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Just the facts, as they happen. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta FAQ clears the air

Guild Wars 2’s beta test for the Heart of Thorns expansion is one of the hottest tickets in town this spring. Because of this, there’s a crush of people looking to get into it and some confusion over the details.

That’s why it’s helpful that ArenaNet has posted a 15-point FAQ to clear the air on all of the beta test details. The studio said that future beta tests haven’t been announced, and as such, accepted players can’t create characters until those tests begin. When the test does occur, players are free to blab about it as there will be no NDA.

So how can you assure yourself a spot in the next round of beta testing? The team outlines two important steps to making this happen: “We selected a small number of testers for the first round from our newsletter subscribers. Our next test will use this method as well as the ‘Portal to the Heart of Maguuma,’ an in-game item which has a chance to drop from enemies in Dry Top and the Silverwastes. Players who find this item and are signed up for our mailing list are guaranteed a spot in the next closed beta test!”

[Source: Beta FAQ]


ArcheAge releases the Dread Prophecies update

Ghost ships? An aggravated kraken? Just what in Sam Hill is going on in ArcheAge these days, anyway?

Well, the fantasy sandpark has released one of its biggest updates yet with The Dread Prophecies. The sea-focused patch adds plenty of ways to customize player ships while improving the nautical physics. These souped-up vessels will need to be at their best to tackle a new kraken encounter and fight off world boss ghost ships.

The Dread Prophecies doesn’t stop there, either. The devs have changed Freedich Isle to become a more intense PvP experience, added the Golden Ruins zone, introduced the Mistmerrow battleground, put in more housing in Diamond Shores, and tweaked the archeum and regrade systems. Patron players will also see increased offline labor regeneration as part of their subscription benefits.

On Reddit, usually a grumpy place for ArcheAge fans, the tone is remarkably pleased. Check out the patch’s release video below.

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H1Z1 is getting a full wipe this Thursday

If you’re an H1Z1 early access player, I hope you’re not too attached to your stuff. Daybreak is prepping for a huge Thursday patch, and as such the devs will be wiping both the servers and player characters. While you’ll retain any account-bound items, all of your inventory junk and your structures will be reset.

The good news is that the patch is adding a female model, new crafting elements, and “UI goodness,” according to a Daybreak post on Reddit. Players will also receive a Daybreak logo shirt to commemorate the company’s new branding.

[Source: Reddit]


Dota 2 honors Terry Pratchett in upcoming patch

Dota 2’s community has discovered a tribute to the late Terry Pratchett in today’s the upcoming 6.84 patch, now on the PTR. It takes the form of a new endgame item called an Octarine Core, which should seem familiar to fans of Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Octarine is the color of magic in Discworld and is sometimes called the eighth color, one viewable only by wizards. Pratchett died on March 12th at age 66.

We’ve posted a video of the Octarine Core in action below.

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Watch Dota 2’s Red Bull Battle Grounds America regionals… now

Dota 2’s Red Bull Battle Grounds e-sports event has been winding its away across the world with only one regional champ left to be decided: the American one.

Teams from Europe, China, Russia, and Southeast Asia have already competed to crown their regional victors; today’s winning American team will join the other four at the playoffs in Santa Monica a week from today, with the final champion being crowned the following Sunday. In fact, you can still grab tickets for the live Grand Finals on May 10th in San Francisco; the cheapie seats are only 40 bucks.

Who’s representing the Americas?

America’s Champion will be decided on April 28th when brand-new-to-DotA ROOT GAMING faces off against long-time juggernaut TINKER in the same group as DotA 2 Badboy Jimmy “DeMoN” Ho’s SUMMER’S RIFT and Peruvian super-squad NOT TODAY.

The action begins live at 5 p.m. EDT; enjoy the stream below!
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EVE’s Mosaic update is now live

CCP has successfully upgraded EVE Online with today’s Mosaic patch. The new Opportunities tutorial system is now available for all newbs, and the patch also introduces cruiser-sized burner missions, new structure assembly effects, a Tech 3 destroyer rebalance, a balance pass on low- and nullsec ores, and more.

You can read the full patch notes here, or peruse the new Updates site for the highlights!

[Source: Announcement post]


Perfect World to become privately owned

Perfect World is no longer a publicly traded company, as founder Michael Yufeng Chi made a deal to take the company private.

Chi will take over Perfect World by merging it into a new company, Perfect Peony Holding Co., which is located in the Cayman Islands. Current investors will receive $4.04 a share as part of the buyout. The deal is made possible by a $900 million loan from a Chinese bank, is approved of by the board, and will go forward later in 2015.

Perfect World Entertainment, the game division of Perfect World, recently made the headlines due to a series of layoffs worldwide.

[Source: Washington Post. Thanks to Paraxes for the tip!]


DCUO’s stat flattening is not the end of the world

One upcoming change to DC Universe Online has some players concerned, although it may not be as bad as feared. Daybreak announced that it will be flattening stats in Game Update 47 to better match players’ power with the appropriate enemy levels.

“In order to provide a more consistent experience while progressing through the game and decrease the stat difference between low and higher CR characters, stat progression in general has been flattened,” Daybreak said in its patch notes.

To allay fears that this will nerf characters to the ground, one player has posted a series of videos and analysis to show that it the changes are “not a nightmare,” although she admitted that they increase the challenge of the game in some areas.

[Source: Patch notes, forum]


Children’s Week returns to World of Warcraft

Won’t somebody please think of the children! Oh… someone did? And there’s a whole week dedicated to those wee ‘uns without parents? Now we feel like a heel.

Children’s Week has returned to World of Warcraft, giving every player the chance to be a big brother or sister to orphaned tykes. Of course, you’re not just doing this out of the kindness of your heart; you can earn one of several special pets by taking an orphan on tour of the world. This year there are a few new rewards, including a pet care package and a couple of toys.

The event is already underway and will end on Monday, May 4th.

[Source: Children’s Week via BlizzardWatch]


Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown launches today

After quite a while in early access testing and a significant name change that appears to have displaced much of the “online” component of the game, Shadowrun Chronicles is officially launching today with its first campaign, Boston Lockdown.

The launch is accompanied by several balancing changes, a polishing pass, and plenty of bug fixes. Players can form a team of “runners” to tackle missions with turn-based combat in this cyberpunk setting. While it can be experienced completely solo, there is an option to join up with other players in hubs for a co-op run.

The standard version of Shadowrun Chronicles is $40 while the deluxe version will run you $60.

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Dev polls community about bringing back original Darkfall Online

Are you unsatisfied with the way that Darkfall Online has progressed after transforming into Unholy Wars? There may be a window of opportunity to undo all of that and bring the game or at least a copy of the game back to what it used to be — if that’s a concern of yours, of course.

Aventurine’s Axilmar put out a poll to the community on Reddit asking whether players want the game to revert back to its former state: “This an informal poll of mine, not a company one, since the last few days I’ve read many posts that say ‘bring back DFO.’ So, I’d like to see if there is actually any real interest in bringing back DFO. If there is, i.e. if there are many upvotes, let’s say over 5,000, so as that one can support this as a business proposal, I will ask my managers to check this out.”

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Not So Massively: LoL’s Reddit controversy, HotS’ Heroes of the Dorm

If ever we needed evidence that e-sports are fast becoming more like real-life sports, this week’s MOBA news provided it. Dota 2 announced that a new seasonal Major Championship league will fill in the gap between world championships and that there will be strict transfer windows for teams just like in real life sports. Top North American League of Legends player Hai Lam retired this week due to an injury, and controversy unfolded over potential cheating in this week’s IQCI Finals. Heroes of the Storm got an official launch date of June 2nd following an April 19th open beta, and its ESPN-sponsored Heroes of the Dorm tournament finals were completed.

Hundreds of Grand Theft Auto 5 players’ accounts have been reportedly compromised due to a security breach at an unknown website, but Rockstar insists that its Social Club servers have not been breached. Path of Exile started the beta for its upcoming expansion, The Awakening, and SMITE revealed its next character is Mayian death god Ah Puch. Elite: Dangerous spoiled us with details of its Powerplay territorial warfare update that lets players pick a side in an ongoing interstellar war. Star Citizen showed off its plans to let players manually load and unload cargo and then sailed past the $80 million mark by selling MISC hull hauler ships.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.

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ArcheAge’s Freedich housing disappears tomorrow

Do you play ArcheAge? Do you own land on Freedich Isle? If so, you’ll want clear out all your chests, furniture, and crested items before tomorrow. Trion is removing housing from the pirate island with the Dread Prophecies patch, but the firm is also compensating affected players.

If you own an 8×8 plot, you’ll get 625 gold, five worker’s comp potions, materials to build your structure elsewhere, and a unique Freedich Fellowship title. If you own a 16×16 plot, you’ll get 2500 gold, 20 worker’s comp potions, structure materials, and the same title.

Dread Prophecies will be patched to the live servers tomorrow and will bring with it significant changes to both Freedich and the game’s ship systems and components. Trion is currently forecasting seven hours worth of patch-related downtime.

[Source: Forums]


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