Lord of the Rings Online Announces a Progression Server

It would seem that the hunger pangs for starting brand new in an MMORPG are strong, noisy, and require lots of meat. Lord of the Rings Online is the latest to heed the call of this ravening desire with the announcement of LotRO Legendary World, which is a progression server by any other name.

lotro legendary world

The Legendary Server will bring players back to the very start of the MMORPG’s launch with 50 as the level cap and Angmar as the high-level location. That said, this server will bear a few difference from the launch version, including the ability to play as a High Elf and the Boerning class, and the ability to take advantage of the game’s trait trees. Updates to the server’s content are slated to come every four months after that.

The Legendary Server will only be accessible to those who are subscribers to LotRO. That said, you will not have to purchase any additional Quest Packs or other expansions a second time, as those will unlock as the server’s story hits the appropriate milestones.

The LotRO Legendary World is set to open at some point this fall. More information is expected soon, but for now an FAQ can be read here.

Our Thoughts

We’re almost positive that there will be more than a few fans of LotRO pleased to see this news. Progression servers do seem to have something of a strong draw for many and we hope those interested in starting completely fresh have a great time once this Legendary World opens up.

Source: official site

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Storm Legion Gets a Release Date for RIFT Prime

While we’ve known since August that RIFT Prime is seeing the expansion, we can now confirm the official RIFT Prime Storm Legion launch date, bringing the content’s features and locations to the progression server in early October.

rift prime storm legion launch date

Specifically, RIFT Prime will get the expansion on Wednesday, October 3rd. As expected, Storm Legion will offer the locations of Brevane, Dusken and Tempest Bay; the new world boss Volan; new caps for both character levels and crafting levels; and new dungeons and raids.

In celebration of Storm Legion’s arrival to RIFT Prime, a special launch day livestream will be held by the devs on October 3rd at 2pm PST/5pm EST. Those who tune in will get a special Twitch Drop in the form of a Raiment of the Storm Queen bundle, a set of cosmetics that were only available during the MMO’s Carnival of the Ascended anniversary celebration.

The announcement provided the following link for more details, which hopefully should be online and working by the time you’re reading this. If not, then just head to the website proper.

Our Thoughts

Nothing new in terms of information here beyond a release date, but considering this is all progression server content related, that’s not exactly a letdown. We’re glad that RIFT Prime players have a calendar date for the next major step in the progression server’s…uh…progression.

Source: press release

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Storm Legion is Headed to RIFT Prime

RIFT‘s progression server is about to get a pretty sizeable and stormy update soon. The arrival of the Storm Legion expansion to RIFT Prime is imminent, bringing all of the features to the server including a new level cap and new continents full of dungeon and raid content.

storm legion expansion

Once Storm Legion makes landfall to RIFT Prime, players on the progression server will have a new level cap of 60 to climb, along with a new Grandmaster skill cap for crafting. Along the way, players will get the continents of Brevane and Dusken, a new city hub in the form of Tempest Bay, and a variety of new dungeons and raids to conquer.

For those on the higher end of power in RIFT Prime, Storm Legion will also add the fight against the Empyrean colossus Volan, a massive construct of adamantine armor that will be stomping its way around the game.

A hard release date for Storm Legion to RIFT Prime is not yet announced, but players should expect to see the content sometime this fall. For now, there’s a teaser trailer for what’s next that can be seen in the embed below.

Our Thoughts

Well, one expansion/version update down, two more to go. We hope that players of RIFT Prime are looking forward to their own personal 2.0 update and hope that the progression server is….uh…progressing well. Sorry, I promise that was an unintentional pun.

Source: press release

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Rift Progression Server Plans Revealed

Since the beginning of the Rift progression server there has been the question of how it would progress, what kind of timescale would we be talking about? Well, we finally have a bit of information into that.

The first raid will be coming in late April. To get ready for the release of the Greenscale raid the Life Saga and Death Saga will unlock later today, just in time for the Month 2 challenge. Along with Greenscale Trion will also be releasing the following:

Expert Deepstrike Mines
Expert Runic Descent
Expert Abyssal Precipice
Expert Charmer’s Caldera!

Darkening Deeps Expert is expected to open next week or slightly later (their words). They also have a ton of balance changes they’re going to be making.

Looking beyond the immediate future River of Souls will be the next to be reviewed. Gilded Prophecy and Drowned Halls are also coming later this month. If you’re a fan of Summerfest there’s good news for the Prime server. It will be the first full festival on the server.

So while Trion seems to know where they’re going next it seems like they still can’t dedicate themselves to any sort of timeline. This is as much a learning experience for them as it is for us. We will just have to wait and see how things progress. This might give us some insight into how another Rift progression server might work if they open another in the future.

Along with the update on Rift Prime Trion also said that they’re working on addressing Ability Lag and doing some balancing. Guild creation through the UI will now cost 1 platinum to match the rate of a Guild Creation Scroll. They’re also gearing up for Summerfest and will be talking about it in this week’s live stream.

 

Source: Official Site

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Rift Prime Server a Success

Can you believe it, Rift Prime is already a month old and best of all, Trion is calling it a rousing success! Thousands of players have taken to the server in the month since it started. Queues were even a regular occurrence at the start. According to Amanda Fry, a producer on Rift, “A dynamic event in Silverwood on day one had the most participants of any event in RIFT history! Nearly a thousand people were tackling the challenge, and the sheer volume of activity and teamwork there was simply awesome to see. Right then we knew that we made the right call with RIFT Prime.”

While Scott Hartsman, CEO of Trion Worlds wanted to talk about the community. “RIFT Prime has been a huge success the first month in, and we can’t thank the RIFT community enough for supporting it. We pride ourselves on being able adapt in ways that make sense for our players and will give them what they want in our games, and RIFT Prime is a great example of that.”

RIFT

Since the launch of Rift Prime players have completed over 5 million quests and tens of thousands of dungeons. And yet somehow villain groups still manage to find more goons willing to join their fight.

While Trion is celebrating the success they’ve had so far they’re also looking ahead to the next month which will see the introduction of more content. In particular, the first raid will be introduced in the coming weeks where they’re taking on the might Gweenscale! *Cough* I mean…Greenscale, dragon god of the Plane of Life.

If you haven’t played on the Rift Prime progression server there is still plenty of time to get involved and now is the best time to do it before new content is introduced.

 

Source: Press Release

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Dragon Mounts and Progression Servers are Coming to ArcheAge

In what’s likely considered one of the bigger updates to the sandbox MMO, ArcheAge 4.5 will let players hop onto the back of a dragon for transportation purposes and experience the game from the very beginning with two new progression servers.

Sub-titled Legends Return, ArcheAge 4.5 offers up one fresh start progression server each for the NA and the EU. These servers will have time-locked content and the expected low caps and systems from the game’s original launch, with features such as castle sieges and hero elections arriving gradually afterwards.

For those who worry about initial economic rushes once these servers open, market restrictions will be in place at launch to ensure all players are on an even keel. Gear progress will also be restricted over several months in order to allow as many people as possible to reach cap before any increases.

The other headlining feature of this new update will show players how to train their dragon with the addition of dragon mounts. Players will work with Daru trainers to get items to raise and eventually mount a dragon, along with the ability to outfit their draconic horse with armor. A fully-featured questline involving the Red Dragon raid boss will also be part of the new feature.

Update 4.5 will also offer up a battle system update that will overhaul all skillsets and promises to shake up the MMO’s meta; crafting requests that allow for direct transfer of items; destruction removal on crafted items; and new Shadow Invasion rift events that trigger when a major world boss dies for additional rewards.

All of these new features and servers will land on Thursday, April 5th.

Our Thoughts

The winds of nostalgia are sweeping over the MMO universe. We’re sure that players of ArcheAge will look forward to the opportunity to start from the very beginning, but we’re also glad that those invested in the game’s current events are getting some neat stuff as well.

Source: press release

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The RIFT Prime Server is Now Open

For those who pine for the old days back when RIFT was declaring that players weren’t going to be in Azeroth anymore, now is the time. Today is officially RIFT Prime launch day, opening up the game’s subscription-only progression server and rolling back the game to its vanilla version.

rift prime launch

As detailed previously when Prime was first announced, the new Vigil server will offer players the opportunity to re-enter the game world with a maximum level 50 cap and content that lead into the threat of the original Great Dragons.

According to the newly-posted patch notes, the new Prime server will be a challenge, as Patron benefits will not be applied to characters created on Vigil. Additionally, players can only create two characters on the server and cannot purchase additional slots. That said, there will also be no loot boxes, boosts, or other game store items as promised before.

The new Prime server update also adds a few tweaks to the current RIFT game with patch 4.4, including a couple of minor tweaks to the Warlock and Bladedancer Souls, along with some small adjustments to Raid Rifts, a couple of the game’s quests, and a reduction of the vendor value of crafted Glyphs.

Patch notes for what’s new, however meager that may be, can be seen on the game’s regular forums, while Prime players will likely want to keep their eyes on the RIFT Prime forums, which are read-only for all but only accessible for posting if you’re a Patron.

Our Thoughts

And so it begins. The trip back in time when RIFT players formed impromptu free mount caravans and dashed about the zone sealing up the Rifts that would open up around the map. We definitely hope that those players who have decided to leap into RIFT Prime have a good time!

Source: official forums

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RIFT Prime Gets Release Details

If you’re among those looking forward to RIFT Prime, the soon-to-arrive progression server announced in January, you’re in luck. Additional details have come to light about the server, including release date, cost and more.

rift prime

As a reminder, yes, there will indeed be a cost associated with accessing RIFT Prime. Specifically, you’ll need to be a RIFT Patron – AKA a subscriber – to RIFT Live in order to gain access to RIFT Prime. If you’d rather get a headstart on access without paying a sub fee to the Live game, the offer of a Primogenitor Pack is on the table, which provides 30 days of Patron access, two 15-day Patron vouchers to hand to friends or use yourself, and a bundle of cosmetics for $29.99.

As for the Prime server itself, it will launch on Wednesday, March 7th. The server will, as one expects, have players experiencing vanilla RIFT, when the level cap was 50 and players had to contend with the Great Dragons. Prime’s in-game store will not provide any of the supply crates, equipment, boosts or bags found in the current Live game.

Additional content and levels will be unlocked for RIFT Prime over time, and eventually the server will have an undetermined finite life cycle, at which point Prime player characters will be transferred over to the Live server.

Players with questions can consult this FAQ as well as tune in to a livestream this Friday, February 23rd at 11:30am PST on Twitch, where the devs will be talking about the Prime service.

Our Thoughts

There are certainly a few questions one can think up based on the information we’re granted here, chief among them being exactly how much time the Prime server will stay online. We’ll be sure to keep eyes on this new service as we head closer to March.

Source: official site

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If You Could Do It All Again – Progression Servers

We live in an age of the geek ascendant. Superhero movies continue to draw in billions of dollars and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The movies and shows we loved in the past are being remixed, reworked and rebooted, for better or worse.

Gaming is making more money than ever and continues to work its way into every aspect of peoples’ lives. You can play a game pretty much anywhere now.

So given that gaming is so popular and also given that costs are so high in development, why do we never see reboots? Where is the Amazing Spider-man of Azeroth and where is the superior Spider-Man Homecoming of the Alliance and Horde? Clearly World of Warcraft itself in this example is the Sam Raimi Spider-Man, for better or for worse.

This whole idea came from the news of RIFT Prime. RIFT Prime, if you hadn’t heard is an upcoming vanilla and progression server from Trion Worlds. They are bringing back the subscription model for it and they are dumping lock boxes and the vast majority of items currently available in the store. They also promise to progressively unlock the content of the game through in-game milestones and monthly achievements for players.

All in all, that sounds like an awful lot of fun. Be sure to watch here for more when we get our hands on it.

What I would like to discuss is not a vanilla server like Blizzard is working on for World of Warcraft. It’s not a progression server like Trion is doing for RIFT or like Daybreak has done previously for EverQuest and EverQuest II. It’s not even a retooling like Funcom pulled off with Secret World Legends, ripping out the combat in The Secret World and repackaging the game with new combat mechanics and some graphics love.

I would like to discuss what you would do if you could do it all over again. Creating a brand new MMO from scratch is a labor of love, as well as a vast undertaking in terms of hundreds of hours of work to say nothing of the financial cost. Yes, there are ways to bring down some of these. There are ever improving tools available to developers and hobbyists to create games and scale them up for larger and larger audiences. Between free engines available to people and new technologies like we are seeing used in Crowfall or by SpatialOS, the future looks very interesting for people to experiment in. What if you didn’t have to though…?

What if we not only got a vanilla World of Warcraft or a vanilla Everquest II but then took them in a different direction entirely? When some of these MMOs have been out for years upon years and built constantly on the content they began with, there are always some bits that people did not like nearly as much as research might have suggested. There is always that one release no one likes. In terms of Guild Wars 2, I can point to specific moments in the Living World that I just hated (We are all looking at you Braham) and wish we could get rid of.

I am not suggesting a head-canon type situation where you just ignore what you do not like and pretend it isn’t there. I am suggesting continuing the development of the games we enjoy but if the vanilla servers get enough promise and population, bringing them in entirely new directions. Every expansion ever has contained the “true ending” from the previous iteration. Either factions must work together to beat a bigger bad giving you a generic ending that favors no one, or the nominal good guys win like the Global Defence Initiative always does. The only real difference that springs to mind in the typical “you won!” ending method would be XCom 2 taking the view that you lost in the first game but hey, that’s XCom baby. If there’s ever a Dwarf Fortress 2, it will likely up the ante and physically punch players to remind them of losses.

I personally would love the opportunity to see the ‘What If’ games, the separate small servers who go off in experimental directions. What if Wrath of the Lich King ended differently, leaving one version of Azeroth with an entirely different playing field? What if Mordremoth had won at the end of Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns and the server brought in PvP as Sylvari run wild over the other races of Tyria? Or what if Heart of Thorns had broken off differently, with the first season of the Living Story focusing not on Scarlet Briar but following through Malyck’s journey of self-discovery and the sleeping Dragon that was such an intimate danger to all Sylvari.

What if RIFT Prime keeps the Blood Storm around longer? What if the Dragons that originally sold so many people on the game were all still around and the content went another way?

What we will have in Secret World Legends isn’t really a new story told with an old game, they’re going to build on what the old game had and move on from there. There are all sorts of possibilities present in a reboot and new directions they could take. What we have in Final Fantasy XIV was a wiping clean of a damaged slate and starting anew.

How many expansions have there been for the games we love where you have been left wondering, what if we had taken another path? What if you could do it all again…but the expansion you know should come after is riding entirely on the outcome of what we are playing.

What if that tangent server, that restart, ended up in an entirely new place? How exciting would our worlds be then? Clearly there would be issues in execution. Issues with divided teams and divided directions. At least in games with multiple servers, if the new MCU Spider-Azeroth ends up outperforming the original, you can migrate people over. Why not experiment with it at least once? Why not take the worlds that players know better than the one they inhabit and then change course in an all-new way, instead of playing the greatest hits all over again?

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Age of Conan is Opening a Limited-Time Progression Server

Actually, this bears some further explanation; don’t think of the newly-revealed Saga of Zath server as a classic Age of Conan progression server, but think of it more like how Diablo 3 Seasons currently work. The new Saga server will challenge players to achieve character milestones of progression for a variety of unique rewards.

age of conan progression server

The Saga server is a PvE ruleset server similar to Crom, where players can play through a special “saga quest”. Finishing objectives of the quest will net you exclusive rewards like cosmetics, titles and Tier 6 raid equipment. Once the Saga ends, your character will be transferred over to Crom with all of their earnings intact.

Objectives for the saga quest include reaching certain level milestones, completing a raid via the raid finder and following through on classic raid progression. If players manage to defeat the final boss of the Palace of Cetriss, everyone on the server will receive a unique vanity cloak and the victors will have their names immortalized on the Age of Conan website. The server will also have a special bonus to increase the rate of fatality kills, which will reward additional XP for every enemy slain.

Joining in on the Saga is as simple as clicking a “Create Saga Character” button at login. Existing characters cannot be transferred to the Saga server and character boosts will not be allowed, making sure everyone arrives on Tortage with the same rags and broken oars.

The Saga of Zath is set to begin today, Wednesday, January 24th and will remain open until Tuesday, May 15th.

Our Thoughts

What an interesting way to refresh the existing game! While there’s certainly something to be said for introducing new content to the actual MMO itself, we have to admit that the challenge that the Saga of Zath server presents is intriguing indeed. Are you going to attempt this new form of progression, or would you rather the devs create new updates instead?

Source: official site

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