Hunter’s Arena: Legends Beta Begins Feb 20

Starting on Thursday, February 20, Steam players in Asia will have the opportunity to take part in the closed beta for Hunter’s Arena: Legends.

hunter's arena legends closed beta

Hunter’s Arena: Legends is a highly-anticipated hybrid of MOBA, battle royale, and action RPG developed by Mantisco. Those interested in testing out the game can register through the Mantisco portal for a chance at gaining access. From those who register, a lucky 10,000 will be selected to beta test the game. The Closed Beta will run from Thursday, Feb 20, to Sunday, Feb 23, 12pm KST.

Additionally, there will be more than 300 popular streamers demonstrating Hunter’s Arena: Legends during the test period that viewers can tune into including: Pokimane, SypherPK, imaqtpie, LIRIK and more.

Unique features of Hunter’s Arena: Legends:

  • Unique Character Classes – Classic MOBA-inspired character classes offer players unique ways to compete for glory. Every player class offers different strengths and weaknesses, along with countless skill and equipment upgrades;
  • Solo and Team Play – Players must balance aggressive and strategic game styles by going head-to-head or by teaming up to take down daunting computer-generated bosses;
  • Lightning-Quick Combat – A unique fighting system allows for strategic combos including parrying, a counter system and more for smooth online tournaments;
  • Gorgeous Arenas – Hunter’s Arena: Legends utilizes Unreal Engine technology to create detailed character models and an immersive world.

Source: Press Release

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Black Desert Online Spinoff Shadow Arena Beta Announced

The Shadow Arena beta has been announced by Pearl Abyss today. Shadow Arena was originally a game within Black Desert Online that has evolved into a game of its own as time has gone on. According to Pearl Abyss, while Shadow Arena does draw from Black Desert Online it has created its own style drawing from Battle Royales, MOBAs, and MMOs to create a unique arena fighter. Shadow Arena has two modes, solo and team which each challenge players in different ways.

A closed beta test for Shadow Arena will be running from February 27th to March 8th. Registration to take part in the beta test can be done on Shadow Arena’s official site. The beta will take place on Steam and will not be available for consoles though the game is expected to be available on consoles after it launches on PC. Right now Pearl Abyss says that they expect Shadow Arena to be released on PC within the first half of this year.

You can also check out the trailer for Shadow Arena which was released back in November as part of Pearl Abyss Connect 2019. The game looks exactly as amazing as you would expect considering it has been spun off from Black Desert Online which is without a doubt the most beautiful MMO that has ever been made.

 

Source: Press Release

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Star Wars Fortnite Crossover Event Going on Now

A Star Wars Fortnite crossover event is now taking place in the mega-popular Battle Royale game. From now until November 17th you’ll be able to get the Imperial Stormtrooper Outfit in the Item Shop. If you buy Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order on PC in the Epic Store you’ll get the outfit for free!

An Imperial Star Destroyer has also been spotted in the sky above the Island though it isn’t clear what its mission is, besides bringing lots of Stormtrooper Outfits. The trailer for the event seems to be suggesting that there will be more. In the description for the video, it says, “The Imperial Stormtrooper has been seen scouting out the Island. What could his mission be?”

It’s really no surprise that there is a Star Wars crossover event taking place right now considering the release of the new game and the fact that we’re just a month away from The Rise of Skywalker. Whatever else is going to be happening in-game you can expect it to take place this weekend so cancel your weekend plans and keep an eye on that Star Destroyer. If you can’t make it this weekend you do have until November 30th to get the skin by buying Fallen Order in the Epic Store.

Check out the trailer for the Star Wars Fortnite crossover below.

Source: Twitter, Twitter

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Fiesta Online Gets a Battle Royale Mode

MMORPG Fiesta Online gets a battle royale mode as part of the newest update to the game. The mode is called Onslaught and is available to anyone between level 1 and 135. A new map has been created just for Onslaught. It works much like you would expect a battle royale to work. The dome in which you’re fighting will get smaller over time and anyone left outside its protection will suffer massive damage. Special buffs and Battle Hammers will be scattered around the map to help players with their fight to be the last man standing because only one can be victorious in the end. There will also be a leaderboard in Roumen so you can find out how you stack up against others.

You’re rewarded with a Royal Vault chest that can contain a permanent Runic Aura, Hammer of Bijou, Soul Stone of Armor, and much more.

Fiesta Online Geta a Battle Royale Mode

Onslaught is available in Fiesta Online right now and there have been some server-side modifications made that will improve the connection stability to the game servers. So if you’ve been having connection issues recently hopefully those will all be sorted out now.

 

Source: Press Release

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PlanetSide Arena Hands-On Preview – Massive Warfare in Familiar Ground

PlanetSide Arena’s best sales pitch would probably include something along the lines of “strength in numbers” and “all-out warfare”. It’s not easy to get another battle royale game out there in such a crowded market, and so a few unique selling points are virtually mandatory.

Daybreak is trying to tap into the wide battle royale userbase with the identifiable PlanetSide brand as a starting point, but it’s likely that veterans of the franchise aren’t particularly thrilled with the new direction. However, this is a game that deserves to be played with a fresh mindset to properly judge its potential.

The long-term plan is to support up to 1,000 players in some game modes, but the Steam Early Access release is going to focus on 300-player battle royale matches. This is more than enough to give you a good taste of the sprawling map size and chaotic final minutes. The closing circle pushes everyone together, as a reminder that you are in the arena to eliminate other squads and proudly stand as the winner, not just to collect mods and power-ups ad eternum.

PlanetSide Arena Preview Drop Pod

Royale Pain Circle

During the short beta test anticipating the Early Access release, we spent quite some time hanging out inside the fleet carrier, wandering around and shooting our fellow players for some harmless fun, as we waited for the match to begin. These were the few peaceful moments in PlanetSide Arena, because as soon as we hit the ground running, it’s time to scour the land for anything that improves your build and your chances against the rival squads.

But first, you need to settle for one of the three available classes: Assault, Engineer, or Medic. Take your time to get acquainted to each one while in the headquarters, switching between classes in a last-minute bid to pick the one that will surely net you the win. Anyone familiar with battle royale and typical shooters won’t have any issues with this selection, or the customization options on offer. Everything about it is designed to get you to the battlefield in no time, including the diverse mods that you unlock and attach to your weapon, or the vehicles that you can choose while customizing your class.

The only game mode available in PlanetSide Arena during the test was the 12-player Squad mode. We could already see some hints of group strategies for the greater good of the squad, but as perfect strangers, our primal instincts told us to go forth and bravely venture into the unknown. The result was, unvarying, death. This is no game for a reckless Rambo approach, despite the temptation to break free from the slow tactical grip that your squad may force on you. Strength in numbers comes to mind once again, a motto that couldn’t ring truer when you are part of a 12-strong squad facing several teams sporting similar numbers.

PlanetSide Arena Preview Pain Circle

This streamlined gameplay approach is patent in the way that the weapon upgrades work when you are in the heat of the battle. There is no inventory to manage, you just choose to pick up or ignore the upgrades, weapons or abilities that you happen upon, always watching your back when it comes to those sought-after drop pods containing legendary items – there is no better time to be ambushed than when you are gazing at that legendary loot. You keep your primary, secondary, and pistol weapons throughout the duration of the match, upgrading them as you go, but there is a fourth slot that is saved for a special weapon. Nanites are the in-game currency that you pick up, but it is shared through the team, so it’s not a source of internal competition.

Mobility in the battlefield isn’t an issue, with so many means at your disposal. Jetpacks are your basic gear to propel you skywards and give you that edge over careless players who look no further than what’s in front of their nose. You can summon your personal vehicle when you want to move faster or, in some cases, when the team needs that extra firepower. Voice chat is of major importance for your team’s well-being, so if you don’t want to jeopardize your chances of success, setting up a team with a few chatty friends is crucial.

Part of your time in PlanetSide Arena is spent rummaging the battlefield for upgrades, while the rest of it is about spotting enemies in the horizon and shooting them before they shoot you. However, the pain field will constrict every few minutes, narrowing the active area and forcing players to come together. What started as a huge battlefield that no single player can accurately cover by himself, slowly but surely shifts into a compact space where several dozens of players have no choice but to blast away, hoping to survive the ensuing anarchy. Infantry units try their best to support the tanks, with the special weapons that you managed to grab minutes earlier possibly making the difference between victory and defeat.

PlanetSide Arena Preview First Person Shooting

Shooting from the Pocket

PlanetSide Arena feels mechanically sound, extremely responsive, fast, and fun, with a fierce competitive side to the matches. The initial minutes of a new match help convey a false sense of security, a feeling that is shredded to pieces as the shrinking circle enters the fray and urges everyone to the same area. Suddenly, there is a lot going on, shots are fired from inconceivable places, and if you manage to survive dangerous situations, you may end up with this rewarding but conflicting sense of exhaustion.

But there are a few concerns that need to be addressed. Against the initial blurb, Daybreak has decided to release PlanetSide Arena as a free-to-play game, just like its older brother PlanetSide 2. However, even with the pleasant last-minute removal of the price tag barrier of entry, it will still face the competition of extremely popular battle royale games such as Fortnite Battle Royale or Apex Legends. Perhaps players will also stick to PlanetSide 2 instead of making the switch to the new game.

If for some reason PlanetSide Arena fails to gain traction and convince a large share of players, the 300-player matches may become an issue. The massive scale of the battles is where the game shines, and if it fails to show them in all their glory, it may end up stuck in an inglorious loop. Match waiting times will be another concern in case the player base is less than satisfactory, with the subsequent addition of game modes dispersing players even further.

PlanetSide Arena Preview Quad Vehicle

Then there are the inevitable lingering doubts regarding monetization. PlanetSide Arena has a loot box or crate system where you can earn cosmetics, which is fine, but there are mods as well that affect your performance. Increased sprint speed, reduced time to revive teammates, or increased turbo regeneration for vehicles all sound like the kind of tiny advantages that may end up giving someone the upper hand. It’s the kind of mechanic that makes you wonder if the battles will be leveled, or if your skill is useless in face of your opponent’s deep pockets.

That’s a lot of “ifs” for Daybreak to consider, with the priority task of balancing gameplay and monetization in a way that pleases the community, while still being able to fund the game’s continued development. I enjoyed my short time in PlanetSide Arena and can’t wait to try more of its massive scale free form combat, but here’s hoping that I won’t have to face an enemy squad that shoots with its credit card.

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Esports Isn’t Mainstream Yet, But It’s Getting Close

We’re closing the gap! Esports is finally starting to be recognized by the mainstream as more than some stereotypical teenagers binging Call of Duty in their mom’s basement all night. You know, munching Cheetos and inhaling energy drinks? Esports is starting to be seen as a real sport. While we’re not there just yet, seeing the perception of media makes one thing very clear: esports is here to stay and they’re not just “playing” around anymore.

The Fortnite World Cup Surely Was, Well… Epic

Fortnite World Cup esports

Let’s take the recent Fortnite World Cup as a solid example. Epic Games are the makers of Fortnite and the Epic Engine that runs the majority of your favorite games. They put on a real spectacle in July! During the three-day event, 19,000 fans gathered at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City to watch a bunch of kids play video games. That’s no small feat, considering the stadium and event sold out, something very mainstream.

Back in February 2019, Epic Games announced that on top of the $100 million prize pool announced back in May 2018, they were dropping another $100 million for 2019. For comparison sake, the more mainstream horse race, The Kentucky Derby, had a prize pool in 2019 that was only $2 million, while the mainstream tennis-focused Wimbledon’s entire prize pool equaled over $41 million (34 million GBP) for 2019. 

 

The New Kids On The Block

We’re not talking chump change here. In fact, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf took home $3 million from his first-place solo finals finish. During the duos finals, Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “Aqua” Wang (aged 16 and 17, respectively) split their winnings of $3 million. These three kids won the combined spoils equaling three Kentucky Derbies. 

Let’s not forget about the viewership. What makes the more traditional sports so popular is that the average everyday person can root for their team both in-person and from home. This is the part where esports has some work to do. While the Fortnite World Cup finals peaked at the impressive 2.3 million viewers across YouTube and Twitch, the 2019 Kentucky Derby had 16.34 million at its peak, according to NBC. While the 2.3 million doesn’t include “fans watching in-game and on other streaming and social media platforms,” such as Twitter, Facebook, and within Fortnite itself, there’s no way they hit the same numbers as the horse race. Let’s not even try to compare that to the 98.2 million that watched the 2019 Super Bowl.

 

Esports Isn’t Just Another Sport, It’s Better

Esports has an evolutionary edge, though. While the aforementioned horse racing and tennis sports don’t generally change at all, video games do often, and they do so really quickly. A weapon in a game could get a buff (upgrade) or a nerf (downgrade) in the very next patch, or a new map could be released, changing the entire landscape for that game. Developers tend to make updates to their games to fix bugs, errors, or to change the way one plays their game! And what of sequels?

While Epic Games has created a truly adaptable game that doesn’t need a Fortnite 2, games like Call of Duty and Madden have yearly releases, keeping players on their toes to learn new mechanics every twelve months or so for the competitive market. The professional players at the officially sanctioned Call of Duty World League jump ship the second that a new game launches for the new season, for instance. Players that want the newest roster of NFL teams are likely to grab each year’s Madden. Even the incredibly popular Blizzard title, Overwatch, that harbors the seasonal Overwatch League is allegedly flirting with the idea of a sequel.

So, where does that leave us? Esports is still volatile, but expanding near daily. Each year, esports athletes are getting younger and younger, retiring in their 20s, and making names for themselves. It’s not going to help anyone to mince words here. Esports, as a whole, has three key points that need to be addressed to really make it big with the mainstream viewership: leveling off, camera views, and product options. 

 

What Esports Needs To Do

What I mean by “leveling off” is that the average viewer doesn’t want to learn all new rules every time they turn on the TV. The constant tweaks and patches to games are surely going to confuse fans that don’t play the game. Where football has remained unchanged for decades, a new map, mode, or changes to that sniper rifle over there would change the game entirely. 

If you’re watching a game being played, you want access to the action. That’s why camera angles and views are another key point to address here. In most traditional sports, the focus is on the player holding the ball or in a single area. In a game like Fortnite, where there’s 100 players all at once, that can get trickier if there are three big fights going on in three different areas.

As mentioned before, new games come out constantly and each have their own respective athletes. There’s no way to compare this phenomenon to classic sports either. A professional Halo player may not also be a professional Call of Duty player, even though they’re both of the same “first person shooter” genre. A pro at Street Fighter might not be any good at Mortal Kombat, even if both are considered fighting games. Each game has clear lines in the sand due to different mechanics. Sure, one could say the same about traditional sports, but we’re talking hundreds of games at an unprecedented scale, not a few dozen.

 

Where Will It Lead?

Needless to say, when I call it the “mainstream viewership”, I don’t mean the Millennials and Gen Z generations that already watch these things on Twitch or YouTube. Viewers that are used to watching know how to adapt quickly and easily. I’m talking about the main media outlets and the average everyday person. While some outlets have dipped their toes, such as the Overwatch League being presented on ABC or the TBS-backed eLeague, allocation is clearly skewed still. While we have an uphill battle still to go, it’s not all bad.

blizzard esports

More and more esports stadiums and physical places to play are popping up all the time. More schools are looking into the idea of adding esports to curriculum. Professional traditional sports stars are investing in pro gaming teams, such as NBA star Rick Fox and Echo Fox. Parents are embracing the idea that their kid may not be cut out to be a Varsity football player, but they still can be an athlete with the right training and focus. 

Plus, with big money moves like what Epic Games is working through, it’s only a matter of time before esports hits that mainstream. It’ll be no time before we start seeing the finish line. Until then, esports will continue to grow.

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Road Rage Royale Rolls onto Steam

If you’re looking for a new vehicle based Battle Royale game then you might want to check out Road Rage Royale. This indie game just came out on Steam and was made by Neutral Oscillations Games in France. This is actually their debut title though their founder has been in the industry for the last 10 years. You may remember seeing Road Rage Royale on Kickstarter in May. It had a small, though successful campaign that raised €5,000. Since then they have been hosting weekly Twitch streams to keep people updated on the state of the game.

Road Rage Royale is a cyberpunk post apocalyptic coliseum tactical race car combat game. The object of the game is to take out fellow drivers and be the last man standing doing loops around the coliseum’s track. Each lap you take is unique as deadly obstacles could spawn at any moment.

The developers list Micro Machines, Lethal League, Street Fighter II, Nidhogg, Mad Max, and Fallout as just some of the inspiration behind this game. For me personally it reminds me of all those hours a spent using a cattle prod against my little brother while playing Road Rash on the Sega Genesis combined with those destruction derby games that were so popular in the early 2000s online.

You can find the gameplay trailer below.

If this sounds like your kind of fun check it out on Steam.

 

Source: Press Release

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Mavericks: Proving Grounds Canceled as Studio Shuts Down

Developer Automaton Games has shut down leaving their Battle Royale title Mavericks: Proving Grounds canceled and employees looking for new jobs. Thankfully, Improbable, the makers of SpatialOS which Maverick: Proving Grounds was using has said that they would be trying to place Automaton employees in their company, according to a statement they made to GamesIndustry.biz. “Automaton’s closure and the ceasing of development on Mavericks is sad news,” said an Improbable spokesman. “Mavericks was a hugely ambitious project, and we were glad to support it with the networking technology that made its large world and innovative approach to multiplayer possible. Unfortunately, Automaton was unable to find further investment to support their ambitious development plans. Automaton Games is a talented team, and we will look to match any former Automaton employees to roles that we are looking to fill at Improbable.”

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

A statement on the official site for the developer reads, “Paul Cooper and Paul Appleton were appointed joint administrators of Automaton Games Limited on 30th July 2019. They are managing the affairs, business and property of the company… Please be advised that due to insufficient funding, the development of the Mavericks: Proving Grounds game has now ceased.”

It really is a shame, of the entire Battle Royale genre Mavericks: Proving Grounds sounded like it had the most potential to be something really unique and interesting. With 1,000 players on the map that really could have revolutionized the genre. A genre that does seem to be losing steam.

We hope that everyone at Automaton Games gets back on their feet quickly.

 

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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Housemarque Admits Stormdivers Battle Royale Unlikely to be a Success

Stormdivers is one of those Battle Royale titles we’ve been following since it was first announced and we’ve been eagerly waiting to hear more about, we just didn’t think this would be the next thing we heard. Housemarque, the developers of Stormdivers has admitted they don’t think the Battle Royale game will be a success. CEO Ilari Kuittinen spoke to VG247 at Reboot Development this weekend where he said that competition from games like Apex Legends, being slower to market than rivals, and a lack of funding mean Stormdivers isn’t in a strong position to succeed.

Stormdivers

When Stormdivers was announced many of us in the MMOGames office thought it was too little too late. When Apex Legends came out the question was once again, where is Stormdivers?
According to the VG247 article Stormdivers was pitched internally in 2013 and when they took it to external partners the Battle Royale genre didn’t exist yet.
“The problem is with us we always have to change our idea. We originally thought that the game would be a premium game but now it should be free to play. And do we have enough content to do that? I don’t know,” he admitted. “We’re kind of a bit short of money to fully realise what we want to do as a launch edition of the game. We’ll see. It is tough. Whether we’re going to succeed, it’s unlikely because of the tough competition.”
We also learned thanks to this interview that Housemarque has about 15 developers working on Stormdivers right now. They have an additional 60 staff members working on another, not yet announced title that already has a publisher attached.
While the studio hasn’t given up completely on Stormdivers completely it looks like the future isn’t too bright for the game. It is currently in beta and playable every 4-6 weeks for those who have been invited. But with only 15 people developing the game it sounds like it will be a long time before we see the finished product if we do at all.

Source: VG247

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New Online Games Announced at Tencent Up 2019

Over the weekend Chinese gamers weren’t looking to GDC to find out about the latest and greatest games, they were watching Tencent Up 2019 where new online games were announced along with some familiar Western games being released in China.

Brawl Stars and Stardew Valley were just two of the titles we’ve been playing for a while now that China will finally have access to. At the end of 2017, it was reported that Stardew Valley had sold 3.7 million copies, this was just a couple of months after the game released on Nintendo Switch. Since then it has released on PS Vita, iOS, and Android. Now the game will be available to the biggest gaming market in the world.

While it is awesome that Tencent is taking more Western games to China, the real appeal of Tencent Up is when they announce new titles. There were four titles announced and we’re going to break them down below.

 

Codename LN, Land Next

It looks as though Tencent is getting in on the Battle Royale action with their very own game, LN. It is a PC game that brings together two things you don’t often see together; Steampunk and Ancient China. According to local media, movement looks similar to Apex Legends. It’s being made by Tianmei Studio, an internal Tencent team who worked on one of the PUBG mobile games as well as Call of Duty Mobile. There is no timescale or release date for this game yet and no word on if it will be released in the West. But, based simply on the setting, we don’t hold out a lot of hope for a Western release.

 

Codename SOC

Codename SOC is a mobile zombie survival game that has been in development for two years now. Lightspeed & Quantum Studios are the minds behind the game. Previously they’ve made a PUBG Mobile game and worked on more than a dozen titles since 2008. The game is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and boasts a seamless open world. Also, the trailer looks kind of badass so be sure to check it out. No word on a release date for this game or a Western release. But, we’re pretty hopeful about this one. Sure, zombie survival games have been done to death, but this game looks amazing and the fact that its open world leaves us wondering what we don’t know about the game.

 

Ace Force

Ace Force is an Anime style team shooter similar to Overwatch, except that it’s a mobile game. The game has a large variety of characters, each with their own unique abilities. There are several game modes and maps to play on. One interesting thing it also features is the ability to switch characters during play. While this game has seen a few small test phases in the past it is going into a larger beta phase next month in China. It’s possible that this game will see a Western release in the future, but it’s equally possible that we will never see the game. Our personal opinion here in the office is that it will largely depend on how well the game performs in China.

 

The Outcast Mobile

The Outcast is a Tencent IP that started its life as part of the Tencent comics platform. Thanks to its popularity it got a 2 season anime called Hitori no Shita: The Outcast which aired in 2016 and 2018. Now, it is being turned into a mobile game. The game has 4 clans which 2 unique characters in each who are dealing with the supernatural using their powers. What does that mean exactly? Who knows. There is no release schedule for this game yet. As for a Western release…it’s our opinion that it’s never going to happen.

 

Source: MMOCulture

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