The developers over at NCSoft have released some brand new lore concerning their newest MMORPG, City of Villains. The story tells the tale of the slithering snake-men that inhabit Mercy Island:
In the days before Arachnos, Mercy was a lone town resting on the low banks of a large island. It was home to some fishing outfits and more than a few wintering pirates, but frequent disappearances and tales of bizarre snake-like creatures kept the population to a minimum.
Lord Recluse claimed this lonely spot of land shortly after his rise to power. Fort Cerberus was erected and patrols dispatched to discover the truth of these “snake-men.” The creatures were found in great numbers, but Arachnos’s overwhelming firepower quickly pushed them back into their warrens.
Over the next decade, Mercy grew and the snake-men were forgotten. They were far from dead, however. They had simply retreated deeper into the bowels of the earth. Lord Recluse knew full well the “Snakes” remained, but he was content to leave a few survivors for future study and possible use in his plans of world conquest.
The Rikti War and the many opportunities it presented changed Recluse’s focus in the new millennium. The Snakes were forgotten and allowed to multiply. A year after the Rikti defeat, they rose from their warrens and rampaged through Mercy. Arachnos repulsed the mutants, but Lord Recluse mysteriously—and quietly—left the lower end of the island to the Snakes. The creatures had proved quite powerful, and he felt they could be studied and put to use in many of his secret operations.
The Snake-infested area of Mercy also provided Lord Recluse with another useful purpose—a proving ground for super-powered beings. Those with promise are brought here and tested with a series of tasks to determine whether they have what it takes to survive. Those who do are tracked for possible recruitment into Arachnos’ ranks. Those who don’t are left to fend for themselves, becoming prey to the stronger.
For more City of Villains, click here.
There seems to have been a fair bit of activity over at Guild Wars over the last few days. November 10th and November 11th both saw updates hit the game, and with updates always come update notes:
Update - Friday, November 11
Update - Thursday, November 10
For mre Guild Wars, click here.
Dungeons and Dragons Online has come out with something a little bit different for their 24th monster profile. Rather than showing us something fantastical and ugly from the world of the game's mythology, they are giving us a look at what happens when humans (or other playable races) go wrong. This week's entry features the criminalistic Pirates!
Here near the ports of Xendrik, one of the most organized opponents that the civilized races can face are, well, themselves. Perhaps it is too strong a statement to call the loose confederation of thieves, brigands, and pirates that plague Stormreach organized—or even civilized—but they nonetheless present a threat not only to adventurers who come here, but also to the wellbeing of the city itself. More than once have I had to listen to the cries of sailors and boatmen under attack from this scourge, and thus I encourage some of my well-meaning companions to venture into the fight.
In combat, most pirates don't demonstrate a great skill with magic (though there are no doubt exceptions). They tend toward straightforward melee or ranged attacks, favoring weapons such as daggers, rapiers, and crossbows. What they lack for in military training or combat discipline they more than make up for in uncanny accuracy and their reliance on overwhelming numbers whenever possible. Some have developed a knack for hamstringing their foes, probably because most of their merchant targets tend to try and run rather than fight.
For More information on Dungeons and Dragons Online, click here.
It seems that Tulga Games and their MMORPG, Horizons, has scored a critical point in their story department. On November 11th, Tulga announced that they had procusred the services of sci-fi/fantasy author, Peter S. Beagle who is best known for his novel "The Last Unicorn". He is also known to Star Trek fans as the author of the popular episode, "Sarek" from The Next Generation:
Famed Fantasy Author Joins the Quest in MMORPG Horizons: Empire of Istaria
Peter S. Beagle to Develop Quests and Backstory for Fantasy Game
November 11, 2005 -- Today is a landmark day in the land of Istaria, as Peter S. Beagle, famed author of the classic fantasy novel "The Last Unicorn," has signed on to provide story support for the MMORPG - Horizons: Empire of Istaria. Throughout the coming months, Beagle will be writing quests for Horizons, along with enriching the overall backstory of the game and taking part in various in-game events.
Peter S. Beagle is best known for his work in fantasy, which includes the novels "A Fine and Private Place" and "The Last Unicorn," along with being credited as the screenwriter for the 1978 animated version of "The Lord of the Rings." His most popular work, "The Last Unicorn," has been in print since 1968, and is considered a fantasy classic among fans of the genre. Not limiting himself to fantasy, Peter S. Beagle is also the writer of "Sarek," one of the more popular episodes from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television series.
Developed by Tulga Games, the MMORPG Horizons: Empire of Istaria enables players to create characters from any of 11 fantasy races including Dragons, Satyrs, Dryads, Humans and Elves while developing skills from 50 schools. Horizons' world is near-limitless in scope; as dragons soar above and below one another in the skies and players embark upon adventures spanning land, sea and air while working collectively to build a variety of surface and subterranean structures. The game's family-friendly nature allows for cooperative gameplay, and players with limited time can enjoy brief solo adventures without suffering any penalty. More information about Horizons: Empire of Istaria is available at http://www.istaria.com.
For more on Horizons, click here.
Guest Writer Timothy Till took a look at Shadowbane and offers up this Progress Report on the game. Primarily this report is offered from the perspective of a fan.
| Nephilim and Vampires are two of the newest races to hit Shadowbane since release. Nephilim, bat winged demon spawn of chaos, are feared mages and casters that can fling doom from above. Vampires, the generals of the armies of oblivion, are the resilient walkers of the night with devastating drain attacks and impressive vulnerabilities. These two races have dramatically changed the face of PvP.
Sentinels, Doomsayers, Necromancers, and Nightstalkers are the newest character classes to be implemented since release. Doomsayers are perhaps the most powerful of these classes with their ability to drain life, mana, and cripple an enemy with debilitating debuffs. Sentinels come in a close second with their ability to make any PvP group utilizing holy damage to be dramatically more effective in combat.
You may read the entire article here.
Thanks to Magic Hat Software for sending these along.
NCsoft News: More Award Nominations for NCsoft
Finalists for the Digital Entertainment and Media Excellence (DEMX) Awards (formerly called the Billboard Digital Entertainment Awards) have been announced and two NCsoft titles (Guild Wars and City of Villains) are nominated in three categories! Check out the nominations at http://www.digitalentertainmentawards.com/finalists2.html.
For more information about Guild Wars, go to http://www.guildwars.com.
For more information about City of Villains, go to http://www.cityofvillains.com.
NCsoft North America is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is part of Korea-based NCsoft Corporation. NCsoft, with its own development and publishing offices in Texas and California, also works with subsidiaries and third party developers throughout North America to develop and publish innovative online entertainment software products. The company launched two massively multiplayer titles on the same day last year, Lineage® II and City of Heroes, and in April of 2005 the hit game Guild Wars®. In the coming months, NCsoft is poised to launch two more massively multiplayer titles: City of Villains and Auto Assault™. More information about NCsoft can be found at http://www.PlayNC.com.
ArenaNet, located in Bellevue, Washington, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NCsoft Corporation. ArenaNet has built a state-of-the-art, interactive game network and develops premier multiplayer online games for dedicated game players. ArenaNet’s first title, Guild Wars, is a global online roleplaying game that allows gamers to play with anyone, anytime and anywhere in the world. The novel business model, which requires no subscription fees and emphasizes instant action rather than time spent playing, has undoubtedly contributed to the huge commercial success of Guild Wars. More information about ArenaNet can be found at http://www.arena.net.
About Cryptic Studios
Cryptic Studios™, Inc., located in Los Gatos, California, was established in July of 2000 and is an independent developer of massively multiplayer online games for the PC and next generation consoles. Its first game, City of Heroes, launched in April 2004. The game takes place in a virtual world where thousands of people play simultaneously, take on the role of super-powered heroes, fight villains and help create a dynamic story in a visually-stunning, 3-D graphical world.
Bert Harvey from Pirates of the Burning Sea has released a new developer log. This one talks about missions in the game, and how they are handled. Titled "Missions and you, a brief introduction", the log provides some insight into this highly anticipated game.
Missions and you, a brief introduction
Hi all, I’m Bert Harvey, one of the mission designers on Pirates of the Burning Sea. I come to Flying Lab from Monolith Production’s The Matrix Online, where I worked on the test team, designed missions, and wrote articles for the MxO webpage under the handle errorcode. Being one of the new guys (read – low man on the totem pole) and having some experience writing web articles, I was asked to give a brief overview of our mission system and talk about just what Pirates of the Burning Sea is going to offer players hungry for PvE adventures.
First, let me start off by saying the mission design tool is, simply put, amazing. From a designer stand-point it’s a wonderfully robust and flexible tool that lets me practically get away with anything my imagination (or rum-induced hallucinations) can come up with. We have a very talented dev staff to thank for this wonderful tool and now it falls to the mission design staff to use it for good.
Now, you may wonder how this matters to you. It does, trust me. If you’ve ever played a game and gotten frustrated because every mission seemed to be “same old, same old”, then you probably ran into a mission design team hampered with a limited or difficult mission tool. They could be the most amazingly brilliant folks on earth, but if they don’t have a tool that lets them actually be creative, they’re stuck. The mission team on Pirates is fortunate in that we have great tools to work with while creating our missions for your enjoyment.
Now, saying all that, let’s talk about the missions themselves. Generally speaking, all missions will come from one of our varied and colorful cast of characters inhabiting any one of our numerous ports. The mission I’ll use as my example here is given by a naval officer and starts with the NPC displaying the mission to the player. The mission is named Rum Runners. When the player clicks on the mission they are interested in, the NPC fills them in on some details regarding the mission. Rum Runners is a straightforward blockade mission, where the player is tasked with helping the local navy stop smugglers from making landfall and avoiding the local tariffs. The NPC also mentions payment for the mission, which is sure to be a large motivating factor for many players...
To read the rest of this log, click here.
Lineage II has announced that Antharas, the Earth Dragon has been defeated on more servers. They have also provided the neams of the alliance that brought the great best down.
Antharas was defeated for the first time on the Bartz, Kain, and Lionna servers this past weekend. A number of alliances on each server united to overcome the Earth Dragon:
Bartz (November 5, 2005)
Kain (November 4, 2005)
Lionna (November 5, 2005)
Congratulations to these alliances and servers for this impressive feat!
For more information on Lineage II, click here.
Horizons has released a short preview of Tulga's plans to re-introduce the use of crystals into their gaming world of Istaria. The preview is fairly detailed and we have provided a sample below:
Here is a short preview of the first phase of the long awaited re-introduction of Crystals into Istaria.
An updated and permanent guide will replace this upon completion, with imformation on what part the Dragon Ability of Crystal Transmuting, will play in the crystal re-introduction.
New Weapon Crystals:
Damage over Time Crystals – Magic Based
These crystals when placed into a Weapon Socket, infuse the weapon with a 3% chance to do additional damage over time of a specific type on both special and regular spell attacks.
To get the rest of this preview, click here.
Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online team has finally annoucned the playable classes for their highly anticipated franchise-based MMO. The classes are: Champion, Guardian, Captain, Hunter, Burgler, Minstrel and Lore-Master.
When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, there was no such thing as an MMORPG; no such thing as classes or hit points or combat systems. Still, from his works sprang what we now call the fantasy genre, and traditional races such as Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits (Halflings) are pervasive in fantasy settings.
Maintaining the themes that are so crucial to The Lord of the Rings is a priority for the LOTRO design team when creating the systems in the game. Classes are especially challenging because magic can be very subtle in Middle-earth, and most MMORPG players expect (or even demand) to be able to play spell-casters as well as the more clearly-defined classes like warriors, rogues, and healers. It was Morale that helped the classes coalesce and fall into place.
This week, we'll introduce you to the classes by giving an overview of what they are, and a brief description of how they work. Stay tuned; we'll continue to flesh out the information on the classes through site updates on a regular basis, with information like which races can play each class, special abilities, and more.
Thanks for your patience while waiting for us to unveil the class system in LOTRO. We'd love to hear what you think about the classes, so don't hesitate to post your comments on our forums, even if you've never posted before.
And now, without further ado: Playable Classes in The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar™
-The LOTRO Team
For more on LOTRO, click here.
Tactica Online has announced some pretty exciting news: the have opened their registration for Beta testing! They are planning to get their first players started in a couple of weeks and will add to the number of players as their Beta progresses:
As many of you guessed, today's special news is that registration for Beta Testing is now open!
The first batch of public testers will be able to start playing in a couple of weeks, and successive batches will increase the size of the pool. Initial numbers will be limited, but we appreciate the enthusiasm shown by community members over the past few months, and to show that appreciation preference for early stages of the Beta Test will be given to forum members.
You can sign up at Beta Registration. See you online!
For mroe Tactica Online news, click here.
What happens if you blend our favorite entertainment medium with an orchestra and a chior? You get PLAY!, a touring concert series featuring the music from some of the biggest titles in video games, including our own MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Who says that video games don't have a place in "high society"?
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., November 7th, 2005 JMP Productions announced today that PLAY!, a symphony concert series with music from a catalogue of blockbuster video game titles will tour the world, starting in North America in April 2006.
PLAY! A Video Game Symphony concerts, to be performed by full orchestra and choir, will feature award-winning music from titles such as FINAL FANTASY (R), SILENT HILL (R), BATTLEFIELD 1942 (TM), WORLD OF WARCRAFT (R) and THE ELDER SCROLLS III: MORROWIND (TM). Outstanding graphics on large screens above the orchestra will accompany the scores, highlighting memorable moments from the video games. "As the most experienced team in the field of video game music concerts we will present the ultimate tour to the fans.", says series producer Jason Michael Paul. "Our concerts will feature many brand new arrangements done by the original composers themselves. We will focus on celebrating video game music like never before."
Arnie Roth, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Chicagoland Pops will serve as Principal Conductor and Music Director for this concert series: "This spectacular concert will attract people of all generations to some of the worlds greatest concert halls."
The first state side video game music concert, Dear Friends-Music from FINAL FANTASY, was held on May 10, 2004 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA. The concert, produced by JMP Productions, featured music from Square Enix's world-renowned video game series, celebrated the unique beauty of FINAL FANTASY's award-winning score and images. Performed by the acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Dear Friends sold out in three days and received rave reviews from the press. The positive reception given to that performance gave rise to the 2005 U.S. concert series, under the direction of Maestro Arnie Roth. The performance of Dear Friends-Music from FINAL FANTASY by the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra and CPO Festival Choir, conducted by Roth in February 2005 was a sold-out house of over 4,250. Of the attendees, many were young people who had never attended an orchestral concert before.
Producer: Jason Michael Paul Productions
Paul has brought critical acclaim to the video game music genre after creating the first ever video game music concert series in the U.S. with Dear Friends- Music from FINAL FANTASY. As a producer, he has staged concerts around the world for such artists as Luciano Pavarotti, and The Three Tenors. Paul began his career at a marketing agency handling corporate entertainment and environmental design for clients such as Sony Computer Entertainment America, Sun Microsystems, Adidas, Midway Entertainment, Sony Metreon and Square Enix.
Music Director and Conductor: Arnie Roth
Roth is a Grammy Award winning artist known for his work with performers Diana Ross, Charlotte Church, Peter Cetera, Art Garfunkel, the Irish Tenors, and Dennis DeYoung. He has also been a long time member of Mannheim Steamroller. Roth has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony, the Houston Symphony, and the BBC Symphony. Roth served as the Music Director and Conductor for Dear Friends, and More Friends Concerts. He has produced and conducted music for many films, and has produced dozens of best-selling CDs, released on American Gramaphone, JVC, Mattel, Warner Bros., Sony, Koch, and Razor & Tie. Roth received the award for Best Score at the 2003 DVD Premier Awards.
Exclusive Representation: IMG Artists
IMG Artists is the global leader in the arts management business, combining the highest standards of management with an incomparable range of services. With offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia, IMG Artists delivers an international suite of capabilities including the management and touring of the finest musicians, dance companies, orchestras, and attractions, the consulting and advisory work for sovereign clients, arts institutions, concert halls, and culturally engaged corporations, and the production of critically acclaimed audio/visual projects.
Ashen Empires has announced the release of an expansion pack, titled "Talazar's Revenge". The expansion is a first for Ashen Empires and includes everything that you would expecyt from an expansion (see below). The product sells for $17.95US.
The first expansion pack for Ashen Empires is released!
The land of Dransik has has been preparing for the day when the Dark Lord Talazar would return to seek his vengeance. That day is today! Join forces in allegiance with Talazar or battle against the evil he brings in the first expansion pack for Ashen Empires, Talazar's Revenge!
Talazar's Revenge Features:
Purchase the TR expansion for only $17.95us by logging into your Ashen Empires account at:
For more on Ashen Empires, click here.
The Chronicle is the first of several titles on tap at Rapid Reality, the Atlanta-based company behind MMOCenter.com. We learn a bit more about it, their second title in development Machines and some initial details on three more projects coming down the pipe. This article is based off an interview with Adam Ghetti at the Austin Game Conference.
| Adam Ghetti, the Creative Director at Rapid Reality is a sort of enigma. Ghetti is young, even for the youth-centered games industry. He cannot drink a beer in the United States, yet is a driving force behind one of the most ambitious MMORPG companies out there. We spoke to Adam at the Austin Game Conference about MMOCenter.com and its flagship debut game The Chronicle.
The Chronicle is a medieval fantasy game, the first product for MMOCenter.com, which is a designed to house a multitude of games built using Kaneva’s game engine. True to their company name, Rapid Reality intends to build MMOs quickly and support those that catch on.
Closed beta starts soon; Adam suggested targets of the second or third week in November. This includes the 500 pre-orders and an addition 1,500 beta testers.
You may read the full article here.
MMORPG Sphere goes on portable platforms
MOSCOW and SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 17, 2005 – Nikita, 1C and Yandex jointly announced the release of the mobile version of the online game Sphere. The first Russian massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is now available on portable platforms. The project was created with the help of the Intel Early Access Program.
Mobile Sphere for Pocket PC and Smart-phone is unique – there are no similar projects in the world of game development to date. The fascinating experience of MMORPG and the advantages of portable platforms are combined into one system. Now, all the inhabitants of the fascinating virtual world of Sphere can greatly reduce former interruptions in playing the game.
The mobile client provides gamers with a broad range of features taken from the original version of the game. There are communications, trading with the original interface, and also free moving amongst each other in the trading place. The client connects to the game server of Sphere. Therefore users can see each other no matter which kind of device they use.
On the mobile devices, Sphere’s 3D graphics remains a stunning experience. The Intel® XScale® processor running at 600 MHz for Pocket PCs and at 300 MHz for smart-phones delivers 3D imaging with both high performance and excellent quality while the Intel® 2700G Multimedia Accelerator (Marathon) provides users with maximum execution speed.
“We are delighted to help software companies to create and bring onto the market new exciting applications that enable people to enjoy their digital content anywhere and anytime,” says David P. Ryan, Director of Intel’s Software Enabling Division in Europe. “We hope that our efforts will change the way people think about entertainment, bringing new opportunities to enjoy their digital content with much more flexibility and freedom: at home as well as while having a cup of coffee in the coffee shop or at the airport enabled with a wireless hot spot.
For Intel® XScale® PXA 27X Pocket PCs and smart-phones running Windows Mobile (e.g., Dell Axim X50v, Fujitsu-Siemens LOOX 718, Asustek P505, BenQ P50, HTC Magician - Qtek s100, Samsung SGH-i70, etc.), the mobile Sphere application is available for download from the web-site www.sphere.yande.ru where instructions on downloading can also be found.
Nikita, headquartered in Moscow, is the leading Russian supplier of computer games and mobile services and Russia's first game company. The company's main activities are computer games development; localization of games for Russian users, development of value added entertainment services based on MMS, WAP, GPRS, SMS, and J2ME technologies and their provision to subscribers of mobile operators as well as publication of SMS-Life, an interactive magazine for young people. Nikita’s highly successful development efforts and services rely on state-of-the-art technology and platforms.
1С specializes in developing, distributing, publishing and supporting computer games and databases for home and office use. Founded in 1991 and with headquarters in Moscow, the company employs more than 500. From its warehouse and through the most developed partner network in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – 5,300 permanent partners in 570 cities across Russia, the CIS and the Baltic states), 1C supplies a full range of consumer software for home and office, with currently more than 5,000 products. 1C is known as one of the most successful game publishers in Russia and cooperates with the leading developer teams in Russia and the neighboring states such as Action Forms, Akella, Apeiron, Arise, Best Way, Creat Studio, CrioLand, Dark Fox, Digital Spray Studio, DiP Interactive, DTF Games, DVS, Eagle Dynamics, Elemental Games, Gaijin Entertainment, G5 Software, Ino-Co, Katauri, K-D LAB, KDV Games, KranX Productions, Meridian`93, Nikita, Nival Interactive, Orion, OSW Games, PIPE studio, Saturn plus, SkyFallen Entertainment, Skyriver Studios, SoftLabNSK, Xbow software and many others. Proprietary developments of 1C are well-known outside of Russia. The combat flight simulators Il2 Sturmovik, Il2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles and Pearl Harbor achieved well-deserved recognition from players around the world and received over 50 prestigious international awards. 1C games are distributed worldwide by major publishers including ATARI, Codemasters, THQ, and Ubisoft.
Yandex is the largest Russian portal offering a variety of web services. According to the research companies Comcon and Gallup Media, Yandex became the biggest resource on the Russian Internet in terms of its audience in mid-2001 and has remained in the lead since then. Yandex’ services include web search and a catalogue of websites, a payment system as well as the latest news, encyclopedias and dictionaries, an expert system for selecting products, a catalogue of vendors' offerings, a no limit email service, hosting, and more. Yandex also provides excellent media for both mass and highly targeted advertising.
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom.
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
The Camelot Herald today carries a reminder for the Fan Gathering in Seattle, Washington on Saturday. Mythic's Sanya Thomas as well as others will be on hand.
|Live near Seattle? Want to have some nibbles, free soda, and fun times? Want to be famous on the Mythic Picture Blog? Over 150 people have already indicated they plan to attend our Roundtable Roadtrip: http://roundtable.darkageofcamelot.com/Nov_05_Seattle.php|
You can read more on the Herald, including some update and downtime drama they had today, by following this link.
The official Auto Assault website is carrying a wealth of new information today. There is a flash lesson in chasis, new recon, a new clan on their listing and an edition of the Wednesday Weight-In.
|This week we have the second lesson of Chassis 101, a Flash primer that teaches Auto Assault's chassis system and its various hardpoints. The second lesson focuses on power plants, tires, and armor.
Our Weigh-in Wednesday poll gets a bit more cerebral, asking, "You found a nice weapon, but not one that you can use for any of your own characters. Which are you most likely to do?"
For more information on Auto Assault, check out their website.
In addition to the Live Update (see below) SOE also posted the background story for a Live Event entitled "New Griffon Towers". Here is a snippet of the story:
|She came from a long line of builders. Her parents were both builders as were their parents and their parents before them. Strong and sturdy, the dwarves knew how stones fit together, how the land reacted to removing this boulder or that outcropping.
"The land your parents built was different, Maggie" said the foreman. "I heard the stories, too, but look around you. The lands are shattered. Splintered."
Maggie ground her teeth together. She had heard these arguments before and knew that she would hear them again.
Click here to read the story.
SOE posted some Live Update notes for EverQuest II today. This the sixteenth set of live updates to the game since its launch and includes some one-year anniversary content.
You can read the full update notes here.