Jef Reahard

Jef is an author, pilot, and scruffy looking nerf-herder, not necessarily in that order. When he's not writing about MMORPGs or slipping the surly bonds of earth, he dreams of the perfect Cool Ranch Dorito.

Jef's work includes Lost Continent, Stick and Rudder, and MMO Burnout, among numerous topics and columns on Massively-that-was.

The Daily Grind: Will you try Epic’s Paragon MOBA?

I hadn’t heard of Paragon before last weekend, but after watching the brief gameplay clip that Epic released to tease its upcoming MOBA, I’m kinda interested. MOBAs have steadily grown on me over the past year, and while I’ve been enjoying League of Legends sporadically, I really miss Infinite Crisis because of Batman’s various gadgets and some of the other sci-fi trappings.

Paragon looks like it may check that particular box, though it’s also apparently in third-person sorta like SMITE, and I prefer the traditional top-down MOBA perspective. So we’ll see, I guess! What about you, MOP MOBA fans? Does Paragon look interesting enough to try?
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Epic’s new game is a MOBA called Paragon

Epic’s entering the MOBA space with Paragon, which is scheduled to hit the PC and PlayStation 4 in 2016. The studio released a brief gameplay video over the weekend that shows plenty of big, beefy sci-fi dudes in power suits beating the crap out of one another. The trailer’s description mentions “direct third-person control” as well as “deep strategic choice,” the former of which you can kinda get a glimpse of by watching the 58-second vid after the cut.

Paragon will go into open beta in the summer of 2016, after a paid early access period in the spring, according to the game’s official website.

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Dungeons & Dragons Online explains legendary green steel crafting

Turbine is adding legendary green steel crafting to Dungeons & Dragons Online. It’s a “wide-reaching, complex crafting system,” according to an equally wide-reaching forum post. The wall o’ text lays out the mechanics at a high level and also explains how legendary green steel crafting differs from heroic.

In a nutshell, LGS involves collecting various ingredients, crafting weapons of “nearly any kind” or accessory/equipment slots, and upgrade the items several times to make them stronger. Ingredients may be found in “all three raids,” Turbine says, and it plans for tier one and tier two materials to be found in various quests. The full post features a lot more info, if’n you’re interested in DDO crafting.

Source: Forums


ARK: Survival Evolved scores some mainstream press coverage

ARK: Survival Evolved got some mainstream press coverage over the weekend, with a piece in the Seattle Times that focused on Studio Wildcard lead Jesse Rapczak. Yes, people still produce (and apparently read!) newspapers, and Rapczak — a former Microsoft designer who worked on the HolonLens project — is profiled along with ARK itself.

The dino survival sandbox has sold over 2.4 million copies despite not being finished and despite being a PC-only title to date. Studio Wildcard features a five-person dev team working in Bellevue, Washington, and “a few dozen more working as far afield as Egypt,” according to the Times.

Source: Press reader; thanks Bullwraith!


SWTOR climbs, FFXIV falls in Raptr’s October rankings

Raptr recently released its most played games list for October 2015. MMOish titles featured heavily in the list, with Star Wars: The Old Republic posting big gains and World of Warcraft maintaining a comfortable position in the top five. Guild Wars 2 climbed by 10.87% over the previous month, securing the 12th spot in the rankings, while Final Fantasy XIV dropped five spots and 24.31% of monthly game time.

MMO-likes ARK: Survival Evolved and Warframe are also present and accounted for, while MOBAs Dota 2 and League of Legends continued their world domination.

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Shroud of the Avatar details its City of Truth, conducts an R24 postmortem

It’s the weekend, which means that it must be time to peruse the latest Shroud of the Avatar newsletter. Sure enough, Portalarium released another juicy one on Friday that features an extensive look behind the scenes at the making of Aerie. What’s Aerie, you’re asking yourself? It’s a city inside the fantasy sandbox that’s surrounded by prairies and swamps. Aerie is also known as the “City of Truth,” according to Portalarium’s Esteben Zaldivar, and it’s a scholarly place that is both rich in trade and reliant on wind power.

Elsewhere in this week’s update, the devs get together for a Release 24 postmortem, so be sure to read the full text if you’re a Shroud of the Avatar backer or curious onlooker.


No Man’s Sky has neither missions nor collectibles

No Man’s Sky is a big game, what with 18 quintillion planets that would take 600 billion hours for players to explore, according to Kill Screen. The website recently talked with the game’s managing director Sean Murray, and the resulting interview is a lengthy one, though it probably won’t take you 600 billion hours to read.

There’s little in the way of gameplay information or reveals, as the piece focuses on what it’s like to be a struggling indie game dev and picks Murray’s brain regarding the genesis of the project. Murray does offer an interesting nugget on why the game lacks traditional busywork, though. “Somebody said, ‘Aren’t you worried about the fact that the game doesn’t have missions or quests or collectibles, and would you consider putting those in?’ And I had a kind of little breakdown. I was just saying, like, because I have this argument with myself all the time, because it would be really easy to put those things in. And we think that, fundamentally, there are enough games that have those concepts.”

The game has a new PSX video, which we’ve included below.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite voxel-based game?

Every time I play Space Engineers, or even write a post about it, I’m blown away by the recent planetary update. The sheer size of the new playfields, not to mention the fact that they’re all fully changeable by players, is one of the most impressive game industry feats that I’ve seen in quite a while.

I’m curious to see if other voxel-based titles can improve on Keen’s design, and as such I’m also curious to know about the MOP community’s affinity for these sorts of games. Aside from Landmark, there aren’t many playable voxel-based MMORPGs at this point, but what say you? What’s your favorite voxel game in general?

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HEX’s PvE mode detailed in a fresh video

That kickstarted HEX: Shards of Fate trading card game is still a thing, and earlier this week, HEX Entertainment published a video showing off the first in-game footage of the title’s PvE mode.

The clip takes viewers along for a ride through the dungeons of Fort Romor, though the dev voiceover notes that there are a few placeholders and bugs present that will disappear from the final version. RPS also spilled the beans on how HEX’s dev team views its AI. “Designing the fundamentals of a card game is one challenge, devising an ever-growing roster of cards to play with is yet another, but what [the team] team now have to do is create an artificial intelligence that presents a credible and capable challenge to players,” HEX’s devs told the site. “It has to know how to play, understand every card in the game and, like any of HEX’s human opponents, be able to anticipate, to adapt and even to surprise.”

Click past the cut to view the PvE vid.

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Gloria Victis revises combat mechanics and more

Alpha-state fantasy sandbox Gloria Victis pushed out a press release late this week touting “massive” amounts of polish and bug-fixing for the latest build. Two consecutive updates were released to the live client, which addressed critical issues with logging in and saving inventory in the database. More noticeably in terms of gameplay, the devs have revised all of the combat mechanics calculations, leading to an increase in performance during both PvP and PvE fights. NPCs can deal critical damage, too, so watch out.

Finally, the dev team has “significantly reduced” the game’s CPU usage. Near future optimizations will include server and client performance as well as user-friendly launcher improvements.

Source: Changelog 0.5.1, Changelog 0.5.2



Perfect World is running a bunch of holiday events

Perfect World Entertainment has brought back its annual winter holiday events to its stable of MMOs. We’ve mentioned the goings-on in Star Trek Online already, but you might also want to check in with Neverwinter for its Winter Festival of Simril for daily quests, starlight parcel gifts, and more. It starts on December 17th.

Perfect World International is hosting login bonus events beginning on December 18th, while Forsaken World gets a 12 Days of Giveaways promotion that starts on December 14th and runs through Christmas day. Finally, Champions‘ Black Harlequin and Holiday Event has already started, and it runs through December 31st. On December 11th, players can battle Clarence the giant teddy bear and Black Harlequin; on Christmas Eve, players can collect presents that contain random rewards.

Source: Perfect World press release



Space Engineers’ lead dev details the planetary construction process

Have you tried Space Engineers since it added its ginormous planetary update? If not, you might want to watch the video dev blog that Keen Software boss Marek Rosa posted last week. “Planets are the biggest feature we’ve ever implemented in Space Engineers,” he says. “It’s bigger than survival, bigger than multiplayer, and it’s really a game-changing feature.”

Rosa says that Keen initially didn’t plan to include terrestrial gameplay in its space sandbox, but after receiving lots of community feedback requesting the feature, Keen changed its mind. The process was challenging because planets in Space Engineers are “real,” meaning that they aren’t simply graphical constructs but instead volumetric voxel objects that players can see from a distance and then visit and change. Click past the cut to view the full video.

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Destiny talks Titans, winter update plans

Bungie published a lengthy look at Destiny’s status earlier this week. The firm is working on a December update patch that should hit sometime in the next few days if all goes according to plan. What will it contain? Primarily small-scale tweaks that include arsenal updates, reprisals for “a handful of year one exotics,” and changes to town vendors that will allow them to accept new materials in exchange for reputation and rank.

Bungie is also making changes to Sunbreakers in its 2.1.0 update, with updates for Strikers and Defenders to follow sometime during the winter.

All of this should go nicely with the sparrow racing league arriving this week. Check out the new trailer below.

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