Blade & Soul brings single-player and group challenges to the Emperor’s Tomb

Dare you enter the forbidden Emperor’s Tomb in Blade & Soul on March 21st? You probably do dare, since you always do the opposite of our advice. At least if you’re going in there, make sure to pack a bag lunch, wear a warm scarf, and take a sword large enough to cleave the world in two.

One of the neat aspects of the Emperor’s Tomb is that this dungeon will feature a single-player area where individuals can go through a story, build up defenses, and watch the area change due to the course of your actions.

Of course, the instance has a group option as well in the form of the six-player Ransacked Treasury. This dungeon can only be accessed once the leading quests have been accomplished, but it’s worth the effort. Lots of new gear and items are available in its depths, including the Innovator costume. Let’s just say that if you like magitech looks, you’re going to want this outfit!


EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s case for asymmetric and asynchronous gameplay

If there’s one thing that EVE Online does better than any other MMO on the market today, it’s persistent gameplay on massive scales. The now-famous Bloodbath of B-R5RB in 2014 involved 7,548 players over the course of almost 24 hours, and the Siege of M-OEE8 at the end of 2016 peaked at 5,300 separate players all piled into the same star system at the same time. Hundreds of thousands of players live and fight in the same single-shard universe, and EVE‘s largest corporations have more members than the total population on some other MMOs’ shards.

But what about the smaller end of the scale? MMOs aren’t just populated by monolithic organisations bent on galactic domination, and a growing proportion of today’s gamers play online games solo or in smaller groups. Features such as Upwell structures and the new PvE gameplay have clearly been designed with a wide range of gameplay scales in mind, but EVE has never really got past the problem that bigger groups are almost always better. Could the solution to this problem be found in small-scale asymmetric and asynchronous warfare opportunities?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at why EVE‘s massive scale makes it so compelling, the problem that massive scale introduces, and the case for more asymmetric and asynchronous warfare.

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Star Trek Online goes once more unto the Breach queue

A special version of Star Trek Online’s Breach queue is now hailing captains to adventure.

Cryptic brought back its five-player instanced Breach for a “faster-paced, action-packed” romp that’s been streamlined and balanced to be better than before. And that’s not the really good part! As with many STO releases, there are extra rewards for players who run this queue upon its return.

From now through the 23rd (and from March 16th through April 7th for console jockeys), Star Trek Online will award Breach queue victors with special currency that can be exchanged for a ton of currency, marks, and even a Voth melee weapon. After this time, the queue will revert to its normal reward payout.

Source: Star Trek


The Stream Team: Checking into LOTRO’s Inn of the Forsaken

You say you want another LOTRO stream? Massively OP’s MJ has you covered! A couple friends are joining her for a trip to the Inn of the Forsaken, a scalable instance that will involve danger and riddles. Who doesn’t want the danger and riddles upgrade to their inn experience?  Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. to see what happens when MJ checks into this cozy little establishment.

What: Lord of the Rings Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 10th, 2016

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TERA becomes Spellbound with its newest update

Believe it or not, but Karazhan isn’t the only major MMO patch coming out today. TERA would like to make a bid for your attention, as the fantasy game has given the go-ahead to Patch 48.04.02, less technically known as Spellbound.

As the name implies, Spellbound contains major changes and adjustments for TERA’s Sorcerer class. The Sorcerer has received a huge overhaul to improve her animations, beef up her damage, and fix some of her underperforming skills.

Spellbound has more tricks up its sleeves than just a Sorcerer revamp. The update brings back two (improved) classic dungeons while adding a pair of new instances as well. That’s good, since the update also takes a whopping 13 dungeons out of the rotation, at least for the time being.

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TERA’s next update arrives on August 9th

A new TERA update is hitting the live servers tomorrow after server maintenance, but you’re going to have to experience it alone. Sure, you can talk to other people about it, but the centerpiece of the update is the solo Castle Aranea instance. That means it’s all going to be on you; they don’t call it a solo instance because you can bring other people with you, after all.

The update is also expanding the available flying zones for players, allowing flying mounts to soar in the skies above Southern Shara while cackling maniacally at players still stuck on the ground. It’s also going to include the usual bugfixes and minor quality-of-life improvements you’d expect to see with any patch. So saddle up and get ready to try out the update following server maintenance tomorrow.


The Daily Grind: Is instancing in MMORPGs our real enemy?

The first MMORPGs I ever played hadn’t come up with instancing yet. They had perceptible server lines and time-sucking zone walls, but everyone was in the same world, fighting over the same everything, often waiting in lines for spawns or flat-out cutting in those lines with no recourse left to the players but to chuck their own manners or lose out.

It took time, but eventually the purveyors of online worlds figured out how to instance off content. Some instanced dungeons so we wouldn’t have to camp-check again. Some just instanced housing. Some instanced whole zones to keep the lag down, and some even instanced the overland world or storytelling areas, leading us to the point that some players argue that all types of instancing are bad, that it destroys worlds and breaks up communities and leads to tiny, unambitious lobby-based games.

I’ve never been convinced that instancing ruined the genre; some of the biggest “feeling” MMOs I’ve played were layered with instances to keep everyone together, whereas a truly open-world game can feel tiny if it’s so big you never meet another soul. To me, it’s not the structure of the gameworld but what players are encouraged and enabled to do within it that makes or breaks the feel of an MMO and its community. Instanced housing, for example, is better than no housing at all!

What say you? Is instancing in MMORPGs — the very thing intended to help us all fit into these worlds together without trampling each other — our real enemy?

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RIFT dives into the Rhaza’de Canyons dungeon

With a patch name like Into the Wilds, you know that RIFT won’t be introducing safe, tame content in which players can vacation. On the contrary, the update is bringing many new high-level challenges, including a five-person dungeon, Rhaza’de Canyons.

In Rhaza’de Canyons, teams will battle their way through fiercesome foes, including enlarged planestouched dinosaurs. At the end is Teth Mornta, a boss who is using an ascension machine for nefarious purposes. Trion Worlds promises “rare and potent” loot for players who conquer the dungeon.

Curious about Patch 3.4: Into the Wilds? Check out Massively OP’s preview tour of the new content!

Source: RIFT. Thanks, Rafaelmizar.


WildStar previews a new single-player instance, Alpha Sanctum

The Eldan of WildStar weren’t content to rest upon their collective laurels; they wanted to do more.  The story of what happened after they tried to reach beyond what they had been is, well, one of the major plot points of the game as a whole. Alpha Sanctum, a new upcoming single-player story instance, serves as a starting point for that overall storyline, showing the accomplishments of the race before they began a climb toward absolute heights.

Alpha Sanctum is meant for level 15 players and comes along with a rebalancing of the game’s many Drusera instances, thus allowing players to get in on the game’s storyline even earlier. Check out the full reveal for more details on the instance, the Pell enemies found therein, and the rewards for players who successfully navigate these varied and threatening corridors.


LOTRO Legendarium: The return of the dungeon

While I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings Online as one of my main MMOs for almost a decade now, it’s primarily been for the single-player experience through the majestic and detailed world. I suspect that a disproportionally large percentage of the playerbase approaches the game in a similar fashion compared to other fantasy MMOs.

There’s something about LOTRO’s group content that’s never been able to convince me that it’s worth doing in the same way that I would in other games. I’ve liked it well enough when circumstances conspired to throw me into a group experience, but I’ve never felt that doing dungeons was something I had to do to gear up. Quest rewards have been just fine to get me through the zones and epic story thus far, and I don’t think that will change.

And for a time, it looked as though Turbine had acknowledged that this was the case by taking instance clusters off the table in early 2014 in favor of lesser group content, like epic battles, roving warbands, and a handful of tougher areas. However, now that the game is under new leadership and well into a new year, we’re seeing the return of the dungeon at last. Why the change of direction and how might it benefit the community? That’s been on my mind a lot as of late.

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LOTRO’s update 16 arrives with new instances and LI imbuement

There are phrases you never expect to hear from Lord of the Rings Online patch notes. Like “giant mecha battles” or “featuring voice work by Sting” or “new instance cluster.” But that last one is actually in the patch notes for Update 16. Turbine is adding a new instance cluster containing three new instances for players to explore. No word on giant mecha battles, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on those.

You have more to enjoy this update with the inclusion of the new Legendary imbuement system and four new regions: Upper Lebennin, Osgilliath, Lossarnach, and South Ithillien. Another installment of the epic story and several class adjustments round out the rather prodigious size of the patch.

[Source: Update 16 patch notes]


Land of Britain takes you through a leprechaun dungeon

Following its conversion to the Unreal Engine 4, Land of Britain is champing at the bit to show off its fantastic new visuals. To wit, Potato Killer has released a new video that takes players on a quick tour of its moody Fen Dhathach dungeon, a place that allegedly contains wondrous leprechaun treasures and a sinister new presence. If the instance has actual leprechauns to go with its treasure, we’re prepared to dub this the best dungeon of all time.

Potato Killer says that it’s preparing a huge news announcement about “an ambitious and exciting idea” that’s coming soon. While you wait on that, check out the video after the break and let us know what you think!

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LOTRO’s getting new dungeons with the Osgiliath instance cluster

Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 16 is heading our way on Monday, May 4th, and with it comes the first new instance cluster in a very, very long time.

The team penned a dev diary today that talks about the new Osgiliath instance cluster, which it says was created in response to fan demand. “After thinking things over, we knew just what kind we wanted to build for you next: a little love letter to Lord of the Rings Online past,” developer Ben Schneider writes.

The Osgiliath cluster is composed of the three-player Sunken Labyrinth, the three-player Ruined City, and the full-fellowship Dome of Stars, where players will face off against a Nazgul. As a bonus, the dungeons scale from level 50 to 100, meaning that players who are ready for Moria can begin to take on those challenges. The team’s also split the instances into two tiers of difficulty, with Tier 2 “bringing the hard” to skilled players.

[Source: Dev diary]