Can a Video Game Make You Cry?
Today's youth feel video games will soon equal or surpass other forms of entertainment in emotional impact
Half Moon Bay, Calif.-September 20, 2005 -More than two thirds of all video gamers feel that video games already surpass, or will soon at least equal movies, music and books in delivering an emotional impact, according to a study released today by Bowen Research, a firm that studies consumer attitudes and behavior regarding high tech products, consumer electronics, software and web sites.
"It is striking that young people today look at games as an entertainment medium that surpasses or will equal the more traditional things that touch us deeply, like books, movies, and music," says Hugh Bowen of Bowen Research. "Half of all gamers think conveying emotion is extremely or pretty important which suggests that games which can achieve more of this will be extremely popular."
Role-playing games evoked the most powerful emotions, but despite the explosive growth of multiplayer online role-playing games in recent years, most respondents still feel it is the single player role-playing gaming experience that delivers the greatest emotional punch. The next two most emotional genres are first-person shooters, followed closely by action games. Flying games and flight simulators ranked lowest on the emotional scale.
While "competitiveness" ranked as the top feeling conveyed by games, it's interesting that "honor/loyalty/integrity," "awe and wonder" and "delight" also were mentioned frequently.
Respondents overwhelmingly cited the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games from Square Enix as the most emotionally rich games, and the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII was the scene many people said made them cry.
More information about the study can be found at www.bowenresearch.com.
About Bowen Research
Bowen Research has specialized in the young male market, studying interactive entertainment and high tech products, since 1992.
Final Fantasy is a registered trademark of Square Enix.
City of Villains and City of Heroes announces a new contest, and what kind of contest would be more appropriate to this particular franchise than a costume contest! Dress up like a deeply disturbed super-villain for a chance to win prizes!
In celebration of the much anticipated release of City of Villains™, and as a follow-up to our hugely successful hero contest of the same sort last year...we proudly present the City of Archvillains Halloween Costume Contest!
Every hero has a nemesis, an archvillain that complicates and threatens his world. And what better time than Halloween to indulge in some wicked fun! We want you to reach into the dark side of the mirror and come up with that perfect evil counter-part to your hero. The malicious yin to your heroic yang. Winners will be awarded exciting prizes, including a Sony 32-inch HD TV, Apple iPod 4GB Nanos 4GB, Tivo® DVR's and more!
For complete contest information, please visit our official City of Archvillains Costume Contest Page.
For more on City of Heroes, click here.
Cryptic Studios Hires Clarinda Merripen as Vice President of Operations
Los Gatos, Calif. – September 20, 2005 – Cryptic Studios, Inc., developers of the highly successful massively multiplayer online game City of Heroes™, today announced that Clarinda Merripen has joined the company as Vice President of Operations.
“As Cryptic continues to grow, I want to ensure it remains a great place to work,” said Michael Lewis, Cryptic’s CEO. “Clarinda’s passion and expertise for games and operations is a unique combination that will help us make that happen.”
“Two areas in the game industry are growing faster than any other: MMOs and Operations,” said Merripen. “Cryptic’s kind invitation allows me the opportunity to do both as well as working with the most dynamic, innovative people in the industry.”
Merripen has coordinated finance, information systems, human resources and facilities at Cyberlore Studios by bringing its guiding principles into play. Her specialty is incorporating strategic influences into everyday activities. In her eight years at Cyberlore, she has been actively involved in the growth of the management group, the creation of a solid technical infrastructure, and shepherding the company into a dynamic and constructive human resource policy. Additionally, she is an active member of the game industry at large focusing on two issues: business operations and increasing the female market share. For the last several years, she has spoken at the national Game Developer’s Conference, World Science Fiction in Boston and Women’s Game Developer conference in Austin. She actively contributes to Game Developer Magazine and is a member of the IGDA committees for Business, and Quality of Life as well as the Women in Game Development and Human Resource Special Interest Groups. She was also featured in the July 25th issue of Red Herring.
Cryptic Studios released the award winning City of Heroes in 2004 and is currently hard at work on its companion game, City of Villains, due out October 31st 2005.
Vendetta Online has recently been through a somewhat troublesome New Version Update. The update, which was scheduled to happen last Wednesday the 14th of September, didn't take place until the 16th. That being said, the developers were kind enough to give us a look at what we could expect from the update:
As it stands right now, the new NPC traders are allocated to a set number of trade routes that exist in the universe: point-to-point routes between a pair of given stations. The routes begin with a certain "threat" level, and the traders attempt their trade run. If pirated, the "threat" level will be increased on the given trade route, and more escorts will be allocated per NPC trader on successive attempts.
For more info on Vendetta Online, click here.
RF online is holding a tournament for it's closed Beta testers. The tournament itself is a gauntlet battle / PvP tournament and will be held on September 23rd. Recently, RF Online have released a set of strict rules that will govern this tournament:
RF ONLINE CLOSED BETA TOURNAMENT
This is a combination gauntlet battle / PVP tournament to be held on Sept. 23, 2005
HOW TO JOIN:
There are two rounds, the Intra-Racial Strike Gauntlet and the Tactical Three-way Time Attack.
In the Intra-Racial Strike Gauntlet, teams with the same race must compete with each other to kill 10 level 30 NPC warriors of the enemy race within the shortest amount of time. The GM will summon them to the tournament area where upon his or her command, the time will start.
The players then have to kill 10 random level 30 NPC warriors belonging to the opposing races in the least amount of time. They will be released in two waves of 5 NPCs each. The team that does this in the least amount of time qualifies for the Tactical Three Way Time Attack.
In the Tactical Three Way time attack, teams will be pitted in a PVP match against 2 other teams of different races. Game Development GMs will be joining each team and will add all members of the party to his or her buddy list and will not attack. The objective is to kill the GM of the enemy race within 30 minutes OR kill all members of the opposing team.
Members who die in the battle must remain in HQ. If a member leaves the HQ, then the team is disqualified.
If a GM is killed, the GM will summon all surviving members of the team back to their race HQ. These players may continue to fight until summoned. If all players on the team are killed, the GM will automatically teleport back to HQ.
If an outside player interferes with the tournament, or approaches the tournament area, the account will be banned.
The team with the last GM standing wins the CLOSED BETA TOURNAMENT.
For more info on RF Online, click here.
Tulga Games, the makers of Horizons: Empire of Istaria, are doing their part to acknowledge the men and women of the United States military and their families. The offer will allow more than one family member to play the game at the same time, an ability that most accounts do not have.
What is this program about?
Tulga Games recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the men and women who have volunteered to be part of the United States military. We would like to show our support and acknowledge their contribution and sacrifice through a program for military personnel and their families.
Starting September 19th, 2005, all Horizons: Empire of Istaria accounts created using the .mil email address used by military personnel and families will have a second CD key added to the account for free. This allows you to play Horizons with another family member together at the same time on one account. We hope that this will allow military families to play Horizons together, giving them a family-friendly environment where they can meet, talk and play together over the Internet.
For more information on Horizons, click here.
Nathan Knaack returns for his bi-weekly developer journal exclusively here on MMORPG.com. This week he looks at "opportunity" and how it pertains to Rapid Reality's game The Chronicle.
| I attack you and hit for 22 damage. You attack me and hit for 17 damage. I attack you and miss. You attack me and critically hit for 34 damage. I attack you...
Does the above exchange sound familiar? It probably does, because that’s the way combat works in just about every MMORPG on the market today. In reality, combat is a complex dance of subtle maneuvers, split-second perceptions, and exploiting opportunities, which is why most RPG battles seem so sterile and monotonous by contrast. It’s tough to get excited about a match of dueling calculators, but one of the things The Chronicle is attempting to do is add a new dimension to RPG style combat, putting more emphasis on strategy and timing than just clicking auto attack to find out who has the best damage per second and hit points.
You can read his full article here.
Thank you to Simutronics for making this possible!
iGames Unleashes Stellar Showcase For The Acclaimed Online Golf Game Shot-Online
Jerseyville, IL - September, 19 2005 iGames, the champion for game centers and connected gamers the world over, has announced they are teaming up with OnNet Co, Ltd. the developer of the successfully launched and acclaimed massively multiplayer online golf game, Shot-Online, to present a showcase for Shot-Online. The Showcase will take place from September 19 to October 2 at participating iGames game centers across North America.
The two-week Showcase allows online golf gamers to experience one free hour of Shot-Online and an in-game enhancement item available only to iGames game center visitors during the course of the Showcase.
The Showcase promotion will give new and veteran players alike an opportunity to experience the unique balance of accurate golfing simulation and role-playing game in a community environment. The simulation aspect of Shot-Online is enhanced by a proprietary physics engine for golf ball dynamics and interaction with the eight challenging and varied golf courses that populate the game. Bright and bold 3D graphics and smooth-as-silk animation enhance the realism of Shot-Online as a simulation. Through role-playing in Shot-Online, characters can advance in levels and grow in skill and capability through training, and quests and other community events are available to players for even more depth.
Shot-Online, for Windows/PC systems, is available online for free download at the official website. Shot-Online offers absolutely FREE play without time or play limits; however, with monthly membership packages, loaded with extra value and perks, players can tap the fullest potential of the game.
Sean Hong, the CEO of OnNet said that "I think this co-promotion is very important because we can have chance to meet U.S. gamers directly and get their feedbacks. I'm considering game center as a important marketing channel for Shot-Online"
For a complete list of iGames game centers hosting the premier and other upcoming iGames events, including signup details, visit: [this site]. To find out more details about Shot-Online and all the latest news about the game and the Showcase details at iGames game centers, please visit the official Shot-Online website.
iGames, Inc. offers a wide range of services to help independent and franchised game centers. iGames' mission is to promote and develop the growth of the game center industry. Its services unite game centers with the goal of establishing them as the driving force enabling the interactive entertainment industry to become the number one form of entertainment around the world. iGames has established strong relationships with industry leaders to provide a wide variety of products, services and programs to member game centers and gamers including software licensing, hardware discounts, exclusive game premiers, tournaments, and leagues. Today the company counts well over 500 centers and 45,000 gamers, initiating and co-organizing more than 200 events a year. To learn more about iGames, go to www.igames.org.
About OnNet Co., Ltd
Founded in 1996, OnNet Co., Ltd is at the epicenter of the ongoing online revolution, leading with its Internet community services and solutions, and is playing a significant role in helping companies reinforce the value of their online services. OnNet Entertainment is the developer and operator behind the online golfing game, Shot-Online. For more information about OnNet Co., Ltd, visit http://www.onnetusa.com.
Better late than never! Today we offer up our review of Dark Age of Camelot's first expansion pack: Shrouded Isles. Why so late? Well, we've just recently begun the review of expansions and in an effort to help you make informed choices are going to go back and review all the major ones. We begin as Chris Massey (no relation to myself) reviews Shrouded Isles.
| The Reaver and Necromancer classes were new to Albion. Reavers are a hybrid of sorts offering a melee character with some interesting spell choices, relying mainly on debuffs, lifetaps and the new flexible weapons, and are limited to chain. The Necromancer class, on the other hand, is a pet class which relies solely on his or her pet to survive. While the pet is alive, the Necromancer is an ethereal shade, but if the pet is destroyed, the Necromancer becomes visible with a bare minimum of hit points, and is easily destroyed.
The Valewalker and Animist classes were new to Hibernia. The Animist is a unique pet class in that he or she can summon various types of plants, from “turrets” to “bombers,” instead of typical pets. The Valewalker, on the other hand, is a hybrid tank limited to cloth, but capable of casting powerful self-buffing spells making the cloth much more powerful. Valewalkers also specialize in the large Scythe as a main weapon.
Lastly, Midgard picked up the Bonedancer and the Savage classes. The Bonedancer is another pet class, but he or she can create an army of pets, depending on the Bonedancer’s level. The player only controls the commander of the army, the size of which is limited to three pets at the highest levels. The other pets follow and assist the commander. Conversely, the Savage is a furious hand-to-hand fighter who exchanges hit points for buffs of every sort, from evades attacking speed, and makes for a high-DPS light tank.
You can read his full review here.
Frank Ross of Black Masque Games is the latest person to take part in our developer profile Q&A series. His project, Dark Solstice, is known for its unique presentation and Frank shows where it gets it from as he goes the extra mile for this Q&A.
|MMORPG.com: You have what many would consider a dream job. What is your favorite part of it?
Frank Ross: The description is exactly right, a dream job. In fact it doesn’t really feel like a job. When you look forward each day to making some headway on the game, it makes starting the day enjoyable. When you really enjoy what you are doing, the job becomes so much more satisfying.
I think there are many parts that are great fun but here are a few that stand out. I myself have little artistic ability but when our talented artists make images come to life that were only a rough concept, it makes my day. We are fortunate to have some very creative people using their gift to create the world of Dark Solstice. You have seen the results thus far and from the early comments, it seems their efforts will be a hit. So, as I watch the world get created, I know this is my favorite part. I admit there are times when I simply stare at the artwork or go back to view it again and again.
Aside from the artwork, I really enjoy creating the concepts for Dungeons and Quests. All of us here feel that there is a lot of latitude for creativity in these two areas, and we think that Dark Solstice will offer some unique approaches to both.
You can read the full interview here.
As usual, the folks over at EverQuest II have taken some of the more interesting tidbits from their forums and put them together in one, simple package.
Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Treasure Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Treasure Chest!
Live Update #13 was a fairly significant update resulting in a number of changes. As a result of this update, the people over at SOE have released even more information with "EverQuest II Combat Art and Spell Highlights".
In Live Update #13, we introduced significant changes to the EverQuest II combat system. Last week, we gave you an idea of the overall goals and changes made to combat in the EverQuest II Combat Changes feature. In this article, we take a closer look at how some of the abilities have changed for each class and how to integrate them with your play style. Utilizing the tactics and knowledge within and combining that with in-game experimentation and ability analysis will lead to success with your character.
Combat Arts: Intervene (6), Intercept (20), Intercede (34)
Combat Art: Rescue (25)
Stances: Offensive and Defensive
For more information on EQII, click here.
This weekend, we told you that Pirates of the Burning Sea would make an announcement regarding something that rhymed with "feta". Well today, Flying Lab Software have given us the answer to their "cryptic" riddle as they announced the opening of registration for their upcoming beta testing. The game, which is slated to release this winter, will begin it's play testing on an un-specified date this fall.
Apply For Our Beta Test Now!
Set in the Caribbean in 1720, Pirates of the Burning Sea is a game of naval combat and conquest. Pirates, navy officers, and adventurers explore a world of danger, glory, and intrigue, fighting it out in real-time tactical naval battles. Every player is the captain of a ship right from the start, facing the challenges of a region in conflict. Britain, France, Spain, and the pirates go to war over the ports of their rivals in a strategic server-wide competition while individual players pursue their own destinies.
Online gaming sites Gamespot and IGN recently previewed the game, with Gamespot noting "it's the naval combat in Pirates of the Burning Sea that makes it vastly different from that of most online role-playing games" while IGN hailed it as "one of the bolder moves I've seen in the MMO world."
To sign up for the beta test program, gamers can go to:
For more information on Pirates of the Burning Sea, click here.
The Saga of Ryzom developers have unveiled the brand new logo for their full-featured expansion pack, "Ryzom Ring". The expansion itself aims to provide the game's players with some of the tools of the developers. Gamers will be given access to the game's creatures, buildings and almost everything else that they could possibly need to make their own events and scenarios. Needless to say, this is an interesting concept which was first announced at this year's E3. Ryzom Ring has it's own website up and running and can be found here.
Below, please find the brand new logo as well as an excerpt from a fictional, player-made scenario which can also be seen here. Also making an appearance on the expansion's website are developer diaries 1, 2, 3, and 4 which were originally released exclusively here at MMORPG.com.
'Bandits!' as a Scenario Example by Sadge (2005.September.15)
This article describes one possible player-made 'adventure' scenario for the Ryzom Ring. If you are new to this series of articles, The Ryzom Ring, also known as R², is the groundbreaking new extension for Nevrax’s science fantasy massively multiplayer role-playing game, The Saga of Ryzom.
In past articles, we’ve described some of the tools and processes that Ryzom players will be able to use to build their adventures; in this one, we’ll look how such an adventure might be played out and the challenges a player/designer might face.
Frank is using a Bandit Camp 'Component' as the key element in his scenario ('Components' are complete scripted game systems that can be dropped into a scenario with a couple of mouse clicks). By using a series of Bandit Camps that all share certain behaviour traits, Frank is hoping to make his scenario fun and easy to understand for his player friends.
In order to make the most of the number of creatures that he's allowed to use at a time, Frank has opted to break his scenario up into a number of 'acts' (the concept of 'acts' is explained below). The first and last acts take place in one land map, where the scenario's hero lives. The other three acts each provide a different challenge with one or two bandit camps to deal with on a different map...
Today is a day of posting over at the official Runescape site. They have posted not one, but two changes to their game. Both seem to be in place to improve the gaming experience.
First, the developers have announced a new "Massive Mini Game" known as "The TzHaar Fight Pit":
Beneath the Karamja volcano there lies a hidden city, inhabited by strange mysterious creatures known as TzHaar.
While they're normally secretive creatures they have decided, for reasons best known to themselves, to open up part of their city to outsiders. Dare you take on the might of the TzHaar Fight Pits?
Access to this area can be found via the Karamja volcano dungeon.
This new underground city includes:
The TzHaar Fight Pit
Following the success of our Castle Wars update last year, we have decided to make another player versus player combat minigame. To give players more variety, this is a somewhat different formula to Castlewars, with less focus on the team tactics and more on the me versus the world style of gameplay. The objective in the pit is simple Kill or be killed. Last one standing wins. If death does not flow freely enough for your TzHaar spectators they will hurry things along, so dont spend too much time guarding your friends - eventually you'll find they turn on you or face the wrath of the TzHaar.
Although dying in the city itself will still mean normal death, dying in the fight pits themselves is exactly the same as dying in Castle Wars (no item loss and no deathtrip to Lumbridge), so you have no excuse not to visit! Try out the fight pits today!
Runescape has also advanced the cause of MMO gaming feeling more and more like real life, as players will now be able to have the added security of a PIN number when doing in-game banking. The goal for this feature is the same as the goal of real-world banks; to give added security to it's patrons.
The Bank of RuneScape is launching its new Bank PIN system today. Customers may ask for a 4-digit security number to be set on their bank accounts. If they do, they will be required to enter this number before they can remove items from their banks (but they shouldn't have to enter it more than once in each login session). This is intended to provide a little extra protection for players' items if their RuneScape accounts get stolen.
Please note, this feature is available to free and member accounts.
Customers interested in the Bank PIN system must read the Bank PIN FAQ page before trying to set a PIN.
For more information on RuneScape, click here.
The Dark & Light website is now offering a new story, highlighting the plight of the race known as the half-elf. From the eyes of a half-elven woman named "Leyfea", the Gnomish Bard, Pildor spins a tale:
[APOSTLES] LEYFEA - by Elhavius
Half-Elves aren’t the most enjoyable people: self-satisfaction, often encountered in Human populations, may sometimes mix with High-Elf presumptuousness and give the strangest results. To cut a long story short, this cocktail sometimes gives birth to people whose modesty isn’t their best quality.
Leyfea was that kind of girl: on ordinary days, she had the foul temper of a wild sow; needless to describe the days when she was in a bad mood. The thing is, nature had given her the build of Humans, and the grace of Elves: morally speaking, she was a pest, but physically speaking, she looked awesome.
To read the story of Leyfea, click here.
The folks over at Turbine and Dungeons and Dragons Online have released the 19th in their series of monster profiles. These profiles give potential players an opportunity to learn a little bit of something about the kinds of monsters that they will be facing when this much-anticipated franchise game finally launches.
Should you encounter an ice flenser in the midst of your explorations into the dungeons of Xen'drik, flee. Flee immediately before your feet are encased in ice, and do not cease running until you are well away from the creature - or at least have a few companions lagging behind between you and it.
Quite seriously, the ice flenser represents a threat that most adventurers have no ability to deal with. The ice flenser is supremely difficult to kill, like all of its powerful demonic kin, and simultaneously demonstrates powerful and damaging attacks that lead to a quick end. Should you face the creature in combat, you must overcome its damage reduction with blessed weapons of cold iron and its resistance to many forms of energy attack. Then you must deal with its punishing reign of claws encased in chilling ice, which are backed by a strength greater than that of a hill giant. Worse yet, rumors abound that the ice flenser itself is not above summoning help of its own when it is threatened...
So, heedless of these warnings, you've heard of an ice flenser and are going to do your best to destroy it. Once your accounts are settled and your will is written, my advice is to rely on only the few tools that have proven successful in the past. If you don't have access to the weapons the creature is vulnerable to, then your fighters must simply intimidate and distract the creature while you pound it with fire spell after fire spell. If the
For More information on Dungeons and Dragons Online, click here.
Guild Wars has released it's 59th "Fansite Friday". This week, they asked a number of fansites to collect questions from their readers. The developers then compiled the questions, answered them, and posted the answers back on their site in hopes of answering the largest number of fan questions:
This week's Fansite Friday interview involves nearly 20 Guild Wars fansites. Each site staff collected dozens, sometimes hundreds of questions, and then submitted what they felt were the best and most pressing questions to us for our response. We in turn sorted the questions for popularity and immediacy, and in some cases, we combined several into a single question. We hope you'll enjoy!
When will the Guild Wars Ladder be reset? Will the ladder reset also involve the resetting of Fame and Rank for individual players?
The ladder will be reset in order to establish a level playing field for significant Guild Wars events such as tournaments. That is to say, we don’t plan to simply randomly reset the ladder. Instead we will make sure that the timing is appropriate and the reasoning sound, which would be the case when the resets are made in connection with these major events. You may have noted that we haven’t yet announced the details of a global Guild Wars tournament, but you can be sure we’re going to be supplying those details in a formal announcement in the near future. As to Fame and Rank, they are both marks of personal achievement and will not be affected by a guild ladder reset.
To read all of the myriad of questions and answers, click here.
Lots of new information for us this Monday over at Blizzard's World of Warcraft website. Not only are we getting a brand new contest, but they're also giving us a look at their Realm Types Page.
The contest, which is being presented by the movie "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", asks players to create wanted posters depicting their most hated baddy. Yup. We're talkin' Good 'ol fashioned western-type wanted posters:
Greetings, fellow Azerothians. We here at the RPSA bring you news of the direst nature. Criminals, ninja-looters, and raid wipers have been showing up in increased numbers all over the world. It's time someone did something about it, and we charge you, the adventurers of Azeroth, with that task! What we need are talented artists to create Wanted posters depicting their arch nemeses, kodo thieves, two-headed ninja-looters, or any monster or character that has otherwise gotten on their last nerve.
Some of you might be afraid to speak up and name these ne'er-do-wells, but don't panic. This contest is presented by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and five winners will receive the fantastic prize package listed here. Interested? Click the button below to read the official rules, and start snitching!
Prize Package includes:
In other WoW news, the folks over at Blizzard Europe have updated their New Realm Types Page. This page provides a fairly comprehensive guide to all of the varying and different Realms that players have to choose from in WoW. Here is a sample:
With millions of people playing World of Warcraft, it is simply impossible for everyone to play together in the same place. This is the reason why the different "realms" were created. A realm is a game world that exists only for the few thousands of players within it. Each realm is an exact copy of the game world with one exception: the player characters there are tied to that particular realm. You can interact with all the players on your realm but you cannot interact with players on other realms. Characters also cannot normally move between realms.
Each realm is defined by its name (like Burning Legion) and its realm type (see below). Choosing your realm is the very first decision you will have to make before playing World of Warcraft. In any case, you can speak with, search for, and group only with other players that have created characters of the same faction (Horde or Alliance) and on the same realm as you. If you encounter players of the opposite faction on your realm, you can battle against them or try to ignore them...
MMOLands has given us a look at some of the updates that came into being as of Saturday night:
Hello everyone, have some Sunday afternoon news for you all! Firstly you will notice that the safe zones have made their return! If you notice any missing safe zones please let us know via the forums and we will get back to negotiations with them to start doing their job again.
For more information on Endless Ages or any other MMOLands game, click here.