launches

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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E3 2016: The Elder Scrolls VI is a long way away

The launch day of The Elder Scrolls VI shall not be seen by you, or your children, or your children’s children. Not for a few years or so, at least. Bethesda’s Todd Howard spoke to Kotaku about the franchise at E3 and confirmed that while the company does have plans for the future of the franchise, it’s likely that players will hear about other projects before the next installment of the series is being announced to eager fans.

This may be partly about keeping players tuned into The Elder Scrolls Online, which was revealed to be doing quite well for itself; Skyrim is also receiving a remastered edition for consoles. It’s bittersweet news for players who wanted something completely new from the series, but it does mean that you needn’t worry about your online adventures in Tamriel being derailed by a new game any time soon.

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Kings and Heroes launches into Early Access today

Do you feel a hole in your life that can only be filled by a first-person dungeon crawler with online co-op and procedural generation of dungeons? If so, you have remarkably specific needs in your life. You are also lucky, because Kings and Heroes is launching into Early Access today, and it provides exactly all of that. Which is admittedly why we specified all of those criteria up there. It’s not a first-person horse-grooming simulator.

The game is boasting a seamless open world along with six different character races and plenty of deep dungeons to hack through, alone or with friends. Players can also look forward to having plenty of different items to accumulate, with the added stinger that dying in a dungeon is the end to that run rather than just requiring the group to rally from defeat. Add in some player crafting and plenty of elaborate monsters to fight, and you have everything you could ask for to fill that first-person dungeon crawler need.

Source: Steam page; thanks to Barcs for the tip!

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Landmark announces a June 10th launch date

It’s a little later in the “spring” than expected, depending on how strictly you adhere to the season or the solstice, but it’s finally happening: Landmark is launching on June 10th. Yes, it’s really happening. If you’ve already bought into the testing of the game, you will have automatic access to the full game at no extra charge; everyone who has not been involved will need to pick up the game at $9.99.

However you get in, the game will still have a cash shop at launch. Founders packs will still be on sale until June 6th, with Trailblazers getting a 48-hour head start to the launch game starting on June 8th. Anyone who purchased a Trailblazer pack can also apply to have a name in the credits, with a more generous deadline of June 30th. Launch day is almost here, so get ready to start building and exploring for real in just a little less than two weeks.

Source: Official Announcement; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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Asta officially launches with its first major expansion

It is just a little bit odd that Asta: The War of Tears and Winds is launching when its first expansion drops. Those two events seem like they ought to be spaced further apart. Then again, it’s a free-to-play game that isn’t just languishing in “open beta” with an active cash shop forever, which is far more important than just an oddness to release timers. And one cannot argue that the game’s launch update/expansion doesn’t contain plenty of content for players to enjoy, with a new race, a new class, and a higher level cap.

The Raksa race (which has a character creation video just below) crosses over to both factions, allowing players to choose which of the two factions needs another short cute character. Raksa players can also take on the new Berserker class as they race toward the new level cap of 55. The update is scheduled to go live on May 31st, so if you’re enjoying the game’s beta, you have about a week until it totally launches for real.

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