Development of The Elder Scrolls: Legends Changes Hands

Fans of The Elder Scrolls: Legends are being duly informed that the development of the online CCG is being passed to a new company. An announcement on the game’s Steam page has confirmed the new TES Legends developer and offered a bit of an explanation as to why.

new tes legends developer

From this point forward, development of TES Legends will be handed over from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios, a group of “seasoned developers with a deep bench of experience across multiple genres and platforms” according to the announcement.

The shift in developers is meant to better support TES Legends and provide regular updates to the online CCG, which includes work on previously discussed features and mechanics. “We believe that this move allows us to deliver on the promise of Legends to our players in the best possible way under Bethesda’s guidance and direction,” explains the post.

The post also offers an FAQ that assures fans that this move isn’t indicative of the health of TES Legends. “Legends is a game enjoyed by a vast number of players all over the world, with a passionate and dedicated community,” reads the post. “This transition is indicative only of our commitment to the long-term health and growth of the game.”

Our Thoughts

The proof, ultimately, will be in the pudding that Sparkypants Studios stirs together, but we can certainly trust that Bethesda knows what it’s doing in terms of handing over dev duties to an entirely different studio. Does this announcement concern you, or are you hoping this will lead to good things for the CCG?

Source: Steam

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Why the Bless Online Launch Disaster Isn’t a Surprise

Right now Bless Online is in Early Access and many people are calling it the worst MMORPG ever. Steam is offering refunds past the usual 2 hour gameplay period and reviews are pretty evenly split between good and bad. The game’s producer has now apologized for the mess that the Early Access is in. We’ll get into all of that in more detail further down but first, it’s important to take a look at where we’ve been with Bless Online so far.

Bless Online was first announced way back in 2011 when it was announced it would be made using Unreal 3. At that point it was almost complete silence about the game for a year when they announced BLESS as it was known then, would be shown at G-Star 2012. While there they showed over 80 minutes of gameplay and were hailed as one of the most gorgeous MMORPGs ever seen.

Bless Online Launch Disaster bless online media preview

The first closed beta was held in January 2014. That year though they skipped G-Star which was somewhat of a worrying sign, but it wasn’t too big of a deal since they were right in the middle of getting ready for their next closed beta event which would happen in December 2014. Both of these and other closed betas were limited to Korea only. The final closed beta, as they were calling it at the time at least, was at the end of September 2015. In November 2015 the game was delayed indefinitely, though it was said that small focus groups would be scheduled for the following month. So, while the game was put on hold not all hope was lost.

Fast forward to January 2016 and Bless was back in the news with a new website and an announcement about open beta. That open beta was anything but smooth. Almost as soon as the servers came on they went down and remained down for a 5-hour maintenance. Steparu, who had also taken part in the closed betas said they had been hoping for an improved combat system but it didn’t actually seem like there had been any changes. They also went on to quite damningly state, “I suppose I’m enjoying it just a little bit, but not overly. I mainly want to progress to explore the PvP aspects of the game and see some end-game dungeons if any. It doesn’t seem like a game I would stay up 24 hours and play non-stop unless I have nothing to do.” Ouch. In February it looked like Daum would be publishing Bless in the West but this wasn’t to be the case. In April it was announced that Aeria Games had signed on to publish Bless Online in the west. Of course, this wasn’t to be either.

In June it was announced that Bless Online would be published in Russia by 101XP. At the same time though the Korean version of the game was having a hard time and they merged servers for the second time. This brought the game down to only 2 servers. Despite those troubles in August Founders’ Packs went on sale in Russia. In September Aeria announced that the test schedule for the west would have to be postponed because…the project was bigger than expected. Meanwhile Russian closed beta testing was announced and started in October. In November Aeria Games announced that some of the reasons for the delay were the fact that Neowiz was working on improving the game and adjusting the combat system. 2016 finished with rumors that the western release of the game had been canceled since the teaser website had gone offline. It was a long, hard year that Neowiz was almost certainly happy to see behind them.

However, 2017 didn’t start off on a great foot. One of the last two remaining Korean Bless servers was taken offline. Another was opened however so the actual number of servers didn’t change. In April they were holding an event to try to entice players to come back to the game. Meanwhile in the West people were still asking when it would be our turn. That was just the start of their April though. Within the same month, they announced a Japanese closed beta and that the Russian beta would shut down indefinitely, for more development.

In June 2017 Neowiz and Aeria Games announced that they had canceled the agreement between the two companies and Bless Online would not be published in the west by Aeria. At the same time, Neowiz said that they were going to focus on the Japanese testing and made no comment about looking for a new publisher in the west. Jens Knauber, the COO of the Gamigo group who owns Aeria said this, ‘Together with Neowiz we have come to the conclusion that the technical difficulties cannot be overcome, so we agreed not to complete the game for our respective markets. This has not been an easy decision for us and we put a lot of thought into this step. On the other hand, we have a number of interesting new releases coming up to complement our already strong portfolio, so our players can look forward to several new games in the near future.” Just a few days later Neowiz announced that they would self-publish the game in the west.

Before they would release the game in the west, however, Neowiz announced they would be giving the game a heavy overhaul which they called Rebuild Project. The goal of it was to gut many of the game’s systems and start from scratch. Just a couple of months later though they announced that they would start testing the rebuild in Korea. At the same time, Japan was getting a second closed beta, though there was no mention of the rebuilt version of the game being used there. By the end of 2017 we knew it would be coming out on Steam in 2018, but still knew nothing of the monetization plans.

bless online interview

All of this finally brings us to this month, May 2018. The bad news started with a leak of the Founders’ Packs which ranged from $40-$200. Neowiz was then forced to come out and say that the game would be $29.99 at launch and there would be a subscription option. This subscription option, which Neowiz REALLY doesn’t want you to call a sub got called out for being pay to win. To make things even worse, the monthly subscription wasn’t priced for different regions so it will be a lot more expensive in some areas than others. Around this same time, members of the games media were invited to a press preview of Bless.

In response to the negative press around the Founders’ Pack and subscription service, Neowiz quickly made a few adjustments. In a Q&A they announced that pricing would be different for each country and the $200 founder pack would cost $149.99 instead. They also got rid of the Premium customer service which had previously been part of the collector’s edition.

Then Bless Online’s Early Access (soft launch) went live and everything went to hell. To begin with, there weren’t enough servers made available, a problem pretty much every large MMO has at launch. Queues were massive with some people waiting more than 40 minutes. To make matters even worse the servers were having to be restarted multiple times, meaning you could wait in the queue for 40 minutes only to get in for 5 minutes before the server goes offline and you have to do it all again.

When players were finally able to play they found that when you get into a dungeon you can bypass travel for cash shop currency. There was a mighty uproar about this. Many people were saying this was the sort of thing you’d only see in mobile games.

bless

Players also got through all the content in the game very quickly and when they hit level 45 they realized that none of the endgame content from the other versions is in the game. One streamer actually broke down in tears over it all.

We also can’t forget that there are market duplication bugs plaguing the game as well.

All of this lead to Executive Producer Sungjin Ko issuing an apology and promising they’re working on the problems. On the missing content, he had this to say: “We know that there is end-game content missing that many of you expected in this first Early Access build, given what’s available in the other versions of the game. Additions like the 15v15 PVP and new high-level dungeons will be added in 1-2 weeks’ time, with more to come soon after.” All founders who haven’t gone for refunds have been given 2450 of their premium currency, with which they can teleport from that dungeon 32 times. According to Steam Charts over the last couple of days, Bless Online has peaked at 34,288 players, with the same time the next day only having 1,000 fewer players online.

Looking back at the last few years Bless Online has been in development it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that things haven’t gone smoothly. It will be interesting to see how the game progresses from here but it looks like a very vocal group have been turned off the game and Neowiz still has a lot of work to do.

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Rend Outlines its Survival Mechanics

When one of the pieces of information is “everything is out to kill you”, you can bet that survival gameplay is reasonably serious. That’s just one part of a new dev blog that outlines Rend survival mechanics that players of the upcoming sandbox title will need to bear in mind come beta testing.

rend survival mechanics

Much of the survival gameplay in Rend will be familiar to those who’ve played other games in the sub-genre, with health, stamina, hydration, hunger, and temperature to consider while roaming the wilds. To mitigate these effects, players will need to craft items to hold fresh water, learn recipes to cook raw ingredients to delay food spoilage, or consider which raw ingredients can be eaten raw at need.

Rend’s survival will also have a couple of unique wrinkles to consider. The position of the sun and the time of day or night will have an effect on the temperature of the biome you’re in, and certain creatures or environmental hazards can inflict diseases or wounds that limit your maximum health and stamina.

The devs hope that the factional nature of Rend’s gameplay will mean that players will share their combined knowledge of the biomes among themselves to better mitigate survival needs, which should also have the cascade effect of having those out and about finding resources for their faction having greater success.

Our Thoughts

This all sounds solid enough on paper, certainly, and the factional sort of gameplay Rend is offering does lend itself to perhaps a bit more cooperation than other sandbox MMOs would offer. Ideally, anyway. We’ve been around long enough to know that people will try like hell to screw as many people over as hard as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Source: official site

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Black Desert Online Adds Lahn Absolute Skills and a Hunt-A-Thon

Kung-fu’ing your way through the world of Black Desert Online is about to open up a bit more with the latest patch. Today’s update brings the addition of new Lahn Absolute Skills, a new big game hunting-style event, and the usual number of adjustments and fixes.

lahn absolute skills

Absolute Skills, you’ll recall, are merged standard abilities that are meant to keep the regular kit of a class on par with Awakening skills. To that point, the new update lets the Lahn class keep fighting fit with a bundle of these new abilities.

The new patch has also kicked off the Valencia Hunt-A-Thon. From now until June 13th before the next scheduled maintenance, players can use a Hunting Matchlock weapon to take down some giant-sized creatures in the world for a chance at some rewards at the end of the hunt. Everyone who participates will receive some consumables, while a lucky number of participants will get unique boxes, a blue-grade Frosted Matchlock weapon, or a Value Pack buff item.

The update has also made a number of tweaks to the other classes in the game, so be sure to get all of the details in the patch notes.

Our Thoughts

Not much earth-shattering in these patch notes for the most part, as far as we can tell, but it’s good that the recently-arrived Lahn class is keeping up with the other classes already in the game in terms of progression systems.

Source: official site

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Star Citizen Says the Legatus Pack was Requested by Fans

By now you’ve had time to wrap your head around the Star Citizen Legatus Pack, the $27k bundle that hooks together a little over 100 different ships and over 100 other digital goodies for the in-development sandbox title. Still, the question may remain: just who the heck would want that? A statement from Cloud Imperium has provided a little bit of insight on that front.

legatus pack

Statements provided to Polygon remark that the bundle of items is meant for those who apparently view Star Citizen as a form of “lifestyle hobby” akin to golf or sailing. Additionally, the bundle wasn’t just slapped together by the company, but was actually requested by such fans.

“It wasn’t created in a vacuum,” said Cloud Imperium LA’s Eric Kieron Davis. “We were responding to what the community asked for. We have some passionate supporters that are not looking at Star Citizen as your typical game purchase/transaction but rather a dream project they want to see happen.”

Davis further remarked that the Legatus Pack isn’t necessarily being offered for a single person to surround themselves with ships, but heads of guilds or corps who can then distribute the internet spaceships to their members, which can often number in the tens of thousands apparently.

All this said, another representative from Cloud Imperium wasn’t able to elaborate on how many of these bundles have been sold, if any at all. Presumably, that information will likely remain under lock and key.

Our Thoughts

Even though one of our own writers poked a bit of fun at the price tag of this bundle, we can…maybe appreciate that some folks have that much money to light on fire for an unreleased game? Maybe? We don’t know, honestly…and personally speaking, I’d buy all the Big Macs first.

Source: Polygon

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The Gunner Class is Headed for TERA’s Console Version

Speak softly, carry an absurdly huge piece of ballistic weaponry, and pose ridiculously. These are the tenants of the TERA Gunner, presumably, and console players of the MMO will be able to live their best anime-like blasting life with the arrival of the class to consoles.

tera gunner

The Gunner class is a powerhouse DPS that wields a titanic Arcannon and brings a number of programmable combat constructs. Her massive weapon allows her to rain hell down on enemies at range, but her ability to wear heavy armor and take on close-range threats makes the class a threat at varying ranges.

While a firm date on when the new Gunner will make her arrival to Xbox One and PS4 isn’t announced yet, the press release does urge fans to keep eyes on the official website for more information on both how the class works and a special pre-launch event. You can also take a look at our preview from 2015 to get a general idea of what the Gunner is capable of, or just watch the teaser trailer below.

Our Thoughts

Body postures notwithstanding, the Gunner class absolutely looks like a bl–woop, sorry, was just informed by my superiors that I can’t make that joke and should just wrap up this part of the news article. Well, blast.

Source: press release

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Monster Hunter World Adds a New Elder Dragon

If you thought Teostra, one of the original Monster Hunter World elder dragons, was rough, you should see his partner. The Lunastra update of the online critter crusher has introduced a female version of the flame-spouting monster, along with an accompanying set of gear to earn from fighting her.

lunastra update

The so-called Empress of Flame is described in the announcement blog as a significantly meaner challenge than Teostra, with abilities that allow her to dramatically change her environment. She even teams up with Teostra for combined attacks, meaning teamwork on the player side will be even more important.

Naturally, handsome rewards are waiting for those who successfully see through the burning challenge Lunastra provides. Materials from Lunastra can combine with other materials dropped from Bazelgeuse, Nergigante and Xeno’jiiva for some unique weapons and armor, such as the inherent “Guts” skill that provides some measure of a defensive boon present in the Lunastra weapon set.

The announcement post closed with a hint of what’s next: a new tier of power for the current Tempered Elder Dragons, known as Arch-Tempered Elder Dragons. Presumably, this new branch of hunts will be arriving in the next major update and additional details are promised to come later.

In the meanwhile, the Lunastra update is available as a free download for Monster Hunter World now. A trailer showcasing the new beastie is below.

Our Thoughts

Any creature that can run up to Nergigante and just give it a casual slap in the face is very likely going to be a stern challenge for Monster Hunter World players. We wish those who are at the right HR the best of luck in this new battle!

Source: Capcom Unity website

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Fallout 76 Gameplay Details Surface from Anonymous Sources

Yesterday’s tease of Fallout 76 lit up all sorts of speculation about the game, but the sourced report mentioned that Fallout 76 gameplay would be online-based. Today, we’ve got additional information on just what that gameplay is as reported by some anonymous sources.

fallout 76 gameplay

According to three people who are close to the Fallout 76 project, the game will be an online survival title in the same vein as DayZ and Rust. Fallout 76 will indeed have quests and a story line, but will also add online survival mechanics seen in similar titles as well as the base-building features seen in Fallout 4.

The gameplay described lines up with the setting of Fallout 76, which references Vault 76 – the first Vault that was opened after the end of the nuclear apocalypse. The lore of the game states that these Vault dwellers were the ones tasked with rebuilding human civilization, and so it would appear that Fallout 76 will let players slip into those Vault suits to do just that.

According to these sources, the game started life as a prototype to see whether an online Fallout title would work and evolved into its apparently current form from there. However, the gameplay mechanics have gone through a number of “rapid” changes up to this point and could do so again.

Our Thoughts

So perhaps it’s best to use this information to temper expectations instead of outright deciding the game is or is not for you. At least until the Bethesda E3 showcase, anyway. That said, we’re certainly intrigued by the idea of an online survival game set in the Fallout universe and would like to learn more specifics.

Source: Kotaku

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Next Living World Episode of Guild Wars 2 is Being Delayed

Have you been looking forward to the next Living World Season Four episode in Guild Wars 2? It looks like your wait is going to have to be a while longer yet, according to an alert shared on the game’s official forums by director Mike Zadorojny.

living world season four episode

According to the announcement from Zadorojny, self-imposed quality standards are preventing S4E3 from landing on time with the team’s usual update cadence.

“With the amount of gameplay and breadth of content in Living World, we noticed that we had an opportunity to make some adjustments to how we approach developing each episode that will help us hit our quality standards more consistently. his logistical change has had some short-term ‘cost’ in time, but will provide benefits to all Living World episodes moving forward.”

Naturally, there’s no firm release date for the new episode yet, but players can certainly expect announcements out of the team the moment launch is close.

Our Thoughts

Well, interesting development, this. Considering this will also mean that additional developments of the Living World will come out higher quality, this will ultimately mean better things for the development of Guild Wars 2, even if it’s short-term bad news for those looking forward to episode 3.

Source: official forums

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Bless Online’s Current Build Reportedly Missing End Game Features

MMORPG content locusts are a thing. They power through leveling content shell at breakneck speed to get to the creamy nougat center of end game. So imagine the surprise and aggravation, then, of those locusts when they get to Bless Online end game and find no nougat to chew on whatsoever.

bless online end game

According to one list compiled by a redditor, several end game features that are offered by the game in other regions are missing from the Western release, including arenas and battlegrounds, PvP ranking systems and related rewards, and S-Levels that unlock the final two Stances and trait points for characters.

What end game content is there is also apparently broken. According to the list, these features include broken Honor Point acquisition, broken Skill Gem acquisition, a PvP world map that should have mobs but doesn’t, and drops from two of the end game dungeons that provide precisely the same gear score rewards.

“Before you spend your time like me, without sleeping just to rush end game fast, make sure you realize there’s nothing to do besides doing a dungeon run each day and mindless gank in open world,” closes the post.

A streamer by the name of Arctix read off a number of answers from the devs during a livestream regarding some of these missing features, with one answer stating that instanced PvP and battlegrounds are in “the content update plan” while other features are in the works.

The devs have since posted a full letter from executive producer Sungjin Ko about several matters plaguing the game, including missing content, item duplication and server issues.

“We know that there is end-game content missing that many of you expected in this first Early Access build, given what’s available in the other versions of the game. Additions like the 15v15 PVP and new high-level dungeons will be added in 1-2 weeks’ time, with more to come soon after.

“Bless Online’s Early Access was always intended to be a growing experience, with systems and content being added in the weeks and months ahead; this is why we chose the Steam Early Access program. We are sincerely sorry that our players were led to believe otherwise, and we are happy to allow refunds for those who feel they cannot wait for the new content to arrive. We hope that you will return to the world of Bless when the features you expect are in the game and ready for your participation.”

Our Thoughts

…yikes. On the one hand, it’s perhaps the nature of the early access beast that some items and features were not ready to go at release, but on the other hand the devs could not have been surprised that people would burn through to the end game and should have had this content ready to go. It seemes like this one may have been rushed to early access a bit too early.

Source: Bless Online subreddit

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