dust 514

Official Site: DUST 514
Studio: CCP Games
Launch Date: May 14, 2013
Genre: Sci-Fi shooter
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PS3

Massively Overthinking: What important lessons are MMORPGs failing to impart?

MOP reader and Patron Brett has a burning question about the lessons we’re learning (and not learning) from playing MMORPGs.

“In his book Theory of Fun, Raph Koster suggests that games are really just systems of learning things in a way that we enjoy with fewer consequences. In his words, ‘That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.’ If that’s true, then modern MMORPGs and their narratives would seem to be a pretty mixed bag of lessons – individual power can be accumulated like wealth; evil can be conquered through solo and group acts of courage; violence is a feasible solution to almost every problem; your race, nation or profession defines a lot about who you are; and accessorizing with the most expensive bag is possibly the most crucial decision to make before leaving home.

“So with so much opportunity at the moment for our real-world societies and communities to be better, I’d like to know what you think is the most important lesson or lessons that MMORPGs could be teaching us, but currently don’t? How could these games leave us wiser or more richer people for the experience?”

I’ve posed Brett’s questions to the team for the resurgence of Massively Overthinking this week.

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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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IGDA calls for transparent guidelines on game studio social media and harassment following Guild Wars 2 dust-up

Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”

“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”

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LOTRO Legendarium: Are the new seasonal instances a win or a whimper?

Let us travel back to 2009, when Lord of the Rings Online released its second expansion pack, Siege of Mirkwood. This pint-sized expansion seemed underwhelming with its options (although it did give us one of my favorite zones in the game), especially after the grandeur that was Moria. However, Mirkwood did factor in a new feature that made a pretty big splash with players: skirmishes.

Skirmishes were a new type of instanced content that could be scaled in both difficulty and group size, both of which felt revolutionary at the time. They threw players into either an offensive or defensive quest, challenging the group to conquer piles of foes and continue to press onward by claiming flags, defending areas, and defeating optional side objectives. To make matters even more interesting, players got to bring along a soldier companion to assist, and this soldier could be modified and trained to become more effective.

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Pokemon Go’s second anniversary report card sees high marks for content and innovation

Today is Pokemon Go’s second-year anniversary. Last year’s report card had to grapple with things like the game’s rapid rise and fall as a fad, its severe lack of promised content even with its first major update, crimes associated with the game, and being somewhat anti-social – and that was before the disaster known as Pokemon Go fest 2017. It was probably the worst way to start off a new year for your game, and it’s probably no surprise that our coverage of the game waned after the fallout.

But something happened. Whether it was because series Director/Producer Junichi Masuda was there to witness the horror or because some internal change in Niantic’s process changed, we’ll probably never know. But change came. Generation 3 became Pokemon Go’s One Tamriel. Suggestions I’d made previously happened and are still happening. The numbers are showing that the improvements are paying off, as the game’s playerbase is at the highest it’s been since its 2016 peak, after having gone through a brutal 80% dropoff. I thought I was being overly optimistic with my 2018 predictions for the game, but so far, so very good!
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One Shots: The crane… the crane…

I love crane machines. Yes, I know they’re a total scam, but I won something in one once, and I can’t help but throwing money at them in the vain home of repeating that epic moment. Of course, I might forswear crane machines altogether if I got one of FFXIV’s creepier races as a prize.

Vincent has no such compunctions: “Only a Lalafell would look this happy being carried around by a Death Claw!”

It’s how all of us at Massively OP get to work every day, actually.

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Elite Dangerous has big plans for a Memorial Day weekend bonus event

Frontier isn’t exactly known for running bonus weekends, but it’s doing just that in Elite Dangerous as it joins the throng of online games vying for your eyeballs during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re pleased to announce that, starting from May 24 to May 30, we will be introducing an extended ‘Bonus Weekend’, which will bring temporary but lucrative bonuses to the galaxy!” the studio says.

“The bonuses we will activate for this period are as follows: All profits from trading activities will be increased (the amount of profit will vary depending on what you are shipping and where you’re shipping it to. Rare commodities are excluded from this bonus.) The materials requested for engineering recipes will be at one rank below the existing ones (cheapening the current cost of engineering your modules.) Whether you’re a penniless pauper or a wealthy space-tycoon, it’ll pay to haul this weekend, so dust off your freighters and get out there! Oh, and if you need a little extra jump-range, the engineers have you covered!”

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TERA Online invites you to solve a murder mystery

A High Elf teenager has been brutally stabbed to death — and the TERA police are on the job. The only problem is that this case may be bigger than what they can handle, which is why they’re enlisting the help of the entire game community to figure out whodunnit.

That’s right, TERA is throwing a murder mystery event, and everyone is invited! Claw and Order (pause for groans) kicks off a month-long interactive murder mystery in which the community will be combing through new daily developments and searching for the truth both inside and outside of the game [our bad – it’s just outside the game!]. This is seriously cool.

“To make things even more fun, EME employees will be monitoring the discord discussions closely, sharing secrets and mulling over clues with players all throughout this special community event,” En Masse Entertainment said. “So whether you play TERA on PC, Playstation 4, or Xbox One, dust off your thinking caps and get ready for some serious sleuthing.”

Get started by scoping out the crime scene below. Good luck!

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Here’s what’s in Shroud of the Avatar’s R53, launching this Thursday

The dust may be settling after Shroud of the Avatar’s final launch, but that doesn’t mean the game is done. On the contrary, Portalarium clearly means to keep right on its strict monthly update schedule.

As the title’s latest dev update explains, R53 – due out this Thursday – includes the rebuild of multiple scenes and locations (like Tenebris Harbor and Penmawr Island shown in the gallery below), plus the looking-for-group system, better loot, offline drop rate tweaks, additional side quests, heraldry, and new “plunderer NPCs,” plus the promised UI polishing pass.

The planned stress test on the QA server kicks off as this post goes live; as previously noted, a quorum of participants will ensure a double experience event come the launch of the update.

Meanwhile, if you’re into world exploration, swing by the Twitter feed of Portalarium’s Richard Garriott; he’s been chronicling a well-earned trip to the Arctic.

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EVE Fanfest 2018: EVE Online FPS Project Nova is coming ‘in months, not years’

When CCP Games first made the leap into the first person shooter market with DUST 514, things didn’t exactly go to plan. The game was released as a PlayStation 3 exclusive toward the end of the console’s lifetime and fell severely short of expectations. While DUST 514 was eventually discontinued, the dream of a first person shooter in the EVE Online universe has been kept alive at CCP. Two years ago, the company announced that a total remake of DUST 514 was underway under the name Project Nova, and this time it would be released on PC.

Today at EVE Fanfest 2018, CCP Games’ CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson revealed that Nova will be coming “in months, not years.” The game should hopefully be playable in some form this year, and the initial release will focus on core FPS gameplay in an EVE setting rather than being directly connected to the EVE server. CCP hopes for the game to stand on its own feet before slowly integrating it into EVE — first via social integration, and later through economy links and other gameplay links. No new content was shown off for Nova this year, but CCP has started a newsletter for those who want to get in on the ground floor.

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EVE Evolved: Get ready for EVE Fanfest 2018!

There’s just a week and a half to go before EVE Fanfest 2018, the biggest event in the EVE Online social calendar. The event kicks off on April 12th and will celebrate EVE‘s upcoming 15th anniversary, a major milestone for any online game. This year we’re anticipating juicy details on the next step in EVE Online‘s ambitious long-term development roadmap, an update on the impending EVE mobile game, and possibly a major announcement about CCP’s upcoming MMOFPS codenamed Project Nova.

MassivelyOP will be on the ground once again this year to get the latest insight into the future of the sandbox. Stay tuned to our coverage of the event using the EVE Fanfest 2018 tag, where I’ll be posting major announcement news, detailed discussions on new gameplay revealed, interviews from the event, and in-depth opinion pieces. Fanfest will also be a great opportunity to assess the mood and impact of last year’s pull-out from VR game development, and to take the pulse of the community of a variety of topics. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to pose to developers or players while I’m there, please let me know in the comments.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down our expectations for EVE Fanfest 2018 and give some tips on getting the most out of the event for players attending or just watching from home.

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GDC 2018: Ultima Online post-mortem with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel

Plenty of panels at GDC are recorded and uploaded to the internet weeks after the event, including this one. It’s not quite the same as being there, as you miss a few things. For example, this year’s Ultima Online Post-Mortem panel was packed. It was international. It was fun, gross, nostalgiac, and sometimes groan-inducing.

And I’d hate to just summarize the talk, especially since some of you vets have heard these stories before, but since ya’ll couldn’t make it, I’ll do it. For you. But for this particular panel, not only will I try to summarize what was said before the panel will be viewable online in a few weeks, but I’ll dish out on the after-panel chat with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel, including comments from the team on bad bans, kingslaying, VR, and the state of the MMORPG.

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Crowfall might put your head on a stick

Haven’t lived up to your potential? Suffered the wrath of your enemies and paid the price for your folly? You could very well end up with your character’s head on a stick in Crowfall. That’s just the risk that you take in waging an eternal battle.

Heads on sticks is but part of the developer discussion over the new Pre-Alpha 5 patch. The team also discussed bandages, durability penalties, eternal kingdom building placement, ethereal dust gathering, and various fixes that went into place with this patch. Testers should be pleased to note that every character now gets up to three ring slots and two amulet slots to help with gear loadouts.

Check out the video after the break, even if you’re not testing! You can always imagine you are and then, we don’t know, go slam some action figures together to pretend you’re fighting in this game.

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