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Pirates of the Carribean Online : Pirates of the Caribbean Online Launches

Posted Oct 31, 2007 by Keith Cross

Disney Online has announced that Pirates of the Caribbean Online, the pirate MMO based on the popular film franchise of the same name, has official launched.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - October 31, 2007 - Disney Online today announced that Pirates of the Caribbean Online (www.PiratesOnline.com), an immersive massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) and virtual world inspired by the popular film franchise, has launched for the PC and Mac platforms. Pirates of the Caribbean Online allows thousands of players to fully experience the adventures made famous in the films and explore beyond these boundaries in a quest to become the most legendary pirate on the high seas.

"The launch of Pirates of the Caribbean Online opens up an entirely new world of pirate adventures to thousands of fans who can now play alongside their favorite characters in a fully-immersive environment that builds on and goes beyond the epic stories created in the films," said Paul Yanover, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Disney Online. "We believe the game's focus on action and adventure, combined with many customization options will appeal to a broad audience of both gamers and fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as they set out on their own course to live the legend."

In Pirates of the Caribbean Online, players create and customize their own pirate, captain their own ship, and assemble a crew of their fellow rogues in an effort to become the Caribbean's most legendary Pirate. Along the way, players will interact with characters made popular by the films, like Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, and will also encounter a host of new characters and enemies unique to the game. To become the most notorious pirate, players must forge alliances, hunt for buried treasure, battle evil undead forces, and use cunning and strategy to outwit their foes.

Game features include:

  • Create your own Pirate character - Players choose from over a million combinations to fully customize their own Pirate (body type, face, hair, clothing, names, etc.).
  • Set sail on your own Pirate ship - Captain your own ship then recruit a crew of fellow players to set sail for the adventure of a lifetime.
  • Quest for adventure and treasure - Embark on ship and land-based missions to locate buried treasure. Explore lush jungles, volcanic caves, and vast tropical islands but beware of traps, ambushes, and double-crosses which are an every day occurrence when keeping company with Pirates.
  • Use advanced weaponry - Players engage in epic battles using a variety of weapons such as cutlasses, grenades, pistols and cannons and can unlock more powerful weapons as they improve their reputation as a fighter to be reckoned with.
  • Become a legend - Master a variety of skills, including sword fighting, card playing, and treasure hunting to become the most notorious pirate in the world.
  • Work your Voodoo Magic - Voodoo magic is used to heal, travel and cast curses on enemies.
  • Get some Booty - Earn extra loot by competing in parlor games such as poker and blackjack.
  • Build a notorious crew or guild - Players band together with others for expanded adventures and added power, forming a crew for quick battles or joining a guild for longer-term strategy.
  • Grow your wealth with money and rare items - Hunt for buried treasure including gold, precious gems and mysterious artifacts.

The successful Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, including Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007), has grossed close to $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office.

Pirates of the Caribbean Online, developed and published by Disney Online, is rated E10+ and features lower PC and Mac system requirements than most other games in this genre, allowing for easier access to a broader audience of players.

Players can download the game directly and access additional information at the game's Web site, www.PiratesOnline.com. A portion of the game is available for free and players can get unlimited access for a monthly subscription fee. At launch, Disney Online is offering new players subscriptions to Unlimited Access for a first-month fee of $4.95 and continuing with a $9.95 fee for following months.

Read more about Pirates of the Caribbean Online here.

Fallen Earth : Fallen Earth to be Hosted by GNi

Posted Oct 31, 2007 by Keith Cross

Icarus Studios has announced that they have teamed up with GNi Games and Digital Media, where GNi will provide infrastructure services in conjunction with Icarus Studios' services.  The first beneficiary of this deal will be the upcoming post-apocalypic MMO, Fallen Earth.

CARY, NC and SAN JOSE, CA – OCTOBER 30, 2007 -- Icarus Studios today announced that it has entered into a long term partnership agreement with GNi Games and Digital Media (formerly Online Game Services Inc.) which leverages GNi’s “pay-as-you-grow” high-grade infrastructure services to enhance Icarus’ capability to offer customers a complete resource center for the design, creation, and deployment of online initiatives. Icarus Studios helps clients launch online virtual worlds, MMOGs, simulators, and 3D collaborative and educational products, all with a unique combination of next generation technology and services.

“We are excited to be working with GNi on hosting relationships with our clients,” said James Hettinger, CEO of Icarus Studios. “Operations are critical to the success of any online product and GNi has a world class hosting operation at affordable prices.”

James Hursthouse, Director of GNi Games and Digital Media, said, “Icarus’ platform offers a unique network architecture and powerful suite of administrative tools. It has been designed for massive scaling, maximum hardware utilization, and full redundancy. This approach is extremely compatible with GNi’s own business model – built around the aims of scalability on demand, reliability and high performance through best-of-breed hardware and systems. We are very happy to partner with Icarus and look forward to serving their clients.”

The first result of this partnership will be hosting upcoming MMOG Fallen Earth set on a post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2154. GNi will provide infrastructure through Beta testing phases and to the commercial game. The Beta test dates and the commercial release date have not been announced.

Icarus Studios is working with leading media companies and intellectual property owners on next generation virtual world products and works with GNi on the hosting solutions for its partners.

Read more here.

Myth War : Good Idea Zone Opened in Myth War

Posted Oct 31, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they have set an area on the Myth War forums where players can make game suggestions, or propose in-game activities to the GMs, where players who suggest a winning activity will be given a reward.

Myth War has opened a new place on the forum to exchange ideas and suggestions, the Good Idea Zone. Often, each problem, solution, and good idea for MW is dealt with in its own thread, which are scattered throughout the forum, and which are eventually lost in the shuffle. Well, we are dedicated to preserving and perfecting this game and would like to compile all the creative ideas that our players have for improving it in one place for easy reference, hence the Good Idea Zone.

In addition, the GM online activity collection has begun! If you have some good ideas for new activities or interesting activity plans, please feel free to post them in the new "Good Idea" Zone. We will select some of the most feasible activity plans from the zone and execute those plans in the not distant future to help enrich our players'lives. We believe that you will definitely feel a sense of achievement seeing your plan become an official part of the Myth War world. As we have mentioned above, the ideas or plans must be practical, hence before you post your activity suggestions, please consider all aspects of it carefully. Once your plans or suggestions are adopted by us, we will contact you to discuss the details and simultaneously offer you a mysterious present. Players, what are you waiting for? We are waiting for your suggestions now.

Read more here.

CABAL Online : Invasion of the Jack’ O Lanterns

Posted Oct 31, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Cabal Online have announcced their plans for a Haloween event titled Invasion of the Jack' O Lanterns.

Reports from CABAL Online are suggesting that the lands of Nevareth have once again been invaded by some uninvited visitors. The evil powers that be have sent forth a band of Jack' O Lanterns and Little Jacks with the sole aim of tricking the citizens of CABAL this Halloween. On hearing the reports the Nevareth Elders have been forced to act and are offering lucrative rewards for those brave heroes who defeat the evil creatures before their power spreads. To help the young hero with this task, the elders have provided a range of festive treats, including costumes, sweets and decorative items, all for your help and enjoyment.

This event is for all players, old or new, experienced or a beginner and offers you a great chance to get involved in the story of CABAL Online. So why not spend your Halloween this year in Nevareth and experience one of the most fast paced and enjoyable online games on the market.

Read more about Cabal Online here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Dev Diary Video

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Ben Krueger

Turbine has released this new dev diary video.  Check it out.

Video Interview Dev Diary Video
Jeffrey Steefel talks about Fellowship Maneuvers and Kinship raids.

Watch more here.

Zu Online : Halloween Treats

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced a Halloween treat for Zu Online players. They will give out 100 Gold glowxtals to all players on October 30th.

Ever since the most popular online game of 2007 started its alpha test, we have received many good comments, and are deeply impressed by our players' enthusiasm. The number of players online has climbed significantly.

In order to return the players' support and celebrate Halloween, we have prepared a big present for our players. We will give out 100 Gold glowxtals to all players in Zu Online at 02:00am EST (GMT-5) on Oct 30th. (1 glowxtal can be exchanged for 10 glowstones), so players can go to Holy City or Desert City to buy pet eggs from the Pet Master. Those pet eggs include primary eggs, secondary eggs, and advanced eggs and their price vary differently. In order to make your pets grow healthily, you need to buy pet food and pet equipment from the Pet Master. Once you have pets accompanying you, you will find lots more fun in game!

Read more about Zu Online here.

General : Boston Game Exhibit Looks at MMORPGs

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery will be hosting an exhibit called, “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs”. The interactive exhibit will chart the history of video game development, with a focus on New England's contribution to the industry, from its roots to today's MMORPGs.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Economic Adventure Gallery is to host a new interactive exhibit on the history of video games this autumn, entitled “Video Games Evolve: A Brief History from Spacewar! to MMORPGs”. According to organisers the exhibition will examine the video game industry’s roots, which it claims are closely associated with New England.

Part of the exhibition focuses on Spacewar! , whose creation in 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considered to be one of the first non-commercial video games. The first video games console, the Magnavox Odyssey, was also created by New England resident Ralph Baer.

The exhibition will include a simulation of Spacewar! and an Odyssey console. Also featured will be several classic arcade machines, from Computer Space to Space Invaders and Donkey Kong. A time line for modern home console gaming will also be included as well as a focus on massively multiplayer online (MMO) games such as Star Wars Galaxies, Second Life and World of WarCraft.

Read the full article on Gamasutra.

CABAL Online : Update 325 Patch Notes

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks at Cabal Online have posted the patch notes for the most recent update to their game.

Additions:

  • Added selection window for Beginners Guild

Corrections:

  • Error of not being able to sell some of characters bound quest items to NPC shop is corrected
  • Error of getting 0 EXP when Force Shielder uses Counter Attacker is corrected
  • Error of being able to register untradable item to personal shop by clicking item + Ctrl key is corrected
  • Disconnection when using Novice rank skill repeatedly is corrected
  • Disconnection of moving in dungeon when entering the dungeon and minimizing window after doing personal shop mode is corrected
  • Error of Wizard not applying skill delay for using battle mode 1 after the death during use of battle mode 2 is corrected

Read more here.

Ultima Online : Questions Answered on Faifax Move

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Ultima Online Herald has been updated with another edition of their weekly Five of Friday feature, where they answer 5 questions from the community. Some of this week's questions focus on the UO team's recently announced move from San Francisco to Fairfax.

"Do we really no longer have a QA team?"

There is a rumor going around to this effect, and it's simply not true. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting right next to some of them. (Some of them are on the other side of the country, although that will soon change.)

With the team's move, there are going to be a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation, and a lot of doom and gloom. Please, take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and don't be too quick to predict the death of UO. People have been doing it for just about ten years now, and it's still kickin'.

"Is [insert your favorite dev here] going to be moving?"

This is a decision each person is going to be making over the next several weeks. There won't be any official announcement until everything has shaken out and everyone is comfortable with their plans. Moving across the country is a big decision, and I don't want anyone to feel pressured, or under a microscope.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Jeff Haskell Dev Diary

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with a dev diary by Jeff Haskell, a recent addition to the Star Wars Galaxies design team.

My name is Jeff Haskell (AKA Jaskell) and I am a new addition to the Star Wars Galaxies design team. For the past 3 years I have been working on SWG as part of the SWG QA Team. I was a tester, a QA tool scripter, and now my dreams of becoming a SWG designer have become a reality.

A long time ago, in San Diego...

In 2003 I first read about SWG in Game Informer and PC Gaming. Being a huge Star Wars fan I clearly remember fantasizing about being a part of the development team but I really didn't take the dream seriously until I was laid off as a computer consultant. As fate would have it I inherited a home in San Diego, California and moved in. I had to find a job locally and had forgotten that SOE was a stone's throw away.

I was a perfect match for SOE, but SOE didn't know it. I sought to remedy this by hanging out in their parking lot with résumés until security booted me.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle-Earth: Barad Gúlaran

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The developers of Lord of the Rings Online have decided to show off Barad Gúlaran, another of their home brewed locations, where the Witch-King of Angmar once studied Sauron's dark lore.

When the Lord of the Nazgûl first came to Angmar and established his new realm as Witch-king, he built the great city of Carn Dûm and thence sallied forth to conquer Arnor. Unbeknownst to all but the Wise, however, he also built a fortress amid the wastes of Angmar, which he called Barad Gúlaran. There, he continued his studies in the dark arts he had learned from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Though many secrets of power and the world of shadow had been laid bare to him when his Ring consumed him, there was much still he wished to learn. Chief and most secret of these was a way to break the bonds that enslaved him to the Lord of Barad-dûr, and thus make himself a great Power. When Eärnur, Prince of Gondor, and Glorfindel of Rivendell drove him from Angmar, the Witch-king's hopes of gaining this power were dashed. He could never again return to Angmar, and was forced to leave his secrets in Barad Gúlaran free to whoever sought them.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Remember when?

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Guild Wars have posted another edition of their State of the Game article series. This week's article takes a look back at various changes that have been made to the game over the years and asks the question, "Do you remember when?"

With frequent updates and skill balances exploding into the fluxing metagame, Guild Wars players have marched through numerous game permutations, some drastically different than others. Veteran players will most likely recall these tales from earlier days, but do you remember when...

1. Lightning spike actually used Elementalists with lightning skills?

The first dominant lightning spike build consisted of several Air Elementalists with Chain Lightning. They'd queue up the skill and stun enemies into submission by dropping two or three players with the first volley. Over time, their popularity faded and Mesmers, with their fast-casting ability, took up the lightning spike role, firing off skills like machine guns. But Mesmers relied on elite skills from the Elementalist line, and a set of skill balances made it too hard for anyone other than a primary Elementalist to use those skills. Eventually Ritualists moved to the forefront of lightning spike. They had their own skills for spiking, so they didn't have to depend on a secondary profession. And, unlike Elementalists, Ritualists had the advantage of varied defensive and healing skills.

Read the full article here.

Stargate Worlds : Dev Profile: Carl Coss

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Stargate Worlds official site has been updated with a profile of Lead Animator Carl Coss, where he discusses destroying, humanity, joint lubrication, and using kittens as a source of energy.

Carl Coss, formerly Z-52x01 III, reveals that even a persecuted robot can grow up to be someone worth employing at a video game studio.

"Born" Z-52x01 III after only two iterations in 1978, Carl immediately changed his name according to instructions laid out in his initialization protocols, keeping only the 'III' to designate his position in the series. Due to the many degrees of rotation in his servo motors he was able to quickly master many tasks, but his program eventually limited him to a career that would better suit his diabolical purpose.

Now posing as a handsome computer animator, Carl awaits the time when the Galactic Overmind will activate the switch in his positronic brain, causing him to fulfill his primary mission to destroy all of humanity.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Exclusive Launch Screen #5

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today marks day five of our seven-day screenshot lead-up to the launch of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa on November 2nd.

 

 

General : More Fuel for the KotOR Fire

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Jon Wood

The Lucasarts website has released a new press release today in conjunction with Bioware. The press release announces that the two companies will be collaborating on "an interactive entertainment product".

While it should be noted that there is no specific mention of an MMORPG, but the mysterious announcement does come at a time when speculation about BioWare's Austin's MMO being the much-prophesized Knights of the Old Republic MMORPG is at an all-time high.

Managing Editor Jon Wood contacted Lucasarts this morning and was told that at this time, they "aren't releasing any details about the actual product".

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and EDMONTON, CANADA -- October 30, 2007 -- LucasArts and BioWare Corp. today announced that they have entered into an agreement to create an interactive entertainment product. The product, details of which will be unveiled at a later date, will be developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts, and will push the boundaries of the gaming market by utilizing the strengths of both companies to deliver an innovative, high-quality experience.

"LucasArts has a deep commitment to developing compelling stories and characters for the unique medium of interactive entertainment, and we have been searching for a developer that shares this value. We found this in BioWare," said Jim Ward, president of LucasArts. "Through our previous collaborations, we know that BioWare has an impressive ability to blend gripping stories with technological advancements, and we believe that our upcoming product will deliver an experience that will span the traditional boundaries of video game entertainment."

"BioWare's mission is to deliver the best story and character-driven games in the world, delivering powerful emotional experiences to our fans." said Ray Muzyka, chief executive officer, BioWare Corp. Added Greg Zeschuk, president of BioWare Corp., "The collaboration with LucasArts allows us to combine our passion for creating high quality and innovative experiences with those of a company dedicated to bringing only the finest games

Visit Lucasarts here.

General : Matrox TripleHead2Go Digital Edition

Posted Oct 30, 2007 by Jon Wood

Back in February, Carolyn Koh brought us a review of the Matrox TripleHead2Go, a device that allowed users to use three monitors as one, elongated display. Today, Carolyn reviews the new kid on the block for Matrox: the Digital Edition of the TripleHead2Go.

I had reviewed the analog edition of the Matrox TripleHead2Go in February of this year and when asked to review the digital edition, my first thought was, "No problem!" However, it became more involved than I had originally guessed. The TripleHead2Go was, in my opinion, a fantastic eye-candy upgrade for any gamer. I enjoyed immensely having the "peripheral vision" that was missing before and it took me back into playing MMORPGs in first person view, improving the immersive aspect of a good role-playing game. How does one then review a new and improved version of the concept? What aspects of this eye-candy goodness could be improved? Would the speed difference from the analog to digital version even be noticeable visually? As it turns out, the improvements are to be found in more than one aspect of the package.

Testing Methodology

I started out being determined to review the digital edition in comparison with the analog. Did I have the wherewithal to do an A-B comparison - that is, compare the two of them together? Remember that we're not a hardware review place with an office that has a bunch of hardware laying around. We do this for the love of the work. I didn't know what I was letting myself in for when I agreed to review this device!

I determined after the first weekend that it would be easier to cart the computer to the office than to cart all the monitors I needed back to my house. After several weekends over the month of September and into October where I played with different monitors and analog/digital connectors to see if I could see any real discernable differences. I realized that to be able to do a proper A-B comparison, I would require two identical equipment configurations with the Matrox unit and drivers being the only difference, and perhaps one comparison using DX10 on the computer with the digital edition and DX9 on the computer with the analog edition. Something that would be possible for a hardware review site - not for us at MMORPG.com (apart from MMORPGs not supporting DX10 yet).

Read it all here.

General : Blog Spotlight: Starting Over in WoW

Posted Oct 29, 2007 by Jon Wood

Laura Genender returns with a new Community Blog Spotlight this week, highlighting Ceejay9's blog that details that user's experiences "starting over" in World of Warcraft.

I always love making a new character in an MMO. Starting out as a new person with nothing but the shirt on your back and the Rusty Sword in your pack is absolutely awesome in my book – there’s no greater conquest than working your way up from a friendless newbie to a well known and respected vanquisher of evil (or good!). This week I noticed a new blog by user Ceejay9, wherein Ceejay relates his day by day experiences starting over in World of Warcraft.

Ceejay9’s not a new WoW player. In fact, he has a great deal of past experience. Before Burning Crusade came out, Ceejay9 explored WoW and its high end content as a level 70 Undead priest. He’s run through most of Karazan, and even had time to roll a few alts.

Read it all here.

General : Editor's News Year In Review

Posted Oct 29, 2007 by Keith Cross

MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood took some time in this editorial to talk about some of the most memorable news days of 2007.

2007 was an interesting news year for those of us who follow the MMORPG industry. With the calendar now showing 2008, it seemed like a good time to sit back and reflect on some of the biggest news stories of the last year:

January 16th, 2007

Blizzard released the first full expansion for their colossal MMORPG, World of Warcraft. The expansion, dubbed “The Burning Crusade”, added new areas, new content, new classes, new features, and even a pair of new races (Blood Elves for the Horde and Draenei for the Alliance).

The real story for the release of this expansion though was the retail frenzy that it created. Shortly after launch day (which began at midnight on the 16th, with people lined up for hours at their local game stores), Blizzard announced that they had “broken the day-one sales record to become the fastest-selling PC game ever in North America and Europe, with a worldwide total of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of availability.”

The outstanding success of the expansion and the continued growth of Warcraft’s player base in 2007 resulted in the announcement of a new expansion for the King of MMOs titled, Wrath of the Lich King”.

Read the whole thing here.

General : Chinese MMO Publishers Go Public

Posted Oct 29, 2007 by Keith Cross

Gamasutra is running a story about China's growing online entertainment industry, as NetDragon and Giant Interactive, two MMORPG developers, prepare to go public this week.

China is receiving closer attention from Wall Street as two Chinese MMORPG developers prepare to go public next week. Shanghai based Giant Interactive will list on the New York Stock Exchange on October 31 under the ticker "GA".

The company will raise over US$800 million for a market capitalization of over US$3 billion, making it the largest online game company in China. Fujian based NetDragon has filed to raise up to HK$1.42 billion (US$1=HK$7.8) on the Hong Kong stock exchange. NetDragon is expected to begin trading on November 2 under the stock ticker "8288".

Read the full article on Gamasutra here.

EVE Online : The Power of Two

Posted Oct 29, 2007 by Keith Cross

CCP has announced that they have a special offer for EVE Online players.  From now until November 4th, current players can purchase a second account at a reduced rate for the first 6 months.

Special offer: The Power of Two

Be the captain of your very own fleet and master of your own destiny! Current EVE Online subscribers may purchase a second account and get the first six months for a reduced price. Log in and follow the link to take advantage of this special, but hurry! This offer ends November 4th.

Read more here.

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