dev blog

Magic: The Gathering Arena sets closed beta for December 4

Magic: The Gathering Arena’s alpha development is apparently going well, as according to a new dev blog and press release today, Wizards of the Coast is due to begin closed beta on December 4th.

“Starting December 4, we will begin inviting the first wave of Magic players to our Closed Beta, including bringing back everyone who has played so far in the Alpha. Whereas the Alpha was focused on a few weekends, the Closed Beta will be up and running every day (barring maintenance, downtime, or pirates storming our servers—it’s more common than you think), giving you even more opportunities to try it out.”

Everyone in the closed beta will be under NDA, but WOTC stresses that “initial invite waves will start small,” so even if you sign up right now, you may not get in until next year.

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ARK: Survival Evolved players riot over turrets as Aberration is pushed to December

Over the weekend, Studio Wildcard posted up an ARK Survival Evolved dev blog about turrets. You guys, I had no idea turrets were such serious business, but yes. Threaten to nerf turrets and the dino-loving community erupts – why, they barely even noticed Aberration has been delayed into December!

Ostensibly, Wildcard needed to nerf turrets because y’all were just using too many of them, causing tremendous lag for the servers.

“PC servers are far, far worse off than console servers, due to their increased caps on everything, and each and every one of these servers suffers enormously from turret-induced slowdown. PvE doesn’t even come close,” devs explained over the weekend. “Out of the top 150 slowest servers we have, only 15 of them in fact are PvE servers. This is a PvP issue, and it’s really bad.”

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Fortnite plans to flesh out its PvE mode in December and January

I’m gonna be honest: When I saw the subheader “The future of Save the World” in the latest Fortnite dev blog, I expected what followed to amount to “there isn’t gonna be one” – after all, Fortnite’s fast shift to whipping a PvP-oriented battle royale mode up from scratch for a B2P title that was planned as a builder for PvE players is legendary.

But Epic isn’t giving up on PvE at all. In fact, it’s plotting big changes. Here’s what’s en route over the next couple of months:

  • hero evolution turned up to legendary
  • inventory accessible from everywhere
  • improved loot inspection
  • improved management tools for collections
  • an event store where you can spend event-specific currency
  • a much better quest map
  • minibosses
  • and “Survival v2,” complete with skip days.

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Ashes of Creation’s city halls will be the center of player politics

With a strong focus on player government and politics, Ashes of Creation is giving careful consideration with how it will structure the leadership of each city. It won’t be hard to figure out where to go if you want to vie for power and position, as the city hall is being designed for such hobnobbing and meetings.

“Our government system is really all about letting players take control of the world they make,” the team wrote in this week’s dev diary. “The first step here is deciding how the city should feel, what laws should be in place and how it’s run.”

At the city hall, player leaders can meet together to make key decisions for the local town. Possible rulings include making people of a certain node “enemies of the state,” what to build, what to tear down, declaring war, forming alliances, activate festivals, and even create quests for other players.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking more of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

As promised, Flameseeker Chronicles is back with a continuation of the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire story deep-dive I’ve been crafting over the last few weeks. I’ll briefly recap you on where we left off and then will launch into covering the rest of Act II. The volume of story content that came with the latest expansion is appreciable and deserves to receive a thorough breakdown, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you while adding some thoughts as I go. Not everyone is as enthused with the story, of course, so I hope these unpacking articles also help anyone who doesn’t wish to dedicate time to more than the bare bones of the story: You can always use breakdowns such as these to fill any lore gaps that arise from you skipping content you don’t enjoy, after all! Note before you proceed that, just as was the case in the other story breakdown entries, this article will contain significant spoilers if you haven’t completed Act II of the story for yourself.

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Blade & Soul teases Dawn of the Lost Continent’s sights and storyline

When Dawn of the Lost Continent drops in Blade & Soul next month, the upgrade to level 55 will be accompanied by a “sweeping story of epic proportions,” or so NCsoft says. Indeed, a new dev blog highlights some of the highlights of the storyline – and some of the places you’ll go and gear you’ll get along the way.

“The Twilight’s Edge has been stolen by Mushin and Yura, with potentially world-shattering consequences. Meanwhile, Jinsoyun is still trapped in eternal slumber. But not all is lost as the recently captured Dark Vicar willingly revealed a cure in the lost continent of Solak—a distant land twisted by Dark Chi. The lost Yun city of Valindria will be the only safe harbor and your next destination in Solak.”

Thinking about returning? Last week MOP comment veteran Rafael noted that NCsoft has streamlined questing such that you can basically progress and pick up your legendary weapon along the main quest line with no need to grind. There’s some incentive, eh?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Act II of Guild War’s 2’s Path of Fire story

In the last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I discussed the opening sections of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire‘s story while providing you with a brief overview of what came before it. The return to Elona has been enjoyable and the character dynamics are developing nicely: The sheer breadth of content offered with the expansion in terms of story is fairly impressive and it deserves a thorough examination and explanation, so you know I’ve been bursting to continue covering it. In this edition, I’ll outline the rest of Act I and will begin into Act II: I’ll discuss Night of Fires, The Sacrifice, and Crystalline Memories. As before, expect significant spoilers if you’ve not had the opportunity to enjoy the expansion story for yourself yet.

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Pantheon’s social systems aren’t ‘simply bringing back the past’

One of the most interesting things to cover when it comes to Pantheon’s development has been its reconciliation of two superficially opposing ideas for social systems in MMOs: the old-school, hands-off, organic approach that leaves socializing entirely up to the players vs. modern contrivances that proactively group players together. The goal, however, is one and the same, and that’s to create a truly social community and “forging true relationships.”

Indeed, that’s what Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid attempts to explain in a new dev blog today focused on matchmaking and the LFG. Because… there will be a LFG tool — “or, really, set of tools. A suite a completely optional tools and mechanics that help people find real friends, help them group with those friends, help keep those friends together in a group.” McQuaid explains that the game is embracing a more “proactive” stance than what players might recall from EverQuest, using “positive reinforcement to rewards players” who make community happen.

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Crowfall explains castle wall construction, addresses patch 5.3

Chances are that all save but the most architecturally nerdy among you don’t find walls, panels, and sockets a particularly exciting topic. But your opinion on this might change when those elements are put together to form a protective and useful barrier between you and an army attempting to send you back to the spirits.

In a new developer blog, the Crowfall team shares some of the advances that it has made when it comes to castle wall construction. These improvements include allowing players to seemlessly connect parts together and select certain “panels” that can be used as windows, arrow slits, support beams, and doors. This way, not every castle wall you encounter will be the same as all of the others.

J. Todd Coleman also gave an update on what’s happening with the next big patch: “I want to say that I know you guys are waiting for 5.3. Obviously, it’s taking longer than we would like […] The version still isn’t quite ready, but it’s getting closer on a day-by-day basis and we’re hopeful that soon we can get a version onto the TEST environment, which of course is a pre-cursor to bringing it to LIVE.”

Source: Crowfall

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Project Gorgon’s huge UI revamp is a ‘major stepping stone’ toward Steam early access

Interface junkies, gather round, especially if you like detailed old-school-inspired MMORPGs, for Project Gorgon has unveiled a detailed tour of its new UI. It’s been “written to take advantage of the latest that the Unity Engine has to offer,” says the studio, and it’s largely thanks to the programmer hired with your Kickstarter funds.

“To reiterate, the main point of this rewrite is to make it easier for us to add UI features in the future. So in this first version, the most important thing is that we don’t lose any important features from the old UI. But there are some tangible improvements. The new UI’s appearance was designed by a top-rated UI artist. It has a cleaner look while still fitting in a tremendous number of functions and features. And we’ve taken the time to add some improvements — many small ones and a few big ones — that will make your gaming life immediately better.”

The dev blog released o the forums this week shows off collapsible skill trees, copypasting from tooltips, right-click context menus, frame moving and docking, outfit loadouts, chat customization, and maybe most importantly, a “stuff to do” panel that explains, well, what to do when you’re “stuck or confused.”

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

I feel as though the time is finally right to talk to you all about the awesome chunk of story that dropped with Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire. In terms of narrative quality and the amount of story content received, the expansion has fared very well indeed, so it’s been killing me not sharing my story thoughts with you sooner. The return to Elona has been handled beautifully and the area’s rich history was well presented for the uninitiated. There are enough unexpected twists and turns to keep things interesting, yet it still heavily relies on utilising the familiar dynamics of the NPCs we know and love.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will cover the first two chapters’ major story points for you: I’ll leave my usual hated and rated sections for the end of the story deep-dives. This article will contain significant spoilers for those who have not yet completed the expansion’s story for themselves, so I recommend skipping this article or proceeding with caution if that applies to you. You have been warned!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Grading Lord of the Rings Online in 2017

At the beginning of 2017, it seemed as though a mini-renaissance was brewing for Lord of the Rings Online. Standing Stone Games broke away from the sinking ship that was Turbine and offered a fresh start of sorts for the long-running MMO. We were coming to a head with the game’s story and a return to large-scale expansions was confirmed with the news of Mordor.

Reality and hopes don’t always get along, and while 2017 hasn’t always been the kindest to LOTRO, it hasn’t been a crushing disappointment either. The more I’ve been looking at the state of the game, reading the forums, playing it, and covering news, the more I’ve felt the need to grade how the game is doing in the right here and now.

So why not? It’s school season, so let’s embrace the academic spirit and assign some marks to LOTRO’s operation and state. Agree with these grades? Disagree? Get out your quill and scratch your own thoughts down there in the comments!

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Champions Online’s Blood Moon rises once more this Halloween

Hang in there folks: The relentless onslaught of MMO Halloween events still has another couple of weeks to go before we emerge with our treat bags full and a desire to never see another Jack-O-Lantern again.

For now, let it suffice to say that Champions Online has activated its annual Blood Moon event, flooding the game world with zombies who need a good walloping. While there’s no new activities this year, Champions does have a few cool rewards to chase, such as the bat mask, neck bolts, spooky aura, or a machete costume.

Need a refresher course on what Blood Moon entails? Take a trip back in time to watch a 2009 developer diary on the event after the break!

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