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Warhammer Online : The Black Orc and The Ironbraker

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

The good folks over at Mythic's Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning have released details on two tank classes that will appear in the upcoming game. The first is a class from the Greenskin race (Gobins and Orcs). The Black Orc. The second, from the race of Dwarves, are the Ironbreakers:

The Black Orc - Greenskin Tank Class

The Black Orc is a huge, hulking brawler who fights dirty and operates on the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense! Heavily armed with choppa and shield, he can face any foe unshaken.

The Black Orc Specialty:

  • Brawler
  • Attacks with any and all tools available: fists, feet, elbows, weapons, and any other spiky bits at his disposal
  • Attacks are designed to jar, disorient, or otherwise disable the enemy; these conditions leave the enemy vulnerable to even more damage

Playing as a Black Orc:

  • Combat revolves upon engaging one enemy at a time
  • As a front line fighter, he is well-equipped to withstand enemy attacks
  • His greatest strength is the ability to disable his primary opponent
  • Jarring blows and unexpected attacks exploit openings and reduce enemies' ability to fight back

Fighting Black Orcs:

  • Know your enemy and his abilities; selective engagement is key
  • Counter his attacks to keep him from reaching the potential of his deadly power
  • Don't even try to get around him; maneuver to break his chain of attacks and decrease his performance

The Black Orc Look:

  • Fully armored in heavy armor (with lots of spikes)
  • Large very heavy shields (also with lots of spikes)
  • Choppas and great choppas (with spiky bits stuck on)
[ expand article ]

General : ZBoard Fang Review

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Dana Massey

Jon Wood reviews the ZBoard Fang today here on MMORPG.com. The board, not entirely intended for MMORPGs, is reviewed in a slightly different way. We split the Game Play score into two categories: MMORPG and FPS (which it was intended for).

Today, I am reviewing the Fang Gamepad from ZBoard. The functionality is similar to that of their MERC Gaming Keyboard, but built as a peripheral for those of us who don’t want to get rid of our trusty keyboards, but who might still want an enhanced gaming experience.

The Gamepad itself retails for about $34.99. Just plug it into a USB port, install the software and you’re ready to go. Next up on my to-do list was to decide which games I was going to use to try this thing out. Obviously, I had to try it out with an MMORPG, and for that, I chose EverQuest II. I did want to get a second perspective on the gamepad though, so I thought I’d go with my current favorite in the world of First Person Shooters, Battlefield 2. I’ll give separate Play Quality reviews for each game, as the experience does differ slightly.

You can read the review here.

EverQuest II : John Smedley Blog

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

Below, you will find an excerpt from John Smedley's blog over at Station Blog. You can read the entire entry if you follow the link below:

 

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. I’m going to try and do this more often, but I’ve been traveling quite a bit.

I just got back from the China Joy show in Shanghai. That show is very, very cool. The noise from the booths is deafening. You will literally see two companies with full-on bands on stages 30 feet from one another, both going at a volume that will blow out your eardrums. All of this is taking place in one of the most amazing cities on this planet — Shanghai. Imagine taking the Manhattan skyline and expanding it to the square mileage of Los Angeles and it’s a good start. It’s pretty hot there this time of year — it felt like what the surface of Venus must feel like — but it didn’t stop the masses from visiting this show. I’ve never seen more people packed into a convention in my life.

As an American, it really is quite a sight to see how big online gaming is in the Asian market. The closest comparison is probably E3 for online games - with Chinese style. There were three very large exhibit halls filled with online games from all over the world.

We were there showing a new game we’re developing in our Taiwanese studio, SOGA. We’re not quite ready to announce it just yet, but let’s just say there’s a whole lot of Kung Fu fighting going on in it! I played the latest rev when we visited the SOGA team in Taipei after China Joy, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Read it all, here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Now Hiring

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

Dark Age of Camelot is hiring again in their Customer Service Department. Why? Because they have recently promoted some of their current reps into the world of development, and need to fill those positions:

 

Man, they just had ANOTHER round of promotions downstairs, as the best and most experienced people move up to Development Land. So we're hiring! As I said the last time, this is the best way to get your foot in the door. And frankly, if you're actually a customer service professional who doesn't want to be a designer someday? You'd have job security for LIFE. Go, apply: http://www.mythicentertainment.com/jobs/csreps7-30-04.html

For more on DAoC click here

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Party at PAX

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

Flying Lab Software is having a party at the Penny Arcade Expo where they plan to announce the release date for their game, Pirates of the Burning Sea. They promise that and more for attendees:

 

Announcing the PotBS PAX Party, and More!

Flying Lab Software will be hosting an exclusive party to celebrate their Pirates of the Burning Sea MMORPG during PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo, on Friday, August 25th in Bellevue, Washington. Attendees will be able to play the game, have some grog, participate in a pirate cotume contest, and enjoy other piratical activities.

During the party, Flying Lab will also announce the release date for Pirates of the Burning Sea and demonstrate the latest features. Invitations to this exclusive event will be distributed through online contests and on the PAX show floor at the Flying Lab booth the day of the party.

Our contests offer something for everyone, giving our fans the chance to see themselves transformed into an actual in-game personality, write a short story for inclusion in one of a thousand missions, or find their artistic masterpiece adorning the walls of the many cities, towns, and villages of the Pirates of the Burning Sea game world!

If you would like to score an invitation to the Flying Lab Pirates of the Burning Sea Party at PAX, you are encouraged to visit this link for more information!

For more on PotBS click here.

General : What Goes Into an MMO

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Dana Massey

Michael Hampden has worked on Horizons, Wish and Hero's Journey. In that time, the designer/writer learned a few things and brings them to you here today in this look at how MMORPGs are put together. Since that time, Michael has moved to EI Interactive, the new owners of Horizons, and it should be noted that this article was authored prior to his employment there.

We’ve all played MMOs (at least I should hope you have – no idea why you’d be reading the site if you hadn’t!), but have you ever wondered just what goes into the tremendous process that is creating an MMO?

Thousands upon thousands of man hours are spent during the development. It is the merger of the wonderful right-brained “nothing is impossible” creativity of talented artists, to the ingenuity and hard work of the “well we can do that, but it’ll be hard” left-brained programmers. Design is there somewhere in the middle, not to mention support staff, producers, and a whole host of other roles.

So how does this all come together? How do these games get shipped?

You can read more here.

D&D Online : The Litany of the Dead Part One

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach will soon be releasing "The Litany of the Dead Part One" onto their live servers. As a teaser, they have released a summary of some of the various and sundry adventures that await players. The list was too long to publish here, so follow the link below to read it all.

 

The Litany of the Dead Part One will be released to live servers this August. Find out what horrors await adventurers in The Necropolis.

Necropolis (CR 5-6)

Several centuries ago, the Blood of Vol splintered, and a group of cultists formed an off-shoot that has, until now, remained a mystery. The abbot serving as the leader of this group had great aspirations and sought to usurp Vol's place and become a godlike being himself. In order to preserve his fragile existence through the ages, he invoked dark rituals to become an immortal lich. His goal was to create a powerful artifact, a "Litany of the Dead" that would herald a mythic age when the abbot would rule. To do this he enlisted the aid of his three most-faithful servants -- the vampires he called his Black Prophets.

Each vampire was tasked with the creation of a part of the Litany. Each chapter contained the magic necessary for the Abbot's ascension. Until the chapters are finished, he told them, you must remain locked away. But now, the first chapter (the "Heretical Path") is complete and the Black Prophet known as Brother Cuore is free to roam the night once more.

The Silver Flame and the Emerald Claw both have a keen interest in these events. While the groups are openly hostile to one another, a truce was called to fight the threat that the Black Abbot poses. To this end, they seek to capture the Litany and use it against the lich when his mausoleum becomes unlocked.

Tomb of the Crimson Heart

Brother Cuore was a powerful alchemist in life and used these chambers to keep prisoners and subjects for his experiments. The Silver Flame attempted to storm the tomb and destroy Cuore's guardians but they were taken as prisoner... there's a slim chance that they're still alive. Followers of Cuore and the Black Abbot are here patrolling the tomb and "caring" for the prisoners. Ghouls and ghasts haunt the dark corridors, on the prowl for would-be escapees.

Tomb of the Sanguine Heart

The Necropolis is old and decrepit and requires constant upkeep. The lich's servants employ mindless zombies for the task and the Sanguine Heart serves as a repository and "breeding ground" for this kind of cheap labor.

Read it all here.

DarkSpace : New Beta Client

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

A major update has been made to the Beta client for the MMORPG, DarkSpace. The changes are large enough that any older versions of the Beta client will not function and will need to be uninstalled:

 

The DarkSpace Staff would like to inform everyone about some major updates and changes to the DarkSpace Beta client.

We have recently begun a complete overhaul to the entire GameCQ client. This is the user interface that deals with client logins, the chat interface, displaying game servers and most importantly, how the game itself is updated.

Due to these changes, any older versions of the DarkSpace Beta client will no longer work, and we recommend completely uninstalling any such versions, and downloading the new GameCQ Beta interface from the link provided below

Important changes to the chat interface include the chat itself being moved to use its own window, popup message support (for friend chat, private messages, and server announcements when the chat interface is minimized), friendlier chat alert tones and an increase in the default chat buffer settings (previous settings would only store around 100 lines of text in the onscreen buffer, the new settings allow for several thousand).

The update system has been improved and optimized to allow for future support of server specific game mods, as well as potentially providing a reliable and secure distribution/update system for other (third party) online games.

For the DarkSpace Game itself, we are working on changing the engine netcode from pure TCP/IP protocol, to using a combined UDP/TCP system. The biggest benefit from such a change should be a major reduction in percieved 'lag' on the client side. Along with other serverside thread handling optimizations, these changes should provide a much smoother gameplay experience for all of our users.

Although the current beta version is still a little unstable as many of the changes are as yet unfinished, we invite everyone to take a look at our progress, and to help us out by providing feedback and assistance in our bug testing.

We would also like testers to take a look at the changes between the Beta and the current 1.483 Release version, and provide honest feedback and opinions on the changes, as we are well aware that an established userbase can sometimes end up with rosey tinted spectacles.

For more on DarkSpace click here.

Guild Wars : Online Store Open

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

ArenaNet and NCsoft have announed that their new online store is now open. This allows players to download additional character slots, as well as Factions and Guild Wars:

 

Guild Wars Online Store Goes Live In-Game Interface and Digital Distribution Allows Players to Purchase, Download and Play

Guild Wars Games and Accessories Immediately
 

August 3, 2006 (BELLEVUE, WA) – For the millions of gamers worldwide enraptured by the award-winning online roleplaying game, equipping themselves with Guild Wars® games and accessories has never been easier. Announced today by ArenaNet®, developer of the wildly popular Guild Wars franchise, and NCsoft® Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, the Guild Wars online store is now open for business.

Players can now download Guild Wars games and accessories from right inside the game, and the digital distribution will enable this content to be used immediately, without the need for downloads or CD installation. The store is initially selling Guild Wars and Guild Wars Factions™ games, as well as additional character slots, the item most-requested by Guild Wars players, which can now be purchased and immediately used on existing player accounts.

“Guild Wars and Guild Wars Factions are the first NCsoft games to be integrated into PlayNC, the NCsoft online store, through a user-friendly in-game purchase option,” said Dorothy Ferguson, VP of sales and marketing for NCsoft North America. “Instant access to purchases gives gamers the stuff they want, without a wait, wrapped in a great shopping experience inside the game.”

Guild Wars, an instant bestseller worldwide upon its release in April 2005, and Guild Wars Factions, the number one game in both North America and Europe earlier this year, are global online roleplaying games. Guild Wars Nightfall, coming later this year, will continue this great tradition. These games invite players to immerse themselves in an epic storylines centered in vibrant fantasy settings, build personalized characters, and find grand adventures in missions and quests.

For more on Guild Wars click here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Alpha Begins

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Jon Wood

Turbine, the company responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, has announced that they have entered the alpha phase of their game's development.  

MMORPG.com is currently running a contest giving away 200 beta accounts for the game. Learn more here.

 

THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™: SHADOWS OF ANGMAR™ REACHES ALPHA

Over 125,000 Players Registered for Upcoming Beta Program

WESTWOOD, MA – AUGUST 3, 2006 – Turbine, Inc. announced today that the highly-anticipated The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ has entered the alpha phase of development. The first and only massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings Online™ will allow players to explore Middle-earth™, the most famous fantasy world of all time. The company also announced that over 125,000 fans have already signed up for the Beta Program.

“Turbine is committed to delivering the most immersive and accurate online Tolkien experience possible and today is a major milestone as we realize our vision for this mysterious and exciting world,” said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “With over 125,000 fans already signed up for the Beta Program we are on pace to be one of the largest beta communities in the industry.”

Since announcing the start of sign-ups for the Beta Program at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May, over 125,000 people have already registered. In response to increasing demand, Turbine is expanding the Beta Program to let more players participate. Turbine will be inviting tens of thousands of people into the Beta Program over the coming months. Players who wish to be invited should sign-up for a chance to be selected for the Beta Program by visiting http://www.lotro.com/betasignup.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar invites players to join in an epic adventure -- exploring a massive online world while defending the lands of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron. Players of all levels will explore incredibly detailed realms and join familiar characters in an evolving and persistent re-creation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved world. They will face the dangers Frodo and the Fellowship left behind when they began their epic journey to destroy the One Ring. Gamers can adventure solo or choose from thousands of players online to forge their own fellowships, as they face the hideous monsters and minions of evil, fight epic battles to defend Middle-earth, and immerse themselves in the greatest adventure of our time.

For more on LOTRO click here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Our Beta Giveaway!

Posted Aug 03, 2006 by Craig McGregor

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with Turbine Entertainment to bring you a great new contest!  From now until September 1, 2006 at 9PM we will be taking entries into our new Lord of the Rings Online Beta Giveaway!

All you have to do to enter the contest is have an activated account at MMORPG.com and complete our simply entry form.  As with all of our contests, the more days you login to MMORPG.com during the contest, the more chances you have at winning! (see official rules for details).

Ready to enter?  Click here!

Good luck to you all!

RF Online : Community Lunch - Round Up

Posted Aug 02, 2006 by Jon Wood

RF Online has posted a Round Up of a recent Community Lunch that saw developers from Codemasters Online, folks from Alchemic Dream, Wizards of the Coast and community members come together for a meal.

You can read the entire roundup by following the link below:

 

COG's Community Lunch - Round Up

Friday afternoon saw a congregation of Codemasters Online Gaming staff, guys from Alchemic Dream, representatives from Wizards of the Coast and members of the community meet up for lunch. The real-life event took place at the Pitcher and Piano in Birmingham, UK on a very nice summer's day. Needless to say the drinks flowed well in an effort to quench those thirsts! Sadly, not everyone who had confirmed was able to make it, however there was still a good turn out and we certainly made it worth their while.

Read it all, here.

EverQuest : Bi-Weekly Q&A #7

Posted Aug 02, 2006 by Dana Massey

Travis McGeathy, the Lead Designer of EverQuest, responds to five more questions as part of our bi-weekly Wednesday ritual.

MMORPG.com: What’s happening with the community team? Since the launch of EQ, the number of live GM events went up, went down… are there spontaneous events anymore?

Travis McGeathy: The Community Team is always working on new and exciting in-game activities. You can find examples and announcements of events being run in-game under the Event Gazette. The Guide Program assists our team in making sure that all servers see all different types of events being run. Keep an eye out for our next festival - the Festival of Might.

MMORPG.com: How are your plans coming along for the cultural system? Can you share more with us at this time?

Travis McGeathy: Ngreth is working on drop rate adjustments for the more problematic pieces with a goal of wrapping that up by the time the next expansion launches in September.

You can read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Gathering: Lunch of the Rings

Posted Aug 02, 2006 by Jon Wood

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar reminds readers that they are holding a LOTRO Gathering: Lunch of the Rings II in Providence, Rhode Island on August the 5th:

 

Don't forget! This Saturday, August 5th is The Lord of the Rings Online Gathering: Lunch of the Rings II in Providence, Rhode Island. Join the LOTRO community and development team members for food, fun, and face time! Turbine will be onhand with a playable version of LOTRO and eligible attendees will receive guaranteed spots in our Beta Program. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit the information thread on our forums. Big thanks to LOTROSource, TenTonHammer, nVidia, and community member Light of Arnor as well as the Moriquendi for all their hard work and sponsorship!

For more on LOTRO, click here.

EVE Online : CCG Tournament

Posted Aug 02, 2006 by Jon Wood

As reported earlier on MMORPG.com, EVE Online will debut their card game, The Second Genesis at GenCon Indy. Today, they announced that the very same Con will also be the site of the first CCG Tournament:

 

EVE CCG to be released at GenCon Indy

CCP will hold the official EVE: The Second Genesis CCG launch at GenCon Indianapolis from 10 to 13 August. Gencon attendees will have the opportunity to chat with Devs from the CCG and online game, participate in demonstrations of both games, visit the GenCon EVE Store and compete in the first official EVE CCG tournament with over $10,000 in prizes.

CCP will have a booth located in the exhibition hall (2001 in the south east corner) and a large number of tables in the tournament hall.

For more on EVE Online, click here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Chapter 2: The Talus Incident

Posted Aug 02, 2006 by Jon Wood

Star Wars Galaxies has published the Notes for Chapter 2: The Talus Incident. The notes for this publish are rather extensive. Click the link below to read it all!

 

"Chapter 2: The Talus Incident"

Publish Notes, August 1st

Major Features

Chapter 2 has a lot of exciting new features! Read this section to learn about:

  • New Quests: "The Talus Incident"
  • Our Chapter 2 gift to you
  • Auto-Aim Targeting
  • Jedi Expertise
  • Bounty Hunter Expertise
  • New PvP static Galactic Civil War bases
  • New Player Character appearances

"The Talus Incident": Chapter 2 brings us a new quest series building off of Chapter 1's exciting quest series, "The Corellian Captives".

As the Galactic Civil War boils over in the city of Restuss, CorSec Officer Dathnaeya Loessin can no longer stay out of the conflict! As the Imperials tighten their grip on the galaxy and the Rebellion grows in power, she must make a decision and join one side or the other!

Having been a great help in finding The Corellian Captives, she turns to you for answers! You must investigate military contractors and try to uncover the truth about the Empire and the Rebellion for CorSec! What path will you follow?
Chapter Gift: Our gift to you this chapter is a new type of short-duration, military grade buff that will heal your wounds in combat as you take damage. This gift can also be earned as a reward from the static Galactic Civil War bases that are also part of Chapter 2, so if you would like to earn more, you can by capturing an enemy base! For more information on Chapter Gifts, click here.

Read it all here.

ArchLord : Interview with Dae Hwan Kim

Posted Aug 01, 2006 by Dana Massey

Dae Hwan Kim is the Head of the ArchLord design team and today he drops in to answer a slew of questions from our own Garrett Fuller.

MMORPG.com: How was the world of Chantra conceived? Can you tell us a little more about the rich mythos in the game?

Dae Hwan Kim: There was once a great magician who in his pursuit of magical truth made 5 Archons with help from others. These five archons granted him great power, however the spirits came to hate the power he had and so banished him to Chantra.

On Chantra the five archons exhibited even greater power than had previously been seen, as he began to manipulate that power the other inhabitants of Chantra came to both fear and worship him; so he became known as ArchLord. The mage soon grew weary of Chantra and decided to use the power of the archons to get him back to his former home. However, despite his greatness, he was unable to properly control the power of the archons and disappeared in an explosion of magical energy that spread the archons far and wide over the world of Chantra.

Thousands of years passed and the archons started to fade from memory of the common man. They were instead known only to an elite few, those who guarded them from those that wished to use their power for evil. Our heroes were often called upon to unite and fight off those that would seek to use the power of the archons for evil. Yet over time, the archons influence took hold of the great heroes and they turned on each other to try and acquire the power of the archons. The most brutal battle in this was the 100 days war, that saw Xian the Human hero pit an army against his former friend Ugrdrasil.

This great war signaled that once again the archons would be known by all. From that point forward the world saw many head out on the journey to acquire the archons and with them the power of the ArchLord.

You can read more here.

General : Post-E3: "Smaller is Better"

Posted Aug 01, 2006 by Dana Massey

When the axe fell on E3, we wanted to know what this meant for us, developers and fans. In search of that answer, we spoke to AGC Excutive Director Christopher Sherman.

The king of all gaming shows met a surprising end this week. E3’s passing has already inspired a number of touching pieces. This isn’t one of them. The move was the inevitable result of booth-bloat – spending millions for an unquantifiable return - and, with any luck, signals a new era of specialized gaming conferences.

The question everyone in this field faces today is where to spend our time, energy and money in the future. There are a dozen game conferences other than E3, but will any of them become the one-stop shopping of video game conferences?

“Smaller is better,” says Christopher Sherman, the Executive Director of the Austin Game Conference, which has been mentioned in some circles as a possible successor to E3. “We don’t aspire to be a 60,000 person event.”

The whole article is available here.

ArchLord : Pre-Orders Now Available

Posted Aug 01, 2006 by Jon Wood

ArchLord pre-orders are now available from GameStop. Preorders come with an exclusive in-game item, art and a soundtrack CD:

 

ArchLord pre-order packs are now available to pre-order from GameStop(tm)

Hail,

Yes, you did indeed read that right. ArchLord pre-order packs are available to pre-order from GameStop™ and EB Games™. So head on over to GameStop™ by clicking here http://www.ebgames.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=646586 and be one of the first to pre-order ArchLord. As a reward for your early interest you will find that your pack contains a number of cool items; a key to obtain one of four exclusive in game items, stickers, cool art postcards and an exclusive soundtrack CD.

Fellow Europeans, do not worry; we are finalising details of the European pre-order campaign as we speak.

I hope to hear lots of you have pre-ordered, so go forth and order!

Thanks,

Mr.Ktat

For more on ArchLord click here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Oh a-Raiding We Will Go

Posted Aug 01, 2006 by Jon Wood

Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar have released a new Developer Diary from Jared "Amlug" Hall-Dugas. The title of the Diary is "Oh a-Raiding We Will Go!" The Diary is too long to print in its entirety here, but if you follow the link below you can get it all.

 

We've done it! We've discovered the formula for fun: [(x * 2.342) + (y * 2) + z4] / 24 = FUN!

Um, what? (See? You should have paid more attention in algebra class&I'll come back to this in a moment.)

Raids...

Yes, we mean raids. The same raids that weren't originally planned for our game (see "Friends Don't Let Friends Tank Balrogs"). This isn't so much a philosophical change in our game, but rather an additional gameplay dynamic we have decided to include. For some members of our community, this means much rejoicing, but for others, there's a bit more concern, even fear. I'm here to give you a little more information about our raid plans to help alleviate some of those fears.

Read it all here.

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