Betawatch: Pantheon has a class that’s too cool for you (April 28, 2017)

Remember when Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen bombed pretty badly on Kickstarter? The good news for fans is that the day when that happened is in the past in every way; the game just completed another round of funding, and now it’s on very stable financial footing with its 15-person team. To celebrate, it made a class so cool only the head developer can play it. If you thought that naming your own avatar a lord and the dominant force in an entire game world would be the apex of nerdy self-insertion, you were apparently wrong.

Other beta news does not, however, include quite so much stuff to have a smile and a giggle about. It’s mostly just news. See, we’ll show you.

And, yes, there’s a list down below. There’s always a list. Let us know if something’s missing, jumped phases, or whatever. We appreciate it!

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Hover sparks a cel-shaded parkour revolution

That meanie oppressive future government! Always keeping the people under its foot and draining every penny from the masses for its insatiable neon budget! What’s there to be done?

Fortunately, we have gamers to the rescue in the early access title Hover. Revolting against the authorities, these gamers do what comes naturally: engaging in death-defying parkour. Seriously, it does look pretty cool, like Tron meets Mirror’s Edge with a more casual and goofy attitude. It’s not just outracing the Man, either; there’s at least one type of sports game that can be played with your friends or internet strangers too.

Hover: Revolt of Gamers is $20 right now in early access, and you can watch the trailer after the jump!

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World of Tanks overhauls its matchmaking system

Calling Patch 9.18 “one of the most significant ever” for World of Tanks, Wargaming overhauled the game’s matchmaking system this week as part of a concerted effort to address some troublesome areas.

So how does this matchmaking overhaul make the game better? “The improved matchmaker assembles teams choosing from a set of server-based algorithms — templates — so that both camps always have the same number of vehicles at the top/middle/bottom of the list. It also limits the number of SPGs per side to 3 at the most and significantly reduces the instances of map duplications.”

In short, fewer unfair matches and more battles in which you’ll have an honest shot at victory. The update also changed SPGs to become long-range artillery support for teams and revised the light tank lines to spread them all of the way to Tier X.

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PSA: The Culling is free to try this weekend

Brutal deathmatch arena game The Culling has temporarily reduced the financial barrier to entry, allowing anyone to try it out for free this weekend.

From now through Sunday, The Culling can be accessed for free through Steam. Additionally, the early access title is 33% off through May 1st, bringing the price down to $16.74.

Changes and adjustments are still being rolled out on a rapid basis to the in-development game, such as the re-introduction of the stagger mechanic while blocking. “The nature of weakness and feeble created scenarios where it was nearly impossible to overcome a HP disadvantage because the weakened player was capable of forcing damage trades,” the devs said. “We want players to have the opportunity to overcome any HP deficit through skillful play — stagger creates that opportunity.”

Source: Steam

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Echo of Soul is heading to China (again)

Good news, Echo of Soul fans in China: The game is coming back. (It’s not coming back in North America, it never left. It’s remaining here. It’s still here. Nothing has changed.) The title is heading to the country once again under the care of the small and heretofore largely unknown publisher Hoga.

This isn’t the first time the Korean title has been imported to China, but the first attempt under publisher ChangYou was unsuccessful and closed down back in 2015. Still, it seems that the order of the day is to not let a little thing like failing to capture the market share the first time prevent companies from making a second attempt, so it’s time for another go. Remember, kids: If at first you don’t succeed, find a new publisher and try again in a year.

Source: MMO Culture

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Chronicles of Elyria answers player questions in a two-hour video

The Chronicles of Elyria team hosted a public community Q&A session, and players had questions. And those questions… well, they were answered. Extensively. The resultant stream was just shy of two hours long, which means by all rights it should have its own trailers and a cast poster. And now you can watch the whole thing just past the break.

You will probably not wish to do so if you are at work, however. Your boss will probably notice two hours of video.

Of course, as you might expect from a lengthy video, the topics range far and wide, from PvP penalties to combat systems to elaborate conspiracy theories regarding the shooter on the grassy knoll. (All right, that last one’s a fib.) Strap in, grab some popcorn, and if you want to do some voiceover work for the trailer you’re workshopping in your head… well, don’t tell us.

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Build your very own Space Shuttle Endeavour in Star Conflict’s new event

Feeling nostalgic for the shuttle program? How about the Cold War manifested in an escalating space industry? MMO space sim Star Conflict has you covered: This week, it’s launched an event called Space Race as part of its Ancestral Heritage patch to help you recreate that bygone space tech age. Oh, and there are now plasma cannon. Did we mention that?

“While the American Space Shuttle Endeavour and the Soviet Spiral Aerospace System are visually almost indistinguishable from their historic predecessors, the space engineers of Star Conflict have introduced significant improvements. Now featuring plasma cannons and special combat modules, both spacecraft have become dangerous opponents even for the ships common to the fifth millennium. The Space Shuttle Endeavour is perfectly suited for steadfast pilots and can function as a full-fledged Frigate-class warship capable of protecting its allies in combat. Taking advantage of its heavy armor protection, players can activate the Endeavour’s ‘Phase Demodulator’ module which forces enemies to focus their fire on it and away from other team members in the fleet, providing cover during a fight. The Spiral Aerospace System will appeal to all pilots that like to rapidly change their tactics, as its two special modules allow it to function either as a single or two separate spacecraft. In its unified state, the Spiral is a potent Engineering vessel capable of assisting its allies in various ways, while in its separated state the detached module can, for a limited time, act as a very powerful interceptor.”

Through May 14th, Conflicteers will zip through multiple types of missions for rewards that’ll help you build your very own shuttle. Check out the vids below to get your nostalgia on!

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Overwatch hits 30M players, makes Chinese free-to-play test plans

Blizzard has just announced that Overwatch has just counted 30 million players. That’s buyers, mind you, as the game is buy-to-play.

However, a limited free-to-play Overwatch is actually happening, albeit with two caveats: It’s only going to be for the month of May, and it’s only rolling out in China. Blizzard announced that all heroes and all maps will be available for free from May 1st through the 31st in China. The only exception is competitive mode, which will not be available for the F2P crowd. Players can take the game out for a spin and even keep their progress if they purchase the game after that month.

Meanwhile, Overwatch fans who are a little peeved at having to play Heroes of the Storm to earn special skins should be consoled by the word that these skins will eventually come to Overwatch’s lootboxes in the future. Anything else Blizzard can do for you? Fluff your pillow? Tell you a bedtime story? OK then.

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The Stream Team: Ranger danger in Osiris New Dawn

Osiris: New Dawn just launched its new patch, and Massively OP’s MJ is diving into a brand-new world to play the new Ranger class. Honestly, she just wants to explore the new landscapes, which are pretty spiffy-looking. Maybe she will stumble across a dungeon, but hopefully not before she has a bit more of an arsenal built up. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to check out the latest changes.

What: Osiris: New Dawn
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 28th, 2017

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Former Funcom execs convicted, sentenced in insider trading case

The insider trading case that’s embroiled the former leadership of MMORPG studio Funcom has finally come to a close today with convictions and sentences for three of the four executives charged.

Recall that Trond Arne Aas resigned from his CEO role at Funcom in 2012 on the very same day that The Secret World launched (and underperformed), after which he sold off a significant portion of his stocks, prompting the investigation and the 2014 raid on Funcom’s offices by the Norwegian economic crime unit in connection with its securities fraud investigation. Last year, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime charged Aas and three other former company executives with market manipulation and insider trading for their role in what ØKOKRIM characterized as the 2011-2012 “pump and dump” financial scandal. The trial began last November; all four men maintained their innocence, with at least one attorney denouncing ØKOKRIM for “activism.”

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The Repopulation updates graphic shaders, QA pipeline ahead of May update

How’s The Repopulation coming along? Well, it’s coming. Last week, the newly installed Idea Fabrik developers discussed how the planned May update is progressing with bug fixes and a smoother pipeline for actually identifying, reporting, and correcting issues. The big news, however, is the new shaders that provide a big visual upgrade to the game world (though the team notes flora isn’t in — you can check out the before and after shots below).

“The lore team is looking at shoring up a few things, getting a consistency and looking at future ideas,” Hobble writes. “A new launcher is being built, this may or may not make 15.10.1, but there are a few inconsistencies to do with Steam/Stand Alone that we wish to sort out.”

And Hero Engine also brought back online the EU server, which was taken down for database issues yesterday.

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See the Sea of Thieves devs become tourists in their own game

Just because you make a game doesn’t mean that you are an automatic expert in it. In the latest Sea of Thieves developer gameplay video, the team shows that even they can become tourists under the right circumstances.

This week, the devs faced off against a team of Xbox players as they raced to scour islands, dig up treasure, and sprint back to a safe port with their booty. Armed conflict and plenty of deaths ensue while the devs start caterwauling in distress.

See the devs play the role of noobs below!

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World of Warcraft breaks a popular add-on for world quests to fix performance issues

The current flow of clearing World Quests in World of Warcraft is pretty straightforward. You see that there’s a world quest out there offering a reward you want, you head for it, you’ve got an hour left. You reach the location, then you find other people killing everything around you and not letting you get a hit in. Well, unless you were using World Quest Group Finder, which allowed you to auto-form and auto-join ongoing groups, ensuring that you were always in the right group to take on group or solo quests as you arrived.

You know where this is going. The addon’s functionality has been prevented with the latest update by Blizzard.

Lest you think this was a purely malicious act, the official rationale is that the addon was causing serious performance issues affecting everyone in the game, and by forcing manual prompts rather than automatically forming groups players will enjoy a smoother play experience. At the same time, it was a popular addon which shored up a major weakness in the world quest structure, so players are quite unhappy that it’s not working. The most recent update to the addon alters its functionality to still provide utility despite the changes, but it’s still going to require more work than just showing up and teaming up from here on out.

Source: Official Forums, Addon Page; thanks to Sally for the tip!

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