Greetings NAGeezees, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. In the news this week we have more lootbox controversy, some microtransaction freakouts on top of that, a few massive patches that bring big changes to popular titles, dark times ahead for those looking to upgrade their gaming rig, the only Half-Life content we may ever see shows up in an unlikely place and a Kickstarter MMO comes back from the dead. All that, more videos and highlights from the week, after the jump.
Paladins developer forced to remove controversial loot boxes
Loot boxes have come under massive scrutiny since EA’s Star Wars debacle, and now Paladins developer Hi-Rez studios have had to walk back their own very unpopular update.
“We know this system has angered many of our most loyal fans and become a point of continuous contention in the Paladins community (and even inside of Hi-Rez),” Chris Larson, who was recently appointed executive producer of Paladins, said in the studio’s latest update. “Your voice has been heard loud and clear. Our team will be working over the next major release cycle to remove Cards Unbound from the game.”
The update in question, Cards Unbound, added power levels to Paladins’ cards and gave players with higher-level cards a significant advantage over those with low-level cards in the popular quickplay mode.
The changes were even divisive among Paladins’ designers, according to an anonymous inside source. These rumours were later confirmed by High-Rez COO.
Honestly, what the hell were they thinking? Introducing pay-to-win elements in a competitive game has been a no-no for a decade now. Loot boxes for cosmetic items are one thing, but affecting gameplay is absurdly stupid. Once again, the gamers have spoken.
Call of Duty: WW2 patch nerfs quickscoping
Speaking of decade-long problems, quickscoping in CoD games has been a contentious issue throughout the game’s history.
I probably don’t need to explain this, but quickscoping means aiming down the scope and then immediately firing before you actually see what it is you’re looking at.
Done skilfully, it makes the sniper rifle into an all-rounder, capable of taking down targets at close and medium range in a split second.
Which is a problem – a sniper rifle should be highly effective at range, but at a severe disadvantage when the enemy pushes into your space. It’s a problem that isn’t unique to CoD, many games have seen this strategy dominate.
The upcoming patch will make the transition to scoping a little bit slower, giving the poor sonofabitch with a shotgun the chance to shoot your camping ass first.
There’s some other great changes too. ADS times vary between weapons, with fastest to slowest being SMGs, ARs, LMGs. SMGs will also ADS faster from sprinting than rifles will. This makes the guns feel different in terms of their mobility and speed, as they should.
It’s some great changes, and will hopefully be a standard of the series moving forward.
Hardware seller says Nvidia is predicting continued price hikes
It’s a bad time to be a PC gamer, with GPU prices skyrocketing due to low supply as a result of crypto miners, and RAM prices being absurdly high too – rumoured to be as a result of illegal price fixing, but blamed mostly on smartphone RAM needs.
Now Massdrop, a tech marketplace, has said that Nvidia told them in a visit to their HQ that cellphones are affecting GPU prices as well, since they last year starting using the same memory as graphic cards.
The weird part of this is, that’s not actually true. Smartphones are using DDR4 and DDR4L, and GPUs are using GDDR5. That being said, increased demand from smartphones could mean production lines are being taken up by DDR4 and not GDDR5, which would contribute.
All it really means is that things are unlikely to improve in the near future unless Bitcoin goes boom. And I’ll bet you 3,2 Dogecoins it doesn’t.
Final Fantasy XV gives you the first Half-Life content of the last decade
For those of you who’ve given up on the dream of HL3 (you filthy non-believers), you can run around Final Fantasy XV as Gordon Freeman.
If you purchase the Windows Edition of the game through Steam by the end of April, you’ll get the Half-Life Pack. You’ll get the HEV suit, his glasses and the classic crowbar, which you can actually use as a weapon.
You can even equip protagonist Noctis with the getup, which will give you the truly awful sight of an anime boyband-looking Gordon Freeman, which combined with the soul-crushing lack of any new Half-Life content in years may be enough to finally kick me into an early grave.
Camelot Unchained’s closed beta starts July 4
So this is finally happening, huh? Camelot Unchained, a near-forgotten Kickstarter MMO that raised a massive amount of 2.2 million dollars back in the way-back-when of 2013, has finally gotten an actual playable date – a closed beta beginning July 4.
The game’s been plagued with delays, but is finally becoming a reality. Developer Mark Jacobs says this is not to be confused with an Early Access game, saying it would be an abuse of what Early Access is meant to be. I’m expecting this isn’t actually going to be all that polished just yet then.
The game is available only to $50 backers and those who have pre-ordered, with the rest of the world predicted to see the final release in late 2019.
Konami pisses off everyone by charging $10 for Metal Gear Survive save slots
It’s the type of microtransactions everybody hates – shit that shouldn’t cost extra.
Not content with lootboxes or fancy hats, Konami’s $40 game asks players to spend extra “SV Coins” if they want to purchase additional character save slots. It’s 1000 of the game’s unique currency, which equates to around $10 in real cash.
There isn’t, as of writing, a way to earn these coins either. So if you wanted to run more than one character simultaneously, you’re going to have to pay. The game is riddled with other annoying microtransactions as well, with various boosts available to help you out and emotes and other BS included as well.
Want more storage for your weapons? Coins. More than four loadouts for multiplayer? Coins. Want to get more experience faster? Coins.
I hope the backlash on this is epic, as it’s the only way this practice will get tempered.
Fornite drops massive Season 3 update
Epic’s afterthought-turned-primary-focus has proven itself capable of challenging BR king PUBG, and have taken up arms with a massive update for Season 3.
Some of the things that have been added are a Hoverboard and Hand Cannon, and some extra cosmetic stuff. They’ve also improved the game’s building mechanics, making them smoother, faster and more intuitive.
There’s all special content as well for the game’s alternative modes, new music and new graphics. It’s a heap of new content, which Fortnite has been very impressive with. Even changes to the game’s look have been introduced, with aims towards a sharper clarity and richer image.
That’s all great, but for me the most critical change of all is getting the game to run at 60 FPS on PS4 and Xbox One. Not just the souped up Xbox One X and PS4 Pro either, this is for all the new-gen consoles.
That, in my mind, is the real PUBG killer, with performance issues plaguing the shooters Xbox One performance while it tries to manage a stable 30 FPS.
With a foothold in the BR genre on PS4 as well and the drastically smoother performance, it’s easy to see which is the better choice right now for console gamers. Epic have done an amazing job of capitalising on the quick success of their Battle Royale, and may be well on their way to being the biggest game in the world.
Did you know there were GTA V stunt crews? I didn’t, but this video of some of them tackling the Doomsday Heist DLC is pretty sick.
This Total War rabbit hole runs deep, too deep for me, but this Thrones of Brittania video makes me want to jump in all over again.
Little Nightmares looks like something I need to investigate, judging by this trailer for the game’s third (and final) DLC pack – The Residence.
Finally, lets throw some love at the indies with Yume Nikki Dream Diary, a Japanese creation that looks kind of terrifying.
Best of NAG
Switch gets Bayonetta 1 and 2, and Matthew Vice has figured out if its worth spending money on.
Meanwhile, Gareth Runnals does the same for the much-anticipated Shadow of the Colossus.
Shifting gears, Neo Sibeko pits two of Corsair’s best gaming headsets against each other.
Finally, as always, give your eyes a break from this wall of text with the NAG Online Podcast.