E3 2018: Fallout 76 confirms private servers, mod support, and no living NPCs

As players continue to try to wrap their heads around Bethesda’s vision for Fallout 76 (and fear a gaming apocalypse in which their previous single-player game is “ruined” by MMO elements), the studio is doling out more details about this “always online” survival sandbox.

So here’s a few new things you should know. First up, yes, there will be private servers for the game in case that you would like to create a pocket universe just for you and your friends. Next? Hunger and thirst meters, which are standard survival game staples, will be part of Fallout 76. And just in case you were confused about this point, the studio specified that there will be no NPCs other than robots and recordings.

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Steam Workshop modding is live in Dark and Light today

Modders, start your engines: The Dark and Light dev kit is officially available as of today, meaning that modding and uploading those goodies to the Steam Workshop for the early access title is now happening. It’s apparently a little bit behind schedule, but it’s already attracting some player love; I spy nine mods already as I type this, including tweaks for workbenches, magic, weapons, gardening, lamps, and creature textures. The improved building mod might be the most useful so far!

“Aspiring programmers and modders will have the full power of the Unreal Engine’s modding tools to introduce new content and unlock extensive game functionality for an open environment. Blueprints for gameplay mechanics such as spells and AI behavior trees will be accessible, alongside source art. Snail Games hopes players will put their own stamp on the world of Archos, by importing custom artwork to transform the game world visually, experiment with the entire ecosystem and devise their own game modes.”

As far as official content goes, the game’s most recent update tinkered with optimization upgrades and smashed bugs.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever run unauthorized MMO modifications?

In the earliest days of Final Fantasy XI, you couldn’t alt-tab without crashing the game. Thus, the Windower program, a little add-on designed to force the game to allow alt-tabbing like basically anything else in the world. The add-on was also disallowed, but the developers eventually adopted a “don’t be an idiot” approach to it; you have native window support now, but if you still want to use it for its other functionality, just don’t shout about it in-game and you’ll probably be fine.

Of course, it’s hardly the only unofficial modification that affects a game’s functionality; multiboxing in World of Warcraft, various map add-ons for City of Heroes, the DPS trackers for Final Fantasy XIV. Every game has stuff that’s not technically allowed, but isn’t any sort of cheating tool; it’s just there to improve your life as a player. So have you ever run unauthorized MMO modifications? Not cheating tools, those are a different story, just mods that alter the functionality of your chosen games?

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Diablo II is being recreated in StarCraft 2 by an enterprising fan

You probably have enough of Diablo II in Diablo III at this point to satisfy any urges you might have to play the classic game in a more modern engine. But if that’s not enough for you, why not take a hop and a skip over to StarCraft 2? Because someone is literally remaking the game via the real-time strategy title’s map editor.

Yes, this is a thing that’s happening. User egod123 is rebuilding Diablo II in this wholly different game. Sometimes life is amazing.

The project has been in the works since 2014 and is aimed at recreating the game faithfully while also adding in two additional challenge game modes, with an option for fans to start testing the maps as of today. Hopefully this one won’t attract the banhammer from the Blizzard legal team, although given that it’s being made as a mod of another Blizzard game anyhow, that might be an interesting case to see happen.

Source: Patreon via PCGamesN


The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

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TERA cracks down on third-party programs, causing a community firestorm

TERA has put a hit out on third-party programs that access the MMO — and players that might be using them for “malicious” purposes.

On April 26th, En Masse posted a notice on the forums informing players that any and all third-party mods are a violation of the game’s TOS — without exception. Players were then urged to uninstall any such programs, and En Masse said that it would be combing logs for evidence of cheating that would lead to bans.

Initially following the notice, the studio continued to forbid players from discussing third-party programs (including the announcement), but subsequently changed its mind as players got heated over the add-ons, the possibility of bans, and the suppression of conversation.

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The Daily Grind: Do you use plugins for your main MMORPG?

As one of Massively OP’s resident modding nuts, I am drawn to MMORPGs that offer plugin support and modding APIs. World of Warcraft’s modding was a whole secondary game for me, not just playing with other people’s work but cobbling together my own (pieces of junk that don’t remotely compare to the pros’ — I know my limits!). Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online likewise helped feed my urges, as did classic Guild Wars and City of Heroes (though that was all unofficial).

Now, I have The Elder Scrolls Online’s plugin community to keep me busy, and while it’s no single-player modding folder monstrosity (hundreds of gigs of files across the three big TES games!), it’s still fun!

But I was reminded the other day that there are some mods that are still pariahs in the MMORPG community when commenters joked that gearscore addons are worse than murder and slavery.

So, do you use plugins for your MMORPG? If not, is it because you have something against plugins or because the game doesn’t properly support them?

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Working As Intended: Two decades of Elder Scrolls housing

The Elder Scrolls Online‘s wildly anticipated Homestead patch has rolled out today, introducing housing for the first time for the MMORPG. But it’ll be far from a first for the franchise, which has been well-known for its housing systems for over two decades. In today’s video installment of Working As Intended, we’re taking a trip back through my (often gloriously overmodded) installs of Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and then ESO itself to reminisce about just how far the series’ housing content has come. Bring your own silt strider!

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ARK modders fight over Pokémon projects

Gotta catch ’em all… unless we’re talking about Pokémon mods for ARK: Survival Evolved, in which case there might only be one in the end.

So yes, a player team created a mod called Pokemon Evolved that replaced ARK’s dinos for Pokémon, which weirdly fits ARK’s tame, ride, and fight format. The only problem is that there was already a Pokemon mod out there called ARKMon, which apparently did not take kindly to the competition. Someone associated with ARKMon (a fan or one of the modders) hit Pokemon Evolved with a DCMA claim, which the latter protested.

The issue might already be resolved, as the DCMA notice was lifted from Pokemon Evolved’s Steam Workshop page after five days, and the team is claiming victory. If nothing else, this spat brought two interesting mods to the spotlight, giving players a choice for their survival Squirtles and prehistoric Pikachus.


Stardew Valley comes to console next week, updates multiplayer progress

Chucklefish Games announced today that adorable farm sim Stardew Valley is destined for console, and soon: It launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next week with preorders already up, coming full circle back to its Harvest Moon roots.

Why cover this here? Earlier this year, Stardew creator Eric Barone revealed he was working on a co-op multiplayer mode for the game, originally planned for the 1.1 patch. That patch landed in October, bringing with it new farm maps, new spouses, new buildings, and new crops, as well as brewing… but no multiplayer.

“Multiplayer is still under development,” Barone posted just five weeks back. “I know it’s taking a while, but it should be worth the wait.”

In the meantime, there’s a mod for that — literally. Modders have crafted a plugin called Makeshift Multiplayer as a “temporary solution” until the functionality is baked into the main game. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go download all the Stardew Valley mods.

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Free weekend showcases ARK: Survival Evolved’s Primitive+ mod and new dinos

What’s bigger than a Carno, smaller than a Rex, insanely ferocious, and happy to hunt in packs? That would be ARK: Survival Evolved’s new Allosaurus, one of the two new dinosaurs introduced in the latest v245 patch. This major content update adds much more than the Allosaurus. There’s the flying Pelagornis (that doubles as a paddle boat!) to add to your dino pen, spiral staircases and industrial grinders for your buildings, and optional hitmarkers for ranged battle. And for lazy days out on your yacht in the ocean, there’s the new fishing mechanic. On top of all this, the Primitive+ mod joins The Center as an official playable mod, and The Center expanded with new biomes, islands, caves, and creature spawns. Both mods are free DLCs.

If this all sounds pretty tempting but you haven’t taken the plunge yet, now is the perfect time to dive in. This weekend only, from now through Sunday, July 31, 2016, at 4:00 p.m., ARK is free-to-play for everyone on Steam. If you like it, take advantage of the 50% off sale that lasts through Wednesday, August 3, 2016.

You can see what you are getting yourself into by watching the v245 trailer below, and joining us for our Stream Team adventures on Saturday, July 30th, at 12:00 p.m. EDT on OPTV.

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Worlds Adrift’s free Island Creator tool has launched on Steam

One of the hooks of Worlds Adrift is that players can make their own worlds — and with Bossa Studios’ new Island Creator, you can get started doing just that. Today.

The studio believes that its Island Creator, downloadable freely from Steam, marks “the first time a game has allowed the player community to have such a profound impact on a persistent, shared universe,” though we’re pretty sure you’ll be down in the comments in 20 seconds proposing examples that at least come close.

“At the start, there will be more procedurally generated islands, but through the Island Creator we’ll definitely be including islands created by the community, even before the game is launched,” says Bossa. “Our plan is to add new islands submitted by the community every month, so we expect the balance to soon grow in the favour of the community. We released the tool exactly for this reason.”

Check out the official video guide to the new tool below.

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Grim Dawn to unveil modding tools this week

For some players, enjoying the original game itself is only the first step on a larger journey that leads to modifications galore. Grim Dawn is preparing to open the post-apocalyptic ARPG up to modders when it unveils its suite of tools this week to the community.

The modding tools that players will get to use for Grim Dawn will be the same that the developers used to create the game, so expect them to be both robust and daunting. “This grants players vast opportunities to create their own content, items, classes and even entire worlds. Advanced users can take advantage of Lua support to script complex gameplay events and create entirely new types of content not seen in the base game,” the studio said.

The team went into some of the finer points of the coming mod tools, including various ways that they can be used. With the tools, fans could conceivably turn the game into a tower defense title, whip up new factions, add in custom music, and more.

Source: Official forums, press release


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