By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.
Sea of Thieves says 5000 people logging in per minute – 1M users total – are why the servers are struggling
No MMORPG player will be surprised to hear that Sea of Thieves’ biggest problem right now is that too many people are wanting to play – launch success works against it. In a candid dev video, Rare says that peak time – about 5 to 10 p.m. EDT, when west coast, east coast, and EU players are all piled in together – is the worst, up to four times as many people as showed up for the biggest beta.
“At one point, our server engineer told me we had 5000 people coming in per minute,” Studio Head Craig Duncan says – and the game’s seen more than a million unique users overall in the first 48 hours of live play.
Rare further says that they’re working out the delayed rewards and achievements problem (likely related to the heavy load) and missing items (they promise that’s a temporary client bug). “Please bear with us,” they say.
Leave it to Wizard101 to come up with a quirky new twist on MMO gameplay. In the family-friendly title’s next update, Wizard101 is introducing a hatchmaking system that allows players to breed pets that both they and others own. There are limits to how many times and how often a pet can be used for sweet, sweet love, and KingsIsle stresses that (at least for now) this won’t replace the old hatching system, but merely supplement it.
The patch also adds a new pet tome collection system to track your growing zoo of inbred animals, some visual changes in the core Wizard City, new loading screens, more skeleton key bosses for newbies and highbies, and plenty of bug fixes. Check out the patch notes for the full rundown!
You know how when it’s patch day in your favorite MMORPG and you’re skimming the patch notes trying to figure out what exactly changed, but it’s all cryptic hints and vague comments, and you’re pretty sure when they say “has been changed” they mean “has been nerfed into oblivion,” and you have no idea where the new stuff is so you can log in and find it?
Saga of Lucimia is not planning to alleviate any of that. A new dev blog and vlog from the indie studio argues that it prefers to leave discoveries, especially about new and moved NPCs, events, and activities to the players to encounter on their own, with no teases in the patch notes.
“While we’ll certainly be including notes regarding bug fixes and the like in our patches, one thing you won’t see from us are patch notes for updated or new content in the Saga of Lucimia,” write the devs. “It will be up to the players to discover those changes and events just as they would in a real adventure setting: by actually going there, exploring, following the lore and the storylines, and immersing themselves in the world. […] We want to keep players in the dark regarding content changes and try to avoid, for as long as realistically possible, a full-fledged wiki from being created.”
The patch also contains a variety of useful quality-of-life improvements, like reorganizing bestcrafting recipes and adding two new sets of craftable options. That’s in addition to a wide array of bug fixes for the game, ranging from beast-related improvements to just fixing persistent bugs like damage buffs not applying properly to off-hand items. So check out the full list of changes, get ready for even more fun times with beasts, and get used to seeing the word “beast” so often in various permutations that it stops seeming like a real word. Beast, beast, beast.
The level cap for this test has been buffed to 58, with players able to unlock the Reaper class once they successfully hit level 40. (Whether or not you should fear it is an open question.) Taking part will also net participants a Blue Angel Halo, if you needed a little extra bribery to get you motivated. So pop on in and see if the changes have significantly improved the experience of playing the game.
You’ll recall that in autumn of 2016, the Jane Austen-themed social MMO had launched into open beta with loads of quest and lag bugs repaired, special events in October, proximity chat, login stability, and new content. In December of that year, studio 3 Turn Productions rolled out the 3.1 update with the home ownership system. A year ago, update 4 hit the server with even more housing as well as horseback riding and carriages. And then… well, that’s the last newsletter on the official site, though we covered the card-playing update this past summer.
Doesn’t it feel as if it’s been half of forever since Stardew Valley was supposed to pick up official multiplayer, thereby finally becoming a multiplayer sandbox we can legitimately cover because it’s awesome and we’d like to? It’s actually been almost two years as Chucklefish Games, whom creator Eric Barone brought on to handle the ports and multiplayer, worked on just that, with a late 2017 beta and early 2018 launch planned. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Last month, we learned that the beta is now slated for spring. The latest news is that… work continues. And also hats.
“Stardew Valley multiplayer is in QA and bugs are being fixed at a very good pace!” Barone tweeted yesterday. “One of my favorite things in the new update… hats on your horses. They look very good on the horse. Looks pretty natural, actually.”
The newest update to Final Fantasy XI means the end of the game’s Dynamis – Divergence areas with the addition of Jeuno, thus allowing players to explore the twisted reflections of the prior twisted reflections. Lots of twisting and reflections, in short. Of course, you can get new rewards by doing so, namely the chance to reforge your relic legs and body pieces by taking part in the new content. If you’re eager for new challenges, it’s right there for you to enjoy.
Players are also able to take on a new set of foes in Ambuscade and explore the latest set of Records of Eminence updates for the game’s anniversary. There are also the usual bug fixes, usability improvements, and a few items losing their exclusive tag for convenience’s sake. Check out the full patch notes and get ready to start exploring as the game happily hums along.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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But if you’re looking for sexy features, how about the ability to sprint while wearing lava shoes? Sure, your feet may be burning off at the calves, but you’re going to look pretty awesome zooming along and hurting anyone you run into. The patch also added mobile fortress artillary as way to put the hurt on large creatures and other mobile fortresses.
The team did note that the patch added many new bugs and issues, which it is working to eliminate in the near future.
“When we fixed and released it, it was with the same rough balance values that we set during development, which were unrealistic given the actual rate that people found beasts on the live realm. Also, players had saved up almost a week worth of Beasts, so once they found that the recipe was a bit too cheap, they could hit it quite a few times,” the studio said.
Although some players are crying “exploit” or “dupe” (perhaps because they didn’t get to it as fast as their comrades), it doesn’t look like the studio is going to be penalizing players who took advantage of the unbalanced recipe during its short lifespan.
The episode include two major segments this round. The first focuses on progress made on the persistent universe; specifically, CIG says it’s rewriting the visor vehicle status holograms and working on camera presentation, vehicle displays, planet tech, procedural distribution of stuff like outposts, weapons, shops, character customization, app quality, the UI, persistence bugs… really, it’s everything. Even PGC!
“Teams in Austin and Los Angeles have been working on the Service Beacons which marks the beginning of the player generated content. Although this is only the beginning, for 3.1 we’re planning on allowing players to pay each other for services such as personal transport or combat assistance.”