game mechanics

Final Fantasy XIV launches patch 4.15 with music and MOBA gameplay

It’s time to smash up some robots with other robots in Final Fantasy XIV. There’s more to it than that, sure, but the core of the game’s new Rival Wings PvP encounter is that you are leading a team of robots (mammets) against another team of robots (mammets), and sometimes you get into a robot (machina) and use them to smash cores. It’s all of the robot action in the game you could possibly want, and if you’re familiar with the mechanics of MOBA combat, you will likely find this pretty familiar. Try it out for yourself; patch 4.15 has just gone live today.

The new Perform system, on the other hand, is less robot-based. It’s entirely based around making music as a Bard, and that means hitting a whole lot of different notes to make your own original music. (And the patch notes even warn you that you had better be making your own music, thus making the game a place where saying “anyway here’s Wonderwall” might literally get you in trouble.) So you can make your own song after stomping robots for a while. What more could you ask for?

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EverQuest II previews the Bastion of Thunder

Really, no one should be building a stronghold just to control portions of the weather. It leads to all sorts of problems later on. The latest preview for EverQuest II demonstrates just that, because while Karana, the Rain Keeper, might have had the best of intentions, it turns out that even tucking your Bastion of Thunder away in the Plane of Storms doesn’t prevent people from rushing in and taking control of stuff. And of course it contains four aspects of storms tied to four towers and guarded by storm giants, because now the towers (and, by extension, the storm giants) are in notable danger.

Needless to say, players will be expected to go in and fight against the Tenets of Hate to make sure that nothing bad happen, which means braving both those enemies and the storm giants. There must have been a safer and less ostentatious option for building a weather control facility, Karana; maybe something that looked more like an old convenience store would have brought less attention.

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Armored Warfare rolls out on Steam

The original plan for Armored Warfare was to deploy on Steam ahead of its newest update. That didn’t quite happen. Instead, the new update happened, then the game arrived on Steam very shortly thereafter. So while the exact order of operations didn’t work out, players can now log in through Steam (or any other platform) and start blasting away with tanks to their hearts’ content.

Speaking of that new update, it adds new vehicles, a new command system, improved graphics, Chinese-themed maps, and mechanical adjustments. Of course, the game is an entry in the fairly sober and realistic genre, so you can be sure that the new vehicles do not include ghost tanks or giant armored mechs; they’re just Chinese main battle tanks shooting at other tanks because that’s what you do. Check out the update trailer down below, and if you like the cut of its jib, maybe you’ll roll it out on your own Steam account.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating about future Final Fantasy XIV jobs from weapons

The Armoury System places a certain unique burden on Final Fantasy XIV. Any new job doesn’t just need to have a distinct mechanical identity, it needs to have a distinct weapon. Which worked well for the first expansion and a half or so; after all, there were a lot of obvious weapons that existed in the game in some abundance but didn’t necessarily have jobs associated. A bit of massaging and we had a job for daggers, a job for great swords, a job for… spinny card-balls…

Yeah, this analogy falls apart pretty quickly. But the point is that it’s still just as viable as a means of predicting new jobs as looking at past titles, especially as Yoshida has stated on multiple occasions that he’d like to have a job that was unique to FFXIV. So let’s look at some weapons we’ve seen in the game, ones that show up in other titles, and ones that make a certain degree of sense as a prediction method.

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MMO Mechanics: What can be learned from Guild Wars 2 Mountgate?

Most often, MMO Mechanics articles focus on the gameplay mechanics that both make the MMO genre unique and those that diversify MMOs from one another, but this time I’m focusing on the mechanics that drive profit for the modern development studio and will discuss the lootbox phenomenon. Although the lootbox is by no means a new topic in the world of online gaming, the purchasing method has been under fire more than ever recently and has seldom faced the same scrutiny from the playerbase and wider media before now.

Recently it has been ArenaNet under fire for the particular way randomisation factors into purchasing Guild Wars 2 mount adoption licence skins. A unique combination of a highly requested and anticipated extension of a likewise highly requested and successful new game feature and the employment of lootbox mechanics has caused quite a stir in the game community, despite the fact that Guild Wars 2’s Black Lion Chests already employ RNG lootbox mechanics. In this article, I’m going to discuss why the skins were such an issue in the first place, evaluate ArenaNet’s response to the player outrage the skins caused, and ponder on the reasons why studios rely on lootbox mechanics in the first place.

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Elite: Dangerous player is reaching out to speak with the game’s inscrutable aliens

Remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the crew spent the entire episode tracking down and struggling to communicate with a destructive alien life form? (Please conveniently overlook that said episode was undercut by a later video game turning that life form into a big boss fight.) That’s what a player in Elite: Dangerous is struggling to do with the Thargoids. The game doesn’t actually allow for communication back yet, of course, but the player is still trying to understand what’s being said, first and foremost.

A cooperation between player group Canonn Interstellar Research and Benjamin “Heisenberg6626” Bahr has resulted in the video below, representing one of the first attempts to communicate with the aliens. The mechanics of the game make it a limited sort of communication, naturally, but Bahr’s hope in particular is that the designers see that there are players who do actually want to speak with and understand the Thargoids, not just blow them out of space. As he himself puts it, there will always be trigger-happy members on both sides, but the hope is that cooler heads can prevail… and, eventually, talk things out.

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Dauntless steps back from constant stability upgrades for a major patch

If you’ve been playing Dauntless since it first released to test audiences, you have probably gotten accustomed to having a large number of patches for the game at a pretty rapid pace. December is going to involve something different, though; there’s going to be one big update dubbed Sharpen Your Skills, and it will hopefully make a major difference in the way that you play Dauntless. The team will still be revealing teases of what’s in the patch, but you’ll have to wait a little longer to actually get it.

The first preview on progression is already available, showing off new randomized Behemoths to hunt, new progression mechanics, and new scheduled targets to give players more reason to keep venturing out into the world. The update will also include a progression wipe, so you’ll be starting over from the beginning to see how the game feels with improvements. Hopefully better, although it does mean you won’t want to worry too much about progression until the update arrives.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic delays the release of the Yavin warzone from patch 5.6

Players of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to start taking part in the latest bit of the traitor storyline with the release of patch 5.6 on November 28th. Here’s the bad news, though: The patch will not include the new Yavin warfront. There are still some issues with the new map, so it’s getting delayed very slightly until patch 5.6.1 scheduled for December 12th.

Everything else that’s planned for November 28th is still in place; that includes Legacy-wide credits, a character boost item to bring a character to 70, a new flashpoint, a new boss in Gods From The Machine, and many more things for players to do. (Also improvements to group finder queues, so it’ll be easier to find other players to do things with.) You can even read some new lore exploring the events leading up to the next set of quests centered around the traitor story. You’ll just need to wait a little bit longer for a new warzone, that’s all.

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Cyberpunk 2077 will include online elements of some sort according to a video interview

When science fiction writers pictured the world of tomorrow back in the mid-’80s, they pictured some things that definitely have not caught on in ubiquity (bulky VR headsets, neon everything, phasing out daylight in favor of rainy nights all day every day). But the whole idea of constantly interconnected computers? They got that. So it seems appropriate that the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red (best known for The Witcher series) will include some form of online component.

Company CEO Adam Kicinski has said in a recent interview that an online component is recommended and/or necessary in order to achieve long-term success in the video game marketplace. What that online component may be remains to be seen, as it could be anything from a multiplayer mode to lockboxes to just being a full online co-op game. You can check out the video interview just below, but it is in Polish, so you’ll want to turn on subtitles if that’s not a language you speak.

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Dark and Light shows off the environments of the Scalding Abyss

In the Flames of Bel’Xahl patch for Dark and Light that releases today, players will take on the greatest enemy of humanity since time immemorial: convection. Seriously, you are running through a volcano. I don’t care how much Flame Armor you’ve crafted; your body will start to have unpleasant things happen to it long before you can fight new enemies like the Ashen Fist Goblin, Scalding Wyrm, and the eponymous Bel’Xahl. Lava is really hot.

Of course, this being a video game, you can explore this volcano, fight those enemies, craft that armor, and still have a chance to nip off for a dip in the new hot springs added to the game. There are also turkeys running around the world to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. If all of this sounds like the sort of stuff that you live for, you can jump in at a discount when the game is included in the upcoming autumn sale on Steam.

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Traditional ‘tier’ sets are not planned for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

If you’ve never played World of Warcraft, you may be unfamiliar with the concept if not the visuals of tier sets. Tiered armor is the ultimate class-specific reward from each given raid level, so the upcoming Antorus raid awards Tier 21 armor for those lucky enough to get the necessary drops. Wearing several pieces of tier armor also awards set bonuses. But it looks like the time has passed on all of that, as a recent interview stated that tier sets are not planned to return at all in Battle for Azeroth.

Designer Ion Hazzikostas explains that tier pieces tend to “lock down” certain gear slots and feel like more of a hindrance than anything, so the team is experimenting with different ways to award gear and appearances. How that will work remains to be seen, but the suggestion of no more tier sets alone is a major departure from how World of Warcraft has always structured its endgame raids. We’ll hopefully learn more about these changes as the expansion gets closer to testing and release.

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DC Universe Online patches in Earth-3 adventures today

This morning, the DC Universe Online servers went down to apply the game’s next major patch. They may or may not be back up by the time you read this, but they’re expected to be up no later than 4:00 p.m. EST today. And when they are up again? You can take a trip to the land of evil opposites, Earth-3!

What must Earth-3 residents think of the rest of the multiverse, though? Technically Earth-1 would be the world with their opposites. Is that a thing there?

Regardless of existential musings on the nature of evil doppelgangers, players can explore a variety of new bits of content on Earth-3, ranging from an open-world exploration of the new world’s Gotham City to an elite raid in which players rail against the Crime Syndicate that threatens the world. So go forth, find your evil opposite, and beat the living snot out of that villain. Or hero, we suppose, if your character is already a villain. It’s complex.

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