Guild Wars 2 Living World Finale Puts Players at ‘Point of No Return’

ArenaNet, publisher and developer of the acclaimed Guild Wars franchise, is releasing “Point of No Return” for Guild Wars 2’s Living World today. As the conclusion of the Living World’s second season, the episode promises to be a memorable one. Earlier in the season players were warned that ‘the road to war is paved with points of no return’. Now, Tyria stands at that threshold, with the Pact Fleet poised to take the war to the Elder Dragon Mordremoth and his increasingly fierce forces, the Mordrem.

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In addition to bringing the Season 2 storyline to its epic conclusion, “Point of No Return” delivers new game play and access to new treasures:

Time is Running Out

The Pact Fleet is poised to launch, and Glint’s egg is still missing. You have one last memory seed to plant, and the search through Caithe’s past has led you to a cave sealed shut with strange magic. The time for truth has come. Find a way to break the seal, enter the cave, and learn what happened all those years ago.

Ancient History

Marjory thinks Ogden Stonehealer might be able to shed some light on the origins of the seal on Wynne’s cave. The old dwarf has lived through events that have since become mere myths. Players must go to the Durmand Priory to seek his aid in understanding the seal’s ancient magic – and how to break it.

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Mordrem Vinewrath

Players can take the next step in the war against the Mordrem by fighting the Vinewrath, a lieutenant of Mordremoth that has claimed a portion of the Silverwastes for its own. This fight will take the coordination of many heroes working together with the Pact to force their way down three separate lanes of attack and take out the Vinewrath’s three deadly champions.

Silverwastes Treasures

Players can round out their Carapace and Luminescent armor sets with the addition of the chest and headgear pieces in this episode. Complete the Points of No Return storyline to receive the Carapace headgear, and fight the Mordrem Vinewrath for a chance at the Carapace chest. Bandit Crest collectors now have Mordrem Bladder and Spleen Extraction Devices and a new ascended accessory for players to purchase.

How to Fix Toxicity in League of Legends

Riot Games recently announced a new initiative in which they will be rewarding non-toxic players with a Mystery Gift if they haven’t been chat restricted or suspended/banned within the last year. This effort is the latest in a long line of attempts to reduce toxicity in the League of Legends online community.

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League of Legends is infamous in the gaming community for being infested with trolls and so-called “toxic” players. Riot has literally spent years trying to combat it through various methods. Many players probably remember the Tribunal which allowed other players to vote on whether to punish or pardon other players’ reported behavior. The Tribunal was riddled with flaws which I helped to point out and was eventually torn down and replaced with a new chat restriction system.

The new system is automated which means other players no longer vote to punish you. That’s a step in the right direction at least. Instead, the system apparently applies a chat restriction to you if you get reported a certain number of times, or if you get reported in a certain percentage of your games. This system, while better than the Tribunal, is also plagued with serious flaws such as the fact it doesn’t have the ability to judge behavior improvements. This has ultimately caused lots of players to be chat restricted pretty much permanently. The chat restriction system hurts the game overall for reasons I wrote about in a previous article. In short, when a player is chat restricted it is not only punishing him/her but also punishing all of his/her allies in subsequent games which they can no longer effectively communicate with. Obviously these people did nothing so why should they be punished?

As previously mentioned, Riot is now trying something else by focusing on rewarding good players instead of simply punishing the bad ones. Will this help cut back on toxicity? The answer is probably not.

The reason this won’t help things is because toxic players and trolls don’t care about mystery rewards. If you’re trolling in a game that by definition means you don’t care about it so why would some in-game gift be any incentive to stop? Not to mention how nobody knew about this reward until after the fact.

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So how can Riot actually cut back on toxicity in the game? The solution is actually quite simple. First off, they need to completely remove All Chat from the game. There is absolutely no reason to have this feature in League of Legends. You don’t need to converse with the other team during or even before/after the game. You don’t need to say “Good Game.” You don’t need to discuss what’s happening in the game with your enemies. All Chat is nothing more than a breeding ground for toxic behavior like taunting and insults. It unnecessarily provides an opportunity for players to act like jerks to their opponents. If you look at a game like Hearthstone, you can’t chat with your opponent at all in that game. What point would there be? So step one of “curing” toxicity in League of Legends is to remove All Chat completely.

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The next step in fixing toxic behavior is to change chat restrictions so that if you do get chat restricted, it simply means you’re auto-muted for a certain number of games and that teammates and proactively choose to unmute you. Other games online such as Halo and Call of Duty use a system like this where if you have been disruptive in past games, you will be automatically muted in future games. Teammates can then choose to unmute you so that you can communicate during the game. This system would be far superior to the current one which doesn’t even allow you to talk with your friends that you have queued with if you have a chat restriction. That’s dumb.

The third and final step is for Riot Games to stop focusing on chat behavior and start focusing on actual in-game behavior. People who AFK at the fountain or rage-quit matches ruin entire games for people and should be dealt with accordingly. There are legitimate trolls like people who sell all their items and feeders. These are the players Riot needs to be dealing with.

Riot also needs to crack down on those who falsely report other players because they’re mad at them. As mentioned previously, the current chat restriction system kicks in automatically once you reach a certain threshold of reports. This means it still hurts you to get reported even if that report is not true. For example, if someone is queued with a full party it is likely they will get all of their friends to report you as well. Receiving five reports in one game is gonna hurt you.

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This actually happened to me personally in a Dominion game. Despite the fact I didn’t say anything at all or do anything objectionable in-game, a player and his two friends reported me because they didn’t like me. Luckily for me, these false reports were caught on video because the user was livestreaming at the time. He readily admitted on his stream “we’re trying to get this guy banned by reporting him every chance we get.” Fortunately I wasn’t punished for their reports, likely because I sent the URL of the video to Riot via a support ticket. But there’s obviously not always going to be video evidence to exonerate you which is why false reports should be taken seriously.

The report system is perhaps one of the most abused features in League of Legends because angry players will often report you for doing well as a means of “getting back” at you. Thus far Riot has done nothing to quell false reports as far as I’m aware. Perhaps they should implement a system where if you report someone and they don’t get punished within a certain timeframe, your report counts against you instead. People who file a false police report in real life get charges brought up against them. The same threat of rebounding punishment should hold true for falsely reporting people in League of Legends. This would discourage players from reporting others unless absolutely necessary instead of just hitting the report button willy-nilly as so many players seem to do.

World of Warcraft 6.1 patch notes have been spoiled; Twitter integration, new items and much more

Patch 6.1 for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has been spotted in the midst of being deployed to the PTR servers for testing. Inside is a lengthy list of additions and changes, including in-game Twitter integration, graphical settings and hundreds of new items.

We’ve cherry picked the best of the patch notes below, so check them out if you want to know what to expect when patch 6.1 lands – it’s not that far off.

The new questline with patch 6.1 will take place in the Iron Docks, as we further pursue the Iron Horde and their threatening war machines.

Blizzard have seen fit to include Twitter integration to the game, allowing players to write and send Tweets based on their activities. Examples include earning achievements, downing raid bosses or looting mighty items. You’ll even be able to attach screenshots too.

A slew of new (and returning) Anti-Aliasing options have been added, including MSAA, SSAA, SSAA + and CMAA. They’re varying levels of of each, so you’ll have a much easier time finding that sweet spot for smoothing out those jaggies. Nvidia’s flashy horizon based Ambient Occlusion has also been thrown in.

For you raiders out there, several new additions will make you jump for joy. Killing a boss will now show a new flashy UI element to celebrate your success. Also, if you step in the fire and die, WoW will now give you a detailed Death Log that reveals what and/or who killed you. You’ll also be able to get your hands on the new loot from the next raid tier, Blackrock Foundry.

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Speaking of items, Heirlooms are returning to be your companions all the way from level 90 to level 100. You’ll need a token to upgrade them though, and we don’t know exactly how to attain them yet. We’ll also see the long awaited Heirloom collection tab be added to the game to help clear that precious bag/bank space.

Finally, it’s time for Garrisons. Players will be able to get their hands on various consumable items that affect Garrison missions. Garrison Scout Reports will give you a new mission, Mission Completion Orders will instantly complete a single mission, and Rush Orders will instantly complete five work orders; followers will also gain experience for work orders too.

For those quiet days, you’ll now be able to summon 10 – 40 player bosses inside your Garrison – ya know, for funsies.

Cheers MMO Champion!

RuneScape player raises over $1200 for a pizza delivery tip

Charlie McCormick wasn’t having a particularly good holiday season. For starters, he was a pizza delivery driver, which isn’t a grand ball of fun at any point of the year. His mother had also recently passed away after a prolonged illness, meaning that even if he had somehow felt festive, there wasn’t money to be festive with. At least, not until he made a delivery to Joey DeGrandis and was given a $1,230 tip for his service.

DeGrandis is an avid RuneScape streamer who wanted to do something nice for a deserving delivery driver, as he feels the job isn’t particularly respected for its hard work. Over the course of an 18-hour streaming marathon, his viewers raised the money for McCormick’s tip while DeGrandis played, with more donations coming in even after McCormick got his initial tip. Sure, it plays into the stereotype that MMO players all sit at home and eat delivered pizza constantly, but if that stereotype includes being exceptionally charitable tippers, we can probably live with it.

LOTRO PRODUCER’S LETTER LAYS OUT 2015 PLANS: NEW INSTANCES, PVMP ZONE, LEGENDARY REVAMP

The Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Athena “Vyvyanne” Peters today posted the first Producer’s Letter of 2015, wherein she discussed Turbine’s plans for the MMO for the coming year.

Peters promises new group instances as the game pushes forward to Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, where the closing battles for the War of the Ring were fought, as well as a new kind of episodic content which she compares to a TV show, and the squashing of the game’s “most persistent bugs.”

But as a long-time LOTRO player who just crafted a first-age level 100 greatsword, my lidless eye was drawn to the mention of a reworking of legendary items that will let you keep your top-level weapons, which will be able to gain experience apparently indefinitely. The skeptical part of me figures it’ll just be replacing one grind with another, and I could probably write entire paragraphs on my dissatisfaction with the legendary item system, but any improvement would be greatly appreciated.

The final item on the list was talk of a new player-versus-monster-player zone in Osgiliath, which would be the first new space in that ilk in about seven years. That’s major news to the Ettenmoors crowd, which is still oddly alive, at least on my home server of Arkenstone, despite having little new to do. The letter says that the area would focus on “smaller and more tightly focused conflicts,” which might lead one to speculate that it could be fixed-group battleground-style PvP.

In any case, it’s always nice to have hope for new stuff… now we’ll just have to wait and see how well Turbine can deliver!

ALBION ONLINE WINTER BETA STARTS JAN. 26

If Albion Online‘s hardcore, full-loot, crafting-based gameplay sounds like your cup of tea, you can take a crack at the title from Sandbox Interactive later this month during the winter alpha for the game, which starts on the 26th.

Access is currently limited to founders, with packages ranging from $29.95 to $99.95, but the game will be free-to-play when it launches, and your early investment grants you all sorts of goodies and perks. The highest level grants access to this and all future alphas and betas, as well as a 90-day premium account, a house, and fancy gilded gold lettering on your character’s in-game display name. No, really, that’s exactly what it says on the website: “fancy gilded gold lettering.”

I spent some time in Albion Online last year while Spunkify did a First Look, and while it wasn’t up my alley, I could see how it could appeal to a niche crowd looking for a particular style of game. If you’ve got the time — and currently the money — it might be worth a look.

Taichi Panda’ Coming this Month, New Character Trailer Released

Back in November when Snail Games announced their upcoming character action game Taichi Panda would be releasing before the end of the year, it looks like they were a bit off the mark. Not too far off though, as today they’ve revealed that the game is on track to release in January. They don’t have a specific date in January, but I’ll take what I can get. They’ve also released a new trailer for the game, showing off the three playable characters in Taichi Panda.

Taichi Panda New Character Trailer

We played an early version of Taichi Panda at E3 in June of last year, and I actually really enjoyed it then. It looks like it’s come a long way since, so I’m hoping the final product will live up to my expectations. There aren’t a ton of great action games of this particular style, so there’s definitely a hole to be filled. Look for Taichi Panda to launch sometime later this month.

FIFA 2015 Ultimate Team for Gold Cards Cheats on Android

Build and play your own team for gold and victory

This new game from EA is the newest entry into the long-storied footy or soccer franchise where you will be able to play endlessly and you are able to customize and build a team using a nearly endless assortment of players. Playing this game is not like playing football manager in which you will be allowed to figure out how to construct your team correctly, and how to make it the best team out of anything you can master.

Pick only solid squad before going to the match

After unlocking the initial flood of bonus card packs, you can then create a new squad, whereby it is too time-consuming to try to mess with your starting squad.

Here, you have to pick up a good formation, then start searching by position to play in the match. Moreover, you should fill up everything as best you can. At this point, you must match players to their positions for a position bonus, then match players by nationality for a chemistry bonus. Anyway, if you have a position which is unfilled by any of your players, just select the closest substitute statistically such as a CM instead of an LM. Then try to change your formation to fit what positions you have a surplus of top players in.

FIFA 2015 Ultimate Team Cheats and Tips

Use the transfer market to get the best players

In this game, you will also be allowed to use the transfer market to get rid of any unwanted player, because with so many formation types, somebody out there will take them off of your hands. Later on, you can even buy the low-bid players if you think they are undervalued, then you can also auction them off for a higher price and make a profit form it. You can do this time and time again to trade your way to your ultimate team. In the option menu, you are able to change everything from the difficulty to the controls either classic or casual, plus the button layout, the camera angle and camera height based on what device you play the game on and whether it is a phone, tablet or phablet and even the half length

You can also change it for if you want to play a quick game within two minute halves or a longer game within ten minute halves. On the other side, you can complete the active objectives, one after the other in order to get this game more fun to play. In addition, every time you complete that objective, you will have a chance of earning loads of gold, card packs, and FIFA points as bonus rewards.

10 Tired Video Game Plots Everyone Is Sick Of Seeing

There’s a particularly horrifying revelation in store for anyone who delves into the Super Mario Bros. instruction manual.

It has a story summary, and while it’s little more than a paragraph, it explains in some detail that Bowser’s magic transformed the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom into stones, plants and, disturbingly, bricks. Yes, the blocks that Mario gleefully smashes his way through to earn points are actually the people you’ve been trying to save, meaning you’re guilty of gymnastic genocide. Not that you’d know that just by playing the game, of course, as there’s no attempt at explaining the plot whatsoever.
Things couldn’t be more different nowadays. Even Mario feels the need to explain in some detail why Bowser’s kidnapped Princess Peach this week, and most modern games wouldn’t be caught dead without a story. After all, we live in a world where people are, right now, seriously discussing a Tetris movie.

Everyone loves a good story, but it’s hard to play through a game and not feel that what you’re hearing is a little… familiar – or cliché-riddled derivative fluff, depending on how harsh you’re feeling.

Games have the potential to open up new ways of storytelling and explore properly interactive narrative, but first they need to unshackle themselves from the same old ideas we’ve been seeing since the 1980s. Gaming is full of hackneyed plot devices that need chucking onto the scrap heap, but there are a few that crop up time and time again.

10 Things Mass Effect Does Better Than Star Wars

Star Wars has a prestigious pedigree of cultural influence that most franchises never see, and despite being tarnished somewhat by the prequel films, love for the series is still as strong as ever. In terms of its footprint within popular culture it is the king of science fiction/fantasy, to the point where it is near heresy to criticise it… well, at least the original trilogy, anyway.

And yet, while Mass Effect may be a relative newcomer to the sci-fi genre, it more than holds its own against the competition, including Star Wars.

The writers and artists at Bioware have taken classic elements of the genre to create a compelling work all their own. It may be a video game, but Mass Effect can easily be considered one of the best science fiction universes around. In fact, it could be argued that it is better than Star Wars in a lot of ways.

Is it blasphemy to say this? Perhaps, but thanks to advancements in technology and the advantage of its medium, many of Mass Effect’s accomplishments within the realm of science fiction outshine what the Star Wars films have done. Both series are great and have their own strengths and weaknesses, and in some areas Mass Effect is just better. If Star Wars helped lay the groundwork for contemporary sci-fi, than Mass Effect evolved it to new heights.

It should be noted that it would be all too easy to get bogged down in the extended fiction of both franchises. So for the sake of simplicity only the core three games of Mass Effect and the six Star Wars films will be compared. With that disclaimer out of the way, these are some of the things Mass Effect does better than Star Wars.