Aeria Games is currently leading a campaign to unblock European IPs for their Beta test of Dream of Mirror Online. Originally, they allowed Europeans into the beta but were asked to block the IPs by GameTribe, DOMO's European publisher, and SoftStar, the game's developer, upsetting some European players. IP blocking is not an uncommon feature in regional publishing deals.
Aeria Games has and will always strive to build an open community for all of our members. We do not believe in or support IP blocking for any of our games (except to protect against hacking or for other security precautions).
During the past few weeks, we have heard many of your concerns and have held intense discussions with SoftStar, the developer of DOMO, and GameTribe, the European publisher, regarding our philosophy of open access to all and our opposition to any IP blocking. Unfortunately, despite our strong protest, GameTribe has requested (and SoftStar has agreed) that we start blocking certain European IPs prior to the start of our Open Beta.
We regretfully inform you that we will be forced to start blocking the European IPs below at the start of our Open Beta. This policy is only for DOMO and does not affect other games. We are very disappointed with this outcome, and will continue to convince GameTribe and Softstar of the need for an open DOMO community. We do not have a choice in this matter and the only course of action is for us, with your support, to persuade GameTribe and SoftStar to reverse their policy.
Read more here.
Star Trek Online Executive Producer Daron Stinnett has made a few posts on the StarTrek-Online.net forums, clearing up recent rumors about Star Trek Online being made for casual non-trekkie gamers, and about the game using a pay-real-world-cash-for-in-game-items business model. It turns out that the rumors started when an internal conversation about the game's business model, which has not been finalized, was leaked and then taken out of context as fact.
You guys are very charitable - thanks for the support. And I mean that. There are some really nasty and incorrect rumors circulating right now and while the support is obviously not unanimous, I was expecting much more piling-on in this thread than is the case.
I personally think that MMOs need to be a better deal. Paying $200/year is a good deal for some but I don't think that is sustainable for the category and certainly rules out a lot of people who don't have the time to get enough value out of that expense. So we are discussing this issue internally. Unfortunately that discussion leaked and the characterization is incorrect. It's also unfortunate that we have not yet come to conclusion internally so it is hard to present the real story since we are in the process of figuring it out.
But I do want to reassure everyone that STO is still going, it is still a triple-A game, and we are thinking hard about how to make our efforts even more appealing with a lower barrier to entry than is the norm.
Read more here.
Issue #12 of Clan of Conan, the Age of Conan newsletter is now available, bringing word from Hyboria of enemies like Dhurkhan Blackblade, locations like the Sanctum of the Burning Souls, mounted combat and more.
"When the day of reckoning came, the sword was not spared. So Acheron ceased to be, and purple towered Python became a memory of forgotten days" – Robert E Howard, Hour of the Dragon
Brooding on a mountaintop, overlooking the Wild Lands, the ruins of the City of Burning Souls is a tainted place. The last vestiges of Acheronian magic still cling to the ruins, and few are foolhardy enough to risk the wrath of the spirits and demons within.
Yet there are those who make the journey, through the warped and twisted labyrinth of ancient stone to the very heart of the darkness itself…the Sanctum of the Burning Souls. The few who return from such expeditions are insane, frothing at the mouth as they scream of unimaginable horrors.
Read more here.
The Anarchy Online official site has been updated with a letter from the Game director. The letter details what's on the horizon for Anarchy Online, including new items and nanos, a new team instance, a re-write of the PvP title system, and more.
As 17.7 gets closer to being ready for the live dimensions I thought it was a good time to give you all another little insight into where we are at with Anarchy Online.The coming game update includes quite a lot of stuff that we are all quite excited to see released to the live dimensions. Having spent quite some time now (well over a year in fact when I think about!) working on content with a focus on the Shadowlands it has been great to be able to look at Rubi-Ka again as we work through the new quest lines.
Getting to add some reasons to get people out an exploring the original game world is a fantastic feeling, and not just because it’s a great nostalgia trip for me! It was great seeing the designers and artists adding a little more life to some of the areas I remembered frequenting in the days around launch and sending people to some of the ‘old haunts’.
The Dust Brigade story elements are also shaping up very nicely. I think you’ll find some intriguing developments there and the team is translating the direction we have set out for the coming months into some very interesting content. It’s always quite satisfying to see the plans go from concept to testing to the game itself.
Then there are the new items and nanos, and people, as always, have already had quite a bit to say on the new items so I wanted to add a little here. When it comes to designing items we generally have to face the fact that at least as far as the feedback is required we are often in a ‘no win’ situation! The new nanos that are being introduced in 17.7 are a great example. When items are within the current budgets players have for skills on their characters then the items are seen as ‘too easy’ to equip and the game is being ‘dumbed down’, then when we make items that are intentionally at the high end of what’s possible they are ‘too hard’. In this case that difficulty is very much the intention!
Read more here.
Every month, we feature a new member of Funcom's Age of Conan team in the form of a Developer Profile. This month it's Tomaz Przechodzki, a rendering programmer on the project.
Besides games what other influences brought you into your career? Whether it is books, movies, or artwork everyone has different tastes, tell us about yours.
As I mentioned earlier, I think the demo scene was very important in my career. In 90’s the demo scene was very strong and I remember that I was under a big impression of what people have been creating on theirs computers. In that time I discovered that computer can be used for something more than only for playing video games.
Pen and paper games had also a big influence on my life and career. I used to play with my friends from school. Our favorite systems were “Call of Cthulhu” and “Warhammer”. I am also a big fan of fantasy and horror books and movies. Among my favorite writers are H.P. Lovecraft and A. Sapkowski (author of “The Witcher” sage). I was also inspired by Z. Beksinski (polish artist) and H.R. Giger paintings.
Read it all here.
Flagship Studios has published the patch notes for patch 0.6 for Hellgate London, which fixed a number of bugs.
We hope our U.S. players had a great Thanksgiving holiday and that everyone had a fantastic weekend of playing Hellgate: London. We kept working through our cornucopia of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and American football games to get some more fixes done and ready to push out this week.
Patch 0.6 has one very notable fix – the invisible group member bug has been slain. This was a crafty, fierce thing with rows of nasty sharp teeth, but we believe it has now fallen into the mists of legend. We’ll stay vigilant in case it raises its ugly invisible head again.
We’ve also made great strides on the Engineer Drone issue where items become unequipped. There are some cases where Drones (as well as players), will still have items unequip. The main cause of this is when players “ladder up” the equipment on their Character or Drone by using items with statistic bonuses. This results in the Character or Drone being able to use a better overall set of gear than they normally could, and thus causes issues if the items are not equipped in a specific order (or used at all). We’re continuing to work on this one, but it is better with this patch.
Read more here.
On Thursday night, the developers from Jumpgate Evolution stopped by to talk about their game in our most recent Developer Chat. Today, we present this article summarizing some of the interesting aspects of the chat.
As readers may or may not be aware, Jumpgate Evolution is a follow-up to NetDevil’s original Jumpgate, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when some of the questions revolved around the previous game. Perhaps the most interesting question to start with got right to the point in asking what the major differences would be between Jumpgate Classic and Jumpgate Evolution. Istvan answered that the biggest difference was going to be the look of the game, the “huge graphical update”. He also pointed out that the intention is for Evolution to be a “more modern game overall”, addressing some of the systems that are incomplete in the original version of the game.
Questions about the nature of the game and its relationship to its predecessor went from the more general questions above to much more specific questions about how this new game will function. There were questions about everything from braking in space to piracy. The answers to these questions made it quite clear to the participants and to readers here today that while Evolution is going to follow in the footsteps of the original, that it will be a kind of re-imagining. Here, for example, is how Awen answered the question about pirates:
“Pirates [are] something that we’d really like to do but chances are that it will function differently as this is an entirely separate game from the Classic. We’ll be interested to see what the players are going to suggest in this area.”
Read the article here.
In this week's MMOWTF, Dan Fortier tackles the issue of monster AI in MMORPGs. Fortier feels that monsters today just don't have the intelligence to pose a real challenge to human players.
This week is not a tribute to those wonderful MMOers that I love so much. Instead, I decided to drop the hammer on a common gripe of mine: Monster AI. In most theme park PvE MMOs the mobs are designed to have simplistic AI to make it easier for solo players with a lobotomy to kill them. It doesn’t do well to frustrate your unskilled customers with lots of free time and extra cash if you want to run a successful game these days. This week I pay lip service to this tired topic and anything else that comes to mind. Keep a bottle of eye-drops close at hand for this week’s Tour De Ordure!
Most gamers don’t expect much realism when they log into an MMO. Fields of meandering monsters who do nothing but spam the same basic attacks with a few special abilities thrown in at predictable intervals are the most common ding crops for players. Raid bosses and the tougher elite creatures have a few more surprises, but are only dangerous by virtue of their obnoxious stats and henchmen instead of their brilliant use of terrain or tactics. Of course, even the most complex routines can be analyzed and dissected by an observant group repeatedly farming the same area, but with enough dynamic content they would still have to be prepared for a wider variety of opponents.
Read the whole thing here.
The guys from NetDevil stopped by to talk to MMORPG.com user about their upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution.
MMORPG_Taera: Greetings and welcome to MMORPG.com's Live Chat on irc.forthegamers.org! I'm your host, MMORPG.com's community manager Laura "Taera" Genender. Joining us today is the NetDevil Jumpgate:Evolution team!
MMORPG_Taera: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to two questions at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.
MMORPG_Taera: Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to DevBot while our guests introduce themselves!
ND_Draker: Hi All. My name is Hermann and I'm the producer on Jumpgate Evolution.
ND_Draker: It's a fun project :).
ND_Awen: I'm Awen the Jumpgate Evolution Community Manager
ND_Binkies: I'm Binkies the Business Development Mgr
ND_Istvan: Good evening. I'm Istvan and I'm a programmer on JGE. I've been working on Jumpgate since 2002.
Read it all here.
Please join us TONIGHT at 7pm EST, for another MMORPG.com dev chat!
Are you curious about the upcoming game Jumpgate Evolution? Come meet the developers on Thursday, November 29th in the MMORPG.com Live Chatroom starting at 7pm EST and sate that curiousity! Bring a question, bring a friend! After the chat, be sure to stick around for Jumpgate Evolution and other MMORPG discussion.
Users can also connect via any IRC client, to server forthegamers.org or irc.eu.forthegamers.org (Euro). The chat will take place in #mmorpg.
Learn more about Jumpgate Evolution here.
Curious who you'll be talking to? Wonder no more! Joining us will be:
Please join us on Monday, December 3rd at 7pm EST, for another MMORPG.com dev chat!
Joining us this Monday is the team behind smash hit Lord of the Rings Online! Come meet the Turbine developers on Monday, December 3rd in the MMORPG.com Live Chatroom starting at 7pm EST. Bring a question, bring a friend! After the chat, be sure to stick around for LOTRO and other MMORPG discussion.
Users can also connect via any IRC client, to server coldfront.net port 6667. The chat will take place in #mmorpg.
Learn more about Lord of the Rings Online here.
Gamasutra is reporting that the Entertainment Software Association has released statistics indicating that the US gaming industry is growing significantly faster than the US economy.
According to statistics released by the Entertainment Software Association, the growth of the U.S. video game industry is outpacing the growth of the U.S. economy by a wide percentage, growing at 17% from 2003-2006 as compared to the 4% economic growth during the same period.
The ESA has concluded an extensive study on this data, entitled Video Games in the 21st Century. Conducted by Economists Incorporated, the study also finds that the industry directly employed 24,000 in the U.S. at an average salary $92,300 during 2006.
The ESA states that the video game industry contributed $3.8 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2006. Though 24,000 are directly employed, according to the report in total 80,000 are employed directly and indirectly by the industry in 31 states and U.S.-based game industry employees received a total of $2.2 billion in compensation.
Read more here.
NCsoft has announced several referral programs for City of Heroes and Villains which offer several paths to getting some free game time.
Get Free Game Time: "Invite a Friend" referral programs!Thursday, November 29, 2007
NCsoft is pleased to announce two referral programs! Tell your friends about the exciting release of Issue 11: A Stitch In Time and get free time if they come play with you!
Invite a friend to come back* to City of Heroes®/City of Villains® and split a FREE 30 days of credit** to your City of Heroes®/City of Villains® accounts!
To Invite a friend back to the game, see details here!
Introduce a friend* to City of Heroes®/City of Villains® and get a FREE 30 days credit** to your City of Heroes®/City of Villains® accounts!
To refer a new friend to the game, see details here!
Read more here.
The folks over at Knight Online have announced that they will be running a holiday promotion where those who purchase a membership will receive a gift.
Hello Knight Online Players!
We have a very special offer for you! From now until 4:00PM PST on Friday, November 30th, when you purchase either Bronze, Silver or Gold Premium memberships, you will receive a special gift. Bronze Premium purchases will receive a bonus of 300 Knight Cash, Silver Premium purchases will receive a bonus of 400 Knight Cash, and Gold Premium purchases will receive a bonus 500 Knight Cash!
We thank you for your continued support of Knight Online and wish you and your families the happiest of holidays!
-The Knight Online Team
Read more here.
NCsoft has released a new video from City of Heroes Issue 11…the latest free expansion for the game set for release this week. This video shows off the headline feature of Issue 11 which is the ability for players to “flashback” in time to participate in exciting events from the history of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. Heroes and villains can also use this feature to play or replay hundreds of missions from earlier in the game. The video explains the story behind the new “flashback” ability and shows how players can use this to their benefit.
Issue 11: Flashback
This video shows off the headline feature of Issue 11 which is the ability for players to “flashback” in time to participate in exciting events from the history of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles.
More videos here.
IGG has announced a number of Black Dragon themed events that will be taking place in Tales of Pirates this throughout the Christmas season.
Tales of Pirates will be holding a lot of activities with the Black Dragon motif to celebrate the Christmas Season. The Black Dragon has been awakened and the Pirate world will face an unprecedented catastrophe from it. Some warriors have gathered together to challenge the powerful and ferocious dragon, and also, obtain the legendary equipment it is said to possess.
Black Dragon December
Activity I: Shopaholic Selection
From Dec 1st to Dec 30th, players who spend the most money in the ToP Item Mall will be offered a complete Black Dragon Set as a gift, and players who rank from 2nd to 6th will be offered 1 Black Dragon Torso as a gift.( The Black Dragon Set is only given as gifts not for sale)
Activity II: Black Dragon Equipment on Auction
From Dec 10th, 2007 to Jan 13th 2008, Players can participate in the Auction activity, and buy items via Credits of Award Center. 1 Black Dragon Set and 4 Black Dragon Torsos' will be auctioned, with this auction being held once a week.
Activity III: Attack from the Black Dragon
Undoubtedly, obtaining the Black Dragon Equipment is every player's dream. Now players have the chance to gather together to beat the Black Dragon, and then get this legendary equipment, or die trying...
In addition to the above activities, ToP is building a Christmas village, and during the month of December ToP will be holding a lot of interesting Christmas activities in the Christmas village! Also, check out the Christmas warm up activities below.
Christmas Warm Up Activities
Activity I: Snowballs Giving Away
GMs will give out snowballs, and players only need to follow the GM to get one.
Activity II: Reindeer Summoning Scroll
GMs will appear in Icicle Castle, and players should find a GM and exchange 99 Christmas Lollipops for 1 Reindeer Summoning Scroll.
Read more here.
Yesterday, we reported that Issue 11: A Stitch in Time launched for City of Heroes and Villains. Today, NCsoft has sent out a press release officially announcing the launch of the time spanning expansion.
AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 29, 2007—NCsoft® Corp, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, today announced the release of City of Heroes® “Issue: 11: A Stitch in Time,” a free expansion for current subscribers, which provides players new content including the ability for heroes and villains to travel back in time to participate in world-altering missions as well as a weapon customization tool, two new power sets and enhancements to the inventions system.
The City of Heroes title, of which NCsoft recently took sole ownership, has brought 11 free major content expansions to the game and a stand-alone retail expansion with the 2005 release of City of Villains®. Issue 11 offers new ways for players to tackle the comic-book styled adventures in Paragon City™ and the Rogue Isles™ while adding new depth and features.
The headline feature of Issue 11 is the ability to “flashback” in time to participate in exciting events from the history of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. Heroes and villains can also use this feature to play or replay hundreds of missions from earlier in the game. Players will be able to set mission parameters to earn special badges and participants’ levels will be set appropriately to ensure that the challenge of each story-arc remains constant.
“Flashback” is an innovation that gives players the opportunity to participate in huge story-lines and opens up missions they enjoyed previously,” said Matt Miller, NCsoft’s lead designer for City of Heroes and City of Villains. “This gives the game greater depth and many more challenges.”
Issue 11 also adds two new power sets, Dual Blades and Willpower. Both of these new power sets are available to the melee Archetypes: Tankers, Scrappers, Brutes and Stalkers. Willpower, a new defensive set, offers a strong mix of resistance, defense and regeneration powers, allowing characters to shake off pain and continue battling.
The Dual Blades set allows Heroes and Villains hold blunt or bladed weapons in each hand to deliver devastating attacks using the new ‘combo’ combat system.
Dual Blades are also featured in the new weapons customization tool added to the game’s lauded costume creator. With Issue 11, players who use an assault rifle, bow, broadswords, claws, villain claws, dual blades, a katana, a ninja blade, a mace, pulse rifle or dual pistols can change their weapons the same way they change their costume pieces. Through the weapons customization interface in the costume creation tool, players can select from a variety of weapons appropriate to their respective power sets.
“Our players have been craving features like these and we are happy that we are able to deliver them,” Miller said. “The NCsoft City of Heroes team is 100 percent dedicated to building and improving the game. This is the most successful comic-book based game on the market and we will work hard to keep it that way.”
Issue 11 also includes new inventions sets including “very rare” purple sets, and a new invention set for taunt, buff and debuff powers.
To join in the comic-book themed adventures, players can purchase the City of Heroes “Good Versus Evil Edition” game pack at retailers across North America, which includes complete City of Heroes and City of Villains games, as well as a set of exclusive bonus items. Customers receive the first month of play free and both games can be played for the single monthly subscription price of $14.99.
Read more about Issue 11 here.
SOE has announced that they will be holding a Legends of Norrath Promotion Weekend where EverQuest and EverQuest II players can enjoy an increased card pack drop rate, and have the chance of getting two new cards that will only be available during this promotional weekend.
Calling all EverQuest® and EverQuest® II players! What's more fun than defeating opponents in your game and picking up Legends of Norrath™ booster packs, starter decks and combo packs? Well, how about the opportunity to get even more of them?
Introducing the next Legends of Norrath Promotion Weekend, set to begin at 2PM (PST) Friday, November 30, 2007 and conclude at 11:59PM (PST) on Sunday, December 2, 2007. During this special weekend, EQ and EQII players should not only enjoy an increased rate of card pack drops, but will have the opportunity to obtain two brand new cards: Laricel the Gatekeeper (1P6) and Skyshield Maiden (1P7).
For now, these two new cards will only be available during this three-day promotional weekend, so don't miss out on the chance to get them!
It's not only a great time for current Legends of Norrath players to score big, but also the perfect opportunity for EQ and EQII players to come see what all the buzz is about with this great new addition to the universe of Norrath. It will be a blast - especially with an increased opportunity to loot some great cards!
Read more here.
When players first enter EverQuest II one of the very first choices that they have to make is which race to play. With all of the choices available, new players and old alike may have trouble making the decision. Today, Adele Caelia tells us why it's good to play a High Elf in Norrath.
The Koada’Dal, also known as the High Elves are the first children of Tunare the goddess of growth and mother of all that is beautiful in Norrath. The High Elves were born long ago when Tunare walking through the woods noticed a glint of sunlight on her gown. Touching the light, Tunare whispered a few words, and the Koada’Dal were born.
The Koada’Dal once lived in Tunaria, now Antonica, and now hail from the fair city of Felwithe, built with the help of the dwarves. The mixing of dwarven stonework and elven magic created the most beautiful city in all of Norrath. The walls of Felwithe are covered in ivy with streams and ponds flowing throughout. Legend says that Felwithe was built upon Caerthiel, a dark elf city. Most High Elves deny this, but there are a few that say there is evidence under the city. The elves were forced to flee Tunaria when Solusek Ro envious of the blessings given to them by Tunare, and jealous of Tunare herself, altered the great mountain causing the sun to burn down upon Tunaria drying up the land, trees, and water. Innoruuk, the prince of hate was also jealous of Tunare, and attempted to lure the elven prince to the plane of hate. The elven king and queen went in place of the prince, and Innoruuk surprised, but happy by this turn of events quickly swept them away to the plane of hate. Innoruuk then tortured and turned them against one another recreating them in his own image, thus came into being the Teir’Dal or Dark Elves. After the destruction of the Elddar Forest of Tunaria and the loss of their king and queen, the High Elves sailed across the Ocean of Tears, the ocean being the tears of Tunare that she shed for her children. The city of Felwithe is named after Alissa Felwithe, who took leadership of the elves in this dark time.
Read more here.
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.