Gaming Community Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Gaming Community RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 6 Most Ridiculously Expensive PUBG Items https://www.gameskinny.com/8ifw9/6-most-ridiculously-expensive-pubg-items https://www.gameskinny.com/8ifw9/6-most-ridiculously-expensive-pubg-items Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:59:57 -0500 Nilufer Gadgieva

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has hopped on the crate-and-key bandwagon via the Steam Community market, with players selling (and buying) rare in-game costumes and other cosmetics for ludicrous prices. Each key to open the crates cost $2.50 as it is. It's a pretty lucrative business if you ask me.

However, just because a price is named on the site does not mean that buyers cannot state a price of their own -- and successfully, too. 

Here are the top six most expensive PUBG items you won't find at your local Target. (Note: prices are listed in US dollars and fluctuate regularly)

6. Red Hi-top Trainers: $380.31

Not sure if they're this valuable because they're red or because they're high tops, but Chuck Taylors are suddenly dollar-store material compared to these kicks. While they look great, why and how some players are willing to pay this much for a single item (which is usually barely noticeable in retrospect) is pretty much beyond me.

5. School Skirt: $461.55 

Apparently, the blander the clothes in this dystopian universe, the better. Urban Outfitters hasn't seen the likes of this muddy-hemmed beauty, selling for more than your grandmother's heirloom jewelry. Perhaps the shortness of the skirt offers a great deal of sex appeal, or maybe its run down but minimalist appearance entices players, but either way, this is probably the most expensive skirt I've ever seen.

4. PlayerUnknown's Trenchcoat - $485.24

Can't lie and say this trenchcoat is not epic apparel for a Battle Royale theme, and it comes close to prices some celebrities might pay for a typical trenchcoat, but come on ... really? Players wanting to bear a resemblance to the popular figure of the game would probably purchase this, or it could be just to seek protection from a rainstorm, who is to know?

3. PlayerUnknown's Bandana - $805.00

The day a single bandana is worth more than a trenchcoat is probably not a day I want to see. However, the overwhelming amount of players willing to purchase this item is simply ridiculous. Perhaps the air of mystery and secrecy suits some, while for others it's the uncanny resemblance to Mr. Unknown.

2. Female Uniform Sets - ranging from $784-830 

I think it's safe to say that female clothing, both in the real world and in PUBG, costs more than it should. Mimicking the classic private schoolgirl look, it also appears that this skin is a fan favorite. This set comes in three different colors and slightly different designs: black, ivory, and blue, with prices varying dramatically between each color. 

1. PlayerUnknown Costume Set - $1,800

This mysterious set is meant to make you look like Mr. Unknown himself, who is clearly something of a celebrity around these parts. Originally sold for $40 during its pre-order season, this set currently sells for nearly $2,000 dollars for no reasonable explanation.

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Suffice it to say that a majority of the Steam Community probably can't get access to these items, but these prices are just a laughable joke to admire from a distance. 

What do you think of this list? Could it get any worse than this? Comment with your thoughts below.

 

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SpecialEffect Announces Total Raised for One Special Day Fundraiser https://www.gameskinny.com/gfwc1/specialeffect-announces-total-raised-for-one-special-day-fundraiser https://www.gameskinny.com/gfwc1/specialeffect-announces-total-raised-for-one-special-day-fundraiser Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:19:54 -0500 Highties

SpecialEffect, a UK gaming charity, recently announced they had raised over £446,000 in their One Special Day fundraiser event that was held on September 29, 2017. The event is an annual fundraiser dedicated to raising money for people with disabilities so that they can find ways to enjoy video games and be part of the community. Companies from all over the gaming industry took part in the event and donated; several indie titles from the UK donated all revenue from game sales and in-game purchases.

According to SpecialEffect Founder and CEO Dr. Mick Donegan,

The money raised from One Special Day is a huge financial boost to SpecialEffect. It will enable us to take on extra staff we need to help even more severely disabled people all over the world to play the games they love. Being supported by so many games industry partners like Supercell, SEGA, Seriously, Unity Technologies, Codemasters, Playdemic, and Rovio is not only a tremendous funding boost but also a terrific morale boost to our passionate and dedicated team here at SpecialEffect.

This continued with Dr. Mick Donegan talking about where the money from the One Special Day fundraiser will be going. It will be invested in employing two additional clinical staff to join SpecialEffect's growing team of occupational therapists and technology specialists. It will also fund modifications needed for the SpecialEffect game rooms, where people with disabilities can go to try out a wide range of hardware and software.

Organizations like SpecialEffect have such a huge impact on the disabled gaming community and the gaming industry. They can help transform lives and do amazing work. If you want to learn more about this charity, check out SpecialEffect's website. If you'd like to donate or participate in the next One Special Day fundraiser, it will be held on September 28, 2018; however, they hold multiple events all year that you can help out with.

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One Community Writer's Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review https://www.gameskinny.com/p6wsx/one-community-writers-xenoblade-chronicles-2-review https://www.gameskinny.com/p6wsx/one-community-writers-xenoblade-chronicles-2-review Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:00:01 -0500 chester0334

Symphonies provide masterpieces that thrill the audience. However, great symphonies can provide exquisite masterpieces while masking and blanketing the flaws in the artist’s craftsmanship. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers several unique elements that shape it into a great masterpiece. While Xenoblade Chronicles 2 does have a few flaws, these flaws get buried under the cohesive gameplay elements that Xenoblade offers.

Characters and Plot

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has an amazing cast of characters that support the lead character, Rex. Despite their different backgrounds, each one still stands out as unique and well developed. Additionally, watching several of these characters interact with each other provides humorous moments that never feel forced. The well-developed interactions with each character make the audience care about the growth of each one as they rally around Rex, trying to help him get to Elysium in hopes that the “dying world” can be saved. Rex embarks on his quest to Elysium based off a promise he made with his Blade Pyra. He faces several trials against enemies from Torna, who generally overwhelm him. To overcome these enemies, Rex must seek the “power to protect.” However, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has several additional themes that touch the audience. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 tells a story about the virtues of teamwork, love, beautiful memories, and the importance of friendship. The great characters and important, virtuous themes allow Monolith Soft to string together an excellent story with some plot twists that I won't spoil. This structurally hitched story creates a rollercoaster of emotions that correctly toys with the audience’s emotions. Unfortunately, some emotional scenes get completely ruined by poorly executed voice acting (I’ll go into detail about this later).

Gameplay

In terms of gameplay, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers many hours of content. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took the great gameplay components of the original and added different components. The introduction of blades, which come in the form of core crystals, allows the player to constantly mix and match different blades. Additionally, players have access to rare blades which have special abilities that cannot be obtained from normal blades. However, obtaining rare blades requires a ridiculous stroke of luck, for each core crystal is completely randomized (kinda sucks you can burn through several core crystals without a single rare blade). You can also dispatch blades on mercenary missions. These missions give you experience, gold, and special items in addition to raising your mercenary group's ranking, which allows you to take on additional missions. These missions also help level up weaker blades, which can then help you on your main mission. This allows the player to experiment with several different blades no matter the strength. Additionally, you can upgrade your character's affinity through side quests. Side quests were featured in the original Xenoblade Chronicles and throughout the series. Side quests can grant you experience, gold, and SP, allowing the player to upgrade the affinity of the main characters. Additionally, the player can upgrade blades and characters with certain key items. With the number of customizations, the player has tons of freedom customizing each character.

 Graphics

I never really find myself playing my Switch on the TV (in fact, my Nintendo Switch dock is still in the original box). I bought the Nintendo Switch mainly for the handheld aspect. Additionally, I own a gaming laptop, and thus I never find myself using the TV for gaming (R.I.P., the Steam Link sitting in the corner of my room). Thus, I have never played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on my TV.

But the undocked version of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 looks poor, graphically, and I have experienced some noticeable frame drops (very few, fortunately) while playing undocked. When fast traveling, backgrounds take a while to load. However, every Switch owner should bear in mind that the Nintendo Switch has limitations in hardware. Additionally, I never found myself bothered too much by the graphics since I was so drawn in by the great story and gameplay. Graphics are not always the most important part of a game.

Voice Acting

The voice acting. The biggest flaw in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Most of the time, the voice acting never bothered me. However, I generally found myself hating Rex’s voice acting on emotional scenes. This truly bothers me, especially when directly compared to the original Xenoblade Chronicles voice actors. The voice acting in Xenoblade Chronicles packed emotion and dynamic flare. Xenoblade Chronicles 2, however, went backwards in this department, and poor voice acting can ruin dynamically emotional scenes. Most emotional scenes featuring Rex had piss-poor voice acting. In fact, I often found myself laughing or mentally facepalming myself listening to the poorly executed voice acting of Rex -- but it doesn't end with Rex.

It carries over into some of the AI, which can create annoying fights (I’m mainly talking about the Ardanian soldiers). Walking into a group of Ardanian soldiers screaming the same broken dialogue -- “Don’t forget me” (trust me, we won’t) or “Think you can take me?” really drill deep inside your head. While you can disable the dialogue, it actually works against you; I often found myself depending on the characters' dialogue in combat because it helps the player hear important battle cues. While the voice acting is not completely terrible, the sections that have poor voice acting truly stick out.

Soundtrack

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a spectacular soundtrack that strikes each heavenly harmonizing chord in existence. I prefer the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 soundtrack over the original Xenoblade Chronicles soundtrack (come at me!). Each tune, from "Mor Ardain - Roaming the Wastes" to "Torna Boss Theme" stuck with me. Additionally, the tunes that featured lyrics generally struck several chords of emotion. “Drifting Souls” really hit my emotions and made certain cut-scenes memorable. Overall, big fan of the soundtrack. Go experience the soundtrack for yourself on YouTube.

Verdict/Final Thoughts

I enjoyed Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from start to end. It has plot twists, memorable soundtracks, and gameplay features that make it a great game. However, the game does have a few minor flaws. So why would I give this game a 10/10? I found myself devoting 86-87 hours to it, while completing a fair amount of side quests -- however, I never found myself wanting to put my Nintendo Switch away. Instead, I continued to play and progress throughout the story, wanting to continue to watch the characters grow. Being a PC gamer, I found it hard to justify spending $60 on a brand-new game. However, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is worth every penny. I bought the special edition with the art book, which cost $82. It was worth it. Despite the flaws, the great aspects of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 blanket the flaws within the game. It’s the great aspects of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that make the game great. So, what are you waiting for? Go get the game, and enjoy an experience that should be in your Nintendo Switch library. 

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20 Years With Final Fantasy: Looking Back at FF7's Impact on Today's Gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/2e5gm/20-years-with-final-fantasy-looking-back-at-ff7s-impact-on-todays-gamers https://www.gameskinny.com/2e5gm/20-years-with-final-fantasy-looking-back-at-ff7s-impact-on-todays-gamers Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

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Looking Back to Look Forward

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These reflections certainly demonstrate Final Fantasy VII's quality and enduring strengths. But they do more than that. They show how influential good games (like good books) can be. Whether they shape the way we view and evaluate other games, sit snugly alongside some of our happiest childhood memories, or continue to affect our lives in the present, they leave their mark and shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

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Image via Final Fantasy Wiki

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What are your memories of when you first played Final Fantasy VII, and how did it change your approach to games and gaming? Share your story with us down in the comments!

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Amy Turnbull

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Community contributor Amy Turnbull's experience with FF7 was similarly formative, though she is not quite so reticent about crediting it with shaping the course she took in life.

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"The Final Fantasy games were my introduction to the world of JRPGs (and RPGs in general). Though FF7 wasn’t my first game in the series (that credit goes to FF9), it is the one that left the longer-lasting impression, and solidified my love for the genre to this day.

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The first time I played FF7, I found that I was very soon drawn into the individual characters’ storylines. I wanted to know more. Who were these people? What were their histories? Where would they – and I as the player – be headed together? I even found myself experiencing another first – that I was just as invested in the antagonist’s storyline as the protagonists’. Instead of my usual attitude surrounding the bad guy in games (basically, beat that bugger then relish in the subsequent glory), I wanted to know everything I could about this alluring being. I craved Sephiroth’s story just as much as I craved Cloud Strife’s. There was just something very intriguing about all of these characters that left me wanting to learn more, and so I was quickly hooked in my need to experience this game in its entirety.

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FF7 is a huge game (multiple discs huge!), and I found myself playing it at every spare opportunity. It was a little overwhelming at times, as I was still not used to the vastness of RPGs. There wasn’t just the main storyline to complete, but all the wonderful little side-quests, and so many random battles along the way. I’d played video games for a good 10 years before finding FF7, but this was the first time I was bitten by the completionist bug. I couldn’t get enough of it!

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From that moment on, the Final Fantasy games became a favourite series of mine, and though I’ve continued to play many of the newer releases as they’ve come out, there is something very special about FF7 that just can’t seem to be topped.

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It’s also the game that propelled me into the online gaming community. Never before had I thought to seek out other gamers online, but after a little Googling, I found a rich fan community with discussions, fanart, articles, and so much more dedicated to this rich game. And just like that, I came to find a seemingly endless world of content dedicated to every game you could think of. I guess, in a way, FF7 paved the way to the point I’m at today – contributing to that very same community as a games journalist, something teenage me never could have imagined as a possibility. Yep, this game definitely deserves the very special place it holds in my heart."

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Image via YouTube

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Ashley Gill

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Guide Editor Ashley Gill reminisced about how Final Fantasy VII's epic story not only introduced her to a new style of game, but also offered her a new way of interacting with other people.

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"Final Fantasy 7 was my first console RPG and my first PlayStation game. We were really poor when I was growing up, so I basically just played NES at home until 1998. My mom started making more money and got married, so I made the jump to Genesis and then to PSX pretty quickly. We got FF7 from a pawn shop, not sure if it was used or not.

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I'd played PlayStation games before at friends' houses, but nothing prepared me for the overall experience of FF7. It completely blew me away.

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The funny thing was, I didn't have a memory card for a good two weeks after I got my PlayStation. I'd come home from school or spend the weekends just playing the first few hours of the game again. For a couple days I just let it sit overnight, you know, as we did in the cartridge eras. I got pretty good at rushing through Midgar by the time I got my memory card.

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I didn't know spanning stories existed in games before FF7, and it completely changed my taste in games. I went from FF7 to Xenogears, FFT, Legend of Legaia, Tales of Destiny -- those were my first real non-text-based RPGs. And of course, I wandered to the AOL message boards for many of these games and ingrained myself into their communities. That set the stage for my social life moving forward, though whether that's good or bad is subjective.

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I don't like to say something as cheesy as 'Final Fantasy 7 changed my life', because I'm contrarian to a fault and that's just not my style. But if not for it, I never would have found their communities and forged the years-long relationships I did. Not to mention experiencing some pretty ace games."

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Image via NeoGaf

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Justin Michael

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For others GS community members, Final Fantasy 7 had an even more transformational effect -- ranging from opening the door to new game genres, all the way to establishing a whole way of life. Staff writer Justin_Michael's time with the game fits in with the former and takes into account every minute detail of the game.

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"The first time that I played Final Fantasy 7, I was around 13 and had never played a JRPG before. Up until that point, I played mostly platformers or shooter titles -- so when my friend lent me his copy, I had no idea what I was in for. I remember how impressed I was with the cinematics and how immersive the story was.

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...I felt like I had a connection with the characters, so much so that I actually got a Fenrir tattoo! And man, was I pissed when Sephiroth killed Aeris, as I had spent hours upon hours leveling her up.

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The minigames were also a great touch, my favorite being the Fort Condor minigame where you had to buy troops to fend off waves of Shinra forces. All-in-all, FF7 was my gateway to RPGs -- one of my favorite genres to play now."

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Image via RPGsquare

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Kengaskhan

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A game with these qualities does not easily fade from memory . Alongside a sense of nostalgia -- a powerful force of its own -- games like FF7 often create powerful emotional connections between the player, characters, and story, as writer Kengaskhan discovered.

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"I was pretty young when I first played Final Fantasy VII...I was in middle school at the time, so I would've been around 10 or 11 years old. To be honest, I only had a superficial understanding of the plot, but it was one of the first times I actually paid any attention to a game's story, and there are some things about the game that I don't think I'll ever forget. I'm not going to say that FF7 is my favorite game (though it certainly was at the time), but I firmly believe that it's why I got into gaming.

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You'd probably guess that I'd beaten FF7 multiple times by now, but I've actually only played through it twice. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to play the game a second time until very recently, as the game CDs were lost when we renovated our basement...So for over a decade, all I had for FF7 were these very fond memories for a game that I only sort-of-remembered -- an undying nostalgia that slowly intensified as the years passed.

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I remembered watching my dad play, and [him] quitting the game when he got stuck like 15 minutes into the game when he couldn't climb a staircase (I picked up where he left off). I remembered wandering through the Sector 5, 6, and 7 slums and thinking, "Wow, this place is pretty charming despite being a total dump," although maybe not quite that articulately. I remembered that feeling of dread when I had to fight those inexplicably alien creatures Sephiroth left in his wake at the Shinra Headquarters. I remembered not understanding how to navigate Gold Saucer. I remembered calling Red XIII "Red 7" and how I always made sure to include him in my party. I remembered the music.

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During my second playthrough a few years back, something pretty peculiar happened -- I realized that, of all the things I could forget about FF7, I forgot about Cloud's own struggle with his memories, about all the mundane things he did remember, and the few crucial things he couldn't.

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I'm not usually sure how to describe the feeling of immersion or personal investment we get when playing games, but that moment of realization for me was the most a game had ever resonated with me."

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Image via Well-Rendered

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ActionJ4ck

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ActionJ4ck's experience with Final Fantasy 7 is a similar testament to the game's quality of design. For this GS Senior Mentor, encountering the game almost 15 years after its initial release didn't diminish any of its great qualities.

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"Unlike a lot of people, I actually played Final Fantasy VII for the first time on PC in 2013. I had been a big Final Fantasy fan for a while at that point and had obviously heard all the fanfare surrounding the game, but I went in unsure of whether I was about to experience a timeless classic or something that was surely impressive at the time, but has not aged well.

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I ended up completing it in about a week of very dedicated play. I wouldn't say that I was blown away by it or that it was even my favorite Final Fantasy game, but I also couldn't deny that it was a fantastically-crafted game that held up very well -- and if I had first played it back when it was initially released, it probably would have changed my perspective of gaming. The pacing was excellent for a JRPG, the story was better written and more coherent than most of its genre counterparts, and the graphics were much better than most of what I played back in the day. All in all, I felt that even with the passing of time, Final Fantasy VII truly exemplifies the best that a JRPG can be."

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Image via Twinfinite

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Lucky Jorael

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For Senior Mentor LuckyJorael, Final Fantasy 7 was the perfect combination of story, world-building, and character -- all coming together to create something unique and inspiring.

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"I switched off playing FF7 with my best friend at the time...We were both in utter awe as we watched the cinematics, and loved every single second of it. We did every side quest and killed every Weapon, gathered all the Materia we could find, and bred Chocobos until we finally got a black one. We totally didn't cry when Sephiroth killed Aeris -- and argued later about why we couldn't just use a Phoenix Down to revive her. Once we beat the game, we both just kind of sat back on his old couch, absorbing the adventure we had just gone on, and the fact that it was over.

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Then we played it again from the start.

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FF7 really set the stage for my love of RPGs. From 7, I went on to play Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, as well as FF8 and 10, and I've spent thousands of hours playing Final Fantasy Tactics -- the original on PS1, War of the Lions on my PSP before I left it on a plane, and War of the Lions again on my iPad. FF7 guided me to what a good game was and what games could achieve. Even as a kid, I knew that sensationalist news about games making kids violent and games not being art was complete crap. I had proof that both statements were wrong."

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Image via Well-Rendered

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Final Fantasy VII just just started celebrating the 20th anniversary of its international release on October 2, 1997. Widely regarded as the best game in the Final Fantasy series, FF7 is also proclaimed as one of the best RPGs of all time. That's high praise for any game -- let alone one in a series that essentially made the RPG genre what it is today.

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But what about this game makes it so special for so many people? Is it the mold-breaking story, the grand scale of the entire game, or the memorable characters? We asked our GameSkinny staff and community writers that same question, and here is what they had to say about how FF7 impacted them as gamers and shaped their gaming passions moving forward.

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Image via Download Wallpaper

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ProjectMQ: A Platform Built for the Indie Game Community https://www.gameskinny.com/yiot1/projectmq-a-platform-built-for-the-indie-game-community https://www.gameskinny.com/yiot1/projectmq-a-platform-built-for-the-indie-game-community Wed, 23 Aug 2017 17:19:15 -0400 Kat De Shields

It’s no secret that the indie development scene is taking the gaming world by storm. Small dev studios are producing noteworthy and wildly popular games that rival some titles coming out of AAA studios. As the indie scene continues to grow, it’s important to take notice of the organizations and sites that work to support them. 

Enter ProjectMQ.

This is much more than a social platform dedicated to indie games. It’s a thriving community of indie fans and indie developers that seeks to educate as well as elevate.

According to the ProjectMQ website:

Game discovery/visibility is terribly broken on many computer, mobile, and console marketplaces. This frustrates gamers that are trying to find quality interactive experiences. It also makes indie developers/studios struggle to build a social audience and sell their games. ProjectMQ fixes the game discovery problem with a global community for indie game studios and fans.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Malcolm and Marcus Howard -- twins and creators of ProjectMQ --  about how they plan to connect, support, and grow the global indie gaming community. 


Malcolm and Marcus Howard, creators of ProjectMQ.

GS: How did the idea for ProjectMQ come about?

Malcolm: Playing video games has always been a big part of our lives. We’ve been playing since we were six years-old -- Super Mario Bros 3. In college we’d watch YouTube videos and think, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to share memories and have an easier way in general to watch media for games?” At the time, there wasn’t a platform that existed like that.

GS: What is your vision for ProjectMQ? How will it work?

Marcus: Project MQ is comprised of two pieces. The first is a public brand on social media channels. Our goal is to expand our active presence on platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, where millennials, gamers, and developers live. Our website offers public resources for developers, like tips for marketing on Twitter, how to start and run a Kickstarter campaign, PR best practices, and other information. The second piece of ProjectMQ is an invitation-only exclusive area where we handpick indie games from across the world to be featured on the site. People who are passionate about indie titles can access the site and check out what’s up and coming or new, too. We will use both of these pieces to offer support to the indie game community.

Steam is in business to make sales, not necessarily to promote quality indie games. With things like Steam Sales, consumer expectation is that they should only buy games at the lowest possible price or when a sale is going on. Unlike AAA studios, indie development studios don’t pad their budgets. They add in just enough to make a profit that will make their next game. Unfortunately, many consumers are conditioned to not appreciate any game unless it’s $0.99. Indie devs are small business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right. They can’t afford to make a living off of $0.99 games.

The games we select are polished and unique. Our goal is to grow ProjectMQ to support a larger number of indie developers, but we have to keep that number small now due to limited resources.

Malcolm: It’s not that we don’t want to support all indie devs -- that’s why we have the Twitter marketing aspect -- it's that we’re focused on the middle tier of the indie scene. You have a group of mid-tier devs who are spending years making a game and investing money in the games they make. It’s important that this group of people can continue to make their games.

Marcus: We aim to establish a public brand where indie devs and fans can connect around the world. We also want to provide actionable, high-value advice. Our site is exclusive to people who truly want to move the indie community forward.

Malcolm: “A rising tide floats all boats.”

GS: How are indie development studios responding to ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: We’ve received overwhelming, positive support for what we’re doing. All of our efforts are volunteer based. We don’t charge developers for the promotions we run, like #indiefeaturemonday and #indiefeaturefriday. Indies are thankful for what we’ve done; there aren’t a lot of places where they can get this level of support. Many of them don't have a marketing budget whatsoever. ProjectMQ is a platform where they can promote their work to an active audience that wants to engage with them.

Marcus: So far, we support more than 300 independent development studios across more than 25 countries.

GS: I know you’ve been presenting at investment incubators, what other successes have you had thus far?

Malcolm: In 2016, we won the Hatch House Open competition in Pennsylvania, which included a cash prize and networking/consulting services.

In April of this year, we won Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Savannah’s Bootcamp Demo Day -- a SharkTank-style pitch competition. We received a cash prize from the Savannah Economic Development Authority. We also participated and were selected as a winner in the Neighborhood Start Fund Pitch Competition in Chicago. In May, we completed the Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Accelerator Program and placed as a finalist in the Accelerator Awards for cash prizes.

GS: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Malcolm: We missed our first scheduled launch date of January 2016. Ultimately, one of our biggest challenges is time. This is a bootstrapped effort for us, and we’re completely self-funded. A lot of early mornings, late nights, and weekends. We’re trying to build a brand/audience that is global and has content available for all of the time zones our gamers live in.

Marcus: 30,000 followers in two years. We’re excited for the growth, but thousands of people have access to us at any given time. My phone dies a lot. We want the brand to be approachable and human. It takes a lot of effort to provide that experience.

GS: Project MQ has its own Slack Channel. How does this work into the larger social media platform?

Malcolm: Our Slack channel started as a temporary solution, but it’s worked out really well and it’s something that is scaleable. The community is great, and it’s a great way for us to interact with supporters and get feedback on a regular basis. One of the things we love about our Slack community is that everyone is positive and helpful. They share advice and support each other. There’s the occasional debate, but it doesn’t devolve into mudslinging.

GS: How can people get involved with or support ProjectMQ?

Malcolm: Follow us on Twitter and keep up with the ProjectMQ dev blog -- it’s the place where we share backstories, successes and challenges.


Marcus: If anyone else wants to support what we're doing, support indie games. A lot of people don't realize that making games takes an incredible amount of work. Even if you don't’ have money to spend, telling someone you like their work goes a long way. Share something if you think it’s cool. Every little bit helps.

GS: If you could go back to the beginning and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Malcolm: Scale down. Not in our efforts but in the features. That’s part of the reason why launch has been delayed. We were building out stuff like chat features from scratch, but they are better suited via the platforms we’re using now. It cost us development time.

GameSkinny would like to thank Marcus and Malcolm for taking the time to speak with us and for all their efforts to support the indie dev community. ProjectMQ is live and in pre-alpha. To see what ProjectMQ is up to, check out their website, their Twitter page or dev blog.

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EGX Rezzed 2017: Interview with Phil Elliott, Project Lead for the Square Enix Collective https://www.gameskinny.com/5o9am/egx-rezzed-2017-interview-with-phil-elliott-project-lead-for-the-square-enix-collective https://www.gameskinny.com/5o9am/egx-rezzed-2017-interview-with-phil-elliott-project-lead-for-the-square-enix-collective Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 ESpalding

Most people reading this will already be familiar with Square Enix, developers of the phenomenal Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts but did you know that they also help indie developers? This is done through the Square Enix Collective initiative.

At this year's EGX Rezzed, the Collective were showcasing eight indie titles ranging from a Communist dystopian puzzle game to a capture-the-flag inspired couch multiplayer. There were also debuting the latest title by the same team that developed The Turing Test in a World Exclusive session.

During the event, I sat down with the creator and project lead of the Collective, Phil Elliott, to talk about what the Collective does and how it helps indie developers.

Forgotten Anne debuted at EGX 2016

ESpalding: Welcome, Phil. Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. To start with, please could you explain the Square Enix Collective to our readers.

Phil Elliott: Collective is, essentially, a service provider for indie developers. We work with teams in a range of ways – building community (via pitches on the Collective website), we’ve helped support teams through crowdfunding in the past few years (raising over $1.2m in the process), and last year we started publishing games to help developers get the most from their releases.

It’s always with developer choice as priority – so there’s no ‘lock-in’ to have to work with us; and developers always retain full IP rights and ownership of their games. So our intention is to build relationships, help find and support new talent, understand the market better (and understand more fully the kinds of games that people want to play), and help to build sustainable business in what is a challenging and ‘noisy’ industry.

Screenshot from Goetia, first game released through Square Enix Collective 

ES: The Square Enix Collective isn't your normal indie publisher as you focus, predominantly focus on community. Why was it decided to go that route rather than just being an indie publisher?

PE: Well, as a business, Square Enix has been looking for ways to bring the community into what we do more and more. You may have seen the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod for PC a few years ago; normally that kind of thing might not have been allowed to continue, but we saw so many people having fun with it, so we spent time to find a way to legitimise it, and support it.

Another example is the way that the Final Fantasy XV team were so keen to get feedback on the ongoing development of the game, to enable that community a voice, that they released a demo very early -- and then updated it based on feedback. I think that kind of approach was unprecedented.

So as a business... although inevitably it may not always seem like it... we’re constantly listening to what the community is saying, and that feedback does lead to change. Maybe not overnight, but Collective’s community focus is another part of that.

The Turing Test. Released through the Collective in 2016

ES: So, what criteria do you have for developers who want to get involved with the Collective?

PE: That really depends on what kind of support they’re looking for. If it’s the community and awareness building bit, we open submissions to the Collective website on the 20th of each month for a couple of days, and then promote one new pitch every week to the Square Enix community.

For publishing options, it’s very broad, but currently we’re looking for teams who need marketing and release support – although at other times of the year we will be able to support with some production funding too. Ultimately, we’re interested in cool games that show a glimpse of the developers’ talent, and has some element that’s better or different to games that are already out there. But there are no specific genre requirements.

Oh My Godheads is currently on Early Access

ES: At this year's Rezzed, Collective were showing 8 games plus Bulkhead Interactive's new game Battalion 1944 which is an increase from last year so does this mean that "the word is out" and the Collective is growing?

PE: I hope so! But I also think it’s partly down to our steady growth since we first launched the website in 2014. We were always very clear that we needed to experiment and find the best route before expanding to new areas – so we’re on track compared to where we planned to be initially.

We believe we have capacity to publish up to 10 games per year – but we also have to be flexible, so if a team needs more time, occasionally that will mean schedule changes. Originally we probably expected a couple more to be released in 2016, but the games will be all the better for the extra polish.

Of course, we still plan to evolve and grow based on feedback and results, and I expect us to keep learning the whole time.

Battalion 1944 debuted at Rezzed 2017

ES: Battalion 1944 had its first public showing at this year's Rezzed. How has been the reception been?

PE: Really great! It was a bit nerve-wracking ahead of the event, because the build is still in such an early state, but I can happily say we were blown away by the positive feedback from people who played the game. We’re really happy to be working with the Bulkhead Interactive team once more, and also in a genre that Square Enix isn’t known for -- we have so much planned for the game, and I can’t wait to see it all build out.

ES: So, what are the Collective's plan going forward between now and next years event?

PE: The key ambition for us in 2017 is to just do the best possible job on the games we’re releasing. That’s really what we’re focused on, so at this point I’m not anticipating another jump in the same way we saw in the past 12 months. I’m looking forward to signing new teams to the label, and if we’re back in 2018 with eight new games, that will be an exciting prospect for us!

ES: Well, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what comes next for you! Thank you for giving me a moment of your time and for giving our readers a little insight into what the Square Enix Collective does. I'm sure it has come as a surprise to those who thought that you are just a normal game publisher. We wish you all the best for the future!

For anyone who wants to go and check what games are currently looking for votes, you can head to the Square Enix Collective website and vote for the ones you like the look of.

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Why Atlus is Hurting Its Brand Image Threatening to Ban Persona 5 Streamers https://www.gameskinny.com/ptqek/why-atlus-is-hurting-its-brand-image-threatening-to-ban-persona-5-streamers https://www.gameskinny.com/ptqek/why-atlus-is-hurting-its-brand-image-threatening-to-ban-persona-5-streamers Sun, 16 Apr 2017 15:09:50 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

Atlus has really created a rift in the video game community -- specifically Persona 5’s community. Upon release, the game was met with glowing reviews and adoring fans. One of my fellow writers here at GameSkinny has even hailed it as the best JRPG of all time behind closed doors.

But developer Atlus decided that streaming past a certain (early) point in the game would be punishable with a copyright strike and DMCA takedown. Moreover, Atlus deactivated the screenshot/video feature on the PS4. The company claimed that all the fuss was meant “to prevent spoilers”. 

In reality, though, Atlus has hurt itself and its game with these sorts of strict regulations more than it's hurt streamers. Most Persona 5 streamers have simply ignored the warning and continued streaming, leaving Atlus looking the fool. But what does this really mean for the company and its brand image?

The Stakes of Atlus' Actions

Let's Talk Legal Precedent

Publishers technically have the right to limit a player's ability to take screenshots via the PS4. Many developers have done this in the past for particular sections, or cut scenes, in a game. There are arguments to be made about this concerning free speech or other myriad issues -- but at the end of the day, taking screenshots of games, while not illegal, is also not a protected right.

There’s also the matter of legal precedent. It is generally accepted that as long as significant commentary is made over video game footage, the commentator in question is protected by fair use. As such, streamers exist within an awkward middle ground.

Under copyright law, copyright holders are allowed to have control over public displays of their work. Fair use only protects significant alterations to the original work. Thus, most streaming could arguably be deemed illegal because of this. (I am pretty sure that I could not add my own commentary to an NFL game and hope to say that it was fair use.)

However, the U.S. court system has not had a case that actually sets a precedent for streamers/Let’s Players.

While Streamers are in an Awkward Position, They are Generally Considered More of a Symbiote than a Parasite.

Streamers have single-handedly propelled games to fame and success. And much of their work is considered to be free publicity. Streamers also hold market dominance on some of the largest video sharing platforms in the world, such as Twitch and YouTube. Their combined might may not quite stand up to the marketing hordes of AAA publishers, but there's a reason that PR departments are willing to send free game copies to streamers. 

The games industry largely knows and accepts these personalities as an integral part of the games industry (even if they are regularly hit with misguided, or misaimed, copyright strikes). Moreover, even the companies that think of streamers as parasites (i.e. Nintendo) have not actively sued any streamers, presumably because they know their public image would suffer greatly for it. 

Jim Sterling, in particular, has been very vocal about his struggles with video game companies and litigation. Below is one of many videos where he discusses his own copyright takedown issues.

A video, such as one comparing the themes of Persona 5 to those present in Shakespearean literature, would very clearly constitute significant commentary/contributions and would be protected under fair use; it could not lawfully be stricken down by Atlus. However, you would most likely not be safe because you would lack the firepower to fight back.

Although you could appeal your case via YouTube’s counter-claim system, your results would vary. And for many people, this could still leave their primary source of income in shambles for weeks at a time. It would be easy for Atlus to bully content creators out of utilizing their rights.

The (Self-Inflicted) Damage Atlus Has Done to Themselves

WTF Did You Think would Happen, Atlus? 

However, none of this is unique to this situation. YouTuber’s that display video game footage on their channel legally go through this type of crap all the time. It is a natural by-product of American copyright law, and the law system in general, favoring the people with the more expensive lawyers and the YouTube system which seemingly decides you are guilty until proven innocent. In fact, Atlus at least gave some guidelines, even if they were bullshit, which is more than most companies can say.

The people that were hurt by this the most were not the creators, but the fans. The irony of the situation is that Atlus inadvertently caused WAY more spoilers than had they said nothing. Both directly, in that they literally spoiled things to give you examples of things that you should note spoil, and indirectly.

Sure, Let’s Players technically “spoil” the game for their viewers, but only for an audience of people that have willingly chosen for this game to be spoiled. But by restricting these legitimate voices, Atlus stoked the flames of trolls and practically begged for them to rain spoilers upon everyone.

This made the whole community toxic. Instead of people being able to use their PS4 to easily take and share high-quality screenshots across the internet, thus building the community, they have been forced to completely ignore any social media (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc.) altogether, thus significantly weakening the community. And removing Let’s Plays also, in turn, weakens the community.

That’s ultimately why this is such a big deal. You do something that steps all over people’s free speech rights, either literally or in spirit. Only to then hurt every party involved. Atlus could help their public image by just lifting these restrictions and saying,”Our bad, we have learned the error of our ways!” (Although we would all know they were full of shit when they said it.) But it would never heal the community surrounding this game. Those spoilers will always be present on forums and social media for future fans.

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6 Mods We'd Love to See in Conan Exiles https://www.gameskinny.com/86f98/6-mods-wed-love-to-see-in-conan-exiles https://www.gameskinny.com/86f98/6-mods-wed-love-to-see-in-conan-exiles Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:00:01 -0500 Emily Parker

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Whether you think Conan Exiles is a great game already, or you're pretty sure it needs a little help, we can all get excited about what will come out of the modding community. 

\n

What do you think the best mods will be? Do you think Funcom will encourage its modding community or ignore it? Are you already working on a mod for Conan Exiles

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/b/f/2bf08a573eb275ee17e6398e626c2710e56e4056600x338-d6f1b.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/b/f/2bf08a573eb275ee17e6398e626c2710e56e4056600x338-d6f1b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150481","description":"

Additional Avatars

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Out of all the mods we've listed, this one is most likely to be right around the corner. The possibilities are endless -- and if we can go on what we've learned from other games -- hilarity shall ensue.

\n

There will be no limit on the amount of time players will sink into summoning Thomas the Tank Engine or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. 

\n

 

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Tame-able Fauna

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This feature appears to be even further down the list than mounts for Funcom, which would make it perfect for a modder to pick up. 

\n

Gators and Hyenas would make great battle buddies, and might be a nice fix for the game's crowd control issues. Providing a leveling system for them would just be icing on the cake. 

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Speedy Mounts

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We'd all love a faster way to get around the Exiled Lands, why not via a badass Rhinoceros? It is speculated that Funcom will eventually add this feature, but it's possible the modding community will beat them too it.  

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Whether mounts hit the official game or not, there's always room for faster mounts, better saddles, added inventory or increased damage. Plus, who wouldn't want to charge into battle and gore their enemies with a Rhino!?

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/newdragon2-1080-1024x576-729bf.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/newdragon2-1080-1024x576-729bf.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150471","description":"

Unlockable Combat Upgrades

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The combat in Conan Exiles is interesting, but currently a little basic. Even a stun or extra knock back would be a welcome mod installation.

\n

Hiding them throughout the world or having them set to unlock at higher levels or by completing milestone achievements like "Kill X number of X with X" would add even more depth to a server. 

\n

 

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Additional Wildlife

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There's no need to break immersion, but adding some more savannah-esque animals would liven the worlds up quite a bit. 

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A pride of lions or a flock of vultures would certainly add a little diversity, and it's likely the studio won't be adding anything in the way of fauna any time soon. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/v/inventory-english-e6da4.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/n/v/inventory-english-e6da4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150467","description":"

Inventory Management

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Managing inventory in Conan Exiles can be cumbersome.

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There's no need to get rid of the "survival aspect" of a player's inventory, but some inventory sorting and dumping mods would make this part of the game a lot less frustrating.

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Even higher on the list would be a mod allowing players to access all locally stored inventory while crafting. How convenient! 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/g/l/rgl7ssw-846e9.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/g/l/rgl7ssw-846e9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150465","description":"

There is a wonderful tenacity in the gaming community; a clear drive to create and improve. It has never been more well represented than in the modding community. 

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Our favorite games only get better with some help from these rogue developers. We've got our fingers crossed for a few modded improvements for Conan Exilesand whether they're pipe dreams or right around the corner, let's all dream together. 

"}]]]>
Atlas Reactor Just Went F2P, But What Must It Do Better to Keep Our Attention? https://www.gameskinny.com/s6nzr/atlas-reactor-just-went-f2p-but-what-must-it-do-better-to-keep-our-attention https://www.gameskinny.com/s6nzr/atlas-reactor-just-went-f2p-but-what-must-it-do-better-to-keep-our-attention Thu, 26 Jan 2017 09:59:26 -0500 Emily Parker

Trion Worlds made a big decision with Season 2 of their turn-based strategy game Atlas Reactor. As of just a few days ago, it appears all of the game's features are free to play. In addition, a new freelancer and play mode were introduced. 

Atlas Reactor is a turn-based, player versus player, team tactics game. Each round is timed, so the player's decisions are fast paced, even with pretty in depth tactical options. If when you saw the T-Rex chasing the Jeep scene in Jurassic Park, you thought, "I think I would like to play a game of chess in the back of that Jeep." -- this might be the game for you.   

In any case, it's now Free to Play so there's no reason not to check it out. They've implemented a new in-game currency (Flux) -- which is acquired by completing objectives and PvPing -- and then spent on the players' load-out and freelancer selection. It appears everything has a Flux price, making it truly possible to unlock all of the game without spending a dime. 

The community seems to be pleased with the new system. Veteran players that originally bought Atlas Reactor were given fat stacks of loot to compensate for the new development. A surge of new players have evened out the PvP queues and boosted the game's Steam reviews. 

Overall, this seems to be a smart move by Trion Worlds. The game is very high quality for a free to play title (no comment on paying for it). The battle system is intriguing, strategic and different. The new progression system makes sense, even if it suffers from a couple bumps currently. The studio has shuffled this title's business model around several times, and whether the current version is really that much different than its previous states, its gotten a positive PR push that has infused the player base.  

But how does Trion Worlds keep our attention?

The addition of the new Freelancer, Brynn, also came with an announcement that another would be introduced in 10 weeks. Several new game modes will also be added and patches appear to be quite frequent. 

It doesn't seem players will leave for lack of new content, and the interesting and in-depth combat is certainly a reason to stay. There is a constant micro transaction pressure, but what free to play game doesn't have that?

Instead, I think Atlas Reactor flounders when it comes to story and progression. Sure, it's possible to read through all of your freelancer's bios and piece together a bit of a story but to keep your average player invested it's going to take a lot more than that.

Take a lesson from your big sister Overwatch, a little story is crucial even to lobbied combat games, especially when the main draw are its characters. There's no need to drop the entire budget on big CGI cinematics, just an effort -- even text-based -- to involve the player in Atlas Reactor's characters and environments. Give me some immersion, please. 

Using Flux as a blanket progression device is a boring solution. Characters do gain experience and unlock features, but again, there's nothing terribly engaging with this system. A little more effort in progression design would go a long way in keeping players committed to just unlocking one more thing for their favorite Freelancer.

Only time will tell if this push will have a lasting effect on our new F2P Atlas Reactor. Trion Worlds has a rough reputation with how they handle Free to Play titles, including questionable moves concerning Archeage's cash shop that ended up crippling their MMORPG's economy. Hopefully, they've learned from their mistakes and will keep a healthy F2P title for its fans. 

Do you think this was a step in the right direction for Atlas Reactor? Do you think the community will stay lively? Or die out after the hype has passed?

 

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Final Fantasy XIV Has the Best MMO Community -- and They're Putting on a Play! https://www.gameskinny.com/z9bxl/final-fantasy-xiv-has-the-best-mmo-community-and-theyre-putting-on-a-play https://www.gameskinny.com/z9bxl/final-fantasy-xiv-has-the-best-mmo-community-and-theyre-putting-on-a-play Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:37:26 -0500 Tinh Nguyen (Tinhn778)

The holiday season is the season about family and friends, the people that have put up with you through the years, and the memories that have transpired over those years. For some gamers, these experiences come from an online game -- Final Fantasy XIV to be precise. The Final Fantasy XIV community is amazing. I’ve been on and off the game, but each time I'm drawn back it isn’t just new content that hooks me; it’s also the community that I interact with.

In fact, the community is so great and tight-knit that a group of players known as “A Stage Reborn” has put together an in-game play called, “I Want to Be Your Canary”. Long-time series fans will recognise this as the opening play from the classic Final Fantasy IX. This is evidence of the creativity of FFXIV's community, and a great way to entertain other players that are waiting for the next big patch. There is even a sneak peak trailer -- enjoy the role-playing greatness:

 

The trailer pays homage to Final Fantasy IX, featuring faithful recreations of characters such as Princess Garnet, Vivi and Adelbert Steiner.

The stage-play will be performed for two days: Friday December 30th and Saturday 31st, with both days starting at 5 P.M PST. But who knows, if this is a hit they might just do an encore!

This is a fully produced stage play, with a producing crew, actors, special effects, and even bouncers for the mischievous players amongst us. There are house rules posted for the play's attendees on the website at A Stage Reborn. These include:

  • Audience members must use Say chat as subtitles, as it’s the only way to know what the actors are saying.
  • Hide your weapons, as it’s a distraction to other members.
  • Do not use abilities, and turn all effects on, as it will further enhance your experience.

For the players, the show will be held in the Diabolos server at the Lavender Beds, 8th Ward, Plot 28 -- this is where the housing districts are. Active players can make a new character on the Diabolos server. And if you’re not a player you can make a free trial account just for this experience, or you can also watch the show live on Twitch and YouTube.

After giving Final Fantasy XIV dozens of hours I can always count on the community to give me a warm welcome back. This is a community that is truly involved with the development of the game and the players that live in it. A Stage Reborn took it into their own hands to create new content for the community, just like the developers do. If you do attend the show, follow the rules, be friendly, and most importantly enjoy the show!

And don't forget to let us know your thoughts on the show in the comments below!

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Guild Guide: The Seven Big Benefits to Guild Membership https://www.gameskinny.com/ffnec/guild-guide-the-seven-big-benefits-to-guild-membership https://www.gameskinny.com/ffnec/guild-guide-the-seven-big-benefits-to-guild-membership Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:18:15 -0500 Eliot Lefebvre

Why do you want a guild?

That seems like the sort of question that should have been answered a while back with this feature, doesn't it? I mean, it's possibly not one you need answered; you aren't reading "Guild Guide" because you think it's going to talk about how dumb guilds are. But you may very well be unsure of what actual benefit having a guild provides. And the answer to that can be extremely multifaceted.

But let's be straightforward. Here are seven big benefits to having a guild.

People to talk with

An online game is a game you play with other people, but a lot of the time you don't actually need to directly interact with them on the regular. That is, in and of itself, all right. You don't always need to be buddied up with everyone on your server. But sometimes it can get kind of lonely when you log in and haven't got a single person to actually interact with.

Guilds change that. Sure, there's still going to be times where no one is online, or the people who you really want to talk with isn't around. But you actually have better-than-zero odds of having a friend online who you can talk with, and you're more likely to make friends you can connect with in the future. That's an obvious benefit.

Shared resources

This isn't always about actual items. If you have a dedicated League of Legends team, for example, your guild is not trading items to one another to enhance your play experience, more likely than not. But -- and this is crucial -- you are still benefiting from shared resources. You may have friends who can fill roles that you can't, people who can offer you strategies and point you toward useful tips that you wouldn't see otherwise.

And in MMORPGs, this is compounded. Other players have items you don't, levels in various skills and classes that you don't. They can do things you cannot do for yourself. Instead of having to beg for random people to give you what you need, you can tap into a shared resource of your guild and help others in the same fashion.

Necessary guidance

You will be lost sometimes. You will not know how to do a quest. You will not be sure how to play your class/job/build. You will need guidance. And having a guild means that odds are good you either have access to that guidance or have people there who can point you in the right direction. Or -- and this is also good -- it will give you motivation to be that guidance for other people in the future.

Seriously, sometimes the benefit of a guild is learning enough that you can be right when other people are wrong. It might seem spiteful, but it works.

Content pushing

We all tend to fall into certain ruts of content. There are things we all do on a regular basis almost instinctively, and left to our own devices it would be easy to assume that this is what everyone does. It's easy to queue up for the same content and join the same sort of premade groups while looking at outside content as "well, no one does that."

Join even a small guild, and there will be at least one person who enjoys content you do not. Join a big one, and you will find groups of dedicated players for that content. And that forces you to have a larger perspective, to realize that something you don't care about might be something that a lot of other players are looking forward to. Perhaps even the majority.

That doesn't mean you'll necessarily want to take part, but it does mean you know people who can help you get into it. It nudges you out of your comfort zone. That's a good thing, really.

Anecdotes for the future

I have a lot of stories that start "I was in this guild where we..." and continue on from that point. And that makes sense; while there are all sorts of emergent situations that will come up in any game, especially an online one, dealing with a mass of other people is always going to produce more interesting stories. We remember those odd social dynamics and the way we work together better than we remember arbitrary mechanical weirdness.

Do you really want to collect anecdotes? Well, they can be useful for offering advice in the future, and you could argue that the whole reason to do things with other people is to acquire experiences you wouldn't have had otherwise. It is left as an exercise to the reader whether or not this is a desirable outcome.

Understandable community

I cannot understand The MMO Community. I can't even understand the community for one game. I have been playing Final Fantasy XIV since its original hot disaster of a launch, and I do not fully understand the community. I have been part of its roleplaying community equally since launch, and I don't totally understand that, either.

But I can understand my guild. And really, guilds are a microcosm of the larger situation. You can't comprehend the game's entire community, but you can filter it through the small slice that you get to survey. It turns the community from something sprawling and incomprehensible into a smaller portion that you can interact with. And it lets you get a sense of the macro through the micro interactions that you do have.

Sure, you don't know everyone or participate in everything. But your guild members are out there, and they'll know and see things you don't. And you can filter that with your own perceptions to at least approach accuracy.

A reason to log in

On one level, this might seem to be more of a benefit to the designers than the player. Having a group of people who know you, like you, and expect to see you on a regular basis keeps you playing and logging in. Designers obviously want that; that way you keep playing and (presumably) paying.

But if you take a step back, you realize that it's your benefit too. Online interactions are, in many ways, just as real as the interactions we have in our day-to-day lives. The people you know and speak with are just as real, and sometimes they provide you a perspective you might not otherwise have. It's like having your favorite bar, except you don't have to be sloshed out of your mind and you can get there from anywhere that's got an Internet connection.

I know from personal experience that there are times when the real world is unpleasant. Being able to slip into a world with people you like seeing, companions and friends? That's a good thing, and that's a benefit. And having a guild full of people who are happy to see you reminds you of just how many people out there are happy to see you.

So there are lots of reasons to be in a guild. And sure, that also means you'll have to deal with some unnecessary drama and nonsense, but that's not all you get out of the exchange. That's important to remember over the long term.

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5 Fan-Made Projects that Remind Us Why the Dark Souls Community Is So Amazing https://www.gameskinny.com/v2nck/5-fan-made-projects-that-remind-us-why-the-dark-souls-community-is-so-amazing https://www.gameskinny.com/v2nck/5-fan-made-projects-that-remind-us-why-the-dark-souls-community-is-so-amazing Wed, 19 Oct 2016 06:00:01 -0400 Seth Zulinski

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We're down to the last few logs to throw on the bonfire, Souls and Soulsettes. With Ashes of Ariandel releasing on October 25th, and only one announced DLC for Dark Souls 3 slated after that...it could be dark times ahead for the Souls community. (But in the meantime, why not try some awesome DS3 builds?)

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I believe we can make it through, though. Perseverance is what we do. It's who we are. Going on in the face of adversity is what this series has trained us for, what it has been about, since Day 1. We can survive -- with a little Jolly Cooperation. 

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With a community this massive and creative, we're sure we missed something though. So throw down a sign, and be sure to let us know some of your favorite things to have come from the Souls community. 

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/j/o/l/jollycoopbloodshades-b2288.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/j/o/l/jollycoopbloodshades-b2288.jpg","type":"slide","id":"136611","description":"

The Players

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Lastly, one of the best things to ever emerge from the Dark Souls community is...well, the community. The dataminers, the lore finders, the blind/speed/challenge runners. The players themselves banding together against FROMSoftware's constant attempts to render us all Hollow -- and banding together to fix the problems FROM hasn't. 

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As we went over in our breakdown on Dark Souls 3's DLC Ashes of Ariandel Arena sneak peek (courtesy of Souls streamers), one of the problems that many Invaders, and Aldrich Faithful, and Watchdogs of Farron and even some Blue Sentinels and Darkmoon Blades found in DS3 was the staggering rate of "ganking".

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You zone into Anor Londo, see every monster conspicuously deceased, and manage to catch a glimpse of the Host of Embers waving as two of his friends beat you into the ground with Dragon's Teeth. 

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Enter the Bloodshades. They're a player-made, player-run "Covenant" built for one solitary purpose -- to make gankers pay the price. With their own uniform, naming conventions, build-guides, and even a covenant Discord channel, the Bloodshades were made by the Parry King himself, Peeve, but staffed by us. 

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Whether you embrace the edge or suffer some cringe at the thought, a unit that massive sprung up nearly overnight -- and it's all thanks to us. The players. The community itself. Where FROMSoft failed us (at least until the release of the Arena, hopefully), we prevailed.

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All it took was a little Quiet Resolve. 

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The Lorebrarians

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Despite some recent controversy regarding his content source, it's hard to argue that VaatiVidya isn't a colossal contributor to the content of the Souls community. 

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Bits of runs, constant speculation, trailer analysis, and deep dives into the lore of the Dark Souls series -- from blatant guessing to the well researched Prepare to Cry installments -- Vaati has it all when it comes to the lore.

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All this has landed Vaati as one of the top names in figuring out what, exactly, has been going on in Lordran, Drangleic, and Lothric while we're busy running about being a murderball of Weapon Arts and magic.

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The silky, smooth-jazz tones and warm velvet of Vaati's voice don't hurt, either -- though even those fall a little short of how good the SOULSONGs (a collaborative series between independent musicians and Vaati himself) are. 

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The Runners

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Of course, if fancifully exploring the deep world of the Dark Souls series isn't quite what you came to watch, the Runners have you covered. 

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If it's the blistering fast pace set by the Speedrunning community members like Nemz38, Distortion2 (both of whom have completed Dark Souls 3 in a little over a half an hour as of writing) and LobosJr, some of the timesaves and game-breaking exploits these players manage to find and utilize in an effort to shave every millisecond are almost as impressive as that time you managed to parry your first Black Knight swing.

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Of course, if you're looking for a methodical approach, you can always check out Challenge Runners like The EdgeLords -- a collection of some of the most invincible runners around that pride themselves on having completed many Souls games without taking even a single hit.

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While not as blazingly fast as the speedrun community, the Challenge runners are just as tense . Every move, every step that the likes of The_Happy_Hobb and Squillakilla take...each one spells the instant end of hours of work if so much as a stray rat attack lands. 

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Whether you want to see exactly how fast you can crush a Souls game, or how Dark a run can get with no armor, no shield, no bow, no magic, no death, no rolling, and no leveling...the Runners have done it. Twice. Blindfolded. With a Guitar Hero controller. 

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The Explorers

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It's hard to touch on just how awe-inspiring the community can be without what may be the real cornerstone behind the Dark Souls' success as a series -- the runs. Most notably, there's blind runs from people that are going to get brutally ReDeaded over. And over. And over. 

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While there's at least a handful of really thoughtful, appreciable approaches to the "Dark Souls blind run" library, few are as engaging as the (now pseudolegendary) (mis)adventures of a Let's Player known only as Kay. 

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Set against the grim murderfest that used to be considered accessible only to some form of grizzled gaming elite, what started as a joke from her boyfriend turned into a full-on fanbase that watched Kay out-think and outsmart her way through the Souls series so well that she wound up in You Died -- a book exploring both the world of Dark Souls and the community surrounding it. 

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Though she's currently on assumed hiatus mid-way through Dark Souls 3, you check out Kay's channel to find all of her intelligent commentary and in-depth exploration, with more than enough content to keep you watching until Ashes of Ariandel drops near the end of October. 

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The Creators

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Content creator ThePruld may not be Dark Souls specific, but his Italian YouTube channel has certainly put in more than its fair share of work when it comes to world of Lordran. Whether it's the heartwrenching yet motivating "We are the Souls" video backed by Christina Perri's "I Believe", or the comically absurd "When you go Dark Souls with your best mates", ThePruld has managed to make himself a place in the Souls community that slips just enough feels in between the insane misadventures of Lautrec, Solaire, Oscar, and friends to make it all worthwhile. 

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If you check out ThePruld's channel, be advised -- there is a little language and content which may be unsuitable for younger souls. 

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If there's one thing we've learned from the fearsome Dark Souls series, it's that sometimes things are just better together. With the first Dark Souls 3 DLC Ashes of Ariandel coming up fast, and what may be the final time we Link the First Flame (or, y'know, walk away and leave the world in perpetual Darkness) on the horizon, we've decided to take a moment to look back at not only the series itself, but the very best part about it -- the community. 

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Sure, it's hard to top the first time you ever stood victorious over Ornstein and Smough, finally snuffed the last embers of the Fume Knight, or stood toe-to-toe with the very Soul of Cinder. But some wins don't come with an 'Heir of Fire Destroyed' message. Some wins come from jolly cooperation -- from the community itself. Some wins are just existing and creating in these Dark times...

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...and we're here with 5 of the best things to ever come out of the Dark Souls community.    

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Warning: Amazing things ahead. 

"}]]]>
Dishonored 2 Community Events https://www.gameskinny.com/k8xg3/dishonored-2-community-events https://www.gameskinny.com/k8xg3/dishonored-2-community-events Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:24:31 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

If you are going to be attending New York Comic Con on Thursday, October 6th, or live in San Francisco or Los Angeles, you should check this out! Arkane Studios, creator of Dishonored and Dishonored 2, is having a community event for the fans!

Here is what you will be able to do at the event:
  • Hands-on with Dishonored 2
  • Scavenger Hunt and a chance to win a Dishonored 2 custom Xbox One or PlayStation 4
  • Themed food, drinks and photo opportunities
  • T-Shirt giveaway, swag and more!
Event Times, Dates, & Locations
  • The San Francisco event will be on September 28 from 7-11 PM inside Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing.
  • The Los Angeles event will be on October 3 from 7-11 PM at The Edison.
  • The New York Comic Con event will be on October 6 from 6-10 PM at The Jane.

Don't forget that Dishonored 2 comes out November 11th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Community-Based Research: What Do Players Want? https://www.gameskinny.com/bhvd7/community-based-research-what-do-players-want https://www.gameskinny.com/bhvd7/community-based-research-what-do-players-want Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Auverin Morrow

When you're writing guides, you have to have an idea of what players want to know more about. You need to know what questions they're asking.

Do they need boss, weapon, or class guides? Bug fixes? Achievement lists, loot tables, or ending guides? Is there one level or area that's giving everyone particular trouble?

Whatever it is that players need, it's your job as a guide writer to give that to them. But figuring out what exactly that is can be more than a little frustrating if you don't know where to look. That's where community-based research comes in.

Community-based research is exactly what it sounds like -- spending time perusing the community to find out what's on players' minds. This is a great starting point for finding possible guide content and getting some initial ideas that you can research further, or for looking deeper into leads you've discovered via keyword research in Google Trends or the like.

Here are a few places that you can visit to find out what the community is interested in:

Official Game Forums

Most games these days have their own forums attached to official websites. Lurking in these forums can help you uncover commonly asked questions and issues that the community is talking about. If you see a question pop up more than a few times in a forum, chances are it's prime guide content -- because more and more people will be searching for it as time goes on.

(Pro tip: You can even revisit those forums after the fact and post your guide in relevant threads, if the forum rules allow it.)

Reddit/Relevant Subreddits

Most interest-generating games have entire subreddits dedicated to community interaction, and many of these subreddits are active and helpful in finding potential guide content. 

When Pokemon Go launched, for example, I took to the PGO subreddit to see what issues people were having with the game, and what fixes other users were suggestion. Then I compiled all that into a guide on APK issues, infinite loading screens, and other common issues in the game. It instantly skyrocketed to the top of Google search results for Pokemon Go troubleshooting articles.

Even outside of finding good guide material, subreddits are also an invaluable tool in seeing what the community is happy or angry about, and gauge what kinds of articles they might latch onto and what topics have gotten them talking.

Fan Sites

These are kind of like a subreddit and an official forum combined. Fan sites usually have forums of their own, where fans gather to chat and publish content and editorial pieces about their game. There are often active commenters who are looking for or providing insight into specific things about the game or voicing opinions on certain topics.

Steam Community Hubs

Go to a game's page on Steam and head to the Discussions and Guides sections of that hub. These pages offer excellent topic research opportunities and can help you see what sorts of guides or content already exists (i.e. your competition).

Steam Stats and Mobile Top Lists

Steam constantly updates its daily and concurrent user statistics, which is a great place to see exactly how large certain player-bases actually are and which games are going through rapid growth. If a game was nowhere to be seen on the Steam charts one day, and suddenly it appears and starts climbing, that's a great opportunity to jump on some guide content before it reaches its peak.

It's the same deal with the top lists on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This is a great way to catch games that are becoming popular before they actually get popular -- like Flappy Bird.

Use these resources to your advantage.

Even though players won't tell you specifically what kind of guides they want, the questions they ask in their communities and the games they get trending will give you enough clues to be successful. If you spend enough time in the communities listening to players and watching game trends, you'll start getting a sense of what those groups want before most players even start asking for it.

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Dungeon Fighter Online's backbone lies in community management https://www.gameskinny.com/0skyr/dungeon-fighter-onlines-backbone-lies-in-community-management https://www.gameskinny.com/0skyr/dungeon-fighter-onlines-backbone-lies-in-community-management Sat, 27 Aug 2016 18:34:59 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Dungeon Fighter Online Global (DFO) may have just recently found its way to Steam but that is by no means the extent of the game's Western release history. Through a failed release and death to a full-on and delightfully active revival, DFO has become one of the most open and friendly-managed free to play MMOs on the market.

Initially published in North America by Nexon for a total of four years between closed beta and eventual closure, Dungeon Fighter Online was once known for its poor servers, lack of overall publisher support, and minimal content updates despite its tight (albeit grindy) gameplay. This original release closed its doors in June of 2013.

A year after its closure Korean developer Neople decided to test whether they could make their Asia-region hit actually survive in the West, publisher or no.

Dungeon Fighter Online is a very popular game in Asia and has been for years. It must have been confusing to Neople that the game would do so disastrously outside of the region during its 2009 to 2013 stint. Sure, it's grindy -- but it's the only MMO with gameplay so close to fighting games. There's a small but immensely dedicated niche demographic for these types of games in any region, so what was going on? Why did their biggest game die so pitifully in North America under a publisher?

Probably all you need to know.

There were a lot of things wrong with the original Nexon-run DFO. Cash shop prices were high, there were stringent IP blocks forcing those not in North America to play via VPN, the huge amount of unique events seen in other regions never made it over, and the base game was never truly updated to keep with the times.

All of those issues are pretty big deals, but the last one was the real clincher. Nexon's DFO content never evolved. You did the same low to medium-level dungeons in 2013 as you did in 2009 and they were exactly the same. You can't expect to retain a playerbase like that, especially since high level content and class updates took an eternity to find their way over. The writing was on the wall well before 2013 but no one could have guessed what was in store for the game a mere year later.

Neople takes it back

This is where things truly deviate from the norm. There have been plenty of failed Korean MMO imports over the years but not many attempts to try again post-closure, much less attempts by the original developer.

In May 2014, 11 months after Dungeon Fighter Online closed, Neople announced it was going into alpha under their oversight. Alpha came and used the same build as the game closed with under Nexon, and during that time Neople was hard at work gauging global interest via Facebook.

Maybe gauging interest isn't the right term, or at least not entirely what they were doing. From the very start Neople was very up front about their expectations for Dungeon Fighter Online Global, the game's new iteration: they weren't confident it would survive. Neople's then-CEO In Lee No stated on a preview stream the game had a very low chance of survival. They weren't optimistic but they were going to try.

Plenty of people wanted to get in on the second launch.

Part of their very unique way of trying was putting a number of Neople's employees on the forefront for Western audiences on Facebook since the beginning to talk to players about the state of the game, directly address account issues, and have more than a bit of fun sharing photos of themselves and the game, meanwhile staying active replying to inquiries and comments.

I don't remember how disappointed I was Jerry, one of the English community team, couldn't stick to a diet and exercise regimen and lose weight initially. But I remember how glad I was when he finally made notable progress, and how I genuinely wished him well when he got sick.

Neople's English community management team has continued this more personal trend over the past two years and even now with the game finally released on Steam they are as active as ever addressing the community on Facebook. This is exactly what sets Dungeon Fighter Online Global apart from most other MMO games and is no small part of its continued survival.

Community has become DFO's backbone

It's certainly amazing an MMO can die under a publisher and be revived by its developer based in a different country entirely. It's even more surprising that the people behind its revival would go so far out of their way to connect with their game's community despite the timezone and cultural differences.

The current state of DFO is better than it ever could have been under its previous management. Not only is the game flooded with events to keep players interested and coming back despite the normally detrimental fatigue system and dungeon grind, but the same faces the community dealt with in 2014 are here in 2016 doling out the info and keeping in touch.

Anyone who has been following Dungeon Fighter Online Global since its return will be hard-pressed not to point to Neople's community management as one of the reasons the game has continued to survive. You want to support publishers and developers who treat their customers well and Neople are doing just that. You want to play their game, you want to spend money, and you want to keep up with updates.

How often do you see posts like this for any game?

The sense of friendship and community between service delivery and consumer is rarely seen in every gaming market. It's hard not to look away at how bizarre it is that a slice of a Korean company would put their necks out for a small piece of the global market. They fess up to every big problem, over-compensate with freebies when there are issues, and make it very clear they are on the side of the players.

Every game has its problems and Dungeon Fighter Online is no different, but its publisher-community relations are probably some of the best in the gaming industry. That's really saying something when you consider the terrible reputations so many free to play and Korean MMO publishers are known to have, and it's even more surprising when you consider DFO's previous publisher and the game's overall history.

It's clear Neople love their game, which is a mainstay in internet cafes all over Asia. It's no surprise they want the West to love it at least half as much as they themselves do, and that's what has made Dungeon Fighter Online Global survive, thrive, and finally have the Steam release it so deserved.

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The Community Divide: Modern MMO Communities Are Different, Not Worse https://www.gameskinny.com/gpk8j/the-community-divide-modern-mmo-communities-are-different-not-worse https://www.gameskinny.com/gpk8j/the-community-divide-modern-mmo-communities-are-different-not-worse Fri, 19 Aug 2016 07:00:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

If you've played MMOs as long as I have and been around the games for a while, you hear a refrain over and over: the games just aren't as social as they used to be. People don't talk any more, everything is about instant gratification, people just want to play the game solo and no one wants to team up for things any more.

This isn't just rose-tinted glasses, either. It's kind of true. MMOs definitely have a very different emphasis on community than they did back at the turn of the century, when the genre was still finding its sea legs. Heck, it's even changed within given games; back in the day, I'd have to shout for groups when playing World of Warcraft and leveling. Now, questing pretty much never requires me to group up with another player; I only have to join a party when I actually want to or I feel the urge to do a dungeon, which is also easy to reach at this point.

So there's no space to argue that things haven't changed. But have they changed for the worse, or is this just... different?

You no longer need the community

Let's be clear about something right off -- in the first MMOs, we had a term for people who didn't engage with the community at all, and that term was "former player." It wasn't just something that was detrimental, it was something that actively shut you out of the game. I started playing in Final Fantasy XI, and if you acquired a reputation as a toxic and unpleasant person, you just wouldn't be invited into parties any more, and that would be it for your time in the game. There was no content you could complete solo, no options for leveling solo, little to be done except beg and plead or find people who didn't yet know you by reputation.

As a result, everyone who was in a given game was part of the community. You had to be. It also meant that you had to put up with a lot of people you otherwise wouldn't give the time of day. Sure, Dale's a racist jerk, but he's a good tank and he likes you, so you should stay on Dale's good side. Your personal distaste for Dale doesn't enter the equation. The community needs to be respected.

This is no longer the case. I can play World of Warcraft without forcing myself to get invested in the community, and in fact I can get invested in communities that are entirely separate from one another. The larger WoW community is mostly just united by its shared game of choice; within that community is a lot of smaller subgroups. There are certain things you can say are true about the majority of players, but very few of them come down to personal taste outside of certain content that is or is not well-loved. And that's a pretty big difference.

Different communities exist as contemporaries

My main game, at this point, is Final Fantasy XIV. I'm a part of the roleplaying community there, I'm part of the high-end non-raid community, I'm part of the housing community. I have friends that are part of the roleplaying community and also part of the raid community, or the ultra-casual community, or part of the PvP community, and so on. There are, in other words, a lot of different little communities that all exist simultaneously.

When World of Warcraft exploded in popularity, one of the things that quickly happened was that the game got too big for a single community umbrella to cover everything. This was unusual; when you were dealing with games that had smaller populations and were built to handle smaller populations, you could reasonably expect that everyone playing your game was cut from a similar cloth. Heck, if you were playing Ultima Online in 1997, you had a gaming PC with a reliable online connection; two decades ago, that was a very dedicated hobbyist setup, not something that you could get for a discount at dozens of big-box stores.

The result is that unlike classic MMOs, modern games have lots of different communities running at the same time. The communities still work like the communities used to work, of course; they're based around social need. You can't be part of the roleplaying community if you have no one to roleplay with, after all, and if you acquire a nasty reputation within that community, people won't want to be around you any longer. But even so, there are parts of the game that just aren't subject to the community any longer.

The game is much more accessible

There will never come a point in Star Wars: The Old Republic where the community can prevent you from doing dungeons. It's not possible. I don't mean just that most of them have solo modes now; I mean that I can always hop on, queue up in the group finder, be matched with a group, and get dropped into the content. That's a pretty big change, and it's the sort of thing that can easily lead to a feeling that the whole thing is much more fire-and-forget now. After all, if you can just hop into content from anywhere, instantly, you no longer need to talk with people, slowly work your way through things, work together... you just go and forget about it.

Except -- and I say this as someone on multiple sides of this community gulf -- the difference is not between "do content slowly" and "do content quickly." Because that "slow" method was the sort of thing that could, and did, eat up entire days of time.

People talk about how certain dungeons in WoW used to feel large, and that's entirely true, but Blackrock Depths was a dungeon that I never saw in its entirety. It was so sprawling that it was, functionally, an entirely new zone that could only be explored with a group, filled with no clear path and misunderstandings about where to go next. It was exhausting. Every death meant a long run back, every misunderstanding meant a death, and it was very easy to sign up for a group at noon and have to log off for dinner hours later without having accomplished any of your goals.

For a lot of players, this was death to any dreams of playing an MMO. If you didn't have hours of free time, you just... wouldn't see any of this. That got you kicked out of the culture, which meant you couldn't do anything more. The community was stronger and singular, but it was also far more insular and mercenary at the same time; you either played the way the community did, or you just didn't play.

And herein comes a big chunk of the divide. The people who played the game back in the day see all of these people playing and not being part of the community, wondering why this is necessary, because the people who used to play in the older games were part of the community and enjoyed it. It's easy to miss that this is a self-selected bias, that by definition the people who thought things were just fine were the people not locked out by the time investments necessary.

That's not even getting into the sheer simplicity of mechanics when the main challenge was "getting people together and make it through to the end," like the fights in WoW where your healer either cleansed a debuff or the party died, and that was it. We sure as heck don't see that any more.

Everything evolves

I'm not going to say that the old days of MMOs were horrible, because they weren't. They fostered a love of the genre in me that's lasted to this day, making up nearly half of my life and having an enormous impact on my career. Clearly, those games were doing a lot of things right. But they were also doing a lot of things wrong, and over the years, accepted design consensus has steadily changed to the point where things like group finders are expected, not unusual.

And I think it's a good thing. I no longer need to be a part of a community just because I need to get content done; I can be a part of a community because I want to be. If I spend five hours in dungeons in a game, it's because I've done lots of dungeons on a given day and I'm having fun. I spend less time fussing around and calling people and more time actually doing things.

It's easy to miss all of this if you're in one of those communities. If you always were perfectly happy with the old way of doing things, the fact that you no longer need the community feels slightly off. But it also means that more people get to enjoy the game and experience what it has to offer. Some things have been lost in the exchange, but ultimately, it means more people can have fun, and that's a positive thing if you really love the game.

Sure, it means that casual grouping is less necessary than it was before. There's a mid-tier range of content that largely doesn't exist any longer. But I think that, ultimately, some of that comes down to how you cultivate the communities you are part of. There's no longer an endless pool of people to draw from who have to be part of a given community, but that change means the people who do want to be there are going to be there for a long time.

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5 reasons why Twitch is awesome. https://www.gameskinny.com/o4brn/5-reasons-why-twitch-is-awesome https://www.gameskinny.com/o4brn/5-reasons-why-twitch-is-awesome Thu, 11 Aug 2016 13:17:23 -0400 Sweat___

"Why would you watch someone play a video game when you can just play it yourself?"

Fair enough, but then why do people watch professional sports? Why watch basketball when you can just go to a nearby park and shoot hoops yourself? Perhaps because those players can play on a higher, more competitive level than you or I are capable of. You can watch people play your favorite video games at the highest level, live, on Twitch. Why watch a sitcom when you can go out and find comedic situations with your friends? The answer is simple, it's entertainment, and that's exactly what Twitch is.

Here are five reasons why Twitch is awesome:

1. The Platform

Anyone can start streaming on Twitch. Not everyone will be successful or gather a large following, but it is easily accessible. Consoles now even have built-in streaming capabilities. The fact that you can stream just about any game from anywhere in the world means that there is a ton of variety. It's also cool knowing that the content you're watching is happening live with only a slight delay.

2. The Benefit

As I mentioned previously, you can watch high-level gameplay of your favorite video game. Many games with a competitive scene will stream their tournaments on Twitch. This, in turn, allows thousands of players the opportunity to watch their favorite players, teams or even countries compete live much like other competitive sports. Good players that stream their gameplay often give tips and discuss getting better at the game. Aside from that, you can also use Twitch to get a good preview of a game before you buy it. Perhaps you'd like to play a game but just don't have the time to sit down and play it, you can watch a stream from your mobile device while you eat or get ready for work.

TwitchCon audience

3. The Entertainment

Being entertaining is the main reason people consistently tune into a particular streamer. Some streamers aren't even good at the games they stream and yet receive thousands of views! That's because of the person's personality, perhaps their sense of humor, or maybe people just like laughing at/with them. Not every stream is super serious, competitive gameplay, some streams are meant to be chill and lighthearted. As a side benefit to live-streaming, every accomplishment and mistake that happens during the gameplay gets broadcast to viewers live. I have been brought to tears from laughing so hard while watching Twitch. 

4. The Communities

One of the great things about online gaming is the formation of the community that plays that game. Much like that, channels and streamers on Twitch foster their own community. People who enjoy the game, enjoy the person streaming, and maybe even enjoy hanging out with like-minded people. Successful streamers embrace this and some even do in-game activities with supporters of the stream. Even though the Internet can be a cold and scary place people can feel a part of something while watching their favorite streamer.

5. Twitch Chat 

Last but certainly not least among the reasons why Twitch is great, is the Chat. Channels on Twitch can choose to leave their Chat open to everyone, only to subscribers, only to certain languages, or not at all. This is the space where people who are watching a live stream can interact with the person who is streaming. People who talk in Chat can ask questions, give advice to the streamer, make fun of them, discuss with gameplay with other viewers, etc. Twitch Chat is almost an entity in itself. It's not uncommon to see a collective "LUL" or "rekt" typed into Chat when the streamer dies in-game in front of thousands of viewers. Twitch Chat is a microcosm of the Internet, it can be hurtful and mean or utterly hilarious, and mostly everyone is free to hide behind their username and remain anonymous, but personally that's just how I like it. Oh, and there's a slew of Twitch emotes that, in my opinion, are a great way to emphasize your comment. For example, the Kappa emote (shown below) is generally used following a sarcastic or joking comment.

Kappa

So, those are my reasons for thinking that Twitch is awesome. Like many things in this world it comes with good and bad. It should also be noted that Twitch isn't only for streaming video games. You can tune in and watch people eat as they stream Social Eating, or tune into Creative and watch someone paint a picture, or smith a dagger! That's what makes Twitch so interesting; there are endless possibilities. Don't take my word for it, though, feel free to check out what's happening live on Twitch.

 

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Stash Booster Packages Available This Week https://www.gameskinny.com/t600o/stash-booster-packages-available-this-week https://www.gameskinny.com/t600o/stash-booster-packages-available-this-week Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:24:35 -0400 Melissa Crawford

Stash Booster Packages can be previewed now, and the team is open to advice and critique to improve the player experience! The booster packages will be available later this week at Frogdice's site, and more information about the game's launch dates and the Beta will be available on the Frogdice forums.

In addition, the 16th Froggacon convention will be held next month in Lexington, KY, from July 29th to 31st. If you're already a fan of Stash, or just happen to be in the area, it's a great opportunity to meet with other Frogdice gamers.

For anyone who might be new to Stash, it is an MMORPG based on Dungeons and Dragons tabletop gaming, Warhammer miniature gaming, Baldur's Gate, Wizardry, and a variety of other turn-based RPG games. The team behind Stash is Frogdice, a group with twenty years of experience in game development.

High points of Stash gameplay include turn-based combat, community, dungeon exploration, a world the players can impact, housing, and loot.

 

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EA donates $1 million to charity and gives back to players https://www.gameskinny.com/rqehd/ea-donates-1-million-to-charity-and-gives-back-to-players https://www.gameskinny.com/rqehd/ea-donates-1-million-to-charity-and-gives-back-to-players Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:23:22 -0400 Lisa Filmer

EA is donating $1 million to charity to celebrate the global gaming community. They are giving to 5 organizations that give back to the player community. Each of these organizations help support and foster future game-makers. They include:

  • Code.org
  • Code2040
  • HeForShe
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology
  • SpecialEffect

But, that is not all. You can celebrate as well by participating in some in-game challenges starting June 12, through EA Play to Give program, that will get you some great stuff.

Games that are included in the challenges are: Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline, Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, FIFA 16, and Madden NFL 16.

In Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline, you can earn a Gold Battlepack from June 12-17, by participating in community challenges.

In Star Wars Battlefront, players can participate in the 3X Score Event, by completing any multiplayer match from June 12-14.

In Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, you can earn 50,000 credits, and more for completing quest of deploying a squad of powerful female characters against the droids.

In FIFA 16, winning tournament in the Play to Give Cup in FIFA Ultimate Team during EA PLAY, will get you an untradeable Rare Mega Pack. You can get Premium Coins Packs for completing tournaments thereafter.

In Madden NFL 16, you can earn 2,040 coins and Pro Pack by playing Madden Ultimate Team from June 12-19.

The EA Play to Give challenges have already started. You can find out more information about these challenges on the EA Play website.  

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Guild Guide: Pushing and pulling with leadership https://www.gameskinny.com/o3peu/guild-guide-pushing-and-pulling-with-leadership https://www.gameskinny.com/o3peu/guild-guide-pushing-and-pulling-with-leadership Fri, 29 Apr 2016 05:02:38 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

Being in charge of a guild means that you are forever managing a dance between making decisions and having decisions made for you.

Whenever you're in charge of a group, there are members of that group who are going to tell you that your decisions are wrong. Sometimes, they're completely right. Sometimes they're completely wrong. Some people are repeatedly wrong, and no matter how many pieces of evidence prove them wrong, they'll just keep demanding things on the same wrong premises on a regular basis until the stars go cold and dark. And sometimes that's just based on the fact that someone wants something that they can't have.

The struggle for leaders, of course, is that the wrong players want to have just as much of a voice in how the guild is run. And everyone needs to feel as if they're being heard. Hence the push and pull of leadership, the delicate dance between letting others have what they want when you disagree with it versus standing firm on your beliefs. It is, as implied, pretty complicated.

Goals and consensus

The hope, when you make a decision, is that everyone will agree with your decision. You can probably file that hope the same place you file the knowledge that the goal in a baseball game is to hit every pitch while not letting the opposing team hit any. It's certainly what you want, but it hasn't got the slightest chance of happening.

Realistically, when you make a decision, your goal cannot be complete consensus. Your goal can be to have reasonable equilibrium, however. While you can't have everyone agree with you, the people who don't agree with you can walk away from the discussion feeling as if their views were heard and considered and they had a fair chance to influence the decisions that were being made.

As such, one of the first things you have to be willing to do when dealing with a complex guild issue is acknowledge the possibility that you might be wrong. People who are upset might be right to be upset, and complaints could be entirely valid. It's leadership 101, as it were, and it's important to make sure that people are aware your mind can be changed and you are, in fact, flexible.

Ceding the right points

"But how do I know the right times to back down?" you ask. "The rest of the guild thinks I'm wrong, but this is a big and important issue." To which I offer you this point: they're all big and important issues. Every single one of them. If guild leadership and its decisions are involved, then the issue is big and important.

I've seen far too many leaders get bogged down in the idea that it's all right to let the little issues slide, but the big issues have to be fought, and the big issues are what the leaders are there to make the calls on. This is understandable thinking, which is also completely wrong. No one feels like they have a voice if the only times their voice matters are the times that it's not relevant.

If that's too cryptic, consider the following: if you were only listened to on the minor issues, would you feel like you had a voice, or would you feel as if you were being humored on token cases and ignored the rest of the time?

More often, I find that it's important to take a look at the people who are espousing what viewpoint. I was in a guild at one point, wherein several of the members were saying "yeah, the officers here are unpleasant to deal with and very cliquish," with the officer response coming down to "no we're not." Aside from the obvious communication issues there, a more reasonable response would be to at least humor the idea, since the only people saying "there's no clique" were the people who would, by definition, be inside the clique.

If you're willing to stop listening to people at a certain magnitude, you're not doing the push and pull correctly. You're still assuming that you're right, that everyone else needs to be humored. And again -- it's best to start from the assumption that you could be wrong.

The ebb and flow

Thus far, I've talked a lot about pitfalls. How do you actually make it work? The key is to make sure that both officers and members are tugging, not pulling against one another.

When you have to make a leadership decision, listen with all sides. Talk with the guild as a whole. If it's a boolean issue (i.e. does your guild align with Faction A or Faction B), you'll need to make an absolute decision; otherwise, you want to provide the best compromise you can for everyone. And even in boolean situations, you should remember the people who disagreed with your assessment and listen more carefully to the other things they want.

If most of the guild wants to go with Faction A but you want to go with Faction B, but there's no real gameplay benefit either way, Faction A is the way to go. But you can make the decision that Faction B is what you're doing -- except that you'll want to talk it through with others. Explain your decision and your reasoning, why it means a great deal to you, and perhaps most importantly what you're going to do to smooth over any hurt feelings with the people who disagreed with you.

And the next time the disagreement rises up, remember that you did get to make the decision last time, and recognize that the other guild members might still be smarting. Give their arguments a little extra weight. Yes, maybe this time you're still convinced that you're right... but you got to be the lone arbiter before and went against the majority opinion, fair is fair. This time, it's time to cede to public opinion and let someone else make the call, even if you disagree with it.

From all of this, it might sound like your role is mostly that of a tiebreaker or making the final decision when it's too close to call, maybe nudging things slightly. Which is an accurate description of being an officer most of the time. You should not be the person in charge and handing out edicts; you should be the one gently pushing in one direction or another, balancing out a complicated series of issues and providing a reasonable voice.

The best leadership is leadership that lets the guild decide what it wants for itself with only the smallest influence. When there's no clear push in any direction, you have every right and reason to be the deciding factor, but when you have the option to step away and let people talk amongst themselves, you should take it.

It can be difficult to do, especially when you are absolutely certain that everyone else is wrong and you're right. But if being certain you're right is any indicator of rightness, no one would ever be wrong. You owe it to yourself and your fellow members to show humility and be capable of being wrong, of letting other people affect the decisions. Otherwise you're going to end up in a power struggle, and those never end well for guilds.

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