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Tales of Pirates : Turkey Hunt

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has sent word of a number of upcoming Thanksgiving holiday related events in Tales of Pirates, including a Turkey Hunt.

The Tales of Pirates (http://top.igg.com) team wants to bring to its loyal players a special banquet to celebrate the coming Thanksgiving Holiday. As everyone knows an indispensable part of Thanksgiving is the turkey, so ToP will hold 3 rounds of Turkey Hunting activities during the month of November.

Thanksgiving In-Game Special Activities - Turkey Hunting Details:

The naughty turkeys have escaped from the oven and have stolen Santa’s Christmas gifts, meaning that the little children will wake up Christmas morning with nothing under the tree if the Pirates can’t get these gifts back. During the event, these turkeys will appear in Argent City, Shaitan City and Icicle City…. The turkeys will be dropping some items, collect and save them because they will be very useful during the Christmas holiday.

Read more here.

Vanguard : Producer's Letter

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

Vanguard Producer Thom Terrazas has posted a lengthy letter to the community detailing the issues and areas that the Vanguard team will be focusing on in the coming months.

These are pretty exciting times for Vanguard right now. The team is currently putting the finishing touches on Phase 2 and 3 of Update 3 after having launched an astounding performance update in Phase 1. We received a lot of great feedback from you on Phase 1, and we're going to continue our focus in delivering consistently high quality, engaging and in-demand content in each update.

I'd like to introduce myself to many of you that do not know me. My name is Thom Terrazas, Producer for Vanguard. In a few words, I've been with Sony Online Entertainment over 9 years (unofficially). During that time, I have and still do work, with some of the greatest people in the MMO world of whom I intend to solicit feedback from and use to my advantage. One of the best things that I have learned in this industry is to work closely with your team, while at the same time allow them to do their jobs and show off their talents - and we have some amazingly passionate and talented developers working on Vanguard. I give them a lot of credit for launching an MMO of this caliber, and you'll continue to see their talents shining through in our future updates.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : SWG Team Profile

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with a profile of Taylor "Zoraka" Haley, QA Supervisor for Star Wars Galaxies.

What is your real name? Taylor Haley.

What is your official title/position? I am the QA Supervisor for Star Wars Galaxies.

How long have you been working on Star Wars Galaxies? I started working on SWG in January of 2003.

What profession do you like to play in Star Wars Galaxies? Various crafting professions have always been my favorite, although recently I've been playing smuggler more.

What do you enjoy most about your job on SWG, and why? I enjoy the environment I work in and the people I work with. We've got a good culture on this team, and I work with some amazing people.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Tabula Rasa in the NY Times

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

The New York Times recently ran an article on Richard Garriott and Tabula Rasa, which launched last week.

AUSTIN, Tex. -- At the age of 46, Richard Garriott is an old man by video game standards. In fact, when it comes to games on personal computers, he could be fairly described as the old man.

Mr. Garriott has been one of the world's most famous game designers longer than almost anyone else. Starting in 1980 with Akalabeth and Ultima I, his early work defined home computer games as thoroughly as Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong defined the arcade experience.

The original Ultima series provided players with an expansive swords-and-sorcery fantasy world presided over by the majestic Lord British, a nickname for Mr. Garriott himself. But as with most early games, only one person could play at a time.

Read the full article here.

Fury : 10 Day Free Trial

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

Auran has announced that because of popular demand, they are now offering a 10 day free trial for their PvP action MMO, Fury.

We've had a lot of requests for a free trial, and previously we've said we were planning to have a free trial available for Fury. Starting today, those plans are now a reality! If you don't yet have an account, or want to see if your friends will join you in-game, you can obtain a 10 Day FURY Free Trial account by visiting http://www.unleashthefury.com/freetrial/.

Grab a key, create an account and play as much as you like for the next 10 days. You can then choose to upgrade your Trial Account by purchasing the full game from a retail store or online at http://www.auran.com/auran/shop.htm.

We have also re-enabled all inactive Fury Challenge and beta accounts for 10 days. (Note: you may need to change the password on your account).

Read more here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.

Q. My question is this ... Are HoTs from Vampiires, Valkyries, and Maulers affected by healing effectiveness from items and from Mastery of Healing?

A. No, they are not affected by Mastery of Healing and pluses to Healing like most heal spells. Although, Heal over time spells are unaffected by disease and heal for full value. It is a trade-off between the every day heal spells and heal over time spells. Thanks, Balancinator!

Q. Why is it that lately Cuuldurach will leave his den and kill people near Tailtiu? Is this a bug? Did Cuuldurach escape? Can/will you fix this issue?

A. When you’re hunting in dragon territory, beware! The Lumberjack explains: This isn't a bug. Each dragon has multiple patrol paths through their epic zone. After spending some time in the lair, they randomly choose which path to take and begin their flight through the zone. These patrol paths were established long ago when the epic zones were originally developed, though with the changes brought about during and because of "A Dragon's Revenge" they're more likely than before to go patrolling.

Open the Grab Bag here.

EverQuest II : Rise of Kunark Preview

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Keith Cross

The EverQuest II official site has been updated with a preview of Rise of Kunark. The upcoming expansion will raise the level cap to 80 and the achievement point cap from 100 to 140, as well as new zones, new quests, new gods, adaptive combat music that changes with the tide of battle, and more.

Buried beneath a war-ruined land ravaged by centuries of conflict, a forgotten enemy rises. Exiled from their homeland and banished from Norrath's history, an ancient race emerges to uncover artifacts long thought lost. Engage in all-new adventures as you embark on a crusade to reveal the truth of the wars between the reborn Iksar Empire and the Sarnak. Adventure awaits in the fabled land of Kunark.

Read the preview here.

General : Spotlight - Blogging on Tabula Rasa

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Jon Wood

Continuing today's Tabula Rasa theme, Laura Genender shines her Community Spotlight on MMORPG.com user Chryses and his recent blog entry about his personal experiences playing TR.

This past Friday marked the official launch date of NCSoft’s Tabula Rasa; many players, myself included, set foot into a new MMO world with varied expectations and experiences. One such player, Chryses, shared his experiences through the first two days of Tabula Rasa gameplay in his blog Chryses’s articles and reviews.

Chryses had not participated in the Tabula Rasa beta and all of his expectations were formed off of official postings, screenshots, video clips, and forum threads. He came into the game expecting an average to below average experience. The game does, after all, get a lot of flack on the forums! “Tabula Rasa is a game that only receives hate or love postings on these forums,” explains Chryses.

Read it all here.

Tabula Rasa : Launch Version Overview

Posted Nov 05, 2007 by Jon Wood

Back in September, MMORPG.com Community Manager Laura Genender gave us a preview of NCsoft's new MMO, Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa. Well, the game launched this past Friday and today Laura brings us her early impressions of the live version.

When the Tabula Rasa servers came up early this past Monday night, I was there and ready to explore the changes made since my beta preview in late September. I came into the game slightly tentative – my past TR experience had been fun, but not exactly fulfilling, and hadn’t really convinced me that this was a long-term habitat.

While I’m still leveling up and making a lasting decision on TR (yes, I will do a review!), my first few days were nothing short of fun. The changes were apparent right out of the tutorial. The missions were more appealing, with more guidance, voiceovers, and rewards that were actually useful to my Recruit. While drops and rewards still quickly replaced my original color palette chosen in character creation, the replacements were a neutral slate-blue instead of the former pink and orange eyesores. And all over the newbie world I found dye recipes to fix my armor up at a crafting station.

Read the whole article here.

Tabula Rasa : Win 1 of 50 Game Boxes!

Posted Nov 04, 2007 by Craig McGregor

MMORPG.com and NCSoft have teamed up to bring you an exciting new contest! From November 5, 2007 to December 5, 2007 @ 9PM EST we will be accepting entries into a random drawing where we will give away 50 prizes made up of 25 copies of Tabula Rasa and 25 copies of Guild Wars: Eye of the North!  All you need to enter is a free MMORPG.com account!

As with all contests at MMORPG.com, the more days you login to our site the better your odds of winning! (see official rules for details).

Are you ready to enter? CLICK HERE!

Age of Conan : New Clan of Conan

Posted Nov 04, 2007 by Jon Wood

Funcom has released a new edition of the Clan of Conan newsletter for our reading pleasure.

Buried deep beneath an ominous mountain that looms behind Kheshatta, rests the infamous home of the Black Ring Citadel. This week we share a peek into this beautiful location with a new video, wallpaper and some new screenshots. Let us not forget to mention the new special feature that takes a glance at the character development in detail.

Read it here.

General : Editor's Week in Review - WAR, TR, EVE

Posted Nov 03, 2007 by Jon Wood

In this new column, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood sums up his thoughts on some of the happenings around the world of MMOs in the past week. This week, he talks about Warhammer Online's release date being pushed back, Tabula Rasa and EVE Online.

Well, it’s Saturday. That means that it falls on me to sit down and start a new weekly tradition here at MMORPG.com, the Editor’s Round-Up. In this new column feature, I’m going to look at one or more of the week’s top stories and do something I don’t often get to do: give my two cents.

We decided to add this column last week, and so I’ve spent the week trying to decide what major stories would pop out at me and make good fodder for the first edition of a column. I wasn’t having a lot of luck… That is, until Thursday night.

Read it all here.

General : Child's Play Charity Drive

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Child's Play has announced the opening of their charity drive. Child's Play is a charity started by the guys from Penny Arcade to benefit children's hospitals in a number of countries.

 Seattle, WA -  November 2, 2007 -  Child's Play (www.childsplaycharity.org) is proud to announce the opening of its charity drive. The organization, which started as a fundraiser for the Seattle Children's Hospital, has since raised over two million dollars in toys, games and cash through its online toy drive and annual charity auction to over 45 hospitals worldwide.

"For the first ten months of the year, our community makes, plays and breathes games." said Kristin Lindsay at Child's Play. "Our holiday drive is not only an opportunity to share that joy with those that need it, but it's also a great way to show the strength of our culture."
Now in its fifth year, Child's Play has expanded its network of beneficiary hospitals to over 25 states and five countries across the globe with additional partner hospitals being added each month. Child's Play works in conjunction with Amazon.com to create wish lists for participating hospitals. Individual donors can choose to give new items ranging from toddler toys to music CDs, videogames, game consoles and accessories. Gifts are delivered directly to hospitals in need and are tax deductible as denoted by law.

The annual Child's Play Fundraiser Dinner Auction will be held Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington. The semi-formal evening features a silent auction, dinner and live auction. In 2006 the dinner raised over $200,000 in one night, with all fundraising proceeds going directly to the Child's Play network of hospitals.

Child's Play is seeking corporate donations for giveaway at Children's Hospitals as well as auction items for the fundraising dinner. For information on how to become a corporate or individual donor or how hospitals can become involved please contact Kristin Lindsay at klindsay@penny-arcade.com or 206.274.0024.

More on Child's Play here.

Warhammer Online : Newsletter

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

With yet more Warhammer news, the folks at EA Mythic have released the October newsletter. In the newsletter, you will find the State of the Game post made on the WAR Herald, you will also find a great array of first looks, video podcasts, and the revelation of the High Elf Shadow Warrior.

When Nagarythe was riven by civil war, most of the Elves there sided with the Witch King, becoming Dark Elves. Those faithful to the Phoenix King swore to fight Malekith and his treacherous forces. These ill-fated Elves became the Shadow Warriors – the darkest, most sinister and brutal of all the High Elves.

Many High Elves have observed the brutal behavior of their kin from Nagarythe and recoiled in horror. Unsurprisingly, there are High Elves that whisper that the shadow war has left the vicious warriors of Nargarythe more like their Druchii enemies than they would dare admit.

- Warhammer Armies: High Elves

Check out the whole thing here.

Pi Story : Second Closed Beta Test

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Pi Story has announced that they are moving in to their second Closed Beta phase.

Seoul, Korea - November 2, 2007 - South Korean developer NCONY Enterprise announced today that the second closed beta for Pi Story (http://pistory.gamengame.com), its 2D side scrolling anime action game, is now over. Game servers are now closed to players and will reopen for a third closed beta test, with dates to be announced later on the website.

Compared to the first version released in September, the second version included changes and fixes to bugs previously reported in the initial test, new maps, the introduction of a new Cleric job class in addition to the Fighter and Newbie classes, an improved battle system, and overall improvements to the performance of the game client and network, resulting in less network latency and server crashes.

"These last two tests have focused on streamlining the core foundation of the game programming," said Mary Min, a spokesperson for the company. "Now that we have a strong base to operate on, we will start to focus on the fun parts - adding more content, innovative features, and our Web 2.0 technology-based components. Furthermore, our top priority for the next beta test will be to implement suggestions made to us by our players during the previous beta tests."

She added, "We plan on doing multiple closed beta tests, which is quite unheard of for Korean games entering the global market. Korean games usually run one or two closed beta tests before going live with an open beta, but we are taking a radically different approach by offering the game in stages. This allows our players to greatly contribute to the shaping of the final product, and have a say in what our game will turn out to be. We are going to let our players decide what the game looks like; it's true to our company's motto: Games made by gamers for gamers."

NCONY strongly encourages all of its players to send feedback via email, postings on the forum, through the game, and through the Support page of its website. For more information regarding the game, please visit the website at http://pistory.gamengame.com.

More here.

RF Online : Codemasters talk Business Model with MSN

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Codemasters VP David Solari talks to MSN about the recent changes to the business models for Archlord and RF Online.

With millions of people prepared to pay out hard earned cash on a regular basis for the pleasure of playing them, Massively Multiplayer Online games have revolutionised the computer games industry.
 
The likes of Lord of the Rings Online and industry behemoth World of Warcraft have accrued millions of players, and the monthly fees to get into the servers and play the game, creating a multi-billion pound industry.
 
The startling rise of broadband connectivity and the obvious desire of the game-playing public to embrace online social networking through both sites like Facebook or MySpace or games such as WoW or LotR, means that companies are flocking to the MMO arena.
 
But, can this burgeoning area evolve into more enticing ways of paying? Can those reticent to pay a monthly fee for a product be persuaded to invest time and money in a different way?

Read the rest at MSN here.

Warhammer Online : State of the Game

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Further to last night's story regarding the launch date of WAR, Mark Jacobs addressed the fans in a State of the Game message available on the WAR Herald.

In 2005, when Mythic signed the licensing agreement for Warhammer, I promised Games Workshop that we would create a great and glorious game. When Electronic Arts acquired us a year later, I told them the same thing. Now, a year after that acquisition, nothing has changed: we still intend to deliver the next great MMORPG. As many of you may have heard, we have extended WAR’s development cycle until the 2nd quarter of 2008. The reason is simple; we will not release Warhammer Online until it is the game we set out to create two years ago.

Our goals for Warhammer Online are not easily met. The game includes many new and innovative ideas, a feature set that is going to blow players away, and, most importantly, the best RvR system in MMORPG gaming. These things take time to implement and test properly. During the last phase of beta testing, we received valuable feedback from our testers that will help make these features even better. When we looked at our options, two paths lay before us: 1) Ship the game on time with fewer features and less polish, or 2) Extend the development cycle and spend the needed time and money to make WAR great. We chose the latter path - to invest additional time and effort in implementation and polish to make WAR great. Fortunately, we have the resources and support of EA behind us to extend our development cycle; time that will be used to make sure the game is everything we want it to be. WAR is coming, and it will be glorious.

Read the whole thing here.

Tabula Rasa : Launch Press Release

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Yesterday, NCsoft put out a press release in anticipation of today's commercial launch of Tabula Rasa.

AUSTIN, Texas, November 1, 2007— NCsoft®, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, announced today that Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa®, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for the PC where players are thrust into an exciting intergalactic struggle, launches commercial service in North America and Europe on November 2, 2007.

“Now the fun begins! I can’t wait to join thousands of other players in this exciting galactic war,” said Richard Garriott, the game’s executive producer. “It is time for us to release Tabula Rasa to the players. I am eager to see player reaction to the game, and am ready to build on what we’ve started here. We’ve got plans for new features and expansions for the foreseeable future and I’m hoping the players will enjoy the game and get excited about what’s in store for them next!”

Tabula Rasa, one of the most anticipated PC titles of the year, is the vision of gaming legend Richard Garriott. The game combines a rich game world and deep storyline with military combat and fast paced action. Set in a near-future science fiction backdrop, players must fight to save humanity against hostile alien enemies trying to gain control of the universe.

“Dell and NCsoft have worked together closely over the past few years,” said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Inc. “I think Richard has really created a compelling game in Tabula Rasa. This game gives those who enjoy role-playing a rich and deep experience, while appealing to action gamers too. He’s taken this game beyond being the next MMO entry into the field. It really is a fun, fast paced combat game that provides even more depth for players who want it. I’m excited to join the fight!”

The game introduces several innovative elements to massively multiplayer online games, including a Character Cloning System™ that allows players to explore different character classes without having to create a new character, and dynamic battlefields where players feel the frenetic action of combat in an ongoing war.

“We are all very excited about the addition of Tabula Rasa to our catalog of games,” stated Robert Garriott, CEO of NCsoft’s North American operation. “One of NCsoft’s goals is to provide different types of online gaming products – both within the ‘proven’ fantasy genre and outside the genre, as well. This game is truly unique; we hope that Tabula Rasa’s science fiction background and military combat action proves to be enjoyable to many types of gamers.”

The standard edition box of Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa will be available at major online retailers at an expected retail price of $49.99 and at the PlayNC® store (https://secure.plaync.com/cgi-bin/Store.pl). Customers will be able to purchase the Limited Collector’s Edition box from major retailers at an expected retail price of $69.99. Both products include the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.99. Sixty-day game time cards will also be available at many North American retailers for an expected retail price of US$29.99. The game is rated Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

More on TR here.

General : MMOWTF: Horror

Posted Nov 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Dan Fortier waxes poetic about bringing a truly scary MMORPG to the market and what that might entail from developers and players alike.

I'm a bit late for Halloween, but that won't stop me from donning my 'provocative journalist' costume for one more circuit around the block in search of more goodies. In the spirt of the season I wanted to explore the concepts behind making a true Horror MMO, if such a thing is even possible. Last week I briefly mentioned a few things that could be done to improve immersion and it got me thinking about ways to turn even a multiplayer environment into a playhouse of terror. Tuck in the kids, turn out the lights and ignore the occasional suspicious sounds coming from outside as you read along.

One of the most important elements in any horror game is atmosphere. It's hard to be scared by a movie if the lights are on and some guy is munching on popcorn in your ear. The reason this is hard to achieve in a MMO is simple: Information overload. A typical MMO has hotbars, HP, Mana gauges and floating maps which are generally essential for standard gameplay, but would be completely out of place and ruin the all-important feeling of 'being there' that is a requisite for a Horror game. Well made games in the genre like Silent Hill and Fatal Frame achieve a lot of atmosphere with a minimalist interface that allows you to focus on what your character is seeing.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : Launch Moved: A Talk With Mark Jacobs

Posted Nov 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today was a day of announcements for Electronic Arts, the game publishing giant that is currently developing Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning at the EA Mythic studios. First, it was announced that the company would be going through re-structuring that would put some jobs and studios at risk. Later, during their earnings call, it was announced that EA Mythic and Warhammer Online would be safe from such changes, and that the release date for the game would be pushed back from Q1 2008 to Q2 2008 to allow for more development and "polish" time.

November the 1st was a big day for EA, the colossal game publisher that currently impacts our little niche of the video game market in EA Mythic (Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online) and now with Bioware (their mysterious MMO). As you may or may not be aware, EA held their earnings call today at 5pm EST. Earnings calls are held by publicly traded companies to talk about the company’s earnings, the direction of the company and similar information. It was during this call that a push-back of Warhammer Online’s expected launch date from Q1 of 2008 to Q2 of 2008 was announced and discussed.

Earlier in the day, EA announced that they would be undertaking a re-structuring plan that would see what CEO John Riccitiello described as, “head-count reductions and facility closures”. Roughly translated, this means that EA will be closing some of their studios and laying off some of their employees.

“This was a difficult decision,” he continued in the call, “because it impacts the careers of some very talented people.”

While this may have piqued the interest and curiosity of many in the industry including the folks at EA Mythic, later on in the call, when he was addressing the subject of Warhammer Online, Riccitiello went out of his way to assuage any fears that Mythic may have had on the subject, and to shed some light on the situation:

Read the whole article here.

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