This week, Dan Fortier takes a hard look at stealth in MMORPGs in the most recent incarnation of his weekly column, MMOWTF.
Stealth has been a very important yet decried part of MMOs and RPGs in general since the beginning. From the snooping and pickpocketing Thieves to the Assassin Striking rogues of Everquest, stealth has always had a volatile place in MMORPG history. Proponents of stealth claim that it is vital to a well rounded system and that the many disadvantages heaped on most of the sneaking classes/archetypes offsets the power of their chosen professions. Those opposed to it claim it’s unrealistic, unnecessary and general used by gankers and greifers to have fun at the expense of others. This week’s text blob will shine a light on the ongoing debate about it’s place in the MMO genre. Grab your eye drops get ready for more heretical gimcrackery!
Read the whole shebang here.
MMORPG.com and Ideazon™ have teamed up to bring you an exciting new contest! From Sept 20, 2007 to Oct 20, 2007 @ 9PM EST we will be accepting entries into a random drawing where we will give away 14 prizes including (6) of the new Zboard™ Merc Stealth™ illuminated gaming keyboards and (8) Zboard Reaper Edge™ gaming mice!
All you need to enter this contest is an activated MMORPG.com account!
As with all conetsts at MMORPG.com, the more days you login to the website, the better your odds of winning a prize! (see official contest rules for details)
Are you ready to enter? CLICK HERE!
Community Manager Laura Genender explores the motivations behind MMORPG play in her most recent Community Forum Spotlight.
What do we play MMOs for? The idea behind gaming is to have fun; most of us do this as a hobby, and why would you take part in a hobby if you didn’t enjoy it? For forum user Devour, though, the gaming industry has forgotten about fun and only thinks about competition.
“We now play for bragging rights,” claims Devour. “The average MMO gamer no longer plays for the chance to have fun, they play for the cheese at the end of the road – the tier gear, the nice looking items. We're seeing the end of gaming being games, something you do for fun and maybe a bit of money. Now, they're a life away from life, a repetitive grind of same tasks repeated for pixels.”
Devour isn’t the only poster who feels this way; a lot of posters agree with him. User sitheus answers, “It’s mostly because of the game design of raiding and grinding for loot and players accepting it unanimously and will continue as long as it makes a profit. The fun usually stops once your guild turns into loot zombies as fun is replaced with guildies wondering aimlessly around chanting "need to raid, need loot...need to grind, need loot". It’s almost as if they are mind controlled. Scary stuff.”
Read the whole column here.
The Korea Times is reporting that Richard Garriott may be headed into orbit to spend a week onboard the International Space Station in the fall of 2008. NCsoft is reported to be considering sponsoring the trip as part of a Tabula Rasa promotion.
NCsoft, South Korea's largest game company by revenue, said its American game director Richard Garriott may fly to the Internatioanl Space Station in the fall of 2008, only a few months after Ko San takes the exactly same flight to become the nation's first astronaut.
The company said on Tuesday that the final decision will be made in a month. If settled, Garriott will fly on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a one-week stay at the ISS.
The trip to the space station is commissioned by Space Adventures, a U.S. space trip brokerage firm. The company recently said it has reserved two seats on the Soyuz craft for the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2009, for one American and one Asian, respectively.
Read more here.
The most recent patch for Sword of the new World added new communication options for players, and as a bonus, players can enjoy 25% bonus exp for the rest of the week.
First, there are now two channels for each server. Players can switch between channels using the "Channel" menu (ALT + F2) whenever they're not in combat. Players and enemies on Channel 1 are separate from those on Channel 2, and vice-versa. However, you can still chat with your friends, Squad members and Clan mates regardless of what channel they are on. Use channels to help optimize your play experience.
Second, we were originally going to have a surprise Bonus EXP weekend this weekend (9/21 - 9/23) to celebrate the new channels. However, due to the server hiccups on last Friday we have decided to make it a week long event stating TODAY! During this period we're giving a 25% bonus to all experience your characters earn.
Read more here.
The Lord of the Rings official site has been updated with another edition of their Exporing Middle Earth series. This time they take a look at The Last Bridge.
The Last Bridge is the easternmost bridge built by the kings of Arnor upon the Great East Road. It marks the border between the barrens of the Lone-lands and the Trollshaws in the shadow of the Misty Mountains, where lies Rivendell, refuge of Elrond Halfelven.
As Strider led Frodo Baggins and his companions to Rivendell they crossed the Last Bridge, and there Strider discovered a beryl – an Elf-stone, or more specifically, an emerald – left there as a sign that friends had passed that way. Indeed, the mighty Elf-lord Glorfindel had left the stone, and later aided in the rescue of Frodo from the Nazgûl at the Ford of Bruinen.
Players of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ will want to visit this landmark from the books, for more than just a bridge might be found there. . .
Read more here.
SOE has announced that all of their games, websites and services will be down for the entire day on September 25th while they upgrade their services.
All SOE games, websites, message boards, Knowledge Base, Station store, and other services will be unavailable for approximately 24 hours beginning on Tuesday, September 25th. All SOE services will be undergoing upgrades to the authentication system and as a result, all logins for SOE services will be unavailable. Technical and Account support will only be available by phone during this time. Please keep an eye on this website for more news and information about this maintenance as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this downtime.
Read the announcement here.
SOE has announced that the first Legends of Norrath Tournament will take place this weekend from the 22nd to the 23rd.
Join us this Saturday and Sunday (September 22nd - 23rd) for the first ever Legends of Norrath tournaments! We will be loading up the tournament queues this weekend and would appreciate your help. We'll be giving out rewards to those that place well and some even for just participating. Please join us at the two following times this weekend!
Saturday, September 22nd
Legends of Norrath Constructed Test Tournament
12:00 noon PDT (server time)
Entry Fee: FREE
Create your best deck using the cards in your collection and bring it to the tournament
1st place wins a loot card of their choice
2nd – 4th place will each receive 3 booster packs
5th – 16th place will each receive 1 booster pack
One random participant out of every ten participants who complete the tournament will also receive a Legends of Norrath booster pack.
Get all the details here.
The Pirates of the
Soundtrack – If you’ve been to the new marketing site, then you’ve heard some of the great music that our composers have made for us. It’s really gorgeous stuff, and we?ve put 60 minutes of it on a CD for you to listen to.
Parrot – Everyone who gets the pre-order box will get a parrot that they can equip. The parrot sits on your shoulder, and moves like a real parrot as you go about your business. One of our guys (who shall remain nameless) said about the idea “I dunno, it’s just a parrot.” Then he saw it and said “I have to have it!”
To put it simply, parrots rock!! Now that we’ve seen the parrot work out so well, we’re looking at other animals to put in. Maybe the Pets System will show up much earlier than expected!
Read the full article here.
MMORPG.com Community Manager Laura Genender gives us her first impressions of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, the upcoming MMORPG that melds an FPS feel with RPG mechanics.
Since my last look at Richard Garriot's Tabula Rasa, the Studio Visit and Hands On in June, I've been playing Tabula Rasa and watching the changes as we get closer to release. This Sci-fi MMO by NCSoft displays a ton of innovation, from premise to gameplay - but does it have the "addiction" factor to keep players involved?
Classes and Crafting
In Tabula Rasa, all players start as "recruits." At level 5 you choose whether to follow the Soldier or the Specialist branch - Soldiers are damage dealers and tanks, while Specialists stick to support roles. From there you can further specialize as a Commando, Ranger, Sapper, Biotechnician, and more - see the full list here.
Sticking with my long standing tradition of playing the healer-role, I went with a Specialist class. While I never actually grouped with other players, having healing and armor repair tools at my disposal was priceless - not to mention the use of Cipher Tools, to unlock crates in the field for free loot. In fact, I'd say that the specialist perks far outweigh the soldier in day to day solo play. I could run just about anywhere by spamming myself with the heal tool - unbalanced, much?
Read the whole preview here.
Cryptic Studios and NCsoft have announced that they have freed up millions of character names that were reserved up until now, by deleting low level characters on accounts that have not been used for over 90 days.
City of Heroes Adds New Features and Frees Up Millions of Names
Two new features come to City of
: Character Transfer and Character Rename. Additionally, we have completed a sweep of un-reserving names of characters below level 6 on accounts that have been inactive and not subscribed for over 90 days. This has freed up millions of previously reserved names all for the taking with the new Rename feature, or for that new Hero or Villain you’ve wanted! Heroes
Both Character Transfer and Character Rename features are available from new buttons added to the Character Select Screen. Please keep in mind that these features cost $9.99 USD per use and require that you have a credit card on file.
Read the Character Transfer FAQ here.
Read the Character Rename FAQ here.
Flying Lab has announced that Pirates of the
Pirates of the Burning Sea, the MMORPG featuring high seas action and adventure in a bold world of pirates and plunder, is scheduled to be available for pre-order starting Tuesday, October 23rd at participating retail locations.
Players who pre-order the game will receive the following:
- An invitation to the “Pre-Boarding Party” allowing them access to the live game up to 15 days prior to launch, and the ability to keep their characters, skills and equipment after launch with purchase of game and paid subscription (characters will have a level cap of 20 during the pre-boarding party)
- Captain’s Best Friend – a blue and yellow parrot
- Mighty Blades - Swedish Rapier, Old World Steel or Musketeer’s Matching Blades (depending upon which fighting style is selected)
- Original Game Soundtrack CD – 60 minutes of pirate themed music (comes in pre-order box)
Pirates of the Burning Sea is scheduled to be available for preorder in North America on Tuesday, October 23, 2007. A European pre-order date has not been set at this time.
For more pre-order information on Pirates of the Burning Sea log onto www.piratesoftheburningsea.com
Read more about Pirates of the Burning Sea here.
IGG has announced that to celebrate Mid-Autumn Day, they will be offering a series of new items at the item mall. They will also be holding an item sale in their item mall.
New Item Debut & September Promotion Week to Celebrate Mid-Autumn DaySeptember Promotion Week
Chinese Mid-Autumn Day is just around the corner and it’s one of the traditional festivals celebrated by Chinese people all around the world. To share this lovely festival experience with all our players on this special day, the IGG Myth War team has prepared some surprises for you.
New Item Debuts
The Myth War Online shopping mall is preparing to release a series of new items step by step to enrich the item mall. Currently, among the new items are, the Awesome Egg, Titan Flask, Intelligent Flask I and Reborn Class Flask. These are already on sale now. For more information on these new items please visit the official site here.
Starting Sept. 18th and lasting until the 25th, everything in the item mall will be on sale 30% (excluding new items, Constellation Packs, and Super Power Packs).
In addition, on Sept. 25th we will hold a special activity to commemorate Mid-Autumn Day. For more please check here.
Read more here.
Linden Lab has made changes to their terms of service for Second Life, giving Second Lifers a number of options to settle disputes with the company, including a form of binding arbitration that takes place inside of the Second Life world.
SECOND LIFE, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Linden Lab changed Second Life’s terms of service on Tuesday, allowing residents to settle minor disputes with the company via binding arbitration by a variety of means, including legal proceedings inside Second Life itself.
In a post on the official Linden Blog, Robin Linden introduced “binding, non-appearance-based arbitration” as a new way for the company’s customers to settle claims totaling less than US$10,000. Under the policy, arbitrators can accept petitions “by telephone, online, or based on written submissions, and the Resident and Linden Lab will not make any in-person appearance at the arbitration hearing.”
Under the previous terms of service, residents were obligated to travel to San Francisco to submit to arbitration.
Read more here.
Reuters is reporting that a man in China has dropped dead in an internet cafe after a 3 day online gaming binge, although the names of the games he was playing were not released.
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man dropped dead after playing Internet games for three consecutive days, state media said on Monday asseeks to wean Internet addicts offline.
The man from the southern boomtown of, aged about 30, died on Saturday after being rushed to the hospital from the Internet cafe, local authorities were quoted by the News as saying.
"Police have ruled out the possibility of suicide," the newspaper said, adding that exhaustion was the most likely cause of death. It did not say what game he was playing.
Read the full story here.
OnNet USA has announced that the closed beta for Heroes in the Sky, their World War II flight combat MMO, has begun and will run until the 20th of September.
San Jose, CA September 18th, 2007 – OnNet USA announced today that the closed beta test will begin today from 4pm-7pm PST and end on September 20th. Each day (9/18-9/20) the closed beta test will be for three (3) hours only, from 4pm-7pm.
Heroes in the Sky is the premier World War II flight combat simulation massively multi-player online game. Gamers can play against the system or against a multitude of other people from around the world. There are 2 exciting maps (The Pacific and Normandy) and dozens of realistic weapons to choose from throughout the game. The Dog fighting feature offers gamers three options: Survival, Deathmatch and team Deathmatch.
Realistic historical graphics and fighting sequences make this game a non-stop adventure for gamers who enjoy combat games as well as those who enjoy historical realism in games. The online component adds an element of excitement since players are able to engage in battle with people from all over the world.
Gamers wishing to be part of Heroes in the Sky can visit his.gamescampus.com and create an account for free.
“We are extremely excited to bring Heroes in the Sky to our gamers. This game offers many hours worth of enjoyment as they fly their way through a variety of missions, “said Chris Keswani, Team Leader, Heroes in the Sky.
Read more here.
On September 18th, MMORPG.com hosted a developer chat with the guys from Auran Games and their upcoming PvP MMORPG, Fury.
Greetings and welcome to MMORPG.com's Live Chat on irc.forthegamers.org! I'm your host, MMORPG.com's community manager Laura "Taera" Genender. Joining us today is the Fury team!
Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.
Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to DevBot while our guests introduce themselves!
Read the whole chat log here.