Major PlanetSide 2 update is live now, adds swampy Hossin continent

Shaun Prescott at

Two years in development, the Hossin continent is now accessible in PlanetSide 2 thanks to a major update rolling out as we speak. Originally scheduled for an April 2013 launch, Hossin is a swampy, infantry-oriented map which should please fans of mud and shades of brown. It also boasts an Interlink Facility and 80 new bases in a brand new biome.

Hearthstone leaves open beta, full release now available

Omri Petitte at

Just a few days after Blizzard prophesized the impending end of Hearthstone's beta, it's decided to surprise everyone by releasing the Warcraft-ified online card battler after three months of testing. The game is free to play, and the only requirement to get started is to hit the giant purple Play Now button at the official site.

See what Nosgoth is all about in this hour-long gameplay video

Emanuel Maiberg at

Last year, we found out that a sequel to 2003's Legacy of Kain: Defiance was canceled and reworked into a free-to-play, class-based multiplayer game called Nosgoth. So far, only a limited amount of players have been able to get into the alpha, so this hour's worth of gameplay footage with commentary by Psyonix Game Director Corey Davis and shoutcaster Alex 'Goldenboy' Mendez is the first good look we've had at the game.

Ryan Dancey defends Elder Scrolls Online's subscription fee

Emanuel Maiberg at

Forbes’ Paul Tassi recently wrote a piece predicting that Elder Scrolls Online, the upcoming MMO from Bethesda and ZeniMax, will be “the biggest game disaster of 2014.” He argued it could never recoup its rumored $200 million budget with its monthly subscription fee monetization model. “Console players, and hell, most PC players these days that aren't die hard WoW or EVE Online devotees, have no patience for the increasingly outdated monthly subscription model,” he wrote. Yesterday, Goblinwork’s CEO and former CCP CMO Ryan Scott Dancey wrote a detailed counter-argument over at mmorpg.com.

World of Warplanes review

PC Gamer at

A dogfighting multiplayer game focused on the aircraft of World War 2 and Korea never seemed like a natural fit for mouse and keyboard. World of Warplanes faced an almost insurmountable dilemma: if it was easy to control, it wouldn't feel like actual flying and dogfighting, and if it did feel authentic, then it would probably exclude most of its intended audience.

Path of Exile hits 250,000 daily users one month after launch

Emanuel Maiberg at

New Zealand-based developer Grinding Gear Games has reason to celebrate. Only a month after launch, its free-to-play, clicky-click action RPG Path of Exile enjoys more than 250,000 daily users, and over 4 million registered users. 1.5 million unique players logged in following the end of its open beta.

MMORPG Rift will be free to all former subscribers this weekend

Ian Birnbaum at

There’s some consternation over Rift, the much-loved MMO from Trion Worlds, switching to free-to-play. While moving to a F2P business model can add life into drowning games, developers abusing the microtransaction system can quickly destroy the balance of the game in exchange for cold, hard cash.

MechWarrior Online's newest patch brings a world of Misery

Katie Williams at

Not the sobbing-at-a-funeral kind of misery, mind you. We're talking about Misery, an 85-ton Stalker battlemech that will hopefully leave your foes fully acquainted with the emotion in your wake. The mech comes with MWO's newest patch, which, among various other goodies and fixes, also comes with a new skin with skulls all over it, keeping with the theme nicely.

MechWarrior Online patch to expand team structure, add new mech variants

Evan Lahti at

Like a robot Bob Ross, Piranha Games continues to slowly fill in the details around MechWarrior Online before it's ready to call the game released. After adding the beta's best map so far last month, this week's fresh paint comes in the form of improvements to MWO's in-match leadership and command features, which will be updated in a patch arriving tomorrow afternoon.

MechWarrior Online video interview

Evan Lahti at

MechWarrior Online will stomp out of beta by the end of this summer, and the game's Vancouverian creators at Piranha Games are illuminating further what the free-to-play multiplayer game will look like when it hits its version 1.0 milestone. I spoke with Piranha President Russ Bullock and Creative Director Bryan Ekman last week in San Francisco to get more details about MWO's ambitious territory-control metagame, Community Warfare, ask about the status of this thing, and check up on other upcoming features.

GDC 2013: Creative Assembly announces the all-multiplayer Total War Arena

Omri Petitte at

During a talk at GDC today, Creative Assembly revealed a new direction for its Total War series: Total War Arena, a completely multiplayer and free-to-play combination of RTS and MOBA elements.

Ghost Recon Online gets Assassin's Creed III items for cross-promotional cosplay

Tyler Wilde at

The first of three Assassin's Creed III Tyranny of King Washington DLC episodes releases next Tuesday, prompting Ubisoft to initiate tactical cross-promotion operation "Put Hoods in Ghost Recon Online." From today until March 1st, 11 Assassin's Creed-themed items are available for unlock or purchase in the free-to-play tactical shooter's open beta.

American McGee: Akaneiro is "100 percent finished," developer "not out of money"

Omri Petitte at

The Kickstarter page for free-to-play ARPG Akaneiro: Demon Hunters stated that American McGee's studio, Spicy Horse, ran "out of time and money" for final polishing. McGee evidently took umbrage with the media focus on that line, clarifying to Kotaku today that Akaneiro is "100 percent finished" and Spicy Horse has money to spare.

Free-to-play ARPG Akaneiro: Demon Hunters gets a Kickstarter, open beta to start this month

Tyler Wilde at

Spicy Horse, the Shangai developer founded by American McGee (of Quake and Alice fame), says it's "out of time and money" to finish polishing its free-to-play ARPG, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. Money buys time, or is time, or something like that, so McGee is asking for $200,000 on Kickstarter to port the PC/Mac game to tablets, build in co-op multiplayer, add an equipment crafting system, hire dedicated community managers, and bulk up the game with other, smaller features before release.

Video critique: the launch of PlanetSide 2

PC Gamer at

After PlanetSide 2 launched, Evan and Tyler took to our foam-walled microphone palace to discuss the early days of the massive three-faction war: the battles, the guns, the certification grind, and the amazing things that happen when you pit 2000 knife, gun, and rocket-wielding players against each other at a time. See and hear what we love, and what we want from PlanetSide 2 after the break.

How much does PlanetSide 2 cost if you buy everything?

Evan Lahti at

In our PlanetSide 2 review, Rich mentioned that the game “feels closer to the pricier end of acceptable in the free-to-play market.” Infantry and vehicle weapons are priced at $2.50, $5, or $7 (£2, £4 or £6) tiers. All of these can also be unlocked with certification points, the in-game currency earned by playing, but what if you had the silly idea to buy everything for a single faction—how much would PlanetSide 2’s entire arsenal cost?

Tribes: Ascend Marksman update adds Sentinel gear, 100% inheritance Blinksfusor, Rage tweaks

Tyler Wilde at

I think I might start playing Sentinel again in Tribes. Though I was courted away from the sniper class by the speed and glory of the flag-capping Pathfinder, yesterday's Marksman update is wooing me. The patch gives Sentinels the SAP20, a more powerful Phase Rifle variant, a secondary shotgun, and speed-activated mines. I could be in the minority, but I quite like all of them.

Marvel Heroes soars into closed beta in October

Omri Petitte at

Gazillion and Diablo luminary David Brevik's free-to-play MMO Marvel Heroes enters closed beta on October 1, allowing selected players to don the supple spandex of their favorite Marvel characters in the search for foes to vanquish, loot to gather, and role-playing sessions trading "Pow! Biff! Bamf!" over chat.

Tribes: Ascend awarding double XP starting tomorrow

Omri Petitte at

Experience gained from Tribes: Ascend matches in public and custom servers will be doubled starting tomorrow and lasting until Tuesday, a perfect excuse for some Labor Day CTF and a string of Shazbots directed at the nefarious moving flag in the recently added Blitz mode.

How to install Warface, Crytek's upcoming F2P shooter, and play right now

Tyler Wilde at

My warface is a Max Payne-style smirk with a hint of Nicolas Cage crazy-eyes. Crytek's Warface, however, is a CryEngine 3-based free-to-play war shooter. The game, which is curiously not called "WarCry," is currently live in Russia, and we've been hearing for a while that it'll come our way soon -- probably before the end of the year...