backstory

The Elder Scrolls Online introduces the driven huntress, Hanu

We only get a small peek at the character of Hanu, one of the major NPCs in the upcoming Wolfhunter DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online. But what we see is immediately the essence of a power move with a young woman who asks how to visit Hircine’s Hunting Grounds while remaining alive, rather than spending a live devoted to the deity and being sent there as an eternal reward.

Of course, her reasons are less a matter of “it seemed neat to see if I could do this” and more “I intend to rescue the soul of my dead father,” so there’s a good reason for why she wants to do something that by all rights ought to be impossible. But it remains a power move and should give you an idea of the sort of woman you’re dealing with. Not that she’s likely to survive the experience on her own, of course; slipping into the Hunting Grounds via the next Great Hunt is not precisely a safe plan.

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Star Trek Online previews the rebuilt Deep Space Nine for the console launch of Victory is Life

If you were going to ask someone to identify the most iconic starbases in Star Trek Online, there’s really not much contest. Sure, Earth Spacedock is the “central” hub for most new players, but Deep Space 9 is the station that has seven seasons of a beloved series and is also one of the most memorable locations for players to visit. With the launch of the Victory is Life expansion on consoles – an expansions dealing with the Gamma Quadrant, which is intimately tied to Deep Space 9 – the designers took the opportunity to rebuild the station to look even better.

The work was aided by the fact that the Promenade (the central location of the station) actually had its set built on the studio, which meant the designers could use those floor plans and start recreating the exact sets seen in the episodes. Of course, the actual Promenade is a full circle and less than half of that was built as a set, but it was still a place to start. Check out the full article to see how the designers brought everything about the iconic station back up to more modern design standards.

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Rend highlights its bipedal danger birds, the Rocs

There is something faintly familiar about Rend’s Rocs. Sure, they are hardly the first example of big bipedal birds, but… something about the way their bodies are shaped? Or their legs? Maybe it’s those yellow feathers a bunch of them have? Eh, it’s probably nothing. And even knowing what they resembled wouldn’t help you deal with them, since Rocs are not particularly friendly birds and tend to serve as pack hunters in wide open spaces.

Players will need to content with the savage beaks of these birds from multiple angles, as they tend to hunt in threes and can be led by powerful matriarchs who put the fear of birds into any unwary travelers. Of course, dispatching them can produce meat and eggs for cooking, and black Roc feathers are quite useful for crafting. Check out the full rundown to see how you’re going to handle these birds in the game.

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Star Trek Online brings out its next featured episode on June 28

The premise for the next featured episode in Star Trek Online is a real good news/bad news situation. The good news is that captains have just uncovered new information about the Hur’q from their homeworld and learned a lot about the Founders. Bad news? Well, the Hur’q have an enormous fleet ready to pound the absolute daylights out of the Founder homeworld and players need to do something to prevent that from happening. So the bad news seems more pertinent.

Sure, the Founders aren’t exactly friendly, but failing to stop the Hur’q now means that the Alpha Quadrant will be in danger, so it’s probably time to take part in the defense. The episode is going live on June 28th and will be a featured episode, available to players who have cleared the prior episode in the sequence. And if you want to shout that you still don’t like the Founders very much over the sound of phaser fire, that seems fair.

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E3 2018: Blizzard discusses keeping storytelling going in World of Warcraft

There are a lot of elements to weave together to tell stories in World of Warcraft. You can argue over whether or not the team doing so is actually very good at that task, but the point is that it is quite a task, and the panel for the team at this year’s E3 was all about the challenges of weaving together the game’s story and keeping things consistent. That alone is a challenge when you’re telling a story across games, novels, and various other formats for an extended period of time.

The team is promising to try new things during the lead-up to Battle for Azeroth, along with more major lore characters waving farewell. And there’s a discussion of the challenges in doing just that, along with keeping things consistent and building on long-term stories. If you’d like to look more closely behind the scenes, watch the panel just below; it’s only about half an hour long.

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World of Warcraft gives us a comic-based tour of the Windrunner family reunion

Sometimes it’s debatable whether or not World of Warcraft needs more of its lore in-game. Obviously, the newest Battle for Azeroth lead-up comic focused on the reunion between the Windrunner sisters is relevant lore; the return of Alleria and dealing with that particular tangle is important. But it’d be hard to really have it in quest format. “A journey and reunion between three sisters… oh, and this Tauren Sylvanas really likes. That’s not awkward at all.”

Of course the comic is already filled with plenty of awkwardness, seeing as how Sylvanas is the Warchief of the Horde, Alleria is filled with the Void, and Vereesa is as sad about the death of Rhonin as most players aren’t. So you can imagine that the comic doesn’t end with a feel-good message of togetherness. Still, if you’d like to see how the reunion goes down, you can read the full thing on the official site.

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Heroes of the Storm brings players into the Alterac Pass battleground, bans miscreants

There is a lot of stuff in Heroes of the Storm that’s meant as an homage to classic bits of Blizzard games, but the new Alterac Pass battleground is… well, an homage to Alterac Valley. Which is an actual battleground. So it’s like playing something that’s a more direct patch over from the original, although it seems unlikely that Alterac Pass will devolve into both teams ignoring one another and racing for the faction leaders at top speed.

Also, Alterac Valley features very few British lesbians who can teleport or armored space mercenaries with flamethrowers, so that’s a bit different.

True to the inspiration, players will no longer be rushing the enemy core but will deal with the enemy generals as they capture graveyards, take out forts, and generally weaken the other team’s defenses. Check out the preview trailer for the new map just below, and remember: if you want to take part in a battle in HotS, you are expected to actually take part in that battle. Blizzard has just banned a number of people for the crime of joining matches and then either going AFK, refusing to participate, or intentionally dying. So be fairly warned that joinging without intent to play will, well, stop you from playing.

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth looks at Magni and slashes tank threat generation

Players who feel like tanking is too straightforward in World of Warcraft will definitely have to do more stuff in Battle for Azeroth. Whether or not that’s more fun is a different story, but tanks are having their threat generation cut to 40% of their baseline value in Legion and as low as 20% of the threat generated by a fully geared endgame tank. So expect to tab around a lot more and frantically taunt things to keep everything on you. Doesn’t that sound fun?

No? Well, it’s happening anyhow, apparently.

Speaking of thankless chores you didn’t want, the latest comic leading up to the next expansion centers around Magni, former king of Ironforge and current speaker for the planet of Azeroth. It’s a thankless job with long hours, low pay, and also the fate of an entire planet resting on your diamond shoulders. Learn all about it in comic form!

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World of Warcraft previews the foreboding land of Drustvar

The header image may have clued you in to the idea that Drustvar is not the most welcoming spot in Azeroth. Once you head there in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, you won’t be exploring the brightest portions of Kul Tiras. But you can get some sense of what the zone will feel like with the latest preview on the official site, showing you exactly what’s to be found within these darkened reaches of the Kul Tiran forests.

There’s witchcraft afoot in the whole zone, and from the moment you land you’ll be surrounded not just by the naval culture of Kul Tiras but also by suspicion and dark magics. Work your way along cobbled paths and into darker woods as you head west to the snow-covered mountains, which stretch all the way to Iceveil Glacier in the south. It’s not quite the full foot tour you can get in the game, but it should give you some sense of how the zone will feel.

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Neverwinter details the cursed lands of Ravenloft and Barovia zone

The world of Ravenloft is a perfectly nice place to visit in Neverwinter. There are slight caveats, of course; to really enjoy it you just have to make sure you plan on never leaving. Or never being free of horrors in the middle of the night. Or shrieking terrors in the middle of the day. Or ever-present, all-surrounding mists. So it’s actually not very nice at all and you can’t visit, because once you’re there you’re there forever. Helpfully, this is all explained in the latest lore entry on the official site.

Players will be chasing on the trail of the legend of Strahd, a nobleman who gave the nomadic Vistaria free passage through his lands (sounds like a decent guy) and also damned himself and everyone near him to an eternity of torment (less decent). If you’re unfamiliar with the Ravenloft setting, it’s a good quick primer about why the members of your immediate friend circle who are familiar with it respond to requests to enter with a flip-off and a laugh.

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Ascent: Infinite Realm previews the Black Hand

Let’s drop the TLDR version of Ascent: Infinite Realm‘s backstory here to make sure we’re all on the same page. There’s lots of war on the planet, one faction takes off into the sky, catastrophe hits and everyone else dies, the sky faction starts bringing back souls. Good? Awesome. Because not all of the souls brought around during the aforementioned “everyone dies” bit have wound up on the metaphorical side of the angels, some of them have wound up in the soldiers of a group called the Black Hand.

Surprising absolutely no one, these guys seem pretty sinister! You can check out some of their enemy designs now, including the Gradog (big dudes with hammers), the Grazard (lizardmen with gas masks), and the Grawise (probably someone’s Bloodborne OC). They look appropriately weird and creepy to make up an enemy group, so check them out if you haven’t already.

AIR is the steampunk/fantasy MMORPG announced by Bluehole (yes that Bluehole) at the tail end of 2017, set to port westward under the watch of Kakao (yes that Kakao). It is expected to launch in the west in 2019.

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Newest World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth build includes broadcast text for Teldrassil and Mag’har recruitment

We’ve long known that Teldrassil will burn in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. We’ve also known for at least a decently long while that the Mag’har will join the Horde. But the latest beta build contains mined-out text hinting at what takes place during both. The former is largely what you would expect for various interactions, but the latter includes some surprising developments such as a pretty significant time skip and other… unexpected twists. (We’ll leave the details out in case you’d rather not be spoiled.)

If you’re uninterested in the lore side of things, perhaps you’ll be interested in the various class and ability changes dug out from the latest build. Or maybe you’re just looking forward to War Mode, which gives you access to all of your PvP talents and a 15% experience boost in exchange for putting a metaphorical target over your head. You decide which of the above matters most to you, of course; perhaps the answer is “all of it.”

Source: Wowhead (1, 2, 3, 4)

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO names always get you to flub up?

You don’t want to know how long it took me to reliably spell “Roegadyn” correctly, despite the fact that it’s one of the five initial races from Final Fantasy XIV and thus has been there since the game’s initial launch. For a long time I just gave up and went with “not-Galka” when I needed to refer to them. It’s not even that hard to spell!

Of course, it’s not the only thing in games that somehow always makes me screw up. I know his name is Lord Recluse, and yet half of the time in casual conversation the villainous lead in City of Heroes gets called “Lord Arachnos.” Half of the time I call the Gree of Star Wars: The Old Republic “the Grell,” and I once called the Sylvari of Guild Wars 2 “plant elves.” Which is only half wrong, but…

The point is that I think we all have names that we just can’t type or continually forget or mix up. So what about you, dear readers? Which MMO names always get you to flub up, no matter how important or straightforward they may be?

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