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RIFT gets ready for patch day while ArcheAge re-enables transfers and name changes

A couple of small notices swung our way from Trion Worlds’ MMORPGs. Tomorrow, RIFT is going to be updating the game, and with the changes (including the opening of the Greenscale raid on RIFT Prime), the studio is adding a few new store options and a raid gear merchant.

“Yep, we’re setting [the raid gear merchant] up in advance of Greenscale’s Blight, because you all deserve to plan ahead,” Trion said. “The current expert armor vendor will level up to become the ascended quartermaster — selling dungeon, expert, and raid armor. Raid armor will be available in exchange for Primal Marks of Ascension.”

Meanwhile, over at ArcheAge the team has delayed the normal weekly maintenance to cram in a hotfix that was designed to fix a bug and re-enable transfer and name change services.

Source: RIFT, ArcheAge

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Impressions of Project Gorgon from an Asheron’s Call player

It’s finally time for me talk about Project Gorgon as a released product. As you might have guessed, I was avoiding the game prior to launch. I’ve spoken out against early access a lot and have realized that, at this point in my gaming/career, playing games I’m passionate too early can be a threat to both work and play. I wanted a relationship with PG, but I didn’t want to rush into anything pre-release. I wanted it as complete as possible.

MJ’s streamed it a bunch of times, including the day before launch. Eliot’s comments from his pre-release CMA feel spot on still post-release. However, as the resident old-man Asheron’s Call fan with a review copy, I think I can add a few comments about how Project Gorgon compares to AC1&2, plus how developer Eric Heimburg’s infused PG in AC-esque ways.

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RIFT Prime reintroduces 10-player slivers and LFR

The sliver-spooned mouths of RIFT Prime subscribers are being filled with all manner of endgame challenges this week. With the first step forward of its progression content, RIFT Prime has reintroduced two of its slivers to the Vigil server.

“When you dare to enter a sliver, you will experience an alternate timeline where events have evolved differently, often disastrously, from our own reality,” Trion Worlds said. “Danger and imminent death await all but the strongest.”

The first two slivers to be activated are the ocean-themed Drowned Halls and the hostile desert environment of Gilded Prophecy. The 10-player content requires “highly coordinated” teams to tackle the content. Fortunately, the looking for raid tool is now back in the game as well to hook such players up together.

Source: RIFT

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Blade & Soul delays its Eternal Night update deeper into May

Blade & Soul players are going to have to chew on a bit of a sour grape today, as NCsoft announced that it made the decision to push the upcoming Eternal Night patch back a week to May 9th.

The dev team said that it had “come across a number of issues that will require additional testing and preparation” and apologized for the one-week delay in the update’s rollout. There is a firm, sweet grape to eat with this news, however: NCsoft is going to extend its daily dash, login rewards, and the Automaton Assault event until the 9th to keep players busy and happy.

The Eternal Night update will throw players into a 12-person raid called Nightfall Sanctuary, a dungeon known as Sandstorm Temple, and allow for the acquisition of new legendary gear.

Source: Blade & Soul

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Massively Overthinking: What we really mean when we talk about ‘difficulty’ in MMORPGs

Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:

“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”

I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
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RIFT progression server activates its first two raids

Yesterday RIFT’s progression server took a step forward, pushing the line of content forward with some old endgame activities.

Two 10-player raids, Drowned Halls and Gilded Prophecy, were activated. To help plug players into these instances, the looking for raid tool has been included without any threat of a raid lockout. The raid difficulty will be the same whether or not you use LFR.

Trion Worlds also added mage tank loot in the patch and fixed some issues with the ignore command and crafting reagent purchasing.

Next up is the Greenscale Blight raid, which is coming on April 25th.

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Closers invites players to take part in new challenges at the planar gate

If you’ve got a need for some new challenges in Closers, possibly of the planar variety, you’ll get plenty out of the new Planar Gate challenges asking for players of level 73 and above to take on some raid fights. You’ll need a group, of course, but you can get new gear and accessories, so it’s all good.

“But I play Tina most of the time,” you muttered, “so I can’t get to 73 or above!” But you can now, friend, because this update also raises Tina’s level cap to 75. Now everyone wins! There are even some new outfits for Tina in the Academy bundle featuring all of the glasses you could want for one character.

The update also includes login bonuses to give you a taste of what’s available in the aforementioned planar raids as well as more costumes, new crafting options, and so forth. And you can enjoy all of this today, which means you need not sit around waiting for the patch to arrive. You may have to wait to go home to play it, but no one can really help with that.

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NTales: Child of Destiny follows up its global launch with a ‘grand launch’

As a wise man once said, if at first you don’t succeed, launch, launch again! Pocket MMO NTales: Child of Destiny has already enjoyed its global launch, but apparently developer RuleMakr thinks that it gets another try at misguided publicity, because now the title is about to roll out its grand launch. Wait, what?

Actually, we’re really talking about is a weirdly labeled content update. The mobile RPG is introducing many new guild features (levels, store, changeable logos), costume upgrades, the PvE coliseum, and in-game events.

“From daily login rewards to free costumes and hot time rewards, players will surely have enough supplies for their mission to save the kingdom,” the team said. Mmm. Hot time rewards.

NTales is a colorful-looking mobile 2-D MMO with a heavy emphasis on pet summons but also keeps players busy with raids and PvP. Android players can go ahead and download it right now or stay tuned for the trailer.

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The Soapbox: Three augmented reality game problems (most) MMOs don’t have – and one thing they do so much better

I’d like to think that I’m kind of a healthy gamer. While MMOs take a lot of time, the nice thing is that their downtime can lead to forming bonds, or give you time to exercise. Augmented reality games can give you both at once, especially Pokemon Gosince it’s the best-known ARG we have (and the mountains of merchandise make it easier to stand out as a fellow player).

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and I’m not just talking about game mechanics that have plagued Niantic games since at Ingress. I remember playing that title and thinking, “Man, this game is dangerous! There’s no way they’ll just clone this for POGO, right?” And yet, here we are. But I can’t put all the blame on Niantic, especially after my time with ARG competitor Maguss. Some things just seem inherent to the genre.

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Wisdom of Nym: What we know so far about Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

Yes, the latest live letter happened, the fan translations happened, and as one could expect the Final Fantasy XIV fandom has already taken half-translated facts and suspected tidbits as gospel right off the bat. Who could have seen this coming, and so forth. let’s see if we get actually translated and accurate information any faster than usual, although I suspect it’ll be at around the same pace as always.

If I sound annoyed, that’s because I am.

Regardless of the inefficiency of the presentation, we did find out a fair bit about the next patch and associated features for patch 4.3, so we can start discussing some of the things we need to know about the update. Of course, no small amount of what we know is coming is stuff that we could also have expected to see just because of the game’s fundamental structure, but there’s also a lot of genuinely surprising bits. So let’s start in with the stuff that isn’t a new dungeon, a new Alliance Raid, or points related, yes?

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Age of Conan’s first saga server heads into its final month

The end of the world is bearing down on some Age of Conan players, but that’s exactly when things get interesting. Funcom’s special Saga of Zath server has just a month left to go before the studio merges its population in with the Crom server and turns out the lights.

Before then, players can race to earn special gear and vanity items for the main server. To help with that, Funcom is giving all players a free extra specialization, cutting the price of mounts in half, chopping XP booster prices down by 75%, and making raid and PvP gear bundles available.

Saga of Zath started up back in January as a special time-limited PvE server. Players had just a few months to go through a saga quest to earn rewards and gain items. When the merge happens on May 15th, all Zath characters will be transferred to Crom with all progress and inventory intact.

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RIFT: Three more ‘content milestones’ in 2018, progression server’s lifespan extended

Trion Worlds is stepping up its communication game this week, first with a post on the imminent plans for RIFT’s progression server and then slapping down a huge developer Q&A on the entire MMO this past Friday. By the way, one of our biggest pet peeves here at MOP is when devs churn out livestreams with important information but fail to put any of that in writing, so major props go out to Trion for giving us both written and video versions of what’s coming for the game.

Both the live and progression servers received attention during the livestream. The studio said that it’s increasing the RIFT team and has plans for “three more content milestones” in 2018. “There are live systems and balance needs that we want to give love before discussing what a next expansion looks like,” Trion said.

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WoW Factor: Updating data in the wake of Battle for Azeroth’s release announcement

Hooray, we have a release date for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth instead of just a release window! And contrary to what many skeptics (myself included) expected to get, it is actually quite a bit faster than other releases. But as you all have no doubt noticed by now, my love of math means that I’m hardly sore about this. It just means that there’s another data point to consider when we look to the future.

So let’s talk about this new piece of information while using the same information from the column in which I made a reasonable estimate, based on this new information. Again, I think it’s important to note how much faster this expansion is actually releasing compared to prior expansions; it’s significant, even if it means that the people predicting things like June were being wildly wrong about “optimistic” predictions. (After all, pessimistic predictions were equally wrong, just in the other direction; my own estimates were off by 2-3 months.)

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