raiding

One Shots: En garde!

It’s hard to deny that one of Final Fantasy XIV’s newest classes marries style and substance, particularly if you’re into a certain swashbuckling aesthetic.

Skoryy took time out of playing Stormblood to share his new Red Mage with us: “More character screenshots this week as Eorzea’s version of Skoryy, Skory’a, reveals himself as a defender of the weak, the innocent, and candy drops! En garde!”

Now, be careful with that sword there! It’s not just a prop to make you look good at historical reenactments; it can stab your way into a felony charge if you’re not careful.

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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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ArcheAge Begins puts a call out for Android mobile testers

ArcheAge Begins’ title is never going to be as appropriate as it is right now. Gamevil’s spin-off of XLGAMES’ well-known MMO sandbox has just kicked off its first global closed beta test and is looking for a few players to give the game a test drive.

The closed beta test is a fairly short one, running from now through July 3rd. ArcheAge Begins is looking at a Q3 2017 release on mobile, so it looks as thought the testing process is ramping up to make way for the launch. The game uses the Unreal 4 engine and contains many features from the MMO, including raiding, fishing, and trading, although it is obviously not the same product.

Right now the beta is for Android players only, so if this is you and you have interest in the game, you can sign up for the program through Google Play.

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E3 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on scope creep, Xbox One X, and leaving early access

So ARK: Survival Evolved is going to be the first big survival sandbox not named Minecraft or Don’t Starve to not only make it to launch but to get there from Early Access development. Leaving EA is something we rarely see, which is why readers may notice I’m quite critical of games that ask for your money, sell you an incomplete game, and then spend years defending their EA status while continually making money on an unfinished project. To hear that a company once known for making paid DLC for an unreleased game is willing to shake the security blanket that is Early Access fills me with joy and a little trepidation.

Normally, this is where I’d tell you I’ve written up the interview, which is still true. However, as this was in a small group setting, not only do we have a writeup, there’s also a YouTube video for the few of you who have thirty minutes to wade through the (mostly) raw interview. You’ll see ARK’s Community Manager Cedric Burkes in person, hear daring press try to ask hard-hitting questions, and cringe as my terrible hat hair makes a quick appearance at about the 27-minute mark.

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LOTRO to reveal Mordor expansion and start beta testing this week

By the week’s end, Lord of the Rings Online players should know a lot more about the game’s coming Mordor expansion — and even have an opportunity to play it.

In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.

Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).

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Here’s how Albion Online’s open-world raid bosses work

In anticipation of the upcoming launch of Albion Online, Sandbox Interactive has posted a fresh dev blog on the big bads of the game, known as Guardians. Pro tip, they’re guarding the world… from you. Naturally, you’re going to kill them and take their stuff. They were right about you!

“Guardians are the true protectors of Albion, brought alive by the land’s ancient and powerful magic and now tasked to protect its natural riches,” explains the studio. “These big world bosses can be found in Tier 6 resource hotspots and randomly respawn between 12 and 48 hours after being defeated. There is no way to know when a Guardian has spawned, so scout the area if you want to take one down.”

Don’t be thinking you’ll be soloing these; you’re going to need around 10 people at minimum to take them on, but if you bring too many people, you’ll scale down accordingly. It gets worse: You pretty much have a 15-minute timer before the boss enrages, and other players can interfere by attacking you. On the upside, the guardians become resource nodes when they due, “providing a whopping 2,560 Tier 6 resources.”

Good luck.

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Lineage II Classic succumbs to pirate fever

What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? You might think “Arrr,” but he really loves the C!

Dad jokes aside, swashbucklers have boarded Lineage II’s classic server over in Europe, but we doubt that anyone is too concerned about the company. The pirate horde is headed by Captain Zaken, a fearsome foe that can only be taken down by a minimum of seven (!) coordinated parties. He’s only the first of five additional raid bosses that have bolstered the game’s villain roster.

Pirate treasures can now be found on the hunting zone of Devil’s Isle, or if a chance of scenery is needed, there’s also the new Giant’s Cave to explore. To help with the patch’s raid bosses and hunting grounds, players can take advantage of weapon augmentation to give their gear a bit of a boost.

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The Chicago Pokemon Go Fest was sold out in less than a minute

Following the huge reveal of Pokemon Go’s summer content plans — detailed in yesterday’s massive overview and interview by MOP’s Andrew Ross — Niantic followed through on its plan to shutdown all gyms for renovation. Yes, we’re still talking about virtual space here. The gyms will play host to the game’s new gym battle system, which basically brings PvP into the MMOARG and can culminate in epic raid boss fights.

Meanwhile, if you weren’t one of the lucky few who snapped up Pokemon Go Fest tickets for the event in Chicago within the first few seconds of the sale going live, well, there’s always Ebay. As I type this, scalpers are selling tickets on the auction platform for over $300 apiece (they’re selling, too; one is going for $340 at the moment). Maybe a better system for vending tickets might be in order for the next event, yeah?

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E3 2017: Monster Hunter World demo, difficulty, global appeal, and leaks

Monster Hunter World‘s reveal caught me completely off guard during its E3 2017 reveal. We’d already had a title announced for the Nintendo Switch, and I’d figured that was our usual non-spinoff MH entry for the year. I’ve admittedly not finished or heavily invested in the series since leaving Japan, but part of that is because the American mobile gaming culture doesn’t really have the fanbase Japan does. In fact, I got into Monster Hunter Tri in a bad way because it was a console title. While the portability of the series really helped me to explore Japan’s gaming scene and meet fellow gamers face-to-face, my gut feeling upon seeing MHW’s console and PC plans was that Capcom might really be able to catch the western audience this time. And that was before seeing Monster Hunter lead designer Yuya Tokuda play the game in real time.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal group size for an MMORPG?

During this week’s Massively OP podcast (live this afternoon!), Justin and I tackled a detailed question about MMO group makeup, the trinity, and combat, and we took the opportunity to tangent a bit into praising City of Heroes, which not only managed to smash the trinity but did so in a way that increased the number of combat roles in a group over the standard, provided flexible difficulty modes at a time when that was unheard of, and scaled content to group size, meaning that you didn’t really need to take a full group of eight into most of the instanced content. You took what you had and that was enough. It was brilliant.

And while I’m not much of a fan of huge, methodical raids anymore, that’s more because I dislike them as the Only Thing To Do At Endgame. I do love massive group sizes, however, which is why I lamented the loss of the 20-man group in Star Wars Galaxies and adore the casual swarms of Guild Wars 2. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the formal group size is four or five or six; my guildies always seem to be one body short of what we need, and I constantly find myself wishing for City of Heroes’ ruleset.

What do you think is the ideal group size in an MMORPG? And do you base that on social balance or typical class configurations or something else entirely?

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E3 2017: Pokemon Go’s raiding, gym revamp, badges, and an interview with Niantic

Surprise! Niantic brought Pokemon Go to E3 2017 and invited members of the gaming press outside the sacred halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center to check out the upcoming raid system at a nearby gym. We were granted not just some juicy details on upcoming changes but a rare chance to interview several key members of the team, including Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura, Global Product Marketing Lead Archit Bhargava, and a bit of time with Niantic Director of Engineering Edward Wu.

Perhaps more so than the Generation 2 update, summer feels like it’s bringing an expansion-like update to the free to play game.

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Skyforge’s PS4 edition is beset by the Mechanoid War on June 27

My.com has today announced that PlayStation 4 fans will see their beloved Skyforge invaded by mechanoids on June 27th. In fact, the studio says it like it’s a good thing, and it probably is if you like loot and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, and it’s nice of them to tell you exactly when they’re going to show up, right?

“The Mechanoid legion has an uncontrollable thirst for knowledge and seeks to increase their own computing power,” studio Allods Team writes. “The robotic army is rapidly approaching and all players are being called on to defend their home planet from these menacing invaders.”

The so-dubbed Mechanoid War is considered a free expansion as the PS4 is doggedly catching up with the PC version of the game; the bundled content dump promises a new Divine Form appearance for elite players, plus “all new battles in challenging invasion zones, exciting boss battles, a completely new 10-man raid as well as the new and stronger generation 2 equipment as rewards.”

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Lineage 2 Revolution has soft launched on Google Play and iTunes

The Netmarble take on NCsoft’s Lineage franchise, Lineage 2 Revolution, has soft launched as a global version in multiple English-speaking markets and app stores this week as planned. The Unreal 4 game has already become a blockbuster overseas, having landed in the top 10 ten mobile games in SuperData’s revenue charts for the last several months and helping to propel Netmarble’s record setting $12B IPO bid this spring.

The game boasts high-ish end graphics for mobile devices and stock MMORPG mechanics usually reserved for PC and console games, including questing, raiding, and PvPing in an open-world setting. Anybody smacked this on a phone yet to try it out?

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