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Hearthstone’s game director fields questions about the expansion, ladder experimentation, and new heroes

With Knights of the Frozen Throne coming to Hearthstone next month, excitement is reaching a fever pitch for this already-popular card title. Game Director Ben Brode took advantage of this interest to raise awareness of the game and answer community questions in a recent AMA session.

Among the topics covered were minion placement, the collection manager, the expense of the game, and confirmation that the team is experimenting with a new ladder format.

Possibly the most exciting news is that the team is working on both a Druid and Warlock hero, although Brode indicated that we shouldn’t be expecting a new class anytime soon. “I think we are already having trouble carving out awesome space for nine classes,” he said. “I want us to find more unique things for Warlock to do, for example. I think adding a 10th class makes this problem much more difficult, as we could be using that space to make our core nine classes more fun.”

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Crowfall Q&A video covers number squish and the difference between disciplines and classes

Do you like numbers? It’s summer, you shouldn’t have to think about math! That’s OK, the Crowfall team will deal with that for you. In this week’s new dev video Q&A, Design Lead Thomas Blair and Senior Game Designer Mark Halash take on the recent “number squish” and how to display numbers that matter during combat and crafting.

Of course, it’s not only counting really high. The devs also talk about an overhaul to the character sheet, how resource drops works, the progression model, the difference between disciplines and classes, and how they are restructuring skill trees.

Check it out after the break!

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Shroud of the Avatar has plans to attract more players and keep them around

In the hopes of attracting and encouraging more player investors in Shroud of the Avatar, Portalarium took to Reddit for a Q&A session that did not leave everyone quite satisfied.

During the AMA, Portalarium explained why it’s not doing a wipe before release, responded to those upset at the slow rollout of the single-player version, promised more user interface polish, and addressed frustration over players not being able to find certain NPCs. The studio said that right now there it is seeing around a 500-player concurrency, although it expects this to increase as they start promoting the game more.

So how is the team planning in attracting new players to the game as it heads toward launch? “We have been testing out our free trial system for the last few months and in the next few months we will begin promoting this more and more as the game improves to bring in new players. To keep players around long-term we will be working on more high-end content around the end of the year.”

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Crowfall illuminates racial bonuses and abilities in Q&A

There’s no doubt that a lot has been happening recently with Crowfall’s class and race structure, particularly following following May’s announcement that the team is separating race-bound classes to allow players more mix-and-match freedom. There were bound to be one or two questions concerning all of this, which is why the team fielded an hour-long Q&A session yesterday on Twitch.

One of the interesting reveals that came out of the chat is that each of the races will receive their own racial discipline with various bonuses. For example, humans are more versatile stat-wise and can use a side-step dodge move, while Wood Elves are trailmasters who can camouflage themselves while standing still.

The team also talked about cartography (which includes the interesting feature of being able to pickpocket other players’ maps), how it’s working to beef up healers, and what’s going on with Clerics (they’re coming soonish).

We’ve got the full Q&A session for you after the jump, and as an added bonus, we also tossed in a video with the team discussing what’s going on with the Alpha 5 build.

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Star Trek Online talks about Season 13 combat balance, triggers console event

If you didn’t catch it, Star Trek Online’s recent Season 13 update contained more than just another fancy featured episode. The systems team used this opportunity to push out a combat pass that tackled both space and ground encounters.

So what’s the deal with the rebalance? Lead Systems Designer Jeremy Randall took to a livestream to answer the many, many questions players had about the sweeping combat changes and how they’re panning out in the game. “By and large, we think that this was a success,” he said at the beginning of the stream. “However, I think we should have attempted to communicate more about what we were doing and why were doing it earlier on.”

Console players might want to log in next week for a special Crystalline Catacysm event. By defeating the Crystalline Entity (which can be done every 20 hours), players get a pile of ore, reputation marks, and a universal kit. There’s also a special one-shard project that can be activated when the rep grind is complete that awards even more goodies.

The full Q&A session is after the break (the actual talking begins at the 10-minute mark).

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Path of Exile has ‘a lot more expansions coming’

Pretty much every MMO player dreams of sitting his or her favorite developers down to get the honest and direct truth. While Grinding Gear Games isn’t making house calls (yet), the dev team did make an effort to satisfy community curiosity by tackling an assortment of 30 submitted questions about Path of Exile.

There was some concern over the potential for a bug flood when the expansion drops this fall. GGG said that it’s on top of it: “There’s a lot changing in 3.0.0 so there’s a lot of scope for problems to creep in unless we find them. To deal with this, we’ve expanded our QA team over the years and it’s currently the largest it has ever been. In addition, we’re running a beta for 3.0.0 specifically to find problems before they affect the live realm.”

There was no confirmation regarding a launch date for the expansion, but the team did discuss lengthening the ignore list, trade improvements, the Xbox One launch, and controller support. The team also hinted that there are “a lot more” expansions being planned for the MMO.

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You’ll need to put in about 20 hours in Albion Online to become competitive in PvP

As Albion Online barrels toward a summer release, the crew took to Reddit yesterday for a marathon AMA session to tackle any pressing community questions.

Asked how much work an average player will need to put in before being of any use in PvP, the team responded, “A general principle of Albion Online — as a game with a strong PvP focus — is that the combat power curves for gear and character progress are very flat […] When you start out a new character, you could expect at least 10 to 20 hours of gameplay before you could be considered competitive in PvP.”

What about super-experienced and -geared players taking over the game’s landscape and making it miserable for everyone else? “Of course, well-organized guilds will always have an advantage over more casual players – it would be weird if that was not the case. However, it is extremely unlikely — and has never happened in any of our tests, two of which lasted around six months — that a single faction will dominate the world.”

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World of Warcraft Q&A covers legendaries, artifact power, and relics; Blizz nixes 7.2 PvP changes

If you missed it, yesterday World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas sat down for another one of his lengthy community question-and-answer sessions.

While no groundbreaking revelations came out over the stream, Hazzikostas did spend a good amount of time answering queries about the constantly hot topic of Legion legendaries. He said that players who swap specs should find that the game will give them an increased chance of getting a legendary for that spec when there is none present. The team wants to reduce the power gap between strong and weak legendaries, although the four craftable legendaries in Patch 7.2 will be “middle of the road.”

Other topics included how Patch 7.2 will deal with catching up on artifact power and expanding relics to include two traits instead of the current one. The patch will contain artifact knowledge tomes to boost players’ alts to 30 and 35, as the team doesn’t want players to feel as though they’re doing nothing other than grinding AP for the expansion.

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World of Warcraft hatches hippogryphs, expands Nighthold, and continues token madness

The expansion of World of Warcraft’s token utility continues to ripple across the entire Blizzard ecosystem, as prices remain high and supply occasionally runs out. Polygon has gone so far to posit that grinding out gold in WoW might be more efficient to get those Hearthstone packs and Overwatch loot boxes than actually playing those games.

The article contains a lot of math: “It takes about 135 hours of playing Overwatch to earn 100 loot boxes. A bundle of 50 loot boxes costs $40 plus tax, so Overwatch pays out loot-box rewards worth about sixty cents for every hour you play […] You should be able to earn the six tokens you need to buy a hundred loot boxes in about 30 hours of grinding herbs in World of Warcraft, so you earn more than four times as many Overwatch loot boxes per hour farming herbs in WoW than you’ll earn from actually playing Overwatch.”

In other World of Warcraft news, wing three of Nighthold is now open for business, so get in there and make us all proud. Today and today only is the new Hatching of the Hippogryph micro-holiday, if you’re into that sort of thing. Additionally, you might also want to catch the latest new developer Q&A livestream this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST.

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Cloud Pirates hits early access and adds convoy mode

Hear ye, hear ye! Pirates are terrorizing the skies with the aid and comfort of ruthless players! So-called “early access” has ushered in an era of fear and cutthroat commutes, and experts say that this is only the beginning!

It’s true: The PvP airship simulator Cloud Pirates went into early access yesterday with Update 1.1: Gold Rush. The patch adds a new convoy mode in which a team of players work together to guard a shipment of ore as a second team seeks to steal it for their own greedy souls.

The developers took this opportunity to answer many community questions about the game, including where it will go from here. “We have several large items prepared for this year and it’s too early to share most of them, but we can safely say that the two upcoming big things are competitive (rating) battles and improving the Cloud Pirates Brotherhood (clan) system. Statistics, ladders, ratings and competitive gameplay is one of the main directions for Cloud Pirates.”

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Chronicles of Elyria might fatten up your character

Chronicles of Elyria is nothing if not bursting with interesting little ideas that you don’t often see in other MMOs. One of these, apparently, is that your in-game activities can and will alter how your character looks: “If you eat a lot and exercise little, you’ll get fat. If you do a lot of physical labor, you’ll build muscle. If you fall in a lake, you’ll wind up wet. If you don’t clean your clothes, you’ll get dirty. It’s just like real life!”

It’s good to know that we can be fat slobs in video games too, right?

Soulbound Studios reported that the work on the PAX East demo is coming along nicely and that a female character model has been introduced to the game. The studio said that it will be discussing its prologue experiences (the single-player game and the text-only MUD) with the community later this month.

The team recently sat down to answer nearly 40 fan questions about the game’s settlement system in the game (alas, there will be no underwater cities, just in case you were hoping). You can watch the 30-minute edited version below!

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Star Citizen cracks the code of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence isn’t merely being thrown into Star Citizen because of its futuristic theme but because the tech is essential to how the game will play, from its mission system to ship handling.

In the latest episode of Around the Verse, the AI team engages in a lengthy Q&A session about how this tech will help the game as a whole. Thanks to the AI, missions will be able to vary a bit as you replay them, stations on large ships can function without a human at the controls, and players will be able to develop relationships with NPCs over time.

You can read the full transcript of the show on Relay or watch it for yourself after the jump!

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Ashes of Creation unloads 25-minute Q&A video

Now that the cat is out of the bag on the existence of Ashes of Creation, the team is charging forward in sharing its vision and design of the game with potential players. In this effort, a 25-minute question-and-answer video was posted on the site today to give a better idea of what this MMO is all about.

This marks the first time that the community will see the faces of some of Intrepid Studios’ dev team, including Senior Designer Peter Pilone, Creative Director Steven Sharif, Lead Designer Jeffery Bard, and Senior Designer Matt Reynolds. The team fielded several questions that were sent in from the community, such as Ashes’ node system, character identity, world lore, guild features, player housing, the referral system, and the game’s rejection of factions.

Give the video a watch after the jump and learn more about Ashes of Creation from our December interview!

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