SOE has announced that the 2008 SOE Fan Faire will happen at the Las Vegas Hilton, from August 14th to 17th.
If you've never been to an SOE Fan Faire before, you've been missing out! Fan Faire is a great place for SOE gamers to mix and mingle with each other and meet some of the faces behind their favorite SOE games. Here's just a taste of some of the great stuff we're planning:
And that's just the beginning! No matter which SOE game you like to play, Fan Faire will be a blast! Even if you're not an SOE gamer, we encourage you to join us and bring your friends!
- In-game tournaments
- Live, game-themed tournaments and quests
- A costume contest
- Lots of social activities, including a Kickoff Reception, a Grand Banquet and a VIP Party with live entertainment
- Sneak peaks at SOE titles currently in development
- The 2nd Annual Community Address from SOE President John Smedley
- Developer forums and roundtables
Read more here.
Funcom has announced that the population of Hyboria will grow by 50,000 starting May first as that is the date that the open beta for Age of Conan will begin.
50.000 aspiring barbarians may enter Hyboria on May 1st 2008.
Funcom, Eidos and IGN are proud to announce that Open Beta for Age of Conan will start on May 1. The Open Beta will be hosted exclusively by IGN’s popular game download site, FilePlanet.com, as well as being offered through partner IGN sites such as Gamespy.com, Tentonhammer.com and Warcry.com. The application pages at FilePlanet.com are now open for registrations, and gamers from across the world can sign up. As 50.000 gamers prepare their Hyborian assault, rivers of blood are about to flow, and it’s exclusively available through FilePlanet and IGN partner sites.
Read more here.
Recently, the MMORPG.com team had a chance to check out some of what's coming in Book 13's new area Forochel. In this feature, we present images of some of the new monsters that players will face.
Recently, the MMORPG.com team had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the upcoming Book 13. This new free content update will introduce players to a new (and frozen) area known as Forochel.
Forochel itself is a cold and inhospitable place where even the elements themselves can sap a character’s morale. As if the biting cold and storms were not enough, Keith Cross managed to grab a few screenshots of some of the new monsters that will threaten characters as they move through this frigid area.
Check it out here.
Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment has announced the formation of a new video game publishing studio, Firesky. This new studio will publish Cheyenne's flagship title Stargate Worlds.
MESA, Ariz. – April 17, 2008 – FireSky, a new video game publisher dedicated to improving how gamers play and interact online, announced today that it would publish Stargate Worlds, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) based on MGM’s award-winning Stargate franchise. FireSky will also publish other unannounced titles as it paves the way for SNAP games.
FireSky is pioneering the development and publishing of games for Social Networks At Play™ (SNAPs), a unified theory of online gaming that combines social interaction, economies and game play across a variety of titles. The FireSky team calls this evolution “Project: Ascension.” This project – currently under wraps – will bring gamers together in new and unprecedented ways.
“We don’t intend to be another garden-variety games publisher,” said FireSky CEO Tim Jenson. “We are focused on publishing high quality social gaming experiences online. As the industry moves online, more and more people will be turning to games as a way to spend time with friends. With a few notable exceptions, game developers and publishers haven’t done a great job of marrying quality games with social experiences. Project: Ascension and SNAP games will change that dynamic forever.”
FireSky Senior Vice President of Product Development, Rod Nakamoto, has launched more than 80 titles over his 25-year career in game development. Mr. Nakamoto leads FireSky’s four internal development studios and oversees the progress on Project: Ascension.
“There is a degree of pressure to play a title after the fun factor has gone, simply because the investment is too great,” explained Mr. Nakamoto. “Gamers who invest time building characters, making friends and gathering resources typically have no ability to transfer this investment to a new experience. We’re working on a new set of ideals that will push online gaming past these barriers and into an era of portability.”
Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations Joe Ybarra, a 25-year veteran of the video game industry and one of the founding members of Electronic Arts, is heading up FireSky’s publishing operations. Mr. Ybarra has extensive experience publishing products worldwide, handling licensed material and managing business development with third-party developers.
“From a business perspective, publishing is the logical next step for FireSky,” said Mr. Ybarra. “We’ve got the chops to do it and we’re assembling a great team here in the desert. I can’t wait to get our flagship up and running to show off our operation.”
FireSky, a subsidiary of Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, currently has four studios working on a variety of interactive titles.
“It’s almost time for us to lift the veil and show the world some of the unique projects we’re working on in addition to Stargate Worlds,” said Mr. Jenson. “Our studios are filled with talented game designers, world builders and engineers and we’ll be announcing several products over the course of the summer and fall that will lay the foundation for SNAP games and Project: Ascension. We have projects that span a variety of game genres as well as proven and emerging business models.”
The good folks over at Lineage II have provided us with this dev diary concerning the pet system enhancements that are coming with the Hellbound expansion due later this month.
Lineage II players absolutely love their pets. They are useful companions in the lands of Aden, able to conduct a varied series of attacks, use special skills, and more, all in aid of the player. In addition, pets can go through a series of evolutions, earning new abilities and becoming much more powerful with each step. Pets only have a few downsides—they lose some experience upon death and must consume a quantity of food before they grow hungry and ineffective, but overall to players they are a boon.
Since Chronicle 2 we've been slowly improving the pet system, added a new type of pet here, a new layer of evolution there. With the release of Hellbound we've expanded the pet system even more, with benefits that will help most players in one way or another. Those that have a Wolf as a pet can evolve it normally into a Great Wolf once it gets to level 55, and then further evolve it into a Fenrir if it’s above level 70. The Fenrir is the third evolutionary stage of the basic Wolf and offers many powerful skills and special attacks. Players can upgrade their pets through the Pet Manager NPCs in most towns; these Pet Managers also have a pet raising guide and other useful tips they’d be more than willing to share.
Read more here.
Stargate Worlds Sound Designer Nick LaMartina has posted a blog describing the problems with video game music and his goal to solve them.
Let’s say you’re helping design a product. The part that you’re designing tends to be the first thing that customers rip out to replace with an after-market part. You know this, and it’s been this way for years.
Now let’s think about this. What is your motivation? If you go to work every day with the assumption that no one cares about your work, that it’s replaceable, and that it will be the first thing to go, are you really going to come in every day ready to blow people away? Are you going to be motivated to do any kind of noteworthy work if you assume people will just toss it away anyway?
No, of course not. You’ll come in, drag your feet, and put only a minimal amount of work into it because hey, people don’t want this anyway. They might not even notice if we took it away in the first place.
Read more here.
NCsoft has announced that the Rikti Invasion Force is planning to invade Earth once again. Luckily the Rikti are polite invaders and have called in advance to let us know when they plan on launching their attacks.
Brace yourselves as the full fury of the Rikti Invasion Force is set to descend upon Paragon City™ and the Rogue Isles™ starting on Friday, April 18th and continuing through Thursday, April 24th.
For details or to discuss this event with fellow players, please join us on the Official City of Heroes Message Forums.
The looming threat of the Rikti Invasion Force still hangs like a dark pall over Earth. Despite the best efforts of humanity, aggressive Rikti incursions still plague the planet. Advance warning systems indicate the Rikti are massing for attacks on the following dates throughout the year:
• April 18th through April 24th
• June 13th through June 19th
• August 1st through August 7th
• Sept 26th through Oct 2nd
• November 14th through November 20th
Read more here.
Blizzard has invited players to help test the beta version of World of Warcraft's Latin American-Spanish language pack in preparation for the upcoming Latin American-Spanish version of WoW.
In preparation for the upcoming Latin American-Spanish version of World of Warcraft, we are excited to invite our players to try out the beta version of the Latin American-Spanish language pack.
To participate, please download the language pack. For additional information, please refer to the FAQ.
You can discuss any feedback regarding the Latin American-Spanish language pack on our official forums, where our quality assurance representatives will be on hand to read and respond to inquiries and reports.
Read more here.
News Manager Keith Cross recently had the opportunity to speak to Kate Paiz, Senior Producer for Dungeons&Dragons Online. It was our regular monthly chat with the folks at Tubrine and coming into the interview I was concerned that there wouldn't really be anything to talk about, with the GDC and Codemaster's connect events being so recent in our memories. But in the fast paced world of game development there's always something new to talk about, such as Module 7 and the Monk, the recent Shavarath invasion, and a few hints at Module 8.
Module 7 for Dungeons and Dragons Online is looming on the horizon with its May release, and the free content expansion is full of features that DDO fans have been looking forward to for a long time. Module 7 will include improved crafting and new eldritch rituals, a high level wilderness area and two new raids, a revamp of Three Barrel Cove, and the big one, the Monk will finally make its debut.
The last time anyone form MMORPG.com spoke to the folks at Turbine, the monk was in the alpha testing phase so my first question to DDO Senior Producer Kate Paiz was how far along is the Monk now? She said that Monk development is locked down and now they’re in the balance and bug fixing stage from a design point of view, and the art department is busy fine tuning the animations.
In version 3.5 of the D&D rules the monk is one of the more moderately difficult classes to use, being a little more complicated than a fighter. I asked if this would also be the case for the monk in DDO and Kate responded with a no. They have had to reduce the complexity a bit but that’s inevitable when transferring a complicated class from a pen and paper RPG to the medium of MMORPGs. The bottom line is that veterans and new players alike should be able to enjoy the monk.
Read more here.
Sword of the New World has announced events surrounding their One Year Community Anniversary.
Sword of the New World has come a long way since this time last year and in no small part due to all of you! And what better way to show our gratitude than to have an event and give away mass prizes?
Come to the forums and join us in celebrating the One Year Community Anniversary! There are several competitions, with TONS of prizes! Come see for yourself!
See the official site here.
NCsoft has announced their new Optional Additional Character Slot feature that will see players gain access to two new character slots with options for more should the player choose.
NCsoft NorCal Studios is pleased to announce the pricing and details for the coming Optional Additional Character Slot feature. As we previously announced, we heard the request for a system to allow more characters on a single server and this is our answer. City of Heroes is a unique game that offers many playstyle options; options that are growing in a large way due to Powerset Proliferation and the addition of the Villain Epic Archetypes in the next free expansion, Issue 12: Midnight Hour. To accommodate playing more characters on your favorite server, we will be including the following features in Issue 12:
- All current subscribers will receive 2 free character slots, each of which can be used on the specific server of their choice. This is to help you make new characters to take advantage of the new features of Issue 12, even if you already have maxed out your “home” server’s character slots.
- 1 free character slot will be granted retroactively on a yearly basis through the current Veteran Reward system. Every 12 months that a subscription is maintained will unlock an additional free character slot that the user can apply to the server of their choice. Thus, existing players will be eligible for up to 4 additional character slots at the launch of Issue 12. This will continue into the future for Veteran Rewards given out every 12 months, so you get another slot for 5 years, another one for 6 years, etc.
- Additional Optional Character Slots will be available on a purchasable basis. These are one-time fees, not an addition to your monthly subscription rate. The additional slots can be had at the following price points:
• 1 Optional Character Slot for a one-time fee of $5.99
• 2 Optional Character Slots for a one-time fee of $9.99
• 5 Optional Character Slots for a one-time fee of $19.99
- Players can have up to 36 slots per server, with an update to the character selection screen that lets you re-organize your character list by Drag and Drop, as well as easily flip between up to three pages of characters available on that server. All customers benefit from these great new User Interface features included with the revisions for Optional Character Slots.
The above features are planned to be made available at the launch of Issue 12: Midnight Hour, which is currently in closed beta testing. Be sure to check out this feature, along with the rest of Issue 12 when we enter the open beta testing period that should be starting in several more weeks.
Check out the official site here.
Ideazon has announced plans to launch an Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset. Check out what they had to say in their rpess release below:
Vaughan, ON (April 9, 2008) – Ideazon Inc., designer and developer of the Zboard™, the world´s first interchangeable keyboard designed for PC gamers, today announced its new Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard. Custom designed for the highly anticipated Age of Conan Hyborian Adventures by Funcom, the Age of Conan keyset enables gamers around the world to submerge effortlessly into the myth, lore and brutal reality of life in Hyboria, as envisioned by original Conan author Robert E. Howard.
The close partnership with game developer Funcom and publisher Eidos has allowed Ideazon to elevate the level of immersive play possible for gamers. By providing increased versatility and game-specific layout, the Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset shreds typical restrictions associated with learning a new game and grants participants the luxury of an accelerated, custom gaming experience.
"The Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset combines the visually stunning and textured world of Hyboria with the ease and versatility of Ideazon´s technology," says Chris Rathgeber, president of Ideazon Inc. "We work closely with developers and our Community to ensure that each of our branded products are the optimal balance between form and function to meet a gamer´s every need."
"This Keyset is an exciting offer for Age of Conan fans that will help new players master the game faster," says Morten Larssen, VP Sales and Marketing at Funcom. "By incorporating the game´s visuals and creating a user-friendly custom keyboard layout, Ideazon adds great value for Age of Conan players. It has never been easier to wield that big two-handed sword, or burn your opponents to a crisp."
The Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard gives gamers:
- 70 game-specific action keys and labeled commands;
- 24 conveniently grouped 1- touch emotes for effortless recall;
- Dedicated chat commands including shout, whisper and reply; and,
- Stunning official game graphics.
With every purchase of the Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset, gamers receive a free in-game Enruned Kosalan Ring that increases all non-physical damage that its wearer deals.
Also available is the Age of Conan FragMat with official game graphics for a retail price of $14.99 USD. The Age of Conan Limited Edition Keyset for Zboard, retails for $19.99 USD and can be pre-ordered now from GameStop and Amazon.com. The Zboard retails for $49.99 and is available at all major gaming retailers and etailers.
The Zboard Gaming Keyboard also comes equipped with gaming terrain and tactical features, including:
- Instant remapping capabilities;
- Gaming Keyset with an integrated gaming terrain
- Standard Keyset with Windows and Internet Explorer commands labeled on keys; and,
- USB base with two extra USB peripheral ports.
Read more here.
Funcom announced today that their Pre-Order program is now in full swing with availability in all of their western markets.
Funcom and Eidos announce that Age of Conan pre-order programs are now fully available in all major territories, including USA, Germany, France, Spain, UK, Oceania and the Nordic countries. Conan fans and MMO gamers are already raving about the incredible pre-order items, including the War Mammoth and Killer Rhino, and today Funcom ups the ante and confirms that everyone who pre-orders may access Hyboria several days prior to the retail launch.*
Ever since Funcom and Eidos started the first pre-orders in early 2008, the program has received great feedback. The exceptional Age of Conan Collector's Edition has topped the charts in numerous online retail chains for weeks, including being #1 on several all-format lists. The most eager fans are therefore urged to order their copy of the Collector’s Edition immediately as it only comes in one print-run.
Read it all here.
NCsoft has unveiled the new NCcoin system that will allow players to purchase in-game items with real world money. This new program will make its debut with the mech fighting game Exteel.
Austin, Texas, April 16, 2008 – NCsoft® Corporation, the world’s leading developer and publisher of online computer games, unveiled today the details of a new micro-transaction system called NCcoin™. This system will allow customers to use real-world money to purchase in-game items and upgrades.
NCcoin, debuting in the action-packed game Exteel™, was designed so that each dollar spent (US$1) equates to 100 NCcoin, which can be used to acquire in-game items and for upgrade purchases. NCcoin is part of NCsoft’s continuing efforts to offer a variety of business models while giving customers easier access to NCsoft games.
“NCsoft’s goal is to bring more and more people into the online gaming market, and part of achieving that goal is to continue to diversify how customers can pay and play,” said Chris Chung, NCsoft North America’s president. “This system will offer our customers much greater flexibility and convenience in paying for content. Micro-transactions are a growing part of the online gaming industry and NCcoin will allow us to support micro-transaction based games efficiently, allowing developers and players to quickly enjoy the benefits of those systems. We will soon be rolling out more contents that leverage the flexibility of NCcoin.”
In addition to Exteel, NCcoin is expected to be incorporated globally into many of NCsoft’s existing and upcoming games.
NCoin is currently available in 100, 500, 1000 and 2000 denominations for $1, $5, $10 and $20 amounts, respectively. For more information about NCcoin go to: http://www.plaync.com/us/nccoin/.
Quotes from Chris Chung, President of NCsoft-North America, regarding NCcoin:
“With the release of Exteel and NCcoin micro-transaction system, we at NCsoft North America are taking this opportunity to really focus on improving our game infrastructure, service and overall customer experience.”
“NCsoft has grown its game catalogue to the point where we are now not just offering individual products, but a service. NCcoin will serve as an important part of making NCsoft’s service easier to use by our customers and more efficient for NCsoft to add new content.”
ON WHICH GAMES FIT NCCOIN
“NCcoin will not be retrofitted in games that have business models that do not work with a micro-transaction system. We will, however, work to have NCcoin incorporated in as many of our games as possible, and what role NCcoin will play with our future console offerings have yet to be determined. NCcoin does fit perfect for some of the free-to-play and download games we are developing, and gives players choice on how they want to play these games.”
ON SAFE USAGE
“We have built redundant systems to help make NCcoin as safe and secure to use as possible. We are fully aware that any time a new system is put in place that there will be those who will try to cause problems. The good news is that we have been using NCcoin in Exteel and it has proven to be quite secure.”
“We don’t really know how much NCcoin will generate, but we do know that this sort of system has been successfully proven overseas. We also know that NCcoin has been well received by players in Exteel and is generating revenue for the game that has put it on firm footing. NCcoin will be a valuable source of development funds for our free games, and will help support the creation of new content.”
ON NCSOFT BUSINESS MODELS
“NCcoin is just one of many elements that make up the variety of business models NCsoft has to offer. We have grown to the point where if you are a MMOG player and you like the traditional subscription-based game, we have those. If you are an MMOG player seeking a free to play and download game with microtransactions, we have that. If you just want to pay for software and have lifetime play, we have that too. The bottom line for NCsoft is that we want to be able to offer a variety of business models to meet the needs of the different customers out there. NCcoin is another way to make it easier for customers to access the kind of game they want to play.”
Read more here.
Ncsoft's Director of Studio services writes this dev journal on the role of supporting a live product from launch and beyond.
One of the most overlooked and underestimated tasks of launching a successful online game is the support aspect of the live service. After launch, MMOs are as much a “service” as a “game,” yet many do not often consider the service aspect until shortly before launch. Here at NCsoft, we have a long history of providing excellent service for our products. Since we are a multi-product publisher of online games, we’ve learned a few tricks that help us successfully support the games that we publish. We house our entire support process in a department we call “Studio Services,” which includes Quality Assurance, Customer Service, Game Support, and Localization. Each of these teams plays a critical role in the live support and operation of our games.
When planning for the support of a new game, such as our recent launch of Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, or evaluating the support of an existing game, we must consider three important aspects that are critical to creating a successful service, which I describe below:
Read it all here.
Divergence, a sci-fi MMO from Stainglass Llama Studios that looks to become THE definitive sci-fi MMO has been added to the MMORPG.com Gamelist.
"Divergence is a science fiction game hoping to make it's mark in a genre bloated and dominated by fantasy-based mmorpgs, with dozens of innovative and controversial features.
"Stainglass Llama is a small software development company with a single mission;
"To create THE definitive go-to game for all scifi mmo enthusiasts, built around what the players want to see in their game. We believe it's about time a development company actually listen to the subscribers, and we come to see that the deed is done.
"At Stainglass Llama, our developers have a strong relationship with our potential customers and propose the question, "What features do you want to see in a new scifi mmorpg?" and go from there." - Official website.
Find out more about Divergence here.
IGG has posted an overview of melee combat, and melee combat skills in Angels Online.
There are more than 30 different kinds of spells in Angels Online (http://ao.igg.com). By learning them, players can be on their way to the career of their choice. Special spell combinations may even lead them into surprise careers and titles.
In order to get to know the spells in Angels Online, players don’t need to choose any one of them at the very beginning. After creating a character, players can choose one career out of the14. They can then choose which type of spells that they want to learn after they have become familiar with the content of the game.
We talked about the mage's spells last time; so today Angels Online (http://ao.igg.com)Team from IGG are going to go further on the introduction of the Melee Combat Skills of fighting system.
Melee Combat Skills
- Sword Skill: Improves the attack power of the sword and falchion. You can learn sword skills and improve your skill level by using them.
- Axe Skill: Improves the attack power of the axe and hammer. You can learn axe skills and hammer skills and improve the skills by using them.
- Spear Skill: Improves the attack power of the spear. You can learn spear skills and improve the skills by using them.
Read more here.