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General : Downtime Questions Answered

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has released a detailed account of the changes and upgrades to their account management system that occurred during their maintenance downtime last Tuesday.

So, what happened on Tuesday?

This last Tuesday, Sony Online Entertainment brought all of its games and services down for approximately 14 hours. While we did everything we could to make people aware of the pending downtime as early as possible, some SOE gamers have expressed confusion about what exactly we did that day.

Upgrading The Account Management System

On Tuesday, we converted all of our prior account management systems into one unified system. This unified system replaces multiple systems that have been created over the years at SOE as new games came into the family. With this new account management system, we now have a single unified system that spans all SOE games and lends us great efficiency in upgrades for all of our games as future needs arise.

What Does That Mean For You?

While the new account maintenance system creates no appreciable change for you in terms of gameplay in your favorite SOE game, it does offer many benefits to you. For instance, the new account management system allows for a much more straightforward set of options to manage your Station account and your individual subscriptions.

Get all the details here.

EverQuest II : Rise of Kunark Closed Beta Starts Soon

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that attendees of Fan Faire and those who preordered EQuinox Magazine will soon be able to take part in the Rise of Kunark closed beta.

Did you attend Fan Faire or preorder the EQuinox magazine? If your answer is "Yes!" you will soon be able to participate in the closed beta for EverQuest II, Rise of Kunark! All beta participants need to read and sign the beta NDA found by following this link, before they can enter the beta; and you can complete that step now in preparation for your entry into the beta.

Please be sure that you are logged into the Station ID associated with your Fan Faire attendance, or EQuinox preorder as we will be checking the ID's in our database against the NDA's as a part of our beta invite process. Thank you for your patience while we progressed through our internal testing period, we hope you will enjoy participating in the RoK beta test and look forward to sharing it with you. Don't forget to sign the NDA now!

Read more here.

EVE Online : Fanfest Details

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

The EVE Online official site has been updated with a rundown of some of the activities that players will be able to participate in at this Year's EVE Fanfest.

EVE Fanfest 2007 approaches!

As the EVE Fanfest 2007, 1-3 November, comes closer we've updated the Fanfest section with some additional information on what's going to happen.

2007 Fanfest PvP Tournament - As usual we will have a Tournament, the details and rules for this is at the linked page.

EVE CCG at Fanfest 2007 - This year we will have demonstrations of the CCG, card giveaways for those who wish ot learn it and of course we will have a tournament.

Jita - Alliance and Corporation area for Fanfest - New for this year is a special corporations and alliances area, where you'll be able to meet friends and foes, relax from the Fanfest activities and maybe get access to some special services and perks. More on this and how to register can be found on the page linked above.

RoXor - The in house Dev band has entertained us at the Fanfest for a while, and we felt they deserved some extra attention on our site. We will also be selling their t-shirt in the Fanfest EVE Store.

So, for those of you who have not yet ordered, make sure you get a Fanfest package, an EVE FanFest 2007 Access Pass and join us in Iceland for the Fanfest!

Read more here.

Voyage Century Online : A Unusual View

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released new information about Voyage Century Online and the features that they believe sets this game apart from the crowd.

Voyage Century Online What are the unusual features of this MMORPG? What we think of VCO first may be its ornate, aesthetic, and 3D graphics. And more gamers may pay close attention to its marine trade, spells, naval battles, battlegrounds, flagships, boss grade monsters, gears, etc.

However, if we attempt to look over VCO from a sideward or hidden angle, we may find some indiscoverable unusual features of VCO.

High-key guild battles
Guild war is not scarce in online games. However the form of guild contest for hegemony in VCO is quite rarely seen. There ever broke out a large-scale battle that affected the whole server in almost every server of VCO, which lead to the hegemony of a strong guild and then the stable situation of the server.

The situation is quite particular, but it is able to stimulate all the guilds’ battling enthusiasm to the peak. However, it is very difficult to win other player’s recognition in VCO. It is time to make mental preparations for the guild hegemony in VCO if you want to challenge the peak of VCO.

Pirate group is very popular
Pirates are always very popular in VCO, especially after the <Pirates of the Caribbean> came up. The player can choose to be a Pirate in any phase of the adventure in VCO. And a higher-level Pirate would be stronger. Besides, the one-day earning obtained by using the Pirate’s unique ability--Disposal of Stolen Goods 4 may even be on a par with the richest trade caravan.
What’s more, Pirates possess a unique class feature--blackmail. Pirates possess the privilege to blackmail the non-pirate players on open sea. Surely, the non-pirate player has the right to refuse the Pirate’s blackmail. But it usually leads to a fierce fight. The Pirates will never feel tiresome to blackmail other players. After all, if a Pirate does not rob, can he be called Pirate? That’s why the new comers of VCO always pay close attention to the matters concerned about acting as a Pirate.
For more about VCO, please visit the official site:

Read more about here.

General : Blog Spotlight: Innovation in the Main

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week,'s Community Manager, Laura Genender, takes a look at a blog that discusses innovation in MMORPGs.

Innovation in the Mainstream?

Day in, day out, the MMO world is filled with discontent – where is the innovation in MMOs?  Where are new ideas?  Players feel that the developers are just spitting out the same game template, day in and day out.  Almost every game is called out as a “WoW-clone” at least once (you all can argue the validity of those claims!).  And this week, user vajuras, author of the blog “I Have a Dream,” addresses this issue in his blog. 

Vajuras starts off by defining the MMO terms of “mainstream” and “innovation.”

Read the whole spotlight here.

General : Mouse Review: Logitech G9

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Hardware writer, Jeremy Star takes a look at the latest mouse offering from Logitech with the G9 mouse. He liked it, read on to find out why!

This week we're going to be taking a look at the newest mouse offering from PC peripheral giant Logitech, the G9 laser mouse.

The Hardware – Look ma, another G!

The G9 is a corded USB laser mouse with a 3200dpi. It features interchangeable grips, a custom weight tuning system, onboard memory, adjustable sensitivity, customizable LED colors, Polytetrafluoroethylene feet, and a MicroGear™ precision scroll wheel. Like all of G family of mice – the corded ones, anyway – the cord is a heavy duty braided one.

Read the whole thing here.

Fury : Decay Video!

Posted Sep 29, 2007 by Ben Krueger

We've been provided with this new video featuring more PvP action from the upcoming MMO Fury. 

Video Interview Decay Video!
Check out this new Fury video featuring the red team vs the blue team!

Check out more vids here.


Lineage 2 : A Look Forward

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lineage II producer Tim "Ornery" Tan has posted an article on the Lineage II official site detailing the future direction of the game.

As the Fall season begins, it’s a good time to look at the changes that have been going on for Lineage II, as well as what is in store for the coming months. First off, I look around and see a couple of different faces on the team. Omega and I have stepped up to new roles, but bring years of experience on the project to the table. Alyra and Twinmoon are two new additions to the team that have quickly become accustomed to their community and marketing roles, respectively. It’s always a good feeling knowing that Spam is at his post leading the customer support team and helping to make the overall product better.

One of our current goals is to interact more with the player base and get some really good feedback on the game and services of Lineage II. I think Alyra has done an excellent job so far in talking with everyone on the message boards and forwarding key points to me and the rest of the team. Another goal of ours is to try to be more open and provide timely information to our players. We’ve been using the monthly newsletter to give everyone a sneak peak at what’s going on in the upcoming month. We are also trying to participate in an increased number of interviews and developer chats so that players can get those burning questions answered. I’ve recently been able to meet up with a number of players at both the Penny Arcade Expo, and the NCsoft meet and greet here in Austin. I really enjoyed meeting players and listening to their feedback. I was truly amazed at the diversity of both the requests and the people.

Read the full article here.

Guild Wars : State of the Game

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Guild wars official site has been updated with another edition of their State of the Game series of articles.  This week's title? NPCs, Splits, and You.

The current guild battle metagame favors teams capable of splitting well. With builds investing heavily in static defenses, splits are often necessary to produce kills and advantages in battle. At the same time, successful splits can often create an NPC advantage, which is more important due to changes to VoD. With a 200% damage buff against the Guild Lord, a large NPC swarm applies heavy pressure at the flag stand.

NPCs are a highly valuable asset and are an irreplaceable resource (unlike Death Penalty, which can be reset). Before VoD, they protect the Guild Lord and define a buffer zone where teams can retreat and relieve some pressure. At VoD, an NPC advantage can easily sway a battle at the flag stand. A common split goal is to reduce the opposition's NPC swarm to build an advantage at the flag stand during VoD. To accomplish this against defenses like Shield of Regeneration flag runners, a gank squad may simultaneously attack multiple NPCs, thus stretching the abilities of a lone healer to maintain every NPC. Generally, a team will have to split multiple characters for defense if to preserve its outer NPCs against a gank team.

Besides NPC considerations, each map has its own split complications. For example, the "siege" maps—Warrior's Isle, Hunter's Isle, and Wizard's Isle—present a unique factor to splitting. The siege weapons on these maps are an element unlike anything presented by other guild halls. Controlling the catapult can dramatically shift the balance of a guild battle.

Read the full article here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Creatures of Middle Earth: the Kergrim

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with another look at some of the creatures that populate the lands of Middle Earth.  This week the focus is on the Kergrim.

The lumbering monsters known as Kergrim have seldom been seen anywhere beyond the borders of Angmar. When they can, they stalk the barrows and tombs of the long dead, searching for bones upon which to gnaw. It was long thought that they were simply beasts, but recent evidence shows that they are more than that. Perhaps they are some foul breed of troll; exceedingly stupid, but not wholly unintelligent.

Since the coming of the shadow of Angmar, they have been seen haunting the barrows of the Men of Arnor in the region around Lake Evendim. Whether the Kergrim are simply there to terrify the few Men who dwell in Evendim, or there seeking something specific within the tombs, danger lurks behind every grave.

The Kergrim were originally drawn from tales of a Scottish ghoul who lurked in graveyards, desecrating graves to gnaw the bones of the dead. They have been modified to fit into the world of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™.

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : October Events

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has sent over information about the events that will be running this October in Tales of Pirates.

Grab free iPhod Touch, keep eyes on Triple Surprise event ( During the month of October, TOP ( will hold a new exciting activity! The Phantom Army is about to attack one of the cities, and players can obtain advanced equipment by killing the enemies and defending the city.

Recently, Shaitan City received some bad news. The evil Phantom Army has been aroused by some mysterious power. They have razed many villages along the way, and their next target is Shaitan City. The High Priest-Gannon in Shaitan City has called on all the brave pirates to fight against the evil forces and get back the treasure and equipment from these loathsome creatures.
Warriors, assemble!! Let’s fight against the evil!!

Apart from the activity above, we still have some ongoing activities as follows:

Hide & Seek
Hide & Seek is coming back! GMs will hide among you with no “GM” title! But useful hints will be provided and the lucky finder will get big prize from GM!

Treasure Hunting
During activity time, some precious items will appear at somewhere and exist at there for a while! Useful hints will be provided; the first lucky finder who reaches there in time can get the treasure!

Red Paper Exchange
Have collected dozens of Red Paper? GM will exchange money or some special items for these papers!

The Hexathlon and Voyage Competition continue to be available this month as well.
Come and join us now!

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

Fury : Fury Challenge Kicks Off

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Auran has announced that this weekend marks the start of competition in the Fury Challenge, Fury's open beta event which offers players the opportunity to win a piece of a prize pool totaling more than $2 million.

Brisbane, Australia – September 28, 2007 - This weekend FURY will reach the pinnacle of its testing with the first competition weekend of its Open Beta event - the FURY Challenge. The event kicks off with a bang - full-on competitions spanning seven ladders have players competing for over $2 Million in prizes. To allow for two full weekends of competition and mid-week practice sessions, the release date is now scheduled for October 16, 2007. Auran is opening up the field to everyone before the game even hits the shelves by inviting all players, from veteran FURY testers to one-timers to FURY virgins, to get out there and show their stuff! The FURY Challenge gives players their first real chance to experience the game the way it was designed to be played (and to win some cool loot as well).

There’s no doubt that learning a new game can be frustrating especially when you’re faced with higher ranking opponents or someone who has been playing the game for months, but that’s about to change. Since FURY is meant to be all about FUN, Auran has been working hard on addressing these issues to ensure that every player, of every rank, gets the chance to mix it up in a well balanced match. More fun brings more players, more players improve the whole matchmaking process, and thus we start a snowball effect which will help push FURY to critical mass this weekend. In short, the FURY Challenge is a chance to sample the sweet, sweet taste of victory.

Here’s a list of some recent improvements that will smooth the learning curve and help players experience FURY as it’s meant to be played:

  • Test out multiple Incarnations prior to battling against human opponents. Players can roll a new character and test drive all the Incarnations by picking up a FURY Challenge Authentication Code here:
  • Equip Points for Reborns, Initiates and Disciples have been increased so you can immediately buy additional starter abilities and customize your incarnation.
  • It is easier and faster to go through the Ranks so that even after just a few hours, you have reached a competitive level (and for FURY Challenge we have capped Ranks to make things a little more balanced)
  • Bloodbath and Vortex matches are smaller (16 man FFA BB and 8 v 8 VTX teams). This ensures a tighter grouping of player Skill Ratings for the match and thus more even matches.
  • Player Skill Rating calculations (used by the Matchmaker) have been amended to ensure a wider spread from newbie to expert. This makes it easier for the matchmaker to find similar skilled players.
  • Numerous balance changes have been made in response to player feedback which should enable a variety of effective tactics to be employed to counter “flavor of the week” builds.
  • A “Newbie Offense and Defense” bonus has been added to help players who die frequently build up their offensive and defensive ratings to help make them more competitive. This works off Avatar Rank not Incarnation Rank so will only affect new avatars.

Read more about the Fury Challenge here.

Read more about the prizes here.

General : Garriott in Space: Details Released

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Space Adventures, Ltd. has sent out a press release confirming Richard Garriott's plans to head to the International Space Station in 2008, as well as providing information about why he's going and what he'll be doing while he's up there.

Vienna, Va. – September 28, 2007 – Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today that famed game developer Richard Garriott, son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, has begun preparations for a “commercially active” mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Mr. Garriott’s spaceflight, currently planned for October 2008, will be the first in a series of missions that will accommodate commercial activity aboard the ISS.  Involvement from the private sector can include scientific and environmental research and educational outreach programming.

“It has always been Space Adventures’ goal to open the space frontier.  Now, with Richard’s flight, we have designed a series of missions devoted to increase commercial involvement in manned space missions,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.  “It is a very rare occasion when so many commercial opportunities are available in one space mission. We encourage interested parties to contact us.”

Space Adventures made history in 2001 by organizing the mission of the first private space explorer.  Now, the company continues to bring innovation to manned spaceflight by enabling corporate and non-profit entities to participate in commercial endeavors on the planet’s only orbiting outpost.

“I am dedicating my spaceflight to science,” said Mr. Garriott.  “It is my goal to devote a significant amount of my time aboard the space station to science, engineering and educational projects.  I understand the necessity for conducting research in extreme environments whether it is collecting microorganisms from deep sea hydrothermal vents to carrying out experiments in the continuous micro-gravity of Earth orbit.” He continued, “We need to be adventurous in mind and simulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels.”

Read the full release here.

Ultima Online : 10 Years Already?

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross


Ultima Online is celebrating it's diamond anniversary; 10 years and going strong with the release of their major update: Kingdom Reborn.  To make sure they have as many people as possible join in this MMO milestone, they are inviting back all former players to play for free from September 25th until October 9th.

All citizens of Sosaria are invited back to Ultima Online to help us celebrate its 10th anniversary.  Check out the Kingdom Reborn client, join in the celebration, and receive your gifts - everyone is welcome!

Here's how:

Re-install Ultima Online™, using your game disc, a friend’s disc or downloading it here:
  • If you need to re-install the game, you can download it here:
  • Start the game and log-in with your name and password.
  • In most cases you’ll find your characters and property waiting for you. (We can’t guarantee all the in-game possessions will still be available, but in most cases they will be.)
  • Been awhile since you've played? Click here for the UO New Player Guide, which will help you jump right back into Sosaria.

Find out how to Return to Britannia here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Exclusive Screenshots, Week One

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, is pleased to kick off this new exclusive screenshot series from Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Check our more on PotBS here.

General : MMO Bans Males Playing Female Avatars

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Destructoid is reporting that a Chinese MMORPG titled King of the World now requires players of female avatars to prove that they are indeed female in real life, as they will ban any male players caught using avatars not of their own gender.

Obviously not as sensitive to the needs of transgendered gamers as we in the west, it would seem that Chinese game companies take a dim view of males who want to be females -- in computer games, at least. Chinese MMORPG King of the World won't accept male players masquerading as female characters and is putting a stop to such shenanigans.

Aurora Technology, a subsidiary of Shanda and developer of the game, is freezing the accounts of male gamers with female avatars, and anybody who chooses to play as a female in the game will have to prove they are of permitted gender via webcam.  While nonsensical to us, you have to remember that China does love its reckless regulations, so this could almost seem normal coming from the land where skeletons are outlawed in World of Warcraft. Of course, the rules could just be a scam to get webcam shots of gamer girls for the developers.

Read more here.

General : Book Overview: Legend of The Syndicate

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, Jon Wood takes a quick look at a recently released book detailing the history of The Syndicate, a large guild with a presence in the classic Ultima Online and the juggernaut World of Warcraft.

It isn’t often that we present an article about a book here at Frankly, there really haven’t been that many written on the subject of MMORPGs, so you can imagine my reaction when a copy of “Legend of the Syndicate” made its way to my door for review.

Legend of the Syndicate’s sub title is “A History of Online Gaming’s Premier Guild (yes, I know that there would be a number of guilds that would probably dispute that, but it’s the title of the book). The book is written by Sean Stalzer (“Dragons” to anyone who might be familiar with The Syndicate), the guild leader.

Read it all here.

Myth War : Quadruple Experience Event

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be holding a quadruple experience event across all of their Myth War servers.

IGG today announce their activity for all Myth War players during the upcoming National Day. They also explain a little bit on the new version--Myth War2.0. From Server Time Oct 1st to Oct 3rd, All-Server Quadruple-Experience Event will be launched all server around. Players' experience gained from the Quest or other activities will be increased normally during the event period. Besides, Oceanic Stone Pack will be taken off the Item Mall shelf on Oct 8th 0:00 AM EST (GMT-5). For more information about the upcoming Myth War2.0, please keep an eye on the official site.

Read more about Myth War here.

General : MMOWTF: What’s the Score? Music in MMO

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Jon Wood's own Dan Fortier uses his weekly column to discuss music in MMORPGs.

There are elements of a game that are rarely given notice in the feature list and overlooked by players engrossed in the obvious content of most MMOs. One of these unappreciated elements is the game’s musical score. It works behind the scenes to immerse or annoy us, depending on its quality. When used properly and aesthetically it can turn a well designed game into a masterpiece and can inversely mar an otherwise enjoyable product. This week I’m going to go a little soft as I explain some of the reasons why music is underrated and not given the attention it deserves especially in the MMO genre. Get a healthy supply of Compazine so we can get this little one man opera started!

When compared to the fantastic soundtracks of single player games such as The Elder Scrolls and Homeworld, most of the music presented in the modern MMO pales in comparison. Why is quality so much lower for games that players spend more time in than any other? While that cheery symphony in Freeport might sound great the first two hundred hours you spend there, it likely to be less pleasing the next thousand times you hear it. It seems unless a game is being produced by one of the MMO dynasties, the musical score and sound effects are added almost as an afterthought, just to know when you hit a monster or zoned to a new location.

Read it all here.

Tales of Pirates : Mid-Autumn Day Events

Posted Sep 27, 2007 by Keith Cross


IGG has announced that they will be holding in-game events and handing out moon cakes in Tales of Pirates to celebrate the Southeast Asian holiday of Mid-Autumn Day.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here and paste the code (mmorpgcom) for triple surprise. Tales of Pirates is planning to hold another exciting activity—the TOP Mid-Autumn Day Celebration!

Regarding this festival, we’d be very pleased to introduce it and share the happiness with all friends here. For those of you unfamiliar with Mid-Autumn Day, it is an important traditional festival among Southeast Asian nations, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. The Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar. At this time, the moon is at its fullest and brightest, marking an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer's harvest. Traditionally, on this day, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and share their happiness with tea and traditional sweets known as moon cakes.  It is always one of the most joyful days for the people of this region!
This time, TOP would like to invite players to enjoy the festival together - during the activity time plenty of moon cakes will be given away totally FREE by GMs! And after eating the special cakes, players will be able to gain 30 Exp instantly!

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

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