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One Shots: Gassy and bloated

I do think that we, as a culture, have become disturbingly obsessed with selfies, but I will always make an exception for anyone who finds himself standing in front of an enormous gas giant.

“I wanted to share my screenshot for One Shots for the first time,” sent in Stormheim. “The screenshot is from Destiny 2. I don’t still have cool stuff and gear, but its kinda awesome to take a selfie with Jupiter behind you.”

If nothing else, Jupiter has the effect of making the subject look thin and light in comparison. Kind of like standing next to Jabba the Hutt or a YouTube content creator’s ego.

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World of Warcraft lead doesn’t want to talk about Classic, but confirms ‘vanilla means vanilla’

Right out of the gate in the recent World of Warcraft Q&A, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said that WoW Classic wasn’t going to be the focal point of discussion, as the team is only “at the beginnings of this process.” However, he did confirm that Blizzard isn’t looking to monkey around with too many changes.

“We know Vanilla means Vanilla,” Hazzikostas said. “We know that it’s about community and that means some inconveniences, that means some of the rough edges. That’s not something we’re looking to move away from. It’s more which version of that experience… is it the 2005 version? The 2006 version?”

The rest of the Q&A session primarily focused on the upcoming Patch 7.3.5 and next year’s Battle for Azeroth expansion. If you’re curious what’s going to be in the next patch, the highlights include a preview of the Seething Shore battleground, zone level scaling, Legion epilogue quest content, and Ulduar Timewalking.

Icy Veins has a great roundup of the main points form the hour-long talk, although you could settle in to watch the whole thing yourself after the break.

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WRUP: Enjoy the smooth flavor of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies edition

Guys, we could not be more excited to start getting in on the branded content game, and we’re starting with endorsing Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies! But we promise you, this won’t really affect our content, which is refreshing and fried in the grease of simmering hog fat just like Mrs. Patter’s delicious cookies! Available in all sorts of wonderful flavors, like Strawberries & Bacon, Vanilla Custard & Bacon, Peanut Butter & Cheese, and of course, Blueberry & Broken Glass & Bacon That Doesn’t Taste Right!

We’ll still be bringing you all of the same great MMO content you’ve come to expect, it’ll just cover a wider spectrum. Like which flavor of Mrs. Patter’s cookies to enjoy with your favorite game, or why Mrs. Patter’s Meth & Bile cookies help you stay focused during intense play sessions, or which games have GMs most willing to call an ambulance because you are eating a kind of cookie the FDA has prohibited from sale in the United States. Let us know what you’re playing down in the comments of What Are You Playing, and the best response gets a free box of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies (Now With Less Asbestos, Probably)!

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The Daily Grind: What’s keeping you from going back to a favorite MMO?

It’s weird to think that I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic on and off since its release. Seems like such a long time ago. I’ve had great memories in that game and still appreciate the work that the team put into the cinematic stories, voice acting, and the occasional moral choice.

But as of late, it’s been more “off” than “on,” especially following the most recent expansion. I don’t like the subscription-locked endgame system, and pretty much everyone keeps advising me just to finish the story and then ditch the game. That’s disheartening to me. So I’ve been waiting to see what BioWare has in store for the long-term future. Depending on the direction that the game goes, I could see going back. Just not right now.

What’s keeping you from going back to one of your favorite MMOs? Is it a change, a lack of friends, or something else entirely?

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Player protests are kicking off in Black Desert right now

Black Desert players are taking the fight to… OK, to Black Desert, in Black Desert, to protest stuff in Black Desert. Right as this post goes live, in fact.

“The Black Desert Online community will be protesting to raise awareness for multiple issues that the community feels must be addressed,” Redditor factomg writes. “If you love this game and want it to continue to succeed, please join the protest in Calpheon on the Calpheon 1 channel at 9:00 PM EST. A protest podcast will accompany the in-game protest, where the officers and leaders of multiple top guilds, prominent streamers, and other well known members of the community will discuss our concerns for the game.”

So why join in? Organizers say they’re protesting persistent lag problems, the lack of compensation for the lag, class imbalances, specific content available in Korea but not in the west, the paywall and barriers to entry to newbies, and broken PvP. They’re also ticked that Kakao banned a prominent dataminer whose work provoked Pearl Abyss’ candor on hidden stats earlier this week.

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EVE Online layoffs lead to the end of a fan tournament

While studio layoffs have an immediate effect on the people that are let go, the ramifications of such decisions can end up impacting players as well.

Case in point, EVE Online. CCP’s decision last month to shutter two of its studios included the layoff of most all of the studio’s social media team. One of these employees, CCP Logibro, helped players with organizing tournaments on a separate test server. Without this help, many of these tournaments are in doubt, including this year’s Anger Games. The event was to be the third in the game’s history, but CCP could not scramble to find someone to assist in this, and the tournament had to be canceled.

Players were upset over the last-minute cancellation, but CCP said it couldn’t be helped: “Sorry we weren’t able to support this as planned. At the minute, we’re currently working on prioritizing quite a few community projects and getting our heads together to resume regular service, but unfortunately the Anger Games happened to be too close to recent events for us to be able to assist.”

Here is hoping that next year, CCP will be in a more stable position and can assist players in getting this (and other) tournaments up and running. But for now, CCP is gambling with employees’ lives and hurting the game culture overall.

Source: Kotaku

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EA disables all Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction crud – for now

Whenever you see a studio call fans “passionate,” it’s almost always shorthand for “rioting with pitchforks and torches.” Guess what Star Wars Battlefront 2’s execs are calling its players this week?

DICE GM Oskar Garbrielson apologized to the game’s “passionate” community about the missteps that EA made in locking its characters behind a prohibitive grind and aggressively pushing microtransactions. He said that the team is disabling all in-game purchases with crystals, at least until the company can figure out a better way to implement them:

“But as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right. We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we’ve made changes to the game. We’ll share more details as we work through this.”

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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Survivalbox roundup: The Black Death communicates, Hellion revamps, and Life is Feudal soft launches

Once you recover from the drive-by scorching of MJ’s ARK: Survival Evolved critique, perhaps you’re wondering what else is going on with survivalboxes in other regions of the genre.

The Black Death is making a concerted effort to connect more with fans by bringing back the weekly Q&A series and expanding its presence on social media. The team also is asking for gaming feedback from its community via a survey.

Space sandbox Hellion is working hard on its next update, which will mainly focus on reworking and rebalancing several key systems, such as power supply, life support, and the user interface. The team is excited to announce that Discord integration is coming to the game soon as well.

And with Life is Feudal’s soft launch tomorrow, you’ll definitely want to get hyped up for this semi-MMO by watching the release trailer below!

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Choose My Adventure: It’s all the same in Secret World Legends

I was a bit disappointed to see that last week’s poll for Secret World Legends went to the Illuminati. I played the Illuminati my first time through, you see, and while I quite like the Illuminati, it does rather give me a dearth of new experiences, yes? But then, the point was that this was all supposed to be new experiences, so I shrugged it off. We’re back to the organization that treats secret lore like corporate data points, spectacular.

That may sound a bit dismissive, but it’s not really meant to be. And hey, this will provide a useful point of comparison when contrasted against my original experiences. So I start up, click through the character creator, and find myself thinking that it used to be a fair bit more flexible. Maybe not leaps and bounds, but at least somewhat, right? There used to be more options for hair color and facial features, yes? Or am I deluding myself?

Then I log in, and it’s the same damn game as it used to be.

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The Survivalist: ARK Survival Evolved’s sequel tease is an insult to its fans

You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.

That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.

Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.

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Black Desert devs responds to datamining dust-up with stat transparency and apologies

Remember a week ago when Black Desert dataminers dug up dirt on the game’s so-called hidden stats, only to be booted off the subreddit by mods doing Pearl Abyss’ bidding? Remember how the dataminers just put it all up on a different sub beyond the reach of PA, practically daring PA to follow through on the legal action it threatened dataminers with earlier this year?

Consider the situation effectively defused. Kakao has apologized for creating “confusion among [its] beloved players by failing to deliver accurate information,” promising clarity on those stats. Indeed, clarity is arriving in the form of a producer letter from Pearl Abyss (which also apologizes profusely).

Executive Producer Jae-hee Kim says PA now plans to add accuracy, evasion, and damage reduction numbers to tooltips, noting that while hidden stats seemed like a fun idea originally, there is now too much of a “gap” between people in the know and everyone else. The studio also aims to tweak “ambiguity” on elixirs, boost drop rates party to the node level system, and provide transparency on future stats.

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Marvel Heroes dishes out a hefty daily allowance as the game counts down to extinction

Marvel Heroes players are dealing with the fallout of yesterday’s announcement that the superhero MMO is being shut down by Disney and will officially sunset on December 31st. At least before this happens, the community will have the opportunity to play or wear anything they want.

This is thanks to Gazillion’s decision to dish out 1,000 GsMarvel Heroes’ premium currency — every singe day from now to its closure. Even better, all store options are now 50Gs across the board. “This is the best current solution we have with limited resources and technical limitations of the PC, and wanted to make sure this got out to you,” the studio said.

Former Creative Director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais popped back up on the forums yesterday to praise the work that the team did on the game and urge other studios to hire those laid off: “The actual people who worked in every department on Marvel Heroes were the definition of epic. They accomplished an amazing amount of work with a relatively small budget and an approval process that made everything a little tougher.”

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