ICYMI: This Week's News Round
Lost in the flood of everyone having a winter event announced this week were some noteworthy tidbits of news, such as our upcoming Trials of Ascension AMA tomorrow, Hearthstone for Android, WoW's new roadmap, Evolve's upcoming open beta, WildStar's next Ultradrop, Planetside 2's new toys, Archlord 2's next expansion, Warhammer Quest moving to desktop computers, and Elite: Dangerous launching.
Trials of Ascension
First and foremost, don't forget that the Trials of Ascension AMA is tomorrow! Join Team Hammer as we hang out with the Forged Chaos devs for an hour, beginning at 11a PT/2p ET tomorrow. Make sure you have a Disqus login, since we will use the same comment system, like what you see below here, to field your questions. 30 minutes before the article goes live, a feature article will be published (at the top of the front page, so you won't have to go digging) where you can ask your questions! We'll be shown some new game content that hasn't been seen outside of the Forged Chaos studio to date. My level of stoked is pretty high, so I hope you will all join us tomorrow!
Earlier this week, Blizzard soft launched Hearthstone for Android in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. A few days later, the global launch for Android devices happened, and tablet owners everywhere rejoiced. From what I have seen, “phablet” users (horrible word to describe big ass phones; phone-tablet hybrid) don't count. I have a OnePlus One and it is not on my compatible device list, which is a shame. Once I got this phone, I stopped using my Nexus 7 altogether. Granted, I have a first generation N7, so my OPO is far more powerful. I'm not sure if I want to charge my tablet to take a look at Hearthstone. People over in /r/Hearthstone are working on a way to sideload the APK on phones without rooting, which is pretty cool. I might check that out sometime in the near future. If you do end up heading over to the Hearthstone subreddit for this, let me throw in a disclaimer that you should beware of downloading and installing files that you don't know the source of. That's not just all, either. If you're not really comfortable with the Hearthstone layout (super casual like me, or even a new player), playing on your phone could result in a horrible player experience because it's smooshed down so small. So, there's that. Sideload at your own risk!
World of Warcraft
Let's just get the Blizzard stuff out of the way. Yesterday, Bashiok posted a sneak peak of what we can expect to come out in the near future in World of Warcraft. 2015 looks like it's going to be a good year for the monolith, which of course keeps me pretty stoked. It's no secret that I drank the Azeroth Kool Aid when Warlords of Draenor launched, so reading this list gets me all excited. If you're level 100, chances are, you've been working on your Legendary Ring quest. With 6.1, that quest will continue (which we should see on PTR soonish). What you can expect with this questline is that it goes beyond the ring and introduces the first ever Legendary Follower to decorate your garrison with.
This new follower won't be the only addition to garrisons, as they say that they are “working on some bigger additions for later on,” but don't really say much else. We can't have everything spoiled for us! What we do know, though, is that Blizzard is working on a way to hook Twitter into the game, so you can post auto-tweets and screenshots without the pesky issue of doing it manually. Improved flight paths are still in order to be put in the game (reminder: flight is no longer coming with 6.1). Blizzard is also looking into tradeable gametime tokens that will allow players with a stockpile of gold to buy them off of players who don't have too much gold. Also with 6.1 will be an Heirlooms tab, which will make everyone's life so much easier. Blood Elves will be prettier, too. Blizzard is also working on ways to inject some eSports into WoW and make Ashran somehow magically better. LFR will continue to be monitored as new wings open, and 2015 will bring us a new raid to have fun in.
Players now have a less twitchy option with Engineers being able to use the new Spitfire Turret, which will keep them in combat without needing to rely on being so twitchy. Another new addition is wieldable knives for your characters. In addition to the default knife, each empire also gets a slower version that can be used. Customizable Profile Banners are also in now, which will let you customize your profile and death screens. The winter holiday event Directive is also now available, but that will be detailed over in the Holiday Event article.
Evolve's open beta is coming up quickly, with the release planned for February 2015. If you're a regular in these parts, you'll know that this isn't my usual cup of gaming tea, but I did love playing the original Left 4 Dead. I watched plenty of L4D2 gameplay, and going on the opinion of friends, it seemed like a good idea to skip it. Looking at what has been revealed so far for Evolve, though, I can't help but get a bit excited for this upcoming 4v1 horror shooter from 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios. Open beta will be tiered depending on how you access the game (Playstation 4, Xbox One or PC via Steam), and there will be multiple types of tests (technical, certain events). Playtesting begins on January 15 for Xbox One and details can be found here.
Warhammer Quest originally released as a top-down iOS game, which is now moving to the desktop market, available soon for PC, Linux and Mac through Steam. The world could always use more games involving Orks.
Available through Steam on January 7th, in Warhammer Quest you lead a party of brave adventurers through the dangerous winding dungeons of the Warhammer world in the search for wealth and glory, as players uncover and explore new settlements. In their quest for legendary weapons, players encounter enemies including evil Night Goblins, dangerous Orks, gigantic River Trolls and hordes of the evil Skaven, hellbent on destroying the band of adventurers.
Webzen has a crazy huge portfolio of free-to-play MMORPGs, Archlord 2 included. They just announced that the game's second expansion, Eternal Strife, will be coming out, along with a new server. Eternal Strife will bring two new playable races to the PvP-focused game: the sexy, horned humanoids Dragonscion, and the weird angelic Moonelves who come complete with big floppy ears. Both of the new races specialize in magic and come with their own starter zones. To go with this announcement, Webzen has released a new trailer for the upcoming expansion:
Now you can finally stop reading about Elite: Dangerous and go star in your very own space opera, as the game has launched this week via Steam. No new news comes with the launch, since Frontiers released the launch trailer a bit early, which you can find here.
Director Chad Moore has released a first look at the next upcoming UltraDrop for WildStar, which can be expected in 2015. Carbine are working on accessiblity options for WildStar, so that people can enjoy the content regardless of level or playstyle, as well as quality of life adjustments. Low level training dungeons called Protogames Acadamy will teach players mechanics and how to work together in group content. A level 6 Shiphand Mission, They Came From Fragment Zero!, will take place in Halon Ring. Veteran versions of Shiphand Missions add in new content for max level solo and group players. A better LFG, new armor currencies, more customization options, a new dungeon, a downscale of players needed for Datascape from 40 to 20, and a random queue bonus are some of the features WildStar players can look forward to in the new year.