Today, we release a brand new Q&A with the good people from Jumpgate. This time around, we talk to Steve Hartmeyer, one of the game's developers. To read the whole thing, just follow the link below!
Recently, we ran a developer journal written by Steve Hartmeyer, a developer on Jumpgate who may be better known as Istvan. It looked to the past. Now we compliment that with an interview that looks to the future of this space-flight MMORPG from the developers of Auto Assault.
MMORPG.com: Jumpgate has been around for some time. For those who never tried the game, can you tell us about the basic themes behind it?
Steve Hartmeyer: Jumpgate is an online spaceflight simulator, set in a far-future milieu where a spacefaring civilization is being rebuilt amid conflicts among the successor states and corporations. Gameplay is reminiscent of Elite or Privateer, in which players can choose combat or profit to make their mark, but unlike those single-player games, every ship in Jumpgate is another player.
Read it all, here.
The Matrix Online has released their latest "Through the Looking Glass" feature. This time around, they talk about the upcoming Update 42, and the inclusion of the Combat Revision 2.0 in that update. We only include a sample of the article here, but just follow the link below to get the whole scoop.
A Change in Plans
We are planning to release Combat Revision 2.0 as part of Update 42. As I said before, features have been locked down and the team is working on polishing the system and fixing bugs in order to release. While there are a number of issues to be completed, we're preparing to ship CR2.0 in Update 42.
Yes, you've heard that before. However, we've never been as close to finishing the update as we are now and other tasks await our attention. It's time for CR2.0 to get off our plates and into the Live game.
Normally, we release updates in the second week of the month. However, we're gathering some additional QA resources to help finish up and are going to take an extra week on Update 42. Update 42 is scheduled to release during the week beginning Monday, March 20. We'll keep you up-to-date on our progress as that week approaches.
The other main item in Update 42 is the Anniversary Event. Given the extra week we're spending before release, we are also going to push the Anniversary Event back by one week. I know many of you have already marked the event on your calandars and I'm sorry to make this change now. However, we never like running events on the weekend after a new update has been published. Beginning the event on Friday, March 31 gives us an extra week to resolve any issues that may occur after Update 42 goes live.
So, The Matrix Online First Anniversary Event will run from Friday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2, 2006. No, the irony of having our event over the April Fools Day weekend is not lost on us.
Get it all, here.
MMORPG.com has announced that the serialized novel, "Neverdie" will now be posted every second Sunday, moving from a weekly schedule to a bi-weekly schedule. In doing this, we hope to provide you with a better, richer story as it progresses.
Neverdie is a general fantasy story, and is not affiliated with any existing MMORPG. It is a story of good against evil, where a fallen angel seeks to re-capture the world of Terria through an ancient and foreboding prophecy.
If you haven't had a chance to check out the story so far, click here.
Stargate Worlds has announced that they will be using BigWorld Technology Suite as the platform for their recently announced game.
Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment Selects BigWorld Technology Suite for Stargate Worlds MMORPG
(Mesa, ARIZONA) - Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, a rising game development company, today announced that they have chosen the BigWorld Technology Suite as the platform for their ground-breaking new MMORPG, Stargate Worlds. This officially licensed MGM property is the first massively multiplayer game based on the Stargate series, and promises to deliver all of the SG-1 & Atlantis exploration, conflict and excitement to players around the world.
"We evaluated many client server solutions to aid us in creating a truly breakthrough next-generation MMO", said Joe Ybarra, Vice President of Product Development at Cheyenne Mountain. "But by far the best overall solution for us is BigWorld's powerful client/server engine and streamlined production toolset. We are excited to be teaming up with them on this project."
The BigWorld Technology Suite is an integrated set of tools, software and systems that provides all of the underlying technology and content development tools required to produce an MMOG. "The Stargate universe has evolved to be one of the most recognized Sci-fi brands in recent times," said Gavin Longhurst, Director of Business Development for BigWorld, "We are thrilled to see such an experienced and talented team as Cheyenne Mountain using BigWorld Technology to bring this visually stunning universe into the highly interactive, compelling online experience that fans and gamers want".
BigWorld Technology Suite provides operators and studios with a lower total time-to-build and cost of ownership through several innovations. The BigWorld Server architecture allows operators to run several games on a single server cluster, dramatically reducing the cost of running the game, while the enhanced Content Creation Pipeline reduces the time and cost of building and filling out the complex worlds required in next-generation games.
For more on Stargate Worlds, click here.
Well, it's the weekend, and what does that mean? It means another wonderful grab bag from Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot. As usual, we present you a sampling here, you can view the rest by following the link below:
Q: What brought on the voice chat poll?
A: We knew anecdotally that many of our users were already using voice chat. It's not something we have endorsed because it creates problems for us in CS, and has an impact on gameplay that we're none too comfortable with, among many other reasons. In order to make good decisions about our future plans, we needed more facts. The poll will tell us how many people are really using it, as opposed to just griping on message boards about it. The feedback you all have been sending will tell us to some extent how you feel about it. The message board threads have been very interesting, and we appreciate your being part of these discussions. I especially thank those who have taken the time to send in a feedback form.
Q: Why can't European guilds enter your website contest?
A: For the same reason North American players cannot enter GOA's contests - our partners take care of European server denizens, and we focus on those playing on our servers.
That is not to say that I don't love seeing websites written by our players around the world. One of my all time favorite sites is by the famous Valmerwolf - www.valmerwolf.com. There's lots of great information there. Magnifico! Sure, much of this page is in Italian. But I found his various charts and tables to be very good. And since I hope to travel to Italy someday, it's a good excuse to learn some language skills. How do you say nerfbat in Italian?
To read it all, click here.
Blizzard and World of WarCraft have announced that their public test realms are now live. You can get involved through creating a character, using a pre-made character or copying a character over:
The public test realms are now live! Players can now try out all the changes and additions coming in content patch 1.10. The highlights of this patch include Priest class improvements, new dungeon armor sets, weather effects, and a host of other exciting features. View the 1.10 test realm patch notes here to learn more.
Players can participate in the test realms by creating a character, using a pre-made level 60 character, or copying their characters from existing realms to the test realms. To copy a pre-made character, visit our Test Realm Character Copy page. Character transfers to the test realm are available from 3:00 AM to 3:00 PM PST Monday through Friday. The test realm game client, which can be downloaded at the same page, is available for both PC and Mac.
Please be aware that the test realms are designed to allow us to test major content patches before they go public. Therefore, some changes may be introduced to the public test realms during the testing phase, before a patch goes live, and some changes may be introduced to the patch after the test realms have closed. To read more about the test realms, please review the Test Realm FAQ. We truly appreciate our players taking the time to help us test the latest changes to the game; thank you all!
For more on WoW, click here.
We try to get to the bottom of some issues in this new interview with the developers of Dark & Light. Garrett Fuller and Dana Massey ask some tough questions and the team answers.
| MMORPG.com: Settlers of Ganareth has simply let a lot of people down. You’ve fallen from top hyped game to #32. In the last Q&A you mentioned people were expecting Dark & Light when you were giving them Settlers of Ganareth. The response was less than positive. Do you have any other theories why so many people are disappointed?
Dark & Light Team: The first point is that most people think that SoG is a beta test of DnL. We certainly did a bad job of communicating once we reached this stage. SoG is a specific game event, totally independent from the DnL beta.
Second point, we had a lot of server troubles at the SOG launch, with lots of lag. We quickly patched the game after its release with two important patches. These patches were key for us, but really disappointing for our players as they didn’t bring real improvements to the game. Now our servers are much more stable and we encourage our registered players to come back and try again.
The third point is that players were disappointed by their first impression of SoG which included many bugs, content troubles and a not-very-intuitive interface. It took too much time to fix it, with patches that were too large.
These points did contribute to give a negative image of the game to our fans who’ve been waiting for DnL for a long time now. We sincerely apologize for these problems.
But if the starting of SoG was difficult, it didn’t impede players from conquering the first territories of Ganareth. All the 90 baronies of SoG are taken now, and fans are still playing to win a fight in these occupied baronies. We can only recommend that players to come back in SoG; even if the balance and content are not at the level of DnL, the recovered server stability promises many fun moments in Ganareth.
You can read the entire Q&A here.
LYON, FRANCE – 3 March 2006 – Atari announced that the English language version of Turbine’s DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE™: Stormreach™, the first massively multiplayer online (“MMO”) role-playing game inspired by the legendary pen and paper game, has launched today in Europe. The localized German and French versions of the title are on schedule to launch on March 23rd and 24th respectively.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach is a unique experience where players must use their combat skills and wits to survive dangerous dungeons, fiendish traps and foes that punish the foolish. The game seamlessly combines the beautiful world of Eberron®, the classic D&D® v3.5 Edition rules, and the latest innovations in online technology into a breathtaking gaming experience like no other. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® is under license from the Hasbro Properties Group, the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc.
“DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach offers fresh and exciting gameplay that captures the true spirit of the D&D adventures that we grew up with,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “We are confident that the game will appeal to MMO gamers and D&D fans alike.”
“With the European Limited Edition and the advance head start programme for France and Germany we’ve worked hard to give the fans something special at launch,” said Cyril Voiron, Marketing Director, Atari Europe. “DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach is a magnificent milestone in online role-playing games and the first time D&D has been realized in the massively multiplayer online realm.”
“Players around the world will appreciate Turbine’s faithful adaptation of D&D’s party-based adventures - a system that has made the pen and paper game a powerful brand for over 30 years,” said Jeff Burdeen, vice president for the Hasbro Properties Group.
In addition to the standard game, the European DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach LIMITED EDITION will be available at selected retailers from launch. Packaged in a high quality aged-effect presentation box, the limited edition contains the full game, a guest pass which allows the player to invite a friend to join them in Eberron for five days, two CD’s containing artwork and music from the game, an A3 full colour poster and two collectible miniature D&D figurines. The game case also contains a playable demo of Atari’s recent D&D PC title Dragonshard.
As a bonus for French and German fans waiting for the localized game, Atari, Codemasters and Turbine are offering pre-order customers in those countries an advance head start program allowing them early access into the fully localized version of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach. French and German players who pre-order the title can gain access into the live localized game and begin building up their character from March 17th, a week before the public launch date.
Developed by Turbine and published by Atari, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE: Stormreach is the first and only massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the world-renowned DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® brand franchise from Wizards of the Coast, Inc, a subsidiary of Hasbro.
EverQuest II has released their newest in the weekly series of Treasure Chests, where they take the time to point us at some interesting forum threads that we might want to take a look at:
For more on EQII, click here.
The people at The Chronicles of Spellborn have released a new TCoS movie that gives us an even more in-depth look at various placed throughout the game world:
Today we have released a new TCoS movie to some of the major games websites. The movie showcases many unseen locations of the game and will reveal more of what lies hidden..
You can find the movie on the websites listed below (more links will be added as soon as they are available).
For more TCoS, click here.
World of WarCraft and Blizzard have announced the release of a brand new WoW novel titled, Cycle of Hatred. The story take place three years after WarCraft III:
The new Warcraft novel Cycle of Hatred is now available! Cycle of Hatred's story takes place three years after the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. The Burning Legion has been defeated, and the eastern regions of Kalimdor are now shared by two nations: the orcs of Durotar, led by their noble Warchief, Thrall; and the humans of Theramore, led by one of the most powerful mages alive - Lady Jaina Proudmoore. But the tentative peace between orcs and humans is starting to crumble. Random attacks against Durotar's holdings suggest that the humans have renewed their aggression towards the orcs. Now Jaina and Thrall must avert disaster before old hatreds are rekindled - and Kalimdor is plunged into another devastating war...
Check out this sneak peek at the first chapter of Cycle of Hatred, a new novel set in the Warcraft universe.
For more on WoW, click here.
Staying with Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, they have released a brand new developer diary today. This one comes from Content Designer Allan "Orion" Maki. As usual, we present you with a small sample. Follow the link below to read the whole thing:
To solo or not to solo, that is the question. Is it nobler to suffer the sling stones and arrows of thine enemy whilst standing amongst his troops, without the sturdy shield or trusty arms of friends; or, is it best to form a wall of shields, linked by devotion and gilded by strength, to bolster the focus of my blade?
It's a good question. It's a hard question. It's a question with many answers.
It seems whenever you set out to design a massively multiplayer online game one question – one sticky, important question – finds its way into the discussions of designers and fans. This question draws hard battle lines, across which terrible words are exchanged, mothers' names are dragged through the mud, pets are sacrificed on altars of dark forces and hyperbole becomes the ultimate weapon of choice. It is a question that, at its very core, is somewhat of an oxymoron: 'Will your massively-multiplayer game support solo play?'
Different games have taken different approaches: some games have evoked social play through deep crafting systems, player-versus-player conflict, and group-centric endgame content. Other games have allowed extremely skilled solo players to become self-sufficient gods unto themselves. As with any organic entity – make no mistake, MMOs are organic entities – each MMO and the genre as a whole have evolved over time to incorporate the different personalities of players. Some players desire to detach themselves completely from the real world when playing their games, becoming lost in the actions of their avatars and disassociating themselves from human contact altogether. Others become the social butterfly that they cannot be in the 'real world.' Play styles are as varied as the number of players in the game world, and we as designers must do our best to accommodate them all. However, we are not super-human, nor are we graced with an endless amount of resources or time with which to construct our games. Instead, we have windows of opportunity to glimpse the current mood and mindset of our fans and determine the course of the single question, 'Can I solo in your game?'
To read the whole thing, click here.
Turbine has announced a partnership with Codemasters. Codemasters will be distributing the anticipated MMORPG, Lord of the Rigns Online: Shadows or Angmar throughout Europe:
Friday 3rd March, (10am UK time) – Codemasters has extended its relationship with Turbine, Inc., a premier publisher of online subscription entertainment, and today announces it has secured the exclusive European publishing and online operational rights to The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™; the first and only MMORPG based on the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is currently in development at Turbine’s studios in Westwood, Mass. and is expected to launch late in 2006. Codemasters Online Gaming will publish and operate the title across Europe. Language support will include English, French and German.
Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc., commented: “Through the last year we have established a close working relationship with Codemasters and have been impressed with its commitment and expertise in the online gaming space. We are delighted to partner further with the company to deliver The Lord of the Rings Online experience throughout Europe.”
Rod Cousens, CEO of Codemasters, commented:
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar will allow players to forge heroic legacies in the War for Middle-Earth. Gamers will experience an evolving persistent recreation of Tolkien's world-renowned fantasy realm where they can establish their unique reputations, and discover and wield legendary weapons in strategic battles, while adventuring solo or in Fellowships.
This game spans legendary Eriador, including the pastoral Shire, the Elven enclave of Rivendell, rustic Bree, and more. As the lands of Middle-Earth fall under a growing threat from the dark realm of Angmar, only the mightiest of deeds and the stoutest of hearts can halt the advance of Sauron's minions.
For the latest news and images from The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, visit http://www.lotro-europe.com
For more on LOTRO, click here.
There's a new competition in town over at Lineage II. This time around, it's the "Grand Olympiad" competition. Not sure what it's all about? Well, follow the links for more information!
The Grand Olympiad competition has started! Noblesse who have completed the third class transfer can participate in the Olympiad competition. Competition periods are 8:00 PM CST to 12:00 AM CST (8:00 PM GMT+1 to 12:00 AM GMT+1 on the Teon server). Will you be one of the first Heroes of this era?
For more on Lineage II, click here.
Or friends over at City of Villains are giving us a sneak peek at what we're going to be seeing in the upcoming Issue 7: Destiny Manifest. This feature gives us a nice look at Grandville, the "inner sanctum of Arachnos":
As you emerge into this dark towering metropolis, you will know that you have finally stepped into Arachnos’ parlor. Here you must make an immediate choice, will you become the predator or the prey?
Rising from the gritty streets, slate grey buildings ascend into the sky, blotting out the sun and driving Grandville into the blackness of perpetual night. Among the shadows, the city is a dense jungle of skyscrapers linked together by walkways and bridges. Below are the castaways, infiltrators, and mutated creatures too terrible to mention. Above are the less wild but more cunning hunters, like spiders waiting to pounce.
Originally a prosperous pirate town, Grandville grew into to a thriving business center in the mid 1950s. A small independent island, many corporations found benefit in operating outside the laws of the US and the locals were eager to welcome new investors. Over time, lax regulations and the proliferation of offshore banking drew in even more businesses. Because it is so small, rather than grow outward, the island was forced to build upward, leaving those with the least power cast-off at the lowest levels of the city’s strata. Already fortress like, when Lord Recluse took over the region he chose Grandville as the location for his capital and built himself a massive watchtower complex called the WEB. Now Recluse’s citadel soars above this stratified city, the pinnacle atop a ladder of power.
Passing through the streets of Grandville it is possible to catch an occasional glimpse into the Gutters below. Through imperfect junctions, missing grates, and open sewage pits, a vertigo-inducing drop plunges into the darkness of the Gutter where the dredges of Grandville lurk. Unable to effectively control the creatures hidden here, Recluse has an Arachnos Flier patrol the area, its only goal to annihilate all living things in its path.
This is only a sample, to read the whole thing, click here.
Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has announced that they have added a new log in poll that asks players how often they use voice chat communication:
We've got a new log in poll for our active subscribers. This one is asking how often (if at all) you use some kind of voice chat communication.
If your preferred answer is not listed, or you have something on the topic to tell me, direct it to the UI category of the feedback form and your friendly Herald weenies will read it.
For more DAoC, click here.
Auto Assault has a whole bunch of new features of us today. The first is a Game Infro Update that deals with the Redline Outpost, the second are New team bios and the third is a continuation of their Transmissions from the Central Wastelands:
Game Info Update: Redline Outpost — 03/01/06
Transmissions from the Central Wastelands Returns — 03/01/06
For more on Auto Assault, click here.
Carolyn Koh sat down and reviewed the new newbie experience added to EverQuest II. This focused review is not scored in our traditional manner, but Carolyn makes it clear how she feels.
| February 2nd, 2006 saw the roll out of the New Character Progression in EverQuest2. The intent was to allow gamers to experience a class right away rather than playing a generic healing/melee/casting/hybrid for ten levels, a “junior” version for ten more before arriving at the final “profession” at level 20.
Where good and evil characters used to mingle on the Isle of Refuge, they now are separated into different instances of the Isle, renamed Queen’s Colony and Overlord’s Outpost. My guess at this logic is two-fold. It allows a more immersive experience for the PvP players that are separated by realm, and even on the PvE servers, players playing each alignment will be playing with others of the same, circumventing the possibility of disappointment if a new friend you made ended up on the other side of the world when you both left the island.
You can read the article here.
Blizzard's World of Warcraft has updated its Game Guide. This new and improved game guide has has a navigation menu that will allow users to navigate easily between all of the guide pages.
The Game Guide now features a new and improved navigation menu that allows you to navigate between all the guide pages with ease. This interactive menu, conveniently placed at the top of each guide page, will expand to reveal all subpages of the selected section when you mouse over a section's name. The navigation menu is up to four layers deep, with each additional layer representing another level of detail. Head over to the Game Guide now and check out this new navigation system!
For more on WoW, click here.
Garret Fuller has penned his latest World of WarCraft editorial, partly in response to a NY Times article (registration required) that ran a few weeks ago.
|Recently, the New York Times ran an article about the content in World of Warcraft. Basically, the article focused on the difference in player base and game play for the casual and hardcore gamer. Around the time of Halloween, I wrote a similar editorial trying to hash out the differences between casual and hardcore play. This debate is still raging among the Warcraft community. With 5.5 million players, not all of them can be hardcore. The article brings up some excellent points, which I will get to later. Although the real issue of casual vs. hardcore was spoken about by the reporter and Jeff Kaplan (Lead Game Designer for Blizzard), it certainly was not enough. I wanted to highlight a few things in the article and add what I think the player reaction might be. Being an avid player myself I certainly want to try to understand where Blizzard caused this huge divide of casual and hardcore players.|
You can read the article here.