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Virtual world creator Improbable receives $502M investment from SoftBank

Here’s another reminder that we really shouldn’t take our eyes off of Improbable Worlds, even for a second. The five-year-old software company, which is specializing in creating massive virtual worlds for simulations and games, just received over a half-billion dollar investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation.

SoftBank injected $502 million into Improbable this week in one of the largest U.K. venture capital deals of all time. This investment puts one of SoftBank’s members on Improbable’s boards and sees SoftBank create a non-controlling stake in the company.

To make a good week even better for Improbable, venture firms Andreessen Horowitz and Horizon Ventures also committed additional funds to the tech startup and its SpatialOS software. “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry,” said Horizons Ventures founder Solina Chau.

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Revelation Online deals with infestation of adorable and cuddly raccoon-people

If there is a species of land animal that MMOs haven’t made into a weird or adorable NPC race, developers haven’t met them yet. Case in point, Revelation Online’s Volopine, which are party-loving raccoon-people that exist as a non-playable faction.

The Volopine spend most of their time getting ready for a daily festival and a night’s worth of fireworks. That level of dedication to partying down requires a lot of help, which is where adventurers fit into their society. The raccoons are interesting in other ways, as they apparently specialize in illusion and transformation magic.

Apparently there is a significant difference between the sexes: “Volopine males look similar to raccoons on two legs, while the females look very much human in comparison, bar the giveaway detail that is their raccoon ears.” Because God forbid you make a female character in a video game look anything less than a date-worthy prospect for lonely and imaginative players.

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Exclusive Interview: Secret World Legends’ story, monetization, membership, Tokyo, and more

Don’t miss the first part of our Romain Amiel interview from yesterday!
Did you get your fill of Secret World Legends answers from the first half of our exclusive interview with Game Director Romain Amiel? Us neither. Luckily, we have the scoop on much more regarding the Secret World reboot. (Hey, we did mention we had lots of questions!) Here, Amiel focuses on the story and the missions, monetization, transferring your favorite cosmetics, content releases, optimization, and more. Keep reading to learn the 411.

Story changes

Don’t panic! Nothing has been taken away from the story. In fact, it has been added to. Amiel described how in some places you move to the next part of the main story mission without even knowing why — you just do. Illustrating with the example of Egypt, he noted that bits have been added to make it clearer why players must move from one place to another The basic story is the same, and the awesome cut scenes are the same, there’s just more. Whew.

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Meet City of Titans’ six heroic archetypes

Thanks to some website spring cleaning, City of Titans made a previously hidden article visible to the masses. This particular page outlines the upcoming superhero MMO’s six archetypes, their mottos, and the general playstyle that each will offer.

City of Heroes veterans may be familiar with some of the archetypes here, although some offer slightly different twists. There is the Stalwart, a tank that can take large amounts of damage; the Enforcer, a melee DPS type; the Guardian, a tough paladin-like role; the Ranger, which deals out damage from a long way off; the Commander, which fiddles with crowd control and enemy manipulation; and the Operator, a pet-controlling mastermind.

Each archetype then branches out into three subtypes, such as the Centurion, the Warden, or the Ringleader. Simple math tells us that City of Titans is aiming for at least 18 different classes in its final product.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s The Head of the Snake

Now that I’ve had a little time to sink my hours into completing the episode after my initial impressions piece two weeks ago, I’m ready to bring you a more detailed breakdown of Guild Wars 2‘s most recent addition to the Living World’s third season. The Head of the Snake was battle-heavy and pacey, leaving us with yet more questions that we hope shall be answered before the season is over. I was left wanting to know more and hoping that the episode would also feature some story asides from outside of the Kryta and White Mantle arc, so I was very eager to get playing so I could share my thoughts here for you.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll unpack the story presented in The Head of the Snake and present you with my favourite elements and disappointments as well. The article will contain spoilers throughout and is not safe reading for those who have not yet completed this episode. Feel free to bookmark this one and revisit it when you’re all caught up should you not have had a chance to play for yourself yet.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s patch 3.5 in review, part 2

I mentioned previously that I went through Final Fantasy XIV’s most recent patch faster than I can recall going through a patch in recent memory. This is true. However, that doesn’t mean the patch is bad; it just means that I was motivated to get through as much of it as possible as fast as possible. So last week I could spend all of my time talking about the mechanical side of things, but this week I can talk about the storyline implications. And there are lots of those.

I can also warn you right up front that there will be spoilers here, since otherwise the entire post would probably be enormous spoiler tags. Which it might be anyway. Fairly warned be ye.

There’s still one more big patch left to go, of course, as patch 3.55 is meant to finish the transition into Stormblood and wrap up everything completely. But we still have lots of side stories that have finished up, and even if we know more MSQ is coming, we can talk about what we have so far. So let’s get cracking.

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Cops-and-robbers sandbox Identity on griefing, prison, customization, and more

Identity is an open-world, cops-and-robbers sandbox, and it isn’t asking you for money. That’s because it was already Kickstarted to the tune of almost $150,000 back in 2015. It’s a real-world MMORPG with a focus on roleplay, economy, and yes, the dark side of human nature.

Developer Asylum Entertainment sat for an AMA on Reddit Friday — here are a few of the highlights:

  • Custom server admins can enforce a “new life rule” — when you die and return, it’s as a new character — but the official servers won’t. NPC police won’t patrol the world, but players will be somewhat restricted, such that players can’t raid each other’s homes. “On official servers, we have a stress system in place to discourage random attacks or griefing. […] You won’t be able to shoot from inside your vehicle. We want to discourage random acts of violence for the sake of roleplay.” There will also be safe-zones for player gatherings.
  • “Identity’s prison is very much a game within a game.” Players will join factions, attempt prison escape, create weapons, undertake a trial, or just chill out and chat until their time is served. There are no player prison guards (they said they couldn’t make it fun).
  • Character customization will be limited to facial features, tats, jewelry, piercings (and presumable gender, skin color, etc.) but not physique, at least not for launch.

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Guild Chat: Reflecting on 2016’s MMO guild issues and commenter advice

We’re finally rid of the crazy rollercoaster ride that was 2016 and are now taking our seats aboard the crazy train that’ll be 2017, meaning that there’s no better time for me to look back on a year’s worth of (sometimes) sage advice and supportive suggestions that have been given to our readers in need throughout 2016. The comments section is more often enough far more instructive than the advice given from my own singular perspective, so it’s only right that I pull out some of the best of that wisdom as I revisit some of my favourite topics from the last twelve months.

In this edition of Guild Chat, I will take you on a trip down memory lane, looking back on 2016’s best entries and pointing out how readers furthered the discussion by adding their two cents to the dilemma at hand. I hope that you’ll feel inspired to look back on any editions you missed at the time and will add your own personal favourites and best reader advice in the comments below.

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Chronicles of Elyria has raised $2 million to date

In case you forgot or weren’t aware, this time last year, Chronicles of Elyria was basically four devs in a basement who were being bankrolled entirely by the project founder’s savings. It’s been an incredible year for the fledgling sandbox MMO, as Soulbound Studios relocated to an actual studio, hired several employees, went to PAX East, and ran a highly successful Kickstarter campaign.

Chronicles of Elyria’s final dev blog of 2016 appropriately traces the journey that the game and its team has made this year while hinting at what is to come in 2017. The team said that between the Kickstarter and the online store, it has raised over $2 million for the project in addition to its initial $500,000 pool of capital. This comes thanks to a growing community, which is already 111,000 members strong as of November.

The team laid out broad strokes for 2017: “What’s going to happen next year? It’s hard to say. But what I can say is we will continue to keep our online store open for residual income, and we’ve already been approached by multiple publishers and investors. We’re in a good place right now financially and have more money than we expected at this point in the development process. We’re also in no rush to make deals, and are instead holding out for the right deal for us — and the right deal for you guys.

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Here are all of the online gaming deals from Amazon’s Digital Day sale

Wake up! Are you awake? Good, because you’ve got less than 24 hours to take advantage of Amazon’s first ever “Digital Day” sales event. Until midnight today, a whole bunch of digital content (movies, ebooks, and yes, games) are on sale.

We’ve rounded up some of the best deals on online games for you so that you can spend those Amazon gift cards you just got for Christmas… which may have been Amazon’s plan all along. Sinister!

Want even more deals? We’ve got a few more after the break!

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Amazon preps Digital Day for December 30

A brand-new shopping holiday is on its way for the backend of the year, courtesy of Amazon. This Friday, December 30th, Amazon will hold its first-ever Digital Day, giving consumers major discounts on all sorts of digital products — including video games.

In fact, the Digital Day page does list Destiny and Vainglory as two of the games that should receive this discount. There’s a sign-up link on the page to be informed about the deals just in case you don’t head over there first thing on Friday morning.

“Amazon Digital Day is the deal event for your devices,” the company said. “For one day only, get up to 50% off over a thousand TV shows, movies, music, apps, mobile games, eBooks and more. The savings start on Friday, December 30th. Whether you’re gifting or receiving gadgets this year, this 24-hour sale is one of the best times of the year to shop for must-have digital content.”

Well, I’m going broke. Anyone with me?

Source: Digital Day

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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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