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All Posts by SBFord

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Bioware has announced that all ten of the Dragon Age: Inquisition tavern songs are now available for a free download. Fans can download both the music and the sheet music from the DAI site. Developers are also encouraging fans to record their own versions of the songs for a special Fan Celebration Contest.

Even an Inquisitor needs some downtime for relaxing once in a while. If you've indulged in the opportunity at Skyhold's tavern to enjoy a break from the demons and Venatori, chances are you've heard some of the bard's lovely songs. Although bards do perform to entertain travelers, they also serve a greater purpose: to carry the tales of triumph and tragedy across the land.

We've received many inquiries from our fans asking where they can get these songs, and we're thrilled that you're enjoying them as much as we do. As our way of saying thank you for being the awesome community that you are, we're excited to announce that for the next two weeks, you can download these songs from a desktop computer free of charge!

As an added bonus for all of you musically inclined folks, we're also releasing the sheet music for each track. Now you can perform your own versions of these haunting tavern tunes—and when you do, you should enter our Fan Celebration Contest!

Head to the Dragon Age: Inquisition site to download the music or click the image below to begin the download immediately.

At PAX South, ArenaNet finally revealed the secrets they'd been keeping for so long. Heart of Thorns was announced, and with it came a flood of new information – and, naturally, more than a few questions.

Read more of Jason Winter's Guild Wars 2: Our PAX South Interview With Mike O'Brien and Colin Johanson.

Perfect World and Cryptic Studios are ready to give players some reasons to celebrate Star Trek Online's fifth anniversary. The annual anniversary event kicks off today and runs through February 26th and will feature a new story line that features Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) and Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar). Also coming with today's update is an improved Romulan story arc and updates to the bridge officer training system.

We’re kicking off the celebrations early for Star Trek Online’s 5-year Anniversary! We’ve had an amazing year and want to thank all of you for making Delta Rising and Star Trek Online a great experience! Every day from Monday 1/26 at 10am till Thursday 1/29 at 10am we’ll be giving away new C-Store items for Captains to enjoy! Every 24 hours, we’ll be giving out a different item (or even multiple), so be sure to grab these up!

Stay tuned to our first giveaway starting Monday, Captains!

Find out more on the Star Trek Online site.

For those who can't wait another minute for Elder Scrolls Online Update 6, tomorrow can't come soon enough. The team has revealed that Update 6 will hit the Public Test Server on Tuesday, January 27th. In addition, the massive patch notes will be published that day to give even more detail to the big changes in store with the next big patch.

Keep an eye on the Elder Scrolls Online site.

Thanks to Iselin for this forum thread.

Inno Games has announced that it is stopping both development and service for its MMORTS Rising Generals. Development has stopped as of this writing with servers set to be turned off on February 9th. According to the press release, InnoGames was dissatisfied with the quality of the product during closed beta testing. Player feedback played a significant role in the decision.

Employees involved in developing Rising Generals will all be integrated into other InnoGames’ projects – including strategy game Elvenar, which recently launched its closed beta, as well as developing mobile technologies and software for future games.

Check out the Rising Generals site for more information.

PlanetSide 2 players broke a nearly-three year old Guiness World Record on January 24th when over eleven hundred players took part in a single FPS battle. The event was co-sponsored by Sony Online Entertainment and fan site PlanetSideBattles.

"This amazing achievement shows not only how truly massive the PlanetSide 2 universe is, but also how inclusive its online community is," said Annie Nguyen, Video Games Records Manager at Guinness World Records. "This title truly embodies the international, record-breaking spirit of Guinness World Records."

Read more about the PlanetSide 2 record breaking achievement on the PlanetSideBattles site.

World of Tanks players have a new event in which to participate with the arrival of the 8-Bit Battles. Fights will take place in wintery locations in one of three special new tanks. Included in the update are new ways to platoon, special gold rounds that heal friendlies and a new medal for participation.

Winter Showdown offers 3 original 8-bit vehicles, including the powerful Mammoth heavy tank, the fearsome Polar Bear tank destroyer, and the nimble Arctic Fox light tank on an exclusive snow-capped battlefield. New mega platoons will be available only for this new mode which allows tankers to platoon with five players instead of 3.

The new mode also offers different game setups for players to choose from including two mega platoons vs. two mega platoons and 10 vs. 10 in random battles.

To celebrate the addition of Winter Showdown, Wargaming America will be livestreaming the new mode on Monday Jan. 26, from 2-3 pm PST with World of Tanks producer Q&A at twitch.tv/wargaming.

Find out more on the World of Tanks site.

I remember seeing PoxNora at SOE Live a few years ago.  At the time, I was excited to get an initial look at PlanetSide 2, which was then in the later stages of development.  PoxNora had been around for several years even at that time, and I remember thinking that I should go check it out, but I didn’t.  Well, I corrected that former mistake this year at PAX South, and I was pretty impressed by what I found.

Read more of Red Thomas's PoxNora: The Game I Should Have Played.


Diverse factions and terrains keep any two matches from playing the same.

Being a PC gamer means rising to the challenge. Whether you casually play MMOs or are a competitive e-sports aficionado, at some point you’ve looked at your hardware and wondered whether it was time to upgrade.  Most of us overlook the keyboard, or maybe make our choices based on the lighting options. That’s a problem, as the Roccat Ryos TKL mechanical keyboard so easily proves. Blending style and function, the TKL is likely to change your typing experience for the better and take your game to the next level.

Read more of Christopher Coke's Roccat Ryos TKL Pro Mechanical Keyboard.

When a game’s payment model shifts, as happened last week with The Elder Scrolls Online becoming the latest game to undergo such a change, there’s always a pattern. The conversation almost always turns to the concept of value in comments flung around the internet like “That game wasn’t worth $15 a month” and “The game wasn’t worth a subscription”. After we see these announcements, there’s an overwhelming load of “I told you so” and a number of players who pronounce themselves more knowledgeable than everyone else in “knowing” that a subscription game couldn’t or wouldn’t last.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: We No Longer Truly Value MMOs (but Maybe That’s Okay!).

Identity was born out of an Arma 3 module called "Altis Life". Since then, the developers have been working to create their ideal game, one packed with unique and defining features. Check out our exclusive interview with John VanderZwet, CEO of Asylum Entertainment Inc. to find out more.

Read Suzie Ford's Identity: Out to Create an Ideal Game.


The concept of sequels is very familiar to anyone who plays video games, so much so that we basically expect any hit to spawn one, if not more. In the MMO space, the situation is somewhat different because the titles continue to grow and evolve over time. Accordingly, follow-ups aren't nearly as common. That said, it wasn't hard to come up with a handful that would potentially be of significant interest for me.

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The List: Five MMORPG Sequels I'd Like To See.

We all know SOE is a huge company with tons of MMO experience.  For a company like that to not have a scalable system in place for quickly handling unexpected numbers of players on the launch of a new IP after all these years is really mind-blowing.  That’s why I went hunting for someone to crucify at PAX South earlier today.

Read more of Red Thomas's H1Z1: Exclusive Interview with Adam Clegg and Jimmy Whisenhunt.


Why do all the character models look like Adam Clegg?

I doubt there's anyone who's ever played GW2 that would expect expansions to be free. After all, the game has no subscription and all updates have been free. I have no problem with paying for an expansion whatsoever. It's the right move for ArenaNet.

During this weekend's Star Wars: The Old Republic Cantina event being held at PAX South, Bioware distributed a letter penned by Bruce MacLean. In it, MacLean lays out more details about the team's plans for 2015, including a return to story and each character's personal journey throughout the game. The letter has yet to be officially published, but several sites have copies on hand and have shared the information contained within.

MacLean begins the letter by revisiting the four pillars on which SWTOR is built: combat, progression, exploration, and story and that the game has sought to bring players the best of both RPGs and MMOs. He acknowledges that the emphasis since launch has been the latter and giving players a fantastic multiplayer component.

2015, however, will see a return to story and each player's progression through the game world.

Shadow of Revan was just the beginning. In 2015, we are committed to bring you more character driven adventures in the Old Republic universe. You're going to see a unified story with themes that unite our eight classes. Everyone is a veteran from the galactic civil war with a complicated past and uncertain future. You'll see a greater emphasis on your character's personal story and on the choices that you make. I don't want to say too much more since we're in the midst of development, but what we have planned really gets back to the Star Wars fantasy at the heart of our game.

Our plan is to deliver two major updates with this new story direction later this year.

In the interim, the team will deliver two hard mode Flashpoints, the start of PvP season 4, a new system called the "outfit designer", a new stronghold, and hints of yet more things to come.

Want to read the full letter? Check it out at Massively.

According to a Tweet from Brian Fargo, The Bard's Tale IV is a reality.

It's official.. And I'm very personally excited to be working on this. More details to follow. pic.twitter.com/OegeiAU28B

— Brian Fargo (@BrianFargo) January 24, 2015

InXile Entertainment is planning a Kickstarter for The Bard's Tale IV. Details about the game are still light, but Fargo did say the team will be pulling from the original as far as overarching ideas go. From a story perspective, players will be returning to Skara Brae, where it all began. But on the gameplay side of things, Fargo is planning a deviation.

"Traditional turn-based combat," as Fargo calls it, bases turns on varying factors, creating battles in which different characters attacked at different times, often alternating between opposing sides. But in The Bard's Tale IV, teams attack all at once. This increases the pace of the combat, and allows for a different set of tactics than the traditional system might allow.

"There will be plenty of combat diversity and depth," Fargo said. "You look at something like Hearthstone, for example. It's sort of that going back-and-forth process, and you see the complexity and detail and strategy and nuance that can happen. It's really an amazing system. I love those modern influences. I took a lot away from that, and see things we need to do with our combat system."

Source for quote: IGN.com

ArenaNet has confirmed that Heart of Thorns is indeed an expansion for Guild Wars 2. The confirmation came during this weekend's PAX South convention. We are live blogging the event.

Official Site is Up! - https://heartofthorns.guildwars2.com/en

A few things of interest:

  • A new profession, The Revenant. Rytlock is the first one and brings the skills back with him from the Mists
  • Mastery System is basically account based alternate advancement for level 80 characters. Continual and ongoing for all characters. Basically GW2's version of AA, but account wide.
  • New specializations for each profession.  Example: Ranger can learn to become a Druid. 
  • New weapons for professions: Necromancer gets its Greatsword, Engineers getting Hammers. More to come.
  • Guild Vs. Guild finally coming to GW2! How's it changing? Guild Leaderboard, and set Guild Teams.
  • Guild Halls coming in Heart of Thorns too! Home base for you and your guild to grow, build, and relax in.
  • Legendaries are about to get more awesome, as Precursors can now be obtained through the Mastery system. Along with new precursors and new legendaries as well.
  • New Stronghold game mode for SPVP.
  • New WvW Borderland!

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns features

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion for Guild Wars 2. Founded on the idea that the journey is the goal, the Heart of Thorns expansion continues the Guild Wars 2 tradition of challenging the conventions of MMOs to fulfill the promise of what online worlds should be.

The Heart of Maguuma

New adventures await you in the heart of the Maguuma Jungle. Confront the growing hordes of Mordremoth’s minions, discover allies from ancient civilizations, and battle new enemies.

  • Tackle challenging group content.
  • Explore new open world jungle maps.
  • Experience new events and storylines.
  • Test your mettle in new boss battles.

The Mastery System

We’re reimagining progression with our new Mastery system. Explore new training opportunities for your character beyond level 80 and master abilities like hang gliding in the jungle, tearing the bark off of heavily armored Mordrem, or building new collections that earn precursors to a legendary weapon.

New Profession: Revenant

Channel legendary powers to slaughter foes and unleash chaos on the battlefield with our brand new profession: the revenant. Enter the field of battle heavily armored and equipped with the otherworldly powers of the Mists.

Specializations

Evolve your gameplay. With profession specializations, you’ll unlock access to a weapon previously unavailable to your profession as well as new traits, skills, and unique mechanics – all of which will transform your profession into something new.

PvP: New Stronghold Game Mode

Gather supply to hire soldiers. Battle for control of heroes. Man the trebuchet to defend your stronghold, and storm the enemy gates to defeat the guild lord! Use our new guild team feature to team up and battle to the top of the leaderboards. Stronghold offers an entirely new way to play competitive PvP in Guild Wars 2!

WvW: New Borderland

Experience epic battlefield combat like never before in World vs. World’s latest core addition, the new Borderlands map. Navigate treacherous heights with traps that blow your foes to the depths below and ferocious defenders to help keep the enemy at bay. Map objectives will be more important than ever before, as they’ll unlock new strategies, tactics, and play mechanics that you’ll want to use to your world’s advantage!

Guild Halls

Your guild has roamed the world together. Now, it’s time to claim a piece of it. Work with fellow guild members to claim and grow your own guild hall in the heart of Maguuma.

Blizzard has posted the World of Warcraft public test realm patch notes for v6.1. The PTR will be playing host to several new updates including the overhauled Blood Elf models, the new heirlooms tab in collections, big updates to garrisons, Twitter integration and much more.

New Heirloom Collections Tab

  • The Collections system now supports Heirloom items.
  • Heirlooms have a tier system to denote the maximum level that the item scales up to.
  • New neck slot Heirlooms are now available and allows the character to cast a heal once a minute. This heal shares a cooldown with potions and Healthstones.
  • Vendors in Stormwind (Alliance) and Undercity (Horde) now sells Heirlooms for gold.
  • Alternate methods for obtaining Heirlooms are also available.
    • Darkmoon Faire sells Heirlooms for Darkmoon Prize Tickets.
    • Argent Tournament sells tier-1 and tier-2 Heirlooms for Champion's Seals.
    • Some world events now sell either tier-2 and tier-3 Heirlooms for currency obtained through the event.
  • Collecting all heirloom items awards a special mount usable by level 1 characters.

Read the full notes on the World of Warcraft community site.

This past week, we asked our readers to vote in three categories: Best Expansion or Update of 2014, Best Veteran MMO of 2014, and Best New MMO of 2014.

And the winners are:

  • Best Expansion or Update of 2014: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
  • Best Veteran MMO of 2014: World of Warcraft
  • Best New MMO of 2014: Elder Scrolls Online
Congratulations to the recipients of the MMORPG.com Player's Choice Award!
 

Victor wonders if SOE has taken away the magic of a video game by explaining the trick behind making it work.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s EverQuest Next: LIke an Overexplained Magic Trick.

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