ARK Survival Evolved’s paid Aberration expansion has launched

The delays are in the past: Aberration truly launches for ARK Survival Evolved today on both PC and console, marking the game’s second expansion pack and the first since ARK officially launched. Merry Christmas, here’s your “irradiated hellscape” to play in!

“Waking up on ‘Aberration’ – a derelict, malfunctioning ARK featuring an elaborate underground biome system filled with new challenges unlike those found on prior ARK maps. Extreme radioactive sunlight, earthquakes, and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, fantastical creatures like the Rock Drake and Basilisk, and more await survivors throughout these vast caverns. Beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids, which have evolved into vicious light-hating creatures, and the Reapers, massive alien monstrosities which can impregnate foes to spawn their offspring!”

As we’ve previously previewed, the expansion includes new genetically mutated creatures to tame and slay, 50 new craftable items (who doesn’t need her very own custom hazmat suit?), and new environmental hazards, like earthquakes, gas leaks, and radiation exposure (ah, a use for that suit!).

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Interview: ArcheAge’s 4.0 Maelstrom launches December 13 with changes to lunagems, raid finder, and more

Batten down the hatches because a big storm hits tomorrow! ArcheAge’s Maelstrom, with its cross-server navel arena, launches on December 13th. We got to see some of the 4.0 expansion and learn more about it during our demo and interview at PAX West this last fall. And on the cusp of launch, I sat down again with Trion Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno to chat more about the upcoming changes. What I learned is that the changes have changes! Lunagems, the raid finder bulletin board, streetlights, and some of the arenas updates have been updated. And one change — the addition of the new turtle ship — will actually not be happening.

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Trion is trying to bring Defiance up to date on modern consoles

Most of you probably think of Defiance as “that game that used to tie into a TV show and is probably on borrowed time.” Yet a recent interview with the team reveals that the game is actually doing a lot better than you might expect. The team behind the game is reporting around 120k average monthly users, and they’re hard at work trying to deliver an upgraded version of the game that takes advantage of current-generation console hardware on the PlayStation 4.

The big goal is finding out what the game’s current playerbase wants and see if major long-term upgrades like this are something that would actually improve the experience for players; behind the scenes, it’s felt that there’s a good core game already in existence, so there’s not much desire to shake things up too severely or go the sequel route. It’s a fascinating interview all around, although it’s possible that the biggest surprise is that the game appears to be still humming along despite the loss of its vaunted transmedia synergy.

Source: DualShockers

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Massively OP’s Best of 2017 Awards: Biggest MMO Story of 2017

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Story, which was awarded to the death of EverQuest Next last year. This isn’t an award based on popularity as measured by hits or comments, and it’s not for a single article; it’s an award for an ongoing narrative or event of deep importance and significance for the genre in 2017. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMO Story of 2017 is…

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Lord of the Rings Online’s big raid patch arrives sans raid

Well, this is an awkward situation for all involved. Lord of the Rings Online released Update 21.3 on Monday, which was supposed to patch in Mordor’s big Abyss of Mordath raid. Except that the team found issues with the raid, disabled it for the time being, but went ahead with publishing the update anyway.

Without the crown jewel of the update (which will be presumably activated in the near future), players have been left with a bargain bin assortment of changes, fixes, and tweaks. These include moving the Beorning starting area, a reduction in the aggro area of pets, a cap on Mordor’s Ashes of Gorgoroth currency, adjustments to monster player stats, lower flying indoor kites… as we said, it’s just a random assortment of odds and ends.

It should be noted that the upcoming Yule Festival has some new content: “Mara Sandydowns has a new quest, A Fortune of Festive Spirit, for those who enjoy many days of Yule Festival activities.”

Source: Patch notes

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Secret World Legends patches in winter event, barbershop, and plastic surgeon

Even with Tokyo completely reinstated into Secret World Legends, this reboot is still finding more content to add back in after starting over from its The Secret World roots. Will today’s patch, which adds back in the cosmetic barbershop and plastic surgeon, be the last of the “old vanguard” before it’s all new? Probably not; there are plenty of Halloween quests that are waiting for a return.

In addition to the cosmetic tools, Update 2.1.5 starts this year’s winter event, starring all sorts of special critters to attack, world raids, Christmas cosmetics, seasonal achievements, a new winter lockbox, and a free pet to players who log in by January 2nd.

The patch also adds the option to change your name (for a price), fixes several issues, and tosses in new animations for when players unlock emotes and titles.

Source: Patch notes

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CCP honors fallen EVE Online developer with fundraiser ship skin

As if CCP Games isn’t struggling enough right now, the studio announced today that it’s lost one of its own: an EVE Online developer and graphics programmer known to the community as CCP Blaze. If you’ve ever warped anywhere or switched on the tactical overlay, you’ve seen his handiwork.

“CCP Blaze, one of our Senior Software Engineers with our Audio & Graphics team, passed away suddenly at the age of just 35, while on vacation in London celebrating his recent engagement. He is survived by his fiancée and one year old daughter here in Reykjavík, and leaves behind an amazing legacy at CCP from his 8 years at our headquarters working on EVE Online.”

The company says it held an internal fundraiser for Blaze’s family over the past few weeks since learning the news, and as of today, it’s also releasing a special fundraising item for the community: a brand-new “Blaze” squadron SKIN set that will be sold for one week only as a one-off for the Armageddon (100 PLEX) and for a five-hull bundle (495 PLEX). Blaze has been written permanently into the lore for the ship skin.

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New Zealand declares lootboxes not gambling under the law

Are lootboxes gambling? It seems like such a simple question, but it really isn’t simple from a legal or ethical standpoint, and the answer has a pretty big impact. According to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, following reviews, lootboxes do not meet the legal requirements of gambling, thus freeing them from the scrutiny of agencies designed to look more closely into gambling-related issues.

In short, the argument hinges upon the fact that lootbox items cannot be exchanged for cash and thus do not qualify as gambling under the law. That having been said, it’s not an ironclad ruling which cannot be changed; indeed, it’s something likely to be debated extensively as more and more lawmakers turn a critical eye toward the practice. For the moment, though, New Zealand considers them perfectly acceptable and has picked a side in the ongoing battle.

Source: Gamasutra

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Santa goes missing in RuneScape, panic ensues

People: This is not, I repeat, not a drill. Kris Kringle is missing in RuneScape, and Christmas might have to be canceled entirely. Or this could be an opportunity for a new and exciting quest, because that’s just how our brains are wired.

RuneScape sent out a press release announcing that Santa has gone missing this season in the new quest, “The G-Nome Project.” Jolly Saint Nick was apparently trying to turn a clockwork Gnome into a real boy (Pinocchio-Christmas fanfic writers are going nuts right about now) when he vanished. Now players have to find him, save Christmas, and plunder the depths of Santa’s bag for the best loot.

Whether or not Santa is found, all players will enjoy a 50% XP boost and icy cosmetic effect through January 8th. There is also a daily advent calendar that offers free gifts for anyone who logs in to claim them.

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The Daily Grind: What was the best new zone added to an MMO in 2017?

Last year, MOP reader Agemyth suggested we debate the best new MMORPG zone added in 2016, so it seemed only fitting to bring the topic back for another go now that another year is mostly behind us. And it’s even harder to answer this year than then, thanks to the plethora of expansions the MMO genre saw this year.

My vote would be torn. I was inclined to grant it to Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind – Vivec, specifically – but then I remembered all the jaw-dropping moments my husband and I had wandering around the Crystal Desert in Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire. “Spectacular” doesn’t even begin to describe it, and that’s before you’ve even left Amnoon.

I’m sure you can think of others. What would you argue was the best new zone or area added to an MMORPG in 2017?

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Moonlight Blade will finally hit open beta in Korea in January

Doesn’t it seem as if we’ve been watching Tencent’s wuxia MMO Moonlight Blade for half of forever? Keep watching, but maybe watch a little closer, as Nexon’s South Korean edition of the game is finally launching open beta in the region on January 25th following the closed beta that’s run off and on this fall. According to Steparu, who broke the news for English speakers, the game has undergone intense localization, specifically with Korean-language voiceovers.

Nexon has previously hinted that it’ll bring the game westward with English servers, and though we don’t have details or even confirmation yet, it seems likely that Nexon might turn its gaze toward us once its home region is settled.

What do you guys think – will Moonlight Blade or Bless give Black Desert a run for its money, or is it all about A:IR?

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TERA starts its technical console test on December 14

So, why haven’t we gotten a lot of news about the TERA console version? Product manager Matt Denomme has put forth a new video about exactly that, and it turns out that porting the game to console involves a lot of work making the game’s interface comprehensible from the couch instead of the computer chair. But all of the hard development work is getting finished, and that means that the developers are ready to start bringing in a limited technical testing population from December 14th to December 18th.

The bad news is that this is a technical test that’s going to be small in numbers by design; the good news is that it’s the prelude to a larger and more open test early in 2018. This is mostly to make sure that the changes for the console version will actually work, that you can read the interface prompts, and so forth. So it’s not a launch date for the console version, but it’s getting closer.

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Life is Feudal: MMO counts ‘tens of thousands’ of players in open beta

So how’s the Life is Feudal MMO doing since it hit open beta a few weeks ago? The login issues and emergency game wipe aside, it’s apparently attracted a decent number of players. In a press release just before the weekend, developer Bitbox implies the game has “tens of thousands of players” romping through its “massive open playground in a huge medieval world.” Indeed, it’s also released a new trailer demoing what “thousands” of gamers have built since the start of the open beta. Stone keeps and thatched-roof huts for days. I even spied a snowman in there.

The game is still marked with a January 2018 launch date on Steam. Starter packs on the official site begin at $29.99.

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