The latest edition of the State of the Game article series has been posted on the Guild Wars official site. This week the topic is October's skill balance update and the discussions and debates surrounding it.
The October Skill Balance Update generated considerable discussion both before and after it came out. As with many discussions on Guild Wars fansites, the community's point of view was amply represented, but not much was known about where ArenaNet stood on the topic. Looking at the current metagame, many players didn't like what they were seeing in terms of balance, and many questioned if ArenaNet wanted or knew how to handle the situation. To shed some light on the subject, I sat down with a couple of knowledgeable folks to discuss skill balance in more detail and see what the issues look like from both ArenaNet's and the community's perspectives.
Ensign, representing the Guild Wars community, was one of the founders and a core member of the Idiot Savants [iQ] championship teams that won the North American Championship of the Guild Wars World Championship (GWWC) and the Open Event at the Guild Wars Factions Championship (GWFC). They then placed third at the GWWC in Taipei and second at the GWFC in Leipzig. Ensign is also a senior moderator and part of the original staff at the popular GuildWarsGuru fansite, and engages in high level PvP as a member of Dark Alley [dR].
Izzy, representing ArenaNet, is the main Skill balancer for Guild Wars and plays in The Fianna [Fi] PvP guild. He originally started in the gaming industry years ago with Asheron's Call, and was involved in the development of Asheron's Call 2 and Mythica before joining ArenaNet.
Read more here.
CCP has released the first edition of their Quarterly Economic Newsletter for EVE Online. The QEN is the work of EVE's resident economist Dr. Eyjólfur "DrEyjoG" Guðmundsson.
CCP Lead Economist Dr. Eyjólfur "DrEyjoG" Guðmundsson has published the very first quarterly economic newsletter. It is, in fact, the first report of its kind for any virtual world. Chocked full of facts, figures and charts, no self-respecting starship pilot should pass up this chance to learn more about the inner workings of the EVE economy, market trends and other essential data.
The first Quarterly Economic Newsletter for EVE online is now available for download as a pdf document. Indeed this is the first economic newsletter of any online universe and it is your enthusiasm for the economics of the game that has made this possible. So big thanks to all of you EVE fans.
There is a lot of information in the new QEN so in order for us to communicate well through the forums I would greatly appreciate if you could state clearly in your message which information from the QEN you are referring too. I'm looking forward to seeing your comments and participating in the discussion that will follow.
Read the Quarterly Economic Newsletter here.
In this month's Warhammer Newsletter, Mythic released information on two player armies, the High Elf and the Dark Elf. Today, they have released those features to us.
The Shining Guard is the elite band of warriors charged with the defense of Ulthuan when the Phoenix King takes the armies of the High Elves west to aid the Empire. Led by the renowned warrior Prince Tyrion, the Guard is a small but highly skillful fighting force. Prince Tyrion personally selects the High Elves who are elevated to the ranks of the Shining Guard from among the best and bravest of the citizen militia. These prestigious warriors stand as an example of the highest honor that a High Elf in the militia can hope to achieve.
When word reaches Prince Tyrion that a great Dark Elf invasion fleet is on its way to Ulthuan, he leads the Shining Guard north to the Blighted Isle, guessing that the enemy fleet will attempt its first landing there. Sure enough, the leading Black Ark of the fleet makes landfall on the northern coast of the Isle, and the Shining Guard meet the invaders head-on.
Read the whole thing here.
The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at the Cairn of honour, one of the new locations designed for the game by the LotRO development team.
When Eärnur and Glorfindel destroyed the hosts of Angmar and Rhudaur and drove the Witch-king from the North, the remnants of the Hill-men of Rhudaur escaped into the hills of the Witch-realm, hiding from the onslaught of the armies of Gondor and the Elves. Each clan pledged to the others an oath of honour never again to serve the Shadow in the East, and to live in peace with one another. As a token of this oath, they built the Cairn of Honour in the hills of Angmar.
The Enemy, however, would not be so easily denied, and one by one the clans fell again into evil, abandoning their pledges. The Cairn remains a symbol of respect and honour to those few Hill-men who have resisted, though the evil clans claim the land surrounding it. It may be that with the help of the Rangers of the North, the few free Hill-men may again reclaim it, but that day will be long in coming.
Read more here.
In the most recent blog post on the Cryptic Studios Blog they take an in-depth look at the advantages and drawbacks of instancing in PvP.
Most MMORPG players are familiar with the concept of instancing - you (possibly on a team) enter a zone/dungeon and a separate instance of that zone or dungeon is created that only you and your team have access to. Zones where multiple groups of people can encounter each other are generally referred to as persistent zones.
Traditionally, there have been two dominant design motivations for instancing:
First, the game server architecture in some cases makes it problematic to support an unlimited number of people in the same zone, and instancing is a way of managing this by limiting the number of people in a particular location.
Secondly, in the early days of MMORPGs one of the ongoing problems was players camping valuable spawns or drops, effectively locking other players out of content.
As PvP design began to be approached more methodically, it became clear that instancing might serve a third purpose by ensuring that two sides were at least somewhat balanced against one another in terms of level band or numbers in an attempt to maintain a fair fight.
Read the full blog here.
The Star Trek Online official site has been updated with a devlog that delves into the development team's passion for Star Trek.
Welcome back to the STO DevLog, our regular look into the development of Star Trek Online, the only game that dares to reveal what happens when good tribbles go bad!
This month we thought it would be fun to peer into the minds of the STO team, to find out what they think about Star Trek. Surveys were sent out, and answers were sent in... by the crate load. Here's just a small sampling of we like to call:
Polling the Crew: Selected Reponses from the STO Team Survey
Which of Star Trek's alien races do you most identify with? We got a wide variety of responses to this question:
"Those creatures in TNG that only speak in binary."
"Antedeans. Fish-like, that's me."
"Cardassians. I totally dig potentially redeemable villains."
"The Romulans. They're mysterious, politically-driven, mischievous and cunning. Of course, as they appear on TNG, they're mostly militant jerks, but the fact that the series has focused on brewing internal debates shows they have redeeming characteristics."
"I like the Andorians. They're blue, they're cool, and they have fricking antenna on their heads."
Read more the full devlog here.
IGG has announced that they will launched a new server for Tales of Pirates on the 14th of November. To mark the launch of the new server, dubbed Dead Sea, they will be holding a leveling competition, and a double experience carnival.
In less than eight months, Tales of Pirates has developed into a mature game with hundreds of thousands of fans. After its first server launched on the 29th of March, ToP now boasts 11 servers. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience, IGG is pleased to announce that the twelfth ToP server, Dead Sea, will launch at 3:00 AM EST on Nov 14th.
To celebrate the launch of this new server, a series of special events will be held in Dead Sea.
Double Experience Carnival
Server: Dead Sea
It will last 3 days from 0:00 EST Nov 16th to 0:00 EST Nov 19th
Server: All other servers
It will last 1 day from 0:00 EST Nov 17th to 0:00 EST Nov 18th
The event will commence at 3:00 AM EST Nov 14th and run until 1:00 AM EST Nov 21st. The 25 highest level players at 1:00 AM EST Nov 21st will be the final winners.
- First Prize (1): a suit of pirate dress + 5 million coins
- Second Prizes (2): a suit of pirate dress + 3 million coins for each
- Third Prizes (5): a suit of pirate dress + 1 million coins for each
- Honorable Mentions (16): 500,000 coins each
In addition, the lucky players who rank 100, 200, 300…though 1000 respectively at that moment in the new server will be awarded 200,000 coin each.
Read more about Tales of Pirates here.
There are two new updates to existing content this week, both of which have been drawn from your suggestions and ideas. The first of our changes is to the . When we released it, we wanted it to be an alternative way for players to help others. We also envisioned it to be a safe option for doing this, without any worries about item scamming.
Since its release, many of you have left comments about the Assist System on the Forums. Having read these posts, we have come to the decision that many of you have a strong and valid point! Some forum-posters felt that the Assist System should not be used for getting hold of raw materials when using skills like Mining and Woodcutting. After all, getting hold of raw materials does not involve an actual exchange of items - it involves the passing of one item, or a group of items, to another player without receiving anything in exchange. A main aim of the Assist System is to make exchanging items safer and scam-free, so it does not apply here. We had considered this when first creating the Assist System; however, we felt that some players would appreciate having this ability. Now, thanks to your feedback, we have reassessed this decision.
So, this week, we have limited the Assist System to those actions that do not consist of gathering raw materials. An exhaustive list can be found in the knowledge base, . The skills that can no longer be used with the Assist System are:
We have also taken the opportunity to make the interface smaller, allowing the split-chat to appear clearly for those players who use it.
Our second update is to the skills interface. The changes are largely gathered from your suggestions, so thank you very much. We hope you appreciate them.
You will notice the first change when you hover over a skill icon on the skill interface. A pop-up window will now tell you exactly how much xp is required to train to the next level. This saves having to work it out, allowing more time for actually training that skill.
Your xp tallies are now separated with commas, so your 1567993 experience is now 1,567,993. We think you'll agree that this is much nicer to look at. The xp values are also justified to the right, so you can make at-a-glance comparisons quickly. Add to this a quicker pop-up window for your xp, and you have a tidy little update.
Read more about Runscape here.
In honor of the launch of their new expansion, Rise of Kunark, Senior Producer Scott Hartsman answers questions from our community. The original questions can be found in this thread.
Can you resolve the conflicting information on whether or not the current AA point cap will be raised and/or will there will be new abilities within the existing trees?Scott Hartsman:
Yes, the Achievement point cap is being raised to 140 total. In your 70s you will be able to invest 20 new points in each achievement tree. By the time Rise of Kunark got into its first content testing, it really felt like the expansion was missing something without having new Achievement point dings to go along while we were exploring and doing quests, and we knew we had to balance in an achievement point boost for this expansion.
Read the whole thing here.
Today, to celebrate the launch of EverQuest II's newest expansion, Rise of Kunark, we present Part Two of our RoK Creature Feature, an article that looks at some of the new monsters that players will run into in the expansion.
The Fishman have long kept to the depths of the deepest oceans, far from the reach of surface dwellers. In the past, they never raided the shores of Norrath. However, something has brought them to the beaches and grottos. They hide some of the most ancient secrets of Norrath. Could some ancient secret called them to the surface or forced them from their homeland under the sea?
Below, you will find images representing: concept art for the Fishman's armor and a look at the completed Fishmen:
Read the whole thing here.
Read Part One here.
Last week NCsoft had a presence at the G-Star games conference in Seoul, South Korea, where they showed off their games, including Aion. They have since shared a selection of concept art and renders from Aion: Tower of Eternity and we are now pleased to share these images with you.
See the rest of the images here.
K2 Network has announced that Akara, the 13th world for Knight Online, has been launched, offering a fresh start and bonus experience for KO players.
IRVINE, Calif. – November 9, 2007 – K2 Network, Inc. (K2network.net), a premier online game publisher, today announced the release of the 13th world in Knight Online, the world of Akara. This new world will offer a brand new environment for players to explore, level up and be named King! The name Akara is from the story within Knight Online, named after a powerful goddess who is one of many prominent figures within the extremely popular, massively multiplayer game that is Knight Online. Players can also look forward to in-game and forum events to celebrate the launch.
In addition to the new world, players can find extremely valuable offers in the Power Up Store including 400% Experience Boost scrolls (beginning after the November 8th maintenance) to help players level up faster. Also, Bronze Premium Memberships purchased from November 8th (after the maintenance period) through November 20th (up to the maintenance period) will receive an additional bonus of 300 Knight cash!
“The story of Akara is a powerful one in the Knight Online world,” said Gokhan Kazar, Associate producer of the Knight Online Team. “We are glad to bring our community both of these special new offers and this new world for our players to mark as their own.”
Read more about Knight Online here.
IGG has announced their plans for holding Thanksgiving events all this month in Myth War Online.
Thanks to MWO for bringing us lots of fun and giving us a chance to make friends with each other. In order to return our players' long-term support, our GM has decided to hold a Thanksgiving Celebration. At 8:00am on Nov 22nd, GM and Players are supposed to set off fireworks near the gates of the church, and then you should stand in a line and walk into the church. In the church, you can say thanks to those people you care about most, and then you can enjoy your "Delicious Turkey" (GM will give out some Turkey-Transmuting potions)
Who Will be the Lucky Players
During 11.22--11.25,The GM will announce some players' character names via the system channel at random, these players are qualified to find the GM and Redeem a gift within 1 hour. You won't obtain the gifts if you can't find the GM to redeem your gifts on time. During 11.22--11.25,our GM will use transmuting potion to disguise himself as a turkey and walk around you. You need to pay attention to these turkeys that walk around you and ask the GM for your gifts. Don't find the wrong people...not only GMs will be these turkeys.
Event Duration:0:00 EST Time Nov 12, 2007--23:59 EST Time Nov 30, 2007
Good news, we are celebrating Thanksgiving here in the Item Mall and we want to share the festivities with you...Players who make purchases in the item mall will be receiving a 20% discount on all items (excluding New Item and Constellation Pack and Super Power Pack). In addition, you can gain double integrals if you buy items via a Credit Card. (See the "New Payment Method" News Bulletin for more info)
Read more here.
Star Wars Galaxies players will be getting a number of new ships with chapter 8, the next update for the game. Whether you're Rebel, Imperial, or on the run from both, there'll be a ship for you.
Space-faring adventurers will have new ships at their disposal in Chapter 8! These gunships, loaded with firepower for supporting the Empire, the Rebel Alliance, or those wishing to remain out of the sight of both, are sure to appeal to all pilots.
Blacksun AEG-77 Vigo
The Black Sun's transports became a common sight in both the underworld and legitimate shipping with the advent of Xizor Transport Systems. This particular transport class became well known as lightly defended. Pirates from a variety of bands began picking off the freighters, particularly those smuggling illegal cargo for Black Sun.
Instead of dedicating fighters to escort transports carrying valuable cargo, Black Sun began modifying some of their transports to carry heavy firepower and act as escorts for the rest of the convoys. Named after Black Sun's lieutenants, the Vigo, this once-merchant class vessel has been elevated to the status of "gunship."
This gunship comes equipped with two forward mounted guns, four top mounted turrets, and two bottom mounted turrets. The gunship, originally a transport ship, is still large enough to hold a number of items and passengers inside.
Read more here.
Sean Fish, City of Heroes designer and the man behind Manticore, talks about his involvement in the City of Heroes / Villains franchise after its purchase by NCsoft.
Sean Fish, the designer behind the "Manticore" persona in City of Heroes, describes his involvement with the game's lore and creative process.
Greetings from the shadows to all you CoH & CoV fans! Sean Fish here...aka Manticore. I have been part of the City of Heroes family for a long time, wrangling story and design since about a year before launch...
Now that the City of Heroes universe is fully in the NCsoft fold I get the chance to be more involved in the dev process again, which I am obviously thrilled about.
Read more here.
The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. I'm considering deleting and rerolling one of my characters, but would like to keep the name. The name is duplicated on the cluster, but not on the server. If I delete the character, can I still create a new character with the same name?
A. Says the Bearded Wonder: If the name is already taken on the cluster elsewhere, you cannot get it on another character, even if you delete a character that had that name previously as a duplicate. We designed it this way to avoid having too many duplicated names on a cluster. It would have been really time consuming, difficult, and unfair to change existing duplicated character names, and so this was the only way we were able to curb the instance of duped names. So if you really really like your name and you know someone else on the cluster has it, you should definitely not delete that character.
Q. I have a question regarding salvaging dragon weapon drops. Originally, when I salvaged the Glimmer Wrath Great Hammer, I received 98 arcanite bars. But today, when I salvaged one, I received 15. Is this a bug?
A. The bug was that the item used to yield too many bars. The item's original salvage value was too high and was therefore recently fixed. The value you see now is the correct value.
Read more here.
The Vanguard team has announced that they will be renovating the City of Khal for Game Update 3, and they have posted a few before and after pictures of their efforts.
The city of Khal , an oasis of sorts in the northern sands of Qalia, has always been a magnificent, bustling city. The Vanguard art team has been working diligently to ensure that Khal is properly represented as the "jewel of the desert" that it should be. In the second half of Game Update 3, players will be able to experience the city of Khal in a whole new light!
See the changes here.
Blizzard has posted an article titled Anatomy of a Dungeon: Utgarde Keep, which takes a look at the design and implementation of a 5 person dungeon in Wrath of the Lich King, the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft.
Among the cliffs of the Daggercap Bay in the Howling Fjord stands Utgarde Keep, an impervious fortress occupied by the savage and enigmatic vrykul. The ancient stronghold stretches deep into the earth, but thus far no scout from the Alliance or Horde has survived long enough to explore its depths. Long thought to be abandoned, Utgarde has only recently returned to occupation after millennia of disuse. Now the half-giant vrykul pour endlessly from within the keep's battle-scarred walls to assault the nearby settlements.
Fanatically loyal to the still-slumbering King Ymiron, the vrykul seem to live for the thrill of battle. Inside Utgarde, the vicious Dragonflayer clan builds massive weapons of war in ever-burning forges. All of Ingvar's raiders possess tremendous strength and stamina, and a few have also learned to master the arcane arts. Most vrykul magic seems to draw from mysterious runes that even the most experienced magi find unfamiliar. These rune-casters are among the deadliest of all the vrykul, possessing the power to freeze their foes in solid ice and shatter them into a thousand jagged shards.
Read the full article here.
While attending the recent EVE Fan Fest, News Manager Keith Cross attended a talk by Dr. "Eyjo" Guðmundsson, EVE Economist. In this article, Keith gives us a quick update on the living, breathing EVE economy
While at Fanfest I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation by Dr. Eyjólfur "Eyjo" Guðmundsson, EVE’s resident economist, where he spoke of the work that he’s been doing and some of the information that he has gathered for EVE’s first Quarterly Economic Newsletter. He revealed that the focus of the first QEM would be on the demographics of the EVE universe, the macroeconomics of EVE where he takes at EVE’s monetary system and money supply, and price levels and changes where he looks at inflation/deflation with some interesting conclusions.
Dr. Eyjo stared by showing us a graph indicating the average number of skill points among characters of each faction and the distribution of those points in each skill category across each faction. The graph showed that skill points are fairly evenly distributed between the factions with each faction in the 8 to 9 million average skill point range. The graph also showed that skills were fairly evenly distributed among each skill category, but there were noticeable differences in the weapon skills chosen for characters of different races. The weapon skill distribution indicates that players are choosing these skills based on the racial bonuses for their faction, which reinforces the strengths and weakness of each race. The next graph ignored race and faction, focusing simply on showing how many players have how many skill points. The results were interesting, showing that the grand majority of characters have less that 1,000,000 skill points, and the player with the most has a whopping 91 million skill points. We were told that this character has been around since beta.
Read the whole thing here.