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.”
The Dreamcast was a brief but shining aberration in the gaming world. Coming along years after Sega had fallen out of its position as a top-runner in the console market, it represented the company’s last-ditch attempt to reclaim its former glory. While it failed to succeed in that respect and ultimately closed up shop in 2001 (ending Sega’s interest in the console market), the Dreamcast became a gaming cult favorite responsible for some of the most innovative titles ever made. Games like Jet Grind Radio, Space Channel 5, and Shenmue have remained fan favorites long after the Dreamcast’s demise, which shows the legacy that these dev teams left behind.
But perhaps the Dreamcast’s greatest gift to the gaming world wasn’t crazy taxis or space dancing but a surprisingly forward-looking approach to online gaming. In 2000, the Dreamcast took the first steps to bringing an online console RPG to market, and while it wasn’t a true MMO, it certainly paved the way for titles like EverQuest Online Adventures and Final Fantasy XI.
It was bold, it was addictive, and it was gosh-darned gorgeous. Ladies and gentlemen: Phantasy Star Online.
Elder Scrolls Online players who took liberties with an exploit that allowed them to easily skill up to their heart’s content are facing a suspension this week. ZeniMax handed out three-day time-outs yesterday for a few hundred accounts that abused the exploit.
“Last week, there was an exploit reported on PC that allowed you to repeatedly gain skill points from a single location,” the studio posted. “We have since fixed this issue as of our most recent incremental patch, but accounts had not yet been actioned… until now. This afternoon, we’ll be suspending close to 300 PC accounts that were found exploiting this issue. In addition to a three-day suspension, affected accounts will have all skill points reset to their original state before this exploit occurred.”
Due justice, an overreaction, or a slap on the wrist? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Conan Exiles has another new Q&A thread up on Reddit over the long weekend, and the first takeaway is invest in a coat and some sunscreen. Funcom’s Joel Bylos says the team is still working on the weather system, including new weather types in the new biome and maybe some fixes to sandstorms. “Weather will affect temperature, and Exiles will need to start worrying about temperature in the next biome,” he explains. In fact, the new biome has a lot of new content; expect things like fishtraps, crabtraps, beehives, and fiber harvesting tools.
Bylos also promises custom stamps, shoots down a foundation placement request, gives advice on how to defend against climbers, and reminds players that Funcom isn’t making a “community consensus” game. And then there’s this from a player:
“What are you going to do about the game? Its so riddled with bugs, and exploits even the RPers are leaving. Most of the servers are at 0/0 people logged in, some are shutting down. Even viewer count on twitch is low. You’re game is basically dead and its not released. Content is coming to slow, bug fix’s too slow. For a game that saved your company, you sure are royally screwing it up.”
Currently on sale in Star Citizen right now is a new concept ship, the Aegis Eclipse, on sale now for $250 for VIP backers and soon to be on sale for everyone else too. CIG has not given out ship stats, so you’re buying it blind if you’re buying it early, or you can wait for the full reveal today. You’re also buying it with cash (not credit) if you’re buying it early — part of CIG’s ongoing attempts to curb melt-down credit hoarding and exploits. The ship has thus far raised $400,000.
The sale is further teased in this week’s Around the Verse episode, in which the team checks in with the LA studio for a recap of its work on the new item system, plus there’s a behind-the-scenes update from multiple members of the team spread out over the world working on lighting and fog.
In sadder news, Rogue-Jaсk, a prominent Russian Star Citizen and dedicated translator of Star Citizen news, has passed away. Friends and gamers are currently posting in an effort to see him memorialized in the game come launch.
Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.
Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.
“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”
For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?
Cloud Imperium has reversed course on its plans to renovate Star Citizen’s Cross Chassis Upgrade (CCU) system in time for the sale of the Eclipse concept ship.
CIG’s Tyler Zyloh explains that the CCU system was originally designed to allow package purchasers to “melt down” the theoretical ships they’d bought in order to buy different ones without sacrificing other package components or causing customer service overhead. Last week, the studio introduced plans to raise the base price of CCUs to $5 in order to encourage players to spend the more than a million unspent CCUs floating around in the system, aid the design team’s metrics on ship desirability, and reduce future stockpiling and what Zyloh calls “exploits that do not benefit all backers.”
But CIG is now rethinking that plan:
If you’re looking for candid and enthusiastic answers to burning questions to all things Conan Exiles, you can do no better than hit up Creative Director Joel Bylos with your queries. Bylos tackled another Q&A session on Reddit, talking about everything from butt sliders to the team’s biggest blunder on the project so far (which, if you’re curious, was a failure to clearly define certain features that later required more fixes).
Bylos said that combat and artificial intelligence has been the greatest challenge of development so far: “A lot of the polish needed to make a combat system ‘feel’ right is missing, but also much of the depth that makes combat interesting. It takes a lot of iterating to nail that stuff.”
You might have noticed there was no Conan Exiles patch this week. That was intentional. Funcom says it hasn’t been happy with the quality of its patches on a quick turnaround; indeed, Joel Bylos apologizes. “In an effort to increase the quality of our patches we’ve made the call to step back from releasing a patch every week and instead hold patches back until we are certain they reach the bar of quality we’ve set for the game,” writes the studio.
It’s all part of a dev blog detailing the results of the game’s recent player survey. Turns out a majority of players prefer private PvP servers, play weekly, care most about combat and building, and want the exploits wiped off the map. And as for features? Conveniently, players want what’s already being worked on: mounts, thralls, and sorcery, followed by The Purge, exploration, farming, and sieging at the bottom, which surprised Funcom as sieging includes Avatar fixes, highly requested by players. “This could be a failure on our end to emphasize that this feature was included in sieging. In any case, Avatar defense is close to completion and we expect to roll it out soon, which hopefully covers the part of sieging that people have desired the most.”
Today, Ashes of Creation takes a big plunge into an all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign. Over the past few months, the MMO seemed to come out of nowhere to stun us with an ambitious design, well-crafted videos, and a team of experienced industry vets who seem passionate to make the next generation of online RPG.
For this occasion, we sat down with Intrepid Studios CEO Steven Sharif to talk about the Ashes of Creation’s crowdfunding campaign, the studio’s design philosophy, and the next steps for this upcoming MMORPG. Does this game deserve your support? Will it rope in widespread interest? Let’s see if Sharif can make the case.
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!
This week we have stories and videos from Conan Exiles, Osiris, Final Fantasy XI, Ultima Online, Tree of Savior, Lineage II, Warface, Games of Glory, Elsword, Splatoon, Skyforge, all waiting for you after the break!
Fresh off its TV e-sports debut, H1Z1’s King of the Kill branch is on the verge of an update that’s expected to optimize its hit registration code, which’ll build on region-locking to fine-tune the game’s performance. In the upcoming test server patch, Daybreak will also revamp the shotgun, add skirmishes back to the game, update arena play, tweak the UI, and swap in new vehicle skins.
“We are making tremendous strides towards our goal of delivering you with a game that is consistent, competitive, fair, and fun to watch,” Daybreak says. “Our next big priorities are ranked team games and overall gunplay and gameplay balance. We will be sharing more on our future plans soon.” There’s still no word on the launch of the game and its console port.
Meanwhile, stuff is happening over in Just Survive too! Really! Daybreak has wiped the live servers again, fixed a ton of bugs and exploits, and released some (genuinely beautiful) concept art. It also fixed some anti-exploit policing — the one “where anti-exploit code could falsely register and kill players jumping on rooftops.” Back to the rooftops with you.
Despite my best efforts, I walked away from my trading attempts in Black Desert
having been wholly unsuccessful. I consider this a good thing, and it left me with a very positive impression of the mechanics involved, with maybe one exception.
This may sound weird and almost nonsensical, but additional context sheds some light on that statement. One of my repeated points which I harp on over and over is that I want systems to have complexity equal to the amount of time you’re expected to devote to them. If you want me to work hard at establishing trade routes, I want that system to be as complex as clearing out high-level dungeons or engaging in siege warfare.
In other words, it shouldn’t be something I can master or even do much more than brush against while I’m on a high-speed tour of the game and what it has to offer. And while I was a bit disappointed with the game’s gathering mechanics, the trading system seems to offer exactly what I wanted to see.