Allods Online’s Creation update lands May 23

Next week is shaping up to be a big one for the MMO industry, unsurprisingly, as Memorial Day approaches and schools begin leaking out for the season. Allods Online has its own release in store next week: the 8.0.1 Creation update, an apparent thematic extension of last winter’s Immortality expansion. On deck for the update:

  • an althetic competition – “Join chariot races, descend into the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, and fight in the gladiator games!”
  • a new storyline revolving around the newly raised Dominus
  • new artifacts through raid adventures, with 5 upgrade levels
  • fabled items — or some of them, anyway — will be demoted to lootable and craftable status
  • a rating system for players who own a Maze
  • a new order trial, party skirmishes has a separate dev blog out for gearing up too. MOP’s MJ Guthrie poked her head into Allods — for the first time! — just a few weeks ago; you can watch her show below. Warning: Gibberlings ahead!

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Shroud of the Avatar works on endgame storyline

Will Shroud of the Avatar finish fleshing out its main storyline in time for this summer’s official release? It might be a photo finish, as the team is currently working on the endgame storyline that all players will encounter.

“Now that all three paths (Truth, Love, and Courage) are playable we have begun work on the Finale part of the plot, aka The Path of the Oracle,” the team said in this past weekend’s newsletter. “One of the crucial scenes of that path is the Oracle Colossus. This is of course the famous depiction of the Oracle from the concept painting by Stephen Daniele inspired by passages from The Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman.”

It behooves us to remind you that Shroud of the Avatar is currently testing its free trial program through the end of May, which means that anyone can check out the game and see if it is to their liking until May 31st.

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The Stream Team: Sashaying through Shroud of the Avatar while it’s free

It has much too long since Massively OP’s MJ has sashayed though the lands in Shroud of the Avatar. Part of the reason is because few of her friends are in the game to play with her. But that has all changed — at least for a few weeks. Until the end of the month, SOTA is running a free trial for folks to hop in and check it out. What better reason to do just that? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. on stream and in game!

What: Shroud of the Avatar
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 11th, 2017

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Russian Pokemon Go player sentenced over blasphemy law

The 22-year-old Russian vlogger convicted of playing Pokemon Go inside a church has been hit with a 3.5-year suspended sentence.

Ruslan Sokolovsky was found “guilty of inciting hatred, violating religious feelings and illegal possession of special technical means – a pen with a video camera” for recording himself playing Pokemon Go on his phone in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg last summer while carrying a piece of crap pencam from whatever the Russian equivalent of SharperImage is. He was detained and charged by authorities when the video of his mundane prank went viral.

“I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability,” the Russian prosecutor said last month. “There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine … I request that the court sentence him to three-and-a-half years in a penal colony.” The judge apparently agreed to the max sentence, but ordered it suspended. Sokolovsky has already been sitting in prison for seven months.

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Shroud of the Avatar secures Russian publishing

Shroud of the Avatar is coming to Russia, Portalarium announced today. The studio’s inked a deal with Moscow’s Black Sun Game Publishing “to publish and operate Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic States.”

Portalarium CEO Richard Garriott is quoted in the press release as saying that SOTA has a “large and growing fan base in Russia and the surrounding countries.” Black Sun’s website lists only SOTA under its umbrella and says it is “interested in buying the rights to publishing in Russia and CIS countries, massively multiplayer online games,” particularly near-finished projects.

SOTA stopped wiping its early access servers last summer but has not technically launched as a completed project. Its most recent monthly release landed at the tail end of April, introducing or overhauling multiple maps and revamping combat lines. Beginning today, the game is available in a free-to-play trial mode until the end of May.

Source: Press release



Elder Scrolls Online outlines Morrowind’s Clockwork City raid

Listen up, raiders: The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind expansion is out in just a month, and you’re going to want to be prepared for the release’s 12-man trial, The Clockwork City. Like most of the Morrowind expansion we’ve seen to date, the raid is stuffed with callbacks to Elder Scrolls III, from the fact that the raid is literally set in Sotha Sil’s clockwork domain to the presence of Telvanni Sorcerer Divayth Fyr, who will apparently be riding shotgun on the PvE content.

ZeniMax is also talking up the teamwork nature of the raid. “The amount of coordination and teamwork that it takes to complete this Trial is something we haven’t done before,” Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan writes, warning that you’ll be needing serious business raid makeup here, complete with two tanks and an eye for non-mob dangers like traps. “We wanted to make the Halls of Fabrication a full group experience.”

For your trouble, you’ll be piecing together four new armor sets and home decor, building elite combat dummies dubbed Target Centurions, and racking up achievements.

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Shroud of the Avatar is free-to-play for most of May

Shroud of the Avatar is running another free trial — quite a long one! It’ll run from May 10th to the end of the month. “This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data about uptake, dropoff, conversions, etc.,” Portalarium says. As usual, free players are restricted from trading, vendor use, property ownership, open PvP, and offline mode. You can pick up a copy of the game through the download page on the official site.

The trial is the highlight of game’s latest newsletter, but there’s plenty more to snoop, including the team’s work on Bloodriver Outskirts, weapon rewards from the last telethon, plans for the summer telethon, a housing contest and a writing content, and finally, a peek into Novia Market, one of the game’s player-run villages.

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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PSA: The Division is free to try this weekend on PC

The Division (or what we called “The Divs” when I was a kid roaming the suburban streets of Ohio, looking for my next hit of Capri-Sun) wonders if you have plans this weekend. Yes? No? Willing to cancel? If you have a slice of time, perhaps you’d like to play the game and see how it’s shaped up over the past couple of years.

From May 4th through the 7th, you can try out The Division for free. There are just two conditions: You have to play it on a PC and you need to go through Uplay to access the promotion.

The Division pushed out a patch last month that tackled a whole host of bugs and added the new loadout system. Check out the exact times of the promotion’s start and end after the break.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The three key problems with SWTOR’s War for Iokath

Unlike some gamers, I actually like Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Trooper storyline. In fact, one of the most meaningful choices in the whole game is made by the player in the Trooper’s arc. After spending several missions with an operative for the Republic, you are faced with a choice that will leave her dead or kill many Republic senators whom you have never met before. It’s a tough call for a character that is supposed to be loyal to the Republic and loyal to the crew. No other choice in any of the other class stories was as difficult for me.

Because of his proven ability to create meaningful moments like those in the Trooper story, I have been happy to see Charles Boyd at the helm of the creative side of the latest updates to the SWTOR experience. But I was disappointed by War for Iokath from a storytelling perspective. And I was especially disappointed by the less-than-meaningful choices players had to make in this update.

I’ve held off talking about Update 5.2 because I like to focus on the positive in the MMO genre, but I think it’s time to face what has to be one of worst updates I’ve seen for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Let’s examine why I felt so cheated, and let me know if you agree with my assessment in the comments.

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Final Fantasy XI prepares for its May version update

This month’s version update for Final Fantasy XI is a little bit smaller than normal. Of course, that’s understandable; there’s a 15-year anniversary celebration to plan, that’s going to eat up a lot of time and resources. (Also, you know, the game is supposed to be in maintenance mode, which would be a bit of a red flag to most games.) But there’s still an update on the way, bringing along with it more Escutcheon progress, adding new Ambuscade enemies, and even upping the level cap on the game’s free trial.

Players will also be able to pick up another Ark Angel alter ego and can look forward to new Records of Eminence objectives along with some job adjustments. There are even going to be new pieces of equipment to synthesize for players who need a little more incentive. So after 15 years, there’s still new stuff arriving in Vana’diel for players to enjoy. Possibly crab-related.


Pokemon Go player faces up to 3.5 years in Russian penal colony over blasphemy law

A 22-year-old Russian vlogger is facing prison time for playing Pokemon Go inside a church.

Last summer, Ruslan Sokolovsky recorded himself playing Pokemon Go on his phone in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, noting on the recording that he couldn’t see how his actions could offend anyone. When the video went viral, Russian authorities detained Sokolovsky and charged him with inciting religious hatred. His trial began in March; he now faces a potential 3.5 year sentence. The verdict will be determined on May 11th.

“I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability,” a Russian state prosecutor said, according to Sky News, one of many publications reporting on the surreal nature of the trial. “There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine … I request that the court sentence him to three-and-a-half years in a penal colony.”

As Sky News points out, this is the same blasphemy law used to prosecute Russian punk band Pussy Riot, three members of which were convicted — amidst considerable international outrage — of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and imprisoned for several years following an anti-Putin performance in an Orthodox cathedral.

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Enter to win a copy of Guardians of Ember courtesy of InselGames and Massively OP

In honor of upgraded US servers for Guardians of Ember [official site] as well as the launch of Act V, InselGames has granted us 50 Steam keys for copies of the whole game to raffle to our readers. It’s open to anyone who is capable of purchasing and playing the game on Steam. Read on to enter to win!

For this giveaway, we’ll be using Rafflecopter to count the entries for us. You can earn entries in the giveaway by completing different steps in Rafflecopter; the question field is mandatory, but following us on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway are optional and result in more entries. Rafflecopter uses javascript, so you’ll need to enable it to see the entry widget below:
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