Most Recent MMO news

Activision’s E3 Expo Lineup

With just over 24 hours till the official opening of this year’s E3 Expo, Activision have revealed what they’ll be wetting our appetites with at the show. Activision will be showcasing what they’re dubbing as “a new era” for the Call of Duty franchise with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the latest in the innovative Skylanders series and the hugely anticipated Destiny will be playable on the show floor, as will Skylander Trap Team.

“This year’s E3 has been years in the making for us,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each game we are showcasing is the result of our commitment to quality and innovation: our first 3-year development and our first new lead developer on the  Call of Duty franchise in a decade with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Our biggest innovation since we invented the Toys-to-Life category with  Skylanders Trap Team. And the result of over four years of passion, partnership and investment to bring Bungie’s vision for Destiny to life. I think this is the best slate in Activision’s history and I can’t wait for gamers to get a closer look.”


Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

While Sledgehammer Games had a hand in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, they’re now running the show with the development of their first Call of Duty title in the new tri-annual Call of Duty cycle. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare promises to deliver gamers a truly exceptional experience with an immersive and compelling narrative, stunning visuals and all new gameplay which will redefine how Call of Duty is played. With the power of a mechanical exoskeleton, players become an advanced future soldier empowered by an arsenal of never before seen weaponry, new abilities and gameplay mechanics to match. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first Call of Duty is the first in the franchise to be developed with the now current-gen Xbox One and PS4 consoles as the primary development focus. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare retains its early November slot, this year releasing on the 4th on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and Windows PC.



From the creators of the infamous Halo, Bungie brings us Destiny. An epic action-packed adventure title set in a mysterious universe that resembles our own. Destiny is trailblazing a whole new way to play first person shooters with a story-driven universe filled with single player, cooperative, competitive, public, and social activities, all seamlessly connected in a vast, persistent universe, creating the world’s first “Shared World Shooter”. Players take the role of Guardians of the last city on Earth, wielding incredible powers and exploring the extremities of our solar system. From September 9th, Destiny will be available on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. 



Skylanders-Trap-Team_Snap-ShotSkylanders Trap Team

After the roaring success of Skylanders, see  our review here, Toys for Bob are hard at work creating Skylanders Trap Team. In the next chapter of the Skylanders journey, kinds will be able to take characters out of the digital world and bring them into the real world. In  Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, taking them out the game by capturing them in Traps. Players can then send the villains back into the game where they become playable characters, fighting for good. Skylanders Trap Team will include the Traptanium Portal, a ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also capture villains using Traps.  Skylanders Trap Team introduces new heroes known as Trap Masters and will be available on October 5th in North America for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U. A completely unique version will be available on the Nintendo 3DS hand-held system.


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E3 Expo LIVE on UGP

E3 Expo LIVE right here on UGP!


E3 Expo 2014 was a fantastic event with some really awesome unveils and news coming out of L.A.

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New Kickstarter campaign: Formula Wincars

arcadeThere’s a new Kickstarter campaign just kicking off from indie studio, DragonJam Studios. The aim of the campaign is to raise funds to for their ambitious PC online multiplayer arcade racer, Formula Wincars. 

Already off to a flying start, the campaign offers some fantastic rewards for contributors. Up for grabs is an amazing full size Formula Wincars styled arcade machine with all the usual pedals, wheel and a copy of the game pre-installed.

Formula Wincars aims to be launched by the end of the year, 2014, and will be a free-to-play game with the typical micro-transaction additions to the title. One of the key and somewhat exciting features of Formula Wincars is the ability players will have to be able to win prizes and hook up with others from around the world to share special skills and common strategies. There’s going to be all the usual unlockable cars and characters associated with this kind of game, each with their own unique strengths and abilities.

To see the project on Kickstarter, head over to this link:

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Wargaming announces home for restored aircraft

Wargaming.net_logoIt’s been announced today that Wargaming have decided upon the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford as the final resting place for the soon to be restored Dornier Do17 aircraft, due for completion in 2015.

Last year, 2013, Wargaming and the Royal Air Force Museum teamed up with the goal of restoring the only known surviving Dornier Do17 aircraft. Visitors have had the chance to view the restoration as it progresses and learn more about the process and aircraft throughout. At the moment, the exhibit is home to individual pieces of the restoration and when brought together into a complete aircraft, the Dornier Do17 will feature alongside the Interpretation Zone at the museum.

In addition, to mark the opening of the Interpretation Zone, a mobile application has been launched. Apparition uses augmented reality to view a virtual Dornier making a pass over the museum. Users were encourage to grab images from the app and submit them to be displayed as part of the exhibit.

“Offering people around the world to participate in each step of the Dornier Do17 renovation process has been a truly gratifying experience,” said Tracy Spaight, Special Projects Director at Wargaming. “As a company heavily invested in the preservation of military history, we feel it’s important to show our gratitude and appreciation towards these unique relics.“

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Horizon – Lost In Space And Loving It!!!!

With all the major titles hitting the big consoles of late, PC gamers are probably feeling a little left out of things, but worry no more as February sees the full launch of Horizon, an open-world space exploration game.  Coming at ya from L3O Interactive and Iceberg Interactive, Horizon is being billed as an exploration and colonisation game rather than a shoot ‘em up.  Though you have the ability to meet new and exciting races in the glory of their home worlds and shoot the shit out of them, the intention is to create complex industrial and social networks, or to simply explore your massive and immersive galaxy.


Horizon is a single-player game set in the not too distant future, and examines the issues that may exist as mankind’s childhood reaches an end and strikes out for the stars. It’s all about exploration and connection with members of the other ten races that inhabit some of the 1000-plus planets in the same galaxy and forging commercial links with them. The main story pits a new-to-space-faring humanity into the big wide open universe, encountering ancient races and struggling for an equal place with them in a suddenly populous star field, or at least trying not to get squished. In a unique twist, the game allows you to start off as any of the other races soyou have the ability to connect with the human race as an outsider, or possibly shun them completely once you witness what depths of depravity that they can stoop too.

Travelling around the huge galaxy will be handled by negotiating fast travel points rather than the realistic but dull alternative of spending months in space, going quietly bonkers while your ships’ computer turns murderous, so expansion should be smooth and exciting. Exploration of the lovingly-crafted alien vistas will be a breeze though negotiating unfamiliar and possibly dangerous flora and fauna will make just looking at the sights of secondary importance. Much of the intention behind the gameplay is focused on colonisation of planets you visit and the building up of a commercial infrastructure to allow further colonisation. Think The Sims but set in deep space, with superior graphics and with the added jeopardy of pissing-off the locals as you expand through the stars. Horizon will feature missions and side-campaigns, but with all of those worlds to explore and species to interact with, Horizon should contain hundreds of hours of exquisite gameplay to keep the PC gamer going. It is a universe that is in your hands and the outcomes will depend on the choices you make.

Horizon is currently available for beta download on Steam and is the first major development by Canadian-based L3O, but the fact that such a huge game is being developed in tandem with the experienced Iceberg Interactive should be sufficient to calm any jittery nerves. With established titles such as Killing Floor, Endless Space, and Wings of Prey behind them, Iceberg have the credibility to make the prospect of Horizon exciting. The beta version – which should vary from the final release version by only a few cursory details – can be purchased and downloaded through Steam’s Early-Access program.

We’ll update you on the released game launch date as we get it.

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League of Legends characters

Riot Games screws up League of Legends streaming policy

I’m a pretty frequent League of Legends player. I was a part of the early beta program for it and I’ve been playing it on and off since its release in 2009. Needless to say, I’ve been around throughout most, if not every, progression in the fan-base, company policy, and somewhat more importantly here, how everything comes together for the championships. For those not in the know, League of Legends is a really competitive team-based game. Knowing how to work with other people in an effective manner is key to winning against the other team, and the championships involve the best of the best facing each other for a prize at the end of it all.

Other games similar to League of Legends includes Smite, Heroes of Newerth, and DOTA 2, but the flagship game by Riot Games sits at the top of them all in regards to hours played, which makes sense. EveryLeague of Legends Sword other game I’ve tried was much too “flashy” for my tastes and didn’t have too many options to reduce the special effects, while League of Legends can be toned down, most of the time, if you’re so inclined. As a result, I put in anything from an hour up to ten hours a week in the game, and since each match involves at least 3 people who probably play the game regularly…well, it’s easy to see it’s sensationally popular.

The side effect of a company having such a popular game that undergoes consistent updating and additions to content is that the fan base is ever mercurial and people can have some pretty harsh reactions to changes, especially if the changes don’t make sense from the perspective of the consumer. Riot Games has recently faced this issue by switching up how they approach what championship participants are allowed to do, and the backlash was huge.

It was ten days ago that Riot released the new contracts for those who would be a part of the 2014 League Championship Series (LCS). It stated that players in the championships could no longer stream similar video games, and if they breached this they would instantly be disqualified. Because Riot Games is so dependent on the community, developers of League of Legends often go onto Reddit’s League of Legends sub-reddit to interact with players and to explain their decisions.  Riot Games did just that with the new contract stipulations and you could say the community did not respond well. But first, let’s look at what the developer said in order to justify the switch up:

“We recognize there may be some differences of opinion in the perception of pro players’ streams. In the past, pro gamers only had to worry about their personal brands when streaming and, at most, may have had to worry about not using the wrong brand of keyboard to keep their sponsor happy. Now, however, these guys are professionals contracted to a professional sports league. When they’re streaming to 50,000 fans, they’re also representing the sport itself.

I can’t stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes… Pro players are free to play whatever games they want – we’re simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they’re the face of competitive League of Legends.”

League of LegendsOne user (Xet), for example, had this to say in response:

“What? On stream, they are themselves. You don’t own their streams. You don’t own their personalities. You’re absolutely disgusting. You just want to control everything and it will be your downfall.”

It took a whole three days for Riot Games to reconsider their decision. According to some of the  Riot Games staff in the Reddit thread (yes, it was updated via there again!), the contract was not really agreed upon by everyone and the huge backlash from the consumers only solidified that, letting several of the staff members collaborate to get the policy changed. The official statement can be found here, but you can get the main gist of it below.

“The way we chose to deal with this was clearly an overreach. It hit our goal of preventing companies from advertising through LCS players, but it also encroached on pros’ ability to have fun and entertain viewers during long Challenger queues – and we realize that’s not cool.

After reading all of your comments and having a LOT of internal debate over the last 24 hours, we’re going to be changing the LCS team requirement to something that more closely matches our intent. While under contract to the LCS, teams and players can’t accept sponsorship from other game companies to promote other titles. Besides that, they are free to stream any games they want.”

So, crisis averted! For now, at least. We’ll see what happens when things truly pick up, shall we?

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World of Spies

Worrying news from both the UK’s Guardian newspaper and The New York Times that the hideous little goblin that you’re struggling to slay in World of Warcraft, might not be all they seem and may have its eyes on much more than your shiny baubles.  It’s been alleged that spooks from America’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ are so worried about unsavoury sorts using the essentially unregulated on-line gaming world as a means of passing messages of doom or funds to each other that, they have infiltrated it in an attempt to head off the next potential 9/11 at the pass.

The source of this information is none other than Edward Snowden, the American computer specialist and former NSA contractor who put the Western surveillance effort on the back foot by disclosing a raft of top secret documents to the press.  With its credibility pretty much intact, the charge that American and UK spymasters spend their time playing World of Warcraft, and possibly Second Life too, in an effort to find out what Johnny Foreigner is up to, seems likely.

Evil RabbitsThe US and UK Governments are convinced that assorted terrorist groups are now holding their monthly meetings in Azeroth rather than squatting in a Yurt on some featureless plain in South Yeman, and are determined to sneak in on the conclaves.  Still, attending meetings in a virtual world has distinct advantages over real world meetings; now terrorists and spies from all sides can legitimately dress up as female Elves rather than leaving it for Sundays or Comic-Con.

Governments and gaming isn’t a new alliance, with 2002 seeing the launch of America’s Army – a realism-driven game designed to show the US Military in a positive light.  Based on the Unreal Engine, AA was supposed to demonstrate to the world that Uncle Sam was caring-while-carpet-bombing.   The ‘game’ started off as a training exercise but transformed over the years into an umbrella program for all US Military foot soldier simulation; think Call of Duty but with added patriotism, and wars where they get to win.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone by capitalist running dogs the fundamentalist group  Hezbollah have released their own game as a means of training the faithful and spreading befuddled propaganda.  The snappily titled Special Operations 2 is a FPS set amongst the rubble of the city formerly known as Lebenon and, demonstrates what it calls “the truthful path” while tackling socio-political, though some would say somewhat misguided, thinking.  The game, predictably, paints the military as idiots, so it’s a bit like CoD in that respect.    Special Forces 2 reportedly sold “hundreds of copies” on its release date; hmmm, so GTA V it ain’t!

On-line gaming is now a massive business and documents leaked by Snowdon show that spooks based around the globe, but principally at RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire UK, have infiltrated a number of virtual worlds and are sorting metadata as they search to uncover nefarious activities.  The program scored an early goal when the spymasters uncovered an underground trade in stolen credit cards and pin numbers; a group of dwarves were, apparently, taken into custody and their parents informed.

So, next time you’re blade to blade with a vicious-looking Orc, take a moment to consider whether it’s actually a twelve year old child, a fifty-four year old fat, balding spy with a questionable grip on reality, or a buck-toothed and wild-eyed terrorist.  It should be easy to spot if it’s the child – they’ll beat you hands down!


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