convention

Take home a Hand of the Gods Medusa key in honor of the console closed beta launch

Hi-Rez’s turn-based strategy card game Hand of the Gods — you might recall it better as SMITE Tactics or even its internal name, Hotgods — formally launches closed beta on console today, arriving on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

“The​ ​beta​ ​for​ ​Hand​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Gods​ ​kicks​ ​off​ ​by​ ​offering​ ​special​ ​bundles​ ​for​ ​PlayStation​ ​Plus​ ​and​ ​Xbox​ ​Live Gold​ ​members–including​ ​FREE​ ​access​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Closed​ ​Beta​ ​for​ ​those​ ​members! Starting​ ​today,​ ​PlayStation​ ​Plus​ ​and​ ​Xbox​ ​Live​ ​Gold​ ​members​ ​can​ ​receive​ ​the​ ​Hand​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Gods promotional​ ​bundle​ ​for​ ​free!​ ​Each​ ​bundle​ ​features​ ​a​ ​unique​ ​Leader​ ​Skin​ ​and​ ​also​ ​includes​ ​an​ ​Exclusive Card​ ​Back​ ​and​ ​Player​ ​Icon.​ ​In​ ​addition,​ ​the​ ​bundle​ ​includes​ ​five​ ​Core​ ​Packs​ ​to​ ​give​ ​new​ ​players​ ​a​ ​jump start​ ​in​ ​building​ ​their​ ​decks.”

Want even more stuff? Hi-Rez has granted us codes for the Legendary Greek God Medusa, redeemable on either console (but not PC). Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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No, Squadron 42 isn’t going to release this year

All right, let’s be honest, you probably didn’t actually think that Star Citizen’s much-delayed single-player Squadron 42 was coming out this year. Around this time last year, it was confirmed to have been delayed; now it seems rather definite that it’s not going to be this year, either, as the most recent update on the schedule for CitizenCon confirmed that it will be the focus of the game’s holiday livestream in December.

So it’s probably not going to be on display at the convention later this month, either.

CitizenCon will be focused on Star Citizen version 3.0 and beyond, which the announcement in question stresses is very important to the development on Squadron 42 and vice-versa. There’s been some ambiguity about which release windows qualify as stated release dates with the single-player game in the past, but the big takeaway is that you’re not seeing the game this year. Next year is still open for placing your bets.

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Frontier Expo 2017: Science, history, and gaming make for a great first con

This past weekend was not the first time I have attended a developer’s convention, but Frontier Expo 2017 was one of only a very few times when I have been able to attend the first one of its kind. Last weekend, I got to witness the birth of Frontier Developments’ fan convention, held in London, UK. At 1500 attendees, it may have been a relatively small gathering compared to conventions like PAX or other more established cons, but it was still great. In fact, it offered fans a few firsts of their own! Besides your classic meeting-and-greeting, game announcements with reveals, and after parties (including live entertainment by Jim Guthrie, the musician who created the Planet Coaster music), folks got to try their hand at the studio’s really old games on their original equipment in the Frontier Developments museum.

Even more than that, attendees got to meet and listen to world-renowned experts in the fields of paleontology and astrobiology. Not because these would sell the game, but just because they are subjects of interest to fans. How many studios have offered that?

Now there were understandably a few bumps and learning experiences in this first endeavor, but in all, I say the inaugural FX2017 was a resounding success! It was easily the most chill convention experience I have ever had, and I look forward to next year’s show (and hanging out with the space loach more!). Let’s dig in!

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The Stream Team: Taking a look at Total War: Arena

At PAX West Massively OP’s MJ got to see a demo of Total War: Arena gameplay. Since then, she’s been looking forward to playing with her very own war hounds. Now, she gets to dive in for herself, but more than that, she gets to bring you with her! She’s really excited to try her hand at this new game, but how well can she adjust to commanding troops? Join us live at 3:00 p.m.for a look at game play and a chance to win your own key.

What: Total War: Arena
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 139: Catching up with Legends of Aria

On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!

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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Here’s the in-game swag you’re getting with a BlizzCon virtual ticket (including WoW mounts!)

How many of you buy the BlizzCon virtual ticket as much for the in-game swag as for the actual streams? Even if not, you’re still getting the loot, and Blizz has just dished out just what it is.

  • In World of Warcraft, you’re getting mounts, one for each faction. Hey, these are actually sweet. Better than the traditional minipet!
  • Diablo III fans will be whipping out the Murkomancer minipet.
  • In Overwatch? It’s a special Winston skin.
  • StarCraft II players are getting three cute SCV, probe, and drone skins.
  • Heroes of the Storm fans are also getting a mount.
  • And for Hearthstone, who even knows. You’re just being teased with a “mystery goodie.” “The Innkeeper’s not quite ready to show his hand quite yet,” quips Blizz.

So those are the in-game items you’ll score for your $40, which also gets you access to all the live video. The WoW, StarCraft II, and Overwatch items are already live, while the other games have yet to debut theirs. Will you be watching the festivities along with us?

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Frontier Expo 2017: Elite Dangerous goes ‘Beyond’ with big plans for 2018

When I spoke to Elite Dangerous’ devs at this year’s Frontier Expo 2017, the company’s first fan expo, they admitted that communication went dark for a time. But it wasn’t for any worry-worthy reason: No, it was because the devs were preparing for Beyond, the big update road map for 2018 that was revealed on stage at the con. And what a reveal it was! The crowd was quite excited about the announced features spanning four updates throughout the year, including squadrons, fleet carrier ships, a codex, new ships, improved mining, revamped planetary graphics, and more. As Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco said, “Elite is an ongoing project. It’s not finishing any time soon.”

Along with  the big news reveal, I also spoke with Chief Creative Officer Jonny Watts and Producer Adam Woods about these updates that focus on three areas — core game, narrative, and new features. This is what I learned.

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From New York Comic Con, SWTOR and Timothy Zahn welcome you to Copero

The developers for Star Wars: The Old Republic held their Cantina Tour event just outside New York Comic Con last night. To help promote the SWTOR content “Traitor Among the Chiss” coming to the game this fall, BioWare developers as well as favored Star Wars novelist and creator of the Chiss species Timothy Zahn spoke about the newest planetary addition: Copero.

At the NYCC, BioWare Creative Director Charles Boyd mentioned that Zahn was a key consultant in the creation of Copero, a planet located in the Chiss Ascendancy. “It was a fun chance to explore Chiss culture that hasn’t come up in the books yet, like Chiss structures and rituals,” the official SWTOR Twitter account quoted from Zahn at the event. “It’s fun to start theorizing about how the Chiss could have withdrawn from the greater galaxy over time… between the Old Republic and the films, and possibly explore how that happened in a future update.”

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Sea of Thieves prepares for its NYCC panel

Sea of Thieves Executive Producer Joe Neate took a couple of minutes to bring the community up to date on what’s going on with the game’s upcoming appearance at New York Comic Con 2017. He said that the team will be hosting a panel on the evening of October 7th to talk about the game’s features and why the members feel so driven to create this multiplayer experience.

“For us, it’s critical with a game like Sea of Thieves — a sandbox where players can pursue their own goals and own objectives in this pirate world — is that the richer set of player motivations, of players, the more diverse of people, the mindsets that we have in there, the richer the experience is going to be for everyone,” he said.

Check out Neate’s full statement below!

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British alt rock band Muse will close out BlizzCon 2017

Blizzard’s going old school once again with its band selection for this year’s BlizzCon: UK alt rock band Muse. Here’s the spiel:

“Widely renowned as one of the best live acts in the world, Muse—Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme—have won numerous music awards, including two Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, five MTV Europe Music Awards, two Brit Awards, six NME Awards, and six Q Awards. Since forming in 1994, Muse have released seven studio albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Their latest album, Drones, debuted at #1 in 21 countries around the world and scored the band their first #1 album in the United States—along with an award for Best Rock Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.”

Both in-person and virtual ticket holders will be able to watch the concert. Past acts at the show include Blink-182, Metallica, the Foo Fighters, Tenacious D, Linkin Park, and last year, Weird Al. Lob your “at least it’s not Blink-182” jokes at the comments below.

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Elder Scrolls Online kicks off ‘#10MillionStories’ campaign in honor of 10M players

Back at E3, the ZeniMax Elder Scrolls Online team announced that it had accumulated 10 million unique players since its original launch in 2014 – not a shabby number at all in this day and age, even if you’d probably rather see concurrency figures. In celebration of the big 10-M, the studio is running a “#10MillionStories” campaign designed to get you to put your tall-tales to work for the game on social media.

“If you have a tale of adventure and excitement you’d like to share with us and the ESO community, send them to us via email at community@elderscrollsonline.com or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag “#10MillionStories.” We’ll be sharing our favorites via our official social channels, and we will even feature some on ElderScrollsOnline.com as part of a larger celebration and event which we’ll be sharing the details of in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!”

If it sounds familiar, that’s because Bethsoft ran a #MillionReasonsToPlay marketing campaign on Twitter exactly two years ago, though this version begins with a minute-long reminiscing from ZeniMax’s own Rich Lambert.

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Grab a Total War: ARENA closed beta key from Wargaming and MOP

At the tail end of last year, Wargaming’s then-new publishing label, Wargaming Alliance, announced it was picking up SEGA’s Total War: ARENA, a “free-to-play, real time tactical strategy game featuring epic scale 10v10 multiplayer battles led by historical commanders from the past.” In fact, you’ll recall that we spoke to the studio about at E3, where we discussed its historical roots and what MMO players might appreciate in it.

While you could grab a founder pack to play right now, you might prefer to check it out while it’s in testing first, and that’s where the current closed beta test — and the beta keys Wargaming has kindly granted us for our readers — come in! This leg of the closed beta runs until October 20th and is open for accounts in North America only. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Indie space sandbox MMO Dual Universe launches pre-alpha with a fresh trailer

Happy pre-alpha, Dual Universe! The ambitious indie space sandbox MMORPG kicked off the pre-alpha over the weekend, bringing 2500 backers in to test. You’ll recall that it was the alpha that was meant to start this fall, but studio Novaquark didn’t believe it was ready enough, hence the birth of a pre-alpha to “honor [the studio’s] commitment to [its] backers.” This particular round of testing is open to “gold founders” and up who contributed to the game ahead of September 7th.

In today’s press release, Novaquark CEO Jean-Christophe Baillie talks up both the game’s funding ($7.4M to date) and single-shard tech. “Our proprietary CSSC (Continuous Single-Shard Cluster) and voxel engine technologies are now benchmarked for the first time with real players and not just bots,” he says. “It is truly amazing to think that when you see a moon in the sky, it’s actually there, you can fly to it with a proper spaceship. And you could carve out half of it, given enough time, as the world is entirely editable. Everyone will see it. This kind of giant continuous world experience has never been seen before in gaming. We can’t wait to see what people are going to build over the next weeks.”

The studio has a brand-new trailer out today in honor of the pre-alpha; you can watch it down below, and then when you’re done, take a peek at our demo and interview with Baillie from PAX West, after which MJ dubbed it “Landmark in space but better.”

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