SEGA has announced in a press release that they will be launching an expansion to Phantasy Star Universe. The new expansion is titled Ambition of the Illuminus and will be available for download and in stores in the autumn of 2007.
SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON (April 26, 2007) - SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. today announced that Phantasy Star™ Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus, will be available for download on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and in stores for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and PCs in Fall 2007. Phantasy Star™ Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus is the expansion to the epic sci-fi action role-playing game, Phantasy Star Universe. Gamers can now experience the wonders of the Gurhal System through the eyes of a personalized avatar - whether tackling quests online with a party of up to six adventurers, or fighting through the next chapters of the exciting story missions that started its single player experience in the original Phantasy Star Universe.
Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus allows gamers to experience an even richer and more varied Phantasy Star experience. Players will explore exciting new levels, such as the Ruins of Old Rozenom City and the subterranean Granigs Mines, where they will encounter new and more powerful enemy types and bosses, and master additional versatile class types.
The expansion further enriches the online Phantasy Star Universe experience with newly created and enhanced gameplay and customization features. Players can commune in new and expanded lobby areas filled with colorful decorations and music, including the new Casino Voloyal where roulette and slots can earn players special casino-only items. Character and weapon customization is even deeper with the introduction of a slew of new weapon types, armor, Photon Arts, and clothing. Also, each Guardian's individual Room is upgraded with far greater options for customization. A new grid system allows players to decorate the walls and place new interactive items and furniture anywhere they want in the Room.
Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus continues the exciting single player action-RPG storyline as a new Human Fundamentalist group, known as the Illuminus, disrupts the peaceful Gurhal System throwing the Gurhal Government into chaos. Using their custom-made Guardian, players investigate a series of single-player missions where they will meet familiar characters like Ethan Waber from Episode 1, and other new characters including GUARDIAN instructor, Laia Martinez.
Since its introduction in 1988, Phantasy Star has revolutionized the RPG genre by creating new standards through innovative gameplay as well as being the first console RPG to offer an online experience in Phantasy Star Online. This new installment also expands the popular online adventure of its predecessor and continues the quest for peace in the Gurhal System.
Read more here.
On the 23rd of April, Carolyn Koh attended one of five launch parties being held across the United States to celebrate the launch of Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. The party was held, appropriately, at GameStop.
Monday April 23rd, 2007. The launch of Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) was due at midnight for the 24th and Turbine was hosting a launch party at the GameStop here in Bellevue Square, Bellevue Washington as well as in four other cities across the USA.
The festivities started earlier with a dinner for fans organized by IGN and some showed up in costume for the launch event. For midnight on a Monday night, the fan turnout was gratifying for the staff of both Turbine and GameStop.
"This is awesome!" exclaimed Meghan Rodberg, Community Manager for LotRO. "This is a great turnout for the middle of the night on a Monday," as she surveyed the crowd milling around, talking and examining the bags of swag they received with their receipts of for the game.
Read the whole report here.
Due to a series of miscommunications as a result of my recent business trip to Europe (from which I have just returned), The MMORPG.com editorial staff feels that the launch-day review of Lord of the Rings Online was categorized incorrectly. As a result, while we will not be removing the article, we will be removing the associated scores and will be changing the name to "European First Look", which more accurately reflects the article in question.
MMORPG.com will be posting a new review for Lord of the Rings Online within the next month, after the reviewer has had more ample opportunities to explore Middle Earth in its launched form. For those who may be wondering, this was an internal editorial decision and was not requested or suggested by any sources outside of MMORPG.com and its members.
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Jon "Stradden" Wood
Managing Editor, MMORPG.com
The Vanguard official site has update with information on the Riftway, a series of portals linking the remote corners of Telon.
A forgotten power has returned to Telon. Ancient riftstones have come to life with their potent magic having been lost since the days of the Cataclysm. Channeling great energies from altars scattered across the world travelers are now able to venture forth via interlinking networks spanning all of Telon... Welcome to the Riftway!
The Riftway is divided into three separate networks; these networks are connected through riftstones located at altars all around the world. Not all altars have active riftstones, however.
In order to use the Riftway you must have a riftway shard in your inventory, these shards can be found on any general goods vendor and are relatively inexpensive.
Once you have purchased a shard you must establish a link between at least two riftstones on the same network. In order to activate a riftstone for future use you must travel to its location and click on it. Once you have at least two riftstones active you may travel between them, each time you travel you lose one riftway shard.
Read about the history of the Riftway and how to use it here.
EA Mythic has announced in the Warhammer Online Newsletter the opening of the Warhammer Online Guild Beta Application page.
Are you passionate? Are you ready for WAR? Are you prepared to play in a version of the Warhammer world that needs your help to be the best that it can be?
Then talk amongst yourselves, choose your leaders, and wish them the best as they fill out your guild's application by the May 4th deadline. We'll post the chosen guilds in the June newsletter. Filling out this application does not guarantee a spot in the beta. Instead, we're going to use the applications to choose a wide range of guilds. From the biggest armies to the closest clans, from the all-night raiders to the once-a-weekers, we are looking for the most passionate guilds on the internet to help us test and refine WAR.
This application is for guild participation only. We'll have more information about the WAR Beta and general sign-ups in next month's newsletter.
Good luck to all who apply!
Read more and apply here.
Eudemons Online has announced that they will hold an event to give players free EPs through monster hunting starting on April 27th until the 29th.
Eudemons Points (EPs)
Want to purchase a rare item, but cannot afford the required Eps? Need more Eps for free?
Here is another precious chance for you to obtain free Eps. All monsters may drop Eps this weekend. The more monsters you kill, the more Eps you may obtain. Do not miss this chance to obtain free EPs as many as possible.
Bring your family and friends! It will be much more fun to play with them. Enjoy a nice weekend and many Eps!
Get all the details here.
GuildCafe and Uberguilds Gaming Network have announced in a recent press release that they will be joining forces.
GuildCafe, the social networking site for gamers, by gamers, today announced its partnership with the Uberguilds Gaming Network. Uberguilds is an online host for leading guilds and fansites across the MMO community. GuildCafe will be the social networking engine for the Uberguilds network, which boasts well-known guilds including Silky Venom, Fires of Heaven, and Death and Taxes, and receives more than 20 million page views every month within its member sites.
"The Uberguilds Gaming Network is home to some of the most dedicated MMO fans around, and as a newer online community, GuildCafe is proud to be selected as Uberguilds' partner in an effort to serve those fans even better," said Jon Radoff, CEO of GuildCafe Entertainment Inc. "We hope to offer all guilds tools to empower their members to meet the social, administrative and communication demands of running organizations that span hundreds of people, many of whom have never met and are located around the globe."
Using input from some of the largest guilds in the world, the companies will create content and software that enriches the online gaming experience for all players. Already, gamers may use GuildCafe to locate the highest-rated gaming content from the network as well as from the Internet, such as strategy guides and videos of raid bosses vanquished by member guilds. As the community evolves, members can expect to interact with veteran online gamers and guilds and use their knowledge and experience to enhance their own successful gaming groups.
For more information, click here.
EA Mythic announced in the Warhammer Online Newsletter that they have decided to delay the release of the game until the first quarter of 2008.
It's been an interesting year for us at EA Mythic, a year filled with new challenges, new opportunities and of course, a year filled with WAR! We have watched Warhammer Online become one of the most highly anticipated MMORPGs in the world as it garners praise from the press, earns kudos from the community and receives enthusiastic support from our partners and friends at Games Workshop. I'm happy to say that the task of bringing WAR to life is going well here at EA Mythic. However, we have important news to share and as always, we want you, the WAR community, to be the first to know.
We have made the decision to move our ship date for the US and Europe to the first quarter of 2008. (Release dates for Asia will be announced at a later date.) Since our acquisition by EA, we have been afforded many wonderful development opportunities and we plan to take full advantage of everything that is available. This includes taking several additional months to make the best MMORPG possible.
At this time we have completed most of the work on our first racial pairing - Dwarfs and Greenskins - and the team is now building Empire and Chaos. These new zones really kick butt and the team did a fantastic job of incorporating the feel of war and Warhammer into these areas. This racial pairing is the embodiment of all that I hoped for when we made the decision to partner with GW.
However, when we looked back at our work on the Dwarf and Greenskin pairing, we could not say the same thing. While these areas were good, they were not great and glorious. We have always said that WAR was going to be great and we will not settle for anything less. So the team has gone back to our initial pairing and conducted an intense review of their work. They have implemented new ideas and applied all that they have learned over the past nine months. What has already emerged from this dedicated time of focused polish is nothing short of spectacular. In the Dwarf and Greenskin zones there is now more war, more Warhammer, and more of what makes WAR great.
By extending our development time, we'll be able to do these in-depth reviews several times prior to launch to ensure all areas of WAR benefit from the experience of ongoing development. EA is totally supportive of our decision and are behind us 100%. We all believe WAR will be the next great MMORPG and being part of EA affords us the time we need to make it so. It is EA's ongoing commitment to quality that will allow us, and other EA studios, to deliver great games, now and in the future.
This change to our ship date is probably not the news you were hoping to hear. In the end, we'll be able to reward your patience with a truly next-generation MMORPG that will make GW proud, all of us at EA thrilled and most importantly, you, the players, as happy as a Black Orc in battle. We only get one chance at a successful launch, and we plan to catapult this one over the walls of Altdorf.
Read more about Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning click here.
On April 27th City of Heroes turns three years old and in honor of the occasion they're throwing a party, giving fans a chance to celebrate with the NCsoft Community and Cryptic Development Teams.
Three years ago City of Heroes exploded into the Online Gaming scene! Countless hours and many thousands of players later it is still going strong!
To commemorate this milestone, we invite you to join us on the Training Room test server April 27th to party with the NCsoft Community and Cryptic Development Teams.
Here are the details:
What: Official 3rd Year City of Heroes Anniversary Party
When: April 27th, 4pm to 8pm Pacific (7pm to 11pm Eastern)
Where: Training Room Test Server - for details to connect, See this post!
Costume Theme: 'Secret Identity' - Dress like your alter ego!
Read more about the celebration here.
Final Fantasy XI has announced on their official site that they have banned 3,400 accounts and suspended 500 more for using cheats and real money trading.
We would like to report the termination today of multiple accounts held by players involved in the usage of third-party tools or cheats, or engaged in RMT (Real Money Trading) activities.
We would like to remind players that as well as adversely affecting game balance, the use of third-party tools or cheats can also have consequences that are not immediately obvious, such as introducing damaging viruses, and comprising the security of private account details. Usage of third-party tools will not be tolerated within FINAL FANTASY XI, and we will continue to severely penalize any players found to be in violation of the PlayOnline Member Agreement.
As we continue to ensure a fun and balanced environment for FINAL FANTASY XI, we hope that our players enjoy the game as it was intended and take care to avoid involvement in activities that violate the PlayOnline Member Agreement.
Read the full story here.
Every now and then, we like to take a look at an RPG that has some kind of multiplayer function. Even though they may not be classified as true MMORPGs, they can sometimes provide a fun and interesting diversion. In this article, Hasani Davis takes a look at Two Worlds, a new RPG out of Germany.
I had the opportunity to stop by the studio and see an Alpha run of South Peak Games TWO WORLDS. As always, I will cut to the chase, this game is 100% next generation RPG. The game world has very high end graphics as well as world effects. It is still in Alpha and already, in my opinion, this game has set the pace for the pack and is the new "ten" standard to measure all other RPGs against.
Two Worlds is created by Thought Pump, a gaming company based out of Poland who created games such as Earth 2160. They are making the jump to the RPG market on both the XBox and PC with Two Worlds. The game will cater to most player desires. You can play a single player story mode with a highly reactive world that changes according to what decisions you make in the game. Or you can play in a group setting linking up with 8 people for Xbox. If you are running it on the PC, you can open the MMO feature up to hundreds of friends and foes alike. So far, only the human race is the story mode race, but there are many races you can choose from. Orcs, dwarves, Groms (think barbarian trolls), Elves, and serpent men which move around on just tails and have no legs!
Check out the entire article here.
Guild Wars is turning 2 and Guild wars factions is turning 1, and to honor the occasion they're throwing a party. There will be games of chance and tests of skill, and of course it wouldn't be a birthday party without cake.
April 28 marks the two-year anniversary of Guild Wars (original Prophecies campaign) as well as the one-year anniversary of Guild Wars Factions, and what an exciting two years it has been! With three campaigns available and an expansion on the way, Guild Wars has developed into a successful game enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide.
We owe that success to you--our fans. Your loyal support over the last two years has made Guild Wars what it is today, and we'd like to thank you by holding a special birthday celebration in your honor!
The event will take place over the weekend of April 27 to April 29, and will be open to characters from all three campaigns. Come celebrate with us and enjoy a weekend of games, special treats, and birthday surprises!
Join the party here.
K2 Network has announced that they will be adding a Battle Soccer League to MU Online. Sports in MMOs sounds like a fun idea, and takes advantage of the massively multiplayer element of the medium, which begs the question, why aren't in-game sporting leagues more common in MMOs?
IRVINE, Calif. - (April 25, 2007) - MUtizens Prepare! K2 Network, Inc. (www.k2network.net), an online game publisher, today announced that the Battle Soccer League, a unique Global MU Online event, will kick-off on May 1st, 2007. Players' guilds will be able register on the official site www.globalmuonline.com starting this week to participate in the tournament.
To participate in the Battle Soccer League, players must be part of a guild and above level 50. Each team will comprise five players, captained by their Guild Master. All games will take place in the Battle Soccer Arena with the winning team determined by the first to score 100 points. One point is awarded for killing a player, two for a Guild Master and twenty for a goal. The winning team will be awarded with an exclusive Chaos Weapon for each team player, with the runner-up team being rewarded with a Jewel set for each player.
"Soccer is the world's most popular global sport, so we felt it was only fair that it was represented in the world of Global MU Online," said producer Ricardo Mendoza. "The Battle Soccer League is a unique event that will allow Mutizens to compete against rival guilds' to win some great prizes, in a battle to the death."
Read all about it here.
BBC News has run an interesting story about World of Warcraft, discussing virtual trading and gold selling, and the controversy surrounding the issue.
World of Warcraft is a gaming phenomenon, with more than eight million people playing around the world and tens of millions of pounds being earned in revenue each month. But for some this is more business opportunity than leisure pursuit.
The game has its own version of eBay in which players can buy or sell weapons and armour to make their characters more powerful. But just like eBay you need money to buy things - in this case the game's currency is gold.
That gold can be earned by doing jobs like mining or collecting herbs. These jobs aren't difficult but can take a very long time. And that means the game's players are split - between those who can play a lot and generate their own cash, and those who work and don't have the same time to devote to the game.
People who work full time can feel penalised by the system, since it's harder for them to compete. But there is a solution - they can buy their gold for real money.
Read the full article here.
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar official site has updated with more lore, this time focusing on Glân Vraig, the starting location for players entering the Ettenmoors monster play zone on the side of the Free Peoples.
When whispers of a Shadow spreading out of Angmar arose, an Elf named Lainedhel left the refuge of Imladris, also known as Rivendell, and marched into the Ettenmoors with all who would follow him. He sent out a call to the dwarves of Othrikar, the Rangers, and the Eglain, a tribe of Men who dwell in the wastes of the Lone-lands. As the Free Peoples of Eriador gathered beneath the banner of the Elves, they built the first of their fortresses: Glân Vraig.
The Elven citadel of Glân Vraig sits at the southeastern corner of the Ettenmoors, at the edge of a tangled forest, guarding the passage south through the Trollshaws to Rivendell. While not the largest of the fortresses of the Free Peoples, Glân Vraig is certainly the best-defended, making it the last bastion against the tide of Angmar should all else fail.
Read more here.
Staff Writer Donna Desborough takes us into the world of Middle Earth for this review of the just-released MMORPG from Turbine, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.
J.R.R. Tolkien created a world that is loved by millions around the world. Turbine has re-created his world for us to play in. Turbine's rendition of Middle Earth is a much awaited game that has many on the edge of their seats. Is it as good as our imaginations?
Actors, take your places!
In the grand scheme of the story, you the player are not the hero. The heroes from the books are still in place, you don't replace them. The player's place in the overall story is that of a supporting role. You are the Free Peoples. All of the unsung heroes and the supporting troops, that is us, the players.
As you go through the quests the story of individuals and yourself will unfold. Your part in the world may seem small in comparison to others, such as Frodo and Samwise, but your story will be just as important.
Read the entire review here.
SOE has announced that EverQuest II characters on the European PvP servers Darathar, Gorenaire, and Talendor will be merged with the population of Venekor. They have released a detailed FAQ to answer questions related to the merger.
On April 30th, characters on the European PvP servers Darathar, Gorenaire, and Talendor will be merged with the population of Venekor. This merger will complete plans to give our friends in Europe a better PvP experience. For a week following this merger, all characters on all servers (except Japan and Russia) will be eligible for a free character transfer to a new server.
With the EU PvP server merge and week of free character transfers coming at the end of the month there will be a lot of excitement at the possibilities. Not only do our friends in Europe who love PvP play in EQII get a new home and new challenges, but all players have the chance to relocate their characters to a new home and make new friends!
Such changes and options will create a number of related questions, so we have put together this list of things to know, and accompanying FAQ in the effort of answering as many of them up front as we can.
Get all the details here.
The latest edition of State of the Game articles is up on the Guild Wars official site. The topic this week is the fine art of playing a monk.
Regardless of whether you regularly walk the Monk path, observing current Monk practices can prove helpful. Monks struggling to keep their teams alive can improve their methods by seeing what works and what does not. And for those aggressive folk striving to break the efficiency of a backline, nothing helps like knowing thine enemy.
Many balanced teams designed for 8v8 combat currently run a two-Monk backline with Light of Deliverance (LoD) and Restore Condition (RC). The LoD Monk uses Infuse Health to catch spikes and often delves into Protection Prayers for Protective Spirit or Spirit Bond. The RC Monk typically uses Protection skills such as Reversal of Fortune, Shielding Hands, or Shield of Absorption, but also delves into Healing Prayers for raw healing power of Gift of Health. Also, following a tradition from the dawn of Guild Wars time, both Monks bring Hex removal.
The LoD Monk provides powerful healing in an efficient package. Even if the opponent has spread Health degeneration Hexes or Conditions around the team, one five-Energy LoD can keep the party's Health high. Additionally, after an Infuse Health or two, LoD simultaneously self-heals the infuser and heals other low-Health teammates (like the all-important the spike victim). LoD Monks typically round out the Skill Bar with Holy Veil for Hex removal, a Condition removal skill for cleaning up the RC Monk (and for self-cleaning during splits), Energy management and/or defensive Stances, and either a big heal (Heal Other anyone?) or smaller heals (think Dwayna's Kiss and Words of Comfort). LoD's power and versatility have incited some pressure teams to bring Signet of Humility or use a talented Ranger with Distracting Shot just to keep that one skill locked down.
Read more here.
K2 Network has announced in a press release today that they have launched a new official site for their MMO Sword of the New World: Granado Espada. In honor of this occasion, they have also launched a new game trailer.
IRVINE, Calif. - April 24, 2007 - K2 Network, Inc. (www.k2network.net), an online game publisher, today announced that the official website for its massively multi-player online role-playing game, Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, is now live. With beautifully rendered environments, epic battles and a unique multi-character control feature, this refreshing MMORPG promises players a new world of action. The game is due to hit retail later this summer.
With downloadable wallpapers, behind the scenes information, the opportunity to pre-register for the upcoming beta and up-to-the minute forums, gamers across North America and Europe can interact with one another as they await the launch of the game. To celebrate the website's launch, K2 Network has also released a new trailer which can be viewed here: http://www.swordofthenewworld.com/movies.php.
"The official Sword of the New World website is just a sneak peek at what will assuredly become a home-away-from-home for the already growing Sword of the New World community," said Grantley Day, Vice President of Product Development at K2 Network. "The new website gives gamers the opportunity to become more familiar with the game, while also enjoying beta preference, exclusive behind the scenes information, new trailers and more."
Developed by imcGames, Sword of the New World launches this summer with stunning audio and visuals, and deep gameplay thanks to its revolutionary stance system. And, with multiple character control, Sword of the New World is the only MMO to offer players the ability to control three characters simultaneously.
Visit the site here.
Watch the trailer here.