I swear: this is the last E3 article. Nonetheless, we saved one of the most interesting things we saw for last. As most know, Nevrax has been hard at work on the Ryzom Ring. Essentially, they're releasing a highly polished development tool that lets players make their own content. Find out how this bold experiment is shaping up after we saw it in action.
| The folks at Nevrax chose a radically different direction when they decided to expand The Saga of Ryzom. We’ve been hearing a lot about the Ryzom Ring for months, but at E3 2006, we finally got to see it in action.
The demonstration was simple, Milko Berest of Nevrax ran me through a scenario he had set up in advance. As he did each step of the quest, he showed me how it worked. Then he made a new, simplistic scenario from scratch before my eyes. All of this took under forty-five minutes.
You can read the full preview here.
Turbine has announced that it is pairing up with Direct2Drive to offer online distribution for their game, Asheron's Call.
WESTWOOD, MA. - May 30, 2006 - Turbine, Inc. announced that it has made its hit title, Asheron’s Call®: Throne of Destiny™ (AC), available for purchase on Direct2Drive (www.direct2drive.com), the successful online digital retail store operated by IGN Entertainment. Now in its seventh year of operation, AC is a fully developed world - complete with a deep history, committed community, and compelling ongoing storyline.
“We are thrilled that Turbine chose Direct2Drive as their digital delivery outlet for AC,” said Sutton Trout, vice president, Digital Content for IGN Entertainment’s consumer products division. “Direct2Drive is dedicated to gamers who want the best quality games, and our partnership with Turbine further accelerates Direct2Drive’s momentum as a leader in the digital distribution market.”
“AC represents one of the longest running massively multiplayer online games in the industry and due to continuing demand we have partnered with Direct2Drive to continue to broaden our reach,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO for Turbine. “Direct2Drive is a leader in digital distribution, offering best-of-breed games from the best developers and publishers in the industry, and we're excited to offer their service to the AC community.”
Launched in 1999, AC is a critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that draws together thousands of players within an evolving and dynamic persistent 3D world. With an exciting ever-evolving storyline, thrilling adventures, quests, and frequent content updates, AC immerses players in an intense role-playing environment. An extensive system of formal Allegiances and player influence greatly enhances social interaction within the game. AC has received several awards over its seven year history including being ranked #27 of Gamespy’s Top 50 games of all time.
Asheron’s Call®: Throne of Destiny™ is currently available online at http://www.direct2drive.com/782/product/Buy-Asheron's-Call:-Throne-of-Destiny-Download for $19.99. Additional information can be found at http://ac.turbine.com.
Codemasters Online gaming has announced that they will be offering a 10 day free trial for their game, RF Online.
New York (May 30, 2006) – Codemasters Online Gaming has launched a 10-day free trial promotion for RF Online, the epic sci-fi and fantasy MMORPG.
The promotion enables new players to experience RF Online’s unique blend of magical fantasy and futuristic science-fiction action with full access to the game, free of charge, for 10 days. Gamers yet to take their first step on planet Novus and join the most epic battles ever seen in a MMO role-playing game can sign up now on the dedicated micro-site hosted on www.fileplanet.com.
RF Online has already had over 150,000 downloads this year and anyone who already has the game client may still participate in the free trial by applying for a key on the micro-site.
RF Online launched in the U.S. and Europe in February 2006 and is published and operated in the U.S. and Europe by Codemasters Online Gaming. For all of the latest game informatin, including artwork, screenshots and movies visit www.rf-onlinegame.com.
For more on RF Online, click here.
We interviewed D. Scott Mattson of GameCenterGroup about his new customer service and consulting company. A senior veteran of Origin, EA and SOE, Mattson hopes to bring his experience to many MMORPGs. To date, he has worked with Turbine on Dungeons & Dragons Online.
|MMORPG.com: For those who may not be familiar with Game Center Group, could you quickly summarize what kind of services you provide?
D. Scott Mattson: GCG provides companies that are considering an MMO, consulting services specifically related to Customer Support. We also offer a turn key solution to host the entire support side of the house if the client wants to avoid the management headaches of the support organization. Launch readiness on people, process and tools is really where we shine. For existing MMOs we provide an assessment and recommendation on their CS model and provide direct ROI in terms of customer satisfaction.
You can read this article here.
The Horizons official webpage has announced the return of the downloads section of their website. Coincidentally, they're also announcing that they are taking submissions for it.
After much cajoling, begging, and eventually arm-twisting (ok, I just had to wait for E3 and finals to finish), the Downloads section is back!
Well, actually, right now it's empty. Completely empty. Bereft of any content whatsoever. It's sad.
But, if you'd like to submit your link, description and an image for your plugin, app or just cool stuff, I'll be happy to review it and approve it!
For more on Horizons, click here.
Vendetta Online has released a comprehensive list of things that have changed in the game over the last year. Below, we provide a small portion of the list. The remainder can be found by following the link below:
Ships & Equipment
Read it all, here.
MMOGChart.com has released a new update. The site offers independent industry estimates of subscription numbers for MMORPGs. In the most recent release, for example, they place the relatively new Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach at roughly 90,000.
Version 20.0 is now available! This is a major update, with updated numbers for many games, most notably World of Warcraft, Eve Online, RuneScape, and most of NCSoft’s titles. I’ve also added three new MMOGs to the tracking data: Tibia, The Matrix Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online. I’ve also removed the old subscriber data for Ragnarok Online in Japan, and unified the various total subscriptions charts. Also new to this update is preliminary market data for Asian MMOGs (including Ragnarok Online) that are commonly reported in terms of Peak Concurrent Users and Average Concurrent Users. Given the differences in pricing models, many of these games are not subscription-based, so a direct comparison with subscription MMOGs cannot be made. There are literally dozens more Asian MMOGs that are not included; I’ve tried to chart the ones that are the most well known and for which I could get multiple data points. In the future, I hope to get more data on these games directly from the companies involved, so my data can be updated on a more frequent basis. My thanks to everyone who helped with this update, and thanks to those of you who waited patiently for this update!
Go check it out!
We first told you about Dreamlords during E3 when Garrett Fuller visited their booth. Today, we've officially added the game to our extensive gamelist. The title, from Swedish developers Lockpick Entertainment, combines RPG and RTS elements in a unique fashion to create a hybrid MMO.
You can view screenshots here.
Once you've read up and seen the screenshots, cast your vote on their hype meter.
For more information, check out their official website.
Funcom has announced that it has extended its agree ment with Conan Inc. for exclusive rights to MMO games based on the Conan License.
Funcom and Conan Inc. extends agreement up to 2023
- Exclusive rights for all MMOs in Conans universe extended up to ten years-
Durham, USA - May 29, 2006 - Funcom and Conan Inc. has extended the agreement in which Funcom has the exclusive rights to develop any and all Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games based on the Conan license. The agreement gives Funcom the right to develop MMO games with the Conan brand on PC, present and future gaming consoles, portable devices and mobile systems until 2018. In addition, Funcom now has an option to prolong the agreement with five additional years.
“It’s great to see the evolution of Age of Conan, and we truly believe we will deliver a special and fun online experience,” said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. “At the same time we look ahead, and we feel confident that Conan is a brand which will stand strong for many decades. With the investments involved in today’s online games and the very long life spans of MMOs, it is important to have long term license agreements, and together with Conan Inc. we will continue our focus on investing in the Conan brand.”
”We have a great passion for the qualities and works of Robert E. Howard, and we share this with Funcom,” said Fredrik Malmberg, Head of Licensing at Conan Inc. “We have worked very close with Funcom for more than three years now, and we have great belief in their ability to deliver. Virtual worlds become ever more important, and we feel certain Age of Conan stands a great chance of gaining a large share of the MMO market.”
Age of Conan is a Showcase Game for Windows Vista, and earned the E3 2006 award as the Best MMO Game of Show from the three world-leading gaming websites IGN, Gamespot and Gamespy. “When you talk about the greatest fantasy writers of the 20th century, theres no disputing the two names at the top of the list: J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard,” stated IGN in their text for the E3 award.
More information, screenshots, forums, newsletter sign-up and a welcoming community portal can be found on the official website http://www.ageofconan.com
As usual, the weekend brought people away from their offices, some went to the beach, others, camping, but Sanya Thomas saw them all off on Friday witht he weekly Grab Bag from Dark Age of Camelot. Follow the link below to read it all.
Q: "Since version 1.81, we have adjusted nineteen classes, in many cases making very significant changes. In this version, we are taking a step back, to assess the impact of all of these changes as a whole, and refine these adjustments as needed. In many (but not all) cases, we feel that we did not increase a class’s abilities enough, and we will be making additional improvements."
Does this supercede the announcement of the class changes to Valk on Pendragon currently with 1.84a?
A: No. The notes would be the final authority, but in any case, the Valk was one of the classes that wasn't "done" with the changes made in a previous patch.
Speaking of Valks, I got lots of questions about "is this intended" etc. for the material on Pendragon. Yes, it's all intended, but is it final? No, we're still collecting feedback.
Q: I've noticed bolts seem to hit casters about twice as hard as tanks. Does bolt damage vary with armor factor or armor absorb? Aren't they magic damage? What's the deal?
A: A good question, since we're currently revisiting bolts as a whole. The Big Wheel, our class guy, told me: "Bolts are physical attacks. The damage dealt by them depends on the ABS the target has. A player with high ABS will take less damage, where a player with low ABS will take more damage."
Read it all, here.
The official Auto Assault webpage has conducted their own Q&A with NetDevil developers Brian Booker, Dan Russet, and Hermann Peterscheck, concerning the upcoming patch and what exactly players should be expecting. It won't all fit in here, so follow the linky below for more:
We recently talked to Auto Assault leads Brian Booker, Dan Russet, and Hermann Peterscheck with some common questions regarding the upcoming patch, what players can (and shouldn't) expect, and a lot more.
Brian "Storm" Booker, Lead Systems Designer
Read it all, here.
Flying Labs Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea has updated their website with a new Dev Log. This one serves as a COmmunity Update for hte month of May. As usual, it's too long to post here, so follow the link below to read it all!
May's Community Update!
User Content Changes
Your contributions to this project are truly appreciated, bravo!
Everything Old is New Again?
The question we have now is this: How do we revisit all of these submissions in a way that causes the least possible pain for our community? Would releasing 50 a week be reasonable? How about 100 a week? Or, would you prefer we just tear the band-aid off all at once, and dump the entire lot of 1,633 UC submissions that were approved under the old guidelines, and let you sort through them as you can?
So which would you prefer? Your participation in the poll attached to this thread will help determine the method we use to revisit UC submissions of yore. On Monday, May 28th, we will review the poll results. Given your feedback, we will move forward with the most popular choice, to be implemented by Friday, June 2nd.
So cast your vote, and let us know what you think, by visiting this link.
Read it all, here.
Garrett Fuller files the MMORPG.com review of Dungeons and Dragons Online. Turbine Entertainment's latest MMORPG release is a heavily instanced version of the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Fuller, a long time pen-and-paper player, as well as MMO fanatic, takes a look.
|Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is the classic RPG game’s first step into the MMORPG world. Many people carry the opinion that Dungeons & Dragons started it all as far as role playing goes. With its foundations in the mid-seventies to its height in the eighties, D&D has always given players fun worlds to explore and create on their own. The classic D&D scenario is a small group of players, between five or six, getting together to explore a dungeon filled with monsters, traps, myths, and mystery. Each player selects a character class and race which has become the standard in many RPGs.This pack of travelers meets up and decides to go out and right the wrongs of the realm that have been troubling its citizens. How well does this scenario fit into a video game? Very well, the entire RPG world has been shaped by this type of situation. How well does this fit into an MMO? It works, but there are many things lacking in the Massive-Multiplayer department. Also, the game has almost no solo content; this can be a problem if you want to just play for an hour or so by yourself. The game has its fun moments, but does not offer an expansive world for players to explore.|
You can read the full review here.
A Tale in the Desert has announced that the third installment of their game has launched. It launched yesterday at noon, and includes over 100 changes from the previous incarnation:
Citizens of Egypt,
I was trying to think of some analogy to the start of a Tale. Arriving in a new city, with only the shirt on your back? Arriving on the shores of an unexplored land, along with a group your countrymen? Few of us have actually done something like that, but I suspect the feelings would be the same. So many possibilities, so much history about to be written. After a successful and fast-paced Beta, A Tale in the Desert III will launch:
Saturday, May 27, 12:00 Noon EDT (GMT-0400)
A Tale in the Desert III includes over one hundred changes and improvements to ATITD 2, but some of the most notable are:
My goal with Tale 3 is to have the entire game feel like a giant, social adventure-puzzle to be explored, dissected, and finally mastered. A fast-paced game. A game rich enough so that everyone from the most hardcore player, to the most casual, can carve out a meaningful role. But what sort of history will we write? If you've played a previous Tale in the Desert, names like FaceAnkh, DrDave, VoodooC, Hellinar, Shelomit, Quizzical, Rehpic, Silver, CardinalTarod, Asheara, and Qetesh may mean something to you. What about Igoka, Malakai, Mafia, Obiwan, Bindy? And "Flower"? Kestrel and Boaz? Someone reading this letter right now will change our history in a way that I can't even imagine. What will I be writing about a year from now? Who? I have no idea, but I can't wait to find out. Join me this weekend, and I promise a Tale you won't forget.
Sunrise on the Nile,
For more on ATITD III, click here.
The Chronicles of Spellborn have posted a Dev Blog Update and have also posted the log of their third Dev Chat:
We just completed our third Dev Chat and the log is now available for your reading pleasure! Thank you to everyone who showed up and asked questions this time! The next session is scheduled in two weeks and details about the subject will be released in our upcoming newsletter.
The log can be found here, and you may take a look at the logs of our previous Dev Chats by selecting the "Dev Chat Logs" in our navigation menu.
For more on TCoS, click here.
The Age of Conan site has been updated with concept art and a new creative-writing competition based on a character that players would like to play in the game's world.
Ready to show off your creative writing skills? Find out more about our great forum competition.
Now is your chance to show the Age of Conan community your creative works! We are looking for a story about a character you will play or a character living in Hyboria. The top 3 creative stories selected will be allowed to set their own custom forum usertitle*!
Your story can include several things including how you came to Hyboria, what your current profession is, any major events in your life that affect what you do now, childhood memories, your friends, your lifestyles, and lots more.
Get the rules, here.
The WoW website has been updated to include a new WarCraft Weekly, a beastiary update and the announcement of new Realms:
We're happy to announce the opening of two new realms: Demon Soul and Jaedenar, two PvP realms. These realms are located on our latest World of Warcraft site, which feature all new hardware. This will provide an opportunity, to new and old players alike, to begin fresh adventures in Azeroth!
For more on WoW, click here.
We're introduced to Hero Online by its developers in this new developer journal. With no information available, we simply asked them: "What is Hero Online and what will make North American players want to play it?"" Here is their response.
|Imagine for one moment, all sound fading away as light dims into complete darkness. You are alone and there is nothing else besides your self. Gradually, a light begins to form and sound begins to return. At first, they return so slowly you hardly notice, but soon you are flooded with sensory information that all say one thing: You are no longer where you once were. Looking around you realize that you are in the middle of a bamboo forest with green sunlight shining through a canopy of Bamboo leaves. The bamboo stalks serenely sway as you feel the wind breeze easily through the forest. The forest floor is soft and cushiony as you walk around trying to get a bearing of where you are. For every step you make you hear the soft rustle of leaves and smell an indescribable aroma that warms the heart. The sound of birds chirping seems to come from everywhere and nowhere in particular. It is neither loud nor quiet, but perfectly resonated to match the quiet atmosphere of the bamboo forest. Despite not knowing where you are, this place induces an inescapable sense of peace.|
You can read the full article here.
MMORPG.com is pleased to announce that the May Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.
This week on Game/On, we say goodbye to our co-host Michael Hampden as he moves on to pursue a job with Tulga Games, the makers of Horizons. Upon saying goodbye to one co-host we welcome Garrett Fuller as he joins the Game/On Team. This week, we talk about E3, hear from people standing in that long line to play the Wii at that event, and have a full-length interview with Jeremy and Kyle from PurePwnage.com.
Get it, here
There's a new Dev Log over at Pirates of the Burning Sea. This one covers The User Content Ststem and the recent overhaul that it has undergone:
The User Content system has undergone a well-needed overhaul, with a host of new features and options. In his latest Devlog, Augustus takes a moment to explain what happened, and most importantly, what happens next!
The User Content features are in place now, and you can read all about them by visiting this link!
Enjoy, won't you?
For more on PotBS, click here.