World of Warships is Raising Money to Save Real Life Submarine

World of Warships is raising money to save real life submarine, the USS Batfish. The submarine played an integral role in naval warfare during World War 2. It sank 15 Japanese ships, including 3 Japanese submarines in just 76 hours. That makes it the most successful submarine killing sub in history.

Unfortunately, in May the Muskogee War Memorial Park in Oklahoma experienced terrible, record-breaking floods. This flood nearly claimed the USS Batfish, but there is a campaign to save it. The Friends of the Muskogee War Memorial Park are looking to raise $150,000 to move the submarine to a safer location and get it restored so that people can tour it and even have overnight experiences.

Before the Flood

“To those who do not see it, the Batfish represents a weird roadside attraction dedicated to crazy sailors who wanted to honor their lost friends. To the inquisitive mind with an eye for history, a visitor can learn about the value of service, the impact that the United States Submarine Force had on the war in the pacific,” explained Brent Trout, Executive Director of the Muskogee War Memorial Park. “Simply put, our World War II submarine museums are in danger. Some of them are well funded and in the right place, but others are in jeopardy of being scrapped. Protecting the USS Batfish means saving history and protecting the sacrifice of every sailor who called a submarine home.”

This is where Wargaming and World of Warships comes in. They are running a campaign to Save the Batfish with an in-game package. Players will have the opportunity to donate $10 to restore the historic submarine and in return, they will receive a wonderful in-game token of appreciation that includes eight Dragon Flags and a combat patch similar to the patch worn by those who served on the USS Batfish. 100% of the bundle sales will go to the Muskogee War Memorial Park.

After the Flood

On November 22nd World of Warships will host a charity stream on Twitch where those watching will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of the USS Batfish.

This isn’t the first time Wargaming has done something like this either. Two years ago they raised $300,000 to restore the USS Texas.

If you don’t play World of Warships or you want to donate more than $10 you can do so on the official GoFundMe Campaign for the USS Batfish.

 

Source: Press Release

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World of Warships Submarines Preview: Hardly Sub-Par

Over the past few years, World of Warships has managed to grow into something special all its own. Hardly a World of Tanks on the high seas, the franchise has managed to create something significant with its naval battles and continues to grow each day with its available ships, online capabilities and strategies. Not to mention it’s performance on console, now that World of Warships Legends has a full release on PlayStation 4.

So what’s the next step for the PC release? How about a new layer of strategy, literally? For years, fans have been asking for submarines to be added to the game. We’re not sure if it’s just the idea of being able to attack destroyers from underwater, or just replicating the notion of being like Sean Connery in The Hunt For Red October (or, like the game’s director tells us, the captain from the legendary film Das Boot, which is well worth checking out), but the team apparently decided they would make this key addition to the game. Soon players will be able to take them for a test run. Wargaming Austin invited us down to take them for a test run.

Since players have been requesting submarines for some time, and considering Warships’ base has grown to 30 million active accounts over the past four years, Wargaming has been paying very close attention to players aspirations for the game. With 300 warships to choose from above the water, the team decided to sink to the depths to see what else it can offer. This new class does change things up a bit, as players can do quite a bit both on the surface and beneath it.

For this new addition, the developers actually had to do a bit of rebuilding with the maps. That’s because, beforehand, they actually had everything set to go on the surface, but not beneath it. So they had to create the depths below on each individual map to make this happen. It makes sense since there was no reason to go beneath the water beforehand, but it’s necessary with submarines as you’ll want to see the destroyers you’re sneaking up on and prepare your attacks accordingly.

Over the course of the next few weeks, submarines will enter beta-testing within the game, across various classes. It will start in three key countries: the United States, Germany and the USSR. You can see the available classes below, as broken down by the publisher:

  •  The United States: the Cachalot (Tier VI), Salmon (Tier VIII) and Balao (Tier X).
  •  Germany: the U-69 (Tier VI), U-190 (Tier VIII) and U-2501 (Tier X).
  •  USSR: the S-1 (Tier VI), L-20 (Tier VIII) and K1 (Tier X).

Tiers vary depending on skill set, so those that are just getting the hang of them will want to start with something on the lower set, like the Cachalot. As they become more experienced, Warships vets will want to try their luck with the K1 and the U-2501, just to see what they’re capable of. They’re really something, based on our hands-on time with the models in the multiplayer tests.

When it comes to submarines being on the surface, there’s an advantage with conserving oxygen. However, that also makes you visible to not only enemy ships, but also attacking planes from the sky. You’ll want to make sure you’re doing this only when you’ve got minimal enemy presence around you, or you need to regather for a moment while you figure out your next move. Once that’s done, you’ll want to move down to the next level, periscope.

Periscope level does bring your speed down a bit, but that doesn’t sink you too far into the depths where your oxygen depletes too badly. This also gives you the access you need to target enemies and fire torpedoes, using an effective targeting system once you get someone in range. The targeting system does take a little bit of practice, as it’s not as typical as the firing range on a destroyer. However, you’ll see how effective it is once you get used to its range and timing.

Something to keep in mind; the game doesn’t have a mode where you can attack other submarines, at least not yet. For the time being, the beta that will launch over the next few weeks will simply have submarines going up against warships, and vice versa. Wargaming did note that, in the future, there’s the possibility of an update in which it could launch full-blown underwater warfare between ships. For now however, you’ll want to keep warships firmly in your sights. Keep your periscope firmly trained on targets above water, because it won’t do any good trying to fire at anything beneath it.

Now, back to torpedo firing. When you do use a targeting system, you’ll use what’s called an acoustic pulse. This enables you to see what lands within your range, though you’ll set up shots properly so you can hit something. It’ll take time to get this down, so be patient.

One other note about the acoustic pulse is that it makes you very vulnerable. By activating it, some enemy vessels will be able to see you on the map. It’s just for a short while, but it could be just enough time for them to figure out your position, so make sure you’re ready to move.

Speaking of movement, one thing you’ll want to keep in mind with water depth is how it can affect your speed. I talked above about how oxygen can be depleted depending how deep you are underwater and speed is affected as well.

If you’re right above the surface, oxygen doesn’t run out too quickly, and you can move at a pretty moderate speed. However, if you go deeper, the oxygen does start to run out much more quickly, and you’ll be forced to go much slower. If it’s stealth you’re going for this might be a good tactic, but you don’t want to stay underwater for too long, lest you run the risk of damaging your vessel and being forced to surface way too quickly, possibly setting yourself up for a counter-attack from enemies.

Once you get used to a submarine’s movement, it can make quite the team player in World of Warships. Not only are torpedoes effective to destroyers and other ships, but you can use it to “spot” other ships and report to fellow teammates above water. It can be used to “spy” from lower depths, as well as possibly set up damage for someone to come along to finish them off.

Ah, but that does not mean that the other team won’t be ready for you. Remember earlier when I mentioned something about depth charges? The heavier warships in Warships are more than packing for this occasion. If they know that submarines are in the area, they’ll have the option to drop a few of these. If they manage to hit your vessel, they’ll do a significant amount of damage to the hull. By reading “pings” in the water, they can gather a good idea of where to drop, so don’t think it’s going to be peaceful going on the hunt.

Some warships will also have anti-submarine mortars as well. These may not be as damage inducing as depth charges, but they’re highly effective once they have you in their sights. Be prepared to get out of the area quickly if you see one of these set you up.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about lighter ships attacking subs. The destroyers seem to be the ones that can do the larger amount of damage. Do keep a look out though. They can even ram submarines if they surface, and that can leave quite a mark, as we learned from one particular skirmish during a match.

You can go fully underwater if you want to creep along the ocean floor and there’s a positive and a negative to this.

The negative is you won’t be able to see your enemies. However, you will be able to use what’s called a hydrophone. With this, you can see which way the nearest enemy ships are going as well as objects and such. From there, you can determine what their trajectory is, and figure out your next move. That could mean sneaking up to the surface and firing a couple of torpedoes, or alerting your fellow teammates to prepare for an attack.

Again, this will take up a whole bunch of oxygen, but those who literally go deep with thier strategy, or those who want try something stealthy may want to give it a go to see what it offers. It’s a pretty neat trick, provided you don’t run out of breathing air first.

As far as control set-up goes, submarines handle pretty smoothly in Warships. Steering is about the same, and you can set up a pretty moderate speed on the same level as you could with destroyers and other vessels. The main difference here is that you can utilize the C button to dive and the F button to surface. Keep in mind that like the speed buttons, these are gradual so you won’t rise or drop right away. You’re going to go slow in these situations, so if you’re beneath the water and want to get up to the surface, it’s going to take a few seconds. Likewise if you’re looking to drop on some foes so you’ll need to plan ahead. This isn’t exactly like sinking a stone. A submarine requires some time to sink to the ocean floor in reality and in game.

Wargaming took its time redesigning the particular maps for the upcoming World of Warships beta that will utilize the submarines, and it shows based on the levels that we played thus far. The ocean floors look absolutely beautiful, and blend right in with the overhead action that took place with previous World of Warships sessions. It’s almost like it didn’t miss a beat, and considering all the rebuilding that had to take place, that’s really something. What’s more, the level of design on the submarines themselves, as you can see in the screenshots, is cool as well. Here’s hoping that the team adds some classic models over the next few months, including that Das Boot model that the director was talking about. (We’ll take a yellow one too please because, well, you get it!)

As far as when submarines will be fully integrated into World of Warships, the team expects them to arrive in 2020, once beta testing has successfully been concluded. They expect the game to go through that over the next few weeks, as well as make the rounds at a few trade shows, including this week’s Gamescom event.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like World of Warships: Legends will be getting submarines. The team does have a “never say never” sort of approach to the game, but considering they set up those versions of Warships with more of an arcade style, they’re likely going to stick with above-the-surface action for now. Still, you never know.

Wargaming has something special here. While submarines do require a greater deal of strategy to soak in, and a lot more balance when it comes to survival, it’s pretty cool stuff once you get things figured out. The visual style is great, adding a layer to the game that we never thought that we’d get to see. Fans are sure to love what it has to offer as it goes into beta over the next few weeks and into full launch sometime next year.

World of Warships is available now on PC. We’ll keep you informed once a full beta schedule becomes available.

(Wargaming Austin flew us down and provided accommodations for the hands-on preview. We thank them for their hospitality!)

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World of Warships Legends Interview: Bringing the Hit Game To the Console Front

At this point, players have gotten a chance to dig into World of Warships on the console front with World of Warships Legends, Wargaming’s free-to-play version with modified controls. While a bit different from its PC brethren, it’s just as exciting, and offers up an abundant amount of content, including an exciting Hunt For Tirpitz campaign.

For those unfamiliar with the game, we decided to dive a little deeper and speak with Player Interactions Manager Filipp Glushakov, who’s also known in the community under the name “Philigula.” 

First, after having the beta in testing for the past few months, Glushakov talked about the feedback that came from it.

World of Warships Legends

“(It’s been) mostly positive,” he explained. “Whatever players have not liked yet, we’ve been pretty quick to fix or offer them something else. We were very tight knit with the community right from the very early alpha, when it was like a hundred people. And the beta was a couple of thousand. And now we have the live server, we have testers, we listen to feedback and collect every day, and I have documents to prove it.” He added a smile at the end.

Next, we discussed the changes that were made to allow World of Warships to run properly on the console front. There were some tweaks when it came to the player count, going down from 12 vs. 12 (the PC standard) to 9 vs. 9; and also some modifications to the controls so that they would operate with an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. We asked Glushakov how the team went into these changes, and if everything went through as planned, or if more work is intending to be done.

“Most definitely, we did make all the changes to make the game work,” he said. “I guess the scaling back of the teams for the purpose of perfect matchmaking is just what needed to be done simply because we have two platforms (Xbox One and PlayStation 4). And no matter what expectations we had, we needed to account for that, because it is a niche game. Just naval combat. I mean, ask your friends how many of them know about such a thing.

“So, thankfully, our scaling back did not impact anything and we have more folks than we expected.”

Then he got into a rather interesting factor about the game that could really play a factor with a future update. “Plus, we’re thinking about cross play (between the two platforms). That’s going to be helpful, I’m sure.”

World of Warships Legends

For the time being, though, “When you go to match nowadays, one platform at a time, Tier III to Tier VII, you should find one pretty much instantly and with full teams and have all the fun you can or just yellow, I’ve seen them do it a couple of times.”

For those jumping into the game for the first time, Glushakov provided a quick rundown.

“We have 15 maps, over 70 units of warships currently, spread across four nations, and I’m sure there will be one more nation before the end of the year,” he explained. “I can’t quite unveil what that will be (just yet). We’ll have several thematic events, we have campaigns in every update, which are essentially a set of tasks that you go through to complete that can earn you rewards. And you can double, triple those as well. 

The game is free-to-play, but he also talked slightly about Microtransactions. “If you invest a little bit in doubloons – it’s 2500 for a full campaign pass, so to speak, we call it Admiral’s Backing.”

But it’s completely optional. “If you’re willing to invest time, you can be rewarded handsomely for that time. Not only will you gain rewards, but how your skill will grow, how many different ships you will have, different nations and different classes, and so on and so forth. And, finally, Commander roster, yeah. You’re going to have quite a few of those. It’s now at 30.”

And don’t worry, “noobs.” If you’re a newcomer to the World of Warships saga, there’s no danger to giving the game a try. While the higher-up Tiers are best recommended to those that are seasoned with the game, there’s a good starting ground for you to learn what it has to offer, according to Glushakov.

“The rules are pretty simple, but sometimes you can get a little overwhelmed if you try to start it at hard tiers,” he noted. “But if you just follow initial progression of the game, you should be like a fish in water.”

He then talked a little bit about customization. While there aren’t too many full-blown features with this available in Legends just yet, there are things that players will be able to modify that they can have fun with.

Glushakov explained, “You can install upgrades on your ships, which will tweak their performance. When it comes to visuals, we have flags, both historical and we’ll have some flags for fun coming soon. We have different camos, again, something more based on history, and, I believe in the future, we might have something bright and in your face. But, of course you would be able to disable it.”

As for the future, “I dunno about any decals or anything like that, so for now it’s just the flags and the camo.”

So, no pink camos. “No,” laughed Glushakov. “Outside of the realm of possibility, I doubt it.”

However, he did bring up another fun factor. “But players ask me about giving names to their ships…we’re probably not gonna do that either. Because an Iowa is an Iowa is an Iowa.”

World of Warships Legends

World of Warships Legends is available now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s free-to-play with optional microtransaction purchases.

(Wargaming did fly us down to the event to try the game out and speak to developers. We thank them for their hospitality!)

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Gamescom 2019: Submarines Are Coming to World of Warships

During Gamescom today Wargaming made it clear that Submarines are coming to World of Warships. Closed testing on submarines is set to launch in the next couple of weeks and as usual, players who are participating in the World of Warships Supertest will be the first to try it out.

The first test will include 4 submarines representing the US Navy and the German Kriegsmarine. More details about the submarine models are set to be announced later on during Gamescom.

“World of Warships has continually evolved with new gameplay mechanics, innovative game modes and rich content since its release,” said Artur Plociennik, Executive Producer of World of Warships. “The uniqueness of submarines poses very interesting design challenges for our team, which we hope to be able to turn into novel new gameplay tactics for our players and to make online naval combat more exciting than ever before. We are always looking for new ways to make our audience happy and we’re aiming to fulfill every player’s fantasy of WW2 submarine operations.”

Of course for fans of the game, it has been clear that this has been coming since Halloween last year when Steampunk submarines were added to the game for a bit of limited time fun. Previously, however, Wargaming had said they would never add submarines to World of Warships. But as the demand for them never faded it was really only a matter of time.

As we learn more about the Submarines we will be sure to update this news post.

 

Source: Press Release

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World of Warships: Legends Hands-On – Hitting the High Seas

Even though it’s been in beta for a few months now, but Wargaming’s World of Warships: Legends is finally ready to set sail on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 August 12th. This free-to-play naval warfare game is likely to get its fair share of fans for its strategic combat and entertaining multiplayer combat. The team at Wargaming has also done its homework and made the experience work well on console, not just PC. In fact, they are so confident in how it plays, they invited us to their Austin offices to give the game a test drive before its full release.

World of Warships

There are some changes you’ll want to take note of, as the console version is slightly condensed from its PC brethren. Instead of full-on 12-versus-12 battles, it’s more along the lines of 9-versus-9. When asked why the count shrunk, the producers explained how the cut makes the battles a little bit faster, something console owners are certain to appreciate. Based on what we played over the course of our sessions, they’re pretty much on the money.

The battles themselves are based upon tiers. If you’re a newcomer to the game, your best bet is to start in Tier 1 since jumping right into Tier 7 is practically a death warrant if you’re not familiar with how the game works. Start light and get used to the game mechanics and orient yourself with others on a similar skill level. It really works out in the long run, and as you get better, you can work up to the second tier and third tier, and so on.

By setting up the system this way, Wargaming opts to make World of Warships: Legends accessible to newcomers and veterans alike. This type of balance is great all around, and truly gives all players options within the game. It also isn’t overwhelming to limit players from getting discouraged. For those worried there’s no room to progress, don’t be. The main game will feature over 100 levels, so you’ll have more than enough room to play around, in a very ambitious set-up.

World of Warships: Legends offers a control system that works really well on the console front. For example, you can change your viewpoint fairly easily, instead of awkwardly rolling around the mouse wheel from point to point. The left shoulder button automatically brings up your binoculars, so you can target far away opponents with pinpoint accuracy. This is great if you want to do some distant aiming, or if you just need to see what enemies are lurking outside your range to prepare for an attack or choose to take an alternative route to your destination.

World of Warships

Speed is also a vital part of the game, as you don’t necessarily want to go speeding into battle, unless you like getting blown to bits. You choose the game’s speed through a scale. You can go all ahead full, come to a complete stop, find something in-between (1/4 to 3/4) or even go in reverse, just in case you come into collision with an island or another ship. The controls are rather intuitive for a game such as this, and we found ourselves manning the ship simply.

That said, do keep in mind that you’re controlling a battleship and not necessarily a speeding car so you’ll need to judge your turns properly. You can lean the analog stick to get your turns in, but it’ll take a little time for the ships to react, particularly the bigger battleships in your armada. The bigger the ship, the more trajectory you’ll need to get the turns going. However, you can still aim around your ship with ease, using your guns and torpedoes to target enemies. So don’t worry if someone’s outside your range at the moment, they’ll get there soon enough.

Speaking of weapons, each battleship features a fair share of great ones that you can unleash on opponents. Perhaps the most effective are your deck guns, since they can provide both consistent and accurate fire on ships that are either incoming or at a distance. Some are a little stronger than others, so it helps to try and point for critical parts of the ship when you can. Getting multiple shots on a ship can pay off, as they’ll eventually make their way to Davy Jones’ locker, should you do enough damage.

Torpedoes, however, are a little trickier. You can line up your shots with a meter that shows what kind of range they have. If they land, they’re destruction is highly effective, but keep in mind these aren’t the same as guns, and they require a little more patience. Maybe stick with your guns when you can, because they’ll be the best in battle. If you’re going for a tactical approach, however, load up with torpedoes.

No matter which way you go, the tactical battles across the many maps featured in World of Warships: Legends are impressive. They take a good while to go through, and feature a number of variants from all-out domination battles to point capture battles against invading enemies. They really challenge you at every corner. Fortunately you have the ability to properly prepare your team, so you can cover the points as needed while still riding the waves tall; if you’re not blown out of the water, that is.

The console versions of Legends also  comes with exclusive content as well. A new campaign mode, Tirpitz, will be introduced at some point. It hasn’t been given a breakdown quite yet, but more than likely, you’ll find yourself in a few legendary battles as you try and rewrite history in your favor. Based on the set-up with Legends and its many commanders (and ships!), you’ll have a lot to call upon when making history.

World of Warships

For that matter, the legendary battleship Yamato, which was known for making its own share of history in its day, will come to the game as well. A lot of players may not be familiar but we think it’s worth looking up. Once it hits the water it would be wise to unlock it and add it to your arsenal since, from what we read, it can do a great deal of damage.

The game will also feature a number of customization options that will allow you to add distinctive touches to make the ship your own. Not to say you’ll have various paint options available (no, you can’t paint the mother pink), but there are other items such as flags that will be customizable. Remember, these are optional purchases. The game won’t require you to overload your wallet  to have a good time blasting enemies out of the water, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little more in your arsenal, right, Wargaming devotees?

On top of that, there’s quite a load of content coming to the game in the months ahead. Wargaming has already hinted that World of Warships: Legends will receive a number of new nations and commanders to choose from, along with additional maps, and possibly even more modes. For the time being, there’s more than enough to choose from for the game’s launch, but it’s nice to have content to look forward to.

The game will also receive visual updates over the course of the next few months, with 4K support, but for the time being, Legends certainly doesn’t look like a slouch. Wargaming’s visual representation of naval combat is off the charts thus far, with accurate recreations of warships, beautiful water effects, and all the explosive action you could hope for. The frame rate looks pretty steady, but keep in mind it’s still in beta. How it’ll perform once everything goes live is still up in the air, but if it’s anything like how World of Tanks has done, Wargaming should have nothing to worry about.

World of Warships

While Tanks continues to be the company’s prized franchise, it’s nice to see forward movement with Warships in the spotlight. Not everyone thinks that naval combat is accessible on the console front, but the publisher hopes to change that with Legends. It feels great so far, and the battles we got into were a lot of fun, win or lose. On top of that, the abundant amount of content coming to the game, customization options and upcoming legendary goodies, will keep players busy for some time. This is one battle that we’ll probably never get tired of.

(Big thanks to Wargaming for having us down to their headquarters to check out the game! Catch Legends in beta now for on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 before it’s launch on August 12. Also available for PC!)

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Two Player Co-Op is Coming to Pagan Online

Wargaming and Mad Head Games have announced that two player Co-Op is coming to Pagan Online today in all Missions and Assassinations. The new co-op mode will allow players to face larger hordes, bigger bosses, and more challenging challenges. Right now it isn’t available for the main story campaign but from the sound of it that is coming soon.

Other future updates to Pagan Online will be heavily influenced by the introduction of two-player co-op. This includes synergies between heroes, special co-op systems, special rewards, and drops. But the biggest thing that this is leading the way towards is four player co-op. “Co-op is going to play a big role in the upcoming expansions to Pagan Online,” said Uros Banjesevic, Chief Creative Officer of Mad Head Games. “We’re very happy to be bringing this new feature to the game and can’t wait for players to get in and start playing Pagan Online with their friends.”

Pagan Online is currently available in Early Access on Steam or in the Wargaming Premium Shop for $29.99. It is a fresh take on the ARPG genre with MOBA-like controls. Its lore is inspired by pre-Christian Slavic mythology. The developers, Mad Head Games are one of the pioneers of the Serbian gaming industry. The company is well known for their unique approach to casual adventure games. This success has led to them expanding into new genres, which is where Pagan Online comes in. Pagan Online officially entered Early Access on April 18th and since then they’ve already had a couple of patches in which they fine tune the game, smooth out the bumps, and introduce exciting features, like today’s introduction of two-player co-op. It sounds like Pagan Online is going in an interesting new direction and being able to play with friends makes it all the better.

 

Source: Press Release

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Pagan Online Early Access – Unlocking Your Way to Glory

We live in remarkable times. When you market your brand-new action RPG with citations such as “no phones involved”, you know that some serious damage has been done before. Pagan Online isn’t shy when it comes to tooting its own horn: “WASD controls”, they say; “PC game”, the official website proudly boasts. Could they be taking a stab at Blizzard and NetEase’s Diablo Immortal? Surely that’s just a coincidence, right?

But this is done in a lighthearted comedic manner, one that severely contrasts with the game itself. Pagan Online is a somber, grim and desperate hack-and-slash game inspired by Slavic mythology. It recently entered Early Access and unlike most games published by the World of Tanks creator Wargaming, this isn’t free-to-play; Pagan Online is a premium game and one with enough virtues to stand on its own.

It could, however, be free-to-play if Serbian developer Mad Head Games just so wished. Pagan Online has all the vital elements to make it work as such: character skins, pets, inventory space and unlockable characters. Thankfully, this can all be achieved through in-game currency and there is no cash shop in sight. Microtransactions should be outlawed in full-priced games. There, I said it.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Anya Skin

Whip and Slash

If Indiana Jones and Harley Quinn had a baby girl, her name would be Anya. She is one of the three initial characters for you to pick in Pagan Online and I have no doubts that she will be the favorite of most gamers. Her extraordinary whip and blood magic abilities are just too tempting to ignore, turning her into the perfect killing machine for your first hours in this hack-and-slash game.

But don’t get too comfortable with Anya, as Pagan Online features an account-wide Legacy system where your experience level is the sum of each one of your heroes’ experience. By unlocking more heroes (eight in total as of right now) and progressing with each one you add to your shared experience level, ultimately reaching bigger challenges and better rewards.

This progression system isn’t necessarily new, but it is seldom used – Marvel Heroes is one of the games that uses a similar approach. In Pagan Online, some missions reward you with hero shards. You must get 50 shards to unlock each additional hero, but this comes with a twist that you may love or hate – shards are specific to a hero and apparently RNG-based, which means that you can spend a long time without getting the shards that you desperately seek.

Some of you will surely find this approach interesting, extra challenging and more rewarding, while others will prefer the traditional system where you simply choose a different hero and level up accordingly. I can find positives in both methods and I don’t mind a good grind, but no matter your preference, it’s strongly advised to give your main character a good run. Then, when you have a decent amount of loot for your main and for the other heroes – your stash is shared as well – you can try a secondary hero (Arcane Priest Lukian was my choice… I mean, my prize in the raffle). Equip him or her with good gear and after a mission or two you should find that your new hero is now level ten or close. Not bad for 15 minutes of hacking and slashing, don’t you think?

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Lukian Hero

Overall, I didn’t mind this approach and don’t see it as overly punishing, but I understand if you prefer your heroes available right from the start. And as for those extra shards that you get, they are used to unlock additional colors and cool skins, so it doesn’t go to waste.

Shards are earned by completing Assassination assignments. However, to enter these you need to acquire key fragments by playing other missions that vary in their requirements – you may be tasked with surviving waves of enemies, defend some object from invading hordes or destroying all enemies in an area. Progression is invariably tied to these different game modes, so you must regularly complete them, along with daily and weekly missions. Hunts are goals that you set for yourself to earn some extra gold – kill 20 spiders, collect 50 zombie eyes (yuck!) and other achievements of the sort.

I really, really hope that Wargaming isn’t doing this to add a hero selling system somewhere down the line. As a core mechanic it may not be suited to everyone’s tastes, but Pagan Online has a lot to offer, so I can see it being great value for money if you put the hours into it; but as soon as you can buy your heroes (knock on wood), you must kill the entry price for good or you’ll get bashed by your Early Access supporters. And despite my poor knowledge of Slavic myths, in no scenario whatsoever you could unlock a hero with a swipe of the credit card.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Boss Battle Usud

To WASD Or Not To WASD

Pagan Online’s WASD controls aren’t exactly a common practice when it comes to action RPGs, where the tried-and-tested click-to-move method is universally accepted – the upcoming Torchlight Frontiers also goes for a similar mouse-driven control style.

But Pagan Online benefits from this decision as it brings a more responsive and thrilling feel to the gameplay, with superior dodging and aiming. Gone are the mistakes where you attack an enemy when you just want to move; it may feel a little unusual at first, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and enjoy the spotless control that you have over your actions.

The core of Pagan Online is standard fare, with an isometric perspective and dungeons that are essentially made of corridors connecting larger areas where a procedurally generated battle takes place. I’m not too keen on the way that the enemies appear out of thin air, sometimes surrounding you with no chance to escape – using Torchlight Frontiers again as comparison, foes are clearly visible or approach you from easily identifiable spawn points. Pagan Online is an enemy spawn fest and you’d better get used to it as soon as you can.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Phanteon Hub Anya

Pagan Online has often been introduced as an action RPG inspired by MOBA mechanics, but don’t expect any sort of ground-breaking fusion here. Your hero has a fixed set of abilities that you unlock as you level up and upgrade with Potency points, offering the fast-paced and widespread combat that you’ll appreciate the most as you discover and experiment with new heroes. But Pagan Online remains a hack and slash for Diablo fans, and not the kind of game that I would recommend for those who love League of Legends to death.

The Pantheon is the hub area where your heroes get some respite before heading into the next challenge. It is where you choose your next character, upgrade your abilities and craft your epic weapons of doom. Crafting plays a huge role in Pagan Online. During your adventures you will pick every sort of items, with recipes playing a vital role in gear upgrades. These come in different tiers and are tied to certain item levels, in addition to requiring the consumption of specific materials. Apart from collecting these materials in the battlefield you can also get them from the occasional card pack. Crafting increases your skills and Might score, which translates into the overall power of your hero and a great way to properly assess your chances when it comes to Missions and Assassinations.

Pagan Online is a PvE experience with a vast campaign (allegedly 50 hours) and three difficulty levels. The Early Access build doesn’t include co-op gameplay which is said to be a huge part of the game and I can see that happening. Competitive activities are another one of the teased aspects, although Mad Head Games has expressed its intention to steer clear of PvP, so this could mean anything – leaderboards are already present in the game, but it could be some feature in a similar style.

Pagan Online Early Access Preview Loot Everywhere

I’ll admit that I didn’t pay much attention to the story, as I was more interested in checking out the game’s mechanics and trying to turn Anya into a mean, lean whipping machine, something that remains a work in progress. But what I could grasp of the lore seemed overly serious and often despairing, with cavernous voice acting that suits the dark undertones. It’s a deliberate choice, obviously, as no self-respected hack-and-slash would place you in a world full of unicorns, rainbows and fluffy clouds. But it’s up to you to decide if it is worth listening to.

I, for one, really couldn’t care less, at least for the purpose of this preview. I liked Pagan Online for what it is, and that is a fast-paced, enjoyable and solid action RPG. For an Early Access title, it already feels immensely polished, without any blatant bugs or server issues, although I was slightly annoyed by the server lag when selling items. Pagan Online is a blast to play and if you can get your head around the way that the character unlocking system works, it offers plenty of bang for your buck. It’s a game where you can play for hours on end or just a few short sessions for extra loot, and co-op will surely take the game to an entirely different level. Not too shabby for a studio that built its foundation developing hidden object games.

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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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Wargaming Announces a Next-Gen F2P MMO Shooter

Wargaming announces a next-gen F2P MMO Shooter that they’re working on with Frag Lab. They’ll be using nearly a dozen Amazon Web Services products to make the game including Amazon GameLift, and Lumberyard. Why this was mentioned and took up about half the press release announcing the project I can’t really say, but they seem to think it’s important. Or they’re using it as an ad. Either way, we’ve mentioned it and now we’re moving on to the bits people actually care about.

This is Warface, Not the newly announced game of which there are no images.

Here are a couple of quotes from Wargaming and Frag Lab about their new partnership.

“When Frag Lab approached us with their vision of what they wanted to develop, we felt that it perfectly matched our core values, and their passion was palpable,” states Shahzad Khan, Product Director, Wargaming. “We knew by combining their experience working on a successful shooter with our unrivaled free-to-play expertise, together we could bring this vision to life.”

“Having Wargaming as a publishing partner was the obvious choice for us; they have a great wealth of experience in delivering successful titles to players worldwide,” states Maxim Dembik, Frag Lab CEO. “We started this ambitious project from scratch with nothing but our collective knowledge, and this gave us the opportunity to choose any technology we wanted. We’re always looking to embrace new tech and we’re glad we did: Amazon Lumberyard is the perfect fit for our vision.”

Sadly there isn’t really much more to be said about the game right now. But the press release announcing the game does say that a public announcement which will feature more details is scheduled for later this year. So consider this your announcement of the announcement.

 

Source: Press Release

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Wargaming Announces OARPG Pagan Online Will Launch in 2019

Today we got our first glimpse of Wargaming’s newest game, Pagan Online in an all-new gameplay trailer, which you can see a little further down. It is being created with Mad Head Games who are well known for Rite of Passage, Shadowplay, and NeverTales. The game will be launching in 2019, but, before it does there will be a series of pre-launch tests they’re calling trials. Registration for these trials is available on the official site.

In Pagan online heroes come face to face with hordes of enemies and battle bosses based on pre-Christian mythology. They use a combination of procedurally generated arenas along with multiple choices to make every encounter feel unique and give the feel of a living world.

Talking about Pagan Online the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Mad Head Games said, “With Pagan Online we’ve worked hard to deliver a fast-paced and intense combat system that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master. We took inspiration from MOBAs to create unique characters with specific skills and specialties, and when you put them into this type of combat system you end up with a family of fighters that do different things well in different scenarios.”

Finally, they boast difficult missions, high replayability, a ton of customization options, and intense combat. Having watched some of the immensely satisfying gifs they provided in the press release it isn’t hard to see why.

So, if you want to take part in the beta tests, sorry…trails for Pagan Online next year be sure to head over to the official site and sign up now. Also, no, we aren’t really sure what pre-Christian mythology includes either. But it will certainly be interesting to find out as they reveal more about the game!

Source: Press Release

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