Guild Wars 2 preps players for PvP League Season Two

The second season of Guild Wars 2’s PvP League coming next week on February 23rd, and when it arrives players will have a few new twists and turns with which to contend.

ArenaNet doesn’t want any misunderstandings, which is why the studio has posted a clear list of the changes that are coming with season two. Among these are improvement to the matchmaking system (solo players will never fear finding themselves against a premade again), better post-match analysis, the return of the win streak system, a bonus for players who break a string of losses, and various balance tweaks.

The studio also hinted that future seasons might come at a faster pace: “We realize that the weeks following the end of season one have left a bit of a gap for players who wish to continue to queue for ranked play. We share your eagerness to jump back into the fray as soon as possible, and we’re currently exploring some ideas for how future off-seasons will work.”

Source: Guild Wars 2

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The Stream Team: Back in another Black Desert closed beta

Last time in Black Desert’s CB1, MassivelyOP’s MJ tried to race through the extensive character creation (a feat in itself!) in order to have time to check out gamplay. This time, she’ll have a character already prepared and ready to race through those beginning tasks. The game definitely gets deeper the more you play, so the goal is to get as far as possible during this second round of closed beta to see more of this sandbox. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. as MJ delves back into…

What: Black Desert
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 18th, 2016

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The Tempest class and seven new content areas arrive in Devilian today

Devilian’s Fury of the Tempest patch is live on the production servers today. Trion Worlds says the Tempest’s “”acrobatic experience with both battle and blades have made her both a worth ally to any Devilian and a formidable foe to any that might seek to face the Fury of the Tempest.”

“Driven by her intelligence and agility, this Class offers three new customizable different skill trees that focus on the transformation of the weapons she wields. When she transforms her daggers into her twin bladed glaive, she activates a defensive mechanism from within to boost her defense and block incoming damage. Transforming back to blades increases both her movement speed and attack, so make sure you face or fight alongside this class of lethal fury with care.”

The patch includes a class level cap bump to 54, a Devilian level cap increase to 30, a new 9-man raid dungeon, two level 54 “archdevil” sungeons, four level 53 heroic and hell dungeons, and the level 53 Stormfront Invasion Site.

The Tempest Class Pack is on sale in the store for $9.99 right now in honor of the launch. We’ve got the new trailer and images below.

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Camelot Unchained is getting a lighting-centric facelift

City State Entertainment has announced a major visual upgrade for Camelot Unchained.

In a new letter to backers today, CSE Co-Founder and Technical Director Andrew Meggs explains that “until now, CU has gotten by with fairly simple lighting, the kind of light you might find in a high school theater production.” But the studio has always planned to revisit it “to bring things up to the standards of 2016,” and that’s exactly what the tech team is doing.

CSE is focusing on indirect and dynamic lighting “that can adapt on the fly to a world that adapts on the fly,” making use of cube map light probes, mathematical algorithms, and shader tricks to optimize the overhead on the client.

The effect is intended to make Camelot Unchained pretty, longer. After all, Meggs says, “We expect this game to be around in 2026, so we’re building for the future.”

We’ve included the gallery of the before and after shots below.

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Exclusive: Path of Exile’s Chieftain Ascendancy class is on fire

Are you ready to enter the labyrinth? Last November we learned all about Path of Exile’s unique gameplay experience that will opens its doors in the next expansion, Ascendancy. Since that time, we’ve slowly learned about many of the 19 specialization classes that will also be introduced when the expansion launches in two weeks. Today, Grinding Gear Games’ Producer Chris Wilson shared with Massively OP the details of the 18th Ascendancy class: the Chieftain. What’s so special about this class? If you are a Marauder and you really, really like playing with fire, it’s tailor-made just for you. More than that, it’s the class that is specifically built to use the new totem skill.
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Neverwinter shows off the art of Underdark

Just because Neverwinter’s Underdark takes place underground doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a bunch of dark generic caves. Cryptic’s art team is hard at work creating environments that live up to this famous D&D locale, and in a new dev blog you can see how some of the settings came into being.

Reading this post might make you appreciate all of the little touches that it takes to make an environment believable and immersive: “Even though these environments share a lot of the same motifs and themes I still wanted them to feel unique. So Araj Tower has yellow crystals and Arm of the Delzoun has blueish crystals. In addition they also serve a story telling purpose. Arm of the Delzoun is mostly natural with drawrven elements.”

The team also did a lighting pass through the old leveling dungeons to make them look even more vibrant and exciting.

Neverwinter is preparing its Maze Engine update for the near future. If you’re into this game, you should check out the current Humble Bundle deal that includes a costume and companion for this game.

Source: Neverwinter

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Star Trek Online is overhauling its skill system (again)

The skill system in Star Trek Online is kind of a hot mess. It always has been, from the game’s initial launch skills to its present system. That’s not editorializing – that’s a position that even the game’s developers seem to share, as outlined in the latest entry on the game’s official site detailing the upcoming skill system overhaul. The new system should make the difference between Ground and Space skills clear, eliminate useless or sub-optimal skills, and generally give players a solid picture of what they’re doing and why all through levels 1-50.

Skills will now be following an active and passive unlock system. Points are granted for Space and Ground skills per level, allowing players to actively unlock a variety of abilities; as abilities are unlocked in the various space disciplines, new skills are passively unlocked, while ground skills offer choices as more points are invested in the single progression track. Little to nothing is being lost, but a few new choices are being added, giving captains reason to find new ways to progress when the revamp beams onto the live servers later in spring.

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Choose My Adventure: Blade & Soul’s questing, PvP, combat, and impractically revealing outfits

Hello friends, and welcome back to Choose My Adventure, where I’m in my third week of exploring NCSoft’s martial-arts MMORPG, Blade & Soul. Last week, I asked you to choose which of the game’s two main factions I should align myself with, and what my level of participation in open-world PvP should be. On the first matter, the Crimson Legion edged out a victory with 54% of the vote to Cerulean Order’s 46%, while you overwhelmingly voted that I should just dabble in oPvP rather than committing myself whole-heartedly to the endeavor.

Unfortunately, only one of those votes actually ended up mattering. As some of you pointed out in the comments, those two factions have population caps in order to keep the contest between them at least relatively balanced, and on my server, Crimson Legion wasn’t accepting any new members. Alas, I had no choice but to join the Cerulean Order in order to get my taste of open-world PvP. For what it’s worth, though, a taste was really all I needed.

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Trooper companion headlines SWTOR’s Chapter 11: Disavowed, due March 10th

BioWare has announced that since the launch of Knights of the Fallen Empire, players have logged over 900 million minutes of Star Wars: The Old Republic. More than 27 million light- and dark-side choices have shaped players’ experiences since the latest expansion release. Now, the creators of the MMORPG in a galaxy far, far away would like to reintroduce you to Aric Jorgan, who’s coming back to us on March 10th in Chapter 11: Disavowed.

Jorgan guided the Trooper class storyline from beginning to end. He was the Trooper’s first companion, and Jorgan stuck with the Trooper until he was frozen in carbonite for five years. This Cathar represented everything that was honest and true about the Republic military, and we get to meet him again as he and the new members of Havoc Squad lead you, the Outlander, on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

We’ve got images and the teaser video showing off some of the upcoming content below.

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Outlaw country musician to debut album in Shroud of the Avatar

You’re going to have to follow us on a strange journey with this story. So there’s this “outlaw country” musician, Shooter Jennings, who is getting ready to release his seventh album, Countach. According to the description (and bizarrely awesome cover), the album is “a sound-collage-style journey through ’80s and ’90s culture, innovative songwriting, genre-bending fiddle-meets-synthesizer soundscapes and a shrine to pioneers of books, bytes, and beats.”

What’s really interesting here is that Jennings will be unveiling Countach in Shroud of the Avatar at a premiere party in the game. Why Shroud? Well, it could be because Richard Garriott makes a guest appearance on the album, not to mention that Jennings is a huge fan of the Ultima series and a backer of the MMO.

The in-game premiere party will take place starting 8:00 p.m. EST on February 22nd and is being fully organized by the Shroud of the Avatar community. Attendees will need to be backers and are encouraged to get together at Bear Tavern for the event.

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Blade & Soul’s Warlock is coming soon to an MMO near you

Fancy a dip into the demonic realm? Blade & Soul can oblige you, as this fantasy title is getting ready to tag in the Warlock as part of next month’s update.

The Unchained content patch, which arrives on March 2nd, will add the Warlock class and a bonus character slot just in case you’ve already maxed out your alt roster. This new magic user, who boasts “dark shadowy magic and explosively vibrant techniques,” flings fast combos and can summon demons to help stomp out the competition.

Also coming with the update is a new high-level dungeon called Naryu Labyrinth and the eighth floor of Mushin’s Tower.

Blade & Soul recently released its first post-launch content update and has already attained over two million accounts in the west.

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Exclusive: Crowfall’s world building pipeline video and interview

Are you a fan of Tetris but wish it were more free-form and connected to an MMO’s world building tool kit? Yeah, neither am I, but apparently someone Artcraft thought it could work in Crowfall. Today we’ve got an exclusive first look at Artcraft’s latest world building video, plus a chat with Creative Director J. Todd Coleman, who discussed with us the world building process and helped to clarify the parcel system and player territories.

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RuneScape’s big 2016 plans include an expansion and graphics upgrade

RuneScape has a lot of years under its belt, and a lot of content under its hood. In fact, it’s 15 for the former, and there’s no way I can possibly list the latter succinctly — not with nearly weekly updates! And the game has no intention of slowing down, either. Plenty of new content is on the horizon for this next year. I sat down with devs at a special RuneScape 15th anniversary event in the UK last week to learn all about what the future holds. Lead Designer Dave Osborne shared what he called the “evil master plan,” which included the upcoming mobile and CCG games as well as plenty of new content in both the main MMO and the old school version. Here’s the lowdown on what the MMO fans have to look forward to in the coming months.

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