ArenaNet has announced that its new Guild Wars Factions has started shipping to worldwide stores. The game itself is set to launch tomorrow, April 28th, 2006.
April 26, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) – ArenaNet®, developer of the award-winning online roleplaying game Guild Wars®, and NCsoft® Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, announce today that one of the year’s most-anticipated PC titles, Guild Wars Factions™, has officially shipped. For fans of the game that revolutionized online roleplaying, the wait is nearly over as Guild Wars Factions goes out today to retail stores worldwide.
Guild Wars Factions is the stand-alone follow-up to Guild Wars, the game that set new standards in online gaming with fresh design, innovative technology and no-subscription-fee pricing. With an expected retail price of $49.99, Guild Wars Factions will be available worldwide and servers supporting the new release will “go live” at 12:01 AM PDT /7:01 GMT on April 28, 2006.
Those who pre-ordered the game will be able to participate in the exclusive Guild Wars Factions Head Start Event beginning at 12:01 AM PDT/7:01 AM GMT on April 27, 2006. These lucky gamers will have access to the game for a total of 48 hours, including a full 24 hours before the game’s global release. During the first 24 hours of the Head Start Event, ArenaNet has planned an exclusive in-game event titled "Day of the Tengu," in which players will join one-day-only "Day of the Tengu" quests, and earn exclusive in-game rewards.
“New features in Guild Wars Factions such as guild scrimmages, alliance battles, ranked character titles, and some surprises still to come all resulted from our drive to create a truly unique gaming experience for existing and new fans of the Guild Wars universe,” says Mike O’Brien, co-founder of ArenaNet. “With a full year of development and a passionate design team, we think what we’ve created delivers on that and much, much more. Either played as a stand-alone game, or linked with your original Guild Wars account, Guild Wars Factions is a game we are thoroughly proud of—and still carries no subscription fee.”
Guild Wars Factions takes place on the Asian-inspired continent of Cantha, where players create a character from eight distinct professions—including the newly created Assassin and Ritualist—and join an epic quest that pits two warring factions, the Luxons and the Kurzicks, against an ancient evil, and against each other. As players become embroiled in this brutal war of conquest, new missions will provide both roleplaying fans and competitive PvP players the opportunity to help determine the fate of Cantha.
For more on Factions, click here.
Entropia Universe has announced that it has commissioned a number of artists and designers to sell their real world art in the virtual galleries offered by the virtual universe and its real-cash economy.
(Gothenburg, SWEDEN) – Entropia Universe, the fastest growing virtual universe utilizing a real cash economy, today announces its latest city on the planet of Calypso, New Oxford, opening on April 28th, 2006. The city will be a center for all arts, including fashion, music and more, featuring an art academy, fashion & design institute, multiple art galleries, a music school and museums. The new city will open windows of opportunity for artists and designers looking for new ways to promote and sell various “real-world” artwork, and also allows professors to give live video lessons within the “virtual” art academies and schools. There are a few big names already taking advantage of the virtual universe as a new means to reach a larger audience, including, Professor Ernst Billgren of the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm, famous and controversial artist Mark Kostabi, young and upcoming artist Kika Karadi, and Mark DeMuro.
New Oxford offers artists and designers from all over the world the ultimate virtual connection to a massive audience. However, the city not only creates new marketing mediums for artists, but also allows members to purchase virtual designer clothes, artwork, music and more for avatars, as well as for “real-world” delivery on Earth. In its debut, New Oxford will offer three galleries including the “21st Century Fine Art”, a subsidiary to the well-known New York gallery, “Ressle Fine Art.” The city will also include the latest fashion and trends from designers like Adam Thorpe and Joe Hunter of Vexed Generation in London, an underground clothing company whose innovative designs focus on urban living using intelligent material.
"New Oxford, with it's academies, galleries and shops, truly elevate the already unique online world of Entropia Universe,” says Carl Uggla, Director of Marketing and Special Projects for Entropia Universe. “Now, for the first time, individuals can appreciate great artwork and fashion, learn to be an artist or designer through virtual classes, enter contests/win prizes, meet real-world artists, critics and more, in a virtual community. We are even looking into negotiating with legendary musicians, bands and record and film companies to encompass a wide range of entertainment in New Oxford.”
The design of New Oxford was done in collaboration with Billgren whose credentials also include painter, sculptor, writer, filmmaker and musician. The city is the latest element of Entropia Universe’s massive online community that encapsulates real people and real events to form an online society resembling that of the real world. Entropia Universe will utilize the creation of its “culture city” and other “real-world” features to come to move the community beyond the more traditional online entertainment and gaming.
Entropia Universe is the only virtual gaming community that actively supports sales of virtual products with actual cash value within its real economy system. The economy offers the user a secure and safe way to make purchases, sales and exchange real life currency into PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and back again into real money, at a fixed exchange rate to the US Dollar. PED allows members to invest in personal development and growth through the acquisition of goods, buildings, and land in the virtual universe. In 2005, the Entropia Universe turnover was an estimated $165,000,000 US Dollar.
The heart of Entropia Universe lies in a distant planet named Calypso, encompassing two continents with large expanding cities that offer a variety of entertainment and social interaction for its citizens. Members of Entropia can create their own persona (avatar) via a character generation system, then having the option of choosing a suitable life and virtual existence for their avatar. Characters are able to enter the evolving world full of unexplored and uncultivated lands where they can join a community or even create a civilization of their own. Entropia Universe offers a new way for individuals to pursue dreams and fantasies through an adventurous virtual experience.
In December of 2004, Entropia Universe set a world record, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, when it sold a virtual Treasure Island for $26,500 USD as the largest virtual dollar amount spent, to 22-year old Australian David Storey, a.k.a. "Deathifier". The recent sale of the Space Resort for $100,000 USD to famed gamer, Jon ‘Neverdie’ Jacobs, sets a new record for the most valuable virtual item.
Carpe Diem is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG from Persistent Worlds. CEO Ken Johnston took the time to introduce the basic elements of his game to us in this interview. You can read about mounted combat, PvP and their concept of a GM controlled enemy. We also have five exclusive screenshots.
| MMORPG.com: Offering a game with mounted combat certainly is a step forward for MMOs. Can you tell us how players will enjoy fighting from horseback?
Ken Johnston: Mounted combat is what makes Carpe Diem so exciting to play. I really wanted a game that bought something new in game play terms to the MMO genre. The first thing you should know about mounts in Carpe Diem is that they are not just for getting from one place to another. Each mount has its own skills and statistics. The more you fight on your mount the more experience it will gain. If you grow your riding skills to a high enough level you can teach your mount to make attacks for you, eg a Knights horse can be trained to trample his enemies. You can also buy armor for your mount to increase its defense. However, they need to be looked after and fed and watered regularly. The idea is like having a real horse of your own. But not just horses, there are also armored bears and great bull like beasts in the game. Each different race has its own mount.
Players get different skills for use on horse back or on foot. So you can choose which style of combat the situation calls for and use your skills accordingly. Fighting from horseback allows you to move much more rapidly and make lightning charges and then withdraw. One of my favorite thrills in the game is to make a cavalry charge with four or five friends. It is quite devastating.
You can read the full journal here.
Tracy Spaight, the designer of Africa and VP of R&D at Rapid Reality, brings us an Africa developer journal on an element of the game called The Dreamscape. The Dreamscape is an alternate reality that players can explore within themselves.
| How do you know, beyond any doubt, that you’re not dreaming right now? Philosophers and poets have pondered this question for millennia. To the dreamer, the dream realm can seem as real as the waking world. In Africa’s “dreamscape,” the boundary between the waking world and the dream realm is a hazy one: players will be able to step into their own dreams and adventure in the primeval forest of their unconscious mind.
The dreamscape is a randomized, instanced space that players can explore when their characters sleep – which they must do periodically. In the dreamscape players can receive visions, undertake quests, learn new skills, and hone their spiritual powers. They may find hidden sources of strength that will make them better hunters, warriors, and shamans in the waking world.
You can read the journal here.
Dark Age of Camelot has released the Hox Fixes for Monday. They are few, but they are mighty.
These are now up on live:
Guild Wars has announced that if you own Prophecies and you have activated a pre-order of Factions, you'll be able to use your new character slots during the Factions Head Start Event.
We're happy to let you know that if you own Prophecies and have activated a Factions Pre-order on your account, you will be able to access your two new character slots during the Factions Head Start Event. The slots will become available and will have access to Cantha from 12:01 a.m. PDT (7:01 GMT) on Thursday, April 27th through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28th (6:59 GMT on April 29th). After the close of the Head Start Event, Canthan characters and Factions content will not be accessible until a retail key is activated on the account. The character slots will enjoy a "grace period" of ten days, to allow you to enter your retail access key and make them permanent
For more information on Guild Wars, click here.
Webzen has announced a 2 week delay before the open beta of their MMORPG, Soul of the Ultimate Nation, or SUN. The beta, which was supposed to being on May 2nd, will now begin on May 15th.
Soul of the Ultimate Nation, Reborn on May 15
Addition of a spacious field and Mission Competing System, 2 weeks delay in OB schedule
(2006-04-21) ‘Soul of the Ultimate Nation (SUN)’, the most anticipated game for 2006, will be reborn as a next generation game with the introduction of a powerful Mission Competing System.
Webzen Inc. (CEO Nam Ju Kim, www.webzen.com) announced that the open beta test which was originally planned to commence on May 2, will be pushed back 2 weeks to May 15, with the full-scale introduction of the Mission Competing System.
Accordingly, the 2nd pre-open beta testing date will be adjusted to commence on May 8 to May 12.
Webzen CEO Nam Ju Kim stated, “After the success of MU, as a leading company in this industry, we want to continue to lead the next generation games through SUN. Even taking into consideration all the risks associated with the service delay, we believe that through these new contents, we will be able to satisfy all the SUN users with high anticipation
In the SUN open beta test, not only a spacious field map will be added, but also a new concept of a detailed quest system will be introduced. Also, newly integrating the mission and competition elements as the main composition, the game will provide a ‘survival mode’, which the users will have to compete which other in order to survive, and the ‘time attack’ mode, where the users will hunt as many monsters as possible during a limited time. The users will also be able to enjoy the vivid PvP element, and the ‘ranking system’ which will be provided regularly within the game.
The AC (Area Conquest) System, where the user can receive various benefits depending on the amount of contribution by the user in its corresponding area, is another factor the users will enjoy during the open beta.
Webzen is in the process of testing the open beta version of SUN, and is preparing the marketing promotion strategy for the grand open on May 15.
For more on SUN, click here.
We continue our peeks behind the patron powers with our Ghost Widow Q&A. This is the second in a five part series with Matt Miller, the Lead Designer of City of Heroes/Villains. Today we focus on the specific powers granted by Ghost Widow. In addition to the interview, we also have four images of her powers in action.
| MMORPG.com: First of all, what can you tell our readers about Ghost Widow as a character?
Matt Miller: She’s as mysterious as she is beautiful, and as deadly as she is cunning. She appears to be an actual spirit from beyond the grave as opposed to a Super with incorporeal powers. The rumors are that she was one of the Night Widows when she was slain, and that her thirst for vengeance must have been so great that she elected to serve at Lord Recluse’s side. Yet more rumors persist that this service isn’t exactly voluntary, however.
You can read the Q&A here.
Nathan Knaack's weekly "Outside the Box" column returns today with "Player Created, Operated and Destroyable Content". In this article, he looks at the power of the largest development team available: us.
|It might be surprising to realize this late in the game of the MMORPG industry, but while making the initial sale of the box in the store is important, an online game needs to keep subscribers by continuing to captivate their interest. That is fact A. Next, it’s fairly obvious that a studio of five to fifty developers will never, ever be able to continually satiate an audience of five thousand to five million. There’s the unavoidable fact B. Put them together and what do you get? A successful, long-term MMORPG that hopes to keep the same subscribers (not just the “fresh meat” brought in by releasing the same old game on a new continent) over the course of more than a few months needs more than just the finite content that a handful of designers, artists, and programmers can create. How do you provide enough content for five million players?
How about recruiting five million developers?
You can read his column here.
The makers of FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal, have released their first Developer Blog. This first one focuses on Crafting and is titled "The Best of Both Worlds". As usual, we have provided only a small sample. Follow the link below to read the whole thing.
Crafting: (The Best of both worlds)
The FreeWorld: Apocalypse Portal’s crafting system will be friendly toward hardcore and casual crafters alike. We understand that true crafters need to build things from scratch and we also understand the needs of players that only have a few hours to play here and there. Below I will describe how we plan to deal with both of these issues and more.
Read it all, here.
Ran Online has started the countdown to their 1 year anniversary, which will be coming up in the month of June. Have a look and see what's in store:
The countdown to June 2006 and the actual 1st anniversary of RAN Online have begun. Various exciting countdown events are planned throughout the month of May to invite all RAN players to celebrate it!
To commemorate this milestone occasion, RAN team has lined up a series of events to celebrate 1 year of RAN. Player can try their luck for new launched Fate Boxes at RAN Item Shop.
Please be informed that these special promotions will only sell for 5 days from 24/4/2006 12.00pm (GMT+8 ) until 28/4/2006 12.00pm (GMT+8 )
Stay tuned for more updates! http://www.ranonline.com.my/eng/news/newsdetails.asp?gsection=news&id=3952
Lots of interesting stuff going on over at Runescape. They've put up the newest batch of Readers' Letters, Pure Essence is now craftable on free servers, and they have also given us the Wildreness Graphical Update and some info on that. To read more on Runescape, click here.
We are continuing to improve the graphical look of our older areas of map to bring them up to the same standards as the new areas we've been developing. This week we've updated the graphics throughout the Wilderness, so if you're feeling particularly brave, check out the new lava areas, castles and an extremely fiery volcano.
To help you get around all of this, we've also introduced some new teleportation portals. The portals act as a new way of travelling around the Wilderness, but be careful: Once they're activated, there will be a short pause after which everyone in the immediate area will be transported to another portal, so don't rely on them to get you out of trouble. You may find that trouble follows you through... and you might end up in a higher level of Wilderness!
The ingenious gnomes are continuing to come up with new ways to battle the Khazard troops. Now they've started breeding battle tortoises at the Stronghold. These armoured tanks, mounted by gnomic magi and rangers, are sure to be quite a challenge for General Khazard and his troops. They've already trundled some of them out onto the battlefield south-west of Ardougne.
Adjustments to Pest Control
We've made some adjustments to the Pest Control minigame we released last week.
Firstly, the game has been encountering issues where people turned up at the island with no intentions of helping to win, but just to stand around and get the rewards due to the efforts of their teammates. This is clearly not in the spirit of the game, therefore you now need to have dealt at least 50 points of damage over the course of a game to get a reward.
Secondly, we've put in a level 40 combat requirement to board the lander and play the game. Each player in a game of Pest Control increases the number of monsters in the game. As a lot of the monsters are pretty tough, this meant that it was extremely hard for lower level players to contribute enough to the team effort to make up for the added difficulty their presence had created.
We've also made it so that if more than 25 people board the lander, the people left behind will be given priority in being transported to the island on the next game.
We are planning some more changes, most significantly the ability to spend your Void Knight Commendation points on a greater variety of things than just combat xp. Taking a cue from the popularity of decorative armour from Castlewars, we are planning to make it so that you can earn that cool looking equipment you may have seen the Void Knights wearing.
If you're wondering about the Wilderness Tag minigame we mentioned in the monthly Behind the Scenes announcement, we've put that on hold for the moment. We felt that it could do with adjustments to make it enjoyable enough to meet your high standards.
The people responsible for The Chronicles of Spellborn have announced that they have released the newest edition of the TCoS Newsletter, the 6th in total. If you are interested in subscribing to this newsletter, just make an account and toggle that question to yes.
The 6th TCoS newsletter has been sent out! Among the regular items the newsletter contains a look at player housing and an update from our Lead Programmer.
Because of the large number of subscribers, it might take a while before all copies have been sent out. As always comments are welcome in the forum thread linked below.
For more on TCoS, click here.
Lots of news went up over the weekend at the Dark and Light official website. Amongst the excitement was: Progression Axes in Dark and Light, Ganareth In-Depth #4, Dark and Light Musics, the system of magic and the interactive buildings and An Introduction to Archetypes and Classes:
There are 4 different archetypes. Each of them carries out a primary function, which will then be refined and specialized with the choice of the class. The 4 archetypes are: fighters, healers, mages and hunters. Their roles are very different.
Check out all of the new features, here.
Anarchy Online has released its latest Community Update. This one givens information on game updates, downtimes, and te new alien playfield test:
There will be downtime on the live servers this Monday, April 24th, for maintenance. The downtime will begin at 7am EST/12pm GMT and will last approximately three hours.
The latest update will be applied to the game servers at the same time to resolve some of the issues pet users have experienced in the 16.2 update series.
New Alien Playfield Test
As mentioned in recent updates the new alien playfield is now on the test dimension... however this time out we want to try something a little different.
One thing that the last alien playfields showed was that no amount of closed testing was a good substitute for seeing what happened when we let people loose on the playfields on the live dimensions. We simply find issues that closed testing just isn't always suited to picking up.
With this in mind we are going to be doings some public stress testing on the live dimensions. The content itself will be patched to the live dimensions on Monday with the update, but the playfield will remain closed. Next weekend the playfield will be opened for the public with a character of the relevant level to enter the playfield and participate in the testing for a certain period of time (probably for six to eight hours or so), and we will be watching to observe and see what happens.
We will announce further information next week on the details and you can discuss this testing here on the forums.
For more on AO, click here.
RF Online has announced the winners of their Easter Invasion Competition. You can view all of the results, here. They have also announced that their brand new RF Online magazine, which had previously been out of stock, has been re-supplied:
After a huge influx in orders, the RF Online magazine was temporarily out of stock – but not anymore! We’ve now increased the amount of pre-orders, and all you RF Online fanatics out there can now safely order your copy of the magazine.
For more on RF Online, click here.
NCsoft has announced the games that it will be exhibiting at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. This year also marks the five-year anniversary of the company that has been responsible for the publication of a number of successful MMORPGs. This press release includes two games that do not yet appear on our games list, including a new Sci-Fi title, "Exteel".
AUSTIN, Texas, April 24, 2006—NCsoft® Corporation is celebrating its fifth year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) May 10-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The company, whose North American business was born at the 2001 Expo, will demonstrate the most diverse offering of massively multiplayer online (MMO) game titles and multiplayer products at this year’s show. All products will be shown in booth #1046 in the convention center’s South Hall.
NCsoft Corporation CEO Tack Jin Kim said, “Since we’ve been in business in North America, we’ve launched six major MMO titles and continued to provide massive amounts of free content for our customers. In addition, we’ve expanded our presence globally with service and offices in Europe, China and other territories. This year is special for us because we are able to unveil more multiplayer products for a wider audience. We believe our commitment to the online game space has been established; our offering at this year’s E3 shows we’re taking our commitment a step further.”
NCsoft products to be featured at E3 are:
Tabula Rasa™—Combining the action of a shooter game, the immersion of a role-playing game, and Richard Garriott’s signature creative vision, Tabula Rasa takes the player on an intergalactic adventure where the individual has an opportunity to significantly impact the pace of battle on a global scale.
Aion™—From the creative minds at NCsoft’s Seoul development studios, this next entry into the MMO game space promises to amaze with its stunning visuals and gameplay that offers unprecedented freedom of movement to player characters.
Anticipating an initial release in Korea and other parts of Asia, Aion will provide a glimpse at what NCsoft has in store for its next epic MMO experience.
Dungeon Runners™—The days of the dull, downloadable role-playing game are finally over. NCsoft’s Dungeon Runners is for those who love to get in the action fast, without the burden of large install processes or monetary investment. This is a true dungeon crawler’s dream.
Exteel™— Anticipating a launch in North America later this year, Exteel is a new PC title that will appeal to console gamers interested in expanding their gaming experience to the online world, and to those who enjoy the look and feel of streamlined robots with agile movement and elegant fight animations.
Guild Wars Factions™— From ArenaNet comes Guild Wars Factions. the follow up to one of 2005’s most acclaimed games. Factions™ continues the tradition of redefining the RPG experience–an expansive world, challenging missions, large scale battles, innovative technology-and still without a subscription fee!
Auto Assault®—Developed by NetDevil®, LTD. and commercially launched on April 13, 2006, Auto Assault delivers high-speed vehicular combat and spectacularly destructible environments. Dubbed the fastest, most destructive MMO ever, this title is for those to crave fast action in their role-playing games.
In addition to viewing all these top-notch titles and speaking with the developers, visitors to the booth will see the high-energy performance art and percussion beat of The Mutaytor (http://www.mutaytor.com) playing the music of Tabula Rasa, in scheduled performances throughout the three-day show. There will also be performances by Chris Vrenna, of Nine Inch Nails fame, and Clint Walsh, composers of the Tabula Rasa soundtrack. Also, throughout each day the Guild Wars® and Auto Assault teams will present player-versus-player demonstrations showcased on a giant video wall display.
The Legend of Ares has revised the times for the beginning of their closed beta on April 24th. The original time of 10am (PST) has been scrapped and the time will now be updated on their official website as tomorrow progresses:
We are sorry to announce that the opening time of our first Closed Beta will be changed.
We will be moving back the release time on April 24th from 10:00am to an undisclosed time in the afternoon.
We will be updating the status of the release throughout the day on our website and we ask our users to be patient. This change in time only applies to the first day and the rest of the Closed Beta will proceed as planned. (10:00am-10:00pm Pacific Standard Time)
We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are continually working hard to make the game better for our players.
For more on The Legend of Ares, click here.
In preparation for the launch of their closed beta on 4/24, the people at The Legend of Ares have released three screenshots of the village that players will encounter as they start their adventures. Below are three screenshots of "Clusher in Etana".
For more on The Legend of Ares, click here.