Age of Conan Game Director Gaute Godager recently wrote an article describing the current state of the game of AoC. He elaborates on his role in the game's development, and he describes the reasons behind the recently announced release date push back, the melding of certain classes, and other changes that have occurred throughout Age of Conan's development.
I know that all of you are anxious to learn more about what's up with Age of Conan, especially after our recent announcement. I will use this opportunity to try to, in a rather detailed manner, go through the very essence of the game – what we have accomplished, what we have changed, where we stand, and also touch on the great future ahead.
As all of you know we are deep in Beta at the moment, and so far way more than ten thousand people have been invited. Naturally not all people are playing all the time (reminder from me: check your email;), but we have some really awesome testers, hacking away at our systems and design. As you all also know we have been in various stages of beta for a long time, but it's over the last months we have really been able to get the feedback we need.
Let me take side-step here to tell you a bit how we look at various aspects of the game. You probably don’t know this, there are more than 500 or so code-features that we have in the game. Each of these features are tracked with a status description defined by QA, beta testers, the core team etc. They also have a level of importance. We do this for all the content as well, every region/zone, monster, mesh and item. We do this to try to make sure nothing slips through the cracks – that everything gets enough testing, polish and rework. We, as most developers, call each round of creation, testing and polish “iterations”. The higher the iteration count, the better the result.
Read the full article here.
Turbine is currently experiencing connectivity issues. They say they are investigating the problem, but in the mean time, all of their games, including Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Asheron's call are currently unavailable to players. The message quoted below is the latest message players see when they try to start up LotRO.
The problem, we are told, is with the company's service provider. Turbine will keep us updated as this develops.
Connectivity problems continue. Our staff at the datacenter are continuing to investigate and are working with our vendors as well to identify the problem. If you'd like to chat with other players during the downtime, we've created an official thread on the LOTRO forums.
We do want to clarify that this is not an issue caused by Book 12; Book 12 was successfully pushed to the servers and tested by QA, and will be available as soon as the connectivity issues are resolved!
Rumors have been floating around for months about the demise of the Marvel MMO being developed by Cryptic Studios. The rumors have now been confirmed by Shane Kim, head of Microsoft Games Studios in a recent interview with the MTV Multiplayer Blog.
First, I asked if the game was truly canceled. He said: “I’ll confirm. Marvel and we have agreed to end development on the MMO. It was an amicable decision…. It’s just something that we felt that, for us and for them, it would be better if we ended development. Which is disappointing, because that had a lot of promise. But sometimes you have to make these decisions.”
Cue the natural follow-up: What went wrong?
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of what went wrong,” Kim told me. “I don’t know that that’s the right way to put it. For us we look at our priorities and all of the things we have to do. It’s a tough space. It’s a very competitive space. And it’s a space that’s changing quite a bit. …When we first entered into the development and agreement of the development of ‘Marvel Universe Online,’ we thought we would create another subscription-based MMO. And if you really look at the data there’s basically one that’s successful and everything else wouldn’t meet our level or definition of commercial success. And then you have to look [and say]: ‘Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that?’ There’s a whole bunch of factors.”
Read more here.
Hey, it's an Ewok love fest. You're either into it or you're not.
Chief Chirpa of the Ewoks is sharing this year's Festival of Love with the entire galaxy! Visit the forest moon of Endor or the city of Theed beginning February 13 to join the celebration of love with the Ewok tribe.
Ewoks and the Festival of Love
Ewoks are small creatures that are native to the forest moon of Endor. The trees of the forest provide not only physical shelter to the Ewoks, but also give the tribe a sense of protection as the trees watch over them.
The Ewoks live in harmony with nature and forage for food in the lush vegetation. Camby berries are given freely during the Festival of Love, celebrated once a year to honor the kinship and love between tribe members. During the festival, the Ewoks present this gift of their hard-earned food to other members of the tribe to demonstrate trust and acceptance.
As the Ewoks celebrate the Festival of Love, tribe members prepare meals, dance, and sing traditional songs, such as this ancestral chant often heard drifting through the treetops of the forest moon:
Dugun duca lula ludia nuna, dounga, luna nudia!
Read more here.
IGG has published a list of changes, fixes and additions that will be made to Zu Online in the game's next version.
The new version 1.4.06 of Zu Online (http://zu.igg.com) will be released in late February, and the new contents will be available for our players after the update. The patch was made according to players’ creative suggestions and will make the game more balanced. We greatly appreciate your patience during the time it took to get this patch to you. Some of the major features include:
- Little Sky will open to players.
- The cost of daily events has been reduced
- The cost of senior pet eggs has been reduced
- The protection level for newbies will be raised to 60
- We’ve prolonged the Sinuous Maze event.
- The speed of Vigor Restoration from killing monsters has been increased.
- The drop rate of yellow monsters has been increased.
- The chance to obtain Mystic Stone from the Fortune Casket has been increased
- Players will be able to control the Lead Pillar after level 61.
- We’ve added 3 new item categories in the Item Mall (Advanced Items, Pet Food, Limited Items)
- Fixed the Moonmaiden’s talent ‘Reinforced Phoenix’s Force’.
- Added the Summoner’s skill book ‘Greater Minion-healing’ to the store.
- Added the item ‘Boss-calling Stone’ to the Item Mall, so players can use it to summon a boss (excluding the Crystal Dragon) near the spawn place for bosses.
- Adjusted the schedule for daily events.
Read more here.
IGG has released an preview of the Robot System in Angels Online.
Since the Angels Online Robot System was first announced, it has become a special feature attracting many players. Today the Angels Online team from IGG is going to tell you a little bit more about the Robot System.
Many genius scientists live in Iron Castle where the most developed science and technology centers are located. The robots invented here are specifically designed for the Collection class. Afterwards this technology was widely accepted by other factions due to its’ practical value.
Robots can be equipped with weapons and collection tools, and are also a good transportation tool.
These special robots can not only benefit players' collection, but also can help them to fight against all types of loathsome monsters. They can help those characters who have low attack power and defense fight against powerful monsters.
Read more here.
ArenaNet has chosen their Guild Wars Guild of the Week, and they have posted a overview of the X Legion Of Doom X [LOD] and an account of their accomplishments.
There's something exciting about a massive PvE guild that runs with 100 members and focuses on elite missions and areas. The X Legion Of Doom X [LOD] is such a guild, known for its daily PWNZILLA runs in the elite area du jour, ranging from classical Underworld and Fissure of Woe all the way to Slaver's Exile. In the days when the original Guild Wars campaign was the only campaign, guild runs focused on Tomb of the Primeval Kings and Underworld/Fissure of Woe, followed shortly thereafter by Sorrow's Furnace. Later, during the Factions era, the guild would finish Urgoz's Warren with a full guild team on a daily basis. By Christmas 2006, the Domain of Anguish became the favored guild activity, with full guild teams running through multiple times every day. After the launch of Eye of the North, full Slaver's runs (including all bosses in a single run) took place for while until people moved back to UW in Hard Mode.
LOD members are proud that their guild can blaze through any elite area/mission. They also pride themselves on being among the first to finish elite areas in consistently record times. However, LOD is never satisfied with these achievements alone, and tries new builds such as a Necro-heavy team echoing Mark of Pain and Feast of Corruption for a full clear of Urgoz HM in record time, or a Rit-heavy team used to clear UW/FoW/Slaver's.
Read more here.
NetDevil Programmer Steve "Istvan" Hartmeyer stops by once more to talk about the upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution. In this new developer journal Hartmeyer talks about PvP in the sci-fi game.
The issue of PvP features in Jumpgate Evolution has the appearance of being extremely controversial, making the subject sensitive for the development team to address. Jumpgate Evolution is in many ways derived from Jumpgate Classic, and the original game's community has become extremely agitated over the potential changes coming in the new product. Even before Jumpgate Evolution appeared on the horizon, PvP was a divisive issue for the Jumpgate Classic community. Jumpgate Classic was designed from the start as a PvP game. Its simplistic PvE gameplay was a late-beta addition, nearly an afterthought. For some players, however, the available PvE became a major draw and main point of the game. For many others, PvP combat was simply never interesting or important because other activities and styles of play were more enjoyable.
Discussions of PvP matters in Jumpgate have a tendency to take on aspects of religious warfare. There are two diametrically opposed camps within the Jumpgate community, and there appears to be no dissuading members of either side. One group insists that "No place in the game should be safe from PvP", while the other side demands "Don't push your RP on me." As developers, we absolutely must build our game to appeal to the most customers possible, maximizing commercial success, or we risk inability to offset the costs of development. The PvP issue is so strongly polarizing, however, that the forms of PvP gameplay we provide can powerfully affect the number of customers we might attract. Despite the obvious conflict, we want to build a sound PvP system for Jumpgate Evolution that will satisfy many of the extremists in both camps, while also ensuring there is plenty of room in the game for people who don't wish PvP to be the entirety of their game experience.
Read it all here.
Joymax has announced that Darkeden, their vampire-themed MMORPG, has launched and is now available for everyone free to play.
SAN JOSE, CA - February 12, 2008 - Joymax, an independent developer of interactive entertainment for the global market, has launched their vampire-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Darkeden. Previously only available in an open beta test, Darkeden is now available for everyone to play for free. Players can log in today and slay vampires, fight humans, or crush ousters! Players can also retreat to the new Daden Market where they can purchase Coins and spend them on Premium Service for access to new areas, rare items, weapons, armor, pets, armor and more.
A free-to-play MMORPG, Darkeden invites players into a bleak near-future environment and a brutal conflict between three distinct races-vampires, slayers, and ousters. Featuring hand-rendered graphics and an isometric 2D view, Darkeden is easy for novices to learn, yet includes a broad variety of features and character-building options for hardcore players. Darkeden contains hundreds of potential skills and two distinct systems of character advancement, and is available to download and play free of charge.
Read more here.
SOE has published the patch notes for Game Update 1 for Star Wars Galaxies.
- False Hope should now animate and throw its grenade properly.
- Fence Items listing no longer lists items that are equipped.
- NPCs can no longer spawn and intercept smugglers over water.
- Hide Ally should allow a target to move after stopping all movement while stealthed.
- The abilities "Call a Favor 1: Smuggler" and "Call a Favor 2: Medic" that summon a smuggler or medic have been fixed so that the NPC the abilities summon can be killed in combat.
- Fence Item now will reshow the interface if no junk was selected and the "Fence" button was pressed.
- Hide Ally should play a smoke effect on the target.
- Smuggling: Emory waypoint on Rori is now at the correct location.
- Smuggling system NPC's should no longer spawn with a level over 90.
- Fixed a bug that allowed traps to be dropped in houses and then moved around with decoration options.
- Preparation and Decoy no longer show in other players' combat messages.
- Spies can now abandon quests while stealthed.
- Mon Calamari, Wookiees, and Ithorians can now wear the stealth gloves granted for their profession.
- Changed Covert Mastery expertise from "Reduces the action cost of Smoke bombs, Without a Trace, and Burst of Shadows by 10% per point" to "Single target direct attacks that fail to hit their target (Miss, Dodge, Parry) cost 0 action".
- Reduced cost of Covert Mastery expertise from four points to one.
Read more here.
The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Men Erain, where the Kings of Arnor rest.
After the fashion of ancient Númenor, the Men of Arnor revered their dead almost more than they did the living. Great tombs were erected for their kings in a place called Men Erain. Of the ten kings of Arnor, only seven were interred at Men Erain, for Valandil son of Isildur was buried beneath Annúminas, Elendil at Halifirien far to the south – though a tomb was erected for him in memorial at Men Erain – and Isildur, his son, was never recovered from Anduin.
Those who lie at rest at Men Erain are the heirs of Isildur in the line of Valandil: Eldacar, Arantar, Tarcil, Tarondor, Valandur, Elendur, and Eärendur, whose son Amlaith removed to Fornost as the first king of Arthedain. For many long years these tombs remained undisturbed, but after the fall of the North-kingdom to the Witch-king of Angmar, tomb-robbers and thieves came to Evendim. It is unknown if any of the treasures buried with the kings still remain, but the Rangers of the North have maintained their vigil over the tombs.
Read more here.
Flying Lab has published the patch notes for Pirates of the Burning Sea build 126.96.36.199.
Differences between 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 include but aren’t limited to: Character Creation / Customization:• Some combinations of items and colors in character creation had a bug that prevented you from starting to play. When this happened, the game displayed a message box reading “Error_Generic”. We have fixed the issues that caused this error and also changed the error to say something helpful should it happen again.
• The front of Female Vest (Merchant) is no longer invisible.
• Fixed LOD problems with the Female Coat (Elegant) and Female Vest (Frilled).
• Fixed males going bald in places at some LODs.
• Fixed several places where the wrong vests or shirts were coupled with certain coats and such.
Ships / Combat:• Many players have not realized that some of your cargo is lost when you sink. This is because we never told them, so we’ve made some UI changes to make it clearer that unsecured cargo is lost when you sink. We added an explanation to the tooltips of these items, and also an overlay to their icons that, when you hover over it, gives a further explanation of unsecured cargo.
• Ship tuning: Added a small amount of target tracking to light guns.
• Ship tuning: Made small adjustments to target tracking, mainly on the mid to upper range ships. Most noticeable on the Raa.
• Ship tuning: Added a bit of max range accuracy to all guns
• Ship tuning: Added a small amount of mid-range accuracy to mid-heavy guns
Read more here.
SOE will be holding a Legends of Norrath Loot Tournament Weekend in EverQuest and EverQuest II from February 16th to 18th, where players can pick up special cards just for joining in.
SOE will be hosting a weekend of major tournament events where players can receive extraordinary promotional cards and in-game loot rewards! New "Loot Tournament Weekend" tournament queues, where players can receive new promotional and loot cards will be running all weekend long. Each event will start when all slots have filled in the tournament.
Each player who participates in one of these tournaments will receive an Antonia Bayle, Ruler of Qeynos (2P8) promotional card and a choice of either an EverQuest® Nimbus of the Lover or EverQuest® II Poisoned Fists loot card!
Read more here.
Turbine has announced a special reduced price for Dungeons and Dragons Online to celebrate the game's second anniversary.
To celebrate Dungeons and Dragons Online™: Stormreach™'s second anniversary, we're proud to announce special anniversary subscription pricing!
For a limited time, the Dungeons and Dragons Online special anniversary promotion lets new and existing subscribers play for only $9.99 a month when they sign up for six months of service for the special price of $59.84 (subject to certain terms and conditions). That’s nearly $18 off the regular 6 month subscription price!
Read more here.
Blizzard has announced plans for the fourth Blizzard Worldwide Invitational which will be held in Paris. The two day event will include tournaments, discussion panels, entertainment, and more.
PARIS, France. - February 11, 2008 - Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans to hold its fourth Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France on the 28th and 29th of June. The 2008 Blizzard Entertainment® Worldwide Invitational will bring the company and gamers together in a convention atmosphere, celebrating the communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft®, Diablo® and StarCraft® series as well as showcasing the skills of top eSports gamers from around the world. The first Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational to be held in Europe, the event will take place at Hall 5 of the Porte de Versailles Exposition Center in Paris.
"We look forward to bringing the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational to Europe for the first time and sharing our latest news with players there," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "In addition to the great tournament gaming that will be taking place at the event, we’re planning an entertaining show for all attendees."
Open to gamers of ages 16 and up, or younger if accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult, the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational will feature exciting StarCraft, Warcraft III and World of Warcraft® invitational tournaments, with a variety of other activities over the two-day event, including:
- Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
- Artist and developer signings
- Hands-on play with World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King™ and StarCraft II
- Merchandise and other products based on the Blizzard Entertainment game universes
- A silent auction
- Musical performances
- And more exciting activities to be announced
Read the full press release here.
Visit the Worlwide Invitational website here.
Our At A Glance articles are meant to give readers an overview of the early portion of an MMORPG, new or old. Today, UK based MMORPG.com writer Donna Desborough sends us this quick look at the FPS-style Planetside.
For a long time first person shooters have been running live servers on the internet. From back in the mists of time when Quake World was new and exciting, online play has enthralled people. It was only a matter of time before someone thought to create a persistent world for FPS players to battle in.
I've been playing FPS games online for a long time, so I jumped at the chance to give Planetside a try. I thought that an MMOFPS would be simple to just jump in to play. I was wrong. There are complexities to the game that I hadn't considered would exist. The struggle for power over planets and areas is in constant flux and the factions can be confusing at times. All in all, a bit more to it than just join a side and kill the bad guys.
Read it all here.
Five new images and a video from Book 12: The Ashen Wastes have been added to our Lord of the Rings Online screenshot gallery, and video gallery.
Book 12: The Ashen Wastes Video
Along with the screenshots, we'd like to present this "Points of Interest" video depicting some of the new features and areas that will be added to the game with Book 12: The Ashen Wastes.
To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.
The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with a developer profile on SWG Lead Artist Alexis “Aphox” Allen.
What do you enjoy most about your job on SWG, and why? I like to watch the evolution of the game and know that I had a hand in growing it. I also like to see all the Star Wars concept art that most people never see. Our partnership with LucasArts affords the capability of seeing the 'behind the scenes' work to a certain extent, and I think that's cool.
What types of things do you do in a typical day at work? I ride my bicycle to work most days because I really need the exercise. I eat breakfast while I go over my email. Then I might have a meeting with the other leads to discuss what art items we need in order to accomplish a certain design goal. I gather up those art requests and asses their order of importance and time consumption. I assign those art tasks to the art team, and include myself as much as possible. I work on some art tasks that vary from 3-D objects to new vehicles to icons and UI screens. I have lunch, usually at my desk. I look into and implement new tools or processes that make the artist's job easier and faster. I work on some art tasks some more. I take a break and play with a yo-yo and have a snack. I wrap up my work on my art tasks and check them in. I ride my bike home.
Read more here.