With the next free expansion poised to go live, NCSoft has posted a movie of the Shadow Shard, one of two new zones, on its website. Click on the image below to see this movie in QuickTime format. (This is a large movie, so be patient as it may take a few minutes to load)
ArenaNet and NCSoft announced today that they have shipped special pre-order boxes to major retailers everywhere. These special editions will give players some cool stuff that will only be available in the pre-order, like:
For more information you can read the official press release at this link.
If you have questions about this offer you should also check out the pre-order FAQ at this link.
Mutable Realms has updated the official bestiary with another new creature - the "Sprite". Here is some info about this new addition:
"Generally, sprites are harmless and intelligent creatures, preferring to dance and frolic in beautiful but isolated places. On occasion, however, some unfortunate person or creature dares to threaten their revelry and a sprite's aggressive side comes out. Despite their frail appearance, sprites are impressive combatants, particularly against those who are not prepared for their quick and subtle ways. Many a brutish barbarian has been humbled by the darting movements and startling magic of an angered sprite. Fortunately, sprites rarely hold grudges and once they feel their lesson has been taught, they will often flit off and leave their target harried but without serious harm."
For more information, visit the official site at this link.
The NDA has been lifted on Omens of War, the next EverQuest expansion, and the official website has posted a sneak peak (sic) at the Dragorn weapon set. What is a dragorn, you ask?
The dragorns are noble creatures who believe they were carved from of the heartiest earth and stone by the great dragon, Dranik. As a civilization, the dragorns valued courage above all else -- that was, at least, until the influence of Discord drew a shade of darkness over their world of Kuua and opened the door for Mata Muram's legion. Their noble values are reflected in the creation of their weapons.
You can click on this link to see the complete weapon set, including the Dragorn sheild (sic).
Click here to visit the official EverQuest Omens of War page...and maybe suggest a spell checker while you're at it
The following announcement from Chip Bumgardner, RYL Game Lord, was posted on the official Risk Your Life forums this past week:
Here it is folks, the announcement you've been waiting for...
I am getting www.download.com set up with the 5.18 client right now (literally right now).
It takes a few days to get that up and running. So start checking their website soon. You can get the download and get it all set up so you are ready for when the floodgates open. We're also going to be mirroring the download a few other places. I'll give you the list when it's ready.
The Open Beta sign-up page will be completed over the next couple days. Once that's up, I'll make an announcement so you guys can get set up with your login / password.
Hmmm... What else...
Expect the auto-patcher to have some files for you soon. Once that happens we will be ready for Open Beta.
So, let the madness begin. Feel free to copy this message anywhere.
It was amended on Friday as follows:
****As of 5:20 on Friday, the Auto-Patcher still hasn't been enabled. This pretty much wipes us out for the weekend. I would suggest you still look for the Client on Download.com over the weekend...
And as of Monday morning, the 5.18 client was still unavailable at download.com. However, we are apparently very close to open beta, so keep checking here. We'll let you know as soon as we know.
UbiSoft has launched a website for its upcoming Shadowbane expansion, Throne of Oblivion. Not much info at this time, but some cool concept art. Click below for some examples:
The official EverQuest II site has posted the fifth installment in their lore series. It is titled "A Moment of Reflection" and it is an excellent read. Here is a snippet:
The ranger's footsteps made no sound as he climbed toward the summit. No rock was loosed, no twig snapped; it was as if nature itself carried him along his path.
He reached the top and saw the monk sitting with his back to him. The monk seemed to be looking out over the landscape, the Plains of Karana to the west and the Commonlands to the east. The ranger approached silently, drawing closer to the one he came seeking.
"Welcome, Avatar," the monk said without turning. "Have the preparations been made?"
The ranger stopped and smiled to himself. "The rangers of Surefall stand ready, while the Knights of Thunder are assembling their forces. And you, my friend, have excellent hearing."
"It was not my ears that told me you were coming, I assure you. Your skills are unmatched. Karana chose well."
Want more? Follow this link.
This just in from Rice University's psychology facility:
We, Drs. Richard Bagozzi and Paul Dholakia, are management and psychology faculty at Rice University in Houston, Texas. We are conducting an academic survey of online gamers. This survey is regarding interactions among friends who play online games together, and for this reason must be completed by each member belonging to a group of three friends. The survey takes approximately twenty minutes to complete, and is available at:
We are paying $10 to each participant provided they and two of their friends (that they game online regularly with) each complete the survey individually. We will pay participants the money upon completion of the survey by the group, either through Paypal, or by mailing them a personal check.
We are looking for approximately 500 responses, and the survey will close as soon as these many responses have been received.
So, if you are looking for a quick $10 - just grab a couple of your gaming buddies and take their survey!
GB: You've previously said that the game's quests will not be similar to one another with some randomness to make them unique, but instead will be non-linear and more thought out. Can you expand on this and give us a specific example of a quest players might encounter in the game?
Ken: Overall, our focus for content and quests is to help the player answer the question, "Why is what I'm doing meaningful?" Some of that is taking old standards such as kill or fetch quests and imbuing them with a sense of purpose that colors and shapes your interaction with the story and NPCs.
Eberron is a fantastic setting for this purpose. It's very story-rich and has a big "pulp-noir" feel -- with lots of believable motivations for the wide variety of different power and interest groups in the world. And yet it also still has plenty of "high fantasy" elements that tie the setting more into what players expect and want out of their fantasy. As a content designer, Eberron is one of the best gaming settings to tell good stories in that I've come across.
Another part of our process to create fantastic content is expanding the repertoire of what players can do. We've spent a lot of time on our quest system so that we can track the state of pretty much every single interactive object in a dungeon, and we can tie that state (or collection of states) into a quest success or quest failure metric. For example, anything from breaking (or preventing them from being broken) barrels to disarming traps to putting out lights can all form the base "goal" of a quest...really, anything out of which a content designer can fashion a good story can serve as that basis.
Finally, we've worked a lot on NPC A.I. for these new styles of quests, ranging from avoiding enemy detection, to having to rescue and escort kidnapped citizens from the dungeon depths to the town above.
Also, they've posted a good number of screenshots, concept drawings, and in-game footage. Visit their D&D Online page to read the interview and see the other goodies.
THERE it is, the beta update is available on the patcher... I start downloading it with excitement. As usual, I download as fast as I can... After 30 minutes, I've read the patch notes and I'm ready to launch the game. We switched from version 0.80.19 to version 0.81.21.
Once I'm in the game, I rush in to test everything. I notice that my level is not the same as the last time I logged in. I'm now lv5. The levelling is globally the same as before. It is represented by 10 coloured blocks, and once they are full, I get 1/10 of level in my progress bar. First change: no more experience points, but a percentage instead. It's much more convenient. I immediately test the first new feature: pet summoning. Now we can summon pets for a price. Sadly, I don't have much money, so I can summon only 2 pets: skeletons. We can tell them to do nothing, to defend themselves, to protect us or to attack everything on sight. I can also tell them to attack a specific target. I can also rent dodos for a price.
When I'm on level 10, I rent a dragon. Again, I need to pay, but it's worth it. Flying is a real pleasure. Unfortunately, dragons are harder to find than dodos.
After testing dragon flight, I explore the surroundings. I come across three new creatures:
- Mages, who attack on sight and hurt really bad
- Sad Shul, some kind of specters
- Lizard men, some kind of reptilian humanoids. I'm sure there are other monsters hidden somewhere, but after 2 days of testing, I didn't have the time to find them yet.
Now I try a bit of PvP with other people who have the same alignment as mine, attacking unsuspecting players of the opposite alignment. In the list of commands, we spot several options for group management. I invite my two fellows in my group, and we go to war. We are glad to see that when we kill somebody, the experience is split between all the group members, even if a pet kills the enemy. We have a specific channel to chat between group members.
This patch brings its share of good surprises and bugs, but from what the devs said, many of these bugs have already been solved internally.
Click here to read the post and see the screen shots at the Dark and Light community website.
The official Tabula Rasa website has been updated with a post from Richard Garriott regarding the development of the game. It appears the wait will be a bit longer:
Executive Producer Richard Garriott has released the following statement regarding Tabula Rasa:
Greetings to all,
I'd like to update everyone about the development of Tabula Rasa. At E3 this year, we communicated to you that the game would be ready to launch this winter. In the few months since the show we've come to believe the game will take us longer than estimated to complete, especially due to some noteworthy modifications and refinements we intend to make to the game.
What this means for those of you who've been patiently waiting for the release of Tabula Rasa is that your wait will be a bit longer. The game won't be out this winter and likely won't be ready for some months beyond that. The good news is that we continue to be committed to launching Tabula Rasa only when it is ready.
I want people who play Tabula Rasa to have a unique and fun experience and I don't want to ship it until it fully meets the lofty expectations that the Destination Games team and I have for it. Even more importantly, I won't launch this product until we believe it meets your expectations for a quality, ground-breaking massively multiplayer product. Fortunately, NCsoft is a publisher that is as devoted to excellence as we are. The company fully supports this decision and is encouraging us every step of the way.
I want you to know that our dedicated team is working diligently to get Tabula Rasa to you as soon as possible and can't wait to get it in your hands so you can try it yourselves. In the future, I hope you'll come back to the Tabula Rasa site as we keep you abreast of what these changes are all about and ultimately when you'll be able to join us in Sanctuary.
Thanks for your time.
Richard "Lord British" Garriott
Tabula Rasa Executive Producer
Although this is likely bad news to those awaiting TR, the statements regarding Destination's dedication to the title and Garriott's desire for his title are positives. This is the classic, "glass half empty/half full" dichotomy. Hopefully the community will see this as they should: a developer doing that which is necessary to deliver a solid product.
Click here to read the announcement at the official Tabula Rasa website.
UbiSoft has announced that beta invitations will be issued for Throne of Oblivion based on seniority, i.e. those who have played Shadowbane the longest will be the first invited.
Starting next week, Beta Invitation emails will be sent out to the Shadowbane Community. Invitations will be sent out to long-term members of our community that have accounts in good standing first. This will work much like the Gifts of Appreciation, meaning those who have been playing Shadowbane the longest will be on the top of our list. These will be sent in stages so if you do not get one on the first day, that does not mean you will not get one at all.
A couple of quick notes:
- Make sure your email address on your Account is up-to-date
- If you use Hotmail or similar email services, keep an eye on your "spam" bin
Finally, please remember that Beta Testing is not for people to have a sneak peek at the game, it is to help the Shadowbane Team test the product and make sure it creates an enjoyable playing experience.
September 9, 2004 (Tokyo) - LucasArts, leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment products for video game consoles, computers and the Internet, has jointly announced with Electronic Arts K.K. (EA Japan) that the two companies have agreed to distribute and operate the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) Star Wars GalaxiesTM : An Empire DividedTM in the Japanese market. Under this agreement, the parties will begin offering the MMORPG in Japan, starting with the launch of the first expansion, Star Wars GalaxiesTM : Jump to LightspeedTM.
Developed and operated by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided launched in June 2003 in North America and quickly became the fastest growing online RPG with over 500,000 registered users to date. Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed is the highly anticipated first expansion, slated for release in late October in the United States. In Japan, a fully localized Japanese version is planned to be shipped in December, together with the original product: Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided.
EA Japan has worked closely with LucasArts for the past five years as distributor of certain LucasArts titles in the Japanese market. This new project represents a natural extension of the parties' relationship by building a partnership on the Japanese version of Star Wars Galaxies. LucasArts will provide a localized version of the product, while EA Japan will be in charge of operations, hosting, maintenance and customer support for the service.
Jim Ward, President of LucasArts, said, "We believe that Electronic Arts Japan, who has extensive experience in the Japanese online gaming business, is an ideal partner for us in introducing this innovative title to the Japanese market, which represents the long history and the highly imaginative world of the Star WarsTM series. We are confident that the Japanese gamers will be able to fully enjoy the Star Wars universe with this title.
"In handling this new franchise, we intend to fully leverage our capabilities as a marketing powerhouse in distributing packaged games, as well as the extensive know-how of our online games team that successfully secured over 100 thousand accounts for the Ultima Online," said Tamio Yamamoto, President of EA Japan, Japan branch of Electronic Arts, the largest entertainment software manufacturer in the world. "Star Wars Galaxies is currently considered as one of the most acclaimed titles in the U.S. Although competition is fierce and gamers are becoming increasingly hard to please, we are confident that this title will be powerful enough to trigger a boom in and outside of the MMORPG market."
The soon-to-be-released official Web site for Star Wars Galaxies is currently under construction. Basic information on the title may also be obtained from www.japan.ea.com/swg, where EA plans to post key announcements regarding Star Wars Galaxies in the future.
In the next World of Warcraft patch, Tradeskills will be renamed as Professions. This is more than a name change, however. Professions are getting a complete makeover:
You will no longer learn different professions by paying for them with skill points. You'll still learn them by speaking to the appropriate profession trainer. However, players will now be restricted to learning two professions. We decided to change the skill system to make it simpler, balanced, and more intuitive. The new system should allow everyone to participate in one to two professions, and create a much more vibrant market for goods generated from professions.
Players are encouraged to choose their two skills prior to the patch (the date of which has not been announced at this writing) and unlearn any other skills they may currently have trained. Characters that have more than two skills at the time of the patch will have two chosen at random. The entire post is available by clicking here.
Also, new mosaic wallpaper is available! Whoopee!!! Click on the image below to download a variety of sizes.
This link will take you to the official website for World of Warcraft.
Arena has started posting screenclips, full motion clips of in-game action, at the official Guild Wars website. The first such screenclip is available and can be viewed by clicking on the image below.
Click here for the official Guild Wars website.
RPG Vault has posted their first new screens from NPCube's upcoming MMO, Dark and Light, since July. Included is a shot of a, "mysterious lizardman." Click on the thumbs below for bigger shots or click here for the RPG Vault piece.
EQII Beta Heading to the United Kingdom!
EverQuest II fans in the United Kingdom should start preparing for their time in Norrath! Beta invites will be arriving to players over the next few days. Keep an eye on your inbox!