Interview: ArcheAge 4.5 Legends Return launches April 5th with dragon taming and fresh start servers

If I were to tell you that ArcheAge’s next big update is launching next month, you’d tell me that it’s too soon. And we’d both be right! Although 4.0 was just released last December, and North America has been on a six-month cadence for getting the content after it launches in Korean, 4.5 will hit servers on April 5th. Yes, that’s 4.5 on 4/5 — easy to remember, no? Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai explained that as XL Games is putting a renewed emphasis on the Western market, North American and the European regions get to launch an update first after Korea for the first time, instead of waiting until after Russia and China.

So what goodies do we have to look forward to before the other regions? Dubbed Legends Return, this update introduces dragon mounts, two new world bosses, a crafting commission system, and Battle Balance (a change to skillsets). There are also changes to regrading equipment and the bruisers badges. And last but not least, new fresh start servers are opening up, this time with a time-locked twist. To get a feel for all these changes, I sat down and previewed the new content with Kwai, Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno .

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Guild Chat Special Edition: Interviewing Guild Wars 2 guild POOF

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which we examine all things guild-related and solve problems faced by fellow members of the Massively Overpowered community. This edition is rather different, however: I had the opportunity to interview the key players in a Guild Wars 2 guild named POOF that featured in ArenaNet’s Friend/Ships campaign, which you may have read a little bit about in Flameseeker Chronicles. Friendships have been at the forefront of ArenaNet‘s minds for the last month or so and POOF’s guild story is one that was featured within the campaign (the video is below for those who haven’t seen it). I asked them about how they organise their guild, what makes POOF so special, and how they support their members, and I’m delighted to share their insights with you in a special edition of Guild Chat.

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Path of Exile’s Bestiary expansion launches today, boasting 3.5M global players

Path of Exile’s 3.2.0 update, Bestiary, goes live on PC this afternoon with Xbox One to follow eventually; patching got underway a few hours ago. As we’ve previously covered in our detailed interview with GGG, the update includes the gotta-catch-’em-all critter capturing content, new endgame bosses, new gear sets, a new Act 10 quest and the complete ascendancy class revamp.

Of note? According to GGG, the Xbox One and Chinese launches “have more than doubled the Path of Exile player community since August 2017, with over 3.5 million players having played the game’s 2017 expansion, Path of Exile: The Fall of Oriath.”

Assuming all goes well with the servers this afternoon, we’ll be streaming the new goodies tonight at 8 p.m. EST on OPTV!

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Cyberpunk 2077 prepares fans for a ‘blockbuster’ franchise

Fans of CD Projekt Red and its games are no doubt starving for any morsel of information about the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. And while the studio has yet to truly reveal the game and its plans for it, CD Projekt Red did address it at a recent gaming seminar, giving listeners an outline of this “ambitious” title and confirming that it will be available through both GOG and Steam.

“Our goal is to establish a new blockbuster franchise from the beginning,” the studio said. “We work [in a] new universe, futuristic universe. We believe it’s very appealing to players, not only RPG players—but this is [a] true RPG, like Witcher, like Witcher 3, for mature audiences. It’s handcrafted, detailed, of course open-world, with open-ended gameplay.”

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Interviewing an Asheron’s Call Shard Slayer: On griefing, doxxing, losing mates, and winning MMOs

Last month, I put together an article and pair of videos discussing Asheron’s Call’s Shard of the Herald event to celebrate the game’s first deathiverary. It was a bittersweet experience for me, as it was not only my first MMO but the game that taught me a lot about life, and a lot of those lessons occurred during the Shard event.

Naturally there was some good nostalgia in there for fellow AC players, but apparently for some families as well. Someone claiming to be the son of Vidorian, the infamous Shard Slayer recruited by Turbine to end the event in a way that would respect the lore they built, reached out to us in the comments section. A quick chat with her verified that yes, she was the infamous savior of Bael’Zharon, and she agreed to answer some of my questions about the event. Even better, she’s provided us an unseen screenshot of the event! More than a decade after release, I feel like I’ve learned a lot more about what occurred behind the scenes of one of the seminal in-game events of our early genre.

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Warcraft movie director says the production experience was ‘traumatic’

During an interview with SyFy about his upcoming movie, Duncan Jones dishes on his experience directing the 2016 Warcraft film based in the universe popularized by the series that now includes mega-MMORPG World of Warcraft. He characterizes his time working on the film as traumatic, which might surprise you since at one point in production he was hinting at making it a trilogy.

He explains that “Warcraft was a political minefield as far as filmmaking goes” because of studio politics, excessive rewriting, studio ownership changes, production staff turnovers, and yes, even Blizzard itself. After all, Warcraft was Blizzard’s baby.

“[W]e were also working with Blizzard, who understandably were very careful about what happened with the movie because their bread and butter was the game Warcraft, which was bringing in a billion dollars a year for them. So, whatever we did with the movie was likely to be small potatoes compared to how important the game was for them. So it was really a very active political landscape.”

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Colony sim Seed aims to simulate life whether you’re logged in or not

What do you get when you mash up Rimworld, The Sims, and EVE Online? Probably a big mess, but adjacent to that mess somewhere is Seed. Developed by Klang Games and using Improbable OS, Seed is a colony simulator in which players will make high-level management decisions about a fledgling settlement while their villagers go on living and working even while the player is offline.

It is an unusual and different sort of MMO than players are used to seeing, which is why it might be prudent to watch this short interview by PC Gamer to understand the full sales pitch for this sci-fi title.

“What we’re doing is a game that’s about simulating life. That isn’t a space that’s been explored before. We think we’re pretty early movers in simulation-based MMOs,” said Klang Co-Founder Mundi Vondi. Check out the interview below!

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RIFT Prime progression server launches March 7, with pack preorders available now

Can you believe RIFT’s been around for almost seven years? Neither can we. Trion is celebrating by releasing the long-awaited progression server, RIFT Prime, on March 7th. The server will be open to players who pay for RIFT’s otherwise optional subscription fee, though you can get a jump on paying with the $29.99 Primogenitor Pack, also announced and preorderable today.

“The Primogenitor Pack contains 30 days of Patron and two additional 15-day Patron vouchers that can be given to friends to prep them prior to the server going live or used on alts. The pack also has a Cloak of the Void, a ‘Primogenitor’ prefix title, an Armored White War Tiger mount, and a Rift Prime portrait frame; these four items are specific to the Prime-created character and can only be used in RIFT Prime!”

While there isn’t a posted schedule of how the server’s content unlocks, Trion did say that it will last for about a year. The good news is that Prime characters will be transferred over to normal servers when the shard comes to an end, which is a change from the studio’s original stance of ending those characters at the conclusion.

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Conan Exiles isn’t going the lockbox and battle royale route – for now

Are you a little sick and tired of lockboxes everywhere and all of these games desperately trying to jump onto the battle royale bandwagon? It might be of some small comfort that Funcom has no immediate plans to add either to Conan Exiles (although “never say never” and all that).

Creative Director Joel Bylos addressed these issues and more in an interview with PC Gamer. Now that Conan Exiles is just two-and-a-half months from official release, Bylos said that the team is working hard to making the whole package work, even if it means cutting content.

Bylos was asked several questions about the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and how it could impact Conan Exiles’ profile. “You just do your thing and make things that are unique and interesting,” he said. “In terms of press attention, it’s always hard to get press attention when there’s a pretty girl at the ball. PUBG is definitely the pretty girl at the ball this year.”

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EVE Evolved: Solving EVE Online’s botting problem

Practically every MMO on the market today has had to contend with botting and the range of issues that come with it, and EVE Online has always been a favoured target for bots. EVE‘s slow pace of gameplay and predictable PvE activities make it ideal for automation, and the nature of a persistent sandbox is that more time spent farming resources and currency will always be better. The issue seems to have escalated in recent months since the free-to-play upgrades expanded the range of ships and modules available to free users, and the community has been pushing CCP heavily for progress.

A team of bot-hunting players made the news last month when they took down eight ridiculously expensive supercarriers being controlled by bots, exposing just how big the scale of the problem is. The EVE security team responded with a ban wave hitting over 1,800 bot accounts in January and promises that they are “coming for the bots,” but one expert admitted in a recent interview that the war on bots may never be won. So just how difficult is it to tackle botting in EVE Online, and what could CCP do to improve things?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the difficulties in detecting and shutting down botters, how extensive botting may be in nullsec, and some things developers might have to do in order to solve the problem.

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Path of Exile: Gotta catch ’em all in the new Bestiary League and update 3.2.0, coming March 2

With a new Path of Exile challenge league every three months, you might wonder whether Grinding Gear Games can keep coming up with new themes for each one. And each quarter, it does! We’ve had leagues where prophecies add a random element to the gaming, where powerful rogue exiles turn on players, where secret golden chests full of loot are uncovered, and where portals open to a different dimension — just to name a few. The current league includes gaping fissures into the abyss. So what’s coming next?

For that answer, I sat down with Producer Chris Wilson to talk about PoE’s next update, which hits on March 2nd. If you’ve ever looked at any of the creatures in game and wished you could have have one of your own, the Bestiary league will give you that chance. Color me super excited! And if collecting creatures isn’t your forte, there is plenty more happening in content update 3.2.0. Read on for the whole run-down!

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Bless Online looks ahead to new races, housing, and a possible console edition

Six months. Six months is the countdown timer from the start of Bless Online’s early access to the game’s official launch, according to developer Neowiz. Although with no planned character wipe, the open beta should act more as a soft launch than anything else, especially to fans who have been eager to get their hands on this good-looking title for years now.

The studio fielded another interview about the incoming MMO in which it hedged a bit on the topic of grind, promised improved optimization, and confirmation that there will not be a region lock for the title. Neowiz said that it is planning to introduce a new race as early as 2019 and that housing is also on its way to the game.

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Dauntless argues ‘bespoke purchases’ are replacing the lockbox model

It might be tempting to think that the industry is doomed and that no studio will ever be able to ignore the siren song of easy lootbox, but the parade of MMOs and online games that are bucking the trend just keeps coming. The parade now includes Dauntless, which just closed out a Series B investment round. And money helps – but that isn’t the whole story of why. As Phoenix Labs CEO Jesse Houston told GIbiz, who the heck enjoys running a company specializing in squeezing cash out of gamer wallets?

“I would rather run a business where we are 100% focused on delivering awesome player experiences and building a game for a community than trying to find the best way to optimize every dime out of them,” he says.

Moreover, lockboxes change the way players actually play.

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