cryptozoic

The studio behind MMOTCG HEX.

HEX celebrates Scars of War release with special weekend tournaments

HEX's big Scars of War expansion launches today, and HEX Entertainment is celebrating with a round of special tournaments over the weekend. Starting on Friday, March 3rd, at 1:00 p.m. EST, players can participate in a Draft Gauntlet Queue, a Sealed Gauntlet Queue, or an Evo Gauntlet Queue for a chance to win prizes, including two exclusive alternate art cards and platinum. The gauntlets will conclude at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 6th. For full details on the exact entry fees and prizes for each gauntlet, check out the official site.

Those who join in these battles will be restricted to only using decks created from Scars of War booster packs. Not sure which cards you'll want to build a your tournament deck with? Check out the full listing of all new cards being added to the game in this special spoiler post on the official site.

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HEX and Gameforge are parting ways

HEX Entertainment released a newsletter today announcing that its TCG HEX: Shards of Fate will return to self-publishing. As publisher, Gameforge has been responsible for operational procedures such as community management, customer support, promotion, sales, and marketing; going forward those duties, along with all other live operations, will be handled directly by HEX Entertainment along with all development.

Both companies assure that this mutually reached agreement will have no impact on the game itself, and that migrating accounts will be as easy as two clicks when you log into HEX. HEX Entertainment also expressed its excitement over the "many new features [it has] in store for the game."

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The Stream Team: Death to Hex's death worm hydra

Massively OP's MJ is mad enough to kill -- to kill all those darn-blasted giant death worms that have her trapped in the desert. Her heart is willing, but is her hand? She was able to pull off a victory of a Wormoid, but then the Wormoid Hydra ground her into the dirt. Can she finally make it across the sands and dump those pesky lost Gnomes? Join us live at 4:00 p.m. to see who wins: Death bunny vs. death worms.

What: HEX: Shards of Fate
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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MMO lockboxes, keys, and booster packs: Gambling or gaming?

Lockboxes have become a hot topic over the last couple of years. Last month, both our writers and readers crowned SWTOR worst business model of the year in part over its lockbox shenanigans. And several business model and lockbox-related articles made it into our list of most-commented-on articles of the year, including the Daily Grind on lockboxes and gambling.

So where do we draw the line between gambling and hobby gaming? Why are lockboxes acceptable? Are they really something MMO developers should continue to use in order to monetize their games?

I've done some research and even gotten some expert legal opinions about this based on American law (and some international), and I can't say I'm entirely happy about my results.
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Hi-Rez Expo 2017: Hands-on with online card game SMITE Rivals

The cat is out of the bag. Or should I say Manticore? SMITE Rivals was announced at Hi-Rez Expo 2017 yesterday, giving players a third option for playing the gods in the SMITE IP. But the night before the world found out, I had the opportunity to sit down with a few of the folks who are creating the game and not only learn about it but play it for myself! (And no, I didn't break it!)

So what is SMITE Rivals? It's a game that blends the original MOBA with a collectible card game. Now, folks who have come to know me know that for the majority of my gaming life, MOBAs and CCGs both have terrified me. Maybe terrified is too strong of a word, but I definitely avoided them. I was both unfamiliar with them and unskilled. It's only been this past year that I have started dabbling into these realms. So what happens when you combine these two fears into a single game?

It turns out, I love it.

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The Stream Team: Happy HEX holidays

Holiday festivites are starting to wind down, but Massively OP's MJ is not letting them go! She's starting her year off right by enjoying a few rounds of HEX. Today is the last day she can try for the special holiday items from the Night of Bells event. How lucky will she be? Tune in live at 1:00 p.m. as she dives through dungeons looking for an ugly sweater and a Pappy Jasper card.

What: HEX: Shards of Fate
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 2nd, 2017

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Massively OP's MMO guide to the Steam Winter Sale

Do you have any money left after all of that holiday shopping, travel, and dining out? Steam would very much like to have what remains, if you please, and is willing to trade you some discounted games in return.

Yes, the annual Steam Winter Sale is up and running, which means all sorts of deals for the frugal MMORPG player. We've compiled a huge list of all of the deals -- including discounts of up to 90% off! -- to help you navigate the holiday promotion. The sale ends on January 2nd. Hope it helps!

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HEX launches the second chapter of Chronicles of Entrath

If you've finished up HEX's PvE campaign, you've probably been looking forward to the next Chronicles of Entrath update. Now it's here, and players can dive right in! And if you haven't finished it up yet, never fear -- many of the goodies in the second chapter are available no matter where you might are in your progression.

Chronicles of Entrath – Chapter 2 introduces mercenaries to help you play through dungeons, a new ranger class playable on either faction, a increased level cap to 15, and an all-new zone (which happens to be larger than the first) filled with many encounters and four new dungeons. And did we mention you will sail the Alachian Sea on your own customizable ship for your adventures? Chapter 2 also includes draft gauntlets, a new way to play limited with double-elimination in a capped number of matches (3). Check it all out in the trailer below.

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The Stream Team: Chilling in HEX's Frost Ring Arena

With the weather turning chillier outside, Massively OP's mind has turned again to HEX's Frost Ring Arena. She only made it through a few matches last time, and she's got much farther to go. She still has a chance to make it to the end, but can she? Three defeats and she's out! Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as MJ returns to the ring!

What: HEX: Shards of Fate
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

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Gameforge is hit with layoffs as the company turns away from mobile gaming

German company Gameforge was recently hit with a round of layoffs as the company shifts its development efforts away from mobile. Yes, you read that right; it seems more common for a company to fixate on mobile games, but Gameforge is shifting to be more laser-focused on PC gaming. That means about 90 employees laid off according to a report on MediaBiz (which is in German, so you'll need to translate it if you don't already read German).

The shift was explained by CEO Andrew Rösner as being born out of increased opportunity in the PC free-to-play marketplace. By contrast, the mobile market is clogged with an ever-growing amount of competition, and Gameforge has thus far been relatively unsuccessful in the space; losing employees is unfortunate, but a necessity in a competitive and evolving marketplace. Gameforge serves as the publisher for several games, including TERA and HEX, as well as the European publisher for Aion. Our condolences to all those affected by the layoffs.

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The Stream Team: Happy haunting in HEX's haunted harvest

A newcomer to the Halloween event arena, HEX celebrates with new cards, new items, and a new sleeve. Massively OP's MJ definitely wants to add a Stingy Jack to her collection. Can she manage to collect some of these new goodies? To get the treats she will need to employ a few tricks and beat a dungeon or two! Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. as MJ enjoys some trick or treating during the haunted harvest.

What: HEX: Shards of Fate
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

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The Stream Team: Facing HEX's Frost Ring Arena

The Frost Ring Arena. That HEX challenge has been beckoning to MassivelyOP's MJ for quite some time, and she's ready to dive in and give it a go! She'll fight champion after champion with a pre-made racial deck until she's vanquished. Which deck will she select, and how long of a streak can she build up before finally falling? Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to find out.

What: HEX: Shards of Fate
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

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Paladins' Todd Harris rebuts 'Overwatch clone' allegations

A lot of folks who'd never paid Hi-Rez's new shooter/MOBA Paladins any mind started paying attention to it last week when it soared into open beta. And a lot of folks suddenly realized the game looks pretty familiar. Let's not sugarcoat it: Gamers across Reddit and even our own comments were throwing around accusations that Paladins is an outright Overwatch clone.

If you're plenty familiar with the history of the shooter, you're probably rolling your eyes already, but Hi-Rez COO Todd Harris hopped on Reddit to spell it all out for the "copycat" allegers, starting with the history of Paladins, which has been in development since 2012 as a "fantasy based Global Agenda PvP like game" called Aurum. And then, at BlizzCon 2014?

"Overwatch was announced," Harris says.

"We were shocked and not sure what direction to take. We were already so far along with Paladins, but we didn't want to compete directly against Blizzard. We initially tried to find different ways to differentiate on game-play (different TTK, different style maps and game modes, different theme, etc), but the feedback from our tests, stats, and surveys showed that only a small part of our population was enjoying that style of game. In the end we said screw it and just made what we thought best, and closest to our original vision, even if people would think it's too close to Overwatch. We created almost all the Paladins classes and abilities using Global Agenda and Smite as our template. We used our Aurum fantasy theme from 2012 and Smite characters as placeholders (although some like Grover the tree just stayed). As a last point, it would be almost impossible for a studio of our size to 'clone' Overwatch in a year, but Overwatch did have some nice features that we decided to incorporate into Paladins (Kill Cam, Improved Lag comp, some verbiage like 'eliminations')."

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