EverQuest Next Landmark now just Landmark, enters untamed lands of closed beta

Omri Petitte at

EverQuest Next Landmark has finally gathered enough materials to craft a claim flag for the verdant closed beta countryside—right on schedule—taking a continent-sized destruction tool to the alpha period's constructions to prepare for the next phase of Sony Online's sandbox MMO. It's also taking on a new name for its travels: just call it Landmark now.

The best (and strangest) EverQuest Next Landmark creations

Tim Clark at

On Wednesday SOE will take EverQuest Next Landmark out of alpha and into closed beta, in the process taking a wrecking ball to the painstaking creations of its users so far. (The reason you haven't seen an angry petition is 1) this was always the deal, and 2) the users get to keep templates of the stuff they've made.) What better time, then, to look back at the weird and wonderful creations that the community has built so far. Beginning with this AT-AT homage made by Pharoso Fluoroso.

The Elder Scrolls Online launch times announced

Phil Savage at

When will you be able play The Elder Scrolls Online? Really, that depends on a couple of factors. The most important is if you're planning to buy it, because, if not, there's a pretty easy answer to the question. Assuming that you are, things are a little more complicated. During a Reddit AMA for ESO, Bethesda posted times and dates for when they plan to fling open the gates to the online Tamriel.

Wildstar trailer explains PvP arenas and battlegrounds

Phil Savage at

Of the many Wildstar DevSpeak videos released, most have focused on the upcoming MMO's PvE game. Finally, though, Carbine are offering a proper look at the PvP modes - from the small-scale Arenas, to the objective focused Battlegrounds. The main focus of this video is how the AoE-based telegraph system creates a PvP mode with a focus on manually aimed attacks, and frantic and constant dodging. No wonder the characters are all so in shape.

Elder Scrolls Online beta update limits UI addons

Omri Petitte at

Modding Elder Scrolls games is a PC gaming tradition, and ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls Online will allow adventuring wizards and warriors to travel Tamriel with combat and questing UI addons when it launches on April 4. However, the latest beta update has locked down tracking of incoming damage and ability sources, a change that has many in the ESO community upset at the reduced effectiveness of addons.

EverQuest Next Landmark enters closed beta on March 26, SOE talks player collaboration

Samuel Roberts at

EverQuest Next Landmark will leave alpha and enter a closed beta on 26 March, SOE told us at GDC this week. Anyone who has purchased one of the founder's packs, now including the $20 Settler option, will be able to play the game as it reaches this stage—SOE promised it would be happening before the end of March, and here that day is.

Guild Wars 2 getting "Feature Pack" update, ArenaNet tease major trait changes

Phil Savage at

After more than a year of fortnightly updates, Guild Wars 2's Living World has finished its first season. Panto-plant Scarlet has been defeated, Lion's Arch is an abandoned ruin, and an ancient evil has awakened. The future of Tyria is uncertain, and filled with the potential for much death and destruction. Things are bleak, and tensions are wrought, but I don't much care because features are coming!

ArenaNet have today announced the "April 2014 Feature Pack", a major update that, instead of adding content, will shift the balance and upgrade the systems of their game. The full scope of the patch will be revealed in stages over the next few weeks, with this first teaser focusing on the extensive changes being made to Traits - the player-assigned stats that confer passive abilities and define a profession's build.

Giveaway: grab a Wildstar beta key for this weekend's test

PC Gamer at

Last month, we gave away armfuls of codes for WildStar's beta weekends, giving testers an early look at Carbine's most colourful MMO. Today, we're doing it all again. If you fancy another trip through the world of Nexus, we've got 2,000 codes giving access to this weekend's beta. If you're quick, one of them could be yours.

Update: And the keys are gone!

Star Wars: The Old Republic hosting Double XP weekend until March 17th

Phil Savage at

If you've still got some levelling to do in The Old Republic, this would be the weekend to jump back in. Starting in a few hours, the game will award twice the experience for completing missions, killing things, and... well, generally doing stuff. And, by progressing at twice the speed, you'll get a quicker route to the game's best bits. It'll be like watching the entire film saga, but then skipping Episodes One to Three. I think that's what you're meant to do in the first place.

Giveaway: grab access to this weekend's Elder Scrolls Online beta test

Tom Senior at

Update: we have 500 more unique keys to give away. Come and get 'em!

Hail, adventurer! Will you take up your sword in the name of Tamriel and join the grand struggle to — AHEM — sorry, I was momentarily possessed by the spirit of a passing fantasy RPG NPC there. An occasional occurrence in PCG towers. I meant to say "would you like to play The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend?" If [yes] then [proceed to rest of article]. There you will find instructions for grabbing one of the thousand keys we have to giveaway for this weekend's beta test. First come, first served!

The Elder Scrolls Online's subscription fee a "value proposition," Bethesda says

Omri Petitte at

The Elder Scrolls Online's three-way tiff over whose posterior claims the Imperial City's throne perfectly befits the franchise's massive lore background. To join in, though, players will need to pay a subscription fee on top of purchasing the disc or downloading the upcoming MMO. Producer Bethesda and developer ZeniMax have both come out in defense of that debatable decision. They argue they can provide heavier content thanks to a bigger budget, but it's still an interesting choice given the rise of free-to-play gaming. Speaking to GameSpot, Bethesda Vice President of PR Pete Hines claims a monthly fee exists to help bolster ESO with richer, "significant" content updates.

World of Warcraft level 90 boost now available for $60

Emanuel Maiberg at

Blizzard announced you can now purchase a level 90 character boost in World of Warcraft for $60, confirming the price that leaked out last month. It’s the same boost you’ll get with a purchase of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, which Blizzard will sell for $50 (Standard Edition) or $70 (Digital Deluxe Edition).

Wildstar release date announced, will go live this Summer

Phil Savage at

Barbecues? Picnics? Eating your own body weight in ice cream? You may want to clear it all from your Summer schedule. If Wildstar turns out to be the next big MMO, the warmest months will instead be spent sitting in a dark room, illuminated by the colourful glow of its cartoon world. Developers Carbine Studios have today announced that the game will release all around the world on June 3rd. Well, it's not like anyone really needs vitamin D.

Giveaway: we have even more Elder Scrolls Online weekend beta keys for you

Tom Senior at

Why it seemed like just yesterday that we were giving away access to this weekend's beta test for The Elder Scrolls Online, because it was. But earlier a portal to the plane of Oblivion opened, spaffed another thousand keys onto our laps and then disappeared, leaving only a faint hint of Draenor aftershave hanging in the air. It is our grave duty, then, to pass this sudden boon onto you with another beta key giveaway! Read on for details.

Guild Wars 2's next update will begin the Battle for Lion's Arch

Phil Savage at

Lion's Arch has had a hard week. Since its destruction as part of Guild Wars 2's Escape from Lion's Arch update, the game's capital city has been beset by baddies, filled with a toxic miasma, and periodically populated by players on a map-wide hunt for civilian survivors. The next update, Battle for Lion's Arch, will encourage those players to take the offensive. A teaser trailer released by ArenaNet sets up the assault, and hints at what they're calling "the final battle".

World of Warcraft level 90 boost briefly appears during server updates for $60

Emanuel Maiberg at

Back in November 2013, Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft players who buy the Warlords of Draenor expansion will get to boost one character to level 90 for free. It said that it would sell the same boost after the first freebie, but didn't name a price. Following a recent update, several users reported they saw the service offered for $60.

Giveaway: get a Wildstar weekend beta key

Phil Savage at

If you're not yet running through Wildstar's colourful, deadly Nexus, creators Carbine Studios are giving away 40,000 keys for this coming weekend's beta test. From this Friday through to Monday, you'll be able to explore, loot and kill your way through the upcoming MMO. How exactly do you get one of these keys? Reading the rest of this post would be a good way to start.

Guild Wars 2 interview: the fall of Lion's Arch

Phil Savage at

Announced last year, Guild Wars 2's "Living Story" has provided a regular series of temporary events, zones and combat encounters. Today's update, titled Escape from Lion's Arch, is the penultimate release of that story's first season, and one that's set to have a dramatic effect on Tyria's capital city. Log in after the update goes live and, instead of the colourful market square, the repurposed pirate-ship houses, and the grand central statue, you'll find chaos, fire and destruction. This isn't an instanced event, but a full scale invasion. Lion's Arch is going to fall.

It's not just that one of the game's safe zones is about to be overrun. This is a symbolic strike at the heart of the game. Lion's Arch is, for many, the centre of Guild Wars 2: providing both a trade hub, meeting point, and a spot to ambiently idle while an NPC Asura attempts a Sylvari salad joke. For ArenaNet, though, this is precisely why it makes such an exciting target. "Players are Tyrians themselves," associate game director Steven Waller tells me. "This is a hub for all races to come together, and so I think that one of the things is the question: how does Tyria respond?"

The Elder Scrolls Online video preview: a quick tour through a dungeon quest

Cory Banks at

The recent press beta weekend for The Elder Scrolls Online left us concerned about the game's mix of Skyrim-like action and MMO-like mechanics. Phil criticized the combat, while Evan and I lamented the lack of exploration in the game's early areas. But just saying that we're worried isn't enough—it's better to show than tell, with this video of a typical TESO dungeon delve.

SOE's John Smedley: content-driven MMORPGs are "unsustainable"

Omri Petitte at

After I reached the highest level in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I ran into a problem: I had seen and done everything the endgame had offered to me. I completed all the dungeons, conquered all the available raid encounters, and then I was essentially stuck in a content drought until BioWare released something new—and then the cycle would repeat again. It's a pattern most MMORPGs of today run the risk of falling into as players tear through at a faster rate than ever before. In a blog post, Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley examines these content-driven tendencies of the MMO genre, calling them "unsustainable" for the industry in favor of more sandbox experiences.