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Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle Earth: Tinnudir

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with a look at Tunnudir, an island on Lake Evendim where the Dúnedain have made camp to protect the ruins on the shores of Lake Evendim from tomb robbers.

Since the fall of Arnor, the Rangers of the North – the heirs of Isildur, Elendil’s son – have often journeyed to the shores of Lake Evendim to pay homage to their lineage and to protect the tombs that lie amidst the ruins there. Many years ago, Aragorn, the Chieftain of the Dúnedain, came to Evendim himself to reclaim a lost treasure, a jewel known as the Silithar. Though Aragorn did not succeed in its recovery, his companion Calenglad and a small party of Rangers remained in Evendim, establishing an encampment on the island of Tinnudir from which to protect the Silithar from lowly tomb-robbers.

Long years have passed since Calenglad established the camp at Tinnudir, but he and his companions maintain their duty to their lord, even now. With the aid of some of the more upstanding citizens of the town of Ost Forod, they keep vigil over the ruins of Annúminas and the tombs of the kings, waiting for the day when Aragorn will return to claim what is his by birthright.

Read more about Tinnudir here.

General : Beyond the MMORPG - Hitman: Blood Money

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Dan Fortier of MMOWTF fame takes the wheel on this just-for-fun column that takes a look at games that we wouldn't normally cover here at MMORPG.com. Dan's topic of choice? Hitman: Blood Money for the PC.

This week I’ve seized the reins of this column from Jon to highlight another game outside of the MMO genre that deserves some love. I tend to be rather closed minded when it comes to my game selection and a game has to be really compelling in some form for me to spend my precious time playing it. With that said, let’s dust off this bad boy and have a look.

This week I chose Hitman: Blood Money developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos. Eidos has a long history of publishing well designed and intriguing 3rd person franchises with the likes of Tomb Raider, Commandos, Legacy of Kain and Thief under their belt and Hitman is no exception. My pals at Eidos are also sharing publishing duties with Funcom for Age of Conan which bodes well for that game’s future as well. Pedigree perks aside, I have to say that Hitman is a game no serious sadist should be without.

Read the whole article here.

Tabula Rasa : Cloning System

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, NCsoft released this non-exclusive feature on their cloning system, a mechanic which allows players to make copies of their characters, replacing "alts" which force players to start again at level one.

I think we have all had that moment when you are so busy you just wish you could clone yourself.  I know as we get closer to launch, a few clones of the development team would be a welcome addition.  But that's not the kind of cloning I want to talk about.  Though the Medic class can create a temporary clone to fight alongside them, the actual Character Cloning System(tm) in Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa is a bit different.  It is a way for players to save their progress with a character so they can try new classes and new builds without having to start over.

The idea behind cloning is to give players the ability to save their progress with a particular character before making a major change.  It allows a player to say, "I want to do something radical or something I'm not quite sure of," while acting as an insurance of sorts while they try something they may not have done yet.  It allows players to have more choices and try new classes and builds without worrying that once that change is made, there is no going back.   In my mind, while I was helping to develop this system, I was hoping that we could encourage players to not be as cautious as they might be with a typical MMO. To encourage them to take chances and try new things.

Read the whole article here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Collectable Collectables

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with an article describing the collectable item system that will arrive in-game with Chapter 7.

Something sparkling in the lush grass of Endor catches your eye. As you retrieve it, you realize that what you just picked up is quite a valuable discovery! Collectors of all levels and professions can earn a variety of rewards in Chapter 7 when they find all the pieces of many different collections scattered across the galaxy.

Starting Your Collection

Collectors are seeking new treasures that can be found on all planets in the galaxy. These objects are recent, prized discoveries, so existing items and enemies you have slain before Chapter 7 will not count toward completing a collection.

A collection begins when you come across a distinctive item, either in the environment around you or as loot dropped by a defeated creature. There are also treasure-seeking NPCs in certain parts of the galaxy that might be looking for someone to track down the particular valuables they're looking for.

Read the full article here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.

Q. The Siegecraft merchant at my house does not sell the materials needed to craft Siegecraft. The new notes said he would, am I missing something?

A. Our own Joanne looked into this. Here’s what she found out: The merchant just needs to be reset. Those with the right permissions can just pick up the merchant and put it back down and it should show the correct siege items for sale.

Q. I have purchased a new computer and I remember I use to be able to copy INI.? files.  I can not find these files in labyrinth.  Where are they kept now.  I have a lot of characters and was hoping for a shortcut setting up the quickbars on the new computer.

A. Here’s the new location of the .ini files:

Windows XP: C: -> Documents and Settings ->  User Name -> Application Data -> Electronic Arts -> Dark Age of Camelot

Vista: C: -> Users -> (your windows login name) -> AppData -> Roaming -> Electronic Arts ->Dark Age of Camelot

Open the Grab Bag here.

Vanguard : Name Game

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at SOE have updated the Vanguard: Saga of Heroes official site with a fun look at SOE's naming Policy.

SOE is fairly flexible when it comes to naming. Be aware that while some names do not violate policy, they still might not be the best choices. Pick your name wisely; your reputation may rest partly upon it! While the name N3wbPwn3r clearly shows a player's IQ, some may say it doesn't fit within the world of Telon.

Refrain from creating profane names or homonyms. We're thinkers over at here at SOE. We know the secret meaning of 'Smartazz'.

The official Naming Policy is posted on VGPlayers. You can visit the SOE Knowledge Base for more detailed information on a variety of gaming policies.

What to do if you see a bad name?
Cover the eyes of your children.

Once the innocents are protected, you can use the /petition command to report a name that violates the naming policy.

Head on over to the Offical Vanguard Forums to share some of the unqiue or silly names you've seen in game!

Read the full article here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Stress Test

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE and Flying Lab Software have announced that this week they will be starting their beta stress test for Pirates of the Burning Sea.

On Monday, October 1st, Flying Lab Software and Sony Online Entertainment will be kicking off a Beta Stress Test event that will invite File Planet subscription holders to temporarily participate in the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta test. We expect File Planet stress test accounts to go live on the afternoon of Thursday, October 4th and expire at midnight on Sunday, October 7th, Pacific Standard Time.

Why a Stress Test?
This stress test is a crucial phase in the development of our server infrastructure, and the temporary addition of File Planet subscriber accounts will provide us with the data we need to evaluate and adjust the stability and scalability of our networks.

More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Read more here.

General : Downtime Questions Answered

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has released a detailed account of the changes and upgrades to their account management system that occurred during their maintenance downtime last Tuesday.

So, what happened on Tuesday?

This last Tuesday, Sony Online Entertainment brought all of its games and services down for approximately 14 hours. While we did everything we could to make people aware of the pending downtime as early as possible, some SOE gamers have expressed confusion about what exactly we did that day.

Upgrading The Account Management System

On Tuesday, we converted all of our prior account management systems into one unified system. This unified system replaces multiple systems that have been created over the years at SOE as new games came into the family. With this new account management system, we now have a single unified system that spans all SOE games and lends us great efficiency in upgrades for all of our games as future needs arise.

What Does That Mean For You?

While the new account maintenance system creates no appreciable change for you in terms of gameplay in your favorite SOE game, it does offer many benefits to you. For instance, the new account management system allows for a much more straightforward set of options to manage your Station account and your individual subscriptions.

Get all the details here.

EverQuest II : Rise of Kunark Closed Beta Starts Soon

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has announced that attendees of Fan Faire and those who preordered EQuinox Magazine will soon be able to take part in the Rise of Kunark closed beta.

Did you attend Fan Faire or preorder the EQuinox magazine? If your answer is "Yes!" you will soon be able to participate in the closed beta for EverQuest II, Rise of Kunark! All beta participants need to read and sign the beta NDA found by following this link, before they can enter the beta; and you can complete that step now in preparation for your entry into the beta.

Please be sure that you are logged into the Station ID associated with your Fan Faire attendance, or EQuinox preorder as we will be checking the ID's in our database against the NDA's as a part of our beta invite process. Thank you for your patience while we progressed through our internal testing period, we hope you will enjoy participating in the RoK beta test and look forward to sharing it with you. Don't forget to sign the NDA now!

Read more here.

EVE Online : Fanfest Details

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

The EVE Online official site has been updated with a rundown of some of the activities that players will be able to participate in at this Year's EVE Fanfest.

EVE Fanfest 2007 approaches!

As the EVE Fanfest 2007, 1-3 November, comes closer we've updated the Fanfest section with some additional information on what's going to happen.

2007 Fanfest PvP Tournament - As usual we will have a Tournament, the details and rules for this is at the linked page.

EVE CCG at Fanfest 2007 - This year we will have demonstrations of the CCG, card giveaways for those who wish ot learn it and of course we will have a tournament.

Jita - Alliance and Corporation area for Fanfest - New for this year is a special corporations and alliances area, where you'll be able to meet friends and foes, relax from the Fanfest activities and maybe get access to some special services and perks. More on this and how to register can be found on the page linked above.

RoXor - The in house Dev band has entertained us at the Fanfest for a while, and we felt they deserved some extra attention on our site. We will also be selling their t-shirt in the Fanfest EVE Store.

So, for those of you who have not yet ordered, make sure you get a Fanfest package, an EVE FanFest 2007 Access Pass and join us in Iceland for the Fanfest!

Read more here.

Voyage Century Online : A Unusual View

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released new information about Voyage Century Online and the features that they believe sets this game apart from the crowd.

Voyage Century Online What are the unusual features of this MMORPG? What we think of VCO first may be its ornate, aesthetic, and 3D graphics. And more gamers may pay close attention to its marine trade, spells, naval battles, battlegrounds, flagships, boss grade monsters, gears, etc.

However, if we attempt to look over VCO from a sideward or hidden angle, we may find some indiscoverable unusual features of VCO.

High-key guild battles
Guild war is not scarce in online games. However the form of guild contest for hegemony in VCO is quite rarely seen. There ever broke out a large-scale battle that affected the whole server in almost every server of VCO, which lead to the hegemony of a strong guild and then the stable situation of the server.

The situation is quite particular, but it is able to stimulate all the guilds’ battling enthusiasm to the peak. However, it is very difficult to win other player’s recognition in VCO. It is time to make mental preparations for the guild hegemony in VCO if you want to challenge the peak of VCO.

Pirate group is very popular
Pirates are always very popular in VCO, especially after the <Pirates of the Caribbean> came up. The player can choose to be a Pirate in any phase of the adventure in VCO. And a higher-level Pirate would be stronger. Besides, the one-day earning obtained by using the Pirate’s unique ability--Disposal of Stolen Goods 4 may even be on a par with the richest trade caravan.
What’s more, Pirates possess a unique class feature--blackmail. Pirates possess the privilege to blackmail the non-pirate players on open sea. Surely, the non-pirate player has the right to refuse the Pirate’s blackmail. But it usually leads to a fierce fight. The Pirates will never feel tiresome to blackmail other players. After all, if a Pirate does not rob, can he be called Pirate? That’s why the new comers of VCO always pay close attention to the matters concerned about acting as a Pirate.
For more about VCO, please visit the official site: http://vc.igg.com.

Read more about here.

General : Blog Spotlight: Innovation in the Main

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, MMORPG.com's Community Manager, Laura Genender, takes a look at a blog that discusses innovation in MMORPGs.

Innovation in the Mainstream?

Day in, day out, the MMO world is filled with discontent – where is the innovation in MMOs?  Where are new ideas?  Players feel that the developers are just spitting out the same game template, day in and day out.  Almost every game is called out as a “WoW-clone” at least once (you all can argue the validity of those claims!).  And this week, user vajuras, author of the blog “I Have a Dream,” addresses this issue in his blog. 

Vajuras starts off by defining the MMO terms of “mainstream” and “innovation.”

Read the whole spotlight here.

General : Mouse Review: Logitech G9

Posted Oct 01, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, MMORPG.com Hardware writer, Jeremy Star takes a look at the latest mouse offering from Logitech with the G9 mouse. He liked it, read on to find out why!

This week we're going to be taking a look at the newest mouse offering from PC peripheral giant Logitech, the G9 laser mouse.

The Hardware – Look ma, another G!

The G9 is a corded USB laser mouse with a 3200dpi. It features interchangeable grips, a custom weight tuning system, onboard memory, adjustable sensitivity, customizable LED colors, Polytetrafluoroethylene feet, and a MicroGear™ precision scroll wheel. Like all of G family of mice – the corded ones, anyway – the cord is a heavy duty braided one.

Read the whole thing here.

Fury : Decay Video!

Posted Sep 29, 2007 by Ben Krueger

We've been provided with this new video featuring more PvP action from the upcoming MMO Fury. 

Video Interview Decay Video!
Check out this new Fury video featuring the red team vs the blue team!

Check out more vids here.

 

Lineage 2 : A Look Forward

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lineage II producer Tim "Ornery" Tan has posted an article on the Lineage II official site detailing the future direction of the game.

As the Fall season begins, it’s a good time to look at the changes that have been going on for Lineage II, as well as what is in store for the coming months. First off, I look around and see a couple of different faces on the team. Omega and I have stepped up to new roles, but bring years of experience on the project to the table. Alyra and Twinmoon are two new additions to the team that have quickly become accustomed to their community and marketing roles, respectively. It’s always a good feeling knowing that Spam is at his post leading the customer support team and helping to make the overall product better.

One of our current goals is to interact more with the player base and get some really good feedback on the game and services of Lineage II. I think Alyra has done an excellent job so far in talking with everyone on the message boards and forwarding key points to me and the rest of the team. Another goal of ours is to try to be more open and provide timely information to our players. We’ve been using the monthly newsletter to give everyone a sneak peak at what’s going on in the upcoming month. We are also trying to participate in an increased number of interviews and developer chats so that players can get those burning questions answered. I’ve recently been able to meet up with a number of players at both the Penny Arcade Expo, and the NCsoft meet and greet here in Austin. I really enjoyed meeting players and listening to their feedback. I was truly amazed at the diversity of both the requests and the people.

Read the full article here.

Guild Wars : State of the Game

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Guild wars official site has been updated with another edition of their State of the Game series of articles.  This week's title? NPCs, Splits, and You.

The current guild battle metagame favors teams capable of splitting well. With builds investing heavily in static defenses, splits are often necessary to produce kills and advantages in battle. At the same time, successful splits can often create an NPC advantage, which is more important due to changes to VoD. With a 200% damage buff against the Guild Lord, a large NPC swarm applies heavy pressure at the flag stand.

NPCs are a highly valuable asset and are an irreplaceable resource (unlike Death Penalty, which can be reset). Before VoD, they protect the Guild Lord and define a buffer zone where teams can retreat and relieve some pressure. At VoD, an NPC advantage can easily sway a battle at the flag stand. A common split goal is to reduce the opposition's NPC swarm to build an advantage at the flag stand during VoD. To accomplish this against defenses like Shield of Regeneration flag runners, a gank squad may simultaneously attack multiple NPCs, thus stretching the abilities of a lone healer to maintain every NPC. Generally, a team will have to split multiple characters for defense if to preserve its outer NPCs against a gank team.

Besides NPC considerations, each map has its own split complications. For example, the "siege" maps—Warrior's Isle, Hunter's Isle, and Wizard's Isle—present a unique factor to splitting. The siege weapons on these maps are an element unlike anything presented by other guild halls. Controlling the catapult can dramatically shift the balance of a guild battle.

Read the full article here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Creatures of Middle Earth: the Kergrim

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with another look at some of the creatures that populate the lands of Middle Earth.  This week the focus is on the Kergrim.

The lumbering monsters known as Kergrim have seldom been seen anywhere beyond the borders of Angmar. When they can, they stalk the barrows and tombs of the long dead, searching for bones upon which to gnaw. It was long thought that they were simply beasts, but recent evidence shows that they are more than that. Perhaps they are some foul breed of troll; exceedingly stupid, but not wholly unintelligent.

Since the coming of the shadow of Angmar, they have been seen haunting the barrows of the Men of Arnor in the region around Lake Evendim. Whether the Kergrim are simply there to terrify the few Men who dwell in Evendim, or there seeking something specific within the tombs, danger lurks behind every grave.

The Kergrim were originally drawn from tales of a Scottish ghoul who lurked in graveyards, desecrating graves to gnaw the bones of the dead. They have been modified to fit into the world of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™.

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : October Events

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has sent over information about the events that will be running this October in Tales of Pirates.

Grab free iPhod Touch, keep eyes on Triple Surprise event (http://top.igg.com/triple) During the month of October, TOP (http://top.igg.com/) will hold a new exciting activity! The Phantom Army is about to attack one of the cities, and players can obtain advanced equipment by killing the enemies and defending the city.

Recently, Shaitan City received some bad news. The evil Phantom Army has been aroused by some mysterious power. They have razed many villages along the way, and their next target is Shaitan City. The High Priest-Gannon in Shaitan City has called on all the brave pirates to fight against the evil forces and get back the treasure and equipment from these loathsome creatures.
Warriors, assemble!! Let’s fight against the evil!!

Apart from the activity above, we still have some ongoing activities as follows:

Hide & Seek
Hide & Seek is coming back! GMs will hide among you with no “GM” title! But useful hints will be provided and the lucky finder will get big prize from GM!

Treasure Hunting
During activity time, some precious items will appear at somewhere and exist at there for a while! Useful hints will be provided; the first lucky finder who reaches there in time can get the treasure!

Red Paper Exchange
Have collected dozens of Red Paper? GM will exchange money or some special items for these papers!

The Hexathlon and Voyage Competition continue to be available this month as well.
Come and join us now!

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

Fury : Fury Challenge Kicks Off

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Auran has announced that this weekend marks the start of competition in the Fury Challenge, Fury's open beta event which offers players the opportunity to win a piece of a prize pool totaling more than $2 million.

Brisbane, Australia – September 28, 2007 - This weekend FURY will reach the pinnacle of its testing with the first competition weekend of its Open Beta event - the FURY Challenge. The event kicks off with a bang - full-on competitions spanning seven ladders have players competing for over $2 Million in prizes. To allow for two full weekends of competition and mid-week practice sessions, the release date is now scheduled for October 16, 2007. Auran is opening up the field to everyone before the game even hits the shelves by inviting all players, from veteran FURY testers to one-timers to FURY virgins, to get out there and show their stuff! The FURY Challenge gives players their first real chance to experience the game the way it was designed to be played (and to win some cool loot as well).

There’s no doubt that learning a new game can be frustrating especially when you’re faced with higher ranking opponents or someone who has been playing the game for months, but that’s about to change. Since FURY is meant to be all about FUN, Auran has been working hard on addressing these issues to ensure that every player, of every rank, gets the chance to mix it up in a well balanced match. More fun brings more players, more players improve the whole matchmaking process, and thus we start a snowball effect which will help push FURY to critical mass this weekend. In short, the FURY Challenge is a chance to sample the sweet, sweet taste of victory.

Here’s a list of some recent improvements that will smooth the learning curve and help players experience FURY as it’s meant to be played:

  • Test out multiple Incarnations prior to battling against human opponents. Players can roll a new character and test drive all the Incarnations by picking up a FURY Challenge Authentication Code here: http://furychallenge.com/accounts
  • Equip Points for Reborns, Initiates and Disciples have been increased so you can immediately buy additional starter abilities and customize your incarnation.
  • It is easier and faster to go through the Ranks so that even after just a few hours, you have reached a competitive level (and for FURY Challenge we have capped Ranks to make things a little more balanced)
  • Bloodbath and Vortex matches are smaller (16 man FFA BB and 8 v 8 VTX teams). This ensures a tighter grouping of player Skill Ratings for the match and thus more even matches.
  • Player Skill Rating calculations (used by the Matchmaker) have been amended to ensure a wider spread from newbie to expert. This makes it easier for the matchmaker to find similar skilled players.
  • Numerous balance changes have been made in response to player feedback which should enable a variety of effective tactics to be employed to counter “flavor of the week” builds.
  • A “Newbie Offense and Defense” bonus has been added to help players who die frequently build up their offensive and defensive ratings to help make them more competitive. This works off Avatar Rank not Incarnation Rank so will only affect new avatars.

Read more about the Fury Challenge here.

Read more about the prizes here.

General : Garriott in Space: Details Released

Posted Sep 28, 2007 by Keith Cross

Space Adventures, Ltd. has sent out a press release confirming Richard Garriott's plans to head to the International Space Station in 2008, as well as providing information about why he's going and what he'll be doing while he's up there.

Vienna, Va. – September 28, 2007 – Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company, announced today that famed game developer Richard Garriott, son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, has begun preparations for a “commercially active” mission to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Mr. Garriott’s spaceflight, currently planned for October 2008, will be the first in a series of missions that will accommodate commercial activity aboard the ISS.  Involvement from the private sector can include scientific and environmental research and educational outreach programming.

“It has always been Space Adventures’ goal to open the space frontier.  Now, with Richard’s flight, we have designed a series of missions devoted to increase commercial involvement in manned space missions,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.  “It is a very rare occasion when so many commercial opportunities are available in one space mission. We encourage interested parties to contact us.”

Space Adventures made history in 2001 by organizing the mission of the first private space explorer.  Now, the company continues to bring innovation to manned spaceflight by enabling corporate and non-profit entities to participate in commercial endeavors on the planet’s only orbiting outpost.

“I am dedicating my spaceflight to science,” said Mr. Garriott.  “It is my goal to devote a significant amount of my time aboard the space station to science, engineering and educational projects.  I understand the necessity for conducting research in extreme environments whether it is collecting microorganisms from deep sea hydrothermal vents to carrying out experiments in the continuous micro-gravity of Earth orbit.” He continued, “We need to be adventurous in mind and simulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels.”

Read the full release here.

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