Culture & Community Category

The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Choose My Adventure: Gearing up for Black Desert

I’m going to be honest with you, folks; the last Choose My Adventure installment left me feeling kind of depressed. It’s a shame to see a game that could have really been something else wind up as little more than a footnote, a shadow of what it could have been. So I’m actually really excited to start up Black Desert simply because that means I’m not going to have that personal connection. Heck, I didn’t expect the game to make it this long, and we gave it Game of the Year.

This is also the first game out of the prior few entries that I’ve never even tried to play before. I’m completely new to it. But I wanted to delay it until the Dark Knight was in the game, because I do tend to enjoy that playstyle. (And then making my characters anything other than grim-faced stoic bringers of death, but that’s a discussion for the roleplaying column I don’t write any longer.) So let’s talk a little bit about the game because that’s what we always do before the fireworks start.

Read more

H1Z1: King of the Kill is a game no one likes that's still on Steam's top games

Do you like H1Z1: King of the Kill? That's a trick question; just a quick glance at the game's Steam page would reveal that no one likes it. It has a 59% rating from reviews, it's covered in reviews saying that the game is a buggy and unfinished mess that's never going to be as developed as it could be, and in Steam's performance charts it... winds up being one of the top-played games. Despite all of that. So perhaps there's something to learn here.

It turns out that while a lot of players will vociferously point out how much they dislike the game, that doesn't stop people from playing it and streaming it whilst enticing others to do the same. The result is a game which is unpopular in discussion but quite popular in terms of actual units sold and hours logged, i.e. the metric that the designers actually care about. So if you really dislike the game and the focus it's gotten by Daybreak, perhaps a solution to that would involve... well, actually not playing it.

Source: Kotaku; thanks to Agemyth for the tip!

Comment

Why World of Warcraft's item level scaling is really, really, dumb

This has been a very stupid week. I know this because any other week, World of Warcraft completely destroying the reason for acquiring new gear would stand out as the stupidest thing I’d heard all week. As it was, it was just the stupidest thing I heard on Wednesday. I heard it when I woke up, so it had an early chance to establish that lead, and while I couldn’t be certain it had no real way of losing that lead through the end of the day.
I don’t know if it’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week, but it’s definitely high in the running.

A lot of parts of Legion have produced some degree of controversy, and by and large, I’ve been on the side of these being good decisions that need to be made for the good of the game. This, on the other hand, is a terrible decision that does nothing positive whatsoever for the game. It hurts every form of content and reward currently in play, and it’s the sort of thing that seems so catastrophically ill-considered that your first thought upon hearing it is, well, that it can’t be real. But it totally is. And the eleventh-hour rolling back of several parts doesn't exactly change the core problems behind the idea or why players immediately reacted with anger.

Read more

Path of Exile may have suffered a user data breach

Path of Exile may have suffered a data breach in March. We say "may" because even Grinding Gear Games isn't entirely sure what was taken, if anything.

GGG's Chris Wilson tells forumgoers that on March 23rd, his team realized an "external intruder" was illegally accessing the company network and "several" of its machines.

"While we have no evidence that private user information was taken, we cannot rule this out," he writes. Among the user information the company stores are email addresses, salted and hashed passwords, IP addresses, and in some cases, names and addresses.

"We believe that the time period that the attacker had access to this information was the ten days from March 13 to March 23 (NZT). We do not store any payment information like credit card numbers. It is stored at the external payment processors we use. There is no way that credit card information could have been accessed."

Read more

More Destiny 2 leaks support a PC version, future DLC, and the story

So what if there's a new Destiny 2 trailer on the way with an official announcement later today? That's later today. You want to know all of this now. A Reddit thread with more information on the title has been deleted, but the rumors have already gotten out elsewhere that the game's story will involve more hopping around the Solar System, searching for more power as the Guardians run out of their limited reserves following the fall of the Last City.

The leak also offers supposed box art for a PC release and details on the collector's edition, which includes the first two pieces of DLC, cosmetic in-game items, a bag and a custom charger, and a premium box. Whether or not all of this is true remains to be seen, obviously; it could be completely untrue, but it all sounds plausible enough. We'll just have to speculate for... an hour or two, at least.

Source: PSU via Reddit; thanks to Marnick for the tip!

Comment

Disney's Club Penguin has sunsetted, replaced by Club Penguin Island

We're sad to follow up on the January announcement that Disney was closing kid-centric Club Penguin to say that it has indeed happened: Yesterday marked the final day of play in the almost-12-year-old MMO. That's 4174 days, if you're counting. "The end of an era," Reddit has declared it.

Disney isn't leaving its legions of young fans entirely in the lurch; it's replacing Club Penguin with a new game on a new platform: Club Penguin Island. In fact, it's live today.

Read more

The Daily Grind: Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

I quite like the setting behind The Secret World, and the game had some very neat ideas about progression and character builds. For my money, that didn't make up for atrocious combat and somewhat lopsided balance issues, but it meant that I was quite excited to hear about Secret World Legends back when it was just "the relaunch for The Secret World."

Now, though? I don't know. The announcement seems like it lacks a lot of substantive statements like what the future is for The Secret World or what precisely differentiates the two; is Secret World Legends built more like a single-player game where you can invite friends? How much is shared online by default? Is content only coming to this version from now on? Yes, I've read the press releases and interviews multiple times, but there's still a lot of vagueness and implications that don't really deliver much in the way of firm answers.

I'm still cautiously optimistic, of course, because the idea of the base game with better combat is appealing, but there's a lot that is unfortunately unclear and offers space to worry and be confused. What about you, readers? Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

Read more

EVE: Valkyrie offers doubled experience for its first anniversary

Did you think that EVE: Valkyrie had been out for a whole year? Before you saw the headline, that is. Actually, perhaps you did anyway, perhaps the game is one of your favorite titles. If that's the case, you'll be happy to know that its first anniversary celebration offers doubled experience for every player for each mission flown for an entire week.

The event ends on April 4th, but you should have time to fly plenty of missions between now and then. Whether it's a welcome addition to a game you still play regularly or an excuse to dust off a VR headset and play once more will depend on your personal preferences.

Comment

Dark Age of Camelot developers are looking to clean up unused games and general balance

It sucks when you have a great idea for a character, but all of the names you'd like to use have been taken. That's a problem particularly affecting Dark Age of Camelot at this point, but the developers confirm in the latest community Q&A that the team is definitely considering freeing up unused names on unplayed or particularly old characters. The staff is also holding off on another Come Back to Camelot campaign until more balance concerns have been addressed, with a potential new rulest server in the works to give player population a shot in the arm.

The developers also addressed some mechanical questions, laying out the soft and hard caps for various stats and pointing out that many understood soft caps really do allow for more variation. There are also more hidden skills for some dual wielding lines, although those hidden skills shouldn't substantially alter damage dealt. Check out all of the answers for the full rundown.

Comment

Destiny 2 reveals a trailer for its actual trailer

Are you ready to just watch a trailer without some warning? We thought not. Clearly, it's a very important decision by Bungie to ensure that the trailer for Destiny 2 has its own trailer, so you can properly ramp up. Although we really should properly have a trailer for this trailer before the final trailer, and so on back along the line until we're watching a half-second clip of video two months back.

Let's start over.

There's a trailer out now for the full trailer for Destiny 2, which is coming out tomorrow. That should contain all of the juicy announcement details we like to see, such as the platforms for the game... which many people are speculating will include the PC, so that's a good thing. And it's hard to complain too much about the trailer for the trailer when it contains robot Nathan Fillion and the burning Last City. Check it out below.

Read more

World of Warcraft implements undocumented item level scaling in patch 7.2

The reward scaling in World of Warcraft has always been pretty straightforward. At the start of the expansion, everything at max level is a pretty close match for you; by the end of the expansion, all of that work you put into acquiring better items pays off because every enemy lies dead at your feet. It's how things work. Sure, there are a larger number of things at your level in Legion due to scaling, but the way gear works remains constant. After all, if you made enemies scale with gear, you'd have no reason to actually get better gear, so you would... oh, wait, they actually did that with patch 7.2. Huh.

Yes, this is something players noticed, and according to Ion Hazzikostas on the forums it is completely intentional. The developer rationale is that it allows for creatures to scale more organically to various gear levels so that open-world enemies never became trivial or easy for players. The intent is for enemies to scale up slower than gear level (so gear still feels like a reward) but still scale with your power in terms of items.

So, get excited about the next set of world events! They promise to reward you with gear that makes everything else around you stronger as well, making the effort put into acquiring that gear a complete waste of time.

Comment

The Daily Grind: What anticipated MMO expansion turned out to be a disappointment?

It's with a heavy heart that I have to admit that RIFT: Starfall Prophecy kind of let me down. I was really, genuinely looking forward to playing this expansion last fall, especially since I would get in on the ground floor at release. And while there were some great aspects of the release, such as the concept and some of the quest lines, the overall product felt half-baked and the combat became such a slog that I gave up three zones into it.

I'm sure this has happened to all of us at some point. We get really hyped and excited for an MMO expansion, drinking in all of the promise that the devs feed us... and then that anticipation is deflated by the actual release. It just doesn't live up to our standards or it has some major issues. You look at it and say, "Son, I am disappoint."

When you look back at your MMO gaming career, what expansion turned out to be a disappointment to you? What could have been done better by the dev team?

Read more

Final Fantasy XI previews its April version update

The monthly update cadence of Final Fantasy XI is continuing into April, but this time around the game is actually moving backwards a little bit. Just a little bit, though; it's bringing back one of the more popular Ambuscade foes for players to face once more, complete with new rewards available. If you couldn't get enough of fighting the Gigas, you'll have another opportunity.

Players can also see another old foe with a long history of being fought as another Ark Angel joins the list of Trust companions, this time the Ark Angel MR. There's also new log messages in the chat window for crafting gains to facilitate the Escutcheon line, new Records of Eminence objectives, and a few other quality of life features. Just because some of the monthly update content is glancing backwards doesn't mean the game as a whole isn't moving forward just the same.

Comment

1 2 3 294