Our Game/On Podcast continues its new weekly format with our Commentary show. This week, Jon Wood and Michael Hampden debate some of the latest topics from around the industry. They discuss such topics as: expansions and content, the big news of the last few weeks, and the brand new lightning round, where Jon gets 30 seconds each to answer Mike's questions. All that and more on this episode of Game/On.
You can hear the podcast here.
We kick off a five part interview and screenshot series with Matt Miller, the Lead Designer of all things City of, today. The first Q&A looks at Patron Powers in general and will be followed by four more that take a close up look at the individual patrons: starting with Ghost Widow.
Matt Miller: A Patron Power is a power in a power pool that is granted by one of the four lieutenants of Lord Recluse; Ghost Widow, Scirocco, Captain Mako, or Black Scorpion. They are themed power pools that tie directly in to the backstory and powers of the person who grants access to the pool.
MMORPG.com: Ok, so I’ve chosen my patron. How many different powers will I have access to?
Matt Miller: There are four powers in each pool, for each Archetype. You can choose from the first two right off the bat, but in order to get access to the third one you need one of the first two powers, and to have access to the last power in the pool, you need to have chosen two of the previous powers.
To read the full Q&A and see two images, click here.
Thanks to Flying Lab for providing these.
The people at the Saga of Ryzom have released some new information on the New Player Experience (NPE), designed to improve the experience of players who are new to the game.
We are currently working on improving the first experience a newcomer gets from the game. To summarize, the current "newbie land" system made of 4 separate islands, is completely changed and replaced by a unique island; and, the new players should also be able to find more help through new missions that will guide their first steps on Atys regarding the gameplay and the lore basics.
For more info on The Saga of Ryzom, click here.
Guild Wars has given us some more information about the Guild Wars Factions E3 Challenge. It seems that nine guilds are going to be invited to take on the first season's winner of the Guild Wars Championship, The Last Pride, at this year's E3.
If you’re not attending E3 this year, you and your guild still have a chance to participate in the action taking place on the show floor! Nine Guild Wars guilds will be invited to take on the GWFC First Season winner, The Last Pride, in GvG matches that take place during the expo. Win the match or go the distance and fun prizes can be yours! Find out all the details here.
For more info on Guild Wars, click here.
Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online has released another edition of their "Exploring Middle Earth" series. This time around, they put their focus on The Brandywine Bridge:
Last week we showed you the Ruined Watch-tower, one of the less-familiar locations that will help give LOTRO a sense of the ancient history prevalent in JRR Tolkien's writings. Players can also look forward to visiting more prominent locations from The Lord of the Rings, like this week's Point of Interest - The Brandywine Bridge!
For more LoTRO, click here.
EverQuest II has released a brand new Treasure Chest. In the Treasure Chest, you're going to find some of the more interesting threads from the EverQust II forums. Check it out!
Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Treasure Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Treasure Chest!
For more on EQII, click here.
Another new Developer Journal has popped up over at Cheyenne Mountain Entertianment, the company responsible for the development of the new MMORPG, Stargate Worlds:
"Well, I'm Mike Whiting, and I am one of the game artists for Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. I'm 25 years old, and my wife just had our second baby in December of 2005. I have been playing video games since I was in Kindergarten, when my best friend got an NES console for his birthday, and I haven't stopped since really. I just started the online gaming scene last year with Diablo II (battlenet) and then I jumped into MMORPG's last year with World of Warcraft.
"I am a really big sports fan, and also an avid follower of the Phoenix Suns. I played varsity volleyball for my high school for 2 years, which is also my favorite sport. I had a few opportunities to play some college ball, but chose to go on a service mission for my church, and ended up living in Spain for 2 years. When I got back from Europe in 2002, I dated a girl I knew from high school and we ended up getting married in 2003. She basically couldn't resist me.
"I also really enjoy music, and I started playing the guitar my sophomore year in high school - I have a black Epiphone Les Paul that I try and play as often as I can. My favorite music is punk rock, and my favorite band is probably Lagwagon. I have a million close 2nd places though.
"I also absolutely love movies. Several summers ago, I had a record 42 rentals from Blockbuster in one month. My wife also really enjoys movies and we watch them whenever we can. We also like to watch Friends together, and we are on our 3rd time through all 10 season.
"As an artist, I have been drawing my whole life. I got into computer art about 3 years ago, and I enjoy it just as much as traditional art. I really love being a game artist here at Cheyenne Mountain, it is an awesome company!"
~ Mike Whiting
For more on Stargate Worlds, click here.
There's a new Devlog up over at Pirates of the Burning Sea. This one comes from developer, Brendan Walker. Brendan tells us about himself, his projects, and more! For more Pirates of the Burning Sea, click here.
My name is Brendan Walker and I just joined Flying Lab in the beginning of Feburary. It's been an exciting month or so getting familiar with the game, the code base, the company, and the community.
Before coming to Flying Lab I worked at Oberon Games and before that Ares Interactive (I'm willing to bet you've heard of neither of those companies). Oberon does puzzle and other "casual" games. While there I worked on subcontract to remake all of the inbox games (Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc) as well as a new game for Windows Vista. Ares Interactive was a small game company a few friends and myself started after college. We completed one game ("Barnyard Invasion") and then went bankrupt.
Since I've started here I've been fortunate enough to work on some cool projects. One of the first was to add flags to the ships. I was excited to add flags because they add some character to the ships AND more importantly they show what the current wind direction is (which is very important when in the middle of a battle). Originally, I thought this was going to be a trivial task that would only have minor implications in the game. I soon discovered this was not the case. Everytime I thought I had the flags working perfectly I discovered I had forgotten something: flags not falling with the masts, main mast flag not matching player nationality, flag scale not appropriate on all ships, etc. Most of the bugs are fixed now, but I'll be doing small tweaks here and there over the next couple of weeks. I also look forward to setting up a content import system that will let the community import new flag patterns into the game. I'm excited to see what people come up with.
The second big task I was given was to setup up interaction indicators over NPCs who had something to talk to you about. For example, in World of Warcraft if an NPC has a mission for you a golden exlcamation mark appears over their head, which gets replaced with a question mark once you start a mission. Previously in PotBS there was no way to tell what NPC has a mission (or other service) for you unless you talked to them directly, which gets tedious. The solution is to query an NPC when they come into view for available interactions (missions or services) and if so, display the indicator associated with service. In order to make this happen, Joe and I did a major refactoring of the way the interaction menu system works. After an initial wave of bugs the systems seems to be working well. Currently we only have icons for when an NPC has a mission for you or of the NPC wants you to complete a quest with them (though the art for these still needs some iteration). Once the final art is ready we'll also have indicators for other services (stores, garages, etc).
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, has announced that they are currently running a 7 day free trial. Also on the DDO site, is a trailer for the first module, Dragon's Vault, so check out the link below!
Battle the evil lurking below the dangerous city of Stormreach™ when you DOWNLOAD THE 7 DAY FREE TRIAL! Begin your journey into the online world of a roleplaying classic, joining a community of adventurers to explore the exciting mysteries of Eberron® for seven days at no cost!
Read more about the 7 day free trial
For more DDO, click here.
Guild Wars has announced a new way to get characters into the game. It seems as though this summer, you will be able to purchase a new character slot for the game that will allow you to have an extra, alternate character:
We are happy to announce that you will be able purchase additional character slots for your Guild Wars account beginning this summer for $9.99 U.S. (or equivalent). Each new slot will enable you to add a new character to your account with full access to all of the content your current characters enjoy. We'll have more details to share soon!
For more on Guild Wars, click here.
Blizzard has updated its World of WarCraft site with brand new updates to their Profession Guide page. Enjoy!
We've updated the Profession Guides page with links to new player-made guides. This page features direct links to guides created by World of Warcraft players. Click here to check them out! If you have a profession guide that you want to submit for review, click here.
For more on WoW, click here.
Earlier today, we reported a story regarding The Myth of Soma. Obviously, that article was an error. Their official website remains: www.mythofsoma.net.
We appologise for any inconvenience or confusion that this may have caused.
It seems as though our friends over at Guild Wars Factions have partnered with Ideazon Inc to bring a special Guild Wars Factions version of their Zboard keyboards:
VAUGHAN, ONTARIO--(MARKET WIRE)--Apr 20, 2006 -- Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset Available Now
Ideazon Inc., designer and developer of the Zboard(TM), the world's first keyboard designed for PC gamers, today announced its new Guild Wars Factions(TM) Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard. Designed specifically for the highly-anticipated ArenaNet® title Guild Wars Factions, slated for release April 28, 2006, clans, communities and gamers from around the world will be able to enjoy the ultimate experience in custom gaming.
The partnership with online game developer and publisher NCsoft® has enabled Ideazon to take gamers to a whole different level of game customization and will enhance the Guild Wars Factions gaming experience. Ideazon's Guild Wars Factions keyset lets players choose sides in the battle and master the game's playing environment using a dedicated control layout that is simple to learn and easy to use.
"The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset is tailored to meet every player's needs within the stunning and visually immersive world that ArenaNet has created," says Chris Rathgeber, president of Ideazon Inc. "We worked closely with NCsoft and our ZCommunity members to create the gaming weapon of choice."
"This Keyset is an exciting development for Guild Wars® fans and will help new players master the game quickly," says Dorothy Ferguson, vice president of sales and marketing for NCsoft's North American business. "From incorporating the game's visuals to the thoughtfully laid out command keys, Ideazon takes the Guild Wars Factions experience to new heights."
The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard gives gamers:
The Guild Wars Factions Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard, retails for $19.99 US and is currently available online at e-tailers, including bestbuy.com. The Zboard retails for $49.99 and is also available online.
The Zboard Gaming Keyboard also comes equipped with gaming terrain and tactical features, including:
SEED: The Human Condition is due for online release on May 2nd, 2006. Recently, Staff Writer Garrett Fuller spent a lot of time in their world and filed this hands-on preview of the game. Check back after launch for a complete review.
| “Seed: The Human Condition” is set for release in May. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the game and spend some time running around in Da Vinci to get a feel for the environment. Seed is a very different MMO indeed. There is no hack and slash speed style like Warcraft. There is no long level grinding like Everquest. Seed is a science fiction game that allows players to work together, hold elections, explore, engineer, and most of all solve the problems of living in a very rough environment. The game functions on many different intellectual levels. The most striking feature of Seed is the game makes you think and work towards a better community.
The game is set in an off world colony. A ship has crash landed into a hostile planet and sustained some damages. The ship’s computer Tau has woken up the crew to make repairs and maintain the stable environment. Players who are part of the Da Vinci colony need to begin their journey by boosting skill sets to help repair and maintain parts of the tower (or ship). Not only do players have the chance to simply fix things, they also have the ability to develop blue prints, build new systems, and begin exploring the planet for the possibility to terra form the surface making it livable for colony members. The story of the colony and the efforts made to keep Da Vinci stable will be the central part of the game. Developers have stated that the game content will be player driven. If you want to build a better life support system, work out the blue prints and begin the process.
To read the full preview, click here.
Jeremy Starley took on the latest creation from ZBoard, "The MERC", and filed this report based on how he found it in his MMORPG experiences.
| The right side of the Merc is a combination number pad/arrow key area. Ideazon took the Home key and all of its friends and put them directly on the number pad, so switching between using the numerical and using the functions requires a simple push of the Num Lock key. The arrow keys are at the bottom of the number pad now, and they only function as arrow keys, which is quite convenient. Ideazon also added some common windows functions to some of the other keys, like the + and * key, so you can cut, paste, copy, and minimize with ease now.
The whole keyboard is done in an attractive black plastic, with a stylized silver strip along the top that contains a large Zboard icon. All of the keys are grey or black, labeled with easy to see white letters, except for the number keys which are labeled in an easy to read light blue. The butterfly movement keys are the only color exception, being the same deep red color that they were on other Zboard keysets. The whole thing is slightly longer than your average keyboard, even with the combined keys on the left hand side, so be aware of this if desk/tray space is an issue for you. Overall, the whole Merc Gaming Keyboard is a rather attractive addition to your gaming peripherals.
You can read the review here.
NCSoft, the people behind such games as Auto Assault, City of Heroes / Villains, Guild Wars and Lineage II, are having a meet and greet in Orange County on May 13th:
NCsoft Meet & Greet in Orange County May 13
Come out to our second ever player gathering in Orange County to meet your favorite NCsoft Community Relations representatives, try out various NCsoft games, get a free Monster drink, and maybe even win a door prize! Join the fun at Orange County’s Howie’s Game Shack on Saturday, May 13th.
There will be plenty of games, a live DJ, drinks, and a few surprises. Check out all our games including City of Heroes, City of Villains, Guild Wars, and Lineage II. Give Auto Assault and some of our other brand new games a spin!
Anyone can come and best of all, if you are on the VIP list, attendance is free! Here are some further details:
Space on the VIP list is limited, so RSVP by sending an email with your name and the names of accompanying attendees to firstname.lastname@example.org. Come on down after 10pm to enjoy great games with great company! Please note: if you arrive before 10pm you will need to purchase the special NCsoft pass for admittance.
We’ll have further updates on this event over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
The Matrix Online has given their official website a new look. Gone are the bright greens that had the look of the computer code from The Matrix movies, to be replaced by a sleek new, darker website with easy navigation.
Dark Age of Camelot has announced that their servers will be down today, April 20th, until 5:00 PM to fix some issues.
Sorry, everyone. We're going to have to take the servers down at 11:00 to fix some issues, the most important of which is the Consignment Merchant item issue we posted about last night. We expect to be back up by 5:00 PM. Thanks so much for your patience, and watch this space for updates.
For more on DAoC, click here.
There's lots going on over at the official webpage for the recently released MMORPG, Auto Assault. Hotfixes, articles and clans abound. Have a look by clicking the link below:
We published a small hotfix today to the game servers, which among other things - you can check out all the fixes in our Patch Notes page. Due to a couple of corruption issues characters have been rolled back prior to application of the hotfix (to 2PM EST).
For more on AA, click here.