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General : Best New Game

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Jon Wood

Every year, the lit of current MMORPGs grows. Every year, we hope to find the launch of the "next big thing" in our genre or maybe just the next big thing" for our tastes. Sometimes we're happy with the results and sometimes we're not.

This year, we decided to include a "none of the above" nomination in this category. This decision was reached after reading numerous comments on the forums that seemed to indicate that people were unhappy with the products released in 2008.

The Best New Game category was created in order to determine our readers' favourite game that has yet to celebrate its one year anniversary. In order to qualify for this category, a game had to be released in 2008. As always, the nominations were chosen by the MMORPG.com editorial staff.

  • Age of Conan
  • Atlantica Online
  • Pirates of the Burning Sea
  • Warhammer Online
  • None of the Above

Vote for the Best New Game of 2008

Bounty Bay Online : Colonies Gain Independence on Jan 15

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Bounty Bay Online have announced that the Free Colony add-on for the game, which allows guild owned colonies, will launch on January 15th.

Berlin, 2008-12-02: On January 15th of 2009, Frogster is going to launch the free colony add-on for Bounty Bay Online. With this comprehensive expansion, player guilds will be able to establish their own colonies with towns and harbours in the historical sailor world. Once created, guilds decide not only upon their appearance but also upon their in-game progress and their commercial policy. Mighty guilds hereby create their individual home territory and retreat as well as a profitable trading base. The colony add-on of roundabout 500 MB size will be installed automatically by the patcher tool when starting Bounty Bay Online. Existing characters and accounts can be used further on unrestrictedly. The game software for Bounty Bay Online is available for free on www.bountybayonline.com.

With the colony add-on players can establish colonies in 33 coastal regions all over the virtual sailor world. After completing a series of colony quests, successful guild leaders will receive a harbour foundation stone, with which the guild can establish a colony on any free colony ground. Founding a new colony requires that the guild has reached guild level 5 at least and does not possess another colony already. Once the colony is established, the guild has 48 hours time to expand it to level 1. If the player group cannot manage to achieve that goal, the colony will destroy itself and all allocated resources will be lost. The guild can choose one of four development paths after the successful foundation of a colony. However, in order to change this path later on players will have to spend a big amount of in-game currency.

  • Industrial Harbor: Specializes in the research of weapons, armor and the trade of pets.
  • Business Harbor: Specializes in the trade of materials between the different Page 2 of 2 colonies.
  • Collectors Harbor: Specializes in importing and gathering of materials which can normally only be bought from NPC’s.
  • Military Harbor: Specializes in the research of new ships, new ship features, canons and ammunition.

The new colony harbour system offers players a new anchor point for their worldwide trade. Moreover, a colony opens up the possibility to create a controlled sphere of influence and to store large amounts of resources. Feeble warrior guilds can use outposts for the regeneration of their forces as well as to secure important stock. By increasing the overall level of a colony city, all guild members gain enhanced character attributes like better endurance of their ships, increased regeneration rates, raised manoeuvrability of their vessels and heightened defensive attributes of their land characters.

Read more here.

EVE Online : Christmas Patch from CCP

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced that they will be giving EVE players an early Christmas gift this year in the form of a performance enhancing patch.

EVE Online Screenshot

Every year the players ask "CCP, what are you giving us for Christmas?"

This year we are giving you the gift of the Christmas Performance Patch which contains a massive boost to both large fleet and small gang engagements as well as much improved game play for every player in New Eden. Focusing on improvements to the Need for Speed initative, this very special patch streamlines performance to significantly increase frames per second (fps) and makes improvements to the patching process to allow for a smoother patching performance in general.

Players who participated in the testing on Singularity have noticed much improved playability and performance. In one case, during a fleet fight test, 600 additional drones and fighters were added to the grid. In the vast majority of cases the players were not aware they had been added until they were told.

The deployment date for Quantum Rise 1.0.3 will be 10th December 2008 and Tranquility will be offline between 11.00 to 15.40 GMT.

Read more here.

Read the patch notes here.

Runescape : PvP Guide

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com Runescape Correspondent Faisal Baig writes this new guide to PvP in Runescape.

After the Runescape update, the wilderness and basically player killing itself was eliminated and replaced with PVP worlds. PVP worlds, or Player-Vs-Player worlds, are entire designated worlds that are almost entirely Player-Vs-Player combat enabled. Think of it as almost an all-over wilderness. This thorough guide covers the many aspects of PVP worlds.

In PVP worlds, only select areas (such as banks, respawn points, Entrana, and some guilds) are disabled to combat, and are marked by a skull with a cross over it. These worlds are modeled after the original wilderness, and many of the same rules apply, such as level restraints to attack and "skulls" when you attack someone. To begin, simply choose a world that is marked as a PVP world when logging in. You will be warned of the obvious dangers. The first time you enter a PVP world, you will be transported to Lumbridge, and a manual will be given to you explaining much of the concept (you can get a new one from the Doomsayer in Lumbridge should you lose it). When you first log in, you will have a short immunity period before you can be attacked. In PVP worlds, you can lose your items, but at the same time, there are great rewards available!

Read the PvP Guide

Wonderland Online : Rebirth Quest Guide

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has posted a guide to Rebirth Quests in Wonderland Online, which allow characters of level 100 or higher to gain a new life.

In Wonderland Online (http://wl.igg.com/main.php) version 3, players who have reached Level 100+ are able to be reborn. However, it’s not easy to finish the rebirth quest; a lot depends on excellent team work and cooperation among all group members. To assist with this extraordinary quest, we are giving a detailed strategy guide for players to use.

Location: Bangkok

Quest Name: Test from the Sunlight God

Process as below:

1st Round: One Boss Moai + Seven Moai (easy to finish)

2nd Round: Shading Puppet Lord (Water, Water Thunder Attack mastery, Level 10 Sleep and Water Shield) + Shading Puca*7 (In this round, you can kill the Boss first or the other monsters)

3rd Round: One Androsphinx + Anubis*2+ Scorpion King*3

FYI: In this round, Earth players can use Terrafication to stone the targets, after that kill the Scorpion King first, and then combat the Anubis, finally, kill the BOSS. Generally speaking, the Mage in the team should be good at MATK, the more the better.

4th Round: Kenter*1 + Terma Dragon*2 (Earth) + Water Dragon *1 (Sleep mastery)
FYI: Kill the Terma Dragon first, because it can use it’s Terrafication skill. If players have Shrink skill, you can use it to decrease their attack and defense. But more players should be alternates in case of a team member’s death.

5th Round (Valid within 2 hours): Dragon God (Wind, level 180) + Door Gods *3

FYI: Kill the Water Door God or Earth Door God first. The Water and Earth Door Gods can use Terrafication skill so they must be taken out first.

Final Round: Mahabrahman + Governors of Test Arena

FYI: 1. It never works when you activate Hot Potato to deplete Mahabrahman's spirit. His physical attacks will deal huge damage.

2. Leave these three holy beasts alone. Their death will generate high level mobs to attack you.

Rewards: Profession Transfer

3. This is the most difficult over all, so players should prepare many alternates. Additionally, the time for this round is 2 hours.

Final Words: It’s difficult to finish the rebirth quest. However, the most important thing is players enjoy the feeling of victory after finishing the quest.

Read more here.

EVE Online : PvP Guide Part II: Communication

Posted Dec 09, 2008 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com EVE Online Correspondent Andrew Wallace writes this guide to Pvp in the sci-fi sandbox game. In this part of his guide, he focuses on the importance of communication.

I'm here to tell you that, amongst other things, it's good to talk. Good communication is essential in fleet warfare; the ability to relay orders quickly and clearly between the pilots in your fleet will allow you to react faster and simply make you a much better fighting force. If I wanted to sound really fancy, I'd throw out a Sun Tzu quote right about now, that's how incredibly important it is. The default method for talking with other players in most MMOs, including EVE, is via text; and yet this is always the most inefficient way of communicating during hectic battles, or even casual conversation. This gives rise to voice communication programs, both internal and third party, which overcome that hurdle and allows players to accomplish feats in unison that would simply be too difficult to do through text alone. Grab your mic and let's get started.

Read the PvP Guide Part II: Communication

Godswar : First Video Released

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

TITLEIGG has released a new trailer whcih shows the characters and combat system for their Greek Mythology inspired MMORPG, GodsWar Online.

Watch the First Godswar Video.

 

Star Wars Galaxies : Hoth Hubbub

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com Star Wars Galaxies Correspondent Brian Turner writes this look at the recent addition of the ice planet Hoth to SOE's Star Wars Galaxies.

Chapter 11 entitled "The Battle of Echo Base" was released recently on the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) live servers. This new heroic encounter thus far has been met with mixed reviews by the SWG community. Most problematic is the seemingly premature release of this latest chapter. Several parts of the game have been broken with no insight as to when they will be fixed, and lag hits the servers rampantly. Luckily, on their second try to fix delayed transport times; Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has succeeded with the 11.2 release. Unfortunately, other aspects of the game are still under strict scrutiny.

The heroic encounter itself suffers from extreme lag issues and frame rate drops even on high end computers. Realizing that SWG is over five years old now and has seen no major upgrades to the MMO's engine, many have speculated that the Hoth heroic encounter is just too much for this outdated engine. Whether or not we will see a fix to these problems is yet to be seen. It is a reasonable theory to say that marketing drove the release prematurely to align with SOE's free month for veterans.

Read Hoth Hubbub

General : Most Anticipated Game for 2009

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

Today, we continue with our nominee announcements for the 2008 MMORPG.com Reader's Choice Awards with our Most Anticipated Game category. Here, readers will vote for their most eagerly anticipated game with an expected 2009 release date.

  • Runes of Magic
  • Aion
  • Champions Online
  • Chronicles of Spellborn
  • Darkfall
  • Earthrise
  • Jumpgate Evolution
  • Stargate Worlds

Vote for the Most Anticipated Game for 2009

Age of Conan : Director's Letter: Merges Postponed

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Age of Conan Game Director Craig Morrison has written a letter to the community explaining the reasons for recent problems with last week's planned server merges, and informing players that the merges will continue in January.

With the announced start of the server merge process not quite having gone as planned I wanted to take the time today to speak to you all explain where we are at with the merge process and what the schedule looks like.

Basically, on Wednesday when we came to do the first live merges we encountered an issue with the structure of our data that we hadn’t found or experienced during testing. This issue caused there to be a risk, on some servers, under specific circumstances, of items having non-unique identifiers in our database. This in turn might have lead to some cases of player’s items not surviving the merge. It didn’t happen at all during our testing, and may have been (in the scale of all players and all items in the game) a possibly rare occurrence. However this was not an area where the team and I were willing to take any risks with whatsoever.

This is also exactly why we decided not to announce all the merge schedules in advance and to ensure we could do them in a live environment first before we went ahead with all the merges. While it is never ‘nice’ to have your contingency plans called into action, this approach has meant we caught a potential issue before it could possibly affect people’s actual game experience.

Read more here.

Star Trek Online : The Path to 2409: 2382

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted another look into the future history of Star Trek, running down the key events of 2382 which are dominated by political turmoil in the Romulan Empire.

The unstable situation of the Romulans continues to be a source of concern for the Alpha and Beta quadrants.

The loss of agricultural planets now claimed by the Imperial Romulan Empire threatens Romulus with severe food shortages. Romulus’ power plants and factories cannot increase output without the heavy metals and dilithium that once flowed from Remus.

To avert the looming civil crisis, Praetor Tal’aura reluctantly accepts food shipments from the Federation. But she refuses the Federation’s offer to facilitate negotiations between her and Empress Donatra, saying that it is an internal Romulan matter.

Tal’aura charges her proconsul, Fleet Commander Tomalak, with retaking the planets held by Donatra. Tomalak appoints Admiral Taris as his second in command and orders her to re-organize and mobilize Romulus’ remaining military forces.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : Player Statue Dev Journal

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

James Casey, the Content Design Lead for Warhammer Online has penned a new dev journal which takes a look at player statues.

The central theme of WAR is well, just that: war. It’s everywhere. Defending your realm and taking the fight to the enemy requires blood, sweat, and tears. Players in WAR are rewarded for their efforts through the accumulation of renown. Renown gives you access to training, equipment, and abilities that show off your dedication to the cause. But sometimes you need more; sometimes you need recognition. After all, what good is fortune without fame?

With that in mind, WAR tracks player accomplishments and we currently have a number of great leaderboards available on the Warhammer Herald to track your character against other characters in the Realm War. (Check out the Realm War and Leaderboards here.)

That’s fine and dandy, but how do players in game know who’s number one? You might know it, but it’s no fun if no-one else knows it. (If you’re like me, you like to tell them as often as possible, even if it’s being the best at dying…) But it’s not like you can tell everyone right? You can’t just put a statue up to yourself and have people praise you… can you? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could? We think so!

Read more here.

Star Wars: The Old Republic : Writing in the Star Wars Universe

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Bioware has updated the Star Wars: The Old Republic official site with a dev journal that takes a look at the challenges of writing for a game of this scale and legacy.

The writing team for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ faces an unusual set of challenges. It’s not enough to write a great story; it’s not even enough to write a great player-driven interactive story, or a great player-driven interactive story that fits within a massively multiplayer environment. On top of everything, every story in the game must be a great Star Wars story. If it’s not, it belongs somewhere else.

So how does the writing team approach a challenge like that? Here’s a look at some of the features that make a Star Wars story worth telling.

The Foundation

We can all list familiar elements from the Star Wars films: Jedi, Sith, the Force, droids, lightsabers and starships; themes of heroism, redemption, learning, friendship and oppression; a trilogy structure, pulp-inspired “episode” names, and so on.

These iconic elements are the basic tools the writing team uses to build uniquely Star Wars stories—stories that feel like they’re part of the same fictional universe as the films. Not every Star Wars story needs a cantina or a wise old mentor, of course, but the films are the foundation for everything we do. If you’re not using at least some of those iconic elements, your story probably isn’t about Star Wars at all.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Epic Caves of Donn

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tabula Rasa have announced that they have remade a version of the game's Caves of Donn instance into an Epic level instance intended for higher level characters.

One of our long term plans for Tabula Rasa's group content was to create Epic versions of our best instances. These Epic Instances are intended for a full group of level 50 players, with numerous boss encounters and special, repeatable missions where players could obtain unique weapons, armor, prestige, and Mimeomech.

"Caves of Donn" is the first instance our team began retrofitting with Epic content. Since we recently made many updates to the regular version of this instance, we felt this would be a wonderful opportunity to re-introduce the instance to higher level players that may not have gone back to play it at a lower level.

This instance features the full host of Epic Bane, including Caretakers, Technicians, Soldiers, and the newly created Ravagers and Seekers that are also found on Earth. A special boss version of the Hunter also makes an appearance at the end of the instance, with powerful electric attacks that can bring down an unprepared party.

Players that want to adventure in the Epic Caves of Donn can find an entrance off of the CELLAR, right across from the entrance to Edmund Range. Just inside, you will be given two missions from Commander Harley. Completing these missions will give you a nice reward that includes Mimeomech, prestige, and your choice of a Series 3 Pistol, Shotgun, Chaingun, or Rocket Launcher. These missions are repeatable, so you can eventually earn all of these high powered items.

Read more here.

Fiesta : New Leaderboards

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Outspark has announced that new leaderboards have been posted, and players can now see how they stack up against other Fiesta Online players.

Members of the Outspark community can now track their achievements and see how they stack up against the top players of Outspark's games using newly launched leaderboards now available at Outspark.com.

Players of the free-to-play MMORPG Fiesta can see how they measure up against the top PvP players by comparing Kill Points, while all of the highest level Secret of the Solstice players are now ranked on the Outspark website.

Leaderboards will be updated every Friday, so there's always a reason to check back and see where you place in the Outspark community!

Take a look at the Fiesta Online leaderboards.

Lord of the Rings Online : The Twenty-first Hall

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Turbine has posted an overview of The Twenty-first Hall on the Seventh Level of the mines of Moria.

The Twenty-first Hall of Khazad-dûm lies on the Seventh Level of Moria, leading away in many directions including toward the Second Hall and the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Off to one side, a passage leads to the Chamber of Mazarbul, the dwarves’ hall of records, though it passes now for the tomb of Balin, son of Fundin.

The Twenty-first Hall was once a mustering hall, but has lain empty since the fall of Moria – though recent stirrings may change that. Recently, the Balrog of Moria came to the Twenty-first Hall seeking the first true challenge to his power since the deaths of Durin and his son Náin.

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings will recall that the Company of the Ring camped in the Twenty-first Hall as they passed through the Dwarrowdelf, before moving on to investigate the Chamber of Mazarbul.

Read more here.

General : IGG Recieves $10M in New Funding

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced in a press release that they have secured $10 Million in funding from several venture capitol firms.

December 8, 2008 – IGG Inc. (www.igg.com), the leading online game publisher/operator, today announced that the company has closed a Series B round of financing from two prominent venture capital firms and an existing investor.

The privately owned online game company did not disclose specific figures of the financing, but COO Kevin Xu said the funding was “in excess of $10 million” and was led by Vertex Group and joined by Hearst Interactive Media and IDGVC.

“The global experience of Vertex will greatly bolster our international capabilities, and Hearst’s vast connection in the media world is the perfect support that we need to expand our business globally. It’s great to have our original funding partner IDG on board again as well.” said Kevin Xu. He added that the new funds will be used to expand sales and marketing into Asia and Europe, to establish strategic partnerships with developers and publishers worldwide, and to further the development of more innovative and entertaining games in house. Furthermore, the funds will be used to explore more regions and reach out to players of different languages.

Dedicated to serve worldwide players with the best multiplayer online games, IGG Inc. launched its first MMORPG in May 2006. Since then, IGG has successfully released and operated 8 MMORPGs through www.igg.com. With over 8 million registered users as of Q4 2008, IGG has established its reputation as a world-class publisher rising to meet the demand of players of different ages, culture and favors.

“IGG has a unique differentiated business model and a very strong and experienced team.” said Mr Chua Kee Lock, Group President & CEO of Vertex Group. “We are very excited with the investment in IGG and we look forward to working closely with the company and bring it to a greater growth as it expands its business and geographic presence,” added Mr Chua Kee Lock.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Explore Norrath: Castleview

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at EverQuest II have posted another edition of Explore Norrath, which takes a look at some of the locations of interest spread out across the land.

Ahh Castleview. Home of snooty high elves and fly-snacking frogloks! And Qeynosians say that Neriak has bad taste. Ahem. If one must live in Qeynos rather than the glorious Neriak, Castleview does have its advantages. If you can handle high elves (who secretly wish they could be as cool as dark elves) and frogloks (we haven't quite figured out what they're good for yet... but the garlic and butter experiment is going well).

Everyone loves a short-cut! For those who choose not to run around the long way, the bells take you all around Qeynos and outside of it to Antonica, The Caves, and Oakmyst Forest. Up the stairs from here, you'll find the town center (pictured above) which gives a nice discovery bonus.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Making and Keeping Silver in your 20s

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com Lord of the Rings Online Correspondent Jim Braner writes this article full of handy tips for making and holding onto money in Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online.

Middle Earth and all its amenities can very entertaining, but it can also be very expensive. It seems at about level 20 or so you get that "want to buy a horse/pony" panic; or maybe you just want to splurge on that item from the Auction House. Luckily, there are several very easy ways for a level 20ish character to save and make silver in the Lone Lands and North Downs.

The first and probably most obvious is to stop buying horses to take you between the various towns. It is nice and saves time, but the 20 silver to take you from Bree to Ost Guruth really adds up. Not only are you out the 40 silver on a round trip, but also anything you can pick up along the way. Depending on your level, there are plenty of wargs, boars, and goblins to slay while you walk. You get their xp and a decent amount of copper from the loot. If you are a prospector on a horse, you are passing up a lot of opportunity. There are something like 15 common spots that ore appears just a short distance off the road. Wood is a little less common, but gathered up near the spots with bunches of, you guessed it, trees. So walk around and gather it up! After all, nothing says walking from town to town has to be boring. With all your gathered items, hit up the /trade channel and sell it. With that said, please don't run from Bree back to Thorin's Gate for any reason. The 1 silver for a fast travel is a negligible expense when you look at the time saved.

Read about Making and Keeping Silver in your 20s

Earthrise: First Impact : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Dec 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

To go along with our Developer chat, the folks at Earthrise have provided us with these two exclusive screenshots.

Earthrise Screenshot

Check out the two new screenshots

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