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By Throne

Anthem Arrives

When Bioware first announced its newest franchise, Anthem, during 2017’s E3 conference the one thing they said to describe the game was that it was unlike anything they had ever done before. And if nothing else, Anthem is certainly living up to that particular description.
Anthem is just not a game that hardcore Bioware fans would ever say is typical of the studio. Known for its stellar storytelling and its single-player franchises like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, players of Bioware games anticipate story-driven adventures along with companion characters who provide friendly banter and light-hearted romances. And hey, Anthem does provide a decent-enough story plot, with interesting and amusing characters and some good conversation opportunities, too. But the story is only a single part of the over-arching adventure that is Anthem (and hey, there’s no romances, either).

Anthem is described by its creators and by its growing fanbase as a co-op action and role-playing game, rather. In fact, its very best features can not be truly enjoyed without gathering a group of friends to embark into the gorgeous backdrop of the world of Anthem. 

There is nothing of Earth, here. This is a strange, new planet to explore, where every creature and bit of life comes from the Anthem of Creation – a powerful and mystical force that literally and even disastrously produces creatures, technology, and natural phenomena throughout the world. Everyone fights to survive and some to control the Anthem, and right there in the middle are the Freelancers, the heroes who embark past the walls of human cities to gather whatever resources they can find and to tame the myriad threats that the Anthem provides.

Freelancers survive outside the walls wearing armored suits, called Javelins. So far, the game’s four classes are encapsulated in whatever Javelin the player opts to suit up in, and each one of the four Javelins offers uniquely independent playstyles for the player’s gaming experience. There is no standard trinity that players of more traditional multiplayer games may try looking for, but this just keeps matched teams from insisting on any kind of perfect build, too. Any Javelin the player chooses will provide chances to cause damage to enemies or to save team-mates who have come under fire, in fact.

Still, exploring the different Javelins will give players an opportunity to decide which style of gameplay is their own personal cup of tea, so to speak. The Colossus, for instance, provides a heavy armored approach to the game, actually soaking up damage even as it unleashes massive firepower on the Freelancer’s enemies. The Storm, on the other hand, maximizes its time in the skies overhead to shield team members and rain down powerful lightning attacks on groups of enemies down below, too. The Interceptor is a more ground-based Javelin, zooming down onto enemies to zip and zap them swiftly with flashing blades and poison grenades. The final Javelin is the Ranger, which is also the first Javelin every beginning player will experience. The Ranger relies upon a steadied mix of abilities from all the classes, providing a well-rounded chance to inflict fast, intense damage to large numbers of enemies and combo attacks that obliterate threats in even wide areas. 

But it is the wide world of Anthem that truly sets the adventure apart from other games involving massive armored suits. Well, that and the whole flying around the world, too. In fact, the flying and swimming controls on the final released version of the game on February 22, 2019 were tuned in advance of the release through several test and demo sessions, where players pointed to issues on the varied platforms the game would be available. While there are still some players complaining the Javelins ability to maintain flight over an extended period of time simply is not great enough, the chance to navigate Anthem through the skies and even deep underwater offers opportunities for some purely amazing scenery and just plain, massive fun all at the same time. 

There were some buggy moments during the final days leading up to the release of the game, as well. Some players experienced issues with the game’s audio, actually losing sound in the middle of combat motions while moving around the world and battling enemies. A larger issue, however, was in the load times that quite a few players endured, where team-mates zoomed ahead and through the mission while they were still agonizingly lagging on the loading page. The game’s developers were quick to respond to the various issues and gameplay bugs that players reported, though. They welcomed comments on Anthem’s Twitter and Reddit pages, providing fast, public responses that the issues were noted and being addressed. The day one launch of the game then included a patch to try squashing the bugs, too.

But still, the game’s official launch was not completely void of problem or issue. Some players experienced terrible crashes of their consoles while playing Anthem, even. But overall, gameplay is remarkably smooth, even when the game is set to its highest graphic and audio settings. Each player’s game includes a chance to experience the story and get to know the various characters in Anthem, making dialogue choices that can help form their personal Freelancer. But the story is told through a first-person perspective of the walled city called Fort Tarsis, which creates a sense of disconnection with the individual player-character. Individuality comes from the amazingly complex personalization of the player’s Javelins, rather, and the Anthem fanbase has thrown itself into incredible renditions of paint and vinyls applied onto their suits.

Anthem is definitely a new experience, and those players who’ve adventured in other multiplayers are already asking for features common to such online multiplayer games. For instance, there’s currently no player-versus-player in the world of Anthem, and no real “raids” in the classical sense of multiplayer gameplay. There’s also a serious lack of clan or guild structures for players to rely upon. These are potential additions set aside for later patches to the game, is what the game’s developers are quick to assure.

What Anthem provides, rather, is a four-man team structure to explore the world through missions, expeditions, strongholds, and freeplay. The match-making tool in Anthem will quickly place players into random teams. Or players can create their own teams by inviting potential team-mates off their Origin friends list. 

Covenant of the Phoenix has set aside Chapter space for the community’s Anthem explorers, providing forums where guides and advice can be bantered over and shared. Also share some pictures and funny stories, too. But the Discord channels that COTP has established for the Anthem chapter of the community are even more useful, with potential team-mates gather together to help each other through the adventure. 

What is definitely true, though, is that embarking into the wider world of Anthem is most fun when you have a team to help back you up. The threats can be intensely challenging sometimes. The Freelancer can happily slaughter thousands of scorpions and Grabbits alike, only to turn a corner and run into a Titan. Hulk smash takes on a whole new meaning, then. So Anthem practically demands a team approach in order to succeed. As players and developers alike say, anyone can solo the game, sure. But it is far better to play with friends.  Only, do not hesitate to explore the Anthem with Covenant of the Phoenix! This is only the start! 
 
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By Throne

ATLAS: Present and Future

We have been at it since day one, that ugly and...well, let's just stick with ugly...launch. Even through the lag muck and server instability, you could read the stars and see the potential.  Right off the bat it was only for the tough, and we barreled through the glitchy log-ins, the shaky starter zones and the wretched "lawless" starting areas and found our way to the rafts.  Some were able to get to our island after 3-4 hours of learning how to tack, zig zag and fight through server borders and with a full stack of human hides, and then some were finally rescued after what seemed like days of being eaten alive by scorpions and crocodiles, only to quickly get used to dying to the cold, the wolves, the alpha horses, the water, the sharks and each other's general noob mistakes.
Yes, with the known developer, we did try to ARK it, or Dark and Light it...hell, we've even tried to Life is Feudal this one....and Atlas is just NOT those games.  Some visuals and sounds are there, but the depth and options and functionality is just SO much more.  What really took the game from just another ARK expansion to, the potential mmo of the decade, was getting out on our first schooner, the SS Skjoldr (video below).  The experience was entirely PvE, but when you have 13 people packed on to a single vessel and the guys repairing the ship are as vital as the helmsman steering and the deckhands manning the sails, it became something I haven't seen in a game since our friday night flights on the Decimator back in SWG.
We have had just a blast learning the game and surviving our island and our neighbors over the past couple weeks.  Though it may appear as if we are well off enough, growing from 30 actives day one, to more than double that now, we absolutely could use more folks interested in living the Atlas life.  Whether you are interested in navigating the high seas, captaining a brigand, farming the tundra, mucking through politics, taming elephants or exploring the massive (30-40 hours of sailing from one end to the other) world, it is all here and we have many members willing to help you get started.
Here is a few screencaps and videos to give you an idea of what we have been up to:
 
 




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By Throne

ATLAS

From the sister studio of Wildcard, makers of ARK: Survival Evolved...
ATLAS: The ultimate survival MMO of unprecedented scale with 40,000+ simultaneous players in the same world. Join an endless adventure of piracy & sailing, exploration & combat, roleplaying & progression, settlement & civilization-building, in one of the largest game worlds ever! Explore, Build, Conquer!
https://store.steampowered.com/app/834910/ATLAS/
Early access, Thursday, December 13th  (Update:  delayed release to December 19th) [Update 2: delayed release delayed to December 21st]
Chapter group: 
Discord:  https://discord.gg/v74dSHQ
 
 

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By Throne

Xalt defeats Elric for 2018 Fantasy Football Crown

Xalt's Zappers smirk at expectations, knock off Elric's Arksters in 171.07-127.47 rout

Both teams exceeded their projected point totals, but it was Xalt's Zappers who got the victory, cruising to a 171.07-127.47 win over Elric's Arksters. Elric's Arksters earned a 3.86-point lead on Saturday behind Joey Bosa (2.18 points) and Mike Williams (1.68), but Xalt's Zappers held the lead the rest of the way. They were led by Matt Ryan (25.46 points) and Damien Williams (22.53). Ben Roethlisberger (42.22 points) and T.Y. Hilton (19.4) led the charge for Elric's Arksters in the loss. This marks the second time this season Xalt's Zappers have beaten Elric's Arksters, after winning 118.28-117.7 in their last matchup. Xalt's Zappers end the season at 12-4, while Elric's Arksters finish the campaign at 9-7.
 
Matchup Highlights

Sunday Early    There were players with standout moments on both teams early Sunday, after which Xalt's Zappers owned a 125.41-53.13 lead. Matt Ryan had a 75-yard touchdown pass and a 44-yard touchdown pass for Xalt's Zappers, while David Njoku had a 66-yard catch. T.Y. Hilton made the highlight reel for Elric's Arksters with a 55-yard catch.

Sunday Late    Both teams had players with big-time moments on Sunday afternoon, but it was Xalt's Zappers who took the lead, 148.54-96.80. For Xalt's Zappers, Robert Woods had a 39-yard touchdown catch. Ben Roethlisberger made the highlight reel for Elric's Arksters with a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 49-yard pass.

Sunday Night    Harrison Butker had a 54-yard field goal for Elric's Arksters, who trailed 171.07-118.27 after Sunday Night Football.
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By Throne

Kenshi 1.0 Released

It is generally a rarity that finds a single player game a feature of CotP articles, however, over recent months this game has entered my personal top five games of all-time and has passed my hourly steam totals for Mount & Blade, Fallout 4 and Skyrim in the process.  What the....yeah, I know.
So many titles over the years have claimed that it allows its players to "win" the game "their way" in an "open sandbox" environment.  Well, we cannot get the time back that we spent realizing that those developers were still significantly limited in the scope of what any individual's personal definition of in-game "freedom" actually means.  For me, M&B and SWG came close.  Unfortunately, both those games (or their EMU reboot) are either approaching or have surpassed the ten year mark of their seemingly eternal impending latest release. Enter Kenshi.
Freedom is a fun word in Kenshi...yes, you have the freedom to stay solo, group up with a squad, make a vegetable farm, join a faction, enslave a faction, slay the champion, be the richest hermit, recruit an army of robots or build the great city....blah blah, boring.  Now, the freedom to fail in the most unique form possible...that is the true gem in this game.  I will give you just the one example:
My squad is epic, I will tame the badlands and establish a civilized trading outpost...plan = awesome.  Headed for the abandoned fishing outpost.  Acid rain, not fun...put up tent, survived.  Reached fishing village, it is not a fishing village.  Really freaky "skin" people pour out of all the village buildings.  We put up a good fight but were overwhelmed.  One by one, my squad members were....stolen.  Knocked out, picked up and taken to some of the village huts.  What is going on here?  Then the screams.  Agonizing screams from my captured squad members.  No idea.  I am the last one to go down.  KO'd, picked up, taken to a nearby hut....
I died from blood loss.....after I was put into a grinder that peeled my skin off.
https://store.steampowered.com/app/233860/Kenshi/
 
WHAT IS KENSHI?
Kenshi is a single player sandbox PC game set in a vast and atmospheric ‘Sword-Punk’ style open world. With a mix of RPG elements, squad-based control and city-building features, gameplay is completely free-roaming and open: enjoy the freedom and potential to do whatever you want.
Set in an unrelenting world of bloodthirsty cannibals, starving bandits, brutal slavers and wild beasts, survival alone is a grueling struggle… You are not the chosen one. You’re not great and powerful. You don’t have more ‘hitpoints’ than everyone else. You are not the center of the universe, and you are not special. Unless you work for it.
Character Customization 
Edit your characters, build up their strengths and watch them endure and grow. Train Your Skills in Robotics, Thievery, Engineering, Medicine, Weapon Smithing and more!
Squad-Based Control
Play with one character or control a whole team; an army, even. Combat is Real-Time Strategy style with a choice of ranged and melee fighting styles
Build Your Base
Create and run your own city, manage an empire or simply wander the lands as a lone drifter. Research upgrades such as industry tech, weaponry crafting and trade goods
Wounds Affect Gameplay
Complex medical system where injured characters limp, crawl, bleed to death or pass out from starvation. Stem blood loss to avoid predators and replace lost limbs with robotic prosthetics
Open-ended Gameplay
An original sandbox world. Lay siege as a warlord or make your riches as a trader… There are endless game style possibilities and the world will never stop moving
Train hard
There is no level-scaling, the world does not level up along with you. At the start of the game almost everyone will be stronger than you and you’ll have to use your cunning to survive
Survive
Escape capture from deadly slavers & cannibal prisons, rescue your squad mates from grisly death and get them all home alive
Start A Faction
Keep to yourself, form an alliance or oppose other factions and territories of the world… good or bad
 
https://lofigames.com/road-map/
 


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Relaed

Public Test Server for new Game Update April 3 - Notes

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https://www.playatlas.com/index.php?/atlas-news/records/brief-update-on-ptr-the-upcoming-atlas-15-patch-r102/

BRIEF UPDATE ON PTR & THE UPCOMING ATLAS 1.5 PATCH

Hey Pathfinders!

Just wanted to come in and give you a quick status update for ATLAS 1.5 before the weekend. We are planning on launching the Public Test Realm next Wednesday, the 3rd of April, and by then there will be an in-depth Captain’s Log which will do a deep dive on the entire patch so you know what to expect. 

Going forward, we expect subsequent major updates to come on a monthly basis, which will include more content such as new items, weapons, creatures and new areas for players to check out!

large.Creature2.jpg

We know that this update has taken quite some time and we really appreciate everyone’s patience as we dug down to the core of the claiming system and reworked it. We expect that we’ll have this ready to ship onto the main network by the week of the 8th of April.

Following ATLAS 1.5, there will be a lot more to come in terms of design changes and content. This announcement post contains a sneak peek of some upcoming new creatures, can you guess what abilities they’ll have?

large.Creature1.jpg

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:skull: UPCOMING PATCH NOTES :skull:

PLEASE NOTE THESE PATCH NOTES ARE NOT FINALISED AND THERE MAY BE CHANGES PRIOR TO FULL RELEASE ON THE LIVE SERVERS.

ATLAS 1.5 - ETA: APRIL 11TH (PTR: 4TH OF APRIL)

MORE NOTES TO COME!

New Features and Content

- Redesign: ATLAS World - 40% more islands/landmass & new world map layout.
- Redesign: Claim System - Colonies: Freeform building, with more progress-protecting and time-enforced PvP rules creating a cooperative atmosphere, and limits to ensure the game is more oriented towards single players or smaller groups. Previous mode now known as Empires and PvE will be a modified version of colonies.
- New Environment: Deep Ocean Trench. A new area to explore, guarded by powerful underwater creatures and home to the new Giant Crab
- New Environment: Eastern Tundra now has its own visual design, no longer using the Western Tundra style
- New Weather: 'Snow' weather systems for Polar and Tundra
- New World Phenomenon: Aurora Borealis light display which will result in a harvesting bonus, visible in particular regions.
- New Vehicle: Submarine. Explore the depths of the ocean in this small scouting submarine. Use the claw arms to help harvest the ocean floor and explore (demolish) player shipwrecks. Also equipped with a harpoon (uses ballista bolts) as a new underwater weapon which will ramp up oceanic combat.
- New Creature: Giant Crab. It can carry heavy loads, along with players, tames and wild creatures
- New Item: "Guillotine". Hanging your foes in a noose taking too long? Off with their heads! 
- New Item: "Large Wall". Equipped with parapets and ladder snaps so you can now build a proper defensive perimeter!
- New Item: "Small Gates". 2-wall high gate structures for wood and stone.
- New Item: "Player Shops". Players can set up automated shops, listing loot for sale and naming their own gold coin prices.
- New Item: "Settlement War Declaration". Tied to the War System. Drag over a settlement on the ATLAS map to declare war on them!
- New Item: More tame tokens for more mythical creatures! Allowing players to have limited-time tames of the Fire Elemental, Rock Elemental, and Gorgon. BONUS: Rock Elemental and Cyclops are rideable!
- New Feature: War System - Declare war on your enemies!
- New Feature: 1 'Mainline Quest' involving gathering 9 trench stones and defeating the hardmode Kraken!
- New Feature: 7 more ‘Quests’ which upon successful completion will provide their own unique Skill unlock
- New Feature: Curses. Tied to the execution of players
- New Feature: Player-to-Player secure trading system
- New Feature: Procedurally Generated Shipwrecks which players can explore for items and blueprints. They can be found by diving deep into the ocean, or looking out for their visual indicator on the surface of the water, or successfully completing the sextant mini-game which will point you in the direction of nearby shipwrecks.
- New Feature: Human Catapult. Player characters can now be deployed into battle using a catapult.
- New Cosmetics: Peg Legs, Hook Hands, and Multiple Armor sets to customize the look of your company and crew! Can be purchased at the cosmetics vendor.
- Redesign: Squads (Ship) of the snarfled will now come in multiple size variations with different stats and difficulty levels.
- Redesign: Grappling Hook has been revamped, better physics & rappelling mechanics, and players will be able to realistically swing using them.
- Redesign: Explosive Barrels. Can now be carried in hand, thrown overboard to sink and will explode when they collide with anything underwater (Depth Charge!).

Balance Changes

- The higher quality shipyard used when building a ship, the more level ups a ship will be able to obtain.
- Ships can now level up their total damage output (which effects all cannons on a ship) and their total resistance, as new upgradable stats.
- All tamable creatures made breedable, with no exceptions except for Mythical Creatures.
- Various spawner adjustments & fixes across all islands
- Reloading now changed to have the mini-game appear back to back, rather than through various points of the animation.
- Vitamin debuffs have been removed and will only cause health loss when a player has a vitamin surplus or deficiency.
- Increased smithy inventory slots to 130.
- Increased weight of catapult from 12 to 84.
- Adjusted the crafting quantities on higher tier blueprints so they don't require as many resources as before.

QOL Changes

- Territory map will now display allies as teal-coloured
- Character creator now has a Height slider to make it easier to set your character's desired height
- Any dead ships (shipwrecks) from your Company appear with a unique icon on your map now, so you can find the wrecks
- Global territory message updating
- Currently contested claims will be indicated on the minimap
- Players can now mount a sail to directly control the sail's open/close amount and rotation settings in a more intuitive way.
- Toggle ladders button for ship captain, defaults to L key. 
- Company Groups have been increased to 10
- Players cannot accept alliance invites unless they're an admin
- Company Log can now be sorted
- New group permission which acts as an effective 'company owner'. Only the true company owner can set/unset that specific group rank.

Misc

- Improved Server and Client performance
- Visual feedback for players being unable to board unallied boats on PvE
- Full body animations for harvesting
- More realistic old age wrinkles
- Additional face sliders for character customization
- Dive suit overlay has been adjusted so it's easier to see when underwater
- Commodities trader can only be found on the Merchant Ship on PvP servers
- Respec potion has been moved to the Crew Recruiter on Freeports

:anchor: RELEASED PATCH NOTES :anchor:

:skull: CURRENT V24.4 :skull:

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