cosmetic gear

Wisdom of Nym: What we know so far about Final Fantasy XIV’s next patch

Yes, the latest live letter happened, the fan translations happened, and as one could expect the Final Fantasy XIV fandom has already taken half-translated facts and suspected tidbits as gospel right off the bat. Who could have seen this coming, and so forth. let’s see if we get actually translated and accurate information any faster than usual, although I suspect it’ll be at around the same pace as always.

If I sound annoyed, that’s because I am.

Regardless of the inefficiency of the presentation, we did find out a fair bit about the next patch and associated features for patch 4.3, so we can start discussing some of the things we need to know about the update. Of course, no small amount of what we know is coming is stuff that we could also have expected to see just because of the game’s fundamental structure, but there’s also a lot of genuinely surprising bits. So let’s start in with the stuff that isn’t a new dungeon, a new Alliance Raid, or points related, yes?

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One Shots: How to go blind in one easy step

As someone who only has one functioning eye, I find that my vision is paramount to my quality of life and personal enjoyment. Plus, it would make playing MMORPGs slightly more difficult if everything was dark.

But I’m not everyone, and I have to allow for the possibility that there are gamers out there who are desperate to lose their sight but at a loss as to how to do it. With that in mind, I present SmugglerSteel’s one-step process to going blind in 10 seconds or less: Find the largest sun you can in Star Wars: The Old Republic and stare at it from about 20 feet away.

At least the last thing you’ll see will literally brighten your day!

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Skyforge launches Overgrowth expansion and kicks off anniversary event

Spring is here, plants are growing, and Skyforge has germinated an expansion for players to harvest right now. Overgrowth is live in the game, bringing a new class and some welcome features to keep player gods busy.

“After being lost on a distant planet for many years, the goddess and her new companions, the Grovewalkers, have returned to Aelion,” the studio says. “But it is far from a triumphant return: the goddess is chased by hordes of the Phytonides. Machavann’s avatar has awakened and the enemy is preparing to attack with renewed vigor.”

The cornerstone of Overgrowth is the new Grovewalker class, which bestows characters with nature-based spells and allows them to transform into “living armor” for additional abilities.

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Blade and Soul’s robot dungeon event kicks off next week

Call ’em golems, call ’em automatons, or call ’em war machines, at the end of the day, they’re robots in a fantasy setting, and we have to be OK with that.

Actually more than OK, because robots are awesome and sometimes they go haywire and we get a valid excuse to go beat some up. This will happen next week with the onset of the Automaton Assault event dungeon in Blade and Soul, which will be running from April 11th through May 2nd.

This level 50 limited-time dungeon tasks players with putting down a robot uprising, all for cosmetics and other rewards. Players can even secure the winner of Blade and Soul’s 2018 costume design contest, which ended up being Phantom Flower (spoiler: It has flowers on it).

Source: Blade and Soul. Thanks Rafael!

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Ashes of Creation adds monthly time-limited pre-order packages to the tune of $500

Good news, Ashes of Creation fans, you can now give the development team more money! The team has rolled out new pre-order packages for players who want to get in to early testing and also want to unlock new cosmetic items. The trick? The packages are time-limited, rotating on a monthly basis to a new set of cosmetic options. Miss out on one package? You miss out on the cosmetics.

These packages also run from $500 on the high end to $75 on the low end, so if you want all of the various cosmetics you’d better be prepared for some major financial outlays. Fortunately for those who had already pre-ordered, there is an option to buy the monthly cosmetics for a smaller sum, but it’s still going to be a rotating offering of stuff you just can’t get any other way. Or it will be that stuff, since none of it is in the game yet. You understand.

Source: Intrepid Studios press release; thanks to Siphaed for the tip!

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Massively Overthinking: How much money spent makes you an MMO whale?

Several conversations I saw after our report on the new RMT mounts in Guild Wars 2 got me thinking about how the MMO community uses the word whale. I had used the word to refer to the kind of person who buys a ton of RNG-based lockboxes to get every last one of the shiny bits and bobs within, but the reality is that anyone who pays a respectable flat fee for a purely cosmetic upgrade has also been hooked on some sort of fishing rod or other, even if it’s not a harpoon.

So let’s consider the numbers behind the terminology in this week’s Massively Overthinking. How much money spent makes you an MMO whale? Does it apply only to cosmetics or lockboxes? When does the “whale” term kick in for people who buy early access, collector editions, or 10 expansion boxes over the course of an MMO’s life? Are most gamers more properly dolphins or something in 2018?

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds celebrates a year of early access

Can you believe that it’s been a year since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds first launched into early access? Probably. There’s a video to celebrate the anniversary just below, talking about the early days of the game when players started (and died) in a warehouse instead of starting on a plane (before dying in a warehouse). If you want a thank you and a trip down memory lane, feel free to hop down to watch the video.

The game is also introducing weapon skins with its next update; the new cosmetics will be included in the game’s next set of lockboxes, which should surprise absolutely no one. Skins will only be applied when a gun is picked up by someone who has that skin unlocked and selected; that means that if someone has the gun and gets shot, you can use the gun with the skin. So there’s even more incentive to shoot the guy with the nice gun.

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Dauntless continues to refine its user interface to balance form and function

As Dauntless pushes through beta and toward launch, the team is hard at work refining its user interface to strike that critical balance between being seamlessly integrated with the game’s art style and providing useful information on the fly.

The team said that it is giving increased focus to the UI right now, taking cues from Halo 2’s matchmaking system (which it labels “humanity’s greatest achievement”) and figuring out the UI for game controllers. Other UI projects include transmog, customization, cosmetics, color blind options, status effect icons, quick crafting, and rebindable keys.

“The art of user interface is providing immediate and relevant information without creating a distraction or incongruity,” the dev team said. “It’s important to us that our UI is snappy, fluid, and intuitive.”

Source: Dauntless

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Grab your free skins in Closers’ brand-new Pandimensional update

Closers fans are being kept busy today thanks to En Masse’s latest endeavor. The latest patch is called the Pandimensional Update, and it’s got everything: buffs, new cosmetics, rocket wings, a level cap bump to 75, more potion crafting, a small plum (!), and alternative versions of all the classes.

“The alternate, pandimensional Closers have come over to our world! After a brief (but heated) debate, the Closers are turning to their peers to settle the score! Players will be able to put in a vote every two days in two different polls, culminating in the announcement of the best boy and girl. Once voting has ended, every player will receive a code for a free in-game poster, featuring the winners, that they can place in their housing areas.”

Do note that the Pandimensional skins are free; you just have to manually change your character skin to grab them. They’re available only through April 2nd.

Source: Official site, press release

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Wisdom of Nym: A week after Final Fantasy XIV’s Eureka

It’s been a little under a week since the Eureka launch in Final Fantasy XIV, and opinions about the content are pretty universally strong. Some might argue that they’re downright entrenched. Most of the vocal ones consist of a whole lot of griping, and a not insubstantial number of those gripes also dovetail with people who are still playing the heck out of it anyway. Heaven knows it’s not exactly what I had expected, either.

So what do I think of it? I like it. But then, I’m kind of just the right person to like it.

I think there’s a lot of stuff to unpack around it, and I think it’s something where not liking it is both wholly understandable and also suggests a course of action. So let’s talk a little bit about the overall experience, what parts work and what parts don’t, and why it’s important, if you don’t like it, to at least have a realistic understanding of what it’s going to be and what it wants to be in the first place.

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EA is fixing Star Wars Battlefront II’s monetization mess (again): It won’t be selling lockboxes

Don’t call it a victory – nobody wins forever in the Star Wars universe – but there’s still reason to cheer in Star Wars Battlefront II today. EA has announced that it’s overhauling the entire progression system for the game. Readers will recall that outrage over the game’s lockbox gambling was the final chunk of kindling in the monetization dumpster fire that finally blazed over into mainstream media coverage at the end of 2017. (The “a sense of pride and accomplishment” line was being quoted in government hearings last month.)

“With this update, progression is now linear,” EA declares. “Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you’ll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you’d like to equip.”

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The Crew 2 is rescheduled for a June 29 launch

The Crew 2 isn’t as delayed as you might’ve thought: Ubisoft just announced that it’s launching on June 29th, and it’s looking like a simultaneous PC, PS4, and Xbox release.

The Crew 2 will let players experience the thrill of American motorsports inside a fully redesigned USA. The game’s playground pushes physical boundaries to let driving and open world fans test their skills, solo or with friends, in nonstop competition and exploration. From coast to coast, drivers will explore America and compete to become the greatest motorsports champion, by collecting a wide variety of exotic cars, bikes, boats and planes, and dominating the motorsports scene on the land, on the water and in the air. Players will find challenges and inspiration among four different motorsports families: street racing, off-road, pro racing and freestyle, and will be given a broad set of options among a wide selection of vehicle types.”

MMO players will recall that the sequel to The Crew was originally announced just before E3 of last year, and by summer, it had a release date. That release date would’ve been tomorrow, incidentally. But in December, Ubisoft admitted it needed more time for TC2 and several other games, pushing the date somewhere between spring and fall of this year.

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Interview: ArcheAge 4.5 Legends Return launches April 5th with dragon taming and fresh start servers

If I were to tell you that ArcheAge’s next big update is launching next month, you’d tell me that it’s too soon. And we’d both be right! Although 4.0 was just released last December, and North America has been on a six-month cadence for getting the content after it launches in Korean, 4.5 will hit servers on April 5th. Yes, that’s 4.5 on 4/5 — easy to remember, no? Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai explained that as XL Games is putting a renewed emphasis on the Western market, North American and the European regions get to launch an update first after Korea for the first time, instead of waiting until after Russia and China.

So what goodies do we have to look forward to before the other regions? Dubbed Legends Return, this update introduces dragon mounts, two new world bosses, a crafting commission system, and Battle Balance (a change to skillsets). There are also changes to regrading equipment and the bruisers badges. And last but not least, new fresh start servers are opening up, this time with a time-locked twist. To get a feel for all these changes, I sat down and previewed the new content with Kwai, Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno .

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