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

Darkfall Unholy Wars adjusts its economic rebalance

At times, it seems like the entire history of Darkfall is one major adjustment after another. It hasn’t been long since the game completely reworked and rebalanced its economy to make rare resources harder to acquire, after all. The game’s most recent small patch isn’t rewriting all of that, though; it’s tweaking values carefully so that players will have more ready access to resources through the rare mineral golems and various monsters in the world.

This patch also adds in some hotbar improvements to make said bars easier to use. Last but not least, two new Chaos Outposts have been introduced with high-end crafting facilities and no protections for players, which means lots of opportunity coupled with plenty of risk. Check out the changes for yourself with the patch notes.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Sendog for the tip!

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World of Warships makes history come alive (and shoot you)

In honor of World of Warships official launch today, we’re celebrating what makes this naval combat game come alive. Previously, I explored the details and realism in the sights and sounds of the game, but there’s another aspect that really amps up the immersion factor: the historical accuracy of the vessels. WoWS is not just about blowing enemies out of the water with battleships, cruisers, and aircraft carriers; it’s about doing so with authentic historical recreations of said ships!
During my behind-the-scenes tour of the Wargaming office earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sergey Gornostaev, who as the “Museums and Militaria Relations Specialist” has arguably one of the coolest jobs at the studio. Gornostaev shared the great lengths the team goes to in order to ensure historical accuracy in the ships sent into battle in WoWS.
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Guild Wars 2 player finds himself trapped in the Super Adventure Box

Players in Guild Wars 2 have been eagerly awaiting the return of the Super Adventure Box content more or less since the moment it went away, but it seems to be in no hurry to return. But it’s still there, as one player found out unexpectedly when he logged into the game in the middle of the aforementioned box… with no way to get back out.

Well, not until a bit of running around trapped, anyhow. He eventually got out.

The short version is that the character was played on a free trial and was able to get in whilst the area was open, but was too low-level to exit once again. Whether it’s hilarious to think of someone trapped inside the Super Adventure Box with no way out or just sad that it’s still there but most players can’t see it is left as a thought exercise for the reader; you can view the character’s adventures in a video just below.

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WildStar previews a new single-player instance, Alpha Sanctum

The Eldan of WildStar weren’t content to rest upon their collective laurels; they wanted to do more.  The story of what happened after they tried to reach beyond what they had been is, well, one of the major plot points of the game as a whole. Alpha Sanctum, a new upcoming single-player story instance, serves as a starting point for that overall storyline, showing the accomplishments of the race before they began a climb toward absolute heights.

Alpha Sanctum is meant for level 15 players and comes along with a rebalancing of the game’s many Drusera instances, thus allowing players to get in on the game’s storyline even earlier. Check out the full reveal for more details on the instance, the Pell enemies found therein, and the rewards for players who successfully navigate these varied and threatening corridors.

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ArcheAge adds $250 item pack to its store

Sometimes everything comes down to timing. Take ArcheAge‘s latest store pack, for example. In and of itself it’s just a $250 pack, which is hardly new, and the game’s one-year anniversary in North America just came around yesterday. But coming on the heels of lengthy downtime and server merges, more lengthy downtime, rollbacks, and compensation for those rollbacks and the downtime… it’s not the best possible time to ask players to shell out a hearty chunk of money. Let’s just say that.

The pack also includes a version of the house that had previously been given away at PAX, codes for which had been getting quite pricey on the secondary market. Players have also done the math and concluded that the majority of the price is made up of vanity items, which makes the actual value rather personal. So how much do you like your plushies?

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The Daily Grind: What makes a good MMO spiritual successor?

News of Divergence Online’s third crowdfunding campaign sparked a bit of discussion about MMO spiritual sequels earlier this week. Stained Glass Llama’s sci-fi sandbox purports to carry the Star Wars Galaxies torch, though it’s departing rather radically from SWG’s original design by introducing open world PvP and full corpse-looting.

Such a major design change disqualifies Divergence from being a successor, at least in my book, though I’ll probably play it anyway just to see what it’s like. What do you think, MOP readers? What makes a good spiritual successor or sequel? What makes a bad one? Which MMOs, if any, deserve a spiritual successor?

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DarkScape introduces free-for-all PvP ganking to RuneScape

DarkScape is RuneScape, only it’s not. It’s an official spinoff of the existing game, it features all of the game’s content that’s been developed over its lifespan, but it also has features that the core game doesn’t have such as worldwide free-for-all PvP. Only the cities have high-level guards, and no part of the game is entirely safe. It’s the same game, but it’s also a very different take on matters.

The changes don’t stop with PvP rules, either: Economies are more diversified between cities, travel is more costly and dangerous, and all content is available for free even if you’re not a RuneScape member. It’s an interesting experiment in changing a few rules of the game and altering the whole playing landscape, so if you’re in the mood for a new free-for-all arena or want to see how RuneScape plays with a bit more danger, go ahead and check it out.

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LEGO Minifigures Online now available on Android devices

Owning an Android device is sometimes a frustrating experience when it seems that every app has to come out for iOS first and Android at a depressingly slow pace. LEGO Minifigures Online has been out for iOS devices for a while, for example, but up until now Android users would have to simply curse their deities of choice and wait patiently for a port. You know, like the port that just arrived.

So rejoice! If you have an Android phone, an Android tablet, or any other Android device capable of running the game, you can run the game once you buy it! It won’t help you deal with all of the iOS users acting smug about how they had it months ago and got bored with it, though.

Source: Google Play store; thanks to Dan for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: Who is the most insufferable MMO companion or NPC?

Oh yeah, I totally put Quinn up there in the header. You know this is going to be good.

Anyway, originally I was going to ask who your favorite MMO companion was, but where’s the fun in that? Considering how often I see my Star Wars: The Old Republic guild whine about certain annoying characters — Corso, anyone? Skadge? — I suspect that there’s a massive reservoir of hate out there that needs to be publicly drained lest it flood the planet.

So consider this full permission to unload on the most insufferable companion, team-up, partner, or NPC ally in the MMO. Let the snark flow and don’t spare any adjectives!

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Gamerz for Gamerz invites MMOers to a haunted Halloween party

Are you searching for a real-world community to bolster your MMORPG experience, something that’s still around after your favorite game is gone or over? Gamerz for Gamerz is a new event and community company hoping to be just that.

“Gamerz for Gamerz was founded to bring video gamers and developers together both online and in person,” reads the group’s founding post. “We will be providing unique and creative ways to find old gaming friends, network with other game industry professionals and maybe even make some new friends in the gaming world. We will also be hosting special events focused on strengthening gaming communities.”

The first such event will be a Halloween Party at a haunted hotel in San Diego aimed at both gamers and game devs. Registration for the event isn’t live yet, but the forums are open.

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Tamriel Infinium: Six great things to do in Elder Scrolls Online that aren’t endgame

Two weeks ago, ZeniMax launched the Imperial City DLC for Elder Scrolls Online, and yet I have little desire to check the new content out. It’s not that it’s completely off my radar; I understand that this addition to the game has been highly anticipated by a certain segment of the game’s population, and in fact, if you had asked me about the Imperial City when the game launched, I would have said that I really looked forward to seeing it.

The Imperial City has a lot to offer. The Tel Var Stones is a wonderful open-world PvP mechanic, for example, at least for those who love open-world PvP. But it’s just not enough for me. I’m also not that interested in seeing the Imperial City itself. There are so many beautiful landscapes in ESO already that the drab, all-grey-and-zero-color zone of the Imperial City seems depressing and lifeless by comparison. You might be thinking, “But that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s a bleak, war-torn zone. It’s not supposed to be pretty.” I understand and respect that, but it doesn’t make it more desirable for me to see. (Also I’m afraid that Oblivion did the Imperial City better. And with mods it can look nearly as up-to-date as ESO.)

So at this point, you might wondering why I still play ESO if I believe things like “Oblivion did Imperial City better.” I’ve not kept a secret my dislike for the game’s PR and its endgame systems. But I still play because the game is still a lot of fun — maybe even more fun — without endgame. Here’s why.

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The Daily Grind: Would you play an MMO with antagonistic GMs?

Whenever we’re reminiscing about the glory days of MMOs, we invariably bring up the prevalence of events and GMs in those classic games. What we sometimes forget to mention, however, is that not all of the events were nice. For every wedding I saw a benevolent GM officiate in EverQuest, for example, I saw four Verant reps rampaging around as Sand Giants, stomping on newbies in Oasis, provoking more elite characters to come to the rescue.

That’s the topic on the mind of Kickstarter donor Xijit, who’s written in to ask,

Would you play a game with antagonistic GMs? That is to say, GMs who log in with maxed-out characters and start PK-ing people until enough players ganged up to bring them down? Or GMs who take other actions that negatively affect the playerbase?

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Not So Massively: Destiny loses court case; MOBAs try new toxic chat punishments

Destiny‘s ex-composer Martin O’Donnell won a major court case against his former employer, giving him back shares in the company that are now worth a considerable sum. Diablo III players discovered an exploit that allows players to equip multiple passive effects from the Hellfire Amulet and answered dozens of player questions in a Q&A. Dota 2 launched its Reborn update along with a new Dota Level system but accidentally added a balance-breaking bug in the process. Path of Exile brought back the Build of the Week series and launched a hideout design competition. SMITE released on Steam and quickly became one of the top 25 peak played games on the platform.

Heroes of the Storm detailed its new reporting options in a new devblog, including details of a silencing system that increases the punishment exponentially against repeat offenders. League of Legends came up with its own new punishment mechanic for toxic chat, and has given all previously chat-restricted players a clean slate for season five. Star Citizen tackled similar harassment problems within its community by restricting most forums to paying players. And Serellan, the studio behind failed tactical shooter Takedown: Red Sabre, announced its new squad-based first person shooter Epsilon.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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