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Age of Conan : Developer Profile - Helene Johnsen

Posted Feb 28, 2008 by Jon Wood

Every month, we profile a different member of the Funcom development team. This month, Helene Johnsen answers our questions. Helene is a Content designer on Age of Conan.

Besides games what other influences brought you into your career? Whether it is books, movies, or artwork everyone has different tastes, tell us about yours.

Helene Johnsen:

I’m a great fan of anything that triggers the imagination. I write stories next to working at Funcom and hope to publish something one day too. The artwork of Luis Royo is absolutely fantastic. I also like the dark atmosphere in Stephen King’s books. Creating websites and interactive content in Adobe Director helped me choose the path of game design. Also Live Action Role-playing (LARP) is something I can recommend for everyone. You are bound to meet a lot of creative people, have fun and explore what it is like to truly be inside the story.

Read it all here.

Lineage 2 : Library Updated

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Lineage II have announced that they have updated The Library: Items and Equipment database, bringing it in line with the most current version of the game.

We're very happy to announce that The Library: Items & Equipment database is now current. This is an ongoing work in progress, as many of the items still need screenshots and there are more items to add to the Miscellaneous categories, but we wanted to share what we have completed thus far. We hope you enjoy the changes!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Oceanic Servers Launched

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Pirates of the Burning Sea has officially launched its Oceanic server.  As an added bonus, players in Australia and New Zealand will have access to the Captain’s Cockatoo, a limited in-game item.

Pirates of the Burning Sea has now launched with a dedicated server for our Australian and New Zealand customers!

If you are in Australia or New Zealand, you are invited to download Pirates of the Burning Sea and participate in a 7-day free trial by visiting this link to the BigPond website.

As an added bonus, our Oceanic customers gain access to a limited edition in-game item, the Captain’s Cockatoo! The Captain’s Cockatoo is available to all new characters created in the first month of the Oceanic server, across all nations! All you have to do is create a character and the Captain’s Cockatoo will be standing on your shoulder to greet you.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Respecs Made Easy

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tabula Rasa have that they will be adding Respec Tokens as Control Point mission rewards to better allow players to respec their characters.

A respec was not given out with version 1.5, but we are still discussing if we're able to give one out to Spies (as they were affected most with the last patch). We are investigating what it will entail to do this, so please stay tuned for updates.

In our next publish (version 1.6), we are making some exciting changes that will allow players to fairly easily respec their characters. We will be removing the current Control Point mission rewards, which are simply Crafting recipes, and replacing them with Respec Tokens that can be purchased and used. One kind of Respec Token will reset your character’s attributes, and a second kind will reset your character’s skills. These will be available to characters of all levels, and will require a reasonably small amount of time attacking and defending control points in order to purchase the Respec Tokens.

We want to encourage players to experiment with different skill, ability, and attribute combinations. We want to make sure everyone will be able to easily adjust to ongoing improvements we make to skills and abilities for all classes, and adding an easy respec mechanism is a great way to do that!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Tell Us Your Story Contest

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Pirates of the Burning Sea have announced the “Tell Us Your Story” contest, where participating players can win 1 of 5 PotBS Pre-Order boxes signed by the Dev Team.

The Boarding Party has devised a great opportunity for Pirates of the Burning Sea fans: the “Tell Us Your Story” contest!

You could even win 1 of 5 Pirates of the Burning Sea Pre-Order boxes signed by the Development Team!

For more information and official rules, click this link!

Many thanks to our Boarding Party members for their hard work, and…

Enjoy, won’t you?

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Prayers to the Hyborian Beta Gods

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Wish you were in the Age of Conan Beta? Think you haven't got a prayer?  Funcom thinks you do.  Funcom is running a contest where those who post the best beta prayers to the Hyborian gods could win access to the AoC beta.  Just remember, Crom doesn't love you. 

Sometimes all you can do is pray to the gods and hope they listen. We at Funcom have heard your prayers to us, but it never hurts to have the gods on your side! Therefore, we have reserved a number of keys to the General Beta of Age of Conan for the best beta prayers to the Hyborian gods.

Anybody can enter this competition. The only thing you have to do is to post in THIS thread and write down your betaprayer to any of the Hyborian gods (Set, Crom, Derketo, Mitra, Ishtar, Erlik... doesn't matter which one you prefer). The funniest/best/most creative/outstanding entries will be rewarded with a key for the General Beta of Age of Conan. This competition ends on March 9th 2008 at 12:00 GMT so make sure you have posted your prayer until that time!

"But what about us veterans that are not yet in the Beta?" some of you might ask. Don't worry. We have put aside a certain number of betakeys for active long-time followers and will handpick those from our community on this forum. So a new round of veterans will be invited outside of this competition.

Read more here.

Vanguard : Interview with Michael Mann

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

There is an interview with Michael Mann on the Vanguard official site, where he gives insights into the upcoming Game Update 4.

What areas within the game have you worked on? What are you currently working on? Can you give us any hints as to what's coming after Game Update 4?
I work on player classes for the most part. I'm mainly responsible for the Dread Knight, Blood Mage, Disciple, Sorcerer, Druid, Necromancer and Ranger. I have also worked on most of the other classes at one time or another and have dabbled in the harvesting system, overland raids, NPC abilities and class quest stuff.

I am currently working on answering questions for this interview and getting the Druid, Dread Knight and Necromancer adjustments, as well as the Shaman patron quest stuff ready to go.

In GU4 you will see quite a large change in the way a Druid functions. The druid will be focused more on using their special spells called Phenomena. These spells have been improved, cost less and are available more often. This will increase the damage a druid does and fix bugs associated with the class. Other things to look for include Dread Knights using 2 handed weapons to fulfill their tanking roles and Necromancers having more focused choices with Lich and Wraith modes.

That is only the stuff that has to do with classes I have worked on, things other people have done include helms, the riftway system and many other great additions that are in store for GU4.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : The Spectral Safari

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced the Spectral Safari, where players of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game can win a Spectral Tiger Mount loot card by participating in tournaments across the globe.

Wondering how you can get your hands on a Spectral Tiger mount from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game? Well, on March 1, players all over the world will get the chance to snare their own glimmering mount in the Spectral Safari! Tournaments will be held in stores across the globe. The format will be Sealed Deck, so it’s a great way for both new and old players alike to get their hands on a Spectral Tiger Loot card. Other prizes include booster packs, exciting promo cards, and a Robotic Homing Chicken Loot card as a door prize! Head over to for more information about the Spectral Safari and other exciting WoW TCG tournaments coming soon to a city near you. You can also join in on the fun now by participating in the Spectral Safari Screenshot Contest. Visit the contest page to learn more.

Read more here.

Requiem : Closed Beta Begins

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Gravity Interactive has announced the start of the closed bata the post-apocalyptic, mature themed MMO, Requiem: Bloodymare.

LOS ANGELES -- Feb. 25, 2008 -- The closed beta for Requiem: Bloodymare starts Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Requiem: Bloodymare portrays a post-apocalyptic world where genetic manipulation and dark magic have resulted in war, famine and truly grotesque monsters.  Players take the role of the genetically-enhanced and magically-adept Temperion soldiers, powerful beings who hold the last best hope for Ethegia.

FilePlanet registered users will have a limited quantity of accounts available at 4 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at

On Friday, Feb. 29, and will also have a number of codes available on a first come, first served basis.

Read more here.

General : 38 Studios Licences BigWorld

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

38 Studios has announced they have come to an agreement with BigWorld and licensed their BigWorld Technology Suite for use in construction their current MMO project.

MAYNARD, MA, February 26, 2007 – 38 Studios, a pioneering entertainment force delivering a broad spectrum of immersive products, today announced the company has entered into an agreement with BigWorld to license its BigWorld Technology Suite. The licensed engine will provide 38 Studios with the tools and technologies to support an unparalleled OEE™, (Online Entertainment Experience), for its upcoming massively multiplayer online game.

"BigWorld provides the most proven, robust and technically solid game engine and toolset available, while still allowing us to be flexible and tailor the technology specifically to our game," said Jon Laff, 38 Studios' Chief Technology Officer.

Led by the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane and the enthralling storytelling of R. A. Salvatore, 38 Studios is developing an original IP – a world made up of fantastical elements, settings, characters, creatures, rules, and experiences. The IP will encompass multiple media forms including the online game experience that is currently scheduled for release in late 2010.

"38 Studios is in a unique position in the MMOG market with an exciting project underway," said Gavin Longhurst, Vice President of Business Development at BigWorld. "Our engine and toolset is very flexible, and allows them to use the technology in a very specific way that is ideal for long-term projects such as this. We are thrilled to be working with such a professional and talented group of game developers."

President and CEO of 38 Studios, Brett Close added, "In our current development phase, 38 Studios is focused on prototyping the exceptional quality of our signature Online Entertainment Experience. This process can only come from tools and technology designed to deliver flexibility, efficiency, performance, and processing power. By licensing the BigWorld Technology Suite, we are empowered as developers to exceed the expectations of gamers, and ultimately achieve cross-media market penetration based on a completely original IP."

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : GDC Screenshots

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks from Earthrise were kind enough to provide us with these two new screenshots from their post-apocalyptic MMORPG.


Check out both here.

Earthrise: First Impact : GDC First Look Interview

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

Managing Editor Jon Wood recently spoke with the guys from Masthead Studios, the company developing the post-apocalyptic MMORPG Earthrise. In the interview, they talk about advancement, setting, PvP and more!


The Setting

Earthrise is an appropriate title, as the game takes place at a time when the world was nearly wiped out and the few remnants of humanity that still exist either exist in a “utopian” society or live in a and work for a rebel distopia.

As the Masthead guys were explaining the game to me, they described it as a kind of post-apocalyptic world, but were careful to point out that while everyone, upon hearing post-apocalyptic, thinks of Mad Max. That’s a comparison that the guys tell me is inaccurate. While this game still takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, George and Nikolay said that we should think more of the movie Minority Report than Mad Max.

“The game,” they said, “just isn’t that dark.” Instead, the team is trying to present a setting that isn’t artificially dark or light, instead the Belgium-based team is focusing on a more realistic look. “People are tired of stylization,” said George. “We’re trying to make it as realistic as possible.”


Read it all here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : UI Change Details

Posted Feb 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has posted a devlog detailing upcoming changes to the user interface in Pirates of the Burning Sea.  Changes include the addition of chat bubbles, anti spam tools, improved social UI, and more.

The UI strike team I told y’all about in my last devlog is nearing the end of their first month together. We’ve been really busy and have lots of fancy new stuff to show off in the 1.2 patch you’ll be downloading soon. Read on! (Also, click on the thumbnails to see regular-sized versions of the pictures.)

One of the areas we were most excited to start fixing up was the chat system. We know you’ve been struggling with its… idiosyncrasies… since launch, so it was our first priority. We still have a few more ideas for the future, but the improvements in the upcoming patch are really awesome:

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Free Character Moves

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that they are offering free character moves to selected servers.

We will be offering free character moves from select high population realms to low population realms beginning February 26, at 12:00PM PST.

For more information on what realms are eligible for these free moves and exact dates please visit the announcement post by clicking here.

In the event that a realm meets our transfer goals before the scheduled end date, the transfers to that realm will be disabled. We highly recommend that if you are planning to transfer that you do so at your earliest convenience. Characters will not be eligible for these free moves once the transfers have been closed.

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : Kylin Armor Event

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at IGG have announced the existence of a new armor set to celebrate the anniversary of Tales of Pirates.

Dear all, you must be familiar with the Black Dragon Equipments now, but do you know? There are even stronger equipments out there—such as the Kylin Set! And as the anniversary of TOP is approaching, we think it is time to reveal it!

Though the releasing of the Kylin Set will be highly restricted, you will have several ways to obtain one, and the first ones will be in the Item Mall and the Auction Center!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Devlog - Introducing Bey Retreat

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has published a new devlog which introduces players to Bey's Retreat, a near impenetrable fortress used by the Corsairs of the Main, and a large group mission in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Welcome to Bey’s Retreat

Bey’s Retreat is the unapproachable stronghold to which the Corsairs of the Main escape when the national navies and Brethren pirates chase them down. It is a series of powerful fortresses built into a small island near Caracas, watched over by the most ruthless and dangerous Corsairs in the Caribbean. The Spanish have attacked it. The Brethren of the Coast have laid siege to it. But the defenses of Bey’s Retreat and the massive Corsair fleet that protects it have repelled every incursion.

As players prepare to enter Bey’s Retreat, those defenses have just shattered yet another major attack and the Corsairs of the Main are in pursuit of their routed enemies, leaving the fortresses defended by a minimal force. It could be years before another opportunity like this one presents itself, but even so, the Corsair bastion is hardly helpless. The Corsair fleet’s most dangerous captain still patrols the local waters and under the command of Aga Irena Ballesteros, the land-based defenses can easily reduce even a powerful ship to splinters.

Read more here.

Earthrise: First Impact : The Faction Question

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Question of the week has been answered in the official Earthrise Forums.  This week's answer informs players of how one goes about gaining (and losing) their faction affiliation.

How will the player choose his/her faction? Will we be birthed to a faction of our choosing (i.e. at character creation) or will the player be able to choose at a later time. Will we be able to go turncoat?
This week we will answer Carnun's question regarding Faction affiliation for new players. It's a very interesting question because unlike other games on the market, choice of affiliation is not forced on the player from the very beginning of the game. Players can change their affiliation from Continoma and Noir at any time as long as it serves their needs and they can live up with the consequences of such betrayal.

When a new player leaves the crystomatic databanks containing his DNA and saved memories and sets his foot on the island of Enterra, he has no affiliation with any faction. Despite being utopian but ultimately corrupted society, the Continoma-ruled city of Sal Vitas believes that citizenship should be a natural choice for its new citizens. At this point players can make a choice - accept to join Continoma and reap the benefits of its new and bold society - with security and economic opportunities abound - or directly walk away into the wild and risky locations where they can meet with the Noir rebels, either NPCs or Noir characters who might embrace and protect them (unlike Continoma, Noir protection will depend slightly less on NPCs and more on the player's collaborative actions). While such choice will be very risky for newly created characters that have yet to hone their skills, they can do it - and if they pull it off, such actions might even be recognized later on. This allows new players who have yet to taste the world of Enterra make the natural choice of serving Continoma and be allowed to develop with acceptable level of security and support, while experienced players who enjoy challenges can immediately affiliate with Noir early on.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Bob and Nob

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Bob and Nob, the pair of Hobbits employed at the Prancing Pony.

The Prancing Pony Inn in Bree is run by the perpetually absent-minded and harried Barliman Butterbur, a good and honest sort but prone to forgetting which way is up. As a result, Butterbur relies heavily upon his two hobbit assistants, Bob and Nob.

Nob spends most of his time at the Pony in the kitchen, serving guests, or running errands for old Butterbur, while Bob, as well as working in the kitchen, tends the Pony’s stables. Bob is also a family-hobbit and has to keep a constant eye out for his precocious daughter, Lalia. Barliman chides them both constantly, calling them woolly-pated slowcoaches, but it is a friendly sort of scolding. All three know that the Pony would cease to function without their constant minding to the details that slip by Barliman.

Read more here.

D&D Online : The Rebirth of Stormreach

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The citizens of Stormreach will be celebrating the the rebirth of Stormreach on Sunday March 2nd, as part of Dungeons & Dragons Online's anniversary festivities.

Greetings Citizens of Stormreach!

I am pleased to announce there will be a festive gathering, held to honor the anniversary of our fair city of Stormreach!

The Coin Lords wish to join with all citizens to celebrate and give thanks to the Dragonmarked Houses and Kingdom of Galifar. For through their gifts, in the year 802 of the Galifar Calendar, the rebirth of Stormreach from a mere outpost in the wilderness to a thriving city was made possible. Stormreach has seen many changes, and faced many dangers, but our city still stands, and our citizens enjoy a life of prosperity! We invite all citizens to attend a gathering to honor our beloved city on Sul, the second day of Therendor (Sunday, March 2nd) in the Marketplace.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : 5 Million Units Sold

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

NCsoft and ArenaNet have announced that Guild Wars sales have topped five million in the North American, Asian, and European markets.

Bellevue, WA. February 26, 2008—NCsoft® and ArenaNet® have announced that the Guild Wars® franchise of online roleplaying games has surpassed five million units sold in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Published by NCsoft and developed by ArenaNet, the Guild Wars franchise consists of the original Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions®, Guild Wars Nightfall®, and the recently released expansion, Guild Wars: Eye of the NorthTM. The Guild Wars games have been commercial and critical successes since the release of the original campaign in April of 2005. Its award-winning content and innovative subscription-free business model have created a large and loyal following that is highly anticipating Guild Wars 2TM.

"Guild Wars is a proven success and has set a new standard for online RPG games with its unique business model and superior playability," said NCsoft CEO Taek Jin Kim. "ArenaNet is dedicated to creating games that expand the market and provide great new content to our loyal player base. This success has built a great foundation from which the next generation of Guild Wars games will grow."

Read more here.

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