The bad news is that this is a technical test that’s going to be small in numbers by design; the good news is that it’s the prelude to a larger and more open test early in 2018. This is mostly to make sure that the changes for the console version will actually work, that you can read the interface prompts, and so forth. So it’s not a launch date for the console version, but it’s getting closer.
We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.
They aren’t dressing it up with “burndown” hoopla, but City State Entertainment’s devs are in just that kind of check-it-off testing mode with Camelot Unchained’s development as they push their way to the long-delayed beta one. In this week’s dev update, Tyler Rockwell explains that the team continues work on its template component system, the Dragonfang scenario and Place of Power maps, scenario automation, NPC tech, the world space UI, combat effects, lady clothes, armor animations, the patcher art, and skill buttons – although really they could’ve saved themselves a lot of trouble and just made a single I-win button, am I right?
Books are also on the agenda! “Jon began work sculpting out different Realm variations of books, the magic tomes a caster might use as a type of focus,” Rockwell says. “These, like our other weapons, are being designed to include interchangeable pieces that can be used in crafting.”
“We continue to push forward on the needs for Beta 1, while making improvements to not only combat, but also gameplay. This is part of our commitment, through the Dragon Circle concept, to provide our patient Backers with a more fun experience during testing, up to and into Beta 1.”
For Lord of the Rings Online, I have to say that my biggest frustration with the game design is that dungeons might as well be non-existent. Oh, they’re in the game (and raids and skirmishes too), but LOTRO has never cultivated a dungeon-running community of the sort that you see in contemporary MMOs.
In other games, I enjoy changing up the routine by grouping up with others for a run through detailed setpieces as we battle our way to the final boss. I enjoy the rewards that those runs bring and learn a lot more about how to play my character. This has almost never been the case for me and LOTRO, and it’s not for a lack of trying. This MMO has a grouping problem that undercuts participation and interest in the dungeon scene, making such runs an anomaly instead of part of the mainstream. I have some observations from my point of view and some thoughts about how it could be fixed.
While I certainly benefit from all these other improvements, two of the biggest changes for me have been the anima allocation system and the XP transfer on empowerment. The two are actually tied together, along with the reduced cost to recover glyphs and signets. I wanted to give it some time working with the new system before talking about it. And I’ve concluded that more than just quality of life improvements, these tread a bit into the game-changer category.
Hey crafters. Let’s talk Crowfall for a minute. ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains today in a new dev blog that crafting in the PvP-centric MMORPG is due for a pretty hefty update. “These changes will add some significant aspects to gameplay as we’re shifting game development from building many standalone systems to adding features that will mesh the systems together,” he says.
For starters, crafters are getting recipe tiering that just screams Star Wars Galaxies; some recipes can be made while you’re standing in the middle of nowhere, while others require experimentation and different levels of crafting stations, the higher-quality versions of which will be located in increasingly challenging or remote locations, further adding to the purpose of places like forts and keeps. I’m giddy just thinking about it. The crafting UI is getting an overhaul as well. And that’s not all!
Garretsen says that the UI’s undergone a “pretty big shift” and now has a weighty side-docked UI element that merges the character’s stats, gear, and inventory, a little bit like the UI design in OARPGs like Path of Exile and Diablo. The idea is to boost visibility of the most important UI elements and clarify the game loop and how each piece of your character interacts (as well as deflect criticism that the game felt like a MOBA, and it really shouldn’t given how much goes into character development).
Don’t panic, however, if you just want to play without fussing too much with the numbers under the hood that are less under the hood with the test build’s latest update. “You don’t have to get into the stats to have a good time in this game,” Garretsen assures watchers. The whole Q&A is below.
Forget cookies with Santa and New Year countdowns: Saga of Lucimia hopes that you’ll be too immersed in its next alpha test to care about real-life trivialities.
The team revealed that it will be running a ninth early access alpha test from December 22nd through January 5th, which is substantially longer than previous weekend tests. “There are a slew of new mechanics and features in place,” the team said, “and we will be doing a blog post closer to the date to let people know exactly what to expect while still leaving room for plenty of Easter eggs for our community to discover!”
Saga of Lucimia has been making a lot of news lately with its announcement of independent funding and the defense of a lack of in-game minimap or looking for dungeon tool. We’ve gotten in on the discussion here too, with both a soapbox and today’s podcast tackling the issues of immersion, inconvenience, and UI standards.
For starters, Lahn is indeed on the way; she’s a dual-wielder who carries a “unique crescent scythe” and a short-sword offhander and zips through the air. She’ll be accompanied by a new territory in the game, Dreegan, home to dragons. Bring a group!
But beyond Lahn and Dreegan, Kakao says PA has nearly halved the game’s client size and boosted FPS performance in a streamlining project coming to fruition next week. That includes a major UI makeover and 3-D minimap that shows elevation.
The company most people know for its bumbling stewardship of Pokemon Go actually launched Ingress in 2012 as a Google venture but then was spun off into its own company. Prior to POGO, Ingress was surely the biggest player in the alternate reality mobile MMO genre, pitting gamers against each other in a massive cyber war overlaid on the real one and causing my husband to drive out of our way to that pancake house in Sacramento to “capture” the node at its infamous bear statue more than once.
So if you are an Ingress player who’s been feeling like the proverbial red-headed stepchild while POGO got all the love and Harry Potter joins the fray, the announcement of what Niantic is calling Ingress Prime ought to fill you with glee. The reboot will boast retooled graphics and an improved UI as it moves to POGO’s more modern tech platform to make the game more appealing to newbies and also crack down on cheating. Critically, Niantic says the game will be “fully staffed,” contrary to the studio’s olden days when it had to shut down player node submissions because it lacked staff to approve them.
The first, second, and third place winners are a torch, greatsword, and sword, respectively. Those winners get a signed print of their design and a ton of other goodies in addition to the pride of seeing others run around with their creation. The top three were chosen out of over 900 entries that the contest elicited.
In other Guild Wars 2 news, some sharp-eyed players noted that there seems to be a new book interface for reading in-game literature. Nothing big, but hey, it’s easier on the eyes and even is tied to an achievement.
While stopping short of an actual apology in this week’s Destiny 2 state of the game post, Bungie acknowledged that players have been greatly dissatisfied over the recent event and subsequent stealth XP changes.
“Last weekend, we disabled a scaling mechanism that adjusted XP gains up and down without reflecting those adjustments in the UI,” the studio said. “Our intention was to keep slower-paced activities as rewarding as high intensity grinding without confusing variations in displayed XP values, but the silent nature of the mechanic betrayed the expectation of transparency that you have for Destiny 2.”
The theme of more transparency and communication from the development team ran through the remainder of the post, which also focused on some of the upcoming improvements to the online shooter. These include a new weapons tier, improved vendor rewards, armor ornaments, better rewards for group events, Crucible private matches, making shards useful, and giving players more options to obtain the rewards they desire.
Let’s take a few moments to talk about SWTOR Update 5.6 and all the things in it, then dive into why I think the Copero flashpoint could have used a little bit more polish.