convention

Digital Extremes’ retro permadeath MMO Survived By has entered closed beta

Digital Extremes has officially launched Survived By into closed beta today, accompanied by a hefty patch including a new 10-man raid, hardmode dungeons, UI buffs, and a graphics upgrade. The game was originally announced last August just ahead of PAX West; it’s basically a mash-up of an MMO and a retro bullet-hell style game. In fact, at the time DE was calling it a true MMORPG with up to 100 players per fight, plus permadeath and crafting and dungeons. The permadeath, by the way, is the type whereby your next toon is the character whom you’re “survived by” and who gets some of the benefits of your dead one’s experience. Oh, and the whole thing is free-to-play.

“To kick off the development milestone, Survived By will begin letting in more players who sign up for accounts on the game’s website, and will launch its first major event, dubbed Prophecies of Sin, for a limited time starting today July 18 and ending on July 25. Atop a giant ziggurat, players must summon a devastating new boss and coordinate their efforts to save the world. Only the most brazen will emerge victorious and earn never-before-seen exclusive event skins, gear and unique titles. Gather your friends now for a night of retro-style bullet hell bonding and madness as you protect the world from the Prophecies of Sin!”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter boasts a hunting grounds dungeon that’s fantastically creepy

The Elder Scrolls Online is really upping its creepy factor in Wolfhunter, if its latest preview of Hircine’s Hunting Grounds is any indication. (Seriously, the new pics of the monstrously huge and ghostly Hircine are nightmarish. In a good way.) ZeniMax has deep-dived one of the DLC’s “dungeons,” March of Sacrifices, in a new dev blog today, and “dungeon” is in quotes specifically because this is no typical underground delve. Instead, March of Sacrifices is basically an overland realm dedicated to Hircine. Players will be competing with other teams in the zone to topple both the creatures there as well as each other to win the daedra’s favor and collect the requisite loot. Five bosses are also on the agenda for a takedown.

“As Hircine is the Daedric Prince of hunters and stalkers in the wild, the biggest element players will want to get used to in this dungeon is using stealth and taking on the role of a hunter,” ESO Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan explains. “Some fights will require the use of mechanics not necessarily seen before. In particular, Tarcyr is quite different than anything we have done, and I suspect it will challenge players quite a bit.”

Wolfhunter was announced at E3 back in June and entered playtesting a little over a week ago.

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Interviewing Frostkeep’s CEO as Rend announces July 31 early access

Are you looking for a new way to survive? It’s coming. We’ve watched as Rend wandered down its closed alpha path since May, but now the unique survival game is inviting everyone to join in the journey as it makes the turn to beta. Starting on July 31st, Rend launches on Steam early access. Those who want to try the three-faction, pet-taming, base-building, win condition experience can grab the buy-to-play title for $29.99 and dive right in.

What will that one-time purchase get you? I sat down with Frostkeep Studios CEO and co-founder Jeremy Wood to talk a bit about the experience players will have jumping into early access.

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The Division 2 won’t force you to group if you don’t wanna

With The Division 2 on the way for next year, fans of the series are trying to get a handle on just how much grouping they will be expected to do when it arrives. It turns out that the answer to that is, “As much or as little as you please, just give us your money.”

Ubisoft confirmed that it will be entirely possible to solo through the whole game: “You can play through the entire story campaign into endgame and [then the] endgame [content], alone… [But] you can also do the same content [in] two, three, or four player co-op. Or eight-player co-op, two full groups in the raid if you opt into the challenge that we’re adding. So it’s very important for us that you get to pick.”

We got an early look at The Division 2 last month at E3, including mentions of the franchise’s first-ever eight-player raids. Right now, players in the first Division can earn shields that will unlock rewards for the March 2019 sequel.

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The Stream Team: How about that Warframe news?!

So how about that Warframe news?! Massively OP’s MJ is pretty excited about it (as you might have noted from her convention write-ups). What did you think of it? Now is your chance to talk — or gush — about the upcoming changes to the game with MJ, so join us live at 8:00 p.m. and get on the Fortuna and Railjack conversation to share your thoughts.

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

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The ESA claims crunch issues in the industry have been declining over the past decade

Crunch – the act of putting in way too much overtime to get a video game completed and out the door – is a sensative topic in the industry and one that players often ignore as long as they get their games. But Waypoint made an effort to reach out to over a dozen studios at this past June’s E3 to ask how they are dealing with crunch these days.

Both Microsoft and Nintendo said that they were looking out for employees and their work-life balance as games near the crunch period. The Division 2’s PR handler stepped in to stop the line of questioning on crunch, even while Creative Director Julian Gerighty was praising the Swedish work ethic and the balance that he had struck with his work and home life.

And ESA President Michael Gallagher claimed that crunch issues have lessened over the past decade. “I hear more and more publishers saying—and they’re doing this for competitive reasons, for culture reasons, they’re rejecting crunch, and saying ‘That’s not how we operate.'” he said. “And that is an attraction for the best and the brightest to see those opportunities and make those individual choices, to go to those companies.”

Source: Waypoint

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IGDA calls for transparent guidelines on game studio social media and harassment following Guild Wars 2 dust-up

Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”

“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Wolfhunter DLC enters player testing as the free-play event begins

We’re barreling down a pretty short road toward Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. As announced just a month ago at E3, Wolfhunter is indeed a werewolf-themed pack that features two dungeons alongside the goodies of update 19, including a semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, keep recall stones in alliance PvP, an improved respec system, and better werewolf skills.

As of this week, the Wolfhunter DLC and the concomitant update 19 have landed on the public test server, meaning you can get in there and check everything out. Worth noting is that the champion point cap is lifting, there are indeed some class tweaks as promised, and there are two new houses coming:

Hunter’s Glade: An underground entrance way leads through a portal to an expansive forested glade in Hircine’s Oblivion realm of The Hunting Grounds. Those “blessed” with lycanthropy can maintain werewolf form indefinitely in this otherworldly wilderness.

Grand Psijic Villa: When Artaeum was “removed” from Tamriel, a few neighboring isles went with it, including the site of the Grand Psijic Villa, a monumental estate with magnificent views of the south coast of the main island.

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Defiance 2050 officially launches as a free-to-play reboot on PC and console today

Trion has a big launch on its hands today as it pushes Defiance 2050 out of beta into a live state on PC and both core consoles. As we’ve been covering, Defiance 2050 is set to be a “completely from-the-ground-up recreation” of Trion’s original Defiance that “overhauls the exciting story and groundbreaking gameplay of the original, reimagining the San Francisco-based sci-fi shooter experience for current gaming hardware.” Classic Defiance, which sparked widespread use of the term “transmedia synergy” buzzword across the MMO genre when it launched alongside a SyFy TV series of the same name, will continue on for those who prefer it as well.

If you’ve previously picked up a founder pack, you’ve already been in the beta, but as of today, the game is free-to-play and everyone can hop on in. Launch time is technically 1 p.m. EDT this afternoon, so if you’re reading this in the morning, you’ve got just a few more hours to wait. Why not check out some of our coverage while you do? We recommend our hands-on experiences from E3 and GDC!

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TennoCon 2018: Warframe enhances sights and sounds with new skins, ‘Frames, pet skins, music, and more

What does a great game look like to you? More and more it looks like Warframe to me. Looks and sounds like I should say. Have you seen those reveals from this year’s TennoCon? I found them pretty amazing. And part of that amazingness comes from the look and the sound of it all; the gameplay content wouldn’t have half the impact without the integral contributions of the art and sound departments.

At TennoCon Live 2018 I got to learn a bit more about these aspects of Warframe. Of course, no panel would be complete without a reveal or two, and we were treated to a few fun ones, from the two new ‘Frames and skins to the introduction of pet skins to the discovery of Creative Director Steve Sinclair’s hidden voice role in game.

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Warframe invites players to get a free Ash Prime for watching TennoCon

Looking forward to the future of Warframe? You should be happy that TennoCon is this weekend, but if you can’t make your way there in person, you’re almost in a better place. Not only can you watch TennoLive over the weekend to get all of the information, but you can also pick up a free Ash Prime frame just for watching the live broadcast.

To get the free frame, you’ll need to watch for 30 consecutive minutes and you’ll need to have your Twitch Prime and Warframe accounts linked, all of which is rather standard. Then you’ll be able to get a nice shiny Prime warframe just for checking it out. If you’d rather get most of your information through other means, however, our own MJ is at the convention this weekend; you can check out her latest stream of the game just below, and keep watching for the reveals on the show floor.

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Check out the full E3 demo for BioWare’s Anthem

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the upcoming multiplayer-but-not-completely shooter from BioWare, Anthem. There’s also a lot we do know, some of which has rather cooled enthusiasm. But if you weren’t at this year’s E3, you didn’t see much of it in person, so it’s a good thing that you can see the game’s full demo in video format just below.

The 20-minute demo shows off the game’s gunplay, dynamic events, dynamic group scaling, and all of the environmental exploration you could want. In short, it’s a quick slice of what the final game will look like, enough to give you an idea of what you’re in for. Jump on below if you’re curious to see how it’ll play (or what it was playing like on the show floor, we suppose).

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Elder Scrolls Online deep-dives the dungeons and PvP upgrades of the Wolfhunter DLC and GU19

ZeniMax is back to work today and hyping up Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. Announced at E3, the Wolfhunter pack will roll out two new dungeons, both with the werewolf theme. The first, March of Sacrifices, sounds like a “Hounds of Zaroff” type of encounter as players will be trying to take down Indrik to please Hircine himself. The second will send players into Moon Hunter Keep to topple the ancient werewolf Vykosa “before she threatens all of Tamriel.”

But of course, as ZeniMax notes, Wolfhunter isn’t the only thing players have to look forward to. In fact, even if werewolves and dungeon romps aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of stuff coming in the simultaneous release of update 19 that is all free. There’s a brand-new semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, the addition of keep recall stones to alliance PvP, an improved respec system, better werewolf skills, and unspecified class changes too.

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