pve

PvE stands for player-vs.-environment, where environment is generally taken to mean the world, NPCs, and AI.

Choose My Adventure: All spoken out in Guild Wars 2

Well, this is a bit awkward. I appear to have run out of things to say.

This is not inherently a bad thing. My time with Guild Wars 2 has not been unpleasant (but you can read more about that next week), even if it hasn’t been perfect; I’ve been having fun. At the same time, once you’ve dissected the game’s various map-based offerings and the story’s general flow, there’s not a whole lot else to be said. I could pick apart bits and pieces of the story that work better or worse, but at that point, isn’t it largely perfunctory?

Of course, there is something to be said for the paucity of other things to talk about. Path of Fire is an interesting experience to come back for, because while you can see that the game is putting in overtime to address some of the issues from Heart of Thorns, there are other issues that either aren’t addressed or aren’t addressed terribly well, both of which are interesting to analyze. From my perspective, anyhow.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online: Mists of Ravenloft opens pre-orders, aims for December release

The, ahem, bloodiest MMO expansion of 2017 is finally available to pre-purchase. Dungeons and Dragons Online opened up pre-orders today for Mists of Ravenloft, allowing players to secure some extras for their gameplay right now while reserving a copy of the expansion for day one of launch.

As with Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor earlier this year, Mists of Ravenloft’s expansion bundles range from $40 (for a basic edition) to $130 (the “ultimate fan bundle”). It should be noted that all editions include both the expansion and the new Aasimar race, but the Vistani Knife Fighter talent line is limited to the $80 and $130 packages. If players elect to purchase the expansion or the new race with store points, they’ll have to wait until that option becomes available in March 2018.

Speaking of dates, Standing Stone Games says that it is aiming for a release date of December 5th, although the studio is allowing for up to a month of potential delay, meaning that there is a chance that the expansion will slip into 2018.

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Secret World Legends teases its first Halloween event since the reboot

With the Orochi Tower live and the final part of the Tokyo region out the door, Funcom is already peeking ahead to the future of Secret World Legends. Like the rest of the game, that future is… spooky. Expect it to look a lot like The Secret World’s past Halloween events.

“Halloween is approaching! SWL’s first Halloween event begins Wednesday, the 18th. You can expect a couple seasonal missions and a public raid encounter in Agartha. You’ll also get extra login rewards just for playing during the event. For those of you wondering about seasonal cosmetic items we’ve had from past years in TSW, a bunch of them should be available as potential rewards and purchases this year in SWL.”

Funcom’s also noted it’s closely monitoring healers and tanks in solo modes along with weapon perfomance (especially Elementalism); Museum teleports are on the way as well, in addition to fixes for keybinding, inaccessible Tokyo Legends, hotbar issues, and Tokyo lair mobs.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.1 in review

Let me make an agreement with you, dear readers: this column about Final Fantasy XIV will not talk about the housing situation in Shirogane at all. If you’re wondering “why wouldn’t you cover that,” the answer is that I already did and you can read the whole feature on that. (You can also read the follow-up.) So for the remainder of this column, we’re going to talk about all of the other features of this particular patch, which seems like a better use of our time anyway.

Heck, the whole stupid housing mess was only released with this patch, it’s not like the mechanics or anything are new.

And hey, there’s some good stuff going on with this patch, along with parts that are well worth discussing for where they don’t work as well. So let’s dive right in, starting with the obvious centerpiece of every patch, the continued expansion of the game’s storyline… as perfunctory as it may feel sometimes. Some mild spoilers are possible, so be fairly warned.

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The Daily Grind: How should studios solve the gaming-while-rural problem?

If you’ve ever read any of MOP’s Andrew’s coverage of Pokemon Go, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: One of his biggest pet peeves is that Niantic privileges urban players over everyone else. If you live far away from a large city, you’ll not only struggle to attend events there; you’ll suffer from a lack of hotspots, gyms, raid opportunities, and other players on the daily, and you’ll have to drive between far-flung destinations just to play. A studio obviously can’t fix a population weakness, but it surely could work harder to stop making game opportunities and rewards effectively dependent on where you live.

The same problem’s apparently cropped up in Hearthstone as Blizzard has begun incentivizing what are essentially player-hosted LAN-party events with an ultra-rare Nemsy cards, ostensibly in the service of community. I plugged my current address in and came up with no less than six events over the next month within 20 miles of my home – triple that if I am willing to drive up to 100 miles. But I live in a large city (6M metro area) in the midst of even more large cities. If I plug in my address from back when I lived in New Mexico, there are no events within 100 miles of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Zip. Nada. They don’t even make the top 50 list for metro areas in the US, but they’re the biggest for 300 miles in any direction where they are. And still nothing.

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s free-to-play upgrades are pretty damn generous

You’ve probably heard by now that EVE Online is giving its free-to-play alpha clone characters a massive boost in power in December about a month after the launch of the Lifeblood expansion. The news has been spreading through the gaming media since it was announced last week at EVE Vegas 2017 and the reception online has been generally positive. Some existing players are worried that the change might even be too generous, with fears that veteran players may let their subscriptions lapse and play for free, or that the new skills might be abused to create an endless army of ganking alts.

There’s no doubt that the changes will help to close the power gap between subscribers and free players and will open up new avenues of gameplay. Free players will finally be able to fly tech 1 battlecruisers and even battleships, and cross-training for multiple races will unlock multi-faction ships such as the Sisters of EVE exploration ships. Alpha clone players will also finally be able to use tech 2 weapons and fly many of the ship setups flown in massive nullsec wars, though the way that the new skill limit is being implemented may actually benefit old and returning players more than new ones.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the free-to-play changes, briefly examine the power gap between free and subscribed players, and look at who will benefit most from the change.

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Underdog Pokemon Go players took over the capital of Croatia

But it’s cool; they gave it back.

We’re talking, of course, about Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, which is apparently a flourishing Pokemon Go city with 420 gyms thanks to seeding years ago by Ingress players. A group of Croatian gamers were trying to conjure a way to persuade Niantic to switch a famous Croatian POGO trainer to the outnumbered Instinct faction when they hatched a plan to put together a massive 70-man raid to help the tiny team take over the whole city — that is, all 420 gyms — which necessitated crews of players and a fleet of cars to zip around the capital all day and all night in shifts. And they pulled it off.

“The biggest pride for us is that we managed to organize such a mission and did everything in it 100% legit play – not a single multiaccount was placed in a gym to make it stronger,” Redditor LekoZG writes. “Maybe we demolished all other gyms in the city, but what we built is far more valuable – a strong, positive and forward-looking community of players.”

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Destiny 2 vows not to delay Prestige raid further despite existing exploit

So here is an interesting conundrum: Say you have a highly anticipated raid in the works that you’ve already delayed. Now that the new launch date is approaching, you’ve discovered a pretty significant exploit but don’t have the time to properly institute a fix. What do you do?

For Destiny 2’s Prestige raid, Bungie has decided not to delay a second time, electing instead to push the raid (and its exploit) live on October 18th and monitor player activity for the time being until the fix is ready to deploy. Sounds legit.

“We can now detect if any teams use this exploit to gain an advantage,” the studio posted. “This will take some extra time to verify, but we will be able to crown the winners with the confidence they deserve.”

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Choose My Adventure: Map-based antics in Guild Wars 2

One of the points of the polls and discussions for Guild Wars 2 the other week was that while I could focus on either map antics or storyline progression, I wouldn’t be doing just one or the other. Some of this is just practicality – if a story mission is bringing me close to a waypoint anyway, it would be silly for me to just shrug and not pick it up, and it’s kind of important that I use whatever means available to me to pick up more Hero points. But some of it was the fact that the game has, in many ways, an organic flow.

The game’s story doesn’t always bring you to the important places, but it usually at least strives to push players into spaces where they’re going to brush up against points of interest. (By which I mean “all the various map icons” rather than the game-specific definition of “point of interest.”) The intent, then, is not that you spend all of your time doing one thing or the other; you spend your time doing both, running through story instances and then hopping back out as it becomes relevant.

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Fortnite patches battle royale, adds BattlEye anti-cheat measures, and sues cheaters

Are you one of the 10M people who’ve dipped into Fortnite’s battle royal mode? Or perhaps one of the 500K who played concurrently this past weekend? Then you’ll want to point your eyeballs at the game’s latest patch. The 1.7.1 update brings battle royale stats, a monster power balance in the Save the World mode, and changes to the progression system for Challenge the Horde game mode. At least if the studio can get the kinks worked out, anyway. My favorite patch note? “Added a few structures near Tomato Town.”

Of note, Epic says it’s making good on its promise to upend cheaters, having now implemented the contentious but widespread third-party BattlEye program, even for PvE players. The program is used in multiple games but has been criticized heavily for privacy violations, most recently by the ARK Survival Evolved community. Epic, however, has stated on Reddit that BattlEye was not to blame for the recent spate of false positives in cheat detection.

That isn’t to say nobody’s to blame. Indeed, the company is apparently personally suing the creators of two sub-based cheat service, AddictedCheats, at least one of whom has been “banned from Fortnite at least nine times,” according to the filing. MOP readers will recall that Blizzard’s enjoyed a measure of litigation success over cheat-vendors preying on its own games, so we’ll see whether Epic does too.

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Revelation Online’s Eternal Chasm raid comes in three difficulty modes

Endgamers, Revelation Online’s update today is all about you, as My.com’s just dropped the Eternal Chasm raid, a “high-end raid for those that can handle its twisting layouts and waves of draconic evil.” In fact, while there are two different 10-man difficulty modes for the dungeon, there’s also a 5-man edition. Good news; it turns out that multiple difficulty modes for raiding is something My.com is willing to do to make its content appeal to lots of players. If only other big studios would step up.

The studio’s promising secret bosses and a rare fire-dino mount in addition to the regular ones:

“Stygian Siren: Haunting a long-forgotten ghost ship, the Stygian Siren is longing to seduce everyone who dares to go aboard.
Lightning Kirin: This magic dragon uses lightning powers to electrocute its enemies within seconds.
The Three Gatekeepers: If you want to descend deeper into the chasm, you have to put an end to these towering elementals that are forged of Steel, Fire, and Earth!
Flameborn Tyrant: Are you ready to taste some flames? This fiery beast won’t go down easily. But once it does, it may serve you as a loyal mount.
Ravenous Wretch: This poisonous giant resides in the swamps of the Eternal Chasm and is swift to anger. Beware of nature’s wrath and be sure to bring a proper antidote!
Devouring Dragon: Watch your step – this creature does exactly as its name suggests: it swallows you up.
Ice Queen: Frozen Onslaught, Ice Shrapnel, and Sword of Ice are just some of her abilities. If you don’t want to end up as a frozen statue, you better end her reign!”

Check out the trailer and images down below! Anybody playing?

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Destiny 2 struggles to find a solution to raid grouping

One of the reasons raiding continues to be a sore spot in the MMORPG community is that it’s difficult — if not impossible — to find a good solution to bringing inexperienced players up to speed with veterans without frustrating both groups. It’s an issue with which Destiny 2 is currently grappling without a graceful reply.

Instead of using a traditional raid matchmaking system, Bungie’s answer to the raid grouping conundrum is by using “Guided Games.” These attempt to replicate a mentor-mentee relationship between the masters and novices, but so far it’s not working as planned. Players are being thrown together with others from around the world (raising language barriers), some can’t or won’t use voice chat (which is problematic on consoles), queues are quite long for novices, and experienced raiders feel resentful over having to bring new players up to speed over and over and over again.

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World of Warcraft Demon Hunter solos normal Gul’dan

A Demon Hunter should be able to kill demons. That’s their one job description, and so it should be no surprise that World of Warcraft’s Demon Hunters are actually very good at killing demons. But most of them are not nearly as good as Mione, a name you’ll find in no lore compilations who still deserves a nod for soloing normal-mode Gul’dan.

Yes, solo. As in “big boss of the second full raid of the expansion taken out by a single dedicated player.”

Obviously, gear has improved somewhat since Gul’dan’s release, but the fight (which is watchable in sped-up form below) still took over an hour to complete. “Doesn’t Gul’dan hit enrage at 12 minutes?” you ask. And you’re right, he does. He enrages, and Mione deals with that mechanic. Go ahead and watch the video, then check out the video description to see how this was accomplished, including waiting out the enrage. The notes do mention that the “real” fight (after the enrage happens and falls off) “only” took 27 minutes, which is… still insanely impressive.

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