farming

What’s it like when you stop being a gold farmer in World of Warcraft?

For a very long time, selling gold in World of Warcraft was a path to making money. It was unethical and against the terms of service, but it was still eminently doable. The addition of an “official” option in the form of the WoW Token changed that, and an article on Cracked talks with a former gold farmer about the path toward moving on with your life after you’ve spent time exploiting that virtual economy. It might not make you feel sympathetic for gold farming, but it’s still an interesting perspective.

Of course, if you’re farming gold, you’re probably not all that worried about playing the actual game (as the article even says), but people who are playing the game will be happy with the latest round of hotfixes, which clean up issues with the Chromie quest line, fix various balance issues, and fixes a few bugs here and there. None of them actually relates to gold, though, unless you consider a glyph recipe not dropping to be about gold. Which it sort of is, arguably.

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EVE Evolved: The controversy over EVE Online’s capital ship nerfs

EVE Online players have been up in arms this week over sweeping nerfs that are about to hit to high-end farming gameplay styles in the player-owned nullsec territories. It started when CCP Games announced that the Excavator drones used by Rorqual capital industrial ships would be getting a sizeable mining yield reduction and that a respawn delay would be added to ore sites in nullsec. As players were still reeling from that unexpected news, developers then announced a surprise general nerf to fighter damage with the goal of making carriers and supercarriers less effective in PvE and PvP. This significant balance change was just announced on Friday 9th June and goes live on Tuesday 13th, prompting outcry from the community over the lack of feedback-gathering on such a significant change to capital ship balance.

These nerfs both seem to be reactions to the latest few Monthly Economic Reports, which showed that the total money supply in the game economy is over a quadrillion ISK and rising rapidly. The detailed breakdowns of economic activity in the reports tell a more complex story, with ISK supply from bounty prizes roughly doubling over the past year and mining in the Delve region shooting off the scale in the past few months. It seems that a large number of nullsec players are spending more time farming and building up resources, and it’s the scale and efficiency of the top-tier farming setups that has CCP worried.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss the upcoming Rorqual and fighter nerfs, look at the economics of farming, and explain why this trend could be a more serious indicator than CCP realises.

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The Stream Team: Living in a Pixel Worlds world

What is a social sandbox, you ask? Well MassivelyOP’s MJ is going to find out! So far she knows it involves pixels: Pixel Worlds launches on Steam today and she’s heading in to check things out. She’ll also be giving out 10 Gold VIP passes to folks who want to jump in as well. These will grant VIP for 50 days, 500 free gems per day, exclusive VIP Daily Prizes, and some exclusive items on the store available to buy only for VIPs. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. for a first look at this mobile import and your chance to win.

What: Pixel Worlds
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 9th, 2017

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Cross-platform social sandbox MMO Pixel Worlds comes to PC next week

Tired of cutthroat guild politics, giant epaulets, and lens flare in big budget MMOs? Point your eyeballs instead at Pixel Worlds, a game Finnish dev Kukouri is calling a “social sandbox MMO.” It’s porting over from mobile (where it apparently has a million players) to Steam for PC and Mac players next week on June 9th. And yep, it boasts cross-platform support.

The trailer gives a cutesy overview of the type of pixelized sandbox content players can engage in, from building and exploring platform race levels to farming and trading.

“In Pixel Worlds players join the ever expanding pixel universe by creating their own worlds using hundreds of different building blocks and materials. In total there are already close to a 1000 items ranging from furniture to clothing items, with more added in updates every few weeks. The game economy is run by the players themselves, meaning there are no fixed prices nor limits and trading is done while bartering through the in-game chat system in player-designed marketplaces. Players are free to explore other worlds, create platformer levels for others to play and participate in Live Events in order to win some in-game goodies.”

Check out the PC launch trailer — anyone ever tried this on mobile?

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Tamriel Infinium: A life lesson in Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind

If you start your Elder Scrolls Online character in the Ebonheart Pact, then you run into the Ashlanders almost as soon as you step off the boat into the mainland of Tamriel. If Elder Scrolls Online were your only interaction with these folks, you might think of them as primitive and unorganized. Unfortunately, as you ultimately learn, that’s because history is usually written by the winners. The history and motivations of the defeated people are usually lost, and many times it’s never truly discovered again.

Thankfully, the writers for the Elder Scrolls really know how to latch onto the nuances of history. I find myself constantly surprised at the world building of Elder Scrolls. Although there certainly is an interesting primary plot for the new chapter of ESO Morrowind, it’s the world tour that truly makes the story interesting.

Too many times in high fantasy, we discover that the good guys are benevolent and fight for what’s right, and the bad guys are selfish and fight for themselves or the destruction of all that the good guys hold dear. Few exceptions existed before Game of Thrones became popular. One of those exceptions was TESIII: Morrowind, with the Ashlanders playing a major part. And just as in the single-player game, the Ashlanders play a major part in the ESO Chapter, too.

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EVE Evolved: War declarations need revamped for the citadel era

It’s a universally accepted fact in EVE Online that you’re never truly safe from attack. Low-security space is littered with pirates looking for an easy kill, nullsec alliances respond to invasion of their territory with overwhelming force, and cloaked ships could lurk around every wormhole. Even in the friendliest parts of high-security space, you can still be blown up by a squad of suicide gankers or find yourself the target of a highsec war declaration. Wardecs are intended to allow player-run corporations to fight with each other in highsec without interference from the police, but over EVE‘s entire lifetime they’ve been almost exclusively used to grief and harass small corporations.

Some wardec alliances log literally thousands of wars per year, with almost all of them being against small industrial and social corporations whose members have no intention of fighting back. The aggressors typically just camp trade hub such as Jita 4-4 and declare war on any corp caught hauling valuables through the system, turning a potential sandbox content-generator into a boring pay-to-grief mechanic. With the landscape of EVE being transformed by player-owned citadels and a dynamic PvE revolution on the horizon, I think the time is right to revamp war declarations for the new citadel era. The current wardec system isn’t fit for purpose, and we deserve something more engaging.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give some thoughts on the wardec problem, a suggestion on how they could be revamped to fit the new citadel era, and an idea for how they could even provide a more immersive PvE experience.

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Ashes of Creation will let you step into the shoes of a flesh-rending monster

If all of Ashes of Creation’s ambitious claims come to life in the finished product, then it does’t seem like players will wont for things to do. And if adventuring, farming, and trading gets old, there’s always the opportunity to take a vacation in the skin of a monster.

Calling it “fresh to the MMO experience,” the team at Ashes of Creation says that the game’s monster play will allow players to use special coins to take over a mobile boss for a dynamic event. Both the monster attacker and player defenders are judged based on their performance, with all sorts of cosmetics as potential rewards.

In addition to the monster coin system, Intrepid Studios announced the addition of yet another stretch goal: variant spell FX if 16,000 Kickstarter backers are reached. As it stands, Ashes of Creation has raised $2.35M with the help of over 13,200 backers so far.

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Massively Overthinking: Being Uncle Owen in MMORPGs

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?

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – the trials

At a preliminary glance, I think we’ve got about three more weeks of this particular feature, including this column. That sounds like a lot, but hey, I want to give Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward the space it deserves for a proper evaluation. And to the surprise of almost no one who has listened to me ramble on about this stuff before now, I have a lot to say about the expansion. At least we’re through a good portion of it now!

I’ve also gone back through and re-titled some portions of this series simply because numbering wasn’t doing any favors to the overall structure. So if you’re looking through the roundup, it should be easier to tell what each installment is all about.

The “trials” category is, of course, pretty broad; it covers Alexander, the full alliance content, and the Primal fights. It’s also where we start running into some content where I personally just sort of nod and opt out… but we’ll get to that in the column itself. Onward! We can see the endpoint!

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Conan Exiles moves to biweekly patch cadence, reshuffles development priorities

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.”

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EVE Evolved: Low-security space has lost its identity, but it can be fixed!

When I first discovered EVE Online back in 2004, it had been out in the wild for just under a year and was a much simpler and friendlier beast. There were fewer than 50,000 players in total and most of them were flying around in tech 1 frigates and cruisers, either mining, grinding their way up top level 3 mission agents, or PvPing. Most corporations lived in the relative safety of high-security space and warred with each other for all sorts of reasons, and some power-hungry corps tamed the lawless nullsec regions to hunt battleship NPCs and mine ores containing valuable Zydrine and Megacyte.

Low-security space offered a tempting middle-ground for players back then, a place you could go to reap better rewards than highsec but at the cost of a proportional increase in risk. Pirates faced much lower consequences for attacking another ship unprovoked there than in highsec, and the areas around stargates and stations were kept safer by automated sentry turrets. The delicate balance between risk and reward in low-security space began to fall apart as the sizes of player groups in EVE increased and ships got better at tanking the damage from sentries. Nearly a decade later and with very little done to revamp the area, today’s lowsec still suffers from this legacy and has lost much of its identity. But how can this problem be solved? Hints may come from recent rumblings at EVE Fanfest 2017 on the future direction of PvE.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons I believe low-security space has lost its identity and a few of the ways CCP could inject some much-needed personality and speciality into this neglected area of the game.

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MMORPG sandbox Arcfall is headed to Steam early access

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.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – side stories, part two

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.

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