Culture & Community Category

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

WRUP: Enjoy the smooth flavor of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies edition

Guys, we could not be more excited to start getting in on the branded content game, and we’re starting with endorsing Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies! But we promise you, this won’t really affect our content, which is refreshing and fried in the grease of simmering hog fat just like Mrs. Patter’s delicious cookies! Available in all sorts of wonderful flavors, like Strawberries & Bacon, Vanilla Custard & Bacon, Peanut Butter & Cheese, and of course, Blueberry & Broken Glass & Bacon That Doesn’t Taste Right!

We’ll still be bringing you all of the same great MMO content you’ve come to expect, it’ll just cover a wider spectrum. Like which flavor of Mrs. Patter’s cookies to enjoy with your favorite game, or why Mrs. Patter’s Meth & Bile cookies help you stay focused during intense play sessions, or which games have GMs most willing to call an ambulance because you are eating a kind of cookie the FDA has prohibited from sale in the United States. Let us know what you’re playing down in the comments of What Are You Playing, and the best response gets a free box of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies (Now With Less Asbestos, Probably)!

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The Daily Grind: What’s keeping you from going back to a favorite MMO?

It’s weird to think that I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic on and off since its release. Seems like such a long time ago. I’ve had great memories in that game and still appreciate the work that the team put into the cinematic stories, voice acting, and the occasional moral choice.

But as of late, it’s been more “off” than “on,” especially following the most recent expansion. I don’t like the subscription-locked endgame system, and pretty much everyone keeps advising me just to finish the story and then ditch the game. That’s disheartening to me. So I’ve been waiting to see what BioWare has in store for the long-term future. Depending on the direction that the game goes, I could see going back. Just not right now.

What’s keeping you from going back to one of your favorite MMOs? Is it a change, a lack of friends, or something else entirely?

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Player protests are kicking off in Black Desert right now

Black Desert players are taking the fight to… OK, to Black Desert, in Black Desert, to protest stuff in Black Desert. Right as this post goes live, in fact.

“The Black Desert Online community will be protesting to raise awareness for multiple issues that the community feels must be addressed,” Redditor factomg writes. “If you love this game and want it to continue to succeed, please join the protest in Calpheon on the Calpheon 1 channel at 9:00 PM EST. A protest podcast will accompany the in-game protest, where the officers and leaders of multiple top guilds, prominent streamers, and other well known members of the community will discuss our concerns for the game.”

So why join in? Organizers say they’re protesting persistent lag problems, the lack of compensation for the lag, class imbalances, specific content available in Korea but not in the west, the paywall and barriers to entry to newbies, and broken PvP. They’re also ticked that Kakao banned a prominent dataminer whose work provoked Pearl Abyss’ candor on hidden stats earlier this week.

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Betawatch: Ascent: Infinite Realm is already heading to Korean beta (November 17, 2017)

Let me tell you, I’m really glad that Ascent: Infinite Realm already has a publishing deal for the west, because otherwise I would be figuratively biting my nails about the game’s first beta test in South Korea. I only just learned it existed, sure, but it’s a game about steampunk mechs and airships. If we get superheroes and cats, that’s pushing most of my buttons right away.

More beta news? Sure, what the hey!

That’s a lot of questions followed by shouted responses, but we assure you there is less shouting in our list of games in testing down below. You can still respond to us in the comments, though; we like to hear from you. Especially if some game swapped test phases without us knowing about it. Those are useful responses!

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Pathfinder Online drops a small patch to protect mules and fix other errors

At long last, the vicious mule exploits of Pathfinder Online have been addressed. No longer will players group up with their friends and attack their own mules for… some reason. Actually, it probably wasn’t an exploit in the first place, it was just a minor issue from the last patch that has been fixed now. Regardless, in-game mules can breathe a bit easier now.

The patch also brings out various other bug fixes, like no longer making ammunition messages permanent floating fixtures if your character could not fully restock and preventing the housing maintenance cost window from closing in error when paying ahead. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but players who enjoyed the various elements brought out with the last patch will doubtlessly be happy to see the array of fixes correcting issues.

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Elite: Dangerous player is reaching out to speak with the game’s inscrutable aliens

Remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the crew spent the entire episode tracking down and struggling to communicate with a destructive alien life form? (Please conveniently overlook that said episode was undercut by a later video game turning that life form into a big boss fight.) That’s what a player in Elite: Dangerous is struggling to do with the Thargoids. The game doesn’t actually allow for communication back yet, of course, but the player is still trying to understand what’s being said, first and foremost.

A cooperation between player group Canonn Interstellar Research and Benjamin “Heisenberg6626” Bahr has resulted in the video below, representing one of the first attempts to communicate with the aliens. The mechanics of the game make it a limited sort of communication, naturally, but Bahr’s hope in particular is that the designers see that there are players who do actually want to speak with and understand the Thargoids, not just blow them out of space. As he himself puts it, there will always be trigger-happy members on both sides, but the hope is that cooler heads can prevail… and, eventually, talk things out.

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Dauntless steps back from constant stability upgrades for a major patch

If you’ve been playing Dauntless since it first released to test audiences, you have probably gotten accustomed to having a large number of patches for the game at a pretty rapid pace. December is going to involve something different, though; there’s going to be one big update dubbed Sharpen Your Skills, and it will hopefully make a major difference in the way that you play Dauntless. The team will still be revealing teases of what’s in the patch, but you’ll have to wait a little longer to actually get it.

The first preview on progression is already available, showing off new randomized Behemoths to hunt, new progression mechanics, and new scheduled targets to give players more reason to keep venturing out into the world. The update will also include a progression wipe, so you’ll be starting over from the beginning to see how the game feels with improvements. Hopefully better, although it does mean you won’t want to worry too much about progression until the update arrives.

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Leaderboard: What do you expect out of live MMORPG events in 2017?

Earlier this month, Black Desert GMs ran a live in-game event. I was super excited to hear about something like that in a newer MMORPG until I saw some of the complaints. Apparently, the event amounted to a “mysterious stranger” played by what I assume is a GM, who arrived on Valencia 6 and started “gathering souls,” i.e., murdering everyone in sight with a scythe, until players took him down.

To me, that’s not really a live event. That’s the sort of obnoxious thing GMs used to do in classic EverQuest, inhabit sand giants and just start massacring newbs (less funny back when deaths cost you experience).

I’m jaded; I’ve seen live events in Ultima Online for so long that my bar is way higher than just powertripping GMs on a god character. I expect a long-running storyline, discussion, choices, a purpose to the interaction that elevates it above, well, a world boss. What do you expect out of live MMORPG events in 2017?

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Massively Overthinking: Are modern games too cheap?

This week’s Massively Overthinking topic is a submission from reader and commenter camelotcrusade, who takes the industry’s current fight over monetization in a different direction from lockboxes. “Are modern games too cheap?” he asks, probably slowly reaching into a can of worms with a wicked gleam in his eye.

“When you think about it, many other things we buy have increased in price over the last decade but AAA games are still expected to be a maximum of $60, with many of us waiting for sales (or for free-to-play). Meanwhile, games everywhere are adding shops, post-release content, and DLC galore with increasingly aggressive pricing models. How much of this is to make-up margins they can’t capture up-front? How much should an AA game cost in 2017? $75? $90? Is there a price point where lockboxes, gambling, and in-game stores could focus on value-add instead of survival? And how did we get here? Whose fault is it? And how do we get out of this, or is ‘would you like a game with your store’ the future as we know it?”

Let’s talk money!

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse on the tech behind procedural cities

If you lost your mind over Star Citizen’s procedural cities reveals at CitizenCon a few weeks ago, you definitely need to tune in to this week’s Around the Verse, where city tech is the star of the episode (if a bit backloaded).

“We are just working on human cities at the moment,” CIG’s Wai-Hung Wan explains. “I would love to see how we tackle alien cities. Is that going to be completely random? Are we going to have some or a greater degree of refinement by hand? I don’t know yet. I would hope even on an alien civilisation they have some degree of control and they would make logical, intelligent choices about where they would place specific buildings – even recreational facilities – so each time you visit that location it will look exactly the same as you left it.”

Studio Director Eric Kieron Davis says the team has checked in over 700 updates since last week (with 197 total issues, not bugs, remaining to address 3.0). “We are making steady progress to get [the 3.0 alpha] into your hands as quickly as possible,” he says.

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EVE Online layoffs lead to the end of a fan tournament

While studio layoffs have an immediate effect on the people that are let go, the ramifications of such decisions can end up impacting players as well.

Case in point, EVE Online. CCP’s decision last month to shutter two of its studios included the layoff of most all of the studio’s social media team. One of these employees, CCP Logibro, helped players with organizing tournaments on a separate test server. Without this help, many of these tournaments are in doubt, including this year’s Anger Games. The event was to be the third in the game’s history, but CCP could not scramble to find someone to assist in this, and the tournament had to be canceled.

Players were upset over the last-minute cancellation, but CCP said it couldn’t be helped: “Sorry we weren’t able to support this as planned. At the minute, we’re currently working on prioritizing quite a few community projects and getting our heads together to resume regular service, but unfortunately the Anger Games happened to be too close to recent events for us to be able to assist.”

Here is hoping that next year, CCP will be in a more stable position and can assist players in getting this (and other) tournaments up and running. But for now, CCP is gambling with employees’ lives and hurting the game culture overall.

Source: Kotaku

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Star Wars: The Old Republic delays the release of the Yavin warzone from patch 5.6

Players of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to start taking part in the latest bit of the traitor storyline with the release of patch 5.6 on November 28th. Here’s the bad news, though: The patch will not include the new Yavin warfront. There are still some issues with the new map, so it’s getting delayed very slightly until patch 5.6.1 scheduled for December 12th.

Everything else that’s planned for November 28th is still in place; that includes Legacy-wide credits, a character boost item to bring a character to 70, a new flashpoint, a new boss in Gods From The Machine, and many more things for players to do. (Also improvements to group finder queues, so it’ll be easier to find other players to do things with.) You can even read some new lore exploring the events leading up to the next set of quests centered around the traitor story. You’ll just need to wait a little bit longer for a new warzone, that’s all.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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