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Ultima Online : Test Centers 1 and 4 Published

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Keith Cross

EA Mythic has announced that Test Centers 1 and 4 have been published with numerous changes and fixes.

TCs 1 and 4 have been published with the following:

(note - all changes are specific to KR unless otherwise noted. Some changes may require a forthcoming client update to be visible)

  • Fixed bugs with elf skin color in character creation
  • Newly-created ninjas should now have the correct skills
  • Tillermen should be able to correctly respond to commands
  • The object name "Ossian Grimoire" should display correctly
  • Players should be able to change their custom house foundation styles
  • Players can now add to their friends list via unique ID even when the friend is offline
  • Fixed bug where spectral spellbinders would continue to attack dead or invisible players
  • Tutorial will not break if you right-click loot instead of drag-and-drop loot
  • Books should look better when equipped
  • Right-clicking on the titlebar of any windown with a blue "x" will close the window
  • Fixed bug with chivalry spells repeating on the first and second pages
  • Fixed bug with community collection reward button

Read more here.

General : More SOE Fan Faire Details

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Keith Cross

A recent article on the Pirates of the Burning Sea official describes the cinematic Swashbuckling Combat System and the nitty gritty details of how this system really works. SOE has announced new details about the goings on at this years Fan Faire in Las Vegas, including sneak previews of new MMOs in development, and the debut of a new SOE product.

Headed to Fan Faire? The Fan Faire website has been updated with new information about some of the exciting things you can experience while you are with us in Vegas! Here is a quick run down of the new information:
  • Anticipated world debut of a brand new SOE product
  • Sneak Previews of new MMOs in development
  • Fan Faire exclusives- Demo of Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising
  • Live entertainment (to be announced) and dancing poolside at the Rio
  • Costume contest- dress up as your favorite character!
  • Beta invitation to selected upcoming SOE titles*
  • Specially created in-game items for Fan Faire attendees**
  • Gaming industry forums and keynote speakers
  • Tournaments involving SOE Denver's newest line-up of casual and strategy games

Learn more about Fan Faire here.

Dungeon Runners : New Video

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

If you haven't checked out NCsoft's Dungeon Runners, their free-to-play MMORPG, the this is your chance. The folks responsible for the game have provided us with this great new video which not only shows off the game's graphics and gameplay, but also the light-hearted side of the game.

Dungeon Runners: New Video Dungeon Runners: New Video
MMORPG.com is pleased to present this video from Dungeon Runners, NCsoft's free-to-play MMORPG.

Read our Developer Journal: What's So Great About Dungeon Runners here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Swashbuckling Combat System

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Keith Cross

A recent article on the Pirates of the Burning Sea official describes the cinematic Swashbuckling Combat System and the nitty gritty details of how this system really works.

Since we added the Swashbuckling Combat System we've talked a fair bit about the high concept for the system: a cinematic, fast paced, sword fighting system. Today I'm going to talk about the details of our implementation of that system.

The Swashbuckling System is built around Defenses, Combat Pools, and Skills. There are three defenses: Block, Dodge, and Parry; three Combat Pools: Health, Initiative, and Balance, and a huge number of Skills (more than 200 at this point). All three of these systems working together produce our Swashbuckling System. Today I'm going to talk about the Defenses and Combat Pools, and I'll talk more about skills in part two.

When we designed the Swashbuckling System, we decided to make the basic defenses automatic. We feel there is too much uncertainty with regard to player connection speeds and reaction times to try and create a system where players are responsible for blocking every incoming blow. As a result, we give all characters a chance to first Parry, then Block, and finally to Dodge each incoming attack. Each of these defense types is equally effective in that they reduce the damage of an incoming attack to 0; however, they have secondary effects which make them significantly different.

Parry is the first line of defense, and the best result for the defender. If the defender Parries an attack he gains 5 Balance and 5 Initiative, and the attacker loses 10 Balance. The disadvantage of parry is that there are many types of attacks that bypass it, most notably attacks that target the Balance pool.

Read the full article here.

Dungeon Runners : Dev Journal

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

When talking about the subject of this developer journal, MMORPG.com asked the Dungeon Runners Development Team one simple question: What's so great about Dungeon Runners? As you can see, the development team has a very enthusiastic take on the answer.

When you compare Dungeon Runners with many of the other online games currently available in the market today, you instantly see its accessibility, easy-to-play design and brand of humor that sets it apart as a unique, fun gaming experience. Developed internally at NCsoft, Dungeon Runners' was intended to let anyone have an enjoyable fast-paced massively multiplayer experience, with no extra cost to the player.

This free aspect of Dungeon Runners is just part of its overall charm. Unlike most other massively multiplayer online games, Dungeon Runners does not require an online fee to play, nor does it cost anything to acquire initially. All a potential player has to do is download the game, create a free account, and start playing. It's that easy. On top of that, you can create as many game accounts as you want, so in essence you can have as many characters as you want. System requirements are low and the game runs on most modern machines easily.

Read the whole developer journal here.

Dungeon Runners : New Screens

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

For everyone that's heard of NCsoft's new free-to-play game, Dungeon Runners, and hasn't given it a look yet, we present this set of screens from the game.

Check out the rest of the pics here.

World of Warcraft : Free Character Transfers

Posted Jun 21, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that they will be allowing free character transfers from certain oceanic realms to other less populated realms starting June 21st and running until the 28th.

We will be offering free character transfers from the following Oceanic realms to other, lower populated realms to assist in alleviating population growth. These transfers will become available on Thursday, June 21 at 12:01 PM PDT, and run until Thursday, June 28 at 12:01 PM PDT. In the event that a realm meets our transfer goals before the scheduled end date, the transfers to that realm will be disabled. We highly recommend that if you are planning to transfer that you do so at your earliest convenience

Once the transfers open you can begin your transfer by visiting the Character Move page located here: https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/account/character-move.html

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Creature Balance Dev Diary

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official sit has been updated with a dev diary by game designer Thomas "Hanse" Eidson. The dev diary focuses on a behind the scenes look at how monsters are balanced.

Howdy, folks! I'm Thomas "Hanse" Eidson, a game designer on the Star Wars Galaxies team. In this second designer diary, I will outline the process behind creature balance, the first design feature I worked on as a system designer.

When I was first brought onto the team a little over a year ago, I was tasked with looking over Non-Player Character (NPC) balance. Normal creatures were too easy to fight at some levels and too hard at others.

At the time, Helios explained that very few stats were used in combat for NPC's. The feature had to be published soon and I was to review and revise them quickly. I chose a simple stat to modify - their hit points (HP).

When approaching a systemic issue such as creature balance, you would not normally modify only one statistic. Modifying one statistic for creature balance makes your creatures bland and boring during combat. Our current game does not rely on a single statistic for combat. We use a master data table that is level based, which means the statistics rise as the level increases.

Read the dev diary here.

EverQuest II : In-Game Web Browser

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

EverQuest II players can now do many things more conveniently and quickly in-game with the edition of the new in-game web browser. In that spirit, the EQ2 official site offers up instructions on how to file a petition without leaving the game.

How to Check or Update an Active Petition

With the introduction of an in-game web browser to EQII, filing '/petitions' from within the game client not only became possible, it became convenient. Accessing the petition system no longer required a person to go outside of the game to take care of their petitions.

While the petition system will email updates about the state of a petition to the submitter, sometimes a person would like to check the status of their petition without waiting for the email. Fortunately, there is a way within the game client to not only check the status of your active petition, but also to update it and review prior petitions.

Just as the in-game web browser removed some of the tedious work related to filing petitions; the in-game browser provides a solution to checking on the status of your petitions - without having to leave the game!

Read the full article here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : IRC Channel

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Flying Lab Software and Pirates of the Burning Sea have announced that they have an official IRC channel that allows fans to talk to each other.

As some of you know, we have an official IRC (chat) channel for Pirates of the Burning Sea. For those of you that don't, I'm here to tell you about it!

The IRC channel has been around since 2005, and has been steadily growing since then. It was originally fan created, however that fan (me!) became a lot more involved with the game, and so we made it official.

For those of you who are IRC savvy, the details are:

Server: irc.coldfront.net port 6667 (7778 for SSL)

Channel: #burningsea

For those who arent familiar with it, Cyxult (one of our newer channel regulars) has written a very good guide on how to set yourself up to enjoy this chatting phenomenon, which I include below.

See you there!

Read the instructions here.

Age of Armor : New Beta Version

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

The people over at Snail Games have sent out a press release for the most recent beta version of their game, Age of Armor. In the press release, they list three reasons for the beta, including asking players to help out with any poor translations they may find.

The current version of AoA is not the final version for commercialization. You can download the game now on our official web: http://www.aoaus.com/downloads/downloads.html. We have the following three purposes to release the current version:

  • Firstly, we want to introduce our product--AoA to the entire world, hoping of letting the players get the idea of AoA and of experiencing what AoA provides.
  • Secondly, we hope to receive the suggestions about AoA from players who have experienced the current beta. We want to know what the players expect for the game, and we also want to find out what the players' taste and interest are. That will give us a huge help in both bettering our product and keeping a right direction of further development.
  • Thirdly, as Snail Game is a Chinese online game developer, we may have some problems in the translation. We hope all the players can give us a hand by providing the poor translations you will find out to GM.

We are looking forward to your reactions and we sincerely appreciate your patience and help.

As for the account, you can join our forum at bbs.aoaus.com to register for your account.

For more info on Age of Armor click here.

EVE Online : Revelations II Launched

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

On June 15th, we reported the Revelations II, the most recent expansion for EVE Online would release on June 19th. True to their word, yesterday saw the expansion make its way smoothly onto the live server.

Though the premise for Revelations II is described as "the calm before the storm that unleashes the wrath of empires," there's definitely nothing serene about this latest free expansion for EVE Online. In addition to the great list of changes and fixes noted in the patch notes, there's also a breathtaking new video and a slick new Features page, complete with video clips of dev team members explaining some of the most exciting new additions to the game such as Anti-Fleet Warfare and Heat. The deployment went smoothly and more quickly than anticipated, allowing players to log in long before the estimated downtime had expired. With the enhanced New Player Experience, there's never been a better time to explore the world of EVE.

Read more on EVE Online here.

World of Warcraft : Patch Details

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Blizzard's hugely popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, have announced that they have launched Patch 2.1.2.

The patch you've been waiting for, containing all new arena and honor rewards, is now live! Some other notable features of this patch include:

  • The commencement of Arena Season 2
  • New art for many raid-level items
  • Various bug fixes and balance changes

As always, you can view the latest patch notes for the complete list of changes and additions.

Read more about WoW here.

General : PvP, Raids and Endgame

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at one of our new User Blogs that deals with the idea of PvP and raids as endgame for MMORPGs.

The casual gaming population has done nothing but grow, as new populations enter our midst and as the original "hardcore gamers" settle down with husbands/wives and children. This large population has a huge effect on what developers decide to put in their games, and what attracts the most player: for example, the casual player often isn't a fan of long grind-sessions for leveling up, and often doesn't have the time for hardcore raiding. With the casual uprising comes the need for easier soloing, faster levels, and a more accessible endgame.

In his blog ,"The "Semi-Casual" Gamer, user cmagoun explores some of the issues of endgame material pertaining to those who don't necessarily reach the "end" of endgames - max level - and discusses some of what he would like to see, as a semi-casual gamer.

Cmagoun begins by stating that he's looking for something different than the norm: raids and PvP aren't that interesting for him. Unfortunately, this eliminates the majority of MMOs from Cmagoun's radar.

Read the whole Spotlight here.

Gods and Heroes : Art Style Dev Journal

Posted Jun 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

Mike Hines, the Art Director for Perpetual Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, joins us today to write this developer journal about the choice of Environment Art style for the game.

Rome is a word that encompasses an unending sea of images, ideas and feelings. It has been an active part of most cultures in the world since it rose to prominence. American culture, in particular, has placed Rome and Roman ideals at the center of many aspects of our education, government, entertainment and art. We see the Romans as one of the first cultures to develop city-life that parallels our own, and as the originators of many of the things we experience on a daily basis.

Rome and Roman portrayals in entertainment have been numerous, and we worked hard to develop a art style that incorporates many of those familiar portrayals while adding in the historical and mythological aspects that have been modified or glazed over by previous movies and games. Additionally, I had to make the game feel playable, fun and exciting, while supporting the fiction and game design.

Read the whole article here.

Lineage 2 : New Philippine Servers

Posted Jun 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

AsianMedia announced today in a press release that they have launched a new Philippine server for Lineage II.

AsianMedia serves up great online gaming with Lineage II's Philippine servers

ASIAN MEDIA Development Group (AsianMedia®) jumps headlong into the big leagues with the much anticipated Triple-A online game, Lineage II™ on its new Philippine server.

AsianMedia® acquired distribution rights in South-East Asia for the medieval fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) from Korean gaming giant NCsoft®. With Lineage II™, regional gamers are finally getting what they have long been seeking - a challenging and immersive online game that delivers premium content.

As AsianMedia Chief Operating Officer, Ronald Allan Aquino comments, "Our extensive market research into local gaming behavior confirms that Pinoy gamers are ready, willing, and eager to experience a higher caliber of gaming content."

AsianMedia President, Felizardo de la Merced stated that "AsianMedia is committed to raising the bar for online games within the region by providing top-rate content with the IT infrastructure to back it up."

Read the rest of the press release here.

Read more about Lineage II here.

Phylon : Phylon Released

Posted Jun 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

Rapid Reality has announced the release of Phylon, their sci-fi themed action MMO.

RAPID REALITY'S NEW SCI-FI GAME, PHYLON, RELEASED

Following the successful Beta testing phase, Rapid Reality Studios announces the commercial release of their first MMO, Phylon. The game is now available for purchase on the newly redesigned website, http://phylon-online.com.

Tracy Spaight, Rapid Reality's COO stated, "We are excited to release Phylon as it represents a lot of work from our team and from gamers who provided tremendous feedback during the beta testing phase. We hope that players will enjoy the game, in particular, the battle arenas." He also stated, "Through focused surveys and general feedback in our forums, we will continue to tap into the creativity of the gaming community to help shape the game and its future expansions."

Phylon combines the fast-paced action of a traditional shooter with the persistence and depth of an MMO. Join players from around the world as part of the Bloblic Imperium, the Amphibian resistance, or the Terran colonists in their struggle for control of the planet Anura. Crush your enemies in instanced battle arenas, including Deathmatch and Domination. Advance in skill and unlock access to hundreds of unique items, including jet packs, energy shields, power-ups, and weapons.

The new Phylon website features a sleek new look, new video trailers, top player leader boards, in-game and game art showcases, forums and much more.

Read more about Phylonhere.

Voyage Century Online : Pets Promotion

Posted Jun 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be holding a special pet promotion in Voyage Century Online to celebrate Mid-Summer Day.

Voyage Century Pets Promotion

The Mid-Summer Day of North Europe is coming around the corner. In order to celebrate this stirring holiday, Voyage Century decides to hold a promotion in Item Mall to give 70% discount off various pet-catching props. While using these props, it is very easy to get favorite pets in hand. With carefulness the pets would be soul bounded. For more details about this promotion please visit the link below: http://vc.igg.com/shop/item.php?item_type=4

This Item Mall Promotion will last for one month from June, 15th to July, 15th. Hope this supply satisfies your demand. Happy shopping!

VCO pet system has attracted much attention from massive VCO fans by its unique charm. There are worms, felidi, birds, canine, rabbits, bears, pigs, bats, 8 kinds in total. When players explore the vastness at sea or on land, the pet is your best companion and assistant without doubt. It could follow the player when summoned, and constantly increase player's experience and level-up. Also It is a big help when player combats with enemies. Want to know more about VCO pet system please visit the link below: http://vc.igg.com/index_getting.php?page_type=318

"Free game First-class service"

Please check the official site:<http://vc.igg.com> for more details

The first 3D nautical online game brings a new age into MMORPG!

Read more about the pet system here.

Fury : Pre Beta look

Posted Jun 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lords of the Dead, one of the pre-beta testing guilds for Fury, offers up an in-depth look at their experiences thus far in these early stages of the game.

LotD is one of the closed testing guilds for Fury, and I must say that it is positioning itself to be an action packed PVP game. Fury won't have any PVE, and players will be competitive from the time they log into the game. Anyway, click on the link below to read the rest of the article.

Game Development Cycle

Just so everyone is clear, Fury is currently inbetween an alpha client state and a beta client state. That is why the live testing weekends and fileplanet contests label the events "Pre-Beta" Weekends. June 1st was the first large event that Fury had outside of a previous tests conducted by a small group of closed testers. People who get in for these events should expect to see rapid change from week to week, but also they should temper their expecations by not expecting the game to be in retail state just yet.

Character Creation

The character creation is pretty much standard as we've come to expect. While I'm sure the options will probably expand throughout the pre-beta and beta, I was pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of avatar selection choices this early in the closed test. I ended up creating a bald guy with pale skin, and a dark colored outfit that befits my status as a Lord of the Dead. After that, I started the game and went into the tutorial.

Game Tutorial

The game tutorial was one of the better ones I've seen. There is someone narrating the storyline about the game, and telling you what your purpose in life is while running you through a series of exercises intended to orient you to the game environment. The first thing you figure it is that combat isn't like your standard Massive Multiplay Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG)combat, but neither is it like a First Person Shooter (FPS) type game. Its sort of a mixture of both, and seems to take the best parts of combat from each type of game. I'll talk more on that later.

The rest of the tutorial is designed to give you an overview of the game controls, help you select a starting class, and eventually let you graduate into the real gaming world.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : NPC Art

Posted Jun 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

The latest devlog on the Pirates of the Burning Sea official site gives some insight into the creation of NPCs and also shows off some NPC images.

Artco's last Devlog explained how our avatars had taken a giant leap from their old state to our new one. As the ArtCo team iterates on the new approach, the avatars continue to evolve and improve and we're pretty excited about the way it's going. And so I thought now would be a good time to share the new NPC work with you.

Ideally we'd like to create NPC characters that are completely unique and modeled specifically for that character, but that approach is too cost prohibitive for us in terms of time and manpower. The Pirates of the Burning Sea look and feel demands that we populate our world with tons of colorful characters who also don't tax your video card too much, so we needed to come up with an approach that would allow variety and quantity without being too constraining (in other words, NPC characters who are not too generic). Working with the devs we devised a technique that enables rapid NPC character creation with variety, while keeping memory usage economical.

Our system leverages a lot of the existing avatar pieces, plus a fair number of new and unique pieces. So, like our players do when customizing their characters, we toggle through a number of parts to assemble our NPCs. The only real difference for us is the number of categories available; in avatar customization the player has roughly 17 categories to toggle through to build their characters, things like heads, hats, coats, etc.

In NPC assembly we get three categories: heads, torsos, and lower bodies. Even so, the parts in these categories are much more complex than in player avatar customization, because our options are made up of a combination of lots of other pieces. For instance, when we toggle through our head options, we see a variety of faces to choose from, but each has a different hat and a different hair style already built in - and possibly jewelry or eye patches, etc. We also have the ability to colorize each of these categories in two areas (like red hair and a black hat for heads). The same goes for torsos and lower bodies. In the end, this process allows us to assemble a large number of NPCs that look great without sabotaging performance, because they share some of the same parts.

Read the full article here.

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