Albion’s Hector update brings the Black Market, revised Hellgates, and revised Outlands

Hector is coming! That’s not a person’s name; it’s the name of an update in Albion Online, so you can spare yourself getting a cake ready and all of that. But there’s still a fair bit to do with the update, since Hector brings the introduction of the game’s Black Market as well as revised Hellgates and Outlands for players to explore. The Black Market allows you to sell items which will then be resold to enemies around the world as drops, so you can get rid of that unwanted sword and let someone else pick it up unexpectedly after fighting a beetle.

Outlands are seeing their harbors and cities removed (which means players will need to retrieve items stored there before the patch), replaced with portals that allow quick travel in and out. Resources and watchtowers are being tweaked to allow all players access to the region while maintaining a sense of danger. Hellgates, meanwhile, have a new map layout, new minions and mechanics, and new tiers of difficulty for various players. You’ll be able to try all of this yourself on June 7th, so make sure to grab items from the Outlands settlements before then.

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Ship of Heroes upgrades its graphic engine

Even superheroes like to look their best.

The Ship of Heroes team announced that it just finished updating the game’s graphic engine to Unreal Engine 4.14.3, which will give the devs some shiny new toys to integrate into the upcoming sci-fi MMO. The update was not to the Unreal Engine’s latest build, as the devs prefer to stay a step behind so as to work with a trusted and stable version.

“What does this mean for the Ship of Heroes team?” the devs asked. “Well, we’d like to highlight one particularly helpful new feature: in 4.14, Epic has added a tool which enables developers to generate lower level of detail (LOD) variations for static meshes with a few clicks.  It sounds simple, but this is a big time-saver for artists who no longer have to spend time creating those lower-detail LODs manually. ”

As a bonus, these LOD variation buildings have a fraction of the polygon count of the original structures, offering faster load time and smoother playfield rendering.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 118: Crowfall breaks up the band

Just when you think the MMO industry is predictable, it jukes and jags all over the place, tossing out surprises left and right in an attempt to shake you off its tail (or to pull you in, we haven’t decided on that one yet). Marking one of the most unpredictable news weeks of 2017, Bree and Justin ride out westerns, space operas, and fantasies with aplomb.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Win That War hauls out a ‘truly massive scale RTS”

Remember when real-time strategy games were all the rage and not games where you did weird things with dino poop to stay alive? Insane Unity does, which is why the studio is building a MMORTS called Win That War.

“The heart of the Win That War experience lies in a massively multiplayer online campaign, in which opposing factions wage merciless war to conquer territories at planetary scale,” the team explains. Players join up with one of three retro-futuristic factions to conquer the galaxy one planet at a time.

Win That War just launched on Steams early access and includes a PvE mode for those who would rather beat up a computer than a fellow gamer. The game’s not free to check out, alas; it costs $20 to purchase at this stage of testing. Check out the trailer after the break!

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Overwatch kicks off its anniversary event and slashes game prices

It’s been a year since Overwatch launched, and in that time the game has added new heroes, new maps, and several limited-time events of varying popularity. So naturally, the best way to celebrate the anniversary is with another limited-time event and associated loot boxes. Pop into one of the three new arena maps and look for new sprays, new skins, and new dancing emotes for various characters; you can check below for screenshots and a video showing them off.

If all of this is irrelevant to you as you haven’t picked up the game, good news! You can do that even cheaper. The Game of the Year edition contains all of the bonuses of the Origins Edition released at launch and is going for $39.99 during the anniversary event, while the basic game is now priced at $29.99. (And yes, you can upgrade to the GotY edition later.) The anniversary event lasts until June 12th, while the sales are only active until June 3rd.

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Revelation Online’s Iceborn update melts on your PC today

Revelation Online‘s Iceborn update is live in the game today as promised. The big draw is the faction war for level 40+ characters, along with what My.com has dubbed “Inner Demon Trials,” which are not an existential test but are in fact small-group portal dungeons. Yeah, strange demon portals, what could go wrong?

“The update introduces a full-scale Guild versus Guild tournament, a new ice cold battleground and exciting new trials for adventurers to test themselves in. Situated at the top of the world, the Snowpine Peak Battleground unfolds a new chapter in the faction war between two known races in Nuanor. The feathered Wingar and the furry Ursids are at each other’s throat and it is up to each player to select a faction and jump in to determine the outcome!”

Get caught up with the launch trailer, which we’ve tucked down below.

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Crowfall explains the logic and breadth of passive powers

It is reasonable to assume that anyone who has spent a bit of time playing MMOs is familiar with the basic concept of passive powers. They’re powers you don’t click to operate, they just… work. But Crowfall is taking the concept a bit further with its passive powers, as players will start with a variety of passives from race, class, and any disciplines chosen. At this time, three can be slotted, but these powers are not limited to selections like beating things up with more power.

For example, are you just starting to gather? You can equip gathering passives which will allow you to gather more resources when you’re just starting out. Have an otherwise great weapon with an awful power cost modifier? Equip a passive to drop your power costs again and balance it out. Invested a lot of points in leadership? Equip the Group Leadership skill and unlock powerful buffs as long as you’re in the lead of the party. It’s a multi-faceted system, in other words, and there should be no shortage of interesting combinations to build for dedicated players.

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Warframe developer confirms retro hybrid shooter Keystone

Warframe has been positively kicking ass this past year, doing what MMOs seldom do: continue breaking its own concurrency records four years in. So is Digital Extremes content to just roll around in piles of money? Nope — it’s put together a second team to build another game.

It’s called Keystone, and as announced today, it’s a “competitive first-person shooter with a distinct blend of first-person action and deck-building strategies” with an appealing retrofuturist vibe.

“With the look and feel of the 1970’s retro-pulp era, Keystone will take players on a journey through a multi-verse that begins on the starting square of an intriguing, mystical board game. Players will wield unique decks of cards throughout the match that offer handy benefits, amazing powers, and fearsome weapons. With timing and resourcefulness, personally customized decks give players the upper hand in battle both individually and when strategically coupled with teammates’ decks.”

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Global Chat: Saying goodbye to The Secret World

With the move to put The Secret World in maintenance mode and shift focus to the rebooted Secret World Legends, one MMO blogger decided that it was time to say goodbye to his stable of characters by logging each of them out in meaningful locations.

“It is now clear that The Secret World’s days are numbered,” Tyler of Superior Realities writes. “I have decided to say goodbye to the game while I still can, conducting a final tour of some of my favourite parts of the game and finding thematically appropriate ways to retire my many characters. And taking an unhealthy number of screenshots.”

I’ve seen others do this sort of thing, especially when an MMO ends, and it almost never fails to be touching and profound. These games meant something to us, and when we say farewell, it can be an emotion-laden funeral for time well spent.

Join us today as we tour around other essays from the MMO blogosphere, including an examination of class customization, musings on SWTOR’s road map, and a balloon ride in World of Warcraft.

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Destiny 2 hits the almighty reset button

Destiny 2 tells a brand-new story. What happens when a world full of superheroes loses their powers, their history, and their home?”

The big almighty reset button is coming to the Destiny franchise with its sequel, and in a new gameplay video, the devs show off snippets of the title while setting the scene for the story to come. A new villain, Dominus Gal, arrives in the solar system with his Red Legion, looking to take the Light away from Guardians. Players begin the game stumbling, shorn of their abilities, and without a friendly base to protect them.

Reclaiming your powers and taking back the City is the overarching goal of Destiny 2. “It’s a fresh start for all players,” promised the team.

Check it out after the break!

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Here’s when Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind will launch around the globe

Turns out that a fifth of you are already deep in The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind head start early access period thanks to your having preordered the game on PC. You are dismissed from reading, though you might want to listen up anyway to learn just when the masses (another fifth of you) will be joining you in Vvardenfell: It’s June 6th as planned, at 5 a.m. EDT in the morning. Yes, the literal crack of dawn (or earlier!) for those of us here in the US, and smack in the middle of the work day for Europeans. And yes, there will be a “maintenance period” for consoles ahead of the launch.

“Retailers worldwide will allow players to purchase the game and pick-up pre-orders in advance to allow for pre-loading,” ZeniMax noted today. “In North America, customers will be able to pick-up ESO: Morrowind on the evening of June 5, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time. In Europe, the game will be available when retail stores open on the morning of June 6.” Check out the map to figure out when to set your wakey-wakey alarm!

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Rootin’ tootin’ saloons confirmed for Wild West Online

What would a western MMORPG be like if it didn’t include the classic saloon? A darn poor game, that’s what. Fortunately, Wild West Online confirmed that these taverns will be part of the game, although it’s uncertain what features they will offer.

Wild West Online is going to have saloons,” the team said on Facebook. “Rootin’ tootin’ saloons. That much we all know. While we have our own ideas that we’re developing and working on for what actually goes on in those saloons, we want to know what the community at large wants to see. Will there be gambling, drinking, music, dames, brawling… what?”

Another small reveal this week was that Wild West Online will ship with three biomes, with more variety and larger maps to come as the game is expanded post-launch. Check out concept art of these saloons and biomes below!

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Secret World Legends: UI changes, blade combat, and City of the Sun God

The latest Secret World Legends dev stream dished out another serving of information as closed beta continues through the fourth phase. Along with showing off UI changes and combat with the blade, the team offered a number of other tidbits related to City of the Sun God, levels, dungeons, and more.

The UI had many adjustments, including simplifying player nameplates by removing faction, rank, and such (they are a part of the inspect system now). Folks who don’t like the obtrusive reticle will be happy to know that it can be changed to a dot as well as be moved to an over-the-shoulder view. More customization is in the works, including an option to make it disappear completely. First-person view has likewise been added.

Funcom also demonstrated combat using the blade with its specialization, spirit blade. On a related topic, players will also unlock a special capstone ability upon unlocking all weapon abilities; this capstone will increase in level for each additional weapon capstone that is unlocked.

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