Secret World Legends Teases Dark Agartha Update

Time travel can be a pretty weird and whacked-out thing, and alternate timeline stories are just a part of that experience. It would appear that Secret World Legends is dipping its toes into that sort of narrative trope with their upcoming Dark Agartha update.

dark agartha update

There’s not much to go on for now, but the game’s official Twitter account and Funcom’s YouTube page offered the same small bit of context to the update’s story with the following blurb:

“A mysterious path in Agartha has opened. Initially discovered by the Lost Conquistador, the question isn’t just where the portal led, but to when”

The tweet also features a video showing off this “when” — a future where the darkness has apparently overtaken the Agartha world tree location. The video shows a player character traveling through this newly infested form of Agartha, which provides a quick look at a couple of battles and even hints at a possible confrontation with a Filth-corrupted Gatekeeper.

The Dark Agartha update is due to arrive on Wednesday, November 14th. You can take a look at the teaser trailer below.

Our Thoughts

For those who don’t play SWL or TSW, perhaps a bit of context is in order: Agartha is the primary social hub, the safest location in the entire game. So with that in mind, seeing it besieged in this way is pretty jarring and exciting. We’re looking very forward to hearing more.

Sources: Twitter, YouTube

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Blade & Soul Pushes Back its Class Specialization Feature

Feedback is important, so long as that feedback isn’t the text-based equivalent of banshees shrieking in a gale. It’s that feedback that has changed plans for the Blade & Soul December update…or at the very least, one specific feature of the update: class specializations.

blade & soul december update

According to a letter from producer Jonathan Lien, reactions from players regarding the class specialization feature that was introduced in the Korean version of the game started some internal discussion. As a result of this meeting, the team has decided that the upcoming December patch will not launch with these new class spec functions.

“We ultimately felt the best decision for our players was to wait and delay the release of the class specialization update, which will allow us to include additional balance changes and adjustments made over the coming months when we release that content,” writes Lien.

Despite this feature getting shed for the time being, the December update will still have plenty to do with another round of dungeons, system updates, new legendary equipment and some quality-of-life changes. There will also be an upcoming opportunity for players to sign up for a free December gift pack, which will likely be detailed soon.

Our Thoughts

It’s a shame this feature had to be pushed back, but we have to applaud the BnS team for making the choice to do so. Here’s hoping that these balance changes aren’t too much like homogenization, though — we know this game has an esports presence and it’d be a shame if those considerations took precedence over making the class specs distinct and fun.

Source: official site

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Shroud of the Avatar is Now Free to Play

If your instinct regarding Shroud of the Avatar’s free-play features were the game dipping its toes into the monetization water, then you were bang on. Shroud of the Avatar free to play is now a thing with the MMO’s latest release.

shroud of the avatar free to play

Last week’s R59 update officially kicked off the game’s switch to the free-to-play model, which has removed a number of restrictions to trading, land ownership and story progression. “We have removed almost all gameplay restrictions from our free players,” remarks creative director Richard Garriott. “We are thrilled to open up Shroud to a larger audience of gamers.”

The update has also introduced a revamped new user experience meant to teach fresh players the basics in a specific tutorial area called the Isle of Storms, which walls off each section of the zone until players learn and use the specified skills.

Since the tutorial is now its own dedicated region, this lets players choose their own story path independent of their starting deck. This also has led to starting areas that are reportedly more tightly focused in terms of both narrative and gameplay direction.

There’s a whole lot more with the new release as well, so make sure to take some time to look over the patch notes. As is often the case, however, they’re pretty much a small novel’s worth of things to read, so get comfy.

Our Thoughts

Perhaps this will bolster Shroud’s population? It will certainly be interesting to see if this F2P shift means more people take the plunge and check out what this game has to offer.

Source: press release

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Final Fantasy XIV Details New Eureka Systems and Sells Sky Whales

More than a few of us were pretty much in love with Final Fantasy XIV‘s newest mount, and really you can’t blame us because “sky whale” is the best fantasy thing ever. However, if you’re more about actual gameplay things, there’s a dev blog detailing a new Eureka Pyros system that lets the game’s Jobs take on some new abilities.

eureka pyros system

We’ll get the sky whales thing out of the way first: the game’s Mog Station cash shop is now selling the Indigo Whale mount, a floating whale that can travel across land, air and underwater. The mount can seat one other party member and, like other mounts from the cash shop, is an account-wide item. It’ll set you back about $30.

On the gameplay side of things, the most recent dev blog has outlined the Logos Action system that’s coming with the arrival of Eureka Pyros. This new system will allow Jobs to take on new skills that would otherwise not be available to them, such as letting a Ninja use tank abilities or a Black Mage use heals.

Here’s, roughly, how it works: you collect logograms from activities in Eureka Pyros and bring them to an NPC to combine into a Logos Duty Action. Three of these skills can be stored at a time, and as players push through the Eureka Pyros story, they’ll even be able to tie two actions together into one skill.

There’s a bit more to it than that synopsis, of course, so those interested will want to read the full post. If you’d rather see more sky whale, though, we’ve got you covered with the video below.

Our Thoughts

Guys, the whale has a bunch of rugs on it. Ahem…the Logos Action system definitely sounds interesting and we kind of hope that it finds its way into the full game, but we’re also not holding our breath in seeing that happen. …sky whale.

Sources: Mog Station email, official site

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Release Date and Details Announced for EverQuest: The Burning Lands

EverQuest: The Burning Lands, the 25th expansion pack for the classic MMORPG, has gotten a bunch of new details since its initial announcement. Namely, a launch date and word of features coming with the expansion.

everquest: the burning lands

The presser touts a number of new features arriving with The Burning Lands, which focuses on a war that has broken out between the djinns of the Plane of Air and the efreeti of the Plane of Fire. Chief among these new updates is a Luck stat that governs a variety of things that happen to your character, from the amount of critical damage you deal to the chance of succeeding a trade skill combine.

The Burning Lands will also introduce six expansion zones for players to discover, which promise to provide “fantastic environments and architecture” as players traverse the plains of Air, Fire and Smoke. There will also be new spells, combat abilities and AAs; new raids and missions; and new Collections to…uh…collect.

The entire thing goes officially live on Tuesday, December 11th. Those who are moved to pre-order can get a variety of in-game items and beta access to the expansion.

Our Thoughts

This new Luck stat certainly will be an interesting one to consider. We’re curious whether this will actually have an appreciable effect on things or will just end up being a throwaway stat. Considering it’s mostly focused on RNG things, we’re willing to bet on the latter.

Source: press release

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Black Desert Online Celebrates 10M Users and Nabs an Award

It appears to be a pretty banner close to 2018 for Black Desert Online. BDO registered users have hit a new milestone while the sandbox MMO’s SEA version has won itself an award for Best MMORPG during an awards show in Thailand.

bdo registered users

The 10 million user milestone will be celebrated in-game with three events that will run for the next three weeks. “The Choice of 10 Million” will start things off, granting players a reward of the newly added Cliff’s Weapons which can be exchanged into Gold Bars.

A login event will also run from Nov 1-14 that will give out goodies like a Shakatu’s Luxury Box, five Artisan’s Memory items, and 50 Advice of Valks items. As for future special events, information on that front should arrive in the coming weeks.

The user count coincides with a win of Best MMORPG of the Year during this year’s Thailand Game Show for the SEA version of BDO — an award that’s come to the title after 10 months of live service in the region.

“On behalf of the Pearl Abyss team, I would like to thank the SEA Adventurers,” said Pearl Abyss head of business Youngchul Ham. “We’ve come to learn and appreciate so much about Southeast Asia during our 10 months of service in the region. We look forward to continually adding more exciting game contents and growing with our Adventurers.”

Our Thoughts

Congratulations certainly are in order for Black Desert Online’s teams. Clearly, the game has snared itself a pretty dedicated group of players and we hope to see that fanbase continue to enjoy itself and the game continue to grow.

Sources: press releases

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WoW Wednesday: Your Warcraft Guide to Blizzcon 2018

The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2018 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos and reveals for the greatest games we’re expecting this year. For Virtual Ticket Holders, this year not only do we get exclusive content before the Convention starts, but we also have a demo available for World of Warcraft – Classic, featuring the Barrens for the Horde and Westfall for the Alliance. While we’re saving our impressions of the demo for next week, this week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!

For those of us possessing a Virtual Ticket, there is already a smattering of content for us to enjoy! Several games of the 2018 Arena World Championships have already been played, up to the Upper Second Round. Those with a deep appreciation for Arenas may want to watch these prior to the finals, as this is where some of the fiercest competition lies between combatants. There are a number of exclusive pieces, including Faces of War, a behind the scenes video showing the process for creating the main cinematic for Battle for Azeroth, and The Vault, showing off some of Blizzard’s old merchandise and WoW Relics.

World of Warcraft – Classic is also now available for pre-download and will remain playable throughout Blizzcon for those wanting to step back into the past of Azeroth! For those attending Blizzcon in person, World of Warcraft – Classic will be available to demo throughout the facility. Demos will feature leveling between 15-19, and players can make any race/class combo from Classic they wish! While sessions of the demo will be time locked, progress will be saved for players so they can continue on their next login. As Battle.net integration will be included as of Day One, players can still engage with their friends across Battle.net, but Dungeons and Zoned Battlegrounds will not be accessible. Reportedly all of Classic will be developed during Patch 1.12, Drums of War, and will feature all content released to that point at launch.

Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 2nd, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EDT! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. The Arena World Championships then continue with their lower brackets in Hall C and will continue throughout the weekend.

The first major Warcraft panel begins at 5 PM EDT. Voices of War: Horde vs. Alliance is one of Battle for Azeroth’s mainline panels this year in North Hall, and features several of the mainline voice actors for World of Warcraft. This panel will specifically be focusing on the performance aspects and development of the actors as they worked throughout Battle for Azeroth and how they shaped the game around them.

Starting up at 6:30 PM in Hall D, World of Warcraft: What’s Next will begin featuring the next major pieces of content for its Battle for Azeroth expansion. With Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance on the horizon its far more likely that instead of content for the next major content patch we will probably see content being designed for Patch 8.2 and beyond. If I had to hazard an educated guess, attendees will see the panel will more than likely feature developments in the Azerite system and future Warfront integration.

Launching right afterward at 7:15 PM in the North Hall is Battle for Azeroth Cinematics: Expanding the Narrative. Featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team, this panel will go behind the scenes of developing the story for World of Warcraft and expanding it in the world of Azeroth through its in-game cinematics.

Starting up on Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2018 Mythic Dungeon Invitational will play out in Hall C. Featuring some of the greatest Mythic+ Teams in Azeroth, the Invitational will feature a race against time and each team to determine who is the best team in the World.

Shortly after at 1 PM begins Immersive Sounds of Azeroth in the North Hall. Featuring the Warcraft Sound Team, this panel will deep-dive into how music and sound shaped the player experience and storytelling in Drustvar. Following that, David Arkenstone and his Tavern Band will be playing a live performance of several pieces from the Battle for Azeroth score!

Opening up at 2:45 pm is Build A Panel: World Creation In WoW. Headed by members of the World Building and Level Design Teams, attendees will get to witness how the zones of Azeroth are put together throughout the entire design process. This panel will build a zone for its onlookers from starting concepts to its completion.

Beginning at 4:30 pm is the World of Warcraft – Classic panel, Restoring History. Here developers will recount their stories and struggles in redeveloping the world of Azeroth from the ground up for Classic.

Resuming again in Hall C, the final rounds of the Arena World Championship start up at 5:15 PM, and will last until the finals later that night.

Returning for another year, the always anticipated World of Warcraft Q&A begins at 6:30 PM in Hall D. Here members of the community will have the opportunity to ask the heads of development all their questions about the fabulous world of Azeroth.

Last and certainly not least is Artist at Work: Creating World of Warcraft Art at 7:15 PM in the North Hall. Joined by members of the artistic time, developers will showcase the creative process behind Battle for Azeroth’s visual design, ranging from the beginnings of concept art to model and world texturing, and even the final stages of the 3D art design process.

To close off the weekend, Blizzard has one of the largest closing ceremonies yet to be featured at the convention. Beginning at 8:30 PM, artists, and musicians from across the world will play on several of the E-Sports stages throughout the evening. This year Blizzcon features Train, Kristian Nairn of Game of Thrones fame and YouTube Violin Sensation Lindsey Stirling.

Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 2nd to 3rd.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends Interview – Sparkypants

Recently, the development of Bethesda’s CCG, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, changed hands from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios, which is mostly known for its real-time strategy game Dropzone. According to Bethesda, this shift was to better support the players and provide more regular updates to the game. In order to help clear up some confusion regarding the change, we spoke with Sparkypants’ QA manager Gavin Niebel.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends Sparkypants

 

Hello and thank you for taking the time to speak with MMOGames. Could you please introduce yourself and role with the company?

Hey there, thanks for taking the time to reach out to us. My name is Gavin Niebel and I am the QA Manager here at Sparkypants, but you can also find my hands in production, community management, and some bug fixing.

 

How long ago did Sparkypants know that it was going to take over development of The Elder Scrolls: Legends and what kind of preparations did you make?

I believe final paperwork was signed in the last week of December 2017, so preparation was a large combination of getting an engine design spun up as well as playing massive amounts of matches using the version of the game that was already live. A lot of us are not only fans of Elder Scrolls lore, but very much into card games and board games, so you could say that everything leading up to this collaboration with Bethesda was unknowingly a form of preparation.

 

What are some of the key changes that you plan to make to the game?

What you have already seen with our UI and art direction is obviously one of the biggest changes we planned to make. Beyond that, we definitely want to improve upon the frequency of updates for our players; new cards, new stories, new puzzles, as well as more customization options like new playmats, more cardbacks, and customizable avatars.

 

I heard that you’re working on a new Tournament game mode. What are some of its features and what can players expect from it?

We definitely have some plans in this regard but, as you’ll see in the last question, our first goal is to get the game in great shape and with a platform we can reliably build upon. So, unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything on this just yet.

 

Previously, players were rewarded with a new card at the end of every season based on their ranking. Will this feature be coming back?

Yes, absolutely. October’s card may be delayed a few days but after that you can expect a normal cadence for the monthlies!

 

Will there be any new ways in which players can earn in-game currency or unlock cards?

We’ll explore all aspects of the game once we are on a stable footing but there’s not much I say on this right now.

 

Do you plan to continue to produce story chapters, similar to The Fall of The Dark Brotherhood?

Yes, without a doubt. We have one in the works right now, which Pete mentioned during QuakeCon called, Isle of Madness. And while I have no official announcement about 2019 plans, I can say for sure our intention is to continue to produce more story chapters. We look forward to the response from our players.

 

We’ve heard that the next expansion will be Isle of Madness. Is there anything that you can tell us about it, such as new cards, archetypes or abilities?

Unfortunately there isn’t anything I can really say at this point, other than what has already been announced. There will be about 40+ new cards and the story will be broken up into three parts. You’ll just have to wait for Bethesda’s own CVH to release more information in the coming weeks.

 

What does the future look like for The Elder Scrolls: Legends?

Very, very busy! Not only are we working on pushing out more updates to add layers of polish, we have the FrostSpark Collection coming very soon, adding 11 new cards to the game to hopefully shake up the existing meta. Beyond that, we’re working on the next story expansion, Isle of Madness, and more to come in 2019.

 

Is there anything else that you would our readers to know about the game?

By far our top priority is to continue polishing the game. Legends is a broad game. We completely re-created an excellent game that had been in development for years: client, game servers, backend services, operations, player migration, all of it. Realistically, it will take a few updates to shake out all the systems, to get into some real polish, and to start getting in some much-requested features. Hopefully players are starting to see that with the first couple of updates.

Simply put, all of us at Sparky are here for the players. That’s all we care about. We’re dedicated to making TESL shine brighter than ever before. We read all your comments on reddit and other social media, and really, it’s all about prioritizing. We’re working hard as hell to get as many fixes out the door, as fast as possible, so bear with us if some bugs take longer to fix than others. We’ll get there. Promise.

 

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Old School RuneScape Makes its Mobile Debut

While we’ve known this day was coming for a pretty long while, it’s still nice to get reminded, so consider this that reminder: Today marks the full OSRS Mobile launch, which stuffs the full classic sandbox MMORPG onto your cell phone because technology is pretty freaking amazing when you think about it.

osrs mobile launch

The game’s release appears to have drawn a crowd as the announcement lauds over one million pre-orders or pre-registrations ahead of today’s launch. This is on top of the million players who were already in-game for the Android soft launch and summer Members Beta testing.

OSRS Mobile promises hundreds of hours of MMORPG gaming and the same wealth of things to do as the original PC version. It also marks the culmination of lots of work on the side of Jagex, who operated in concert with testers to refine OSRS Mobile’s interface.

“We believe in taking our living games to wherever our players want them,” said Jagex CEO Phil Mansell. “The arrival of Old School RuneScape on mobile, and our ongoing work to also bring RuneScape to mobile, is testament to our investment in the continued growth for both titles and building our vision for living games.”

Our Thoughts

Congratulations certainly are in order to Jagex for making this sandbox MMORPG a mobile reality. It will certainly be interesting to know just how popular this mobile edition of one of MMORPG gaming’s elder statesmen ends up being with players.

Source: press release

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Battlerite Royale is Free to Play for a Week

What started off as a short week has now extended a bit further as Stunlock Studios has kicked off a Battlerite Royale free to play week, letting anyone curious about what BR gaming is like from a bird’s eye view with MOBA combat satisfy their extremely specific destire.

battlerite royale free to play week

Between now (October 30th) and November 4th, anyone can download and fire up the entire game free of charge. In addition, if you’re inspired to buy in, there’s a 30% off between now and November 5th.

The free week runs parallel to the game’s current Halloween showcase, Curse of the Night, which brings on a spooky map and Trick or Treat Shrines that can quite literally treat you with a buff or trick you with a debuff.

There also happens to be a few smaller in-game events running, including event quests, a Gleam giveaway and login rewards. All of the salient details can be read at the game’s site.

Our Thoughts

We’re pretty sure that this game has already done a free promotion before, which does beg the question…what’s halting Stunlock from going all-in on a free-to-play model now? At any case, we do hope those who dip into the MOBA Royale pool have a nice swim in the waters of Battlerite Royale.

Source: press release

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