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Path of exile Development Use two techniques Make Monster Density in Maps Much better


POE wanted to post this ahead of Thursday’s 3.1.0 expansion announcement, as it’s not specifically described in our advertising and marketing materials but is definitely an essential adjust.Now Will share the two approaches Make Monster Density in Maps Greater.

A lot of players expressed concern with monster density in three.0.0. poe have addressed this in 3.1.0 in two ways:

Firstly, instead of attempting to normalise the amount of total experience that every single map is worth, poe are now trying to normalise the total expertise per hour of operating that map. In an effort to do that, we’ve improved our designer tools drastically so that they have far more control more than the player knowledge in maps of distinctive sizes. poe have rebalanced every map in Path of Exile and performed comprehensive experience-per-hour testing. poe have worked on reducing how typically unlucky outcomes with low density can happen. There shouldn’t be any maps that feel underpopulated any longer.

Secondly, poe have rebalanced the map mods in order that just about every rollable mod now grants a pack size bonus. A random uncommon map in 3.1.0 has more monster density than one from 3.0.0. This also improves the rewards for running corrupted maps.

Together, these modifications need to address the community’s monster density concerns. As often, thank you for the feedback. poe look forward to speaking in more detail about this expansion on Thursday (Pacific Time).

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November 24, 2017 |

directorygames | South Park: The Fractured but Whole is fun but flawed


South Park: The Fractured but Whole has faced delays, but it will finally be releasing this October 17th. At a Ubisoft event yesterday, I got to play through roughly the first three hours of South Park’s latest RPG.

And I liked it. I laughed. And laughed.  A lot. It is funny, but I also have concerns how the gameplay will hold up over the full length of the game.

My time with TFBW spanned various aspects of the little mountain town of South Park and its universe. The character customization correlates game difficulty with your character’s skin tone (though, to what extent, or if it’s just a joke, I don’t know). I also battled the Raisins Girls; fought with Catholic priests who, well, you know what they wanted to do to a little boy; and even summoned Moses with a macaroni picture.

However, there’s also stuff that I got to play that I’m not allowed to talk about. Without getting too specific, there are some story changes that I’m not a huge fan of and that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, at least yet. The plot actually feels like two stories jutted together: The previous idea and framing that’s been shown in past trailers and demos, and a newer, final version that now includes time travel (real or imagined, I’m not sure) and Cartman trying to change the past and also locate a missing cat. It isn’t working.

Another big change in TFBW is its combat. I’ve talked about this before and I was initially excited for the grid-based tactical twist on its gameplay. I was hoping it would improve on the battle system in South Park: The Stick of Truth, however I’m not sold yet.

This time around, there are three starting classes to pick from: Blaster, which I went with, Brutalist, and Speedster. Characters also have Ultimate moves, which charge up when you deal and receive damage (and also charge faster if you hit a button prompt, when you are on the receiving end). But, these moves still seem like they could be overpowered. I’m also unsure what the depth of abilities is going to be like, or if there’s even any real progression through the classes.

Toward the end of the demo I did unlock the ability to dual-class, which opened up the psychic, elementalist, and cyborg class options. That gave me some different abilities to pick from at least, but it’s still too early to tell how deep the actual customization is going to be, or how important any of the RPG-element micromanaging is going to be in the grand scheme of things. And battle depth was also an area where the first game suffered, for what it’s worth.

In fact, the battles so far feel more like stepping stones along the way throughout the story. I’m curious to see what the balance will be in the full game between battles and the other aspects of the game, but at least early on it I’m getting the impression it might be a tad RPG-lite adventure.

On the other hand, TFBW also throws a lot at the player. Aside from your character’s level, there are also Might Levels, which change depending on which artifacts you equip. There could be depth here, or it could just be another level of gatekeeping players.

There’s other stuff going on, too. Cartman sends you to take selfies (yup, yup) with other denizens of South Park, which is an idea that actually works much better than I thought it would. The pooping minigames at various toilets around South Park also grew on me, and there are other good things I can’t talk about yet, including several particularly enjoyable deep cuts from the show.

It’s 2017, so TFBW, of course, has crafting. (Surprise!) Crafting is, for some reason, explained to the player by Morgan Freeman — who is now running a taco stand – which was another bit that actually worked much better than I would have expected. You can craft healing items, such as burritos, and other things like artifacts, costumes, and mission items.

directorygames | South Park: The Fractured but Whole is fun but flawed

There might be a level of depth in the crafting, but it’s also a shame to see the items you pick up now being relegated into five component categories after collecting them, with the individual flavor text from The Stick of Truth gone. Many of them are also generic   – or I suppose could be references I’m missing — instead of the reference-laden pick-ups from the last game.

Even though I laughed plenty, I still have a few humor-related concerns. South Park is known for its particular brand of humor, and I hope TFBH has hilarious jokes that land even harder than what I’ve seen so far.

Also, in just a few hours of the game, it has also already repeated a joke and reused one situation. There’s also a near-constant dialogue of commentary going on from other characters, and while most of the comments are funny, the continual barrage of them could wear thin. But the humor is working, for the most part.

Maybe I’m the one setting a high bar, but I also hope there’s jokes that could only work in a videogame, aside from what I’ve seen already. Use the medium! Hopefully TFBW ends up being something that could only be done as a videogame, not just an extension of what could have been an episode of the TV show with some combat thrown in the middle.

Overall, what I’ve played of South Park: The Fractured but Whole is promising, but I’m still worried. There were plenty of areas for the new development team to improve upon Obsidian’s The Stick of Truth. And they have made changes; I’m just not sure how they’ll play out over the course of the whole game and if the changes will necessarily be for the better. We’ll find out when it (finally) releases next month. 

November 21, 2017 |

Need for Speed: Payback looks like it has some promise –


Developer Ghost Games wants you to know Need for Speed: Payback is not a racing game.

More precisely, executive producer Marcus Nilsson and studio have carefully dubbed the title an “action driving” experience. “We’re making the game we think is the most fun to play,” explains lead designer Riley Cooper. “Racing games are great, but they demand one hundred percent of your attention just to navigate a course. Our priority is a broader experience.”

In terms of the driving alone, Ghost Games has nailed that accessible experience. I’d never played a Need for Speed game before, but I felt completely in control of the action from the first minute of my eight-hour session last week. Drifting into tight turns and correctly timing boosts were exhilarating and intuitive. And it doesn’t hurt that like most modern driving titles, this game is gorgeous.

Need for Speed: Payback looks like it has some promise -

Unfortunately, soon after leaving the comfortable linearity of the prologue, this thrilling “broader experience” starts to break down. It becomes unexpectedly muddied by a grinding-reliant progression and tedious repeated treks across its open world.

Payback wastes no time introducing its main cast. We’ve got Mac, the sassy showman; Jess, the hyper-competent “wheelman;” and primary protagonist Tyler Morgan, a sentient jar of mayonnaise with a little too much stubble. After this crew is betrayed early on, it’s Tyler’s bumbling and his… need to go very fast… that brings the trio back together. To be exact, he wins a criminal-run street race he’d agreed to lose without inquiring how those criminals might retaliate. When pressed on why he’d endanger himself and those who vouched for him, he clarifies, “What I do, I do for the streets.” Sure, man.

Moments later, his house is blown up by said criminal organization known as “The House” (themed for the Vegas-inspired setting of Fortune City). This was the only moment in my eight hours with the game in which I sympathized with Tyler: neither of us expressed much emotion when his home exploded.

Following another satisfying string of missions full of racing and cop-evading, Tyler and crew get their first real taste of the open world. Here they can tackle multiple questlines, each revolving around one of five car types. Payback’s core loop is also introduced here: winning races rewards a character with a random upgrade and some “Bank” (money), while losing the race awards a smaller amount. Bank is then used to buy better gear. Each successive race in a questline ratchets up the recommended skill rating by roughly ten points, which is less of an increase than you’ll get from one piece of loot.

Need for Speed: Payback looks like it has some promise -

Herein lies Payback’s biggest stumbling block: there’s little side content with which to raise that skill rating. Unless you scour the map for tiny rewards that come with collectibles and micro-challenges, you’re left with only two options to level up.

Your first choice is to simply replay old races. Payback outright tells you to do this if you’re having trouble winning. Despite obvious repetition, it’s the most exciting way to earn enough income to level your car, because your second option is an even worse one: you can repeatedly lose at that difficult race, saving enough consolation winnings to purchase that necessary upgrade. So, really, your two options for maintaining a competitive level are to grind… or to grind while losing over and over. Oh, and the Tune-Up Stations where you purchase and equip those upgrades? They’re inconveniently located across the map instead of accessible from your menu.

Once each questline string is complete, the player gains access to more explosive, larger-scale missions which star the whole crew. The one I played (or at least, the one I can talk about; thanks, embargo) was largely the same level we saw at E3 this year. Still, it was my favorite mission of the many I played. Like in those early minutes, without grindy leveling and tedious open world traversal, I understood why Need for Speed is such a massive franchise. Its fundamentals — namely, the production values and how the turning is tuned for novice hands — are an intuitive blast to play with.

Need for Speed: Payback looks like it has some promise -

Payback also gives players the option to scour the world for “derelicts,” which are chassis and car parts that become the game’s most upgradable vehicles. I didn’t hunt these down because I didn’t have time to see their upgrade paths through, but that doesn’t make their presence less intriguing. Given that the developers say acquiring them requires a slower, puzzle-solving approach — and even some platforming — this type of discovery and distraction could be a much-needed addition to an otherwise tedious open world.

So, it seems Ghost Games is right. Need for Speed Payback isn’t just a racing game. It’s an open-world “action driving” title with clunky RPG progression layered on top (they even cheekily used the term “CarPG”). And that action sings where action games typically do: during its most linear, explosive, expensive-to-produce sections. I have no idea how many of these moments fill the game, or how long it will take to finish, but players can be sure they’re in for a whole lot of grinding.

November 21, 2017 |

directorygames | New Invite a Friend Program


Get your friends started with a 7-day trial and be rewarded with unique items and Gold. Keys are now available in-game.

Whether you’re braving an expedition, harvesting the bountiful natural resources of Albion, or engaging in an epic battle, your adventure in Albion will be much more rewarding together with your friends.

Here’s How It Works

Buy Trial Keys for your friends in-game through the Invite Friends menu. Each Trial Key will cost 1,000 Gold or the Silver equivalent.

Share Trial Keys with your friends by copying/pasting the key code, sending them an Email directly through the Referral Overview page or send them via Email in-game.

Earn unique rewards for each friend who redeems their Trial Key. The more friends with keys, the more rewards you get! To keep it fresh, the rewards will change seasonally.

Get your 1,000 Gold back from the Trial Key, plus up to 4,000 more Gold when your friend redeems a Starter Pack. Check out the Referral Statistics page to check your earnings.


Gift Your Friend a Trial

Not quite sure where to get a Trial Key? They can be purchased and found in-game under the cogwheel icon on the top right, under “Invite Friends.”

Note: The current items will be replaced on November 13 with new items.

The referral terms and conditions are changing. The changed referral terms and conditions can be found here. Feel free to print them out for future reference. You can accept the changed referral terms and conditions by using the new referral program or by indicating your acceptance of the changed terms on our website or in the game client. You can object to the changes by sending an email to If you do not object to changes within 6 weeks of this notice, the changes are deemed accepted by you.

November 11, 2017 |

directorygames | Halloween Is Event Time!


Yellow and red leaves. Carved pumpkins. Halloween decorations. Pumpkin chests. The rattle of skeletal bones. Wait, what?

Halloween has arrived in Albion. From October 25 until November 15, it will change the world. Halloween decorations have been put up in the cities to put you in the right mood before you head out to explore all the new things and earn special rewards, only available throughout the event.

Did Someone Say Rewards?

Why, yes, of course! What would an event be without rewards? You can trade in your collected Pumpkin Pips at the Vanity Merchant for great, time-limited seasonal rewards.

  • A variety of Pumpkin Heads (Grinning/Sad/Angry)
  • A Plague Doctor Outfit (Hygienic Mask, Coat, and Boots)
  • A Skeleton Costume (Laughing Skull, Ribcage, Legbones, and Ragged Cape)
  • The Jack o’Donkey
  • And the ultimate reward, the Horse Macabre.

directorygames | Halloween Is Event Time!

While exploring the lands of Albion, you will find Pumpkin Pips – tokens only available during our Halloween. You can gather them from our Random Camps, chests, Locked Pumpkins (that randomly appear in place of resources), the Arena, or in Expeditions. These Pips can be exchanged for neat rewards – or traded with other players.

But Why Stop Here?

There will be additional events around Halloween:

  • Arena Masters – Compete in a seasonal 5v5 tournament, streamed live AlbionTV – claim your place as the best team!
  • The Headless Descent – Investigate a mysterious maze in the Underway, compete against others, reach the end – earn your reward!
  • Arena All-In – Challenge other teams for a winner-takes-all match live on the AlbionTV stream. Become famous – and rich!

Head on over to our event page to read more.

Let us know about your thoughts on Halloween on the forums. (We wouldn’t mind pumpkin-related recipes either).

November 11, 2017 |

Inviting a Friend Is Now Even More Appealing! on directorygames


Inviting a friend to play Albion has never been more appealing, as we have reduced the price for our Trial Keys permanently to 500 Gold. Invite a friend. Explore the world together. Have fun!

But that is not all. As you most likely know, you receive rewards if you invite friends to play and they purchase a Starter Pack. These rewards have been increased!

Better Rewards

You sent a Trial Key to a friend and they purchased a Starter Pack later on? You will profit from that! Not only will you get the item rewards for referrals, you will also receive increased amounts of Gold if your friend buys a pack. Depending on the Tier of Starter Pack they purchase, you will receive the following Gold rewards:

  • Veteran Starter: 2,000 Gold
  • Epic Starter: 3,000 Gold
  • Legendary Starter: 4,000 Gold

Should they upgrade later, you will receive additional Gold rewards:

  • Veteran to Epic: 1,000 Gold
  • Epic to Legendary: 1,000 Gold
  • Veteran to Legendary: 2,000 Gold

That means that if more than 20% of the people you invite purchases a Starter Pack, you already turn a profit.

Get a Trial Key For Your Friends

Not quite sure where to get a Trial Key? They can be purchased in-game under the cogwheel icon on the top right corner, under “Invite Friends.”

See here how to invite friends and to read up on Frequently Asked Questions.

November 11, 2017 |

directorygames | Albion Online Dev Talk – Performance Improvements


David Salz, our Chief Technology Officer talks about the performance improvements that will make it into the Kay update:

If you can’t watch the video right now, here’s a summary:

The State of Zerg vs Zerg

Zerg vs Zerg fights, for example over castles, are a very popular thing in Albion Online – and the performance there is often times frustrating. It is bothering the players participating in that activity, rightfully so – and naturally it is bothering us as well.

Identifying the Issues

For the past few months we have put significant work and effort into improving the experience in bigger fights. The first thing we did was create a technology that allowed recording of fights on a network level. That means we can replay them again and again, and analyze what is happening exactly. We could then have a look at how long certain components take and, effectively, what’s going wrong.

Conclusions and Improvements

Identifying the problem, obviously, is only the first step. A lot of things need to be changed to make the game faster at this point – involving pretty much every single team member. It’s not a single source of lag or a singular thing that’s wrong. Various things don’t perform as they should.

Sometimes code needs to be rewritten, because it’s not fast enough. So we have to find a way to have it do the exact same thing, just faster. Sometimes it’s game design related and a spell needs to be changed because it’s eating up too much performance. It could also be a 3D model or an animation that has too many polygons or bones. The long and short of it is: it involves a lot of people and takes quite an amount of time. We have been at it for months and see some significant progress already. We will continue working on this, as it will take large scale fights to a whole new level. More on that as we near the Kay update.

November 11, 2017 |

Albion Online Developer Talk (October 27) on directorygames


Robin Henkys offers an outlook at the coming months of development and the near future of Albion Online. We share ideas and plans for improvements for the open world, solo play, Outland warfare and quality of life improvements for guilds.

Watch the full video:

Share your thoughts on our forums here.

November 11, 2017 |

directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017



We’re wrapping up a fairly busy week here at CSE. So busy that our Top Tenish, the list of the week’s highlights, continues to remain well above average, with seventeen items this week! We also had to skip our weekly update livestream, so we could stay focused on the work at hand.

Speaking of work, our siege-centric sprint, as well as other Beta 1-specific goals, as you’ll see below, are moving along. As the weather turns cooler here, and unfortunately this week a bit grey, we’re all enjoying the candy and the coffee sent to us from our Backers! There was a sticky note on the coffee maker this morning that read, “Strong! – Deathwish coffee.” Mike told me, “we’ve got five pounds of it we have to get through!” Plus there’s all the other special coffee and candy you sent to us! Our hard work certainly has the necessary fuel. Thanks once again!

Top Tenish:

  1. WIP – Tech – Continued Client Stability: After submitting his hard work to address client stability, George is working on moving the windows message handler off the main thread. The message handler is responsible for handling windows events (called ‘messages’) like mouse clicks, key-presses, and resizing the window. Moving this off the main thread reduces the chance of hitches or slowdowns when rendering the game. This effect can currently be seen when moving the client window. The game stops rendering, waiting for you to release the client window, then plays catch-up. This too will go the way of the dodo with George’s upcoming change. But wait, there’s more! This may theoretically increase our maximum framerate. We’ll see!
  2. WIP – Tech – Presence Server Updates: For Beta 1, we’ll want to have starting zones and safe zones. Colin’s work will allow us to spawn new players in designated starting zones and spawn returning players in those zones if the zone they logged out from is no longer up. Additionally, this work will gate access to a zone by faction. You wouldn’t want filthy Vikings running around on your TDD safe island, would you?
  3. WIP – Tech – Projectile Firing: Andrew’s improvements to loading projectiles onto bows was dropped in early this week, which led to interesting behavior with siege engines that was too good not to share…
    directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017
    Wacky projectiles like this only happened when tab-targeting enemies and not in the manual aiming state. This is because the code that computes arcs when tab-targeting isn’t currently being used by the client. Thanks to some cross-coast discussions, this issue was identified before things hit prime time, and now Matt is updating positional prediction to work with tabbed targeting the same way it does for manual aiming.
  4. Tech – DevUI v2: AJ tackled the second round of feedback on the DevUI, a temporary, “unprettied” UI built to allow for quick iteration on gameplay features. As discussed in previous weeks, the goal of the DevUI is to allow us to quickly test gameplay functionality that requires UI without the need to loop in a UI programmer early on. AJ improved upon the separation of our markup information (the stuff that makes our UI pretty) and the game data, and also added the ability for our gameplay programmers to call GraphQL queries from the UI, better mimicking how we’ll want the code to look when it is eventually handed over to the UI programmers to replace with the real UI.
  5. WIP – Tech – Building DevUI: Last week, Rob put together a DevUI to expose a lot of common plot and building actions, which were previously only performed via slash commands. This made testing building changes much easier, as it’s clearer to see when something is or isn’t working correctly. Rob is now taking a second pass at improving how we’re displaying critical feedback and current state, plus improving the player experience when interacting with plots.
  6. Tech – Anim Hud: Brad added a new tab to the debug info window, giving animators much more info on which animset the player is in, and what animations are being played. The ROI on this has been great, as it only took Brad a couple of hours to implement, but has already shortened debugging time for engineers and animators tremendously!
  7. WIP – Tech – Equip and Unequip Weapons: Having been handed the reins of Andrew’s animation system, Brad is now tackling the connection between the ability system and animation system. This work impacts both the ongoing emote work and the beginnings of handling equip and unequip functionality. After all, we don’t want you to stab yourself in the eye with your weapon when you salute!
  8. WIP – Tech – Character Screen: When AJ first built the character stats screen, he filled it with temporary data to aid in getting something up and running as fast as possible. Now that the screen is in place, he and Christina are working together to develop a plan on how the character screen can populate all the relevant fields with the actual character data.
  9. Tech – NPC Updates: Colin has been making a lot of updates to NPCs in the last few weeks. It’s now possible to spawn NPCs in the game, to either run around in a fixed area or run over to an available siege engine and start firing on players or NPCs of an opposing Realm. Colin has also given us the ability to create “greeter NPCs,” like pub owners or bankers, that can display text when clicked upon. This text can be edited via spreadsheet, making it easy for anyone on the team change things quickly.
  10. Art – Environment – LongSHIP: Apologies, I (Tyler) previously called it a longBOAT when it’s a LongSHIP. I stand corrected. Dionne finished her pass of the Viking Longship early this week. While she waits for more concepts from Michelle, she’s begun working on new terrain materials and assets to fill in some terrain type gaps in our asset library.
  11. WIP – Art – Concept Art: Michelle has taken another pass on the Arthurian boat designs. Once we settle on one we like, we’ll pass it to Dionne to begin modeling. Additionally, she has been breaking up the character creation backgrounds for James to begin animating.
  12. WIP – Art – Generic Clothing: Jon completed a first pass of the low and high poly models for new generic clothing. We’ll use these to differentiate our NPCs from players, and for character creation renders.
  13. WIP – Art – Scorpion Siege VFX: Mike completed several new assets this week, based off last week’s prep work. Beware, the names Ben gave these effects may make you eager for combat!
    • Shrapnel Burst travel and impact VFX.
    • Concussion Charge travel and impact VFX.
    • Smoke Bomb travel and impact VFX.
  14. Art – Animation – Updated Bow Animation Tests: Sandra finished the tertiary animations for the updated bow animations, including movement, jumping, and flinching. She is now working on a unique, component-specific animation to facilitate more feature testing.
  15. Art – Animation – Shared Equip Pose and New Flinch Types: Scott created a couple of shared equip poses, to temporarily solve the issue of changing weapons between combat poses. This frees us up to focus on other animation assets while preparing for future tech. Additionally, he’s created an arrow hit flinch a and mind damage flinch to test current tech. This will help us see how well we can integrate this concept with Andrew’s powerful animation system.
  16. WIP – Art – New Scorpion Bolt Models for Siege Testing: Taken from Ben’s list of testing components, Jon is creating several new siege bolt models for use in the ability system. Like our various arrows, players will be able to choose from several bolt types, including basic siege, bolt volley, demolition, double, heavy, and light. As always, our goal is “what you see is what you get,” when we make those pointy objects that rain death down on your foes!
  17. Audio – Siege Combat and UI SFX: dB has been all over this week, completing new sounds for the siege engine animations (which we’ll add later) and siege-specific abilities, as well as for shield crushing attacks, grunts and screams, and new UI feedback sounds.

As mentioned, a solid week of progress! We had the mini-plague hit a couple of artists this week, so there’s slightly less art for this update, but only slightly. Let’s start off things with the promised video of some of Scott’s work for the greatsword following the image from last week. We’ve also got a couple of extra-experimental, still work-in-progress, “flinches” in here. These may allow us to differentiate, through the animations, the types of effects one might encounter in CU.
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

Next up, we have a breakdown from Michelle of the Viking character creation background. This separation of layers, visualized below, will be handed off to James next week, to begin animating. He’ll also add in particles, light shafts, etc, to further bring the scene to life.
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

Per our Top Tenish, we have a work-in-progress shot from Jon of the basic clothing, high poly sculpt. Despite the mini-plague, Jon was still able to begin work on this great sculpt!
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

Per the Top Tenish, here’s some of Jon’s work-in-progress siege bolt ideas:
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

Also despite the mini-plague, Dionne was able to begin work on some swamp grass assets. Or as I like to call ’em, Moat Grasses!
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

Michelle has also completed some concept work on a possible Arthurian ship.
directorygames | Busy with Boats and Moats – Friday, October 13, 2017

That wraps up a busy week for us here at CSE. We hope you all have a great weekend, working or not, and we’ll see you on Monday, ready to kick the week’s ass. Join us on our forums, chat on Discord, or live streams (Schedule), won’t you?


November 4, 2017 |
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