multiplayer

Demon’s Souls ends online services after nine years of operation

Has it already been nine years since Demon’s Souls first appeared on the scene, bringing its now-famous brand of ultra-hardcore action combat and progression? Apparently is has, and the studio behind the original game of the series has decided that nine years is long enough to keep the servers up and running.

While gamers can still enjoy Demon’s Souls as a single-player title, after February 28th, 2018, nobody will be able to access the multiplayer components that connected the community. The team announced this week that it is shutting down the online servers early next year, which will effectively kill coop play and multiplayer features such as leaving notes for others and seeing death markings of other players to help avoid your own demise.

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Overwatch kicks off a free play weekend across all platforms

Destiny 2 who? Overwatch is aiming to lure in as many of Blizzard’s players as possible with another free weekend. The best part? It’s already here, complete with the newest character Moira, so if you’ve never purchased the team shooter, you can download it from the Blizzard launcher and give it a try right now.

The free weekend is running through the 20th and is available to players on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It isn’t a limited experience, either; the studio is allowing everyone to play any of the 26 heroes across all maps and game modes.

Of course, Blizzard hopes to make a few sales from this weekend, which is why it said that any progress made during the event can be carried over if a player decides to purchase the game.

Source: Overwatch

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The Survivalist: ARK Survival Evolved’s sequel tease is an insult to its fans

You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.

That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.

Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.

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Heroes and Generals quilts together a patch out of player suggestions

Ever wonder if your game’s developers are listening? Heroes and Generals’ players don’t have to; they know the team is hanging on their every word.

The World War II multiplayer game released its Battle Flow patch on Wednesday, an update that was cobbled together mainly from the suggestions of players themselves. “One of the most important elements for us as developers working on a live game like Heroes and Generals is the constant feedback from the players. It inspires us,” said Reto-Moto Game Director Jacob Andersen.

The bulk of these suggestions for Update 1.09 were worked into changes to large assault maps for better flow and play. The patch also contains new helmet skins, more vehicle paint jobs, and an in-game bulletin screen. Get an overview of the patch from the devs themselves after the break!

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Chaos Theory: Farewell Samhain, hello Secret World Legends Season 2 hype!

Do I love Halloween? Yes, yes I do. And while the season was in full swing, my mind was fully focused there. This season is a great diversion, especially in Secret World Legends. But with the awesomeness that is Halloween winding down and with Samhain now over, my mind can finally settle on other matters. Now I know for some, that means Christmastime and Krampusnacht. (One staffer here even declared/warned us of all out Christmas festivities starting November 1st!)

As cool as Krampusnacht is, my mind has turned instead to Season 2. Without my favorite holiday to distract me, I am keen on embracing the big awesome that we’ve all been waiting a long, long time for. New content! New stories! All new zone! Yes, Season 2, I am waiting for you. And the latest little teases coming from Funcom give me hope that we can get it sooner rather than later; the devs’ flaunting it more openly and allowing us to focus on it really has revved up my hype train. It’s almost like there is nothing else in the way and this is their complete focus. Oh yeah! *insert Kool-Aid Man here*

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The Survivalist: ARK Aberration has already been delayed, but here’s what to expect

Surprise! ARK: Aberration, the survival sandbox’s next expansion that was slated to launch this month, is delayed. Shocking, I know. Actually, if any fans were actually surprised, they obviously haven’t been following ARK: Survival Evolved very long. The delay, along with a other news, was announced during Twitch Con 2017; Studio WildCard showed off the expansion to a host of streamers who, in turn, showed the game off to the rest of us. Fans got to see hours of Aberration gameplay, learning little tidbits about the world and its unique flora and fauna as streamers experienced the malfunctioning ARK for the first time. And the world does look fascinating!

Besides the delay and the peek into the underground world, we learned that the Structures Plus mod will be officially integrated into the game. This is fabulous news for builders who’ve been waiting a long while for this feature to get some attention. And for those who want some real-world ARK goodies, the ability to purchase the The Collector’s Edition of ARK: Survival Evolved sans game and expansions was also announced. Also, ARK itself and the expansions are on sale this weekend only.

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Magic: The Gathering Arena kicks off beta testing next month

Out of mana in your life? Magic: The Gathering Arena has a refill for you waiting. The multiplayer card game announced today that it is going to start testing early next month with the advent of a stress test on November 3rd.

“Digital Games Studio has been hard at work building Magic: The Gathering Arena for you,” the studio said, “and now it’s time to show you more with the start of some weekly playtests and the closed beta. Yes, that’s right, the closed beta that so many of you have signed up for is in sight!”

Following the stress test, Magic Arena will run a series of playtests with a “few thousand” players participating using some free packs to give constructed Magic a try. Then, if the studio plays its cards right, the closed beta test is scheduled to begin on November 30th. All of these tests will be on the PC only and will require participants to agree to an NDA.

Go ahead and sign up for a chance at a closed beta spot, and tune in to the official announcement of the testing schedule after the break!

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Battle royale mode propels Fortnite to over seven million players, adds supply drops and duos

One million players? That was September. Now it’s (early) October, and Fortnite Battle Royale has already shot across the seven million player line without looking back.

The multiplayer shooter continues to enjoy meteoric success with its free PvP mode, success that Epic Games wants to keep going. To assist in that effort, the studio released an update this week that added player duos and supply drops to Battle Royale in the hopes of keeping it interesting and engaging. You’ll have to supply your own friend, however; there’s only so much magic that developers can work.

The team also continues to work on fine-tuning weapon accuracy and balancing the different approaches to combat: “Our goal is to provide a competitive experience without losing our unique playstyle and crazy over-the-top moments that Fortnite Battle Royale brings to the table.”

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Multiplayer backstab simulator Throne of Lies launches

Don’t have enough paranoia and doubt in your life? Here comes along Throne of Lies to help you with that.

Somewhat based on the popular party game Werewolf/Mafia, Throne of Lies throws a group of players into a medieval castle to stab each other in the back. Over a series of days, these players will navigate politics, search out clues, write journals, make accusations, and attempt to figure out who the real killer is before it’s too late. There are plenty of classes, abilities, and even magic to keep things lively from game to came.

One interesting twist with this game is that even if you are killed, you can still participate in matches as a ghost or by being resurrected.

Throne of Lies launched this week on Steam, and you can pick it up right now for a brief discount at $9. Check out the launch trailer after the break to see if this is right for you.

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The Survivalist: How procedurally generated maps stretch the life of survival MMOs

It’s no secret that I love to explore. And exploring the dangerous new worlds of survival games has been something I have really been enjoying this past couple of years. But there is dark cloud looming over each of these experiences: They end too quickly. These games, most of which are still in early access, have a very finite map. Once I’ve poked my head into every nook and cranny, once I’ve built what I wanted, and once I have completed the game tasks, there’s nothing left for me to do. I am not one who likes the whole wipe-and-start-over idea, precisely because there is nothing left to explore for me. And the PvP scene is no long-term draw either. Sure, maybe the studio was happy to have folks for just those few months, but wouldn’t retaining players be better? So how do you keep things fresh and keep players playing?

Different games are exploring different approaches. Currently, Conan Exiles is releasing new areas and expanding its map, offering plenty of new spaces to survey. ARK: Survival Evolved releases expansions that are completely new worlds. But to explore those new areas, you have to buy them. It’s actually a different strategy that ARK employs that I think solves the problem best, especially for games with a smaller map-type. Three words: procedurally generated maps.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 welcomes friends with four-player co-op, PvP, and a game master mode

Anyone remember BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights from back in the day? Those who have fond memories of that game and its bustling online mod community might want to take a look at this month’s Divinity: Original Sin 2.

Kickstarted for a little over $2 million back in 2015, the sequel to the hit Divinity: Original Sin launched last week and has been getting rave reviews. In addition to the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to its RPG world, the turn-based game invites friends to the fun with several multiplayer features such as two- to four-player co-op and PvP.

Even more interesting is the opportunity to run your own campaigns: “The Game Master mode bridges the gap between the improvisation of a tabletop role-playing campaign and the immersion of a computer RPG. It’s easy to use, it’s powerful, and, most of all, it’s flexible. We’ve created a system with a single goal: to empower the Game Master so they can tell great stories and lead up to four players through a world of their own creation.”

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is available for $45 on Steam and GOG.com.

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PAX West 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on optimization, the Aberration expansion, and future development

This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.

While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.

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Gamescom 2017: Amazon’s Breakaway trailer and alpha signups

Update: Amazon has apparently removed the trailer following intense criticism.

Breakaway has a fresh new trailer out for Gamescom today, along with a run-down of all its toons. You’ll recall the game from its slow-cook reveal last fall as one of the new titles Amazon Game Studios is currently building out — this one’s the stream-centric 4v4 online brawler.

Breakaway is a team battle sport that blends the speed, strategy, and teamwork of sports in a competitive multiplayer action game, and is being developed with constant feedback and input from the community. Amazon Game Studios has partnered closely with Twitch to design the game to be as fun to watch as it is to play, and has added special features to help broadcaster engage their audiences.”

Check out all the new assets from the con, and make sure you’re signed up for the alpha!

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