game balance

Diablo III’s latest patch tweaks class balance and set balance

While Diablo III is getting a bit long in the tooth, there’s still plenty of space for the game to have its balance tweaked. The latest patch is all about adjusting the balance of class skills and class sets, nudging the performance on several sliders to make the weaker class options feel a bit more useful. Barbarians in particular have seen numbers boosted on several legendary items to make the effects on those items feel more pronounced in play.

Visual effects have also been toned down on abilities and passives that tended to hit large numbers of enemies, and some abilities have been redesigned to avoid strange gameplay quirks (like forcing Necromancers to refresh Skeletal Mages while already full). There are also the usual bug fixes and improvements, making for a patch that doesn’t add any new content but should make the process of hacking through familiar content slightly more pleasant.

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The Daily Grind: What one character option would you remove from your favorite MMO?

Good news, MMO fans! You’re getting to redesign your favorite MMO’s entire combat system. The bad news is that you’re doing so by removing one character option and that’s it. One class from World of Warcraft, one job from Final Fantasy XIV, one profession from Guild Wars 2, one ship type from EVE Online. You get the idea. There’s no adding; there’s just removing one thing and possibly giving some of its abilities to other classes.

And no, you can’t remove a role or drastically rearrange how roles work, either. If there are a dozen DPS options, you can remove one. That’s it.

So what would you pick and why? You can’t completely rewrite the game’s balance, but you can remove one thing from the game. What character option would you remove from your favorite MMO to revamp the combat? And do you think it would make enough difference for a major revamp to the game’s mechanics?

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Armored Warfare deep-dives the role of Armored Fighting Vehicles

The latest development diary on the Armored Warfare site is trying to answer a remarkably unclear question: What are Armored Fighting Vehicles? It sounds like a pretty strange question to ask, but that broad designation could include everything from tank destroyers to light tanks in a real-world context. Here, however, the AFV family consists of vehicles whose primary purpose is using their increased mobility and special ability to designate targets to serve as scouts and spotters across the battlefield.

AFVs are further divided into light and heavy categories; the former is faster and has an easier time serving as a pure spotter, while the latter is a bit more oriented toward fighting and works well at killing the former. In all cases, AFV players will need to make use of their mobility to stay alive, avoiding drawn-out gunfights in favor of zipping in, spotting, and zipping back out. Check out the full rundown for more on the battlefield role and several minor planned improvements for the AFV class in the future.

There’s also a trailer for the next episode of the game’s storyline campaign below. That’s unrelated aside from the fact that you may be exploring it in an AFV, but it’s still relevant.

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SWTOR plays the nerf-and-buff game with Assassins, Shadows, Sages, and Sorcs in 5.5

The latest set of class changes for Star Wars: The Old Republic are like the circle of life. Deception Assassins and Infiltration Shadows? You’ve been overperforming! Enjoy losing damage and critical hit chance on several of your abilities so that you are closer to your expected DPS target. If you were enjoying have all of that damage… well, that’s too bad, you were doing too much.

On the other hand, Telekinetics Sages and Lightning Sorcerers? You weren’t doing enough damage. So you… also lost potency? On one attack, though; you also got a bigger damage boost for targets suffering a status ailment and you got a fixed bug to improve your overall damage. So you’re still doing better, although losing some damage when you were underperforming feels weird even if it makes perfect sense. But that’s the circle of balance, isn’t it?

Expect the changes coming in GU 5.5.

Source: Official Site (1, 2) via Dulfy

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Destiny 2: Console sales numbers, 1.2M concurrent, and future content

So hey, Destiny 2 launched for consoles, and a lot of you bought it, if the 1.2 million concurrent player mark is any judge. We haven’t seen formal numbers from Activision yet, and though Bungie was talking about Destiny 2 preorders ahead of launch, sales so far in the UK haven’t surpassed Destiny 1’s as expected, in spite of topping the charts for the year.

Console players, meanwhile, will see the Leviathan raid unlocking on September 13th, Trials of the Nine starting up on September 15th, and many other challenges being presented in a slow roll for the next few weeks. So don’t worry if you’ve already plowed your way up to the top in the game right after release, you’ll have more to do soon.

The developers are also hard at work investigating known issues, working server queues in when necessary, and releasing the game’s official soundtrack. So it’s full steam ahead for Destiny 2 fans, there’s more on deck for the next several weeks, and you can count on some bugfixes incoming as well. Relax, listen to a soundtrack, and enjoy the ride. Or enjoy the wait, depending on your platform of choice.

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World of Warcraft’s Argus hasn’t got flying – and it never will

So, had you been hoping that at some point World of Warcraft would let you fly in the final zone of Legion? Best give up that hope. The official word is in from community manager Oryx that there will never be flying in Argus. Not now, not in the next expansion, not in a decade, never. Oryx also points out that this isn’t unusual, as things were the same on the Isle of Quel’danas, the Timeless Isle, and the Isle of Thunder.

Unlike all of the above, of course, Argus is not an island. But Oryx still stresses that the point of the zone is to feel dangerous even to players who can soar through the Broken Isles, hence keeping it dangerous for players who are stuck on the ground. Whether or not that argument holds any water for you is down to personal preference, but at least it’s not the entire expansion that’s been cut off from flight.

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Master x Master is devaluing one currency to improve another

Have you found yourself playing Master x Master and thinking that the game was just too darn generous with currency? Probably not, but then, you aren’t NCsoft and thus trying to derive a profit from the game. A new post on the official site explains that the studio believes the game was giving out too much SOL (the currency earned just from play) and not offering enough advantage to players using X-Coins (the currency bought for real money). So the economy is changing.

Nightmare mode will no longer cost SOL, X-Coin prices on unlocking Masters will go down, and SOL costs for most Master items will go up. The stated reason is that players were earning too much progress for free and there was a severe imbalance, but the Reddit thread in response is full of players who feel unlocking Masters is already expensive and making their items more expensive just limits the game for no player benefits.

However you feel about the changes, you’ll want to spend your SOL before September 13th, when the changes are set to roll out to everyone regardless of opinion.

Source: Official Site, Reddit; thanks to Anon for the tip!

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Blade & Soul is revamping crafting in the Rise of the Gunslinger patch

What are you expecting for Blade & Soul’s Rise of the Gunslinger patch? Probably mostly gunslinging, possibly a strained Stephen King reference or two? But the patch has more than just guns and the slinging thereof, as you’ll also have the option of jumping in with a new set of crafting revamps. Players will be able to have three tasks for each guild and be able to reach level five for each guild, complete with several streamlined recipes alongside many new ones.

This also goes hand-in-hand with removing the gathering guilds from the game and making gathering a more direct task. Quartz and Spring Water are also being removed from the game to further streamline matters. If you’re uninterested in all of that and just want to sling some guns, don’t worry, there’s a collection of additional gunslinging-related screenshots just below. It’s almost like a craft.

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Albion Online alters resource respawns and rune rewards

Resources matter in Albion Online, and major changes to the respawn rates of resources is going to shake up the game’s economy significantly. The latest patch to the game (live today) doesn’t get a new name, but it does significantly alter the respawns of all higher-tier resources. Tier 2 and Tier 3 resources have had their respawn rates reduced to pre-launch numbers, while Tier 4 resources have rates slightly above the original resources. That’s going to alter the game’s makeup pretty significantly.

Of course, players are also going to be dealing with runes and souls dropping from chests at five times their previous rates, so that’s going to alter things even further. The patch also will prevent people traveling to the Outlands and then teleporting right back from retaining any region or portal locks; you’ll have to remain there for at least a minute. Add in the usual array of bug fixes, and voila, you have a small patch that will probably have significant effects upon the game as a whole.

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Neverwinter is going to refine the art of refinement

Are you a fan of Neverwinter’s current system of refinement? The developers certainly aren’t, which is why the system is being massively overhauled from top to bottom and streamlined. No more doubled refinement weekends, no more managing a huge system of items in your inventory just to manage what you’ll need for refinement, no more making Bonding the be-all and end-all of refinement. Now the system will use one unified currency, the item requirements have been vastly reduced, and doubled refinement weekends are going away forever.

The complete list of mechanical changes can be looked at here, as well. Player feedback has already brought up that this might impact the ability of players to really manage alts as well as the amount of bank space many players bought just to keep up with refinement; the changes to Bonding having less overall uptime have also been sharply negative. Of course, none of these changes is live yet, so you can feel free to join in the feedback thread to voice your own opinions.

Source: Refining Refinement, Technical data, feedback thread; thanks to Jon for the tip!

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Kritika Online patches Starhenge adjustments and Green Leaf damage decreases

Sometimes you go a bit too far. It happens. Kritika Online made some changes to Starhenge with its last patch to make the content harder on a whole, but those difficulty increases wound up overshooting the mark. By a lot, unfortunately. But it’s easy to fix that; the most recent patch for the game has dropped boss shield gauges, increased rewards, and reduced the challenge across the board in Easy, Normal, and Hard modes. Insanity mode will remain where it is, but for most players this makes the content much more forgiving.

Meanwhile, the game’s Green Leaf weapons also turned out to be tuned a bit too high, allowing players to clear Arena content faster and more reliably than planned. No punishment is going out to players who used the weapons, as it wasn’t the fault of players, but the weapons have been adjusted to the correct level. Check out the full list of patch notes for the fine details.

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Wisdom of Nym: The numbers game in Final Fantasy XIV

It’s not really hard to figure out the best stats for melding in order to do the maximum damage in Final Fantasy XIV. You have, ultimately, only a few real options, and with the removal of Accuracy as an option, none of them is actually going to make or break important points. The problem is that asking “what can I meld to do maximum damage” is perhaps not always the right question to ask.

The matter of stat weights and best-in-slot gear has already been attracting ferocious debate in various parts of the community, and you know the debate has gotten to a fever pitch when Yoshida actually addresses one of the stupider new customs in a live letter. (That would be tanks wearing 270 STR accessories, for the record.) So I think it’s well past the point to talk about the issue of tank damage, tank scaling, and numbers in general. They may not carry the allure of story sequences, but they’re still important.

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Final Fantasy XIV details some of the balance changes coming to the game on Tuesday

The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV arrives tomorrow, and everyone who has been following the game knows that it’s bringing the new weekly Allagan Tomestones of Creation into the game. But it’s also bringing some other stuff in the form of balance adjustments, something detailed in the most recent Letter from the Producer LIVE with producer (and director!) Naoki Yoshida. All healing jobs are seeing some adjustments, with Scholar singled out for some far-ranging changes like reworks to Excogitation and Indomitability and the re-introduction of Miasma II.

Yoshida also discussed changes coming to tank jobs, Black Mage, Machinist, and Dragoon. He also discussed some of the game’s upcoming content, such as plans to implement a new Alliance Raid roulette for content such as Crystal Tower and Void Ark and new separations of congested areas in the open world. You can check out the full letter for more hints about the future, but you can also just wait until tomorrow; a lot of this will be in patch 4.05, after all.

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