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

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is everything you expect (and that’s outstanding)

In my mind, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is all about sticking the landing. After a few years of FFXIV being out, the game has consistently earned high praise from people who play it. Heavensward was recognized as a definite high point for the game, improving more or less everything in the game and adding more besides. So the question was whether or not Stormblood would continue down the same road or try to dramatically upend things, break down what once worked well and lose sight of what people enjoy.

The good news, then, is that it sticks the landing.

Everything that worked well in Heavensward has been brought forward and refined, and the parts that hadn’t worked so well have been trimmed away, repurposed, or outright removed. It feels very much like an expansion to the same core game, but in the process it manages to address almost every complaint I had over Heavensward almost incidentally. And it continues on in the high standards the game has set for itself over the years, resulting in an expansion which I’m already in love with after finishing the main storyline.

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Wild West Online asks players what sort of gambling they want to see

It’s just not right to think of the stereotypical wild west without including some gambling. Based on movies on the subject, cheating at poker and the penalties for cheating at poker make up the majority of most people’s pastimes. So Wild West Online knows players want some form of gambling in the game, and it’s going to be in there. The question posed to the audience is what sort of gambling you want.

Obviously, there are some options with a higher degree of historical accuracy, but the goal here is to pick games that are fun to play rather than necessarily adhering to the “right” sorts of games. It’s not a formal poll, so you can feel free to sound off on Twitter with the sort of card game you want to be playing. Although you can probably be confident that poker is going to be in there no matter what.

Source: Twitter

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Secret World Legends’ headstart launches today

Pack up your stuff, The Secret World fans: It’s movin’ day, at least if you don’t care about playing on Steam, as Secret Worlds Legends’ headstart period for veteran The Secret World players and beta testers begins today.

Funcom’s said the headstart hasn’t technically begun just yet — we still don’t know when the flag will drop — but that preloading is underway. [Update: Expect it live at 2 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest tweet nope, live at 4 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest-latest tweet.]

The studio outlined its legacy transfer system last night; your accounts should already be linked (don’t go making a fresh account) and allow you to reclaim and transfer your patron time, lifetime sub status, cosmetics, mounts, and other bits and bobs. You’ve got until August to take advantage of all that.

Stay tuned for Larry’s impressions and MJ’s stream later today, and in the meantime, check out our roundup of guides, interviews, and news leading up to today.

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Overwatch promises to reduce duplicate item rewards in lockboxes

Since the only real form of progress in Overwatch involves skins, there’s nothing more frustrating than opening a few dozen lockboxes and seeing every rare skin be the same one… for a character you don’t even play. The latest development update from director Jeff Kaplan notes that the team is aware of the problem, and steps are being taken to ensure that the number of duplicate items received will be dramatically reduced in the future.

You don’t need to worry about losing out on the buy-anything credits, though; the credits you get from loot boxes will also be increased, so you should find yourself getting more credits even as you get fewer duplicates of things you already have. How well this will map out in particular remains to be seen, but it’s an effort to mitigate the randomness that’s always underpinned the game’s lockbox structure. Kaplan also discusses ongoing improvements to the highlights feature; you can watch the full development update just below.

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The Daily Grind: How much realism is too much in an MMORPG?

In yesterday’s comments on the Shroud of the Avatar AMA article, MOP reader squidgod2000 drew everyone’s attention to an overlooked bit in the Q&A that discusses nutrition in the game. I knew that food was intended to be a big deal in SOTA, but I had no concept of how far the game might eventually go — apparently a complicated system of calories, fat, and salt that affects a player’s stats. Richard Garriott says it’s all still a work in progress and only slowly being addressed (that goes for barfing up your food if you eat too much too!).

I love playing cooks in MMORPGs — let’s be honest, games are the only place I’ll ever be a great chef — so I most definitely want to see game mechanics in my sandboxes that make such consumables matter. I didn’t mind the various versions of “stomach capacity” Star Wars Galaxies implemented, for example. But I’m going to have to draw my personal line at counting calories in a freakin’ video game. Sorry, SOTA, but most of us have to do that and worry about our health or our relatives’ health in the real world.

And that leads me to today’s Daily Grind. How much realism is too much in an MMORPG?

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Skyforge adds a new Distortion and new Prestige ranking with its latest patch

Prestige is an important indicator of power in Skyforge, and it just keeps growing over time. The problem is that as it grows ever higher, it becomes harder and harder to look at it at a glance and say “yes, that character is getting higher in Prestige.” Plus, there’s the simple reality that a ranking of nine billion Prestige doesn’t look nice. So the latest patch for the game adds in a ranking system wherein one’s Prestige Rank is a simpler and much smaller number. It’s almost like just leveling, but it’s certainly easier to read at a glance.

The patch also adds a new distortion to the game and a variety of quality-of-life improvements like the option to inspect equipment, market board improvements, and more face options for character creation. Check out the full patch notes for a glance at how the game has changed, and log right in if that’s all the motivation you need to start enjoying an easier-to-read ranking system.

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Hearthstone changes up card packs to make it easier to collect new cards

There’s nothing quite like opening up a new card pack in Hearthstone only to find multiples of the same rare you already have and didn’t want the first time. That’s why the game is changing how card packs work to make collecting a set easier. First and foremost, players will no longer have to worry about getting duplicate Legendary cards until they already have all of the Legendary cards collected; if you get a Legendary, it’ll be new. Second, you’re assured a Legendary within the first 10 card packs you open for each given set.

Thirdly, players will no longer get more copies of a card in a given pack than can be used in a single deck, so you won’t find yourself flooded with copies of cards you do not and will not ever need. There’s also a limited-time promotion on card packs, offering more packs for the same price, which seems like a perfect motivator if you’re still trying to get one or two elusive options.

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E3 2017: Hands-on with mobile MMOs Lineage 2 Revolution and Durango

With Pokemon Go trying to avoid explicitly calling itself an MMO, Massively OP once again has room for a top contender in the realm of mobile MMOs. There’s just one problem: We’ve got mostly Western readers for a genre that seems to appeal much more to the East. I was given the opportunity to see top global mobile MMO Lineage 2 Revolution and up and coming dino-sandbox Durango at E3 2017. I can see the appeal of both games, but also some limitations. Let’s dig into both.

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Choose My Adventure: Cryptic’s Neverwinter in review

My time with Neverwinter is done, and it’s a game I find myself in an odd relationship with. It’d be fair to say that despite what some members of the audience expected, I never went into disliking the game; even when I was getting a little bit bored, I didn’t find myself desperately wanting to play something else just to be free of the scourge of the game itself. But at the same time… it never really got its hooks in me, either.

And some of that, I think, is that I’ve played it before.

I’m reluctant to say that every game Cryptic Studios makes is the same because every single one has very clear pieces that stand apart. Star Trek Online’s space combat, Neverwinter’s action combat, and Champions Online’s status as the last relic of a forgotten time. (Probably other things, too.) They’re not the same game. But they do all share the same gameplay loop, which is different… and despite my best efforts, there’s a certain point when all of that just winds up getting a wee bit tedious.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic explains how the developers listen to community feedback

Feedback is important for every MMO, and that includes Star Wars: The Old Republic. But where does feedback come from? If the developers never ask you about your opinion specifically, how will they actually collect your feedback? Community manager Eric Musco chimed in on the forums explaining where the development team looks for feedback and how his job involves filtering and synthesizing that feedback from multiple sources, all of which serves different purposes and offers different inputs.

The official forums and Reddit, for example, offer the feedback of particular narrows slices of the game with a big time investment; Twitter, meanwhile, has much more breadth of feedback but less depth on individual issues. There are also focus groups and specific influential players courted by the development team just for feedback and information. Check out the full rundown if you’re curious about how the melange of feedback gets passed along to developers; this isn’t necessarily how every game does it, but it is how it happens for SWTOR.

Source: Official Site via Dulfy

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Shroud of the Avatar has plans to attract more players and keep them around

In the hopes of attracting and encouraging more player investors in Shroud of the Avatar, Portalarium took to Reddit for a Q&A session that did not leave everyone quite satisfied.

During the AMA, Portalarium explained why it’s not doing a wipe before release, responded to those upset at the slow rollout of the single-player version, promised more user interface polish, and addressed frustration over players not being able to find certain NPCs. The studio said that right now there it is seeing around a 500-player concurrency, although it expects this to increase as they start promoting the game more.

So how is the team planning in attracting new players to the game as it heads toward launch? “We have been testing out our free trial system for the last few months and in the next few months we will begin promoting this more and more as the game improves to bring in new players. To keep players around long-term we will be working on more high-end content around the end of the year.”

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Exclusive: Wizard101 Q&A dev diary on its PvP update and monstrology evolution

Kid-friendly MMORPG Wizard101 is on the cusp of a big update — in fact, it’s already landed on the official test server as of this week. At its heart is PvP: new PvP daily rewards, a new PvP age, adjustments to PvP rank, and a whole new turn-based PvP tourney mode. There’s stuff for everyone, though, including lots of new chat goodies, tweaks to the quest and tutorial logs, and expansions to the fishing and monstrology systems.

You can check out the illustrated patch notes on the official site, and then feast your eyes down below, where we’ve got an exclusive (not sponsored) dev diary from the KingsIsle team, helmed by Senior Producer of MMO Content Leah “Professor Falmea” Ruben, in which the devs the thought process and planning behind the update!

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Conan Exiles begins partial wipe of official servers

Get ready to watch the world burn. Well, part of the world. Conan Exiles is wiping official servers this morning. Well, part of them.

“We’ve started a partial wipe on all official servers. Buildings and inventories will be removed, character progression stays,” Funcom tweeted this morning. “We’re wiping official servers per community requests to solve problems with the decay system and in anticipation of the climbing system.”

PvP Blitz servers are also being taken offline for repurposing, which sounds ominous!

The good news is that Funcom plans to double the experience-gain rate on all official servers for the next two weeks, which ought to help you get caught back up.

Source: Twitter

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