bug fixes

Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Box begins tomorrow... with red weapons, without World 3

If you were holding out hope that this year's edition of Guild Wars 2's Super Adventure Box would come with loads of new content... better let go that hope.

The patch notes released yesterday reaffirm that the Super Adventure Festival will begin on Thursday, but there's no mention of World 3, which honestly does comport with ArenaNet's longstanding assertions that it was unlikely to expand it further, at least this year, as they're working on a not-so-secret expansion.

However, if you were hoping for a new round of holographic skins, that seems assured, as the patch notes (and datamining alike) confirm the new Crimson Assassin set (they're red). It also looks like there's a fresh reward track for SAB as well as new cash shop buyables, including a new music box.

The rest of the patch is a motley assortment of bug fixes, the return of Basket Brawl, tweaks for SAB, tweaks for fractals, some new crafting mats, and the updated lockbox.

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Path of Exile has 'a lot more expansions coming'

Pretty much every MMO player dreams of sitting his or her favorite developers down to get the honest and direct truth. While Grinding Gear Games isn't making house calls (yet), the dev team did make an effort to satisfy community curiosity by tackling an assortment of 30 submitted questions about Path of Exile.

There was some concern over the potential for a bug flood when the expansion drops this fall. GGG said that it's on top of it: "There's a lot changing in 3.0.0 so there's a lot of scope for problems to creep in unless we find them. To deal with this, we've expanded our QA team over the years and it's currently the largest it has ever been. In addition, we're running a beta for 3.0.0 specifically to find problems before they affect the live realm."

There was no confirmation regarding a launch date for the expansion, but the team did discuss lengthening the ignore list, trade improvements, the Xbox One launch, and controller support. The team also hinted that there are "a lot more" expansions being planned for the MMO.

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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The Daily Grind: What long-term MMO tech issues still annoy you?

The other day in Massively OP office chat, Eliot and I were reminiscing about World of Warcraft's launch period and in particular a bug that would lock your character down into a looting pose for minutes on end, even as you scooted around the world. It was a particularly annoying issue that persisted for a long time before the game engineers finally squashed it.

In LOTRO right now, there is a mind-boggling amount of lag and rubberbanding going on in the high-level areas as a majority of the playerbase crowds into these areas. There have been nights that I logged out due to frustration overwhelming my desire to play, and I sincerely hope it gets sorted out soon.

That's one of the caveats of playing online games, which is that there are always tech issues that need fixing. Some of these prove to be more troublesome to fix or are ignored by the dev team in favor of working on other projects. When they significantly disrupt your play experience, it can sour your time in a game or even push you away for good.

So today's topic is a bit of a gripe session as I invite you to share long-term tech issues in MMORPGs that greatly annoyed you (or continue to annoy).

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Conan Exiles' big patch today includes wipes and 'Exploit Hunters' program

Conan Exiles' update 22 has arrived this morning, and as teased exhaustively over the last few weeks, it's a biggun, with the ruins system to clean up unused buildings, the new dye system for making your armor purty, new weapons, thrall crafting animations, and a slew of bug and exploit fixes.

But the more pressing news is that with this patch, Funcom will wipe all buildings and inventories on official servers (not private servers unless they choose to join in) as a result of the recent wave of exploits. Player levels remain intact.

Intriguingly, Funcom is also introducing "Exploit Hunters," a clever program designed to reward players who uncover and report exploits to the studio.

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Project Genom's content update date uncertain, progress assured

There's certainly a lot to digest in the most recent Project Genom newsletter, although perhaps the most important item is buried all of the way at the end. The team said that despite getting asked about it a lot, it simply does not know when the next big update will be pushed out to the game. Perhaps in the first half of this year, but no promises.

Even so, it sounds as if the game is making terrific progress as of late. The team listed several accomplishments, including multi-racial female heads, more polish to the world around the main camp, a futuristic tow truck that you can drive, NPC animations and the final integration of the male model. The team is asking the community about whether or not NPCs should follow a day/night cycle in their activities, even if it interferes with quest pickup and delivery.

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Castles get an upgrade in Gloria Victis

If players or guilds are going to put the effort in purchasing and building up a castle in Gloria Victis, they are going to be rewarded with one fine-looking structure. Thanks to this past week's alpha patch, the biggest building in each of the six main settlements has received new and improved models for the keep's final form.

The patch contains an additional hodge-podge of changes, including the ability to interact with non-dialogue NPCs, bigger buffs for countries being dominated by others, and smiths that sell better wares than before.

The team also reported that it is continuing to work on making combat look and feel better: "We know, that combat/animations overhaul is long overdue and community is getting impatient, to say the least. So, just a quick heads up for you guys: we are polishing. It’s a long, yet rewarding process, as we are tweaking little details over and over again to exterminate bugs and make sure it feels great to roam and fight."

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The Repopulation is back, but major bugs ensure the next patch is a ways off

Idea Fabrik's internal dev team published a dev update on The Repopulation this morning, following the game's relaunch last week. The studio says it's still working on verifying old backer accounts and reminds players that the game hasn't been updated yet -- this is just a copy of the game from fall 2015 when it all came down. Expect wipes to correct the economy at some point as well.

The really bad news is that the new team has discovered a slew of existing problems it needs to fix before it can move on with new content.

"We have been digging in to the zoning/transition issues, which have provided an insight to many other issues, this includes but is not limited to a lot of information that is being replicated which doesn't need to be, and some major issues with server drops, memory leaks and performance are being extrapolated by this. What this means for us is... We have to go over all replicated information, sort out what should be server side and client side, then apply all of the fixes without borking up other interconnected systems at the same time. As example of this is when players go over zone lines: ALL of your Account information is replicated from one area to the next, this includes for example, your inventory. So the more information on your character, the longer it will take to transition. This is not a straight forward and easy changing a 1 to a 0."

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LOTRO Legendarium: Heading into the Wastes as update 20 advances

If all goes well, within a few days the Lord of the Rings Online community will be getting its first glimpse of Mordor with the release of Update 20 (Standing Stone Games said that it is "tentatively planning" to roll out the patch next week). I don't know if I'm prepared, but after months of speed-leveling my Lore-master through the last few expansions, I'm in a place where I will be among the crowd that charges into the Wastes on launch day.

Update 20 is a big event for several reasons and should give us some insight into what the developers are thinking with their Mordor expansion later this year. Plus, with the 10th anniversary event right around the corner, the LOTRO community will have a bounty of content and activities to keep it busy during these spring months.

So as we saddle up our horses (and ponies and goats) for the trip north into the Wastes, let's mull over what we can expect when Update 20 lands.

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Eternal Crusade prepares for its free-to-play shift

It is important to note that the official Eternal Crusade line is that the upcoming free-to-play option is not a full conversion to free-to-play, and that's largely accurate. Free players will still be limited in what they can access. But it does mean that you will be able to play the game for free, while those who already have bought the game and are playing not for free get some fun stuff. For example, you get a bunch of in-store credit for the game, all four factional DLC packs, unique Venerable items, and something else as-yet-undisclosed to offer another little bonus.

Free players, of course, will have access to all of these things for purchase separately (aside from Venerable items) and can jump in to fill out the game's queues, so they win as well. This also coincides with another patch to the game trimming up balance issues and outstanding bugs, so whether or not you're already a player or just look to jump in when the game goes free, you can know you're playing the most polished version of the game possible.

Source: Steam

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The Daily Grind: How should MMOs repurpose older content?

Recently World of Warcraft introduced Mists of Pandaria timewalking dungeons, which allowed me (believe it or not) to experience these dungeons for the very first time. What can I say? I wasn't there for this era.

I actually think that the whole timewalking concept is pretty neat because it always bugs me that MMOs seem to abandon older content when they keep adding new zones, new dungeons, and new expansions. There's so much potential to reuse areas and systems, and one would think that such repurposing would be cost-effective for the dev team as well.

What do you think? How should MMOs repurpose older content? What would you like to see happen with the long-neglected areas in your game?

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LOTRO and DDO extend free gift promotions due to account bug

Due to an issue with account management, Standing Stone Games has apparently decided to extend its dual giveaways in Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online to allow players a few more days to subscribe for these free gifts.

On the DDO forums, players have noted problems with being able to subscribe in time for the free lioness. SSG acknowledged the situation and said that it would be moving the promotion's end date from March 13th to the 19th while account support tackles the issue. LOTRO is following suit with its Steed of the Eldar giveaway, which also now runs through the 19th for players who sub up to the fantasy MMO.

Currently, both titles are testing out major content updates. LOTRO is putting Update 20, with its new Wastes zone, through its paces, while DDO is working out the kinks of its new Dragonborn race.

Source: LOTRO, DDO. Thanks Tanek!

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The Repopulation is back up and running

It might not have been everyone's ideal scenario, but the fact is that The Repopulation has come back under new management -- and you can access the game once more. The new owners announced that the sci-fi sandbox is now back up and running for previous players (new ones will have to wait until later this month, when the early access will be made purchasable once more). It is also on Steam.

The studio said that there haven't been any significant changes to when we last saw the game in action: "It's important to note that this is still early access, the current server status is identical to how it was before the shut down and it is still in an alpha state. This is to allow all players to play the game again and submit up-to-date bug reports."

Even if the game hasn't changed, the website certainly has. The new owners are revamping the site and have already migrated the old forums as part of this. There is also a Discord channel for Repopulation fans to chat with one another.

Source: Newsletter. Thanks HolyAvengerOne!

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