game mechanics

Project Gorgon goes from craps tables to speed D&D gambling

Watching Project Gorgon’s development is almost as fun as actually playing the game, and with the game’s next patch meant to feature gambling heavily, that’s very prominent with the latest story from the game on Twitter. The developers were working hard on implementing a craps table into the game to serve as one of the gambling centerpieces, but they ran into a problem when it turns out that craps is only fun in real life and doesn’t involve much skill. But they already had the dice-rolling NPCs! What do you do with this work?

If you said that you create a version of Dungeons & Dragons with gambling which should take about 1-2 minutes to play a session, that is absolutely insane and also exactly what happened. Monsters and Mantises places you in the role of a Mantis explorer fighting monsters, leveling up, and gambling for money while you strategize about your approach. It’s coming with the next patch, and it’s as much about skill as luck. It’s also a symptom of why Project Gorgon remains so wonderfully, wonderfully weird.

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Aion details all of its upcoming gear exchange rates for a big equipment overhaul

The progression of equipment and power level in Aion may be a bit overly ornate at the moment, which is why the game’s next major patch for the NA version is overhauling the whole experience. Of course, the flip side to that task is that it also means a whole lot of changes to gear, and that means there’s a whole list of how your current gear can be exchanged for new gear when the update goes live. It’s large enough that it requires a separate spreadsheet, even.

To assuage one major fear, the game’s community team has reminded players that this is not an automatic replacement but an additional compensation; players will still have their old gear, they’ll just receive new pieces. Of course, the debate is running about the forums over whether or not the exchanges are fair or balanced for the community, which is always going to be a problem with this degree of gear change.

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Stardew Valley mod sends a multiplayer farm owner into a coma for true MMO action

The multiplayer mode in Stardew Valley is a pretty standard multiplayer arrangement with one player serving as the host and everyone else serving as guests or indentured servants. This is not exactly unusual. But what if you could put the host to sleep forever and let everyone run around with abandon with no masters? Behold the latest mod to the game, which allows the host to basically become completely inert while others continue to play in the game world to great effect.

Of course, there are downsides to this, chief among them the fact that the actual host will need to leave the computer hosting the game powered on 24/7. (You know, like an actual server.) It also means that the host can’t actually participate while the game is frozen, which is fine for short jaunts away but can cause unwanted effects in the longer term. Still, it’s a step toward turning the game into your very own farmland MMO… with an absentee leader imprisoned in a void of darkness. That seems fine.

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First impressions of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, part 2: Content

The first part of this first impressions series yesterday was all about the mechanical changes made for this expansion. This time, I don’t want to talk about the mechanics of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth; I want to talk about the actual content. Not the narrative text, but just the actual moment-to-moment stuff you’re doing in the game. Which, I think, is what this expansion is going to be judged on at this stage by a lot of people.

Put simply, the game could have the best combat it has ever had with the best gear enhancement system conceivable, but if the actual things you had to fight were a boring slog, no one would like it anyway. Solid content covers a multitude of sins.

There are several people who would likely argue that Legion had some of the best content we’ve ever seen in WoW, and while there’s room to debate that, I think it’s definitely worth considering. So BfA started off on something of the back foot, and that was exacerbated by the fact that it has not one but two continents to fill out almost entirely separate.

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The Daily Grind: How much of an MMO do you have to play before you feel you’ve got a handle on it?

MMOs are big. Really big. You wouldn’t believe just how mind-bogglingly big they really are. Although you probably would, since you’re here reading about them. And the sheer facet of scale means that it can be really difficult to establish a point when you’ve seen enough to have a good sense of the game.

Obviously, five minutes logged into an official World of Warcraft server won’t give you any idea about the game as a whole; pretty much anyone could agree on that. And at the other extreme, it’s unlikely anyone would expect you to play every piece of content in Star Wars: The Old Republic before you can decide on whether or not the game delivers on what you’re looking for.

Realistically, every game offers you a different amount of things in different combinations and in such arrangements that every game will require different amounts of time to evaluate. You could argue that a few matches in World of Tanks tell the whole story about the game’s mechanics, after all. But then, just playing and leaving means you miss out on the meta and the overall sense of what the game is like over the longer term, which can often be a pretty important element. So what do you think, readers? How much of an MMO do you have to play before you feel you’ve got a handle on it?

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Albion Online makes trade mission bundles much heavier

A little change can make a big difference in terms of balance. It’s what Albion Online did with its latest patch; all that’s really been changed is that trade mission packages have had their weight increased by around 400 kg. The thing is that a heavier package means using different pack animals to transport it, which in turn means not being able to rely upon using mounts with more survivability… and, in turn, it means that these trade missions become a lot riskier. See? Balance from a little change!

The patch also contains some other balance tweaks for faction leaders, as well as updating the marketplace UI with several quality-of-life features and fixing several bugs along the way. But the biggest change for the patch is, well, a little change that should make things harder for a lot of players who will rely on more vulnerable mounts now, which encourages more back-and-forth warfare, which is exactly the point.

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TERA takes to the air with the Guardians of the Sky update

Being on the ground is boring when you could instead be in the air, so it’s a good thing that TERA’s latest update lets you do exactly that. The Guardians of the Sky update adds in new airborne Guardian Legion missions, so if you want to soar through the air whilst taking on challenges, you’ll have the option! There are also new cash shop mounts on the way if you feel the need to ride more dragons, to boot; each one offers some form of regeneration as you ride about.

The Demon’s Wheel is also arriving on August 16th and sticking around each week for Thursday through Tuesday subsequently. It’s a challenge dungeon with a chance to gamble with the demonic Demoros for astonishing loot, but losing the gamble means certain death. Of course, since any decent player knows that death is just a minor setback, why not gamble away? You could get masks with stats on them.

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Final Fantasy XIV has a new season of the Feast after the end of championship preliminaries

Fans of PvP combat in Final Fantasy XIV will be able to find out who is the best among them when the Feast finals take place, but if you were hoping to qualify for that competition… well, your time is up. The preliminaries have ended, and with that contest season 8 of the Feast has come to a close. The next round for would-be champions is the semifinals, with the North American finals taking place at this year’s Fan Festival.

Those who didn’t qualify or didn’t wish to in the first place can still find something new to fight over, though, with season 9 starting now and running until the game’s next major patch. There’s also new armor available to players who rank highly, so if you’d avoided striving before because you disliked the old armor or already had it, you can get new rewards now! Assuming you amass sufficient victories to climb to the top of the rankings, of course.

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OrbusVR plans its first major expansion with OrbusVR: Reborn

It’s never too early for an expansion, right? OrbusVR is still in early access, but it’s already planning its first major expansion with the upcoming OrbusVR: Reborn planned for Q1 2019. And it’s as much a reboot as an expansion; the game is updating its visuals across the board as well as doubling its playable classes to eight, including the new Bard and Shaman options.

Players can also explore new dungeons and regions and face off against improved enemy AI, which will use more advanced tactics like dodging projectiles, running for help, and coordinating attacks. There are also plans for more avatar customization, a smoother overall leveling curve, and new community events like racing your dragon pets. In short, it’s going to be a pretty big update for the game as a whole. Current players can take part in testing starting later this year, but you’ll have to wait until 2019 for the whole thing.

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Conan Exiles delays a console parity patch for a week to fix bugs

The good news for Conan Exiles players is that there are plans to roll out the game’s pet system starting on August 18th. The bad news? Console players are going to need to wait a little bit longer to reach parity with computer players. According to the latest newsletter, while a parity patch was originally scheduled for this week, it’s being delayed due to some last-minute bugs and won’t be ready until next week.

Obviously the far bigger and more important patch is the aforementioned pet system, which will be rolling out in full along with a new religion path and the Midnight Grove dungeon. The date is still subject to change, but it shouldn’t be too much longer before players can pick out their favorite animal companions to survive in the wasteland. Hopefully consoles won’t lag behind desktop players then.

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Astroneer’s latest update has new resources and recipes in store for space explorers

Who doesn’t like new materials? The 0.9.2 update adds in new resources for Astroneer players to harvest, some of which are going to require you to do a fair bit of searching in order to find them. And of course it wouldn’t be helpful to have new resources without having new recipes to go along with those resources, so you get new stuff to make along with the new stuff you can harvest.

The patch also contains other improvements, like the removal of the largely redundant Medium Printer for streamlining crafting and the inclusion of craftable Thrusters. Check out the full patch notes for a clearer picture of everything that’s been changed and improved in the game as development hums along, and get ready to start searching the stars for resources. Which you can use to make other things to search more stars. It’s a vicious cycle, sort of.

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Black Desert’s newest patch introduces guaranteed enhancements

You don’t want to fuss around with enhancements that might happen, in games or real life; you want to have assurances that your enhancements will function correctly. Black Desert gets that, and that’s why the latest patch adds exactly that with the new guaranteed enhancement stones. When you use these stones they consume a chunk of durability but also offer an absolute 100% shot at enhancement, allowing you to enhance away without fear of failure. Field bosses and world bosses drop the stones in question, so be on the lookout for them.

Players will also be able to enjoy increased guild mission rewards as well as improved guild attendance rewards, so there are also better benefits for chilling with your whole guild. And of course there’s a nice long list of bug fixes and class improvements, so you should notice fewer bugs and issues in the game as a whole. That sounds like a worthy patch.

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Sea of Thieves expands times and locations for Cursed Sails with its latest patch

The latest update for Sea of Thieves is all about giving players more time. If you have only a limited amount of time to play the game every week, for example? You get more chances to take part in different battle regions despite that. When treasure items show up in the middle of a battle? You have more time to pick them up. When a battle ends? You get more time to finish grabbing anything of importance to you.

The patch also fixes a number of undisclosed crashing bugs and several bug fixes, so players will no longer travel in unintended directions whilst being fired out of a cannon or get the wrong event banners whilst speaking with Gold Hoarder NPCs. So you’ll have more chances to do stuff, more time to do things, and more consistent game performance across the board. It’s the next best thing to more content.

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