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All Posts by Stradden

All Posts by Stradden

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Bill Murphy spent some time with GamersFirst, prolific publishers of free-to-play MMOs. GamersFirst had the chance to show off a trio of new games: Sword 2, Victory-Age of Racing and the space-themed Taikodom. Check it out!

Gamersfirst is a growing publisher of F2P games in the west, and they were on-hand with a large presence at this year’s E3. I visited their booth during the show and was given a brief overview of some of their upcoming MMOs. Not content with just offering up clones of this game or that, the main thing I took away from Gamersfirst’s showing was that the publisher is keen on offering different experiences in the F2P market. I was demoed three games at the show: an online F1-Racing RPG, a PvP-centric space flight RPG, and the sequel to an action MMORPG which is now adding RTS mechanics to the mix. It was an interesting offering to be certain.

Read Bill's preview of the GamersFirst titles.

Garrett Fuller has updated his official Staff Blog with a post that looks at Game trailers, and what they really mean.

Garrett Fuller
At E3 we got to see a whole bunch of game trailers. From the seven minute epic trailer of Star Wars: The Old Republic “Hope,” to the two minute Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium first time game play trailer. Game Trailers are critical in catching their audience and play an essential part in whether or not gamers buy your game.
In my opinion the best game trailer ever was Warhammer Online’s trailer from Blur Studios. Not the first one, the second one with the huge battle. This was one of the best Warhammer pieces ever made. The same can be said for last year’s Old Republic Trailer with the Sith storming out of the ship inside the Jedi Temple, pure awesome.
The issue is, how much of these movie trailers actually portray game play? While Blur Studios is insanely talented, are these trailers an accurate portayal of how the game will play out? They are epic don’t get me wrong and they also create just enough hook to get you into the game, but then it is up to the game deisgners to keep you there.

Read Blog: Game Trailers....What Do They Mean to You?  

MMORPG's Bill Murphy gives readers a first-hand look at the upcoming EA Black Box title, Need For Speed World (NFSW). After laying his hands on NFSW at E3, is it all it appears to be? Check it out!

Need for Speed World is a pretty ambitious little F2P title. Taking a million-selling racing franchise to the online PC gaming world seems like a pretty obvious idea, but the fact that EA Black Box is trying to do more with the title than just offer a lobby where you set up races against friends and foes, is pretty unique. Like the title suggests, NFSW (not to be confused with NSFW) has a massive over-world where you and other racers will roam the streets, anger and outrun the cops, cause destruction, and compete for control of various sections of the map. At E3 2010 I had the chance to plunk myself behind the controls and give it a go.

Read the rest of Bill's take on Need for Speed World.

MMORPG's Bill Murphy spent a lot of time at this year's E3 perusing all the MMOs fans have been waiting to find out more about. That in mind, Bill has picked four games worthy of note. Find out which ones struck him as 'ones to watch' as 2010 moves along.

By now the dust is pretty much settled on this year’s E3. As previously noted, it was my first. During which I had the opportunity to take in far too many sights and sounds and also a fair share of promising upcoming games. While I could go into great detail all over again about the many cool looking console and handheld games I saw at the show, what I really was impressed with were some of the non-traditional titles on hand in MMO form. Some might argue that there was nothing quite “awe-inspiring” from the show this year, but I left Los Angeles pretty stoked about the games on the horizon.

These aren’t’s “Official Best of E3 Awards”, and instead merely reflect my own personal impressions from the show floor. There were games I didn’t play (The Old Republic was one for example, The Agency another) and there were some I just got to watch. Regardless, the following are my games to keep an eye on from E3 2010. Discuss!

Read Bill’s Best of E3 2010. was at the Bigpoint Games booth. While there, we got our grubby little hands on some screenshots from the browser based game.

Check out the screens, here.'s Mike Bitton visited the Bigpoint booth at E3 to get the first details of the upcoming Battlestar Gallactica browser-based MMO.

Bigpoint Games, a successful publisher of many casual free-to-play MMOs in Europe, was recently revealed as heading up a new MMO based on the Battlestar Galactica IP. We literally knew just about nothing else about the game until the reveal of the game's first trailer just before E3 , where we learned that we'd be able to play as either Humans or Cylons.

Needless to say we were intrigued to find out more about the game when E3 rolled around, and so I stopped by the Bigpoint booth on the E3 show floor to find out what the game was all about.

To start, Battlestar Galactica is not a full fledged traditional MMO that you might be expecting from such a significant IP. Instead, the game will be a fairly casual free-to-play browser-based MMO developed on the extremely versatile Unity engine that appears to be so popular with developers these days.

Read An Introduction to BSG Online.

For those who may have been living under a rock for the past week and missed the details,'s Michael Bitton recounts Bioware's showing at this year's E3 for Star Wars: the Old Republic and gives his own impressions.

Bioware let flow bits and pieces of significant information on Star Wars: The Old Republic leading up to E3, so, naturally, I found myself wondering, "With all that's been shown so far, what the heck do they have planned for E3 itself?" Our Managing Editor Jon Wood was on hand for the EA press conference last Monday where Bioware revealed their second full-length cinematic traile, information on player housing via personal starships, and some details on SW:TOR's "War Zones" PvP feature.

The following day Garrett and I stopped by the Bioware meeting room at the show to check out the game itself and find out what else Bioware had in store for us. It's no secret I'm an avid Star Wars geek and looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic, so how did the game's showing stack up at this year's E3?

Read Overall TOR E3 Recap and Opinion on Showing.

At E3, Nexon presented three different MMOs. Today,'s Bill Murphy gives his initial impressions of each.


Nexon bust the F2P market wide open in the West with Maple Story. But that was only the tip of the iceberg it seems, as their recently released Dungeon Fighter Online is currently sporting the most registered users (over 220 million), and the company isn't keen on resting on its laurels either. There are two more titles forthcoming from the publisher in the near future, and all three have a singular focus: fast-paced action and RPG character development at the lovely price of "free". At this year's E3 I had the pleasure of sitting in on Nexon's presentation highlighting three of their most exciting games on deck.

Dungeon Fighter Online

Of the three, this is the only title players can currently get their hands on as both Vindictus and Dragon Nest aren't quite ready to debut on North American shores. DFO is a throwback to the fighting games of old. If you can recall hours spent enjoying Battletoads, Double Dragon, Final Fight, and the like... then you likely have every reason to get excited about Dungeon Fighter if you haven't already. The game's engine sports impressively animated 2D sprites and animations with an art style that's distinctly anime as well as both serious and over-the-top in tone.

Read Nexon E3 Trio of Games Presentation.

In this week's column, Richard Aihoshi looks at the state of the other major MMOG business model, then provides an unusual tale from the development side.

Richard Aihoshi

In this week's column, Richard Aihoshi looks at the state of the other major MMOG business model, then provides an unusual tale from the development side

Subscription isn't dying.

No ifs, ands, buts or other qualifiers. MMO gamers who prefer to pay for their fun via flat monthly fees won't run out of options any time soon. Not gonna happen. In some corners, it's popular to set up an either/or dichotomy where the free to play and subscription models are in direct competition such that the success and growth of one can only come at the expense of the other. That's just not so.

And it's not what's happening. Although F2P is on the upswing, that doesn't mean the subscription segment is in decline. Indeed, there are strong reasons to believe it's in good shape and will remain so.

Read Three Reasons Subscription Isn't Dying.'s Bill Murphy got some recent hands-on time with End of Nations, the combination RTS / MMORPG coming from the folks at Trion.

When I attended the unveiling of End of Nations back in April, Petroglyph and Trion weren’t keen on letting us get behind the controls of the game quite yet. That changed this past week at E3 though, as I sat down at the keyboard for a guided tour of the one of the game’s many group instances at the Trion booth. End of Nations is an ambitious title to say the least. Promising to be the industry’s first true MMORTS/RPG hybrid, Petroglyph has a heavy load to carry through development and to release in 2011. Keep in mind that I am absolutely terrible at RTS games. So much so that I usually avoid the genre unless I’m using cheat codes in single-player mode. I’m that bad. And here I find myself after the show calling EoN one of my top surprises, and I can’t wait to see what else Petroglyph has up its sleeve.

The demo began with the War Room UI, basically your overview of the entire world (which is actually our world, go figure) and what’s going on throughout. The UI is still a work in progress, but it’s here that you’ll see a running ticker of what your friends, guild members, and enemies are up to in the world. It’s also where you’ll access your HQ (think housing with an RTS military theme) and keep an eye on who has control of what parts of the world. It’s like a blend of CNN and Facebook and even at an early stage it looks fantastic.

Read Hands on with End of Nations.

Stephen Lord, Audio Lead on Realtime Worlds' All Points Bulletin, writes this week's APB dev journal on the subject of the game's music.

Hi, my name is Stephen Lord and I am the Audio Lead on APB responsible for all aspects of music, sound effects and dialogue. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about some of the extensive music features in APB.

Your musical identity...

APB is based around the three C's: Conflict, Customisation and Celebrity. The vast character and vehicle customisation suites available in APB allow players to become exactly who they want to be. As an audio team we wanted to build on this principle and we believe we have provided a comprehensive music experience which gives every player a soundtrack that is both personalised and unique.

Read Inside the Music. Player Perspectives columnist Jaime Skelton shares her concern over Blizzard's adoption of RealID.

Blizzard released its RealID system this week, a communication tool which allows players to connect with each other across all Battle.Net games (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo). On the surface, it's a great idea; it provides cross-game communication, and improves intra-game communication. Players can also chat cross-faction and cross-server with friends added through RealID. It's a concept many MMO publishers can follow to connect players of their games; from larger publishers like Mythic and Turbine to free-to-play companies like Nexon, Outspark, and Aeria Games. It's a fun feature, enabling friends and family to connect wherever they game, eliminating the need to roll an alt just to hang out.

Unfortunately, that's where the praise ends. The RealID system was hastily implemented, and while not necessarily broken (although many players found it disabled on their account by some strange stroke of luck), the RealID system introduces a slew of privacy concerns that one can only choose to be rid of by completely opting out of the RealID system. As it stands, the RealID system is enabled by default on all accounts except those with parental controls (more on that later), and players who want to use the RealID system are unable to make any changes or select options as to how their information is shared.

Read A Pain in the RealID.'s Bill Murphy writes the companion to his previous "Five Reasons to be Excited about LotRO F2P", examining the other side of the coin.

Okay, so by now the news has sunk in a bit. Lord of the Rings Online will be going Free-to-Play this fall in the grand tradition of Turbine's recent successful maneuver of switching DDO to F2P. Thing is, DDO was a failing game and the F2P conversion likely saved the title from extinction. What's the reasoning behind converting LotRO, by all means a still successful title? Players are busy debating whether it was Turbine or Warner Brothers' decision (the latter recently acquired the former), but the real question should be whether or not the conversion to F2P will mark the same or similar results as DDO experienced. There are no concrete numbers, but by many estimates LotRO enjoys over several hundred thousand subscriptions. When DDO went F2P the move re-sparked interest in the title and Turbine was later able to report that subscriptions (which were now optional) had tripled and the amount of players had increased exponentially overall.

It was a true turnaround success story. DDO, struggling to find its footing in a crowded market, managed to escape cancellation by innovating in its business model. Perhaps LotRO, while not nearly as troubled as its sister game, is hoping to enjoy similar levels of success. Maybe the increase in subscriptions won't be so high, but perhaps the amount of Turbine points spent will be substantial. LotRO is a theme-park adventure through Middle-earth, which previously was enjoyable for one low entry fee. This fall that will all change, and while unfounded as of yet, there may be reason to worry about what will happen to Middle-earth when the Free Peoples really become the "Free!" peoples. Here then is a brief list of five reasons you should be worried about a F2P LotRO.

Read Five Reasons to Be Concerned about LotRO F2P.'s Garrett Fuller had some time to get up close and personal with the Sith Warrior class in Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic. Today, he brings us his impressions of the class.

In our short play session at E3 we got a chance to run around as a Sith Warrior. Well, I chose a Sith Warrior for my first run through. Basically let me preface this article with my all time favorite Star Wars character being Darth Maul. He had almost no screen time and accomplished very little. However, Darth Maul took on two Jedi Knights at the same time and faced a variety of turbulence at the start of the Clone Wars. Maul was also by far the coolest looking Darth, at least in my book. So I am biased toward the Sith Warrior, but I am also harshly critical. Just like our great friend Boba Fett who never really got the time to be an awesome villain we all wanted to see, Darth Maul also got the Lucas cut and we barely got to see his awesomeness on screen. So with Darth Maul in mind, let's look at the Sith Warrior.

Read Hands On With the Sith Warrior. Writer and former E3 virgin Bill Murphy attended his first E3 this year, and takes some time today to provide us with his unique take on the experience.

When I was a wee lad back home in the completely tame suburban stretches of Northeastern Ohio, I dreamed of Hyrule Field being real, tracking down Terra in Final Fantasy VI (or III as it was known in the States), and of course I drooled as much as any geek when the Dreamcast was announced ahead of its more successful contemporaries.

I spent my entire youth with a mix of playing videogames on long summer afternoons and playing basketball outside when my parents decided that my skin was becoming so pale I looked as if I'd soon become a bolt of lightning in front of Jeff Goldblum. And every year for as long as I can remember, I've followed the events before, during, and after the Electronic Entertainment Expo with about as much zeal as a "Twilight Mom" surfs the web looking for shirtless photos of Rob Pattinson.

Read My First E3: Of Shiny Things and Pilot Wings.'s Garrett Fuller spent some time with the folks at En Masse to talk about their upcoming MMORPG, TERA: The Exiled Realm of Arborea and to take a hands-on look at the game.

This past week at E3 we got to see a lot of MMOs. One of the more surprising titles we got to look at was TERA. I say this because when TERA first came onto our website I was wondering who they were and how they were being made. The more we learned the closer we grew to the game and the team over at En Masse. Now at E3 they gave us one of the best hands on demos we had seen at the show. I'll try my best to describe why TERA kept the classic MMO spirit and game play even though it was a ten minute demo.

We entered the En Masse booth for our demo and were quickly moved toward a computer. Each player was given a class, I played the Slayer, my colleague was given the Warrior class. There was also a Berserker, Priest, and Sorceress. While all of these seem rather normal for RPG classes, the look and feel of the game set them apart. Despite being somewhat Eastern in art design, there are still some major Western influences. It almost put the world into an undefined realm that crossed a lot of borders in terms of visual style. This was a good thing, because overall, the game looked cool.

Read the E3 Hands On With TERA.'s Bill Murphy met with the Hi-Rez Studios CEO to get some hands on time with Global Agenda's new open zones coming in the next phase of the Sandstorm update.

Global Agenda is rapidly becoming a game to watch with new features being added like crazy every month or so. The big Sandstorm update is currently hitting the servers in several phases and at E3 this year I got a chance to sit down with Hi-Rez Studios founder and CEO Erez Goren to get a look at Phase 2 of the Sandstorm update and talk about what lies ahead for the hybrid shooter-MMORPG. First I was treated to a tour of the game's first open zone and then I had the opportunity to play through one of the team's upcoming new co-op missions.

Erez loaded up the first of several upcoming open zones. Set just outside the Dome City in a vast and rocky desert terrain (think Arizona or New Mexico) players are immediately greeted with that familiar sight of an NPC with an icon over her head expressing the fact that she has a quest for you. With that first glimpse, I could tell that Hi-Rez really is serious about injecting some MMORPG into their match-based shooter. Combat out in the open is still the skill-based shooting affair you've come to know and love of from the third-person game, but now for the first time players will have wide open wilderness to explore and adventure in.

Read Hands On With Open Zones.

The folks over at Paragon Studios have announced that their "mirror universe" style expansion, Going Rogue, will be available for purchase on August 17th.

NCsoft and Paragon Studios, publisher and developer of the world’s most popular comic book-inspired MMORPG City of Heroes™, are pleased to announce that players will have the opportunity to cross the line between  good and evil on August 17, 2010 with the release of City of Heroes Going Rogue™, the franchise’s second, major expansion. City of Heroes Going Rogue™ presents players with gripping moral decisions that can alter the fate of their character, the world around them and the content they can play. And for those players looking to jump into the action before its release, Paragon Studios is hosting a variety of City of Heroes activities at this year’s San Diego Comic Con taking place July 22-25, including exclusive Going Rogue hands-on gameplay opportunities.
In addition to exclusive game time, City of Heroes fans can look forward to exciting events, show special giveaways and more on the show floor and beyond, including:
  • Exclusive Comic Con giveaways, including in-game costume items
  • A chance to meet the City of Heroes Going Rogue developers
  • Witness their characters become true comic book archetypes as art lead and well-known comic book artist David Nakayama sketches lucky heroes and villains into captivating art pieces
  • Attend the “Reinventing a Superheroic MMO” panel featuring the City of Heroes Going Rogue lead developers on Thursday, July 22 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM PDT.
  • Party with other members of the City of Heroes community, the Paragon team and comic book fans alike at the exclusive Going Rogue Preview Event, taking place Friday, July 23 from 7:30 – 11:00 PM PDT at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. Tickets required.
For more information on City of Heroes Going Rogue and Paragon Studios’ exciting line-up of activities at San Diego Comic Con, please visit

Read more on CoH, here.

Originally posted by Hyanmen
Originally posted by Stradden

That said, I agree with justin, nothing we were shown of FFXIV was cause to stand up and take notice unless you're a big FF fan.

So no one generally interested about the game might find it interesting? 

Oh well, at least you'll release something after all the Agencies and Hello Kitty Onlines have been reported. Gotta remember the priorities (SW TOR > the rest > XIV).

*facepalm* The not stand up and take notice thing only applied to Justin's article. Of course we realize that people interested in FFXIV want to see that game, and as such we'll be releasing our character creation video tomorrow... I'm not sure why it is you think FFXIV is somehow getting the shaft here.

Guys, this wasn't a top five list of the best games at E3. It was stuff that he saw that he personally found interesting and / or innovative.

As for FFXIV, we've got two videos coming, hold yer horses. That said, I agree with justin, nothing we were shown of FFXIV was cause to stand up and take notice unless you're a big FF fan.

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