The most recent stat update also goes into making individual healer skills more effective, so healing feels less like a matter of spamming and more like an act of balance. Controllers have also had their power regeneration numbers buffed, so that will help that role produce a bit more of an impact. If you can’t wait to try this out for yourself, the good news is that it’s going live with game update 73 within the next few weeks as developers fine-tune the change. So it won’t be tomorrow, but it will be soon. (Whether or not it will hit in time for our current Choose My Adventure run is another matter altogether.)
How many players makes an MMO? It seems like a straightforward question, but it’s a rather complex one, and one that Wild West Online is attempting to answer by degrees. The official statement on the matter is that the developers are doing their best to find a balance between having a sufficiently large population to feel massive while also having a small enough number to feel relevant on an individual level.
The statement explains that if there are too many players, each individual person feels as if the whole thing is going on whether or not one player takes part. By contrast, too few players makes the game feel empty and, well, not actually massive, thereby defeating the entire point of the genre. No hard numbers are stated for the record, but players are already speculating on what this means for allowed player populations per server. If it’s a subject near and dear to your heart, you may want to weigh in as well.
I’ve been thinking about balance a lot. We all say that we’d like a balanced game, but there are a lot of different potential meanings behind “balanced.” Final Fantasy XI, for example, is balanced around the idea that every single job has a roughly equivalent pool of tricks. That means that classes like Red Mage and Blue Mage are considered balanced because Red Mage is more flexible and has access to more tricks constantly… despite the fact that Blue Mage, in every practical sense, is better at doing everything and is far more desirable in content.
By contrast, World of Warcraft is fond of across-the-board balance changes wherein a given class or spec gets 20% higher damage or 20% lower damage. The problem with that form of balancing is that it doesn’t really address tricks (or lack thereof), and a 20% damage drop just makes a spec 20% worse, while a 20% increase doesn’t make a bad rotation any more fun to play. You could also balance things by trying to tune or adjust specific abilities… but that runs the risk of having a cascade effect or having no effect at all, and sometimes you remove or weaken an ability that isn’t really at the heart of any power issues.
In short, any approach has issues. But what do you think, readers? What form of balance is best for MMOs?
How many players does The Elder Scrolls Online have? We don’t know — ZeniMax is coy about that. But we do have a better idea of the scale thanks to numbers Bethesda recently released to Polygon as part of its One Tamriel mainstream media blitz. The highlights:
- ZeniMax confirmed that the ESO playerbase dipped in between the April 2014 launch and the hybrid B2P transition last year.
- Concurrency following the removal of the mandatory sub with Tamriel Unlimited in the spring of 2015 “tripled.”
- The console launch was so big — and Bethsoft’s predictions about the playerbase were so low — that “all service completely melted down.”
- Following the console launch, Bethsoft says, ESO was “approaching over 500,000 people simultaneously on the system” — that’s 235,000 playing concurrently and over 200,000 in queues.
- The playerbase is almost evenly spread among the PC/Mac, Xbox One, and PS4 platforms, about 30% apiece “give or take.”
Would you believe that The Crew has five million players? Because apparently it has indeed just hit the five million mark, which is the sort of revelation that’s going to prompt one of two reactions. You’re either going to be completely stunned about this and wonder why in the world the developers go on to talk about Easter eggs after that revelation, or you’ll be wholly unsurprised and more interested in reading about the Easter eggs before having your meal of freshly cooked emu meat.
Or maybe it’ll be ostrich. Some large flightless bird or another, that’s the important point.
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but the definition of “player” isn’t clearly put forth here – it could mean five million registered users, five million copies bought, or five million concurrent players right now. Probably not the last one, though. Still, it’s a big milestone for the game regardless. And if that’s not really your speed, hey, Easter egg rundown.
The report does not state the exact criteria required to be counted as a registered player, so you can feel free to endlessly debate exactly how much of a success this makes Hearthstone overall. But there’s not much space to debate whether or not it is a success. And if this makes you want to log in and play, well, we certainly can’t blame you, not with the whispers of Yogg-Saron caressing our mind, haunting our dreams, beckoning us toward great plateaus of abandoned hope and cards from which a scattering of mana crystals can be heard clattering forever.
Numbers are kind of funny. The total amount of Star Citizen‘s funding doesn’t really mean anything, per se; $100 million is just a significant number because of our base-ten system, and there only because it’s a nice round number. But it still feels nice to see the number round off nicely, and the game is less than a million away from hitting that milestone.
What will happen when it does? Well, the ticker will roll over to $100 million and the world will go on exactly as before. We do, however, give full authority to whoever may want to break out party hats and noisemakers. Whatever brings you joy.
The news from the most recent Activision financial report was not rosy for all online gaming fans, but it looks quite positive for Destiny fans. Another five million registered accounts have joined Destiny‘s playerbase, bringing the game to a grand total of 25 million registered users. On average, players who log into the game are signing in for play sessions of three hours at a stretch.
Nothing on the report indicates how many of those registered users are currently playing, but the game is clearly doing quite well, with day one downloads of The Taken King breaking PlayStation records. Good news for anyone enjoying the direction of the game, indeed.
This announcement comes only two months after the game’s first expansion went live and shortly before the two-year anniversary of the relaunched title. The game also recently launched in South Korea to impressive numbers at the nation’s internet cafes.
You can’t be playing a Revenant full-time in Guild Wars 2 at this point, but the test weekends with the profession highlighted some balance issues. As a result, the designers have made some fairly sweeping changes to the profession already, starting with the introduction of a weapon swap to go along with the ability to swap between legends. Players also noted that the profession felt slow and undertuned in several areas, which is the focus of the more specific balance changes.
All of the Revenant weapons have been adjusted: staff and hammer skills have all had damage buffs, while axes and maces have had their condition application improved significantly. Players who are looking forward to playing the Revenant should examine the full rundown of the changes; the shifts and the Shiro legend will all be playable during the next public test weekend.
So what knocked World of Warcraft‘s subscribers down so quickly between the launch of Warlords of Draenor and now? Most people playing the game will be quick to point out design decisions, update pacing, and other such culprits. A recent article on Marketplace.org posits a different theory, however – that the game’s decline coincides with the rise of mobile gaming as a more addictive option.
The article notes that the game hits its apex in 2010, around the same time that mobile gaming started to take off. Subsequent falls have been a result of mobile gaming successfully getting more and more addictive compared to Blizzard’s title. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, it’s food for thought as you go about your day.
None of the changes made to Steps of Faith has any bearing on the trial’s mechanics; however, Vishap and his attendant dragons all have less health, damage dealt by Underfoot and exploding cannon is reduced, and some enemies will deal less damage altogether. It won’t make the trial a simple matter to clear, but it will make clearing it far less demanding than before.
Or perhaps that’s not what the announcement means at all. It might just mean, you know, 30 million people play Hearthstone, which is pretty neat. All we know for sure is that at this growth rate, next year Hearthstone will be the President. Or something. Again, not so good with math.[Source: Hearthstone twitter]