This week, in the second part of a continuing developer journal series, Jumpgate Evolution Lead Producer Hermann Peterscheck gives us an earful on the graphics of the game.
We sometimes hear people talk about how graphics don’t matter. I have often been confused by this statement. What does it really mean? Taken at face value would mean that a game is merely a series of rules and the visual representation of those rules is irrelevant. What it really means though, I think, is that making a game look attractive is an extra that does not substantially contribute to the game. I may be a bit biased, but I really don’t think that this is true. Even thinking about an ancient game, such as chess; the graphics in chess are the quality and material of the board and pieces. It is also the theme that the chess pieces have. There is a reason that there are thousands of different themed, sizes, colors and materials used in chess boards and the reason is that graphics contribute to the experience of the game.
Read the whole article here.
While the average MMO has a tutorial that will teach MMO savvy people how to play, many of the currently released games don't take new players into account, new players who have never played an MMO before and who might find our worlds confusing.
Well, it's Saturday, which means that I'm supposed to sit down and spout off about some of the things that have happened this week. The problem is, this week, with the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States, has been a little bit slow. Fortunately for me, I've been able to put some of that time to good use and I installed my copy of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa.
There's a full review coming soon from Laura Genender, so I'm not even going to pretend that this is anything close to a review, as I've only played the game for a few hours. Still though, there are a couple of points that I'd like to make:
This first point isn't really Tabula Rasa specific and I often feel this way whenever I start a new MMO. WTF is up with tutorials these days? I mean, granted, they're perfectly adequate introductions to the games. In fact, in Tabula Rasa, I thought that the opening quests did a fantastic job of teaching you how to do all of the things in TR that are different from most MMOs. Heck, I was even entertained as I learned more about the post-apocalyptic universe that Sarah Morrison introduced us to in the opening cinematic (golden, by the way). The beef that I have with opening tutorials is that there's an assumed knowledge there of previous MMOs.
Read it all here.
IGG has released an overview of the class system in Angels Online, which includes a brief description of each of the game's classes.
Priest This class has the most potent healing spells, defensive spells, as well as assistance spells and can wear cloth armor to improve their defense.
Summoner This class has the most potent curse spells and summoning spells and can wear Cloth Armor to improve their defense.
Necromancer Committed to studying chaos spells. Good at using destructive spells. They can wear Cloth Armor.
Magician Committed to studying earth spells that contain temptation and transmutability magic. Possess relatively strong melee combat abilities too. They can wear Cloth Armor.
Warrior Good at using an axe to deal an excellent amount of melee damage. They can wear plate armor as well. They are the tanks of the battle field.
Swordsman Good at sword skills and able to deal an immense amount of damage in a short period of time. This class can wear Plate Armor.
Spearman Good at spear skills and can dish out an excellent amount of ranged damage. This class can wear Plate Armor.
Archer Good at long bow skills and ranged attacks and can deal damage to enemies from a very long distance. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Weapon Craftsman Good at forging metal weapons, digging for ore, lumbering and controlling robots. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Armor Craftsman They are famous for forging light and heavy armor, collecting, lumbering and controlling robots. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Tailor Good at forging mages robes and warriors cloth armor, collecting, fishing, and controlling robots. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Technician Good at developing robot accessories and forging ornaments and staves. This class is also adept at collecting, lumbering, and controlling robots. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Chef Good at cooking nutritious food which improves abilities. This class is also adept at collecting, fishing, and controlling robots. This class can wear Leather Armor.
Read more about Angels Online here.
IGG has released information on Desert City, another of the important cities in Zu Online and birthplace of 3 of the 5 clans in Zu.
Zu Online, the new 3D MMORPG game from IGG has amazed tons of gamers with its unique game experience. Below is the introduction to another important city of Zu, prepared by the staff at IGG to help players become more familiar with the world of Zu Online.
Desert City is the birthplace of 3 of the 5 clans in Zu, so it has an especially important role to play as a base of operations for these clans and their leaders. The clans based here include the Summoner clan, the Moonmaiden clan and the Sun Warrior clan.
Purple Fire Hall, Moon Castle, Swallow Peak, Splendor Peak and the Soul-store Cliff are all important places in Desert City. An NPC called the High Summoner in Purple Fire Hall is the Summoners’ leader. Summoners can learn skills from their leader, and he can also help Summoners upgrade their skills. Behind the High Summoner is Lord Daluo, a very important NPC, because players can accept the “Pass Calamity” quest from him when they pass level 60. There is also an auctioneer on each side of the High Summoner, and they can help players deposit items that are not being used, or players can sell unused items to them as well. Another important NPC called Wushan lives in Moon Castle and plays an important role in the Moonmaiden faction. Players can upgrade their skills and learn skills from her. The Sun Warriors’ leader Xaotato lives in Swallow Peak, and Sun Warriors can upgrade their skills and learn skills from him.
Read more here.
This week in his MMOWTF column, Dan Fortier takes on the subject of pre-orders and whether or not we should be paying for them.
When we were little kids our parents would do their best to keep us from harm. They would yell “Hot!” if you tried to climb the fireplace or make you leave the kitchen if your tried to juggle the carving knives. Some things though can only be learned by experience and I don’t mean levels. Some people have to total their car before they learn to not drive like a manic, while others may require ten stitches before realizing that your bedspread is NOT a good substitute for a parachute. Pre-ordering an MMO may not be as dangerous as anything described above, but it can still be a great way to learn a lesson the hard way. This week the doctor is in and Pre-Orders are prepped and ready for surgery. Nurse! Scalpel and lots of Gauze!
Paying for a game before you get it is not a new concept. People have been pre-ordering things since cavemen would trade a small pebble to make sure they got the first dibs on the first fire stick before anyone else. Nowadays, pre-ordering an MMO usually involves some kind of gimmick or benefit that the folks who wait to read the reviews don’t get. It’s about as clever as those commercials that play all night long that tell you get a discount if you call in the next 15 minutes. What’s so wrong with paying more to get an edge over others you ask?
Read MMOWTF here.
The Age of Conan official site has been updated with their regular Friday Feature, bring tidings of Beta and tests of the Capture the Flag PvP mini-game, improvements to the official site including an RSS feed and a Community Survey to harness Conan fan's "almost unnatural love for taking surveys."
The most commonly asked question is "What's going on with beta?!"
So, with that in mind, we'll have some beta news, some website news, and some other news.
As to the beta, there was a huge new patch (several gigabytes) just a few days ago that added tons of new content and improvements to the game. We'd say more, but that would break our NDA and we'd be thrown out of our own beta. ;)
To celebrate, we've done two things.
First, we sent out a wave of several thousand beta invites earlier this week. This takes care of the first round of forum veterans that had not yet received their beta invite, as well as other upstanding (or lucky) individuals. These join the thousands already careening around Hyboria killing Picts, exploring dark dungeons, and sending us lots of bug reports.
Read more here.
Community Manager Laura Genender take a look at an MMORPG.com forum thread that asks the question: "Why do MMO companies think they can charge monthly for a beta game?"
This week on the forums, user Netzoko posed a question to his fellow MMOers. "Why do MMO companies think they can charge monthly for a beta game?" From Vanguard to Tabula Rasa, users are clamoring for polished, high end game play, well-done tutorials and so much more. The frustration in this thread is nearly palpable.
"Under no circumstance should a company think they can sell a half-assed product and get paid while they fix it," stated Netzoko. "To be honest, monthly fees are a rip-off anyway. Multiplayer games like GW, Diablo 2, and tons of FPS games profit who provide dedicated servers for FREE. Yet, games like Tabula Rasa charge an initial fee, plus a monthly fee for a game that should still be in alpha? It's an utter insult to all gamers that some people actually pay for this garbage."
First of all, the practical - it's not a insult to anyone, nor is it meant to be; MMOs are a product and for all that we become attached to them, we must remember that they take money to make and they're made to make money. With the large feature sets we demand in today's MMOs - stunning graphics, sandbox world, etc - developers are overshooting their budgets; when a game is out of money, my friends, it has to launch or scrap.
Read the whole thing here.
There's new raid content on the way for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes with the upcoming Game Update 3. The update will see the addition of the much talked about Ancient Port Warehouse, and a wilderness raid in the Overlands. SOE has today released some of the backstory for the raid in the Overlands, detailing Jagund the Wavebreaker and the Prime Warden of the Nusibe Necropolis.
"For almost a thousand years, Jagund, the Wavebreaker, has ruled the northern sea of Thestra . No ship has passed without his allowance, and all have either paid their dues, or been offered as sacrifice to the depths. Deadly sirens hunt the northern sea with impunity, offering up their spoils to Jagund as tribute in return for his protection.
In the aftermath of the sacking of Targonor by the Cartheons, the sirens fell upon those ships foolish enough to flee into the northern sea. Dozens of ships were lulled into the rocks and sunk, their crews carried off by the sirens while their treasures were heaped as offerings to Jagund. Among the treasures was Vaisa's Horn, a relic of great power.
Vaisa, the spirit of the deep waters, had long ago gifted the Horn to the Sages Arcane to protect the humans' ships from Sihari's wrath. Finding the Horn amongst the wreckage of a Sages Arcane ship, Jagund came to realize it was he, not Sihari, who could control the sea.
For twenty years the Horn was thought lost by the Sages Arcane, returned to the depths from whence it came. Now, Jagund's possession of the Horn has come to the attention of the Sages. The siren Licosea brings news of Jagund's newfound mastery over the seas, and the growing army of the deep at his command. Jagund must be stopped and the Horn recovered, or the tides of war will sweep all of Thestra away."
Read more here.
New EVE Gear added to White Wolf Online StoreOpportunity rarely knocks twice. Inevitably, we lose focus only to wake up in a cloning vat. If you missed Fanfest, and want to pick up our killer EVE Online swag, the White Wolf Online Store is at your disposal. Snap out of it pilot! Navigate to the online store for some EVE-centric gear including flash drives, magnets and bottle openers.
Read more here.
In our continuing look at the developers behind Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea, Jon Wood asks questions of the game's Producer, John Tynes.
Your website, http://www.johntynes.com/, lists some of your credits and you've worked on projects in many different mediums, Film, Non-Fiction, Fiction, Board & Cards games, etc. How is working on an MMO different from this?John Tynes:
Very, very different. I'm running a project with 75 people working on it full time and that's a pretty incredible experience all its own. I love working on collaborative projects and having so many insanely talented people doing great work day in and day out is just a blast.
The biggest difference between MMOs and most everything else I've worked on is that you are constantly trying to second-guess the audience. There are a lot more players than there are game developers and they're really, really smart. So designing for an MMO is a lot of two steps forward, one step back, since every cool idea you come up with is always full of exploits and griefing problems and you have to adjust to work around those issues. At the same time we need to keep the cool ideas cool and fun, even though we have to file off the sharp edges and cover them in padding to prevent players from hurting themselves or others on our game!
Check out the whole Q&A here.
Codemasters has announced that Archlord players will benefit from double experience and double drops starting Friday and continuing until Monday afternoon.
Codemasters are pleased to announce that all players will be able to benefit from a Double Drop and Double Experience weekend from 1.30pm Friday 23/11/07 until 1pm Monday 26/11/07 on all worlds.
This is a huge opportunity for players of all levels to make some big steps forward with their characters. Whether you just want to gain levels, build up some money or hunt for rare drops this event is a great chance to do it.
As always the Chantra store will be open enabling players to experiment and find ways of using the Chantra item and double drop/experience event to the maximum of potential.
Read more here.
The folks over at Metin 2 have announced a few new additions to their item mall, including scrolls that add new powers to your weapons, and a gender change scroll that reverses the gender of characters of level 40 and up.
Are you interested in living life as a member of the opposite sex? In Metin2 the impossible becomes a reality with the long-awaited release of the "Gender Change Scroll".
Use this item on any character that is level 40 or above and you will be able to switch a character from Male -> Female and from Female -> Male.
*This scroll may only be used once every three days and is not available to characters who are engaged or married.
The Blacksmith's secrets are waiting to be discovered in the Item Mall. Two new scrolls have been released can unleash hidden abilities in your weapons and armor!
The "Enchant Scroll" adds one ability to your equipment. These abilities are randomly assigned and up to four abilities may be added to an item with "Enchant Scrolls".
The "Enchant Change Scroll" is a powerful item that randomly changes the existing abilities of an item. If an item has more than one ability, all abilities will be randomly changed.
Read more here.
The upcoming Lego MMO, Lego Universe has a new site, offering progress updates, forums, polls, and more.
Greetings LEGO® Universe Co-Creators! While we are hard at work creating LEGO Universe the upcoming massive multiplayer online game, we have created a special site to keep you up-to-date on our progress! This month, check out our very cool Behind the Scenes feature, take a Quick Poll and read the Progress Log. We know there are still a lot of special features you guys would love to see… crushmaster asks for “interviews” and “about” features, trailers and game pix, while wa200717 wants us to post answers to questions asked on the message board.
Stay tuned, because in the coming months we will continue to add more content and special features to the site. We’re making LEGO Universe for YOU, so please be sure to keep the helpful and original input flowing! Stay informed on the new site www.legouniverse.com!
Read more here.
IGG has announced that they will be holding an event in Myth War Online that is designed to encourage players to be kind to new players, where GMs will pose as newbies and reward players who give them help.
MythWar, a classic MMORPG game from IGG continues to be very popular with players. In order to help the endless stream of newbies entering the Myth War world, the MW team will be holding the “Be Friendly to Newbies” activity.
Event Duration: 0:00 Server Time Nov 21 -- 24:00 Server Time Dec 10
Event Contents: GMs will disguise themselves as a newbie and ask newbie questions in world chat. Players should answer politely with the correct answer, and GMs will take down their IDs silently if they are ideal candidates. These players that GMs select can gain their rewards from the GMs at the end of the event.
Rewards: 50 integrals for each correct, polite answer, 1 Awesome Egg or 1 Devil Egg or 1 Miraculous Egg for helping to do the quest for Skills III & IV.
Read more here.
IGG has announced details of their Thanksgiving activity, which involves hunting down turkeys for fun and profit.
Here is some good news for VCO (http://vc.igg.com) players! A Turkey Hunting activity will be held in game to celebrate Thanksgiving Day!
Event Duration: Nov 21st until Nov 30th
The GM is looking for turkeys, because he wants to have a plump roasted bird ready on Thanksgiving Day. Players who can find the turkey the GM wants can obtain big rewards.
To obtain necessary activity items:
- At the beginning of the activity, an NPC will sell the turkey’s favorite food (1.5million) and Pet First Aid Bags (1 million). So all participants should buy these items. (Items cannot be traded, discarded, or mailed.)
- Players can also exchange Item Mall Credits for the items which the NPC sells. The Item Mall Credits can be obtained via the promoter system. These items can’t be traded, discarded, or mailed.
To obtain rewards:
- Players should raise their turkeys to level 5 or above, and then redeem their rewards at an activity NPC before Nov 30th.
- After the activity ends, GMs will select a lucky pet, and its master will be offered extra rewards.
Cooked Turkey: After eating it, players obtain money and reputation.
Pumpkin: After using it, players obtain one present.
Lucky Rewards: Players obtain one diamond coffer.
Read more here.
In her weekly All Around Kunark column, Adele Caelia interviews players of EverQuest II in-game to find out their opinions on a variety of subjects. Today, it's the Rise of Kunark expansion.
Rise of Kunark is now in its second week and I must admit that although I was a bit of a naysayer before, I am quite pleased now. The expansion is completely turning the world of Norrath upside down! The new gear has stats undreamed of, and I have almost completely replaced all of my fabled raid gear with treasured gear from quests!
As expected, I’m sure that a few raiders are slightly upset that the gear they have raided for the last six months is immediately obsolete, but on the other hand it is nice that all types of players can get great gear just by questing. Being a mage, let me tell you, the quest gear is extremely mage heavy, so much so that I have been spending a lot of time debating which I should wear. I am more pumped to raid now than ever before. I know that if the treasured gear is this awesome that the raid gear is going to blow us away!
Ah, Everquest, you finally live up to your name! The game is now truly living up the second half of its name, and this has also put a few people in a grumble. They have taken out the experience grind and replaced it with questing! Questing is now the only way to level in a timely manner, and in my opinion this is how it should be. It’s not called Everquest for nothing! Those players who used to find themselves a nice spot in a dungeon, stay up all night, and grind to level are finding themselves in quite the pickle. In order to level this way it would now take weeks! I can’t deny that this makes me giggle a little in delight! In my opinion it is pretty pointless to play a game called Everquest and have a fit because you have to quest…
Read the whole column here.
Recently, Staff Writer Carolyn Koh had the opportunity to speak with Brian Wheeler, a Designer on EA Mythic's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. The questions this time revolve around the overarching war taking place in the game. Koh also presents an example of how the city siege component of the game works.
What is the group size in Warhammer and what mechanisms are there for communication in RvR, especially for the larger campaigns?Brian Wheeler:
Group size is 6, but players can form a Battlegroup (basically a group of groups) up to 24 players. Obviously, these will have their own unique chat channels for player communication, but we'll also have RvR specific chat channels that anyone can join.
Read the whole thing here.
GameTribe has announced that they will be adding Infinity, an action MMO with a PvP focus, to their line up.
GameTribe enriches its genres offer, comprising racing, sport, adventure and rpg, with a real Action game: Infinity! This frantic hack-and-slash fantasy game will fulfill the needs of any adrenaline addicted gamer.
The game will be available in closed beta phase next year, so rush to GameTribe and register to make sure you’ll be one of the first in line to get an exclusive Beta access to try this unique and awesome game.
The game main features are:
- Frenzied action gameplay
- Fancy graphic
- Many intriguing playable characters
- Customizable weapons and look
- Chain combo and Multi-damage system
- PvP and cooperative mission mode
Register now to Gametribe if you want to be part of the action!
Read more here.
Joymax has announced the addition of witch and wizard costumes to the Silkroad Online item mall. They have also released a few images of the costumes, which have been added to our Silkroad screenshot gallery.
Joymax has announced that players of Silkroad Online can acquire some new avatar items for their in-game characters. Available now in the Silkroad Online item mall, players can enhance their avatars with wizard and witch costumes and accessories, including robes, hats, and even broomsticks. The items will both grant their characters with a stylish new look, and conjure up several helpful enhancements, including attribute increases and improved hit points. More information on these enchanting accessories and their purchase can be found at the SRO website, at www.silkroadonline.net.
To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.