Lori Hyrup, an Associate Producer on Dark Age of Camelot and inventor of the Team Lead Program, answers our questions about her life and path to the game's industry.
| MMORPG.com: Tell us a little bit about your life growing up. Where did you live, what did you do, did you go to school?
Lori Hyrup: I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1979, my grandparents, followed by my mother and the rest of my family, moved to rural Lake County of Northern California. There they settled in a small town called Clearlake Oaks. I was five years old at the time. Though many people (even Californians) are unfamiliar with this region, Clearlake is the largest natural freshwater lake completely within California. It is also believed to be the oldest lake in North America, formed around a series of dormant volcanoes, the largest being Konocti, a name given to it by the legends of local Pomo Indians.
As the only child of a single parent in a place where my nearest friends were often miles away, I frequently had to find or invent the means to keep myself entertained. Being surrounded by wilderness, I spent a lot of time in the great outdoors hiking, exploring, observing wildlife (which sometimes included mammals such as mountain lions, bobcats, bears, mink, bald eagles, osprey, blue herons, various species of snakes, lizards, newts, and salamanders, and hundreds of other types of birds), fishing, camping, swimming, water skiing, etc.
I went to high school at Lower Lake High School, some twenty miles away from my home. After graduating, I went to San Diego State University where I got my B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology (no surprise there, eh?) and a minor in Physical Education.
You can read more here.
A while back, Gods and Heroes announced a design-an-emote contest. Today, they have presented the 10 best entires from this contest.
In the gaming universe, MMOs are unmatched in their ability to let gamers create their own virtual selves. Which is why emotes are so cool: They let in-game avatars express exactly how someone is feeling in real life. So we here at Perpetual Entertainment decided to find out what emotes the loyal denizens of the Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising Community would like to see in the game. To that end, we created a contest to find the 10 best emotes our community could come up with. And, just as we knew they would, our community responded with some spectacular ideas. The response to the contest was overwhelming. But we eventually managed to whittle the list down to just 10 emotes that our readers wanted to see included in the game.
Check out the 10 winning entries in the Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising Design an Emote Contest!
For more on Gods and Heroes click here.
Lord of the Rigns Online has releaseda new Developer Journal. This one comes from Matt Elliott, a Worldbuilder for Turbine's upcoming MMOG. The journal focuses on World Content Systems.
Below, you will find a sample of the journal. To get the whole story, follow the link below.
Most MMOs are rife with numerous content and game systems that help bring their particular world together, making it feel more immersive and alive. Some of these systems may not be noticeable on the surface at first, but after a bit of digging and exploring, a player can discover a fortune in gameplay. The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ is no different. Our goal is to not only provide an epic story spanning across the lands of Eriador, but also support that story – and our world as a whole – with fun and interesting World Content Systems.
Welcome to World Content Systems 101
Look at the cute little squirrel!
Ambient Creatures are not limited solely to the fields, marshes, and forests. Farms are crowded with chicken roosts, pig pens, and cow pastures. You might even spy the local tabby cat sunning itself upon the cobblestones of Bree!
Enough about squirrels – where's my loot?
Read the whole thing here.
Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars Galaxies has released a new 14 day free trial of their game. "Starting now", you can download the ull version of the game along with its first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed.
Invite your friends and fellow adventurers to experience the excitement of Star Wars Galaxies!
Starting now, you can download the full versions of Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided™, and its first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed™, then jump in and play completely free for up to 14 days!
Adventure across 12 planets, 10 space sectors, and dozens of adventure zones - there is a whole galaxy of fun to be had in this massive multiplayer online Star Wars game.
This is only a taste of what's in store for new players – so help spread the word today! And, bring your friends in to the live the saga with you!
Click here to download the trial and get in on all the fun!
For more on SWG click here.
Dark Age of Camelot has announced that Test Version 1.86g is now live on Pendragon. Below, you will find the release notes.
NEW THINGS AND BUG FIXES
CAMELOT CLASSIC WORLD NOTES
For more on Dark Age of Camelot click here.
Guild Wars has released the playoff schedule for their Autmn Season, which begins on October 21st.
The playoff schedule for the Autumn Season is now available, and you can head over there to check out the first round matches. The action begins at 11:00 a.m. PDT (18:00 GMT) on Saturday, October 21, and successive matches begin over the next three hours. The semi-finals and finals will take place on Sunday, October 22. We'll update the brackets frequently over the course of the weekend. Check the Autumn Season Page for more details.
For more on Guild Wars click here.
Blizzard Entertainment has updated the Spells and Talents Preview section of their website for the upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade.
We have just updated the Burning Crusade Spells and Talents Preview. The spells and talents will continue to be updated as development and tuning progresses, so check back often.
For more on WoW click here.
NCsoft, the company behind the MMOG, Lineage II has announced the release of Lineage II: The Epic Collection. This new retail package gives players a chance to but not only the original game, but all of the game's five expansions.
Along with the game itself, the package comes with a number of new extras and 45 days worth of game time.
AUSTIN, Texas, October 19, 2006—NCsoft® today announced that a new retail package for its premier player-versus-player (PvP) massively multiplayer online PC game, Lineage® II, is available in stores across North America.
Lineage II: The Epic Collection is a special edition retail package which, for the first time, includes the original game plus all five expansions in one box. Also included in this unique, limited edition DVD set is a total of 45 days of game time, behind the scenes video footage, and a special in-game character mask only available to those who purchase The Epic Collection.
“With our customer base continually growing both here in North America and abroad, we felt it was time to offer both fans of Lineage II and new players a truly unique retail package,” said Dorothy Ferguson, NCsoft North America’s vice president of sales and marketing. “With the huge amounts of content we have added to Lineage II – more than doubling the game world’s size since launch in 2004 – we thought it made perfect sense to offer this unique collection. We hope current customers and new players alike will enjoy the benefits of The Epic Collection, which offers a lot of good extras for the same cost of a regular game time card.”
Lineage II: The Epic Collection is available at North American retailers and at the PlayNC® online store for an estimated street price of US$29.99. To purchase the game or other Lineage II merchandise, go to the NCsoft store at: https://store.plaync.com.
Lineage II, which launched in April 2004, has a worldwide customer base of more than 14 million. For more information about Lineage II, go to: http://www.lineage2.com.
The game is rated Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
For more on Lineage II click here.
The project manager of EverQuest: The Serpent Spine answers our questions about the launch of EverQuest's most recent expansion pack.
| MMORPG.com: Would you say that with all the improvements that the barrier to entry to EQ has been lowered over the years? i.e. It's easier for newcomers to the game to learn how to play it / less of a time-sink?
Jose Araiza: I personally think there's no better time to enter the world of Norrath. I think in the past, the enormous amount of content the game has was a little intimidating to people. That can be scary, especially if you come from more linear games where you don't have multiple choices or what to do next, or where to go hunt. I think that scares me, not necessarily all the options, but to think you may pick the wrong one... But, now, with The Serpent's Spine, a new player has a very focused progression path that provides new and exciting content. You can in fact go from level 1 to level 75 without ever leaving The Serpents spine Mountains. Now, mind you, the rest of the world is still there, so you don't have to JUST stay in The Serpents spine Mountains, but for those new to the game, I think this focused progression path takes away some of the entry barrier stress. And of course, there are the changes to the death system and overall playing downtime. Between this and The Serpent's Spine I really think new and returning players find EQ is the most fun it's been in a while.
The whole interview is here.
Jeremy Starley pens this new editorial that gives developers tips on how to learn from, but not rip off World of Warcraft.
| The flood of recent articles written about or by MMORPG developers on the subject of how to capture more players - and, by default, more money - has led me to believe that most developers still do not quite grasp the concepts that have driven the sales of one of the most popular MMORPGs of all time: World of Warcraft (WoW). Article after article, I read ideas that have little to nothing to do with the very simple reasons WoW is the 600lb gorilla in the mist that is the MMORPG market.
Fear not, oh lost developers. I'm going to point out three simple things you can do to have your very own gorilla.
The whole article is here.
The folks over at Sony Online Entertinment's EverQuest II have released a new Dev Chest. The Dev Chest points players and interested parties at forum posts made by EQII developers.
Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Dev Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts from the developers that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Dev Chest!
For more on EQII click here.
Dark Age of Camelot has made an adjustment to the way to their population bonuses are distributed on Gaheris and Mordred. Previously, they received the second-highest possible bonus. As of yesterday, it was announced that they would receive top-teir population bonuses.
The following quote was posted here on the Herald nearly a year ago: "Generally, we make the population bonus adjustments to keep the various realms in alignment with each other. Since neither Gaheris nor Mordred have realms, we generally do not adjust them. However, because of their lower populations, we decided to give them bonuses, as well. We assigned them second-best bonus adjustment available. As such, they will receive free levels every three days and all associated bonuses and discounts."
I'm posting today to let you know that this has changed. As of now, Mordred and Gaheris are enjoying the top-tier population bonuses, including a free level every two days instead of three, and all associated bonuses and discounts. This is a result of player feedback and close evaluation of those servers. Special thanks to our Team Leads for their help with this decision. Enjoy!
For more on DAoC click here.
There's a enw event in town over at Turbine's MMOG Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach. This one takes the form of a scavenger hunt. For more information on the rules and details, follow the link below.
Sir Lawrence D'Deneith is visiting Stormreach again, with another challenge for adventurers!
"Located throughout Smuggler's Rest and Stormreach's various wards (Harbor, Marketplace, Houses Deneith, Phiarlan, Kundarak and Jorasco as well as the Cemetary), I have hidden rare collectibles in obscure corners, bushes and waters located throughout the city. My challenge to you is to find them!"
Read it all here.
This weekend will greet the return of the Shing Jea Boardwalk, a haven for fun and exciting activities. Not only that, but the Dragon Arena will also be open for fun and exciting PvP action.
This weekend, visit Shing Jea Monastery and follow the crowds to the Boardwalk, that popular venue for fun activities and games of chance. The Boardwalk will be open all weekend long, beginning on Friday, the 20th, at Noon PDT and ending on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PDT. During the weekend, you can also enjoy exciting PvP action in the popular Dragon Arena. Simply speak to the NPC in Shing Jea Monastery to join the fun!
For more on Guild Wars click here.
The Halloween event over at Blizzard, the makers of the extremely popular MMOG, World of Warcraft begins today. Known as Hallow's End, the event will see characters participating in traditional and not so traditional Halloween activities.
Observed by both the Horde and the Alliance, Hallow's End is the celebration of the break between the Forsaken and the Scourge. Adventurers can speak to innkeepers to get silly masks to wear during their adventures, and much more.
Learn more about this event, which runs from October 18 until November 1, on our Hallow's End page.
For more on World of Warcraft, click here.
Starting today, Cryptic Studios, the company behind NCsoft's City of Heroes / City of Villains will be starting their expanded halloween event. This year will see players of both game be able to participate in classis Halloween activities like Trick-or-Treating, as well as new themed-monsters, pumpkins and more.
Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 18, NCsoft and Cryptic Studios are launching a new expanded version of one of its most popular in-game activities, the Halloween Trick or Treat event in the City of Heroes and City of Villains games.
Beginning at 10 a.m. CST on Oct. 18 and ending on midnight on Nov. 1, players in both “City of …” games will be able to go trick-or-treating. Players can “knock” on random doors in the hero’s Paragon City or in the villain’s Rogue Isles and will receive either treats such as inspirations and temporary powers, or nasty tricks in the form of blood-thirsty ghouls and other creatures. As players defeat the ghouls, they will receive items from a special set of four savage drops that once all are collected can be turned into an additional character costume slot by delivering the salvage to special new contacts in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles.
Additionally, pumpkins will appear all over both game environments and giant monsters such as the Jack of Irons and the Pumpkin King, and their minions, will roam the streets adding to the mayhem during the in-game event. Additional treats such as badges will be available for defeating the Halloween-themed monsters.
On the night of Halloween itself, signature heroes and villains will appear at the Pocket D Dance Club to mix and mingle with Halloween revelers.
For more information about the Halloween event go to:
For more on CoH click here.
Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, has released a new "Exploring Middle Earth" feature. This time around, they take a look at Archet, a small hamlet to the northeast to Bree-town.
Archet is a small hamlet in Bree-land lying to the northeast of Bree-town, nestled at the edge of the Chetwood. The town and its outlying lands are inhabited by farmers and other rustic folk, who have little use for the bustle of big town life. A few hobbits dwell here, but the inhabitants are predominantly Big Folk.
The lack of any real authority and the peaceful nature of Archet's people have recently drawn the attentions of a band of brigands known as the Blackwolds, though rumour has it that the Blackwolds have much darker goals than terrifying common folk and farmers. To counter this threat, a retired sellsword by the name of Captain Brackenbrook has begun organizing the townsfolk into a makeshift garrison to repel the advances of the brigands.
Little is said of Archet in The Lord of the Rings, other than a brief description of its locations, allowing the developers at Turbine some room to expand on its personality. Building upon Professor Tolkien's allusion to troubles with 'robbers' in the region, Archet became the starting location for Men and the threshold from which both Men and Hobbits begin their journey in The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™.
For more LOTRO click here.
The newest expansion for City of Heroes / City of Villains is now up and running on the game's test server. Issue 8: To Protect and Serve put the focus on the Heroes side of the game, in contrast to that previous Issue 7, which shone the spotlight onto the Villains.
We are pleased to announce that City of Heroes / City of Villains Issue 8: To Protect and Serve is now live on the Training Room (Test Server).
For more on City of Heroes click here.
The Managing Director of Duplex Systems drops in to answer questions from Staff Writer Garrett Fuller about his sci-fi MMP that launched in March '06.
| MMORPG.com: Player crafting is always very important for MMO players. How has crafting grown in the game and what areas can players expect improvement?
Marko Dieckmann: The economic cycle has always been one of the most innovative features in Face of Mankind. Everything in the game has to be produced by the players. This creates very dynamic markets and gives a lot of power to the players. We only control the basic prices for raw materials along with basic mining and production costs. The rest is controlled by the Dominion citizens. Each faction can define tax rates on the colonies they own. The economic cycle is closed, which means all money that is spent will go somewhere else and won't be lost.
A few months ago we introduced the new real-time mining and production system and we've balanced it a lot since then. The only thing we still need to introduce to complete a believable economic cycle is item decay. Item decay means that items that cannot be destroyed, used or emptied (such as weapons, implants, clothes etc.) will age and at one point become unusable. This feature is on our to-do-list.
The full interview is here.
John Smedley, the President of Sony Online Entertainment, has posted a new blog over at station.sony.com. This time around, Smedley talks about the Playstation 3 and its potential.
John Smedley's latest blog is now available at blog.station.sony.com.
A Microsoft Blogger Says PS3 Online "Likely Underwhelming".
John Smedley disagrees, pointing out some very common sense basics about online communities. It's an interesting read for sure.