first came out, I had very low hopes for it. The game already was launching into a crowded field, and it was doing so while basically just taunting
Blizzard to invite comparisons to World of Warcraft
. Seriously, the game had that remarkably ill-advised “We’re not in Azeroth any more” ad campaign, that looked like a bad idea then
and looks even worse now. I didn’t play it before launch, but at a glance I had thought, “this looks like a good free-to-play title but it can’t go up against WoW
To put this in street fight terms, this is the 98-pound weakling kicking the head of a motorcycle gang in the shins, then asking him what he’s going to do about it.
Fortunately for everyone, that story did not end the way you might expect. Sure, RIFT did not in fact take the entire world by storm, but it has been running successfully for several years now, pumping out expansions and big updates and generally managing to keep its head above water. And it no longer looks, at a glance, like WoW with a lick of paint despite that being its initial design.
It’s a pity that World of Warcraft hasn’t really updated its character creation in a long time, because the game direly needs it. The fact that every single Night Elf has the same height and build is kind of shameful, and the only thing that makes it slightly better is the fact that it used to be even worse. But it’s still bad, especially when you consider that this is a wildly popular game with plenty of money to improve this.
Of course, it’s hardly alone in having a not-great character creator; Star Trek Online has long suffered from having only a couple of hairstyles that look good on any given race, while I’ve never been able to make a character I’m totally happy with in RIFT. So what do you think, dear readers? Which MMO would benefit from a character creator update the most? Is it an older game with a sadly out-of-date creation tool, or is it a newer game that could just offer more or better options?
We only get a small peek at the character of Hanu, one of the major NPCs in the upcoming Wolfhunter DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online
. But what we see is immediately the essence of a power move with a young woman who asks how to visit Hircine’s Hunting Grounds while remaining alive
, rather than spending a live devoted to the deity and being sent there as an eternal reward.
Of course, her reasons are less a matter of “it seemed neat to see if I could do this” and more “I intend to rescue the soul of my dead father,” so there’s a good reason for why she wants to do something that by all rights ought to be impossible. But it remains a power move and should give you an idea of the sort of woman you’re dealing with. Not that she’s likely to survive the experience on her own, of course; slipping into the Hunting Grounds via the next Great Hunt is not precisely a safe plan.
The latest community Q&A video from Crowfall is actually not that at all. It’s supposed to be that, of course, that’s what it claims to be on the tin (or in the video header), but the upcoming test patch 5.7 is the real topic of discussion for this video, and that has overtaken any actual list of questions. And with good cause; there are lots of little things in the patch that seem simple, like having multiple zones in the same world, which have actually been huge technical headaches that take a lot of development work to make functional.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your views), zoning isn’t the only challenging thing going on in the patch. After all, there are other mechanics like crafting changes, new monsters, and of course the infection by the Hunger. You can find out about it in the video just below; just don’t expect to get much in the way of questions answered. Shifting zones works, that’s reason enough to be happy, right?
It’s always nice when your army of characters on a given MMO can be useful for you at all times, and Black Desert’s
latest patch makes that happen. The new character tag system
lets you swap out your character on the fly for another tagged character of your choice, meaning that you can hop from being a helpless low-level character struggling with a quest to a max-level dynamo for just a few moments. So now leveling multiple characters is planning for the future, not just always making new alts!
Of course, the system does have restrictions. Players cannot swap in the sea, in the desert, or during Node/Conquest wars; there’s also a five-minute cooldown between swaps. The tagged character also cannot buy or sell trade items, nor can trade items be moved from inventory to storage. So you can’t just make the tagged character handle your shopping and such. But you can no doubt come up with interesting things with this mechanic; check out the full patch notes to see the other ways things have been rebalanced and improved.
The latest Wild West Online patch landed on July 5th, and it brings in some changes like a full Sheriffs vs. Outlaws faction setup and the ability to taunt your enemies. It’s also easier to customize your character’s appearance and several skill trees have been fixed to work correctly with the game’s current build. All good things for the people still playing the game, and all meant to feed into what is apparently a plan to relaunch the game entirely to be more of an online shooter and all that entails:
What this “relaunch” plan means for you – our existing players ? to be honest it doesn’t really gonna affect you much – it will for sure will bring new players to the game, as well as add more stuff to do in a game, making user experience more in line with it being PVP shooter game.
The developers go on to explain that quests will be removed from farmers, replaced with simply daily tasks that pop up as part of the interface, and farmers will become just another sort of vendor in the game world. You can read up the full plans for the “soft relaunch” now, although you have to dig a little bit to find out that the developers are working on adding playable women to the game but don’t consider it a very high priority because it’s “just a cosmetic feature.”
If you’ve forgotten, WWO launched out of early access in May in a state which appeared wildly unready for launch, with immediate negative reception. We’ve got a roundup just below if you’d like to catch up on the progress.
You may or may not use the Perfect World Entertainment Arc launcher to play games like Neverwinter and Champions Online. There are lots of ways to get into the games, after all. But the developers would certainly like it if you were using the branded launcher, and with the latest update to the client you’ll have even more reason to do so. The newest version updates the layout of the front page to be more readable and allow special displays for more news categories, making the launcher more useful for sorting out what’s new.
Players can also take advantage of the launcher’s improved chat system, which brings some of the bells and whistles of voice chat, friend lists, group chats and you know what, it’s another client adding in an interface that should hopefully remind people of just using Discord. But there’s also an improved overlay in the game, so that’s a good thing. It should give you a little more reason to use the Arc client, or at least more improvements for people already using it.
Everyone does not get along in Albion Online. It’s not a game about everyone holding hands and being great friends. But when the Merlyn update arrives on July 31st, players will have a new reason to not be friends and to actually try to smash one another in the face with a big hammer. See, the patch is bringing factional warfare, which expands the reasons for smacking someone around from “you took my harvesting node” to “our colors don’t mix and you took my harvesting node.”
The update is also bringing along outposts, trade caravans, faction rewards, and resource redistribution across the world. All of it should give players even more reason to poke at one another in a fight over resources, as well as plenty of exciting new opportunities to do so. In other words, get ready for things to be much more contentious when July 31st rolls around.
The death of The Amazing Eternals partway through its testing was a shock for numerous fans, all of whom were looking forward to the first post-Warframe title from Digital Extremes. But there were good reasons for stopping the title there, and according to publishing VP Meridith Braun, one of the big reasons was LawBreakers:
The competitive landscape at that time was pretty hefty. We just saw LawBreakers not do so great, and it was a fantastic game, so that was sad. That happened right when we were starting our closed beta for [The] Amazing Eternals.
Braun also noted that the game was “the right game at the wrong time,” while also attributing the unexpected resources required to make Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon update as good as it could be. It was a perfect storm of forces arrayed against the title, in other words; the one saving grace for fans is that the company would still like to revisit it at some point (though considering the big updates approaching for Warframe, it shan’t be soon).
There’s been a bit of a problem with the balance of PvP in Skyforge
. The developers want players to be rewarded for accomplishments in PvP, but the scaling system wasn’t working and players with good PvE gear were still coming out on top. Hence the new Honor stat being added to the game with the upcoming Gods at War patch
, which should help players with a PvP focus outplay those who are running with whatever stats work for PvE.
Honor caps will increase with each season, but the maximum bonus for Honor will always be at 35% extra health and 20% extra damage in PvP. Honor will always be available through stat replacement, which requires a special item earned through taking part in PvP matches. In short, you’ll get more Honor stats by taking part in more PvP combat, and PvP combat will allow you to gain Honor stats which in turn make you better at PvP. It’s rather straightforward as progression goes, really.
The little things make a big difference sometimes. You don’t necessarily need your character to mutter “ow” in reaction to falling a few hundred feet and then landing in a set of jagged branches, but that expression of pain does do journeyman service to making a game world feel more alive. Which is why the Worlds Adrift team went to the trouble of recording a new batch of audio assets headed to the game to give player characters some sounds when they’re injured, along with the various emotes getting some voices.
One of the big points for the developers was downplaying severity; the team didn’t want characters screaming in agony as bad things happened, but just expressing some degree of exertion and pain. The voice emotes also provided their own struggles, including the male voice actor being unable to burp on command (forcing a developer to step in and provide the vital belch). Check out the full rundown on voices as well as some of the raw audio on the official site.
More pilots are needed in EVE Online
. The game has another patch arriving tomorrow
, but it’s going to wait another day to introduce a big new recruitment program
aimed at drawing in new players or existing players who wish to take advantage of the recruitment advantages. This is chiefly due to backend issues; the existing referral program goes offline today, and the new infrastructure will take about 48 hours to put into place.
New rewards will be implemented for recruiters, although prior results for recruitment will not be carried over in order to properly track everyone. There are new ship skins and new rewards for recruiters (with special rewards for up to 40 players recruited) and the same bonus of 250,000 skill points for accounts so recruited. Players will need to generate specific email referrals to comply with EU data privacy laws, however, something players should be aware of well in advance. Get out there on Wednesday and start bringing people into the fold.
Heaven-on-High is not quite the same as the Palace of the Dead. That is not surprising; they’re different places with different lore and slightly different goals for their place in Final Fantasy XIV’s
overall breadth of content. But they’re both part of the same food group, so there’s also the basic expectation that Heaven-on-High will be, functionally, Palace of the Dead 2. Which is… not inaccurate.
This is, in summary, an iterative take on the idea already established rather than a whole new frontier of content. It has both good sides and bad ones, and by and large I think it’s an improvement over the first version of the Deep Dungeon content. That doesn’t, however, mean that this take is flawless. It doesn’t even mean that every addition even enhances the overall experience. So let’s start prying into the dungeon from my first several runs, picking out the good parts from the negative and seeing what works for the future.