The 12 million dudes and dudettes playing H1Z1 on PlayStation 4 this summer need to know two things this week. For one, the latest patch doesn’t add much – primarily performance optimizations to textures, animations, and UI drawing, as well as bug fixes (like the one where you parachute wouldn’t open during your drop – ouch). PS4 players can take advantage of the hoopla by logging in this month and playing a match to unlock a free skin that looks like something weird my little kid made in art class. But hey, it’s free.
As for the PC community, things are either super awesome or grumpy, depending on your view. As we’ve previously noted, Monolith’s Jace Hall is taking over at Daybreak as the game’s new PC lead. His Twitter feed is currently pumping up the transition with “nothing iz impozzible” videos.
“UPDATE – THE GOOD: @DaybreakGames meeting was amazing in all the right ways,” he tweeted Wednesday. “The magic IS happening. THE BAD: May not be completely free 2 disclose any epic info during this week as planned…Still doable, but it may be a few days beyond that B4 my chains come off.”
In this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts have a stack of gorgeous environmental pan shots for your to feast your eyes on – that’s because the design team has been working hard on the atmospheric moons. The devs are also focused on scramble races, the UI, props, and a pair of ships.
Meanwhile, if you’re curious about the development process behind the game, check out a new piece from Wccftech; the site’s got an interview with CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis. It’s pretty granular, but the writer hits on a few topics of note to the watchers of the game. For example, at one point they talk about the “technical debt” of a project, the legacy code that can trip up a project, but Davis says Star Citizen’s isn’t really that bad. Davis also addresses employee churn, suggesting it doesn’t affect the studio as much now that it’s grown so much larger.
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.
There are some bugs in Monster Hunter World on PC, if you haven’t noticed. A lot of them have been addressed, but one of the more egregious ones remains and tends to crash the game when you alt-tab out of the title… which is a problem, since everyone in the world does that. Fortunately fan-made mods are here to save the day, fixing the issue with alt-tabbing by correcting an error in the engine that handles fullscreen mode incorrectly.
The mod also adds in higher-resolution graphic support, the ability to hide the interface for screenshot purposes, and a few more technical additions like tricking the game into ignoring certain CPU cores for performance issues. Of course, given that the game is meant to be played online there’s a limit to how much can actually be modded, but it’s nice to see that the issue is being fixed… by an unpaid modder rather than the company releasing the game, but still.
All things considered, yesterday saw a fairly smooth global rollout for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.
But while many realms were up and players enjoying the seventh expansion for the MMO, some servers saw chronic issues that kept them offline for most of the night. As of this morning, seven game realms are down as Blizzard attempts to fix whatever ails them. There were also some smaller issues that players have reported, such as not being able to see the Heart of Azeroth in their inventory, although it is hard to tell how widespread this problem is.
One thing we do know for sure: The race to level 120 is already over. In fact, it was over four hours and 17 minutes after the expansion launch. Method’s Gingi accomplished the task with his Boomkin and a meticulously planned leveling strategy.
If you were hoping to hop into EVE Online
with its August release tomorrow, then I’m sorry to tell you that the patch has been delayed a solid week, and you’ll have to go on participating in the ongoing player war instead.
“Due to the need for additional testing, the deployment of the August release has been pushed back by one week from August 14th, to August 21st,” CCP says. “This means that both the August release and the “Secrets of the Abyss” event will now launch on the same day, next Tuesday.”
The studio promises more info on Friday alongside revamped patch notes (the old updates notes have been temporarily deleted). This particular update was slated to redesign half a dozen iconic shop models and revamp the newbie experience with the new Agency UI.
Camelot Unchained’s beta one is rolling on, and we’re assuming City State’s Mark Jacobs is napping on a beach somewhere enjoying his long-delayed vacay because CSE co-founder and technical director Andrew Meggs is helming the latest studio update and Q&A. Oh, and he’s accompanied by Ian the Intern, whom Meggs tries (unsuccessfully?) to embarrass at every turn.
This weekend, the RvR game’s build was put through its paces on the Wyrmling server, with UI bug fixes, shadow darkness tweaks, placeholders removed, and CPU bugsquashing – and that’s all apart from the madness going on on the Hatchery server where the real messes dwell. In short, the current test build is even better than what launched two weeks ago. My favorite bit is the fix to superpowered stones and their concomitant exploits. This is a real thing.
“Stones, like from Stonehealers, would affect other stones,” Meggs says, almost incredulously. “So you could put two invulnerability stones right down next to each other and they would make each other invulnerable. Or stones that were healing each other… it allowed creation of super-exploitable combinations by players working together to defeat the other realm. Which is good! But we want you to do it without exploits.”
In our first part of this series looking back at the stupendous history of City of Heroes, we saw how the idea for this superhero MMORPG germinated from a tech millionaire who took his love for RPGs and comic books into the online world. Cryptic Studios was founded in 2000 with the intent of developing a new type of MMORPG, one with a superhero bent set in an original IP.
While the development period was fraught with difficulty, including a messy design, delays, and the departure of the studio’s co-founder, City of Heroes took shape by 2004 and finally entered into live operation that April to the delight of thousands of fledgling superheroes.
Today we’ll be walking through the next few years of this game’s lifecyle, including its launch, the initial issues, and a serious lawsuit that threatened to kill the game dead.
You notice how other studios, rather than scrambling away from next Tuesday’s World of Warcraft
expansion release, seem to be trying to compete with it in some way? EVE Online
is certainly not the only MMO that’s pushing out alternative entertainment for the larger community. The August release
should improve the game overall with some spiffy ship redesigns, an update to the tutorial, and client performance.
Six iconic ships — the Navitas, Thalia, Tayra, Bustard, Badger, and Crane — are all slated for visual reworks when the patch lands on August 14th. These are all getting better models, textures, visual effects, and animations, so the ship you end up with next Tuesday may seem like a completely new experience.
And speaking of new player experiences: “This update focuses on delivering a new basic starter site for rookie pilots, as well as combat challenges displayed via The Agency and a new Agency UI for training tasks. These challenges are repeatable, but new pilots will only be rewarded with skills upon first completion as part of the rookie orientation process.”
As cool as it may sound, unless you’re actually working on developing Crowfall, the odds are you will never see the Clusterizer in action. You will only ever see what it’s done, and you won’t even know that it was the work of the Clusterizer. But what does the Clusterizer actually do? It helps link zones together, according to the latest article on the official site showing off the intentionally somewhat ugly interface and the mechanics behind this map-linking tool.
Yes, the Clusterizer is a way to put multiple zones into a coherent whole and keep track of each specially developed map, so players can explore, have multiple areas to visit, and avoid retreading the same ground. So it’s pretty technical, but it should be fascinating for anyone excited about seeing the technical side of making the game’s areas in a given campaign fit together. It’s also just fun to say. The Clusterizer.
The Legends of Aria team sounds as if it has a lot on its plate right now. The team posted a road to launch update to keep fans appraised of the plan from here to release.
And there is a wee bit to do: “We need to implement a list of features (like fixing the map, adjusting the UI, loot, and more) and then go all in on bugs and stability for the next few weeks. We need to lock in some stress tests. We need to close the servers for some focused testing. We need to wipe the servers for the final time, and give our crowdfunders and founder’s pack buyers their head start. And we need to launch on Steam early access.”
Because that’s not enough, the team is throwing two events this month, a 6XGM event on August 17th and a Permadeath Mod event on August 30th. Following that on September 4th, the servers will go dark in preparation for early access some time in October. Hopefully. “Going to Steam is the natural next step for a game that began with crowdfunding and needs a critical mass of population in order to succeed,” said the team.
A brand-new feature has been datamined
test server, with players trying to figure out what this system entails.
It’s called Planar Disciples, perhaps some sort of companion system that is included on your character UI panel. Presumably players will be able to collect and level up a follower. Might be kind of cool to have a combat pal around for those tricky fights? Also coming to the game is a brawl mode for the Black Garden warfront, the return of the Tempest Rising world event, and a Pandora’s Box dimension.
One thing we do know for sure is that Trion Worlds is bringing back the Spoils of War event on the Prime progression server on August 16th.
I experienced a couple firsts recently that you may not have expected from me, and they can both be summed up in two words: Old School RuneScape mobile. Why so unexpected? Well for one, you might not have expected me to try OSRS (can I call it that?) because I started playing RuneScape only recently; I had no nostalgic draw to the game back in that iteration. Two, I am not a mobile player. I just don’t play any games on mobile, preferring my gaming time to be at my PC. But hey, doing the unexpected can be fun, and I am all for new experiences! This experience included sitting down with Jagex’s Senior Communications Manager Jon Wilcox and Product Manager John Colgrave, who shared info and answered questions as we worked our way through the tutorial together.
Now the question is, how was the experience? Would I continue to play on mobile even though the full cross-platform play allows me to move my game seamlessly back to the PC whenever I want? That’s what we are here to answer.