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Star Trek Online : July 28th Dev Chat Transcript

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

A Star Trek Online IRC dev chat has just wrapped up and the transcript is now available for those who weren't able to make it.

The dev chat took a strong focus on ship certifications and progression, weapon firing arcs, and other minutiae. Some things that stood out were the fact that players can level all through all three tracks (Escort, Science, Cruiser) of ship skills. They say this will take much longer than focusing on a single ship track, but it can be done.

Also, the Federation will not be receiving a large carrier class ship (at launch) in the same vein of the recently unveiled Klingon Vo'Quov Super Carrier. This was a conscious decision made to offer distinct gameplay differences between the two factions.

Players will be able to set weapons to the forward or rear positions of their ship, and each weapon type has its own firing arc, with weapons like beams having a wider firing arc, but lower damage, and cannons having a narrower arc while dealing more damage.

Small ships such as the Bird of Prey will also have a place in end-game/fleet engagements, as well. They are nimble and can make efficient cloaking runs at targets, so all types of ship configurations will have their roles in engagements.

For more information check out the full dev chat transcript here.

Warhammer Online : Destruction Sovereign Armor Sets Video

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

A video featuring Destruction's Sovereign Armor sets has been filmed by the folks at Warhammer Alliance at this year's Games Day Chicago. If you recall, a similar video came out during Games Day Baltimore featuring the Order Sovereign armor sets.

Check out the video here!

General : My Top Ten Games with Potential

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Jon Wood Managing Editor Jon Wood returns this week with a new list, this time counting down the top ten games that he feels have the potential to be something great.

Potential is a funny word, and compiling a list of ten games that I feel currently have the most potential was a more difficult task than I first anticipated. First, I tried to come up with a list of games that simply have the most potential in a general sense. The problem is, you can't do that. Potential, and how much a game has, is a subjective thing so I chose to present the ten games that I personally feel have the most potential. That's why you'll undoubtedly notice that I've left something off that you feel should be on there certainly before at least one of the games that I chose. I mean, just off the top of my head, I know that there are arguments to be made for: Jumpgate Evolution, Mortal Online, Champions Online and others. If you feel passionately that one of these, or another game should have been on my list, feel free to take some time not just to tell me that I'm an idiot, but to tell me why.

Remember, potential isn't a measure of what a game is, it's a measure of what a game could be.

Read My Top Ten Games with Potential

City of Heroes : SDCC '09: Videos of Power Customization

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Six new clips of power customization captured by Zekrian_Immortal at the NCSoft booth at this year's San Diego Comic Con are now available.

For fans of City of Heroes, you'll be pleased to know that Super Strength's Punch and Haymaker can now actually look like... punches and haymakers, metallic spines are an option for Spines players, and more.

Check out the clips here.

The Matrix Online : Jack In Before the Machines Win

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The Machines invade Zion and pull the plug on The Matrix come July 31st, 2009. So, if you've not been back in awhile, it might be a good idea to check out the game one last time before it shuts down. All users have been raised to level 50 and are given 4,000,000,000 $info to mess around with.

The Matrix will be shutting down in similar fashion to the end of beta event, with a truly awesome world ending event. If you weren't there the first time, I highly recommend you experience it now, as I found it to be one of the most awesome, if not the best, end of beta events I've experienced.

Remember, anyone with a former subscription has been reactivated free of charge. Unfortunately, no new accounts are being accepted at this time.

For an example of what happened at the end of beta, check out this amusing clip.

DOFUS : Version 1.28 Goes Live Today!

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Version 1.28 goes live today, July 28th. The new patch includes new quests, alignment specializations, an improved pet and spell system, and more.

Go here for the full patch notes!

Free Realms : SDCC '09: Art Director Video Interview

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

GameTrailers speaks to Rosie Rappaport, Art Director on Free Realms at the San Diego Comic Con in this latest video interview.

In the interview, Rosie basically provides an overview of the game and explains the variety of things you can do within Free Realms, ranging anywhere from being a Chef or Miner, to participating in go kart races. In particular, go kart racing is going to expand in options with vehicle customization. She also adds that they will be adding a full soccer minigame to Free Realms in the near future that allows for both solo and group play.

Check out the full interview here!

APB: Reloaded : Realtime Worlds Grows

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Michael Bitton

APB is truly a massive undertaking, and because of this, and perhaps other unannounced projects, the team at Realtime Worlds has grown to just about 250 members, with plans to expand to 300 by the end of the year.

The developer has also expanded their offices by an additional 8,000 sqft to accomodate all the new happy faces.


Darkfall : Looking at the First Expansion

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Jon Wood first time Correspondent Jeffery Hargrove writes this look at the first free expansion to Aventurine's controversial MMO, Darkfall Online.

Darkfall Online is an MMORPG developed by Aventurine. On July 10th 2009 they released their first expansion. As a result, I spent the last week and over 36 hours testing it out. Wondering what it’s all about? Just keep reading for the full highlights.

In this expansion, nearly all of the mobs in the game had damage or HP changes to put them more in line with intended difficulty. Considering the number of mob types in the game, this was a huge undertaking that included fixing player skill mechanics, game mechanics, and mob AI to prevent future exploits.

The developers taking a three tiered approach addressing the player skills, the game mechanics, and the AI of mobs was amazing. It also allowed them to address the underlying problem, of players exploiting because mobs were too hard to kill without doing so. A lot of companies take the easy way out, just fixing AI, nerfing skills, or taking away key elements of the game. Aventurine’s three pronged assault has made for a much more enjoyable PvE experience.

Read Looking at the First Expansion

Atlantica Online : and Atlantica Partnership Q&A

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Jon Wood's Joe Iuliani spoke with Product Manager Wook Kim about the announcement early this month that Atlantica Online had partnered with the gaming portal giant.

What prompted the union between NDoors and

Wook Kim:

Well, already enjoyed a good business relationship with NDoors from a previous project. Knowing Atlantica Online is a very well made game, we thought that it would be great to work together again to launch Atlantica Online on to further expand the portal's options.

Read the and Atlantica Partnership Interview

Atlantica Online : Public Test Server

Posted Jul 28, 2009 by Jon Wood

Atlantica Online Product Manager Teddy Kim writes this developer journal detailing the implementation of the game's new public test server.

Atlantica Online

The Atlantica Online development team has drastically loaded the next content patch with new features and game enhancing updates and has created a test server to help the new transition move along more smoothly. This test server was designed to help enhance the QA process in order to deliver patches with fewer bugs and faster than ever before. As careful as we are, we cannot catch every bug during our QA sessions, so opening up patches early will help find bugs that can slip through the QA process. Already launched, we have started letting a select number of players from the North American servers start helping us on July 22nd.

Just to start out, we wanted the program to be relatively small to avoid hitches and any problems that can be encountered when launching a public test server. As it stands now, we will be allowing 150-200 players to access the newest updated content in Atlantica Online to test and provide feedback on. This select group of players will be chosen via the online application as described in our forum. The application is short and to the point, requiring basic information such as you gaming experience. If the process goes well this time around, we hope to eventually open up the test servers to a larger group of players.

Read Public Test Server

Aion : SDCC '09: Two New Trailers

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Two new trailers are available to whet your appetite for the upcoming release of Aion. 

Fresh out of this year's San Diego Comic Con, the first trailer, entitled "Bridge Battle" pulls out all the stops and assails your senses with a flurry of explosive action featuring many players on screen fighting truly massive enemies on both land and in the skies.

The second trailer, entitled "Flaming Demon", does an excellent job at showing off the wildly impressive visual effects and animations available to players in whichever way they choose to do combat.

Check out both trailers here.

Age of Conan : Servers 'Booming' With Activity

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

From the sounds of it, the re-evaluation program has been a success so far.

Erling Ellingsen, Funcoms director of communications reports to

"The results of the campaign are really good with server activity booming, and entire guilds have made their return to the game," said Ellingsen. "The feedback from returning players has been really good so far, and it seems that the game's massive changes since launch is making a big difference for them. We're very excited to see the renewed interest among former players!"


Have you noticed your servers activity pick up since the re-evaluation program commenced? Let us know in the comments!

PlanetSide : Remaining Servers to Merge

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

In an announcement made on the official PlanetSide forums, the Werner server will merge into the Gemini server, bringing the total number of servers down to one. This merger is scheduled to take place on August 25th, 2009.

Naturally, there will be naming conflicts due to the merge and SOE has provided the rules that will apply in these situations. Find them below:

Character Name Conflict Rules

  • Players that have logged in to their characters during the ninety (90) day period immediately preceding the server merge will have priority to their character names.
  • If both players have logged in to their characters during the ninety (90) day period immediately preceding the server merge, priority goes to the player who created the character name first.
  • If neither player has logged in to their characters during the ninety (90) day period immediately preceding the server merge, priority still goes to the player who created the character name first.
  • Characters who are deemed the lower priority duplicate name based on the rules described above will have a "-W" (for Werner characters) or a "-G" (for Gemini) added to the end of their name.
  • Any player who receives the "-W" or "-G" to the end of his or her character name will be able to change his or her name by using the following command in game: /rename
  • There is no deadline for name change completion, but once a name is changed it cannot be changed again.

Reserve, trial and rental accounts that did not convert to a fully paid and entitled subscription prior to August 25, 2009, will have all characters on such accounts deleted, will not be eligible to have characters moved to the Gemini server as part of the server merge, and will no longer have access to characters on those accounts after the server merge (August 25, 2009).

Example of a name conflict: If "Thom" from Werner was created before "Thom" from Gemini, then "Thom" from Werner would remain the same, and "Thom" from Gemini would become "Thom-G" on Gemini.

Outfit Name Conflict Rules

Duplicated outfit names will change similar to duplicated character names.

  • Priority will be given to the outfit name created first. The outfit name created second will be deemed the duplicate name.
  • Outfit names that are deemed to be the duplicate outfit name will have a "-W" (for Werner outfits) or an "-G" (for Gemini outfits) added to the end of their outfit name.
  • Outfits with a duplicate name containing the "-W" or "-G" suffix, will be allowed to change their outfit name. Outfit leaders will be permitted to change the outfit name while in game with the command: /outfitrename
  • There is no deadline for name change completion, but once a name is changed, it cannot be changed again.

The full announcement can be found here.

D&D Online : Subscribers Gain Entry to Closed Beta

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

With the release of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited just around the corner, paying subscribers are now being invited to take part in the ongoing Closed Beta of the game.

Remember, the game is coming out on August 4th for current subscribers, and will be fully released for all on August 6th.

The full announcement is available here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Orion's Belt: Radiance Gear and Raids

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Orion, a developer on The Lord of the Rings Online, addresses the concerns of many with regards to the issue of Radiance gear and raids in this latest update to his blog, "Orion's Belt".

The problem is this: Radiance gear is required for raids, and acquiring that gear requires completing instance Hard Modes, which also happen to have really confusing objectives.

Orion basically took some time out in the blog to state that they fully appreciate and understand this issue now, and it is something they are actively working on sorting out, though he unfortunately isn't able to provide a timetable for these changes.

Go here for the full blog entry.

Age of Conan : Craig Morrison: What's on the Menu?

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Craig Morrison, Game Director on Age of Conan, makes use of restaurant metaphors to illuminate what he feels are some of the challenging aspects of MMOG development in this latest entry to his personal blog.

The entry, entitled "What's on the Menu?" mainly covers the fears that tend to direct the focus of MMOG development, and even the transparency of developers communicating to their customers once a game has gone live. Mr. Morrison hones in on the common practice for many developers to chase the mythical broad audience and please as many people as possible, as opposed to focusing on doing a few things exceptionally well.

According to Mr. Morrison, most games tend to simply do many things adequately, and this doesn't really end up exciting many people in the end. The reasoning behind this pursuit of a broad audience is the desire to not basically turn anyone off to their game before the game even launches.

This is where the restaurant metaphor comes into play: Mr. Morrison asserts that no one would go into a Chinese restaurant expecting Italian food on the menu, and so why should a MMOG need to have everything and appeal to everyone? What's wrong with targeting an audience and executing a great game that fulfills that audiences desires? 

This fear of displeasing customers or potential customers extends into live development as well, with developers being afraid to communicate development priorities to their players because some things are mutually exclusive and so pleasing one group may require completely neglecting another for a certain period of time. What happens if you basically tell a subset of your community that their desires don't fit into the current development priority? Especially when it's a live game and they are essentially paying your bills. They may quit for awhile if you tell them they won't expect attention to X area of the game for another 6 months or so, but if you lead them on and their expectations don't materialize they may quit for good.

Mr. Morrison delves much deeper into this and more, so check out the full entry over at his blog.

APB: Reloaded : Video Podcast: Clothing Customization

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The latest edition of the APB video podcast is out! In the podcast, the folks from Realtime Worlds take us through some of the options available when designing your own clothes for your character in the game.

They also take us a popular clothing shop for advice and hints on designing your own clothes in the game. While we're all gamers, we might not necessarily be fashion designers, so I'm sure the tips will be welcomed by many of you looking to design an awesome looking character in APB!

Check out the full video podcast here!

Star Wars: The Old Republic : IGN's Exhaustive Community Q&A

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Michael Bitton

IGN wasn't kidding when they said they would be taking questions from the community straight to the folks at BioWare, and the results are in. The resulting Q&A numbers 4 pages in length, and contains an assortment of new information and hints. Fielding the questions are senior content producer Dallas Dickinson from BioWare Austin, and Jake Neri, producer at LucasArts.

Some stand-outs below:

On healing:

IGN: A lot of people wanted to know about the healing system. Will The Old Republic use a trinity system; the tank, healer, and the DPS class. Will the healer play a massive role, or will groups be able to go with no healing?

Dallas Dickinson: We want to make sure that we have many, many MMO roles filled there, but it's really important to us that players are able to actually play their experience either as a group or as a solo. So there are a number of ways that healing comes into the game. Several of our classes have healing branches that they can follow that will have some specific healing powers, but we don't want to make it a requirement for the base core game. That said, you're obviously going to be better off, especially when you get into higher-level stuff and into PvP, if you have healers on your side.

Jake Neri: I think we have a unique sort of twist on how healing works. I don't think we're speaking in total detail about it, but I think the people will be excited for it, and it's definitely a unique function of our game.

On space, and customization:

IGN: This is from Mitchell in Texas. I would like to know if you guys are implementing space combat. There are a lot of people asking about space combat, and what type of combat will it be? Will there be dogfights, capital ships? And he says I want to feel like a Star Wars adventurer in the fray, not just another Boba Fett lookalike. Do you guys plan on allowing the player to customize their weapon, armor, and body features with a lot of variety.

Dallas Dickinson: The first one is that we're not talking about space combat yet. The second one is absolutely. We know that customization is a key to MMOs. It's one of the things that players strive for. It's one of the things that makes your gameplay experience unique. Throughout your characters life you're going to be able to find upgrades, you're going to be able to find some custom equipment, so that you will look different, you will feel different. People will be able to identify you by your achievements because they'll say, "Holy cow, you have that helmet. You must have completed this part of the game!" And it'll be a badge of honor.

Some other things covered include the issue of balance between force-wielding and non-force wielding classes, the possibility of player bounties, and more. But mostly, the answers were relatively thin on questions not involving what appears to be the focus for The Old Republic's marketing at the moment: the story.

For the full Q&A, head on over to IGN.

EVE Online : 5 Years of EVE Have Taught Me a Bit.

Posted Jul 27, 2009 by Jon Wood

Prolific blogger Beau Turkey writes this look at EVE Online from his perspective during a five day free offer, his first time back after eight months away from the game.

These are simple comparisons of the good and bad of EVE online. My account turns 5 years old on the 30th, so the "return to EVE for 5 days" gift is a nice birthday present. Thanks to CCP I am exploring space for the first time in 8 months or so.

1) The game continues to evolve: Like any good "older" game ( I can't believe some of us think of the last 10 years as a "long time") it adds layers naturally. Imagine if you started a story today, and it was comprised of one paragraph. After a year or two of adding more paragraphs every week you would have a pretty complex fun little story. That's how EVE is, and every time I return I am surprised by some nice little update or graphical change.

Of course, many of these changes are nothing large enough to change the core game-play, or to really blow you away. Walking around in stations would be such a change, or being able to crew a ship with your friends (yes, I know...the LORE. But screw that. They can change it to make the game more fun.) So, only a veteran player might appreciate the little things.

Maybe wormholes or factional stuff would blow me away, so I will check those out next.

Read 5 Years of EVE Have Taught Me a Bit.

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