The development team from Icarus Studios' Fallen Earth has written this developer journal discussing the origins of some of the names chosen for bosses and NPCs in their upcoming MMO.
Have you ever marveled at the imaginations of game designers? Have you ever wondered how they could possibly create so many interesting missions and storylines from nothing? Sometimes they have a little help.
Sitting down with the creators of post-apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth, we discovered that many of the names and places have connections--some more loose and fictional than others--to people and places in the real world. Lead game designer Lee Hammock and his team divulge some the origins of the names featured in Fallen Earth. This week we'll explore NPC, boss and creature names.
For players of Zu Online you'll no longer have to ask "Care to take it outside?" when you've got a score to settle with some punk who stepped on your boot. Instead, the developers are updating the game with the addition of an arena known as the "Soulflight Altar" to settle just those sorts of squabbles.
The new arena will have some systems to keep the playing field as level as possible. Epic gear will be scaled down, and escape items like Urgent tablets will be non-functional.
The arena also contains powerups known as Soulflight Stones which will give a combatant temporary boosts helping to perhaps turn the tide of battle.
Other than settling a dispute, why would you want to participate in the arena? The phat lewt of course. Players who participate in the arena will earn points redeemable for epic gear. Whether gear earned through this manner will also be scaled down in the arena is unknown at this time.
Get the full press release below:
Zu Online: The First PvP Arena Coming
Soulfight Altar, the first PvP arena in Zu Online (http://zu.igg.com), is now in its final phase of testing. With the completion of Soulfight Altar, players will have a place to go where they can settle things honorably, instead of in the street, so to speak. This new arena significantly improves the core PvP system and will make battles more fun, exciting, balanced, rewarding, and as PK so often is, unpredictable.
Once players enter Soulfight Altar, the system will reset players’ stats. Use of armor or items that used to have a big impact on PvP will be also limited. For example, Epic equipment will have reduced resistances and Urgent tablets which can teleport the losing side to a safe area will not function in the arena. These changes are designed to balance out PvP, and to minimize the gap between armed and unarmed players.
Soulfight Stones are introduced to make the PvP more fun and entertaining. They will be scattered around the arena offering sudden boosts to players that pick them up. They may assist players to vanish from sight or have their movement speed dramatically increased or even see their attack power go through the roof. There are a total of 9 beneficial effects, and when a fight seems to be dragging out or heading for a stalemate, quick thinking players may be able to grab a stone and steal the win.
What do you gain from “Soulfight Altar”?
Now, let’s get down to the rewards. What could they give out that would make such unpredictably exciting PK worth the time to go to an arena? Well, anyone taking part will earn Soulfight points that can be exchanged for some awesome equipment, including Epic sets.
In addition to the announcement we have four new screenshots of the Soulflight Altar which you can find here.
Colin Campbell of Champions Online Daily News spent some time at Cryptic Studios recently, and among the other tidbits of info he brought back with him was an interesting gem: an Open Beta date.
Well, not quite. Not 100% anyways.
Open Beta for Champions Online is slated for mid-August, which makes sense given the September release date. Of course, as this isn't 100% anything can change so keep that in mind!
Get the full story here.
Sanya Weathers takes a look at the cult of game developer celebrity and player perception of them. Is it fair for one guy to take all the credit or blame or a single game? In light of recent events, Sanya breaks it down.
In video games, particularly MMOs, the phenomenon is such a regular occurrence that we should expect to see it once a year like some kind of unholy groundhog day. In the past few years, we’ve seen it happen to Jeff Anderson, Brad McQuaid, Bill Roper, Richard Garriott, and Mark Jacobs, among others. All five of those guys were strongly associated with their studios. All five were hit professionally, for varying reasons with varying degrees of culpability, and then shredded by the chattering classes with a savagery normally exhibited by feral cats and Walmart shoppers going after flatscreen TVs.
But these are MMO people, and there’s no such thing as a final chapter in an MMO. Jeff and Bill are already back in action. Brad has launched a blog, en route to his comeback. Richard Garriott has several new hobbies. Mark is not the type to sit quietly and fade away.
So, what creates these dramas with their multiple acts?
The full column is here.
Soul of the Ultimate Nation, or SUN, is finally coming to North America through ijji.com. This Korean RPG has been in development for some time by Webzen and offers really fast paced, RPG-style combat.
And then let us know what you think on the forums!
The patch notes for EVE Online: Apocrypha version 1.3 are now available. This latest update to EVE Online is scheduled to go live on June 29th, 2009.
An excerpt of the patch notes is available below:
Need for Speed
* The inventory service, which keeps track of the ownership and location of everything in the game, has been changed to use the new database service backend to connect and communicate with the Tranquility database. This will yield noticably less network I/O and memory usage than the previous system. The performance of most inventory related operations will improve, but there may be cases where performance will degrade. We fully expect a good performance gain on the whole though. The in-memory inventory storage has had a new index added which will address "The Jita Problem“ where performance has been degrading over time as more items are primed in local storage. Maintaining an extra index induces some overhead, but frees the server from having to search through very large sets in highly populated systems. Degredation of searches over time is now a function of the player population at a given location and not a function of the number of items in a location as before.
* Several changes have been made to fix the cost of Tech 3 production: the volume of some gases required will be halved; the drop rate of the Neurovisual Input Matrix salvage item has been increased; and the material requirement for the power conduits has been switched from carbon-86 to Scandium Metallofullerene.
* Reverse Engineering will see several improvements. We are increasing the drop rate of Tech 3 datacores, increasing the runs on the blueprints from reverse engineering jobs and increasing the presence of radar sites in wormhole space.
* The Omnidirectional Tracking Link I has had its description changed and will now correctly state that it "Improves optimal range and tracking on all drones."
* Strip miners, ice harvesters, doomsdays, triage module, siege modules and other modules which previously used a CPU bonus on the ship to allow you to fit a special module now use a new “Can be Fitted To” attribute and no longer need the high base CPU to restrict the fitting of the module. The CPU on each of these types of modules has been adjusted to no longer require a 10,000 CPU base as a result of employing this new method.
Weapons & Ammunition
* The siege module explosion velocity penalty for Citadel Torpedoes has been changed from -92.5% to -60%.
* The drop rates for faction drone blueprints have been increased substantially. In addition, we have increased the material quantities needed in many containers for the parts required to make meta drones. The materials required to make faction drones and rogue drone component material volume have both been decreased.
* The pre-requisite skills for Capital Shield Operation have been changed. The new requirements for the training of this skill will be Shield Management V, Shield Operation V and Engineering V.
Starbases, Outposts and Stations
* Multiple changes have been made to the anchoring and onlining of starbase modules and structures. All offensive starbase structure anchoring times have been reduced by 50% and all offensive starbase structure online times have also been reduced by 50%. Defensive starbase structures such as hardeners will have their anchoring, online and un-anchor times reduced by 50%. Finally, all starbase tower un-anchoring times have been reduced by 50%.
* The Basic Drone Control certificate will now require the skill Drones to be trained to Level 4.
For the full patch notes, go here.
The Fallen Earth stress test at FilePlanet is now open to non-subscribers as well. Remember, all users who participate in this test are bound by NDA.
As the second phase in our stress test through FilePlanet, we’re happy to announce that the sign-up is now open to free subscribers to IGN Network services as of 8 p.m. EST today. The promotional product keys will be distributed on a first come first served basis until remaining testing slots are filled.
If you are currently in the Fallen Earth Testing Program, your status as a tester will not change. All testers are still bound by the NDA agreement. If you just received your product key code from FilePlanet, welcome to the Testing Program. We have an awesome and welcoming community and look forward to growing our numbers and getting new feedback from stress tests as we move through the testing of the game.
Get the full announcement here.
MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had a chance to speak with Fernando and Kate Piaz about the recent decision to turn Dungeons and Dragons Online into a F2P MMO.
Recently, MMORPG.com spoke with the husband and wife team of Fernando and Kate Piaz from Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online to talk about the game's transition from a subscription based title to the free to play model. Formerly known as Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, the new incarnation of the game will be called Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited.
The DDO Dynamic Duo explained that they felt it was necessary to rename DDO due to the new business model. "It's also to reflect," he elaborated, "just how far the game has come since launch." He went on to list a number of major elements that are present in today's game that weren't around at launch: soloable, PvP elements, outdoor adventures, a higher level cap, and more.
Read the Eberron Unlimited Interview
Lance Stites, Executive Producer at NCSoft West addresses the NCSoft community in an open letter today.
In the letter, Mr. Stites addresses some of the recent happenings with regards to their Exteel, Lineage II, and Aion properties. Mr. Stites also describes what we can expect from NCSoft going forward and especially with the upcoming launch of Aion this September.
I know that many fans are extremely anxious, impatient even, awaiting the release of Aion. I can assure you the team is fully engaged in the release of this product. We’ve got an army of creative writers generating an enormous amount of rewrites as we execute to our total commitment of quality of content. Our Localization Manager has vendors in place, keeping pace with the French and German translation. We’re actively recruiting an additional native German speaking localization Project Manager and have added QA Testers (native French and German speaking) to the Seattle office. We’ve got Voice Over recordings underway (of course for all three languages) and our PR and Marketing teams are releasing the hounds and you’ve likely seen the articles on class descriptions hit the internet. We also have tutorial videos in production, this should provide a great Aion first experience, both to novice and experience MMO players. We’ve shared details of our Collector’s Edition recently, our first public access beta event was very well received, and we’ll continue these events through our launch. We’ll have a flood of information in the upcoming days and invite you all to share the experience as Aion takes flight in North America and Europe this fall.
Read the letter in its entirety here.
First time Age of Conan Correspondent Garrett Perkins writes this guide to PvP in Funcom's brutal MMO.
The Age of Conan PvP servers are some of the most brutal around. Adrenaline pumped skirmishes, fights decided by an inch of health and gut busting world battles are a common occurrence. On the other hand, however, there are dark sides to the PvP: Getting jumped by a group more than twice your size, hate spam and getting kept at the spawn point (Rez pad) can and will happen to anyone. That's what this guide is for. Some tips tricks and strategies to keep you off of the rez pad and enjoying the game! The guide is broken down into three parts: Before the battle, during the battle and after the battle.
Let's say you are about to go to scenic White Sands Island, each section will give you hints and tips on what to do before, during and after you enter the zone.
Read the PvP Survival Guide
In a blog post entitled "All Good Things Must End" former CEO of Mythic Entertainment Mark Jacobs speaks out about his departure from the studio.
To describe these past two months as difficult would be a great understatement as change is almost never easy. I have helped shepherd Mythic through good times and bad, through near bankruptcy and through our many successes. During my tenure there my duties have run the gamut from being CEO/GM to doing some of our legal work to acting as lead designer and even using my personal credit cards/credit to pay for the phones we used when we launched DAoC back in 2001. While I will miss doing those things (well, some of them anyway) for the studio, what I will really miss are the people at Mythic.
The full post can be viewed here.
MMORPG.com Entropia Universe Correspondent Arno Laurman writes this guide to "sweating" in the game.
Greetings Colonist! I'll be your instructor for today and will try to teach you a few things about gathering Vibrant sweat in Entropia Universe.
"Sweating" can be done by anyone and offers a chance to earn Project Entropia Dollars (PED's) without spending money. It also earns you skills, not only sweat skills, but combat skills like evading a creature's attacks too. Sweating may look easy but there are a few things to consider. First of all let me explain something about vibrant sweat.
In this week's edition of "Dana Massey Asks Why Not?" he explains why MMOs are the perfect place games to get into the funny.
With comedy comes liberty. What wouldn’t work in a regular game is open season in a game that is totally hell bent on amusing players.
Cities in most MMOs are boring places. Buy stuff, talk to a buddy, visit the auction house and see your frame rate drop. That’s the city experience of every MMO.
They’re there because real worlds have cities, thus our pixilated ones must too.
In a comedy MMO, new doors are opened. Grand Theft Four Horse Carriage, anyone? I’d love to see high speed cart jacking for all to enjoy as people run amuck in the downtown of a medieval city. We know the dynamic of Grand Theft Auto style chaos is fun, especially in limited bursts. So the mechanics work, but no serious MMO could ever try it. In a world of comedy, it would be fair game.
Read it all here.
One of the many new titles from K2's GamersFirst.com portal is Parabellum. This MMOFPS combines RPG-style advancement with tight, FPS matches. Developed out of Germany, we caught up with one of the developers to learn more.
We also took this opportunity to add Parabellum to the game list. Check it out and cast your hype.
Flying Lab Software is doing more than just working on Pirates of the Burning Sea. In this interview with Russell Williams, the company's CEO, we learned what else they're up to, as well as what's in store for Pirates.
And then let us know what you think on the forums!
Metin 2 will be holding a two year anniversary celebration event spanning two weekends. The dates for the event are June 27 and 28th, and July 4th and 5th. Players who log in during the event will receive a 50% bonus to XP, Gold, and Item drop rates.
The full announcement is available below:
G4BOX INC. AND SUBA GAMES CELEBRATE THE TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF METIN2
Metin2 Fans Will Be Treated To Bonus Events Beginning June 27th at http://metin2.subagames.com/
Toronto, CANADA-June 25, 2009-- G4BOX Inc. a North American publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment media and Suba Games, announced today that they will host special bonus events for players of the popular MMORPG, Metin2. The special bonus events are occurring in celebration of the two year anniversary of Metin2. Beginning June 27th, players can go to http://metin2.subagames.com to participate.
The Metin2 special bonus events will take place over two weekends beginning June 27th through June 28th and again from July 4th through July 5th. Metin2 players who are online during these two weekends will receive 50% EXP, Gold Drop and Item Drop Rate.
"Two years is a great milestone for an online game and we are proud of
Metin2 and its community for reaching this important anniversary,"
said Howard He, Chief Executive Officer of G4BOX. "An anniversary is a time to celebrate so we are excited to offer the community these special bonuses and events. Happy Birthday Metin2!"
Metin2 players can find out more about the special events by visiting the Metin2 website at http://metin2.subagames.com/.
Derron Ross, Animation Supervisor at Blur Studio takes us behind the scenes on the development of the "Deceived" trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic in this latest video interview featured over at IGN.
Blur Studio is known for their amazing cinematics and in addition to the Deceived trailer, Blur has most recently worked on cinematics for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine game, as well as Prototype, and even the upcoming BioWare RPG Dragon Age.
Check out the full video interview over at IGN.
For more information on Blur Studio, check out their website here.