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Final Fantasy XI previews its April version update

The monthly update cadence of Final Fantasy XI is continuing into April, but this time around the game is actually moving backwards a little bit. Just a little bit, though; it's bringing back one of the more popular Ambuscade foes for players to face once more, complete with new rewards available. If you couldn't get enough of fighting the Gigas, you'll have another opportunity.

Players can also see another old foe with a long history of being fought as another Ark Angel joins the list of Trust companions, this time the Ark Angel MR. There's also new log messages in the chat window for crafting gains to facilitate the Escutcheon line, new Records of Eminence objectives, and a few other quality of life features. Just because some of the monthly update content is glancing backwards doesn't mean the game as a whole isn't moving forward just the same.

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Project Genom updates fans on a big dump and other behind-the-scenes progress

Technical issues are preventing Project Genom from updating the test version of the game at the moment, but while the developers work on fixing those code issues, the game is still being developed. The latest newsletter from the studio shows off a number of things that the staff has been working on, including an enormous dump. The Dump dungeon is about 70% finished, and it definitely looks like a varied and interesting pile of trash for you to adventure within.

New idle animations for NPCs have also been added in, along with several new facial builds for male characters and new beard options. There's also a preview of some of the game's high-level armor, which features hovering plates that can reconfigure to defend the wearer. It's not quite as good as a patch offering players access to all of this stuff, but it's a good sign that development is still rolling forward despite patcher issues.

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Chronicles of Elyria recaps development over the month of March

It's been a busy time for Chronicles of Elyria as the development team has worked on putting together a portion of the game to show off for GDC and PAX East. If you've missed the recent developments, the game's official newsletter is the place to get caught up on everything from the addition of female models into the game to the presentation offered to crowds in a Boston auditorium. (You can also catch that below the break, if you'd prefer.)

The studio is also planning a live Q&A session streamed online on March 29th, so if you're eager to find out more about surviving in the game world you may want to tune in. (It contains more valuable information than just "don't let your health bar empty," presumably.) There's also more information planned on the prologue area showed off at PAX East in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled if you're wondering what specifically makes this dank abandoned mine more interesting.

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Analysts peg Overwatch League at a potential $100 million in its first year

One of the big announcements from last year's BlizzCon was the addition of the new Overwatch League, a project Blizzard is using to help push competitive gaming and branding with a dedicated e-sports organization. It's still a little early to say how successful it's going to be, but analyst predictions have it pegged as a potential moneymaker of $100 million in its first year. That's a lot of money for something where the game is already being made and balanced.

The prediction was made by investment management firm Morgan Stanley and outlines several potential futures, with the $100 million figure requiring about 72,000 regular viewers during the season. Morgan Stanley also predicts that much will depend on the future of e-sports as a viable market, depending on whether competitve gaming turns out to have a broad appeal or fails to connect with a larger paying audience.

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Rumors swirl around the Destiny 2 'announcement' for both lore and a PC version

Destiny 2 was announced yesterday... or teased, more accurately. The point is that it's definitely coming, and Destiny players being who they are, there's already a lot of rumors bouncing around and careful analysis going down. For example, just that teaser image has prompted analysis suggesting that the Last City is in flames and will no longer exist in the sequel. That'd be a pretty significant change to the lore of that gameworld right away.

Rumors are also buzzing from datamining and retailer pre-orders; some European retailers are already offering pre-orders, including German retailer Instant Games taking pre-orders for the game's PC version. Is there going to be a PC version? We don't know yet, but it's definitely possible, and it's a rumor that's been around more or less since the sequel was first hinted at. So there's a city in flames and a new platform getting added to the mix; that should be enough to fuel speculation until another lone image gets revealed.

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Final Fantasy XIV launches patch 3.56 and removes free trial time restrictions

Patch 3.56 has arrived for Final Fantasy XIV, bringing with it the end of the Heavensward main story quests, Season 4 of the competitive Feast rankings, and an increase to the weekly Allagan Tomestone cap, which you're probably not going to hit on a regular basis. (900 tomestones a week is a lot.) It's enough stuff to give you good reason to keep working your way across Eorzea until the game's second expansion comes out in June.

But maybe you haven't actually bought the game yet. Does the patch still hold something of interest for you? The answer is yes; this patch marks the abolition of the 14-day free trial's time limitations. So the free trial is now unlimited, although you can't get higher than level 35 and you're limited to the base game without Heavensward content. You can check out some screenshots for the patch just below if that's what you need as an eventual motivator, at that.

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Funcom CEO suggests that gamers are suffering MMO 'fatigue'

It's been a good year so far for Funcom with the success of Conan Exiles and the impending relaunch of The Secret World. CEO Rui Casais recently sat down to an interview discussing both the Nordic development scene for video games and the specific future of Funcom, including the company's focus on the Conan IP. Casais points out that it's not really a focus born of recent entertainment trends; rather, it's just that a lot of Funcom's staff knows the Conan lore in great detail, and it's a setting that lends itself to a wide variety of game styles.

As for MMORPGs specifically, he says,

"There are still many players enjoying this space and we continue to invest in it as is proven by our relaunch of The Secret World coming this spring. We do see that some players have gotten a bit of fatigue from the very large time commitment that these games tend to require and are moving on to our online social gaming experiences, and we plan to create some of those experiences as well, just like we’re doing with Conan Exiles."

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Blizzard is rolling out StarCraft: Remastered for hardcore fans

It's been a very long time since StarCraft was first released. By this point, the original game is just part of the landscape, and the gameplay itself has aged pretty well. The game has not, however; it was never really designed for modern systems, and the graphics look like a blurry mess between story cutscenes that are literally talking heads on monitors. It's the sort of game that's ripe for an upgrade with a delicate touch, something that doesn't touch the actual game but adjusts the metaphorical wrapper. You know, like what Blizzard announced for StarCraft: Remastered.

No changes will be made to the actual gameplay, game balance, or so forth of StarCraft with this release; however, the developers are promising modern matchmaking and Blizzard app integration along with redone graphics (complete with the ability to zoom in and out), re-recorded audio and music, and new comic book-style scenes between missions to tell the story more organically. If you've never really moved on from the game, this is unambiguously good news; you can put your long-in-the-tooth Brood War CD away and still get all of the same actual gameplay.

Source: Blizzard press release

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Global Agenda may be reappearing in your Steam library

If you don't remember the whole story about Global Agenda, you could be forgiven for pushing it out of your mind; it's a bit of a sad one. The first game out of Hi-Rez Studios was not a massive success compared to the studio's later titles, and with more profitable releases from the studio, the game's support dropped and it was quietly removed from Steam. The game is still playable right now for people who download it directly, but it's not there for Steam players to find. Even players who already downloaded it found it gone... until this weekend.

We've had some reports (confirmed by our staff) that the game is indeed showing up in Steam libraries once again, although as of this writing it's not showing up on the main store page. (Searching for it uncovers a demo page that does not actually load.) This could all just be a matter of database maintenance for Steam, or it could be a subtle hint that something is on the horizon. There's nothing to do but speculate; the last update on the game's status was that the servers are going to be kept online for the forseeable future, but the studio does need to make plans for a shutdown and has no intention of selling the servers to another company or the fans.

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Black Desert GM punishes a player with a writing assignment

The hard part about being a GM has to be when you're dealing with a certain brand of player. You know the sort; they're the ones making other people's time in the game worse just for giggles. How do you actually punish players who just want to sow chaos and don't care about the consequences? An enterprising GM for Black Desert tried out a novel technique by banning a reported toxic player... unless said player wrote a 501-word essay.

Of course, there's more to the story, as it turns out the player in question was reported for being a jerk to roleplayers, and the ban announcement by the GM in question was clearly leaning pretty hard on the "roleplaying" button. The player in question did write as requested and avoided the ban, although it's not exactly a timeless masterpiece of literature (you can see it in the Reddit thread if you want). Whether or not this was actually effective is up for debate, but we can't help but think that it was therapeutic for the GM, at the very least. (And as a bonus, there's always the slim chance that one of us will have to deal with this sort of ban, which will mean we get out of jail for free!)

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Mass Effect: Andromeda launches its first multiplayer weekend event

While the player character is working hard to do the heavy lifting of finding a new home in Mass Effect: Andromeda, players support the single-player game by gathering supplies and rewards in the multiplayer component. The first special multiplayer event is already here, tasking players with taking part in the APEX missions to find missing scouts in the hopes of uncovering valuable Krogan assistance. That means a new limited-time map through Monday.

Players who undertake the "Drack's Missing Scouts" mission will land at Firebase Paradox, featuring powerful Remnant artifacts being sought by the Kett for players to obtain. There's also a new character and weapon available in item packs. The Krogan Gladiator is a biotic with a penchant for her hammer, and the Ruzad shotgun is a slow-firing heavy-impact shotgun that may as well be the poster firearm for Krogan military philosophy. Check out the trailer just below, and see if it enhances your first weekend of scouring the Heleus Cluster for a new home.

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Final Fantasy XIV wraps up the Heavensward story on March 28th

In less than a week, the first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is coming to an end. The final story patch for Heavensward, 3.56, is arriving on March 28th, with accompanying maintenance starting at midnight EDT. The first half of the story already had a fair amount of death and revelation, but this is where we find out exactly what happens leading into our journey toward Ala Mhigo and Doma in Stormblood.

Of course, there's a main scenario preview available right now, but be fairly warned that it's a pretty notable spoiler for anyone who hasn't already done the first half of the 3.5 story. Suffice it to say that the solution to the major problem at the end of that first half was not nearly as final as may have been surmised, and more is coming right along the path. Feel free to speculate about what happens next; you've only got a few days left until you find out one way or the other.

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