maps

The Daily Grind: Are you a completionist in MMOs?

As I level up my many jobs on my main in Final Fantasy XIV, I feel compelled to take on all of the sidequests meant for leveling from 60-70. This is not, strictly speaking, necessary. Heck, it’s entirely unnecessary at this point; I can just do Alliance Raid roulettes and Kojin quests. But I feel as if I should close out these quests, pick up these little extra bits of story along the way before they become perfunctory.

Some games reward completionist tendencies, of course; Guild Wars 2 maps are designed to be cleared out, to use an obvious example. But none of that changes the simple reality of whether you’re into it or not. So what about you, dear readers? Are you a completionist in MMOs? Are there things you feel compelled to clear out in your game of choice? Or do you take a strictly utilitarian approach and assume that any quests/objectives/whatever that you’ve outleveled can just remain forgotten?

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LOTRO Legendarium: Grading Lord of the Rings Online in 2017

At the beginning of 2017, it seemed as though a mini-renaissance was brewing for Lord of the Rings Online. Standing Stone Games broke away from the sinking ship that was Turbine and offered a fresh start of sorts for the long-running MMO. We were coming to a head with the game’s story and a return to large-scale expansions was confirmed with the news of Mordor.

Reality and hopes don’t always get along, and while 2017 hasn’t always been the kindest to LOTRO, it hasn’t been a crushing disappointment either. The more I’ve been looking at the state of the game, reading the forums, playing it, and covering news, the more I’ve felt the need to grade how the game is doing in the right here and now.

So why not? It’s school season, so let’s embrace the academic spirit and assign some marks to LOTRO’s operation and state. Agree with these grades? Disagree? Get out your quill and scratch your own thoughts down there in the comments!

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Destiny 2 vows not to delay Prestige raid further despite existing exploit

So here is an interesting conundrum: Say you have a highly anticipated raid in the works that you’ve already delayed. Now that the new launch date is approaching, you’ve discovered a pretty significant exploit but don’t have the time to properly institute a fix. What do you do?

For Destiny 2’s Prestige raid, Bungie has decided not to delay a second time, electing instead to push the raid (and its exploit) live on October 18th and monitor player activity for the time being until the fix is ready to deploy. Sounds legit.

“We can now detect if any teams use this exploit to gain an advantage,” the studio posted. “This will take some extra time to verify, but we will be able to crown the winners with the confidence they deserve.”

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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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Halloween 2017: Dark and Light, Villagers & Heroes, and MapleStory

Halloween comin’ at ya fast, so fast even we can’t keep up.

In Dark and LightGobboween has descended on the gameworld. Expect prowling wolves, enchanted jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin seeds, elite teleporting mobs, candy, and even a scythe tool if you want to run around ganking people while pretending to be the grim reaper.

In Villagers & Heroes, won’t you take me to Funky Spooky Town? There’s a new zone map for Spooky Town, plus new cosmetics and a spider mount.

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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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The Stream Team: Depart to SMITE’s afterlife in costume with new patch

Who needs to wait until the end of the month to start celebrating Halloween? Certainly not Massively OP’s MJ! (She might actually start in January, but that’s beside the point.) SMITE is getting in the holiday spirit with today’s Departure to the Afterlife update. There are plenty of new Odyssey skins along with the Halloween themed Arena map. Halloween chests in game offer spooky music, skins, and other goodies, and MJ has some treats to give away as well:

  • Trick or Treat Cupid
  • Grim Reaper Thanatos
  • Harbinger Nike
  • Dark Summoner Nu Wa
  • Shogun Hachiman
  • Wild Druid Artio

Join us live at 9:00 p.m. and you can win some new costumes for your favorite gods!

What: SMITE
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Check out the screens and watch the update trailer embedded below.

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Hate voice chat? You can make it walk the plank in Sea of Thieves

If you’ve watched any of the footage of players and devs hamming it up on voice chat while playing Sea of Thieves, you’ve probably gotten the impression that voice comms are going to be pretty important in the game, which is true. But it’s not the only type of communication the Rare devs have planned. As a recent video explains, the devs are working on a non-verbal communication system for folks who can’t or don’t want to join the melee on voice comms.

The basic in-progress demo is currently a scrollable radial menu of phrases that change based on the context of what’s going on when and where the player is. For example, if you’re standing by the ship’s navigation map, the radial menu will display compass directions. That’s chiefly of use to console players or PC players using a controller (as the dev on this video is doing), but on PC, you can also type anything you like and send it straight to the standard chat channel.

We’re still anticipating the game for a PC and Xbox One launch early next year.

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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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EVE Vegas 2017: CCP announces new EVE-based mobile MMO Project Aurora

At the opening presentations of EVE Vegas 2017, CCP Games announced that it has teamed up with mobile developer PlayRaven to produce a totally new free-to-play mobile MMO set in the EVE Online universe. Currently codenamed Project Aurora, the new game won’t be connected to the EVE universe directly but is thematically set in EVE and has some similar gameplay elements such as territorial warfare and corporation politics.

Each player in Aurora will take command of an upgradable space station, from which ships can be dispatched to gather resources and capture territory. You’ll find yourself on a star map with other players doing the exact same, and can forge alliances, form corporations, and betray other players just like in EVE. The goal is to fight for possession of ancient artifacts in the centre of the map that you can then use to fix a broken ancient stargate and move onto the next map. Each jump brings you one step closer to the ultimate goal of reaching the center of the galaxy — I’ll take a pause here for those currently experiencing No Man’s Sky flashbacks.

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Paladins opens the Foreman’s Rise map, embraces the spirits of Halloween

Thinking about a trip out to the Old West? Paladins has you covered with its latest map!

Foreman’s Rise features a multilevel battleground on a mesa where a rickety worksite is just begging for strangers with high-powered weapons to come in and make a mess of things.

Hi-Rez’s competitive title has a few more tricks in store with this week’s Open Beta 60 patch. Paladins has added 15 new achievements and a “Harrowing Horrors” quest line, all while embracing the spirit of Halloween with thematically appropriate skins, emotes, weapons, and even a special ghost pirate song for Makoa.

Take a gander at the new map after the jump!

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Exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview on Path of Fire’s launch and philosophy

Spurred on by my excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire, I reached out to ArenaNet shortly before release to secure a post-launch interview to ensure all my most burning questions could be answered. I drafted my questions not long after launch, and while I most definitely wished to discover whether the initial launch hiccups affected the immediate uptake of the expansion, beyond that I sought more information on the development of such a decisively different expansion than Heart of Thorns was.

This launch diary installment will share ArenaNet’s responses to my PoF questions: Mounts, elite specializations, and the new maps were huge topics of discussion aside from the more general launch and development questions I had. Read on!

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