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Guild Wars 2 unveils the Necromancer elite spec, the Reaper

Under normal circumstances, Guild Wars 2 Necromancers have a pretty decisive philosophy of not getting involved in melee. It makes sense, after all. These folks know what death can do, and they’re quite happy to dispense it from the back lines. But there’s always that one who decides to wade directly into combat with a two-handed sword, a horror movie monster under your control. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the Reaper.

You probably should fear him, honestly.

That “horror movie monster” bit isn’t purely a joke, as one of the major inspirations for the spec was monsters from games and movies like Pyramid Head and Jason Voorhees. Even by the standards of other greatsword wielders, the Reaper’s attacks move slowly. The catch is that they have several skills and tricks to spread the Chill effect, and when those sword attacks connect… let’s just say that there’s a reason this specialization is the Reaper instead of the Gentle Back Massager. Check out the full reveal post when it goes live today, and take a look at the brand-new screenshots and video down below.

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Rumor: Blade & Soul might be in internal testing for US release

Hey, you all remember the guy causing a whole kerfluffle about the fact that WildStar is supposedly going free-to-play? Good times! But the Redditor who started that thread wasn’t done revealing internal secrets, although the account seems to have subsequently been banned (possibly for ban-dodging, possibly for being a jerk). In a comment, the supposed anonymous employee claims that Blade & Soul is currently in friends-and-family testing within NCsoft for a US release.

Blade & Soul came out in Korea roughly seven million years ago, give or take, and the fact that it hasn’t been localized was a source of great consternation among would-be fans. While the source is anonymous and at this point the whole thing is nothing but a rumor, it’s a rumor that does have the shape of a true story to it. Feel free to get your speculation on down and out of your system in the comments.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Skoryy, Nreff, and Ness for the tip!

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Raph Koster used MMO design to help revitalize a bar trivia game

You might know Raph Koster from his MMO legacy as a designer on Ultima Online or Star Wars Galaxies, or perhaps from his current role on the Crowfall team. But what about Buzzfeed Trivia?

Polygon has a fascinating read on how Koster was brought in to update a bar trivia game after it had started to decline in popularity. After playing and observing the game, he noted that players weren’t able to get better at trivia games, unlike an increase in skill that comes with playing a lot of, say, League of Legends. So he said that he needed to change it up so that everyone could feel useful: “We needed to give the players who weren’t necessarily great at trivia several ways to be good at the game, without necessarily being great at trivia.”
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Rumor: WildStar coming to Steam as a free-to-play title in August [Updated]

WildStar is coming to Steam, according to third-party scraper site SteamDB.info. When and for how much is less clear, given that Carbine and NCsoft likely didn’t want this information in the public eye, at least this early.

SteamDB uses SteamKit to “interface with the Steam network” and gives “more insight into the Steam database” by tracking applications and packages as well as keeping tabs on all changes.

Elsewhere, Redditors are comparing Steam codes for published games with those from the WildStar leak, but thus far there is no definitive business model information to be had.

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Heroes & Generals celebrates five million registered players

Reto-Moto has announced that more than five million players have registered for its F2P World War II MMO shooter called Heroes & Generals. Since its July 2014 early access release, the title has “seen a steady growth in the player base.” Reto-Moto’s press blurb also touts H&G as the third most popular Steam release for all of 2014 as well of one of the 10 most popular F2P titles on Valve’s platform.

The devs have released a Heroes & Generals infographic breaking down some more impressive numbers. You can view it after the cut.

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Rodinia War melds strategy and fantasy action

What flavors go well together? Peanut butter and chocolate, obviously. Sarcasm and stand-up comedians. Mario and mushrooms. And now, apparently, builder games and MMORPGs.

This mash-up is the basis for Rodinia War, a Korean browser-based title that is half fantasy kingdom building and half traditional MMO. It bills itself as “the world’s first web strategy RPG game,” although you might want to take that claim with a giant grain of salt. In it, players build up a plot of land in an isometric view, send out armies to conquer new territories, and get their hands dirty with some one-on-one fights.

Rodinia War went into closed beta testing earlier this month. We’ve got the trailer for you after the break.

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Heroes of the Storm devs talk Kael’Thas and character design

Wondering how Blizzard’s developers choose from the studio’s incredible roster of characters and then crafted those selections into Heroes of the Storm’s champions? Then you might want to check out this new AMA on Reddit in which two of the MOBA’s devs talked about the process of bringing a new hero to the game, such as the recent Kael’Thas Sunstrider.

“All the while, we balance, lightly at first while things are coalescing together, then much more heavily as we near release,” the devs wrote. “Does the character FEEL overpowered while not actually BEING overpowered? Are some talents obviously better for the same purpose?”

They also addressed the recent hefty nerfs to Diablo and ETC on the test server, saying that these were design changes long in coming so that both characters would have more viable talent builds.

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Aventurine is exploring a Darkfall 1.0 reboot

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Aventurine developer axilmar caused a bit of a stir with an informal poll regarding Darkfall’s pre-Unholy Wars incarnation? Apparently the notion has escalated from informal to we’re-actively-thinking-about-it.

Axilmar posted today on Darkfall’s forums that the team is “investigating if it is possible to bring back Darkfall Online from a technical point of view.” He also mentions a possible Kickstarter drive before reiterating that Aventurine has not decided one way or the other when it comes to crowdfunding.

Source: Forums; thanks Fnights!

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LEGO Minifigures Online is switching from F2P to B2P this summer

Funcom has announced that its LEGO Minifigures Online is launching “with full cross-platform play this summer.” Wait a minute, didn’t this game already launch with a free-to-play model in October of 2014? Well, yes. Yes it did. But now it’s launching “in an all-new form” as a buy-to-play title on PC, Mac, Linux, and “select” iOS and Android tablets.

“No doubt free-to-play can be a great offering, but it is not necessarily the best option for any game,” explains Funcom CEO Rui Casais via press release. “The model in itself can be challenging with a young audience, and we also saw that it had a detrimental effect on gameplay and the kids’ enjoyment of the game. As a result, we are taking the necessary steps needed to make sure we unlock the full potential of LEGO Minifigures Online and make it an enjoyable experience for LEGO fans of all ages.”

Funcom has published an FAQ that addresses various business model questions. If you’re wondering, pre-existing F2P players can continue to play as long as they purchase the game. Their progress will be saved as long as they log in with the same LEGO ID.

Source: Funcom announcement, FAQ

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Neverwinter cracks 1.6M players on Xbox One

If you’re looking for Neverwinter’s true success story, it might not be on the PC at all. Cryptic Studios announced today that ever since launching on the Xbox One, Neverwinter has racked up an impressive 1.6 million players on the console. Those players have whipped up 2.3 million characters and slayed over a billion bad guys, leaving the Union of Nefarious Workers reeling and asking for a break, already.

To keep the ball rolling, the studio said that it has five major content updates planned for 2015. The Xbox One version is behind the curve compared to the PC edition, as modules such as Elemental Evil are still winding their way to release on the console.

Source: Cryptic press release

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Forsaken World Mobile will include five classes

When it launches, Forsaken World Mobile will come out of the gate strong with five classes from which to choose. According to the list on the official site, there’s the dual-dagger Assassin, the “don’t call me healbot” Cleric, the versatile vampire Kindred, the ranged Mage, and the always-reliable Warrior.

Currently the title is running an incentive program to encourage players to pre-register. Those who do will be gifted a pair of “Wings of Wind” that delivers a three-day boost to stats. If 1,500 people pre-register, Forsaken World Mobile will also hand out goodie packs to everyone.

We’ve got the second gameplay trailer for Forsaken World Mobile after the break, so check it out!

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A Tale in the Desert preparing to restart with Tale 7

A Tale in the Desert’s current “telling” — Tale 6 — has been running a long time, ever since its debut in 2011. Since then, the game has transitioned to new management and gone extremely quiet. Fortunately it looks as though the Egyptian sandbox’s famous reset button will be hit in the near future.

Several sources are reporting that Tale 6 is heading for an end while Tale 7 is currently in testing. A Tale in the Desert boasts a fairly unique mechanism in which the entire game will periodically restart with new rules and challenges. With Tale 7, the team is bringing back conflict tests and adding things like stone hatchets and (yes) sheep pox.

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