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Stargate Worlds : Mini-Game Design in Stargate Worlds

Posted May 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

Steve Williams of Firesky, the company creating the MMORPG Stargate Worlds, writes this dev log on the game's official page which highlights mini-games in the upcoming MMO.

My name is Steve Williams, and I am a MMO gamer and also a casual gamer. Give me an MMO, and I’ll play it. Give me a simple Flash game and I’ll play it. Wouldn’t it be fun if someone could mix the two flavors together and make a peanut butter cup of gameplay that would satisfy both MMO fun and casual fun?

So let’s talk about what mini-games are doing in a self-respecting MMO like Stargate Worlds - let’s talk about putting the peanut butter into the chocolate and making something tasty.

Since time immemorial, or at least the past few years, MMOs have focused upon two things: Killing stuff (and getting their loot) and making stuff for people to go kill stuff (and get their loot). As building games goes, that’s a pretty good spread of features, and it’s not too hard to make that work.

Read it all here.

Tabula Rasa : Talking to New Lead Designer Tom Potter

Posted May 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

Tom Potter, the new Lead Designer for NCsoft's Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, sits down with MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood to talk about his thoughts on the game and where it's heading.

MMORPG.com:

Can you give us an idea of your own personal game design experience?

Tom Potter

If you had told me when I was eight years old, "hey kid, you're gonna be making games someday", I think my head would have exploded.

Whether it was making my own rules for Axis and Allies, or actually sending Nintendo proposals in the mail (which were all kindly rejected), I always knew I wanted to be a game designer. But back then it really didn't seem like a viable career path. So I took a long detour through some other fields before realizing that is was in fact possible to make games and make it a career. I was a chemist for a while, but it just wasn't really fulfilling personally. So I made the decision to switch careers, and through a lot of blood, sweat and tears I finally got a chance to join the industry. Prior to joining NCsoft I worked at Iron Lore Entertainment as Lead Content Designer. While there I worked on Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, and a little bit of Dawn of War: Soulstorm. I joined NCsoft initially as a Senior World Designer and was responsible for making maps and instances. I just recently transitioned to the Lead Designer role which is really a whole new set of challenges. But the team is really fantastic and we're making strides towards making TR better and better with every update.

Read the whole interview here.

Age of Conan : PayByCash Offers Payment Alternatives

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom and PayByCash have announced a partnership which will open up alternative payment methods for Age of Conan players which don't require the use of a credit card.

Charlottesville, VA (May 27, 2008) - PayByCash®, a division of Internet Payment Solutions, Inc., will provide non-credit card payment services for Funcom’s much anticipated, award winning Age of Conan massively multiplayer online game for PC. With the support of PayByCash, Funcom can offer Age of Conan subscribers throughout the world access to premium content through more than 70 payment methods not requiring a credit card.

“Funcom is pleased to expand its relationship with PayByCash. Their product and support services integrate seamlessly into the Age of Conan website, allowing us to tap into a vast customer base that chooses not to use credit cards,” said Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “We are incredibly proud of the Age of Conan game and can’t wait to see players experience the amazing adventures we have created.”

Added Kevin Higgins, CEO of PayByCash, “We are excited to be a part of the Age of Conan release. We have seen the excitement generated by the million beta subscribers and phenomenally successful early access programs. We know that PayByCash increases the ability of Funcom to reach more premium subscribers worldwide through our partnership. Our business has a global reach, allowing players from every region of the world reliable access to Age of Conan’s premium content, using the payment method of their choice.”

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : PvP Tournament Results

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

FLS has posted the results from the PvP tournament which was held on the Pirates of the Burning Sea test server over the weekend.

The Testbed server PvP Tournament was held Saturday May 24th, 2008. Held in Irish Point, thirty-four participants crammed the docks to receive their skill points and inventory from FLS staff, fraxl and Rhaegar. Participants were able to try out the new skill sets, including the new Buccaneer class, as well as try out new ships for the upcoming 1.4 patch. POTBS Boarding party members were on hand to help players find their opponents and bridge the barrier of national chats.

Round one kicked off the tournament with 17 separate battles. Ventrilo was abuzz as the competitors discovered how to use their new skill sets and fight their new opponents. Enthusiasm ran high as the rounds continued and players worked their way through the double elimination brackets. Many players were heard remarking how they really enjoyed the competition and it got their adrenaline pumping. One player noted that even though he had lost the battle, it was one of the best one on one PvP fights he had experienced in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Worldwide Invitational Tickets On Sale

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that tickets to the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational, to be held at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Centre in Paris on the 28th and 29th of June, will go on sale next week.

We're pleased to announce that additional tickets for the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational will be available on the Worldwide Invitational website next week.

This year's Worldwide Invitational will be held here in Europe, at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Centre in Paris, France, on the 28th and 29th of June. Both days of the event will feature a variety of activities including hands-on play with the latest versions of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II, the chance to meet Blizzard executives and developers in discussion panels and signing sessions, participate in community tournaments and dance, costume, and machinima contests, watch top eSports competitors from around the world play in exciting invitational tournaments and much more! Tickets are priced at ¤70 / £55 for the two-day event and can be purchased by credit or debit card.

You can find additional information about the event on our official website, including a comprehensive F.A.Q. and an interactive map of Paris, France, where the Worldwide Invitational will take place.

Read more here.

Angels Online : New Server Branches

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be opening two new server branches for Angels Online on June 3rd.

Angels Online is a cute MMORPG brought to you by IGG. Since its release in December of 2007, it has grown substantially in popularity with online gamers.

Following the release of a new edition 'Eden' in early May, and in order to offer a better service to new and existing players, IGG have decided to open a server branch in Nisroc and Sofiel on June 3rd.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tabula Rasa have returned from their long weekend with the Weekend Wrapup, which details some of the weekend's PvP action.

Friday Night Fights
A note from DeadRinger from PlanetTR...

It was FNF's 30th Event as we originated from the Orion Server! It was a great night of fighting as a number of new faces made their FNF debuts and started turning heads right from the start.

In the first round - Fare defeated Chandler, Andriss beat Machka, Venka overcame Darkspawn, Glass took out Inositol, Patton defeated Mordahel and Slamscape took out Bethel.

In the second round - Fare overcame Morse, Venka defeated Andriss, Glass took out Patton and Nagorski beat Slamscape

In the Semi-Finals - Fare defeated Venka and Nagorski beat Glass

In the Finals - Nagorski scored the win over Fare.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Baugarch

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Baugarch, an elite warg that wanders the Chetwood with the the Blackwold brigands.

In the Chetwood, the Blackwold brigands have established an encampment from which they assail the various villages of Bree-land. The entire brigand band put together, however, is not as much of a threat as the guardian left there by Éogan of Angmar.

Wandering through the Chetwood and the Blackwold camp is a vile Warg that came with Éogan out of the North. Baugarch is feared by all who dwell there, even the wild wolves who make their den to the west of the Blackwold encampment. Many an unwary woodsman has vanished in the Chetwood, taken by the evil Baugarch.

Read more here.

Champions Online : Cryptic Rethinks Archetypes

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted a dev blog where they look at the design process of an MMO, and re-examine the role of character archetypes in Champions Online.

No game design is perfect. There are so many factors that go into the design of a video game, especially a massively-multiplayer role-playing game, that hitting on a perfect design from the start is nearly impossible. There are unforeseen elements that crop up from the interactions of dozens of game systems over a huge amount of game content. There are technical budget limitations that force designers to make decisions on how to evaluate whether to make game features simpler or cutting them entirely. As game implementation proceeds over the course of months and years, the initial game design may evolve into something quite different than original conception.

The initial game design is largely based on a game design vision, IP considerations, industry trends, and budget. The design process is shepherded by the creative officer of a company and the respective design leads, with additional consideration by company directors, investors, publishers, marketers, etc. Decades worth of game design experience go into the initial game designs for a project as it goes through much iteration of conceptual design, analysis, and buyoff from all parties involved.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : 400,000 Players Enter Age of Conan

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has announced Age of Conan as one of the fastest selling PC Games of all time, with more than 400,000 players entering the game since it launched last week.

Durham, USA – May 26th, 2008 – Funcom is proud to announce that Age of Conan is one of the fastest selling PC games of all time. More than 400.000 gamers have entered Hyboria over the last few days, with almost half coming from the North American market. This amazing figure for a PC game shows that the positive pre-order trend has transferred into actual sales, and people from all over the world are now flocking to the most savage, sexy and brutal MMO ever created.

Over the weekend an astounding amount of concurrent gamers were logged on to the game, making Age of Conan one of the busiest MMOs in the western hemisphere. With stock flying out of several retail chains, Funcom expects the number to increase in the days to come. In addition to the many gamers logging in, there was also substantial traffic to the Age of Conan websites, with more than 2,2 million unique visitors during the last ten days.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Fortaleza da Luz Playtests

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software is inviting Pirates of the Burning Sea players with at least one level 50 character to join them for a series of playtests in Fortaleza da Luz, the game's new epic mission.

In the early 1500s, the Knights of Christ established a grand bastion in the Caribbean and named it Fortaleza da Luz: “The Fortress of God’s Light”. Several years later, when Portuguese missionaries victualed there, they found the fortress in ruins; its denizens were nowhere to be found.

Over two centuries have passed, and something stirs once again within the walls of Fortaleza da Luz…

You can be the first to see this new epic mission content!

We are inviting active Pirates of the Burning Sea customers with at least one level 50 character to join us in our Seattle offices to participate in a series of playtests. These playtests will allow us to gather feedback on our new epic mission, Fortaleza da Luz. In addition to seeing brand new swashbuckling content, players will get some Pirates of the Burning Sea swag and a free dinner out of the deal. Sound interesting?

Sessions will take place in Seattle from 6:45 – 9:15pm on the following evenings:
Thursday May 29
Tuesday June 2
Friday June 6

Read more here.

General : SOE Podcast 36

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The 36th edition of the SOE Podcast is now available, bringing information and comentary on SOE's family of games.

Official SOE Podcast #36 is live!!!  Craig “Grimwell” Dalrymple delivers the news while Pex takes a vacation. Take a listen and meet Brad Wilcox Executive Director of Customer Service, and we chat with Emily "Domino" Taylor Game Designer, EQII Tradeskills!  Timmy stops in to update us on what's going on with him. Brenlo and Ashlanne talk about their trip to Seattle and class is in session so listen in to learn how to pronounce the EQ Server Name.

Read more here.

D&D Online : Monk Sparring with the DDO Devs

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tubine have announced an event on Dungeons and Dragons Online's Risia server, where players can learn the ways of the new monk class.

So, you come seeking knowledge of the Way of the Monk?
Many students have begun their journey on the Risia server, and now you too can join in the lessons...

To kick off Monk Week here on Dungeons & Dragons Online, there will be a dojo sparring for all Monk students on the Risia Preview server Tuesday, May 27th at 8:00 PM EST (-4 GMT). Join one of our four Monk masters in the PvP taverns of Stormreach, where you may use your Monk skill against other students to experiment with your new found abilities.

Read more here.

Zu Online : New Server

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be adding a new server for Zu Online and they are offering players the opportunity to submit name suggestions for this new server, with the chance to win rewards.

The Zu Online team is pleased to announce that the population in the Zu world has increased significantly since the release of the new edition and current Patch.

In order to relieve population stress and offer better service as well as celebrate the upcoming 2nd Anniversary of IGG, a brand new server will be available starting June 6th.

Players can send an E-mail to zu@igg.com with their ideas for the server name and have the chance to win abundant rewards!

E-mail Format:

  • Topic: No Name + Your favorite server name
  • IGG Account: Enter your IGG account (for the reward)
  • Character Name: Enter your Character name (for the reward)
  • E-mail: Enter your E-mail address
  • Server Name: Enter your favorite server name

Read more here.

Elf Online : Summer Vacation Sale

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Elf Online have announced a Summer Vacation Sale in the Elf Online Item Mall.

Wonderful summer vacation is coming. Elf Online is happy to introduce to you the summer vacation sale campaign with offers up to 80% discount for all mall items.

This sale is for a limited time only. Starting from Jun 1st to Jul 1st.

Use this time to stock up on the things you have been eyeing for! Stay tuned for more exciting items up for grabs on last lap of sale.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Jorgen Tharaldsen on XBox360

Posted May 26, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to sit down to talk with Funcom Product Manager Jorgen Tharaldsen and talk about the XBox360 implementation for AoC.

Recently, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to sit down to talk with Funcom Product Manager Jorgen Tharaldsen and talk about the XBox360 implementation for AoC.

Jorgen Tharaldsen on XBox360 and AoC

Check out the whole video here.

Age of Conan : A Meeting with King Conan

Posted May 26, 2008 by Jon Wood

Here, Game Director Gaute Godager gives us a look at a player's first meeting with King Conan in Funcom's new MMO, Age of Conan. Remember, this is a spoiler, so if you don't want to know, don't watch it!

Here, Game Director Gaute Godager gives us a look at a player's first meeting with King Conan in Funcom's new MMO, Age of Conan. Remember, this is a spoiler, so if you don't want to know, don't watch it!

Conan

Check it out here.

Requiem : New Screenshots

Posted May 23, 2008 by Jon Wood

The developers of the horror-based MMORPG Requiem: Bloodymare have sent along these six new exclusive screenshots for our viewing pleasure.

Check out all six here.

Jumpgate Evolution : An ION Interview with NetDevil

Posted May 23, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, MMORPG.com's own Carolyn Koh had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the team from NetDevil about their work on the upcoming MMORPG Jumpgate Evolution.

Jumpgate Evolution is not a massive update to Jumpgate. It is a completely different game. “Basically, this is a response to focus testing and user feedback,” said Scott Brown, President of Netdevil. “We can’t have Netdevil just do another game. It has to be a great game.”

Once Jumpgate Evolution launches, it will run side by side with Jumpgate until which time, Jumpgate ceases to be viable, if ever. “We still have a lot of players that love the game and we’ll continue supporting it,” said Scott, “Jumpgate Evolution will essentially be like Asherons Call 2 and EverQuest 2. Set in a similar, yet different world. A world of the future.”

At the Connect event in the UK, Netdevil partnered with their UK publisher Codemasters to bring the game to players there. They were able to have the public play test a vertical slice of the game on 50 PCs. “They played the new user experience, and it was the first proof of concept that the new user experience in Jumpgate Evolution works.” Netdevil has treated Jumpgate Evolution as a “Live” project from the get go, with internal testing and developers playing the game. The story takes part in a later time and different part of space, but current players of Jumpgate will absolutely find it familiar.

Read it all here.

World of Warcraft : World of Warcraft Arena Tournament

Posted May 23, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard and Championship Gaming Series (CGS) have announced details of the second annual World of Warcraft Arena Tournament, which has a top prize of $25,000.

The Championship Gaming Series (CGS) has announced its second annual World of Warcraft Arena Tournament. The top 1,000 3-vs.-3 Arena teams from North America and Europe will be invited to participate in an open-ladder competition running June 9 to June 22. The top two teams from each region will compete in a live final in Los Angeles, California for a top prize of $25,000. For more information, please check the FAQ. Good luck to all of the participating teams!

Read more here.