Guild Wars 2 living world AMA on beetles, Joko, PvP, fractals, raids, and just what the heck happened last week

Team ArenaNet descended on Reddit last night to chat about all things – what else – Guild Wars 2. But if you haven’t got time to read over a thousand comments, swing by Dulfy, where the highlights have been helpfully rounded up. Of note:

  • The beetles were designed to not displace all the other mounts, but they might be tweaked to be less annoying in the future. Existing mount packs won’t retroactively include beetle skins.
  • Don’t expect accessories in the wardrobe, but it’s “exceptionally likely” that future collections will nudge us back to classic Tyria.
  • The next raid is “essentially done” and on the way next. Fractal reworks will continue too, but “new fractals are absolutely prioritized above reworks” – one fractal every two episodes.
  • New PvP maps are on the way too. “We have several new maps in development,” studio reps said. “A new desert themed conquest map, 2 additional small arena maps for custom arenas and a large arena map for custom areas.”
  • And what about Joko? “We had other story debt we needed to pay off this season, and a limited number of episodes in which to do it. We kept him around as long as we could justify to tie up his arc from PoF, but we couldn’t make him the main threat this season.”

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RIFT hands out free progression server vault space

Have you ever gotten excited about a game issue or MMO extended downtime because you know that there’s a good chance that you will be able to reap some compensation for your troubles? It’s happening today with RIFT’s progression server crowd that’s had to deal with a buggy bank feature. The upshot? Free storage space for all!

“Fixed an issue allowing you to use extended bank vaults even though they were invisible,” the patch notes said. “In accordance with this, YOU GET A VAULT. AND YOU GET A VAULT. AND YOU GET A VAULT! (Vault 1’s extended storage is now available for everybody).”

Today’s hotfix also addressed some wardrobe, LFR, and dimension issues on the live servers and greatly increased the token drop rate for Prime’s expert dungeons and raids.

Summerfest is on the way for RIFT, and dataminers have discovered some of the new goodies that you’ll be able to earn with this year’s festival.

Source: Patch notes


Perfect Ten: MMO features that help players express individuality

When you play a single-player game, you automatically feel quite special and unique. You are, after all, the very centerpiece that the entire game revolves around and caters to. Your ego soars high like the eagles and cannot be tamed.

This all changes when you step into a massively multiplayer environment. Suddenly we’re one of a crowd, a fish swimming among other fish made of the same templates. We’re part of the swarm of Chosen Ones destined to save the world. In that environment, it’s easy to lose that sense of individuality.

Happily, MMORPG designers have long given us ways to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the crowd if we so desire. There are plenty of avenues to express our creativity, inject our own personality and desires, and otherwise reclaim that sense of individuality in these virtual spaces. Today we’re going to march through a list of 10 ways that players can express individuality in their MMOs.

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RIFT datamining uncovers new decorations, items, and damage values for Prime

Datamining: the time-honored practice of digging things out from the client files for a game that hasn’t yet been put into the game. RIFT has some fun stuff to dig out, and the blog over at The Ghar Station has picked out some interesting tidbits including some behind-the-scenes calculation changes for damage on the Prime server. It’s not entirely certain, but the new scaling variables for damage reduction and damage dealt based by level are in there, which should help anyone trying to build up an extensive knowledge of the under-the-hood combat math.

This round of datamining also picks out new LFR dungeon teaser images, new decorations for dimensions, a new set of wardrobe items, and a few more achievements. We’d prefer not to spoil you on what all of these things are beyond the vaguest terms, but if you don’t mind being spoiled (or even look forward to it), hop on over to see what got pulled out of the mix.

Source: The Ghar Station; thanks to anonymous for the tip!


Guild Wars 2 has completely overhauled gathering tools with glyph upgrades and wardrobe implementation

A couple of weeks ago, a nasty patch bug borked up harvesting tools in Guild Wars 2. Hardest hit were the endless-use versions that run a thousand gemmies in the cash shop. Obviously, ArenaNet fixed all that. Today’s patch goes a step further toward making the tools much cooler by adding them to the wardrobe, meaning all your toons can spew lava and toot fireflies while hacking away at rocks.

“You can change their appearance with transmutation charges the same way you do your armor, weapons, and backpacks: open the Wardrobe in your Hero panel, click on an equipped tool, and select a skin you’ve unlocked. The preview will display each tool’s on-use effect. You can use gathering tool skins across your entire account, and they can be applied to limited-use tools as well as unlimited tools.”

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RIFT implements wardrobe changes to allow for more reasonable appearance unlocks

Another patch is soon to arrive in RIFT to bring some improvements to the game’s Wardrobe system. Moving forward, any items which are bound to your account or soulbound are unlocked on your wardrobe, as they’re obviously meant for just your character to unlock the appearance. If you get a quest reward that your class cannot equip but is still bound to you, it will also be unlocked in your wardrobe.

Meanwhile, bind-on-equip items will still need to be equipped by one of your characters in order to unlock the appearance, so that much hasn’t changed. This should prevent situations where players trade appearance items around for a fee in order to unlock appearances on multiple characters, so these are either sensible and positive changes (if you weren’t engaged in that anyway) or really killing something you did in the game (if you used to do that and now you’re going to be stuck unable to do so). Good luck to the appearance hunters in the game!

Source: Official Site; thanks to Kevin for the tip!


Perfect Ten: RIFT features that deserve praise

Maybe it will be short-lived, but it is exciting to see attention and excitement return to the sphere of RIFT following the announcement of the upcoming Prime server ruleset. I’ve gone from not thinking much of this title in my absence to somewhat missing it to absolutely craving it within the span of a week, and I’m sure that’s only going to get worse.

Seeing friends and commenters talk about RIFT has reminded me of just how many incredible features and qualities this MMO has. Sure, it’s made a lot of missteps and just about nobody really loves the business model, but there is a genuinely good game here that has a feature set that most MMOs could only dream about having on the back of the box.

So whether you’re thinking about returning to RIFT this spring or perhaps taking it up for the first time, here are 10 features from the game that I feel deserve public kudos.

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Neverwinter has a free fashion bag heading your way

While it’s not one of the greatest examples of such a system, Neverwinter’s wardrobe does allow players to swap out their characters’ armor visuals for a different ensemble. The small problem with this is that any outfits took up inventory space.

Well, no longer.

Cryptic announced this past week that a new fashion bag is on its way to the game for the upcoming Lost City of Omu module. The fashion bag will be added to the inventory window and will start out with 24 slots for outfits. This limit can be expanded for Zen, of course. And it should go without saying, but only fashion items can be thrown into this bag. No trying to stuff a horse into it; he will just say, “Neighh.”

Source: Neverwinter


EverQuesting: EverQuest II is a packrat’s paradise

While some consider the acquisition of stuff to be distracting to gameplay, others of us know that it is actually a vital part of of the experience. Everyone needs a friend who is a go-to for whatever you need, their bags bursting with everything you can imagine, from obscure stuff collected forever ago to bushels of crafting materials. And I am that friend.

Hi, I’m MJ — I am a packrat, and I am proud of it!

And with all the talk lately about hoarding, I’ve come to better appreciate just how nearly perfect EverQuest II is for someone like me. EQII is truly a packrat’s paradise! Here, you are free to stock up on all the essentials (and you can decide what is essential) and non-essentials alike. And all this without having to resort to any microtransactions! Sure, there are a couple things that would make it even better, but I hold this MMORPG up as a model of item management. If only more games aspired to this.

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Wisdom of Nym: Reacting to the Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.2 notes

My initial plan for this particular column was just to write “woo patch notes woo” but I was informed that this plan had certain problems. For one thing, usually my weekly columns about Final Fantasy XIV clock in around 1200-1400 words; this one was four. Also, none of them were actually commentary or analysis of any sort. Thus appropriately defeated (for now), I suppose I’ll spend this column actually talking about the patch notes while we all wait for the servers to come back online tomorrow.

Some of what’s on display is actually not all that surprising; we could have ascertained long ago that the dungeon would be tied to the MSQ, for example, because that’s exactly what has happened with every single brand-new dungeon added to the game at the level cap since patch 3.2 (and it was surprising when that wasn’t the case in 3.1). But there are still some surprises in the mix, and some things that are well worth considering as we wait for servers to come back up once more.

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Let’s play dress-up: Elder Scrolls Online explores its upcoming outfit customization system

Virtual fashionistas of the world have a lot to anticipate with Elder Scrolls Online’s February update, as it contains the MMO’s brand-new outfit system. Through this, player characters can whip up a customized ensemble for adventuring, roleplay, or that future modeling career.

The fun starts with the new outfit stations, which are upgraded versions of the old dye stations. Here, players can customize any visible piece of armor and gear, including his or her secondary weapon set. Options can be chosen from any outfit styles that the player has unlocked up to that point. And in case you were wondering, yes, you can mix-and-match different armor types and even swap weapon appearances.

Players get one outfit slot to begin with and can purchase more from the store. There is a gold cost to both equipping and dyeing gear, which the studio said can “range between hundreds or thousands of gold.” All outfit styles are shared across a player’s account, meaning that anything that is unlocked on one character is unlocked for all.


One Shots: Poppin’ some bubbly

We are going to kick off this week’s exhibition of player screenshots with a few email submissions (yes, some of you still email them in, and bless you for it!).

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for a celebration to break out in Final Fantasy XIV, as Souseiseki notes: “A certain Miqo’te had a little too much fun celebrating Heavensturn (and too much to drink!). Although, I think she had more fun opening the bottles than actually drinking them! Fortunately, I had the foresight to hide the good stuff. Don’t worry, her chocobo was parked safe in the stables and we confiscated her saddle.”

Postscript: That chocobo was later seen perched high on top of a temple summit, wrapped in toilet paper and spray painted with an incomprehensible slogan.

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LOTRO Legendarium: My LOTRO wish list for 2018

Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.

But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!

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