An ancient evil has awakened. That's pretty much par for the course in MMOs. Almost everything is an ancient evil. That tree? Probably an ancient evil. That NPC? Yup, ancient evil. The crafting economy? Definitely an ancient evil. It's time to add another to the list: at the heart of Season 2 of Guild Wars 2's Living World is an ancient evil that's now terrorising the Maguuma Wastes, and the new zone of Dry Top. That story continues with the Entanglement update, due out later today.
World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion will feature a major graphics overhaul for the almost-10 year old MMO. Blizzard have been slowly teasing the new character models of Warlords of Draenor; most recently with a new look at the male Draenei. As you can see from the new screenshots, the model has had a pretty subtle redesign – most noticeably gaining HD head ridges.
In any MMO, a sense of commonality can develop among its players. It's a genre that encourages you to expend significant time and, occasionally, money, and so which MMO you choose can say a lot about the type of experiences you prefer. Of course, that kinship doesn't stop you from then further splitting into smaller groups for the purpose of more micro-conflict. Hence guilds, the focus of The Elder Scrolls Online's third major post-launch update.
The second season of Guild Wars 2's Living World story is well underway, with last week's Gates of Maguuma taking players to the arid Maguuma Wastes, which I hear are lovely this time of year. Now, ArenaNet have begun to tease the next episode, Entanglement, which will arrive on July 15th—exactly one week from today. The trailer suggests we're in for a viney, gianty old time, which would mean that my horoscope was right.
A week after E3, I logged into Elder Scrolls Online expecting the worst. It was a pivotal moment for the future of ESO in the notoriously fickle MMORPG genre—the colorful rival WildStar had gone live but days before, the new "Craglorn" patch was settling into maturity, and most importantly, the first month of subscriptions had run dry for most early adopters. After the barrage of criticisms from critics and bitter players alike, I'd all but convinced myself that mine would be the only name shining on my favorite guild's roster upon entering Tamriel.
I couldn't have been more wrong. I logged in to find almost every player at Veteran Rank 12 rushing to complete one of the new "Trials," and they bugged me about why I hadn't been logging in as though all the factors above weren't into play. I needed that; it gave me hope that the roughly 400 hours I’ve spent with the game to date weren’t for naught, and that other players shared the same begrudging affection for it as I do. The pieces, it seems, are in place to get back on track after a rocky start. ZeniMax has shown some competence so far in delivering an end game that its loyal players want to play, but now the question is whether it can overcome lingering issues with balance, fresh content, and a tedious leveling experience beyond the level cap.
Wildstar's upcoming Strain Ultra Drop will take the already infectious MMO and a new zone filled with pox and pestilence. Carbine previously gave a brief overview of this first major update, and revealed the customisation options it will add. Now, in the new DevSpeak video, game design producer Stephen Frost explains how different players might enjoy this new land of contagious content.
Over the last few months, Blizzard have been previewing the revamped character models of World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion. We've already seen Orcs, Taurens, Draenei and Night Elves, but now it's time for the most fantastical species of all: Humans. As improbable as they are, with their weird faces and stubbly hairs, the Humans have proven a popular choice among MMO players. And for the nearly 10-year-old WoW, they're also one of the models most in need of an upgrade.
Last week, Carbine introduced us to Strain Ultradrop, the first major content update since the game's release. Only a month after the game's launch—and all the excitement, demands, complaints and requests that such an event naturally brings—the developers are unleashing a deadly plague upon us all. Hopefully there's nothing to be read into that.
Since the update's announcement, Carbine have been filling in the details of what to expect. In addition to a new area and Adventure, they've today revealed the housing and customisation options that plague-battling players can expect to earn.
The Guild Wars 2 update machine is slowly creaking back to life. After a short break, ArenaNet have begun teasing Season Two of their Living World—a long-running story chain that aims to provide far-reaching consequences for the game's inhabitants. The season will begin next week with Gates of Maguuma, which is briefly previewed in a new trailer.
If I'd just released an MMO I think I'd dissolve into a pool of exhausted mansludge and refuse to do any work for a month. Not so for the Carbine team, who are already teasing their first major update to Wildstar. The incoming Strain Ultradrop will add new zones, enemies, bosses, gear and emotes later this month.
After a much needed holiday from its fortnightly releases, Guild Wars 2 is again preparing for a new season of time-limited updates and story content. This time, though, they won't be quite so time-limited. ArenaNet have announced a new Journal feature, which, they say, will let players save and revisit each season two episode.
From the first episode, due out July 1st, players will be able to 'bank' Living World content by logging in during the two-week period that it's active. Should players miss an episode's window, they'll be able to buy replay access through in-game gold.
If you're wandering Nexus, lonely, adrift and in possession of improbable sci-fi weaponry, we've got a home for you. PC Gamer's Wildstar guild is a Dominion community active on the EU's Eko server. They're accepting applications, so go, and help make them the most powerful force in an extremely silly world.
After a head-start period that began last Saturday, Wildstar officially launches today. Phil's review of the game will be published following at least a week of play on the game's live servers. In the meantime, this 'review in progress' will document his experiences with the game as they happen. Find the first part below.
Since the end of March, the players of Guild Wars 2 have had a much needed break from foiling evil plans. The first season of the Living World ended with a destroyed city and a newly awakened dragon; both of which are plot points deserving of some resolution. Instead, we've had a big party and a bigger war. That revelry can only last so long, and ArenaNet have announced that a new season of content updates will begin in July.
Reaching the peak of your power in The Elder Scrolls Online is a tale of heroism worthy of a bard's song, but less gallant are the rather abbreviated set of end-game activities for the month-old MMO. The sprawling PvP zone of Cyrodiil has been the go-to destination for some Emperor roulette, but outside of the Imperial heartland, there wasn't much to do beyond running through the same dungeons and boss camps. Thankfully, ZeniMax wants content releases quick and regular, and we're getting the first new chunk of Tamriel today with a huge patch opening up the lands of Craglorn with group- and raid-sized challenges for max-level players.
When World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion finally completes its march to reshape Azeroth as we know it, we'll have a new level cap of 100. Blizzard has already introduced some services to prep new, returning, and current players alike for the next adventure—the most noticeable being a $60/£35 (or free on pre-order) boost to level 90 for a selected character. For fresh heroes, that's a nice jumpstart for Warlords' content—unless you've no idea how Shamans shoot lightning out of their hands or where to even begin with your magical zombie Mage.
Wildstar developer Carbine Studios thinks it can do better than World of Warcraft. The team aims to reinvent many of the genre's tried-and-true (and pretty tired) systems, includes plenty of content for solo players, and brings back massive scale battles in 40-man raids and 40 vs 40 PvP combat. A new interview with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney reveals that the team was torn on the best way to out-WoW WoW.
As part of Wildstar's quest to release eccentric videos about every element of the game, the latest DevSpeak covers raiding. The upcoming MMO's 20-40 person raids will take the form of challenging gauntlets filled with traps, mini-bosses and not-so-mini-bosses. Specifically, the video shows off how the telegraph combat system combines with the large-scale battles to result in a series of barely-avoidable death patterns.
ArenaNet are celebrating this Thursday's Chinese release of Guild Wars 2 with a global festival, one that will be available to update-hungry players everywhere. Festival of the Four Winds marks the return of the Zephyrites—the kite-ship flying traders that were inserted into last year's Living Story. As part of the event, players will be able compete in challenges and activities, raising money towards the eventual rebuilding of Lion's Arch, the game's central city.
Wildstar's planet of Nexus is about to receive some new arrivals. The MMO's ten-day open beta has launched, giving potential purchasers a chance to try out a generous thirty levels of content. Head to Carbine's open beta page to collect a key. Alternatively, stick around and watch the new Wildstar story trailer. It'll tell you exactly why you're travelling through a bunch of zones, beating up the wildlife.