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Final Fantasy XIV’s latest live letter discusses inventory, benchmarks, and housing in Stormblood

The anticipation for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is pretty high among the game’s players at this point. It’s just under two months away, and there’s still so much left to learn about what it’ll be like. The latest live letter from producer and director Naoki Yoshida certainly does answer some questions, though, like how much players can expect in terms of inventory expansion: Basic inventory will add 40 more spaces, and 10 more slots will be added to each Armoury Chest category.

Moving your housing (which will not be available at expansion launch) will be a matter of buying the new land and then indicating you wish to move; if you buy a larger plot of land than your existing spot, you’ll have your furniture stored for convenience. Players can also look forward to receiving the full set of artifact armor in a box for the level 70 job quests, and there should be a benchmark available in the near future… like, say, right now. There’s a lot to digest from the live letter, so feel free to take a look at GamerEscape’s point-by-point summary while you wait for the benchmark and figure out what to do with 130 new Armoury Chest spots.

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG players a minority in their own genre?

Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.

“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.

“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”

Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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DCUO update improves the loadout screen, spring event to start next week

Ask DC’s Atom if being small means you’re unimportant (he’ll probably disagree and then kick your butt). So don’t be that dismissive of DC Universe Online’s Game Update 70 because it has only one new feature and a handful of fixes.

That feature is pretty significant, giving players a cleaner and more informative user interface when it comes to selecting and arranging abilities for use. The ability library’s been rearranged for better reading comprehension, tooltips won’t pop up unless you want them to, abilities can be unloaded from the tray, and more.

Daybreak did confirm that the patch also paved the way for the start of the spring seasonal event on May 1st, so that’s something to look forward to next week.

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Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?

Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.

“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.

Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.

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Final Fantasy XIV announces the last PlayStation 3 login campaign and a new Amazon promotional campaign

With the release of its second expansion, Final Fantasy XIV will no longer be supported on the PlayStation 3. There’s a free upgrade to the PlayStation 4 available through the end of the year, but there’s another bone being thrown to those still playing on the last console generation. The last free login campaign is going live on the console from May 1st until June 15th, allowing those on the console to play for free on the console until support is shut down.

Of course, those of us on the PC won’t have that issue… so why not celebrate with a repeat of last year’s Amazon cross-promotion? Yes, it came back, and this time you can pick up an assortment of items themed after a journey to the East. Buying $20 worth of video games and/or game accessories (which you can do from this link to also help out the site, incidentally) will net you a promotional code for an outfit, weapon, mount, and 50 free Aetheryte tickets, so that should make the impending journeys a bit more pleasant.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review, part four

At least we’re finally thought the story. While we walk through a review of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in its totality, we’ve taken three weeks covering all of the various stories within the expansion, as well as touching upon a bit of the class design in the last part. Parts one, two, and three cover everything from the main scenario to some of the zone side stories. And now we can move on to the mechanical side of things enthusiastically.

Also, we’re reaching the point where I know I’m going to forget to mention at least one or two things that were really keen from the expansion, but that’s a different discussion.

In terms of sheer volume, of course, Heavensward nearly matched what we got from the base game in terms of patches, and arguably surpassed it in some categories; sure, we only got 10 dungeons from patches rather than 15, but if you didn’t have any interest in Coil in 2.x, you got the entirety of Alexander, which was new. But volume alone isn’t the determinant of how good that content was. So let’s start in on that, albeit not with the dungeons.

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Final Fantasy XIV posts the dates for its upcoming data center move

If you’re playing on the North American data centers for Final Fantasy XIV, you’ve been given ample warning that the centers are moving. That’s not a surprise. Similarly, you probably knew that the move would impact your play time. The dates are in now, and you can see exactly when your play time will be impacted. The Aether data center (also known as “the one everyone is on because of Balmung and Gilgamesh”) and the Primal center will be moving from May 15th to May 17th, while Gaia, Chaos, Mana, and Elemental centers are moving from the 16th to the 17th.

Obviously, the game will be unavailable to play on those worlds during the maintenance, so all player subscriptions will be extended by one day due to the extended maintenance cycle. So you can’t play, but you won’t have to lose paid time. You will, of course, lose the time that otherwise would be spent earning whatever, but there aren’t exactly many weekly lockouts left at this point. And you’ll still have a month before the expansion launch.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Stephanie for the tip!

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The Soapbox: Lessons Secret World Legends failed to learn from Final Fantasy XIV

I’ve mentioned many a time that I like Funcom quite a bit. I want to like Funcom quite a bit. Heck, I want to be excited about Secret World Legends, but every day or so I get reminded that such a course of action will be very difficult at the least. Because quite frankly, Secret World Legends seems to want me not to be excited about it, as evidenced by… oh, every single thing that Funcom is doing around it.

Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.

Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.

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Final Fantasy XIV makes everything a little easier with patch 3.57

The last patch for Final Fantasy XIV before the expansion has been released. Does it contain unexpected in-depth content to delight and amaze players who had expected nothing of the sort? Of course not. Let’s not be silly. It does, however, give you a bit more reason to run the stuff that’s already in the game. Weekly loot and token restrictions for Dun Scaith, for example? Those are gone. Micro tomestones? Easier to get, making 260 weapons easier to get by extension.

Speaking of those weapons, you can upgrade them now in Idyllshire more easily, now that Shire weapon upgrade items can be purchased along with the armor and accessory upgrade items. It’s also easier to move through the stages required for your Anima Weapon if you’d like a bit of catch-up there, as well. So while you’re flitting about for the last two months until the expansion, you can get more out of every run you take part in; that’s a good thing, all told.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review, part three

Boy, I will be really miffed if this winds up taking more time than I have until Final Fantasy XIV‘s second expansion arrives. I will be put out. But there was a lot of stuff here to review! So far we’ve covered a whole lot of story in the first two parts of this series, but there’s… still a bit more story to resolve here! Yeesh. This expansion had some stuff in it.

Of course, it also had other stuff in it, so this time around we can start going into other useful stuff like new jobs and class design. Which is a good thing, since, again, we’ve got a little while longer until Stormblood arrives, but not forever. So enough preamble; let’s finish up talking about the stories in Heavensward, especially as we’re moving into the parts that just unambiguously did not land well.

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EVE Evolved: Video highlights from EVE Fanfest 2017

For a few days each year, hundreds of EVE Online players from across the world flock to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the annual EVE Fanfest. I was on the ground at EVE Fanfest 2017 last week in sunny Reykjavik to get the latest on what’s ahead for EVE and CCP’s other titles, and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience. We learned all about CCP’s amazing plans to roll out adaptive AI-driven PvE across the game world, talked to players and developers, and heard about the next stage of Project Discovery that will let players search for real exoplanets in space.

We also got hands-on with CCP’s immersive VR sport game Sparc, looked at Valkyrie‘s new Groundrush game mode that has players fighting inside huge structures on a planet’s surface, and confirmed that DUST 514 successor Project Nova is still in development. There were talks at Fanfest that we just didn’t get a chance to go to, and others that really have to be seen first-hand. Thankfully, CCP has recorded most of the event and has begun uploading talks to the EVE Online YouTube channel.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I’ll be running down some of the highlights of the official videos from EVE Fanfest 2017 for those who missed the event.

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Final Fantasy XIV announces Far Edge of Fate album

Final Fantasy XIV’s award-winning soundtrack is growing bigger with every patch, and at times it seems as though Square Enix can’t publish albums fast enough to keep up with all of the music. As the game prepares for another expansion’s worth of tunes, the studio is putting out its seventh soundtrack album this June covering the remainder of Heavensward’s score.

Borrowing one of the game’s recent update titles, The Far Edge of Fate original soundtrack contains a whopping 50 tracks that span Patch 3.2 and 3.5 part two. The import album costs $50 and is recorded in 5.1 channel sound on a blu-ray with MP3 tracks included.

As a bonus to those who preorder the soundtrack, Square Enix is giving a spunky Nidhogg minion as an in-game pet.

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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