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Wizard101 : Combat Primer

Posted Jan 22, 2009 by Jon Wood Wizard101 Correspondent Matt Plourde writes this overview of combat in the not-just-for-kids magical MMO Wizard101.

Wizard101 Screenshot

I think I need an intervention - for my wife. Since showing her Wizard 101 a few weeks ago, we've been playing every night. She has several characters and she's addicted to Sorcery Stones (one of the mini games). She tells me she hears the music in her head throughout her day, and I'm really starting to worry about her. Well, if you find yourself in the same place - or you're thinking of trying this game - enjoy this guide to wizard duels in Wizard 101.

Read the Combat Primer

Earthrise: First Impact : The Year Before and the Year Ahead

Posted Jan 22, 2009 by Jon Wood

In anticipation of their developer chat on Saturday, the team at Masthead Studios has provided us with this interview on the year that just left, 2008 and the year ahead in 2009.

Can you tell us about the progress that was made in Earthrise’s development in 2008?


Last year was certainly the most productive year for our team and Earthrise, as we completed more work in 2008 than 2006 and 2007 combined. One of the reasons for this was that Masthead Studios has doubled in size over the course of the year, adding more members to the Earthrise family. We also worked hard to add more tools to the game engine which significantly boosted our team’s efficiency through easier object manipulation and more speed.

Through all of this hard work Earthrise became a real game and was no longer just a game design document consisting of engine, art and static objects in the world of Enterra. We finished working with game concepts and started to finalize the promised features. As we brought these concepts to life and began testing the game we started to see the fruits of our labor unfold; Earthrise has grown into a game that we can now enjoy and play from home!

When we announced Earthrise to the online community earlier this year, we received so much positive feedback that we felt even more confident that the game we were working on was one that many people had been waiting for.

Read The Year Before and the Year Ahead

Star Trek Online : A Look at the Sovereign Class Starship

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has released an image of the signature ship for Star Trek Online, a modified Sovereign class starship.

Earthrise Screenshot

Take a look at the Sovereign Class Starship.

Warhammer Online : EA / Mythic Layoffs and Some Response

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross Managing Editor Jon Wood has been looking at recent rumors of layoffs at Mythic Entertainment and recent forum responses from Mythic boss Mark Jacobs. Here, he tries to present some of the more interesting responses to this now confirmed story.

On January 19th, joystiq published a rumor that Mythic had layed off “21 customer service employees, half of QA and all of the playtest group”. This seems to be attached to previously announced plans by Mythic owners Electronic Arts to reduce their workforce by 10%. The article also mentioned that “specific questions about the future of Warhammer Online were not answered”, leaving many to speculate whether these layoffs spell doom for the RvR game and the company that created it.

It’s now a few days later, and Mythic boss Mark Jacobs has cleared a number of things up through a dialogue with users at Warhammer Alliance, the site that the developers seem to have taken to using primarily in lieu of Mythic-run official forums:

First, Jacobs answers the question of whether or no the rumor was true by saying that “EA corporate communication has already commented on that, it was in the article”, in reference to the 10% workforce reduction eluded to earlier.

Read more about the EA / Mythic Layoffs

DC Universe Online : DC Universe Concept Art

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks at DC Universe have released a number of concept art images of a number of locations around Metropolis.

Earthrise Screenshot

See more DC Universe Concept Art.

Final Fantasy XI : Conquest System Overview

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Jon Wood Final Fantasy XI Correspondent Malcom Calivar writes this overview of the conquest system in Square Enix's contribution tot he MMO universe.

Final Fantasy XI Screenshot

Vana'diel is a land torn by conflict. Concealed within its enchanting forests, arid deserts, and lush tropical jungles lies a threat too powerful for any one nation to combat alone. The Crystal War has ended, but the beastmen still wander the many regions of Vana'diel, posing a threat to travelers. The three main nations of Vana'diel seek to secure these regions, not just from wandering beastmen, but from each other, as well. Although technically allies, it is no secret that these nations seek to expand their own borders to grow in power and wealth. However, involving their respective armies in such a conflict could lead to a full blown-out war between these nations. Luckily, the nations have found a way to expand their borders and make it seem as nothing more than civil competition between their citizens. This is where you come in. Seeking to secure these regions without involving their own military forces, the three main nations of Vana'diel have enlisted the aid of adventurers to keep the beastmen population in check, and help them achieve ultimate conquest.

Read the Conquest System Overview

ArchLord : Four City Tournament

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks at Archlord will be holding a PvP event starting Friday January 23rd and running until Sunday February 1st.

Enter the Four City Tournament and compete against your fellow players to win the coveted prizes each day as your combat prowess is put to the test and ranked for all to see.

All players who enter the Battle Square and engage in Player versus Player (PvP) combat will be automatically entered into the tournament and ranked based on their points scored.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Dev Diary: Invisible Items

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

Matt Boudreaux of Star Wars Galaxies has written a dev journal which details the development of invisible items in the game.

Hello everyone. Matt "AdeptStrain" Boudreaux here to talk about some of the invisible items we added for Game Update 6. I choose to do a diary on the invisible items because they are a good example on how quickly things can change in our development schedule and how flexible the team has to be to respond to those ever-changing demands. So, with that in mind, let's begin!

It's no secret that the Appearance window (also known as the A-Tab) was a project that Teesquared and I had seen in EverQuest II back in the beginning of the summer and started to make plans to port that concept over to Star Wars Galaxies. Throughout the (albeit few) design meetings we had about Appearance Tab, no one really brought up the idea of invisible items. The system in EQ2 had no such items (until apparently recently), and my own internal prototypes seemed to do quite well without any special items.

Read more here.

Star Trek Online : Meet the Executive Producer

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted an internal interview with Star Trek Online Executive Producer Craig Zinkievich as part of their ongoing Meet the Team series of articles which introduce players to the developers behind the game.

It's taken us six months to bring you this one, so without further ado, we'd like to introduce our Executive Producer, Craig Zinkievich. Find out what makes the driving force behind Star Trek Online tick!

What do you do on Star Trek Online?

I’m the Executive Producer on STO. I have to worry about every single aspect of STO. From the design vision to making sure the art gets executed, making sure that software does what they need to do. I have to make sure that, ultimately, you guys get to play this game. Basically, if something on the project goes wrong, everybody in the company can point at me. Woohoo!

How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Star Trek Online?

I have been in gaming for 6 years now. I came to Cryptic as a technical designer back before COH shipped. I enjoyed designing game systems for COH, working with Software to make sure that they implemented systems that the designers could use and then working with Design to make sure that they used the systems properly. Eventually it got to the point that I was working with and scheduling Art to make sure that they were making art that fit into the systems that we had designed. And then – wow– we all realized that that’s what producers do. And so I became producer for COH and COV and then Director of Production at Cryptic Studios for the past few years. Now I’m Executive Producer on STO.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Live Event: Black Sails on the Horizon

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks at Pirates of the Burning Sea will be holding a live in-game event on each of the game's servers on Saturday, January 24th to mark the one year anniversary since the game's launch.

William Kidd Issues Call to Action Against Dread Saints!

The Caribbean is erupting with reports of strange groups of pirates known as the Dread Saints. Few, if any, of the rumors surrounding these villains can be confirmed, but they have attacked and captured ships belonging to French, English and Spanish interests. Even the Smuggler’s Union has lost ships and cargo to these allegedly blasphemous brigands. It is said that William Kidd attempted to negotiate a peace with the Dread Saints, but was shot and wounded by the Saints’ ambassador.

Today, Kidd issued this statement: “As ye may have heard, I was attacked by a scurrilous dog speaking on behalf o’ a new group o’ pirates. These ‘Dread Saints’ be the enemy o’ all nations in the Caribbean. I hereby call upon all captains who would promote prosperity and commerce to seek out and destroy any member o’ this Order of the Dread Saint. Though to each other we be foes, this threat will engulf us all if we do not answer it with a common conviction.”

Read more here.

Angels Online : Fortune in New Year Event

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Keith Cross

IGG has posted details of their Fortune in New Year event to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Angels Online.

The Chinese New Year festival is right on the corner. To celebrate the festival, the Angels Online team ( from IGG ( will be holding a “Fortune in New Year” event to offer all players a chance to obtain some great prizes!

Prize 1. During the event, there will be two new NPCs, [Mascot Master] and [Magic Miki] in the four cities so that players can exchange event items for prizes.

Prize 2. During the event, players can obtain some [Green Tea Mochi], [Strawberry Mochi] and [Red Bean Rice Cake Soup] by defeating monsters or collecting materials.

Prize 3. During the event, players can steal some [Cheeses] from [Rattraps] in any scene and exchange these for [Prison Tour Tickets] from the [Mascot Master]. With the ticket, players can enter the Rat Country Jail and train themselves by killing monsters and Corpse Flowers there.

Prize 4. Players can exchange [Cheese]*200 for [Ambassador Medal]*1 from the [Mascot Master]. After the event ends, the system will count players’ medals and give rewards to the 10 players with the most medals from each server.

Prize 5. Players can buy a Big Scratchcard (100,000 in-game coins) and a Super Scratchcard (1,000,000 in-game coins) from [Magic Miki] in four cities. What’s more, players can also buy [Bamboo Slips] from the AO Item Mall and ask Magic Miki to predict their future. They may obtain a surprise from Miki too.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Another Look at Moria, Part One

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Jon Wood writer Matt McLean writes this new look at the Mines of Moria expansion for Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online, outlining some of the new areas introduced by the expansion.

Back in November, I penned a missive relating to the new Mines of Moria expansion (herein referred to as Moria) to the popular MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online (herein referred to as LotRO). Now that a few months have passed, I'd like to revisit a few things and give you a bit more analysis.

Many people have lauded the release of Moria as a great addition to the LotRO world, and that couldn't be a truer statement. The developers at Turbine have really outdone themselves. That being said, there are a few bugs here and there that pop up from time to time. They mostly fall in the category of "annoying" more than anything (disappearing and reappearing grodbogs in the Redhorn Lodes for one), but there are a few things that can be taken care of with a few patches. Overall, it's been an exceptionally smooth release.

Read Another Look at Moria, Part One

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Basic Avatar Combat Overview

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Jon Wood's Ernest Ross writes this overview to some of the changes coming to avatar combat in Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Last month, sat down with Rusty, Misha and Isildur at Flying Lab Software to discuss their Pirates of the Burning Sea Avatar Combat Revamp.  The beginning of that interview pretty well covered the flaws in the old AvCom system, so I'll avoid rehashing them here as best I can.  That interview also discussed how having any AvCom at all was an afterthought that would've benefited from a lot more development pre-launch, so I won't get into any of that either.  The purpose of this article is to (somewhat) briefly go over just the basic ideas of the new and hopefully improved AvCom system from the player's point of view and thereby, if successful, help both new players just trying the game and old salts familiar with the previous system to adjust to the unfamiliar aspects of the new system.  To make things even easier, PotBS has reduced the cost of Swashbuckling Skill Respecs from 10k doubloons to 2000, giving us all plenty of breathing room to experiment with our friendly neighborhood Swashbuckling Trainers.

Pirates of the Burning Sea Screenshot

Read Basic Avatar Combat Overview

General : Win an Apple iPod Touch 16GB!

Posted Jan 21, 2009 by Craig McGregor and Resistor Productions are pleased to present a contest exclusively for the community! To celebrate iGirl - the new iPhone/iPod Touch application we are giving away 2 Apple 16GB iPod Touch devices!

While this contest is not really related to MMORPG's we figure many of our users might enjoy this light-hearted application as well as a crack at winning a top-end media device!

You can download the iGirl application in the iTunes Store at this link. 

All you need to enter this contest is your free membership.  As with all of our contests the more days you login to, the better your odds of winning! (see official rules for details)


Lord of the Rings Online : Solo Guide, Levels 40th to 60th

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Keith Cross

Turbine has released the third part in their examination of solo play in Lord of the Rings Online, this time providing guidance for players between levels 40 and 60.

As your adventuring career crests at 40th level, your strength and renown reaches epic proportions. You are needed more than ever to help purge the land of the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.

You might think that with the increased strength of Orcs, Goblins, Drakes, and other savage beasts that soloing is no longer an option—quite the contrary! With the addition of the Moria expansion, opportunities for solitary play abound beneath the Misty Mountains in the lands the Dwarves once called Khazad-dûm.

Soloing Quests Before Moria

While you can’t trace the path of the Fellowship of the Ring and begin your exploration of Moria until you've completed quests in the western lands of Eriador, you’re not required to follow that same path. You don’t have to complete Volume I quests before you start on Volume II. Access to Moria is gated by the start of Volume II of the epic storyline. This series of solo quests leads up to the gates of Moria itself and prepares you for the challenges that lie ahead.

Read the LotRO Solo Guide: Levels 40th to 60th

Warhammer Online : Faction Balance Numbers Revealed

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Keith Cross

Mythic has published a breakdown of North American average server populations of the game's two factions, showing roughly equal percentages for each faction on average. They also compare average experience and average renown for the factions, and compare the numbers to the most unbalanced server, Monolith.

We wanted to take a little time to talk about one of the current community concerns: the subject of Faction population differences. Over the past few months, we’ve been closely evaluating the differences in the number of players who actively play Destruction on each server versus those who play Order. We have seen some shifting with free server transfers that has, in truth, improved the Faction population differences. In most cases, the number variances are actually very subtle, but we wanted to share some data with you.

On average, the Faction population difference on each server is negligible; and surprisingly, it is not always the same Faction that has the higher populace. The majority of the servers have an extremely equal Faction population breakdown of 50/50, with the remainder following very close behind. (This is based on active players who are currently gaining Experience and/or Renown Points.)

Average of All North American Servers (Order / Destruction)

Active Accounts Per Faction: 49% / 51%
Relative Average Exp. Earning Rate per Time Unit: 50% / 50%
Relative Average RP Earning Rate per Time Unit: 50% / 50%
Average Exp. Per Character: 50% / 50%
Average RP Per Character: 50% / 50%

Read more here.

Atlantica Online : Discussing the Backstory

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Jon Wood

Today, we here at continue our series of Atlantica Online Dev Journals with Kim Tae Gon, the Producer of Atlantica Online. Today, we present a look at the game's backstory.

Atlantica Online Screenshot

After delving into the turn-based combat system and the mercenaries of Atlantica Online in my previous developer's journals, I'd like to share with all of you the backstory of the game, and how we came to create our version of the Atlantis legend.

In Atlantica's take on Atlantis, the highly advanced civilization was the first to invent Oriharukon, an energy source produced by integrating four different crystals --Dragon, Phoenix, Giant, and Redemption crystals. With the Oriharukon, the people of Atlantis were able to evolve differently than other human civilizations at that time. Initially, Oriharukon was used just to amplify the magic abilities Atlantians had come to possess. But extensive research into the effects of Oriharikon unlocked new powers -- the ability to enhance the physical and mental skills of a person. It not only increased the strength of a human, but also increased a person's life expectancy, as Oriharukon slowed the aging process.

Read Discussing the Backstory

Runes of Magic : Item Shop Opens

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Keith Cross

Frogster has announced that they have opened the item shop in the free to play MMORPG, Runes of Magic.

SAN FRANCISCO - January 20, 2009 - Frogster America, Inc. today announced that the item shop for Runes of Magic, the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that is redefining the standard for free-to-play titles, is now open and players have the option of purchasing items that will enable them to achieve their goals in the game world faster. With an exciting and engaging story, more than 1,000 quests at launch and 30 character class combinations, Runes of Magic is the most immersive, content-rich, free-to-play MMO game ever created. The item shop will allow players that are interested in a specific item, or too busy to wait for random item drops, to quickly upgrade their armor, weapons, spells and more.


"Runes of Magic is a free-to-play game, and we want to ensure we are creating a game that appeals to the widest possible audience," said Sean Kauppinen, president and CEO of Frogster America, Inc. "Many players don't have the time to wait for randomly dropped items that could enhance their overall gameplay experience. For those players, and players that have their heart set on a specific item, we have opened the item shop and are looking forward to delivering a fun, immersive, and social online game that appeals to the widest possible audience."

Read more here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Keith Cross

The latest edition of the Dark Age of Camelot Grab Bag answers a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the community.

Q. What is the Transmutative Precipitants section of Spellcrafting used for?

A. I went to the Lady of the Jewels for this one: Currently, there isn’t a use for the frosted gem of condensation rather than to sell it for coin while leveling the tradeskill. We might use them in the future, however, if we ever need to create new recipes so we saw no reason to take them out.

Q. My friends and I were talking because Beliathan the worm spawned in DF, what's the mechanism for his spawn? None of us know, is it just a random chance or is it something like the Queen where you have to kill certain mobs in order for it to pop? Or is there some silly CSR sitting somewhere thinking to himself...WORM TIME! Please slate my curiosity and let us all know.

A. With a soft chuckle the Lady of the Jewels /yelled: Worm time! I love it! After some research it’s been discovered that Beliathan is just a very rare and random spawn. He is not affected by the death of other monsters in the area.

Read more here.

Destiny Online : New Screenshots

Posted Jan 20, 2009 by Jon Wood

The folks at Destiny Online have provided us with these new screenshots of their MMO.

Destiny Online Screenshot Destiny Online Screenshot

Check out the New Screenshots

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