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World of Warcraft : Patch Notes

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has released the patch notes for Warcraft Client Patch 2.2.0, the most recent patch for World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft Client Patch 2.2.0 (09/25/2007)

The latest patch notes can always be found at


  • Voice Chat - The new Voice Chat feature is now available in game. Players will need to go into the Options menu under Sound & Voice to activate it. Volume sliders are available for the microphone, speakers, and game-audio fade (which automatically lowers the game audio when a voice communication is received), as is a “push-to-talk” setting. Right-clicking on a player’s name now includes the option to mute or unmute that player. Muting another player blocks all voice chat from him or her; the ignore feature now blocks both voice chat and text chat from that player.For the Voice Chat F.A.Q. visit the following links:
  • Chat Channels- New Chat Channel controls and functionality are now available under the Chat tab in the Social window of the interface. The interface will now show the channels players are in or are available to them, depending on the area of the world they are in, along with the addition of new private channel controls.
  • A new feature for reporting players as being AFK in battlegrounds by right clicking has been added. When enough reports are registered, a 60 second debuff will begin to count down. Once the timer is up a new debuff will appear that will prevent the player from gaining any honor while it is on. This debuff can be negated as soon as the player engages in PvP combat.

Read the patch notes here.

Spellborn : Game Design Dev Journal

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Chronicles of Spellborn official site has been updated with another edition of their weekly gamedesign dev journal.  This week's topics are Quest Chains and Side Quests.

Stirring the soup that is the Deadspell Storm invariably creates a few conflicts. We've talked about the various factions and High Houses already and it's not hard to imagine that they can all provide an impulse to the overall history of the Enclave of the Five Sacrifices. These impulses are captured in Quest Chains and Side Stories and put you at the centre of these events.

Of course they are just two names for very wildly accepted concepts. The Quest Chains are the main hooks. These span multiple level-ranges and tell of the more profound events happening within the Red Rim and bring a conclusion to the first part of the Chronicles of Spellborn; they form the spine of the game.
Side Stories provide more colour and details; they are small chains focussing on everyday life. They can still have some profound events within them but they are less likely to be earth-shattering (hmm, shouldn't that be shard-shattering?) events that impact the Enclave as a whole. They fill in the gaps in the story and deepen certain aspects.

Read the full article here.

Vanguard : Developer Profile

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross


The Vanguard official site has been updated with a profile of Andrew K, a Game designer who is currently working on the Ancient Port Warehouse.

What's your official title here at SOE?
My official title is 'Game Designer', which actually says almost nothing about the specifics of what I do (for example, the last time I mentioned this to a 'normal' I was subsequently asked if I had any samples of my artwork).

Well, *do* you have samples?
I think there's a few still up on my parent's refrigerator...

So then, what DO you do?  How would you describe it? Better yet, if you could craft your own official title, what would it be?
Well, in my time working on Vanguard I've done quite a bit that has

fallen under the general description of 'game design' - anywhere from writing quests, to populating camps and dungeons, to creating reward systems and raid encounters. And my own title? Well, I'd say game designer does work - anything more and it's hard to fit on a business card.

Read the full interview here.

World of Warcraft : New Armory Features

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross


Blizzard has announced the addition of two new features to the Armory, the Arena Calculator which aides in arena related calculations (as the name implies), and the Browser Search Plug-in which allows players to search the Armory from anywhere using their browser of choice.

The Arena Calculator is a new tool that allows you to do a number of helpful calculations for when and how you can spend your arena points. You can calculate the number of arena points you'll receive each week based on your team's rating, and you can calculate exactly how long it will take you to earn enough points to purchase an item you want. Choose one of the three useful calculators to help you answer the following questions:

  • How many arena points will I earn this week?
  • What's the average rating I'll need to get my desired arena reward?
  • When can I expect to get my desired arena reward?

For your convenience, if you have a profile pinned, many of the fields in the calculator will be automatically populated with your current arena statistics (Opera and Safari currently not supported).

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Legends of Norrath Weekend

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross


SOE has announced that they will be holding a special Legends of Norrath promotional weekend in EverQuest and EverQuest II where players will experience an increased drop rate for card packs.

Calling all EverQuest® and EverQuest® II players! What's more fun than defeating opponents in your game and picking up Legends of Norrath booster packs, starter decks, and combo packs? Well, how about the opportunity to get even more of them?

Introducing the Legends of Norrath Promotion Weekend beginning at 2PM (PDT) Friday, September 28th and concluding at 11:59PM (PDT) on Sunday, September 30th. During this special weekend, EQ and EQII players will not only enjoy a significantly increased rate of card pack drops, but will have the opportunity to obtain two brand new cards, Hatred (1P1) and Switch (1P2).

Get the details here.

World of Warcraft : Joe's World (of Warcraft) - Shattrath

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Jon Wood Staff Writer Joe Iuliani has been playing Blizzard's World of Warcraft since Beta. Today, we kick off a new weekly column focusing on all aspects of the game's past, present and future. In this edition, Joe talks about Shattrath.

Welcome to what I hope will be a WOW column that will break away from some of the other WOW commentary out there. Throughout this article, there will be a lot of reviews of both past and current WOW topics. Before we start, I wanted to give you just a little bit of background on me: I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since the Beta was available, and a group of friends were lucky enough to get one.  I’m also one the midnight Burning Crusade purchasers (my way of feeling young and in touch, that didn’t go over well for work the next day) I’ve been there from the beginning and it looks like I will be with WOW for a good long time.   So without further ado, here’s a little article I’d like to call…Shattrath Re-Visited.

Shattrath, the shining star of Outland, is located in North West Terokkar Forrest.  The next zone over from the starting zone of Outland.  If you are new to the Burning Crusade expansion (chances are you aren’t) or if you’re playing catch up with some friends, make your way to Shattrath quickly. It’s the only city in Outland, and a great place to set your hearth to.  Shattrath is broken into four sections; The Lower City, The Terrace of Light, Aldor Rise and Scryers Tier.  One of the first Shattrath quests is City of Light; you will receive a tour of Shattrath along with a history lesson.  It’s a mandatory quest to unlock other quests, so you’ll just need to stick with it.  It’s fun enough, but make sure you complete it the first run through because the second time is just tedious.  Keep your eye on your guide. Rest, Restock reagents, and the flight point, make it an ideal place to set up shop.  Shattrath also possesses a bank; alchemy lab, specialty skill trainers, as well as portals to all the non Outland cities expect Silver Moon City.  These portals are located in the middle of the Terrace of Light.

Read the whole column here.

Guild Wars : Halloween Art Contest

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross


ArenaNet has announced that they will once again be holding a Halloween Art Contest, where entrants are asked to create Guild Wars themed pumpkins, art, and costumes.

As the nights grow long and leaves shift from green to gold, while squirrels scurry to prepare their winter stores and autumn curls chilly fingers around the mornings, our thoughts turn, once again, to that most beloved of holiday seasons—Halloween!

With that in mind, you are hereby invited to put your imagination and creative talents to work crafting Halloween art with a Guild Wars theme. This is our third annual opportunity to celebrate the season with the entire Guild Wars community. Past contests have provided many wonderful chills, thrills, and a few chuckles, too. (You can see the winners from 2005 here, and from 2006 here.) Dream up your own way to bring a Halloween twist to Guild Wars, and enter the contest before October 15, 2007!

Get all the details here.

World of Warcraft : Brewfest

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced details of Brewfest, a new in-game event that will begin in certain cities across Azeroth starting in early October.

Celebrated by both the Horde and the Alliance, the Brewfest is a time to enjoy the fermented fruits of the harvest: pretzels, cheese, and booze! The competing breweries Thunderbrew, Barleybrew, and the Ogres, all come together outside of all the major cities in a bid to outdo each other with their special ales, meads, and beers. Brave adventurers are invited to sit back, take a pull, and sample the finest wares these brewers have to offer!

Type: Brewfest
Date: 2-16 October
Location: Main Event: Orgrimmar and Ironforge. Beer gardens will also be set up outside of Silvermoon City, Darnassus, Undercity, Stormwind, Thunder Bluff, the Exodar, and Shattrath.

Read more about Brewfest here.

Force of Arms : An Interview with Wardog Studios

Posted Sep 26, 2007 by Jon Wood

Recently, Staff Writer Joe Iuliani had the opportunity to sit down and ask ten questions of the guys down at Wardog Studios, the company that's making the Mech-based MMORPG, Force of Arms. Patrick Hamilton and Jeff Newcomb take the time to provide the answers.

What level of cooperative play will there be in FOA?

Jeff “Tex-Mechs” Newcomb:

Phase I of Force of Arms is being developed mostly as a PvP system, and as with most PvP, even if a game isn’t explicitly designed for cooperative play, we recognized early on that players will normally band together to defeat the other side.  We don’t plan to shackle players together (like in WoW or FotR, to name a few).  Instead, we’ll give them some fairly powerful tools to implement the most effective strategy for themselves.  There should be target links, playcards, command overview, satellite recon, and few more that we’d like to talk about, but then we’d have to lock you in a trunk until we release…

Read the whole interview here.

Zu Online : Main Scene Preview

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released a series of breif overviews of the five zones of Zu Mountain: Sky, Ground, Mountain, Sea, and Ice.

  Zu-online---, an IGG published game, has been warmly welcomed by a vast amount of players due to its’ unique theme and traditional Chinese features. All the fantastic and fabulous in-game scenes are based on the original descriptions set out in the novel and the movie. The misty clouds, the long mountain ranges, the floating megaliths and the majestic buildings are totally different from the realistic scenery of many MMORPG games.
  Actually “Zu Mountain” is not the name of a certain place, instead it stands for the universe where human beings, Demons, and Gods reside. Zu Mountain can be divided into 5 zones including Sky, Ground, Mountain, Sea, and Ice.
   Sky------Heavenly Palace
   Heaven Palace is the most holy place in Zu-mountain, only mighty beings can claim to have spent time here. No one knew when the holy buildings of Heaven Palace had been constructed, or whose hand had held the hammer and chisel. Another lingering mystery is the exotic architecture. People who reside here are those who have exalted status and extraordinary wisdom. As for the war between Justice and Evil, they simply watched it quietly. Few people could get there so people knew little of their world. People who had been there were not willing to talk about it either.  
  Ground-----Desert City
   Like the name, Desert City is a totally barren continent with no life. However, you can see exotic scenery everywhere: the reversed megalith, the refluent river, and the weird red clouds that make the sky look as though it has burst into flames………………The Summoners reside there, they are very talented and usually immerse themselves in research of various spells and unique magic. Maybe someone will ask why the place is so desolate. The reason is that “Desert City” is situated at the border between Justice Territory and Evil territory; at the west of Desert city is the entrance to the Evil territory, Death World. Various monsters and diseased animals have come out of this entrance, and gradually Desert city has turned into a barren continent. Although the Summoners are relatively mighty, along with the increased number of monsters they are gradually becoming weaker while the monsters have gradually become stronger then, the Sun Warriors have been asked to help the Summoners with the trouble.

Read more about Zu Online here.

Read the full article here.

General : Garriott to Deliver Keynote at IGC

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross

Rounding out today's hat trick of Richard Garriott news, Mr. Garriott will be delivering the keynote presentation at the Independent Game Conference in Austin.

AUSTIN, Texas, September 26, 2007 - The Independent Game Conference is delighted to announce that Richard Garriott, the creator of Ultima Online and Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa®, has agreed to make a Keynote presentation at the event.

Garriott blazed a trail in the computer gaming industry by co-founding Origin Systems with brother Robert and producing one of the most successful, longest-running game series of all time, Ultima. In 1992, Origin was acquired by Electronic Arts. Richard stayed with Origin until April of 2000, when he started a new company called Destination Games™. Destination Games became a part of NCsoft® Corporation in 2001. Richard is launching his first title for NCsoft, Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, October 19, 2007.

“We’re thrilled to have Richard speaking at IGC this year.” said Mark Chuberka, Director for ICG Austin, “As one of the preeminent independent thinkers in the game industry, he has been able to push the envelope in game development and create successful companies as well as highly evolved games. His experience heading up independent studios as well as his success in developing his own world-renowned brands will let the conference participants gain insight into how independent developers can be successful in this industry.”

“I’ve been in the shoes of independent game developers a couple times, so I’m looking forward to speaking to this group,” said Garriott. “Though the games industry has become a huge business, there are still plenty of opportunities for independent game makers to make a name for themselves and to create successful, innovative titles today, especially in the online space. The Independent Game Conference is a great place for those developers and designers to learn the steps to success.”

Read more about the Independant Game Conference here.

Ultima Online : 10th Anniversary

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross

EA has announced that they will be holding several events in Ultima Online to celebrate the game's 10th anniversary and Kingdom Reborn, the recent update to UO.

A Decade of Groundbreaking MMO Gaming Celebrated with In-Game Activities, Special Items and "Return to Britannia" Campaign for Past Players

Redwood City, CA, September 25, 2007 - Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment company, today celebrated the 10th anniversary of the classic massively-multiplayer online game (MMO), Ultima Online(TM). Launched on September 25, 1997, Ultima Online broke new ground in the multiplayer game space and ushered in the modern MMO era. Anniversary celebrations include special in-game activities and rewards, plus a new amnesty program that invites former players back to experience the major game update, Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn, for free.

"Ultima Online has thrived for 10 years and achieved the status of an MMO classic, thanks in large part to the devoted player community," said Mark Jacobs, VP and general manager, EA Mythic. "We are very excited to celebrate this special anniversary with players."

In celebration of the 10th anniversary, EA is kicking off the "Return to Brittania" campaign, an amnesty program that welcomes former players to discover the gameplay and graphics upgrades implemented in Kingdom Reborn. Past subscribers in good standing will be able to play for free through October 9, 2007 by visiting, downloading Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn and logging in using their former account name and password.

During the in-game 10th anniversary celebration, players will be able to take part in a monster hunt with special prizes including an ankh pendant necklace, map of Brittania, Ultima Online commemorative sculpture and virtue armor set. Additionally, all players will receive 10 décor tokens and a wand of fireworks in their characters' inventory.

Read more about the 10th anniversary here.

General : NCsoft Meet and Greet

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross


NCsoft recently held a meet and greet in Austin where fans had the chance to meet the developers and iconic characters from several of their games, including Ghost Widow from City of Villains, Jarrett Crippen AKA the Defuser, and Richard Garriott in his General British persona.

Austin, TX, Sept. 22–NCsoft® held a fan meet-and-greet event in Austin where gaming legend Richard Garriott met with hundreds of fans as well as with The Defuser, AKA Jarrett Crippen, the City of Heroes® devotee who won Sci-Fi Channel’s “Who Wants To Be A Superhero” reality show.

Garriott, who is developing the soon-to-be-released Tabula Rasa™, appearing as “General British” in full uniform was joined by the Ghost Widow, one of the signature characters from City of Villains™. The event also included representatives from other NCsoft titles including Dungeon Runners™, Guild Wars®, Lineage® and Lineage® II, as well as City of Heroes and City of Villains, who signed autographs and provided insight into their respective games.

Crippen appeared along with the City of Heroes representatives and gave autographs to an enthusiastic crowd. Crippen was also promoting a non-profit organization, “Scare for a Cure,” an Austin-based Halloween haunted house that raises money for breast cancer research.

Read more here.

General : Beyond the MMORPG

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week in Beyond the MMORPG, Jon Wood takes a look at Guitar Hero 2, a simple game that offers great challenges.

After kicking off our Beyond the MMORPG column last week, I have been wracking my brain to come up with the next game to highlight. Some of the obvious choices sprung to mind… I could have talked about Neverwinter Nights 2. That’s a game that resembles an MMO. I could have talked about Halo 3, after all, it launched at midnight last night.

This week though, I wanted to take a look at a game that has had, for me, the same addictive quality that you get from a good MMO. It’s a game that I’ve spent entire days playing and even more impressively, it’s a game that I’ve spent numerous hours on my feet playing. Any game that can get me standing up for hours on end deserves a little bit of attention.

The game I’m talking about is Guitar Hero 2 for the Xbox 360. Yup, that’s right, we’re talking about a console game here at (although we should probably all get used to that, as it’s the wave of the future).

Read the whole thing here.

Lord of the Rings Online : The Whitfurrows

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with another edition of their Exploring Middle Earth article series.  The week they take a look at the Whitfurrows.

As the Great East Road makes its way into the Eastfarthing of the Shire and joins with the road from Scary coming down from the north, travelers will pass through the rather quiet and charming village of Whitfurrows. This small farming town is a pleasant place to meet and share tales of comings and goings to and from the Shire, for few pass into the grassy hills and pleasant lands of the Hobbits without being seen by the watchful eyes of the Shire-folk who call Whitfurrows their home.

The village of Whitfurrows is only mentioned briefly in the text of The Lord of the Rings, and actually only figures prominently in the tale near the end of the final book, when the village is overtaken by evil and unsavory folk as a hub for information gathering and message delivery. As such, there were few clues to go by when creating the village for LOTRO, which makes for an interesting challenge. Drawing first from the word origins, presuming that ‘Whitfurrows’ refers to bright farmland (“whit” meaning “white” and ‘furrows’ meaning plowed ground), the designers began by envisioning the Whitfurrows region of the Shire as a pleasant farming village, perhaps more level and suitable for farming than the hilly terrain that makes up more familiar areas of the Shire. The village was also known for its post service, which stands to reason because of its proximity on the major road to most other regions of the Shire. In these days before the coming of the evil agents of shadow, it is only fitting that Whitfurrows be a place where players can meet and take advantage of the keen eyes and ears of the citizens, as well as learn a thing or two about the strange happenings and even more strange creatures that have recently been seen in this region.

Read about the Whitfurrows here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : The Boarding Party

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross


Flying Lab Software has announced the formation of the Boarding Party, a Pirates of the Burning Sea community organization founded to perform a number of activities to improve the community and make the game better..

As many of you know, both Theresa and I have been dropping hints about a super-secret community announcement for some time. We’ve mentioned it on our forums, we dropped hints during our IRC developer chats and you’ve been clamoring for more information ever since.

Now it’s time we pulled back the curtain to reveal our master plan…

The Boarding Party!

The Boarding Party is an exclusive opportunity for Pirates of the Burning Sea fans across the globe to join together to help Flying Lab Software make Pirates of the Burning Sea the best game (and community) ever!

What Can Boarding Party Members Do?
The real question is: What can’t they do? Boarding Party members might organize exclusive Pirates of the Burning Sea gatherings (we love a Party!), or help spread the word about new and interesting information about the game. Some Boarding Party members might even join Flying Lab Software staff at conventions and events, while other members will be selected to join special interest groups organized to provide direct feedback to our developers regarding Pirates of the Burning Sea game features, during the beta test, and beyond! Like to help other people? That’s what the Pirates of the Burning Sea Boarding Party is all about!

Read more about the Boarding Party here.

World of Warcraft : Movie Making in WoW

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has launched a new site in an effort to help aide the artistic community in the production of World of Warcraft videos.  To start things off they have posted a Guide for Fair-Use video creation.

Since World of Warcraft launched in 2004, the staff at Blizzard has watched enthusiastically as the community pushed movie making in Azeroth from an unexplored, unproven experiment to a broadly utilized and intricate craft, producing thousands of videos ranging across every type and genre. Opportunities such as BlizzCon and other movie contests challenged community artists to push the limits, and time and time again, players stepped up to the plate and delivered memorable works that turned heads not just in the Blizzard community, but in the digital filmmaking community as a whole.

Short films produced using World of Warcraft have been shown at film festivals internationally, winning awards, garnering recognition, and reinforcing the notion that filmmaking in our virtual worlds is heading toward mainstream audiences. To nurture the advancement and growth of this young artistic community, this site has been established toprovide resources and insight helpful to the ongoing development of cutting edge videos crafted from the World of Warcraft experience, and to say with resounding clarity: Blizzard is a fan of your works.

Read more here.

Gods and Heroes : City Profile Video: Rome Part Two

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Jon Wood

An interview with Art Director Mike Hines about the details they put into the great city of Rome for their upcoming MMORPG, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising.

Video Interview Rome City Profile, Part Two
An interview with Art Director Mike Hines about the details they put into the great city of Rome for their upcoming MMORPG, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising.

Read more here.

Gods and Heroes : City Profile, Rome Part Two

Posted Sep 25, 2007 by Jon Wood

The folks over at Perpetual Entertainment have provided us with this second part of an introduction to the gloried city of Rome, a focal point in their upcoming MMORPG, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising.

Roma is the center of the civilized world, the greatest metropolis known to mankind, and the seat of the eminent Republic that is spreading law and order throughout the land. Its teeming streets, diverse multitudes, inspiring architecture, and stunning public artworks make it not only the Republic’s capital but also quite possibly its most impressive achievement.

It being such a big city, we’re covering the city of Roma in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising™ (G&H) in three installments. This week, we’re focusing on the character class quarters and the majestic Olympian temples of Roma.

Each Hero class in G&H can choose from two gods with whom to align themselves, thus each class quarter in Roma is the site of two Olympian Temples, one for each of that class’s gods. The Olympian Temples are awe-inspiring structures with soaring marble columns and a finely sculpted statue of the god to whom the structure is dedicated. The Flamen of each temple can be found in a subterranean chapel directly beneath the temple; these are the holiest personages in all of the city, and should be regularly consulted by any true Hero eager to serve the Olympians and heap ever-more glory on Roma and her gods.

Read the whole article here.

Fury : New Trailer

Posted Sep 24, 2007 by Ben Krueger is pleased to present this new trailer for Auran's upcoming PvP-based MMORPG, Fury.

New Trailer New Fury Trailer
Check out this new trailer for the upcoming PvP MMORPG, Fury.

Watch more videos here.

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