SMITE reorganizing e-sports payouts after handful of teams score 90% of prize pools

SMITE’s e-sports scene had a great year in 2014, although Hi-Rez identified one significant problem with how it’s been handling the game’s crowdfunded prize pool. The issue was that only a small number of winning teams were walking away with over 90% of the entire pool in Season 1, in some cases making more than actual Superbowl victors.

As the MOBA goes forward with its new season, Hi-Rez vowed that it will be spreading out the prize pool to more players and teams. For starters, SMITE’s World Championship will be capped at a $1M pool, and the studio said that it will hold additional tournaments to give more pro league teams a shot at winning prize money.

“Overall, we expect the e-sports prizing for the next year to surpass that from the past year,” Hi-Rez posted. “We simply want to spread that prizing out more evenly across more events and more teams.”

Source: Reddit. Thanks to Sorenthaz for the tip!


Reddit CEO apologizes for mistakes and poor communication

The fallout from last week’s Reddit-wide protest (which spilled over into several MMO subreddits) over a fired employee and high friction between the company and the site’s mods continues, as CEO Ellen Pao issued an apology yesterday and promised to improve communication with Reddit’s volunteers.

“We screwed up,” Pao wrote. “Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years. We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes. We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven’t delivered on them.”

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Guild Wars 2 throws special Revenant weekend test

The official beta for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns has yet to begin, but ArenaNet isn’t above throwing a special test into the mix to tide its fans over (and accumulate more feedback, of course).

This weekend the studio will be hosting a test for the brand-new Revenant class from Friday, July 10th, through Monday, July 13th. Anyone who has pre-purchased the expansion can roll up the new class and try his or her hand at PvE and PvP with the character. In addition, ArenaNet will be rolling out its PvP Stronghold mode during this test for more fun.

The studio listed several other features that will be tested this weekend (staff weapons! Verati legends! Mist champions!) and promised that full beta weekend events will commence shortly.

Source: Guild Wars 2. Thanks to Siphaed for the tip!


Overwatch blog details the legend behind Jack Morrison

It’s a little bit odd, on some level, that Overwatch takes place after the eponymous organization is dead and gone. Not unheard of, no, but it’s still a little odd. Of course the latest blog is all about unpacking the lore behind the organization’s fall, focusing on the story behind legendary supersoldier and former strike commander Jack Morrison, so it would seem there’s a fair bit more going on than simply Overwatch ceasing to exist and everyone going home.

You know, if the very premise of the game were not former and speculative members shooting at one another.

The entire entry is narrated from an in-universe perspective, tracing the known life of Morrison from his birth to his supposed death at Overwatch headquarters before the organization shut down. It also introduces the rumors that Morrion is still alive, striking official facilities in the name of an unknown agenda. If you want to know more of the story behind the aforementioned members shooting one another, it’s well worth a read.


Trove details your first five hours of play

When Trove leaves its beta label behind later this week, there will be players jumping in with no idea how the game is supposed to operate. That’s a given. Thus, it’s to the game’s credit that a new walkthrough has been posted on the official site detailing what players can expect from the first five hours in the game. If you’re starting fresh and need a helping hand figuring out what to do, this is your resource.

The nature of the official site means that this is a little bit on the quick-and-dirty side of guides, but it still covers the features found on the hub and the quick version of how to access various functions throughout the game world. Take a gander at the whole thing if you’re eager to get into the game once it launches on July 9th.


EVE Online releases Aegis part 1, preps part 2

The first of two July patches for EVE Online is rolling out today, with Aegis part 1 unloading an array of changes and features onto the server.

The patch is a hodge-podge of smaller items, including environmental improvements, missile buffs, a redesign for the Cerberus, better Amarr NPC AI, dozens of additonal ship SKINs, and the new Hecate tactical destroyer.

Coming on July 12th will be the second part of the update that will mostly focus on the Sovereignty capture system. Among other additions to the system is the ability to name a system as an alliance capital, bestowing special benefits for friendly units in the area.


Tamriel Infinium: Why I believe Elder Scrolls Online’s Veteran Ranks are here to stay

I am forever on the fence about gated content. One day I’ll find myself championing the idea that veteran, loyal players should have access to content that is meant for them and only them. The next day, I’ll remember that preventing players from being able to play with their friends is wrong, too. It’s wrong because when you design an MMORPG, it is meant to be played with your friends, and when your friends are stuck behind a gate, that is no fun for them and no fun for you either.

On ESO Live last week, ZeniMax Lead Combat Designer Eric Wrobel announced that with the introduction on the Imperial City, the Veteran Rank level cap for Elder Scrolls Online will increase to 16 from 14, gating its content from even more players. On top of that, the Imperial City is primarily a PvP zone, much as Cyrodiil is now but compressed into a tighter zone. And anyone PvPing at VR 1 who runs into someone a couple of VR levels above them will simply run the other way.

Unfortunately for those who were hoping that Veteran Ranks were disappearing with the introduction of the Champion System, they’re here to stay and may never never leave.

(To be clear, ZOS mentioned in ESO Live that removing VR is a long term goal, but even one of ESO‘s strongest supporters, Deltia, doesn’t believe VR is actually going away. And neither do I.)

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Guild Wars 2 datamining uncovers Engineer drones

It’s been a little while since Guild Wars 2 revealed another of the elite specializations coming to the game with Heart of Thorns, and players with as-yet unrevealed elite specializations are getting understandably anxious. The good news on that front is that Engineer players have a bit more to speculate about now. Datamining has uncovered several new drone designs for the Engineer, which raises all sorts of interesting questions about what the elite specialization will be able to do with those drones.

The models have several separate pieces and there are a number of different icons, sparking plenty of speculation about whether drones will be closer to full-on pets or something else altogether. Players won’t find any hard answers in the datamining thread on Reddit, but at least there’s reason to start debating and speculating, which might be just the thing for you.

The images are embedded below.

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A third of Crowfall backers live outside North America

In a new interview at a German Crowfall community fan site, ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman fielded several pressing questions for European audiences, including how many backers are from the continent.

While Coleman couldn’t break it down into regions, he did say that 31.8% of Kickstarter backers came from outside North America and an addition 30% of website donors were from the same. He also said that 8% of “higher-level backers” in the Kickstarter campaign originated from Asia.

Coleman confirmed that there will be a dedicated European server for the beta test and that there will be localized customer support for different territories. He also provided a few details about Eternal Kingdom strongholds while being vague about features such as emotes and achivements.


Skyforge wants you to break its servers today

“We welcome you to break our servers.”

This tongue-in-cheek invitation comes from the Skyforge devs who are running one final pre-open beta test designed to load the servers and see if the tech will handle the upcoming strain. The test, which is open to any and all, is currently running and will conclude with a total wipe tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. EDT.

Skyforge is set to go into a non-wipable open beta on July 16th, although those who have bought into the early access will get to start on the 9th. Players who log in between July 16th and the 23rd will receive a free mechanic outfit for their account.

Source: Skyforge


TERA’s latest patch invites you to go berserk

Do you want to get angry? Do you already feel pretty angry? Do you feel so angry that you want other people to hit you in the face just because you’re so angry? Then you’ll be very happy with TERA‘s latest update, Go Berserk, with its headlining feature that allows Berserkers to become front-line tanks. If you want to tank with your huge axe and crush your opposition with raw fury, now is your opportunity.

The update doesn’t stop there, however; it boasts a new dungeon, a new raid, a new battlescape, and improved features like a dressing room. You can also work toward one of three new Tier 7 armor sets if you want to stylishly customize your all-consuming future. Check out the trailer and some screenshots down below, and get ready to log in and get just plain angry.

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World of Warcraft asks why you use the Black Market Auction House

It turns out that you can bring the Black Market Auction House to your very own Garrison in World of Warcraft if you so choose, thus giving you even fewer reasons to ever leave the Garrison for any reason whatsoever. It’s also possible that you forgot the BMAH even exists, which is one of the answers on a new survey from the official site asking players why they make use of the darkest auction house.

The winning poll option at the moment is that players who know about it tend to seek out rare mounts, but the close second are players stating that they simply never have enough gold saved up to partake of its exceptionally expensive wares. No word has been given about whether or not any of these data will be used in the future, but if you’d like to put your two copper down about why you use (or don’t use) the feature, have at it.


The Alexander raid dungeon launches in Final Fantasy XIV

Yesterday, Final Fantasy XIV previewed Alexander; today, the game has patched it in. That’s a pretty aggressive patching schedule even with the game’s reputation of huge patched content. Not that this was exactly news, as players knew that the first weekly lockout for the expansion would be patched in after two weeks had passed. The first parts of the dungeon can now be accessed, with a difficulty level on part for runs through the Crystal Tower dungeons and a new token-based loot structure for acquiring items.

The patch also contains a number of bug fixes and performance improvements along with adjustments to damage for both Bard and Machinist players. The ranged physical DPS classes have both had similar abilities (Wanderer’s Minuet and Gauss Barrel) changed in their overall impacts, with less cast time, longer recast time, and an increase to damage dealt. Check out the full patch notes for all of the adjustment details.

Source: Patch notes


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