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Eternal Crusade triples daily active users after free-to-play switch

Thanks to this past week's introduction of a free-to-play model, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade saw a massive jump in its player population. The team reports that concurrency doubled practically overnight while daily active users tripled to 44,619.

While this is certainly a cause for celebration among the team, the huge influx of players caused some technical issues that required a weekend of hard work to sort out. There's still more to be done, as some guild services and the world map are being reworked to accommodate the larger crowd.

The team also said that it's making a few adjustments to its Steam offerings, such as bundling together the four DLCs into a single purchasable package. Also: "Steam is working on the giftable version of the game for all players that bought the game before we launched the free version. Apparently, this is not straightforward but we'll figure out something, or an equivalent."

Source: Steam

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Three games you've never heard of: Lothgar Online, Little War Online, Age of Rivals

When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say "such-and-such a game exists" -- because just existing is what's new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I'm combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you've probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.

Lothgar Online

Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren't into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won't like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an "Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs," and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There's no cash shop either. Old school isn't always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
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TERA's EU branch claims player numbers have 'risen massively'

We see a lot of odd press releases around here, many of them loaded with vague commentary on how well a game is doing or how big it is. This one from TERA's EU branch today is definitely up there with those that make you wonder whether you're spying doublespeak or a funky translation that somehow lost the details.

"Gameforge and Bluehole, Publisher and Developer of TERA, proudly announce that players numbers of the MMO have risen massively since the game is available through the Steam platform as well as gameforge.com. Since the launch TERA has held a spot in the top 30 of F2P on Steam and received lots of positive user reviews."

Risen massively.

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Project Genom's content update date uncertain, progress assured

There's certainly a lot to digest in the most recent Project Genom newsletter, although perhaps the most important item is buried all of the way at the end. The team said that despite getting asked about it a lot, it simply does not know when the next big update will be pushed out to the game. Perhaps in the first half of this year, but no promises.

Even so, it sounds as if the game is making terrific progress as of late. The team listed several accomplishments, including multi-racial female heads, more polish to the world around the main camp, a futuristic tow truck that you can drive, NPC animations and the final integration of the male model. The team is asking the community about whether or not NPCs should follow a day/night cycle in their activities, even if it interferes with quest pickup and delivery.

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Legends of Aria begins focused testing, delays Steam launch

Legends of Aria is shaking things up from the old Shards Online paradigm. In addition to the name change and broader focus, the fantasy title announced that it is going to adopt a "more conventional MMO testing platform" going forward.

"Future play-tests will now be conducted in phases of focused testing, geared towards specific areas of gameplay in preparation for final implementation," Citadel Studios said in this week's newsletter. "To accommodate the need for extra testing periods, our Steam launch will coincide with the release of the Legends of Aria Beta instead of Alpha 2."

The current Alpha 1 test will conclude on March 26th, to be followed by Alpha 2's start on April 28th. The team said that its taken a shine to the concept of a single large official server (in addition to the private ones) and that it will start to talk about all of the changes in store for Legends of Aria on March 31st in a new development blog.

Source: Newsletter

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MyWorld empowers players create and link their own ARPG levels

If you are the sort that has ever looked at online game design and thought to yourself, "I could do so much better," then it's time to put your boasts to the test by checking out MyWorld. This software allows players to whip up their own action-RPG levels and then connect them with others to make a near-infinite sprawling patchwork quilt of worlds.

"At the heart of MyWorld is the ability to link worlds together, construct multiple level games and adventure through them with friends," a press statement said. "Via portals, game makers and game players can cross over into worlds created by other users and play the action RPG they've made to be discovered. Any game level can be linked to any other level and can be easily chained together to create a unique experience."

The software is currently 25% off at Steam. Get your first look at MyWorld after the break!

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Path of Exile on virtual reality, auto-sort, and offline play

Path of Exile's latest dev Q&A has a few nuggets of interest for followers of the MMOARPG. What caught our eye? Don't expect an auto-sort button in your inventory bins.

"I had a good conversation recently with David Brevik about how large items that require manipulation in the inventory help simulate the 'weight' that items have in other RPG systems," Grinding Gear Games' Chris Wilson says. "It may be inconvenient to have to organise items, but it makes them feel real. Simplifying this down to auto-sorting or single-slot-items is a road we don't want to take our game down."

The team does, however, have a plan to someday add an alternate skillbar and new skills, but not shapeshifting, extra zoom tools, virtual reality, or an offline version of the game. Why no offline? Not only would it be a waste of resources, but "the game will never be in a state where the servers have to be shut down for financial reasons."

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The Repopulation is back, but major bugs ensure the next patch is a ways off

Idea Fabrik's internal dev team published a dev update on The Repopulation this morning, following the game's relaunch last week. The studio says it's still working on verifying old backer accounts and reminds players that the game hasn't been updated yet -- this is just a copy of the game from fall 2015 when it all came down. Expect wipes to correct the economy at some point as well.

The really bad news is that the new team has discovered a slew of existing problems it needs to fix before it can move on with new content.

"We have been digging in to the zoning/transition issues, which have provided an insight to many other issues, this includes but is not limited to a lot of information that is being replicated which doesn't need to be, and some major issues with server drops, memory leaks and performance are being extrapolated by this. What this means for us is... We have to go over all replicated information, sort out what should be server side and client side, then apply all of the fixes without borking up other interconnected systems at the same time. As example of this is when players go over zone lines: ALL of your Account information is replicated from one area to the next, this includes for example, your inventory. So the more information on your character, the longer it will take to transition. This is not a straight forward and easy changing a 1 to a 0."

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UK Gambling Commission argues game studios should avoid complicity with unlicensed gambling operations

The UK doesn't take kindly to illegal gambling, as anyone who followed the FIFA YouTuber gambling case in the region over the last year. Now the UK Gambling Commission has added its voice to the growing chorus of advisory and regulatory bodies in the west arguing against e-sports gambling in particular.

The Commission's recent study of the subgenre revealed that of the small subset (between 3% and 8.5%) of gamer respondents who admitted to gambling, the vast majority use "in-game items" -- including weapon skins -- to do so. The investigation also suggests that underage gamblers are being targeted by unlicensed e-sports gambling websites "indiscriminately," making such sites "parasites feeding off popular video games, presenting a clear and present danger to players including kids."

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2013 MMOARPG Path of Exile hit peak concurrency in March thanks to its latest patch

Path of Exile just keeps getting bigger and bigger in terms of both players and team size, and it's actually providing the numbers to back it up.

A press release out from Grinding Gear Games declares that update 2.6.0 propelled the MMOARPG to a peak online concurrent player count of 112,800 earlier this month, with 65,000 of those playing concurrently through Steam, putting the game behind only Dota 2 and CS:GO during that chunk of time. According to the studio, that makes 2.6.0 the "franchise's largest and most successful to date with a 40-percent increase in the number of players online for the launch."

2.6.0 was big, but it's not even the biggest thing happening to the New Zealand-based game this year: It's got a huge expansion called The Fall of Oriath coming out in 2017. It most recently made headlines for creating a "transparent lockbox" with declared odds for the best stuff inside.

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Eternal Crusade prepares for its free-to-play shift

It is important to note that the official Eternal Crusade line is that the upcoming free-to-play option is not a full conversion to free-to-play, and that's largely accurate. Free players will still be limited in what they can access. But it does mean that you will be able to play the game for free, while those who already have bought the game and are playing not for free get some fun stuff. For example, you get a bunch of in-store credit for the game, all four factional DLC packs, unique Venerable items, and something else as-yet-undisclosed to offer another little bonus.

Free players, of course, will have access to all of these things for purchase separately (aside from Venerable items) and can jump in to fill out the game's queues, so they win as well. This also coincides with another patch to the game trimming up balance issues and outstanding bugs, so whether or not you're already a player or just look to jump in when the game goes free, you can know you're playing the most polished version of the game possible.

Source: Steam

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I've read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild -- including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are... coming. And that's it. This really surprised me. It's superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn't changing the formula -- or the battlegrounds really aren't anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler's word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they're a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it's actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren't perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let's take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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Enter to win a copy of Wild Terra from Juvty and Massively OP

Indie sandbox MMORPG Wild Terra has been in early access since December, a nostalgia-driven medieval sim that allows players to build up settlements (and then tear them down!). Most recently, the game has focused on its Corrupted Lands and crafting.

Developer Juvty Worlds has issued Massively OP 50 keys for the game, worth $15 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. The only caveat is that the game must be available to you on Steam for you to use the key. Read on to enter to win!

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