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Entropia : Architecture Firm to Make World

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Jon Wood

Creative Kingdoms Inc., a real world architectural firm, has announced that it will be building a world inside of the Entropia Universe.

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND — Creative Kingdom, Inc. (CKI), the world’s most celebrated thematic architectural design firm, has begun developing a state-of-the-art film/television studio and IT production complex in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This massive project, dubbed Cyber City – underwritten by the Thai government and a consortium of entrepreneurs including CKI CEO Eduardo Robles and President Thanu Boonyawatana, as well as Robles LLC – is being constructed and outfitted on a nine-kilometer stretch of the northern Thai city at a cost of 7 billion Thai baht ($250 million).

The development, which will also house deluxe accommodations and resort facilities for visiting executives, creatives, financiers and other dignitaries, represents a landmark opportunity for international production entities and online companies to establish a cutting-edge base of operations in the burgeoning Asia market. Later phases of the project are slated to include soundstages, top-tier editing facilities, a theme park, a 3D animation education center and much more.

With Cyber City as the jewel in its crown, Thailand will undoubtedly continue its surge in the technology sector. Thanks to CKA, its robust animation division (which has notched such successful series as Bubble Warriors, Magic Panda and the Kool Kidz, Muey Tiger and La-La World, among others), and 3D CGI design prowess, Creative Kingdom will prove instrumental in the global expansion of Thai animation, gaming and new-media development.

With offices in Los Angeles, Dubai, Beijing, Chiang Mai and Pasig City, Philippines, CKI has achieved international renown (and coverage by such bellwether media outlets as 60 Minutes and The Discovery Channel) as the designer of such lavish destinations as The Palm Island, World Island, and the Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai, UAE. Having brought an element of the fantastic to such real-world locales, CKI will for the first time endeavor to bring the specificity and rigor of its architectural practice to a purely fantastic destination.

The maiden project for the new complex will be CKI’s collaboration with the Swedish company Mindark, makers of Entropia Universe, an enormously successful Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORG) with a real cash economy that is already positioned to challenge the dominance of market leader World of Warcraft. CKI, the first high-profile architectural firm to be enlisted for such an undertaking, will design an entire planet within Entropia Universe.

Robles LLC, meanwhile, will bring its considerable consulting expertise in the animation and gaming worlds to the table, and its partnership with CKA will undoubtedly yield unprecedented new developments in the online world. Having developed several CKA cartoon properties, the firm – which is based at the Los Angeles Center Studio Complex – is preparing to develop a motion picture project based on the new Entropia Universe planet. This ambitious co-production with CKA Starlight Studios Beijing, and Dabok Entertainment Co,, Ltd. Korea, is slated for release in 2010.

“The technology introduced by this project will enable other companies within the media, film, music and gaming industries, among other content providers, to efficiently acquire their own planet within Entropia Universe,” declared CKI CEO Robles. “In turn, this will provide a diverse, entertaining and interesting virtual universe of vast proportions for participants to explore.”

“This is an historic development in the world of online gaming,” added company President Boonyawatana. “Our 30 years of experience in creating top iconic resorts around the world was a key factor in our being selected by Mindark to create its next planet, and we relish the opportunity to achieve this unique fusion of physical and virtual worlds.”

“This long term partnership with CKI is perfect match for Mindark. It further proves the viability of the Entropia Universe platform as the foundation of creating entertaining and exciting online virtual experiences, as well as giving our partners access to a very secure, proven and stable system for handling real cash transactions within a MMORG,” Mindark CIO Marco Behrmann informs.

Users of Entropia Universe and other MMORGs spend considerable sums of real money on virtual goods and services. This confluence of hard currency and frictionless production and distribution has created a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs worldwide. Thanks to its sophisticated technology infrastructure, Cyber City will enable Thai workers to generate income from remote locations – thus revitalizing the economies of rural communities and stemming the crush of migration to urban centers.

The developers of Cyber City Chiang Mai believe it will prove a benchmark in the ongoing evolution of the new global economy.

More on Entropia Universe here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle-earth: Haudh Iarchith

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Haudh Iarchith, an dungeon of dread within the Barrow-downs of Bree.

The Barrow-downs west of Bree were once a haven for the Rangers of Cardolan, until the plague swept across Middle-earth and destroyed the last remnant of those Dúnedain. After the Rangers of Cardolan perished, the Witch-king sent fell spirits out of Angmar and Rhudaur to inhabit the remains of the dead buried beneath the mounds, giving rise to the Barrow-wights. Since then, the Barrow-downs have had an evil name as a place of terror.

A few places within the Barrow-downs, such as Othrongroth and Ost Gorthad, are known as places of the greatest dread. Another of these terrible places is Haudh Iarchith. Once the clan-barrow of a great and wealthy family, it has now become a den of Angmar’s Dead. The hunters of Bree seek to drive the evil from this place, but few among even them have the courage to face the wights of Haudh Iarchith.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Design-A-Weapon Winners Announced

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Keith Cross

AreneaNet has announced the winners of last year's Design-A-Weapon Contest, which they will be using to create new weapons for Guild Wars.

The 2007 Design-A-Weapon Contest was the most popular Guild Wars contest ever! We received well over a thousand entries in the contest, and the Dev Team agrees that the quality of the art and the concepts is simply amazing—the best fan art we've ever seen. In the coming months, the player designs selected by the judges will serve as inspiration to the Guild Wars Art Team for the creation of new weapons, shields, focus items, and more! [You can find the original contest rules page here.]

About the Judging

From the more than 1,000 entries, through multiple levels of judging, approximately 100 concepts were selected as finalist entries. Then, the entire Guild Wars Development Team judged the finalists. Eleven concepts were selected as winners, and those concepts will be the basis for new items that will be added to the game in the upcoming months. Another fourteen item concepts were selected as Honorable Mentions, and it is possible that those concepts may also become items in the future. In two instances, design concepts from multiple contestants were combined to form a single entry for judging and those combined concepts would be used as the basis for one new item, although each of those contestants will receive a prize.

Read more here.

EVE Online : Council of Stellar Management Vote May 5

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced that elections for the Council of Stellar Management, EVE's next step toward a representative government, will take place on May 5th.

EVE Online takes its first steps into “… a form of representative government” writes Peter Svensson of the Associated Press. Svensson's article continues with “The Council of Stellar Management won’t be a legislative body but will represent players before the company … If the company denies a request it must justify that action to the councilors.” This evolution in the relationship between EVE Online and its community is the obvious next step for our virtual world. Human interaction is a critical element in MMORPG games. CCP understands that a symbiotic bond should be nurtured for the betterment of all involved.

Stay tuned for more information as things develop. In the meantime please find the following link to EVE TV’s coverage of Friday - Fanfest 07, where Dr. EyjoG and Xhagen give an overview of the revised player council.

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : Exclusive Screenshots, Week One

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Jon Wood

Today, we kick off an exclusive screenshots series with the folks from the upcoming post-apocalyptic MMORPG, Earthrise.

Check out all three here.

Spellborn : Spellborn GDC Demo

Posted Mar 06, 2008 by Jon Wood

News Manager Keith Cross recently had the opportunity to get his first look at the upcoming MMORPG, The Chronicles of Spellborn and shares his thoughts on the new game's combat, equipment, death penalty and more.

At this year’s GDC, I finally had the chance to take a look at The Chronicles of Spellborn. Ever since last year, when Managing Editor Jon Wood went to the Netherlands to tour the Spellborn studios, he’s been telling me I need to see this game in action. One reason Jon encouraged me to see this game is because it’s one of those games that doesn’t get a lot of attention compared to other MMOs of its calibre. Spellborn is nowhere near as hyped and publicized as other triple A games that are currently in development. The other reason Jon has been bugging me to see this game is because it’s full of innovation. There isn’t really one big innovative game mechanic, or revolutionary idea in Spellborn, but more of a collection of small improvements and tweaks to the standard quest based MMORPG model that look like they add up to something special.

Read it all here.

City of Heroes : 48 Month Veteran Rewards

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

NCsoft has announced a number of rewards for 4 year veterans of City of Heroes, including the Battle Hardened Badge, and a Summon Pet Power.

48 Months: Battle Hardened

* Battle Hardened Badge
* Summon Pet Power: CHOICE: Light Fairy, Dark Fairy, Blue Wisp, Red Wisp, Shield Oscillator, Power Oscillator, Shield Drone, or Power Drone.

For the 4 year veteran reward, players receive the Battle Hardened badge and the choice of a Summon Pet Power.

There are 8 different pets the player can choose from: The Light Fairy, the Dark Fairy, the Blue Wisp, the Red Wisp, the Shield Oscillatory, the Power Oscillator, the Shield Drone, and the Power Drone. Each gives a specific bonus to you and your team.

The Veteran Reward will be available after the live update on Wednesday March 5th, 2008!

Read more here.

Shadow of Legend : SoL Beta Launched

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Latest version of the Shadow of Legend beta is now available, bringing changes suggested and inspired by the players.

If I were a criminal, I would PK every @#$% thing that moves… especially the newbies, because it is FUN.

Situation sound familiar? Well, not to worry. If you were a newbie and kept getting PK’d, and was just about to quit, your prayers have been sent down from the Heavens… err Focus Groups.

That’s correct. The arrival of Shadow of Legend is finally here, boasting upgrades to the game that stems directly from your active participation in our beta testing. To name a few upgrades right off the bat, version features (1) protection for low level players, (2) smaller file size for a more tolerable download, and (3) a Master-Student system to stimulate team-work and boost experience points.

Read more here.

Runescape : LootShare and CoinShare Changes

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Runscape have announced several changes to to the CoinShare and LootShare systems.

Clan Chat owners now have the option to use CoinShare, an addition to the LootShare system that was requested by many of you on the Forums.

To start CoinSharing, LootShare must be activated on your clan channel. You can then choose 'CoinShare' from your Clan Chat Setup interface. It is an entirely optional addition.

CoinShare has no effect on the majority of items; they will still be allocated to members of the clan channel according to how 'lucky' they have been with previous LootSharing monster drops.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Glóin

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a profile of Glóin, the famous father of a famous son.

Glóin was one of the thirteen companions of Thorin Oakenshield on the Quest of Erebor. A skilled fire-maker, he thought little of Bilbo Baggins at first, but gained a new respect for the hobbit by the quest’s end. He has dwelt at the Lonely Mountain ever since. Glóin’s brother Oín, who also accompanied Thorin on his great quest, journeyed into Moria with their kinsman Balin but was never heard from again.

After the rise of the Shadow in the East, Glóin and his son Gimli brought news to Rivendell of the Enemy’s movements and sought the wisdom of Elrond Half-elven. Both attended the great Council of Elrond, where Gimli was chosen to become one of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring, whose task it is to bear the One Ring of Sauron to Mount Doom and cast it into the Chamber of Fire. Glóin, with his entourage, set about clearing the outcast Dourhands from the passes of the Misty Mountains, making safe the way from west to east.

Read more here.

EVE Online : 21 Day Free Trial on Steam

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced that there is a 21 day free trial of EVE Online now available on Steam.

Not since the launch of Sputnik 1 has an event excited so many would-be astronauts. It’s an extremely rare victory to snatch a “first” in the MMORPG marketplace in 2008. However, CCP and Steam have managed to do just that. We want to remind you that EVE is the first MMO available on STEAM; they’re even offering a 21-day trial as a special incentive to new users. See you in space capsuleers.

Read more here.

Stargate Worlds : Forum Enrollment up 30% for Beta Invites

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment has announced that membership on the Official Stargate Worlds Forums has increased 30% since they announced that beta testers would be chosen from the ranks of the forum users.

Interest in the official Stargate Worlds Forum has taken a quantum leap since plans were announced for the upcoming beta! "The Stargate Worlds Community Team is thrilled at the response we have on the forums right now," said Senior Community Manager Katie Postma. "We have grown in size by close to 30% since we announced that beta users would be chosen from the forum membership. This shows us that there is a huge population of Stargate fans and gamers alike who can't wait to see this game!"

The current plan is for Beta to commence in the next few months.

Read more here.

Spellborn : Q2 2008 Release Announced

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Spellborn team has released a progress update on where The Chronicles of Spellborn stands in the development cycle.  They have announced that they are planning for a release in the second quarter of 2008, but there is no mention of specific dates.

Hello TCoS Community members! Time for an update on this little project of ours called The Chronicles of Spellborn.

We have recently started the final tests for The Chronicles of Spellborn.

Beginning of last week, a new phase within the internal beta phases has been initiated with a brand new version of the game. Up to now these tests have performed very satisfactory, so that they can be expanded pretty soon to larger participants groups like enlisted community members. Server stress tests have been successfully completed by our team in Autumn already.

Thus we expect a release of The Chronicles of Spellborn in the second quarter of 2008. Based on the test results of the next weeks and the upcoming series of Closed Beta tests, we will announce the beginning of the Open Beta and then specific release dates for each territory.

To conclude, I’d like to remind you to make sure the email address you used to register on our website is working and not full, for, who knows, there might a nice little email coming your way.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Guild of the Week

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

ArenaNet has posted a profile of their Guild Wars Guild of the Week: The Soldiers of Thunderstorm [SoT], a group of Russian gamers who have been together for a decade.

The Soldiers of Thunderstorm [SoT] is a well-established, Russian gaming community. Early on, the core members realized where the future of gaming was going, and their friendship jelled in May of 1998 with the birth of their game child, the Soldiers of Thunderstorm.

Prior to the new millennium, this relatively small band of avid gamers focused on the hottest thing at that time, Diablo. However, the pinnacle of [SoT]'s gaming achievements was the vested interest in Ultima Online from 1999 to 2005. The first Russian UO shard was Lostfort. At this time, the [SoT] leadership split clan projects by assigning in-game squads led by a Guild Master. Guild Masters were responsible for PvP activities and official interactions that the squads established in-game.

Read more here.

EVE Online : Trinity 1.1: The Boost Patch

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Keith Cross

CCP has posted word of the Trinity 1.1: The Boost Patch which will launch on Tuesday March 11th.

Trinity 1.1: The Boost Patch is preparing to fire down the pipe and, if all goes according to plan, you’ll be enjoying this “nerf” free patch and all its astounding content next Tuesday, 11 March. The Boost Patch will improve a number of ship classes, EVE Voice and EVE’s marketplace.

“The Amarr Empire has long boasted about its powerful ships and a fervent willingness to destroy all that opposes them. Finally, the Omen, Zealot and Apocalypse class ships are getting a boost to reflect that devastating potential. However, the ship improvements don't end here. In order to satisfy your lust for carnage, modifications have also come for the Eagle, Moa, Raptor and Ferox class vessels.”

Read more here.

Champions Online : Added to List

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Jon Wood is pleased to announce the addition of Cryptic Studios' Champion Online to our Game List.

Earth's first and best line of defense is its heroes. For generations, brave men and women have answered the call to protect the world from the villains who threaten its safety and security.

Today, organizations such as VIPER, ARGENT and PSI use both superpowers and super technology in their dastardly plots to control the world. Creatures from outer space and other dimensions seek to enslave humanity. The dread Takofanes wields dark magicks of unspeakable power. Super scientist Teleios is creating an army of clones and superpowered constructs to do his bidding, while the robot Mechanon makes plans to cleanse the planet of all organic life.

The greatest threat of all is Doctor Destroyer. A superhuman genius driven to conquer, Destroyer will not stop until all of humanity bends knee to his greatness. In 1992, Destroyer obliterated the city of Detroit and killed thousands. With years to prepare, his next attack is sure to put the entire planet in peril.

Led by The Champions, protectors of Millennium City, the world's heroes have launched a crusade for peace, security and justice. But they need allies. Defender is calling for a new generation of superheroes to fight in a war against evil that spans the globe — and beyond.

Powered by the groundbreaking Cryptic Engine, Champions Online will be developed for both Xbox™ 360 and PC formats. With literally billions of character options allowing total customization, real-time action combat, the richly detailed Champions universe and an experienced Cryptic Studios team devoted to working directly with gamers to deliver a great gaming experience, Champions Online is set to be the premier superheroic massively multiplayer online role playing game.

Save the world. Explore space. Venture into new dimensions.

Be a Champion.

*text from the Champions Online website.

More on Champions Online here.

Hype it here.

Angels Online : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Jon Wood

IGG, the company behind Angels Online, have sent along these exclusive screenshots for our viewing pleasure.

See them all here.

EVE Online : Interview with Hilmar Petursson, CCP CEO

Posted Mar 05, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, Managing Editor Jon Wood caught up with Hilmar Petursson, the CEO of CCP. During the interview, the two talked about EVE Online, the new office in Atlanta and the future of the company.

While 2008 Game Developer's Conference I had the opportunity to talk to Hilmar Petursson, the CEO of Crowd Control Productions, better known to the world as CCP, the makers of EVE Online. While Keith and Laura each had interviews on specific aspects of EVE Online, I took this opportunity to ask the tall, red-haired CEO about the company in general while my colleagues talked to others about specific aspects of EVE.

For those who might not know, CCP is currently running three offices: one in Iceland, one in Shanghai, China and one in Georgia here in the United States. The most recent addition is the American branch, opened after the MMO company merged with White Wolf, the company behind such games as Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Awakening and other games set in the proprietary World of Darkness. I had hoped that this GDC would be the show where someone from CCP could be coaxed into talking a little bit about the upcoming (though still officially unannounced) MMO based in that universe. Unfortunately, San Francisco in February is still not the place, and even though many of the CCP devs were walking around in World of Darkness shirts, nobody was talking, including the CEO.

With the subject of the Atlanta office already on the table, I asked how the company had fared in integrating the new office into their international family. Hilmar told me that while they (CCP) had been expecting and bracing for a difficult assimilation, the process went very smoothly for which Petursson credits the "strong people and managers" that joined the company with the White Wolf merger.

Read it all here.

General : Gary Gygax Dies at Age 69

Posted Mar 04, 2008 by Keith Cross is sad to report the passing of RPG pioneer Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons and the man widely credited as the father of role-playing games.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : The Crafting Question

Posted Mar 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

Masthead Studios has answer the latest question of the week on their forums, this week describing Earthrise's crafting system.

Any info on the types of crafting available? Will it be the standard breakdown of armour/weapons/accessories or will there be a few more specializations, maybe like weapon upgrades or armour mods or vehicle creation (multi-discipline required, eg engines, transmissions, armour etc).

This week we would like to focus on crafting and answer Triox’ question. As we mentioned before, every item in Earthrise will be crafted by its players. This includes not only the usual fare of weapons, armor and devices but everything from mixing their own drugs and medicine to cooperative construction of buildings and vehicles, including mechanized exoskeletons. Crafting in Earthrise is a complex process that is easy to understand but ultimately difficult to master. The basic rule of crafting is that every item is made of components and every item can be broken down to its composites. Some components are used for specific items, others are used in a wide array of items – for example, a hand gun grip can be used in the creation of various hand guns, while electronic chipsets can be used to create specific devices. Players often will break down items to their components in order to combine some of them with other components to produce new, different items.

Read more here.

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