The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. Is there some sort of trigger for the named Stonecrushers in Dartmoor (such as Kez and Kaq)? Or, do they just have a really long respawn timer? I've been trying to get an item off each of them, but so far I've only found them up one time and it's getting frustrating. I'm wondering if there's something I should be doing to make them spawn, or how long I'll have to wait for a respawn.
A. The two monsters in question have a number of locations where they might spawn. There is no trick involved to their spawn and they have a decent spawn rate. You might want to widen the search a bit or see if other players in the area have seen them; it's quite possible you aren't the only one hunting them. Thanks, Bearded Wonder!
Q. When I type /gc who, what is it that determines the order in which names are displayed?
A. This one was a quick and easy reply. I like those! According to the Guy with the Code: It is essentially in a random order. We keep a list of connected characters, and as you enter the game it finds the first open slot and puts you there.
Q. The weapons Golden Spear and Moment of Zen when right clicked display as 16.5 dps and 4.2 speed weapons. However when these 2 weapons are delved into the chat box, such as in Battlegroup or group chat, they display as 16.5 dps and 4.3 speed. This is the case at least for Hibernia, though I’m not sure about Midgard or Albion. Which of the 2 weapon speeds is the correct one?
A. What would we do without the Bearded Wonder? Here’s what he says: They are both technically correct. The issue is that the code rounds differently in each case. The speed of the weapon in the system is in milliseconds, so you only see the value rounded in seconds. In the right click display it rounds down regardless of the speed value. In the chat display it rounds up if over halfway and down if less. So in the case of the items noted, you see 4.3 in chat and 4.2 in delve based on how it rounds the speed. The true speed is between that and constant.
Open the Grab Bag here.
Blizzard has announced that, along with the other companies that make up Vivendi Games, they have come to an agreement with Activision that will see the companies merging to become Activision Blizzard. Blizzard has been quick to reassure players that there will be no changes to the daily operation of Blizzard or World of Warcraft.
December 2, 2007 (Santa Monica, Calif. and Paris, France) – Activision, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) and Vivendi (Euronext Paris: VIV) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to combine Vivendi Games, Vivendi's interactive entertainment business -- which includes Blizzard Entertainment's® World Of Warcraft®, the world's #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise -- with Activision, creating the world's largest pure-play online and console game publisher. The new company, Activision Blizzard, is expected to have approximately $3.8 billion in pro forma combined calendar 2007 revenues and the highest operating margins of any major third-party video game publisher. On closing of the transaction, Activision will be renamed Activision Blizzard and will continue to operate as a public company traded on NASDAQ under the ticker ATVI.
Activision, one of the world's leading independent publishers of interactive entertainment, is best known for its top- selling franchises, including Guitar Hero®, Call of Duty® and the Tony Hawk series, as well as Spider-Man™, X-Men™, Shrek®, James Bond™ and TRANSFORMERS™. Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Vivendi Games, has projected calendar 2007 revenues of $1.1 billion, operating margins of over 40% and approximately $520 million of operating profit. Blizzard owns the #1 multi-player online role-playing game franchise, World Of Warcraft, which currently has over 9.3 million subscribers worldwide. Blizzard's World Of Warcraft, Warcraft®, StarCraft® and Diablo® games account for four of the top-five best-selling PC game titles of all time. Vivendi Games also owns popular franchises, including Crash Bandicoot™ and Spyro™. Pro forma for calendar 2007, Activision Blizzard expects to generate approximately 70% of its revenues from owned franchises. As a result of the business combination, Activision Blizzard expects to have the most diversified and broadest portfolio of interactive entertainment assets in its industry, positioning the combined company to capitalize on the continued worldwide growth in interactive entertainment.
Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Vivendi stated: "This alliance is a major strategic step for Vivendi and is another illustration of our drive to extend our presence in the entertainment sector. By combining Vivendi's games business with Activision, we are creating a worldwide leader in a high-growth industry. We are excited about the opportunities for Activision Blizzard as a broader entertainment software platform. We believe this transaction will create significant value for Activision Blizzard and Vivendi stockholders. In Activision, we have found a partner with a highly complementary business and strong operating team. Bobby Kotick and Brian Kelly are industry pioneers, well known for creating shareholder value. The combined strength of the existing management teams at both companies will set the stage for further profitable growth of Activision Blizzard. We look forward to being an active and supportive majority stockholder in a company that is poised to lead the worldwide interactive entertainment industry in the years ahead."
Read more here.
Read the Activision Blizzard FAQ here.
Attention Fury players! The Auran team wants to hear from you!
Take 5 minutes to fill in our new survey to let us know what you want to see us work on for Fury! We're looking to hear from veteran players, new players...anyone who has played Fury and wnats to share their opinion with us so we can improve Fury for everyone.
Click here to fill out the survey.
14 new images depicting mounted combat, the Sanctum of the Burning Souls, and more, have been added to our Age of Conan screenshot gallery.
To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.
GameTribe has built a new site for Dream of Mirror Online, also known as DOMO. The new site features news, backstory, community forums and more.
Dream of Mirror is about a sacred artifact from mythical ancient China. The sacred Kunlun Mirror has the powers to create and destroy the world.
The Kunlun Mirror was originally created to record everything. The world beyond the Mirror reflects the real world; a copy of everything in the real world is kept in the Kunlun Mirror world. Twelve Mirror Kings watched over the Mirror World.
Suddenly the Kunlun Mirror stops working properly and is no more able to precisely reflect reality. Many Mirror Kings have disappeared as well, disappointed by human beings in real world. When their bitterness was reflected in the Kunlun Mirror, they were turned into various odd life forms and interfered with its normal functions.
Visit the new site here.
IGG has released new information about Zin Palace, one of the many locations for players to explore in Zu Online.
Zin Palace is a polished gem of the South Sea. The palace was built by Jingje, and innumerable rare treasures and mysterious books were hidden there. Jingje, the Master of the Monmaidens stayed in the palace for a very long time, afterwards she left the palace and disappeared. Ever since Jingje left, the palace has experienced both prosperity and disgrace, until the day the Zin Twins took charge of Zin Palace. It was then that the former glory and majesty was finally restored. However this time of peace and prosperity wasn’t meant to last and it wasn't long before the Yuan-Ti, under Blood Demon’s control, invaded the palace. They set a clever Chess Trap to besiege Zin Palace, and the Zin Twins had no choice but to ask their disciples to escape to Desert City. Nowadays, the Moonmaidens anxiously await the day when they can return to Zin Palace!
Players can be teleported to Zin Palace by the Ride Guardian in the main city when they are level 40+.
The Zin Twins are in Purple Crystal Palace, and Moonmaidens can buy spell books from Zin Moonlight. You can find the Gear Master Mussel Fairy in Gold Reef, she sells level 5 and level 6 equipment to all players. Players with too many items can find the Warehouse Master Kid Fisher to deposit their unused items, and he also sells tradeskill materials and tradeskill scrolls. You can buy potions from the Medicine Master Coral Fairy, and these potions can be used to restore HP and MP. If players want to make money they can go to find Fudi on Isolation Mountain or Futan outside Purple Crystal Palace, and they will offer you the Commercial Travel quest, if you perform well, you can earn a lot of money, if not, then you may lose a lot of money.
Read more here.
The team from NetDevil's upcoming sci-fi MMORPG Jumpgate Evolution have provided us with this new edition of our dev journal series. This week's contribution talks about accessibility.
One of the biggest barriers to entry into any activity is the amount of effort it takes to understand it. The quote by Albert Einstein is telling becausealthough Einstein's theories are immensely deep and rich they are relatively simple to understand. We have spoken a lot about accessibility in games and I think it might be a good idea to be a bit more specific about what that means. Accessibility, just like simplicity, is not about making things "dumb", insignificant or even uninteresting; nor is it about removing depth or complexity. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Classic games that survive through the ages such as Chess and Go have surprisingly simple rules. You can explain the game of Chess in about 20 minutes; Go can be explained within a few minutes; and yet people can play for their whole lives and not understand all the possible strategies involved.
The reason for this is that complexity has to do with permutations of simple rules; thus the way to build a complex and intricate game is to create interdependent and simple rules. Let us consider the game of chess. It is precisely sufficiently complicated, but not overly complicated; just as Einstein said. The board is restricted to a specific size. Each piece has its strengths and weaknesses, but there are pieces that are universally more important than others. For example, the queen is able to move in any direction, thus it is important that there is only one. The king can not move much at all, but it must be protected or the game is over. Pawns are weak but can be used to resurrect stronger pieces, provided the player can protect it. Each piece is designed with a strength and a weakness and each piece has only one or two moves that it can make. Thus when we look at one individual piece, they seem much too simple, but when someone is playing chess all the complexity is revealed.
Read the whole article here.
Put on your jackets - MMORPG.com's Live Chat has found a new home on IRC server irc.coldfront.net!
Home to the official Pirates of the Burning Sea IRC channel (#burningsea), a large EVE fan community (#eve-online), and many other popular rooms, coldfront.net is quickly becoming one of the most active MMO IRC areas. Come join us on irc.coldfront.net port 6667 in the #MMORPG room for discussion, dev chats, and more!
Co-hosts Jon and Keith return this week to deliver news, views, and commentary in another edition of MMORPG.com's bi-weekly podcast.
This week on the MMORPG.com Podcast, co-hosts Jon Wood and Keith Cross discuss the effects of media hype, their take on recent rumors about Star Trek Online, and a brief look at Tabula Rasa.
You can listen to the podcast here.
Check out this new video for AoC we've put up. It features some battle sequences and more footage of the nice looking graphics engine.
We've recieved this new Age of Conan video for your enjoyment!
More Videos here.
Aeria Games has announced that their open beta for Dream of Mirror Online begins Today, Friday November 5th.
California, U.S.A. (November 30, 2007) - Aeria Games announces the Open Beta for DOMO to start on Friday, November 30th, 2007.
DOMO is a social massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) themed around the ancient Oriental myth of the Kunlun Mirror. Players enter an anime-inspired world to socialize and form friendships, learn crafting skills and level up, all within the quest of trying to solve the riddle of the ancient myth.
DOMO offers players rich interactive features, a robust crafting system, extensive quests, and many fun skills. Other features include:
- Extensive Customization - Players can choose from a wide variety of hairstyles, costumes, and features for each character, allowing each player to show his or her uniqueness.
- Robust Crafting System - Players can choose from 6 skills - meditation, mining, animal breeding, farming and forestry.
- Rich Social Features - DOMO promotes interactions among players. Players have special bonds with others, such as master/disciple, lovers and friends.
- Realistic Pet System - Players have the ability to nurture and earn the loyalty of various pets. Loyal pets can help their masters in battle and life; disgruntled ones can quickly desert their owners.
Read more here.
Asda Story has announced that their Open Beta will begin on December 6th.
Sweet 3D MMORPG Asda Story will start its Open Beta on 6th of December, 2007. Based on a colorful, bright, and cheerful world, it is an easy game where monsters with powerful individualities. Lots of female users would be treated awesome and can have great tastes of this comfortable game easily.
Asda Story is very appealing to female users because of unique Soulmate System. We had lots of female users in CBT, and all of them are coming back to play OBT of Asda Story. Among Soulmates, healing, summoning, resurrecting, sharing attack or defense points were most popular. No girls over level 10 were playing alone. This is very casual game to satisfy both sexes.
In Asda Story, one of the greatest characteristics is “Costume Fashion Show.” This is the very first system ever in MMORPG. Korean and Japanese female users were very satisfied with this system where 40% of gamers were occupied with females. Users can have their own sets of armories with special characteristics. We don’t like TWINS. Weapons and armors are considered just decorations that their real purpose will be served with Sowels. It’s only possible in Asda Story to arrange your own weapons and armors with special abilities. It all depends on different Sowels with different skills providing armories to be very strong in defensive and offensive.
Huge difference from CBT was developed by MaxOn Soft Corp. There are Specified Skills for all of the characters, Collecting Unique Optional Item Sets, New 5 Maps with New Goals, Enchanting all Armories and Sowels, Faster Transportation, and Digging. For Open Beta Test, we arranged data to specify one’s characteristics among different jobs. There will be no changes in the base settings, but in long term, we adjusted to bring up characters’ potential skills 100%. Items with options were added that users can find many different sets of unique items with purposes. For example, there will be healers costume set which will provide extra healing points to increase healing. Users can collect them and use them when needed. For more details and images, you can find out at our website http://asda.gamengame.com
Casual users can be satisfied from constructing special and great skill trees or hard core users can be satisfied from expanding limitless item slots to create their own characters with various skills. Come and play Asda Story which can provide lots freedom in the game on 6th of December, 2007.
More on Asda here.
The November edition of the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning newsletter is now available, bringing news of Dark Elf Sorceresses, High Elf Archmages, a new cinematic in the works, zone overviews, much anticipated news about the return of the WAR beta, and more.
We’re almost ready to re-open the WAR Beta, and I know that our Beta Community has been gnashing their teeth in anticipation. Guess what? They should be giddy with excitement because we’ll have an amazing amount of new features and enhancements in the game for them to test, as well as brand new Elf content for them to experience.
Before getting into content specifics, I wanted to share a quick word about our testing process as we’ll be doing things a little differently in this next phase of Beta II. Instead of bringing up the Beta server and leaving it up 24/7 for free play, we’ll be moving forward with a series of focused Beta events set around a specific concept or two. These events will last anywhere from 3-10 days and will enable us to gather specific, detailed feedback from our Beta Community in regards to specific features and locations. We’ll be bringing the server down between each event for a day or two in order to prepare for the next focused event. This will also give us time to process the feedback we receive and incorporate it in future events.
When Beta reopens, players will be treated to what we’re calling our “Dark Elf Sneak Peek”. During the first weekend, the Beta Community will be able to play through the Dark Elf starting and Tier 1 areas with two new careers. We are going to ease players back into the Beta to spend some quality time with the Dark Elves, as well as with many newly updated UI elements, such as the Tome of Knowledge. We are looking forward to hearing the community’s thoughts on these areas of the game.
Sign up for the WAR newsletter here.
Wardog Studios has been kind enough to send over 16 new screenshots of their Mech MMO Force of Arms. All of the images can be viewed in our screenshot gallery.
To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.
NCsoft has published the patch notes for for Tabula Rasa's most recent patch, which went live yesterday.
Server and Client Updates
- Audio stops/restarts on minimize/restore.
- Audio: Tweaked volumes of several 1 liners so people can hear them better.
- Improved Server and Client Stability.
- Deleting all characters and then reloging into the account now allows the player to select a new last name.
- Logging in or out while polymorphed should no longer cause a client crash.
- Some loot is now dropping with more than 2 enhancements on them. There should be items that drop with up to 4 enhancements.
- Increased Crafting skill now increases your chances of successfully modifying associated items.
- Modification now requires the crafting skills based on the type of modification being added to an item. For example, Body modification types require the Medical crafting skill.
- Miasma: Ice debuff ability effect increased by 20%.
- Treelurker: Movement speed increased.
Read more here.
The Tabula Rasa official site has been updated with an article titled Feedback Friday where they answer commonly asked questions from the TR community.
This week we’ve answered a variety of your top questions and reported issues. Keep on sending in those questions via our Feedback Form!
Military Surplus – Where the heck is it already?
It’s coming to a server near you soon! There were a few item and credit issues that we had to fix before we can say it is ready for public consumption. If you still want to check it out, download the Public Test Server and give us your test results and feedback before it goes live using /bug and the Feedback Form.
Currently, you cannot resurrect a fellow player involved in a clan war. This is by design to prevent exploiting during a clan war by having outside healers. We are addressing this issue however, since it may cause problems when you are in an instance with a group. We plan to add a PvP Combat Timer that will recognize when your character is in PvP or PvE combat.
Read more here.
Aeria Games is currently leading a campaign to unblock European IPs for their Beta test of Dream of Mirror Online. Originally, they allowed Europeans into the beta but were asked to block the IPs by GameTribe, DOMO's European publisher, and SoftStar, the game's developer, upsetting some European players. IP blocking is not an uncommon feature in regional publishing deals.
Aeria Games has and will always strive to build an open community for all of our members. We do not believe in or support IP blocking for any of our games (except to protect against hacking or for other security precautions).
During the past few weeks, we have heard many of your concerns and have held intense discussions with SoftStar, the developer of DOMO, and GameTribe, the European publisher, regarding our philosophy of open access to all and our opposition to any IP blocking. Unfortunately, despite our strong protest, GameTribe has requested (and SoftStar has agreed) that we start blocking certain European IPs prior to the start of our Open Beta.
We regretfully inform you that we will be forced to start blocking the European IPs below at the start of our Open Beta. This policy is only for DOMO and does not affect other games. We are very disappointed with this outcome, and will continue to convince GameTribe and Softstar of the need for an open DOMO community. We do not have a choice in this matter and the only course of action is for us, with your support, to persuade GameTribe and SoftStar to reverse their policy.
Read more here.
Star Trek Online Executive Producer Daron Stinnett has made a few posts on the StarTrek-Online.net forums, clearing up recent rumors about Star Trek Online being made for casual non-trekkie gamers, and about the game using a pay-real-world-cash-for-in-game-items business model. It turns out that the rumors started when an internal conversation about the game's business model, which has not been finalized, was leaked and then taken out of context as fact.
You guys are very charitable - thanks for the support. And I mean that. There are some really nasty and incorrect rumors circulating right now and while the support is obviously not unanimous, I was expecting much more piling-on in this thread than is the case.
I personally think that MMOs need to be a better deal. Paying $200/year is a good deal for some but I don't think that is sustainable for the category and certainly rules out a lot of people who don't have the time to get enough value out of that expense. So we are discussing this issue internally. Unfortunately that discussion leaked and the characterization is incorrect. It's also unfortunate that we have not yet come to conclusion internally so it is hard to present the real story since we are in the process of figuring it out.
But I do want to reassure everyone that STO is still going, it is still a triple-A game, and we are thinking hard about how to make our efforts even more appealing with a lower barrier to entry than is the norm.
Read more here.
Issue #12 of Clan of Conan, the Age of Conan newsletter is now available, bringing word from Hyboria of enemies like Dhurkhan Blackblade, locations like the Sanctum of the Burning Souls, mounted combat and more.
"When the day of reckoning came, the sword was not spared. So Acheron ceased to be, and purple towered Python became a memory of forgotten days" – Robert E Howard, Hour of the Dragon
Brooding on a mountaintop, overlooking the Wild Lands, the ruins of the City of Burning Souls is a tainted place. The last vestiges of Acheronian magic still cling to the ruins, and few are foolhardy enough to risk the wrath of the spirits and demons within.
Yet there are those who make the journey, through the warped and twisted labyrinth of ancient stone to the very heart of the darkness itself…the Sanctum of the Burning Souls. The few who return from such expeditions are insane, frothing at the mouth as they scream of unimaginable horrors.
Read more here.