UK NHS Has Called for a Loot Box Ban

The UK NHS has called for a loot box ban in a statement on the official NHS website. The NHS, National Health Service are the primary public healthcare providers for the United Kingdom and this declaration was part of a long term plan to improve mental health. It was the mental health director of the NHS, Claire Murdoch who called for the ban to be put in place. She warns that the games are in danger of “setting kids up for addiction.” She also cites figures from the Gambling Commission that show 55,000 children in the UK have been classified as having a gambling problem and the NHS estimates there are 400,000 in all of the UK with gambling addiction issues. She also cited a report by the Royal Society of Public health that found more than half of all young people see loot boxes and skin betting as forms of highly addictive gambling.

In the statement, Ms. Murdoch said, “Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end. Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new, innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing.”

She has called on gaming companies to do the following:

Ban sales of games with loot boxes that encourage children to gamble
Introduce fair and realistic spending limits to prevent people from spending thousands in games
Make clear to users what percentage chance they have of obtaining the items they want before they purchase loot boxes
Support parents by increasing their awareness on the risks of in-game spending

 

Source: NHS Website via Games Industry

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Next Elder Scrolls Online Chapter Revealed: Greymoor

Today Elder Scrolls Online revealed Greymoor, the next Chapter in the ESO story. It is the Q2 Chapter DLC and will be releasing on May 18th for PC/Mac and June 2 for Xbox One and PS4. It is available for pre-purchase right now and there are 5 editions to pick from that include digital and physical collector’s editions. For those wondering, yes, there is a statue! If you pre-order you’ll also get a bunch of sweet rewards, some of which you will gain access to right away.

Greymoor is actually the second part of a new year-long adventure that begins with the Harrowstorm DLC dungeon pack and including the Q3 and Q4 DLCs. Harrowstorm is set to release in February and kick off the Dark Heart of Skyrim yearlong event.

In the Dark Heart of Skyrim, an ancient evil emerges from the depths to devour the souls of Skyrim. Greymoor will introduce a new zone, Western Skyrim and include a gothic main story quest that ties into the Dark Heart of Skyrim. There is also a new 12-player trial, new world events called Harrowstorms, and a new Antiquities system. Also, there will be a number of quality of life improvements made to the game that includes a rework of the Vampire Skill Line. The rework will be available for free to all ESO players.

The Antiquities System is exactly what you think it is. There are ancient artifacts scattered all over Tamriel, become an Archaeologist and find them. The relics you uncover will include unique collectibles like furnishings and mementos.

Players who are familiar with Skyrim will recognize a number of locations in Western Skyrim including Solitude, Morthal, Labyrinthian, Dragon Bridge, and Blackreach cavern. The cavern won’t be exactly as you remember it from Skyrim however as they have expanded it even further.

If you want to learn more about Greymoor you can find everything you’ve ever wanted to know on the official blog post.

Source: Press Release

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Runescape Had its Best Year Ever

2019 was a record breaking year for Jagex as Runescape had its best year ever with memberships at an all-time high. But that wasn’t the only milestone they reached last year. Old School Runescape achieved its highest ever daily active player count. On mobile, it had more than 8 million installations. They also streamed a record breaking 11.3 million minutes of content from RuneFest.  A quote from Jagex CEO Phil Mansell about the record breaking year can be read below.

runescape menaphos expansion

“Putting Jagex on track for its most successful year to date, 2019 was a record-breaking year for Jagex and our RuneScape communities. We hit exciting milestones, welcomed more members and players to the games than at any point in their 19-year history, achieved significant success on mobile and saw notable industry talent joining our established teams to steer the future for our living games. We’re delighted and deeply appreciate the dedication of our staff and fans.

This level of success only comes with the passion of huge player communities, who engage with our games because of the amazing craft and care from our talented teams. It is thanks to these efforts that we’ve been able to greatly increase our investment in our existing games, new product development and the broader business with more than 100 new hires coming onboard in the last 12 months. This includes senior leaders joining from EA, Blizzard, Activision, Ubisoft, Riot and more, adding more than 250 years of cumulative games industry experience to the Jagex team.”

 

Runescape is also getting ready for its 20th anniversary which isn’t until January 4th 2021 but from the sound of it they are going big. Jagex will have a series of initiatives that celebrate the community. More information on those will be coming at a later date.

 

Source: Press Release

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Riot Makes the Leap to Tabletop Gaming with Riot Tabletop

Not only does Riot have a new card game coming out they’re also expanding into tabletop games. They recently announced Riot Tabletop. You may remember that a few years ago they released Mechs vs Minions, well now they’re going to be making another board game. This next one is called Tellstones: King’s Gambit. It’s a bluffing game for 2 to 4 players and a Demacian variant of a game played across Runeterra. They also said in their announcement that they have a whole lot more planned.

Why are they making board games? Well, because they’re gamers. Their offices are filled with stashes of all sorts of games. So they’re taking that love of physical games to the next level.

At the moment Tellstones: King’s Gambit is the only game they’ve announced but, they’re encouraging those who are interested in staying up to date on the development of their board games to sign up to get emails from them.

Riot is also venturing into the world of publishing with Riot Forge. This will allow other studios to create games within the League of Legends universe. Already, they have announced that they have several games in development, though we don’t have any details about them just yet. This year seems like it truly is going to be THE year for Riot Games. We can’t wait to see what they end up announcing next! When we know anything more we’ll be sure to share it with you all so make sure you’re following MMOGames on social media.

 

Source: Official Announcement

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Destiny 2 Has Launched a Campaign to Help Victims of Australia’s Bushfires

Destiny 2 has launched a campaign to help victims of Australia’s Bushfires. These fires have been going on for 3 months now and estimates say that it will take another 3 months before they are under control. In that time over a billion animals have been lost, 25 human lives and at least 2,000 homes have been lost.

Now Destiny 2 is joining EVE Online and countless other groups and websites online who have started raising funds to help Australia heal. For their part, Bungie is developing a limited edition T-Shirt to raise funds for both the Australian firefighters and animal rescue efforts. Pre-order for the shirt will be available January 16th through to February 18th in the Bungie Store and the Bungie Store EU. Christine Edwards, the Senior Foundation Manager for the Bungie Foundation had this to say about the fundraiser.

Over the past two decades, the Bungie community has been an amazing force for good in our world by raising millions of dollars to assist those in distress. In addition to supporting thousands of children through our iPads for Kids Program, you have helped victims of hurricanes Katrina and Harvey and have donated to those affected by earthquakes in Haiti, Japan, and Nepal. Time and time again, you have been Guardians to others in their greatest time of need.

The bush fires currently ravaging Australia have been devastating. Many people have lost their homes, firefighters are risking their lives daily, and an estimated hundreds of millions of wild animals have fallen victim to the fires.

We are developing a limited-edition T-shirt fundraising campaign to support both Australia’s firefighting efforts and the country’s animal rescue and conservation efforts. The T-shirt, which comes with an exclusive Destiny 2 “Star Light, Star Bright” emblem redemption code with purchase, will be available for pre-order on the Bungie Store and Bungie Store EU between Thursday, January 16 and Tuesday, February 18 at 9 a.m. Pacific, ending with the weekly reset and the end of Crimson Days. The team is currently hard at work on the T-shirt design and we’ll share a preview early next week.

The first half of all profits generated by these T-shirt sales will be donated to WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization. The other half will be donated to NSW Rural Fire Service, which services the state of New South Wales, where the fires have been especially devastating and are in dire need of containment.

Be sure to check out next week’s edition of This Week at Bungie for more details on how you can support Australia through this fundraiser. In the meantime, our hearts go out to all that are impacted and we are wishing for clearer skies ahead.

 

Source: Bungie Blog Post

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First Information about Cryptic’s Magic: Legends Revealed

We’ve known for a while now that Cryptic has been working on a Magic: The Gathering MMO but now we finally have the first details about Magic: Legends.

 

To start with, what we thought was going to be an MMORPG is actually an isometric action/RPG similar to Path of Exile or Marvel Heroes. It seems that Cryptic actually struggled for a while over what type of game it would be, even after the announcement was made in 2017. Here’s a quote from Cryptic’s Stephen Ricossa about that. “We went back and forth a couple of times on the type of game. We initially were like, ‘Oh, we’ll go with the kind of traditional MMO camera. And then we were like, ‘Maybe we’ll do a third-person action game.’ But because you’re summoning so many things, and especially the exciting big monsters, you were looking at a lot of Earth Elemental butt and things like that because you’re running around trying to find dudes to fight.”

This was just one part of a long article in Game Informer magazine. The whole thing uploaded by Redditor DoubleSpoiler and if you want to read it you can find it in the link below.

We also got our first glimpse of the game itself as Cryptic has updated its official site with information about two worlds as well as two of the classes in the game. First, there is the Mind Mage, who does exactly what you might think, uses psychic powers and telekinesis. The second is the Geomancer, with stone and lava attacks. There are three additional classes on the website that are listed as coming soon. This is the same for the worlds. The two that are revealed are the volcanic island of Shiv and Benalia, a church-state on the plane of Dominaria.

 

Finally, once again thanks to Game Informer we have our first look at the gameplay of Magic: Legends which shows off some pre-alpha footage and lets us see both of the classes that have been announced in action.

 

The fact that the game isn’t an MMORPG as had previously been announced has come as a bit of a disappointment to a lot of people. Still, there are others who are quite excited too. If you’re one of the ones who are excited about the game you can sign up for a chance to take part in the official beta right now.

 

 

Source: Reddit, Game Informer, and the Official Site

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Sea of Thieves Has Been Played By 10 Million People

Rare and Xbox took to the internet today to announce that Sea of Thieves has been played by 10 million people since its launch. That makes it the most successful new IP from Xbox this generation. When you remember that the game hasn’t even been out for 2 years yet, that’s a pretty impressive feat. The announcement was made on the Xbox website by Executive Producer Joe Neate. The full text of the announcement can be seen below.

We’re excited and humbled to share that Sea of Thieves has now been played by more than ten million players, reinforcing its status as the most successful new IP from Xbox this generation.

It’s mind-blowing to think of that many people setting sail on the Sea of Thieves, and it’s all been made possible by the support and passion of our fantastic community.

For everyone at Rare, the Sea of Thieves community represents the very best of what gaming can be. It’s home to players from more than eighty different countries, bringing together gamers on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One and Windows 10 PC and creating countless stories and moments that people can treasure. Seeing these stories shared through social media or other community spaces is something that inspires the team every day. To every person who’s played Sea of Thieves, thank you.

Our community will be at the centre of our January update – ‘Legends of the Seas’ – which will be available to all players for free from Wednesday January 15. Not only will this update celebrate our community and its stories, it will also feature two limited-edition gifts to mark our 10 million player milestone. Log-in to the game between January 15 and 22 and claim a free custom sail and a special new emote.

Once again, on behalf of everyone at Rare I’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s been on this journey with us so far. The best news is that we’re just getting started and have big plans for the coming year. See you on the seas!

 

Source: Xbox

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Albion Online Queen Update Coming January 20th

Sandbox Interactive has announced that the Albion Online Queen Update will be released on January 20th. It is the 8th update the game has received since it launched and the also the largest.

A standout feature in Queen will be Hideouts. These are underground bases that can be placed throughout black zones and allow guilds to live in the Outlands. Speaking of The Outlands, the game’s high-end PvP zones have been completely reworked. Higher tier zones will be at the center of the continent while lower end zones are along the edge. This will allow guilds of all sizes to be competitive.

Territories are now claimed in open-world battles and there are zerg debuffs that encourage quality over quantity when it comes to building an army.

There is also a new Crystal League which will allow players of all levels to participate in 5v5 battles.

New high-end dungeons are also being introduced along with the incredibly powerful PvE NPCs the Avalon.

Finally, there will be a number of quality of life updates new cursor icons, updated world boss icons, keyboard shortcuts to inspect players, and wardrobe skins. These wardrobe skins will allow players to display costume items while they’re wearing armor. Of course, there will also be incredible new armor for you to obtain as well. A variety of new costume sets will be available for purchase on the marketplace or unlocked in the appearance section of the player menu.

Right now this incredible update is just a little bit under two weeks away from being released and we can’t wait to jump in and give it a try.

 

Source: Press Release

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Classic MMORPG Mirage Online Makes a Comeback

Classic MMORPG Mirage Online is making a comeback on Steam as Mirage Online Classic. The game was created by two developers in 2001 and has been on quite a journey since then. After some time Mirage Online was given to new owners who made it an open-source project. Eclipse Engine, Xtremeworlds, Mirage Source, Playerworlds, and Secrets of Mirage were all games that came out of that open source project. In 2016 the two original developers of Mirage Online decided to bring the original game back using modern gaming language.

After a few very successful friends and family beta tests, Mirage Online has now properly returned. It launched on Steam on December 24th, which kind of explains why we previously missed it. The game is free to play on Steam and the developers have vowed not to have any gameplay impacting microtransactions.

The beginning of Mirage Online Classic is a primarily PvE experience until you create or join a guild. Once you’re in a guild the game shifts focus and becomes entirely PvP focused. If this sounds like your sort of thing you can find the game on Steam right now. The population of the game isn’t massive, but that isn’t the point. In an email to Massively, they said, “Our goal is simply to have 100 players (we’re at around 30 on average). This is a labor of love and is something we’ve put our heart and soul into.” So, if you’re looking for a small scale PvP game with a tightknit community then you might want to check out Mirage Online Classic.

 

Source: MassivelyOP

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NCSoft Filed a Trademark Application for City of Heroes in the West

In December NCSoft filed a trademark application for City of Heroes, specifically in the United States. This isn’t the first time they’ve done anything related to City of Heroes recently either. Last summer they filed copyright documentation for City of Heroes game code. That happened just a couple of months after the game’s code had been released to the public when it was revealed that there was a private City of Heroes server running. This is what allowed the Homecoming and other servers to open.

City of Heroes Screenshots Flight

What the trademark filing will mean for City of Heroes and the new servers that have popped up is anyone’s guess right now. We do know that negotiations with NCSoft and dedicated groups of City of Heroes fans have been taking place since shortly after the code was released into the wild. There hasn’t been any new update about those talks since. However, it should be noted that NCSoft hasn’t taken any legal action against any of the player-run servers. This isn’t to say they have their blessing either. It seems that they are simply willing to look the other way for now.

It should also be noted that while there have been a number of City of Heroes related trademarks through the years including City of Heroes Going Rogue and City of Heroes 2 there has been no trademark application for those names and they are no longer active trademarks.

We will just have to wait and see what all of this means for the City of Heroes fan servers. MMOGames will, of course, be keeping a close eye on everything NCSoft does and everything that happens with City of Heroes. The return of City of Heroes was, in fact, our biggest news story of 2019.

 

Source: MMOCulture via Maressa.net

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