Culture & Community Category

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

World of Warcraft previews two of the dungeons of Legion

A lot is changing when World of Warcraft: Legion launches, but dungeons will work the way they always have. Of course, they will be new dungeons, necessitating new approaches for players who jump in to the game ready to take on new challenges. A new preview on the site details the Eye of Azshara and Neltharion’s Lair, two of the dungeons capping off the stories of Aszuna and Highmountain, respectively.

The Eye of Azshara is a wide-open area that has a nonlinear layout, with players able to take on the first four bosses in any order with a corresponding effect on the gathering storm in the center of the dungeon. Neltharion’s Lair is less open in layout, but also features several large landscapes and necessitates the use of the rapid waters within the cavern as a transport mechanism. Players can start exploring these dungeons at the end of August, but until then, you can take a quick glance through with the preview.


No Man’s Sky original LE box touts ‘online play’

Yesterday, we wrote about the multiplayer confusion that’s entangled the launch of the sandboxy No Man’s Sky (commenter JonBuck called it “Schrödinger’s Multiplayer”). Adding more brambles is a new piece from Rock Paper Shotgun that suggests the game might have been intended to be a bit more online than Hello Games is letting on, as it shows what’s under the PEGI 7 rating sticker on the limited edition box: an online play icon.
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Guild Wars 2 kicks off the fourth PvP League season

To everything, there is a season, and this is the season for Guild Wars 2 players to resume beating the snot out of one another in the Mists. The fourth PvP League season has started to coincide with the game’s most recent major patch, coming alongside the option to queue for matches while exploring your favorite map and allowing players to report win trading and otherwise gaming the system.

Season four will last until October 3rd, so you’ve got plenty of time to make your mark on the field of battle before the season comes to a close. The patch also contains several more quality-of-life changes for structured PvP, so you can enjoy a better match environment than ever whilst beating the heck out of your opponents. Or being tossed around like a team of rag dolls, whichever happens first.


Wild Terra adds a new Russian-specific server

The latest patch for Wild Terra is live, and it brings along with it a Russian server for players to explore. The bad news is that progress on characters is not transferred to the new server, but any account-wide unlocks and purchases are active on both servers. Now you can enjoy stomping your way through the game’s world while speaking Russian!

Of course, just adding a new server alone isn’t a major update; the game has also patched in a new Mining skill, allowing you to dig up metals, smelt ores, and generally work with metal. Several new resources and associated structures have been added to the game to facilitate mining, while various other professions have also had improvements made to quality of life (for example, a new small drying rack for drying very small hides). Check out the full patch notes for a list of all the changes made.


Overwatch bans public cheater mid-stream

Here’s your dose of sweet, sweet justice for the day.

A Korean streamer was using an aimbot in an Overwatch match while performing for the internet crowd when Blizzard’s GMs caught wise to his act and banned him but good. If you ever feel frustrated at seeing blatant cheaters in the game, watching this happen is chicken soup for the gamer soul.

For everyone else — who would never, ever cheat, we trust you — Blizzard has a treat coming in a few days: a new animated short starring Bastion. “In this episode, we follow the forgotten battle automaton as it unexpectedly reactivates after laying dormant in the wilderness for over a decade. Fascinated by its unfamiliar surroundings, the curious omnic begins to investigate, but quickly discovers its core combat programming may have a different directive…”

As you wait for that to arrive, you can watch the cheating streamer get his comeuppance. We’ve got the video evidence for you below (the banhammer hits him around the three-minute mark).

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Visionary Realms: Pantheon is a ‘brave new world,’ not a ‘wormhole back to simpler times’

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen says it’s reorienting its newsletter to be more community focused and has put its money where its mouth is with a community-themed dev diary. Visionary Realms’ Medawky argues that accessibility in MMO design through the years has “had the unfortunate side effect of diminishing the role that community played in the overall health of these shared worlds.” Pantheon aims to reverse that.

“As we bridge the gap back to the days of a more intense experience you will find a commonality with old school MMORPGs, a link to the past that we fiercely cling to: the central focus of this experience is that is best when we share it with each other. Make no mistake however. Pantheon isn’t a wormhole back to simpler times, nor is it the Throwback Thursday of gaming. It’s a brave new world filled with wonder and innovation, awash in not only magnificent settings and environments, but full of fresh ideas like our perception, colored mana and atmosphere systems, just to name a few.”

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Kakao to Black Desert players: Chargebacks have consequences

Kakao is putting its foot down when it comes to Black Desert players’ chargebacks — that is, attempting to reverse payment for a product using the credit card company as the mechanism. The studio has sent a letter to everyone who’s initiated a chargeback that explains the consequences of doing so. Legitimate chargebacks, it writes, are those levied when purchased goods are never received or a credit card is stolen. Illegitimate chargebacks, on the other hand, amount to demanding your money back after “using a service for several months and deciding you don’t like it anymore.”

“It is understandable why someone would wish to get their money back, however, chargebacks should always be done with caution. A chargeback will not only cause you to lose access to the game, but it can also prevent you from purchasing it in the future. More importantly, we will investigate each chargeback, individually. If the chargeback is proven to be illegitimate, this could go farther than just the denial of your refund. Your Credit Score could be impacted. […] Requesting chargebacks should be done after cautious investigation from your part to know all of the possible consequences. Where a finalized chargeback would lead to the withdrawing of your game access, a cancelled chargeback will have no lasting effect on your account.”

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Riders of Icarus shows off the mechanics of Manastone battles

Do you like picking fights in PvP? Riders of Icarus gives you plenty of options in that department, but the biggest fights are the ones going down when the Manastone battles open up. A new article on the official site details the mechanics of these fights, which occur twice a week on a fixed schedule. Once the announcement goes out to the players on the server, a Manastone will spawn in the Exarahn Badlands, and it’s up to guild alliances and the Militia to see who can claim the valuable artifact on the field.

Whoever picks up the Manastone will be unable to attack, mount up, or use items, relying entirely upon allies for defense. Bringing the Manastone back to the Vantara Manastone Oracle counts as capturing the valuable artifact, providing the winning faction with multiple reward options including a multi-seat mount. It’s a wide-scale capture-the-flag style of battle, and it’ll require coordination and care to hold the stone when everyone starts getting in on the PvP aspect of the game.


No Man’s Sky, the non-multiplayer multiplayer game

If you were confused about just how multiplayer No Man’s Sky was going to be, welcome to the club. Inconsistent (or consistently contradictory) statements from Hello Games on the topic in the long lead up to launch didn’t help.

But since the game’s launch yesterday, players have put it to the test, and we are… not really much closer to the truth. Kotaku reports on one pair of players who found themselves on the same planet and streamed their attempts to meet up, though it ended in failure. That prompted Hello Games’ Sean Murray to tweet that multiplayer (in the game he said was not multiplayer two days ago) is possible, has been anticipated, and will be encouraged.

“Two players finding each other on a stream in the first day – that has blown my mind. We added a ‘scan for other players’ in the Galactic Map to try to encourage this happening. We wanted it to happen – but the first day? We want people to be aware they are in a shared universe. We added online features, and some Easter Eggs to create cool moments. We hope to see those happening… but too many of you are playing right now. More than we could have predicted.”

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The Daily Grind: Which older MMO still looks really pretty?

I’ve been spending more time in RIFT lately due to the expansion announcement, and an observation that’s crossed my mind more than once is that the game is actually still very pretty, even six years into its operation. Sure, it’s not photo-realistic, but I’ve always been partial to some of the creature, building, and environment designs in this MMO.

It’s easy to point to newer MMOs like Black Desert and praise them for their graphical fidelity, but what about older titles? Are there any games five years or older that you consider still quite attractive to behold? Share your thoughts in the comments — and screenshots are a plus!

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Overwatch players are warned: use Lucio in Lucioball or face consequences

The whole point of Overwatch‘s Lucioball mode is that everyone plays as Lucio. The name of the mode is already “Lucioball,” the only character you can normally select is Lucio; it seems pretty transparent that you are only supposed to play as Lucio. Some enterprising players have found a way to exploit a bug to select characters other than Lucio despite this fact, because gamers are alike all over.

A recent forum post has confirmed that you really shouldn’t do that.

Director Jeff Kaplan has confirmed that the team is aware of the bug and is trying to fix it, but players should not use the exploit for two reasons. First, it negatively impacts the experience of other players; two, because the customer service team is looking to hand out penalties to players who exploit the bug. So don’t do it. Enjoy Lucioball as it’s meant to be played (hint: with Lucio) and don’t try to exploit bugs. It’s just more fun in the long run.


Study says that online games might help academics

“Put down that video game controller before your brain turns to mush!”

If you’ve ever heard a variation of this phrase tossed your way as a youth, you might have some new ammunition with which to fire back. According to a new study of a group of Australian students, those that played online games showed a stronger aptitude in school than those that didn’t.

The article was careful to note that the findings showed correlation, not causation: “The study found that students who played online games almost every day scored 15 points above average in maths and reading tests and 17 points above average in science. However, the study’s methodology cannot prove that playing video games were the cause of the improvement.”

The study’s publisher noted that online gamers tended to use puzzle solving, match, science, and reading in their hobby.

Source: The Guardian


WildStar releases its second soundtrack on August 23rd

Whether you’re playing the game or not, it’s hard not to acknowledge that WildStar has some top-shelf music. The first soundtrack is out now for everyone to enjoy, but there’s still more music in the game that hasn’t yet been compiled into a soundtrack. No, you’ll have to wait until August 23rd, when the second volume of WildStar tracks is released to the public with 20 more tunes, including three songs that have never been heard on Nexus.

The new soundtrack will include several themes, including the Eldan and Torine theme music, as well as various ambient music heard around the planet. It’ll be available as a digital release for everyone in just two weeks, although the pre-order page on Sumthing Else Music Works is returning a 404 error as of this writing.


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