free to play

‘Free-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that do not have box or download fees associated with them and do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid F2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.

RuneScape preps player-owned farms, pushes forward with mobile MMO testing

Time for a huge RuneScape progress update, so let’s cover all our bases with one energetic post, shall we? Starting with the signature game, Jagex is preparing player-owned farms for the first week in September. This isn’t a piddly little flower garden, either; RuneScape’s farms are huge and deeply involving, as you can read for yourself.

Meanwhile, RuneScape Mobile is being run through playtests on both iOS and Android, and the studio is generally pleased with the results and demographics from the testing so far. “While the technical challenges of bringing RuneScape onto mobile have been huge, we are getting closer by the week to having an experience that feels satisfying,” Jagex said.

Old School RuneScape on mobile is running a beta test this month as well, so you are going to have your pick of mobile sandbox fun this year, it looks like!

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One Shots: Party animals

Apologies for the disruption in the normal One Shots schedule over the past couple of weeks, but we’re back and freakishly abnormal! Everyone behave themselves while I was gone? Good.

I don’t exactly know what’s going on in our headlining picture this week, but it looks like it is both the most exciting and unsafe party ever held in Secret World Legends. Of course, it’s all taking place on platforms without handrails that are standing over bottomless pits, so it’s not like a couple of baseball bats are going to make that much of a difference. Swing away!

“You can’t have a party with strangers without mentioning all the Megaversary fun in Secret World Legends as we all mob giant Beehemoths,” posted Hikari. “This event has been so much fun, it really captured the soul of The Secret World we remember.

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Ultima Online plans rentable storage vaults for F2P players, plus new castle and keep designs

With the game’s 100th patch in the rear-view mirror, Ultima Online’s developers are already hard at work on the 101st patch due out in September, according to Broadsword’s latest newsletter. Notably, Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong says that the planned housing refresh is indeed coming that month, with new castle and keep designs on the way, subject to a player contest to decide which ones make the final cut.

Broadsword is also still working on “storage solutions” in the wake of the game’s free-to-play conversation last spring; players will be able to effectively rent 125-slot vaults for their account, shared across all characters, at a price roughly equal to $3 per month. If you don’t pay up, you lose the storage space – oh, and everything in it. It might be easier to just pay the $10-$13 sub and get a house, yeah?

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The Game Archaeologist: Kesmai’s Air Warrior and Legends of Kesmai

Most studios would be overjoyed to have pioneered one significant advancement in video game history, but then again, most studios aren’t Kesmai. While it’s not a household name today, it’s reasonable to say that without the heavy lifting and backbreaking coding that this company shouldered in the ’80s and ’90s, the MMO genre would’ve turned out very different indeed.

Previously in this space, we met two enterprising designers named Kelton Flinn and John Taylor who recognized that multiplayer was the name of the future and put their careers on the line to see an idea through to completion. That idea was Island of Kesmai, an ancestor of the modern MMO that used crude ASCII graphics and CompuServe’s network to provide an interactive, cooperative online roleplaying experience. It wasn’t the first MMO, but it was the first one published commercially, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Flinn and Taylor’s Kesmai didn’t stop with being the first to bring MMOs to the big time, however. Flush with cash and success, Kesmai turned its attention to the next big multiplayer challenge: 3-D graphics and real-time combat. Unlike the fantasy land of Island of Kesmai, this title would take to the skies in aerial dogfighting and prove even more popular than the team’s previous project.

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Wizard101’s main city gets a magical makeover

When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101 managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update.

The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!

Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.

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Warframe finally unleashes Nyx Prime (and others) in next week’s sale

As Digital Extremes opens up its Warframe prime vault next week, so too might many players be opening up their wallets in response.

“Become the master of manipulation! The Prime Vault opens July 24th on all platforms,” the studio said. “For the first time ever, the hypnotic Nyx Prime is leaving the Vault! Charging out beside her is Rhino Prime along with other high-demand Vaulted Prime Accessories, Prime Weapons and discounted Platinum.”

The studio is planning to make five bundles available for sale next week: a “Brains and Brawn” pack that includes several prime warframes, a Nyx Prime pack, A Brute Prime pack, and accessory packs for Nyx Prime and Rhino Prime. The packs will be available across all platforms, although no prices have been listed as of yet.

Source: Warframe. Thanks Alex!

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Trion Worlds has been hit with layoffs, loses ArcheAge associate producer

Trion has confirmed the layoffs – we’ve updated below.

Trion Worlds in general and ArcheAge in specific are going through a turbulent time this week as the studio has levied layoffs in the studio that have affected an unknown number of employees. Among those affected include ArcheAge Associate Producer Seraphina Brennan and Customer Support/Environmental Artist Jessica Pate.

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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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The Stream Team: Solving Scorched Desert mysteries in Secret World Legends

It’s time to give her brain a workout! Massively OP’s MJ left the best for last in Secret World Legends; she still has five investigation missions to complete in the first half of Egypt. Today, she’s picking one or two to complete with you. Will she have to work out all the answers from scratch, or will she remember enough from TSW to skate through them? Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. as MJ puzzles her way through the rest of Scorched Desert.

What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 19th, 2018

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Netease calls PUBG Corp’s copyright lawsuit ‘shameless’, Riot and Tencent win non-compete lawsuit against alleged cloner

Remember back in April, when Korea-based PUBG Corp. accused China-based Netease of ripping off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with its battle royale titles Knives Out (which is making bank) and Rules of Survival, and subsequently lodged a lawsuit against it in the US courts? Then remember when Netease threatened to sue everybody who cloned it and PUBG dropped its other lawsuit against Epic Games?

Netease has responded to PUBG Corp.’s complaint against it with a motion to dismiss, predictably arguing that no company is entitled to ownership of an entire genre like battle royale and that the copyright act protects only original expression; specifically, it claims PUBC Corp. cannot legally copyright things like game lobbies and health bars.

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SuperData: Fortnite’s success hit League of Legends and PUBG hard, but not all online games are struggling

There’s a new thinkpiece out on how Fortnite happened and what it all means every week lately, but SuperData’s latest might be a comfort to the rest of the industry. Analyst Bethany Lyons argues that Fortnite’s wild success isn’t coming at the expense of all other games.

Fortnite Battle Royale has grown without disrupting the bottom line or player base of a surprising number of free-to-play games. For example, the title has increased its console revenue in May at a rate of 12% month-over-month, while other free-to-play console games stayed more or less consistent,” she writes.

So that’s revenue. What about users? Other games are still growing, some even faster than Fortnite, she says, particularly in the free-to-play console market, which is encouraging competitors to focus there. And streaming? Seems hours-watched on Twitch for the big games have stayed fairly even too as Fortnite has taken off.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic lists Season 9 ranked PvP rewards

Grab that lightsaber or blaster and get to making war on your fellow player, because Star Wars: The Old Republic is about to finish off its current season of ranked PvP. The season will conclude on July 31st, at which time a rich bounty of rewards will be poured out on the heads of the best-of-the-best.

What rewards will be causing these cranial concussions, you ask? BioWare posted a list of the Season 9 Ranked PvP rewards, separated into different tiers based on a player’s final rating.

There are a lot of interesting but somewhat expected goodies here, such as battle flags, portrait flair, titles, frame decorations, and — most importantly — tokens. These tokens can be spent on desired rewards, so if you want your holo-rancor mount or stronghold trophies, you know where to go.

Source: SWTOR

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LOTRO calls Middle-earth groupies to celebrate Weatherstock X

There is perhaps no MMO player music festival as well-known and -attended as the yearly bash at the summit of Lord of the Rings Online’s Weathertop. This year, the celebration known as Weatherstock will be even greater as it enters its tenth year.

The player-led event kicks off on Saturday, July 21st, at 10:00 a.m. EST on the Landroval server and features 17 bands competing for the audience’s hearts (and votes). If you’re unable to attend in character, you can always boot up the LOTRO Twitch channel, as the music festival will be livestreamed throughout the day.

In other LOTRO news, a small patch dropped this week that made an important adjustment to Wardens, disabled mailing for mithril as part of an effort to combat spam, and allowed Kinship names to use diacritics.

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