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E3 2017: Hands-on with Dauntless shows it’s more than a Monster Hunter clone

Phoenix Labs’ not-Monster Hunter monster-hunting game Dauntless is obviously standing in a big shadow after E3 2017. I wasn’t yet fully aware of what Monster Hunter World was doing, but I’ve seen solid games lose to their larger rivals who are slower to innovate in the past. Capcom, while constantly disappointing Mega Man fans, is generally quite good with its co-op hunting series. RaiderZ, a Perfect World published not-MH game that also tackled the monster hunter genre, made minor changes to the formula and came as an actual MMO but still shut down. Though the Phoenix Labs guys weren’t aware of RaiderZ‘s failure, they seemed barely fazed by Capcom’s announcement, and maybe they’re right. Surprisingly, they’ve innovated a few things Capcom itself is doing while also adding a few things Capcom isn’t.

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Fluidic Antiproton Wrist Lance for Xbox One

In honor of the launch of Star Trek Online‘s season 13 Escalation for console, PWE has granted Massively OP a stack of Fluidic Antiproton Wrist Lances, a rare ground weapon, to raffle to our readers!

“Undine weaponry utilizes cohesive antiproton streams to damage foes. These streams are known to sometimes knock their opponents away while dealing additional physical damage. The primary fire of this particular wrist-mounted antiproton lance is similar to those adapted into Assault weapons that use this same energy technology. The secondary fire is radically different however, incorporating something akin to the ‘focused beam’ technology sometimes seen in use on Undine starships. It can charge up a massive blast that will scar the surface of whatever the foe is standing on, sending out antiproton energy ripples that cause additional damage to anything they cross paths with.”

Read on to enter to win!

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott on launch and philosophy following equity crowdfunding announcement

Last week during its seasonal telethon, Shroud of the Avatar’s lead developers surprised watchers by announcing an equity crowdfunding campaign that allows players and other parties to invest directly in the game.

To try to glean more information about the state of the company and the decision to launch this year, we fired off an interview to Portalarium’s Richard Garriott. But one extremely tricky (and frustrating for everyone) issue that crops up with these equity crowdfunding interviews is that the SEC has implemented strict rules for what studios can talk about, meaning they are not legally allowed to discuss deal terms with the press. In fact, if we mention specific deal terms of their campaign in this interview, we can get them in trouble, which is obviously not our goal here. For example, we asked additional questions about the company’s financial position, who has invested in it, what happens to Portalarium if the investor round fails to meet its minimum, whether the game’s income is currently covering its costs, and how the game’s valuation was determined, but Garriott couldn’t answer in fear of running afoul of SEC regulations.

So we’ve proceeded with what we can discuss, and investors can ask questions in public on SeedInvest where everything is posted in accordance with the law.

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Echo of Soul and the order of the Phoenix update

For a game that once promised it would provide “everything an MMO player could want,” Echo of Soul hasn’t exactly toppled popular culture and established itself as digital king in any hemisphere. Yet it’s far from dead, as developer Mr. Blue has signed a contract with Aeria Games to develop a “massive update” for the game that will arrive before the end of 2017. Little is known of this update other than its title: Phoenix.

While the patch is slated for North America and Europe, Mr. Blue hasn’t given up trying to get Echo of Soul into other regions. The MMO developer attempted to reenter the Chinese and Korean markets after initially failing in those countries, and it has recently signed publishing deals to get Echo of Soul out in Turkey and the Middle East.

For those of you playing, you can get yourself a free seahorse mount in time for summer if you drop the devs a line on Facebook. Sounds efficient.

Source: MMO Culture

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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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