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Tabula Rasa : Caves of Donn Mission Briefing Video

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Ben Krueger

 NCsoft has released this video briefing introducing the Caves of Donn to players.

Video Interview 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 : New Screenshots

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

Seven new images depecting the Caves of Donn in Tabula Rasa have been added to our Tabula Rasa screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

Tabula Rasa : Non-Exclusive Dev Diary: Caves of Donn

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

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.

EverQuest II : RoK: Creature Feature, Part One of Two

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Jon Wood

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.

MMORPG.com:

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.

General : Forum Spotlight: Something for Everyone?

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender looks at the idea of trying to please everyone in MMO design as she examines a forum thread on the subject.

MMORPGs are unique from other videogames; not only can you interact with thousands of other concurrent users, but the MMO is a persistent world that keeps going even when you’re gone. There’s no pause button, no save or load, and when you take a week off everything might have changed without you knowing it.

With so many players and persistent environments, you’d think MMORPGs would be the perfect immersive virtual words – yet user Ramzeppelin accuses the modern MMO of being quite the opposite. “The key is immersion,” he claims, and he wonders why there isn’t more of it in worlds with so much potential. “MMOs used to be about living inside another world, now they are huge battlegrounds. They bore us because we are taking months and months of repetition to simply fight.”

As a solution, Ramzeppelin talks about the possibility of adding more professions to games. “Where is farming? Crops growing and bug killing? Seasons etc?” He asks. “There should be nearly endless non-essential jobs to make the world we live in feel real. Instead we have endless battlegrounds that take way too long to get across because there is so little to do but fight. By giving players the power to effect the world with a ton of jobs players interact more, and working hard in your field brings money in.”

Read it all here.

Silkroad Online : Official Game of Game & Game WC

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

Joymax has announced that Silkroad Online has been chosen as an official game of the 2007 Game & Game World Championship.

SAN JOSE, CA - October 18, 2007 - Joymax, an independent developer of interactive entertainment for the global market, announced today that Silkroad Online, the company's flagship massively multiplayer online role-playing game in the U.S., will be an official game of the Game & Game World Championship (GNGWC) in 2007. GNGWC is an international competition sponsored by Korean Software Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA), an organization dedicated to offering the best online Korean games worldwide on its website, located at www.gamengame.com. Silkroad Online is one of six games featured at the event this year.

Online preliminary rounds for GNGWC began in July with regional finals continuing in Germany, Vietnam, North America, and Japan. The North American qualifying round will be held on October 20, 2007 at the Cyberia Internet Café, 1451 W. Artesia Blvd. #3, in Gardena, California. Finalists will compete for cash and prizes on December 1st at the SoftExpo & Digital Content Fair 2007 in Seoul, Korea. More information about GNGWC is available at www.gngwc.com.

Read more about Silkroad Online here.

Granado Espada Online : New Items

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

K2 Network has announced that they have added over 30 new items to the Sword of the New World: Granado Espada cash shop.

IRVINE, Calif. – (October 18, 2007) – K2 Network, Inc. (www.k2network.net), an online game publisher, today announced the expansion of the cash shop within its epic Age of Exploration MMORPG Sword of the New World: Granado Espada.

The more than 30 new and exciting items that have been added to the cash shop for gamers to buy will allows players to personalize and enhance their gaming experience while playing the World’s Greatest Free2Play™ MMORPG: SWORD OF THE NEW WORLD™: GRANADO ESPADA.

On offer will be a plethora of must-have items including:

School Costumes

A unique costume that changes your character's appearance overriding any armor that your character may be wearing. School costumes apply to all base classes.

The Memoir (Veteran)

A book that will restore stat points used after reaching Veteran Status, In Sword of the New World one stat point can mean the difference between life and death, so don’t waste time with a stat point in the wrong spot.

Triumph Fillers

Acquiring these will increase attack and defense ratings for 10 minutes and with the addition of this item ALL players will gain the ability to complete Irawain's quest line and obtain his UPC card. Irawain is a UPC from the Far East who specializes in the Mui Thai fighting style. He is a powerful ally to have in the dangerous new world.

Forgotten Dungeons

The wide selection of items from the expanded cash shop vary from changing appearance, to gameplay updates like the new Forgotten dungeons which lets players access new premium-only dungeons where they can fight stronger monsters with better loot!

Wings

Give your characters that epic look and feel everyone desires! While wings won’t actually let you fly, they are the perfect way to make your characters shine!

Combat Manuals

Increase the amount of experience your character receives from killing monsters. These Manuals come in multiple bonus experience levels and last anywhere from 15 to 30 days. Hardcore gamers and Casual players alike will find these manuals a useful tool to advance their characters.

Strategy Manuals

Increase the amount of experience your character gains from using their stances and skills. With several levels of Strategy Manuals available players will be able to cut the amount of time to max out their stances and skills in half. These manuals will last anywhere from 15 to 30 days.

Read more about Sword of the New World here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Wolf-men of Middle Earth

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with another look at some of the foes that populate Middle Earth. This time around it's the Gauredain, the Wolf-men.

Wild men have dwelt in the North of Middle-earth since the Elder Days, troubling even the ancestors of the Dúnedain in times long forgotten. When Elendil and his sons came to Eriador after the fall of Númenor, they found these lands occupied by these Men of Darkness, and warred with them when they founded their kingdom of Arnor upon the shores of Lake Evendim.

The wild men withdrew from the might of Arnor, but they were not vanquished. In time, they came back to power: the Hill-men wrested control of the kingdom of Rhudaur, while in the west, in lands emptied by the abandonment of Annúminas, another clan took control. These were the Gauredain, the Wolf-men, and they remain blood enemies of the Dúnedain to this day.

The Gauredain, followers of the Witch-king of Angmar during his war against Arnor, have an ancient affinity for the Wolves of the North. They emulate these vicious beasts, wearing wolf-hides and going about on all fours when entering battle. These savage men use their fearsome behavior to terrify their prey, though even more terrifying is the rumor that they eat flesh . . . any flesh.

Read more about The Gauredain here.

General : Wonderland Online Announced

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

 

IGG has announced that they have added another MMO to their ever expanding roster of MMOs.  Wonderland Online is a 2d MMO based on South American and Pacific Island cultures, where players begin their adventuring careers as a survivor of a shipwreck.

IGG is featuring some new content, with a new MMORPG called Wonderland Online being launched.

Wonderland Online, which prides itself on its creative storylines and cute characters, is set to take the industry by storm. When you play the game for the first time, you will realize it’s a very cute game, you can ride on mushrooms, a monkey or your helpers, and the appearance of monsters in game are very cute, with some looking like mushrooms, pudding and so on.

This MMORPG allows players to play the game at their own pace, whether it be a few hours here and there or entire weeks at a time. The quest system also provides an enormous variety of captivating mini-stories with interesting story elements, dynamic events, and flexible reward systems. Strong visual appeal and responsive, smooth player controls are the special features of Wonderland Online.

The official first-look website for Wonderland Online has been launched. Please keep an eye on IGG official news for information and release announcements.

Read more about Wonderland Online here.

Myth War : Halloween Events

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be holding a number of in-game activities in celebration of Halloween.

Halloween is approaching like a creeping ghost in a dark room! Here at Myth War, the Halloween Celebration is also coming! This time with an interesting mission to entertain you---"MW World Ghosts Cleanup" is waiting for your participation!

MW World Ghosts Cleanup

Background:

Recently, some vicious insects from the Darkness of Space have secretly entered MW World and are hiding in all the filthy corners of all the world. They are mosquitoes, centipedes, spiders and roaches. Their arrival has caused the spread of terrible plagues and diseases which are now becoming a huge threat to the people of MW World! Feel a cough coming on? In order to get rid of these unwelcome intruders, the elders in Woodlingor are calling up all brave warriors to search and fight against them. Players must first go to Desert City (265.344), buy an Enchanted Whisker from the Broom Lord, then find the insects and dispose of them. At the same time, players may find poor harmless Furby Worms. If players can help it, they will be given more rewards.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Dev Log: Capturing Ports

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a dev log detailing just what it takes to conquer a port in PotBS.

The fight to control a port has evolved since the early days of the design. In this devlog, I’ll briefly outline the final battle mechanics and take a look at the first four final battle maps that will be available.

Final Battle: Mechanics

There are two ways for an attacker to capture a port. First, they can defeat all the defending ships. When there are no defenders left, the port is lost. Second, they can assault the port itself, landing and attacking in hand-to-hand combat.

On the maps that follow, the port is a green dot labeled ‘P’. Near every port is a gun emplacement that will fire on any attackers that come near. If the emplacement is active, the port is locked to both attackers and defenders. As soon as the emplacement is destroyed, a timer begins; 30 minutes after its destruction, both sides can enter the port and fight for control of it.

Read the full article here.

Guild Wars : Bonus Mission Pack Interview

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack design lead Colin Johanson answers questions about this new four mission collection that allows characters to experience historic events from each Guild Wars game and expansion.

1. What is the Guild Wars Bonus Mission Pack? How many levels does it include? How does it fit within the Guild Wars universe?

The Bonus Mission Pack is a four mission collection we're giving away as a thank you to players who've spent at least $29 (€26/£17) or purchased Guild Wars: Eye of the North during our in-game store and PlayNC promotion (note: this promotion ends October 31, 2007). In it, players relive four great moments in Guild Wars history by playing iconic characters during the events that turned them into legends.

The mission pack provides four solo "story" missions. Each story is tied to one of our Guild Wars games. The original Guild Wars story tells the tale of how Saul D'Alessio and the White Mantle drove the invading Charr army from Kryta with the help of their unseen gods, the Mursaat. In the Guild Wars Factions story, we see a young Togo fight betrayal to bring an end to the Tengu Wars. The Guild Wars Nightfall adventure puts the player in the role of Turai Ossa at the Battle of Jahai, where the leaders of the two greatest armies in Elonian history squared off in a battle to the death. Lastly, players will experience Gwen's escape from her Charr captors and initiate her first meeting with the Ebon Vanguard from Guild Wars: Eye of the North.

Read the full interview here.

RF Online : RF Online Goes Free to Play

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

Codemasters Online has announced that RF Online has gone free to play with the re-launch of the game and the new free expansion Episode II: Pioneers of Novus.

Codemasters Online is pleased to announce that RF Online is now a completely free-to-play MMORPG with the full game now available for download with no monthly subscription required.

RF Online is an epic mix of traditional fantasy and futuristic Sci-Fi set in the deep space galaxy of Novus where three races compete in an ultimate struggle for power and resource. Celebrating the games re-launch, new players can now also experience the all-new free expansion, Episode II: Pioneers of Novus available for free to all players of the game.

To download RF Online and get started in the world of Novus, please visit our Free to Play page here!

Read more here.

Twelve Sky : Open Beta Announced

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

Aeria Games has announced the beginning of the open beta for their oriental style, martial arts based MMO, Twelve Sky.

North American game publisher Aeria Games has announced the open beta release of the Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMORPG) Twelve Sky.

Twelve Sky is an oriental style, martial arts based Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). Located in ancient China, Twelve Sky puts players in the middle of an age old conflict between three warring factions. Featuring realistic martial arts weapons and moves, plus a robust RVR system, Twelve Sky is by far one of the best Free-to-Play PVP-based MMORPG games released to date.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : EverQuest2.com Re-Launch

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that they have re-launched EverQuest2.com with new features and content, in advance of the release of the Rise of Kunark expansion.

Just in time for the Rise of Kunark pre-order and expansion, EverQuest2.com has been relaunched with new content and features! Check out the website to get a look at some cool new artwork for RoK and a host of new information for prospective players. New and old EQII players will all find news and information about the game, the trial, our latest update, and more! The changes you will find at EverQuest2.com are just the beginning of a series of changes that will add more information about the game for all players and people looking to learn more about the game.

Check out the new site at www.everquest2.com.

Spellborn : Dev Journal: Heroes and Villains

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Chronicles of Spellborn official site has been updated with another edition of their Game Design Dev Journal. The focus this week is on heroes and villains.

Where would a post-apocalyptic fantasy world be without its share of Heroes and Villains? Well I reckon it would probably exist, but that world would be either filled with fluffy little bunny creatures gallivanting through stretch after stretch of meadow filled with white flowers or it would be a rather dull place where nothing happens. Come to think of it, those two are identical!

In this Development Diary I'd like to pick out a few Heroes and a few Villains and tell you a little something about them. Let me stress the word little, because well, we do want to leave it up to you to find out more about the history of these people, creatures or entities. For some I had to really hold my tongue even though I so anxiously wanted to tell you more.. but I can't.. I simply can't.

To quote a known Veridan historian, "How does one tell the tale of a thousand Heroes?" and well, to be honest, I have no idea! So, I just closed my eyes and whirled my finger above the great list of characters in TCoS and dropped down a few times. The first name to crawl from under my, squashed fingertip was Bazir Shadowcrest.

Read the full dev journal here.

Fury : Launch Day Plus One

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Fury official site has been updated with a report on the first day of the game's launch in North American, Australia, and New Zealand.

Well gamers, we have done what many studios before us have failed to do. We have created an MMO, launched it to the public, and lived to tell the tale. Fury is now officially LIVE!!

This morning at 5 am in the Auran offices, the champagne corks popped and some bleary eyed developers gave up a big cheer. Some of the team had worked through the night to help ensure everything went smoothly at launch (well done especially to our QA team). The Online team were still scurrying around trying to get billing systems sorted, designers were busy eating pancakes and Directors were busy pouring the champagne. Ops just grumbled a lot after 9 hours sleep in 3 days. :)

So after more than 150 man years of effort, the servers were live, people who had paid for the game were playing the game, and many of them were playing the game for the first time. Whilst populations were quite low, this was totally expected as the physical act of distributing boxes to retailers was still taking place in Australia, New Zealand and across North America. The early players were mostly those who had purchased the digital download from the Auran website, plus a host of Auran devs who were doing their best to lose graciously to the newcomers.

This soon developed into some very closely fought 4v4 Elims, and there was one especially memorable game that turned out to be between QA and programming - QA finished off the 3-2 Elimination score line with a very humbling Deathblow - the one where the guy kicks you in the nuts, then knees you in the head. Much loud rejoicing and postulating was heard from the sleepy, but now re-invigorated QA team. Sleep is so overrated.

Read the report here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Book 11: Defenders of Eriador

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine has released detailed information about the content of Book 11: Defenders of Eriador, the next major content update for Lord of the Rings Online. Highlights of Book 11 include updates to the minstrel and the lore-master, over 60 new quests including the continuation of the epic story arc and the underground dungeon of Nûrz Ghâshu, the much anticipate addition of player housing, and more.

When we sat down to design a Housing System for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO), we wanted to make good on the promise made an age ago: "Now You Can Live in Middle-earth."

Houses are more than an apartment interior floating in the ether. Houses in LOTRO live in gorgeously landscaped neighborhoods, where they have yards, sit along water, or nestle under cliffs.

One size does not fit all! Players want choices about how their house looks, where they want to live, and who they want to live with, so we are offering a variety of options to fit many tastes.

Houses are decorative and beneficial. They are fun to dress up and host parties at, but they also give the owner tangible benefits.

We set out to give choices to the Men, Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves of Middle-earth. In LOTRO Housing, you choose from...

  • Four different racially-styled homesteads (landscaped areas containing many different houses). Each homestead has a distinctive architectural style and environment.
  • Up to 250 instanced neighborhoods to each homestead, so you can settle down near your friends.
  • Thirty different houses per neighborhood: 4 kinship houses, 10 deluxe personal houses, and 16 standard personal houses.
  • Over 250 decorations to mix-and-match, including paint for walls and floors, rugs, bookshelves, welcome mats, scenic paintings, even background music!

Read more about Book 11: Defenders of Eriador.

Lord of the Rings Online : Month of the Lore-Master

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

When Book 11: Defenders of Eriador, for Lord of the Rings Online is released it will bring major changes and updates to several of the game's classes. One of those classes is the Lore-master, which will see many new abilities including new crowd control options with skills that affect drakes and the undead, a new lynx companion as well as non combat animal friends, new direct damage skills, and the ability to brink companions back from the brink.

Overview:

The Lore-master is one of the more complex classes in The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ (LOTRO), and Book 11 was the Lore-master’s turn for an update. After examining the strengths and weaknesses of this class, we tasked ourselves with delivering more versatility and a greater potential for DPS over the lifetime of the character, while making up for some of the perceived shortcomings of current low-level crowd control abilities.

In essence, our goals were to make the Lore-master’s group role more apparent and more obvious at an earlier level range, and to give Lore-masters more ways to use their utility role to be effective against a wider array of creatures.

Challenge Discussions:

The general idea behind these changes was to serve the needs of our current players and achieve our goals without removing the already established flavor of the class. There seemed to be a great consternation on the part of some Lore-masters, who believed that some of their limitations, rather than their abilities, were what defined their class. However, we had faith that these issues could be overcome without diminishing the flavor of the Lore-master.

Read more about the Lore-master here.

EverQuest II : Game Update 39 Notes

Posted Oct 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has released the notes for Game Update 39 for EverQuest II.  Highlights of the latest update include the opening of the Fear Gate in the Feerrott, whisperings out of Kunark, and a number of tweaks and fixes.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Fear Gate in the Feerrott has opened! The Shard of Fear, a fraction of the Plane of Fear, is now accessible by Norrathian mortals. Only seasoned adventurers traveling in groups should dare look upon this realm of terror and dread.
  • Further sighting of mysterious visitors from Kunark have occurred in the waters near Freeport and Qeynos. See Admiral Marc Grenich in Qeynos Harbor and Livia Montellus in Freeport East to join in the investigations of these visitors.
  • Guild banks have been extended with several new options. See the Guild Banks section below for details.

GAMEPLAY

  • "The Tablets of the Blademaster" quest no longer requires that the player be in the Pillars of Flame zone to examine the spirit vessel.
  • The Valley of the Magi instance off of the Commonlands should be functioning properly again.
  • The Misty Mustang whistles should now summon pinto looking Misty Mustangs instead of Elddarian Chargers.
  • The quest "A Portrait of Destiny " can no longer be shared.
  • Vhalen's Tools can now be examined outside of the Acadechism for a quest update.
  • Server Performance Improvements for dungeons and raid encounters.
  • Usable Items that are not usable from inventory will always show darkened out while not equipped.

Read more about Game Update 39 here.

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