gankbox

Gankboxes are sandboxes that place such an emphasis on unrestricted free-for-all PvP that ganking comes to dominate the entire game, to the detriment of the rest of the world design.

EVE Online’s upwell structures get a wellness upgrade

Some of EVE Online’s player-built space platforms — known as upwell structures — are getting a massive upgrade in the game’s upcoming February update. This Upwell Structures 2.0 is a “significant” package of improvements that should be on the test servers soon.

So what do these changes and improvements contain? CCP outlined four pillars of the new upwell structure design: different power modes, a vulnerability and reinforcement system, a major structure combat overhaul, and moon mining in wormhole space and some highsec systems. There are also numerous smaller tweaks in the works for these platforms, like properly displaying damage messages, a short “fitting invulnerable” state during deployment, and riskier asset safety settings.

And because this is EVE Online, you shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a flowchart associated with these structures and their new status states. We’ve got it for you below, and we guarantee it will be the most exciting flow chart you read all day.

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Darkfall: New Dawn tacks on titles and opens local banks for business

Did anyone in class today remember that Darkfall: New Dawn is officially launching, oh, next week? Don’t worry, it kind of slipped our mind too. At least we are getting a few days to prepare ourselves, starting with the absorption of this week’s Patch 6.0.

As possibly the last pre-release patch, this update adds two important systems to the game. Local banking is being hailed by the dev team as “the most defining feature” of the PvP MMO, as “it will create the foundation for a healthy economy and a more convenient game.” Probably a good thing that it’s being added before launch, although one would think that such a vital system would have been in place long before now.

This means that all banks in the game are separate, non-connected inventories that both players and clans can use for storage.

The other system added is titles. There are now 48 titles that players can attain through various achievements and activities. And in case you can’t choose just one, you don’t have to; New Dawn allows you to select up to five titles simultaneously. All hail the future Grand Vizier Troublemaker Pompadour Justin, Esquire Jr.!

Source: Patch notes

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the most uncertain futures in 2018

This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.

But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.

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CCP addresses EVE Online botter problem, saying it’s at the ‘top of the list’

Last week, we reported on a situation brewing on the EVE Online subreddit, where player after player spoke out about the game’s botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post about a specific botter corp leaving expensive capital ships where other players could easily take them out.

Seeking a statement on the botting situation, we reached out to CCP, whose CCP Falcon posted a response to our article on Reddit.

“[Botting is] to the detriment of the game and it needs to be stamped out,” he says. “It’s garbage behavior, it’s against the rules, and it’s something that has a magnified effect in EVE because of the single shard nature of the game, the economy, and the fact that everything on the market is player built or sourced.” Specifically, he dismissed the idea that CCP generates revenue from botters. That said, he also believes CCP has more work to do on the problem.

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Gloria Victis adds treasure hunting and preps female characters

It’s been a while since we last checked in with Gloria Victis, so let us see what is going on with this medieval MMORPG, shall we?

Back in December, the team patched in several features into the alpha build, including excavation points (yay, treasure hunting!), dozens of new quests, a pair of new guild castles, more revisions to the territory claim system, and a faster way to jump into inter-guild conflicts.

The first big update to Gloria Victis in 2018 added a “massive” fortress and more looting zones. The team is also excited to give its community a first look at female character models. “Our artists are now working on it full-time to introduce it as soon as possible,” the team said. “It requires reworking all of the armor models to make them fit to female character — it will take few weeks.”

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EVE Online players beg CCP to address botters after gamer takes down eight botter ships

Is there a quota for how many sci-fi spaceship MMOs with playerbases angry over exploits we can cover in a week? Because if so, Elite Dangerous already met it. If not, EVE Online requests a moment of your time.

The EVE subreddit is smoldering with post after post on what players characterize as a serious botting problem, exacerbated by a recent post in which a player claims that in a brief span of time, his group was able to easily take out eight Nyx capital ships allegedly belonging to a single corporation well-known among gamers for botting.

One redditor summed up the community dismay that cheaters and cheater money rules the game, quoting another’s estimate that bots pull in a tremendous amount of ISK (in-game currency) monthly and lamenting the perception that CCP lets the botting go on (or even encourages it).

“I feel completely worthless as a customer,” Loroseco writes. “I feel like my effort over the years has been for absolutely nothing. I feel that I’ve been cheated out of making a fortune because I felt compelled to obey the ToS that I agreed to when I started playing.”

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The Daily Grind: What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?

You may not like it, but the vast majority of MMORPGs are free-to-play or buy-to-play as of 2018. EVE Online went free-to-play at the end of 2016, you’ll recall, and some of the last classic holdouts – Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot – will make the same move this year. That doesn’t leave many games to go free-to-play or alter their business models in a big way. World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV with their subscription-only models lead the way (and have been lauded accordingly).

Do you think any of the remaining sub-only MMORPGs – that are actually launched and live, that is – will yet go free-to-play? What MMO will be the next to change up its business model dramatically?

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EVE Online improves forward operating bases with today’s patch

The pirate factions of EVE Online have always been a threat. We’re not talking about player pirates, mind you; we’re talking about the NPC pirates that have their forward operating bases scattered throughout space. Fortunately for players, these bases have become both more numerous and easier to discover with the launch of the January patch today, meaning that it’s easier to see the bases and take them on as you go about your business in the game.

You are, of course, at risk of being attacked by player pirates while you’re fighting NPC pirates. It’s that sort of game.

The patch also improves the mechanics of the game’s ammo reloading systems and offers a better UI element for the Agency, both of which should make the game a little easier to just play. Combine that with a number of visual improvements to existing structures, and players will have plenty to enjoy throughout space as they hunt for more pirate bases. Or try to avoid all sorts of pirates, that’s also possible.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s case for asymmetric and asynchronous gameplay

If there’s one thing that EVE Online does better than any other MMO on the market today, it’s persistent gameplay on massive scales. The now-famous Bloodbath of B-R5RB in 2014 involved 7,548 players over the course of almost 24 hours, and the Siege of M-OEE8 at the end of 2016 peaked at 5,300 separate players all piled into the same star system at the same time. Hundreds of thousands of players live and fight in the same single-shard universe, and EVE‘s largest corporations have more members than the total population on some other MMOs’ shards.

But what about the smaller end of the scale? MMOs aren’t just populated by monolithic organisations bent on galactic domination, and a growing proportion of today’s gamers play online games solo or in smaller groups. Features such as Upwell structures and the new PvE gameplay have clearly been designed with a wide range of gameplay scales in mind, but EVE has never really got past the problem that bigger groups are almost always better. Could the solution to this problem be found in small-scale asymmetric and asynchronous warfare opportunities?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at why EVE‘s massive scale makes it so compelling, the problem that massive scale introduces, and the case for more asymmetric and asynchronous warfare.

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EVE Online sunsets legacy APIs, delivers December economic report, and talks next week’s patch

May 8th, 2018. This date is important for players and community developers who are using older versions of EVE Online’s API, as those legacy systems will be discontinued in favor of focusing on the newer ESI API instead. This means that any third-party software that relies on legacy systems will need to migrate to the new system or risk obsolescence.

“The ESI API is built to modern industry standards and provides superior documentation compared to both its predecessors,” the team wrote. “Early on, we acknowledged that transitioning to ESI would require extra effort from the third-party community, but we were and still are certain that it would be a strategic mistake to split the API teams focus by maintaining two legacy systems. By focusing on ESI, we can maintain our current development momentum long term, and keep bringing third party developers the new features they need to make the best applications they can.”

CCP also backed up its info truck and dumped all of December’s economic data all over the community. If this is pertinent to your profit-making and future plans, then you can dive into all of the charts and data to see if there’s an advantage to be grasped.

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A look back at the MMO and gaming science topics of 2017

Over the last couple of years, we’ve redoubled our efforts on our science-related articles, as you may have noticed from our roundups in 2016 and 2015. Last year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we’ve been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category.

Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2017, from EVE Online’s real-life hunt for exoplanets and the economics of MMO monetization to how lockboxes use psychology to manipulate us and the math behind the gamblebox phenom. Dr Richard Bartle even announced a new gamer matrix this year. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end!

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Sumo Digital picks up CCP’s ejected EVE Valkyrie studio

Good news for anybody out there worried about the future of EVE Valkyrie: CCP’s Newcastle studio, the one that runs Valkyrie, has been acquired by UK-based Sumo Digital, which isn’t exactly known for VR. According to GIbiz, 34 CCP devs will make the jump to the new group. Sumo Digital has been collaborating with CCP already on Project Nova, the FPS following in DUST 514’s footsteps.

You’ll recall that at the tail end of October 2017, the EVE Online developer announced that it was pulling out of the virtual reality market, with intent to close down or sell off some of its properties while pulling Sparc in-house. Though Valkyrie received an update in the interim, its longer-term future had appeared uncertain until Sumo Digital announced the buyout.

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