Culture & Community Category

The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

EVE Online is planning to weaken Force Auxiliaries

It’s just too easy for Force Auxiliaries to heal other ships right now in EVE Online. That’s the reason behind the balance proposal put forth on the official forums for a rebalancing pass. Essentially, the numbers are just too high and the counterplay options for FAX are too limited, so the plan is to reduce the numbers and see if that balances out. And they’re significant numbers, lowering healing output at all ranges while increasing capacitor costs across the board.

The estimation is that it would lead to an overall 37% reduction in potency, a significant change that seems to be warranted pending more general player feedback. To that end, feedback on the proposed change is being solicited now. One can imagine the effect this might have had on the game’s latest big conflict at UALX-3, which the community has dutifully summarized for those wondering what was lost in the latest stellar dust-up.

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PUBG pushes out custom match patch, apologizes for insensitive cash-shop items

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground’s update 18 is live on PC servers today after a brief stint on the PTS. As we previously reported, the update adds new weapons, a new truck, and the new custom match creation mode, which allows players to combine their selected game mode with other presets, like weather, spawn types, and maps. And yes, that includes the zombie mode that for some reason everyone wants in spite of the fact that every new zombie game is instantly mocked. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Meanwhile, PUBG Corp and Bluehole have apologized for upsetting Korean fans with the addition of an offensive Japanese military symbol on a pilot’s mask and the inclusion of an AI bot named Unit 731, presumably after the Japanese army division known for chemical and biological experimentation on Korean, Chinese, and Russian captives during WWII. There’s your history lesson for the day.

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World of Warcraft answers pressing prepatch questions in its latest video Q&A

The prepatch for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is out now, but the expansion is still a bit further off, so players have questions about it. For that matter, players have questions about the changes made since the prepatch hit. The latest Q&A video just below covers a number of questions, but if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, you can get caught up with the summary of events. And several of the issues with the prepatch are ones that will be remaining in place. For example, Legacy loot mode? That’s working as intended and shouldn’t be available for Legion dungeons and raids in BfA.

The issue with artifact appearances changing your offhand as well as your main-hand is also a limitation of how Artifacts are coded; that having been said, transmog limitations are being examined, especially for Fist weapons. The developers have also considered doing a level squish instead of just a stat squish, partly in response to the perception of more levels without much actually happening during them (there’s a desire not to add more talent bars, for example). Check out the full video below or the full summary on Wowhead.

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Overwatch is performing a little surgery on its healers and planning another free PC weekend

Healers are important in Overwatch, but they also have the potential to get out of hand. Sure, it’s good to be able to patch up your teammates, but it’s not fun to play a match where you can’t actually damage the other team; at the same time, it’s not fun to play as a healer and watch your options be “slightly slow down team deaths.” In order to avoid these hypothetical scenarios, Blizzard is adjusting most of the game’s support heroes in the next patch.

Ana’s ultimate will get a healing component, Lucio gets additional shields and range, and Moira gets additional resource regeneration, all of which should help cover blind spots in these character toolkits. By contrast, Brigitte’s Shield Bash is getting its cooldown increased and Mercy is having her healing beam very slightly lowered in potency, which already has people on the forums happily explaining that Mercy is now completely useless. (Which has happened with every Mercy adjustment ever.) Check out the exact numbers and developer philosophy on the forum thread.

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Sea of Thieves’ devs have realized that community comes from not constantly fighting each other

Hey, kids, did you know that players feel more like a community when they’re working together rather than constantly fighting one another? Of course you did, you’ve paid attention to more than two decades of MMOs teaching this exact lesson. But it appears that Rare was absent during those days of design school. A recent interview on the post-launch environment for Sea of Thieves reveals that the game’s team more or less completely changed the plan for the game once it became clear that, gasp, communities form when people work together:

We looked at the game just after launch and thought: players want to enjoy the fantasy of broadsiding other ships, so it makes sense for AI to take the brunt of that: if you’re giving people the creative outlet of attacking a common foe, it’s going to reduce the wish for dominance over other players.

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LOTRO calls Middle-earth groupies to celebrate Weatherstock X

There is perhaps no MMO player music festival as well-known and -attended as the yearly bash at the summit of Lord of the Rings Online’s Weathertop. This year, the celebration known as Weatherstock will be even greater as it enters its tenth year.

The player-led event kicks off on Saturday, July 21st, at 10:00 a.m. EST on the Landroval server and features 17 bands competing for the audience’s hearts (and votes). If you’re unable to attend in character, you can always boot up the LOTRO Twitch channel, as the music festival will be livestreamed throughout the day.

In other LOTRO news, a small patch dropped this week that made an important adjustment to Wardens, disabled mailing for mithril as part of an effort to combat spam, and allowed Kinship names to use diacritics.

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The Daily Grind: Where are the spots you most identify with in MMOs?

It’s going to be most relevant next week, but honestly I’m not even a little bit sad at the thought of Darnassus burning in World of Warcraft. Seriously. I’ve hated that city and the tree it’s sitting on since the game launched, and if Battle for Azeroth delivers me nothing else I like I’ll consider it a net positive because Darnassus has burned. But if something happened to Ironforge? I’d be sad. I already was sad when my beloved Wetlands got pretty trashed back in Cataclysm.

Any MMO you play for a while has certain locales you get more or less attached to. After years in Final Fantasy XIV there’s a whole lot of feelings for me attached to Mor Dhona and Ul’dah; by contrast, I wouldn’t really miss chunks of Gridania. I have never cared about the faction stations in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but I loved Dromund Kaas and I want to live on Voss in real life, much less in the game. What about you, dear readers? Where are the spots you most identify with in MMOs?

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon looks forward to big new systems like dynamic housing

The last patch for Darkfall: Rise of Agon had a whole gaggle of stuff in it. There’s even a video walking through all of the stuff contained therein below, if you want to check it out. But that’s all in the past now, and so the developers are looking ahead to future additions and improvements for the game. First on the list? The Relic system, which will allow players to pick up powerful Relics and attune to them, thus building characters in new and interesting ways and differentiating individual playstyles further.

The team is also hard at work on building the game’s dynamic housing system, allowing players to drop houses anywhere they’d like within the game world. That ties into expanded territory control mechanics in the game, as well as the upcoming Clan Platinum currency for purchasing clan-related things like siege weapons. So when you’re done enjoying the newest features the patch has to offer, you can start peering into the game’s future and get excited about that.

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Temtem discusses Kickstarter backer rewards, November PC alpha, and 2019 early access

If you backed Temtem’s successful Kickstarter, now is the time to collect at least some of your rewards. Spanish developer Crema has posted up detailed instructions on how to access the super secret Discord channels in a new Kickstarter update, though the rest will roll out depending on which platform you’ve picked. PC alpha, for example, is expected to begin in November; the early access is slated for September of next year. In-game rewards will roll out during that phase rather than alpha.

Temtem fully funded on Kickstarter back at the start of July; over 11,000 backers pledged $573,939 to make the game and all of its stretch goals happen, making it the biggest MMO Kickstarter of the year to date. As we’ve previously covered, the game is a bit of a Pokemon lookalike and calls itself more of a “massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure” than a WoW clone with raids. “The core idea behind Temtem is to build a classic adventure game with a focus on the story campaign, but with online elements added around it (seeing other people online, interacting with them to battle, trade, or just to talk and share experiences),” Crema says.

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Crowfall’s latest patch notes from the future video reads off 5.7 notes

The latest edition of Crowfall’s regular Patch Notes from the Future is not looking very far into the future. It’s actually close to looking into the present because patch 5.7 is very close to deployment. And since there’s been some time with 5.7 in development, a lot of the patch notes had already been read off before the most recent show. But it is available in archive form (you can watch it just below) and it does contain new stuff because apparently patch 5.7 just keeps getting bigger.

For example, the crafting disciplines and associated stats are being rolled into the game with the patch. The systems to alter those stats are not being included, but the stats will be there as part of the game’s UI to explore. There are also elements like decay rate and mega deeds slipped into the workings of the patch, but why take our word for it? You can see the whole rundown in video format just below.

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DC Universe Online adds the Teen Titans storyline Judas Contract today

It’s time for a new story in DC Universe Online, and this time the game is taking a spin with one of the universe’s more popular teams with the Teen Titans. Since Cyborg is leaving the Titans to work with the Justice League full-time, there’s a hole in the Titan roster. Players of the heroic persuasion are eligible, and players of the villainous bent are sneaking in anyway… but there’s another infiltrator sent by Deathstroke, and players will need to ferret out who it might be.

The patch includes new duo content, new raids and elite raids, and a new alert as part of the overall story arc. There’s also the new Augment system in the game, replacing the old R&D system and equipping various Augments directly to your character. Check out the full patch notes to know what you’ll be diving into, and then go hang out with a bunch of teenagers.

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Perfect Ten: Endless dungeons in MMOs

Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)

Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!

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EVE Online has banned almost 20,000 accounts since February for botting and RMT

Y’all remember the wild mess in EVE Online last winter and spring, when CCP Games said it was “coming for the bots” and getting tough on botting in the space sandbox? At the time, CCP said it had already banned 1800 accounts just in the month of January – and that was after a group of bot-hunting vigilante players had exposed the scale of the problem by taking down some of the outrageously expensive supercarriers owned by an RMT crew and piloted by bots.

CCP Games put out an update on its progress in the war on bots today, saying it understands that it’s “a key issue in the eyes of [its] community.” It says it’s banned 18,398 accounts since February: 8771 for RMT, 4250 for botting, and 5377 for account hacking.

The studio also says it has implemented a new password checking system to prevent account hacking and further asks the community to help by voluntarily enabling two-factor authentication on EVE Online accounts and by keeping those bot reports coming.

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