Gamescom 2017: Hearthstone’s Hearth and Home animated short

As part of its Gamescom presentation today, Blizzard has just revealed a new “musical animated short” for card battler Hearthstone. It centers on the backstory Harth Stonebrew’s tavern, and it’s Blizzard, so it’s cute all on its own.

“The Tavern is a warm and welcoming place full of laughter, camaraderie, and good-natured competition, and home to a charming cast of characters assembled from every corner of Azeroth. This includes vibrant and (mostly) friendly folks such as Malto, the kindly old mage; and Sarge, the Tavern’s resident mouse. The personalities in this ethereal inn draw inspiration from the many types of Hearthstone players who enjoy Hearthstone in real life. Whether they’re seasoned pros or just getting into the game like the young protagonist Ava, there’s a place in the Tavern for everyone.”

Expect more shorts and comics coming, Blizz says. We just want to see more singing gobbos. Enjoy!

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Perfect Ten: MMO experiments in transmedia synergy

We’re not going to argue that MMORPGs are the dominant form of media entertainment these days, but they do have endurance and a devoted following among gamers. And whenever a crowd of players have been paying into a game for a long time, it will attract the attention and interest of marketers who start wondering what else they could do to siphon off a few more bucks.

Enter “transmedia synergy,” a stupidly awesome term that represents links between two or more forms of media that are connected through the same IP. The thinking here is that fans of one of these forms of entertainment will cross over into the related media and vice-versa, growing an audience together.

Today we’re going to look at 10 experiments in transmedia synergy, for better or for worse, that have attempted to cross over from MMORPG to something else entirely. To make things more challenging, we’re not going to include novels, since we’ve already done that.

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Overwatch retools competitive mode, apologizes to Aussie fans

Overwatch is gearing up to tinker with competitive play once again, according to a new dev video from Blizzard game director Jeff Kaplan. He explains that the biggest change in season six will be that it’s shorter: two months, not three months. A one-month season, he says, feels too short, but three months has turned out to a bit of a drag, with engagement being much higher earlier on, hence a two-month test to see how it goes.

Concurrently, competitive points will be rescaled to the new season length, skill rating decay at the lower tiers of play is under review (five games per week down from seven, and decay reduced from 50 to 25), and higher-tier matches should see better skill ratings, stronger balance, and longer queue times to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Blizzard has apologized to Aussie fans who accused it of “cultural insensitivity” for some goofups in the Junkertown map — specifically, the use of American slang where Aussie slang would more properly be used (take-out instead of take-away) and a voiceover line (“they thought they could take our land“) that observers suggest is oblivious to Australia’s historical and modern relationship with indigenous people and their territory.

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EverQuest II brings out more familiars and expert raids with Game Update 104

Don’t fret that your summer’s slipping away; revel in the final days of August here, as EverQuest II delivered a new game update yesterday to keep players busy and happy.

Game Update 104 built upon the foundation that GU103 laid, adding more features such as familiars, proving grounds, and expert raids. The team added 30 additional pets with the patch, some of which can be found in-game while others are only available for purchase through the store.

Another notable change was a big class balance pass: “With GU 104, there [is] a rather large balance pass which adjusts the outgoing damage across most classes, focusing primarily on Assassin, Wizard, and the Warlock class but most classes will experience some increase. Further updates have also been made to abilities for some of the support classes. This is by no means the final balance pass, and there will be lots of changes and improvements coming with the expansion.”

Source: EverQuest II

 

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Black Desert censures Pearl Abyss Taiwan employees found cheating

Let this Black Desert story be a lesson. Actually, no, let it be two lessons: Don’t cheat, and definitely don’t cheat if your job might be on the line. Maybe three lessons, in that we can’t always trust the people running the MMOs we play.

Black Desert, as MMO Culture reports, has suffered a black eye thanks to its Taiwanese studio. Apparently, a pair of Pearl Abyss Taiwan employees in the region used their personal, non-employee accounts to play the game during maintenance (while it was down for regular players), scooping up some sweet loot from the auction hall in the process.

“Both were stripped of their positions,” MMO Culture translates, “and 30% of their pay will be withheld for 3 months.” So apparently they keep their jobs?

OK, so four lessons: The penalties probably won’t be harsh enough.

Over in the west, there’s no patch today, but there are new bits and bobs in the cash shop this week.

Source: MMO Culture

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ARK won’t be featuring console crossplay any time soon

Friends and family separated by gaming platforms won’t be coming together for a joyous reunion any time soon if they’re playing ARK: Survival Evolved.

Crossplay between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 crowds remains a future dream, as Sony is stubbornly refusing to allow its kids to play with the neighbors. What makes this situation that much more agonizing is the fact that such crossplay is functional right here and now. ARK’s Jeremy Stieglitz reported on Twitter that “we have it working internally, but currently Sony won’t allow it.”

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time as the industry starts to shift in that direction. Earlier this week, we reported the Sea of Thieves will be featuring crossplay between Xbox One and PC crowds when it launches next year.

ARK: Survival Evolved is looking to finally launch the game across all platforms on August 29th.

Source: Gamasutra

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Gamescom 2017: The Crew 2 races to release on March 16, 2018

Start planning the next leg of your cross-country vacation now because Ubisoft announced this week at Gamescom that it will be launching The Crew 2 on March 16th, 2018. This release will take place simultaneously on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

A beta is forthcoming at some point, but players can go ahead and pre-order one of the editions right now. There are three, ranging from standard to gold, but by purchasing any of them in advance, players can secure a Mercedes-AMG C 63 Touring Car and the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 as bonuses.

To fuel your excitement, there are a pair of trailers to show off the game and its legendary motors bonuses after the break!

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Path of Exile debuts in China, teases next expansion for December

First it was the launch of its nest expansion, The Fall of Oriath. Then it was its launch on the Xbox One. And now Path of Exile is rounding out an exciting and exhausting month of activity by coming to China for the first time.

“For two years, we have been working with Tencent to bring Path of Exile to China,” Grinding Gear Games said. “After many months of beta testing, we are proud to announce that it has entered open beta today. Their release includes all of the 3.0.0 content and some specific changes for the Chinese region.”

The studio said that this was a “big thing” for the game’s worldwide plans, but that’s not all it’s working on: In fact, GGG is working planning its next expansion.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your comfort MMO?

In all of the years that I’ve been playing MMORPGs, I’ve noticed that it is far, far easier to return to a known property and a beloved game than trying a new one out for the first time. The learning curve is less, you have an idea of what you’re in for, and there’s always the possibility of falling in love with the game all over again.

I call these comfort MMOs, and I have a few that see my grand return every year. Coming back to games like Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, or RIFT tends to be a warm and welcoming event without the anxiety of having to learn and evaluate a foreign game.

What are your comfort MMOs? Which titles have you returned to time and again because you’re too attached and enjoy knowing exactly what you’re going to experience?

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft’s wild frontier

How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.

“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”

Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to  the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!

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Moonlight Blade charges toward a final closed beta in September

It’s the final countdown to the final closed beta for Moonlight Blade! Right now, Nexon is laying the groundwork for the game’s final beta test in Korea. And you know what that means: launch and hopefully movement toward the western shores!

Right now through September 3rd, Moonlight Blade is accepting sign-ups for the test. Following that, the closed beta will run from September 7th through the 20th. There’s even a brand-new website up to make the whole deal look that much more official and bump up the hype somewhat.

Go flying with all of the classes and their styles after the break!

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The Stream Team: Exploring Trove’s Eclipse expansion (plus giveaway)

Trove’s Eclipse is happening today, and Massively OP’s MJ is going to experience it. And she gets to do so from the comfort of her own home (unlike other eclipses that shall go unnamed). She’s pretty excited to check out the Shadow Tower for her very first time. She’s also intrigued by the subclass system. Which class will be her first subclass? Join us live live at 7:00 p.m. to explore this new expansion with her. If you do, you might also win 100 Moonwing Dragon souls, which will let you max out the Moonwing Dragon Ascension and get all its goodies!

What: Trove
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

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This Soulworker Online trailer might make you a true believer

There comes those tipping-point moments in following MMOs where an upcoming game goes from being of passing interest to “OK, now you have my full and undivided attention.” If you’ve only been lightly keeping track of the anime MMO Soulworker Online, this new gameplay trailer might become one of those moments for you.

The fast-and-furious trailer is full of cel shaded poses and kinetic combat, giving players a feel for the post-apocalyptic contemporary world that sets this title apart from many of its peers. And if it does hook you, then good news: You could get to play the beta as early as the end of this year.

Give it a watch below and let us know what you think!

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