Free-to-play and platform-agnostic. That’s the future of games as a service. The idea of a game as a live service, as a continually updated platform, delivering players new content on a regular basis, isn’t new. But over the last decade, the concept has been honed to a sharp point: The most-successful live-service games are available across multiple gaming systems and have done away with the obstacle of an up-front payment.
The numbers speak for themselves. Honor Of Kings and PUBG MOBILE are free for users to download and play, yet they are two of the highest revenue drivers in the video game industry today. Together, these titles demonstrate how wildly successful the “Games as a Service” (or GaaS) model can be.
Saad Choudri is the CEO of Miniclip, one of the world’s biggest mobile game publishers. Miniclip’s games have been downloaded over four billion times. Choudri told Pocket Gamer that the free-to-play model has driven his company’s success.
“The idea is that once many players have downloaded and played a free game, some of them will enjoy it so much that they will be willing to pay for cosmetic add-ons, new features, in-game currencies, and other in-app purchases (IAP) for an enhanced experience,” he told the publication.
Ongoing revenue streams take many forms, from subscription fees and premium expansions to the microtransactions Choudri cites. Increasingly, limited-time content such as Season or Battle Passes, which feature both free-to-play and premium tracks, are becoming commonplace. Most GaaS titles will feature a combination of these revenue streams.
Post-launch revenue streams are not new, of course. In the past, the focus was on premium disc add-ons. Content updates and even balance patches were important ways of maintaining the interest of existing users, as well as offering developers and publishers a way to attract new players. The PC shareware model that vaulted id Software and Epic Games to fame in the 1990s is an early form of GaaS – the first episode of the original 1993 DOOM was released for free, while subsequent episodes were available for purchase later.
Today’s GaaS landscape is the fine-tuned result of these decades of history and industry experience. Over time, GaaS has moved towards a free-to-play model. The earliest MMOs debuted in the 90s at a full premium price alongside a monthly fee and premium-priced expansions. Today, it’s rare to see an MMO launch with a price tag attached, while the monthly subscription model is also being abandoned in favor of in-game purchases.
Destiny 2 launched in 2017 at a standard AAA retaill price point. Since going free-to-play in late 2019, Bungie’s first-person shooter has gone from strength to strength. The yearly premium paid-for expansions and quarterly season updates account for close to US$1 billion in life to date earnings and boast millions of active monthly players. Rocket League managed a similarly fruitful transition. Since its acquisition by Epic Games and explosive popularity as an e-sport, Rocket League has generated an estimated US$900 million in revenue as a free-to-play title.
One of the key characteristics of GaaS games is that they offer a persistent world. The game is a living thing – always available to be played, with regular content updates. The rise of the Battle Pass over the last five years is the culmination of this type of design. While most games offer a basic battle pass to all players for free, the premium track is where the best rewards – including in-game currencies, limited-time items and cosmetics – can be found.
The Future of GaaS
Whereas most talk of GaaS focuses on individual games and how they operate in a live-service environment, the future necessarily has to involve the plans first-party platform owners such as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have for their own subscription-based revenue models.
Microsoft has Xbox Game Pass and Sony has PlayStation Plus, meta-level services offering games as a subscription – more akin to Netflix and other streaming providers. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says GaaS, or live service games, are the future of the industry.
“[The] phenomenon of the live service game… that has, in a very large part, fueled the enormous growth in the gaming industry that we’ve seen over the last ten years. I think that trend towards live services will continue, and if you look for a model in our category of entertainment, which supports sustained engagement over a long period of time, live services games arguably fit that bill better than a subscription service,” Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz.
The ideal scenario, for the end-user, at least, would be for these services to become platform-agnostic, that is, for the Xbox Game Pass library to be available to PlayStation 5 users who pay Microsoft, and for the PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Premium library to be available to Xbox Series X|S users who pay a subscription fee to Sony. Or indeed, be available through any sufficiently capable device you can connect to the internet.
Companies are already making strides to allow users to enjoy the same games across platforms. Two of the most meaningful developments are cross-play, where Xbox and PlayStation users can play together, and cross-save, where players can transfer their save files from one platform to another. If the industry is to develop a “Netflix of games,” then such games as a service cannot be tied down to a specific platform.
Getting the platform holders to agree on the precise details of cross-platform play is a challenging and ongoing task. But what is clear is that all players, regardless of which platforms they are on, believe they benefit from cross-platform play.
In a cross-platform future, the platform most likely to dominate is the one that is already ubiquitous: the mobile phone. Everyone already has one. And upgrading a phone to keep pace with developments in gaming technology is cheaper than maintaining a cutting-edge PC or even the newest generation of console hardware.
As Miniclip’s Saad Choudri told City AM: “We’ve always followed where the players go and the players are going onto mobile. With a computing device in your pocket, it just made more sense that you would just consume more [games] there.”
Finding the sweet spot
The core objective of GaaS is player retention. Whether it’s a subscription to Xbox Game Pass or purchasing the next Fortnite Battle Pass, developers and publishers must offer the right package of incentives to encourage their players to stick around.
Getting it right is a win-win for the industry and for consumers. Not only does it offer a secure, ongoing source of revenue for the studios, but it allows players to continue to invest quality time into their favorite game worlds.
For players still knee-deep in the slaying as part of Warhammer: Vermintide 2‘s co-op action, developer Fatshark has some great news to share. The new free DLC, Tower of Treachery, is now available on the PC version of Warhammer: Vermintide 2, with console version to follow in the second quarter of the year.
On the heels of its 5th anniversary, Tower of Treachery will follow up on Trail of Treachery, in which the Ubersreik 5 set out to investigate strange happenings in a neighboring town. That will see a faceoff with the necromancer, Sofia Fuegonasus, to stop her reign of terror. Fuegonasus has taken over Olesya’s old hideout and is attempting to spread her corruption throughout the Grey Mountains, Bretonnia and the Reikland. It’s up to heroes and heroines to put a stop to her deathly plans, but achieving that objective is going to be a tough challenge, and this might just be the deadliest foe the team has had to face yet.
“After releasing the first part of the adventure with Trail of Treachery, we’re super intrigued to see the players’ reaction to this second and final installment. A lot of work and passion has gone into creating this new villain, Sofia — hopefully, our players will like her as much as we do,” said Sacha Karsenty, Producer on Vermintide 2 for the launch of Tower of Treachery.
Tower of Treachery is free for all Vermintide 2 owners. It adds a new mission to the game’s previous content update, a Treacherous Adventure, completing the two-adventure map set for Warhammer: Vermintide 2, while adding 13 new in-game challenges for players to put their skills to the test.
The battlefields of Hotta Studio‘s Tower of Fantasy are set to get musical, as the DJ known as Fenrir will bring her cuteness and powerful abilities to the fore
Armed with the Volt-type weapon, Gleipnir, Fenrir delivers seven-hit combos with ease both on the ground and in mid-air with the ability to knock back or suspend enemies at key junctures. Her Menacing Hunt combo grants the DJ temporary invincibility, and she has more tricks up her sleeves in the air.
Fenrir Skills in Tower of Fantasy
With music a key component of her character, Fenrir possesses the passive ability of Reverberation in Tower of Fantasy. By using normal or combo attacks, musical notes are placed upon the targets, which can then be detonated to devastating effect with either Trailing Note or Melody. The damage multiplier, especially at three or more notes, is significant, with the further benefit of dealing damage over time.
Her weapon skill, Su-Paw-Star, creates a Songworld, an area-of-effect buff that reduces damage taken by 8% and ignores 20% of enemies’ defenses. The toughest enemy caught inside the area will also take twice the damage, with the Consciousness effect generating a passive copy of the foe that can be attacked. All damage is then transferred to the main body for even more hurt.
At the same time, Fenrir recovers HP equal to half of her attack with each hit, while the enemy’s offense is blunted. Finally, when the passive copy returns to the main body, it will trigger an area damage explosion. As for Fenrir’s discharge skill, Awoooo! deals massive damage to targets in the area and places three musical notes on them. The temporary invincibility will ensure players stay alive while their opponents get a rude awakening.
Fenrir Key Star Rating Effects
At 1-star, Fenrir gains a new skill in the form of Aural Fever. This allows any chain of multiple attacks to inflict slow with each hit and gain recovery for the heroine, and if the last hit lands, two more musical notes are added to set things up further.
At 3-star, Songworld gets a boost in conjunction with Aural Fever. Fenrir will trigger multiple Songworld Quakes that deal high area damage as she attacks and grants invulnerability.
Combat Strategy with Fenrir in Tower of Fantasy
With her unique traits and skills, Fenrir is great in a team lineup of Tian Lang and Nemesis. With two DPS-type weapons equipped, Attack Resonance will increase final damage tremendously, while the Elemental Resonance for a Volt team enhances elemental damage and resistance.
By combining the effects of Songworld, Aural Fever, and the musical notes of Fenrir, the damage potential of the newest addition of Tower of Fantasy will be music to the ears of players everywhere.
Drop into deadly storms to earn new weapons, gear and cosmetics before Season 3
With The Cycle: Frontier set to welcome Season 3 this coming Mar. 29, YAGER is not about to let the current season go out without a bang. The new in-game Storm Divers event introduces more exciting gear, weapons, and cosmetics to The Cycle: Frontier, with Fortuna III experiencing strange occurrences.
As both Crescent Falls and Tharis Island see an increased frequency of storms, it is up to Prospectors to discover the origins of the phenomena and put an end to a disaster waiting to happen.
For a dangerous task like this, players who join their fellow Storm Divers will obtain specialized gear to survive the tempest, including a night vision helmet, storm-protecting armor, and helpful mods and consumables. The event will also forgo reputation requirements for all factional weapons, including legendary weapons and most of the epic and exotic gear, with alien meteor cores and fragments that can only be found on event maps. The opportunity to experiment with late-game weapons and gear that can be out of reach normally is a great incentive for anyone checking out Storm Divers in The Cycle: Frontier.
Of course, dangers are everywhere on Fortuna III, and Prospectors will need to keep a keen eye out anywhere they go. Aside from the aggressive flora and fauna, the storms also cause meteors to crash down from the heavens, bringing both danger and rewards at the same time.
There is also the Howler, which will be introduced in Season 3, to watch out for, as its nest locations will be visible on the map. Nothing like a sense of impending doom to quicken those footsteps.
The Storm Divers event will last until the start of Season 3 for The Cycle: Frontier, which is on Wednesday, March 29.
With the PUBG MOBILE Super League (PMSL) SEA set to kick off its first week on Mar. 22, the ever-popular battle royale has unveiled the first-ever partner teams to join the PUBG MOBILE Partnership Program, as shared by James Yang, Director of PUBG MOBILE Esports.
In total, there are five teams from Indonesia, four from Malaysia, three from Thailand, two from Vietnam, and one from the Philippines that are certified Southeast Asia partner teams. These pro teams will receive guaranteed slots for the PUBG MOBILE Pro League (PMPL) and PMSL SEA, along with all the additional partner benefits and opportunities.
- ALTER EGO
- BIGETRON ESPORTS
- BOOM ESPORTS
- PERSIJA EVOS
- RRQ ESPORTS
- GEEK SLATE
- TEAM SECRET
- YOODO ALLIANCE
- BACON TIME
- FAZE CLAN
- VAMPIRE ESPORTS
- BOX GAMING
- PLAYBOOK ESPORTS
Each partner team was accepted to the program based on previous tournament performance, future commitment, fan popularity, as well as the general popularity of PUBG MOBILE Esports in the specific country. These teams will benefit from increased opportunities to develop their players, grow their exposure to fans and extend their support to their community.
All partner teams, along with other teams that have qualified through PMPL SEA, will compete in the PMSL Spring Season, which kicks off on Mar. 22 for three weeks of battle across Sanhok, Erangel and Miramar. The top 16 teams will head to the PMSL Finals, taking place starting Apr. 14 to 16.
PUBG MOBILE is available to download for free on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Following an earlier developer update and a strong showing at The Game Awards 2022, Inflexion Games is back with more updates to its open-world survival crafting game, Nightingale, satisfying many long-standing community concerns about modding, servers, and the like through Inflexion Games Community Manager Steph Herdman.
Tweaks and Fixes
With Nightingale launching in 2023, the team has been hard at work creating the best experience possible for its loyal fanbase.
As Herdman shared, the studio feels well-prepared with the amount of content for the Early Access launch. However, feedback from the Closed Alpha Tests has allowed the studio to further refine its vision for Nightingale, in particular more development time in order to address issues and bugs found by testers. Resource gathering will be tweaked for quicker in-game feedback to combat the sluggishness reported by players as well.
Immersion was also a crucial element, with the team looking to add more foliage, resources, and wildlife to the Fae realms to transport players to another world. More tilesets are under consideration for the game’s blueprint system to foster more creativity..
Supporting the Players
Inflexion Games continues to put players first, with the reveal that Nightingale will have dedicated servers at the Early Access launch. That means players can enjoy the game without limitations and have access to streamlined support throughout.
“It’s fundamental to our studio principle of ‘fantastic spaces, meaningful places.’ We recognize that asynchronous play is not the only reason people request dedicated servers, as some community members are looking for the ability to host private servers,” said Herdman.
The access to additional server options and modding that usually comes with private servers are in Nightingale, itself, with its Realm Cards system. Difficulty or time of day can be modified as part of the game, and the studio will share more about additional modifiers soon. Both private servers and modding won’t be available at launch, but these are options that Inflexion will be looking at once everything else is more stable.
More playtests are coming, and interested players hoping to make a difference in the development of Nightingale can sign up now via the official website.
19 Sessions and Booth Exhibition to Highlight Game Technology and Development Tools
Tencent Games, the world’s leading game development, publishing, and operation platform, is pleased to announce its presence at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2023, from Mar. 20 to 24. With a record number of 19 sessions and a booth exhibition, Tencent Games will showcase its latest innovations and share its experience and knowledge in mobile game development with the industry.
The sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including machine learning, large-scale and cinematic rendering, next-generation mobile game development techniques, audio techniques, and efficiency tools for pipeline management. The lineup includes many of Tencent Games’ exciting titles, including Honor of Kings and Return to Empire from TiMi Studio Group, START Cloud Game, upcoming title Arena Breakout from Morefun Studio and Funcom’s highly anticipated Dune: Awakening, as well as a presentation on the game development tool CloudFlow Pipeline and the in-house CROS Game Engine developed by Tencent Games Common R&D and Operation System (CROS).
At the Tencent Games booth, attendees can experience the power of game technology through the Digital Great Wall cloud game, a cultural heritage conservation project, using CROS Game Engine to create a cloud-based video game of the Great Wall in China. The booth will showcase Tencent Games’ latest game development tools, such as Game AIR, a platform for game AI development based on machine learning; Artigician, a series of smart tools for art production; and Anti-Cheat Expert, an anti-cheating product developed by Tencent Games CROS.
Tencent Games invites all game developers and enthusiasts to visit its booth and attend its sessions at GDC 2023. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the power of game technology.
Tencent Games @ GDC 2023
Tencent Games Developer Summit
- Building A Digital Great Wall with A New Game Engine
Yingpeng Zhang | Technical Expert, CROS, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 9:30am – 10:00am
Room 3022, West Hall
- Cloudflow Pipeline: A Catalyst for the Improvement of R&D Efficiency
Rui Ryan Su | Senior SRE Manager, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 10:00am – 10:30am
Room 3022, West Hall
- Arena Breakout: Creating A Next-gen FPS Game on Mobile
Yiming Sun | Producer of Arena Breakout, Morefun Studio, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 10:50am – 11:20am
Room 3022, West Hall
- TiMi Audio Lab: Sound Design for Honor of Kings
Hongfei Zhao | Deputy Director, TiMi Audio Lab, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 11:20am – 11:50am
Room 3022, West Hall
- Machine Learning Summit: Differentiable Rendering for Scalable Asset Pipeline in ‘Honor of Kings’
Fei Ling | Lead Engine Programmer, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games
Frei Zhang | Senior Engine Programmer, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Room 2010, West Hall
- Machine Learning Summit: Advanced Heightmap Compression Using Deep Learning in ‘Dune: Awakening’
Calle Lejdfors | R&D Technical Director, Level Infinite, Tencent Games
Clemens Rögner | Senior R&D Programmer, Level Infinite, Tencent Games
Tuesday, March 21 | 1:20pm – 1:50pm
Room 2010, West Hall
- Practical High-Performance Rendering On Mobile Platforms
Xiaoxin Guo | Senior Rendering Engineer, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games
Thursday, March 23 | 2:00pm – 2:30pm
Room 2016, West Hall
- Thousands of Soldiers Battle on One Mobile Screen: Applications of Unity’s DOTS in ‘Return to Empire’
Jian Xiao | Lead Client Programmer, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games
Cangjian Hou | Lead Engine Programmer, TiMi Studio Group, Tencent Games
Thursday, March 23 | 3:00pm – 3:30pm
Room 2002, West Hall
- BroadLeaf: Real-Time Cinematic Rendering of Large-Scale Forests
Yixin Hu | Senior Graphics Researcher, Pixel Lab, Tencent Games
Thursday, March 23 | 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Room 301, South Hall
- Gameplay – Digital Great Wall Cloud Game
Tech Show – Anti-Cheating Expert / Digital Content Creation/ Game AI
With the reveal of Funcom and Nukklear’s Dune: Awakening at The Game Awards 2022, details about the open-world survival MMO have been scarce. However, creative director Joel Bylos was more than willing to shed more light on what fans can expect with the new entry in a recent update.
A Tale of Its Own
Set in the year 10199 AG, about eight years after the recent Dune film, Bylos assured wandering minds of the surprises that line in wait, especially with the game using an alternate timeline.
“The alt-history of Dune: Awakening gives us space to create a version of Arrakis that can surprise and delight our players. Rather than interfering with Herbert’s masterpiece by attempting to replicate it piecemeal, we can allow players the freedom to explore an Arrakis that contains both familiar characters and locations and new ones,” said Bylos.
This significant shift is what allows Dune: Awakening to spread its wings and tell its own story, particularly when it comes to characters that are very much alive instead of perishing like in the books, such as Duke Leto.
The potential is there for players to craft their own legends together with familiar names and faces. Making choices will have consequences, and joining up with factions can be both a bane and a boon.
Survival of the Fittest in Dune: Awakening
Getting to that stage also requires players to master the harsh environments in Dune: Awakening, a crucial aspect of the open-world survival genre that will only be magnified by the harsh nature of Arrakis.
Beyond the three core elements, the developers are keen on maintaining a sense of tension throughout the player’s experience. With other hazards like quicksand and extreme temperatures to be wary of, it doesn’t take much to know that danger can appear from anywhere on the desert planet. That said, Bylos is also clear in saying the team wants Dune: Awakening to be more accessible for both hardcore and casual players.
There is a balance to be found between challenging the player and also without being overly harsh. This approach extends to spice and its effect on players as well; maintaining high spice levels can grant new abilities while also keeping health at the maximum.
Crafting in Dune: Awakening is also taking a different direction, relying on found schematics that feed into the need for exploration.
“The world of Dune: Awakening is dynamic and the giant Coriolis storms shift the very landscape of the world. As the sand moves, it uncovers buried shipwrecks, hidden entrances to forgotten ecology labs and other secrets. Explorers will always be able to find new things after a Coriolis storm,” Bylos said.
“Survival on Arrakis is about three things: water, shelter and avoiding the worms. As a player, this means – pay attention to your water discipline (prepare), pay attention to your environment (be aware) and always have a shelter location (know where).”
Dune: Awakening will launch on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. Eager players can sign up for the beta at www.duneawakening.com and wishlist the game on Steam.
The march towards Season 3 of The Cycle: Frontier continues, and YAGER is eager to showcase more of the changes that will make life much more exciting for Prospectors on Fortuna III starting on Mar. 29. The latest update brings significant changes to the weapons system, a crucial aspect of survival in The Cycle: Frontier.
Arrival of the Mark II Weapons:
The headlining addition is the arrival of MK II weapons, souped-up versions of existing weapons performing well for players in the current meta of The Cycle: Frontier. The MK II variations enhance the originals beyond just a quality jump, including increased power level, more attachment slots and others. The caveat is they’re only found during drops onto Fortuna III, not purchased or crafted on Prospect Station.
Another difference is the new MK I categorization. The developers discovered certain weapons weren’t being used by players, including the powerful KARMA-1 sniper rifle or Zeus Beam LMG.
The MK 1 variants of weapons are weaker, but more commonly available, in the hopes that Prospectors will use them more often in The Cycle: Frontier. Combat encounters will likely see lasers, missiles, and powerful long-range shots become a more common sight and helps the studio fine-tune the meta as players adjust strategies in-game.
The move to expand the weapon selection available to players will help plug gaps when it comes to quality and feasible weapon choices across the board. Prospectors are more likely to utilize both MK I and MK II weapons to survive, which should make for a more-entertaining PvPvE experience.
Since releasing in 2018, Fatshark‘s Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has provided the platform for players to engage in groundbreaking first-person melee action like no other. The fight against the ruinous Chaos army and swarming Skaven horde is still ongoing, as the game celebrates its fifth anniversary in traditional fashion.
The popular celebratory level, A Quiet Drink, is now available for players once more from Mar. 8 to 20. All would-be heroes and heroines are invited to the festivities and to drink their fill in Helmgart’s local tavern. Naturally, things get out of hand when the spot is overrun by ratmen, and it is up to everyone to traverse the town and clear the infestation of chaos all while having ale googles on.
At the same time, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will be free to play for all until Mar. 13.
“I think it’s fair to say that none of us thought Vermintide 2 would have such a lasting impact and still be so popular after half a decade. We’re immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished with the game and still quite excited about its future. Of course, we wouldn’t be here without all the support from our players, so stay tuned for even more Vermintide 2 in 2023,” said Martin Wahlund, CEO of Fatshark.
Following an earlier tease of substantial changes coming to the vampiric world of V Rising, Stunlock Studios has now revealed more about Secrets of Gloomrot, the upcoming free expansion arriving in May, including the highly anticipated multi-floor castle building.
A New Biome to Call Home
With Secrets of Gloomrot, the team wanted more than just gameplay content to freshen up the experience in V Rising and conceptualized “a land of equal parts filth, ambition, brilliance and madness,” said Johan Ilves, Marketing Director.
Gone is the greenery in places like Farbane Woods and the Dunley Farmlands, and enter polluted valleys and mechanical atrocities that dot the lands of Gloomrot. A map size similar to Dunley Farmlands is further broken up into the unique Gloomrot South and Gloomrot North, and with the Trancendum engaging in mutated experiments to push the boundaries of science, this is an area where players will face fresh challenges in terrain, technologies, and enemies.
“Expect to face all sorts of nightmares that have been twisted by technology, and obviously new V Blood bosses as well to test your skills; there is a whole lot of content for players to sink their teeth into, so to speak,” said Ilves about Secrets of Gloomrot.
Castle of Your Nightmares
The arrival of Secrets of Gloomrot will usher in a new age of building in Vardoran as well, with newfound verticality at the heart of things. Castles can now have multiple floors, and although that is already a big improvement, Stunlock has beefed things up with other quality-of-life changes.
Stairs, for one, are no longer limited to just ramps, and will have actual use in getting players into the higher levels to a maximum of three floors. Railings remain an automatic convenience, functioning both aesthetically and defensively against enemy attacks.
Most importantly, as castles become grander in scale, getting around them will become increasingly difficult. Secrets of Gloomrot introduces castle teleports that help players travel instantly across their home, as long as the right recipe has been found.
Overall, players will find themselves with expanded options to customize the castle to their liking. Roofing can come in the form of “grand palisades, rooftop gardens, or balconies that allow for entering and exiting through the skies,” while outdoor areas become more welcoming to those with a green thumb thanks to Secrets of Gloomrot.
“We’re also experimenting with major quality-of-life building features and trying to improve the overall experience by leaps and bounds. Instead of having long lists you must scroll through, we’re looking to condense building into a modular design,” said Ilves.
“That means there will be one item with color and style options that you can improve by adding other items to it. Much, in the same way, you can add a set of drapes to a window, you’ll be able to hang blood rose vines on a standing planter.”
The Secrets of Gloomrot expansion is set to release in May for V Rising.
Brazil is the first country to get the full international release of the world’s most-played mobile MOBA
Honor of Kings has been officially launched in Brazil today, and Brazilian players are now able to download the game from the iOS App Store, Google Play Store for Android, and Samsung Store to experience the world’s most-played mobile MOBA and team up with friends.
The 5v5 mobile MOBA from Level Infinite and TiMi Studio Group has been designed from the ground up to deliver the ultimate competitive experience on mobile for all players. The game offers an intense, fast-paced and high-quality MOBA experience without sacrificing strategic battles and fierce team fights. With years of dedicated work and refinements, TiMi Studio Group aims to provide every Brazilian fan with the most fulfilling, exciting and balanced mobile competitive experience with Honor of Kings.
Right at launch, Brazilian players can enjoy a fully localized experience, with all text, UI, plus voiceover for all Heroes and their skins in Brazilian Portuguese. Furthermore, prominent voice actors well-known for voicing iconic characters lent their talent to Honor of Kings. These include Wendel Bezerra, best known for his role as Goku from Dragon Ball Z, voicing Wukong; Kacau Gomes, the actress who dubbed Disney’s Mulan, taking on the role of Mulan; and Letícia Quinto, who voiced Saori Kido in the Saint Seiya anime, voicing Athena in the game. By bringing voices that are well recognized by Brazilian fans, Level Infinite and TiMi aim to show their appreciation of Brazilian culture and better immerse fans in the world of Honor of Kings.
Players will also have access to all game modes, such as 5v5 Matchmaking, 5v5 Quick Mode, 5v5 Ranked Match, 1v1 Solo Mode, plus a brand new Casual Mode, the Infinite Brawl, where buffs are randomly given to Heroes to provide an even more fun and fast-paced competitive experience. Players will be able to choose from a selection of nearly 60 unique Heroes, each with their own signature skills to unleash, stunning skins to unlock, and legendary stories to explore. More Heroes will be added to the roster regularly. In addition, Heroes have been given nicknames to help local players better understand the Heroes and their impact in battles, and the development team is looking out for feedback and suggestions from fans on this.
To celebrate the launch, Level Infinite and TiMi Studio Group are kicking off a series of events giving away tons of rewards to Brazilian fans. These include the Honor of Kings LOTERIA DE R$ 1.000.000, which has already started on Mar. 7 and lasts till Mar. 26, featuring a R$ 1.000.000 value prize pool to reward fans, and the chance to win a JEEP Compass car, Honda motorcycles, and a myriad of other prizes including in-game and out-game rewards. Fans can now join the event together with their friends via their mobile devices by accessing the event page.
Furthermore, the Honor of Kings Festival da Honra is taking place on March 12 with livestreams on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. Influencers from various competitive scenes in Brazil, including Paulinho O Loko, Cerol, Enaldinho, Lipão, Boca de 09, Jon Vlogs, Rakin, LOUD_Thaiga, Diana Zambrozuski, and Lucas Clash ON, will be split into two teams to participate in epic 5v5 battles. Plenty of rewards, including POCO X5 smartphones, in-game permanent heroes and skins and many more will be given out during the livestream. Mark your calendar and celebrate the launch with us.
For more information about the launch or to provide feedback, please visit the official Honor of Kings website or follow the game on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Cristina Scabbia and Will Ramos take to the stage to perform new songs
Developers The Outsiders and publisher Funcom are not resting on their laurels when it comes to Metal: Hellsinger, the multi-award-winning and critically acclaimed rhythm first-person shooter. Fresh content is on its way, with the first DLC of the game, Dream of the Beast, set for a Mar. 29 launch.
More Songs for Murder
Dream of the Beast will feature two new songs performed by Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil and Will Ramos from Lorna Shore, with the tunes composed by Two Feathers. In addition, there is a new addition in the arsenal with The Red Right Hand, a new machine gun forged and fused from parts of heaven and hell. Dispatch demons in short powerful bursts that vary in length, and let the hate flow.
The DLC also delivers three new sizzling outfits that come with unique gameplay modifiers, including successful quick reloads that increase the weapon’s max ammo. Equipping any of the three outfits will replace the default passive effect for the Unknown, ensuring that players work harder to build their fury and allow players to experience Metal: Hellsinger with a completely different beat and playstyle.
Beyond the paid DLC content that comes with Dream of the Beast, The Outsiders will drop the new Song Selector Feature on the same day. Players will be free to choose whichever song to rock to before each level, allowing previously familiar haunts to take on new life.
Dream of the Beast will launch for Metal: Hellsinger this March 29.
As a preacher that delivers their sermons up close and personal, the Zealot is the most effective melee fighter in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide.
Maximizing the Zealot’s ability to land critical hits while reducing incoming damage and increasing toughness regeneration is crucial to get the most from close-quarters combat.
If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It
The level 5 feats provide different ways of taking less damage. While Purify In Blood and Enemies Within, Enemies Without both replenish toughness, Faith Restored is the best bet as it helps prevent toughness loss in the first place. It also activates on a critical hit, which the Zealot should always land when first charging into combat in Darktide, thanks to the Chastise The Wicked ability.
Picking the Bloodletting feat at level 10 leans deeper into a crit-focused build, applying a damage-over-time bleed effect to the targeted enemy with critical hits. The other two feats here, Punishment and Retribution, are only helpful in specific situations and will activate less frequently.
The feats at level 15 are about applying benefits to the whole team when in Coherency. Benediction‘s 15% toughness damage reduction for allies in Coherency is just the tonic when surrounded by a horde of enemies. Inspiring Excoriation is a decent alternative pick, as the Zealot should use Chastise The Wicked whenever available in Darktide.
Get In, Get Out
All three level 20 feats have merit, and there’s no clear winner. The broad damage reduction from Faith Restores All gives it the edge in terms of how often it comes into play. Holy Revenant delivers a hefty heal, but requires Until Death to kick in first. Thy Wrath Be Swift‘s movement buff is a great way to close the gap on a ranged enemy, as well as a quick retreat and repositioning when overwhelmed.
Rising Conviction is the superior feat at level 25. Stacking its damage bonus only takes one hit. Each stack lasts five seconds, making maintaining consistent uptime on multiple stacks easy.
At Level 30, Purge The Wicked gives a second charge to the Zealot’s chief ability, Chastise the Wicked, which should be used every time it’s off cooldown. If every melee attack delivers a critical hit, Invocation Of Death might come out ahead, but that is extremely unlikely. Fury of the Faithful is a distant third pick for the top-tier feats.
Choosing a Loadout
The Heavy Eviscerator in Darktide is the melee weapon of choice for the Zealot in most scenarios. Once mastered, its alternating heavy, light and push attacks make it the most formidable all-rounder weapon. For a loadout more focused on critical hits, a Tactical Axe is the best bet. While a ranged weapon is less of a priority for the Zealot, the Kantrael MG XII is an exceptional lasgun, and the Flamer is a reliable choice.
Move your feat
The four classes in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide are highly versatile, with the broad customization options allowing players to develop their own play style, and that applies to the Ogryn. Primarily a Tank that should be the focus of enemy attention, Ogryns can be so much more: a defensive wall, a hefty damage dealer, or a member that is capable of clutch-play support in Darktide.
A Heavyweight Contender
Choose feats that boost the Ogryn’s hardiness and capacity to protect teammates in Darktide. At level 5, Lynchpin is the ideal choice. It doubles Toughness replenishment for allies in Coherency – a vital buff that works to also encourage keeping the team together. Combine it with Towering Presence at level 15 to boost the Coherency radius by 50%.
Heavyweight is level 10’s most broadly useful feat – it’s defensive bonus is always in play while the other two options are more offensive and limited to specific circumstances.
Level 20 presents the first tough choice for the Ogryn in Darktide. All three feats are useful without a clear winner. Die Hard probably offers the widest application, however, Damage-focused Ogryns will be slightly better served by Bloodthirst. Hard As Nails aids Support play – and with the Ogryn already the best at assisting fallen teammates, the extra resilience while reviving only strengthen something you’ll be doing frequently.
At level 25, Payback Time and Raging Bull are both solid picks that work to make the Ogryn more effective at fighting in a crowd. The former enables damage received to boost damage dealt while the latter stacks bonus damage when hitting multiple enemies with the consecutive attacks. Knife Through Butter improves heavy melee attacks, but is less useful due to the focus on heavy attacks.
Unstoppable at level 30 is great for any Ogryn in Darktide. Being able to Bull Rush twice as far means you should always be able to be in right spot at the right time. Bull Gore adds a more offensive layer to the Bull Rush by stacking bleed on hits, while Non-Stop Violence is similarly subtle – replenishing Toughness is always welcome, but Lynchpin should already be enough.
As far as weapons are concerned, it’s impossible to go wrong with the Slab Shield and Battle Maul combo. Tack on a block efficiency modifier and the Ogryn’s defensive wall is complete. And finally, when selecting Curios, focus on Health boosts first.
Staying alive is the Ogryn’s number one job in Darktide. Later on, adding resistances or increasing revive speed and Toughness regeneration are not bad choices. But even then, adding more Health is always a good idea.
As the time draws nearer to the launch of Season 3 of YAGER‘s The Cycle: Frontier on Mar. 29 on Steam and the Epic Games Store, the team has been sharing more and more about what Prospectors can expect for the new dawn. Previous updates included a deep look at Free Loadout Runs as well as a look at the aerial threat that is the Howler, and now, it is time for the Prospect Station to get the spotlight in The Cycle: Frontier.
The upcoming changes apply both aesthetically and functionally to the gameplay experience on the Prospect Station in The Cycle: Frontier.
As such, YAGER is set to introduce the following tweaks in Season 3:
- Most buildings have been reworked and remodeled, creating a more enclosed but barebones space.
- Addition above the store that directly connects to the landing pad.
- Easier access to Osiris HQ with aesthetic additions.
- Reworked the exterior area that leads to Private Quarters.
- The central stores are tweaked to fit in with the rest of the station.
- Changed the whole structure of the roof in the Prospect Station.
- Rehaul of the ICA HQ and the area around it.
Beyond just the architectural changes, life itself is also about to get a boost on the Prospect Station in The Cycle: Frontier. There will be more faction NPCs milling about and engaging in activities related to them. This includes Prospector NPCs to help liven things up, captured Fortuna III creatures serving as the local wildlife, while scientists will be doing their part in studying the flora and fauna. Players can also visit the new crafting station operated by droids, or take in the busier landing pad now with hardworking crew members. The reworked lighting and presentation of the NPCs will crank the realism up a notch as well.
While the Prospect Station is about to get spruced up in The Cycle: Frontier, this is not the end of changes coming to the game. A future update will touch more on the tools of the trade, as YAGER prepares to dive into the realm of firearms.
Following the initial announcement of pre-registrations opening for both iOS and Android platforms for Honor of Kings in Brazil, Level Infinite and TiMI Studio Group have revealed the official launch date of the world’s most-played mobile MOBA. Honor of Kings will be officially launched in Brazil on March 8, dubbed in Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is the first country outside China to get the international full release of Honor of Kings.
Since the start of pre-registration in February, Level Infinite and TiMi have witnessed the great passion shown by Brazilian fans towards all the official content released for Honor of Kings, which reinforces their confidence in Brazil paving the way for the game’s international expansion plans. Honor of Kings has already received over 1 million pre-registrations, and the process is still ongoing through App Store, Google Play and Samsung Galaxy Store, with more in-game rewards being unlocked as each milestone is achieved.
Level Infinite and TiMi are fully aware of the fans’ eagerness to finally be able to play the game and have been working hard to ensure the best experience possible for the official launch of Honor of Kings.
Much work and investment have gone into ensuring a high level of localization for the Brazilian launch, as is evident from the dubbed animations released so far, including the Ying Animation video, and the Lam Animation video, which have been well received by Brazilian players. For the upcoming full release, fans will be able to enjoy dedicated Brazilian servers, fully localized in-game text, fully dubbed heroes, system broadcasts and much more presented by well-known local voice actors.
LightSpeed Studios, one of the most successful and innovative game developers in the world, along with Level Infinite, has revealed that the post-apocalyptic open-world survival RPG, Undawn, will begin a Closed Beta test in the United States and Canada on Apr 3.
Open to iOS, Android, and PC players, those interested can register for the Closed Beta test via the official Undawn website, with a limited number of available spots up for grabs. Those taking part in the Closed Beta will be among the first to experience Undawn before its global launch later this year. Progress from the Closed Beta will be reset once the beta ends.
In Undawn, players will explore a shattered world set four years after a global disaster. The game combines PvP and PvE experiences as players fend off dual threats of the infected hordes and opposing humans in a fight to survive in this bleak wasteland.
Built using the Unreal Engine, Undawn transports players to a huge world filled with distinct terrains such as plains, mines, deserts, swamps, and abandoned cities, each with diverse ecosystems and dangers. Players must brave rain, heat, snow, and storms while tracking their character’s survival indicators to stay alive against overwhelming odds. Using a robust base building system with more than 1,000 types and styles of furniture and structures, survivors will need to work together to rebuild their homesteads and establish a new civilization.
Hotta Studio is getting ready to introduce a new simulacrum in Tower of Fantasy, with the unlucky yet optimistic girl, Umi, set to join the rest of the roster beginning Feb. 23.
Harboring a desire to become a great magician, Umi wields the Mobius, a long whip as her weapon, unleashing her barrage of attacks in a magical fashion. Her skills are infused with passion of magic, allowing Umi to fight with elegance in Tower of Fantasy. Her 5-hit combo works both on the ground and in the air, while her charge attack can help close the distance between herself and the opponent. Doing it in the air will cause an accelerated plummet, launching enemies for more hurt.
Umi Skills in Tower of Fantasy
The time for magic is now, but before you can allow Umi to display all of her powers in Tower of Fantasy, there is a need to reach 100 warm-up points first. Entering combat for the first time will instantly grant players with the full 100 points, and to fill the meter back up, simply start doing damage with any weapon.
Her weapon skill, It’s Magic Time, targets enemies in front of her within a certain range, pulling them together for sustained damage while affecting them with the Slow effect, with a cooldown of 30 seconds. Using the skill also renders Umi temporarily invincible, and more importantly, the simulacrum enters the Magic Trick state after using It’s Magic Time, which is the core mechanism of Umi. In this state, Umi either gets a Spade or Heart card every two seconds for up to 18 seconds, which triggers the Card Magic skill with every pair. This allows for three different kinds of Card Magic skills.
A Spade and a Heart will trigger Psychic Puppet, which provides a Physical Damage boost for Umi, while delaying 60% of any damage taken. A pair of Hearts will lead to Contradiction Corrosion, which immediately recovers HP for Umi in Tower of Fantasy, while causing continuous area damage around her. Last but not least, a pair of Spades will be the high-damage Card Sweep skill, which is a multi-stage attack.
The Magic Trick state also bestows the hyperbody state to Umi, allowing her to be shielded, perfect for taking advantage of the additional physical damage boost and shatter ability of Mobius. Switching weapons or being defeated will end the Magic Trick state, with the former outcome leading to 20 seconds more of hyberbody. For players who are able to take full advantage of the entirety of the Magic Trick state, nearby enemies will suffer additional and significant damage as a bonus.
Umi Key Star Rating Effects
At 1-star, Umi gains 30 warm-up points whenever she switches to Mobius from any other weapons; just note that there is a cooldown to this effect. Entering Magic Trick state also deals area damage to nearby targets once, while reducing their physical resistance.
Should you get to 5-star, Umi instantly gains the Psychic Puppet effect upon entering Magic Trick state, while the Physical Damage boost for Mobius gets enhanced even further. At the same time, the simulacrum will recover both HP and weapon charge over time during Magic Trick.
Combat Strategy with Umi in Tower of Fantasy
Umi can be a key part in many different combinations, including in a physical team together with Lin. Her ability to deal high damage that is further boosted by the Magic Trick state means that enemies will constantly be in danger. The various Card Magic skills can either give Umi’s damage a further boost, help her recover her HP, or achieve optimal crowd control with more significant attacks.
Knowing when to switch weapons between Mobius and other gear will be key to keeping her warm-up points meter full, so you will never have to be out of the Magic Trick state for too long. The hyperbody state also helps with keeping Umi alive in Tower of Fantasy in the thick of the fray.
Be sure to check out Umi once she becomes available in Tower of Fantasy, it promises to be a magical time.
Move your feat
As a sharpshooter, the Veteran is the ranged combat expert of the Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. However, there are different ways to utilize that expertise. The Veteran’s choice of feats defines their role in the team, and this guide will help Veterans pick those that best suit their preferred play style.
There are good reasons to take any of the level 5 feats. At Arm’s Length is the easiest to maintain – a Veteran should always be keeping their distance in Darktide – and offers a steady but modest return. Exhilarating Takedown and Confirmed Kill have the slight edge in that returns are bigger and actual kills are rewarded. When the Veteran is used for DPS, Confirmed Kill is the best choice.
Nuts And Bolts
Level 10 feats are similarly situational. Sniper is the one every Veteran will benefit from and is the best choice in most instances. However, when wielding a weapon that is slow to reload, such as the Boltgun, Tactical Reload is a boon. The free grenades from Demolition Stockpile are best used when the Veteran is needed to clear the horde.
Level 15’s selection has the same split. Demo Team is best for horde-clearing, Bio-Optic Targeting is useful for Psyker support, and Covering Fire offers the best returns when the Vet is with melee-loving Ogryns and Zealots.
At level 20, Camo Expert leans into the idea of a Veteran as a lone sniper in Darktide, and it synergizes well with At Arm’s Length. The damage reduction from Unwavering Focus is useful when taking out enemy snipers, and Duck and Dive is best together with level 25’s Deadshot feat, as it will mitigate all of the stamina loss accrued.
Speaking of Deadshot, for the majority of players, it’s the best option at level 25. Greater accuracy and better criticals when targeting enemy weak spots are terrific enhancements. If the Veteran is more focused on the horde, then Frag Storm will help. One After Another should only be considered when wielding the Bolter, and even then, Deadshot is still the superior option.
A Balanced Loadout
At level 30, Counterfire is the prime pick as it is best suited to most situations. The Bigger They Are… only comes into its own when facing specific bosses. And if the earlier feats that improve reload speed were passed over, Sustained Fire is useful particularly when embarking on a Darktide mission where the Veteran is more likely to be taking damage.
Finally, the other factor to consider when developing a Veteran is weapon choice. It’s important to understand the role, whether players are tasked to take out specials or if they’ll be expected to thin the horde. Getting the balance here is important.
Pick a ranged weapon that’s effective against armor and specials, and it’s best to complement that with a melee weapon that’s equipped for the horde, and vice versa. Once unlocked, the Power Sword and Boltgun make for a formidable pairing.