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Lord of the Rings Online : Latest Beta Journal

Posted Apr 04, 2007 by

Lord of the Rings Online gives us its latest beta journal. Read about the monster play in the game. It seems the battles follow the epic path set up by the books.

My tale takes place during monster play, a titanic battle I will always remember.

With me as an Uruk-blackarrow (the Uruk archer class in monster play), I set out in the Ettenmoors to hunt, joining in with a few people to kill hobbits down in the south. It was a wicked kind of fun to kill those little hobbitses as they ran around and eventually fought back.

But soon enough, a call of alarm went out. Free Peoples! They were fighting outside their base against my fellow Uruks! My group joined the battle shortly after, and helped fight at the gates, but we were pushed back and regrouped at Tirith Rhaw, a fortress just north of the gates. Warg players were scouting out in the forest trying to find the enemy, spiders were crawling on rocks for a nice position, and Uruks were enjoying a game of 'bash each other on the head', but soon, it started again. And so a few battles raged along the south wall before the enemy heaved and caused us to fall back slowly.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : A Day In The Life Of A Game Master

Posted Apr 04, 2007 by

EverQuest II looks at a day in the life of a game master. Ever thought of entering the industry? This write up may give you some ideas.

My internship at SOE is almost up, and I've been not-so-secretly plotting to extend my days here in some sort of scenario mimicking the story line from Office Space. I feel that in my few months here I've only scraped the surface and there's still so much left to see and do!

I've had the amazing opportunity to meet players from all over the country via the Community Summit in February. Through the forums and emails I've been able to take part in game related discussions, listen to ideas while sharing some of my own, and build quite a few friendships. I had the pleasure of informing gamers about the importance of account security. I've delved into the mysteries of the naming policy, and walked everyone through how to petition. (I'm sure you all have them book marked and memorized!)

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Burning Crusade Expands In Asia

Posted Apr 04, 2007 by

World of Warcraft expansion now live in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. It looks like the Burning Crusade will be sweeping the rest of Asia soon.

We're proud to announce that World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is now live in the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Localization into Simplified Chinese is ongoing in preparation for the expansion's launch in mainland China.

Read more here.

ArchLord : Metaboli Adds ArchLord To Service

Posted Apr 04, 2007 by

Metaboli and Codemasters announce on demand service for ArchLord.

Codemasters Online Gaming and Metaboli are pleased to announce that Archlord has been added to the Games on Demand service.

Read more here.

Spellborn : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Apr 04, 2007 by Jon Wood

Our friends over at The Chronicles of Spellborn have given us ten new, exclusive screenshots.

See 'em all here.

City of Heroes : Good vs. Evil Edition

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

City of Heroes and City of Villains offers Good vs. Evil Edition. Also there are upgrades to the referral system.

Today NCsoft® has announced two new offerings for its City of Heroes® and City of Villains® games, including the release of the Good Versus Evil Edition retail package which combines both City of Heroes and City of Villains game into one feature packed box, and a referral program where current players can receive one month of play-time credit by bringing friends into either game.

The new Good Versus Evil Edition is now available at retailers across North America such as Gamestop, EB Games and online at Amazon.com. The new package includes complete City of Heroes and City of Villains games, as well as a set of exclusive in-game bonus items. These items include a jump jet prestige power, four additional character slots per server (12 total per server) and a Pocket D VIP card teleport power. The retail package also includes a DVD packed with bonuses, including City of Heroes comic books, an Issue 7 strategy guide, movies, game trailers and screenshots. The box also contains a two-sided poster featuring Paragon City and the Rogue Isles maps. Customers receive the first month of play free and both games can be played for the single monthly subscription price of $14.99. The new City of Heroes and City of Villains referral program enables current players to email 10-day trial codes to friends. If one of their friends buys a standard account and pays for one month of subscription to City of Heroes or City of Villains, the referring player will be automatically credited with one month of free game time. Players will receive one month of credit for each friend successfully recruited. Players can invite their friends through their Account Management page on www.plaync.com. Note, referred friends must apply their purchased serial code to their free trial account in order to guarantee referral credit time to the referrer.

Read more here.

Runescape : New Poll System Updated

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

Runescape updates new poll system. See what changes have been made for players.

The poll system has received a few necessary changes this week.

For one, we can ask several questions at any one time. This means we can get more detailed responses instead of trying to get a comprehensive result from just one question!

Additionally, we can propose many more answers than we could before, which means we can ask you about your favourite skill, quest or minigame without having to limit your answers to the usual ten.

Read more here.

General : Bioware Selects New MMO Engine

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

IGN is running a story that Bioware has selected StreamBase's Stream Processing Engine for its MMO. There is still no word on what type of MMO game Bioware will be launching. At least we know what engine will be used at this point.

As a means of accelerating the development of its next-gen, MMO gaming platform, BioWare has adopted StreamBase's Stream Processing Engine. StreamBase has previously provided Complex Event Processing software to many leading financial institutions as well as the government and military sectors, and has now set its sights on gaming.

With its entry into the popular realm of MMO gaming, BioWare has decided to expand its offerings beyond its beloved role-playing games. BioWare contracted StreamBase for its platform's scalability and persistence capabilities for storing, processing, and querying large volumes of data in real time.

"StreamBase is designed to process enormous amounts of real-time information at blindingly fast speeds, making it an ideal platform for delivering a rich online gaming experience for thousands of players simultaneously," said Barry Morris, Chairman and CEO of StreamBase. "BioWare's MMO gaming initiative is an excellent example of the many kinds of real-time applications that can take advantage of the rapid time-to-value our CEP software offers."

The use of StreamBase allows BioWare to monitor the entire game environment in real time, and immediately offer fixes for any problems, as well as shut down malicious player behavior instantly. Additionally, the "point & click" development architecture has enabled a development period that is supposedly exponentially faster than traditional coding. BioWare hopes that this will allow the development team to concentrate on delivering compelling stories and characters without worrying about infrastructure performance.

"After we evaluated the StreamBase CEP software, we quickly realized that partnering with them would cut our server development costs by multiple man years," said Bill Dalton of BioWare. "Therefore, partnering with StreamBase was clearly the right choice to deliver on budget and on time."

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Open Beta Sign Ups Begin Today

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

Age of Conan Open Beta sign ups begin today. Be the first to enter the ancient world of Hyboria and battle it out like a true barbarian.

As the gates to the online world of Hyboria are opening, you have the chance to become one of the select adventurers who may answer the call and come to the aid of Conan. The search for beta testers is upon us, and we invite every able man and woman to offer their aid in the quest for a better gaming experience. Now you can make a difference.

Beta testers get free and early access to the game in order to help the developers track down program errors. Also, they provide valuable feedback on the game design, functionality and fun factor. Please sign up using this form, but please note that applying does not guarantee acceptance.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Available in Russia on April 19th

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

Guild Wars will soon be available in Russia. Players will be able to log in and play in Russian on April 19th.

NCsoft® Europe and ArenaNet® are delighted to announce that following the recent Polish localisation launch, the award winning Guild Wars® franchise will now also be available for Russian players in their native language from 19th April 2007.

The epic saga of Guild Wars®, Guild Wars Factions™ and Guild Wars Nightfall™ has proved to be very successful with Russian players, currently available at stores with localised Russian box and instructions. New and existing Russian players will shortly experience an even greater immersion into these epic adventures, as Russian becomes the latest in-game language to be included, continuing Guild Wars expansion into new markets around the world. Unlike other online role-playing games, Guild Wars does not divide users of different languages onto different servers, but instead allows players from around the world to play together.

"We are delighted by the overwhelming enthusiasm of Russian players for Guild Wars", said Max Brown, NCsoft Europe Sales and Operations Director. "With fully localised versions of all three Guild Wars titles, there will be no obstacles to prevent all Russian players, new and old from fully experiencing the wonders of the Guild Wars campaigns."

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Monster Play Overview

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by

Lord of the Rings Online gives an overview of Monster Play. This is a unique take on PvP which allows players to act as monsters in the game and fight against characters.

Monster play. Often spoken of in hushed and fearful tones over a pint of ale, some believe the stories, while other stalwarts consider them simply fireside tales told to frighten wide-eyed young hobbits. Now you'll learn the truth!

You've read all about the Ettenmoors, home to monster play in The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Shadows of AngmarTM (LOTRO). You've heard tales from our Beta Program participants about their adventures on the wild side. You've said to yourself, well, how does one begin this dark journey? The following overview will tell you everything you need to know to get started!

What is Monster Play?

LOTRO offers a unique form of player vs. player combat known as monster play. Players are transported to the Ettenmoors, a consensual PvMP (Player vs. Monster Player) region about the size of the Shire. Here, the Free Peoples and the forces of Angmar are in constant active conflict, and players can choose to join the fight as either their normal Free Peoples character, or as one of the servants of the Enemy!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Interview with David Hunt

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by Jon Wood

Recently, News Editor Garrett Fuller had a chance to sit down with Flying Lab Software Designer, David 'Taelorn' Hunt, to talk about the ship combat in their upcoming sea-based MMORPG, Pirates of the Burning Sea.

MMORPG.com:

PoTBS has some very unique features. Can you tell us about the types of ships a player can purchase in the game?

David 'Taelorn' Hunt:

corvettes, and brigs to ships of the line. Thanks to the diligence of our User Content community, we have nearly 50 ship models in the game already and we expect to have more by the time we launch. They are divided between merchant ships, fast attack ships and heavy warships.

Ships are the cornerstone of our economy. Right now, players can make every ship that can be sailed, although there are other ways of obtaining ships.

Read the whole interview here.

General : Outside the Box: Internet Management

Posted Apr 03, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week in his Outside the Box column, News Editor Garrett Fuller takes a look at the out-of-game online component of the MMORPG, Dreamlords.

We all love to play video games. We spend hours in our MMOs trying to gain levels and find items for our characters. Whether we do this to stay competitive in PvP or gear up for those large raids in PvE, the point is we are always playing. What happens on the days or times you cannot play? As game designers of MMOs, you want to keep your players interested in the game as much as possible. As players, wouldn't it be great to log in and manage certain aspects of your character or army while you were away from the game? We cannot play all the time, but MMO worlds continue on without us. How about acting as part of that world without having to play? Dreamlords set up a Web based management system for players to log into and track their armies, build resources, and work on the game without actually logging in to play.

For those who do not know, Dreamlords is a game that combines MMO and RTS elements. A player's character (Dreamlord), controls an army but also builds towns and cities. The resources needed for players to develop their army must be found and then worked on to allow the player to grow stronger in the game. This seems like a regular RTS system of growth for a player. Here is the catch, what if you could manage your troops and resources from the Internet?

Read the rest of the column here.

ArchLord : Double Experience Weekend

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by

ArchLord to offer double experience weekend. Players will get the benefit of double xp from April 6th to the 10th.

Double XP Weekend Extravaganza

April 6 - 10 will see a double XP weekend in the world of Chantra

This weekend ArchLord will be granting double XP to all its players, including trial accounts! Now is a perfect time to re-roll a character and get a jump on everyone else.

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : Interview with Daniel Lin

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Daniel Lin, the Manager of Overseas Marketing for I.G.G., stops by to discuss their game Tales of Pirates.

MMORPG.com:

What classes are available in Tales of Pirates?

Daniel Lin:

In Tales of Pirates, each character has a variety of classes they can specialize in. When players reach level 9, they can talk to the respective NPCs to start the quest to select their basic class. When they reach level 40, they can specialize further into their basic class by doing another quest. There are ten classes in all: Swordsman, Hunter, Herbalist, Explorer, Crusader, Champion, Cleric, Seal Master, Sharpshooter and Voyager.

Read it all here.

D&D Online : Trade or No Trade

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by

Dungeons & Dragons Online announces in-game game show. "Trade or No Trade" is a new game show that takes place in the DDO world. Read up ont he details below.

Hosted by Sir Lawrence d'Deneith, "Trade or No Trade" is the thrilling hit game show where contestants wheel and deal their way to the possible grand prize of a vorpal sickle!

Do you have what it takes to win this battle of nerves? Are you willing to try for the vorpal while taking the chance that you might end up with a potion of Cure Light Wounds instead? If so, be sure to click "more" below for the time when "Trade or No Trade" will be coming to the Livewood Theater in House Phiarlan on your server.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Celestial Tournament Winners

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by

Guild Wars announces Celestial Tournament winners. You can see the results section as well to find out how well you performed.

The Celestial Tournament has come to an end, and the winner is Team Everfrost in a three-game match. Thanks to all the guilds who took place in the tourney, and congratulations to Team Everfrost. You can read the results of each level of competition, plus view the final charts, here. We'll have match reports for you Monday or Tuesday, and information about upcoming competitive events via the automated tournament system very soon.

Read more here.

General : MMOWTF: Dark Ages in the Ultima World...

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Dan Fortier takes an April Fool's walk on the wild side as he presents his weekly MMOWTF column, this week titled: Dark Ages in the Ultima World of LameQuest.

This week I'm feeling a little weird. It feels like I missed something yesterday, but I can quite put my finger on it. We're going to take a bit of a break from the usual routine of old news, misused cliches and drama queen acting to present you with an epic short story that follows the journey of a young coward specialized Bard named ZoMgNeRfM3 in his quest to achieve Epichonorank Eleventeen and rescue the princess from a dragon hoping to ransom her off for some master crafted weapons.

Our story starts in the starter village, Fort Azcrak, and our young and malformed hero suddenly appears out of thin air only to find himself trapped inside several other people who apparently teleported into the same location. After several attempts, he frees himself only to find a strange sight. Everyone in the village is wearing the same clothes and running about in jerky motions, doing strange dances or jumping around like madmen in one spot.

Read it all here.

General : Iron Realms New Earth Eternal Contest

Posted Apr 02, 2007 by

Earth Eternal announces "Pick a Beast" contest. The winner will have the chance to select one of the playable beast races. Once chosen that player will have exclusive access to the race for the first month of open beta. Read the details below.

Iron Realms Entertainment announced a contest today that will allow the lucky winner to literally choose one of the Beast races (player races) that will be developed for release and have exclusive access to that race for the first month of open beta testing.

"The common wisdom says that directly involving fans in development decisions is crazy," said Matt Mihaly, CEO of Iron Realms. "There are certainly risks, but thus far in Earth Eternal's progress we've solicited fan feedback in decisions ranging from the logo to concept art for our player races to the fundamental way in which our server/shard system will work, and we've made implementation decisions based mainly on that feedback. We're very happy with the results."

The winning player in the 'Pick a Beast' contest will work directly with Earth Eternal's lead designer (the aforementioned Matt!) to develop the fourteenth and final player race for release, from the concept for the Beast race to the name of the race to the history of the race. Further, the winner will have exclusive access to that race for the first month of open beta and will have the ability to grant 10 other accounts access to that race during that period of exclusivity.

Read more here.

General : Saturday Debate: Innovation or Upgrade

Posted Mar 31, 2007 by Jon Wood

Staff Writers Dan Fortier and Carolyn Koh take opposite sides of the issue of The MMO Dilemma, to innovate or to upgrade.

There are lots of varied approaches to take toward any project. Whether you are building a house or designing an online game there are still important choices to make that will effect what kind of future the final product will have. As with most things, it's far easier to stand on the shoulders of your predecessors and build upon what they have accomplished and learn from their mistakes rather than forging your own trail of innovation into uncharted territory. Using the house analogy, it's much simpler to use a tried and true blueprint that has proven it won't fall apart at the first stiff wind rather than crafting your own architectural style.

As far as MMOs are concerned, how much effort should go toward implementing and improving current/existing features versus expanding the horizon and inventing new technology and content that will improve the genre? It's a difficult question and one that is the focus of this week's debate between Dan Fortier and Carolyn Koh.

Read the whole debate here.

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