Multiplayer Category

Games in our Multiplayer category are multiplayer online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. Generally, their “massive” nature is contested. They frequently include OARPGs, online shooters, online strategy games, mobile MMOs, and other pseudo-MMOs that optionally provide single-player, offline, or custom-server support. We formerly categorized Multiplayer titles as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our MOBA category for PvP-centric arena battlers. [Follow the Multiplayer Online Games category’s RSS feed]

The Division's beta starts on January 28th

Rumors swirled earlier this week that The Division would start its beta testing this month; lo and behold, the rumors are true. Players can start testing the game on the Xbox One on January 28th, with the beta remaining as a platform exclusive for one day before PlayStation 4 and PC players get into the beta on January 29th.

Don't get too comfortable in the beta whatever you do, though, as it ends on January 31st. It's more of a stress test for the servers than an extended opportunity for testing, in short. The closed beta comes not too far in advance of the game's currently planned launch date of March 8th, 2016.

Source: Twitter

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ESPN officially launches an e-sports division, picks up e-sports journalists

When Activision-Blizzard acquired Major League Gaming earlier this month, CEO Bobby Kotick revealed his plans to create a kind of "ESPN of e-sports." It turns out that ESPN has had its own eye on the world of competitive gaming all along, having previously tested the waters with several featured articles, web-streams, and even some live TV coverage. Viewing figures were obviously promising, as today ESPN ramped up its competitive gaming coverage with the launch of a brand new e-sports sub-site.

The new site features general articles on e-sports in addition to dedicated sections for League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. The writers involved in the site include ESPN's own Mina Kimes, who made waves online back in June with an in-depth feature on League of Legends pro Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. The site has also picked up notable e-sports journalist Rod Breslau and his colleague Tyler Erzberger from theScore e-sports publication, and articles from Leaguepedia's Adel Chouadria and Chinese LoL scene expert Emily Rand have also surfaced.

With top e-sports tournaments routinely filling out stadiums, giving millions of dollars in prize money away, and attracting higher viewership than some offline sports, there's no doubt that competitive gaming is on a sharp upward trend right now. It's hoped that ESPN's official adoption of dedicated e-sports coverage will lead to wider acceptance of competitive gaming as sport and more professional reporting standards.

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ECO's third alpha balances skill points and ecosystems

The second major update to ECO's alpha testing has arrived, and it brings along the game's skill point system. It's an early version of the system and far more limited than it will be in time, but for now it's straightforward enough - players earn skill points over time, then spend those points on various skills. There will be full skill trees in the future, but for now it's just individual skills.

Speaking of trees, the game's other major update for this alpha batch is a balancing of the ecosystem, ensuring that animals are no longer completely dead before the end of the second day. (Even mostly dead would be an improvement.) There are also crafted signs that can be used to leave messages and the option to invert your mouse's Y-axis for freely looking about. There's quite a way to go for the game yet, but the updates and additions should make it that much more interesting to wander through.

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The Crew's first big post-Wild Run patch arrives this month

Two months into its Wild Run expansion, racing MMO The Crew is plotting another big patch.

Ubisoft says that January 25th will introduce a new Speed Trap challenge, in which players will zip across the map passing radar points in the hopes of achieving the highest score. Expect a new photo mode for snapping in-game screenies and a new "Summit" monthly reward bonus for a chance at snagging an exclusive car. "Chances of winning this vehicle depend on your performances during the last week of the month," explains the studio.

The patch is also due to improve Monster Truck gameplay, Drift mission scoring, and handling for a number of vehicles.

Source: Ubisoft

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ARK: Survival Evolved announces mod contest, shows off the poop-eating dung beetle

Surviving is never the only challenge in ARK: Survival Evolved; the devs keep things interesting with various competitions and contests. And the newest contest -- with a prize pool of $60,000 -- is directed at modders. For two months, from January 14th through March 15th, interested international participants can submit their workshop items in one of the three contest categories: mods, maps, and total conversions. Studio Wildcard will then select between five and 10 in each category, and then the public will vote between March 18th and April 1st. Full details and instructions for submitting are found in the official contest rules.

Whether or not you are looking forward to participating in the contest, you can look forward to two more dinos on their way to the ARK. Devs spotlighted the upcoming dung beetle and the dimetrodon; the former turns poop into fuel and fertilizer, while the latter shelters players from both the heat and cold. Get a look at both creatures in the video below.

Oh, and craftable beer kegs are also coming to the game in the v232 update, so even if you survive the rampaging dinos during the day, you can come home and get wasted at night.

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Heavy Gear Assault's development may be in trouble

Remember Heavy Gear Assault? Maybe not, but it was announced last year as a satisfyingly stomp-happy arena-based PvP game. It's in early access now, and the last word from the studio was that another round of investment had successfully gone through in November. However, according to anonymous sources the entire development team hasn't been paid since July, and more or less the entirety of the team has moved on due to the lengthy period of management silence and non-payment. Two sources have stated that the treatment of both players and employees is untenable:

There needs to be accountability. The workers at Stompybot/Mektek are in the dark and haven't been paid in over 6 months. Many have had to uproot their lives drastically and in a panic because payment was never received. We were told several times that the money was coming and to hold on, only to get no future updates and no money. We have lost hope for the company and our corporate team but we never, ever wished the players to be punished for this sad situation and the lack of accountability from the company.

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Firefly Online extends development to work in the original cast

Sometimes even big damn heroes have to wait until a plan comes together.

Firefly Online, the official online RPG that will be continuing the adventures of the 2002 sci-fi show, has been taking its sweet time getting to release. While it was originally supposed to come out in spring 2015, the dev team has kept it in testing due to the good fortune of getting most of the original cast to reprise their in-game roles. This will be a great boon to the game, of course, but it also required the team to restructure the game from the ground-up (as it was originally not going to feature any of those characters).

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The Division's beta will start this month... probably

Fans of the much-delayed title The Division can look forward to the beta test starting this month... probably. Maybe. The odds are high. Nothing is certain, of course, and nothing has been formally announced by Ubisoft, but it looks pretty likely thanks to the UPlay mobile app listing the beta as starting in January.

Of course, an app listing an incorrect date wouldn't be unprecedented, but it does at least suggest that the beta is probably going to land at some point this month. The game is also meant to launch in March, which means that January and February are more or less the only possible testing windows remaining. There's about half of January still to go, so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

Source: WCCFTech via VG24/7

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League of Legends reveals confusing new champion Jhin

Last week Riot Games released a bizarre video called Mind of the Virtuoso that appeared to be part art project and part ... I guess art project again. The gunshots and creepy masked face at the end made it pretty clear we were looking at League of Legends' next ranged champion, and that has now been made official with a new champion reveal devblog on marksman Jhin, The Virtuoso.

Every fourth basic attack Jhin fires deals an automatic critical strike and bonus damage based on his missing health, but that's not the whole story. Slain enemies also spawn a blooming flower on the corpse that reveals and slows nearby enemies and then explodes for bonus damage. Unlike most champions, Jhin has the unique twist that any attack speed and critical chance he gains from items and runes actually give him bonus attack damage instead. His criticals also deal less bonus damage than normal but grant him a small boost of movement speed, which is based on his attack speed.

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Hearthstone senior game designer addresses player 'restlessness'

Have you ever become frustrated with a studio for its lack of communication and the perception that the developers are goofing off instead of working on vital fixes and new content?

Hearthstone Senior Game Designer Ben Brode put together a new video to explain the dev side of this equation, saying that there's always projects going on behind the scenes that the team has to hold off on announcing until they're ready. That said, Brode acknowledged that constant communication is essential to keeping the playerbase from getting too restless.

"We are working on tons of stuff," Brode assured fans. "Whenever you're frustrated with a development team, the truth is that we're working on them and they're not so far away. There are so many things we want to do and we want to do them right."

You can hear the sage words of Mr. Brode after the break.

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Choose My Adventure: In which my Shroud of the Avatar plans are foiled

Hello friends, and welcome to the next installment of the Shroud of the Avatar edition of Choose My Adventure. Last week, as I'm sure you remember, I had but one choice for you to make: Should my Shroud of the Avatar character choose to follow the path of Truth (i.e., Mage), the path of Courage (i.e., Fighter), or the path of Love (i.e., Ranger)? Well, the votes are in -- they have been for some time now, really -- and the path of Mage-Truth came out on top, but it was a close competition; Mage-Truth edged out Ranger-Love by only 13 votes.

This, all things considered, makes the current situation rather convenient. See, there was ah, uh... a bit of a hitch, you might say. But don't worry, everything's fine! I mean, I'm sure everything is fine, like, on the cosmic scale or something. But to those of you who came out in droves to force me down the path of Mage-Truth, I'm sad to say that your efforts were for naught. Whoops.

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World of Tanks debuts on PS4 January 19

Wargaming has just announced that World of Tanks is all ready for its formal PlayStation 4 debut next week -- January 19th, to be specific. "New and existing players subscribed to PlayStation Plus will get access to a very unique Premium vehicle: the exclusive German Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J-PS," says the studio. You can pick it up in the PlayStation Plus section of the PlayStation Store and check out the relevant videos below.

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The Realm's creator wants to remake this 20-year-old MMO

MMO veterans might be familiar with The Realm (also known as The Realm Online), which was one of the first class of graphical online RPGs. While it's been trucking along since 1996, creator Stephen Nichols accused the current owners of letting The Realm lapse into "deep neglect" and wants to remake the game for modern sensibilities.

"2016 marks the 20-year anniversary of The Realm Online," Nichols posted. "If you're like me, you miss seeing the game thrive and grow as you know it can. I think it's time for a remake of this internet classic with a fresh coat of paint and updated technology. Perhaps you agree. Yes, it's time for a Realm remake, and I'm gonna make it happen."

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