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World of Warships sails into Steam’s port

“You ain’t anybody if you ain’t on Steam,” our momma told us when we were tykes. Of course, back then Steam had yet to be invented, so this statement was more cryptic than it should’ve been. Now? Now it’s practically truth, which is why World of Warships made an attempt to get onto the platform.

Access to the game through Steam went live earlier this week, offering fans another way to install and play the multiplayer ship battler. Other than how you get into the game, there is no difference between Steam’s World of Warships and the official client.

The team confirmed that all players can enjoy the same game on the same servers, although any new Steam players will have to pick and commit to a region before playing. You cannot use your Wargaming login for the Steam client, unfortunately.

Steam collectibles and achievements are on their way, the team said, although they won’t be present in this launch edition.

Source: Steam. With thanks to BalsBigBrother!

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Decade-old multiplayer ARPG Titan Quest drops ‘Ragnarok’ expansion

So here’s a happy surprise: THQ Nordic just launched an expansion for Titan Quest, the multiplayer-optional ARPG that’s been rattling around on hard drives for over 10 years now. Not even terrible timing since there are about to be a lot of homeless ARPG fans, and hey, this game even has a subtle Thor tie-in!

Dubbed Ragnarok, the expansion is $14.99 (a discount from its regular $19.99 price), and it boasts a Norse-mythology-themed fifth act with concomitant storylines and quests, new physics and graphics enhancements, a new mastery (Runemaster) to combine with the existing ones for a total of 45 new character templates, a new level cap of 85, new gear, and critically, PANTS.

You’ll need to to own the anniversary edition of the game to run this expansion, but that shouldn’t be a problem for fans, as THQ granted existing owners on Steam access to the anniversary edition for free last year. Maybe we should’ve seen this coming!

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The Netherlands joins Belgium in investigating lockboxes as games of chance

Earlier this week, we reported on a move by the Belgian Gaming Commission to investigate lockboxes/lootboxes in games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 to determine whether they constitute games of chance to the degree that they require regulation meant for gambling. Now it appears the Dutch have joined them.

According to NU.nl, the Dutch Gaming Authority is also investigating whether this particular game mechanic falls under the banner of online gambling, which according to the news outlet is currently banned in the Netherlands, while games of chance on the whole are subject to special licensing rules. According to the regulatory group, it is “still in a research phase.”

EA has insisted that Star Wars Battlefront 2’s lootcrates “are not gambling” for all the usual reasons online gaming studios trot out to confuse people about what games of chance are: that players win something, even if it’s lint, and that players can earn crates via play. Last night, the company announced it was disabling all microtransactions while it sorted out the continuing uproar.

Source: NU.nl via Eurogamer. Cheers, Veldan!

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Overwatch kicks off a free play weekend across all platforms

Destiny 2 who? Overwatch is aiming to lure in as many of Blizzard’s players as possible with another free weekend. The best part? It’s already here, complete with the newest character Moira, so if you’ve never purchased the team shooter, you can download it from the Blizzard launcher and give it a try right now.

The free weekend is running through the 20th and is available to players on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It isn’t a limited experience, either; the studio is allowing everyone to play any of the 26 heroes across all maps and game modes.

Of course, Blizzard hopes to make a few sales from this weekend, which is why it said that any progress made during the event can be carried over if a player decides to purchase the game.

Source: Overwatch

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Crowfall’s action harvesting has all the swirly sparkles and powerful pips

Now that Crowfall fans have a little longer to wait before the game’s soft launch, they have time to fully absorb this lengthy article on action harvesting. Yes, ArtCraft has been pushing this vision for harvesting for a couple of months now, but there is a good chance that you still don’t know what it means other than imagining a character wildly swinging away, missing a large chunk of ore on the ground, and causing self-inflicted wounds with a pickaxe.

Basically, action harvesting refers to a more involved process of material gathering, complete with its own skill bar and special effects. The studio has continued to iterate on the system, having emerged from brainstorming with “pips” as a resource, 11 harvesting disciplines (including, we kid you not, Grave Digger), 30 powers, and a universal “energetic harvesting” skill. There’s a pattern to swinging your implement, and as players build up more pips, their energetic harvesting skill will proc different effects.

“Because all the buff durations and the pips are so quick to generate, this creates an opportunity for the player to weave a variety of different buff combinations based on their current need,” the studio explained.

Source: Crowfall

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse on the tech behind procedural cities

If you lost your mind over Star Citizen’s procedural cities reveals at CitizenCon a few weeks ago, you definitely need to tune in to this week’s Around the Verse, where city tech is the star of the episode (if a bit backloaded).

“We are just working on human cities at the moment,” CIG’s Wai-Hung Wan explains. “I would love to see how we tackle alien cities. Is that going to be completely random? Are we going to have some or a greater degree of refinement by hand? I don’t know yet. I would hope even on an alien civilisation they have some degree of control and they would make logical, intelligent choices about where they would place specific buildings – even recreational facilities – so each time you visit that location it will look exactly the same as you left it.”

Studio Director Eric Kieron Davis says the team has checked in over 700 updates since last week (with 197 total issues, not bugs, remaining to address 3.0). “We are making steady progress to get [the 3.0 alpha] into your hands as quickly as possible,” he says.

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EVE Online layoffs lead to the end of a fan tournament

While studio layoffs have an immediate effect on the people that are let go, the ramifications of such decisions can end up impacting players as well.

Case in point, EVE Online. CCP’s decision last month to shutter two of its studios included the layoff of most all of the studio’s social media team. One of these employees, CCP Logibro, helped players with organizing tournaments on a separate test server. Without this help, many of these tournaments are in doubt, including this year’s Anger Games. The event was to be the third in the game’s history, but CCP could not scramble to find someone to assist in this, and the tournament had to be canceled.

Players were upset over the last-minute cancellation, but CCP said it couldn’t be helped: “Sorry we weren’t able to support this as planned. At the minute, we’re currently working on prioritizing quite a few community projects and getting our heads together to resume regular service, but unfortunately the Anger Games happened to be too close to recent events for us to be able to assist.”

Here is hoping that next year, CCP will be in a more stable position and can assist players in getting this (and other) tournaments up and running. But for now, CCP is gambling with employees’ lives and hurting the game culture overall.

Source: Kotaku

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Star Wars: The Old Republic delays the release of the Yavin warzone from patch 5.6

Players of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to start taking part in the latest bit of the traitor storyline with the release of patch 5.6 on November 28th. Here’s the bad news, though: The patch will not include the new Yavin warfront. There are still some issues with the new map, so it’s getting delayed very slightly until patch 5.6.1 scheduled for December 12th.

Everything else that’s planned for November 28th is still in place; that includes Legacy-wide credits, a character boost item to bring a character to 70, a new flashpoint, a new boss in Gods From The Machine, and many more things for players to do. (Also improvements to group finder queues, so it’ll be easier to find other players to do things with.) You can even read some new lore exploring the events leading up to the next set of quests centered around the traitor story. You’ll just need to wait a little bit longer for a new warzone, that’s all.

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EA disables all Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction crud – for now

Whenever you see a studio call fans “passionate,” it’s almost always shorthand for “rioting with pitchforks and torches.” Guess what Star Wars Battlefront 2’s execs are calling its players this week?

DICE GM Oskar Garbrielson apologized to the game’s “passionate” community about the missteps that EA made in locking its characters behind a prohibitive grind and aggressively pushing microtransactions. He said that the team is disabling all in-game purchases with crystals, at least until the company can figure out a better way to implement them:

“But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right. We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”

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Blade & Soul grants character boosts, Blade & Soul Revolution struts its stuff on mobile

With only a few weeks left before Blade & Soul drops its “biggest patch ever,” NCsoft is gifting players a bundle of goodies to prime the crowd for Dawn of the Lost Continent.

Anyone who logs onto an account that has at least one level 10 character will receive a free Lost Continent Explorer’s Pack. This bundle contains a voucher for an instant level 50 character, gear, cosmetics, consumables, keys, and currency. While you can claim the pack now, you won’t get the benefits until the update drops on December 6th.

Shifting gears to Blade & Soul Revolution, we can report that this mobile spin-off is attempting to impress the gaming public at G-Star this week. Steparu noted that it played much the same as the recently launched Lineage 2 Revolution (which makes sense, as both were developed by Netmarble), complete with auto-running and auto-questing. Take a look at Revolution’s trailer and gameplay footage after the break!

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Warframe gives players a free skin, activates Operation: Plague Star

Tenno, come and get it! Get your free skin, that is.

To celebrate the full release of Plains of Eidolon across all platforms this week, Warframe is giving away Vectis and Vectis Tekelu skins from now through February 18th, 2018. To get yours, you’ll need to go to the website and follow the directions.

For those who have already exhausted all of the content in the open world zone, there’s a new operation to master. It’s called Operation: Plague Star, and it all begins with the sky falling as teased last week: “A mysterious meteorite has crashed just outside of Cetus revealing a horrific boil. The boil is growing and the Ostrons have sighted infested lifeforms emerging from it. We need to get a hold of the toxin and destroy the boil before it becomes unstoppable.”

This operation will be active from now through November 27th.

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Shroud of the Avatar’s early R48 update focuses on launch priorities, polish, and performance

Shroud of the Avatar has rolled out Release 48 as of early this afternoon, which may just upset your internal clock a bit, since usually they happen at the end of the month! Holidays are pushing the schedule up, however, which is good news for anyone who wanted to actually play through Thanksgiving week.

R48 reflects Portalarium’s focus on its launch priorities checklist. “We continued to make strong progress on load time reductions, story polish, and creation of new scenes,” the studio’s Starr Long says. Expect updates to the in-game map, UI, holiday items, item decay on death, load times, lighting, all four story paths, artifacts, loot, and worldbuilding passes, including new mines and scenes, although not the rebuilt Novia additions, which have been postponed. Check out the screens below for a tease!

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Cyberpunk 2077 will include online elements of some sort according to a video interview

When science fiction writers pictured the world of tomorrow back in the mid-’80s, they pictured some things that definitely have not caught on in ubiquity (bulky VR headsets, neon everything, phasing out daylight in favor of rainy nights all day every day). But the whole idea of constantly interconnected computers? They got that. So it seems appropriate that the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red (best known for The Witcher series) will include some form of online component.

Company CEO Adam Kicinski has said in a recent interview that an online component is recommended and/or necessary in order to achieve long-term success in the video game marketplace. What that online component may be remains to be seen, as it could be anything from a multiplayer mode to lockboxes to just being a full online co-op game. You can check out the video interview just below, but it is in Polish, so you’ll want to turn on subtitles if that’s not a language you speak.

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