balance

Blade & Soul is revamping crafting in the Rise of the Gunslinger patch

What are you expecting for Blade & Soul’s Rise of the Gunslinger patch? Probably mostly gunslinging, possibly a strained Stephen King reference or two? But the patch has more than just guns and the slinging thereof, as you’ll also have the option of jumping in with a new set of crafting revamps. Players will be able to have three tasks for each guild and be able to reach level five for each guild, complete with several streamlined recipes alongside many new ones.

This also goes hand-in-hand with removing the gathering guilds from the game and making gathering a more direct task. Quartz and Spring Water are also being removed from the game to further streamline matters. If you’re uninterested in all of that and just want to sling some guns, don’t worry, there’s a collection of additional gunslinging-related screenshots just below. It’s almost like a craft.

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Neverwinter is going to refine the art of refinement

Are you a fan of Neverwinter’s current system of refinement? The developers certainly aren’t, which is why the system is being massively overhauled from top to bottom and streamlined. No more doubled refinement weekends, no more managing a huge system of items in your inventory just to manage what you’ll need for refinement, no more making Bonding the be-all and end-all of refinement. Now the system will use one unified currency, the item requirements have been vastly reduced, and doubled refinement weekends are going away forever.

The complete list of mechanical changes can be looked at here, as well. Player feedback has already brought up that this might impact the ability of players to really manage alts as well as the amount of bank space many players bought just to keep up with refinement; the changes to Bonding having less overall uptime have also been sharply negative. Of course, none of these changes is live yet, so you can feel free to join in the feedback thread to voice your own opinions.

Source: Refining Refinement, Technical data, feedback thread; thanks to Jon for the tip!

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Kritika Online patches Starhenge adjustments and Green Leaf damage decreases

Sometimes you go a bit too far. It happens. Kritika Online made some changes to Starhenge with its last patch to make the content harder on a whole, but those difficulty increases wound up overshooting the mark. By a lot, unfortunately. But it’s easy to fix that; the most recent patch for the game has dropped boss shield gauges, increased rewards, and reduced the challenge across the board in Easy, Normal, and Hard modes. Insanity mode will remain where it is, but for most players this makes the content much more forgiving.

Meanwhile, the game’s Green Leaf weapons also turned out to be tuned a bit too high, allowing players to clear Arena content faster and more reliably than planned. No punishment is going out to players who used the weapons, as it wasn’t the fault of players, but the weapons have been adjusted to the correct level. Check out the full list of patch notes for the fine details.

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Wisdom of Nym: The numbers game in Final Fantasy XIV

It’s not really hard to figure out the best stats for melding in order to do the maximum damage in Final Fantasy XIV. You have, ultimately, only a few real options, and with the removal of Accuracy as an option, none of them is actually going to make or break important points. The problem is that asking “what can I meld to do maximum damage” is perhaps not always the right question to ask.

The matter of stat weights and best-in-slot gear has already been attracting ferocious debate in various parts of the community, and you know the debate has gotten to a fever pitch when Yoshida actually addresses one of the stupider new customs in a live letter. (That would be tanks wearing 270 STR accessories, for the record.) So I think it’s well past the point to talk about the issue of tank damage, tank scaling, and numbers in general. They may not carry the allure of story sequences, but they’re still important.

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Final Fantasy XIV details some of the balance changes coming to the game on Tuesday

The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV arrives tomorrow, and everyone who has been following the game knows that it’s bringing the new weekly Allagan Tomestones of Creation into the game. But it’s also bringing some other stuff in the form of balance adjustments, something detailed in the most recent Letter from the Producer LIVE with producer (and director!) Naoki Yoshida. All healing jobs are seeing some adjustments, with Scholar singled out for some far-ranging changes like reworks to Excogitation and Indomitability and the re-introduction of Miasma II.

Yoshida also discussed changes coming to tank jobs, Black Mage, Machinist, and Dragoon. He also discussed some of the game’s upcoming content, such as plans to implement a new Alliance Raid roulette for content such as Crystal Tower and Void Ark and new separations of congested areas in the open world. You can check out the full letter for more hints about the future, but you can also just wait until tomorrow; a lot of this will be in patch 4.05, after all.

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EVE Evolved: The controversy over EVE Online’s capital ship nerfs

EVE Online players have been up in arms this week over sweeping nerfs that are about to hit to high-end farming gameplay styles in the player-owned nullsec territories. It started when CCP Games announced that the Excavator drones used by Rorqual capital industrial ships would be getting a sizeable mining yield reduction and that a respawn delay would be added to ore sites in nullsec. As players were still reeling from that unexpected news, developers then announced a surprise general nerf to fighter damage with the goal of making carriers and supercarriers less effective in PvE and PvP. This significant balance change was just announced on Friday 9th June and goes live on Tuesday 13th, prompting outcry from the community over the lack of feedback-gathering on such a significant change to capital ship balance.

These nerfs both seem to be reactions to the latest few Monthly Economic Reports, which showed that the total money supply in the game economy is over a quadrillion ISK and rising rapidly. The detailed breakdowns of economic activity in the reports tell a more complex story, with ISK supply from bounty prizes roughly doubling over the past year and mining in the Delve region shooting off the scale in the past few months. It seems that a large number of nullsec players are spending more time farming and building up resources, and it’s the scale and efficiency of the top-tier farming setups that has CCP worried.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss the upcoming Rorqual and fighter nerfs, look at the economics of farming, and explain why this trend could be a more serious indicator than CCP realises.

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Wisdom of Nym: Words of caution about speculating on Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood’s balance

Whew. All right. Last week had a big old release of news about Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, and now I’m far more relaxed because I can actually talk about all of the things I saw. This has been gnawing at me since I got back from San Francisco, and while there’s a certain amount of fun in knowing things other people don’t, it’s much more fun to talk about how utterly cool pretty much everything looks. Even the jobs which I’m not specifically more excited about look like they’re getting lots of cool toys along the way.

Unfortunately, we’ve already started seeing people crying that the sky is falling and that Stormblood will be the worst thing ever, because now we know about the abilities. And… yeah, that’s downright bad.

Look, you all know how much I love speculating about things. I speculated about which abilities various jobs were losing or getting compressed (and wound up at about 65% accuracy, which I think is pretty good), I’ve speculated about what we’d hear at the various fanfests, I’ve speculated about jobs we’re likely never to get. But there’s good speculation and bad speculation, and your speculation about what the jobs will look like in terms of performance at 70 right now? It’s bad. Let’s talk about why.

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Shroud of the Avatar unveils its patch notes for release 42

The end is coming to Shroud of the Avatar. The next patch for the game, release 42, allows players who have succeeded at the quests for the paths of Love, Courage, and Truth to begin walking the Path of the Oracle. This is the culmination of the game’s storyline, so if you’ve been waiting to see how it’s all going to turn out, the next patch is your time to shine.

Of course, there’s a lot more in the patch than just that. Players who are just getting into the game can enjoy more polish passes on the new player experience, for example, and players of any experience level can enjoy the new combat balance changes to make the game a bit more balanced and fun. There’s also the in-game mail system and improvements to enemy AI, so no matter where you are with the story, you’ll find something to do. It’s just worth noting that the people waiting to see the Oracle are finally going to get their payoff.

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Gigantic discusses upcoming polish and balance changes in open beta

The development of Gigantic has moved on to the stage of polishing and refining the content already in the game, which is a good thing for players. The latest official set of community answers focuses on exactly that, dealing with the balance and quality-of-life changes planned for the game’s open beta testing. Matchmaking issues are still being investigated and worked on, and players can expect at least one more major update during this test phase to address balance and bugs.

New voiceover lines for certain characters are also being added, and players can expect to see those as well as integrated voice chat in the relatively near future following internal testing. There are also plans to show more numbers in the future to help with theorycrafting, although those numbers are unlikely to show up in the next couple of builds. Check out the full rundown for all of the information you could want about the process of making the game polish up and shine nicely.

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Gigantic talks about player disconnection and player abandonment

It sucks when you get into a match in Gigantic, you get ready for the thrill of competition… and then two of your teammates just leave. What do you do? Do you stick out the fight, knowing full well that you’re likely to lose because you’re undermanned now? Or do you throw the match as well, falling into exactly the same trap as the people who just abandoned the match? It’s a complex situation, and it’s one Motiga explains is a very real but tricky problem to solve in the latest weekly dispatch.

The overall goal is for players to find it more rewarding to stay in matches, less rewarding to leave the match, and less penalizing for people who stick it out after other players jump ship. That’s a set of changes starting with the idea of a “safe to leave” flag, a point when players can leave the match once it’s clear that the outcome is all but decided… which, in turn, discourages players from jumping ship at the first sign of trouble. Combined with the team’s ongoing efforts to tackle major server issues, players should increasingly find it easy to get in and play matches which they intend to get in and play… and stick out to the end.

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Greg Street discusses balancing League of Legends for all skill levels

How do you balance a video game? It’s kind of an ongoing question, but it’s also one that Greg Street (aka Ghostcrawler) has been answering for years with work on both World of Warcraft and League of Legends. He gave a panel on exactly that topic for League of Legends at this year’s GDC, and you can now watch that hour-long talk in the video just past the break. And it’s a worthwhile topic from the start because he’s talking about balancing not for the best players or the worst, but for everyone.

This is important; balancing for new and inexperienced players only produces a game that doesn’t have the depth needed for long-term play, while balancing solely for veterans creates a game that’s impenetrable for newcomers. So how do you make a game that’s fun for people getting into the genre for the first time as well as people who eat, sleep, jungle, and repeat? Check out the video below (courtesy of Gamasutra) for one possible answer.

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EVE Evolved: Video highlights from EVE Fanfest 2017

For a few days each year, hundreds of EVE Online players from across the world flock to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the annual EVE Fanfest. I was on the ground at EVE Fanfest 2017 last week in sunny Reykjavik to get the latest on what’s ahead for EVE and CCP’s other titles, and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience. We learned all about CCP’s amazing plans to roll out adaptive AI-driven PvE across the game world, talked to players and developers, and heard about the next stage of Project Discovery that will let players search for real exoplanets in space.

We also got hands-on with CCP’s immersive VR sport game Sparc, looked at Valkyrie‘s new Groundrush game mode that has players fighting inside huge structures on a planet’s surface, and confirmed that DUST 514 successor Project Nova is still in development. There were talks at Fanfest that we just didn’t get a chance to go to, and others that really have to be seen first-hand. Thankfully, CCP has recorded most of the event and has begun uploading talks to the EVE Online YouTube channel.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I’ll be running down some of the highlights of the official videos from EVE Fanfest 2017 for those who missed the event.

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