A Preliminary Look at WTFast (TenTonHammer.com)

For gamers, low pings can make or break an entire raid not to mention help improve accuracy in first-person and other shooters. Xerin over at TTH took WTFast through its paces, but only for WoW. (There’s a promise to test FFXIV, Phantasy Star Online II, etc.) I look forward to seeing if it turns out this could really drop pings in a meaningful way.

If you’re interested in trying the service for yourself, first go to the full list of supported games to make sure what you need is offered.

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wtfast

WTFast is a service that connects your computer to the game servers using an Internet expressway of sorts. Normally traffic is routed throughout different routers and exchanges, the traffic bouncing everywhere to get to your destination. Each hop adds in a tiny bit of lag. With WTFast, your connection goes directly to their server which routes it directly to a server near the location of the game servers, cutting out a lot of the latency.

Who needs such a service? Well, that’s a tough question. It’s sort of a niche service in the sense that those who don’t need to worry about latency wouldn’t benefit much. If you press your buttons in the game and they work and nothing feels off then I’ll be honest – a product like this isn’t going to improve your game much. Maybe it’ll make the game feel a little better, but if you’re focused on casual playing and there is nothing that bothers you, then you’re fine.

On the other hand, if you have network problems (something I’ve experienced a lot of that are only solved by services like these, say a router somewhere between you and the gameserver is messing up) and are constantly getting dropped from the game then this is something that will help a ton. If you’re doing any sort of high level PvP or PvE and need your connection to not be dodgy or slow, then this is the sort of product that helps.

Another big use of a product like this is for game servers that are cross continent. The reason being is that if you start getting a large degradation in service when you start going international. Anyone playing a game with servers in South Korea from North America knows exactly how the latency feels. Having a straight connection from your house to overseas can make the world of a difference.

So there is viability to something like WTFast and there are those out there who can benefit from a service like that, but one of my big questions is does WTFast actually work? Does it decrease or increase latency? Is it easy to use?

As far as the software goes and the website, they are easy enough to use. You download the software, register on the website, and then choose the game that you want to play and the server that you play on (to make sure that the end connection is as close as possible to the game server that you’re going to play on).

WTFast Latency

The connection before using WTFast.

WTFast Latency

The connection after using WTFast.

Our first test is with World of Warcraft. Loading up the game with no background processes running we receive a hilariously high ping that later settles down to 52ms, which is the average. After loading up WTFast, my ping drops to 40ms. A rather huge difference, even on marginal levels, because that is 12ms less it takes data to travel from my computer to Blizzard and back again.

So I would say there was a benefit in using the service directly and I’d like to note that my ping does get much worse at times, this is testing it late at night. During the day I can see spikes up to 60 to 80ms, so the results are definitely in line with an improvement.

As far as WoW goes, I can give it a big thumbs up as an improvement. Stability as I played was fine and there was a somewhat noticeable difference in responsiveness. My character casted spells and used skills slightly more fluidly. So no huge change, but in mission critical areas like the arenas or raids, those few milliseconds can mean the difference between life and death.

That’s about all the time I’ve had with the product now. We’ll be doing a more comprehensive review of the service and testing out some really exciting games like Phantasy Star Online II as a custom game, FFXIV on Japanese servers, and maybe even Mabinogi. So be sure to stay tuned. In the meantime, to look for more information about the service, visit their website at https://www.wtfast.com/.

Final Fantasy XIV: Leveling 1-30 Guide (TenTonHammer.com)

For players who are new to the FFXIV franchise, some of the game mechanics in FFXIV are definitely different than for other MMORPGs. Usually I’m a player who does *every* quest I see, but that’s a big no-no for FFXIV since that means leveling additional classes on your same character will be much harder as you left no quests for them to complete.

Here are a few other tips provided by TTH.

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Leveling in FFXIV: A Realm Reborn can be daunting at times, especially starting around level fifteen when the game starts letting go of the training wheels and begins opening up more options but starts providing less direction. The goal of this guide to help walk you through until level 30, at which point you should be able to finish the last twenty levels without much of a hitch.

Hunting Log

The Value of a Quest

One thing to make clear – quests are valuable for one specific reason – they are one time ordeals. If you do a quest that is a non-class specific quest then it is done for good. With this in mind, never ever clear the quests in the starting zone outside of your own until you start leveling up other classes. Don’t start leveling up another class in earnest either until you hit level 30.

There is some strong reasoning behind this. First, you get a bonus for leveling up other classes based on your highest level class. The higher your level, the more XP your battle classes will get as you level up. So you’re wasting XP if you do it any sooner than 30, outside of maybe getting a Conjurer to level 8 for Protect.

Next, quests are valuable because you can use them to advance really quickly and do not have limits like guildleves have. So if you do a quest that you’re 5 levels over right now, when you are on another class on the same character that is five levels below where you’re at, you won’t have that quest available to you which isn’t fun.

Leveling Tips

Food is a must while leveling. Consume it whenever the buff dissipates. It can be obtained cheaply off of the market and you should swim in different level appropriate foods as you quest through the game. The XP bonus is worth it.

Most of the leveling experience, especially in the first twenty levels, is a tutorial designed to teach the basics of the game. Many features will not unlock until you go through the various quests. Including the dye quest, which is around level 15 in Vepser Bay (I think) in Western Thanalan.

FATEs are repeatable and are as much XP as one quest. They are an efficient way to level no matter what. Go to where level appropriate FATEs are, complete them, and move to the next one. Do this over and over and you will level rather quickly.

Some classes are not as efficient as others. Conjurers will not level as fast as a Lancer. However, Conjurers will have a slightly easier time getting into the duty finder. It’s not that big of a deal, especially since you can change classes on the fly.

You get a 50% bonus XP if your class is below the level of your highest class for FATEs, Guildleves, and monster kills.

Hunting Log

Hunting Log

Your hunting log gives a considerable XP bonus for killing NPCs that you’ll kill anyway while questing. In the 10-20 area we’re talking 5k XP for killing a few enemies.

While leveling I totally neglected my hunting log which caused me to miss a ton of XP and backtrack a bunch. Don’t be like me in that regard, be sure to check it often.

Super crazy bonus – your hunting log can tell you locations to “hunt.” Look for enemies at or around your level, that is where the quests will be.

Starting Out (Levels 1 – 5)

The first five levels are mostly done within the city and surrounding areas of the city. The quests differ a little bit between the major city states and there isn’t really a lot to say other than your class quest and your story quest will give you most of your progression and you won’t even be able to leave the city until some of the quests are completed. The low level FATEs are mostly available right outside of the city gates and there are no other options for leveling at this point.

If you are leveling an additional class, then do your class quests and grind outside of the city on mobs at or a few levels above your level.

A Newbie No More (Levels 5 – 10)

The next five levels feature more of the same and will be in the same maps (Lower/Middle La Noscea, Central Thanalan, Central Shroud, etc.). You’re going to primarily want to follow your story quests (the one with the cool quest border) for these levels, as it’s going to take you pretty much to the best spots to level / quest at.

Here is where people make a strong argument to NOT side quest and just follow the story quests and do the FATEs. I find that the first 10 levels on another class are easy enough to not worry with it and make your life a bit easier.

Getting Ready for the Big Time (Levels 10 – 15)

At level 10 Guildhests open up which will give you a HUGE XP bonus on the first completion. Do those as soon as the quest becomes available. You’re still going to be stuck mostly in the same city-state and you can’t leave until you finish your story quest (which wraps up around level 15). So once more, follow your story quest, do the side quests, etc.

Guildleves open up, but you only get 3 allowances every 12 hours, so you’ll want to think really hard about consuming them now when leveling is rather easy or just saving them (you can have up to 99) for later levels or other classes. So far the theme is “save everything and just grind enemies FATEs” but realistically that’s all you can do up until this point.

FFXVI Lvl10

Exploring the World (Levels 15 – 20)

At this point you can finally leave your city-state and you’re going to want to once again follow your story quests because they open up three new dungeons for you to complete. I did a lot of side quests and didn’t unlock the airship until 17 and was woefully overleveled for a lot of the content, so you may or may not want to rush through your story quest as your level permits.

As a note, at this point you can farm dungeons over and over to level if you so desire.  You don’t get a huge chunk of XP, but it’s a noticeable amount.

The Grind Sets In (Levels 20 – 30)

At this point, around level 20, you’re going to get more dungeons, Guildhests, and your story is going to let you fight a boss who, after completing it, gives you a ton of XP and allows you to join a Free Company which decides your quest progression path from this point onward.

You have a few options for grinding; the best FATEs are in Eastern Thanalan (in my opinion), Upper La Noscea (the western side of the map), and East Shroud in the mid-twenties. Once you get your mount then grinding FATEs becomes trivial since you can easily move between them without worrying so much about them being completed by the time you arrive.

Your hunting log can be a really impressive source of XP at these levels too. You get 8k or so for killing enemies that you would kill normally, or 10% of a level at level 25. So it’s sort of kind of a big deal as far as XP goes.

Past Level 30

After level 30 you’re going to pretty much be set on the process of questing if you want to, doing dungeons and Guildhests when they become available, and grouping up to do FATEs. You can also just grind the levels away if you so choose, that’s a viable option as well.

Go forth and explore the world! Just remember to eat food, keep your buffs up, and have fun!

WildStar: Business Model Announced = Sub or C.R.E.D.D.

Hearing the business model means WildStar is that much closer to launch! This looks like the best of both worlds for players of all kinds. Either you can subscribe for a monthly fee or you can pay your subscription dues using C.R.E.D.D. you can purchase with in-game gold. Sounds perfect.

UPDATE: Added subscriber pricing at the bottom of this post, thanks to TenTonHammer’s post. If you pay for a year, your price per month drops to $10.99! That’s a $48/year savings over paying month to month. Wow.

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I’ve got two big-ticket things to talk about this week: our anticipated launch date shift and our business model.

Hopefully you saw last week’s State of the Beta blog post by our Design Director (and Beta Pope) Mike Donatelli, so you know we’ve got some big changes in store for WildStar.  We’ve been watching and listening to the outstanding feedback from our Beta community over the last few months and right now, with the changes planned, we’re projecting a Spring 2014 launch. Over the coming months, we’ll also dive into some of the smaller (but just as important) changes we’ve been planning in reaction to beta feedback we’ve seen, so you know what to expect when we ramp up beta again later this year.  Our number one commitment is quality; we think that having a ton of fun, polished content and deep top-level gameplay is a big chunk of what separates the big boys from the also-rans in the online business.

Now, let’s talk about the WildStar business model. Have a seat and let’s talk this through.

The short-form is this: We’ve decided to go with two major options at launch for how you can play the game. We figure at this point in the biz, most players are pretty passionate about what models they will or won’t play – so why not provide options?

First thing’s first: you buy WildStar (either via a box or downloading) – this will give you 30 days of free gameplay. After that, you have two options to play, or pay, for your game time.

Option 1: Monthly subscription

Option 2: C.R.E.D.D.

A monthly subscription is pretty standard fare – you probably know what that’s all about.  Subscribe, and every month you pay for another 30 days of game time.  Straightforward.

But some people don’t like subscriptions. Maybe they just want to play for free, maybe they’ve been burned by a subscription game before and dislike the model.  OK, we hear you – for you guys we have C.R.E.D.D.

This is an item that can be purchased online at the WildStar website, and can then be bought and sold with other players in-game.  This trading happens via the Commodities Exchange – basically a stock market that lets you trade C.R.E.D.D. to other players for earned in-game gold.

So for those of you who don’t want to pay a subscription fee: you can use your first month of gameplay to earn gold while playing WildStar. When the next month comes around, instead of paying the monthly subscription fee, you can use gold earned in-game to purchase C.R.E.D.D. from other players on the CX. Boom, you cash in a C.R.E.D.D for a month of game time. You can continue this cycle over & over again, enabling you to “play to pay” for WildStar.

So that sounds good – but what about those players who don’t have as much time as they’d like to play WildStar, but want a little extra in-game gold? Those folks can purchase C.R.E.D.D. online from our store and trade it on the CX for gold: basically trading their extra cash to help another player play for free in return for a pile of gold. We see this as a safe and secure way for players who want to buy gold to have a way of getting some in-game cash without funding gold farming outfits and all the hacking and scamming that can entail.

We’ve put together a handy guide and collection of Frequently Asked Questions regarding our Biz Model, which you’ll find here. Like all things WildStar, your feedback is crucial to refining and defining the FAQ information found at that link, so we’ll provide regular updates to that page throughout this process, letting you know when we’ve added important information.

We’re at Gamescom this week and will be at PAX at the end of the month, and we’d love to continue the conversation there if you want to come visit us! Check out all the details here to see where and when you can find us.

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The breakdown looks like this:

WildStar Digital and Retail Prices

Standard Box $59.99 €44.99 £34.99

WildStar Subscription Pricing

Subscription Cost Per Month ($) Cost Per Month (€) Cost Per Month (£)
1 Month 14.99 12.99 8.99
3 Months 13.99 11.99 8.49
6 Months 12.99 10.99 7.99
12 Months 10.99 9.99 6.99

WildStar Subscription Total Price Per Time Period

Subscription Total Cost ($) Total Cost (€) Total Cost (£)
1 Month 14.99 12.99 8.99
3 Months 41.97 35.97 25.47
6 Months 77.94 65.94 47.94
12 Months 131.88 119.88 83.88

WildStar: Combat Aiming Required (TenTonHammer.com)

TTH has posted a new article thoroughly discussing yesterday’s Dev Speak video from the two lead class and combat designers over at WildStar. For those of you who like “action combat” in your games (*raises hand*), WildStar is pushing that envelope allowing for many AOE skills (in quite a few various attack shapes) to be used in combat from all classes so aiming attacks is required to excel. Even tank taunting and heals will need to be aimed!

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WildStar - Aiming and You

WildStar is still a ways off from release, but along with releasing a new Dev Speak video yesterday, Hugh Shelton, the lead class designer and Chris Lynch, lead combat systems designer took some time out of their day to speak with me about the aiming system and how it’s currently progressing.

So before we begin, let’s get one thing straight. Everything that was discussed is essentially written in Jello. The game is still a way off, which means things can change. That said, the system should only see minor changes as testing continues. If, however, something in the video or this article does not work exactly as advertised, don’t come back here complaining. You’d think this wouldn’t need to be said and would be understood, but I can testify from my time with BioWare and ArenaNet that anything a developer utters, no matter what qualifying statements proceeded it, is considered written in stone and referred to a billion times by upset players in the future.

If you haven’t taken a few minutes to watch the video yet, you certainly should. It’ll clearly illustrate what the team is going for. In case you don’t watch it though, let me give you a brief breakdown of the contents here before getting to my chat with Hugh and Chris.

MMORPG combat today involves targeting a mob, then hitting hotkeys to unleash the corresponding ability. As long as the target is within the needed range, it’s automatically hit. Whether it resists the damage is another topic, but nonetheless, this is how MMORPG combat has worked in most games… forever? Well hang onto your britches boys and girls, because that’s about to change.

Just like mobs have telegraphing shapes to designate their really big attacks, players will also have telegraphs highlighting the size, shape, and or path their impending attack is about to strike. On top of this, players will have the ability to aim those telegraphs. Sound confusing? Maybe, but if you watch the video (I do remember having advised you do that previously, didn’t I?) or check out the images here in the article, it should become clearer.

WildStar - Aiming and You

Great. So now players can aim. Big deal. Actually, it is a big deal for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious is that in the heat of combat you’d better be able to keep your cool and aim your abilities well otherwise that plan to drop a massive AoE on that group of mobs that’s been beating the hell out of you is going to need to be revised. For the first time I can really think of, player skill is going to play a very real role in who is a good tank and who isn’t. What do I mean by “a good tank?” Oh, I’m sorry. Did I forget to tell you that aiming is also going to be crucial to pulling, taunting, keeping agro, etc.? Well, it is, so get ready.

That’s not really a big deal, is it? At least the healer will be able to just stand there and get some good heals off. Oh contraire, Mon Capitan! Healers will have to remain just as mobile as their less healing counterparts. They’re going to need to aim their heals as well. Now you’ve got an aiming tank, aiming DPS support personnel, and you add needing to aim heals on top of the mix… that’s going to take some work. The good news is that by all accounts, this system of combat doesn’t take new players a very long time to adjust too. They’re used to needing to avoid the big red circles of doom, so this is adding just one more level of gameplay on top of it. Personally, I think the system has the potential to keep players much more engaged during combat than with current systems.

I had taken the time to watch the video before talking with Hugh and Chris, so most of my questions were already answered, but as a person that tends to seriously suck at twitch-style games, I had to voice my concerns. I asked if the team had any type of guidance or safety net feature if the monitoring systems of the game realized a player was just not getting it and was continually getting bowled over or missing constantly.

WildStar - Aiming and You

According to them both, there are some assistance systems currently in place and others have been tried in the past. It’s still not certain whether any such system will make it to the live game. They were very clear to stress that these systems were just things they were testing and there is NO GUARANTEE we will see them in the final game. What they’ve discovered time and time again is that the assistance systems quickly hold players back once they finally get the grasp of how to aim and get used to performing that action. So yes, they’re aware some people suck at these types of combat systems (ME! ME! ME!) but the team is still on the fence as to whether to add an assistance system in to the live game at launch or not.

Even though I do suck at twitch gameplay systems (seriously, you have no freakin’ idea), I’ll admit that I’m intrigued by the combat system of WildStar. Even if in the end it doesn’t work out for me, I’m genuinely pleased that someone is taking a risk and doing something different. More developers need to take a page out of WildStar’s design book in this regard. WE WANT NEW IDEAS AND GAME SYSTEMS! We’ve played the same games for years now with minor variations. That’s simply not going to work anymore so it’s time to step up to the plate and swing for the fences. And that’s just what WildStar is doing.

Original TenTonHammer Article

TenTonHammer’s Best of E3 2013 Awards

This year, TTH provides awards in the following seven categories:

* Best Gameplay
* Best Respawn
* Biggest Surprise
* Most Innovative
* Best MOBA
* Most Anticipated
* Best of Show

Head over to their site to find out all about why each game won and what they were looking for in each category. The quick picks are below. However, I’m most surprised that EverQuest Next made the cut at all! I’m suddenly interested in the game for the first time.

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Best Gameplay

WildStar - Best Gameplay

The team at Carbine has proven that you don’t necessarily have to sink tons of precious marketing dollars behind a game at E3 to make an impact. While the flashing lights and cosplayers in tights can add a lot of show floor ambiance, at the end of the day it’s all about how fun your game is to play.

So what WildStar might not have had in a flashy booth display, it more than made up for with the best gameplay we were able to get our hands on at this year’s E3. Everything from the distinctive setting and art style, to the combat and sheer depth of gameplay options are worthy of high praise.

Best Respawn

FFXIV: A Realm Reborn - Best Respawn

Very few MMOs have managed to survive following a rocky launch, and fewer still have managed to successfully relaunch after the fact. Square Enix is attempting to do exactly that with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and from what we experienced at E3 2013 the game is certainly worthy of our Best Respawn award.

While the game still retains its distinctive look and feel, nearly every aspect of the game has been rebuilt into a tighter, faster, and more cohesive overall MMO experience. While they didn’t necessarily attempt to reinvent the MMO combat wheel, our experiences with the system displayed a clear refinement of what made more traditional hotbar combat so enticing in the first place.

Biggest Surprise

Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade - Biggest Surprise

Warhammer 40k is one of those golden IPs that has the potential to translate into one killer MMO experience. Games Workshop clearly understands this potential, so when the originally planned game from THQ fell by the wayside, it was only a matter of time before a new developer would pick up the reigns.

A week before E3 this would have landed squarely in the realm of speculation, to say we were surprised by the event week announcement of the Eternal Crusade MMO would be a gross understatement. It clearly took gamers by surprise as well, with Warhammer 40k being one of the most talked about announcements to come out of the expo.

Most Innovative

Proper sandbox MMOs are only as good as the depth of the toolbox given to gamers, and from what we’ve seen of ArcheAge that box is deeper than any other sandbox MMO we’ve seen to date. The fact that ArcheAge comes packed with stellar graphics is just icing on the proveribial cake.

ArcheAge offers a true multiclassing system, the ability to turn your back on the major factions and live the pirate’s life, or simply live out your virutal days as a humble farmer or trader of goods. These things may sound fairly basic on the surface, but the ways in which you can interact with the world for each are both plentiful and inspiring. Expect big things from ArcheAge once it lands on North American shores.

Best MOBA

Infinite Crisis - Best MOBA

While Turbine may be known by many for their major contributions in the MMO space, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by our experiences with Infinite Crisis so far. Many aspects of the game hold true to what excites gamers about the genere in the first place, but Infinite Crisis also brings a lot of new gameplay hooks to the table. And you have to admit, the DC universe setting and characters offer a pretty killer framework to build upon.

Infinite Crisis is shaping up to be an excellent game, and will even be taking the full MLG eSports plunge. We expect big things from the game, and are sure that Infinite Crisis will bring some stiff new competition to the wide world of MOBAs.

Most Anticipated

Elder Scrolls Online - Most Anticipated

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then by the time the cross-platform launch for ESO rolls around in the spring of 2014, it’s probably safe to say that legions of gamers will be enthralled by the next great chapter in Elder Scrolls history.

We’ve had numerous chances to play the game throughout the year so far, and our hands-on time at E3 only helped solidify Elder Scrolls Online as our most anticipated game following this year’s event. In the immortal words of Wesley Willis, ESO whips the llama’s ass by offering the best of both worlds: an awesome Elder Scrolls game with all the gameplay hooks that help make MMOs great.

Best of Show

EverQuest Next - Best of Show

We’ve been looking forward to EverQuest Next for quite some time now. Even though our expectations heading into our private viewing during E3 were high, EverQuest Next exceeded those expectations on all fronts.

While we are sworn to secrecy on exactly what we were shown, what we can say is that EverQuest Next was hands-down the best game we had the pleasure of seeing during E3 2013. Franchise fans and MMO gamers across the globe will be able to learn exactly why that’s the case on August 2nd during SOE Live when EQNext is given its grand unveiling.

Trust us when we say that you’ll want to mark that date on your calendar, and be prepared to bask in the warm glow of EverQuest Next in all its glory. In the meantime, kudos to the folks over at SOE for winning our Best of Show award; we’re as excited as you are to witness the impact EverQuest Next is surely going to have on gamers this August!

Original TenTonHammer Article

Elder Scrolls Online: 2-Hour E3 Gameplay Review (TenTonHammer.com)

As TenTonHammer mentioned last week, more coverage of their E3 gameplay was coming and here’s the second part of that. Basically, it’s a 99.9% approval review. I’m hoping we start to see over the next few weeks some more pessimistic posts that offer some kind of “cons” for the game, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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The last time I got my grubby little hands on The Elder Scrolls Online was during a press event Bethesda hosted a few weeks ago in Santa Monica. This time, they were showing off the game at E3 and rather than play the same areas I had at the previous event, the team was kind enough to let me break the rules and start a brand new character to see the beginning of the game. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity because it was, in a word, awesome.

The Elder Scrolls Online starts off in a similar manner to the other games in the series, in which you’ve had something happen to your character and need to make your way to civilization to begin the completion of an epic destiny. Being the eternal RPG player that I am, I immediately hopped on that rail and followed it through to completion. Oh, I’m sorry. Actually I meant to say, “Hell no! I’m going my own damned way and there’s not a thing you can do to stop me.” And that, my friends, is exactly why I love The Elder Scrolls series of games so much. After you complete a very short period of mandatory gameplay, you are completely free to pick whatever direction you want and just go. In my most recent play through, I even took this to the extreme by jumping off the dock walkway rather than even go into the first town the moment I got off the boat the game starts on.

ESO-Screen-E3

Splashing my way through the water, swimming around the island and hopping up onto a mound of rocks, I was immediately set upon by a starving wolf. Easily enough (thanks to the combat lessons given to me by Combat Designer, Maria Aliprando, during my first play through), I made short work of him and was quickly on my way. Whether it was bandits, assassin beetles, wolves, or any number of other manner of death dealers, I was able to handle the situation with my character. As a quick hint, I advise always choosing at least one skill that allows you a bit of crowd control capability, no matter which class you choose to play. It will make all the difference in the world when you find yourself taking on more than one opponent at a time.

Quests are scattered throughout the land and easily found by checking the mini-map and heading to any gold dots. Those dots on the map correspond to people or items that will begin a quest line for your character. As you may have already guessed, you are free to accept them or not, all depending on your particular whim of the day. Even though I’m a huge fanatic for free roaming in any game, I went ahead and did a few of the quests I came across just to check out the writing to see if it lives up to the excellent lore-filled tales and exploits that we’ve become so accustomed to over the years. I’m happy to report that you won’t be disappointed.

ESO-Screen-2-E3

Within the first 30 minutes of following one quest, I had donned a costume to pass unscathed through a town of bandits, poisoned a maid and let her die (there was an option to save her), stolen a gem for one quest giver, and then betrayed them by giving that same gem to a completely different NPC that asked for it. After that, I spent another 30 minutes assisting a mage gain entrance to an ancient ruin that had been sealed for an untold number of years, battling machines of ancient power, bypassing traps, and unlocking puzzles to reveal magic knowledge not seen in centuries. These were only two quest lines out of nearly a dozen I saw within the very beginning areas of the game. Considering the fact that The Elder Scrolls Onlineis bigger than any other game in The Elder Scrolls series, I can’t imagine just how many quests are actually in the game.

The most amazing thing to me during my play time was the fact that I not only didn’t notice how long it took to get from level 4 to level 5, I also didn’t care. It probably took almost an hour to gain that level. The entire time I was playing, I wasn’t paying attention at all to what level I was, whether I was gaining experience at an efficient rate, or anything of the like. I was just out there playing, having a good time, and getting into all the trouble I could manage. And dear gods, is their more than enough trouble one can find themselves buried neck deep in.

ESO-trailer-screen

So what’s my verdict after getting my hands on The Elder Scrolls Online for only the second time (once again, playing for nearly two hours thanks to the kindness of the Bethesda team)? Plain and simple – I can’t wait for the game to come out. Between the complete freedom to engage in or ignore any quest I choose, the return of open dungeons (see more about them in my previous ESO article here), and the amount of just plain fun I’ve had while playing, it’s impossible to state just how good the game is looking so far. At the end of the day, I know everyone wants to know if The Elder Scrolls Online genuinely feels like an Elder Scrolls game, and the answer to that is a resounding, “YES!” The game certainly isn’t perfect right now, and there are some issues the team continues to work on, but it is incredibly fun and in the end should prove well worth the wait!

Original TenTonHammer Article

Warhammer 40K MMORPG Revealed at E3 (TenTonHammer.com)

While we’re currently experiencing a strong sci-fi MMORPG showing (Firefall, SWTOR, Defiance, Marvel Heroes, several new announcements for Xbox One and PS4, etc.), it’ll be interesting to see the niche War40K: EC can carve out for itself by the time it launches “End of 2015”. End of 2015? Two-and-a-half years? Dang. That’s longer than I have to wait for an Asian MMORPG to be Westernized and released in the US. Insert sad face here.

Currently the official website shows development is on “Phase 1: Game is Announced” and there are eight more phases to go, with Phase 2 “coming soon”. Thus far, you can choose one of four races (all shown below) and enroll, posting to Facebook or Twitter to show your support and the race you selected. War 40K: EC will offer “3rd Person, Persistent Online Action in the first MMORPG of the 41st Millennium”.

Read on for the full scoop about Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade!

******************************

IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE
THERE IS ONLY WAR

Chaos

Chaos

If your hopes for a Warhammer 40k MMO were extinguished with THQ’s fire sale of Dark Millenium Online, one of the first announcements of E3 (that’s E3 proper, not pre-E3 Xbox One day or the other jump-the-gun events) may get you fired up.

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade marks the first MMO for Behaviour (that is, unless we’re counting Sims 3), and the first game since Wet (which, coupled with the possibly orgasmic female on the cover, never fails to bring out my nerd giggles) that has my immediate attention. And even without a glitchy presentation at yesterday’s Microsoft circus, it is apparently coming to the Xbox One.

The show floor hasn’t even been open for 30 minutes and this might qualify as the MMO surprise of the event. While our E3 away team wrangles for an appointment, here’s the full press release:


Join the Eternal Crusade™ starting in 2015

A new Warhammer® 40,000® MMORPG revealed.

Space Marines

Space Marines

Montreal, 11th June, 2013 – Behaviour Interactive and Games Workshop® proudly announce a new online game in the Warhammer® 40,000® universe: Warhammer 40,000: Eternal CrusadeBehaviour Interactive has obtained the rights to create a wholly new MMORPG persistent war experience for PC, PS4 and Xbox One set in Games Workshop’s universe of the 41st Millennium. In the game, players choose a Warhammer 40,000 race and fight directly as one of their warriors in massive conflicts for territory. It will be up to each faction’s community to determine their own destiny as they vie for control of an entire planet.

“I am thrilled to announce what will finally be the first MMORPG based on the “Warhammer 40,000 license,” said Miguel Caron, Head of Studio, Online at Behaviour Interactive.“ Eternal Crusade’s team are all MMO development veterans and with the support of Behaviour’s 20+ years of experience this is going to be the online Warhammer 40,000 universe game that fans have been dreaming of for years!”

Eldar

Eldar

“Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is the second milestone in Behaviours new online strategic positioning after last year’s Star Citizen Announcement.” said Rémi Racine, President and Executive Producer of Behaviour. “We are very happy with the progress of the online studio and you should expect more similar announcements to come.”

“The depth, breadth and sheer level of detail that the Warhammer 40,000 universe has after 26 years of continuous development makes it one of the great fantasy settings of our times.” said Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing at Games Workshop. “Experiencing the thrill of first hand combat in this world of eternal conflict, with thousands of other players beside you, will be fantastic.”

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is currently in development for PC, PS4, and Xbox One and will release in late 2015.

Main features of the game include:

    • Experience the gameworld with 3rd-person, behind the shoulder action featuring precision gunplay and brutal melee combat with excruciating finishers;
    • Participate in a persistent online war to conquer the planet, its fate completely in the hands of the players;
    Orks

    Orks

    • Become a warrior from one of four initial factions, each unique and opposed to one another: Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orks and Eldar.
    • Participate in truly massive conflicts that simultaneously bring thousands of players to bear over territories and other strategic resources.
    • Get behind the controls of Space Marine Rhinos, Predators, Ork Battlewagons and other iconic vehicles of the 41st millennium;
    • Hack through genuinely challenging procedural content alongside your battle-brothers and never have the same experience twice;
    • Earn the right to customize your builds in a deep progression system drawing on the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe.
    • Found a Battle Squad with friends and prepare for conflict from your customized shared space in orbit – then drop down to the planet together and seek out glory!

    Original TenTonHammer.com Article

Elder Scrolls Online: 20 Quick Facts

TenTonHammer.com usually does a great job giving everything from overviews to detailed commentary about games. While this article doesn’t really share any brand new insights, for gamers who haven’t paid much attention to the hundreds of updates the rabid community has come up with thus far, it’s a worthwhile high-level view of what The Elder Scrolls Online is planning to bring to the MMORPG sphere.

(Will add the video links tonight, but you can view the original article for them now.)

http://www.tentonhammer.com/eso/cheat-sheet-20-facts

The Elder Scrolls Online Cheat Sheet - 20 Down and Dirty Facts You Need to Know

1. ZeniMax Online releases a lot of information in the form of YouTube videos:

2. All of the provinces of Tamriel, seen in the 5 previous single-player games, will feature in ESO, but it is unlikely that the game will be as expansive as The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, which covered about 188,000 square miles. Many regions will be inaccessible at launch; some of these regions may be opened up in later expansions or content updates, but some are likely to remain off-limits.

3. Players will choose between three factions, each consisting of three races: the High Elves, Wood Elves and Khajiit of the Aldmeri Dominion; the Bretons, Redguard and Orcs of the Daggerfall Covenant; and the Nords, Dark Elves and Argonians of the Ebonheart Pact. Each race starts out in its homeland, but may visit other lands later on in the game.

4. Characters will be class-based instead of skill-based like the other Elder Scrolls games, but classes are somewhat less restrictive. Any character, regardless of class, can use any kind of weapon or armor. Players can build sword-and-board mages in heavy armor, or staff-wielding, robe-wearing warrior-monk types using a melee fighter base class. Spells and other powers will be accessed by an ability bar, MMO-style.

5. ESO uses a dynamic combat system, similar to the single-player games; characters must be facing their enemies to hit them, and can dodge blows via movement keys (provided they have enough stamina to dodge). A “soft lock” targeting system still requires the character to face his target, but allows the player to pick a single target out of a crowd, or to hit the soft-locked target if it moves behind another un-selected target.

6. It will be the only Elder Scrolls game set in a time before the rise of Tiber Septim, whose ascent to godhood and political legacy shaped the events of all of the single-player games to date.

7. The cinematic trailer makes all the player races look way badass:

8. The player character is called “The Soulless One,” and the main story of The Elder Scrolls Online deals with the character’s struggle to get his soul back from the Daedric prince, Molag Bal, who stole it.

9. Glory is fleeting. The events of the other Elder Scrolls series of games take place after the Elder Scrolls Online, so by the history of those games, we know that none of the playable factions in ESO manage to hold onto Cyrodiil for a significant length of time.

10. For the same reason, we know that Molag Bal is ultimately unsuccessful in pulling all of Tamriel into Coldharbour, his own personal realm of Oblivion. This is more or less confirmed by the Journey to Coldharbour video:

11. The events of ESO take place about 948 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Some structures that appeared as ruins in TES I – V will be found whole and in-use in ESO.

12. Looting barrels for crafting supplies, lockpicking and buff stones carry over from previous titles, according to the Gathering and Exploration video:

13. Crafting will be MMO-style – characters will be able to master two out of five professions, but will need to buy or barter for items crafted by other professions.

14. Since Molag Bal is known as the Father of Vampires (among other things), vampirism will play a significant role.

15. As detailed in the Wolf Queen books in the other games, the city of Camlorn has werewolf problems. Lycanthropy will also play a role in the game, at least for Daggerfall Covenant players.

16. The PvP comes with a rich backstory, according to The Elder Scrolls Online: Alliances at War video:

17. Players earn Alliance Points through PvP. These points can be spent on things like catapults and other siege weapons. Players also earn Alliance Ranks through PvP, which give them access to specialized gear and skill trees. Players can also be named Emperor through PvP, by taking the Ruby Throne.

18. XP gain in PvP is not as consistent as through PvE questing, but players who choose to do so will be able to reach level cap purely through PvP, starting at level 10. At level 10, players can enter the Cyrodiil PvP arena, where they will be scaled up to level 50. Characters with naturally higher levels will have some advantage over scaled-up low-levels, with more expansive skill trees and access to better gear, but low-levels shouldn’t be completely gimped.

19. The guilds from previous games – Mages Guild, Fighters Guild, Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood – will be included in Elder Scrolls Online, and will be joinable. They will also provide special bonuses to some skill trees – for example, mages who join the Mages Guild will gain extra abilities with some magic skills.

20. The Elder Scrolls Online will have built-in social media integration with major social networking sites, allowing players to form guilds and coordinate events with their friends easily.

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