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.
EA Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has issued a clarification about the Come Back to Camelot promotion. It was originally announced that all former accounts ever had been re-activated. As it turns out, this was a miscommunication, and it is accounds de-activated in the last year that have been returned to active status.
Come Back To Camelot: Boy, do I feel like a dweeb. I assumed that we were activated ALL old accounts, and you know what they say about "assume." We activated all accounts that went inactive as of the last year, not all accounts ever - I have been told in somewhat blistering terms that "all accounts ever" would still be processing. Since this was entirely my bad, please feel free to email me (first name at mythicentertainment dot com) with the account name, if you went inactive more than a year ago. I apologize to those of you annoyed by this.
As a side note? If you were banned, you are not eligible to return. Really.
For more on DAoC click here.
Guild Wars has updated the content in the Nightfall section of their website. Today's announcement includes new articles in the Gameplay Section as well as a Professions Skill Listing update.
Over the course of the last few weeks, we've been adding website content about several novel features of Nightfall. Today we're adding two new articles to our Gameplay Section. One is about the Sunspear and Lightbringer titles, and the other concerns Hero Skills and their acquisition. Head over to the Nightfall Features Section for more information on the game. Also this week, the Professions Skills Listing was updated to include all the current information about every skill in the game. Find that wealth of skill info here.
For more on Guild Wars click here.
The Executive Producer for Star Trek Online comes on the Game/On Audio Interview to talk to Senior Editor Dana Massey about Perpetual Entertainment's eagerly awaited project.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Staff Writer Garrett Fuller looks into the issue of recent bannings in World of Warcraft and offers his opinions on the situation in this new editorial.
|More and more account issues continue to pop up in the MMORPG world this week. This time it's the monster company Blizzard who has come under fire for banning accounts that have been running third party software or operating in online trade or gold buying activities. These seem like valid reasons for a ban however players are being hit for running the game on Linux or logging in their character from another location. This is causing a stir among players because those who have done nothing wrong are logging in to find their accounts cancelled with little or no explanation from the company.|
The full editorial is here.
Rekkator Media, the company responsible for the game Neocron 2, has announced that the public test server phase for Neocron Evolution 2.2 will begin on December 4th, 2006.
The start of the public test server phase for the upcoming evolution stage “Neocron Evolution 2.2” has been set for the calendar week 49 (week commencing 2006/12/04). Neocron Evolution 2.2 includes essential revisions of several core systems such as character skills, weapons, armour, NPCs, items and vehicles.
For more on Neocron 2 click here.
The folks over at Sigil Games, the makers of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, have just released a new Employee Spotlight. This time around, they shine their light on James Rochelle. You can read the whole profile by following the link below.
Who are you and what do you do?
How did you get your start at Sigil?
What is your favorite part about working for a game company?
What is one thing people might be surprised to learn about working at Sigil?
Read it all here.
Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, has released a new Beta Journal. The Beta Journals gives pfans a peek inside of the much-anticipated title. You can read the entire journal buy following the link below.
My wife and i decided to go out and see some sights last night. There is an event scheduled at the Party Tree in Bag End and I took her there so she could get all the Stable Masters along the way. Then we decided to go see Weather Top, even though we were only 12th level. I had been there before with my higher level character and figured we could slip past the mobs without much fighting. It was hard, but with a lot of care, i led her there with my 12th level Lore Master.
Weather Top is awesome in its shear size and the scenery from the clefts is beautiful. After making the summit we started getting adventurous on the way back down, exploring around its slopes. We ran up on a couple of wandering orcs, one at a time, and barely defeated them. But then our luck ran out, we were overrun and defeated.
Back in Bree we were deciding which quest we would work on next. I suggested we try and make for Rivendell. My highest level character is 16 and I have never been further out than Weather Top. The Lone Lands is a dangerous place and Trollshaws is even worse with mobs over 30th level. We knew on that trip fighting would not be an option. But we were feeling lucky, so we decided to give it a shot. I switched to my 16th level Dwarf Guardian and my wife played her 12th level Dwarf Champion and we were soon riding out to the Forsaken Inn to begin our adventure.
To read it all click here.
CCP Games has announced that the EVE Online server, Tranquility, wil be coming down for 24 hours on the 28th of November. This downtime is being used to update the game with EVE's newest free expansion, Revelations Chapter One.
Tranquility will have an extended downtime, Tuesday 28 November, running for 24 hours from 02:00 in the morning to 02:00 GMT Wednesday for the deployment of Revelations, Chapter I, the free expansion to EVE Online. Revelations features many improvements, new features, content and a wealth of optimizations and fixes both to server and client. Detailed patch notes and a features page will be available shortly.
For more on EVE Online click here.
Guild Wars has released a new edition of The Scribe. This issue marks the 24th in their continuing series, and talks about a new realm and other in-game points of interest.
This week, our roving reporter shares further information with us concerning the mysterious new realm about which he wrote last week. He also sends kudos to various kind and generous citizens, and provides information of interest to collectors who possess the Miniature Varesh.
For more on Guild Wars click here.
We conclude our reporting on the EVE Fanfest with a look at Revelations II & III, afternoon presentations from their Senior Producer, Creative Director and CEO, and the Fanfest itself.
This is the third in a three part series of articles covering the EVE Online Fanfest 2006 that MMORPG.com recently attended in Reykjavik, Iceland. Part one (Revelations I and White Wolf Merger) and part two (Avatars, Linux and Announcemnets) were published last week.
| Factions are for Revelations III. These are NPC run - at least initially - organizations that players can join. These bring the fabric of EVE into the here and now. Players will need to build up faction with different groups and can even join them to run missions and pursue their goals. This would seem to be leaning EVE towards a slight bit more of a directed experience, at least at early levels. One way this was discussed by various developers was as a sort of half-way house on the way to a player joining a full player corporation.
Initially, they intend to start small and only allow individuals to join factions. This could mean splits within corporations and various members swear to one or the other. In fact, he is unsure if they will allow entire corporations to swear to a single faction as a unit. He pointed out that it may cause conflicts within the group in terms of pre-existing faction.
The full article is here.
Heidi Schmidt, a Content Designer for Funcom's Age of Conan, talks about her unqiue path to her first job in the industry: keeping the lore.
| MMORPG.com: What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?
Heidi Schmidt: I am a content designer, specifically a quest designer, and the Lore Wench, for the Age of Conan MMO. I spent a lot of time on the TestLive test server for Anarchy Online, helping the developers by testing new content. I also delved into creating a huge in-game map for the community, which I really enjoyed working on (it was the perfect excuse to explore every meter of Rubi-Ka). When Funcom was looking to hire new people, I knew I had to apply. I had been so impressed with the artistic and creative talent behind Anarchy Online, and I wanted to be part of that amazing team. I applied as a designer, was interviewed, and hired, all in the matter of a few weeks. I moved to Norway from the U.S. just a few weeks after that!
The full Q&A is here.
EA Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has released an early Grab Bag this week. One can only presume that the community folks over there want to enjoy their turkey day. As usual, there's too much to print here, so follow the link below to get it all.
A: People think I make these “questions” up. Oh, but no. This is a cut and copied, verbatim feedback form.
The Grizzled Code War Veteran was here until the wee hours, working. There are indeed still some issues (apart from the “normal” lag in places where dozens of people are casting spells). However, there is no pattern to the remaining issues that we can see, and so I need your help. I would REALLY appreciate it if you would use the feedback form, not a CS appeal, and use the following format. (If you choose to use a different format, that’s totally cool… but it will be much, much faster for us to count and tally the feedback if you take my suggestions.)
Choose the Negative feedback form category.
Fill out the other fields.
In the “comments” field, give me ONLY the following.
Q: Why does the feedback form not have an option for bug reports?
A: Because we want you to use the bug appeal in the game. The feedback forms are read and counted by hand (although not answered personally due to volume). The bug appeals receive a tracking number, are timestamped, and assigned to someone for investigation.
Read it all here.
Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach has announced that they will be bringing their test server, Risia, online for the Thanksgiving holiday.
As a special treat for the Thanksgiving holiday we are bringing up the Risia Server to give you a chance to play and give feedback on the new dungeons we are adding in the "Evil Resurgent" update! "From Beyond the Grave," "Dreams of Insanity," "And the Dead Shall Rise," and "The Enemy Within" are all given in House Jorasco. "The Spawn of Whisperdoom" starts in House Phiarlan and "Haywire Grotto" can be picked up in House Kundarak. We'd really appreciate it if you'd focus on these new quests and let us know what you think in the Risia Test Server forum on DDO.com.
For more on DDO click here.
Guild Wars has released a new PvP Primer. THis time around, it's part one of a two part feature that looks at skill synergy and offers suggestions.
This week's article in the PvP Primer series covers the synergy of skills—not just their selection, but how they are used in combat—and offers several example builds. The first of two parts, you'll find the article here.
For more on Guild Wars click here.