launches

Dean Hall calls the pre-launch price hike for ARK: Survival Evolved ‘outrageous’

Whether you love or loathe the early access survival sandbox genre, you’ve got Dean Hall’s DayZ to thank for it, although he’s had far less luck with recent titles. Still, history affords him a bit of extra credibility when he talks about the nascent genre, and he took to the online spaces to decry the recent price hike for ARK: Survival Evolved ahead of the game’s launch. The price increase was cited specifically as being “****ing outrageous” and he claimed that the only possible motive for increasing the price was greed.

Hall went on a further tear stating that the game is nowhere near ready for a release and that the obligation of the developers is to remain in early access until the game reaches a higher standard of quality, which Twitter followers have pointed out is something Hall himself did not do with DayZ. We leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide whether Hall is raising legitimate complaints or kvetching about nothing.

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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has launched today

The time is finally here. While pre-ordered players were able to play from Friday onward, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood officially launches today. Players of all sorts can log in and start fighting for the liberation of Ala Mhigo and Doma beneath the heel of Imperial occupation; the developers have even officially confirmed that the instance issues hitting the game at the start of Early Access have been largely resolved. (Most players were able to solve those issues on Sunday, but the official statement is still nice.)

Not currently a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s Welcome Back campaign to take a trip in and see what all of the fuss over Red Mage and Samurai is about. Planning to remain a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s first subscription loyalty campaign to pick up a mount based off of the Falcon in Final Fantasy VI. Just want to catch a roundup and the launch trailer again? Jump on down below, friends.

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Record of Lodoss War Online is now playable in the West

Do you ever wish that more imported games would just launch without fanfare? Record of Lodoss War Online has apparently done just that; Gravity Interactive announced its launch in the West last week without fanfare or much flare. Heck, it’s without even much in the way of a fleshed-out site, as the official site is still missing a gallery and in many places is still referring to another game. But it’s there!

For those following along at home, Record of Lodoss War Online is an MMO based on the eponymous anime, which concerns itself with a band of humble adventurers overthrowing an evil overlord. You know, as you do. You’ve got the usual lineup of fantasy characters and races, but if that’s your cup of tea, you can try that out today. Probably.

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Cloud Pirates releases fully on April 19th with the Stronghold launch

Why would you try to steal a cloud? What possible advantage could that confer? Even when you ignore the obvious logistical difficulties of getting one into a cargo hold, it’s mostly water vapor. It’s not easy and it doesn’t produce anything. Or perhaps the title Cloud Pirates refers to where the pirates operate rather than what they specifically steal, which would make more sense. You can find out when the game launches for everyone on April 19th.

The launch also coincides with the release of patch 1.3 for the game, the Stronghold update. Players will be able to besiege a stronghold in a new gameplay mode, form three-player groups to play together, and generally enjoy a vastly expanded set of features for the game. Check out a trailer just below and get ready to sail the bounding… well, skies. You might wind up stealing a cloud or two along the way, as long as you’re up there.

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The Daily Grind: Will World of Warcraft hold its 7.2 patch until June?

On October 24th, World of Warcraft launched patch 7.1, which contained a lot of not-quite-ready-for-launch Legion features and a bit of content. Since then, the game hasn’t really launched any content. Sure, patch 7.1.5 launched in early January, but that just added the Brawler’s Guild back to the game for content (which, admittedly, has a lot of new boss fights). We’re looking at a content gap that’s starting to spread out a fair bit already, and patch 7.2 is coming out… well, eventually?

Of course, MOP’s Bree and I are in pretty close agreement about when it’s coming out: June. Because that’s when a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind both launch, so they’re going to want to try to kneecap both of those launches.

At least from this side of the fence, that’s a pretty dumb plan. It’s the same plan that was in place for patch 6.2 of Warlords of Draenor, which wound up with lots of complaints about the delays, and it doesn’t seem to have really crippled the launch it wanted to “intercept” there, either. Still, it’s the sort of plan that Blizzard has used in the patch, and with two big competing releases in the same month it seems almost absurd to think it wouldn’t be tried. So what do you think, dear readers? What do you think the odds are of WoW holding its next patch until June? And how much grousing do you expect if people are waiting that long for more content?

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon launches on May 5

Remember how Darkfall: Rise of Agon’s team mentioned last month that the game was roughly four months away from launch? That seemed kind of crazy. But it turns out that wasn’t hyperbole, as the team has announced an official launch date of May 5th, 2017. That’s a bit under three months away from now… and yes, just about four months away from the initial launch date. You can’t fault the team for lack of punctuality.

While you can play the game right now in early access, an official launch means that the game is ready for the game to be live consistently and with no possibility of further wipes. It’s good news if you’re anticipating the project and had nothing major on your schedule in May… or if you did but are now frantically trying to clear out your schedule just for this. We won’t judge.

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Winning Putt has launched on Steam

The bright side to a nice round of golf is that it’s a game of skill and sedate strategy, along with a chance to make lots of references to Caddyshack. The down side is, of course, actually going to a golf course. But now Winning Putt has left the putting range of beta testing and driven onto the green of launch, so players can pick up their digital seven-irons and go to war with one another. Or however you play golf.

To celebrate the game’s launch and its arrival on Steam, the game is offering players a special gift for each day’s login until November 18th. You’ve still got a few days to pick up new prizes, so if you love the idea of smacking virtual golf balls around, we suggest you get in and get teeing. Or… driving? Whatever the verb form is for starting a golf skirmish. Match. Whatever.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Rain for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: How long does an MMO have before it’s considered a success or failure?

Watching the latest news about Pokémon Go brought to mind something I still like to say about the MMO industry: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Getting a huge number of players out of the gate means little-to-nothing if they don’t stick around and spend money, especially with a game that’s free-to-play. You can have a stellar launch and make a great first impression, but it means very little if you can’t stick the longer-term landing; WildStar managed to open to great numbers and a great launch, but the cracks started to show and the three-month mark saw a massive dropoff for the game that it’s still struggling to recover from.

Of course, this goes directly against every other part of the game industry, where your opening sales are what indicates the health and success of a game. Much like a film, you’re going to be making most of your profits within the first few weeks. So excellent opening sales/downloads reads like a success story even when it doesn’t translate to longer-term success in the marketplace.

And three months isn’t a scientific figure, either. EVE Online limped along for some time before finding its niche and really getting popular; World of Warcraft defied expectations through the launch of Cataclysm by somehow managing to just keep going up. So let’s talk about this. How long does an MMO have to be successful? Is it three months? Longer? Is it even shorter, dooming games that have later made decent money to forever be labeled failures if their initial launches were a mess?

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The Tomorrow Children launches on September 6th with founder’s packs

How would you like to play as a child of an alternate-universe USSR rebuilding the world after a disastrous science experience? The Tomorrow Children is exactly that game, tasking players with coming together in a shared online space to rebuild the world, fight off horrific monsters, and work together for the glory of the people. And you don’t have to wait for long to take part, either; the game is launching on September 6th for players who buy in with the game’s founder’s pack.

The downside, as it were, is that the game is only on PlayStation 4. But it also promises to provide a unique experience, with player actions creating permanent changes in the world. If you have a console but don’t want to buy in early, the game will be launching as a free-to-play title a few months after the September 6th launch, so you’ll have a chance to make an impact without buying in first. Keep your eyes peeled for more information.

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No Man’s Sky launches today on console

After delays, anticipation, and a few death threats along the way, No Man’s Sky is finally out! On console, anyhow; PC users are going to have to wait a little bit longer, although the team is still in the building hard at work on getting the PC release going. The game’s release has been accompanied by a heartfelt message to reviewers in the Australian neck of the woods.

So how’s the actual game shaping up? Well, for one thing, players hoping for a multiplayer component as an active element of play will be sadly disappointed, as Hello Games has made it clear that actually meeting another player is incredibly unlikely. Early impressions have also stressed that the game’s survival aspects are more of a driving element than the exploration, with the exploration more of a requirement to survive than something you simply do. Check out a roundup of our own coverage below, and let us know if you’re enjoying the game’s console launch or waiting for the PC launch down in the comments.

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Neverwinter launches head start access on the PlayStation 4

You can play Neverwinter on your computer. You can play Neverwinter on your Xbox. But can you play it on your PlayStation 4? As of today, the answer is yes. The game has kicked off its head start access on the console today for players who pick up the Onyx head start pack for $19.99; weapons, armors, and other trinkets are also included in the pack for purchasers.

If you’re not willing to buy into the head start, you’ll be waiting… for a week. The game launches on the platform fully on July 19th. Then the world will have to invent a new standard for what devices you cannot play Neverwinter on; we will look forward to the game’s eventual port to the Commodore 64 and the Nokia N-Gage. The launch trailer for the latest platform can be found below.

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Pokemon Go is live in the United States

Have you previously tried to get into games using your phone’s “augmented reality” features, but found yourself lacking an emotional connection to things that aren’t small animals you can make fight one another? Do you like how Pokémon as a franchise sends children out into dangerous wilderness but wanted to actually send your own children out into dangerous wilderness with a bike instead of having them sit at home with a Nintendo handheld? Do you just really, really need a new way to capture Pikachu? These are all of the reasons to be excited about the launch of Pokémon Go in the United States.

Or, we suppose, you might just really like the gameplay.

Fans of the franchise can start exploring the game’s live features on their mobile devices right now, with iOS and Android versions both available. Hunt Pokémon in the real world, battle opponents with your own team, and make use of many (if not all) of the features of the classic games in a new format. It’s a fun excuse to travel while capturing monsters, or at the very least, it’s a good way to hold over your appetite for catching things until the next handheld games come out.

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