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Game

‘Soulframe’ is a free-to-play MMO from the studio behind ‘Warframe’

After nearly a decade of work on  and more than five years since it canceled its , Digital Extremes is working on a new game. On Saturday, the studio , a free-to-play MMO set in a fantasy world. Outside of an enigmatic teaser trailer, Digital Extremes has shared only a few details about Soulframe.

In an interview with , creative director Geoff Crookes said the game draws inspiration from classics The NeverEnding Story and Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. Like the latter, Soulframe will explore what happens when humans collide with the natural world. “The conceit [in Soulframe] is that the world itself is a little angry about what’s been done to it, and the grounds underneath tend to shift throughout the day,” Crookes told The Post. “So there’s going to be proceduralism within the cave networks and crevasses and so on underneath the world.”

From a gameplay standpoint, Soulframe primarily focuses on “slow and heavy” melee combat. Despite including “Soul” in the title, Crookes told The Post his team didn’t set out to create a Soulslike when they began work on the project – though it became impossible to ignore FromSoftware’s latest masterpiece. “ has absolutely been a subject of some conversation — maybe to do with camera, maybe to do with how excellent their combat pacing is,” said Soulframe co-lead Steve Sinclair. “And you know, screw those guys, because damn, [Elden Ring] was absolutely fantastic.”

Soulframe doesn’t have a release date yet, and both Crookes and Sinclair emphasized the game is still early in development, but like with Warframe, Digital Extremes plans to involve the community in the creation process. So expect frequent behind-the-scenes Twitch streams. Moreover, some fans could receive early access to the game within a year.

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Game

Amazon delays ‘New World’ MMO again, this time to September 28th

Amazon has delayed New World mere weeks before its previously announced August 31st release date. It will now arrive about a month later, on September 28th, so that Amazon Game Studios can spend an extra few weeks polishing, fixing bugs and improving stability. The company says it decided to delay New World again following player feedback it collected during the MMO’s recent closed beta.

“This was not an easy decision to make. We know this isn’t the first time we’ve changed our launch date in pursuit of quality, and that it can be disappointing to wait a bit longer.” Amazon Game Studios said on Twitter. “But we want to be sure we deliver you the highest quality game possible at launch.”

For those of you still keeping track, this is New World’s fourth delay. When Amazon first announced the game, it said it would come out in May 2020. Its release date initially slipped to August 25th, 2020, before Amazon announced a month later it was pushing the game back to spring 2021. At the start of the year, it then delayed the game to its most recently planned August 31st release date.

To say there’s a lot of pressure on Amazon Game Studios to deliver a hit for its parent company would be an understatement. Amazon announced the game’s first major delay after taking the unusual step of rolling back the availability of Crucible, its first AAA title. It later ended the development of that game. Before taking over as CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy told employees he was committed to the studio. “Though we haven’t consistently succeeded yet in Amazon Game Studios, I believe we will if we hang in there,” he said in an email. Now it’s on the New World team to prove that confidence was well-earned.

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Game

If you have an RTX 3090, Amazon’s New World MMO could kill it

Amazon’s New World MMO is currently in closed beta, and that has led to a surge of interest in the game. New World launches at the end of August, so this closed beta is a chance for prospective buyers to see the mostly-finished product, and a lot of folks are taking Amazon up on its offer of beta access in exchange for pre-orders. However, if you have an RTX 3090 graphics card in your rig, you might want to sit out the New World beta for now, as there have been reports of the game bricking GPU hardware.

As spotted by PC Gamer, there are thread up on both the New World subreddit and the New World official forums in which players report that playing New World has bricked their GPUs. The issue seems to mostly revolve around EVGA cards – specifically the EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra – though there have been less frequent reports of other cards as well.

Obviously, it’s never a good time to have a GPU die, but right now is a terrible time given the current PC hardware shortage. While it’s been difficult to pin down a precise cause, there’s talk among the player base that uncapped framerates in New World‘s menus (or even while players are waiting in queue) is to blame. If you’re going to play New World and you want to avoid bricking your high-end GPU, limiting your frame rate to 60 or even 30 might be a good place to start.

Talk of GPU failures while playing New World really started making the rounds when Twitch streamer Gladd experienced that exact thing on-stream. Shortly afterward, he published a tweet (embedded above) in which he confirmed that his graphics card had been fried “completely.” PC Gamer notes that there were known issues with early-model RTX GPUs that had defective power delivery components, but a driver update pushed by NVIDIA supposedly quashed those issues.

Until the community, the developers behind New World, and GPU manufacturers get to the bottom of this issue, it’s probably best to avoid the New World beta if you’ve got an RTX 3090, particularly an EVGA FTW3 Ultra. We’ll see what happens from here, but with just about five weeks left to go for release, this could potentially be a big problem for New World.



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Game

New World Devs Are Serious About the MMO. Is Amazon?

Amazon’s foray into gaming hasn’t quite gone according to plan. Back in 2014, the tech giant announced that it would start developing PC titles under its Amazon Game Studios label (which has since been shortened to Amazon Games). Seven years and five canceled projects later, Amazon doesn’t have a lot to show for its efforts.

That’ll change this summer when its ambitious title New World finally releases. For a while, the massively multiplayer online game seemed like it could be next on the chopping block. It experience several delays, but continued to live on while titles like Crucible were shut down. With no other announced projects on Amazon’s upcoming game slate, New World may be carrying the fate of Amazon Games on its shoulders.

Judging by a recent demo for the game, it seems like the developers are ready for that challenge — it’s just not clear if Amazon is taking it seriously enough.

A whole new world

New World is a pretty standard online role-playing game. Players create a character and then slowly build them over time, collecting better gear and increasing a slew of stats. It’s a “numbers go up” game with a lot of systems to keep track of. In the demo session, I ended up holding my group’s journey up as I tried to grasp its daunting menus.

There’s a lot to do in New World, but the focus of this session was one of its latest expeditions. These are essentially the game’s equivalent of raids and feature up to five players coming together to tackle a large mission. It’s a player-versus-environment (PVE) experience where players chew through monsters, pick up as much loot as they can carry, and slay a massive boss.

One nice thing about New World is that it doesn’t have strict class systems. To play the role of healer, I simply had to collect a staff and upgrade a tree in my menu to set some spells. Since players can equip two weapons and ability points aren’t locked to one class, a character can play two roles in one. When using a staff, I had a set of healing spells I could cast. If I switched to my ax, I had an entirely different set of abilities that let me do some actual damage. That versatility makes the game feel less restrictive than more traditional RPGs.

The expedition itself was a somewhat run-of-the-mill dungeon crawl. My team traversed through some dark, drab ruins, killing waves of monsters and picking up rewards. At one point, we had to coordinate to stand on some plates at the same time, but that was about the extent of the communication needed.

Like a lot of modern games, New World’s developers drew inspiration from the Dark Souls series for combat. Fights are physical, requiring players to get up close and personal with enemies. There’s a stamina meter to manage and a dodge roll for evasion. For the most part, fights aren’t too difficult. Through most of the expedition, my teammates and I cut down enemies with ease. It only really ramped up with the bosses, one of which flattened mewith one hit after I greedily tried to inflict some extra damage.

New World

While that particular adventure felt like average MMO fare, there will be a lot more to the final game. The demo didn’t touch on the game’s more slice-of-life mechanics, where it seems like the real hook will lie. Activities like fishing could give it a little more personality and make it more of a long-term proposition for those who just want to live in a digital world. We’ve already seen that there’s a hunger for that with indie sensations like Valheim.

The good news is that the developers are committed to the experience. They emphasize that the day one version will just be the start and that there are lots of plans for years to come. At the moment, it doesn’t feel like New World will wow many at launch, but we’ve repeatedly seen how staying the course can change the future of online games like this.

Will it last?

The only hurdle New World has to get over is Amazon itself. Considering how many of its titles have been canceled already, it’s hard to imagine New World getting the chance to survive if it isn’t a moneymaker out the gate.

Look at the company’s previous effort, Crucible. The free-to-play shooter initially launched last May, but had a somewhat unprecedented release. Amazon moved it back into closed beta two months after launch before canceling the game outright in October. It’s not often you see a studio unrelease a game.

That’s only one troubling story for Amazon’s games division. In 2019, Amazon Games reportedly laid off dozens of employees, canceling several games in the process. Just last month, it shut down production on a planned Lord of the Rings MMO, its most high-profile project to date. In a Q&A session following the demo, New World’s developers admitted that they were personally disappointed by the news. If Amazon is willing to shutter a project like that, will it really stick by New World long enough for it to grow?

New World

It ultimately boils down to a question of how seriously Amazon is taking video games. New World’s developers have an ambitious, sprawling vision for the project, but its production value isn’t quite what one might expect when they hear the name Amazon. Its visuals look muddy next to an online game like Final Fantasy XIV (New World is still months away from launch, so it’ll likely look more polished by August). This is a company with all the money in the world, but I walked away from the demo wondering how much is actually being allocated to the game’s development.

We do know that Amazon has put a fair amount of faith in New World. Throughout all the cancellations, the company has funneled more and more staff and resources into the project. At this point, Amazon is al- in on it. What’s left to be seen is if it has the patience to let the game grow. It’s hard to blame anyone for being skeptical about the answer based on history.

New World launches on August 31 and a closed beta will be available starting July 20.

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Computing

Razer Debuts Naga X Gaming Mouse for MMO Gamers

Razer is expanding its family of gaming mice with the launch of the new Razer Naga X, which is now the lightest mouse in the Naga lineup. The lightweight design and robust customizations on the Naga X make it ideally suited for MMO gamers, the company said, and if you’re already gaming on Razer’s ecosystem of laptops, the Chroma RGB lighting on the Naga X would be a nice addition to your existing setup.

The Naga X comes with 16 buttons in a lightweight 85-gram design. Like the original Naga, it looks like gamers won’t be able to adjust the weight on this model, but an array of programmable buttons on the side of the Naga X makes it easy to map to essential game keys. Razer’s HyperShift allows you to double the number of inputs with a secondary button profile when the HyperShift button is held down. Gamers can use Razer’s Synapse 3 to map the Naga X’s buttons. There’s also onboard memory, so you can save all your presets to the mouse.

In total, you’re getting nine action buttons, along with three different assignable buttons on the side.

“Each button can be assigned to basic functions like casting spells to advanced functions, such as macros combining multiple command keys all at once,” the company said, noting that the Naga X was “made to raid.”

Up top, you’re getting the traditional left and right mouse buttons, an autorun scroller, two zoom controllers to zoom in and out, and a button to increase the DPI to adjust the sensitivity of the Naga X. The buttons make use of Razer’s second-generation optical mouse switch design for better tactile feedback. The infrared light is rated with a fast 0.2ms response time. The Naga X also uses Razer’s 5G advanced optical sensor for 99.4% accurate tracking, the company said.

Other features of the Naga X include PTFE feet for the smoothest glide across any surface, along with a braided Speedflex cable that’s designed for minimal drag when you’re playing fast, action-packed titles.

The Naga X comes in an ergonomic design for gamers with medium to large hands, Razer claims, and the overall package is made for those who prefer palm or claw grip styles. If you’re unsure of your hand size, Razer has a convenient guide that shows you how to measure your hand to find the perfect mouse for your needs depending on the types of games you typically play.

Razer’s Naga X is shipping now, and right-handed MMO gamers can pick one up from the company’s online store for $79 — this mouse won’t be a good fit for left-handed users.

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