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EVE Online outlines plans to spin out a new chat system in March

The small portion of EVE Online players who will be heartbroken over the loss of the game’s voice chat will really just be riding the forefront of the game’s chat changes. Significant backend changes to the game’s chat functionality are coming with the March update, and the short version is that chat in general is getting spun out to a separate platform on a different infrastructure.

Why such a significant change? Well, for one thing, it should help reduce the chat load on specific nodes during fleet operations, and it also serves to help split up the game’s functionality into more manageable chunks for the development team. It also gives the game’s customer service team easier access to chat logs, so that should be fun, too. You shouldn’t notice any changes in-game after the chat changeover, but players are encouraged to report any bugs that managed to slip through as always.

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TERA’s Male Brawler class gets a March 13 release date

To celebrate the latest class to be added to En Masse’s TERA, the studio released a short trailer of a gauntleted fist beating the stuffing out of a panda. It’s a bold marketing strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them.

The panda-punching class in question is the male Brawler, who is arriving in the March 13th Counterpunch update (the action MMO previously added the female Brawler in a past patch). Mechanically, the male Brawler is identical to his female counterpart, although he will sport different skill animations.

TERA’s Counterpunch is also bringing back a slightly reworked Ruinous Manor dungeon, throwing in a leaderboard system for monthly seasons, and triggering a series of free giveaways. There is an additional character slot (March 13th through the 20th), a free special lootbox (March 17th and 18th), and a level up box for male Brawlers (March 13th through April 10th).

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s new outfit system is close to perfect

I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.

When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.

ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.

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World of Warcraft previews its upcoming Legacy loot mechanics

For all the good that World of Warcraft‘s level scaling has brought to the game, it has made farming for old appearances slightly more difficult. Now that the game’s dungeons are all synced to drop personal loot, it can be hard to farm things that you can unlock but wouldn’t drop under the game’s personal loot restrictions. Good news, then; when Battle for Azeroth rolls around, a new style of loot will be put into place for legacy loot in content that you outlevel by a significant margin.

Any dungeons or raids that you enter while at least 10 levels above the “designed” levels will activate Legacy loot; every boss will drop as many items as possible, and all loot can be freely traded between party members when things drop. Loot is split between players, however, so if a boss drops four things for a two-person party, both players will get two items. It should make for an easier time getting cosmetics and farming for them, so that’ll be a welcome change – especially with a whole new expansion’s worth of stuff to farm for transmog purposes.

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Black Desert’s Arsha PvP server is live today, while absolute skills for all classes go live next week

Brand-new PvP server Arsha is live as promised in Black Desert today. It’s running an alternative ruleset with “notably increased defense” stats, extra debuff immunities, altered damage calculations, and no world bosses. The intent, Kakao says, is “to enable fairer, less one-sided fights.” Just remember: “PvP between Characters (including Forced PvP) will be free from all penalties” unless you’re already saddled with an evil karma rating.

But the bigger news coming out of the South Korean import today is its plans for absolute skills.

“Over the last two years, all 15 available classes received the first awakening weapon that provided Black Desert Online players with a whole new way to play their characters,” Kakao explains. “It unlocked new powerful combos, fighting styles and tactical advantages that made each class more diverse, but it also meant that many players diverted away from their main weapon skills. To rival the awakening weapons, Pearl Abyss has developed the Absolute Skills which balances the original main weapon with regards to damage output, giving players unprecedented freedom and a huge array of combat tactics to overcome even the toughest challenge.”

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Rumors swirl about a Warcraft 3 announcement… like a remaster

If you’re looking for the source of the story behind World of Warcraft, you can look no further than Warcraft 3. Most of the conflicts that have kept the game going through its many expansions got their start there, and so it’s kind of a lodestone for the game’s overarching story and plot. So it’s worth paying attention when there are rumors that the game will be getting some sort of major update, based on a new installer and a secret event that had several top players flown out for a meeting.

So what’s happening next? We don’t know yet, although a remaster along the lines of the recent StarCraft remaster seems like the most likely reason. We don’t know yet, though, so people can feel free to speculate endlessly about what might be next for the venerable RTS game. A remaster would certainly help a lot of fans get new familiarity with a very big part of the Warcraft universe lore, after all.

Source: Blizzard Watch, Icy Veins; thanks to Sally for the tip!

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See how World of Warcraft’s art has evolved with Battle for Azeroth’s critters

Ever since its launch back in 2004, World of Warcraft has never boasted the most cutting-edge graphics and polygon counts. This was intentional, of course, as to keep the MMO available to a large of a crowd as possible, and Blizzard compensated with a colorful and creative art style.

Yet the game hasn’t remained stuck in 2004. The art style and detail has improved over the years, and with the higher system requirements for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, World of Warcraft is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of its more lackluster models to a higher fidelity.

Nowhere is this as apparent as with the game’s critters and creatures. YouTuber Bellular put together a video showing the art evolution between old and new beasts, some of which are truly shocking in their difference. Check it out below!

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Path of Exile shows off its new boss fight with Vilenta

With the next major patch (numbered 3.2, for reference) for Path of Exile, players are going to have other things to contend with in terms of content and a new challenge league (the Bestiary league, which is all sorts of monster-collecting mischief). Players are also going to have to contend with a new boss fight in act 10, however, pitting you against Vilenta. How’s that going to work out? Well, just check out the video below to see the fight in action.

It’s important to note that the preview video doesn’t exactly show tactics so much as the experience; we’re pretty sure that your health will actually dip at certain points during the actual boss fight. Still, though, it should serve as more than enough to get you excited about throwing down with a new boss. And if there’s more lore included about the boss as well, that just makes things better, yes?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 158: We are all heroes

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin put on their voxel capes as they look ahead to Trove’s new expansion, LOTRO’s Hobbit fantasies, the ups and downs of Elder Scrolls Online’s outfit system, and more!

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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Neverwinter shows off the ruined undercity of Omu

If there’s one universal rule to cities, it’s that they’ve got some other ruined underground city you can also explore because cities work like layer cakes. You don’t believe us? Are you calling Neverwinter a liar? Because there’s a whole lot of undercity lying underneath the Lost City of Omu, and by gosh, you’re going to want to explore every inch of it in hopes of finding some magical artifacts that have just been left in there piled in a heap in the corner.

Yeah, that’s how ruined cities work, too. Valuable artifacts just got thrown into the Artifact Corner. Don’t ask us why, we’re not city planners.

If you’re interested in looking through these ruined subterranean structures, you can take a full look through the tour guide on the official site (we’ve got the images just below, as well), where you can learn a little more about the various locations now found away from the gaze of the sun. There’s no mention of being able to buy up ruined portions of the city for gentrification and/or installing a Whole Foods, but we can assume.

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The ESA is fighting proposed DMCA exemptions that would preserve sunsetted MMORPGs because of course it is

Over the last couple of years, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been petitioning for changes to the DMCA to help preserve old video games – to eliminate server-based DRM and legalize emulators for games that had been abandoned. As of 2015, the Library of Congress granted the request, but the exemption very specifically didn’t cover closed-down MMORPGs.

Then, in October of 2017, the US Copyright Office effectively renewed the exception and reopened the argument, in part because of a Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) proposal to consider even massively-multiplayer games on the table for archival purposes. Even if you have no interest in playing on an emulator for an ancient MMORPG, surely you can see the value in allowing future historians the opportunity to see these worlds first-hand instead of through blurry YouTube videos. The code still exists, after all; outdated laws simply keep them closed to all of us.

Not so fast, says the good ol’ Entertainment Software Association.

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Dauntless previews the gameplay changes coming to islands

When you’re exploring islands in Dauntless, you are looking for fun. Part of that means looking for the game’s huge behemoths to fight, but part of it is also about finding the weird stuff off the beaten path, exploring more and learning more about the world. The next set of changes to the islands is about improving that experience, starting with destructible environments that allow behemoths to just clear through and smash the crap out of you regardless of any trees or hillocks in the way.

The changes aren’t limited to when you’re fighting, though. Players can find more points of interest scattered around islands, as well as new traversal options to give you more ways to get from place to place within that same island. There are also entirely new islands coming, if you feel like you’ve already seen the existing islands to the point where more make you want to scream. Check out the full rundown to see the upcoming changes, and strap on your exploration and hunting gear for when they arrive on the live game.

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Get a bird’s eye view of LOTRO’s new Mirkwood map

Sometimes you can learn an awful lot from an in-game map.

Take for example Lord of the Rings Online’s Northern Mirkwood map, which testers have accessed during the Update 22 beta. It shows a truly huge zone that is divided between the dense leafy forest and the eastern Dale-lands. Not only can you get a sense of scale here, but also there are many tantalizing landmarks on display for future exploration.

YouTuber Andang took fans through this map and its highlights while moving on to the new larger Rhovanion map that might contain clues pointing toward future zones and expansion. He notes that Northern Mirkwood is truly disconnected from any other zones (being situated far north of the existing Southern Mirkwood) and that it has map markers pointing toward regions like the Iron Hills, Fields of Celduin, and the Mountains of Mirkwood.

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