post-apocalyptic

H1Z1 tweaks armor in latest update, shows off new stronghold system

Sometimes you have to ask yourself why developers fix bugs that are clearly awesome. And so it is with H1Z1: King of the Kill’s recent patch, which mentions that the team “fixed at least one major cause for vehicles appearing to sink into the terrain and explode when approached.” At least there’s the hope that there are other causes, right?

Anyway, yesterday’s patch was relatively small, mostly focused on a few small adjustments, infrastructure improvements to better handle the load of players, and the addition of laminated armor to airdrops.

Meanwhile, the sadly neglected H1Z1: Just Survive is getting a little bit of attention with this afternoon’s stronghold livestream. “Exciting changes are coming to Just Survive this summer and we want to kick that off with a livestream discussing the new stronghold system,” the team posted. Watch it after the break!

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Defiance heats up summer with a new high-powered event

We may be past the days of the almighty transmedia synergy, but Defiance is not ready to give up its penchant for world-changing events. Right now, the sci-fi game is racing into a Hot and Crazy Summer, which means a lot more firepower on both sides of the battle line.

Defiance’s newest patch adds several new contracts to tie into this event. By completing weekly and daily contracts, players will be guaranteed one of the new legendary HOT weapons and an epic mod. HOT weapons have a chance to proc nanos and additional health damage.

The MMO has also released a new pursuit called Ride the Heat Wave. Those who succeed at this pursuit will receive an epic assault rifle and a Sizzlin’ Surfer title. Hang ten, good buddies!

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that died too soon

Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.

That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.

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The Daily Grind: Are social hubs and chat windows enough for your MMO needs?

The other day I was reading up on how the upcoming Dauntless will feature a social hub where players congregate en masse and do their business before heading off for much smaller co-op missions on instanced maps.

It’s certainly not the first game to do this sort of lobby multiplayer setup; Destiny, Hellgate London, and Guild Wars are just some of the other online games that use this format. Heck, Secret World Legends is about to reshape and reboot the game to be just that.

It got me thinking: Is this enough for my MMO needs? If I have a social hub and a chat window wherever I go, do I really need maps with dozens of random players possibly crossing my path? Honestly, I kind of like that massively multiplayer world experience, but as long as I’m connected to other players in some respects, I can still enjoy these more limited multiplayer games.

What do you think? Are social hubs and chat windows enough for your MMO needs?

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H1Z1 announces $100K prize pool Elite Series summer e-sports tournament

Soloers and team players alike are invited to put their skills to the test in H1Z1’s newest tournament, the Elite Series. Debuting at DreamHack Atlanta on July 21st, the Elite Series will throw some of the best players in the world against each other in single-elimination bouts, all fighting for a slice of the $100,000 prize pool.

A million bucks is on the line for each event in the Elite Series, split between single and team players. It sounds as though the DreamHack event will be the first of a batch of Elite Series tournaments, although Daybreak is being coy on announcing future dates.

Daybreak Director of E-sports Mark Tuttle thinks that this will be a must-watch event: “It’s an arena for the best head-to-head H1Z1 action and will undoubtedly have viewers and players on the edge of their seat. There is nothing that can match the scale or intensity of an H1Z1 tournament where everyone is dropped in together, competing amidst the mayhem to be the last one standing, and we are excited to continue to develop this new genre of e-sports.”

Source: Elite Series

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Amazon Game Studios grabs H1Z1’s art director

Amazon Game Studios continues to lure talented developers away for its new multiplayer projects. Sebastian Strzalkowski became the latest to defect to the new studio, saying that he is joining the San Diego team after 13 years of work at SOE and Daybreak.

Strzalkowski’s portfolio covers a wide swath of Daybreak projects, including being art director for H1Z1 and having worked on Free Realms, EverQuest Next, and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.

“Grateful for 13 rewarding yrs at SOE/Daybreak, honored to work with such talented folks,” Strzalkowski posted on Twitter. “Starting new job @AMZNGameStudios later this month!”

Source: Twitter

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Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO dungeons

It’s hard to look at an MMORPG and imagine them without dungeons. For some people, these instances are the core of their game experience, offering challenging (well, hopefully) and rewarding group experiences that can be repeated for fun, profit, and optimal performance.

Dungeons and I have a strange history in MMOs. For me, it all depends on the game in question. There are MMOs that don’t really feature compelling or rewarding dungeons (Guild Wars 2), or make grouping up and getting into them difficult, or what have you. Yet in other games, I’ve run dungeons so many times that I could probably pathfind through each one blind. If done right, they can be really fun and offer me a chance to show off my stuff and feel like I’m part of a team.

For today’s list, I want to share with you my favorite MMO dungeons. I’m going to limit myself to one per MMO for diversity’s sake, which might make it a little challenging, but there you go!

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Ashes of Creation hires five new team members, shows off snowy environments

As Ashes of Creation takes aim at the $3M line for its Kickstarter campaign, Intrepid Studios announced that it has made several significant hires to its development team, some of which come from the Daybreak fold.

The hires include Lead Economic Designer Rocco Scandizzo (Psyop Games), Lead Programmer Kevin McPherson (EverQuest, PlanetSide, Vanguard, and Shadowbane), Lead Technical Designer Akil Hooper (EverQuest II, Fallout: New Vegas), Senior Character Artist Mat Broome (H1Z1, DCUO, PlanetSide 2, EverQuest), and Alex Khudoliy (Amazon).

Another interesting announcement is that Intrepid is partnering with Panopticon Labs to develop fraud detection and prevention tools for the game to make it as secure as possible.

Ashes of Creation devs will be on hand this evening at 6:00 p.m. EDT for a final Kickstarter livestream. The team also posted a brief video showing some of the winter effects in the different game environments, which you can watch below.

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Black Desert sells over 127,000 copies on Steam, adds three new servers with today’s patch

The first MMO hit of the summer is already upon us, as Black Desert’s debut on Steam has paid off in dividends. Thanks to the high-profile release and a 40% off sale, the fantasy title has moved over 127,000 copies to interested players.

It’s not just people purchasing the game but playing it as well. Steam charts note that there’s been high interest in Black Desert ever since it came to the platform, and the existing community said that it has seen an increase in the game’s population. BDO’s all-time record concurrency on Steam so far is 18,894. For comparison’s sake, H1Z1 peaked at 137K and Ark: Survival Evolved reached a little over 100K.

In its patch notes for today’s update, Kakao told players it has added an additional trio of servers. It’s a fairly modest patch by BDO standards, but it does introduce a nifty new travel event.

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David Brevik says Hellgate London was ‘a game ahead of its time’

If you were harboring some sort of secret hope that David Brevik would return to the battered and bruised Hellgate London to realize its full potential, it’s probably best to put that notion to rest.

Responding to a question about revisiting this past project, Brevik said, “Not anytime soon. It’s owned by Hanbit. A game ahead of its time. Such a shame we couldn’t work out the business and made some bad mistakes.”

Brevik is currently an advisor for Path of Exiles with Grinding Gear Games. For a full history of Hellgate London, check out our Game Archaeologist column on the interesting Diablo offshoot.

Source: Twitter

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The Game Archaeologist: How Sceptre of Goth shaped the MMO industry

When it comes to text-based MMOs created in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, the sheer number of them would blot out the sky. There are certainly more multi-user dungeons (MUDs) than I’ve ever been able to get a handle on when I’ve tried creating lists of the most important to know, but I will say that there are a few that seem to pop up more than others. The original MUD1, created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, was certainly a watershed moment for online roleplaying games. Learning about DikuMUD is pretty essential, considering its impact on graphical MMORPGs that we still play today.

But there’s another title that often goes unnoticed, unless you keep an eye out for it. It’s a MUD that keeps popping up when you look into the history of the MMORPG genre, one with ties to key players and design concepts that are still active today.

It’s the MUD that shaped the MMO industry, and it was called Sceptre of Goth.

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APB Reloaded brainstorms a ‘gangland survival mode’

See if you can follow the chain of progression here. In APB Reloaded’s most recent dev diary, the team says that it’s about done ironing out issues and fighting DDoS attacks in its console versions (problems that have been going on since early April). Once that is done, the devs want to bring some of these improvements and optimizations to the PC and figure the best way to do that is… by creating a new game mode. Because stress testing or something?

Honestly, it sounds like they’re trying hard to emulate the popularity of other titles: “Seeing the success of Battlegrounds and H1Z1 survival mode, we realized we have almost all the ingredients in APB to create a gangland survival game, and we want to your help to make this event as fun as possible.”

Jump on that survival bandwagon! If the proposed event is popular enough, APB hopes to incorporate it as a regular game mode following the summer.

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H1Z1: King of the Kill’s latest update makes combat less painful

H1Z1: King of the Kill has gotten lots of love from Daybreak this week with the release of a brand-new update as teased last month; it includes major improvements for combat, lag, hit registration, line of sight, and shotguns, plus three new points of interest on the Pleasant Valley map.

The update also sees the return of skirmish matches, weekend affairs whose rules switch up on rotation. “The inventory screen and crafting system have also been simplified, resulting in a more accessible and user-friendly experience,” says Daybreak. “The crate screen has also been reworked providing a more streamlined menu, where players can view all of their crates in one place.”

Check out the dev video down below — anybody still playing in with the zombies?

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