europe

NetEase soft-launches WoW-like mobile MMORPG Crusaders of Light today

Soft-launching today on both the iOS and Android markets is a new mobile MMORPG from Netease dubbed Crusaders of Light. It was originally released as Land of Glory overseas last month (and was tremendously popular in China), but it’s gotten a name-change and a spruce-up for the western market. You’ll notice immediately that it seems to have an awful lot in common with vanilla World of Warcraft, from its stylized graphics to its 40-man PvE raiding endgame. It boasts 25×25 battlegrounds, small-scale ranked arenas, guild ladders, mounts, and loot out the wazoo too.

As I write this, it’s not yet up for download publicly on either platform for me in the US; it looks to be trickling out to Oceania first today, then Europe, Russia, Brazil, and North America in time for the official launch this summer. You can preregister on the official site, and yes it’s free-to-play with plenty of stuff to buy on the side.

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CCP Games says the number of VR units on the market is ‘amazing’

I sure hope you’re not tired of CCP Games talking about VR because CCP can’t stop won’t stop.

The video game studio known best for EVE Online has been laser-focused on the VR space for the last few years now, launching Gunjack, Gunjack 2, and EVE Valkyrie for VR and just last month announcing VR sports sim Sparc.

Today, CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson features in a new interview on GamesIndustry.biz, where he basically talks up how well VR is doing. When interviewer James Brightman suggests that only about two million high-end VR devices have sold — numbers that the analysts at SuperData said made VR the “biggest loser” of the holiday gaming sales season — Pétursson argues that two million is actually a much bigger deal that it seems to be by putting the number into national perspective.

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Albion Online AMA on pay-to-win, free trials, and global servers

Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game’s business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!

  • There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues — as well as performance issues. “The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we’d be worried that free trial could slow down the servers.”
  • Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
  • In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game’s $30 buy-in, SI explained the game’s business model is based on EVE Online’s and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won’t afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.

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Hearthstone jacks up prices around the world

If you’re deep into Hearthstone and you live outside of North America, you might find yourself more broke than usual. This is due to Blizzard raising the prices of card packs, adventure wings, and tickets in regions around the world.

In a post on the EU forums, Blizzard delivered the bad news: “We regularly look at our pricing around the world, and from time to time we make changes such as these to align with local and regional market conditions. The price of the Un’Goro prelaunch bundle offer will not be affected by this change and will remain the same until launch.”

Polygon notes that the prices for affected customers are going up about 30%. The increased prices will affect players in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa starting March 22nd.

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LOTRO Legendarium: A guide to starting fresh in Lord of the Rings Online

This past week, I received this letter from reader Thurro: “Your recent LOTRO resurgence has my interest, and from the sounds of you on the podcast I might not be the only one. Would you consider writing a beginners guide or even just a list of tips for getting started from scratch?”

Sure, why not? It’s still a little too early to tell, but we could be seeing a nice little LOTRO renaissance right now, and I bet that there are more than a few players who are checking the game out for the first time after reading the news and hearing recommendations from others. Considering that it’s a massive MMORPG with 10 years of content and expansions, I could see how it might be overwhelming during your first week.

A true guide would probably take so much longer than the space I have this week, so let me present a quick and dirty starting guide to the this wonderful MMO and then point you to LOTRO Wiki for any further questions (seriously, it’s a great resource!). Let’s get started!

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Rumor: Lost Ark’s next Korean CBT is coming this summer

What’s going on with Lost Ark anyway? It’s been a good long time since we heard anything about this promising and stunning-looking MMOARPG, including whether or not it was actually confirmed to arrive in the west.

We are tracking a rumor this week from Steparu that Lost Ark is planning on a new Korean CBT for sometime this summer. “Although just a rumor and nothing set in stone, someone from LostArkDB had a chat with a Smilegate employee, and they mentioned that the next closed beta for the Korean version of Lost Ark is scheduled to start sometime in June or July,” he posted.

If true, that means that the title is still slowly progressing through its overseas beta cycle and will probably be a while yet to arrive in North America and Europe — if ever at all. Still, it’s something, so cling to hope!

Source: Steparu

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Conan Exiles is bringing up new European servers, already looms over PAX East

Funcom announced today that it’s found a partner to host its Conan Exiles servers in Europe: G-Portal.

“This week the remaining European servers for Conan Exiles have been going up one by one,” says the studio. “We’ve already rolled a decent number of servers and the rest of them will be ready in a short while thanks to our new server partner! Servers will be popping up all over Europe, from west to east, so look for the ones with the best ping to find the one closest to you. The old Pingperfect servers will be brought up with the same name and server database as before, so players can jump right in to continue their adventure in the Exiled Lands.”

Early this month, Funcom told players it was parting ways with its original server host, PingPerfect, and switched to Gameservers, which it believed would be better able to handle the apparently huge demand for the game. Then, last weekend, the studio abruptly region-locked official servers for the game, sending legitimate international communities into turmoil as replacement servers have been coming up slowly all week.

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Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival XIV Europe: Samurai, Doma, and theme songs

If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy XIV, the European fan festival is something you’ve been waiting for more or less since December’s Japanese fan festival. We’ve been eagerly anticipating the reveal of the remaining new jobs for the expansion, more mechanical details, and whatever else can be teased out about the game’s second expansion. At long last, the keynote finally happened, and as expected… well, things were revealed. Many things.

So what’s coming next in Stormblood? We’re getting Red Mage, we’re getting swimming, we’re getting Ala Mhigo, but what else is right around the corner? Oh, tons of other things. For one thing, the new job is actually Spider-man. Yeah, we were all taking that t-shirt bit far too figuratively.

All right, no, that’s not true. The actual revelations were even better, and if you weren’t up at an unusual hour to catch them all on the livestream, we’ve got them right here.

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Smilegate pushes Crossfire in the west with a new European office

What the heck is Crossfire? It’s a game that makes quite a bit of money, according to SuperData; we’re talking in the “massive numbers at the top of the list” category here. And yet it hasn’t really gained much traction in the west for whatever reason, as evidenced by the fact that this piece could open off with “what the heck is Crossfire” and most of our readers were probably nodding. So the fact that Smilegate is opening a European branch to help push the brand should say something.

Smilegate Europe’s biggest push will be getting Crossfire accepted as an eSports venue, although it’s probably facing an uphill battle against existing Western favorites such as Overwatch. Still, more games is a good thing, isn’t it? Time will tell if this push finally breaks open the western market for the title or ultimately fails to make a dent.

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The Gold Arena opens its doors in Aion EU

Our friends in Europe have a new Aion patch with which to contend, as Update 5.3: The Gold Arena arrived on the servers Wednesday.

It’s not the biggest content update but instead a smattering of smaller systems and improvements. The centerpiece is the new Gold Arena tournament, in which 32 players enter and fight 1v1 until a Highlander remains. The patch also adds in the Estima system (which pays out in creation points), more armor, an upgradable bracelet, and tweaks to the flight and resurrection mechanics.

Check out the 5.3 trailer below.

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WoW Tokens explode in price thanks to Blizzard’s announcement

Yesterday’s announcement that WoW Tokens can now be used to exchange for Blizzard store currency has caused a major upheaval in the market price for these World of Warcraft items.

Literally overnight, the prices practically doubled in several regions. WoW Tokens in North America have spiked from 59,000 gold to 112,000 gold (and is still climbing), while Tokens in Europe are around 200,000 gold at the time of this writing. China rose to 289,000 gold for a brief period before coming back down a little.

“It isn’t really worth converting tokens to 30 days of game time at the moment. It’s best to convert them to Battle.net Balance and purchase 3+ months via web shop,” World of Warcraft site Icy Veins recommended.

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Valve is under anti-trust investigation in Europe

The European Commission has launched multiple investigations today “to assess if certain online sales practices prevent, in breach of EU antitrust rules, consumers from enjoying cross-border choice and being able to buy consumer electronics, video games and hotel accommodation at competitive prices.”

Specifically, the Commission is investigating Valve and its agreements with multiple game publishers, including ZeniMax, in regard to Steam’s geo-blocking ruleset.

“The investigation focuses on whether the agreements in question require or have required the use of activation keys for the purpose of geo-blocking. In particular, an ‘activation key’ can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland). This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called ‘parallel trade’ within the Single Market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in other Member States.”

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Blade and Soul turns on character transfers, streamlines evolution process

Frustrated with being tied to a server in Blade and Soul while watching your friends gallivant around on another shard? There’s a reunion in the works, thanks to the MMO’s new character transfer service.

With the service, players can transfer a character to another server in the same region (so no hopping from North America to, say, Europe), but they cannot transfer to another server in the same linked group. All transfers will take place on Wednesdays during server maintenance.

Coming next week on February 8th is another interesting change to the game: a streamlining of the current gear evolution system. “Our goal with these changes is to reduce the complexity of the weapon upgrade system for new and leveling players by reserving the Evolution system for end-game upgrades only. Now, instead of continuously spending materials and gold to upgrade your Hongmoon weapon, you’ll directly receive weapon rewards as you level,” NCsoft said.

Source: Blade and Soul #1, #2. Thanks Qarran!

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