News Category

Just the facts, as they happen. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

New Ascent patch has gas, terraforming

Sometimes a news post comes along that you’re just meant to write. For me, it’s this little ditty about Ascent. For one thing, I’m actually playing and enjoying the game. For another, the game’s latest update allows me to type things like Ascent has gas in my headline and get away with it.

Said update allows players to terraform entire planets, according to a news release from developer Fluffy Kitten Studios. Initially, terraforming functionality will be restricted to Kickstarter backers and “a handful of devices on small planets.” That’s just the first step, though, as eventually the early access title will allow everyone to “undertake super massive projects to terraform other planets and begin expanding humanity across the galaxy.”

Ascent also recently added some graphical upgrades to clouds and planetary atmospheres, which allow players to visually identify gases prior to engaging in the title’s gas-skimming minigame. Click past the cut for a time-lapse video of the terraforming process.

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DCUO releases new munitions power set

DC Universe Online released its 13th power set today. Munitions “allows players to master over-the-top explosives, powerful ballistics, and large weapons,” according to a Daybreak press release. The set features two power trees, one each for DCUO’s damage and controller roles.

The set is free for members. Alternatively, you can purchase it in the cash shop. Don’t forget about the release trailer after the break!

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EVE Online fan calculates an 18% drop in subscriptions

There used to be a time when CCP would eagerly release every new subscriber milestone that EVE Online hit, but that era has passed. For a while now, the studio has not publicly mentioned sub numbers, leaving the fanbase to wonder if the game’s population is declining.

EVE player and blogger The Nosy Gamer engaged in a whirlwind of math and deductions to attempt to arrive at what he believes is a reliable figure. He uses the studio-released information of how many players voted in the recent CSM and extrapolated that the game has lost around 18% of subscriptions in the past two years. “The basic formula for determining the number of accounts based on election numbers is: Eligible subscribed accounts = total votes / turnout %,” he posted.

Of course, until or unless CCP releases official numbers, efforts to deduce the game’s population are purely speculative. EVE Online hit an apparent high-water mark of 500,000 subscribers in February 2013.

[Source: The Nosy Gamer]

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GamersFirst is patching APB’s Easter event ‘bad experiences’

GamersFirst has posted a brief blurb on the heels of last Thursday’s APB Reloaded patch. The devs are responding to player feedback and, more specifically, complaints about “exploits and obvious balance issues” that will be addressed in tomorrow’s patch.

Car surfing is being removed from APB’s Easter event, and players will be given an invulnerability buff and a 10-second speed boost when respawning with eggs, which GamersFirst says “should remedy a few of the bad experiences” currently being had.

APB’s rabbit ear login reward is returning, as is the Egg Hunt and its animal suit, rabbit mask, and Easter Bunny title rewards.

[Source: Dev blog]

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 9

Since April 1st was this past week, there were plenty of laughs, groans, and gotcha moments here at Massively Overpowered. The podcast crew talks about their favorite MMO pranks as well as the significant events of the week, including an Xbox One launch, the end of expansions for one long-running game, and the supposed true story behind the New Game Enhancements.

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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Skyforge developers explain monetization and power

You can argue all you want over the definition of pay-to-win, but no one really likes the idea of a free-to-play game in which players can just buy the tools to be better than another player. Skyforge is currently in open beta in Russia, and players have noticed that you can simply buy credits for real money, allowing you to bypass the weekly credit limit and upgrade your character far faster. This has sparked a bit of consternation among the players, which has now been addressed by the latest development blog outlining monetization.

While players will be able to exchange Argents (the game’s microtransaction currency) for credits, there are two limiting factors in place to keep the power balance. First of all, there are hard caps on how far a player can upgrade everything; buying credits will allow players to advance faster but not higher. Second, most forms of enhancement are gated through means other than credits, so buying credits won’t even serve specifically to speed up many forms of advancement. This may not mollify players upset by the monetization, but it does at least mean everyone is on the same page about how it works.

[Source: Skyforge Monetization Explained]

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Crowfall video shows off siege concepts

Crowfall‘s siege mechanics are on display today in a new video highlighting the Artcraft Entertainment‘s current plans for taking on player-controlled cities. The video is embedded just past the break and focuses on the idea that players aren’t just limited to hunkering down or attacking; in fact, there are reasons for defenders to venture outside, ways for attackers to deceive and draw out enemies, and a shifting set of advantages to consider carefully during play.

What’s on display is still a high-level concept video, but it suggests some interesting possibilities, such as the game allowing guilds without a single city to still make sweeping changes and even march to eventual victory. If you like the idea of making big changes to the world even with periodic resets, you’ll want to glance below the break and watch the overview.

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Guild Wars 2 hopes to reinspire interest in story

It’s hard to be a Sylvari in Guild Wars 2 at the moment. After all, the plant people have an undeniable tie to the elder dragon Mordremoth, a tie that even they aren’t fully aware of. It makes the time before the launch of Heart of Thorns a perfect time to play through the game’s story as a Sylvari to understand the magnitude of Mordremoth’s power, a topic discussed on the most recent installment of the official Guild Wars 2 community show, Points of Interest.

This particular episode focuses heavily on exploring the story, understanding what’s coming in the expansion, and how the game’s designers intend to make future portions of the personal story more resonant for players. The Mastery lines, in particular, will allow players to explore more thoroughly and look at aspects of story instances they may not have previously seen. The team is also trying hard to make sure that story matches more closely what’s going on in a given zone, as the current incarnation of personal story quests are often disconnected from the zone players are in. Take a look past the break for the full episode recording.

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Black Desert fans are troubled about game changes

When the primary beta process for an upcoming MMO is taking place in another region and language, it’s often difficult to understand how the game is shaping up. One Black Desert fansite understands this, which is why it’s posted a beta report that traces major changes and design decisions through the different testing phases.

These fans are concerned about how Black Desert is developing because of significant changes from the original vision to the current version. Some of these changes include the elimination of two of the three types of guilds, the increased pace of leveling, the denial of one-to-one trading, and a problematic PvP system.

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RIFT chronicles the remaking of the Hammerknell raid

If you came into RIFT late in its life cycle, you missed Hammerknell. If you weren’t raiding when Hammerknell was super relevant to the game’s upgrade cycle, same deal. The point is that Hammerknell was once a favored raid, but like all endgame content subject to a themepark MMO’s ever-expanding cap, it became less relevant. But the next RIFT patch is turning that trope on its head by revamping the old dungeon, and a new post on the official site explains just what it took to update the raid for the modern game.

See, Hammerknell might be a classic, but it was designed for a different era, with very different combinations of souls and class abilities. It also had several bosses that haven’t aged quite as well, plus other fights that mechanically no longer work either because of the tools available to players or because of major changes to acceptable design solutions like falling damage. Take a look through the whole posting to get an idea of how the team behind the game took an old favorite and made it something relevant to the newer game.

[Source: 3.2 Echoes of Madness Preview – Hammerknell]

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Daybreak dev muses about mobile Vanguard diplomacy game

Vanguard’s diplomacy system was always one of the most-talked about features of that late fantasy title, using a card minigame to simulate conversational conflict between the character and NPCs. While the game shuttered last July, there may be a possibility brewing of bringing back this beloved system in a mobile format.

Daybreak Programmer Timothy Lochner is testing the waters on Twitter regarding a possible mobile version of Vanguard’s diplomacy system: “What would my @vanguardsoh peeps say about the diplomacy sphere being turned into a mobile game? Obvs have no green light. Just wondering.”

Could Vanguard be coming back in card game form? And if it did, would you play it? Only time will tell!

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Guild Wars 2 memorializes a fallen mother

Last September, a Guild Wars 2 player shared a story about his departed wife. She died from complications during the birth of the couple’s son, and she had been a fellow GW2 player who enjoyed picking up rabbits and wielding a hammer on her character, Hiralyn. It’s a tragic story we’ve all sadly heard before if we’ve played online games for a while: a fellow player, a person, a life cut short unexpectedly with a shared memory of a game.

Now, Hiralyn stands in Cragstead. According to the official posting, design lead Mike Zadorojny put in the time necessary to add a memorial to the departed player, placing her character surrounded by rabbits with a few lines of dialogue about creating a legacy for her son, even if she couldn’t be there. It’s as touching a tribute as you could hope to see to a player lost.

We’ve added some screenshots below for those of you who can’t make the journey to meet Hiralyn.

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Not So Massively: Descent’s Kickstarter woes; Heroes of the Storm’s $450K tourney blunder

Descent: Underground has passed the 50% mark on its Kickstarter campaign and promised to add singleplayer to the title but has only four days left to secure over $200,000 US. Path of Exile pulled a hilarious April Fools’ Day prank on players and revealed details of its upcoming Act 4 update, including the highly requested loot filter feature. League of Legends ran the 2015 URFitational tournament as part of its April Fools’ Day celebrations and unbanned reformed professional player Nicolaj Jensen.

Blizzard revealed details of Diablo III‘s upcoming third game season, including season-exclusive legendary items and achievements. Nosgoth got a huge update with a new map called The Crucible and a system for punishing people who quit games early. SMITE released its Written in Stone patch along with iconic new hero Medusa, the Gorgon. Star Citizen passed $78 million in crowdfunding this week and released its monthly progress report for March. And Heroes of the Storm‘s $450,000 college scholarship tournament got off to a shaky start as some teams didn’t bother showing up for their matches and others were unable to report their match results.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of all the above stories and more news from the wider world of online games.

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