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Fury : "Realm vs. Realm" not for Everyone

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

Adam Carpenter, Lead Designer for Fury has posted a message in the Fury forums stating that they will no longer be using the term "Realm vs. Realm" to describe their Server vs. Server vs. Server competitive game-play, as "Realm vs. Realm" is trademarked by another company. A quick search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office database shows that the trademark is held by Mythic Entertainment.

I wanted to let everyone know we have been informed that the term "REALM vs. REALM" is trademarked and we need to stop using it to describe Fury's Server vs. Server vs. Server competitive gameplay. Apparently using the term may confuse gamers. We don't think it will and believe our use of the term is purely descriptive. Nonetheless, we've decided not to use the term any more as, basically, we don't like lawyers and don't want to deal with them - we just want to concentrate on making this great game! To assist us, we'd appreciate it if you could stop using the term on the forums.

As a related note, we will continue to refer to each of Fury's unique 'servers' as "Realms" as that is ingrained in Fury's backstory and is an industry standard term for a server.

Read the forum post here.

Read more about the trademark here.

Tabula Rasa : Logos Academy Event Video and Write-Up

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

On September 5th, game journalists and industry professionals gathered at the home of Richard Garriott for an evening of Tabula Rasa themed fun.

On Wednesday, September 5th, in Austin Texas, I had one of the most interesting experiences that I've had since starting at this job two years ago. What was I doing in Texas? Well, I was there to cover the Austin Game Developers Conference, but on that particular evening, I was there as a guest of Richard Garriott and NCsoft for the pre-launch party for the upcoming game, Tabula Rasa.

Tabula Rasa is an interesting game for a number of reasons. First, it's a kind of melding between third person shooter games and MMORPGs. What I mean by that is that it combines the action of a shooter with levels, quests and other trappings usually associated with RPG games.

Check out the whole feature, including the video here.

General : MMOWTF: The Rule of Simplicity

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

Weekly MMORPG.com columnist Dan Fortier talks about the idea of difficulty in MMORPGs from what we have, to Perma-Death to a difficulty system.

There has always been a strange tension in game communities about how difficult an MMO should be. Many players constantly gripe that MMOs are too easy and that the amount of time played, not player skill, is the overwhelming factor in advancement. Others point out that the new generation of easy games has helped the genre expand out of the niche market. Like most single player RPGs dating back to Dragon Warrior, you could always overcome a challenge by simply out leveling your foe and thus crushing him easily. With few exceptions, the concept of 'Level > Skill' dominates the industry mindset. This week's article will bridge the gap between the two camps with a few novel ideas. Break out your inhalers for what promises to be a thoroughly sordid adventure!

Before a game is released it is easy to bemoan the 'no consequence' mechanics in favor of complex and challenging systems. I've found that most people who are not playing any game at the moment are most likely to demand harsher penalties and tougher challenges in the games they want to play. Once these 'hardcore' disciples start playing, however, they typically are the first ones to get frustrated and quit when things don't go their way. It's human nature to let your eyes get bigger than your stomach when wishing for games that are tougher. Features that look great on paper can easily turn into a nightmare if not implemented properly and with suitable caution.. I'm sure, for example, a good portion of the perma-death crowd would cry "OMGWTF this is BS!" and pummel their keyboard when actually faced with the permanent loss of a character in their wonderful system.

Read the whole column here.

Knight Online : Moradon Expansion Patch Goes Live

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

IRVINE, Calif. - September 13, 2007 - K2 Network, Inc. (K2network.net), a premier online game publisher, today announced that the new Moradon Expansion patch for Knight Online is now live. This newest and largest content expansion includes a host of new features, including a revamped and totally redesigned Moradon Castle, and new hunting areas to adventure, trade and meet fellow Knights.

"We are proud to announce the release of Moradon: The Resurrection," said Gokhan Kazar, Associate producer of the Knight Online Team. "The Moradon patch is something we have been gearing towards for many months now and we think the Knight Online players will be happy with what it has to offer."

Bigger and Better Moradon

There is more area to explore and hunt in the new Moradon. The actual size of the town and the area to hunt monsters has been greatly increased! In order to leave Moradon though, you will have to attain level 35. This will allow players to join clans and learn more about teamwork earlier in the game.

New Quests to Complete

There are new quests to train players how to upgrade weapons and armor! Check with [Blacksmith] Heppa in Moradon to learn more. There are also quests to acquire new ranks of Knighthood and to obtain a pet to fight alongside you!

Pets

By completing a quest from [Familiar Trainer] Kate in Moradon, players can receive a pet egg that will hatch their new companion! Pets can fight alongside their masters, transform into other monsters, use skills to increase their master's statistics, and even help gather treasure from fallen monsters!

The New Knight System

There are now 3 levels of knighthood in this new expansion. Once a clan has reached rank 3, they will be able to complete a quest in order to attain the rank of Squire. After reaching 252,000 Clan Points and completing the next quest, they will be able to become Knights. Finally, after amassing 1,080,000 Clan Points and defeating a very difficult foe, they can reach Royal Knighthood.

Each Knighthood level has 5 ranks and depending on how many Clan Points the clan has acquired, the clan will rise from rank 5 to rank 1 in each level. Once they have become rank 1, they can complete the quests listed above to advance their Knighthood level.

Read more about the Moradon Expansion here.

General : Razer Tarantula Review

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

Hardware Guru Jeremy Star takes a look at the Razer Tarantula gaming keyboard for our finger-tapping education!

The Razer Tarantula is a USB keyboard. It features Anti-Ghosting technology, allowing for up to 10 keystrokes at a time without signal failure; Onboard profile memory, so that you can use the keyboard on any PC and still have access to your setup; 1000Mhz Ultrapolling, for a maximum 1ms delay between keystroke and reaction; and On-The-Fly-Profile switching.

The Tarantula also has two low power USB ports for plugging in additional peripherals, gold plated USB connectors for fast transfer speeds and making rap stars jealous, and headphone and microphone jacks so you don't have to reach behind your PC for sound card connections anymore. You will also find 10 programmable keys as well as the ability to switch keys with special gaming keys that have little gaming pictures on them, and the Battledock for add on accessories.

Read the whole article here.

Huxley : Closed Beta Begins

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

WEBZEN has announced that hey have begun the closed beta testing phase on their twitch based MMO, Huxley.

SEOUL, South Korea - Sept. 13, 2007 - Global online entertainment company WEBZEN Inc. (NASDAQ: WZEN) announced today that closed beta testing has started in Korea for Huxley™, the highly-anticipated twitch-action massively multiplayer online first-person shooting (MMOFPS) game.

Beginning today and running for five days, Korean beta players will have access to Huxley for the first time daily from 2 p.m. until midnight. The 999 lucky beta testers were selected after a web-based sign up that took place from Aug. 28 to Sept. 6, 2007. For the first time ever, testers will get a chance to enter the city where the characters live and breathe. They will also be treated to a variety of thrilling player-versus-player (PvP) battle modes such as team death match and radar domination, as well as the core systems, including Huxley's unique quest mode, not seen before in standard online first-person shooter (FPS) games.

Unlike the standard closed beta testing where gamers get limited gameplay starting at level 1, Huxley closed beta test allows the 999 testers to experience the game's unmatched excitement by entering the game at level 19. Players can wield high-level weaponry and defense systems as well as obtain and use a variety of supplementary skills and licenses unique to an online first-person shooter.

Read more about Huxley here.

EVE Online : EVE Coming to Mac and Linux

Posted Sep 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

CCP and TransGaming Inc. announced earlier this week that they would be partnering to make EVE Online available on Mac and Linux platforms.

Reykjavík, Iceland, Toronto, Canada - September 11, 2007 - CCP Games, one of the world's largest independent game developers, today announced a partnership with TransGaming Inc. (TSX-V: TNG), a leading developer of software portability products for the electronic entertainment industry. The strategic relationship will enable CCP to deliver its popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), EVE Online, to Linux and Macintosh platforms later this year.

TransGaming provides technology and expertise to deploy games across a range of platforms without the need for redevelopment, while maintaining a high quality of gameplay. As a result of this partnership, CCP will be able to expand the reach of its Sci-Fi MMOG to new groups around the world and allow users of different platforms to play in the same perpetual online universe.

As an element of the partnership, EVE Online and TransGaming will share quality assurance as well as technical support responsibilities, but TransGaming will lead partnership and OEM opportunities for the Linux version of EVE Online. The two companies will work hand-in-hand to ensure all releases go smoothly, creating a transparent integration of the original EVE Online code with each platform.

TransGaming first introduced Linux users to EVE Online through Cedega, a software product that allows Windows games to run on the Linux operating system completely transparently and seamlessly. It was the popularity of this solution that indicated the strong demand for further integration between CCP Games and TransGaming. Later this year, EVE Online will be released for Linux with Cedega directly integrated into the game, and on Mac through TransGaming's Cider portability engine.

"We're pleased to extend our relationship with TransGaming, as the company's expertise allows us to deliver the most innovative MMOG to more platforms," said Halldor Fannar, CTO of CCP Games. "By integrating TransGaming's excellent technology, we are able to keep our laser-focus on evolving EVE Online, while simultaneously expanding the EVE universe to even more players."

"EVE Online has always ranked highly with our Linux users and there is significant demand for it among other platforms, including the rapidly growing Mac base," said Vikas Gupta, CEO of TransGaming Technologies. "As EVE takes place within a single-server persistent universe, it's vital that the game is identical in every way across different platforms. This challenge is what makes the partnership with CCP both important and rewarding."

Read more about EVE here.

EverQuest II : Legends of Norrath Available Outside EQ

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that Legends of Norrath, the EverQuest based online trading card game can now be played as a stand alone game out side of EverQuest and EverQuest II.

DENVER, CO - September 12, 2007 - On the heels of a successful release to the EverQuest® and EverQuest® II player communities, Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online entertainment industry, has released a free stand-alone version of the client for Legends of Norrath™, the online trading card game based on its well-known and popular EverQuest Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game franchises.

Developed at SOE's Denver, CO studio, Oathbound is the first release in the Legends of Norrath storyline. Oathbound features more than 375 digital cards and is available in both 55-card digital starter decks and 15-card digital booster packs. In this first release, players become part of a clandestine, secret war between the forces of Order and Chaos. Once jailed on the Plane of Justice, a mysterious tribunal offers them a chance for freedom and redemption. In swearing allegiance to the side of Order, players become Oathbound, and fight against the forces of Chaos to prevent Norrath from being plunged into a bloody and eternal war.

"When we showed Legends of Norrath at GenCon last month, it was just as big a hit with hobby and strategy gamers as it has been with our EQ and EQII players," said Scott Martins, Director of Development for SOE-Denver. "We've had a great run so far with the exclusive access we've provided for our existing fans, and can't wait to bring it to a much wider audience with today's release. New players will be able to enjoy the game in a single worldwide community with thousands of people that span its own client as well as both of our EverQuest MMOs."

In addition to player vs. player combat, Legends of Norrath is provides several modes of gameplay and a variety of activities, including a sophisticated, re-playable AI system for single-player campaigns, easy to use management tools and numerous Casual and Tournament game lobbies. Victory can be achieved by completing quests or defeating your opponent's avatar, enabling players to employ their own unique strategies for victory. The game also features a robust loot system; more than 30 loot items each for EQ and EQII are available, including player mounts, potions, clothing and spells.

The digital starter decks (55 cards) are available for $9.99 (plus any applicable taxes), with digital booster packs (15 cards) selling for $2.99 (plus any applicable taxes). For more information on Legends of Norrath, visit the website at www.legendsofnorrath.com.

Find out more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Garth Agarwen Screenshots

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

Four new images depicting the scenery and corruption of Garth Agarwen have been added to our Lord of the Rings Online screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle-earth: Garth Agarwen

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings official site has been updated with a look at Garth Agarwen, an ancient fortress situated in a marshland corrupted by the blood of war.

Deep in the Lone-lands, a vast marshland stretches across the land, red as the blood that was spilled into its waters during the wars between Arthedain and Rhudaur. The Eglain of Ost Guruth call it the Red Swamp. In the northern reaches of the bog called Agamaur, lie the ruins of an ancient Rhudaurian fortress, now known as Garth Agarwen. Garth Agarwen was one of the chief bastions of the Hill-men of Rhudaur before it fell into decay.

What no one knew -- until it was too late -- was that the streams and rivers of the once-beautiful land were inhabited by a River-maiden akin to Goldberry, daughter of the Withywindle in the Old Forest. Blood spilled during the wars poured into her abode, corrupting the water, the land, and finally the River-maiden herself. From this corruption spread the expanse of the Red Swamp, and the River-maiden arose as a dread and dark presence, taking possession of Garth Agarwen.

Garth Agarwen and the corrupted River-maiden play a major role in the epic story of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. These ruins and the story told there tie in closely with themes, events, and characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Players of LOTRO should gather some friends if they wish to brave Garth Agarwen - and survive.

Read more about Garth Agarwen here.

City of Heroes : CoH Player Wins Reality Show

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

It turns out that "The Defuser" who recently won the reality program "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" is also a long time player of City of Heroes. Who would have thought that a contestant on a superhero reality show would also be a fan of a super hero MMO.

The City of Heroes Development Team wants to extend their congratulations to "The Defuser" for his victory in winning the reality TV show "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" The Defuser is also known on the City of Heroes community forums as Detective2416 and has been a long time player of the game.

Read more about "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" here.

Or, congratulate "The Defuser" on the CoH forums here.

Lineage 2 : Comic Contest

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Lineage II have announced that they will be holding a Lineage II Comic Contest, where entrants will be able to work in a variety of different mediums including hand drawn and computer graphics, as well as in-game screenshots and real world photographs.

We're pleased to announce the very first Lineage® II Comic Contest! Turn your Lineage® II adventures and follies into an entertaining comic for your chance to win some fantastic prizes. Are your drawing skills limited to stick figures? No problem! We'll be accepting Lineage® II comics featuring every medium, from hand-drawn to computer graphics to in-game screen-shots, and even photos! Remember that the comic should be fun to read, first and foremost. Enter your best creation for your chance to win rare Lineage® II items, such as a beautiful Lineage® II dark elf statue, a Lineage® II art book that includes gorgeous concept art of the Kamael!

You can use the following to create your own unique Lineage® II Comic:

  • Logos and images from the official Lineage® II web site and fan site kit
  • In-game Lineage® II images that you capture yourself
  • Your own original work or photos

The winners will be broken up into the following two categories: entries created using drawing, painting, or computer graphics, and entries created using in-game Lineage® II screen-shots or real-life photos. One first place winner and one runner-up winner will be chosen for each category, resulting in a total of four (4) winners.

Get the full contest details here.

Spellborn : Artistic Dev Journal

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Chronicles of Spellborn official site has been updated with another installment of their Artistic Developer Journal series. The focus this time is on how they create structures in the world.

In this weeks Journal I'm going to give you a small insight in how we create world assets in a 3d application, which is in our case 3ds Max, and a quick look at how we create textures in Photoshop. I'll be using a large Demon Wall, very recently made by Erik Bakker. This week some production insights, something for you think about... and a small sneak peak!

Right, so let's start with a peak in the kitchen of modeling and texturing. I'm going to use a large Demon Wall as an example. We wanted to add some extra flavor to the world, by adding more ancestral remains. Remnants that hint back to times long gone and which give the player a better sense of the history of the world. It can also help placing things in perspective or act as points of recognition after... an Ancestral Quest for example.

Read the Artistic Dev Journal here.

General : Forum Spotlight: Flash Over Substance?

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at a forum post asking members whether they would prefer an eye-candy MMO with mediocre gameplay, or a game with out-dated graphics that was deep and well designed. The results may surprise you.

Our forums are always teeming with threads about what gamers want - massive PvP battles, dynamic worlds, breathtakingly realistic graphics, so on and so forth. This week in The Pub, though, RonnyRulz puts a tough question to the forum crowd: Would you rather play a regular MMO with gorgeous graphics, or a dynamic, deep MMO with outdated graphics? Would you rather content or eye-candy?

RonnyRulz sets the scene for what's being offered: imagine if you could play in "a real persistent world, with player-run cities and a player-run economy. The entire world begins with only dev-made cities, or nothing at all, whichever. Players begin and harvest trees with a beginning axe. They craft said raw tree material into logs. Players use these logs to build buildings using a lego-type build system, so that they can design their houses to look any way they want... Players build their own shops, their own defense structures. The game emphasizes freedom for the player."

Read the whole article here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Bring a Friend 2.0

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Dark Age of Camelot have announced that they have made changes to their Bring a Friend referral program. Now, instead of earning a free month of play by referring 3 friends, players only have to refer one friend for a free month of play.

The Bring a Friend Bonus Program has been reduced from three to one! Now, you can earn a free month of play for every ONE friend you refer. If you are an active player and have already referred at least one friend, then you will receive a free month of Dark Age of Camelot automatically. Read on for more details.

The Bring a Friend Bonus program allows you to earn free one month extensions to your existing subscription simply by referring a friend who becomes a subscriber to the game. For every friend that you refer to the game, you will receive a one month free extension to your paid subscription.

Ready To Sign Up To Earn Free Months?

I want to earn free months where do I sign-up?

During your log-in you will see a pop-up that will ask you if you want to join the program. If you don't decide to sign-up at that time, you can go to the account options in the game and opt-in.

How do I earn free months?

Tell your friends the name you used when you opted into the program. They can use this when they sign up and set up their account. They have to do this when they first set up their account. You will earn a referral point once your friend has become a subscriber to the game.

Get full details here, or in the Camelot Herald here

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Forums Transition to Sony Station

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with an announcement about the integration of PotBS services with those of Sony Station, and the changes to their forums that will follow.

As many of you know, we've been working in the last few weeks to integrate our services with the Sony Station account. Part of this process involves the migration of the Pirates of the Burning Sea forums to the Sony Station authentication system. The current forum software remains the same and existing posts and threads will be preserved in the transition. However, when the migration process is complete, it will change the way forum members access our message boards - they will log in with Sony Station accounts.

However, we are temporarily suspending new account creation through the forum software until this process is complete.

Linking Your Forum Accounts via the Account Migration Page

When you aren't logged in to our forums, you can still read them. If you wish to post, however, you need to be logged in. Once we've made the switch, you will need to log in with your Sony Station account. Your Station account will have to be linked to a forum account.

We've created an Account Migration resource to assist you in linking your forum account to your Sony Station account (and creating either or both if you need). You only need to do this once. You can learn more by visiting the following link: http://www.burningsea.com/pages/page.php?pageKey=migration

Read more here.

General : Billing to Resume for Katrina Victims

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

For the past two years, SOE has kept the accounts of approximately 13,000 players who were affected by hurricane Katrina active without billing those accounts. They have posted announcements across their gaming sites stating that on September 17th, these accounts will resume billing as usual.

Important Message For Subscribers Impacted By Hurricane Katrina!

In the summer of 2005 Hurricane Katrina left an incredible wake of destruction across the Gulf Coast of the United States. The damage done by the hurricane was unprecedented and impacted countless lives. In response to the hurricane, SOE suspended billing for over 13,000 players living in the affected areas to give them the time they needed to recover.

For the two years that have followed, the accounts of the affected SOE gamers have not been billed but have been preserved. Beginning on Monday, September 17th, the accounts for these 13,000 SOE gamers will resume the normal billing processes. If you lived in an area affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 please check your account information before September 17th to ensure that everything is accurate and there is no disruption in your ability to play.

Our best wishes go out to all those who were affected by the disaster and we'd like to thank our SOE players for their continued patronage.

Read the announcement here.

Granado Espada Online : New Screenshots

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

10 new images have been added to our Sword of the New World screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

General : A Short Conversation with Gala-Net

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

At AGDC, Laura Genender had time for a very short conversation with John Young, the Vice President of Gala-Net.

The MMO market is expanding, and with it, so are payment options. While at the Austin Game Developer's Conference I spoke with John Young, Vice President of Gala-Net, the leading operator of micro-transaction games.

Instead of charging a monthly fee, Gala-Net uses a micro-transaction system that allows users to purchase "Gpotatoes." Gpotatoes can be spent on various special in-game items, such as cosmetic upgrades, potions, and more.

Read the whole article here.

Tabula Rasa : Sarah Morrison

Posted Sep 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

If you've been following the game Tabula Rasa, you probably recognize that female character that they keep using in their promotional material. You know, the redhead with the really intense eyes? Well today, NCsoft has provided us with her back story.

The warmth coming from the embers felt good against her skin. Sarah Morrison was careful not to let the hot coals burst into flames, for anything but a slight glow might give away her position. She had searched for nearly an hour before finding this spot and she would be damned before she was going to go hunting for another one before she was ready. It's not like eating roasted calla root was any better then eating it raw, it was almost as bitter. The fire was more for warmth. Foreas could get pretty cold at night, and the glowing embers gave off just enough heat to chase the chill away.

It was cold the night the Bane attacked, too. A strange frown crept across Sarah's battle hardened face as she thought back to a life that almost seemed like someone else's. She remembered regretting not grabbing a leather jacket before sneaking out of the house that night. She was 19 then, and like most 19 year olds, Sarah was more interested in having fun than arbitrary rules regarding curfews. Just because she was still living under her dad's roof while failing her way through college, just because her three younger brothers had a curfew did not mean her father had a right to limit her freedom. But he tried. He just didn't like her friends, she thought to herself as she slipped through the window, silently creeping along the far wall of the house into the backyard. She had become very skilled at getting out unnoticed, something she had been very proud of at the time.

Read the whole thing here.

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