In our latest podcast, we interview Daniel McLearen at Perpetual Entertainment about Gods and Heroes, while Garrett and Jon discuss the latest news in the MMO world.
|This week on the October End episode of Game/On, Garrett and Jon address some listener mail, the push-back of the World of Warcraft expansion, Phantasy Star Universe and more. Dana Massey also sits down with Daniel McLearen, the Jr. Community Manager over at Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes.|
You can listen here.
Staff Writer Carolyn Koh files this special report on what has gone on with Horizons and its community since the game was purchased by EI Interactive from Tulga Games. The article includes some startling allegations and reaction from EI's Ed Anderchek.
| The transition has proven anything but smooth. The first sign of trouble was seen publicly when EI attempted to change the problematic billing system they inherited. On July 28th, players of Horizons were informed via email & a posting on the forums that come 12:01am August 1st a new billing system would be implemented and they would be required to re-enter their billing information on or before their renewal dates. The news also announced:
"This new billing update screen will provide you with a number of payment options to select from... secure via PayPal Subscription, Direct Pay, and Credit Card entry."Unfortunately as forum user Steelclaw informs us in the Istaria community forums, the new billing screen was anything but secure as they were not sent over an encrypted https* connection but a regular http connection.
The whole report is here.
With the delay of the Burning Crusade, Hasani Davis reflects on what he wants to see in this massively popular MMOG.
|The Burning Crusade is coming! The Burning Crusade is coming! Oh wait, that's right, wait two more months. Blizzard is now releasing the next part of its Warcraft Universe in January 2007. This addition brings new areas, new monsters and new items. I am looking forward to this expansion! There I said it. I look forward to this expansion in hopes of caring about a game again. Contrary to popular belief, Warcraft is a game from 1994 and not a new game that was just created two years ago. I was a kid in high school back then and found a copy of Warcraft and loaded up the game from DOS and began my first steps in the land of Azeroth! I have been with Blizzard since its first steps and am one of the many who started in its fan base, spending countless hours battling against my friends for control over Azeroth! I expected the same feeling when I began playing World of Warcraft as I had eleven years ago. The journey started out with a tale of great lands and powerful armies and a promise of fun and excitement, built to be the Template for next generation MMORPGs.
But can I really care about a game again after being treated so badly?
The whole article is here.
Chris Kramer is leaving his position as the Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Sony Online Entertainment today to take up a similar position with Capcom. Karmer had been with SOE for three and a half years and was in charge of their public relations team. Today is his last day at the San Diego based developer/publisher.
Best of luck to Chris in his new position.
Turbine has released a new edition of 'Exploring Middle Earth'. Today, they look at the Brand Hall area in their upcoming MMOG.
|For nearly 700 years, the warm light from the many windows of Brandy Hall has welcomed visitors crossing the Brandywine River from the west into Buckland. Originally delved and built by Gorhendad Oldbuck, the first Master of the Hall (as the head of the Brandybuck family is called), and greatly expanded over generations, the ancestral home of the Brandybuck family is now formed of many tunnels and rooms occupying the entirety of Buck Hill on the eastern banks of the Brandywine. Brandy Hall has no less than three main entrance doors and over a hundred windows, making it one of the grandest mansions in the entire Shire. Long before the forming of the Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo Baggins, orphaned as a young Hobbit, called Brandy Hall home for many years, before he went to live with Old Bilbo Baggins at Bag End in Hobbiton. Merry Brandybuck, Frodo's cousin and also one of the Nine who set off with the One Ring toward Mordor, also once called this great mansion his home.|
The whole article and images are here.
Funcom has announced that Anarchy Online will remain free through 2007 in a press release on their official website. Read more below.
- Improved free offer now includes ‘Expansion Pack of the Year’ winner ‘Notum Wars’ -
The expanded free offer now not only extends the opportunity to play the most heralded sci-fi MMO for free, but also includes the award-winning ‘Anarchy Online - Notum Wars’ giving free players the chance to take part Player versus Player combat.
“The free offer has been an amazing success and a chance to show massive amounts of players how good this game actually is,” said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. “With a new expansion around the corner, an improved free offer, continued development and few good sci-fi MMO games around we believe ‘Anarchy Online’ can remain successful for years to come. At the same time we gain invaluable large-scale data on innovative business and distribution models, enabling us to shape the future of our other games better informed.”
The free offer content is now greatly expanded through the ‘Notum Wars’ addition. When released, ‘Notum Wars’ brought a whole new dimension to Player vs. Player MMO combat. With it, players could claim control of large areas of land, build a base with an array of towers and then fight it out with other players to achieve control, prestige and power. With numerous additional features ‘Notum Wars’ now gives all free players a new kind of experience, with more possibilities.
The new and improved offer includes the entire classic version of ‘Anarchy Online’, named “Best MMO of the Year” by PC Gamer US, and ‘Anarchy Online - Notum Wars’, “Expansion Pack of the Year” in Computer Gaming World. Those who play for free are exposed to dynamic in-game advertising, a successful revenue concept implemented by Funcom and developed by Massive Inc. If the player upgrades to additional expansion packs, a monthly subscription fee kicks in, but the player will not be exposed to the ads.
More game information and download links can be found at www.anarchy-online.com . The game is available as a peer-to-peer download through Bittorrent and seeded by Funcom to get the fastest possible download speed.
Check out more on the AO website.
Product Manager Erling Ellingsen is on the road for Age of Conan and their website follows his adventures.
|Product Manager Erling Ellingsen explains whats it's like to be on the road with Age of Conan!
When thinking about game developers, you probably wouldn't envision them traveling the world, sleeping in a new bed every night and spending more time at airports than someone who works there. That's what rock stars or presidents do, right? But the truth is that making a game is more than writing code and drawing graphics - there is also the element of promotion, something both the PR people and the developers participate in.
Ever since we first announced Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, we've been going around the world showing it to executives, journalists and players. Bringing the game on the road often involves a lot of work in advance, simply because we need to create a build (a version of the game) that can run on computers outside Funcom's offices.
The whole article is here.
EA Mythic has put out the latest newsletter. It includes a weath of interesting features for those who received it. Among the interesting aspects is a developer profile of former MMORPG.com writer Richard Duffek.
|What is your background? College? Degree? Has it helped with the job?
School... I've made an attempt at that ordeal twice so far. The first time I was going for the Programming Path of a Computer Science degree. Had I finished that, I might have a far more interesting job to talk about here at Mythic. But it just wasn't for me at that time in my life and I ended up dropping out and getting a "real" job.
A couple years later I went back to school, this time for a Computer Networking and Troubleshooting Technology degree. Basically it was the A+, Cisco, Network+ and Microsoft certifications. About three quarters of the way through the program I realized that as much as I loved building and working on my own computers, I could never do it for a living. So once again, I dropped out; this time to stay home and be Mr. Mom while my wife went to work and I figured out exactly what it was I wanted to do with my life.
Mythic is my first job IN the industry, but while I was sitting at home every day playing Mr. Mom I managed to land a gig at MMORPG.com as the Lead Writer/Reviewer. I wouldn't say that either degree path I was following helped me land that job or my current gig, but a lot of the classes I took along the way have definitely benefited me over the years.
The whole letter is available online here.
Guild Wars' sees its third edition go live today as players started flooding the servers to partake in Nightfall. It shipped yesterday and already the official site says people are playing.
The Most-Anticipated PC Game of the Season Releases Just in Time for the Holidays
October 26, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) – Guild Wars NightfallTM, one of the most anticipated PC game releases of the holiday season is on its way to retailers and will be available on store shelves in North America and Europe on October 27, 2006. NightfallTM is the latest campaign release in the award-winning Guild Wars® franchise played by millions worldwide, created by ArenaNet® and published by NCsoft®, the world's leading developer and publisher of online computer games.
Set in the land of Elona where an evil ruler is attempting to summon her outcast god, Nightfall will ask the stout of heart to answer the rallying cry of the Sunspears — the protectors of the realm — to fight back the looming darkness descending upon the land. As you explore opulent cities, brave savage coasts, delve deep into ancient monuments, and discover the secrets of poisonous deserts, you will determine the fate of the entire realm of Elona.
To aid you in your duty, Nightfall introduces exciting new features such as:
"Guild Wars Nightfall is already being heralded as the best of the Guild Wars series by the record-breaking number of fans who participated in preview events," says Robert Garriott, CEO, NCsoft North America. "Nightfall brings innovative new features to the game that revolutionized the online gaming genre and NCsoft is thrilled to launch this flagship game in time for the holidays."
Guild Wars Nightfall will be available in both Standard and Collector's Editions. The Collector's Edition includes the Guild Wars Nightfall game as well as a Making of Guild Wars Nightfall behind-the-scenes DVD produced by Gameplay HD, a collector's art book, collectible skill pins, a character mini-standee, a poster-sized map of Elona, and the Guild Wars Nightfall soundtrack CD. Guild Wars Nightfall is also premiering the PlaySmartTM tips card that will be included in both retail editions.
"The Guild Wars Nightfall launch is one of the most anticipated of the holiday season," said Bob McKenzie, Senior VP of Merchandising, GameStop, Inc. "From its beginnings just a year and a half ago, the Guild Wars franchise has grown into an unquestioned success story. The new play experiences and features in Nightfall clearly show the ArenaNet developers have hit yet another home run."
Guild Wars, an instant bestseller in North America and Europe upon its release in April 2005, and Guild Wars FactionsTM, the number one game in both North America and Europe earlier this year, are global online roleplaying games. With an expected retail price of $49.99 and still no subscription fee, Guild Wars Nightfall is set to become an instant hit when it becomes available worldwide. Servers supporting the new release will "go live" at 12:01 AM PDT /7:01 AM GMT on October 27, 2006.
For more information please visit www.GuildWars.com.
About NCsoft Corporation
Blizzard has released a new guide with raid tips on the official community site for World of WarCraft.
|Oo you need some tips on effectively managing and running raids? Whether you're new or experienced at raiding, you might want to check out our new guide for tips that can improve your forays into the dungeons of Azeroth.|
The whole guide is here.
The MMOG, A Tale in the Desert 3 is holding a special "Welcome Back Weekend" from October 27th, running until October 29th. Players who used to play the game are being invited to try the game again with no credit card required.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October , 2006 —eGenesis today announced that A Tale in the Desert III will hold its Welcome Back Weekend on October [27-29], 2006. A different kind of MMORPG, A Tale in the Desert III has been a success in America and Europe, combining great in-game features with a wonderful community. Players who have previously played A Tale in the Desert III are invited back to reactivate old accounts with no credit card. In fact, new players are encouraged to download the game for free and play for free, as well with no credit card required.
Just some of the planned events for the weekend include the largest real-time game of Mafia (Werewolf or Village) ever. Mafia is a game modeling a battle between an informed minority and an uninformed majority. The weekend will also include The Great Egyptian Smoke Out were you smoke hookahs with as many friends as possible; improve your Fumeology score as much as possible; prizes awarded for both categories. Plus many more events.
For more on ATITD click here.
The folks over at Neocron 2 have announced that their game is now supported by XFire.
we are glad to announce that Neocron 2 is now supported by the popular instant messenger Xfire. Xfire offers several useful features that makes a gamer's daily life more comfortable. Get more information about Xfire directly on the Xfire product page.
For more on Neocron 2 click here.
K2 Networks, the people behind the MMORPG MU Online have sent out a notice to remind their players not to exploit a bug in the game, this time making reference to a specific known issue.
The Global MU Online staff would like to remind all players that camping or hunting in "dead zones" (spots where monsters can't attack you) violates our K2 Network policy against exploiting bugs. Examples of such spots can be found in places like Lost Tower or Kalima. This is outlined on our K2 Network policy page.
Punishments for violating this policy include; Max PK status, a seven day ban, or ultimately a permanent ban for repeat offenders. Please respect this policy, as well as all other K2 Network policies.
Thank you for your attention,
For more on MU click here.
SOE and Sigil Games Online have released a new gameplay movie featuring the unicorn mount for their upcoming MMORPG, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
Sony Online Entertainment and Sigil Games Online today released gameplay footage of the unicorn mount from their upcoming massively multiplayer online role playing game, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. In Telon, players are free to choose their own path and discover vast continents with multiple modes of transportation over land, sky, and sea. Beginning with horses at level 10, players will acquire numerous mounts as they advance through the game. The unicorn is one of the high level land mounts available to adventurers as they explore the intricately detailed fantasy world based on the late Keith Parkinson’s artwork. Currently in closed beta, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is scheduled to ship Q1 of 2007.
Vanguard Technical Director Ryan Elam is the veteran, while Designer Derek McDevitt is the rookie. The two get together to expand on their opposing world views in this new monthly feature.
| Derek McDevitt: My name is Derek McDevitt and I'm a Game Designer at Sigil Games Online. I got my start at Sigil back in July of 2005 when I was hired as an Associate Game Designer. I've been in love with games for most of my life. When I was just a young lad in elementary school my dad found a perfectly good Atari and a couple of games in someone's trash (he was a trash man, not a garbage digger) and brought it home for my brother and I to play. Ever since those days of 'Pong' I have been hooked. As far as MMO experience goes, the one I've played the most is Everquest. I started playing in middle school, but playing became hard after my parents found out that I preferred EQ to homework. More recently I have played World of Warcraft and, of course, Vanguard.
At Sigil I do many things, including playing ping pong and being pretty much the ping pong champ of the design team. When it comes to Vanguard though, my main responsibility is that of overland population. This includes, but is not limited to, allocating creature types per regions of the world, planning out level progressions for the overland game world, designing and building overland camps, and meticulously documenting all of the things that I've already mentioned. Some people here at work think that I have a slight case of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), but they're probably just thrown off by my documentation and how I organize the copious amounts of Sobe bottles on my desk by the color of their caps.
The whole article is here.
April "CuppaJo" Burba may be more familiar as the Community Manager for City of Villains/Heroes, but now she has moved on to Tabula Rasa. As our developer profile series shifts to NCSoft we let you meet her and learn about the life of a Community Manager at NCSoft Austin.
| MMORPG.com: Take us through a typical day of work at NCSoft, what is it like when you show up at the office?
April Burba: The thing I like most about my job is that there is no 'typical day' as a community manager. Depending on where your game is at in its life cycle (My games are MMOs) you could be coordinating a beta if the game hasn't launched, or you could be throwing a large in-game event for a holiday.
Community is part networking, part party planning, part emergency response team. It's also about anticipating consumers demands and feedback, one of the most notoriously frustrating and difficult things to do reliably. Community at its core is sifting through a million data points and pulling out what is most important and communicating that to developers and publishers.
You can read the whole interview here.
On Monday (sorry for the lateness), EVE Online unveiled a new edition of the EVE Chronicle for our reading and enjoying pleasure.
A new EVE Chronicle was unveiled today fresh from the delightfully dark and wickedly creative mind of Abraxas, the latest addition to the EVE Dev Team's crew of talented wordsmiths.
For more on EVE Online click here.