ESO: What Are Veteran Ranks?

With the launch of ESO coming in just a couple weeks, we have a look at what you can expect when you get to “endgame”.

After reaching the level cap of 50 in ESO, you then start into the “elder content” which includes Veteran Ranks. This is another series of level progression that unlocks more gear, etc. There will be Adventure Zones and such for 24-man content, but your story and character’s “single player” progression doesn’t just end at level 50.

Thanks to Force’s video for a walkthrough of Veteran Ranks.


How Do Veteran Ranks Work?

1. At level 50, you receive Veteran Rank 1.

2. Veteran Ranks increase from 1 to 10.

3. Each Veteran Rank level increase gives you +10 into your Magicka, Health, and Stamina.

4. Gaining Veteran Ranks does not give you more attribute points to spend. Those cap at 49 points (1 point, levels 2-50).

5. Gear will require Veteran Rank 3, Veteran Rank 6, etc., just like previous gear required you to be level 16 or 40 or the like in order to equip.

6. You earn XP and gain Veteran Ranks by completing content in the other factions’ zones. This occurs after you finish your personal story from your original faction’s content.

7. Mobs scale up to your level in enemy factions. So mobs will be Veteran Rank 1, etc. and start with about twice as many stats as previous mobs your level.

8. Veteran Rank content is PVE only; you don’t see enemy players.

9. Force reached Veteran Rank 1 (so, level 50) in under 4 days played in beta. So, that’s very quick leveling. We’ll see tons of Veteran Rank 2+ in the first week.

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The Seven Biggest Upcoming Console MMOs (IGN.com)

I get that MMOs want to extend their reach to add console gamers. For real MMOs (especially MMORPGs), that market segment is virtually untapped. However, I don’t see consoles replacing my mouse+keyboard experience. FFXIV:ARR is a good example of that, especially when looking at tanks. Almost all of the tanks that struggle with positioning that I’ve run with have been console gamers (or just new to the dungeon).

For MMOs like Defiance and those that offer first person views, the overall game would probably be similar between consoles and PCs, but communication will always be substantially behind on consoles and only a small percentage of gamers are using Ventrilo, RaidCall, or other VoIP software.
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As long as video game consoles have had internet connections, enterprising studios have been creating massively multiplayer games for them. Early notable efforts include Sega’s Phantasy Star Online in 2001 and Everquest Online Adventures in 2003.

Still, despite these groundbreaking games, there’s no denying that for most MMO experiences, PC gaming has always been where it’s at. Until now, at least.

Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are more PC-like than ever, and now talented AAA console development teams are finally wrapping their heads around how to create persistent online worlds and long-term character growth. As a result, next-gen might be the era that console MMOs finally come into their own. Below are the hottest console MMOs, both launched and upcoming, that you should be sure to keep on your radar.

Note: It’s still up in the air whether some of these titles will truly feel like traditional MMO experiences when they launch. The lines are blurring. Massive battles with hundreds of concurrent players might not constitute an MMO if the world isn’t persistent. A persistent world might not be an MMO if you can only explore it with small, controlled groups. However you define an MMO, these games are all, at the least, MMO-like experiences worth your hype and attention.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

PC, PS3, PS4
After a notoriously poor launch, Square-Enix doubled down on FF XIV, relaunching the game a full three years later, to critical and commercial success. It’s arguably one of the biggest turnaround stories in video game history.

Somewhat lost in all the headlines was the “small” detail that the relaunched game released not just for Windows, but on Playstation 3 as well, with a Playstion 4 version coming in 2014. The console version is fully playable with just a controller thanks to a completely revamped UI, or players can just plug a keyboard and mouse. FF XIV is the highest-profile MMORPG currently available on consoles and is an easy recommendation for console gamers.

DC Universe Online

PC, PS3, PS4
DCUO launched on PC and PS3 in 2011 to so-so reviews and managed to amass only a modest player base. But Sony Online Entertainment stuck it out, continuing to gradually improve and expand on the superhero MMO. The game gained notable momentum after switching to a freemium business model 10 months after launch.

The game makes excellent use of the DC universe via top-notch voice acting, an active, ever-expanding story, and hundreds of famous and not-so-famous characters and locations from the DC Universe. DCUO is tuned to get players to the level cap and into endgame content as fast as possible, making it a great MMO for superhero nerds to download and try out.

Planetside 2

PC, PS4
Sony Online Entertainment’s massive PC FPS hit Planetside 2 is due out on the PS4 later this year. Many were skeptical about Planetside 2’s massive scale and free-to-play model, but after trying it out for themselves, most came away believers. The payment model never gets in the way, and vehicular and on-foot warfare is always raging, with thousands of players all vying for territory control at once. Thanks to a solid class system and a steady stream of unlockables, Planetside 2 should have something for everyone when it hits PS4.

Destiny

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
For how much we know about Halo developer Bungie’s ridiculously ambitious “persistent world shooter” Destiny, there’s an awful lot we still don’t know. Bungie itself has refrained from actually calling the game an MMO, for starters. Instead, the game provides players with a feeling of constant connection via seamless matchmaking that all happens in the background, with other players entering and exiting your game world on-the-fly.

Destiny’s emphasis on dynamic world events and “loot drops” also contributes to its MMO feel. Players will be able to socket and customize their weapons with powerful items dropped from foes. Dynamic events will help keep the world of Destiny fresh and keep players on their toes. We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out just how MMO-likeDestiny truly ends up feeling.

The Division

PS4, Xbox One, PC
When a man-made pandemic collapses civilization, ruthless gangs vie for power in the ruins of New York. Sounds like a good setting for an MMORPG to us! Like Destiny, at this point we still aren’t sure how genuinely MMO-like Ubisoft’s dystopian FPS/RPG hybrid The Division truly is. But what has been revealed looks extremely promising.

Players are plunked into The Division’s unforgiving game world with three days’ worth of food and supplies. From there it’s up for you to explore and scavenge what you need, leveling up your character RPG-style along the way. Although solo play is an option, The Division includes extensive options for player-run clans and groups as well as drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, encouraging and rewarding players who team up and work together to tame its persistent, dynamic online world.

The Crew

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Like Destiny and The Division, just how MMO-like Ubisoft’s persistent world racing gameThe Crew truly is still isn’t known. But what we’ve seen so far is extremely promising. The arcade-style racing action takes place across the entire United States. A condensed version of it, sure… but still. Racing from Seattle to Miami in a seamless online/offline game world filled with hundreds of racing challenges? Yes, please!

The game will seamlessly and constantly fill your game world with hundreds of other real world players, giving the game its “MMO” label. You can party up to compete in races or cooperative events like taking down a single superpowered opponent. Yes, almost like a raid.

Elder Scrolls Online

PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Elder Scrolls Online, in development for six years, is finally nearing its 2014 release window. Set 1000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game’s major claim to fame is that it takes place across the entire continent of Tamriel. Not just a single country or region like all the other modern single player Elder Scrolls games.

Early impressions were mixed, wih many describing the game as a World of Warcraft clone set in the Elder Scrolls universe. While that’s still a plenty exciting concept on its own, many gamers wanted more. Thankfully, Zenimax Online listened. The game now has a first-person mode, a new Skyrim-like UI, further refined storytelling and plenty more tweaks that truly allow the game to feel like Skyrim with (thousands) of friends.

Plenty more!

The seven games above aren’t the only ones to keep in mind, but they’re probably the highest profile console MMOs in the works. Other upcoming console MMOs include:

War Thunder: A freemium flight sim MMO that’s been making waves on Steam. Due out for PS3 and PS4 in November. Watch the gameplay.

Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade: Not due out until 2015, this MMO based on the classic sci-fi license is slated for release on PC and both Xbox One and PS4. Read the news.

World of Tanks: Wargaming.net’s notorious PVP-heavy tank combat game has been available on Xbox 360 since this summer. Read the news.

Phantasy Star Online 2: Sega’s PSO sequel is out now on PC and Vita… in Japan. A US release date hasn’t yet been announced. US Release News?

Dragon Quest X: Like PSO 2, Square Enix’s Dragon Quest MMO hit Wii and Wii U in Japan last year to critical acclaim. But a US release is still up in the air. Watch the epic trailer.

Elder Scrolls Online: Ask Us Anything – Lore Edition

I know almost zero lore for the entire Elder Scrolls franchise, mainly because first-person RPGs never tripped my trigger. However, it’s great to see players who have followed it so closely that they ask some fantastic questions and I enjoy learning along with the rest of the community.

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Get some new insight into the lore of The Elder Scrolls Online in our latest round of Q&A.

Today’s group of questions, all chosen from your submissions, focuses primarily on lore. Many of you care deeply about The Elder Scrolls setting, and you always have lots of great questions for us about what you’ll get to see in ESO. Please enjoy these new answers, and don’t forget to send your questions to community@elderscrollsonline.com. We do a new Ask Us Anything every two weeks, and we may feature your question in the next article.

I read in your last article about the Daggerfall Covenant that the city of Lainlyn would be featured in the game. Does that mean we’ll learn more about the origin and the culture of the harpies?  Will we be allowed to attend Riglametha?  Will the Dragonsword of Lainlyn be featured in the game? – By Jérémy Haut

There will be adventures set in the Alik’r Desert port town of Tava’s Blessing, which is the precursor of Lainlyn. You will meet members of the Lainlyn family, for whom the town will later be renamed, and there are adventures in the desert with harpies, but that’s all we’ll reveal at present!

In the time the game takes place does Orsinium exist as a major city? Or as a kingdom? – By Alon Saban

Thanks to the treaty with the Daggerfall Covenant, Orsinium has been restored to the Orcs of Wrothgar, and they are rebuilding and reoccupying it. Southern Wrothgar is under the control of King Kurog of Orsinium, but north of the city the region is still a patchwork of strongholds.

I am a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls games and I have played a Breton since Morrowind, so I’m definitely joining the Daggerfall Covenant. My question has to deal with the Forsworn faction. Will they be implemented in the game, either as a faction or through quests? I always thought that their story was very interesting and wanted to know if it will be explored in ESO, since they have been around at least since the First Era, well within the time the game takes place. – By Jason McKinney

Though the Reachmen are related to the Bretons, they consider themselves a separate race (and so do the Bretons). The Reachmen are not a playable race, as they’re basically enemies to everyone (and like it that way), but you will see them causing trouble in High Rock, Hammerfell, Skyrim, and even Cyrodiil. The Forsworn are a Fourth-Era faction of the Reachmen that actually hearkens back to the Reach culture of ESO’s era, so they don’t appear as such, but the Reachmen of our time resemble them.

The oldest structure in Tamriel, the Adamantine Tower (or Direnni Tower) is in High Rock. Are we going to be able to visit this building, and if so, how are you going to represent it to us? – By Hampton D. Evans

From the shores of the Iliac Bay you can see the Adamantine Tower rising from the heights of Balfiera Island. Can you visit it? Time will tell.

In The Elder Scrolls V, players found that a number of Orcish Strongholds dotted the Skyrim landscape. What’s their history? Now that the Orcs and Nords are on opposite sides, how will they play a role in the storyline? – By Chris

Orcs live in strongholds in the mountains throughout northern Tamriel. Most of them keep to themselves, staying out of the wars of Men and Elves. The Orcs of Wrothgar, who are signatories to the Daggerfall Covenant, are the exception, having long had ambitions of nationhood.

Based on known lore and from previous Elder Scrolls titles, the Orcs traditionally seem to keep to themselves and to their strongholds, with the odd exception. What is the motivation for the Orcs and the Orsinium Kingdom in joining the Daggerfall Covenant? What connects these three races of unlikely allies to band together as they have? – By Wade Johnson

As mentioned above, the Orcs of Wrothgar have long been ambitious to have their own state, and these ambitions have been repeatedly crushed over the millennia. Their membership in the Covenant is one more attempt at organization and recognition.

I was wondering, besides the title Mane, is there a prefix that is attached to his name? Tied into this question is the absence of Manes. Who rules between Manes? Roughly ten to fifteen years would pass before one could be found or properly trained to take over. In days of old, they transitioned power between the many states based on the phases of the moons, but with only two states remaining, Pellitine and Anequina, it would seem more likely that they would transition with every ruler with the exception of Manes. – By Sean Dutton

The selection and accession of a new Mane is, in fact, one of the key events in which players can get involved in northern Valenwood and western Elsweyr. How is a new Mane chosen and accepted? You’ll get to see for yourself.

WildStar: Producer Says F2P Model Not Dead; F2P “Not A Magic Bullet” (PCGamesN.com)

It seems like such a waste of effort to have to explain why you’re NOT going Free 2 Play for a new AAA MMORPG.

Two years ago, the gaming community turned up their noses at F2P declaring an MMORPG had “failed” and was “worthless” if it swapped to that business model, let alone if that was the business model at launch. “Pay 2 Win” was freely associated with most every F2P game. Even now, there are quite a few MMORPGs that still have subscription models in some format: WoW, EVE, EverQuest II, RIFT (you can still subscribe for extras), TERA (same thing as RIFT), SWTOR (tons of bonuses for subscribing), FFXIV:ARR, and Elder Scrolls Online (launching next year), to name several.

I find it odd that gamers now expect F2P for AAA MMORPGs at launch? If it’s a good game, I have no issue subscribing for $15 a month. If it’s F2P and not P2W, I have no issues paying $15-$20 a month via cash shop items.

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Not Jeremy Gaffney.

We’ve talked a couple of times to Carbine Studios’ Jeremy Gaffney in the last few months. He’s currently promoting his promising subscription MMO, Wildstar, and on each occasion he’s made the same broad point: in the massively-multiplayer market, things are not necessarily as they seem.

“Games that look very successful in free-to-play may or may not be making profit,” he told us most recently. And then added, cryptically: “Games that look unsuccessful in subscription may actually be more profitable.”

“Different games with different business models work in a very different fashion,” he said of his new game’s chances in a bustling field. “If you look at City of Heroes [which Gaffney produced] compared to Guild Wars, it looks like City of Heroes is a smaller game.

“And it is, fewer people play City of Heroes, they peaked out at – I don’t know the numbers – something like 200,000. But 200,000 subscribers paying $15 a month, if you do the math, that makes about as much money as selling 6 million boxes, if they last long enough.”

Gaffney cited a “couple of reasons” for Carbine’s decision to steer clear of free-to-play for Wildstar. Both lie in the “variability” of the payment model.

“There’s variability as a player because you don’t know if you’re going to get sucked in and pay $1,000 a month, because some people do. As a publisher it’s a juggling act because most the games I’ve seen end up devolving to the point that 1 or 2% of the players are paying $100 or more a month and they’re actually funding most of the free players, which can be up to 70 – 80% playing completely for free.

“As a publisher [that variabililty] can be distracting because when you’re making money you never know when that’s going to go away. As a player it’s distracting because generally you have a very different experience if you’re playing for free – and if not, then why the hell pay?

“So free-to-play’s not a magic bullet.”

Instead, Carbine have adopted an Eve-like business model: CREDD. Players can buy CREDD items for real-world money from the developers, and trade them with a second group of players for in-game gold. This second group can then cash in their CREDD for game time and, if they’re earning enough gold, play the game for free indefinitely.

“A bunch of games have done similar systems,” said Gaffney on the system’s inspiration. “Eve’s is probably the most popular and the best known. So many people don’t know what PLEX is and so it’s tough to describe. It’s such an efficient way of taking players that want to pay a lot, who want to put extra money in the game, and then that directly funds other players game time and so it’s a lot more direct.

“So essentially one set of players create their time, [another] use money to pay for the sub, and it’s a win-win and it pisses off gold farmers because it’s a legal source of trading gold with other players and so gets in the way of gold farmers.

“And we like pissing off gold farmers, too.”

Hear hear. But what do you make of Gaffney’s assessment of the MMO market? This is a man who’s been around since Asheron’s Call, so tread respectfully.

Elder Scrolls Online: Plate Armor Designs Revealed (Massively.com)

It’s nice to see female plate armor actually covering the body instead of being dental floss tied to a couple links of chain! However, the designs overall feel very one-note to me and far too similar to have three different races represented. Hrm. Anyone else unimpressed? Seems like plate in most every other MMORPG, though a bit more “realistic” (not like ginormous WOW shoulder pads).

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The Elder Scrolls Online taunts us with heavy armor designs

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A Redguard, a Wood Elf, and a Dark Elf walk into a bar, all wearing badass platmail armor. There’s no punchline because hello, badass platemail armorZeniMax Online thinks you’ll want to see its new Elder Scrolls Online armor concepts in high detail on representatives from all three of these races, so it’s posted them up on the official site along with a request to pick a favorite and fight it out on Facebook because armor is serious business.

The Redguard’s armor might not remind you much of Hammerfell fashion, but the Bosmeri kit has a touch of feral nature in its horns and spikes and fur. And we can’t help but notice hints of Redoran style in the Dunmer’s attire. Or are we just imagining that in an attempt not to think about Sauron or the Lich King?

We’ve included the full-size image after the cut!

Click the image for a full-size view:

ESO

Elder Scrolls Online: Subscription Model Revealed (Gamasutra.com)

Well, not exactly shocking. It never occurred for me that ESO would make a great F2P model as fun, fluffy costumes and such would seem really out of place. That said, ESO has announced a subscription fee: $15/month. That’s been the standard monthly fee for AAA MMOs for the past several years. Thanks to Gamasutra’s reporting of a German gaming website’s interview, we have plenty of the reasons why.

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With only a few big exceptions like World of Warcraft and EVE Online, the subscription model has largely been abandoned by MMO developers.

So it’s notable that one of the most highly-anticipated MMOs — Zenimax Online’s The Elder Scrolls Online — will be charging a $15 monthly fee (/€12.99/£8.99).

Zenimax Online general manager Matt Firor talked about it openly in a new interview with German website Gamestar, and a Zenimax rep confirmed as much with us.

“Charging a flat monthly fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play,” Firor told the website. ESO will also include 30 days of play with the purchase of the game. “Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren’t willing to make.”

The decision flies in the face of current MMO trends, but Firor says the move is “not a referendum” on free-to-play business models, though he does imply that with subscription-based games comes a higher level of quality.

“F2P, B2P, etc. are valid, proven business models — but subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery,” he said.

It’s a noble sentiment — to want to give players the keys to the castle for a flat (monthly repeating) rate. But players often storm the castle, do everything there is to do in the castle, and then are left twiddling their thumbs wondering what else there is to do, other than being resentful that they’re paying $15 a month. It’s players’ ability to burn through content faster than a developer can create it that gets certain kinds of subscription-based games in trouble.

Firor said for ESO, the plan is to “have new content available every four to six weeks.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the most obvious major example of a subscription model that failed. The game had the talent, resources and license to theoretically warrant $15 per month, but in the end, subscriptions dropped off rapidly after a strong launch, and the game adopted free-to-play. Other games like Rift and Tera are just a couple other examples of games that have made the subscription-to-free-to-play switch.

Firor said, “The fact that the word ‘monetized’ exists points to the heart of the issue for us: We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for – with our system, they get it all.”

ESO is slated to release on PC, Mac and next-gen consoles next year.

Gamescom 2013: Live Streams and Product Announcements

Much like with other gamer and tech conferences around the world, Gamescom has tens of thousands of participants, all clamoring to play test their favorite upcoming games, see new tech, and be clued in on the latest product announcements from companies such as Microsoft, EA, and Sony.

Here are a few of of the livestream sites available to participate (in a long distance kinda way) in Cologne, Germany’s gamer fest, along with VG 24/7’s laundry list of what’s what and who’s who for Gamescom 2013.

Sony’s PS4 @ Gamescom

Engadget’s Coverage

IGN’s EA and Sony Coverage

EA’s Live Coverage

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It’s that time of year again, when the gaming press descends on Cologne to check out the biggest games the industry has to offer and ruin their colons with meat. Pat, Sam and I will be there all of next week to play the games, attend the showcases and speak with the developers.

To re-cap everything that we’ll be seeing at the show, I’ve compiled this handy guide to make sure you don’t miss a conference or title. (Note: we will be hosting Sony and EA’s streams in separate pages on the big day, so be sure to check back Tuesday!)

First up…

The conferences:

EA: Tuesday, August 20 – 3pm UK / 4pm Europe / 7am Pacific

We know that EA is bringing at least Titanfall, Battlefield 4, Need for Speed: The Rivals, FIFA 14 and Command & Conquer to gamescom following the publisher’s blog on the matter.

The publisher has made a bit of noise about The Sims 4, which it said will be revealed in full at gamescom, and our money is on an appearance during the EA conference itself.

We’re also expecting to hear more about Dragon Age: Inquisition at the show following its big reveal in this month’s issue of Game Informer, but we’ll find out at the show.

Sony: Tuesday, August 20 – 6pm UK / 7pm Europe / 10am Pacific

Sony has already confirmed that its gamescom event will focus on PS4, and we’re hoping to hear a solid release date for the console during the show. UPDATE: Looks like that will happen, yes.

There’s also the little matter of this rumoured PS4 and PS Vita bundle that may or may not make an appearance. Steph and I recently called round some retailers to ask if it was a real bundle and they had no clue what we were talking about, so it seems unlikely.

It seems likely that games like Killzone: Shadow Fall, inFamous: Second Son, Driveclub, The Order: 1886 will be there in some form although we can’t say for certain yet. We’re still waiting for that LittleBigPlanet 3 announcement too.

Who and what?

Microsoft: Xbox One will be the company’s big focus at gamescom and if rumours are to be believed Microsoft’s presence will yield at least one new game announcement. Gamers seem to think it’s either Crackdown 3 or Fable 4. Truth be told we have no idea yet.

Crackdown’s agility orb logo was spotted during Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal back in May and Phil Spencer has been harping on about it a lot lately. Could this be the elusive, mystery game?

Microsoft’s stance on self-publishing was also pegged for discussion during gamescom before details on the reversal were leaked ahead of time. Microsoft’s Marc Whitten confirmed that the company would issue more details on the policy in Cologne.

Were also hoping to hear more on the Xbox One release dates, which may or may not go down at some point during gamescom. With the console out before year’s end and a TGS announcement unlikely, this is the best place for Microsoft to drop a date on us.

Game-wise we’re hoping for Dead Rising 3, Kinect Sports: Rivals, Project Spark, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct and more, but we’ll have to wait for the gamescom’s doors to open to find out more.

Nintendo: The Japanese giant makes its return to gamescom this year with a suite of Wii U and 3DS titles on the public show floor. On Wii U Nintendo will bring, “Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World, Wii Party U, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Wii Karaoke U, Mario Kart 8.

On 3DS Nintendo will be giving fans a chance to play Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It’s a strong showing from the company which is something of a bounce-back after last year’s no-show.

Ubisoft: While the company isn’t holding its usual conference at gamescom this year, it is promising to bring a new next-gen IP to the show. Current rumours suggest it’s Child of Light by Ubisoft Montreal. There’s also these Fighter Within domain registrations to consider.

Seeing as the publisher isn’t holding its own pre-show event, you can expect this reveal to go down at Sony’s conference. We’re none the wiser on what it is, although we can also expect showings from Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and The Crew.

Square Enix: Final Fantasy is a big focus for Square this year. The company recently spilled details of its Gamescom 2013 showing, which will give the public plenty of hands-on and demo sessions to look forward to.

We know that Thief, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD Remaster, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX and Deus Ex: The Fall will be there. There’s no word on Final Fantasy 15 however.

Activison: Blizzard has confirmed it will announce something to do with Diablo 3 at the show, which we’re going to guess will be news on the first expansion or something about the PS4 build.

We’re also expecting to hear more about Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer following its big August 14 reveal and of course we’re hoping to get another glimpse of Destiny on the show floor.

Konami: Sorry Metal Gear Solid 5 fans, only Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and PES 2014 are playable at this year’s gamescom, but that’s still something to get excited for.

Bethesda: The company has confirmed that The Elder Scrolls Online will be playable at gamescom and we wouldn’t be overly-surprised if Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Evil Within were to rear their heads at some point too.

Deep Silver: The publisher will bring it’s newly-announced MOBA Dead Island: Epidemic to Cologne, and Wasteland 2 developer inXile has confirmed it will bring the game to the show floor.

Other games we’re hoping will be at the show, but haven’t been confirmed at the time of writing:

  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Eve Online
  • Dark Souls 2
  • Dust 514
  • Half-Life 3 (totes jokes yo)
  • Hawken
  • Hotline Miami 2
  • Payday 2
  • Mad Max
  • Space Hulk
  • Star Citizen
  • War of the Vikings
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • World of Tanks Xbox 360
  • WWE 14

No-shows:

  • Capcom

Elder Scrolls Online: Big Plans For Big Story Post-Launch (ShackNews.com)

It should come as no surprise to folks in the MMORPG community that games tout their intentions to constantly release content updates post-launch. However, a lot of games never really get around to it – or – focus so much on new updates that they forget to patch, balance, and correct any existing bugs and major gameplay issues. ESO has hopped on the bandwagon stating, “[we] know that players are amazing in their ability to chew through content quickly, so we want to make sure there is a constant stream of goodies coming to them”.

I still haven’t gotten into the beta, but have seen a lot of the gameplay through *cough* other means and they offered nearly 30 minutes of gameplay footage at QuakeCon 2013. I’m hoping they’re able to offer updates as consistently as GW2 and with as much additional content.

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Elder Scrolls Online will lead to ‘an even bigger story’ after release

The primary goal right now for The Elder Scrolls Online ready for release early in 2014. But MMOs live and die by their post-launch support, a fact that developer Zenimax Online is certainly aware of. Creative director Paul Sage discussed their plans with Shacknews.

“We watch everybody in the market, but I’m a big proponent personally of making sure we keep a high frequency of content releases,” Sage said. “A big part of our plans is the future of the game. We always want to make sure there is something new right around the corner. Our plan is to have new content coming out on a really frequent basis. We want to make sure that people are really into the game and get to experience a lot of new things. We will have a lot of content at release, but I know that players are amazing in their ability to chew through content quickly, so we want to make sure there is a constant stream of goodies coming to them.”

Sage said his experience as a developer on Ultima Online reinforced this theory. “The more frequently you update, the more the players like it. Players are more engaged. I think it is an issue of trust in a lot of ways. They know there is going to be a lot of new content coming in.”

He added that, while the main storyline in the game may end, it is also a beginning. “We’ve talked about Molag Bol stealing your soul at the start of the game, but that’s a launching point. You’ll wrap up the main story in The Elder Scrolls Online at release and that leads into an even bigger story.”

Sage said beta testing for the game has proven enlightening for the team. While the game will see numerous betas through development, the latest one has proven a theory that the development had about the user interface.

“In the latest beta, we are testing out the replacement of what used to be our mini-map with the compass, which is a little bit more Skyrim-like,” he said. “The mini-map was a little bit bigger and bulkier, but the other thing was the mini-map could sometimes almost have you connecting the dots between locations. We wanted to test out what a compass would be like, so we ran this through the beta testers to see how they reacted. They reacted very positively to it. More importantly, watching their patterns of play, we wanted to see if they followed the straight line of a quest or if instead they explored more. What we found was they did explore more, which is what we were going for.”

The game will be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as PC and Mac, but Sage said it was a bit too early to say just when the game would be released on the various platforms. “What we are planning is making sure all of the platforms are top quality, so it’s kind of hard at this point to say they would be simultaneous release or not, but the goal is spring of 2014.”

Elder Scrolls Online: Ask Us Anything at QuakeCon 2013

Although the big reveal at QuakeCon 2013 for me was the 30-minute solo and group dungeon play over on Twitch, ESO also has a nice “Ask Us Anything” from the event that covers death penalties, “mob glow”, LFG tool, teleporting to friends, and a couple lore questions.

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Last week’s live gameplay stream at QuakeCon created a lot of excitement—and plenty of new questions about The Elder Scrolls Online. Check out our answers to some of them here.

We had lots of fun presenting our very first gameplay stream last week, which included a dungeon run and a close look at ESO’s combat. If you missed it, you can still enjoy the full replay. After the stream, you had lots of new questions, and we’ve selected some to answer right here. Are you wondering about something in ESO? Send us an email atcommunity@elderscrollsonline.com and we may feature your question in an upcoming Ask Us Anything. Enjoy!

Which level were the monsters in the QuakeCon stream compared to the characters? I saw them cutting through their enemies quite easily, but the health bars went up and down a lot. Did some monsters hit that hard and is healing that effective, or did your characters have that little health? – By Andrew Markton

Fungal Grotto is a level 12 – 15 dungeon. I believe we had two level 13 characters and two level 16 characters in our party during the stream. Since players can put points into health, magicka, or stamina, it’s likely that some characters’ health totals were lower than others. However, what you saw is a pretty good indication of health fluctuation and the need to heal when taking on a dungeon.

Will there be an option to turn off the glow around enemies? – By Nate Collins

Yes, you will be able to turn it off. I will say that the glow is much more apparent when you’re watching than it is when you’re playing. It’s very effective at helping with target selection, and you may find it useful in some situations, but it’s up to you whether to enable it.

You said that my armor will degrade when I die. Can I repair it, or do I have to pay an NPC? – By Jen Hauser

We have repair kits for repairs in the field, and you can visit an NPC to have all of your gear repaired.

I noticed the compass in the stream. Does it replace the mini-map or is it another option? If it does replace it, will it show more than points of interest, like guild and group members or enemies? – By Karen Tengart

The compass will replace the mini-map. Actually, this is a good example of how we use information from our beta tests. When we had a mini-map, we noticed many testers felt like they should just follow quest markers, and they were less inclined to explore. This ran counter to our intent of being a game that emphasizes exploration. When we introduced the compass, players became much more likely to explore and less likely to just “follow the quests.”

As for putting group members on the compass, we’re trying to avoid having too much clutter on the compass. We do have in-world indicators for group members, though, which are proving to be very effective.

When a class says nothing about the playstyle of another player, how will the dungeon finder still allow me to look for healing or damaged focused players? – By Tommy Reed

Players will pick the role they think they can best perform when they sign up to find a group.

So many mudcrabs—where did they all come from? I am confused. – By John Raighley

Only Lorkhan knows, and his secrets died with him.

How much of the footage and animation we saw on Twitch is finalized? – By Tom Gregor

We’re polishing everything in the game, and that will continue as we head towards launch. First-person mode, which you saw quite a bit of in the video, is one of our more recent additions, and you can expect to see improvements to it as we continue development.

Will the transportation system—and especially porting to group mates—work in PvP, too? If so, how many “safe” locations are in Cyrodiil? – By Pete Jameston

The fast-travel system is very different in Cyrodiil. We don’t want to have battles where each side can instantly transport in reinforcements, assuring no clear winner. You will be able to fast travel to points clearly secured by your alliance. That said, with the size of Cyrodiil, I will say that mounts are a pretty good thing to have.

Is the instanced loot random for one person or will everyone receive the same item / crafting component / amount of gold? – By Jean Despar

Instanced loot is random per person.

Can you explain the equipment and skills from the gameplay stream a bit more? Which armor did he wear? Which skills did he use? – By Mira Yump

Nick was playing a ranged DPS Templar for most of the session. He was in a combination of light and medium armor, going for protection and an increase in the efficacy of his magic use. His alternate weapon set was dual-wielding. Nick was able to heal himself and the group as sort of a backup healer, even though he only put one or two skill points in his healing line. The spear you saw and “light” abilities are signature abilities of the Templar. The spear knocks enemies back as it damages them, and the bright ball of light applies a damage-over-time effect and a snare. Nick also had some weapon abilities he used, depending on the weapon type he was currently wielding.

Gina played a Sorcerer using sword and shield and wearing heavy armor. Rich was a Nightblade in light armor who helped keep the party alive with a restoration staff, and Eric chose a dual-wielding Dragonknight with medium armor.

Hello, I am wondering if other Daedric Princes are in the game (besides Molag Bal), since I am a big fan of Mehrunes Dagon. – By Austin

Yes, there are definitely other Daedric Princes. Sheogorath comes to mind … [AuA disappears in a cloud of butterflies.]

Elder Scrolls Online: New Beta Test Invites

This is the third (?) wave of beta invites for ESO. Cross your fingers and F5 the heck out of your inbox over the next few hours. Good luck!

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New Beta Invites – July 9th

Check your email! We’re sending another round of invites to The Elder Scrolls Online beta.

We’ve started to send another wave of invitations to the ESO beta, as we continue to ramp up our beta program. Invites will be going out over the next few hours, so check your email periodically to see if you’ve been invited to the test. Don’t forget to check your spam folder! We’re looking forward to the next beta session and can’t wait for more of you to see the game.

If you don’t receive an invitation, don’t worry. The ESO beta continues to grow, and we’ll let you know when we send new invites. Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm; we can’t wait to see your feedback.

Discuss this on the official ESO Facebook page.

Original ESO Article

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