Guild Wars 2 Introduces Capes

You’d think a game that is often referred to as Fashion Wars 2 would have already had capes but in fact, Guild Wars 2 only got them today. Yes, today Guild Wars 2 introduces capes to the game for the first time. These capes are backpiece item skins that can be used on any back item you already have. The fancy Emblazoned Cape is available in the gem store for 500 gems. This comes with 4 dye channels so you can color it to match your armor.

There is also a more basic version of the cape available for 10 gold and 10 guild commendations. This one is quite a bit smaller than the cape you can get in the gem store and it has your guild’s logo on it. It also only has 2 dye channels instead of 4. Even though I have the Emblazoned Cape I’ll be adding the guild cape to my list of things to get because I have 30 characters and capes!

ArenaNet has also noted that they cannot add dye channels to backpieces. This is a pretty wise move as the questions almost certainly would have started pouring in right away. They also added that there will be dyeable backpacks in different styles in the future.

In addition to capes, ArenaNet has brought out a couple of quality of life features that will help you get the most out of your cape. New checkboxes have been added to each weapon, giving players the option to hide their weapons when they’re stowed.

The update that released today also allows Engineers and Elementalists to swap weapons. Though they can only do so out of combat. There are a number of balance changes made to all of the classes and some that are for PvP only. If you want to read up on all of them I recommend you check out the patch notes.

 

Source: Guild Wars 2 Official Site

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Guild Wars 2 Whisper in the Dark Press Preview

Whisper in the Dark leads us to Bjora Marches in the Far Shiverpeaks. As you might expect this is a very cold zone and visibility there is low to say the least. You might expect that because it is further north than the Bitterfrost Frontier that it is as bitterly cold and as dangerous as that zone. But it isn’t. So far we’ve not seen any signs of the Bitter Cold environmental hazard that plagued the Bitterfrost Frontier. But it is possible that this could change in the future as Bjora Marches will be with us in future episodes of the Icebrood Saga and ArenaNet has said that the zone will evolve and expand with each update. The zone as it stands now is quite significantly smaller than previous Living World zones. This is to be expected, though I was taken by surprise by just how small it is.

I was fortunate enough to play on a map that was nearly completely empty except for a few people here and there. This allowed the sinister atmosphere that you have seen in the trailer to shine through. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this atmosphere will last when you’ve got everyone and their Sylvan Hound running around. It was a problem that The Secret World faced many years ago, how do you keep the spooky atmosphere you’re trying to portray when there are 50 to 100 people running around spamming sword attacks? Funcom ended up solving that issue by reducing the zone cap to just 10 people and it worked amazingly well for their game, though some would argue that it has made the game feel abandoned and soulless. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that in Guild Wars 2 however. That sinister area also only accounts for a small portion of the zone.

 

New Masteries

One thing that you see throughout Bjora Marches is the new masteries in action. There are four of them in total, Raven Attunement, and the three new essence manipulations. Raven Attunement I don’t want to talk about too much because all of my experience using it was tied in with the story. You will unlock it quite quickly though and you have to unlock it to gain access to essence manipulation.

You will have seen the essence manipulations system in action in the trailer. Enemies who glow green, red, or blue. Many of the enemies in the zone have this glow, though not all of them. You also aren’t at a disadvantage if you don’t have the system unlocked while you’re out in the zone. The impression is that these will be vital for the Strike Missions. This may also mean that they become more important as the story continues. For now, though, they’re powerful attacks that only work on the appropriately colored enemies. This means that essence manipulation is completely useless outside of Bjora Marches and I actually think that’s a good thing. My husband and I can already duo many of the champions in Tyria on an Elementalist and Engineer who are specced for fun, not for being the best. I would hate to see content in the old world trivialized by this new system. Though yes, I do agree with many that spending a bunch of time unlocking masteries that don’t work anywhere but one zone is annoying. This isn’t the first time we’ve done that though and it is unlikely to be the last.

As it stands now I worry that the enemies in Bjora Marches will be trivialized by this new system. When everyone has unlocked the various essence mastery points will people end up having to wait around for a champion to spawn again if they want to fight it because if they aren’t there at the exact moment the fight starts then the enemy is dead? Sure, I can see it coming in handy later in 2020 when we’ve moved beyond Bjora Marches to a new zone and getting enough people to fight a champion is difficult at best. Right now though, I’m not so sure about the system. It feels a bit like the Incarnate system from City of Heroes, for anyone who is familiar with that.

 

No More Legendary Weapons

The second generation of legendary weapons ended with the release of Exordium, a gorgeous greatsword that is singlehandedly responsible for me coming back to the game in a personal capacity after taking a year-long hiatus. As I recall, though I can’t find when and where it was said, ArenaNet has said that there won’t be any more legendary weapons after gen 2. This was a statement made several years ago however and things do change. After all, there was one point in time when ArenaNet said they weren’t working on an expansion and that Guild Wars 2 would never have an expansion, now we’ve had 2. So it is possible that a new legendary weapon could be released in the future. But it isn’t going to be in Whisper in the Dark and there has been no mention of a new weapon coming by ArenaNet so I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Still, the team had a lot of really fun uses of technology in the gen 2 legendaries, even if some of the weapons themselves weren’t all that well received. I personally don’t have any use for a weapon that gives you a giant demon hand, but it would be interesting to see other ways that technology could be applied. I would also gleefully grind for the rest of my days to have a complete set of weapons that work and look like Exordium. Anyway, the whole point is that this is the first proper update after all of the legendary weapons have been released and I’m a bit sad that there isn’t one. A weapon, possibly made of the Boneskinner’s bones would be so, so epic. Who knows, we may get this in the Black Lion store. But there’s something really satisfying about creating the weapon yourself.

Whisper in the Dark is playable right now as you’re reading this. As always, make sure you have map chat turned off and you ignore your guildmates until you’ve finished the story. Social Media, including Youtube and Reddit will be abuzz with spoilers. Have fun and don’t let the Boneskinner get you.

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Guild Wars 2 Whisper in the Dark Trailer Goes All in With Atmosphere

The Guild Wars 2 Whisper in the Dark trailer has been released ahead of the update next week and it is giving off some serious Secret World vibes. Whisper in the Dark is the first episode of the Icebrood Saga which will see us taking on Jormag, the Elder Dragon of Ice and Persuasion.

As part of the update, a new map called Bjora Marches will be introduced in the Far Shiverpeaks where whispers have been scratching at the minds of Kodan and Norn. There have also been sightings of a terrible, but incredibly badass looking creature dragging unsuspecting victims into the trees.

There is a new Raven inspired exotic scepter skin. This isn’t the only time Raven, the Norn Spirit of the Wild will come up in Whisper in the Dark either. There will be the Raven Attunement, one of four new multi-tier Mastery tracks fuelled by Norn spirit magic. The other that has been revealed so far is Essence Manipulation. What the others are has yet to be revealed.

The update will also include three new Strike Mission bosses, including the Boneskinner. These will be available on a weekly rotation and provide unique rewards for players who defeat them.

Finally, the Whisper in the Dark update will have a new two-tier upgradable Ancient Boreal weapon set…and a campfire smores roasting kit.

Check out the amazing trailer for Whisper in the Dark below and get hyped because the update releases on November 19th. If you haven’t logged in recently you have until that date to get the Prologue to the Icebrood Saga for free just by logging in.

Source: Press Release

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Guild Wars 2 Build and Equipment Templates Press Preview

Last week I got an early peek at the new Build and Equipment Templates that are now available in Guild Wars 2. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty opinion from someone who has been playing since launch and has 30 characters at level 80…well..it’s not that simple. I have some mixed feelings on them but, to put it simply, I don’t think they’re for everyone. Keep reading if you’d like to know more.

 

How They Work

By now you’ve likely seen a build swap in action thanks to the video ArenaNet released on their social media accounts. With the click of 4 buttons, you can completely swap out everything. It really is that simple if you’ve done the work ahead of time. These builds allow you to have completely different armor, different stats, different everything. And, if you set up your key bindings swapping is actually as simple as pushing two buttons. The pictures throughout this article show the whole thing in action.

Your build templates can be shared in chat and become a clickable link you can inspect. So expect chat to be filled with build links when you log in. If you see a build you like you can save and you’ll be able to access it account-wide. It’s like having Meta Battle at your fingertips.

Your build template and your equipment template are two separate things that have to be changed independently of each other. Or you can keep one the same, though I’m not sure why you would when you can do so much more.

 

Templates for the Average Player

One of the big things that we’ve seen a lot of in the community since the details of the templates were announced was that it wouldn’t be enough. Some people are saying they have 25 builds for every character they have and that is something I just do not understand. For most of my 30 characters, I have 1 maybe 2 builds. I dabble a bit in WvW but mostly I’m a PvE player who avoids raids. It seems that these people are a very vocal minority. But they aren’t totally SOL either. If you have more builds than you can store then simply keep a notepad on your desktop with the codes for your other builds. Yes, you’ll still have to swap out your equipment manually but it’s not like they’re taking that away from you. That’s just continuing with the way things have always been.

For the average player, there are more than enough slots. Without a doubt, the biggest benefit most players will get is the ability to use both elite specs on the same character with ease. In fact, I made my 30th character last night just to do that very thing. Anyone who uses different builds for WvW, PvP, Fractals, or Raids will also find them handy. It makes me wish we had these back when Magic Find armor was still around.

As someone who mains an Elementalist who is played exclusively with an Engineer I’m excited about this function because it finally gives us the ability to weapon swap. Though with 30 characters my version of weapon swapping is changing characters and that is by design. For others, though this gives those two classes more versatility. Equally, Revenants will finally be able to use all of the stances on one character.

One thing I’m glad they didn’t do is make Equipment Templates sharable. This would create a toxic situation where people would demand to see what equipment you’re in before they start a fractal with you and other situations like that. Though that can be faked as easily as a faked build template that isn’t a direction I want to see the Guild Wars 2 community go in.

For most people, I don’t think templates will change the way they play unless they go out of their way to change their characters. Which is very possible. Until the idea of using both elites on the same character came to mind I honestly didn’t see any benefit for myself beyond having alternatives for my WvW Elementalist. Even then, because I have so many characters I really don’t think I will ever use them very much except to swap looks. Which is something I’ll talk about more below.

 

How They Can Be Expanded in The Future

As a roleplayer, the biggest omission from these new templates is a wardrobe template. This is Fashion Wars is it not? You give me those and I promise you I will pay for more. I’m the sort of person who has bags of armor just to swap looks. Now, I know this isn’t for everyone, but neither are build templates.

Another way they could be expanded in the future is the ability to link an equipment template and a build template together so that you just push one button and it swaps both at the same time. It’s just one little step further that would be a big quality of life improvement.

In the end, I don’t think build templates are going to be that big of a deal, except maybe on the sale of character slots. For most people, the number of template slots that you start with will be more than enough. For others…I still question why you have so many builds…but it isn’t a total loss either. It may not be exactly what you hoped for but nothing is being taken away and it will make things a little bit easier for you. If nothing else it will free up a bit of bag space. These are just my opinions though, and I know that my experience in the game is not the same as anyone else’s. Your views may be completely different. But before you make any final decision on templates give them a try and let the dust settle. Also, keep in mind that not everything has to be for everyone and maybe this just isn’t for you. Build and Equipment Templates are available in-game right now if you want to give them a try all you have to do is log in.

 

 

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Guild Wars 3 May Be in Development

Yesterday news that Mike O’Brien, President of ArenaNet would be leaving the company after being with them for 19 years. He’s joining some former ArenaNet employees who have created a new studio and will focus on making smaller games. An unnamed source told Kotaku about the departure last week before it was announced and said that he had been working on a new Guild Wars project, potentially Guild Wars 3.

It turns out if this source is correct that O’Brien will be one of 8 developers leaving Arenanet, all of them together were the early development team for this new Guild Wars game. Another source told Kotaku that while Guild Wars 3 had not been greenlit officially the work O’Brien’s team had done could have developed into a sequel.

The work that the team had done will be staying with ArenaNet so there is the potential for it to be used for Guild Wars 3 or another game in the future. So far there hasn’t been any sign of these other departures that are supposedly coming, but, it is possible that these have gone unnoticed and unannounced or it might be that O’Brien’s departure was just the first and that more are coming.

Right now we will just have to wait and see what happens in the coming weeks. Will these other departures, if they happen, join O’Brien at the new studio he’s joining? Again, we will have to wait and see.

Guild Wars 2 is seven years old now so the idea of a sequel to the game isn’t completely beyond the realm of possibilities. Hopefully, the project gets picked up by someone else in ArenaNet and development continues on, whatever game it turns out to be.

 

Source: Kotaku

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Guild Wars 2 Grothmar Valley Preview

As someone whose favorite playable race in Guild Wars 2 is the Charr, I cannot express how excited I was when I first heard that the new season of the living story would involve them. While we Charr fans may be in the minority we have been waiting effectively 7 years for new Charr content in a big meaningful way. Sure, there have been Charr every step of the way, we saw them fighting back the jungle in Heart of Thorns and we met the Olmakhan tribe in Living World Season 4. They’ve been there, they just haven’t had their time in the limelight, until now. Below are my thoughts on Grothmar Valley, the new zone that we can explore in Bound by Blood. There won’t be any story spoilers, so feel free to keep reading if you’d like to know more.

The Ascalonian zones have always been some of my favorite areas in Guild Wars 2 from an aesthetic point of view. They feel the most realistic out of every part of the world. Grothmar Valley, which is located in the heart of the Blood Legion Homeland is gorgeous. Truly, the best Ascalon has ever looked. It’s the type of place that just feels like home, even if you aren’t an 8-foot tall fur covered war machine.

While you’re in Grothmar Valley there’s a festival taking place that has everything you’d expect to find at a Charr festival. There’s a shooting range, live bands, great food, and a giant wooden Charr effigy, just waiting to be burned. There are a number of different events to attend and it’s important to know what the current time is for the server, which differs from real-world time. You need to know this because there are several signs telling you what the upcoming events are and they use server time.

Thankfully, it’s very easy to know what the server time is at all times as there is a toggle to make it visible.

  1. Hit Esc to bring up the menu you use to log out, select Options.
  2. On the General Options tab, which is the tab the menu will open on located User Interface
  3. Under User Interface you’ll see In-Game Clock:
  4. Set In-Game Clock to Server Time
  5. The clock will appear on the bottom left corner of the mini-map.

Keep in mind though that this is the server time and it is not the current time. This is something that is often confused since there is nothing to indicate you’re looking at server time instead of local time. If you like rather than turning it on you can activate it for a moment just to check the time then turn it off again before you close the options window.

 

While the festival is fun, it’s actually the history of Grothmar Valley that I loved the most. In the days of Guild Wars 1, Grothmar Wardowns and Dalada Uplands were areas you could play in. In a far corner of Grothmar Valley, you’ll find some ancient Human ruins along with some ghosts. This is the location of the Doomlore Shrine which was once the entrance for the Cathedral of Flames. That’s not the only history to be found in Grothmar Valley though.

What was in Guild Wars 1 the Ooze Pit dungeon can also be found in Grothmar Valley. Of course these days it is providing Gladium an opportunity to prove themselves while defeating the ooze that pour out of the hole in the ground. This event is only open for a limited time each round and requires a group, ideally 15 people in total to complete it. Sadly there were only three of us when I got the opportunity to try it out, but there is always something deeply satisfying about fighting ooze. We also did a pretty decent job with the event despite our limitations.

What is easily the most interesting spot on the map, the reason the party is being held where it is, is the location where Kralkatorrik once rested. In the past, he slept in an island in a lake, and now that spot is gorgeous. I feel so lucky that I was able to see it without anyone else around. I could see it being a popular roleplaying spot for any rpers who dare leave the bar both because of its significance to the history and recent events in the game and because it really is just beautiful.

While Grothmar Valley is gorgeous and fun to explore, I will admit that it isn’t going to be one of those zones you spend a lot of time in once you’ve played through all the content. It does mean that some of the events will become more challenging to complete but I’m ok with not having a super grind-heavy zone. It’ll give me time to work on some of my ongoing projects and Chef skills. I haven’t reached 500 yet, have you?

I also like that we won’t spend months grinding there because of what we know is coming up in Episodes 1 and 2. For those who missed the announcement, it was stated that the two episodes would take place in the same zone but that the zone would evolve between one episode and the next. New areas will appear with new achievements, new stories, and new events. It sounds a lot like a return to the development style of Dry Top. A style that worked really well, giving us plenty of things to do without having to create totally different zones in totally different biomes like they have been doing with the living story. However, this means we are going to be spending months, possibly as much as half a year playing in this one zone. Bound by Blood is offering us the opportunity to catch our breath before we dive into the meat of the next season.

Bound by Blood is playable right now and it is free for anyone who owns Path of Fire, so what are you waiting for? Jump in and explore Grothmar Valley for yourself.

 

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Guild Wars 2 War Eternal Press Preview

Today is the release of the final episode of Guild Wars 2 living story season 4, titled War Eternal. While we have had the opportunity to play through a good portion of the story we won’t be talking about that at all in this article. It is one of those stories that is best left for you to play yourself and you should do it as soon as you can because people will be talking about it in game and on social media.

I will be completely honest with you now, I spent 90% of my time in the preview playing with the Skyscale. Yes, I was exploring the new zone which has a lot of great verticality to it and a lot of little nooks and crannies but all the exploring I did was in the context of the Skyscale.

At first working out how to use the Skyscale was a bit of a challenge. There’s not one, but two bars for you to keep an eye on and being able to find a flat surface to recharge on isn’t always easy. Once you have found one they aren’t always easy to land on. Think of when you were first starting out on griffon and you wanted to land on a tiny branch. It takes skill and practice. Attaching yourself to a wall and jumping up it is also something that takes a bit of skill. Even after a couple of hours in the preview I wasn’t totally comfortable yet with walls. Where Skyscale totally sold me though was hovering. You’re basically on a tiny one person living helicopter. Skyscales can stay hovering in place basically forever, assuming nothing gets aggroed and attacks. I can already picture an army of Skyscales floating in the sky waiting for the Shadow Behemoth or Claw of Jormag. It sets an epic picture in your mind.

The attack, which I will admit I didn’t write down the name of is something that will be familiar to anyone who has played against any of the smaller fire breathing dragons in Guild Wars 2. It’s the good ol’ fly in a circle breathing down fire. Why though you decide to jump off while that’s happening…that’s a different matter altogether. Yes, for the game mechanic as ArenaNet has made it you have your attack and you dismount, it makes sense. But thinking about it in terms of reality. Why the hell would you jump off your dragon while he’s flying around burning things? Clearly, the safest place to be is on his back.

One thing that I will admit underwhelmed me a bit in the preview was the new Legendary Greatsword Exordium. It is very shiny and to me immediately screams Mesmer. One of the problems I have with it is how similar it is in style to another weapon skin that already exists in the game, the Immortal Greatsword. Yes, it absolutely is bigger and flashier…but I don’t think it’s worth all the effort and money that a legendary weapon costs. It also doesn’t feel like it That is, of course, just my own personal opinion and you might have a totally different one. I think another part of what made it so underwhelming for me was my total inability to get a good screenshot of it. For that reason the images of Exordium in this article are those that were provided by ArenaNet.

Finally, I do want to talk a little bit about the new zone, which I’m not actually going to name because this article is going out moments after the episode releases and people won’t have had time to discover it yet. As I mentioned previously the zone has a lot of verticality to it and is a lot of fun to go around with your new Skyscale. But, if you don’t have Skyscale unlocked that’s ok. ArenaNet has done a fantastic job of making the zone accessible. All over the place you’ll see updrafts, bouncing mushrooms, Jackal Portals (or as I call them, puppy portals) and Oakheart’s Essence. They’ve made it very easy to get around the zone no matter where you are in your Guild Wars 2 playing experience. The zone also has a lot of different biomes and as a result a wide variety of enemies to take on. Anyone who takes their time going through the zone will be rewarded with little things that are incredibly easy to miss as you’re quickly passing through. ArenaNet also does a fantastic job of having characters from the story out in the open world once again where you can see them deeply involved in their projects, which once again I won’t say what they are, because…spoilers.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about War Eternal that doesn’t stray into spoiler territory. The episode is available to play right now so if you aren’t already patching…what are you even doing?!

 

But I want to finish this article by saying a big thank you to GuildMag which, after an incredible 9 years as part of the Guild Wars community is sadly saying goodbye today. Through the years many different people have worked on the magazine and website. The Guild Wars community won’t be the same without GuildMag. The good news is that while GuildMag is ending, many of the people on the team currently will be continuing under a new name on a new site. The details of that haven’t been announced yet but it seems that there will be some sort of announcement after the end of Season 4. We’ll be keeping a close eye on social media to get all those details as soon as they’re available. Thank you again GuildMag, we’ll miss you.

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10 Absolutely Shocking or Surprising MMO Events

The video game industry isn’t all about making games; that would be so downright boring. That is why now and then we get a shocking scandal, surprise announcement or surreal occurrence. Here are 10 controversial or surprising happenings that spread like wildfire and in some way changed the industry.

Save the Whales – Lockbox Legislation Around the World

Video Game Industry Scandals Star Wars Battlefront 2 lockboxes

Do you like gambling? Great! So why aren’t you inside a casino? Oh, that’s right, most games nowadays come with some sort of gambling feature called lockboxes. The premise is simple and ingenious: you are promised amazing in-game rewards that will be all the rage. So, what should you do? Purchase more and more of these boxes to increase the odds of getting that rare piece of gear or costume. Go on, put that credit card to use, games don’t make themselves, you know?

That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice. Always be responsible with your spending.

The shady thing with lockboxes is that the odds of really getting something worthwhile are incredibly slim and shrouded in secrecy, not to mention that they have this tempting allure that many players aren’t able to resist. It does sound a lot like gambling, right? That is how you end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on randomized pieces of loot.

Oddly enough, it was China that first started looking into this matter and demanded that developers publicly revealed the odds of earning an in-game item. Crossfire was one of the first games to come to light and the ludicrous 3% proves that lockboxes are a wonderful deal… for publishers.

Other regions such as Belgium and The Netherlands started investigating lockboxes, with some games such as Overwatch stopping the sale of lockboxes in affected regions. Electronic Arts was involved in this controversy as well, with games such as Star Wars Battlefront 2 and FIFA 18 being mentioned as examples. Of course, other countries aren’t entirely sure about this subject. France and Ireland, for example, aren’t the biggest fans of lockboxes but see this practice as a legally grey area.

Lockboxes are a touchy subject and will surely continue to be discussed during the following years. My advice to you is: if you really like a game and want to support the development team by spending some money, which you should totally do, look at the item shop and leave lockboxes alone.

 

Riot Games Bro Culture, Testicle Flicking and Gender-Based Discrimination

Video Game Industry Scandals League of Legends Riot Games

Riot Games achieved intergalactic fame riding on the success of League of Legends, but by late 2018 it was talked about due to the worst possible reasons: an alleged culture of sexism, a “giant fraternity,” and a “bro culture” where women were not welcome. It was a place where women were discriminated against, as their career progression was stifled as positions went to less-qualified men.

Kotaku created an amazing article with several interviews that dropped like a bomb in the already fragile and scandal-ridden video game industry.

Naturally, this piece spread like wildfire and had severe repercussions, with Riot Games having to undertake some serious damage control. Riot’s COO Scott Gelb was in the spotlight by facing accusations from multiple employees about repeatedly flicking testicles, farting on employees or humping them for comedic effect. Sounds like a lot of fun when you are on the receiving end, right?

To cut a long story short, several former Riot Games employees started sharing their experiences after reading the articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and the least that can be said is that it is some heavy reading. Riot Games eventually apologized, but the damage was done, and the past can’t be erased. How it has affected the studio – and League of Legends – remains a bit of a mystery, but I doubt that it did them any favors. And it’s so easy to apologize after your humiliating studio culture is revealed to the world…

 

A Bad Case of Battle Royale – PUBG Corp Sues Left and Right

Video Game Industry Scandals PUBG

Here’s a lawsuit for you! And you! Everyone gets a lawsuit!

There is no denying that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the game that kickstarted the Battle Royale craze. It remains as one of the most played games in its genre, but it is now trailing behind Epic Games’ Fortnite, and Respawn’s Apex Legends is also proving to be a worthy challenger.

However, if there is one thing that developer PUBG Corporation can’t claim is having invented the Battle Royale genre or its mechanics. That is why suing Epic Games sounded more like a desperate attempt to put a stop to the rising fame of Fortnite Battle Royale than an authentic, credible case. It felt more like a kid throwing a tantrum because someone stole his candy. His delicious, everlasting candy.

But before the Epic Games lawsuit, there was a previous one targeting NetEase. PUBG Corporation wasn’t pleased with Knives Out and Rules of Survival, going to the extent of detailing several game mechanics over 100 pages. Claiming copyright infringement for things such as a pre-game lobby, the air jump, character attributes and much more seems a bit of a stretch. Sure, I’ll admit that the frying pan armor may be somewhat original, but still…

PUBG is a huge success and shady copycats were bound to happen, but it will be a depressing day when a studio is granted the copyright for trite game mechanics or a completely unremarkable game idea. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that the day will never come.

 

Trust Us, This Time It’s Good – Bless Online Western Release Mess

Video Game Industry Scandals Bless Online

Bless Online is the perfect lesson in exaggerated hype and subsequent disappointment. May its legacy serve as a warning for future generations about the dangers of high expectations.

For the lucky few who aren’t aware of the whole situation, Bless Online is a Korean fantasy MMORPG that was several years in the making and had a large budget as well. A few lackluster betas led to a Rebuild project that ended up not changing that much, and the attrition between original western publisher Aeria Games and developer Neowiz was a clear sign that Bless Online wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

Ultimately, Neowiz decided to self-publish Bless Online in the west through Steam, but with a major twist – it was going to be buy-to-play! An unfinished, buggy mess of a free-to-play Korean game that the western crowd was now expected to pay for. Oddly enough, many players cheered this decision because things are always better when you pay, right? With the reality shock and negative feedback stemming from the Early Access phase – because Bless Online wasn’t in development for long enough, you know –, there was a 180º turn and Bless Online’s official launch marked a switch to the original free-to-play business model. Too little, too late?

Apparently, yes. As the original Korean servers shut down, along with the failure of the Russian and Japanese versions. The Steam release of Bless Online is now the sole focus of Neowiz. Unsurprisingly, it is bleeding players and its future is uncertain, to say the least.

But I saved the best for last! Out of the blue, Neowiz and Bandai Namco announced Bless Unleashed, further stirring up the hornet’s nest, a.k.a. Bless Online PC players claiming that resources were being shifted to this upcoming game. This Xbox One exclusive is developed in Unreal Engine 4, is free-to-play and is scheduled for a 2019 launch. How does that old saying goes? Fool me once, shame on you…?

 

Who’s the Parent – Daybreak / Columbus Nova Chaos

Video Game Industry Scandals Daybreak PlanetSide Arena

Daybreak Game Company was in the spotlight for an important part of 2018, and no, it wasn’t due to the massive layoffs (around 70 people). It was because of all the confusion surrounding Daybreak’s alleged parent company, Columbus Nova.

The makers of Z1 Battle Royale, DC Universe Online and PlanetSide Arena, among others, were involved in a tangled web of miscommunication, doubt and unexpected twists. Daybreak has officially denied any affiliation with Columbus Nova, claiming that Jason Epstein, former member of Columbus Nova, is the primary owner of the studio. This conflicts with a 2015 privacy policy which described Columbus Nova as the parent company.

This almost feels like a detective movie, involving a Russian oligarch, billions worth of frozen assets and nail-biting suspense. All that is lacks is a romantic subplot, but let’s not make it more complicated than it already is.

 

Elves on Spaceships – Pearl Abyss Purchases CCP Games

Video Game Industry Scandals Black Desert Online

What does it take for one Korean studio to acquire a hugely reputed developer with a massive hit that has been live for more than 15 years? The answer has three words: Black Desert Online.

Pearl Abyss delivered a stunning MMORPG that is almost unrivaled when it comes to graphics and action combat. It is also incredibly deep and complex – so much so that it’s awfully grindy and requires a hefty dose of patience, and usually money, to become a powerful player. There are reports of players having spent over $5,000 USD on Black Desert Online, and I’m betting that is the tip of the iceberg.

With such revenue numbers, it’s clear that Pearl Abyss had a bit of pocket money. They decided to use it on the acquisition of CCP Games, makers of the intergalactic epic EVE Online. Apart from the upcoming release of EVE Online in Korea, we don’t know what other plans Pearl Abyss has for the Icelandic studio. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t involve spaceships landing in Black Desert Online.

 

A Handful of Nothing – Wargaming Seattle Closes Without a Single Release

Video Game Industry Scandals World of Tanks

Gas Powered Games is a name that brings back some pleasant memories. It takes me to a time when I enjoyed playing the Diablo-like Dungeon Siege, or the complex real-time strategy series Supreme Commander. However, in 2013 the studio was suffering from severe financial issues and ended up being purchased by World of Tanks publisher Wargaming.

Thus, Wargaming Seattle was born, along with hopes of a new “big free-to-play MMO” that never saw the light of day. Five years later, not a single piece of info or a measly screenshot was released to the public, and Wargaming decided to cut its losses. The studio was closed, affecting a 150-strong team and leaving the gaming community oblivious to what kind of project was in development.

However, this isn’t stopping Wargaming’s ambitions. The Belarusian company acquired Edge Case Games in November 2018 and has several partnerships with various developers, one of the latest being Ukrainian studio Frag Lab, which is working on a next-gen free-to-play MMO first-person shooter.

 

Not So Heroic – Marvel Heroes Downfall

Video Game Industry Scandals Marvel Heroes Gazillion

There was once a time when Marvel Heroes merged the best of two worlds: Diablo-like gameplay and super heroes. Sure, it didn’t have the greatest start, but just as it happened with other online games – League of Legends is the perfect example –, it eventually got better as development progressed, gameplay was finetuned and new heroes joined the fray.

After a few years of live service, some worrying news came to light, and not all of them involving the game. A sexual harassment scandal concerning Gazillion’s CEO Dave Dohrmann is a major problem, and Disney’s (owner of Marvel) intention to cut ties with Gazillion was a death sentence. It all ended with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2018, meaning that the studio wasn’t paying its creditors and was forced into bankruptcy by the same entities.

Gazillion workers ended up without any kind of PTO or severance, making the entire situation even more dramatic.

 

Worlds Divided – Gamigo Buys Trion Worlds

Video Game Industry Scandals Trove

Trion Worlds was once one of the most prolific free-to-play games publishers and developers. Trove, Rift, Defiance and Atlas Reactor are all their own doing, and you certainly have heard about ArcheAge as well.

While some of these games were moderate successes, they weren’t enough to keep the company afloat. In October 2018, German publisher Gamigo acquired Trion, along with the full rights to the aforementioned games. They even managed to get a few Gazillion assets (makers of Marvel Heroes) in the deal as well.

Gamigo was undoubtedly one of the top players in the free-to-play market when the genre was on the rise. Recently, however, its catalog is more discreet, with the decent shooter Ironsight being one of the latest releases.

 

Guild Lost – ArenaNet Layoffs and a Grim Future

Video Game Industry Scandals ArenaNet Guild Wars 2

For some reason, ArenaNet felt to me like one of those studios that couldn’t do any wrong. Sure, it’s not like they have done much besides Guild Wars and its sequel, but both MMORPGs were critically and commercially acclaimed, thus my appreciation and admiration for their spotless track record.

Nonetheless, there are very few studios that manage to keep going for years without the occasional new release. Founded in 2000, ArenaNet was allegedly working on two new projects, but delayed development and a shift of staff from Guild Wars 2 to these unannounced games ended up being an unsuccessful move.

Reports mention over 100 layoffs at ArenaNet following a restructuring decision by the studio’s owner NCSoft. The future of ArenaNet is now uncertain, and if there aren’t any new games in an advanced stage of development, there is only so much that new Guild Wars 2 expansions can do. I fear that we will end up seeing the talented staff being engulfed and separated by NCSoft in a not-so-distant future.

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Guild Wars 2 WvW Mount The Warclaw Announced

WvW players know all too well that content for the least popular game mode is rare, so when it does happen it’s something really exciting. That’s why we’re so excited that there’s a Guild Wars 2 WvW mount coming out. This mount won’t just get you around the battlefield quickly, though there is that benefit.

The Warclaw comes with three special abilities that will enhance your WvW gameplay. The first is Battle Maul. When you jump into battle while mounted your Warclaw will maul your enemy before it disappears. This is your standard attack and dismount move.

 

 

The second ability is Chain Pull and from a WvWer’s standpoint possibly the most exciting of the three abilities. Those on Warclaws will be able to help pull down gates to gain entrance to whatever structure the zerg is currently focused on. This is an advanced ability which almost certainly means that it will have to be unlocked. As of writing this, pre-embargo we don’t yet have that information.

The final ability is Evade. Get a quick burst of speed and evade attacks allowing you to break through enemy lines. This will be especially useful in Castle sieges where getting a team through the hall quickly to attack from behind will add a very interesting new element to the event.

The Warclaw is will be available on February 26th for anyone who owns Path of Fire. While we may have to wait a week before we can play with it we can see it now in this fantastic trailer.

 

 

As someone who is a long time fan of WvW, I’m especially intrigued to see what kind of impact Warclaw will have on WvW. Though I suspect that having the mount will become a requirement for taking part in the game. This has the potential to leave some people behind who haven’t bought Path of Fire and have no plans to do so. Expect WvW queues to come back for the next few days as everyone wants to give the new mount a try.

If you’re interested in The Warclaw it can only be obtained in WvW but, it can be summoned anywhere other mounts can be summoned. That means you will be able to use it in the open world. However, the Chain Pull ability is something that has very limited use in the main PvE part of the world. So, while it will be fun for getting around with it may not have much utility. Still, how many Charr are we going to see running around riding on Warkitties? The answer is a lot…including me.

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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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