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Black Desert offers NA players a compensation package for emergency maintenance

Good news for Black Desert players in North America, you got some free compensation! The bad news is that it’s to make up for emergency maintenance on the game; the good news again is that you probably were not playing at the time? It’s a multi-faceted situation, that’s what we’re getting at here.

While the official sources seem oddly reluctant to state the nature of the compensation, a player has posted a screenshot of the package, which buffs gains to combat experience, skill experience, life experience, and item gain, along with a boost to recovery across the board. It should last for an hour, so that’s something. Players on the forums are complaining that this is a result of the game’s reduced maintenance schedule and that regular maintenance would avoid this issue instead of requiring unexpected maintenance and compensation.

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Ghost in the Shell Online services to close in Japan

The bright side of the news that Ghost in the Shell Online will be shutting down service in Japan is that this is not, technically, the game shutting down in its country of origin. But it’s still something of a blow, considering that the IP it’s based on is extremely Japanese and it was expected to be rather successful in the country. Not so, it appears; no reason is cited for the servers shutting down, but the most likely explanation is lack of players.

The game will close on November 29th after just about a year of operation in the country. No statements have been made about the future of the title on Western shores, to you can feel free to extrapolate your own hopes or fears based upon the announcement.

Source: MMO Culture

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Citadel: Forged with Fire updates its UI and its server browser with the latest patch

Oh, user interfaces, you delightful vixens. You take up a good chunk of our screens as we play, and while we may not notice you when you’re designed well, we sure as heck notice when you aren’t. It also takes a lot of work to change UIs once they’re in place, which is why the most recent Citadel: Forged with Fire update focuses mostly on updating the UI to make it easier for players to see what’s happening and get information. It also improves the game’s server browser to include more sorting options and filters so you can find just the right sort of server for you to play on.

Luckily, this update does contain other improvements; several new structures have been added to the to the game, like rugs, paintings, and bookshelves. Structure HP has also been fixed on certain pieces like doors, and throne decay time has been upped from 10 days to 16 days. Check out all of the updates and shifts in the patch notes; it might not be the sort of patch adding a groundswell of new content, but it’s still substantial.

Source: Steam

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Albion Online updates players on server issues and offers compensation

Every game is going to have issues when it launches; the good ones acknowledge those issues and keep players updated on the state of those issues and their solutions. Albion Online has run into some growing pains since its launch, and the developers are working hard at fixing the biggest ones, discussing the issues behind overcrowded areas, lag in larger fights, and periodic server reboots. Creating instancing for high-demand specific features like banks, for example, will allow players to access those zones even when crowded while keeping the rest of the world non-instanced.

Ultimately, the team is going to compensate all active players with an additional seven days of subscription time as a means of amelioration for the issues they’ve encountered. It also might help soften the blow for things like the most recent patch coming with a shiny new data rollback, which is resetting character data by 15 minutes. Not enough to end the world, but you still notice it; it’s the growing pains of a newly launched game.

Update: Patch notes for today’s update are now live!

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The Daily Grind: How should studios handle overpopulated servers in MMOs?

It doesn’t matter how many servers you have for your MMO, some of them are just going to be more popular than others. That’s inevitable. It happened in World of Warcraft, it happens in Final Fantasy XIV, it happened in City of Heroes. The only games it doesn’t happen are ones that use a megaserver setup, and that has its own issues which are a separate discussion topic altogether.

So let’s just accept that you’ve got an overpopulated server. The question then becomes what you’re going to do about it. Do you offer incentives to transfer people off? Do you add hardware to that specific server to support more people? Do you change login procedures? Do you split the server? There are no good answers, and no matter what you do, something is going to cause problems. So what do you think, readers? How should studios handle overpopulated servers in MMOs?

Please note that if your answer is “not let it happen in the first place,” you’re arguing that the best way to fix a car is to not have it break.

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Final Fantasy XIV hits a major instanced roadblock in Stormblood early access

Everyone knows there are going to be issues with an expansion on launch, and Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is no exception. Players have hit up against a pretty nasty one, however, even beyond the usual matters of queues and server loads; something seems to be causing issues with instanced content, including a very early part of the main scenario that’s causing huge population bottlenecks around one questgiver.

Producer and director Naoki Yoshida has been doing his best to keep players updated, but at this point getting past this early instance is largely a matter of clicking for entry repeatedly and hoping to not get the now-dreaded error message stating that the instanced battle could not be started. It’s not exactly surprising that the game would have some issues with early access, but players are left unable to progress beyond the first two areas of the expansion without some appreciable luck (and the instance servers aren’t at their most stable even for other purposes). The issue is being addressed, so keep your eyes peeled for updates when the logjam is finally broken.

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Wild West Online discusses splitting the difference between scale and player participation

How many players makes an MMO? It seems like a straightforward question, but it’s a rather complex one, and one that Wild West Online is attempting to answer by degrees. The official statement on the matter is that the developers are doing their best to find a balance between having a sufficiently large population to feel massive while also having a small enough number to feel relevant on an individual level.

The statement explains that if there are too many players, each individual person feels as if the whole thing is going on whether or not one player takes part. By contrast, too few players makes the game feel empty and, well, not actually massive, thereby defeating the entire point of the genre. No hard numbers are stated for the record, but players are already speculating on what this means for allowed player populations per server. If it’s a subject near and dear to your heart, you may want to weigh in as well.

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Final Fantasy XIV posts the dates for its upcoming data center move

If you’re playing on the North American data centers for Final Fantasy XIV, you’ve been given ample warning that the centers are moving. That’s not a surprise. Similarly, you probably knew that the move would impact your play time. The dates are in now, and you can see exactly when your play time will be impacted. The Aether data center (also known as “the one everyone is on because of Balmung and Gilgamesh”) and the Primal center will be moving from May 15th to May 17th, while Gaia, Chaos, Mana, and Elemental centers are moving from the 16th to the 17th.

Obviously, the game will be unavailable to play on those worlds during the maintenance, so all player subscriptions will be extended by one day due to the extended maintenance cycle. So you can’t play, but you won’t have to lose paid time. You will, of course, lose the time that otherwise would be spent earning whatever, but there aren’t exactly many weekly lockouts left at this point. And you’ll still have a month before the expansion launch.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Stephanie for the tip!

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Chronicles of Elyria clarifies server and domain selection process moving forward

The staff behind Chronicles of Elyria has been on a whirlwind tour of events, and you can read all about it in the most recent dispatch from the team. You can also learn a lot about booth layout, if that’s something that you find fascinating. And you can also find out the latest plans regarding the game’s server and kingdom selection, which starts with the fact that players are still going to be jockeying for space as predicted. Players will be selecting servers first, then selecting kingdoms in order of influence.

This is, of course, part of the problem, as the game’s plans do not wind up including enough land for all of the people who paid to have kingdoms in the first place.

It’s worth noting that servers are selected in order of seniority, not influence, so things become a bit muddier, and it’s quite possible for you to have a later pick of server and an earlier pick of land within that server due to backing late but having a lot of influence. Players can also convert to a lesser package and receive an advance pick of their chosen duchy, although those picks will also be in order of influence. Check out the full rundown and the details on the upcoming Q&A session in the official entry.

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Conan Exiles is bringing up new European servers, already looms over PAX East

Funcom announced today that it’s found a partner to host its Conan Exiles servers in Europe: G-Portal.

“This week the remaining European servers for Conan Exiles have been going up one by one,” says the studio. “We’ve already rolled a decent number of servers and the rest of them will be ready in a short while thanks to our new server partner! Servers will be popping up all over Europe, from west to east, so look for the ones with the best ping to find the one closest to you. The old Pingperfect servers will be brought up with the same name and server database as before, so players can jump right in to continue their adventure in the Exiled Lands.”

Early this month, Funcom told players it was parting ways with its original server host, PingPerfect, and switched to Gameservers, which it believed would be better able to handle the apparently huge demand for the game. Then, last weekend, the studio abruptly region-locked official servers for the game, sending legitimate international communities into turmoil as replacement servers have been coming up slowly all week.

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Crowfall shows off its unique server maps

In most MMOs, it doesn’t matter what server you play on, the world still has the same shape. You don’t log in to a new server and find that major landmasses are missing or that half of the map is totally different. But Crowfall isn’t quite built like other MMOs; it’s a game that cycles, with worlds living for a time, then dying and starting over. So it makes some amount of sense that with the game’s next update, players will be exploring four separate worlds with four separate world maps.

The Sanctuary server represents the “safe” space, a place for players to trade for resources and rest up. The other four servers – Misery, Sorrow, and Mourning – all represent dangerous worlds with resources to fight over. All four of these worlds also have distinct map layouts, and while theses are still rather early layouts, it should get you used to the idea that swapping servers doesn’t just mean exploring the same map with a different group of players. There’s a whole new world to see, and it may not be friendly.

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Trion offers compensation to ArcheAge and Rift players for server outages

Good news for players of ArcheAge and RIFT: You’re getting some free stuff as an apology for the unstable servers that both games have been experiencing recently. Bad news for those same players: You had some pretty unstable servers recently. But the issues are hopefully resolved, and players with Patron status on either game (or both games) will be receiving a free five-day time credit with no further action needed.

Meanwhile, players in either game can claim a free bonus pack from the in-game stores if they logged in between November 9th and November 22nd. RIFT players get 100 Affinity, which is an account-wide currency; ArcheAge players get a login badge and the Thanksgiving event pet. It appears some of those server issues may have migrated to Europe temporarily, but for now you should be able to log in and claim your compensation.

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