Columns Category

Enjoy a run-down of our recent long-form pieces, both game-specific and more general. You might also be interested in our list of all of our columns and recurring articles. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Tamriel Infinium: Imperial City revitalizes Elder Scrolls Online’s PvP

I’ve always found it odd that one of Bethesda’s biggest showings at a convention every year is QuakeCon. Elder Scrolls Online, especially, has always treated QuakeCon as the best place to make the biggest reveals for the game. Of course, the total audience for QuakeCon is bigger than those who actually show up because it’s broadcast on Twitch at the same time, but for the last two years QuakeCon brought in between 9,000 and 10,000 actually-in-the-convention-hall people. This, admittedly, is more than would show up at the Larry Everett convention, but at the same time, it’s significantly fewer than the number who attend E3 (50,000 this year) or Gamescom (335,000 last year). Yet ESO’s presence at most other cons is minimal.

And just as the past couple of years, ESO released some significant, though not completely brand-new, information at its presentation at QuakeCon 2015 this past weekend.

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Sword and Bored: Trolling the trolls

There is a line in the Jimmy Neutron movie (don’t judge me) that I thought of when I drew the comics with KaptainKuddles and DrL0v3, which partly inspired the last comic they took over. Jimmy’s dad says to him, “If your friends were all named Cliff, would you jump off them?” Of course, that was the confused, mixed-proverb version of everyone’s parents’ favorite rhetorical question, but when I heard that the first time, I thought, “Oh hell yes, I would totally jump off them. That would be the most fun punnerific thing to do if I had a friend named Cliff.”

At any rate, I’m sure you can guess where we are going in this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward at the one-month mark

Heavensward has been out a bit more than a month now if you count the launch of early access as the “real” launch of the expansion. But we’ve only just had Esoterics added into the game, and we’re finally at the point when the weekly resets are in full force. That month of grace time is over, and we’re into the period when the game needs to keep people occupied for the next two or three months until the next patch, and so on.

At this point, we don’t know when the next Final Fantasy XIV patch will actually be coming out (my money is October, enough time to fill out an Esoterics set for one job). We do know what we’ve got to play until that happens. So let’s talk a bit about the state of the expansion right now and what players have to do, as well as how it stacks up against the offerings at the equivalent point in 2.0’s launch history.

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EVE Evolved: Fitting Tech 3 Tactical Destroyers as PvP brawlers

The past few months have seen a flood of frequent updates hitting EVE Online, and among them we got a whole new class of ship with the Tech 3 Tactical Destroyer. Unlike their cruiser-sized bigger brothers, tech 3 destroyers can transform mid-battle to choose between three separate roles: Defense, Propulsion, and Sharpshooter. These versatile little ships have carved out a niche for themselves in small scale PvP such as Faction Warfare, each functioning as an effective tackler and brawler rolled into one. Tech 3 destroyers can also fit a combat probe launcher to get a warp-in on enemy fleets and have become a popular anti-tackle tool that can snipe from over 50km and track interdictors and interceptors.

I’ve previously written a guide on fitting the Amarr Confessor, the first of the new tech 3 destroyers to be released, but since then a balance patch has made those setups obsolete. Now that all four races have got their own tactical destroyers and the prices have come down to an affordable 35-60 million ISK, I’d like to take a look at how we can fit each of them for PvP. EVE has become a testing ground for dozens of experimental ship setups for each of the tech 3 destroyers as players compete to find out what fitting works best for a variety of situations. The dust has far from settled, but some pretty decent brawling and kiting fits have been gracing the killboards lately and I’ve put together four of my favourite brawling fits. All of the fittings in this article use only tech 2 and named items, but they require good fitting skills and sometimes a 2-3% CPU or powergrid from implants. They’ve been put together with the aid of the fantastic EVE Fitting Tool.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at PvP brawler fittings and strategies for the Amarr Confessor, Caldari Jackdaw, Minmatar Svipul, and Gallente Hecate.

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One Shots: Aerodynamically impossible

Back in the late ’70s, the first Superman flick had the tagline, “You will believe a man can fly.” Well, I look at the following picture from Final Fantasy XIV and I think, “I do not believe a bird can fly.” And yet it does.

“Look at this glorious, pudgy, yellow butterfly, soaring through the skies using only the power of want for cake, and tell me it doesn’t put a smile on your face,” grins reader Wolfyseyes.

There’s even more after the cut! Pictures, not cake. Can you think of something other than your stomach for two minutes?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO systems do you consider necessary evils?

I’m disinclined to run pretty much any tabletop game that outright uses character levels as a form of progress, and fortunately for me I live in a time when most such systems have been banished to the land of wind and ghosts. But I don’t resent level systems in MMOs – most of the games that try to do away with them wind up with their own problems in implementing a realistic gauge of strength (The Secret World) or have them by a slightly different name (Skyforge). I don’t think that this is the only way to do things, but I accept that levels are usually a necessary evil based upon the ways that video games work compared to tabletop.

Then again, I think we all have systems that we don’t necessarily like but we can recognize as necessary evils. Weak combat in sandbox games in exchange for more non-combat options. Cumbersome crafting mechanics in exchange for more player agency in crafting. Some systems are just plain necessary evils. So what systems can you think of that you don’t necessarily like but recognize as the best functional compromise?

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The Game Archaeologist: Kingdom of Drakkar

Kingdom of Drakkar, also known as Drakkar or even Kingdom of Drakkar II, is a really odd duck among the annals of MMO history. While being very small potatoes for the industry as a whole throughout its entire lifespan, it is notable for an extraordinary long run (it began in the 1980s, people!) that’s traversed through several format changes and handlers.

I’ve seen Drakkar described, somewhat unkindly, as a “shoddier Ultima Online,” but I think that is a surface judgment that doesn’t take the effort to get to know the game or its legacy. There must be something to this game if it’s been around for three decades, yes? Let’s find out!

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Betawatch: July 24th, 2015

John Smedley is no longer with us, by which I mean that he is still entirely alive and has not left us in the least, he’s just no longer Daybreak’s CEO. But his legacy is improving the bear AI in H1Z1. Except that that isn’t really his legacy, and that also wasn’t the focus of that patch. So pretty much none of that was accurate.

Look, I have to use what I can for this week’s opening. The beta world has been quiet, it’s like everyone in the world is off doing something else this time of year or something.

Is that really everything? Huh. Well, we do have that usual list of games just below the break. Let us know if something jumped test phases without us catching it in the comments below, dear readers.

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EverQuesting: First impressions of EQII’s progression server

When it comes to a launch, rough winds are pretty much expected. But surprisingly, EverQuest II’s progression server launch on Tuesday was pretty much smooth sailing — especially compared to its older sibling’s run just a couple months prior. The server was up right when expected, players could actually log into said servers despite the load, and a lack of crippling lag made play possible. Even better than all that is the fact that folks landed on the infamous boat that started the original journey over 10 years ago. In many ways, it really is a blast from the past, albeit with a few changes.

So now that the opportunity to recreate those glory days of starting EQII for the first time is here, how does the experience measure up to personal hype?

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MMO Burnout: Why I want an Assassin’s Creed MMO

I play a fair amount of single-player stuff when I’m not playing MMOs, and at the risk of outing myself as one of those infernal dudebros, I love the Assassin’s Creed franchise. And I do mean love. I’ve got an Altair poster in my office and an Ezio action figure on my desk. I even own all of the series’ portable and mobile games, the latter of which is firmly against my religion.

I know that Unity had more than its share of technical issues, and I know that Ubisoft is no one’s favorite thanks to annualization and its Uplay DRM. But I can’t help it. Assassin’s Creed kicks holy ass and I want an Assassin’s Creed MMO.

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Marvel Heroics: Help! What hero should I play?

Superheroes are quite used to hearing cries of distress and pleas for help, but who lends a hand when the caped crusaders need assistance? I do, that’s who! Also the wider Marvel Heroes community. And probably Daredevil; he seems like a good sort.

Probably one of the most-asked questions that’s asked both in-game and on the outside — and the one that is the most difficult to answer — is, “What hero should I pick? Whom should I play?” When Gazillion recently gave away a free superhero of one’s choice to everyone for the game’s second anniversary, players formed countless threads and spammed the in-game chat with entreaties for others to help them decide. After all, Marvel Heroes is going on its 49th hero with no signs of stopping, and making decisions which characters to save up for or buy can be one of the toughest calls that any player has to continually make.

With the assistance of a lot of observation, research, and my own personal experience, I put together the following guide to hopefully guide such seekers in finding the hero who best complements them and their playstyles. However, the true answer to that question will always be the hero that looks like the most fun!

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Perfect Ten: MMO fan fashion scenes

For some of us, having the best gear — stat-wise — isn’t a driving force for playing MMOs. Now, the best-looking gear? That’s a whole different story.

It’s incredibly rare these days for an MMO not to offer players the option to create a cosmetic outfit from their favorite virtual articles of clothing. Ever since games started to do this, there’s been a community devoted to looking absolutely fabulous. For players in that community, finding gear that has a unique or complementary look is the real name of the game.

Today we’re going to look at 10 fan projects to celebrate and show off MMO fashion across the realm. Know a site or blog that isn’t on this list but should be? Give it a link salute in the comments!

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