Defiance 2050 records over 3 million dead hellbugs from its closed beta

If you were taking part in the closed beta for Defiance 2050, you were probably killing Hellbugs. Just from a statistical standpoint. There are over 3 million dead hellbugs thanks to beta testing; that is a lot of hellbugs. Or was a lot of hellbugs, we should say. Now they’re piles of mush and chitin. An important distinction, to be sure, but one that we feel obliged to make in light of the statistics from the game’s closed beta.

Of course, players apparently liked shooting Mutants even more, racking up nearly 5 million kills there; along the way, testers gained more than 200,000 levels and 420 people hit the level cap. All of this provides useful feedback for the developers as the game moves close to its proper launch over the summer, which is good news for fans who had a fun time during the testing. And awful news for hellbugs.


OrbusVR passes 8,000 total players

Good news for OrbusVR: It might not be doing great numbers for “not a VR game,” but it’s doing very well for a game that does require a VR headset. The game has 8,000 total players and has around 350 concurrent players at its peak, which is very good for a VR only title (and, let’s face it, better than some non-VR titles). It’s even topping the lists of Steam’s VR games, which is quite good news.

This comes along with the game’s patch 3.5, which adds lore books to the world (little in-game books to learn more about the setting) along with fixes to voice chat and bandit status. The first big content patch is still scheduled for January 29th, so if you’re one of the people helping push the game to the top of the charts, you’ll have more to do in just a few short weeks.


Wisdom of Nym: Materia and stats in Final Fantasy XIV

When Heavensward was the current expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, we were introduced to the idea that you could meld materia onto valuable endgame gear. It was a big shift, made only slightly smaller by the fact that pretty much every single job required the exact same melds without the slightest amount of consideration. You didn’t really need to think about it except for a handful of cases, and even in places where melding something else might be useful (like melding just enough Piety for Black Mage to get another cast off), you weren’t going to be suffering if you just ignored it.

This has changed somewhat in Stormblood. At this point, melding is a simple game, but it’s more complex than it gets credit for, while also perhaps being a bit simpler than it needs to be. Or perhaps it’s just as complex as it needs to be. It’s a multi-faceted issue, in other words, and one that deserves more nods than it gets.

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Wisdom of Nym: The numbers game in Final Fantasy XIV

It’s not really hard to figure out the best stats for melding in order to do the maximum damage in Final Fantasy XIV. You have, ultimately, only a few real options, and with the removal of Accuracy as an option, none of them is actually going to make or break important points. The problem is that asking “what can I meld to do maximum damage” is perhaps not always the right question to ask.

The matter of stat weights and best-in-slot gear has already been attracting ferocious debate in various parts of the community, and you know the debate has gotten to a fever pitch when Yoshida actually addresses one of the stupider new customs in a live letter. (That would be tanks wearing 270 STR accessories, for the record.) So I think it’s well past the point to talk about the issue of tank damage, tank scaling, and numbers in general. They may not carry the allure of story sequences, but they’re still important.

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DC Universe Online makes Weapon Combos more potent over time

Weapon combos are the main source of damage for players who focus on weapons in DC Universe Online. This is not a complex or unusual concept. But for players who focus on powers or employ a hybrid style, weapon combos aren’t nearly as important. So as part of the stat rebalancing for the game, the developers had to find a way to make weapon combos useful for those focusing on them without making them overpowered. The solution is giving a scaling damage buff for combos over 2.5 seconds up to 4 seconds, thus meaning that long combos become far more useful for players relying upon them but short ones are still used for other functions.

The most recent stat revamp has also targeted the Light, Rage, and Nature powersets, all of which have had balance tweaks without any huge function overhauls. Despite this, the developers are aware that several powers will undergo functional shifts and need a new set of mods once the stat revamp goes live, and players are assured that a system is already being put in place to address this. What that system is remains unknown, but it will exist.


DC Universe Online explains further changes in the new pass of the stat revamp

Power is important in DC Universe Online. You need power. But the fact of the matter is that power had kind of become a mess; providing power to yourself over time was a chore and didn’t provide much interesting gameplay, controllers wound up needing to spam power healing, and it was all around not a great scene. The latest iteration of the stat revamp has altered all of this significantly; power healing is an automatic passive for all characters now, and controllers in the controller role will automatically provide a passive power healing aura, thus allowing focused healing in specific situations while requiring less spam and loadout dedication.

Most ability cooldowns have also been reduced, while controllers in general have received more attention to offer crowd control that lasts longer and is harder to break. The result should be that controllers are more active and effective in battle, players can use powers more, and the necessary but not super-engaging power regeneration loop is no longer mandatory. Players can test out these changes on the test server and offer feedback about whether the changes are for the best or not.


DC Universe Online is overhauling its stats completely

Stats are a big deal in MMOs. Those little numbers that we try to make go higher are a big part of what makes a new set of items desirable and what allows us to measure our performance. So it’s pretty big news when DC Universe Online massively overhauls its stats, getting rid of several stats, changing how existing ones work, and otherwise upending the entire set of mechanical systems players have known for ages. But it’s all explained, slowly and carefully, so players can understand why the changes are coming and what the changes mean.

Combat rating differential? Gone; combat rating will still exist, but simply as a measure of your overall power level. Advanced mechanics and weapon mastery bonuses? Also gone; these mechanics could be abused to bring DPS players to the point of doing such insane damage that everything had to be balanced around disproportionate damage outputs. Midrange? Gone entirely as part of the previous removal, since it mostly derived its power from advanced mechanics. Check out the full rundown to see what’s changing, or just listen to the walkthrough in the video below.

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Wisdom of Nym: Materia melding on tome gear in Final Fantasy XIV

One of the big additions with Final Fantasy XIV‘s patch 3.2 was tomestone gear with materia melding slots. This is something very new for the game; up until now, materia melding was something that existed entirely outside of the high-end gear. You melded materia on crafted gear for specific purposes, but you didn’t usually have access to them at the topmost levels. Now that materia actually has a use again, and you have plenty of encouragement to do Void Ark at least once a week because you do not want to spend the money on those Savage Aim Vs.

Honestly, though, the addition of materia melding changes a lot about how the uppermost gearing works, even with tomestones. Materia becomes far more relevant and useful, and it also makes gearing more expensive in every sense of the word. I don’t need to tell you that I have thoughts about all of this, and I think it’s the sort of thing that’s going to have a big impact on the community over time. So let’s talk about these melds, whether or not they’re worth it, and what the ups and downs are.

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