GDC 2018: Games can help humanity, be profitable, and get support from gamers

Games alone won’t make the world better. They won’t even make gamers better. We publish some articles that certainly seem pretty pro-games, but we’re very upfront about the catches. One big one is on us, the players, and how we game. However, game designers can do a lot to help us.

“But that’s hard, expensive, and/or boring!” some of you may be thinking. And yeah, sometimes that’s true. But for both indies and AAA companies, not only are there organizations able to help, but there’s the potential for government aid in unlikely places. Games for good isn’t just a pipe dream, either. Some of the most (deservedly) vilified gaming communities have not only helped with their time but their wallets as well. Even before going to GDC this year we knew this, but a few panels I watched really helped it click.

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The Game Archaeologist: World of Warcraft’s Corrupted Blood pandemic

It began with an exploitable glitch. It exploded into an uncontained nightmare of death. It established a meme as strong as Leeroy Jenkins. It even saved lives.

One of the most notorious events in World of Warcraft’s history didn’t emerge from the design of Blizzard’s controlling developers, but rather from players looking to grief the community. In a prank that briefly grew out of control, a pandemic was set loose upon the game’s world that decimated the population and changed the landscape overnight.

This was the Corrupted Plague incident, and it would go on to leave a mark upon World of Warcraft that remains to this day.

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Video game journalist infects hundreds of EVE nerds with insidious virus

A gaming convention turned into the banal opening scene of a zombie outbreak movie this week as a number of players who attended EVE Vegas 2017 suddenly came down with the symptoms of a cold virus after the event. The airborne virus was brought to the event by an anonymous video game journalist — let’s call him Drendan Brain — and is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, where it’s been sweeping rapidly across the country this month.

We reached out to Drendan Brain for comment, but his phone always went to a busy tone and his emails keep getting returned to me. The cold may also have been brought to the event by 19 other attendees from the UK, the EVE: Valkyrie team from the UK, or literally anyone going through any airport, but that wouldn’t make a snazzy headline. However the outbreak started, hundreds of EVE Online players were potentially exposed and many are now crawling into bed with some chicken soup and a cup of hot lemon. Get well soon, space bros!

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EVE Fanfest will play host to deadly plague this weekend

In a macabre move, EVE Fanfest 2017 (this coming weekend!) is merging game activity and convention to bring its players in contact with a deadly plague. Oh, it’s a fictional plague (we assume), but still it will be very interesting to see how CCP involves players first-hand in a game-shaping event.

What’s going on is this: Right now in EVE Online there’s this horrible, completely fatal Kyonoke Plague spreading across several systems. When players arrive at Fanfest, they’ll find themselves part of the plague quarantine while trying to collectively figure out how to combat the disease. The end result of this event will then affect the MMORPG going forward.

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Black Death has four disgusting states of infection

First of all, we hope you weren’t planning on eating for the rest of today. No? Good. Black Death, the upcoming survival sandbox centered around everyone’s favorite pandemic, posted its first-ever dev blog on the subject of visualizing various states of plague infection.

“The more infected you are the worse you look!” the team enthused. “Currently there are four states, from a bit sweaty all the way up to massive bubonic boils, beautiful.”

Also in the dev blog is some art showing off the post-war military fort Farleigh Citadel, a royal armor set, a stone mill, and a “birds-eye view” map of the world. Unfortunately, the last one isn’t in full details, so you won’t be able to plan your strategies for conquest just yet.

Source: Black Death


The Black Death survival sandbox seeks testers, posts fresh trailer

Introduced back in January, The Black Death is a survival sandbox in which players are medieval commoners struggling to make it during a nasty plague that has created “infected” (read: zombies). If you just can’t get enough of these kinds of games, then listen up because developer Green Man Loaded is hunting for testers:

There’s a fresh teaser trailer too; view it below!

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Star Wars: The Old Republic outlines its December events

Ready for a month full of stuff happening in Star Wars: The Old Republic? If your answer is “no,” the good news is that you have a little time to become ready, as the multitude of in-game events for December aren’t getting underway until December 8th. But once they do start up, they aren’t stopping until January.

So what events are taking place? Oh, how about all of them. Relics of the Gree kicks off on December 8th, which is also when players can log in for rewards for the fourth anniversary of the game. The Rakghoul Plague event and Life Day celebrations both start on December 15th, which means that flesh-eating ghouls may be gathering around your Life Day meals. (Let them have their own tables.) Bounty Contract Week kicks off on December 22nd, but double XP is starting up on December 18th and running until January. It’s a month full of stuff to do, with celebrations to be had and enemies to lightsaber right in the face. What more could you want?


Star Wars: The Old Republic has a resurgence of rakghouls

Well, Star Wars: The Old Republic fans, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that another upswing in rakghoul activity is sweeping the galaxy, which means that everyone in said galaxy has to deal with a sudden influx of ravenous cannibal monsters. Of course, video games being what they are, this is also the good news because it means that the Rakghoul Resurgence is here again to offer players pets, mounts, vanity gear, and plenty of enemies to fight.

The current resurgence will run until July 7th, enough time for players to fight off some infections and pick up some rewards in exchange for their dedicated ghoul-hunting. Nothing about the event appears to have changed, so if you already have everything you could dream of having from the reputation and the like, you may as well just shack up in your stronghold and wait the infection out. It’s just a little zombie plague; those things usually handle themselves anyway.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Bob for the tip!


E3 2015: Garriott and Long share Shroud of the Avatar secrets

This past year, Shroud of the Avatar moved from a monthly weekend-release cadence to being online 24/7, but the major updates have been no less frequent and new features are introduced regularly. Perhaps even more impressive is that the open communication philosophy between the developers and the players has remained constant throughout the entire process. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still secrets to learn about the game. We caught up with Portalarium’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long at E3 2015 to discuss the state of the game and see what things are in store. And yes, we learned a few new tidbits the pair hadn’t planned on sharing!

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Shroud of the Avatar’s zombies are infectious fun

Every MMO, whether sci-fi, fantasy, or equine, must at some point feature zombies. It’s video game law.

Fortunately for Shroud of the Avatar fans, it looks as though Portalarium is putting some thought into its undead creations. The shambling corpses will not only pose an immediate threat to survival but also surprise players with an infectious zombie plague that will require medical attention afterward. If a player waits too long, then she will die and see her avatar join the zombie ranks.

The most recent newsletter isn’t only about zombies, of course. Portalarium is hosting a summer sale during which the studio will give $10 in store credit to anyone who buys $10 or more in digital goods. The studio also showed screens of the new Solace Forest, discussed Release 18 in review, and teased new tools for player-created quests.