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 www.bladeandsoul.com 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.

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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.

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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 – gamesread.com


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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


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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.

gamesread – State of the Game: Three Weeks into Galahad

We’re now at the three week mark post Galahad and the wipe and can take inventory of what we, and according to the majority of the feedback: most of you as well, consider a very successful update that was a huge step forward towards release in July.

Naturally, however, there are always areas in which we can improve until then. Let’s take a look at the major points that we are not yet entirely happy with.

Item Drops, Economy Changes, Essences

We are developing an exciting new feature where all mob item drops will be player crafted – yes, you read that right. The way this works is that all items that can drop from mobs need to be supplied to an NPC black market first. The black market in turn creates demand based on mobs being killed. If the black market’s demand is not met for certain items, prices will increase, until a player is willing to sell the requested item to the NPC. Items sold to the NPC will then enter the drop pool, i.e. mobs can drop them based on the usual loot tables. However, the black market NPC is somewhat corrupt, and some items sold to him will be “lost”, hence creating a nice item sink which will be very important at the lower tiers. If we can make it work, you’ll even be able to see which player originally crafted the item that just dropped from the mob you killed!

This features allows us to make a number of awesome improvements to the game

  • all equipment items in Albion Online will be player crafted again (well, excluding Founder’s gear)
  • we can allow mobs to drop significantly more and also better items, as these will need to be crafted by a players and sold to the black market NPC first before they can actually drop
  • as we can now drop items in a decent number, we will likely have a closer look at what options this gives us to make gatherers happy – for example the possibility of removing refined resources as a reward for hell gates and chests
  • and for the same reason, we will likely remove essences as a requirement for refining, as the player crafted item drops feature provides a powerful link between PvE and crafting already, hence removing the reason why we introduced essences in the first place

We are truly excited about this feature and its implications, we feel it will drastically improve gathering, refining, crafting and PvE at the same time. For more details, check the sneak peek thread in our forums.

Reputation System

We will make changes to the reputation system allowing for more PvP to happen in yellow and red zones, while still making sure that the reputation system provides a discouragement to non-consensual PvP, in particular when hunting players as a zerg. See details here.

Improved Hell Gates

Hell Gates are a great source of PvP, and a lot of fun. However, we still feel we could make them even better. These are mostly related to dodging the other team and to the fact that mobs and mob pulling can play an inflated role in the PvP confrontations. We feel that there is no band-aid fix for these issues and have hence created a new hell gate design and map that is currently undergoing internal testing, and that will hopefully see the light of day before release of the game. If not, then shortly thereafter.

We are also aware that the reward balancing for hell gates might currently be off, in particular with regards to enchanted resources. Please see the point above about item drops and economy changes, which allows us to keep hell gates extremely rewarding by setting a high rate for player crafted item drops, allowing us to remove refined resources from the drop table.

Guild Quality of Life Changes

We have a vast array of guild quality of life changes very high on our priority list.

We cannot promise yet if and how many of them will make it in time for release, however, some should start showing up in the first post-release update.

The list of things we are looking into is long, among them are:

  • banks with configurable tabs, and a guild bank
  • customizable guild rights and role management (i.e. create a role called “gatherers” and then give all “gatherers” access to a particular tab in the guild bank, etc)
  • transactions logs and asset overview banks
  • more detailed activity logs on guild members
  • tiered guild wallet
  • improved guild message of the day feature
  • crafting orders (place an order at the crafter building and leave the ingredients there, possibly set a reward. Crafter can come by later, craft the item for you, and you pick it up later)
  • support for internal guild currency. Award “guild coins” to your members based on their contribution to the guild, and set up a reward store using these guild coins.

Note that getting all of these into the game will take it’s time, hence, we are working on them step by step.

Item Stacking and Market Interface Improvement

We will allow fully repaired items to stack, also meaning that you can create a market sell order for multiple items at once. We  aim to do this in such a way that we can still preserve the “crafted by” info for individual items.

Post-release, we will rework our market interface to make trading more efficient. We want to encourage more users to be able to use buy orders and sell orders, hence creating an overall more accessible and liquid game market.

Performance

In the first days post-wipe especially you and us noticed a number of performance hiccups which need addressing. We already applied some measures in the first week, which saw server and client performance increase significantly from the 17th of March onwards.

Despite us hitting a peak player-count in a single cluster (Fort Sterling represent!) on the weekend, the server did not give in or gave too many issues. However, that was only a first pass at optimization and stability. We will continue working on this until release, especially considering that huge open world clashes are one of the major points in Albion, and, despite the game having become more complex and demanding over time, it is our absolute goal to have it run stable even in huge fights.

Prevent Another Post-Wipe Food Crisis

Remember the food crisis in the first days post wipe? We will take steps to make sure that it does not get repeated on release. Instead of seeding food at high prices in the market place – as we did for the Galahad wipe – we will instead let all mobs drop food ingredients for the first 1-2 weeks after release, to allow the food economy to properly get going in an organic way.

Tutorial

The tutorial will see significant improvements prior to release.

There will be a basic mission line guiding beginning players through the starting towns and rewarding players who complete them with a first very basic mount to set out into the world of Albion.

Improve Home Territory GvG

The GvG layout for home territories – with 4 monoliths in the corners of the map – is not ideal, and we are looking into changing this into a more balanced layout with 3 monoliths.

Improving the Value of Watchtower Territories and providing open world GvG

We are aware that watchtower territories currently feel unrewarding to own. One solution we are considering to implement post-release is to replace watchtower territories with something much more meaningful, such as a lumber camp or an ore mine. Same as watchtowers right now, these territories would not be protected by an energy barrier, but would be protected by guards belonging to the guild who owns the territory. They will contain a large concentration of resources. The resource nodes inside the territory however will follow their own spawn logic, such that we can also have special spawn events at specific times where, for example, all nodes will be fully recharged instantly to make gathering in them a more focused activity. 

This, in turn, provides an incentive for other guilds to raid the territories, killing the guards and mining the resources before the owning guilds gets a chance to do it, providing a constant stream of open world GvG opportunities. Of course, actually conquering the territory – and thus getting access to the chest and control of the guards – will still be done in a 5v5 GvG fight.

Likely, we will also allow guilds to upgrade their territories, for example, in order to improve the number and power of the guards, or the amount of resources that spawn there.

Lots of Balancing, Polishing, Bug Fixes and Minor Improvements

Now that we are getting close to release, a lot of focus will be put on this. This will of course include the following further balancing of the destiny board and progression speed and combat/item balancing

Please note that the above list only shows a selection of the key topics that we are working on to get the game ready for release. If you feel that something obvious is missing, there is a good chance that we have it on our list, if you’d like to be sure, please ask as a reply to this thread.

We are looking forward to your feedback.

Your Albion Online Team