exploits

The Daily Grind: How do you channel your anger in MMOs?

I don't get super angry in MMORPGs anymore -- if something really upsets me, there are 20 other solid games waiting for my attention. But I can think of specific instances that really upset me over the years, like when I spied exploiters I'd reported half a dozen times continuing to exploit, or when I realized a dev studio still hasn't fixed basic problems like ganking the opposite faction's spawn point a decade later, costing me hours of time waiting for wackadoodles to get bored and leave. I definitely still shout at my screen when I see terrible players fighting on the road and not the node, lemme tell ya, but I've probably been the most angry at people I thought were friends who turned out to just be using me or my guild for some benefit.

I have not, however, ever been so angry that I rammed my head into a monitor causing it to shatter and my friends to have to extract my bleeding face from its shards. Like this guy.

Nope, nowadays, I just walk away, find something else to do or play. My time is too precious to waste on leisure activities that tick me off. Plus, I like my monitor. And my face.

How about you? Have you ever become extremely angry in an MMO? Why? And how do you channel your anger in MMOs?

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Conan Exiles' big patch today includes wipes and 'Exploit Hunters' program

Conan Exiles' update 22 has arrived this morning, and as teased exhaustively over the last few weeks, it's a biggun, with the ruins system to clean up unused buildings, the new dye system for making your armor purty, new weapons, thrall crafting animations, and a slew of bug and exploit fixes.

But the more pressing news is that with this patch, Funcom will wipe all buildings and inventories on official servers (not private servers unless they choose to join in) as a result of the recent wave of exploits. Player levels remain intact.

Intriguingly, Funcom is also introducing "Exploit Hunters," a clever program designed to reward players who uncover and report exploits to the studio.

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The MOP Up: Kali awakens in Dragon Nest (March 19, 2017)

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 Pokemon GoConan ExilesWarframeCrash ForceHeroes of the StormArmored WarfareElder Scrolls OnlineTERAAvabel OnlineOverwatchAionGlory RidgeDragon Nest, all waiting for you after the break!

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Conan Exiles contemplates official server wipes following massive duping exploit

Funcom says it's "weighing its options" following a series of rampant duping and apparent character hacking exploits in Conan Exiles.

Players on Reddit have begun recording the exploits and demanding full wipes of the early access survival sandbox.

"Just killed a player who had several True Names on him, then used one to wipe a vault that was full of them + another vault with thousands - literally thousands - of T3 materials and building pieces," writes one player. "As gamebreaking events go, this is pretty much as bad as it gets short of all character data becoming irrevocably corrupted. If you're not going to wipe after 2-3 days of rampant duping (which has apparently been going on since launch, in some cases) then what DO you wipe for? These servers are completely destroyed now. You're going to lose more people by refusing to wipe than you will by ripping the band-aid off. Please do the right thing, Funcom."

Funcom has responded to the community by saying it's still working out what to do:

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Crowfall's community tries its hand at building for the first time

Crowfall's campaign worlds won't exist merely to be shot, burned, and sliced to ribbons. There's going to be a healthy building component as well, which is something that ArtCraft is (pun intended) constructing as of late.

Last weekend, the studio allowed players to test drive out these tools in its "BuilderWorld." From the looks of the video taken of the test, players were able to create some interesting villages, keeps, and even castle-mazes.

ArtCraft's cautiously positive mood was ruined by a "major" exploit that some of the community was abusing, saying that this "raises a good question about how  we want to handle the use of exploits during testing. We’re pleased when people find and report exploits of any kind. This helps make the game more robust and ready for our eventual launch. That said, we’re less pleased when people repeatedly use exploits not for testing but simply as a way to ruin the test for other people."

Get an early glimpse of what player buildings might look like in Crowfall below!

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Shroud of the Avatar's Starr Long on the pros and cons of early access

Construction continues apace at Shroud of the Avatar, where the team reports that two new areas are being crafted for future releases. There's the Sepent's Spine Mines, a Kobold-infested underground space that will be one of the game's "most vertically oriented mines to date." Then there's The Fall, an open PvP area named after what you'll probably be doing when you are foolish enough to wander around in its dark spaces.

In this past week's newsletter, the team also showed off the technological arsenal of City Kobolds (and players will be able to loot and use some of these weapons!) as well as the wearable outfits of the Obsidian Cabalists.

On Friday, March 17th, SOTA's Starr Long will be talking at SXSW Gaming on the subject of "Is video game early access too early?" According to the description, "This talk weighs the pros and cons of early access using Shroud of the Avatar as a case study." Looking past that, Release 40 for the game is scheduled to arrive on March 30th, followed by Release 41 on April 27th.

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Why gacha is the 'gotcha' tactic of MMO sales

Making money in free-to-play games isn't as simple as pursuing a single revenue stream. Often studios are looking at multiple approaches to coax players to part with their money in exchange for various goods and services. Now we all know that psychological manipulation is a key part of monetization, which is why it behooves you to read this Gamasutra article on a specific type of microtransaction moneymaking called "gacha."

Gacha is derived from Japanese vending machines that people would pay for a random toy that is part of a set. The idea is, in both the physical and video game space, that by convincing customers to repeatedly buy objects for a chance to complete a set, the customer will often end up purchasing many repeats (and thus buy the same thing more than once). Gacha can be implemented in many interesting ways in video games, turning the process into a game in and of itself (that costs real money to play).

Is this method evil or entertaining? The article says that it leans toward the latter: "Gacha is a powerful game design technique that allows developers to successfully monetize on F2P market. It's worth to remember that gacha may be designed in numerous ways that don't exploit human addictions to gambling but entertain and monetize in a synergy."

Source: Gamasutra

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Conan Exiles delays Xbox One version until later this year, corrects server patch issues

If you're eagerly anticipating playing Conan Exiles on your Xbox One, you're going to need to be more patient. The game's official Twitter account announced that the port to the platform will be delayed until Q3 for unspecified reasons.

The good news for people who are already playing is that the game received a small patch intended to fix a few exploits and improve game server startup speed as well as region-specific server issues. Unfortunately, players seem to find that it's caused more of a server meltdown than anything, which was sort of the opposite of the intent. The developers have promised that they're addressing these issues as a top priority, although if you're experiencing any issues we're sorry to say that there is no ETA for a fix at the moment. If you lost your placeable items, you will have to do a bit of legwork to reset that problem. So perhaps that's why Xbox users will have to wait a bit.

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Conan Exiles buffs voice chat, brings new Asian servers online following region locks

"Goodbye, giant green poison balls of death -- you will be sort of missed," Funcom's Erling Ellingsen wrote of today's Conan Exiles patch, live on Steam today. The update is intended to fix several main menu bugs, improve the database, fix spider projectiles (!), and buff voice chat. What's not in it yet? Fixes for the explosive jar exploit, stack sizes, and archery issues.

New servers are on the way too. Over the weekend, Funcom announced it had abruptly region-locked official servers for the game, sending legitimate international communities into turmoil. The studio claims it was choosing to divide players along East/West region lines because of language barriers and timezones, even for those on PvE servers; players maintain that it's Funcom's solution for various countries' players' midnight raiding activities on PvP servers, and not a lot of folks were happy about the sudden implementation, especially folks who were cut off from all official servers in the interim.

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The Daily Grind: What's the best MMO for an explorer?

Sometimes you don't want to tread on the beaten path and be shuttled along by the tight design of the omnipotent developers. Sometimes you want to go bushwacking into unfamiliar territory, poking your nose where none have poked before, and seeing what might be over the next horizon.

For players who feel this urge to explore, which MMORPG would you recommend as one of the best to indulge in off-road exploits? Are there any titles with expansive worlds, hidden secrets, and fun exploration mechanics that would make it worth trying out?

In an era where MMOs might feel smaller than ever, let's shine a spotlight on the games that make exploration a true joy to experience.

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In appreciation for post-apoc Dereth: The life and times of Asheron's Call 2

On the left in the screenshot above is a windmill in the town of Cragstone in Asheron's Call. On the right is, well, the same windmill, but in the ruins of Cragstone hundreds of years later in Asheron's Call 2's. The latter game's post apocalyptic setting is quite fitting, all things considered. The sequel was a mechanical departure from the original in many ways, but built on the same lore fans still crave. Not all Asheron's Call fans would come along for the ride, but the sequel did find fans who never touched the original. AC2 also is about to go offline twice, so, well, there's that. But there is a reason a sequel was made, and I'd wager the reason it went offline has more to do with the game's broken past than its innovations.

Join me today as I take a look back through the history and highlights of Asheron's Call 2. (The original game was the subject of a similar piece earlier this week, so don't miss that either.)

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Overwatch explains the goal of the PTR to players, and it's not about balance

D. Va has taken a bit of a drubbing in the most recent Overwatch patch on the test server. Her guns do less damage and her armor is decreased; she's shooting more bullets and has more health to compensate, but she's still become squishier. The resultant outrage has led to a video response from game director Jeff Kaplan explaining that the test realm isn't really about testing balance, but about testing whether or not the game crashes into a buggy mess after five seconds of play.

That's not to say the developers don't care about balance on the PTR, of course; it's just not their primary focus, and given the small percentage of players who jump into testing, that feedback may or may not bear out once changes go live. The most important focus is making sure that all of the parts of the patch work without causing unexpected crashes or exploit-worthy bugs. So if you're wondering why your brilliant dissertation on D. Va's nerfing has gone without a proper response, there's your answer. You can see Kaplan's full response just below.

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SWTOR bug drives enemy boss to commit suicide

Any MMO dungeon boss knows that it is only a matter of time before he, she, or it will be slaughtered by a pack of well-geared, highly trained adventurers. As inevitable as this may be, there is one NPC in Star Wars: The Old Republic who has decided to take matters in his own hands and commit suicide before suffering the indignities of defeat.

According to the SWTOR team, this is both a bug and a potential exploit in one of the game's new uprisings: "There is currently an issue with the first boss, Lord Anril, where in certain situations he will instantly kill himself."

Obviously, by triggering the bug, players can progress through the uprising much faster than otherwise. The team isn't prosecuting exploiters due to the possibility of this happening on its own and the sheer popularity of this particular uprising. The bug will be fixed in an update on January 24th.

Source: Official forums. Thanks Shintar!

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