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Wonderland Online : Over $600 in Amazon Gift Cards!

Posted May 01, 2008 by Craig McGregor

We are hosting a new contest with Wonderland Online where we are giving away over $600 in gift cards for along with game points for Wonderland!

The prize breakdown is:

  • (1) $100 gift card + 500 Wonderland Points
  • (5) $50 gift card + 500 Wonderland Points
  • (10) $30 gift card + 200 Wonderland Points
  • (20) 200 Wonderland Points

As with all of our contests, the more days you login to - the better your odds of winning! (see official rules for details)

Are you ready to enter?  JUST CLICK HERE!

Age of Conan : Beta Preview... Preview

Posted May 01, 2008 by Jon Wood

On this first day of un-embargoed goodness for Funcom's Age of Conan, Managing Editor Jon Wood shares his initial impressions of the very early stages of the game.

About a week ago, I finally got myself into the Age of Conan beta. With the embargo lifting today for us reporters, I thought I'd share my very early impressions of the game. There will be a full beta report coming in the next week or so, but even though I haven't had a chance to play a great deal, the game as already made some initial impressions on me that I can share.

As a result, this beta preview preview will talk about character creation and the newbie experience. A lot of the time we, as more hardcore players, underestimate the importance of those first few levels. In the rush that many peope have to reach endgame content, we forget that most people will live or die on their first few hours of gameplay, deciding whether their subscriptions will last more than a month or whether this game will be just another box lining their shelves.

Read the whole preview here.

The Sims Online : Game to End

Posted May 01, 2008 by Jon Wood

A sad day for fans of The Sims Online as EA announces the game's closure on August 1st, 2008.

It is with mixed emotions that today we are announcing the EA-Land experiment will soon draw to a close. Since 2002, EA-Land / TSO has attracted a very special group of players (of which you are one) and we certainly appreciate your participation in the EA-Land community. The lifetime of the game has drawn to an end, and now we will be focusing on new ideas and other innovative concepts in the games arena. We’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in this online community as a unique experience in the virtual world.

Below are some facts about how the site and service will be closed. Please see also a special message from the team that maintained EA-Land, to the community that played it.

Key Facts:

  • On August 1, 2008, the game EA-Land / TSO will no longer be in service and EA will focus these resources on future games
  • Your subscription billing will end now, so that at least 60 days of your EA-Land experience will be at no cost to you
  • You may cancel your account and subscription at any time by contacting customer service or by managing your EA account online. To do this, you must log on to EA-Land / TSO to cancel within the game
  • Starting immediately PayPal cash-in will not be available anymore
  • EA Customer Support at is available to help answer any questions you might have regarding your account

If you are a paying subscriber as of April 29th 2008, EA would like to offer you one of the following two gifts as a token of our appreciation:

  • Three months of Club POGO(tm) Subscription Time

Paying subscribers please insure your email contact information is up to date as details of this offer will be sent out to you within 30 days.

Again, thanks you to all of you.

Electronic Arts

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Craig Alexander on Book 13 and Moria

Posted May 01, 2008 by Jon Wood News Manager Keith Cross recently spoke with Turbine's VP of Product Development, Craig Alexander about the future of Lord of the Rings Online.

On the last day of the 2008 New York Comic Con, Craig Alexander, Turbine’s Vice President of Product Development and Kate Paiz, Senior Producer on Dungeons and Dragons Online updated the assembled fans and press about the current state of their products.  After the panel I had the opportunity to sit down with Craig Alexander to chat about Lord of the Rings Online and the current state of the MMO business. 

As he had just finished a panel where he talked a bout Lord of the Rings Online for half an hour, LotRO is where the conversation began.  The big news for LotRO lately has been Book 13: Doom of the Last King, which went live last week, and their upcoming paid expansion that will take players through the Mines of Moria and beyond. 

Read more here.

General : State of the MMO

Posted May 01, 2008 by Jon Wood

Today, Warcry published their final article from former editor Dana Massey as he leaves to pursue other opportunities. The article samples a number of MMO professionals about the state of the MMO industry today.

Titled "State of the MMO: Industry Luminaries On The Genre, Its Future", the article touches on everything from innovation to business models.

The MMO industry has grown from a two-horse race at the turn of the century to one of the largest segments of the gaming industry and perhaps the last true foothold games have on the PC. Yet, during this same period, there have been innumerable failures, and many questions remain wide open. Can MMOs truly be global? Is the subscription model in decline? To what extent should developers innovate or evolve gameplay? What role should established IP play? Have these games gotten too expensive to make?

To answer these questions, we spoke to cross section of people from around the industry to get a handle on the true "State of the MMO". We spoke to SOE President John Smedley, ZeniMax Online Studios General Manager Matt Firor, Themis Group CEO Alexander Macris, Director of Community Sanya Weathers, EVE Online Game Designer Chantel Zuurmond, IGN PC Executive Editor Steve Butts and the former Executive Producer of Star Trek Online Daron Stinnett to get their thoughts on all these issues and much more.

Read the article here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Harassment Rules: "Don't Be a Jerk"

Posted May 01, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab has posted a document outlining and clarifying the Pirates of the Burning Sea harassment policies.

Recently, we’ve participated in several discussions asking us to clarify our policies on harassment, or griefing, and how that policy is enforced both on our forums, and in our game world. In a perfect world, we could distill the expectations we have of our customers to one simple statement: “Don’t be a jerk”.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as that.

So, we’ve created the following document that outlines our expectations as it relates to customer behavior. Please note that these policies are in effect both immediately and retroactively. Reports of harassment will be taken seriously, and violators risk permanent removal from Pirates of the Burning Sea.

But wait! Before you read on, there are some things every player needs to remember when filing support tickets. First, when providing information on a negative experience youve had in game, whether it be a bug or a case of harassment, you must be sure you are providing as much information as possible.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Adso's Camp

Posted May 01, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Adso's camp, which should be a familiar site for those who travel frequently between Bree and the Shire.

Adso Haybank, a hobbit of the Shire, long desired to open an inn but most of the Shire-towns already played host to one or more. He heard that the Brandybucks of Buckland often traveled to The Prancing Pony in Bree to have a drink now and again. After hearing tales of Big Folk coming up the Greenway in great numbers, Adso came up with an idea: he would open a hunting lodge on the Great East Road! The Brandybucks would no longer need to travel so far for a pint, and the Big Folk hunters could have a place from which to engage in their sport.

Materials and labor were more than poor Adso could afford, however, so he was forced to seek aid from amongst his friends, including Barliman Butterbur, proprietor of The Prancing Pony. Unfortunately for Adso, his financial troubles left him with a substandard work-force and a debt to Bill Ferny, a strong-arm for a brigand named Sharkey.

Adso’s Camp can be found between Bree and Buckland on the Great East Road,.The lodge is far from complete, but it is said there are still some unusual travelers encamped there. Adso and his lodge were created by Turbine as a location from which to quest in the Barrow-downs and the Old Forest, both of which lie threateningly near the camp.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Naval Officer Changes

Posted May 01, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has posted the second devlog in a six part series which examines balance changes in version 1.4 of Pirates of the Burning Sea.  Today's devlog looks at changes to the Naval Officer.

Welcome to the second of six devlogs about the 1.4 skill revamp. If you havent already seen the first devlog, you may want to read about some of the general changes here. Keep in mind that the details contained here are subject to change based on feedback and ongoing internal testing, and the final result will almost certainly differ from this devlog.

Removing all of the tiered skills has major ramifications for Navy because they have so many in 1.3. All of these skills are going the way of the dodo: Requisition Berth, Defender 1, Desperate Shot 1, For God & Country 1, Perfect Discipline, Fortress 1, Thundering Broadside 1, Speed Increase 1, Reload Discipline 1 and Military Intelligence 1.

That means Naval Officers are getting numerous new skills. Expect to see changes / renames / etc. before these go live. Once this update hits, there arent any other major changes planned for skills. Upcoming changes will be adjustments based on how these changes play. Here are some of the new skills, and again, the details are subject to change:

 Rapid Shot – Tier 2 Career: This replaces Requisition Berth and moves Final Defense to tier 3. An attack skill that increases the rate at which your guns reload for your next attack (~50%). 3 minute reset timer.

Read more here.

Vanguard : The Tale of Trengal Keep

Posted May 01, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Vanguard official site has been updated with a look at the story behind what are now called the Ruins of Trengal Keep.

The expansive ruins dwelling on the Thestran continent known as Trengal Keep have not always been in shambles. There was time not too long ago when the human kings of Thestra called the magnificent castle their home.

From a realm of stone and corrupted crystal, came a mist-enshrouded demigod which called itself Koth Teros. This menace came to Telon seeking power and destruction. It sought out a being with great power, in order to possess their mind and body to conjure chaos and despair throughout the lands.

In this time of great turmoil, the people of Telon turned to a powerful sorcerer known as Derekin. The demigod sought him as well, as a conduit for corruption. The combined powers of Derekin and Koth Teros could create uncontrollable havoc, and with this in mind, the demigod attempted to possess the great sorcerer. An epic struggle ensued before Derekin was able to condense his profound magical abilities in order to trap Koth Teros on Telon, by imprisoning the being inside a shrine.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Slight Beta Time Delay

Posted May 01, 2008 by Jon Wood

Funcom has announced that in order to get a new patch out for the Fileplanet Beta they are delaying the launch until 20:00 GMT.

To add an extra patch to improve the gaming experience and quality of gameplay, the official start time of the IGN Open Beta now is:

20:00 GMT (8 pm GMT)
(to check the current GMT time please refer to

We wanted to add the extra update prior to launching the servers rather than to fix it shortly after the start of the Open Beta.

Users who have registered for the Open Beta will also receive an information e-mail about this in their inboxes shortly.

Thanks for your understanding.

Official word here.

Age of Conan : Enter To Win 1 of 300 Beta Keys!

Posted May 01, 2008 by Craig McGregor and FunCom bring you an exciting new contest!  From now until May 4 we will take entries into a contest where we will give out 300 direct access beta keys!

Unlike our last contest for beta access, these keys will give you direct access to the beta key, issued by and a download link for the client.

As with all of our contests, the more days you login to the site during the contest - the better your odds of winning! (see official rules for details)

What in the heck are you waiting for?  CLICK HERE TO ENTER NOW!

Note: Members who won our first FilePlanet contest will be immediately disqualified from this contest on the date of drawing.

Age of Conan : Pricing Revealed

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has released full details on the various pricing schemes for Age of Conan in the various regions that the game will be released.

Last week we announced our basic subscription prices. Today we wanted to give you the entire pricing structure for Age of Conan, including the favorable three and six month packages which give discounts.

In addition to the online subscriptions, players can also purchase 60-day timecards in retail stores around Europe, North America and Oceania. The recommended retail price for 60-day timecards is 29.99 USD / 29.99 EUR (including VAT where applicable). Markets outside Europe, Oceania and North America will follow European pricing.

Read more here.

Champions Online : Q&A with Nellie Hughes

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Cryptic Studios have posted another installment of their series of developer profiles with an interview with Nellie "Domesticon" Hughes, a content designer for Champions Online.

Today we get answers to a few questions from Nellie "Domesticon" Hughes, one of the content designers for Champions Online:

Q: What do you do on Champions Online?
A: I'm a content designer, which means I put the missions together and populate the zones.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: Right now, I'm working on the framework for a set of neighborhood missions and working with the environment artist to create playspaces that fit the neighborhood's fiction and spawn groups.

Q: How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before working on Champions Online?
A: I've worked in the gaming industry for two-and-a-half years. I came to Cryptic after graduating from college, and I've been here ever since. My first game was City of Villains, and after that launched I worked on the expansions for it.

Read more here.

Stargate Worlds : Closed Beta Registration Opens

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

FireSky has announced that players can now register for Stargate Worlds Closed Beta.

MESA, Ariz. - April 24, 2008 - Stargate Worlds, the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) from new publisher FireSky, is now taking registrations for closed beta at .

The closed beta is an invitation-only test of the upcoming science fiction MMORPG Stargate Worlds. Invitations will be sent out this spring and summer as the Stargate Worlds team ramps up the numbers for testing.

The select group of beta testers will provide feedback to the development team about their game experience while also providing vital insight into the performance of the servers. The closed beta will begin with a small core of gamers and gradually expand as more functionality is added. Beta testers will experience Stargate Worlds alongside the developers who also will be playing the game.

"A game is nothing without players. We're fired up to finally get our game in the hands of the community," said Dan Elggren, Stargate Worlds studio head. "We're at the point where we need external testers to take Stargate Worlds to the finish line. Our devoted fans have helped guide us for more than two years through our forums. Together, we're going to craft a balanced, polished, and most of all, fun game."

Testers will be the first to step through the Stargate for a super-sized sci-fi adventure that will send gamers around a galaxy dipped in liquid awesome. Discover thriving alien worlds, explore ancient civilizations. and tell them all the things they are doing wrong. Smack a clip into your assault rifle and enter Stargate Worlds.

Beta testers will:

  • Feel the heat - Master the battlefield using modern tactics and firepower
  • Travel instantly - Dial up the Stargate to explore dozens of worlds from ancient civilizations to high tech planets
  • Team up - Battle devious and powerful enemies with your friends
  • Find the new you - Pick from seven archetypes with unique skills and play styles
  • Don't fight it - Simulate translation, repair and sabotage with minigames as your buddies battle it out
  • Solve the mystery - A galaxy-spanning story based on the award-winning Stargate television series

Stargate Worlds, based on the award-winning Stargate franchise from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), is scheduled for launch in the winter of 2008. The game is being built using Unreal 3 graphics and Big World's server technology. For more information, visit

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : Question of the Week: Economic Concerns

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

In the latest Question of the Week on the Earthrise forums, Masthead Studios answers questions about the in-game economy.

Will there be a "auction house" that covers the whole world, a single central market or will we see a more decentralized area based economy? If the latter is the case, will we have to 'haul' resources and items if we want to move them between areas? Do you have any particular mechanics planned for those players who would like to be traders?

Even today electronic shopping, auctions and global stock markets have become the norm, and markets in the futuristic society of Earthrise will follow this trend. Players will have access to the market from every civilized location in the world, where they can check and manage their bank account or deposit and withdraw items to and from their warehouse. The personal warehouse will also serve as the basis of player's personal shops, as a number of items can be marked for sale with assigned price. The size of the warehouse and the number of personal items for sale can be expanded by buying warehouse expansions, so players will be limited at first but will be able to turn their small-town garage sale into a profitable market store and take their profits further. Players will be able to access each other player's store by their in-game name, as well as search the global database of available items, with additional tools for market analysis. Guilds will have the same marketing benefits but on a grand scale, with additional management features such as rank-based guild warehouse where guild members of different ranks will be able to provide and withdraw from different sub-accounts and item stashes. The whole market system will be designed for simplicity and ease of use, allowing players to quickly monitor, study and use the market system for their profit.

Read more here.

Spellborn : Spellborn in Munster

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at The Chronicles of Spellborn report back from their recent showing at the Role Playing Convention in Munster.

The RPC (Role-Play Convention) made a big step forward since the last year, particularly on Saturday the convention was very crowed and well attended. On Sunday, due to the sunny weather, most of the visitors were outside at the Medieval Fair, enjoying some RP-battles as well as some music provided by really cool German bands (excellent German beer was flowing).

The inventive concept of bringing together different aspects of role-playing, like Trading Card, LARP, Table Top and Computer games is pretty successful. This mixture of great costumes, the medieval fair, the armoury booths and of course computer and videogames received a great feedback from the visitors as well as the exhibitors.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Underdog Tools Devlog

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a brief devlog detailing recent changes to underdog tools.

This is a quick devlog about the current state of the underdog tools and how they’ve changed with today’s patch. Due to how we control these tools, this is a new part of the 1.3 release. Although it’s short, we’re using a devlog to hit as wide of an audience as possible.

With character transfers live, we’ve condensed our population down to fewer servers. This drastically changed the landscape on many of those servers, effectively nullifying a portion of the server’s conquest history. As a result, the underdog tools are no longer an appropriate representation of the situation on a given server. They’re also less important when there’s a critical mass of players on a server, because they do not have to overcome the same hurdles.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Sackville-Bagginses

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with an entry on those pesky Sackville-Bagginses.

Otho Sackville-Baggins is the first cousin of the famous burglar Bilbo Baggins. He and his wife Lobelia were never on good terms with Bilbo, always bitter that Bag End, the beautiful hole of the Baggins family upon the Hill in Hobbiton, had not come to them. When Bilbo was presumed dead after leaving on the Quest of Erebor with Thorin Oakenshield and Company, Otho and Lobelia moved into Bag End and started auctioning off Bilbo’s belongings; unfortunately for them, Bilbo returned just in time to stop them.

Bilbo foiled the Sackville-Bagginses once again when he adopted Frodo, his young cousin who had been living with his Brandybuck relatives at Brandy Hall. It appeared that the Sackville-Bagginses would never again see the inside of Bag End, for the hole would go to Frodo when Bilbo left. Their luck changed, however, when Frodo made the strange decision to move away from Hobbiton to Crickhollow in Buckland, there to live with his friends Merry Brandybuck, Pippin Took, and Fatty Bolger. Otho had died by that time, but Lobelia and their son, Lotho, took ownership of Bag End.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Devdiary with Steve Kim

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at EverQuest II have posted an interview with character animator Steve Kim.

Can you tell me what you're doing for EQII?
I'm a character animator for EQII. I'm also responsible for most of the character rigging.

What titles have you worked on for SOE?
I've worked on EQII, EQII Kingdom of Sky, EQII Desert of Flames, EQII Echoes of Faydwer

How did you become an animator?
I got into it almost by accident. I initially went to college for architecture. I hated it so much that after two years of architecture, I switched my major to graphic design. In this major, we were required to take one computer animation class. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to work on computer animations on my own free time. It eventually became my senior project before graduating. After graduating, I kept in touch with one my college friends, Ben, who moved to San Diego to work in a comic book company, by emailing him animations that I was working on at that time. One of Ben's friends from a gaming company happened to visit his studio and saw my animations on his computer. Interested, he asked Ben for my contact information and the rest is history.

Read more here.

City of Heroes : I12: The Midnight Hour and Me

Posted Apr 30, 2008 by Jon Wood

City of Heroes Senior Designer Joe Morrissey writes this developer journal telling us about the Midnight Squad, a group of heroes that has appeared in past lore, but makes their first appearance in Issue 12.

“So, why the Midnight Hour?”

The Midnight Squad takes the main focus of this issue. They’ve got some of the coolest history, yet hardly any of it has been opened up to the players. I choose the Midnight Squad because they were seriously crippled by the invasion and therefore were extremely motivated to take action against the Rikti. We did a lot with the Rikti story for Issue 10, but it was only through the single lens of the Vanguard. Now we see a second perspective, through the eyes of those hardest hit from the invasion, the Midnighters.

Rather than retreating further back into their libraries, they are stepping out of the shadows and throwing their pipes and monocles into the fight against the Rikti. The Squad has always been a group of intellects who research, discuss and analyze the world of the unknown, but now they have a purpose. They have an enemy – an enemy who thought them important enough to attack first. An intelligent man might believe there was something to that, something the Midnighters can use to their advantage. Now all that knowledge and hidden power is being turned against the Rikti.

Read more here.

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