playstation 3

The Soapbox: Getting to the heart of toxicity in MMOs

So we’ve gotten another post from a developer saying that they’re going to really 100% be better about rooting out toxic players from their games. Seriously, we mean it this time. The latest one is from Blizzard, but let’s be real, this is something that’s always happened. We always get periodic statements from companies that this time they’re really going to address toxic behavior, someone links that inevitable Penny Arcade strip, nothing really changes, play laugh track, roll curtains.

I’d like to be happy about this, I really would, but it’s so much empty posturing, and it came out only shortly before the announcement that everyone who plays the game can now be signed to the Overwatch League. I think the two are pretty closely connected. And I think we need to actually start talking about this because this sort of darkly toxic problem is at the core of the designs of these games, even though on some level it’s entirely separate. The problem isn’t that these games are designed to be toxic; it’s that they’re designed to encourage toxicity.

Getting rid of individual toxic players, as Blizzard purports to do, is merely treating the symptom. We need to discuss the disease.

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DC Universe Online launches its far-reaching stats revamp

How do stats work in DC Universe Online? Before you answer, know that your answer is probably wrong if it doesn’t take into account today’s large-scale stats revamp patch. Yes, the patch that’s been in testing for half of forever is finally here, changing up every aspect of the game’s stats and powers to enable more diverse builds and make things simpler to understand while offering more options.

Power points are gone, new skill trees exist, and players can now more effectively differentiate between a power-focused build, a weapon-focused build, or a hybrid of the two. There are also new and changed powers across the board, ensuring that everyone has new toys and options to play with. Check out the full notes for all of the details, and log in to start learning how to value points all over again. Or, more accurately, log in once the maintenance downtime is over (it may be a while). Members can also grab a free respec token to go along with the change, since… well, under the circumstances, you’ll probably need it.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 128: Geeks at Disney World

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about a beloved MMO going mobile, the end of Guild Wars 2 (in a manner of speaking), the start of Dark and Light, LARPing at Disney World, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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RuneScape is a massive hit on Twitch

Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.

That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.

The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).

Source: NewZoo. Thanks Sally!

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Wisdom of Nym: What happens next in Final Fantasy XIV?

It’s pretty clear that the Final Fantasy XIV team (and the localization team specifically) are pretty huge fans of Hamilton, to the point that I’m surprised that the Emperor didn’t specifically burst into a song from the musical in the ending sequence. Especially because it’s… kind of a relevant question at this point, once you’ve seen the end of the MSQ.

So what does come next?

Obviously, this column will feature spoilers, so consider yourself fairly tagged. But I think this is a relevant question to ask because this expansion is, in its own way, a very different animal from its two predecessors right out of the gate. The relaunch ended its story in a place so open that it could really go wherever without a problem, while Heavensward ended the 3.0 MSQ with obvious points for continuation. (It helped that the obvious thrust of the expansion took a sharp left turn around level 55.) In the case of Stormblood, though…

Yes, I’m avoiding saying more before the cut. Spoilers down below, people.

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Final Fantasy XIV sees a price hike for Brazilian and Russian players

Shock! Dismay! The prices for Brazilian and Russian players have risen for Final Fantasy XIV! But to confuse the issue a little further, they’ve risen to… just about the same level as everyone else pays worldwide. According to the official statement on the forums, this was simply a result of adjusting the pricing exchanges for different currencies, making sure that everyone worldwide is paying about the same amount.

Player outrage over the issue is unsurprisingly at peak volume, with the two main points of contention being that the adjustments were not announced ahead of time in any format (and indeed, even Square-Enix’s own staff seems to have been somewhat surprised) and that the price adjustment fails to take into account different incomes in different regions. It’s not the first time in recent days that we’ve seen some dispute over localized pricing for different regions, which if nothing else goes to show the difficulty in operating a global game with servers open to all regions.

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DC Universe Online looks forward to a new powerset and two new stories

Ah, summer, the time of year when everyone inevitably starts thinking about the fall. It is what comes next, after all. So DC Universe Online is teasing its plans for content through September and November, including the upcoming new Water powerset to replicate Aquaman. Stop laughing, it’s a legitimate powerset; it can heal or do damage, focusing on manipulating the water in and around allies and enemies. It’s scheduled to roll out on August 30th, so you’ll be ale to get all wet just before the summer ends.

Meanwhile, the two new story arcs for the game will be coming out in September and November. The first one, Riddled with Crime, sees Batman going missing and Gotham City’s underworld rising up to take control of the streets; the second brings in the Crime Society of America from Earth-3, requiring heroes to team up with Alexander Luthor in a world where all of the morality of characters is reversed. It’s a little ways away, but you know with all of this that you won’t want for entertainment for the next few months.

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Choose My Adventure: Two approaches to whining about DC Universe Online

Dear readers, today I am going to try something different for all of you. And it’s predicated on the fact that I’m not just fond of video games; I’m also fond of comic books. This means that when I sat down for my most recent play session in DC Universe Online, I found myself of two minds about why I wasn’t super-duper happy with the content I was experiencing… and both of them could easily fill in a good chunk of words by themselves.

So this week, you get to choose the column you want to read. There are two spoiler warnings below: one covering my thoughts of playing the game from a strictly game-based perspective, the other one being my thoughts of playing the game from a comic book fan’s perspective. Read one! Read the other! Read both! Theoretically you could read neither, I suppose, but then you would have clocked out before you were done with this introduction.

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Perfect Ten: 10 little things I love about Final Fantasy XIV

A reader recently sent in a letter asking Justin to explain why he (Justin) had never really connected with Final Fantasy XIV despite giving the game the ol’ college try. I can’t answer that question, obviously; I’m not Justin and don’t presume to know how his mind works, and given his pathological hatred of elves, I’m not sure I’d want to. But I can point out some of the little things that make me fall in love with the game all over again on a regular basis, something that’s hitting me hard as Stormblood ups the bar significantly from the level established in the game so far.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a fan of the game, and I have been for years. But there are a lot of reasons for that, and some of them are just reasons like these. Every time I duck back into the game (on a daily basis, yes), I notice something I missed before, and half of the time it makes me smile. So let’s look at the little things that make me adore this game.

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Final Fantasy XIV adds Creation tomestones with patch 4.05

It’s been just about four weeks since Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood launched, and now the game’s usual endgame setup is fully in place. Today’s patch 4.05 adds in Allagan Tomestones of Creation, the weekly tomestone currency capped at 450 per week and obtainable via Expert roulettes, trials, raids… the usual suspects, in other words. Exchange the tomestones for gear based off of the winning design for designing tank gear, to boot! It’s familiar ground to veterans.

The patch also includes new Orchestrion rolls, the new Lost Canals of Uznair for players who take on full-party treasure maps, new items, new decorations, and so forth. There are also several job adjustments, so there’s more to touch on across the board. Check out the full set of patch notes if you’re unable to play for a while, or just dive right in if you’re at home and can’t wait to start earning Creation along with the existing Verities.

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Global Chat: Are MMO side quests worth it?

Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.

In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”

“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”

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Even mainstream sites are starting to notice Final Fantasy XIV’s housing problems

Did you know that Final Fantasy XIV has a housing system that’s particularly restrictive and makes it unnecessarily difficult to own a house? Probably, seeing as how we’ve been talking about it here on MOP for years. This is not new information. But with the new server transfers in place and people noting that two players have taken up an entire district of the game’s limited housing on the basis of “we really like decorating and we need thirty houses of varying sizes to do that,” even mainstream sites are noticing that maybe this system is not a great one.

Of course, if you already know that the game’s housing system is unnecessarily difficult to work with and makes it difficult for players to get any housing plot, there’s little to be said here that you won’t already be intimately familiar with. It’s been a refrain for quite some time. And if you haven’t already seen that elsewhere… well, welcome to here.

Source: Gamasutra

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DC Universe Online is releasing its stat rebalance with its next major patch

No one likes seeing numbers go down in an MMO. You work really hard to make sure your attack power goes as high as possible, and then suddenly one day you log in and find out that it’s lower than it used to be. That’s one of the changes coming with DC Universe Online’s most recent pass on stat revisions. However, that’s no need to be worried, as your actual output will not change. You may have 10% less attack power, but everything is scaled down by the same 10% to keep exponential stat scaling under control. So while it means a smaller number, it won’t affect your performance.

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.)

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