Star Wars: The Old Republic now free until level 15

New level-capped but unlimited free-trial offer for BioWare’s MMORPG lets those without previous accounts try opening adventures of eight character classes.

May the Force be with you, at least until level 15.

Eager to try out Star Wars: The Old Republic but not willing to pay to get started? You’re in luck.

BioWare yesterday announced a free-trial promotion for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game that will allow users to try out the game’s 8 character classes, and level their avatars to a maximum of 15.

In addition to trying out the game’s classes and traveling through their origin worlds, free-trial participants can fight against others in the player-versus-player warzones, or work alongside players through flashpoints. There is no time limit for the game’s free trial.

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League of Legends Champion Sneak Peek - Zyra, Rise of the Thorns

Sometimes the most dangerous predators in the wild are the ones you’d never expect – even the vegetation in Valoran! Zyra, mysterious and alluring, is one powerful plant that is poised and ready to unleash nature’s fury on the League of Legends.

As fierce as she is relentless, Zyra uses the deadly vines and wild overgrowth of the Plague Lands as her weapons, planting seeds on the battlefield that spring to life into powerful allies. Are you the type that takes great joy in laughing maniacally as the thorns rise up around your foes, shredding them to pieces with the power of nature itself? If so, you’ll go wild for Zyra, Rise of the Thorns.

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Diablo III: Real-Money Auction House Adds Gold Sales

Commodity auctions were only recently added to the Diablo III Real-Money Auction House (RMAH), and now, moments ago, so were gold transactions. At the time of this post 1,000,000 gold costs $2.50 through the RMAH, while third-party sites offer it for as low as $1.70. That breaks down to just 25 cents per 100,000 gold, or 17 cents if you’re purchasing it outside of Blizzard’s service..

Other purchasable commodities include:

  • Gems
  • Dyes
  • Crafting Materials
  • Blacksmithing Plans
  • Jeweler Designs
  • Pages of Training

With high level items going for several hundred thousand gold in the in-game currency auction house, it’s too early to tell what affect this will have on Diablo III’s economy. Will you be purchasing gold at these prices, or would you rather earn it yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

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League Of Legends Officially Becomes Most Played PC Game In The World

For fans of eSports, there’s a shift going on that for the most part has gone under the radar. New data from Xfire shows that Riot Games’ League of Legends is now officially the most played PC game in North America and Europe. When you add in the rise of the game in Korea, where it’s already beating out StarCraft II as the most popular game, it’s clear that League of Legends is here to stay.

According to a new list provided by DFC Intelligence in conjunction with Xfire, League of Legends gamers logged nearly 1.3 billion hours of gameplay. In second place was World of Warcraft, which despite some usage declines, still registered more than 600 million hours of gameplay (not including Asia).

“The fact that online games such League of Legends eclipsed more than a billion hours of online game time in a year is simply incredible and a testament to the fundamental shift currently sweeping through the games industry. By comparison, Bungie recently announced that the Halo franchise surpassed two billion hours of online play, but that’s over a period of seven years.” said David Cole, CEO of DFC Intelligence.

The report notes the recent popularity of the new Blizzard Entertainment title, Diablo III.

“Diablo III was not released until mid-May, but in just 45 days, usage of the game has equaled 172 million hours. Usage of course declines after launch, but it is still doing quite well and may surpass World of Warcraft in usage over the next year” said Cole.

extrapolating from actual usage data from more than 21 million Xfire members from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

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Upcoming Marvel MMO (Marvel Heroes)—From Diablo Creators? F2P

Marvel Heroes

Earlier this week, Gazillion Entertainment invited the press to participate in a hands-on demo of its upcoming MMO, Marvel Heroes. Massively sent freelancer Emil Vazquez to try the game out and tell us what he thought.

I went into the Marvel Heroes demo fully expecting the game to reflect the design influence of David Brevik, the esteemed co-founder of Blizzard North (of Diablo and Diablo II fame) and now Gazillion’s president. In that, I wasn’t disappointed.

Though the game proudly touts a stable of MMO buzzwords — grouping, instances, shared worlds — it’s easy to see Marvel Heroes as a sort of spiritual successor to Diablo, and Brevik’s influence shines through. It might be massively multiplayer, but it’s a loot-based brawler at heart. And it’s going to be free-to-play.

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Final Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend makes playable Asura and Sylvari races

The upcoming Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event, the final before the game’s official release, will allow users to play as the asura and sylvari races for the first time.

According to an update by ArenaNet, players will finally be able to create characters from any of hte five main races in Guild Wars 2 - human, norn, charr, asura, and sylvari. Each race in Guild Wars 2 has distinct, “radically different” home regions, signature city, and personal storyline options

For asura players, this means beginning your tale in Metrica Province, a vivid, exotic jungle area full of high-tech laboratories, quirky golems, and competing krewes of mad scientists. Nearby, the massive monoliths of the asuran capital Rata Sum hum with technomagical power. These diminutive geniuses may seem cute at first glance, but never underestimate an asura…

Sylvari players begin their story in the Grove, a luminous living city nestled in the shade of the Pale Tree, the “mother” of every member of this young race of plant humanoids. The sylvari are an enigmatic race of chivalrous explorers who are driven by an insatiable curiosity and guided by a collective Dream.

The final Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event is set to take place from July 20-22. If you want to reserve a spot int he beta, you can pre-purchase your copy of Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 is set to launch on Tuesday, August 28. From the time after this Beta Weekend and launch week, ArenaNet will spend optimizing, polishing, and balancing the game to ensure the best launch-day experience possible.

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Guild Wars 2 shirt designs up for voting

Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 fans have been clamoring for a few things over the years. The first repeated request, a release date, was granted just last week. Two other things — a way to turn into walking billboards for ArenaNet and a way to give the company more money — are soon to be realized as well.

Until now, Guild Wars 2 clothing has been reserved only for the lucky and dedicated few who can get themselves to conventions. Soon shirts branded with the awesome art associated with Guild Wars 2 will be available for the masses. Better still, you can have a say in what shirts get made. There’s a small gallery of possible designs hosted on the Guild Wars 2 Facebook page. Check it out, pick your three favorites, and vote for those favorites. The poll is only open until 3:00 p.m. EDT on July 6th, so don’t deliberate too long.

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Blizzard recognizes Diablo III’s lack of endgame content

Blizzard community manager Micah “Bashiok” Whiple admitted to Diablo III’s endgame shortcomings in an official forum post on Tuesday, saying, “The item hunt isn’t enough for a sustainable, long-term endgame.”

Although the highly anticipated action-role-playing game tussled with overloaded log-in servers and a controversial real-money auction house, it still shattered records and sold more than 3.5 million copies within the first 24 hours of its May 15 launch.

“Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose, but we believed pre-release the item hunt would be far more sustainable and would work as a proper endgame for quite a while,” Whiple said in a separate post. “That didn’t turn out to be true, and we recognize that.”

“Diablo III is not World of Warcraft,” he continues. “We aren’t going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every few months. There needs to be something else keeping people engaged, and we know it’s not there right now.”

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Rumor: League of Legends’ 100th Champion

Rumor has it that the 100th Champion of League of Legends is named Jayce. His transforming abilities along with his skill sets make him a very interesting champion. Read on for more information!

According to different sources, Jayce will have two deformation skills to be able to switch his weapon between different forms. In a sense it could be a lot like Nidalee’s ultimate but with his weapon. Switching between the two forms provides Jayce with Offensive and Defensive abilities. It also unlocks different potential and skill sets. Please be advised these are UNOFFICIAL and are what I have gathered from various sources.

Having said that let’s take a look at some of his abilities: (*video preview below!*)

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'Firefall' ends phase one of beta with 500k members, Red 5 announces system specs

Red 5 will be expanding access to the next phase of the Firefall beta with more invites and rolling out a “massive” update based on community input from the first phase.

"The feedback and support from our community has been an integral part of the development process," said Mark Kern, CEO of Red 5. "We’re treating Firefall as a service, which means it’s critical that we’re continually adding value and fun for players. Having a large and growing community lets us know that we’re on the right track. But more importantly, their feedback helps us stay on the right track.”

Gamers interested in entering the second phase of the beta can sign up at the game’s website.

Check out after the break for the system requirements for Firefall!

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