Managing Editor Jon Wood recently had the chance to sit down with Jeff Anderson, the President and CEO of Turbine Inc. In this, the second part of a two part interview, Jon and Jeff discuss the Monster Play feature in the upcoming game, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.
Last week, we brought you the first half of Jon Wood's interview with Jeff Anderson, the CEO and President of Turbine Inc. about the process of turning the well-loved classic Lord of the Rings novel trilogy into an MMORPG. Today, we bring you part two of Jon's interview. In part two, Jeff talks about the game's unique Monster Play system.
One of the major complaints that we heard about Lord of the Rings Online when details first started to be released was that there would be no evil races available for play and because of this, the game would not have PvP. You see, many fans of Tolkien's books are as much a fan of the utterly evil races as they are the bright and shiny hero races. Lord of the Rings was, for me growing up, the ultimate story of good vs. evil.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of PvP, but it really felt to me as though there was a missed opportunity here. When I asked Jeff Anderson, the President and CEO of Turbine, about this, I was relieved to find that while it was true that Turbine would not be including Orcs in their list of playable races, there was still a system in place that would allow players to get into the evil mindset and actually get our hands on some of Sauron's minions. Monster Play, I was told, would solve this problem.
You can read the rest of the article here.
Lord of the Rings Online updates their class pages with new skill descriptions. With classes that are specific to Middle Earth you may find some skills not typical to your normal MMO.
We've just added new skill descriptions to each of our Classes pages!
Read more here.
EvE Online delays Feb. 20 patch. It seems like further testing is needed.
The patch deployment scheduled for Tuesday, 20 February has been delayed. The patch will undergo further QA and be deployed in the near future. We apologize for any inconvenience the delayed deployment will cause.
Read more here.
Age of Conan announces January contest winners.
In the January newsletter we asked you to send in your contact information and be a part of a sweepstakes that could possibly land you a bunch of nice Age of Conan loot. Here are the winners!
Hundreds upon hundreds of loyal Age of Conan followers have submitted their contact information hoping they will be one of the three chosen this month to receive some of the fantastic swag that Funcom happily sends out.
The winners have been chosen, and all of them will receive the Dreamfall PC game, a full-colored Age of Conan comic book and an inflatable Age of Conan toy sword. They will also receive one guaranteed beta spot each! One of participants will also receive a printed concept art signed by the art team. The winners of the January sweepstakes are:
Funcom will host another sweepstakes in the upcoming February newsletter. Be sure to check it out when it arrives in your inbox very soon. All members of the official Age of Conan fanclub, the Clan of Conan, will receive the monthly newsletter.
Read more here.
EverQuest II gives us a look at Game Update 32. Lots of changes seem to be in store for players.
Welcome to the official preview for Game Update 32! As we close the doors on the Erollisi Day celebrations, it's time to look forward and see what's coming with the next update to EverQuest II. As always, there are a great number of changes that come with any Game Update. This week we are stopping to focus on a few of the highlights, including:
* The Estate of Unrest
* New Enemy Masteries
* Leaving Kelethin
* Changes for the Petition System
Read more here.
This week in Outside the Box, Garrett Fuller looks at Turbine's Founder's System that has been put in place as a pricing system for their upcoming Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.
When it comes to playing MMOs, there are many ways we can discuss the game play aspects. Mechanics, design, characters, skills, PvP. All of these things can be topics for debate or articles. In today's Outside the Box I wanted to bring up something that Turbine is doing with Lord of the Rings Online. It is about paying for an MMO. There are many pricing schemes that companies use to keep players in their game. Most charge the monthly fee, some charge for items and gear in game (a scary thought), but overall the business plans presented by MMOs are designed to keep you paying and playing.
The market is becoming more and more competitive. Players have less time on their hands to try and play every game out there. Most players stick to one or two MMOs and enjoy them over the lifespan of the game. If you eventually get bored, there are plenty of options. MMO developers need to start thinking of new ways to bring players in and keep them in the game while balancing their costs over time. Turbine has put an interesting plan in place for players getting in at the ground level. Not only does it address pricing, but it adds to the competition in the market.
To read the whole column here.
Guild Wars latest State of the Game looks at the changes made to Heroes' Ascent.
With the recent testing of changes to Heroes' Ascent, there is much to report, analyze, and reveal about this PvP area as it moves closer to being permanently updated. Our State of the Game article provides insight into the current state of HA, and offers strategies for use during this transitional period.
Read more here.
Carolyn Koh takes a look at Matrox's TripleHead2Go device that allows users to spread their computer screens over three different monitors, and how that technology can effect MMORPG gameplay.
What do you do after you've built yourself a screaming fast gaming rig that you dropped about $2,000 on? If you are like many gamers, you've already got a 17" or 19" LCD monitor with a wicked fast response time. So you lust after a 24" monitor, but that's... ouch... three times the price of the 19" monitor.
Then again, there's the really dreamy 30" screen, but you are entering the realm of diminishing returns and it's really hard to justify spending $1,500 on a monitor when the rest of your system cost you $2,000. What if I told you that you could get 51" - 57" of vivid eye-candy goodness for about $700? Would you do it?
When I was first asked about reviewing the Matrox TripleHead2Go, I was afraid that I would not have the hardware to properly review this neat little device. Where would I find three identical monitors? Would the screen size and refresh speeds have to be the same? The answer was that I didn't need three identical monitors.
I carted two 2004 vintage generic Dell 15" screens home from the office after work on Friday to supplement my 17" screen. Plugged them in, installed the software, followed instructions and... it worked. There was my windows desktop spread over three monitors.
Read Carolyn's whole review here.
Codemasters and Turbine have released another gameplay video in the series that showcase some of the races in their upcoming MMO Lord of the Rings Online. This time around Elves are in the spotlight.
|Race of Elves
Gameplay footage featuring the Elven Race.
You can view all of the videos here
World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is not live. Read up on this new additional form of PvP added for Warcraft players.
The World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is now live -- gather your allies, defeat your enemies, and prove that the prowess and skill of your team are unparalleled. The tournament will allow players to battle through the ranks for a chance to compete at live events, win prizes, and obtain the honor of being the best World of Warcraft PvP team in the world. For more information or questions regarding the tournament, please review the Tournament FAQ. Let the games begin!
Read more here.
Staff Writers Dan Fortier and Derek Czerkaski take opposite sides of the issue of game wide markets and auction houses. Do they help or hinder?
One of the best and worst things about MMOs are the complex virtual economies they create. Poor planning, excessive hacking and infinite cash generation have caused serious inflation and top heavy markets for a number of popular games in years past. This weekend we are going to debate one specific issue in particular: Game wide markets/auction houses. The question will be whether listing all of the items in the game for sale and being able to buy them from any location is good or bad.
For some players, having every possible item available for bid or purchase from anywhere might seem like the most convenient way to runs things. The problem with this type of system is that only the most successful crafters/farmers will get their items sold since they can sell it for significantly less than Joe Nobody out in the borderlands, even if the items he creates are easier to gather/produce in the area he is in. Keeping markets specific to certain regions forces prospective entrepreneurs to develop a strong logistic system if they want to dominate a global market, which is the way it should be.
You can read the whole deabte here.
Cryptic Studios is looking to fill a number of developer positions at their studio, so if you've ever wanted to work on a game in areas like Web Programming, Art and more, this could be your chance. Cryptic is looking to hire gamers with the right skills for the job, whether they come from the gaming industry or any other.
Here is an example of some of the jobs that are available:
According to their website, Cryptic offers employee benefits. Check out their benefit summary.
Lord of the Rings Online Announces Open Stress Test on February 23rd.
Ready to get a first-hand look at The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™? Visit GameSpot.com to get your Stress Test Product Key for the next LOTRO Stress Test Event starting Friday February 23rd, 2007! This stress test event is open to residents of North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Please visit http://lotro.turbine.com/stresstest for more information!
Read more here.
The latest Dungeons & Dragins Online Developer Diary looks intot he Wilderness Quests coming with the launch of Module 4.
Learn all about the new Wilderness Quests coming out with Module 4! Check out the latest Dev Diary here.
Read more here.
Yesterday, Garrett Fuller attended a telephone press conference with EA Mythic about their upcoming MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
We have heard a lot out of the Warhammer camp lately, with the press event last month and a conference call this month the crew over at EA Mythic is doing their best to give potential players the information they want to hear. Last night on the press call, the guys gave away some great new bits of information for both the Empire and Chaos. The usual suspects of Jeff Hickman, Paul Barnett, and Josh Drescher were on the phone to answer a ton of questions from the media. Let me start by saying that these guys have enthusiasm, and a lot of it.
Looking at the Empire first, in case you do not know the concept the guys summed things up quickly. It is the human race on the brink of destruction. With Chaos, Orcs, and Dark Elves closing in from all sides, the Empire reaches to extremes to survive. Magic, warriors, faith, and technology are all tested to the limit in order for the humans to survive. The Empire also mirrors a medieval Germanic setting with the look and feel of armor, weapons, and housing. Here is a quick breakdown of the classes: Knight of the Blazing Sun (tanker), Bright Wizard (Nuker), Warrior Priest (fighter, healer), and Witch Hunter (DPS, faith, light melee fighter).
You can read the whole article here.
Guild Wars offers us the latest issue of the Scribe.
In anticipation of an upcoming celebration in his homeland, our roving reporter is traveling back to Shing Jea Monastery as fast as his sandaled feet will carry him. However, he has taken the time to jot down a few notes about the upcoming Canthan New Year's Festival and to acknowledge a few kind citizens he met during his journey.
Read more here.
Age of Conan gives us a look at the unique Herald of Xotli class. This mage is so mixed up with demons, he actually BECOMES ONE! Read us on this new and interesting class from Age of Conan.
Some of those who meddle in the demonic arts are either too weak-minded or venture too far down the path of demonology to remain untainted for long. The Heralds are those who with an insatiable lust for power regardless of the cost have bargained with the demon god Xotli and paid the ultimate price.
They become a host to true demonic forces, allowing their very flesh and blood to be twisted and shaped to the purposes of their master.
The arcane and twisted pacts that have allowed the Herald to call upon the power of Xotli mean that they are powerful and dreaded foes in combat. Whereas other priests or students of the demonic arts can call upon the servants or blessing of their respective deities the Herald actually transforms themselves into a walking incarnation of Xotli's wrath.
In battle, the Herald transforms into a demon, preferring to melee opponents and feel the enemy's flesh tear rather than rely on spells, although they retain a powerful arsenal of spells to call upon as needed. With their frenzied appearance and blood soaked muscles rippling with demonic strength the Herald becomes one of the most fearsome sights on the battlefield.
While many of the Herald's abilities concentrate on strengthening themselves and their allies they can also call upon the primordial forces of fire and brimstone, hewn from the demonic depths, to smite their foes.
'Hellfire Breath', that the Herald can cast from level 25 onwards, deals instant fire damage to enemies in a cone in front of the caster. Likewise from 55 onwards, their 'Hellflare' spell blasts the enemies around the caster with an intense searing wall of heat, lowering their damage output and causing them to take more damage from physical attacks.
When combined with spells like their 'Inferno Curse' these attacks can be even more lethal. 'Inferno Curse' is available from level 40 onwards and allows the Herald to curse enemies in his near vicinity so that they take increased damage from fire based attacks.
So while the demonic flames might be their specialty the Herald is usually in the thick of the action and uses spells like 'The Exultation of Xotli', which is available from level 45 onwards, to increase their melee damage for a short period of time but with a period of reduced damage for a short while afterwards.
At higher levels the Herald gets access to the ability to not just strike fear in their opponents but can actually force them to run away in terror through their 'Dread Visage' ability. So the Herald is not only a fearsome foe at close quarters on the battlefield but their demonic powers can actually instill dread and make even the most hardened of opponents flee from them in stark fear.
Read more here.
As promised, here are the new Pirates of the Burning Sea exclusive screenshots from Flying Lab to replace the older ones added mistakingly earlier.
Thanks to Flying Lab for providing us with these screens.
Each Week, Community Manager Laura Genender writes a column where she takes a look at an interesting topic that has recently cropped up on our boards. This week, her Community Spotlight shines on Perma-Death.
This week on the forums, Pangaea brought up the subject of perma-death in MMOs. The concept of permanent character death is both an exciting one and a scary one - for players, this would mean losing all their hard work, and for Devs, this would mean losing the players' attachment to the world.
Pangaea admits that the current MMO structure doesn't work with the concept of perma-death. "As of now, MMOs are a competition up a ladder where you strive to be the best, and it is that level climb that players find frustrating to repeat... and frustrating to lose ground on." He suggests that MMOs would have to do away with the leveling component of gaming. "If you had fun playing a character through a deadly [situation] and he died, you could always start over and try again as a different character... because the goal isn't to get to level 70, it's to have fun."
Read the whole article here.
Dreamlords Goes Live! Check out the details below on how to join the first RTS/MMORPG.
Release version of RTS-client and patch is now available!
At last the final release version of the RTS-client is now available for download.
You will also need to download a patch and apply it after installing the release version of the RTS-client. This patch will insure that future patching works with both the online RTS-client as well as the boxed Collectors Edition (not yet available) as well as adding some new sounds to the game.
So head over to the download section and prepare for battle!
Remember that Dreamlords will be released tomorrow, February 15th at 17:45 CET (Central European Time).
Read more here.