europe

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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‘MMOPEG’ Codename Reality seeks half a million Kickstarter bucks to ‘redefine the MMO genre’

If immersion and realism are what you crave in a new MMORPG, take a look at Codename Reality, another new game in our field of view this week. Europe-based studio Orode Productions just kicked off a Kickstarter for the game seeking $583,981 to build what it says is “the kind of project even the biggest game design companies wouldn’t dare undertake” – a “massively multiplayer online persistent entity game,” or MMOPEG for short. This one’s buy-to-play, with no sub.

Codename Reality is a realistic fantasy/medieval realm in which your actions shape the world,” the devs write in their pitch.

“In other words, we have provided you with the possibility to create its history. We have redesigned the NPC system to better integrate with the realistic feeling and along with this, the death mechanic is more aligned with permanent death than with the classical MMORPG death system. You define the storyline and as such your future is completely up to you. However, with great potential comes great risk. Players can be harsh, and the same goes for the Realm itself. Only those with the skills to predict the consequences of their actions will succeed. Can you rise to the occasion and thrive in the Realm, or will your actions lead to the demise of you and your allies?”

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Aion EU ‘simplifies’ its gameplay with Patch 6.2 this September

With server merges and transfers out of the way for Europe’s version of Aion, the dev team is able to turn its attention forward to the upcoming Patch 6.0 and the goodies coming to the game.

Coming this September, Patch 6.2 will organize gear into three new categories, shift items toward a PvE or PvP focus, remove the breakthrough system, and increase the level cap to 80. It should be noted that some features and zones are going away with this patch due to player feedback in Korea. Also, the team is bringing Tiamaranta Eye back this August.

The team said that the 6.0 line of patches are intended to “simplify” Aion and make it “more accessible” for the average player. Currently, the game is running the Shugo Imperial Tomb event through August 8th to let players get their Indiana Jones, er, Jonshunerk on.

Give the episode a watch after the break!

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds details a five-year plan for e-sports

Does it fill you with warm, fuzzy feelings to know that there’s a nice long-term plan for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to chase that sweet e-sports revenue? Quite possibly not, but that’s still a thing that’s happening. The game recently unveiled its five-year plan for competitive gaming within the game, with professional leagues rolling out for China, Korea, Europe, and the US in 2019. The region-based leagues will be substituting for the “franchise” structure found in the much-publicized Overwatch league.

More details on league ownership will be revealed later this year, and the developers have stressed that e-sports are not meant to be used as a marketing tool. The focus is also on making the game a more “serious” competitive option, unlike the e-sports offerings of its biggest competitor; we’ll see how that works out in the long-term for the game and its fans.

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ArcheAge’s July content update adds sport fishing, expands fresh start server content

Despite the slightly awkward name — “Phase 4: Reign, Part 1,” really, Trion? — this week’s ArcheAge content update is chock-full of fun for both fresh start servers and those on the well-worn shards.

Fresh start servers have increased the level cap to 55, finally received both the Dwarves and Warborn, and rolled out cars, boats, and farm freighters.

Players can attempt to tackle Mistsong, which the team says is “absolutely the hardest dungeon” in the game. Lots of risk, lots of gear rewards, you know the drill! The patch also updated the trade pack system, made some big gear updates, and fiddled with the Kraken. Fiddling only makes him upset, though.

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Three quarters of European gamers don’t even understand what the heck lootboxes are

A new report on GIbiz suggests that most gamers are pretty darn clueless about lootboxes, which probably won’t surprise anyone reading here. Researchers for the publication surveyed gamers in Western Europe and found that barely more than a quarter of gamers even know what they are. More than half (we assume) of those who seem to have no opinion on whether lootboxes are a plus for the gaming experience (a quarter think they suck). But the reaction differs depending on the way the question is phrased.

“We also asked gamers if they thought loot boxes made them think more positively about game companies, 54% had no opinion, 10% agreed with the statement, whereas 37% disagreed. In fact 20% ‘strongly disagreed’ that loot boxes made them feel positively about the companies that used them, which suggests that loot boxes create some negative feeling among some consumers.”

That said, almost half of those familiar with lockboxes suggested that lootboxes make them less likely to buy games with them, so there’s that.

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Pokemon Go apologizes for technical issues at its EU event by making the event a complete waste of time

All right. Let’s walk back through this. Pokemon Go holds an event in Dortmund, Germany. Because this is Pokemon Go, the event hits technical snags, which at this point is more of a theme for the game than catching things or gym battles. But once the game works again, people get to enjoy things like catching the elusive Corsola, normally available only around the equator. To apologize for the technical issues, Niantic promises to add a limited-time event wherein everyone in Europe can catch… Corsola.

You know, the rare monster that was made accessible during the event, which many people traveled to Dortmund for and caught several of just to make for rare trades.

Needless to say, players are rather unhappy about the fact that the apology for technical hiccups at the start of the event is to make the entire event what amounts to an expensive waste of time. There were, of course, other incentives for the trip, but many players are understandably upset about this form of compensation for attendees and non-attendees alike. Based on the current track record, we expect Niantic to compensate for this new misstep by blowing up everyone’s phones.

Source: Eurogamer via VG24/7

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Bless Online plans a big server merge for the end of July

Bless Online hasn’t quite yet dug out of the hole it made for itself during its early access launch, but at least Neowiz has identified the most important step to take in improving the game’s chances: server stability and consolidation.

A producer’s letter posted on Friday talked about the next steps that the studio will be taking to make the servers a better place on which to play. The good news is that Neowiz has tracked down a key issue that was causing serious server issues and has since corrected it, causing the sahrds to become more stable.

The studio also said that now the rush to check out the game is over, it will be consolidating servers down to four: two in North America and two in Europe. Ever the hopeful studio, Neowiz did say that it will keep the remaining temporary servers on hand if and when they are needed for the game’s official launch. Details are forthcoming about the server merges and how they will affect players and their items.

The merges are tenatively scheduled for the end of July, to be followed by the release of the Siege of Castra 70v70 mode.

Source: Steam

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Video game industry groups across the globe reject WHO’s ‘gaming disorder’ classification

As we noted yesterday, the World Health Organization has gone ahead with the inclusion of “gaming disorder” in the publication of its most recent edition of its disease classification manual, in spite of heavy criticism from independent academics as well as admittedly biased trade organizations. In fact, a group of those organizations – representing the video game publishing industry in the USA, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and 10 countries in western and northern Europe – submitted their own statement on WHO’s decision, once again noting the potential for “moral panic” and “abuse of diagnosis” following the unjustified classification. The most compelling argument remains the scientific one:

“There is strong disagreement among experts on the inclusion of video gaming in the ICD-11 list, and the issue has been heavily debated since 2016 when 36 internationally renowned and respected mental health experts, leading social scientists and academics from research centers and universities – including Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, Stockholm University and The University of Sydney – opposed the inclusion in an Open Debate paper,” the group writes, pointing out that in the intervening two years, WHO’s second proposal all but ignored those researchers, prompting a second paper from academics that “alerts on the weak evidence base, stressing that the ‘burden of evidence and the clinical utility should be extremely high, because there is a genuine risk of abuse of diagnoses.'”

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ArcheAge’s fresh start servers snag the ‘Conquer’ update next week

Trion’s pretty sure MMORPG gamers cannot get enough of starting over in ArcheAge, which is why it’s whipping up yet another phase for the ArcheAge: Legends Return fresh start servers next week on June 13th, complete with new housing, dailies, bosses, dungeons, and raids.

“In the Conquer Phase, a host of new dungeons, raids, and upgrades are now at your fingertips. Venture forth to Golden Ruins in order to claim additional housing in Auroria, or embark on new daily quests and high level creatures to secure your route to level 50! […] Additionally, the Serpentis raid is open for enterprising adventurers, as well as Sea of Drowned Love and Sea of Drowned Love’s weekend version. Other changes include changes to the Dream Ring, which can now be progressed to an Epic version, an expansion of the Dream Ring quests on Fresh Start, allowing you to take your Ring to its maximum level, and the introduction of T1 Cars, and the Farm Hauler upgrade.”

The pair of fresh start progression servers have been running in NA and Europe since April, doing their happy progression server thing with vanilla content unlocking over time. Phase two rolled out last month after a brief delay.

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Happy birthday to WildStar, Crossout, and World War 2 Online

The beginning of informal summer is a favorite time for MMO launches, which also means it’s prime time for birthdays and anniversaries. WildStar, for example, has a birthday I’ll always remember, as it rather inconsiderately released while I was in the hospital having a baby. She and it are both four this year, although she isn’t getting a month of presents and events as WildStar players are. There’s a special anniversary pack in the cash shop right now too.

“Throughout the whole month we’re running a series of WildStar’s most lucrative bonus events on a weekly rotation, offering you out-of-this-world benefits from four different events back-to-back. But that’s not all! With Starfall there will also be a unique reward pack delivered to your Account Inventory just for logging in each week! Make sure you transmat to Nexus every week in June to claim your rewards and take full advantage of the bonus events.”

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ZeniMax apologizes for Elder Scrolls Online spyware, says it was ‘erroneously added’ and will be removed [Updated]

Hey who here loves – nay, adores – officially sanctioned spyware? Lots of hands staying in laps, we see. You all sure? You aren’t secretly clamoring for studios to monitor your every action? Not even you Guild Wars 2 players?

Well, Elder Scrolls Online players aren’t too pleased at the discovery that ZeniMax is using a program called Red Shell to track where its players live and what they are doing as part of the game’s marketing effort. There’s a concerted effort on the forums to find the best way to either block or opt out of the spyware software for privacy reasons. The program also raises issues concerning Europe’s new GDPR laws, as players are not given the explicit option to opt in or out of the program, though that might be covered by the game’s privacy policy.

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Mobile MMO roundup: MapleStory M, Jurassic World Alive, Crossfire Legends, TERA M, and Icarus Mobile

Welcome back to another mobile MMO roundup, those MMOs that obviously don’t count because they are played on a small screen instead of a massive screen, and we all know that’s what the M stands for, am I right?

First up is MapleStory M, the mobile edition of MapleStory, which soft launched in multiple regions over the holiday weekend; Canadians and Aussies can hop in, but those of us in the US and Europe are still waiting. Nexon is calling it a “real” MMORPG on mobile, and did I mention it’s cute as a button?

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