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All Posts by Szark

All Posts by Szark

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MMORPG.com's Carolyn Koh interviews Hiromichi Tanaka and Nobuaki Komoto, producer and director of Final Fantasy XIV Online.

Final Fantasy XIV Online was revealed by Sony Entertainment at their Press Conference on June 2nd at the Shrine Theater in downtown Los Angeles and a trailer shown. It was announced that Hiromichi Tanaka will produce the game and Nobuaki Komoto will serve as director. Both worked on Final Fantasy XI Online. Nobu Uematsu will return to score the music. The game will be set in the world of Eorzea and the trailers showed races similar to those seen in Final Fantasy XI as well as Chocobos.

An invite only press Q&A was held the next day with Hiromichi Tanaka and Nobuaki Komoto taking questions through an interpreter. Tanaka-san opened by clarifying the remarks made during the Sony Press Conference. Final Fantasy XIV Online will not be exclusive to the PS3, but will be released on the PS3 and PC platforms simultaneously. They are also considering all other options available to them at this time.

Q: What are the ties to the old races of FFXI?
Tanaka: The world of FFXIV is a different one from FFXI. The races look similar so that they will feel familiar to players of FFXI, but the world is a different world, and thus the races are also different.

Read more here.

MMORPG.com's Donna Desborough takes a look at the upcoming Book 8 update for Lord of the Rings Online.

MMORPG Screenshot

It's been seven months since the Mines of Moria expansion has been released and we're just about to see Book 8 come to out computers. Where Book 7 took us out into Lothlorien and with Book 8 we'll travel into the depths of Moria.

With every new book comes many small bug fixes and tweaks and Book 8 is no different of course. The character classes have all had small bug fixes and adjustments, but everyone will be happy to hear that none of it is major. The Devs assure me that all of the changes are bug fixes or tweaks that help the characters or stop potential exploits. So good news there. One game tweak that will be brought in that has me a little unsure of is a limitation of how many instances you can enter in an hour. The limit will be five instances and hour and should only apply to raid instances.

With Book 8 also comes the next festival. Turbine has added a couple of things in the festivals this time around. First is the races that can be bet on with tokens. At the location of each race's festival is a Race Master that allows you to use a race token to bet on one of the runners to win. The race master will appear approximately 3 minutes before the race begins and the races are every 10 minutes. The one I think is the most fun is the Hobbit race. After you've placed your bet the 4 Hobbits run from table to table eating their way through the race. First one to the finish line wins of course, but you may miss the end like I did as I was laughing so much at this.

Read more here.

MMORPG.com WoW Correspondent Hylton Buijs writes this look at what professions can contribute to raids in Blizzard's World of Warcraft.

WoW screenshot

The next few articles will focus on the evolution of professions in World of Warcraft, and on their current usefulness in raiding. This article will be on the history and evolution of the professions, while following articles will focus on the various professions themselves.

As raids become more and more based on the work you do outside of them, so have professions expanded to increase their usefulness. In 'vanilla' World of Warcraft, professions were just a means to an end, and their actual usefulness was pretty mediocre at best. Few professions actually helped every class as well as they should, and they were difficult to level up (as they should be). Only the gathering professions were actual money-makers, along with enchanting, which everyone needed to use if they were planning on being a serious raider.

Those days were a simpler time, really: the professions you chose were the professions your class needed. Druids and Rogues tended toward Leatherworking and Skinning, while the Warriors and Paladins tended toward Mining and Blacksmithing. Few people actually stepped out of these well-worn norms. One of the main problems with the original professions was a lack of real usefulness in raiding. By your second run in Molten Core, you would already have realised how quickly getting items could be, and more often than not, there were better items in places like Stratholme or Upper Blackrock Spire, which only took a few runs to get.

Read more here.

Bioware has published a developer journal by Star Wars: The Old Republic Principal Lead Combat Designer Damion Schubert which looks into developing the Trooper Class.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Screenshot

It was a tense day in the combat design pit. We had completed the first pass of our new character class, the Republic Trooper, and had made it available for the team to play. As part of the process of class development, we run internal playtests and gather feedback from volunteers who offer their time. After our first such playtest with the Trooper, we anxiously gathered around a computer, watching survey results trickle in. We were somewhat nervous. The Trooper is a true design challenge. He has no Force powers to lean on; he doesn’t have a wide array of sexy lightsaber moves. While heavily armored, we didn’t want that armor to provide the Swiss army knife flexibility built into the Bounty Hunter’s power suit. The Trooper is simpler–he has a really big gun and a variety of ways to wreak havoc with it. How would people respond?

They responded well–far better than we imagined, in fact. The scores that day were the highest we had seen to date. It turns out there are a lot of people who like to blow things up. And that’s what the Trooper does best.

Read more here.

The folks at Mortal Online have posted their update for the month of June, detailing their progress through beta and talking about pre-orders.

The closed Combat Beta is going as planned, we’ve been inviting players from the community each week since beta started. If you haven’t got an invitation yet please be patient, so far we are doing this in a relatively small scale.

The test phases have been great for Mortal Online; we are getting a lot of good feedback on combat, movement, crafting, balancing, latency and stability. We are very happy with the stability of the server and the clients.

Even though our movement prediction system is not yet in place we have also got very good test results from US players on our EU server. We didn’t expect US players to actually be able to compete in our real time combat system, but they have shown it’s very possible, so far.

Read more here.

CCP has published the latest Quarterly Economic Report, giving players the usual insights into EVE Online's markets, and providing a first look at some of the statistics surrounding features that were recently added with the games most recent expansion.

EVE Online Screenshot

Dear Capsuleers,

This is the Quarterly Economic Newsletter (QEN) for the first quarter of 2009 (Q1). In this version we have interesting information on demographics as well as a sneek preview of some statistics for wormholes and tech III. Of course the standard information on price changes is also there in addition to the market snapshots, showing an interesting development in several items on the EVE market.

Please enjoy and looking forward to the discussion on the forums.

Read more here.

The latest developer journal out of Flying Lab Software looks at expressing the personality of a region through the characteristics and quality of the environment in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Screenshot

Greetings and salutations from the environment team at Flying Lab Software! I’m Brad, the Lead Environment Artist.

My experience working with the entire Pirates of the Burning Sea team has been overwhelmingly positive and creative since I started here last year. It’s especially exciting being part of a crew that has made such spectacular looking environments within the world of PotBS. All of us are dedicated to producing a rich experience for each player within the game.

To help achieve this, we adhere to the national flavor that each town represents and create unique buildings to add to that flavor. We also employ the same approaches that other artists on our team use to give other aspects of the game personality.

Read more here.

The folks at The Chronicles of Spellborn have taken a good hard look at the starting areas of the game, and have found it wanting. In their most recent developer journal they spell out their philosophies and plans to rectify the situation.

Screenshot

Combat is one of The Chronicles of Spellborn’s most defining features. Our enemies are not dumb and the rotating skilldeck is far more than just a rotating hot bar. But unless you have played a chunk of the game, you wouldn't really know this. We still face the problem of assumption where people see the skilldeck in its uncomplicated low-level form. It's hard to realise the freedom, strategy and personality it adds to combat later on. It's one of those gameplay mechanics which is truly easy to learn, but hard to master. It is entirely built around pre-planned strategy and fast action combat, the surface of which is barely scratched even at level 10. This is hard to imagine as there's currently no game that plays quite like ours does. Many reviews and positive player feedback will confirm this.

Differently put, we know that our game is capable of delivering the most intense action-rich combat ever to have graced an MMO. Yet, we also know we are doing quite a horrible job of "selling" this idea in the game at lower levels. The way we introduce people to our world is, simply put, not good at all.

Read more here.

Blizzard has added a new Bosstiary feature to the World of Warcraft official site, giving insight into the bosses of Azeroth.

They say that curiosity killed the cat, but sometimes curiosity can pay off in gold and loot. Countless adventurers have given their lives to seek out more information on the dangers that lurk within the treacherous dungeons of Azeroth. They have set their sights on Ulduar, and have not only provided a map of this titan stronghold, but have also delved into the history of each of the bosses within, producing a quick and easy reference for each.

If you’ve ever been curious as to the lore behind the faces that thwart your dreams of fame and fortune, look no further than our newest site addition, the Bosstiary. Search the map and simply mouse over the boss icons to learn more about each one.

Read more here.

Cryptic Studios has announced that they are holding a Create an Emblem Contest, asking players to create an emblem good enough to be in the costume creator for Champions Online.

How would you like to see something you’ve created actually placed in Champions Online? We’re giving you the chance to create a chest emblem, which will then be implemented in the game as an option for all future players to use. Our art team will select five of the best submissions and add the designs to our Costume Creator. The top ten submissions will all receive beta keys as well! Submissions must follow these guidelines:

  • Emblems should only use two colors – black and red (on a white background). This is so players in-game can modify the colors as they like using our Costume Creator.
  • Emblems should be symbolic, iconic, and ‘basic’ enough to read well at a distance – lots of fine detail and noise tends to get lost.
  • Emblem images should be exactly 512 x 512 pixels, and saved in 24-bit uncompressed TARGA format (.tga).

Read more here.

The folks at NCsoft have announced a new Subclass Change paid account service which allows players to change classes, for a price, in Lineage II.

Have you ever dreamed about changing your character's class, wondered what it would be like if you had a different main class, or just wanted a fresh new experience in Lineage® II? Your dreams can become reality!

Lineage II is proud to announce the Subclass Change account service and a small update to the Name Change account service.

  • You can sign up for the Subclass Change paid account service starting Tuesday, June 9th, 2009.
  • Any account services purchased on or after June 9th, 2009 will follow our normal account service processing during regular maintenance.

Read more here.

This week in the MMO Underbelly, Sanya takes a look at a little industry trade show called E3.

In honor of E3 this week, I thought I’d write up a little behind the scenes look at the best trade show on earth.

It’s a multiday festival of wretched excess, and everyone pretended to hate it. “We spend millions of dollars mainly so we don’t look cheap next to other people spending millions of dollars, and really we’re just showing off to each other. And building the damned demos takes two months but none of it is usable in our actual product. Let’s make like hippies and hold up signs that say “What if they held a war and nobody came?” We’ll save a bundle, and that’s before we count the fifty thousand dollar bar tab.”

As a result of this breastbeating (and the open secret that in 2006 Sony spent a billion dollars on swag and booze and gorgeous booth spaces just to get freaking OWNED by Nintendo in the media coverage, and decided to take their ball and go home), 2007 was a whole new E3. It was small. It was exclusive. It was in multiple venues to keep the intimate feeling. Smaller titles had a chance to get noticed. 2008 was more of the same.

Read more here.

MMORPG.com Correspondent Andrew Corpuz writes this second part in his look at build flexibility in Atlantica Online.

Part 2 continues discussing unconventional builds' functionality. Tips on changing one's build, the purpose of flexibility, as well as extreme imbalanced builds are also provided.

Unconventionality in Other Builds

As seen in Part 1, we can apply the ways we created Monk-less and Exorcist-less builds, in forming and improving almost any unconventional build.

Steps to improving the efficacy of an unconventional build:

1. Identify the common strategies that your build sacrifices
2. Explore potential strengths and growth opportunities of your build
3. Be prepared to handle opponents capitalizing on your build's weaknesses
4. Recognize how you can catch opponents off-guard with unconventional play
5. Toy around with your formations and remember the importance of shifting around mercenaries during battle

Read more here.

The latest devlog from the folks at Flying Lab Software looks at efforts to get players out on the open ocean.

This is the first of two devlogs discussing the work we’ve done in 1.16 focusing on ways to give players more loot, more rewards for PvP, and more reasons to explore and fight on the Open Sea.

In this first devlog, I am going to outline three changes to the PvE side of the game. Next week I will talk about some complimentary PvP changes we’re also making.

Fleets

In general, fleets make up a small portion of the ships on the Open Sea – roughly 20%. These ships are also some of the most important; they’re more difficult than normal AI groups, they come with higher rewards and they’re one of the main ways that players generate Unrest on ports.

In 1.16, we’ve increased the rate at which fleets spawn in the Open Sea. They will make up a greater portion of all the ships on the OS, but changes in the spawn system are tough to spot unless you’re watching the Open Sea for a very long time.

Read more here.

SOE has posted a preview of the content of Game Update 52: Monument and Might with a look at the Emperor’s Athenaeum.

In Monument and Might, GU #52, Kurn's isn't the only place the mysterious stranger will lead you... Your new "friend" will send you to the Emperor's Athenaeum to uncover more secrets.

Behind the last known door into the sealed city of Charasis lies the Emperor's Athenaeum. It is the great lost library, thought to be only legend by most.

It is said to be the location of all of the Sathirian Dynasty's greatest secrets.

Read more here.

The folks at Lord of the Rings Online have posted a brief look at the Halls of Crafting in the depths of Moria.

At the height of Durin’s power in Khazad-dûm, the Halls of Crafting were the home of the greatest dwarf-craftsmen in the history of Durin’s Folk. While not as powerful as the Heart of Fire, where mithril was refined and forged, it was the most prolific of the dwarf-forges of Khazad-dûm. When Khazad-dûm fell to the onslaught of the Balrog, Orcs swarmed the Halls, and they were lost forever.

Now, the Orcs of Mazog have rekindled the ancient forges to produce arms and armour for their hordes as they muster to repel the return of Durin’s Folk and mount an attack upon the Elves of Lothlórien. Only the Halls of Crafting contain the facilities necessary to outfit the legions of Moria.

Read more here.

Mythic has posted lore about the Elves in Warhammer Online, providing an overview of their origins.

Even the Elves themselves are unsure of their exact origin, which was lost in the dawn of time. What is known, however, is that they come from the beautiful Isle of Ulthuan where they lived and prospered for centuries in peace and harmony, learning the arts of the Old Ones. Blessed with grace, beauty, strength, and intelligence, they lived for thousands of years in a state of peace that many thought would never end.

When the Old Ones’ Warp Gates collapsed, however, the forces of Chaos arrived. Trapped on their island, the Elves fought bravely against the hordes of daemons that came from beyond the stars, but they seemed unstoppable. Many of the Elves, capable of deep and intense emotions, began to study the way of the warrior, and were in charge of organizing the island’s defenses against the assault. Among these was the greatest and most tragic hero the Elves have ever known: Aenarion, who would later become the first Phoenix King of the Elves.

Read more here.

Frogster has announced that Chapter II: The Elven Prophecy, the next major update for Runes of Magic will launch in September of this year, bringing new regions, a new playable people, new classes, new instances, updated graphic engine and more.

Under the name of ‘The Elven Prophecy’, Frogster is to turn over a new leaf with Chapter II of Runes of Magic scheduled for launch in September 2009. The publisher has announced this today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) currently being held in Los Angeles. At the exhibition, Frogster is already showing some new content from Chapter II like the new game region “Weeping Coast”.

As the name already suggests, the core element of ‘Chapter II – The Elven Prophecy’ is the integration of the elven folk as a playable race. A widely branching background story entwines about the elves with lots of new challenges with the new pieces of lore being told by means of a multitude of new quests and epic quest series. Continuing ‘Chapter I – Rise of the Demon Lord’ the second chapter leads players into new game regions, steeped in elven history. It’s the eponymous elves who stand by mankind in their epic conflict against the demon’s menace.

According to the legends, demons of human origin – having degenerated into underworld beings under the influence of the runes – forged an alliance with the nagas in ancient times. Together, these evil forces brought war and devastation to the world of Taborea. An alliance of elves and humans succeeded in banishing the demons into the void and drove back the nagas behind a magical wall. However, when elven prince Sig’aylas removed the holy sword ‘Arclight’ from the wall to defend his human truelove, the wall perished and the naga threat flared up once again.

Read more here.

The folks at EverQuest II have revealed new lore behind the game's upcoming Game Update 52.

A Rime of War
A dirge’s personal tale by Elna Tsernin

The waves rocking this vessel as we cross the Timorous Deep should be lulling me into a deep sleep, instead I find myself examining my actions and the tide of events that swept me here. I had been a successful dirge, and a beautiful one at that, I had always been proud of my unblemished scales and frills. A young Iksar blessed with talent beyond her years known throughout the Sebilisian Empire. I had been entertaining barons and officers with the same old collection of historical songs and tales of the Iksar nation for years; from Sebilis to Jinisk, Torsis to Charasis. When I had grown tired of those tales I looked toward the rest of Kunark. Over the next several years I trekked from one end of our isolated continent to the other learning tales of other societies and their myths. My native tongue was Sebilisian, like anyone born within the empire, but I learned enough common in these years in order to unlock stories from other cultures. But I was still young. A few stories of the drachnid learned here, a song about Chelsith there. I grew bored quickly, too quickly. Always believing the big song eluded me. Skorpikis, burynai, sarnak, Yha-Lei, even goblins. I was certain that I had heard all there was to hear and my catalog of songs and stories had become rather impressive, but I had been arrogant and foolish.

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Cryptic Studios has posted a profile of Talisman, one of the many villains in Champions Online.

Pamela Duquesne is hot stuff, and she knows it. She’s also evil stuff, but she doesn’t really care about that. As far as she figures it, good and evil don’t really matter. What matters is getting what you want, and being the best.

She goes by the name Talisman now – it’s a lot cooler than Pamela – and she has a history of both getting what she wants and being the best. She was born into a witching family. Both Mommy and Daddy were dark witches in the Circle of the Scarlet Moon. So far, a perfect setting for a gal like Talisman. Except for one thing: her twin sister.

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