Destiny 2 makes it look like experience requirements for engrams had increased, Bungie apologizes

Let’s just start with the good news here: Destiny 2 actually didn’t screw over players by pretending it had reduced experience gains while actually increasing requirements this time! That’s what appeared to have happened, and that’s what players were initially up in arms about; it looked at a glance like the XP requirements for Bright Engrams had gone up to 240,000 instead of being reduced to 120,000. But it turns out that this was an error with the API and one that was relatively quickly fixed.

The official response also contains an apology for the display issue and an admission that really, no one could be blamed for assuming that Bungie secretly increased requirements while claiming otherwise.

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Paladins tests a new card system that attracts cries of pay-to-win

Let’s review. Paladins, as it stands now, has a system wherein characters get cards that can be used to power up playable characters. You craft them or get them from loot chests. The game’s latest patch removes that restriction entirely, giving every player access to every card in the game. So far, so good. Except those cards also need to be ranked up from rank I to rank V, with rank V being the most powerful, and every card players already own will automatically be ranked at III.

How do you rank cards up? Why, by getting duplicates of the same card. Except the crafting currency is also going away, so the only way to get a rank up is by pulling the same card from (all together now) lockboxes. Needless to say, players have already cried foul on this system, claiming that it unfairly forces people into paying without actually improving the game experience. There’s a whole video down below on just how bad the math works out for players; it’s worth a watch.

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EVE Valkyrie will be getting loot boxes

There’s really no two ways about this particular tidbit of news. CCP is adding loot boxes to EVE Valkyrie, according to a recent interview. The boxes are expected to drop about every two battles on average, with each box containing random items including cosmetic items and experience boosters. If all of that sounds like exactly what you would expect from the statement “CCP is adding loot boxes EVE Valkyrie,” well, you’ve done this dance a few times.

There’s no word at this point about said boxes being added to a microtransaction store, but all things considered you can probably mark it as highly likely at the very least. You can also get at least one box for completing the in-game tutorial, so that’s added motivation to learn how to fly your craft. Those of you who went into a spontaneous rage-seizure upon seeing the term “loot boxes,” of course, can jump straight to the comments.

Gosh, you don’t think this might be tied to making the game no longer require a VR headset, could it?

Source: PCgamesN


Blade and Soul’s newest patch revamps class progression and adds new regions to explore

The latest big patch for Blade & Soul has arrived, and it brings with it some major changes. Class trees and skill points, for example, are gone altogether. In the place of this progression system is a new one that’s meant to be more intuitive and streamlined. There are also new Hongmoon levels available, and you can earn them while exploring the new Celestial Basin region, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide for yourself if the changes are really a marked improvement or not.

The patch also adds two new dungeons, the depths of Naryu Sanctum and the heights of Mushin’s Tower for groups and solo players, respectively. There are also overhauls to items and the upgrade material system. Check out the full set of patch notes for more details on the changes, which are substantial; it’s going to make leveling a very different experience, but it looks like you’ll have plenty of extra stuff to do while leveling.


EverQuest II shows off the Ascension classes for Kunark Ascending

When EverQuest II’s next expansion hits, players are going to be progressing through an entirely new set of classes. The new Ascension classes are previewed in the newest update, with each one starting off by allowing players to shift into a powerful form that converts ability damage to a specific elemental form. Elementalists radiate cold, Etherealists bring out magic damage, Geomancers utilize crushing damage, and Thaumaturges convert ability damage to disease.

But that’s not hardly all that the new classes offer as players progress through the four of them; it’s just that other abilities are gated by making use of scrolls. Using a scroll allows players to earn experience for an Ascension class, but only a certain amount of experience. A new scroll is available daily, but players can stockpile the scrolls if they wish. This content is only available to max-level players, but it should provide another means of advancement and new options for players as they move through the newest expansion.


The Daily Grind: How should long-running MMOs help new players catch up?

Expansions for MMOs are really made for the veteran player. A bump of the level cap from 60 to 70 seems reasonable if you’re already at level 60, especially if you’re already there with multiple characters and/or classes. But it also means that a new player is going to have to climb even further to get to the accepted endgame. That’s not even counting the fact that veteran players probably have a certain degree of familiarity with systems that new players won’t have; making the game more complex is going to come off very differently for veterans compared to new players.

In short, your game needs to offer ways for newer players to catch up to veterans. Some games do this by just wholly resetting the game with each expansion; with a free level boost to the cap in World of Warcraft‘s expansions, a new player can jump in fresh and get an idea of what the game is like right off of the bat. Others, like Final Fantasy XIV, use a multi-tiered approach to make sure that leveling content is still populated and there are resources to help direct newer players. Even games like EVE Online do their best to help new players know how to get into the game and figure out what’s going on. So how should long-running MMOs help new players catch up? Are level boosts the right answer? Keeping the leveling process relevant for everyone at all times? What’s the best way to make sure a new player feels capable of eventually reaching the top end?

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The Daily Grind: What MMOs did you like more when you started than later on?

When I first started playing Warhammer Online as part of Choose My Adventure ages ago, I had a lot of fun. Until I leveled out of the unlimited free trial, anyway. That’s when the game went from a series of pitched PvP battles to being nothing more than a series of mobs roaming about, cycling through fixed PvP battlefields but never actually fighting over them, leveling and farming points without the slightest inclination to actually battle over stuff. It pretty well killed my enjoyment of the game.

Really, that wasn’t entirely the fault of the game itself; the population was low enough that it was a viable strategy and people had just settled upon it. But I think there are other games that introduce themselves well but start to lose their luster quite quickly. Personally, I had more fun starting in RIFT and Allods Online than I did in continuing. So I ask you, dear readers: What MMOs have you liked more when you started than when you advanced? Which titles made a great first impression that faded as you climbed in proficiency?

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The Daily Grind: What do you collect in MMOs?

At its heart, every single MMO is a game about collecting things. Most games have a number of very obvious things to collect; collect the best gear in World of Warcraft, collect money in ArcheAge, collect AP in The Secret World. There are usually optional extra things to collect, as well, like different equipment looks in Guild Wars 2 or extra max-level classes in Final Fantasy XI. With a broad enough definition of “collecting,” you really can look at every single MMO as the art of collecting more of something, as long as “something” includes “experience” or “skill points” or the like.

But there’s nothing forcing you to just work with what the game tells you to collect. You could collect mounts in Final Fantasy XIV. You could collect pets in WildStar. You could collect account-wide unlocks in Star Wars: The Old Republic. You could even go completely off the wall and collect weapons, or collect friend list entries, or collect vendor trash that you find amusing. (I actually usually collect a few pieces of otherwise useless memorabilia in any given game, myself.) What about you? What do you collect in MMOs? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever tried to collect?

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Battleborn patches in premium skins and currency

Quick question: What does Overwatch have that Battleborn doesn’t? If you answered “Winston,” you are correct, but that’s not the point. If you answered “players,” your snark is appreciated, but that’s still not the point. If you answered “the option to pay money for skins and taunts,” you are correct, but you won’t be correct after the June 16th patch adds in a premium currency that can be bought for real money and exchanged for skins and taunts.

The new skins are more than just the color swap variety and cost 420 Platinum, while taunts cost 230 Platinum. Platinum cannot be earned through gameplay, only bought; 230 Platinum costs $1.99, while 700 Platinum costs $4.99. There’s no random element to the unlocks, just the cost of the individual items; whether that’s a net positive or a drawback for you is left for you to decide.

Source: Kotaku


Skyforge’s next major update makes sweeping changes to the Resistance system

Knowledge may or may not be power in the real world, but it’s certainly a powerful part of Skyforge in the next major update. The game is overhauling its Resistance system with the addition of Knowledge, allowing player to use the remnants of Invasions as a chance to learn more about the enemies facing the players. It’s a bit convoluted at a glance, but it ultimately means that it’s easier for newer players to catch up and get involved with more content.

Players will now have a new Laboratory interface to make use of Invasion spoils as part of research; successful research takes 24 hours, offers various rewards along the way, and ultimately enables players to unlock more dangerous Invasions. This is also tied into the Invasion Atlas system, so players can unlock more potent bonuses against specific enemy groups and become that much more capable when fighting back. This means that knowledge in Skyforge will soon translate very directly to power.


Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s crafting and gathering endgame in Heavensward

Crafting and gathering has never been a primary goal of mine in Final Fantasy XIV so much as a secondary one. It’s something extra to do, but it’s also a lot of fun, and the fact that it has a bunch of gameplay all to itself makes it even more satisfying. So my first goal wasn’t to get a crafting or gathering class up to the cap, but now that I’ve gotten some combat classes up there my eyes have turned to the cycle of acquiring materials and the like.

Also because I need to make money, of course, because who doesn’t like making money?

Heavensward brought a pretty major revision to the way that the endgame for both crafting and gathering by adding in collectables, which brings with it a new way of gating advancement and doling out gear in smaller doses. That means good things and bad, and it’s worth examining what the endgame was like for crafting in gathering in 2.0 compared to its current state, the good and the bad.

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WoW Factor: The WoW token and the upcoming patch

Since the last edition of WoW Factor, two big things hit World of Warcraft in quick succession. The first is that the much-discussed WoW Token finally went live, meaning that anyone who wants to buy gold legitimately or buy subscription time for gold has an option to do so. The second is that patch 6.2 hit the test server, and unlike the rather anemic patch 6.1, it promises to have a bunch of stuff for players to digest and enjoy.

It doesn’t have flying, but then, we just had that discussion.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so it’s best to start from the oldest point and work our way forward, and that means the token. On the one hand, tokens represent a big shift away from how the game has always operated, but at the same time it’s also a fairly minor shift in the grand scheme of things. And if you had the gold to afford one, you’re even helping the game’s somewhat stymied economy.

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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]