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Broke Protocol is currently free on Steam to celebrate its first birthday

Remember Broke Protocol, the funky sandbox that’s basically a mash-up of Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto, with voxel graphics bolstering cops-and-robbers gameplay? It’s apparently celebrating its first anniversary on Steam today, and in celebration, it’s free. Free as in free beer. But only if you grab it really quickly. Quickly as in this week.

“Starting August 15th 10am PST (5pm UTC) Broke Protocol will be free to keep forever (100% off). No trial, limitations, or strings attached. But act quickly because the offer is only available during this 100-hour promotion.”

The Cylinder Studios devs note that the game has changed quite a bit over its first year of life; it can now support over a hundred players simultaneously and has shifted focus to better support roleplaying with more civilian and “enforcer” jobs as well as player housing, vehicles, and third-party admin tools to balance out all the crime and mayhem. Merchants and a map editor are still on the way too.

Source: Steam. Thanks so much, George!

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Wisdom of Nym: Hunting the monster in Final Fantasy XIV

Patch 4.36 sure seems as if it’s has been dragged out. Realistically, that’s not what has happened at all; the time between patches has remained pretty consistent, and with the next big Final Fantasy XIV patch planned for September this is just about the right time. But something about 4.36 having big content just makes the whole thing feel overextended, as if we’ve been sitting and spinning our wheels for an extended time however untrue that may be.

My big plan for this week was to try out the Monster Hunter World crossover because I was honestly less interested in Pagos. (Yes, I like the idea behind Eureka, but there are only so many hours in the day.) I honestly found the experience a bit… not bad, necessarily, but just underwhelming. It was neutral. And I think some of it comes down to how the game has been increasingly handling its crossovers and whether or not those are, well, good things or less-good things.

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Pathfinder Online promises free trial, open enrollment, and a marketing push

About nine people showed up at a GenCon Pathfinder Online panel this past weekend, during which Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens gave an update on the status of this struggling sandbox MMO.

Stevens said that with 15 major updates under its belt to date and two employees working on the game, Pathfinder Online is on the final stretch to open enrollment. This means a marketing push to get more people into the game, thanks to the hiring of a new marketing director at Piazo with experience promoting games like LOTRO and ArcheAge.

Future milestones for Pathfinder include an enchanting system, various cool factions (river pirates? Sign us up!), deity groups, a new player experience, new art, 30 or 40 additional monsters, more classes (Paladins, Barbarians, and Sorcerers were floated as possibilities), upgrading to the latest version of Unity, rules from Pathfinder 2.0, and a free trial option.

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Final Fantasy XI plans new content for its August update

Do you want to fight Iroha in Final Fantasy XI? Of course not, she’s a perfect darling and wonderful. But fighting her is one of the new bits of content arriving in the game as part of the August version update, so you’ll need to get over that impulse. Luckily, you’ll have the option to fight her at one of two difficulties, so you can opt for the punishing challenge of the Master Trial content or fight and easier battle just to see what it’s like.

The patch will also contain a new A.M.A.N. Trove content style, in which players get to open successive chests in hopes of spectacular rewards… or losing everything. Add that to the summer event festival going on right now, and players will have lots to do all the way through August, even without getting into things like the usual monthly Ambuscade cycling.

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ArcheAge, Trove producers address Trion layoffs, tell players not to worry

Last week’s Trion Worlds layoffs appeared to have hit ArcheAge particularly hard, with the loss of a well-known producer to the eliminated positions, on top of the unrelated loss of a public-facing community manager week before. Merv “Khrolan” Lee Kwai, the Senior Producer on the game, addressed players on the forums yesterday to try to assuage some of the playerbase’s concerns about the safety of the game.

“I realize that some of you have concerns about the state of ArcheAge and that news of any departures only serves to compound them,” he writes. “I would ask you pause for a moment and know that many people at Trion pour their hearts into supporting the game, even though you only see a few of us in public. Other members of the ArcheAge team you might know like Tinen, Socke, BigDataDude, and I are still very much involved and care deeply about the game. Another 60+ people at Trion and the entirety of XLGames remain committed to delivering and improving the game and world you love.”

As for the future of the game? Kwai promises a big update on the next milestone after a planned meeting with XLGames.

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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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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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Want to try Legends of Aria? We’ve got trial keys just in time for the closed beta 2 launch!

It’s a big day for indie MMORPG Legends of Aria, as its second closed beta official kicks off with a server wipe and a juicy patch. CB2, as we’ve previously covered, revamps the game’s art, adds detail to the cities, adds a diurnal cycle, backer rewards, new encounters, better shops, a more realistic map, new tameables, saddle storage, new music, secure house trading, crafting orders, the dungeon revamp, and better fast travel.

“It feels like a different game, and we need to gather as much feedback as we can to get things just right for Open Beta and the Early Access launch,” Citadel Studios’ Derek Brinkmann opines in his letter to testers today, and that is where you come in: The Aria team wants you to test and has ponied up a bundle of trial keys to get the MOP readers in and playing. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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The Elder Scrolls Online is planning a freeplay event next week plus free lockboxes for subbers

Do you want to play The Elder Scrolls Online for free this weekend? Too bad. You can’t. But you can play next week! Yes, ZeniMax has announced that it’s running one of its infamous ESO Plus Bonus Events starting on Tuesday, July 10, and running through the following Monday. Existing subbers, there’s something in it for you too: If you log in during the hoopla, you’ll pick up six free lockboxes.

“To take part in the ESO Plus Bonus Event, log into the game with an active paid ESO Plus membership (the free trial does not count, sorry) each day from July 10 until July 15. Note that in order to qualify, each unique login must occur within a 24-hour time period that starts at 10:00AM EDT and ends at 10:00AM EDT the next day. If you remain logged in over a two-day period, it will only count as a single entry. You must log completely out of the game and back in – only logging out to the character select screen will not work. The free Crown Crates will be delivered to your account by Friday, July 20. Check your Crown Crates menu!”

If you take advantage of the free-play period, know that you’ll be able to check out basically all of the DLC and Morrowind (but not Summerset). You’re getting all of the perks associated with subbing with the exception of the monthly stipend, so that means the experience bonus, costume dyeing, double bank, and so on.

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Richard Garriott rejects idea that Shroud of the Avatar is a ‘flop’, says the game will run ‘forever’

Shroud of the Avatar has long been an odd bird in the MMORPG crowdfunding space. Driven by the eccentric Richard Garriott, it raised large sums of money and managed to be one of the first nostalgia-driven MMOs to make it from Kickstarter to launch – several times, we’ll note. And yet today, Eurogamer went so far as to call the game an apparent flop, citing its low Steam numbers and the layoffs we covered a few weeks ago.

Garriott has rejected the idea that the game is “on the ropes.” To Eurogamer, he reiterated Portalarium’s party line that the majority of players play off Steam and that the playerbase is “in the many thousands but not in the many tens of thousands of monthly active users at the moment.” He also rebuts the claim that half the team was let go, stating that the company went from more than 20 to a “little under” that now, not counting contractors.

So what the heck is going on over there? Garriott says Portalarium has struggled with marketing, spending on publicity that didn’t materialize; the company is “trialing new marketing internally” to try to tap into the “millions” of Ultima fans who still don’t know his new game exists.

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Wild West Online delays its next patch, but will anyone be around to play it?

A planned June 15th patch for Wild West Online obviously didn’t happen, and now we know why: The developers said that when they took the patch to test, it ended up being too unstable and buggy to release to live. As a result, a month delay was announced as well as the postponement of a planned free trial version.

“It was a team decision to postpone patch for up to one month, and make sure that we hit all goals we want with it,” the devs said. “We’re very small team at the moment, so while we wanted to have more resources to put on it, we’re going with what we have — what is in line with game’s metrics. ”

Wild West Online has struggled to gain an audience after launching far too early with a recently revamped gameplay build. Steam Charts shows that hardly anyone is playing it these days, with a daily average hovering around three dozen gamers or so.

Source: Facebook

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Wild West Online pivots away from faction system PvP, plans free trial

Another week, another huge plan change for Wild West Online. Newly installed studio (or maybe the old studio with a new name) DJ2 Entertainment says it’s completely deleting the faction system from the game. “There’ll be no Mcfarlanes vs Steele,” the devs say on Steam. “We loved it internally, but effectively it did added some unnecessary complexity to the gameplay mechanics and affected player’s experience in a negative way.”

“Instead we’re bringing back Sheriffs vs Outlaws mechanics, and they’ll become our two main factions in a game. While we don’t think that first release will check all boxes for all players, we will continue tweak and fine tuning it until we’ll get system that all players will be happy about.”

The company is also working on a town capture redesign, weapons adjustments, fluff loot, barricades, event rewards, and a new tutorial. A free trial version of the game will soon appear on Steam and on the official site; it’ll allow folks to play to 20 without achievements and awards.

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Legends of Aria hopes to recruit newbies to test the game with free trial keys

It’s Bring-a-Friend Week in Legends of Aria, but you’re going to need a working email account. That’s because Citadel Studios wants you to email it directly to request trial keys for you and your buddies, which is probably a crazy plan for the studio rep handling that job, although it might be a better way to get keys to people who will actually test the game instead of to people who will just put them for sale on a Russian key website or something.

In light of that, we apologize for making Sanya Weathers’ day harder, but you guys, free keys. There are some caveats, of course; Citadel is specifically looking for people who will provide feedback on the UI and the newbie learning curve.

“We are patching this week, with some major fixes to combat and loot,” she writes. “Make sure your friend understands, this is a closed beta and things are changing every week. Also, with the server wipe coming next month, the population is low. Most people don’t want to invest much in a character that will literally cease to exist in a matter of days. This is a chance to play and do crazy stuff just for fun.”

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