first impressions

Star Wars: The Old Republic uncovers The Nathema Conspiracy

If you’ve always thought that there was a conspiracy over at BioWare, it turns out you were right. It also turns out that it’s a good thing there is one, because The Nathema Conspiracy is making Star Wars: The Old Republic more full-featured.

Game Update 5.9 is here with a brand-new flashpoint that wraps up the traitor saga and brings back the companions of Felix Iresso, Akaavi Spar, and Mako. In honor of the patch, double rewards are running and point games for repeatable objectives have been increased.

You’ll also want to log in tomorrow, when the May the 4th holiday will grant you a free astromech pet (and if you’re a subscriber, a speeder as well).

The patch notes are just the beginning — tune in tomorrow, when Massively OP’s Larry will bring you his first impressions of this game update!

Source: Dulfy

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Tamriel Infinium: First impressions of Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset (mostly without spoilers!)

Over the years, I suspect I’ve made it well known what I find most important in my Elder Scrolls Online gameplay. I enjoy the environments and the quest storylines. I play most of the game solo with very little interaction with any other players. It’s not that I don’t like other players; it’s just that when I started playing ESO, the main storylines in the game where not very group friendly, so that kind of gameplay is what I expected and enjoyed. Of course, that means my primary focus, when playing through the Summerset Chapter for ESO, was story and single-player gameplay.

There are many things added with Summerset that aren’t single-player focused, like the new Cloudrest trial and the Abyssal Geysers, but I’d hardly call myself an expert in those areas. But we solo players do have many things to look forward to in Summerset besides the story quests, like jewelry crafting, a new skill line, and daily login rewards.

For today, I would like to focus on the main reason I play ESO: the story. I’m not going to spoil any major plot points as I describe my playthrough, obviously, but I would like to make mention of key players and things to watch for as you play through the newest chapter.

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Global Chat: Giving Project Gorgon a try

With Project Gorgon now out on Steam early access, many first-time visitors to this strange game are feeling out the world and its systems. So what are they discovering?

Tales of the Aggronaut said that he was “hooked” when he put in a good weekend: “Part of the charm of this game is that it plops you into the game with no real warning or advisement about what you should be doing.”

“There’s never any doubting the sheer personality evident in every aspect of the game,” recommended Inventory Full. “The enthusiasm and good nature of the tiny development team sweeps all cynicism away.”

Project Gorgon not your cup of tea? Join us after the break for blog essays on Second Life, RIFT Prime, Shroud of the Avatar, and even Dungeons & Dragons!

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GDC 2018: How to get exploiters to happily surrender in EVE Online

EVE Online is not known for being a happy place. It’s shown even in mass media as a cutthroat world of war and theft. Dealing with exploits is key to making sure that this world ripe for unfairness is, well, as fair as possible, mechanically speaking. If abuse happens, traditional developer wisdom seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later,” and as players, we’re often fine with this. We don’t want to play with cheaters, right?

But what happens if the cheating is unintentional? What happens when the bug is so ingrained into the system that even casual, lapsed players accidentally took advantage of it just by returning to the game? How would you react if, shortly after resubscribing to a game, you had items or experience points taken and had your account suspended or banned? These are the things CCP Games’ Senior Project Lead of Player Experience David Einarsson had to deal with when tackling the ghost training bug.

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First impressions of the newly launched ARK Park

By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.

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Otherland formally announces new expansion, Fire Isle, coming this summer

Otherland’s promised summer expansion is definitely happening, according to a press release from Drago this morning. It’s called Fire Isle, it’s themed around Chinese mythology, and it’s launching is summer.

“Fire Isle introduces a brand-new storyline about the legendary Fire Army including a broken nation that focuses on a large scale civil war. Players will meet up with their old friend SweetieCheng to follow her and the true leader of the isle in their quest to bring an end to the war and getting back on track with the ultimate goal – battling the Celestial Dragon. On their upcoming adventure players will cross the unique landscape of Fire Isle seamed by streams of lava and igneous rocks to face many new challenges. With a total of ten new areas and 60 new story-driven quests, Drago Entertainment is extending the storyline by six new chapters, promising hours of exciting entertainment and exploration coming this summer.”

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First impressions of RIFT’s Prime progression server

The best word to describe what was happening on the launch day of RIFT Prime was “surreal.” It was absolutely surreal to see crowds of players running around in the low-level zones, and more than one person made the observation that it felt like the original launch day all over again.

I had to concur. With guilds forming left and right on the new progression server, players scrambling over each other to try to grab quest objectives, and fishing lines as far as the eye could see, it was a sight not seen in the beginning zones of RIFT since March 2011. And also as in 2011, everyone here on this progression server was paying a subscription to be a part of this new, tailored experience.

It’s a weird bird, too. RIFT Prime isn’t exactly vanilla, but it does offer a way to go back to the core game without some of the “fast lane” features (like instant adventures) to zip up through the levels. It strips all players of their extra starting bonuses, save for the special cash shop packs that kind of ruined this pristine level starting field.

It was a good, strong start, at least as far as my limited observations perceived, but what was playing RIFT Prime really like? After a couple of days on this new server ruleset, I have a few thoughts about both the good and bad of RIFT’s stab at a progression shard.

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Otherland will add 15 new quest hubs and 130 quests in May

Drago Entertainment continues to pepper players with plans for Otherland. Today, it’s told Facebook followers that more than 130 new quests are inbound in May, a direct result of player feedback. “While there have always been some side quests in the game, there just weren’t enough to counter the ‘linear quest progression’ argument,” the studio says. “We will be adding 15 areas (quest hubs) with about 6 quests per hub to 8Squared, 4 hubs with 6 quests each for Wood Isle, 3 hubs with 16 quests in total for Water Isle and one hub for Bug World with 5 quests.”

If that lede sounds familiar, it might be because devs were touting adding 120 new quests a few years ago.

Since our first impressions piece of the beta back in 2015, the game has popped up and down on Steam multiple times, emerged from early access, gone free-to-play, died and was resurrected by its original dev studio (with indirect shade thrown at Gamigo), and made it onto our list of the worst-squandered IPs in online gaming. Most recently, Drago has talked up its UI redesign, zone revamps, and “large content expansion” on the way.

We took a relook at the game last summer after its overhaul:

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Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for: After a short delay, episode 2 of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season, A Bug in the System, is finally ready to release. It feels as though Daybreak was a lifetime ago after being spoiled for so long with super-fast episodic content drops throughout the Path of Fire story, so I’m delighted to finally get to grips with some new story now. I had a little glimpse at the action two weeks ago in a dev-guided preview and was honestly left jaw-dropped, so it’s been exceptionally difficult waiting for its release to talk about my impressions. The episode is dangerous, political, and impactful, and I am just about hanging onto my seat as I get to see more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll recap on Daybreak’s content for those who haven’t quite caught up before launching into my first impressions of A Bug in the System. I played for around 45 minutes with some key developers and have only had a glimpse at the content, so this article will be a nice teaser for today without spoiling too much more than the trailer does. Having said that, if you would prefer to go in fresh, give this one a skip to avoid potential spoilers until you’ve played yourself.

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First impressions of ‘wizarding world’ MMOARG Maguss

If it weren’t for my promise to write this article, I would have given up on Maguss in less than 15 minutes had I been a consumer.

I understand the game’s in open beta, but from the start it was repeating issues I’ve seen too many times: bad tutorial, terrible UI, and aggressive monetization the likes of which I’ve only heard of in terrible games and dating apps. Like many of you, I grow defensive when seeing industry terms used as shields against bad design when developers (actually) need funding to continue. I’m jaded, I’m suspicious, and I don’t want to be nice or patient about it, especially when my money is on the line. What sounded like a great Pokemon GO challenger left me once again questioning why I bother with video games as a hobby at all.

But then I got past it. I found some things I genuinely liked that were in and functioning (mostly) as advertised. No, I’m not a convert, but I’ve dug through the dirt and found a bit of gold, and if the developer, Mawa, is able to make some changes to the game before really trying to attract a launch playerbase, Niantic may actually have a rival in the location-based alternate reality game genre.

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Taking a tour of the global Monster Hunter World community on PS4

While I’m not nearly the hardcore veteran our illustrious hunter Matt Daniel is, I can at least admit to physically living among the Japanese hunting community. While we both can speak a bit of Japanese, I enjoyed a solid chunk of time playing Monster Hunterface-to-face with Japanese players, plus a smidge of some other MH games being demoed at Japanese game conventions. International communities are certainly different, but what western players (and especially those watching from the sidelines) may not realize is how different the series is in Japan, as it’s largely a portable title that can be played anywhere. Japan’s console market is vastly different and the PC gaming scene is probably as niche as our VR scene.

Monster Hunter World’s Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC announcement was huge since it sent the message that this would be a title aimed at western players, who enjoy the series but not nearly at the same levels as Asian players, who already have two MMO entries in the series. While MHW certainly makes the game feel more accessible for a western audience that doesn’t even have an arcade culture to make public gaming feel normal, I sadly feel like something isn’t clicking with the western Monster Hunter community in the same way the Japanese have taken it.

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Monster Hunter World offers $70K for proof of real-world monsters

Not too shabby there, Capcom: Monster Hunter World has already sold five million copies of the console edition of the game. (The PC version, you’ll recall, won’t launch until later this year.)

In conjunction with the launch, Capcom has apparently partnered with a “real-life monster hunter and Cryptozoologist,” which for some reason merits capitalization, to offer a £50,000 reward (about $70K US) to anyone who can submit “clear new evidence” of specific “monsters.” Sorry, you can’t just submit a particularly monstrous politician; your choices are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Mongolian death worms, mermaids, the flying snake of Namibia, chupacabras, yeti, earth hounds, Yowie, and the Cornish owlman.

The good news for Capcom is that at least it won’t have to pay out that chunk of change. Let this serve as another reminder of the sort of cognitive deficiencies with which gaming studios believe gamers are saddled.

We delivered a guide to the game as well as our first impressions last week, so don’t miss those if you’re still considering trying the game on console!

Source: Press release, GIbiz

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Monster Hunter World hands-on: Our first impressions of the PS4 launch

Hey fellow hunter! Did you also enjoy the Monster Hunter World weekend betas as I did? Wondering if the full version is the same? Well here’s the short answer: Nope! Article finished, time to go back to hunting.

Just kidding! While the release version of the game isn’t the same as what you played, it’s still recognizably a Monster Hunter game. We’ll talk more about the online experience once the game’s been released to the masses for awhile, but a few hours in with a review copy of the launch product have answered some questions and concerns that came up during my beta experience.

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