We’ve been chatting about game economies this week here at Massively OP, so it’s a happy coincidence than this week’s episode of Around the Verse features Star Citizen’s shopping kiosks and commodities system in detail. Heck yeah, space shopping.
“The kiosk is going to be the user’s interface to purchase things or sell them within the game that are not physically within the shop in the case, purchasing or things in their inventory, things from their ship all selling with be done through the kiosk,” explain studio reps. There’s also a nifty discussion on the difficulties of scaling the economy to support the sale of “super tiny and inconsequentially priced [items] all the way up to […] massive battlecruisers.” As for recipes,
“Recipe in the context of Star Citizen is somewhat similar to a crafting recipe in other MMOs. It defines the types of commodities and resources that go into manufacturing a given item like a laser cannon or even a ship. The way that we use recipes and the way that you may find them in another game is that those recipes generally aren’t used directly by the players, instead they’re used by the design team to really sculpt the types of goods that are bought and sold in a location in the world and that’s to make that location feel correct. So if it’s a factory that it buys and sells the kinds of things that you would expect from that location.”
Wednesday, my husband and I were chatting about the big stories of the day, including the Star Citizen piece that racked up a bajillion comments, not counting all the deleted ones. I was explaining that some people have put thousands of dollars into this hope of a game, which skews how setbacks are perceived, when he remarked, “Oh, it’s their retirement.”
He didn’t mean people were investing their retirement savings into CIG, of course, although I’m sure somebody is doing just that. He meant they’re investing their retirement dreams in virtual spaceships. Those future players don’t really care that the game isn’t finished now and probably isn’t going to be feature complete for many more years. They’re thinking long-term: This is the game they want to “retire” to in a more vague and distant future, and it’ll be ready for them when they’re ready for it. Star Citizen is their cabin by the lake, their shack by the sea, their tent on Tatooine.
I’m most of a lifetime away from retirement, so I’ve never really thought about what I might want to play if I ever get to be a kid again only with money, outside of joking about wanting VR in the old folks’ home. But I have my weak spots: If someone promised me SWG 2 would be ready in a couple decades, I’d start planning my character now.
Have you got a “retirement MMO” picked out? What’s your ideal retirement MMORPG?
We are on a roll with the epic questions for Overthinking lately! “The recent article about monetization got me thinking about just how much most modern MMOs are still trying to replicate real-world capitalist economies,” MOP Patron Avaera begins.
“Virtual currency is usually earned proportional to various measures of virtual effort that are intended to be wealth-generating activities – selling loot earned from skillful PvE hunting, selling crafted goods made from resources gathered over time, owning items or land that generates tradeable material over time. However, virtual effort doesn’t have the quite the same limitations, scarcity, and creativity as real-world effort, and these systems seem prone to exploitation by users/bots that can easily outmatch casual players in terms of how much virtual effort and time they can expend, leading to various RMT problems and artificially distorted economies. How would you go about avoiding this problem, if you had the god-like powers of a game designer? Is there a way to set up a virtual economy so that it isn’t prone to exploitation by bots or gold-farmers, and will we ever see a virtual game currency that can truly be exchanged with a real one?”
I posed Avaera’s question to our staff to mull over.
Recently, one of game designer Raph Koster’s fans wrote in to pose him an interesting hypothetical question. If he were to remake Star Wars Galaxies today, the fan asked, which combat format would Koster choose?
His answer? Action combat all the way, baby.
Koster said that the environment right now is more conducive to action combat, even within RPGs. He cites a larger audience for such gameplay, far better technology than back in 2003, and different player expectations. “It would feel pretty alien to the average player to be in first person and not have FPS combat,” he writes. “This was one of the things that drove having overhead views in SWG.”
He does note that RPG elements can be used to make action combat more stat- than twitch-based, which has been used in many MMOs and other video games.
Mining makes the world go round for EVE Online
. You need those resources to construct space stations, to build ships, and to barter with others in order to fight over the price of minerals extracted through mining, right? Right. So the changes coming to moon mining
will have a pretty big impact; instead of passively mining from space, players will lift a whole chunk of the moon and then blast it apart so that individual ships can flit through and mine away. The whole process is explained in more detail in the most recent development post.
Players will have new ores mined from these moon chunks that refine into multiple different components rather than come out pre-processed, thus giving good reason for players to collect these new sorts of ore personally. The process of surveying a moon and the distribution of resources will also be adjusted, giving players plenty of reasons to pursue different moons for mining operations instead of simply parking at the most convenient ones. Check out the full entry to see how much fun it can be to lift off a chunk of rock from a moon and then dig for things from the rocks.
Another day, another Star Citizen drama.
German website Gamestar published an interview with Cloud Imperium Games this week, and between the paywall, Google translate, deliberate disinfo, and a quick game of confused telephone from other sites picking up the news, the actual stated information was lost and misconveyed.
The hubbub is over a server capacity-related quote from the interview that’s subsequently been accurately translated like so:
“There can only be a maximum of 24 players on each server currently (this will most likely also be the case in Alpha 3.0). […] The revision of the CryEngine in combination of a new server architecture in form of an intercommunicating server network (also known as Server-Meshes) instead of individually isolated servers should allow larger instances with thousands of players.”
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree recount the odd history of Walking in Stations, debate the Mordor pre-order, tackle a trio of MMO updates, talk with ARK’s soundtrack composer, and more!
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:
Elite Dangerous’ David Braben has a big spread in Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog this week, and it’s fun read as he zips around discussing Trappist-1, Roman slavery, Star Wars, ant society, Shakespeare, Ursula Le Guin, computer science jobs, and the future of humanity. It’s a whirlwind, but he does eventually get around to talking about Elite itself, admitting that while the game will never achieve “perfection,” it’s “definitely approaching” his ideal space game, as “accurate as we can possibly make it.”
“When we first greenlit Elite: Dangerous, there were no other major space games since Freelancer,” he says. “Now, there are dozens. So, I think we’ve succeeded. We’ve brought the genre back to life. And we’ve proven there’s quite a lot of demand for this sort of game. Yes, it’s niche, but it’s quite a big niche. And we’ve got [Star Citizen’s] Chris Roberts coming along now, and so many other games that look interesting. No Man’s Sky, even.”
He also argues that free-to-play is a “challenge” to online communities and instancing in MMOs.
Soon, Star Trek Online
will be heading to the next big Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, with big announcements for the future of the game and what comes next. For the moment, however, the game is going to be keeping its players entertained with the Season 13.5 patch
. This patch sees a new featured episode, Brushfire, sending players to seek one of history’s greatest Klingon generals to deploy against the Tzenkethi threat.
Players will also be able to take on a new set of weekly challenges with the new Endeavour system, which are limited-time challenges running for two to three days for bonus rewards. There’s also a new Ferengi Admiralty project for players to work on and the usual quality-of-life improvements you’d expect from a patch. Check out a video down below explaining the broad strokes of the patch, or just jump into the patch notes if you prefer reading to watching.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from TERA, Master X Master, Eternal Crusade, Warface, Portal Knights, MapleStory, Crash Force, Drone, Neverwinter, Elsword, EVE Online, Warframe, Final Fantasy XIV, EverQuest II, World of Warships, Path of Exile, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!
Look there! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Mysecretid!
Who among us hasn’t played a video game at some point and decided to create his or her favorite fictional character? At least Mysecretid is being honest about it: “DCUO sets up this idea that the players can be proteges of existing DC heroes and villains. Although many players ignore this possibility, I decided to make my character a clear Superman fan — as I am.
“I realize that Superman is often terribly written, but when someone ‘gets’ the character, he’s golden. I re-created my main from the PC on my PS4. I’ve been having a lot of fun, despite the game’s flaws.”
People seemed to quite like my piece last week about how my wife and I wound up married in no small part due to World of Warcraft. Of course, I also alluded in the column to the fact that World of Warcraft was hardly our final destination, and we’re currently playing Final Fantasy XIV quite happily together. We’ve also gone into Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic… a lot of different games, in other words. And I’m just counting the ones we’ve tried together.
I don’t think that there’s any one surefire way to always find the right game for a couple to enjoy, but I have had a fair amount of experience with it now, and it’s helped that we’ve both spent a lot of time working on finding what works and what doesn’t in this field. So here’s some (hopefully) helpful tips about finding a game that you and your romantic partner of choice can enjoy together.
Veteran Massively OP reader Miol says he’s exhausted by a recent string of stories in which MMO companies screw gamers over, one after another: ARK Survival Evolved, Albion Online, Skyforge, and now Black Desert all figure into his list, just from the last week.
“I want to ask what more can gamers do to protect themselves and everyone else as consumers than speak up? It feels exhausting to always stay vigilant and feel upset all the time, since games, as an everchanging medium, give devs so many opportunities to screw us over with every single patch or update. And the worst immediate consequence seems many times a meek apology for what they’ve done, only for them to try out something different that maybe could go over unnoticed.
“You guys have reported about this UK watchdog group ASA, who investigated No Man’s Sky, but even they dismissed the tons of complaints about false advertising. Steam did declare some changes to advertising on their platform, but I still don’t see them taken place. If even those big negative stories don’t have that much of an impact, what hope is there for all the smaller communities, spread thin globally? There was a recent wave of gamers imploring each other to not pre-order, but that ebbed away fast enough, when the next shiny pre-order advantages over other players were presented. But even so, this still can’t protect you from what may happen after the launch!
“As said by Bree many times: Merely quitting won’t help either, as the studio will never know why most of the times. But also sending feedback for nine whole days didn’t help Skyforge players to make its devs to scramble! So what else could we do? Or should we just take rotating shifts to call them out?”
We’ll take the first shift right here in Overthinking.