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  1. Forza Horizon 5 – Hotfix Release Notes for Dec. 14, 2021

    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    A new Forza Horizon 5 hotfix is available to download with the fixes and improvements shared below. We truly appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked to address these and continue to work to address other reported issues.
    Game Stability
    On Dec. 7, we released a fix to tackle the “soft lock” issue which caused Xbox Series X|S players to get stuck with an infinite spinner when saving data. Today’s new hotfix goes further and addresses the root cause of the problem. Xbox Series X|S players may have occasionally encountered issues with streaming and soft locks when loading into events, which are now resolved.
    We’ve also addressed other stability issues, including a top reported crash that was introduced with Series 2.
    A top priority for the team is working on a fix for Convoys and disappearing players. We are continuing to investigate your reports and have identified and addressed one issue that would cause some players to become invisible to other players. Further work is ongoing in this area to improve the experience.
    Improvements have been made to server bandwidth to ensure a better experience in multiplayer game modes like The Eliminator.
    We’ve included a fix for civilian traffic not being present in Horizon Life. However, we know there is more work to do in this area. We have identified a further issue where players might see no civilian traffic after taking part in multiplayer events, and an issue where some players may see no traffic until changing car or fast travelling. These are being worked on and will be addressed in a future update.
    We have enhanced the overall stability of our servers across the entire experience, and we have also identified and fixed an issue that sometimes prevented players from joining another player’s server when attempting to initiate a Convoy.
    More To Come
    With the holidays rapidly approaching, our team is looking forward to spending some time with family and friends and hope you are doing the same. For us, this means a short pause on our ongoing development and fixes, yet rest assured, in the new year we will continue to deliver further improvements to Forza Horizon 5.
    For example, we're aware that a number of players have experienced challenges on the Festival Playlist which they've not been able to complete. This can be frustrating to miss out on rewards or to not have that 100% completion. We're looking into a solution for players who have experienced the issue.

    In the meantime, be sure to check out the Series 2 Update – featuring a holiday dressing across Mexico and a new Secret Santa feature that encourages community spirit, as well as plenty of new cars to drive and more.
    We wish all our players a happy, safe and relaxing holiday and we’ll see you in the new year for the latest Forza Horizon 5 updates.

  2. Guild Wars 2: Sparkling Winter Nights with the Lunar Chest

    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    Free Wintersday Gifts
    Happy Wintersday from the Black Lion Trading Company! Log in this week and visit the Gem Store to get your free Black Lion Claim Ticket.
    On December 17, log in and pick up a free Guaranteed Wardrobe Unlock. Thank you for a wonderful, fashionable year!
    Icy Demon Horns

    Crown yourself with these delicate demonic horns and add a touch of danger to your holiday looks.
    Plushy Raptor Skin

    More fuzzy than fearsome, this enormous plush raptor is the perfect mount to ride on your gift delivery route. It’s available for direct purchase and can be found as an uncommon drop inside Black Lion Chests.
    Keep your entire stable of mounts warm! The Cozy Wintersday Mounts Pack is back in stock.
    Lunar Chest

    Inside each chest, you’re guaranteed to find a redeemable Black Lion Statuette, a Black Lion Material Bag: Icebrood Saga, and two common items. You also have a chance to find something rarer in the fifth slot, including special items, glyphs, and skins from the Seven Reapers Weapon Collection and Alchemist Weapon Collection.
    Exclusive Item: Lunar Backpack and Glider Combo
    Descend with the glittering glory of a peaceful winter night. You’ll surely be a calming presence during the next Shatterer attack.

    Abyss Stalker Weapon Collection
    Add these sinister skins to your weapons, and your enemies will be in very deep trouble. They’re available from Black Lion Weapons Specialists for one Black Lion Claim Ticket each.
    What’s in Stock
    Stop by the Gem Store later this week to peruse our updated stock of winter outfits.
    Returning Today
    20% Off—Basic Harvesting Node Pack, Basic Lumber Node Pack, Basic Ore Node Pack, Basic Cloth Rack, Basic Leather Rack, and Snowflake Gobbler Pack
    Returning This Week
    20% Off—Fancy Winter Outfit, Winter Monarch Outfit, Arctic Explorer Outfit, Ice Encasement Outfit, Winter Solstice Outfit, Wintersday Appearance Package, and Winter Solstice Appearance Pack

  3. FFXIV: The Starlight Celebration Begins December 16!

    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    Wintry weather has settled in across the realm, and the citizens of Eorzea have begun preparing for this year’s Starlight Celebration. The merry sight of cities and residential districts illuminated by cheerful decorations is bound to leave one in high spirits and enkindle heartwarming gestures during this season’s festivities.


    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    Heroes of Arkesia,
    If you tuned into the Game Awards, you’ll know that we’ve announced our official launch date - February 11! Founder Pack owners will be able to begin playing on February 8 with the three-day head start.
    The phenomenal participation and enthusiasm we’ve seen throughout our Closed Technical Alpha and Closed Beta have us extremely excited to bring Smilegate RPG’s beloved game to more players around the world. If you missed our November update announcing the additional countries Lost Ark will be available in, checkout our announcement.
    You can learn about the offerings of each of the Founder’s Packs on our Founder’s Pack page, and if you want a closer look at some of the cosmetic items included, check out our Founder’s Pack showcase article.
    Make sure to follow our social channels and PlayLostArk.com to see all upcoming announcements as we head toward launch. Here’s where you can find us:


    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    Heroes of Arkesia,
    As we move towards launch, we have an exciting announcement to make about Lost Ark’s starting class lineup.
    When Lost Ark launches in early 2022, the new Sorceress class will be available to players. The Sorceress will replace the previously included Summoner class in our starting class line-up, and the Summoner will instead come to Arkesia at a later date.

    The Sorceress wields powerful magic based on three elements (fire, ice, and lightning) with spells that can deal area damage. They can easily handle multiple enemies helping them dominate the battlefield. Some of the Sorceress’ abilities include:
    Incinerate: Drop meteor fragments from the sky to inflict damage on enemies. A giant pillar then raises from the target area launching foes into the air and explodes dealing even more damage. Frost Explosion: Frost bursts from the body dealing damage and causing Chill Status, reducing attack and movement speed by 60%. Ice Arrow: Fire ice arrows, piercing foes and dealing damage. This also grants Chill status slowing target's attack and movement speed by 60% for six seconds. Lightning Burst: Fire lightning to attack enemies. This grants Electrocution status, dealing additional damage. Learn more about the Sorceress and see some abilities in action on the Sorceress Class page.
    Our version of Lost Ark will still include 15 classes at launch, with additional classes coming to the game in future updates. When working with Smilegate RPG to select the starting class lineup, we considered the following criteria to ensure that our lineup was balanced, with a little something for everyone.
    New and familiar
    While our version of Lost Ark does not yet contain all 20+ classes, we wanted to ensure that we included content that is new and exciting alongside some old favorites of players. Sorceress is the newest class to be added to Lost Ark, having launched in Korea in August 2021, so we’re very excited to be able to share this class (and the Striker class) with our players!
    A wide range of playstyles
    It was important to us to ensure that we included a range of classes to suit the many ways that people like to play. While there are plenty of ways to DPS, we also made sure to include multiple support classes (Paladin and Bard) so that support players could have more options at game launch, as opposed to launching with just a single support class as the game has in other regions.
    Gender locked classes
    From the earliest days of Lost Ark’s announcement in the West, we heard players' feedback about gender locked classes loud and clear. While not every class in the game currently has a male and female counterpart available, we wanted to be sure to include those that do early on. In the future, Smilegate RPG will be creating more counterparts for classes that are still gender locked, and we will bring these to Arkesia in time.

  6. New World: Prime Gaming - Autumn King Packs

    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    Greetings, Adventurers!
    New World’s free, exclusive items available through Prime Gaming continue with the Autumn King packs. Both packs are now available and can be claimed until December 27.
    The first pack includes the exclusive Autumn King Armor-set skin, Nose Blow Emote, Fisherman Spear skin, alongside 5,000 Marks of Fortune— a premium currency that can be exchanged for cosmetic items from the in-game store.

    The second Autumn King Pack is available too, and can be claimed by Prime Gaming members until December 27. It includes the Violet Rage Sword skin, Fist Shake Emote, and a pack of 5 Twitch Purple dyes

    With Prime Gaming, Amazon Prime members enjoy tons of free, exclusive content for their favorite PC, console, and mobile games. Plus, they can claim a collection of PC games for free every month that are theirs to keep forever, and a monthly Twitch channel subscription. Prime Gaming’s selection of in-game content and free PC games is always growing and rotating to stay fresh, with new items and free games added every month.
    Players who are not currently Amazon Prime members that are interested in accessing the exclusive New World loot can sign-up for a free, 30-day trial on the Prime Gaming website.
    Stay tuned, as we’ll have more exclusive content for Prime Gaming members in the future!
    Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.


    By Juggernaut, 12/15/2021

    News straight from blizzard themselves!
    Greetings, Heroes of Sanctuary. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight exciting upcoming balance changes, alongside a couple of new features coming in our next Diablo II: Resurrected update! 
    PLEASE NOTE: Game content discussed in this blog is not final and subject to change.
    Ladder Rank Play
    Class Balance Changes
    Mercenary Changes & New Rune Words
    Developer Update Stream
    Prepare to seek your glory. Ladder Rank play is arriving early next year! Our priority for Ladder Rank play has always been for this mode to be a smooth experience. The competitive nature of this feature demands stability as players race towards 99. Our teams have continued to invest time in making the game experience and performance smoother for everyone. We can’t wait for you to begin your climb, but for now, let’s dive into some exciting details around this upcoming feature! 
    Like Diablo II Classic, Diablo II: Resurrected will feature four different Ladder modes, including:
    Version Description Standard Ladder The casual version of Ladder play that encompasses playing with four acts. Hardcore Ladder The hardcore (only 1 life) version of Ladder play that encompasses playing with four acts. Standard Expansion Ladder The casual version of Ladder play that encompasses playing five acts, as it includes the “Lord of Destruction” expansion content. Hardcore Expansion Ladder The hardcore (only 1 life) version of Ladder play that encompasses playing five acts, as it includes the “Lord of Destruction” expansion content. For the first time, players will have the chance to unlock a host of new Rune Words in the Ladder system! To be clear, these Rune Words have never existed in the game before, and they will not be accessible in non-Ladder play like the previous set of Ladder-only Rune Words in the original Diablo II experience. At the end of a Ladder season, players who successfully made these Rune Words will have their Ladder characters be moved into a “non-Ladder” version of the game. Then at the beginning of the next Ladder season, players will make a new Ladder character and start all over again to earn new rewards. Currently, we don’t have specific new Rune Words to showcase, but if you tune-in to our Developer Update Stream (more details below) hosted by content creator MrLlamaSC, you’ll be able to receive a glimpse!

    Lastly, we’ve been monitoring discussions around Ladder Rank play in the community. The duration of Ladder is an element our team is still trying to gauge as we progress forward, but we’re looking to create the “rush” of a new ladder and find the best timeframe for Ladder rotation that meets your expectations. Presently, we’re considering four months for Ladder Seasons. We’ll continue monitoring the community’s opinion and preference on this front as we approach PTR for Patch 2.4 early next year. 
    After so many requests from the community, we’re thrilled to share new balance changes are coming to your favorite heroes in Diablo II: Resurrected! As fans ourselves, we’re just as eager as you to find new ways to play. This is incredibly special, as the last patch to make balance changes to classes in Diablo II was Patch 1.13c, which was released back on March 23, 2010! Now, eleven years later, we’re making new changes to expand character build diversity, and retain class fantasy and specialty! These goals are crucial. We’re reviewing underused skills, assessing casting delays, making tooltip quality-of-life changes, and more to fulfill these goals. 
    We want to empower you to be creative with the builds you want to play, but we don’t want to “reinvent the wheel” and steer classes from their core purposes. Without diving into the specifics, let’s take a peek at the philosophies behind various Class changes. 

    The Amazon's agility and versatility are profound. Generally, we like the current state of the Amazon class and believe her to be quite balanced. Nonetheless, we see an opportunity to improve the Amazon's melee skills. We want to buff the strengths of certain underused melee skills such as Impale and Fend to give more reasons to use them. We are also looking into freeing up synergy requirements for melee skills to give more skill point freedom for other possibilities.
    Additionally, we are also considering buffing certain skills in the Bow and Crossbow tree to help improve bow gameplay in higher difficulties.

    The Assassin vanquishes evil from the darkness with great ease. However, for this class, we see an opportunity for the Martial Arts builds to shine brighter. Martial Arts skills can become increasingly challenging to perform in higher difficulties, so we are re-evaluating how to improve generating and spending Combo Points.
    Furthermore, various Trap skills are not often used. So, we’re re-evaluating synergy requirements to promote more trap builds and damage scaling buffs.

    The brawn of the Barbarian is unmatched. Nonetheless, we see opportunities to add more diversity to Combat skills. We're looking into adding more possibilities with Combat Skills such as Leap Attack and Grim Ward, while also re-evaluating skill synergy requirements to promote more reasons to spend points on certain Combat Skills.
    Additionally, we think Throwing Barbarians can be more viable, so we are looking into enhancing the Double Throw and Throwing Mastery skills.

    The bestial ferocity of the Druid makes all tremble. With that said, we see exciting opportunities to level up certain aspects of this class. From our perspective, Druid Fire skills are underperforming. We're re-evaluating Casting Delays for Fire skills, exploring improvements to some of their Physical Damage components, and improving synergies. We’re also looking at potential tweaks affecting other Elemental skills that are underused. We want to improve the controls for Arctic Blast too, such as allowing more free form while channeling and no longer locking your targeting onto one enemy at a time.
    Regarding Summon skills, we believe Summons are weak in high difficulty. On this front, we’re evaluating health gains per level, quality-of-life improvements, damage output, and new synergies for Ravens, Wolves, and Vines.
    Lastly, we're evaluating improvements to the Werebear skills, primarily focused on synergy improvements.

    The commander of death sends his foes to an early grave. Like the Amazon, we like the current state of the Necromancer class. Nonetheless, we see an opportunity to improve specific Summons we believe are underused. We're balancing elemental damages of Skeletal Mages and making lesser used Golems more effective.
    Additionally, we see opportunities for Bone skill improvements in high difficulty. We’re tweaking synergies on this front.

    The wrath of the holy zealot is glorious. Despite this, we believe certain Combat skills are underused. We’re exploring ways to make lesser-used skills (I.e., Fist of the Heavens) more utilized, so players have more reasons to spend skill points to unlock these skills. 
    We also see an opportunity to scale Offensive Aura skills as well. This includes making improvements to AoE Damage auras to make them more effective at closer range. We also want to improve Thorns so that it can scale better and deal more reliable damage at higher levels. 

    There is no greater master of elemental magic than these mages. We're very satisfied with the Sorceress’s current state, but we see a few of opportunities for improvements. 
    Regarding Cold Skills, we believe there can be more diversity with the armor skills (I.e., Frozen Armor, Shiver Armor, and Chilling Armor) for distinctive advantages.
    We are also looking into adding more build possibilities around lesser used Lightning skills by exploring more skill synergies.
    Lastly, we’re also revisiting Fire skills, to improve underused ones, like Hydra. Similar to Arctic Blast, we're exploring making player control improvements to the Inferno skill so that it is less clunky to use.
    And we’re not done. Class Balance changes aren’t the only updates players want to see. We’ve seen a lot of feedback from the community around the subject of Mercenaries, and we are making improvements to Mercenaries in a variety of ways. Many players enjoy using the Desert Mercenary, and we want to give more reasons to use the other three mercenaries, so we are looking into improving their skills and stats to enhance their identity and fantasy.
    New Horadric Cube Recipes, Set Item changes, and new Rune Words are on the horizon! New Horadric Cube Recipes being implemented will allow for upgrading the item quality of Set Items to give more item build possibilities. Set Item changes will update underperforming Set Items, to have more bonuses, giving players more incentive to pursue Partial and Full set items that can complement the skill changes alluded above. Lastly, new Rune Words will be added to complement the Skill and Mercenary changes coming in the update.

    This blog is just scratching the surface about upcoming changes and features coming in Patch 2.4 PTR (coming early next year)! To learn more, we invite you to join community content creator, MrLlamaSC, Diablo II: Resurrected Design Lead, Robert Gallerani, and Senior Game Producer, Matthew Cederquist, in their upcoming livestream. This broadcast will be both a presentation and an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions. We can’t wait to share more with you then!
    WHEN: December 16 | 11:00 AM (PST)
    WHERE: https://www.twitch.tv/mrllamasc
    This has been an incredible year for Diablo II: Resurrected. We wish our community a happy holiday season and a happy new year! Thank you for playing our game and thank you for your continued support! 
    If you want to learn more about Diablo II: Resurrected, check out our website here, or for real-time updates, follow our official Twitter @Diablo.

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