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General : Wachter: Holiday Events

Posted Dec 22, 2009 by Jon Wood columnist Victor Wachter writes this look at Holiday events, their origin and what they can and can't do for an MMO.

Victor Wachter

Around this time of year, things start changing. Snow covers the ground, shops are decorated with wreaths and festive ornaments, and new dungeons open up with monsters bent on destroying the holiday season. Yes, the holidays in MMOs are pretty much like our own world.

There was a time, back around the turn of the century (I think we get to say that now that we are going into a new decade) when holiday events weren't universal in MMOs. My history could be wrong, but I recall the first holiday I ever participated in was the 1999 Ultima Online "Santas vs. Reindeer" event, two years after the game was released. For the first several years of the MMO's existence, holiday events were hit or miss and those games that did hold them often recycled the same content year after year.

Read Wachter: Holiday Events.

Legend of Martial Arts : Added to Game List; New Trailer!

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Perfect World Entertainment's recently announced parody-themed MMORPG, Kung Foo!, has been added to our game list!

A brief description of the game is available below:

Kung Foo is a comedy-action MMORPG with a martial arts fantasy setting. Like many games, Kung Foo will have quests, classes, and a traditional RPG structure, but the game also intends to directly poke fun at the traditional hero's journey as well as the overall MMO gameplay experience. Expect crazy creatures, sand ninjas, in-jokes, parodies, and more as you adventure through Panda Province.

Veteran comics writer Devin Grayson will contribute story work to the game.

Kung Foo! Key Features:

o Special Guest Writer – highly acclaimed comic book writer, Devin Grayson, crafts the world of Kung Foo!, filling it with loot, laughter, and loquacious NPCs
o Martial Art Disciplines – 7 available to master at launch; including ‘Grasshopper’, ‘Sharpy’, ‘Mager’, ‘Tank’, ‘Slasher’, ‘Medico’ and ‘Augurer’
o Themed Zones – 6 available to explore at launch; including Panda Province, Snaf Foo, Fuzzy Forest, Zui Quan Village, Realm of Darkness and Enchanted Glade
o Hilarious Quests – Hundreds of quests to choose from to help channel your inner foo
o Character Customization/Mounts – Mix and match your character; be a street punk, cowboy or a bit of both… while riding a crab mount with boxing gloves
o Crafting – For those few killer items that don't fall from the sky
o PvP – For those who don’t play nicely with others
o Pets – Never fight alone in the dark again
o Transformations – Become a fierce, fiery dragon or a steaming pile of poop
o Dungeons – featuring hundreds of terrifying and despicably adorable mobs to slay

o 27% More Rewarding Rewards
o Vitamin Fortified Play with Essential Quests
o Needy and Ungrateful NPCs by the truck load
o 100% Rat Reduction in Lowbie Zones!

Watch the Kung Foo! debut trailer here! Also, be sure to check out the games screenshots in our Kung Foo! gallery.

For more information on Kung Foo!, visit the game's official website here.

MapleStory : Aran Update Commercial

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

This new commercial features the latest MapleStory update, Aran, and is set to run on Disney XD, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Nickelodeon and Teen Nick from Dec. 21 through Jan. 3, 2010.

The Aran update introduces a new start-up tutorial for the game that acclimates players to the new Aran warrior class and aims to give players a more immersive entry to the world of MapleStory.

Watch the commercial here!

Perfect World International : "Rising Tide" Expansion Now Live!

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

"Rising Tide," the third and largest expansion to Perfect World International is now live!

The expansion adds a new race, the Tideborn, two new classes, the Assassin and Psychic, over 200 new quests, a public quest system, over 100 new monsters, a new "recasting" equipment system, quests for married players, a hair/hat fashion slot, and account-wide storage.

A new PvE server, "Raging Tide", has also opened alongside the expansion's release.

For more information on the expansion, visit the official expansion site here.

APB: Reloaded : Video Podcast #15: Q&A Special

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Lead Designer EJ Moreland and Lead Gameplay Designer Jesse Knapp answer questions from the community in this latest entry to the ongoing video podcast series.

Some things to be learned from this latest Q&A session:

  • APB is targeted for a Spring 2010 release.
  • The next wave of beta invites should hit around January-ish.
  • You'll be able to have more than one character.
  • No weather at release; day/night cycle, however, is in.
  • No abstract stats, the game is mainly skill based.
  • Vehicles will allow for some upgrades, i.e. nitrous, armor, health, ram damage, etc.
  • Dual wielding not likely for first release, but being considered.
  • Vehicles will have damage modeling, but no breakable glass.
  • Oh, and, no nudity. Sorry guys!

Watch Video Podcast #15 here.

Free Realms : Major Update Adds Fishing, Housing, Pets

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The Free Realms December Update is now live! This latest major update to the game introduces the "Snow Days" holiday event, player housing, fishing, new pets, a combat revamp, and tons more!

(Yes, that horse is doing what you think it is.)

Read below for a breakdown of the update's features:

Player Housing allows players to have a personal piece of virtual real estate all their own. With three types of houses available now, you can obtain unique items to decorate your new pad, play with your pets in the yard, invite friends over and even throw dance parties.
· The Apartment – 1 bedroom and free for all players; holds up to 75 items.
· The Small Wilds House – 2 bedroom house with a small yard; free for all Members and holds up to 250 items.
· The Large Wilds House – 3 bedroom house with a large yard; available only in the Marketplace and holds up to 400 items.
· Over 100 items – Decorate the interior and exterior of your new place with cool house items like the Babbling Stone Head, the Mega Dance Floor or a larger than life Rocket Ship that actually launches. Obtained through the Marketplace, Coin Shop, quests and the Daily Spin wheel, most Marketplace and Coin Shop items are color-customizable at purchase.

Snow Days, the Free Realms winter holiday celebration, has transformed Snowhill into a winter wonderland filled with food, fun, and of course – presents!
· Holiday Treats – Visit Candi Ivy near the Gifting Tree in Snowhill to help protect the presents from a wicked gang of Robgoblins and the abominable snowmen! Follow the holiday quest line and players might just get a chance to try all of her neat holiday sweets.
· Ready-Aim-Fire! – Pelt your friends with snowballs as you duck behind ice barriers in the Snowhill snowball fighting area.
· Dress to Impress – Check out the Marketplace for new holiday clothes, costumes and items!

New Pets have arrived in Free Realms including dragons, dinosaurs, unicorns, ponies and pegasi. Available in numerous colors direct from the in-game Marketplace, these unique species are ready to be adopted and find loving homes!
· Tricks & Tips – From backflips and hand stands, to breathing fire and playing dead, these new pets each have 3 impressive tricks they can perform for your entertainment. Happier pets do cooler tricks so make sure you stock up on their favorite foods.
· Special Surprise – Stand around long enough and your pet pony may protest with a little rainbow tinkle or dragons may release some hot fire droppings.

Fishing is the latest job to be added to Free Realms with an all new 3D minigame that will reel in players hook, line and sinker! Ever wonder what lurks within the waters of Sacred Grove? Fishermen know all the secret spots to cast their lines and catch everything from exotic fish to treasure. You can also fish with your friends for added angling adventure.
· Go Fish! – 13 quests await players who take the bait and visit resident fishing expert, Reed Stillwater in the Sacred Grove Shallows.
· On the Hook – 30 different species of fish are just waiting to be caught in six different fishing holes.
· Fly Fishing – Gear up with the coolest fishing equipment. Poles, lures and wearables are available in the Marketplace, Coin Shop and by playing the fishing minigames.

Other Feature Additions:
· Launch yourself into the sky with Launch Pads; these can be found in Lakeshore, Snowhill, Merry Vale, Seaside and Sanctuary!
· Combat has undergone a large revamp. Every combat job, item and combat encounter has been upgraded to make your combat experience faster paced and more exciting. Start a battle from the Game Guide to try out powerful new attacks!
· Check the Activity Calendar for Parties and Events! These parties are popping up all over the place; dress up in your Luau gear or bring you pets along to join in the fun!
· To start the new TCG quests, purchase the Shattered Past quest packs and talk to Sir Wellington in Briarwood, outside of Vale of Ancients.
· You now can find the option to dye items different colors in the Marketplace before you buy them!
· You can now buy and sell some items and characters with Live Gamer! This service is available to our 18+; US only, English only players.

For more on the update be sure to check out the massive batch of new Free Realms screenshots we've added to our Free Realms gallery, as well as this latest trailer promoting the December Update, which you can view here!

General : Turbine in 2010

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Jon Wood's Garrett Fuller spoke recently with Turbine's Adam Mersky about the future of the well known MMO studio moving forward into the year 2010.

In a brief discussion with Adam Mersky from Turbine Entertainment we got a look at what the studio has planned for 2010. Turbine continues to carry to very consistent MMOs on the market with Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Obviously Adam could not reveal too many specifics but fans of the games will be happy to know that there is a lot in store for the next twelve months in both franchises. Also, Adam mentioned that Turbine is hoping to reveal possible third title in 2010, but made no promised on the time of the announcement.

Read Turbine in 2010.

Fallen Earth : Announces Discount, Free Trial!

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Fallen Earth LLC has announced a limited-time 20% discount for customers who purchase Fallen Earth through the Fallen Earth online store. This discount also stacks with the 20% discount being offered to US military personnel who purchase the game. Opt for two copies of the game and you can get yet another 10% off!

If all those discounts aren't enough to get you over the fence, a free 10 day trial is now being offered as well! Try before you buy!

To get started with the free trial or purchase Fallen Earth, head on over to the game's official website.

DC Universe Online : Meet Mr. Freeze!

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Sony Online Entertainment has today unveiled the latest iconic villain to join the rogue's gallery of DC Universe Online: Victor Fries aka Mr. Freeze!

Find out more about Mr. Freeze below:

Victor Fries devoted his life to the hopeless task of curing his beloved wife, Nora from a fatal disease. He keeps her body frozen in suspended animation hoping that one day his experiments will cure her. One such experiment exposed him to a hail of super-coolants that altered his body chemistry. In order to survive, the brilliant cryogenicist must now be encased in his supercooled suit whenever the outside temperature is above sub-zero.

Although Batman offered to help Victor Fries, now known as Mr. Freeze, he refused because he was convinced that his own failures to save his wife are the fault of Gotham's Dark Knight. Armed with his Freeze Gun, Mr. Freeze partners with other criminals to steal the money he needs for his experiments and diamonds to power his freeze suit.

Be sure to check out the cool (pun intended!) new screenshots of Mr. Freeze now available in our DC Universe Online gallery!

General : More Top News Stories of 2009

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Jon Wood

With December in full swing and the New Year nearly upon us, contributor Shannon Drake writes this look back at some of the most interesting stories of 2009.

2009 was a year of adjustment, which is a polite way of saying that the economy crashed into the sea, all the would-be World of Warcraft killers couldn't leave a dent in the beast, and a significant numbers of us wound up looking for jobs at one point or another, your humble correspondent included.

On the other hand, there were launches, shutdowns, announcements, pushbacks, and all the other usual causes for celebration and Internet Drama in the MMO space, and there were other interesting stories that came and went, maybe noticed at the time, but quickly forgotten as the latest story came to the fore.

Read More Top News Stories of 2009.

Earth Eternal : Introduction Interview

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Jon Wood's Garrett Fuller had the opportunity recently to speak with Sparkplay Media CEO Matt Mihaly about their upcoming game Earth Eternal and what players can expect from it.


The game continues development; can you tell us where you are at?

Matt Mihaly:

We're in open beta and players are devouring the content. They're averaging over two hours a day in the game. Of course we're working on updates, fixes, improvements, and new features constantly.

Read the Introduction Interview.

General : Free Zone: Concepts I'd Like to See More

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Jon Wood columnist Richard Aihoshi writes this week's Free Zone column on different core MMO concepts that he feels could be used more frequently in F2P MMOs and beyond.

Richard Aihoshi

It's exceedingly easy to find MMOGs bashed for being clone-like. This cuts across both the subscription and free to play business models. It does happen far more often in the latter sector, which is only natural since it includes a lot more titles; I'm not convinced whether such criticism is appropriate or not on a proportional basis.

Earlier this month, this site's Managing Editor, Jon Wood, wrote a column about five games that deviated significantly from what he referred to as "traditional style MMORPGs" by aiming beyond this hypothetical model in order to present far greater diversity and innovation. Coincidentally, I had been thinking in a similar vein, although not with his focus on past and current releases. Instead, mine centered on wondering what and how much more might be done with designs employing uncommon core concepts. The list below isn't comprehensive; in fact, I look forward to seeing other interesting possibilities brought up in the comments thread.

Read Free Zone: Concepts I'd Like to See More.

EverQuest II : Looking at Frostfell

Posted Dec 21, 2009 by Jon Wood

At this festive time of year, EverQuest II reporter Phil James writes this look at the EverQuest II holiday, Frostfell.

Quests Old and New

Like other live events that Sony Online Entertainment puts on, quests from previous years make an appearance in this year's revelry. This is great for those who are new to the game or took a break. Each year also brings new quests, giving something for veteran players to tackle.

Back in 2005, the original Frostfell quest was 'The Tale of the Gigglegibber Grump', a chain of solo-able quests which scale to the player's level. The quest was dropped the next two years, but made a return in 2008 and again this year. To begin the quest players must talk to the Frostfell elves who have appeared in the cities of Qeynos and Freeport looking for helpful adventurers . Their home, Elfin Wonderland, has been taken over. Lord Bowsprite, their leader, has been kidnapped and the presents stolen. This is the work of Grimagus Gigglegibber (A.K.A. The Grump). Along the way on this mission, you are given a book about how Grimagus became The Grump. Unsurprisingly, this all came about due to other goblins teasing him as a child (sound like a familiar Dr. Seuss story?), so he grew up bitter and decided to ruin Frostfell by stealing all the presents. The end of the quest line sees him realising the error of his ways and making peace with the elves. Aww bless!

Read Looking at Frostfell.

Aion : Win A Holiday Ascension Pack!

Posted Dec 19, 2009 by Craig McGregor

Aion, the biggest MMORPG release of the year, is bound to appear on several wish lists this holiday season thanks to its blend of rich storylines, state of the art graphics and robust community. In celebration of the game’s success this year, NCsoft is rewarding those who purchase Aion this holiday season from participating retailers with the Aion Holiday Ascension Pack – a variety of exclusive in-game character enhancements that are perfect holiday gifts for players of all ages – and received 30 codes to giveaway.

The Aion Holiday Ascension Pack, available at Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, Target, and Walmart includes these exclusive in-game characters items:

  • Special Dyes for customizing your character’s appearance
    • Amazon – Hot Orange Dye
    • Best Buy – Mustard Dye
    • Game Stop – True Black Dye
    • Target – True Red Dye
    • Walmart – True White Dye
  • Lesser Life Potions (20) 
  • Lodas's Amulet (15)
  • Lesser Running Scroll (15)

And for those lucky enough to receive them, we have five Aion Holiday Ascension Pack that feature True Green Dye codes that are affiliated to Australia specific retailers.

This quick-draw contest will end on Dec 23 at 9PM EST.  Entrants will get one bonus ticket for every day they login to the site during the contest run dates (see official rules for details).


Guild Wars : Win A Wintersday Costume!

Posted Dec 19, 2009 by Craig McGregor

The Tyrian New Year will be celebrated once again with festive decorations, gifts, holiday treats and winter-appropriate weather of course. As a part of the Wintersday event celebration, has partnered with the Guild Wars team to give away two brand-new Wintersday costumes—the Grenth and Dwayna costumes—allowing players to dress their characters in style this season. These two costumes fit into new costume slots on your character portrait and can be worn over existing armor. has secured 30 costumes (15 of each type).  Each can be previewed below:

Grenth's Regalia Dwayna's Regalia


We are holding a quick-draw 5 day contest for these items ending on Dec 23 at 9PM EST.  One bonus entry ticket per day you login to the site will be awarded.


Star Trek Online : Behind the Scenes with Zachary Quinto

Posted Dec 18, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Atari and Cryptic Studios have released a new video featuring a behind-the-scenes look at a voice-over session with the recently announced "voice of Star Trek Online" Zachary Quinto.

Quinto, of course, played Spock in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek film released earlier this year. In Star Trek Online,  Quinto will voice an Emergency Medical Hologram that will guide players through the game's tutorial.

Watch the video here.

Be sure to stay for the end of the video. Why? Let's just say the ESRB should add Mildly Evil Eyebrows to their rating for STO.

EVE Online : "Zephyr" Ship A Holiday Gift From CCP

Posted Dec 18, 2009 by Michael Bitton

CCP Games have announced a new ship called the "Zephyr" as a holiday gift to all EVE Online players.

The Zephyr is described as a "unique starship design, relying almost entirely on solar winds for sublight propulsion. Super-light sails allow it to ride the torrents of photons streaming through space, and its barebones construction gives it a tiny sensor footprint and almost negligible mass."

To find out more information, including on how to claim your Zephyr, check out the EVE Online dev blog here.

The Zephyr makes for a great exploration ship, and so CCP Games has released a new wormhole scanning tutorial video to go along with it! I must say, if nothing else, the narrator's voice is quite soothing!

Warhammer Online : Keg End Begins; Reenlistment Campaign Launched

Posted Dec 18, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The 2nd annual Keg End celebration, which runs from December 16th to January 4th, has kicked off, so let the /boasting and /toasting of last year's celebration commence!

The event is largely unchanged from its inaugural debut last year, though there are some new event rewards to attain, details below:


Basic - Exclusive in-game title: "Brew Hound" for Order and "Broo Dawg" for Destruction
Advanced - Party Keg (deploys a keg that allies may interact with to increase morale gain rate)
Elite - Keg Tap - Event Slot item with Career-specific stats

Rare World Drop Item - The Battlebrew Backpack (one for each tier in which they are found)

Rare World Drop Item - Dwarf Keg Handler for Order and Goblin Bar-Back for Destruction. Your own personal keg toting servant!

In other Warhammer news, Mythic Entertainment has launched a new Call to Arms Reenlistment Campaign to entice former players back to the game.

Players who re-enlist during the promotion period (December 16-23rd) will receive 10 additional days of game time free, as well as a few item rewards:

The Call to Arms Reenlistment Campaign will also offer returning players three valuable in-game item rewards: The Libram of Insight (+15% to Experience, Renown, and Influence; limited uses), The Signet of Cursed Company (turns a player into a skeleton), and Kemmler’s Arthritic Hand (enhanced Action Point regeneration). In addition, both current and former players will receive a 20% bonus to Experience, Renown and Influence while playing WAR from December 16th – 23rd.

To get started, download the full game client here.

Final Fantasy XIV : Three New Screenshots!

Posted Dec 18, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Three new screenshots of Final Fantasy XIV have surfaced over at Final Fantasy XIV fansite FFXIVCore.

A pair of the screenshots depict what appears to be combat situations, while the third appears to be a quite impressive rendition of the Ifrit summon Final Fantasy fans are sure to recognize.

Check out the new shots over at FFXIVCore.

General : Gravity Int. Reduces Subscription Costs

Posted Dec 18, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Gravity Interactive has announced that subscription rates for the Premium subscriptions of both Ragnarok Online and Reqiuem have been reduced to $9.99.

Premium subscriptions offer players access to exclusive high-performance game servers, boosted exp and drop rates, discounts on microtransactions, decreased costs and requirements on in-game activities and access to exclusive in-game items and content.

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