interface

The Game Archaeologist: A history of EverQuest’s expansions

I don’t know if EverQuest holds the crown title for the MMO with the most expansions, but I’m sure it’s among the top three if not at the number one spot on that list. It’s astounding to count them up and realize that two dozen expansions have come out for that game between 2000 and 2017. That averages to a little more than one per year!

Today I want to pay tribute to the 24 expansions of EverQuest by going through them, one by one, and seeing how they grew and enriched the game over the past decade-and-a-half. I would also love to hear testimonies in the comments as to which EverQuest expansion you enjoyed the most!

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Sea of Thieves’ Sunken Curse Event is live with today’s patch

Sea of Thieves is pulling another patch out of drydock today, this one with a fresh event for players of the pirate pseudo-MMO.

“Cursed Mermaid Statues are the latest addition to Sea of Thieves. Hidden in the shallows around island shores, they radiate, cursed with ancient magic. For this adventure, the Bilge Rats are challenging all brave pirates to seek out and destroy the statues. Not all statues are bound by the same curse but they all regenerate health over time and while some will require more firepower than others to destroy, no more than four players will be required to destroy even the toughest statue.”

Of course, there’s plenty more to the update, including new sunken items, new titles, new cosmetics (even a tattoo set), more useful loading screens, UI tweaks, crash fixes, and a few bug fixes too – for example, “cannonball knockback no longer causes unintended damage to fellow crew members.” Check out the developer update and other goodies down below!

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Wild West Online plans ‘soft relaunch’ to boost playerbase, says playable women are a ‘cosmetic feature’

The latest Wild West Online patch landed on July 5th, and it brings in some changes like a full Sheriffs vs. Outlaws faction setup and the ability to taunt your enemies. It’s also easier to customize your character’s appearance and several skill trees have been fixed to work correctly with the game’s current build. All good things for the people still playing the game, and all meant to feed into what is apparently a plan to relaunch the game entirely to be more of an online shooter and all that entails:

What this “relaunch” plan means for you – our existing players ? to be honest it doesn’t really gonna affect you much – it will for sure will bring new players to the game, as well as add more stuff to do in a game, making user experience more in line with it being PVP shooter game.

The developers go on to explain that quests will be removed from farmers, replaced with simply daily tasks that pop up as part of the interface, and farmers will become just another sort of vendor in the game world. You can read up the full plans for the “soft relaunch” now, although you have to dig a little bit to find out that the developers are working on adding playable women to the game but don’t consider it a very high priority because it’s “just a cosmetic feature.”

If you’ve forgotten, WWO launched out of early access in May in a state which appeared wildly unready for launch, with immediate negative reception. We’ve got a roundup just below if you’d like to catch up on the progress.

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Interview: ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman on prepping Crowfall’s Artisan Engine for the broader industry

Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!

Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?

J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.

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Perfect World updates its Arc client with new features

You may or may not use the Perfect World Entertainment Arc launcher to play games like Neverwinter and Champions Online. There are lots of ways to get into the games, after all. But the developers would certainly like it if you were using the branded launcher, and with the latest update to the client you’ll have even more reason to do so. The newest version updates the layout of the front page to be more readable and allow special displays for more news categories, making the launcher more useful for sorting out what’s new.

Players can also take advantage of the launcher’s improved chat system, which brings some of the bells and whistles of voice chat, friend lists, group chats and you know what, it’s another client adding in an interface that should hopefully remind people of just using Discord. But there’s also an improved overlay in the game, so that’s a good thing. It should give you a little more reason to use the Arc client, or at least more improvements for people already using it.

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EVE Online launches the Dawn of Liberation event along with its July update today

EVE Online has a decent-size release up this month – today, in fact, as it’s already live. Notably, today’s update tweaks Abyss looot drops and other Abyssal Deadspace bits, lightly balances select ships, fixes missile optimizations, adjusts the duel wager system, improves the UI, and tackles bugs. It’s a hefty set of patch notes!

Probably the most interesting release is actually to the storyline, however; the latest leg in the game’s plot is dubbed Dawn of Liberation. Players will be helping The Republic transport rescued slaves. Yes, there’s something in it for you too.

“Access the Dawn of Liberation objectives via The Agency in the Neocom menu. Then, decide what objective you’re going to tackle, choosing from battling slaver ships, bounty hunting and rescuing slaves from enemy ships or Human Containment Facilities. Finally, set course and start racking up those Agency points for any objectives completed, eventually unlocking further rewards with your gathered points.”

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EVE Evolved: Improving EVE Online’s organisational tools

Throughout most of EVE Online‘s lifetime, players have developed their own third-party applications (and yes, spreadsheets) to help organise and enhance their gameplay. We’ve got skill training calculators, websites for keeping track of structure fuel, databases full of information on items, and advanced industry and market tools that look like they belong to real world stock brokers. Most large alliances also now use Slack or Discord to organise out of game, have their own dedicated voice comms servers, and use tools like Jabber to notify members of important events.

CCP Games itself has added some brilliant in-game tools over the years that help players organise too. We now have a great in-game Calendar and event system, a customisable notification popup tool, corporation bookmarks, and an official smartphone app. We even have the ability to simulate and share ship fittings, and a new Agency panel that helps new players find content near them. These are all extremely useful productivity tools, but with a few improvements I think they could be even better!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss a few improvements I’d love to see for EVE Online‘s calendar, Agency interface, and official mobile app that would help players organise and work together more easily.

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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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Sea of Thieves fixes cannon teleporting (sort of) and bans cheaters

This week’s Sea of Thieves update did keep the servers down extralong on the holiday, but there wasn’t much to it. There’s a new cross-promotional figurehead, a new rocking effect to cannonball impact, less UI clutter in shops, and fixes for several bugs, including this gem: “Players will no longer be teleported back to their ship when they shoot themselves from the cannon on the north side of Devil’s Ridge.” However, this bug remains: “Some players travel in an unintended direction when fired from a cannon.” Can’t wait to find out where people who don’t reach patch notes shoot themselves!

Oh, and by the way, stop being a cheating cheaterpie. They’re on to you. Or “a number” of you. Wait, is zero a number? “This week we’ve banned a number of players who we’ve been able to confirm have been cheating,” Rare says. “Those players have been contacted via email and we’ve removed their Sea of Thieves account privileges. We will continue enforcing a zero tolerance policy to this behaviour and taking regular action against any players who are found to be cheating.”

The new dev vlog is down below.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO is theoretically perfect but fails to click with you?

Let’s talk about Final Fantasy XIV for a minute. This game really frustrates me because, on paper, it has so much of what I’m looking for in an MMORPG. It’s a polished and popular title with tons of story, player housing, swappable classes, incredible music, gorgeous visuals, and plenty of solo and grouping content. Yet every time I’ve made an honest effort to get into the game, I can only last about a month before I give up and head elsewhere.

I think it’s one of those cases of a game where the parts come together to make an objectively great product that doesn’t click with me personally. I’m routinely bored by the story and the slow pace, not to mention put off by the clunky controls and UI. I wish I could love it more, but I just don’t.

I’ve heard many of you say something similar about various games. There are titles that should be great for you, but so far, every time you try them, they don’t click. There’s something about these MMOs that keep them from being as fun for you as they might otherwise be. Which games are like this for you and why do you think this is the case?

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Heroes of the Storm tests out two hero reworks while prepping new skins

The latest patch for Heroes of the Storm is up on the game’s test realm, and it contains a new set of hero reworks. Both Raynor and Azmodan are on the slate for reworking this time around; there are full videos for both just below if you’d like a overview of the philosophies at work. Raynor has gotten new wave-clearing tools and a completely reworked talent tree, while Azmodan has been vastly buffed in his role as a late-game siege machine.

Of course, there are other changes to functionality and UI improvements for the game, so you can check them out on the full patch notes. There are also plans for new skins for both characters, as well as new mounts, new portraits, and various other new stuff in the works; check it all out if you’re a fan of all the MOBA fun you can have with Blizzard characters.

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Closers Online’s Season of Wolves is live with the fatigue system rework

If you’re hungry like the wolf, strut on a line right on over to Closers, where En Masse has just introduced Season of Wolves to the anime MMORPG. As we’ve previously covered, this is the update that nukes the game’s fatigue system, making it easier for players to actually play without monitoring arbitrary activity bars.

Closers gather together! En Masse Entertainment announced today the exciting Season of Wolves is now available for the anime-inspired, online RPG beat’em up, Closers. Violet, the greatsword-wielding fighter, has been added to the selectable roster of characters and completes the Wolf Dogs team. In addition to the new playable character, the new Closers Season of Wolves update greatly improves the quality of life playability in the game. UI improvements, overall gameplay balance, and, most of all, the removal of the Fatigue System ensures a fresh and engaging Closers experience to new players as well as seasoned veterans.”

New playable toon Violet is also live in the game, so you can hop in on her and blast your way to level 80. Check out En Masse’s new video below!

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World of Warcraft is banning ads on the Group Finder moving forward

Quick question: What is the Group Finder in World of Warcraft intended for? If you answered that it’s for finding groups, possibly with an incredulous expression that anyone would ask such an obvious question, congratulations! You are following along here. If, on the other hand, you answered “for advertising runs through content being sold for in-game gold,” then you are not following along, you have an odd definition of the words “group” and “finder,” and you are not going to be allowed to use the tool much longer because, as mentioned, that’s not what it’s for.

This doesn’t mean that people cannot offer to sell runs through content, of course; it just means that you will need to advertise it throug means other than the in-game group finder. Trade chat and such is still permitted. It just clogs up the group finder interface and is generally undesirable, so Blizzard is cracking down on the practice. Bad news for the people who sell though the interface, but good news for everyone who just wants to find a group.

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