farming

Endless Trials seeks $66K on Kickstarter to build a semi-hardcore endgame PvE MMO that omits grind

Here’s a new one for us, and if you like it, you can throw money at it right now: It’s called Endless Trials, and it is gunning for some of the more tedious and repetitive tropes of MMORPGs. With graphics that look more like FML than WoW, Endless TrialsET – bills itself as “an MMO without the boring parts,” which to the three-man Danish dev team means a focus on endgame instead of “tedious leveling and grinding.”

“We all love a good challenge, something fun, something that pushes us and affords us a sense of accomplishment. The leveling and grinding part of the game, however, that is where boredom can creep in. With that in mind, we have set out to create a new, semi-hardcore MMO that focuses on endgame content. We are calling it Endless Trials, and it is our attempt at making raiding great again! Each new character will follow a brief introduction quest, and when we say ‘brief’ we mean exactly that: it will take just an hour to finish. From there, you get some basic gear and get in on the real action, battling dungeons with your friends, completing daily quests for rep and rewards, farming for crafting materials, and hanging around the space station with other players. This is a game in which leveling plays a minimal role. The key here is excitement. We want Endless Trials to feel fresh every time you play, not like a job that you are doing half the time just to get to the real fun!”

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Gloria Victis’ latest patch introduces proper crop farming and camping placeables

This past weekend, Gloria Victis received what it’s calling one of its biggest updates ever; specifically, it allows players to add interactive objects to the world, everything from farming crops you tend yourself to tents and campfires.

“From now on, you can plant your seeds: vegetables, fruits, herbs, cereals or flax – the choice is yours. But you will have to take care of your plants in order to harvest decent crops: water them and protect from animals, weeds, negative effects of weather conditions and enemy raiders,” Black Eye Games explains. “Moreover, from now on you can place your own tent and campfire! Tents work as one-time personal spawnpoints, so they are a great tactical option for sieging enemy towns and castles. But be careful when selecting a spot for a tent – enemies can destroy it! The campfires, on the other hand, can be used as workshops for the recently introduced cooking crafting branch.”

The update also merges the EU servers (though that’s more because server capacity was increased than because of dwindling players), kicks off a new season of glory, and updates the guild control system. Black Eye Games has further said it’s considering “implementing [a] freebuilding system in the guild locations and housing system.”

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EVE Evolved: A furious supercapital war is raging in EVE Online

This year kicked off with a bang for EVE Online as rumblings emerged of impending war on a scale that the gaming world had never seen before. It looked as if two massive military coalitions were about to come to blows in the most spectacular way when a small border skirmish between The Imperium and Pandemic Horde escalated out of control. Both sides armed heavily for a battle over a space station and moved hundreds of expensive Titans and Supercarriers into position to prepare for the battle. Players estimated that a fully escalated battle could have seen the equivalent of a million dollars in ships go up in smoke, and the story of EVE‘s first “million dollar battle” rapidly captured the media.

While that battle earned a Guinness World Record for having 6,142 players simultaneously in the same battle, it was far less destructive than anticipated. The Imperium decided not to commit its full forces and ultimately less than 1% of the expected value in ships went up in smoke. Fast-forward to this week and the old rivalry came to a head again as The Imperium teamed up Legacy coalition to launch an all-out assault on a Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion staging Keepstar in the X47L-Q system — except that this time both sides committed their full forces. The result was one of the most destructive battles in EVE Online‘s decade-and-a-half long history, and this war may be just getting started.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into some of the history that led to the current conflict and details of the battle in X47L-Q.

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Citadel: Forged With Fire reignites today

It’s almost like a brand-new game altogether.

Tomorrow will witness a massive revamp for the multiplayer magic sandbox Citadel: Forged With Fire. The team has been building up to the Reignited update for a good long while now, stoking the community’s excitement for what promises to be a huge step forward for this early access title.

Reignited will introduce a brand-new system of “dynamic spellcrafting,” the cooking profession, farming, full character customization, raid balance, PvP notifications, a HUD and UI overhaul, more and varied quests, visual improvements, and a full balance pass to most of the game’s key systems.

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Time to go shopping and make friends in retro-sandbox Staxel’s latest update

Ah heck, as I started writing this post, I remembered I defied my “no early access” rule and bought this game on the Steam sale a month ago and have yet to play it! The game in question here is Staxel, which I can’t really describe better than I did the last time: It’s “cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing a village than on being a murder hobo.” And just ahead of the weekend, studio Plukit pushed out what it’s calling “the friendship update.” The update centers on buffing up the NPCs with better AI, dialogue, and relationships.

“Along with all their new dialogue, the villagers’ daily behaviour has been upgraded too. You might find villagers doing more day-to-day activities like shopping in the local store, or having conversations with each other. […] Villagers each have special ‘Friendship quests’ for you to complete, if you choose to. I certainly don’t want to spoil the fun by going into detail here, but I will say you’ll really be seeing your neighbors’ personalities come out with this update. Each villager’s quests are unique to them, so by helping out you’ll learn more about them and build a stronger relationship to boot!”

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Chaos Theory: A year in the life of Secret World Legends

We’ve talked all about Secret World Legends‘ first anniversary party, but now it’s time to talk about the game’s first year. Fans can easily recall the fateful time of the reboot; some Secret World vets even say the game died that day (although technically the servers are still running and). But did it? No. I mean, TSW’s servers are still running, and thanks in part to SWL, profits are up. Secret World Legends has continued on, growing and developing. And by developing, we mean more content! So what all has happened since that infamous day last June? How well did the game follow its roadmap for the year? Let’s take a stroll through 12 months of memories to look at all the progress forward (or back) in our first SWL anniversary retrospective.

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Citadel: Forged with Fire begins testing major game overhaul

Citadel: Forged with Fire underwent a major evolution yesterday as it began testing out a major overhaul to the game’s core systems and the addition of several new features. This test, which hasn’t yet been ported over to the live servers, represents another big step toward release.

“Starting right now, you will be able to access a special test branch of the game, granting you an early opportunity to try our new spellcrafting, farming and cooking features,” the studio said. “Additionally, Citadel has been rebalanced and reimagined from top to bottom. Player progression has been tightened up, AI and optimization have been greatly improved, and the Ignus’ visuals have been enhanced with a ton more life and vibrancy.”

Citadel is currently 50% off on Steam at $12.50 until July 5th.

Source: Steam

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO debuts by year, 1997-2006

By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.

For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?

Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!

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ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2’s living story, Heart of Thorns vs. Path of Fire, security, and momentum

Though ArenaNet was technically at E3 this year, the group representing Guild Wars 2 was chiefly a marketing and business one, so they carted our interview questions back to team members more suited to answer. ArenaNet Brand Manager (and former Massively columnist) Lis Cardy, Design Manager Crystal Reid, Systems Team Lead Irenio Calmon-Huang, and Game Director Mike Zadorojny weigh in on the living story, security, gaining “momentum,” and more, just in time for the launch of the next episode later today. Let’s dig in.

The ever-living story

While I haven’t personally played much GW2 since the arc about the fall Lion’s Arch, I’ve liked the concept of an ever-evolving story. It’s actually what got me into MMOs thanks to the Asheron’s Call series’ monthly updates. When I asked how the ArenaNet team felt players were reacting to the current living story, especially in terms of pacing, Mike Zadorojny said the studio has “seen players become more engaged with the releases.” Apparently, they’re happy to see the connections players making to the stories and characters they’ve developed and especially with the discussions across Reddit and the forums.
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Multiplayer sandbox Staxel builds out NPCs, pet shops, and summer festivals

Staxel took over the playtime of a bunch of my Twitter buddies this past winter when it hit early access on Steam. We described it as a cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing a village than on being a murder hobo. At the time, we noted that it wasn’t full-on MMORPG but that multiplayer at least was happening.

Since then, the game’s seen several updates, as I realized when I caved and bought the game on the Steam sale yesterday. March saw tweaks to the camera and economy; April touched on the mod manager, achievements, crop quality. Most recently, the team posted its plans for the 1.3 update, which further fleshes out the NPCs of the world, adds a pet shop, and integrates festivals into gameplay.

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer ‘work’ simulation MMOs to more fantastic game worlds?

In the comments of my piece on Raph Koster’s book last week, a commenter brought up the idea that mimicking the real world in MMOs was a “sad” sort of “obsession” – why would we want to work in a video game in our spare time, he was essentially asking, when we could do something fresh and creative with our video game spaces instead?

I took a stab at answering the question, supposing that just because we can theoretically do a job in real life doesn’t mean we are realistically or physically able to do it, and exploration of the unreachable can be fun. A post on the Psychology of Video Games blog answers it even better: Author Jamie Madigan writes that games like Farming Simulator 17 and Euro Truck Simulator do so well precisely because people like to explore those types of jobs in a low-stress, who-cares-if-I-run-my-semi-off-the-virtual-autobahn environment. “These games remove the worst of the uncertainty, helplessness, ambiguity, and consequences for failure that come with those real world jobs and turn them into game systems that are interesting and fun to interact with,” he argues. “They give players clear goals, unambiguous feedback, winnable challenges, and predictable rewards. All things that most jobs sadly don’t consistently provide.”

That certainly explains it: I really hate thinking about money in real life, but I love playing around in MMO economies where my market mistakes simply don’t matter.

How about you? Do you prefer simulation MMOs to more fantastic game worlds? Or something in between? And is there an activity that you love in MMOs but hate in the real world?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO celebration do you never miss?

The first year that any MMORPG that I’m playing launches a new festival or holiday, I’m usually all over it. Sometimes I get too much into it, spending so much time farming rewards or digging through the activities that it sours me for future years.

But there are always those celebrations that I make a point to check in and see. The allure of a free Tier 6 starship in Star Trek Online usually brings me out for its summer holiday event, and I am a huge fan of the haunted burrow in Lord of the Rings Online’s fall festival. And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t logging into World of Warcraft to see what awaited me under the tree!

What MMO celebrations or holidays do you never miss? Which ones pull you back to the game, if only for a day or two, even if you’ve been away for months?

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The Daily Grind: Do you feel pressure to play MMOs for daily bonuses or experience events?

On Wednesdays, we farm gems.

In Trove, that is. That’s because ever since Trion revamped the daily login system, players get a daily bonus for doing a specific type of gameplay, with an even bigger bonus for subbers. It’s on a fixed weekly rotation, meaning every Monday is the same, every Tuesday, and so on. Wednesday is gems, so everybody in the game is farming gem boxes because they are just that important to character power.

The bonuses are extremely generous, and objectively, I can say it’s a great system. Buuuuuut I find myself being mildly annoyed by the compulsion to go do that one thing, knowing I’d be missing out if I didn’t. Anybody remember old-school Ultima Online and power hour, when your skill gains were accelerated for the first hour you were logged in every day? It’s even worse than that because at least that was over after an hour and people could relax and go back to ganking miners or shuffling bags of regs around their houses. This one basically never ends. It’s a weird sort of pressure to go forth and achieve, constantly. And on Wednesdays, when I feel like working on our guild map instead of farming gems, I spend the whole time feeling guilty, and then feeling foolish for feeling guilty.

First-world problems, sure, but still something I think about. I’m pretty sure the system is a net positive for game retention, but I don’t love the extra pressure. And in a way, I can understand some of the complaints about even shorter-term events, like the one Elite ran two weekends ago. Do you feel pressure to play MMOs for daily bonuses or experience events? And does it work?

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