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

Closers details the effects of removing the game’s fatigue system

When you’re enjoying a game, the last thing you want to be told is that it’s time to stop playing for a while because the game is too tired. So it’s for the best that Closers is yanking that mechanic with the removal of the game’s fatigue system with the game’s next patch. But how will that affect the game as a whole? Why, the FAQ will answer all of those questions!

In terms of overall balance, it shouldn’t affect too much; there are already limitations to entering dungeons and those won’t be changed, and the team is keeping a close eye on the overall balance of items and economy. Players will likely have their existing fatigue potions converted to credits for the Matter Mixer (exact amounts are still being determined), and other consumables will replace stamina potions in starter packs. Similarly, stamina potions found as rewards will be replaced with equivalent rewards. Check out the full rundown for more answers on what the system’s removal will mean.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Future plot points for SWTOR and other unanswered lore questions

Last night, BioWare Creative Director Charles Boyd and Community Manager Eric Musco were guests on the Passionately Casual Podcast to discuss the lore of Star Wars: The Old Republic. And since I host a segment on that podcast regularly about roleplaying in the Star Wars universe, I got to sit in on that interview and pose my own questions about the current and upcoming lore for the game.

I realized after listening to the questions that I asked last night that some of them deserve a follow-up to help strengthen your understanding of where the question came from or understand why I put forth the question in the first place. I’d like to spend a moment talking about the answers that Boyd gave to my questions and what I think they mean for the MMORPG. Of course, there might be some spoilers for the latest additions to the game story, but if you’ve not played through it by now and are still reading this column, spoilers probably aren’t that important to you.

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Overwatch explains how the new group finder shouldn’t affect win chances

Absolutely no one likes to start a match in Overwatch and then immediately feel outmatched. It’s easy to look at the game’s upcoming group finder feature as something tailor-made to produce just that; suddenly it’ll be easier to form full groups and just stomp the uncoordinated group of randos on the other side. But a new post on the official site explains that this is unlikely, especially as the game’s matchmaking system already assigns a win probability to the match and simply doesn’t create the match if the odds are worse than 60-40.

The whole post details lots of math and systems going on behind the scenes of the matchmaker. Rating changes are unaffected by your group and are entirely based on your projected odds of winning, your overall performance, how long you’ve been playing, and so forth. Meanwhile, full groups of six players are already overwhelmingly likely to at least be matched against other teams consisting of at least one pre-formed group, so the odds of this dramatically changing seem low. If you want to know about what goes on beneath the hood for Overwatch matchmaking, this would be a good thing to read.

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The Daily Grind: How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime?

VentureBeat noticed this week that it’s possible to figure out just how much money you’ve blown on video games, at least through Steam, by using Valve’s “account spend tool.” A lot of people clicking that tool are about to get a sobering reminder that they’d better stay on Valve’s good side if they don’t want thousands of dollars’ worth of games whisked away into an account black hole.

My own number… well, let’s just say that it’s not nearly as bad as I was fearing. I’ve spent far more money on World of Warcraft than I’ve spent on Steam. But that’s probably because most MMORPGs I’ve paid into for so many years aren’t there, and most of what I do buy on Steam is deeply on sale. And my husband and I have our accounts linked too, so we don’t double buy much. I escaped easy – less than the VentureBeat writer!

How about you? How much dough have you dropped on Steam in its lifetime? Does the number give you pause about just how inured to digital distribution we’ve all become?

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PSA: EVE Online is offering a 15% Omega discount through June 26

Devoid of further context, the phrase “Omega Discount” sounds vaguely threatening. It’s the last discount? No, it’s a discount on the price of picking up an EVE Online subscription in three-month chunks of time. That’s 15% off buying a three-month stretch, and it’s available until June 26th.

The three-month deal will cost you $33.02 in total, which works out to around $11 per month; that’s a better rate than anything other than the year-long package, which is impressive. So if you want to be subscribed through the summer, you have a path to do so on the cheap. And if you were going to buy yourself some subscription time afterwards… well, now you might as well do so early to save some cash.

And make sure you pick up a new Venture Capitalist ship while you’re at it, eh?

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Defiance rolls out Midsummer Mutiny just before the Defiance 2050 Valor cutoff

There are no new Pursuits for the latest incarnation of the Midsummer Mutiny event in original flavor Defiance. You will be doing the same things in this event as you have one in prior years, and if you have already cleared all of those objectives, then you will ultimately be in the same place as always. This is not by accident; it’s specifically because the cutoff for Valor amounts for players is June 22nd, and any further Valor you earn won’t translate to more rewards in Defiance 2050. Since the Mutiny event runs until July 2nd, you can finish up any lingering objectives you’ve got early.

Of course, you don’t have to just wait for Defiance 2050, as the game’s open beta will run from June 22nd through the 25th ahead of the head start launch on July 6th. So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do things, even if the event might not really feature into all of those plans. At least the reboot is near.

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Valve turns off lootboxes in the Netherlands for DOTA 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive

If you were in any way hoping that the Dutch Gaming Authority’s ruling about lockboxes would lead to a worldwide shift, it seems that’s not quite what’s happening. Valve was one of the companies told to change their lockboxes or face prosecution in the Netherlands for failing to comply with the country’s policies, and Valve has responded… by disabling the Steam Marketplace selling or direct trading of lootboxes for CounterStrike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 in the Netherlands.

The official statement from Valve indicates that it does not agree with the DGA’s ruling and that appeals are ongoing but that the current action is the only possible solution to the problem. There’s no word of any sort of long-term plans if the DGA does not change its ruling, especially as Valve is currently framing the disabling of lockboxes as a wholly temporary measure. Our condolences to players negatively affected by the decision.

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Final Fantasy XIV could still arrive on Nintendo Switch if console companies decide to play nice

Naoki Yoshida of Final Fantasy XIV fame was at this year’s E3, and that means interviews with the man himself. One of those interviews from VGR brought up the question of whether or not the game could possibly arrive on the Nintendo Switch, which prompted some excitement about the idea that it might come to the platform. After all, Yoshida says that he would like that!

Except that this isn’t a new answer; it’s the same answer that fans have been getting since the last hardware generation when people were asking about the game arriving on the Xbox 360. It’s always been the same answer.

The team behind FFXIV insist on the game having full cross-play compatibility between all platforms it can be played on (so console players and PC players are on the same servers) and no additional monthly fees beyond the subscription. Those two requests long prevented it from appearing on Xbox consoles (as Microsoft didn’t like the idea of the game not requiring an Xbox Live subscription or cross-play with PlayStation users), and they’re likely the same things holding back any Switch port. So we remain in a world where you have to play on your PlayStation 4 or your desktop.

Source: VGR via Techradar; thanks to ChaosConstant for the tip!

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Rend is moving faction bases as its alpha rolls on

Everything is moving in Rend. That much should be expected, of course, because the game is still early in its testing cycle. In this particular case, though, the faction base is moving from the prior location to a spot closer to Yggdrasil. This has a number of benefits, as it gives players a taste of what to expect during the first journey to the base, provides clearer movements to the other biomes, and offers the developers a chance to change the map a bit further.

This also helps adjust the overall balance of the game by setting creature movement speeds to account for the new location, and since the game’s taming system is arriving in the same update it addresses multiple issues at once. None of the changes impact the overall timeline, so you can look forward to seeing the results of these shifts yourself sooner rather than later. Our own Andrew got a chance to see how the game is coming along on E3, so you can also take his word for it.

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Elder Scrolls Online offers Steam downtime compensation as review-bombing hits ‘mostly negative’

Earlier this week, we covered the messy business between Elder Scrolls Online and Steam – specifically, that Steam logins for the game have been toast for the last couple of weekends, leading to some gigantic threads on both Steam and Reddit (2600+ comments now on Steam) as people found the game entirely inaccessible. Now, it doesn’t appear ZeniMax has it completely sorted yet, but a forum note says it’s working on a solution – and in the meantime, it’s offering compensation.

“To give everyone an update on the recent complications with ESO on Steam, we’ve been having conversations with Steam to fully understand what’s causing the downtime and login issues, and will update everyone as soon as we have information to share. In the meantime, we do plan to grant all Steam players an extra Psijic Vault Crown Crate since not everyone was able to login during last weekend’s giveaway event. These crates will be delivered to your account after the next PC maintenance, tentatively scheduled for July 2. Thanks for your patience, everyone. We’ll provide another update as soon as we can.”

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EVE Online sells a bundle of ‘Venture’ skins for 120 Plex, poking fun at Star Citizen

Someone at CCP Games is obviously having quite a lot of fun with the latest EVE Online skin bundle. The bundle of skins for the Venture ship might not seem like it’s anything special until you notice that the price tag is 120 Plex, not $120. And that the bundle is specifically dubbed the “Venture Capitalist” bundle. And the cheeky reference to the fact that you can support EVE Online‘s future development with $120 through a long-term subscription, if you so desire… or by purchasing over 36,000 Ventures.

Yes, the whole thing is a very snarky jab at Star Citizen’s $120 Vulture. So for those of you who have been staring agape at the whole thing, well, here’s a chance to pick up a bundle of ship skins for much less than $120. If you’ve just been chuckling at the whole process, here’s your latest thing to giggle about. And if you’ve been insisting that there’s no similarity whatsoever and lots of spaceships designs have prongs… well, we can’t help you there.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Davlos, PlasmaJohn, and Quavers for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: Do you carry a torch for any MMOs that were killed in development?

Maybe I’m alone on this, but the more I examine MMO history, the more it troubles me how many potentially great games never even got a chance to launch. There have been so many promising titles over the years that, for various reasons, were killed off in development prior to release.

I would have absolutely loved to have seen what Project Copernicus would have become, especially with the talent behind it. It kills me that I’ll never be able to play Ultima X Odyssey. And let’s face it, Privateer Online might have actually delivered the satisfying space experience that Star Citizen’s been promising for years now.

Do you carry a torch for any unreleased MMOs that met an early end in the development phase? What do you imagine might have happened if those games launched?

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Riders of Icarus outlines plans for its relics and world raids

It’s so disappointing when an evil deity fails to adequately plan for an invasion, isn’t it? That’s what’s hitting Riders of Icarus, and really, it just makes the God of Ruin look incompetent. First he sends his two weakest generals to take stock of the defenders of the realm, but then they wind up getting into dust-ups with mortals, losing, and letting their relics fall into mortal hands. So mortals are actually doing better because of this first invasion attempt!

Just sloppy work all around, really.

The overarching plan for future development is to ultimately give players access to the fourth relic slot whilst also allowing players mechanics to select the desired stats for that relic. Meanwhile, the world raid will continue to improve and offer better rewards and bigger foes, so don’t rest on your laurels just yet. Check out the full gameplan on the official site.

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