making changes that large according to the latest development watercooler on the upcoming class changes. Instead, the expansion will be focusing more on diversifying specs in more meaningful way, including utility.

One of the big elements that is being tweaked for Battle for Azeroth is that all classes are getting more utility (either adding abilities or returning old abilities) to make groups have some advantage for each individual class; there’s more emphasis on making the various character options feel a bit more diverse again. There’s also a push to make talent choices less reliant on major match or specific types of content, but instead letting you play a character the way you want to play. Check out the whole thing for a top-level overview of the philosophy going into tweaks and adjustments with the game’s next expansion.

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Check out the starting cutscenes for the first four Allied Races in World of Warcraft

When are the first four Allied Races arriving in World of Warcraft? They’re a big feature of Battle for Azeroth, but evidence increasingly points to them being playable before the expansion launch, and the latest bit of datamining for patch 7.3.5 reveals another important piece of evidence. Yes, the starting cutscenes for all four races have been mined out, with each one getting a new narration from their respective racial leaders explaining what the race is doing and where it stands with its allies.

You know, the ones you get when you create any new character and log in for the first time. They’re familiar enough.

You can watch the cutscenes below, although you can expect some minor spoilers; they also are not necessarily finalized cinematics, so caution and suspicion is advised. Just the same, it seems to be more than enough evidence that you’ll be seeing them running about sooner rather than later. And hey, it’s been two expansions since any new races were added to the mix; we’re sure that people will be excited to see some new arrivals.

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Destiny 2 leaks out the second DLC, Gods of Mars, via the PlayStation store

It’s long been known that the next Destiny 2 DLC will be out next year, with most players figuring on early in the year, but beyond that there has mostly been rumors and speculation. Now… there’s more than that. A page for the next DLC showed up on the Japanese and American PSN stores and was swiftly taken down, but as you no doubt surmised, fans took all of the necessary screenshots and have already spread the information. Short version? It’s going to be called Gods of Mars, and it’s sending you to… some planet.

Fine, it’s Mars, yes. Specifically, it’s the Frigid Vale of Mars, where players will find new quests, new landscapes, and perhaps most importantly new enemies to shoot. (And hopefully fewer bits of content retroactively locked behind the expansion.) You can check out the screenshot of the store page below, although you should be warned that any of these informational tidbits could be subject to change before its actual release date in March.

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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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