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The first chunk of Black Desert’s free Kamasylvia expansion launches next week

Remember last week when Kakao hinted that Black Desert’s new servers were indication that Kamasylvia was on the way “real soon”? That soon is almost upon us, as Kakao has announced this morning that the massive PvE-centric expansion will launch next week on September 27th, or at least the first part of it. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

Black Desert Online’s new region, Kamasylvia, features elven woodlands that stretch out to the south of Hexe Sanctuary, from the Valtarra Mountains to the Shady Tree Forest. In terms of the landmass, the new region is about the size of Calpheon and houses an elven village known as the Old Wisdom Tree. There is no level requirement for Kamasylvia, but it is a dangerous place to go alone, so being at high level will be beneficial and group play is recommended. There is also new group-based content such as The Altar of Training that will enthuse players who are looking for some co-op action. The Altar of Training, located deep within Kamasylvia, contains a survival mode which players can unlock once they have completed certain quests in the main storyline. Players will need to work together with their party members to defend a sacred treasure from hordes of enemies that grow stronger with each wave. A total of five waves need to be beaten before the ultimate challenge: a fight with the powerful final boss, Ancient Puturum. If successful, adventurers can gain valuable items and gear.”

The official site’s free trial landing page has an updated interactive map with the new region clickable (it’s screenshots when you click through to it), and the new trailer? That’s down below!

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PAX West 2017: Hand of the Gods’ Japanese pantheon and the possibility of 2v2

While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.

In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.

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Shroud of the Avatar’s R46, free trial, community map, and $52K telethon haul

Shroud of the Avatar is full-speed ahead, looking on to R46 with R45 in the rear-view mirror. What’s in R46? Lots of stuff, starting with “building the mid-level and lower tier scenes near the cities along the paths of Truth and Courage.”

The game’s latest newsletter touches on the swampy South Longfall Wetland area, with its “a maze of poison gas, an abandoned village, a raft flotilla inhabited by pirates, and a secluded witch’s hut,” plus Crooked Shank, which honestly sounds much safer, and North Shattered Hills, which lie in ruin. Where is all that on the map? You should check out the massive community-created map on the official forums to find out (and also to just marvel at how detailed the game’s gotten).

Portalarium has further reiterated its ongoing free trial (live now and ending September 27th), recapped its attendance at DragonCon, and posted video of its most recent monthly mini-telethon, during which it raised $52,000.

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Shroud of the Avatar is running another free trial until September 27

Curious about Shroud of the Avatar but not curious enough to drop money on the title first? Now you can try it out and save your cash, as the game is holding another free trial event through September 27th. For the developers, it provides a valuable opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work in the current new player experience and how the servers handle stress. For you, it’s… well, it’s a chance to try out the game without buying it.

Naturally, your options are fairly limited in the free trial; you have no ability to own land, you can’t buy or sell items by player vendors, you can’t PvP, you can’t trade items, you can’t use the letter “j” in your name, and so forth. (All right, that last one isn’t true.) But if you’d like a taste for what the game is like, well, it’s still the most free option to find out that you’re likely to get. Jump on in before September 27th if you’re curious; just make an account, download the game, and get going.

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Global Chat: Has No Man’s Sky finally arrived as a full-featured game?

It’s been a year since the disastrous and controversial launch of No Man’s Sky, a game with failings that included, among many others, a lack of multiplayer when it specifically advertised itself as such.

But has the space exploration game finally arrived now that it’s sitting on several patches is far more robust than its launch incarnation? Virtual Bastion thinks this may be the case.

“The new updates, Atlas Rises included, appear to build greatly upon the simple notion of giving players things to do, from crafting homes to completing actual missions. Certainly, the game isn’t perfect: Slow progression is still a problem, dreadful inventory management remains, and promised in-game multiplayer has yet to be realized, but the fact remains that No Man’s Sky on August 2017 is a far cry from No Man’s Sky of August 2016.”

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Absolver launches with a flurry of kicks, punches, and prospects

“Strange men in masks are not to be trusted.” Wise words from the classic film Princess Bride, and advice that we carry with us as we head into Absolver today. If you can rip your eyes away from Destiny 2 for a hot minute, you might see that there’s a pretty interesting multiplayer title launching right now that’s full of potential.

Absolver is an action-RPG in which players take on the role of masked “Prospects” who roam the land and get into fights with a customizable combat system. It’s out right now for both PC and PlayStation 4 and can be grabbed on Steam or GOG.com.

There’s a lot more to come past the Day One excitement. Coming soon to the game are several features including private matches, a spectator option, and a 3v3 combat trial. Get caught up on all of the Absolver news to date after the break!

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Shroud of the Avatar’s R45 launches Thursday, Oktoberfest-themed fundraiser begins next week

Shroud of the Avatar is gearing up for one of its like-clockwork monthly releases: 45 on Thursday. In preparation, this week’s newsletter features a dev spotlight on Crooked Shank, one of release 46’s retooled regions. It’s worth taking a peek at some of the included interior shots in particular, since usually we get exteriors from the game! There’s even a look at some Viking-inspired armored clothing for northwestern Novia.

The studio’s also reminded everyone that the current free trial ends on Wednesday, that QA server is now open to everyone as previously announced, that luminaries from the team will be attending the Ultima Online 20th anniversary event next month, and that Portalarium will be running an Oktoberfest-themed postmortem and fundraiser for R45 on September 6th. Winners in the game’s trailer contest have also been announced; we’ve included the top trailer below.

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft’s wild frontier

How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.

“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”

Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to  the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!

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World of Warcraft goes all Project Runway this weekend

One of World of Warcraft’s newer micro-holidays is raising fashion awareness this weekend, as the Trial of Style puts the spotlight on transmog creations by players.

The event, which runs from August 17th through the 21st, tosses five-player groups into private instances where they’ll be showing off for each other. Two of the players will have a limited time to create a transmog outfit according to a specified theme, with the remaining three voting on the results. The themes range from “dark and deadly” to “fun and flirty” to “faction pride.”

Winners — and even the losers — will get tokens that can be spent on (what else?) more cosmetic gear. The micro-holiday also makes use of the barber and transmog services in the game completely free, which turns this into a great time to give yourself a makeover without worrying about cost.

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Shroud of the Avatar is playable for free right now

If you haven’t been aware of it, Shroud of the Avatar is currently running yet another extended trial for the remainder of the month. That means that even if you haven’t purchased the game, you can still jump in and try it out between now and August 30th.

Of course, it is to be expected that a trial will come with limitations, and Shroud of the Avatar’s program is no different. There’s a long list of restrictions that freebies will have to accept, such as being denied trade privileges, property ownership, and open PvP flagging. Trial users also cannot play in the game’s offline mode and are limited to the Path of Love for the game’s story.

It should also be noted that if you get attached to your trial character, you’re going to want to pony up some money to keep it: “Character data may be deleted after free trial test is over if not upgraded to a paid account.”

MOP’s Eliot is exploring Shroud of the Avatar in this month’s Choose My Adventure series.

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Final Fantasy XIV passes 10 million worldwide players and gets a small patch

Looking forward to more ranked PvP in Final Fantasy XIV or just the removal of the game’s automatic logout? Both of those features have been brought around with the game’s latest minor patch, which also makes some balance tweaks to several jobs and adds in the latest incarnation of the Moonfire Faire to the game. (There’s even a development dispatch on what you can expect from the event if you’re at work and can’t start it up yet.)

This patch coincides with the announcement that the game has reached 10 million players worldwide, with the caveat that it’s a cumulative number including free and trial accounts. It’s credited to the game’s frequent and robust content updates giving players all over the world reason to subscribe. Certainly it doesn’t hurt that the game’s staff resolves issues like the recent Russian/Brazilian Steam subscription increase by crediting all affected players with 30 days of play time and locking the lower prices for 60 additional days due to the lack of forewarning. So that’s a fine ending to that story, and a fine reason for the game’s growing player count.

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‘Selectively multiplayer’ Shroud of the Avatar unleashes R44, plans August free trial, and expands around the globe

The Shroud of the Avatar team is sitting pretty on top of this past week’s Release 44, but there is always more to be done to get the game ready for launch. This week’s newsletter shares a little how the update improved the looks of its Crayola-pack dragons, but mostly the attention was given to how insanely busy the team will be promoting the MMO in August and September. Appearances at Syndcon, Gamescom, PAX Dev, and Dragon*Con are all on the calendar, as is the 45th major build, which should come out on August 31st.

The team also informed the community that another test of its free trial program is set to run from August 9th through the 30th, so you’ll be able to play for free for most of the month if you so desire.

In a press release this afternoon, Portalarium announced that it and Travian — a company you’ll remember as the European publisher for Crowfall — will also publish the game beyond Europe and North America, pushing into South and Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Russian publishing will be handled by Black Sun as previously reported. Calling the game “selectively multiplayer,” the companies say it’s reached the “story complete” stage and reaffirm that the “full commercial release” is still coming later in 2017.

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Whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “What ever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria (witness protection program name: Horizons).

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