SOE CEO John Smedley has updated his station blog to inform everyone about the current status of SOE's services and relate his own personal story of the wildfires in San Diego, his early morning evacuation, and watching the flames creep toward his neighborhood. In his blog he relates that at least one person at SOE did lose their home, and things in San Diego are far from returning to normal, but SOE services should be back to full strength on Monday. He also thanks everyone for their outpouring of support.
Ordinarily I stick to Online Gaming stuff.. but this week I’d like to share something a little more personal.
This week has been a tough one for San Diego. These fires have just devastated our City. I know this is going to sound cliché, but the outpouring of help that people here have given each other has been nothing short of amazing to watch. The evacuation was one of the most organized and efficient things I have ever seen. We got the reverse 911 call at 4:30am on Monday morning to get out of my house (I live in a suburb of San Diego that is right on the border of Rancho Bernardo and Poway). That call literally saved our lives.
We got my 4 kids up and into my wife’s car very quickly, but I was terrified when I saw the flames coming our way while we were loading the kids into the car.
One thing you never, ever want to see while you are with your kids is fire coming towards your house.
Read Smed's Blog here.
IGG has just issued us a second batch of 1,000 alpha test keys for Zu Online! Get yours while you can! Our first batch of 500 went very quickly, so we expect these to do the same.
If you don't have a key yet you can get yours by clicking on this link!
Put this one into the "just for fun" category:
According to Gateworld.net, the Season Four Episode of Stargate Atlantis that will air on 11/02/07 is titled "Tabula Rasa". 11/02/07 is also the set release date for NCsoft's MMO of the same name. Coincidence? Most definitely. Entertaining? At least to me.
Check out the entry at Gateworld.net.
John Galt Games has launched a teaser site at www.webwars.com citing an announcement with further details on the upcoming title at the upcoming Fan Fest for EVE Online. MMORPG.com News Manager Keith Cross will be on these scene to get details.
John Galt Games will be making a very important announcement regarding this upcoming title at Eve Fanfest 2007.
The announcement will be made on Saturday, November 3rd at 12PM GMT/UTC (7AM CDT). Please check back after the announcement!
Check out the teaser here.
Penny Arcade has announced the dates for PAX 2008. The event will take place next year between August 29th and August 31st.
Penny Arcade today announced that the 5th annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) dates will be August 29th, 30th and 31st of 2008 with exhibitor packets available now and attendee registration opening in January. This past August 37,000 gamers filled the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Wash. for the 4th annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) game festival.
In his PAX 2007 keynote address, noted actor, writer and geek icon Wil Wheaton challenged stereotypical notions of the antisocial nature of gaming, recounting stories of enjoying arcade games as a child with his brother, and sharing the gaming experience with his children. The theme of gaming as social interaction echoed throughout the three-day show, in panel discussions like "The Social Component in Gaming Today" as well as in free-play rooms filled with gamers competing against each other face-to-face, and in the popularity of "party" games like Rock Band and SingStar in the exhibition hall."PAX has always been about community," said Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade, "and I think that was really reflected in the overall vibe of the show. PAX celebrates what it means to be a gamer, and walking onto the show floor gives you this sense of kinship ... it just feels right."
Now the largest game festival in North America, PAX 2007 featured an enormous selection of panels, tournaments, concerts and other activities centered around game culture. This year's PAX was the first held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, a move prompted by the dramatic increase in attendance. Thus far, the festival's attendance has doubled each year: There were 4,500 attendees in 2004, 9,500 in 2005, 19,300 in 2006, and 37,000 for 2007. Attendance for the 2008 event is expected to reach forty-seven million bajillion people.
Vest Game Entertainment has announced that they will soon begin their closed beta test for World of Kung Fu, their upcoming MMO based on Chinese mythology and martial arts.
Vest Game Entertainment Inc. has announced that its upcoming MMORPG, World of Kung Fu, will enter its closed beta on October 26th.
Pasadena, California - October 23rd, 2007- After 2 month of technical and localization enhancement, Vest Game Entertainment Inc. is proud to announce the opening of World of Kung Fu game server for the closed beta test. Vest Game is currently inviting players to join its closed beta test, with an open beta to follow shortly.
The World of Kung Fu is an epic online world based on traditional Chinese material arts and mythology, and it incorporates some new features that are nonexistent in other MMORPGs, such as creating personalized skill sets, founding schools of disciplines, and even marriage.
Vest Game Entertainment Inc. is an publisher. Since 2002, Vest Game Entertainment Inc. has been developing popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) by adopting advanced technology and by providing online gamers the best Asian style games.
Read more here.
Lord of the Rings Online has won the 2007 Golden Joystick Award for PC Game of the Year.
We're very proud and excited to announce that LOTRO received top honors as PC Game of the Year at the 2007 Golden Joystick Awards ! Thanks to everyone who voted for LOTRO!
More LotRO here.
The folks over at Final Fantasy XI have updated the website dedicated to their upcoming expansion, "Wings of the Goddess".
The promotional site for the eagerly awaited FINAL FANTASY XI expansion has been updated with a new section detailing the massively multiplayer battle system known as "Campaign". To learn more of the Allied Forces of Altana and their epic struggle to fend off the armies of the Beastmen Confederate, as well as exclusive information on other expansion-related issues, click here!
Visit the FFXI site here.
Joymax has announced that as of October 30th, there will be four new pets available for the MMORPG, Silkroad Online
SAN JOSE, CA - October 26, 2007 - Joymax, an independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment for the global market, has announced today the upcoming release of new pets for its historical massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, Silkroad Online. Available on October 30th, the latest update includes companion animals that will be available for purchase in the game's item mall. Each creature offers a unique ability that will help players face the many perils lurking in Silkroad Online.
The four pets in the update include:
*Cat: An ability pet, the cat aids players by automatically picking up items within range and storing them in its own inventory slots. Ability pets are available for four weeks at a time and cannot be killed in combat.
*Penguin: Growth pets like the penguin provide assistance during battle. At level 40, the penguin will evolve into its final evolutionary stage, proving deadly to any enemies. Like other growth pets, when the penguin is killed, it can be revived with the grass of life.
*Fierce Tiger: The tiger is the finest vehicle pet available, and can carry the player across the Silk Road faster than any horses.
*Five Horned Rhinoceros: Transport pets like the rhinoceros help traders carry goods during trade runs. With increased speed and hit points, the rhinoceros can survive even the most treacherous routes.
Along with these additions, the update includes a new potion that doubles experience points for your pet.
More on Silkroad Online here.
Lockpick Entertainment has announced that with the end of the game's last Era, they have closed down Dreamlords so that the development team can focus their resources on developing Dreamlords: Re-awakened.
It is said that the only constant thing in life is change…and change is most definitely upon us. The last Era went out with a bang and everything was lost…the world ended in flames.
So is it all over now?
No of course not, but major changes and trials lies ahead of us all and we want to give you a heads up of what is happening.
The Good News!
Lockpick Entertainment is proud to announce that development of Dreamlords: Re-awakened has begun. This new part in the Dreamlords saga will introduce many new features, missions together with upgrades of various functions and we are really thrilled about it, to say the least.
Now for the part you might not like so much: We are not a big development studio with unlimited resources and we don’t have a large publisher behind us. In order for us to focus fully on Dreamlords: Re-awakened, Dreamlords will be unavailable for some time.
Trust us, it hasn’t been an easy decision but after much consideration we have decided to let Dreamlords rest for a while. To be honest with you (as opposed to give you some corporate mumbo-jumbo) we simply can’t develop Dreamlords: Re-awakened at the same time as keeping up a good level of service with Dreamlords, it wouldn’t be fair to you nor us.
We develop games because we love it and if we can’t do it exactly the way we want it, we’d rather give it a rest instead of squeezing a couple of extra bucks out of you.
Read more here.
CCP has posted a before and after picture demonstrating the graphics changes that will be implemented in the upcoming Trinity Expansion.
EVE Online: Trinity: Get a load of these beauties
We are so excited about our next expansion, EVE Online: Trinity, we have to show it off. Don’t be fooled by the sleek lines and sheer beauty of these ships. Trinity is not just a pretty face. It’s absolutely bursting at the seams with new content: agent missions, combat advancements, Tech II ships and more. We’ll unveil the full list when we debut the Trinity Features page (similar to the Revelations II Features page) but until then, feel free to stare at the images below, courtesy of the graphics update that’s at the core of Trinity, with wanton lust. Unlike other notable hotties (i.e. Jennifer Garner and Jessica Alba), these will be within your grasp soon™.
See the difference here.
Ultima Online Producer Chris Rabideau has posted a letter to the community in the UO Herald, informing the citizens of Britannia that the Ultima Online team will be moving from their offices in San Francisco to the EA Mythic studios in Fairfax, Virginia.
Citizens of Britannia,
I wanted to share with you a significant change that is about to take place with the UO development team. Over the next several months, we'll be moving the team from its current location at EA's headquarters outside of San Francisco, CA to the EA Mythic studios in Fairfax, VA.
So what does this mean to you? This is a big move for the team, but we expect it to have very little impact on the game and community in the short term. Planned development and operations will continue with minimal interruption.
In the long term, we believe this move will be a big win for UO and will allow us to better support the game as we move into its second decade of operation. By having all three MMO teams together here in Virginia, we'll be better able to focus on Ultima Online’s development and ensure a long and lively future for the game.
Read more here.
In this week's MMOWTF column, Dan Fortier takes on the ESRB's "Mature" rating and suggests that there is very little mature about an M-rated game.
Now that you’ve turned away in disgust or given me your undivided attention I shall commence! It struck me as a beautiful contradiction that the things that most would consider to be for ‘mature’ audiences typically act like Pavlovian bells to the hoards of immature hounds looking for something to drool on. Things like blood, gore and exposed mammary glands are often effective ways of drawing in a crowd prior to sucker punching them and grabbing their lunch money. It’s not so much a bait-and-switch tactic as a cheese on a mousetrap or shiny light on a bug-zapper. This week I am going to play with the hand grenade that is adult content. Frag out!
As long as testosterone and libido have driven the sales of products to the male demographic, there has always been a medium ground that Devs were loath to cross. Games like Red Light District and BMX XXX remind us that we are not complete slaves to instinct and that a poorly made game with nudity is still a poorly made game. The trick is to dish out enough violence and sexual innuendo to keep the animal mind interested yet still provide enough fun and challenge for the rest of our brain. A game needs to deliver more than virtual pron to be a hit, but the forbidden fruit is often enough to get the interest of folks who would have otherwise ignored the game.
Why would kids be interested in a game that is designed to exclude them? You think the answer would be simple, but even factoring in human nature this is a tough nut to crack. For example, any of the above and more can easily be found in excess with a few clicks on the Internet. Why would someone want to spend all the time and effort getting into an MMO that has these things instead of just following the path of least resistance? Sure MMOs are great interactive playgrounds and the only thing better than getting your jollies by yourself is getting them with a ton of people you don’t know! If we follow this rationale then it might seem that Developers are trying to double-dip by grabbing the ‘target’ audience and the ‘wanna-be target’ audience as well.
Read the whole thing here.
Blizzard has announced the edition of character name changes to World of Warcraft thanks to recent advancements in gnomish engineering.
We're happy to announce that through the wonders of modern gnomish engineering, you are now able to change your characters' names. Finally, you can turn the moniker that seemed like a good idea at the time into something more befitting your true standing in World of Warcraft.
Visit Account Management to begin the paid character-name-change process. The fee is $10 per name change. As with our recent addition of voice chat to the game, this feature is being rolled out across all realms in several phases. The first-phase realms are listed in this forum post. Enjoy this new feature and the subsequent effect that your bold new name will have on friends and foes alike.
Read more here.
Rick Saada from Flying Lab Software took some time out of his development schedule to take part in this developer profile Q&A. In it, he talks about Pirates of the Burning Sea, some of the history behind the game and why you should play it.
Let’s start off with the obvious. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do on Pirates of the Burning Sea?Rick Saada:
I wear quite a few hats. I’m the tools dev, so I make the tools that our content crew uses to make all the missions, NPC’s and suchlike, and that our design crew uses to make all the loot. I wrote the editor for laying out automated tests for the test team, utilities for the art team, plus a zillion other little tools. I’m also one of the founders at FLS, which means I appear at the top as well as the bottom of the org chart (it’s circular, really). Oh, and I’m in charge of banana bread. Some here would argue that’s my most important job.
Read the whole interview here.
The folks over at TCoS have released this alpha footage from their upcoming MMO. It's an internal combat stress test in one of the starting areas.
Inhouse Combat Stress Test Video
With the European release date set for the first quarter of 2008, the Chronicles of Sepllborn has been running a series of stress tests. Here is a video of some of the combat action from the latest test.
More videos here.
Please join us on Thursday, November 8th at 7pm EST, for another MMORPG.com dev chat!
Curious about upcoming MMO Stargate Worlds? Now's the time to sate your curiousity! Please join us in the MMORPG.com Live Chatroom starting at 7pm EST on 11/08/07 to meet the developers behind Stargate Worlds. Bring a question, bring a friend! After the chat, be sure to stick around for Stargate Worlds 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 Stargate Worlds here.