Champions Online slashes prices on freeform characters, three for 60 bucks

At the beginning of June, PWE announced big changes for Champions Online: It was planning to drop the game’s optional monthly subscription in favor of a one-time purchase premium pack. But players were deeply concerned over the move, chiefly because of the way freeform character slots work. Subscribers receive access to freeform characters – that is, characters who can take nearly any power from any tree rather than be hemmed in by an archtype layout, but losing that access would mean they’d have to pay the free-to-play price of $50 per character.

PWE wisely put the switchover on hold, but now, it appears it may have sorted out a solution, as it announced that it’s reducing the cost of all character slots and freeform slots “starting today” – which sure sounds like a permanent reduction. Freeform slots themselves now work out to $30 apiece or $60 for three, while character slots are 100 ZEN apiece or 10 for 700 – the latter are so cheap they may as well be free.

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Closers details the effects of removing the game’s fatigue system

When you’re enjoying a game, the last thing you want to be told is that it’s time to stop playing for a while because the game is too tired. So it’s for the best that Closers is yanking that mechanic with the removal of the game’s fatigue system with the game’s next patch. But how will that affect the game as a whole? Why, the FAQ will answer all of those questions!

In terms of overall balance, it shouldn’t affect too much; there are already limitations to entering dungeons and those won’t be changed, and the team is keeping a close eye on the overall balance of items and economy. Players will likely have their existing fatigue potions converted to credits for the Matter Mixer (exact amounts are still being determined), and other consumables will replace stamina potions in starter packs. Similarly, stamina potions found as rewards will be replaced with equivalent rewards. Check out the full rundown for more answers on what the system’s removal will mean.

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Blade and Soul crushes summer boredom with its Celestial Dawn patch

Aww, don’t be sad, weird little old man with long pierced bunny rabbit ears! I know you’re feeling left without purpose, now that you’re in the summer months, but may we suggest a little Blade and Soul to inject a spark of direction in your life?

After so much build up you’d think this patch is an expansion, Blade and Soul’s Celestial Dawn arrived yesterday and gave the MMO’s players a whole lot to do for the next month or so. You’ve got a fight against the Grand Celestial Emporer with the final addition to the Nightfall Sanctuary raid, the start of two bonus events, the new augment feature, and plenty of system changes. You’re going to want to read up on the patch notes for this, seriously.

Before NCsoft lets go of its excitement for this patch, it had to indulge in a couple of videos to trumpet how awesome it is. “It” being the studio or the update, take your pick.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Future plot points for SWTOR and other unanswered lore questions

Last night, BioWare Creative Director Charles Boyd and Community Manager Eric Musco were guests on the Passionately Casual Podcast to discuss the lore of Star Wars: The Old Republic. And since I host a segment on that podcast regularly about roleplaying in the Star Wars universe, I got to sit in on that interview and pose my own questions about the current and upcoming lore for the game.

I realized after listening to the questions that I asked last night that some of them deserve a follow-up to help strengthen your understanding of where the question came from or understand why I put forth the question in the first place. I’d like to spend a moment talking about the answers that Boyd gave to my questions and what I think they mean for the MMORPG. Of course, there might be some spoilers for the latest additions to the game story, but if you’ve not played through it by now and are still reading this column, spoilers probably aren’t that important to you.

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Overwatch explains how the new group finder shouldn’t affect win chances

Absolutely no one likes to start a match in Overwatch and then immediately feel outmatched. It’s easy to look at the game’s upcoming group finder feature as something tailor-made to produce just that; suddenly it’ll be easier to form full groups and just stomp the uncoordinated group of randos on the other side. But a new post on the official site explains that this is unlikely, especially as the game’s matchmaking system already assigns a win probability to the match and simply doesn’t create the match if the odds are worse than 60-40.

The whole post details lots of math and systems going on behind the scenes of the matchmaker. Rating changes are unaffected by your group and are entirely based on your projected odds of winning, your overall performance, how long you’ve been playing, and so forth. Meanwhile, full groups of six players are already overwhelmingly likely to at least be matched against other teams consisting of at least one pre-formed group, so the odds of this dramatically changing seem low. If you want to know about what goes on beneath the hood for Overwatch matchmaking, this would be a good thing to read.

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Descent, the future of space mining

Fallout 76 wasn’t the only Interplay throwback at E3 2018: Descent, one of the games that defined the six degrees of freedom genre, is no longer underground. That is, the former title has changed because Interplay’s embraced the game and given the developers full support.

Descendent Studios team is hard at work on launch, Little Orbit CEO Matt Scott met with us to discuss what’s been going on in the past several years of development. Nostalgia aside, I went in expecting the worst: long-abandoned IP, Kickstarted game, indie team, extended public development, and fairly quiet presence on social media. However, I came out very pleased. While the game may not be an MMORPG, what I saw and heard makes me think that this may be the space experience I’ve been waiting for.

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Neverwinter counts 18M players as it celebrates its fifth birthday

Eighteen million! No, that’s not how many dollars you’ve dumped into your Steam account; that’s just about how many people have played Neverwinter in the last five years since it officially launched way back in 2013 on PC – now, of course, it counts people on Xbox One and PS4 as well.

“Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios are proud to announce Neverwinter, the free-to-play MMORPG set in the Forgotten Realms (and beyond), has officially reached its 5th Anniversary. Nearly 18 million adventurers worldwide have experienced the action-packed journey through several iconic Dungeons & Dragons settings and stories.”

Perfect World and Cryptic have put out infographic today, and yes, it includes the sorry fact that 14,000 of you rolled a Drizzt clone. GUYS. STOPPIT. There’s a brand-new developer video celebrating the occasion too. Happy birthday, Neverwinter!

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Bless Online patches in a 3v3 arena and class buffs as players call for server merges

Bless Online is trucking out a brand-new patch today. The highlight is the Certanon Arena, essentially a 3v3 best-of-five PvP minigame for level 45 toons; it’s subject to time gating, do note, and opens only at 6 p.m. EDT each evening. Neowiz has also performed a wide-ranging balancing patch on armor, with effects that pertain to every class in the game. Every class is further seeing its own tweaks; Berserkers and Rangers in particular will be pleased as punch with their righteous buffs.

Meanwhile on Reddit, players are currently debating whether the game should merge servers as a result of the loss of players – or they would be, if most of the threads calling for merges weren’t apparently being wiped away by the mods. A few stragglers referring to those threads do remain; one asserts that the studio might not care it’s losing players – after all, as one poster argued, “they’ve already got your money.”

The game peaked around 34,000 concurrent players at the beginning of its early access launch. Within the last day, peak concurrency has fallen to just over 7000 on Steam Charts.

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EU’s Copyright Directive proposal has Second Life and Roblox players worried

A proposed law that’s making its way through the European Union’s legislative bodies has both players and studios worried that a wave of oppressive censorship might be on the way for video games (never mind other publishers, bloggers, and internet users!).

The law in question is called the Copyright Directive, which is being designed to protect (obviously) copyrights. The problem is that there are multiple provisions that are “vaguely worded and ripe for abuse,” including one that would make it a law to check everything uploaded online for possible copyright infringement.

Online games such as Second Life and Roblox that rely heavily on player-created and -uploaded material are at risk for possible censorship from an automated filter that will most likely not be up to the task.

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Glassdoor marks Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime as a great boss but says the studio’s salaries are too low

If you had to go work for a major corporation, what would factor into that decision? Having a great boss might be a consideration, and if that’s the case, then Blizzard Entertainment has this covered.

According to Glassdoor, a site in which employees give their companies anonymous reviews, Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime is one of the top CEOs of a large company according to 2018 rankings. Morhaime placed 23rd on the list of 100.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized on this list,” Morhaime tweeted. “Thanks to everyone at Blizzard for making it such a great place to work.”

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The Daily Grind: How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime?

VentureBeat noticed this week that it’s possible to figure out just how much money you’ve blown on video games, at least through Steam, by using Valve’s “account spend tool.” A lot of people clicking that tool are about to get a sobering reminder that they’d better stay on Valve’s good side if they don’t want thousands of dollars’ worth of games whisked away into an account black hole.

My own number… well, let’s just say that it’s not nearly as bad as I was fearing. I’ve spent far more money on World of Warcraft than I’ve spent on Steam. But that’s probably because most MMORPGs I’ve paid into for so many years aren’t there, and most of what I do buy on Steam is deeply on sale. And my husband and I have our accounts linked too, so we don’t double buy much. I escaped easy – less than the VentureBeat writer!

How about you? How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime? Does the number give you pause about just how inured to digital distribution we’ve all become?

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Worlds Adrift teaches you to git gud, promises instruments someday

Still having a rough time in Worlds Adrift? Bossa Studios has a new humorous guide out to help players “git gud.” Among the tips recommended by players: Use the builder to drop construction objects on your enemies’ head, point your cannon backwards to make yourself look less threatening, always ask before entering other players’ space, and cover your awesome ship with crappy parts to hide its awesomeness. Basically, be the Millennium Falcon.

Most recently, Bossa updated the game with the 0.2.1.1 patch, which added crouching, rolling, and sneaking, as well as improved the cameras, implemented an emote system, tweaked climbing, and fixed a ton of bugs. “YES – instruments are planned in the game,” says the studio.

This weekend, the devs are plotting multiple fun summer events across all the servers – make sure you check out the rolling schedule because there are indeed some sweet prizes, including engine schematic, cosmetics, lootbags, and “your ship immortalised in Dan Lish art.”

Git gud below.

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The Stream Team: A first look at Bless Online

There was a time Massively OP’s MJ was looking forward to the western release of Bless Online. Well, it’s finally made it here, if not actually launched. However, news hasn’t been all that great for the title. So how is it? MJ is venturing in to take a peek, and she’s taking you with her (not as a meat-shield, promise). Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look…

What: Bless Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

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