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Final Fantasy XI : A Look at the Summoner

Posted Jan 15, 2009 by Jon Wood Final Fantasy XI COrrespondent Wesley Bond takes a look at the Summoner class in this helpful overview.

Like a Vegas Elvis impersonator, the Summoner is a flashy job that luckily looks better and performs better than most Elvis knockoffs. Summoner is a unique blend of mage and pet class that offers a nice change of pace between solo and party play. In a party, the majority of the time a Summoner will be called upon to be main healer. You will have one of the largest MP pools of any class and the ability to get regenerate it back over time. The reason for your massive MP pool is that your avatars drain your MP while you have them out so it is a must for the job. At higher levels, you may be able to find parties that want you to damage deal and backup heal. The nice thing about playing one is that you can opt to solo if things get stale. You will have to be more careful than a Beastmaster, but it can be done with the proper mob choice. The up side to playing a Summoner is that by itself you don't have to buy a bunch of spells (only for subs) but the downside is you have to defeat the avatars before you can summon them. There are two ways to go about doing this: 1) hook up with high level party and take them down in fights called "Primes" 2) Go one on one with them in a level 20 capped fight called "mini fights". The mini terrestrial fights sounds like the easy route but they are very tough. The mini fights aren't impossible, though your first time in may seem that way, but require the proper planning to win. Best bet is to research these fights posted by other Summoners and work on a strategy for each avatar. You may need to invest in some various potions for MP and health to help things along.

Take A Look at the Summoner

Age of Conan : Conan Servers Cut in Half

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

Funcom recently announced that many of Age of Conan's servers would be merged in the near future, and now they have published a list of those servers, revealing that the game will lose more than half of its servers.

As you probably have heard, we merged the two US servers 'Bloodspire' and 'Hyperborea' on 7th of January. We monitored the new server closely and can confirm that the merge was going very well and without issues. So we will now proceed with the next steps for the other servers.

Firstly, we present you the list of the planned servers to be merged (see below). We will proceed with merging next week and the specific date and time as well as the expected downtime will be announced soon too. As a general information we can already say that the plan is to merge all EU servers in one go and all US servers in another go.

Read more here.

Runescape : Year of the Upgrade: It Begins

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks behind Runscape had previously announced this year as the year of the upgrade, meaning they would be focusing less of flashy additions and more on fixing less glamorous bugs and systems. In that spirit, they kick off the year of the upgrade with a logout timer increase, chat filter tweaks, and more.

With this update we officially launch the RuneScape Upgrade Year! Today, we are bringing you three changes to different parts of the game.

Firstly, the logout timer has been increased from ninety seconds to five minutes. This means that you will not be automatically logged out before this amount of time has passed – particularly useful when you want to check the forums or the Game Guide while training combat or chopping down trees. The only exception to this is if you lose connection; if this happens, you will be automatically logged out after 30 seconds as usual (or after 60 seconds if you lose connection during combat). Make sure you stay on the watch for random events, and for other players who want to talk to you.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Free Character Transfers

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that they are offering free character transfers to new servers for Star Wars Galaxies characters created before December 11th.

Kick off the new year with a fresh start on a new galaxy! Join up with old friends or make new ones with the free Character Transfer Service promotion! Free character transfers begin on January 13, 2009, and are only offered to those accounts with characters created on or before December 11, 2008 on the identified galaxies.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Best Overall Game of 2008 - Winner

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Jon Wood is pleased to announce the winner of the 2008 Reader's Choice Award for Best Overall Game of 2008.

In the voting for Best Overall Game, 5212 votes were cast. In the interest of fairness, the editorial nominees consisted of each and every released game on our current Game List.

The voting turned out another win for the Lord of the Rings Online team over at Turbine, even if it did turn out to be a little bit closer than their previous two wins. With 13% of the vote, Turbine once again edged out Blizzard’s World of Warcraft for the right to call themselves Reader’s Choice Award winners.

Read the Best Overall Game of 2008 - Winner

FusionFall : Fusion Fall Launches

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

The Cartoon Network has announced the launch of Fusion Fall, their youth oriented MMO based in a universe featuring characters from several of the network's original series.

Cartoon Network New Media along with its development partner, Grigon Entertainment, announced today the launch of its AAA, browser-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall.

“We are excited to launch FusionFall, our most ambitious game to date from Cartoon Network,” said Paul Condolora, Senior Vice President, digital for Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media Group. “With ground-breaking game play and our international development with Grigon, FusionFall expands on our commitment to producing quality games. We know kids will enjoy teaming up with their favorite Cartoon Network characters in this new dynamic world.”

During the beta phase leading up to launch, more than 2.5 million accounts were created, with fans spending hours playing the game. FusionFall is supported by Unity Technology, which allows the game to be played in most Internet browsers on both Macs and PCs. Several safety features, including Crisp Thinking’s NetModerator technology, have also been incorporated into the game to provide a safe environment for kids.

“The response to FusionFall during our beta phase and sneak peek play weekends has been phenomenal,” said Chris Waldron, executive producer of FusionFall. “We’re thrilled to finally offer fans the opportunity to fully explore the Cartoon Network universe online with friends and family.”

Read more here.

EVE Online : Dev Blog: The Premium Lite Client

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

CCP has posted a new developer blog which looks at the Apocrypha expansion and their plans to phase out their Classic client and replace it with the new Premium Lite version.

The way things are

One of EVE's unique features (along with being an awesome game on a single server) is that it can run on pretty much any computer built after 1998. The minimum spec for graphics card and CPU has always been very reasonable to say the least, so the barrier for entry into EVE has been relatively low compared to other games. Developing the client in this manner hasn't always been a given. It requires us to downtune our graphics engine quite a bit, for one, as well as maintain the "Classic" client version of EVE along with the Premium one. That means creating two versions of each art asset we want to put into the game. It complicates build and patching processes considerably and, for the most part, it simply doesn't allow us to make EVE look as beautiful as we want. The core issues we deal with are:

• Spending too much time and resources maintaining 2 clients

• Due to a dual pipeline we have less time implementing performance enhancements

Where do we go from here?

Currently, EVE can be played on GeForce 2 or ATi Radeon 7000 series cards. The support of these cards was discontinued in 2002 by their manufacturers, a full year before EVE was first published. The development in graphics and graphics cards since then has been, to put it mildly, phenomenal. What we want to do is simplifying our development as well as exploit these new technologies to their full extent.

Read more here.

Fiesta : Plans for 2009

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

Outspark has posted their plans for Fiesta Online in 2009, providing an overview of upcoming content for the game.

We never stop bringing great new content to Fiesta, so there's always something fun and exciting right around the corner!

It should come as no surprise that we have big plans for 2009, and have lots of cool new content lined up for the coming months. Check out the preview below to get a glimpse at some of the big things coming to Fiesta in the first part of 2009, and stop by the Fiesta Q&A on the Outspark Blog to get even more insight into what's in store for Fiesta in 2009!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Rebel Apostles

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks at Flying Lab Software have revealed the next step in the development of Pirates of the Burning Sea with Rebel Apostles, a serial story that will continue with successive content updates.

1.12 is called Rebel Apostles and it’s the start of something new (and dare I say exciting) for Pirates of the Burning Sea. Since launch we have added much new content and introduced epic missions like Fortaleza da Luz and Bey’s Retreat. What we haven’t yet done is a serial story that unfolds over many milestones but that’s about to change. Rebel Apostles is Chapter 1 of new story arc called Black Flags and Dread Saints. We will spin this tale over six milestones and many missions, making it the biggest addition of new content since launch.

Black Flags and Dread Saints is about the rise of a new pirate faction in the Caribbean. Their origins are unknown but they seem to mix religious zealotry with ruthless pirating. A new gospel is being preached on the Burning Sea and its message is not peace, love, and understanding. The appearance and growth of the Dread Saints are of concern to all nations because the presence of a new faction upsets the balance of power. Even Captain Kidd and the Brethren of the Coast are wary.

Read more here.

General : 2029, New Sci-fi MMO Announced

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they are working on a new science fiction MMO called 2029 Online.

IGG (, a leading MMO publisher in North America, has scored a big hit with its brand new MMO game-2029 Online. With an epic storyline broken into exquisitely plotted quests and snaking through your playing hours, this game is set to enjoy great success and even greater market dominance. Get your game time groove on and become the Savior of war-torn Helen Continent. Will the inspired and cunning Humans outsmart the awakened Dryad and take over the universe? Or will the sneaky Electronic Elves step in and successfully bring down the Humans’ plans to build their leadership and save this sinful land? The war has just begun!

Game Intro

2029 Online ( is the first MMOG with a good amount of three Corridors, RTS and RPG elements all thrown into the mix. It mimics and allows the virtual equivalent of real combat experiences. Players explore a realistic and colorful world rendered in real time 3D. The smooth 3D character animation, the delicate Avatar System design and various interesting scenario’s with a real-world-like game environment help the game break into a market overrun with competitors that too often look alike. The beautiful scenery and stunning computer graphics will leave you awestruck. The game has many convenient designs, including Quick Locate, Auto Attack and Mercenary, which keep the challenges in the game and off the keyboard. Quests in the game will not only bring you expand quality gear but the fun and the feeling of belonging to a team. The instanced dungeons await heroes to venture in and meet the darkness head on. You can create a dungeon scene anywhere to get hooked for hours during your adventure. This game is poised for huge success and to win peoples’ hearts with its DIY fun kits to create all sorts of interesting things, including unique fighting vehicles, the quality time spent producing gorgeous gear, and intense battles over territory and brutal competition among guilds. Five classes stemming from the three races help increase the mystique of the game. This year you’ll be checking your calendar over and over again to make sure it’s not really 2029.

The game is a skill-based sci-fi MMORPG. As the first game launched with a customized Fighting Vehicle leveling system, this game has many advantages that put it above the rest of the global competition.

Read more here.

Fiesta : Ask Outspark Q&A

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

Outspark has published an internal Q&A which answers common community questions about the features of Fiesta Online, as well as providing details of upcoming content for the game.

We’ve heard there’s a new weapon skinning system coming to Fiesta. How does that work?

The weapon skinning system allows players to customize the visual appearance of their weapon the same way premium character costumes let players customize their gear. You can equip a weapon skin and the graphic replaces your current weapon. Besides looking cool, weapon skins will also enhance your stats (such as increasing your critical rate).

And you’re also introducing a new instance dungeon system to Fiesta. Can you give us some details on this new feature?

We’re adding a new instance dungeon to fiesta - Dragon’s Tomb!

Players can team up with their friends and guildmates and enter an exclusive dungeon map just for their party. Your party will be the only group in your version of the dungeon, so you can hunt and level peacefully. This new feature will give players a whole new way to play Fiesta.

Read more here.

Godswar : Quest System Overview

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

IGG has provided an overview of the different classifications of quests in GodsWar Online.

IGG is giving an introduction to the quest system for GodsWar Online (

GodsWar Online is the first fully IGG designed and produced 3D MMORPG. Top-grade game developers’ painstaking efforts have culminated in the fantastic and mysterious GodsWar Online. GWO offers players distinct systems and activities including enchanting quests, charming game scenery, free character growth, amazing battles and a wonderful gaming community. This time, the GodsWar online official will release some details about the quest system in the game.

Main Quests: Main quests are those quests pertaining to the storyline. Players can find out more about the storyline and the background while doing these quests.

Branch Quests: Related to the main quests, but drive from the main quest.

Quests for Rewards: Players are offered rewards for killing the appointed evil monster(s).

Class Quests: Different classes have different quests available exclusively for them. Players can upgrade their status and learn new skills when they finish these quests.

Faction Quests: The quests require players to penetrate the enemy’s faction defenses. Players should not only defeat some monsters but also defend against attacks from the opposing faction.

Daily Quests: Players can do them every day, but they can only be done a limited number of times each day.

Repeated Quests: These are quests that can be done again and again.

Team Quests: These quests should be done in a team.

Read more here.

Zero Online : Universal Sheepherder

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Keith Cross

TQ Games has posted details of an event in Zero Online featuring mech sheep that are as cute as they are deadly.

Mech pandas must impress you a lot because of the sad face and huge volume.

What about mech sheep? Recently, the Alliance has invented some mech sheep with the most advanced nano technology. Compared with the mech pandas, they look really tiny and cherubic. Can they be your pets? Never dream about that! Once irritated, they will burst out incredible power and destroy everything around! By the way, they are only in the test phase...

The thing is, after the deliberate invasion of the Othello last week, these nano sheep are missing! You know who stole them away. This time, your mission is to head to the enemy's military base and escort them out of there. It won't be an easy job for an individual pilot! You'd better understand the definition of teamwork.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Battle for Wintergrasp

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Jon Wood World of Warcraft Correspondent Deborah Dietrich writes this informative overview of the Wintergrasp battleground in Blizzard's hit game.

World of Warcraft screenshot

You’ve heard the cry put out in Dalaran to summon players to Wintergrasp. You’ve seen the nice Essence of Wintergrasp XP buff appear on your buff bar and picked up Stone Keeper’s shards when your faction controls this PvP zone. But what is this new battleground all about?

An hour before the battle is to ensue, criers in Dalaran will announce the imminent start of the battle. Portals to Wintergrasp will appear in the Silver Enclave (A) and the Sunreaver’s Sanctuary (H) when the battle begins. If the portal is not available, players can also fly into the zone or wait until portals reappear as each faction’s Battle-Mages open portals and call out for reinforcements. You’ll also see calls in the Trade channel to group up. Being part of a raid group is integral to success in this new battleground. You will flag for PvP and be attackable by the opposing faction once you enter the Wintergrasp zone.

Read Battle for Wintergrasp

World of Warcraft : Death Knight Tanking Talents

Posted Jan 14, 2009 by Jon Wood

In his first submission to, Darry Huskey writes this guide to Dark Knight Tanking in Blizzard's World of Warcraft.

So, you've purchased Wrath of the Lich King, you've created your Death Knight, and you've finally completed the trek to level eighty. Now what? Well, lying before you, you have a choice : DPS or tank?

This article is for those of you that chose tank.

Tanking as a Death Knight is unlike playing any other tank class in the game, so even if you have tanked before, it can be somewhat disorienting. Death Knight tanking can be even more odd to a first-timer, who is expecting a different sort of experience, something in line with a Warrior.

World of Warcraft screenshot

Read Death Knight Tanking Talents

Runes of Magic : Obtaining your Second Class

Posted Jan 13, 2009 by Jon Wood Runes of Magic Correspondent Pamela Blalock writes this article on obtaining your second class in Runes of Magic.

Runes of Magic Screenshot

One of the most intriguing aspects of Runes of Magic is the dual class system. With this feature, players are given the option to pick two of the current six classes. These classes include; scout, rogue, knight, warrior, mage and priest. RoM promises to add classes throughout its lifetime with two mystery classes already reserved on the RoM class website.

Read Obtaining your Second Class

EVE Online : Electronic Warfare

Posted Jan 13, 2009 by Jon Wood EVE Correspondent Joanie Spalletta writes this overview guide on Electronic Warfare in CCP's EVE Online.

EVE Screenshot

Electronic Warfare is technology used to disable or weaken enemy ships that you would normally have a hard time doing without it. For example, if you are against a fast ship, you can use Electronic Warfare to slow them down. You can even prevent ships from warping away!

There are a number of modules, skills, and even ships that can help you with Electronic Warfare.

Read Electronic Warfare

Fallen Earth : State of the Game: January 2009

Posted Jan 13, 2009 by Keith Cross

The folks at Fallen Earth have posted a State of the Game update where they detail where the game currently stands in the development process, talk about new strategies for working on the game, and provide some hard numbers on what's in the game so far.

As we start a New Year and ramp up for launch, we at Fallen Earth wanted to take a moment to review some milestones of 2008. We are also excited about many changes we’ve recently made to improve the player experience and look forward to milestones in the near future.

In 2008, we began a new production method to provide clear timelines for each town, as well as a place for artists, designers, scripters and QA to mix ideas and stay on the same page. Earlier on, we went back and forth between the design team and the art department with no real communication or verification of what the town would look like or what the teams wanted. Some good ideas were lost due to lack of communication, and we lacked solid deadlines and processes for QA. By implementing the scrum method, we have eliminated many communication issues between different teams working on the same end product and we have solidified our goals and deadlines.

We also recreated many towns in the first sector and thoroughly reviewed the rest. That’s a huge amount of content:

  • 75,000+ text strings
  • Almost 5,500 missions
  • 6,000+ items
  • 14,000+ unique characters/creatures
  • 143,000+ in game objects
  • 70 towns
  • 600+ hrs of content

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Solo Play From Levels 20 to 40

Posted Jan 13, 2009 by Keith Cross

Turbine has released the second part in their examination of solo play in Lord of the Rings Online, this time providing guidance for players between levels 20 and 40.

Leveling by questing alone becomes more difficult beyond 20th level. The challenges are greater and the monsters are deadlier. But it’s not impossible . . . especially for a clever player with a well-prepared hero. In our previous article on Solo Play we covered the basics for solitary questing during the beginning levels. Here, we'll cover tactics for a more advanced character, including what one can achieve in Middle-earth while working alone to defeat the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.

After completing the Quests of Book 1 and cresting 20th level, your hero’s best options for solo adventuring lead from the lands of Bree north and east into the rest of Middle-earth.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : Fortress Battle Update

Posted Jan 13, 2009 by Keith Cross

Mark Jacobs has posted an update on Mythic Entertainment's efforts to make fortress battles run more smoothly in Warhammer Online, including the possibility of moving fortresses to their own zones.

The first step in improving the oRvR experience of fortress taking went LIVE across all servers last night. The good news is that there were lots of fortresses captured and defended. The even better news is that there were no fortress-related crashes last night while these battles raged and were completed by the players. Performance in these battles was also improved, but still not where we want it to be of course. While this is a good start, continuing to improve the mechanisms behind these battles remains one of our top priorities now and going forward. Over the next few weeks, we will be working on a number of initiatives that I can now talk about.

First, the team will tweak the settings for the Fortress Lords to make sure that their power is in line with the current numbers of players expected to participate in the siege. Second, the team will continue working on optimizing the code’s performance in large-scale battles so we can increase the population cap over the next few weeks. Third, the team is looking at additional tweaking of the pop cap to ensure that it is where it needs to be in order to allow these battles to be as well-balanced (from a design perspective) as they can be. In the end, it is up to the players to decide to defend and/or attack a fortress but it is our job to make sure that the pop cap is set properly to ensure that the maximum number of defenders/attackers that can *choose* to participate is set up so that if the population hits max cap (and assuming that both sides are equally powerful), neither side has an advantage over the other. Most importantly, the team will also be looking at moving the fortress areas out to their own zones to allow an even a greater of number of players to participate, while also maintaining a high level of performance. While they are doing that, they will also be looking at ways to enhance the fortress areas to take advantage of having their own dedicated zone. This might also allow us to get slightly lower-level players into the action, either directly in the fortress sieges, and/or in supporting roles around the main action. However, we won’t move the sieges into their own zones unless we are sure that we can get either some design and/or performance improvements by doing so.

Read more here.

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