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

Absolver patches in a new 3v3 gameplay mode

Sparring with your enemies one-on-one is always fun, but sometimes it’s even more fun to be fighting back-to-back with your allies in a fight for dominance. That’s exactly what you get in the latest Absolver patch, which adds in the new 3v3 Overtake PvP mode. Players form two teams of three, and both sides fight together to defeat the other side. Teamwork, obviously, is the name of the game.

The patch also adds in new 1v1 private matches for more formalized duels, a new shop with weapons, gear, and emotes, and the usual quality of life improvements. You can check out the full list of improvements in the game’s patch notes, or you can check out the patch trailer just below. And if you’re already sold at the prospect of a 3v3 mode but don’t yet own the game, it’s on sale for half the price through the weekend, so you can get down with a discount.

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Dauntless launches the Sharpen Your Skills update

After several weeks of previews, the latest update for Dauntless has arrived, and it’s aiming at making a better hunter out of you. Sharpen Your Skills will allow you to do just that with the new hunt progression system and the addition of cells, both of which augment your progress through the game and allow you to become far more lethal as you play. There are also new combat enhancements and damage types, so you’ll have even more reason to make your skills as sharp as they can be.

You’ll need sharper skills to take on new challenges, though, including two new behemoths to hunt. Perhaps you can do so with the game’s first ranged attack weapon, the war pike. Check out trailers for the update just below, and get ready to leap in and start getting better at slaying huge monsters. Or turning into a smear on the rocks for a few rounds before you actually sharpen your skills a bit, it’s a fine line.

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Leaderboard: How should MMORPG studios communicate to players?

The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.

MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”

Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:

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Amazon stops selling digital cards for Star Wars: The Old Republic

You can no longer purchase digital time cards or Cartel Coins for Star Wars: The Old Republic through Amazon. This is clearly a sign that you can… er… no longer purchase those digital options through Amazon. They remain for sale from the official site, you can still buy physical copies of the cards off of Amazon, and so forth.

Clearly, this means that the game is in imminent danger and is going to shut down within the hour, if you go by the forum thread on the matter. Or, as people point out on Reddit and elsewhere in that same thread, it just means… you can’t buy that set of digital goods through Amazon any longer.

A number of speculative reasons have been put forth for the change: A new package being offered for a new expansion, a change in how profits are being shared, a desire for people to move through the official store fronts, or just a routine set of business decisions. There’s been no official statement on this change at this time, but there’s not much reason to think the sky is falling just yet.

Source: Official Forums, Reddit; thanks to MikeyMoo for the tip!

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping things up in Secret World Legends

One of the things that I promised way back when I started writing this series about Secret World Legends was to mention the way in which this game seems to tie into The X-Files. There’s an obvious superficial connection (both take place in the real world with added supernatural stuff, for example), but that’s not actually the connection that sticks out to me. It has more to do with the nature of the story both are telling.

While I’m not on board with the game’s character vignettes (which are much more “portrait of this person you don’t really interact with” than anything), there is an underlying story running through every part of the game. I clocked out midway through Egypt when I played the original The Secret World, and there were an assortment of reasons, but part of it was that connection I mentioned above. To wit: the game really likes having mysteries, but it doesn’t really like having answers for a lot of them.

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WoW Factor: Reconsidering the next few months of World of Warcraft

There’s a lot of information coming out about patch 7.3.5 at this point. Not everything, of course, and a lot of it is based more on datamining than actual stuff that has been announced. But it seems fair to say that World of Warcraft’s immediate future for the next lengthy expansion gap is on the test servers right now, and some of it is obvious while some pieces are… less so. And, if I might be so bold, it even gives us a pretty clear picture of the next few months right out of the gate.

Right now the live game is, obviously, focused on Antorus. That’s the focus for the actual gameplay, and the slow trickle of wings into the group finder are the big thing to do and look forward to until the whole of the content is available by January. For that matter, I think that part of the goal of the next month or so is to give people all the reason in the world to run and explore Antorus and see the story for themselves if they’re interested in having a personal stake in what happens next.

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RIFT puts an endgame currency out for real-money sales

Look, we can all agree that “pay-to-win” is, at the very least, a difficult concept to be certain about. Right? There’s a lot of stuff where you can argue that a game is or is not pay-to-win just by slightly moving the goalposts. But then you have RIFT opening up sales of Captured Intel packs on the in-game store for real money, and we can all agree that yes, this is what pay-to-win definitely looks like.

Why? Because Captured Intel is a currency used to buy endgame gear. This is literally buying a currency used to advance in the endgame. If this doesn’t trip your pay-to-win sensors, nothing will.

A Reddit thread explains the issues with this quite eloquently (and already has at least one person actually arguing that it doesn’t count as pay-to-win if you can just buy endgame gear, so that works great). It also points out that the best thing for players to do at this point is to point out that this is not all right and then go on to not buy the packs; they’ll only be sold if people buy them, after all. Words to live by.

Source: Official Site, Reddit; thanks to Dark Daemon for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch?

Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris has already been out a few days and… it’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. Core fanboys aren’t happy and are advising folks to just hold their wallets until Bungie gets its house in order. I’m down to just one guildie obsessively playing. And the hype? The hype for Destiny 1 was a surge that carried for months. D2 hype seems to have fizzled out.

All of that was in my mind already with MOP Patron Roger dropped the perfect topic in my inbox. “I’ve been more in pen and paper games recently than MMOs, but I have been playing something that gives me that MMO feel: Destiny 2.” he writes. “Have any of you guys played it yet? If so, how do you feel if MMOs and massive-coop-online games met closer in the middle?”

For starters, I am digging “massively co-op”! So let’s tackle Roger’s query and mine together. How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch? Were you one of those folks who said, “PC or bust,” and are you still PCing? What happened to the hype? Where did Bungie go wrong? And above all else, do you think Destiny 2 is that perfect midpoint between MMORPG and co-op shooter? Will it have an impact on the way the genre is developed moving forward, or will that be left to future games like Anthem?

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Fortnite is getting a new large-scale battle royale mode

Over the past weekend, Fortnite managed to hit a peak of 1.3 million concurrent users and 30M total users. That’s a lot of people. So how do you capitalize on that for the game’s Battle Royale mode? Why, you throw them all into an arena and make them fight. At the Game Awards tonight, Epic Games has just revealed a new limited-time mode that gives players a large-scale arena to fight in for a 50v50 battle. Last team standing wins, and to the winner goes…

Well, not being shot. That’s incentive.

There’s a trailer for the new mode just below, and the important thing is that… well, it’s big. Really, mind-bogglingly big. You might think that the current mode is big, but this is a clash of makeshift armies. Check it out if that’s the sort of thing you like to see, and don’t forget the patch notes for the new limited-time mode!

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Saga of Lucimia doesn’t have minimum specs for its testing, but it also does

There are no minimum specs listed for Saga of Lucimia’s early access test starting on December 22nd. That’s because no work has really yet been done on optimization, much less testing, so the general consensus on “how low can this run” hasn’t yet been established. But that doesn’t mean that there are no limitations; as the latest video explains, the game does still require a certain amount of hardware to run cleanly.

It’s a short video, but if you’re in a rush, the even shorter version is that the game is playable at lower framerates on a GTX 960M card and should be smooth and lovely on a GTX 1060. Those of you with older video cards should not assume that the game won’t run even on the lowest settings, but… you might want to prepare for that eventuality. Check out the video below for more discussion and a demonstration on the aforementioned two-year-old card.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR, it’s time to destroy the Eternal Empire

Those players who were looking for consequence in their Star Wars: The Old Republic storyline can, I’m glad to say, look to Knights of the Eternal Throne to get it. Although the Vaylin side of the story will remain virtually unchanged regardless of the player’s choices, it’s possible to lose multiple companions, and there is even one choice where you have to choose one companion over the other. However, the quality of the story really hinges on how much you like or dislike Valkorion’s family. They are a bunch of rich brats doing bratty things, so on a personal level, I couldn’t care less about them.

You know what I do care about, though? The Empire and the Republic. You know what most fans of Star Wars care about? The Empire and the Republic, or possibly the Jedi and the Sith. Whether it’s a story buried in the conflict of those two armies colliding or it’s a gangster taking advantage of being in the middle of those two opposing parties, the Empire and the Republic have been central to all the engaging Star Wars stories.

For this specific reason, it’s time for BioWare to tear down the Eternal Empire.

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Tencent may be bringing H1Z1 to China

The easiest way to ensure that no one is really fighting over who gets to be at the top of the battle royale genre of games is to make sure you own all of them. Tencent has already picked up the most popular game in the genre for distribution in China, but now it’s teasing that it may also be bringing H1Z1 to Chinese shores, allowing players there to enjoy the shooting action of a game that at one point was supposedly about zombies.

Nothing has yet been officially announced, but there is a teaser website, and there’s a social media page on Weibo (one of the most popular social networking pages in China) managed by Tencent. It’s a sound strategy to ensure that players who jump from one game of the type to another still remain loyal to the same company, but we’ll have to see when and if the official announcement comes around.

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A ‘remastered’ version of ArcheAge is due out in Korea in 2018

Would it be fair to say that XLGAMES has “mastered” ArcheAge? The developer behind it has been working on the live version for five years now, so there’s some familiarity with the project, but that does raise some entertaining questions about what “mastery” entails. What’s important was that either way, the studio has managed to master the game once again, as a remastered version of the game is apparently due to launch in January of 2018.

This newly remastered version will only be playable on one new server (Orchidna) and will supposedly reflect the years of work done on the live version of the game, so it will have no small number of balance adjustments and improvements. Whether this works more like the various fresh start servers for the localized version or involves significant game changes remains to be seen. What is definite, though, is that the title would be difficult (if not impossible) to master again, as this effort clearly denotes a large amount of mastery.

Source: MMO Culture

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