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General : MMOWTF Award Winners

Posted Dec 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

Last week, Dan Foriter opened up voting on the worst games of 2007. Today, he posts the results along with his own picks.

It’s that special time of year when we huddle around space heaters and ignore the family members we never liked. That’s right, Christmas is here and what better way to spend it than running around like an idiot at the last minute trying to buy gifts and reading my weekly column? Last week you cast your ballot for this years Awards in typical hater style for the games that made you sick. I have tirelessly counted all the ballots so now is the time to pull off the rotten curtain and reveal the results of our dastardly little experiment. Please check your optimism at the door and come on in!

Before I announce the winners in the standard categories I wanted to award a special achievement honor. Since once again the readers of the site (and their alts) voted in large numbers for Star Wars Galaxies even in irrelevant categories I decided to remove all the votes for SWG from the existing categories and make an Award especially for them so that the rest of us can get on with our lives. Behold!

The Award for Biggest Mistake in MMO History goes to: Star Wars Galaxies: NGE

Gratz NGE! You managed to turn a bunch of normal gamers into forum terrorists. With this lifetime achievement award bestowed perhaps we can actually get some diversity in the voting next year. Sure I broke the rules, but that’s my job. Now on with the show.

Read the whole thing here.

EverQuest II : Legends of Norrath Expansion Update

Posted Dec 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

Adele Caelia, MMORPG.com's resident EQII writer, had a chance to sit down with the guys from Legends of Norrath, the popular online card game that acts as a companion to the MMORPGs. The game, we are told, just launched their first expansion, Foresworn.

Legends of Norrath, and online card game similar to Magic the Gathering is the newest edition to the SOE family. Its huge success and popularity over the past four months has left the community asking for more. SOE has been more than happy to oblige to this request by creating Foresworn, the first expansion for this thriving card game, which went live on December 19, 2007. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Legends of Norrath’s Sr. Game Designer, Paul Dennen, and Game Designer Chuck Kallenbach about the upcoming expansion Foresworn.

Launch and Reception

When LON first launched I think many had their doubts about its success, but over the past four months the growing amount of tournaments, the overfilled chat rooms, and the amazing amount of loot cards seen within the game make it hard to deny that this addition to the EQ and EQ2 is a winner.

“It’s been great. It’s been a real experience in terms of linking it inside Everquest and making it playable in Everquest and Everquest II,” said Paul Dennen. “It’s not the coolest thing in the world but I didn’t know how it would go over. I was very concerned about keeping both camps happy. Everybody seems to be very happy with it.”

I think the recent tournament contest with a 5k prize to each qualifier, plus airfare and hotel to GenCon backs up that statement. The grand prize for the final tournament at GenCon is set to 100k, and with that kind of cash being thrown around, in my opinion is a sure sign that this game is doing quite well.

Read it all here.

General : NCsoft's Year in Review

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Robert Garriott, President of NCsoft North America, has posted an article on NCsoft's official site which takes a look at the previous year from NCsoft's point of view.

As 2007 comes to a close, I think its well worth discussing what a great year it has been for the company, and using that success as a platform for 2008 and beyond. We’ve had many exciting things happen this year, with much of it providing building blocks for even better years ahead of us.

First of course is the release of Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa in November, which is a big event in the history of this company and the fruit of much labor by many current and former employees worldwide. We founded Destination Games in April 2000 in part to release this game, and while I give my brother Richard some grief now and then about the length it took to produce it (though, I must admit, the game you see today is the result of work since 2004), I’m very proud of Tabula Rasa and our commitment to producing exciting, different massively multiplayer games. Not only have we delivered an interesting science fiction game to our players with some unique differentiators over the standard MMO, we backed it up with a very smooth launch and exceptional customer service. I can’t think of a better launch than Tabula Rasa. I look forward to seeing the game grow with new features and content…especially since I actually enjoy playing this game so much!

Also in November we had even more exciting news. We absolutely love City of Heroes and we really wanted greatly to re-invest in the franchise; the question was how to do it in the best way possible. Ultimately our decision was to acquire the entire City of Heroes Intellectual Property (IP), which we had previously shared with Cryptic Studios. In the process, we formed an entirely new development studio, NCsoft NorCal, where we hired the entire City of Heroes development team, and we’re currently hiring more to take this IP to the next level. This change of ownership hasn’t slowed us down much at all, with our content updates (“Issues”) continuing on their normal pace and “Issue 11: A Stitch in Time” launched in late November. We have big, big plans for this franchise, which we hope to share in 2008, and we know that City of Heroes fans will not be disappointed.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : Zone Overview: The Shadowlands

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Each month, the Warhammer team over at EA Mythic prepares a Zone Overview for the monthly WAR newsletter. November's Zone Overview takes a look at the Shadowlands, a land ravaged during the first war between the High Elves and the Dark Elves.

Following the death of Aenarion, first Phoenix King of Ulthuan, the Elves faced a difficult choice. Some argued that Malekith, Aenarion's lone surviving son, should succeed his father. Others, however, feared what Aenarion had become after he drew the Sword of Khaine and worried that the dread sword's curse had been passed on to Malekith. In the end, it was Bel-Shannar who was chosen to lead the Elves, and not Aenarion's heir.

At first, Malekith concealed his lust for power and his hatred of the Elves who had denied him his birthright. Instead, he made allies and won great victories in war, rising to a position of prominence among his people second only to the Phoenix King himself. It was then that he made his move, assassinating Bel-Shannar and proclaiming himself the rightful Phoenix King. Only one thing now remained. Malekith would have to prove his quality by entering the sacred flame at the Shrine of Asuryan, to be judged by the greatest of the Elven gods.

When he did so, however, the flame rejected him. Malekith was burned and disfigured, and his servants rushed the ambitious lord to the land of Nagarythe in the north of Ulthuan. When truth of the assassination came to light, the High Elves made war upon Malekith and his followers. When he was defeated by the new Phoenix King, Caledor the Conqueror, the son of Aenarion hatched a mad plan to undo the magic of the Vortex and let the raw power of Chaos spill into Ulthuan, destroying his enemies. The attempt was only partially successful, but the results were devastating.

Read more here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Jumpgate Launches New Site

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

NetDevil has announced that they have launches a new official site for Jumpgate Evolution. The new site features forums, screenshots, video, news and information, and more.

NetDevil today announces the much anticipated website launch for Jumpgate Evolution, the new action-based space combat MMO in Jumpgate universe.

Jumpgate Evolution lets you jump into the cockpit and fly your ship just by moving your mouse, giving sci-fi fans a unique opportunity to experience a large and versatile universe. As a space hero from one of the three different nations: Solrain, Quantar, or Octavius, players can interact with both PvP and PvE content earning advancement through combat, mining, missions, exploration, and trade.

From a variety of small fighter ships and capital ships to giant battle stations, players get to engage in galactic space combat for an MMO experience unlike any other. Visually stunning graphics at minimum PC specs, accessible yet rich gameplay, and advanced AI are just some of the prominent features of this new epic and dynamic online universe.

In addition, both new in-game screenshots and game footage have been added to celebrate the website launch, alongside a collection of previously released concept art, in-game screens, and backstory, providing fans a deeper glimpse into the ever-expanding Jumpgate Evolution universe. Join the official forums so that you can interact with our continuously updated community.

Read more here.

Spellborn : New Screenshots

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Thirteen images depicting the Green District of Quarterstone have been added to our Chronicles of Spellborn screenshot gallery.

Today we released new screenshots on our website for your viewing pleasure, where you'll see the Green District and many of the places located in this dangerous and mysterious part of Quarterstone.

Among these point of interests, you'll discover the former verdant Maze, different views of the District, as well as some shots on the narrow alleys where the Shunned are eargerly waiting for the adventurous players.

These screenhsots will be followed next year by a brand new series of Video Development Diaries, the first ones dealing with, obviously, the Green District.

Enjoy and don't forget to post your comments in our forum!

See the images on the Chronicles of Spellborn official site.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

General : Robert Garriott's New Job

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

NCsoft has announced that Robert Garriott will be leaving his position as president of NCsoft’s North American business for "a role of global business development and planning."  Current vice president for worldwide product development, Chris Chung, will take over as Garriott's successor.

Austin, Texas, December 20, 2007--NCsoft®, the world's largest developer and publisher of online computer games, today announced two promotions within its global family. Robert Garriott is leaving his post as president of NCsoft's North American business and moving into a role of global business development and planning. He'll remain in Austin while working closely with NCsoft's CEO Taek Jin Kim in his new position.

Garriott's position will be filled by Chris Chung, currently the vice president for worldwide product development. Chung has a long history with NCsoft. He began his tenure at NCsoft subsidiary, ArenaNet®, where he managed that studio's business and helped launch the highly successful Guild Wars® franchise. Chung later went on to become the chief publishing officer for NCsoft's Seoul headquarters.

"We're extremely pleased with Robert's plans to become more involved with our global business development," said CEO Taek Jin Kim. "The future for NCsoft is very bright and his leadership in this area will be a huge step forward for the company. Chris Chung is a strong leader who has been successful at every one of his stops at NCsoft. He'll be a perfect fit for the North American publishing business."

Both Garriott and Chung will begin their new duties on January 1.

Read more about NCsoft here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Galactic Settlement Initiative

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced the Galactic Settlement Initiative, a referral program that can earn bonus experience and rewards for players and their friends.

Bring your friends to the galaxy and you and your new recruits will be eligible to receive special gifts as a thank you for your loyalty!

To get started, direct your friend to the free trial at TrySWG.com.

Each new buddy you refer who converts to a subscription account gets one Cybernetic Experience Chip (one per account) offering double XP for 30 minutes, useable up to 15 times.

Each new recruit who converts to a subscription account will also be given one “thank you” Buddy Token (one per account) that they can give to you as a way of saying “thank you” for introducing them to the galaxy. Add your buddy token to your collections and redeem exclusive in-game buddy rewards.

The first three buddy tokens that a player may receive for referring buddies will, when redeemed by the same in-game character, turn into a series of in-game paintings based on poster art for the Star Wars movies.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Legends of Norrath Forsworn Launches

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced the launch of Forsworn, the latest expansion to Legends of Norrath which adds over 230 cards to the game.

Bring your friends to the galaxy and you and your new recruits will be eligible to receive special gifts as a thank you for your loyalty!

You were teased with Oozes and Goblins, awed by Terin's Battle Axe and Cyndra's Barbed Spear. Now, your patience is rewarded. Forsworn, the first expansion to Legends of Norrath, releases today! Join in the battles against the forces of Chaos, or forsake your oath to the Tribunal and fight the Oathbound on the side of the Forsworn in this 230-plus card addition to Legends of Norrath. Get the scoop on all the new features here. Then head over to the Design & Strategy Articles forum where you'll find over 25 articles by the LoN game designers.

Starting today and running through the weekend, the Tournaments Lobby will be hosting Release Events. Every participant will receive a Runnyeye Warmonger (2P2) digital promo card! Please see the announcement for details. Don't miss it!

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Notes for the New Build

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has published the patch notes for build 1.0.25.0 of the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta.  Notable changes were made to ships of the line and swashbuckling.

Ships / Combat:

  • Changes to Ships of the Line: For the big picture, see this devlog. Basically, it works like this: Added a new item, the Lineship Structure. It requires something like 2000 units of wood, iron, and cloth to produce one of these items. High-end ships require anywhere from 1 to 10 of these items to build. The earliest ships that require these items are the Pommern variants (Sleek and Armored) at 1 each, increasing their costs to about 370k doubloons. All ships more powerful than those variants are more expensive, capping out at the 104, which has a minimum production cost of about 9.6m doubloons. This represents an increase in cost per level per durability over the 50 gun of two orders of magnitude. Also increased cost of huge cannons, and generally adjusted high-end ship recipes. Most of them now require far more provisions than they used to, in addition to the new item requirement.
  • Reduced the top end speed on the Open Sea. This has little to no effect on most frigates and a small to moderate (up to 10%) effect on smaller ships. Also reduced the OS speed for the starter ships. Now pretty much any of the ship upgrades available from 1-20 will make you faster on the OS.
  • Adjusted stopped turn rates. New values are generally equal to 1/3rd the value of the ship’s slow turn rate. This decreases the stopped turn rates of most mid-upper range frigates. The change is small for most ships. A few of the higher ships may need additional adjustments. A stopped ship shouldn’t be a swiftly-turning gun platform and these changes should help that.
  • Reduced the target tracking available on big ships. This has a very small effect on the early frigates. It has a significant effect on the highest end ships.
  • Adjusted the accuracy bonuses based on ship size. Big ships got a little easier to hit, small ships got a little harder to hit.
  • Improved the speed and wind angles on the Renard Chasse Maree. It’s supposed to be a fast ship, but it was very slow.

Read the full patch notes here.

Fury : Letter from the Bossman

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Fury CEO Tony Hilliam has posted a letter to the Fury community, detailing rewards for veteran players, and describing the areas where the remaining Fury team will be focusing on improving in the new year.

Nearly 3 years ago we set out to make the world’s best PVP experience. As many of you know, we have started slower than expected but this is still our goal.

We have a new business model and thousands of new “Chosen” players have been taking part in the fastest paced RPG battles ever seen. We have our core team working on further improvements to help the new player get through their first few battles unscathed. (If you are new to FURY, there are no Level 1 Wolves to nibble on your toes – just bad assed human competitors waiting to rip your heart out). So what is in store for 2008?

For our core players, some of whom have been around since Alpha or Beta, we have a reward for you all. You will all be made Immortals for life. This offer will also be extended to any new players that register their copy of the game before December 31st. This means that anyone with a “Hero” or “Immortal” account status on December 31 will be given Immortal status for ever (accounts will be updated Jan 3rd).

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : November Class Overview: Archmage

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

In the November Newsletter from Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the developers released information on the Archmage, a High Elf class. Coincidentally, the December issue of the WAR newsletter is available today with new class info.

“While lesser races must study magic in its corrupted broken form, our Mages harness its power as pure mystical energy. Our minor spells, those Lores taught to the humans by might Teclis, are but a pale reflection of the power that can be wielded by an Asur fully trained in the magical arts of the White Tower.”

- Loremaster Haydrel, Archmage of the White Tower

South and east of Avelorn, on the shores of the Sea of Dreams, lies Saphery, the land of Wizardry. The heart of Saphery is the Tower of Hoeth, the shrine of the God of Wisdom. This is the greatest repository of magical knowledge in the world, compiled over the centuries by High Elf mages and scholars, many of whom still dedicate their lives to the accumulation of magical lore. The most powerful of these scholars are known as Archmages, and are capable of manipulating all the winds of magic weaving powerful sorceries known only as High Magic.

Read the whole thing here.

Guild Wars : Guild Wars on Play! Playlist

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Guild Wars music has made it onto the playlist of "PLAY! A Video Game Symphony", the symphonic tour which performs music from various video games.

Bellevue, WA., Dec. 21, 2007— ArenaNet® has announced that music from its Guild Wars® franchise of games will be performed as part of the "PLAY! A Video Game Symphony". This world-wide symphonic tour features music from a number of top videogames, including songs from Guild Wars. The tour kicks off in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 19, 2008.

The "PLAY! A Video Game Symphony" program will be performed by world-class orchestras and choirs in some of the most prestigious venues, including the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington. Game images projected on large screens above the orchestra accompany the scores, highlighting memorable moments from the video games and enhancing the entire experience.

Guild Wars has been praised for its rich soundtracks created by renowned video-game music composer Jeremy Soule and co-composer Julian Soule. The Soule brothers have created music for the entire Guild Wars franchise including the original Guild Wars, as well as the FactionsTM and NightfallTM campaigns. The music of Guild Wars is also featured on CD in special edition retail packages for each campaign.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Free Oceanic Character Moves

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that they will be offering free character moves from certain Oceanic realms with high populations.  The moves will begin on December 20 at 12:01 PM PST, and end when population targets are met.

We will be offering free character moves from select high population Oceanic realms beginning December 20, at 12:01 PM PST.

For more information on what realms will be eligible for these free moves and exact dates please visit the announcement post made here.

In the event that a realm meets our transfer goals before the scheduled end date, the transfers to that realm will be disabled. We highly recommend that if you are planning to transfer that you do so at your earliest convenience.

Read more here.

EVE Online : WebWars

Posted Dec 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

Back in November at EVE Online's Fanfest, John Galt Games announced EVE Webwars, a browser-based game where players battle over control of some of the most popular websites out there. Today, Laura Genender gives us a little bit more information on the game.

This past November at the EVE Fanfest, John Galt Games announced upcoming title WebWars, a casual web-based MMO, set in the EVE universe. For the last month I’ve been participating in the game’s closed beta and learning my way around the innovative

EVE WebWars does a fantastic job of taking traditional EVE concepts and graphics to a new and accessable environment. The game places players in a sci-fi world of ship PvP battles and money managing; players choose one of the four EVE races and fight their way to victory in frigates, cruisers, and battleships. In EVE, though, each player is responsible for one ship. Players can own multiple ships, but they can only fly one at a time. In WebWars, players acts as a fleet commander of multiple ships. Your Empire might consist of two frigates, or thousands of battleships.

There are currently six ship types in game, three obtained through ISK (the in-game currency) and three available through WebWars cash. The ISK ships are tech 1 frigates, cruisers, and battleships. Frigates cost 100 ISK and have 10 HP; Cruisers cost 1000 ISK and have 100 HP; and battleships cost 30,000 ISK and have 1000 HP. The micropayment ships are tech 2 frigates, cruisers, and battleships, which have a slight HP advantage over their tech 1 counterparts. Ship damage scales according to size, as well – but it’s not all that simple!

Read it all here.

Warhammer Online : The Swans of WAR: Beta Update 6

Posted Dec 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

In the sixth and last beta update before the return of the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning beta, the folks at EA Mythic talk about how to build a city, the guild and social tools, and recent changes to RvR.

Waaagh! And well met!

Even though it’s been about two months since we temporarily closed the Beta, it doesn’t seem that long given how busy we’ve been.  Time just flies when you’re neck-deep in the chaos that is the building of WAR.

 

We’ll start off this week’s update with some interesting behind-the-scenes information from the Cities Team.  This time around they’ll walk you through some of the steps that go into building some of the wonderful bits of Altdorf , the Empire’s capitol city.

 

Cities Team

 

Hello once again from the Cities Team!

 

This week we’ve continued working on two very cool interior spaces for Altdorf .  Since they’re not finished yet, we thought an explanation of how we build the city might be just the thing to pique your interest.

 

Step 1:  Wouldn’t it be cool if…

 

The first step is done on white boards, via hand gestures, and even cocktail napkins.  This is the phase where we work together to brainstorm the grand scope of an encounter. We establish what we want the fight or encounter to be and how the environment should be created to compliment it.  Commonly heard phrases include: “You know what would be cool?”  And “I wonder if it would be possible to...” with a variety of swear words thrown in to mix it up.

 

Stage 2:  Swans of War!

 

After that stage, the idea goes to concept.  Here, our amazing concept artists take our napkin ideas and turn them from ugly ducklings into swans… Swans of WAR that is!

 

We’re hard at work on two interior spaces this milestone: The Bright College and the Palace of Karl Franz .

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Holiday Message from the EP

Posted Dec 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffery Steefel has posted a holiday message for all the LotRO fans out there.

Whew! It’s been an unbelievable year for LOTRO – seeing Middle-earth coming alive before our eyes has made all the years of development worthwhile! It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago we were deep in Beta, preparing the game for a huge launch!

As the holiday seasons are upon us I wanted to take a moment to express the team’s gratitude to all of you for making LOTRO a success and helping us to keep making it better and better. With Books 9, 10 and 11, we’ve grown the size and functionality of the game a great deal and tried to improve the things and places most important to our players. The past seven months (yup-it’s only been that long) have been a blast and we’ve just gotten started. We have some huge plans for 2008 and we’ll have more to say on that subject after the first of the year. Suffice it to say that while 2007 was a big year for LOTRO, 2008 is going to be even cooler!

Read more here.

General : Limited Holiday Tech Support for SOE

Posted Dec 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has posted their holiday tech support hours, which will be closed on Christmas day and limited to chat and e-mail for the rest of the week.

With the coming holidays SOE Technical Support hours will gave limited support hours. On Monday December 24th in observance of Christmas Eve, technical support will be closing at 5PM PST. Tuesday December 25th, Christmas Day, Technical Support will be closed. From Wednesday December 26th to Friday December 28th, Technical Support will be limited to chat and E-mail only during normal business hours. Monday, December 31st, New Year's Eve, and Tuesday, January 1st, New Year's Day, Technical Support will be limited to E-mail contacts only.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : State of the Game

Posted Dec 19, 2007 by Keith Cross

The most recent edition of the State of the Game article series has been posted of the Guild Wars site.  This time they interview members of Heart of Ashes and Dust [HAnD], the third guild to win two monthly tournaments.

By winning in November, Heart of Ashes and Dust [HAnD] became the third guild to win two Monthly Automatic Tournaments (ATs) in the Guild Wars $100,000 Tournament Series (Virtual Dragons [vD] and Rebel Rising [rawr] were the other two). Unlike the previous repeat winners, [HAnD] went six months between its May and November wins, while [vD] won back-to-back in June and July, and [rawr] won back-to-back in August and September. The members of [HAnD] were gracious enough to meet early morning (1-2 AM their time) to accommodate an interview. Members of [HAnD] present at the interview included: Andkun, Smith, Aris Kick, Fle, Mashiro, Rufa, Pixy, and Noji. Also participating was Mehdi, an ArenaNet interpreter present to facilitate the interview. Below is a summary of the topics discussed during that interview.


Guild History

[HAnD] originally formed by the merger of two other guilds, Free Will [FW] and The Atomic Clock Tour [TACT]. The main emphasis for the new guild was to participate very actively in PvP. From March to December of this year, [HAnD] played more than 1,300 GvG rated matches, winning nearly 1,000 of them. This is an extraordinary amount of GvG activity, especially considering they accomplished it primarily with the same eight players. [HAnD] has a core team of eight, with only two additional inactive players in the guild. This core group typically plays two to three hours a night, which translates roughly to five or six GvG matches. Because of the small size of their core, Andkun, the guild's leader, often has to invite one or two guests to play.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Expansion Review Screens

Posted Dec 19, 2007 by Jon Wood

While preparing for her Rose of Kunark Expansion Review, Adele Caelia had the opportunity to take a few screenshots from the expansion for our viewing pleasure.

 

Check out all of the screens here.

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