MMORPG.com Star Wars Galaxies Correspondent Brian Turner writes this look at the recent addition of the ice planet Hoth to SOE's Star Wars Galaxies.
Chapter 11 entitled "The Battle of Echo Base" was released recently on the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) live servers. This new heroic encounter thus far has been met with mixed reviews by the SWG community. Most problematic is the seemingly premature release of this latest chapter. Several parts of the game have been broken with no insight as to when they will be fixed, and lag hits the servers rampantly. Luckily, on their second try to fix delayed transport times; Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has succeeded with the 11.2 release. Unfortunately, other aspects of the game are still under strict scrutiny.
The heroic encounter itself suffers from extreme lag issues and frame rate drops even on high end computers. Realizing that SWG is over five years old now and has seen no major upgrades to the MMO's engine, many have speculated that the Hoth heroic encounter is just too much for this outdated engine. Whether or not we will see a fix to these problems is yet to be seen. It is a reasonable theory to say that marketing drove the release prematurely to align with SOE's free month for veterans.
Read Hoth Hubbub
Today, we continue with our nominee announcements for the 2008 MMORPG.com Reader's Choice Awards with our Most Anticipated Game category. Here, readers will vote for their most eagerly anticipated game with an expected 2009 release date.
- Runes of Magic
- Champions Online
- Chronicles of Spellborn
- Jumpgate Evolution
- Stargate Worlds
Vote for the Most Anticipated Game for 2009
Age of Conan Game Director Craig Morrison has written a letter to the community explaining the reasons for recent problems with last week's planned server merges, and informing players that the merges will continue in January.
With the announced start of the server merge process not quite having gone as planned I wanted to take the time today to speak to you all explain where we are at with the merge process and what the schedule looks like.
Basically, on Wednesday when we came to do the first live merges we encountered an issue with the structure of our data that we hadn’t found or experienced during testing. This issue caused there to be a risk, on some servers, under specific circumstances, of items having non-unique identifiers in our database. This in turn might have lead to some cases of player’s items not surviving the merge. It didn’t happen at all during our testing, and may have been (in the scale of all players and all items in the game) a possibly rare occurrence. However this was not an area where the team and I were willing to take any risks with whatsoever.
This is also exactly why we decided not to announce all the merge schedules in advance and to ensure we could do them in a live environment first before we went ahead with all the merges. While it is never ‘nice’ to have your contingency plans called into action, this approach has meant we caught a potential issue before it could possibly affect people’s actual game experience.
Read more here.
Cryptic Studios has posted another look into the future history of Star Trek, running down the key events of 2382 which are dominated by political turmoil in the Romulan Empire.
The unstable situation of the Romulans continues to be a source of concern for the Alpha and Beta quadrants.
The loss of agricultural planets now claimed by the Imperial Romulan Empire threatens Romulus with severe food shortages. Romulus’ power plants and factories cannot increase output without the heavy metals and dilithium that once flowed from Remus.
To avert the looming civil crisis, Praetor Tal’aura reluctantly accepts food shipments from the Federation. But she refuses the Federation’s offer to facilitate negotiations between her and Empress Donatra, saying that it is an internal Romulan matter.
Tal’aura charges her proconsul, Fleet Commander Tomalak, with retaking the planets held by Donatra. Tomalak appoints Admiral Taris as his second in command and orders her to re-organize and mobilize Romulus’ remaining military forces.
Read more here.
James Casey, the Content Design Lead for Warhammer Online has penned a new dev journal which takes a look at player statues.
The central theme of WAR is well, just that: war. It’s everywhere. Defending your realm and taking the fight to the enemy requires blood, sweat, and tears. Players in WAR are rewarded for their efforts through the accumulation of renown. Renown gives you access to training, equipment, and abilities that show off your dedication to the cause. But sometimes you need more; sometimes you need recognition. After all, what good is fortune without fame?
With that in mind, WAR tracks player accomplishments and we currently have a number of great leaderboards available on the Warhammer Herald to track your character against other characters in the Realm War. (Check out the Realm War and Leaderboards here.)
That’s fine and dandy, but how do players in game know who’s number one? You might know it, but it’s no fun if no-one else knows it. (If you’re like me, you like to tell them as often as possible, even if it’s being the best at dying…) But it’s not like you can tell everyone right? You can’t just put a statue up to yourself and have people praise you… can you? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could? We think so!
Read more here.
Bioware has updated the Star Wars: The Old Republic official site with a dev journal that takes a look at the challenges of writing for a game of this scale and legacy.
The writing team for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ faces an unusual set of challenges. It’s not enough to write a great story; it’s not even enough to write a great player-driven interactive story, or a great player-driven interactive story that fits within a massively multiplayer environment. On top of everything, every story in the game must be a great Star Wars story. If it’s not, it belongs somewhere else.
So how does the writing team approach a challenge like that? Here’s a look at some of the features that make a Star Wars story worth telling.
We can all list familiar elements from the Star Wars films: Jedi, Sith, the Force, droids, lightsabers and starships; themes of heroism, redemption, learning, friendship and oppression; a trilogy structure, pulp-inspired “episode” names, and so on.
These iconic elements are the basic tools the writing team uses to build uniquely Star Wars stories—stories that feel like they’re part of the same fictional universe as the films. Not every Star Wars story needs a cantina or a wise old mentor, of course, but the films are the foundation for everything we do. If you’re not using at least some of those iconic elements, your story probably isn’t about Star Wars at all.
Read more here.
The folks at Tabula Rasa have announced that they have remade a version of the game's Caves of Donn instance into an Epic level instance intended for higher level characters.
One of our long term plans for Tabula Rasa's group content was to create Epic versions of our best instances. These Epic Instances are intended for a full group of level 50 players, with numerous boss encounters and special, repeatable missions where players could obtain unique weapons, armor, prestige, and Mimeomech.
"Caves of Donn" is the first instance our team began retrofitting with Epic content. Since we recently made many updates to the regular version of this instance, we felt this would be a wonderful opportunity to re-introduce the instance to higher level players that may not have gone back to play it at a lower level.
This instance features the full host of Epic Bane, including Caretakers, Technicians, Soldiers, and the newly created Ravagers and Seekers that are also found on Earth. A special boss version of the Hunter also makes an appearance at the end of the instance, with powerful electric attacks that can bring down an unprepared party.
Players that want to adventure in the Epic Caves of Donn can find an entrance off of the CELLAR, right across from the entrance to Edmund Range. Just inside, you will be given two missions from Commander Harley. Completing these missions will give you a nice reward that includes Mimeomech, prestige, and your choice of a Series 3 Pistol, Shotgun, Chaingun, or Rocket Launcher. These missions are repeatable, so you can eventually earn all of these high powered items.
Read more here.
Outspark has announced that new leaderboards have been posted, and players can now see how they stack up against other Fiesta Online players.
Members of the Outspark community can now track their achievements and see how they stack up against the top players of Outspark's games using newly launched leaderboards now available at Outspark.com.
Players of the free-to-play MMORPG Fiesta can see how they measure up against the top PvP players by comparing Kill Points, while all of the highest level Secret of the Solstice players are now ranked on the Outspark website.
Leaderboards will be updated every Friday, so there's always a reason to check back and see where you place in the Outspark community!
Take a look at the Fiesta Online leaderboards.
Turbine has posted an overview of The Twenty-first Hall on the Seventh Level of the mines of Moria.
The Twenty-first Hall of Khazad-dûm lies on the Seventh Level of Moria, leading away in many directions including toward the Second Hall and the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Off to one side, a passage leads to the Chamber of Mazarbul, the dwarves’ hall of records, though it passes now for the tomb of Balin, son of Fundin.
The Twenty-first Hall was once a mustering hall, but has lain empty since the fall of Moria – though recent stirrings may change that. Recently, the Balrog of Moria came to the Twenty-first Hall seeking the first true challenge to his power since the deaths of Durin and his son Náin.
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings will recall that the Company of the Ring camped in the Twenty-first Hall as they passed through the Dwarrowdelf, before moving on to investigate the Chamber of Mazarbul.
Read more here.
IGG has announced in a press release that they have secured $10 Million in funding from several venture capitol firms.
December 8, 2008 – IGG Inc. (www.igg.com), the leading online game publisher/operator, today announced that the company has closed a Series B round of financing from two prominent venture capital firms and an existing investor.
The privately owned online game company did not disclose specific figures of the financing, but COO Kevin Xu said the funding was “in excess of $10 million” and was led by Vertex Group and joined by Hearst Interactive Media and IDGVC.
“The global experience of Vertex will greatly bolster our international capabilities, and Hearst’s vast connection in the media world is the perfect support that we need to expand our business globally. It’s great to have our original funding partner IDG on board again as well.” said Kevin Xu. He added that the new funds will be used to expand sales and marketing into Asia and Europe, to establish strategic partnerships with developers and publishers worldwide, and to further the development of more innovative and entertaining games in house. Furthermore, the funds will be used to explore more regions and reach out to players of different languages.
Dedicated to serve worldwide players with the best multiplayer online games, IGG Inc. launched its first MMORPG in May 2006. Since then, IGG has successfully released and operated 8 MMORPGs through www.igg.com. With over 8 million registered users as of Q4 2008, IGG has established its reputation as a world-class publisher rising to meet the demand of players of different ages, culture and favors.
“IGG has a unique differentiated business model and a very strong and experienced team.” said Mr Chua Kee Lock, Group President & CEO of Vertex Group. “We are very excited with the investment in IGG and we look forward to working closely with the company and bring it to a greater growth as it expands its business and geographic presence,” added Mr Chua Kee Lock.
Read more here.
The folks at EverQuest II have posted another edition of Explore Norrath, which takes a look at some of the locations of interest spread out across the land.
Ahh Castleview. Home of snooty high elves and fly-snacking frogloks! And Qeynosians say that Neriak has bad taste. Ahem. If one must live in Qeynos rather than the glorious Neriak, Castleview does have its advantages. If you can handle high elves (who secretly wish they could be as cool as dark elves) and frogloks (we haven't quite figured out what they're good for yet... but the garlic and butter experiment is going well).
Everyone loves a short-cut! For those who choose not to run around the long way, the bells take you all around Qeynos and outside of it to Antonica, The Caves, and Oakmyst Forest. Up the stairs from here, you'll find the town center (pictured above) which gives a nice discovery bonus.
Read more here.
MMORPG.com Lord of the Rings Online Correspondent Jim Braner writes this article full of handy tips for making and holding onto money in Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online.
Middle Earth and all its amenities can very entertaining, but it can also be very expensive. It seems at about level 20 or so you get that "want to buy a horse/pony" panic; or maybe you just want to splurge on that item from the Auction House. Luckily, there are several very easy ways for a level 20ish character to save and make silver in the Lone Lands and North Downs.
The first and probably most obvious is to stop buying horses to take you between the various towns. It is nice and saves time, but the 20 silver to take you from Bree to Ost Guruth really adds up. Not only are you out the 40 silver on a round trip, but also anything you can pick up along the way. Depending on your level, there are plenty of wargs, boars, and goblins to slay while you walk. You get their xp and a decent amount of copper from the loot. If you are a prospector on a horse, you are passing up a lot of opportunity. There are something like 15 common spots that ore appears just a short distance off the road. Wood is a little less common, but gathered up near the spots with bunches of, you guessed it, trees. So walk around and gather it up! After all, nothing says walking from town to town has to be boring. With all your gathered items, hit up the /trade channel and sell it. With that said, please don't run from Bree back to Thorin's Gate for any reason. The 1 silver for a fast travel is a negligible expense when you look at the time saved.
Read about Making and Keeping Silver in your 20s
The folks from Masthead Studios dropped by over the weekend for a chat with MMORPG.com readers. Today, we post this transcript of the chat.
Ostiak: Hi, everyone, my name is Atanas Atanasov, CEO of Masthead Studios and Producer of Earthrise
RaynerTheApe: Hello, my name is Apostol Apostolov, a.k.a. Rayner Ape from the Earthrise Forums, and I am the Lead Game Designer of Earthrise MMORPG.
Moll: I'm most commonly known as Moll, your friendly community manager and merger of threads! Search button ftw! :)
ecarter: Hi there! I'm Emily, Media Coordinator for Earthrise
MMORPG_JelloB2000: Excellent, lets start with the questions
User Question: Kamodo asks, "Will this game be f2p or p2p?"
Read the Earthrise Dev Chat
MMORPG.com and IGG have teamed up to bring you exlcusive gifts for Tales of Pirates. We have a limited number of unique gift keys that will get you an in game "advanced pack" full of goodies! All you need to get your free gift code is your MMORPG.com account, then go to the event page linked below.
Ready to get your free gift key?
The folks at Darkfall have officially announced that the game will launch in Europe on January 22, 2009, with a North American launch following some time after.
Athens, Greece – December 5th, 2008 - Audio Visual Enterprises SA and Aventurine SA in a joint statement today announced that their highly anticipated MMORPG title Darkfall Online will launch across Europe on January 22nd, 2009. North American players are also welcome to participate in the European launch of Darkfall which will precede a North American launch.
More details to be announced as they become available.
Read more here.
Bioware has posted a new article on the Star Wars: The Old Republic official site which spells out their intentions to implement deep story and evoke emotional attachment to your character in their recently announced MMO.
Creating great stories in video games is a hallmark for both BioWare and LucasArts. Star Wars: The Old Republic marks the beginning of a joint effort between these two companies to bring epic storytelling into a massively multiplayer online game. We believe that there are four pillars of the roleplaying experience: progression, exploration, combat, and story. Achieving a high degree of quality in each of these will create a rich, challenging, and emotional gameplay experience. Among massively-multiplayer online games, story hasn’t always received the same level of attention given to the other pillars. Star Wars: The Old Republic brings a new dimension to the MMO experience by putting story front and center.
What does this mean to you? When you play Star Wars: The Old Republic, you will experience a new level of immersion achieved through the following features:
* Epic Star Wars™ environments and story arc
* Class-specific storylines that evolve based on player choice
* Companion characters with individual motivations and personalities that will change based on player interactions
In Star Wars: The Old Republic you will have an emotional attachment to your character and face decisions in the game which will guide the development of your character and determine the direction of the character’s storyline. Whatever your choices may be, you’ll still be the hero (or villain) of an epic storyline which gives extra meaning to the other gameplay pillars. Character advancement will be much more than coming up with efficient statistics. Exploration will be about experiencing new places, new people, and new stories. Finally, instead of just reaching for that next level, you will be engaging in visceral combat reminiscent of the Star Wars movies where you’re motivated to fight for more than just yourself – but also for a cause.
Read more here.
When she originally won an internship at SOE's The Agency through the Gamers in Real Life program, Julia Brasil had no idea that MMORPG.com would be tracking her progress, but that's exactly what our own Carolyn Koh is doing, checking in with the new developer on a regular basis. Today is part three.
Julia Brasil is the first winner of Sony Online Entertainment's Girls In Real Life scholarship which includes a period of internship at the game studio of her choice. Julia chose to intern at SoE Seattle to work on The Agency. In her last two weeks, she had progressed in level design to the 2nd phase concept art and the creation of unique objects in game. Still working on creating the nightclub Metamorphoza, Julia has been creating concept art of the space she has designed. At this stage, she takes screenshots of the space in progress and then paints over them using Photoshop.