culture

Final Fantasy XI brings back its annual doll festival

For the many Japanese players of Final Fantasy XI, the annual doll festival feels entirely familiar and normal. For most of the international players, it feels kind of weird and unfamiliar. And yet everyone can enjoy it because it means that you have a chance to play with dolls in a video game. Who could be anything less than delighted about that? Hopefully not you, dear readers, as the game’s doll festival is coming back around on February 26th for everyone to enjoy.

Event moogles (those harbingers of antics) will be appearing in Bastok, San d’Oria, and Windurst, located in two districts and offering players festive items such as your very own doll display. Consider that this month’s login campaign also offers a chance to get your own Lilisette doll; it seems thematically appropriate. Collect your dolls! Display them for others! Do some research into this holiday that may be unfamiliar to you! It’s all in fun.

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Wisdom of Nym: Actual mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part one

There are a lot of people who are quick to complain about issues with their personal favorite jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. No matter what job you’re playing, there are people that will eagerly point out all of the screamingly wrong things with the job whilst completely ignoring how well the jobs actually do work together. When you can seriously clear stuff with anything, someone is doing something right, and that’s why a lot of the complaints come down to “well, I don’t like it, so it’s bad.”

However, that doesn’t mean that the game’s jobs are devoid of mechanical issues. They’re pretty well balanced at the moment (not perfectly, but acceptably so), but each job does have certain mechanical issues that are probably going to need to wait until the next expansion to really be properly fixed up. So, while that next expansion is probably a bit more than a year away now (June 2019, I’d imagine), let’s take a look at the actual mechanical issues facing all 15 jobs.

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EVE Online balances ships and adds the Monitor to its March patch

Even if you’re not familiar with how battles work in EVE Online you can probably still guess at what “headshotting” means for the game’s large-scale battles. Command ships offer major benefits for fleets working with them, and trying to take out that command ship can often end the fight right then and there. The next patch is adding a new sort of ship designed for combat to prevent headshots, the Monitor. It fits no weapons or drones and can only fit a few modules, but it’s incredibly durable for its size and features several options to elude pursuit. It’s not the only option for commanding a fleet, but it should serve as an excellent way to mix up strategies.

The various other balance changes should also mix things up by extending the lock range on tech 1 battlecruisers and giving attack battlecruisers more maneuvering ability with micro jump drives, along with several specific balance shifts for specific ships. Check out the full rundown to see if you’ll need a new strategy for the ship you’re flying when the March patch lands. Whether or not this will address the game’s current enormous bot problem is another story altogether.

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Neverwinter details the creation of the Atropal boss

The Atropal boss in Neverwinter is not something you want to run into in a dark alley. Heck, it’s probably not something you want to run into anywhere, for any reason, at any point in time. It is a pretty disturbing-looking monstrosity, that’s the point here. And there’s a whole development blog available now about how the boss was designed, so if you’re wondering how a boss gets from its concept art (which may have just been a used tissue) to a finished model, it’s well worth a read.

You’ll also learn something about how skeletons and rigs work in the game, as the Atropal is based off of a heavily modified human male skeleton. Yes, it’s very different, but all of the fundamental parts work, so it’s just a matter of tweaking limb size appropriately and giving it a truly disgusting appearance. If you like reading up on how bosses get put together, it’s well worth an examination.

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The Daily Grind: Are there MMO characters you don’t want to play but wouldn’t delete?

My primary servers on World of Warcraft are easy to spot, because they both have a dozen characters on them. Then there are a few other servers with single characters left there. These are characters I haven’t played in years, characters I no longer wish to play, but ones I keep around just because. Some of them just look really unexpectedly nice, some of them have the advantage of familiarity, and one of them is an Orc Warrior named Grignr.

If you don’t understand why that’s important, a bit of searching will explain.

Anyhow, none of these characters factor into my playing or overall plans; they’re just characters I can’t bring myself to discard. So what about you, dear readers? Are there MMO characters you don’t want to play but also can’t bring yourself to delete? The sort that will forever sit there, unneeded for play, but making you happy by their mere continued existence in some small way?

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World of Warcraft is using new damage formulas in the Battle for Azeroth alpha

It’s going to be easy to ignore new formulas in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth for a little while. After all, you’re dealing with a big across-the-board numbers squish along with a new expansion, so you’ll probably be focusing more on your individual abilities feeling like they do the right amount of damage per hit. But there’s been what appears to be a pretty major under-the-hood change in the game’s damage calculation. Whereas previously abilities that didn’t use your weapon didn’t care about weapon damage, it appears that everything in Battle for Azeroth uses weapon damage as an important component of its overall damage.

How does this affect you? From a moment-to-moment standpoint, it might not, but it does important work in addressing the disparity between classes like Warriors and classes like Monks. Most Monk abilities were not weapon strikes, so weapon damage didn’t actually affect their overall damage heavily and more attack power was the only real factor; by contrast, most Warrior abilities scaled with weapon damage all along. Going forward, if both classes scale based on weapon damage, it means that they’ll both need to assign roughly the same amount of weight to getting better weapons. It’s not something you’d notice unless you paid a lot of attention to damage formulas and specific gear importance, but it’s still an interesting change.

Source: Wowhead

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Final Fantasy XIV announces an end to congested worlds and restricted housing sales

The launch of Final Fantasy XIV’s new housing plots came with an additional restriction: Players weren’t allowed to purchase these new plots as individuals, just for free companies. Similarly, the launch of Stormblood brought a similar restriction, as players on designated “congested” worlds could not make new characters on those worlds or transfer characters to those worlds. But on February 20th, both of these restrictions will be lifted. Players can once again transfer to congested worlds, buy individual houses, and dress up in moogle outfits as tanks.

Actually, players could do that last one before.

Players will still be restricted to only owning one house per server on a given account, so the opening of plots doesn’t change that; similarly, there will still be preferred worlds for character creation, and if population disparities rise again the same countermeasures will be put back into place once more. However, for the time being, players will be able to get together and play more easily. In the end, isn’t that all anyone really wants?

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Stardew Valley multiplayer beta is due out for the spring

If you’ve long looked forward to farming with and marrying your friends in Stardew Valley, the day is inching ever closer. While the game’s multiplayer side has been delayed on multiple occasions, it’s aiming for a beta test starting this spring, so players can take advantage of all the patch features included therein. That includes playing together, new crafting features to distinguish belongings, and yes, the ability for players to marry one another instead of town residents.

No word yet on whether or not multiplayer will also allow you to have illicit marriage affairs after marrying your fellow players, but we’re going to go ahead and say that falls a bit outside of the game’s scope.

The patch will also add language support for French, Italian, Turkish, and Korean, so further players can enjoy more localized languages in addition to all of the multiplayer functionality. Again, nothing is certain quite yet, but if all goes according to plan the testing of multiplayer is just around the corner.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has a roadmap for 2018 coming soon

So what’s actually going on for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Most of the news we’ve heard about the game this year has been focused around jumping to more platforms or adding more anti-cheat measures, not actual balance tweaks or anything of the sort. The good news is that there does appear to be a plan, and players can rest assured that it’s going to be talked about very soon. Community manager Sammie Kang has promised players that it will be released jut as soon as the details are finalized.

Meanwhile, the game’s numbers on Steam have dropped for the first time since launch, which prompts all sorts of speculation about what might have caused the sudden drop. It could be the lack of development communication, or it could be the anti-cheat measures, or it could be the approach of the game in a localized version in China, or the mobile version of the game (also in China). It could even be coincidence. But we can all start trying to build a narrative about it now, just to occupy ourselves.

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Overwatch’s Kaplan discusses upcoming hero changes and the subsequent plans

The next round of hero changes for Overwatch is currently on the test server, so you can feel free to try them out if you’re so inclined. What’s not on the test server are changes to Hanzo, something that Jeff Kaplan discusses in the most recent development update video. A lot of abilities and plans had been discussed for Hanzo, but the most promising one was an arrow that shot through barriers to replace Scatter Arrow. It worked, but it felt like it punished smart play ducking behind barriers and the like.

The current plan is to give Hanzo a rapid-fire ability to replace Scatter Arrow and a new multidirectional horizontal dash to allow him to get in and out of range quickly. Symmetra and Torbjorn are also on the deck for future adjustments. For the moment, you can explore improvements to Mei’s freeze ability, Sombra’s main gun, and Doomfist’s ammo recovery rate; check out the whole video just below to get a more detailed rundown of what’s changing.

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Lineage 2 players are upset over Circlets of Power

So let’s do our best to break down how the latest kerfuffle in Lineage 2 started up. First, the game introduces a new set of items in the cash shop, the Circlets of Power, which are the best items you can get for that particular slot when fully upgraded. That’s going to definitely attract some cries about pay-to-win. Then, the upgrade process for those Circlets is also not assured. That’s also bad, but at least you still have the Circlet, right? Oh, except you have to upgrade them to +5 and a failed enchantment reverts the item to +0, that’s worse.

But… what if you also made the upgrade item a cash shop purchase? It’s like a lockbox where you gamble on how much more money you have to spend!

Do we even need to specify that players are unhappy about this? Because they really, really are. The announcement thread has also become the discussion thread, which prompts some speculation about whether or not the game will be balanced around the upgraded circlet or if it’ll be balanced around worse gear, thus rendering the circlets game-breakingly powerful. It also doesn’t really matter, because… yeah, this is kind of gross.

Source: Official Site, Official Forum; thanks to Martin for the tip!

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WoW Factor: How could multiclassing work in World of Warcraft?

Not so long ago, our editor-in-chief was talking about how World of Warcraft needs some form of multiclassing system. So let’s talk about how the game could do that, yes? That’s something we haven’t talked about.

It’s actually one of those weird things that has, for various reasons, never actually come up at all as a promised feature of any sort, especially as the various specs within a class have become more and more diversified. In the earliest days, an Enhancement Shaman and an Elemental Shaman both had the same tools and had talents to emphasized different ones; these days, they share a minority of abilities and mostly get their own unique kit. You can swap between specs pretty freely, but not between classes.

But that’s not to say we couldn’t get some form of multi-classing. Heck, it felt like the various spec-bending talents for Druids were already halfway toward this sort of support, and Druids themselves sort of lean into the direction of multiple classes under one roof. So with absolutely no indication that such a feature has ever been seriously discussed beyond fan theories, let’s look at how this could work in World of Warcraft.

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World of Warcraft restores mobile auction house functionality

It was a quiet night last night for World of Warcraft datamining, but there was still some news to be had with the latest round of hotfixes. Players can access the mobile auction house API once again, which is good news for anyone attempting to maintain a merchant empire in the game. The hotfixes also patched up issues like achievements for certain Eastern Kingdoms Loremaster accomplishments not tracking across multiple characters and proper mount drops from Yogg-Saron.

Meanwhile, players have uncovered something interesting on the Broken Shore. If you head out to that region and look for the Xorothian Cultists without simply attacking them, you can see that they’re channeling a spell. A long spell; it’s a spell that should finish casting around March 7th. In the past, some of their long channeling spells have hinted at big events to come when the channeling finishes, with the last cast ending on the day of patch 7.3.5 releasing. So what happens around that day? We’ll have to find out, but it hints that it’ll be something interesting.

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