guild

Choose My Adventure: Map-based antics in Guild Wars 2

One of the points of the polls and discussions for Guild Wars 2 the other week was that while I could focus on either map antics or storyline progression, I wouldn’t be doing just one or the other. Some of this is just practicality – if a story mission is bringing me close to a waypoint anyway, it would be silly for me to just shrug and not pick it up, and it’s kind of important that I use whatever means available to me to pick up more Hero points. But some of it was the fact that the game has, in many ways, an organic flow.

The game’s story doesn’t always bring you to the important places, but it usually at least strives to push players into spaces where they’re going to brush up against points of interest. (By which I mean “all the various map icons” rather than the game-specific definition of “point of interest.”) The intent, then, is not that you spend all of your time doing one thing or the other; you spend your time doing both, running through story instances and then hopping back out as it becomes relevant.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of ‘automatic helping behaviors’ in MMORPGs?

We’ve been complaining about lockboxes a lot lately as an unwelcome psychological trick in gaming, so this morning, I wanted to talk about a welcome one. To do so, let me invoke the wisdom of blog The Psychology of Video Games. Author Jamie Madigan discusses “automatic helping behaviors” that studios can take advantage of to combat toxicity; he notes that researchers have found your attitude doesn’t always control your actions – you can often be tricked into an attitude based on your actions.

So if a game like Guild Wars 2 finds a way to incentivize you into resurrecting other players and helping them in combat, you begin to perceive yourself as the kind of person who helps – and you might just begin reflexively helping elsewhere, even when you don’t have to. That leads to situations, at least in GW2, where people will actually stop fighting to rush over to res a stranger, perpetuating that warm fuzzy feeling.

In a game like Overwatch, it’s even more automatic, as your character fires off compliments when characters nearby perform well. See and hear “yourself” do that enough and suddenly, that’s the kind of player you are.

Are you a fan of MMOs that employ this “trick” to encourage cooperation and community building? Where else have you seen it used to good effect?

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Massively Overthinking: Three-way RvR and ‘fair’ PvP in modern MMOs

MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.

“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”

I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?

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Gloria Victis escalates the PvP conflict with guild territory control

Let’s do a little catch-up with Gloria Victis today, shall we? We’ll start with the medieval sandbox’s September 22nd patch, which added a new system that allows players to report both bugs and “improper behavior” from fellow gamers. Although we’re sure that button will never need to be pressed!

Things really started to get exciting with the following September 29th update, which added the game’s very first guild-controlled location: Skergard Castle. Guilds that successfully besiege the castle during a “State of War” time frame that opens up every evening will gain access to the fortress and claim the resources that it possesses.

This guild territory control system received adjustments with Gloria’s October 5th patch: “Besides of many tweaks and improvements to the guild territory control system, it introduces protected spawnpoints in all locations which can be captured! There are also events and resources added on the Azebian lands, as well as reworked questlines for Sangmarians.”

Source: Gloria Victis, #2, #3. Thanks Babagra.pl!

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Perfect Ten: Why no one should recommend World of Warcraft ever

Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.

One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV has a serious housing problem for basically no reason

Patch 4.1 arrived in Final Fantasy XIV, and the Shirogane housing rush came and went exactly how everyone familiar with the game had been expecting for months on end. The plots available sold out in a matter of minutes, the people who were lucky enough to get in ahead of the queues were the ones who got new houses, and everyone else was left to rant and rave. Frankly, it all worked great, technically speaking; there were no sudden disconnections, no horrid lag spikes, no zone crashes, nothing. Everything worked exactly as it was supposed to and nothing broke, which means that by definition, nothing went wrong.

Well, unless you count shining a harsh light on the game’s horribly misguided housing design as “something going wrong.”

A lot of discussions about this seem to be missing the point. It’s not that what happened with Shirogane housing was a disaster; it was a model of efficiency and the game working as intended. Calling it a disaster is mischaracterizing the situation, making it seem like something didn’t work, when the real problem is an underlying issue of an open-world housing system that completely fails to adequately serve the needs of players.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 139: Catching up with Legends of Aria

On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!

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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Guild Wars 2’s Shadow of the Mad King Halloween events return October 17

Who’s ready for another round of Mad King Says? We hear his jokes always… slay the audience.

ArenaNet announced this afternoon that Halloween returns to Guild Wars 2 this year in just one week, on October 17th. Expect the usual: access to the Mad King’s Labyrinth, the Clock Tower jumping puzzle updated since its original debut, the return of the Ascent of Madness dungeon, achievements, and loot. And no doubt a themey cash shop update too. It ought to help stave off the boredom of the rushers already done with Path of Fire, anyway. Are ya ready?

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Guild Chat: Coming back to an MMORPG guild after a long hiatus

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which readers in need can source some solid advice to help them solve their guild-related issues. This time, an anonymous reader is wondering how to approach returning to a guild after being offline for some time. The submission asks for our tips on rejoining a once-friendly guild that was the reader’s in-game home before she took a long break from her MMO of choice. While she enjoyed the vast majority of her time spent with her guild, it was in part because of some tension in the guild that she fell out of love with the MMO for a while. Now that she’s back, our anonymous reader is wondering whether or not to accept the guild invite that winged its way to her when she logged back in, and if so, how to reintegrate with her old guildmates.

Read below for the full submission and my thoughts on coming back to a guild after a long hiatus.

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Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City DLC arrives October 23

Elder Scrolls Online has just put a date on the launch of the much-anticipated Clockwork City DLC bundle, which is taking players deep into the heart of Sotha Sil’s mechanical labyrinth.

“We’re excited to announce that the Clockwork City DLC game pack will be released on October 23 for PC/Mac and November 7 for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One. This DLC game pack will be free to ESO Plus members and available for purchase for 2000 crowns in the in-game Crown Store. In addition to the base version, the Clockwork City Collector’s Bundle will be also available for 4000 crowns in the in-game Crown Store and will include the DLC game pack, the Clockwork Skeevaton pet, the Kagouti Fabricant mount, and Five Crown Experience Scrolls.”

The downside is that’s gonna clash hard with the Destiny 2 PC release date. The upside is that the prologue quest is already live in the game, so you can get started right now and pick up a new collection memento.

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Guild Wars 2’s AMA covers mounts, raids, maps, and the state of class balance

The ArenaNet devs descended on the Guild Wars 2 over the weekend for what looks like one of the game’s biggest AMAs to date (but one with surprisingly thin info, at least if you were hoping for a huge revelation). Here are the highlights:

  • No details on raid wing 5 yet. The team reiterates it’s not working on difficulty tiers for raids. “We’re hard at work on the next raid and development is going well.”
  • There’s apparently nobody working on guilds (so no current plans to develop further) and no dungeon team attached to the expansion.
  • The studio said among its chief story goals were tighter integration and not all cinematic moments happen in cutscenes. The choice to go darker and use fewer characters was also intentional.
  • Map-wide metas weren’t an intended part of the expansion, but maybe in the future. They’re watching to see what we do and will go from there.
  • Anet says it did indeed modify all the old maps in Tyria and Maguuma in order to add mounts.

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Frontier Expo 2017: Elite Dangerous goes ‘Beyond’ with big plans for 2018

When I spoke to Elite Dangerous’ devs at this year’s Frontier Expo 2017, the company’s first fan expo, they admitted that communication went dark for a time. But it wasn’t for any worry-worthy reason: No, it was because the devs were preparing for Beyond, the big update road map for 2018 that was revealed on stage at the con. And what a reveal it was! The crowd was quite excited about the announced features spanning four updates throughout the year, including squadrons, fleet carrier ships, a codex, new ships, improved mining, revamped planetary graphics, and more. As Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco said, “Elite is an ongoing project. It’s not finishing any time soon.”

Along with  the big news reveal, I also spoke with Chief Creative Officer Jonny Watts and Producer Adam Woods about these updates that focus on three areas — core game, narrative, and new features. This is what I learned.

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One Shots: Counting sheep

I might not pick one of Final Fantasy XIV’s Lalafell as an ideal combat companion, but when it comes to staging adorable photogenic moments? I would say that they are ideal.

Reader Vexia nodded off to a bunch of fluffy sheep in today’s headlining pic: “It’s totally worth it ’cause then you can count them all to fall asleep. I guess this qualifies as being ‘in my element’ too: surrounded by fluffy cuteness.”

Ack. We need a palette cleanser! Truck in some gratuitous gore and oversized spiders!

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