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MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood has updated his blog with a launch day entry for Age of Conan. Part preview, part pure personal opinion, Wood talks about the elements that help him to decide on an MMO and tells us how AoC stacks up.
Well, today is the day that many have been looking forward to for quite some time. For some, it has been as long as five years. In case you have been living under a big ‘ol MMO rock for the last few months, and don’t know what I’m talking about, today marks the launch of Funcom’s Age of Conan.
To celebrate, or perhaps commemorate the event, I decided to write this little entry in my ever-expanding blog. No, this isn’t an official review. I haven’t spent nearly enough time in-game to properly review the game. What I can do though, is put together an article on my thoughts about the game from my experiences in Closed Beta and in Early Access.
Let’s start by talking a little bit about Funcom’s beta. I’m going to go out on a limb here and proclaim the Fileplanet Open Beta to have been a bit of a gaffe on Funcom’s part. By that I mean that it shouldn’t have happened. My opinion may have changed if they had called it a Fileplanet Preview or something similar, but it left a bad taste in the mouths of some people, being told they had to pay for a beta (actually, they weren’t paying for the beta, they were paying for a Fileplanet membership, but why muddy this with logic?), and then being brought in for an extremely buggy experience (not that everyone was having the same bad time. Personally, I hardly crashed at all and experienced very little lag).
Read the whole entry here.
At the recent ION conference, MMORPG.com's Carolyn Koh had the opportunity to speak with Joe Ybarra of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment's Stargate Worlds. The pair talked about the progress of the game, and a little bit about subjects like beta and mini-games.
Joe Ybarra is one of the original game producers for Electronic Arts. His roster of achievements in award winning games include Bards Tale and Starflight, and his MMORPG credits include Shadowbane and Matrix Online. At the 2008 ION Games Conference, I finally tracked him down for a chat about Stargate Worlds which will be published by FireSky, a subsidiary of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment.“How,” I asked Joe Ybarra, Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations at Firesky, “did you get involved in making Stargate World?” I wanted to know how a small software company that started out as Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment ended up with an IP like Stargate and the cooperation with MGM studios for an MMORPG.
Read the article here.
NCsoft has been kind enough to supply us with a pair of developer diaries discussing the rework of Magma Caverns. In this first diary, Lead World Designer Michael Hutchison gives us his take.
The rework of Magma Caverns was undertaken as part of our team’s efforts to make each area of the game as consistent as possible with the other areas of the game. We’re always looking at ways to make the players’ entire experience in Tabula Rasa feel as polished as possible, and to improve upon areas that might not hold up as well as others. With Magma Caverns, we felt we had a really great opportunity to make dramatic improvements to map flow, mission design, visual interest, and overall quality of presentation. I am here to talk about my perspective on what Magma Caverns was and what it will be, with Deployment 8, coming up soon.As we considered the area more, we got excited by some new ideas, and the prospects of making some notable improvements to the map and its missions for the players. We were motivated by a few main concerns, which guided our criteria for the re-work. Among them: that the instance should offer more level-appropriate content, that it should have a tone in keeping with the storyline, that its conclusion should be more satisfying, and that the visual points of interest should be highlighted in more dramatic ways.
Read more here.
In the Latest Question of the Week on the Earthrise Forums, the folks at Earthrise delve into the game's physics engine.
There’s been a fair bit of discussion about jumping and physics. Can you tell us a little about the type of physics we can expect to see? Will there be ragdoll style effects? What about jumping? Will we be able to jump in combat?
While designing Earthrise engine we tried to build the best realistic experience and in the same time balance client requirements and server load. The physics engine will run simultaneously on the client and on the server. The server will ensure that the physics results from the client are feasible and prevent cheating. We are using a 3rd party physics core, which can take advantage of hardware and GPU acceleration and also have some internally-coded subsystems. Player movement and control is governed by the physics engine – forces such as gravity or wind (and other) will affect players, NPCs, and other game objects. Player mounts (vehicles) have mass and their movement and collisions are generated by the physics engine. Visual effects, such as particle systems, explosion blast waves, and projectiles will use the physics engine too, on the client side. The audio subsystem will use physics world and object materials to generate proper sound effects.
Read more here.
Nexon America has announced Generation 2: Paladin, the latest episode in Mabinogi's epic storyline.
Los Angeles, CA - May 19, 2008 - Nexon America Inc. delivers the latest episode to the epic storyline of Mabinogi with Generation 2: Paladin. The evolution of Mabinogi continues with this massive update, which features the new town of Emain Macha, as well as the opportunity to further discover the game’s mysterious world and history through new quests, dungeons and monsters. These fresh additions only augment Mabinogi’s current immense offering of game play choices.
Players will learn new skills, such as the fire ball spell, and acquire new weapons, including the mace and leather long bow, to use in the new dungeons. The update also extends the game’s overarching storyline, enabling players to obtain new Paladin abilities. This Paladin skill gives players enhanced power and come to fruition in the mainstream storyline, which requires players to emerge as Paladin, the Knight of Light, to battle an invading evil force.
With an engrossing narrative, myriad of game play options and unique art style, it’s no wonder players are charmed by Nexon’s latest game. Mabinogi’s distinct combination of learning magic, cooking, shearing sheep and composing music has struck a chord with players. And it’s strategic, real-time combat system continues to provide a breath of fresh air for those who wish to leave the daily grind behind.
Read more here.
Cryptic Studios has added a profile of Justiciar, a Canadian super hero with ice themed abilities, to their ever growing roster of characters in Champions Online.
David Burrell had it all – good looks, intelligence, athletic ability, and a family fortune that could pay for a life of privilege and comfort that most people only dream of.
But none of that mattered to David – he'd rather be climbing a mountain than standing atop the pillars of the business world. Drawn to a life of adventure in the great outdoors, he gave up his place in the family corporation to climb the mountains he loved, and found joy and peace among the snowy peaks.
David was climbing Mount Assiniboine with a friend when an ice sheet gave way. David plunged more than fifty feet, landing on a ledge and breaking his back. Paralyzed and helpless, David begged for death. Instead, he was rescued, but in addition to his other injuries David lost a leg and a hand to hypothermia.
Read more here.
The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a devlog which answers the question, "What's going on in Customer Service?"
Aether’s been hounding me to do a devlog on what’s going on in Customer Service. I keep telling him we’re too busy trying to respond to incidents; we don’t have time for his nonsense. But he’s a persistent fellow so here goes.
Overall, things have improved a great deal, I think. We’re still not where we want to be! Trust me when I say we’re still not satisfied with a number of aspects of our overall support. For example, we still have a backlog of incidents submitted months ago. That’s totally unacceptable. The backlog has shrunk considerably since my last devlog, but it still exists and I’m still losing sleep over it. Also, it still happens periodically that a CSR will give a suboptimal response. Whether it be something that would seem to imply they didn’t read your question or request or whether it be just flat out the wrong info, it still happens. That’s also unacceptable. Most CSRs have improved a great deal over time with experience and training. A couple CSRs no longer respond to customer reports but instead help out in other ways.
And that’s actually one of the improvements we’ve made. For every shift, there’s typically a CSR or multiple CSRs on the front line, focusing on responding to tickets in a timely fashion. They spend their time teleporting people out of locked rooms and banning gold spammers and answering tickets. Then there are 2nd-tier CSRs focusing on doing research. Can we repro the bug this player reported? How best to help this customer who has somehow gotten his missions out of order? Did we just uncover a gold-farming ring? That sort of research takes time and the CSRs doing it can’t really pay attention to the queue. But they can be called in to help with the queue if it starts getting out of hand. Similar to how a grocery store will open another lane, pulling in someone who had been stocking shelves a few minutes ago, when the lines get long. When we first launched, cashiers didn’t know how to stock the shelves so, if there was no line, they tended to stand around bored. Now the front-line folks are better trained and can help the 2nd-tier folks with the research and vise versa.
Read more here.
Vivox has announced that they have brought Matthew Bellows on board as their new Vice President for Consumer Strategy.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – May 20, 2008 – Vivox Inc., the premier provider of voice services to online games and virtual worlds, has added Matthew Bellows to its executive team as vice president consumer strategy. In his new role, Matthew is responsible for extending the reach and capabilities of Vivox’s voice services into new games, virtual worlds and communities.
Matthew Bellows brings significant videogame and online media experience to his role at Vivox. Prior to joining Vivox, Bellows served as General Manager for Floodgate Entertainment, making videogames with EA, Disney, Nokia, Microsoft and many others. Before Floodgate, Bellows was the co-founder of WGR Media, the leading publication for mobile entertainment consumers. At WGR, he formed web, mobile and print distribution partnerships with Verizon, Sprint, Ziff-Davis and Yahoo!. He sold WGR to CNET Networks in 2004.
“Matthew has an impressive track record of launching innovative services and driving market development,” said Rob Seaver, CEO of Vivox. “His demonstrated success in creating new products and forming successful business alliances will strengthen our position as the leading provider of voice services to the online game industry and bring significant value to our clients.”
Read more here.
The folks at Conquer Online have announced that they are adding a new server which will go by the name of Centaur.
The new Centaur server will be released on May 26th. This new server will be listed in the Myths group.
All players on the Centaur server will be given a free Heaven's Blessing for one month as long as they leave from the Birth Village in the game. That means: they can enjoy an extra 20% killing experience, offline training, one hour of double experience time for each day, the ability to revive at the place where they die and other benefits.There will be additional servers opening up in the coming months and we would like your input in selecting names for these new groups and servers.
Read more here.
The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Bill Ferny, a local rogue in Bree-town, and a background villain in Tolkien's trilogy.
Every town has its ruffians and rogues – bad apples, so to say. Bree-town has more than its fair share, but none with more of an ill name than Bill Ferny. Bill is known for his foul disposition, his rotten manners, and his ill treatment of both animals and people alike. Some believe he even has ties to the bands of brigands roaming the countryside beyond the town…
In recent days, unsavoury travellers have been seen passing in and out of Bill’s home, beyond the Woodworker’s Gate in Bree. He also takes long strolls outside the town walls late at night, with no word as to where he goes. His foul and secretive ways have caused the Bree-folk to shun him, leaving him free to do whatever mischief he desires.
Read more here.
Happymmo has prepared a guide to the Master and Apprentice System in Elf Online.
The Master-Apprentice System is one of the best systems in Elf Online (http://elf.happymmo.com/). Both master and apprentice will benefit from this relationship. The apprentice is going to earn a lot of exp, sp, money and some items (level 20 armor chest, level 40 weapon, some plus-calcium potatoes and more); the master earns virtue points when the apprentice finishes his quests, and those points can be exchanged by sp or some items.
1) How to be a master/apprentice? In order to have an apprentice you should be at least on 45, and your apprentice should be on any level below 40 (but the apprenticeship will last until the apprentice completes all the quests)
2) How to start a mastership/apprenticeship? Go with your master/apprentice to Carefree (1400, 1292) or Wulong (1912, 1044) Village. You should be in a party with your master (and only with him) and the master should be the leader of the party. Talk with Muddled Doctor, click on "Establish Master-Apprentice Relationship", them will pop up to the apprentice a question, asking him if he accepts the master or not.
3) The Apprentice's quests There are 4 quests that the apprentice needs to do:
1- A questionnaire (at any level).
The apprentice needs to answer 5 questions. The answers of the questions are: 1)Manufacturing 2)Keen, soldier, magic, assist, control 3)Alt+H 4) this one i still dunno the answer :/ 5)30 secs
2- A questionnaire (at level 20)
The apprentice needs to answer 10 questions. The answers of the questions are: 1-sorcerer 2-1 an hour 3-1-3 higher 4-ts1 ep1 5-11 6-Control 7-phantom city 8-2 times 9-i dunno the answer 10-24 hours
3-Kill Snake King (at level 30)
The master and the apprentice must kill the snake king together (may have another ppl in the party).
4-Change Job (at level 40)
The last quest is to help the apprentice to change his job.
If you're a new player, try to find a master, to level up quickly and earn a lot of good things.
Read more here.
In advance of the Eden expansion for Angels Online, IGG has prepared a brief guide to the “Mysterious Area” event that will run until May 29th.
To go with the new expansion, the brand new “Mysterious Area” event has been released as well. Today the AO team is going to give their players a sneak preview of the new event.
This new area is just as mysterious as the name implies. It is a secret and wild part of Eden that has yet to be fully explored or understood. Players should talk to the Assoc.Scholar (NPC), and obtain an indispensable item called the Dawn Area Ticket in order to enter the area. Players from the Production class will be able to obtain some rare materials, meanwhile players from the Fighting class are able to obtain more experience, gold as well as cool equipment from monsters.
The “Mysterious Area” event has started today, and it will end on May 29th.
Read more here.
Joymax has announced details of the next expansion for Silkroad Online. The expansion, called Legend III Roc Mountain, will feature a new area, a level cap increase, and new monsters, items, and quests.
Joymax, an independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment for the global market, today announced a new expansion for its massively popular free-to-play MMORPG, Silkroad Online. Entitled Legend III Roc Mountain, the expansion will give players access to a mountainous new area west of historical Karakoram, and promise high-altitude adventure amongst the desolate peaks and rocky terrain. Treacherous new monsters that call the forbidding mountain ranges home will challenge even the bravest and most seasoned of adventurers as they take on epic quests to obtain the most precious armor, weapons, and shields available in the magical world of Silkroad Online.
New features for Legend III Roc Mountain include:
- New area: Explore the elevated battlegrounds of Roc Mountain
- Increased level cap: Advance to level 90 to earn new items and skills
- High-level monsters: Clash with treacherous monsters including the mighty Shaitan, the reclusive shaman with deadly summoning abilities
- Ninth degree items: Obtain the full set of never-before-seen armor, shields, weapons, robes, and accessories
- Brand new quests: Take on new high-level quests such as “Sayun’s Quest” for a chance to earn items like “Spirit Fragment”
Read more here.
At a recent live presentation of Funcom`s Age of Conan, Gaute Godager and Erling Ellingsen demonstrated the player built cities that are one of the perks of guild membership in-game, a unique process that closer recalls games like The Sims or Age of Empires than it does any previous MMO.
During a recent live presentation, Age of Conan's Gaute Godager and Erling Ellingsen told the gathered fans and media about player crated cities in the soon-to-be-released game.
Watch it here.
Today, SOE has announced a new card set for their Legends of Norrath trading card game. The new addition will be known as "Oathbreaker" and includes over 250 new cards.
Today, Sony Online Entertainment is set to announce a new card set for their Everquest spinoff trading card game, Legends of Norrath. The new card set, titled “Oathbreaker”, is the fourth set to join the game since it began. The new Oathbreaker set will launch on June 19th and will be the last set to release before the game’s $100,000 World Championship event at Gen Con Indy (August 14-17).
Read more here.
At a recent live presentation of Funcom`s Age of Conan, Gaute Godager and Erling Ellingsen demonstrated the different forms of combat in their game. In part one of the presentation the guys talked primarily about the melee combat combo system and the aimable ranged combat.
Combat Part One
During a recent live presentation, Age of Conan's Gaute Godager and Erling Ellingsen spoke about the different kinds of combat in the game. In part one of this video, they talk about ranged and melee combat.
Read more here.
Fans of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa have been posting concers about the game's Sniper class, and the folks at NCsoft have responded to those concerns in a recent post on the Tabula Rasa community site.
I actively read the forums and often find great information there. I have seen the posts over and over about how ineffective Snipers have become… But then I log in to my live Sniper (I play the game as an ordinary player and have many T4 characters including a sniper) and when I play it, I have no issues with sniping or close quarters combat. Granted the Torqueshell Rifle (TSR) doesn’t work well in close quarters, but that is the con to the TSR and I do have other tools available to both help me survive and effectively kill my opponents. I know the Shredder Ammo-Chaingun combination is overpowered on Live right now allowing me to target and destroy armies of Bane with little to no risk.
Called Shot 5 (CS5) was unbalanced since the game went live. It was supposed to give 50% bonus, but was instead giving 150% bonus. Snipers invested 15 skill points into this and used it as their bread and butter skill. It was never intended to be used that way. One shot kills were supposed to be attained through maxing out the TSR skill and Target Painting (TP). CS5 was supposed to deliver that added oomph when it was needed. I mean, 50% damage that stacks with Rage is nothing to sneeze at. I remember when it was on Live watching Snipers walk up to a target 5m away, debuff them with CS5 and then annihilate the target. It was pretty funny to watch, but not very ‘Sniper’ like ;-).
Anyway… I think that if given the ability to respec and experiment with builds, Snipers would find that their class has many great templates to work from. We have already made some opportunities for respecs available to the player, and I hope they become easier to attain with the new prestige system. It might also help if I gave you some tips and tricks that could help Snipers adjust to the dramatic skill changes they have endured over the past few patches.
Read more here.
Turbine has prepared a preview of a new underground raid wilderness area and event, which is set to be implemented in Module 7 for Dungeons and Dragons Online.
A searing fire erupts before Gustavine Kyerrh. Aaseamah Screven waves his hands through the blue smoke. The tendrils weave into a giant underground cavern. Clusters of rock grow. Ancient pillars take shape. Broken, shattered stalls and shreds of the Bazaar’s skin fade into existence. A dark figure dashes through the rubble and carnage. Gustavine’s concentration breaks. The scene vanishes. Veheer F’nord steps from the shadows, ‘They are still here.’
Fresh off the heels of our very successful anniversary event of destroying the Marketplace Bazaar (or rather, of Shavarath taking revenge on Stormreach), we’d like to introduce a new live event called ‘Unlocking the Subterrane’, which will go live with Module 7. The Subterranean is a large underground raid wilderness and two raid encounters, and we’re able to leverage our new event tech to get you, our players, in the driver’s seat on unlocking it.
Read more here.
Cryptic Studios has published another edition of Ask Cryptic, where they answer community questions about their upcoming superhero MMO, Champions Online.
You ask, we answer! Thanks to Arkayne, Continuum and BraiNEateR for taking time out of their busy schedules to drop some info about characteristics, Canada, neighborhood design and the costume creator!
Will there be characteristics such as Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, etc? (Gerebrand)
Arkayne (Lead Designer): Hey Gerebrand! We plan to have characteristics in the game that represent different aspects of your character. We are still working out the details of how exactly those characteristics affect your character and by what degree, but we plan to allow players to spend points to modify those characteristics as they progress in the game – it is part of our goal for "complete customization" of characters.
Will there be bosses like Hamidon that will require a large group of heroes using specific tactics to defeat? (Lokana)
Arkayne: Yes there are, Lokana! Right now we are implementing an ancient evil northern god in Canada called Kigatilik who is summoned into the world by his shamanic minion Tilingkoot. Kigatilik has ice demon-hounds, frost powers and a nasty "Curse of Kigatilik" which requires teams of players to react VERY carefully and quickly. It takes focused player coordination to avoid the worst of his offensive abilities, defeat his minions and take down Kigatilik himself. We have bosses like this spread throughout the game so players will have plenty of opportunities for daring heroics on a massive scale!
Read more here.