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Shroud of the Avatar’s Portalarium transitions into publishing, may consider partnerships

Barreling toward this month’s Release 44, Shroud of the Avatar is (ahem) fleshing out its Elven population with better models and even female models. Elf-lovers need not soil their breeches in excitement, as these are (for now) solely NPC models and nothing that players can take out on the town for mailbox dancing.

In addition to polishing the Jaanaford scene and reworking the Boreas boss model, the team has activated a nearly month-long trial of the game. That means that now through July 26th, you’ll be able to test-drive Lord British’s newest fantasy realm.

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Elder Scrolls Online is granting a free sub benefits trial event starting Wednesday

If you’re bored on July 4th when the US is busy eating hot dogs and blowing off fingers, welp, I can’t help you there. But if you’re patient and can wait until the 5th, The Elder Scrolls Online would like to welcome you to what ZeniMax is calling an “ESO Plus Bonus Event.”

Existing non-subbing players can head to the in-game store to pick up a free trial activation, granting them subscription access from July 5th to July 9th at no cost. That’ll get you temporary access to all the DLC, crafting storage, double bank space, costume dyes, extra housing deco space, and 10% bonuses to experience, gold, crafting inspiration, and trait research rates. It won’t get you Morrowind, the 1500 crown stipend, or daily login crown crates.

What if you already sub to the game? “Current ESO Plus members are invited to celebrate as well, and can acquire up to five of the new Dwarven Crown Crates just by logging in every day,” says the studio. “These crates include some amazing rewards, with a chance to receive mounts, pets, costumes, consumables, and other in-game items.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 124: Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long

On this special bonus episode, Justin catches up with Richard Garriott and Starr Long about Ultima Online’s spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. How is this project shaping up now that it’s nearing launch? Listen and find out!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Shroud of the Avatar plans patch for Thursday, free trial next week

We’re nearing the end of another month, and that means, like clockwork, another Shroud of the Avatar patch is almost upon us. Release 43 lands this Thursday, bringing with it updates to the Isle of Storms, the Crypt of the Avatar, the Graff Gem mines, and the Asian-themed city of Celestis, all of which are previewed in the game’s latest newsletter.

Following this week’s update, Portalarium has two events planned: a “special mini-telethon around Lord British’s birthday” on July 6th and a free-trial period that’ll run most of the month of July, beginning on the 3rd.

Stay tuned for later this week; we’ve got an in-depth sit-down discussion with the SOTA leads on the way!

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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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World of Warcraft goes back in time with today’s Patch 7.2.5

P-Day is finally here: World of Warcraft Patch 7.2.5, Blizzard’s answer to summer doldrums and cheeky competition, landed on the live servers yesterday.

While a “mid-sized” update sandwiched between two much more prominent content rollouts, Patch 7.2.5 is surprisingly packed with a lot to see and do. Time travel seems to be the theme here, with a Back to the Future-like scenario staring Chromie and the introduction of Black Temple into the timewalking dungeon rotation.

Other fun activities include new micro-holidays like the Trial of Style, the Deadmines pet battle dungeon, a death metal concert at Darkmoon Faire, and something something about a raid. Probably a rumor if that Sargeras figure is to be believed. There are also quite a few class changes and other adjustments, so get caught up by reading the full patch notes.

Source: Patch notes

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Want a job? Play more video games!

Are you looking to increase your chances of employment in the future? Then put your nose to the grindstone and play some video games already!

Wait, what?

According to a new study by Glasgow University, players have an increased chance of employment thanks to the skills and abilities learned to as little as two hours of gaming a week. It should be noted that the study came from a rather small controlled trial using two groups, one of which was tasked with spending at least 14 hours over eight weeks in video games.

“The findings showed that the group that played the games showed improvements on communication, adaptability and resourcefulness scales, compared to the control group,” the article said. And these qualities are desirable in candidates seeking jobs, the researchers concluded.

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World of Warcraft Patch 7.2.5 is coming on Tuesday; here’s Blizzard’s survival guide

You only have one more weekend to wait before experiencing the next chapter of World of Warcraft’s saga: Blizzard has announced that Patch 7.2.5 will release on Tuesday, June 13th.

While this isn’t as large as your average single-decimal point patch, 7.2.5 is going to add quite a bit to the game. The patch will open up the Tomb of Sargeras raid, add a time-traveling scenario with Chromie, welcome players to a templewalking version of the Black Temple, crack open another pet dungeon, and flesh out the micro-holiday schedule with the Trial of Style and the Auction Hall Dance Party.

Blizzard also said that it will be attending Gamescom 2017 in late August. Over on the community side of things, June 10th’s Running of the Trolls player event is raising funds for the Trevor Project, a charity that aims to reduce suicide rates among LGBTQ people.

Get your Patch 7.2.5 survival guide after the break!

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Final Fantasy XIV prepares to unveil a trial at E3 2017

It’s almost time for E3 2017, and there are going to be all sorts of new and exciting games on display. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is going to be there as well, although at that point it’ll be close to heading into early access for pre-order players on June 16th. But there’s still new stuff to reveal on the show floor, like giving attendees the first look at the Susano trial. Which may be a bit of a letdown if you want the “I Beat Susano” shirts as a reward without being able to attend the show, but you can’t have everything.

The show floor will also see a special eve-of-the-expansion Live Letter from producer and director Naoki Yoshida, so players will have one last chance to watch details and get hyped about the upcoming expansion. Fans, if you hadn’t already marked your calendars for excited whimpering for June 13th through June 15th, you can do so now.

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You’ve got mail in Shroud of the Avatar

Just ahead of the long weekend, Shroud of the Avatar rolled out one of its distinctly consistent monthly updates for early players. The so-dubbed Release 42 includes more combat and AI balancing, the Path of the Oracle content, Virtue Path battle scenes, advanced skill training, and of course, the new mail system.

“With Release 42, players will be able to receive mail notifications based on vendor transactions. When a vendor item is sold, expired, or removed, players will receive mail that notifies them of the event. The mail will also include the proceeds or refund from the transaction. Mail can be accessed at mailboxes, which are located at all banks throughout New Britannia. Mailboxes can also be crafted and placed at your house. Work is ongoing to eventually allow players to send mail to each other in future iterations.”

The game’s latest newsletter also includes a peek into the delayed Libris Ruins scene (a bit of a cross between Rivendell and Old Ascalon if you ask me) and the revelation that now over a third of the game has been properly translated thanks to community volunteers. There’s a few days left in the game’s special May free trial — anybody catching the tail end of that? And of course, Portalarium is gearing up for its next telethon on May 31st. Check out the new images and video!

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Enter to win a Legends of Aria alpha trial key from Citadel and MOP

Legends of Aria’s alpha launched yesterday, setting loose the new and more MMORPG-like vision for the game formerly known as Shards Online. While normally the only way into the game in its current stage is to buy a founder pack, Citadel has granted Massively OP a slew of keys to get our readers in for a trial of the game right now. Better still, there are no regional restrictions on the keys. Read on to enter to win!

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Shroud of the Avatar polishes up the desert, teases a moondial

What’s that up in the header screenshot? Is it Conan Exiles? Nope — it’s Shroud of the Avatar’s Sequanna Colossus map and my favorite kind of biome, and it’s due for “uncloning” and customization post-Release 42, complete with the colossus itself, desert ruins, the requisite oasis, mesas, stone arches, and the bleached skeletons of long-dead behemoths.

Sequanna is spotlighted in the game’s latest newsletter, where Portalarium is also talking up the recently released Bloody Bay, the ongoing May free trial, and the summer telethon slated for next week on May 31st.

Finally, the devs have released a video feature on the truly stunning moondial launching in R42 — the only bummer is it’s a cash-shop item. Check out that video and all the new screenshots down below!

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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

My.com 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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