Final Fantasy XI has announced a Beta Version Update and have included notes from hat update. As usual, there are too many to print here, so follow the link below to real all of the notes.
The FINAL FANTASY XI Linkshell Community Beta Version has been updated. A calendar and an auto-login function have been introduced to the site, in addition to changes made to existing features.
Using the calendar, you can announce detailed information regarding regular in-game events or recruit participants from all over your World.
Click here for a detailed explanation of the calendar feature.
Read them all here.
Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, have released a new "Characters of Middle-Earth" feature. This time around, they're taking a look at Old Man Willow.
Adventurers in the Old Forest, to the east of Buckland and the Shire, know well that very little is what it seems in those darkened woods. Many tell tales of the very trees whispering and moving, hindering the passage of travelers, many of whom become forever lost amongst the forest's shifting paths. Of these dark legends, perhaps there is none more sinister than the tale of a certain ancient willow, with a heart as dark as the forest itself. Old Man Willow, his trunk immense and his branches spreading out like enormous clawed hands, stands along the banks of the Withywindle awaiting the approach of unwary adventurers. A creature of great power, Old Man Willow is adept at luring his foes into a pleasant drowsiness in his idyllic setting along the river's meandering valley. Travelers had best be wary of his tricks, or they will soon find themselves consumed within the twisted roots and fissures of this evil forest-dweller.
Old Man Willow is certain to be well known to fans of The Lord of the Rings, and although he will no doubt be a favorite location for players to visit, those familiar with the books will also know to approach him with extreme care. Located near the home of Tom Bombadil and not far from the edge of the Old Forest and the mysterious Barrow-downs, Old Man Willow is the first of the great and ancient powers in Middle-earth likely to be encountered by players. The grumpy old tree has a dark heart, to be sure, and protects his forest realm without sympathy for interlopers into his valley. It could be said that by his actions he is merely protecting the old way of life, as the Old Forest dwindles along with other ancient stands in these dark days. Players should be careful when adventuring along the Withywindle – Old Tom Bombadil may not always be about to save the unwary, as he did Frodo and company in the pages of The Fellowship of the Ring!
For more on LORTO click here.
EVE Online has announced the launch of their newest free expansion, Revelations I. Revelations II and III will follow behind it eventually.
The deployment of EVE Online: REVELATIONS was completed on 29 November at 0200 GMT, an on-schedule deployment. The first of three installments in EVE Online's second major game expansion, Revelations brings a wide range of new content, features, updates and improvements to the EVE Online universe. You can view this information by visiting the EVE Online: Revelations Features and Patch Notes pages. Dev Blogs with information on some of the recent changes, additions and features are also available.
Please note: The Revelations Patch is currently avalable for manual patching from the EVE Patches page. The full version client is in the process of being built and will be available shortly.
For more on EVE Online click here.
EA Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has announced that the game's servers will be coming down on Thursday at 8 AM EST. They estimate that the servers will return to action around 3:30 PM on the same day.
I wish I had a few more details, but I wanted to post as soon as the plan came through. The live servers will be coming down this Thursday at 8:00 AM EST for a few fixes. We expect to be back up on around 3:30 PM. There will be a Pendragon patch tomorrow at 2:00 PM EST, and more detailed notes will follow. Thanks as always for your patience, and keep an eye on the Herald for updates!
For more DAoC click here.
Guild Wars has announced that this weekend will see players who have completed Nightfall gain access to a new area. The Domain of Angusih will open for players on December 1st.
This weekend is truly special, as we launch the opening of the Domain of Anguish. Players who have completed Nightfall will be given access to this elite area through the Chantry of Secrets on Friday, December 1st. You will find four separate areas for players to explore, nearly a dozen quests, new armor upgrade options, a system for acquiring novel weapons, and of course a compelling mission as well. We look forward to seeing you in the Domain of Anguish!
For more on Guild Wars click here.
Blizzard has just added a new section to the official website for their popular MMO, World of Warcraft. The new site keeps track of daily statistics within the game, and will allow players toa ccess that information at the click of a button.
We've just released our new Game Statistics page. This new page will provide you with up-to-date statistics about some of the most important aspects of World of Warcraft: most sought-after items in the Auction House, most common player-created items, the fiercest killers in the NPC kingdom, most gathered and found items, most looted items, and the most popular quests. Click here to see more.
These stats are updated daily and you can even do a side-by-side comparison for up to seven days to see how the statistics are progressing, so make sure to check back often!
For more on WoW click here.
EI Interactive, who recently purchased Horizons from Tulga Games and was embroiled in a a host of controversy afterwards, has been bought out by Pixel Magic Entertainment. There was no immediate comment on what - if anything - this deal means, although it should be noted that the Pixel Magic website lists Ed Andercheck, the owner of EI Interactive, as a Director.
MMORPG.com has contacted the new company for comment and will bring you more on this story in the coming days.
E I Interactive publishes online interactive content products. This includes casual games through an online game portal, gaming review and information sites, and massively multi-player online games (MMOs). EI owns and operates www.mygamehaven.com a portal access site for MMOs, which is one of the fastest growing markets in the interactive entertainment industry.
Pixel Magic Entertainment Corporation through its affiliate companies builds and evolves online products for niche communities. Their efforts endeavor to incubate technology that better supports community construction in the online world. Their culture is built around a team-based commitment to discovery and innovation in technology driven online communities. Interactive entertainment is amongst the fastest growing consumer markets today; the online component of interactive entertainment is its fastest expanding subset.
Laura Genender looks at Veteran Rewards in anticipating of tomorrow's big expansion. Issue #8: To Serve and Protect is a largely City of Heroes focused expansion. When we last spoke to Cryptic at AGC, they told us that from here on out players can expect the expansion to be equally focused across both sides.
| Introduced with the "Issue 8: To Protect and Serve" expansion to City of Heroes and City of Villains, Cryptic Studios will be implementing a Veteran Award system that rewards players based on how long they've had an activated account for the duo of games. These rewards range from costume pieces to special powers to extra base items, including a lot of novelty items that City of Heroes and Villains fans have been anticipating since the opening of the game.
That's right, we're talking wings.
The full article is here.
Community Manager Jon Wood kicks off a new weekly series where he looks at a specific issue raised in our community, how you saw it and how he sees it. Check back each Tuesday to see if you're in the Community Spotlight.
|"Well, sounds like you want a new game called Life Replacement," said user Aquakitty.
Others though, either offer support. "It sounds a good, but then again lots of people will flame this and say 'Dude, there is something called real life!' But it sounds awesome!" Sahilian wrote. Others offered existing game examples such as EVE, Darkfall and Star Wars: Galaxies.
Personally, I like the idea that what he's striving for is a real-life simulator. After all, isn't that generally what role-playing is at its core? Looking beyond the rules and the complexity of role-playing games, hasn't the point always been to create a world that was like real life but more exciting? It's always seemed odd to me that MMOs have moved further and further from this goal of simulating the real world in favor of holding to well used conventions like levels, classes, experience and the like.
The full article is here.
Disney Online has announced that their family-friendly MMORPG, Toontown Online, is now available for Macintosh computers as well as the PC.
North Hollywood, Calif., November, 28 2006 – Disney Online today announced the availability of Disney’s Toontown Online for Macintosh computers, plus the addition of new “gags” to keep players on their toon-toes. The first massively multiplayer online game designed for kids and their families, Toontown invites players to live life as a cartoon character, along with thousands of other players in a continually growing online world. Now both Power PC and Intel-based Mac players can join the more than 15 million PC-based ‘Toon’ characters created in the game by downloading Toontown at www.Toontown.com.
“We are thrilled to offer Mac players the chance to get in on the fun and help expand the world of Toontown,” said Steve Parkis, vice president of Premium Content for Disney Online. “One of the reasons Toontown is so popular is there’s always something new for players – like the special new gags we’ve just added to the game.”
Players can unlock a new arsenal of gags, including a Wedding Cake throw gag, an Ocean Liner drop gag, an Opera Voice sound gag, and more, by reaching the highest skill level on each of their gag tracks. Players have the option of using these new gags either in battle against the Cogs or planting them using the new Estate Gardening feature that was recently added to the game.
Toontown for both Mac and PC is available for download at www.Toontown.com for $9.95 per month, with extended membership packages available at special rates. Each membership includes six separate “Toons,” so multiple family members can play as their own character. A free 3-day trial and additional information is available on the site.
For more on Toontown Online click here.
Voyage Century, a high-seas MMO currently in development, has announced that their game will be Guild-friendly, and IGG will provide limited support for those organized groups.
(Sunnyvale, CA – November 28, 2006) – No longer are online gamers compelled to explore the seas and quest for adventure alone in Voyage Century Online, Internet Gaming Gate’s (IGG) massively multiplayer online nautical role-playing game. Creating guilds are now available to players, with limited guild support from IGG.
Within Voyage Century Online guilds, players carry out many kinds of enriching economic activities including investment, production, trade and more. The most important factor of guild system are the city battles, which guilds must bid to participate in; only the winner can control over the whole city or port. Any guild who owns a city has many additional favorable rights such as imposing special taxes on other players and guilds, free trade and producing weapon or reconstructing ships at a low price.
During this play testing phase, all players will have an equal opportunity to found a guild or join a guild founded by others. The IGG will determine the top 20 guilds in Voyage Century and reward them when Voyage Century is in open beta. Plus, after the closed beta, top-tier guilds will be provided in-game funds and materials to support the guild development. In addition, the Internet Gaming Gate will reward the top 3 guild leaders with a sailboat model and in-game tiger, wolf and parrot pets.
For more information about guilds, please visit http://group.voyagecenturyonline.com/
Voyage Century, in pre-release development, is a ground-breaking massively multiplayer online nautical game. Featuring visually powerful, intense combat and adventure on land and sea, Voyage Century is a dream game for armchair captains everywhere. Trade, craft, wage war around the world, even search for buried treasure, Voyage Century offers just about everything imaginable from the 16th century seafaring era. For more information about Voyage Century Online, please visit http://www.voyagecenturyonline.com.
For more on Voyage Century click here.
SOE's EverQuest II has released a new feature that discusses the Lesser Faydark. It's too long to print here in its entirety, so click the link below to get the whole scoop.
Can you tell us a bit about Lesser Faydark?
Morticus: Well, Lesser Fay or LFay as it's called by some – is the smaller extension of the Faydark forest in the continent of Faydwer. Much has changed to the forest over the last four to five hundred years, which is easily noticeable with a quick look around. The first thing you will notice is that the zone is pretty much devoid of trees, but is now filled with huge towering mushrooms, twisted overgrowing vines and gigantic flowers. I really think it gives the zone a great sense of magic and wonder, especially over the traditional coniferous forests you find in most fantasy games. Tunare hasn't forgotten her followers that reside within the Lesser Fay either, which is evident by the Great Tree that grows within her grove in the Northern part of the zone. Some say that the Great Tree sprouted from a seed taken from Tunare's home within the Plane of Growth.
Lesser Faydark features ravenous plant growth. Can you explain the events that lead to all this incredible growth?
Morticus: Oh yeah, the Loa'Sur river that flows from the Emerald Halls is to blame. The water that runs through and permeates the forest of the Lesser Fay is rich in life and growth, all due to the influence caused by the Bloom of Growth Wuoshi is guarding in the Emerald Halls. At the beginning of the Age of Cataclysms during the Rending, a tremor cracked open the lair in which Wuoshi and the Bloom of Growth had been hiding. This fissure within the mountains allowed for light to shine upon the Bloom and water to flow into the Lesser Faydark. Before Tunare left her plane with the gods, she wanted to be sure that she left something behind in her absence… Wary of trusting her beloved Elves due to their invasion of her plane and attacks on the inhabitants there, she deemed them unworthy and sought another. (Bad bad adventurers!) She noticed Wuoshi, a dragon well learned in druidic magics and felt she could entrust him enough to guard the Bloom in her absence. She bade Wuoshi to hide it deep within the mountains and agreeing to guard it with his life, Tunare endowed him with some of her power, thus making Wuoshi the Guardian of Growth.
Read it all here.
Dark Age of Camelot has released some notes from a recent Hotfix.
The following changes are now live.
For more on DAoC click here.
Guild Wars has released a new State of the Game feature. This time, it ceneters around Hero Battles.
You can gain insight into the new world of Hero Battles in today’s competitive feature. You’ll find build ideas, control and strategy tips, map info, and much more, in the newest of our State of the Game articles.
For more on Guild Wars click here.
Turbine has announced that they will be offering a 14 day free trial of Asheron's Call: Throne of Destiny. If you want to try the trial and decide you don't like it, be careful to make sure that you account is cancelled before the 14 days is up. Otherwise, you will become a paid subscriber.
Asheron’s Call®: Throne of Destiny™
November 27, 2006 - Turbine, Inc. announced today that the Asheron’s Call®: Throne of Destiny™ (AC) 14-day free trial is now available for download at http://trial.ac.turbine.com for a limited time. Now in its seventh year of operation, AC is a fully-developed world - complete with a deep history, committed community, and a compelling storyline that has evolved through frequent content updates.
Players who participate in this program will receive full access to the game for 14 consecutive days free of charge. Upon the expiration of the free trial period, players will automatically become subscribers to AC at the rate of US $12.95 per month plus any applicable taxes unless they cancel prior to the expiration of the free trial period. Players whose free trial converts to a paid subscription will carryover the characters created during their free trial period. To participate in the 14-day free trial or to find out where to buy AC, visit http://trial.ac.turbine.com.
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, PvP, quests, and frequent content updates, AC immerses players in an intense role-playing environment. An extensive system of formal allegiances and player influence greatly enhance social interaction within the game.
Robust allegiance system
Unique PvP system
For more on Asheron's Call click here.
The Director of Community Relations for EA Mythic answers our queries on their upcoming MMO. We chat about the EA deal, squig herders, WoW comparisons and much more.
| MMORPG.com: Obviously, you've heard rumblings about how the game looks like World of WarCraft. Bluntly, did you intentionally mimic World of WarCraft with your visual style? If not, can you explain how it evolved the way it did and why you believe people should not view it that way?
Sanya Thomas: I hate answering this question in print, because you really have to see my face to understand my tone. You must pretend, as you read this, that I have thrown my head back and laughed, and then I rolled my eyes at you. That is the exact tone my voice has when I answer this question. Also, since it is you, Lepidus, and I have known you for many years, it is highly possible that in person, I would have thrown some sort of soft toy at you for asking questions to which you know the answer.
The answer is no, we did not mimic that other game. We are developing WAR in the exact style of Games Workshop, the style Games Workshop developed back in the 1980s.
There was never a chance that we would throw out more than twenty years of development and design just because another company found that look and style so inspirational.
I don't know why things have evolved the way they have evolved. Perhaps that would be a good question for a clever journalist to ask GW and Blizzard. But I don't have a dog in that fight. My company is proud and happy to work with GW, the original designers of the look - an assertion easily proved by pulling up any number of gaming books from the eighties. We are making their world come to life.
You can read more here.
|"The front of the Goa'uld Resurrection Station in all it's glory. Normal and parallax mapped statues in the foreground, frame the main approach with the Jaffa guards. Light mapped shadows on the structure itself coexist with the dynamic lighting of the guards. There is also the warm exterior lighting solution in place, thanks to the many braziers."|
|"One of the two entrances to the Resurrection Station is shown here. The light mapped shadows offer a terrific variation of light and dark, with the asymmetry of only one standing torch burning, softly illuminating the statue. Inside you can see another Jaffa guard, in the brightly lit interior just beyond the doorway."|
|"This image is set in the nearby oasis, looking up to the Goa'uld Aid Station beyond. The trees and shrubs are created using a program called Speedtree, which allows highly detailed and animated flora objects that automatically lower in detail the further they are away from the player. They also burn nice shadows into the desert landscape adding even more realism."|
|"Looking through the entrance foyer here, the overhead firepit burns brightly, casting light mapped shadows throughout the chamber. At the far end, the dunes and trees are visible on the other side of the structure. Furniture and pillows wait inside, incense burns, providing a safe haven for the recently resurrected. Also, a nice close view of our normal mapped walls and floor, with their cracks, chips and detail can be seen."|
|"The Goa'uld resurrect by way of sarcophagi which revitalize dead beings. Here is one such device, activated and open, ready to bring a Goa'uld or Jaffa back from the afterworld. This scene displays emissive textures glowing, with the sarcophagi itself animating upon activation. The standing torches with their heat distortion effect, giving light to the transmission masked wide leaves of the plants, bringing them to life as well."|
Dan Fortier gives some free advice to MMO developers on what not to do with your MMO. MMOWTF is a weekly column on MMORPG.com.
|Sometimes you look at the debacles that have occurred over the course of the short history of MMOs and you wonder: Do they ever learn? You would think that by looking back with hindsight at some of the mistakes that have been inflicted on us by shortsighted or incompetent developers that the next generation of publishers would have compiled a very comprehensive list of what not to do. Sadly, we see the same mistakes being repeated time and time again mixed in with a fresh batch of new blunders with every title released. Have no fear my fickle readers for I have created a short cheat sheet for all current and future designers called: No Nos for MMOs. Read and be enlightened!|
The full column is here.