As a companion to our Dungeon Runners Interview, the folks at NCsoft have also provided us with this Developer Diary giving us the development team's opinion on "How Dungeon Runners Redefines Skills and Classes in the Free-To-Play MMO Game Genre".
As we’ve stated previously, one of our big, mind-bendingly awesome Dungeon Runners design philosophies was to shirk the usual fantasy and online gaming conventions that infests every single nook and cranny of the genre. Dungeon Runners has randomly constructed dungeons, it’s easy to play, it explodes with humor and insanity, there are tens of thousands of uniquely named and statistically different items to collect, and of course it’s fast, fun and free to play. That brings us to the construction and development of a player’s in-game character or avatar.
Everything about your character was something we wanted to infuse Dungeon Runners’ spirit with. For instance, the visual look and feel of the characters themselves had to be somewhat consistent with everything else in the game. With all of the items we have in Dungeon Runners, they also had to fit with the characters and have distinctive looks for the different types of weapons or armor. Leather armor looks a bit different than armor made from metal, let alone the crystalline ones. There are all kinds of cool-looking oversize swords, spears and staves, not to mention other unique weapons, such as the pizza cutters and guitars. Don’t laugh; they can do so some nasty damage.
Read more here.
The folks at Vanguard have announced that all Vanguard players will receive 50% bonus experience from this Tuesday until the next.
Beginning tomorrow, Adventurers and Crafters alike will receive 50% bonus experience! The bonus XP will kick in as soon as the servers come up from their weekly maintenance at approximately 7:00 AM PST and will remain in effect until next Tuesday's restart.
Enjoy the xp bonus and have a wonderful weekend filled with family, friends, food and fun – both in and out of Telon!
All Vanguard servers will be brought down Tuesday, November 20th at 5:00 AM PST for routine weekly maintenance. The downtime should not exceed two hours, with the servers up and ready for play by approximately 7:00 AM PST.
Read more here.
SOE has announced that will have limited technical and account support starting on Friday November 22nd because of the American Thanksgiving Holiday.
This Thursday and Friday, November 22nd and 23rd, Technical and Account/Billing staffing will be limited to email support. Please visit the support site at http://www.station.sony.com/en/support/ to submit your inquiries.
Phone and Live Chat Support will resume on Monday, November 26th from 10am to 7pm.
SOE Customer Support Team
Read more here.
While in Austin, the MMORPG.com team had the opportunity to sit down with Senior Marketing Manager Greg Bauman and Stephen Nichols, the Producer and Lead Programmer for NCsoft’s Dungeon Runners. Later, in a follow-up interview, we were also joined by Mark Tucker, the game’s Lead Designer. During the interviews, we talked about the direction that the quirky title will be taking in the near future and its place in the NCsoft portfolio of games.
The first thing that readers and potential players of the game should be aware of is that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Throughout the game, players are treated to amusing dialogue and features that almost poke fun at MMOs. One example that we were given is a skill in the game called “Awesome Cleaveage”. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see those words together, I’m really not thinking about the fact that it’s an attack skill, but rather something else comes to mind… Or is that just me?
The dev team for Dungeon Runners is currently standing at about ten, a small dev team for a project. Talking to them, you get the sense that NCsoft wasn’t quite sure at first what they could expect from this title. When they first “inherited the title”, it was supposed to be quite a serious game, but once the team really got hold of it, it became the tongue-in-cheek game that we have come to know.
“It’s a love / hate relationship,” Nichols said, “It's either you really enjoy the humor and you think it's a fun game and you're diging it, or you say ‘What's with this silly game’ and you can't stand it, though I think most people fall on the side of enjoying the game."
Read it all here.
Flying Lab Software has announced the successful completion of their weekend stress test for Pirates of the Burning Sea. Originally they were going to allow everyone who played a character up to 5th level to stay in the beta, but so many of the stress test players completed this task that they decided to just let everyone in.
We reached the end of the second Pirates of the Burning Sea Stress Test, and it was a remarkable success!
We announced on Saturday that any stress tester who got to level 5 could stay in the beta after the stress test was over. Almost everyone who played hit that goal, so we just decided to let all the stress testers in the beta anyway. Come on in!
What this means is that if you have a Stress Test II key code from Fileplanet, and you’ve installed the game and entered your key code, you are now in the beta program. You don’t have to do anything to get into beta – it?s automatic.
We understand that some folks may have been unable to download the Pirates of the Burning Sea client from File Planet in time to apply their key, and in recognition of this, we will be working on a way to include those individuals as beta testers as well. We will share more information regarding those accounts as soon as we can.
Read more here.
The folks over at Hellgate London have released the patch notes for Patch 0.5, which will add a number of new features as well as fixing bugs.
We've spent the last week or so reading the forums, talking with our players, and working our way through the top issues with the game as quickly as possible. This patch has not only a good number of bug fixes, but also some new features that you've been asking for.
A lot of work has been done on the chat interface. This is step one in our overhaul of the system, but we think you'll find it more user-friendly and less intrusive. We've also given everyone 24 character slots to encourage playing with different builds and classes. The game is also more stable, and we're continuing to work on numerous areas to make the play experience better and better.
We wanted to offer a quick note on the Invisible Party Members bug. We have good news and future good news. The good news is that we have identified why this is happening and have a couple of solutions for the problem. Unfortunately we made our discovery too late to include any fixes in this patch, so the future good news is that we'll be addressing this issue in our next patch.
Patch 0.5 also brings an end to the Guy Fawkes event. We learned a lot about what does and doesn't work for our players, making it successful on several levels. As always, we greatly appreciate your feedback on how we can make future events better and even more fun.
Read more here.
The folks over at Ultima Online have posted their weekly FoF feature where they answer questions from the UO community.
"What’s the deal with Crushing Blow? It seems to not always add damage."
Crushing Blow is a 150% damage modifier (the same DI modifier most things use, code-wise.) What's probably happening, if you don't see a difference, is that you're running up against the 300% cap (fifth question down.)
"When a monster loots you, how is that loot handled? Does it just become regular loot, distributed via normal loot rules?"
No, actually, that loot is separate. When the critter that's looted you dies, the looted items are placed on your instance of the corpse - and even if you wouldn't normally get an instanced corpse for it, one is created for you to hold those items. That corpse will remain available to you (and only you) until the corpse decays entirely.
Read more here.
SOE has announced that they will be holding a marathon Legends of Norrath tournament over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Legends of Norrath is the online trading card game that is playable in EverQuest I and II or as a stand alone game.
Legends of Norrath will be thanking players over the extended Thanksgiving weekend by rewarding them with extra packs and loot!
Starting at 5:00 PM PST on Wednesday, November 21st and running until 12:00 AM PST on Monday, November 26th players will accumulate an overall tournament score based on their win/loss record in tournaments (3 points for a win and 1 point for a loss). To earn points for this marathon simply participate in any tournament over this holiday weekend. Draft, Constructed, Highlander, or No-Rare format, they all count toward earning points. The top two players with the highest overall tournament points (not rating) during the marathon will get a loot card of their choice!
As an added "thank you" to all the players, we will be giving each player that enters a tournament an additional Oathbound booster pack for playing throughout the marathon! Each tournament during this Thanksgiving holiday marathon weekend will have the prizes increased. Head over to the Tournaments Lobby to build that tournament point score today. And have a Happy Thanksgiving from the entire Legends of Norrath team!
Read more here.
NCsoft and Game Guides Online have announced that they have formed a partnership, the first product of which is the official strategy guide for Dungeon Runners.
TAMPA, November 14, 2007--Game Guides Online, a digital strategy guide publisher, has announced its partnership with massively multiplayer online game developer and publisher NCsoft® and the release of the official strategy guide for NCsoft's Dungeon Runners™.
Game Guides Online specializes in the production of digital strategy guides exclusively for massively multiplayer online games. As the medium for entertainment increasingly becomes digital it's necessary to offer customers complimentary third party products digitally. "The digital medium opens up a lot of new possibilities for strategy guides. No longer are we restricted to static pictures and text. We can include interactive content such as flash diagrams, videos and voice-overs in our digital guides. With the growing complexity of these games it is sometimes easier to show a player an advanced tactic than it is to describe it," says Dungeon Runners guide author Jason Allen. "With digital guides we can continually update the content so customers never rely on outdated information. It also allows us to communicate directly with our customers so that we can implement features or strategies that they request. We then distribute the revised guide to every customer with a click of a button," said company spokesman Brian Whitener.
The first official guide to be released under the partnership is for Dungeon Runners, a new massively multiplayer game that is free-to-download and play with an optional premium membership. "Dungeon Runners is a bold leap into a new business model for NCsoft and it is taking us into a new direction in terms of the kind of games we can provide our customers," said Robert Garriott, CEO of NCsoft North America.
Read more here.
K2 Network has announced new additions to their item shop in Red Stone, and that new players will receive a premium item bundle worth $20 when they sign up.
IRVINE, Calif. – November 19, 2007 – K2 Network, Inc., an online game publisher, today released new details about the recent launch of its MMORPG, Red Stone. For a limited time, new players to Red Stone will receive a premium item bundle worth $20 for free when they sign up for the game. This premium item bundle will provide players with powerful game enhancements for Red Stone. With this special offer, the new additions to the game’s Item Shop, and the launch of its first premium packages, now is the best time to join the Red Stone Community!
Red Stone can be downloaded at www.playredstone.com. Players who register between November 19 and December 10, 2007 will be awarded this valuable package that contains skill and stat redistribution scrolls along with a portal gem! These items will provide a nice boost to a new players game experience.
“The Red Stone community is already a tight-knit and flourishing group,” said Joshua Hong, CEO and Co-founder of K2 Network Inc. “This special gift is an invitation to those who have thought about joining but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Come in and join the fun!”
For players looking for an extra advantage the new Red Stone package offerings which are also available this week include the Premium Package which offers a portal gem and 100 magic carpet summoning scrolls, a $10 value for only $5.00. In addition, the Premium Plus package offers players a portal orb and both skill and stat re-distribution scrolls, a $20 value for only $10. The game’s new Item Shop offerings include additional character enhancing items such as refined oils, resurrection scrolls and magic bags.
Read more about Red Stone here.
The folks over at City of Heroes / Villains have announced the publication of the first issue of their official fanzine.
City of Heroes is proud to announce the first issue of the official Fanzine! The City of Heroes community includes many very talented individuals who are inspired by the game to write out stories of their characters or capture them in visual art. For a long time now we have been including that creative player output into the Top Cow City of Heroes Comic.
Now, we bring you a dedicated publication in a flexible online format to showcase the many outstanding pieces of work our players create! Take a look!
Read more here.
Read CoH Fanzine #0 here.
The official site for Vanguard has been updated with a guide to the Ancient Port Warehouse raiding zone, which introduces players to the zone and to new concepts introduced there.
Soon the gates will open to Vanguard's premier raiding zone, Ancient Port Warehouse. A flurry of excitement surrounds the community as preparations are being made for the release. Many hours of design and testing have gone into the zone to ensure that it will provide months of entertainment for even the most hardcore of guilds. The lead developer on the Ancient Port Warehouse project is Andrew "Avarem" Krausnick.
The purpose of this guide will be to give players an idea of what to expect upon entering APW as well as provide methods of preparation for your excursion. First, we'll take a look at some of the new concepts introduced with APW. We will review the mob AI and discuss some common tactics employed throughout the dungeon. Moving on, we will discuss ways in which an individual can prepare themselves for raiding in Vanguard including a short equipment guide. We will then discuss ways in which leadership can prepare their guilds (and themselves) for the challenges that lay ahead. Finally, we will end by discussing the typical aspects of an APW raid.
This guide is intended to be a basic conceptual raid guide and will benefit primarily those individuals who are casual or new to raiding. Experienced raiders will find much of this information to be second nature and at best this guide will serve as a review. Regardless of your experience with raiding, you will be able to find some specific information regarding APW that everyone will be able to use.
Read more here.
The 2008 MMO Calendar is no won sale, with all proceeds going to St. Jude Children's
MMO Calendar is an annual, non-profit fund-raiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
With the help of some wonderful MMO developers we have put together another one-of-a-kind calendar featuring original artwork from some of your favorite MMO's. MMO Calendar 2008 includes:
- Age of Conan
- Dark Age of Camelot
- Dungeons & Dragons Online
- Eve Online
- EverQuest II
- Guild Wars
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Pirates of the Burning Sea
- Star Wars Galaxies
- Stargate Worlds
- Warhammer Online
- World of Warcraft
Read more here.
Blizzard has posted a description of recent changes and additions to the World of Warcraft Armory, including the addition of the Guild Bank System, and changes and additions for the recent 2.3 patch.
A new Guild Bank system has been introduced to World of Warcraft. There are two new tabs on the Guild page that are devoted to Guild Banks. This is the first "protected area" of the Armory which requires additional security measures to access.
Thus, attempting to access these tabs will take you to a separate login screen, similar to the one that displays when attempting to access Account Management.
Enter your World of Warcraft account name and password in the fields to access the Guild Banks of the characters on your account. Your character must have been granted guild bank permissions by your guild master to view the contents and transaction logs of your Guild Bank.
Read more here.
The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. I have a question about Heretic spell piercing buff. Does it stack with the 10 % passive spell piercing from artifacts like Atlantis Tablet 5 % piercing and Jacinas sash?
A. Spell piercing is a hot topic lately. I went to the Balancinator who offered this reply: No, it will not let you exceed 10% spell piercing. It may not take you over 10% spell piercing, but it does open up alternative templating options. If you were to spec high in Enhancements and utilize the piercing buff spell, it would allow you to template out of one or both of the items, granting you more freedom while templating. The options are endless! Well, sort of.
Q. I notice that there is an Alchemy table in Grimspound, but I can't find a Spellcrafting or Alchemy merchant nearby. Is there one, if so where? If not can we have one please? The table isn't much use without one.
A. There aren’t any alchemy merchants nearby because that area was not really meant to be a full-fledged crafting area. It was put in more for decoration and ambiance. You’d do much better if you go to your capital city and craft there. When crafting in Jordheim, Tir na Nog, and Camelot City, players receive a 10% bonus to crafting speed and a 5% bonus to skill gain chance for all tradeskills.
Open the Grab Bag here.
This week, Laura Genender looks at what can happen when players don't take the time to enjoy their MMORPG and burn out.
One of the great aspects of an MMORPG community is finding and relating to similar people. In the real world, we are confined (mostly) to our town, city, college, workplace, etc. to meet people – with the internet we can find people with similar interests, goals, and ideas through games, guilds and forums. This week on the blogs I found a kindred soul in user Interl0per.
Interl0per’s new blog Entering Pod deals with his casual gamer experience in EVE Online and other MMOs. Interl0per tells his story starting in the twilight days of SWG, where a carefree, fun-lovin’ Rebel Scout got the idea in his head to go train up pistol skills. From there, Interl0per stopped having fun and started having jobs. Said Interl0per, “Even before the NGE, after that day, the game never really seemed the same for me.”
Things changed for Interl0per though about a year and a half ago, when a google search brought him to MMORPG.com – and EVE Online. “After browsing reviews, forums, and game sites, I wound up downloading EVE Online - not the trial, I bought the game sight unseen based on its appearances.”
Read it all here.
In this Developer Journal, Herman Peterscheck, the Lead Producer of the upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution, takes the time to talk to us about AI for the space-based game.
I can distinctly remember this scene from 2010; and it is a most amazing moment in a Science Fiction movie, I find. Amazing not only because it shows some kind of sentience in a machine (we got plenty of that in 2001), but because of the response. Nobody knows why. When you consider how things in games work, that mantra comes up over and over again. Most things in games are the result of nobody knowing why. Why is that wonderful thing that happens when all the pieces come together and things just seem to work. It’s a moment we all work for. It’s a moment we all hope for. It’s what games are all about.
Let me back up a few paces and go over why we thought AI was necessary in Jumpgate Evolution. The obvious reason is that you need to have stuff for players to do. One of those things is to blow things up. In order for blowing those things up to be interesting they must behave in some kind of predictable or unpredictable way. They need to fly, shoot, miss, hit and vary in difficulty. All of this is pretty much expected at this point. But we wanted a bit more than that.
Read the whole thing here.
Back by popular demand, the MMORPG.com podcast, formerly known as Game/On, currently known as who-knows-what, has returned. This week we wrap up our coverage of EVE Fanfest, and talk about a few events that occurred during our break.
The MMORPG.com podcast has returned after a long hiatus with a new format. This week co-hosts Jon Wood and Keith Cross talk about Keith's recent trip to Reykjavik, Iceland to attend EVE Fanfest, Gods and Heroes going on 'indefinite hold', and Star Trek Online.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Here's a new LotRO dev diary video for you to enjoy. Jeffrey talks about player housing.
Video Dev Diary: Housing
Jeffrey Steefel Executive Producer for LotRO is back, this time talking about player housing which will be included in the upcoming book 11 update.
Watch more here.