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PUBG’s new scooters are freakin’ adorable and I want one

The FIX PUBG campaign, or the start of it, is materializing today, as the latest update to hit the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds test servers tackles some of Bluehole’s to-do list, adding a new weapon, scooter, camera settings, reporting system tweaks, changes for custom matches, and bugxies. Cutest scooters ever. As for the Tukshai,

“The Tukshai is an upcoming Sanhok exclusive three-wheeled vehicle which we’d originally planned to release in the month after Sanhok came to live servers. Due to higher priority development tasks and the extra fine tuning required to make driving experience of the three-wheeled Tukshai feel just right, it will now be released in September.”

Meanwhile, the game’s mobile edition reached a new milestone this week: It’s been downloaded over 100 million times with 14 million daily players, and it’s only been running for four months. More impressively, those figures don’t count China, Japan, or Korea. It’ll be interesting to see how the game continues to perform, with its biggest competitor, Fortnite, recently hitting Android itself.

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Sea of Thieves extends the Cursed Sails campaign another week, teases open-world skeleton ships

This week’s Sea of Thieves patch is… well, it’s kinda more of the same, as Rare has extended the Cursed Sails run another week, meaning you have more time to grind skelly ships for loot and commendations. (Reddit complaining ensues.)

In its dev update, Rare says it’s patched in new cannonball effects for the baddies, new event timers, and new sensitivity values. Oh yeah, and the kraken is still down for the count, though Rare promises it’s working to bring him back.

Going forward, the Sea of Thieves devs say they’re busy porting the skeleton ships into the “real” world, beyond the campaign itself, a bit like the megaladons work now. Cursed cannonballs will also be adding more exploration and strategy to the gameworld. Expect more Forsaken Shores details from Gamescom later this month.

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First impressions of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, part 2: Content

The first part of this first impressions series yesterday was all about the mechanical changes made for this expansion. This time, I don’t want to talk about the mechanics of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth; I want to talk about the actual content. Not the narrative text, but just the actual moment-to-moment stuff you’re doing in the game. Which, I think, is what this expansion is going to be judged on at this stage by a lot of people.

Put simply, the game could have the best combat it has ever had with the best gear enhancement system conceivable, but if the actual things you had to fight were a boring slog, no one would like it anyway. Solid content covers a multitude of sins.

There are several people who would likely argue that Legion had some of the best content we’ve ever seen in WoW, and while there’s room to debate that, I think it’s definitely worth considering. So BfA started off on something of the back foot, and that was exacerbated by the fact that it has not one but two continents to fill out almost entirely separate.

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First impressions of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, part 1: Mechanics

Hey, there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion, right? When did that happen?

There’s a bit of snark there, but perhaps less than you might think. The weird thing is that Battle for Azeroth kind of does feel as if it just dropped without warning; it was outside of the usual release schedule for expansions, with a long lead-in, as if the final product just showed up on our collective doorsteps one day. Assuming you were already logged on and had your pre-orders set, you could just jump right in and start the expansion, which hearkened back to the days of midnight releases after a fashion.

Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about with the expansion so far. Now that it’s actually live we can see the mechanics and the story with all the polish that’s intended, with nothing left behind a curtain (other than Warfronts, anyhow). Coming off the well-received Legion, this expansion has some pretty big foot gear to fill, and it’s fair to wonder if any expansion wouldn’t feel like a bit of a downturn… but let’s not start there. Let’s just start in on one aspect of the game and go from there.

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Crowfall shows off the behind-the-scenes magic of the Clusterizer

As cool as it may sound, unless you’re actually working on developing Crowfall, the odds are you will never see the Clusterizer in action. You will only ever see what it’s done, and you won’t even know that it was the work of the Clusterizer. But what does the Clusterizer actually do? It helps link zones together, according to the latest article on the official site showing off the intentionally somewhat ugly interface and the mechanics behind this map-linking tool.

Yes, the Clusterizer is a way to put multiple zones into a coherent whole and keep track of each specially developed map, so players can explore, have multiple areas to visit, and avoid retreading the same ground. So it’s pretty technical, but it should be fascinating for anyone excited about seeing the technical side of making the game’s areas in a given campaign fit together. It’s also just fun to say. The Clusterizer.

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PUBG developers embark on three-month ‘FIX PUBG’ campaign in which they are doing the fixing

Make no mistake: PUBG Corp. and Bluehole really do understand the flaws in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the studios are focusing on fixing them. That’s the takeaway from FIX PUBG, a splashy new campaign and landing page that lays out the battle plan for players. And I do mean a battle plan.

“Our dev team is gearing up for battle,” the devs write. “Our mission: Destroy bugs, deliver long-needed quality-of-life features, and take PUBG to the next level by shipping fundamental performance improvements. Throughout this campaign we’ll share specifics about what we’re working on and the expected time it’ll take to address the issues.”

Apparently, this focused effort is expected to last around three months, during which the teams are “dedicating the vast majority of [their] resources to addressing [player] issues with the game and implementing [players’] suggested improvements.” Everything from client performance and server performance to patching up cheats and fixing matchmaking once and for all is on the task list, drilled down to specific goals into October.

Source: Fix PUBG. Cheers, Kinya!

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EVE Evolved: A furious supercapital war is raging in EVE Online

This year kicked off with a bang for EVE Online as rumblings emerged of impending war on a scale that the gaming world had never seen before. It looked as if two massive military coalitions were about to come to blows in the most spectacular way when a small border skirmish between The Imperium and Pandemic Horde escalated out of control. Both sides armed heavily for a battle over a space station and moved hundreds of expensive Titans and Supercarriers into position to prepare for the battle. Players estimated that a fully escalated battle could have seen the equivalent of a million dollars in ships go up in smoke, and the story of EVE‘s first “million dollar battle” rapidly captured the media.

While that battle earned a Guinness World Record for having 6,142 players simultaneously in the same battle, it was far less destructive than anticipated. The Imperium decided not to commit its full forces and ultimately less than 1% of the expected value in ships went up in smoke. Fast-forward to this week and the old rivalry came to a head again as The Imperium teamed up Legacy coalition to launch an all-out assault on a Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion staging Keepstar in the X47L-Q system — except that this time both sides committed their full forces. The result was one of the most destructive battles in EVE Online‘s decade-and-a-half long history, and this war may be just getting started.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into some of the history that led to the current conflict and details of the battle in X47L-Q.

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Sea of Thieves’ Cursed Sails update is live with new sea content, though not kraken and skeleton forts for now

Arr mateys, are you all ready for today’s deployment of Sea of Thieves’ Cursed Sails? Because it’s just gone live with a new video and patch notes to boot. The key part of the update is the campaign itself – and its cursed skeleton ships that basically create a ghostly NPC threat across the game’s seas.

“Pirate dominion on the Sea of Thieves is being challenged, by the dead! Skeletons are taking to the waters in grim galleons, united and spurred on by a mysterious captain. Armed with cursed cannonballs that sow chaos and confusion, the dead make war on the living in Cursed Sails! Watch out for banners on the Outposts, calling you out to battle skeleton ships over the course of three weeks. You can also take a break from the action to investigate the source of the skeleton scourge, following a tale of greed and madness starting with a hint from the Bilge Rats.”

The update’s got the three-person Brigantine and the alliance system too. Rare does note that it’s disabled the kraken and skeleton forts for now as it works out some performance kinks with them. Moreover, “Some players may continue to hear muffled sound after being fired from a cannon,” Rare says, but we think that might be the least of those players’ worries at that point.

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Crowfall reveals how its dynamically generated maps are made

Not all randomly generated virtual worlds are created alike and from the same set of rules. With plans for multiple campaign worlds blinking in and out of existence, Crowfall is putting a lot of thought into the design of its dynamically generated world system. It’s not going to be a mystery how this works, either, because the devs are here to tell you exactly how these worlds are being crafted through specialized tools and systems.

Crowfall’s campaign worlds are created with what the devs are calling a “bottom up” approach which starts with a random placement of resources and mobs and moves up to things like parcels, biome features, and area randomization.

“Previously, adventure zones had to be manually randomized,” the team said. “Now, [Update] 5.7 brings with it the ability to theme a group of parcels. We have different weights for sprinkling resources and NPC’s into parcels in theme groups […] In the future, we will be separating ‘adventure’ zones from ‘siege’ zones — primary activities will be more spread out: adventure zones will still have strongholds to fight over (but fewer of them) and siege zones will still have monsters to fight (but fewer of them).”

Source: Crowfall

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Cursed skeleton ships have been spotted on Sea of Thieves’ horizon

Soon enough you’ll have more to worry about in Sea of Thieves’ oceans than other players and bad-tempered kraken. Rumors have it that the skeletons have completed their seafaring courses and somehow procured a ship or two to bring the fight to you.

The Cursed Sails content update is on its way to the multiplayer pirate simulator, bringing with it “terrifying skeleton ships,” attacks on world outposts, and a new time-limited campaign. To give players another useful tool for this upcoming battle, Rare is adding the new three-person Brigantine ship for a mid-sized group option.

Before all that happens, Sea of Thieves has a few housekeeping issues to address. Patch 1.1.8 arrived on Thursday, bringing the Sunken Curse Bilge Rat adventure to an end, improving the game’s performance, and making the water inside of ships look and move better. Not that you want water to be inside your ship, mind you, but when you’re sinking to your death, at least you’ll be momentarily impressed at the graphics.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Making roleplay events deeper in SWTOR (or any other MMORPG)

From time to time, I like to break from talking about the latest news from Star Wars: The Old Republic to talk about what I enjoy most about the setting that BioWare provides: a roleplay platform.

Of course, I’ve talked about the good and the bad of the game as a roleplay platform on many occasions, so I’m not going to dive into that today. Let me say up front that it’s not a perfect platform for roleplay, but I love roleplay in MMORPGs. I also love Star Wars, and this is the platform we have right now. Hit me up in the comments if you’d like to continue that conversation.

This week, however, I’d like to take apart how I construct an event for whichever SWTOR RP guild I happen to be a part of now. For anyone that might have taken part in an event that I created, you would know that I usually handle them similarly to a tabletop RPG event. I like to use a dice system to determine certain outcomes. The type of dice system usually does not matter because ultimately it’s the story and character choices that make for a great event, not the dice system.

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Previewing Rend: Frostkeep studio visit, early access, PvP, factions, and more

If something goes wrong with Frostkeep’s early access launch of Rend, blame me. While I was at the office, I distracted Co-Founders Jeremy Wood and Mat Milizia, caused an update to get rolled back because I was offered the chance to play with cheats, stole someone’s chair, possibly delayed Global Communications Director Michele Cagle’s GamesCon prep, and pointed out to the team that the new bald and clean-shaven character customization options were missing. We’ll also go ahead and take credit for the Ascension system being implemented, getting icons, and Wood finding a major long-term gathering bug the night before because clearly Massively OP is important enough for the devs to come in at 3 a.m. just to prepare for us.

All jokes aside, I recently had a studio tour with Rend‘s creators as part of the game’s ramp-up for alpha this week. The team’s working hard and losing sleep, but they’re nailing it. It may not be perfect, but the Frostkeep is making my job a little harder because very soon, you’ll see just how in touch with the MMO and survival genres Frostkeep is. There’s a reason we awarded Rend Most Innovative PvP at E3 2018.

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MMORPG sandbox Fractured’s Kickstarter has just fully funded at over $130,000

Phew! A few weeks ago, I was not confident that Fractured’s Kickstarter was going to make it, but it cleared its goal with just a few days to go, and now the Kickstarter has ended, having successfully funded at over $130,000 US (well past its $116,817 goal) with 1050 backers.

The SpatialOS game caught our attention when it surfaced a year ago thanks to its anti-grind sentiment, its focus on opt-in PvP, its detailed lore, and of course, its Star Wars Galaxies-esque player city systems. Fractured’s isometric view might make it look more like Albion Online, a game with which it will likely be competing, but its lack of forced PvP will hopefully endear it to a wider playerbase.

“Funding of Fractured will continue on our website, fracturedmmo.com, once the Kickstarter campaign is over,” Dynamight Studios says. “You’ll be able to buy a pledge pack or upgrade to a higher one (if available) once Kickstarter pledges have been integrated with Fractured accounts.” Note that it’ll include funding for future stretch goals too, so things like the Labyrinth levels, enhanced character creation, and animal taming aren’t entirely out of the question.

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