updates

Path of Exile explains upcoming Energy Shield mechanical changes

There are some big changes coming to Energy Shield in Path of Exile’s next expansion, and as tends to happen with major system changes, the designers have penned a lengthy column explaining why these changes exist. It’s not that Energy Shield is inherently bad, obviously; the problem is that with high enough values and the right collection of relics, players can ultimately use Energy Shield to completely replace Life as a survival mechanic, which results in characters with enormous health pools without any investment in doing so.

To fix this problem high-end shield values have been significantly tuned down, and several different items have had their synergy with Energy Shield adjusted to provide a more tangible drawback. Vaal Pact, for example, will no longer provide any benefit to Energy Shield (whereas it currently allows almost an immediate refill of shields without any drawbacks). However, it will also be possible for players to craft better Energy Shield items earlier, so players can still try out the builds that made these changes necessary; they’ll still be potent, but they should no longer make you effectively unkillable.

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WildStar is finishing its switch to ProtoBucks instead of NCoins

The conversion to a proprietary currency for WildStar microtransactions is almost complete. While WildStar has been using NCoins (NCsoft’s microtransaction currency), it introduced ProtoBucks some time ago. When patch 1.7.2 releases, players will no longer be able to convert NCoins to ProtoBucks, meaning that NCoins will no longer be usable within the game in any fashion. The change appears to be chiefly aimed at allowing the game to hold promotions and sales for its own currency without affecting the overall exchange rate for NCoins, although if you want to speculate about deeper meanings, who are we to stop you?

Patch 1.7.2 is also introducing community plots, and the map for these plots has been posted by an enterprising Reddit user. If you’ve got a cluster of friends playing the game and you all want to live together, it’s well worth checking out the sort of landscape you’ll be dealing with.

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The Days of Glory come to Skyforge through May 24

We’ve mentioned before that the world of Skyforge tends to get invaded pretty regularly at this point. The first time it happened, though? That was a big deal. It’s the first invasion and the victory against the Mechanoids that the Days of Glory event is celebrating, and players can take part to earn various special rewards purchased through Ether Traces.

During the event, which runs until May 24th, players can examine displays about the first invasion, relive the battles of the past, and track down the mystery of various strange letters. You can also activate the virtual battle challenge and see how long you last against virtual challenge battles. Hey, if you can’t celebrate this stuff as a deity, when can you?

Of course, PlayStation 4 players have reason enough to celebrate when the game’s first console expansion, the Risen Exiles, hits on May 16th, bringing the Monk, Necromancer, and Witch to the console. It also brings new areas, 10v10 PvP battles, and the start of the Pantheon Wars. Check out the trailer just below.

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Fan-made Overwatch short explores Mercy’s backstory

If you’ve played a single Overwatch game with Mercy as your support hero, you’ve heard her rallying shout at least once – “Heroes never die!” That serves as both the title and the central theme behind a new fan-made film pitting Mercy against Widowmaker and exploring the good doctor’s past and motivation. It’s only a short film, but the production values are great for a fan film, and it’s well worth watching just below.

Oh, you don’t want to pay attention to dedicated fan productions, you just want to worry about actual balance changes? Fine, go over the changes from the game’s latest test patch. Soldier: 76 is getting his damage tuned down and Reinhardt’s Earthshatter will be a bit more restricted vertically; meanwhile, Genji and Hanzo can do damage faster after climbing walls and Orisa can use her protective barrier more often. There are your mechanical changes.

Seriously, a lot of effort went into that fan film. You should watch that.

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World of Warcraft is testing Mythic keystone changes for patch 7.2.5

There have been good parts and bad parts of Mythic keystones in World of Warcraft, and the team is planning to address the latter with patch 7.2.5. First and foremost, the team is getting rid of the depletion mechanic altogether; while it was originally believed that would make for a more interesting experience, in practice it’s generally very easy to get the “right” keystones regardless. Instead, the game will simply give you a keystone one level lower than what you had if you fail to complete the dungeon on the timer (either for another dungeon if you miss the timer but clear the dungeon, or for the same dungeon if you don’t even clear it).

The reward structure is also going to change to discourage groups rushing through lower-tier Mythic keystones while passing over players who can actually get upgrades. Beating the timer will now award three items in the chest at the end, with no extra chests added for a faster completion. Players in the thread are rather upset by this particular announcement. So no more extra chests, but your keystones won’t get depleted, and perhaps it’ll mean a better Mythic keystone experience for all.

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WildStar patch 1.7.1 arrives tomorrow, complete with expert Skullcano

Ready to challenge a few more bits of group content at Prime difficulty in WildStar? You’ll have your chance when patch 1.7.1 arrives on May 3rd. Why, that’s tomorrow, isn’t it? How positively wonderful!

The patch adds Skullcano (which is still the most metal dungeon name ever), Outpost M-13, and Rage Logic to the Prime difficulty rotation. Players can also check out how they’re doing relative to other players with the addition of new PvE leaderboards, which will let you see how you measure up against solo players and other groups.

The patch also brings in a new shared realm bank for your characters and new fortunes from Madame Fay, which will be perfect for players who would rather not be on the competitive side of things. You can take a look at the full set of patch notes to find out more about the features included, or you can just jump in and start going for new group content immediately.

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Path of Exile previews updated NPC models and adds new cosmetics to its store

Since Path of Exile’s next major update is really heavy on story, it’s the perfect time for the team behind the game to work on updating old NPC models around the game. After all, you don’t want to be pulled out of the experience by noticing that a character model is slightly sub-par before you go laying waste to everything around you with explosions of lightning. Nessa and Tarkleigh’s models are both available for preview, with a quick glance making it rather clear which model is the new and improved version.

Of course, with all of the good work being done on The Fall of Oriath, perhaps you’re inclined to drop a little money on the game to support these kinds of huge updates. So it’s a good thing there’s new stuff to spend money on, including a wallaby pet, a swarm of bats, and a glowing red portal effect. (Glowing red portals are the best portals.) You can check out some of the video previews for these new items in the store, which should be helpful for determining how much you need a virtual wallaby.

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Final Fantasy XI prepares for its May version update

This month’s version update for Final Fantasy XI is a little bit smaller than normal. Of course, that’s understandable; there’s a 15-year anniversary celebration to plan, that’s going to eat up a lot of time and resources. (Also, you know, the game is supposed to be in maintenance mode, which would be a bit of a red flag to most games.) But there’s still an update on the way, bringing along with it more Escutcheon progress, adding new Ambuscade enemies, and even upping the level cap on the game’s free trial.

Players will also be able to pick up another Ark Angel alter ego and can look forward to new Records of Eminence objectives along with some job adjustments. There are even going to be new pieces of equipment to synthesize for players who need a little more incentive. So after 15 years, there’s still new stuff arriving in Vana’diel for players to enjoy. Possibly crab-related.

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Neverwinter shows off the features of the Great Hall

Ah, the Great Hall! It’s the place in Neverwinter where your guild hatches all of its greatest schemes, gathers and laughs about victories won, and otherwise enjoys the togetherness of being a guild. Really, the only reason you don’t already have great memories of the Great Hall is because it doesn’t actually exist in the game at the moment. It will, however, when the next major Neverwinter patch arrives. It’s an addition to your guild’s Stronhold that’s just… there, giving you a chance to decorate, congregate, commiserate, and celebrate.

Players will have the option of placing several decorations within the Great Hall, although the core layout remains the same; the decoration locales will be specified with glowing markers on the ground. There’s a definite aesthetic to the whole thing, which the most recent art dispatch explains was a deliberate effort to create a unified look while offering options for players to customize decorations. If you prefer to hear about new features in video form, there’s also a video rundown available just below.

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EverQuest II outlines upcoming familiars, cooperative competitions, and a level boost in the near future

Are you cooperative or competitive in EverQuest II? Do you like to work with others or work against them? The good news is that according to the newest producer’s letter, you’ll have an opportunity to do both with the game’s new “co-opetitive” challenges. (That’s their term, not ours.) You’ll work together with your group to clear content, and in the process you’ll be hindering and trying to go faster than other groups doing the same challenge. The rewards are new loot, including the upcoming Familiars, companions that can allow you access to stat boosts and the like.

The game is also offering a free level 100 boost token for players with accounts existing before April 20th, or players who make a subsequent account with paid membership time before the promotion starts up on May 2nd. There are also plans in motion for the game’s upcoming expansion and a new time-locked expansion server with special Heritage quest rewards. So there’s a lot to look forward to on the game’s live servers for the next couple of months, whether you like being part of a team or working against a team. Or both.

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Armored Warfare launches its Tanks Reloaded balance patch and previews its immediate followup

It’s been a while since Armored Warfare first discussed its upcoming “Balance 2.0” adjustments for the game’s mechanics, but the first pass has been added to the game with patch 0.19. The patch adjusts tank gameplay extensively while simultaneously adding 26 new tanks to play. But that’s not all the patch includes; there’s also a new PvP map, two new PvE missions, a new Skirmish mode, and a new Global Operations match. That’d be enough for a patch even without all of the balance changes.

Also, that isn’t the end of the story; the game is already previewing its next major update, which will include more balance changes, a new Garage interface, another new PvE mission, and new UI elements. So the big stuff just keeps rolling along. You can check out a trailer for the most recent patch just below, and you already know what to look forward to after you’ve finished up with that.

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Final Fantasy XIV makes everything a little easier with patch 3.57

The last patch for Final Fantasy XIV before the expansion has been released. Does it contain unexpected in-depth content to delight and amaze players who had expected nothing of the sort? Of course not. Let’s not be silly. It does, however, give you a bit more reason to run the stuff that’s already in the game. Weekly loot and token restrictions for Dun Scaith, for example? Those are gone. Micro tomestones? Easier to get, making 260 weapons easier to get by extension.

Speaking of those weapons, you can upgrade them now in Idyllshire more easily, now that Shire weapon upgrade items can be purchased along with the armor and accessory upgrade items. It’s also easier to move through the stages required for your Anima Weapon if you’d like a bit of catch-up there, as well. So while you’re flitting about for the last two months until the expansion, you can get more out of every run you take part in; that’s a good thing, all told.

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World of Warcraft patches in some reward adjustments for Nether Portal Disruptors

You there! When you play World of Warcraft, are you just focusing on Nether Portal Disruptors on the Broken Shore? Well, stop that; do other stuff too. And to make sure that you don’t want to do that any more, the latest round of hotfixes for the game adjusts the rewards for said disruptors, adding in lots of war supplies and dauntless tokens while removing any and all Netherchunks and Sentinax beacons. So hopefully now it’s just something you’ll want to do when it’s up, not something you wait around for.

The hotfixes also make Witchmatron Magora far more sturdy while adding in significant damage buffs for Fire Mages, Enhancement Shamans, Outlaw Rogues, and Marksmanship Hunters. You can check out the full list of hotfixes on the official site, although you probably shouldn’t do so while waiting around for Nether Portal disruption to take place. That’s not as rewarding any more, remember?

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