In a multiplayer game, it is inevitable that some players will abuse or take advantage of others. Which of these behaviours, if any, should developers allow to take place, and which should they work to prevent?
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Follow-Up From Previous Episode(s)
Star Citizen - Squadron 42, the single-player game that is connected to the larger Star Citizen universe, has reportedly been delayed. Which actually comes as something of a surprise, since I don't think most people were expecting to see Squadron 42 released in 2016. But, for what it's worth, it now officially won't be; 2017 is now being touted as the year for it. What has been released, however, is Star Citizen Alpha 2.5, which does look rather awesome.
Pokemon GO - Because we can't seem to avoid mentioning this game, we should probably note that Niantic are adding a “buddy feature” to the game. Not in the sense that you can play with a real life friend, however; you can, instead, designate one of your stable of Pokemon as your buddy; as you walk with your buddy, you'll accrue bonuses and (this is probably the biggest draw of the new feature) Candy relevant to the Pokemon evolutionary tree that your buddy is in. And while the game may still be declining, Niantic don't seem to be hurting all that much; they've made over $440 million thus far, and have already begun working on other projects. Also, in the recent Apple event, it was announced that the game will be getting an Apple Watch app...which kind of punts it from being strictly in the “game” category, and puts it more into the “fitness app” category.
We take a look at some of the different ways players behave badly in MMORPGs and multiplayer games. Specific examples include, but aren't limited to:
- Griefing in UO
- Griefing in Shroud of the Avatar (e.g. fake Hospitallers luring new players into PVP zones)
- Item renaming “scams” in Shroud of the Avatar & third-party lot sales being reversed
- Allowing third-party content into a game (e.g. the radio stations in Shroud of the Avatar's aether vibration items)
- Exploiting game systems/breaking the game
And it probably won't come as a surprise to hear that we don't think that the solution to every single problem is to punish players; there are even creative solutions for dealing with cheaters that don't involve banning them from a game entirely. Sometimes, the source of the problem is mistakes made by the developer, or miscommunication about the sort of game that is being developed; if players are simply making use of extant systems in ways that are completely legitimate, but outside the intent of the developers, should they be punished for that?
You may also wish to check out Boolean Dragon's discussion of some of these issues, which took place during a Hearth of Britannia Dragonsmeet a couple years ago.
In Other News
CD Projekt Red is now worth $1 billion - “Over the weekend, the company released its first-half financial report for 2016, and while its profits are slightly down year-over-year, its value on the Polish stock market is now $1 billion, thanks to the combined power of The Witcher 3 and Gog.com. For the second quarter of 2016, CD Projekt Red drew in 319 million PLN ($82 million) in revenue, and saw net profits of 134,7 million PLN ($34.7 million). GOg.com, CD Projekt Red’s game sales platform, brought in 69 million PLN ($17 million). As a result of its financial earnings, the company’s market capitalization has shot up to over 3.92 billion zloty ($1.341 billion).” Also, the Game of the Year edition of The Witcher 3 is now available.
Titan Quest Anniversary Edition - THQ Nordic have released the Anniversary Edition of Titan Quest, to celebrate the game's tenth anniversary: “...and gifts the game to everyone calling either Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne or Titan Quest Gold their own on Steam. So, in numbers, more than 1 million people will automatically find the game in their library starting today. Titan Quest Anniversary Edition contains both Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne which have been completely reworked in terms of multiplayer, stability, performance, balancing, AI and much more.”
Mass Effect - Peter Moore, EA's Chief Competition Officer, put a stop to the rumour that EA is consdering producing a remaster of the Mass Effect trilogy. Though he does acknowledge that producing such a remaster would be “an easy buck” for Electronic Arts, he emphasizes that — as far as all things Mass Effect are concerned — the company's focus is entirely on Andromeda at this time. (On the plus side, we can hopefully expect to hear something about BioWare's “unannonced IP” in the near future, which will be nice; this one has been in the rumour pipeline for years now, and it will be good to finally learn more about it.)
Mass Effect: Andromeda - We got a first look at some Andromeda gameplay as part of PlayStation Meeting 2016; some alpha gameplay was shown (running in 4K resolution, no less) off of a PlayStation 4 Pro. Takeaways from the video vary from one news outlet to the next; my thoughts are that the game looks gorgeous, and the addition of a jetpack adds the potential for a lot of interesting exploration options...hopefully. It would, after all, be relatively easy for BioWare to fall into the trap of making the game a platformer that tries not to be a platformer. The gameplay footage featured a male version of the Ryder player-character, which caught some people by surprise (Female Ryder was introduced during the E3 presentation for the game), but it turns out that players won't have to choose which Ryder appears in their game; Male Ryder and Female Ryder are siblings, and whichever one the player doesn't choose to play as will still appear in the game at various points. Oh, and the character wearing the N7 armour that appeared during the Ghost Riders in the Sky trailer turns out to be the father of the Ryder siblings.
Nintendo Is Making a Mario Game for iOS - “As part of Nintendo's initiative to expand their brand into the mobile market, they will be releasing a Mario game on mobile devices. Super Mario Run is coming to iOS this holiday season. Mario's first mobile game is an auto-running platformer. Simply tap the screen, and Mario jumps. The longer you tap, the higher Mario jumps. There are also special blocks that can change Mario's direction, or start and stop his movement with precision timing. Grabbing as many coins as you can will help you rack up a high score. Nintendo emphasizes that Super Mario Run can be played with one hand, making it easy to play during your busy day.” And yes, it's coming to Android as well...someday.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - The spiritual successor to the Castlevania games has been delayed until 2018; it was originally slated for a March 2017 release. The reason given for the delay is “to ensure quality standards, which [producer Koji Igarashi] felt the game wouldn’t live up to it at the current rate they had going with the production set-up and release deadline. He has decided to add a new development team to the main production to improve their approach and stay on track on his vision.”
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