The Daily Grind: What’s your biggest pet peeve about early access MMOs?

Early access is kind of a garbage system for the vast majority of gamers. Yes, yes, I know, some games and game types just wouldn’t be made without it, and this is probably better than having no options at all. But the whole system is saddled with bullcrap, from unpaid testing and exploits and wipes to scope creep and content cuts and delays and outright abandonment. And, ahem, charging for expansions and housing plots and cosmetics while supposedly still in a test phase. It feels like perpetual amateur hour and I’m sick of it.

And yet for all that, there are a couple of things that really bug me more than anything else, and one of them is putting paid demos out there without female characters, with extra frowny-faces for making female avs a stretch goal. Even if a team says the male character is just a placeholder and that it’s working on the ladies, it still bugs me, as if we’re afterthoughts. Sure, non-transparent, non-early-access games do this (or related sins), but somehow it seems more obnoxious when gals are left out (and men are treated as generic/default) in tandem with the studio asking us for cash upfront.

That’s just one frustration among many, however, and obviously those of you who don’t play primarily women aren’t going to care quite as much as those of us who do. So what’s your biggest pet peeve about early access MMOs?

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ARK Survival Evolved won’t wipe exploit-infested servers ahead of August launch

Were you anticipating a wipe ahead of the formal launch of ARK: Survival Evolved in August, especially given all the recent exploits? It’s not happening, Studio Wildcard announced today via press release, “despite a recent rash of cheating and hacking within the game,” which is an odd sort of way to put it. But the studio does have a plan, and that plan seems to be to let everyone voluntarily reroll on clean servers:

“In addition to continuing to operate the legacy servers, on launch date the studio will roll out a fresh cluster network of servers running new code and infrastructure explicitly designed to prevent such issues from occurring in the future.”

Update: This move is in apparent contradiction to the game’s original plans (privately announced earlier this week) to wipe it all as both Kotaku and PC Gamer are reporting. (Thanks Ceder!)

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Black Desert bans and suspends node exploiters

Last week, Black Desert’s Reddit erupted with claims that a popular streamer, who been previously banned and unbanned in a spring crackdown, had unwittingly streamed proof that he was still exploiting, causing other players to cry foul. At the tail end of last week, Kakao finally addressed this issue.

“During an investigation into reports of a potential exploit last April, our team determined that it was, in fact, possible for users to send multiple workers to a single node,” Community Coordinator Yukimura explains. “Shortly after, a patch was applied to resolve this bug. However, due to an oversight in the applied patch, some elements of the bug were not fully removed. One such example was the failure to reset all player’s workers, including those that were being utilized in the exploit. It was later discovered that some users’ workers were still designated to a single node. This allowed the continued use of multiple workers on a single node, and has subsequently been resolved as of July 12th maintenance.”

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Massively Overthinking: Consumer protections in the MMORPG industry

Veteran Massively OP reader Miol says he’s exhausted by a recent string of stories in which MMO companies screw gamers over, one after another: ARK Survival Evolved, Albion Online, Skyforge, and now Black Desert all figure into his list, just from the last week.

“I want to ask what more can gamers do to protect themselves and everyone else as consumers than speak up? It feels exhausting to always stay vigilant and feel upset all the time, since games, as an everchanging medium, give devs so many opportunities to screw us over with every single patch or update. And the worst immediate consequence seems many times a meek apology for what they’ve done, only for them to try out something different that maybe could go over unnoticed.

“You guys have reported about this UK watchdog group ASA, who investigated No Man’s Sky, but even they dismissed the tons of complaints about false advertising. Steam did declare some changes to advertising on their platform, but I still don’t see them taken place. If even those big negative stories don’t have that much of an impact, what hope is there for all the smaller communities, spread thin globally? There was a recent wave of gamers imploring each other to not pre-order, but that ebbed away fast enough, when the next shiny pre-order advantages over other players were presented. But even so, this still can’t protect you from what may happen after the launch!

“As said by Bree many times: Merely quitting won’t help either, as the studio will never know why most of the times. But also sending feedback for nine whole days didn’t help Skyforge players to make its devs to scramble! So what else could we do? Or should we just take rotating shifts to call them out?”

We’ll take the first shift right here in Overthinking.

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Diablo III activates double XP weekend tomorrow as an ‘apology’ for a Patch 2.6 exploit

A Diablo III exploit has caused some stress and rampant cheating within the community lately, leading to a hotfix, rollback, and bonus XP event on the part of Blizzard.

About a week ago, issues arose with Patch 2.6 that led the team to taking measures to make sure that the start of Season 11 would go smoothly. This has led to hotfixes and a wipe of the era leaderboards, as well as a rollback on legendary gem levels following a discovered exploit.

As an apology for the confusion and mess, the devs are activating a double XP weekend in the game that will run from July 14th through the morning of the 17th. This move hasn’t pleased “honest” players, who say this helps rather than punishes exploiters.

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SWTOR addresses legacy weapon tuning exploit

In a rare example of informing the community about the details of an exploit, Star Wars: The Old Republic put up a post on the forums to inform players about a “loophole” allowing for players to circumvent the cartel market and legitimate gameplay to copy weapon tunings and crystals across accounts.

“What happened is some players would add the tuning to a legacy weapon, send to an alt, remove it on that alt, re-add it to the weapon, which would then incorrectly unlock it in collections on that toon,” the devs explained. “They would then send that weapon to all of their toons and perform the same process, thus circumventing the entire collection system and obtaining weapon tunings for their legacy without having to pay for it. As everyone has pointed out, crystals sold via the cartel market could also be collection unlocked this way, and in fact, as players have clearly stated in this thread, they’ve been doing that for a very long time.”

The exploit was fixed yesterday and can no longer be used in this fashion. However, with August’s Update 5.4, the team is including a change that will allow players to transfer crystals and tunings using legacy weapons at no cost.


Secret World Legends may be punishing groups for farming XP

Here’s your public service announcement for Secret World Legends: You may want to avoid grouping up to farm mobs and XP on the map, as some players have reported being suspended and even banned from the game for doing so.

“Last night I ran out of Transylvania quests while being in queue for three or four hours,” one player posted. “PVP is disabled, so I ended up joining a group that was just running around killing everything in sight for about five hours. Its good XP but boring as dirt. Today I get on and find I am suspended. Check my email and it says I was suspended for using an exploit to gain XP, AP, and SP? Grouping up and killing mobs mindlessly for hours is an exploit? Trust me if I had anything else to do I would have done it. How is that an exploit? If grouping up and killing mobs is an exploit you might want to warn people.”

While Funcom has yet to publicly address the issue, players are hypothesizing that there’s a bug that allows for unintended extra XP to pour in while completing bounties. If the studio’s GMs consider this an exploit, then perhaps this is why action is being taken.

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It’s your time to climb in Conan Exiles

Climbing makes it formal debut in Funcom’s Conan Exiles today.

“You can climb almost anywhere in the game, so feel free to climb up mountain sides, ruins, walls or trees,” says the studio. “Just hit space when you reach a steep surface and you will start climbing. This climbing system allows you to explore the map in a completely different way, so now it will be much easier to enjoy stunning vistas of the Exiled Lands.”

Just, you know, watch your stamina lest you fall to your death from exhaustion. Maybe don’t wear your heaviest armor, either, and make sure you’re using the proper climbing equipment!

Today’s patch also includes the new exploration system with mappy points of interest, plus the upgrade to Unreal 5.15 and several bug and exploit fixes. You can also now build underwater!

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Secret World Legends is improving patron benefits, weapon unlocks, and more

Do devs listen to feedback? They did this week: During today’s Secret World Legends dev livestream Creative Director Romain Amiel announced some changes to patron benefits, weapon unlocks, inventory, XP, loot rates, and more — all in response to player feedback from the first week of play. The following changes will take place on July 5th when the next patch goes live:

  • Patrons will receive 20% more Marks of Favour, double AP and SP, and free teleports across playfields.
  • Weapon unlocks will now include both active and passive abilities in single unlock.
  • The first weapon unlock will be significantly cheaper.
  • Base inventory is increasing from 25 to 35 slots.
  • Sprint 2’s cost has been reduced.
  • Adding glyphs and signets will no longer cost MoF; however, recovering them still will.
  • Elite dungeons (which open at level 50) will have 10 levels, each increasingly difficult.
  • Every player can trade once they reach level 15; patrons can trade at level 1.
  • AP and SP earning rate will increase at level 50.
  • Dungeons will grant XP every time, not just on the first run.
  • Dungeons will have a higher extraordinary gear drop rate.
  • The first dungeon mission of the day will grant one guaranteed extraordinary piece of gear.

Amiel also discussed the downtime compensation that was promised when the servers went down to fix the Aurum exploit. All players who had an account as of last Sunday, June 25th, will receive 25 AP, 25 SP, 10,000 MoF, 4,000 anima shards, and 1 blue talisman fusion booster. Amiel also noted that the roadmap for content release is expected next week. Funcom is also looking at adding more payment options ASAP, as many players are requesting the ability to subscribe using Paypal. You can watch the full stream embedded below.

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Secret World Legends prepares to re-open currency exchange following rampant duping

With Secret Worlds Legends relaunch last past weekend, one of the tentpoles of the new free-to-play business model came under attack almost immediately thanks to an exploit in the currency exchange. Funcom disabled the exchange to head off the crisis and announced that it was going to ban those who duped the premium currency.

The team has finally worked out a fix, and some time today the currency exchange is expected to be brought back online. “[Tuesday’s] patch includes backend fixes that have been implemented for the currency exchange,” the studio said. “We are planning to re-open this feature as soon as we finish implementing some additional server changes, and estimate the marketplace to be back online tomorrow (June 28th).  Thank you all for your patience!”

A few other hotfixes over the past two days include a minimum price on the auction house to post items, a few animation tweaks, and corrections to wrong rewards being handed out in level 50 dungeons.

Source: Patch notes


Watch Secret World Legends’ official launch trailer

If you’re a The Secret World fan who hadn’t already given Secret Worlds Legends a shot — and given this weekend’s exploits and downtime, we wouldn’t blame you — today is your day to get in there, as the first of the game’s two planned formal launches begins today. (The second, on Steam, is later this summer on July 31st.) Do note that this version of the game is indeed free-to-play.

Funcom has released a new trailer to go with the launch; we’ve tucked that down below. If you’re still on the fence, consider both Larry’s and MJ’s very different first impressions of the game to push you over.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO daily quest you’ve ever done?

My husband and I are in the process of introducing the concept of household chores to our five-year-old son. Not yet having realized life is basically a never-ending sequence of mundane and tedious chores, the kiddo thinks these chores are amazeballs. He loves running through his little checklist of making his bed and cleaning up his clothes, he loves marking off his accomplishments, and he especially likes getting his reward at the end of the week.

In short, we’ve given him daily quests. And he’s thrilled.

I can’t really recall the first daily quest I ever did in an MMORPG — it was probably Star Wars Galaxies mission terminals back when they were on the 10-per-day-bonus-exp daily timers, but of course it was World of Warcraft that truly made them a thing every online game adds and then repeats and exploits ad nauseam. And I can’t say I’ve ever truly found them entertaining, not the way my son seems to find his new to-do list. I do them sometimes for the shiny at the end, but I kinda wish I could get that “dailies refreshed, yay!” feeling back.

Help a girl out here: What’s the best MMO daily quest you’ve ever done?

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Elite Dangerous maneuvers to counter exploiters

You might think that after decades of online gaming and what’s surely millions of accounts across all the games sanctioned for cheating, people would think twice about exploiting. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Elite Dangerous is one such game dealing with exploits and exploiters. Last week, Frontier issued what seems a gentle warning ahead of its PlayStation 4 launch later this month: Knock it off.

“Just wanted to let you know that we’ve identified accounts that have engaged in repeated and deliberate use of a game exploit which allowed people to gain a significant and unfair advantage with Engineering; we will be reviewing and taking action where we feel it is appropriate,” CMDR Sticks writes, asking players to help report cheaters and threatening cheaters with bans. “The development team are working on a fix for this exploit and we will give you an update on this as soon as we have it.”

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