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The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind soundtrack is now available digitally

Did you enjoy the music of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind? Then there’s good news, because you can now fill your ears with it wherever you go. The soundtrack is available via Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Music, so no matter what your preferred platform may be, you can make it the day-to-day soundtrack of your life. Be warned that you may get some funny looks if you spend an entire business meeting playing it, assuming you’re someone who has high-powered business meetings.

The official site also has an interview with composer Brad Derrick, who talks about the challenges involved in making sure the soundtrack was new and distinct while still reminding players of the history behind the game’s title and lore. Derrick marks the title theme as the hardest part to compose (since it’s the iconic song for the whole expansion), while also seeing the transition of one theme into another depending on player activities to be vital to making a good soundtrack. Check out the full interview if you’re curious about how the tracks got made.

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Amazon’s Breakaway revamps warriors, confirms more upgrades on the way

Last September, the internet was buzzing about Amazon Game Studios’ big reveals, including Breakaway, which the company teased for weeks ahead of time. It turned out not to be an MMO — we’ve got New World for that fix — but a “mythological sport brawler,” a 4v4, third-person MOBA-lite built from the ground up for streaming. Since then, the game’s run a few alpha tests and put the feedback to work, overhauling the characters one by one. Jarra was first up among the warriors, and now AGS has a huge dev blog out detailing changes to the rest.

For starters, several of the warrior-archetype characters got renames (Spartacus to Argus, Anne Bonny to Kyra, and Morgan Le Fey to Korryn) and style buffs; the studio tweaked power ranges, control, strafing, buildables, text chat, replays, the relic running system, and the gold economy.

“Don’t worry – Breakaway’s still about fast action, strategic teamwork, and dunking on fools,” AGS says. “We listened to your feedback and made changes we believe only refine what makes Breakaway great.”

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The Elder Scrolls Online recaps the big events of E3 while players get hit with surprise bans

If you’re fond of The Elder Scrolls Online and have managed to tear yourself away from Morrowind for a few minutes, you probably already caught up on the game’s big announcements at this year’s E3. But there was more stuff going on this year than just that, and the game’s team has helpfully recapped the big events for players unable to attend, including the community meetup and the game’s presence at the Bethesda booth.

Of course, it’s easy to step away from the game if you’re unexpectedly banned, isn’t it? Players who preordered the game through Amazon seem to be having some issues, getting banned despite being players in good standing. Players who ordered physical copies of the game are still waiting on delivery of same, which seems to be the cause behind the unintentional bans. The community service team has been working with affected players as best they are able, but it’s still a bit of a kick for players who have done nothing meriting the banning. So… here’s hoping that if you are looking forward to the game’s next updates, you didn’t order through Amazon.

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Final Fantasy XIV opens up a new world to handle Stormblood influx

With the swelling of excitement over this week’s early access start to Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, the studio is taking all precautions to handle what it anticipates to be a crush of existing, new, and returning players.

For starters, Square Enix has opened up a brand-new world, Omega, on the Chaos data center. Players won’t be allowed to transfer off of this server for 90 days after creating their characters, although there are incentives (such as the waiving of the fee and a gift of chocobo feathers) for those who want to immigrate onto the world. Transferred characters will also receive reimbursement for their personal housing (if any is owned).

Additional incentives for creating characters on Omega will go into place until the population rises high enough. These include double XP until level 60, 10 silver chocobo feathers, a million gil, and 15 days of free play time. The last two rewards are given only to characters that reach level 30 in a class during this bonus period.

There are also lesser incentives being given to those who roll or transfer characters on a “designated” world with a reduced population.

Source: Final Fantasy XIV. Cheers, Kythas!

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Buy a whole book’s worth of technical breakdowns of the EVE Online frigates

Do you enjoy owning books based on MMOs? Are you the sort of person who enjoys in-depth technical diagrams and discussion about fictional craft? Do you have a bit of money? Then the new EVE Online book detailing the frigates of the game will hit all of your buttons, because that’s exactly what it is.

The book covers the 28 basic factional frigates, with the team stating that they’d love to do more books in the future but that it all comes down to how well the book sells. It’s 160 pages and can be found wherever Dark Horse Comics books are sold, or you can just nab it off of Amazon. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of EVE itself, it looks like the sort of curio that will appeal to a certain portion of the book-buying populace regardless. And it’s all canonical, so if you can’t get enough of the game’s universe, you’ve got some added motivation.

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The Game Archaeologist: Phantasy Star Online

The Dreamcast was a brief but shining aberration in the gaming world. Coming along years after Sega had fallen out of its position as a top-runner in the console market, it represented the company’s last-ditch attempt to reclaim its former glory. While it failed to succeed in that respect and ultimately closed up shop in 2001 (ending Sega’s interest in the console market), the Dreamcast became a gaming cult favorite responsible for some of the most innovative titles ever made. Games like Jet Grind Radio, Space Channel 5, and Shenmue have remained fan favorites long after the Dreamcast’s demise, which shows the legacy that these dev teams left behind.

But perhaps the Dreamcast’s greatest gift to the gaming world wasn’t crazy taxis or space dancing but a surprisingly forward-looking approach to online gaming. In 2000, the Dreamcast took the first steps to bringing an online console RPG to market, and while it wasn’t a true MMO, it certainly paved the way for titles like EverQuest Online Adventures and Final Fantasy XI.

It was bold, it was addictive, and it was gosh-darned gorgeous. Ladies and gentlemen: Phantasy Star Online.

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E3 2017: Nexon’s dinosaur MMO Durango launches Q4 this year

I’ve been to Colorado’s Durango many times, and I can assure you that there are no dinosaurs there. Nexon’s Durango, however, is overrun with the beasts, which means you should go in armed when the game launches at the end of 2017.

Yep, this morning Nexon announced a Q4 2017 worldwide mobile launch for the game, which it’s calling an “open-world sandbox massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a primitive alternate universe inhabited by dinosaurs.”

“Durango is the next evolution of fully-featured MMO experiences on mobile giving players full freedom to pursue various game pillars, all while meshing unique exploration and city building experiences with real-time collaborative and head-to-head battles against enemy clans and colossal dinosaurs. […] In these uncharted lands, players will band together to survive against carnivorous dinosaurs and flourish in this new world ripe for exploration. Adventurers will learn to use the land to their advantage and craft weapons, armor and tools in order to develop villages that can grow from crude gatherings to massive fortresses. Durango utilizes a revolutionary procedurally generated world building system that populates the massive open world with an infinite number of locations to discover and explore. Players will be able to colonize a vast number of stable continents or uncover and travel to unstable islands filled with resources, dinosaurs and secrets to uncover across a range of ecosystems and biomes that will surface and disappear into the sea at a moment’s notice.”

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Will Smed’s Amazon game utilize shooter mechanics?

Back in February, we learned the fate of MMORPG industry veteran John Smedley: He’s heading up a new game for Amazon Game Studios.

Smed is well known for his 20-year reign at SOE and then Daybreak, which he departed in 2015, and most recently for Hero’s Song studio Pixelmage Games, which closed down last year ostensibly for financial reasons.

While Smed wouldn’t speak about the game on the record back then, Amazon did cite his MMO experience when telling gamers that his game is “an ambitious new project that taps into the power of the AWS Cloud and Twitch to connect players around the globe in a thrilling new game world.” We might have a clue today as he’s tweeted about PC shooters, soliciting opinions on gunplay.

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Amazon Game Studios grabs H1Z1’s art director

Amazon Game Studios continues to lure talented developers away for its new multiplayer projects. Sebastian Strzalkowski became the latest to defect to the new studio, saying that he is joining the San Diego team after 13 years of work at SOE and Daybreak.

Strzalkowski’s portfolio covers a wide swath of Daybreak projects, including being art director for H1Z1 and having worked on Free Realms, EverQuest Next, and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.

“Grateful for 13 rewarding yrs at SOE/Daybreak, honored to work with such talented folks,” Strzalkowski posted on Twitter. “Starting new job @AMZNGameStudios later this month!”

Source: Twitter

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Massively Overthinking: 2017’s MMORPG zeitgeist

This time last year, I polled the Massively OP writers for their opinions on which MMOs had had the best year, or half year, up to that point in 2016 — which games were the most influential and important specifically in that time period. I was pretty surprised at the spread of answers too. Since we’re nearing the midpoint of 2017, I thought we should renew that question and see whether anything’s changed. So as last time, I’m asking everyone to pick three games that represent the MMORPG zeitgeist, using whatever combination of criteria they wish – revenue, playerbase size, hype, anticipation, update cycle, and so forth. What should we be paying attention to? Which games are a sign of the times? And just who is dominating now in 2017?
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Ashes of Creation hires five new team members, shows off snowy environments

As Ashes of Creation takes aim at the $3M line for its Kickstarter campaign, Intrepid Studios announced that it has made several significant hires to its development team, some of which come from the Daybreak fold.

The hires include Lead Economic Designer Rocco Scandizzo (Psyop Games), Lead Programmer Kevin McPherson (EverQuest, PlanetSide, Vanguard, and Shadowbane), Lead Technical Designer Akil Hooper (EverQuest II, Fallout: New Vegas), Senior Character Artist Mat Broome (H1Z1, DCUO, PlanetSide 2, EverQuest), and Alex Khudoliy (Amazon).

Another interesting announcement is that Intrepid is partnering with Panopticon Labs to develop fraud detection and prevention tools for the game to make it as secure as possible.

Ashes of Creation devs will be on hand this evening at 6:00 p.m. EDT for a final Kickstarter livestream. The team also posted a brief video showing some of the winter effects in the different game environments, which you can watch below.

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Overwatch launches several pricey art books this October

It’s apparently not official yet as Blizzard hasn’t sent out a press blurby, but Overwatch is getting a pair of massive art books this coming October 24th.

According to the entries on Amazon, the $49.99 hardcover is the “essential companion” to the game, with intros and dev behind-the-scenes info from Blizz, plus “never-before-seen artwork.”

The real meat’s in the $100 deluxe limited edition book, which “comes packaged in a beautiful clamshell box with magnetic closure and includes an acetate slipcover featuring the game’s most popular hero, Tracer.” Expect “two portfolios containing a total of three prints chosen by the Overwatch team” too.

And for comic lovers, the Dark Horse Overwatch comic anthology is due out on October 10th.

I have a guildie who buys art books for video games the way Justin buys MMO soundtracks, if ya know what I mean. Do you guys splurge on art books for games?

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Chaos Theory: Guide to Secret World’s Illuminati faction

Kirsten Geary. That is almost all you have to say when talking about the Illuminati faction in The Secret World. That’s because the infamous KG (as she signs her memos) is practically the personality of the organization — at least as far as players are concerned. As the player handler, she is the main contact point for everyone putting on the blue. However, there is more to the faction than her. Lots more! Not that I can tell you all of it; that would spoil the game! But I can tell you some, in case you are considering rolling one when Secret World Legends hits the scene.

After laying out the gist of factions last week, I’m shifting my efforts to looking at each one individually. Today we’ll peek behind the curtains of the Illuminati so you can get a look at the inner workings. Don’t worry: I promise to make this as spoiler-free as absolutely possible.

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