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Lord of the Rings Online : Improving Game Mechanics

Posted Jun 18, 2009 by Jon Wood Lord of the Rings Online Correspondent feels that the game's crafting and combat mechanics could use some tweaking and offers his own solutions to the problem.

Gamers have started paying attention more and more to the production of upcoming MMOs and discuss relentlessly on forums about the game's structure, problems and how they see it functioning. As a gaming society, we have earned more and more respect out of the growing collaboration between developers and the public's requests and needs. There are cries though that never get heard, cries which target crafting systems, PvP and PvE game play, computer requirements and many more. LotRO has been, in fact, a mark of such comments due to some missing features some players have expressed. Crafting is too boring and banal; combat becomes rather repetitive, not enough PvP and most of all not enough incentive to keep on playing for more than reaching the cap. In a way, we have to be realistic about what is possible and what forces the use of super computers as was the case with the release of Crysis. The battle we are fighting today is between complexity and computer power, and since it all come down to income, how can a game company produce something original, complex, fresh and most of all reinvented without burning a hole through our pockets?

Read Improving Game Mechanics

Aion : First Look Preview

Posted Jun 18, 2009 by Jon Wood contributor Sanya Weathers takes advantage of the recent NDA drop to tell readers about her experiences with the highly anticipated MMO from NCSoft.

If you take away one thing from this first look at Aion, I hope it's this: Do not do what I did, and switch between Free Realms and Aion in the same playing session. Your brain will explode. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Aion is big in the Far East. Really big. A localized, Westernized version is coming to North America this year. The development team behind the game is so confident they've got a hit on their hands that they allowed people to post screenshots from the beta event two weeks ago, and the NDA officially lifted on June 16th.

Read the First Look Preview

Warhammer Online : Rise of the Tomb Kings Event

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

While Patch 1.3 is on the live servers, the actual Land of the Dead won't be available until next week. Instead, the Rise of the Tomb Kings event that has launched alongside the release of Patch 1.3 will serve to determine who are the first to enter the Land of the Dead when it goes live next week.

The full press release is available below:

The Armies of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Begin the Race for the Land of the Dead as the ‘Rise of the Tomb Kings’ Live Event Begins


The armies of Order and Destruction begin the race to reach the Land of the Dead today as the ‘Rise of the Tomb Kings’ live event begins in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. During the event, which runs until June 22nd, the opposing Realms will compete for resources to construct giant airships that will soon transport players into the treacherous deserts of the Land of the Dead.

The winning Realm will have exclusive first access to the new Tomb Kings themed dungeon zone, and the unimaginable wealth is contains, immediately following the conclusion of the ‘Rise of the Tomb Kings’ live event. The more ambitious adventurers will be further recognized for their contribution, with exclusive titles: “Sky Captain” for Order, and “Master of the Air” for Destruction. The dedicated – and lucky – players might also receive the Ravening Cloak, an ultra-rare item drop only available during the live event.

Based on the popular tabletop war game from Games Workshop, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning features revolutionary Realm vs. Realm conflict that will provide players with an engaging battleground for years to come. Available now for PC, WAR is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB. For more information about the game and to download the 10-day free trial, visit

For more information on the Rise of the Tomb Kings event, go here.

The Agency : 22 New Screenshots!

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

We've got a big update for you today, flanking our E3 Preview of The Agency are 22 new screenshots. The new screens give us a look at some lively firefights, the process of gathering intelligence, and some great looking play spaces.

The Agency

Check out all 22 new shots here.

Wanna see more shots of The Agency? Check out our full gallery here.

The Agency : E3 Preview & Video Interview

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Dana Massey

We took in the best the super-spy MMO from SOE Seattle has to offer at E3. Designer Kevin O'Hara ran us through the key features in our on camera interview, and we learned enough to offer you a brand new preview of the title.

One new system they showed off at E3 is the Camera System. Every spy movie has that point where the hero has to gather some evidence. In The Agency, this is replicated. Characters will need to hunt down clues in the world. During the demo, Cassie – the iconic female U.N.I.T.E. spy – wandered around a high class party, covertly snapping photographs of key people and locations within the party.

She was, of course, undercover. This plays into their “you are what you wear” system. It’s a phrase they say often, but it is truly new to MMOs. In each situation, the traditional role or “class” of a character is determined by the equipment they bring. Dressed in a party dress, Cassie was clearly undercover. Equip her with a machine gun and a more athletic outfit, and she’s ready to run into action.

Read the preview here.

And check out the video interview here.

Silkroad Online : Fortress Wars

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Jon Wood Silkroad Online Correspondent Nikole Hines writes this guide to Fortress Wars in her chosen MMO.

The Fortress War expansion has been out for over a year, yet I know that how exactly a successful takeover works is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the transfer of control from one guild to another. Fortress War is one of my favorite features, despite the awkward time, because how can you go wrong with two hours of straight group PvP? So bring your love of bashing the opposition, 'cause there are a lot of steps to go through between signing up to fight and being the holder of the fortress.

Read Fortress Wars

Champions Online : Developing the Nemesis System

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The Champions Online website has been updated with part one of a three part feature detailing what went into the development of the innovative Nemesis System in Champions Online.

Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz sheds some light on the inspiration behind the Nemesis system:

Anyone who’s ever read a comic book, or seen a movie or TV show based on a comic book, is already familiar with the idea of a Nemesis. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Spiderman has the Green Goblin. It makes sense. Any good superhero is bound to upset powerful supervillains, and the conflict between a hero and his Nemesis is part of what makes the story so exciting. It was something those of us here at Cryptic had been thinking about, and certainly something our players were interested in. We used to get tons of requests from players for some sort of Nemesis, but we didn’t have a framework for it in our last project. Champions in particular really lent itself to the whole idea of having a Nemesis, since there was already a framework for that built into the pen and paper version: having an enemy, or nemesis, you can select having an enemy as part of your character background.

Read the full "Genesis of the Nemesis" feature here.

Aion : NDA Dropped, Aion Armory Unveiled

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

According to AionSource the NDA for Aion has finally dropped. To go along with this announcement, the Aion Armory has also been unveiled.

You can find tons of information on Aion in the new Aion Armory. Developed by the Curse Network, the Armory's features  should be familiar to most users who have perused their databases for other games.

Check out the Aion Armory, here.

Global Agenda : Meet the Team: Mick Larkins

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The "Meet the Team" series of interviews continues on the official Global Agenda blog. In this latest entry, we meet Mick Larkins, Lead Technical Artist on Global Agenda.

What do you do at Hi-rez Studios? ( List your title or give a few sentences about your job and duties. )

I am the Lead Technical Artist on Global Agenda. My job is to be a bridge between artists and programmers. I am responsible for programming the animation system and am a “generalist” for a lot of features (typically character related) that need programming support for a very visual result. I also create and maintain tools for artists and audio designers.

To learn more about Mick Larkins and Global Agenda, read the full interview here.

Warhammer Online : Defensive Statistics

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Jon Wood Warhammer Online Correspondent Michael Dennis takes the time to take a look at the various defensive statistics available to characters in Mythic's RvR game.

Please note all the numerical amounts and equations provided have been worked out by the game's players and, while they represent a very approximate estimation, are not confirmed by Mythic and may vary.

We've covered the eight basic statistics that govern many elements of game play, but it is an easy thing to forget about those other eight statistics, the defensive stats. There are eight defensive stats in Warhammer Online, they are:

  1. Armor
  2. Corporeal Resistance
  3. Spiritual Resistance
  4. Elemental Resistance
  5. Block
  6. Parry
  7. Dodge
  8. Disrupt

Read Defensive Statistics

Aion : Pre-Order Program Details

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The Aion pre-order program details are now available. Players who pre-order the game will gain access to the remaining beta events, be eligible to win prizes in a sweepstakes, receive in-game items, choose their name and server before launch, and get a 48 hour headstart on the game.

Aion Preorder Bonuses

Aion Beta Events: Preorder and receive a code to access all of the remaining Aion beta events.
Preorder Aion Game Sweepstakes: Play in an Aion beta event, and you’ll have a chance to win a killer Alienware notebook, ATI video cards, or other great prizes (see Preorder Aion Game Sweepstakes below).
Preorder-Only In-Game Items: In-game items will be available for use during the head start program.
• Black Cloud Hat (gives boosts to HP, MP, magical resistance, and evasion)
• Lodas' Amulet (gives a +20% experience boost for 1 hour)
• One Ancient Ring of Power (type depends on your preorder retailer): Ancient Ring of Fire (GameStop), Ancient Ring of Magic (Best Buy), Ancient Ring of Earth (, Ancient Ring of Water, or Ancient Ring of Wind.
Head Start Program: Get a 48-hour head start to the live game before the game releases.
Preselection: Select your character names and server in advance of the game going live.

For more details, including information on the sweepstakes and prizes, go here.

Champions Online : Eight New Screenshots

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Our Champions Online gallery has been updated with eight new screenshots. Check out those dual wielded pistols! Shiny!

Champions Online

Check out all the new shots here.

For our full Champions Online gallery, go here.

Jade Dynasty : Nine New Screenshots

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Nine new screenshots for our recently added game, Jade Dynasty, are now available in our gallery.

Jade Dynasty

Check out the rest of the new shots here.

Also check out our full Jade Dynasty gallery, here.

Jade Dynasty : An Introduction

Posted Jun 17, 2009 by Jon Wood

In the first of their Wednesday developer journals, the team of Jade Dynasty spends some time introducing players to their game.

Jade Dynasty, the highly anticipated martial arts MMORPG and third title from Perfect World Entertainment, is now open to the public!

Based on the popular Chinese internet novel Zhu Xian, Jade Dynasty allows players to step into a world of martial arts as they search for the secret of immortality.

There are many new features and aspects to Jade Dynasty that set it apart from other MMOs, while still retaining the classic gameplay that players have come to love and expect.

Read An Introduction

Victory : Video Interview

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Dana Massey, the online portal for K2 Network, is bringing a lot of new MMO titles to North American audiences. At E3, we caught up with the Italian developers behind Victory, an online racing MMO.



And then let us know what you think on the forums!

Global Agenda : Hands-On Preview & Video Interview

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Dana Massey

At E3 2009, had a chance to sit down and play Global Agenda. The MMOFPS from Hi-Rez Studios in Atlanta makes great use of the Unreal 3 Engine and compares favorably with some classic shooters. Plus, it's an MMO. We also talked to Executive Producer Todd Harris on camera about the game.

Global Agenda pulls off hands-to-hand combat beautifully.

My Assault character had this absurd electric battle axe. It looked awesome and at first, it seemed pretty useless. But as I got more comfortable with the game, it became an amazing tool, powered by the tight maps.

In one area, we were having a firefight back and forth on a walkway, with one solid wall and one side open to the air. At first, both sides dug in and just lobbed rockets and bullets back and forth. It was a stalemate.

At least, until I broke out the battle axe.

Read the preview here.

Watch the interview here.

APB: Reloaded : E3 '09 Trailer

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Michael Bitton

APBA new trailer is now available for Realtime Worlds' upcoming MMOG, APB. The trailer features gameplay from the Gangs faction point of view.

Watch the new trailer here


General : Top 10 Books That Should Be MMOs

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Jon Wood

In this week's list, Managing Editor Jon Wood takes a look at ten IPs from the world of books and literature that would make good candidates for future MMO projects.

Do you want to live forever?

In 1984's Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler blithely announced that "Print is dead." Fifteen years later, even with the rise of the internet, the medium is still alive and well. Literature has been telling stories and creating vast and unexplored worlds for years. Literature, it could be argued, is the forefather of all storytelling media from television to movies to video games.

Hollywood has been mining the world of literature IPs for decades: Independence Day, Jurassic Park, The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, A Beautiful Mind, The James Bond series, The Bourne Series, the list goes on. So why then, when scanning the vast list of games on the game list, do only Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online and Funcom's Age of Conan stand out as a novels-turned MMOs?

Read Top 10 Books That Should Be MMOs

Jade Dynasty : Open Beta Begins

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Michael Bitton

Perfect World Entertainment's free-to-play, martial arts-themed MMORPG, Jade Dynasty, has entered Open Beta. All players are invited to register at the official website.

The full press release is available below:


New Martial Arts Inspired MMORPG Provides Access to Complete Game World Free of Charge

June 16, 2009 – Redwood City, CA - Perfect World Entertainment Inc. (“PWE” or the “Company”), a wholly owned US subsidiary of Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: PWRD), today announced the beta program for its flagship free-to-play MMORPG, Jade Dynasty, is now open to all gamers. Based on the widely popular internet novel “Zhu Xian,” Jade Dynasty features a unique martial arts style game play wrapped in a huge, evolving game world that players can access completely free of charge.

New and existing players are invited to participate in the open beta program and gain access to the Jade Dynasty game world by downloading the full game at:

“This is a very important release for Perfect World Entertainment. We consider Jade Dynasty to be our flagship title and our teams in both the USA and China have put in long hours and an amazing level of dedication to ensure a successful launch,” said Dr. Alan Chen, CEO of Perfect World Entertainment Inc. “Jade Dynasty will usher in a new generation of MMORPGs and we’re excited to open this virtual world to all players in North America and Europe.”

Jade Dynasty is the English-based version of Zhu Xian, one of China’s most popular online games, and it offers a multitude of features and systems not commonly found in free-to-play MMORPGs. Once inside the crisp, clean game world, players begin their quest to uncover the secrets of immortality as they first assume the role of a simple paladin. Players delve into a system where choices between good and evil begin to shape their game play experience as they obtain different skills, items and ultimately, a story that is unique to every player. Among the many great features, the classless character progression system allows players to focus on the skills you desire to create the ultimate warrior.

Unlike other games that charge monthly subscription fees, Jade Dynasty allows gamers complete access to the game world free of charge. Players can trade, earn and spend virtual currency in the game to upgrade a large variety of items in real-time to further enhance and personalize their game play experience. Digital goods that players can obtain in the In-game Shop include: items that can assist with tasks such as consumables that aid player progress, others that reset or temporarily increase stats, expansion of storage capabilities, customizable fashion and equipment, such as mounts that allow faster movement and reduce travel time, social items and gifts that assist communication, and much more.

Gamers can visit the official Jade Dynasty website at: to view additional game play details, trailers, and screenshots.

Beta Trailer Beta Trailer
Open Beta trailer for Jade Dynasty


With this latest announcement we've also added Jade Dynasty to our game list.

For more information on the game, or to register for the beta, go here.

Star Trek Online : Timeline Information

Posted Jun 16, 2009 by Michael Bitton

The official Star Trek Online website has been updated with a clarification on where exactly STO takes place in the Star Trek timeline. The new Star Trek movie changes things up a bit with the introduction of an alternate timeline, causing some potential complications.

In the update, Cryptic Studios assures their fans that Star Trek Online takes place during the "prime" reality, which includes all the previous Star Trek shows and the first 10 movies.

For more information on the timeline, go here.

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