Dark Age of Camelot is Now Free to Play

It has been nearly 2 years since we first reported about it but Dark Age of Camelot is now Free to Play. This new Free to Play option, called Endless Conquest is open to all new players and any old players who have had their accounts closed for at least 180 days.

There are a few restrictions on free to play accounts that you should be aware of before you jump in. First, you won’t have access to Champion Level Abilities. You’re also limited with a Realm Skill Point Spend Cap of 60/130. There’s also a Realm Switch Time of 4 hours versus 15 minutes for Veteran accounts. With a Race Change Token, you’ll only be able to change to EC-enabled races. You also won’t get Veteran rewards or Holiday Gifts. You’ll also be limited in which races and classes you can play. You also won’t have access to housing. Basically, all the restrictions that are put in place are pretty standard. Of course, you don’t have to play on a free to play account, you can still subscribe to the game to be a Veteran and have full access to everything DAoC has to offer.

Dark Age of Camelot is 18 years old and honestly, it’s a little bit surprising that they didn’t have a free to play option sooner. Let’s hope that this helps the game continue its amazing streak. If you want to give the game a try head over to the official website for Dark Age of Camelot (linked below) and create a new account!

 

Source: Official Site

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Legends of Aria is Going Free to Play

Legends of Aria is going free to play as it returns to its hardcore PvP roots in the New Dawn update. The new update will be coming sometime in November, though the exact date hasn’t been pinned down just yet. It was just a little over a month ago that the studio announced they were cutting the price of the game and introducing premium subscriptions. So it’s a little bit of a surprise that the game is now going free to play as well. We’ve been following this game since it was first announced and first had its Kickstarter campaign back in 2014. At that time it was called Shards Online.

legends of aria dev blog

 

Along with going free to play New Dawn is bringing back a fan favorite, The Wilderness. The update will also make changes to Warriors as well as Militias. Players will also be able to become citizens of one of the many towns in the world with the new Township feature. Stealing and Snooping are also going to now be viable options for those who want to master the art of thievery. New quests and missions have also been added including resource missions, quests for professions, and new episodic content.

On top of all of that there are a ton of quality of life updates, bug fixes, and a whole lot more to explore once the update launches. As I said before, the press release hasn’t given an exact date yet so if you want to catch it when it goes free to play you’ll have to keep an eye out on social media or add it to your wishlist on Steam.

 

Source: Press Release

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Weekly Business Report: Nexon’s Internal Restructuring, Ninja’s Leaving Twitch, and More

MMOGames Business Weekly Report is back to take a look at mobile gamer preferences for free to play games in China, the latest news from Nexon, Ninja leaving Twitch, and a few other topics relevant to the business side of making online games.

 

Automaton Games Shuts Down

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Automaton Games, the folks who were behind the unreleased 1,000 man Battle Royale Mavericks: Proving Grounds, has shut down and in the process the game has died. In the announcement on their website, they cited a lack of funding as the reason for their sudden closure. Thankfully Improbable, the makers of SpatialOS, have said they will be trying to find places for Automaton employees in their company. Mavericks: Proving Grounds is actually the second SpatialOS game to meet its end in recent months leaving some to speculate that SpatialOS falling out with Unity earlier this year may have played a role. If that’s true, this might only be the beginning of SpatialOS related sunsets. MMOGames staff will be watching and will continue to bring updates in our weekly business report.

 

Source: MMOGames

 

Chinese Consumer Preferences

According to recently released research, over half of Chinese consumers prefer free to play or ad monetized games over premium titles. In fact, the research found that 61% of people prefer non-premium games. 85% reported they spend money on mobile games with 3% spending more than $50 (¥330) a month. In contrast, the average spending is just $5.80 a month. Those interviewed between the ages of 26 and 30 had the highest average spending at $10 a month.

The research also showed there is a high level of brand loyalty. 92% of respondents said they stick with a game for more than a week and 87% say they’ve played fewer than 5 different games in the previous month.

One challenge that developers face is how well divided the market’s stores are. In China, 30% of the market is using the App Store, 29% are using Tencent’s MyApp, and 26% use the Huawei app store. In the West we really only have Google Play or the App Store for mobile games.

It would be really interesting to see this same research completed in a few different Western countries to see how our views differ. I would personally much prefer to pay for a game or even pay a subscription for a game over being nickel and dimed to death by an in-game shop.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

Nexon Internal Merger Incoming

The last few months have been a wild ride for Nexon. First, their founder and CEO was putting the family’s stake in the business up for sale, worth between 9 to 11 billion dollars. After months of speculation that everyone from Disney to EA were interested in buying, it seems Kim Jung-ju may have simply decided not to sell. Of course, I’m sure a decision like that wasn’t made lightly. Following the release of this rumor, Nexon’s stock dropped resulting in a loss of up to 5%. Now we know that Nexon is reorganizing and merging their two core business units. No jobs are going to be lost in this internal restructuring, but the company is looking at getting rid of projects with low commercial value. They also hope that the restructuring will improve the company’s operating profits and increase its stock value. News of this restructuring started out as a rumor but was quickly confirmed by Nexon. It is set to take place sometime in August.

 

Source: MMOCulture

 

Ninja Leaves Twitch for Mixer

Ninja Fortnite

Ninja has announced that he will no longer be streaming on Twitch and is instead switching over to Microsoft’s Mixer platform. The specifics on this particular deal haven’t been released but last year he was making $500,000 a month streaming Fortnite on Twitch and a paid promotion deal with EA for Apex Legends got him $1 million, so it is safe to assume he got a pretty sweet deal. This marks a major shift for Twitch which has been seeing its growth slow over the last year.

Mixer has always been playing third fiddle to Twitch and Youtube but has also seen consistent growth. Last quarter it saw 119 million hours watched, an increase of 37% year on year. Ninja’s move to Mixer might be exactly the sort of push the platform needs to catch up to its two bigger competitors. However, Fortnite’s popularity, especially in streaming, has been on the decline. It is also possible that many of Ninja’s fans wont follow him to this different platform because they prefer Twitch. We can see an example of this in the industry already looking at people who refuse to play a game that hasn’t been released on Steam. Only time will tell how this transition actually goes.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

 

Zynga Eyes China

At one point in time just a few years ago Zynga was dominating the games industry. They were all we ever talked about it seemed like. Of course the days of Facebook games are long gone now, but that doesn’t mean Zynga is gone or that they’ve even slowed down. Zynga has been transitioning to a mobile game developer and having great success with it. They recently released Empires and Puzzles in Japan and Korea, the beginning of their strategy for expansion into the Asian market. Now they’re eyeing China.

In a call with GamesIndustry.biz Zynga COO Matt Bromberg said, “We are beginning to look at China for Empires & Puzzles as well, and as our portfolio continues to develop we have both Star Wars and the Harry Potter game on our slate for the future. When there are big global pieces of IP like that, which we think will resonate across Asia, we’re hopeful that will also help us expand there. We’re trying to take a measured approach to it, and learn as we go and make sure we have the right match of game and personnel on the ground and marketing strategy. When you get those lined up it can be terrific, but it is a complicated market and we’re still in learning mode.”

A complicated market is putting it lightly. Still, if they are successful in their push into China, they’ll be tapping into a mobile games industry with an estimated 586 million gamers.

 

Source: Games Industry

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Dauntless Weapon Tier List

Anytime a new game comes out with multiple options or customization choices, a tier list is never very far away. In the case of the recent free-to-play, Behemoth-slaying hit Dauntless, the weapons you choose define how you play the game. 

While each weapon that can be equipped has the ability to level up, gain different elemental values, and can be affected by mods and cells, they also bring different types of play styles. As of the beginning of Season Six, there are six different types of weapons that players can choose from: Chain Blades, Swords, Axes, War Pikes, Hammers, and the Ostian Repeaters. 

S Tier – Chain Blades

Dauntless Weapon Tier List chain-blades

The deadly Chain Blades in Dauntless may not look like much, but Kratos would be proud.

By far, the Chain Blades are the quickest moving attack that also gives plenty of distance for the player, if needed. Anyone who has played a God of War game knows how these work, giving a very acrobatic style to anyone using them.

Plenty of Behemoths can have pretty random feeling attacks, so the ability to pull yourself in at will, attack with the close range Bladed attack, then Chain Push out to use your Chain Throw is a crazy feat. Be careful, though: The long range Chain Throws consume the same stamina you use for running and dodging!

This weapon is pretty simple to use for newcomers to the game, but comes with some devastating combos for those who have mastered it. Later on in the game, other attacks can be equipped that are even more swift and destructive! The Chain Blades may not be designed for brand new players, but those who can master them could easily get S++ on every match!

A Tier – Sword

Dauntless Weapon Tier List sword

The Sword in Dauntless can only be considered the “Balanced Boi.”

The Sword is among the most balanced weapons in the entire game. For the uninitiated, the Sword can hit with light attacks at a faster speed and a heavier attack that is ever slightly slower. 

From the get-go, it’s notoriously powerful and offers a super speedy Overdrive attack. This “empowered” rage-like state is not unlike a berserk mode. Attacks don’t have to make direct contact in this mode since it creates short burst waves as well. These can be useful if you get knocked back at all and still want to deal a little damage without getting too close. But, why bother? Hitting your activate button again will send you shooting forward quite a bit to close the distance and get a few more powerful hits in before Overdrive ends. Even later mods like Ardent Cyclone don’t deal as much damage as Overdrive. 

Additionally, when paired with cells that can keep you from getting staggered and can help you resist direct damage, the Sword can give the most bite for the bark. If you want balance in both early levels and in the long term, you can’t go wrong with the Sword.

A/B Tier – War Pike

Dauntless Weapon Tier List

Dauntless’ War Pike is the quickest way to a Behemoth’s heart: stabbing it directly.

The War Pike, at its core, is pretty alright. It stabs quickly and offers a nice long range blast. It pierces and can wound and sever Behemoth Parts, being a powerful ally to anyone who uses an Axe. At the center of it all, it’s a thorough weapon than can be well respected. 

The special allows players to gather ammunition and then Pike Blast using a quick time event to get the perfect accuracy. Piercing attacks can wound the Behemoth and open up tears in their armor/skin for players to focus on. Harvesting, likewise, can cause chunks of the Behemoth to fly off, such as tails. 

It’s not until way later Behemoths that you’re likely to find yourself in a party of War Pike users. Late game masters of War Pikes utilize Pike Blasts to become truly devastating  when against high level creatures. While this isn’t normal for those early in the game, it deserves an honorary A-tier just for this fact, with a B-tier for anyone newer to the game.

B Tier – Axe

Dauntless Weapon Tier List axe

In a whirlwind, Behemoth slayers can get a bunch of hits if timed right with the Axe!

While a tad bit more clumsy than the Sword and War Pike, the Axe focuses on severing and breaking Behemoth parts. You might notice a horn or a tail tip come off in battle every so often and, during battles, you’ll see scrapes and tears on the skin of the Behemoth start to appear. That’s where the Axe really shines!

By attacking the wounded areas, the Axe deals bonus damage. Be sure to pair up with someone who has the War Pike because they deal mostly in causing that wounding. By holding the attack button, a spinning attack can tackle some good, melee-level hits. If you’re into some heavy-but-slow damage, the Axe is designed for you.

The special is where the Axe falls apart a tad bit. Flight of Ruin is a throwing move that has a lot of potential for missing. It leaves you vulnerable while the Axe isn’t in your hand as well. The recall takes some real precise timing and angles to really do good damage as well. I don’t recommend using this move with Behemoths that move around a lot.

C Tier – Hammer

Dauntless Weapon Tier List hammer

While it may be slow, the Hammer is great for staggering Behemoths!

In a word, the Hammer can be described as “clunky.” Yea, this might be a matter of debate for some players, but hear me out. It’s the slowest of the weapons by far, animation-wise. However, it can prove useful in staggering enemies for your much-quicker teammates to devour. The concussive blasts are the real saving grace of the Hammer user.

While the Hammer offers the most possible actions in a single weapon, between standard strikes, aerial attacks, singular and full-bearing concussive attacks, and evasion, it stands as the hardest weapon to control and utilize. If you choose to handle the Hammer, be careful with your ammo and don’t forget to reload. 

If you want to do the most damage, you need to be directly next to the Behemoth, which is dangerous territory for anyone not equipped with a Nine Lives Cell and protection from getting knocked back. Getting close quickly isn’t an issue though with a nice lunging attack combo, mixed with the Hammer Jump and Double Jump techniques. If you can angle it right and the Behemoth doesn’t sprint away before your animation finishes, the Aerial Strike can do some good damage as well.

It’s not all bad. We didn’t put the Hammer in D or F tier for a reason. If used right, it can be great for staggering Behemoths and dashing away. In a game that focuses on dealing as much damage as possible to a single enemy in a short time, Hammers might not be the best fit for most people though.

X Tier – Ostian Repeaters

Dauntless Weapon Tier List -ostian-repeaters

The Ostian Repeaters are what you make of them! Find a good combination and they’ll be the best friend you could ever have!

The Ostian Repeaters are the only wildcard when it comes to a weapons tier list for Dauntless due to their very nature of customization. They are the one true enigma of the game. 

You see, the Repeaters rely on the determination and creativity of the player to come up with the most devastating combo of parts to assemble together. Starting out, the initial vanilla Ostian Repeater parts give some pretty heavy attack numbers but don’t offer much in the way of “extras.”

Players get a Basic shot, Skillshot ability, Thrown ability, and two types of reloading. Cut and dry, right? Well, mods tell a very different tale and can affect the way the Repeaters work significantly. Changing out the barrel, chamber, grip, frame, or prism can add different elemental damage types, add additional drops (like buffs or mines), or even add missiles and additional projectiles to the mix. A single button press can really unleash hell against a Behemoth if modified right.

However, if modified wrong or under-powered, it could easily put the Ostian Repeaters in an F-tier. Because of the customization that comes with these guns, there’s absolutely no way to place them properly in a tier list. At their best, they’re a difficult-to-achieve S-rank, but they’re nothing without their mods at base value. Welcome to X-tier, where you (the player) solve for X.

Final Thoughts On The Weapon Tier List

While the disastrously speedy Chain Blades easily take the cake as “best weapons in the game,” I’m particularly fond of how the Sword plays. It was easy to get comfortable with when I just started out and still does what I need it to as I progress later into the game and come across bigger, badder Behemoths. I’ve tried dabbling with other weapons, but none of them gave me the pizzazz that I was hoping for in early quests. 

The Ostian Repeaters always intrigue me when I see teammates utilize them correctly, having seen someone go solo with them during a Danger alert and win the battle for us single-handedly. If not for the late-game devastation that the War Pike offers, I’d easily put them hand-in-hand with the Axe, with no difference in tier at all.

The Dauntless developers, Phoenix Labs, sometimes add additional weapons, such as Grenades only being added during late summer 2018 and the Ostian Repeaters coming late 2018. Additionally, updates come pretty rapidly now that the game has officially gone out onto the Epic Games Store and is awaiting the imminent Nintendo Switch launch. So, it’s not unheard of that we could eventually see a new weapon to really shake up this list.

 

Check out our PlayStation 4 review of Dauntless to see how much we loved it! Then, go play it by downloading the game from the Epic Games Store (yea, It’s free to play).

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Albion Online is Going Free to Play Next Month

Next month Albion Online is going free to play after spending nearly two years behind what they call a $30 paywall. They said this in the FAQ section of announcement answering the question, Why are you making this change now? Here is the full text of their answer:

Overall, the game is doing very well. We have a fully staffed development team of 35 people, just released our sixth major post-release update, and have a stable and growing player population.

However, we’re also convinced that Albion Online can be taken much further. Our mission is to bring back that old-school, hardcore MMORPG feeling, to as many players as possible.

In today’s world, a 30-dollar paywall – the price of our cheapest game pack – is a massive deterrent for trying out a new game, especially one as unconventional as Albion Online. We believe that by removing the initial paywall we will be able to grow Albion Online as a game and continue to further expand our development team to bring you even more content updates and exciting new features going forward.

Ultimately, we believe this step will help us realize our long-term vision for the game.

As a thank you to their loyal players they’ll be giving anyone who has redeemed a starter pack before April 10th an exclusive Specter Wolf mount, 1,000 gold, and 3 days of claimable premium time. Starter packs will continue to be available until April 10th, and are in fact, discounted for the remaining time they’ll be available.

Premium status which can be bought with in-game currency or real money will remain the same. The only thing being changed is that barrier of entry wherein you must buy the game.

All of these changes take place on April 10th at 10:00 UTC. If you’d like to learn more about Albion Online going f2p you can find more information in the official announcement linked below.

 

Source: Official Site

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Switchblade, the MOBA with Vehicles is Now Free to Play

Vehicle-based games are rare so when Switchblade graced our inbox we knew had to talk about it. Switchblade is a 5v5 team-based MOBA where all the combat takes place with heavily armed sci-fi vehicles in a massive arena. The game is currently in Early Access and is being developed by UK development team Lucid Games. You can find it on Steam right now and Playstation 4 is scheduled very soon.

From a development standpoint, the move to free to play also represents a transition from Early Access to beta. Of course, this can’t quite be accurately displayed in places like Steam. For them being in beta means that the game is effectively feature complete. Beta is about getting player feedback, squashing bugs, and introducing more content.

If you’re interested in learning more about the game there will be a developer livestream tomorrow, January 23rd at 3 PM GMT on Twitch. They don’t have an agenda planned for the livestream but they will be there to answer player questions, celebrate the launch of free to play, and giving away some in-game currency. If you have a question already in mind send them a tweet and they’ll be sure to answer it on stream. This is especially great since 3 PM GMT is 10 AM Eastern so there’s a good chance you won’t be able to watch the stream live anyway. Thankfully the livestream will be available on social media after it wraps up so you’ll be able to watch it whenever you get the chance.

If you’re interested in giving Switchblade a try head over to Steam where you can grab it for free. If you haven’t already seen it be sure to check out the brand new, explosion-packed trailer below.

Source: Press Release, Official Blog

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Torchlight Frontiers Details its Free to Play Monetization

The Torchlight Frontiers folks have been pretty busy, releasing little bits of information every little while, but today they’ve released a pretty significant one: confirmation of a Torchlight Frontiers free to play model as well as their philosophy behind the monetization.

torchlight frontiers free to play

While the game’s free-to-play model is going to do its best to sell items “that you want to buy, but do not need to buy,” the game also offers a nod to the fact that some people don’t have time to earn everything via purely in-game means. As such, certain items that accelerate earnings like gold or luck will be on offer. There are also plans to include cosmetics like Fort decor.

The team is also considering selling special items like Relic Weapons on its storefront, though normal gear will always be earned from in-game pursuits. The blog suggests the addition of Relic Weapons is not finalized, but if it ever is there will be “reasonable” means to craft or find those same store Relics in-game.

Finally, the blog post states that content will not be paywalled and that its store items won’t be pay-to-win by virtue of the fact that Torchlight Frontiers isn’t a game you can win.

“We want you to be who and what you want to be in our world,” reads the post. “We know that killing a boss and finding that cool rare item is immensely satisfying, but buying that same item from a store or auction house is less so.”

Our Thoughts

Consider ourselves extremely leery of the addition of Relic Weapons to the in-game store, especially since those are literally means to buy power. Which can be seen as paying to win to some, semantics aside.

Source: official site

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Hearthstone’s New Expansion: Rastakhan’s Rumble!

Let out a Roar you Trollish fans! Hearthstone has unleashed it’s next major expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, unveiling it’s third and final expansion in the Year of the Raven. Anticipated to be the biggest digital card game this year by SuperData, raking in almost $414 Million Globally, Hearthstone releases its new expansion in varying years, rotating out older expansions at the end of the cycle so new players can jump in comfortably with the latest card packs and without needing to buy a sheaf of the older content. Its newly announced expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, is poised to honor this tradition with its December 4th global release on PC and Mobile.

For those of you not currently tuned into the World of Warcraft and its sizeable lore, Rastakhan is the king of the Zandalari Tribe, the greatest and most powerful troll empire to ever grace Azeroth. His importance can’t be understated, as he even features in Patch 8.1’s upcoming raid, The Battle of Dazar’alor. Rastakhan makes his mark upon Hearthstone with an event so powerful it, “only occurs once in a generation,” where every troll of every tribe across Azeroth unites in a great event to honor the Loa, their spiritual wild gods. Gathering in Stranglethorn’s Gurubashi Arena, the Loa have selected their teams and are now ready for Rastakhan’s Rumble!

The Class Champions of the Rumble.

Trolls are the name of the game in this Hearthstone expansion, and no toe has been left uncounted in that regard. Alongside a slew of new cards, every class has been drafted onto a Loa’s team and has not only received a Legendary Troll Champion card as their team captain, but the Loa themselves have joined the brawl as Legendary cards designed to act as match closers. We detail the full list below:

Druids have been brought to the forefront by Wardruid Loti and Gonk, the Raptor Loa for Gonk’s Raptors. One of the most savage teams on the battlefield, Druid cards will focus on maximizing their offensive destruction from brambly skin to razored claws of every kind.

Hunters have been summoned by the great Zul’jin of the Amani to serve Halazzi, the wily Lynx Loa. Together, Halazzi’s Lynxes are perhaps one of the most aggressive and cunning teams, building long-reaching plans of strategy to hunt and crush their enemies.

Mages must answer the call of Hex Lord Malacrass and his prayers to Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk Loa. Jan’alai’s Dragonhawks devastate the field with powerful magics and primal spell casts, often playing off of the Mage’s hero powers to weave intricate words of destruction.

Paladins have been bidden by High Priest Thekal, the immortal prophet of Shirvallah. Together, Shirvallah’s Tigers forge an army of zealots, where the most pious become truly immortal through their god’s powers, returning from the battlefield only to be summoned again.

Priests must serve Princess Talanji and the newest patron of the Zandalari, Bwonsamdi, the Loa of Death. Her future sold for the survival of her people, Bwonsamdi’s Zombies revel in the destructive powers of the shadows and necromancy, wreaking terrible destruction only to reap enemies back into their service.

Rogues head the call of the greatest pirate in the south seas, Captain Hooktusk. Bidden by the Shark Loa, Gral’s Sharks look to win the Rumble as slyly as they can, often bending the rules until they break and taken every opportunity to cheat their way to victory.

Shaman have been called to heed Zentimo, the last Witch Doctor of the might Frog Loa. Together, Krag’wa’s Frogs unleash the most potent Hexes that Shaman can weave, blasting the battlefield with one of the more magic-heavy compositions yet seen from a Shaman Hearthstone expansion.

The Warlocks are the most villainous group of the Rumble, aiming to win by any means necessary. Led by High Priestess Jeklik, Hir’eek’s Bats will throw away even the very souls of their own team members if it will secure a victory for their twisted Loa.

Last and certainly not least, Warriors will find a like and violent mind with War Master Voone. Akali’s Rhinos have only one strategy in their mind, and that is to deliver as much punishment with the heaviest armor possible. To them, if the problem can’t be solved by hitting things, its a problem not worth solving.

Rastakhan's Rumble

The Spirit of the Shark, one of the new Spirit cards for the Rogue class.

Things do not simply begin and end with the Champions of the Loa in Rastakhan’s Rumble; while they potentially offer devastating effects such as Hex Lord Malacrass’s battlecry adding your starting hand back into your current one, they are not the crux of strategy. Instead the Loa have gifted their teams with new Spirit cards to do battle with. These new Spirit Cards are based on that particular class’ Loa, and are designed to be a resilient, continuous buff for their team while on the field. Yu-Gi-Oh! players might equate them similar to Field or Continuous Spell Cards. The Warlock Spirit of the Bat card allows the player to sacrifice their creatures, giving a minion in your hand +1/+1 for each friendly minion that perishes on the battlefield.

In addition to new Spirit, Loa and Legendary cards comes a new card type: Overkill. Designed around the idea of truly humiliating an opponent in the gladiatorial combat that the Gurubashi Arena is known for, Overkill allows certain cards to re-enact their effects every time it kills a character. One of the weapons demoed at Blizzcon, Sul’thraze, also possesses Overkill, allowing it to continuously attack if it can kill a minion with a weapon attack. This new Overkill option allows players to create devastating combo effects, chaining cards like the Warlock Hellfire together with Sul’thraze to potentially wipe an entire arena clean of late-game monsters.

With the launch of Rastakhan’s Rumble will also come a new singleplayer mode. Rumble Run will allow you to choose one of the troll champions and climb the ranks of the Gurubashi Arena, slaughtering your way to fame and glory in the name of your Loa. Much like Dungeon Run from Kobolds and Catacombs, you’ll begin with a small deck of cards and receive new ones in succession through each battle. Completing all of the challenges in Rumble Run will reward players with an exclusive card back.

Rastakhan's Rumble

Sul’thraze the Lasher, one of the new Overkill cards for the Rumble.

Prior to its December 4th release, Blizzard is also offering two pre-order bundles for Rastakhan’s Rumble. The first is a 17-card pack entitled the Challenger’s Bundle, packaged with an exclusive cardback. The second, the Rumble Bundle, comes with 50 card packs and includes King Rastakhan himself as an alternate Shaman Hero for players to select.

A new expansion for Hearthstone is desperately need and fully appreciated, especially when looking at the competition Blizzard will soon be facing in the CCG market; Valve’s Artifact sets to debut just later this month and the already highly successful Magic: The Gathering Arena is in beta and quickly approaching its launch state. An expansion now is just what the Witch Doctor ordered, and looks to close out Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven with a true Shirvallan Roar.

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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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Bless Online Confirms a Free to Play Launch

It turns out the devs of Bless Online believe the game is ready for primetime. A free to play Bless launch has been confirmed, granting the early access MMO its firm calendar date for release…and it’s a lot sooner than many perhaps expected.

free to play bless launch

Tuesday, October 23rd will mark the date when Bless Online exits early access and goes live fully as a free-to-play game. Before then, there’s a new update that introduces a high-level Patala raid and a Halloween-themed event out now.

Those who bought in to the game’s early access will be rewarded depending on the tier of founder’s pack they purchased. Rewards include varying lengths of Premium Access time, costume and mount skins, and pets among other goodies.

“It’s been a long road, but we’re excited to finally launch Bless Online on Steam this month,” said Sungjin Ko, executive producer of Neowiz Bless Studio. “We believe that the Free to Play version of Bless, with all of the improvements we’ve made since Early Access began, will mark an auspicious beginning to the game’s life here in the West.”

All of the information about the game’s free to play launch as well as the rewards for founders can be found here, and a trailer is below.

Our Thoughts

It will certainly be interesting to know if this shift to free-to-play will mean a new lease on life for Bless or if it’s too little, too late as one of our own writers pondered. As for the release itself, we had a moment to ask questions of the devs about this launch and its plans from here, so be sure to check that interview.

Source: press release

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