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Lord of the Rings Online : LotRO Special Edition Announced

Posted Apr 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine and Midway have announced a special edition of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. The special edition will feature goodies such as: a "making of..." DVD, a map of Middle Earth, and an exclusive in-game item.

WESTWOOD, MA and CHICAGO, IL - April 12, 2007 -- Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY) today unveiled the Special Edition of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™. This Special Edition of the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game provides fans with exclusive items, including the "making of" DVD, a soundtrack of the game, and a special in-game item. The Lord of the Rings Online is scheduled to launch on April 24th in the U.S. and Canada and the Special Edition of the game is now available for pre-order at select retailers nationwide.

"We have experienced unbelievable anticipation and support for The Lord of the Rings Online throughout the development process," said Jeff Anderson, President and CEO of Turbine Inc. "We knew that the game had to provide a terrific experience to the millions of Tolkien fans and we wanted to enhance that experience even more with this Special Edition."

Find out more details here.

EVE Online : Fanfest 2007 Time and Place Announced

Posted Apr 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

CCP has sent word of EVE Fanfest 2007, which is being held from November 1st to 3rd in Reykjavik, Iceland.

It's that time again, capsuleers! Fire up your autopilot, plot a course for Reykjavik, Iceland, and join us for the Fourth Annual Party at the Top of the World.

EVE Fanfest 2007 will be held November 1 - 3 at the incredible Laugardalshöll in the Laugardalur Valley. This yearly event gives EVE Online players a chance to meet face-to-face beyond the confines of their cozy little pods, hobnob with the EVE dev team and participate in panel discussions, roundtables and competitions.

Icelandair is offering special rates, including an "early bird special" on a variety of packages for airfare and accommodations. Visit their website for more information and to book your reservations. Fanfest passes are sold separately and may be purchased through the EVE Store. Passes must be bought in advance and will not be sold at the door.

Get all the details here.

General : Interview With Mark Kern

Posted Apr 13, 2007 by

Mark Kern of Red 5 Studios talks with MMORPG.com. See what Mark has to say about his past, present, and upcoming future with Red 5 Studios.

Mark Kern was the Team Lead on Blizzard's gargantuan hit, World of Warcraft. Now, he is the President and CEO of Red 5 Studios. In this interview, Mark answers Garrett Fuller's questions about his past, future, and the direction of the MMO industry.

MMORPG.com: Great to talk with you Mark. Can you tell us how you got started in video games and more importantly MMOs?

Mark Kern: I wrote my first computer game on a TRS-80 computer so I've been at this for some time now! I knew I always wanted to make games, but it wasn't until college that I started to think about online games. I played a commercial mud called Gemstone on the Genie bulletin board service back when you paid $5/hour to play. I was absolutely hooked, and nearly flunked out of school until one day I quit cold turkey. But even though I had quit, I kept thinking about designing the ultimate text-based MMO. Things have changed now, but I'm still trying to create teams and make the best games possible. And if you look very, very closely, you'll see some Gemstone influence in World of Warcraft today.

Read the entire Interview here.

General : LFG Added to Featured Comics Section

Posted Apr 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com is pleased to announce that we are now featuring the Looking For Group web comic by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza!

LFG, the fifth web comic on our site, joins the likes of: Extralife, The Noob, GUComics, and Layonara in our comics area.

You can visit our comics section here.

World of Warcraft : Blizzard Announces BlizzCon 2007

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by

Blizzard Entertainment announces BlizzCon 2007. Get your best Tauren costume ready and book that flight to California!

A year and a half ago, Blizzard hosted the first "BlizzCon," a convention celebrating the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo game universes and the amazing community of players who contribute to their continued popularity. Today, Blizzard announced that BlizzCon will once again open its doors on August 3, 2007. Highlights for this year's BlizzCon will include: * Discussion panels with Blizzard game developers; * Competitive and casual tournaments, including a World of Warcraft TCG tournament; * Costume, machinima, and character sound-alike contests with great prizes; * Live orchestral performances of music from Blizzard games; * And many more exciting activities to be announced soon at www.blizzcon.com!

Read more here.

General : Former IGE VP Hired on By SOE

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by

Sony Online Entertainment names David D. Christensen as Vice President of Business Development & International Operations.

Sony Online Entertainment, (SOE) a global leader in the online gaming industry, today announced the appointment of David D Christensen to Vice President of Business Development & International Operations. In this newly created role, Christensen will be responsible for generating strategic global growth opportunities and securing key business alliances for SOE, with an emphasis on the European and Asian markets. In addition to his business development responsibilities, Christensen is tasked with managing SOE's international operations group. Christensen will be based in SOE?s new Los Angeles studio and will report to John Needham, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Sony Online Entertainment.

Christensen is a veteran of the video games industry with a broad range of business experience, including development partnerships, acquisitions, licensing and business affairs. Prior to joining SOE, Christensen served as Vice President of Business Development for IGE where he drove the company's relationships with the massively multiplayer publishing community. Prior to that, Christensen served as the Director of Business Development for Vivendi Games. He was instrumental in leading negotiations on licensing and development deals for several critically acclaimed and commercially acclaimed successful franchises including Crash Bandicoot, The Incredible Hulk, Lord of the Rings, Riddick and Spyro.

"David brings a wealth of experience to his new role within SOE," said John Needham, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Sony Online Entertainment. "His exceptional knowledge and insight into the global online gaming market will be an integral part of our expansion strategy moving forward both domestically and in key international markets."

Christensen studied taxation at the Georgetown University Law Center and received his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School. He earned his Bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois.

Read more here.

Lineage 2 : Interlude Launches In N. America, Europe

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by

NCSoft announces the release of Lineage II's Interlude in the North America and Europe. This free expansion offers some new material for players to explore. Read the details below.

NCsoft® today announced the release of Interlude, an expansion to the massively multiplayer online PC game Lineage® II in North America and Europe. Interlude is the next step in the evolution of Lineage II, forming a bridge between The Chaotic Chronicle and the game's next chapter, The Chaotic Throne. The Interlude expansion is free to all current Lineage II subscribers.

Lineage II, the gaming market's premier player-versus-player (PvP) massively multiplayer online game, has reached more than 17 million players worldwide since its launch in late 2003.

The Interlude expansion offers a variety of new challenges to players, including the new Primeval Isle, which is home to many new creatures making their first appearance in Lineage II. These include Wild Striders, Pachycephalosaurus and the deadly and powerful Tyrannosaurus Rex. Primeval Isle is a lush and beautiful zone, but in the tradition of Lineage II, offers tough tests and is not a zone for those unwilling to take on great challenges. Mastering the beasts on Primeval Isle will require strategy and teamwork from players and clan members.

Enhanced single-player elements such as the new dueling system will enable players to challenge friends to one-on-one fights or party-versus-party battles. By dueling, players can understand the nuances of their character better than they ever have before. In addition, there are no penalties for defeat in Lineage II?s dueling system, so players are free to let loose and test their mettle.

Also available for mid to high-level players are more than 150 new bonuses to enhance and customize weapons. Lower level players can take advantage of the new Shadow Weapons, a "try before you buy" service offered by the village weapon vendors. This new feature makes weapon selection more effective and simple.

"I'm very excited about what Interlude offers," said Adam Davidson, the North American producer of Lineage II. "It introduces elements of the game's next evolution, The Chaotic Throne, as well as unleashing dinosaurs. Who doesn't like taking on a T-Rex? Interlude also demonstrates the open-ended nature of Lineage II and shows off NCsoft?s ability to deliver features that give the game its signature depth and never-ending challenges."

Interlude also marks the three-year anniversary for this franchise in North America, where it has been steadily growing and reached a platinum status in November of last year.

Read more here.

D&D Online : Module 4: Reaver's Bane Released

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine has announced the release of Module 4: Reaver's Bane. This expansion for Dungeons and Dragons Online sports a bunch of new goodies, including wilderness adventuring, raising the level cap to 14, and the long awaited introduction of dragons.

40,000 years ago, Gianthold was the capital of the Lost Empire of the giants on Xen'drik. Protected by the fortress of Gianthold Tor, the giants of Gianthold learned mighty magics, trained fearsome soldiers, and created great works of art. But Gianthold was destroyed by the dragons of Argonnessen. Only the dragons themselves remember this event well, and their historians believe that the giants brought about their own downfall by misusing the magical secrets entrusted to them by the dragons. This is true -- but it is only part of the story...

The Stormreaver was a hero of the disastrous war against Dal Quor, and when faced with imminent defeat, he turned to his most powerful ally - an old dragon whose true name is lost, but whose wisdom had earned him the epithet, "the Truthful One." The Stormreaver forged a pact with the Truthful One, who was approaching the Twilight and his death: They would sacrifice their lives to power a great spell, the Reaver's Bane, which would turn all of Xen'drik itself against the Quori.

Get all of the details here.

World of Warcraft : WoW TCG Offers In-game Items

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Upper Deck Entertainment, the makers of the World of Warcraft trading card game, have announced that the newest expansion set will contain "loot" cards which will give players access to in-game items.

Today, Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE) announced the availability of the new World of Warcraft Trading Card Game expansion set, Through the Dark Portal. This new starter set and booster pack contain special "Loot" cards which players can use to gain access to unique World of Warcraft in-game items.

Find out more here.

D&D Online : Interview with James Jones and Kate Paiz

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today sees the launch of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach's Module 4: Reaver's Bane. Yesterday, Managing Editor Jon Wood had the chance to sit down for a talk with James Jones, the Executive Producer of DDO and Kate Paiz, the game's Producer.

As many of you may or may not know, today marks the release of Module 4: Reaver's Bane, the most recent free update from Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with James Jones, the Executive Producer of DDO and Kate Paiz, the game's Producer to talk about the release, and what players can expect from it.

It is well known that any MMORPG is a constantly growing and evolving entity. Even when a game is released, a team continues to work on the game, both fixing problems and creating new content for their players to explore. Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online is no exception to that rule. Numerous game play elements have been added to the game since its launch a year ago. Previous modules and updates saw players able to: solo in the game, progress further as the level cap was raised, play and meet new and different races, the list goes on.

Read the whole article here.

Myth War : Quadruple-Experience Activity

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Myth War Online will be holding a quadruple experience event April 14th to 15th.

Did you take part in Myth War Quadruple Experience Activity in March? If you regretfully missed it, here is the chance for you to make up for it:

International Gaming Gate (IGG) Myth War Group decide to hold another Quadruple-Experience Activity in all servers this Sunday. On that date, all players are welcomed to join in and win experience by fighting the monsters from Server Time 0:00 on April, 14th to Server Time 23:59 on April, 15th.In addition, we will hold Bounty Hunter and Survival Quest activity again on April, 15th.

Learn more here.

General : Xfire Releases Gaming Statistics

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Today Xfire released their latest Xstatistics, their offering of authentic online game play statistics. Read on and see how your favourite games stack up.

MENLO PARK, CA (April 12, 2007) - Xfire, one of the fastest growing online gaming communities in the world, released today their second monthly offering of authentic online game play statistics - Xstatics. The latest Xstatics update includes stats from January 2006 through March 2007, along with several brand new Bonus Stats. All told, the fifteen months available on Xstatics summarize over 92,000 man-years of game play data. The latest release of Xstatics is available now and can be viewed at www.xfire.com/xstatics

"Xfire is dedicated to providing the video game industry with up to date, authentic online game play statistics across more than 800 PC games," said Frederic Descamps, senior director of marketing for Xfire. "We enjoy coming up with our Bonus Stats to see how different cross-sections of gamers are playing their favorite online games. In this release of Xstatics, we have Bonus Stats showing ten months worth of World of Warcraft data, the top ten games by number of screenshots and the top ten free-to-play online games."

The ten-month sample of World of Warcraft (WoW) statistics confirms some widely thought assumptions such as a spike in game play in February 2007 when the Burning Crusade expansion was released with Xfire users spending more than 430,000 man-hours per day in Azeroth. Over the course of the ten months, WoW usage by Xfire users increased by over eleven man-years per day.

In addition to the rise of WoW, an interesting phenomenon stands out: the prominence of free-to-play (F2P) Korean games. With games such as Silkroad Online, War Rock, MapleStory, Fly for Fun and KAL-Online holding down three of the top twenty games as well as four of the top ten MMO's in March of 2007, F2P Korean games have earned a solid share of Xfire users' play time. Given that over 95% of Xfire users are from North America or Europe, the continued success of these games illustrates the viability of the micro-transaction business model in these markets.

Get more info here.

General : Casual Play: Lowering the Bar

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Casual Play's Steve Wilson talks about the idea of certain games "lowering the bar" for what we expect from an MMORPG.

I hear frequently that the newer generations of MMOs are lowering the bar. World of Warcraft is one of the games that receives this accusation more than most others. This is sort of odd considering that it has done more to advance MMOs as a genre than any game previously, if you consider the number of players that subscribe to it as any indication of the genre improving. Really WoW did for MMOs what the Star Wars films did for sci-fi. And so I have to wonder what's really meant when someone says the new games have lowered the bar?

Sure there is some elitist pride having been one of the first in on something. I hear all the time from goths upset that Marilyn Manson ruined their rainy parade. Or that hip hop was once hip before it became white and nerdy. That video games were once the sole domain of the hopelessly dateless. Being the first in any of those niches made one an innovator, something that no matter how dorky seemed like it was worth bragging about. At least to others that thought that sort of thing was impressive.

You can read the whole column here.

Age of Conan : 100,000 Sign Up for Age of Conan Beta

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Funcom and Eidos have announced that more than 100,000 gamers signed up for the Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Beta test over the Easter weekend.

Durham, USA - April 11th, 2007 - Funcom and Eidos announce that more than 100.000 gamers signed up for the 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures' Beta test over the Easter holiday. Just within the first 24 hours of the announcement more than 50.000 gamers signed up to test the game. Despite a demanding sign-up process the initial numbers bodes very well for the future of the most savage, sexy and action-packed MMO ever created. "We're naturally very pleased to see that so many dedicated gamers are signing up for the 'Age of Conan' Beta at such a rapid pace," says Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom. "With more than 100,000 gamers signed up in such a short time-frame our confidence in the game's potential and its ability to be a major contender in the MMO genre continues to be strengthened."

Read the full article here.

Auto Assault : Auto Assault Turns One

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

In honor of their one year anniversary, Auto Assault will be holding a "post-apocalyptic-sized double event" on Saturday, April 14.

Guess what, Auto Assault is one year old and to celebrate we'll be holding a post-apocalyptic-sized double event on Saturday, April 14. There will be an EU-friendly session at 12PM CDT (5PM GMT) and a US-oriented one at 8PM CDT (1AM GMT). Each will last two hours and will be broadcast live with W00t Radio. We'll have scores of trivia questions and other fun things to do, and of course we will torture you all with spawny goodness.

Visit Auto Assault's official site here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Creatures of Middle Earth

Posted Apr 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

The history and origin of the Nimwaith, or Pale-folk, is profiled in this article from Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar.

As the realm of Angmar grew in power under the Lord of the Nazgûl, he commanded that a great citadel be built as the capital of his kingdom. Thus many Angmarim and Hill-men out of Rhudaur were pressed into service to build the city of Carn Dûm, nestled in the Mountains of Angmar. They were taken from their homes, and foul meats and the vile waters of Sereg Argûl became their sole sustenance. Shrunken and twisted by the cruel scourges of their Orcish taskmasters and by the scarce and tainted provender granted them, the slaves gradually fell beneath the shadow of Angmar.

Read more here.

General : OGDC Announces Virtual Job Fair

Posted Apr 11, 2007 by

Online Game Development Conference announces Virtual Job Fair. Interested in working in online games, perhaps this is the place for you.

The Online Game Development Conference (OGDC) has just added a new dimension to its agenda of speakers and exhibitors, with a powerful tool for both game industry jobseekers and recruiters. Evergreen Events has partnered with the leading recruitment software solution firm CreativeHeads.net to offer companies attending this year's OGDC, taking place from May 10th - 11th, an online Virtual Job Fair.

The Virtual Job Fair represents a tremendous opportunity for OGDC 2007companies to advertise their participation at the conference and jobsacross the entire CreativeHeads.net 17-site Job Board Network. Thisbroad network reaches 2,000,000 creative professionals monthly working in the the video game, the animation & VFX / TV & film, software/tools and web/wireless industries.

Read more here.

General : Earth Eternal Adds Three New Races

Posted Apr 11, 2007 by

Earth Eternal adds three new races. It looks like players will be intorduced to the Anura, Tuskians, and Lisians in the coming months. Check out the details below.

Iron Realms Entertainment announced the results of its Pick-a-Beast contest in which fans could pick the 14th race for release. Finding it difficult to choose just one, Iron Realms announced that they'd choose three races, thus increasing the number of races at release from 13 to 16.

The new races will be the Anura (frog folk), the Tuskians (boar-people), and the Lisians (gecko people).

Matt Mihaly, lead designer on Earth Eternal, said of the contest, "We got hundreds of submissions ranging from the races of Beast that won to walrus-inspired people, swan-people, and more obscure animals such as mudskippers. I had a genuinely hard time deciding which to go with but chose these three because Boars just rock and I decided I'd like to have a couple Beast races inspired by amphibians and reptiles."

Concept art and production of the new races will begin in late April.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lord of the Rings Promotes Teamwork

Posted Apr 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Teamwork is the topic of this article from the folks at Lord of the Rings Online: the Shadows of Angmar, where they discuss fellowship maneuvers, their game mechanic designed to encourage players to work as a team.

Fellowship and teamwork are important themes in The Lord of the Rings, and The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar development team wanted to reflect those values in LOTRO's combat system. Players who group together can execute powerful combined-effort attacks called Fellowship Maneuvers. Teamwork in combat is the basis of the Fellowship Maneuver system; the more coordinated your fellowship is, the more powerful the results can be! Fellowship Maneuvers can also be used to make up for gaps in a fellowship's abilities. For example, healing-based Fellowship Maneuvers can be life-savers for a fellowship that doesn't contain a dedicated healer.

If you'd like to know more, click here.

City of Villains : Interview with Serdar Copur

Posted Apr 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

In this fourth installment in WarCry's "Ask a Dev" interview series; Cryptic Studios Producer Serdar Copur answers questions from the community on City of Heroes and City of Villains.

arthurh3535: What is the hardest 'programming' thing that you want to eventually add to the game?

Serdar Copur: Blue-sky questions are so much fun. The most difficult thing to develop that I would like to add to our game is a completely new database architecture which allows every single player who plays CoH & CoV to be able to play on the same game server. This means no more server selection screens, no more re-rolling because your real life friends are not on the same server as you, and no more trouble finding a group at 3:00 AM because everyone else is sleeping. It's not an impossible endeavor but my programming team assures me that there is nothing more time consuming and complicated that we could develop for our game at this point. I guess we can always dream.

Read the entire interview here.

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