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See: Amazon Game Studios

The reinvented Guns of Icarus Alliance arrives on Steam with fresh PvE

The reinvented Guns of Icarus Alliance is sailing into a bold new world with its debut on Steam. Players can pick up a copy of this expanded multiplayer airship adventure for $20, or pay a little more for a costume pack and soundtrack to go with it.

So what makes Guns of Icarus Alliance different than its forefather? Basically, the game has gotten away from a strict PvP setting to include a lot of challenging and fun co-op PvE content as well. The team has created new story mechanics, large PvE mission maps, new weapons, additional ships, and a lot of costume and ship cosmetics to unlock.

“If you’ve heard of the previous Guns of Icarus, the PvP game, this is way different,” the studio said in a press release. “Think of it as you and your ragtag crew teaming up with other ships against hordes of enemies controlled by an intelligent AI director.”

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Perfect Ten: Time travel in MMORPGs

Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of time in MMORPGs. It’s one of those things that developers probably don’t want you thinking about too closely, since it could create a crack in the world illusion that they’ve created. But really, how does time work in these games? Are you forever frozen in the same fixed point in history, advancing only to a new era when a patch or expansion releases? Does the timeline advance only as you go through new quests and hit arbitrary milestones?

Even more fascinating is when developers decide to have a little fun with their storytelling by throwing players into the past and future via time travel. It’s not even strictly for science-fiction games, either; plenty of fantasy MMOs work in time travel at one point or the other. It can be a great way of expanding upon the game’s lore and giving players an insight into events that led up to the modern era.

Today we’re going to look at 10 instances of how MMORPGs have used time travel with reckless regard to paradoxes and splintering the world into millions of alternate universes.

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Amazon job posting reveals New World details

A job listing for a player relations specialist may be inadvertently giving us a glimpse of a few details concerning Amazon’s upcoming New World MMORPG.

Tucked inside the job posting is a description of New World:

New World is a massively multiplayer, open-ended sandbox game that allows you to carve your own destiny with other players in a living, hostile, cursed land. How you play, what you do, and whom you work with or against is up to you. Live on your own amidst the supernatural terrors or join with others to build thriving civilizations. In this evolving world that transforms with the changing of the seasons, weather, and time of day, the only limit is your own ambition.

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PSA: RuneScape’s sub fee is effectively $0 this month for Twitch Prime peeps

Remember last fall when Twitch and Amazon announced Twitch Prime, a new combined service for Prime that grants customers a bunch of video game and Twitch perks in addition to shipping discounts? Right now, those perks are lighting up the night for RuneScape players, so if you’re an existing player or you’ve been considering giving the apparently absurdly popular MMORPG a go, and you’re already subbing to Prime, definitely take advantage.

Jagex notes that Twitch Prime members can currently pick up an entire freebie sub month, an exclusive legendary pet, a pack of 15 treasure hunter keys, and 200 cash-shop currency (RuneCoins). That also means access to Old-School RuneScape for a month too.

Newbies and existing players alike can take advantage of the promotion; just follow the official instructions to apply your Twitch Prime code to your new or old RuneScape account. Hooray for free stuff.

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Amazon Game Studios changes Breakaway following alpha feedback, adds shadow huntress Jarra

Cast your mind back to Christmas carols and unfortunate egg nog binges of late 2016, and you might recall that Amazon Games Studios was running its first title, Breakaway, through a short alpha test.

Clearly it was a beneficial test for the studio’s 4v4 brawler, as the devs said that they received a load of useful feedback for the game’s direction and development. “We identified four opportunities where we could tangibly change the gameplay for a better experience,” AGS said. “Give players better movement options, more options for combat capabilities, refine the buildable experience, and revisit the balance of gold in the game.”

As the team works on all of that, a new warrior steps onto Breakaway’s battlefield. This would be Jarra, the shadow huntress, a stealth assassin with low health and high burst DPS against single targets. The team announced her on a recent livestream, which you can watch below.

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Heroes of the Storm introduces Diablo II Amazon, major progression and leveling update

“It’s a whole new era for Heroes of the Storm,” Blizzard has declared in its new HOTS dev video today. That’s because the game is currently in the midst of a month-long test of a huge progression patch the studio is calling Heroes 2.0. Level caps are being nuked; your level cap will now basically be account-wide, and leveling will be much more quick across the board. Blizz is also adding loot chests out the wazoo as you level and meet certain accomplishments. It’s going to look pretty familiar to other games across the MOBA genre and in Blizzard’s own stable.

The studio has also introduced a new hero today: Cassia, the Amazon, brought over from Diablo II. The best class! In HOTS, she’ll function as a ranged assassin with high defenses while moving, flung javelins and lightning plus cone javelin stabbing. Sorry, bowazons.

Check out the pair of intro vids down below.

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Crucible gets Westwood co-founder as its new boss

Hands up: Any Massively OP readers play the crap out of Command & Conquer back in the day? In the ’90s, Westwood Studios was a legend for that series (and how awesome was Red Alert? Here’s the Hell March theme for your Thursday listening pleasure) before the studio was purchased by EA and shuttered.

Well, one of the co-founders of Westwood, Louis Castle, is being given another chance at widespread glory. Castle was recently hired by Amazon Game Studios Seattle to head up the company’s sci-fi multiplayer title Crucible.

Castle told Games Industry that he’s thrilled to get to work on a brand-new IP: “I don’t know too many game developers who would prefer to pursue licensed IP over the chance to create something. The new IP problem space is wide open and the possibilities are endless. I’ve personally had about equal amounts of success in both adapting and building IP.”

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ARK Survival Evolved rolls back official servers following Amazon outage

Did Amazon’s Web Services outage on Wednesday wreck your day? It wrecked a lot of the internet, including ARK: Survival Evolved, which uses the service for its CrossARK transfer system. Unfortunately, the outage apparently led to a duping issue that caused Studio Wildcard to roll back the official ARK servers, which are still technically in early access:

“We will be conducting a major rollback on all Official Servers to just before this incident, and will be wiping all Cross ARK storage of any items due to a dupe glitch which surfaced due to the incident.”

The studio apologized to fans last night for the delay in communication and promised an evolution event with big bonuses to breeding, maturing, and egg hatching rates to help players make up for lost time, but it’s Reddit, and Reddit’s on fire over Wildcard’s handling of the incident.

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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMORPG genre taking a much-needed breather?

Massively OP donor and commenter Tibi sent this epic question to our podcast and kindly allowed me to share it here instead for maximum impact! Tibi wants us to consider the state of the genre and consider that maybe we’re taking a much-needed breather from the hectic chaos of a few years ago.

“Much has been said and written about the decline and even death of western AAA MMOs, but assuming that New World and future games end up coming out, I am actually happy with this quiet period. It can give already launched games the time to mature and grow into what was originally promised. I doubt that if we were still getting the onslaught of games from a few years back, Elder Scrolls Online could have thrived the way it does today or that The Secret World could have kept its smaller but constant playerbase. There are so many good games out there and it’s great to see them able to keep the lights on and welcome new players who would otherwise have gone chasing the new shiny and miss out. What do you think?”

I posed Tibi’s question to the Massively team for this week’s Overthinking, but they were all too busy playing quiet MMOs! Just kidding. Batter up!

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Check out these gorgeous New World screenshots

Ever since last September’s surprise announcement that Amazon Game Studios was actually building a sandbox MMORPG called New World, we have been dying to know more about it. As the relative lack of coverage on this site might suggest, the studio hasn’t really been promoting it past that initial press release.

However, a sharp-eyed fan noticed that the company did put two new screenshots for the game some time recently on the Amazon Lumberyard page. The first picture shows a lush forest setting while the second gives an idea of what a settlement might look like in those early colonial days.

Recently, Amazon put ex-Daybreak CEO John Smedley in charge of a new studio and different mystery project in San Diego. Check out the screenshots after the jump and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 105: Samurai and Smedley

This week saw one of the biggest MMO industry shakeups in recent memory, with big-name developers leaving long-term posts and Amazon giving Smedley a shot at redemption. Add in revelations about two major upcoming expansions, and it’s all we can do to bottle up the news and deliver it to you before it explodes all over the place!

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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Check out Grim Dawn’s new cosmetic system

Online ARPG Grim Dawn has a new NPC on the way this year that’ll change how players interact with gear, specifically cosmetic gear: The Illusionist NPC.

“For a modest fee, the Illusionist will transform your gear to look like any other item of the same category,” says Crate. “Using proprietary Illusionist mind-meld technology, any item you discover will automatically have its appearance stored. In fact, the first time you launch the expansion, every item you have in your inventory and stash will be automatically added to start your collection. That’s a lot of different looks! To facilitate your soon to be growing collection, we have created a brand new UI that stores and previews all of your appearances, accessible at any Illusionist.”

The rules are pretty similar to rules in other MMOs and ARPGs, including the fact that the Illusionst doesn’t work for free, and you can’t turn a greatsword into a dirk.

The game formally emerged from early access a year ago, having been deemed “feature complete” at the end of 2015, having been successfully Kickstarted to the tune of a half a million bucks back in 2012. Since then, it’s pumped out seven content updates, including the Crucible DLC, and has plans for its first big expansion — including the Illusionist — by this coming summer.

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Make My MMO: Smed’s new studio, Camelot’s beta, and Elite’s Holo-Me (February 18, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we did a retrospective on why crowdfunded MMOARPG Hero’s Song failed. It’s almost as if Justin knew (cue spooky music) because two days later, Hero’s Song’s John Smedley and most of the Pixelmage team showed up at Amazon, announcing a new studio and a new game for the shopping giant’s games division. In other words, don’t expect Smed back on Kickstarter any time soon.

Meanwhile, Star Citizen’s alpha 2.6.1 went live, we poked around TUG’s status, Elite Dangerous demoed its upcoming “Holo-Me” character creator, The Exiled prepped for next week’s launch, Ruin of the Reckless entered its backer test phase, and Camelot Unchained hinted at beta.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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