patches

EVE Online outlines plans to spin out a new chat system in March

The small portion of EVE Online players who will be heartbroken over the loss of the game’s voice chat will really just be riding the forefront of the game’s chat changes. Significant backend changes to the game’s chat functionality are coming with the March update, and the short version is that chat in general is getting spun out to a separate platform on a different infrastructure.

Why such a significant change? Well, for one thing, it should help reduce the chat load on specific nodes during fleet operations, and it also serves to help split up the game’s functionality into more manageable chunks for the development team. It also gives the game’s customer service team easier access to chat logs, so that should be fun, too. You shouldn’t notice any changes in-game after the chat changeover, but players are encouraged to report any bugs that managed to slip through as always.

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Path of Exile shows off its new boss fight with Vilenta

With the next major patch (numbered 3.2, for reference) for Path of Exile, players are going to have other things to contend with in terms of content and a new challenge league (the Bestiary league, which is all sorts of monster-collecting mischief). Players are also going to have to contend with a new boss fight in act 10, however, pitting you against Vilenta. How’s that going to work out? Well, just check out the video below to see the fight in action.

It’s important to note that the preview video doesn’t exactly show tactics so much as the experience; we’re pretty sure that your health will actually dip at certain points during the actual boss fight. Still, though, it should serve as more than enough to get you excited about throwing down with a new boss. And if there’s more lore included about the boss as well, that just makes things better, yes?

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Neverwinter shows off the ruined undercity of Omu

If there’s one universal rule to cities, it’s that they’ve got some other ruined underground city you can also explore because cities work like layer cakes. You don’t believe us? Are you calling Neverwinter a liar? Because there’s a whole lot of undercity lying underneath the Lost City of Omu, and by gosh, you’re going to want to explore every inch of it in hopes of finding some magical artifacts that have just been left in there piled in a heap in the corner.

Yeah, that’s how ruined cities work, too. Valuable artifacts just got thrown into the Artifact Corner. Don’t ask us why, we’re not city planners.

If you’re interested in looking through these ruined subterranean structures, you can take a full look through the tour guide on the official site (we’ve got the images just below, as well), where you can learn a little more about the various locations now found away from the gaze of the sun. There’s no mention of being able to buy up ruined portions of the city for gentrification and/or installing a Whole Foods, but we can assume.

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Dauntless previews the gameplay changes coming to islands

When you’re exploring islands in Dauntless, you are looking for fun. Part of that means looking for the game’s huge behemoths to fight, but part of it is also about finding the weird stuff off the beaten path, exploring more and learning more about the world. The next set of changes to the islands is about improving that experience, starting with destructible environments that allow behemoths to just clear through and smash the crap out of you regardless of any trees or hillocks in the way.

The changes aren’t limited to when you’re fighting, though. Players can find more points of interest scattered around islands, as well as new traversal options to give you more ways to get from place to place within that same island. There are also entirely new islands coming, if you feel like you’ve already seen the existing islands to the point where more make you want to scream. Check out the full rundown to see the upcoming changes, and strap on your exploration and hunting gear for when they arrive on the live game.

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Secret World Legends shows off its new Agent system in brief

If you’re eagerly awaiting new missions to run in Secret World Legends, you’re going to have to keep waiting a bit longer. But you do have new content coming with the addition of the Agent system, which allows you to fill the role of being a recruiter and questgiver for your chosen faction. There’s a preview video down below, and there are even more details of the system available thanks to the SWL RP fansite.

In short, players will be able to recruit specific individuals to serve as agents, with some agents available for Aurum as an optional purchase (all are supposedly available from in-game methods as well). You then buy gear for your agents, send them out on missions, and reap the benefits accordingly. Check out the video down below, or check out the rundown if you can’t wait to break up the idleness of shooting supernatural beasties by playing middle management.

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Wakfu targets the Huppermage for its next update

One of the hardest things to change in game design are elements that work but could be working better. The Huppermage in Wakfu serves as a prime example. It’s not that the Huppermage is useless or can’t be really good when played with skill; it’s just that the class has some issues with very rigid rune management, a lack of damage output at low levels, and small effects requiring lots of effort to set up. Hence why the team is rebalancing the class with the game’s next major patch, which you can test now.

Among the changes already open for testing are reworks of secondary elemental effects along with a more straightforward elemental mastery system, generating based on the last rune generated rather than all of the runes possessed at any given time. There’s also a smoother ratio of spell damage to cost. You can check out the full set of changes in the official patch notes, or you just download the test client and find out that way.

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Neverwinter details the creation of the Atropal boss

The Atropal boss in Neverwinter is not something you want to run into in a dark alley. Heck, it’s probably not something you want to run into anywhere, for any reason, at any point in time. It is a pretty disturbing-looking monstrosity, that’s the point here. And there’s a whole development blog available now about how the boss was designed, so if you’re wondering how a boss gets from its concept art (which may have just been a used tissue) to a finished model, it’s well worth a read.

You’ll also learn something about how skeletons and rigs work in the game, as the Atropal is based off of a heavily modified human male skeleton. Yes, it’s very different, but all of the fundamental parts work, so it’s just a matter of tweaking limb size appropriately and giving it a truly disgusting appearance. If you like reading up on how bosses get put together, it’s well worth an examination.

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Final Fantasy XIV announces an end to congested worlds and restricted housing sales

The launch of Final Fantasy XIV’s new housing plots came with an additional restriction: Players weren’t allowed to purchase these new plots as individuals, just for free companies. Similarly, the launch of Stormblood brought a similar restriction, as players on designated “congested” worlds could not make new characters on those worlds or transfer characters to those worlds. But on February 20th, both of these restrictions will be lifted. Players can once again transfer to congested worlds, buy individual houses, and dress up in moogle outfits as tanks.

Actually, players could do that last one before.

Players will still be restricted to only owning one house per server on a given account, so the opening of plots doesn’t change that; similarly, there will still be preferred worlds for character creation, and if population disparities rise again the same countermeasures will be put back into place once more. However, for the time being, players will be able to get together and play more easily. In the end, isn’t that all anyone really wants?

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Stardew Valley multiplayer beta is due out for the spring

If you’ve long looked forward to farming with and marrying your friends in Stardew Valley, the day is inching ever closer. While the game’s multiplayer side has been delayed on multiple occasions, it’s aiming for a beta test starting this spring, so players can take advantage of all the patch features included therein. That includes playing together, new crafting features to distinguish belongings, and yes, the ability for players to marry one another instead of town residents.

No word yet on whether or not multiplayer will also allow you to have illicit marriage affairs after marrying your fellow players, but we’re going to go ahead and say that falls a bit outside of the game’s scope.

The patch will also add language support for French, Italian, Turkish, and Korean, so further players can enjoy more localized languages in addition to all of the multiplayer functionality. Again, nothing is certain quite yet, but if all goes according to plan the testing of multiplayer is just around the corner.

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Allods Online outlines the upcoming Spark Talents system

Why should you stop advancing your character in Allods Online just because you’ve hit the level cap? The game’s next major update is going to let you keep advancing with the introduction of new Spark Talents. Your Spark Level is unlimited, increasing steadily as you earn more Spark Experience; each level requires an escalating amount of experience, but the rate of acquisition is also slowly improving over time.

So how do you get this experience? By doing stuff, naturally. Daily adventures, winning rated combat, completing daily quests, and several other repeatable activities earn you more experience. You can also assign rubies to talents as your level increases, unlocking bonuses to item acquisition, special toys, and of course various bonuses to stats and special abilities. Check out the full rundown if you can’t wait to level up your character, only even more now that you finished the first round of leveling.

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Overwatch’s Kaplan discusses upcoming hero changes and the subsequent plans

The next round of hero changes for Overwatch is currently on the test server, so you can feel free to try them out if you’re so inclined. What’s not on the test server are changes to Hanzo, something that Jeff Kaplan discusses in the most recent development update video. A lot of abilities and plans had been discussed for Hanzo, but the most promising one was an arrow that shot through barriers to replace Scatter Arrow. It worked, but it felt like it punished smart play ducking behind barriers and the like.

The current plan is to give Hanzo a rapid-fire ability to replace Scatter Arrow and a new multidirectional horizontal dash to allow him to get in and out of range quickly. Symmetra and Torbjorn are also on the deck for future adjustments. For the moment, you can explore improvements to Mei’s freeze ability, Sombra’s main gun, and Doomfist’s ammo recovery rate; check out the whole video just below to get a more detailed rundown of what’s changing.

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World of Warcraft restores mobile auction house functionality

It was a quiet night last night for World of Warcraft datamining, but there was still some news to be had with the latest round of hotfixes. Players can access the mobile auction house API once again, which is good news for anyone attempting to maintain a merchant empire in the game. The hotfixes also patched up issues like achievements for certain Eastern Kingdoms Loremaster accomplishments not tracking across multiple characters and proper mount drops from Yogg-Saron.

Meanwhile, players have uncovered something interesting on the Broken Shore. If you head out to that region and look for the Xorothian Cultists without simply attacking them, you can see that they’re channeling a spell. A long spell; it’s a spell that should finish casting around March 7th. In the past, some of their long channeling spells have hinted at big events to come when the channeling finishes, with the last cast ending on the day of patch 7.3.5 releasing. So what happens around that day? We’ll have to find out, but it hints that it’ll be something interesting.

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Just Survive tests a patch for weapon tiers

If you were lucky enough to get a particularly high-tier weapon in Just Survive, you probably like the game’s various weapon tiers, because it lets you stand out further. As a result, you might not like the game’s latest test patch, which removes the lower tiers of weapons and armor while also adding in an upgrade system for higher tiers. On the other hand, if you’d been stuck without a decent weapon, you’ll probably be happy about the efforts made to balance things out slightly.

Armor in particular should scale up less aggressively, so hopefully players with excellent armor will no longer laugh off attacks in PvP by players with lower-quality weapons. The test patch also fixes various bugs and alters the HP of container items, making them easier to destroy. You can patch up and start testing the update now, if you’re so inclined.

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