raiding

Ashes of Creation really wants you to grok its node system

We've teased upcoming Ashes of Creation for its "nodes," and apparently Intrepid Studios agrees that they're confusing, as the MMORPG has released a dev blog this afternoon explaining just what they are, again.

"Nodes are a pre-set location, wrapped in a zone of influence, in our world that can form into towns of different sizes. These sizes range from a small camp to a sprawling metropolis. The size of the towns depends on the contribution by players and how far they’ve advanced the Node. Players do not create the footprint of a Node, but within that footprint they do have the ability to own land. Players who are part of the government for a specific Node will have the ability to modify building types and services further, but for the most part, a Node will grow along its own specific path (think about this more as NPCs building these towns out, rather than PCs individually putting buildings and walls up). A Node’s contribution area is larger than the actual town itself, allowing for players to adventure while building upon the town. We call the contribution area the Node’s 'Zone of Influence,' and it’s the area where players help to advance the Node they are in."

Nodes can grow into towns, and players who perform activities within their boundaries contribute back to the node (and vice versa), but the size of the municipalities is limited; there can be only so many huge, sprawling metropoleis at a time, after all. Nodes will also have a determined type -- military, divine, economic, and scientific -- which will provide benefits to the associated activities.

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World of Warcraft 7.2 Tomb of Sargeras survival guide and patch notes

Blizzard has just dropped its official survival guide and patch notes for World of Warcraft 7.2: The Tomb of Sargeras, which is loading for launch tomorrowday.

Amusingly, 7.2 does not actually feature the Tomb of Sargeras, or at least it won't tomorrow; the raid itself will open once the patch settles in, par for the course for WoW (and other Blizz properties, for that matter) nowadays. What is going live, however, is the new Broken Shore zone, the Cathedral of Eternal Night dungeon, challenge artifact skins, rebalanced legendaries, new traits, and more order hall research options, plus proper flight privileges, long a source of contention in the community.

While you wait, check out out own look at the ramifications of the patch and the content cycle, and don't forget the survival guide tucked down below, as well as Blizzard's ongoing sale.

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The Stream Team: Adventuring in ARK's redwoods

After many weeks of raiding and raid prepping, Massively OP's MJ is eager to just relax and explore the ARK once again -- relax being a relative term, of course. Since many new dinos have been introduced, she can't wait to find a few to tame. Today, she's going into the redwoods in search of those high-flying cats that like to pounce from the treetops. Will she find some, or will they find her first? Join us live at 12:00 p.m. for this walk in (the heavy wooded and dangerous) park.

What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 25th, 2017

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RIFT acknowledges expansion issues, talks about new zone and challenge servers

If you felt let down by the execution of RIFT: Starfall Prophecy, you're not alone. In this week's producer's letter, Trion Worlds admits that the expansion had "shortcomings" that need addressing. To wit, the studio said that it is "pouring heart and soul into improvements" to shore up the content as it moves forward.

Speaking of moving forward, there's certainly a lot of exciting things on deck for RIFT, starting with the imminent Patch 4.1. This update will add eternal weapons, a planar crafting revamp, a 10-player raid, and new weekly quests. Following that is the return of Carnival and the release of Patch 4.2 with its brand-new level 70 zone, Vostigar Peaks.

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WoW Factor: The good and the bad of World of Warcraft's patch 7.2 date

Boy, this is a time I am glad to be wrong. I was outright worried that Blizzard was going to hold patch 7.2 for a much longer span of time, but no, it's hitting World of Warcraft on March 28th. That's good! It's still squarely aimed at trying to kneecap something else going on that same day, arguably, but at least it isn't being held for months. I'm going to count that as a good thing.

In fact, there's something very good baked into the announcement, something that's easy to miss. Of course, there's also something very bad baked in as well, or at least the hint of something bad, a thought I've stated before in passing but I haven't really elaborated on before. So today I want to examine both sides of this. Why this patch date makes me very happy and very worried at the same time. (Mostly the former, if you're wondering, but the latter is relevant.)

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World of Warcraft's Patch 7.2 is coming next week

The hour is nearly upon us and we, we are not prepared. But we are pretty eager! This afternoon, World of Warcraft announced that Patch 7.2: The Tomb of Sargeras will be launching next Tuesday, March 28th.

This comes after a flurry of testing and dev diaries covering the patch's big features. Among these features are the new Broken Shore zone, the Cathedral of Eternal Night dungeon, challenge artifact skins, rebalanced legendaries, new traits, more order hall research options, and of course, a way to regain our flight privileges in this expansion cycle.

What isn't coming next week, however, is the titular Tomb of Sargeras raid, which will open at a later (unspecified) date. PvP season two is set to end on the 28th, with season three starting up right after. Check out the patch trailer after the break!

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Riders of Icarus increases the level cap, adds rainforest zone in Corruption of Light, now live

Exciting things are afoot at Riders of Icarus, as the year-old MMO rolled out its Corruption of Light update with plenty of new content for players to enjoy.

For starters, there's a level cap increase to 55, meaning that everyone has a little more to do to max out their characters. With that cap increase comes one or two new skills per class, such as the Assassin's throat cut ability or the Wizard's fire pillar spell.

Next up for the game is a rainforest region, Ellora Sanctuary and Windhome Canyon. This area is for characters level 49 and up, and contains over 230 new quests and a pair of additional field raid bosses to tackle.

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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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Flameseeker Chronicles: Creating a better balance in Guild Wars 2 raiding

One of the major concerns aired by the Guild Wars 2 playerbase regarding raid content is the risk of juicy raid-only story details being gated away from the bulk of players. In comments found on part one of my breakdown of Bastion of the Penitent, the most recent raid wing, many of you again discussed this problem and brought up other issues with how ArenaNet presents raiding to players in the game. Although I had planned to run my second installment in the Bastion of the Penitent series to cover the lore found in the raid, after seeing the content of your comments, I thought that I should give space to some of these complaints to see if we can perhaps come up with some suggestions for improvement in future.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I'll take a look at the most pressing gripes players have about how raiding has been implemented in GW2 while examining how this could be built upon to create larger appeal for the content that's being created without alienating diverse sects of the game's community.

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The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we've been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.

This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.

Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let's talk about those.

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Blade & Soul switches to larger, slower updates with brand-new Secrets of the Stratus

Blade & Soul is rolling out a massive expansion next month, one NCsoft says "marks a shift in pace for the game."

Dubbed Secrets of the Stratus, it goes live on April 12th with the seventh act of the storyline, an overhauled skill system, a new solo/casual open-world area called Celestial Basin, floors 16 through 20 of Mushin's Tower, and Naryu Sanctum, "the most difficult 6-member heroic dungeon to date."

"Moving forward, NCSOFT will offer larger and more ambitious expansions on a slightly slower release schedule," the press release says this morning. "This means players will have more time to experience and master content without having to feel rushed by the next update."

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Massively Overthinking: When social play in MMOs is predatory by design

Blogger Tobold recently wrote a provocative piece on social play in MMOs, as pointed out to us by our dear tipster Sally. In a piece cheekily titled "Why I can live without other players in my games," he writes that far from being the foundation or glue of MMOs, guilds are actually one of the worst bits of the genre, being platforms for selfishness and drama.

"Guilds were never designed for positive social interaction, they were always a means to an end of individual character progress. You needed those other people to get the most powerful gear in the game. And the way there wasn't exactly a constant stream of friendship and happiness. Look at what MMORPG blog posts have been mostly about when talking about their guilds: First people complain if others aren't investing as much as they do and become a hindrance to killing raid bosses, and then when the raid boss is finally dead they complain that somebody else got the loot."

"The people most loudly complaining about the lack of other players being forced to play with them," he finishes with a zinger that resonated most for me, "are the kind of people with the most predatory play styles."

I've presented Tobold's piece to our writers for this week's Overthinking. Do they -- and you -- agree with his thesis? Let's Overthink it.

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