balance

EVE Online’s Carnyx update goes live on June 2nd

Players excited for the Sovereignty overhaul coming to EVE Online need only wait a couple of days more before it rolls onto the live servers. The Carnyx update goes live on June 2nd, with an extended downtime that starts at 7:00 a.m. EDT and runs until 8:45 a.m. EDT. This brings the first stage of the Sovereignty overhaul, with changes to defense multipliers, vulnerability timers, and station services.

The update also brings with it several other balance improvements and system tweaks, including new UI icons and a new lineup of ship skins in the New Eden Store. Add in a new Caldari tactical destroyer, the Jackdaw, and you have a pretty full update for everyone. Check out the full patch notes to get all of the details ahead of maintenance.

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Land of Britain devs explain levels, discuss balance, and use the word concatenated in a sentence

If you’re curious about the mechanics behind the Unreal-powered fantasy MMO Land of Britain, look no further than the game’s latest website post that covers levels, styles, and the balance system.

Level 1 through 24 of the upcoming title allow players to learn the game mechanics without having to worry much about character development choices, whereas levels 25 to 50 will see the player evolving styles that he’s already learned. From level 21 to 50, players will earn one balance point per level, which may be distributed among four available balance branches: attack, defense, counterattack, and utilities.

Potato Killer Studios promises to delve further into the balance mechanics in an upcoming dev diary.

Source: Levels, styles, and the balance system

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV is ready to expand

There’s a phrase that gets passed around my house frequently these days, and the phrase is “expansion mode.” I have two characters locked into it in Final Fantasy XIV. My wife has one. Our constant companion has one. I suspect many of my readers have at least one, possibly more. This is a bit upsetting because you get to that point only if you’re a pretty big fan of Final Fantasy XIV, but it sort of shuts down your prospect of playing the game for a while.

Expansion mode is that state where your character is as ready for the expansion as you care to be. Sure, you could run more dungeons in theory, clear another piece of content or two… but what’s the point? You’re not trying to catch up. You can get into Ishgard. You are, for all intents and purposes, done with the majority of the game as it stands now. That means that by definition you are not the person that the last incremental patch is designed to address.

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Neverwinter outlines new and upcoming changes

When lead designer Scott Shicoff took point on Neverwinter, his first dispatch to the community was a statement that he and the rest of the team would be looking into the game’s balance issues and bugs to improve the game experience right away. A new development diary on the official site outlines exactly what’s been done so far and what’s changing in the immediate future, starting with a multitude of bug fixes so that all player skills are working as intended rather than being too strong or too weak.

Future changes include limiting the Tiamat fight to players with higher item levels (which he points out will lock some players out, but lower gear meant you were unlikely to succeed regardless), adding in a variety of new campaign rewards, and making Elemental Evil quests less irritating. Experience gains are also on deck to be rebalanced. Take a look at the full list of present and future changes in the official posting.

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Final Fantasy XIV nerfs the Steps of Faith in 2.57 patch

Are you stuck on the last part of Final Fantasy XIV‘s main scenario quest? The last trial introduced, Steps of Faith, is a pretty decisive coordination check with very little margin for error. So a bit more margin is being introduced in the game’s most recent patch, which also adds new music for the various Primal ponies and increases the Echo strength in the Final Coil of Bahamut.

None of the changes made to Steps of Faith has any bearing on the trial’s mechanics; however, Vishap and his attendant dragons all have less health, damage dealt by Underfoot and exploding cannon is reduced, and some enemies will deal less damage altogether. It won’t make the trial a simple matter to clear, but it will make clearing it far less demanding than before.

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Neverwinter’s new lead designer takes a ‘hard look’ at Elemental Evil

Neverwinter‘s Elemental Evil update had some issues that extend beyond some ill-distributed reward codes. A letter to the community from new lead designer Scott Shicoff outright says that mistakes were made; the design team’s goal is to take a hard look at the update and determine what was done well and what needs improvement. This includes experience gains, overall difficulty, hourly quests, invocation, zone re-use, removed dungeons… the list goes on.

Shicoff stresses that he’s still investigating the issues and determining an action plan, but the game’s next weekly update will start out by reducing the experience gained in the campaign areas of the last update, Tyranny of Dragons, so that it’s more in line with other areas. The letter ends with an apology and a request for more player feedback; while it’s obviously not an update that everyone at Cryptic is content and happy with, the team wants to fix mistakes as efficiently as possible.

[Source: Looking into Elemental Evil]

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The Soapbox: The trap of the I-win button

This guest Soapbox was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign and is authored by a longtime reader named Syndar. The opinions here represent the views of our guest author and not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!

Everyone grows up knowing that it is more fun to win at whatever we’re doing than to lose, and so it goes in the gaming industry too. No matter what genre of games we play online or offline, we want to be the winner, some of us by any means or method. And so some people look for the easiest way to win.

The superficial point of games on the whole may be simple enjoyment, but those who look beneath seek to figure out the mechanics and maximize their performance too. In MMORPGs, that means sorting out how best to charge onward to the endgame or how to defeat the enemy. As online games evolve through their life cycle, we hear players complain that their class is not competitive because of some other class, and so all too often, developers fall into an impossible balancing patch cycle, making more and more corrective adjustments as the classes take turns at the top of the “overpowered” pile. As ridiculous as it seems, we’re hardly happy until we have that magical I-win button, and without adequate testing, that’s exactly what the developers deliver to us.

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Massively Overthinking: Crowd control in MMORPGs

Today’s Kickstarter-begotten Massively Overthinking question arrives from donor Ravenwynd, who writes,

I love control type characters in mmos. City of Heroes’ Mind Controller could lock down entire groups; EverQuest Enchanters mezzed and controlled entire groups and trains. But as devs have added PvP and tried to balance classes in their games across the genre, it seems this playstyle has gone away. You can’t have long control powers as the PvP has to be quicker, so the control powers are super short. Given the hassles of trying to balance classes for both PvP and PvE (and the nerfs to one side when balancing the other), do you think more games/studios should strive for trying to do one or the other to their best ability versus engaging in that constant balance fight?

I polled the MOP staffers for their opinions on Ravenwynd’s topic.

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EverQuest II is testing class balance updates

EverQuest II‘s latest producer’s letter is a bit lower key than previous entries, perhaps, but no less vital for it. The letter outlines new class balance changes that are being tested for Fighters, Summoners, and Scouts. High-priority issues have been lingering for all three classes for some time, so all three are due for revamps that will make them more useful and fun to play.

Scouts and Fighters should both see DPS increases, while defensive armor for Fighters is being refined so that using the class abilities and cooldowns feels more meaningful. Summoners, meanwhile, are going to benefit from a revamped pet AI and several long-requested UI features to make tracking pets that much easier. While players aren’t invited into the testing yet, these changes should be coming as part of a larger update which will be detailed soon; EQII fans should keep their eyes peeled.

[Source: Producer’s letter]

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EVE Online launches the Tiamat update

The face of war is changing in EVE Online with the Tiamat update, and not just because of the introduction of a mysterious new faction known as the Drifters. Players will have to deal with a new Tech 3 destroyer capable of transforming into three modes with an eye toward projectile weapons, which comes along with a rebalancing and improvement of projectile weapons in general. The rebalancing should provide more diversity and quality in fittings, making the weapons more appealing and allowing more specialization.

Players can also deal with CONCORD interactions in corporate warfare with the new update, which improves management tools while also allowing “friendly fire” incidents to be considered legal. Top that off with a variety of visual and audio improvements and players will have plenty of new potential threats and advantages to keep in mind when gliding through the depths of space. If you’d rather see the update bullet points explained by the developers, you can check out a video doing just that past the break.

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