pirates

EVE Evolved: War declarations need revamped for the citadel era

It’s a universally accepted fact in EVE Online that you’re never truly safe from attack. Low-security space is littered with pirates looking for an easy kill, nullsec alliances respond to invasion of their territory with overwhelming force, and cloaked ships could lurk around every wormhole. Even in the friendliest parts of high-security space, you can still be blown up by a squad of suicide gankers or find yourself the target of a highsec war declaration. Wardecs are intended to allow player-run corporations to fight with each other in highsec without interference from the police, but over EVE‘s entire lifetime they’ve been almost exclusively used to grief and harass small corporations.

Some wardec alliances log literally thousands of wars per year, with almost all of them being against small industrial and social corporations whose members have no intention of fighting back. The aggressors typically just camp trade hub such as Jita 4-4 and declare war on any corp caught hauling valuables through the system, turning a potential sandbox content-generator into a boring pay-to-grief mechanic. With the landscape of EVE being transformed by player-owned citadels and a dynamic PvE revolution on the horizon, I think the time is right to revamp war declarations for the new citadel era. The current wardec system isn’t fit for purpose, and we deserve something more engaging.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give some thoughts on the wardec problem, a suggestion on how they could be revamped to fit the new citadel era, and an idea for how they could even provide a more immersive PvE experience.

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EverQuesting: EverQuest II’s Proving Grounds prove to be a tad frustrating

Prove it.

EverQuest II recently introduced a new feature with the release of GU103 back on May 10th called the Proving Grounds. That place is no joke. I can assure you that it is pretty aptly named; this little instance is all about showing you and your group what you are made of.

When this feature was first announced, I was pretty excited. Who doesn’t like new content, especially something with replayability? It sounded fun. Initially I had thought (hoped?) that the new Proving Grounds content would be a feature enjoyable by the majority of the population. What I learned — quite quickly — was that my hopes and reality were two very different things. And I learned that the hard way. Hard as in double-digit-death-counter hard. Instead of sinking my teeth into this content, it sunk its teeth into me! Now that’s not necessarily a problem. I enjoy a challenge, and I do so look forward to conquering this one and exacting some revenge. However, I just wish my first experiences with the Proving Grounds didn’t come with more disappointment and frustration than fun because I do think it’s a good idea filled with promise. Read more

Cloud Pirates explains how best to play the Heavy Reinforced Galleon

If your goal in Cloud Pirates is to pilot the most specialized ship possible, you probably aren’t going to enjoy the Heavy Reinforced Galleon. The ship is quite explicitly not meant as the most focused ship of the line, being solidly middle-of-the-road and versatile. Of course, while that makes it not specialized, it also means that it can be kitted out for almost any situation and it means that a skilled player can have an answer for almost any situation. A new guide on the official site explains how the Heavy Reinforced Galleon can be used to deliver impressive results while retaining its high flexibility.

Players who reach tier 4 with the galleon will be able to shut down ship technology and increase the vulnerability of other ships in the area, a valuable tool for any confrontation. Players can also kit out these ships in more defensive or offensive roles while retaining the overall versatility of the class, allowing you to shut down or dampen enemy damage and firing while healing your own ship. If you’d prefer to be behind a diverse arsenal, you could do worse than working the skies in a heavy reinforced galleon.

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The Stream Team: EverQuest II’s pirate-filled Proving Grounds

Last week Daybreak pulled a switcheroo (or more accurately, didn’t switch!), keeping the Felwith map in EQII’s new Proving Grounds instead of changing. But Massively OP’s MJ wanted pirates, and she still wants pirates. Today, she gets pirates! She’s heading back in to the sure-to-be punishing instance to show off the second map in this new feature. How far will her group get this time? Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. for a look at the Battle on the High Seas.

What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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Sea of Thieves begins first PC tech alpha this weekend

Alpha is beginning for Rare’s pirate-themed sailing MMO Sea of Thieves — technical alpha, that is, for a thousand lucky Windows 10 players.

“Starting this Saturday, May 20th, we’ll be inviting a small initial batch of players to test this first PC release on Windows 10. This test will run from 7 – 10 p.m. BST, and it will be open for these 1,000 invited PC players only. And when we say small, we mean it: this won’t be an armada of PC players just yet. We’re looking to invite around 1,000 Windows 10 Technical Alpha testers to start.”

Rare says that you lucky thousand seafarers will be focused on auto-detection – “how effectively the game analyses and assigns low, medium, high, or ultra settings” – as well as generating feedback on control schemes. It’s basically the same build features from the Xbox One tech alpha.

“Similarly to our Technical Alpha on Xbox One, we’ll be starting slowly but gradually building up our audience,” says the studio.

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The Stream Team: A peek into EverQuest II’s Proving Grounds

EverQuest II just opened up a new type of content to players: the Proving Grounds. Each week for two weeks there’s a new competition where two teams race to complete a challenge first. Massively OP’s MJ went in to the first challenge last night with friends, and it was quite the eye-opening experience. Today the group is going to try the new pirate-themed version that just opened. There will likely be much feeding of the Death Counter! Join us live at 9:00 p.m. for a peek into this new feature.

What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

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Cloud Pirates discusses e-sports, monetization, PvE, and update plans for 2017

We haven’t heard much out of My.com’s MOBA Cloud Pirates other than contests since it soft launched in April, but today the studio is back with a developer Q&A. The highlights?

  • They’re not sure about e-sports just yet.
  • There are 30 people working on the game.
  • Don’t expect the AI to improve over the existing bots — the AI would whup player butt.
  • The team is satisfied with its monetization, which it calls “moderate.”
  • PvE isn’t off the table in the long-term, but the team is skeptical about how its potential longevity.
  • More guild features, long-term achievements, new ships, new races, new modes, crew systems, and holiday content are on the way.

The roadmap for the next half year includes ship balance, the brotherhood system, and Stronghold battles. “In the medium-term perspective, we will redesign crews, captain talents, and treasure maps,” says the studio.

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer tries out Sea of Thieves, calls it a ‘magical experience’

For Microsoft, Sea of Thieves isn’t some below-the-radar project that’s beneath the company’s notice. Its Xbox division, in particular, is very keen to see this multiplayer pirate game succeed.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, showed his public support for the project by coming onto the latest Inn-side Story video to talk about his own personal experiences playing the alpha and what he thinks of the game. “You’re building just a magical experience for people to go out onto the open seas and have a great time together,” he said.

Spencer also complimented the team’s infectious energy and Sea of Thieves’ approachable and flexible format. He notes that building a brand-new IP is scary but that it’s a worthwhile project and one that Xbox supports.

You can check out the interview after the break!

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Exploring TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy ‘crowd play’: A dual group dynamic

I have sort of an odd relationship with “story” in gaming. JRPGs really got me into gaming and inspired me to focus on my writing voice(s). Though the quality of narration in MMOs are just bad, some of my early experiences with the genre (particularly Asheron’s Call‘s GM driven story arcs that gave players a way to interact with lore as a group) opened up the possibility of group narratives, especially for those who roleplayed. In fact, as odd as it may sound, I think RP PvP in general showed me just how strong of a feature it can be for someone like me, from virtual Darkfall pirates trying to steal my boat to Star Wars: The Old Republic Jedi fighting for alignment while my bounty hunter simply struggles to make the most money while making the fewest enemies.

Still, sometimes we don’t want to go grind through 20 mobs to get to the next part of the story, or suffer through a raid dance to choose the fate of a character we’ve been interacting with solo. It’s one of the reasons I figure MJ and Larry’s Choose My Alignment is so popular: You still get that story vote without having to be a member of the actual group. It’s odd, being an older MMO player who still sometimes struggles with accepting solo play in MMOs, but the story aspect is the part I get. It’s actually the main thing that kept me in SWTOR.

But there are other options for this kind of play, primarily through TellTale Games and its Crowd Play feature and new game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Don’t worry story fans, as I’ll keep this article spoiler free!

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EVE Evolved: Low-security space has lost its identity, but it can be fixed!

When I first discovered EVE Online back in 2004, it had been out in the wild for just under a year and was a much simpler and friendlier beast. There were fewer than 50,000 players in total and most of them were flying around in tech 1 frigates and cruisers, either mining, grinding their way up top level 3 mission agents, or PvPing. Most corporations lived in the relative safety of high-security space and warred with each other for all sorts of reasons, and some power-hungry corps tamed the lawless nullsec regions to hunt battleship NPCs and mine ores containing valuable Zydrine and Megacyte.

Low-security space offered a tempting middle-ground for players back then, a place you could go to reap better rewards than highsec but at the cost of a proportional increase in risk. Pirates faced much lower consequences for attacking another ship unprovoked there than in highsec, and the areas around stargates and stations were kept safer by automated sentry turrets. The delicate balance between risk and reward in low-security space began to fall apart as the sizes of player groups in EVE increased and ships got better at tanking the damage from sentries. Nearly a decade later and with very little done to revamp the area, today’s lowsec still suffers from this legacy and has lost much of its identity. But how can this problem be solved? Hints may come from recent rumblings at EVE Fanfest 2017 on the future direction of PvE.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons I believe low-security space has lost its identity and a few of the ways CCP could inject some much-needed personality and speciality into this neglected area of the game.

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KingsIsle seeks support to get EverClicker on Steam; Wizard101 and Pirate101 might be next

First there was EverQuest. Then there was Ever, Jane. Now there’s EverClicker. This sort of trend could go on (wait for it) forever.

KingsIsle, the studio behind both Wizard101 and Pirate101, is branching out into the mobile space and is looking for fan support to propel its newest title onto Steam. On the Wizard101 forums, the team asks the community to head over to Steam Greenlight to vote for EverClicker in the hopes of seeing it hit the big time.

Oddly enough, both 101 games have yet to debut on Steam themselves, but KingsIsle said that EverClicker could pave the way for that. “It’s easier to start our journey onto Steam with a game that isn’t hugely complicated with a lot of moving parts,” the studio said. “Starting with EverClicker on Steam allows us to learn the process. If successful, we hope to be able to offer more of our games on Steam and other distribution outlets in the future, which could include games such as Wizard101 and Pirate101.”

Source: Wizard101 forums, Steam Greenlight. Thanks, Tom!

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The Stream Team: Launching into Cloud Pirates on launch day

It’s been a while since Massively OP’s MJ first peeked into Cloud Pirates, and what better time to hop back aboard than on launch day? She’s ready to steer her ship to victory in a few matches in celebration of launch, so tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you another round of…

What: Cloud Pirates
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

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Cloud Pirates launches with a huge update

Happy launch day to Cloud Pirates, which has graduated from Beta University with a degree in Aeronautic Conflict Resolution and taken its first steps out into the real world. The free-to-play release comes with a huge update, Stronghold, that beefs up the game considerably with some interesting new features for the opening day crowd.

The update contains the titular strongholds, which allow players to create their own fortress. These fortresses can be attacked through the new stronghold siege mode with the promise of golden cannons as a potential reward. Stronghold also adds three-player party groups, leaderboards, a league system, consumables, and preset combat builds.

Massively OP’s MJ will be streaming this title live tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT, but in the meantime you can prepare yourself for that incredible experience by watching the launch trailer after the break.

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