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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Check out these gorgeous New World screenshots

Ever since last September's surprise announcement that Amazon Game Studios was actually building a sandbox MMORPG called New World, we have been dying to know more about it. As the relative lack of coverage on this site might suggest, the studio hasn't really been promoting it past that initial press release.

However, a sharp-eyed fan noticed that the company did put two new screenshots for the game some time recently on the Amazon Lumberyard page. The first picture shows a lush forest setting while the second gives an idea of what a settlement might look like in those early colonial days.

Recently, Amazon put ex-Daybreak CEO John Smedley in charge of a new studio and different mystery project in San Diego. Check out the screenshots after the jump and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Final Fantasy XIV previews a new trial and new deliveries for patch 3.55a

The bad news about Patch 3.55a for Final Fantasy XIV is the stuff it's not going to contain. If you're eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the Main Scenario, it's not in this patch. It's not even going to contain the revamped Diadem, as a few bugs have held that content back until patch 3.55b. But that's no reason to prevent players from exploring all of the parts that are working just fine, hence why the patch is arriving on February 28th. And we've even got some pictures of it down below.

Players will be able to take on the 24-player Ultima battle that was on display through all three fanfests, the first 24-person trial in the game. There's also the new delivery system with Zhloe that allows crafters and gatherers to earn favor with NPCs through custom deliveries, new stages in the Anima Weapon questline, and a new arena for The Feast. Check out the pictures just below; you've only got a few more days to wait!

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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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Black Desert brings out the Dark Knight on March 1st

Good news, fans of knights with requisite darkness! Black Desert is bringing the Dark Knight to local shores on March 1st, allowing everyone in the world to be as dark as they like. But you won't have to wait until March 1st to actually make your own Dark Knight, as the game is allowing players access to the character creator for the class with today's patch. That means you can make and customize your forbidden warrior of Kamasylvia today, if you'd like.

This does come with a slight downside, as the developers had been planning on giving everyone an extra character slot to include the Dark Knight, but there are currently some technical issues cropping up due for a hotfix tomorrow.

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Anarchy Online finally arrives on Steam with $90 level boost option

Sixteen years after its debut, Anarchy Online has just now found itself a new home. After a lot of promises and teases, the long-running sci-fi title has finally arrived on Steam to join the rest of the throng of MMORPGs on that platform.

Funcom CEO Rui Casais said that this move is designed to grow the game's audience: "Anarchy Online is one of the longest living online games in the world and millions of players have made the planet of Rubi-ka their home. Bringing the game to Steam is something we have wanted to do for a while and we hope this will bring in new players as well as inspire veterans to come back now that it is easier than ever to travel to Rubi-ka again."

While Anarchy Online does offer a free-to-play option, there is also the choice to subscribe for a more well-rounded experience. Additionally, Steam is selling instant boosts to level 200 for $90 and a new player bundle for $20.

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Neverwinter's Cloaked Ascendancy expansion has just gone live

Neverwinter's Cloaked Ascendancy expansion is live for PC players today, PWE has declared.

"The city of Neverwinter is under attack by the Cloaked Ascendancy, a group of four mages ripped from the Cloak Tower during the Spellplague. Their immense power is derived from the Far Realm and they’re wielding it to claim the throne from Lord Neverember. The latest expansion for the free-to-play MMORPG based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise and set in the Forgotten Realms features a new campaign, adventure zone, re-vamped dungeon, skirmish and more."

Console players will see the update "later this year." We've got the launch trailer below, along with a recap of our coverage of the campaign to date to catch you up!

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Final Fantasy XIV gives us a peek at Othard and the Samurai

If you missed the keynote from Final Fantasy XIV's European fan festival on Saturday, you missed out on a lot of big information. The biggest revelation from our full coverage is that the expansion isn't just sending players into the Xelphatol region toward Ala Mhigo; it's also bringing people across the ocean and into the continent of Othard, home of Doma, the Azim Steppes that served as the home of the Xaela, and the nation of Hingashi.

You also missed a look at the design aesthetics of the upcoming port city (Kugane) that will serve as a major hub, the stills of the Samurai job, and the new world map. Fortunately, you can now take a look at all of that with a new set of screenshots available just below. You can also catch the full trailer for the expansion; if you'd rather read up on our reactions to the revelations in Frankfurt, we've got you covered there as well.

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Elder Scrolls Online previews Morrowind's environments

Fans who are knowledgeable about the original Morrowind might be wondering if Elder Scrolls Online's expansion version will also contain the same muddy brown and swamp green visuals of that title. While it will be the same island in many ways, its looks will definitely be a step up in variety and vibracity. What? Vibracity is totally a word.

ZeniMax put up a new blog post yesterday that explores the flora and fauna of Vvardenfell, saying that this region will be "unlike anywhere else" in the game. Thanks to the fertile ash coming from the central volcano, the island will offer a diverse set of biomes and inhabitants, taking players from the fungus forests of the Bitter Coast to the lush Grazelands. (Which is, you know, true of the original game too, but it's way more fun to poke fun at the more depressing landscapes.)

The creatures range from prehistoric fliers to nightmarish visions that look like they would love to suck out your eyeballs for appetizers. Check out the following images and concept art to help kick-start your imagination over this summer's expansion pack!

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Shroud of the Avatar previews clockwork critters and virtue shrine system

Hope you like clockwork critters because Shroud of the Avatar is about to get a slew of them. The game's latest newsletter shows off such beasties as the clockwork attack cat, clockwork attack raven, and the assassin automaton, all part of the clockwork menagerie that'll be inflicted on players in K'rul thanks to those craft kobolds.

Of note to fans of Old Britannia and the original Ultima games is the upcoming town blessing system, which is basically a clone of Richard Garriott's classic virtue shrine system. Each shrine -- I mean, devotional -- is based on one of the core virtues and principles and grants a buff accordingly. For example, the Justice devotional reduces your fizzle chance and buffs your cooking skill. Good food is justice.

There's much more to the newsletter, including another look at the gloriously crumbly and moss-drenched Rhun ruins and some gorgeous screenshots, which we've tucked below.

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One Shots: I am no man!

The big screenshot challenge last week was to capture action, not just still shots, in MMORPGs. This is tricker than it sounds, because you have to be quick with the screenshot key and manipulate the camera just right to get the perfect picture. It is easier to do this with other characters, obviously, including those in cutscenes.

Borghive gets headlining honors with his "final showdown" between the Witch King and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings Online. She looks a little outmatched, what with being smaller and having an actual head, but I think she's going to come out just fine. After all, she is no man.

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Edengrad starts players down the Lost Highway

When you first step into the wasteland of Edengrad, you'll be treated to the classic post-apocalyptic experience of trekking through a dry and mostly abandoned American southwest desert. That isn't to say that it will be devoid of interesting sights and locales, however.

The devs shared some pictures from the Lost Highway and talked about how they worked to make this beginner zone more interesting than dull: "The Lost Highway is the first location seen by players after leaving the vaults. The desert, mostly based on Arizona’s Monument Valley, is in many places interlaced with rock formations [...] On the one hand, we did our best to present Arizona’s climate as realistically as possible. On the other hand, we wanted to fill the world with interesting locations so the player wouldn’t get bored while wandering through endless grasslands."

Check out some of the vistas you'll be seeing on the Lost Highway below:

Source: Edengrad. Thanks Kinya!

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Here's what's in Neverwinter's Cloaked Ascendancy lockboxes

One of the many content chunks and upgrades landing in Neverwinter when Cloaked Ascendancy launches next week is... lockboxes. In fact, PWE put out a new dev blog today on the Many-Starred Lockbox landing on February 21st, taking a page out of Star Wars: The Old Republic's dog-eared playbook.

Potentially in the lockbox for those who buy keys? The Arcane Whirlwinds legendary mount, the multi-spell Tome of Ascendance, and a number of packs tailored to mounts, artifact equipment, artifacts, companions, enchantments, and costumes, some of which are shown in the gallery below.

But whom are we kidding -- you're never gonna get these.

Further reading: Andrew's piece on gambling vs. gaming, Larry's ideas for making lockboxes suck less, and this article telling us to get over them.

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