Can whales fly? Worlds Adrift says ‘absolutely!’

We don’t know about you, but when we think of “sky whales,” the image of Twitter’s notorious “fail whale” comes to mind. Worlds Adrift begs to differ, as it’s introducing a noble skybound whale that will be one of many striking sights that airship pilots can encounter in their journeys.

The Worlds Adrift art team posted a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the sky whale, which culminated in the inclusion of this fantastic beast to the game. “At this stage I can only stand back and watch as my giant ugly baby flies off into the sunset, tears streaming down my cheeks,” a developer posted.

You can watch the sky whale’s inception in a video after the break.

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PSA: Last call for Eternal Crusade founder packs before early access Steam launch

If you were hoping to pick up an Eternal Crusade founder pack, today is the last day to hand over your money.

Behaviour Interactive announced earlier this month that it would be closing down the founder program in favor of an early access launch on Steam, which will allow access to the closed alpha without all the founder perks. The game’s Steam version will be priced for retail, though the company has vowed it will offer some sort of early adopter program for Mac and console players as well.

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Firefall’s Razor’s Edge is finally mostly functional

The Firefall migration drama is finally over.

The servers went down for their planned one-day outage on January 19th for the massive Razor’s Edge update, but a host of issues ranging from Steam errors to UI problems and character migration bugs kept the servers offline until the 22nd, at which point players could roll new characters but still not access existing toons.

Over the weekend, Red 5 completed the migration for everyone. Wrote Community Manager FadedPez,

“We have enabled the migration script for all players. You should now be able to see your characters and step through the battleframe migration process. Once complete you’ll get into the game and get back to playing your main! […] If you’re stuck at waiting for response or not seeing your old character give it a few minutes. We’ve expected this might happen due to latency.”

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How Star Wars: The Old Republic won me over with its endgame

I walked away from last week’s Star Wars: The Old Republic livestream pretty happy. Considering that I repeatedly say how much I absolutely loathe information presented as a video rather than just a nice solid block of text, that says something.

When I returned to SWTOR, it was after a two-year break from the game that followed reasonably close on the heels of Rise of the Hutt Cartel. I enjoyed that expansion, but what kind of dragged me to a halt with the game was my general disinterest about Star Wars combined with the fact that the endgame was the same unpleasant mire that wasn’t doing World of Warcraft any favors then or now. It’s important to note that when I left, the game had been my main go-to game for quite some time.

Now, of course, The Force Awakens managed to kindle a heretofore unprecedented affection for the franchise in me (a discussion of that would be outside of this particular article’s wheelhouse) and my wife and I couldn’t help but go back. And that brings me around to now, in the wake of a livestream where the prospect of new operations is basically met with a shrug and a guess. That earned some points.

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Bungie denies Destiny ammo pack microtrans rumors

Bungie has denied rumors that it was planning a fresh round of microtransactions for console MMO Destiny.

VG247 posted this morning that it had a “source familiar with the matter” who “confirmed” that Bungie planned to sell Destiny ammo packs for cash money, but Activision has apparently denied the rumor with a curt “We’re not doing that” to Game Informer via yet another unnamed source.

In other Destiny news, Bungie plans to implement player profile privacy options in its next platform update (something many MMORPGs still desperately need). Kotaku has criticized the company for creating player “malaise” through poor communication and a relative content drought since September’s launch of The Taken King.

Source: VG, GI, Kotaku

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Wisdom of Nym: Potential jobs for the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion

We’re going to be hearing about the next expansion to Final Fantasy XIV in… several months, actually. We’re in no kind of rush here. But I promised last week that we’d be continuing on the speculation train this time around, and even if I hadn’t promised it, I would still be eager to do so. I like speculation about this sort of thing, and the fact is that we have a wide-open field of things to speculate upon for the next expansion vis-a-vis jobs.

I see three likely possibilities for the next expansion, but I can’t list all of the possibilities for the next job. There are countless options. A quick glance at the history of the series reveals countless possible jobs, and that’s assuming that the next set of jobs is something entirely predictable rather than something totally out of left field, which it completely could be. We could get a job none of us have ever heard of, and it would make perfect sense.

So let’s talk about what I see as the most likely possibilities, and we’ll move forward from there.

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Nexon announces Riders of Icarus, an aerial combat, action-adventure MMORPG

Nexon has just announced a new “free-to-play action-adventure MMORPG” Riders of Icarus, whose highlight is apparently “exhilarating aerial combat unlike anything ever seen before in the genre.”

“In Riders of Icarus, players will explore a vast, majestic and ever-expanding world where they can collect and train hundreds of different wild beasts, taming them to become rideable mounts with unique special abilities. As a legendary Rider, with renowned combat abilities, players will coordinate with other heroes both in the air and on the ground to engage in theatrical boss battles utilizing the game’s frenetic action-oriented melee combo system. With hundreds of ground and aerial mounts to collect, the sky is no longer the limit for the Riders of Icarus, who fight to protect mankind from an ancient invading evil.”

Nexon’s US branch says that a beta for players in North America and Mexico will run from January 28th to February 2nd, expanding “at a later date” for Oceania and Europe. Beta signups are available on the official site.

Source: Nexon press release, official site. With thanks to Feodor.

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Blade & Soul hits one million players in the west

A week after its launch in North America and Europe, Blade & Soul claims to have surpassed one million players in the game worldwide in the west. The game launched in South Korea in 2012 and spread throughout Asia in the intervening years.

NCsoft West Senior Vice President of Publishing John Burns says that the recent release helped push the game into a new population bracket: “The sheer enthusiasm — not to mention volume — of North American and European players that have jumped into Blade & Soul since launch has been tremendous. Blade & Soul is one of the most exciting games for western players in 2016.”

Since its launch, Blade & Soul has added two batches of servers and teased its upcoming content. Check out our first impressions of the title for our thoughts on this wuxia-themed MMO.

Source: NCsoft press release
Update: NCsoft has confirmed that the one million players are counted in the west alone, not worldwide as earlier reported.

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Hands-on with HEX: Chronicles of Entrath’s PvE

What do you know about HEX: Shards of Fate? If you’ve ever played it, probably more than me. But what do you know about Chronicles of Entrath? HA! I’ve got you there. I spent a day at the HEX Entertainment studio, hobnobbing with developers and hearing all about many aspects of the long-awaited PvE expansion. There was plenty to take in, from the AI to the art to the history of the game.

Oh, and I got to play! That was something you should have seen: I didn’t lose a single match.

My takeaway from the experience is a desire to dive in and play more. And that’s coming from someone who has never touched a TCG before, on or offline, and was honestly a bit intimidated by HEX. Once the patch goes live next week, I’ll encourage everyone else to jump in and check it out, whether you are an old pro or newbie like myself. Here’s why.

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The Repopulation remains skeptical about HeroEngine’s latest announcement

HeroEngine owner Idea Fabrik announced yesterday that it has made “several positive adjustments” in regard to its ongoing financial situation – namely, “reducing server costs, finish[ing] R&D and [its]development plan, complet[ing] some very important testing and code review, and continu[ing] to work on several other special things behind the scenes.” These new changes apparently include the resumption of HeroCloud subscription sales (“[w]e will be completing a special Thank You to our community, then normal sales will return on 31 January”), a new website design, DirectX 11 support, and a new “market” to vend assets.

Idea Fabrik did not allude to The Repopulation’s Above and Beyond, which it had obliquely and seemingly unjustly accused of failing to pay royalties last month, except to say, “Not all of these have been resolved and the primary cause of the partial shutdown is still being worked on.” The concomitant financial issues and server outages drove The Repopulation offline in December and caused serious concerns about its future.

The Repopulation’s JC Smith told forumgoers that HeroEngine’s announcement had “nothing to do with” A&B’s.

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Alleged WildStar ex-devs gripe about Carbine

A series of quotes on WildStar’s subreddit this past weekend has caused quite a stir in that game’s community, as alleged former Carbine developers have come out to badmouth the company and the issues the team has had behind the scenes.

The posters claimed that Carbine had good insurance and that WildStar was and is a game with promise but that WildStar was hampered by egotistical managers, a poor internal structure, and enmity between studio teams.

One post describes the problems with WildStar’s patch development: “I left just before the F2P launch, so I don’t know exactly what happened internally. But, I could have told you it was going to be a disaster due to how their development processes, QA (or lack thereof), and content release pipelines were setup. […] WildStar’s lack of proper build branching, using Perforce for art and code assets but NOT game data, and having a three-month turnaround from ‘content complete’ sign off to release ensured that each patch was going to be an absolute disaster.”

One (verified) former community manager didn’t confirm the sources but posted that this all sounded fairly legitimate: “Most of this is in line with my experiences. [Carbine] killed every desire I had to work in the industry anymore.”

Source: Reddit

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Warcraft rolls out a new TV spot, posts set pics with game references

World of Warcraft fans shouldn’t worry too much that the upcoming movie will be devoid of cheeky references to their favorite game. Director Duncan Jones posted a picture of a hero’s call board from the set that contains several in-game references, including those for Hogger, Darkmoon Faire, and Brewfest. He challenged fans to spot all of those call-outs and more.

Speaking of the movie, a new TV spot is out with a few new shots that weren’t seen in the previous trailer. Check it out and sound off: How high is your excitement level for this major motion picture release? The Warcraft movie comes out on June 10th.

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