In lockbox vernacular, there’s usually something called a “chase” item. This is the ultra-rare, ultra-desirable reward that just about no one will ever see unless an obscene amount of money is spent on tons of lockboxes. Neverwinter
is making a big production about its latest chase item, a Celestial Stag mount, in not one
but two new blog posts
on the subject.
Made out of stars and dashed hopes, the Celestial Stage is among the fastest mounts in the game and offers a huge bonus to regen and recovery while raining the heavens down on its enemies. The May 2nd lockbox will also have a (tiny) chance of paying out an artifact that summons the spirits of the nine founders of the city to attack foes.
In other Neverwinter news, Cryptic has partnered with game rewards site Uproar to feature its fantasy MMO as one of the titles in which players can earn free goodies. There’s allegedly a “free gift” for Neverwinter that can be claimed by players who sign up to the service.
“Pay-to-win” is old news now — game designers’ new plan for hoovering all the cash out of our wallets is “pay-to-loot.”
According to IGN’s Nathan Lawrence, who dives into the topic today, that’s the term game psychologists are using to describe what online gamers have been derisively referring to as gambleboxes and lockboxes for years: You’re essentially buying chances at a thing, paying to roll the dice and let the RNG gods determine your reward, padding the game’s coffers all the while.
The gambling references aren’t accidental; one expert calls lootboxes a “poker machine-like experience,” while another points to the phenomenon as an exploitation of human nature:
This week, one H1Z1 team is sitting pretty on a pile of $180,000 and fame, thanks to winning the televised H1Z1: Fight for the Crown tournament this past weekend.
Obey Alliance beat out 14 other teams in a brutal deathmatch that was aired on The CW network. The team didn’t just win but dominated, surviving the match with no players killed and slaughtering nine other players in turn. (Fun fact: Eleven players were killed not by other participants but by the toxic gas that is a constant threat in H1Z1’s PvP battlefields.) The top five teams got to split the $300,000 prize pool, while the other 10 teams got to say, “We were there.”
PC Gamer has an interesting look at behind-the-scenes of the tournament, saying that the end result was a mixed bag: “Not everything worked well on TV. Long-distance firefights mostly looked like players hopping around and shooting at near-invisible specks on the screen […] Perhaps H1Z1 isn’t the perfect esport for television, but it was a good show: energetic, exciting at times and silly at others, and edited deftly enough that I didn’t stare at the words 75 REMAIN for the first twenty minutes.”
In honor of the launch of Star Trek Online
‘s season 12 Reckoning for console, PWE
has granted Massively OP five Tier 6 Tal Shiar Adapted Battlecruisers to raffle to our readers!
The Tier 6 Khlinae-class battlecruiser is one of the many ships used to great effect by the Tal Shiar. It utilizes an insidious variant of Borg technology to subvert the weaponry of an enemy vessel – the Enhanced Indoctrination Nanite Dispersal System. This starship features a Lieutenant Tactical/Intel bridge officer station and a Lieutenant Commander Science/Command bridge officer station.
Read on to enter to win!
As we reported back in February, long-time ArenaNet artist Daniel Dociu left the studio after many years of helping to shape the distinctive visual style of the Guild Wars franchise. The baton of art director was passed down to his son Horia, who has worked off and on with studio since 2003.
Horia Dociu sat down with Rock Paper Shotgun for an interview last Friday to talk about the challenge of succeeding his father. “I think we share a lot of ideas,” he said. “It’s easy to say that I learned it all from him, but the truth is, I learned from seeing his methods work over the years […] I certainly am not trying to fill my dad’s shoes. That’s the first thing I had to tell myself — it’s impossible to be someone else, so just be yourself.”
Dociu said that under his direction, Guild Wars 2 will not be stagnant but will innovate and embrace “constant change” as it always has without ruining the foundation that’s been built: “I love the world of Guild Wars, and it’d be equally a crime for me to force a change in it arbitrarily as it would be for me to try and rehash anything we’ve done before. ”
At least we’re finally thought the story. While we walk through a review of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
in its totality, we’ve taken three weeks covering all of the various stories within the expansion, as well as touching upon a bit of the class design in the last part. Parts one
, and three
cover everything from the main scenario to some of the zone side stories. And now we can move on to the mechanical side of things enthusiastically.
Also, we’re reaching the point where I know I’m going to forget to mention at least one or two things that were really keen from the expansion, but that’s a different discussion.
In terms of sheer volume, of course, Heavensward nearly matched what we got from the base game in terms of patches, and arguably surpassed it in some categories; sure, we only got 10 dungeons from patches rather than 15, but if you didn’t have any interest in Coil in 2.x, you got the entirety of Alexander, which was new. But volume alone isn’t the determinant of how good that content was. So let’s start in on that, albeit not with the dungeons.
Remember back in February when Milwaukee County in Wisconsin tried to handle the whole “Pokemon Go players are destroying parks and costing municipalities cash money to repair them” ordeal by requiring game developers, including Niantic, to acquire permits before implementing games within the park?
Agumented reality developer Candy Lab AR (of Texas Rope’ Em fame) plans to fight that ordinance. The studio has filed a lawsuit against the county in the US district court for Eastern Wisconsin, alleging that the ordinance violates and restricts the company’s “right to free speech” via regulation, is “unconstitutionally vague,” and holds companies legally and financially responsible for the actions of players on park lands, the last of which Candy Lab says would be “financially prohibitive.”
The county created the ordinance following destruction to the park by Pokemon Go players last year; it appears to require ARG devs to follow the same rules as geocachers when developing game nodes within the park. That boils down to purchasing a permit and carrying $1,000,000 in liability insurance for damages resulting from its players’ park use.
One of the best parts of Wurm Online’s Unlimited version is that players can run wild with their own custom servers, tailoring them to their every whim. That’s exactly what MMO gamer and Ubisoft artist Andrea “Malena” Fryer has done: She’s combined two of the best MMORPG sandboxes of all time into one by recreating the Ultima Online map in Wurm.
“The most nostalgic MMO players I know (myself included) are old Ultima Online players,” Malena began on the Wurm forums earlier in April. “So I’ve named the server accordingly and will do my very best to set it up, build and decorate just like good old UO. When the day comes that it’s ready to be made public, I hope you’ll share a little moistness in your eye, remembering back to the good old days in the lands of Sosaria!”
The project’s even won the admiration of former Ultima Online lead designer Raph “Designer Dragon” Koster.
Is there a Blizzard franchise you want to carry around in your pocket? Obviously, you can already play Hearthstone on your phone, but perhaps you’d like to play a version of Overwatch where you’re tracking down and shooting Omnics in the real world, or perhaps a version of Diablo allowing cross-client progression. Whatever the case may be, we don’t know that another mobile title is on the way, but considering the company is hiring for a new mobile software engineer, it seems likely.
While it’s unlikely to be a completely new title, there have been rumblings for a while that either Overwatch or StarCraft would lend themselves to mobile offerings. That could mean it’s one of those two, or it could be another crossover property like Heroes of the Storm. Or even a mobile port of the original StarCraft (stranger things have happened). It’s all speculative at the moment, but if you enjoy playing on your phone, it’s all positive speculation.
If you’re playing on the North American data centers for Final Fantasy XIV
, you’ve been given ample warning that the centers are moving. That’s not a surprise. Similarly, you probably knew that the move would impact your play time. The dates are in now
, and you can see exactly
when your play time will be impacted. The Aether data center (also known as “the one everyone is on because of Balmung and Gilgamesh”) and the Primal center will be moving from May 15th to May 17th, while Gaia, Chaos, Mana, and Elemental centers are moving from the 16th to the 17th.
Obviously, the game will be unavailable to play on those worlds during the maintenance, so all player subscriptions will be extended by one day due to the extended maintenance cycle. So you can’t play, but you won’t have to lose paid time. You will, of course, lose the time that otherwise would be spent earning whatever, but there aren’t exactly many weekly lockouts left at this point. And you’ll still have a month before the expansion launch.
Over the last week or so, ZeniMax Online Studios opened up parts of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind test servers to the press and public, allowing us to hop in and take a long and unfettered look at the developing expansion. In fact, that’s why I shied away from saying anything about the Elder Scrolls Online patch notes controversy — I’ve been buried in the real thing all week. Although I can now talk about the negative, I can also finally talk about the positive bits Morrowind has to offer.
I want to be fair about my analysis of ZOS’ depiction of the island of Vvardenfell and the Dark Elf culture, so I will have to put aside some of my nostalgic feels and take the experience for what it is: a solid entertaining MMORPG with a handful of flaws. I’m not going to pull any punches, but I should let you know that I really like this next chapter for ESO.
I’m not going to give everything away, but there is an interesting story involving a god, a priest, and a giant crab.
Last week, Valve announced that in order to compete in ranked play, Dota 2 players will be required to register a unique phone number.
“Players using multiple accounts create a negative matchmaking experience at all skill brackets, so our goal is to add just enough friction to this process that the number of players doing this will be noticeably reduced,” Valve wrote. “Having more players using their primary accounts will have a positive effect on both Ranked and Unranked Matchmaking.”
Security-conscious players are probably thinking “RealID” right now, while others are thinking that they’re getting off easy if all they need do is pay a few bucks for a number — at least no one has to cough up social security numbers to play video games. Yet.
Is this a good idea on Valve’s part? And more importantly, will it work?
(With thanks to Joseph!)
Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
This week, MMORPG players saw three major releases: Star Wars The Old Republic’s War for Iokath, Lord of the Ring’s Online’s anniversary update, and the arrival of a slimmed-down and isolated Marvel Heroes on PlayStation 4. Meanwhile, Funcom is full steam ahead on a spring release for Secret World Legends, in spite of mounting criticism.
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.