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Tree of Life’s winter festival blows in holiday cheer

Even newer MMOs like Tree of Life are getting in on the holiday spirit this Christmas season. The team recently kicked off its winter festival starring Santa Booboo. Just roll with it.

The festival has plenty of rewards to chase, such as a winter tree outfit and a red-nosed deer mount. Players should find the world more holly and jolly, thanks to the transformation of carts into sleds and an epidemic of Christmas trees and elves across the land.

The December 1st update also integrated Google’s translation services for player chat, added a whisper command, and improved the Warden Tree system.

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Black Desert lays out roadmap with new toon, region, class swapping, and weapon buffs

Over the weekend during South Korea’s FESTA event, Pearl Abyss slipped out the news that Black Desert is due to get another character: Ran. Turns out that when importing her westward, Kakao is calling her Lahn (not the first time that’s happened), and the studio explained there’s much more coming than what trickled across the oceans a few days back.

For starters, Lahn is indeed on the way; she’s a dual-wielder who carries a “unique crescent scythe” and a short-sword offhander and zips through the air. She’ll be accompanied by a new territory in the game, Dreegan, home to dragons. Bring a group!

But beyond Lahn and Dreegan, Kakao says PA has nearly halved the game’s client size and boosted FPS performance in a streamlining project coming to fruition next week. That includes a major UI makeover and 3-D minimap that shows elevation.

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Guild Wars 2 announces weapon contest winners, adds new in-game book interface

Remember that design-a-weapon contest that Guild Wars 2 was running last month? Well, it is all over now, and ArenaNet tallied up all of the player votes to come up with three community-designed weapons that will be brought into the game.

The first, second, and third place winners are a torch, greatsword, and sword, respectively. Those winners get a signed print of their design and a ton of other goodies in addition to the pride of seeing others run around with their creation. The top three were chosen out of over 900 entries that the contest elicited.

In other Guild Wars 2 news, some sharp-eyed players noted that there seems to be a new book interface for reading in-game literature. Nothing big, but hey, it’s easier on the eyes and even is tied to an achievement.

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One Shots: Elves have a weeding problem

You may hold Elves in high esteem, but the truth is that they are bonafide slackers. They live forever and can’t even be bothered to keep up with the weeding, so Elves make up some nonsense about communing with nature to cover for it while they binge on Netflix.

BalsBigBrother brings us our first pic of the day, this one from Lord of the Rings Online: “The one is from the High Elf starting instance, with this particular area the last part just before you are thrown out into the ‘real world’ of Middle Earth. Still amazed with how well the SSG folks do with their world building using such an old engine and saddened at times how divorced they often seem to be when it comes to actual player mechanics/fun.”

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Star Citizen’s monthly studio report covers alpha 3.0 work, eyes Squadron 42

What’s Cloud Imperium been up to the last month? Oh nothing much, just frantically trying to prepare Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 to debut ahead of the holidays – that’s the gist of the studio’s monthly report, anyway. “Since our last report, we’ve gone to Evocati and begun a staggered release to the PTU, so the team’s busy fixing bugs discovered by the testers and working on overall stability and performance,” says the studio.

There’s the usual round of check-ins from the globally scattered studios and several notes about the long-delayed Squadron 42 as the teams work on parsing MoCap data and animations: “Lots of Squadron 42 specific tasks were tackled. [… W]ork ranged from Coil-specific plasma experiments, to mysterious debris clusters, and distant storms brewing.” Indeed, as some teams – like the lighting team – finish their work on 3.0, they’re turning back to S42, and the holiday livestream is set to feature the standalone game prominently as well.

All week, CIG has been rolling out multiple anniversary videos in a mini-series for Around the Verse, the most notable of which heralded the new land claim sales that have some backers and watchers all riled up. We’ve recapped them all below.

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Survived By arrives on Steam as its closed alpha progresses

The love child of bullet hell shooters and permadeath MMORPGs is now on Steam, and it’s taking no prisoners. That’s just not how it works.

The retro pixel art-styled Survived By made its Steam debut this Thursday, encouraging fans to sign up to become testers (there is an NDA in progress, for your information). While gamers can’t just pick up and play the game yet, the Steam page does offer a glimpse into the game’s looks and features. Plus, it tries to explain why permadeath isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“Permadeath is just the beginning,” the team writes. “Every time you die you’re survived by a new descendant, who carries a small part of your legacy with them. These legacies provide new buffs, stat boosts, and special abilities. ”

Meanwhile, the game is currently in its 11th week of closed alpha testing. We wince at the thought of how many unnecessary deaths have happened so far. Curious about this game? Check out our PAX West coverage of this unique title from this past September!

Source: Steam

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EverQuesting: First impressions of EverQuest II’s Planes of Prophecy

November: A month of colorful, falling leaves, Thanksgiving… and an EverQuest II expansion! That’s right, the 11th month isn’t allowed to finish up until we have our next serving of Norrathian goodness, and Daybreak delivered it to us on the 28th. Regardless of not yet finishing up the content in previous expansions, I couldn’t not immediately dive in and explore this new piece of EQII! I mean, me, not explore a favorite world? That’s crazy talk! With only two days (and interrupted ones at that!) to peek into and poke around, what did I find in Planes of Prophecy? Here are my first impressions.

Hop on the Plane

Luckily for me, you don’t need to complete the Signature Quest line (or in my case, even start it) in Kunark Ascending to be able to access the new zone, the Plane of Magic. If you are level 100 and own the expansion, all you need to now is how to get there. For that, you could do like I first did and hop from world bell to druid portal to wizard spire to find the way. Alternately, you could read the in-game mail that is delivered to every level 100 that tells you to visit any wizard spire. It makes sense: Travel to a Plane of Magic through a magical wizard portal! Obviously, I immediately jumped in a portal.

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Skyforge is out for the Xbox One

Who says that Sony fans get all of the good exclusives for this particular console generation? After all, you can now play a god (possibly of war) in Skyforge on the Xbox One as of today, and that’s not something that… oh, it was on the PlayStation 4 in April. Well, you can still jump in and play it now on your Xbox One just the same, so timing and exclusivity concerns aside, it’s still a good thing.

For those of you who are wholly unfamiliar with Skyforge, it’s a game with 15 classes for players to switch between freely, action combat, and all sorts of action smashy stuff going on as you become a deity to defend your world against all sorts of invasions. It’s also free-to-play, so there’s nothing to lose except for time to give it a shot. The MMO console assault continues unabated.

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Exclusive: Indie sandbox El Somni Quas state-of-the-game dev diary

It’s been a hot minute since we heard from El Somni Quas, the indie sandbox from a Czech studio that cut its teeth on Ultima Online emulators and is porting its ideas into its own game with 3-D sensibilities. There are two reasons for that, as developers Jiří Wallenfels and Zbyněk Juračka explain.

“We have promised to produce a functional alpha test till the end of the year, so we are trying to finish off individual steps needed for launching the first gaming client,” the team says. “Secondly, regarding the world, not that many things are being built to create new scenes. We’re trying to perfect the scenes already built; the roads, rivers and most of all, we are trying to maximize FPS. Right now, we’re writing from our ESQ team meeting in Prague, trying to optimize the next steps.”

Wallenfels has kindly granted Massively OP another exclusive dev diary that’s a sneak peak into the current state of the game. We’ve included the whole piece down below!

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Guild Wars 2’s fourth living story season has officially landed

Guild Wars 2’s first living story episode since the apparently tepid launch of Path of Fire has officially launched this afternoon. Dubbed Daybreak, a name sure to raise MMORPG player eyebrows and confuse our tagger, the episode kicks off the game’s fourth season of free content, including a new fractal called Twilight Oasis and raid called Hall of Chains – and a key category in the wallet! Woot!

“After the Brandstorm engulfs the free city of Amnoon, the Commander receives a mysterious vision, revealing that an encounter in ancient Elonian ruins might determine the fate of Tyria. The Commander embarks on a search for a secretive order of warriors who guard the way into that ancient city, just as the consequences of past choices come home to roost. In addition to Guild Wars 2’s signature storytelling, Episode 1 delivers further delights:

  • New Legendary Focus: A relic shrouded in mystery.
  • New Fractal – Twilight Oasis: Journey to the past and witness events that shaped Elona.
  • New Raid – Hall of Chains: An influx of murderous undead relentlessly hunt innocent worshipers of Grenth. Infiltrate the Underworld and join the struggle for control over the fates of the living and the dead.
  • A notable and much-asked-for quality of life improvement: A new keys category has been added to the account wallet, which contains a currency version of several existing items which are used to unlock caches of treasure. These items can be consumed to convert them into the new currencies.”
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Elder Scrolls Online kicks off LFG dungeon event with huge cash-shop prizes this week

The Elder Scrolls Online’s #10MillionStories promotion keeps rolling along, and this week, ZeniMax is adding another incentive to getting players in on the fun. During the week between November 20th and December 6th, players will be taking part in an in-game dungeon event – for extra special loot.

“To participate, complete a random dungeon via the Dungeon Finder (Normal or Veteran) to earn a Mysterious Reward Box. (You can obtain one Mysterious Reward Box per character per day.) Mysterious Reward Boxes contain a variety of in-game rewards, such as Dye Stamps, Crown Repair Kits, or Crown Mimic Stones. They also contain rarer rewards, ranging from in-game valuables like Treasure Maps, Transmute Crystals, or Crown Experience Scrolls – or, rarely, a Costume, Pet, or even a Mount from a curated selection of both past and brand-new Crown Store collectibles.”

Some players will even be gifted huge bundles of items, including “a pack of 20 homes or 20 mounts” worth quite a bit of cash. Of course, you still have to hit the LFG button, dungeon it up, and kill all the bosses to be eligible. How hard can it possibly be?

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Ship of Heroes delves into space magic

Magic in space? Ship of Heroes is determined to make it work.

The superhero MMORPG announced today that it will be including a magical subset of heroes and villains into its lore and gameplay. All superpowered humans with magical ability are part of the Attuned, a general-purpose group with this kind of affinity. But tucked inside the Attuned is the sinister Red Sigil, a cult that believes that mages should be used as the “first line of defense” and be put in charge of the giant ship.

“While superhero mages tend to fall into a few general categories, there are countless types of magic in the galaxy, including some odd outliers that are difficult to classify,” the team wrote. “The mages of the Attuned hate the Prometheans above all others, and this antagonism is reciprocated. The Attuned fundamentally like the ship as it is. Even the Red Sigil only want to seize control of the ship’s political system and revenues; they would be happy to have super-powered subordinates if they could effect a coup.”

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Wild Buster shows off footage of Serious Sam in action

The original announcement that Wild Buster is going to feature Serious Sam (star of the series of games known as Serious Sam) as a playable character was already kind of weird. The sort of announcement where you would entirely believe that it was an April Fools’ Day joke except that it was announced in October. But no, it was totally serious. You can even see the guy in action down below, thereby confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt that the developers are entirely serious.

As is Sam himself, presumably. Unless his last name is Sam and his first name is Serious, but let’s not worry about that too much.

The developers are planning to unveil a series of hero spotlights ahead of the game’s December 14th early access launch, starting with Sam and his own gunplay. You can check out both a highlight reel and uncut footage of Sam shooting his way through a dungeon down below, along with a few screenshots showing him off. It seems like the sort of thing he’s well-suited for, really, especially the shooting bits. (Which is… every bit.)

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