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EVE Online : EVE Featured in NY Times

Posted Nov 29, 2007 by Keith Cross

The New York Times has run an article EVE Online, exploring why EVE and CCP are unique entities in the online gaming world from eve's style, structure, and evolution, to CCP's guiding philosophies.

One of the strengths of an online computer game is that what you see when it first appears is not necessarily what you get if you pick it up years later.

With most media, of course, precisely the opposite is true. The content of a novel’s ninth printing is the same as the first. Likewise, it is considered sacrilege for a painter to lay so much as a drop of pigment on a work once it leaves the studio. “Remastered” is a common marketing hook in the music business, but ultimately that version of “Crosstown Traffic” on the umpteenth Jimi Hendrix compilation is much the same as the rendition that hit the airwaves four decades ago.

Online games are different. Inhabited by thousands or even millions of players, online worlds are constantly evolving, and not merely because of the ever-changing cast of characters within them. For their customary fee of $15 a month, players of what are called massively multiplayer games expect developers to add new features and rebalance old ones constantly.

That process of continual refinement has never been so effective as it has been for Eve Online, the science-fiction game first opened to the public by CCP of Iceland in May 2003. More than four years after its debut, when most games are either a distant memory or provoking burnout among longtime players, Eve is only now hitting its stride as one of the most interesting games in the world.

Read more here.

General : Community Forum Spotlight - Journeys

Posted Nov 29, 2007 by Jon Wood

In this Community Forum Spotlight, Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at whether or not the art of the journey is lost in today's mad scramble to hit max level.

Gaming today is largely centered around high-end content. Modern titles are giving us fast tracks to endgame raiding and PvP; max level in Guild Wars takes 2 days, World of Warcraft 15, and Lord of the Rings Online a whooping 27 days. In today’s MMOs, players are max level in under a month.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love raiding and I love PvP, but what ever happened to the journey? Levels 1 through 20 or 50 or 80 are no longer fun; they’re a means to the end, and we look for the shortest path through the majority of game content. Even in games with longer playtimes – such as Lineage II, where the most hardcore need 100 days to reach max level – we have a mentality of speed over enjoyment. This is called the Grind, where players partake in a mindless, repetitive activity because it is the most efficient.

This week on the forums, user pur3.5ync started a thread “Alternatives for Grinding in MMOs,” looking for ways around this gameplay mechanic flaw. On seeing this title I was immediately intrigued; I, like many gamers, am guilty of getting caught up in the grind and forgetting the real goal of gaming: fun. Reading through this thread, I found it interesting how various users combat the daily grind of MMOs.

Read more here.

City of Heroes : Our New 14 Day Trial Offer!

Posted Nov 29, 2007 by Craig McGregor is proud to announce that we have partnered with NCSoft to bring you an exclusive trial offer for City of Heroes/Villains including the all new Issue 11 free expansion - "A Stitch In Time!"

For anyone interested in giving this unique MMORPG a try, this is your chance!  Our exclusive keys will give you the ability to create a new account and play for 14 days, completely free...with no credit card required!

Are you ready to get your free trial key?  THEN CLICK HERE!

City of Heroes : Issue 11: A Stitch In Time Launches

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

NCsoft has announced the launch of Issue 11: A Stitch In Time for City of Heroes and Villains.  The free expansion adds a time traveling story line, the long awaited ability to customize your character's weapons, and more.

We are pleased to announce that Issue 11: A Stitch In Time will be made available on the Live City of Heroes servers on Wednesday, November 28th. All servers will be coming down for extended maintenance starting at 7 AM Eastern (4 AM Pacific) and we estimate they will be back up by 1 PM Eastern (10 AM Pacific).
  • Free Costume Token
    Given the debut of Weapon Customization in Issue 11, a free costume token will be granted to all characters on Friday, November 30th.
  • Free Respec
    Additionally, with the many changes to powers included in Issue 11, we will be making a Free Respec available to all characters on Friday, December 7th. Read the full announcement of that here.
If you are not familiar with the many features included in the 11th free expansion to City of Heroes, click here to read the highlights!

Read more here.

Read more about Issue 11 here.

General : Game Industry Ranks Poor: Greenpeace

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Greenpeace has published its quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics where it gives various electronics manufacturers grades based on their policies toward environmental issues such as the use of toxic chemicals and their handling of obsolete products. This year's guide marks the first year that television and game console makers were included, with gaming industry leader Nintendo entering with a score of 0 out of 10 and ranking dead last among its competitors.  Overall the gaming and electronics industries ranked poorly, with only a few minor improvements since the last report.

Game console makers may be making millions of gamers happy, but environmental watchdog Greenpeace is giving the industry dismal scores.

Greenpeace on Monday issued its quarterly "Guide to Greener Electronics," which ranks consumer electronics manufacturers and their policies regarding toxic chemicals and recycling.

At the bottom of the heap are Nintendo, Philips, and Microsoft.

Nintendo has the distinction of being the first global brand to score zero on Greenpeace's criteria in the quarterly report, which for the first time includes televisions and game consoles.

Nintendo managed that by scoring zero in the five categories related to the use of harmful chemicals, including offering no list of banned or restricted substances and no policy regarding the use of vinyl plastic or brominated flame retardants. It also scored zero in the four categories related to recycling.

Read the full article on here.

Read the Guide to Greener Electronics here.

Angels Online : Game Feature Preview

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has sent over a preview of the features that will be in their upcoming MMO, Angels Online.

Angels Online, the new MMORPG from IGG has been anxiously anticipated by tons of players since it was first announced. Today the AO team is going to give players a sneak preview of some of the game features.

Various Skill Combinations and a Flexible Class System

Angels Online will offer players nearly 40 Class Skills and hundreds of spells, which will definitely allow their players to pursue their ideal classes. They will have different class titles if they adopt different special skill combinations. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of items and weapons, and a complete Paper Moppet System, so players have tons of things to do in game.

Creative Robot System

Players will also see cute robots in Angels Online. These special robots can not only benefit their collection, but also can help them to fight against loathsome monsters. The fat cat and the doggie robots are very eye-catching and unique, and, in addition, there are cute penguin robots and teddy bear robots. If players like cute characters, they shouldn’t miss the special Robot System.

Fight for the Totem

A totem in game is not just a status symbol. A guild which owns a totem is the host of a corresponding territory, and can monopolize the resources there. Those players who have good performance during a battle will be offered various equipment and awarded all kinds of titles, which will give players a strong sense of achievement. Additionally, players can upgrade their totem to make it more powerful, so obtaining a totem will mean a lot to a guild.

Mounts, Pets, and Mini-Games Let You Have Fun

Players can ride various cute animals such as turtles, little pigs, horses, and big lizards to wander around the fascinating world. During battle, their pets can not only help them to fight against monsters, but also can level up and become more and more powerful. Additionally, players can play some mini-games in Angels Online such as 5 in a Row!, Bingo and Sikitcha when they are tired of killing monsters.

Read more about Angels Online here.

World of Warcraft : Flying Machine Screens

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

14 new images depicting flying machines in World of Warcraft have been added to our WoW screenshot gallery.

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

EVE Online : Trinity Trailer

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The EVE Online official site has been updated with a trailer for the upcoming Trinity content expansion and graphics upgrade.

A metamorphosis of truly epic proportions hovers over all of the EVE-verse. A change so dramatic, so overwhelming, that we can’t help but salivate with the knowledge of it. Our galaxy is changing in incredible ways. The new Trinity trailer is available on our download page. Words can hardly do it justice.

Read more here.

General : Writer's Stike Good for Games?

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Variety has published an article today detailing where the writers have been going to work since the Writers Guild of America went on strike.  According to the article, writers are finding work in online media, comics and graphic novels, and video games; industries that are not members of the WGA.  Given that writing talent in the gaming industry is often stretched a little thin, what's bad for tv and movies may prove to be a boon for games.

Vidgames may be one of the prime reasons network TV doesn't draw as many viewers as it used to, but it also represents a new market for screenwriters.

While the WGA has made no secret that it would like to eventually cover vidgame writing, it hasn't pushed the issue yet and is allowing members to work on games during the strike.

"It has been an interesting shift," says one tenpercenter who focuses on vidgames. "The literary agents are now saying, 'Why don't we get our clients over there during the strike?' even though in the past they thought the money wasn't good enough or the work is too demanding."

Though the videogame biz was well established in 1988, it wasn't a serious option for writers during that strike. But the past decade has seen a quiet revolution in which story has become significantly more important for vidgames.

Virtually every videogame now has a writer who develops the narrative and writes the dialogue. Even in a plot-free game like "Madden NFL," someone has to come up with the sportscasters' quips.

Read the full article here.

General : SOE to Open Studio in India

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Gamasutra is reporting that SOE has plans to open a new development studio in India, which will primarily focus on producing local content.  The move is not entirely unexpected as SOE, in collaboration with Virgin Comics, announced earlier this year that they would be producing an MMO based on Ramayan 3392 A.D., which is a comic based on the Indian epic, Ramayan.

Officials from Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) have announced plans to establish a development studio in India for online games. The studio will focus on producing local content and SOE already in discussion with local developers concerning future collaborations.

In an interview with the Associated Press SOE vice president of business development and international operations David Christensen indicated that SOE, developers of EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies, would contribute its own technology to the joint venture.

The company’s prospective parnters would provide their own creative talent and share in the costs of setting up the studio – expected to be in the southern city of Bangalore.

Read more here.

Voyage Century Online : Tips for New Players

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Voyage Century official site has been updated with a feature suggesting five tips for new players.

Many players have been speaking highly of the good graphics and quality of Voyage Century, but this game is a little difficult for beginners to get started. So today I am going to give those beginners some advice.

1. After creating your characters, players usually have one Dragon Head Cannon Battleship, 4 pieces of equipment, 4 ornaments, and several thousand silver. They are all very useful for beginners, and you can't just throw them away. The first thing you need to do is to buy another ship (Dragon Head Cannon Battleship is only suitable to be changed into a Battleship and a Fast Attack Ship). The Dragon Head Cannon Battleship is equal to a level 4-6 ship. In a word, players can't look down on the equipment they have at the beginning of the game.

2. Some beginners usually make the mistake that they should have a very well equipped battleship even if they don't have much money. If you only buy Cannonballs, you will become bankrupt very quickly.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : Beta Update 4

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Warhammer Herald has been updated with an update on the status of the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning beta.  The update includes information on city landmarks, armor dyes, UI improvements, and more.

We're back from Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, and all the fixin's ready to rock and roll into these final weeks before beta goes live. We now give thanks to Career Mastery, RvR Keeps, and if that's not enough a User Interface revamp. Hold onto your britches because this update is going to knock your socks off!

Waaagh! And well met!

This week’s update once again kicks off with new information from the Cities Team:

Hello from the Cities Team!

This week some truly exciting work is being done. As you walk through the streets of Altdorf or the Inevitable City, there are HUGE buildings that dominate the sky; think “Big Ben” or the “Eiffel Tower”. We call these structures “Marvels”. Marvels help us provide the iconic look and feel of a city and make them immediately recognizable. But as amazing as they are to look at, until this week you couldn’t actually enter inside.

It was a major let down and, many of us wept. But now we are rejoicing as we are building the interior structure of the Bright Wizard College, the grand hall and throne room of Emperor Karl Franz, and the terrifying Magus tower of the Inevitable City.

The process of building these interiors requires a great deal of planning. In keeping with our guiding principle - WAR is everywhere - these interior spaces are not simply places to take screenshots, but places to wage epic battles! So, with that in mind we carefully proto-type our play spaces, check them out for the number of players we expect to engage, and then the very necessary Games Workshop concept approval process, and finally we start to model and texture them.

Read more here.

Vanguard : Test Quest Gives APW Access

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks at Vanguard have announced that they have put a new quest on the test server, the completion of which will grant the player access to the Ancient Port Warehouse raid dungeon.

Log in to the test server to try out the new quest which upon completion, will grant access to Vanguard's premier raiding dungeon, Ancient Port Warehouse! Although APW itself isn't open for all to test, it will be open for testing in the near future!

Most of you who utilized the /copycharacter command should now find a replica of your character on the test server, though not all characters who put in a request were copied. We are currently looking into this, and will be continuing to copy characters.

Also, it should be noted that there are a few known issues currently: Finishers are not working correctly in a variety of ways, and Warriors are missing their defensive stance. If any additional bugs are found, please post them in the Test server forum.

Thanks, and happy questing!

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Joe's World... of Warcraft - Three Years

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

In this edition of his bi-weekly column, Staff Writer Joe Iuliani takes a look back at the last three years of World of Warcraft, including some of the changes and its influence on pop culture.

Queues back in style. Just when you thought it was safe to log on. Yet in some small way the queues are a fitting tribute to the success of WoW. Yup, hard to believe it’s been three years since WoW launched. On the plus side, I was able to enjoy Thanksgiving this year without worrying about how much leveling I was missing out on.

This week I would like to reflect upon some of the things that have happened in WoW over the past three years that have really stood out for me,

2004…it was a year where the only goal was dinging level 60. New zones yielded experience and a breath of relief was sighed when you finally found that new flight path. Especially for those without mounts that seemed so hard to get back then.

Read the whole thing here.

EVE Online : Trinity Launch Date Announced

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced that the launch date for Trinity, the free content and graphics upgrade for EVE Online, will launch on December 5th, 2007.

Reykjavik, Iceland - November 28, 2007 - CCP, one of the world's largest independent game developers, today announced that the highly anticipated EVE Online: Trinity expansion for its popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) will be available on December 5, 2007. Available as a free online download for all EVE subscribers, Trinity features a next-generation graphics engine that sets a new aesthetic standard for online games. This expansion comes on the heels of another important milestone: more than 200,000 players now subscribe to EVE Online.

The release of the Trinity expansion fortifies EVE Online's position at the forefront of three-dimensional game graphics, creating a breath-taking cinematic experience during actual gameplay. In order to achieve its visual goals, CCP developed a new graphics engine, architected for Shader Model 3.0 and above. In this first showcase for the new engine, all ships, stations and stargates have been reconstructed. EVE Online: Trinity employs advanced lighting techniques and complex surface materials to make these highly detailed models even more realistic.

"EVE Online players always inspire and amaze everyone at CCP, and it is invigorating to see our subscription numbers surpass 200,000 as we prepare for the Trinity release," said Hilmar Veigar Petursson, Chief Executive Officer of CCP. "We're pleased that advances in graphics technology allow us to present the world of EVE as we had always envisioned it. We look forward to sharing the Trinity edition with the fast-growing, dedicated community that shares our passion to remove the barriers that constrain virtual worlds from meeting their full potential."

Read more about Trinity here.

General : Evoluent VerticalMouse 3

Posted Nov 28, 2007 by Jon Wood Hardware Reviewer Jeremy Star has reviewed a lot of mice since starting here at the site. The mouse is, after all, the conduit that allows us to play our games and a bad mouse is going to equal a bad gaming experience. Today, in his review of the Evoluent VerticalMouse 3, Jeremy tells us how not to build a mouse.

Every once in a while somebody gets the urge to buck convention and invent a new way of doing something old. Or an old way of doing something new. Or they get really nuts and start banging a toaster with a wooden spoon and chanting prayers to the gods of technology.

But I digress. Here, for your reading enjoyment, is another mouse review. But wait! This isn't just any old mouse, no sir. This is the Evoluent VerticalMouse 3.

The Hardware – It's called a VerticalMouse...

The Evoluent VerticalMouse 3 (hereafter referred to as VM3 because typing that repeatedly will give me repetitive motion disorder) is a USB mouse. That's vertical. See, don't you love it when the name makes some sort of sense? By vertical I mean this: Imagine your mouse. Now take it and flip it on its side at a 90° angle. Now it is no longer an ordinary, horizontal mouse, it is a vertical mouse. Except that this mouse is built to be used like that, and your mouse is now useless sitting on its side like that.

Read the whole review here.

General : Turbine Service Disruption Explained

Posted Nov 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine has posted a message on their game sites explaining and apologizing for a recent service disruption that caused players to be unable to login.  As compensation, Turbine is adding an extra day of game time to all active accounts, and players of Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Acheron's Call will also get an appreciation gift, the form of which will vary between each game.

Hello Everyone,

On behalf of the entire staff at Turbine we would like to apologize for yesterday’s extended downtime. The outage was a unique occurrence involving a combination of the hardware and software that supports our login servers and other related web services. This problem prevented players from successfully logging into the games, although the game servers themselves were unaffected and remained up.

Please rest assured that we worked hard to bring the service back online as quickly as possible. The team tasked with resolving the issues pulled out all the stops and worked nonstop day and night to bring the service back online.

Despite our best efforts, we could not avoid a lengthy downtime. We’re already working with our vendors to review the process and technology issues that contributed to the outage, and are collectively making immediate changes to prevent this type of incident.

Read more here.

Ultima Online : Publish Notes

Posted Nov 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Ultima Online have released the publish notes for the latest game update.

Killing bosses in Doom will increase your chances of getting an artifact drop:

  • Killing bosses in Doom will increase your chances of getting an artifact drop:
  • Each player character participating against a gauntlet boss or the Dark Father will accumulate artifact reward points.
  • The more artifact reward points a player character accumulates, the more likely an artifact will spawn in his/her backpack.
  • Player characters who score higher on the Top Attacker list will earn more points. However, everyone in the Top Attackers list that stays the entire duration of the combat (even if slain) will still earn points.

Read the publish notes here.

Read the additional publish notes here.

Bounty Bay Online : Storm Island Screenshots

Posted Nov 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

15 new Images depicting scenes from the upcoming free expansion for Bounty Bay Online, have been added to our screenshot gallery.

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

Zu Online : The North Temple

Posted Nov 27, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has updated the official site for Zu Online with a look at one of the Zu Online's landmarks, the North Temple.

Zu Online, the new 3D MMORPG game from IGG is having a little preview of the North Temple of Zu World.

Long, long ago, the Sun Warriors studied Tantra in the North Temple, while the evil Dragon Lord rampaged and slaughtered innocent people. Fortunately Master Mind stepped up to the plate, and he sealed the dragon in a hieron at the cost of his life. However after the war between Good and Evil, the Dragon Lord gradually regained its consciousness. So the Sun Warriors came to Desert City….

When players’ reach level 40+, they can find Jaba in Swallow Peak, and he will teleport players to North Temple.

Sun Warriors can buy spell books from Master Dazang in Trisec Palace of North Temple. Players can also find Shilun in Renaissance Hall of Nobleness Mountain, he sells lvl 3 and lvl 4 equipment to all players. Other players can buy potions from Tsan in Morality Hall, and these potions can be used to restore HP and MP. Players with too many items can find Loosa to deposit their unused items. If players want to make money, they can go to find Fushen on the Chanting Platform, and he will offer players the Commercial Travel quest, if players perform well, they can get a lot of money, if they don’t perform well, then they may lose much money.

Read more here.

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