The makers of Shadowbane have recently announced that they are bringing a new gaming world online. Her name? Braialla, the name of one of the game's "True Goddesses".:
The Shadowbane Team is proud to announce that we will bring a new world online today at 2pm EST named after the eldest of the True Goddesses.
Braialla will exist as a "clean" server: we will not allow any migration to it. Braialla will use the Vorringia mapset (the same used on Wrath and similiar to Vindication's with the exception that it will not contain the Factionholds). Braialla will follow the same guidelines and principles as the other North American and European production servers when pertaining to Mine and Siege Windows of Opportunity.
With that said, some existing server rules will seem very new on Braialla, especially to those who reside on Mourning. Braialla will be one of the first servers to fully experience the huge chessboard Throne of Oblivion added to the political and endgame in Shadowbane. Braialla, therefore, has a maximum amount of cities that can exist, and a hard limit to the number of guilds that can be a part of a Nation. Additionally, the server will be brand new: there will be no "Feature Character" gear or huge stockpiles of pre-crafting items.
Understandably, some members of the community are worried that a new server may impact other server populations. The Shadowbane Team will be keeping a watchful eye on this and will take appropriate actions if necessary. Plans involving server migrations, consolidations, and even other new servers, are being evaluated.
For more on Shadowbane, click here.
Tulga Games and Horizons have unveiled two new monsters that will soon be making their way to Istaria. What are they? You might ask. What do they look like? Would be another good question. Find out yourself by clicking the link!
From the Art and Design Team, here's a preview of some new monsters that are in the works and should make it onto the menu very soon! Bon Appetit!
CLICK HERE to check out the entrees!
For more on Horizons, click here.
Final Fantasy XI has announced the date that service will begin for the XBox 360 version of the popular MMORPG. The date is question, is April 20th, 18 days after the end of what they called an extremely popular beta test:
The commencement of official service for FINAL FANTASY XI on the Xbox 360 begins on April 20, 2006*, and so we must say farewell to the extremely popular beta test (ending at midnight PST on April 2, 2006).
As was previously mentioned in Topics, it will be possible to transfer characters from the beta server to an existing World. The procedure for transferring characters will be explained in an upcoming announcement.
* Japan Standard Time.
For more on FFXI, click here.
Surfing the web today, I came across this article from News.com, and I thought that you guys might enjoy reading it. It talks about how video games can be used as a healing tool, and even makes reference to Second Life, one of hte games on our Games List. We've given you a piece of the article, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link below, and read the whole thing.
Doctors pronounced Ethan Myers brain dead after a car accident dealt the 9-year-old a severe brain injury in 2002. After he miraculously awoke from a nearly month-long coma, doctors declared he would never again eat on his own, walk or talk.
Yet, thanks partly to a video game system, Myers has caught up with his peers in school and even read a speech to a large group of students.
"I'm doing the exact same things as them. I'm getting buddies and stuff," said Myers, who had relearned to walk and was reading at a second-grade level before his video game therapy began in May 2004.
"I couldn't remember where I put stuff and now I can. I remember school stuff and people's names," he said in a telephone interview from his family's home in Colorado.
More fundamentally, Myers can now fully open his right hand, which paralysis had curled closed. His brother and sister, who were in the car with him during the accident and each suffered mild brain injuries, have also shown improvement in their memory and other functions.
Ethan and his parents attribute his most recent progress to neurofeedback training on the CyberLearning Technology system, which is often used to play car racing video games.
"In the last year, we've seen the Ethan we knew before the accident," said Howard Myers, the teenager's father.
Neurofeedback is a form of conditioning that rewards people for producing specific brain waves, such as those that appear when a person is relaxed or paying attention...
Read the whole article, here.
Blizzard has announced the opening of 4 new realms for players what want to "start frest adventures in Azeroth":
Today at 12:00 PM PST, we will be opening four new realms for all players to start fresh adventures in Azeroth! Players will be able to create new characters immediately with a choice of three realm types: PvP, PvE and RP.
For more on WoW, click here.
Nathan Knaack, our Monday columnist, is back with a look at the concept of gameplay versatility as it relates to MMORPGs. Every Monday, Nathan offers his unique perspective on some aspect of MMORPG design.
|Why are MMORPGs almost universally based on combat? Aside from a few rare exceptions, the vast majority of games, online and offline, are centered around, or at least focused on, battle. Perhaps it has something to do with games being an escape from reality, which makes sense considering that your average gamer isn’t a secret agent, mythical warrior, or space cowboy (despite any costumes worn at conventions), thus they do not encounter life-or-death combat on a daily basis. To further enforce the “escapism” explanation for video game violence, one could consider the fact that the average gamer isn’t having much sex, either, which almost entirely explains the industry’s almost disturbing fascination with anatomically exaggerated female characters. If we make the assumption that video games are an escape from reality for predominately 12-25 year old males, it’s easy to understand why we see so much combat and cleavage. You’d think by now more game development companies would have realized that, as recent studies suggest, a full 40% of the gamer population is female. No wonder they’re not as wildly attracted to FPS and RPG titles as males are. As a male gamer, would you play a game that traded battle and boobs for meaningful relationship conversations and large, strategically-located bulges on all the pants for male avatars?|
To read his full article, click here.
Walt Yarbrough, sometimes known as "Copper", is the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot. As part of our semi-regular series of profiles, we've talked to a wide range of people in all departments of game development. We continue this today with a look behind the scenes at Mythic Entertainment.
Walt Yarbrough: Well, you have to keep in mind that Mythic's early days were very informal. There was no organization chart or any kind of job ladder. You could do nearly anything if you volunteered, and/or pushed a good concept or design idea.
I started as a World Builder, and became a World Lead before launch. The original guild system was my baby. After launch, I became the Live Team World Lead. Then Content Producer.
Now I'm the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot.
To read the full profile interview, click here.
Well, it's the weekend, and you know what that means... Yes, I know, there's no right way to answer that. If you're me though, the weekend means that it's time to read another of Dark Age of Camelot's Friday Grab Bags. As usual, we offer a couple of questions here, but you'll have to follow the link below for the whole deal:
Q: Are you ever going to expand group slots from eight to a group to ten?
A: It has been discussed. It's hugely complex, as the size of the group is a basic building block in the design, and therefore impossible right now.
Most of you have been reading my wee website for some time now, and you know that "impossible" only means "not possible with our current resources and staff."
Q: Is there any way to find my CD key if I lost my CD?
A: No, but why would you need it? Once you've activated an account, the CD key can't be used again. You can still install the files on the discs onto any machine without the key.
Read it all, here.
Blizzard and World of WarCraft have released another wonderful WarCraft Weekly, their weekly feature that allows players to check out some of the forum threads that the developers have been participating in over the past week:
We encourage everyone to check out the latest Warcraft Weekly, which provides direct links to threads created and responded to by the World of Warcraft community team. This weekly news archive is a great source of information and a wonderful alternative for those who wish to stay up-to-date with all the latest and greatest topics but don't have time to sift through the forums each day. Check it out here.
For more WoW, click here.
Frank and Garrett argue the idea of guild favortism in MMORPGs as our Saturday debate series continues. We encourage you to read on and then join the fray on our boards.
|Garrett Fuller: There is nothing wrong with guilds in MMORPGs. They are designed to have friends and people work together throughout the course of the game. There are countless single player games on the market for people who enjoy that type of game play. Using guilds in MMORPGs create fun alliances with other players all across the world. Solo content is needed in MMOs, but group content should be the driving force of a Massive Multi-Player game.
I belong to a great guild in WoW and was part of a good one in DAOC who always worked and played together. Whether it was PvE or PvP playing with your guild mates is always fun. Even with DDO out now you need a well designed group to accomplish the dungeons. This was the basic concept behind RPGs to begin with. Therefore guilds are formed in order to give players access to these high-end dungeons. I have a very close friend who I have tried to convince to play WoW with us. He really only like’s solo-player games, so he sticks to them. I have to agree with that philosophy. In an MMO guilds are the way to go.
You can read the full debate here.
The folks at Nevrax have given us an exclusive trailer of the upcoming expansion Ryzom Ring, which for the first time will let players develop their own content for an active MMORPG. The Ring is intended to be a free expansion.
You can view the trailer here.
Auto Assault has released the information on a meet and greet event that they are holding in Colorado on April the 5th:
Auto Assault Meet & Greet April 5 in Colorado
Join members of the Auto Assault team for a Meet & Greet in Superior, Colorado, on April 5, 2006. Win a door prize, try your hand at the trivia contest or just kick back and enjoy getting acquainted with the developers and members of the community.
Here’s the important stuff:
Can’t make it out for the event? Not a problem! We have another event that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, no matter where you are. It’s our Worldwide Beta Event and it’s underway now. Visit http://www.autoassault.com/promo/beta.html to get a key to enter the Central Wastelands this weekend.
For more on Auto Assault, click here.
Age of Conan unveilled their entire class and archetype system to the public for the first time today. Read on for more information:
Durham, USA — March 17, 2006 – Funcom announces the unveiling of the entire class and archetype system in ‘Age of Conan – Hyborian Adventures’. Fun and exciting classes like Lotus master, Waylayer, Herald of Xotli, Scion of Set, Bear Shaman and Priest of Mitra are but a few of the many classes you get to explore in ‘Age of Conan’. With four great archetypes, a multitude of intriguing classes and lots of innovative gameplay, Funcom is intent on bringing a brand new and exciting direction to the online RPG genre.
Click the link below to get the entire class and archetype listing in Conan: http://www.ageofconan.com/content/classlisting.htm
Click the link below to see the first article about the class system in Conan: http://community.ageofconan.com
In the months to come Funcom will unveil in-depth details on each of the exciting classes through the Conan newsletter and at the community portal. You can sign up for the newsletter on the official website.
‘Age of Conan" is scheduled for a Windows release in Q4 2006.
For more AoC, click here.
Archlord has announced that they have now opened their official website for our viewing pleasure. At the same time, they have released a new movie. The game's developers have promised that they will be constantly adding content over the next few months, so go ahead and check it out!
The developers are also looking for your input. On their official forums, here, they have posted 4 different concepts for the game's packaging. Vote!
New York (March 17, 2006) - Codemasters’ official website for ArchLord, the MMORPG where one player will rule the world, is now live at www.archlordgame.com. In addition to revealing the first details of the unique ArchLord player ascension system, the site also carries the game movie ‘Episode 1: The Legend of Chantra.’
With its unique competitive premise, ArchLord is a fantasy based MMORPG unlike no other in today’s market and due to launch in Q3 2006. The ArchLord system, which sees one player rise to become the game world’s supreme ruler for a month, revolves around a player securing three holy relics known as Archons.
ArchLord’s game world is the mystical land Chantra, and play is set deep within the world’s Middle Ages. In order to challenge for the ArchLord crown, players embark on specific quests to gain great knowledge surrounding the true history of Chantra and the Archons that reside within.
Within its borders, Chantra’s diverse and challenging landscape holds three immense castles, each fiercely protected from those who wish to enter. To challenge for the castles’ rule, players and their guilds must fight their way through a hoard of enemies, guardians of the sacred Archons.
Victory will yield reward in the form of an Archon and a summon to the battle arena. Here players are pitted against one another as they challenge for control of all three Archons. From here it is but a mere glimpse to being crowned ArchLord as you go head to head with the current monarch in a battle like no other. Success brings power! Death brings nothing but sorrow. Win your fight and be crowned the ArchLord!
Boasting eight playable classes to choose from including Human Archers, Knights and Mages, Orc Berserkers, Hunters, and Shaman or the ever so delectable Moon Elf Spiritualist & Elementalist, ArchLord will be published, exclusively for Windows PC, in North America and Europe by Codemasters Online Gaming in Q3 2006. For more information, visit the official website today at www.archlordgame.com.
For more on Archlord, click here.
A long time ago we did what we called part one of an interview with Nick Witcher over at RedBedlam. Better late than never, we now have the second half of that interview for you here today. Nick goes in-depth on some aspects of the upcoming historical MMORPG.
| MMORPG.com: As a small company, you face more challenges than the big guns. How have you dealt with this and created a game that has such hype?
Nick Witcher: Basically, we've got to where we are by facing down these challenges; and the number one advantage of having no heavy artillery is that you're forced to depend upon heightened creativity and innovation in order to out-flank the enemy. ;)
We also always knew that we would only stand a chance if we really involved our community from the start and listened to what they were saying and wanted from an MMORPG. In nearly all industries, the majority of companies strive to listen to their customers and provide them with what they want. We felt this wasn't always true in the virtual world industry at the time and that decisions were obviously being made either with little understanding or without much concern for the end user. At RedBedlam we always intended to do things differently and we believe that we have been rewarded by this approach: the proof is the incredibly loyal community following that Roma Victor now enjoys.
You can read the full interview here.
Thanks to Troy at FlyingLab for keeping this series going.
Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online, have released a brand new developer diary from Heather Sinclair, who talks about "The Making of a First-Class Burgar". As usual, we can't bring you the whole thing, but we give you a sampling. To read the whole thing, follow the link below:
Heather was raised and schooled in a rural part of California best known for broccoli, tri-tip, and the Michael Jackson trial. At the age of 19 she became hooked on her first massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Three and a half years later, degree in hand, she grabbed at a double opportunity: a chance to make the kind of games she loved playing and a chance to move as far from the land of her youth as possible.
In the land of Massachusetts she broadened her interests to include snow, snowboarding, bad action movies, and the Red Sox. None of this, however, diminishes her passion for playing MMOs: after gaining almost a thousand levels across dozens of characters in over fourteen different online games, she still rarely misses a chance to log in to the game of the moment.
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The history of classes in The Lord of the Rings Online is as old as LOTRO itself, ranging from the 7 classes of today to the 26 classes of Middle-earth Online to dozens of other class designs in between that were never released to the public. Some lived only in documentation, many others (over 50!) actually were in game, and this doesn't even count the game from even before Turbine had the license!
I say this to demonstrate how important the team feels classes are that we have put so much time into class design and implementation. Classes define who you are and what you can do in this game, and I'm very happy that we have had the time to get them right.
If you haven't gotten a chance to check out our classes, I urge you to do so now.
Since we began releasing information on the current seven classes in the game, there have been many questions as to why we made certain decisions, and what our thought processes were when designing them. I've attempted to respond where I could in the forums, but some questions can't be explained in a single forum post and deserve a more in-depth answer. Following are answers to some of the questions I've seen asked most frequently.
Sometimes, when you read something, it takes a minute or two to kick in. Your mind just isn't expecting it, so you don't really believe it. That's what happened to me when I read that Shadowbane was now going to be FREE:
Many members of the Shadowbane Community have already noticed that a change has occured to the Billing System today; one that allows players to play for free!
There will be a more in-depth announcement coming soon but, in the meanwhile, I wanted to let our community know that this is not an error. Existing users can now open up their Account Manager and their accounts will now be working, allowing them to play Shadowbane for free! This does include those who had previously canceled accounts!
In addition, those who wish to try out Shadowbane for the first time will also be able to. All you have to do is create a new ubi.com account and then click on Add a Subscription, and you will have free access to the lands of Aerynth! This is not a Free-Trial subscription and it will not run out in 15-days. This is completely free!
If you are looking for a place to download the Shadowbane client, you can get it from FilePlanet by clicking here for the PC version, and here for the Mac version! While these version are labeled for the "Free Trial", they are full versions of the game client and any active accounts can be used to play using them.
No longer will players, existing and new alike, be charged to adventure in the lands of Aerynth! If you happen to be a new player or have not adventured in Shadowbane for many an age, makes sure you check out the Getting Started guide. You can also view the Shadowbane Version and Patch History to see what has changed over the last few years.
For more on Shadowbane, click here.
Mythic has released the newest notes for Dark Age of Camelot. Test Version 1.83a will bring in a number of changes. Below, we present you with a sampling of what it has to offer. You can find it all by clicking the link below:
NEW THINGS AND BUG FIXES
Read it all, here.