b2p

‘Buy-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that have box or download fees associated with them but do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid B2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.

The Crew 2 jolts into open beta with the help of Red Bull as Steam reviews hit ‘mostly negative’

There’s the waving flag for The Crew 2’s open beta test, so get out on the track this weekend and take the multiplayer’s vehicles for a drive before it’s all over on June 25th!

The test is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and is free to all players. You will need an Ubisoft account to access it, however. There’s a lot to be mastered with eight modes that include street races, powerboats, aerobatics, motocross, and touring cars. All beta testers will secure an exclusive gold helmet once the game launches on June 29th.

If all of that isn’t crazy enough, Ubisoft and Red Bull partnered up for a “Face Your Ride” challenge. Players can submit their craziest stunts during beta in the hopes of driving a real Red Bull racing vehicle. The energy drink company said that this is the first of several promotions planned with the game.

As you caffeinate up for beta testing, make sure to watch the preview videos down below, and maybe keep an eye on the reviews too: On Steam, they’re already in the “mostly negative” zone.

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Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset added a new hour of music and 7,224 lines of dialogue

You might be finding yourself enchanted with Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset’s pretty visuals, but what about the delight that your ears are sampling?

ZeniMax gave props to its audio team that handled the music, voices, and sounds of the recent expansion, saying that its work was “designed to wholly immerse you in the home of the High Elves.” Zeroing in on Summerset’s magical ambience was of key importance for the group, with the music leaning on wind instruments to distinguish itself from the other releases.

And don’t forget the extensive dialogue! “We have 7,224 lines of unique dialog in Summerset,” says Voice-Over Supervisor Becky Ichnoski. “For this chapter specifically, we spent a total of 108 hours in the studios recording, making up 37 individual sessions with a total of 35 different voice actors.”

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Funcom’s upcoming Mutant Year Zero

Apparently, GDC was good to Funcom, The Bearded Ladies, and Mutant: Year Zero. The teams had originally thought to skip E3 this year, but after the reveal led to even one developer’s mail attendant in Sweden fanning out a bit, it became clear that an appearance at the Expo might be in order (and to maybe not wear developer t-shirts in public).

The Bearded Ladies developers said that they’ve received nothing but positive comments so far, and I can’t say I’ve been able to give them more critical feedback either. Part of that is because my tactical RPG experience is limited to super casual Fire Emblem outings that never end with my finishing the game. Admittedly, I also didn’t have a ton of questions to bring with me this time because the guys were just so open at GDC. It’s probably for the best, though, as I was finally able to get my hands on the game. Spoiler alert: Not only did I fail my mission, but so did almost everyone else!

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Elder Scrolls Online offers Steam downtime compensation as review-bombing hits ‘mostly negative’

Earlier this week, we covered the messy business between Elder Scrolls Online and Steam – specifically, that Steam logins for the game have been toast for the last couple of weekends, leading to some gigantic threads on both Steam and Reddit (2600+ comments now on Steam) as people found the game entirely inaccessible. Now, it doesn’t appear ZeniMax has it completely sorted yet, but a forum note says it’s working on a solution – and in the meantime, it’s offering compensation.

“To give everyone an update on the recent complications with ESO on Steam, we’ve been having conversations with Steam to fully understand what’s causing the downtime and login issues, and will update everyone as soon as we have information to share. In the meantime, we do plan to grant all Steam players an extra Psijic Vault Crown Crate since not everyone was able to login during last weekend’s giveaway event. These crates will be delivered to your account after the next PC maintenance, tentatively scheduled for July 2. Thanks for your patience, everyone. We’ll provide another update as soon as we can.”

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Global Chat: The fallout of Fallout 76

Bethesda’s E3 reveal of Fallout 76 had many gamers and franchise fans talking, no more so than out among MMO bloggers. After all, taking the series online for the first time is a pretty notable occasion, is it not?

“As I said before, I am all onboard with a Fallout survival game,” wrote In An Age. “Exploring the wasteland and looting all the things consists of about 80% of my gameplay in this series, and I am currently on an extreme survival game kick the likes of which I have not experienced since my high school JRPG days. All of that sounds fantastic to me.”

Leo’s Life isn’t as enthusiastic: “I was certainly interested last week. Now, not so much. It’s not the game that I wanted, but it’s probably the game that someone else did.” And Endgame Variable notes that, “The first thing they showed was your basic animalistic gankbox-style PvP. That’s got to be sending a message.”

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More MMOs pledge to fully remove Red Shell spyware, including Secret World Legends

At the beginning of June, we covered The Elder Scrolls Online’s implementation of spyware program Red Shell, which is designed to track specific information about players and PCs logging into the client, like where on the globe they live. At the time, as fury blazed across Reddit, ZeniMax’s Matt Firor apologized for Red Shell, saying the company was “experimenting” with it and didn’t intend to patch it into the live build, and therefore it would be patched back out.

As it turns out, there are plenty of other games with Red Shell, or parts of Red Shell lingering. Redditor Alexspeed75 has been keeping track of games accused of running the spyware. Most notable on the list for our readers is Funcom; while the studio removed the Red Shell code from Conan Exiles in May following player complaints, players still found parts of it in The Secret World as of last week. That, Funcom has told Redditors, was an error, as it patched out the code last year.

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Guild Wars 2’s next episode, Long Live the Lich, launches June 26 – here’s the trailer (finally!)

Who had June 26th for Guild Wars 2’s next big thing? Oh, everyone? Because we had gobs of time to speculate in the delay deadzone? Right right.

Yes, ArenaNet just announced that episode 3 of season 4, dubbed Long Live the Lich, will finally, finally roll out next week on June 26th. If you know even a little bit about Path of Fire, you really don’t need me to tell you which lich we’re talkin’ about here.

If you do need me to tell you, I’m still not gonna. It probably means you’ve not played the expansion, in which case, the big ol’ sale ANet just dropped is right up your alley; the game is half off right now.

Trailer incoming! It’s promising a new legendary warhorn, the Domain of Kourna map, a new roller beetle mount, and the new Deepstone fractal.

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Gran Skrea brings an indie sandbox MMO to early access

On the prowl for an undiscovered indie MMORPG these days? You might want to check out Gran Skrea Online, as it just went into early access this past weekend.

According to the team, Gran Skrea “combines a desire for new player-defined MMORPG mechanics with influences from classic RPGs like RuneScape, Ultima Online, and The Elder Scrolls.” It’s $9 right now through June 23rd, which isn’t the most exorbitant price we’ve ever seen, and there’s an official Discord set up already.

The sandbox MMORPG sends players “to create their own destiny in an original world of medieval fantasy.” This apparently means a mixture of quests, “ruthless” PvP combat, guilds, and economy. There are already quite a few features in place, including player housing, a criminal flagging system, lots of crafting, and a game world with plenty of lore. There’s more to be added in the early access program, so features such as territorial warfare, auction houses, and naval warfare are still in development.

Get an early look at Gran Skrea after the jump!

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Elder Scrolls Online players politely review-bomb the game over excessive Steam login woes

If you’ve been struggling to play Elder Scrolls Online on Steam this weekend, you’re not alone. Apparently the Steam logins have been crapping out across the board for ESO players for the last couple of weekends, leading to some gigantic threads on both Steam and Reddit (1200+ comments on that angry Steam thread!) as people couldn’t log into the game for the majority of yesterday.

The repetitive issues on Steam have led players to review-bomb the game on the platform, driving its recent reviews down to “mixed” (overall, it’s “mostly positive,” which is pretty high for an MMORPG these days).

The amusing thing is that it’s the nicest review bombing I’ve ever seen, with most of the negative reviews telling people the game is still worth buying – just to not buy it on Steam until the problems are resolved.

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Global Chat: The best of both worlds

If you have ever played more than one MMORPG, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you would love to see your favorite features from all of them put together. It hurts when one game has great housing and another has some of the best group content that you have experienced. Why can’t you just create the best of both worlds?

Zeriah spent some time wishing for exactly this as she drew up a list of features from both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that she’d love to see merged together.

“If I could take a bit from each game and combine it into one, I think I’d be in heaven,” she said. “FFXIV has some of the most amazing outfits I have ever seen in a game and while it has transmog system but I feel it would be made truly amazing by the addition of the armor journal WoW has brought in.”

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E3 2018: Nintendo thinks lockboxes are unfairly maligned, help ‘drive engagement’

You know how sometimes, when nosy press asks you a question with no good answer, you’re better off shutting up? And when they don’t ask you about a tricky subject, you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to run into it head-on?

Nintendo didn’t get that memo at E3, apparently, as during an interview with Bloomberg, it broke ranks with more diplomatic game studios to basically defend lockboxes and lootboxes.

“Loot boxes, broadly speaking, have gotten a bit of a bad rap,” Nintendo exec Reggie Fils-Aime told the publication (via GIbiz), in answer to a broad softball question about digital revenue.

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E3 2018: hands-on with The Division 2 – a major upgrade over the original game

At this year’s E3, Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty said team behind The Division 2 tried to learn “everything” from The Division to help make the sequel better. As he reminded me, the original game’s final DLC was especially meaty in terms of PvE content and PvP balance, but it’s the first impressions of the game that mattered most: The initial Dark Zone iteration is still what gamers remember best, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. I myself was not impressed with the original demo back in 2015.

But based on my preview of The Division 2 at this year’s E3, I can say that Gerighty’s team obviously learned quite a bit – and absolutely improved on the original.

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‘Magic through serendipity’: Raph Koster on the glorious mess that was Ultima Online

I was a wide-eyed, naive kid when I first stepped into Ultima Online in 1997, and as it turns out, the developers were too.

That’s my takeaway from reading through the Ultima Online chunk of Raph Koster’s new book, Postmortems. Koster, as any dedicated MMORPG fan will recall, went by “Designer Dragon” back then as the creative lead on the game. Having come from a MUD background, he and his wife Kristin Koster were instrumental in shaping Richard Garriott’s seminal MMORPG and therefore the genre as we know it.

Koster kindly sent us a preprint of the book, unwittingly robbing himself of $35, as I was going to buy it anyway, and it’s massive, folks: over 700 pages spanning three decades and the majority of the online games Koster’s worked on during his long tenure in the gaming industry. Some of those games are definitely of more interest to our readers on Massively OP, in particular Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. It’s the Ultima Online chapters I aim to cover today.

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