Guild Wars has released the 21st in their Guild of the Week series. This week's guild has a most interesting acronym: PIE. Pie Induced Ecstasy goes back a long way with Guild Wars, all the wa back to the GW World Preview Event.
Steadfastly approaching their first anniversary, PIE was formed during the Guild Wars World Preview Event. The guild was founded by, and is composed of, a group of friends who know each other both from online games and from friendships in the outside world. With their arrival into Guild Wars, the group set about making a guild of their own and creating a name for themselves. The distinctive name of their guild traces its origins back to an inside joke from a previous gaming community, the essence of which was preserved and became the moniker under which the group united.
As a guild, PIE focuses on maintaining a tight-knit group, rather than expanding indiscriminately. They believe that by ensuring that every member can be called a friend, the guild can grow into a healthy community unto itself. It should be noted, however, that those who prefer cake over pie need not apply.
For more information on Guild Wars, click here.
As the date of the big convention looms ever-closer, more and more news seems to be coming in related to Blizzard's BlizzCon. This time it is a pair of contests. The first encourages players to show off their speed leveling, while the second encourages them to strut their stuff. Blizzard-style.
Have you ever leveled to ten so fast you were certain you set some type of record? At BlizzCon, you'll have an opportunity to test your elite leveling skills by competing against others in the World of Warcraft Leveling contest, sponsored by Intel. Just stop by the Intel booth for details on how to enter this contest and show off your elite leveling skills! Prizes include an Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor Extreme Edition supporting Hyper-Threading Technology and more!
When you go clubbing, is everyone in awe of your Trollish Capoeira or... "unique" Gnomish style? Well, we want to see you strut your stuff at BlizzCon! Show us your smooth dance moves taken from any dance in World of Warcraft. Five lucky winners will receive an Ideazon Z-Board with the World of Warcraft keyset and Zalman 5.1 surround sound headphones! Haul out that full-length mirror -- there's not much time to polish your performance before the show!
For more information on Blizzard's World of Warcraft, click here.
NCsoft’s City of Villains Goes Gold
Stand-alone sequel to City of Heroes to be on retail shelves Oct. 31 with two-day head start for pre-order customers
AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 18, 2005—NCsoft® North America announces that City of Villains™ has reached gold master status and will appear on retailers’ shelves in North America at the end of the month. NCsoft also confirmed that customers who purchased and registered their City of Villains pre-order boxes will receive a two-day head start for game play.
City of Villains, a stand-alone sequel to last year’s hit, City of Heroes®, is expected to be released on Oct. 31, with a subscription price of $14.99 per month. The two-day head start will begin after 12 a.m. EST on Oct. 29. Purchasers of the City of Villains pre-order box, which is currently available at retailers across North America, have been invited into the City of Villains beta test and may participate in the head-start.
Existing City of Heroes’ customers can purchase City of Villains and subscribe to both games for the single subscription price of $14.99. Both games were developed by Cryptic Studios™.
“City of Heroes was a big hit for NCsoft last year and our retail partners anticipate City of Villains to be one of the top PC games of the holiday season,” said Robert Garriott, CEO of NCsoft North America. “I also know that our customers are happy about our single subscription rate for both games, which makes it a tremendous value as well.”
In City of Villains, players will be able to take on villainous personas, customizing villain costumes and building bases for their super-powered groups. Additionally, the game has a variety of graphical and technological improvements and provides players a huge set of criminal missions and events within the Rogue Isles™. City of Villains will also include the ability to fight against player controlled heroes and villains within special designated zones.
City of Villains will hit retail shelves with an anticipated price of $49.99 for its standard edition and $79.99 for the feature-packed collector’s DVD edition.
For more information about City of Villains, go to: www.cityofvillains.com.
NCsoft North America is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is part of Korea-based NCsoft Corporation. NCsoft, with its own development and publishing offices in Texas and California, also works with subsidiaries and third party developers throughout North America to develop and publish innovative online entertainment software products. The company launched two massively multiplayer titles on the same day last year, Lineage® II and City of Heroes, and in April of 2005 the hit game Guild Wars®. In the coming months, NCsoft is poised to launch two more massively multiplayer titles: City of Villains and Auto Assault™. More information about NCsoft can be found at http://www.PlayNC.com.
About Cryptic Studios
Cryptic Studios™, Inc., located in Los Gatos, California, was established in July of 2000 and is an independent developer of massively multiplayer online games for the PC and next generation consoles. Its first game, City of Heroes, launched in April 2004. The game takes place in a virtual world where thousands of people play simultaneously, take on the role of super-powered heroes, fight villains and help create a dynamic story in a visually-stunning, 3-D graphical world.
NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, Lineage, Guild Wars, Auto Assault and all associated NCsoft logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. City of Heroes, City of Villains, Rogue Isles and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cryptic Studios, Inc. and NCsoft Corporation. Cryptic Studios is a trademark of Cryptic Studios, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
| MMORPG.com: How do you propose to combat the problem of CoH having many more high level players than CoV in regards to PvP?
David "Zeb" Cook: Getting PvP where we want it to be is no small concern for us. We want to make sure it feels fun for all sides. We've taken what we've learned from building, playing and watching the Arenas and improved on it. The different PvP zones are set at different power levels, so players will be more or less equal. There are goals and objectives in the PvP zones that do and don't relate to PvP itself. And each zone has different gameplay so that players can engage in the kind of action they want.
You can read the full Q&A here.
A big thanks to the folks at Hero's Journey for sending these along. Check back next week for a Q&A and some more screens.
World of Warcraft has unveiled a seasonal in-game event with "Hallow's End" and have also released a brand new gameplay trailer featuring the exploration of Zul'Gurub.
When the decorations of Hallow's End light up Azeroth's cities, you know there's mischief afoot! Seek special vendors in Orgrimmar or Ironforge and get your hands on treats! Aid a sick orphan in a little trick-or-treating! Deathcaller Yanka, attending the Forsaken's Wickerman Festival, and Sergeant Hartman of Southshore are seeking your aid in keeping the enemy out of their holiday affairs -- are you up to the challenge?
This new gameplay trailer features a group of adventurers exploring the long forgotten city of Zul'Gurub. What ancient, unspeakable evil awaits our heroes as they move deeper and deeper into the trolls' cursed sanctuary? Download the trailer and see for yourself...
For more information on Blizzard's popular World of Warcraft, click here.
Ragnarok Online has announced the upcoming release of the Einbroch patch. The patch will become available on October 18th on the Chaos, Loki and Iris servers after the scheduled maintenance.
We would like to announce the upcoming release of the Einbroch. The new content will be implemented on the Chaos, Loki, and Iris servers during our scheduled maintenance on October 18, 2005.
For more information about this update please view our Updates section.
The Einbroch patch is now available on our downloads Section. The downloads section may be accessed by following the downloads link from our websites main menu. All players are encouraged to download and install this patch prior to logging in after our scheduled maintenance to avoid possible delays in updating their clients.
We hope all our players enjoy the newly implemented content.
iRO GM Team
Gravity Interactive, LLC.
For more information on Ragnarok Online, click here.
On top of all of the wonderful updates to their site, The Chronicle is announcing sign-ups for their upcoming closed Beta Test.
We here at MMO Center are extremely thrilled to announce the official closed beta signups for our first title, The Chronicle. Though all of our pre-order customers thus far have been guaranteed slots in the test, we have decided to give everyone else the opportunity to join them in a random lottery style selection of all applicants. These closed beta accounts will not role over to live. If you’re interested in helping us improve The Chronicle and get it ready for the massive open beta test we have planned, then be sure to register in our forums at www.mmocenter.com/forum and submit your information to our closed beta signup site at www.mmocenter.com/closedbeta/ . Closed Beta is going to include a lot of people, but don’t wait too long to sign up; registration ends October 27th, 2005!
For more information on The Chronicle, click here.
This week we get a one-two punch from Rapid Reality. Nathan Knaack returns for his sixth (and final - see below) developer journal and the company shows off a refined graphical look with twenty-eight new screenshots!
|Since the inception of the FPS, there’s always been something lacking in terms of melee combat, close quarters engagements with hand-held weapons. The first-person shooter is great for realistic ranged weapon combat with projectiles, explosions, and cover, but whenever two combatants get within arm’s reach of each other, the game boils down to pointing at your enemy and jamming the pistol whip button over and over again. Seeing as the Kaneva Engine intends to serve as a hybrid between the classical FPS and RPG models, it’s no surprise that we here at Rapid Reality are fully exploiting that into each of our games.|
You can read the full developer journal here.
...or take a gander at the twenty-eight new screenshots here.
Finally, we at MMORPG.com would like to send a special thanks to Nathan Knaack for all his hard work in getting these journals to us. This is his last as a member of Rapid Reality. The former Designer and Lead Creative Writer on The Chronicle has parted ways with Rapid Reality and will no longer be working with the company.
Lots of news coming out of Blizzard's World of Warcraft, some involving BlizzCon and some not. In terms of BlizzCon, what convention would be complete without a full list of vendors? WoW is now offering just that list so that attendees will know exactly who will be represented:
BlizzCon is about more than just the games. It's also about the hardware, accessories, and gaming lifestyle. The exhibitors we've partnered with for BlizzCon will be there to celebrate all aspects of gaming culture. Exhibitors ranging from NVIDIA to Intel to Games for Windows and more will be on hand with their latest gaming products. Come to their booths to see hands-on demonstrations, win prizes and promotions, and purchase their products at the show. Click here to view the full exhibitor list.
In the world outside of BlizzCon, WoW developers have announced another set of Realm Transfers:
In order to ensure that World of Warcraft players enjoy an optimal gaming experience during peak hours, we're opening realm-to-realm character transfers for the realms listed below. These transfers will help bring the overall concurrency of these realms down to a level that not only improves performance and stability, but also alleviates queues. Please note that we constantly monitor realm populations. If other realms begin to experience long queues or other issues caused by overpopulation, we will address them accordingly.
The realm transfers listed above will open on Thursday, October 20 at 3:00 AM and will be open daily from 3:00 AM to 3:00 PM until October 27. We thank you for your patience in dealing with the high population realms and wish you luck on your adventures in Azeroth!
Blizzard has also announced the winners of one contest, and the beginning of another. To get the results of the exciting "Wanted Poster" contest, click here. Blizzard has also announced a new contest. This one the ever-popular and seasonally appropriate, Halloween Contest:
October's longstanding tradition is upon us! Every year, Blizzard encourages legions of gamers to attack countless pumpkins with sharp utensils in the name of art, and this year is no exception. Take inspiration from any Blizzard game you like and carve your pumpkin in the theme of that game.
All Hallow's Eve is almost upon us, and the inhabitants of Azeroth are reveling in their own frightful festivities! It's time to polish the lens of your Super Snapper FX and capture those monstrous moments.
Winners of both contests will receive:
For more information on World of Warcraft, click here.
The University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy is hosting a rather unique and interesting contest. Dubbed the "Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games Competition", this contest asks players and aspiring game designers to "design, conceive, and build a game or game prototype that employs the principles of public diplomacy." This contest would seem to fall under the center's "Public Diplomacy and Virtual Worlds" project, whose mandate is to explore "one aspect of new technology and public diplomacy: the role of video games, specifically Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs), in public diplomacy."
REINVENTING PUBLIC DIPLOMACY THROUGH GAMES
Announcing a competition to design, conceive, and build a game or game prototype that employs the principles of public diplomacy. How can video games improve public diplomacy?
The USC Center on Public Diplomacy is looking for people to showcase their talent with a bit of world class game-making. The challenge to the game mod community, and current and aspiring game designers is as follows: design a prototype or modify a game incorporating the fundamental characteristics of public diplomacy.
What comes to mind when you think of diplomacy? Some ideas include cross-cultural communication, conflict negotiation, shared goals, and international exchange of knowledge. For more on our definition of public diplomacy, please visit our website.
Now incorporate that into a game or virtual world. How? That's for you to decide.
Interested applicants should subscribe to the contest mailing list for updates on the competition, deadline dates, etc.
The following must be postmarked on or before March 1, 2006:
E-mail entries to: email@example.com
Subject line: PD Virtual Worlds Competition
Entries should be mailed to: USC Center on Public Diplomacy Attn: PD Virtual Worlds Competition 3502 Watt Way, Suite 103 Los Angeles, California 90089-0281
1st Place Prize: $5,000 + airfare and hotel to the May 8, 2006 awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California; Private dinner and screening with world class judges including John Seely Brown, Bing Gordon, T.L. Taylor, and Cory Ondrejka, among other industry leaders.
Finalists: Airfare and hotel to the May 8, 2006 awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California; Private dinner and screening with world class judges including John Seely Brown, Bing Gordon, T.L. Taylor, and Cory Ondrejka, among other industry leaders.
For complete contest rules and regulations, click here.
Dark and Light has announced details on its free to access prelude that is to become available to players in November of 2005 (while the full version of the game is not due out until April of 2006). The prelude in and of itself promises to be an interesting and exciting experience all on its own.
November 2005, the first pionners will tread upon the land of Ganareth, choose their character, their Dark or Light alignment, and begin the reconquest of territories in Ganareth… You will be the first conquerors to reclaim Ganareth, also you will be the first to build the fortresses, and the first to obtain the titles of nobility...
8881, The settlers of Ganareth, the prelude of the great epic that is Dark and Light begins!
This Dark and Light prelude will be free to access. Also a limited number of Dark and Light game keys will be available from November via pre-ordering, and this will give access to an inevitable pack of features. Keep your eyes open, Dark and Light, the genesis, is on its way!
Settlers of Ganareth – November 2005
Dark and Light – April 2006
Al Drifa is still standing and thriving despite the conflicts. Men and women can live there in safety. This harbour is the last stronghold of civilization, the arts and literature… Kingdoms have been taken, but not the hearts of the free peoples. There is a rumour in the air, carried by birds in their flight, by insects in their chirring: Immortals have been seen in many places, bringing Dragons down with outstanding easiness. The rumour swells. Men and women come back, and with them, the teachings from the gods themselves, as the secret experiments taking place in the Zone finally give some result.
People discover magic and hope once again: with the help of gods, they can defeat Dragoon and his minions.
Everybody now feels war is coming to an end; Dragons may even be pushed back out of the first kingdoms that people will soon retake. But an even greater peril looms at the horizon… An invisible, unexpected threat: the people themselves. Today divided, tomorrow torn apart, with nothing to stop their will of power and conquest once their fears have vanished. Competition has started in advance, a vicious spiral in which all want to enforce their own vision of magic and the world. Not really Dark or Light yet, these people are seeking their new identity as the War draws its last breath.
The year is 8881 and soon, a new age will come. The will of the Dragons are getting weaker, while the peoples grow stronger.
Only the bravest will be tomorrow’s legends and brand their name upon the history book of the world. If you are lucky enough to be a part of these first fighters, you can set the future of Ganareth...
For more information on Dark and Light, click here.
Stephane Quilichini, the Lead Designer of Dark and Light, took some time to answer more of our questions in the fourth installment of this bi-weekly Q&A series. Our weekly screenshots will also return next week.
| MMORPG.com: It takes a special kind of environment to be able to fly, especially if there is content that you do not wish to be skipped by flying over it for example. Was this every a concern during the development?
Stephane Quilichini: Integrating flying mounts in DnL was the biggest source of issues related to game design. Many gaming phases we originally designed had to be rewritten. We therefore made the choice to give players a higher degree of freedom by adding new functions, which are temperature and its impact on characters and pets. If you want to go beyond a mountain, you need the appropriate outfit, which is not necessarily your combat outfit. Same thing for deserts. If you fly too high, you may also see issues coming from temperature, for your mount or yourself.
You can read the full interview here.
The Chronicles of Spellborn have announced that they are now taking applications for their Closed Beta Test.
MEN AND WOMEN WANTED for Perilous Duty. Unpaid, harrowing delays, long months of grueling work, chance of setbacks extreme. Glory and fame upon success. – Qeirias Noll, Ill Omen part 2
We are pleased to announce that The Chronicles of Spellborn has opened up International Closed Beta Test applications. The application can be reached via our main site: www.tcos.com . We will be moving into the Beta testing with a limited number of applicants, and growing our testing base smoothly over time. In Q1 2006 we plan to hold a large-scale Open/Stress period in which the majority of applicants will be able to take part in testing. In the meantime, individuals not selected as beta participants can increase their chances (and help out the development team) by taking active part in our official www.tcos.com forums.
Click on the image below to sign up!
Dungeons and Dragons Online have released a brand new developer diary. This time, the entry was penned by the game's Conceptual Artist, Muttonhead.
In designing the settings for D&D Online, the first thing we did was ask ourselves: what is Eberron? What is it about the world of Eberron that makes it such an exciting place to be and the perfect setting for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign? To answer this question from a visual standpoint, I had to get my pencils moving. After getting initial direction from my Art Director and the D&D Art Director from Wizards of the Coast, I began sketching out ideas for the main parts of the city with the help of Todd Rueping, one of our other concept artists.
Eberron was not your typical fantasy setting; it wasn't a medieval-European place. It had to have its own architectural sensibilities, patterns and thematic elements that were unique but also familiar. So we started by researching many different cultures from our own planet: Japanese, Mongolian, American Indian, Aztec, Mayan, Middle-Eastern, African, and Indian. Then, using what we had learned, we began creating patterns, elements and visual themes that were inspired by these various cultures, but not specifically representing any one of them.
The city of Stormreach was described as a huge frontier-town built amongst the ruins of an ancient society of Giants that had fallen from grace thousands of years ago. To achieve this affect, I decided to take inspiration from things I had observed while living in New York City. New York is constantly being built and rebuilt, so you will often see a newer, modern building built atop or amongst the foundations of older buildings, creating an interesting juxtaposition of architectural styles and giving the city a feeling of being composed of multiple layers.
Stormreach itself was originally built by pirates looking for a good hiding place. Eventually it became populated by individuals from all over Eberron looking to make their fortunes on the continent of Xen'Drik, a place that holds the promise of glory, wealth and fame to the strongest survivors. While the city was supposed to feel wild and dangerous, it also had to have its opulent and civilized places where bankers, politicians and important families would feel comfortable going about their daily business. Sort of a mix between Tombstone and Paris...
To read the rest of this entry, click here.
Last night, EVE Online outdid itself once again. EVE Online now boasts that at 16,399 concurrent users, they may very well hold the world record for their PCU.
Another Peak Concurrent User Record for EVE This evening at 19:53 UTC, EVE players raised their own Peak Concurrent User record to 16.399.
This record is the latest in a string of PCU records following EVE's latest expansion - EVE Online: Cold War Edition.
To our knowledge this represents a world record for the largest number of users sharing a persistent virtual world, where no sharding or instancing is used.
For more on EVE Online, click here.
The developers over at Guild Wars have re-tooled their weekly "Fansite Friday" feature. Normally, they gather a number of questions from a number of different sources. This week, they have collected only one question, but have cornered a GW developer to get us a more in-depth answer than we are used to. This week's question talks about in-game farming.
What is the Guild Wars team’s philosophy on in-game farming?
In Guild Wars as in any other online roleplaying game, we think that maintaining a robust player-driven economy is important and adds a lot of fun to the game. It’s true that Guild Wars is a competitive game and therefore focuses much more on player skill than on item acquisition. But PvM-oriented players still look for rare items that they can use to distinguish their characters, as well as long term goals that they can work towards acquiring. In order to allow the game’s economy to be an important and fun factor in PvM-oriented play but not create unfair imbalances in PvP-oriented play, we often make rare items easier to acquire for PvP use than for PvM use, or make rare items differ from common items only by their appearance. In general we try to make it much easier in Guild Wars than in most games for average players to acquire almost-the-best of everything, and to compete on a level playing field, while still giving the more hard-core players ways to differentiate their characters.
It’s theoretically possible to create an online roleplaying game without a player-driven economy. For example, you could make every variant of every item in the game available for purchase from NPC vendors. But that would take away a lot of the feeling of accomplishment of finding a rare item. Even that might not be enough, because if certain vendors were difficult to find or travel to, then players would still trade amongst themselves at above-vendor prices. More broadly, you could simply disable the ability of players to trade items or to drop them on the ground. None of this sounds particularly fun, and given that Guild Wars uses randomly generated loot, placing every variant of every item in the game on an NPC vendor is certainly not an option for Guild Wars.
To read the rest of this Answer, click here.
Two new contests announced for the upcomiong BlizzCon, one in-game one out-of-game. The in-game contest is a Battlegrounds tournament, taking place in Arathi Basin. Winners will eventually face the experts themselves... WoW developers.
BlizzCon, Blizzard's inaugural gaming convention, will feature a king-of-the-hill tournament on World of Warcraft's newest battleground: the Arathi Basin.
Players can join as part of a full pre-chosen team, as a small group, or as an individual in a pickup team. After each match, the players on the winning team will keep their seats while the losing team members give up their bank of computers to the next challengers.
In all, there will be three concurrent matches of Arathi Basin going on all day during both days of the convention. The team that retains its status as Kings of the Basin for the most consecutive wins will face the ultimate challenge on each day of the show: a battle against a team of World of Warcraft developers. In addition, there will be other prizes for teams that win multiple consecutive matches.
For a more real-life falvor, the Sound-Alike Contest may be the way to go. This is an imitation contest, so brush off the old voice boxes and have at it!
Can you perfectly mimic a whelp's squeal? Are you a dead ringer for the male Gnome's voice? Then you just might be a winner in the BlizzCon Character and Monster Sound-Alike Contest! This latest BlizzCon contest is sponsored by Games for Windows and Alienware, and the prizes are out of this world! Five lucky winners will receive Alienware Gaming Notebooks -- perfect for playing World of Warcraft on the go! So, if you sound like you belong in Azeroth, let us hear it! Contestants can signup at the show; check the BlizzCon information booth for more details at the event.
For more on World of Warcraft, click here.
Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has a unique way of sharing their news with the world. Rather than present the news as "just another section of the site", developers have created The Camelot Herald. The Herald gives the news a very welcome immersive, in-game feeling.
This weekend, The Herald brought us this series of questions and answers:
Q: Can CS clear a quest for me? I don't want to do this old one, I want to do these champion quests!
A: I know regular Herald readers already know this, so if you all could please spread the word and tell them to check the story I posted here: http://www.camelotherald.com/more/2223.shtml, I'd surely appreciate it.
Q: Do AE dots, from shaman and bonedancer for example, stack with the AE dots from champion levels? And the same question for singletarget dots.
A: The Code Warrior looked it up, logged in to double check, and replied "The single target DoTs from the Seer champion level line is treated as a spec-line single target DoT for purposes of stacking, so bonedancers could use their base DoT and the champion level DoT, but Bone Army spec bonedancers would be better suited to using their spec line DoT.
"The area effect DoT from the Seer champion level line does in fact stack with the Bone Army spec area effect DoT."
Q: Friar staff damage is 100% dexterity based. Is caster staff damage 100% dexterity as well? If so am I correct in assuming then that it affects the damage from champion line styles?
A: CW again: "Correct, champion caster staves are treated as a weapon of the Staff class, which is set to use Dexterity as their skill for purposes of damage calculation. However since a caster will have a specialization of 0 in staves, the variance involved in calculating damage will make it difficult to see any benefit."
To read The Camelot Herald, click here.