Yet when a player recently stole three extremely rare ships using social engineering, the victims expressed only disappointment that they had lost a friendship they valued. The question for players and the wider MMO community today is simple: How much trust is too much to give someone in an MMO? To what degree should the game mechanics automatically protect your assets and privacy, and how much of that protection should you be able or expected to give up in order to make progress or join a group?
Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.
“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.
There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.
I sat down with Elite Dangerous Senior Designer Sandy Sammarco again at E3 2017, and while the information I’ve got in terms of game info may be a bit old hat for hardcore Elite players, I want to be clear on something: MMO players should take note of how Frontier is doing community events. Even if you aren’t interested in the game itself, the design strategies and execution are things that are reminding this jaded MMO-enthusiast about what got me into the MMO genre in the first place. I don’t really do space sims, and haven’t touched my VR for months (though I could probably hop on normal PC or PS4 versions), but my time with Sammarco has gotten me closer to hitting the “buy” button on the game.
This week’s episode of Star Citizen Around the Verse sees Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts and Eric Kieron Davis bookending Foundry 42, Ship Shape, and solar system segments. From the Foundry 42 Frankfurt office, Development Director Brian Chambers checks in to discuss new hires, level design work, landing zones, atmosphere mapping, buddy AI, enemy reactions, planet surfacing, outpost lighting, environment art, and multiplayer persistent universe gameplay testing (yay!), while Ship Shape is aimed at you motorcycle lovers.
“Being able to see your footsteps in the snow or have your vehicle kick up dust while speeding across the desert are those little details that’ll make you believe that you’re really in those environments and be much more immersive, and you know me – I love immersive,” Roberts chimes in.
The best bit is easily the solar system segment, but I’m biased – I married an astrophysicist. The devs explain how they use the Solar System Ed (SolEd) to build out the parts of their galaxy in the service of the Star Map, making use of volunteer astronomers and other scientists to vet their ideas for scientific plausibility. Fun!
If I could shed a lot of cynicism and years, I think I could’ve been an EVE Online player. I’ve always loved sci-fi more than fantasy, and the thought of exploring a galaxy in a ship that I customized is a powerful one. Yet every so often when the urge comes over me to install the game and play it — the other week, in fact — I am checked by the game’s reputation.
Maybe it’s completely unfair, as some EVE players adamantly tell me, but I can’t get past the seeming gankbox culture that exudes from every story I hear about this title and the notable personalities that are promoted in it. From the studio on down, there’s this attitude, this reputation that is anathema to me. And that’s regrettable, because I think there’s a part of me that would’ve liked to play it, even casually.
Does an MMO’s reputation ever keep you from playing it? Have you ever pushed past that to give a game a try on its own merits?
The new forums will allow posters to add videos, reaction .GIFs, and even polls should they so choose. It’s also marking an end to the usual poster bannings; if you’ve been banned in the past, you’re allowed to come back on and start with a fresh slate. This coincides with changes to moderation and posting rules, although those changes do not mean that all further sins will be forgiven. So check out the new forums yourself, or just take a gander at a preview and a comparison image just below.
If you haven’t heard from one of your friends who plays EVE Online lately, it might be because he or she is in the thick of a swarm. Rogue Swarm Alert, EVE’s June event, is currently running and offers players an exciting diversion to mining and backstabbing.
“Join your fellow capsuleers and help CONCORD defeat the swarms of rogue drones,” CCP explained. “The bigger the Drone boss you encounter, the better the chances of getting valuable rewards. Pilots of all abilities and levels are welcome and encouraged to assist, from the newest alpha pilots to the most seasoned Omegas.”
Surprise! Niantic brought Pokemon Go to E3 2017 and invited members of the gaming press outside the sacred halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center to check out the upcoming raid system at a nearby gym. We were granted not just some juicy details on upcoming changes but a rare chance to interview several key members of the team, including Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura, Global Product Marketing Lead Archit Bhargava, and a bit of time with Niantic Director of Engineering Edward Wu.
Perhaps more so than the Generation 2 update, summer feels like it’s bringing an expansion-like update to the free to play game.
The book covers the 28 basic factional frigates, with the team stating that they’d love to do more books in the future but that it all comes down to how well the book sells. It’s 160 pages and can be found wherever Dark Horse Comics books are sold, or you can just nab it off of Amazon. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of EVE itself, it looks like the sort of curio that will appeal to a certain portion of the book-buying populace regardless. And it’s all canonical, so if you can’t get enough of the game’s universe, you’ve got some added motivation.
First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc is getting the E3 treatment this week, being available for play (and spectating) at the show. Expect it for PSVR later this summer, though it’ll eventually filter to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too.
“Sparc is a skill-based, fast-paced, and physical sport only possible in virtual reality,” says the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online. “In Sparc, players utilize their two PlayStation Move motion controllers to aim and throw projectiles at each other inside a sleek virtual arena, while defending themselves by dodging, blocking, or deflecting incoming attacks from a live opponent. Players can compete against their friends or find challengers via online matchmaking.”
Our own Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest, arguing that “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc.”
“Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition,” he wrote in April. “I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”
The patch is also bringing a redesign for the Sin and the Vexor ships, and new colorblind support is being added to the game to make it more accessible for everyone. Last but not least, there are new skins and numerous performance upgrades to make the game prettier all around. It all goes live on Tuesday, but you can peruse the full patch notes right now. You can also read up on why the balance changes with the patch are causing no small amount of player consternation.
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.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from MechWarrior Online, Guild Wars 2, EverQuest II, Cabal Online, EVE Valkyrie, Paragon, Second Life, Luna Online, Atelier Online, Final Fantasy XI, Legend of Ancient Sword Online, No Man’s Sky, Heroes of the Storm, Art of Conquest, Dreadnought, Overwatch, SINoALICE, Blade and Soul, Pokemon Go, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!