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Betawatch: Dark and Light enters closed testing (June 23, 2017)

One game enters the list and another leaves. Dark and Light has started its closed testing, although there’s a very small number of people currently invited to test the game, so you’re probably not on the list. Meanwhile, Master x Master has entered the shark-infested waters of launch, so it’s now as real as it gets. Hooray for changes on the list!

Boy, I’m so excited I’m just going to launch into several more list items. Come with me, will you?

And there’s still a whole list down below! What fun. Let us know if something in there slipped phases without us noticing, all right? We really like lists, if you haven’t noticed.

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind soundtrack is now available digitally

Did you enjoy the music of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind? Then there’s good news, because you can now fill your ears with it wherever you go. The soundtrack is available via Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Music, so no matter what your preferred platform may be, you can make it the day-to-day soundtrack of your life. Be warned that you may get some funny looks if you spend an entire business meeting playing it, assuming you’re someone who has high-powered business meetings.

The official site also has an interview with composer Brad Derrick, who talks about the challenges involved in making sure the soundtrack was new and distinct while still reminding players of the history behind the game’s title and lore. Derrick marks the title theme as the hardest part to compose (since it’s the iconic song for the whole expansion), while also seeing the transition of one theme into another depending on player activities to be vital to making a good soundtrack. Check out the full interview if you’re curious about how the tracks got made.

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Em-8ER funds on Indiegogo and adds new stretch goals

If you were worried that Mark Kern’s Em-8ER (properly pronounced “eem-eight-er” for those willing to die upon snarky hills) wouldn’t fund on its latest Indiegogo push, good news! It’s already funded and looking toward stretch goals. Of course, one could argue that since the game has already had one successful Indiegogo campaign and is now having its second in a series of “serial crowdfunding” pushes, this is already a stretch goal, but let’s not split hairs. The point is that you can pay more money and get more stuff; that’s what the campaign is focusing on.

The newest stretch goals allow for model fights against a new beast, more emotes for players, and motion capture. “We will be modeling the ‘beast’ form of the Tsi-Hu aliens,” says the game’s newsletter. “This deadly creature is what Tsi-Hu can transform into for brutal melee combat. The next stretch goal is to animate it and have it fight the players! There are lots of great perks to unlock, including color changing CHROMA jumpjets, glowing Omniframe skins and even a full motorcycle. In response to player feedback, we also updated our $500 tier to include better rewards, like the Turret #2 Pet robot, and having NPCs salute and greet you by title.”

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SuperData May 2017: WoW recombinated, Dota 2 in the top 10, and Pokemon Go out

Almost lost in the buzz today was the release of SuperData’s rundown of the global digital games market for May. You’ll notice immediately that World of Warcraft has once again been rejoined! SuperData had split the game into east and west versions for its January report, then botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two; in March, the WoWs were one from the get-go but split up again in April. Now we’re back to one. It’s still not clear what’s going on there.

In any case, it’s allowed for a new entry on the PC side: Dota 2, which recently patched in PvE, apparently to good effect. On the mobile side, Pokemon Go has vanished entirely from the top 10, though we won’t be surprised to see it return next month as the summer events heat up.

Overwatch shows continued growth,” writes the research firm. “Overwatch digital revenues are up from April but down from May 2016, when it launched. Additional Content revenue hit a new high in May on the back of a one-year anniversary event.”
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Secret World Legends’ headstart launches today

Pack up your stuff, The Secret World fans: It’s movin’ day, at least if you don’t care about playing on Steam, as Secret Worlds Legends’ headstart period for veteran The Secret World players and beta testers begins today.

Funcom’s said the headstart hasn’t technically begun just yet — we still don’t know when the flag will drop — but that preloading is underway. [Update: Expect it live at 2 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest tweet nope, live at 4 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest-latest tweet.]

The studio outlined its legacy transfer system last night; your accounts should already be linked (don’t go making a fresh account) and allow you to reclaim and transfer your patron time, lifetime sub status, cosmetics, mounts, and other bits and bobs. You’ve got until August to take advantage of all that.

Stay tuned for Larry’s impressions and MJ’s stream later today, and in the meantime, check out our roundup of guides, interviews, and news leading up to today.

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ZeniMax seeks another half billion bucks in Oculus injunction hearing

The Oculus/ZeniMax Media lawsuit still isn’t over, all these years after the start: ZeniMax is this week arguing before a Texas district court that Oculus should be forced to remove its VR products from sale or pony up royalties.

Earlier this year, courts awarded ZeniMax half a billion dollars in damages from Facebook-owned Oculus, having found that the VR company was guilty of copyright infringement, false designation, and failing to comply with a non-disclosure agreement. At the time, Oculus declared that a victory because the jury didn’t find it guilty of stealing trade secrets.

The new injunction filed by ZeniMax seeks to double that sum to compensate it for “ongoing harm.” Facebook and Oculus are contesting everything, of course, including the original verdict.

Even the judge seems tired of it all, reportedly having told listeners that he aimed to “resolve the heck out of [this] big, hairy fight.”

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Blizzard is offering a third round of BlizzCon tickets, so don’t despair (yet)

Did you miss out on your last attempt at snagging BlizzCon 2017 tickets? Of course you did. Those things sell out faster than unicorn frappes (although not as fast as tickets to hunt Pokemon in a Chicago park, apparently). Anyway, the point is, you’re getting a third chance, coming at you on July 5th at 10 p.m. EDT.

“This third ticket sale will once again be hosted by Universe.com, and tickets are priced at $199 each (plus applicable taxes and fees),” says Blizz. “Until recently, we weren’t sure if the new hall at the Anaheim Convention Center would be ready in time for BlizzCon. Once we confirmed it would be, we worked quickly to determine how we’d use the space and how many more people we could accommodate while preserving the awesomeness of the BlizzCon experience.”

BlizzCon this year takes place on November 3rd and 4th.

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Ashes of Creation’s post-Kickstarter pledge store is live

Wallets at the ready, peeps: As promised, Ashes of Creation is following up its massive Kickstarter run with a more local, homegrown crowdfunding effort on its own website, live now.

“We’ve been hearing from the community that many couldn’t participate due to the payment limitations of Kickstarter,” writes Intrepid Studios. “In response to this, we came up with a campaign that benefits both new backers and those from the Kickstarter! This campaign will have new backer goals achievable by previous Kickstarter backers and new backers as they are unlocked.”

Pledges begin at $25 and run up to over $5000, with a whole ladder of rewards for all backers depending on how many gamers jump in. There’s even a trailer to talk you into the deal.

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E3 2017: Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida on Stormblood, design, and themeparks

Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.

He did not disappoint.

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Anthem is the start of a ’10-year journey’ for EA and BioWare

At this point, when a game studio says it has a 10-year plan for its online game, do you believe it?

Perhaps unintentionally echoing Bungie just a few years prior, EA’s Patrick Söderlund told the Xbox crew at E3 that BioWare is indeed anticipating a decade-long run for its newly announced mutliplayer online action RPG Anthem.

“It’s a game that we’ve been working on for almost four years now, and it’s a game that […] once we launch it next year will be the start of, I think, maybe a 10-year journey for us.”

So, who’s putting money on Anthem 2 in 2021?

The EA interview segment begins at the 1:39:27 mark for those who want to hear the whole thing.

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PSA: Don’t get phished in Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is warning players about a “modest uptick in account thefts related to phishing,” according to a post on the official forums this weekend. ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray writes that the scammers are skipping out-of-game email and running their tricks inside the game itself.

“One of the more common phishing attempts today is coming from within the game,” she says. “The in-game message claims to come from ArenaNet or the Guild Wars 2 Team or it may be signed by someone who purports to be a member of our GM team.” Double-check that any mail you get in-game really is coming from ArenaNet (there’s gold text notifying you if it isn’t), click no links, and give out no personal information. Legit game companies don’t operate that way.

Locking down your account with the mobile authenticator is always a smart idea too. Yeah, it’s mildly annoying when your IP changes or you left your phone in your bag, but it’s a whole lot less annoying than having to beg customer service for the restoration of your hacked account.

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Rockstar has taken out three more Grand Theft Auto cheat mods

Last week, the Grand Theft Auto V/Online community was rocked by the shutdown of OpenIV, a modding tool that’s served the series’ community for almost 10 years, following a cease-and-desist letter Rockstar and Take-Two sent its operators. Rockstar said it wasn’t targeting single-player mods but dealing with what it says was OpenIV’s enabling of “malicious mods that allow harassment of players and interfere with the GTA Online experience for everybody,” in spite of player arguments that single-player mods are theoretically not available to play in GTAO.

Turns out Rockstar and Take Two weren’t done. As the purveyors of the Force Hax mod menu announced, they’ve been driven offline too and were actually tasked with donating their profits to charity, since confirmed by Rockstar.

“After discussions with Take-Two Interactive, effective immediately we are ceasing all maintenance, development and distribution of the Force Hax cheat menu services. We will be donating our proceeds to charity and we apologize for any and all problems Force Hax services have caused to the Grand Theft Auto Online community.”

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E3 2017: Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor on Morrowind, nostalgia, and PvP

The Elder Scrolls Online released its first expansion, Morrowind, shortly before E3 2017. MMOs rarely come up with mainstream media, but with Morrowind’s nostalgia power, I heard the name mentioned a few times off the showroom floor. While I’d heard of Morrowind, of course, I didn’t personally get on the Elder Scrolls train until Skyrim — it’s been one of those games making “best of” lists for as long as I could remember. However, some of the things I’d read about the upcoming expansion gave me pause, so I brought them up with ZeniMax Game Director Matt Firor during our conversation at E3.

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