PvP got some changes in Lineage II: Chronicle V. The dev team put together this developer journal for us that outlines what the update means.
| In Chronicle 5: Oath of Blood, every class in Lineage II has received a new skill or a change to an existing skill to enhance Player vs. Player combat. Almost 50 new skills have been added in Chronicle 5, beginning at level 46, to introduce new and challenging tactics to defeat an opponent.
Each class belongs to an overall group, and a balance was established between the five groups. Within the fighter classes, the three groups form their own balance against each other. These melee groups can be vulnerable to Damage Dealing Mystic classes, but are superior to Healing/Buffing Mystics in combat. Healing/Buffing Mystics also have new abilities at their disposal to effectively combat the Damage Dealing Mystics.
You can read more here.
Chris Launius, the Community Manager for Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising, spoke to both Dana Massey and Carolyn Koh at the Austin Game Conference. He revealed some of the interesting community building plans Perpetual has up their sleeves.
| Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising is slated for release in early 2007 and at this time, Launius informed us that the development team is finalizing and polishing a lot of systems. The newbie player experience has been revamped and they are planning the first public testing phase of the game.
In Gods and Heroes, the story is wrapped around everything and design decisions were based closely on the story. For example, the death penalty: In the lore of Gods and Heroes, your character is the son or daughter of the Gods. Thus, you are immortal and your God resurrects you. Practically speaking, when your character dies, you have three options you may choose to appease your God and return to Earth. The first is the traditional corpse run, the second a small experience debt and the third a simple tithe. The three options let players get right back into the action, if they’re in a bind or a rush, or take a less painful, but slightly more time consuming option.
You can read more here.
The MMO Rant is a highlight each year at AGC. This year, Richard Vogel (BioWare Austin), Scott Jennings (NCSoft), Matt Firor (X-Mythic, Ultra Mega Games), Jessica Mulligan (X-Turbine, consultant) and Lorin Jameson (SOE Austin) teamed up to deliver the fireworks.
|Scott Jennings kicked things off with a rant on “service after the sale”. He pointed out that customer service people are universally the lowest paid across the industry and pointed out that Blizzard was among the industry leader in this category with a ratio of one CS rep per 5000 players. He pointed out that many companies go even further and simply farm this out to a third party.
He then took aim at World of WarCraft’s peer-to-peer patch distribution system, calling it “insane”.
Finally, Jennings took a swipe at David Perry and Acclaim’s plan to support their MMORPGs through advertising. He joked that players could even turn them off for a “50% decrease in experience gain”. While his point was taken, it did somewhat misrepresent what Acclaim actually has planned. Nonetheless, he was quite clearly against such a model.
You can read more here.
It's Friday, and that means that MMORPG.com has unveiled a brand new episode of our weekly podcast, Game/On:
This week, Garrett Fuller makes his return to MMORPG.com's Game/On after a brief vacation. He and co-host Jon Wood discuss the latest news, the formation of Green Monster Games, AGC, and innovation (or the lack thereof) in MMORPGs.
You can listen to the podcast here.
The forums over at ArchLord are talking about an upcoming event. The event promises to be the biggest yet for the beta-stage game, and will serve to bring the game's rich lore to the forefront:
A dark cloud hangs over Chantra, what was once a fairly peaceful world is being plunged into chaos, 4 dark figures have emerged from the shadows intent on taking control of all Chantra.
No one knows why they have suddenly rose to be a threat to the world, rumours of them holding ancient artefacts have as yet been unconfirmed, but it seems likely that some form of mystical force is responsible.
The Battle for Chantra is coming, the time has come for individuals and guilds alike to declare their loyalty to one of the champions and prepare for the ultimate battle. Who you choose is up to you, but your actions may forever shape the future of Archlord.
Ulric – Champion of Zylok
A feared warrior, who believes the only effective form of diplomacy is actioned by a sword. this Human Warrior has been recruiting the most evil residents of Chantra to his powerful guild and is believed to be seeking pledges of support from other guilds in return for their safety.
Ktat – Champion of Tulan
This crazed Sorcerer was once a key member of Tulan Society, however as with many, the powers he harnesses has warped his mind, now he lusts for power, and will take it any way necessary, his guild has grown as word of his power and madness has spread across Chantra.
Rockett – Champion of Anchorville
Not much is known of this character, rumours are he was a vagrant pickpocket, until one day he acquired a mystical amulet, noone knows whether this was given to him by someone on purpose, or whether he acquired it from the pocket of some powerful mage, all that is know is that since that time, he has been unstoppable, he gained control of his guild after slaying the previous guild leader in a vicious street battle, and has now decided that the whole of Chantra should be his.
Diggler – Champion of Terranoa
Once the king of Terranoa’s trusted general, Diggler the master Archer was feared on the battlefield, known as much for his looks as his archery skill, Diggler disappeared shortly after a tavern brawl left his face badly scarred, rumours were he became a highwayman ambushing passing merchant caravans, building up the funds required to reappear with a strong guild to take back the target in his aim…Chantra.
Scouts have been dispatched to gather more info, but until they return watch your back, Chantra is no longer safe.
(OOC) more information will be revealed on here over the coming days, and the champions will soon make their appearence. this event will give players the chance to interact directly with Codemasters staff (And Ulric) in Chantra
For more on ArchLord click here.
OnNet USA has announced that they will be releaseing a retail version of their game, Shot-Online. The game will retail at $29.99 and will be seen in Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other major retailers:
San Jose, CA September 15th, 2006 – OnNet USA today announced that it will release, in partnership with Synet, a retail version of Shot-Online. The retail package will have a MSRP of $29.99 and will be available at major retail stores including Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others. The product will ship to the retailers on September 12th.
The retail package will include a card worth $20 of cyber cash, entry into an exclusive tournament, and a lottery ticket that offers the chance to win a set of virtual golf clubs worth $100 (grand prize).
Shot-Online is a 3-D massively multiplayer environment golf game with over 1 million players worldwide. OnNet used a proprietary physics engine to develop the game. This software gives the game a realistic feel and allows gamers to experience golf under real-world conditions such as temperature and weather. The other unique aspect of Shot-Online is the community interaction between the game’s players. Players can socialize and trade with each other in the game which creates a higher degree of community compared to other golf video games.
For more on Shot Online click here.
Taylor Daynes, the Lead Designer of Pirates of the Burning Sea, and Kevin Maginn, a designer, spoke to Aaron Roxby at AGC about their game.
| At the recent Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), Flying Lab Software announced some major new additions to their swashbuckling MMORPG, Pirates of the Burning Sea. I took the opportunity at this year’s Austin Game Conference to sit down with Lead Designer Taylor Daynes and Designer Kevin Maginn and discuss some of the game’s recent additions in more detail.
We began by discussing the game’s new Avatar Combat system. These on foot battles were originally planned to be added to the game after launch, however as Maginn says, “One of the lessons of Star Wars Galaxies is that you only get to launch once, and if you launch without something that feels like it really should be a core feature… users are not actually going to forgive you.” In addition, the designer found that with the level of polish they wanted to put into the game, with or without Avatar Combat, they would not be able to launch during 2006. The team has decided to use that time to add more planned feature to the game at launch.
You can read more here.
Sanya Thomas is asking for player help in seeking out plagiarists in their Legends and Lore section (which technically hasn't been launched yet) of their Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning website:
If ever y'all find a story in our Legends and Lore section that you can prove is stolen, please email either me or Richard with backup links right away. We on the Herald team are giant nerds and have read much in the way of science fiction and fantasy, but not everything ever published. But between us and all of you, we HAVE read everything, right?
Me - email@example.com
TECHNICALLY, the Legends and Lore section isn't launched yet, so you haven't seen an official announcement. But there are stories there and more will be posting over the next few days.
For more on WAR click here.
SOE's EverQuest II has released a new Treasure Chest on their game's official website. The Treasure Chest points readers to interesting posts that appear on the EverQuest II forums:
Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Treasure Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Treasure Chest!
For more on EverQuest II click here.
I'm not sure this actually qualifies as news, but it made me laugh, so I thought I'd drop it in our newsroom so you guys could see it. It comes from the Pirates of the Burning Sea website which actually holds a countdown to International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
Yar, ye scallywags! If'n ye be lookin' ter the starboard of our foine page, ye'll soon be seeing the countdown ter the world-famous "Talk Like a Pirate Day"!
So shake off the gollywobbles, you sun-dried suckbottles, afore ye find yerself made an easy target by way of the pillory!
For all the skuttlebutt on Talk Like A Pirate Day, you best pay a visit to Mad Sally, Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy at the official "Talk Like a Pirate Day" site by clicking this link!
For more on PotBS click here.
Our friends over at Lineage II have passed along some tips for raising a baby dragon from hactchling to adulthood. According to them, "Only a few faithful caretakers will be rewarded for their perseverance and effort by soaring through the skies on the back of a wyvern."
Baby dragons are known as Hatchlings. A Pet Manager in the town of Giran starts mid-level players on their paths to begin raising the Hatchling. Once they complete a special quest, the new pet owner begins to raise the baby dragon through feeding, care, and battle experience. Owners can also bestow a unique name on their new pet, and use a special flute to call the Hatching to their side.
The Hatchling has its own personality and skills depending on its type. Baby Hatchlings can be attuned to the wind, stars, or twilight. A Hatchling of Twilight grows up to be well-suited for speedy transportation. A Hatchling of the Stars can cast magic to damage an enemy and heal itself. A Hatchling of Wind is a hardy dragon with a skill that damages their target and another that raises its own defense.
Hatchlings gain experience by fighting alongside their masters. After the Hatchling reaches level 55, it is time for the Hatchling to enter its next stage of life.
A Wiseman in a remote village sets the Hatching and its owner on the journey to become a Strider. Once the Hatchling evolves into a Strider, an owner must continue to feed and care for their charge. The sound of a Dragon Bugle summons the Strider to answer its master’s bidding.
At this stage in the dragon’s life, the Strider is well-suited for fast transportation. Adventurers can ride on the back of a Strider to quickly traverse the spacious lands of Aden and Elmore. Striders move much faster than a player on foot and their speed can save weary adventurers from certain death. Striders can also continue to fight for their master and gain their own experience through combat.
For more on L2 click here.
Milko Berset showed Jon Wood the Ryzom Ring (R²) during his visit to their booth at AGC. The Ring allows players to create their own content and adventures in instanced areas apart from the Ryzom world.
|Before heading to my meeting with Milko, I knew that Ryzom Ring was going to give the players the ability to make their own adventures and quests by providing them with the game’s toolset. What I wasn’t sure about was how well this would work. We’ve all seen editors before, and more often than not, they’re complex and time-consuming. I can remember learning the old DOOM editors. By today’s standards they were pretty simple but back then it took me ages to master the program so that I could make levels that would actually… you know, run. Same with the editor for Neverwinter Nights. That was a headache. I think that’s more or less what I was expecting when I walked in for my preview of Ryzom Ring. I couldn’t have been more wrong.|
You can learn more here.
Howard Marks, the CEO of Acclaim, met with MMORPG.com Senior Editor Dana Massey at AGC to discuss future MMORPG business models, 2Moons and 9Dragons. Here is what we learned:
| The day after giving a talk to AGC called “Game Over”, Howard Marks and I met on the show floor to discuss 9Dragons, 2Moons, Acclaim and future economic models for the MMORPG industry.
In his talk, Marks challenged developers to see the world through his eyes. Marks is a firm believer that the future of MMORPGs is in advertising, just as television and the internet itself have ended up. Through Acclaim, Marks hopes to be at the forefront of this future and has boldly promised that all Acclaim’s MMORPGs will be pretty much free to play.
There is a slight emphasis on “pretty much”. The first two major titles 2Moons and 9Dragons are perfect examples.
You can read the full article here.
Fallen Earth’s Lead Designer, Lee Hammock and Network Director Chris Pavlou were at AGC in the Vivox booth to give our own Aaron Roxby a demo of the game. Here is his report:
|Because your hands will be busy controlling your character during combat, the developers are adding Vivox Voice Over IP as part of the basic client. When you join a party, you will be automatically added to a special chat channel for that group. Microphone options can be changed via an in-game menu. In addition to in game chat, players will be able to enter the voice channel via their phones. When a new voice channel is created, it will generate a temporary phone number that can be accessed from any normal or cell phone. So if, for example, you are going to be running late to a schedule play session, you can call your group directly in game and let them know. Players will also be able to use external Instant Messaging to contact people in game. Private and public chat channels will be available as well. I was given a brief demonstration of the VOIP technology. A second player was logged in from a remote location and his voice came through clearly. While they were playing on a closed test server, the game seemed to run relatively smoothly, even with VOIP activated and the graphical detail turned up.|
More can be found here.
City of Heroes / City of Villains has announced "City of Heroes Good Versus Evil Edition". The new edition includes exclusive bonus powers and costume items for both games:
We are pleased to announce the City of Heroes Good Versus Evil Edition. In 2004, City of Heroes was launched, bringing the world of comic books alive in the first massively multiplayer game of its kind. In 2005 City of Villains was released, representing the other side of the coin, a world of super-powered villains and costumed criminals. Both games won numerous awards and received critical acclaim.
Today, the battle continues. City of Heroes Good Versus Evil Edition includes both award-winning titles in one box. It also includes exclusive in-game bonus powers and costume items, and all seven free content updates (including Issue 7: Destiny Manifest). Now the only question is whether players want to protect Paragon City as a crime fighting hero, or help the evil Lord Recluse bring it to its knees.
The Good Versus Evil Edition will be available for purchase on September 29, 2006 exclusively at Wal-Mart. The in-game items will also be available for purchase for preexisting customers on September 29.
For more on City of Heroes click here.
Aether has posted a new Dev Log over at Pirates of the Burning Sea, and it's a doozy. The log tells us what he's been up to over the last bit of time, PAX,AGC, etc. You can read the entire Dev Log by clicking on the link below:
Special Report: The Flying Lab Road Show
As many of you are aware, the Flying Lab Team has been spending a lot of time on the road in the last couple of months, sharing all there is to share regarding Pirates of the Burning Sea. We've been to Indianapolis, where literally thousands of folks were able to watch and play our game to their heart's content, and then it was a short return home to Bellevue, Washington where we hosted a party and tended a booth at the wildly successful Penny Arcade Expo. PAX was a lot of fun, and distinctly different than GenCon on many levels. While both events have proven to be an incredibly valuable resource for us in getting the word out, I have to give major thanks to the PAX volunteers, called Enforcers, for all their help and support.
These events can be incredibly exhausting- lugging heavy objects through airports, up and down stairs, in and out of cars… it can wear a person out! So you can imagine our collective surprise/relief/joy when Squidd (FLS Jack-of-All Trades whose super power is being able to make broken things work as they should, sometimes by simple proximity alone) and I arrived in Bellevue to set up, to be faced with an army of PAX Enforcers saying bizarre things like "Hi! Can I carry all your heavy stuff please?" or "Did you need anything? Anything at all?" or my favorite: "Would you like to sit down for a bit, I've brought you some water!" Seriously, all the PAX support staff were incredible- they were responsive, proactive, incredibly fun, and never too far away when the inevitable crisis reared its ugly head.
The PAX highlight for me had to be our Pirate Party which, with the help of PAX Enforcers, was held on the first night of the Expo. I know I'm not alone when I say I was a little more than worried- What if we gave a party and nobody came? Given that I was a major proponent of the idea, and that I had spent more than a few hours convincing, and re-convincing, a certain FLS CEO that the party would be a wild success, I was deathly afraid that the actuality would be a bunch of FLS Staff milling about in party hats, without a fan in sight.
Read it all, here.
Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, has released a new "In-Testing" feature. This one centers on ways that Turbine plans to improve the ranged combat in their game: Below, you will find the introduction to the article. If you like what you see, click on the link at the bottom to read the whole thing.
One of the most exciting components of Module 3 is the changes we are making to combat - both ranged and melee. This article takes an in-depth look at the changes we are making to ranged combat, while an upcoming article will examine melee combat.
Ranged combat has been on our radar for a long time as an area of our game that we could improve. At the very least ranged combat did not seem to scale the same way melee combat did as players leveled. We began to cull data from several sources – pure data analysis (DPS etc.), user comments on the forums (especially the feedback Codog solicited on his "Pet Peeves" thread), and our own experiences playing DDO. We ultimately arrived at the changes you see below.
For more on DDO click here.
The Guild Wars website is once again promoting the World Preview Event for Guild Wars "Nightfall". The event begins on September 22nd, and is available to anyone who would like to participate:
The WPE is coming! The WPE is coming! Are you wondering where to go and what to do during the Guild Wars Nightfall World Preview Event, which starts on Friday, September 22, at 12:01 PDT (07:01 GMT)? Find out all the details of this exciting event on the new World Preview Page, and check our Gallery to view a new set of Nightfall screenshots, too. We look forward to seeing you in Elona!
For more on Guild Wars click here.
Blizzard's World of Warcraft has released a new map of Outland, the remains of the Orc homeworld. Have a look by clicking on the link below:
Beyond the Dark Portal lies Outland, the broken remains of the Orcs' homeworld, Draenor. Amid the ruins of this world, the survivors of the cataclysm are trying to rebuild, and in other parts of Outland, life continues to thrive. Those brave enough to make the journey through the Dark Portal will find new allies and enemies, as well as limitless adventure beyond an untamed horizon.
We’ve just released an interactive map showing all of Outland’s dungeons, Alliance and Horde settlements, faction bases and neutral cities as well as new screenshots of each region. Check out the interactive Outland map now!
For more on WoW click here.
In a short break from AGC coverage, Chris Lena answers five questions on the upcoming expansion as it nears its release next week. Laura Genender conducted this interview.
| MMORPG.com: How do the downtime changes coming in Serpant’s Spine work?
Chris Lena: I won’t get into the specific details here but the idea behind the change is fairly simple. Once you have been out of combat for a certain amount of time you are considered rested and can sit down and enter an accelerated regeneration state that will quickly recover your mana, health, and endurance. The time it takes to get into this state will be relatively short but longer in raid situations.
We don’t want to change the current way combat works but we do want to get rid of the unnecessary annoyance of sitting around for an inordinate amount of time doing pretty much nothing. Let me be clear that with all changes our goal is to remove unnecessary annoyances while maintaining the secret spice that has made EverQuest so popular for so long.
You can read more here.