Lord of the Rings Online suspends digital sales until June

We’ve included Turbine’s statement to us at the end of this piece.

Lord of the Rings Online is suspending its online sales for the duration of the month. Under a post titled “online offer maintenance,” Turbine informed the community that effective today, players won’t be able to pick up the game or its expansions through digital retailers.

“We want to announce that at 12:00 p.m. EDT 5/20/2016, we’ll be temporarily interrupting our DLC/offer sales on Steam, store.turbine.com, and Amazon,” Turbine posted on the forums. “We plan to turn these back on June 1st, 2016.”

Apart from that brief announcement, we have no further context for this move and have reached out to Turbine for clarification. While you could read it as ominous, it could be a reorganization of the game’s DLC or a preparation for the summer Steam sale. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Trion CM Celestrata has big plans to clean up ArcheAge’s ‘toxic community’ image

ArcheAge Senior Community Manager Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan has this week unveiled serious plans to clean up her game’s community image. In the first of what she says will be her dedicated series of letters from the CM, she is frank about how folks around the internet are convinced the ArcheAge community is “a toxic community that should be avoided.”

“Statements like that rip me apart. As a community, we are creative, passionate, intelligent, and bold. We have players from all walks of life who enjoy a variety of extremely disparate activities. We should not be judged by the actions of a disruptive minority in our game. […] We need to move beyond the ‘ArcheAge is a toxic community’ perception, and we need to make some positive changes to get there. We are more than that. You are more than that.”

To that end, she tells players that she is hard at work revising in-game public chat rules and forum moderation rules so that Trion is “tougher on chat violations.” The official forums will be renovated with new feedback and social boards, and Trion is kicking off new events too, including town halls with the studio.

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Destiny poster leaks ‘Rise of Iron’ DLC

A photo of a promotional poster for Destiny popped up on Reddit last night, likely spoiling the name of the game’s future DLC: Rise of Iron. Kotaku reports that it’s confirmed the legitimacy of the poster by two sources and posits that the poster features the Iron Banner’s Lord Saladin. Speculation runs rampant, but hey, at least it’s clear Destiny players won’t be abandoned in the long wait for Destiny 2.

Source: Reddit via Kotaku


The Daily Grind: Is MMO ‘open’ development really good for the genre?

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross and I were recently discussing how to approach an opinion piece on Chronicles of Elyria when he reminded me that the game’s forumgoers won’t take any criticism of the proposed game lightly. That provoked an impromptu discussion on the way certain vocal subcultures flock to new, in-development games and shout down even well-intentioned criticism from would-be allies. They sort of pitch their tents on the forums in an attempt to steer the game and vocally make no room for anyone who disagrees with even the most glaringly problematic, pie-in-the-sky game features — meanwhile, the vast majority of the MMORPG market has no time for camping out (or doesn’t even know it’s happening).

It happens with sandboxes, especially PvP-driven sandboxes, certainly — look at the small but distinctive and persistent PvP crowds dogging Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Revival, for example. And that’s not to say that PvE themeparks or formally produced, non-Kickstarter games are immune, either; we saw some of the same behavior from hardcore raiders during WildStar’s early testing periods, markedly changing the tenor of the game.

These are relatively small groups of people, but they are getting a very big say in how MMOs are being made in 2016. Are you among them? How involved are you in the new wave of “open” development for MMORPGs? And do you think it’s becoming a problem, or is it a good thing for the genre?

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Monster Hunter Online’s unofficial English patch is due for release on May 30th

The good news for fans of the Monster Hunter franchise is that the Chinese version of Monster Hunter Online is pretty much totally accessible to American players. The bad news is that it’s in Chinese. (This is actually good news for Chinese fans, obviously, but English-speaking fans, not so much.) Fortunately for said fans, it looks like the unofficial English patch will be ready for use on May 30th, allowing you to enjoy the game without having to randomly guess at what things say.

Fans are promised that the new patch will translate the game in “great depth,” which should be interesting to see at the very least. Players should keep their eyes open for the patch on the release date as well as a guide to installing and using the game. It’s not as easy as just playing a localized release of the game, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with any urgency.

Source: Steparu


Spiral Knights, Puzzle Pirates to be preserved by former devs’ new company

Fans of tiny older MMORPGs on the verge of extinction have cause for a bit of celebration this spring: A new patch to five-year-old Spiral Knights this week that updated branding to a new company appears to be the work of Grey Havens, a new company dedicated to preserving old games.

Spiral Knights/Puzzle Pirates Community Manager Eurydice told players back in April that the game had been handed over to Grey Havens, “a group of former Three Rings employees who have come together to keep the games and communities we love alive and happy.” Grey Havens’ official site explains, “Grey Havens operates games created by Three Rings Design back in the glorious first decade of the new millennium. Rather than allow those games to disappear forever, we have assembled a doughty crew to keep them operational for as long as we can.”

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See your future in Path of Exile’s Prophecy mini-expansion on June 3rd

I see something coming in the future… something that will be of interest to Path of Exile fans. And it will arrive on June 3rd. It’s the big mid-expansion update! Called Path of Exile: Prophecy, this big content release and beginning of the next challenge league launches in two weeks. As the name might suggest, Prophecy has a fortune-telling theme to it, brought to life with new mechanics, new items, and a new NPC. I gazed into my powerful crystal ball, calling upon all of my future-reading abilities (read: sat down with Producer Chris Wilson) to learn about what Wilson called a “mini-expansion” companion to Ascendancy. See what your future holds in Prophecy!
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Fragmented’s next patch introduces Engagements and server registering

How do you feel about fighting wave after wave of enemies until either they’re all dead or you are? If your feelings on this rate as “Positive” or “Strongly Positive,” you’ll be quite happy with the Engagements being introduced to Fragmented with the game’s next major patch. That’s exactly what it involves, you see. You kill a bunch of Setlangs, and then a boss spawns, and then you kill the boss, and then you win and all problems are solved forever. Or something along those lines.

The next patch will also give players the option of registering third-party servers with preferred play environments, which isn’t as exciting from a gameplay standpoint but should do wonders for atmosphere. Gravity improvements and mechanics for housing are also included, allowing your homes to collapse in a more realistic fashion when everything has gone wrong. That’s the sort of thing that would make you want to just kill enemies until there are no more enemies left to kill, and… oh, wait, those actually tie together very nicely. Right on.

Source: Patch notes


The Stream Team: Starting SWTOR’s Shadow of Revan for real

Every time MassivelyOP’s MJ thought she would start SWTOR’s Shadow of Revan expansion, she’d be tossed another prelude task. But now she’s finally diving into the thick of things! With Larry along as her guide and the viewers for her conscience, things are sure to be interesting as MJ embarks on this next adventure. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. for this round of Choose My Alignment and decide the fate of this Chiss Agent. As a bonus, Larry has more goodies to give away!

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 19th, 2016

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Aika Online brings out a monster update next week

Aika Online, if you’ve forgotten, is “that game with the pran.” What’s a pran? It’s sort of like a shrimp but not. Wait, no, that’s untrue. It actually stands for princess of air nymph, a fairy-like traveling companion who “follows you through your journey and cheers for you along the way.” We all need more support like that in our lives.

Anyway, now that your memory is refreshed, you can turn your attention to the fact that Aika is bringing a rather large content patch to bear next week on May 25th. The update begins with a level cap increase (for both you and lil’ pran there) to 99 and follows that up with a new PvP rumble mode, tougher monsters in Traband, a hell mode for the Cave of Lycan, and an additional skill for each class.

Players will even have a shiny, unexplored vista to traverse: Asteria. Asteria specializes in limited-time monster hunts, so get yours while the getting is good.

Source: Press release


Champions Online begins Nightmare Invasion event

Champions Online has just kicked off a new Nightmare Invasion event for teams of 3 to 5 superheroes over level 10.

“Strange otherworldly creatures have started invading Millennium City, and you need to stop them! A mysterious stranger called Golden Seraph has appeared in Renaissance Center, pleading for assistance in stopping this invasion. Who is behind this new invasion, and what does it ultimately mean?”

The event is live now and runs until June 2nd.

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Funcom’s Q1 2016 revenues, costs decline

Funcom’s first quarter 2016 financial report is unlikely to shock anyone who read the 2015 annual report a few weeks ago. Revenue fell by nearly $600,000 over the fourth quarter of last year, since you only get to launch The Park on Steam once. Its main sources of revenue remain The Secret World, Age of Conan, and Anarchy Online. The company also says expenses and operating costs have been cut, which buffers some of the losses.

Last fall, Funcom petitioned its investors to defer its loan repayment; in the spring, it renegotiated multiple loans into a new one not due for three years. The studio recently launched The Park on console and has multiple new games in the works, including Conan Exiles and an undisclosed new Secret World spinoff.

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