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."
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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!
pMac has posted a designer ramble in the official forums. It covers all kinds of points on character progression. Here is a snippet:
Multiple lines of progression
As earlier rambles have suggested, there are actually multiple lines of character progression within CZ (faction rank, renown, NPC contacts, combat skills and RPG skills). I wont be talking about these other kinds of progression, instead I'll focus on the classic level and skill progression system in the game. I'll talk about the other dimensions in another ramble.
OK, the core character progression system in CZ will be very familiar to anyone who has played MMOGs or similar RPG games. To advance your character you earn xp. Accumulate enough and you gain a level. This gives you skill points to spend on skills and techniques, and attribute points to spend on your attributes.
There are 5 core attributes in the game. They have a small direct impact on character performance but their main function is to limit access to techniques and implants. More on those later. In Diablo style, you spend points as you gain levels.
To read the entire post, follow this link.
I was thinking about closing the site and project, But Iâ€™ve been reading some of these MMORPG sites allow people to post there 'home made' games up and people review them. And it seems that Tides of Lyenoa is on some of these sites and people are giving bad comments such as "What is this pile of crap! Why do they bother!!" and "Leave it to the professionalâ€™s n00bs!!" and all these comments got me angry and decided not to close the project.
Tenacity is an admirable quality, and hopefully Shogun's frustration is not fueled by comments on this site. Regardless, we feel that the more MMOGs out there, the better, whether they be big budget efforts or small projects such as Tides.
A tip of the hat to Shogun and all of the small developers out there. The staff of MMORPG.com is behind you all the way!
In preparation for a major assault Abaddon is planning the forces of Evil under his control have blocked the portal to Druncian City. The combined mystic might of both towns may only be able to reopen it once per month from now on. If Abaddon is defeated and forced back into his prison then the forces of Darkness may be too weak to prevent it from being opened at will. If Abaddon is not defeated then the portal will be locked again for an extended period. The mayors of both towns are working to get the portal to Druncian City open on September 24 and believe they will be able to keep it open for several days. It is up to the Heroes of Aresden and Elvine to work together to bring about the true defeat of this great evil. Beebo Mho, the noted diviner of rabbit entrails, has announced that there will be a series of assaults on both towns so that Abaddon's forces can get training for the major battle to come. These minor battles will still test the resolve and ability of those who live in the towns or wander the wilderness nearby. They can come at any time, in any place so keep an eye out and your weapons ready!
[This will be random events of monsters attacking starting Friday night, September 10 and occurring until sometime Monday morning. There will be no monsters 'to order' nor will assaults be focused on one location. You'll need to find them or they will find you. Enjoy!]
The announcement of the weekend's event can be read in full at the official Helbreath USA website.
Ubisoft and Wolfpack Studios have announced the next expansion for Shadowbane. The expansion, entitled Throne of Oblivion, is scheduled for a November 30 release.
SAN FRANCISCO - September 9, 2004 - Ubisoft, one of the world's top game publishers, announced today the Shadowbane: Throne of OblivionTM expansion pack will be available at a manufacturer's retail price of $19.99 on November 30. The expansion for the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online (MMO) game ShadowbaneÂ® will feature an entirely new realm and rulership system that allows players to seize and vie for control of sections of the game world.
"Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion brings guild warfare and city sieging to an exciting new level with a strategic end-game that is unprecedented in the genre of MMO games. 'Build an Empire' was one of the early rallying cries of Shadowbane and with this expansion, our players can do exactly that," said Frank Lucero, Shadowbane's producer. "Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion brings with it the new Vampire Race, new classes and disciplines, each with special powers and abilities designed to enrich PvP combat. Additionally, graphical improvements and extensive refinements to the existing siege system will enrich play and improve performance."
In addition to the new strategic systems, Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion will feature extensive new player options centered around an invasion from the Lands of the Dead. Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion marks the first time in an MMORPG that players can play Vampire characters. The Vampires' clothing and armor will spotlight their supernatural power and allure and demonstrate the appeal of these creatures while exploring a new visual direction for Shadowbane. Their unique powers, strengths, and weakness will add new layers and tactics to the Shadowbane PvP landscape.
New classes, including the Nightstalker, Necromancer, and disciplines including Vampire bloodlines and four new siege disciplines will also debut in Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion. Existing classes and disciplines will be undated to account for the arrival of the undead legions, and new weapons will add new dimensions to the existing power dynamic, forcing players to make new strategic decisions.
Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion will also feature graphical enhancements, shown off to their fullest in new adventuring areas with all-new high-level content.
Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion is pending rating by the ESRB and more information can be found on the official Shadowbane community Website, The Chronicle of Strife: chronicle.ubi.com.
Minimum PC System Requirements
Supported OS: WindowsÂ® 98SE/ME/2000/XP
Processor: PentiumÂ® III 700 MHz or higher or equivalent
RAM: 128 MB RAM
Video Card: 32 MB TNT2 (or better) OpenGL-compliant graphics accelerator
DirectXÂ® Version: DirectX 8.1 or higher
CD-ROM: 4x or faster
Hard Drive Space: 1 GB free hard drive space
Multiplay: 56K modem + Internet connection
Valid credit card
For more information:
We have just posted our next round of 6 exclusive screens from EverQuest II. We hope you enjoy them!
NOTE: Registered members that are logged in can download the high-rez 1600x1200 versions using the links under each shot.
The crew over at GameMethod.com recently got a chance to take "Fallen Earth" for a spin. Here is a snippet from the preview:
NPCs are another marvel. Despite being incomplete, the game featured both voice acting and full animations for NPCs. Essentially, NPCs provide you with missions, but are also scattered throughout the world to provide a sense of life. When receiving a mission from an NPC, that character will speak to you and have animations that match the speech, for example the waving of arms to extenuate important notes. NPCs boast impressive little features such as their eyes and head following you. The voice acting is enhanced through Dolby Surround 5.1 audio for which sounds are positioned in three-dimensional space; with such a setup, you would be able to locate a NPC based on sound alone. The extent to which NPCs interact in the world is yet to be determined. Fallen Earth hopes to push the standards for the role of NPCs in the genre, but incorporating their behavior into gameplay. One of the first things you'll notice is the strong influence of six different NPC factions. You can complete missions for these factions to gain favor. When starting the game, depending on several conditions, members of various factions may approach you with missions from the get-go. Examples like this demonstrate the merge of player interactivity and NPCs that should bring Fallen Earth to the top of the coming wave of massively multiplayer titles.
To read the full preview, just hit this link.