Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which I attempt to resolve all of your guild-related issues with the help of the Massively Overpowered commenter community. This time, reader Sol has asked for help in bringing some sibling conflict to an end in his guild: He is an officer who is at the mercy of the two guild leaders, who happen to be sisters who seem to disagree on most guild leading decisions. Sol is frequently asked to arbitrate the disputes and frequently ends up in the firing line himself as a result, and adding to this is the knock-on effect their rather public arguments are having on guild membership levels. Sol is torn: Should he keep on trying to make peace between the sisters, or should he move on to pastures new in the hopes of finding a more comfortable in-game home?
Check out his full submission and my advice on the matter below, and don’t forget to add your thoughts on the topic in the comments.
Brendan’s discussion with CCP Falcon at EVE Fanfest last week included an interesting chat about out-of-game harassment and whether gaming companies had an obligation to do something about it. Falcon said it wasn’t healthy for a studio to “overstep” its “jurisdiction”: “I think our jurisdiction likes firmly within EVE Online, and I think that of people do break the few rules that we have then we should come down hard on them, especially in cases of harassment or real life threats.”
But over the years, we’ve covered multiple MMO studios who’ve made it their business to utilize content like Tweets and YouTube videos – Blizzard and SOE/Daybreak come immediately to mind – to make disciplinary calls inside their games. And that leads me to today’s Overthinking, proposed by MOP reader Sally: “What is your opinion on in-game vs. public out of game toxicity?” she asks.
just gone on a purge of potential cheaters
in Guild Wars 2
“Yesterday we suspended 1,583 accounts for a period of 6 months,” Gaile Gray wrote on the forums. “1516 accounts were suspended because we detected that the accounts were running Guild Wars 2 at the same time as one or more of the following programs over a significant number of hours during a multi-week period earlier this year. We targeted programs that allow players to cheat and gain unfair gameplay advantages, even if those programs have other, more benign uses.” Those programs included CheatEngine, Nabster, GW2MHRexe, UNF, and MMOMINION.
The upset in the community, of course, is that the banned players didn’t necessarily use the programs in conjunction with the game. So not only does ArenaNet acknowledge that the programs it banned for have innocent uses, but it also admits that it doesn’t actually know whether the banned players used them in GW2.
Of course, to know what it does know, ArenaNet apparently stealth-installed de facto spyware as part of its early March update. A Redditor named fwosar, who happens to be a skilled at software reverse engineering, dug into the files to figure out how ArenaNet did it.
Still arr-ing and ahoy-matey-ing and avast-ye-ing in Sea of Thieves? Today’s patch… well, it’s a wee one. Rare says it’s fixed a bunch of bugs, including the install bug, the “falling through the boat” bug, the matchmaking lockup, and the bounty captain spawn bug. You also can’t screw up mermaid teleporting anymore. And as for the ongoing griefing?
“When a ship sinks, we have significantly increased the distance at which the crews new ship will respawn. Ships will now respawn outside of visible view of the ship that sank them. This is in response to lots of player feedback which highlighted that the previous spawn distance was resulting in ‘griefing’ behaviour and stalemates at the forts!”
The studio does note it’s still aware of character customization borkups, delayed achievements, weapon equip issues, and DLC display problems.
News of over 30 gaming companies taking a united stand against unfairness and toxicity in online game communities sprung out of GDC 2018 a few days ago, with some rather surprising company names making the list of those involved. The issue of toxic behaviour is a tough nut to crack, and these companies believe that the best way to tackle the issue is by pooling research and resources to share knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting and complex idea that has got me thinking, so I just had to take up an issue of MMO Mechanics to discuss the potential implications for MMOs and near-MMOs.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll look at the mission of the Fair Play Alliance, discuss the ground they’ve covered so far, explore a case study of how toxicity affects one involved MMO developer, and then will give my thoughts on mechanical rollouts that could be employed to help smash toxicity.
The last time we heard from the team behind Eternal Crusade, there were some vague plans of stuff to be done about a battle royale mode and ambiguities with the game’s lead designer. Now, though, there is an update in the works and it should probably be out later this month. The notification of same mentions multiple times that the developers are learning to work with a smaller team, which carries other implications, but the important point is that there will be an update with a fair amount of content.
The update might include a new game mode of an undisclosed nature and will include multiple new maps and items. There will also be a balance pass for combat across the board, especially to improve vehicle health and bolter damage. A new campaign series is also in the works, along with a reorganization of the game’s existing DLC to be easier to purchase and understand for new converts. It doesn’t mention a date, but the signs of life alone should be good news for the fans.
In case you missed it over the holiday break, but the World Health Organization announced it would be adding “gamer disorder” and “hazardous gaming” to the latest edition of its International Compendium of Diseases, a move many academics treated with skepticism. According to WHO, “Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming; 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
The industry isn’t taking this classification lightly, with the Electronic Software Association predictably pushing back against the move and saying that it misrepresents a hobby billions enjoy.
“The World Health Organization knows that common sense and objective research prove video games are not addictive,” the ESA said in a statement. “And, putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder, which deserve treatment and the full attention of the medical community. We strongly encourage the WHO to reverse direction on its proposed action.”
There’s no more perfect time to reflect on the last twelve months than when you’re ringing in the new year, so that’s precisely what I plan on doing in this edition of Guild Chat. More readers in need have been helped than ever before by both my musings on the topic at hand and the useful perspectives offered in the comments, and some of the submissions have really stretched my MMO agony aunt credentials! It’s been a whirlwind of officer meltdowns, guild fragmentations, adapting to new content types, and deciding when and how best to leave an unsuitable guild, and I’m very glad I have the MOP community with me to weigh in on these issues too.
In this edition of Guild Chat, I’ll take a look at some of my favourite 2017 entries and will showcase the brilliant ways in which MOP readers have enhanced the article with their insightful comments, adding new perspectives or simply approaching the submitter in a way that makes the advice make sense. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!
Even Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade might be jumping on the battle royale bandwagon. That’s according to Behaviour Interactive’s latest pair of player-directed Q&A posts.
“We already have a series of Battle Royale game mode ideas, since it’s one of many ‘standard’ modes today,” says the studio. “Ours are of course adapted to fit with the 40K universe, and with the lore limitations. I also think PUBG showed how execution and nuances to a mode can really kick off something big. Just like LOL. It’s lower down the list of game modes we’ll prototype, as we already have some half-finished modes we’re applying to current maps, part of current maps (cutouts) or unfinished maps.”
The studio also notes it is indeed aware of the “brick wall of boredom” at rank 6 and is working on fixes, maps and storylines are under discussion now, and that a lot of game tweaks are doable – the team “just need[s] engineers” to make them happen. As for Steam Workshop integration – a ton of questions are about this feature – Behaviour says that weapon creation won’t be coming to the core game and that it has its eye on abuse such that it’ll be reviewing all submissions.
Do you long to get your Eldar on in Eternal Crusade? We’re unsure of exactly how the Eldar get themselves on, but we assume that’s one of the topics covered in the Eldar campaign from the game’s most recent patch. The Autarch Eldar Hero will be introduced after the campaign along with other associated rewards, so by all means, get your Eldar on. Better yet, make your Eldar happen to other people.
The game has also introduced Challenge, so we can only assume that “get your Eldar on” is one of said challenges; the system is all about repeatable goals rewarding you with requisition points. There are also combat balance updates, improved tutorial points to help new players acclimate to the game, and all of the various bugfixes you would expect. Check out the full set of notes for details on all of the changes that have come to the game.
Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which we all band together to help a reader in need solve their guild-related dilemma. This time, reader Cee is wondering how best to handle one person who doesn’t seem to settle into the rank and file of his guild without ruining the solid working dynamic with the offending party’s friends. Cee feels that almost everyone else in the guild finds this person funny and friendly, but after a couple of complaints and uncomfortable exchanges, Cee doesn’t feel the same. The member came into the guild as a part of a group of friends during the guild’s initial recruitment phase, and although this member was initially affable with Cee and his officers and slotted in well, there has been growing friction between a small group in the guild because of more raucous behaviour.
Read Cee’s full submission below along with my take on the problem, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which Massively Overpowered readers can air their guild issues and get help solving them from the article and its comments. This time, guild leader Ry has asked for advice on using trigger warnings and dealing with sensitive topics within the guild environment after one of her members left the guild over a difficult topic was discussed in the guild and took members with him due to the public nature of the conversation. Ry wants to know whether or not guilds have any sort of responsibility for the conversations held within them and the content that players might see there, and she also wants to know how to deal with similar scenarios should they ever come up again.
Ry’s full submission better outlines the issue at hand, though anything specific about the trigger incident has been removed so as to protect the dignity and privacy of the person who left the guild. Even though Ry ensured that he is not identifiable by her submission content, I’d hate for that person to perhaps stumble across this article and see that context spelt out here. Read below for my advice on the issue and don’t forget to add your thoughts on the matter in the comments below. Remember that I am in no way qualified to give advice on dealing with mental health issues or supporting friends through trauma and that all advice given here is purely supportive.
Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which readers in need can source some solid advice to help them solve their guild-related issues. This time, an anonymous reader is wondering how to approach returning to a guild after being offline for some time. The submission asks for our tips on rejoining a once-friendly guild that was the reader’s in-game home before she took a long break from her MMO of choice. While she enjoyed the vast majority of her time spent with her guild, it was in part because of some tension in the guild that she fell out of love with the MMO for a while. Now that she’s back, our anonymous reader is wondering whether or not to accept the guild invite that winged its way to her when she logged back in, and if so, how to reintegrate with her old guildmates.
Read below for the full submission and my thoughts on coming back to a guild after a long hiatus.