Betawatch: Legends of Aria wants you to break it (July 20, 2018)

Please, break the servers for Legends of Aria. The developers want you to break the servers. There’s a big event this weekend and everyone is being encouraged to go hog wild and log in until the servers buckle under the strain. You probably should not whisper that it’s been a naughty, naughty server as you do your best to break it, but we suppose you should follow your bliss.

Other beta news? Aw, heck, just because we’re friends.

Are those stories strange enough for you? Perhaps you’ve got some strange stories of your own to share down in the comments, or perhaps you’d just like to let us know if something slipped into a new test phase without us noticing. Both are neat!

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Wizard101’s main city gets a magical makeover

When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101 managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update.

The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!

Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.

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Warframe finally unleashes Nyx Prime (and others) in next week’s sale

As Digital Extremes opens up its Warframe prime vault next week, so too might many players be opening up their wallets in response.

“Become the master of manipulation! The Prime Vault opens July 24th on all platforms,” the studio said. “For the first time ever, the hypnotic Nyx Prime is leaving the Vault! Charging out beside her is Rhino Prime along with other high-demand Vaulted Prime Accessories, Prime Weapons and discounted Platinum.”

The studio is planning to make five bundles available for sale next week: a “Brains and Brawn” pack that includes several prime warframes, a Nyx Prime pack, A Brute Prime pack, and accessory packs for Nyx Prime and Rhino Prime. The packs will be available across all platforms, although no prices have been listed as of yet.

Source: Warframe. Thanks Alex!

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Fortnite’s Playground mode struggled due to matchmaking server stress

Some limited-time modes in Fortnite are successful and some aren’t, but the Playground mode was notable in that its issues had nothing to do with player reception. The mode had to be turned off and then re-implemented because it was causing some pretty severe issues. What happened? Well, the latest post-mortem breakdown from the developers explains that it wasn’t an issue with any part of the game itself but a simple limitation of the matchmaking servers.

As Playground matches take place with far fewer players than a normal Fortnite match, the matchmaking servers were already doing far more work to match players up. That meant increasing the number of servers used by fifteen times… which meant also having to deal with a 15x increase in load and matchmaking lists. The good news is that the stresses of the mode have taught the developers where the matchmaking weaknesses lie, so future problems of a similar nature can hopefully be avoided.

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Atlas Reactor launches new Oblivion map just in time for a double-experience weekend

Trion’s big games always get so much attention that I always forget about Atlas Reactor, but here it comes this weekend with a mighty patch and event for loyal players. In fact, it’s getting an all-new map called Oblivion.

“Oblivion awaits in Atlas Reactor, prepare to embrace the darkness in a Necrolancer inspired map for PVP, VS Bots, and Custom Game modes. Oblivion comes out July 20th and is an open arena that features hidden camouflage and cover along the edges. Dominate the battlefield and seize control of the centrally located healing powerups to survive in this tactical deathmatch.”

Players checking out the new map this weekend will be treated to double expies; Trion says there are only five chapters left in the season for those of you working on ranked awards, so now is the time.

 

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Dauntless previews the flaming exotics arriving with The Coming Storm expansion

Dauntless turned heads earlier this week by announcing two things: It’s racked up 2M players in free-to-play open beta, and it’s got a big patch coming up in August, complete with a hub makeover, new content, and new gear. Among that gear are two new flaming exotics, which Phoenix Labs has previewed in a new dev blog. One is a fiery morningstar that turns the floor into lava, and the other…

“The first of our two new Charrogg exotics is the Skullforge. With a heavy metal structure and dynamic flame effects, this piece will add flare to any Slayer’s setup. Battle is where this helm really shines, though. When you land your first hit, you’ll see flames start to flicker from the helm’s metal crown. Land a few heavy blows in a row, and you’ll light up hotter than an aether-fueled bonfire.”

Look, if somebody comes at me with a hat that is literally on fire, I am backing away slowly and then very, very quickly.

The game’s most recent version fixes Godhand bugs, duplicate gear, and sword and pike issues.

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Rend discusses sweeping content changes, wipes alpha servers ahead of new testing surge today

Keep an eye on your inboxes today if you’re hoping to get into Rend’s alpha test: Frostkeep announced this week that it’s added two new servers and “thousands” of new testers today. The downside? The existing four servers will be wiped, so all testers are effectively starting over.

In addition to the character redesign and talent rebalance features in progress, Frostkeep says it’s also targeting “sweeping changes to the game’s harvesting and crafting logistics and overall game cycle timing” plus updates to the Yggdrasil biome, taming, metaprogression system, “increasing early to mid-game competitiveness to reduce the snowball effect of one faction getting ahead. The overall goal is to make a cycle of Rend last longer and play like less of a frantic race to the finish line.” You’re not going to be able to port a truckton of mats across the map like it’s nothing anymore, either.

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The Stream Team: Looking at Legends of Aria’s closed beta

Alpha is but a memory from the past — Legends of Aria has moved on to closed beta. That means Massively OP’s MJ needs to dive in and see how things are going. She already likes the choices on character create. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to check out the beta version of…

What: Legends of Aria
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 20th, 2018

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Stardew Valley is finally really truly launching PC multiplayer on August 1st

Stretch your mind back over two years ago, when the much-loved Stardew Valley first confirmed it was getting a multiplayer version, thereby justifying our burning desire to write about it on Massively OP. Original creator Eric Barone and the studio he brought on to handle multiplayer, Chucklefish Games, kept a tiny trickle of hope coming over the last two years of seeming delays, but multiplayer went into beta testing this past spring, and now we have a real release date: August 1st. Yes, soon! That’s for PC, Mac, and Linux; the YouTube blurb says Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch are still underway.

As previously reported, the patch allows four players at a time, so three including the host player; you can marry other players, divorce them, chat, share farms, and share money, but only the host can pause the game (and it pauses play for everyone), and a few things are separate, like inventories and relationships. And everybody gets a cabin.

“In deciding what to share vs keep separate, our main goal was to encourage cooperation and teamwork,” the devs wrote on Steam when the beta was in testing. “Since the farm and your money pot are your main way of progressing through the game, they have to be shared in order to facilitate cooperation. Without this, there would be no need for players to even interact!”

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Fractured’s player city system is the evolution of Star Wars Galaxies

MMORPG sandbox Fractured has five days to secure another 16K to make its $116K Kickstarter goal – and it just broke the $100K barrier as I’m typing this sentence. Dynamight Studios has a big housing and town update out today that ought to give players a reason to push it over the edge.

“In Fractured, having a base of operation is something really desirable for all players,” says the studio. “As with all our features, we don’t want to exclude any part of our userbase from enjoying the game, and that’s why we’re giving everyone plenty of options on how to live their social life. In the system we’re building, lone wolves can claim their own lot of land outside of a town, where they can build a home, basic crafting stations, cultivations and livestock. More social players can instead band together and start a settlement, or join an existing one. The most ambitious players can become the elected leaders of a free town through politics, or autonomously rule one connected (and dedicated to) their guild.”

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Otherland plans a new character type to experience an upcoming short story by Tad Williams

Tad Williams, the author of the original Otherland quadrology, has written a new novella in that world. What does this mean for players of Otherland? Well, part of the novella will be available in the game. Obviously, the entire thing can’t be present there, but some of it is; the official post on the matter explains that it’s a bit like the short story which would eventually grow into the novella. And yes, that means it’s a new story about the game world in the actual game world.

But there are going to be fans of the books who aren’t necessarily interested in playing the game, and thus the developers are planning to introduce a new “Social” character type to the game. These characters have no combat abilities or progress, but can bypass all of the usual starting zones to simply start the treasure hunt for the story; players can later convert these characters to normal characters if so desired. Not a bad cross-promotion all around, really.

Source: Facebook

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WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth feels like Cataclysm all over again

It took me a long time to identify what felt off about World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion. Something was definitely bothering me, but the thing was is that we know exactly what an expansion with the bare minimum effort looks like now, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like Battle for Azeroth was Warlords of Draenor But Again. Yet something kept nudging at me, some comparison that was just slightly eluding me as I dutifully tested new quests, new system revisions, and so forth.

Then I realized that the whole thing was basically Cataclysm and it clicked.

Mind you, I say this not as an indication that the expansion is nearly as bad as Cataclysm was. (There’s still far too much of the actual game to see, for example.) But far from my own optimistic excitement, it feels like the expansion is making a lot of the same missteps as that particular black mark, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
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Crowfall improves performance by changing terrain

It’s far too early in Crowfall’s testing to worry about optimizing the game’s frame rate and overall performance, but there’s a difference between “optimizing” and “improving.” The latest change made to the game exists precisely in that space, as the game should now perform better just because the game’s terrain is now being rendered using custom-built meshes instead of built-in Unity meshes. That… had a pretty distinct improvement on the rendering and overall performance!

Why? Well, the game’s engine no longer has to convert from default options before rendering things, which cuts down on processing power and results in terrain that should look identical but just render more smoothly. There’s also a new way of handling the grass rendering that significantly cuts down on processing as each chunk of the landscape is rendered. All of which should result in an improvement you see in terms of frame rate, but the game itself shouldn’t look different… which is a performance upgrade for you, really.

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