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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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New Dawn, a survival sandbox set in the 1800s, has launched into Steam early access

New Dawn – not to be confused with Darkfall New Dawn or Osiris New Dawn or Star Trek Online’s New Dawn – is hitting Steam’s early access this week after a lengthy period in closed alpha.

We began watching the game two years ago, when we described it as a “survival sandbox that puts players in the role of South American natives in the 1800s who must fend off pirates while living off the land,” complete with “interesting mechanics, such as taming horses, being killed in your sleep while you’re offline, and a slavery system with the NPCs.” It ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter in 2017, which raised only 4.4% of its $82K goal before it was canceled by Italian developer e-visualsoft.

“At the moment, New Dawn is in Pre-Beta stage, many game mechanics are complete and we have a solid base in programming, which allows us to add new content quickly,” the devs told followers this weekend.

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Shroud of the Avatar opens up optional ‘rewards’ subs, stretch goal cash shop to fund episode 2

With release 55 now behind it, Portalarium is focused on the future of Shroud of the Avatar. Specifically, that means episode 2, which is basically the second season of content for the game. To fund that content, the studio has opened up what it’s calling a “stretch goal store” tied to the episode.

“These are stretch goals with rewards that can be used in the game now (or at least very soon),” Portalarium says. “These rewards are completely unique. They will not be sold in the add-on store, in-game nor as a bundle item. Once the stretch-goal is met we will begin work on the functionality for Episode 2 and all the items purchased would gain some function related to the goal when Episode 2 launches. For instance the foal from the Mounts stretch goal would grow into a horse that you could then ride. Each goal will have a progress bar underneath tracking the progress. General philosophy is that these items cost slightly more than equivalent items because they are linked to stretch goals.” $42,500 was raised on the last stream alone.

The company has also kicked of a new rewards program, which looks like an optional subscription to us; for $9 monthly, players will be picking up a monthly currency stipend, vet titles, dyes, potions, and $5 credit toward month livestream stretch goals. We’ve tucked the game’s latest livestream below – the beginning is worth a look for the Antiques Roadshow spoof!

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TennoCon 2018: Warframe enhances sights and sounds with new skins, ‘Frames, pet skins, music, and more

What does a great game look like to you? More and more it looks like Warframe to me. Looks and sounds like I should say. Have you seen those reveals from this year’s TennoCon? I found them pretty amazing. And part of that amazingness comes from the look and the sound of it all; the gameplay content wouldn’t have half the impact without the integral contributions of the art and sound departments.

At TennoCon Live 2018 I got to learn a bit more about these aspects of Warframe. Of course, no panel would be complete without a reveal or two, and we were treated to a few fun ones, from the two new ‘Frames and skins to the introduction of pet skins to the discovery of Creative Director Steve Sinclair’s hidden voice role in game.

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One Shots: My name is Captain Vanity

As I’m off on vacation this week, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to cull through the previous One Shots comment section for great pics like I usually do. So I’m going to have to beg your forgiveness for a little indulgence here, because in this edition, I’ll be sharing nothing but my own screenshots. Feels like a cheat, because I do that all the time in normal news articles and columns, but why not?

First up is my tribute to the late, great Marvel Heroes. However sad it went out, I had some great times in that MMO and loved the crazy superhero encounters. Such as, in this instance, Captain Marvel giving Carnage a little something to think about before he swings that hand-axe around.

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TennoCon 2018: Warframe expands into open-world Venus plus space

Eidolon expanded the scope of Warframe immensely, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the content coming. The playable universe is growing by open-world leaps and bounds… and rocket thrusts!

Digital Extremes announced the next two major updates coming to the game at this year’s TennoCon 2108. First up this fall is Fortuna, a massive open-world environment on the surface of Venus. How big is it? Game Director Steve Sinclair said that the entirety of Eidolon would fit just on the first base in The Orb Vallis. That was the one folks had surmised parts of thanks to datamining. However, no one expected the second announcement: to play in space!

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Elder Scrolls Online deep-dives the dungeons and PvP upgrades of the Wolfhunter DLC and GU19

ZeniMax is back to work today and hyping up Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC. Announced at E3, the Wolfhunter pack will roll out two new dungeons, both with the werewolf theme. The first, March of Sacrifices, sounds like a “Hounds of Zaroff” type of encounter as players will be trying to take down Indrik to please Hircine himself. The second will send players into Moon Hunter Keep to topple the ancient werewolf Vykosa “before she threatens all of Tamriel.”

But of course, as ZeniMax notes, Wolfhunter isn’t the only thing players have to look forward to. In fact, even if werewolves and dungeon romps aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of stuff coming in the simultaneous release of update 19 that is all free. There’s a brand-new semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, the addition of keep recall stones to alliance PvP, an improved respec system, better werewolf skills, and unspecified class changes too.

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