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ArcheAge brings in a variety of haunting events for Hallowtide

Starting on Tuesday, October 24th, ArcheAge is getting into the spirit of Halloween. As we all know, the real meaning of Halloween is dressing up in costumes and enjoying bits of ghoulish glee, and you can rest assured that exactly that will arrive with the game’s many seasonal events. Honor the souls of the dead for festival tokens, or go about smashing pumpkins and picking up costumes and event crates. There’s also a special trade pack delivery route starting on October 18th, and it won’t bring you through festival areas, so you’ll be in greater danger the whole time.

You know what’s really scary as an ArcheAge player, though? Discussing servers. No, it’s not another merge, thankfully, it’s just opening up transfers to and from the game’s Evolution servers. Fresh Start servers remain sectioned off for the moment, but it wouldn’t be a proper Halloween season without a shiver of terror running down your spine. Even if it’s less terror at the thought of monsters and more at the thought of another land rush.

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ArcheAge merges fresh start and legacy auction houses

The economy for ArcheAge servers is getting a little more unified. During the game’s next weekly maintenance window, the auction houses for the game’s fresh start and legacy servers will be getting merged into one overall server. Legacy auctions are going to remain unaffected, but fresh start server auctions will be expired automatically, meaning that players on the fresh servers will have to adjust to the existing standards across the larger server community.

If no bids have been placed on an item on a fresh start auction house, the full posting price and the item will be returned to the player; otherwise, the highest bidder will receive the item. It’s another step toward bringing the fresh start servers in line with the rest of the game, although whether or not that’s a good thing probably depends on whether or not you have something up for auction that’s about to become more valuable or less so in the near future.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic renames ‘Hot Prospect’ merged server

Aside from all of the other name issues surrounding Star Wars: The Old Republic’s upcoming server merges, there was the reality that one of those servers was going to be named “The Hot Prospect.” Did it have a lore basis? Yes. Was it still the sort of name that people were either going to love or hate? Yes, but it tickled the developers, and there’s a segment of players who would love to have a server named “The Hot Prospect.” But it’s not to be.

Why did it change? Not because the name was silly; that’s why it was kept this long. No, it was because concerns were raised about how it could be taken as a derogatory term toward players, which was reason enough to change the server’s name to “Satele Shan.” That does open up jokes about how Satele Shan is the hot prospect, but we can assume that was considered an acceptable change.

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Dauntless patch 0.2.1 is all about improving stability and chat

Some patches don’t add much content, but they still make a game better. Dauntless patch 0.2.1 isn’t going to add much in the way of new game content, aside from the new model for the Skraev chain blades, and even that just looks different. But the technical improvements on the back end? Those are important.

For starters, characters will no longer see hunt chat while chilling in the city, and vice versa. Players will also be able to view system messages over the chat box for a short time, thus ensuring that any important announcements aren’t lost in the chat spam.

Equally important, players will get patches delivered in smaller chunks by the patcher, which should help improve stability and cause fewer issues with any connection problems. The patcher can also now link to outside sources, helping you get better information. So, all technical stuff, but the technical side is worth being happy about. And how about those new chain blades down below, huh?

Want to see more of Dauntless in action? We’ll be streaming it tonight on OPTV!

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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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