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See: The Elder Scrolls Online

Tamriel Infinium: With Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset, more of the same is a good thing

Today is the formal launch day for Summerset! My goal during the PC early access was to finish the main storyline, and I’m happy to say that I did it and some of the side quests as well. And I was also able to do a bit of exploring around the island just to see what was there. As an Elder Scrolls Online fan, I have to say that I’m satisfied with what ZeniMax delivered. If you are a fan of the game and really enjoy what the team has given so far in the game, then you will also like the Summerset chapter.

I strongly believe that ZeniMax over-delivered with Morrowind, so when making a direct comparison between the two different chapters, I will, unfortunately, have to admit that Morrowind was the stronger chapter. But that’s not to say that Summerset was a bad expansion to the game. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are some very strong characters, glorious set pieces, and fun Easter eggs.

As I talk about the story of the next chapter, it will be impossible not to talk about spoilers, but I will keep them as light and vague as I can. And I promise that anything that I reveal is not a major plot point. With that in mind, let’s talk about this story!

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The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset and Update 18 are live on console as ZeniMax teases upcoming DLC

The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset and Update 18 are live for console players today, meaning the chapter is officially out of early access for PC as well, even though you’ve already been playing a couple of weeks. Patch notes for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are up on the official site, though if you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention over the last couple of months, you already know that you’re getting a slice of the Summerset Isles, new armor, jewelry crafting, and the new Psijic skill line.

We’ve got all the trailers, plus a recap of our top news about and hands-on impressions of the chapter while it baked on the test server, down below. Don’t miss Larry’s list of what you need to know before you jump on in! Oh, and heads-up: Bethsoft says there was a bug right now with physical keys for PS4 in Europe and Oceania, but it should be fixed now, so if you had problems this morning, give it another go.

Aren’t enthused by Summerset? Stay tuned. ZeniMax’s latest producer note promises much more on the horizon: “There are two more DLCs arriving this year and many more exciting adventures coming next year and beyond. You will hear more about our next two DLCs at BE3 in just a few days, so make sure you tune into the show.”

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Apple’s OpenGL deprecation could spell trouble for some MMOs on Mac

Get all the “haha people game on Macs?” out of your system right off the bat because this one isn’t funny. MOP tipster Apparition pointed us to a GamingOnLinux thread yesterday in which Linux and Mac gamers worry over Apple’s recent decision to deprecate OpenGL as of the next macOS release. OpenGL is basically a programming interface for graphics rendering, and it’s used heavily in gaming, particularly for supporting games on Macs.

Apparition’s, and our, first thought was for MMORPGs that might be affected. There are plenty of large MMOs that utilize this tech for Mac support, including Elder Scrolls Online, but it’s probably the smaller ones who might not be able to afford to switch to updated codebases. According to GOL, plenty of smaller devs, though not for MMOs, have already announced their intention to simply stop supporting OSX altogether rather than migrate to new tech.

As for MMOs, Guild Wars 2 may be affected, Lord of the Rings Online is reportedly already working on the problem, and of course, World of Warcraft has already migrated. We’ll be digging around for more clues from Mac MMOs. If you play on a Mac and your MMO of choice has made a statement about its security or its plans for the client, sound off in the comments and we’ll try to keep this post updated.

Source: GamingOnLinux, Reddit via @that_shaman. With thanks to Apparition!

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How the best devs are ‘fleeing in droves’ to escape the abusive games industry

My only nephew is something of a math prodigy, and the fact that he wants to be a game designer when he grows up (and has even been to game dev camp) fills me with the creeping horror that only someone who’s been living in or chronicling the game industry for years can know. The industry is awesome, and it is also a meat grinder that chews amazing people up and spits them right back out. He deserves a better future than that. Everybody does.

Such is the subject of a lengthy piece on Gamasutra this week. Author Simon Parkin interviews multiple developers about their experience making games – and their obvious relief when they finally escape. They’re not just talking crunch; they’re discussing relatively low pay, contract positions, nepotism, instability, post-launch exhaustion, sexism, and actual corruption driving people away.

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ZeniMax apologizes for Elder Scrolls Online spyware, says it was ‘erroneously added’ and will be removed [Updated]

Hey who here loves – nay, adores – officially sanctioned spyware? Lots of hands staying in laps, we see. You all sure? You aren’t secretly clamoring for studios to monitor your every action? Not even you Guild Wars 2 players?

Well, Elder Scrolls Online players aren’t too pleased at the discovery that ZeniMax is using a program called Red Shell to track where its players live and what they are doing as part of the game’s marketing effort. There’s a concerted effort on the forums to find the best way to either block or opt out of the spyware software for privacy reasons. The program also raises issues concerning Europe’s new GDPR laws, as players are not given the explicit option to opt in or out of the program, though that might be covered by the game’s privacy policy.

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Bethsoft transfers Elder Scrolls: Legends online TCG to new developer

Don’t panic, Elder Scrolls Legends players: In spite of that ominous-sounding tweet from Bethsoft today, your game isn’t going anywhere. But it is getting a new development studio, as the company announced it’s “handing off future development and ongoing support for the game from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios.”

“Dire Wolf designed and created a wonderful card game with The Elder Scrolls: Legends, one that we very much believe in and want to grow. We believe that this move allows us to deliver on the promise of Legends to our players in the best possible way under Bethesda’s guidance and direction. This change is also a commitment from us at Bethesda to better support the game with regular updates, new features, competitive scene support and the other requests from our fans. We have heard your requests and believe this is the best path to continue improving the game.”

It sounds as if the core game itself will remain the same, as will existing accounts, except in that updates will continue. But even in the follow-up FAQ, there isn’t a real explanation given for the switch to the new team.

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Massively Overthinking: The case for rarity and randomness in MMO monetization

Last week, Guild Wars 2’s Crystin Cox gave a monetization interview to Gamasutra during which she made one specific argument I wanted to pull out and re-examine. She was trying to explain why lockboxes can provide a “value” to players that they can’t get any other way.

“When we talk about cosmetics, there’s a demand for every individual cosmetic. Like maybe I love cowboy hats, I just want to buy cowboy hats. But there’s also a demand, and a lot of players feel this way, for just cosmetic options. I like cowboy hats sure, but I also like bandanas, and I like clown hair, I like everything. I don’t really have a super strong preference. I just want more things to put in my dress-up box. That demand can be satisfied a lot better sometimes with just giving you a random thing because that can be done a lot cheaper. If you don’t care about which one you get and you just want one, you can get it for a lot cheaper. When you’re talking about games that have rarity, and rarity’s a big part of that game, then lootboxes can be done to distribute something on a small scale, so that not everybody has access to it but some do, as sort of a jackpot item. And then that gets into a little more complexity around the economy and your game, and whether not this is an enjoyable part of your game for people to play, play with the economy of some such. But if it is, then you can use lootboxes to be a pretty good distribution for something that’s very rare.”

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PlayStation 4 heads into the end of its life cycle, making console MMOs nervous

No console lives forever, although it seems like the more recent generations have enjoyed lengthy runs. Sony delivered some disconcerting news to fans this week as it said that the PlayStation 4, which debuted back in 2013, is now heading into the end of its life cycle as hardware sales decrease.

This doesn’t mean that the console is going to be abandoned any time soon, just that Sony is shifting its hardware priorities elsewhere. Software sales are still expected to continue strong for the time being, and the company reported that the online PlayStation Network now has 80 million users. Sony told The Wall Street Journal that the next iteration of the popular platform is at least three years off.

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Tamriel Infinium: Eight things you need to know before jumping into Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset

Monday, the Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset chapter went live for early access accounts. For the first time since 1994, players can visit the island of Summerset. And needless to say, 24 years makes quite a difference in the world of gaming. I’m not going to pretend that I ever played Arena, but think its safe to say that things look a lot different and the mechanics of the game have changed, too.

I don’t think that Summerset is as highly anticipated as Morrowind was, but that’s can be a positive for ZeniMax Online Studios because there is scrutiny when it comes to the lay of the land and the storyline. On the other hand, it means less hype for the expansion.

As an MMORPG enthusiast, I’m excited to see MMOs continuing to grow the way ESO has. And I know that you might not be as familiar with Summerset, so I would like to give you my list of what you should probably look out for when you jump into the next chapter.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 171: Bless you, my subscriber

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Elder Scrolls Online shares Summerset patch notes, trailer ahead of PC launch

You’ve heard all about the many, many features arriving in The Elder Scrolls Online when Summerset arrives, and it’s arriving in force today. (For early access on the PC, anyway. We’re sorry, console players, you will have to wait until next month.) But why read up on partial bits and bobs? Why not take a look at the full set of patch notes which are now available ahead of this evening’s early access launch? They’re lengthy, they’re glorious, and they’re far less focused on vague details than preview articles.

The patch notes cover both Update 18 and Summerset content, including the 10 new armor sets added to the game, the details of Jewelry Crafting, and the mechanics of the new Psijic Portals visible only to those who explore that eponymous skill line. It’ll take you a while to move through all of the notes here, though, so be prepared to take your time and really go through the details; there’s a lot to read.

We’ve got all the trailers, plus a recap of our top news about and hands-on impressions of the chapter while it baked on the test server, down below!

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Massively Overthinking: On slavery mechanics in MMOs

Polygon recently had an interview with Conan Exiles creative director Joel Bylos focused on the game’s slavery mechanics, a “feature” I had entirely forgotten about, probably because the game calls such NPCs – whom you are encouraged to capture and enslave – “thralls.” Bylos likens thralls to the ‘bots of Westworld: They serve multiple purposes, from dancing for entertainment to manning base defenses as “intelligent turrets.” Essentially, he argues, they’re a mechanic that allows a single human player to build out and staff a mini empire.

I thought it would be interesting to explore the subject of slavery in Massively Overthinking now that Conan is back in the headlines (and getting good reviews). Should slavery exist in MMOs and other online games? Does it get a pass because it’s NPCs, or does it make you uncomfortable to see your player potentially cast as a heroic slaveholder?

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Elder Scrolls Online rolls out special Twitch drops and crates

Twitch and Elder Scrolls Online have decided to hold hands and go skipping along in a park together. ZeniMax announced that new Twitch drops for ESO are now a thing, provided that players have linked their accounts.

Starting on May 21st, players will get a free Twitch crate every time they make an ESO purchase through the Twitch store. These crates have a variety of consumables and a chance at a very rare mount and pet.

If you want a crate without paying money, you’ll have your opportunity by watching supported Twitch streams (coming soon). View all the way to the end of these special streams, and poof, you’ll get a free crate. Cool, eh?

Source: Elder Scrolls Online. Thanks Jason!

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