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Free-to-Play

Massively Exclusive: Grand Chase goes live on Steam tomorrow

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Miscellaneous

Buy it again, Sam.
Grand Chase is pursuing its way onto Steam on Thursday, July 17th, and you know what that means: welcome events. After all, when a free-to-play game shows up on a popular digital service, there will be a lot of new arrivals. New players can look forward to the Welcome Heroes event, which provides a free bundle of prizes to any one character on a player's account. They can also take advantage of the Character Jumping event, which allows everyone to kick a character straight to level 70 (the current cap is 85).

A Steam-specific stat-boosting title is also available to everyone, along with new item packages. These packages include a new set of equipment with stats and a new pet, both of which have never been available elsewhere. If you're a long-time Grand Chase player or just can't wait to get a free-to-play brawler on your hard drive, take heart because the game will be available tomorrow.

[Source: KOG Games press release]

Wizard101 introduces Fishing

Fantasy, Video, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Kids, Wizard101, Family

It's also fishing for your money, but that's sort of how games stay in operation.
Fishing is the eternal side activity of MMOs, the reason for players to sit about and cast their line over and over in the hopes of receiving something worthwhile. Wizard101 joins the lineup of fantasy games offering a fishing option today with a new patch, although you will be fishing in an appropriately magical fashion. Rather than a mundane line and sinker, players summon magical orbs to help snare fish; the ones they catch can be sold, used for crafts, or displayed as trophies around your house.

If this is the one thing you've been waiting for before you get into the game, you can also take advantage of the new promotional bundle on sale at Target. The Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle includes a new housing item, a new pet, new clothes, and a new mount for players, along with either a month's subscription or 5000 crowns. You can pick it up for $39 and then jump right back into casting orbs and looking for fish. Or doing other things, presumably.

[Source: Kingsisle Entertainment press release]

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Lineage II's new expansion to launch on July 30

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Expansions, Lore, Free-to-Play

Lineage II
NCsoft has announced today that its classic fantasy MMO Lineage II will be launching its next expansion on July 30. Entitled Ertheia, this free expansion brings new hunting zones, new adventures, and reveals the lore that explains the arrival of the Ertheia race.

"As the last of Einhasad's four original races (Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, and Ertheia) enters the playing field, they will join forces with the other races and Heroes of Aden to save their world, all a part of the continuing saga within Lineage II's epic storyline," according to an NCsoft press release.

Check out the video after the cut for more information on Lineage II's Ertheia.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

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SWTOR's legacy storage detailed

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Crafting

BioWare community manager Eric Musco has highlighted some details of Star Wars: The Old Republic's legacy storage on the game's official forums. The system will debut with the Galactic Strongholds expansion, and players will obtain legacy storage for free by completing the introductory stronghold mission. Legacy storage will also be craftable and it will appear in the game's cash shop.

The storage default is one 80-slot bay, with additional unlocks available for purchase with in-game credits or cash shop currency.

Motiga's new multiplayer game, Gigantic, is a MOBA

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

That's not as big as it could be.
Are you ready to let another MOBA into your life? How about one with stylized cartoon art and a twist that some might call... large? Gigantic was formally announced by Motiga today, and it's got a couple of tricks the usual MOBA doesn't. For one thing, it's all about third-person play, and you'll be hopping about with your keyboard rather than by clicking your mouse. For another, players are aided by enormous Guardians, behemoths that use their own massive attacks and will force players to contend with an even more powerful force on the field.

Players can get a sense of the game's style just past the break in the game's first announcement trailer and sign up for alpha testing on the official site. The game will be at PAX Prime, as well, which should be something for fans to keep a close watch on. It might just be big, you know.

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Neverwinter shows off the Scourge Warlock for Tyranny of Dragons

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

NOT ALL DRAGONS
Do you want to fight some dragons? The next expansion to Neverwinter is all about fighting dragons, hence the title Tyranny of Dragons. Would you prefer to do so whilst conjuring up forbidden and evil magic from beyond to help smite your foes and empower your party? Then the Scourge Warlock is right up your alley. You can check the new class out in the trailer just past the break.

Scourge Warlocks are casters who can summon a Soul Puppet from the beyond, using their magical prowess to leech health and empower allies while leaving enemies as shambling shells. They also have access to a new paragon path, Hellbringer, which... well, it doesn't summon bunnies and stomach rubs. Take a look at the official development blog for a clearer picture of what these casters are capable of, and watch the trailer to see the class in action before Tyranny of Dragons goes live on August 14th.

[Source: Cryptic Studios press release]

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Trion delays Defiance F2P console launch

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Defiance

If you were looking forward to a free-to-play version of Defiance on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 this week, you'll have to wait a while longer. Trion has announced a delay from the previously scheduled July 15 launch.

"As you've seen or possibly experienced this week, we've been having stability issues with our console platforms," the firm explains on its website. "The team is working on a number of game additions as part of its crossover with Season 2 of the Defiance TV show and the latest build has negatively impacted game stability. Our programmers are working on addressing these issues."

Trion doesn't provide an ETA, but it says that "this is a priority fix for us, as we are eager to welcome fans on all platforms."

[Thanks Sorenthaz!]

A look at the Legend of the Condor Heroes Zero beta

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play

LotCHZ
Age of Wushu might have a bit of competition in Perfect World's newest Wuxia-themed MMO Legend of the Condor Heroes Zero. Despite the fact that the title sounds like a bunch of random words thrown together, Steparu took a close look at the game in its current beta state to let us know what to expect.

In true Steparu style, we get a very detailed look at everything from character customization to gameplay to combat and more as shown in the videos embedded after the cut. Steparu ultimately thinks the game deserves another look in a more finished stage, but you can read more impressions over at the official review page.

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SMITE showcases Serqet, Goddess of Venom

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Classes, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

SMITE
Hi-Rez Studios has just unveiled Serqet, Goddess of Venom, the latest playable deity to join SMITE's pantheon of characters.

Serqet is based on the Egyptian goddess responsible for curing poisons, but this version of Serqet also dishes out venom with her nasty scorpion tail and then consumes those poison DoTs for additional damage and debuffs via her Catalyst passive.

The new character joins the game tomorrow. Enjoy the lengthy character introduction video below!

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Archlord 2 invites players to name soundtrack pieces

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Free-to-Play, Music

Archlord 2
Archlord 2's soundtrack is not only out and available as a free download, but Webzen is asking players to title the 20 nameless pieces in time for the game's release.

The soundtrack by composer Cris Velasco is on SoundCloud and is available for a listen or a download. Players can check out the tracks and then, if inspired, they can submit one or more titles to go along with them. Webzen promised that when all 20 tracks get proper names, it will flip on the switch for a 20% bonus gold weekend in the game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic will allow you four strongholds per legacy

Sci-Fi, Expansions, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Housing, Subscription

But how could you ever give up living in the midst of a harsh, trackless waste?
Eagle-eyed players following the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic's next major expansion, Galactic Strongholds, have probably noticed that players will have the option of deactivating a stronghold, which will incur a credit fee if players want to reactivate that stronghold in the future unless it was purchased via Cartel Coins. But why would anyone deactivate a stronghold? Is there an upkeep system? Is it tied to account activity? Eric Musco took to the forums to explain that there's no reason to retire a stronghold now... but there might be in the future.

Musco makes it clear that each Legacy will be limited to four strongholds total, which at launch is equal to the number of different strongholds available. The distinction is there because if you own all four and want to pick up an additional stronghold in the future, you will need to deactivate one. So rest assured that between your four options, you will never be forced to abandon one.

LotRO Update 14 is now live

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, Patches, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Gondor archers
Today marks the official release of Lord of the Rings Online's Update 14, and with it comes the highly anticipated West Gondor content, as well as Epic Story Volume IV, the new Essence System, the level 100 cap, inventory tweaks, class balancing, bug fixes, and more.

While none of this is a surprise to players, what did come as a surprise was some changes mentioned in executive producer Aaron "Rowan" Campbell's letter in the forums. First off, there will be no more level cap increases for this year to allow players to take their time and explore the new content. In addition, a new advancement system is being added to legendary items allowing them to grow with you without deconstruction for a new item at level cap. And lastly, the upcoming Beorning class will start at level 1 and include its own starting experience through Eriador.

Be sure to check out the complete Update 14 patch notes as well as Rowan's Producer's Letter in the official forums.

MechWarrior Online vid talks upcoming changes

Sci-Fi, Video, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, MechWarrior Online, MOBA

mwo
In a new MechWarrior Online video, members of the dev team take time to discuss the upcoming overhaul to the module system, gameplay updates, community warfare, and new maps. One of the neat features coming to the game is the match rejoin feature, which will give players a grace period to get back into a match and get rewards if they are disconnected for some reason.

There's a ton of preview drops in this 13-minute video, and it's all yours to enjoy after the jump!

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H1Z1 graphics programmer hints at other weather types

Betas, Horror, Video, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, H1Z1

h1z1
SOE Graphics Programmer Ryan Favale is the target of a new H1Z1 video. In it, he discusses the games that he's playing, notable bugs, and his role on the upcoming zombie sandbox. Favale said that he's primarily working on the dynamic weather system.

"That's my main job on H1Z1, to bring as many weather conditions and effects and environmental immersion as possible," Favale said. He teased the possibility of hurricanes, tornadoes, and dust storms, but didn't promise that they'd make them into the game.

You can watch the video after the break.

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Marvel Heroes introduces Mr. Fantastic and a boost weekend

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

Because what could be more awesome than stretching, I guess?  Reed Richards is kind of a jerk.
He's the leader of the first super team in the Marvel Universe, he's a brilliant scientist, and he has perhaps the most egotistical name in the entire franchise. He's Mr. Fantastic, and he's now available in Marvel Heroes for players to enjoy. Launching with two costumes, Richards has access to all of his usual tricks, including forming giant fists, stretching to insane lengths as a travel method, and presumably blasting his friends and family members with untested inventions just to see what happens.

If you can't wait to get your (normal human-sized) hands on the FF's leader, you'll be well served by the bonus event running this weekend. All players will receive a 100% bonus to experience, SIF, and RIF gained during the weekend. Players will also have access to A.R.M.O.R. Research Drives, which can be turned in to Jocasta for A.R.M.O.R. Bounty Boxes as well as rewards from the previous bounty event. No better time to get stretching, in other words.

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