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Wisdom of Nym: Deep-diving Final Fantasy XIV’s leveling structure

I do a lot of leveling in Final Fantasy XIV. This is, in part, because I am stupid; for several dumb reasons I have my main character and six alts, which is not seven only because Balmung is currently locked. (As soon as that changes? Seven.) I also have a spreadsheet tracking my progress across every character that currently has me finishing up – as in, bringing a single job for each alt and every class for my main – in early November. So I spend a lot of time thinking about leveling. And I think the game is better than it’s ever been in Stormblood, in leveling as well as other departments.

Of course, there are people who aren’t as happy about it, for understandable reasons. There are dead spaces for every job in the current leveling setup, levels where you get either nothing or no impactful additions. (A trait boosting your primary stat is definitely important, but it doesn’t really change what you’re doing.) It’s even prompted some people complaining about how late certain jobs get their core mechanics and how the level sync works.

So let’s talk about all of this. And more to the point, let’s start by explaining why a lot of the staggering of abilities amounts to, in fact, a good thing.

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Happy 20th birthday, Ultima Online! Here’s how to get caught up on the OG MMORPG

Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.

That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.

Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.

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Wild West Online begins its second tech alpha test today

The first technical alpha for Wild West Online was a success, at least in that lots of stuff broke. But when you’re running a technical alpha, you want things to break. So the game has gotten a round of fixes over the past week, and now the developers want the testing cadre to swing in and break all of those fixes with the start of the second technical alpha test today. You’ll have to work hard to break stuff, though; the developers say they’ve worked their tushes off on crashes and stability bugs.

If you’re not interested in just paying to play a game to get it to not work, you can also take part in some actual content, as this build adds in missions (chiefly for tutorial purposes) and new HUD graphics. There are also better systems in place to track discoveries and better maps, so you’ll have more to do just riding around. If you’re in the testing, get ready to mosey on back in and start breaking a whole new set of fixes.

We streamed the first alpha test last weekend; take a peek down below.

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Discover actual exoplanets and earn EVE Online rewards – without ever leaving the ship dock

Have you heard in passing this “Project Discovery” thing in EVE Online and wondered what it is all about? CCP put together a new tutorial video that explains the purpose behind Project Discovery, how players can help, and what they will earn for their troubles.

Project Discovery is a collaborative, crowdsourced effort to reward players in-game for helping out on what are effectively “citizen science” projects. Last year’s program tasked players with identifying cell structures to assist the Human Genome Project. This particular leg of the program, first revealed at last spring’s EVE Fanfest in Iceland, sets players to work hunting for exoplanets in other solar systems. Players have the option of analyzing a star’s luminosity to see if there are any dips, signifying that a planet has crossed between the star and the telescope. The more accurate a player is in his or her analysis (compared to the rest of the EVE community), the more experience points will be doled out for a special reward track.

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PAX West 2017: ArcheAge’s Corgi Conundrum, anniversary update, and the 4.0 expansion

Nothing may quite compare to last week’s big server evolution in scope of change for ArcheAge, but there are more changes coming over the next couple of months. The good news is one of those involves corgis! Who doesn’t love corgis?

At this year’s PAX West, I talked with Trion Associate Producer Seraphina Brennan – whom many of you will remember as a former Massively writer from many years ago when we were under AOL! – about ArcheAge’s third anniversary this month, the remainder of the 3.7 update with its lunagem overhaul, and the release of expansion 4.0 with its new ship, cross-server arenas, improved crafting UI and tutorials, and currency conversion. Let’s dig in!

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PAX West 2017: Hand of the Gods’ Japanese pantheon and the possibility of 2v2

While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.

In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.

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PAX West 2017: Hands-on with Dauntless’ new behemoth

Although I’d recently played a bit of Dauntless, I was looking forward to my hands-on at PAX West. That’s because I was primed to see — and hopefully face — a new behemoth. I also spoke with Phoenix Labs’ Encounter Designer Reid Buckmaster about development, reception of the game at the convention, plans moving forward, and of course, behemoths.

One of the unique aspects of fighting behemoths is the fact that you can break off physical pieces of the boss to weaken them and score specific loot. Currently in the beta, there are around a dozen different behemoths, according to Buckmaster, but each of those has different variants between easier tutorial ones, the base versions, and then hard versions that include different attacks and attack patterns. “All told with the variants we have I believe it’s 27 different versions of encounters in Dauntless right now,” he said. “Every encounter has a little something new to encounter.”

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Secret World Legends’ raid update and Manhattan Exclusion zone are now live

Level 50 Secret World Legends folks, get ready to raid… again. Funcom’s just released the New York raid to the relaunched and retooled MMO.

“The Manhattan Exclusion zone is now available for daring agents seeking thrills and danger! Also known as New York Raid or simply NYR, [it tasks you] with neutralizing big trouble in the Big Apple. In keeping with our commitment to allow everyone to experience Secret World Legends’ story, the raid features multiple difficulty levels so players of all backgrounds have an opportunity to defeat the Unutterable Lurker, the massive foe encountered at the end of the tutorial mission.”

Rewards include achievements, weapons, talismans, minipets, and outfits.

“Earning rewards from the raid does not require any keys nor tokens, but does have a timed lockout,” Funcom notes. “Patronage does not affect this lockout timer. Players are currently agitating against those cooldown timers; we covered that issue earlier today. Check out the trailer below!

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PAX West 2017: Total War Arena’s hounds of war and World of Tanks’ war stories

When you think about Wargaming, you don’t really think about characters or troops — you think about war machines. But Total War: Arena’s inclusion into the studio’s publishing portfolio is not nearly as out of place as it may first seem. Created by Creative Assembly, Total War: Arena is a lobby-based war game, just like the World of trilogy. The big differences are the time period and the use of troops instead of vehicles. And the newest troops to enter the game are the war hounds.

At PAX West, I got to sit down with Senior Producer John King to discuss the new commander Boudica while watching her unleash her war hounds on the battlefield, plus I got to check out World of Tanks’ war stories in person!

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EVE Valkyrie will be getting loot boxes

There’s really no two ways about this particular tidbit of news. CCP is adding loot boxes to EVE Valkyrie, according to a recent interview. The boxes are expected to drop about every two battles on average, with each box containing random items including cosmetic items and experience boosters. If all of that sounds like exactly what you would expect from the statement “CCP is adding loot boxes EVE Valkyrie,” well, you’ve done this dance a few times.

There’s no word at this point about said boxes being added to a microtransaction store, but all things considered you can probably mark it as highly likely at the very least. You can also get at least one box for completing the in-game tutorial, so that’s added motivation to learn how to fly your craft. Those of you who went into a spontaneous rage-seizure upon seeing the term “loot boxes,” of course, can jump straight to the comments.

Gosh, you don’t think this might be tied to making the game no longer require a VR headset, could it?

Source: PCgamesN

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Ashes of Creation previews PAX pre-alpha tutorial, plans ‘alpha zero’ for December

If you can’t make the Ashes of Creation demo and panel at this weekend’s PAX West, don’t fret: You can still check out the game’s current state in its new pre-alpha tutorial video, almost 10 minutes of narrated in-game footage, including combat (and it’s looking pretty good, especially for a pre-alpha!). There’s a run-down of the quartet of classes that were previewed earlier this week too.

There’s more. “We are proud to announce that our Alpha Zero will begin December 15th, 2017,” the studio posts excitedly. (I say excitedly because there are two exclamation points.) “This Alpha Zero is only available to registered members on our website through weekly drawings.”

We’ll be at PAX this weekend to check the game out in person; for now, the video’s below.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO tutorial experience is your favorite?

The best way to learn how to play most MMOs is to already know how to play them. Heck, there are major parts of games you just can’t teach with tutorials. There’s no way for EVE Online to really explain its sprawling player-run conflicts to a new player, and it’s hard to really give players in Final Fantasy XI a clear picture of how the game will run to various different zones with a bunch of NPCs when all of this was communicated by players back in the day.

Still, there are games that try harder than others to offer useful tutorials. World of Warcraft, for all its faults, puts a lot of effort into making low-level play feel engaging and dynamic so that new players will stick around and understand the game. But what about you, dear readers? What MMO tutorial experience is your favorite? Is it one that gave you the best understanding of the game you were about to play, one that was doing its best to get out of your way, or just one that you feel particularly attached to?

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Black Desert team reveals perma-AFK leveling, tent camping, and a wicked sea monster

(We’ve updated this article since it went live with additional notes from Kakao – it’s all at the end!)

When it comes to divining the future of an MMO that comes from the east, it is best to go right to the source. Pearl Abyss released an anniversary letter looking at the overall vision for Black Desert, including its plans for what’s to come.

Black Desert is preparing a “second awakening” to help balance the classes out more, a feat that the team feels it hasn’t accomplished as of yet. Players will soon be able to grind experience while AFK on new permanent Black Spirit trainers, enjoy an overhauled tutorial system, shop at a luxury auction house, deploy a tent in the field to camp, and fight Bell, a sea monster guarding a valuable treasure (as previewed yesterday).

“Bell is a new sea monster we are adding,” the team said. “You will need a group of players with powerful ships like the Epheria Saiilboat or the new Epheria Convoy. Cannons and hunting rifles will be used to hunt it down. Players that defeat Bell will have a shot at Bell’s heart, the best alchemy stone in game.”

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