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General : Garriott in Space: Details Released

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Space Adventures, Ltd. has sent out a press release confirming Richard Garriott's plans to head to the International Space Station in 2008, as well as providing information about why he's going and what he'll be doing while he's up there.

Vienna, Va. – September 28, 2007 – Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today that famed game developer Richard Garriott, son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, has begun preparations for a “commercially active” mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Mr. Garriott’s spaceflight, currently planned for October 2008, will be the first in a series of missions that will accommodate commercial activity aboard the ISS.  Involvement from the private sector can include scientific and environmental research and educational outreach programming.

“It has always been Space Adventures’ goal to open the space frontier.  Now, with Richard’s flight, we have designed a series of missions devoted to increase commercial involvement in manned space missions,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.  “It is a very rare occasion when so many commercial opportunities are available in one space mission. We encourage interested parties to contact us.”

Space Adventures made history in 2001 by organizing the mission of the first private space explorer.  Now, the company continues to bring innovation to manned spaceflight by enabling corporate and non-profit entities to participate in commercial endeavors on the planet’s only orbiting outpost.

“I am dedicating my spaceflight to science,” said Mr. Garriott.  “It is my goal to devote a significant amount of my time aboard the space station to science, engineering and educational projects.  I understand the necessity for conducting research in extreme environments whether it is collecting microorganisms from deep sea hydrothermal vents to carrying out experiments in the continuous micro-gravity of Earth orbit.” He continued, “We need to be adventurous in mind and simulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels.”

Read the full release here.

Ultima Online : 10 Years Already?

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

 

Ultima Online is celebrating it's diamond anniversary; 10 years and going strong with the release of their major update: Kingdom Reborn.  To make sure they have as many people as possible join in this MMO milestone, they are inviting back all former players to play for free from September 25th until October 9th.

All citizens of Sosaria are invited back to Ultima Online to help us celebrate its 10th anniversary.  Check out the Kingdom Reborn client, join in the celebration, and receive your gifts - everyone is welcome!

Here's how:

Re-install Ultima Online™, using your game disc, a friend’s disc or downloading it here:
  • If you need to re-install the game, you can download it here:
  • Start the game and log-in with your name and password.
  • In most cases you’ll find your characters and property waiting for you. (We can’t guarantee all the in-game possessions will still be available, but in most cases they will be.)
  • Been awhile since you've played? Click here for the UO New Player Guide, which will help you jump right back into Sosaria.

Find out how to Return to Britannia here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Exclusive Screenshots, Week One

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, MMORPG.com is pleased to kick off this new exclusive screenshot series from Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Check our more on PotBS here.

General : MMO Bans Males Playing Female Avatars

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Destructoid is reporting that a Chinese MMORPG titled King of the World now requires players of female avatars to prove that they are indeed female in real life, as they will ban any male players caught using avatars not of their own gender.

Obviously not as sensitive to the needs of transgendered gamers as we in the west, it would seem that Chinese game companies take a dim view of males who want to be females -- in computer games, at least. Chinese MMORPG King of the World won't accept male players masquerading as female characters and is putting a stop to such shenanigans.

Aurora Technology, a subsidiary of Shanda and developer of the game, is freezing the accounts of male gamers with female avatars, and anybody who chooses to play as a female in the game will have to prove they are of permitted gender via webcam.  While nonsensical to us, you have to remember that China does love its reckless regulations, so this could almost seem normal coming from the land where skeletons are outlawed in World of Warcraft. Of course, the rules could just be a scam to get webcam shots of gamer girls for the developers.

Read more here.

General : Book Overview: Legend of The Syndicate

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, Jon Wood takes a quick look at a recently released book detailing the history of The Syndicate, a large guild with a presence in the classic Ultima Online and the juggernaut World of Warcraft.

It isn’t often that we present an article about a book here at MMORPG.com. Frankly, there really haven’t been that many written on the subject of MMORPGs, so you can imagine my reaction when a copy of “Legend of the Syndicate” made its way to my door for review.

Legend of the Syndicate’s sub title is “A History of Online Gaming’s Premier Guild (yes, I know that there would be a number of guilds that would probably dispute that, but it’s the title of the book). The book is written by Sean Stalzer (“Dragons” to anyone who might be familiar with The Syndicate), the guild leader.

Read it all here.

Myth War : Quadruple Experience Event

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be holding a quadruple experience event across all of their Myth War servers.

IGG today announce their activity for all Myth War players during the upcoming National Day. They also explain a little bit on the new version--Myth War2.0. From Server Time Oct 1st to Oct 3rd, All-Server Quadruple-Experience Event will be launched all server around. Players' experience gained from the Quest or other activities will be increased normally during the event period. Besides, Oceanic Stone Pack will be taken off the Item Mall shelf on Oct 8th 0:00 AM EST (GMT-5). For more information about the upcoming Myth War2.0, please keep an eye on the official site.

Read more about Myth War here.

General : MMOWTF: What’s the Score? Music in MMO

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com's own Dan Fortier uses his weekly column to discuss music in MMORPGs.

There are elements of a game that are rarely given notice in the feature list and overlooked by players engrossed in the obvious content of most MMOs. One of these unappreciated elements is the game’s musical score. It works behind the scenes to immerse or annoy us, depending on its quality. When used properly and aesthetically it can turn a well designed game into a masterpiece and can inversely mar an otherwise enjoyable product. This week I’m going to go a little soft as I explain some of the reasons why music is underrated and not given the attention it deserves especially in the MMO genre. Get a healthy supply of Compazine so we can get this little one man opera started!

When compared to the fantastic soundtracks of single player games such as The Elder Scrolls and Homeworld, most of the music presented in the modern MMO pales in comparison. Why is quality so much lower for games that players spend more time in than any other? While that cheery symphony in Freeport might sound great the first two hundred hours you spend there, it likely to be less pleasing the next thousand times you hear it. It seems unless a game is being produced by one of the MMO dynasties, the musical score and sound effects are added almost as an afterthought, just to know when you hit a monster or zoned to a new location.

Read it all here.

Tales of Pirates : Mid-Autumn Day Events

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

 

IGG has announced that they will be holding in-game events and handing out moon cakes in Tales of Pirates to celebrate the Southeast Asian holiday of Mid-Autumn Day.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here and paste the code (mmorpgcom) for triple surprise. Tales of Pirates is planning to hold another exciting activity—the TOP Mid-Autumn Day Celebration!

Regarding this festival, we’d be very pleased to introduce it and share the happiness with all friends here. For those of you unfamiliar with Mid-Autumn Day, it is an important traditional festival among Southeast Asian nations, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. The Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar. At this time, the moon is at its fullest and brightest, marking an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer's harvest. Traditionally, on this day, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and share their happiness with tea and traditional sweets known as moon cakes.  It is always one of the most joyful days for the people of this region!
 
This time, TOP would like to invite players to enjoy the festival together - during the activity time plenty of moon cakes will be given away totally FREE by GMs! And after eating the special cakes, players will be able to gain 30 Exp instantly!

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

ArchLord : New Server

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

Codemasters Online has announced that they have added a new server, dubbed Evengarda, to their free to play MMO, ArchLord.  They have also announced that they will be holding an in-game treasure hunt to kick off the new server.

ArchLord Expands with a New World!

Codemasters Online is pleased to announce the opening of a new server for the hugely popular free-to-play MMORPG ArchLord. The new world, Evengarda is set to expand the world of Chantra to unprecedented levels allowing players to create new characters on a fresh new world all from the same starting level.

To celebrate the launch of Evengarda, Codemasters Online have announced a one month treasure hunt taking place on the new world to reward new players. During this event hundreds of Silver, Gold and Platinum chests will be spread far and wide across the new world, as players come in search of these hidden treasures.

For more information visit http://www.archlordgame.com.

Tales of Pirates : Fairy Pet Skills System

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has sent over some new information about the Fairy Pet Skills System in their pirate MMO, Tales of Pirates.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here and paste the code (mmorpgcom). Tales of Pirates Online is a free online game which prides itself on its creative storylines and cute characters. And the Fairy Skills System is one of the most interesting features.

Teach the fairies to learn special skills
A Fairy can learn special abilities with a “Skill Scroll”; once the Fairy is active, the effects of the corresponding skills will go up. Each Fairy can learn 3 special skills at most, and if you repeatedly learn the same skill, there’ll be a probability of losing the skill.

Train the fairies could level-up their special skills!
Higher level skills can be obtained from using higher level skill scrolls. However, after you obtain these high level skills, the original low level skills will be replaced by them.
What are the special skills?

Protection: When the percentage of the HP of your character is less than 20%, this skill will help you absorb the damage of a normal attack.
Berserk: Gives you a probability of causing double damage to your targets
Magic: Increases the Magical damage of Herbalists and explorers
Recover: Increases the speed of HP recovery
Meditation: Increases the speed of SP recovery

For more information about the fairies and to know more of the splendid 3D Cartoon-styled game, you could visit http://top.igg.com.

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

Zu Online : Top 5 Female Characters

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released a top five list of the best looking and most beautiful female characters in Zu Online.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here and paste the code (mmorpgcom). Grab free iPhone Touch, keep eyes on Triple Surprise event http://top.igg.com/triple.

IGG today reveals the description and images of the top five most pretty female NPC character in their upcoming game Zu Online.

1. MYSTIC BEAUTY – Zin Moonlight

She is the owner, and also the Quest NPC of Zin Palace. She is as enigmatic and intriguing as she is beautiful. As the master of the Moonmaiden Clan,she trains the trinket Moon Blade on her throne, suspended in the air like the Moon itself. She often wears purple gear decorated with fish scales, shells or coral while laying in her Moon Bed.

2. SPIRITUAL BEAUTY – Jade Pool Fairy

She is the master of Bead Fairy’s, though she resides in Holy City. She seems to be 25 years old, likes white dresses with elegant striping. She is peaceful, and content, with a presence like that of a fairy sent from heaven above.

3. DEFIANT BEAUTY – Wushan

She is elder sister of the Moonmaiden Clan living in Desert City. She is a cold beauty, known for her courage and ambition.

4. SENSUAL BEAUTY – Flower Fairy

She is also a monster who lies inside a blooming Lotus, and is known throughout the land for her sexy dresses. Men of all clans have fallen for her intoxicating beauty, however, they are lucky if all they leave with is a broken heart. She is as deadly as she is lively, passionate, and fun.

5. NATURAL BEAUTY – Ziyan

She is a Quest NPC in Holy City. She has long hair and wears purple Robe with a double-edged sword on her back. She is patient, warm, and kind, willing to talk to and help all players.

Read more about Zu Online here.

Tabula Rasa : Pre-Order Bonus Pack

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

 

NCsoft has announced that players who pre-order Tabula Rasa will receive several benefits including full access to the beta, a 3 day head start in the game, the opportunity to earn 10 days of free game time, and more.

Pick up the Pre-Order Bonus Pack and start blasting the Bane today! Available in-stores everywhere and at the PlayNC® Store, the Pre-Order Bonus Pack will grant you full-access to the beta servers and a 3-day head-start on the final servers before they go live on Friday, October 19, 2007. The Pre-Order Bonus Pack will also unlock access to exclusive in-game items, including the Shell Bot and Pine-Ock pets as well as two distinctive character emotes (/Rave and /LogosFist).

AFS recruits who pre-order Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa and play during the beta are eligible to receive 10 days in addition to their first month of subscription beyond the time included with the full retail box activation*. To receive your reward simply (i) play the beta, (ii) have a level 15 or higher character on our beta server by 11:59pm (Central Time) on Friday, October 12, 2007, (iii) purchase the full retail version of Tabula Rasa and (iv) pay for a minimum of one month of subscription or activate with a valid game time card by February 15, 2008 in order to be eligible for this offer. In addition, your level 15 or higher character must be on the same game account that you apply the pre-order and full retail serial codes to.

Get all the Details here.

Gods and Heroes : New Screenshots

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

12 new images have been added to our Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Anatomy of an Ugly Mug

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with an article detailing the addition of new faces to the games character creation options.

As we’re rounding the bend here on Pirates of the Burning Sea, Artco has begun the “polish stage” of production, which means we’re creating less new art and spending more time revisiting and perfecting our existing artwork. While the polish phase is crucial, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t creating new art assets. For example, we are still working on things like increasing the number of avatar pieces for players to toggle through, as well as completing new avatar and ship spaces for you to explore.

One of the items we’ve been most anxious to create is more… well, piratical looking pirates! We’ve always had a lot of choices when it came to avatar faces, but the majority of these faces could be described as more dashing than dastardly, and based on feedback from our beta testers, we realized that we really needed expand our character creation choices in this area. So, with a bit of brainstorming and some ArtCo magic, our players will now be able to select from a wider range of broken-nosed, lazy-eyed, lovable rogues that you would expect to find in a world like Pirates of the Burning Sea!

Read the full article here.

World of Warcraft : Voice Chat Contest

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Folks over at Blizzard have announced that they will be holding a contest to celebrate the launch of World of Warcraft Voice Chat, where lucky winners have the chance to win a Logitech Digital Precision PC Gaming headset.

To celebrate the launch of the World of Warcraft Voice Chat feature, we will be giving away 40 Logitech Digital Precision PC Gaming headsets for each of the next five weeks. Each week's winners will be randomly selected from among players who have been World of Warcraft subscribers for a minimum length of time, as shown below.

  • Week One: Three months
  • Week Two: Six months
  • Week Three: Nine months
  • Week Four: Twelve months
  • Week Five: Fifteen months
Please visit our Official Rules page for more information. To check out more great Logitech gaming gear, visit the Logitech website at http://www.logitech.com/gaming.

Read more here.

Spellborn : Skills, Combos, and Bodyslots

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Chronicles of Spellborn official site has been updated with with a community Q&A about skills, combos, and bodyslots.

Q: Will there be skills that can be used for multiple combos?
A: Each finisher can be used in combination with each opener. All skills can be used for combos. Skills can even be used multiple times within the same combo sequence.

Q: Will using different combo skills within the combo change the outcome? Or are combos only aimed at the finisher?
A: No, the opener and finisher determine the buffs/benefits.

Q: Are there plans for combos for groups? Or special combos for different factions? Or even combos which you will need a partner for, to execute it?
A: No, apart from the obvious benefit that some combo’s might drastically lower a stat which might benefit your teammates more then yourself.

Read the full article here.

General : Forum Spotlight: Game Mechanic Gripes

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Jon Wood

Each week, Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at a thread in our forums. This week, she's found one dealing with the most despised game mechanics in MMOs.

We all have our MMO gripes: too much grinding, too easy, too hard, the graphics suck, the community sucks, no PVP, too much PVP, too expensive, too many bots – the list goes on, and on.  And in case you’re curious about that list, poster Ikavadas decided to start an unofficial list of the “Most Despised Mechanics of MMORPGs.”

 Ikavadas starts this list off with the first 8 “despised” features:

  1. Character Levels
  2. Classes
  3. Grinding
  4. XP
  5. Quests (not all, just the lame kill X snarfles, retrieve the zipzup from some NPC, a circuit of waypoints, et cetera).
  6. Instances
  7. Mobs dropping uber loot items instead of components for crafters to use
  8. Special attacks which are innate even though they obviously shouldn’t be (like having a grenade ability where you have a magical unlimited supply of grenades instead of having to purchase them and keep a stockpile in your inventory).

Read the whole column here.

Age of Conan : Developer Profile - Joel Bylos

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Jon Wood

Each month, to coincide with the release of the Age of Conan Newsletter, MMORPG.com brings you a profile of one of the developers working on Funcom's Age of Conan. This month, it's Quest Designer Joel Bylos who answers our questions.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us a little about your childhood. How did school and where you live influence your choice to join the video game community?

Joel Bylos:

I grew up on the east coast of Australia, in a little town called Maclean. Maclean is about fifteen minutes from the beach and so I spent a lot of my younger years surfing. My father bought a C64, and surfing gave way to playing the SSI Gold Box games and the classic Bard’s Tale Trilogy.

I went to the University in Newcastle, Australia, where I spent most of my time playing games, surfing and avoiding Geology, Philosophy and Literature classes. By the time I left Australia for Norway, I was certain I was going to be a game designer or a writer, I just wasn't sure which.

 

Read the whole article here.

Godswar : Quest Preview

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released information about the questing system in their Greek Mythology inspired MMO, Godswar Online.

Since GodsWar Online---http://gw.igg.com official site has released a series of preview contents, including background, class system and some other characteristic system. Here GodsWar online is pleased to present the quest system.

In GodsWar, players can experience the Greek Mythology world through a primary quest and given quests.

Primary Quest
It tells the story of a Titan Conspiracy; the players of
Athens and Sparta will go through two epic stories differently. The two stories have many joints that let players of different factions realize Titan Conspiracy from different perspectives.

Given Quest
Players can obtain money, experience and reputation by completing the given quests and uncovering the mystery gradually. Furthermore, players can also complete the given quests in the form of a team. Most given quests are based on the famous stories of Greek Mythology. While playing, players can get a further understanding of Greek Mythology and enjoy GodsWar Online better as well.  

All kinds of quests will help players understand the game worldview, learn the operations and improve themselves. Want to know more, please pay close attention to our official site at

http://gw.igg.com

Read more about Godswar Online here.

Voyage Century Online : New Class Information

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released new information about the Digger and the Zealot, the fourth and fifth classes in Voyage Century Online.

Grab free iPhone Touch, keep eyes on Triple Surprise event (http://top.igg.com/triple). Voyage Century (http://vc.igg.com) is a 3D navigation game which contains 17 skills and 3 classes. The three classes are Wrestler, Merchant, and Militarist. Along with the change of versions, the fourth and fifth classes have successively turned up.

1. Digger

In order to know more about this class, you need to know about the Treasure System before.  Players can obtain 4 kinds of fragments of the Treasure Map, then they can exchange enough fragments for a treasure map in Barcelona which records the secrets of treasure worldwide.

Since the Treasure Map System has been added to the game, and players need some items among the treasure, a new class has emerged, called the "Digger". They are good at exploring and digging treasure, because they make a living by selling these treasures. This is a very demanding class that not only needs patience and wisdom but also risks lives sometimes.

2. Zealot

Player can usually bump into some advanced players who are wearing flashy clothes in Lisbon, Stockholm and Seville, the only dream in their life is to obtain the top equipment, so it's a very common to see a bunch of people waiting around the spawn venue of bosses in order to obtain treasure by killing bosses; sometimes you can see over 10 players fighting against only one boss, which will definitely amaze you. You have to admire how high their willpower is!

With the continuing update of "Voyage Century", more and more hidden "special classes" will be released. These new classes will definitely enrich the contents of the game, and the game market will be completed gradually.  

Read more about Voyage Century here.

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