Remember that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the crew spent the entire episode tracking down and struggling to communicate with a destructive alien life form? (Please conveniently overlook that said episode was undercut by a later video game turning that life form into a big boss fight.) That’s what a player in Elite: Dangerous is struggling to do with the Thargoids. The game doesn’t actually allow for communication back yet, of course, but the player is still trying to understand what’s being said, first and foremost.
A cooperation between player group Canonn Interstellar Research and Benjamin “Heisenberg6626” Bahr has resulted in the video below, representing one of the first attempts to communicate with the aliens. The mechanics of the game make it a limited sort of communication, naturally, but Bahr’s hope in particular is that the designers see that there are players who do actually want to speak with and understand the Thargoids, not just blow them out of space. As he himself puts it, there will always be trigger-happy members on both sides, but the hope is that cooler heads can prevail… and, eventually, talk things out.
If you lost your mind over Star Citizen’s procedural cities reveals at CitizenCon a few weeks ago, you definitely need to tune in to this week’s Around the Verse, where city tech is the star of the episode (if a bit backloaded).
“We are just working on human cities at the moment,” CIG’s Wai-Hung Wan explains. “I would love to see how we tackle alien cities. Is that going to be completely random? Are we going to have some or a greater degree of refinement by hand? I don’t know yet. I would hope even on an alien civilisation they have some degree of control and they would make logical, intelligent choices about where they would place specific buildings – even recreational facilities – so each time you visit that location it will look exactly the same as you left it.”
Studio Director Eric Kieron Davis says the team has checked in over 700 updates since last week (with 197 total issues, not bugs, remaining to address 3.0). “We are making steady progress to get [the 3.0 alpha] into your hands as quickly as possible,” he says.
While studio layoffs have an immediate effect on the people that are let go, the ramifications of such decisions can end up impacting players as well.
Case in point, EVE Online. CCP’s decision last month to shutter two of its studios included the layoff of most all of the studio’s social media team. One of these employees, CCP Logibro, helped players with organizing tournaments on a separate test server. Without this help, many of these tournaments are in doubt, including this year’s Anger Games. The event was to be the third in the game’s history, but CCP could not scramble to find someone to assist in this, and the tournament had to be canceled.
Players were upset over the last-minute cancellation, but CCP said it couldn’t be helped: “Sorry we weren’t able to support this as planned. At the minute, we’re currently working on prioritizing quite a few community projects and getting our heads together to resume regular service, but unfortunately the Anger Games happened to be too close to recent events for us to be able to assist.”
Here is hoping that next year, CCP will be in a more stable position and can assist players in getting this (and other) tournaments up and running. But for now, CCP is gambling with employees’ lives and hurting the game culture overall.
Many people believe that server merges are innately bad because in games like ArcheAge
(or even all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies
), they were done completely wrong or the game itself wasn’t designed for its servers to ever consolidate. However, other MMOs – RIFT
comes to mind – have nearly perfected server merges. And for the most part, server merges help the game and its population. Because many of the smaller servers combine together with larger servers, there are more people around, group-finder queues tend to pop faster, PvP is more dynamic, and roleplayers can reach the all-important critical mass.
If I were to just look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic server merges from the perspective of the overall benefits of combining different server communities, I would have zero issue with them. SWTOR is one of those games that has no innate issues with combining server save for players losing character names. It could be done without losing character names, and I will get into the flaws of that system in a bit.
Now, let’s talk about my specific perspective having experienced two server merges by BioWare, then we will get into the details of how this latest one affected those in my community.
Starting out fresh as a free player in EVE Online
is hard to manage. It’s not just that you’re new in a world filled with sharks; it’s that you’re moving at half the pace of subscribers in terms of skill training. Sure, the improved limits on Alpha characters makes it somewhat easier to catch up, but the new Alpha Training Injector
is going to make it that much easier for free players to catch up to the rate of subscription players.
The injector doesn’t work like other skill injectors; it can be used once per day and offers 50,000 skill points per use, making it roughly equal to a day of skill training for Omega players. You can buy it in-game via PLEX or just straight-up use real currency, thus allowing you more training points at a slight price. The hope is that it’ll allow free players to get a bit closer and have a slightly calmer ride toward making their mark on the galaxy, which is a tall order, but at least made slightly easier.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree wrassle a mess of eastern mobile MMOs that are leaping onto the scene, imagine a world full of Harry Potter gamers wandering about, discuss SWTOR’s server merges, and take Guild Wars 2 to task for lockbox missteps.
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:
Buried in the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth reveals earlier this month was the huge PvP news that eventually, PvP servers, like the dying one I’ve been stuck on for half of forever, will be quietly converted into PvE servers. Instead of being constantly subjected to lowbie ganking while out questing in the world, PvP server players will join PvE players in taking part in what is akin to the Star Wars Galaxies-esque TEF system, only stricter. As you leave a major city, you’ll flag PvE or PvP, and that’s that. Flag for PvP and you’ll get a chance at things like extra rewards and faster reputation. The details are still up in the air, but as Blizzard Watch’s Ted Atchley points out, the rewards will have to be pretty sweet to entice most players to paint a target on their backs.
I’m not all that sad; PvP on PvP servers was basically pointless ganking for jack-all rewards, but there was just no way to convince a dozen friends to pay to move their entire stables elsewhere, so we soldiered on and put up with the random ganks on our leveling alts. I can still see taking the risk of being ganked if the rewards are huge, and the move will allow Blizzard to continue condensing its server groups too.
Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?
It’s now been almost one year to the day
that EVE Online
officially got a limited free-to-play option, and it’s certainly been a boon for the almost 15-year-old MMO. There’s been a significant increase in new players asking for advice on the forums and in-game channels, and activity levels have been bolstered
by the increased numbers. Some of the game’s largest corporations have opened their doors to hundreds of newbros this year, and the best is yet to come. Next month CCP will be lifting some of the restrictions
free players are currently placed under and allowing them to access to larger ships, helping to close the power gap between free and paid users.
While the expanded free tier will open up a lot more gameplay to free users, there are some tricks new players should know to maximise the effectiveness of that tier. There’s even a way for returning veteran players who find themselves constrained by the free tier’s limitations to get a full Omega level subscription absolutely free and even to make a profit in the process. Whether you’re on a free Alpha account or an Omega subscription, there are also a few sources of easy ISK that will take relatively little time each week to manage.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a few tips new players can use to squeeze more out of the free tier and look at a way for returning veterans to get Omega subscriptions for free.
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!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from KurtzPel, Path of Exile, The Black Death, SMITE, EVE Online, Dreadnought, Heroes of the Storm, TERA M, Battlerite, Dragon Quest Rivals, Final Fantasy XI, Aion, Pokemon Go, Vendetta Online, Ingress, and Old School RuneScape, all waiting for you after the break!
When you think of an MMO “sandbox,” what comes to mind? Player housing, perhaps, and open world PvP. Maybe a free-form economy, player vendors, and a wide array of roleplaying tools. But what about a cemetery?
A small group of players in EVE Online have labored for a long time to create and maintain a truly unique element of this sandbox: a massive player cemetery in the void of space. Initially conceived by a player named Azia Burgi, the graveyard orbits a small planet in a remote system. Over 1,700 graves pay tribute to player characters while others mark the passing of real-life friends and family members.
“It still stuns me,” said Azia to PC Gamer. “It was just something that nobody else seemed to be doing so I thought I’d have a go and see what happened.”
When they heard a cry for help go out in their game, these players took action right away.
A few days ago on November 5th, an unnamed 28-year-old EVE Online player from Poland disturbed fellow gamers and stream viewers by stating that he wanted to kill himself, going so far as to swallow a large quantity of pills. It appeared that recent failures in the EVE had sent him over the edge. Concerned, several players and a livestream viewer all called up local police agencies across Europe in an effort to save the man’s life.
German, Icelandic, and Interpol authorities investigated the matter, sending help to the man’s home. Fortunately, the police and paramedics arrived in time to provide the care that this troubled player needed, and the man is doing better under the attention of his family.
It is always heartening to hear stories of compassion among online players, especially from those in a gaming community such as EVE Online who are often perceived as unflinchingly hardcore and ruthless.
Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
So, Star Citizen alpha 3.0. Around the Verse. Does anyone read these, or do you just skip to the comments with your popcorn? Let’s find out! In this episode, CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis, dressed inexplicably like a Star Trek character, says the team checked in 756 updates to the 3.0 alpha over the past week, as it’s focused specifically on mobiGlas, missions, traversal, shopping, and stability. No, the patch still isn’t on the PTU. They’re working on it. But seriously, what’s with the Spock shirt.
The meat of the episode is on quantum travel, and no, there won’t be a physics exam at the end (although I could actually arrange that if you want). Alpha 3.0 will overhaul that system with distance in mind; instead of just clicking your destination and be greeted with the “same experience regardless of where you were going,” alpha 3.0 players will find that long trips feel quite different from short ones.