Battle Royale Weekly: Fortnite is Hosting a Concert

In this week’s look at the Battle Royale genre we see the first signs of a release date for Fear the Wolves, but could it be too soon? There’s also going to be a Fortnite concert, and PUBG is making itself more available for those with subpar PCs. Plus news from Ring of Elysium and Rules of Survival.

 

Fear the Wolves Gets A Release Date

Fear The Wolves

We haven’t heard a whole lot from Fear the Wolves recently and it seems that’s because they’re gearing up to launch. The game will officially release on February 6th but the developers have said that they may do a soft launch a few days early just to make sure everything is running smoothly.

In addition to launching on February 6th, the game will also be free to play until February 12th. This will give new players the opportunity to try out the game just as it is starting out. On top of that, they’re offering a 50% discount for the game during the free period because you will have to buy the game to play it outside of the February 6-12th window.

Many of the comments on the announcement express concern that the game isn’t ready yet. They only started Early Access back in August and as it stands now reviews on Steam are mixed with just 53% of reviews being positive. Those who have played said they’re worried that the game isn’t ready yet and that the developers are rushing the game out the door. Next week when the servers go live, and the game is available to the world, we’ll find out if these concerns were warranted or not.

Source: Steam

 

Fortnite Hosting a Concert

fortnite concert

Have you ever wished you could see your favorite musician play in your favorite video game? Well if you’re a fan of DJ Marshmello and your favorite game is Fortnite then you’re in luck. This Saturday the DJ will take to the stage in Pleasant Park. These kinds of one-off events have helped cement Fortnite’s popularity, though this is the first time there’s ever been a concert performed in the game.

Of course, thanks to events in the past, we know that things don’t always go according to plan. In fact, many people who have wanted to take part in previous events have found themselves dead before the events even began and were unable to participate. In the past Epic has taken away weapons for these events and even transported players to another area. It isn’t clear what, if any, precautions Epic is going to take for this concert. In fact, Epic hasn’t even announced it’s happening at all. The only evidence it’s taking place appears on Marshmello’s site, which lists Pleasant Park as an upcoming tour location. With the concert just a few days away we won’t have to wait long to find out.

Source: The Verge

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Lite in Testing

PUBG is currently testing a slimmed down version of the game that will play on PCs that don’t meet the hardware specs for the regular game. Right now it’s being tested in Thailand and we may never actually see it in the West. It’s being developed specifically for “players in areas where the core game’s required specifications are more difficult to achieve due to the hardware available.”

PUBG Lite has its own dedicated development team, which means that work on it isn’t taking away from the main game. This version of the game will get its own exclusive content and quality of life features. Right now the game is offering solo, duo, and squad battles in third person mode.

While we may never see PUBG Lite released in this part of the world, it is incredibly good news for the game as it opens up the possibility of it being played by an all-new audience that never would have had access before. That means more revenue for PUBG Corp, which of course means more development for the game. We’ll be watching to see what kind of impact this has on financial reports in the future.

Source: Polygon

 

Ring of Elysium Introduces New Systems

Ring of Elysium has introduced two new systems to the game adding to the complexity with the first being accessories. This allows you to further customize your characters after you’ve purchased accessories from the lobby store.

The second new system is vehicle appearance. When a player gets into the car, in any seat, and the car is in the default appearance the vehicle will automatically change to the player’s selected vehicle appearance. Each vehicle’s appearance can only be modified once. This also includes vehicles that are abandoned by the player who originally made the change. Just like with the accessories, the vehicle skins will need to be purchased in the lobby store.

Neither of these new systems are game-changing in any way, but for players who enjoy leaving their mark on a match and having a unique look these new systems give them more to work with.

Ring of Elysium is also holding a Spring card-flip raffle event from January 31st to February 13th. The event is a great way to get some new skins for your characters and vehicles.

Source: Steam

 

Rules of Survival Season Six and Spring Events

Rules of Survival

Season Six of Rules of Survival has begun! This means that rank data has all been cleared and a new winner can rise to the top. There is also no longer a level limit for character upgrades. Characters can be upgraded without limitation. When players reach levels 100, 200, and 300 they can claim Exclusive Level Medallions, Avatar Frames, and other rewards that prove they’re awesome. Due to this, and the introduction of level chests, gold rewards will no longer be handed out at the end of games.

Finally, Spring Festival Events will be gradually introduced to the game. These includes things like fireworks and a new emote.

If you haven’t tried it out yet you may want to take a look at Rules of Survival. It has one of the most active playerbases outside of the big games in the genre.

Source: Steam

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WoW Wednesday: The Lunar Festival

The wide world of Azeroth is home to some of the strangest holidays one could imagine; from the March of the Tadpoles where the young murlocs of the Borean Tundra make their march to safer waters, to Children’s Week where heroes of Azeroth can adopt an orphan and show them the life of a champion. This month, however, features a much more humble and simple holiday, born from the real-world concept of the Chinese New Year. This month Azeroth celebrates the Lunar Festival and the turning of the Elvish New Year.

Held traditionally by the Druids of the Moonglade, the Lunar Festival celebrates the victory of the world’s oldest alliance (namely the Night Elves, Tauren, Furbolgs and Earthen) banding together and repelling the first invasion by the Burning Legion. Heroes of both factions gather not just to honor their ancient heritage but also the wisdom and valor in times of old. Fireworks are shot off in remembrance, a symbol of the moon goddess Elune’s power, though the festivities also have a much darker purpose. Beneath Lake Elune’ara, the Wild God known as Omen stirs in his slumber. Once blessed by the Moon Goddess, Omen was driven mad by the Burning Legion’s power and must be slain once a year lest he return to wreak havoc upon the mortal world. It will take true heroes, blessed by their ancient forbears, to drive Omen back into his slumber.

The Festival never sleeps in Moonglade!

The Lunar Festival, in regards to the rest of World of Warcraft’s holidays, is fairly straight-forward for players with the main draw being Coins of Ancestry. These Coins are given to players who speak to various elders across Azeroth: ancient ancestors bathed in moonlight. Players may then turn in these coins for a variety of rewards ranging from cosmetic dresses, head-pieces and toys to the new seasonal hearthstone: the Lunar Elder’s Hearthstone.

The main goal for most players will be completing To Honor One’s Elders, the holiday achievement that is required for the meta-achievement What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. To Honor One’s Elders is really the best and most rounded of the meta-achievements, and will give players the most thorough cross-section of the Holiday as well as the majority of their currency to spend on the holiday toys.

For those new to the Holiday, you will want to speak to the Lunar Festival Harbingers in your respective major city. They will give you a quest, which will require you to set off both singular and Cluster fireworks in launchers around the area. Purchasing 10 Cluster Rockets and 10 Festival Firecrackers will enable you to complete both Frenized Firecracker and The Rocket’s Red Glare by using them up in 10 seconds. From there players can teleport to Moonglade proper and begin the arduous process of finding the Elders of Azeroth.

“The best Omen was once a hero of this world…”

With the return of the Lunar New Year, the Elders who first fought against the Burning Legion return to Azeroth to offer up their wisdom and insight unto heroes who seek them. The majority of To Honor One’s Elders will revolve around tracking down each individual Elder across Azeroth and paying your respects to them. Each Elder will offer you a Coin of Ancestry which can be redeemed for toys, transmog and more. Each Elder only offers one coin per lunar festival, meaning that each year you can obtain up to 84 Coins of Ancestry to spend. This will afford most of the low-tier toys each year, as well as several parts of the Dragon Costumes (either Head, Body or Tail). Finding an Elder will also reward 75 reputation with your major city factions before any bonuses, meaning you can earn an additional 6000 reputation as well. Its best to gather this at the start of your reputation grinds, as players are reporting these bonuses are not applied to factions past Honored. These are not locked to your account, meaning you could easily gather all the toys in one year with a handful of characters.

There are roughly thirty elders on each major continent, including Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend and Deepholm. Each of the original major cities of the Horde (Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and Undercity) and the Alliance (Stormwind, Ironforge, and a Teldrassil) have Elder’s located for players of both factions to talk with them. Elders are also situated within Dungeons throughout Azeroth (up to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion), meaning that some delving will be required to round off your major achievements. These will fulfill Elders of Cataclysm, Elders of Eastern Kingdoms, Elders of Kalimdor, Elders of the Dungeons, Elders of the Horde, Elders of the Alliance, Elders of Northrend and 50 Coins of Ancestry.

For Lunar Festival Finery, players simply must spend a little of their newly earned coinage and purchase one of the dresses or pant-suit transmogs from the Coins of Ancestry vendors in Moonglade. Some of the transmogs are actually quite fetching, and pair well with the new transmoggable flower crowns introduced in 2019!

Dragons just wanna have fun too!

The last achievement, Elune’s Blessing, requires players to complete the quest of the same name and defeat Omen, a summonable max-level boss in Moonglade. Details on how to summon Omen are incredibly limited, however, the process is rather straightforward. Players must first purchase Cluster Fireworks of any kind, and travel to the southern end of Lake Elune’ara. On that shoreline are two cluster firework launchers, which players can use to launch their explosives into the sky! These will summon roughly half a dozen Minions of Omen, ghostly spectral wolves, that must be killed. These spawn in a wide area around the southern parts of Moonglade, from the Stormrage Barrow Dens to the southern bridge and must be killed before more Minions can be summoned.  After three or four waves of summoning, Omen himself will appear to terrorize players on the shore. While Omen can still be tagged by only one faction, a ray of moonlight will fall onto his corpse after the great Wild God is defeated. Simply walking into it will give you credit for Elune’s Blessing, and will allow you to complete the quest, rounding off To Honor One’s Elders.

What do you think of the Lunar Festival this year? Have you paid your respects to the ancients of old, are you celebrating with friends in Azeroth, or are you simply goofing off in the battlegrounds wearing a dragon costume?

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PUBG Report App Shows If You’ve Killed a Streamer

Have you ever wondered if you’ve killed a streamer or been killed by one? PUBG Report, a newly released app will do just that. But there are a few catches. First of all the app currently only works for PC players. The other problem is that it can only look at matches that happened in the last 14 days. The developer of the app has said they plan on expanding the app to include console data very soon. Sadly, because the PUBG API only stores data for 14 days that is a limit they won’t be able to overcome. They also plan to support Mixer as well as Twitch. Plus highlight clips will be added soon that feature interesting achievements like the longest kill caught on stream.

PUBG Report

It’s incredibly easy to use, all you have to do is put your in-game name into the app and if you’ve been killed by a streamer, or killed one in the last 14 days it will appear in a list. You can then click on a match and it will take you to the Twitch stream where the death occurred so you can watch the moment when it happened. That’s easily the coolest feature of the app.

If you do end up getting a result in the app be sure to save the clip. It won’t be easy to find anymore once those 14 days have elapsed and the kill doesn’t appear in the app anymore.

PUBG Report is just one of the many apps that have been created to support the game. Others will allow you to look at various stats, including one called PUBG Win Counter that has been created specifically with streamers in mind, allowing them to display how many times they’ve won, made kills, or more each session. You can find all of the apps on the official PUBG API app site.

 

Source: PUBG Official Site via Eurogamer

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ArenaNet Releases Guild Wars 2 Rytlock Short Story

Following the events that took place in the most recent living story update All or Nothing, the Guild Wars 2 team have created a series of short stories that focus on important characters in the story of Guild Wars 2. Only one has been released so far based on Rytlock Brimstone. A Rytlock short story may not seem like the first choice to have in the moments after the heartbreaking tale that was All or Nothing. But, it is a touching story for fans for the loveable Charr.

Much to the writer of this article’s disappointment Logan doesn’t declare his love for Rytlock. But, there is always next time. Without giving any spoilers though, it is a touching story that looks back at Rytlock’s past as well as his emotional state.

Obviously, if you’ve not played through All or Nothing yet this is a story that should be avoided until you’ve finished it. They jump straight into the spoilers so don’t even click on the link to the story which you’ll find at the end of this article.

The story itself was created by the ArenaNet development team using an open-source program called Twine. It was also illustrated by ArenaNet Creative Partners. Creative Partner Jerome Jacinto worked on the Rytlock story. The other two stories which have yet to be released will be based on Caithe and and Zafirah. We don’t know yet when these other stories will be released but we’re looking forward to reading them when they eventually are. Hopefully there will be more of them in the future because this one just raised a whole lot of questions that the world needs answers to. But even if we don’t get answers to those questions it’s still fun to get a deeper dive into the minds of the NPCs we’ve been fighting next to since 2012.

 

If you’d like to read the Rytlock short story for yourself you can do so by going to this Guild Wars 2 link.

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Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online Nominated for First Ever GLAAD Outstanding Video Game Award

Every year GLAAD, the LGBTQ media monitoring group hosts the GLAAD Media Awards highlighting outstanding representation of LGBTQ in media and for the first time ever there will be a GLAAD Outstanding Video Game Award.

Five games were nominated for this award, two of them are currently running MMOs.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was nominated for its LGBTQ inclusion throughout the game. Though, most awkwardly they did have to issue another press release saying that they don’t endorse the Legacy of the First Blade DLC which does force the playable characters into heterosexual relationships.

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset was nominated for a questline that featured a transgender woman who the player helps reunite with her twin sister.

Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire was nominated for the way ArenaNet has included LGBTQ characters in the game, “making LGBTQ identities feel like a natural and vital part of the world.”

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire received its nomination for the opportunity to enter into same-sex relationships and influence party members to do the same.

The Sims Mobile received its nomination for allowing characters to form relationships between characters of any gender. They add that “The Sims franchise has long been a beacon of representation through player agency, allowing LGBTQ players to express and sometimes discover their identities safely in a virtual environment.” The mobile version of the game was specifically picked because it will allow the game to reach a broader audience.

The GLAAD Media Awards are scheduled to take place on March 28th at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Other geeky nominees in other categories include Deadpool 2, Black Lightning, Supergirl, and an entire category for comics. You can find the full list of award nominees on the official GLAAD site.

 

Source: GLAAD

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Where Are they Now: Crowdfunded MMOs in 2019

There have been a lot of crowdfunded MMOs throughout the years and keeping track of them all can be somewhat daunting. That’s why from time to time we like to check in with those games and see how they’re doing. This is a look at 11 crowdfunded MMOs and where they are now.

 

Ashes of Creation

Ashes of Creation

Crowdfunded: May 2017

In 2018 Ashes of Creation became two different projects. There’s the main MMORPG, but they also now have a Battle Royale game which is currently the focus of beta testing. Last year they also announced that My.com would be publishing Ashes of Creation in Europe. This move was met with a lot of concern from fans. There was also a bit of controversy on the Ashes of Creation subreddit, where the CEO amongs other developers took control of the subreddit. This resulted in the concern that censorship would be a major problem for the group. Even after they got a new community manager the CEO continued to be a mod, which was, of course, an unpopular move.

 

Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained

Crowdfunded: April 2013

After 6 years you would be forgiven if you had forgotten Camelot Unchained.  For diehard fans, the developers give weekly updates on how development is going. They cover topics ranging from rubble animation to moss covered ground assets. It wasn’t until mid-2018 that the game finally hit the Beta 1 phase and while they are currently saying it will launch in 2019, previous delays make that seem unlikely.

 

Chronicles of Elyria

Crowdfunded: May 2016

File Chronicles of Elyria under “the campaign was HOW long ago?!” We can’t believe that we’re already approaching 3 years since we first started talking about Chronicles of Elyria and its idea of your character aging as you play. All in all, the game seems to have lost sight of where and what it is though. Their end of the year blog post was more community focused than anything else. They talked about various community events that they have going on and really didn’t talk about the game that much at all. Right now it just doesn’t look great for the game.

 

City of Titans

City of Titans

Crowdfunded: October 2013

Late in December 2018, City of Titans announced that it would be pushing Issue 0 launch into 2019. At that point with just a little over a week left in the year, that seemed pretty obvious though. Throughout 2018 they updated fans about the game, including the announcement that they would not use lockboxes in their business model. It seems that the indie development team had a bit of a rough year, which has resulted in them being behind but wanting to remind people that they are still around.

 

Crowfall

Crowdfunded: February 2015

Development on Crowfall is still trucking along. They launched patch 5.8 in mid-December. Earlier in the year they also reached the 50,000 backer milestone, but there isn’t a whole lot more to say about the game right now. The developers are still working hard and official campaign testing has begun.

 

Dual Universe

Crowdfunded: September 2016

Right at the end of 2018 Dual Universe moved into alpha testing. They also released a roadmap that gives them a launch date in the second half of 2020. They’re anticipating moving into alpha 2 sometime in the first half of 2019. That will be followed by alpha 3 which will contain PvP. Then in the first half of 2020, they’ll have a much larger beta before they launch, and funds have been secured that allowed them to hire more developers. So it’s all good new for Dual Universe fans!

 

Ever, Jane

Ever, Jane

Crowdfunded: October 2013

We’ll admit, things aren’t looking great for Ever, Jane. The development team doesn’t make updates on their official site much and the forums are looking a bit abandoned. The game went into closed beta in 2015, in 2016 it went into open beta, and that is where it has been ever since. In early 2018 they gave the website and forums an overhaul but it was a really quiet year for the game. The only real newsworthy story was the introduction of a personal butler.

 

Novus AEterno, aka Hades 9

Crowdfunded: December 2013

Unfortunately, Novus AEterno, which then became Hades 9, seems to have been abandoned. There haven’t been any updates on the game since the middle of 2018. This usually only means one of two things.
1. They got a new publisher and are going to wow us with a big surprise reveal in the future.
2. The developers have moved on.

Sadly, most of the time the second is the case. After they lost their funding for Novus AEterno the development team decided to make some changes and create Hades 9 instead. That game never really went anywhere though. So, even though we’ve been following Novus AEterno since it was one kid’s dream being presented at Gamescom we’re going to officially call this game dead.

 

Pathfinder Online

Crowdfunded: November 2012

Life has never been certain for Pathfinder Online. It has already crashed and burned once but then, much to everyone’s surprise, it came back. While the development of the game is still slowly trucking along its legs seem to be pretty unsteady under it. Those of us at MMOGames would certainly say that Pathfinder Online’s future is…uncertain at best.

 

Star Citizen

Crowdfunded: Constantly since October 2012

At this point, most of what people are talking about around Star Citizen is the money. So far it has raised more than $200 million from fans. With that being said, we did see a lot of development in 2018 on the game. The game is currently in alpha 3.4 and just like other games, they make regular updates. Throughout 2019 their road plan has them getting up to alpha 3.6

 

Temtem

Crowdfunded: May 2018

We wanted to end this article on a high note. Temtem launched its backer alpha at the end of November 2018. That may just be the best example of sticking to the timeline of any crowdfunded MMO. Things are looking very bright for Temtem right now, especially as Pokemon as a brand is enjoying more popularity than it has in a long time. That’s sure to spill over to the adorable Temtem.

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Play of the Fortnight: Overwatch Lunar New Year Event Guide

The Year of the Pig is upon us, and so is the Overwatch Lunar New Year event. Technically starting on February 5th, 2019, the Year of the Pig features an earth element this year, and the lucky colors yellow, gray, brown, and gold. You can see these colors highlighted in many of the event skins Blizzard designed for the Year of the Pig event.

In this Play of the Fortnight, we’re giving an Overwatch Lunar New Year Event guide, letting you know all the skins and achievement unlocks you need to get before the event ends.

Overwatch Lunar New Year Event 2019

When is the Lunar New Year event?

The Overwatch Lunar New Year event already began on Thursday, January 24th. As usual, the event lasts three weeks (just over that, in fact) and will end on Monday, February 18th. This means the event will run throughout the real life Lunar New Year celebrations, which are on Tuesday, February 5th, and give players some additional time to get their unlocks.

Festive Capture the Flag

First appearing in the Year of the Rooster event, Capture the Flag has been a relatively popular Arcade game mode. This year, Blizzard has added a festive twist with the Capture the Flag: Busan map. Players can access this by simply queuing up from the Arcade menu for the duration of the event.

On top of that, Season 2 of Competitive Capture the Flag has started. Players can earn an icon, spray, and competitive points. They can also climb the ranks as in regular competitive.

Lunar New Year Achievements

Players can unlock two exclusive sprays through achievements in the Lunar New Year event. The first of these achievements, “Delivery Interruption”, is unlocked when players kill an enemy flag carrier. Unsurprisingly, it awards a spray called “Interrupted Delivery.” Capturing a flag earns the next achievement, “Captured”, and awards a flag spray.

Unfortunately, there is a bug with these achievements. Blizzard accidentally added the achievements before the event began, and players who unlocked them in regular Capture the Flag weren’t given any rewards. Now that the rewards have been added to the game, those players weren’t given them retroactively. Blizzard will likely fix this soon, but there’s been no update so far.

Exclusive Overwatch Lunar New Year event skins

Overwatch Lunar New Year Event 2019

This year, Blizzard added six Legendary event skins. Five of these skins are named after famous Chinese generals: Huang Zhong (Hanzo), Lu Bu (Reaper), Guan Yu (Reinhardt), Zhang Fei (Torbjorn), and Zhuge Liang (Zenyatta). The sixth legendary skin is Hong Gildong (Tracer), named after a hero from a Korean novel, who has often been compared to Robin Hood for his exploits of stealing from the rich and corrupt.

Blizzard also added two new Epic skins: General Brigitte, and Sanye Orisa. Both of these are a lot more detailed than previous Epic skins have been, and it’s lovely seeing Orisa getting some attention.

Additional Content

Of course, the skins aren’t the only unlocks players can earn. We have two new emotes: one for Ana, and another for Soldier-76, the latter of which features a Rattle Drum. Players can also pick up six new victory poses, mostly featuring fireworks, but also Lucio’s excellent Drumming pose, which pairs nicely with his Drumming highlight intro, also added in this event.

Blizzard also added ten new voicelines, for Ashe, Brigitte, Hanzo, Junkrat, McCree, Winston, and Wrecking Ball. And finally, there’s six new non-achievement sprays to unlock. There’s plenty to pick up in the Lunar New Year loot boxes over the next three weeks, so make sure not to miss out.

What’s Up Next?

Blizzard doesn’t host an Easter event for Overwatch, but we do have an event around the same time. Originally called Uprising, the Archives event is due to run around April. Archives, assuming it keeps its name, brings with it a PvE brawl that so far has changed slightly each year, and always highlights an event in the Overwatch roster’s past.

There’s a lot of heroes who haven’t received any skins in a long time. D.Va is a great example: she’s only had four event skins in total, spanning three events. Redditor Foxy_Jr posted a detailed recap of the event skins, which gives us a bit of an idea of which heroes may be selected for the upcoming events.

Overwatch Lunar New Year Event 2019

Closing Thoughts

The Overwatch Lunar New Year event is a beautiful nod to a real life seasonal celebration. The skins have been tied to historical or legendary figures. As has become tradition from Blizzard, a lot of care has been put into their designs.

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone!

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Facebook Called Child Game Spending “Friendly Fraud” in Internal Documents

Facebook is the big internet evil we all love to hate on and still log in to every day. Well here’s another reason to not like them. Facebook encouraged developers to let children spend money without parental permission, going so far as to call it “friendly fraud.”This revelation comes via some internal documents that are part of a class action lawsuit against Facebook.

The internal memos, emails, and other documents are dated from between 2010 and 2014 stretching over 135 pages. The documents show that Facebook targeted children in order to grow its game business. It also shows they denied refund requests and encouraged developers to let children spend money without parental permission. This was referred to as “friendly fraud.”

The documents then continue on to recognize the issue of kids overspending in browser games. They even came up with solutions to the problem. But, they opted to ignore them!

Farm Heroes Saga Screenshot Level

An internal study shows children “spent a whopping $3.6 million” on games between October 2010 and January 2011. One parents complained that their child, a 15-year-old, spent $6,500 in two weeks.

They also encouraged developers to offer free virtual items instead of a refund to parents who complained. An employee said that this was because “virtual good bear no cost.” Not much relief to that parent who was down $6,500. Parents then started resorting to chargebacks, where credit card companies would step in and reclaim the money. Facebook discovered that 9% of money coming in from children was being claimed back in this way. For reference, the average business experiences chargeback rates of 0.5%.

An internal survey revealed that most parents were unaware that Facebook stored their credit card information or that kids could make in-game purchases with ease. It was also noted that many of these children didn’t even realize they were spending real money.

One solution that was given was requiring the first 6 numbers on a credit card to approve purchases. They even ran tests that showed this did lower the rate of refund and chargeback requests. But, instead of using it Facebook focused on “maximizing revenue.” An internal memo even explained what “friendly fraud” is and “why you shouldn’t try to block it.”

Facebook responded to all of this with the following statement.

“We intend to release additional documents as instructed by the court. Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook and the web. As part of that work, we routinely examine our own practices, and in 2016 agreed to update our terms and provide dedicated resources for refund requests related to purchases made by minors on Facebook.”

Basically, once Facebook gaming had died they decided to change their policy. They had made their money and the fad had faded.

 

Source: Reveal via GamesIndustry

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Anthem Interview: Taking Flight with the Development of Anthem

The wide world of Anthem has long since been in the works by Bioware’s ambitious Edmonton, Canada studio. Boasting a wide open reactive world, engaging gunplay and a story true to the grandeur of Bioware titles past, Anthem is a game destined for greatness. Despite this, however, information on the world of Bastion and its Freelancer defenders has been incredibly scarce, and questions from players have long since gone unanswered. I got the opportunity to travel to EA’s California offices and sit down with Scylla Costa, one of the Producers working on Anthem to talk about its development, player co-operation and the road map for launch and beyond.

 

With Bioware we have seen a bit of a change when it comes to Anthem in it being an always-online live service game, where as we’ve had strict multiplayer modes with other games like Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Why the transition to a live service game?

That’s a very good question. If you look at the history of Bioware you can see that we have been trying different stuff for a long time. We had Baldur’s Gate which was an isometric game that you could play in multiplayer if you had a LAN. Then we went to Neverwinter Nights which also had multiplayer but also had the mod aspect with user generated content. Then we jumped into the console with say Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire. Then from there we went to the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, so we had a sci-fi cover shooter and a fantasy RPG with very different styles. Then finally Star Wars: The Old Republic which is an MMO for PC. So actually, if you look around you can see that we have been always trying something different and doing different things.

Anthem, maybe if you just look back one game or two, it may look like a big change but we have been changing [over time]. And the reason is also every time we’re creating a new [intellectual property] we need to look into the future. A new IP doesn’t get made in one year it takes maybe five years or more. When we finished Mass Effect 3 we started to think about Anthem and what was going to be Anthem and what kind of game we were going to do in five years. Just to remember now, five years ago we didn’t have Fortnite, Twitch wasn’t what it is today, so the way the players and consumers consumer their entertainment has changed a lot. Even Netflix has changed a lot! So you kind of have to try and project in that time-frame of five years, what kind of game do we want to make, what kind of game do we need to be playing in five years?

We wanted, going back to your question, to make a game that was an open world, that was also easy for me to jump in and out of so a seamless co-op experience with my friends, I could play by myself if I wanted to and we wanted to tell a story that wasn’t science nor fantasy but kind of sci-fantasy. We wanted to have a world that you could go outside and see a jungle and you go, “Oh, yeah, that looks like Earth!” But suddenly you have a Shaper ruin and there’s Ursics in your face trying to kill you and you go, “Woah this is NOT Earth! Where am I? What is that ruin? What activates these relics? What mysteries are hidden out there in the world?” Specifically, for the game of Anthem, we wanted to create also an antagonist, so we have The Monitor who leads the Dominion coming in from the north. That’s the enemy you need to protect humanity from.

What has Bioware, as a studio, faced in terms of difficulties and challenges in developing a live-service game like this?

Well first of all it’s a new IP. Creating a new IP is always hard because you don’t know the right answer or the wrong answer. If you’re doing a sequel, like we did with Mass Effect for example or Dragon Age, you can reach out to your consumer base; you can ask what they like, you can see the interviews, see the reviews of the game and try to build on the strengths you have while fixing the weaknesses. In our case, with a new IP, there is no right or wrong answer and that’s the biggest challenge. How do we create a new world that is fantastic and at the same time you want to explore but it’s super dangerous? How do you make people want to be there? How do we make people feel when they have a Javelin that they’re controlling they have all those super powers that make you feel very different from any other game? All the verticality that we have in the game as well, that’s something we tried really hard to make so that when you fly it simply feels really good to fly. We wanted you to have fun just traversing and exploring the world as well.

 

With [Anthem] being a multiplayer game, there are certain features that players expect going into it. One of them, which was confirmed by a tweet from one of the Executive Producers several weeks ago, was that [item] trading was not going to be available at launch. Was this an oversight or was this more due to focusing on single-player aspects of the game?

It was a design decision not having trade at launch. We wanted to make sure that progression wasn’t going to be short-cut. Let’s say that I’m playing with you and another two friends and you give me a super powerful Masterwork weapon. Let’s say I’m level 2 and you’re level 30 and suddenly I’ve got a level 30 weapon, it’s really going to short-cut everything. We’ve seen that happen with other games and we wanted to avoid that problem. We wanted to make sure that everybody would have meaningful loot every time they play. So, if I’m a Level 2 and you’re playing with me as a Level 30 every time I go out I’m going to find loot that is reasonable for my level just as you will find loot that is reasonable for yours. You can still help me level up and you’re still going to find stuff that is reasonable for you, even on the same mission.

 

With that ability to drop in and drop out, with people of different levels, is that more of the loot is set at that that player’s particular level?

Yes, it’s set based off of the player’s Pilot Level.

So character power isn’t dynamically scaled in such a sense?

Well, we scale the game in many different ways. If you’re playing together, we try to scale the [encounter] based on how many players are in your group, so you can play it alone if you want. The number of enemies you’d expect to be different if you were playing with a four player group, otherwise it would simply be too easy for the four player group. We can scale the waves of enemies, how tough they are, the types of enemies; so a group of four may see an Elite where as a [solo player] may not. We can also play around with the dynamic of the world as well, with how depending on the area of the world and the weather we can change what kind of creatures can spawn. If you’re playing in a group you may come across a bigger enemy like an Ash Titan for example, but if you’re playing alone we’re not going to make you fight that Ash Titan by yourself. We can play with many different variables so as to always make a challenge for you without making it completely punishing.

 

With a lot of live service games, especially with the introduction of the Steam Early Access model and development continuing post launch, there are some concerns among consumers that Anthem will be light on some features at launch, particularly with character customization and agency. What will players have access to personalize their character and immerse themselves into the world?

Let’s go first to personalization. For us, that is changing the materials of everything that you have [to customize your Javelin]. You can change the type of material which will give you a different look, the color of those materials, you can apply vinyls over them. You can also have different pieces of armor, for example different shoulders, helmets, legs. For the Storm you can have a different cape. There are many different things you can change about your character, even the animations you can use in the world or as a victory pose animation. We give you all of those personalization options and they are all cosmetic. You can acquire all of them just by playing the game and using the in-game currency. The more you play, the more you get, and you can spend it on whatever you want.

You also have player agency in terms of the equipment loadouts. You can have the same Javelin, say a Colossus for example, that can work as a tank. You can pull aggro, pull enemies to you, use your shield have a flamethrower. But you can also, because you want to, have a loadout that has a Sniper Rifle with an artillery gear slot that can fire from really far away to act as a support for your group. So we’re really giving the player the agency to choose how does he want to play with whatever Javelin suit he has.

 

Now let’s jump tracks for a moment and talk about the economy in Anthem. Now one of the Executive Producers, Mark Darrah, has said that the economy that players are going to see in the public demo for Anthem is going to be vastly different than what we’ll see in the final game. What are players going to see in that final release in February?

So for Anthem in terms of the economy, the demo was created quite a few weeks ago and therefore while it is a slice of the final game, we have been tweaking and iterating on the economy since then. We did find out that we need to make some changes in regards to the curve in which you gain experience. We also made changes to the amount of in-game currency you get, the prices of items in the store. We had to balance those out so that we could have a better experience overall. We always have the philosophy that we want to be fair to the consumer, to the player, making sure that, as long as they play, they always feel rewarded by playing because you’re going to have enough coins to get that cosmetic you wanted to buy. It’s not going to be like, “You’ve gotta play forever to buy that one thing.” We wanted to make sure it’s always fair for the player to do so. Of course there are different items, with different rarities and different prices but we have been tweaking a lot. That’s what Mark Darrah meant when he said the economy from the demo is different, because we’ve been tweaking it a lot over the last few weeks.

Right now we are aware of the fact there is a premium currency in Anthem. Are we going to see any other potential revenue streams introduced into Anthem post-launch?

At launch we’re just gonna have the cosmetic stuff. Post-launch it will really depend on the feedback we get from our consumers and from the players. We have a team in Austin that has been working on an MMO the last six years, Star Wars: The Old Republic. We developed Anthem with Bioware Edmonton and Bioware Austin. Bioware Austin is going to be responsible for taking the live service further, so I’m very comfortable about that, I’m very happy about that. I know they have the experience to listen to the feedback and change the plans according to that feedback. So according to what the players want to see in the game, we may have different stuff.

What’s the road-map for Anthem looking like post-launch?

There are a lot of things coming post-launch. We have many different teams who have been working on that stuff for a few weeks already, so you can see different cosmetic items, different creatures, maybe a new region to explore! You’ll have different events, different weather states. Anthem is a dynamic world; if you have rain right now it applies to your jets you can fly for longer as it cools down your jets. You can use electricity and therefore create larger effects. Try to imagine that we can create different weather states and apply that so not only are new parts of the world going to behave differently, but old parts of the world as well. If it’s day or if it’s night some creatures may show up or may be more powerful. We can play with all of these variables and create a new narrative for the game.

There was a lot of disappointment in the potential playerbase when it was announced that Anthem would not contain any Player vs. Player content at launch. Is that something that’s going to be incorporated into the game post-launch?

Like you said, PvP is not available for launch but it’s going to depend on the feedback that we get from the playerbase.

 

Bosses in Anthem don’t have a set loot table. When it comes to endgame player progression, particularly in gearing up your Javelin, is there a method for players to target specific pieces of equipment they are looking for?

Yes. In Anthem, specifically for the endgame, we want to give players the ability to craft their own weapons and gear. The way that we do that is you have Challenges, which will give you the blueprints for those Masterwork items. Now you can craft those masterwork items and in order to craft them you’re going to have to collect those resources through missions or freeplay, which will give you more resources. Once you have those items you can go back, craft your Masterwork items and now that you’re more powerful you can go into those missions and get even more powerful rewards.

There’s been discussion about Pilot Skill Trees and further progression after the end-game. Can you explain that a little bit and what impact that will have in terms of player power at the end of the game?

This is a very good question, but honestly I would prefer to keep that one for live. There are some things we want to do in live, exactly for the end-game and how we want Pilot Skills to show up. So we’re gonna keep that one for live for now.

 

Many thanks to Scylla Costa for sitting down with us to talk about Anthem and its development cycle beyond its upcoming release on February 22nd.

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NetEase Introducing Mobile Game Curfew in China

According to a report from China, Daily NetEase is introducing a mobile game curfew in China for younger players of their games. The curfew will be in effect for children and teenagers and will prevent them from logging in to select mobile titles. From 9:30 PM to 8:30 AM anyone underage will have access to games restricted in an effort to curb game addiction.

The new system will also restrict how long those under 18 can play each day. For children under 12, they will be allowed to play for one hour each day Monday to Friday and 2 hours on the weekends. 13 to 18-year-olds will be able to play for 2 hours during the week and 3 on weekends.

Knives Out

Players won’t be able to get around this by not registering either. All unregistered users will only be given 2 hours of gametime period. They will also be prevented from making in-app purchases. Parents of gamers will be given the ability to monitor how much time their child plays and their spending habits on a new platform called NetEase Parenting Care.

This will all be rolled out starting this month with 15 of NetEase’s most popular titles including Fantasy Westward Journey, Knives Out, and Onmyoji.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this be put in place in China. Tencent started doing something similar in 2017 and even took it a step further by using police databases to get underage players who try to work around the rules. So the age-old idea of just pretending you’re 18 so you can have an adult Neopets account won’t work. Not that anyone in the MMOGames office EVER did that!

It is very likely that we will continue to see this sort of thing happening with mobile game companies that operate in China. The real question is if we will ever see this happen in the West. It seems very unlikely, but only time will tell.

 

Source: ChinaDaily via Gamasutra

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