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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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Fractured’s player city system is the evolution of Star Wars Galaxies

MMORPG sandbox Fractured has five days to secure another 16K to make its $116K Kickstarter goal – and it just broke the $100K barrier as I’m typing this sentence. Dynamight Studios has a big housing and town update out today that ought to give players a reason to push it over the edge.

“In Fractured, having a base of operation is something really desirable for all players,” says the studio. “As with all our features, we don’t want to exclude any part of our userbase from enjoying the game, and that’s why we’re giving everyone plenty of options on how to live their social life. In the system we’re building, lone wolves can claim their own lot of land outside of a town, where they can build a home, basic crafting stations, cultivations and livestock. More social players can instead band together and start a settlement, or join an existing one. The most ambitious players can become the elected leaders of a free town through politics, or autonomously rule one connected (and dedicated to) their guild.”

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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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Lawsuit continues against Trion Worlds and ArcheAge’s 10% discount snafu

Three years in, a player-led lawsuit against Trion Worlds concerning false advertising and lockboxes in ArcheAge continues to bounce around the California court system.

The suit, filed back in 2015 by Aaron Van Fleet, Paul Ovberg and James Longfield, alleged that Trion violated consumer laws, falsely advertised a 10% founder perk discount for its cash shop, and went against California laws concerning illegal lotteries. While Trion tried to move the case to arbitration, the courts decided that there were some worrysome discrepancies between ArcheAge’s EULA and TOU and so kept the suit going.

MMO Fallout posted an update on the case, mostly to say that the lawsuit is still going, that Trion is still trying to get it taken out of court, and that the plaintiff had amended the complaint with a very minor update. The article expresses concern over the one and only exhibit for its case, which is a series of screenshots showing player dissent in the forums over these issues.

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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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Guild Wars 2 is bringing back the Festival of the Four Winds next week – it’s the next best thing to Cantha

You know what Guild Wars 2 could use right about now? How about a festival? Yeah! How about the return of a festival that’s been dormant for years? Yassss! How about the Festival of the Four Winds? Bringit!

“On July 24, a big summer celebration is blowing in—the Festival of the Four Winds! A collaborative effort by Her Royal Majesty Queen Jennah of Kryta, the Zephyrites, the Lionguard, and even the Black Lion Trading Company, this annual festival brings back popular summertime activities in both Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs.”

As it did way back in 2014, the Festival offers numerous minigames; the wiki lists dolyak flying, the Sanctum Spring race, and the Aspect Arena battle, and it’s a good bet we’ll see some of those brought up to date with the game’s current mechanics (like mounts). ArenaNet’s official blurb this year also mentions hot air balloons (wheee) and the Boss Blitz, whose “vicious villains and their contemptable compatriots are represented by the new, improved, and entirely secure Watchknight Mk II system.” Definitely updated for 2018!

And the best part is that everything looks like Cantha. Which is in my estimation exactly as it should be. The launch is on July 24th.

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Shroud of the Avatar’s newsletter covers the mysterious comet and player-created dungeon tools

Strange sights abound in Shroud of the Avatar right now. “Astronomers across New Britannia have noted that the approaching comet has agitated the creatures of Novia and Hidden Vale, making many bolder and more ferocious,” the game’s latest newsletter teases. “Rumors suggest that the aether surrounding the comet has been mutating some of the most powerful creatures into new monstrous variations.” That’s all in the lead-up to next week’s Release 56, so best get in there and try not to die. Portalarium further notes that it’s planning another stream with more info about what’s inbound to the game, including more tools for player-generated content.

“One of the new features we plan to discuss is a set of new building tools including dungeon creation (player property) and defense building (player property, castle defenses and control points). These are part of a larger effort to increase the community’s ability to craft their own adventures that includes existing tools like notes and signs but is also expanding with other new features like advanced container settings (locks, place/take settings, etc.) along with craftable/purhasable/placeable traps and spawners (spider eggs, skeleton crypts, etc.). When you put all of these things together your ability to craft adventures will be limited only by your imagination! Last livestream we also did not get a chance to talk another cool thing coming for Episode 2 which is the ability to ‘un-nest’ and/or transfer your Player Owned Town into the new lands!”

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Final Fantasy XIV plans its next major patch for September with a crossover in August

Ready to hunt monsters in Final Fantasy XIV? Not just in general, but as part of a crossover with Monster Hunter World? You’ll get your chance starting on August 7th according to the most recent live letter, as the crossover event starts then and treats players to two versions of the trial against the great beast Rathalos. It also represents a new sort of challenge as it’s available in both normal and Extreme modes, but the former is an 8-player challenge while the latter is limited to 4 players. Of course, that also marks the arrival of the next part of Eureka, so players will have plenty to do on August 7th regardless.

Those who take part in the event will be able to earn a new mount (Rathalos himself), a new armor set, and new minions and outdoor furnishings for completion. So that’s reason enough to take part.

Of course, players who are more interested in the next part of the story and the next set of dungeons will want to hop along until September, when patch 4.4 is scheduled to release. That will contain a new trial against Suzaku, a new pair of dungeons, the conclusion of the Omega series with the Alphascape, and all of that lovely new storytelling. Check out a gallery of shots for the live letter just below, and keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming weeks.

Update: we’ve added the new trailer for the crossover event just below.

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Today in why we can’t have nice things: Roblox players were banned after ‘raping’ little girl’s avatar

Please note, this article covers a sensitive subject – please skip it if the title is already crunching up your stomach.

If you’ve got kids, you probably know all about Roblox, a gaming platform that essentially allows players to build their own maps and open them to the public. But with that freedom comes responsibility – and griefers. According to the BBC, earlier this month a couple of Roblox players used their avatars to essentially gang rape the avatar of a 7-year-old girl, backed up by screenshots shared by the mother who saw it happening and took action.

Roblox Corp., for its part, said it had “zero tolerance for this behaviour,” stressing its goal to be a safe platform and banning the “bad actors” involved.

The Roblox subreddit has a couple of discussions on the topic; barring some trolls crying clickbait and false flag (seriously), most people seem a bit embarrassed about the incident as it relies on a known exploit of experimental game mechanics that could conceivably be fixed by developers. In the meantime, parents of kids playing the game should tighten their security settings, as wee tots probably shouldn’t be allowed into experimental mode games where this sort of thing is technically possible.

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PWE announces co-op survival shooter Remnant: From the Ashes

Perfect World has a new game up its sleeve: It’s called Remnant: From the Ashes, and it’s being built by Gunfire Games. It’s not exactly an MMO, but it’s at least multiplayer; PWE characterizes it as a “survival-action shooter featuring dynamic worlds, intense combat and strategic co-op” that “transports players to a bleak future where Earth has been overrun by extradimensional beings.”

Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival-action game set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by mythical creatures. Players build characters to suit their individual playstyle and survive the perils of diverse and deadly environments, alone or alongside a team of up to three other players. The game offers unique, customizable gameplay experience filled with intense shooting, melee combat, gear and weapon crafting, character progression, deadly enemies, epic bosses and dynamically-generated levels that offer an infinite number of ways to explore.”

Launch is planned for 2019 and PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Take your SWTOR PvP to Rishi!

OK, I’ll come right out and say it: I love the Rishi stronghold. The Star Wars: The Old Republic developers have outdone themselves. I will unlock that whole stronghold as soon as it’s available on the live servers. It will be expensive, even for me. But I will do it, and I will not regret it.

Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMORPG that has taken some hits for not doing things right for its community, might be turning some things around with its latest patch 5.9.2. Of course, this latest update puts a lot of focus on PvP, but for an MMO that places the story as a major pillar of its design, we know that PvP will never be its only focus on any patch.

Even though I admit that I love the new patch and stronghold, I am not blind to its flaws, so let’s take a tour of the new stronghold to examine the good and the bad.

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Ship of Heroes’ teeny-weeny robot nanites ensure smooth sailing for the superhero starship

Ship of Heroes has a fresh dev blog up today on stuff you can’t even see. I’m talking, of course, about nanites, ridiculously tiny robots that work in unison to make big stuff happen across the literal spaceship your superheroes are flying around on in the game. Of course, what the different nanites do depends how they’re programmed. Some of them are effectively magic clean-up crew, fixing busted infrastructure and scrubbing away graffiti. Others serve players in combat.

“Nanites are also useful for combat, though not as much as one might think. They are completely ineffective for offensive purposes, because everyone carries standardized counter-nanites for personal defense in their bodies. Counter-nanites have been around and standardized for more than a century, and the common models are rugged, reliable, and simple enough to be unhackable. The Justice requires immigrants to get counter-nanites as part of the citizenship process if they don’t already have them, and children get them from their parents. The ship itself also has counter-nanites in case of any attempt to attack its systems.”

Check out the whole piece on the official site (and the new screenies below!).

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Slide along on a sweet snail in Neverwinter’s summer festival starting Thursday

No matter which coast of the US you’re on right now, you’re probably already sick of summer thanks to the heatwaves that have been boiling us alive. So why not stay inside in the air conditioning and enjoy pretend summer in MMORPGs? Neverwinter is offering itself up as one such summery destination thanks to the return of its annual seasonal festival.

“The Summer Festival returns to Neverwinter where adventurers gather under the sun to celebrate Sune, the goddess of beauty. Our favorite events and rewards return this year to satisfy your water balloon, flower-gathering and chicken-chasing needs. Also returning this year is the wonderful team-based game of Sahha, a ticket exchange with great rewards, and relaxing looks to bask in the summer weather. It’s never winter during the Summer Festival!”

Everything begins on July 12th and runs through August 2nd, and naturally, there are plenty of rewards for folks who dive in, including tattoos, wearable cosmetics, and my absolute favorite, actual giant snail mounts.

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