Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review –

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review -

The Ship of Heroes team has delivered yet another milestone, and yours truly had the chance to be right in the middle of it. Their first round of the alpha testing of the Ship of Heroes Character Creation Tool has completed, and screenshots of actual player created characters have been revealed. Including some of one of my own! 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review -

“We opened up the CCT to a diverse group of supporters, and let them create original characters, using the three finished character models that we have in the game,” said Casey McGeever, CEO of Heroic Games.  “We’ve received over three hundred distinct suggestions, bug reports, and insights from this Alpha test – feedback we are happy to fold into our development schedule as we continue to push forward the efficient development of an outstanding, fun to play game.”

They released a preliminary beta testing report earlier today, and by all accounts, the testing went well. There were no reported technical issues, and I can personally confirm that I had no troubles with the creator at all. I was able to download, install and jump into it to start my first character within 10-15 minutes of receiving the link. It was tested on a wide array of devices and computer buillds, and across several different operating systems – all without a hitch. Which means, can I have a drum roll here, the devs are confident that they are on track for the scheduled beta launch at the end of 2018.

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review -

So how was it?

I was initially blown away when I opened it up and took a look at all the facial sliders. It has sliders for just about everything on the face, even things as interesting as setting the overall basic facial shapes like how heart-shaped, square or round the placement of the features. You can control the curve of the lips, the shape of the folds around the eyes, and fine tune multiple different areas of the nose. You add in a squint, a slanted smile, bulbous noses and ears, protuding brows or create a more elegant classic look. There are over 300 morphs that can be applied to each character, which allows for some impressive variation. I happily spent several hours just playing around with all of them, and of course, seeing a bunch of the powers that I'd never seen before didn't hurt either! My beloved Darkness!!

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review -

So let's crack open the hood and look inside. The first screen that pops up is the character archetype screen, followed by powers. I didn't expect to see a selection of powers! But the selection was really interesting, and of course, a large segment of time was taken up as I read through every powerset. 

Then you move into making the actual character's appearance. The face customization blew me away. I have seen a lot of comments about how the actual body needs more sliders, but aside from wanting to boost up my boob size, I was happy with what was there. Where I felt the creator is lacking are in the artistic additions. It is definitely shy on hairstyles and colors, eye colors, skin shades, and costume pieces. But at the same time, at this stage in the game's development, that's really to be expected. A rock solid foundation is what's needed at this point, the extra visuals can be added later – and the devs have already communicated their awareness of this and intention to add in more.

And to prove it, I will present some more shots of the first character I created.

gamesread – Recent DDOS Attacks and Compensation

Dear Albion Community,

In the first two weeks post launch, our servers had some performance issues, causing frequent reboots and some zones in the game being unavailable due to overcrowding. We have announced compensation for this here.

Unfortunately, on Saturday, August 5th, we had a short DDOS attack followed by an extortion attempt, which we of course did not comply with and immediately reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

This was followed by heavy DDOS attacks from Sunday, August 6th onwards. Properly defending against well-executed DDOS attacks is a very challenging task, and far harder than a quick Google search might suggest. In close collaboration with leading experts in the field, we are making significant progress. Recent attacks have impacted the server's performance, but generally were not successful in bringing it down. Our defenses are constantly being optimized and fine-tuned. Having said that, we are not in a position to give the "all clear" just yet.

To compensate players for the outages caused by the past days' DDOS attacks, we are awarding an additional 7 days of premium time to all characters that played with active premium any time between July 17th and August 11th (UTC time). This means that those premium characters who had also been affected by the server issues immediately post-launch will now get 14 days extra premium time in total.

The compensation will be given out during the daily maintenance tomorrow, August 12th.

The ongoing server attacks are extremely frustrating for all players. Tackling them is our utmost priority. We will certainly get them under control, and expect to make further progress of the coming days.

Some of you might be worried about the long-term impact of the server issues on the future of the game. Our philosophy here is quite simple: We have always believed and consistently communicated that Albion Online is a game with a long-term focus. We have been working on the game 5 years, with the goal that it shall be successful 5 or even 10 years down the road. What counts is the longstanding quality and longevity of the game, and not just riding the hype wave around release. While the release hype has of course taken a hit due to the attacks, in the long term, it won't matter, as the lasting success of a game is solely dependent on how good it is.

So, let's fix the current issues, and get on with it!

You will hear from us again once the DDOS attacks have been fully dealt with. Until then, you can follow the current server status here or by following our new Twitter account @AlbionService.

Your Albion Online Team

gamesread | Costume Design Contest 2017 – Player Voting Period

Vote for the grand prize winner of the Blade & Soul Costume Design Contest by August 7!

We received hundreds of phenomenal entries for the Blade & Soul Costume Design Contest, and as we expected picking the finalists was not easy! Staff from across multiple NCSOFT studios voted for their favorite designs, and the final eleven entries have been chosen for you to vote on.

Now it’s your turn! Head to the official forums to see the top 11 finalists and vote on the design you’d like to see become an actual costume in Blade & Soul. Be sure to cast your votes on your favorite designs this week, as voting will close on August 7 at 10am PDT.

All the finalists will be receiving Hongmoon Coin and the exclusive community events costume, Kindred Soul. Once the grand prize winner has been selected by the community vote, their design will be created into an in-game costume for everyone to wear within Blade & Soul.


Thank you to all artists who took the time to submit a costume! We’ll be uploading all qualified entries as a Facebook gallery after voting ends. We look forward to announcing this years’ Costume Design Contest winner on August 7 on after the votes have been counted. 

gamesread – Clutch Baron Steal In League Match Is Almost Better Than Winning

Securing a Baron kill can often swing a game of League of Legends in either team’s favor. In today’s matches in the League Master Series in Taiwan, ahq e-Sports’ jungle player made a flashy play to take the advantage for himself.

In a best-of-three against Flash Wolves, ahq had lost their mid player and were trying to contest Baron Nashor, the large purple beast that grants a boost in power to whatever team manages to take it down.


Waiting patiently in the bushes, jungle player Hsue “Mountain” Chao-Hong waited until the most opportune moment to strike. Taking advantage of Lee Sin’s mobility options and his Smite spell, Hsue zipped in and stole the Baron for his team.

Lee Sin is a very mobile champion, as he can both dash to enemies using his Q ability and to allies or wards using his W. Combining that with Flash, a universal spell that allows players to teleport a short distance, Hsue was able to dash in from afar, before Flash Wolves’ jungle player was able to use their own Smite to secure the Baron kill.



Ahq would go on to lose the game to Flash Wolves, and the series closed out 2-1 in Flash Wolves’ favor. LMS matches are wrapped up for the day, but Europe and North America battle on in week four of the summer split throughout the weekend on the EU and NA LCS channels.

Lords of the Fallen 2 Director Sacked, Project Size Reduced –


Don’t hold your breath.

Lords of the Fallen 2’s director has been let go, and the size of the sequel to 2014’s action RPG drastically reduced by developer CI Games.

“I was let go because of a reduction in team, in scope, in budget, in business approach,” Tomasz Gop told Eurogamer. 

“Almost two years I’ve been working on the sequel and I have not seen it leave the concept/vision stage. I was working on something I was really 100 per cent into and we were not producing the game.

“There came a time when Sniper [Ghost Warrior 3] was the most important thing for CI, the next big hit. It also might have been the reason why Lords was not progressing as fast. Of course it’s not uncommon knowledge that [SGW3] didn’t go exactly according to plan, especially if it goes for sales. And here we are.”

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3’s shortcomings, which included poor graphics, technical issues, and a lack of multiplayer at launch, have been put down to its overly ambitious scope.

“The market is really changing, because you see some major releases, the real blockbusters, doing great numbers, but then you have games that are called triple-A but in fact they’re not triple-A by today’s standards – maybe they were by three year’s ago standards – and they are suffering by not really selling as many units as anyone projected,” CI Games head Marek Tyminski told the site.

“Definitely Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is one of them but there are several examples, even lately – without me telling you which games I’m talking about there are definitely several examples. So the market is changing, it’s consolidating among the largest releases.

“Considering that, I don’t see CI Games being able to, in the near future, raise even more the production budget and marketing budget and really being able to compete at that blockbuster level. But definitely the studio’s ambitions, and the people who are working for CI, we definitely want to make great games.”

Tyminski told Eurogamer that “a very small team” is currently working on the sequel.

Lords of the Fallen 2 was originally expected to launch this year; looks like we’ll be waiting a while to see it come to fruition, if it comes to fruition at all.

Lucy O’Brien is Games & Entertainment Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. Follow her on Twitter.


gamesread | E3 2017: Yakuza Kiwami Is The Generous HD Remake Yakuza Deserves


This is how you do a remake.

A remake of the first Yakuza game, which was originally released in 2005 for PS2, Yakuza Kiwami is a generous package. In addition to rebuilding the entire game from scratch in the newer engine that was used for the 2015 prequel Yakuza 0, the story has also been expanded, giving fresh insight into the travails of stoic central hero Kazuma Kiryu.

It also creates a bigger role for fan-favorite antagonist Goro Majima, who now pops up in surprising and sometimes ludicrous locations throughout the game while disguised as a cop or even a gaudily dressed hostess to offer a challenging battle.

The combat has been upgraded too. Kiryu now has a selection of four fighting styles to play with, imported from Yakuza 0, bringing even more depth to what was already a well fleshed-out game. The violence is brutal and unflinching, as Kiryu stomps his opponents’ heads into the pavement or beats them with a bicycle, all performed with simple yet satisfying combo presses.

This is actually the third iteration of the original Yakuza, after an HD remaster for PS3 and Wii U in 2012/13. But on PS4, the mean streets of fictional Tokyo red light district Kamurocho (closely based on the real-life Kabukicho) are rebuilt and rendered in 1080p at 60fps. The game was already a visual spectacle in 2005, but on PS4 it looks fantastic, treading the line between lifelike facial expressions and stylized visual design.

The story follows gangster Kiryu as he spirals further into a dark underworld of crime and corruption, fighting (literally) to clear his name after falling foul of the powerful Tojo Clan and to protect a 9-year-old orphan girl named Haruka, who has been sucked in to the central drama. A masterclass in videogame storytelling, it presents an intriguing tale via dramatic cut scenes with a script and voice acting to rival the best in yakuza cinema. Nothing has been cut from the Japanese original, so you get the full experience.

Throw in an expanded selection of mini-games such as claw machines, roulette, batting centers, toy racecars, card games, karaoke and more, and you have a package that will keep you busy for quite some time – at least until the newer title Yakuza 6 arrives in the West in early 2018.

Daniel is Chief Editor at IGN Japan. He is nearly as good at karaoke as Kazuma Kiryu.

gamesread | Twilight Spirits Is Launching on Steam at the End of This Month

gamesread | Twilight Spirits Is Launching on Steam at the End of This Month

Twilight Spirits is NetEase Games' new action MORPG that will start open beta in China on June 29th. The game will be also available on Steam around the end of June, most likely on the same date the Chinese open beta starts. It's a shame that the Steam version doesn't support English language but the good thing is it doesn't block IP.

The game is all about simple but exciting combat and it won't have open world, raid, race, and character creation, but has instance-based gameplay and boss battles. And of course it has a good story. Games that are similar to Twilight Spirits are Vindictus and Dragon Nest.

Related: Twilight Spirits Chinese Open Beta Register & Download Guide

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta Time

Russian developer Battlestate Games' realism-focused, story-driven FPS / MMO hybrid Escape from Tarkov will enter closed beta stage in July 2017. Players who pre-ordered the game will automatically get the access to play the CBT to take a look at the new features including a new map, weapon parts, new loot, economy rebalancing and the insurance system, etc.
Escape from Tarkov not just has realistic, hardcore gameplay but also stunning graphics. Watch the alpha gameplay video below.

New Gameplay Features in the Closed Beta:

  • Insurance – For a small amount of in game currency, players can insure weapons and equipment, increasing the chance of retaining it
  • Loot and Economy – The CBT will feature a new Merchant, new barter loot, medicines and additional useful items for players to buy, sell and trade. Economic balancing means items will be made available in marketplaces for barter and in loot drops based on their popularity and rarity within the economics system
  • Weapons – New weapon customization parts and ammunition types, along with the addition of the modern-classic MP5 submachine gun will offer players even more customizations in the game that prides itself on making thousands of weapon combos and upgrades possible
  • Locations – There will be a total of four locations available to play- Customs, Woods, Factory and Shoreline – all with different sizes and terrains. The Shoreline location will be newest and biggest map addition to the CBT.
  • General Chat – Chat channels will be available to all players online in the game, allowing players to share useful information and group up for raids.

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta TimeThe game's storyline takes place in the Russian city of Tarkov, which has been sealed off by roadblocks and plunged into chaos as warfare rages between private military companies throughout the urban battlefield. Escape from Tarkov's Hazardous Environment Combat Simulator employs a number of custom system modules to create incredibly immersive gameplay and make players feel the reality of their surroundings. Combatants will be able to customize their weapons, creating nearly-limitless, though realistic, combinations of weapon features, while learning skills that can improve, or, in a new twist, degrade over time, depending on how much use they get from players.

gamesread | Escape from Tarkov Announced Closed Beta Time

gamesread | Bomb factory flat of Manchester attacker revealed by landlord's tip off

Police cordon at Somerton Court in Manchester (Picture: Rex)

Police believe they have found the bomb factory flat where the explosives detonated by Salman Abedi were made.

Officers have raided a high-rise block, where they believe the device which killed 22 people in a 12th floor council flat was created.

Hundreds of Muslim children march to Manchester Arena to pay tribute to 22 victims

The 22-year-old Manchester bomber sub-let a property in Somerton Court, in the Blackley area of Manchester.

Officers involved in the terror investigation – along with armed police – raided the flat on Wednesday evening.

Abedi’s landlord contacted police after recognising the bomber’s name in the news.

Police have searched the Somerton Court property (Picture: Rex)
British authorities identified Salman Abedi as the bomber who was responsible for Monday’s explosion in Manchester which killed more than 20 people. (Picture: AP)

The landlord said a strong scent of chemicals was left behind by his ex-tenant and fire alarms had been deactivated, according to the Daily Mail.

Hate crime reports have doubled in Manchester since terror attack

Abedi rented the 12th floor property for weeks before the attack, moving out last month.

A total of 13 arrests have now been made in the Manchester attack investigation.

Police arrested two men aged 20 and 22 on suspicion of terror offences in connection with the Manchester bombing last night.

Another man, aged 44, was arrested in Rusholme on suspicion of terrorism offences linked to the arena attack.


Police were tipped off by the landlord of the property (Picture: Rex)

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘It has been a challenging week and we are still in the middle of a live investigation. Eight people are in custody aged between 18 and 38.

‘There are still 12 locations that are being searched and activity will continue throughout the weekend. The cordon remains around Manchester Arena.

‘We have hundreds of officers that are working on this investigation from across the national counter terrorism policing network and we have seized thousands of exhibits that are now being assessed.’

Here is everything we know about the suspects so far.

gamesread – Many pet rabbits will die in Second Life on Saturday

gamesread - Many pet rabbits will die in Second Life on Saturday

Virtual rabbits across Second Life [official site] will fall asleep on Saturday then never wake up, now that the their digital food supply has been shut down by a legal battle. The player-made and player-sold Ozimals brand of digirabbits are virtual pets that players breed and care for in the sandbox MMO, and even need to feed by buying DRM-protected virtual food. But they rely on servers. Waypoint reported earlier today that the seller of Ozimals and the Pufflings virtuabirds has received a legal threat he says he cannot afford to fight, so they’ve shut down. By Saturday, rabbits will run out of food and enter hibernation.

The rabbits aren’t dead, they’re sleeping. They simply can never wake up.

The ‘breedables‘ craze, which Ozimals played a big role in, may have peaked a while back but a lot of virtual animals still exist. Well, for now. If digirabbits can’t eat, they enter ‘hibernation’ after 72 hours and will only wake up when fed again. Ozimals need to check in with servers but these shut down on Wednesday, so no rabbits can be fed. Even players who’ve bought a big supply of food will find their rabbits, er, very still forever. I’ve read that some are already gone.

At least the Ozimals’ birdy cousins, the Pufflings, had a swift death. They shut down instantly on Wednesday when the servers went down, while rabbits hold on with the food in their cyberbellies.

Ozimals did give rabbit owners a brief chance to save their rabbits. Before shutting down, they gave away items which make rabbits not need food – and leaves them sterile. Some rabbits will live on forever, the last of their kind. If you wish that fate upon your rabbit, apparently some kindly players have a stash you’re welcome to.

gamesread - Many pet rabbits will die in Second Life on Saturday

That’s a fun/tragic and quirky story about Second Life, isn’t it? That ol’ wild frontier of cyberspace. For a while, Second Life and EVE were shoulder-to-shoulder at one exciting experimental edge of digital societies. EVE Online had the intrigue and the murder, and Second Life had the creativity and the sex. But as much as people like to place dollar values on EVE battles, Second Life has always been the one with serious money riding on it. And the death big sleep of these rabbit is a business story.

Ozimals and Pufflings overlord ‘Malkavyn Eldritch’ said in Tuesday’s blog post:

“At 8:00 am on Monday, May 15, 2017, I received a Cease and Desist letter from legal counsel representing Edward Distelhurst and Akimeta Ltd. This letter demands that I cease all use of Ozimals intellectual property.

“I don’t personally agree with this claim, but I do not have the means to fight this in court, therefore I have no choice but to comply.”

And that’s it. The Ozimals business is gone, its site is deleted, Pufflings are inert, rabbits will soon follow unless cursed with immortality, and all money spent is gone.

What kind of monster would use lawyers to murder virtual rabbits? Well!

“We feel that because they have named us by our real life entities, and identities, they have willfully made us a target of their communities’ understandably upset feelings,” Distelhurst and Akimeta say in a public letter, going on to tell their sides of the story.

Akimeta’s side is fairly simple. In 2009 and 2010, Akhmeta made models and textures for rabbits, accessories, and other bits and pieces they licensed to the company Ozimals LLC. Akhmeta say that Ozimals the company was dissolved last year but the person currently running Ozimals the game has kept using their work and that’s not covered by the old license. Simple!

Edward Distelhurst’s story is messier. A programmer who worked on the game, he has been in a legal battle for six years over alleged unpaid royalties. It’s a tale including multiple settlements, a court order for Ozimals to sell their second house to cover debts, Ozimals’ legal battle with the makers of virtual horses, Distelhurst receiving a majority share after Ozimals don’t sell the house, and… it’s quite the read.

Eldritch, Akimeta, and Distelhurst are obviously telling their own stories. I’m not saying who’s right and who’s wrong. But mate, if you think Internet spaceships are serious business – they’ve got nothing on Internet rabbits.