Australian developer Auran is hard at work on Fury, a fast-paced action oriented MMORPG. It took home our Most Surprising award at E3 2006 and we dispatched Staff Writer Jason Heans down to their studio to find out more. He filed this report based on a studio tour, play time and interviews with key developers.
| Since MMOs exploded onto the gaming scene a few years back it seems that everyone and their ranger’s pet has had a crack at the market. The problem facing these new games however, lies in the fact that no one has really done anything to set their MMO above the others. Aside from different classes, spells and death animations the onslaught of new MMOs look as if they’ve been cut from the same mould. That is, until Auran Studios releases its new MMO title next year, Fury.
I met with Adam Carpenter, Lead Designer and Jason Robson, Art Director in sunny Brisbane Australia to discuss their highly anticipated release. The first thing I can say about Fury is that it is unlike any other MMO I have ever played. Quite simply, the Auran team has gone back to the fundamentals of gaming. What might that be you ask? Fun!
You can read this in-depth report here.
The following entry appears on the forums for Darkfall. The thread, started by game developer Tasos, reveals, among other things, new in-game footage:
I’d like to talk a bit about the recent updates we’ve been putting out, and what they’re all about.
Interviews and features, where we talk about things we’ve talked about before, are targeted towards an audience that might not follow Darkfall very closely and may not know everything there is to know about the game. There will be many of these features and they're introductory to Darkfall. Even so, we always make a point to include new information, and to expand on old information. There’s no reason to get annoyed or disappointed. Darkfall is a massive competitive game, and you need a lot of people playing it. The best thing you could do to start enhancing your Darkfall experience right now, is to go out and spread the word about the game, and embrace new people with a “bring it on attitude” rather than having introversion within the community.
For the discriminating Darkfall connoisseur, we offer the weekly Darkfall Warcry Q&A, and there are more features forthcoming. These are targeted to a much smaller audience pre-launch, but in due time this audience will become the Darkfall playerbase.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading
For more on Darkfall, click here.
Funcom, the company responsible for the development of the new MMORPG, Age of Conan, has sent out a release letting us all know about a deal that Paradox Entertainment plans to make another Conan movie, adding to the already rich license:
Durham, USA — June 15, 2006 – Funcom points to an announcement from Paradox Entertainment where plans related to an upcoming Conan movie from Warner brothers are revealed and confirmed. According to Paradox Entertainment the deal may include several Conan movies.
Boaz Yakin has been hired as scriptwriter on the upcoming movie. He is known for titles like ‘Remember the Titans’ and ‘The Rookie’. One of the producers will be Akira Goldsman, known for titles like ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’, ‘Cinderella man’, ‘DaVinci code’ and the Oscar-winning ‘A Beautiful mind’, while additional producers include Irving Azoff, Jon Jashni and Richard Alexander. A director for the movie is to be selected this autumn.
"We are of course very happy to see that Warner Brothers are moving ahead with one, and potentially several, new Conan movies. We believe that this will further strengthen the Conan brand worldwide. The global fan-base of Conan will likely increase significantly and the marketing efforts of a Hollywood movie will have a very positive effect on all licensees working with the Conan brand, Funcom's Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO), ‘Age of Conan’, included." said Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom.
Funcom has the exclusive worldwide rights to make MMOs on the Conan license up until 2023.
More information about the MMO ‘Age of Conan’, screenshots, forums, newsletter sign-up and a welcoming community portal can be found on the official website http://www.ageofconan.com.
For more Age of Conan, click here.
Tibia has announced that they will be using their website to publish teasers for their audience about what is coming in the summer update:
Good news for all who are anxious to find out what this year's summer update will bring - the veil will be lifted soon!
Starting with next Wednesday, we will launch a series of teasers on this page which will introduce you to the Shattered Isles. The exciting new area will be introduced with the upcoming summer update and will hold many surprises for Premium Account players to explore. Take part in our trip to the South Seas and learn more about exotic islands, the bustling town of Liberty Bay and, of course, the bloodthirsty pirates who roam these lands! Don't forget to buy your Premium Account in time so you will be able to explore this great new area right from the start! Remember that Premium Accounts give you numerous advantages that ease your life as a Tibia player!
Have fun in Tibia!
For more on Tibia, click here.
On June 12th, Shadowbane released the notes for their June 2006 Hotfix. They have also produced another warning to players that would make use of exploits, that they have a zero tolerance policy:
The following changes have been made with the June 2006 Hotfix:
We must stress once again that we are opposed to any kind of cheating and are dedicated to maintaining a competitive but fair environment in Shadowbane. This will serve as a final warning to others who are using exploits. If you are caught using one, you will be banned without question from Shadowbane and your account will be revoked.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter. If you suspect someone of using an exploit or other instances of cheating, please send a petition in-game or through the Ubi.com Support Site or contact me directly.
For more on Shadowbane, click here.
Knight Online has announced that they are currently having some issues with PayPal payments. Along with the bad news though, they DO post the most recent number ones in each division (as of yesterday) for FIFA's World Cup:
We are currently experiencing difficulties processing transactions through PayPal. We would like to apologize for this and we are working diligently to restore this feature. Please bear with us while we resolve this issue. We would like to thank you for your patience in this matter and for playing Knight Online.
For those interested, here are the current FIFA World Cup leaders by group:
Group A Germany
For more on Knight Online, click here.
Codemasters has announced that tere is now an RSS feed available for their game, Rising Force Online (RF Online):
Codemasters Online Gaming is pleased to announce the availability of RSS feeds, so that fans may keep up to date on all the latest RF Online news and announcements!
Fansites and players can now make sure they are up to date on all the latest RF Online developments with the activation of our RSS feeds. Please use the following links to get your RSS feeds:
For more information on RSS feeds, please visit the following website:
For more on RF Online, click here.
Yesterday, we reported that EverQuest II's latest adventure pack, The Fallen Dynasty, was available for download. Today, we tell you that along with the purchase of the adventure pack, you also recieve a bonsai tree for your character's home:
Did you know The Fallen Dynasty comes with bonsai trees for your player house? Pick between the tranquil or harmonious bonsais – /claim one per character! Order your copy of EverQuest II's third Adventure Pack today! Find out more.
For more EQII, click here.
Turbine has released a few Release Notes for our reading pleasure. While we present only the Experience Table Adjustment section, there are areas for UI, Performance, Vendors and NPC, Items, Quests and more! Just follow the link below:
Experience Table Adjustment
In conjunction with the new solo options for the Harbor, we have made some adjustments to the experience required to get from level 1-3. Advancing to level 2 will now require 5,000 experience points instead of 10,000, and advancing to level 3 will require 20,000 total experience points instead of 30,000, allowing you to visit the trainers even earlier.
As a result of this sliding experience, the experience point requirements for level 3-10 will be 10,000 points lower. The amount of experience required to move from level 3 to level 10 will remain the same, but will require less total experience, as a result of the changes made at levels 1 and 2. To balance this out for existing characters, all characters who are currently level 3 and above will see a one-time, 10,000 point, experience shift closer to their next level. Please note: this is NOT a gift of 10,000 xp, merely a shift however depending on your current xp total this may grant you a new level or rank.
For more DDO, click here.
The Blizzard, World of WarCraft website has been updated with an update on Lanwar, Screenshots of the day, and the following story, which talks about an update to their Argent Dawn reuptations page:
The Argent Dawn reputations page has been updated with more rewards of superior and epic quality! Check out the new reputation rewards and new recipes in store for those who have proven their dedication to the Argent Dawn's fight against the Scourge. Click here to see what new items await you!
For more WoW, click here.
The new adventure pack for SOE's EverQuest II, The Fallen Destiny, is now available for download. The pack costs $7.99 and promises "Asian influenced adventure":
Asian-themed Adventure Pack Available via Digital Download, Adding New Challenges and Content to the World of EverQuest II
Sony Online Entertainment announced today that The Fallen Dynasty, the third adventure pack for EverQuest II, is now available for download at www.thefallendynasty.com for $7.99. Players that have subscribed to SOE’s Station Access service for two months or longer can download this new adventure pack at no charge. Players who purchase The Fallen Dynasty can also select one of two bonsai trees as a new in-game item for their player house.
Developed in conjunction with SOE’s Taiwan studio, The Fallen Dynasty delivers the same kind of story-rich content seen in the previously released The Bloodline Chronicles and The Splitpaw Saga. Players will encounter new Asian influenced adventure zones, environments, clothing and weaponry; new tradeskill rewards, as well as all new quests for the high level EverQuest II player (level 55-70). For those EQII players who haven’t played through the two previous expansions, The Fallen Dynasty raises the base game level cap from 50 to 55, so that they can get in on the fun and excitement of this new adventure.
In The Fallen Dynasty, players journey to a secluded island with a dark past, inhabited by rival families and an ancient order of monks known as the Whistling Fist Clan. The forsaken city of Tanaan once thrived here until its people's lust for knowledge led them to their own destruction when they arrogantly challenged the mighty guardian of Zebuxoruk's secrets. Now, courageous adventurers are needed to drive back the bloodthirsty Pirates of Gunthak invading the village's shores, thirsty for conquest, lost wealth, and the mysterious power hidden beneath the island's tranquil surface.
Features, EverQuest II: The Fallen Dynasty Adventure Pack
The EverQuest II base game is required to play The Fallen Dynasty. For more information, visit the website at www.thefallendynasty.com. For a free trial of the EverQuest II base game, visit www.trialoftheisle.com.
For more on EQII, click here.
Once you've done that, feel free to cast your rating vote here.
Garrett Fuller chats with the folks at Turbine Entertainment about solo content in Dungeons & Dragons Online. This week, they added this new experience to the early part of the game in a much-publicized update.
| MMORPG.com: Many players have been looking for more solo content in the game, is this change in reaction to player outcry?
Turbine: Absolutely, we have been listening to our customers and are working to respond to their specific feedback. We already know that DDO is the best group experience out there, and we will continue to focus on great group experiences. The voice of the community was loud and clear -- that they wanted to be able to play on their own and wanted more activities to do in between the great group adventures. We will be continuing to add content that supports both solo play, group adventures and raid type encounters, as we are getting requests for all of that.
There is actually a long list of additional features that we will be adding, including more solo content over the next 12 to 18 months that is in response to player feedback. Most of these features are geared towards the communities’ feedback specifically around giving players more things to do between adventures. But we will also continue to add features that support guilds and social game play as well. Some things on our proposed list are: tavern games, pvp duels and tournaments, crafting, wide open landscapes, more levels, more races and classes and other systems we’re not quite ready to talk about.
You can read more here.
Stargate Worlds has released another new Developer Journal. This one comes from Kevin Duc, he's one of the talented concept artists over at Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment working on the Stargate Worlds project:
"My name is Kevin Duc and I am one of the Concept Artists at Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment. My life has taken quit a turn in the last few months. I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in August of 2005 and moved back to Texas to spend time with my girlfriend. After a nice stint of post-graduation unemployment, I found myself face to face with my future Art Director, Stu Rose, in Austin. The pieces just fell into place. He needed a concept artist, dug my style, and offered me a job.
"Two words: freakin' awesome! The team that has been brought together for this project is amazing. I've met the talent behind some of my absolute favorite games and am always humbled by their incredible industry presence. These guys know what they're doing. I can only strive to bring my art up to their respective level of expertise. Truly an inspirational bunch.
"Ah, and games. Yes, I spent far too many hours playing video games as a kid. I saved up for systems and bought games with what little money I could scrounge up. And of course, the reluctant Christmas gift from the parents always helped! Doubtful they knew some good would come out of feeding my addiction.
"As much as I loved the games, I always found myself entranced by the booklet art. Myth the Fallen Lords comes to mind. Fantastic art, especially the Trow booting a little Infantryman. Wham! Oh, and the Marathon Durandal cut scene paintings. Ah, what a reward for beating a level.
At some point I realized people actually get paid to create all this art and my journey to Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment began. Trials and tribulations, critiques and appraisals, I'm finally here. Maybe someday a kid will look through my concept art and be inspired like I was. I can only hope his journey will be as exciting as mine."
~ Kevin Duc
For more on SGW, click here.
We've been telling you about it since the announcement was first made, and today, it becomes a reality as Turbine introduces solo content into Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, a game that, when launched, relied entirely upon group questing:
Turbine, Inc. announced today that it has launched the eagerly awaited solo-mode for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE™: Stormreach™ (DDO), the hit online game that has quickly become one of the fastest-growing massively multiplayer online games in North America.
Turbine has introduced a series of solo–friendly enhancements and content improvements as part of the new player experience in DDO. New players can now experience over 20 dungeons throughout Stormreach™ harbor in a single-player mode. This feature grows the overall scope and quality of the game by enabling players to journey alone in epic adventure zones or dangerous dungeons. It also is particularly useful to new players, allowing them to hone their skills and better prepare for higher-level quests where they can join with fellow gamers to achieve success. This mode will be in addition to three existing game play options of “Normal,” “Hard” and “Elite.”
“We are very thankful for the support and feedback from our players,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to make the game fun and easily accessible by all types of gamers.”
Turbine has a strong track record of operating massively multiplayer online games; one of the keys to the company’s history of success is listening to its fans to continually evolve and invest in its games. This most recent change to include solo-friendly dungeons is the result of feedback from its customers. More exciting changes are still to come. In addition to the eagerly anticipated launch of the Twilight Forge module in July, Turbine has plans for another module slated for August and the title’s first expansion pack this fall which will include exciting player-versus-player combat arenas.
Since its launch, hundreds of thousands of players have entered the unique online world of Stormreach to form one of the strongest online communities in the gaming industry. This community has been instrumental in driving the success of DDO which has sold over 300,000 units worldwide. For the latest information about updates to DDO, please visit http://www.ddo.com.
For more on DDO, click here.
Blue's News has tipped us off to some buzz that's happening over on the WoW forums. It seems as though yesterday, IGN posted an article that quoted an F13.net which cited a Vivendi representative saying that, "All Blizzard franchises will become MMOGs".
This thread on the WoW forums discusses the issue, and a number of Blizzard employees (Blue titles) come out to debunk the rumor. One employee, Drysc, said that: "I believe this was a misquote. We haven't announced any specific development plans beyond the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft, and we don't have any intentions to focus on only one genre or platform with our future games."
As it stands now, it seems that Blizzard employees are denying IGN's interpretation of what was said.
Runescape has announced the creation of a new warrior's guild.
Harrallak Menarous, warrior and swordsmaster, has been away exploring far-off lands. Now he's returned, he has formed a guild west of Burthorpe to train warriors in the arts of fighting. For this training, Harrallak has gathered some unusual people with their own ideas of what makes a warrior - including an ex-Black Knight, a warrior mage and an educated barbarian woman with a fondness for bad puns.
Minigames around the guild prove whether you can defeat your own animated armour, test how far you can throw the shot and let you be the target for an angry dwarf with a catapult! These minigames will allow you to earn some training time in a cage with the creatures Harrallak discovered on his trip. If you're lucky, you might even get one to drop a new blade that you can use in place of a shield!
In between balancing barrels, whacking dummies and being hit by anvils, you can find shops and a bank here to replenish your supplies. To enter the Warriors' Guild, you will need a total of 130 combined attack and strength. Bear in mind that if you die whilst there, you will lose your items!
For more on Runescape, click here.
Square Enix, the makers of popular MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI, have announced that they have recently banned "a number of accounts" that were found to be cheating, using third-party software:
Recently, a number of accounts which were confirmed to have violated the the user agreement by using unauthorized third-party software tools were discovered and have been permanently suspended.
Since the middle of May, 2006, the development team and the GMs carried out a detailed investigation of this problem, and discovered the existence of a group using illicit methods to produce large amounts of gil that are later sold in the real world (Real Money Trading). We would like to take this opportunity to outline the measures that have been taken to correct this issue.
Based on the results of this investigation, more than 250 accounts among those found to be involved in large-scale RMT operations have been terminated. We will continue to monitor accounts suspected of dealing in gil created or obtained in an unfair manner. Thanks to these measures, more than 250 billion gil has been removed from circulation.
As has been previously stated, acts of RMT will not be tolerated in FINAL FANTASY XI, and any violations of the user agreement will be dealt with severely. We would like to assure our players that all efforts are being made to ensure a fair playing experience.
We hope to have your continuing understanding and cooperation in creating a Vana'diel that everyone can enjoy.
For more FFXI, click here.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, has announced that they are now accepting application for people who would like their guild to Beta test the game:
Sigil Games Online is now accepting applications for guilds/clans to be accepted into Beta. We are looking for guilds of all sizes and play styles to help us test Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.
In order to be considered for acceptance, you must adhere to the following guidelines:
The guild application is available here.
For more on Vanguard, click here.
Lord of the Rings Online has released a descripton of the Warg, one of the many monsters that inhabit the lands of Middle Earth:
The terrifying Warg of Middle-earth is the most vile and corrupt breed of the wolves found in the wilds of Eriador. Wargs are the dark spawn of an ancient evil, creatures which now relentlessly pursue the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Wargs are occasionally found hunting on their own, though they prefer to hunt in packs. In the lands beyond Eriador, they even wilfully act as mounts in the service of the evil goblins and Orcs of the lands.
The great howl of the Warg can be heard for many miles, though their language is understood by few. Larger and more intelligent than the average wolf and able to attack with great swiftness, they are known for their cunning cruelty.
You can see a picture of the Lord of the Rings Online Warg, here.