Welcome to the Dead Zone – The Latest Game Mode For Space MMORTS Starborne

Starborne is a novel space MMORTS in which individual games for galactic supremacy take place over a set time period, namely 10 weeks. This 4X grand-strategy take on the sci-fi genre was designed by ex EVE Online developers and is not without its similarities. Players can forge their own destinies as industrial moguls or cosmic fleet captains on the frontline, with their choices and skills carving the road to victory or defeat for their chosen alliance.

The game has been playable as an open beta since April, and recently developers Solid Clouds have been hard at work crafting a brand new game mode dubbed Dead Zone. This mode condenses gameplay to a 4-hour bout – just 3% of the time that a regular Starborne game takes – and last weekend was previewed in the form of a tournament with the victors being given the opportunity to contribute to the Starborne lore.

The preview showed off the following features and innovations: 

  •       4 hour game rounds
  •       Four new playable factions; Nightcorps, Les Apaches, Surpasum and Gatos Fritos
  •       Claiming special hexes now gives unique empire-wide bonuses
  •       New much smaller map featuring 25-player starting locations 
  •       New cards and overhauled card pool 
  •       New Nebula
  •       New Station Planner with new buildings and organizations
  •       Sprawling Radiation pools now appear on the map and must be contained

Commenting on Dead Zone, Stefan Gunnarsson, CEO and Lead Designer on Starborne said, “We have been playing Dead Zone a lot in the office and we are incredibly excited about its potential. We have spent the last few years building up our own framework to make large-scale strategy games and Dead Zone is a showcase of how powerful that framework is becoming. Our community has been the cornerstone behind our success so we are excited to reward the victors of this first Dead Zone Tournament with a unique opportunity to contribute to the history of the Starborne universe.”

If you’re a fan of 4X Strategy games and want to try your hand at a space MMORTS then dive into the open BETA for Starborne by following this link.

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EVE Aether Wars Going for a World Record Fight and You’re Invited

You may recall at GDC EVE Aether Wars made headlines when 14,274 people were all logged in to a single instance, multi-region game world. Well now on November 23rd during the EVE London meetup at London’s O2 Arena and all across the internet you will have the chance to take part in a world record attempt. Their aim is to break the record for the largest fight ever in gaming. If you want to be part of this record-breaking event you can pre-register to take part by adding the game to your wishlist on Steam. Yeah, it seems like it is going to be that easy. The record that they’re trying to beat is actually already held by EVE players. That’s the Battle of B-R5RB which had 6,142 players on 23 January 2018.

That isn’t the only news to come out of EVE Vegas so far either. NetEase and CCP have announced that the open beta for EVE Echoes will be in December 2019 for iOS and Android.

“We’re very excited for the first public outing of EVE Echoes, the next revolutionary step in mobile MMO gaming,” said Hilmar V. Petursson, CEO of CCP Games. “I can’t wait to see the reaction from our core PC players, who will no doubt recognize the unparalleled scale and sophisticated gameplay of EVE Online’s virtual world running through the veins of EVE Echoes.”

“CCP Games is a pioneer in space MMOs, and will make its mark on the industry even further by expanding the EVE experience to mobile with EVE Echoes,” said Ethan Wang, Vice President of NetEase, Inc. “Combining CCP’s leadership in game design with our NeoX game engine and leadership in game publishing will no doubt create a spacefaring sandbox MMO for mobile devices unlike anything seen before.”


Source: Press Release

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Space MMORPG Second Galaxy Launching this Week

Three thousand years in the future humanity has formed an empire in the stars called “Second Galaxy.” In this Second Galaxy, five regimes have emerged, each eager to further colonize the universe. Players in this open world MMORPG have the freedom to play any role they like from explorer to bodyguard, miner, or merchant.

The universe of Second Galaxy has 4,961 galaxies to explore that are filled with dark matter, wormholes, space stations, and more. In those, nearly 5,000 galaxies are more than 50,000 stars across 1,000 light years. There are five types of spacecraft with over 150 classes to pick from. Customization of your ships is impressive as well with more than 1,000 types of tactical equipment, 3,000 spacecraft components, and 5,000 technological upgrades.

You’ll be able to see thousands of players on the screen engaging in real-time combat. Thanks to their advances in technology the game can support half a million concurrent players. Quite impressive for a mobile game. Yes, all of this is in a mobile game.

Second Galaxy will be launching globally on iOS and Android on July 5th. Though it’s being called a soft launch, so maybe it’s just a beta? Honestly, does anything mean anything these days? From the sound of it though, they mean for it to be a launch.

This gorgeous looking mobile game looks like it could give EVE a run for its money. If you’re looking for more information about the game you can find them on Facebook or on their official site. Pre-registration is now available as well.


Source: Press Release

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Conqueror’s Blade – Game of Warlords

Conqueror’s Blade is one of your best choices when it comes to experimenting that Game of Thrones warfare sensation. Sure, there is a notorious shortage of dragons in Booming Games’ medieval sim, but the lighting is infinitely better than the one seen – or rather not seen – in the battle of Winterfell.

Having direct control of a general and dozens of units at your command, Conqueror’s Blade doesn’t lack thrills, castle sieges or Wilhelm screams, for that matter. It’s an exciting alternative to Mount and Blade, a beautiful chaotic mess that brings more to the table than you would initially expect.

Conqueror's Blade Preview Fief

I Siege You

Conqueror’s Blade gets the ball rolling with an unlikely but far from unique component, a questionnaire that is meant to kickstart your Warlord selection through means of a few choices. It will serve as the basis for your character stats, but your choice of class is of uttermost importance. There are 10 classes to choose from, with two of them being exclusive to the female Warlord: dual blades and short bow.

To say that your class choice will determine your play style is an understatement. This decision is crucial, as your performance on the battlefield depends on how well you can make the best of your character’s skills. Conqueror’s Blade is no stranger to a little bit of stun lock and you can also get stuck in the middle of the enemy troops with no chance of slashing your way out, so you have to think things through before diving headfirst into the heat of the battle.

Picking a ranged class such as Musket or Bow will let you target your foes from the relative safety of a soldier barrier, but you’ll miss out on the devastating swipes of the Nodachi or the piercing damage of the Spear. It’s always a tough ordeal to choose your starting class, so don’t worry if you feel tempted to restart with a new character later. Combat is a bit clunky and could be improved, as I’ve experienced collision detection issues that didn’t do the game any favors.

Conqueror’s Blade isn’t just about castle sieges, but this is undoubtedly its main selling point, the feature that stands out when you watch any trailer. It’s impressive to watch and even more jaw-dropping to participate in such kind of emergent gameplay, with dozens of players haplessly running around as all hell breaks loose. Sieges play very differently depending on your side of the barricade, a random selection that will make you defend your enemy’s assault or, in case you’re the invader, command your troops to use siege towers, battering rams, ladders, calling in a trebuchet strike and whatever means you have at your disposal to breach the castle’s defenses.

Conqueror's Blade Preview Castle Siege Defense

It’s impressive. It’s noisy. It’s brutal and distressing, with corpses of soldiers and horses lying on the ground everywhere you look. It’s not as bloody as it could be, but the battlefield will inexorably see some red splatters here and there, irreparably tainting the formerly yellow deserts or the green pastures.

Field Battle is another one of Conqueror’s Blade’s highlights and a game mode where you’ll spend quite some time. It’s a relentless back and forth between capture points, as both teams feel helpless between successfully guarding a flag and daring to conquer another one. Teamwork is utterly important in order to avoid futile travels to the closest flag, with no Warlord staying behind just in case the enemy decides to make a move. In the end you have to be smart with your units, use them to your advantage instead of going full-on Rambo. Chaos won’t get you anywhere – tactical mindfulness will.

There are other game modes such as Expeditions and Deathmatch, with the latter being an all-out skirmish between Warlords, with no units involved. Territory Wars only takes place a couple of days each week, but this is the most striking event for high level players.

Conqueror's Blade Preview Castle Siege

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

Conqueror’s Blade has a fully functional war system and capable of delivering some truly massive and epic showdowns. But since this is an MMO, there is a progression system and the grind that usually comes with it. I didn’t find it to be overly punishing, contrary to my initial expectations, as you can reach level 30 in just a few days if you set your mind to it. While castle sieges and field battles are your primary means of leveling up, there are quests to help you as well, some of them intrinsically connected to the battles such as killing a given number of archers.

Better yet, there is a whole open world out there for you to explore. It’s not your standard open world from an MMORPG, as it feels more like a strategic map instead of a sprawling world without boundaries. You can develop and upgrade your castle by gathering resources from the surrounding lands, exploring farms, quarries and other places that will grant you essential resources. You can even attack other castles and units out there in the open. This tactical map almost feels like a second game on top of the playable warfare parts, adding significant depth to a game that wasn’t too shabby to begin with. Joining a House will surely expand your chances of success, as you and your fellow Warlords take on castles from rival Houses.

Conqueror's Blade Preview Open World Tactical Map

On top of that, there are trees for everything that you can think of. A skill tree for your character, a unit tree to unlock and upgrade the three types of troops (melee, ranged and cavalry), a technology tree related to the production of resources, and a mount tree… just kidding, there is no such thing, although I would love to see elephants and camels thrown into the mix. Who knows, maybe further down the road this will become a reality.

Currently in open beta, Conqueror’s Blade features some of the best medieval battles that I’ve witnessed in a video game. It’s exhilarating, occasionally frustrating as well, but a successful siege is an immensely rewarding experience. It may be a bit rough around the edges when it comes to character combat and those loading times did get on my nerves, but other than that I didn’t stumble upon any glaring game-breaking issues.

Ultimately, Conqueror’s Blade delivers what it sets out to do – to offer a remarkable, vicious battlefield that will drain you and beat you to a pulp, and I’m having one hell of a time trying to keep up with its bloody clashes.

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The Division 2 Open Beta Weekend Coming This Week

If you haven’t had a chance to get your hands on Division 2 yet you’ll be getting the opportunity very soon as there is going to be a Division 2 open beta weekend for all platforms. Even better, it is going to take place this weekend! March 1-4.

If you have had the chance to play The Division 2 thanks to their private tests there will still be something new for you to try out this weekend, so it is well worth logging in this weekend.

During the open beta weekend, players will have access to three main mission on Normal and Hard modes. Two of them will be familiar to those who took part in the private tests, Grand Washington Hotel and Jefferson Trade Center. The third one is new to this test, the Viewpoint Museum.

Along with a new main mission, there are a few other new additions. To begin with, the level cap will be raised to level 8. Capitol Ruins will also be introduced as another Skirmish PvP map. The skill Chem Launcher will be introduced with two variants; Riot Roam and Explosive Vapor. There will also be two new Settlement Projects and 5 side missions to tackle.

Finally, players who finish Jefferson Trade Center will get the opportunity to see The Division 2’s end game content. Once the Jefferson Trade Center has been completed three level 30 characters will be unlocked along with an end game mission. The mission begins as soon as one of those level 30 characters is logged in.

The open beta won’t be under NDA, so expect to see some people streaming it this weekend if you can’t get logged in. The development team also stressed in the announcement that the version of the game in the beta isn’t final and elements are subject to change. Check out the open beta trailer below.


Source: Official Site

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Valve Tweaks the Monetization Model for Artifact

Artifact, the online CCG being launched by Valve, is already making some waves before it even enters beta…and not the good kind. Complaints regarding the “pay for everything” style of the Artifact monetization scheme has prompted backlash from potential players and a bit of adjustment by the game’s publisher.

artifact monetization

As we reported earlier this year, Artifact is a buy-to-play game that requires you to pay additional money for card boosters or to purchase cards from the in-game marketplace. The only in-game way to earn cards would be through winning draft events, which require you to use an Event Ticket — another item that’s bought with real money.

On top of these paywalls, players have expressed their dismay about the fact that cards from said boosters are almost always the same you’d get from the base game, making them ultimately worthless in the marketplace.

In response to at least a few of these concerns, Valve has penned a dev blog post that will introduce some changes in the next beta builds. An option to create a draft event with friends will be included, and a Casual Phantom Draft mode in Casual Play will let players practice the draft style of gameplay without burning an Event Ticket. Additionally, a system will be included that lets players recycle unwanted cards into event tickets.

Nothing in the blog post, however, addressed any of the other paywall complaints.

The draft options will be available with today’s public beta, while the card recycling system will go live over the next week or so along with other beta improvements.

Our Thoughts

The dev blog reads to us like they’re slowly walking back changes to see just how much paywalling they can actually get away with, which probably won’t sit well with fans of online CCGs. Especially when there are other, more freely open and available digital card games out there.

Sources: PC Gamer, official site

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Black Desert Online Kicks Off its Xbox One Open Beta

The wait is finally over for console players who have been eager to get their sandbox MMO on. The Black Desert Online Xbox open beta is…well…open starting today, with the game offering up a pretty healthy variety of things for players to get involved in during the testing period.

black desert online xbox open beta

The open beta build of BDO for Xbox One promises to provide a game that lets players fully explore the various systems and features the full game will offer. Part of that promise is a full 40 levels of character advancement in order to let players dig in to the game’s skill system.

The open beta will also feature four general player events, seven daily game master events, and a variety of out-of-combat pursuits such as fishing, trading, gathering and the like.

The open beta for Black Desert Online will run between now and Monday, November 12th. All of the details on how to install the game and timing for the various events can be found at this dedicated Xbox One page for the MMO.

Our Thoughts

40 levels of beta access certainly seems like a lot, but considering the various carrots one can chase in this game (or the varieties of grinding one can burn their face off of, depending on how you look at it) this certainly does make a lot of sense. Here’s oping that the beta is reasonably smooth and that players enjoy.

Source: press release

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Lost Ark Debuts a Lengthy Open Beta Trailer

We’ve discussed before about just what the in-development MMO Lost Ark has been doing all this time, but a new Lost Ark open beta trailer has provided perhaps an even tighter look at where things stand right now with 13 minutes’ worth of gameplay to showcase.

lost ark open beta trailer

The video covers pretty much everything one would want to know about Lost Ark, from a look at the game’s different classes, to its gathering professions, to PvP and PvE pursuits. There’s even a brief look at some of the game’s social hubs, house building and sailing around the game world. The trailer is in Korean, however, so you’ll have to use your own context clues about what’s being showcased, but honestly it’s not difficult.

According to MMO Culture, Lost Ark is working on first stabilizing the game in Korea before pursuing a larger release, and even then China will be the first territory to see the game outside of Korea assuming the country’s ongoing games freeze thaws out by then. For now, you can take in the complete look in the embed below.

Our Thoughts

That is some pretty spiffing MMOARPG gameplay, to be sure! Lost Ark certainly ticks many of the right boxes for a Korean action MMO, including flashy classes and interesting locations and set pieces. We’re hoping to hear more on whether this game will be coming further West, but as our writer noted, that likely won’t be a development we’ll see until sometime in 2019. Maybe.

Source: MMO Culture

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Black Desert Online Dates Xbox One Beta and Debuts the Archer

It’s a pretty busy news day for Black Desert Online fans. Not only has the sandbox MMO offered up its first look at the new Archer class, but the BDO Xbox One beta also has a launch date for those eager for a bit of MMORPG on their console.

bdo xbox one beta

First, the console stuff: a screenshot of an email shared to the Xbox One subreddit announces that Black Desert Online will enter open beta on Thursday, November 8th at 12am PST. The beta will include the Berserker, Sorcerer, Wizard, Witch and Warrior classes, and will be an open beta without any NDA.

This hasn’t been officially announced on any official channels yet, but it does run parallel with playable demos of the Xbox One version at this year’s TwitchCon. The event will also feature the latest playable build of the MMORPG on mobile.

Finally, the game’s newest class has gotten announced in press release and teaser trailer form. The Archer (AKA the male Ranger) uses a combination of crossbow and magical attacks to keep enemies unbalanced and at distance. You can get your first look at him in the video below.

Our Thoughts

Okay, yea, the Archer looks pretty stylish and all that, but let’s get back to the Xbox One beta. It feels like it’s been forever since we’d heard anything new about the game’s arrival to consoles, but now we’re just that much closer to its ultimate release. Perhaps TwitchCon will have some new information to reveal?

Sources: Xbox One subreddit via MMORPG.com, press release

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Robocraft is Prototyping a Single-Player Campaign Mode

Games like Robocraft and Robocraft Royale are certainly more fun with others, but every now and again you need to unplug and just play a game by yourself. That’s where the in-development Robocraft Campaign mode comes into play.

robocraft campaign mode

The new feature is making its way in a “first draft” release this coming Thursday, October 11th. The intent with this early release is to collect constructive feedback on the mode’s direction as well as to shake down some bugs. With that in mind, the mode will be feature incomplete, offer only two or three campaigns, and will feature AI that isn’t as intelligent as it will be in its full release.

A dev blog from September offered some more insight into where Campaign mode will be going. The mode will essentially be wave survival, with four waves of enemies and a boss to fight in the fifth wave. Players will have up to five lives, though higher difficulty levels will pare that number down. Campaign modes can also feature build restrictions similar to Brawl mode.

As the mode develops, the team hopes to introduce different Campaign styles like Survival or Timed Elimination, as well as add multiple robot types in a single wave and more weapons fielded by the AI. If the Campaign mode is well received, there are also plans to create a feature that lets players build and share their own Campaigns.

Our Thoughts

First draft or not, this definitely sounds like an intriguing feature for Robocraft and a way to expand the game beyond simply being either an arena brawler or battle royale title. Here’s hoping this open testing pans out and the mode is liked enough to develop further!

Source: official site

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