Players throw a party for this week’s Shroud of the Avatar update

Any excuse for a large-scale shindig is a good one by us. For the players over at Shroud of the Avatar, the title’s consistent monthly updates haven’t lost their luster or crowd appeal.

This is why Avatar Radio, the player-run internet radio station for the game, is throwing a dance party for this week’s Release 51. The party is taking place on February 23rd on the Isle of Chaos.

“Come help the Devs test the limits of the newest update, the last of it’s kind before
the Queen of Chaos sets Sail off into full launch,” the party organizers said. “While partying on the Queen of Chaos we will have our ears tantalised by the best beats this side of the Rift by the one and only Lord of Chaos, Darkstarr himself.”

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Age of Conan’s saga server shares class distribution chart

If you’ve rolled up a Dark Templar on Age of Conan’s newish saga server, then just know that you’re not alone. At level 80, the class is the most popular of the dozen options available for players.

Funcom shared a pie chart (the tastiest type of charts) of the level 80 class distribution on the server. There’s quite a range between the most and least popular classes, with a handful (Dark Templar, Conqueror, Tempest of Set, and Demonologist) taking over 43% of the roster. If you’re looking for an underdog to pick, the Ranger (4.43%) or Guardian (5.54%) will put you among rare company.

And while we’re on the subject of the saga server, Funcom announced that the Ivory Tower guild gets the honor of attaining a server first kill of Ethram Fal. Congrats!

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The Stream Team: Investigating Khalid’s unburnt bush in Secret World Legends

Remember the old Moses look-alike Khalid on the hill in Secret World Legends? He has an investigation mission that Massively OP’s MJ is going to tackle. Aptly, it’s called The Unburnt Bush and deals with Egyptian plagues. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. as MJ puzzles her way through this puzzle.

What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Neverwinter AMA gets into the specifics of system design

The Neverwinter system designers were on hand this week for an Ask Me Anything on Reddit about the title. Naturally, it drew a crowd interested in the nitty-gritty of specific systems and balance issues, and naturally, it elicited a lot of “we’ll take a look at that, we don’t know when that will be addressed.”

One interesting question had to do with Neverwinter’s decision to shy away from crowd control in dungeons by making the mobs immune to CC. “[Crowd control] currently just creates fights that are trivial and you generally don’t even need a build dedicated to controlling for enemies to be locked down,” the team said, going on to mention that no CC rework is planned for the future.

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Conan Exiles on the new teleportation system and de-MMORPG-ifying combat

May 8th seems pretty far away to me, but I bet Funcom is feeling Conan Exiles’ impending launch is rushing up to meet it. In its most recent newsletter, the studio says its various teams are hard at work on memory leak repairs, UI fixes, the temperature system, new clothing and outfits, first-person perspective animations, engine optimizations, the monster revamp, and of course, the combat system.

“The old combat system was more like an MMORPG than an action game, where a creature would stand in front of you and attack. Under the new paradigm we plan to make creature attacks more varied, with better anticipation time and ‘tells’ so you’ll know what comes next. [… ] We have a vision of what Conan Exiles should be, which might differ from your vision of what Conan Exiles should be, and our job as a developer is to merge the two into a coherent whole. Game development is normally a closed process, but because we opted for Early Access we also had to make sure that the community had a voice. The new combat system is a direct consequence of this interaction that fits in with the Conan vision.”

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Colony sim Seed aims to simulate life whether you’re logged in or not

What do you get when you mash up Rimworld, The Sims, and EVE Online? Probably a big mess, but adjacent to that mess somewhere is Seed. Developed by Klang Games and using Improbable OS, Seed is a colony simulator in which players will make high-level management decisions about a fledgling settlement while their villagers go on living and working even while the player is offline.

It is an unusual and different sort of MMO than players are used to seeing, which is why it might be prudent to watch this short interview by PC Gamer to understand the full sales pitch for this sci-fi title.

“What we’re doing is a game that’s about simulating life. That isn’t a space that’s been explored before. We think we’re pretty early movers in simulation-based MMOs,” said Klang Co-Founder Mundi Vondi. Check out the interview below!

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Fortnite speeds up construction

Building is a big part of Fortnite, and Epic Games has revealed some construction improvements geared to speed things up in both Battle Royale and Save the World come v.3.0.0. The combination of turbo building (holding down primary fire continuously placing building pieces) and automatic material swapping when you deplete one resource will allow players to build on the run. As in, build a ramp as you run up it! The rules for building collision have also changed: Larger items like rocks, trees, and vehicles will no longer block structures. However, all structures will still need a connection to a floor or terrain.

The final change is speeding up switching between building pieces by removing the need for that command to travel through Epic’s servers. This change is only slated for Battle Royal currently, but devs plan to get it into Save the World as well.

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Twitch pushes the Overwatch League through viewer promotions

Superheroes and streaming make for interesting bedfellows, but for fans who are used to watching a ton of Overwatch on Twitch, it’s perhaps not that surprising. The two entities are teaming up for a series of promotions designed to push viewership of the fledgling Overwatch League.

Viewers can actually earn special Overwatch character skins and Twitch emotes by cheering on their favorite teams and showering them with Twitch Bits. Players can also link their Blizzard accounts to Twitch and earn one league token per live match finish.

“And some lucky viewers will get 100 tokens for every final map they watch per match — enough to get your favorite Overwatch League team skin in the game,” Twitch said.

And “coming soon” will be a purchasable VIP ticket to the Overwatch League. This will give access to behind-the-scenes info, more in-game items, and other unnamed perks.

Source: Twitch

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EVE Online outlines plans to spin out a new chat system in March

The small portion of EVE Online players who will be heartbroken over the loss of the game’s voice chat will really just be riding the forefront of the game’s chat changes. Significant backend changes to the game’s chat functionality are coming with the March update, and the short version is that chat in general is getting spun out to a separate platform on a different infrastructure.

Why such a significant change? Well, for one thing, it should help reduce the chat load on specific nodes during fleet operations, and it also serves to help split up the game’s functionality into more manageable chunks for the development team. It also gives the game’s customer service team easier access to chat logs, so that should be fun, too. You shouldn’t notice any changes in-game after the chat changeover, but players are encouraged to report any bugs that managed to slip through as always.

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Crowfall delves deeper into crypts with its latest video Q&A

Are you still struggling to wrap your mind around the way that Crowfall’s new Crypt system is going to work as character selection? The team has been working overtime to explain the system, but you can get another explanation and demonstration with the latest community Q&A video just below. That includes a rundown of the system and the way that the Crypt system interacts with the various campaign world rules (short version: it’s another dial for campaign worlds, like everything else).

You can also get a glimpse of the lady centaur model, new environments, new cairns, and the usual array of questions taken direct from players. Fair warning, as always, the video below runs for more than an hour. If you’re looking for quick, punchy information, you might be disappointed. But if you’d like to see how Crypts work, this is your opportunity.

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TERA’s Male Brawler class gets a March 13 release date

To celebrate the latest class to be added to En Masse’s TERA, the studio released a short trailer of a gauntleted fist beating the stuffing out of a panda. It’s a bold marketing strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them.

The panda-punching class in question is the male Brawler, who is arriving in the March 13th Counterpunch update (the action MMO previously added the female Brawler in a past patch). Mechanically, the male Brawler is identical to his female counterpart, although he will sport different skill animations.

TERA’s Counterpunch is also bringing back a slightly reworked Ruinous Manor dungeon, throwing in a leaderboard system for monthly seasons, and triggering a series of free giveaways. There is an additional character slot (March 13th through the 20th), a free special lootbox (March 17th and 18th), and a level up box for male Brawlers (March 13th through April 10th).

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s new outfit system is close to perfect

I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.

When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.

ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.

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World of Warcraft previews its upcoming Legacy loot mechanics

For all the good that World of Warcraft‘s level scaling has brought to the game, it has made farming for old appearances slightly more difficult. Now that the game’s dungeons are all synced to drop personal loot, it can be hard to farm things that you can unlock but wouldn’t drop under the game’s personal loot restrictions. Good news, then; when Battle for Azeroth rolls around, a new style of loot will be put into place for legacy loot in content that you outlevel by a significant margin.

Any dungeons or raids that you enter while at least 10 levels above the “designed” levels will activate Legacy loot; every boss will drop as many items as possible, and all loot can be freely traded between party members when things drop. Loot is split between players, however, so if a boss drops four things for a two-person party, both players will get two items. It should make for an easier time getting cosmetics and farming for them, so that’ll be a welcome change – especially with a whole new expansion’s worth of stuff to farm for transmog purposes.

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