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.

CCP's live-action EVE Online ARG looks like the best thing at this year's EVE Fanfest

Got your tix for EVE Online's EVE Fanfest 2017? Ready to set aside your in-game enmity and play nice with your fellow gamers for a few days -- or not, depending on what sort of corp you're in? Decided cowering in your house watching streams is the wiser choice?

Good news for you then no matter which way you roll: CCP has released a detailed blog post today laying out the structure of this year's event. Expect the usual round of keynotes, panels, debates, and player presentations, plus beer, a check-in with the Project Discovery scientists, a 2v2 single elimination tourney, more beer, tours for people who got dragged along and want to see Iceland's beauty, and beer. But the best bit looks to be a genuinely cool live-action game called The YC119 Kyonoke Inquest:

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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EVE Online's huge stations will soon mine entire moons

That's no moon, it's a space station... that's mining the innards out of that moon.

It is, of course, one of EVE Online's "upwell structures," massive player-built facilities that float about in space and perform useful tasks. As last year's citadels and engineering structures have proved a hit, CCP is now working on a new type of upwell structure, refineries, for its next patch.

"Refineries will be the premiere structure for resource collection and processing, with bonuses to reprocessing and the exclusive ability to fit moon mining and reaction service modules," the studio wrote. "These structures will usher in completely new gameplay for moon mining and reactions, as well as linking into future resource collection gameplay."

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EVE Online addresses PLEX overhaul Aurum conversion but not insider trading

Last week, we covered CCP's new plan to change EVE Online's 30-day sub currency, PLEX, by effectively breaking it into smaller chunks and turning it into more of a cash shop currency that's more easily fungible and tradeable.

It was an announcement not without its detractors, as Massively OP's EVE columnist Brendan Drain explained over the weekend: Some players were miffed that PLEX will be transportable without the risk of ship-to-ship movement, while others grumbled about the short-term effect on the market and poor conversion rates for the secondary currency, Aurum, and the lack of conversion for players with fewer than 1000 Aurum. And as is common with such in-game economies, still others are up in arms over apparent market corruption, as it appears that players with insider information began trading ahead of the announcement to manipulate the economy -- as Brendan suggests, likely a CSM (player council) member privy to information ahead of the embargo lift.

Today, CCP posted an update meant to assuage some of the concerns about the new program.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Castles get an upgrade in Gloria Victis

If players or guilds are going to put the effort in purchasing and building up a castle in Gloria Victis, they are going to be rewarded with one fine-looking structure. Thanks to this past week's alpha patch, the biggest building in each of the six main settlements has received new and improved models for the keep's final form.

The patch contains an additional hodge-podge of changes, including the ability to interact with non-dialogue NPCs, bigger buffs for countries being dominated by others, and smiths that sell better wares than before.

The team also reported that it is continuing to work on making combat look and feel better: "We know, that combat/animations overhaul is long overdue and community is getting impatient, to say the least. So, just a quick heads up for you guys: we are polishing. It’s a long, yet rewarding process, as we are tweaking little details over and over again to exterminate bugs and make sure it feels great to roam and fight."

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EVE Evolved: What's the deal with EVE's PLEX changes?

This week CCP Games announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX in EVE Online. The PLEX or "30-day Pilot's License EXtension" is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX.

The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE's business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There's been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what's the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.

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Pathfinder Online has a roadmap forward and a plan for completion

If you'd lost hope in Pathfinder Online ever making any forward motion again, you should be happy to see that there's a new letter from Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens. You should be even happier with the contents of that letter, which state that after a great deal of consultation and deliberation, Stevens has developed a plan to move forward with the game and develop it to an open state. While she states that this wasn't her original plan, she also says that after research, it seemed better than waiting for some white knight to ride in and save the game; it was time to save the game by itself.

Stevens stresses that the version of the game which will move toward an open player base will be a small, niche product aimed at a small, niche audience. She and the small team working on the game looked first and foremost toward what features had already been worked on, what would help new players get into the game, and what obvious gaps of implementation remained in the test version. The full roadmap has a year's worth of development goals, some of which will no doubt wind up getting pushed around, but it's still a plan. Here's hoping for the best.

Source: Official Site; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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EVE Online overhauls PLEX currency system, ending tales of PLEX-stuffed ship destruction

CCP announced this morning that it's overhauling PLEX in EVE Online. As the currency works now, players buy the 30-day sub token known as PLEX with cash and then either use it or sell it to other players in exchange for in-game currency, isk.

"We really like PLEX because it lets you players in the in-game market decide what trade-offs you want to make between time, isk, and real money," CCP Seagull explains in a new video today. "It also gives us at CCP a type of income that doesn't mess with the integrity of the game design." The overhaul won't impact that philosophy, but here's what is changing:

PLEX will be broken down into smaller chunks; one current PLEX, worth around $15 or 30 days of sub time, will now work out to 500 new PLEX, which is intended to allow players more flexibility in trade and allow CCP to effectively sell smaller sub lengths (although it has not announced its intention to do this) as well as smaller items in the cash shop using PLEX as currency.

Possibly of more interest to non-EVE players is the fact that the new PLEX Vault in the player inventory will allow players to move PLEX without actually putting it in their ships. No more wacky stories about people losing thousands of dollars' worth of PLEX while dragging them in ships across the galaxy!

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Albion Online AMA on pay-to-win, free trials, and global servers

Sandbox Interactive ran an AMA for its in-development indie MMO Albion Online on Reddit last night, covering everything from the game's business model to how players in far-flung locations fare on its global server. Here are the highlights!

  • There are no plans for a freebie weekend or trial as a result of fairness to founders and botting issues -- as well as performance issues. "The game is extremely well populated as it is, and we'd be worried that free trial could slow down the servers."
  • Likewise, SI will be sticking to its original plan to reward founders with early access, though players have expressed concern over the potential for an ArcheAge-like land-grab.
  • In response to players bringing up pay-to-win and the game's $30 buy-in, SI explained the game's business model is based on EVE Online's and that while players can essentially gain an advantage by buying and then exchanging real-money currency for in-game currency, it won't afford players a guaranteed win. As for the currency exchange, it should be possible to play the market.

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What ever happened to Darkfall, Fallen Earth, and Runes of Magic?

It bears repeating that here on Massively OP, we cover an immensely wide field of live games -- so many that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of what's happening in each one (which is why our readers are invaluable in winging us tips about their favorite MMOs!). And while there's never any shortage of news and happenings in the field of MMORPGs as a whole, once in a while we realize that it's been a good long time since we heard anything about certain games that we used to discuss a lot in the past.

When that happens to me, I'll often head off on a little fool's errand to scout the website, Twitter feed, forums, and Reddit to see what's going on. I hate to be out of the loop on games, especially ones that used to be more prominent in the news, but more often than not, the lack of news is because there's been a lack of news.

You ever caught yourself going, "What ever happened to the original Darkfall? Or Runes of Magic? Or Fallen Earth?" I totally have, which is why I went on expeditions to see what I could uncover. So let's catch up with these three games and see what is up!

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EVE Online players lead $14,000 massacre in a busy trade hub

It's said that you're never truly safe in EVE Online unless you're docked or logged off, and sometimes not even then. If someone wants you dead badly enough, he can get to you even in the heart of high-security space surrounded by legions of CONCORD police ships. The police in EVE will get revenge on anyone who attacks another player in high-security space, but they aren't very big on crime prevention and take a few seconds to kick in. If you can get enough players together in high-damage ships, you have enough time to take out some pretty big prey before CONCORD comes to promptly turn your attack fleet into floating scrap.

That's the premise behind suicide ganking, and it wouldn't be EVE if someone didn't turn this most heinous of crimes into a huge player-run event or even an annual tradition. Starting in 2012, the Burn Jita event sees hundreds of players in the Goonswarm Federation alliance flock to EVE's main trade hub system of Jita for a weekend to suicide gank as many industrial ships, freighters, and random passers-by as possible. Burn Jita 4 took place recently, and killboard records estimate the final damage total to be over 750 billion ISK (worth roughly $10,000 to $14,000 via PLEX conversion at current rates). According to the latest economic report, this impressive figure is actually only around 2% of the total ship value destroyed game-wide throughout February.

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Massively Overthinking: That moment when your MMO looks like a 'fire sale at an exotic pet store'

Massively OP Podcast listener John recently sent us a really great question that saw Justin and me sharply divided in terms of our responses, so naturally, we decided to kick it to the whole team and the readers too.

"When you walk through a city in WoW, you very rarely see two adjacent characters riding the same species of mount," he wrote. "I just walk by, thinking, 'Unicorn, griffin, dragon, wyvern, skeleton of a horse, motorcycle, floating-on-a-cloud, mammoth, turtle, rocket, sparkle pony, rancor, miniature TIE fighter,' and so on. Once there’s a cash shop, special instance rewards and PvP mounts, a flood of new (and increasingly implausible) mounts hit the scene. It makes it hard, for me at least, to imagine that I am in any kind of a coherent setting. Why not add an optional checkbox for 'Traditional Mounts' that would cause other people's mounts to render as normal mounts for their race? Everybody else would be able to see what they want to see, and cities wouldn't look like a fire sale at an exotic pet store. I also propose the same solution for people who find female gear too revealing and impractical: Give me a 'Sensible Armor' checkbox as well!"

Why not indeed? Let's hear it!

(With apologies to Trove, whose screenshot I just had to use above but is actually wholly justified in being wacky.)
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