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General : Blog Spotlight - Questioning the Crutch

Posted Dec 17, 2007 by Jon Wood

Over-powered skills and abilities in games are often referred to as "crutches". Today, Laura Genender takes a look at an blog that brings the idea of "the crutch" into question.

I’m a hardcore MMORPG player, but I spend some time in the other game genres, too – RTSes, offline RPGs, and FPSes. Up until the recent release of Team Fortress 2, my favorite online FPS was Halo 1. I liked the ability to jump into a quick game and tear through some red (or blue) guys.

Yet for all the fun I had in Halo, the community found one of my hitherto unknown pet peeves: the crutch concept. When I dive-bombed a team of blue guys and slammed them into death with my Banshee, the last thing I wanted was to hear “Shee sucks, get some skill!” I could play without the Shee just fine – hell, I was even an expert at shooting down enemy Banshees with a pistol and a shotgun. But when presented with a weapon that easily confused, demoralized, and outright massacred my enemies, why wouldn’t I use it?

This week in the blogs user tonyd brings up this very question as it pertains to MMOs. “The term crutch seems used and abused when it comes to game mechanics that people don’t like,” he states. He then gives the basic formula for this common statement: “____ ability is a crutch.” Fear is a crutch, stealth is a crutch, your super high DPS nuke is a crutch.

Read the whole column here.

Spellborn : Developer Chat Summary

Posted Dec 17, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender files this report, summarizing the points that were made by Chronicles of Spellborn developers when they stopped by our IRC for a developer chat on Sunday.

Our first question of the night was about body slots, part of TCoS’s innovative subclass system. Starting at level 5, players are allowed to choose a subclass. This subclass has its own skills, but it also has a unique feature called body slots. Players can purchase (yes, all body slots are purchasable) body slots that are unique to their subclass, which change character appearance and add abilities. For example, the Blood Warrior body slots are scars, which actually appear on your character. Most of these scars are self buffs with a beneficial and detrimental effect; one of the first scars Blood Warriors will receive is called Magic Repulsion and it raises magic resistances, but lowers melee resistances.

Today, Selachii talked a bit about the Ancestral Mage, the pet-class subclass. This is the only subclass that works with pets, and all of the body slot options give the Ancestral Mage different summons. These pets will have a variety of roles: some of them will be pure melee while others might heal, buff, or even debuff.

Each class will have between 10 and 15 body slots, though only one can be active during combat.

Read the whole summary here.

Spellborn : Developer Chat Log

Posted Dec 16, 2007 by Jon Wood

The Developers from The Chronicles of Spellborn took the time on Sunday to answer questions from readers on our Coldfront IRC server. Below, you can find a complete log of the chat.

MMORPG_JelloB2000: The TCoS-team has been kind enough to go along & answer questions the old-school way;

TCoS_Selachii: pen and paper style :)

TCoS_Selachii: j/k

MMORPG_JelloB2000: Questions will be pm'ed to MMORPG_Woopin & from there given to TCoS, who choose what to answer.

MMORPG_JelloB2000: Now, please only send one question each to avoid spam. Meanwhile the TCoS-team can introduce themselves

TCoS_Selachii: Right

TCoS_Selachii: I'm from the Game Design team

TCoS_Selachii: and I handle everything combat

Read the whole log here.

Lineage 2 : Kamael Videos

Posted Dec 15, 2007 by Ben Krueger

NCsoft has released two videos for the free L2 expansion Kamael.  Check them out below!

Video Interview Kamael Combat Video
Here's a video with some combat footage from the new free expansion for L2.
Video Interview Kamael Transformation
Watch as a character in L2 goes through a transformation...

Watch more here.

Age of Conan : Hands-On Report

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

Recently, News Manager Keith Cross had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a hands-on demonstration of Funcom's upcoming MMORPG, Age of Conan. The experience was under embargo until today, so today he files his report.

If this isn’t the first article you’ve read about Funcom’s upcoming game, then you probably already know that between the years when Atlantis went tits up and before the sons of Aryas started doing their thing, there was an age undreamed of, where many shining kingdoms were spread across Hyborea. There was the dark and mysterious Stygia, Aquilonia the proud, and Cimmeria where the Atlanteans fled. And during this age there came a man of great mirth and melancholies for whom this age is named, the Age of Conan.

 Speaking of the Age of Conan, I recently had the opportunity to attend a press event and get a hands-on look at one of 2008’s most anticipated games. Several people from Funcom, including Product Director Jorgen Tharaldson were on hand to answer questions and get killed by the press in a few PvP matches.

My experiences in-game began with character creation which was fairly comprehensive, considering that not every character customization feature had been added for this demonstration. Most notably absent was the ability to play female characters, as that option just wasn’t ready at the time. So I set to work making my dark haired Aquilonian with an Amish style beard. Some of the hair and beard styles weren’t quite ready, and didn’t fit on the face properly, leaving a noticeable gap between the cheeks and the beard, but that’s to be expected at this stage, as the game is still in beta with a currently scheduled March 25th 2008 launch. These little problems were made up for by an abundance of sliders for the body and face. A particular favorite among the standard face lengtheners and eye shrinkers, was the broken nose slider, which allows a player to adjust the direction and severity of their avatar’s broken nose. The triangular slider used to choose body type was also a nice change from the usual two dimensional left-right sliders, and gives the feeling of having more freedom when choosing how big, thin and/or, muscular you want your character to be. Aside from the bad hair dos and no girls (which kind of reminds me a little bit of high school) the only other thing I would have liked to have seen would be an age slider, but that’s more of a personal preference than something the game was lacking.

Read the whole article here.

Metin 2 : Christmas Events and Monarchs

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

The developers of Metin 2 have released information about the Christmas events to be taking place in that game. On top of that, they have also released some neww info on their upcoming Manarch System.

Toronto, CANADA--December 14, 2007-- G4box Inc, a North American publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment media, has announced an exciting holiday lottery event and classic Christmas icons for players of METIN2 to help celebrate the season in style. Beginning December 15 to ring in the holiday cheer, METIN2 gamers can participate in a special holiday lottery event, where they could win an Apple iPhone, among other prizes, as well as find holiday icons to be used as treasure. More details about the game, how to download itand how to participate in the events can be found at the game's official web site:

Holiday Lottery Event:
METIN2 gamers throughout the three Kingdoms will be able to collect special lottery tickets, beginning December 15 - December 27. By slaying various monsters and villains found throughout METIN2 in areas like Tangra Mountain, Nula Valley, and The Wastelands, lottery tickets can be obtained. The event will feature a grand prize of an Apple iPhone for one lucky winner, and other prizes to be awarded include the stunning METIN2 2008 calendar, along with hundreds of additional stocking stuffers such as METIN2 notebooks and posters!

Santa Claus, Holiday Stockings, and Christmas Trees:
With Christmas just a few weeks away, G4box is decking the halls with the addition of new holiday-themed events. These events will runthrough December 27, and classic Christmas icons may be found throughout the world of METIN2. Holiday-themed items may now be found as treasure when adventuring and slaying monsters throughout the lands of METIN2. Enormous trees decorated with colorful and flashy ornaments can be spotted and are the key to a making player wishes come true, and a generous, elderly man wearing a suit of red with white trim seems to be selling precious goods and materials for prices that are too good to be true - a rare find of valuable components!

METIN2's Monarch System:

The month of January will signify a revolution in how METIN2 is played as the first Monarchs of METIN2 are born. The Kingdoms of Dendera, Milgaard, and Listhmos will be able to select one outstanding player to represent them as Monarch and lead the charge into battle. Monarchs must take care to use their powers wisely and for the greater good. Monarchs who rule unfairly or are too greedy may find themselves kneeling to a new Monarch before too long. This exciting new innovation heralds METIN2's community-based approach by allowing players to have a more active role in how their Kingdoms will be lead.

For more information on the lottery event or the Christmas icons, including their start dates and the great prizes, visit the METIN2 website at

More on Metin 2 here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Friday Feature - Nova Orion Station

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

The team over at SOE's Star Wars Galaxies has released anew Friday feature, this time focusing on the Nova Orion Station.

Nova Orion Industries is based out of a space station known as the Nova Orion Station. This new station serves as a hub for an exciting new quest series in Chapter 8.

Nova Orion Industries

Nova Orion Industries is a starship research and development company that was started by Jonas Nova and Garrick Orion. From humble origins, the company grew to become a galactic level producer of starships and space stations.

The Nova Orion Station is a virtual twin to the Tansarii Point Station, which was also created by Nova Orion Industries. Both stations are located in Ord Mantell space.

Read the whole feature here.

Fury : Server Schedule

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

After a huge announcement yesterday, the team currently working on Fury has released a schedule detailing the times that their servers will be back up and running. The servers have been brought down to add the Age of the Chosen update that was promised to launch today.

Just to confirm that the servers will be back online as listed below with the Age of the Chosen update.
We are currently uploading the patches and will enable client patching as soon as these have finished.

08:01pm Friday, 14th December (GMT / UTC)

Alternate Time Zones:

12:01pm Friday, 14th December (PST, eg Seattle)
03:01pm Friday, 14th December (EST, eg New York)

09:01pm Friday, 14th December (CET, eg Berlin)

06:01am Saturday, 15th December (Brisbane, Aus)
07:01am Saturday, 15th December (Sydney / Canberra / Melbourne, Aus)

More Fury here.

Age of Conan : Friday Update

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

In their weekly Friday Update, the team at Funcom's Age of Conan have posted some of the entries that they have received for a recent contest.

While there are still a few hours left on the clock until we quit taking submissions, we thought we’d share some of the truly great entries we’ve gotten so far. Some, we’ve picked based on skill and the breathtaking quality of the work. Some just made us laugh. Herein, a few of our favorite submissions, at least of the ones we’ve gotten so far!

Check out the whole update here.

Lord of the Rings Online : The Rogmyl

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

Turbine has updated the Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar website with a profile on the Rogmyl, a lesser fire demon.

Take a brief look at the Rogmyl, lesser fire demons enthralled by the will of the Balrogs. Although a Rogmul is a minor spirit, its evil will and fierce strength can still be quite deadly to the adventurer.

Take a look at the new addition to the Lorebook article here!


More LotRO here.

Guild Wars : Wintersday Festival

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks at Guild Wars have released information about their upcoming Wintersday Festival.

Wintersday is almost upon us. That time of year when the gods Dwayna and Grenth fight over who will control the weather during the coming months. Will Grenth have his way and plunge the world into eternal winter or will Dwayna be able to melt enough hearts to bring about an early thaw? You will have the final say as the gods vie for your vote during the grand finale.

The Wintersday event begins at Noon Pacific time (-8 GMT) on Friday, December 21, 2007 and runs for 12 days. During the event, the cities of Kamadan, Lion's Arch, Droknar's Forge, and Ascalon City will shine like beacons in the winter night sky with festive Wintersday decorations, while holiday NPCs walk the streets lending their holiday spirit to this jolly season. Visitors to these four cities will be invited to participate in special holiday quests, missions, and games, all with their own rewards. And don't be surprised if a snowball fight breaks out before the end of the festival.

In addition those activities, the Wintersday grand finale will take place in Lion's Arch and Kamadan every three hours during Wintersday itself. The first finale will begin at 12:01 AM Pacific on Tuesday, January 1, 2008, and the final event will begin at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.

So, mark your calendars and be sure to show up for another special Wintersday event in the world of Guild Wars. It promises to be the event of the season!

More on the event here.

Age of Conan : Twenty New Screenshots

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

News Manager Keith Cross recently attended a press event in San Francisco for Funcom's Age of Conan. Today, we have added 20 new screenshots given to us at the event to our Age of Conan gallery!



Check out the gallery here.

General : MMOWTF Award Voting

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Jon Wood

Dan Fortier, being the rabble-rouser that he is, has opened the voting on his own awards to coincide with our Reader's Choice Awards. The MMOWTF Awards celebrate and glorify all that you, the MMOWTF readers, hated about 2007.

This is it...the week where you get to lay the smack down on the worst of the year in typical gamer style. The MMOWTF Awards are back for another year much to the chagrin of editors everywhere. I had hoped that the lineup for 2007 would have fared better than last year, but alas it seems there are quite a few games just begging for your vote this year. I've done some serious brain drizzling this week to make this year's vote even more entertaining. Without further ado: let's get this party started!

If you were fortunate enough to have missed last year's vote, let me remind everyone of the rules: This year has the same seven categories from last year, plus a new one. I am once again without all that HTML fancy-pants stuff so voting will consist of posting your vote in the forum topic. This will insure transparency in the process and make sure that all votes are properly counted unlike recent elections. Please only vote once since I have to manually count and tally each and every post. The results will be posted on next weeks MMOWTF along with my personal picks in each area.

Read the whole column here.

Twelve Sky : 12 Days of Twelve Sky Gifts!

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Craig McGregor has teamed up with Aeria Games to bring you a new holiday event for players of Twelve Sky!  We are giving out keys that will allow you to get a free in game gift every day from Dec 14 through Dec 25!

All you need to get a free key is your account!  Supplies are limited so get your key that will keep on giving (well at least until Dec 25!)

Get your free key at this link:

Warhammer Online : Two New Movies!

Posted Dec 14, 2007 by Ben Krueger

EA/Mythic has released two more videos for WAR.  Check them out!

Video Interview Dark Elf Sorceress Revealed
Check out this movie that reveals some information about the Dark Elf Sorceress that will be present in WAR.
Video Interview Video of the Month: Inevitable City 
The video of the month for WAR is a preview of the an area in the upcoming MMO called Inevitable City.

Watch more here.

Tabula Rasa : Play Tabula Rasa Free For 3 Days!

Posted Dec 13, 2007 by Craig McGregor is very proud to announce that we have partnered with NCsoft to bring you the first ever free trial for Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa®!  All you need is your free account. 

NOTE: This offer is only valid in North America, Australia and New Zealand.  Our EU members can get the same great trial offer from this link.

This exclusive 3 day trial offer is 100% risk free and no credit card is required for the trial.  What are you waiting for, the war to win itself?


Tabula Rasa : Interview - A Talk With Starr Long

Posted Dec 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender recently had the opportunity to ask questions of Starr Long, the Producer of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa to ask him some questions about what we can expect to see upcoming for the game.

What kind of high end content is slated for Tabula Rasa? Will there be raids, and if so, can you give us some examples?

Starr Long:

We have already begun adding new maps starting with patch 1.3 with a new level 50 instance. We are hoping to get another couple in with patch 1.4. We also are going to work on multi-squad maps sometime “soon.” These will be maps that multiple groups can enter (instead of just one group).

Read the whole interview here.

Fury : Editorial - What Happened to Auran?

Posted Dec 13, 2007 by Jon Wood

With today's announcement that Auran Developments, the company behind the PvP MMORPG Fury, would be closing their doors, the announcement didn't really take many by surprise. Managing Editor Jon Wood offers some thoughts on why Fury wasn't the kind of success that the company had hoped.

Earlier today, we learned that Auran Developments, the company behind the MMORPG Fury, announced that they would be closing their doors. Fury itself will continue on as a free-to-play, free-to-download title, but the developers behind the game have all been laid off, and the company has “called in a Voluntary Administrator” (What Auran describes as similar to Chapter 11 in the United States) leaving only what the official announcement to the public called “a small but committed team to continue developing FURY on an ongoing basis”.

The recently announced Age of the Chosen update, we are told, will still go ahead as scheduled on Friday the 14th, making some additions and fixes to the game. The official announcement expressed optimism, saying that, “I believe that once people hear about F:AotC and the new Free to Play business model, we’ll start building up the player numbers and revenues that will make the game successful.”

With the Fury Launch date a mere two months in the past, a number of questions are raised around how this could have happened. What did Auran Developments do that led to this end?

Personally, I think that there are a number of different answers to that question. First and foremost on my list though is the fact that Fury was built on a premise that, in my opinion, was shaky to begin with.

Read the whole thing here.

General : Boy Saves Sister Using WoW Skills

Posted Dec 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

A twelve year old Norwegian boy says he saved himself and his sister from an encounter with a cantankerous moose by using techniques inspired by World of Warcraft.

This 12 year-old Norwegian boy saved his sister and himself from a moose attack using skills he picked up in the online role playing game 'World of Warcraft.'

Hans Jørgen Olsen and his sister got into a spot of trouble when they encroached on the territory of one of these antlered cold weather staples (otherwise known as a moose). When the beast went on the offensive, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was taunt it so that it would leave his sister alone and she could run to safety. "Taunting" is a move one uses in World of Warcraft to get monsters off of the less-well-armored team members.

Once he was a target, Hans remember another skill he'd picked up at level 30 in 'World of Warcraft' -- he feigned death. The moose lost interest in the inanimate Hans and wandered off into the woods. When he was safely alone Hans ran back home to share his tale of video game-inspired survival.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : WAR Beta Rises to 500,000 Players

Posted Dec 13, 2007 by Keith Cross

EA Mythic has announced that the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning beta ahas reached the half a million player mark.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Dec. 13, 2007 - Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced that Warhammer(R) Online: Age of Reckoning(TM) (WAR), the highly anticipated massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from EA Mythic, has surpassed 500,000 closed beta registrants in North America and Europe. Beta testing resumes next week with a special sneak peek at the new Dark Elf lands and careers. Thanks to the tremendous response from fans around the world, the development team has a strong pool of gamers to engage in WAR's final tuning stages.

"It's fantastic that over half a million players want to help us with the development of WAR," said Mark Jacobs, VP and General Manager of EA Mythic. "Their feedback will help us take WAR to the next level as we focus on refining gameplay, adding polish, and most importantly, making sure the game is extremely fun. We can't wait to let them all into the living, breathing Warhammer universe that we're creating."

Poised to be one of the biggest new MMORPG releases of next year, WAR is slated for official launch in Q2 of calendar year 2008. The Beta Center is still open and accepting recruits at:

Based on Games Workshop's epic and longstanding tabletop fantasy war game, Warhammer Online features revolutionary Realm vs. Realm(TM) (RvR) game play that immerses players in a world of perpetual conflict. For more information, please visit


Read more here.

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