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Black Desert gears up for its final closed beta test

The release date for Black Desert grows ever closer, and that means that its final round in beta is just about here. The final test period begins on February 18th and runs until February 26th ahead of the game’s March 3rd release date. You can also check out the game’s opening cinematic just below, complete with narration by Tay Zonday.

Beta testers can take part in the game’s Bait Master challenge or a new triathlon challenge, both of which will add account-level rewards when the game launches. You can pre-purchase the game before February 26th to receive access to the headstart launch; the standalone character creator will remain available until February 22nd.

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Jagex announces RuneScape: Idle Adventures

You know those moments when you are dying to get your RuneScape fix but you aren’t anywhere near your computer? When you just need to breathe in the world of Gielinor for a bit but you simply can’t log in for very long? Jagex understands, and there’s a solution on its way: RuneScape will soon join the world of idle gaming. The studio has partnered with Hyper Hippo, the creator of AdVenture Capitalist, to create a clicker game based on the world and lore of RuneScape. This new game is set to launch for the PC on Steam first this spring but will follow on mobile soon after.

What exactly is idle gaming, and how will it all tie back into RuneScape? I sat down and spoke with members of the Jagex and Hyper Hippo development teams to answer those questions.

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Star Trek Online details the art design of the Tier 6 flagships

Every Star Trek series has its iconic ships, and for Star Trek Online, the factional flagships fulfill those roles. Those flagships have recently received an upgrade to Tier 6, allowing players to fly around in the iconic ships of all three factions. But how has the changing landscape of the galaxy affected the Scimitar, the Odyssey, and the Bortasqu’ classes? A new entry on the official site details the changes made to the stylings of all three ships over time.

The Bortasqu’ received the biggest update, giving the designers a chance to allow more variable pieces and let captains really customize the look of this iconic Klingon ship. The Scimitar, meanwhile, was redesigned to appear more traditionally Romulan compared to the original Reman lines of the design, and the Odyssey itself was given comparatively minor changes to reflect the state of the galaxy. The silhouettes and shapes of the ships should be recognizable to players who have been away from the game, but the new styling will provide more design options while keeping the aesthetics modern.

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Check out a test drive of DayZ’s new rendering engine

You remember DayZ, don’t you? It’s not the only survival sandbox on the market any longer, but it’s still in early access and being refined over time. And its newest refinement should prove to be a treat for the eyes, as the game is testing a new rendering engine to make performance smoother and the landscape more attractive on a whole. Sure, the game’s central conceit is that “beautiful” is “not having a zombie gnaw on your throat,” but it’s the principle of the thing.

While the framerate does drop a bit in the video below due to the reality of recording footage, it’s a less severe drop than on the current live client. No word yet on when the new renderer will go live, but take a look at what it’s capable of and you may very well wish that the answer were “yesterday” — unless you’re a big fan of rain accidentally clipping through roofs, we all have our preferences.

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A day in the life of a Revival hunter

While the first pass of renovation kit revisions are in the bag, the most recent entry on Revival‘s site isn’t really about that. Nor is it about the vast upcoming estate houses in the game. No, it’s all about the process of hunting and taking a look at a day in the life of a hunter, catching meat and fur while pushing the wilderness just a little bit further back for a day.

The fiction in question is very straightforward, detailing the process of locating hunting grounds, provisioning, and tracking the hunter’s quarry. It’s low-key, but it’s indicative of the sort of detail the developers hope to infuse in the final version of the game. Check it out if you’re eager to see how hunters of beasts will make their living.

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Asta’s English open beta arrives March 2nd

Korean import Asta: The War of Tears and Winds is just a few weeks away from open beta here in the west.

Publisher Webzen has announced that all gamers with an active Webzen account will be able to play the English edition of the game beginning on March 2nd, with a preload event a few days ahead of that. Webzen says that player feedback during last November’s closed beta led the team to focus its “efforts on voice-over recording, progressing the game’s translation, and implementing community suggestions in anticipation of the game’s release.”

It’ll make for an interesting launch here as the game’s South Korean servers shut down last year.

Check out the screenshots below!

Source: Press release

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 51: Unsavory deeds

Is it wrong to get so excited about becoming a lawless thief in a video game world? Justin and Bree return for the 51st episode of the podcast to gleefully discuss their future criminal careers, the rash of lovey-dovey stuff across MMOs, design innovations in the industry, and more!

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.

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New Humble Bundle includes deals on WildStar, Neverwinter, Path of Exile, and more

A new Humble Bundle promotion might just be the best deal you’re going to see all year on MMOs. The “Humble Gamepedia Online Multiplayer Bundle” that’s being sold for the next two weeks contains goodies for several MMOs, MOBAs, and online games. Need a quick rundown to figure out whether or not to buy? Here’s an overview:

For $1 on up:

  • WildStar Jumpstart Pack: 16-slot bag, five gold, hover board, housing items, XP boost, and access to your housing plot at level 3
  • Heroes & Generals: Early access, 72 hours of veteran membership, ribbons, and gold
  • Awesomenauts: 3v3 MOBA
  • Dirty Bomb: Ultimate starter pack
  • Curse: 30-day premium subscription

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Dragon of Legends cancels and restarts Kickstarter with a much lower target

On February 9th, Dragon of Legends stopped its Kickstarter campaign. The official word was that it was obvious that the campaign was not going to hit its target value, so it made more sense to simply stop the campaign rather than slogging to the bitter end. But the first campaign did attract investors, meaning that the game’s Kickstarter could relaunch with a much lower target amount – and that new Kickstarter is live right now.

While the original project goal was $60,000, the rebooted campaign is just looking for about $9000, and it’s already more than a third of the way toward its goal with 36 days remaining. Nothing about the game itself has changed; it’s just asking for less to keep development rolling along. If you were interested in the game before and want to jump on the bandwagon now, you can do exactly that.

Source: New Kickstarter, Kickstarter shutdown; thanks to Raptor650 for the tip!

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Get Age of Conan pack for backing new Conan Kickstarter RPG

Funcom’s Vice President of PR and Marketing took to Twitter today to point players in the direction of a new pen-and-paper Conan RPG that’s on Kickstarter. While this is a good example of espirit de corps between shared IPs, Funcom had a specific reason for mentioning it: By backing the Kickstarter, players could earn rewards for Age of Conan.

By pledging at least at the 15 level, players can secure an “Adventures in an Age Undreamed of Pack” for their characters in Age of Conan. It looks like these packs are good for starting characters, as each contains five XP potions and four starter armor sets (Swashbuckler, Buccaneer, Marauder, and Pirate).

It should be mentioned that the Conan RPG book has already passed double its original goal and is pushing hard toward several stretch goals.

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Yoshida on the future of PvP in Final Fantasy XIV

The next Final Fantasy XIV patch will not contain the new PvP mode of The Feast; that’s due to be implemented a bit after the patch launch. But the groundwork is still being laid, and producer Naoki Yoshida answered a few questions for popular Japanese gaming publication Famitsu regarding strategies in the new style of arena. He also discussed future content to be added for the game’s PvP, including a spectator mode planned for sometime within the 3.x series.

Players in the Feast will need to adopt different strategies than have become standard during Wolves’ Den matches up to this point; simply focusing down the healers is no longer the most efficient strategy to taking out your enemies. Yoshida is curious to see how players react to the new mode, although he’s considered the possibility of adding more open PvP areas to the game based upon player response. You’ll have to wait a bit more than a week to get into the new style of PvP, but it’s already being watched and considered carefully.

Source: Reddit translation. Thanks, Ehra!

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Activision layoffs likely don’t affect Blizzard’s games

Game Informer is reporting that Activision-Blizzard has suffered layoffs in the wake of its earnings call last week. Don’t panic, MMO players; it at least appears that the layoffs were focused on the Minneapolis base and may have affected the Guitar Hero and Skylander franchises and other licensed IPs, although Activision-Blizzard didn’t specify. In confirming layoffs, a spokesperson said,

“As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next gen consoles. So we are refocusing to better align with Activision’s long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly-changing industry. We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support.”

Gameinformer says the original tip came from the spouse of an affected Activision employee; that tweet, however, has since been deleted.

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The mystery of BioWare’s new online IP

The studio behind Star Wars: The Old Republic is working on a brand-new IP — and everyone is dying to know what it is.

A new BioWare job posting for a senior lead server engineer points to a previously unannounced IP with an online component. The posting mentions that an engineer who has experience developing titles with “significant online elements” is important to the studio. Could this be an MMO or a persistent multiplayer title? Read the pertinent part of the job description below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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