farming

World of Warcraft previews its upcoming Legacy loot mechanics

For all the good that World of Warcraft‘s level scaling has brought to the game, it has made farming for old appearances slightly more difficult. Now that the game’s dungeons are all synced to drop personal loot, it can be hard to farm things that you can unlock but wouldn’t drop under the game’s personal loot restrictions. Good news, then; when Battle for Azeroth rolls around, a new style of loot will be put into place for legacy loot in content that you outlevel by a significant margin.

Any dungeons or raids that you enter while at least 10 levels above the “designed” levels will activate Legacy loot; every boss will drop as many items as possible, and all loot can be freely traded between party members when things drop. Loot is split between players, however, so if a boss drops four things for a two-person party, both players will get two items. It should make for an easier time getting cosmetics and farming for them, so that’ll be a welcome change – especially with a whole new expansion’s worth of stuff to farm for transmog purposes.

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Leaderboard: What kinds of MMORPG purchases do you consider pay-to-win?

I know I’m not alone in noticing that MMO gamers of late seem to have become sharply divided on how to define the term pay-to-win – indeed, the debate raged last week in threads about Black Desert’s player protest, Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop prices, and the general consensus that ArcheAge is whale heaven. Recently Massively OP commenter Pepperzine recently wrote to us suggesting that we address it and try to sort it out.

“While there are proponents for all sides of the argument, I think it would be interesting to see where the bulk of people draw the line,” he wrote. “At the end of the day, individual perceptions are important but what is most important when it comes to this topic is what the majority perceives as pay-to-win.”

So let’s turn his proposal into the requisite Leaderboard poll, shall we? And yes, you can click as many as you want!

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EVE Evolved: Solving EVE Online’s botting problem

Practically every MMO on the market today has had to contend with botting and the range of issues that come with it, and EVE Online has always been a favoured target for bots. EVE‘s slow pace of gameplay and predictable PvE activities make it ideal for automation, and the nature of a persistent sandbox is that more time spent farming resources and currency will always be better. The issue seems to have escalated in recent months since the free-to-play upgrades expanded the range of ships and modules available to free users, and the community has been pushing CCP heavily for progress.

A team of bot-hunting players made the news last month when they took down eight ridiculously expensive supercarriers being controlled by bots, exposing just how big the scale of the problem is. The EVE security team responded with a ban wave hitting over 1,800 bot accounts in January and promises that they are “coming for the bots,” but one expert admitted in a recent interview that the war on bots may never be won. So just how difficult is it to tackle botting in EVE Online, and what could CCP do to improve things?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the difficulties in detecting and shutting down botters, how extensive botting may be in nullsec, and some things developers might have to do in order to solve the problem.

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Pantropy works to simplify crafting and protect players from offline raids

With $24k out of $94k raised so far, the German mech shooter Pantropy has a long road ahead of it in its Kickstarter campaign.

The team hasn’t stopped developing for the game during this period, however. It reported that work is being done on an “offline raid protection system” to make the PvP battlescape a little more fair.

It also acknowledged that its crafting system needs an overhaul: “We also got a lot of feedback from our current playerbase and the result is that our crafting is waaaay to complex. We’ll try to re-write all crafting recipes today and make them more simple.”

As we’ve pointed out previously, Pantropy is a little larger than your typical multiplayer game but less than a bigger MMO, with a server size of 64 to 128 players duking it out over an alien landscape.

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Conan Exiles is delaying mounts, pets, settlements, and sorcery to make its May 8 launch

Funcom is forging ahead with its plans to launch Conan Exiles for real and for true on all the things come May 8th. And, as the latest dev blog explains, to make that date, the company’s probably going to cut some features from that launch build.

“In the past couple of months, we’ve had to make some serious decisions as to what will be in for launch,” says the studio. “We’ve been going through every aspect of the game (including things still in development) and we have evaluated everything based on a range of criteria. Some features or content simply ended up not being good enough, some things have ended up not making sense for the game, some things have been replaced with other features and content, while some things just turned out to be out of reach from a technical or development capacity standpoint.”

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Stardew Valley multiplayer beta is due out for the spring

If you’ve long looked forward to farming with and marrying your friends in Stardew Valley, the day is inching ever closer. While the game’s multiplayer side has been delayed on multiple occasions, it’s aiming for a beta test starting this spring, so players can take advantage of all the patch features included therein. That includes playing together, new crafting features to distinguish belongings, and yes, the ability for players to marry one another instead of town residents.

No word yet on whether or not multiplayer will also allow you to have illicit marriage affairs after marrying your fellow players, but we’re going to go ahead and say that falls a bit outside of the game’s scope.

The patch will also add language support for French, Italian, Turkish, and Korean, so further players can enjoy more localized languages in addition to all of the multiplayer functionality. Again, nothing is certain quite yet, but if all goes according to plan the testing of multiplayer is just around the corner.

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Massively Overthinking: Could bots save dying MMORPGs?

Last week, a reader named Chris, who is writing a paper on the MMO industry and revivifying sunsetted games, dropped an intriguing question into my inbox. It’s about bots – but not the sort of bots EVE Online is constantly fighting. The good kind.

“Do you think people would be interested in coming back to ‘closed’ MMO games if they were populated with AI bots instead of real players (to make them feel alive/populated)?” he asked me.

Let’s ponder that for today’s Overthinking. Certainly we’ve seen bots put to work in games like Camelot Unchained, which uses them to test massive numbers of players on the battlefield. Would you want to see them in live play? Would they help the feel of the world in ways that default NPCs simply would not? Is the AI even doable? Could AI bots take our place to make MMORPGs even better – or even to keep them viable and save them from destruction?

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Staxel is a cozy multiplayer sandbox now in Steam early access

You know what I like? Hearing about a new game for the first time that I can actually buy right now. Of course, this one’s in Steam early access, so maybe you’ll want to hold your wallet. I’m talking about Staxel, which dropped on my radar this week thanks to a couple of my favorite readers. To me, it looks like a cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with that voxel Minecraft look but sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing out the village with your own customizations than on mass-murdering mobs.

“Put down your roots and settle into life as a newcomer to the village. Starting out with a run-down, old home and farmland reclaimed by the wilderness, it’s up to you to turn the place around. Plant seeds, carefully tend to your crops, take care of your animals, and expand your farm. Don’t forget: take care of your farm, and your farm will take care of you!”

It’s not a formal MMORPG, but the Steam page says it was “designed with multiplayer in mind from day one,” hence custom online servers and online multiplayer capability. Anybody tried this one out?

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Multiplayer sci-fi sandbox Pantropy has launched its $91K Kickstarter

Last September, we first heard about Pantropy, a “sci-fi faction multiplayer shooter with mechs and focus on building and crafting” and a really cool name – not quite an MMO, but in our orbit, we think, particularly with the sandboxy features, hosted servers, and 128 potential players per server. At the time, German studio Brain Stone was plotting a November Kickstarter, but that was apparently delayed, as the Kickstarter launched just a few days ago and runs for the next month and change with a $91,903 US goal.

€15 (about $18.34 US) – is the cheapest pledge for a copy of the whole game at its estimated June 2019 launch; in fact, the devs are straight-up calling it a preorder, though you’ll need to pony up a little more for early access or closed alpha, set for later this year. The Kickstarter is specifically meant to help the team finish the game faster, optimize for performance and multiplayer, hire an extra level designer, add high-end sound effects and music, and flesh out the story. PvE servers are slotted for the second stretch goal (around $122,000 US); character customization (“play as male or female, tweak your appearance into something you’re proud to wear into battle”) comes at $305,000 US. Console ports are also on the table.

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Life is Feudal offers a video overview of agriculture

In the middle ages, no doubt serfs worked the land, stared out over the horizon, and dreamed of a day when people could spend their time indoors without having to toil in the fields for an extended period of time thanks to technology. Life is Feudal allows you to go back to the backbreaking labor of farming from within the aforementioned comfort of your own home. And farming is, in fact, complicated; you can learn all about it from the latest video about the game.

Players will want to carefully inspect the soil and the climate before setting up fields, making sure that the soil is fertile and that the right sorts of seeds are being planted. Snowy regions are great for trees, for example, but they’re not the sort of place to plant cabbage. From there you’ll forage for seeds in the wilderness, fertilize your fields, and… well, the video will cover all of it. It’s pretty involved, but when it’s all said and done, you can enjoy the technological fruits of your imagined labor.

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Wild West Online: Farming in, ranching out

Due to enthusiastic player response on the topic of farming in Wild West Online, the developers have gone back to the drawing board to expand the system to become a great deal more involved and interesting. “For all of the many fans who have been asking for more farming and crafting: it’s on the way,” the devs promised.

Farming 2.0 will include a larger variety of plants (ever grow eggplants in MMOs?), and require players to grow crops from seeds gathered in the wild or gained by quests. Crops can be sold as is or can be used in crafting recipes to make food, medicine, and other items.

But if farming is in, could ranching also be a possibility? In a word, no. “We gave long thought about ranching back in November,” the team said, “but decided that it’s too complex task for us to do it properly for now. Animations, models, AI, interactions, not to mention persistence — all that put ranching into backlog for us.”

The next patch for the game should be coming in the next week or so.

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Elite Dangerous disables part of its passenger transport system to block huge credit exploit

If you were among those farming your Elite Dangerous bajillions running bulk passenger transports to Smeaton Orbital (or various other well-placed stations), your fun has come to an end. Apparently, that’s been the result of a legal loophole many players have been taking advantage of for quite a while, but this week, Frontier disabled it.

“As some of you are aware, Passenger Bulk missions are currently generating extremely high credit rewards that we feel are excessive of what we would consider reasonable and balanced,” Frontier explained. “After a detailed investigation, we can confirm that this is due to an element in our mission generation algorithm that rewards credits based on the distance of the destination system from the star. Due to this, we will be disabling (until further notice) the aforementioned element of Passenger Bulk missions to reduce the amount of credits offered as a reward. Commanders will still be able to select and complete Passenger Bulk missions, but will see less excessive credit rewards. In the meantime, we will be reviewing the Passenger Bulk missions and correct the previously mentioned element – hopefully in time for you to test in the Beyond Chapter One beta.”

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EVE Online’s biggest battle ever is about to happen, but both sides may be afraid to fight

If there’s one constant in the political sandbox of EVE Online, it’s that everyone is secretly plotting revenge on someone. Alliances can hold grudges for years, and one of those grudges may be about to explode into the largest war in EVE‘s almost 15-year history. It all started back in 2016 during the famous conflict that came to be known as World War Bee or The Casino War, when military coalition The Imperium (self-anointed villains of the EVE universe) found itself outnumbered for the first time by a loose coalition of its collective enemies known as the Moneybadger Coalition.

We covered World War Bee heavily at the time, following its political twists and decisive battles as The Imperium was forcibly evicted from its home regions in the north. The coalition vowed revenge, annexed space in the south of the map, and began farming hard to rebuild its supercapital fleets in preparation for the day when they would take the fight back to the enemy. That day may have finally arrived, but are both sides afraid to commit?

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