Checkpoint #14: World-First Ragnaros Race Rebooted

Let's not pretend otherwise: this is all World of Warcraft Classic's week.

Welcome back to Checkpoint!

Little-known fact: a major MMORPG launched a faithful recreation of its classic experience this week. We also look at the Control launch, signs of an Overwatch port for the Switch, and brace for HD remasters of the classic Aladdin and Lion King games.

Let's get into it.

World-First Ragnaros Race Rebooted

You probably don’t need a subheading to tell you what this is about

Unless you’ve just woken up from a very long nap, the biggest headline in gaming this week won’t take you by surprise. World of Warcraft Classic is now live and players are going crazy for it.

From a numerical point of view, this has been a successful product launch. Activision Blizzard stock has surged upwards of 6% following the game’s reception. 1.1 million people were watching World of Warcraft streams on Twitch around launch time

Queues have been so intense that Blizzard has already spun up multiple new servers for each region, and players have been spotted forming orderly queues for quest objectives (if there’s one link you should click in today’s edition, this is it). I’ve moved less than 50 queue places for the Arugal server in the time it took me to write this Checkpoint edition.

It’ll be interesting to see a World of Warcraft where your achievements mean something again, and interesting to see how long it can sustain a playerbase.

For those looking for Classic leveling tips? Polygon suggests keeping your TV set handy.

It’s Under Control

PC gaming and cross-platform titles

The other big launch of the week? Control is World of Warcraft Classic’s polar opposite, in the sense that one of its selling points is its use of cutting edge ray-tracing technology. This paranormal shooter takes place in an old office building that’s under siege by interdimensional parasites, and the reviews are very positive (KotakuEurogamerArs Technica).

And outside of AAA titles, we’ve seen a pretty interesting new title in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey — a primate evolution simulator that has given reviewers a fair bit of food for thought.

If you own Destiny 2, you probably know that Bungie is in the process of removing the game from and moving it over to Steam. The migration process has begun and you can use a tool to ensure that you’re sorted for the Shadowkeep launch on October 1.

Fortnite’s latest patch has added a Borderlands-themed area to the map, and a Shield Bubble item. The unpopular B.R.U.T.E. mech has finally been nerfed, though not removed as players had campaigned for.

Ashen, which you may remember as the Dark Souls-inspired RPG that did the rounds in December, is finally moving beyond the Xbox and Epic Games Store. It’s coming to Steam and GoG on PC, and the PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Other points of interest:

Hakuna Matata

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news

Here’s the first look at the dungeon editor in the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake. There’s less than a month to go before launch, with the title landing on September 20.

An official, licensed Overwatch case for the Nintendo Switch briefly appeared on Amazon this week, which is a pretty strong indication that Overwatch could be the next high-profile Switch port to be announced.

Do you remember the Lion King and Aladdin games from the early 90s? They were great, and we’re getting HD remasters for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch this October.

Out of the Loop

Mobile gaming news

Racing games have always done well on mobile, and that doesn’t look set to change any time soon. Fulfil some childhood fantasies with Hot Wheels Infinite Loop, which was released for Android and iOS this week, and get prepped for Mario Kart Tour, which is coming to Android and iOS on September 25.

And we’ve finally got an official Pokémon Masters release date: August 29. Which is, you know, tomorrow.

Loot on a Leash

Gaming culture, industry, and miscellanea

Over in the tech news world, there’s been a controversy raging for a few weeks around contractors reviewing voice recordings from smart assistants for accuracy. It’s spilling over this week, with a report suggesting Microsoft does have human contractors listening to Xbox voice command recordings.

A Bungie executive has cleared the air over the end of the company’s partnership with Activision: “I think we need to dispel the notion Activision was some prohibitive overlord that wasn’t letting us do awesome things.”

When Australia winds up in this newsletter, it never seems to be a good sign. Victorian police have arrested a number of CS:GO pros after being caught out in a match-fixing scheme.

On a lighter note: you need to see this Rocket League recreation in No Man’s Sky’s creative mode. And that Korn concert in an MMO? Not too shabby, according to stated non-fan Zack Zwiezen.

That’s it for this edition.

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- Flob

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