Last week, we covered CCP's
new plan to change EVE Online's
30-day sub currency, PLEX, by effectively breaking it into smaller chunks
and turning it into more of a cash shop currency that's more easily fungible and tradeable.
It was an announcement not without its detractors, as Massively OP's EVE columnist Brendan Drain explained over the weekend: Some players were miffed that PLEX will be transportable without the risk of ship-to-ship movement, while others grumbled about the short-term effect on the market and poor conversion rates for the secondary currency, Aurum, and the lack of conversion for players with fewer than 1000 Aurum. And as is common with such in-game economies, still others are up in arms over apparent market corruption, as it appears that players with insider information began trading ahead of the announcement to manipulate the economy -- as Brendan suggests, likely a CSM (player council) member privy to information ahead of the embargo lift.
Today, CCP posted an update meant to assuage some of the concerns about the new program.
Idea Fabrik's internal dev team published a dev update on The Repopulation this morning, following the game's relaunch last week. The studio says it's still working on verifying old backer accounts and reminds players that the game hasn't been updated yet -- this is just a copy of the game from fall 2015 when it all came down. Expect wipes to correct the economy at some point as well.
The really bad news is that the new team has discovered a slew of existing problems it needs to fix before it can move on with new content.
"We have been digging in to the zoning/transition issues, which have provided an insight to many other issues, this includes but is not limited to a lot of information that is being replicated which doesn't need to be, and some major issues with server drops, memory leaks and performance are being extrapolated by this. What this means for us is... We have to go over all replicated information, sort out what should be server side and client side, then apply all of the fixes without borking up other interconnected systems at the same time. As example of this is when players go over zone lines: ALL of your Account information is replicated from one area to the next, this includes for example, your inventory. So the more information on your character, the longer it will take to transition. This is not a straight forward and easy changing a 1 to a 0."
Wakfu players should be advised that Ankama is undergoing a purge of inactive Wakfu accounts. If you haven't logged into the website or the game in the past two years, have never subbed, and have never spent anything in the cash shop, your account (and its characters) will be subject to the purge. You can log into the website to keep your account within the next 30 days.
Meanwhile, the studio says it will be postponing its planned server merges until the end of the year to "give the team more time to find the very best solutions."
"The decision to postpone the merge is based on the concerns you expressed in our forums: What will happen to our Haven World? Our guilds? The server economy? Our equipment? We have gathered all of your questions and requests and passed them on to the team. We also know about the abusive player killing (PK) issue and we will work to find solutions. We are aware that problems exist and we realize how important they are."
Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game's business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!
- There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues -- as well as performance issues. "The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we'd be worried that free trial could slow down the servers."
- Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
- In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game's $30 buy-in, SI explained the game's business model is based on EVE Online's and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won't afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.
It bears repeating that here on Massively OP, we cover an immensely wide field of live games -- so many that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of what's happening in each one (which is why our readers are invaluable in winging us tips about their favorite MMOs!). And while there's never any shortage of news and happenings in the field of MMORPGs as a whole, once in a while we realize that it's been a good long time since we heard anything about certain games that we used to discuss a lot in the past.
When that happens to me, I'll often head off on a little fool's errand to scout the website, Twitter feed, forums, and Reddit to see what's going on. I hate to be out of the loop on games, especially ones that used to be more prominent in the news, but more often than not, the lack of news is because there's been a lack of news.
You ever caught yourself going, "What ever happened to the original Darkfall? Or Runes of Magic? Or Fallen Earth?" I totally have, which is why I went on expeditions to see what I could uncover. So let's catch up with these three games and see what is up!
The space air is electric with excitement as EVE Online has opened up the vote for the next members of the Council of Stellar Management. There are many candidates from all around the world vying for a spot on the influential player council.
According to CCP, the CSM is "a player advocacy group, consisting of 10 members democratically elected by the players to advise and assist CCP in the continuous development of EVE. The CSM brings focused, structured feedback from the community to CCP and represents its views and interests."
And if you really want to nail home that old cliché of EVE being "spreadsheets in space," check out the many, many graphs of the game's February economic report. Read it to your kids at night to get them to sleep!
If, like me, your spring break plans have been thwarted by frigid weather in the forecast, maybe you're looking for something new to do this weekend. If so, take a peek at SkySaga, which last week hit alpha 10. The voxel sandbox updated the floating City of Last Light, buffed character customization, improved the UI and atlas, added new components, and made it so much easier to search and visit other players' homes. Crafting and the economy have seen a major simplification overhaul as well:
"Intermediate components have been removed from the crafting process, which means you can get straight to building what you need. For example - to craft a chair you no longer craft wooden planks on a sawbench and iron bolts in a forge, then combine these parts on a workbench, keeping track of the recipe with a mental shopping list - now you use the raw wood and metal directly in a single crafting device, and immediately hit craft. Simplifying this way means that inventory management gets much simpler, as there are fewer leftover parts. You can batch craft a stack, too - as many as you have materials for. The crafting UI has been drastically simplified and now focuses on the important parts of the process. The item recipe will auto populate if you have the right materials to complete the build."
More recently, the team posted a video walkthrough of cave gameplay. Check them out below.
For those that felt titillated and intrigued by the original announcement of Rebel Horizons a year ago (if you can remember back that long), movement has been spotted on the project after many months of relative silence. The team is planning to make an appearance at GDC this spring and has a new trailer to show off to the public.
The trailer for the sci-fi sandbox shows a man on another world, taking a jet bike across the desert to a settlement. There, he buys some gear and then steps into a teleporter, destination unknown.
Rebel Horizons is making a shared persistent universe in which players can forge their own destinies and make their own living. Possibilities include trading, crafting, bounty hunting, mining, harvesting, and traveling to other worlds, each with their own ecosystems and economies.
Catch a glimpse of the future in the GDC 2017 trailer after the break!
I am finding it hard to believe that we are two months into 2017 already, especially since I've had so many pressing Guild Chat submissions recently that I haven't had a chance to turn my hand back to MMO Mechanics in all that time! As an introduction to a new year, I usually like to include a predictions column that summarises my perspective on how I believe mechanics will change over the following twelve months, but I don't feel as though the 2016 trends I mentioned have died out yet and wish to instead focus on the sustained emphasis on sandbox MMO development with strong holistic, character developing mechanics.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I'm going to talk about some upcoming MMOs and the non-combat, realistic, and technical mechanics added into the 2017 sandbox mix. Although I can't guarantee that the titles I mention below will actually release this year, each of them has enough solid development behind them to make a 2017 release at least probable; besides, even if these titles don't release in the next ten months, they will still bear the hallmarks of the state of the modern sandbox MMO and are worth noting. Add your thoughts on the common threads you're finding in 2017's planned MMO mechanics in the comments: I'm sure to miss several key mechanics development trends in this non-exhaustive list.
Glomping into MechWarrior Online this week is the brand-new Supernova, a fearsome beast of a machine with two weapon module slots and two consumable slots.
The Supernova is part of the February update, which also adds some cockpit items, renames the invasion game mode to simply "siege," auto-renews mercenary contracts, and makes a slew of faction play and 'mech adjustments and fixes.
Next on deck for the lobby brawler is a revamp to the skill tree. The team has been working on this for some time and is adjusting it based on player feedback from the test realm. "The biggest topic of discussion has undoubtedly been the economy of the skill tree system," the devs wrote. "Much of the feedback we received also centered on the relative balance of the skill tree and the structure and content of certain skill branches and skill nodes."
The expansion of World of Warcraft's token utility continues to ripple across the entire Blizzard ecosystem, as prices remain high and supply occasionally runs out. Polygon has gone so far to posit that grinding out gold in WoW might be more efficient to get those Hearthstone packs and Overwatch loot boxes than actually playing those games.
The article contains a lot of math: "It takes about 135 hours of playing Overwatch to earn 100 loot boxes. A bundle of 50 loot boxes costs $40 plus tax, so Overwatch pays out loot-box rewards worth about sixty cents for every hour you play [...] You should be able to earn the six tokens you need to buy a hundred loot boxes in about 30 hours of grinding herbs in World of Warcraft, so you earn more than four times as many Overwatch loot boxes per hour farming herbs in WoW than you’ll earn from actually playing Overwatch."
In other World of Warcraft news, wing three of Nighthold is now open for business, so get in there and make us all proud. Today and today only is the new Hatching of the Hippogryph micro-holiday, if you're into that sort of thing. Additionally, you might also want to catch the latest new developer Q&A livestream this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST.
In a new interview with Glixel, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas opened up about the creation and use of WoW Tokens in the Blizzard ecosystem, especially in light of last week's expansion of the tokens' functionality. Hazzikostas said that the demise of Diablo III's RMT auction house paved the path for WoW Tokens.
"One of the original purposes for the token, and something that it’s served very well, is undercutting the illegal gold selling market that exists within the game," he noted. "The way that gold is acquired is by compromising the accounts and using various methods that are harmful to players. Anything we can do to make those things harder is a net gain for us."
Hazzikostas said that only a small segment of World of Warcraft players actually buy or sell tokens: "We were very satisfied with the fact that it was harmless, that it was not having any negative external effects on the economy or the game, and was just making people happier."
The world of Grand Theft Auto Online has never been one of peace and safety, but as of late, it appears that the game is more dangerous than ever to its inhabitants. Players have been increasingly complaining about the erratic and damaging driving that computer-controlled cars are doing in the game, going so far as to suggest that there's a deliberate conspiracy to target users of the game.
A piece on Kotaku walks through the problem, pointing out how many players are recording footage of NPC cars suddenly swerving to collide and crash with player cars even when the player is driving normally. The discussion in the community points to the Bikers update as when the problem started really becoming noticeable, although opinions differ as to why computer cars are now operating as if they have angry three-year-olds at the wheel.
Some theories include bugs in the code, paranoia on the part of players, or even a nasty scheme on the part of Rockstar to drain money from the economy (via car damage) and thereby encouraging the community to buy in-game cash for real money.