Matt Daniel

Matt is an incurable, lifelong nerd who has almost certainly spent more time in front of various screens and monitors than is strictly healthy. On the rare occasions that he manages to pull himself away from said screens and monitors, he's probably absorbed in a good book or scribbling down the latest half-formed story that's popped into his head.


Twitter: @Matt_DanielMVOP

Currently Playing: Black Desert

Creative Assembly’s Grace Carroll speaks on fighting toxicity with active moderation

Anyone who’s been on the internet for more than a few minutes knows how quickly forums and comment threads can quickly descend into toxicity — not that such a thing would ever happen around here — and community managers and moderators are constantly trying to figure out how to combat that problem. But according to a new report published on GamesIndustry.biz, the solution may be simpler than you’d think.

The article cites Creative Assembly’s Grace Carroll, who spoke on the subject at Develop:Brighton, as saying that on the Steam forums for the studio’s Total War series of games, simply the “visible presence of moderation” was enough to tone down the toxicity.

“If someone posts a really awful comment, and I reply . . . they’re like, ‘oh my god, I didn’t think you’d read it, I didn’t think you’d reply to it,'” Carroll says. “The attitude can turn from horrible to apologetic straight away.”

Take notes, game devs and community managers. You can check out the full summary of Carroll’s talk over at GamesIndustry.biz.

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First Life is Feudal content update unites the worlds, introduces PvP arenas, and adds clergy and slavery

Bitbox recently released the first major content update for its medieval sandbox survival game Life is Feudal, and it brings with it a slew of new features, including the uniting of the game’s numerous worlds, a PvP arena, the slavery system (really), and the clergy system. And to celebrate the new update’s release, Bitbox is granting all players a set of “God’s Favor” currency, the total amount of which is valued at over $2 million US.

With the new united map, players can now travel “freely” (i.e., with subscription-based restrictions) between the game’s worlds as well as trade between worlds via trade posts. For those who want to test their combat prowess against other players, the update introduces new PvP arenas, which pit up to 20 players against one another in free-for-all battles, with the top three players in each match taking home prizes of coins and PvP ranking points.

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Reign of Guilds shows off environments, castles, and magic in latest dev blog

The latest dev blog for Russian indie dev Atlant Games’s upcoming Reign of Guilds has a veritable smorgasbord of detailed information about various facets of the game, ranging from the technical tools being used to create the open world to the game’s magic system and more. A great deal of the blog post is devoted to discussing the design and creation of the game’s open world, detailing the tools the devs are using in order to generate the world’s mountains, forests, streams, and other natural splendors. It also takes a look at the first of the game’s counties, called Daerkunn, which the blog post says is about 50% complete.

The dev blog also delves into the construction of the castles that will play key roles in the game’s guild-vs-guild warfare. From simple wooden outposts to grand stone citadels, the team is aiming to provide a diverse array of locations for players to kill each other over. In addition, the post highlights some of the elemental magic players will be able to wield as well as detailing the game’s inventory and trading systems. If you’re interested in checking out this behind-the-scenes look at Reign of Guilds’s development, you can check out the full post over on the game’s official site.

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Monster Hunter: World teases Final Fantasy XIV crossover in new trailer as Capcom stocks drop

Capcom has released a new trailer teasing the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV crossover with Monster Hunter: World, which will allow hunters to square off with Final Fantasy’s own Behemoth as a large monster encounter, among other FF-related additions.

In addition to the Behemoth fight itself, the trailer shows off the new armor set that players can (presumably) craft from Behemoth bits, which is an exact copy of FFXIV’s iconic Dragoon artifact armor, complete with the Gae Bolg spear. The spear appears to be part of the Insect Glaive family, thus allowing the would-be Dragoons to perform the class’s signature Jump ability, after a fashion.

Other Final-Fantasy-themed inclusions include Cactuars, which seem to function similarly to MHW’s status-inflicting toads that can be kicked or hit with a slinger to trigger status effects. The Cactuar, when triggered, appear to perform their signature Thousand Needles attack, damaging anything in the vicinity.

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Economy-breaking Old School RuneScape bug results in unprecedented server rollback

Old School RuneScape had a bit of a hiccup this week as the game was suddenly taken offline to allow Jagex to investigate a potentially economy-breaking bug, ultimately resulting in an unprecedented server rollback. Although the bug in question was initially unspecified while the team set about fixing it, Jagex has since provided some details on what exactly went wrong. The short version is that the code for the pickpocketing update, released earlier today, included an undetected logic error that allowed players to use pickpocketed coin pouches to convert other items into massive amounts of coin. Because the effects of this bug were so far-reaching, the devs had no choice but to initiate a server rollback, the first in Old School RuneScape’s history, which the devs describe as “an immense undertaking.”

Jagex acknowledges that, although the bug was its fault, it quickly became aware that a number of players were exploiting it to line their coffers with ill-gotten gains, with many using the funny money to buy bonds to redeem for membership subscriptions. As such, Jagex will be removing these illegitimately purchased memberships from players’ accounts, and those players “will also see action taken against their accounts and will temporarily be removed from the game.” The servers have since been brought back up, though the devpost notes that some players may be temporarily unable to log into the game. The devs are working hard to remedy the issue on affected accounts and ask that players remain patient while they iron the problem out.

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Fractured releases development roadmap as Kickstarter campaign enters final weeks

Dynamight Studios has released a development roadmap for its would-be crowdfunded MMO Fractured, which is currently sitting at $66,907 US of its goal of $116,762 with 12 days to go on its Kickstarter campaign. The roadmap lays out the studio’s plans for the game’s development and testing phases, which have been split into four parts: alpha 1, alpha 2, beta 1, and beta 2. Fans will also be excited to know that the first test for the current development phase (alpha 1, of course) will be coming in December of this year. The full roadmap spans from this year into the farflung future of 2021, when the game is slated for release in the third quarter of the year.

Most of the focus, however, is on the game’s current development phase and what players can expect when the first round of testing rolls around in December. At first, the only playable area will be the planet of Syndesia, and players will likely be limited to playing as Human characters, though the post notes that over the course of the alpha 1 development phase (which is planned to conclude around Q3 of next year), the devs plan to give life to all three of the game’s planets and races. In addition, the official post highlights some details of the game’s crafting system, player-run towns, and the unique knowledge system. You can see the full roadmap and get all the details on the aforementioned features over at the game’s official site.

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Disgruntled Star Citizen players blockade a space station in protest over Arena Commander

Cloud Imperium has dropped a couple of new tidbits for Star Citizen fans to dig into this week with a new lore post and the latest installment of the studio’s weekly Around the Verse development videos. On the development end of the spectrum, the latest Around the Verse is all about the recently released patch 3.2 and the currently-in-testing patch 3.2.1. In it, Director Chris Roberts and VP of Marketing Sandi Gardiner recap the newly implemented mining system and improvements to the game’s quantum linking gameplay. The video also features a few short previews of what players can expect to find in patch 3.2.1, currently in testing on the PTU; the studio covers upcoming sound-design improvements, the upcoming “99% complete” touring module, and a sneak-peek into the process of designing the upcoming utilitarian habilitation environments, plus there’s a segment on player-led bug-fixing efforts.

Not everyone is happy with the current state of the game. According to Star Citizen player and prolific MOP tipster DK, the pause on Arena Commander has plenty of players riled up; a group of players were last night blockading the Cry Astro refuel/repair station, shooting at everyone who came near it in “protest” over the halt in AC development. “They blew up my 600i,” he tweeted. Reddit has characterized it as a “pirate takeover” and is warning players to avoid the area and the protest even while welcoming it as the “start of the emergent gameplay of Star Citizen.”

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Latest PS4 H1Z1 patch tunes vehicle mechanics and introduces new lighting varieties

The latest patch for the PS4 version of Daybreak’s popular battle royale title H1Z1 goes live today, featuring vehicle tuning, lighting updates, and a handful of bug fixes to boot. The primary focus of the update seems to be some fine-tuning of the game’s vehicle mechanics, which is being done in order to “help combat the number of cars currently present in the final few gas rings.”

Cars are now much easier to destroy with pistols and rifles, which will now do the job with roughly 15% and 26% less shots, respectively, though SMGs and shotguns now require about 11% more hits to disable a vehicle. In light of this change, the devs have also made cars slightly tougher while they’re on fire before exploding in order to allow passengers adequate time to bail out. To top it off, cars now start with half as much fuel in the tank (save for ATVs, which now start with double the previous amount of gas) and consume fuel at a considerably higher rate. The patch also updates the game’s vehicle HUD, which aims to be “cleaner . . . and easier to read.”

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Latest War of Rights update introduces new Maryland Heights skirmish area

Campfire Games has just released the latest update for its game War of Rights, bringing bug fixes, graphical updates, and a brand-new skirmish area to the American-Civil-War-based FPS. The highlight of the update, of course, is the addition of the seventh Harpers Ferry skirmish area, Maryland Heights, which allows players to recreate a historic showdown between Confederate and Union forces that resulted in “most of the Confederate casualties of the entire siege.”

In addition to the new area, the update adds a possible fix for a major server-crashing bug as well as particle effects for bullet impacts, footsteps, and water splashes. It also makes a balance change that illustrates the game’s emphasis on realism, allowing players to “slowly recover” after being hit with a club or bayonet, with two hits requiring a full 15 minutes for the wounded player to recuperate. You can check out the full patch notes on the game’s official forum.

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Tree of Savior update to introduce new classes, a new dungeon, and more

A big update is coming to Tree of Savior next week, introducing two new classes (with accompanying master quests and class costumes) as well as a brand-new solo dungeon and an array of changes and updates to existing areas of the game. The headliners of this patch, of course, are the new Rank 8 classes — the Pied Piper and the Exorcist. The Pied Piper, part of the Archer base-class’s progression tree, is a flutist whose melodies can control enemies and buff allies. The Exorcist, an advanced class for the Cleric, channels divine energy to “expel evil energies” and “overthrow demonic enemies,” though hopefully there’s no pea-soup vomit involved here.

The new dungeon, called Remnants of Bernice, is a solo dungeon where players at or above level 300 have 15 minutes to progress through multiple stages of monster assaults. Players will be ranked on a leaderboard based on their performances. All players will receive Keista Restoration Potions just for participating, but the top 10 players each week will be rewarded with (presumably valuable) Dimensional Incense Burners. On top of the new content, the patch will also bring changes and additions to Uphill Defense, Gemstone Feud, Guild Quests, and more. If you want to peruse the patch notes in all their glory before the update drops on Monday, July 9th, you can do so over at the game’s official site.

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Conan Exiles patch brings gamebreaking bugs, causes community uproar

It seems there’s been a bit of a hubbub surrounding the latest patch for Conan Exiles. It all started a few days ago, when Funcom announced that the “500+ patch” (so named for its “over 500 changes, adjustments, and fixes”) would likely be delayed due to many dev team members taking a “summer break.” This, as you probably guessed, disappointed much of the game’s community, who made their disappointment known on the forums. In response, two days after the initial announcement, Funcom pushed the patch onto the test servers and put out a call to arms for players to come provide feedback, incentivizing them with free copies of the game’s upcoming DLC for players who reached level 25 within a twelve-hour window.

That decision may have been a bit short-sighted, as players packed the test servers in a mad rush to reach level 25 and claim their free DLC, arguably at the expense of actually testing the patch and reporting bugs. So, perhaps unsurprisingly in retrospect, when the patch was pushed to the live servers yesterday, it brought with it legions of unexpected and often game-breaking issues, leading many players to call for complete server rollbacks.

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Women In Games report suggests strategies to promote gender diversity in e-sports

The subject of gender imbalance in gaming, especially in professional e-sports, and how to rectify it has been a matter of debate within gaming communities for quite some time. A recent article by GamesIndustry.biz’s Haydn Taylor highlights a paper published by Women in Games that puts the spotlight on the topic, providing suggestions for ways to increase gender diversity in e-sports.

Drafted by leaders of women-in-games groups from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy as part of a discussion titled “Increasing female interest and participation in esports careers” held at the inaugural Global Esports Forum organized in conjunction with Intel and e-sport organizer ESL, the paper summarizes the current obstacles inhibiting female participation in e-sports and lays out 12 recommendations for remedying the situation.

The post on WomenInGames.org quotes five-time Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world champion Steph “missharvey” Harvey as saying she believes that the main reason the number of women in e-sports is so low — estimated at about 5% — is that women in gaming are “automatically judged for being different,” citing her own experiences of “extremely graphic” harassment about her gender. Women In Games seeks to eradicate this kind of toxic behavior and promote gender diversity in gaming and e-sports.

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New Bless Online producer’s letter tackles optimization issues and hacking

The saga of Bless Online’s turbulent Western release (which we dove into last week) continues with a new producer’s letter posted today, this time addressing two topics that have been the target of much discussion (and criticism) among players: optimization and hacking. The letter recognizes that optimization is “a big question on the community’s collective mind” and states that the team is “currently in the process” of reworking the in-game options menu to allow players more control over their settings without resorting to altering the .ini file. Moreover, the devs have “identified specific function problems” in the game client and are working to remedy these issues in addition to network-related problems. Neowiz plans to hold stress tests for these fixes “sometime in July.”

The letter also acknowledges that the devs have received numerous reports of players using hacks and states in no uncertain terms that it is “absolutely against [the game’s] terms of service.” In response, the devs “have already been taking immediate action” against these players and are “issuing permanent bans” to the guilty. The team also encourages players to continue reporting players suspected of hacking, particularly by providing video evidence containing character names and server information. You can read the whole producer’s letter over on the game’s Steam page. For more first-hand information on the future of Bless, be sure to check out our interview with the devs.

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