See: Final Fantasy XIV

Bless Online interview: On soft launch, monetization, classes – and no lockboxes

Earlier today, we posted up Bless Online’s new trailer and big news: That’s it’s launching on Steam early access as a buy-to-play title this coming May. As part of the announcement, Neowiz agreed to answer a few of our most pressing questions about the infodump. Read on for more about the game’s planned monetization, what constitutes early access, and the state of PvP servers.

MassivelyOP: Can you disambiguate a bit for us here – is Bless’ early access more like a paid beta with wipes or a true soft launch? When exactly should regular gamers be jumping in if they do not want to help test, and how much testing and server wiping is going to go on?

Neowiz: Bless Online’s early access period on Steam is closer to a soft launch. There won’t be any wipes once it begins. While we’ll be listening closely and gathering feedback on how to improve Bless for the full launch, those who aren’t interested in focusing on testing will still be able and welcome to jump in and enjoy the game in its early access form.

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Wisdom of Nym: A week after Final Fantasy XIV’s Eureka

It’s been a little under a week since the Eureka launch in Final Fantasy XIV, and opinions about the content are pretty universally strong. Some might argue that they’re downright entrenched. Most of the vocal ones consist of a whole lot of griping, and a not insubstantial number of those gripes also dovetail with people who are still playing the heck out of it anyway. Heaven knows it’s not exactly what I had expected, either.

So what do I think of it? I like it. But then, I’m kind of just the right person to like it.

I think there’s a lot of stuff to unpack around it, and I think it’s something where not liking it is both wholly understandable and also suggests a course of action. So let’s talk a little bit about the overall experience, what parts work and what parts don’t, and why it’s important, if you don’t like it, to at least have a realistic understanding of what it’s going to be and what it wants to be in the first place.

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Global Chat: Avoiding MMO activities

Have you ever noticed that you play it way too safe in your MMOs, especially when it comes to interacting (or not) with others? Aywren of Sygnus wrote an honest blog post lately in which she felt challenged to examine and even buck her “safe patterns” in life and gaming and to try to get out of her rut and try new things.

“On my gaming blog, I’ve talked about my struggles with grouping in MMOs, and how FFXIV specifically had to pick me up and forcibly throw me out of my safe zone if I wanted to keep playing it. This is something I still struggle with,” she admitted. “I do everything I can to avoid stressful dungeons, raids or classes. I’m still afraid of tanking and healing for strangers outside my FC.”

Join us for more thought-provoking blog posts from the MMO community as we fill up your screen with the latest in Global Chat!

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Final Fantasy XIV opens the gates to Eureka with patch 4.25

The forbidden land of Eureka doesn’t care if you’ve reached Level 70 across the board. It cares about your elemental level, and you’re going to be working that up by fighting things and leveling up in this forbidden land. That’s the centerpiece of the latest addition to Final Fantasy XIV, giving players a new side of content to explore to unlock new weapons and armor. The patch also includes new quests in the ongoing Hildibrand side story, so you can use that as a breather between ventures into a forbidden land.

Players can also look forward to this year’s Hatching-tide event, which will be starting up on March 20th and offer a new wall decoration and new minion. So even if you’re not feeling up to an in-depth exploration of a dangerous landscape, you’ll have plenty of other things to take on. Most of those other new things don’t upgrade your gear, of course, but that’s the nature of the beast.


Wisdom of Nym: Speculating about Final Fantasy XIV’s Eureka

I think Naoki Yoshida has severely overestimated how much I wanted to chase after a Scorpion Harness again.

One of the things that I mentioned way back when about the Diadem was that it felt like a Final Fantasy XI zone in Final Fantasy XIV. We don’t know all of the details about Eureka yet, but what we’ve learned so far definitely seems to indicate that it’s meant to be a similar experience. Heck, the visuals alone are doubling down on that; you can’t add in gear that’s specifically meant to look like the Scorpion Harness without inviting comparisons to the original Final Fantasy MMO.

We don’t know nearly as much about Eureka as we might like to know, but we do know something, at least. So let’s review what things we do know, speculate about the stuff that fills in the gap, and start considering what the experience of exploring this new zone will feel like, yes? I’m excited, at least.

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Final Fantasy XIV kicks the latest Feast season with the promise of a well-known boss mount

If you’re taking part in the sequential seasons of the Feast in Final Fantasy XIV, you want a mount worthy of your willingness to punch your fellow adventurers in the teeth. Season 7 is kicking off on March 13th, and for players who place in the top 100, the development team feels a suitably impressive reward awaits in the form of… the second boss of the final dungeon in Ala Mhigo.

All right, the chair of that boss.

The second boss is only a minor player in the storyline, but his voice clips alone make him a memorable fight, and he also spends the fight riding around on a fantastic magitek lounger the whole time. Place well enough in the competitive Feast arena, you may be able to fly it around yourself. It’s a fine way to kick back after getting your kicks.


One Shots: The Soviet Summoner

Undoubtedly, our world is poorer in this post-City of Heroes era for the lack of pun-inspired superhero names that used to run, fly, and jump rampant through this game. Maybe NCsoft realized that the world as a whole was about to hit a pun shortage and pulled the plug on CoH before it could drain us of that precious resource.

In any case, BigAngry submitted this museum-quality screenshot as a reminder of the days when the name could make or break a hero: “In the waning days before the fall of City of Heroes, I took video of all my characters using their powers, so I took a screencap of the video of Soviet Summoner, who was a Demon Summoning/Trick Arrow Mastermind. Her demons, IIRC, were named after Russian cities, with the big demon named Chernobyl, of course! God I miss that game.”

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The Daily Grind: How often do you revisit old MMOs?

I am nothing if not a creature of habit, and one of those habits is to revisit MMOs that I’ve previously played and left. I like to “check in” with these old haunts about once a year to see if there’s anything new to suck me in or if I’ve simply come back around to wanting to settle back in to a particular title.

Recently I wrapped up a month of Final Fantasy XIV, which I find that I’m revisiting every spring. It’s long enough to have a bit of fun but also to be reminded why this game isn’t quite up my alley (the classes and combat don’t really excite me, for starters). But even if it didn’t end up bringing me back in, I was happy to say hi to old friends and toss in a dash of different gaming flavor to my routine.

What about you? How often do you revisit MMOs of your past and what have you found in them lately?

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Wisdom of Nym: How Final Fantasy XIV’s latest housing war was won and where it got us

With the removal of the perpetual server restrictions and the opening of personal housing again, Final Fantasy XIV seems to have decided that its housing problems were fixed. Or, if not fixed, at least significantly ameliorated. The game added a huge chunk of new wards, rules were put in place to make sure that people couldn’t snap up tons of houses for themselves, and I will definitely concede that a whole lot of stuff was different this time around. For some time after housing was introduced, small houses were actually available, so Free Companies who wanted one but hadn’t quite made it were ready.

I will be the first to say that the new rules and restrictions were definitely a success. In terms of getting people connected with houses, this all worked, we got stuff more sorted out, and this is definitely the best we’ve had it since housing was first introduced. That doesn’t mean that I think the problem is really solved yet, though; a lot of the rules as they stand are inelegant solutions to a problem, and that’s part of why we are where we are.

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Global Chat: Elder Scrolls Online’s disguised gameplay

It seems as though some players’ attention has shifted back to Elder Scrolls Online this spring, especially with the recent Dragon Bones DLC drop. Telwyn over at GamingSF documented a bit of fun in which he enjoyed infiltrating a camp in disguise versus having to do it in stealth mode.

“I find ‘disguised’ gameplay is more relaxed and better paced (since stealth is slower movement),” he wrote. “It’s especially nice in ESO when you need to take time out of fighting-all-the-things in a hostile to read the many books and quest-related texts – having a pause in the action makes it more enjoyable to read these.”

It isn’t all rainbows and puppies, however. Roger from Contains Moderate Peril expressed some frustration at ESO’s leveling gear, or lack thereof: “The One Tamriel Update removed the level restriction on content, scaling everything according to the player, which obviously didn’t help the gear situation. With delves and story quests scaling to your level, there isn’t the surplus of gear generated by content fixed at a specific level. The lack of a server wide auction system is also a major contributor.”

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One Shots: This is too weird for even me

I like to think that I have a fairly open mind when it comes to accepting strange sights and races in fantasy MMORPGs, but Final Fantasy XIV seems hellbent on finding my breaking point. Literal cat-fish might just be that. It’s too weird for me, I’m out of here.

“Looking for NPC comic relief?” Vincent asked. “I give you the Namazu. Half-cat, half-fish (?) and I’m pretty sure the person who came up with the design was half-baked. The other shot I took on the way back to Castellum Velodyna (Beast Tribe quest hub) just as the fog was about to lift…”

When you’ve just made Moogles look normal and mundane, you’ve really accomplished something.

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Massively Overthinking: MMOs belong in a museum!

Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.

As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.

I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?

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Final Fantasy XIV previews the contents of the upcoming patch 4.25

If you’ve already done all there is to do in the most recent Final Fantasy XIV patch, you won’t be able to say that for much longer. Patch 4.25 releases on March 13th, and it brings with it more content for players to explore, starting with the new forbidden land of Eureka. Deep in the Glass Ocean, an island is there that is found on no charts and has never been explored… and also contains ancient Allagan technology and ferocious beasts.

So, naturally, you’re going there to explore and set up a trading post because that’s what you do.

After you’re done with the mysterious island, you can hop back over to the continuation of the Hildibrand quests, which continue Nashu’s misadventures in Kugane with new faces, new complications, and presumably a new series of sight gags. You can check out the preview for a little more information, or you can just wait the short span of time until you can explore the content for yourself less than two weeks.


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