In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to take you through a lighthearted list of particular moments or sentiments I’d forgotten about in the haze of all that story content, which I hope will inspire you to check out the full movie for yourself, especially if you missed out on Season 1. My list is a little spoilerific for those who aren’t up to date with Scarlet’s story, but since it’s such old content I doubt any of you will shout over that. In any case, I hope you enjoy my list of forgotten favourites from Season 1 and will collate your own best moments in the comments below.
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Is Pokemon Go making you healthier? Maybe not yet, but researchers from a Stanford/Microsoft team have determined that Pokemon Go play correlates with increased physical activity and exercise. They tracked data from 32,000 Microsoft Band users for three months to determine that “engaged users” increased their activity on average nearly 1500 per day, allowing them to suggest that the MMOARG “added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity,” in contrast to other “health” apps.
The paper is published in the high-impact open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research for those who want to read it in full without paywall. The authors do note that their sample is not random, as the Band is an expensive device, and most users were male. They also note that the study cannot comment on the long-term effects of physical activity.
If you’re hoping for new content in today’s World of Warcraft patch, you will be largely disappointed. Not entirely disappointed, perhaps, since the patch is bringing in Mists of Pandaria dungeons as a timewalking option, but by and large this patch is all about improving the quality of life on Azeroth, starting with several changes to Artifact Knowledge. You can now more easily catch up on alts, with purchased items that allow for instant gains of Artifact Knowledge and direct purchases for first characters reaching level 110.
The patch also contains adjustment to a wide variety of Legendary items and several class abilities, along with secondary stat tuning and PvP balance fixes. You’ll also see a reset of all the world quests available to fix a persistent issue with Kirin Tor emissary quests. So there’s nothing new in this particular patch, but it should help level the playing field just the same… and the Nighthold does come out next week if you’ve got a regular raiding group to explore that.
“Its latest expansions are vintage BioWare storytelling that are worthy of being given the much-coveted title of KotOR 3,” the author writes. “EA finally let BioWare be BioWare by allowing them to essentially build out a single-player RPG story in the middle of an MMO, complete with consequential moral choices, romance, and something approximating narrative depth. But this also represents a certain concession on BioWare’s part to the limitations of the genre.”
“The primary reason the NPCs are disappearing is due to the massive number of NPCs and interactable items (harvestables) spawned in the world,” Khrolan explained last night.
“This state is occurring more now than previously due to land being established (primarily Auroria) and a high number of dungeon instances being open. To help diffuse the problem, we’re deactivating the third instances of the Ayanad Library (on each floor), reducing the number of arena and mirage island instances and disabling a large number of the Warborn starting instances. If we reach the item limit again, dungeons will be affected first, followed by the overworld. A more permanent solution will be provided by XL Games overnight, but we’ll be applying these changes shortly, in an attempt to restore the service this evening. On a side note, the issue originates from Reckoning and Vengeance due to high server loads, but it is spreading to all NA legacy servers, because they all share the same environment back end.”
Of note, this round of play will include a level bump to 69, three new dungeons, three new missions, the new Faerie Funland map, two new events, badges, updates to scour dungeons, and six new PvP modes.
Keys from the first and second round of beta won’t get you into this round, unfortunately — the studio is pushing folks toward founder packs, which include access. There won’t, however, be a character wipe going into CBT3.
In the meantime, check out the brand-new Spiritshaper trailer below.
Chargebacks were a big deal in 2016: Black Desert, ArcheAge, and No Man Sky were all embroiled in community drama thanks to perceived chargeback abuse. PayPal even ended its chargeback protection for crowdfunding donations, making it harder for gamers who hand over cash to abuse the credit card system to get that money back.
But some games are offering you your money back and you’re still not taking it.
Hero’s Song, for example, recently went under, but John Smedley pledged to refund any Steam and Indiegogo purchasers who asked for their money returned. Yet there are folks in our comments who said they wouldn’t take him up on that — they feel they got their money’s worth or don’t feel it’s right to take back what was intended as a gift, risks fully understood. That reminded me of when Glitch sunsetted after a couple years in operation and Stewart Butterfield offered everyone all of their money back from years of play and a lot of players said no way.
How about you? Do you claim refunds on games when available? How often do you do it?
While Guild Wars 2 is right now in the middle of its third season of the living world campaign, there’s always a chance that you’ve missed out on the story and action from the first season way back when.
Fortunately for you, the community has assembled a massive season one movie that includes all of the quests, cutscenes, and stories as a way to catch up on the narrative (or just go through a refresher course). It’s a pretty long video, clocking in at two hours and 40 minutes, but then again, it was a pretty long season.
Clear your Monday schedule and give the following movie a watch, all under the guise of “research!”
“We are roughly four months away from the official launch of the game.”
Darkfall: Rise of Agon laid out its 2017 roadmap this past weekend with the upcoming release at the center of it all. There’s a lot to be done post-launch, so keep your expectations in check, but it is definitely a measured step forward for this classic Darkfall reboot.
The team listed several project areas, including expanding on its task system, improving alignments, adding in a teleportation network, making object persistence a thing, and beefing up crafting.
“Launch will not be the end of development for Darkfall: Rise of Agon. We will be shifting to monthly patches where we can focus on key areas at a time to be able to accomplish larger system implementations and overhauls,” the devs said.
If there were an award for most consistent game that is sorta launched but not totally launched, Shroud of the Avatar would totally win it. You can absolutely count on Portalarium’s MMORPG to come out with a massive update, every single week, and the stack of screenshots that come along with it.
This week’s newsletter details the making of the Canyon Siege encounter and the celestial mechanics used for town sieges, the creation of the town of Brookside in the Path of Love questline, the new adventure areas along the Perennial Coast, more work on the island of Xenos in the Path of Truth quest arc, and the updates to the Blood Bay PvP zone. Most of these goodies will roll out to players later this month on January 26th when release 38 arrives, but you can scope out the visuals right now.
RuneScape was nominated for our Most Underrated award this year and made it into our top 10 list of healthiest MMOs, and for good reason: The 2001 game saw its highest profits ever in 2015, its 250,000,000th player, and a constant parade of content updates, spinoffs, and legacy server nods, culminating in a Chinese expansion and new London offices.
So it should come as no surprise that Jagex has big plans for 2017 too. January is expected to update Divination, add the Nex: Angel of Death content storyline, and reprise several events. February should introduce new skills for the Invention system, XP events, and a secret event: “Let me tell you what a little bird told me: it’s great, Scott.” Shattered Worlds, the achievements system, spring events, a dailies rework, retooled challenges, a bank rework, and a redesign of the mining/smithing professions are also on the way, in addition to — count ’em up — three expansions in June, September, and December.
Back in December, we published an exclusive dev diary about El Somni Quas, an indie sandbox from a Czech studio that actually cut its teeth on Ultima Online emulators and plans to port a lot of the ideas it tested there into its built-from-scratch 3-D venture. Today, we have another deep-dive into the game’s plans, including at outline of its races and classes, a brief look at its housing and dungeons, and the philosophy undergirding its free-for-all PvP system.
‘Tis the season for emulators! Think back to 2002 MMORPG The Sims Online, what our own Justin Olivetti once called “an interesting failed experiment” for the genre and one of the worst-squandered IPs in online gaming. Do you miss it? Do you miss the isometric views, the typewriter grind, the weird porn chat?
Well, you can have some of that back, or will soon. A group of players released an emulator — sorry, a “reimplementation” — last weekend for the long-shuttered game called FreeSO. In fact, so many people wanted to log in and play with wallpaper and bears and toilets that they crashed the emulator, which was built for under 1000 people. DDOS attacks didn’t help either.
The developer has consequently shut down the short-lived open beta, requested help, promised particular support for the oddly large Brazilian playerbase, and put the game back into closed beta, from which he can work on super exciting things like bot detection and moderator tools while slipping out player invites and increasing server capacity incrementally.