News of over 30 gaming companies taking a united stand against unfairness and toxicity in online game communities sprung out of GDC 2018 a few days ago, with some rather surprising company names making the list of those involved. The issue of toxic behaviour is a tough nut to crack, and these companies believe that the best way to tackle the issue is by pooling research and resources to share knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. It’s an interesting and complex idea that has got me thinking, so I just had to take up an issue of MMO Mechanics to discuss the potential implications for MMOs and near-MMOs.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll look at the mission of the Fair Play Alliance, discuss the ground they’ve covered so far, explore a case study of how toxicity affects one involved MMO developer, and then will give my thoughts on mechanical rollouts that could be employed to help smash toxicity.
After years of trying to crack the serious issue of negative behavior and toxicity among their individual communities, 30 game studios and industry leaders are teaming up to see if their combined strength can win the day.
League of Legends’ Riot Games, World of Warcraft’s Blizzard Entertainment, EVE Online’s CCP, Fortnite’s Epic Games, and Twitch’s Twitch are among those companies that have formed a “Fair Play Alliance” in an effort to combat bad player behavior. The coalition’s goal is to create a set of behavioral standards that will be shared among the whole community and help up-and-coming developers as they try to break into the e-sports markets.
“As an industry and as a society online, we’re trying to find our way. Having to be a company that steps out and says ‘We’re gonna be the ones to do this’ is kinda scary. This is an opportunity for all of us to say ‘What if we walked together as an industry?’” said Riot Senior Technical Designer Kimberly Voll.
The skies are crowded with activity in EVE Online
as of late. CCP came out this week to talk about many of the “little changes
” and quality-of-life improvements that have arrived with today’s patch
These cover changes to help track fleets, the addition to fleet tags on the target bar, a new way to filter the compare tool, a reduction in jump fatigue accumulation, a structures tab in systems; show info windows, tooltips on personal security status in various systems, and plenty of other smaller items.
Applications for the game’s 13th Council of Stellar Management are now open and will continue to accept bids through this Friday, March 23rd. Players who wish to serve on the community advisory panel have to meet certain requirements, such as having an account that’s at least two months old, being 18 years old or older, and allowing CCP access to your personal identification.
How many times have you read the comments on an EVE Online
article and found someone talking about an experience they had that turned them off the game? They were suicide ganked and lost a month’s worth of progress in 30 seconds, scammed out of all their ISK, or their corporation fell apart after a war declaration
. Even former players who look back fondly on their time in EVE Online
will relate some event or trend that ultimately pushed them away from the game, whether it’s a gameplay change that ruined the way they liked to play, their alliance suddenly losing all of its territory, a valued friend quitting the game, or a social structure they relied on breaking down.
These natural breaking points happen to all players eventually, and some will invariably take the opportunity to quit the game when they occur. EVE is more of a long-term hobby than a game, so it’s only natural that some players will leave the game if something catastrophically upsets the way they’ve learned to enjoy that hobby. Lately I’ve been thinking about these moments in which a player can lose something they’ve invested heavily into, and wondering whether there’s something more that could be done to minimise these failure states. Should CCP provide safety nets for players against catastrophic failure, or is this just part of the player-directed nature of the sandbox?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider some of the things that can push a player to breaking point, and whether additional safety nets would make a difference.
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 Mu Ignition, Lineage 2 Revolution, Revelation Online, Earthfall, Legacy of Atlantis, DC Unchained, Soul Ark, Battle Carnival, World of Warcraft, Old School RuneScape, Aion, War Thunder, Artifact, Pokemon Go, The Black Death, Astroneer, EVE Online, Phantom Halls, MU Online, and Heroes of Newerth, all waiting for you after the break!
Multiple MMORPG communities are celebrating the life of internationally renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who passed away earlier this week.
In EVE Online, players came together yesterday to “spend a little ozone for one of the brightest minds humanity has ever had” by gathering in the same spot, setting aside personal grievances and ongoing wars, and literally lighting up the game in tribute. Reddit is filled with screenshots of the occasion, but here’s the one CCP retweeted:
The EVE Online
community came down pretty hard on CCP Games at the start of the year, with podcasts, blogs, and the Council of Stellar Management all highlighting a recent lack of balance changes and iterations
. CCP responded with a renewed wave of updates, and it’s safe to say that the studio is absolutely knocking it out of the park. The upcoming March patch will include surprise buffs for the Muninn and Eagle, damage increases for the Cyclone and Drake Navy Issue, and an unexpected change to Attack Battlecruisers that could turn the fleet PvP meta completely on its head. The Orthrus is also finally getting its long-awaited nerf, and some careful tweaks will end the dominance of Ferox and Machariel fleets.
As if that wasn’t enough good news for one month, developers also plan to release a completely new class of ship designed exclusively for fleet commanders, are finally adding blueprint-locking to citadels and engineering complexes, and have some big territorial warfare improvements in the pipeline. The horrible but often necessary Jump Fatigue mechanic is finally being re-evaluated, and players will no longer be able to use citadel tethering mechanics to easily move capital ships in absolute safety. The territorial capture gameplay and the Entosis Link module used in nullsec sovereignty warfare are also being improved based on player feedback. The community hasn’t been this positive about upcoming changes for quite some time!
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out the details of the upcoming ship balance overhaul, the new Monitor fleet command ship, and other changes coming in the March update.
Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.
As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.
I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?
The problem facing EVE Online’s
in-game store, according to the most recent development update, was that it was stuffed full of cosmetic items and was thus difficult to navigate. So what’s the solution? Provide better navigation tools? Offer more robust searches and groupings? Or just retire all of the things that have been in the store for a while
and ensure that anything new would be retired after a short span of time as well, thus pressuring you to buy it right away? That last one is the one with the link and it requires the least work, so take a guess.
Various sales will be held over the next few month as the team retires more or less all of the cosmetic skins in the shop right now; future skins will have a lifespan of three months before they are also retired. There’s the promise that some of these items may return at various points in the future for seasonal packs, but obviously, the emphasis is on buying any skins immediately if you want them in the future. Which, we must concede, will definitely make the store easier to navigate.
What do you get when you mash up Rimworld, The Sims, and EVE Online? Probably a big mess, but adjacent to that mess somewhere is Seed. Developed by Klang Games and using Improbable OS, Seed is a colony simulator in which players will make high-level management decisions about a fledgling settlement while their villagers go on living and working even while the player is offline.
It is an unusual and different sort of MMO than players are used to seeing, which is why it might be prudent to watch this short interview by PC Gamer to understand the full sales pitch for this sci-fi title.
“What we’re doing is a game that’s about simulating life. That isn’t a space that’s been explored before. We think we’re pretty early movers in simulation-based MMOs,” said Klang Co-Founder Mundi Vondi. Check out the interview below!
The small portion of EVE Online
players who will be heartbroken over the loss of the game’s voice chat
will really just be riding the forefront of the game’s chat changes. Significant backend changes to the game’s chat functionality are coming with the March update
, and the short version is that chat in general is getting spun out to a separate platform on a different infrastructure.
Why such a significant change? Well, for one thing, it should help reduce the chat load on specific nodes during fleet operations, and it also serves to help split up the game’s functionality into more manageable chunks for the development team. It also gives the game’s customer service team easier access to chat logs, so that should be fun, too. You shouldn’t notice any changes in-game after the chat changeover, but players are encouraged to report any bugs that managed to slip through as always.
More chunks of EVE Online
are on the chopping block this week, as CCP announced today that it’s sunsetting EVE Voice
with the March patch. And less than one-hundredth of the playerbase will care, as the studio explains only 0.4% of active players used it instead of Discord, Mumble, and their ilk. The good news is that it paves the way for 64-bit client development and a chat system overhaul.
“With the March release, we’ll be updating the chat system in EVE Online, moving from the custom solution we’ve been using since EVE was initially designed, to an industry standard XMPP chat server that will offer better performance and flexibility for the future. There’ll be more information on the new chat system in the coming days and weeks, so be sure to keep your eye on this section of the EVE Online website for more news and Dev blogs about it.”
CCP’s never been a studio to shy away from shutting down APIs, community sites, offices, games, ventures, and in EVE, even whole systems, like Walking in Stations, which was decommissioned last year.
Even if you’re not familiar with how battles work in EVE Online
you can probably still guess at what “headshotting” means for the game’s large-scale battles. Command ships offer major benefits for fleets working with them, and trying to take out that command ship can often end the fight right then and there. The next patch is adding a new sort of ship designed for combat to prevent headshots, the Monitor
. It fits no weapons or drones and can only fit a few modules, but it’s incredibly durable for its size and features several options to elude pursuit. It’s not the only option for commanding a fleet, but it should serve as an excellent way to mix up strategies.
The various other balance changes should also mix things up by extending the lock range on tech 1 battlecruisers and giving attack battlecruisers more maneuvering ability with micro jump drives, along with several specific balance shifts for specific ships. Check out the full rundown to see if you’ll need a new strategy for the ship you’re flying when the March patch lands. Whether or not this will address the game’s current enormous bot problem is another story altogether.