Dauntless goes on the hunt for the fiery Embermane

As a co-op monster hunting title, Dauntless will not be wasting players' time with stomping out rat infestations or scavenging for boar livers. Instead, the game will be throwing adventurers into the deep end of the monster pool with truly large and terrifying opponents, such as Embermane.

Phoenix Labs wrote up a short lore piece on this fiery behemoth, which looks like the unholy combination of a rhino, cat, and bonfire: "What I could see of the creature was like an enormous cat, covered in leathery hide with a spiked frill and a single huge horn on its snout. It slipped back into the trees with a roar that shook the air itself and disoriented us all. The behemoth seemed to be everywhere and nowhere all at once."

Dauntless is being made by former BioWare and Blizzard developers and should be coming to the PC in the first half of 2017. The title will be on display at PAX East in March.

Source: Dauntless

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Team fantasy title Skara polishes alpha client

Team-based fantasy brawler Skara recently kicked off its open alpha test on Steam and has been working to shore up the game ever since. This past weekend saw the first significant post-alpha launch patch for Skara, in which the team fixed bugs, polished animations, made improvements in the tutorial, and added new heroes.

"Since the release of our open alpha build, we have been working hard on polishing every aspect of our game," the team wrote. "We still have many known bugs that we are solving right now but we are sure that this new patch will improve your game experience."

Get a feel for Skara's style and all of the changes with Patch 0.7.2 in the open alpha video below.

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DC Universe Online tests survival mode and St. Patty's Day

Do you lack a Fortress of Solitude? Well, Superman does now too because Braniac has moved in and is causing no end of trouble.

Right now on the DC Universe Online test server, players can engage in a new survival mode that takes place in Supes' arctic retreat. If players are tough enough, they can queue up to fight 20 waves of increasingly powerful foes in the hopes of gaining pants. Seriously, you can get Kryptonian pants from this, and if you've ever seen superhero attire, you'd know that pants are at a premium in this community.

Also on the test server is this year's St. Patty's Day event starring the always-fun-to-spell Mister Mxyzptlk. "For 2017, Mister Mxyzptlk has new base and style items, as well as a speaker that plays tunes that will make you want to dance. This year he's also brought a House Leprechaun that grants 'The Runaround' task, where if you collect all the coins you are awarded a special Green Prize Satchel!" Daybreak previewed.

Don't forget that the FLASH freebies end today!

Source: Patch notes

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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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Neverwinter shows off the mechanics of the Spellplague Caverns

The next Neverwinter patch will send players into the depths of the Spellplague Caverns, and you can be sure that the denizens therein will not be amenable to friendly conversation. No, you're going to have to fight things, and that means new boss encounters and mechanics to deal with. The developers aren't willing to completely divulge the mechanics of these encounters, but you can at least get an idea of what you'll be dealing with thanks to the latest preview.

Each of the new fights is meant to introduce a different sort of mechanic, including gaze attacks (which can only be avoided by players looking away from the source) and a plane-shifting mechanic on the final boss. You'll have to work together with your teammates to overcome the challenges of the caverns, so make sure to go with your more observant friends for your first few runs. And, you know, close your eyes when appropriate.

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Revelation Online shows off the many paths to wings

You don't want to walk in Revelation Online; you want to fly away. (Just like a dragonfly.) Fortunately, the game gives you wings pretty early on, so you can explore the world from the air as you wish. The most recent preview on the official site shows several of the diverse wings available to players in the game, ensuring that players of all styles can soar through the air with the greatest of ease.

Wings are available from dungeons as drops, but wings can also be crafted by breaking down unwanted sets of wings. You can also earn specific sets by crafting a new set from several reputation items. In short, you needn't worry that you'll suffer from a paucity of wing options, from insect-like dragonfly wings to billowing energy in vague wing shapes. Check out the full dispatch for more information on how to take to the skies.

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Check out Grim Dawn's new cosmetic system

Online ARPG Grim Dawn has a new NPC on the way this year that'll change how players interact with gear, specifically cosmetic gear: The Illusionist NPC.

"For a modest fee, the Illusionist will transform your gear to look like any other item of the same category," says Crate. "Using proprietary Illusionist mind-meld technology, any item you discover will automatically have its appearance stored. In fact, the first time you launch the expansion, every item you have in your inventory and stash will be automatically added to start your collection. That’s a lot of different looks! To facilitate your soon to be growing collection, we have created a brand new UI that stores and previews all of your appearances, accessible at any Illusionist."

The rules are pretty similar to rules in other MMOs and ARPGs, including the fact that the Illusionst doesn't work for free, and you can't turn a greatsword into a dirk.

The game formally emerged from early access a year ago, having been deemed "feature complete" at the end of 2015, having been successfully Kickstarted to the tune of a half a million bucks back in 2012. Since then, it's pumped out seven content updates, including the Crucible DLC, and has plans for its first big expansion -- including the Illusionist -- by this coming summer.

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Life is Feudal launches a new phase of beta

The MMO version of Life is Feudal is expected to kick off another round of beta today, says a new post on Bitbox's official site: "[The] second test run of LiF:ММО CBT (wave #1) will start on February 20th and we’re planning on it being held for two weeks." It is expected to launch late this year.

Confused by all the Life is Feudal versions floating around? Don't be. The game was originally planned as an MMO back in 2014, but funding issues caused the studio to scale back to a "pocket" version of the game called Life is Feudal: Your Own, more like a survival sandbox than an MMO. A year ago, however, the company turned its attention back to the MMO, along the way launching a city builder called Life is Feudal: Forest Village. The team has also been working on a mobile app that includes minigames and guild chat.

LiF:MMO began internal beta last summer, followed by player testing last December.

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Second Life as a modern refuge for the disabled

I'm certain I'm not alone in having been ill and injured several times over my life, once when I couldn't walk without considerable effort and crutches for many months thanks to a busted ankle -- and online games were a window to the world for me during each of those times, even more so than they are now.

Now imagine that you're permanently disabled -- or maybe you already are. That's the topic of a Backchannel article published last week on 2003 virtual world Second Life. Author Kristen French dug into the apparently large -- estimates begin at 20% of the game's 800,000 monthly active users -- disabled community in the "hugely profitable" Second Life world, where activists run social groups and events for people with everything from mobility issues to speech and hearing disorders and even autism.

Of note, one of the players profiled in the piece is getting more than comfort.

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World of Warcraft announces the end of support for Windows XP and Vista

Like the dinosaurs and giant shoulderpads in women's suits, World of Warcraft support for two older Windows operating systems is about to become extinct.

Blizzard announced this past weekend that it will be discontinuing support for Windows XP and Vista in all of its titles, including World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Hearthstone. The studio said that it will begin the process of all this sometime later this year. The studio noted that Microsoft hasn't been supporting these operating systems for many years now.

"After these older operating systems are no longer supported, the games will not run on them, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version. We’ll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game," Blizzard posted.

Source: Official forums. Thanks, Reht!

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Dark Age of Camelot hops on the microtransaction wagon

There's a whole lot to digest in this month's Dark Age of Camelot producer's letter, but perhaps the most significant is the move by Broadsword to introduce a microtransaction system into the game some time this spring.

Initially, the cash microtransactions will be used for cosmetic appearances, although the devs said that it will be expanded to include other, non-pay-to-win options: "Once this system is in place and working smoothly, we'll be able to work on the much-requested quality-of-life features like race, gender, and name respecs as well as potentially account to account character transfers!"

The team admitted that it may have pushed out game changes "too far, too quickly" last year and promised to revisit those this year. Other early 2017 projects include nerfing pet classes, retuning several hybrid classes, launching a new PvE campaign next month, and getting out the new forums and website by this summer.

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Funcom is now region-locking Conan Exiles' official servers

If you're a fan of playing survival sandboxes with your friends around the world, better scrape together some pennies to invest in a private server: Conan Exiles has implemented region locks.

"We have decided to East/West region lock the official servers for three reasons," Community Manager Jens Erik told Steam players at the tail end of last week. "The language barrier and the different playstyles is proving jarring for a lot of players. Also, the vastly different time zones between regions made offline raiding an unavoidable issue for a lot of players who would wake up to all their stuff being completely ruined."

The locks appear to affect both PvP and PvE servers, in spite of the fact that PvE servers aren't subject to the same timezone exploitation issues.

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Idea Fabrik will have The Repopulation back online in the next few weeks

Idea Fabrik is forging onward in its plan to re-start The Repopulation game servers, forum posts from the last couple of weeks suggest. The company told fans that it's been working on transferring data to Steam.

"Once the transfers are complete, we're still going to have the usual spin-up time and make sure that there isn't any data/bit-rot, making sure that everything is working correctly, etc.," Community Manager Christopher Riley told backers a week ago in response to questions about when the test server would resume service. "So as of this post it should be about 2 weeks after the transfers."

Another post indicates that "a few" of the 10-man team in fact worked on The Repopulation prior to its ownership transfer.

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