See: DUST 514

Crowfall might put your head on a stick

Haven’t lived up to your potential? Suffered the wrath of your enemies and paid the price for your folly? You could very well end up with your character’s head on a stick in Crowfall. That’s just the risk that you take in waging an eternal battle.

Heads on sticks is but part of the developer discussion over the new Pre-Alpha 5 patch. The team also discussed bandages, durability penalties, eternal kingdom building placement, ethereal dust gathering, and various fixes that went into place with this patch. Testers should be pleased to note that every character now gets up to three ring slots and two amulet slots to help with gear loadouts.

Check out the video after the break, even if you’re not testing! You can always imagine you are and then, we don’t know, go slam some action figures together to pretend you’re fighting in this game.

Read more

The Soapbox: Six responses to the ‘gaming is wrong/evil/an addiction’ argument

I recently went on a rant about gaming, but it wasn’t directed at gaming. It was in defense of gaming. I am so weary of our pastime getting slammed as wrong, evil, or equated as an automatic addiction. Games are bad! Gamers are bad! It is what the mainstream media portrays, it’s what politicians portray, and it is what those with an agenda want John Q. Public to believe. I have been seeing this media-fueled fallacy more and more often coming from good people and it drives me bonkers.

So after a slew of comments of that sort happened in a very diverse group I am a part of, I felt I needed to educate some of these otherwise wonderful folks about the topic. While I have no desire to tell folks what they can or can’t do in their own home or when raising their family, I really wish people would stop vilifying video games and gamers. I feel it is important to combat misinformation that leads to misjudgment.

Read more

Perfect Ten: What I discovered after returning to Dungeons and Dragons Online

When I look back at last year, the most surprising turn in my MMO gaming career was staging a successful return to Dungeons and Dragons Online. Initially I had only planned to revisit this old flame for a couple of runs and a quick blog post, but before I knew it, I had been sucked back in to this unique and flavorful MMO.

Over the past four months I’ve been slowly progressing through the early and mid game, taking my scrappy Gnome Artificer up to level 10 and through more odd stories than I ever recall being a part of the game (to be fair, the last time I had played regularly was 2010).

Now that I’ve had time to experience and reflect upon playing Dungeons and Dragons Online in this day and age, I wanted to share with you 10 observations that I’ve gleaned from this fantasy roleplaying game.

Read more

Fireflies and flocks of seagulls: Worlds Adrift adds beautiful touches to island creation

With the island creator toolset, players have been able to build new content for Worlds Adrift right alongside the dev team. The best of these projects have been taken and absorbed into the official game as a benefit of crowdsourcing. And now, these island creators have a few new options to add beautiful touches to their works.

The developers gave a quick animated preview of several visual effects that are in the works for the island creator toolset. These include flocks of birds flying about in the sky, drops of water, fireflies dancing about, and rocks and dust falling.

Bossa Studios said that the game recently saw “a massive spike in players” as it gets ready for Patch 0.1.7’s release. Other upcoming projects include the alliance system and fixing bugs that are impacting the client, inventory, and scalability.


Massively Overthinking: Considering pay-to-win MMO peripherals

MOP reader and commenter Sally Bowls recently sent along a link to an insanely awesome 34″ monitor that costs more than a lot of PC rigs in their entirety. “UltraWide For A Gaming Advantage,” LG’s sale page says in a huge font. It even touts a pro e-sports team using the monitor to “get an edge on the competition.” The idea is, shell out for expensive gear, and you’ll dust those scrubs still peeping through their tiny 16:9 portholes – that’s if they can see at all between the screen-tear, stutter, and input lag! You sure showed them, and it only cost ya $900!

Sally is not amused and wonders why people aren’t enraged at pay-to-win coming from this angle of the market. “This is not subtle. More expensive mice trying to justify their price with more buttons/resolution/tracking has been a thing. As Dr. Bartle points out, it is not that people don’t like P2W; it’s that they dislike other people being able to buy power. Is this a new trend or have I not been hanging out in the competitive end of the pool?”

So what do you think? Is better hardware pay-to-win, or is this just overblown marketing fluff? Why don’t people discuss this more? Have you ever taken advantage of pay-to-win hardware and peripherals? Should this be a thing modern gamers worry about? Where do you stand?

Read more

Pokemon Go will end support for pre-iOS 11 Apple devices by March

Mobile users are probably used to the eventual demise of their phones and the nonfunctionality of apps they bought long ago, no matter which manufacturer or operating system is behind their daily driver. Obsolesence is a way of life. But that reality won’t be of any comfort to Pokemon Go players on older iPhones, who’ve been told this week that their time has come.

“In an upcoming update to Pokémon GO, we will end support for Apple devices not capable of upgrading to iOS 11, such as iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c models,” Niantic announced. “This change is a result of improvements to Pokémon GO that push the application beyond the capabilities of the operating systems on such devices.”

So in a nutshell, come the end of February, you’re going to need a newer phone than one from 2012/2013 to play POGO, else everything you’ve paid for in the game will begin collecting dust and you will be playing other games. It’s not currently clear which other devices are destined for the chopping block in the near future, but it does appear that Niantic’s plan is to drop you rather than create a low-load version of the app to keep dedicated customers on older devices, just as it was Niantic’s plan to block all rooted/jailbroken devices rather than sort out actual cheaters.


The Game Archaeologist: Neocron

It’s the distant future. The high-tech battle armor you wear sharply contrasts with the ruins of civilization that you traverse. You spot an enemy and raise your pulse rifle, firing off shots as you strafe to cover. Technology hasn’t solved the issue of war; it’s just raised the body count.

PlanetSide 2? Nope — this is Neocron, the quite-forgettable MMOFPS from the way-back era. I like to call it “that game with the most regrettable cover art in the history of video games,” but that isn’t quite as snappy.

Going into this article, I have to admit that I previously knew absolutely nothing about Neocron other than the fact that it was a sci-fi MMO that vaguely reminded me of Anarchy Online. Oh, also the fact that nobody I know or perhaps ever will know played it. Was it just a myth? A practical joke to make us believe in an MMO phantom? Only sifting through layers of dust and grime would produce results, so I rolled up my sleeves and started digging.

Read more

Ship of Heroes recaps 2017, teases Christmas event, and looks ahead to 2018’s beta

Who says you have to have launched to have holiday events? Not Ship of Heroes. The City of Heroes-inspired indie superhero MMORPG has a new video out this afternoon teasing what will eventually become its Christmas event once the game is in a playable state.

“Meltdown is collecting Christmas gifts by racing around Apotheosis City,” Heroic Games explains. “As he finds each one, he opens it and receives both in-game money (Dust), and a gift that goes into his inventory. We’re also showing picture-in-picture clips of the most important milestones SoH has achieved in each of the last twelve months. Through the PiP, we are sharing an overall tale of success, of moving from a website with a bit of concept art and story, to our current working game prototype.”

The studio is also reminding fans that it’s still planning on launching open beta by the end of 2018 and that donations – with their associated rewards, including access to the alpha – are still open.

Read more

Are rank-and-file devs benefiting from MMO publisher ‘money-grabs’? Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs weighs in

Last week, Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre wrote a (fantastic) Soapbox editorial arguing that Star Wars Battlefront II (and its concomitant monetization dust-up) is merely a symptom of the “long tail” trend of the games business. As he put it, it’s not a bad thing that game companies seek to make money; they need money to make games, and games make us happy. We’re happy to pay fair prices for good games! But EA, he argues, is merely undertaking a “blatant cash grab” over and above the rising costs of making games, and the worst part is that the game developers themselves aren’t reaping the benefits of the publishers’ increased revenue.

“The programmers and art staff don’t wind up seeing much, if anything, from these increased profit margins, still being subjected to an awful volume of crunch time and demanding workloads with ever-growing headcounts,” Eliot asserted. “And the people making these games aren’t seeing any benefit from all of these increases; salaries aren’t going up except for the people at the top end.”

But that might be true for only a segment of corporate developers. In conversation with Massively OP, Camelot Unchained boss-man Mark Jacobs suggests that over the last five years, developer salaries – specifically programmers – have increased significantly.

Read more

Slay-to-win: Massively OP’s hands-on with the Dauntless closed beta

The end of September marked a major milestone for Dauntless, the upcoming monster-slaying action-MMORPG from indie developer Phoenix Labs, as it officially concluded its Founder’s Alpha event and made the jump into closed beta. Since then, legions of would-be Slayers have stormed the Shattered Isles, taking up arms to defend the last bastions of human civilization from destruction at the hands (and talons, fangs, or similarly sinister appendages) of the marauding monstrous beasts known as Behemoths.

And as it so happens, I was one of them. As a long-time fan of Capcom’s venerable Monster Hunter series, which pioneered the “kill-carve-and-craft” action-RPG subgenre upon which Dauntless aims to build, I’ve been eager to check it out for some time now. So when closed beta rolled around, I shelled out for a Founder’s Pack and joined my fellow prospects in the frontier settlement of Ramsgate, where I hoped to prove worthy of the Slayer mantle, or failing that, then at least to avoid dying horribly.

Read more

Black Desert devs responds to datamining dust-up with stat transparency and apologies

Remember a week ago when Black Desert dataminers dug up dirt on the game’s so-called hidden stats, only to be booted off the subreddit by mods doing Pearl Abyss’ bidding? Remember how the dataminers just put it all up on a different sub beyond the reach of PA, practically daring PA to follow through on the legal action it threatened dataminers with earlier this year?

Consider the situation effectively defused. Kakao has apologized for creating “confusion among [its] beloved players by failing to deliver accurate information,” promising clarity on those stats. Indeed, clarity is arriving in the form of a producer letter from Pearl Abyss (which also apologizes profusely).

Executive Producer Jae-hee Kim says PA now plans to add accuracy, evasion, and damage reduction numbers to tooltips, noting that while hidden stats seemed like a fun idea originally, there is now too much of a “gap” between people in the know and everyone else. The studio also aims to tweak “ambiguity” on elixirs, boost drop rates party to the node level system, and provide transparency on future stats.

Read more

Dauntless wraps up Halloween, gives testers a reset button

Continuing its mission to teach people across the world that if an animal is big enough it should be killed, Dauntless has pushed out its closed beta 0.2.8 patch this week.

The patch marks the end of the title’s first holiday event, The Dark Harvest. While Halloween in the lands may be over, the challenge of behemoth slaying continues. Assisting in this effort are three new Archonite weapons, more responsive hammer blast dodges, and improved client performance.

The team is also handing closed beta testers a reset button to use as they will: “All players can now reset their account progression via the My Account page. This will NOT remove any account items, such as founders pack benefits, platinum, flares, emotes, sigils, fabrics, and chroma dust.”

Source: Patch notes


EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s CCP Games is gambling with the livelihoods of employees

Last week we broke the story that EVE Online developer CCP Games is backing out of the virtual reality games market, closing its Altanta office and selling its VR-focused Newcastle studio. The long-held Atlanta office was acquired in the merger with White Wolf in 2006 and has been hit with several rounds of layoffs over the years, with a major hit in 2011 after the Monoclegate disaster and another 2014 when the World of Darkness MMO was cancelled. The Newcastle studio was the development house responsible for CCP’s VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, and both Valkyrie and CCP’s new VR game Sparc will now be maintained by the London office.

Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.

In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.

Read more

1 2 3 8