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MapleStory 2 Available on Steam for Headstart, Official Launch Oct 10
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MapleStory 2's head-start program began on October 1st for everyone that bought a founders pack and is will be free for everyone on October 10th. The game also made its way to Steam on October 4th and the game's numbers on there are fairly impressive. As of this writing the game hit over 1875 concurrent users, which is impressive because most people hyped for the game bought founders packs directly through Nexon. The 1875+ users on Steam likely represent a small minority of the game's active playerbase.

Given the game's unique emphasis on non-gameplay elements (housing, crafting, mini games, music, etc), I'm optimistic on the game's fortunes in the West. MapleStory 2 seems to be a lot more than a game - it's trying to be a place to hang out.
Fractured Virtual Store Is Now Open For Business
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Indie developer Dynamight Studios has just announced that the virtual store for their crowdfunded sandbox MMO Fractured is now up and running. According to a recent press release, the Fractured Store “marks the reboot of crowdfunding for [the] upcoming sandbox MMORPG Fractured.”

The virtual store features the same pledge packages found in the Kickstarter campaign which ended in July with over $120,00 in funding. This includes the Early Bird packs and other exclusive packages previously available during the Kickstarter campaign.

Pledge Packages start at $23 all the way up to $345. High-value packs will be available until the start of Alpha testing in December which all high-tier backers will immediately have access to. Backers who donated during the Kickstarter campaign will also be able to upgrade their pledges...
TERA Kicks Off Halloween Celebrations With A Special Dungeon & Seasonal Costumes
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Halloween is in the air and TERA is celebrating with candies and costumes for everyone. En Masse Entertainment has brought back the Harvest Festival Hall event to kick off the celebrations.
During the event, players will be able to participate in a special Halloween-themed dungeon.

“Look for the witch Serena at the Eldritch Academy (near Pora Elinu) to participate. Once you're inside, use the Halloween Cannons to repel waves of monsters intent on stealing every last bit of candy they can get their grubby paws on.”
Players who participate in the special dungeon will be rewarded with Halloween Candy which they can exchange for unique mounts, pets, and of course, costumes.

En Masse will also be releasing premium seasonal costumes every week of October. For this week, players can purchase the sexy Devilicious costume for females and sentai-themed Titan Force costumes for male characters...
Bless Online Going Free to Play on October 23
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Bless is officially exiting early access on Steam on October 23 and also going free to play on the same day. The game originally launched as a buy to play game in North America and Europe, despite being free to play in every other region. The logic behind the business model was to follow in the footsteps of Black Desert Online in monetizing retail sales rather than relying heavily on micro-transactions. Unfortunately the game launched with terrible optimizations and saw its playerbase decline precipitously and the free to play move is an attempt to increase its playerbase.

Every owner of the Early Access of Bless Online, even those who purchase the game now before its official launch on Oct. 23rd, will receive unique rewards for their patronage. Those who own the Collector’s Edition will receive a lifetime premium membership subscription, and all editions receive at least three months of premium membership, along with exclusive skins that...
Score A Free Copy Of Black Desert Online This October
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Want to get a copy of Black Desert Online for free? Last month, the fantasy MMORPG hit 10 million players and Kakao Games and Pearl Abyss are celebrating the milestone by giving away free copies of the game to new players. But, there’s a catch.

“New adventurers can earn a free copy of Black Desert Online by completing the 7-day trial challenge. Players who start playing Black Desert Online between the 3rd of October up until the 17th of October, reach level 56 on a character and complete that character’s awakening quest before their 7-day trial expires will be rewarded with a free Starters Package.”
The Starter Package is priced at $10 which isn’t bad considering that the Drieghan expansion’s release is just around the corner. Unfortunately, the promo won’t work on Steam. You can find the full mechanics here.

Meanwhile, the game itself has just gotten a new patch which features the...
Fortnite Gets A ‘Cool’ New Trap With Update 6.1
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Fortnite Patch v6.1 is now live bringing with it a new Battle Royale trap that’s sure to give your unwary opponents cold feet. The new Chiller Trap is a common trap that can be placed on floors, walls, and even ceilings. Triggering the trap gives enemies and allies icy feet and causes them to slide around the map like the burglar in Home Alone 2.

Save The World players will also be getting shiny new weapons, the Lead Sled Hammer, a fast-swinging hammer that gains attack speed with each hit, and the Obliterator Sniper Rifle, a slow-firing rifle with massive damage. Both weapons will be available in the Weekly Store from October 3rd 8pm ET to October 10th 8PM ET.

More options have been added to Playground Mode which is still the currently available LTM. There’s also improvements and bug fixes for gameplay, audio, and the UI. Read through the full patch notes on the Fortnite official site. You...
Hearthstone Prepares For Annual Hallow’s End Celebration
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Hearthstone has just kicked off their annual Halloween celebration with spooky Tavern decorations, costumes optional. This year, a special guest will also be gracing the common room of the Tavern - Sir Annoy-o.

“In this Hearthstone update we’re decorating the Tavern for a spooky Hallow’s End event that includes a special guest: the new Paladin Hero Sir Annoy-o! We’re also adding New Player Ranks, giving the Welcome Bundle a facelift, adding new Daily Quests, fixing some bugs, and more.”

The actual Hallow’s End celebration starts October 17th and will run until October 31st. Simply login anytime during the event to claim your free golden Witch’s Cauldron card. A special dual class arena will also be available during the event along with special Hallow’s End emotes. The Headless Horseman will also be making a comeback during the event.

In addition, the devs will also be adding the new “Cast When Drawn” keyword to a number of cards. There’s also bug fixes and...
Lineage 2 Classic Server Opens In NA Today
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Lineage 2 Classic is finally coming to North America following a successful launch in Europe and Russia. The classic server will be opening its doors today and NCSoft has just published the official, and slightly extensive, patch notes.

“Relive the beginning with Lineage II Classic, and experience the bold, tough, and unforgiving world of a hardcore progression MMO. Team up with friends in a Clan, dominate your enemies, and claim ownership of a vast empire. Start fresh on a new server and race to meet the challenges of punishingly difficult (and non-instanced) content.”
The classic server will initially be capped at level 70 but will increase with future updates. Players can choose from five playable races: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Dark Elf, and Orc. Kamael and Ertheia will not be available. A 4% exp penalty will be implemented on the classic server when you die. The good news is that players will get to keep all of their items when they die. Accruing...
Rend Releases Development Roadmap Amidst Declining Playerbase
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Frostkeep Studios released their early access development roadmap today for their sandbox faction based survival game Rend. The game has been available through Steam early access for about 2 months now and despite a strong start the game's playerbase is in decline, averaging about ~240 players online at any given time.
Some of the key targets and objectives in the development road-map are:
  • Comprehensive Combat Improvements
  • Streamlined Features
  • Legendary Artifacts
  • Dynamic Siege Combat
  • Refined Social Mechanics
Rend is a buy to play survival game that mixes Rust like survival elements with larger scale faction based gameplay and persistent MMO elements.

Further reading: Development roadmap blogpost
Aion: Awakened Legacy Update (6.0) Launching October 24 In U.S.
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NCSoft USA announced today that Aion: Awakened Legacy is launching on October 24th, 2018 which is the biggest update of the year for the game. Awakened Legacy, better known as 6.0, increases the game's level cap to 80, introduces the new Lakrum zone, adds new skills, gear, items, and more. It's a massive update and to celebrate the occasion, NCSoft is giving away free awakened gala gift packs (visit the splash page to get them).

The European version of Aion through gameforge received this exact same update early last week, so the North American version is a tad late. Still, better late than never. This is the first time the game has increased its level cap since 2016, so it's a massive update. Mark your calendars!

Further Reading: Aion Awakened Legacy Splash Page
Battlerite Royale Launches on Steam Early Access As Separate Title
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Battlerite's Battle Royale game mode, Battlerite Royale, officially launched on Steam early access today as a standalone game as is off to a fairly strong start (3360 peak players on launch day). The game is available for $19.99 and mixes the MOBA elements found in Battlerite with popular battle royale mechanics from hit titles like PUBG / Fortnite. While the game costs money today, it will be free to play after it launches sometime in 2019. The game's current early access build features 20 unique champions along with similar combat mechanics from Battlerite, although with some tweaks to make every character viable.

“We’ve taken MOBA and battle royale and blended the best of both worlds to create something different and worthy of all MOBA fans,” says Peter Ilves, Game Director at Stunlock Studios. “Featuring a third person perspective, unique combat, and MOBA elements, Battlerite Royale is a truly unique take on the BR genre. The Early Access...
WildStar Officially Shutting Down on November 28
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While we knew WildStar was shutting down, we didn't know exactly when. At least until today. NCSoft announced today that WildStar will be shutting down for good on November 28, 2018. Anyone who spent money on the game since July 1st on either Steam or through the official website will be getting refunds. From now until the game shuts down, WildStar will be hosting some fan favorite in game events as a farewell to their loyal players. Rest in peace WildStar (2014-2018).

Further reading: Official Announcement
Sony Caves, Enables Cross Platform Play For Fortnite
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30 months after Microsoft opened up the Xbox ecosystem to cross platform play, Sony finally decided to follow suit. Initially, Sony was able to maintain its walled-garden approach due to its massive lead in this generation's console market. The massive success of Fortnite changed that. Millions of gamers were frustrated that Sony was standing in the way of PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch users playing together.

Today's update serves as a beta for cross-platform play and only applies to the smash hit Fortnite, but cross-play will soon become a feature for any 3rd party developer who chooses to support it. In their official announcement Sony claims cross-play was a feature that they have always worked towards, but its clear the real reason for the the sudden change is Fortnite's enormous success. That means even those of us who don't play the hit Battle Royale title still owe it a debt of gratitude.

It should be noted that PlayStation users could previously...
World Of Warcraft Classic Will Be Playable By BlizzCon Virtual Ticket Holders
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World of Warcraft has had a great month. The release of Battle For Azeroth has seen the game's subscription numbers swell to a 4-year high and overtake League of Legends in revenue for the month of August according to SuperData research.

This year's Blizzcon, scheduled to start November 2nd, should give both old and new World of Warcraft fans a reason to celebrate the game's continued success. According to an official BlizzCon preview video, a demo for World of Warcraft Classic will be playable at the convention. What's more, all virtual ticket holders will be able to try the demo from home from November 2-8th.

Both BlizzCon attendees and virtual ticket holders will also receive in-game items including a cloak and war banner displaying symbols of either the Alliance or Horde factions.

The convention will also hold panels on the state of Classic WoW development and the challenges the team faces in recreating the 2004 experience. Both technical and design...
Lineage 2 Classic Server Launching October 3
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NCSoft is launching a classic server for Lineage 2 on October 3, 2018 which will feature all the modern engine tweaks and upgrades of the game today with gameplay elements from before the Goddess of Destruction expansion. So that means no Charisma or luck stats, no auction house, and no vitality system. The game's level cap will also be set at 70 and additional new features will be added to the game in time (kind of like a progression server).

This isn't the first classic server for the game. There's been a European and Russian one before, but this is the first time a North American version is being released through NCSoft. Given how popular classic and progression servers have been in other titles, I suspect Lineage 2 classic to do pretty well. After all, nostalgia
Lost Ark Open Beta Begins November 7 In South Korea
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The highly anticipated isometric action MMORPG Lost Ark from SmileGate is launching into open beta in South Korea on November 7th, 2018. It's been a long road to open beta ever since the game's first closed beta began in late 2015. The game will get regular big updates called seasons with story updates titled episodes, much like Guild Wars 2. No word on when an English launch is happening, but I suspect we'll hear about it sometime in 2019.

Those looking to give Lost Ark a try before its English launch should be able to play the Korean version in November at least. I'll personally be giving it a try then and will put up a first look video once I get the chance.
Bless Korea Shutting Down, Neowiz Committing to NA Version
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Bless Korea is permanently shutting down on November 19th, but the North American and EU versions will remain up according to a producer letter posted by the game's executive producer. The Korean version's shutdown should come as no surprise to anyone as it's never had much of a playerbase. In fact, even the North American / EU version on Steam has been bleeding players since launch and currently averages only 839 players online at any given time.


Despite the executive producer claiming that this won't effect the Steam version of the game, I suspect as the game's playerbase continues to dwindle it too will close. Especially since Bless Unleashed is set to launch in the West in early 2019, which will simply be a better version of Bless (Unreal Engine 4 and free to play).
Perfect World International Launches Redemption Expansion
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Perfect World launched its latest expansion today titled 'Redemption'. It introduces new zones, a 6th Boundary tier, a Dungeon Bestiary, Sacred Realm Phantom mini-bosses, some graphical updates, and more.

PWI’s North American launch was the first project the Perfect World Entertainment team worked on after the company’s creation, so it holds a special place for our team,” said Yoon Im, senior vice president of game publishing at Perfect World Entertainment. “Over the last decade, millions of players have enjoyed PWI’s magical world, sharing experiences, sieging dungeons and showcasing their favorite mounts. Ten years is a significant milestone for an MMO and we are honored to have the support of our fans for so long.”
Perfect World is also celebrating it's 10th anniversary this month with various in game events and festivities. The game originally launched in North America back in September 2008, and helped popularize free to play...
SamuTale Celebrates Two Year Mark with Free-to-Play Week
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Here’s a friendly little PSA guys. If you’ve wanted to check out SamuTale, but… you know… money, this is your week. Two years ago, the game launched in Early Access, with players being able to gain access with the trusty founder pack purchase.

Since the game has progressed so much in the past two years, the developer has decided to offer everyone a chance to try it out with a free-to-play week event. The event kicks off alongside a new update and will come to an end on September 23. All you need to do to join in is download the SamuTale client via the game’s site.

During this week, players who decide they like the game will be able to purchase the founder pack of their choice at a 30% discount as well.
World of Warcraft works to improve warfronts and island expeditions while prepping for Patch 8.1
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With an awkward rollout of warfronts and underwhelming island expedition rewards, World of Warcraft needs all hands on deck these days to course-correct Battle for Azeroth. Blizzard is attempting such changes, according to last week’s dev AMA, including adding more warfronts to give increased access to the dual factions and making island expeditions more lucrative and enjoyable.

“Island expeditions represent a stab at an entirely new type of content,” said Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, “and we’re certainly planning continued improvements and refinement to the system over the rest of the expansion (as well as new locales with varied mechanics to explore). In particular, we want to add more new events to increase the variety of the experiences players have when jumping into expeditions, or running the same pool of islands repeatedly.”
If you want a...