Final Fantasy XIV: Progression After Level 50 (Guide)

Update: A brand new polished version is now available for Patch 2.3, thanks to the CrabCommander! I have updated this post with CC’s thread.


So you just hit 50, and now you’re wondering where to go from here. Well, I don’t think anyone can tell you explicitly what should be done in exactly what order, and you certainly can skips steps, but here’s the most gentle slope for introduction to end-game.

Tier 0 – Preparation & Requirements

  • Finish Your Job/Story Quests – Your Job quests will net you your last skills and your Artifact gear. Do them. Main quest completion at least through Praetorium is required for literally every piece of content outside of this tier, and many later on will require completion beyond that.
  • Replace Your Trash Items – If you have any items below iLevel 45, they should probably be replaced with crafted/purchased items. You should pay particular attention to your weaponry. You can jump up as high as item level 90, depending on how much gil you have/are willing to spend, but bare minimum in all slots should be i45+.
  • Castrum Meridianum and The Praetorium – You’ll need to run them once for story. If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of 8 man content you can run them once or twice extra, but you should otherwise avoid them outside of Duty Roulette: Story Mode, which unlocks after completing them both, as the base Mythology reward is rather low for their time investment.
  • Wanderer’s Palace and Amdapor Keep – You’ll have to do at least AK for your Relic quest eventually, but they also drop iLevel 55 gear to get you started, and are an easy completion even in fresh 50 gear. They should help ease you into the idea of 4 man dungeons at level 50, and how various classes perform with their full skill set.
  • Cross Class Skills – Every Job is a little different on how much they depend on cross-class skills, but at absolute minimum, by the time you reach Tier 2 you should have access to all of the Cross-Class skills considered even moderately useful for your Job.

Tier 1 – The First Steps

  • Expectations – Beyond this point you should have Praetorium completed, and a basic set of gear in the iLevel range of 45-55 or higher. Gear from content in this range is iLevel 60-80.
  • Relic Quest Line – One of the first stops for a fresh 50 should be picking up your Relic Quest line. Even if you don’t want to take it all the way to Novus, it’s a good way to jump up into the i80-90 weaponry tier relatively quickly.
  • Big 3 HM Primals – Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan HM will all be required of you for a number of unlocks, and completion of your Relic quest. Go bang them out in an afternoon. With big Echo bonuses, and propensity for higher iLevel/experience players to join you via Duty Roulette: Trials, none of these save perhaps Titan should present you with any terrible difficulty. The Big 3 HM Primals must be completed to gain access to The Binding Coil of Bahamut later on.
  • Main Story Continuation/Secondary HM Primals – Continue working on your post-Praetorium Story and you’ll eventually run into Moogle Mog, Leviathan, and Ramuh HM. You’ll need them all dead and the story wrapped up all the way to its current 2.3 completion eventually for unlocks, and Moggle can drop silly i75 weapons for the Moogle addicted.
  • Gilgamesh – A for-fun/no-rewards fight in the Hildebrand Storyline; required if you want to unlock Duty Roulette: Trials. Should be no difficulty at any iLevel.
  • Pharos Sirius and Haukke/Copperbell HM – These four man dungeons should present you no particular difficulties even at an average iLevel of 55-60, assuming some of your other party members are above that level. You should be going through each four man dungeon at least once so that you can unlock Duty Roulette: Hard Mode.
  • Lost City of Amdapor and Brayflox/Halatali HM – Same as above, only with a slightly higher difficulty curve, aim for iLevel 60-70 before jumping in them. Brayflox HM will likely be many people’s first experience with the dungeon speed running mentality, so be prepared for much bigger pulls than you’re used to. Once you have completed all the dungeons listed to this point at least once you will gain access to Duty Roulette: Hard Mode.
  • Labyrinth of the Ancients – The first Crystal Tower/24 man, you’ll need it completed for unlock status later for the second zone, and it drops i80 gear with no loot restriction.
  • Hunts – You should now be able to unlock the Hunts system, which allows you to reap great rewards from overworld Notorious Monsters. Unlock this as soon as possible and get into a Hunts Linkshell or a larger FC if this is something that interests you.
  • Mythic Armor – You should be able to purchase at least a few pieces of Mythic armor either with Mythology tomes, or Hunt Marks. This should help boost your iLevel rapidly. If you have enough Soldiery Tomes you can also begin purchasing iLevel 100 Weathered gear with them.
  • PvP & Frontlines – You should now be able to unlock Frontlines PvP and level 50 Arena mode PvP. Frontlines can be a great way to acquire Tomestones and PvP exp while having fun, as long as you can deal with the Frontlines queue insanity.
  • Side-Stories – You should now also have access to start the Hildebrand, Courrier, and Winebauds series of Sidequests. These provide various small item rewards, and can be a lot of silly fun.
  • Other Unlocks – There are many small system related unlocks at level 50, from Glamours and Personal Rooms to Chocobo Raising, Parley, and more. Keep an eye out for any odd Level 50 quests in zones you walk through, or people chatting about systems you don’t recognize.

Tier 2 – Beyond Your First Relic – The Beginnings of the Difficulty Curve.

  • Expectations – By this point you should be in the ilevel ~70+ range, with a weapon at least at iLevel 80. Content in this tier provides gear in the range of i80-i100. Content from this point onward will begin sharply spiking up in difficulty, both in terms of numerical requirements and mechanical prowess.
  • Hullbreaker Isle and Tam Tara/Stone Vigil HM – These three dungeons constitute the Duty Roulette: Expert block currently. Clear them each at least once, or farm them if that’s your preferred method of i80 acquisition and Soldiery farming.
  • Ballad: Ultima – At this point, Ultima most likely will provide little that will be of use to you, but if you want to clear him once for fun, or really need an i80 neck piece, Minstrel’s Ballad: Ultima’s Bane is there. A clear on this is eventually required for Savage Mode Second Coil, far down the line, should you get to that point.
  • Big 3 EX Primals – Garuda, Titan, and Ifrit EX are one of many paths to an i90 weapon and i90 accessories. They have been dropped as requirements for other content, so if you don’t feel like you need more i90 gear, or are struggling to complete some of these, it is now possible to skip over them.
  • The Binding Coil of Bahamut – The biggest method to farm up i90-95 gear at this point, the original Binding Coil will provide you with your first taste of Premier 8 man content, albeit with a very generous Echo buff and a few nerfs to the numbers and mechanics of the fights. Completion of Turn 5 is required for access to the Second Coil of Bahamut.
  • Leviathan and Moggle Mog EX – These two are required for Ramuh EX down the line, and can provide you with i95/i100 gear, including weaponry. Both have had progressive Echo added in 2.3, which should make clearing and farming them easy enough to let them drop down a tier.
  • Syrcus Tower – The second Crystal Tower/24 man instance. This will get you access to a single i100 drop per week, or an Oil of Time/Unidentified Allagan Tomestone for access to an i110 accessory upgrade or i100 weapon purchase.
  • Relic Zenith/Animus/Novus – The long path of upgrading your relic. None of the steps require clearing any of the harder content, and are more focused on simple grinding. If that sounds like something that would appeal to you, this can be a path to a long term best-in-slot weapon for many classes.
  • Weathered Gear – Keep capping your Soldiery weekly, and use those tomes to Acquire Weathered Gear. Upgrading these pieces requires Sands/Oils of time, which can be acquired via Syrcus Tower, Hunts, and Second Coil.

Tier 3 – Turn 5 and Beyond – The True End-Game

  • Expectations – By this point you should have completed Turn 5 or be actively working on it. Content from here on out will drop all pretenses of the Echo buff and require you to actively work on your skills and gear to make the cut. A minimum iLevel of 90 in all slots should be considered for the following content. The below content provides rewards in the i100-115 range.
  • Ramuh EX – Another source of i100 weapons, and i100 rings. A challenging but readily beatable fight. Can save you some Soldiery or help smooth out bad drop luck from Second Coil.
  • The Second Coil of Bahamut – The real heart of End Game content currently. Four turns, four bosses, and a whole lot of suffering. Expect to need a static group, and/or a whole mountain of dedication to clear the turns. Drops i110 gear, i110 upgrade items, and the coveted i115 weapons from the final turn. Turn 4 completion is required for access to Savage mode.

Tier 4 – For the Brave

  • Expectations – In order to tackle the content in this tier, you must have completed both Second Coil Turn 4 and Ballad: Ultima. Your gear should all be i110+ or close to it. Content in this tier is purely for bragging rights/titles, and not for the feint of heart or easily enraged.
  • The Second Coil of Bahamut (Savage) – The insane man’s version of the Second Coil. Provides no added benefits other than a title for each turn cleared, at an insane difficulty spike. Maybe you’ll be the first to clear some of these turns?

 

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Final Fantasy XIV: Square Enix Announces Compensation (IGN.com)

For those of you who, like me, have struggled with server access during the FFXIV:ARR launch, this will come as no surprise to you. However, even with all MMORPGs struggling at launch, I haven’t seen free game time provided like this before. It’s nice Square Enix is doing *something* instead of just apologizing multiple times a day.

All servers will be down for another eight-and-a-half hours, so fingers crossed that it actually resolves the myriad issues.

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Square Enix has announced all Final Fantasy XIV accounts will be given an extra week of free play time to compensate for ongoing server woes.

post on The Lodestone explains that anyone who has registered Final Fantasy XIV or does so before 11.59 PM PDT on September 9 will have an extra week of free game time added to their account, in addition to the month that comes when you buy a copy of the game.

The post reads, “Since the beginning of official service on August 27, 2013, the number of users attempting to access the game has significantly exceeded our initial estimates. While we are pleased to see support for the game reach far beyond our expectations, the servers were not prepared to handle this influx of players. As a result, our servers have been pushed beyond maximum capacity.

“All Final Fantasy XIV service accounts will receive an additional seven days of free play time. 

“In order to allow access to as many users as possible, we have implemented login and character creation restrictions. We understand, however, that these restrictions have greatly inconvenienced our players.

“Because login and character creation restrictions have hindered our ability to provide quality service, all Final Fantasy XIV service accounts will receive an additional seven days of free play time.”

Additionally, the company has announced a 10-hour emergency maintenance period will take place later today to try and sort all the problems.

“To resolve this issue, we will be performing maintenance from September 3, 2013, at 5:00 PM to September 4, 2013, at 3:00 AM PDT, for the purpose of increasing the number of available Worlds, reducing stress on the Duty Finder servers, and increasing the number of concurrent logins allowed for each server.”

If all goes well then, it looks like we should be seeing an end to the worst of the issues by tomorrow. This isn’t an unusual situation for MMO launches, which always tend to be rather rocky. It’s good to see that Square is already taking positive steps to try and improve the situation, including switching off digital sales for the time being.

Have you managed to play Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn yet and, if so, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Xbox One Live Sub Required to Use DVR (IGN.com)

This is unfortunate, but I guess not completely surprising. As I won’t be using the DVR features, it won’t affect my gameplay experience much.

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An Xbox Live Gold subscription  is required to use Xbox One‘s DVR game-capture and video sharing functionality. Gold members will also have access to Skype and Smart Match multiplayer matchmaking, of course, as online play requires a Gold subscription.

Xbox Live Gold’s one-year membership costs $60 in North America, and Xbox 360 users’ existing Gold accounts will unlock access to Skype, DVR, Smart Match, and more when Xbox One releases this November. Currently, Xbox Gold members can get Crackdown for free on Xbox 360.

Xbox One’s DVR captures clips at 30 frames per second in 720p, Microsoft recently told IGN. For more on how Xbox Live works on Xbox One, check out IGN’s detailed wiki guide. Will you upgrade to Gold for game capture and sharing capabilities, or are you an existing member looking forward to the features? Let us know in the comments below.

The Rise of eSports in America (IGN.com)

Leah Jackson over at IGN has written an excellent article discussing the past 15 years of eSports history, the influential companies and tournaments over the past decade-and-a-half, and what the current landscape for the professional game looks like. If you have no clue what an eSport is (or why the US Government approved an online game as a “professional sport”), or you’re a rabid enthusiast who can’t wait for the Guild Wars 2 and LOL tournaments this year, the article is definitely worth the read.

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A look at how strategy games, MOBAs, and fighters have become a legitimate sport in America.

Anyone with their fingers even remotely close to the pulse of gaming knows that eSports have blown up in popularity in the United States over the past few years. With thousands of gamers competing and millions watching, the phenomenon has come a long way in a very short period of time. Now more than ever, players are considering pro-gaming as a valid career, especially in the U.S.

Professional gaming isn’t exactly new. Gamers have been making a living off their skills since the late ’90s. But it was when developer Blizzard Entertainment released StarCraft II in 2010 that eSports in America really seemed to blossom in to the wildly successful spectator sport it has become today.

Major League Gaming, or MLG, has become one of the most prestigious eSports organizations in the world, and is one of the true pioneers of eSports in the United States. “When we started MLG in 2002 our goal was to provide those with an appetite for video game competition the ability to both participate and spectate,” explained Sundance DiGiovanni, Co-Founder and CEO of Major League Gaming. “I think we have laid the groundwork for a consistent and stable competitive platform and truly helped eSports in the U.S. become what it is today.”

Over 10 years later, MLG is still thriving, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes to professional gamers via online and live events. According to MLG, more than 11.7 million unique viewers tuned in to watch the four 2012 MLG Pro Circuit Championship events online, compared to 3.5 million viewers in 2011. An impressive 334% increase.

The rapid rise in viewers is pretty astonishing, but MLG isn’t the only organization getting in on the action. Other large leagues and tournaments have begun popping up stateside as well.

The Evolution Championship Series, or EVO, is the most prominent fighting game tournament in the world. This year the event was put on by Shoryuken.com and was held in the U.S. in Las Vegas, drawing a record-breaking 1.7 million unique online viewers. Professional players from around the world competed at the event, which was attended by thousands.

Not only are large organizations like MLG and EVO putting on these events in America, but the developers of these eSports titles have begun hosting their own massive tournaments and leagues in the states as well.

Blizzard hosts the StarCraft II World Championship Series, or WCS, a $1.6 million series of events spread throughout 13 events. While the tournament does include players from all around the world, this year the Championships are being held in California during BlizzCon.

Riot Games, developer of the massively popular free-to-play MOBA League of Legends, also hosts their own tournament league, The League Championship Series, or LCS. Riot takes particularly good care of the gamers good enough to qualify for the LCS, offering a salary to each team. The salary helps them cover travel and housing, and is meant to help the players alleviate any financial stress so that they can focus on gaming.

Riot Games recently made huge strides for eSports as a whole in the U.S., going through a lengthy process to prove that League of Legends is a legitimate sport to the U.S. government. Thanks to the developer, the United States government now recognizes pro LoL players as professional athletes, and will award them visas to work in the U.S. under that title.

This year, the LCS Championship is also being held in the United States. Players from around the world will travel to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to compete for millions in prizes.

Valve, the developer of the hugely successful free-to-play MOBA, Dota 2, is also hosting a tournament in the states this year, The International 3. The International 3 already touts the largest prize pool in eSports history, coming in at around $2.6 million. The event will take place in Seattle, Washington and will host players from all around the world.

While these developer tournaments are generally held near the developer’s headquarters, it’s still important that they’re in the United States at all. Other countries have been hosting these large events for years, and it’s nice to see that instead of all the action being held overseas, more people get to see what the states have to offer too.

Aside from tournaments, there are a few other factors that have played important roles in the growth of eSports in the United States as well. Probably the most important being the rise of Twitch.TV. Twitch.TV, which is based in the U.S., is a free live streaming platform that launched in 2011. Nowadays, over 35 million viewers watch gaming-related content broadcasted over Twitch.TV every month. And most, if not all, of the large tournaments mentioned in this article are broadcasted on Twitch.

There’s also been a rise of eSports commentators, or casters, in the U.S. thanks to Twitch.TV. These people, much like professional sports broadcasters, are filled with deep knowledge about particular eSports titles, and they guide viewers through games and offer in-depth analysis. Some of the more popular broadcasters can bring in thousands of people to their Twitch.TV stream every time they turn it on. Since Twitch is free and easy to use, professional players, casters, and anyone else who wants to give streaming a try can do so. Twitch even offers broadcasters who bring in enough viewers the chance to earn some money by signing up for their Partner Program.

Another big factor that’s helping eSports grow in the U.S. is the recent Team House trend. Team Houses, which are already very popular in South Korea, have started sprouting up in the U.S., offering professional teams a place to use as their own personal training facilities.

According to Cody “Evoli” Conners, General Manager of Team Evil Geniuses, his players benefit from their Team House by having other talented players around to bounce ideas off of and practice with. Not only is the practice environment great, but it’s really beneficial to have all of his players in one place. “If a sponsor reaches out to us and wants something filmed or some content created, we have the benefit of having ten of our star players in the same house.”

He also explains why Team Houses are important for the growing popularity of eSports in the United States. “I think it would be difficult to argue that any organization that has had a house is worse off for their efforts,” he said. “It shows that they’re taking eSports seriously and I think it helps the fans realize that.”

The eSports community in general has also played an extremely significant role in the growth of professional gaming in the U.S. In addition to the countless websites dedicated to all sorts of eSports, a few devoted fans have even started an organization that could potentially become the most important factor in growing eSports in the U.S. in the future.

The eSports Association, or TeSPA, (formerly the Texas eSports Association) is a network of gaming-community organizers at college campuses. They work together to promote competitive gaming by building communities, hosting events, and developing themselves into the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. Their goal is to see the continual growth of eSports, and what better way to do so than by establishing a baseline of different freshmen every year? It wasn’t too long ago that American football made its debut on college campuses, so it’s not that far-fetched that we could be seeing an emergence of pro-gamers at various U.S. colleges in the future.

Yet even though professional gaming in the U.S. has come a long way and has the potential to be a valid profession for some Americans, other countries, like Sweden and South Korea, are already broadcasting eSports events on national television. The 2012 Dreamhack Winter tournament was even televised on Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public service station. Luckily for those in the U.S., MLG’s Sundance DiGiovanni has been in touch with CBS Interactive and is now making a case to get live eSports games on television here in the U.S.

At the end of the day, eSports has taken off so rapidly in America because of the growing popularity of competitive games and the desire that gamers have to watch competition at its highest level. While it may sound like a dream profession to some, professional gaming is a fiercely competitive business to get into. Players must spend countless hours perfecting strategies, communication, and teamwork to merely have a chance at competing with the best.

Whether you’re a player or caster (or even a journalist covering eSports), you have to work very hard and stay on top of everything. You have to live and breathe your game, and only the very best will ever make a name for themselves, in America or anywhere else. It takes drive, determination, and some very thick skin to make it as a pro gamer or caster, but if you can work your way into the club, it’s a fun ride that isn’t stopping anytime soon.

San Diego Comic-Con 2013: Live Stream Coverage at IGN

If you’re like me and unable to attend this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, IGN is THE place to check out the event “live”. They’ve posted their entire Live Stream coverage schedule and have a shiny new San Diego Comic Con 2013 events page, including previews, a Live Stream link, and articles focused on the attending movies and TV shows.

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Three days of streaming coverage, including news, analysis, celebrity interviews and game exclusives.

Can’t make it out to San Diego? IGN has you covered! Coming off of a record-breaking E3, IGN is locked and loaded again: this time to bring you full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con. For the first time, IGN will be live streaming from the Con providing breaking coverage of the world’s biggest pop culture event.

Come to IGN.com starting Thursday, July 18th for breaking news, panel analysis, celebrity interviews, debut footage and game demos.The stream will be happening right on the front page of IGN.com on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1:00-5:00 PM PST.

The event will be hosted by Greg Miller and Daemon Hatfield, the same crew from our E3 Live show. Commentary throughout the event will be provided by IGN pop culture experts, including Jim Vejvoda, Eric Goldman, Joey Esposito, Chris Tilly, Roth Cornet, Scott Collura, Steve Butts and Marty Sliva. From Walking Dead to Marvel movies, from Batman Origins to Kick-Ass 2, they’ll discuss the biggest news in movies, TV, comics and games.

Here is the current schedule of events. Please note that due to the nature of Comic-Con, times may shift and new things may emerge on the schedule, so keep checking back here for more!

Thursday, July 18th

  • 1:00: San Diego Comic-Con Show Preview
  • 1:30: Nothing Left to Fear: Interview with Slash (of Guns N’ Roses fame)
  • 1:40: To Do List: Interview with Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Bilson and Maggie Carey
  • 2:00: Cosplay Superstars: Interview with LeeAnna Vamp, Vampy and Meagan Marie
  • 2:15: The Conjuring: Interview with Lili Taylor
  • 2:30: The Games of Comic-Con: Discussion with Steve Butts and Marty Sliva
  • 2:45: Ender’s Game: Interview with Gavin Hood and Roberto Orci
  • 3:00: Doctor Who: Interview with Matt Smith
  • 3:15: The Walking Dead: Interview with Robert Kirkman
  • 3:30: Ender’s Game: Interview with Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin
  • 3:45: Octodad: PS4 game demo
  • 4:00: Divergent: Interview with Shailene Woodley, Neil Burger and Veronica Roth
  • 4:15: Batman Origins: Interview with Troy Baker, Roger Craig Smith, and WB Producer
  • 4:30: Marvel Comics: Interview with Joe Quesada
  • 4:45: Comic-Con: News wrap-up

Friday, July 19th

  • 1:00: Comic-Con: Friday Preview
  • 1:15: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: 3DS game demo
  • 1:30: Power Rangers: Interview with Jason David Frank
  • 1:45: NTSF:SD:SUV:: Interview with Karen Gillan and Paul Scheer
  • 2:00: Falling Skies: Interview with Noah Wyle, Will Patton and Moon Bloodgood
  • 2:20: Nintendo: Wii-U game demo
  • 2:30: The Legend of Korra: Interview with Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Janet Varney
  • 2:45: Vikings: Interview with Travis Fimmel and Kathryn Winnick
  • 3:00: Godzilla: Gareth Edwards Interview
  • 3:15: The Walking Dead: Panel discussion with Roth Cornet
  • 3:30: The World’s End: Interview with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
  • 3:50: 300: Rise of an Empire: Interview with Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro and Eva Green
  • 4:00: I, Frankenstein: Interview with Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski and Stuart Beattie
  • 4:15: Pikmin 3: Wii-U game demo
  • 4:30: Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Interview with Cast
  • 4:45: Comic-Con: News wrap-up

Saturday, July 20th

  • 1:00: Comic-Con: Saturday Preview
  • 1:15: The Walking Dead: Interview with Greg Nicotero, Scott Gimple and David Alpert
  • 1:30: Nikita: Maggie Q Interview
  • 1:45: Kick-Ass 2: Interview with Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jeff Wadlow and Donald Faison
  • 2:00: Evil Dead: Interview with Fede Alvarez and Jane Levy
  • 2:15: Godzilla and More: Panel discussion with Jim Vejvoda
  • 2:45: Orphan Black: Interview with Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris and Dylan Bruce
  • 3:00: Bates Motel: Interview with Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore
  • 3:15: Arrow: Interview with Katie Cassidy, Emily Bett Rickards and David Ramsey
  • 3:45: Scribblenauts Unmasked: game demo
  • 4:00: Marvel Movies: Interview with Kevin Feige
  • 4:15: Marvel Movies: Discussion with Joey Esposito
  • 4:30: Community: Interview with Gillian Jacobs, Allison Brie and Yvette Nicole Brown
  • 4:45: Comic-Con: Show wrap-up

To keep up with all of the news and info from the show, bookmark the IGN San Diego Comic-Con Index. See you at the Con!

Blizzard Confirms and Details Warcraft In-Game Store (IGN.com)

If you’ve paid any attention at all to the MMORPG genre the past few years (or have any idea what an Asian MMORPG subscriber model looks like), you’ll have seen this one coming a mile away. Heck, Blizzard has been selling plushies and $25 in-game mounts for quite some time. Seeing a major drop of over a million subscribers in Q1 of this year alone, Blizzard has to find a way to stop the bleeding and put the juggernaut back into growth mode.

Every MMORPG in recent memory that’s gone F2P and included a cash shop has seen a rise in overall earnings, if not a rise in subscriber base. If they really do launch with +XP boosts, it’s only a matter of time for the player base to start seeing WOW as Pay-to-Win. At that point, Blizzard will see the subscriber numbers really hemorrhage.

Note: This article contains the original article plus a sizeable follow-up with newly released information.

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Asian regions to get the brunt of purchasable boosts, to start with anyway.

Update: Blizzard has confirmed an in-game store is on the way to World of Warcraft, and detailed what regions will be getting what first.

Community manager Bashiok explained that, for many, the store will simply offer a more convenient way to purchase items already available from Blizzard’s Cash Shop.

“For players who are already interested in the in-game items we offer, such as Pet Store pets and mounts, the benefits of an in-game store are pretty clear. We think everyone would appreciate the convenience of being able to make such purchases without having to leave the game, and ultimately that’s our long-term goal for the system, though there’s quite a bit of work involved in retrofitting those existing items into the new system.”

He then went on to clarify that the experience boosting items previously uncovered would be offered “in Asian regions, at the outset” before revealing another in-game item that’ll also be available for purchase.

“First, we’ll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we’re looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune. We’ve had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we’ve introduced as WoW has evolved—including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more—your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game.

“Ultimately it’s still too early in the process to make any final determinations about our plans, but in the meantime, we hope you’ll check out the in-game store once it’s implemented on the PTR and let us know what you think.”

The inclusion of Lesser Charms of Good Fortune has caused some consternation among fans of the game, as they can be converted into an item giving players extra chances to attain gear in raids. For many, this could mark the start of a slide into what’s commonly known as “pay-to-win” territory, where your in-game strength isn’t based on skill or time invested, but rather real-world cash spent.

Blizzard has strongly denied these accusations, and the current plan doesn’t make any suggestion about the Charms being offered in the West. It’ll be interesting to see how this one develops; as one of the final MMOs to offer a subscription fee, it seems Blizzard is looking to supplement its income amid falling player numbers.

Original story follows.

Original Story: Blizzard has announced that it’s investigating the possibility of adding microtransactions to World of Warcraft.

In a post on the game’s forums, community manager Zarhym explained that no decisions had been made and the new system would only be available “in certain regions”.

“We are currently exploring the possibility of adding a way for players in certain regions to make purchases directly within the game,” he wrote. “As part of this process, elements related to this will be appearing on the PTR. We’ll provide additional updates on our plans as development progresses.”

The post was made in response to a player finding an item on the Public Test Realm for a future patch that grants a “100% XP Buff” from both killing monsters and completing quests and is available through an “In Game Store”.

It’s worth noting that Zarhym’s response suggests only certain regions will be getting the new system, meaning NA and EU may never see it. Seeing as we already have the Blizzard Cash Shop over here and the company has received some serious flack for accusations of double dipping by having both that and a subscription fee, it’s likely the new microtransactions are planned for other countries such as China.

Are you still playing World of Warcraft and would the addition of microtransactions make you stop if so? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Adds Ewok Companion (IGN.com)

It was mentioned in the Update 2.3 patch notes on the PTS, but IGN has a more specific description of exactly what you’ll get. An Ewok Bounty Hunter sounds uh-may-zing!

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Say Hello to Treek the Bounty Hunter.

Ewoks will be joining Star Wars: The Old Republic in the form of a playable companion once Patch 2.3 hits.

Dulfy.net reports that you’ll need to be legacy level 40 and have a spare million credits to unlock the companion, called Treek. If you’re short on credits, a Cartel Coin option will also be available.

Treek will wear heavy armour, and uses Aim as her primary stat. The pint-sized Bounty hunter will also come replete with both tank and heal stances.

swtor-bounty-hunting-treek-customization

Will you be picking up Treek when Patch 2.3 goes live, and are you glad to see Ewoks come to The Old Republic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Neverwinter: Massive Giveaways!

Neverwinter is giving away everything AND the kitchen sink! There are five different websites offering freebies, so hit them all up!

Official Neverwinter Giveaway Website

Current Giveaways

IGN’s Best of E3 2013 Awards

IGN has not only provided their list of game winners in 25 categories for E3 2013, but also provided a number of runners-up and then listed every single game that was in contention for the award. Needless to say, it’s a VERY long list (covers five pages on their site). I’ve truncated that substantially and posted only the winners so this version of the article doesn’t require scrolling for 10 minutes to reach the end. You can head over here for the original, much more expanded list of nominees and such.

(By the way, IGN’s list is quite different from what TenTonHammer put together for their list of winners. I think you’d be surprised at the differences.)

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The most important gaming event of the year is now. Who won it?

WINNER: TitanFall Of all the games on display at E3, none said “next-gen” as loudly and clearly as Titanfall. Respawn Entertainment’s debut demo showcased the chaotic possibility of what players can do, rather than simply teasing the potential of what it may be. It’s beautiful, creative, and could upend the shooter landscape. For that, it’s IGN’s best-in-show.

WINNER: TitanFall Titanfall is the Xbox One’s killer app, at this point. Its use of cloud processing allows for competitive multiplayer that features the spectacular style of a single-player campaign, fills the world with A.I. ripe to mine for XP, and more ways to get through a multiplayer match than almost anything we’ve seen — especially on a console.

WINNER: Infamous: Second Son Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack are undeniably fun to play, but it’s Infamous: Second Son that truly stood out among the PS4-exclusive pack. The promise of Second Son – being a superhero in an open-world sandbox – is much like the first two Infamous games, but its new protagonist, Delsin Rowe, really promises to be a game changer (pardon the pun). The game also looks beautiful and totes motion-captured cutscenes, a first for Sony-owned Sucker Punch, and something that will allow them to elevate their storytelling.

WINNER: Super Smash Bros. Wii U Despite the hilarity of Super Mario 3D World or the depth and strategy of Pikmin 3,Super Smash Bros. for Wii U immediately stole our hearts once Masahiro Sakurai did a live, on-stage battle between Mega Man and Mario. We couldn’t technically play the game ourselves, but seeing that fight made us realize that nothing between now and that murky 2014 release date truly mattered. We’ll put on our Mario Cat Suits. We’ll help Donkey Kong fight Vikings. We’ll race with our hovering karts. But thanks to some brilliant trailers and new information, we just want to see how the Wii Fit Trainer will keep up with Link, or the Animal Crossing Villager will manage to KO Samus Aran.

WINNER: TitanFall PC gamers who grew up playing Starsiege Tribes and MechWarrior will find a lot to love about Respawn’s new multiplayer shooter. But it’s not just all nostalgia. The fresh design and fantastic next-gen graphics are sure to earn this game a spot on your hard drive. Just watching one of those giant Titans scoop up a tiny human pilot is enough to get us excited.

WINNER: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds At a glance, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a carbon copy of A Link to the Past, albeit with a more 3D visual treatment. Yet things are not as simple as they seem, and while the overworld of this sequel seems to be a carbon copy of its predecessor, the simple addition of the hieroglyph ability is enough to flip the proverbial ‘Zelda table.’ Suddenly off-limit areas are accessible, and barred windows might as well be open doorways. Though not as evident in the open fields of Hyrule, just five minutes in a dungeon reveals the potential of this new Zelda game. It’s that kind of brilliant mechanic, combined with classic, top-down Zelda gameplay, that has us craving for more.

WINNER: Killzone: Mercenary PlayStation Vita gamers are desperate for a competent first-person shooter, and by the look of it, they’re about to get what they want when Killzone: Mercenary launches in a few months. Mercenary’s three modes – Campaign, Contracts and Online – all gel with one another to create a compelling ecosystem worth exploring, and since a Sony-controlled studio is making the game, chances are this game will understand Vita’s capabilities and limitations better than others.

WINNER: Batman: Arkham Origins This prequel is built upon the foundation Rocksteady laid down in Batman: Arkham City, but the way its enhancements tantalized us at E3 proves we’re not nearly sick of Batman’s open-world crimefighting adventures yet. New more difficult enemy types, random street crimes that you can choose to intervene in, and an intriguing new detective system that allows you to reconstruct events to identify the perpetrator all make Arkham Origins stand apart.

WINNER: Rain Rain is a gorgeous example of what makes the PSN ecosystem so special. Told in a storybook format, Rain is a charming adventure game that stars an invisible boy wandering through a rain-filled city while searching for a mysterious girl. He can only be seen as he steps into the rain, and this mechanic creates brilliant puzzles that grow progressively more complicated as he progresses. Rain is a creative, truly unique work of art and a beautiful way for Sony to say goodbye to this generation.

WINNER: Deus Ex: The Fall Deus Ex: The Fall is the real deal, and it feels great. It offers all the same dirty futuristic open-world exploration found in Human Revolution, now in the palm of your hand. The Fall is compromise-free and demands your attention. Get ready to read more fake office emails, but now on your real tablet.

WINNER: Watch Dogs GTA5 is going to be tough to beat this year, but seeing Watch Dogs’ high-speed chases through its extremely detailed open-world version of Chicago reminded us of what its next-gen edge can deliver. Aiden Pearce has some good moves on foot, too – and not just his ability to hack people’s cell phones and find their porn stash. The E3 demo showed him use bullet-time gunplay and deliver some brutal baton beatings that show some tricks Ubisoft picked up making Assassin’s Creed games.

WINNER: TitanFall At an E3 where most other shooters played it safe, Titanfall took a risk to say “We know you want more from your shooters, so here’s something familiar enough that you know how to play it, but different enough to throw you off your game.” This isn’t just Call of Duty with robots. The Titans are not a gimmick. Jetpacks, wall-running, sci-fi weaponry, and robots to pilot give you plenty of new ways to play a fast-paced online action game.

WINNER: Super Smash Bros. Smash Bros. trailers are always spectacular events for Nintendo fans and gamers in general as they manage to feel both familiar and packed with surprises. But nobody could have guessed the rush (no pun intended) of nostalgic joy that hit the moment Mega Man took to the screen to knock around his opponents with vintage boss weapons and signature moves. We can’t wait to see which characters show up next in this fantastic looking fighting game.

WINNER: The Division The most stunningly detailed recreation of New York City you’ve ever seen is the backdrop for an always-connected action-RPG where survival meets open-world freedom. We were blown away by the interweaving of action, role-playing, and massively multiplayer systems and can’t wait to see what other mysteries lurk in the post-pandemic Big Apple.

WINNER: EVE-VR on Oculus Rift Developer CCP Games made it very clear before we donned our Oculus Rift prototype headset that the “game” we were about to play would never be released. It’s a tech demo. But holy &^#$ what a tech demo it was. Space dogfighting with headtracking and immersion like you’ve never experienced. You look down and you can see your own body. But it’s not your body! WHAAAAAAAAAAAT!

WINNER: New HD Oculus Rift The aforementioned EVE-VR demo for Oculus Rift is on the current version of the virtual reality headset. And as life-changing an experience as it was, it was a tad blurry because the screens were “only” 720p. But elsewhere at E3, a 1080p version of the device lurked. And it could change everything. Wow.

WINNER: Sony slams Microsoft over used games and always online

The PlayStation faithful had gotten used to, in recent years, a sort of blundering approach to Sony’s communication. For all of the amazing studios making great games for PlayStation platforms, Sony always managed to trip over itself. 2013 – and the roll-out of PlayStation 4 – has been very, very different. It all came to a head when Sony fired salvo after salvo at Microsoft during its press conference, impressing the gaming world and forcing Microsoft, in turn, to change its DRM, always-online tune.

WINNER: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U This epic clash of famous franchises would have easily outclassed its competition alone, but with Smash Bros. coming to Wii U and 3DS, and the addition of awesome fan favorites like Mega Man, the Animal Crossing boy and the bizarrely funny Yoga Instructor from Wii Fit, this looks like the best (set of!) Smash Bros. we’ve ever seen

WINNER: Rayman Legends Building on 2011’s excellent Rayman Origins, Legends includes dozens of beautifully imagined, seemingly hand painted platforming worlds to hop, bop and slap your friends around in. Throw in giant boss battles and the brand new music stages that have you running for your life to insanely deranged covers of classic rock and pop anthems and you’ve got the best platforming game of the show, easily.

WINNER: The Elder Scrolls Online Playing solo adventures in the world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is fantastic, but one of the most requested features is the ability to play together with (or against) friends in Tamriel. The Elder Scrolls Online is built around that idea, and especially now that it has the series’ signature option of first or third-person perspective, it that idea is more exciting than ever. And because it’s designed for next-generation consoles and PC, the graphics look great!

WINNER: Madden NFL 25 After starting from scratch at the beginning of this console generation, the venerable Madden series has evolved into a powerhouse of a football sim, with nuanced on-field gameplay complemented by TV-like presentation. Madden NFL 25 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, however, takes all of that to new heights. We saw it, we played it, and we like where the next generation of video game football is heading.

WINNER: Scribblenauts Unmasked Scribblenauts’ usual sandbox puzzles where you can literally write in your own solutions gets a super-powered makeover in Scribblenauts Unmasked. Think you know the DC Universe? Prove it by typing in any – and we mean ANY – DC hero, villain, or gizmo you can think of and he, she, or it will pop up onscreen to help or hinder your progress. Want to see Ma Hunkel (the golden-age Red Tornado) sock Darkseid in the jaw? We can practically guarantee you’ll never see that match-up in any other game.

WINNER: Total War: Rome 2 The original Rome is still the best game in the Total War series and this year’s update looks to take all the lessons the studio learned over the past decade to make an even better sequel. From building projects along the frontier, to assassinating your rivals in the Forum, to marching at the head of massive army of legionnaires, Rome 2 is the strategy game for all would-be Caesars.

WINNER: The Crew Remember the cheese-tastic, supercar-filled fun of 1980s film Cannonball Run? Or more recently, the unfulfilled potential of Need for Speed: The Run?The Crew looks to finally make a cross-country racing game a reality, with an always-connected driving experience that lets you roll with crews and challenge other clubs while visiting over 1,000 landmarks recreated in the game world, from the Grand Canyon to Miami’s South Beach. We played it, and it’s every bit as fun as it sounds.

WINNER: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Stunningly beautiful and almost impossibly huge, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was IGN’s readers’ pick for the best game of E3 2013 – and for good reason. The morally ambiguous Geralt faces monsters, both supernatural and human, in an intricately detailed open world that dwarfs that of The Witcher 2. Looking for a game that will really push the limits of your PS4, Xbox One, or high-end PC? You just found it.

Xbox One: Major Policy Reversal for Authentication, Game Trading

For those of you who followed the Xbox One (and subsequent PS4) launch at E3 2013 last week, you know audiences were literally providing standing ovations for the PS4 only. The Xbox One policies were viewed across the board as extremely restrictive and anti-competitive (even GameStop was concerned about their used game policies). Well, in a somewhat expected turn of events, MS reverses their decisions on both of those policies. Read below to find out more.

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Microsoft has changed its policies regarding Xbox One’s internet requirements, used game restrictions and more.

Contrary to the details announced earlier this monthMicrosoft has now confirmed news originally reported on Giant Bomb that Xbox One will not require an internet connection to play offline games or need to check in every 24 hours; instead, internet will only be required when initially setting up the console.

“After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again,” Microsoft wrote. “There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.”

Like on Xbox 360, “playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray.”

I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One.

Xbox One will also no longer restrict used games, and will instead allow discs to be exchanged in the same way they are on Xbox 360. There will be no additional restrictions for trade-ins or lending games to friends. The system is also no longer be region locked and all downloaded games will function the same way whether your console is connected or not.

“Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback,” Microsoft’s Don Mattrick wrote. “I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.”

In addition to being available in retail stores, Xbox One games will still be available for download on day one and will be playable on any Xbox One console.

“These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One,” Mattrick noted. “The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold.”

“We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity,” Mattrick concluded. “While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds.”

Microsoft’s decision follows mass confusion following the announcement of Xbox One in May. At E3 last week, Sony announced similar policies for PlayStation 4, which will not require an internet connection or periodic authentication and does not restrict used games.

Xbox One is currently available for pre-order from various retailers. For more information on the console, including every confirmed game so far, see our Xbox One wiki.

Original IGN.com Article

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