Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset (mostly without spoilers!)

Over the years, I suspect I’ve made it well known what I find most important in my Elder Scrolls Online gameplay. I enjoy the environments and the quest storylines. I play most of the game solo with very little interaction with any other players. It’s not that I don’t like other players; it’s just that when I started playing ESO, the main storylines in the game where not very group friendly, so that kind of gameplay is what I expected and enjoyed. Of course, that means my primary focus, when playing through the Summerset Chapter for ESO, was story and single-player gameplay.

There are many things added with Summerset that aren’t single-player focused, like the new Cloudrest trial and the Abyssal Geysers, but I’d hardly call myself an expert in those areas. But we solo players do have many things to look forward to in Summerset besides the story quests, like jewelry crafting, a new skill line, and daily login rewards.

For today, I would like to focus on the main reason I play ESO: the story. I’m not going to spoil any major plot points as I describe my playthrough, obviously, but I would like to make mention of key players and things to watch for as you play through the newest chapter.

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Former Marvel Heroes boss David Brevik launches new game, It Lurks Below, into early access

If you’ve been finding yourself missing Marvel Heroes – but not all the drama and lies – you might want to mosey on over to Steam today, where former Gazillion CEO David Brevik is launching his new sidescrolly pixelart RPG, It Lurks Below, into early access.

It Lurks Below is a fun new one-man indie game project from myself, David Brevik, the creator of Diablo and Diablo II. Although the game is already engaging and addictive, I want to use Early Access to make the project even better. I’m a big believer in actively communicating with your community, getting feedback and improving the final product. This has already been going on in a small closed beta, but I’m ready to open it up and make the best possible game.”

Launch is expected later this year; the current version is just shy of 20 bucks. As we’ve previously reported, it’s not an MMO, and it’s not even multiplayer, so you won’t see much coverage of it here going forward, but Brevik is a big name in MMOs, so there you go – consider yourself duly notified about a cool thing he’s doing.

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Belgium orders Overwatch, CSGO, and FIFA 18 to remove lockboxes or face criminal penalties

Back in 2017, at the height of mainstream outrage over lockbox shenanigans, Belgium became one of the very first countries to take the problem seriously (instead of just passing the buck). The Belgian committee assigned to investigate concluded in November that “the mixing of money and addiction is gambling” and pledged to ban them.

Now, the country has effectively done just that. Its Gaming Commission spent several months investigating multiple games, ultimately finding that Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are operating in violation of its laws specifically because of their lockbox mechanics.

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Deep Space Nine starship on PC from PWE and MOP

Are you hyped for Deep Space Nine in Star Trek Online? Victory is Life is hitting PC in June, complete with a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, the Deep Space Nine crew, the Jem’Hadar playable faction, bumped level cap, seven new episodes, and more goodies.

Ahead of the launch, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to raffle to our PC readers! We’ve got 25 codes for the T5 Defiant Tactical Escort Retrofit and 100 codes for the Stalker Stealth Fighter.

Read on to enter to win!

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Perfect Ten: What your MMO quantity says about you

It occurs to me that it is very difficult to find MMOs that I have literally never played before in some capacity. There are titles on the list, of course, but it’s a short list. Which amuses me, since anyone who listens to me on a regular basis knows that I have a small number of games that I consider “my” games, and usually there are just two that are fairly consistently on that list. But it’s part of the job; back when I first got this job in the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (the late aughts), my lifetime game count was at four. Maybe four and a half, if you want to count the Champions Online beta that talked me out of playing it at launch.

Of course, that’s one of the interesting elements not just of this job but about MMOs in general. You react differently depending on how many MMOs you’ve played, and considering that these games are big, long-term time commitments, that can produce some interesting dynamics. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what your personal lifetime count says about you and your understanding of the genre.

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Daybreak update: Chief Publishing Officer Laura Naviaux has left the company

Yesterday, Massively OP put together a piece on MMO company Daybreak Games Company and its corporate overlords, chronicling the US government’s asset freeze of Russian megacorp Renova on down the chain to its subsidiary Columbus Nova, which has for three years been the nominal owner of Daybreak since it parted ways with Sony and dropped the SOE name.

The twist? When reached for comment on the story, Daybreak informed the editors of Massively OP that our understanding of Daybreak’s ownership was in error. Stunning the MMORPG community and beyond, the company spokesperson insisted it had “no affiliation with Columbus Nova” and that former Columbus Nova rep Jason Epstein “is and has always been the primary owner and executive chairman of Daybreak Game Company” since its founding in February of 2015. When pushed for clarification, Daybreak told us that the “distinction was never corrected in the past, so [it is] correcting that now.”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Razum-dar tours the high and low places of Summerset’s Alinor

When ZeniMax was hyping Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind campaign, it utilized the snarky Dunmer assassin Naryu Virian as the narrator for guiding the player through it (and its marketing materials). For Summerset, our host is Khajiit Razum-dar, and he’s the star of today’s ESO video as he wanders the low and high places of Alinor, capital of the Aldmer province of Summerset. If you squint, you can even catch a glimpse of members of several of the factions outlined in the dev blog yesterday.

Razum-dar also knows where to buy the best drinks because of course he does. Enjoy!

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Conan Exiles posts brand-new preview video with two weeks to go before launch

Two more weeks, folks! That’s how long Conan Exiles has left on its early access contract before it expires and fully launches. Funcom’s released a brand-new video this morning meant to give a top-down view of just what’s coming at launch.

“After 14 months of Early Access, Conan Exiles is about to launch complete with new content, features, and its first ever release on the PlayStation 4 platform. More than doubling in size since start of Early Access, the world players will get to explore and survive in come May 8th spans from burning deserts to the frozen highlands and include never-before-seen locations such as the swamp. There players will find the perverted Lemurians who perform orgiastic rituals to worship Derketo, the twin-natured goddess who walks the line between lust and death. This new video will introduce you to the vast, new world of Conan Exiles and show you just what it takes to survive the savage lands of Conan the Barbarian.”

Funcom’s latest community newsletter reiterates that the studio is in the final stretch, having just rolled out major upgrades on PC and Xbox One, including the new combat system, map room, and farming. Enjoy the video, and don’t forget to check out our latest hands-on and the run-down of last week’s pre-launch patch!

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Guild Wars 2 tortures Dervish fans with an outfit but no class, denies excessive data collection in ‘spyware’ controversy

World polish and bug fixes are at the forefront of Guild Wars 2’s latest patch, which went live yesterday.

Several nagging issues across the game were addressed, including hang-ups in the personal story, raids, and achievements. ArenaNet teased players by adding a “Primeval Dervish Outfit” and scythe to the cash shop, making all Guild Wars 1 refugees pine for that great class.

“A Primeval Dervish outfit, instead of a actual Dervish class… cries in Spanish,” one player said.

It also sounds like there is some movement in the game’s living world storyline: “Peacemakers report a greatly diminished presence of Awakened forces in asuran territories. The Arcane Council nonetheless urges travelers to exercise caution until any remaining malevolent undead are proven to be entirely eradicated.”

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Destiny 2’s Warmind DLC turns Mars into an adult playground

Get your butts to Mars, Destiny 2 players, because you’re needed for the upcoming Warmind DLC. Bungie did a full reveal of the game’s second major content update, which involves a new character named Ana Bray, an AI called Rasputin, and a Hive enemy known as Nokris.

Plenty of new weapons and gear await players on the Red Planet, including the Huckleberry machine gun. And if you don’t quip, “I’ll be your Huckleberry” when you get it, you automatically lose at Destiny 2. Some guns from the first Destiny are coming back as well, such as the Suros Regime.

Other changes of note include PvP updates, an improved Crucible mode, PvP gun rewards, updated exotics, two additional strikes, and the Escalation Protocol public event on Mars. Warmind releases on May 8th for both PC and console.

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Fractured plans its Kickstarter for June while showing off its pre-alpha

Those looking forward to Fractured will have a chance to put their money where their mouths are in June, because that’s when the game is kicking off its Kickstarter campaign. The game will be aiming for at least $250,000 in funding to add to its $100,000 from investor funding, so we’ll see how well it does once it actually hits the crowdfunding circuit.

But what will you actually be funding? A game or some concept art? You can answer that question by checking out the 17-minute video just below, showing off a sizable chunk of pre-alpha footage and including exploration, combat, and the overall art direction. You can check it out just below; while it’s definitely in the early development stage, you can get a sense of what the overall goal of the game’s design will be even from that. And if you like what you see there, well, just get ready for the hit to your wallet in June.

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The Daily Grind: Would you appreciate the option to swap your MMO class?

I’m no stranger to the allure of alts in MMO, but there are some games where the content is so massive that I don’t have the time nor energy to level up a new character even if I truly wish to be playing a different class at endgame. As such, I really wish that there was an option — free or paid — to swap out a class for another one of equal level in my games (a feature that FFXIV does quite well).

I put this out on Twitter and got a lot of positive responses to it, with Bree chipping in, “This was one of the major perks of Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE, eventually — the ability to just pay in-game cash to switch combat classes and keep your levels/etc. It’s always slightly jarring to me that so few other MMORPGs have this feature.”

Trion Worlds’ Nicholas McDowell rebutted my wish by saying, “I understand the desire to switch, but that starts getting tricky to do in a way that doesn’t lead to an unsatisfactory experience. Instant level boost is probably the best way to do this in any RPG.”

What do you think? Would you appreciate the option to swap your MMO class, especially if you don’t want to lose your other achievements and progression?

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Ohio college begins Fortnite e-sports team and scholarship

E-sports programs and scholarships at universities stopped being newsworthy years ago once they were a dime a dozen, but a new one from Ohio’s Ashland University has caught the mainstream media’s eye because it’s reportedly the very first to include Fortnite.

“Ashland’s esports team, which will begin competition next fall, will arrange four-player teams that practice regularly and compete together,” says the university. “AU is at the forefront in adding Fortnite to its offerings, which already include League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. Eventually, [head coach Josh] Buchanan’s hope is that collegiate leagues will be set up for official Fortnite competitions.”

Open tryouts will begin for the 2018-2019 school year. The best players can snag “up to $4,000 based on player skill level and academic requirements” in scholarships.

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