Battlefield V’s Update 6.0 moves the war forward and into the jungle.
Moving further away from the ruins of Europe, it also leads us closer to the end of the war. Nevertheless, DICE mentioned it has plenty of content to deliver until mid-2021. The latest update was featured in Battlefield V’s latest teaser trailer.
The new Battlefield V update is now available for download, but it will only go live next Thursday, February 6, at 9AM GMT. PS4 and Xbox updates will go live 1 and 2 hours later respectively.
Welcome to the Jungle
The new Battlefield map takes inspiration from the Solomon Islands. It features a river that runs across the whole map. As expected, it includes plenty of choke points and close-quarters action. The new map will be available on Conquest, Squad Conquest, Breakthrough and Team Deathmatch.
The update also brings a crate of brand new old weapons, including the Type-11 LMB, Model 37 Shotgun, M2 Carbine, and the M1A1 Bazooka.
A new suicidal Lunge Mine is also expected. Lunge Mines are literally bombs on a stick that you use to banzai-charge tanks – hopefully harming them and certainly killing yourself.
Further updates incoming
DICE has announced that they expect to release a bunch more fixes, balances and even new content in the coming months. Two new elite commanders are expected later in the chapter. Update 6.2 will also feature a considerable change to weapon balancing.
Tank customization seems to have been progressing steadily with the latest teaser trailer which featured a tank with a “Coming Soon” text and an American flag.
My thoughts on the new update
This is my own personal viewpoint.
I love playing Battlefield games. I certainly do enjoy Battlefield V – but somehow, it feels like its getting less and less enjoyable by the day.
Maybe I’m getting old, but even though many players seem to really enjoy game modes such as “Grind”, I find them extremely chaotic and tactic-less. Personally I prefer matches where intelligence plays a part. Where you can make use of the map’s scale and try to outsmart and flank your enemy.
Unfortunately (for me), maps seem to be getting more and more focused on close-quarters combat, even when their scale is enormous. New weapons seem to be faster, more deadly and less precise. The age of long-range hunts is at an end.
The new update brings even more of this with the new choke points, new shotgun and even the Lunge Mine that prevents tanks from pushing into enemy territory. Coward tank pilots are definitely NOT something we need in this game.
Because of this, and even though I appreciate any new content, I’m shrugging at the sight of the new update.
Would you like to play Poker with your posse on Red Dead Redemption 2 Online? Well, you might be out of luck. Not everyone is allowed.
…But is there a way around it?
This isn’t the first time Rockstar cashed out on players.
A sad day for GTA V
6 months ago Rockstar surprised a lot of players by launching an update to Grand Theft Auto 5. It featured the eagerly awaited Diamond Casino Spa & Resort in Los Santos. Unfortunately, the seats at this casino’s tables were not available to everyone.
Many players were facing issues when attempting to use the casino’s chips, tables or slots. Rockstar did not release any information regarding this issue which made players think it was a bug of sorts. It appeared like there was a connection issue – but nothing mentioned that gambling was disabled for certain players.
Rockstar was blocking players from certain countries
The restrictions were unclear and apparently unreasonable. Some countries have strict legislation against gambling and were able to access Rockstar’s casino games. Now, I live in Portugal. We have a ton of casinos and gambling halls in our country. Plenty of online sports betting websites. Pokerstars and mobile gambling. There’s even state-endorsed gambling available and yet we’re unable to access the Diamond Casino games in Grand Theft Auto 5. Meanwhile, our friends over in Spain who have pretty much the same regulations as we do, have no issues playing at GTA V’s online casino.
It is kind of sad that some players get free items, free content to play with and all sorts of activities that many others are prevented from accessing altogether.
This is even more ridiculous if you consider the fact that you can’t even cash-out the money you earn. It’s all virtual. It isn’t really a gambling addiction problem, just a regulatory one. In GTA V you do have the option to buy GTA$, but you can’t convert it into real money. However, in RDR 2 Online, you can’t even buy $ – only gold, which is a very different currency.
Here’s a list of countries unable to gamble in GTA 5’s online casino, according to Reddit user SlapshotTommy:
Afghanistan Algeria American Samoa Argentina Azerbaijan Bahamas Bhutan Bosnia Herzg. Belarus Brunei Cambodia Cayman Islands China Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Ecuador Greece
Iceland Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel Jordan Kuwait Lebanon Libya Liechtenstein Luxembourg Maldives Mali Mauritania Malta Malaysia North Korea Oman
Paraguay Peru Poland Portugal Qatar Saudi Arabia Somalia South Africa South Korea Sri Lanka Sudan Syria Taiwan Thailand Tuvalu UAE Vietnam Venezuela
Red Dead Redemption 2 Poker? Same thing, different game
I like playing Poker. It’s fun and relaxing and a great way to socialize and meet new people.
One of the reasons why I bought RDR 2 was because Poker was a thing. It seemed like it would be a lot of fun to play against other players online. There aren’t that many 3D Poker games out there since PKR was terminated a few years ago, so I thought this would be great fun.
Apparently I was wrong. I was not going to be allowed to play Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online. I’m guessing Blackjack won’t work either, even if you’re just playing against an NPC like in singleplayer…
Rockstar does not inform RDR 2 players properly
I’m a PC player. I missed the news that this was an issue back in May 2019, when it first came up to the PS4 and XBOX players.
In fact, I thought that this was not yet implemented. Until yesterday, when a random player approached me in role-playing style. He asked me if I would like to play poker with him. I laughed and said that I would love to – but that the only way to play Poker right now is the singleplayer game mode. Then he replied that he had been playing with his mates.
I was confused.
Rockstar did not release any info regarding this topic. There’s no contextual info or error message. Nothing. You can see the NPCs playing by themselves, but there’s no interaction button or error message.
The reality is that they’re hiding content to avoid complaints. In a way it kind of angers me more that they hide this content instead of informing players in-game that the content isn’t available for players in their specific region.
How to play Poker in RDR 2 if you’re excluded?
The answer is simple. Go live somewhere where your IP isn’t blocked by Rockstar… or get an IP from a different country instead.
VPN networks seem to have been working as a great workaround for players in GTA V wanting to play at the casino. This isn’t a cheat, this isn’t a mod. Now, the question is:
Will Rockstar ban you for using a VPN? Unlikely.
Is it possible they will? Sure.
Is it reasonable to do it? Nope.
Is Rockstar known for being reasonable at anything… ever? Nope.
Alternatively, play in singleplayer mode. Boring. I know.
I can’t understand Rockstar’s criteria for picking certain countries, but not others. The lack of info regarding this topic as if it wasn’t an issue at all is ridiculous. I won’t accept that they would advertise something that really isn’t available at all.
Rockstar is weird when it comes to gambling. I sure will remember that the next time I avoid buying a game with that feature.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is now a winter wonderland!
There’s snow in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020! Microsoft has surprised us again with their brand new iteration for the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise.
Snow is now present in Microsoft Flight Simulator!
Their attitude towards this simulator has been very peculiar about this release since its announcement.
There was a 13-year gap between the last version (Microsoft Flight Simulator X) and the latest version announced at E3 2019. It features the most in-depth and accurate representation of the Earth in any digital media (except maybe Bing or Google Maps). However, their announcement seemed to lack enthusiasm. Or maybe they were just being humble – which would be surprising for a Microsoft release.
At the preview event, they mentioned that they had access to the very detailed Bing maps satellite data. They developed a way to integrate that with a game engine, thus providing Microsoft’s Flight Simulator with very accurate satellite imagery for their sim. They said that lightly as if it wasn’t that much of a big deal. In reality, it provides VFR pilots like me an amazing reason to fly and explore the world. As I said in my previous post, I only fly VFR because I enjoy the views and the sense of exploring the world.
A few weeks after their preview event in one of their videos, they released a list of “highly requested features” by the users they had the chance of interacting with. In it, you would find stuff like seasons, ATC, Virtual Reality, etc.
To be honest I was actually displeasantly surprised at the lack of commitment shown when some of these features were first announced. Many of them were present 13 years ago. Most were now being considered as “possible features” to be developed still. The sad truth is that with most games, after their announcement, any additional significant changes either take years to develop or don’t get developed at all due to the complexity of adding new functionality to existing code.
Apparently this is not the case with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, as they just unveiled a *VERY* short video where snow can be seen covering the sim’s very detailed landscape. This was one of the features that were still being considered but not guaranteed.
Seasons in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?
While this doesn’t entirely remove “seasons” from the wishlist, it does tackle one of the most difficult things to achieve in a flight sim. Snow changes textures globally and locally. But it also adds a variable depth layer to trees and buildings that require some clever tricks to simulate geometry efficiently.
We’ll soon see whether they’re able to make it snow in just specific areas instead of the whole world, according to real-time weather patterns.
The difference between snow and seasons is that an autumn theme requires global texture changes. This is especially true in the forest or green areas of the world to make them look gold or brownish. This is especially difficult with satellite imagery. The precision of maps that sort what is a building or a road or a tree are critical to a believable color correction. You really don’t want a green building changing to brown during the autumn! Another aspect to consider is falling leaves on the sidewalks or trees without any leaf coverage. This would likely have to be affected by geometry changes which are typically very cumbersome to process.
We’ll have to wait and see how they figure out a way to do it. The fact that they’re pre-rendering everything on their servers means that their 2 petabytes of data might have to be slightly multiplied for each season. Not really a problem for the regular user. That is, unless they wish to download everything to their hard drive instead of streaming the geometry from their servers.
What’s your list of wanted features?
I have my very own list of “highly requested features”. Top of the list is Virtual Reality support. I only fly FSX or P3D using VR googles. It is the most immersive VR experience I ever had. I was really sad to learn that it wasn’t announced as featuring in the new Flight Simulator 2020. Instead, it’s listed as one of those features that might or might not be developed.
As we’ve talked about in my previous article, with the latest update to Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar allows you to start producing moonshine in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online for PC and PS4.
I don’t usually drink alcohol at all, but I will be drinking a cup of Bailey’s throughout the writing of this article. Please don’t mind me if the last portions of it are a bit parched weee…
With this update, you’ll be able to produce moonshine, own a bar, hire a band, have patrons showing up and serving them drinks. Smells like profit.
Want to know how to increase revenue and lower mash costs?
If you’re reading this article, looking for info on how to reduce mash costs in RDR2, please know that this article details all aspects of moonshining – including how to lower mash costs. However, you should definitely check out my other specialist post as well. It focuses not only on ways to reduce mash prices, but also on how to improve revenue via other means.
Improve your game with the new Launch Argument Composer
With the new update, the Wheeler Rawson & Co Club Pass 2 Outlaw Pack No2 allows players to gain access to a huge selection of exclusive goodies – enough to make you tipsy! These include a new dog (huskie), weapon ammo, clothing, horse masks, discounts, treasure maps, gold bars, emotes, etc.
With 100 levels and almost one reward per level, there’s plenty of content there. Regarding price, the pack costs 40 gold bars – but playing through it should unlock approximately the same amount of gold bars, plus all the discounts and ammo savings. It is one humongous task to unlock everything though.
As a reference price point, 55 gold bars cost 20€ at the Rockstar store. If you do the daily quests each day, you should be able to get approximately 5 gold bars per day.
How to start Moonshining
Before you start, please keep in mind that you need to rank up your Trader role to rank 5, or at least completed a sale.
To begin your brave new entrepreneur life, you should find Cripps at your camp (if he hasn’t packed it already!). He will handle you a quest to find Maggie near Emerald Ranch. You should also receive a letter from Cripps asking you to go meet Maggie at the Emerald Ranch. Alternatively, press F1 once the Moonshiner update notification pops up. After the descriptive menu shows up, hold the spacebar to initiate the quest to become a moonshiner.
You will then be able to purchase your very own speakeasy and become a booze baron in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online.
You will first need to pick a location for your moonshiner shack (you’ll need to pay 25 gold bars upfront, although I believe this might come for free with a Twitch Prime subscription). Later on, if you’re not happy with the location you selected, you will be able to change your shop location by paying an additional 250$.
After buying the location, you’ll be awarded several new booze recipes to explore.
Later on, you will also be able to upgrade to a bar and even add a dancing stage and a band. The bar expansions or the patrons that show up to your bar do not earn you any money. Most extras are just cosmetic, with the exception of the distilleries that provide you with a stronger alcohol that sells for more money.
Producing and supplying the bar
You can access the Moonshiner Shop when talking to Maggie. There you will be able to expand your moonshine operation with an underground bar. This costs 950$ plus one token – or 38 gold bars instead.
At first, the bar feels empty and sad and more like a milk parlor. There are 6 people in there quietly sipping their milk. Fortunately, you will be able to change this by drawing in more patrons and improving the room decoration.
Marcel, the cook, will supply the bar with whatever recipe is being produced. If you’re not giving Marcel the right ingredients and tools, he will supply the bar with a standard quality recipe. This doesn’t really draw that many customers in. To improve your business, you should upgrade your recipe on the table next to Marcel.
This connects with the supply missions, where your mission is to deliver moonshine to potential customers on the world map. The mash cost can be lowered from 50$ to 30$ by asking Maggie to do Bootlegger Missions, explained further down this article.
On the table next to Marcel you are able to pick the type of moonshine, and the flavoring (ingredients which can be bought or picked outside, like fruit and herbs). Distilling takes time. Once a batch of moonshine is ready, you can go deliver it to your clients. You are transporting fragile cargo, and special care must be taken not to break the bottles of moonshine.
While on your way to your client, you might come across Revenue Agent roadblocks. You can either let them search your cargo or try to break through the barricades and avoid inspection.
The best way to prevent any bottles from being destroyed during the transport is to use the Cinematic Camera. Going off-road is certain to cause damage to your cargo. Bullets will harm your cargo just slightly. So it is best to stop your transport, kill the baddies and then start moving again. Trying to keep running while shooting back at the agents is a recipe for disaster.
To increase your profits you should upgrade the strength of your moonshine. To do that, you must first buy the Condenser and Polished Copper upgrades from Maggie.
A batch of booze that costs approximately 30$ to produce can be sold for 80$ with a weak distillery. If you upgrade it to a strong distillery, you might be able to earn up to 247$. This makes for a very good investment (if all goes well with the delivery). The time it takes to produce a batch varies, but it should take somewhere between 30 minutes (weak distillation) to 60 minutes (strong distillation) to be finished and ready for export.
Setting up shop – the story missions
The first mission Maggie will give you is to find Marcel, the French cook. The mission is rather simple – he has been kidnapped. Just go rescue him by the small bandit camp nearby.
Alternatively (non-exclusively) you can also permanently borrow some moonshining equipment from a nearby rival moonshining operation.
Once these two quests are finished, Marcel will show you the “Engine Room”. This is where he will show you the distillation tools and equipment.
Marcel tip: A stronger alcohol sells for more, but it takes longer to produce.
After this is cinematic, you’ll be spawning outside the shack. Once you go back in, Maggie will allow you to access the Moonshiner Store, which grants you access to recipes, bar and band building expansions, bar decorations, equipment to improve the quality (and price) of your booze, and a bunch of pictures to place behind your bar counter. All of this for a price, of course.
At the moonshiner store, you’re able to buy a toxic moonshine bottle or pamphlet (recipe). These create a noxious cloud that chokes and stuns enemies.
If you can’t afford the 1 token + 950$ for the bar, you can always buy the upgrade with 38 gold bars instead. It sounds absurd, but its true. You’re better off trading with Cripps until you get those 950$ and save the 38 gold bar expense for other stuff!
Before we go into the next missions, let me just add that sometimes the game won’t allow you to accept a new one in order to progress with the storyline missions. This could be because either Maggie is stuck in an animation, or maybe because there’s a timer between missions. Relogging seems to solve this issue sometimes. Doing these missions will lower the price of the mash ingredients to make the beverages.
Blood is thicker than ‘shine
You need to pick up Maggie’s nephew Lem. Lem is being transported to the penitentiary. Once you arrive at your destination, you will need to find Lem’s prison transport documents which are located in a chest inside the larger tent to the south (might depend on where the camp spawns). Listen to the officers talking – they will tell you where to look. Stealth is an option if you manage to get to the chest unnoticed. Be careful not to waste any lives – you will need them later on!
After clearing the camp or running with the documents, you will have to wait for the convoy to arrive at a different location. There will be plenty of enemies – I recommend a rolling block rifle and a shotgun. Be careful – these enemies are not your usual bandits. Their weapons are good and their aim is very accurate at long distances.
While taking Lem to your shack, a cutscene shows what happened to Maggie, and what caused her gruesome scars.
Once you finish all the missions, you will be able to replay them at different difficulty levels. Considering this one is tough in regular mode, it should prove challenging to play it in higher difficulty levels.
Where There’s Smoke There’s Firewater
This storyline mission takes you to the swamps of Bayou Nwa.
You will first need to find Maggie’s explosives in the Scarlett Meadows. Look for clues to their location. I highly recommend using a bow and arrow to quietly dispatch the two guys overlooking the stable. The explosives should be inside a lockbox in one of three locations. The clues highlight a trail to those lockboxes.
Further down the road, a wagon will appear. Use it to infiltrate the moonshine camps undetected. Take out the driver as soon as possible, as to avoid being spotted by the camp’s guards.
Once inside the camp, avoid collisions and be prepared. This is a huge camp with many enemies. Alligators roam the outskirts of the mission area. You’ll be fighting Lemoyne Raiders, which are easy to kill – but there are plenty of them. Many of them are carrying sawed-off shotguns – so you’re better off attacking them with a repeater or a rolling block rifle to avoid close-range surprises.
Once you find all the stills, all you have to do is attach a stick of dynamite to it and light the fuse. You can also shoot the stick of dynamite. These are Maggie’s sticks of dynamite and not the ones on your inventory. There’s a collectible tarot card at the entrance to the first house next to the northwestern bridge.
There’s no timer on this mission so take your time to pick them rivals one at a time. Most of these enemies have very little loot, though some collectibles may be found.
Come Hell, Come High Water
In this mission, you are tasked with protecting Lem, during a ship delivery at Van Horn. The mission is rather straightforward – just hop on the boat and shoot at the enemies until Lem manages to reach a safe harbor and deliver his trades.
During this mission you will find enemies on small boats, along the shores and even on a moving train. When facing enemies on the shore, be aware that some carry dynamite to damage Lem’s ship. Make sure to take them out before they reach the ship.
The train is so far away that you need a rolling block rifle to take out those enemies. There are ammo boxes for rifles and shotguns on the top tier of the boat.
A Bitter Means to a Bitter End
In this one, your objective is to ruin a rival’s production by adding a special mixture to the booze. Tainting the vats will earn you a bigger reward. If for some reason you fail to accomplish this, you can always destroy the vats with your weapons.
To make the mixture, you will need fresh ingredients. Maggie points out the location of some of the ingredients. Along the way you will find a bear (watch out) that will supply you with animal fat. Closer to the objective you’ll find a couple of tents with 3 enemies being attacked by a cougar. Try not to be seen by crouching and avoiding them. Grab the Oleander sage past the camp. If they spot you, take the time to loot them and skin the cougar.
Move forward to the next camp and go around it until you find Creeping Thyme. You only need one. Try to avoid the guards as there are many of them.
To craft the mixture hold E to rest and then R to craft.
Next up, you will need to taint the vats without alerting the guards by staying undetected. If they are looking at the vats, wait for them to move away, or deal with them silently.
These guys have an army of dirty, sick dogs that will sniff you out and attack you if you’re detected.
To destroy the vats simply shoot them and they will blow up. They will send a couple of horsemen after you – a fight you can easily avoid by running towards the final objective.
The Certainty of Death and Taxes
In this mission, your job is to protect Lem, capture your rival Danny-Lee and get rid of Hixon.
On the first part of the job you will need to prepare an ambush by spilling moonshine around an area. Then you wait.
Things don’t really go as planned. Grab a shotgun and run after Hixon. Instead of killing them one by one, simply push your enemies into the fire or fire at them into it.
When you finally exit the fire corridor, you’ll find yourself on a road riddled with enemies. Use the trees for cover. There are some crates along the road so try to avoid it. Move to the left of it. It will be easier for you to spot them on the road, behind cover. There’s also a very good reason to move left of the road. There’s a deadly Maxim machine gun at the end of the road. When you move to the left, the machine gunner will have his view obstructed by a tree and thus unable to hurt you.
After dealing with Hixon, avoid all enemies by running into the swamp and over the railway. Keep running towards Danny-Lee, hogtie him and deal with the enemies. If you’re unable to call your horse, grab one from the bandits and stow Danny-Lee on it. Then make a run to the final objective.
This was the last storyline mission.
You are now able to repeat these missions at a different difficulty level. Besides any loot and mission rewards, you should earn 50$ through the Benefits menu that shows up when you access the multiplayer main menu (simply press ESC while in free roam).
“Bootlegger” missions are available from Maggie. These represent simpler-than-storyline-missions that also help you lower mash prices.
In one of them, you need to deviantly poison a rival bootlegger’s stock. Alternatively, you’re able to destroy it and then deal with every enemy around it and the ones that spawn later on. Be careful when approaching the distillery as, when punctured, it fires steaming hot vapors that throw you to the ground. Enemies deal a significant amount of damage with their weapons, and time is a concern as things can get tricky if you start respawning too often. In one situation, the initial mission objective was so far away from my shack that the timer wasn’t enough to go there while going in a rather straight line.
In another mission, Maggie asks you to clear roadblocks placed by the Revenue Agents in two locations. Once you reach the first one, a timer starts, so make sure you don’t waste too much time dealing with all the agents. A stealth approach is possible but very difficult as they face both sides of the road. Revenue Agents are trained shooters. Be aware that they are very precise even at longer distances. Shoot the oil lamps to prevent them from taking cover behind the boxes nearby.
The third one was my favorite. I even giggled a little. You have to escort a drunk patron from the nearest saloon. While doing so, you will face a couple of enemies with their fists raised, ready to strike you. The patron is too drunk to go from point A to point B in a straight line, so expect having to follow him into some dark alleys. This mission is rather simple and easy, but fighting with your fists is always tricky in RDR2. Make sure you do it after drinking a few shots of moonshine.
Corpses, corpses everywhere
The substantial number of corpses leftover from these missions means that there’s plenty of stuff to loot. These Revenue Agents also seem to hold special ammo very often. Considering the number of shots required to take them out, it is only wise to loot them all afterward!
This article was made possible by the contributions of several Redditors: Waydownunder91, dbern707, Freejaveliner, (adding more as they come)
Coming up with the new update, you will be able to own your very own moonshine production facility. You will require a place to do it. Soon after, patrons will start pouring in asking for your very spicy miracle tonics served in a glass.
Eventually, you will be able to upgrade your moonshine “facility” into a very dandy and customizable speakeasy. Afterward, you’ll surely want to add some entertainment – like a local band and a dance floor.
Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 wouldn’t be complete without new gear to make you look like a proper booze king. You will also meet a new character, Maggie who will provide some missions to help you set up shop.
Strangely enough, this will require the player to be Trader rank 5. This might be kind of cumbersome to obtain. Alternatively, you are able to acquire it by completing a sale. Selling is ridiculously easy once you’ve obtained the Butcher’s table. I will eventually post a guide on how to progress your trade rank quickly! Subscribe to my blog via the sidebar on the left to be the first to know!
Now that I’ve given you the latest news, let’s delve deeper into what this effectively means but also how economy systems can add immersiveness to a game, or break it entirely – and why I feel like Rockstar’s fears are a missed opportunity (if at least they allowed us to mod it…).
The gaming dreams of a trader
Trading and owning a store is one of the coolest things I love seeing in a videogame. Unfortunately, this ability doesn’t come along often. Most games do not support this feature. The ones that do are usually limited in their nature to have it run at a very basic level.
In particular, I love the concept of buying and selling stuff online, to other players and NPCs.
I’m pretty sure I am not alone.
Star Citizen‘s most profitable month in 2019 just passed. It featured a concept sale of a ship (the Kraken Privateer – more like a mobile station) that allows other ships and players to dock and shop inside it. It also marks the detailing of the game’s economy system. This system is definitely of the juiciest and most complex ones I’ve seen in ages. I’ll detail this subject later on in another post.
A balancing act
The problem with most PTPE (player-to-player-economy) game mechanics will always be balancing supply and demand.
There’s only a limited variety of stocks – which everyone is getting all the time from actively farming the game. There’s also a need to have a surplus stock of every item to avoid absurd prices or unavailability of stock. This means that supply needs to exceed demand, which in turn lowers prices over time to a nil-value.
Most games that feature an economic system, have centralized market prices or, instead, player-driven shops. The first reduces your liberty to set the prices for your items but makes it easier (and boring) to buy/sell goods. The second one creates an anarchic price system where each player charges whatever he wants to charge for exotic seashells.
–How much are exotic seashells worth right now? Oh well. I’ll just spend all of my money on this one right here sir, thank you.
Other games tackle this challenge more creatively.
I remember playing Pirates of the Burning Sea – almost 10 years ago now – and spending most of my gameplay time at the game’s player auction house. Until I realized… it was rigged! Well, supposedly it wasn’t, at the start, but having a fully realized player-driven economy is no easy feat. Commodity prices were skyrocketing and plummeting at such a quick rate that it became impossible to figure out the value of your items. Large trade guilds were able to sell silly amounts of supplies in an instant – thus selling their wares at a very steep price and forcing the price to plummet for everyone else in one server tick – just before they were affected by price updates. This made the auction house obsolete and the game’s economy was ruined.
As mentioned before, Star Citizen attempts to fix this imbalance caused by the players by introducing a majority of NPC-generated trades. However, these NPCs aren’t just averages and hidden calculations. They are actually real NPCs present within instances of the game world, hauling cargo, consuming and producing goods. Moreover, the developers devised a system in which the whole universe breathes economics. NPCs will become unemployed and wander aimlessly on the streets or, instead, the city booms with trade and becomes fancier and more crowded. The minerals for every missile that players use need to extracted, transformed and sold as missiles. This will be a very interesting economics system to study.
One other big concern for online games with an economic system is cheating – and Rockstar haaaaaates cheating. They avoid the problems of failing economies by tackling this in a very smart, albeit slightly frustrating way.
Rockstar’s economy system isn’t frustrating because of what it is, but because of what it could be and isn’t.
In reality, they only give you the illusion of an economy system. All the money you own only exists in the bubble that is you.
In Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, you may be incredibly rich and feel like a boss (no, I mean, literally) by owning several companies and employing NPCs that generate revenue on their own – but you will never ever exchange money with another player. One example is buying drinks at your friend’s bar in Grand Theft Auto V which earns him 0$, yet your wallet shrinks a little.
In Red Dead Redemption 2 Your hunting sales aren’t affected by the price of fur in a particular area and all the money you make can only be used to buy cosmetics or other means of making money. You can’t buy a horse for your girlfriend. You can’t even gift her a hat or buy her a drink.
No sugar daddies allowed in RDR2.
Ah… Taxes. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without.
One other issue with Grand Theft Auto V – that I predict will be coming to Red Dead Redemption 2 soon enough – is the time and money cost of maintaining these establishments. Grand Theft Auto businesses follow the same logic as the Trader role in RDR2. They only generate revenue when you constantly supply them with tools or stock. The butcher table in RDR2 does give you revenue semi-passively, but it consumes time. A lot of it.
What happens with GTA V is that, when you own many different businesses, you will have to pay regular fees to keep them running. To a point where it will eventually become too expensive to keep them running without supplies. This is only an issue if you’re running around trolling other players or role-playing with your friends or if you just want to have fun without having to worry about sustaining your businesses.
With the incoming moonshiner trader role update, which adds a speakeasy with a band, I’m prrrreety sure these recurring fees will be applied.
These fees act as an economy-balancing mechanism or money-sink. Even if the economic system is just an illusion and individually-set, they keep adding new content to the game and they charge prices according to the global value of money. You will notice that the average price for new cars in GTA has been increasing proportionally to the global amount of money available to purchase them.
In Red Dead Redemption 2 you will likely see this price climb more significantly in most items.
To slightly counter the effects of having too much money in-game, they charge the wealthiest players, who actually own several money-making establishments, with these unavoidable regular fees.
Riding into the sunset…
Don’t get me wrong. Their system works really well. It makes players focus on the fun aspects of the game instead of turning this into a spreadsheet simulator like EVE Online. However, there’s a layer of economic strategy that is missing as well.
As I said before, I feel like It’s a shame for what it isn’t – an immersive, real player-driven economy, where your money is made and lost by the effects of other players around you and where your actions affect others. However, it is really good for what it is – a simple game that entices players to keep playing it for arcadey fun.
There’s room for modding – if only Rockstar would allow us to do so…
I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I realized that I had gotten the wrong impression before buying the game. I thought that being able to open up shops was already a feature present in the game. It wasn’t. My bad.
Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 makes things more interesting and I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait for December 13th and all the missions and assets that the new update brings. These updates are free content that we all get to enjoy piece by piece.
Do you think the economy could be improved in RDR 2? Variety of content to spend your money on seems to be a common request. What are your thoughts on this?
GTA Online – Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase.
This is the message that a bunch of players are seeing when they try buying chips from the cashier at the newly established GTA Online Diamond Casino Spa & Resort in bloody Los Santos.
The very anticipated Casino has just opened today – but gambling is not for everyone. Killing, stealing, trafficking is all well and good in GTA Online but DON’T YOU DARE GAMBLE!
Apparently, people from at least 50 countries, including Portugal, Hungary, Israel and Argentina have been prevented from trading in any chips.
These left-out players aren’t able to access the free daily bonuses at the cashier, or the wheel spin at all. It may also affect bonuses from the Penthouse, missions, world collectibles, and unique clothing and items.
Apparently, there’s a region lock to access the Casino’s features. This includes buying chips and playing with them – effectively limiting all gambling activity for some players.
We’re talking funny money here. In-game cash translates to the same amount of in-game casino chips which can only be refunded to in-game cash.
If there’s one thing Rockstar is used to deal with …is lawsuits.
Apparently, the reason for this region lock is that Rockstar does not want to register as a gambling entity (such as with other online gambling websites). Even if you now have to accept a new EULA, this effectively means that they’re not able to deliver this type of content to a large number of countries.
As far as I understand the law (and other games that do this), the real problem here is the fact that players are able to buy in-game currency with real money and then spend it all gambling (instead of buying new in-game cars). Well, if that’s the problem, then the already present chip currency could be used to *legally* buy stuff without having to convert it to the real-cash-connected GTA bucks – that wouldn’t be gambling and that would solve the legal conundrum. Think about it Rockstar!
Make sure you follow me on Twitch if you wish to stay up to date about when these things change or a legal alternative has been found!
Most countries have grey-area laws on online gambling. Most regulate physical gambling effectively but lack online regulation.
Here in the EU, only a few players in Germany seem to be able to access the Casino features. This has sparked a rush to VPN services. Players are trying to connect via VPN to get a German or American IP address in order to play at the Diamond Casino. Note: Some people argue that this practice may get your account banned for trying to bypass common online identity checks.
Rockstar support is inefficient
Rockstar support is completely inefficient at informing players why they’re unable to use the Casino. There’s not a single official reply to queries regarding this situation and the players were left to figure it out for themselves.
I’m hoping that they eventually revise their region-lock limitations or that, at the very least, they inform players that they won’t be able to access this content beforehand. Some people are complaining that they bought Twitch Prime to access the “free” content and Penthouse at the now pointless Casino.
Players will eventually find a way around this issue. They’ve done that before with private servers, hacks and the RP server boom in the past couple of years.
They will find a way to make it work – legally, or otherwise.
In any case, it feels lame that the largest GTA Online update in years is locked to so many players around the world.
And there I was. Looking at the shiny new slot machine. Press E to interact. ALERT: Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase. For further help, go to: www.rockstargames.com/support
This update should never have been developed in the first place. Their energy should have been spent on new content that everyone would be able to enjoy. Besides the Casino and the Penthouse, the remaining content is just a couple of missions, a few new unremarkable vehicles, and a pair of easily-outdated cosmetics.
Heists is where GTA Online truly shines – co-op missions with cinematics and a story to play with your friends. Yet, no new heists have been released in a VERY long time. Instead, we’ve been stuck with mostly cosmetic updates that don’t effectively expand the story or the replayability of the game.
The truth is that the game is still fun.
Rockstar-outlawed private servers and RP have given it a boost recently. But the updates have mostly been delivering content that is both very expensive and insubstantial.
I live in Portugal. I’ve got a casino across the street from my home and I’m not able to play on GTA Online with funny money. *shrug*
A long, long time ago (back in 1982), Microsoft came up with the first iteration for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It looked amazing for that era and featured unrivaled 3D graphics! It was the start of a whole lineage of popular flight sims.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not get to experience the joy in flight sims until very recently. However, even if things look different nowadays, I’m 100% sure that the feeling of accomplishment for taking off the runway was the same as today’s.
Sure, the game grew over time. Immensely. Better graphics, more planes, more buildings, better flight mechanics, multiplayer.
But at its core, the fun of the hobbyist flight sim experience is definitely the sense of achievement you get for taking off, landing and the idea of freedom, movement, and control (or lack thereof).
I won’t lie. To me, that’s not enough to truly enjoy flight simming. I love the notion of purpose in a sim.
I decided to turn the sim into a game – by adding an objective!
Make it a game!
During my streams on Twitch and Youtube, I did a trip around the world using Microsoft Flight Simulator X and FSEconomy.
FSE allows you to rent planes and do cargo runs. What usually happened was that I would rent a plane and do short cargo runs from one place to another. I started back in Iceland with a small Cessna 172 hauling mail.
I ended up transporting tourists in Brazil, by going through the eastern coasts of Canada, the US, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela and, finally, Brazil. My plan was to make the cross to Africa, but I couldn’t yet afford a plane large enough to cross the Atlantic. What an adventure!
FSEconomy changed the way I saw flight simulation forever.
Over time, graphics have improved drastically. They went from being an IFR flight mechanics simulation to becoming a true world representation simulator which featured accurate flight mechanics.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer seems to showcase just that.
I’m sure that there’s a lot more to the whole. But the graphics engine and the weather effects are the real stars in this E3 trailer.
I usually don’t fly large planes. I get excited by the beautiful landscape and the prospect of doing short hops towards a far-away destination. The detailed scenery is vital for VFR (low-altitude visual) flights.
Microsoft seems to have nailed this in the previous trailer, by showcasing VERY detailed scenery. The pyramids in Egipt, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Seattle Space Needle are rendered in very high detail.
More than that, it features outstanding (and massive) cloud formations and weather effects. It also shows detailed traffic that is sure to melt CPUs and GPUs everywhere.
To me, however, it is the dynamic details that tease me the most. The pink flamingos flying over the coral area or the giraffes on the plateau demonstrate unprecedented attention to detail towards fauna and flora in different regions of the world.
I’m also expecting Virtual Reality and Multiplayer to be included by default. One can also hope for some degree of mod compatibility with previous releases.
The eternal wait
Microsoft took too long between Flight Simulator versions. The last one, Flight Simulator X was released back in 2006. It was effectively being laid as an improvement to its predecessor, Flight Simulator 2004.
This 13-year hiatus has led to Microsoft losing its unbeaten lead in the world of flight sims. Nowadays, X-Plane, P3D (a third-party updated FSX version) and AeroflyFS2 are major contenders for the title (Dovetail’s Flight Sim World now excluded!). In the past few years, combat flight sims have also resurged with games like DCS, War Thunder or World of Warplanes.
Nevertheless, the impact of FSX in the flight sim universe was huge – and any new version that Microsoft puts forward will be regarded with hope and expectation.
It will be a few more years until the mod community catches up to the new flight sim. But the prospect of having a brand new engine capable of doing new things is very enticing for every flight sim enthusiast.
Now that we finally have some serious competition from other contenders, it should also spark innovation in the coming years.
Looking forward to the future!
What are your thoughts on this? -How will Microsoft Flight Simulator succeed in the current Flight Simming scene? -Do you think that the focus on low-altitude visuals will affect the jetliner flight experience?
I will be sharing more details on this title as they become available. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitch or Twitter to be notified when a new post is published!
This is one of my favorite management games of all time.
Prison Architect is now 3 years old (since its final release), but it was first released as an alpha version 6 years ago after a very successful crowdfunding campaign.
Paradox Interactive has recently acquired the rights to the franchise from Introversion Software. How will that affect the game? Why are so many fans outraged? Why would Introversion do it?…
Introversion Software is a small team of developers known for creating small but deeply innovative games such as Multiwinia, Defcon, Darwinia or Uplink.
Prison Architect is their crown jewel.
In fact, the whole Prison Architect venture has been very successful throughout its crowdfunded open development cycle. The devs kept releasing regular updates with brand new content which maintained a healthy and engaged community over the past few years.
The latest update actually introduced an unexpected and seemingly inadequate feature for a game that has passed its maturity. They added multiplayer!
You might ask: oh really? Why is multiplayer such a surprise ViLa? Other games have it… -True. But besides the fact that you won’t find that many multiplayer management games, most of them haven’t been adapted from a single-player game to a multiplayer one. To have multiplayer in a game is as big as… deciding whether you’re building a 2D or a 3D game! You don’t just build a single-player game and then try to fit multiplayer into it. It doesn’t work that way! Not if you’re a sane developer that is!
However, we’re talking about Introversion Software here… and adding multiplayer to a singleplayer management game is pretty damn cool.
A new warden has arrived!
This is why the news of Paradox buying the Prison Architect franchise hit the fans like a rock. They’re afraid that the garage-built feeling that they get from playing this amazing management game will fade in the hands of Paradox. Above all they fear that Paradox will do what it has done to all of their other games: DLC spam!
In the good old days before the internet, games would either have sequels or expansions. A sequel pretty much meantrecycling of previous game ideas and graphics updates.
Expansions or content packs, on the other hand, increased the depth of the current game. This kept the player base interested in the game – at a fraction of the price – until a sequel would be available. If the game was successful, more expansions would be available. This was as a good commercial compromise for a developer. Instead of building a whole new game they would use the tools that were already in place – this, in turn, saves time and money. Expansions were actually large when compared to the base game and relatively expensive as they had to justify the physical distribution costs. Nowadays, expansions are called DLCs and due to the fact that they are now downloaded, they tend to be cheaper and distributed in smaller chunks.
Paradox has become a master at releasing DLCs – Paradox’s Crusader Kings 2 has 30 DLCs. The reason why Paradox does this is because they specialize in creating niche games (high value to their niche players) that rely on very complex game engines that only they own.
Game engines are the core of a game.
They are the technical aspect of the game that takes the longest to build. It provides games with their core attributes – UI systems, Audio, 2D/3D Rendering, Multiplayer etc.
So instead of building a brand new engine for each game, most companies decide to make different games with the same engine. Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings, Sengoku, and even Stellaris all use Paradox’s own Clauswitz Engine.
Paradox Interactive (the publisher) is often seen supporting innovative smaller developers such as Colossal Order (Cities in Motion, Cities: Skylines). They seem to be drawn towards developers who own solid custom engines that will be able to support great games in the long-run. Engines that lean towards having less sequels but more expansions. Paradox is also well known for allowing people to mod their games to exhaustion. Modding adds even more life and value to their games.
The reason why Crusader Kings 2 has got 30 DLCs in its bag is because the game has been released in February 2012! …Think about it… the game is now 7 years old and it still gets brand new updates like Holy Fury which was released last November.
Most of the DLCs are cheap, most of them are cosmetic, many of their major expansions are VERY deep and have parts of it released for free and most of them are fully available for free when you’re playing in multiplayer if the other player owns them. The best part: Paradox’s games are deep and solid enough at launch to provide countless hours of gameplay without the need for DLCs.
The reality is… you don’t need to buy any DLCs if you don’t want to.
Now, I understand that my position regarding DLCs will surely anger most fans. And I must clarify that I completely disaprove the idea of launching DLCs when the game has just been released. That is simply ridiculous.
However, most people see DLCs as a money-grab opportunity – which it is… but… is it that bad really? DLCs represent optional content that you’re able to get if you REALLY like the game. It helps support the company so they are able to keep on updating the games you love with brand new content.
-No, Crusader Kings 3 isn’t coming out tomorrow. But an amazing Holy Fury expansion has just been released at a fraction of the cost – have you played it yet?
A Peace Treaty! Please!
Introversion made a good deal when selling their most-valued franchise when their sales after 3 years are surely gone. Let’s celebrate that! A small company making a ton of money that they can use to come up with brand new ideas!
They would not be making Prison Architect 2 anytime soon – it is not in their DNA to rehash games like that. They would likely need a new engine and many new ideas to pick it up again.
Paradox has likely bought the “Architect” franchise so they can make brand new games with the “Architect” title in them …not necessarily Prison Architect 2+50 DLCs!
Finally, some people are also loudly complaining about the fact that a crowdfunded game was sold to a publisher. Now that the game has been released for 3 years …does that REALLY matter anymore? Is it possible to be happy for having been able to make this game a reality and enjoy it as it is?
TLDR: This is how I see it:
Prison Architect isn’t going anywhere – It is still here. If you own it you’re still able to download and play it!
Introversion made some money – I’m happy for them. Can’t wait for more of their innovative game concepts!
Paradox bought a great franchise – a great publisher might start using the “Architect” theme in other games we’ll love!