dev blog

Flameseeker Chronicles: Our Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire launch countdown checklist

I can’t quite believe that around 18 months of Guild Wars 2 development is about to drop in our laps this week through the Path of Fire expansion! It feels entirely different to the mammoth Heart of Thorns hype train that was somewhat marred by first expansion trepidation and the controversial pricing structure and content inclusions: On the second pass through an expansion release cycle, ArenaNet has managed to field a largely more low-key, straightforward road to launch, barring some grievances regarding material storage and gear identification. The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in

The hype train is building this week, and I wanted to help the effort by sharing my launch countdown checklist with you all so you can join me in looking forward to the expansion drop. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll speculate on main story points I hope to see in PoF, give pointers on prepping for Friday, and share some of the upcoming must-see ArenaNet launch materials. I’ll mainly just throw some ideas out that might help distract you while you wait on the big day. Do take note that those who wish to avoid all information about the expansion before Friday should give this column a miss for now in case of spoilers.

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Neverwinter highlights major inventory quality-of-life overhaul

Inventory management in MMORPGs is critical — I can’t even imagine playing something like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online without inventory mods installed. And yet mods shouldn’t be necessary; game inventory should work properly and well right out of the box.

Such is Neverwinter’s philosophy. In a new dev blog today, PWE explains its major overhaul for character inventories in the game. Of note, the inventory settings menu will allow players to sort the stuff in their bags by item type, sell everything marked as treasure, and identify all unindentified items – a move that seems to mirror Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire additions. You can also filter items by property, something few MMOs offer by default, and convert items to refinement points in bulk, part of a larger (and contentious) move to rewrite the refinement system.

Irritatingly, the cash-shop option to buy a bag is the top button under settings, right next to the button on your inventory bar, meaning both can be visible at once, but ya can’t win ’em all. Feedback is currently still being collected on the official forums.

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Conan Exiles makes a bold appeal to builders: Just play in god-mode

Lest you think that Conan Exiles is just about crushing your enemies and all that, Funcom has a new dev diary out today elucidating the game’s building system. Pure builders should skip the PvP servers, the studio says, and slip into single-player god mode or on a server with super-fast harvesting and crafting speed to focus on creating your very own Sim City in Hyboria.

Players of other sandboxes probably already know the drill: You don’t have to just plunk down prefab stuff and can instead build from the ground up using smaller building blocks. “To build truly creative structures it can be important to use a lot of different building pieces and placeables,” cautions Funcom. “Based on feedback from the community we are making additional building pieces with new shapes so you can make even more creative buildings.”

“You can build almost anything you want in Conan Exiles. If you have the time and patience you can even fill out most of the map with all kinds of buildings, castles and cities. Build a sprawling metropolis filled with thralls dancing in the streets, hammering away at their anvils or standing guard. Or perhaps you want to build a humongous castle, filled with all sorts of rooms and dungeons and even labyrinths.”

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PAX West 2017: Chronicles of Elyria’s monetization philosophy, tribe evolution, and the PvP sandbox stigma

What is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.

I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.

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The MOP Up: Skyforge gets a dark rush with the Revenant (September 10, 2017)

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 Master X MasterBlade and SoulEVE OnlineRoboManiacHearthstoneHyper UniverseThe Black DeathPokemon GoRuneScapeTERA MChampions OnlineWurm OnlineFinal Fantasy XIGiganticAllods OnlineHellionLeague of LegendsDiablo III, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!

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Guild Wars 2 on how Path of Fire is the most ‘complex’ story ANet’s done

Even if you’re a Guild Wars lore fan whose favorite word is “Cantha,” it’s likely that you’ve lost a bit of the story along the road between Guild Wars 1 and 2. Enter today’s Guild Wars 2 dev diary, which serves as a handy refresher course: In addition to a more top-down narrative explanation in the video, there’s an actual timeline of events leading up to the present day, explaining why this time we’ll be fighting an actual god instead of a dragon.

Indeed, the studio says that returning to the Crystal Desert and its southern cousin, Nightfall’s Elona, has been planned for since the launch of Guild Wars 2 way back in 2012. “It’s a pivot,” the story team says. “Players have been contesting against elder dragons since the game launched. We have beaten two of the elder dragons of a possible six, and as a result of beating these two cosmic scale entities, we’re starting to see the repercussions. It seems very much like we shouldn’t kill any more elder dragons, but lo and behold, here comes Balthazar.”

That guy, right? Watch along below, and don’t forget to get caught up on mounts with our deep-dive in Flameseeker Chronicles from earlier today.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Getting to grips with Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire mounts

ArenaNet dedicated last week to all things mounts, so it stands to reason that I’d simply have to provide you with a run-down of the flashy new expansion inclusions for Guild Wars 2: Path of FireRather than filling a perceived travel efficiency gap, the steeds created for PoF include a fairly extensive suite of travelling tools that help set them apart from the run-of-the-mill mounts in more traditional MMOs. These mounts are built to feel weighty and move realistically, changing how the player interacts with the virtual environment and allowing for more freeform map designs than ever before.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to discuss all things mounts and dig into the development rationale behind them. I’ll weigh in with my thoughts on how the mounts might impact future map development and change how we approach travelling in Tyria as well.
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Wurm Online works on becoming better-looking and better-performing

This past Saturday, Wurm Online pumped out a small 4.0.6 client release. With improved performance and better lighting, the patch serves as a prelude of sorts to greater changes that are coming to the sandbox MMO in the future.

For a preview of said changes, you’ll want to head over to Steam, where a developer blog lists the many projects that the team is pursuing in an effort to make the game more robust and better-looking. No offense to Wurm, but “better-looking” is a always worthy goal toward which this team to strive.

“Work continues on the development client with a new rendering engine, with better performance, lighting and shading, along with a ton of new graphics options,” the team said. “It’s an amazing improvement over the existing way the game renders, and will really bring the world to life.”

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The Black Death looks back at history while Osiris: New Dawn releases the Architect update

At this point, we are really starting to wonder if The Black Death is a history thesis that ran away from the student and somehow morphed into a video game. We wonder this as we read the survivalbox’s latest dev blog, which looks back at the economic impact of the bubonic plague in Europe.

Also, the team said that a new beta build is coming on September 8th. Probably a pop quiz, too.

In other survival sandbox news, Osiris: New Dawn rolled out a new update last week called The Architect. As its name implies, the patch greatly focuses on base building with new defenses and stackable habitats. Players looking for a little more freedom can turn on the creative mode, which also came in the update.

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Marvel Heroes explains tomorrow’s Omega Prestige system, says it will come to PC later

Maybe you’ve heard of this new Marvel Heroes Omega Prestige system and have been wondering, “What in Sam Hill is that all about?” Now there’s a dev diary that goes into more detail about this system, which is coming to consoles tomorrow.

Basically, Omega Prestige is a way to round out your character with visual flair and extra power once you hit the cap. Once you either buy or grind your way into its embrace, the system gives your character an optional glowing aura, two new traits, a faster cooldown for a hero’s ultimate power, better hero synergy bonuses, and a special legendary item.

The system will only initially debut for Spider-Man, although there are “many more” heroes slated for this upgrade in the future. PC players? Well, you’re at the back of the line for this. The PC version of Marvel Heroes won’t be getting this prestige system until after the Omega patch comes to the console game, whenever that may be.

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Guild Wars 2 devs on how mounts bring the ‘joy of movement’ to Path of Fire

If you took part in the first Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire preview weekend, you surely got to play around with the first mount, the zippy, slidey lizard. I found it surprisingly fun myself, even after 20 years of riding on MMO mounts.

In any case, if you’re into mounts or just wanna devour every scrap of info in the lead up to next month’s expansion, point your eyeballs at Anet’s official site today, where it’s running the first of its mount dev diaries. The studio’s Roy Cronacher says that the impetus for mounts in a game that’s traditionally eschewed them was born out of the popularity of gliders.

“We weren’t satisfied with making mounts a simple cosmetic speed boost that’d be tacked on to your character, so we set out to build a visceral, organic experience that feels like you’re riding a real animal,” he explains.

Cronacher skims through all the mounts we know about so far — the raptor, springer, skimmer, and jackal — and even touches on the mastery-linked way we’ll be training them up. Check out the whole thing on the official site and the new pics and video down below.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Elite Specialization preview weekend impressions

Over the weekend Guild Wars 2 players had the chance to get to grips with the new Path of Fire elite specializations in a PvP setting, so I, of course, jumped in with both feet and tried out some of the specializations for myself.

You’ll know already if you’re familiar with my ramblings that PvP isn’t a massive love of mine, but I simply couldn’t resist giving it a go for the sake of the elite specializations. I didn’t get to sample each one for myself because I had some key family events that fell over the weekend too, but I’ve been sure to provide a brief as-I-saw-it summary of the elite specializations I didn’t get to spend time actively playing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on my preview time spent playing around with the Weaver, Holosmith, Mirage, Scourge, and Spellbreaker and watching the work of the other elite specializations. These are simply rapid-fire impressions — I had to be brief to fit them all into the span of one column — but they should nevertheless be helpful to those who didn’t get hands-on over the weekend.

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Guild Wars 2’s second Path of Fire preview weekend is about to begin

Update: It’s live!

Didn’t get a chance to jump into Guild Wars 2 during last weekend’s Path of Fire preview weekend? You’re getting another chance today, although this leg of the event will focus on the game’s elite specs as they play in PvP, not the on the first PvE map and mounts.

We anticipate that it’ll launch any minute now based on last week’s start time. The weekend event will be followed up by the launch of PvP season 8.

Massively OP Guild Wars 2 columnist Tina Lauro Pollock deep-dived the expansion last weekend and delivered her thoughts in a special Flameseeker Chronicles yesterday, so tune in to that while you wait, and check out the dev diaries on all the elite specs down below. Will you be testing any out?

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