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General : Podcast #35 is Live

Posted May 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that episode #35 of the official SOE Podcast is now live.

Official SOE Podcast #35 is live!!! Hear from Linda "Brasse" Carlson from thebrasse.com, we also would like to re-release our interview with Laralyn McWilliams from the Free Realms team. We chat about our ION Conference trip and EQII's Update 45. Jason Ryan's news gives us all of the info from many of the SOE titles unfortunately this Podcast some of the info is a tad out dated…! Ashlanne loses her gamer card, so stick to the forums to find out how you can help her get it back.

Be sure to tune in! You can get your Podcast goodness two different ways head over to the Podcast's official site, and click on your preferred bandwidth or if you have iTunes installed select iTunes store, type SOE into the search box and click Subscribe! Your feedback is always welcome either on the Station forums or via email to Brenlo@soe.sony.com!

Read more here.

Champions Online : Interview With Michael Henry

Posted May 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted an internal interview with Michael Henry, Champions Online's Audio Manager.

Two weeks of guys named Michael – learn more about Michael Henry, audio manager for Champions Online!

Q: What do you do on Champions Online?
A: I am the audio lead on the project. My audio partner-in-crime Joe Lyford and I are responsible for all of the sounds in the game.

Q: How long have you been in the gaming industry, and what did you do before working on Champions Online?
A: I've been working with games for 12 years. (Has it really been that long?) Prior to that, I spent about 10 years working for a company in Chicago that was involved in commercial music production for TV, radio and film.

One day I was contacted by a headhunter looking to fill a composer/sound designer position at Viacom New Media, and I thought: "Why not? This would be a great way to marry my interests in audio, music and technology." So I made the leap, and I've never regretted it.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Interview with Jeffrey Steefel

Posted May 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

MMORPG.com News Manager Keith Cross spoke recently with Turbine's Jeffrey Steefel about the state of Lord of the Rings Online and the game's future.

Once each month, someone from MMORPG.com sits down with the Lord of the Rings Online developers at Turbine to participate in a conference call.  This month it was my turn to take part in our regular monthly talk with Turbine, where they normally share a few new details about an upcoming expansion, a new promotion, an event, or a new feature that they’re particularly excited about.  But this month’s interview came at an odd time in Turbine’s development cycle and in our news cycle.  They had just launched Book 13: Doom of the Last King which opened up the icy Forochel region in the north of Eriador, and they were too early in the development of Book 14 and the Mines of Moria expansion, which is due out later this year, to talk about those projects in detail.  On top of that, I had just spoken to Craig Alexander, Turbine’s VP of Product Development at the New York Comic Con just two weeks before.  Basically, there wasn’t a lot of new information available.  All that needs to be said about the above topics has either already been said, or isn’t ready for the public, so with that in mind, now seems like a good time to catch up with Turbine and the flurry of activity that has surrounded LotRO’s first year of operation.

Read more here.

Magic World Online : Get Free In Game Gifts!

Posted May 14, 2008 by Craig McGregor

MMORPG.com is now offering a free code to give new Magic World Online players in game gifts while supplies last!  The codes will only work when creating a new account for Magic World Online and you will then get free in game gifts at levels 5 and 20!

Registered members of MMORPG.com can get their free code at this link!

Age of Conan : One Million Sign Up for Beta

Posted May 13, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has announced that more than one million people have signed up for the Age of Conan beta and that there have been over five million visitors to the Age of Conan official site.

And more than 5 million unique visitors to the official Age of Conan website in 2008.

Funcom and Eidos are proud to confirm some of the impressive figures powering the Age of Conan launch, and the two companies are happy to reveal that the Age of Conan Beta has passed 1 million sign-ups! As one of the most anticipated MMO’s ever, the 1 million mark confirms the amazing interest in the game.

“Funcom has not been able to find any higher beta numbers for MMOs in the western world,” said Morten Larssen, VP of Funcom Sales and Marketing. “We believe it represents the largest ever beta sign-up figure in the history of the genre.”

In addition to the incredible beta numbers, Funcom confirms that almost 800.000 gamers have signed up for the Clan of Conan newsletter. The hundreds of thousands following the development of the game have moreover resulted in a rapidly growing forum community. Last week Funcom registered over 115.000 posts on the official forums, across four languages. This comes in addition to Age of Conan discussions on external forums and in other languages.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update

Posted May 13, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with .a look at Flosi, a helpful Dwarf who offers a few quests in Thorin's Gate.

When Thráin, father of the great Thorin Oakenshield, led his people out of exile in Dunland to the Blue Mountains upon the western shores of Middle-earth, he hoped to find some part of the great wealth lost beneath the ruined stone of the dwarves’ ancient kingdoms. Instead, he found iron . . . lots of iron. Durin’s Folk maintained a form of wealth in Thorin’s Hall, but it did not begin to rival that which they lost to Smaug the Golden in the Lonely Mountain.

Some few dwarves believed that precious metals might still be found in the Blue Mountains, though none had been uncovered in the years since the settling of Thorin’s Hall. Among these was Flosi. The old prospector spent many of his long years seeking gold and silver in the mountains of his home, but to no avail. As soon as he found ore that he thought might lead to a vein of gold, though, he lost his tools in the mines of the Winterheight.

Read more here.

EverQuest : Dev Chat - TONIGHT! - 7pm EST

Posted May 13, 2008 by Laura Genender

Please join us on Tuesday, May 13th at 7pm EST for another MMORPG.com dev chat!

Come meet Ryan "Rytan" Barker, the new lead designer for SOE's EverQuest, live in the MMORPG.com Chatroom!  Starting at 7pm EST on 05/13/08, the EverQuest developers will answer your questions about the game, world, recent updates, future plans, and the team direction under new lead designer Rytan! Bring a question, bring a friend! After the chat, be sure to stick around for EverQuest and other MMORPG discussion.

Users can connect via any IRC client, to server irc.coldfront.net port 6667. The chat will take place in #mmorpg.

Learn more about EverQuest here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : New Pirate Careers

Posted May 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks from Pirates of the Burning Sea have announced some details on the two new pirate careers that are available in the next update.

NEW PIRATE CAREER: CUTTHROAT

Cutthroats represent the brutal side of the Brethren of the Coast. They lead short and violent lives and their answers to problems are short and to the (sword) point. They don't make ships; they steal them. Cutthroats take what they want and demolish anyone foolish enough to get in their way. Blackbeard is the classic cutthroat archetype.

 Example Ship Skill:

Cutthroat: Desperation Fire

This is the third skill in the Disaster chain. It’s a reckless attack skill that deals massive damage, but weakens your own armor.

Target: Enemy

Morale Cost: 20

Self Damage: Port Armor: 5%

Self Damage: Starboard Armor: 5%

Self Damage: Bow Armor: 5%

Self Damage: Stern Armor: 5%

Attack Damage: +40%

Reset Timer: 60 seconds

 
NEW PIRATE CAREER: BUCCANEER

Buccaneers are pirates too, but a bit subtler than their burning-bearded brethren. They steal and loot, but also manipulate the black markets. Some would call them gentleman adventurers, though few are true blue bloods. Buccaneers do not have the raw power of cutthroats, but they work well in groups and can help friends and cripple enemies. Buccaneers are more challenging to play than cutthroats, so are recommended for players with Pirates of the Burning Sea experience.

Example Ship Skill:

 Buccaneer: Survivor 

This is the first skill in the Gambler chain. It’s a click buff that increases your resistance, max range, accuracy, speed and damage. Only works when your current total armor for all facings is below 82% of the max (50% on one broadside).

Duration: 5 minutes

Morale Cost: 40

Damage Resistance: +10%

Maximum Cannon Range: +5%

Accuracy: +2

Maximum Ship Speed, Battle: +5%

Damage: +5%

Reset Timer: 10 minutes

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Update 45

Posted May 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

SOE has posted a news item reminding players that Update 45 launches today.

Yes, you heard it! Game Update 45 is coming to a US server near you, the morning of Tuesday, May 13th 2008! Less then a day to revel in the new weaponcrafting changes, less then 24 hours to hear that audible sigh of relief from your overburdened bank as you get more spaces, only mere hours until all the other great additions and changes arrive in EverQuest II!

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : The Nexus

Posted May 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

Blizzard has added new information to their Wrath of the Lich-King website in the form of a new dungeon: The Nexus.

The blue Dragon Aspect, Malygos, was charged ages ago by the titans as the guardian of magic. More than ten millennia ago, he watched in horror as Deathwing all but wiped out the blue flight. Maddened by grief, Malygos withdrew to his lair and paid little heed to the rest of the world, emerging only when it finally seemed possible to avenge Deathwing's terrible crime.

Only in recent times did Malygos fully return to his senses. Upon reviving, he quickly assessed the state of magical affairs in Azeroth and reached the grim conclusion that magic was running amok throughout the world. He blamed this dangerous development on the mortal races and their reckless pursuit of magical power.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Weekend Wrapup

Posted May 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

NCsoft has posted a new Weekend Wrapup article for Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa.

Now don't just stand there - BUST A MOVE!

The Czech Freelancers sure know how! Check out the latest screenshots from the Czech Freelancers while they cut a rug at the Tavern in our AFS Recreational Activities Gallery.

Like to take pictures of the events that you attend? Let us share them in our gallery. To submit, email your screenshots to trsubmissions@ncsoft.com with your name (real or character name) and a small description of the event.

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : Music Tracks Part Two

Posted May 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

Sounds are generally used in games to set some kind of mood while the player is moving through the world. While we still don't have much information on the game, the folks from Earthrise have provided us with these two tracks from their upcoming MMORPG.

And I Shall Remain

The cataclysms of the Third World War have left cities in ruin, filled only with death and despair. Those brave enough to inhabit these areas can sense the ghosts of the men and women lost; their ghost-voices calling to them in the dry winds. Amidst the devastation, the old cities hide unknown treasures and secrets that may prove to be deadly traps for explorers. The weathered streets of these perilous cities have become battlegrounds for short, but fierce, clashes between government loyalists and rebel forces.

Check out both tracks here.

EverQuest II : Game Update 45 Preview

Posted May 12, 2008 by Keith Cross

SOE has posted a preview of Game Update 45 for EverQuest II, which sees a pestilence spreading across the land.

There's something going on at the Temple of Life in Qeynos and there's a blight that's spreading through some of the major cities! If you're of good alignment, seek to help those afflicted folks and travel to the Temple of Life to see if you can unravel this mystery!

If you're of an evil alignment, there's a fellow in Gorowyn that follows the Plaguebringer that may be able to explain what's going on. Take note too, with game Update 45, the present event ingame (the Shard of Hate event) shall come to a conclusion. If you're taking part in curing the hate or spreading the hate, please be sure to wrap up those quests while you have time!

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : BlizzCon 2008

Posted May 12, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced details of BlizzCon 2008, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on October 10th and 11th.

IRVINE, Calif. – May 12, 2008 – – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for its third BlizzCon™ gaming convention, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on October 10 and 11. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment®'s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises. In response to the demand to accommodate more attendees, this year's event has expanded from two convention halls to three.

"Whenever we've been able to meet and interact with Blizzard gamers from around the world, it's been a great experience for us," stated Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We're looking forward to seeing even more of our players at this year's BlizzCon and delivering another entertaining and informative event for them."

BlizzCon will offer a wide variety of activities to help all attendees get the most out of the two-day event. In addition to serving as a gathering place for the different Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, attendees will be able to enjoy:

  • Hands-on play time with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment releases
  • Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
  • Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
  • Areas and activities devoted to licensed products such as the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game
  • Costume, machinima, and character sound-alike contests with great prizes
  • Commemorative merchandise based on the Blizzard Entertainment franchises
  • A silent auction
  • More exciting activities to be announced

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Feedback Friday

Posted May 12, 2008 by Keith Cross

On Friday, NCsoft posted their regular Feedback Friday feature with an update on the Sniper and a look at Level Command on the public test server.

Sniper Update with Designer Lee Ridout

I wanted to take a moment and talk about Snipers. Some players have found an effective way to play a sniper, by using a chaingun and Shredder Ammo instead of a Torque Shell Rifle (TSR). Shredder Ammo has disproportionately benefited chainguns as it affects every round fired and CGs fire more than 2 times a second. This is the way it has been since before launch. It wasn’t the original intention for snipers to be arguably the best chaingunners in the game, but we are fans of emergent gameplay and don’t want to take this play-style away from those that have grown to love it. Our goal for snipers is that they should be powerful single target killers whether using chainguns, TSRs, or whatever else they find effective. The choice belongs to the player. We wanted to add value to this choice though, and under the current system the value just isn’t there. Currently you can spend a single point in Shredder and gain the benefit of a skill that far exceeds what logic should dictate its power should be. We are correcting this without removing the fun that can be had from combining Shredder Ammo and Chainguns. And for all the TSR users, we also wanted to keep value in this skill for you, but potentially make it more accessible.

In the last patch, Shredder Ammo’s affects were increased greatly in a global buff to abilities due to the new aggro difficulty/bring-a-friend code changes. This put Shredder Ammo directly under the spotlight and is driving the timing on this change. While we tone back on the Shredder Ammo’s effectiveness when combined with chainguns, we are going to add more value to every pump to give both TSRs and Chaingunners reason to invest in the skill. The way we are going to do this, is to move Shredder Ammo to a proc system (basically means a percent chance of occurring per minute) instead of a per-shot bonus. The number of rounds per minute effected by the Shredder Ammo buff is dependant on the highest rank learned. The duration of the buff has also been increased to 30 seconds instead of 20, and the damage types have been altered to give access to damage types that can be harder for snipers to come by. Each time a player places more skill points into the ability the proc rate will improve for every rank (see below), and finally, the ability will include updated icons, visual effects, and tool tips.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : 1.4 Patch on Test Server

Posted May 12, 2008 by Keith Cross

The 1.4 patch for Pirates of the Burning Sea is now available on their test server.  The new patch has a host of skill changes and re-balances and players are encouraged to check it out.

As you’ve probably seen in Taelorn’s recent devlogs, patch 1.4 has a lot of important changes to careers, especially for Pirates. Now that this patch is ready for testing, my job is to be sure you’re going to like it. We need players like you to play with these new changes and give us feedback before we release them into the live game. If you’ve never played on Testbed before, check out this post for information about how to get started.

This month on Testbed, we’re focusing heavily on the new career skills and the early game experience. You can help give us feedback about those things, and anything else that you think we should know, in two different ways:

Create a new character:
Starting right away, we’re inviting all players to make a new character on Testbed. Play the career you know and love best, or try out something new; both views provide useful feedback. We’ll be collecting some specific feedback about career skills here and early game missions here. You can give general feedback about everything in 1.4 over here.

Read more here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted May 12, 2008 by Jon Wood

EA Mythic has posted a new Grab bag for our viewing pleasure. Below, please find a sample of the questions that they answer this week.

Q. I recently came back to the game and I am happy to be back. I downloaded all the clients current to Labyrinth. Do I need all of them? I usually always play on the Labyrinth client.  I have deleted SI and TOA with no ill effects. Can I do the same with Catacombs and Darkness Rising?  It sure would speed up my scans and clean ups and defrags on my computer. Future patches and upgrades won't do checks any further back than having the Labyrinth client? 

A. Welcome back says The Bearded Wonder who also has the answer you wanted to hear: For the installs, you only need the one you are using. So keep the Labyrinth client and clear out the others to enjoy that extra space.


Q. What is the damage value on the Master Level 9 Stormlord ability ‘Energy Tempest?’

A. Knowing the value of many things, the Balancinator replies: Energy Tempest does 15% of the target's health per pulse. It is affected by the target's resists as well.

Read it all here.

Guild Wars : Skill Balancing

Posted May 12, 2008 by Jon Wood

The Guild Wars team has updated their Wiki page with this info on Skill Balancing.

Rather than introducing another skill update this week, we're finishing a new system to balance key skills separately for PvP and PvE. Within the next few weeks, we'll introduce PvP versions for a handful of skills. These skills will work the same way as normal skills, but have different number values (damage, healing, cost, recharge, and so on). We will do this as sparingly as possible and start with very few skills. So that we don't confuse players, we intend to keep as many skills unchanged as we can.

PvP versions are designed to target only specific skills. With such a system we can revert high-impact nerfs, such as Light of Deliverance and Defensive Anthem, to make them strong again in PvE. When we see something becoming severely imbalanced in PvP, we'd like to avoid harsh PvE nerfs without creating different versions of a large number of skills.

Skills that differ in PvP will have (PvP) at the end of their names when in PvP outposts and matches. These skills will automatically be adjusted within PvP outposts and matches. All players have to do is equip the skill as normal, and it will use the PvP version where appropriate.

We've decided to release our next skill balance update simultaneously with these changes. We can take full advantage of the new skill balancing mechanism and avoid multiple balances over a short time frame.

Read more here.

General : New Partner for Live Gamer

Posted May 12, 2008 by Jon Wood

The Live Gamer folks have announced another partner. This time it's new publishing company True Games Interactive.

Orange County, Calif. -- May 12, 2008 - True Games Interactive
(www.truegamesinteractive.com), a new global online game publisher
announced today that it has signed a deal with publisher-supported
secondary trading marketplace provider, Live Gamer. The two companies
will partner on the online game publishers upcoming products that
support real money trading (RMT), the first of which is scheduled to
launch in Q3 2008.

"It is our mission as a company to provide the highest quality
entertainment and we can only do that by associating with the highest
quality partners and trusting our games to them," said Jeff Lujan,
Chief Publishing Officer at True Games Interactive. "Our relationship
with Live Gamer represents one of many quality partners you can expect
to see aligned with True Games."

Live Gamer enables a complete marketplace solution for the
player-to-player trading of virtual items. Through its partnerships
with leading publishers and developers worldwide, players have a
convenient, secure, and reliable outlet to buy and sell virtual goods
and objects.
 
"True Games' experienced management team are among those leading the
way to create new and diversified business models in the online game
industry and deliver exciting new experiences for players," said
Andrew Schneider, co-founder and president of Live Gamer, Inc., "We
are thrilled to be working closely with True Games to conceptualize
and integrate a legitimate, safe and secure marketplace for Real Money
Trading from the earliest stages of product development."
   
True Games Interactive offers a unique approach and new business model
to developers and publishers within the free-to-play,
micro-transaction gaming segment and will focus on Western publishing
and development.

"We continue to be thrilled with the tremendous opportunities and
enthusiasm presented to True Games and look forward to working with
our selected partners like Live Gamer in the near future", said Bob
Drobish, Chief Operating Officer at True Games Interactive.

True Games Interactive is currently negotiating several product deals
and securing Series A funding. True Games is based in Orange County,
California and plans to launch its first title in 2008. For more
information about True Games Interactive visit the company's website
at www.truegamesinteractive.com.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Building a Guild City

Posted May 12, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks at Age of Conan have provided us with this new developer journal on the guild cities system.

After battling your way off the beach, you’ve carved your own place in the world of Hyboria with grit, determination, and steel. Now you’re part of a hardy band of warriors and the time has come to claim your own chunk of the Hyborian Dream. After all, what is a guild without land and a mighty fortress standing atop it, telling all who come near of the power and glory they possess?

A guild city is a major commitment, requiring a massive investment of blood and treasure to create and maintain. With a great price comes a great reward, however, as the benefits for owning one extend beyond lording over your greatness to one and all. In addition to power and prestige, there are concrete benefits to land ownership in Age of Conan.

Read more here.