sandbox

Sandboxes are a type of MMO that emphasize player freedom and expression. They frequently include mechanics for building, crafting, trading, character customization and development, roleplaying, destruction, and significant interaction with the world and other players. A sandbox that is dominated by an open-PvP or free-for-all ruleset is sometimes pejoratively called a gankbox. Contrast with the themepark.

Project Gorgon brings out catalog golems to help search player shops

One of Project Gorgon’s old-school-made-new-again features is the incorporation of player vendors. And while that’s all well and good to let players sell their own wares, it does present a problem when it comes to browsing and finding the items that you want to buy from others.

Enter catalog golems: “These adorable little constructs will be happy to search the player vendors for specific items on your behalf, and let you know which shops have what you need. The golems can’t tell you how much the price is, and they don’t deliver the goods, but they also don’t demand tips.”

These golems are just part of this past week’s patch for the indie MMO. Other features of the update include the ability for NPCs to install augments for players, more damage-over-time tweaks for skills, and plenty of additional improvements and fixes.

Source: Patch notes

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Star Citizen deep-dives its new grouping mechanics in a shortish Around the Verse

According to this week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse, the team’s been hard at work on facial rigging, mining, audio effects (yes, pew pew sounds), chat integration, ship power, overland biomes, and new guns.

Of course, the other big Star Citizen news this week is the release of alpha 3.2 to a huge wave of backers on the PTU. And one of its big headline features is the updated party system. That’s party as in grouping, mind you, not the kind with cake and champagne. The middle chunk of the episode focuses on that system and how it was influenced by player feedback. Turns out MMO players reaaaallly like grouping and piled on the demands for a better system after 3.1 released. Who knew, right?

The last half of the episode closes out with a lengthy lore section (Loremakers, which usually comes out earlier in the week), so all in all, you’re getting a pretty short development episode this round, but that’s probably OK since you’re getting actual content in the game instead. The whole piece is down below.

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Paid Khitan cosmetic DLC arrives in Conan Exiles

A new era for Conan Exiles is upon us, the era of paid DLC. It is a vital step in the long-term sustainability of this survival sandbox, which is why Funcom is putting a lot of enthusiasm behind its new Imperial East Pack.

The DLC is now available for $10 and contains three new armor sets, nine Khitan-themed weapons, 25 additional placeables, five decorative warpaints, and a new set of tier 3 building pieces. “Our artists have knocked it out of the park with this one,” Funcom exclaimed.

The studio also said that work continues on both pets and additional combos for off-hand weapons. Threat animations, a redesigned clan menu, muting functions, and more are being tested out right now.

Conan Exiles is currently 40% off (at $24) during Steam’s summer sale.

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Bethsoft alleges Behaviour and WB ripped off Fallout Shelter in the new Westworld mobile game

A trio of companies known best to our audience for their MMOs are gearing up for a big court battle in the streets of Sweetwater.

Bethsoft is apparently suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over alleged copyright theft in the brand-new Westworld mobile game. You’ll recall Behaviour from its development of MMO Eternal Crusade, and of course Bethsoft owns Fallout – it’s Fallout Shelter that Bethsoft believes was “ripped off” here.

Bethsoft says Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games. Apparently, Behaviour developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission.

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E3 2018: Bill Roper on gaming’s smoke and mirrors, Worlds Adrift, and building on SpatialOS

For MMO players, Improbable brought some interesting ideas to GDC this past spring. It also brought some games I wasn’t expecting, and the ones I was expecting were kind of downplayed. On the ground floor, developers from some of our favorite MMOs hadn’t heard of SpatialOS, a platform that allows games to be “bigger” by running multiple game engines in an innovative way, with a few developers being exceptions. I was set up for a meeting with Improbable CCO Bill Roper to help figure things out, but soon into our physical meeting he was pulled away and we had to follow up with emails, which rarely goes as well.

Fortunately, Roper had time to sit and chat again with me at E3. With SpatialOS’s first game out in the wild and more on the way, I felt like there was a lot Roper could explain about SpatialOS, MMOs, and Improbable’s role in it all.

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Wild West Online delays its next patch, but will anyone be around to play it?

A planned June 15th patch for Wild West Online obviously didn’t happen, and now we know why: The developers said that when they took the patch to test, it ended up being too unstable and buggy to release to live. As a result, a month delay was announced as well as the postponement of a planned free trial version.

“It was a team decision to postpone patch for up to one month, and make sure that we hit all goals we want with it,” the devs said. “We’re very small team at the moment, so while we wanted to have more resources to put on it, we’re going with what we have — what is in line with game’s metrics. ”

Wild West Online has struggled to gain an audience after launching far too early with a recently revamped gameplay build. Steam Charts shows that hardly anyone is playing it these days, with a daily average hovering around three dozen gamers or so.

Source: Facebook

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Black Desert partners up with controversial exploiter, community explodes

The Black Desert community is up in arms this week after Pearl Abyss highlighted one of the game’s Twitch streamers as a “featured partner.” So what is the big deal with promoting BladeBoques, the game’s first Level 60 player on a North American server?

To get the answer to this, you have to rewind the clock to July 2017, when BladeBoques was banned twice for exploiting the game. He set off a firestorm of controversy on the forums when he attempted to defend his actions, resulting in the community calling him out on alleged lies and spinning. The thread dealing with his exploiting reached an astounding 117 pages when all was said and done.

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The Repopulation details the changes for art assets and how they help players

The odds are high that when you walk through an MMO’s landscape, you are not thinking about art assets beyond “this looks pretty” or “this looks awful.” But the latest information from The Repopulation team covers why you should care a little bit more about art assets for forests and how they’re set up. After all, the way the game is currently set up, every tree is a different asset, but upgraded systems will make the calls for forests as a single group… thus reducing load times and improving performance as the game draws a single asset instead of many.

The developers are also improving and rescaling existing models (resulting in better collision detection and reduced loading times) and categorizing items more efficiently in the game’s databases. In short, the result should be a title that plays better while looking better at the same time. Check out the full rundown for an idea about how all of this will come together.

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Descent, the future of space mining

Fallout 76 wasn’t the only Interplay throwback at E3 2018: Descent, one of the games that defined the six degrees of freedom genre, is no longer underground. That is, the former title has changed because Interplay’s embraced the game and given the developers full support.

Descendent Studios team is hard at work on launch, Little Orbit CEO Matt Scott met with us to discuss what’s been going on in the past several years of development. Nostalgia aside, I went in expecting the worst: long-abandoned IP, Kickstarted game, indie team, extended public development, and fairly quiet presence on social media. However, I came out very pleased. While the game may not be an MMORPG, what I saw and heard makes me think that this may be the space experience I’ve been waiting for.

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EU’s Copyright Directive proposal has Second Life and Roblox players worried

A proposed law that’s making its way through the European Union’s legislative bodies has both players and studios worried that a wave of oppressive censorship might be on the way for video games (never mind other publishers, bloggers, and internet users!).

The law in question is called the Copyright Directive, which is being designed to protect (obviously) copyrights. The problem is that there are multiple provisions that are “vaguely worded and ripe for abuse,” including one that would make it a law to check everything uploaded online for possible copyright infringement.

Online games such as Second Life and Roblox that rely heavily on player-created and -uploaded material are at risk for possible censorship from an automated filter that will most likely not be up to the task.

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PSA: EVE Online is offering a 15% Omega discount through June 26

Devoid of further context, the phrase “Omega Discount” sounds vaguely threatening. It’s the last discount? No, it’s a discount on the price of picking up an EVE Online subscription in three-month chunks of time. That’s 15% off buying a three-month stretch, and it’s available until June 26th.

The three-month deal will cost you $33.02 in total, which works out to around $11 per month; that’s a better rate than anything other than the year-long package, which is impressive. So if you want to be subscribed through the summer, you have a path to do so on the cheap. And if you were going to buy yourself some subscription time afterwards… well, now you might as well do so early to save some cash.

And make sure you pick up a new Venture Capitalist ship while you’re at it, eh?

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Anarchy Online teases upcoming 17th anniversary event

Happy 17th birthday, Anarchy Online! Seventeen years ago this month, Funcom first stepped out onto the MMORPG scene and “launched” this sci-fi title. We are legally obligated to put that into quotes, because it wasn’t so much of a game launch as a mockery of all that was good and pure in the world. Fortunately, the disastrous start eventually gave way to a solid and engaging title that endures to this day.

Anarchy Online is days away from throwing its anniversary event, which will take place from June 26th through July 19th. While there aren’t any specifics out on the event quite yet, you can take a look at last year’s anniversary details to get an idea of what is probably coming.

And if you’re feeling all nostalgic, why not indulge some more by reading our Game Archaeologist retrospective of this game?

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Black Desert’s weekly update introduces soccer-themed event, guild crafting overhaul, and summer sales

Gooooaaaalllll! Yes, Black Desert is getting into the soccer hype season with its Golden Goal event starting tomorrow. Slay monsters, fish, and harvest to collect event balls and then turn them all in for a special golden ball, then exchange that for actually sweet prizes.

Today’s update also includes a hefty overhaul for guild crafting, accuracy tweaks, and UI adjustments.

And of course, Kakao is already gearing up for the sale season as Steam’s summer sale is rumored to begin tomorrow. Black Desert’sPearifect Summer” kicks off today and runs through the Fourth of July, with all kinds of goodies marked down to just a handful of pearls, a pet pack, an “awakening adventurer” pack, furniture, and an absolutely spectacular horse and buggy set.

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