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Monster Hunter World breaks its Steam record but now faces a regulation nightmare in China

The record for highest concurrent users on Steam for a game launched in 2018 goes to Monster Hunter World, smashing the record set by… Monster Hunter World. Yes, after hitting around 240,000 concurrent users at launch, the game went on to climb to 340,000 concurrent users over the weekend, which makes this a rather silly record but a significant one. It shows a game not just hotly anticipated but one actually building momentum.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many copies the game has sold thanks to Valve’s new way of handling services like SteamSpy, but estimates place it between 2 million and 5 million copies on the platform, with other data pointing closer to the 2 million figure. For an obscure title that had long been released only in Japan, it’s still an amazing number, and it seems to indicate that the title is doing quite well for itself. Even with the issues that the port has had.

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Bethsoft: Dodgy reseller lawsuits, new media review policies, and Legends crossplay ultimata

Today in why we can’t have nice things, it appears that Bethsoft is using its legal weight to crack down on folks selling fully legitimate boxed copies of its games. Polygon’s report follows one gamer who was attempting to sell his unwanted boxed, sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 through Amazon, but was sent a threatening letter from Bethsoft’s legal team accusing him of not being an “authorized reseller.” Though he wasn’t breaking any laws or agreements, the company appears to be trying to scare games out of selling stuff they legally own by threatening them with lawsuits.

Bethsoft, for its part, told Polygon that the problem was the individual’s use of the word “new” on Amazon rather than “pre-owned,” even though the box was still sealed. “We do not allow non-authorized resellers to represent what they sell as ‘new’ because we can’t verify that the game hasn’t been opened and repackaged,” claims the company.

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Pearl Abyss sees hefty revenue bump thanks to Black Desert

Pearl Abyss, the Korean developer of Black Desert, posted its Q2 2018 earnings report this past week, showing both significantly increased revenue and profits over the three-month period. The company showed revenues around $99.8 million for the period, out of which $4.2 million was pure profit.

The Black Desert IP is Pearl Abyss’ bread and butter right now, and the developer is making tons of money not just on the sandbox MMO but the new mobile version that’s starting to roll out. In fact, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau are slated to get it at the end of this month, with 1.5 million players registered for the title. Black Desert Mobile will expand to the rest of Southeast Asia by the end of this year and go global in 2019.

Pearl Abyss announced plans to expand its global reach with new offices in Japan and the US, hiring around 187 additional employees to fill demand.

Source: MMO Culture

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Fallout 76 signs on Inon Zur for another musical tour of duty in the wasteland

It’s hard to imagine a Fallout game these days without the haunting and beautiful score of video game composer Inon Zur. Fortunately, players this fall won’t have to fret about Zur’s work being absent from the online Fallout 76.

“Thrilled to finally reveal that, yes, I am scoring Fallout 76!” Zur posted on Twitter. “It’s been an amazing journey collaborating with Bethesda Studios on the biggest Fallout game yet and I can’t wait to share the new music with you.”

Variety has an exclusive interview with the composer. Zur said that this will be one of his “most unique scores to date” that involves “sophisticated and emotional” tracks as players explore the post-apocalyptic landscape of West Virginia.

This will be Zur’s fifth soundtrack for the long-running franchise after Fallout Tactics, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, and Fallout 4.

Source: Variety

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League of Legends Lead Designer Ghostcrawler moves to an unnamed project

Let’s play connect-the-dots today and see if we can see a picture forming over at Riot Games, shall we? Back in July, its co-founder dropped a befuddling tease about the studio creating an MMO, which was then somewhat refuted a week later. Then the studio continued to talk way too much about MMOs to anyone who would listen.

Now there’s a new dot in the shape of Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, who announced that he’s leaving the League of Legends team to work on one or more projects in development. One of these couldn’t possibly be an MMO that need the help of a former World of Warcraft dev… could it?

“My new position at Riot is head of creative development,” Street said. “We’ve been up front that we want to put the ‘s’ in Riot Games, and I am helping with that effort. In addition, we have been taking Runeterra as a world more seriously, as you’ve probably realized with the release of the Ryze CG and the world map.”

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Elder Scrolls Online drops Murkmire, Wolfhunter trailers, buffs subscriber benefits

ZeniMax is dropping some good stuff at QuakeCon for players of The Elder Scrolls Online. If you’re a dedicated subscriber, you’re in for some welcome tweaks to the way the sub package works beginning later this year, in addition to some sort of “in-game community event related to Summerset.”

“With the release of Murkmire, members will now get 1650 crowns per month, and access to exclusive offers in the #ESO Crown Store including a free item every month,” the team just announced. “Watch for more details this fall!”

Also released today? The official trailer for the Wolfhunter DLC itself, which is slated to launch next week on PC.

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Greed Monger delays refunds again because of crypto market dips

There’s been another update in the long-running saga that is Greed Monger.

Greed Monger is easily the most infamous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed, but earlier this year, the original founder, Jason Appleton, resurfaced and vowed to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound cryptocurrency fortune. (Appleton has his own account of the past few years of Greed Monger drama, primarily blaming incompetent lead developers, trolls, and the press for the failure of the game.)

The problem was many Kickstarter backers claimed and claim they still haven’t received those refunds, and in May, Appleton railed at angry backers on Kickstarter, saying that he’d closed down application for refunds, that he’d run into technical hurdles trying to reimburse people, and that he was under no obligation to give these refunds. A few weeks later, he blamed refund delays on both PayPal’s byzantine processes and on the backers who hadn’t come up with a mass-reimbursement system or otherwise helped him.

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Discord has launched its own video game storefront into beta, and it kinda looks like a Steam-GOG mashup

We all rolled our eyes when Valve’s new Steam chat client borrowed heavily from Discord‘s proven best practices for chat, but most people didn’t seem particularly inclined to switch. Wonder if the same will hold true now that Discord is aping Steam’s core business?

Yep, this week Discord revealed its new mission to “bring the games to you” via Discord Nitro, which is basically a video game storefront built right into your chat. Its chief difference appears to be its marketing; Discord says it’ll be offering a “curated” approach, a “cozy neighborhood book shop vibe” when it comes to sales, with what sounds like a cross-platform launcher too. So maybe more like GOG than Steam, but with the Steam look. And it’s working on publishing specific indie titles with temporary exclusive launches too.

The company says the platform is currently in beta for some 50,000 Canadian participants. It promises that “Discord’s voice, text, and video chat will continue to be a primary focus for” the team.

Source: Discord blog

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World of Warcraft makes some big last-minute class adjustments before Battle for Azeroth

As the final few days count down before Battle for Azeroth drops, World of Warcraft’s developers are making some significant last-minute class adjustments to make sure that players will be in a good place at level 120.

This class change hotfix is mostly made up of buffs — mostly. Many builds, such as Frost Death Knights, Beast Master Hunters, Marksman Hunters, Holy Priests, Elemental Shamans, Feral Druids, and Demonology Warlocks are getting across-the-board increases to their damage output. There are a few nerfs as well, most notably to Assassination Rogues, but they are not nearly as extensive. Many PvP tweaks are being made as well.

And if you’re still hot and bothered over the recent storyline, you may want to listen to this recent interview with former Blizzard lead Chris Metzen, who discusses the negative reaction to the War of Thorns storyline and the harrassment of the writing staff.

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Netmarble’s earning report shows more revenue from North American markets than Korea

Netmarble has released its earnings report for the most recent quarter, which means that if you love looking through investment reports for various companies, you’re soon to be quite happy. Of particular note is the fact that Netmarble’s report shows overseas revenue broken down by region, and North America has now surpassed Korea in revenue. In short, this Korean company now makes more money from American players than Korean ones.

Or at least it did in the last quarter; it may not be a consistent trend. Netmarble’s biggest title at the moment is Lineage II Revolution, but it has already announced a focus on other titles for the next quarter, including Blade & Soul Revolution. We can only wait to see if this means the company will be a bit more focused on its American customer base moving forward.

Source: MMO Culture

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Runewaker’s Guardians of Ember is getting a relaunch in the west thanks to Gameforge

It’s been a weird 2018 for Guardians of Ember. Back in February, Valve booted its publisher, Insel Games, off Steam, citing review manipulation in regard to another of its games, Wild Buster. Wild Buster was heavily affected, such that Insel transferred its publishing rights and rebooted it with a new name to get it back on the platform this past spring.

So what happened to the MMOARPG Guardians of Ember, the Runewaker game that was actually pretty decent at what it did? It kept on running through the studio’s own website and the Humble Store, but now, it’s upping its profile with a move to European mega-publisher Gameforge.

“Gameforge — the leading western publisher of popular Asian free-to-play multiplayer online games like SoulWorker, Elsword and NosTale — today announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to Guardians of Ember, the popular Hack’n’Slash MMORPG from Taiwanese developer Runewaker — creators of Runes of Magic and Dragon’s Prophet. […] Guardians of Ember will officially re-launch later this year in North America and throughout Europe through Gameforge. Currently, the game is being operated by Insel Games in the west; Information regarding how existing Guardians of Ember players will migrate their accounts and game data will be shared soon.”

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Jace Hall confirms that he’s H1Z1’s new PC lead, promises the sky

The rumors and hints are true: Monolith’s Jace Hall has made the jump over to Daybreak to take on the position as PC lead for H1Z1. Hall said that some of the details of this transition and future plans are still under NDA but that everyone should expect to hear a lot of details about the game’s development soon.

“Generally speaking, things that the community WANTS are the things that the community WILL GET,” Hall said. “It is not a question of ‘IF’ we are going to deliver desired changes to the player base, it is only a question of ‘WHEN.’ Count on it. The game is a service. A good service delivers what its customer’s want. It’s that simple.”

Hall certainly has high aspirations: “I believe that H1Z1 PC total ecosystem can slowly but surely and uniquely become something like the Counter-Strike of the battle royale genre. It’s an exciting thought.”

Oh, and the Daybreak H1Z1 forums appear to be back, so that’s pretty cool for those who don’t like to spend their lives lurking on Reddit!

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Nexon’s financials hint at an upcoming western release for Moonlight Blade

We have been waiting for a long, long time to see if and when Nexon would be bringing the mega-hit Moonlight Blade over from the east. Now, we have some solid indication that such an effort is currently in the works.

As part of Nexon’s Q2 2018 financial report, the studio posted a chart of games that it has in the pipeline for both PC and mobile, divided by different regions. For the west, the publisher confirmed that MapleStory 2 and Moonlight Blade are on their way at an unspecified date.

Nexon’s probably not in that great of a hurry to make this happen, considering that only 13% of its business takes place in the west, with the vast majority of revenue coming from China, Korea, and Japan, , though it does say this past quarter’s increase in revenue is largely due to growth in North America and Europe.

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