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Albion Online wings a week of extra time at players for DDOS disruptions

Albion Online emerges this week extremely battered and bruised after a prolonged series of DDOS attacks against the game and even demands for ransom payments by the perpetrators to make it stop.

Hopefully it’s in the past now as the studio has taken steps to shore up the game’s defenses. For players who found themselves bereft of a game experience, Albion Online is gifting some extra subscription time as compensation. All players who have been subbed between July 17th and August 11th will get an extra week of game time credited to their account (this is on top of an additional week of subscription gifted for launch issues).

“Properly defending against well-executed DDOS attacks is a very challenging task, and far harder than a quick Google search might suggest,” the team posted. “In close collaboration with leading experts in the field, we are making significant progress. Recent attacks have impacted the server’s performance, but generally were not successful in bringing it down. Our defenses are constantly being optimized and fine-tuned. Having said that, we are not in a position to give the ‘all clear’ just yet.”

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Mobile MMOs: Pokemon Go’s curfew, Logres’ launch, and spinoffs for Aion and TERA

By chance, we had a bunch of easily combinable mobile MMO news stories waiting to be written this morning, so let’s get to them — here in the comfort of our MMOs you’ve never heard of series!

We’ll begin, however, with a mobile MMOARG you’ve definitely heard of: Pokemon Go. Players of the game that cannot be killed are going ballistic over what appears to be a curfew on raid battles, which seems to limit raids to daylight hours. East coast players are particularly annoyed because the stealth-curfew meant they lost of a day of play — and a large chunk of the small sliver of time a particular legendary, Moltres, is available for capture.

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Elder Scrolls Legends hits Android and iOS mobile devices today

Fancy a trip to Tamriel, but don’t want to sit at your PC? The Elder Scrolls franchise TCG, Elder Scrolls Legends, has hit Android and Apple phones as of today, and it includes the Heroes of Skyrim expansion that hit on PC, Mac, and tablets earlier this summer.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends, the strategy card game based on the award-winning Elder Scrolls series, is now available to download for free on iOS and Android phone devices via the App Store and Google Play store, respectively. Featuring a new streamlined interface designed to take advantage of smaller screen sizes, now is the perfect time to jump into the fray. For players just joining the action, the recently-launched Heroes of Skyrim expansion based on fan-favorite characters, lore, and abilities from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim added more than 150 new cards to collect, plus new mechanics, powerful abilities, and more. Easy to learn but difficult to master, The Elder Scrolls: Legends features a deep and flexible deck-building system and a variety of modes for both casual and competitive players, including a single-player Story Mode, Versus Mode, and Arena Mode against both human and AI opponents.”

I’m not even a TCG person and I’m gonna give it a go because yay, free things.

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Chris Roberts has ‘no intention of reducing the size of the Star Citizen universe’

Last week, German-language German website Gamestar published an interview with Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium Games, noting that Roberts appeared to have said Star Citizen will launch with 5 to 10 star systems, an apparent reduction in scope from original launch plans (we already know the 3.0 alpha will launch with just one incomplete system.) That provoked this infamous missed-deadline infographic and the weekly flamewar.

A week later, CIG is finally tackling the uproar, calling the whole thing an oops over translation, chiefly a misunderstanding of the translation of the word “release.”

“Hey guys! This is a case of things being lost in translation; Chris was asked a specific question about how many systems we expect to have online at the point that we’ve got most of the core mechanics completed and we would consider the gameplay experience suitable for a larger audience. There are no changes with regards to the planned amount of systems which are well documented on the current Star Map.”

It’s hard to count all the systems on the star map because of its depth and width, but we took a look and we’ll estimate there’s about 100 on it right now.

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Bless Online’s Rebuild Project homes in on character growth

Following the cancellation of the western version of Bless Online, Neowiz surprised everyone by announcing that it would be publishing the game here in the west on its own. Then last week, it announced a “Rebuild Project” for the whole game, which is expected to allow Neowiz giant do-over on everything from making gear feel more important to character progression, plus the revamped combat, unique class skills, better mount and pet content, a non-sucky crafting system, a tighter UI, and new PvP content. We’ve presumed that upgrades to the game overseas will eventually make their way to the version being promised for the west, particularly given that it was supposedly canceled originally over “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that could not] be overcome.” Indeed, the long delay was at least in part a result of the combat system do-over Aeria said the game needed.

Since then, the entire official Korean site has been taken over with a huge “REBUILD” banner and Neowiz has published a fresh dev blog outlining the project’s seven main goals and homing in on the first: character growth. Google Translate isn’t exactly trustworthy here, but the gist seems to be that the studio finds the leveling up process both opaque in terms of power and limited in that gear capped progress. Under Rebuild, items themselves will pick up durability and reinforcements, what sounds like an evolution system for weapons, plus a disassembly system for junk.

Check out the whole thing on the official site — just bring your Korean dictionaries!

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The Soapbox: The disastrous Pokemon Go Fest was just Niantic being Niantic, and that has to stop

I know I complain a lot about Pokemon Go in my articles here, but there’s a reason for this. I’m a huge fan not just of the Pokemon series but of what Niantic is trying to do with its game on a basic level. The idea of getting games outside with the rest of the world instead of hidden in our rooms and offices is hugely appealing. I’ve even applied to work at Niantic before (though obviously I wasn’t selected), so for me especially it’s frustrating to see a company I want to succeed repeatedly making the same kinds of mistakes. These are mistakes that plagued the game’s launch, several events, feature reworkings, and now not one, but two birthday celebrations within the same year. 

I actually got sucked into the hype recently and even said that the events surrounding the festival might give people a reason to come back. I’ve finally removed my foot from my mouth after previously downing some crow, but I’ve realized that, now more than ever, Niantic needs some tougher love, and here it is.

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Star Citizen followers react to server capacity, star system count news

Another day, another Star Citizen drama.

German website Gamestar published an interview with Cloud Imperium Games this week, and between the paywall, Google translate, deliberate disinfo, and a quick game of confused telephone from other sites picking up the news, the actual stated information was lost and misconveyed.

The hubbub is over a server capacity-related quote from the interview that’s subsequently been accurately translated like so:

“There can only be a maximum of 24 players on each server currently (this will most likely also be the case in Alpha 3.0). […] The revision of the CryEngine in combination of a new server architecture in form of an intercommunicating server network (also known as Server-Meshes) instead of individually isolated servers should allow larger instances with thousands of players.”

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SuperData weighs in on Oculus Rift’s price drop and rumored mid-end ‘Pacific’ device

If the Oculus Rift’s pricedrop to $400 last week wasn’t enough to get your hands reaching for your wallet, point your eyeballs at this Bloomberg report, which suggests Facebook is angling toward a $200 wireless device, a cheaper version of the more expensive platform. Supposedly code-named Pacific, the new headset is aimed at the middle market between smartphone-hookups and high-end desktop-style PC VR gaming.

Facebook has neither confirmed nor denied Pacific, but that isn’t stopping gaming analysts from weighing in (via MCVUK), including SuperData

“Facebook is not a company for the niche consumer – their selling point is how accessible their services are to anyone, anywhere. So finding something with the potential for mass penetration is a priority, especially with Rift’s bumpy past,” SuperData says. “However, an untethered, self-contained device for $200 seems like either a loss-leader or a highly simplified VR experience (for instance, Google and HTC’s new Daydream device will boast the same conveniences for a much higher price). Pacific may be a combination of both so that Facebook can finally have a long-term stake in the mass consumer market, but it’s too soon to tell.”

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Hearthstone’s Ice Cream Citadel is chilling at SDCC

Proving once again there’s no end to the Hearthstone gimmicks and pranks it will pull, Blizzard has announced Ice Cream Citadel, a pop-up ice cream stand at San Dieco Comic-Con this week, all in honor of Knights of the Frozen Throne.

“Located in the PetCo parking lot just a short walk from the San Diego Convention Center, Ice Cream Citadel will provide visitors with free ice cream in two flavors: ‘Villain-illa’ and ‘Scourgeberry Sorbet.’ In partnership with Yelp, Blizzard has also created a Yelp business page for the pop-up, titled ‘The Lich King’s Ice Cream Citadel,’ where users can rate, review, and post photos of their experience. Starting July 18, those brave enough to call the business (1-855-LIC-HKNG) will be greeted by the Lich King’s chilling voice.”

Of course there’s a live-action trailer to go with it. Maybe fallen Arthas will be better as a soda jerk than as a game dev? And you guys thought our puns were terrible!

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Riot Games files a lawsuit against the developer of an alleged League of Legends clone

Once upon a time, a studio named Riot Games made a game called League of Legends, which was essentially a Warcraft III map given some slight adjustments and a new coat of paint to avoid copyright infringement. Now, that studio is very successful because LoL made roughly all of the money ever printed, and it’s suing another developer on the basis of that studio skipping the “slight adjustments and new coat of paint” phase of the plan.

You can check out a trailer for Mobile Legends below, and… well, that does look similar, but it’s really up to the courts whether it’s similar enough to shut down the operation. It’s developed by Shanghai Moontown Technology and has already been removed and re-submitted from Google Play under a slightly different name. Time will tell if the lawsuit moves forward or not.

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Pokemon Go’s first anniversary report card

July 6th, 2017, marks Pokemon Go’s first year anniversary. Love it or hate it, it’s a game that quickly made a global impact. It’s been released in at least 129 countries since January 2017, while MMO heavyweight World of Warcraft doesn’t even have Middle Eastern servers, let alone any located in Africa. Niantic has kind of waffled back and forth with its labeling of the game as an MMO, but the comparison is clear. While PoGo is more of a local multiplayer game, Massively OP staff have noted that local, non-digital games are also quite popular in MMO gamer circles. It may not be a true MMO, but Pokemon Go as a Massively Local Multiplayer Game feels like a logical evolution of our genre. ARPGs are one thing when they’re solo, but trying to build a game that puts a literal global audience on the same map feels significant.

It’s not a simple evolution, though. The genre itself is already being attacked in the courts. It has led to players being mugged, shot, and even killed, a situation we’ve seen in MMOs before. Luckily, we’ve yet to see trainer vs. trainer real-world violence. As many of you probably experienced, part of that may be due to the 80% reduction in playerbase before today’s first anniversary, though the game continues to make money.

Let’s review what the game’s changed since it’s release last year.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 124: Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long

On this special bonus episode, Justin catches up with Richard Garriott and Starr Long about Ultima Online’s spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. How is this project shaping up now that it’s nearing launch? Listen and find out!

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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Massively OP Podcast Episode 123: Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif

On this week’s show, Justin sits down with Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif to talk about the game’s successful Kickstarter, handling a wild community, and the next steps for this up-and-coming sandbox MMORPG.

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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