Beta dirty bomb on the line

“Yes,” the orc said, “this serves nothing. Soon it will be time to awaken. Awaken, and move forward into this world once more.” He turned to the man, his eyes gleaming. “Walk again the path you have taken.”

Nexon’s free to play shooter, dirty bombs, today began open beta later, the name and all! Players will no longer need to pay for access, registration key win, they still want to score a key from the site. Anyone who wants to play can also download the Steam client and get started within a few hours.

Dirty bombs beta will allow players to control the start of 12 unique mercenaries, objective-based maps game 5, and began shortly after the beta has way more. Final preparations have begun a beta patch and added to the client list last night. For those of you have been playing, these fixes include:

Matchmaking is now only 1 zone at a time. This solves the problem, players can enter the game, they do not have the choice of a region.
Character lighting updated skin, make the team more easily identified.
He was awarded the task is not fixed the problem, if you have recently scrapped one.
Fixed issue with rank insignia icons is incorrect.
Fixed connection to a dating game cause errors.
Fixed an issue where if a player is banned from one server, they will try to connect through a friend, to be stuck on the loading screen.
Time to pick your favorite mercenary, and get in there! Let us know what you think the following game.

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Legion: New Hunter roles confirmed

I speculated on this yesterday, but it looks like we have the official word via a developer interview at Icy Veins.

Survival: Melee spec that utilizes a pet
Beast Mastery: Ranged spec that utilizes a pet
Marksmanship: Ranged spec that has NO pet
This means the Lone Wolf talent should be no more. Blizzard is fully committing this time and giving each spec a clear identity. It’s bound to ruffle some feathers, but my initial thoughts are that it will be good for the class.

My only real concern is balance now. If Survival is the top spec (by the same kind of margin Marksmanship is now in Hellfire Citadel), every hunter will feel forced into completely changing roles after they’ve been playing a ranged class for 10 years. Not good. Blizzard has an obligation to make sure all 3 playstyles are viable.

There was also some updates regarding the artifact weapons:

Beast Mastery’s artifact is a gun, Marksmanship’s is a bow, Survival’s is a spear.
There are no weapon drops in Legion. Instead, you will power up your artifact by killing bosses and doing other things in the game (PvP, dungeons, raids, dailies, whatever).
Your artifact will be obtained very early on.
Artifacts can be transmogged, so if you’re not happy about your weapon type for your chosen spec, you at least have that. You cannot transmog into another artifact though.
Still not sure how Survival is going to operate in the weird transition period of 7.0 when they have no melee weapons.
We should have more details soon from the dev panel on Sunday. Shortly after the dev panel, at 1:30pm ET on Sunday, we will be recording the next Hunting Party Podcast on Twitch and talking all about this stuff. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll be posting before we go live. Should be a fun show!


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Dota 2’s TI5 Wildcard and Group Stage brackets revealed

While Dota 2‘s The International 2015’s main event doesn’t kick off until 3 August, the Wild Card and Group Stage games begin this weekend.

The Wild Card brackets will see Vega Squadron, CDEC Gaming, Team Archon, and MVP.Phoenix compete for the last four slots in the main event via a double-elimination, best-of-three tournament. It’ll kick off with CDEC taking on Vega, and Phoenix taking on Archon. From there, the winners will face off, as will the losers, and things continue from there; anyone who loses two match-ups is out. As I said: double-elimination.

Then there are the Group Stages, which see all invited teams (including the Wild Card winners) battle it out for tournament seeding. The teams have been divided into two groups of eight; the top four teams in each group head to the upper bracket of the main event, while the bottom four in each group are off to the lower bracket.

Group A contains compLexity Gaming, Invictus Gaming, LGD Gaming, Natus Vincere, Fnatic, Cloud9, Team Secret, and the second Wild Card. Group B contains EHOME, Evil Geniuses, Team Empire, Vici Gaming, Newbee, Virtus Pro, MVP Hot6, and the first Wild Card.

The Wild Card games begin on 26 July – this Sunday – at 9am PDT. The Group Stage kicks off on 27 July – Monday – at 9am PDT, and will last through the 30th. Three games will be played simultaneously, with each having its own stream.

So while TI5 doesn’t kick off properly until 3 August, there’s still plenty of professional Dota 2 to keep you occupied until then. You can read Valve’s blog post (and see the brackets and scheduling for yourself) over here.


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The Imperial City in The Elder Scrolls Online is on the dangerous side, and if you didn’t already know that the introduction to the Drake of Blades would make that pretty obvious. She is some kind of psycho woman who leaves severed heads around the city and seems to speak chiefly in insults. You are not sitting down and getting a pamphlet from her on things to do in the city’s nightlife, that’s for sure.

She also serves as a point of contact for players first entering the city, though, so that’s something to note. Her introduction is offered in the form of light fiction, so if you want to know what sort of people you’ll be working with once your feet touch the paving of the Imperial City, you owe it to yourself to give it a read.


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Global Chat: Can MMO stories rise above mediocrity?

Players have long debated the importance, relevance, and quality of stories in MMOs. Some have called for an abolishment of dev-driven narrative entirely, some enjoy what’s there, and some have pressed for better writing and storytelling techniques. This week we’ll hear from one blogger who is struggling with “mediocre” stories in MMOs and what might be done with them.

But wait, that’s not all! We’ll also hear from writers about MMO inventory systems, aging games, and how pretty much nobody in the world was shocked when Elder Scrolls Online ditched its sub.

It’s not all roses and finisher fun in Guild Wars 2’s WvW these days, as Bhagpuss reports: “Considering ANet appear to do virtually nothing to police behavior in WvW and, especially, that they’ve been leaving gaping holes wide open for exploits for years, it’s perhaps surprising that most matches don’t already degenerate into a seething melange of siege trolls, zoom hackers, spies, and saboteurs. By and large, though, players have policed themselves reasonably well. Not any more.”

Clean Casuals: MMOs & Story: Accepting mediocrity

In which Aywren asks the crucial question, “If we choose not to expect anything from the story in a game, if we remain content with what we’re given, then why should the writers/developers ever need to strive for better quality writing in MMOs?”

MMO Juggler: LotRO hatred?

Does this Middle-earth MMO really deserve some of the scorn heaped on it these days? One blogger argues that it actually deserves respect: “Besides, LotRO isn’t exactly the poster child of F2P misery when it is approaching five years as an F2P title –- outlasting the entire existence of WAR, for example.” Allods Online, a pleasant return

Here’s one game that you haven’t heard much about recently, and according to Kaozz, it’s worth checking out again: “For now it is simply fun to quest and level. It reminds me much of those simpler times in WoW, back in the old days. Where classes felt different and unique. Where going out in the world felt like a real adventure.”

Killed in a Smiling Accident: Gamers shocked as Elder Scrolls Online drops subscriptions

I got a huge laugh out of this post: “When The Elder Scrolls Online launched in 2014 the subscription model for MMORPGs was completely normal, every single other MMORPG requiring the purchase of a box then payment of a monthly subscription except for 99.487% of them.”

Weekly Wizardry: Inventory systems as game features

When’s the last time you really considered your inventory as a key MMO feature? Right now: “It may seem like a boring subject, a tiny little thing beside the things we tend to see as more important, such as combat. But overlooking it is not justified, for how the inventory is handled in a game affects all of it’s players, raider and playerkiller, crafter, and warrior alike.”

Null Signifier: Adrift in ArcheAge

Here’s a nailbiting account of a sea voyage that illustrates how treacherous such trips can be in this sandbox: “The first few minutes were nerve-wracking to say the least, but nerves soon gave way to exhilaration. The sea is beautiful, perilous, and alive — sea gulls circle above the waves, and sharks and other sea monsters lurk beneath.”

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Threat-Based PVE is Lame and How I’d Fix It

The traditional model of PVE tanking, which revolves around the “threat” (aggro) mechanic, severely limits the gameplay experience of MMORPGs. I’ll share an alternative model that would provide a much more dynamic combat experience.

PVE tanking and the “holy trinity” (tank/healer/DPS) themselves are not the issue – the problem is that they tend to be implemented with threat-based mechanics. In this article, I’m not going to advocate ditching the “holy trinity” as ArenaNet (AN) did with Guild Wars 2 (GW2) last year.

Here’s what’s wrong with threat-based PVE:

It defies common sense. Why would an intelligent boss and his buddies attack the tank, who is the toughest, most-armored, highest HP target who is also the least capable of inflicting meaningful damage?
It dumbs down PVE encounters. You have threat, boss attacks you. You don’t have threat, you can do whatever you want
It creates an environment where where the focus tends to be on the UI not the combat: watching threat meters, tracking cooldowns, using abilities is optimized rotations, and listening to addons/mods tell you what to do and when – as opposed to having to continually read and react to situations and what your opponents are doing
The last two points combined have severe implications in most games where the vast majority of content and boss fights are simple tank-n-spank:

The majority of PVE content fails to prepare players for much more challenging boss fights later in endgame which require not just threat-management but also high coordination and awareness. The hard boss fights are often referred to as “guild breaking” but the fault here lies IMO not so much with the talent in the guild but rather the lack of an experience provided by the developer to train players to be more skilled and aware
Players are trained to expect predictable opponents – this becomes very problematic for PVE players foraying into PVP, since human opponents are very intelligent and far less predictable than threat-dumb bosses
My Fix for Tanking: Think NFL Offensive Lineman

If we ditch threat-based tanking, what would it look like to have a model where tanking is relevant but that the combat is much more dynamic and based on rich coordination?

Let’s consider how tanking works in the National Football League (NFL), which is American pro football.

In the NFL, the quarterback (QB), who is a squishy RDPS, is protected by five offensive linemen, who are the tanks. An offensive lineman (OL) keep defensive players from reaching his QB; the OL blocks, shoves, knocks down, and holds opponents. An OL is therefore both a protector and a bully.

But here’s the thing. In order for an OL to “tank” effectively, he needs his QB to work with him. Both players have to be on the same page as to what the QB and rest of the team are doing, and the movement and positioning of the QB has to be synchronized with the protection scheme of the OL. Moreover, when things break down in real-time, the QB has to move in such a way that his OL can continue to shield him. An OL also has to adjust his blocking assignments in real-time to counter the defense.

What if PVE combat works like this, where the tank uses abilities to control mobs and protect friendlies, and the trinity is constantly working in real-time to address situations as the boss and mobs fluidly switch targets and tactics, because there is no concept of sticky aggro? Combat shifts from staring at your hotkey bars and UI elements to paying attention to what the boss and mobs are doing and what your friendlies are doing, and taking appropriate action as an individual and group. Tanking becomes a team effort: the healers and DPS have to pay attention and work with the tank.

With such a model, developers could make bosses and mobs smart, and encounters would be much more fluid, challenging, and fun. Combat would keep you on your toes, so to speak. Boss fights could still have stages, if that’s your thing. But the days of boring tank-n-spank would be gone, or the days where you watch TV while raiding as a RDPS, because let’s face it, you don’t need to watch most of the combat these days, and that’s rather sad.

Aside from improving the combat gameplay experience, there are other positive implications of the “Offensive Lineman PVE Tank” model:

Players would have the expectation of working together. I saw this in GW2, where the collaborative nature of the game mechanics encouraged players to help one another
PVE players who foray into PVP would be much better prepared – they’ll have gotten reps in PVE and learned how to pay attention / avoid tunnel vision, counter unpredictable opponents, move properly i.e. not backpedal, etc. Simply put, this model of PVE would make players better
Tanks would have the same role in PVP as they do in PVE (control and protect). Unfortunately in many games, tanks simply have no functional role in PVP
Tanking can be implemented in terms of abilities not numerical factors. With threat-based tanking, tanking successfully is dependent on numerical factors: threat generation, mitigation, avoidance, and HP. With the proposed model, tanking can could be implemented based on weapon selection / abilities (bolas, nets, shield bashes, shield walling, Vulcan death grips, etc) and character customization, which means that any class could play the tanking role. This would allow for more flexibility for group compositions – and no more waiting in Ogrimmar or Ironforge trying to find a tank

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