The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. I heard an in-game rumor that there are plans to remove stealth from all the archers in the game, is that true and if so why?
A. I have a funny story about this question. The Balancinator got me good when I forwarded it to him. He messaged me and said, “How did people find this out already?! Hardly anyone knows about it!” I was halfway through a panic-stricken letter to the Producer when I was reassured: Missy, I was joking. We have no plans to remove stealth from the game. It reminds me of that old proverb. Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.
Q. I used to be able to use tinderboxes in Darkness Falls, but now it says I can't. I've talked to many who remember using them there. Is there a bug or did you change it?
A. The Bearded Wonder explained this one for me: The tinderboxes were designed to not work in RVR related zones and Darkness Falls is in that category. If they were usable there for some time, this would have been the bug. So as you describe them now, they’re working the way they were designed to work.
Read more here.
SOE has posted messages across it's family of sites informing players that there will be limited customer support today, Monday October 22nd, on account of wildfires in the San Diego area.
Technical, In-Game and Account support will be in limited operation on Monday, October 22nd 2007 due to wildfires in the San Diego area. During this time, support will be available but response time may be delayed. We will keep you updated with any changes in the situation.
For your convenience our Self-help knowledgebase is also available at www.station.sony.com/kb with answers to your questions. E-mail support is also available any time at www.station.sony.com/kb.
Read more here.
In this week's Community Blog Spotlight, Community Manager Laura Genender highlights two blogs with opposing viewpoints about PvE and the competitive nature of MMOs.
This week’s blog spotlight is a head to head debate between poster Vajuras, author of I Have a Dream; and poster NetSapiens, the mind behind Family Man Gamer. These two bloggers take differing standpoints on the competitive nature of gamers even in PvE: parsers, braggarts, and the optimal build.
In his blog, NetSapiens states that “people in a competitive environment will want to optimize their characters, in order to compete. You can’t compete in a game of Tennis if one guy brings a tennis racket and the other brings a gun and a basket of oranges.” For NetSapiens, gear analysis and DPS data makes perfect sense when it’s PvP.
Read the whole column here.
Michael Fiegel, a former writer and content designer for Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes, pens this article from a developer's perspective, about the indefinite hold that has been put on the game and his own reactions to it.
You will never meet the young lady in the sewers. You will never discover why she's down there, or what she's looking for, or how that involves a disembodied spirit with a short temper.
You will never meet the man who -- mimicking a myth he had once heard -- tied his infant daughter to a spear and hurled her into a river, assuming the gods would save her. You will never learn if he was right.
You will never meet the daughter of the goddess of vengeance. You will never hear her warning about the weather, never hear her funny quips and wry observations. You will never learn where the West Wind went.
The reason you will never meet these people is that the game they were a part of, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, was put on "indefinite hold" on October 9. For six months prior to that date, I was a writer and content designer for the game, and the individuals mentioned above were but a few of the hundreds of personalities, quests and stories I created during that time, alongside a team of other writers, implementors and designers.
Read the whole article here.
CCP's Chief Operating Officer issues a statement about today's EVE Online downtime and security breach. According to Hörðdal, no account or billing information was compromised and the servers are back up and being closely monitored.
EVE Online service restored after unexpected downtime
CCP Chief Operating Officer Jón Hörðdal has issued the following statement regarding the unexpected interruption of service for EVE Online and its website on Friday, October 19.
At 10:25 GMT today we discovered an anomaly in the EVE Online Database indicating a potential exploit. Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 12:57 that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely dark while an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure was executed.
What we discovered was an indication that one of our databases was being accessed through a security breach. While some may feel that such a drastic reaction was not warranted, it is always our approach to err on the side of caution in order to protect the players.
We of course understand the effect and disruption this has had for our players and apologize for not having been able to explain to the community what was going on. In these cases it can often be counterproductive to containment to give out information while we are in the process of evaluating the scope of the problem.
Our taskforce quickly found the security breach and prevented that from being used. We subsequently found three cases of database actions being performed through the security breach but none of those affected other users than the one doing the actions. We can also confirm that no personal details such as users’ credentials or credit card numbers were exposed through this incident.
The servers were brought back online at 22:00 GMT and we will of course continue to monitor the situation closely over the weekend and the following week.
Again we sincerely apologize for this disruption.
Chief Operating Officer, CCP
Read more here.
The Gods and Heroes official site has been updated with a brief message telling people who pre-ordered the game how to receive a refund.
Pre-Order Return Information
If you Pre-Ordered Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, please contact the retailer where you purchased the pre-order. They should give you a full refund.
Read more here.
Eight new images depicting scenes from Wrath of the Lich King have been added to our World of Warcraft screenshot gallery.
To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.
The folks over at Lineage II have created a preview site detailing all of the content additions for the next major free expansion, The Chaotic Throne: The Kamael.
Learn more about The Chaotic Throne: The Kamael update by browsing through the preview site! Take a look at the Kamael and their classes, new items, Fortress Battles, new account services, and the new areas to get a taste of what’s coming in The Chaotic Throne: The Kamael!
Visit the preview site here.
The Age of Conan official site has been updated with a look at the role of women in Age of Conan and the differences between the game's view and the 1930's view of the original Conan Lore.
The women of Hyboria have long been a lively debated topic among the Age of Conan community, even to the extent where many of you doubted their very existence in the game.
Suffice to say Hyboria will be FILLED with women of all kinds, from the “to be expected” female prostitutes to the extremely able female fighters.
As some of you may have picked up during our development, we have chosen a somewhat updated view on women compared to the works of Robert E. Howard. The world circa-2007 is very different, in most places, than the 1930’s in which the original Conan stories came around. Early on in our development, we therefore made a very clear and conscious choice: Namely that any female player in Hyboria should be just as strong and able as any man! The strong, fierce and independent female is perfectly in line with the lore of Howard, however, we have expanded it to include ALL the female players. And seriously guys, you wouldn’t want anything else, now would you? (let the discussions start!)
Read more here.
NEW THINGS AND BUG FIXES
- The style 'Heel Clip' has been added to the Shield specialization line at level 49. 'Heel Clip' is a low damage and high fatigue rear positional melee Cone Area of Effect (CAoE) snare.
- The Mauler Champion Weapons will no longer lose durability when repaired. Because of this change, these items can no longer be repaired by players. Any lost durability on these items can now be repaired along with lost condition at a NPC Smith.
- The Personal Bind Recall stone, Guild-house Recall stone, and Personal House Recall stone now have the proper self-only widgets.
- The volume has been decreased on the introductory game sound (Mythic.wav) by 50%.
CLASS CHANGES AND FIXES
- The level 15 sword style 'Aurora' is now a 14 damage bleed that lasts for 20 seconds and ticks every 4 seconds.
- The level 50 sword style 'Ragnarok' now has a 40% snare for a duration of 23 seconds.
- The level 4 Left Axe style 'Doubler' is now a front positional attack with an 8 damage per tick bleed.
- The level 18 Left Axe style 'Comeback' now has a style effect of an Armor Factor (AF) debuff.
- The level 21 Left Axe style 'Scathing Blade' now chains off of 'Doubler'.
- The level 29 Left Axe style 'Snowsquall' now has a spell effect of a 19 second snare.
- The level 44 Left Axe style 'Icy Brilliance' now has a spell effect of a 30% weapon speed debuff.
Read more here.
SOE has announced that they will be holding Legends of Norrath Tournaments on Saturday, October 27th where participating players will receive their choice of one of two loot cards, and a special promotional card illustrated by Jim Lee.
Legends of Norrath tournaments are scheduled to go live Saturday, October 27th 2007. SOE is set to host large scale tournament events where players can win extraordinary in-game loot rewards! All weekend long players can jump into one of the "Loot Tournament Weekend" event queues which will start when all slots have filled. Each player that participates in one of these tournaments will have their account flagged to receive a Lucan D'Lere, Ruthless Tactician (1P3) promotional card (illustrated by Jim Lee) and a choice of either an EverQuest® Scale of Rodcet Nife or EverQuest® II Bottled Breath loot card! Please note that participation is limited to U.S. residents only.
Read more here.
In this short-but-sweet edition of MMOWTF, Dan Fortier takes a swing at what he calls "kiddie MMOs", friendship meters, decorating contests and the like.
That’s right...I said it. Happy Games make me want to kill. If that isn’t clear enough let me put a finer point on it: Games that involve cartoon characters, emasculated male avatars, sparkly music and non-violent ways to compete with fellow players send me into a murderous rage that typically involves turning green and huffing paint. There is just something about really big eyes and a small mouth that gets my adrenaline pumping and makes me want to inflict serious virtual damage on people and property. This week, I take my impotent aggression out on kiddie MMOs and the adults who keep them profitable. Yar!
It seems that a month doesn’t go by in which an MMO that caters to kids (and the people that stalk them) is released. A fair portion of these titles are imported from counties that literally crank out these games in a non-stop stream. The ones that make it to our side of the pond are usually poorly translated and virtually carbon copies of each other minus a title and a quickly assembled backstory pasted haphazardly onto the genre of choice. Is this some kind of payback for something we did wrong in a past life?
Read it all here.
Blizzard has announced a host of Hallow's End festivities taking place across Azeroth. Players will be able to talk to innkeepers for tricks or treats, bob for apples, help sick orphans, or do battle with the Headless Horseman.
Trick or Treat!
Every year during Hallow's End, adventurers celebrate the time when the Forsaken broke away from the Scourge. Heroes for the Horde and Alliance can speak with any innkeeper and get a Treat Bag with a fun surprise inside! Open it as soon as you get it or else it will fade away. Be wary, though. The innkeepers are just as likely to trick you, changing your perspective on life.
In addition to the innkeepers with their tricks and their Treat Bags, adventurers can purchase sweets from vendors in Orgrimmar and Ironforge. If candy isn't quite your thing, no problem! Every inn has a tub prepared for a game of Bobbing for Apples. Also, Jesper, an orphan in Stormwind, and Spoops, an orphan in Orgrimmar, are both sick and can't join in the Hallow's End festivities themselves. Brave adventurers can make these two children feel better by speaking with certain innkeepers and bringing the treats they give you back to the orphans as a gift.
The Wickerman Festival, which takes place outside the Undercity every evening, promises fun for the Horde and the Alliance! For those interested more in tricks than treats, Darkcaller Yanka wants members of the Horde to throw stink bombs at the Alliance town of Southshore. Sergeant Hartman in Southshore encourages members of the Alliance to do their best to stop the Horde lest they be stuck cleaning up the stink! To get back at the Horde, he'll also ask you to crash the Wickerman Festival outside of the Undercity. Everyone is advised to sharpen their blades, tighten their girths, and prepare for battle!
Read more about World of Warcraft's Halloween activities here.
EA Mythic has posted the first part of their weekly insights into what they're up to during the Warhammer Online Beta downtime, and what players can expect when the beta returns in December.
With all the work we have been up to we wanted to share what we have been working on with you, below is the first update we have shared with the beta community. We think you'll be excited as we are, enjoy!
Waaagh! and well met!
So this begins the first of our weekly updates to the WAR Beta community. This is where we keep all of you up to speed with the changes, enhancements, and additions to WAR during this downtime. Each week will have different information from the various teams. Some of the information we’ll be keeping fairly high level, at least initially, but we will work on giving you insights into what to expect when we re-open in December.
I’ve gone to each of the various teams and asked them to write up a little snippet on something that’s going on in their neck of the woods.
So let’s get this show on the road!
We'll start with something dealing with PQs:
Public Quests have made a great start- but as everyone knows, the devil is in the details. In between now and beta reopening, we are going to focus in on some of the feedback you folks have been giving us. Some balancing work is going to go into Influence gain and XP for public quests. The groundwork for UI enhancements is also going to get done (though it may be after the holidays before you see the final fruits of that labour). Perhaps most importantly of all however, we are going to look at PQ loot. Ever a hot topic, we've noticed! Right now we're working to make sure that the whole loot experience is more satisfying than it currently is. We can't unveil the details right now- as we want to make sure we can deliver before we make you promises- but suffice to say, you should end up with a much better chance at getting what you want.
Read more here.
Yesterday, Managing Editor Jon Wood had a chance to sit down for an interview with Chris McKibbin and Daron Stinnett from perpetual Entertainment to talk about the recent announcement that Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising would be put on "indefinite hold", as well as the future of the company and Star Trek Online.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down for a short interview with some of the people over at Perpetual Entertainment. In case you’ve been living under a rock, up until a short time ago, Perpetual Entertainment was developing both Star Trek Online and a game called Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising. That changed, however, on October 9th when it was announced that the Gods & Heroes project would be put on indefinite hold. The sudden announcement surprised many in the community, which led to my conversation yesterday with: Chris Mckibbin, the co-founder of Peretual, Daron Stinnett, Chris Launius, Community Manager and Richard Zinser, the VP of Game Services.
When I asked the group why exactly they had chosen to put the game on indefinite hold, I was pointed back toward the official statement that the company issued back on the 9th. “The decision to put [the game] on hold was a result of looking at all of Perpetual's opportunities,” answered Mckibbon, “Gods & Heroes, Star Trek, and the Perpetual Platform Services business.”
“Why then,” I asked, “was Gods & Heroes in particular chosen of the three for the hold?”
Read it all here.
NCsoft has sent out word of a Halloween costume party in
ComicsOnline.com is hosting a Halloween masquerade party in New York City called the Nexus Crisis and hopes Heroes and Villains will be represented at the event. The two "masterminds" behind the scenes of this event are long time players of City of Heroes Terrence St. John and Kevin Gaussoin. Both Kevin and Terrence are players on Champion Server better known there as Tanker Titan TL and Controller Trance of Earth.
NC Soft is donating Good Vs. Evil Editions of the game to be awarded for costume prizes and is ensuring each attendee gets a 14 Day Trial code, to use themselves or to give to a friend who can join the fight against Lord Recluse or Statesman depending on their ethical leanings. Every good hero could use a good sidekick and every villain can find a use for a decent lackey.
So if you're in the New York area or willing to travel to the event, keep in mind it is being held at a nightclub in a restricted zone which requires all heroes and villains to have leveled to age 21 before they can come join the party. It might not be Pocket D but it's the next best thing. Information about the party can be found at:
Discounted Tickets can be purchased here:
Read more here.
NCsoft has released this video briefing introducing the Caves of Donn to players.
Caves of Donn Mission Briefing
Here's the mission briefing for one of the first instances available to players, the Caves of Donn.
Check out more videos here.
Tabula Rasa Mission Designer Rebekah Tran has penned a dev diary detailing the Caves of Don, one of the first instance maps that players will be able to explore after entering the Wilderness Area.
The game world of Tabula Rasa is filled with many different types of environments that range from somewhat familiar to very alien. The overland maps (the persistent maps where hundreds of players share the same space) share their visual theme with three to four connected instance maps (unique maps created for a party alone). Wilderness is the first overland map that the player visits after completing the game tutorial. It is covered with dense forests, and sports the familiar sounds of twittering birds… that is, when you’re not in the middle of a fierce battle.
One of the first instance maps players can explore off Wilderness is Caves of Donn. When it came time for me to start creating the missions on this map, I had a little bit of a challenge on my hands, as it is one of the smaller instance maps. It is laid out as three primary large outdoor rooms connected by a smaller cave system. These connecting caves are rather enclosed, so the battles in Caves of Donn needed to be smaller in scale (but not in intensity) and a little more intelligent. In order to be successful in this area, the goal is to pay attention to your environment. Do you see creatures you previously thought long dead back in the picture? Ask yourself, “Where are they coming from?” Think you’re getting sniped? You probably are, so search out that sneaky guy and take him out!
Read more about the Caves of Donn here.
The folks over at SOE's Everquest II have provided us with information about five of the new monsters that will make an appearance in the upcoming expansion, Rise of Kunark. EQII Senior Producer Scott Hartsman answers our questions about what goes into making monsters for MMOs in part one of a two part feature.
Let’s start this off with a bang. Can you tell us a little something about what needs to be considered when bringing a new creature into an MMORPG?Scott Hartsman:
There are a lot of questions that get asked. The story and environments tend to be the big driving factors – Who lives in these new places? What’s their history? Is this their natural environment, or are they displaced? And so on.
That’s an exercise that goes on for all of the new areas that we make, and it tends to drive a list that’s far larger than what’s practical.
Once those elements are worked out, we then need to apply reality. How much time do we actually have to get new creatures developed? How many new creatures can we feasibly develop? How much emphasis can (or should!) we put on bosses while still making sure there are enough new creatures for everyone to see?
Eventually, the wish list meets reality, and we end up with the populace for the new areas.
Check it out here.