I’m always wary nowadays when a game bills itself as a massively multiplayer sandbox gaming world, especially one that says it’s akin to “old school RPG games with modern quality,” but Arcfall appears to deserve the label.
The new MMO is currently listed on Steam as an early access title still in pre-alpha, but it isn’t formally launched or buyable just yet. Developer Neojac says it’s a “social” game, with open world non-instanced housing, a player-driven economy, crafting and farming, mounts, banking, resource harvesting, a classless skill-based progression system, and an incomplete map. Guilds, factions, dungeons, ships, player islands, and PvP (to complement the full-loot death) are still on the way, though there are apparently PvE-only zones too.
Early access is expected to last “the better part of this year,” with beta by the end of 2017. Founder packs are available on the official site; Neojac says that early buyers can access the game through that portal while Steam’s rollout continues.
Neojac should sound familiar to hardcore MMO fans; that’s the studio building MMO Neo’s Land on the Atavism platform, also of its own design. Neo’s Land’s last public update was in December of last year.
Boy, I will be really miffed
if this winds up taking more time than I have until Final Fantasy XIV
‘s second expansion arrives. I will be put out
. But there was a lot of stuff here to review! So far we’ve covered a whole lot of story in the first two
parts of this series, but there’s… still
a bit more story to resolve here! Yeesh. This expansion had some stuff in it.
Of course, it also had other stuff in it, so this time around we can start going into other useful stuff like new jobs and class design. Which is a good thing, since, again, we’ve got a little while longer until Stormblood arrives, but not forever. So enough preamble; let’s finish up talking about the stories in Heavensward, especially as we’re moving into the parts that just unambiguously did not land well.
The other day I realized that I had just completed over a continuous year of time in World of Warcraft. This was kind of surprising to me, as when I returned to the game after a multi-year absence in early 2016, I did not expect to stay long. I truly thought I was fully burned out on the game following Wrath of the Lich King, and indeed I was not there for the next two expansions at all. Six years later, however, and I found myself sucked back in once more.
Sometimes it’s like that. Excessive play in MMORPGs can produce burnout, even in titles we love, and occasionally we simply need an extended break to rejuvenate our interest. I’ve always thought this in farming terms, letting the ground go fallow so that it can be rich and productive in the years to come.
Today’s topic is about the longest break you ever took from playing an MMO? For a legitimate answer here, it has to be an MMO you played, left, and then came back to, not one that you simply left and have never returned.
It’s been a whirlwind spring for Conan Exiles, with the survival sandbox racking up hundreds of thousands of sales while pumping out updates left and right. Funcom would apparently like more sales as it’s beginning its first sale event starting today:
“Funcom is excited to announce that the studio has just kicked off its first ever discount sale for Conan Exiles. Gamers can now get the Standard Edition at 20% off and the Barbarian Edition at 10% off through Steam, Green Man Gaming, and other online stores. The Steam Midweek Madness Sale runs until April 14th.”
While the devs have slowed down the updates from a semi-daily to a weekly cadence, the team has made a lot of progress so far with the early access title. In a new dev blog, the team takes a moment to recap some of the major systems and features that it has added to Conan Exiles since its early access launch. These include in part the new Dregs dungeon, a dyeing system, the trebuchet siege engine, more gear, the ruin system, additional server settings, balance passes, and a bounty system for players to target and rat on exploiters.
25Have you ever wondered how strange it was that your fantasy MMO character ends up doing grunt work like farming, mining, or baking apple pecan pies with delicate flaky crusts in your battle armor? That won’t be the case in Albion Online, just in case you were wondering.
With the new Galahad update, gatherers now have their own specialty outfits that will assist the player in the task at hand. By donning one of these gatherer outfits, players can not only look the part but also gain access to special skills to assist in harvesting mats from the game world.
Each of the five gathering professions have several tiers of these outfits to pursue, with the higher offering an increased yield to mats gained. The backpack slot, which is part of each four-piece set, will allow players to carry far more resources than they would be able to otherwise. The only question is, does wearing one of these outfits automatically put a big target on your head for merciless PvPers?
Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.
Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.
So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.
Shroud of the Avatar’s 219th newsletter has arrived! Of note is the segment on the Kas Ruins, whose biome is based on the Rockies and Grand Tetons of the US but could easily be pulled straight from Lord of the Rings.
Portalarium has also requested that backers entitled to submit NPCs for inclusion in the game do so for the village of Harvest, a farming community and waystation in Estgard. I would totally claim that town crier and make him say rude things, but that’s why I’m not a game designer.
The devs have also uploaded more info on their charity work, the full telethon, and notes for the offline mode save game format changes.
One of the interesting quirks of Lord of the Rings Online’s
free-to-play setup is that players can earn premium currency — LOTRO
points, or LP — through various in-game activities. Since LP is otherwise purchased with cash and can be used to buy quest packs, cosmetics, classes, and even expansions, earning that currency through gameplay can be a literal money-saver.
What if you could get a good chunk of LP in under three hours? LOTRO player Edward Gibson mapped out and executed a run in which he used a brand-new character to farm 570 LP in two hours and 43 minutes by completing deeds. The player did use a couple of skill and deed boosts to assist with the effort.
Check out the following video to see how this feat was performed and perhaps be inspired to replicate this farming pattern to help you earn your next LOTRO store purchase.
This week CCP Games
announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX
in EVE Online
. The PLEX or “30-day Pilot’s License EXtension” is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX
The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE‘s business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There’s been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what’s the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.
Fellow fans of Final Fantasy XIV
, I’m not going to lie to you: The next few months in the game will be rough
. Not because we’ll lack for things to do, of course, but because we’re all going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. We all know what’s coming, and we’ve even got more stuff to learn about, like the details of the system revision and the exact story transition. But there are a bit more than 100 days left until Stormblood
releases, and we’re all
going to be staring with rapt attention until it actually happens.
That having been said, we are going to have more stuff to do over the next few months. Depending on when in the day you read this, the game might be down for maintenance right now with one of those patches along the way. So let’s talk about the road to June 20th, what we know is coming, what we can reasonably expect, and what we don’t yet know about but might help fill the gap.
I am finding it hard to believe that we are two months into 2017 already, especially since I’ve had so many pressing Guild Chat submissions recently that I haven’t had a chance to turn my hand back to MMO Mechanics in all that time! As an introduction to a new year, I usually like to include a predictions column that summarises my perspective on how I believe mechanics will change over the following twelve months, but I don’t feel as though the 2016 trends I mentioned have died out yet and wish to instead focus on the sustained emphasis on sandbox MMO development with strong holistic, character developing mechanics.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to talk about some upcoming MMOs and the non-combat, realistic, and technical mechanics added into the 2017 sandbox mix. Although I can’t guarantee that the titles I mention below will actually release this year, each of them has enough solid development behind them to make a 2017 release at least probable; besides, even if these titles don’t release in the next ten months, they will still bear the hallmarks of the state of the modern sandbox MMO and are worth noting. Add your thoughts on the common threads you’re finding in 2017’s planned MMO mechanics in the comments: I’m sure to miss several key mechanics development trends in this non-exhaustive list.
The expansion of World of Warcraft’s token utility continues to ripple across the entire Blizzard ecosystem, as prices remain high and supply occasionally runs out. Polygon has gone so far to posit that grinding out gold in WoW might be more efficient to get those Hearthstone packs and Overwatch loot boxes than actually playing those games.
The article contains a lot of math: “It takes about 135 hours of playing Overwatch to earn 100 loot boxes. A bundle of 50 loot boxes costs $40 plus tax, so Overwatch pays out loot-box rewards worth about sixty cents for every hour you play […] You should be able to earn the six tokens you need to buy a hundred loot boxes in about 30 hours of grinding herbs in World of Warcraft, so you earn more than four times as many Overwatch loot boxes per hour farming herbs in WoW than you’ll earn from actually playing Overwatch.”
In other World of Warcraft news, wing three of Nighthold is now open for business, so get in there and make us all proud. Today and today only is the new Hatching of the Hippogryph micro-holiday, if you’re into that sort of thing. Additionally, you might also want to catch the latest new developer Q&A livestream this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST.
If you followed our EVE Fanfest coverage last year
, you might remember CCP announcing plans to add a whole series of new deployable structures
in the form of Engineering Complexes and Drilling Platforms. The Citadel
expansion added new deployable space stations that players can put anywhere in space, with medium-sized Astrahus citadels for small corporations all the way up to the colossal Keepstars designed for massive military alliances. This was expanded on in the second half of 2016 with the release of Engineering Complexes as specialised citadels with bonuses to industry and research, but what ever happened to the Drilling Platforms?
Drilling Platforms were touted as an upcoming revolution in the way we collect resources in EVE Online, but the feature was still firmly in the early design stage when we discussed it with CCP at last year’s Fanfest. There were general ideas floating around about automated mining structures that require different levels of player interaction and disrupting enemy resources by attacking their drills, but nothing concrete at the time. We’ve now been promised a solid development roadmap update at this year’s Fanfest on April 6th and more information on Drilling Platforms in devblogs before then, and it’s got me wondering what EVE‘s upcoming resource-gathering revolution might look like.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I speculate about what Drilling Platforms might be like, discuss the kinds of gameplay I’d like to see from them, and lay out a few of my dream features.