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General : Sony and NCsoft Ink Deal

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Sony Computer Entertainment and NCsoft have announced in a press release that they have signed a deal that will have NCsoft making several online games for the PS3 and PSP platforms. No titles were named in the release but the games will be both from existing and new intellectual properties.

Santa Monica, Calif., July 11, 2007 -- NCsoft® Corporation (KSE:036570.KS), the world's leading developer and publisher of online games today announced an exclusive game development deal with Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) that provides for NCsoft to create several online games for SCEI's PlayStation® platforms, including PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), accessible through PLAYSTATION®Network. The announcement was made today at the E3 Media and Business Summit taking place in Santa Monica, California.

Although company officials did not divulge any details regarding the names or types of games in development, NCsoft officials did say the games would be created from both existing intellectual properties (IP) owned by NCsoft, as well as new IP.

"This is a great step forward for online gaming," said Geoff Heath, CEO of NCsoft Europe. "We are delighted to be working with Sony Computer Entertainment. PS3, with its advanced Cell Broadband Engine™ and standard hard disc drive on every unit, has already demonstrated it is a truly versatile online platform that gives NCsoft the potential to create massively multiplayer environments. Together with the Internet-enabled PSP, we're confident that SCEI and NCsoft can develop unique and compelling online experiences that will be found on no other platform."

NCsoft is known for its highly successful online game products such as the Guild Wars® and City of Heroes® brands and its flagship product Lineage®, which has a customer reach of more than 70 million worldwide.

"NCsoft has established itself as one of the preeminent developers in the online space," said Riley Russell, vice president of third party and developer support, Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Their track record of creating successful online games is exactly what we are looking for as we grow the PLAYSTATION Network, delivering new, rich experiences on both PS3 and PSP. SCEI's hardware leadership matched with NCsoft's extensive online experience are the hallmarks of what is sure to be a fruitful relationship for both companies, ultimately benefiting our core audience -- the gamer."

Read more here.

Gods and Heroes : Exclusive Screen: Week Three

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, we continue a series that will see the publication of one new, exclusive screenshot from the upcoming MMORPG Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising.

Check out our Gods and Heroes Screens here.

General : Station.com New Look

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that they have made several changes to the appearance and content of Station.com.

The Station.com website (http://www.station.sony.com) has been updated and includes over 60 pages of exciting new content including a new Community Portal and dozens of Casual and Mobile games. You can also find new updates and features never before seen on the website. Be sure to check it out today to learn more about everything SOE has to offer you for your entertainment needs!

For more information visit www.station.sony.com.

EverQuest II : Fan Faire Panels

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at EverQuest II have released a complete list of all of the EQ2 panels at SOE Fan Faire in Las Vegas.

EverQuest II Panels for Fan Faire 2007

SOE Fan Faire 2007 is about three weeks away now, and many of you have already signed up to attend. To give people a better idea of what to expect when they get to Vegas, and to help those of you who are on the fence decide to come along and join in the fun, we are going to take a look at the EverQuest II Panels that will be held during Fan Faire.

The Panels


Panel: Anatomy of an Update

Description: A behind the scenes look at making EQII go live. Ever wondered how patches and updates for the game happen? This panel will go into detail about how new content makes its way from design and testing to the live servers.

Panelists: Jen "Kirstie" Gerull, Scott "Gallenite" Hartsman, Craig "Grimwell" Dalrymple


Panel: Games with Character: Modeling EQII

Description: If you have an interest in character art, modeling and animation, this is for you! Chad Haley will walk through the various stages of making character and creature models in EQII.

Panelists: Chad "Lotus" Haley

Find out more about the panels here.

Guild Wars : PAX Plans

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

ArenaNet has released detailed information about their plans and events for the Penny Arcade Expo.

This year's Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) game culture celebration in Washington State will have a plethora (yes, a plethora) of Guild Wars events planned that will give you, our fans, an opportunity to get up close and personal with the people who make your favorite game. If you make it to just one show this year, plan on PAX 2007. It will be THE place to mingle, compete, and party with ArenaNet staff and Guild Wars fans.

See the multimedia "Art of Guild Wars" exhibit

This PAX-exclusive exhibit features previously unreleased concept art spanning the entire history of Guild Wars.

Collect signed Guild Wars art from ArenaNet artists

ArenaNet's talented artists will be on-hand at the booth all weekend long to chat with fans and sign prints of their artwork for you to collect and keep. Drop by for free art and candid conversations about how these amazing artists got into the industry.

Bring your portfolio to be reviewed by ArenaNet artists

If you've ever wondered if you have the chops to create art for the gaming industry, this is your chance to find out. Sign up in the booth to have an ArenaNet artist review your portfolio. Don't miss this opportunity to show off your work and receive constructive feedback from a professional artist.

Show your spirit in Community Contests

Gaile Gray and the community team will hold fan contests for fun and prizes at the booth. More details to come.

Get all the details here.

World of Warcraft : Mail System Changes

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The World of Warcraft official site has been updated with the announcement of changes to the mailing system and the release of a small patch.

As part of our continued efforts to protect the game's economy and ultimately the game-play experience of each individual player, we've made a small change to how an aspect of our mail system works. Just like in-game mail transactions containing items, mail sent with gold, silver, and copper coins attached will in most cases now take one hour to reach the recipient. This change will help us to better ensure the legitimacy of such transactions and further prevent the unlawful influx of currency into each realm's economy. Keep in mind that this delay will only affect the following mail transactions containing coins:

Regular mail with coins attached.

CoD payments received via the mail system.

Note: This will NOT affect mail sent from one character to another when under the same account.

Read about the mail changes here.

Read more about the patch here.

Voyage Century Online : Rebellious Rumblings

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released an overview of some rebellious activities that occurred in-game over the 4th of July holiday.

Independence Day Players Rebellions Review

To celebrate the US Independence Day, Voyage Century (http://vc.igg.com) held an "Independence Day Giveaway" activity on EST 14:00PM July, 4th 2007. The day of great historical significance draw many player's attention, players swarm to the city in which the event was held to participant.

However, at around EST 14:15PM, to grab the gifts, the controlling guild master of the city used the item "Enforce Martial Law", making the whole city an abattoir. Then, a massacre began. These high level members of the guild slaughtered the other participants. The whole city soon turned into a mess. Many characters were killed without warning, most of them died with no chance to fight back. Only after the mediation of the official did the rebellion clam down. The reason why such kind of rebellion occurs is still under investigation.

Voyage Century give players a good impression of a green and healthy game with no bloody or violent elements. Moreover, as a 3D nautical MMORPG, the strategic requiring battle systems, also increase its charm.

Law of jungle applies to every part of the world, so Voyage Century also has to be subjected by the law. Some players reckon that the deed of above mentioned guild jeopardizes the harmony and the balance of the game world. However, there are other voices saying that harmony only means the loss of competition and fun in the game, there are even some radical words "Get lost if you dare not to challenge it". Whatever they say, these voices embody players' concern about to where Voyage Century will go and who will dominate the server.

Learn more about Voyage Century here.

Gods and Heroes : City Profile: Ostia

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, we kick off a new series of features from Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising. In this series, Perpetual will provide MMORPG.com readers with information on all five of the major cities that players will have a chance to visit in-game. We start with a city called Ostia.

Ostia is a bustling port city situated on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea at the mouth of the Tiber River. Originally established to prevent hostile hordes from using the Tiber to invade Roma, Ostia has become a valuable commercial harbor and thus one of the largest and most important cities in the Republic. Goods from all over the many territories under Roman rule must pass through Ostia Harbor on their way to the markets of Rome, including such vital imports as the grain that feeds the populace and the many goods that fuel the economy. Thus it is most alarming that Ostia Harbor has been all but taken over by the Caedes Gang, a brutal street gang that is brazenly operating right under the local authorities' noses.

Players of Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising™ (G&H) will not only get to help clean up the corruption bred by the Caedes Gang when they visit Ostia, but they will also be able to hire minions, train in new Feats or Skills, and buy all the goods and provisions they might need. As one of the largest cities in the game, Ostia will serve as an important quest hub, as well.

Read the whole article here.

Granado Espada Online : First Look Preview

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com Staff Writer Adele Caelia has been playing the beta for Sword of the New World. Now that the game has launched, she gives us her quick impressions of the new MMORPG.

Sword of the New World is the latest Asian MMO to hit the market. The game, published by HanbitSoft, has won best graphics and been given the Korean presidential award in 2006. It promises to bring a new and unique experience to the MMO market.

While SotNW is brought to us from Asia, the game itself is set in 17th century Europe. The world of Orpesia is at war. The King of the nation Opoluto realized that he would soon be conquered, so he sent an explorer across the sea to find new land, and took his subjects west across the sea to start a new world. Although this isn't too original and sounds vaguely familiar, it is a nice change of story for this type of game.

Read the whole preview here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Galactic Senate Elections

Posted Jul 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Star Wars Galaxies is now accepting nominations for the Galactic Senate. Senators representing various aspects of the game will be able to propose and vote on senate legislation as well as request a redress of issues by the development team.

Mission

It is the mission of the Galactic Senator to represent to the best of his or her ability the segment of community for which he or she has been appointed. It is the responsibility of the Senator to take into account the interests and sentiments of those represented in an unbiased and objective capacity, serving as advocate, leader, and unified voice for the players.

Appointment

Candidates for the Galactic Senate may be nominated by any player in good standing, and self-nominations are also considered. Clarity and influence are among the top desired traits for a Senator to possess. An election commission comprising of the Star Wars Galaxies Community Team will appoint the title of Senator to players from the pool of nominations. Once appointed, a Senator will serve a 6 month term at which point the position will be open to new candidates.

What a Senator Can Do

  • Propose Senate topics for a vote.
  • Request a redress of issues by the development team.
  • Attend the Convocation in-game event.
  • Vote on Senate legislation

What a Senator Cannot Do

  • Propose any backwards regression of updates.
  • Ban players
  • Squelch or otherwise mute players.

Read more about the Galactic Senate here.

Granado Espada Online : Sword of the New World Goes Live

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

K2 Network has announced that Sword of the New World launches this week and will be available for download in Europe and North America. K2 has also released 10 new screenshots along with the launch, and the images have been added to our screenshot gallery.

IRVINE, Calif. - (July 10, 2007) - K2 Network, Inc. (www.k2network.net), an online game publisher today announced that its epic Age of Exploration MMORPG Sword of the New World: Granado Espada will be available in download in North America and Europe this week. The game is available at www.swordofthenewworld.com.

"With its unique and compelling gameplay that caters to both the seasoned and novice MMORPG player, Sword of the New World fits into K2 Network's unique vision of Gamers First", said Grantley Day, Vice President of Product Development at K2 Network. "Sword of the New World is destined to become top of many players wish list in 2007."

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada is an Age of Exploration fantasy MMORPG that is the first of its kind to include Multi Character Control. With a full spectrum of features including character customization, large-scale maps and breathtaking graphics, Sword of the New World has the ability to capture anyone's heart. Taking place in the Age of Exploration when European colonists' forayed into the new world, this detailed game is full of mystery and danger while players go on a hunt for treasure, adventure, and most importantly, fame.

Read more about the Sword of the New World here.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

ArchLord : Credit Increase

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

Codemasters has announced an increase in the amount of credits that players will receive when they purchase the retail version of the game.

Codemasters Online Gaming is pleased to announce that every new account started using a retail version of the game now receives 6,000 credits. All you need to do is simply buy the retail version of the game, create a new account and you will receive 6,000 credits to get you started in the world of Chantra.

Read more about the increase here.

Lord of the Rings Online : The Sons of Elrond

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with a profile of the sons of Elrond, the twins Elladan and Elrohir.

The eldest of the children of Elrond of Rivendell, the twins Elladan and Elrohir were born 130 years after Isildur cut the One Ring from the hand of Sauron. They are so alike in appearance and demeanor that they are nearly impossible to tell apart. Outwardly, they are not as grim and hardened as the Rangers of the North, but within burns a terrible rage.

Long ago, their mother Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel, was captured by orcs as she journeyed from Lothlórien to Rivendell. Elladan and Elrohir rescued her, but not before she had been cruelly tortured and poisoned by the orcs. Their father, Elrond, was able to heal Celebrían of her wounds and of the poison, but Middle-earth no longer held any beauty for her, and she sailed into the West. Elladan and Elrohir swore vengeance upon all of orc-kind.

Read about the sons of Elrond here.

Voyage Century Online : Compound System

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced the introduction of the compound system to voyage Century Online. The system allows a player to combine low level materials to make higher level materials and figureheads.

Voyage Century: Compound System Feature

Voyage Century Online introduce the compound system for players who felt pain in getting high level materials and figureheads to strengthen their ship in Voyage Century (http://vc.igg.com). Now, they don't have to worry about this any more.

With the help of the compound system, players will have a very high rate to successfully compound higher level materials and more advanced figureheads. With these materials, high level ships are no longer a dream. Now, three kinds of materials and some kinds of figureheads have been opened to the players below:

Materials: Timber, Cloth, Metal.

Figurehead: Fire series, Wind series, Water series.

The way to compound materials is very easy: Two lower level materials may compound one higher level material.

For more information, click here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Evolution Screenshots

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Jon Wood

The folks at Jumpgate have provided us with three, new, exclusive screenshots from the upcoming game overhaul, Jumpgate: Evolution.

Check out the feature here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Interview With Hermann Peterscheck

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Jon Wood

Recently, MMORPG.com writer Carolyn Koh sits down for a conversation with Hermann Peterscheck about the recently announced Jumpgate: Evolution that will see the six-year-old space MMO updated for 2007 with new graphics, new AI and more.

In 2001, a space MMOG was released with little fanfare but a small, yet strong fan base. Did you hear about it? It was before EVE Online, before Planetside or Earth and Beyond. It was named Jumpgate and distinguished itself from the MMORPGs that were launching all around them, by billing themselves as NOT an MMORPG, but an MMO space flight and combat game. A game of skill, not gear and levels - a game best controlled with a joystick.

That was Jumpgate. It drew inspiration from older single-player, free-form spaceflight games from the 1980's and 1990's such as Elite, Elite II, and Wing Commander: Privateer. Developed by a small indie-group known as NetDevil, it outlived Earth and Beyond, which was published by Electronics Arts. It survived losing its publisher not three months after it launched, it was developed and run by the smallest team known to man (six), but yet it survived - not unloved, but relatively unknown - for six years.

Read the whole article here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Battle Royale

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

Whenever the folks at Flying Lab Software wipe the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta, they hold a 25 players versus 25 developers Battle Royale. The games official site now has an interesting report up, detailing the developer's previous loss to the players and their plans for revenge.

When it comes time to wipe the beta for a major build, we hold a 25 players versus 25 developers Battle Royale. As you may know, we hosted our first Battle Royale a few months ago. The testers dealt a devastating defeat to the developers - we lost all 25 ships and only sank one. I personally sank twice due to bugs (fixed!), but I saw neither death because I was staring at my desktop. Most of the developers suffered a similar fate, as we completely overloaded our internal net connection and we all crashed. In all honesty, that had little impact on the fight - the testers were going to crush us regardless. We were scattered around the battlefield like ants after someone stepped on their hill, and the only tester we sank was probably link dead.

Now we're ready for another beta wipe, which means Battle Royale II took place on Saturday, June 23. In the first battle, we all picked our ships, setup our characters and just fell into the battle where ever we wanted. After suffering such a humiliating defeat, it was obvious we were outmatched and we needed to take a different approach for the second battle.

The people coordinating the battle drafted me to serve as our fleet's admiral. The fact that we had to draft an admiral says everything you need to know about our fleet's organization. So, I spent the next two weeks preparing for battle in addition to my usual design responsibilities.

Read the full article here.

Vanguard : Milestones

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

Last month, the folks over at Vanguard promised to keep their community informed about what work that is being done to improve the game. Now, the Vanguard official site has been updated with two reports. One report details the milestones that they've reached and the other previews their goals for the next update.

Hey Everybody,

Here is the long awaited Milestone 1 wrap-up. Overall we made some pretty good progress. It was our first time with our new scheduling process and while we had a few hiccups, most things worked out fairly well. We will continue to tune the process to become more efficient as well as getting the post Milestones goals out to the community sooner than we did this time. Some of these features will be included in game Update 2. The contents for Game Update 2 will be announced as soon as it's pushed to QA.

Hasium

Read the Milestone 1 Wrap up here.

Read the Milestone 2 Preview here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Chapter Update

Posted Jul 10, 2007 by Keith Cross

All Star Wars Galaxies U.S. and European servers will be down on Tuesday, July 10th 7:00 AM EDT while they are updated with the latest chapter update.

On Tuesday, July 10th at 4:00 AM PDT all U.S. and European galaxies will be taken down for server maintenance and a live update.

When the update is complete, all galaxies will be live but unavailable while we complete final testing. All galaxies will be made available after that time.

4:00 AM PDT (Los Angeles) / 6:00 AM CDT (Austin) / 7:00 AM EDT (New York) 12:00 PM GMT (London) / 1:00 PM CET (Berlin) / 8:00 PM (Tokyo)

Vendor Pack Up:

  • Fixed various issues with unpacking vendors

Read the release notes here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : User Experience Indroduction

Posted Jul 09, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with an introduction to Flying Lab Software's new user experience person, Janice.

People, especially Aether, keep asking me who I am, so I figured now would be a good time to stop lurking and say hello officially. Hello! I'm Janice, the new user experience / usability lab rat here at Flying Lab Software. Having a UX person on staff is a pretty pioneering thing for a small game company to do, so I thought I'd start by telling you how I got here.

There I was, almost done with the Technical Communication Masters program at the University of Washington. Between discussing contextual inquiry methods, teaching undergraduate engineers how to write, and waxing scientific about software, I was approached by some of the FLS folks to observe a playtest they were running. They knew how important it was to get the game in front of real users as soon as possible, but at that point it meant pulling time and resources away from other teams, which wasn't the most efficient option.

So, they asked me to come in and add a little bit of rigor to the process. I'm a big fan of the game (and they bought me a lot of coffee), so I was happy to help while I finished up at school. A few months later, Rusty stopped me in the hall and asked when I was starting full time... and here I am. Since then, we've set up an honest-to-goodness usability lab, complete with viewing windows, audio recorders and a pirate chest full of "incentives." Some video cameras and one-way mirror film are in the works.

Read the full article here.

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