Gigantic's Eternal Dawn heralds the arrival of new hero Zandora

MOBA Gigantic has a new update live in the open beta this week: Eternal Dawn. The patch features the bizarrely pink new hero Zandora, and boy does she ever have a chip on her shoulder. No really.

"Eternal Dawn introduces a few high-impact changes to Gigantic and welcomes Zandora - a lance-wielding melee/support hybrid hero," says PWE. "As with our other major updates, we'll be releasing additional content each week: gradually adding new Champion of Aurion skins for Beckett, Vadasi, Voden, and Zandora, as well as a powerful new creature, the Storm Drake. If you're eager to play with all the new skins, hero, and creature right away, you can also unlock all the new content immediately by purchasing the Eternal Dawn bundle, which unlocks everything on day one at a huge discount to the total cost."

Beta players can also expect new honor bonus rewards for underdog matches, the guardian damage preview, and brand-new eternal light weapons, plus the usual smattering of balance tweaks. Check out the trailer below!

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Drakensang Online preps trailer for next week's Sands of Malice expansion

2011 free-to-play MMOARPG Drakensang Online has today released a trailer for next week's update, dubbed Sands of Malice, which is due on Tuesday. The expansion is expected to boost the level cap to 55, add a new random arena, create new difficulty modes for highbie areas, implement a new rune system, improve gems, insert new monster types, and buff parallel world drops.

"Sands of Malice is a huge new and free to access content expansion that takes players to a mysterious Arabian themed land full of desolation, powerful enemies and danger lurking around every corner. Players must travel to the homeland of the faithful character Zahir, to investigate his claims that the land is cursed. Rumors abound of an ancient power, and a plot to free it from its prison beneath the temple."

Check out the trailer below!

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Worlds Adrift preps next alpha round with biome, lighting, and respawn tweaks

Hey, Landmark fans. Missing your game? Wondering where you'll go next? How about Worlds Adrift? It's a purty buildy sandboxy toy heading into its Alpha 6.1 playtest, which is testing out the new interior lighting system, new respawn rules, a revamp of the game's major biomes, new acrobatic skills, new ship parts and cores, and -- this is the cool one -- object lifecycles.

"Loose objects players leave behind will start to deteriorate and sink into the ground," explains Bossa Studios. "As the tempestuous death clouds strike the islands with lightning bolts from below, exciting the atlas buried within and creating mini-earthquakes, some of these objects will become completely buried. At the same time, other forgotten relics of the past will be brought to the surface."

Signups for the test run until March 1st, and you can already go build islands for free on Steam.

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Conan Exiles preps player modders, patches up modding fails

Conan Exiles' big dev blog out today ought to be a big help for gamers looking to run their own survival sandbox servers and tricking them out: It's all about building your own mods, which is basically like putting up a sign that says Bree, read me!

Existing mods can already be downloaded through the Steam Workshop, but if you want to make your own, Funcom says, you're going to need the dev kit, launcher, and UE4 editor -- piece of cake, right?

If you're not familiar with how Workshop works and are jumping in as a player, all you really need to know is that you'll be asked to download any mods the server is using as you're logging in, which is one of the rare modding advantages of running Workshop-capable games through Steam.

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Meta: Cloudbleed security notice for our Patreon users

Cloudflare DNS announced this morning that it suffered a security incident over the last few months that could affect a vast swath of the internet. It boils down to a since-repaired buffer issue that could potentially have exposed sensitive data, including website authentication tokens, to search engine caching.

Massively OP does utilize Cloudflare (you've probably seen it on those rare occasions our server hamsters go on strike) but we are not directly affected by the leak. "Your domain is not one of the domains where we have discovered exposed data in any third party caches," Cloudflare told us, and our tech has assured me our site does not use the features imperiled by the bug.

However, a number of sites and services are, possibly including Patreon, which many of you use to help fund us, and Feedly, which many of you use to follow our feeds. These sites and services are not at fault, and none of those I use has contacted us about a breach, but you may wish to investigate further.

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Marvel Heroes has totally overhauled summoners

As part of Marvel Heroes' Black Bolt patch last night, Gazillion made a number of major changes to the summoner characters. Previously, Gaz says, summoners were forced to choose between gear that improved their summons or gear that improved themselves, and folks who didn't scour the forums might not even be aware of which one was which thanks to unclear tooltips in-game. "It [was] nigh impossible to tread the middle ground and remain 'optimized,'" the team says.

But as of the patch, summons benefit from far more offensive stats and damage bonuses, and there's a new summon damage rating that replaces the old affixes.

"With this change, every single hero summon power has had its damage, health, duration, and cooldown reviewed and modified. Players will probably notice the tooltip damage numbers have decreased slightly, but this is expected. Since pets can now deal vastly more damage when critically hitting and brutally striking, all while attacking faster, it makes sense that their base damage values might be slightly lower than before."

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Ship of Heroes plans April Kickstarter, alpha to run into next year

Are you watching the Ship of Heroes Kickstarter countdown? Have you set it to your main tab when you boot up your browser? Our eagle-eyed tipsters noticed the countdown timer early, but the Heroic Games team is ready to talk about it today.

April 4th is the Kickstarter launch day, says the team's new press release.

"The crowdfunding effort will run for about a month, and will include a creative variety of in-game rewards and recognition. Heroic Games has not yet announced the intended dollar goal for the Kickstarter campaign, but all donations will go directly toward the continued rapid development of Ship of Heroes."

After the Kickstarter, the Ship of Heroes studio will run multiple alpha tests this year and next, "then beta on a relatively quick schedule." Kickstarter donors will also have first crack at those alpha slots.

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Hi-Rez addresses the Paladins pay-to-win uproar

The Paladins community has been flipping tables this week over the game's new Legendary cards and Essence currency, which players argue are blatantly pay-to-win. Hi Rez's latest patch essentially nerfed gold grinding -- and therefore, the players' ability to save gold to simply buy what they want -- by handing out the new Essence instead of gold to players who receive duplicates in their reward chests. If you're sitting on a huge stock of gold and cards, you're fine, but newbies are finding that gold is almost worthless, RNG can wreck them, and Essence accrues too slowly to be of use. And as MMO players all know, when you can't compete without whipping out your credit card, the words "pay-to-win" aren't far behind.

Good news, though: Hi-Rez said late last night that it's working on the issue and will have some sort of update today, so you're not going to have to make good on those threats to go play Overwatch after all:

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The Daily Grind: When do 'offensive' guild names go too far?

Oh, it just wouldn't be a week without some EVE Online drama, now would it? The latest episode revolves around an alliance whose name, Just Let It Happen, was reported and forcibly changed by CCP's customer support team as a result of its ambiguous meaning, which was apparently inferred to be a rape reference.

The EVE subreddit lost its spacemarbles; some players slyly recommended additional much less ambiguously NSFW names that ought to be banned, while others justifiably demanded clarity from CCP, and still others took the opportunity to be awful trolls contributing nothing to the debate. CCP Falcon ultimately told the community that while the original customer support staff had followed the naming guidelines properly and would not be reprimanded, the team had discussed the issue and decided to relent, allowing Just Let It Happen to, well, get back to happening.

Our EVE columnist Brendan tells me that it's not uncommon for CCP to alter player, corporation, and alliance names that violate the TOS when reported by players. And you might remember back in 2015, CCP voluntarily changed the name of the Interbus Ship Identification System browser, aka ISIS, though the studio insisted it was too obscure for newbies, not because of politics.

So for today's Daily Grind, I'm wondering what you think about EVE's naming situation. Do the "offensive" names on that list go too far, or is CCP too harsh? How sure are you that you understand the naming rules in your own MMOs?

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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMORPG genre taking a much-needed breather?

Massively OP donor and commenter Tibi sent this epic question to our podcast and kindly allowed me to share it here instead for maximum impact! Tibi wants us to consider the state of the genre and consider that maybe we're taking a much-needed breather from the hectic chaos of a few years ago.

"Much has been said and written about the decline and even death of western AAA MMOs, but assuming that New World and future games end up coming out, I am actually happy with this quiet period. It can give already launched games the time to mature and grow into what was originally promised. I doubt that if we were still getting the onslaught of games from a few years back, Elder Scrolls Online could have thrived the way it does today or that The Secret World could have kept its smaller but constant playerbase. There are so many good games out there and it's great to see them able to keep the lights on and welcome new players who would otherwise have gone chasing the new shiny and miss out. What do you think?"

I posed Tibi's question to the Massively team for this week's Overthinking, but they were all too busy playing quiet MMOs! Just kidding. Batter up!

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Warframe opens ticket sales and dates for Tennocon 2017

Digital Extremes has just announced details for Warframe's next convention, Tennocon 2017. "TennoCon 2017 will take place on Saturday, July 8, in the heart of Digital Extremes' hometown of London, Ontario, at the London Convention Center," says the PR.

"Digital Extremes aims to double last year's charity donation of nearly $75,000 and is pledging a portion of the event's ticket sales to a soon-to-be announced charity. [...] Attendees will get a deeper look inside Warframe game creation during interactive panels hosted by various members of the development team along with a host of additional Warframe-themed activities and fun throughout the day. Added to the schedule this year is the Warframe Cosplay Contest which encourages the best of the community's skilled cosplayers to showcase their Warframe creations at the show."

Tickets went on sale this morning and run from $25 CAD (about $19 USD) all the way up to $1000 CAD (about $762 USD) if you had wanted ridiculous piles of swag, a meeting with the dev team, and a voiceover in the game. I say "had wanted" because the top two tiers (VIP and Legendary) apparently sold out within an hour of the site's going live. Can't make it to Canada? Expect info on the digital pass next month.

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Conan Exiles is bringing up new European servers, already looms over PAX East

Funcom announced today that it's found a partner to host its Conan Exiles servers in Europe: G-Portal.

"This week the remaining European servers for Conan Exiles have been going up one by one," says the studio. "We’ve already rolled a decent number of servers and the rest of them will be ready in a short while thanks to our new server partner! Servers will be popping up all over Europe, from west to east, so look for the ones with the best ping to find the one closest to you. The old Pingperfect servers will be brought up with the same name and server database as before, so players can jump right in to continue their adventure in the Exiled Lands."

Early this month, Funcom told players it was parting ways with its original server host, PingPerfect, and switched to Gameservers, which it believed would be better able to handle the apparently huge demand for the game. Then, last weekend, the studio abruptly region-locked official servers for the game, sending legitimate international communities into turmoil as replacement servers have been coming up slowly all week.

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Enter to win a Seeker Pack for The Exiled's early access launch today

In honor of the early access launch of The Exiled on Steam today, Fairytale Distillery has granted us some lovely keys to raffle to our readers!

The game -- which you might remember from its days as Das Tal -- bills itself as a "social sandbox MMORPG where survival strategy meets skill-based PvP combat," with full-loot open PvP, player-run guilds and cities, and minimal grind.

The Seeker Pack in particular grants full access to the game past the seven-day trial, cannot be combined with other packs, and includes an extra character slot, two name reservations, a 15% fame gain boost, an extra daily challenge slot, unique skins for Tier 0 weapons and armor, dance and taunt animations, and a special avatar and title.

Read on to enter to win!

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