player housing

Shroud of the Avatar's new 'outskirts' maps should be a big help for newbies

Shroud of the Avatar's latest newsletter -- its 220th for those keeping track at home -- got a fresh coat of paint to celebrate, and as usual, it's stuffed full of screenshots. Some of those pics feature the Verdantis Mines, a gemstone-studded underground area, and the Kas Ruins (Helm's Deep, anyone?), both being built for Release 41 or 42. There's also a spotlight on a player-owned town, Owl Sky City, and a ton of videos on Obsidian Cabalist weapons.

What caught my attention, however, was the Solace Bridge Outskirts section, as its entry marks a bit of a design shift for Portalarium. "For several years now our backers have been providing us feedback that the first few hours of our game have several major issues," explains the studio. "Those issues include too many loading screens, scenes that are too small, and starting towns that include player housing / vendors. As we shift our focus to improving the New User Experience (NUE) and as we are able to measure new player progress through events like our recent free trial we realize that we must address these issues sooner versus later."

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The Black Death takes 'drastic action' to shore up early access

"Back in November 2016, we were seven months into early access, and it was clear to us the game wasn’t in the state we wanted it to be in. We needed to take some drastic action."

This confession comes from the latest Black Death dev blog, which was penned to bring fans up to speed on the plans for this survival sandbox. The game is getting ready to release its V0.12 update on March 30th, which includes a day/night cycle, revamped player housing, over 10 new music tracks, additional spawn locations, and pillaging areas.

The patch will also showcase its reworked combat system: "Combat has prove to be a very difficult system to fine tune, it has a lot of moving parts and relies heavily on 'game feel.' With V0.12 combat is driven by an improved physics system meaning more accurate swings and hits, better feedback from striking different materials and a generally more responsive game play experience. "

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping up WildStar

Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.

Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.

So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.

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Black Desert's spring patch spawns cherry blossom events

Today's Black Desert patch isn't a massive one, but it's going to be welcomed by anyone sick unto death of winter.

Yep, the update heralds the "awesome cherry blossom event" and a terrible-wonderful punny graphic. Too cute.

Beginning today and running through April 12th, players will be able to log in and claim up to five cherry blossoms per day, depending on how long they play. The blossoms can be turned in in chunks for everything from memory frags and black stones to specific bits of gear.

There's also a seed event to look forward to: Players can purchase one cherry blossom seed per day with loyalty and cultivate a whole herd of permanent cherry blossom trees on their housing plots. Actually sounds pretty!

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Ever, Jane's latest open beta update adds horseback riding, carriages, and new homes

Ever, Jane's fourth update of open beta has gone live this afternoon, bringing new homes and horses to the Jane Austen-themed period MMORPG. "We’re eager to add the townhouses and cottages to home ownership, fundamental changes to the Story system, additional construction on the Estate, carriages you can both drive and ride as a passenger, the first implementation of much awaited horseback riding and more!" 3 Turn Productions writes today.

Expect new and larger buildings (with basement!) in Tyrehampton, but be warned: If you've not logged in within the last month, you'll be getting a warning email and then an eviction notice.

And as for horses? 3TP says it's not a "polished experience" with finished animations or jumping, but you can indeed trot through the village now -- or be ferried around in a multi-person carriage. Just don't try to summon your horse inside a building (it will work, sort of!).

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Elder Scrolls Online plans in-game jester-themed festival events for April Fools' Day

It's time to be sorry you whined and moaned for holidays in The Elder Scrolls Online. Or not sorry. It depends on whether you enjoy April Fools' Day, I suppose, but I suspect the upcoming Jester's Festival has the potential to annoy everyone who begins each new life in TESIII: Morrowind by murdering Fargoth.

"The Jester's Festival kicks off on March 23, at 10:00am EDT. If you'd like to show off your zany side, you can travel to the pavilions that have been set up just outside the cities of Ebonheart, Vulkhel Guard, and Daggerfall. At each location, you will find one of three Jesters in extremely convincing dress up as either King Jorunn, Queen Ayrenn, or King Emeric. Talk to each Jester to receive a uniquely mischievous task once per day for the duration of the festival."

Completing these quests will see you rewarded with an obnoxious hat, "fun new consumables" (read: probably pranks), trees and standards for your housing plot (what?) and "mementos" including "The Pie of Misrule," which is unlikely to be the kind of pie you eat.

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League of Legends on LGBT representation and pro team mistreatment allegations

League of Legends will probably introduce non-straight characters eventually, a new interview on Polygon with Riot Games' Greg Street suggests. The publication asked Street questions about LGBT representation during GDC 2017, noting that Blizzard's Overwatch (particularly Tracer) has proven that it's a hot topic and something millions of gamers want to see. League of Legends currently has over 130 characters to Overwatch's 24, but Street says that Riot has to be careful what it adds lest one region or another blockade the game.

"We owe it to the players and, I think, to the world to do something like that. [...] What I don't want to do is be like, 'Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian.' I don’t think we’ll end up with something good there.... From the beginning, it has to be the character's identity. I’m sure we'll do it at some point. I don’t know which character or when it will happen."

If and when it does happen, Street says, it'll likely be in "storytelling outside the game."

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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Crowfall's community tries its hand at building for the first time

Crowfall's campaign worlds won't exist merely to be shot, burned, and sliced to ribbons. There's going to be a healthy building component as well, which is something that ArtCraft is (pun intended) constructing as of late.

Last weekend, the studio allowed players to test drive out these tools in its "BuilderWorld." From the looks of the video taken of the test, players were able to create some interesting villages, keeps, and even castle-mazes.

ArtCraft's cautiously positive mood was ruined by a "major" exploit that some of the community was abusing, saying that this "raises a good question about how  we want to handle the use of exploits during testing. We’re pleased when people find and report exploits of any kind. This helps make the game more robust and ready for our eventual launch. That said, we’re less pleased when people repeatedly use exploits not for testing but simply as a way to ruin the test for other people."

Get an early glimpse of what player buildings might look like in Crowfall below!

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EverQuesting: The Domino effect on Daybreak and EverQuest II

Yup, it's true. It was a sad day when Emily Taylor confirmed that she was indeed leaving Daybreak. When John Smedley's tweet popped up outing Taylor's move to Canada, I was in the middle of chatting with friends and fellow EverQuest II players. We were stunned. We know that the industry can be fickle, but Taylor had been a staple on the EQII scene. Known as "Domino," she'd been in integral part of the Norrath crafting scene; she was responsible for penning many of the crafting signature quest lines as well as developing other parts of crafting, events, and housing. She was also well admired and appreciated by the community. Her loss would really be felt.

When we first read that tweet, our thoughts went to, oh no, what happened? followed very quickly by what's going to happen? After the rough time Daybreak has had since the split from Sony (multiple layoffs, game closures galore, and clandestine management changes along with staff resignations), we understandably wondered if we were witnessing a step toward impeding disaster -- a sentiment shared by other fans of the franchise. The uncertainty of the news was laid to rest when Taylor herself announced that yes, she was leaving. She informed players that her move was of a personal nature (she wants to shovel more snow?!) instead of any thing related to the studio. She also assured us that there were plenty of devs at Daybreak still working on the games -- moreso, in fact, than when the name changed.

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WildStar is giving away max level 50 toons for logging into its next patch

Happy Monday! Who wants free stuff? It's better than candy: It's a free max level toon in WildStar for its "Free 50 Frenzy" promo.

"Just log in after the Power of the Primal Matrix update is released and you’ll have a free character boost available at character creation for you to make a new level 50 character with. This is a one-time use offer, so be extra sure you’re creating the character you want to before finalizing it. Once your free level 50 boost is used, it’s used up forever—no takesy-backsies!"

There's already a paid character boost in this game, mind you, but this freebie one will come with a full set of DPS gear, a full set of one flavor of support gear, path rewards, a mount, a housing teleport, and a capital city port.

Primal Matrix launches on Wednesday; you'll have almost a week to log in and grab your freebie. And hey, while you're at it, why not swing by our Choose My Adventure column: We're currently in the midst if a WildStar playthrough.

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LOTRO Legendarium: A guide to starting fresh in Lord of the Rings Online

This past week, I received this letter from reader Thurro: "Your recent LOTRO resurgence has my interest, and from the sounds of you on the podcast I might not be the only one. Would you consider writing a beginners guide or even just a list of tips for getting started from scratch?"

Sure, why not? It's still a little too early to tell, but we could be seeing a nice little LOTRO renaissance right now, and I bet that there are more than a few players who are checking the game out for the first time after reading the news and hearing recommendations from others. Considering that it's a massive MMORPG with 10 years of content and expansions, I could see how it might be overwhelming during your first week.

A true guide would probably take so much longer than the space I have this week, so let me present a quick and dirty starting guide to the this wonderful MMO and then point you to LOTRO Wiki for any further questions (seriously, it's a great resource!). Let's get started!

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Elder Scrolls Online's Earthtear Cavern home will be buyable next week

Fans of The Elder Scrolls Online's Homestead housing will probably want to take a peek at the coming-soon announcement for the cash shop, which finally includes Earthtear Cavern, which was buyable in beta and tourable on live but wasn't purchaseable. It looks like it's going live on March 9th.

"You want privacy? What could be more private than lost and forgotten Nedic ruins in a remote corner of Craglorn's backcountry? It even includes some Redguard touches from later occupants—but once you move in, it's all yours to decorate in whatever cultural fashion you please!"

There are also several new "multicultural" furniture packs in Redguard and Khajiit style intended for Earthtear's open spaces.

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