The Daily Grind: Would you play a PvE game with full item decay?

One of the most insightful comments I ever saw about Darkfall (yes, Darkfall) was that, realistically, in a game with open PvP and full looting, it was inevitable that you’d lose all of the good gear you had on. That would always be a real risk, and it would always happen sooner or later. The real question was how long it would take you to rebuild to full power after such an event and how tedious it was to do so.

I’m not fond of that style of gameplay as it stands, but I still think about it, because it doesn’t need to be “full loot and free-for-all PvP” for that core principle to stand. A game with nothing but PvE could still have you lose gear as soon as you die, or it could ensure that your gear would eventually break and be unusable forever no matter how much you repair it.

On the one hand, this would kind of damage the very environment of a game like World of Warcraft with its emphasis on perpetual improvement; at the same time, it could also be seen as a way to break away from the game’s ever-upward treadmill, and it would mean that continued gear drops from world quests would still provide meaningful gear even if you have something better right now. So what do you think. Would you be interested in playing a PvE game where your gear decayed to nothing and you had to rebuild? Where you replaced a piece not because you got a stronger one, but simply because it was always time-limited?

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Sea of Thieves lays out player progression and mission types

If you’ve been paying attention to Sea of Thieves, you may have noticed that Rare’s game isn’t hewing to the traditional RPG stats and mechanics. In fact, there are no character levels and stat gear at all. So that raises the question: What do you chase and how do you progress in this MMO?

A new dev video explains all of this. Basically, players will pursue cosmetics and reputation in the three NPC factions, earning better rewards the greater their legend grows. Each faction focuses on different mission types: The Gold Horders are all about treasure hunting, the Merchant Alliance places priorities on trade shipments and livestock retrieval, and the Order of Souls wants you to get into scraps with the undead to retrieve their skulls.

Players can pick up “voyages” (i.e. quests) from these factions, but the higher their reputation, the better and more lucrative these voyages become. Voyages can be shared among crews, and there are no barriers to sharing and engaging in these missions between crew members.

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Dauntless steps back from constant stability upgrades for a major patch

If you’ve been playing Dauntless since it first released to test audiences, you have probably gotten accustomed to having a large number of patches for the game at a pretty rapid pace. December is going to involve something different, though; there’s going to be one big update dubbed Sharpen Your Skills, and it will hopefully make a major difference in the way that you play Dauntless. The team will still be revealing teases of what’s in the patch, but you’ll have to wait a little longer to actually get it.

The first preview on progression is already available, showing off new randomized Behemoths to hunt, new progression mechanics, and new scheduled targets to give players more reason to keep venturing out into the world. The update will also include a progression wipe, so you’ll be starting over from the beginning to see how the game feels with improvements. Hopefully better, although it does mean you won’t want to worry too much about progression until the update arrives.


Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.11 introduces the Unending Coil of Bahamut

Bahamut. You know him, you fear him, you’ve gotten used to summoning and channeling him if you play a Summoner in Final Fantasy XIV. And now he’s back to his place as the most challenging content in the game with the release of patch 4.11, which introduces the Unending Coil of Bahamut to kick off the new Ultimate difficulty level. If you’ve already done everything else, you can now mash your head against this particular challenge to see how you do.

And we do mean that you have to have done everything else; the quest is open to only those who have already cleared the Savage mode of Omega. Successfully clearing the fight will reward you with a token for a high-end weapon, but the obvious intent is that not many people will be able to clear this, making it less a major step in progression and more a diversion and an amusing footnote. If you’re not up for the challenge, there are still some bugfixes in the patch, so it’s still an improvement to your overall quality of life; that’s something.


EVE Valkyrie will be getting loot boxes

There’s really no two ways about this particular tidbit of news. CCP is adding loot boxes to EVE Valkyrie, according to a recent interview. The boxes are expected to drop about every two battles on average, with each box containing random items including cosmetic items and experience boosters. If all of that sounds like exactly what you would expect from the statement “CCP is adding loot boxes EVE Valkyrie,” well, you’ve done this dance a few times.

There’s no word at this point about said boxes being added to a microtransaction store, but all things considered you can probably mark it as highly likely at the very least. You can also get at least one box for completing the in-game tutorial, so that’s added motivation to learn how to fly your craft. Those of you who went into a spontaneous rage-seizure upon seeing the term “loot boxes,” of course, can jump straight to the comments.

Gosh, you don’t think this might be tied to making the game no longer require a VR headset, could it?

Source: PCgamesN


Neverwinter’s Jungles of Chult has better daily tasks and more reward options

On some level, all Neverwinter really needs to do for Jungles of Chult is to remind you how you’ll get to fight dinosaurs. That’s really all the motivation anyone should need. But the campaign actually does include several functional differences, starting with the changes to repeatable tasks which will allow you to complete certain tasks a fixed number of times per week. Instead of being stuck logging in for daily activities, you can choose how much time you have each day and structure your play appropriately.

Players can also look forward to more flexible boon rewards at the lower tiers, unlocking new pieces of armor from the campaign store, and a tracker for weekly currency rewards. You’ll have a fairly low cap on weekly currency to start, but progress through the campaign will increase that limit over time. So if the prospect of fighting dinosaurs alone doesn’t motivate you, better rewards might help sweeten the pot a bit.


EverQuest launches an expansion-locked progression server on May 24

The next EverQuest progression server is on its way on May 24th, but it’s a little different than previous progression servers because this one won’t ever catch up to the live game. It’s not supposed to. No, this server is meant to be locked into the era of Planes of Power; after six total expansions have been released (The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin, The Planes of Power, The Legacy of Ykesha, Lost Dungeons of Norrath), the server will stop there. No more progression.

Of course, this is a good thing if that’s exactly your favorite era of the game and when you’d want to stop anyway, so the game’s 12-week schedule for each expansion might be just perfect for you. The server is also a true box server, meaning that multiboxing isn’t allowed, so you’ve got to play the game with everyone else as the developers intended. You can hop on to the new server on May 24th, and all of your questions about raid lockouts and the like have already received helpful answers in anticipation.


The Daily Grind: Do you like the idea of limited-time MMOs?

One of the things that I find neat about games like Rend, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria is that all of these games are by their very nature meant to be short-term affairs. The game only lasts so long. In some cases it’s a scheduled thing, in other cases it’s more an organic result, but all of them wind up in an end state. Nothing lasts forever, and eventually it’s time to count the victor and move on.

This isn’t actually a new idea in the MMO space, of course; A Tale in the Desert has been run using this structure for quite some time, The Matrix Online was in part based on the idea that every bit of the story would only last for so long, and progression servers like the ones EverQuest runs are meant to slowly catch up to the present until, well, they’re caught up. But it’s definitely reaching the point of being a full-on trend for these games in development to be time-limited.

What’s nifty about this approach is that no one gets to stay on top forever, and it gives a certain point to start and stop without missing out on things. Of course, that also means it’s easier to just stop playing after a certain point without feeling as if you’re missing things, turning the game into shorter-term play by its very design. What do you think? Do you like the idea of limited-time MMOs?

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Paladins bumps up Essence gains significantly for players

The Paladins community was not terribly happy with the changes made to the game’s microtransaction model for, let’s face it, entirely understandable reasons. Introducing Legendary cards, swapping things out for Essence, and then making Essence accumulate at such a slow rate as to be irrelevant? The good news is that the developers have heard the complaints and are rolling out fixes to make Essence easier to acquire from all sources.

Players will need 12,000 Essence rather than 18,000 to purchase Legendary cards, while duplicate Common cards will offer 250 Essence rather than 60. Players can also earn 1000 Essence per achievement, and Mastery bonuses achieved before the chest rewards were put into place will retroactively award a large amount of Essence rather than retroactive chests. That doesn’t necessarily mean that players will be totally all right with the changes made so far, but it’s a step in the direction of correcting course.


Star Wars: The Old Republic explains the Bolster changes in Patch 5.1

Players who logged in to Star Wars: The Old Republic after patch 5.1 and jumped right into PvP probably noticed right away that their Bolster effects were working a bit differently. Specifically, Bolster wasn’t nearly as strong as it had been before, going from bolstering players to level 250 to level 232. Community manager Eric Musco has taken to the forums to explain that this isn’t a glitch; it’s an intended change made with an eye toward long-term progression that the developers just communicated poorly.

As it stands, the best gear available is at level 242. The developers realized belatedly that having bolster bring everyone up to 250 changed bolstering from “put players on an even starting plane with room for improvement” to “progression doesn’t matter,” which doesn’t exactly help matters. There’s a similar gap between the top end gear and the bolster effect as there was for the game’s previous expansion, but Musco apologizes for the poor communication; whether or not the change improves the sense of progression will require a bit of time to test.

Source: Official Site via Dulfy; thanks to Brandon for the tip!


The Daily Grind: Do you have to reach the top of an MMO to really understand the game?

We all play MMOs in different ways, and I personally tend to play to reach the top. It’s no shock if I tell you the stuff that I dislike in endgames, since I’ve been ranting about those things for nearly a decade now, but the point is that I reach that top end first and foremost. If I describe myself as seriously playing a game, I have doubtlessly reached the level cap, played around with endgame systems, and quite possibly roleplayed at least one or two stories of heartbreaking romantic failure.

Look, I have my hobbies.

The question of the day is whether or not you really need to reach the level cap to know what you like about the game. On the one hand, the top end of any given game is where you’re spending the majority of your time once you get there; I reached the level cap for my main jobs in Final Fantasy XIV a long time ago, and thus my experiences are indicative of the game’s overall offerings with each patch. But you don’t really need to play through several dozen levels in a given game just to get a sense of whether you like it or not; if your first dozen levels in Star Wars: The Old Republic were miserable, the next round isn’t going to get better. So what do you think, dear readers? Do you have to reach the top of an MMO to really understand the game?

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The Daily Grind: What do you collect in MMOs?

At its heart, every single MMO is a game about collecting things. Most games have a number of very obvious things to collect; collect the best gear in World of Warcraft, collect money in ArcheAge, collect AP in The Secret World. There are usually optional extra things to collect, as well, like different equipment looks in Guild Wars 2 or extra max-level classes in Final Fantasy XI. With a broad enough definition of “collecting,” you really can look at every single MMO as the art of collecting more of something, as long as “something” includes “experience” or “skill points” or the like.

But there’s nothing forcing you to just work with what the game tells you to collect. You could collect mounts in Final Fantasy XIV. You could collect pets in WildStar. You could collect account-wide unlocks in Star Wars: The Old Republic. You could even go completely off the wall and collect weapons, or collect friend list entries, or collect vendor trash that you find amusing. (I actually usually collect a few pieces of otherwise useless memorabilia in any given game, myself.) What about you? What do you collect in MMOs? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever tried to collect?

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Diablo III shows off the rewards for the newly arrived Season 6

It’s time to get up and start earning rewards for Diablo III‘s Season 6! “Now now,” you whine. “I have to go to work today. Wait, how did you get in my house? Leave me alone, I’m trying to do things.” But there’s no time for all of those things, by which I of course mean there’s plenty of time, but also plenty of fun rewards for dedicated slayers of demons with an eye toward the cosmetic and the functional.

As with last season, players who complete certain portions of the season journey will be rewarded with Hedrig’s Gift containing parts of a specific class set, allowing players to assemble a set with surety as they stomp through demons. There’s also a new portrait frame, a new banner, and more storage space available to players who complete the conqueror’s journey in the game once again. Check out the details on the individual class sets up for grabs this season on the official site, and get to work stomping those demons! But please don’t do so at the behest of someone who has actually entered your home to encourage you, that’s kind of horrifying.


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