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Riot and Tencent appear to be on unpleasant terms with one another

Some fans are still probably a bit miffed that Riot Games (maker of League of Legends and that’s all) teased them about the possibility of an MMO. But it seems like the studio’s parent company is pretty miffed at Riot in general. Gamasutra cites a report from several anonymous sources (which is unfortunately behind a paywall) that China’s Tencent (owner of Riot) and Riot are not on cordial terms due to differing opinions about mobile titles and the reported decline of LoL‘s playerbase.

The short version is that Tencent wants more mobile titles (which Riot does not wish to develop) and has shopped out something just short of a clone to other studios, while Riot is dealing with dropping numbers as other games move into the spotlight. An official statement from Riot disputes this report, stating that the company is happy with LoL at its current numbers and it remains a vibrant community, and relations with the studio’s parent company remain positive and supportive.

It’s also worth remembering that the studio does appear to be working on something new. Equally relevant are the issues surrounding any new games in China, with Monster Hunter World running into trouble and Korean developers unable to publish there.

Source: Gamasutra

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Epic’s Tim Sweeney argues that Fortnite won’t be on the play store because of openness

Did you think that Fortnite’s announced decision to avoid the Google Play store was just about money? Just because, you know, that was one of the reasons explicitly cited? Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney is walking that back and arguing that it’s not about that and it’s not about clones. In his words, it’s a matter of keeping parity between all of the platforms, and since Google doesn’t offer any sort of marketing push like console titles, he doesn’t see why Epic should distribute the game through the Play store.

Sweeney stresses that there is cross-purchase functionality between the various platforms of Fortnite (which is broadly accurate) and that the company would avoid the iOS marketplace as well if it were possible. He also states that the company is aware of concerns over spending limits, which will supposedly be addressed via the game not locking in payment methods after individual purchases. No word about phone security or avoiding malicious software, though. It’s still going to be a controversial decision, but it doesn’t appear the company is walking it back any time soon.

Source: Polygon

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WoW Factor: There’s no fixing this Battle for Azeroth story

Let’s be totally clear about something: There is no twist waiting for this World of Warcraft story. It doesn’t exist. There’s no way that this story moves into its next phase and suddenly all of the nonsense that was added here is made all right or acceptable or… well, let’s face it, not atrociously dumb.

I’m putting that front and center because if you’re going to talk about World of Warcraft at the moment, you’re going to talk about the latest Warbringers short and the concurrent in-game events, and that means talking about the fact that this is dumb. I’m also trying to leave people who really don’t want to be spoiled for awful storytelling not forced into it, so be fairly warned; things get spoil-y real quick down below. So if you want to read about how catastrophically stupid this is, read on. If you’d rather have any remaining faith in the expansion not being a steaming pile of wombat leavings destroyed by watching the cinematic in-game, well, maybe hold off.

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Todd Howard blames Fallout 76’s lack of cross-platform play on Sony

The reason you won’t be able to play Fallout 76 with your friends on consoles is because of Sony, according to Bethesda studio director Todd Howard. A recent interview with a German site had Howard claiming that while Bethesda would like to do cross-platform play, “Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like.” Bethesda declined to elaborate on the statement when asked for further clarification by Polygon.

Cross-platforming issues have been in the news quite a bit recently, with Fortnite’s launch on Nintendo Switch being coupled with the surprising lack of cross-platform play for PlayStation 4 players. The last statement from the company was that it was “looking into possibilities,” so it remains to be seen both whether or not those possibilities will bear fruit and whether or not they’ll be resolved in time for everyone to enjoy Fallout 76 together.

Source: GameStar.de via Polygon

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EVE Online sells a bundle of ‘Venture’ skins for 120 Plex, poking fun at Star Citizen

Someone at CCP Games is obviously having quite a lot of fun with the latest EVE Online skin bundle. The bundle of skins for the Venture ship might not seem like it’s anything special until you notice that the price tag is 120 Plex, not $120. And that the bundle is specifically dubbed the “Venture Capitalist” bundle. And the cheeky reference to the fact that you can support EVE Online‘s future development with $120 through a long-term subscription, if you so desire… or by purchasing over 36,000 Ventures.

Yes, the whole thing is a very snarky jab at Star Citizen’s $120 Vulture. So for those of you who have been staring agape at the whole thing, well, here’s a chance to pick up a bundle of ship skins for much less than $120. If you’ve just been chuckling at the whole process, here’s your latest thing to giggle about. And if you’ve been insisting that there’s no similarity whatsoever and lots of spaceships designs have prongs… well, we can’t help you there.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Davlos, PlasmaJohn, and Quavers for the tip!

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Steam’s new moderation policy is even less of a moderation policy than before

If you have learned nothing about Steam, you have probably noticed that Valve is actively disinterested in moderating, curating, or really interacting with the platform beyond collecting money from games sold there. So it’s surprising that Valve’s latest policy update somehow manages to be even less involved in moderation, stating that there will be absolutely no moderation except for games that are outright illegal or “blatantly trolling.” So you will be able to see adult-only games on there, maybe, as well as absolutely no rules against hate speech, gambling scams, or any of the other problems people have asked the multi-billion-dollar company to deal with.

This has already attracted quite a bit of commentary, ranging from pointing out that permitting anything on Steam does make a statement on Valve’s values to pointing out that it abdicates responsibility to keep things cheaper to just asking what this means for games that have had to cut content. But, hey, nudity is allowed now, because the only way to permit that is to say that absolutely everything is permitted. After all, if you allow bare breasts, how can you then say it’s not all right to have a group called “Kill All Trans [HIDEOUS SLUR] Now”? Obviously they’re exactly the same thing.

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Worlds Adrift plans to launch by launching a real-life skyship

If you’ve been working on a title like Worlds Adrift for years, it’s likely that the impending launch will leave you feeling a bit… giddy. You are likely to give a green light to things you might, at a more sober time, not consider seriously. That having been said, it seems like spending the money to build and launch a fully functional skyship over London with a large number of playable game stations may not be the best use of time and money for a smaller indie title.

We suppose that at the very least it’s not an e-sports bus that will never work correctly, but that is such a low bar to clear that it’s functionally subterranean.

Yes, all of that is real. Bossa Nova will launch the ship 150 feet in the air, complete with stations to play the game, when the title pops into early access on May 17th. Which is indeed about as literal of a “launch event” as you could possibly have, but may be just a touch… let’s say “overzealous.” If you’ll be in London for the launch, you could win a shot to be on the skyship, although for the rest of us we’ll just have to watch and marvel.

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Boss Key owner Cliff Bleszinski claims that Epic Games is poaching his staff

If Radical Heights is not a success, it’s the fault of Epic Games, according to Cliff Bleszinski. The head of Boss Key Studios recently tweeted out an accusation that Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal engine, among other things) is trying to poach some of his staff, which comes a few months after the co-founder of Boss Key Studios left to join Epic on a heretofore unannounced project. He went on to state that there are still more things to be done in the battle royale genre, but they may remain unseen based on this employee poaching.

Epic has remained mum on the accusations of poaching employees, so it’s hard to be sure whether it’s actually happening or not. One might also want to look at the game’s numbers and its overall playerbase figures following its surprise reveal and early access launch and take that into account as part of this narrative, as well.

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Radical Heights has only barely topped LawBreakers’ all-time player count

It’s important to note that Radical Heights has only just been sent out into the wild, and its surprise launch was less “highly anticipated” and more “utterly unexpected.” Comparisons after a day in the wild are going to be hard to make. Nevertheless, after a day in release, the title has managed to pass the all-time player high for Boss Key’s LawBreakers… barely. It’s within 1000 players of that game’s all-time player high, a number that you may recall was pretty weak for a title published by a major company and with lots of marketing behind it.

The game’s Steam page currently lists its reviews as “mixed,” with many players bemoaning its obviously early development state causing numerous bugs and performance issues. It’s apparently not even developed enough to allow playing as a female character, which seems like a pretty basic option to leave out of a release. That doesn’t mean that the game’s going to be unable to pull itself together and continue turning up in popularity, but looking at the day one numbers, this is something less than a good sign.

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Phantasy Star Online 2 is coming to the Nintendo Switch… which does not have region locks

We had really thought that after the never-updated website finally shut down last year we would be done talking about Phantasy Star Online 2, which at this point is Sega’s never-ending routine of dangling a steak in front of American fans before punching them in the throat. But, see, the game is coming out for the Switch! That matters because there are no region locks on that particular console, so you could easily import it and play it on your American console!

And, of course, you could then be baffled because you presumably don’t speak enough Japanese to muddle through any of the game’s menus or interfaces or dialogue prompts. But the game would run, and it would even never need patches due to running entirely on the cloud. Which is kind of cool, and the sort of things that fans have been hoping for since the title was first announced, released, and then ran for years in Japan. Still, if you want to get your hopes up again, we can’t stop you.

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EA filed an ‘Engagement Optimized Matchmaking’ patent in 2016

Remember Activision’s rather skeezy matchmaking patent from last year? That one was pretty straightforward in how it worked, if unpleasant: You buy something from the cash shop, and the game then makes an effort to match you up in a place where that cash shop purchase was a super great idea. Turns out that Electronic Arts has a similar but distinct patent filed from 2016, and it should get your hackles up just as much as its predecessor.

This one, at least, is not going to validate your every cash shop purchase directly; instead, it’s a matchmaking system dubbed Engagement Optimized Matchmaking that links you up based on play style, sportsmanship, skill, and willingness to spend money. The bright side you could point to is that it’s less explicitly about reinforcing cash shop purchases; the down side is that it’s still a matching system based on keeping you playing rather than providing a fair match, and at this point EA does not exactly have the goodwill of players. You can watch a whole video breaking it down piece by piece below.

Also worth noting is that the patent was filed in 2016, but it has not yet been approved. So it doesn’t appear to be live in the wild yet, but it’s on track to be.

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World of Warcraft player calculates the size of every character’s… underwear gear

So, what did you do with your life today? Did you sit down and think, “You know, I could use some suspect logic to decipher the exact length of my World of Warcraft character’s Gas-Powered Stick?” If so, it might be time to get a new hobby or two. We hear that gardening is nice. Also, you’re already too late, as Leggerless already did exactly that.

Yes, if you want to know the size of the average Tauren’s Fine Poking Stick or the vital statistics of your Dwarf’s Pocket Void Portal, you can look that up on a chart. And, if you’re so inclined, you can then argue with people over the scale of your personal Pocket Friend by pointing to outliers based on the same math. Needless to say, the post is probably not safe for work due to subject matter (thankfully, not due to illustrations). Not that you should be thinking about your character’s Pouch of Wonder while at work anyhow, we imagine.

Again, there are other hobbies out there. Some people rebuild cars. It’s quite functional.

Source: Reddit via PC Gamer

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EA drops the costs of heroes – and reward payouts – in Star Wars: Battlefront II by 75%

Don’t be too proud of the barrier to entry you’ve constructed; the ability to make in-game unlocks incredibly expensive is insignificant next to the power of angry consumers. An update after the latest furor over Star Wars: Battlefront II’s hero unlock prices sees the prices for these characters slashed by 75%, bringing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader down to 15,000 credits, while Palpatine, Leia, and Chewbacca will run 10,000 credits and Iden will cost only 5,000 credits.

What EA doesn’t note in its blog post is that it also reduced reward payouts commensurately.

We’re sure the cost is one that’s still meant to provide a sense of pride and accomplishment, somehow. Whether or not this mollifies players who were rather justifiably miffed about the whole thing remains to be seen; what is already quite obvious is that this is not something that the target audience is taking lightly, so the next move is on Electronic Arts – and that move appears to be an AMA?

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