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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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Final Fantasy XI players gather cherished memories for anniversary celebration

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Final Fantasy franchise, but it also marks the 15th anniversary of Final Fantasy XI. And yes, the game is looking quite good for a 15-year-old title. Players have taken the initiative to celebrate the lengthy history in other ways, however, by kicking off a community project to gather up the playerbase's cherished memories of the game over the 15 years of history.

The plan is to gather up all of the messages of player memories and send them in to the developers, showing them how profoundly and positively the game has impacted its playerbase. If you've played the game in the past and want to let the Japanese team know how much that's meant to you, hop on by and fire off a message of goodwill, whether you're a former player or someone who's been in-game since the lights came on.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Luis for the tip!

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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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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV's removed skills, Ranged/Caster edition

Well, folks, by all reasonable estimation we're going to have the final story patch of Heavensward next week. Why? Because there's no more March for it to exist in after that. So it seems like a reasonable prediction, and it also gives me just enough time to finish up with these Final Fantasy XIV skill predictions before I want to move on to reviewing the expansion in hindsight anyhow. So everybody wins, if I double up today.

The first installment is all about tanks, while the second installment is all about melee DPS. As always, the usual disclaimer applies that this is all speculation, not absolute fact; I don't have a clearer picture than you do about how abilities are actually being arranged. If you think I'm wrong? I might very well be wrong! All I can do is justify what I say and make my case. Let's move on.

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The Daily Grind: Will World of Warcraft hold its 7.2 patch until June?

On October 24th, World of Warcraft launched patch 7.1, which contained a lot of not-quite-ready-for-launch Legion features and a bit of content. Since then, the game hasn't really launched any content. Sure, patch 7.1.5 launched in early January, but that just added the Brawler's Guild back to the game for content (which, admittedly, has a lot of new boss fights). We're looking at a content gap that's starting to spread out a fair bit already, and patch 7.2 is coming out... well, eventually?

Of course, MOP's Bree and I are in pretty close agreement about when it's coming out: June. Because that's when a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind both launch, so they're going to want to try to kneecap both of those launches.

At least from this side of the fence, that's a pretty dumb plan. It's the same plan that was in place for patch 6.2 of Warlords of Draenor, which wound up with lots of complaints about the delays, and it doesn't seem to have really crippled the launch it wanted to "intercept" there, either. Still, it's the sort of plan that Blizzard has used in the patch, and with two big competing releases in the same month it seems almost absurd to think it wouldn't be tried. So what do you think, dear readers? What do you think the odds are of WoW holding its next patch until June? And how much grousing do you expect if people are waiting that long for more content?

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Wakfu postpones server merges but plans account purge in 30 days

Wakfu players should be advised that Ankama is undergoing a purge of inactive Wakfu accounts. If you haven't logged into the website or the game in the past two years, have never subbed, and have never spent anything in the cash shop, your account (and its characters) will be subject to the purge. You can log into the website to keep your account within the next 30 days.

Meanwhile, the studio says it will be postponing its planned server merges until the end of the year to "give the team more time to find the very best solutions."

"The decision to postpone the merge is based on the concerns you expressed in our forums: What will happen to our Haven World? Our guilds? The server economy? Our equipment? We have gathered all of your questions and requests and passed them on to the team. We also know about the abusive player killing (PK) issue and we will work to find solutions. We are aware that problems exist and we realize how important they are."

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Final Fantasy XIV discontinues 90-day subscription option for PS3 players on March 18

If you're playing Final Fantasy XIV on a PlayStation 3, your days are numbered. Support for the platform is being discontinued with the launch of Stormblood, something that the official site is reminding remaining console players about on a regular basis. This is why the option to pay for a 90-day subscription for PS3 users is being removed on the weekend of March 18th; you won't have more than 90 days to play, so it's unfair to have you pay for that full subscription.

Of course, if you are on PS3 and want to keep playing, the game is still running on PC and PS4, and you can take advantage of the game's upgrade option to move your account to the PS4 at no additional cost. (If you don't already own a PS4, it's still a bit pricey.) It's just the end of support for the old hardware already struggling on occasion, but it's being done with an eye toward transparency for players on every platform.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Japan and the US led mobile app sales in 2016

We're number one! No, actually, we're number two. And it's in mobile sales. Dammit.

That's according to AppAnnie, which on Friday released its 2016 rankings of mobile app publishes across the world. Japan and the US led the pack, followed by China, though it's China's Tencent that topped the publisher list itself thanks to its purchase of Clash of Clans dev Supercell last year.

"Year over year we see that Asian-Pacific publishers dominate the Top 52. This year was no exception, with 30 of the top publishers hailing from that region. But when we look at the country breakdown, it’s clear that the United States and Japan are producing some of the most influential and successful publishers."

US-based Activision-Blizzard is the fifth highest-revenue publisher on the list (thanks, Candy Crush and Hearthstone). Niantic, the dev behind last year's breakout Pokemon Go, comes in 10th place, ahead of Square Enix, Electronic Arts, and Sony.

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Wisdom of Nym: Abilitiy revisions for Final Fantasy XIV: Melee edition

I had really hoped for something a touch more substantial about Stormblood from this weekend's event, but we got what we got. Thus we are still, to some extent, in the dark about ability revisions in Final Fantasy XIV, which does mean I get to speculate about stuff that's being removed or changed a bit longer, since last week I managed to get through the tanks and nothing else.

Look, the jobs in the game are rather extensive. And numerous.

If you didn't catch last week's column, I go over the general philosophy behind what abilities seem most likely to be turned into traits or outright removed right there, so that should be relevant. Worth noting before we go too far into it, of course, is that on pretty much every single job I'm trying to list more stuff than what will likely be changed. If you think that I've got an awful lot of candidates for removal in place, you're right! That's literally the point because some of them will no doubt remain unchanged.

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PAX East 2017: Hands-on with the surprisingly fun Kritika Online

It's pretty much a rule of nature that at least one game is going to be far better and more fun to play than I expected on the PAX East show floor. This has been true every year, and while the past couple of years have involved my spending a bit less time on the show floor overall, I've still walked away with some surprises. This year, it was Kritika Online.

What I expected from Kritika Online was... well, nothing particularly impressive. I didn't expect it to be bad, but that was because I didn't expect much from it at all. It was a game that En Masse was bringing over that sounded, at a glance, like the sort of game which fades from memory shortly after you play it. What I actually got was a game that has a clean purpose and remarkably fun mechanics, like the pure product of an MMO marrying a Dynasty Warriors clone.

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The MOP Up: Wakfu hikes up a mountain (March 12, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Heroes and Generals, Faeria, City of HeroesLineage MArmored WarfareWakfuArk ParkDauntlessDark Age of CamelotOverwatchBlade and Soul: Table ArenaLeague of LegendsStrikers Edge, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!

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