Recently, Jon Wood had the opportunity to speak with Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer, Jeffrey Steefle about the upcoming release of Book 11 on October 24th.
October 24th is the date that will mark the release of the third major free expansion to Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Book 11 will add quite a bit to the Middle-Earth MMO, including 100+ new quests, new raid content, changes to a pair of the standard classes and a brand new housing system. Jeffrey Steefle, the Executive Producer of the game, took the time to talk with us and fill us in on the upcoming update.
We started the conversation by talking about Housing. Housing is one of those systems that isn’t necessary to the function of an MMO, but that adds a nice feeling of ownership in the game and gives the feeling that the game is more of a world. It’s also the feature that stands out most in the minds of current players looking forward to this update.
In LotRO, each race will have their own housing area, though you do have a choice, and your race doesn’t actually affect your housing. For example, an enterprising elf could prefer the laid-back nature of The Shire to their own homeland. Not a problem. Members of all races are welcome in any of the four homestead areas.
Housing areas are split up into neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is a “public instance” that contains a total of 30 houses. Four of those houses are kinship houses, and the remaining 26 are divided between standard and deluxe homes. Once all of these homes are full, you must move on to the next instanced neighborhood. Being the crack reporter that I am, I asked Steefle what would happen if I had a house in a neighborhood, but before my friend could buy his, the instance filled up (assuming we wanted to live in the same neighborhood). It turns out that there are a couple of options:
Read the whole article here.
This week in Beyond the MMORPG, Dan Fortier steps out of his usual mud-slinging role to talk about Neverwinter Nights and elements from that game that could be of use in the modern MMO.
This week for Beyond the MMORPG I figured I’d bring out the heavy artillery. The original Neverwinter Nights stands alone as one of the best RPG games ever made. Its reputation is further enhanced by its incredibility simple, yet powerful, toolset that allows players to create their own adventures and persistent worlds. The scripting used to create events and special effects in the game was fairly easy to get the hang of even before the player made script-makers were developed. Coupled with Bioware’s strong support of the community, this ease of use made it one of the most modded RPGs of all time. Even today there are dozens of persistent worlds hosting as many as sixty players at time (which is more than I can say for Dark and Light).
There are tons of great comparisons between NWN and MMOs: One of the most obvious is the faction system. This tool can be used in conjunction with customized scripts to make NPCs react properly to a player’s actions. If you run around murdering peasants it won’t be long before the town guards become hostile to you and inversely the ’bad guys’ might stop trying to put a sword in your gut. With clever use of scripting, you can create an entire web of interrelated factions that the player can gain or lose favor with by their deeds that can determine who they can accept quests from and where they can travel in safety without being chased by a lynch mob. Most MMOs have similar systems that work in more obvious ways, usually involving a player grinding reputation in order to get access to special quests or items.
Read it all here.
The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with information on their Halloween events, in and out of game. The Haunted Showcase calls on players to spruce up their structures or storyteller event with a spooky theme. The Pumpkin Challenge asks players to leave their computers and go out and butcher a pumpkin, take a few pictures of the gore, and then return to their computers to tell everyone about it.
Get those skeletons out of the closet – the Haunted Showcase is back for another year of spooky fun! In honor of Halloween, the last Showcase of October will feature multiple entries that will be shown off on the most frightening day of the year, October 31st. Drag those decorations out and give your structure or storyteller event a spooktacular spruce-up if you'd like to participate.
Get out your knives and spoons -- it's time again for a pumpkin massacre!
Find a pumpkin, capture it, and bring it home. When you have returned with your squashy treasure, get that pumpkin up on the chopping block and carve yourself a jack-o-lantern. Then take a picture of your jack-o-lantern and send the image or URL to us at email@example.com.
Read more about the Haunted Showcase here.
Read more about the Pumpkin Challenge here.
Blizzard has posted a new PvP information page where players can get quick and easy access to information regarding all things PvP in World of Warcraft.
Player vs. Player combat is one of the fundamental aspects of World of Warcraft. The element of human intelligence, skill, and unpredictability when facing other players instead of computer-controlled enemies is one of the main draws of participating in PvP.
Players of all ability and gear level as well as time commitment can find an outlet in World of Warcraft's PvP system - whether it's in the fierce struggle between the Alliance and Horde in Battlegrounds, the competitive, fast-paced world of Arena combat, or the potentially massive conflicts of World PvP.
In addition to the thrill of battle itself which is its own reward, players can earn powerful material rewards from participating in PvP. An assortment of powerful weapons, armor, and other items, including the epic armor and weapons purchased with Arena points and from the Honor system, are available to the victorious.
Visit the WoW PvP hub here.
Halloween festivities in City of Heroes / Villains have gotten underway. This year players will be able to knock on doors to receive a trick in the form of a hostile mob, or a trick in the form of inspirations and enhancements.
2007 Halloween Event Has Begun!
As autumn arrives and the climate starts to cool, many of the superpowered denizens and ordinary citizens remember that Halloween is coming, a time of festivity and celebration. While the famous Heroes are no strangers to wearing fantastic costumes, this year the emphasis is on costumes of an entirely different sort: the various types of citizens, law enforcement organizations and villain groups that many heroes are intimately familiar with.
For example, one may be able to dress up as a Coralax Minion, a Paragon Protector or even a Vahzilok Eidolon. Heroes can collect these Classical Costumes (and wear them) for Trick or Treating throughout the city. New badges will be available for those who collect the most Classical Costumes. Not to be outdone by the Heroes of Paragon City™, Villains of the Rogue Isles™ may take part in the festivities as well, where Trick or Treating and Classical Costume collection has been virtually mandated by Lord Recluse™.
Get more information here.
MMORPG.com has teamed up with CCP Games to bring an exciting new contest to the MMORPG.com community! From now until Dec 1, 2007 you can enter to win 1 of 60 prizes of free EVE game time! We are giving away a total of over 11 years of free play time!
The full prize list is:
All you need to enter this contest is your free MMORPG.com account! So what are you waiting for? ENTER NOW!
The associated press is reporting on a recent study performed by a psychology professor at Syracuse University which examined how captivating different forms of video game entertainment are in comparison to one another. Although the scope of the study is too small in participants and the number of games played to draw any concrete conclusions, it does raise some points that may be of interest to MMO players.
NEW YORK (AP) — Role-playing games with an Internet element are so much more captivating than equivalent electronic games that they change users' lives, cutting into their sleep and boosting the time they spend playing, a new study shows.
So-called massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, have become a huge phenomenon in the game world in the last five years. The largest, "World of Warcraft," has more than 9 million players.
The study by Joshua Smyth, a Syracuse University psychology professor, says one reason for their success is they really suck in players.
Smyth divided 100 student volunteers randomly into four groups. One got tokens to play at a local arcade, a second played the adventure game "Gauntlet: Dark Legacy" on a Sony Corp. PlayStation 2 console and the third played role-playing game "Diablo II" on computers.
Read the full article here.
IGG has released information about some of the new monsters that were added to the game with the implementation of its most recent version.
Tales of Pirates has added many new advanced monsters into its new version.
Players probably haven’t ever come across this cuddly little guy before. The cursed Ice Dragon has only bones instead of flesh and blood, and the magic curse that holds it together has made the dragon ruthless and terribly cunning.
Coming across this sinister beauty is both frightening and strangely alluring. She is the sister of the Goddess, but not as mild as her. The Soul of the Goddess is half angel and half demon, so she is very mobile and easily irritated. Don’t bother her unless you absolutely have to.
In addition, there are still many more powerful monsters , such as the Cursed Corpse?Wandering Mermaid?Horrible Yeti… and they all reside in the ToP world and often attack innocent villagers. Warriors! Wait no longer. For glory and honor players must find these monsters and kill them all!
Read more about Tales of Pirates here.
NCONY Enterprise has announced that their upcoming MMO, Pi Story, will enter it's second round of closed beta on October 26th.
Seoul , Korea - October 20, 2007 - After 2 months of additional development and upgrades, NCONY Enterprise is proud to announce the reopening of the Pi Story (www.pistory.gamengame.com) game server for a second round of closed beta tests. Closed Beta Test 2 will begin at 6 p.m. on October 26th and close at 7 a.m. on November 2nd. The servers are open 13 hours a day, from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. GMT.
Major bugs reported by players from the last closed beta round have been tested and fixed for a smoother game play. The server's performance has also been improved for less network issues. New additions to the game include more maps, a new class, and enhanced battle skills for a better game experience.
Players who participated in the Closed Beta Test 1 in September will receive a special game item as a thank you for playing the last test round. In addition, to celebrate Halloween, the developers of Pi Story have also created limited edition Halloween avatar items so that players can spice up there characters look and celebrate the Halloween event as they play! These items will be only be offered during Closed Beta Test 2.
Read more about Pi Story here.
NCsoft has announced that they will be holding several special events to mark the end of the Tabula Rasa Beta, including a challenge to take on General British himself. Tabula Rasa is set to launch next week on November 2nd.
In anticipation of next week's launch of Tabula Rasa we would like to invite you to join us in our end of beta event. The Tabula Rasa team will be playing and challenging you to take on General British himself on Friday, October 26, 2007 from 10:00 PM to 11:59 PM Central Time. If you haven't had the opportunity to play the beta, sign up with FilePlanet now! There will be other surprises, so make sure to log-in during our last week in Beta. Beta keys are available through FilePlanet.
Read more here.
IGG has posted a preview of some of the NPCs that players will be able to meet in Godswar Online. The game's ambiguous timeline allows for an amusingly anachronistic assortment of characters from Greek legend.
GodsWar Online is set in the Demigod Age of Greek mythology and most of the NPCs are also from that same age, with each NPC representing a particular culture. NPC, which is short for Non Player Character, is an indispensable component of any game.
Many heroes of Greek mythology are NPCs for GodsWar Online. Because the game doesn't focus on a specific year, some famous Greek heroes of different eras are able to get together in the mythological world. These notable NPCs include Heracles, the Athenian King Theseus, Jason and his wife Medea, and also some famous characters from the Trojan War including Helen, Agamemnon, Achilles, and Odysseus. These characters are in different cities throughout the game. Players can meet them in each city while traveling the world and learn all kinds of skills and magic from them.
The number of NPCs is countless. There are service NPCs, special NPCs, monsters and so on. Meeting and greeting these NPCs will be a lot of fun! This is only a brief introduction of the NPCs within GodsWar, more exciting details will be released as they become available.
Read more here.
The folks over at Dark Age of Camelot have posted a list of events that will be taking place in the game in honor of Halloween, including the cryptic statement, "Something strange has happened to all of the puppies."
October is the month when frightening phantoms, restless revenants, and spooky spirits roam the streets and countryside. Here are some of the crazy things you will see during this time of year.
The Ghostly Harvest Quest offers players level 45 and up a dangerous adventure in the frontiers. Speak with John Tobin on the Cotswold Bridge, Foa Muldisson outside the Jordheim North Gates, or Nera by the road in Mag Mell to begin the quest.
Treat sellers have been spotted selling sugary confections inside Meath, Erikstaad, and Caerwent.
The consignment merchants would like to show you their Halloween spirit! Pick up the merchant and place it back down on your house porch and he will change into a Halloween outfit for you!
Be aware adventurers! Ghosts haunt the streets of your capital cities as the pumpkin moon rises!
The horses you once rode have joined the spirit realm. (This affects stable and merchant horses only - not player controlled horses.)
Something strange has happened to all of the puppies.
Read more here.
Turbine has published the full release notes for Lord of the Rings Online: Book 11 Defenders of Eriador, the latest free content expansion that is set to be released on Wednesday October 24th.
High level world content
- Tâl Bruinen (in Trollshaws)
- Northern High Pass (in Misty Mountains)
- Southern High Pass (in Misty Mountains)
- Goblin-town (in Misty Mountains)
And... introducing a new level 50 epic 12-player raid: in The Rift of (Nûrz Ghâshu)
- In the far northeast corner of Angmar, the Angmarim in their desperation have opened a long-sealed door and begun mining for obsidian and iron in a place simply known as The Rift. They have uncovered long since forgotten tales and evils. The Rangers of Gath Forthnír, led by the Elf-lord Iorelen, are now keeping tabs on this expedition and need your help!
- This new area features:
- 7 new Rift Class Armour sets
- 7 new Rift Class-restricted weapons
- And 7 new monsters!
Read the full Release Notes here.
The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.
Q. I heard an in-game rumor that there are plans to remove stealth from all the archers in the game, is that true and if so why?
A. I have a funny story about this question. The Balancinator got me good when I forwarded it to him. He messaged me and said, “How did people find this out already?! Hardly anyone knows about it!” I was halfway through a panic-stricken letter to the Producer when I was reassured: Missy, I was joking. We have no plans to remove stealth from the game. It reminds me of that old proverb. Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.
Q. I used to be able to use tinderboxes in Darkness Falls, but now it says I can't. I've talked to many who remember using them there. Is there a bug or did you change it?
A. The Bearded Wonder explained this one for me: The tinderboxes were designed to not work in RVR related zones and Darkness Falls is in that category. If they were usable there for some time, this would have been the bug. So as you describe them now, they’re working the way they were designed to work.
Read more here.
SOE has posted messages across it's family of sites informing players that there will be limited customer support today, Monday October 22nd, on account of wildfires in the San Diego area.
Technical, In-Game and Account support will be in limited operation on Monday, October 22nd 2007 due to wildfires in the San Diego area. During this time, support will be available but response time may be delayed. We will keep you updated with any changes in the situation.
For your convenience our Self-help knowledgebase is also available at www.station.sony.com/kb with answers to your questions. E-mail support is also available any time at www.station.sony.com/kb.
Read more here.
In this week's Community Blog Spotlight, Community Manager Laura Genender highlights two blogs with opposing viewpoints about PvE and the competitive nature of MMOs.
This week’s blog spotlight is a head to head debate between poster Vajuras, author of I Have a Dream; and poster NetSapiens, the mind behind Family Man Gamer. These two bloggers take differing standpoints on the competitive nature of gamers even in PvE: parsers, braggarts, and the optimal build.
In his blog, NetSapiens states that “people in a competitive environment will want to optimize their characters, in order to compete. You can’t compete in a game of Tennis if one guy brings a tennis racket and the other brings a gun and a basket of oranges.” For NetSapiens, gear analysis and DPS data makes perfect sense when it’s PvP.
Read the whole column here.
Michael Fiegel, a former writer and content designer for Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes, pens this article from a developer's perspective, about the indefinite hold that has been put on the game and his own reactions to it.
You will never meet the young lady in the sewers. You will never discover why she's down there, or what she's looking for, or how that involves a disembodied spirit with a short temper.
You will never meet the man who -- mimicking a myth he had once heard -- tied his infant daughter to a spear and hurled her into a river, assuming the gods would save her. You will never learn if he was right.
You will never meet the daughter of the goddess of vengeance. You will never hear her warning about the weather, never hear her funny quips and wry observations. You will never learn where the West Wind went.
The reason you will never meet these people is that the game they were a part of, Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, was put on "indefinite hold" on October 9. For six months prior to that date, I was a writer and content designer for the game, and the individuals mentioned above were but a few of the hundreds of personalities, quests and stories I created during that time, alongside a team of other writers, implementors and designers.
Read the whole article here.
CCP's Chief Operating Officer issues a statement about today's EVE Online downtime and security breach. According to Hörðdal, no account or billing information was compromised and the servers are back up and being closely monitored.
EVE Online service restored after unexpected downtime
CCP Chief Operating Officer Jón Hörðdal has issued the following statement regarding the unexpected interruption of service for EVE Online and its website on Friday, October 19.
At 10:25 GMT today we discovered an anomaly in the EVE Online Database indicating a potential exploit. Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 12:57 that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely dark while an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure was executed.
What we discovered was an indication that one of our databases was being accessed through a security breach. While some may feel that such a drastic reaction was not warranted, it is always our approach to err on the side of caution in order to protect the players.
We of course understand the effect and disruption this has had for our players and apologize for not having been able to explain to the community what was going on. In these cases it can often be counterproductive to containment to give out information while we are in the process of evaluating the scope of the problem.
Our taskforce quickly found the security breach and prevented that from being used. We subsequently found three cases of database actions being performed through the security breach but none of those affected other users than the one doing the actions. We can also confirm that no personal details such as users’ credentials or credit card numbers were exposed through this incident.
The servers were brought back online at 22:00 GMT and we will of course continue to monitor the situation closely over the weekend and the following week.
Again we sincerely apologize for this disruption.
Chief Operating Officer, CCP
Read more here.
The Gods and Heroes official site has been updated with a brief message telling people who pre-ordered the game how to receive a refund.
Pre-Order Return Information
If you Pre-Ordered Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, please contact the retailer where you purchased the pre-order. They should give you a full refund.
Read more here.