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NCsoft rep says bringing City of Heroes toons to Master x Master was his 'passion project'

We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.

Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."

"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."

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World of Warcraft's Patch 7.2 is coming next week

The hour is nearly upon us and we, we are not prepared. But we are pretty eager! This afternoon, World of Warcraft announced that Patch 7.2: The Tomb of Sargeras will be launching next Tuesday, March 28th.

This comes after a flurry of testing and dev diaries covering the patch's big features. Among these features are the new Broken Shore zone, the Cathedral of Eternal Night dungeon, challenge artifact skins, rebalanced legendaries, new traits, more order hall research options, and of course, a way to regain our flight privileges in this expansion cycle.

What isn't coming next week, however, is the titular Tomb of Sargeras raid, which will open at a later (unspecified) date. PvP season two is set to end on the 28th, with season three starting up right after. Check out the patch trailer after the break!

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Master x Master announces closed beta, adds City of Heroes' Statesman

Today's good news for Master x Master fans is that the game has a closed beta coming up. The next test will be between April 6th and April 27th, ahead of the game's full launch in the summer. All of that is good news, but it kind of gets overshadowed by the game's other simultaneous announcement of a new hero in the game's lineup... Statesman.

Yes, from City of Heroes. Someone decided to add one of the most loathed characters from a dearly departed game that many fans are still upset about losing. It's one of those rare situations where you're not even sure what to be upset about first.

The bright side is probably that Statesman at least seems to play true to form, so he's got all sorts of melee abilities, moves around quickly, and can activate Heroism as his ultimate ability. And he's from a game that NCsoft shut down, we cannot stress that point enough. Just... check out some screenshots and a trailer down below; no one here is sure how to feel at the moment.

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How Frostkeep's Rend compares to other MMOs and survival sandboxes

I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year's PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it's hardly the first time that we've had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?

The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it's also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I've read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild -- including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are... coming. And that's it. This really surprised me. It's superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn't changing the formula -- or the battlegrounds really aren't anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler's word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they're a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it's actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren't perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let's take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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PAX East 2017: Introducing Rend, a three-way survival sandbox from Frostkeep Studios

I don't really like survival games, typically -- I understand why a lot of people do like them, don't get me wrong, but I don't care for them myself, for a whole forest of reasons. To make a survival game that I want to play, you have to really come at the genre from a side angle, which can be hard to do while retaining the things that people like about the genre.

At this early juncture, I can't say that Rend (official site) will do all of that. But I can say that the groundwork is in place for something that might be worth getting excited about.

I was incredibly fortunate to be granted one of the first meetings with Frostkeep Studios and a first look at Rend itself, in a conspiratorial PAX meeting on the second floor of a fish restaurant on the Boston piers. It felt a bit as if I were being shown something that should not be seen, some artifact of great power that had been hidden away from prying eyes. Perhaps that's as it should be.

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The Soapbox: Everyone's being dumb about Star Wars: The Old Republic's lightsaber

A couple of years ago, The Force Awakens introduced us to (among other things) a lightsaber that looks poorly made, like a little kid made it. So Star Wars: The Old Republic added a version of it to a lockbox, and everyone got pissy. Then it got added to direct sales, and everyone got pissy.

Including me! Except, in my case, not because I feel like one side or the other is being hard done by. No, it's that rare situation wherein I consider pretty much everyone involved to be whining about something that really requires not the slightest bit of whining. Yes, everyone here is being dumb and I am on absolutely no one's side here. Except for the side of tegu.

As such, I've compiled my thoughts briefly below, with sections dedicated to both "sides" of the debate and all of the people who are mad. I've also included a few pictures of big old lizards because I was told that I couldn't write an entire column about liking lizards and I can be petulant, too. So if you don't care about this debate, check out some lizard pictures. That'd be fun.

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PAX East 2017: TERA is coming to Xbox One and PS4 this year

Remember those rumors last year about a console port for TERA, buffeted by the surveys to selected TERA players about which consoles they play on the most? Time to drop the "rumor" flag, as En Masse confirmed at PAX today that the Korean-born import is indeed destined for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. It'll be free-to-play and include "the entirety" of the PC game's content.

"TERA’s real-time and skill-based gameplay is the perfect fit for home consoles. While the game already supports a gamepad on PC, the console version’s control scheme is being redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up to ensure a responsive and visceral combat experience. The game’s user interface is also being completely rebuilt for consoles with the controller and living room viewing distances in mind."

You can already sign up for the beta if you're interested! In the meantime, we've tucked new screenshots and the announcement trailer below.

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PAX East 2017: Shards Online changes its name to Legends of Aria and goes full MMORPG

Shards Online is no more: The game is now officially called Legends of Aria. Better still? It's now being marketed by Citadel Studios as a full-fledged MMORPG.

Citadel's Derek "Supreem" Brinkmann says that the name change will be a big help to the game ahead of its Steam early access -- that Shards had a "stigma" for being limited by small maps and low player counts, as you'd expect from a game focused on custom shards in a classic UO style. Legends of Aria, on the other hand, will launch with a heavily expanded map and no player limits at all -- in other words, it's a real MMO.

"It's the same game, it's just a bigger scale, a bigger scope," he assures backers -- everything in the old game, including modding, is still happening in Aria.

The trailer and address from Citadel is below. Stay tuned for this weekend, too, as we'll be meeting with the studio at PAX East!

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Conan Exiles will have no boners on Xbone

As it stands right now, players in Conan Exiles may stride across the land with mighty swords or short stabbing implements held high in the breeze, and also you can pick up a sword if you want to. But it appears that players on Xbox One (commonly shortened to "Xbone" because sometimes life loves irony) will be unable to thrust forward into the unknown. According to creative director Joel Bylos, the team was told outright that there were to be no rods dirtying up this game of filthy, scrabbling violence.

Bylos is unsure whether the ladies will still be able to go tits out for being exiled in a wasteland and trying to kill other people, but he knows that the dongs will be gone as surely as they are omitted from LEGO games. There's also no word about whether or not PlayStation 4 players will be able to enjoy the simple joys of having their digital bits flapping in the breeze. Of course, you can enjoy that in the PC verson, so if that's a selling point, you needn't feel limp and weak.

Source: Glixel via Kotaku

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Black Desert is due for a 'full-scale graphic remastering later this year'

At GDC last week, Black Desert took center stage as the subject of a demo from Silicon Studio showing off YEBIS, its post-processing software. "I thought that Black Desert Online’s realistic graphics were suitable to demonstrate the cutting edge technology of YEBIS," CEO Takehiko Terada wrote. "We are pleased with the response of the audience as expected, and we look forward to cooperating with Pearl Abyss in the future."

That wasn't just idle talk; Kakao announced this morning that Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss is indeed using YEBIS tech to buff the MMORPG's graphics as part of a "full-scale graphic remastering." Says PA,

"This video is only a small part of what we’re working on. We are constantly trying our best to provide users with a better visual experience in keeping with the evolution of hardware. Players will be able to venture through Black Desert with enhanced graphics later this year."

Check out the comparisons below!

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You can try Shroud of the Avatar for free right now

Sing me a song of a free trial, sing me a song today!

Right this very hot moment, Shroud of the Avatar is testing out a free trial to see how its system works. What does this mean for you? If you haven't purchased this early access title, you can jump into it for free right now to give it a whirl.

As you may expect, the trial does have some restrictions and stipulations. Players will be labeled as a visitor and denied the ability to buy, trade, own land, engage in open PvP, and play offline. The free trial period runs through March 9th, at which point any participants will need to purchase the game to retain their character data and progress.

The fact that this trial is a "test" suggests that it will return in the future, perhaps in a more persistent form.

Source: Shroud of the Avatar. Thanks Liandreth and Rick!

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