Revelation Online merges Western and Russian dev teams, unifies client build

Change is coming to Revelation Online, even if it’s largely under the hood for the moment. You folks might recall that the MMO got a new producer and vision back in January. Now it appears yet another a new captain has taken the helm, as newly installed Global Producer Petr Lagun pens in a dev blog today.

“The company has decided to change its operation strategy and in an effort to close the gaps between the West (Europe and North America) and Russian operation teams there will be a single producer for the Western and Russian markets – and that’s me,” he writes.

So how does that affect Revelation Online itself?

“For Revelation Online, it means that there will be less differences between the Russian versions and Western version of the game as we are hoping to unify the same client build, our current aim is to do this with our first unified build which is currently under the name ‘New Sulan.’ While we are working on this update, the team is preparing exciting and interesting events for PvP and PvE players.”


CNN alleges that Russia used Pokemon Go to try to spread dissent in the USA

It always gets a bit bumpy when politics, international intrigue, and video games collide, so hold on for this one.

According to CNN, Russia’s Internet Research Agency — an organization devoted to create unrest in the USA — tapped into Pokemon Go as a way to do this. How could this be? Apparently, the agency ran a contest on a site in 2016 that encouraged supporters of Black Lives Matter to hunt down Pokemon near sites of police brutality and to even change their character names to victims.

It seems dubious whether the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign and contest had any effect on players or interfered with politics. CNN couldn’t find anyone who actually participated in it, and the campaign’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have all since been suspended.

Source: CNN via The Verge. Thanks Sally!


Russian Pokemon Go player sentenced over blasphemy law

The 22-year-old Russian vlogger convicted of playing Pokemon Go inside a church has been hit with a 3.5-year suspended sentence.

Ruslan Sokolovsky was found “guilty of inciting hatred, violating religious feelings and illegal possession of special technical means – a pen with a video camera” for recording himself playing Pokemon Go on his phone in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg last summer while carrying a piece of crap pencam from whatever the Russian equivalent of SharperImage is. He was detained and charged by authorities when the video of his mundane prank went viral.

“I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability,” the Russian prosecutor said last month. “There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine … I request that the court sentence him to three-and-a-half years in a penal colony.” The judge apparently agreed to the max sentence, but ordered it suspended. Sokolovsky has already been sitting in prison for seven months.

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Shroud of the Avatar secures Russian publishing

Shroud of the Avatar is coming to Russia, Portalarium announced today. The studio’s inked a deal with Moscow’s Black Sun Game Publishing “to publish and operate Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic States.”

Portalarium CEO Richard Garriott is quoted in the press release as saying that SOTA has a “large and growing fan base in Russia and the surrounding countries.” Black Sun’s website lists only SOTA under its umbrella and says it is “interested in buying the rights to publishing in Russia and CIS countries, massively multiplayer online games,” particularly near-finished projects.

SOTA stopped wiping its early access servers last summer but has not technically launched as a completed project. Its most recent monthly release landed at the tail end of April, introducing or overhauling multiple maps and revamping combat lines. Beginning today, the game is available in a free-to-play trial mode until the end of May.

Source: Press release



Pokemon Go player faces up to 3.5 years in Russian penal colony over blasphemy law

A 22-year-old Russian vlogger is facing prison time for playing Pokemon Go inside a church.

Last summer, Ruslan Sokolovsky recorded himself playing Pokemon Go on his phone in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, noting on the recording that he couldn’t see how his actions could offend anyone. When the video went viral, Russian authorities detained Sokolovsky and charged him with inciting religious hatred. His trial began in March; he now faces a potential 3.5 year sentence. The verdict will be determined on May 11th.

“I believe that there is no reason to exempt the defendant from liability,” a Russian state prosecutor said, according to Sky News, one of many publications reporting on the surreal nature of the trial. “There is also no reason to sentence him to a fine … I request that the court sentence him to three-and-a-half years in a penal colony.”

As Sky News points out, this is the same blasphemy law used to prosecute Russian punk band Pussy Riot, three members of which were convicted — amidst considerable international outrage — of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and imprisoned for several years following an anti-Putin performance in an Orthodox cathedral.

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NCsoft appears to be blocking former Soviet states from WildStar

Reports this morning that players in various former Soviet countries, among others, had been unceremoniously barred from accessing NCsoft MMORPGs WildStar and Guild Wars 2 appear to have been confirmed by an NCsoft community rep, though Guild Wars 2’s block seems to have been in error.

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Bless starts selling Russian founder packs

While we still wait here in the west for Bless Online to make the leap to Europe and North America, we do know that the title is coming very soon for Russian players.

Neowiz has started to sell Russian founder packs, which might give an indication of what other regions are in for when the game arrives there. These packs include access to the beta, a head start to the live game, mounts, various consumables, premium currency, and more.

Bless’ arrival in the west was “delayed slightly” due to the recent merger between Aeria and Gamigo. The studio assures fans that it is coming, however: “The important thing though is that we have a strong team and enough resources to bring Bless to the western market.”

Whether or not you can read Cyrillic, chances are you can get the gist of a pair of new Russian trailers for Bless Online. Check them out below and let us know what you think!

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Wild Terra adds a new Russian-specific server

The latest patch for Wild Terra is live, and it brings along with it a Russian server for players to explore. The bad news is that progress on characters is not transferred to the new server, but any account-wide unlocks and purchases are active on both servers. Now you can enjoy stomping your way through the game’s world while speaking Russian!

Of course, just adding a new server alone isn’t a major update; the game has also patched in a new Mining skill, allowing you to dig up metals, smelt ores, and generally work with metal. Several new resources and associated structures have been added to the game to facilitate mining, while various other professions have also had improvements made to quality of life (for example, a new small drying rack for drying very small hides). Check out the full patch notes for a list of all the changes made.


Sphere 3: Enchanted World is a fantasy MMO that’s now in open beta

Just when I thought I’d been doing this long enough to know about every MMO in existence, along comes Sphere 3: Enchanted World to prove me wrong. The game originates in Russia, and its website describes it as a “brand new MMORPG created for the most hardcore players.” Additional verbiage highlights siege PvP, a non-target combat system, and a “strong classic fantasy storyline” featuring 1000 quests that spans over 600 hours of gameplay.

Classes include everything from the usual Sorcerer and Warrior to the hilariously named Killer, which I’m assuming is a nod to Assassins rather than Richard Bartle. The game is going into open beta right now, and it’s also been greenlit on Steam. You can watch a preview trailer after the cut.

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Escape from Tarkov brings realistic military action to MMOs

There’s a new player on the MMO scene, and this bad boy wants to do military action right.

The game in question is Escape from Tarkov by Russian developer Battlestate Games. In the MMO, players will join up with one of two military factions investigating (and assuming from the title, trying to leave) the mysterious city of Tarkov. The game will incorporate both RPG and FPS elements, and Battlestate promises that in addition to questing, Escape from Tarkov will boast realistic firefights, injuries, and movement.

Battlestate is planning an early 2016 beta test, and you can sign up for a chance at a key today. You can also watch the announcement trailer for Escape from Tarkov after the jump!

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E3 2015: Life is Feudal isn’t just another gankbox

I’m standing with my PR contact at the Life is Feudal booth when suddenly a guy with a thick Russian accent walks up to me, picks up a toy of a wooden bear at a computer, and starts to move it so the bear paws at the keyboard. “This is how we make games in Russia” he laughs.

This was my E3 2015 introduction to Vladimir Piskunov, CEO of Bitbox and friend to veterans of ShadowbaneDarkfall, and other PvP games (or at least, the guy inviting the veterans to Life is Feudal‘s alphas).

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TERA is getting region-locked on Steam

If you want to play TERA in Russia, you certainly can, as the game has a Russian publisher. The game is also available on Steam there. However, that’s caused a bit of an issue because the version of the game on Steam links up not to the local publisher but to the American version of the game published by En Masse Entertainment. The net result of this issue is that players in Russia and some parts of Europe will be unable to download the game from Steam starting on June 11th.

Players who already have the game downloaded will not be forbidden from playing, but deleting the game may prevent those players from re-adding the game to their Steam libraries. The official news post makes it clear that players who wish to keep playing on American servers will not be locked out and that the client may still be downloaded directly; only the ability to do so from Steam will be affected.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Zuji for the tip!


Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online closes June 1st

If you were hoping that the Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online would last forever, we have some sad news for you today. The game’s localized servers will be shutting down on June 1st, with new account registration already disabled and all cash shop items discounted to cost just 1 mark. There’s also an NPC to power your character up in case you weren’t already at maximum level for whatever reason.

It’s not clear at this time whether was unwilling or unable to reach an agreement with Warner Bros. for extending the license for the game. Bonuses are being offered for Russian players affected by the shutdown in the other games that maintains.

[Source: MMO Fallout]


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