poll

Leaderboard: How much input do you expect to have into a developing game you’ve paid for?

Last week, a developer from Parisian developer Dreamz Studio posted about how early access was the best thing that happened to his game, specifically because the early access playerbase acted a sort of extra pair of hands for developing the game.

“I believe that there’s no need to be a former Chef to make innovating pretty little tasty meals,” he writes. “Indeed, you just have to know the basics and then let you guide by the taste of your customers, right?” The studio basically retooled everything from the main character and the world to visuals and level customization based on eight months of feedback, even adding multiplayer because people begged for it.

This is basically how early access is supposed to work, right? This was the whole point of letting people buy their way in early, either with early access or Kickstarter or preorder packages, and then help test and guide the game as superfans. We’ve just seen it go wrong over and over, either because studios abuse the early access tag to make easy money and then abandon the title and the loyal players, or because early testers abuse their input to guide the game into becoming something nobody but them wants to play and causing it to flop hard. I bet you can name games for each group.

How much input do you, as someone who buys in during a game’s development, expect to have in the game’s ongoing design? To the pollmobile!

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Blossom and Decay offers emergent narrative in an anything-goes sandbox

In the market for a full-loot, retro-themed MMO sandbox? Your specific tastes may be satiated by Blossom and Decay, an up-and-coming MMOARPG that will offer crossplay between PC and mobile platforms.

The team is designing the game so that players, not developers, provide the core content: “Instead of scripted quest-lines in the game, players fashion their own narratives through a wide set of social mechanics and external PvE pressure. The world’s story is constantly molded by its citizens. […] Everything is created and arranged by the players wherever they choose, from buildings and roads to respawn-points, quests, goods, trade and the laws of the land. Players will toil to imprint their history in this virgin world.”

In one interesting twist, the game allows for automated offline play in which a person’s character will continue to execute activities by itself.

Currently, Blossom and Decay is enjoying some additional promotion from Square-Enix Collective. The team is lobbying fans to vote for the title to gain support going forward.

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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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Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasy XI in review and choosing our next MMO

Here’s the weird part about this week’s column: I’m going to tell you, in short, that Final Fantasy XI is still a good game once you get past the initial hurdles involved. I am also going to tell you that it is a game which has not aged well, in part because of those facts. Which no doubt is going to sound kind of weird, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.

There are really two things you have to look at with this particular game. The first is whether or not the game is approachable by someone who hasn’t played the game in years or ever, whether or not you can make reasonable progress when you start playing. The other is whether or not the game gives you slightest idea about how to do so, or indeed about how to do anything in the game. Because all of the systems in the world don’t help if you don’t know what they are.

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Star Citizen’s 3.2 quarterly alpha update is fully live, with new ships, mining, and cash-shop features

Star Citizen’s alpha 3.2 has finally and formally released to all comers, CIG announced this weekend.

“In the new patch, Star Citizen players can use the Prospector ship’s mining arm to gather and sell resources harvested from the three moons, adding new gameplay and a huge resource to the game’s burgeoning economy. This economy comes into play in an entirely new way: 3.2 dramatically expands the number of items players can purchase at in-game kiosks with their hard earned in-game currency. On the technical side, Alpha 3.2 dramatically improves upon the grouping system, delivering on the Star Citizen community’s most requested feature stemming from a vote in March of 2018. This new feature enables up to fifty players to travel the universe together as they enjoy the game’s more than thirty varying, procedurally-generated, mission types. NPC ship AI has also been improved with new behaviors that give in-game enemies a lot more teeth.”

Also worth noting is that the update includes five playable ships, both updates to older ships and brand-new paid pixel ships that are no longer just pixel ships.

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Choose My Adventure: Capping things off in Final Fantasy XI

All right. When last I left off my Final Fantasy XI time, it was… wait, June 7th?! What the heck happened? If not for the fact that my posts still show up here regularly, I wouldn’t blame people for assuming I was dead, and I certainly wouldn’t blame people for thinking that I had dropped the column altogether. But neither of those things occurred, and I’ll happily explain… past the cut.

The important thing is that after the last column, my goal was back over to leveling and to seeing how far I could get within my one month of playtime. The answer is… well, about as far as I initially thought, but it didn’t look like it at first. After all, at level 25 and having hoped to hit the game’s first level cap before my playtime was up, it sure seemed like it would be a tall mountain to climb, even if I had at this point gained some fifty-odd levels across multiple jobs.

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Fortnite: Pollsters and academics examine purchases, pay-to-win, and motivation vs. addiction

Remember the old adage that less than 10% of a free-to-play playerbase pay for the other 90%? A poll conducted by LendEDU and Pollfish attempts to cast some shadow on that assumption. The groups say they surveyed 1000 hardcore Fortnite players and determined that almost 70% of them had spent money on the game – an average of $84 apiece for those who did, the majority of that on outfits and characters. More than a third of them had apparently never spent money on a game before.

However, it seems to have been a self-reported survey of highly invested people who identified Fortnite as their primary game, so it’s not really a fully random cross-section of all Fortnite players; one might assume that the type of people who consider themselves Fortnite fanatics and would answer a survey like this would be exactly the type to pay into the game and thereby skew the results.

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EVE Online’s ousting of an epithet-slinging CSM candidate was part of a corporate plot because of course it was

If this isn’t the most canonically EVE Online story, I have no idea what is.

Remember earlier this month when we reported on the drama in the elections for the Council of Stellar Management? CCP Games had caught wind of the racist comments of one particular candidate for the council had made in-game and disqualified him. That candidate, Creecher Virpio, apologized for what he characterized as “casual racism.”

As it turns out, CCP Games didn’t learn about Creecher’s indiscretions by accident. As The Nosy Gamer notes, Creecher is a high-ranking member of Test Alliance Please Ignore and a “vociferous proponent of shield-tanked supercapital-class ships.” Had he been seated on the council, he surely would have voted against the interests of Pandemic Legion, which favors armor-tanked supercapital ships.

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Diablo III starts Season 14 and the Great Treasure Goblin Hunt

The Season of Greed is upon us, and the only way to satiate it is to dive into Diablo III. Season 14 started this past week, bringing the debut of seasonal content, which is really just an ongoing in-game event.

This time around, it’s more treasure goblins: “For the duration of Season 14, all treasure goblin spawns will be doubled. This means that each time you encounter a treasure goblin in the wild, they’ll be accompanied by an exact duplicate of themselves for two times the loot, chaos, and fun!”

As with past seasons, this one features new cosmetic rewards, the boots and pants of the Conqueror set, journey rewards, and conquests. Season 14 will run through September 16th, although the non-seasonal leaderboard will persist past that.

Source: Diablo III

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Players petition BioWare for a console port of SWTOR

Here’s the burning question of the hour: Would you like to see Star Wars: The Old Republic join its single-player predecessors on the console? Do you see this as improving the MMO’s long-term survivability and potentially growing its fanbase, or would it be too difficult, costly, and unnecessary?

There is a crowd of gamers out there who are clamoring for a SWTOR port, as evidenced by a new Change.org petition for BioWare to create one. “I understand that this game was created with only the PC in mind, but with how increasingly popular Star Wars is becoming, a console version would be a great idea,” the petition’s creator wrote. “Not everyone has access to a computer to play this amazing game on and I think more people should have access to it.”

Let’s turn it over to you and see what you think by voting in our poll below.

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Tamriel Infinium: Unpacking the Elder Scrolls Online presentation at E3

Elder Scrolls Online is obviously a huge draw for MMORPG players, but it’s far from an exciting title for the vast majority of gamers attending E3, so I was surprised to see Game Director Matt Firor on the stage at all during the Bethesda presentation. It’s not to say that ESO isn’t a great game; it’s just been around awhile, and the hypetrain is hardly running at full speed right now.

During his presentation, Firor mentioned a lot of things worth considering. He had a very short time to not only tell existing fans what was happening in the game this year, but he also had to remind people of how great ESO is right now. Of course, he was hoping to get new players interested in the game. He knew that ESO wasn’t always well-received, but he had to show how far the game has come. Here’s how he did it.

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The MOP Up: The Black Death improves its profession system (June 10, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Old School RuneScapePokemon GoEverQuest, EVE Online, Paladins, Titan QuestThe Black DeathSkyforgeFinal Fantasy XIWizard101, Pirate101War of RightsEvolveState of Decay 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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Leaderboard: What’s the ideal way for an MMO studio to handle toxicity?

MOP reader BulletTeeth pointed us to a piece on The Verge this week about an incident in online shooter Battalion 1944. A highly placed e-sports team member, SUSPC7, apparently went off on Discord about the studio’s slow rollout of skins meant as prizes, trollishly threatening to shoot up the studio. It got back to the devs, who decided to “teach [him] a lesson about comedy” by proposing to reskin his weapon, not with his earned prize but with a hand-drawn penis icon. Yeah, they pranked him.

“I thought you were kind of being a dick,” the studio rep tweeted, going on to tell the player he wanted him to become an “ambassador” for the game.

As The Verge writes, it’s an unusual tactic for a game studio to take against a toxic player in this day and age. While it might be nice to think that studio have the time and money and resources to hand-hold every lost boy and talk him down to being an ally, it’s not particularly realistic, and it creates a perverse incentive system whereby toxic players mop up studio attention that ought to go to non-toxic players.

I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what we think studios ought to do when disciplining players. Does this sort of reverse-prank actually work, or would it be better for companies to just boot the problem children and move on?

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