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World of Warcraft : Joe's World - Waiting for the Lich King

Posted Dec 12, 2007 by Jon Wood

In Joe Iuliani's World of Warcraft column this week, he discusses the feeling of futility that he is feeling in waiting for the new WoW expansion, and offers some suggestions to players of things to do in the meantime.

There is no doubt that WoW will always be looked at as one of the defining MMOs to ever hit the gaming world. Love it or hate it, there is no denying its impact on both computer games, and main stream culture. As great as a game WoW has been, I can’t help but think “Now what?”

With the announcement of Wrath of Lich King expansion the game feels like it has come to a bit of a stand still. In my opinion the announcement came far too soon. I understand it was Blizzcon, and Blizzard wanted to make a splash, but I do think it was a bit unfair to the players.

Expansion announcements always have a way of slowing the drive of many game players. It’s hard to motivate yourself to work toward items that will be rendered obsolete by future quest items and random drops. This was made evident when the Burning Crusade expansion was announced. Game advancement came to a halt. Remember Naxx? Count yourself lucky if you do. How many folks even stepped foot there, let alone progressed through it. Both The Black Temple and Hyjal Summit face the same danger as Naxxamaras, two great well thought out and designed instances that most players will never see.

Read the whole thing here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Dev Journal Feedback Response

Posted Dec 12, 2007 by Jon Wood

Flying Lab Software's Rick Saada takes the time to respond to some of the feedback that the team has received here on our MMORPG.com forums. Remember, sometimes, the devs are listening!

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading the feedback from beta users posting here on MMORPG now that the NDA has been lifted, and after some discussion with Kevin (Isildur) Maginn, our Lead Designer, I’d like to take a few moments to address some of the common concerns that have been raised in these posts. A lot of it is good feedback for us to hear (and has been echoed in the beta forums as well), so I’d like to call out a few of the issues and either explain why it’s that way (if it’s not going to change) or how we’re going to address it.

The first and most frequent comment has been about our use of instancing. As many posters have noticed, we do a lot of it. More in fact than we’d like, but much of it is for good reason. The underlying reason for most of our instancing is that a continuous world doesn’t work well for a ship based game set in an even remotely realistically scaled Caribbean. We started out, several years ago, trying to do just that. We had realistic speeds, realistic distances between islands, realistic island sizes, etc. It was *horrible*. Taking 45 minutes to an hour to sail between even nearby islands was excruciatingly dull. There’s a lot of empty water out there, and crossing it in real time was work, not a game. On the flip side, if we made the sailing time for movement between islands reasonable, the combat portion of the game became maniacally fast and arcade like, not at all the strategic and tactical battle we were trying to build. The answer, then, was to use two different timescales. On the sailing map where you move between islands, the travel speeds are unrealistically quick, the geography is more iconic than realistic, and the view is more bird’s eye than crow’s nest. When a battle needs to be fought, we drop you in to an instance where you can fight it out at normal speed, with more detailed terrain if you’re near land, and at a view that is close in to your ship for excitement.

Read the whole journal here.

Dungeon Runners : Chunk #2 Launches

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Chunk #2, the latest update for Dungeon Runners launched yesterday, bringing in-game advertising and a pile of other options for non-paying players.

Here are the patch notes for Chunk #2 (Build 99):

In-game Advertising
We’ve added in-game advertising to this build of Dungeon Runners. These ads are only visible to free players and they add a whole host of new functionality for our non-paying guests:

Bank Space
Free players now have one bank page available to them. Paying members now have three bank pages.

Stacking Potions
Minor mana and health potions now stack to 5, giving free players more room to hold loot. Major potions now stack to 10, making them twice as good as the free player potions!

Improved Loot Access
Free players may now use what was previously members-only loot. Of course, there has to be a catch… or else why would members be members? This is how it works: 75% of yellow items that drop may be used by free players and 25% of purple or rainbow items that drop may be used by free players. You’ll know if an item can be used because it won’t have “Requires Membership” in the tooltip. All items received from King’s Coin vendors are usable by free players – but are, of course, soulbound on delivery.

Secure Trade
We’ve added secure trade to Dungeon Runners, by popular demand. This new feature allows you to easily trade items with other players through a simple interface. You may not trade gold, however, only items!!!

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Angmar to get Upgrade

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with a developer journal detailing how they plan to improve the land of Angmar, and they're not just killing off boars.

The yellow sun slipped beneath the rim of the encircling hills, and the land was shrouded in shadow. In the dim half-light, two figures could be seen, walking north along a dusty road. They made no attempt at stealth. The pair could be seen for miles in every direction, but if this troubled either of them, they made no sign.

Amlug: If this is another boar quest....

MadeOfLions: It won't be. Angmar was the realm of the Witch-king, and that means Evil.

Amlug: You're right. I'm probably worrying for nothing.

MadeOfLions: Probably!

As our intrepid heroes arrived at the crest of the hill, a warm and fetid wind blew out of the east, from the great swamp of Malenhad. Amlug scowled, but not at the swamp-odor.

Amlug (pointing at a charging boar): Doesn't he know where he is? If there's one place that we shouldn't be fighting boars, it's the Land of Angmar!

After a flurry of blows, MadeOfLions squinted down at the corpse of the porcine beast, and absentmindedly kicked the dust from one of his boots.

MadeOfLions: Well at least it was an evil boar...

Amlug: That's just not good enough! And it's not just the boars, either. Angmar is entirely too much "wild kingdom" for its own good. I think that there should be much less in the way of livestock and much more in the way of evildoers. Do you remember what we're supposed to be doing?

Read more here.

D&D Online : The Festival of the Twelfth Moon

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine has announced The Festival of the Twelfth Moon, Dungeons and Dragons Online's holiday themed event.

Tonight, the Coin Lords will fly high overhead, scattering Festival Coins across Stormreach and Xen'drik to celebrate Festival so that tomorrow, all the good Adventurers can start collecting them!

The Festival of the Twelfth Moon is a holiday commissioned by the Coin Lords of Stormreach. Since ancient times, the folk of Eberron have observed Long Shadows during these chill weeks -- a grim season when the power of the Shadow, god of the Dark Six, is at its strongest. Dire magic gathers in dusky corners, and evil stalks the night in a thousand guises. The Coin Lords have determined that the terror of Long Shadows must end! To this end, they devised the festival as a celebration to drive evil out of the city. Instead of cowering from the Shadow, citizens are encouraged to exchange gifts with their adventuring partners and loved ones. And by slaying the monsters who threaten the city's well-being, they may collect Festival Coins to demonstrate their dauntless spirit in the face of Long Shadows and the Dark Six!

Read more here.

Guild Wars : 2008 RAWR Cup Title Series

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The most recent State of the game article on the Guild Wars official site introduces the 2008 RAWR Cup Title Series, a new tournament series sponsored by a third party,

Up until now, the major international PvP competitions in Guild Wars were all sponsored by ArenaNet, while smaller, mostly regional competitions were for the most part player-run and sponsored. ArenaNet began with the Guild Wars World Championship and the Guild Wars Factions Championship, and eventually switched over to the automated Guild Wars $100,000 Tournament Series to make competing in tournaments more accessible and distribute prizes to more players.

While the monthly automated tournaments (ATs) in this latter series do allow more guilds to compete, the actual number that regularly participate remains relatively small, due in part to the guild membership requirements and the qualifying process for monthly ATs.

This month though, things have changed, possibly ushering in a new era for Guild Wars tournament play. On December 1, Rebel Rising [rawr], in conjunction with GuildCafe, kicked off the 2008 RAWR Cup Title Series. The inaugural tournament of the RAWR Cup ran much like the monthly ATs, with ArenaNet essentially adapting the AT system to accommodate and automate the RAWR Cup.

Similar to the monthly ATs, the RAWR Cup offered significant real world prizes to the winners. These included Acer 22" widescreen LCD monitors, Logitech G9 Laser Gaming Mice, and special edition Rawr Cup t-shirts. RAWR Cup matches were made available on Observer Mode, and tournament reward points were awarded.

Read more here.

Fury : Free Fury

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Auran Games has announced that Fury will be introducing a new free to play free to download business model with the launch of Age of the Chosen, their first free expansion.

Cockpit, Austin, TX - December 10, 2007 – Gamecock Media Group and Auran Games today announced a new Free to Download, Free to Play option for their fast paced arena combat game FURY. The new business model will begin with the release of the first major free content update “Age of the Chosen” on December 14, 2007.

“FURY was built around giving players options that suit their play style and their wallet,” said Tony Hilliam, CEO of Auran. “With the AotC update, we are introducing a new player category called “Chosen”. As one of the Chosen, players can access all game types, equip all weapons and unlock all 400 abilities – and they can play as much as they like absolutely free. This is a fantastic opportunity for players to jump into battle with their mates and discover the frenetic pace of the fastest RPG combat ever. Chosen will earn less gold and essence, and will not be able to trade with other players.”

“Chosen players can purchase game gold from the FURY store or upgrade to “Hero” status to earn more Essence and Gold. Retail stores sell the “Hero” status pack, along with a free month of “Immortal” status, so this is $30 value for the new price of $19.99 (in US stores). As a Hero or Immortal players can unlock abilities faster and purchase better gear, but the matchmaker then ensures they are playing against other players of similar skill and rank.”

FURY: Age of the Chosen is a massive free content update that introduces two new game types aimed at the new player. “Carnage” throws two teams into battle with the aim of returning blood tokens to their base faster than their opposition. Blood tokens are gained from killing bots, not other players, so the action is indirect competition rather than head to head. The 1v1 Elimination game type means games will spawn faster and matches are more evenly balanced.

Read more here.

Star Trek Online (Perpetual) : Kohnke Sues Perpetual

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Kohnke Communications, a public relations firm which represents a number of MMO developers, is suing Perpetual Entertainment for breach of contract, several counts of fraud, and transferring assets, including Star Trek Online, to a new company before liquidating their assets.  The suit also claims that Gods and Heroes was canceled so that PE could avoid payments owed to Kohnke on the game's launch. Ten Ton Hammer has obtained court documents, and has further details on this story.

December 11, 2007 - Details surrounding Perpetual Entertainment's dealings subsequent to the cancellation of Gods & Heroes are coming to light as Ten Ton Hammer uncovered court documents of a new complaint just submitted to California's Superior Court last week. The allegation: the San Francisco-based developer fraudulently transferred valuable assets (like the Star Trek Online license) to an insider-owned corporation at a loss, leaving those with a financial stake in the now-defunct MMORPG Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising without hope of payment save legal recourse.

According to documents received last Friday in California's Superior Court for the County of San Francisco, public relations firm Kohnke Communications, Inc. – best known for promoting the efforts of numerous MMORPG developers like EA Mythic, Red 5, Turbine, and NetDevil – is suing Perpetual Entertainment, Inc. for breach of contract, fraudulent transfer, fraud, and various other charges for damages between $80,000 and $290,000, perhaps much more in terms of punitive or exemplary damages.

The complaints stem from allegations that Perpetual sold valuable assets like the Star Trek Online (STO) license to P2 Entertainment, Inc., a thinly veiled yet separate corporate entity, before executing the Perpetual ABC or "Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors" (a liquidation mechanism allowed by states like California as a less expensive alternative to the extensive litigation surrounding bankruptcy). The case could have drastic implications for future of the pre-alpha Star Trek Online title.

Read the full story on Ten Ton Hammer.

Zu Online : Scene Preview

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released an overview of several new locations that have been added to Zu Online.

If a player has taken part in the Zu Online Alpha Test before then they should be pleasantly surprised by the new elements added to the Open Beta Test. If they enjoyed playing in the variety of situations and killing the bosses then the following content is a must for them to read.

Eight fantastic new sites have been added for the Open Beta Test and the Zu Team is giving you a little preview of these magical and mysterious places.

Amusement Park

In the Amusement Park is a calm bamboo forest, a beautiful graceful lotus pond, a very unique pavilion and a majestic waterfall. The player may be awestruck at just how special the scenery is, upon their first visit. This place can be reached via the Wine Immortal in Holy City or in Desert City, once the player has reached level 45+

Little Sky

It has been said that the Boulder Immortal sealed up the Seven Northern Immortals in the Little Sky. The way there is a twisting cloud path that winds through a silent bamboo forest and Starfalling Cliff.

Hexad Region

The imposing Telepath Palace is the very centre of the Hexad Region. Around it are placed six pavilions, hence the name. The player may travel to Wu, Tai or Xun to chat with other players from the different factions via the Telepath Palace.

Closing Read more here.

Angels Online : CLosed Beta Ends, Characters Saved

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced the end of the Angels Online closed beta, and that character information from the CBT, including levels and items, will not be deleted.

During the Angels Online Closed Beta Test, we were pleasantly surprised by players' enthusiasm. With players' support, the Closed Beta Test is going smoothly, and will end at 8:00 pm EST on Dec 10th 2007. Because of our players' strong support, we have decided that players' character information including levels and items will be permanently kept.

 

The Angels Online Open Beta Test will start at 10:00 pm on Dec 10. On that day, players need to download the update patch. http://ao.igg.com/download/downloadpatch.php.

Read more here.

Lineage 2 : 1st Throne Launches Tomorrow

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lineage II: The 1st Throne is set to launch tomorrow and the L2 official site has details about the scheduled downtime.

The wait is almost over! We're pleased to announce that the Lineage II: The 1st Throne update will be going live on Wednesday, December 12. The current estimated maintenance period for the launch of The 1st Throne is 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Central Time (3:00 PM to 11:00 PM GMT +1) on Wednesday, December 12. Event Gatekeepers will be back in the towns of Aden and Elmore to celebrate the launch.

During the server downtime for the launch of The 1st Throne, your character(s) will be moved to the nearest village. Also, the replays you created in Interlude will not be compatible with The 1st Throne, and can only be viewed in the Interlude game client. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

More details about downloading The 1st Throne will be available on launch day, so stay tuned!

Read more here.

EverQuest II : All Around Norrath - Devs

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

Adele Caelia continues her All Around Norrath column today, this time asking players what they think of the development team behind the game.

The Everquest II developers are constantly taking a verbal beating, and quite often posts are tossed up in the forums stating the neglect by the developers, and their inability to listen to the community is always true. I have to ask myself if this is the consensus among the general population, or is it a small few that love to plague the forums and chat channels with their opinions?

Personally, I have had a very good experience with the Everquest II development team. Those that I have spoken with are normal people the same as you and me. They are not some type of game god hidden behind a world of pixels waiting to ruin our lives every chance they get. They do not cackle in glee each time they see a post from an unhappy player. The developers are hard workers who put their heart into what they do, and quite honestly they want us to enjoy the game, and enjoy their work as most artists do.

Read the whole article here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Developer Journal - Wrap-Up

Posted Dec 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

For the last four weeks, we have presented a developer journal from Hermann Peterscheck, the Producer of NetDevil's Jumpgate Evolution. In this final installment, Peterscheck talk about creating a space action game.

One of the things that I like about NetDevil in general and Jumpgate Evolution in particular is that we actually are trying to make different kinds of MMOs. This sounds a bit strange as the last three articles have focused quite a bit on how to appeal to the masses, how to be accessible for everyone, how learning from experts and avoiding senseless innovation is a good idea and things like that. I wanted to wrap up these series of logs by talking a bit about the magic that happens in game development. I love that we work on games that are both in theme and genre somewhat risky.

 Making a space combat MMO is a bit of a risky proposition. Action MMOs have had mixed success rates. Space MMOs have a checkered past with some hits and some misses. So far fantasy games dominate the market and every other genre is fighting over a seemingly smaller pool of players. All of that being said the question beckons: Why in the world would we make a space MMO? At some point the creation process is irrational… and it is irrationality and risk that drives creative industries forward. Just think; it is largely the same people that made BioShock and System Shock. I would argue that both of those are also “risky” games and of high quality; yet one was a much bigger success than the other. I guess the point is that even if you are dedicated to quality and do all the right things there is no way to guarantee commercial success. There are things you can do to mitigate the risk but at the end of the day we have chosen a risky industry and we must live and die by that decision.

Read the whole article here.

Myth War : Holiday GM Events

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has published information about upcoming GM run holiday events that will be held in Myth War.

Guess how many pets are following

As we all know, the events between players and GMs during the anniversary of Myth War are very popular. It shows the good relationship between the players and GMs. Would you like to participate in more special events and win more awards? Is the answer really yes? Good, please join us in this event.

Time: The event will commence at 4:00 PM Server Time on December 15th

Location: All servers

Rewards: One First Prize: One Evil Egg from Item Mall

Four Honorable Mentioned: 4 reset gems (Intellect Gem, Strength Gem, Stamina Gem and Agility Gem) for each one in every server.

Contents: GM will inform the event commences at 4:00 PM Server Time, July December 15th in system channel. The event contains 6 rounds, of which the first 5 rounds are qualifying heats. The GM will announce the contest content of the first to the fifth round in the world channel. Then those interested can join in the contest according to the instructions of the system prompt. One winner per each round will be able to go to the 6th and final round. In the finals the GM will teleport these five qualifiers to a secluded site. Then these five players can guess how many following pets have been shown by the two GMs. Each qualifier can guess only once each round. If all qualifiers are wrong, the GMs will reset the following pets again and then the players can guess again till someone figures out the correct answer. The final winner will be rewarded with One Evil Egg from Item Mall, and each one of other 4 participants will receive 4 reset gems (Intellect Gem, Strength Gem, Stamina Gem and Agility Gem) as awards.

Read more here.

General : FOX Reports on MMO Social Dangers

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

FOX News offers up a heaping helping of anecdotal evidence to remind us all why we should be afraid of our friends while playing games online.

Massively multiplayer online games — or MMOGs, as they're called — can foster more vulnerability than there might be on other virtual meeting spaces such as dating and social networking sites, where participants are inclined to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior from the start.

"When you're in a social situation like that — playing a game, having fun — you're comfortable with the people you're playing with," said cyber-stalking victim Jayne Hitchcock, president of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA). "People are just not very careful. They lose all sense of reality and themselves."

Such conditions can lead participants to be more trusting of each other and less cautious. Players tend to be focused not on meeting each other, finding a love connection or promoting themselves, but on getting through the game, working as a team and concocting strategies to win. The pressure to make a good impression and project a certain persona is off.

Read more here.

General : Spotlight: PvP in MMOs: What Gamers Want

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week in her MMORPG.com Community Forum Spotlight column, Community Manager Laura Genender discusses a user blog involving PvP and what kinds of experiences players are looking for.

High end content in MMOs is basically restricted to one of two paths: raids, which require players to work together against large events or creatures; or PvP, which allows players to generate their own high-end challenges against each other. For our community, at the very least, it is the latter which seems to be catching the most attention.

Perhaps that’s no big surprise; after all, two of the big upcoming giants – Age of Conan and Warhammer Online – are mostly centered around PvP. Current popular games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars offer plenty of PvP, too. But for user T0nyd, this isn’t enough.

In a blog entry titled “PVP MMORPGs, are they real?” T0nyd outlines the features he believes are key in any MMO PVP experience:

Read it all here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.

Q. From the 1.91 notes: "- Left-clicking on a keep or tower will now properly display the name and upgrade level of the structure."

Left clicking where? On the structure? On the map? I have not seen any info other than a color when clicking the structure. When clicking the map, I see the guild if claimed. I have not seen any upgrade levels.

A. The information shows up when you click the actual structure. It's printed in your chat window, in the 'system' channel.

Q. Does the Salamander Tooth Choker still drop from the Anathemic Salamander in Volcanus? No one seems to have it on their CMs and many people haven't heard about it. Please let me know so I don't waste time trying to farm energies to get it if it has been removed from the loot tables.

A. The Bearded Wonder has this one: Yes it is still a drop from the Anathemic Salamander. However, it is only a Midgard drop.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Have a Happy Life Day

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Wookiee holiday of Life Day has come to Star Wars Galaxies once again, and all of the details have been posted on the Star Wars Galaxies official site.

The Life Day celebration begins December 12! Traditionally observed on the Wookiee home world Kashyyyk, Life Day is a time to reflect on the renewal of life and to remember those who have passed on.

This year, under the watchful eye of the Empire, Wookiee elders have granted Queen Kylantha and the city of Theed a Tree of Life as a gesture of goodwill. The time-honored Wroshyr Tree can also be found in Kachirho, Kashyyk. Under the branches you will find festivities to truly celebrate this joyful season.

What is Wookiee Life Day?

One of the most important Wookiee customs is Life Day. On this day, extended Wookiee families gather and celebrate a day of joy and harmony as promised by the Tree of Life.

Wookiees will often brave adverse conditions to make it home for this holiday as it is an important time for family bonding and thankfulness. Even the Imperial blockade that is stationed around their enslaved home world can not keep Wookiees from recognizing this most important day.

Read more here.

Vanguard : The Festival of Glorian

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced details of the Festival of Glorian, the holiday themed event in Vanguard Saga of Heroes.

Towns and cities alike within the world of Telon are heartily preparing for the Festival of Glorian! Once a year during the wintery months, the tale of Atnas Claws and his spirit of giving imbue the cities with an aura of goodness. Towering trees adorned with lights can be seen glittering within the cities of Telon.

Be on the look out for an abundance of gifts and goodies! Those who have been extra nice may find their treats granting them something extra special!

Take a tour over the rooftops of Telon while riding on Randolph, the flying reindeer.

You too, can help spread the spirit of Glorian by decorating your own house or Guild Hall with numerous festive items, from neatly wrapped gifts to smiley faced snowman. We're not giving it all away, of course. Sometimes the best gift you can give is one of surprise! So make sure to log into game next week, gather your gifts and continue to spread the spirit of Glorian throughout Telon!

Read more here.

EverQuest II : LoN Loot Cards Revealed

Posted Dec 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

The new loot cards for Forsworn, the upcoming Legends of Norrath expansion have been announced in anticipation of the expansion's launch on December 19th.

New Legends of Norrath Expansion Coming Soon – Loot Cards Announced!

Attention all EverQuest® and EverQuest® II players! Since the launch of Legends of Norrath™ Oathbound, you have had the opportunity to challenge friends from across the EverQuest community to exciting duels and participate in challenging tournaments with some fantastic rewards.

On December 19th, Legends of Norrath Forsworn will be released offering new cards, challenges, and opportunities to defeat your enemies in our popular online Online Strategy Game! What could possibly make new cards and challenges more exciting for EQ and EQII players? New loot cards!

Players of EverQuest and EverQuest II will have the chance to find one of forty-four new loot cards in the Forsworn booster packs! That’s right, there are twenty-two new loot cards coming to EQ and EQII each with the launch of Forsworn and, today we are giving everyone a first glimpse at the new cards!

Read more here.

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