zones

The Daily Grind: Is zone-wide chat a good thing for MMOs?

The first MMO I ever played was Final Fantasy XI, which meant that I got used to the idea of having no zone-wide chat. If you needed to get the attention of everyone in the zone, you used the /yell command, and that was considered intensely rude. It was only when I started playing City of Heroes (my second MMO) that I started getting used to the idea of zone-wide chat… which meant it seemed noisy at first. Going back to FFXI and then later in Final Fantasy XIV, it seemed downright quiet.

On the one hand, having a zone chat feature means that you get to talk with more people on a regular basis, so in some ways it helps with socializing. But it also means socializing that you might not want; Barrens Chat in World of Warcraft was legendary for being awful, and there’s a running meme in FFXIV to just turn off /shout when people are using it heavily. Plus there are people who prefer not to have it for immersion or the sense of immediacy. So what do you think? Is zone-wide chat a good thing for MMOs?

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Dark and Light offers a video tour of the Mistvane Shrine

It’s funny how something as little as a name change can make a big difference. Dark and Light has been talking a lot about the Air temple, which is a rather generic name; however, the new video tour of the same region has dubbed it the Mistvane Shrine. That’s the sort of place that seems like it has a proper name, and it only slightly sounds like a high-end vape store using the Papyrus font on business cards.

Regardless of the name, this is a new PvE area for players to explore, and the video will give you an idea of the twists and turns within the structure. Skip on down below to see the whole thing, complete with a look at some of the many battles you’ll be fighting there. It turns out that whatever you call a floating sky temple, the inhabitants are not entirely fond of visitors.

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Black Desert players take their first peek at the game’s next region, Drieghan

Yes, players have finally gotten a sneak peek at the next new land arriving to Black Desert, a vast and mountainous region to the south of the existing map. The bad news is that the page offering that first look is in Korean, being as the game is of Korean origins. So you’ll have to rely upon the analysis on Reddit if you want to make sense of it.

Or you could already know or learn Korean, obviously, but that might be a bit much for a fairly simple preview of the game’s next areas.

These new areas do not have a release date yet for the US version of the game, although it’s still early in the year. Players will be able to explore new lands and presumably continue the game’s main storyline, so players are no doubt excited to see what’s in Drieghan. And you can see it right now… a small slice of it, anyhow.

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Crowfall is spicing up its maps with ‘adventure parcels’

The maps in Crowfall are assembled in a combination of procedural and hand-crafted generation. Individual bits are hand-crafted, but the maps as a whole are put together using these linking pieces. Players have seen plenty of the stronghold parcels of maps (places where you can build things) and the wilderness parcels (places where you can harvest materials to build things), but the maps also contain adventure parcels, filled with dangerous critters to hunt for valuable materials.

These parcels are also constructed from several smaller parts, but they allow players to feel guided through rough terrain in a different way, complete with cosmetic layers and different possible layouts to ensure that while the parts might be recognizable, the overall map never becomes repetitive. You can check out all of the details in the recent dispatch about how these parcels guide you through danger; there’s also an article about handling your graphics settings in the game’s newest test builds if you just want to improve your performance or the look of the game.

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Pantheon shows off the process of making a city with its latest video

If you wanted to catch the newest Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen stream live, we’re sorry to inform you that you’re too late. It already happened. But luckily, you can watch the archived video down below, and it should provide you with nearly an hour of viewing pleasure. Assuming that you derive pleasure from watching a city get put together, but let’s face it, who wouldn’t find that pretty cool?

Yes, the stream brings together the creative director (Chris Perkins), the lead concept artist (Jared Pullen), and of course the director of communications (Ben Dean) to explore the process of making the capital city of Thronefast. The city in the video is in an early state, but that’s part of the enjoyment; you get to see the concept art and see the initial models for areas that will later be filled with rushing water (instead of blocky gray masses). Check out the full video just below.

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Wizard101 sends players to adventure at the heart of the Spiral with part one of Empyrea

At the center of the Spiral in Wizard101 sits Empyrea, which was made to keep the Chaos Heart safe. It accomplishes that goal by, well, keeping pretty much everyone out. But player characters are going to head there with the game’s latest update, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s tons of great stuff for players in Empyrea, starting with a level cap boost to 125. That means a new training point, new challenges, new gear to earn, and all sorts of new fun to be had in the zone.

Players can also expand their understanding of Shadow Magic within the new zone with new Shadow Magic spells, become a Revered Crafter, and generally enjoy all of the content that comes along with having three new premium zones in the game. Of course, this is just part one of the venture into Empyrea, so there’s going to be more in the future; players will just have plenty of stuff to do before that future comes to pass.

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The Division’s new patch 1.8 locations want you dead

Have you ever really wanted to get ganked by the AI in a game? That’s what you’ll be getting with the two new areas in The Division arriving with patch 1.8. Players traversing the West Side Piers will find enemies dynamically spawning along the zone, and the designers are bragging that it’ll at least seem like the game is trying to take you out specifically. Which probably sounds either awesome or awful, depending on how you feel about enemies popping up to shoot you from diverse angles.

You can check out all of that in the latest developer stream, archived just past the break. The new areas will also make Division Tech (previously available only in the Dark Zone) accessible to players within these wholly PvE regions, which should be welcome for those who don’t wish to have even the threat of actual ganking. Check out everything just below if you’re curious to see what it’s like by the harbor in the next patch.

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The Daily Grind: Do you like being lost in MMOs?

In Final Fantasy XI, my first MMO, maps were few and far between, often blindingly unclear, and offered as many opportunities to be hopelessly lost as they did for finding your way. Pretty much nothing important was marked on the map even if you had one. Being lost was the default state.

This is unusual now. City of Heroes and Guild Wars both surprised me by how resistant they were to letting me get lost, and World of Warcraft now makes it nigh-on impossible. And on some level, this is undeniably a good thing, because it means I spend less time trying to find where the Thing is and more time actually interacting with the Thing.

But then, some people really do prefer that sense of not knowing where the next objective might be. So today I ask, dear readers: do you like being lost in MMOs? Is part of the excitement of the genre for you when you don’t know where to go? Or do you consider better maps and more efficient guidance to be a boon to the genre?

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Albion Online is so popular it had to add emergency teleporters to its main hub

People are playing Albion Online, which is a good thing for the game. However, it’s less good when Caerleon has more than a thousand people trying to get in it, since that’s the point at which no one can get into the city. Since all of the zones around the city are full PvP and all of the Outland portal zones are also full PvP, it’s not exactly a safe situation for players when the city is suddenly unavailable. But the issue is being addressed with teleporters.

Teleport stones have been added to several locations, allowing players to teleport to the Caerleon bank and back out to both the Outland zones or the adjacent regions with ease. Should issues arrive, teleporters can be easily changed without server restarts. The developers also note that this is a temporary solution, with a more permanent one planned for the next patch; until that solution is put into place, you can enjoy access to some emergency teleportation.

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Path of Exile previews the upcoming Harbour Bridge area

Players testing Path of Exile’s upcoming The Fall of Oriath are going to be hit with a beta server wipe later this week when Act 8 lands for testing. That means new content to play, including the new Harbour Bridge area for people to explore. And you can preview the area right now with the video just below, so you don’t have to head to the bridge with no idea what it will look like.

Of course, it’s a short preview, just giving the barest idea of what the enemies and environment will be like in action… but it’s rather pretty regardless. Whether you’re in the beta test or just waiting for the full release, Path of Exile players will want to take a look.

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Diablo III previews the lore of the Necromancer and new patch 2.6 areas

You may well not need the lore behind Diablo III’s Necromancer to enjoy the class. All you need to know is that it’s a class that revolves around dealing with the dead or dying, and since dead-or-dying organisms make up 90% of the population in any Diablo game, it’s kind of a given that you’ll have plenty to do. But if you do want that lore, you can find out all about what makes the Necromancer unique right here, whether you’re an old fan of the class from its original appearance or just love the idea of making corpses explode now.

Of course, the new areas coming with patch 2.6 will be relevant even if you’re not going to be getting on the corpse-exploding train, so you probably will want to read up on those and watch the video just below the cut. Players will be visiting the Shrouded Moors, the Temple of the Firstborn, and the ever-changing Realms of Fate. Of course, if you’re eager to play a Necromancer and explore the new areas, you’re in a perfect state.

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Revelation Online takes a tour of Ersich Forest

We promise the population of Revelation Online that Ersich Forest is, in fact, a lovely and benevolent area. Sure, it seems nice on the surface, but most players have probably been hard-wired to expect that means the worst. Some horrible fanged nasty is going to kill them there, obviously, that’s what always happens. But not here. Yes, there are monsters, but locals consider even the Muskhorns roaming the area to be a good thing.

No, really, there’s nothing horrible hidden here. Stop looking at us like that.

Yes, there is a powerful deity called the Lady of the Forest, but – no, stop running away! She’s benevolent and she wants players to help her keep the forest safe. There are even wishing trees! It really is just a nice place without something horrible lurking beneath the surface. Really. Stop waiting for the trick, sometimes places can just be genuinely nice.

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Revelation Online offers a quick tour of Sidus Ur

Most of the world of Revelation Online is not safe to explore. It’s a dangerous place, and there’s battle at every turn. But Sidus Ur is one of the few places that manages to keep battle almost entirely confined to outside of the city walls. Sure, there are people murdering critters in the city, but that’s still better than you’re going to find on the other side of the walls, so it might as well be peaceful.

There’s also the daily pirate quest in which a whole lot of people fight over hoarded treasure, but again, that’s a minority. Hardly ever happens. It’s safe enough.

If you don’t want to fight people over pirate bounty or just kill local wildlife, you’ll find a peaceful city full of vendors and resources. You can also get a daily blessing from the Wishing Tree, giving you even more reason to hop to the city and stock up before heading back outside to greater dangers.

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