Heroes of the Storm announces Spring Global Championship

The past few years have seen MOBAs take over the competitive gaming landscape, with just a handful of games managing to attract millions of tournament viewers each year. Heroes of the Storm obviously wants to be one of those few, and it’s got an ambitious plan to make it happen in 2016 with a full year of seasonal competitive tournaments. The 2016 Global Championship Circuit will consist of three main tournaments (Spring, Summer, and Fall) leading up to the main world championship tournament, and Blizzard is stumping up over $4,000,000 US in prize money throughout the year.

The Spring Global Championship qualifiers are now are underway in China, South Korea, and South-East Asia, with qualifiers for North America, Europe, Latin America, Taiwan and Australia/New Zealand still to come over the next few months. The top teams from each region will then meet for the finals from April 1st to April 3rd in Seoul, South Korea, where they’ll compete for a slice of the $500,000 US prize pool.

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The Stream Team: Storm’s final steps to 60 in Marvel Heroes

It seems like level 60 is always just out of reach for poor Storm in Marvel Heroes; Massively OP’s MJ keeps getting distracted by new heroes and various events. But no more! She’s devoting this Midtown Madness Monday to reaching that milestone. With only seven levels left, can she make it? Join us live and in-game at 9:00 p.m. to help MJ meet her goal.

What: Marvel Heroes
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18th, 2016

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World of Warships embarks on community event ‘Project R’

Who would like a new destroyer? Wargaming just launched a five-week community event for World of Warships to bring the Kamikaze R destroyer back to life from salvaged blueprints. Dubbed Project R (for restoring a warship), the event is composed of in-game missions and progress milestones that will net players pearls and in-game rewards as well as a chance for Razer headsets and sound software. If the final milestone is met, the Japanese destroyer will be added to the premium shop, and 1,000 random participants who earned 150 or more pearls will receive the ship for free. To learn more and to join the effort, visit the official site and sign up! The event ends on February 14th.

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Wild Terra discusses dynamic world maps and PvE safe zones

Wild Terra’s server structure is undergoing a transformation.

In a new dev blog, the developers explain that the sandbox’s servers will each boast a unique, dynamic map. “[R]esource generation rate and size of the map will depend on a number of players on the server,” writes Juvty Worlds. “It will allow to solve problems connected with the resource lack after big advertising campaigns. Eventually Wild Terra will be able to enter Steam and increase its player base. After all, we’re making an MMO!”

The developers also discuss safe, PvE-only territories: “In contrast to the peaceful territories, there will be regions for PvP-oriented players with a constant war going for valuable resources and control over the habitats of rare animals.”

The new server is expected to begin testing this winter.

Source: Dev blog

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Worlds Adrift gives a glimpse of its lush flora

In the third episode of the Worlds Adrift Show, the devs show a tantalizingly brief glance of the game’s new grass and flowers. Hope you like those three seconds of in-game footage, because the rest of the brief show is spent promoting updates from the past week, including the creative writing competition, the discussion over ship names, and a look at the team working hard behind the scenes.

Check out the show after the break!

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Dungeons and Dragons Online preps Gnome race and 10th anniversary dungeon

In 2016, Dungeons and Dragons Online is joining that elite club of MMOs that have been running for an entire decade. Yes, this year DDO turns 10 years old (insert “can you believe it?” reaction) and the team is preparing a “big party” in February to celebrate the occasion.

The centerpiece of the anniversary events will be the debut of a free dungeon that will reference the game’s history and popular characters. “It’ll also give you the opportunity to defeat some ‘devs’ in battle,” Executive Producer Severlin wrote. “Yes, I plan to try to kill you in-game.”

DDO is also preparing a brand-new race for Update 30: the Gnomes. The race will include a Deep Gnome iconic version and will be about the same height as a halfling (albeit with a little more heft and facial hair).

Source: Producer’s letter. Thanks to DDOCentral for the tip!

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Firefall prepares for update 1.6 with more than a day of downtime

Here’s the bad news for Firefall fans: the game is going down for maintenance on January 19th at 11:00 a.m. EST, and it’s staying down until January 20th at 1:00 p.m. EST. That’s quite the wait. The good news is that when the game comes back online, you can jump into the game’s patch 1.6 content, so at least all of that time spent waiting will have some ultimate rewards.

Patch 1.6 includes new narrative content tied to the Razorwind threat with an improved focus on story, the addition of Jetball as an arena PvP preview, new PvE Holdout missions, and a bunch of other updates and expansions. There’s a preview of the new Razorwind missions in video form down below, if that’s something you’d like to see. You might not want the game to be down for quite so long, but the bring side is that it will at least include plenty of stuff for the wait.

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Improbable wants to build better MMO worlds

If you’re looking for signs of what the next generation of MMOs could look like, then you might want to start checking out the work that Improbable is doing.

A studio that’s been generating some serious buzz over the past year, Improbable’s main project is creating a platform that allows creators to build virtual worlds that are far more complex and emergent than the one we have today. A new piece at Wired highlights how Improbable CEO Herman Narula became frustrated with the limitations of MMOs and wanted to create tech that would surpass “player-centric illusion” to utilize physical laws and object persistence.

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You’re stuck in Manhattan for The Division’s launch

What’s the best borough of New York City? If you said Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx (no one ever says Staten Island), you’re going to be a wee bit disappointed when The Division launches in March. The game is taking place solely in midtown Manhattan at first; creative director Magnus Jansen explained that, “With the level of detail we have, doing midtown Manhattan is a huge open-world experience and more than enough to sink your teeth into.”

Of course, if you like midtown, it’s not an issue. And and you can take heart in knowing that the game’s PC version isn’t just a simple port; the graphics options have been uncovered and include unlocked framerates, depth of field, volumetric fog, all of the good stuff. Yes, you might be stuck in a single borough, but at least it can look very pretty. In a post-cataclysmic environment sort of way, we suppose.

Source: VG24/7, Examiner via PC Gamer

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The Stream Team: Playing Evie in Paladins

It has been much too long since MassivelyOP’s MJ caused a little mayhem in Paladins, the slightly whimsical objective-based team FPS. And with more game types open and another character she hasn’t played, it’s the perfect time to dive back in. Today she’ll check out Evie. Will this pig-tailed spellcaster become her new favorite champion? Tune in live at 1:00 p.m. for a few rounds of vault-blasting fun.

What: Paladins
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18th, 2016

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Wisdom of Nym: The next stop on Final Fantasy XIV’s magical expansion tour

The next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV will be announced this year. We all know it. I suppose there’s a chance it won’t happen, that the fan festival isn’t going to contain any announcements of the sort, but only in the super-technical sense that it could happen rather than any realistic outcome. So another expansion is being revealed in nine-ish months, and that prompts the obvious question: Where are we going now?

This isn’t an idle question, either. The fact that the first expansion brought us to Ishgard meant that the entire story of the game went in a different direction than if we had gone elsewhere, focusing upon the known but somewhat intentionally vague Dragonsong War and making it the central point of the story. As we prepare for the next expansion, I can see three obvious areas that may lead us onward into the world, and each one brings with it certain assumptions and stories that we have yet to hear.

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Get some useful tips on Blade & Soul before it launches tomorrow

Tomorrow’s the big launch day for Blade & Soul for anyone not already enjoying the head start opportunity. Users on Reddit have helpfully compiled several useful tips for the game that may not be immediately evident if you’re new to the game. And no, these aren’t the usual sort of “you can press X to open the X-button window” tips you’ll see on loading screen – these are serious tips about what weapons to unseal, which ones to upgrade, and which quests are actually worth the time it takes to complete.

It’s all useful stuff that might not be immediately self-evident, like the functionality behind the game’s “Bidding” loot system, wherein everyone submits an amount of money and the winning bid is distributed among the rest of the party. You can also jump below the cut to check out the Twilight Garden, if you want to see how pretty some of the later game can be. It’s all useful to know before you make the decision to play or not play on launch.

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ARK: Survival Evolved plans to bring online more than 100 new Xbox One servers

Excessive popularity isn’t always a good thing for an online game. ARK: Survival Evolved has been struggling with handling an overabundance of Xbox One players ever since its early access debut last month. Fortunately, the team is preparing to bring over 100 new servers online to handle the population’s needs.

“In less than a week following its December 2015 launch, ARK was downloaded more than 1 million times and Survivors had experienced more than 200,000 real-life days in their struggle to survive against dozens of Dinosaurs, other Survivors, and the elements,” says Studio Wildcard.

ARK also just updated its Xbox One servers to v730.1, which is slightly behind the PC version at this point.

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