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E3 2018: Blizzard discusses keeping storytelling going in World of Warcraft

There are a lot of elements to weave together to tell stories in World of Warcraft. You can argue over whether or not the team doing so is actually very good at that task, but the point is that it is quite a task, and the panel for the team at this year’s E3 was all about the challenges of weaving together the game’s story and keeping things consistent. That alone is a challenge when you’re telling a story across games, novels, and various other formats for an extended period of time.

The team is promising to try new things during the lead-up to Battle for Azeroth, along with more major lore characters waving farewell. And there’s a discussion of the challenges in doing just that, along with keeping things consistent and building on long-term stories. If you’d like to look more closely behind the scenes, watch the panel just below; it’s only about half an hour long.

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Wisdom of Nym: Some story breakdown from Final Fantasy XIV’s latest patch

I had said before patch 4.3 came out that we were going to learn a fair bit about the future direction of Final Fantasy XIV from this patch, and I stand by that. It isn’t explicit, of course – it sort of couldn’t be – but there are definitely more hints about what happens next from this patch alone, simply by virtue of the fact that there had to be. After all, we’re wrapping up our problems at breakneck pace otherwise; we don’t want to be sitting here in November when the expansion is revealed without an idea of where we’re going, do we?

Of course, the picture that it pains thus far also isn’t a pretty one, and there are a whole lot of question marks without solid answers. That’s part of the nature of this exercise. So let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from patch 4.3 and both what has gone said and gone unsaid. Fair warning, if it wasn’t obvious from context alone, there will be unmarked spoilers below. If you haven’t finished the story, you may wish to look away or resign yourself to spoiling.

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World of Warcraft gives us a comic-based tour of the Windrunner family reunion

Sometimes it’s debatable whether or not World of Warcraft needs more of its lore in-game. Obviously, the newest Battle for Azeroth lead-up comic focused on the reunion between the Windrunner sisters is relevant lore; the return of Alleria and dealing with that particular tangle is important. But it’d be hard to really have it in quest format. “A journey and reunion between three sisters… oh, and this Tauren Sylvanas really likes. That’s not awkward at all.”

Of course the comic is already filled with plenty of awkwardness, seeing as how Sylvanas is the Warchief of the Horde, Alleria is filled with the Void, and Vereesa is as sad about the death of Rhonin as most players aren’t. So you can imagine that the comic doesn’t end with a feel-good message of togetherness. Still, if you’d like to see how the reunion goes down, you can read the full thing on the official site.

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth looks at Magni and slashes tank threat generation

Players who feel like tanking is too straightforward in World of Warcraft will definitely have to do more stuff in Battle for Azeroth. Whether or not that’s more fun is a different story, but tanks are having their threat generation cut to 40% of their baseline value in Legion and as low as 20% of the threat generated by a fully geared endgame tank. So expect to tab around a lot more and frantically taunt things to keep everything on you. Doesn’t that sound fun?

No? Well, it’s happening anyhow, apparently.

Speaking of thankless chores you didn’t want, the latest comic leading up to the next expansion centers around Magni, former king of Ironforge and current speaker for the planet of Azeroth. It’s a thankless job with long hours, low pay, and also the fate of an entire planet resting on your diamond shoulders. Learn all about it in comic form!

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World of Warcraft previews the foreboding land of Drustvar

The header image may have clued you in to the idea that Drustvar is not the most welcoming spot in Azeroth. Once you head there in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, you won’t be exploring the brightest portions of Kul Tiras. But you can get some sense of what the zone will feel like with the latest preview on the official site, showing you exactly what’s to be found within these darkened reaches of the Kul Tiran forests.

There’s witchcraft afoot in the whole zone, and from the moment you land you’ll be surrounded not just by the naval culture of Kul Tiras but also by suspicion and dark magics. Work your way along cobbled paths and into darker woods as you head west to the snow-covered mountains, which stretch all the way to Iceveil Glacier in the south. It’s not quite the full foot tour you can get in the game, but it should give you some sense of how the zone will feel.

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Neverwinter details the cursed lands of Ravenloft and Barovia zone

The world of Ravenloft is a perfectly nice place to visit in Neverwinter. There are slight caveats, of course; to really enjoy it you just have to make sure you plan on never leaving. Or never being free of horrors in the middle of the night. Or shrieking terrors in the middle of the day. Or ever-present, all-surrounding mists. So it’s actually not very nice at all and you can’t visit, because once you’re there you’re there forever. Helpfully, this is all explained in the latest lore entry on the official site.

Players will be chasing on the trail of the legend of Strahd, a nobleman who gave the nomadic Vistaria free passage through his lands (sounds like a decent guy) and also damned himself and everyone near him to an eternity of torment (less decent). If you’re unfamiliar with the Ravenloft setting, it’s a good quick primer about why the members of your immediate friend circle who are familiar with it respond to requests to enter with a flip-off and a laugh.

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Newest World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth build includes broadcast text for Teldrassil and Mag’har recruitment

We’ve long known that Teldrassil will burn in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. We’ve also known for at least a decently long while that the Mag’har will join the Horde. But the latest beta build contains mined-out text hinting at what takes place during both. The former is largely what you would expect for various interactions, but the latter includes some surprising developments such as a pretty significant time skip and other… unexpected twists. (We’ll leave the details out in case you’d rather not be spoiled.)

If you’re uninterested in the lore side of things, perhaps you’ll be interested in the various class and ability changes dug out from the latest build. Or maybe you’re just looking forward to War Mode, which gives you access to all of your PvP talents and a 15% experience boost in exchange for putting a metaphorical target over your head. You decide which of the above matters most to you, of course; perhaps the answer is “all of it.”

Source: Wowhead (1, 2, 3, 4)

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO names always get you to flub up?

You don’t want to know how long it took me to reliably spell “Roegadyn” correctly, despite the fact that it’s one of the five initial races from Final Fantasy XIV and thus has been there since the game’s initial launch. For a long time I just gave up and went with “not-Galka” when I needed to refer to them. It’s not even that hard to spell!

Of course, it’s not the only thing in games that somehow always makes me screw up. I know his name is Lord Recluse, and yet half of the time in casual conversation the villainous lead in City of Heroes gets called “Lord Arachnos.” Half of the time I call the Gree of Star Wars: The Old Republic “the Grell,” and I once called the Sylvari of Guild Wars 2 “plant elves.” Which is only half wrong, but…

The point is that I think we all have names that we just can’t type or continually forget or mix up. So what about you, dear readers? Which MMO names always get you to flub up, no matter how important or straightforward they may be?

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Explore the Psijic Order of The Elder Scrolls Online

The Psijic Order is not new to the world of The Elder Scrolls Online. It’s really the proper antecedent of the well-known Mage’s Guild. The difference, though, is that the Psijic Order doesn’t care about teaching anyone anything. It doesn’t have any particular inclination to serve as more than an advisor for certain groups, and the order has since withdrawn itself into its home island of Artaeum, just south of Summerset. All it wants to do is study the making of the world.

Of course, the game wouldn’t be making a big deal out of it now if the order weren’t coming back into the forefront. Players will need to engage with the Order in Summerset, and it’s got connections with the strange circumstances surrounding the High Elven home. It’s on your side, at least at first, but of course the Order isn’t going to disclose all of its secrets to players as soon as they meet… which means you’ll have to suss out some of them for yourself. Check out the lore trailer just below for more on the Order.

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Season four – and that pesky meteor overhead – are finally approaching Fortnite

Players have been speculating a lot about what will happen when the meteor hanging in the sky over Fortnite’s world finally hits, but we’ll find out tomorrow when Season 4 arrives. It’s been getting extensive teasing, too, and there are even little meteors already smacking the ground. The fan speculation that Tilted Towers is getting destroyed hasn’t gone away, but the latest image to promote the new season seems to hint at a permanent crater and new superhero-themed costumes.

Of course, the game has been building up hype for some time with whispers of aliens and the ever-present meteor, but tomorrow will reveal what all this has actually been building toward over time. As a device to get players invested, it’s certainly worked wonders; let’s see what happens when that big ball of rock hits the ground.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch reveals our future story

The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV is something we should all watch closely. Because it’s going to tell us plenty about where we’re heading in the next expansion.

We haven’t yet been told that we’ll learn about a new expansion this year, but we have a fan festival on the calendar, we’re moving through the middle of the patch, and FFXIV moves on a content delivery schedule reliable enough to set your clock by. So we know that announcement is happening this year, and we can all bet on it coming out in June of next year. (If it’s running really late, maybe July.)

And this is the patch where we’ll find out where we’re headed. Not that we’ll be told yet, of course; we were never actually told in-universe that we were heading to Ala Mhigo until it happened, after all. But this is the point when threads need to start collecting into a useful form, and so it’s best to watch closely and see which elements are being picked up and tugged along for our next destination.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO does dinosaurs the best?

Dinosaurs are one of those wells that seem to show up in a lot of MMOs. World of Warcraft? Yes, there are whole zones dedicated to dino-antics. Neverwinter? Plenty of dinosaurs in the latest stories. Final Fantasy XIV? Lots of dinos in places where you wouldn’t expect them. Star Trek Online? Yes, we got dinosaurs on spaceships in that game. It’s dinosaurs everywhere, and for some reason none of them have feathers.

That’s a bit of a sore point because dinosaurs had feathers, but then, most dinosaurs also didn’t fight people in spaceships. That we know of.

Asking which game should add dinosaurs becomes a rather silly question, then, because there are a minority of ones that don’t, and the ones that do not could probably benefit from them but are unlikely to add them. (That being said, if Ever, Jane adds dinosaurs, it’d be cool.) But which of the many MMOs with dinosaurs handles them best? Which one has the best variety of terrible lizards to interact with and the most satisfying cast of dinos?

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Fortnite brings out a newer, better 50v50 battle mode

People liked the 50v50 mode in Fortnite, but it had some issues. Fortunately, it was only a limited-time mode, so the developers could take it out back when its time had come. Polish it up, refine the systems, double-check everything, and bring it back as the new and improved 50v50 mode version two. That name might not sound terribly ominous, but it’s the huge matches people enjoyed coupled with new improvements and refinements. And it’s starting… today, actually.

The patch also has a number of other features, however; there’s a new cyberpunk story chapter in the Save The World mode, and a new high-capacity machine gun available in Battle Royale. So even if you don’t want to go big, you will not be forced to go home. Meanwhile, some players are obsessed with a comet that they think is going to destroy Tilted Towers, so it’s possible that everyone will feel really silly about worrying over the size of battles.

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