factions

Factions is a standalone expansion for Guild Wars that released on April 28, 2006. It may also refer to the combat module release of Origins of Malu.

Arr! Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas has fully launched on Steam

Arrrr! If Sea of Thieves isn’t doing it for you, maybe you should board a more classic ship, like Puzzle Pirates – specifically, Puzzle Pirates Dark Seas. Puzzle Pirates, of course, has been around for 15 years as an adorable puzzle-oriented MMORPG. Developer Grey Havens has been hard at work on a more PvP-centered version of the game with a new ocean map and a clean economy, and that version, dubbed Dark Seas, has just formally launched on Steam after a stint in early access. Notably, this version is Steam only, whereas the “classic” game also works in-browser; the devs have plenty of fun lined up to get the game’s initial economy rolling.

“In celebration of our Full Release Launch we’re going to have a series of blue grey tournaments and competitions. These festivities will culminate in the opening of the first large island, Melanaster, for blockade on July 14th. We suggest you start recruiting mates and making plans in Parley.”

Did we mention it’s free-to-play? You can dive in right now!

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Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh in RIFT

When RIFT first came out, I had very low hopes for it. The game already was launching into a crowded field, and it was doing so while basically just taunting Blizzard to invite comparisons to World of Warcraft. Seriously, the game had that remarkably ill-advised “We’re not in Azeroth any more” ad campaign, that looked like a bad idea then and looks even worse now. I didn’t play it before launch, but at a glance I had thought, “this looks like a good free-to-play title but it can’t go up against WoW convincingly.”

To put this in street fight terms, this is the 98-pound weakling kicking the head of a motorcycle gang in the shins, then asking him what he’s going to do about it.

Fortunately for everyone, that story did not end the way you might expect. Sure, RIFT did not in fact take the entire world by storm, but it has been running successfully for several years now, pumping out expansions and big updates and generally managing to keep its head above water. And it no longer looks, at a glance, like WoW with a lick of paint despite that being its initial design.

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World of Warcraft’s communities will bring players closer together than ever before (unless they’re in different factions)

The common consensus in the World of Warcraft community is that Patch 8.0 — the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch — is due to arrive next Tuesday. And speaking of community, one of the features that will arrive with that update is Blizzard’s own take on Discord.

The Communities tool will allow players to “create, manage, and join multiple groups of friends and family.” This feature works across realms and even Blizzard games, although apparently we’re still not allowed to talk across factions because reasons.

Blizzard notes that while players are encouraged to use the Communities tool for voice and text chat, the feature can also be used to pull quick join groups together among friends and like-minded souls.

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Bless Online’s 4th of July patch adds new PvE dailies and a PvP battleground this evening

Live in Bless Online on the holiday today is the 1.3.0.0 patch as promised, with its two big chunks of new content. PvE players are getting a new series of dailies called Royal Quests, at least if they’re level 45. Neowiz says you can finish off 15 per day to max out your rewards. As for PvPers, Basel Gorge is about to be your new haunt. It’s a “highly contested centerpoint of the conflict between the Union and Hieron factions.”

“While in Basel Gorge, players are able to gain more Combat Points from engaging in PvP than they would in other open world zones by controlling neutral bases. Gaining control of a neutral base will grant all members of that faction currently in Basel Gorge a ‘Gorge Occupier’ buff. This buff can stack up to three times, once for each neutral base in the area. Each stacked buff grants a 7% increase in movement speed and increases the amount of Combat Points gained from killing another player by 50%, making faction PvP within Basel Gorge extra rewarding. However, keep a close eye on the bases! Once a base is captured, it will only belong to that faction for twenty minutes before it reverts to neutral and can be contested by the opposing faction once again.”

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Bless Online’s 4th of July patch offers content for PvE and PvP players

It’s a big week for Bless Online, as Neowiz is prepping an update due to hit right smack in the middle of the 4th of July holiday here in the States. The good news for folks whose primary beef with the game is content-related is that the update injects the endgame with a much-needed dose of stuff to do.

PvE players will find a helping of daily quests. “Royal Quests are a new daily quest series that will be available to characters starting at level 45,” Neowiz says. “Players will be able to find an accept these quests in multiple locations around the world; they will be marked by purple quest icons on the world map. Players will be able to complete a total of 15 Royal Quests per day to get the most rewards possible.”

If your interests are more aligned with violent delights, however, you’re going to want to check out PvP-oriented Basel Gorge, which Neowiz characterizes as “the highly contested centerpoint of the conflict between the Union and Hieron factions.”

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Rend posts its alpha roadmap and highlights the Highlands

Curious where the survival sandbox Rend is at in its alpha development? The dev team posted a roadmap on the site that shows current (control points, the Reckoning, taming) and future (UI polish, character rework, more biomes, talents, perks, high-tier crafting, social systems) feature goals.

The team also shone a spotlight on another one of the game’s biomes, the Highlands. This wild are will be full of “stony fields and sloping foothills,” marked also by huge monolithic pillars that can be seen across the landscape. It’s these pillars that form part of the mystery of this biome, which players will uncover as they rush to build an outpost and defend it from other factions.

Get to know what Rend is about with our extensive look at the title from E3, in which we said that we were “optimistic about what Rend brings to both the MMO and survival genres.”

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The Daily Grind: Should every MMO with factions have mechanics to switch factions?

Lots of things bug the living heck out of me about World of Warcraft, but one of the bullet points on that list is the fact that there’s still no way for an individual to switch factions. It just doesn’t happen, despite the fact that we know there are members of Horde races in the Alliance (and vice-versa) and plenty of space for disagreeing with your factional stance. City of Heroes got this right ages ago, and that was a game where the factional split was based on actual morality, not just political alignment.

Personally, I think every game with factions should offer a mechanism to allow players to swap their faction. There should be no hard-and-set uncrossable faction lines. Even in Star Wars: The Old Republic, you should have the option to make a reformed Sith or a fallen Jedi if you so desire, and classes like Bounty Hunters don’t even have factions in the first place.

But perhaps others feel like that would erode some of what makes factions distinct. Having watched people develop strong factional identities in games like Final Fantasy XI (which encouraged you to swap factions) that rings false to me, but what do you think? Should every MMO with factions have mechanics to switch factions?

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Crowfall’s seasonal changes affect more than just the vistas

Forget oohing and ahhing over day/night cycles in MMORPGs — Crowfall is bringing whole seasons to its campaign worlds, and they’re going to be nothing like you’ve seen before in online RPGs.

Crowfall’s dev team is concerned with both showing the “passage of time” in the universe, rotating through spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons. Each game world begins in spring and concludes in winter, giving players an easy way of figuring out roughly how much time is left in a campaign.

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Interview: Worlds Adrift’s Bossa Studios on giving, griefing, and gittin’ gud

After the launch of Worlds Adrift but prior to E3, we sent off an interview to Bossa Studios and recently received our answers, complete with current news about how the studio is trying to address griefing, adding countermeasures, and yes, “gitting good.” Maybe the phrasing there could be better, especially given the brutality of the Steam launch, but Bossa Studios Co-Founder Henrique Olifiers and Game Designer Luke Williams were kind enough to talk to us about why they pursue the seemingly less profitable PvP crowd, building PvPvE experiences, and the road to release.

Let me be upfront with my biases for those unfamiliar with my coverage: I love open world PvP as a concept, not as a ganker but as the guy trying not to get ganked. I love the concept of virtual worlds, but as Bill Roper and I discussed, players aren’t developers and don’t always understand the tech that gives them the games they love.

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EVE Evolved: Will EVE Online’s Abyssal Deadspace ever be expanded?

EVE Online‘s recent Into the Abyss expansion has managed to grip me in a way that few expansions have, providing a challenging new solo PvE feature that’s as addictive as it is lucrative. Now that players are starting to figure out ship fittings and strategies for taking on abyssal deadspace and it’s being farmed at an increasing rate, the question on many players’ minds is “what comes next?” The Triglavian storyline is far from resolved, and these new size-restricted instances could be expanded on in dozens of different ways to spark a virtual renaissance for small-scale PvE and maybe even PvP.

CCP Games has a long history of making impressive “first steps” like these in new areas of gameplay, but sometimes those ideas don’t go much further and the first steps are the last. Abyssal deadspace could easily become another one shot feature that joins EVE‘s permanent gameplay, just like the Sansha incursions that are still in the game years after they probably should have ended. I seriously hope that CCP doesn’t abandon the feature this time though, as further work on abyssal deadspace has the potential to open up whole new types of gameplay that aren’t available anywhere in EVE right now.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I theorise about some of the different ways abyssal deadspace could be expanded and how the story of the Triglavian Collective still has a long way to go.

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Rend showcases new Stagswood biome with video

Frostkeep Studios showed off plenty for Rend at E3, as you can see from our hands-on with the game, but the studio still has more to share. It unveiled another boime last Friday, showing off the lush landscape that surrounds hearthhome with a flyover video. Stagswood is home to — you guessed it — stags. But this survival PvPvE game doesn’t feature just ordinary stags. No, these majestic luminescent creatures have beautiful flora growing out of their mighty antlers. They live among the skogurfrut bushes and hardwood saplings under the canopy. Also living amid the foliage (likely stalking you) are wargs, and down in caves you’ll find vicious looking Ursas. Check out some screens below, then watch the flyover and collect a few survival tips on Rend’s official site.

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Ubisoft’s open-world pirate PvP game Skull & Bones

So, you want to be a pirate, but Sea of Thieves isn’t your cup of tea? If the issue was PvP, well, you’re probably out of luck, as Ubisoft Producer Karl von der Luhe emphasized at E3 this year that one of Skull and Bones chief strengths is that it lets you decide what kind of pirate you want to be: the kind who backstabs and murders his fellow buccaneer, or a wolf running with a pack. There’s no room for pacifists who just want to share Earl Grey and crumpets, alas.

While von der Luhe admits that Ubisoft admires what Rare’s done with SOT, it’s been clear for a long time that the two games are different enough to co-exist. They’re different takes on the pirate lifestyle. Even with the new hideout system for off-ship… um, town interaction, my demo of the open PvPvE area, the hunt grounds, further confirmed my feeling that Ubisoft’s game is more about the ship than it is about the pirate, something that surely has its own audience.

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E3 2018: Well-earned hype for Rend’s pets, construction, modding, and PvPvE

When I met Frostkeep Studios’ CEO Jeremy Wood and crew at GDC earlier this year, I walked away impressed. I finally felt like I understood why other MOP staff are so excited about this flying-under-the-radar title. And this year at E3, I not only saw a more finished build of Rend but got some hands-on time with the game. I can’t say the floor demo did the game any justice, but what I heard from Wood and co-founder Solomon Lee sounded like the kind of forward thinking that only comes from developers who know the history of the genre and their playerbase.

Although I think I could start a hype train, I’m going to try to try to reserve judgment for a little longer. Rend may not be an MMO (it’s a moddable survival game with factions), but it has the potential to feed that MMO hunger we know you’re craving.

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