Working As Intended: Ten lessons I learned from classic Guild Wars

Guild Wars — the first Guild Wars — celebrates its 10th birthday this week alongside several of my characters who are equally old. I originally picked up Guild Wars as a diversion from World of Warcraft, and at the time, I liked everything about it but actually playing it. Pre-Searing felt like home; it was pastoral and lovely with a haunting score. But back in 2005, the game past the Searing was difficult to traverse in a small party, let alone solo, and the deeper into the game I got, the less I liked it. In fact, I didn’t Ascend in 2005. I gave up on the grueling PUGs right around the time I got to the Crystal Desert.

But I went back, and went back again, and eventually I fell in love. That’s just the first of Guild Wars’ many lessons. Here are 10 things I learned from Guild Wars — in honor of its 10 years of fun.

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SWTOR’s Rise of the Emperor finale is coming next week

BioWare launched Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Rise of the Emperor patch yesterday alongside a brand-new trailer we’ve included below. The patch drops players on the Sith capital planet of Ziost in a continuation of the last expansion’s plotline.

Massively OP’s SWTOR expert Larry Everett wrote about his experiences with the patch on the test server, criticizing the character writing, confusion quest direction, the smallness of the world, and the unsatisfying story ending.

Dulfy reports that BioWare has admitted the “incomplete” feel of the patch isn’t all in Larry’s head; the story just isn’t over yet. “Without spoiling anything, there have been some questions about the end of Ziost currently and whether this is intended or not,” community manager Eric Musco writes on the forums. “It is 100% intended, it is not a bug, and there is definitely more coming… And it is coming soon. The finale event for this story will happen Monday, May 4th and it will not require a patch.”

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Perfect World Entertainment combining all forums into one setting

There are a lot of games under the publishing banner of Perfect World Entertainment, and the vast majority of them are getting mashed together. In forum terms, anyway – you will not be able to make your Champions Online character pilot a Star Trek Online ship through Jade Dynasty even if you ask nicely. This change will affect the forums of all the aforementioned games, though, as well as several others listed in the official announcement.

Players can look forward to a new forum with more extensive customization and greater ease of access compared to the existing vBulletin software running on the old forums. The change will not affect those games already running on the new forum setup, such as Swordsman. There’s no word on which old forums will be archived specifically, so if you have some threads you want to save it, would be astute to do so now.

[Source: Arc Games via MMO Fallout]

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LOTRO’s getting new dungeons with the Osgiliath instance cluster

Lord of the Rings Online’s Update 16 is heading our way on Monday, May 4th, and with it comes the first new instance cluster in a very, very long time.

The team penned a dev diary today that talks about the new Osgiliath instance cluster, which it says was created in response to fan demand. “After thinking things over, we knew just what kind we wanted to build for you next: a little love letter to Lord of the Rings Online past,” developer Ben Schneider writes.

The Osgiliath cluster is composed of the three-player Sunken Labyrinth, the three-player Ruined City, and the full-fellowship Dome of Stars, where players will face off against a Nazgul. As a bonus, the dungeons scale from level 50 to 100, meaning that players who are ready for Moria can begin to take on those challenges. The team’s also split the instances into two tiers of difficulty, with Tier 2 “bringing the hard” to skilled players.

[Source: Dev diary]

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Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta FAQ clears the air

Guild Wars 2’s beta test for the Heart of Thorns expansion is one of the hottest tickets in town this spring. Because of this, there’s a crush of people looking to get into it and some confusion over the details.

That’s why it’s helpful that ArenaNet has posted a 15-point FAQ to clear the air on all of the beta test details. The studio said that future beta tests haven’t been announced, and as such, accepted players can’t create characters until those tests begin. When the test does occur, players are free to blab about it as there will be no NDA.

So how can you assure yourself a spot in the next round of beta testing? The team outlines two important steps to making this happen: “We selected a small number of testers for the first round from our newsletter subscribers. Our next test will use this method as well as the ‘Portal to the Heart of Maguuma,’ an in-game item which has a chance to drop from enemies in Dry Top and the Silverwastes. Players who find this item and are signed up for our mailing list are guaranteed a spot in the next closed beta test!”

[Source: Beta FAQ]

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ArcheAge releases the Dread Prophecies update

Ghost ships? An aggravated kraken? Just what in Sam Hill is going on in ArcheAge these days, anyway?

Well, the fantasy sandpark has released one of its biggest updates yet with The Dread Prophecies. The sea-focused patch adds plenty of ways to customize player ships while improving the nautical physics. These souped-up vessels will need to be at their best to tackle a new kraken encounter and fight off world boss ghost ships.

The Dread Prophecies doesn’t stop there, either. The devs have changed Freedich Isle to become a more intense PvP experience, added the Golden Ruins zone, introduced the Mistmerrow battleground, put in more housing in Diamond Shores, and tweaked the archeum and regrade systems. Patron players will also see increased offline labor regeneration as part of their subscription benefits.

On Reddit, usually a grumpy place for ArcheAge fans, the tone is remarkably pleased. Check out the patch’s release video below.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO biomes do you love and hate?

Environment is super-important to me, both in real life and in video games. My surroundings have a large impact on my mood, with my favorite places lifting my spirits and oppressive ones turning me into Oscar the Grouch.

Thus, I find myself gravitating to certain zones in MMOs. Pastoral settings such as Lord of the Rings Online’s Shire or welcoming woods like World of Warcraft’s Elwynn Forest are safe bets for a dose of Justin happiness, as are Christmasy-type winter wonderlands. But I find jungle zones irritating, lava zones tired, and anything with a sand motif to be only useful as a highway to better places.

Which biomes do you love and hate?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Jukebox Heroes: Mists of Pandaria’s soundtrack

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Western games putting out Asian-themed expansions and conjuring up a soundtrack to match. On one hand, we already have oh-so-many Asian MMOs (and scores) on the market that for another region to try to get in on that action feels a little forced and unnecessary. On the other hand, why not? It’s no big deal and can foster a multi-cultural atmosphere in the game.

Mists of Pandaria is World of Warcraft’s love song to Asia, which is probably more intentional than coincidental considering how many of the MMO’s players live there. The soundtrack, while a cut above a similar approach with Guild Wars Factions, is decent but hardly among the game’s all-time best scores. It infuses the fantasy world of Azeroth with exotic-sounding instruments such as the erhu, guzheng, and dizi, creating another take on this popular franchise.

So how does Mists of Pandaria’s score acquit itself? Let’s find out!

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H1Z1 is getting a full wipe this Thursday

If you’re an H1Z1 early access player, I hope you’re not too attached to your stuff. Daybreak is prepping for a huge Thursday patch, and as such the devs will be wiping both the servers and player characters. While you’ll retain any account-bound items, all of your inventory junk and your structures will be reset.

The good news is that the patch is adding a female model, new crafting elements, and “UI goodness,” according to a Daybreak post on Reddit. Players will also receive a Daybreak logo shirt to commemorate the company’s new branding.

[Source: Reddit]

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Dota 2 honors Terry Pratchett in upcoming patch

Dota 2’s community has discovered a tribute to the late Terry Pratchett in today’s the upcoming 6.84 patch, now on the PTR. It takes the form of a new endgame item called an Octarine Core, which should seem familiar to fans of Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Octarine is the color of magic in Discworld and is sometimes called the eighth color, one viewable only by wizards. Pratchett died on March 12th at age 66.

We’ve posted a video of the Octarine Core in action below.

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Anatomy of Murder dares you to solve a murder mystery for cash

Think you’re the world’s greatest sleuth since Sherlock? Then you might want to try your hand at a new massive online murder mystery challenge, especially since there’s a sizable cash prize attached.

Anatomy of Murder is an episodic experience that players can explore through their browsers or phones. Within the two 45-minute video episodes is reportedly everything needed to solve the mystery. By picking the correct combination of killer and motive, players will have a shot at winning the AU$250,000 prize.

The game has been in the works for 13 years and plans for a sequel are already underway.

[Source: PR Newswire, Anatomy of Murder]

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Watch Dota 2’s Red Bull Battle Grounds America regionals… now

Dota 2’s Red Bull Battle Grounds e-sports event has been winding its away across the world with only one regional champ left to be decided: the American one.

Teams from Europe, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia have already competed to crown their regional victors; today’s winning American team will join the other four at the playoffs in Santa Monica a week from today, with the final champion being crowned the following Sunday. In fact, you can still grab tickets for the live Grand Finals on May 10th in San Francisco; the cheapie seats are only 40 bucks.

Who’s representing the Americas?

America’s Champion will be decided on April 28th when brand-new-to-DotA ROOT GAMING faces off against long-time juggernaut TINKER in the same group as DotA 2 Badboy Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho’s SUMMER’S RIFT and Peruvian super-squad NOT TODAY.

The action begins live at 5 p.m. EDT; enjoy the stream below!
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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 11

After a short one-week hiatus, the Massively OP Podcast is back and has brought another guest co-host along for the ride! We spend a lot of time this week looking at older games, including shocking (sort of) revelations about a certain spacey MMO. We’re sure you can guess which one.

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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