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Final Fantasy XIV walks players through NA data center relocation

A new North American data center has been in the works for Final Fantasy XIV for years now, and in mid-May, Square Enix is planning to flip the switch. Hopefully, this will decrease latency to those accessing the game in the region and offer improved services.

The studio walked players through the switchover, which will require up to 48 hours of server downtime to perform: "As has been previously announced, with the release of our upcoming expansion Stormblood, we are planning major updates and upgrades to our server system to allow not only for increased server efficiency, but also increased inventory capacity, worldless (cross-world) party matching and friend management, and additional content and increased field size for new areas. All which we hope will contribute to increased playability."

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One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?

Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"

This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!

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The Stream Team: Celebrating Warframe's 4th birthday

Call her a party animal, but Massively OP's MJ can't resist celebrating a birthday, and Warframe is turning four! That's all the reason she needs to dive back in and check out more of that world. She's probably not nearly strong enough to seek out the new instruments that have just been introduced with the Octavia's Anthem update, but she can work at getting so. And that means she can look forward to making beautiful music in the future... or some kind of music anyway. Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. to wish Warframe a very happy birthday!

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 24th, 2017

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Warframe counts 30M registered players on its 4th birthday, basically adds bards

Happy fourth birthday, Warframe! It may not be a traditional MMORPG, but it's still one of those rare online MMOs that's actually doing better several years in than it was at launch: Digital Extremes is touting 30 million registered users. Actually almost 31 million! (That's up about five million just since the end of last year.)

To celebrate the occasion, the studio is rolling out the Octavia's Anthem update, complete with a new warframe, cosmetic outfit capture tools, new weapons, and the new music-themed questline:

"Octavia's Anthem has Warframe players journeying through an original, lore-driven quest in search of the musically enchanted Octavia Warframe. Along with Octavia comes the introduction of a simple-to-use musical instrument that enables players to compose original songs and synchronize them to their weapons to rhythmically dominate the enemy. Music isn't just a tool of destruction in this update -- players can create musical arrangements in cooperation with other Tenno and trade songs. For story buffs and lore fans, a newly written web comic, entitled What Remains, explores material well in advance of Octavia's Anthem."

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Final Fantasy XIV wraps up the Heavensward story on March 28th

In less than a week, the first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is coming to an end. The final story patch for Heavensward, 3.56, is arriving on March 28th, with accompanying maintenance starting at midnight EDT. The first half of the story already had a fair amount of death and revelation, but this is where we find out exactly what happens leading into our journey toward Ala Mhigo and Doma in Stormblood.

Of course, there's a main scenario preview available right now, but be fairly warned that it's a pretty notable spoiler for anyone who hasn't already done the first half of the 3.5 story. Suffice it to say that the solution to the major problem at the end of that first half was not nearly as final as may have been surmised, and more is coming right along the path. Feel free to speculate about what happens next; you've only got a few days left until you find out one way or the other.

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Elder Scrolls Online grants glimpses of Morrowind's Vivec and Ashlands

Ready for another super-short Elder Scrolls Online snippet? How about two? The Morrowind expanshachapter team has continued posting episodes in its travel series. Last week, we got a peek at Seyda Neen in the long long ago; this week, we've checked in on Vivec and the Ashlands.

Vivec, of course, is the city being built by warrior-poet and god Vivec himself, so its feature video shows scaffolding and other in-progress bits as the cantons are erected.

The Ashlands comprise more ominous areas of dust and ash and smoke kicked up by the active volcano at the heart of Vvardenfell, Red Mountain.

Check 'em out in all their weird aspect ratio glory below!

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Rumor: Destiny 2 leak hints at September 8 launch

Reddit is buzzing this morning over posters uploaded across the internet that if legit -- and they do look legit -- seem to reveal a September 8th release date for Bungie's Destiny 2.

That revelation comports with Activision-Blizzard's last investor call in February, during which the companies said the game was on track for a fall 2017 rollout and would be catering to a "casual first-person experience."

The posters also suggest a June beta. Is everyone excited about watching the world chase this game and hearing people fight over whether it's an MMO? No? Yeah.

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Skyforge soars over to the PS4 on March 28 ahead of formal April 11 launch

When MMO devs give windows like "spring" for launches, we usually figure it'll be the very tail end. Not this time: My.com announced today that when it said Skyforge's PlayStation 4 version was coming in the spring, it really meant soon!

"Developer Allods Team and global publisher My.com happily announce that action MMORPG Skyforge will launch its North American and European server support on March 28th, when the game will go into Early Access. Anyone obtaining one of the Early Adopter packs can get start discovering Immortality and become Legend. The servers open up for the full free to play experience for Playstation 4 players on April 11th."

Pre-registering seems to entitle you to a couple of cosmetic bits, while being a PlayStation Plus subber nets you wings and tats too. Anyone planning to give it a try?

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Elder Scrolls Online previews Morrowind's Foyada Quarry (pro tip: lava is hot)

ZeniMax has this morning released a deep-dive of one of the trio of battlegrounds due to launch in The Elder Scrolls Online when Morrowind arrives in June. The so-dubbed Foyada Quarry is quite different from the last battleground previewed, being wide-open with little cover.

"In this deserted granite quarry, you can view exactly where the action is right from the start. However, when navigating this map, you should watch your step; the entire site is now overflowing with lava, bathing the arena in a red glow and burning those unfortunate enough to fall in. Despite the environmental hazards provided by the looming Red Mountain, Foyada Quarry funnels the action right into the center of the map via a selection of granite pathways and seared wooden bridges. Because the majority of the map is so open, teams are able to quickly close and engage with each other, thrusting you into battle almost immediately upon leaving your base and making it an especially fast-paced Battleground."

ZOS notes that crowd control will be particularly useful on the map as you knock enemies into lava and away from the capture point in the center of the map, at least in domination mode. Ouch.

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Three games you've never heard of: Lothgar Online, Little War Online, Age of Rivals

When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say "such-and-such a game exists" -- because just existing is what's new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I'm combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you've probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.

Lothgar Online

Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren't into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won't like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an "Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs," and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There's no cash shop either. Old school isn't always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
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The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we've been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.

This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.

Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let's talk about those.

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