SkySaga’s alpha gets into the spirit of the holidays

I was just remarking the other day how odd it is to me that so many early access and alpha games are taking the time and effort to include actual holiday events. Back when I was just a wee… 20-something, holidays were reserved for released titles, not those still in construction. But why complain when it’s something fun for testers to do?

Anyway, this is all to say that SkySaga’s latest alpha patch includes a new Midwinter event. During this time, players can enjoy the decorations and loot special chests from mobs that contain all sorts of seasonal goodies. There are new crafting recipes for cheery furniture to be found and hints of a special secret location as well.

The patch also increased the visibility of PvP on the UI and tackled a whole host of bugs.

Source: Patch notes

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Notorious e-sports team boss Martin Shkreli arrested for securities fraud

Martin Shkreli, chairman of League of Legends e-sports team Imagine and CEO of real-life company Turing Pharmaceuticals, was arrested in New York today. He stands accused of “engaging in a complicated shell game after a hedge fund he started lost millions” and making “secret payoffs and set[ting] up sham consulting arrangements,” among other charges, says Bloomberg.

Shkreli made headlines earlier this year when his company bought up the rights to a malaria and toxoplasmosis drug and then jacked up the price. That prompted angry gamers to ask Riot Games to step in and enforce its “Moral Turpitude” e-sports rule, which states that “a Team Member may not engage in any activity which is deemed by the LCS to be immoral, disgraceful, or contrary to conventional standards of proper ethical behavior.”

Well, if he hadn’t done that before, he may have now. Commence schadenfreude.

Source: Bloomberg via Polygon

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Cabal 2 goes on a reindeer rampage and adds new raid

Hullo folks! Ms. Horsehead here, encouraging one and all to head over to Cabal 2 to check out a couple of interesting events taking place!

There’s war a-brewin’ in the gods’ last bastion, the Gray Canyon, and we need strong and brave adventurers like yourself to step up and give a good neigh about it! This new raid requires 24 players to defend the canyon from 12 waves of monsters, each one tougher and scarier than the last. You’ll need to arrange your day around it, however, as the raid takes place at three set times every 24 hours.

Then there’s a wacky reindeer rampage making a mess all over the world. They’re not as prim and proper as us horses, not in the slightest. Kick those reindeer haunches for me, will ya? And if they happen to drop anything, it’s all yours.

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State lawmakers reissue subpoena for Curt Schilling

Lawyers for Rhode Island are attempting to reissue a subpoena for former 38 Studios head Curt Schilling to testify early next year about the loan and business decisions that ultimately led to the demise of the studio, the end of Project Copernicus’ development, and a hefty lawsuit.

Schilling may ignore the subpoena on advice of attorney due to the pending lawsuit. On his blog, the former Red Sox pitcher bit back against the state while also taking the lion’s share of the blame for the fiasco on himself: “I lost what I thought were 3-400 ‘family’ when I let this company fail. I will never ever get past that, and it being mainly my fault maybe I shouldn’t.”

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Eternal Crusade outlines the balance of army compositions

The forces of Eternal Crusade should be evenly matched but not identical, but that poses a bit of a mechanical problem. In the game fiction, Ork units should be mostly charging into battle with melee units, but in reality charging into automatic weapons fire swinging a sword is not generally accepted as a top-tier strategy for military operations. The latest set of community answers clarifies that Orks will have mechanical benefits that should help them charge and survive into melee range, which allows their forces to retain a lore-appropriate composition.

The questions also clarify that anti-vehicle weaponry will still have uses against certain heavily armored infantry targets. Melee options are also highlighted, with the design intent for melee combat being that it’s sometimes difficult to reach melee combat and is more about crunching weapons against one another rather than darting in and out of range. The team is also planning on transitioning into beta sometime early in 2016, although the exact date is still not locked in.

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EVE Online’s winter events are all about players fighting… with snowballs

You’ve been playing EVE Online long enough to know that it’s rarely good news when another ship arrives nearby and starts heading toward you with murder in its (metaphorical) eyes. There’s not much you can do at that point, and you start trying to evade, but your ship is helpless as it aims and fires off a full volley of… snowballs. Yes, the winter event has come to the game, and that brings with it two drops of seasonal awards to all active EVE accounts on December 24th and December 31st. The first drop is all snowballs, while the second is fireworks.

Players who can’t wait to pepper their opponents with snowballs can also receive these items from Operation Frostline loot drops or purchase them from the New Eden store. There are also special collectibles and commodities available on December 24th to celebrate the year’s events and a snowball fight on December 20th, so players will have plenty of opportunity to target one another with frozen ice instead of weapons. Or possibly frozen ice followed almost immediately by weapons.

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Shroud of the Avatar beefs up story while adding agriculture and guild warfare

Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 25 hit the digital streets today, taking the fantasy title one step closer to a launch (and no, we still don’t know when that will be). The final update for the year brings with it a huge assortment of improvements and new systems, as well as another grand tour quest with a funny hat as a reward.

“The story continues to march across the map with multiple new scenes every release,” Starr Long reported in the patch notes. “Agriculture completes the final major missing component for crafting. Customizability increases with multiple dye options, and PVP expands to include guild warfare. We are also making steady progress with localization thanks to our player translators.”

Release 26 is scheduled for January 28th, 2016, and Release 27 will follow that on February 25th.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Recapping Guild Wars 2 in 2015

The holiday season is well and truly upon us, so it’s that most wonderful time of the year during which the Massively OP reporters cast their minds back over their game-specific 2015 column entries to remind you of the highs and lows over the last year. ArenaNet has had a particularly packed 2015, so I’ve plenty to cover before Guild Wars 2 rings in 2016. Of course, the launch of Heart of Thorns is the big talking point of the year, but there were plenty more points of interest during the last twelve months. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll reflect on 2015 and recap the year, focusing on both ArenaNet’s and my personal highlights.

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Funcom announces new Conan game

Funcom has just announced that it’s creating a new video game based on the Conan franchise.

Funcom is excited to announce that the company has entered into an agreement with Conan Properties, making it the preferred partner for all PC and console games based on the ‘Conan the Barbarian’ brand and the world of Hyboria. The two companies have already enjoyed a long and prosperous relationship, having successfully brought to market Funcom’s critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online game ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures‘ back in 2008. […] As Funcom communicated earlier this year, the company will be announcing three new games in 2016. The first of these games will be based on the ‘Conan the Barbarian’ brand and will be announced to the public in January next year.

That would be the existing MMORPG, Age of Conan, one of four in Funcom’s stable. In fact, Age of Conan’s community team rushed to reassure players that the MMO is not being left in the dust:

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New Overwatch video explains progression systems and the two that didn’t work

Progression is a nice thing. Everyone likes the feeling of being better in some small way after playing a game for two hours. When Blizzard brings Overwatch back from its holiday testing break, a progression system is going to be in place, but a new video explains its two predecessors and why they didn’t work.

The short version is that the first version of progression was unlocking new and improved abilities through play, which was super powerful, broken, and unbalanced. The second version unlocked cosmetic alterations for each character… which discouraged players from swapping characters mid-match, thus harming overall team composition. The new progression system is meant to feel as if the game is rewarding you for spending more time with it. You can check out more details in the video below.

Curious about the characters in a more concrete sense? Well, why not check out a recent interview regarding the game’s story, characters, and setting? Story progression is a sort of progression, after all.

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Darkfall developers considering freemium model

When Darkfall opened up its doors to community discussion, one of the major points mentioned by the developers was that free-to-play was completely off of the table. The developers are now discussing the possibility of a free-to-play shift. The difference, as the post explains, is that free-to-play means there are no optional subscription models, but an optional free playstyle makes for a freemium game model.

Depending on your level of interest in the fine details of MMO business model terminology, you’re either nodding enthusiastically, rolling your eyes, or just whispering “what?” at your monitor.

The practical upshot of all of this is that the developers are actively exploring a free-to-play model with optional subscriptions, which is far from the impression given when it was said that free-to-play was completely off of the table. The major impediment to this is apparently working out backend settings for account, so players should keep their eyes peeled for further developments.

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Perfect Ten: The biggest MMORPG news stories of 2015

For as long as Massively Overpowered exists, this will be one of the most memorable years in our site’s history. It was the year that, after seven year of operation, old Massively got abruptly shuttered by AOL along with Joystiq and WoW Insider. It was also the year that the community rallied around us and Kickstarted the hell out of a new site, giving us the chance to create MOP as an independent MMO entity.

2015 will no doubt be remembered for a lot of other things too, of course. I don’t think anyone could have predicted all of the craziness and unexpected turns that happened in our genre over the past 12 months. Let’s take a walk back through the year-that-was to cover the biggest, strangest, and most exciting stories that we covered.

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The Division video shares player testimonies

Believe it or not, some players have actually gotten their hands on The Division, including those trying out the Xbox One alpha last week. Recently, Ubisoft invited 15 members of the community to fly out to Sweden, try the game, and then share their thoughts on camera as to what they experienced.

These early “testers” talk about what they saw and liked about the sci-fi title, including recollections of various encounters. “Friggin’ awesome. It was more than I expected it to be,” one player reported. “It’s such a unique experience because you never know what you’re going to experience.”

You can watch it after the break. Because what else are you going to do? The beta’s delayed again, so it’s not like you’ll be playing over the holiday.

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