convention

Flameseeker Chronicles: My favourite Guild Wars 2 Friend/Ships stories

Friendships and social interaction are everything when it comes to enjoying MMOs in my mind, so you can imagine how much I adore the Guild Wars 2 Friends/Ships initiative that ArenaNet started this month to celebrate Valentine’s Day outside of Tyria. Using the hashtag #GW2Friendships hooks up players’ game-related friendship stories to a special webpage that is full of feelgood, touching GW2 anecdotes about how the game brings people together, and I’ve had a wonderful time checking out all the ways in which the game has managed to solidify such meaningful relationships between people. It’s wonderful to see a Valentine’s Day initiative that doesn’t centre only on romantic love: I’ve seen stories that involve couples, of course, but most are stories about friendship and some again even tell of bringing family units closer together through their shared hobby.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take you through some of my favourite stories I found during my browsing and will also share my own. You can read the full submissions by clicking the link in each heading: I don’t want to simply regurgitate each story in this article but I do give you enough information to get the gist while also explaining why I loved it so much. Feel free to join in with the friendly sharing in the comments here as usual, but remember that the Friends/Ships initiative runs until the end of the month and the associated competition for sharing your story (in which you can win a trip to the ArenaNet studio and PAX West!) runs until February 28. Simply use both the #GW2Friendships and #GW2Giveaway hashtags on your social media share of the story to enter: Check out the full terms before posting. Read more

Global Chat: What is the population of Guild Wars 2?

Does it matter how many people are playing your MMO? For some, yes, it does. It’s at least of passing interest to others, especially if players are looking for a “healthy” title or want a large number with which to impress their friends and argue that this MMO is besting another.

So don’t be too surprised that there is an effort to figure out what Guild Wars 2’s (undisclosed) population is at the moment. In An Age challenges one community estimate of 3.3 million players by looking at the available evidence and financial reports.

“Here’s my gut check: Guild Wars 2 probably has about 1.5 million monthly ‘players’ and many times less people who actually log on when there isn’t a holiday event/Living Story taking place,” he argues. “Ultimately though, I think Guild Wars 2 is actually uniquely well-positioned to survive regardless of whether it consists of a million actives or three million tourists.”

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Cyberpunk 2077’s CD Projekt Red takes a stand against lockboxes and unfinished games

The studio behind The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t mincing words when it comes to business practices that involve lockboxes and partially delivered games.

“If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay,” said Co-Founder Marcin Iwiński. “The moment [the community] feels you are reaching out for their wallet in any unfair way, they will be vocal about it. And — frankly speaking — I think it’s good for the industry. Things often look great from a spreadsheet perspective, but decision makers often aren’t asking themselves the question of ‘How would gamers feel, or is this offer a fair one?’ Gamers are striking back, and I really hope this will change our industry for the better.”

Iwiński said that the studio is focusing on its sci-fi game instead of another Witcher title: “In terms of big RPGs, it’s time for Cyberpunk 2077.” He admitted that the game is “a huge responsibility” but that the studio will step up to the challenge and deliver.

Fans should be able to hear about and see more of Cyberpunk 2077, as the title is widely rumored to be coming to this year’s E3 in June.

Source: PC Gamer

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Battle Bards Episode 115: EVE Online

Forgettable ambient noise or entrancing space sounds? This is the debate that’s at the core of today’s episode, as the Battle Bards take on EVE Online’s beloved and perhaps misunderstood soundtrack. It’s a journey that goes far beyond our galaxy to one full of intrigue, industry, and space discotheques!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 115: EVE Online (or download it) now:

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The MOP Up: Black Desert’s Ninja arrives in Southeast Asia (February 11, 2018)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta OnlineWorlds AdriftMonster Hunter WorldHellionRustSkyforgeBlade and SoulPortal KnightsFinal Fantasy XIDreadnoughtPUBGHyper UniverseCrossoutBlack DesertDark and LightH1Z1DauntlessRobocraftFortniteWar of RightsCosmos InvictusUltima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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EVE Evolved: A matter of balance in EVE Online

Throughout its almost 15-year lifetime, EVE Online has walked a fine line between developing new features and iterating on existing gameplay. Development has to push forward on new features to keep the game fresh and attract new players, but balance issues can emerge in existing gameplay that equally make the game stale or less enjoyable. CCP Games hasn’t always responded to these issues in a timely manner, at times leaving known balance issues in the game for months or even years because development resources weren’t available to tackle those specific issues.

This strategy has been challenged recently by Council of Stellar Management member Jin’taan in his article “Balance is not optional,” in which he argues that CCP shouldn’t even be making balance changes compete for development time with other features. Player Capri Sun KraftFoods followed up with a look at EVE‘s modular item attribute system, arguing that almost any balance change can be implemented quickly and easily just by tweaking the right attributes. Could it be that easy to iterate on EVE‘s frequent balance issues, or does the nature of the game necessitate caution?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the case for quicker iterative updates on balance issues, look at some of the challenges with balancing a game like EVE, and look at CCP’s new balance team.

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World of Warcraft Classic progresses: ‘This is the right decision’

Desperate for some World of Warcraft Classic news now that the BlizzCon high has faded? Forbes has an interview up with Blizzard Executive Producer J. Allen Brack and Senior Game Designer Jeremy Feasel that at least touches on the challenges that lay ahead in bringing a legacy server to the gaming population.

The two don’t mince words about the technical challenge, but say that there is a plan to minimize the complexity of such a project and move forward. The studio said that “lots of decisions to make” and many things to do, such as to partner with the community and get feedback about the formation of Classic.

Brack emphasized that Blizzard wants to structure this so that it will not be managing two MMOs at the same time. He said that headaches aside, it’s a project worth pursuing: “We’re convinced, through the desire of those folks, the desire of our internal folks, and the desire to preserve what WoW was, that this is the right decision.”

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Guild Wars 2: Mesmer changes, the friendship contest, and the real identity of the Herald of Balthazar

If you missed Guild Wars 2’s Twitch stream this afternoon, and you probably did because it’s Friday and ain’t nobody got time to watch a few hours of Twitch in the middle of a work day, then you’re going to want to get caught up, as the devs outlined some of the new stuff coming over the next month. Lore-friends got an earful too, as it was confirmed that Devona – of classic Guild Wars fame – was confirmed to be the Herald of Balthazar in Path of Fire. Dun dun dunnn!

The community is still buzzing over the incoming alacrity (it’s getting a hefty nerf) and Mesmer meta changes too (phantasms and shatter skills are getting a revamp), in addition to the alliance system and WvW shakeup we covered yesterday.

Finally, ArenaNet is kicking off a new contest, this one for those folks who have a great Guild Wars 2-related story about friendship. Anyone who uses the hashtag with such a post will be entered in a sweepstakes, the prizes for which include merchandise, custom portraits, and a PAX West 2018 studio invite.

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Warframe sets a July date for TennoCon 2018

One of the hottest (and prestigiously awarded) online games out there right now is calling its fandom home for a weekend of celebration and developer reveals.

The game, of course, is Warframe, and the event is this July’s TennoCon 2018. Digital Extremes announced a July 7th date for the London, Ontario convention, which puts us at around 160 days away. Other than the date, countdown, and location, there isn’t a lot of information yet for this year’s one-day event. However, the studio encouraged fans to sign up to be informed when tickets will go on sale.

We’ve got more for you below, including the latest hour-long dev stream and a preview of some new deluxe skins coming to the game!

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Hyperspace Beacon: No, Star Wars The Old Republic isn’t on the verge of sunset

I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor that Star War: The Old Republic is nearing its end of life, that BioWare is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”

Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)

So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.

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Sea of Thieves’ closed beta is live but in choppy waters

Sea of Thieves’ closed beta for PC and Xbox One kicked off earlier today, and it’s not going that well. Or rather, it’s going so incredibly well with so many people rushing the high seas that bugs are swarming the decks.

“Pirates! We’re aware some players are getting a ‘too early’ error when attempting to launch the Sea of Thieves Closed Beta,” Rare tweeted early this morning. “We’re currently all hands on deck investigating and will provide updates ASAP.” A similar message was blasted out two hours ago on Twitter and an hour later on Reddit, suggesting the studio is still working on the problem. The game’s subreddit is a sea of bug reports and complaints that all boil down to this same issue too. But hey, no big deal, right – you didn’t take off work to beta an online game! Right, guys? Guys?

We’ve tucked the closed beta launch trailer down below, along with a quick roundup of all our coverage of the game since its announcement back in 2015; it’s a lot of content, both because we’re excited about this hybrid MMO-ish game and because Rare has been really consistent at delivering updates all along. We’re partial to our hands-on with the game back at E3 – that should give you something to flip through while you wait!

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Overwatch’s BlizzardWorld map and skin bonanza are live

As I type this, my husband is sitting in an Overwatch queue grumbling over “unexpected server error occurred”: Yep, it’s a Blizzard patch day!

Assuming you folks can defeat the login server boss, you’ll eventually be treated to the long-awaited and wonderfully goofy BlizzardWorld map (access it straight off by playing in arcade mode). As originally teased at BlizzCon 2017, the map is effectively a themepark stuffed full of artifacts and settings from Blizzard’s multiple franchises – in fact, it pretty much looks like a partial replica of Stormwind with rollercoasters. May as well re-use those assets, right?

Blizz is also touting “over 100 new items” and a mech-ton of legendary and epic skins, including Black Cat D.Va. I will never see my husband again. Sizzle reel inc!

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Chaos Theory: Secret World Legends 2018 – new year, new game, new goals

What does Secret World Legends have in store for 2018? For the world, or for me? Either answer includes Season 2 of the story! Of course I anticipate much more exciting stuff as well. I wish I had a crystal ball — or maybe the number crunchers of the Dragon — to know what’s ahead. But this Chaos Theory is not about what the game will be doing this year, rather it’s about what I will be doing in the game!

That’s right: I started this resolutions business last year, and now I am compelled to continue the tradition. It’s a new year and a new game, so it’s time for some new goals. It’s also a great time to look back over 2017 and see how well I did with my first attempt at in-game goal setting.

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