Builder-centric sandbox Life is Feudal has officially launched into early access with a buy-in of $29.99, and that’s the MMO version, mind you, not the Your Own survival sandbox. Consider it a bit like part two of the open beta, which has been running since autumn after initially being plagued by exploits and bugs.
“The Steam version contains all the features and content of the currently active Open Beta version, which means Steam users can join the tens of thousands of Open Beta players already building homes, keeps, and castles in the game. They will also be able to work with those same players to forge alliances that will over time form mighty guilds who control vast kingdoms. There’s a place for every type of player in Life is Feudal: MMO, from the butcher or baker, to the royal guard, regal knights, vassals and kings or queens.”
Last month, Bitbox implied it had “tens of thousands of players” romping through the game, though reviews are mixed; in the most recent reviews, players seem to be complaining chiefly about expensive P2W microtransactions, bugs, confusion, and grind.
Is there a quota for how many sci-fi spaceship MMOs with playerbases angry over exploits we can cover in a week? Because if so, Elite Dangerous already met it. If not, EVE Online requests a moment of your time.
The EVE subreddit is smoldering with post after post on what players characterize as a serious botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post in which a player claims that in a brief span of time, his group was able to easily take out eight Nyx capital ships allegedly belonging to a single corporation well-known among gamers for botting.
One redditor summed up the community dismay that cheaters and cheater money rules the game, quoting another’s estimate that bots pull in 2.6 trillion ISK (in-game currency) monthly and lamenting the perception that CCP lets the botting go on (or even encourages it).
“I feel completely worthless as a customer,” Loroseco writes. “I feel like my effort over the years has been for absolutely nothing. I feel that I’ve been cheated out of making a fortune because I felt compelled to obey the ToS that I agreed to when I started playing.”
Bears! What are they good for? Hides in Wild Terra (say it again)! Except that actually getting those hides proved a lot harder than players expected because the game never communicated that bears were supposed to be big challenges taken on by well-equipped groups. Instead, players have been falling into a habit of using exploits to kill bears, which isn’t good for the game and is probably not much fun for the bears either. The latest dispatch from the developers states that the intent is to make killing bears harder to exploit while also making it much more certain that you can get some skin off a bear’s back when you succeed.
The developers are also working on the issue of an insufficient amount of iron ore in the world and the attribute issues, with one attribute (intellect) being uninvolved in combat entirely and artisans being unable to effectively fight in any context. New lighter armor is being introduced to allow for lightly armored melee fighters, iron spawns are being reworked, and new systems are being introduced to allow the Corrupted Lands to be free of unintended “ghost” enemies. Check out the full post for all of the details to see how the game is patching up its post-launch issues.
Most online games have rules governing running from a fight, abandoning a team, or exiting the game to avoid gameplay, be they MMORPGs or shooters or MOBAs. You’ll get smacked with some sort of penalty or timeout, at minimum – if you didn’t, why, you’d just quit out every time you were losing a fight.
In Elite Dangerous, that practice is called combat logging, particularly when you’re using dodgy means to achieve it, and it’s been a subject of contention in the game since at least 2016, when we first covered it. Back then, players were accusing Frontier of not doing enough to prevent and punish what both saw as an exploit of the game’s mechanics.
Turns out that accusation is alive and well in 2018. Players have posted on Reddit and the official forums a summary of what they say is their latest investigation into Frontier’s investigation. This time around, they used an alt to combat log in the middle of fights with multiple other players, complete with video and in-game reporting, over a span of five months. According to the players, Frontier didn’t punish the account for any of the incidents.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
did not have a banner year in 2017. It was the first year since the launch year that did not include an expansion. And the expansion that it released in late 2016 didn’t actually live up to its expectations.
Despite this, we did see some good things come out of 2017, like a couple of new PvP maps and some great changes to group finder. But what kinds of things can we see added to or improved upon in 2018 that would make up for this underperformance? Well, I have three of them. And I have done my absolute best make them realistic and doable with the existing team of developers. Let’s talk about that.
In the war between robots and fish, the only side who wins is… wait, is there a war going between robots and fish? Well, assume for the purposes of this story that there is. At least, that would be the logical reason for 574 players of Black Desert
to be deploying fish bots in order to fish up all of the oceanic meals in the water.
Wait, what’s that? They were doing it to exploit the game and make in-game money? Well, it doesn’t really matter why they were doing it, because they’ve been summarily banned as part of an ongoing investigation. And it’s an investigation that ends in a place where they’re unlikely to get the bans overturned on appeal.
As usually happens, the community staff is not naming and shaming; it’s enough to know that the bots are gone and likely won’t be back. Or, at the very least, will have to buy the game again, which is a blatant cash grab just because the botters cheated egregiously. So, hopefully they’re gone for good.
A severe credit exploit
that popped up following last week’s Game Update 5.6 in Star Wars: The Old Republic
has led to massive disruptions in the MMO’s economy and forced BioWare to come up with a response.
Apparently the exploit involves a companion gift vendor who was selling wares for far below normal along with the auction house, which was used for credit laundering purposes.
The studio did acknowledge the exploit and said that it was taking action, although sorting this mess out is taking time: “We have already begun taking action against players, but the brunt of those actions are still to come. As you might imagine, gathering all of the data to understand who exploited and what they did with the money, takes quite a bit of time. Know that over time we will be applying account actions, along with removing a large quantity of credits and other ill-gotten gains.”
One neat thing about survival sandboxes is that they seem to embrace a wider variety of rulesets than we typically see in most MMORPGs. Such is the case for Dark and Light, which opened up a new type of server this week that’s aimed at budding architects.
Master Builder servers encourage players to construct to their hearts’ content, featuring no decay, no scheduled wipes, expanded building protection, and faster gathering, taming, and leveling. These servers will also be where players can test out the latest and greatest construction items and enjoy Steam Workshop integration.
“We’re going to be keeping a close eye on these servers to prevent the use of structure-related exploits and harassment, and regularly removing structures that negatively affect the health of these servers,” the team posted. “Master Builder servers are designed to promote the beauty of architecture!
The MMO version of Life is Feudal got off to a shaky open beta start last week, not that our seasoned MMO veteran commenters seemed surprised in the least. There were crashes, disconnects, login server issues, missing rewards, and surely worst of all, a full game wipe to counter exploits.
Those exploits have since been fixed, and now Bitbox is thanking the community for sticking by it and discussing its plans for the immediate future. And they include, surprisingly, a roleplay server, though you can’t transfer your current characrers there; you’ll have to start from scratch.
“The game world settings will be tweaked to slow down progression a little, and have a bigger penalty for unprovoked PvP (alignment loss) and some other tweaks to make it a more RP friendly environment,” Bitbox says, noting the server will be in Europe. “We want to warn everyone that we’re not going to enforce 100% accurate roleplay and ban users for the lack of lore knowledge, but those aspects are strongly encouraged!”
Late yesterday I read these words Google-translated from Belgian news site VTM
: “The Minister of Justice wants to prohibit purchases in video games if you don’t know exactly what you’re purchasing.” Yes, he means lootboxes, or what MMO players usually call lockboxes. These words stem from the growing controversy of lockboxes in video games. Gamers might argue that pay-to-win boxes are the real problem, but to an outsider, there really isn’t a way to distinguish pay-to-win from other lootboxes, and so here we are.
Because Star Wars: Battlefront II was the target of the latest lockbox controversy, I wondered what it would mean for EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, which has long been criticized for it’s handling of lockboxes and cash shop. The simple answer is that it probably will not affect the game much at all because as I understand it, SWTOR follows most of the existing gambling regulations for Belgium. BioWare or Electronic Arts would just have to file for an online gambling license.
Is this just the beginning, though? What if other European countries follow suit and started calling lockboxes and lootboxes gambling?
Capping off the Great Star Wars Battlefront II Fiasco of November, Belgium’s Gambling Commission and the Dutch Gaming Authority both began investigating lootboxes/lockboxes to determine whether they constitute gambling and necessitate appropriate regulation. Now, the former has issued its ruling, and unlike the gaming-industry bodies ESRB and PEGI, it didn’t add to the BS smokescreen.
Indeed, the Belgian Kanspel Committee has indeed ruled that the practice is a serious problem. “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” it declares. Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Greens told VTM that he aims to have gambling mechanics stricken from games entirely, banned outright, throughout Europe. “But that takes time.”
The US state of Hawaii has joined in the fray too, as state representatives have lambasted EA’s “predatory behavior,” calling the game a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money.” Is it just one state? Maybe not.
At long last, the vicious mule exploits of Pathfinder Online have been addressed. No longer will players group up with their friends and attack their own mules for… some reason. Actually, it probably wasn’t an exploit in the first place, it was just a minor issue from the last patch that has been fixed now. Regardless, in-game mules can breathe a bit easier now.
The patch also brings out various other bug fixes, like no longer making ammunition messages permanent floating fixtures if your character could not fully restock and preventing the housing maintenance cost window from closing in error when paying ahead. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but players who enjoyed the various elements brought out with the last patch will doubtlessly be happy to see the array of fixes correcting issues.
After weeks if not months of the studio talking about it, Project Gorgon’s brand-new user interface finally arrived. And then it promptly left again.
In all fairness, the team had cautioned that the optional November 11th update was a “very rough preview” of the UI overhaul. So rough, in fact, that the team took the update offline for further refinements due to several large bugs and potential exploits discovered with it. The improved UI preview should arrive in the game’s alpha next weekend.
Nevertheless, the user interface revamp has a lot of players and the devs excited. Not only does the new UI look pretty slick, but it offers a lot more functionality compared to the old one, including customization, more information, collapsible skill trees, chat channel management, context menus, improved tooltips, and font scaling.