Welcome to Missing Pieces, a wrap-up of the week's interesting gaming news that didn't manage to make it onto the site as a standalone story.
This week we've got a bit of everything, from the winner of this year's Super Bowl-predicting Madden Bowl, to a new Everquest game, to an amazing space battle that caused the equivalent of $300,000-plus in sheer carnage. And did I mention a free Legend of Zelda game? Without further adieu:
Everquest Next Landmark enters closed alpha
But first, this is actually new news. Sony Online Entertainment announced Friday that its upcoming MMO Everquest Next Landmark is officially entering closed alpha.Landmark is a spin-off of the upcoming Everquest Next proper. While Everquest Next will function similar to a traditional RPG, Landmark focuses on a robust Minecraft-esque voxel creation system.
We'll have coverage soon, but for now just know this: I built a sixty-foot-tall Mountain Dew can.
While Landmark will eventually be free to play, you can start playing the closed alpha immediately by buying an Everquest Landmark Founder's Pack with alpha-level access. (Appropriate tiers start at $60.)
Eve Online players light $300,000 on fire in largest virtual space battle ever
Once again, CCP's interactive spreadsheet/incredible space simulator MMO almost tricks me into playing it by sounding just so damn cool.
This week it was a massive battle that, by CCP's count, destroyed over $300,000 worth of virtual goods. Yes, three-hundred thousand real American dollars. Because in-game currency can purchase an Eve subscription, CCP can approximate an exchange rate between its virtual Isk currency and real-world legal tender.
The latest fight occurred because one group of players, Pandemic Legion, forgot to pay upkeep on a star system they owned. Another group, made up of rival groups CFC and Russian, bought the star system out from underneath Pandemic Legion. As you can imagine, Pandemic Legion didn't like that too much and tried to kick CFC back out.
It didn't work. Over 4,000 players took part in the battle, making it the largest in Eve Online history. 75 Titan-class ships (valued at over $3,000 real-world dollars each, and each taking several real-world months to build) were destroyed in total, plus myriad smaller ships. CCP has built an in-game monument, Titanomachy, at the battle site to commemorate the occasion.
Denver wins Madden Bowl 48
EA Sports once again used the latest entry in its Madden franchise to simulate the Super Bowl, and this Sunday we can prepare for a 31-28 Denver Broncos victory over the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. While the whole event seems like just a stunt, it actually has predicted the correct winner in eight of the last ten years. Gamblers, place your bets.
Legend of Zelda: Four Swords goes free for the weekend on 3DS
If you own a Nintendo 3DS, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords is free to download from now until February 2 (Sunday) at midnight, Pacific Time. It's not the first time Nintendo has offered the game for free, but who cares? It's a great game, and free is free.
White Xbox One inbound?
The rumors of a proper white Xbox One release—originally the white variant was a special employees-only design—came out of games forum Neogaf earlier this week, and The Verge says it independently confirmed the story. Supposedly Microsoft will release the new machine in October.
The same Neogaf post also showed off a Titanfall-branded Xbox One (presumably for release alongside the game in March) and claims a limited-edition 1TB model is coming in November.
Elder Scrolls Online and your money
Bethesda's impending Elder Scrolls Online MMO had some pre-release ups and downs this week.
PlayStation 4 owners will not have to pay for the PlayStation Plus multiplayer service on top of the Elder Scrolls Online subscription in order to play, but for whatever reason Xbox One owners will have to pay for Xbox Live Gold in order to play.
Also, Bethesda is releasing the "Imperial Edition"—basically the collector's edition of the game. The physical version costs $100, while digital costs $80. The physical version is probably the better deal, provided you're into video game statues and the like. However, both versions give players the ability to make an Imperial character, regardless of in-game alliance, and a Mudcrab pet. (There's no word on whether it talks, alas.)
But wait, there's more!
If you've got a bit more time on your hands, be sure to check out our longer-form gaming coverage from the past seven days, including my hands-on impressions of Steam's magical in-home streaming technology, the launch of AMD's PC performance-boosting "Mantle" gaming tech, Microsoft buying the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic, Nintendo refusing your dirty cell phone money to focus on, um, healthcare, and an in-depth preview of the insanely hard (and insanely fun) Dark Souls II.