How does earning your college tuition by playing video games sound? Blizzard hopes it sounds mighty fine, as the studio is running a special Heroes of the Storm tournament to dish out full tuition rides to the five players on the winning team.
The Heroes of the Dorm tournament, as it’s called, will hand out other prizes as well, including gaming systems, premium currency, and other in-game goodies. The finalists will compete this spring and will be televised live on ESPN.
In other news, at PAX East this weekend Blizzard revealed that Sylvanas Windrunner will be the next playable champion in the game. The studio also showed off two battlegrounds: Tomb of the Spider Queen and Sky Temple. We’ve got a mess of videos for all of these after the break!
The expansion releases on June 23rd, early access begins on June 19th, and pre-orders open up on March 16th.Since the original launch of Final Fantasy XIV, the city of Ishgard has waited, inaccessible, present, a long shadow over the entire game. When Heavensward releases, players will finally get to access the city and fly into the lands beyond.
As for what we’ll find there… well, that was the focus of the media presentation I got to take part in on Friday at this year’s PAX East. And as someone eagerly anticipating the expansion, I now feel suitably informed.
While the presentation included a lot of information that will be familiar to those avidly following the various fan festivals, there were still new pieces of information and new visuals on display. I also had a chance to speak with producer and director Naoki Yoshida regarding the expansion and what comes next for Eorzea, from the features available at launch to those planned for slightly down the road.
Richard Garriott casts a long shadow in the MMO industry, with Ultima Online serving as the first fully graphical MMO and ushering in the genre as we know it. His more recent claim to fame, though, is the success of Shroud of the Avatar, a crowdfunded spiritual sequel to his Ultima series, online and off. It’s one of the big crowdfunding successes and something that raises plenty of interesting questions about the viability of crowdfunding and how the game’s financial model influences its development.
I was lucky enough to have a chat with Garriott during my time in Boston at this year’s PAX East, and I started by asking him about another long shadow: Godus. Comparisons are fairly obvious, with Godus being another game project put forth by a well-known developer (Peter Molyneux) for crowdfunding. So what sort of influence do high-profile troubles such as those have on Shroud of the Avatar‘s community, and how can the team avoid the risks?
January’s Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go? panel did so well at PAX South that the organizers have decided to go for an encore at PAX East this weekend, and Massively Overpowered will be part of it once again.
Our own Senior Reporter Eliot Lefebvre (aka the Final Fantasy Storyboard Guy) will serve on the panel, which also includes ZergID’s Alex Albrecht, Camelot Unchained’s Jenesee Grey, The Repopulation’s Joshua Halls, and MMORPG.com’s Bill Murphy. Here’s the topic up for debate:
In early MMORPGs, interacting with other community members in places like taverns and main cities was a necessity for advancement and survival. Today, interacting with random players has become a rare event instead of the tools for survival. Is this what we all wanted to happen?
If you’re at PAX, you can join them on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST in the Arachnid Theater. The rest of us will just have to wait for the debrief!
[Source: PAX East schedule
It’s a day that ends in “y,” so naturally Marvel Heroes
is having some sort of in-game shindig. Midnight Madness has returned
, so for the next week you’ll get extra loot from Midtown boss mobs, server buffs, Midtown fortune cards, and patrol boosts.
Oh, and all you Bobby Drake fans can now play as Iceman thanks to the latest hero release. There’s a trailer after the cut for your viewing pleasure.
Finally, Gazillion’s latest patch features Punisher’s level 52 review, a boss revamp, and plenty of bug fixes and tweaks that are detailed in the patch notes.
were true: Hearthstone
is getting a new adventure in April.
Blizzard formally announced the new content at PAX East this morning. The Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will follow in Naxxramas’ footsteps; it will be rolled out in a series of five wings with 31 new cards. The full bundle of wings will run you $24.99.
On stage at PAX, Game Director Eric Dodds also told fans that the phone version of the game and its adapted UI are still en route. Blackrock Mountain’s debut trailer is below.
Are you revved up for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion? How about revved up enough to test it? If that sounds like fun to you, you’ll be pleased to know that the beta test will be kicking off “shortly” after this and next weekend’s PAX and Rezzed events. How will it work? First, there’s no NDA.
There will be no nondisclosure agreements for these beta tests. Those of you who are selected as testers will be free to talk about your experiences and to post streams and videos of the content you play. Please understand that these are early beta tests designed to stress core systems of an expansion that’s still in development. Because we’re stressing core systems, we’ll start with a very small pool of testers and then grow a little with each successful test.
It’s been four years since RIFT came out and the Trion Worlds team hosted a party in Boston to celebrate the game, so it’s high time for another fan gathering. That’s the logic behind Trion’s upcoming PAX East party in Boston, which celebrates the game’s anniversary and the first day of the convention with a fan gathering, complete with a free Arclight Rider and some real-world loot while supplies last.
RIFT fans with no need for the various bits of swag might still want to attend, as the party will include face time with the developers and some announcements about the future. The party is a bit offsite, and space is limited, so head over promptly at 6 p.m. EST on Friday if you want to get in. There’s even a trailer for the party just past the break, for those who need a little more urging.
When Funcom recently teased an upcoming forum-only event for The Secret World, my interest was immediately piqued. Though we have scant details right now, said announcement was met with equal enthusiasm by many other fans. There were those, however, who questioned why time and effort isn’t being directed toward more in-game activities and content to enhance the game itself. The reason is that this is TSW!
What I think those folks are missing is that this particular title is in fact an experience, not just a game. The Secret World draws you in like nothing else can. No where is the suspension of disbelief so masterfully created as in this game that is literally set in our world, using our very customs, myths, and folklore to weave a tale. Blurring the lines between the game and reality is what TSW is all about. That’s why things like ARGs are so perfect for it: The game is quite literally brought to life, and you are left questioning what is real and what isn’t.
Funcom wants to offer more play out of the game? Bring it on! To do anything less would be to waste one of the game’s biggest strengths.
The latest salvo in the ongoing free-to-play culture war comes courtesy of former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert. In a GDC talk titled “Embracing the Paradigm Shift: Converting a Premium Team to an (Enthusiastic!) Freemium Team,” Schubert advocates for a terminology shift from the word “whale” to the word “patron.”
“These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect,” Schubert told his audience.
GameIndustry.biz summarizes the presentation, which saw Schubert advance the narrative that F2P is the future. “Imagine if you will that EA and DICE manage to figure out how to make a true Battlefield 5 experience that is actually a good free-to-play experience,” he said. “They’ll have an increase in profits, they’ll claim the free-to-play first-person shooter experience, Call of Duty will have to flip, and then the whole genre will flip.”
Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic
will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player
, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.
I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.
In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.
This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.
Those of you looking forward to that Star Wars: The Old Republic
speed-run e-sports thing
are out of luck, at least for now. BioWare
community manager Eric Musco
says that the firm is “canceling its ESL Operation Victory
competition,” and he cites problems with the Coratanni encounter as the primary issue.
“We spent a lot of time this week testing bug fixes to see how viable the fixed version would be in a speed running environment,” Musco explained. “We have applied improvements to the Coratanni encounter as of tomorrow’s patch but there are still situations that could impact players focused on a timed run.”
The next big thing coming for The Secret World won’t be in the game itself — it’ll be in the forums.
Funcom, which has had a long record of doing out-of-the-box activities for TSW, has been hinting that it’s preparing an “epic contest” for March. The studio’s already put out a call for cabals to contribute a prize package to the proceedings.
Massively OP reader Nordavind passed along a note from one of the game’s community managers about the event, who said, “This is not going to be a one-day event. This will not be in-game. This will only be in our forums. We even have super-secret forums already set up for this! When we say that every facet of TSW is represented in our contest, we’re talking about: PvP, RP, cosplay, audiophiles, fashionistas, social gamers, handcrafters, and even videographers!”
[Source: Official forums
. Thanks to Nordavind for the tip!]