Crowfall’s seasonal changes affect more than just the vistas

Forget oohing and ahhing over day/night cycles in MMORPGs — Crowfall is bringing whole seasons to its campaign worlds, and they’re going to be nothing like you’ve seen before in online RPGs.

Crowfall’s dev team is concerned with both showing the “passage of time” in the universe, rotating through spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons. Each game world begins in spring and concludes in winter, giving players an easy way of figuring out roughly how much time is left in a campaign.

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Mortal Online doesn’t just expose you to weather, it lets you control it

Mortal Online is going all-in on the weather industry. The forecast? A storm of fury, electrocution, and ice, all coming in a low front that originates from your very hands.

The PvP MMO just rolled out its second phase of the Elementalist school of magic, which allows players “the ability to control and change the weather.” As in, the entire zone’s weather pattern. Snow or rain? It’s your pick, buddy. But just wait until phase three arrives because the phrase “massive destruction” is being reserved for that occasion.

The free update also made some improvements to the thievery profession. Thieves can now steal trinkets, bribe guards, and use disguise kits. Sounds like just another day around the Massively OP office, really.

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Warframe revises focus system, adds dynamic weather

Perfectionists, nitpickers, or insecure? Your call on Warframe’s development team, although it does look like the members are striving to make the best game possible. Shortly after releasing the “Focus 2.0” overhaul with the recent Plains of Eidolon, the team is revising it once again with “Focus 2.5.”

The main takeaway with this updated system is that players will have to spend less to progress through the focus tree from now on: “The biggest systemic change with focus will address pool capacity costs. Focus points are still collected into five separate trees, but all will now have a shared pool capacity — this means you can upgrade your pool size using the points from any school you wish, which increases the maximum capacity for every school all at once.”

This week’s update adds dynamic weather patterns to the new open world zone, so enjoy them puddles! Rain, storms, wind, and moving cloud patterns are all part of the system, and players can expect to encounter reduced visibility and better fishing when it really starts getting nasty outside.

Source: Focus 2.5, patch notes. Thanks Sophiskiai!


Raining outside? Sidewalks covered in snow? Better run out and play… Pokemon Go!

It’s an interesting time to be a Pokemon Go player. Niantic’s put out two events that greatly reduced the game’s grind and setting community goals, granting regional ‘mon back-to-back. But the company still seems susceptible to weird missteps in its progress, and the latest news only reinforces that reality. Not only is the company slowly releasing new Pokemon later this week, but it’s rolling out changes that ensure real-life weather affects the game.

While Niantic (wisely) didn’t mention whether fires, sandstorms, or lightning are included in the new mechanics, effects like sun, rain, and snow are, which still might seem like a bad idea if you live in a place that has seriously bad weather. Depending on the weather, you may see more Pokemon that fit in with the environment (and you’ll snag some bonus stardust) while you’ll also find that relevant move types increase in damage. In other words, Niantic is incentivizing you to play Pokemon Go in terrible climate conditions. Even fog is included, and while I’d love to see more mysterious Pokemon spawning in my fog-heaven-hometown, maybe enticing out-of-towners who aren’t used to driving in it at 3 a.m. with rewards isn’t the best idea Niantic’s ever had.

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Chronicles of Elyria forecasts mud and snow, takes fans on a run through a mine

Big talk and intriguing ideas continue over at Chronicles of Elyria, where the team is giving players a vision of what the MMO’s weather system might look like as the game progresses through the seasons.

“Now that some new systems are in place to handle the environmental effects in the world, Heat has been providing some visual targets for our Environment team to hit,” the team said. “Keep in mind, that Chronicles of Elyria will have a weather system and seasons that will produce what you see below as you play. Of note, muddy roads and snow banks will affect travel and increase strain on people and vehicles that dare to venture outdoors.”

If you’re looking for something a little more substantial in the delivery department, the devs also posted a video that takes viewers on a tour through the prologue’s Silver Run Mine. The walkthrough comes with developer commentary, which makes it worth watching to hear about the design philosophy and all of the elements that will be used in the greater game. Check it out after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO is perfect for a snowed-in day?

There are places in the world where you never get a foot of snow dumped on you in the middle of winter. But for many of us, it’s just the reality that sometimes your travel options are limited to wherever you’re living. You will be snowed in, and that’s just how things are going to be. So you can just settle in and read, or cuddle your pets, or (as is more pertinent for this site) you can just jump into an MMO.

Of course, the question of the day is just that. Which MMO is perfect for a snowed-in day? Is it a game filled with sunny locales and no sign of the frozen landscape outside? Is it a game that mirrors the outdoors? Is it something active and engrossing or slow and relaxing? Let us know your favorite choices today. Seriously, it’s relevant to us, we’re snowed in right now.

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Check out some purty screenshots of Chronicles of Elyria’s weather and world

Making its way to Kickstarter backers today is December blog piece from Chronicles of Elyria covering… the weather.

OK, so that sounds like small-talk on a slow train to boringsville, but stay with me: Weather is actually kind of a big deal in MMORPGs. Soulbound is playtesting the weather system and shares a ton of images that show off fog and snowfall, among other quirks in the world.

“In our last sprint, a lot of behind-the-scenes work went on that will be integrated into the build over the next sprint or two,” says the studio. “The most exciting being the prep work for getting the female character model, dryas elk, flower-cup porcupine, and ursaphant in the game. We’re all anxious to see the world populated with all the plants, animals, and people it deserves. Right now, the ratio of plants is much too high! Although, they are really pretty plants.”

The team also explains the delay behind its web store update and how players can bind their Kickstarter and game accounts to retrieve their game goodies.

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RuneScape embraces expansion model and announces in-game weather

At this past Saturday’s RuneFest, Jagex made several major revelations concerning RuneScape’s development and future. The decisions were made following a player survey asking fans what features they wanted to see added to the game in 2017.

Jagex said that it will be adopting an expansion model for the game going forward. These are cost-free content updates that are much larger than the standard updates: “We’re talking about a whole area or region released on a single day, packed with a wide array of quests, combat and skill training. In current terms, it would be like us bundling together several updates, giving them a central theme and releasing them all at once.”

Of great interest to the crowd was the announcement that full weather systems are coming to the game. The devs promise that this weather will be more than just a changing backdrop; weather can and will connect with the gameplay experience.

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Children of Ur adds localized weather

What’s the weather going to be like today in your game?

You might just have to ask this if you’re apt to play Children of Ur in the future. The Glitch remake has just patched a weather system into its alpha build. The interesting twist? “Weather in different hubs is based on real cities around the world.” It’s not clear which real-world cities will be tied to which hubs.

The Alpha 1.4.4 update included a few other small items, including edible eggs, resizable chat windows, plenty of bug fixes, and a full range of assets delivered to Wintry Place (in case of sudden blizzard with the new weather system, we assume).


Exile Online shows off its weather system and armor concept

Whether you’re in ye olde fantasy lands or the cold, dystopian future, weather is pretty much a constant force in the world. Exile Online tips its hat to Cybermother Nature with a new video that briefly shows off its rain and snow effects in the city.

But wait! There’s so much more! The team also released a second video showing the time-lapse creation of the Aegiswing armor concept art. Now that is something that would be totally sweet to take to school or work if you wanted to make an impression.

You can check out both of these videos below.

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Get your Dogma: Eternal Night fix with a trio of new videos

If your bloodlust is running a little high as you wait for Dogma: Eternal Night to be finished, then perhaps we can slake your dark thirst with a trio of new videos today.

First up is a look at both the male and female character creation screens, including all of the sliders that you can handle! We also get to see the options to “vamp out” a toon, although perhaps the most disturbing part of these videos is how no one is shutting that refrigerator door. The food’s going to go bad, people!

The team also released a short video showing some of the rain and water effects from Dogma, which we assume will crop up a lot in this gloomy title. You can watch all three movies after the jump.

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs do more with environmental effects?

I don’t want to push the “IMMERSION” button too hard with this statement, but sometimes mine is bent a little too far when I see my lightly clad character romping through what’s supposed to be a harsh environment. If I allow myself to notice, I find it jarring that the weather and biome has absolutely no effect on my character. It’s all just offering different attractive level designs for the same type of activities.

To be fair, the idea of an environment adversely affecting you is not that attractive. If I had to nursemaid my character through snow, desert, or toxic landfills, I’d probably be whining about it. Yet every now and then I see developers try to bring in a deeper sense of immersion by having the environment be more than eye candy: wind blows us around, breath runs out underwater, campfires are direly needed or else we will freeze to death.

Should MMOs do more with environmental effects? If so, how could they do this to make the game more interesting instead of irritating?

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Desert Nomad: Immersion, atmosphere, and roleplaying in Black Desert

Hello friends, and welcome back to Desert Nomad, your more or less biweekly source of ramblings that are almost guaranteed to be at least tangentially related to Black Desert. As is custom around these parts, since I spent last week’s column pretty much roundly criticizing the game, I’d like to swing the emotional pendulum back in the other direction this week by discussing something that is near and dear to my heart: roleplaying.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about roleplaying in Black Desert – surprise, right? I know that I spend a lot of time, both in this column and in other pieces I’ve written, talking about the finer details of the games I cover – mechanics, game systems, and the like. While those underlying nuts and bolts have a lot to do with whether or not I find a game fun from the start, once I’ve hit max level, geared up, seen the sights and so on, there has to be a reason for me to keep logging in every day. For me, that reason isn’t the daily quests, the raids, or the PvP — it’s the roleplay.

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