Touring Trove’s new Eclipse expansion with the Trion team

The big solar eclipse may have been yesterday, but today marks the beginning of Trove’s Eclipse! And luckily, this one will last much more than a couple of minutes. Today’s the launch day for the pixel game’s big expansion that devs have been showing off on streams throughout the month. If you’ve been following the news, you know that there will be some exciting editions to Trove once those expansion doors open. I sat down with Trion Producer Rick White, Senior Animator Ted Sanger, and Art Lead Robin Luera to talk more about these changes that White noted will offer something for everyone.

“For the Eclipse expansion,” he said, “we really tried to push adding new content for our three different segments of players: our beginning players, our mid-ranged players, and our power users and endgame players.” These new features include subclasses, a gem forging system, an expanded Shadow Tower, and the worlds atlas. Let’s dig in!

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Star Citizen brought part of 3.0 to Gamescom

If you’re lucky enough to be in Cologne this week for Gamescom, make sure you make your way over to the Star Citizen booth as it appears at least part of the 3.0 build — which you’ll recall has been severely delayed and is not available for backers just yet — is playable at the con.

If you can’t be there, of course, you can just set up a dedicated rig to stream the next four days of developer shows from the con floor, “leading up to the main event on Friday night, where Chris Roberts will share the latest on Star Citizen’s development (and as always a surprise or two) with a backer-only crowd.” The whole schedule is posted up on the official site.

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ARK Park’s latest trailer goes in guns blazing

Welcome… to Jurassic Park!

What, that’s not this thing? Oh, sorry, our bad. Welcome… to ARK Park! At least it rhymes!

The virtual reality off-shoot of the immensely popular ARK: Survival Evolved is coming later this year. In a new teaser trailer, players can witness the tranquil delights of a dino-themed park, reject it, and then start shooting up the place. It’s all we know how to do, now that video games have raised us to be mindless killing machines.

“In teams of up to four, players enter the wild to collect resources and dinosaur genes, which they can later use to unlock blueprint to forge items,” Studio Wildcard said in a press release. “You would also have the options to raise newborn dinos to mountable full-grown adults. In a special story mode that caters only to hardcore fans, players need to protect the humankind from raging dinosaurs with weapons of their choice.”

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Lost Ark sails into closed beta 2 this Friday

Countdowns could mean many things. Missile launches. Christmas. New Year’s Day. Or in the case of Lost Ark, the start of its second closed beta test in Korea.

The official (Korean) site is currently sporting a countdown to this Friday, when Lost Ark’s CBT2 is set to begin. This time around, the beta is greatly expanding to include a focus on sailing, so there’s a whole lot of ocean, ship, and harbor imagery going on with the previews.

Smilegate said that the beta will also feature a new class, the opening of a brand-new continent, and more stories to experience. If you feel proficient in your Korean, you can attempt to sign up for a spot on the site!

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Revelation Online preps level cap increase and raid for September, Assassin class for November

Don’t assume that just because you’re on top of things in Revelation Online, it’s going to last that way forever. There’s an upheaval planned for next month to shake things up and give high-end players more to do.

September’s UpRising content patch will jack up the level cap to 79 and add in a brand-new raid, the Altar of Swords. The team is promoting this as the first “top-tier raid” that offers both a five- and ten-player mode as well as three difficulty levels.

The raid sounds quite foreboding: “The Altar of Swords seethes with an almost palpable aura of hatred and ordinary mortals find it stifling. According to the legend, the soul of Monethir — founder of the Blademaster School — still roams the Altar of Swords, waiting to pass on his sword techniques to those who prove themselves worthy.”

So what can top that? How about the upcoming Assassin class, which is scheduled to arrive in the game this November. However, the team is bringing it to Gamescom for attendees to experience.

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Black Desert shows off 4K console version at Gamescom

It might have gotten buried in this massive list, but Black Desert is one of the MMOs that’s slated to receive enhanced treatment by the new Xbox One X. While the console is coming out this fall, Black Desert won’t be available on it until early next year on the platform.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait until then to see how this game performs on the souped-up console. This week at Gamescom, PearlAbyss is showing off Black Desert on the Xbox One X featuring crisp and attractive “true 4K” graphics. Seeing as how the visuals is one of the most-remarked-upon features of the MMO, it seems like a smart move to wow potential players with a huge dose of eye candy.

“We are very excited to reveal the first playable Xbox One X version of Black Desert at Gamescom,” said PearlAbyss CEO Jung Kyungin, “and we are looking forward in welcoming the first adventurers to our console version, which will be playable in crisp, true 4K resolution.”

Black Desert has sold over 1.5 million copies in the North American and European markets to date.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Elite Specialization preview weekend impressions

Over the weekend Guild Wars 2 players had the chance to get to grips with the new Path of Fire elite specializations in a PvP setting, so I, of course, jumped in with both feet and tried out some of the specializations for myself.

You’ll know already if you’re familiar with my ramblings that PvP isn’t a massive love of mine, but I simply couldn’t resist giving it a go for the sake of the elite specializations. I didn’t get to sample each one for myself because I had some key family events that fell over the weekend too, but I’ve been sure to provide a brief as-I-saw-it summary of the elite specializations I didn’t get to spend time actively playing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on my preview time spent playing around with the Weaver, Holosmith, Mirage, Scourge, and Spellbreaker and watching the work of the other elite specializations. These are simply rapid-fire impressions — I had to be brief to fit them all into the span of one column — but they should nevertheless be helpful to those who didn’t get hands-on over the weekend.

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SkySaga shuts down production and goes on hold indefinitely

Very sad news today out of Radiant Worlds, which announced that Smilegate, its publishing partner, ordered that SkySaga’s development be shut down immediately and pulled support from the project. While the studio said that the game is only “on hold” and that Radiant is in a “strong financial position,” it doesn’t look good for the multiplayer title. It also sounds like there will be some serious layoffs at Radiant Worlds as a result.

Radiant Worlds is sad to announce that its work on PC-based creative sandbox and adventure game SkySaga: Infinite Isles will now cease, following the decision of its publishing partner Smilegate Entertainment to put the game on hold for an unknown period of time.

This has resulted in the failure to renew our recently expired contract, and as SkySaga is currently our only project, this has inevitably meant that we now have no ongoing source of income.

This unfortunately means that all positions at Radiant Worlds are now under threat and we expect to shortly enter a period of consultation with all staff, which is likely to lead to a large number of redundancies across the board, potentially affecting everyone.

The business has made every effort to negotiate an alternative outcome, but without success.

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The Repopulation struggles to get content patch ready for release

The faithful and hopeful fans waiting for the next stage of The Repopulation’s development might have a glimmer of hope to hang on to today. The devs announced on the forum that they had overcome “a major hurdle to deployment” of the long-awaited patch and were optimistic that the process might go a bit more smoothly from here on out.

“The changes in [the hybrid patching system] over the last 16 months has given us some of that challenge we mentioned above,” the team said, “but we believe we have finished the changes needed to push The Repopulation. Please note that once we get past the cleanup and can update The Repopulation to the latest version of HE, it will be easier and quicker.”

Ever the teases, the devs posted a few pictures of rocks, hinting that these assets are going to be part and parcel of the content update when it arrives.

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Drink in 20 glorious minutes of Blizzard Gamescom previews

While it’s no BlizzCon, Gamescom has become an increasingly important platform for Blizzard to share exciting news about its roster of games. And we’re guessing that since you’re sitting at home instead of strutting about in Germany, you aren’t going to be getting this information first-hand.

No matter; the studio put up a helpful 20-minute preview of its Gamescom news and offerings. This includes a look a Kel’Thuzad coming to Heroes of the Storm, excitement over Patch 7.3 in World of Warcraft, hype over the Junkertown map in Overwatch, and a new head-to-head mode for Hearthstone called Fireside Brawl.

It doesn’t look like there will be any show-stopping surprises, but it’s still good to see Blizzard out in full force for this show. Check it out after the break!

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SWTOR delays Update 5.4 by a day due to a last-minute bug

Sorry to rain on your Umbara parade, SWTOR players, but you’re going to have to wait an extra day to dive into the August update.

The devs announced that they had to delay the patch in order to fix a serious issue with the new instance: “As we do with all updates, we continually test until it goes out the door. From this testing we discovered a critical bug with the Crisis on Umbara flashpoint. This bug can prevent a substantial amount of gameplay when a player experiences it, from not playing the intro cinematic to not allowing re-entry into the instance. Due to the severity of the bug, we are not comfortable releasing the game update in its current state.”

Update 5.4 is now scheduled to deploy first thing Wednesday morning. The silver lining to all of this is that the team has lowered the cost for the Umbara train stronghold from two million down to a much more reasonable 5,000 credits.

Source: SWTOR

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The Daily Grind: Do MMORPG studios worry too much about player retention?

Back in March, we used a Richard Bartle blog post to discuss retention in MMOs and how developers could up their stickiness factor. But in rereading it, I notice that most of us took as a given that MMOs want to increase their retention in the first place. And I’m not so sure they do anymore.

What studios actually want is to make money. For subscription games, sure, retention is equivalent to direct and obvious money in the bank. But for free-to-play and buy-to-play games, it’s not quite so direct. Presumably, roping players in, bringing them back again and again and keeping them playing for years, increases the likelihood that they will buy something. But instead of spending resources trying to make that happen in MMOs, why not just spend resources on, say, paid DLC and expansions, which you know a sizable number of people will buy flat out? And who cares if they leave in between as long as you got their money?

Are we not already seeing that exact model for non-subscription MMOs? Do MMORPG devs worry too much about player retention?

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Mass Effect: Andromeda ends single-player support, forges on with multiplayer updates

It’s the end of the line for Mass Effect: Andromeda, as BioWare announced this past weekend that it had no further plans to develop single-player content for its sci-fi RPG. Fortunately, several projects to expand the game’s multiplayer aspect are still in the works.

“Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content,” BioWare posted on the game’s site. “In the coming weeks, our multiplayer team will provide details of their ongoing support and upcoming content, including new multiplayer missions, character kits, and what’s in store for N7 Day.”

Andromeda failed to live up to the high studio and fan expectations, netting mixed reviews and a 72% Metacritic score following its March 2017 release. With work being done on other projects, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and the upcoming multiplayer Anthem, BioWare may be looking to reallocate team members to needed departments.

Source: Andromeda via PC Gamer

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