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En Masse confirms TERA chat vulnerability and potential security breach as servers go down for emergency maintenance

Earlier today, TERA players began circulating the claim that an in-game chat vulnerability was allowing hackers to wreck up all regions of the game the way only hackers can. En Masse has now confirmed that vulnerability and says that Bluehole is focused on fixing the problem, but it doesn’t reveal the potential extent of the damage.

“The developers of TERA were immediately made aware of the vulnerability and they are exploring an appropriate course of action with the highest urgency,” the studio wrote this evening. “While they do so, the team at En Masse is continuing to investigate and assist the developers in any way possible. There are very serious claims floating around of what this vulnerability potentially allows malicious users to do. We are taking these claims very seriously but, as of this time, we have no evidence that the vulnerability is being exploited in these ways or that any player information has been compromised.”

The post is closed, and En Masse doesn’t give guidance on how players should proceed, only requests that players with helpful information PM the staff on the official forums. Reddit, meanwhile, has gone into meltdown, sending dire warnings to each other not to log in or make use of proxy services in the meantime, though that may be moot as the servers are being taken offline for “exceptional maintenance.”

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World of Tanks embraces 4K resolution on Xbox One X

War. War never changes. Unless it does, thanks to a new and improved gaming console that offers a much higher resolution than couch commanders have seen before.

World of Tanks charged right into the Xbox One X store after this week’s debut of the console. Players can download the game to experience tank battles in native 4K resolution, high dynamic range, and a smooth 30 frames per second.

Wargaming said that players don’t have to worry about getting cut off from their friends if they upgrade to this version: “Players can coordinate tactics and celebrate victories with fellow commanders across multiple generations of Xbox with full cross-platform compatibility on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox One S, and the new Xbox One X.”

While the World of Tanks X edition is free (at least until January 7th, 2018), players can opt to buy the Scorpio edition for $40. This edition contains a M56 Scorpion American Tier VII Tank Destroyer in addition to several other bonuses.

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Asta Online prepares to shut its doors… again

Alas-ta, poor Asta Online. We were pretty surprised when the game got its third lease on life earlier this year, but it appears to have been sadly abortive, as it will be shutting down once again on December 8th of this year. Cash shop items have already been made unavailable for purchase, with no words on any sort of farewell celebration before the shutdown. (We would not hold our breath on that one.)

Players who have purchased cash shop items are directed to contact Steam support regarding any sort of refunds, which seems a little unexpected under the circumstances. Installation of the game is already disabled as well, but if you’ve already got it installed, you can continue to play until the servers go off. Our condolences to players affected by the closure, although we can’t help but wonder if it’s not going to come back yet again.

Source: Steam page; thanks to Gaz for the tip!

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Working As Intended: Guild Wars 2’s new mount licenses are still lockboxes, but they’re not the worst lockboxes

Pretty much everyone assumed that back when Guild Wars 2 planned out mounts, it did so with its cash shop in mind. The game is already not-so-jokingly known as “Fashion Wars,” so it’s got a playerbase primed and ready to splash out for sparkly mounts, especially cosmetic upgrades to what is very likely the best mount system in any MMORPG to date. The first set of mount cosmetics arrived for Halloween, a whole pack of skelly skins that players could buy directly. The second set, however, has now landed with a new sales scheme, and it’s caused significant controversy just as anticipated.

As we explained yesterday, ArenaNet has added 30 new mount skins to the game, but instead of selling them directly, the studio is selling them in a hybrid sort of lockbox: You buy one of the mount licenses, which unlocks one mount skin on your account that you don’t already have. You always get a mount skin, and you never get repeats, potentially all the way up to 30 licenses for 30 skins.

Unless you get the one you want sooner. That’s a big unless.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s CCP Games is gambling with the livelihoods of employees

Last week we broke the story that EVE Online developer CCP Games is backing out of the virtual reality games market, closing its Altanta office and selling its VR-focused Newcastle studio. The long-held Atlanta office was acquired in the merger with White Wolf in 2006 and has been hit with several rounds of layoffs over the years, with a major hit in 2011 after the Monoclegate disaster and another 2014 when the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled. The Newcastle studio was the development house responsible for CCP’s VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, and both Valkyrie and CCP’s new VR game Sparc will now be maintained by the London office.

Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.

In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.

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World of Warcraft Classic starts hiring for its team

It may be a ways away, but World of Warcraft Classic is on the road to becoming a reality. Blizzard posted at least two job openings for project team members as part of the effort to create the legacy version of the game.

While not revealing any specifics about the older version of the MMO, Blizzard’s listing is still a thrill to read: “Travel back in time to a World of Warcraft before the Mists of Pandaria parted, and before Deathwing broke the world. When Blackrock Mountain, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and the floating citadel of Naxxramas were the most difficult challenges in Azeroth. The World of Warcraft team is working on bringing that world back to our players with Classic WoW, and we need engineers to help us bring the past into the present.”

Blizzard told fans at BlizzCon that WoW Classic would be a massive effort and that the studio was committed to making it happen and keeping it running as long as the main MMO operates.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 143: BlizzCon strikes back

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree dig into the exciting news from BlizzCon, mull over the troubles at Marvel Heroes, mourn the passing of a great studio, and cover a handful of MMO updates.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds reaches 20 million copies sold

Congratulations are due to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which has now reached the milestone of 20 million copies sold. That is a lot of people who want to be dropped into an arena and then shoot at one another. You could celebrate with a golden arches-style counter at the title screen, but that might wind up seeming a little gauche.

The tweet announcing the milestone also acknowledges that issues with the game have been frustrating players, but the developers are working hard at fixing those issues and delivering the best go-shoot-everybody-or-watch-someone-streaming-that experience possible. The important takeaway is that a lot of people like the game, and if you’re unhappy with it, just bear with it a bit longer.

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Kritika Online is sunsetting in Southeast Asia

We’ve updated below with En Masse’s statement confirming that this sunset will have no impact on Kritika in the west.

Kritika Online will sunset in the Southeast Asia region, Asiasoft announced this morning. It had been live for just a year, and you’re not getting much notice here.

“With much sadness, Kritika Online SEA will discontinue servicing by 12th of December. We understand your frustration and feedback from all players at this point but we’d like to seek your kind understanding throughout this closure as we have prepared a couple of Thank You events all the way to the closure date.”

KritikaSEA staff say the game will operate normally through the end date, with the added bonus of 3000 cash shop currency added to your account per day. Payment will be shut down on November 10th.

We have no specific reason to believe this move will have any bearing on Kritika Online as launched by En Masse in the west; however, we have inquired with the studio’s PR and will report back once we’ve got the official statement.

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BlizzCon 2016: Where’s the love for Diablo II and Warcraft III?

We were all prepared for the lack of Diablo III news from BlizzCon, in spite of the franchise’s huge following. But what we we didn’t anticipate was the demand for Diablo II and Warcraft III, especially in light of the announcement of World of Warcraft Classic and the free-to-play conversion of StarCraft II.

Turns out that Blizzard does have its eye on remastering both games, but it’s not ready yet. As Blizzard Senior Producer Peter Stilwell told PCGN, Warcraft III in particular needs a whole lot of balancing and a new map pool to satisfy tourney players.

And as for Diablo II? Hackers are the real threat.

“With Diablo [II] the big one is the botters and the spamming is out of control, [people asking] could we please fix that,” Stilwell admits. “Keep rolling seasons but maybe eventually be good enough at combating them that you see real names at the top of the leaderboard again.”

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Fortnite racks up 20 million players like a boss

With the millions of players flooding into Fortnite, the zombies don’t stand a chance. Heck, they’re probably an endangered species.

Less than a month after Epic Games announced that Fortnite had accumulated 10 million players since its early access launch, an additional 10 million decided to check out the action of this battle royale base builder.

“We just passed 20 million players across all of Fortnite since launch,” the team posted on Twitter. “Thanks to everyone who keeps making the community and the game awesome!”

And at least 18 million of those players have been hiding in bushes during the battle royale matches. Good news for the bush people, then, because Fortnite is about to make this desired hiding spot mobile in an upcoming patch. (“We said nerf the bush, not buff it!” one player whined.)

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Game devs react angrily to ESA’s support of government tax proposal

Last week, the Entertainment Software Association, the video game trade association you probably know best from its stewardship of E3, released a contentious statement praising the tax reform proposal currently before congress, claiming the bill will “energize tech sector innovation and economic opportunity. For the $30.4 billion US video game industry, which employs more than 220,000 people all across the United States, the pro-growth policies introduced will incentivize greater US investment and more high-quality American jobs.”

And while the large gaming publishers repped by the ESA might be comfy with that position, it didn’t go over well with actual game developers, including some MMO devs, who reacted loudly on twitter (twice) in rejecting the ESA’s position as being representative of or beneficial to workers.

“20 year game industry veteran here,” Riot’s Greg Street wrote (you’ll remember him from his tenure at Blizzard). “You don’t represent my views. Like at all.”

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Betawatch: Star Citizen dazzles, delights, and declines dates (November 3, 2017)

There was a lot of stuff that went down at the most recent Star Citizen convention, although none of the things that went down there included a firm date for Alpha 3.0. (Because of course it didn’t.) Want to catch up? Well, the good news is that we’ve got all of that rounded up nicely right here. Don’t say we never did nothing for you.

Meanwhile, there’s other testing news to cover here.

Just like last week and the week before, we’ve also got a full list of the games we know of in testing (and of wide enough interest to be worth including) down below. If we missed a title or missed one of these titles changing states unexpectedly, do let us know; the more specific you are about it, the more helpful.

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