Staff Writer Carolyn Koh recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, the co-founder and President of Razer, about their line of gaming mice.
Not all mice are created equal, nor are keyboards. For the majority of us gamers (especially us MMOG gamers), we direct a lot of attention to the selection of our CPUs and video cards, but our peripherals are an afterthought. We are still using the cheap headset, a wireless mouse, the old key-board that came with the last, last computer build.
As gamers look for better peripherals to enhance their gaming performance, manufacturers are beginning to take notice and only in the past few years have mainstream manufacturers begun to cater to the gamer.
Here at MMORPG.com, we've started a section on hardware reviews from the MMO gamers' perspective. I took this one step further and sought out one of the top PC gaming peripheral manufacturers, Razer. Razer leapt into the forefront of the "must have" gaming peripheral when the Razer Boomslang launched in 1999, and became the favorite mouse of professional gamers such as Jonathon "Fatal1ty" Wendell. Then, in 2004, their Diamondback (claimed to be the world's first 1600 dpi optical gaming mouse) won the accolade of being named Gamespot's Gaming Hardware of the Year (Personally, I use that mouse in the spiff red version).
Read the interview here.
Blizzard has announced that they will be offering a free trial DVD of World of Warcraft and 14 days of game time to attendees of upcoming Play! performances.
Blizzard has teamed up with PLAY! to treat concert attendees at upcoming performances to a free trial DVD of World of Warcraft, which includes 14 days of game time. PLAY! concerts feature stirring orchestral performances of some of the most evocative pieces of music from World of Warcraft and other popular games. The next concert will be held May 26 in San Jose, CA, and further information can be found at the PLAY! website.
Visit the Play! website: www.play-symphony.com.
Yesterday we reported that EVE would experience some extended down time on the 22nd of May, to fix some recently discovered exploits and improve EVE Voice. The down time has now been rescheduled for May 23rd 11:00 to 14:00 GMT.
The extended downtime for EVE's Tranquility server has been postponed from Tuesday, May 22, to Wednesday, May 23. The server will be offline from 11:00 to 14:00 GMT for the deployment of the Revelations 1.4.3 patch which includes a number of improvements for EVE Voice.
For more on EVE, visit www.eve-online.com.
Blizzard has announced the release of the Black Temple, the latest content patch for World of Warcraft. The Black Temple features the addition of new quests, new mounts like the Nether Drake, the new Druid Epic Flight form, and locations like Ogri'la, The Ruins of Lordaeron Arena, and of course The Black Temple itself.
The Black Temple:
The Temple of Karabor was the center of draenei worship until its priests were slaughtered by demonically corrupted orcs. In the massacre's aftermath, the warlocks of the Shadow Council seized the structure and gave it a new name: The Black Temple.
When the Alliance invaded Draenor after the Second War, the orc shaman Ner'zhul hastily opened several dimensional portals to escape. The resulting magical backlash ripped the world apart. Drawn by these portals, the pit lord Magtheridon entered Draenor, soon to become known as Outland, and took the temple as his seat of power.
His dominion over Outland remained unchallenged until the arrival of Illidan the Betrayer. The pit lord proved no match for the wielder of the Twin Blades of Azzinoth. Today Illidan occupies the temple, awaiting any and all who would challenge his rule.
The Netherwing faction quest line continues, making the much-anticipated Nether Drake available. The Nether Drake is a special 280% speed epic flying mount that is obtainable through solo and small-group play. The quest to obtain one will be difficult, but the reward will surely show your dedication to the Netherwing cause as you soar through the skies of Outland on your very own ethereal drake.
The Ruins of Lordaeron Arena:
For those engaging in the Steamwheedle Cartel's gladiatorial combat, an arena nestled within the Ruins of Lordaeron has been added to the mix of venues. Players taking part in either rated battles or skirmishes may now find themselves battling for glory within the new arena.
Get the full patch details here.
The Shores of Evendim is set to be the first major content update for Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Have you ever wondered what goes into making new content for a game of this magnitude? Read this Developer Diary and find out.
The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Shadows of AngmarTM (LOTRO) has been live for about a month now, and you've been exploring the lands of Eriador while uncovering the evils of Angmar at every step. You've restored the Quick Post in the Shire and helped to push back the evils stirring in the Misty Mountains. Some of you may even have reached the city of Carn Dûm itself and confronted its steward.
So, where to next? As LOTRO's developers, we had a number of options available. Many locations, both obscure and well known, came across our plate when planning out the first steps into our content update plan. In the end, we settled upon one of the most requested locations in Eriador - Lake Evendim and the Twilight Hills!
Kick your shoes off, grab your beverage of choice, and relax as we give you a sneak peek at the steps involved in the creation of our first content update: The Shores of Evendim!
Read the full article here.
NPCube and Farlan Entertainment, the makers of Dark and Light, are being sued by VWORLD over ownership claims and alleged misuse of VWorldTerrain technology.
VWORLD sues both Reunionese developer NPCube and Mauritian publisher Farlan Entertainment
CLERMONT-FERRAND - May 18, 2007 - VWORLD, LLC has brought a lawsuit before the County Court of Paris against Reunionese game development studio NPCube, and Mauritian game publisher Farlan Entertainment, currently exploiting the massively multiplayer on-line role playing game (MMORPG) title Dark and Light.
This action follows the complaint formerly introduced by M. Vincent Pourieux, CEO of VWORLD, for violation of intellectual property rights. The jointly incriminated companies continue to illegally exploit the procedural algorithms that characterize VWorldTerrain technology and claim ownership on them, which is an obstacle to its correct marketing by VWORLD.
NPCube and Farlan Entertainment will have to respond before Court to the following charges of indictment brought against them: software counterfeit, non-respect of the right to credit and paternity, unfair competition and parasitism.
For more on Dark and Light visit www.darkandlight.com/en.
For more on VWORLD visit www.vworld.fr.
For more on NPCube visit www.npcube.com.
The folks over at Daimonin have announced the release of version 0.9.7 of their game, which include numerous new content and features.
We are proud to announce today the new, major release 0.9.7 of our game! You will find us at http://www.daimonin.net
This release features
- group playing
- instance maps
- new dps fight system
- new spells and spell system
- a big new player world
- over 50 new monsters
- a interface driven talk system
- a NEW complex quest system
- many, many new quests & dungeons
- an auto-updater
- a new resting & regeneration system and ... and .. and...
The whole new feature list is much much longer!
Read more about Daimonin here.
A Beta tester for Tabula Rasa recently wrote a report on his encounters upon arriving at the front lines. He details the first few missions, mentions some of his gear, and discovers how ducking behind cover helps to keep you out of the medic tent.
A new AFS recruit blogs about his first day fighting for humanity:
I landed in the midst of mayhem; an outpost of sorts but with the enemy clearly seen lurking the borders, just beyond firing range. All my gear was new and took a little getting used so I went through my normal maneuvers and found that operations were pretty much standard with gear on other worlds. I talked to a few soldiers standing around and gleaned some information regarding my gear and ops.
Across the camp I noticed what looked like a commanding officer and saluted requesting permission to engage the enemy. He shoved me out a bit and two of the most hideous things I have seen in a while (other than my mother-in-law's toes) jumped out and me and I fumbled a little with my SI (standard issue) pistol but managed to dispatch them. Too bad it isn't as easy with my mother-in-law.
After dispatching the uglies, I reported back to my CO. He gave me some nice gear and a small promotion I was then instructed to blow some wreckage out of our approach and complied. Once again I was rewarded. Hey this was getting good! I now had a rifle!
Read the full report here.
Lockpick Entertainment, the company behind the MMORPG Dreamlords, has announced that they were awarded a Nordic Game Program cultural grant at the recent Nordic Game 2007 Conference.
The six-year program, launched in 2006, aims to boost the availability of games to consumers in the Nordic region. This year around DKK 5 million (EUR 671,000) has been earmarked for development funding, and is split equally into two rounds. The number of companies seeking funding from the first round reached nearly 40 of which six received funding from the program.
Said David Rosén, CEO of Lockpick Entertainment:
"We are really happy and grateful by this honor, to be one of only six Nordic companies receiving this grant. To us at Lockpick Entertainment it is not financial funding as much as an official recognition of our creative vision. As an independent Nordic developer it can sometimes be challenging to compete with large international companies and their big budget productions. Our recent much acclaimed and let me point out, first, game Dreamlords proved Lockpick Entertainment's ability to attract an international audience through innovative approach and thinking. This grant will allow us to further develop new and unique concepts."
For more on Dreamlords here.
Cryptic Studios, the company responsible for City of Heroes, City of Villains and the upcoming Marvel universe Online has unveiled their spiffy new forums.
Why Cryptic Forums?
Cryptic Studios is a growing company with a lot going on behind the scenes. We have two games on store shelves, a huge game in development and several other projects in various phases.
We at Cryptic take a lot of pride in communicating with our fans. With everything that's going on here, we wanted a place to begin talking outside the context of a specific game. Inside Cryptic, we pass around ideas all day and it's time we had a place to express and discuss them with the rest of the world.
What's the difference between these forums and the official City of Heroes and City of Villains forums?
Those forums will always be the first and best place to discuss the City of... games. The dev team is committed to remaining active on those forums and discussing the latest happenings in that game.
Does that mean City of Heroes and City of Villains are off-topic here?
No. We love them as much as anyone does and we want to talk about them. But issues related to those games' ongoing support and development should go on the official game forums.
Visit their forums and read the rest of the Q&A here.
Guild Wars has released a new State of the Game article. This time around, the article discusses the kinds and uses of gear in the game.
While Guild Wars PvP revolves around Skill Bars, equipment selection also influences the ultimate outcome. Unlike in other games, however, players may access weapon modifications with easily-acquired Balthazar faction. Although characters can't change armor during a PvP match, players have four weapon sets to swap between. Good micromanagers can double-click a weapon or offhand in their inventory to equip it during the match. So when players craft their gear, how do they best to tailor it to their character needs?
Optimized Hacking and Slashing
Melee characters take full advantage of all weapon slots. Most pack a zealous weapon to help rebuild Energy while attacking. Because Warriors typically have weaker armor against elemental damage than against physical damage, melee characters also carry at least one elemental weapon for squaring off against these resilient foes. Against other characters, physical weapons with either sundering or a vampiric mod increase the damage dealt over time. A sundering weapon partially nullifies armor while vampiric weapons steal life from the target with every hit. Moreover, the life-stealing of vampiric weapons removes the same amount of Health from the target with each hit, ignoring damage reduction and armor. Against otherwise heavily-protected targets, vampiric weapons can sometimes apply just enough pressure to overcome healing.
Read the whole article here.
Turbine has released the First Look Release Notes for the upcoming Update 4.1: Mark of the Dragon. The update is rather large, and includes changes and additions in the areas of : Quests, UI Improvements, Monsters, Combat, Spells, Enhancements, not to mention the arrival of Dragonmarks and more!
Three thousand years ago the first dragonmarks appeared in the elven kingdom of Aerenal. Strange patterns on the skin, more an elaborate birthmark than a tattoo, they gave their bearers magical abilities that have been a source of power and conflict for centuries. Nobody knows the origins of dragonmarks or when and why they appear, yet some of the citizens of Stormreach have recently begun to manifest these strange and powerful markings.
To read the complete article on dragonmarks, including a list of available dragonmarks and how to unlock them, please click here.
More Solo Quests
Four more quests can now be played on Solo mode!
- Freshen the Air
- The Swiped Signet
- Purge the Heretics
- Caged Trolls
Read all of the info on Update 4.1: Mark of the Dragon here.
Today, new MMORPG.com Staff Writer AJ Glasser writes her first piece for us. In MMOs, women are often given special treatment by their male counterparts in-game. Problem is, that pretty elf maiden you're "just trying to help out" could really be an elf lord in disguise. AJ gives us some pointers on how to spot a faker.
A girl has got it made in MMOs. Gear, gold, XP; you name it, and a girl can get it either by asking (pretty please) or by doing raids with the right kind of suckers (er, guys). From helping a girl out in a hard dungeon or handing over some gold when she was short for that new Longsword, men do all kinds of favors for women either in the name of good gamer-ship or out of pity for a gamer girl who doesn't seem to know the ropes. Alas, the condescending generosity is often misplaced - that damsel in distress that men are always out to rescue is probably a guy in disguise.
According to a Reuters article published in July of 2006, nearly 60 percent of guys in MMOs will use female avatars to add an edge to their gameplay rather than out of some closet obsession with gender-bending. Going as a girl is a good PvP tactic; a nice pixilated rack will distract some people, and there's a bent appeal in letting people think they've been owned by a girl. And no one can deny that the inherent sexism of MMOs breeds pity for girl gamers - and pity breeds freebies all around. There are other reasons that a guy will take up a female avatar, of course. When you're locked into a serious gaming frenzy of say 40+ hours a week, it's more entertaining for men to focus on a feminine backside swaying from side to side - and most female character models are more aesthetically pleasing than their male counterparts.
Read the whole article here.
The seventh and final installment of the Fury back-story has been released. The final age, titled the Age of Fury is a time when the remaining nations of Altaia resurrect the Chosen from ages past and once again battle for survival and dominance.
It soon became clear to the Sorelan people that they were ill-equipped to meet the challenges of battle. As such, they needed agents to fight and recover Essence for them. Sorelan legends had always been rich with heroic tales of the Chosen. It was time for these immortal Heroes to answer the call to battle once again.
Using experimental magic, the Sorelans were able to summon the Chosen back from the horrors of the Fade. The Chosen were reborn into a new age of conflict, each of them taking on different traits from the many lifetimes they had lived.
The Chosen took to this new age of battle easily. War was their true calling and they knew it well. The Chosen were able to win huge amounts of Essence from the battlegrounds, harnessing it in its purest form.
The Chosen did not come through their time in the Fade unchanged. During the years they spent drifting in the nothingness, the memories of the lifetimes they had led blended together to form a long stream of countless memories, tangible, yet hidden from the conscious mind.
Read the lore here.
In-game events celebrating the 30th anniversary of A New Hope, and the 4th anniversary of Star Wars Galaxies originally scheduled for May 21st have been pushed back to May 23rd.
The Star Wars Anniversary Bash kicks off on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 (moved from May 21). Beginning on Wednesday, you can join the biggest party in the galaxy at Nym's Stronghold and claim a special anniversary painting!
Dance the night away to the melodies of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes band, socialize with friends, and browse the complimentary wares of Nym's Anniversary Quartermaster to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope and the 4th anniversary of Star Wars Galaxies.
Get the details on the celebration here.
This week, in a new Community Spotlight, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood addresses a thread from our forums and tackles the question on genre in MMORPGs and Fantasy's place at the top of the mountain.
Recently, I came across this interesting post on the forums:
I've been following many titles that have come out recently and that will be released soon and I noticed a pattern. Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy (now copy what I said and push control v 90 times and that will be the accurate number of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Games out there). There are a few games that are a bit different like Guild Wars and CoH,CoV, but are basically following the normal MMO pattern. I was wondering if any of you had any ideas for new MMO Genres, what would their "genre" be named, what would be the objective, skill tree vs. purchased abilities, and how do you improve your character. I'm interested to see your ideas because I'm at a loss.
-MACKNEB (MMORPG.com user name)
This is a subject that seems to have been plaguing the industry for some time now. It's not hard to look at a Games List like we have here at MMORPG.com and see that there are a huge number of Fantasy games, and that Sci-fi is slowly catching up as well. In fact, 140 of the 196 games currently listed on our Games List are classified under the Fantasy heading, that's over 70%, for anyone keeping score at home.
Read the whole column here.
The folks over at Pirates of the Burning Sea have released details on their Open Sea Spawn Manager, giving insights into their spawn system.
In the end of my previous dev log I mentioned that there was work afoot to fix the issue of the incompatibility between the static spawn network in the nav zone with the port conquest system. This new system is now in place in the internal build of the game and being diligently tuned by the content department. The system that was created to fix this issue is called the "Open Sea Spawn Manager" and it has the following goals in mind:
- Create semi-random shipping routes between ports
- Eliminate empty pockets of NPCs in the nav zone
- Create NPC ships of the appropriate level for their region
- Ships spawned should be a function of port ownership
- Ships spawned should be a function of port unrest
- Allow owning nation of a port to lower the port's unrest
- Allow nations attacking a port to raise the port's unrest
The open sea spawn manager is responsible for spawning and routing most of the ships in the open sea. The content department can still define custom spawns and patrol routes, but most of the original custom spawns will be removed. The spawn manager's job is to constantly try to make sure every port in the game has a set number of ships heading to it at any given time. Once a ship reaches its destination port it will sit outside the port for a set interval and then de-spawn. On a regular pulse, the spawn manager will find any ports that are below their desired spawn count and spawn another ship to head to the under-visited port. So for example, the spawn manager sees that Port Royal only has 3 ships heading toward it when it wants 5, so it spawns another ship at Jenny Bay and sends it on its way to Port Royal. Players destroying spawned ships bound for a destination port will also cause the spawn manager to create a new ship next update interval.
Read the full story here.
Dreamlords has announced that they have fixed some of the recent pathfinding issues that players were having in three of the game's missions.
The pathfinding problems that have occurred in the missions Icarine Landing, Lost Homunculi and Examine the hive has been fixed. The issue was caused by a corrupt map file. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
The uncapture time in PvP has also been reset to it's normal setting, as the low uncapture time had some unwanted effects.
Find more on Dreamlords here.