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Pirates of the Burning Sea : Launch Day Previews

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Jon Wood

Both Carolyn Koh and Laura Genender took part in the Pirates of the Burning Sea beta. Now that the game has launched, they give us their impressions of the nautical game in this Launch Day Preview.

“Gimme a 500 word preview of PotBS!” said Jon “Stradden” Wood. “I want to run it Tuesday with one from Laura.” Um, yeah, sure! I’d love to. Now

So… what is Pirates of the Burning Sea like? These are my impressions:

The World: It’s historical and mostly accurate. It’s Pirates! What’s there not to love for a history buff like me? I enjoyed the early wonder (and scariness) of sailing to the headquarters of the European nations – the motherland as it were.

Avatars: I love them in one aspect – the customization is really great and their clothing is fabulous. On another, some of the animation just annoys the heck out of me and doesn’t look as smooth and polished as it could be. I remind myself often that avatars are a late addition.

Avatar Combat: Don’t be looking at PotBS if you are looking for an avatar combat heavy MMOG. This was designed as Ship Combat from the get go (five years ago) with an avatar combat system added in about a couple years back. Most avatar combat is to be had on missions and if you choose to grapple and board a ship on the seas. Your skills are your attacks and actually having a choice of styles is rather fun.

Read it all here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Pirates of the Burning Sea Goes Live

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has announced the official launch of Pirates of the Burning Sea.

We are now live! As of now, you need an Activation Key to play. Your Activation Key is included in your retail box.

If you purchased the game via digital download from SOE’s Station Store, you will not receive an Activation Key and instead your account is automatically enabled to play.

If you purchased the game via digital download from another store, you will receive your Activation Key in email this morning circa our launch time. If you have not received your Activation Key from a digital download purchase, please contact a customer service representative from the store where you made your purchase.

If you do have an Activation Key, you will be prompted to enter it when you first log in to the game. You can also do this on the web by visiting your SOE Station account page and entering it there.

If you have a Landing Party Key because you bought the special preorder retail box, this is an optional key and is not required to play. The Landing Party Key enables all characters you create to use /claim to retrieve your parrot & swords preorder bonus items. Characters who already used /claim during the preboarding period keep their parrot & swords even without using the Landing Party key. If you need to apply your Landing Party key, do so at the same SOE Station account page where you entered your Activation Key.

Read more here.

EverQuest : Dev Chat - Wednesdey January 23rd

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Please join us on Wednesday, January 23rd at 7pm EST for another MMORPG.com dev chat!

Come meet the developers of EverQuest, live in the MMORPG.com Chatroom! Starting at 7pm EST on 01/23/08, the EverQuest developers will answer your questions about the game, the world, recent updates, and future plans! Bring a question, bring a friend! After the chat, be sure to stick around for EverQuest and other MMORPG discussion.

Users can also connect via any IRC client, to server irc.coldfront.net port 6667. The chat will take place in #mmorpg.

Learn more about EverQuest here.

 

World of Warcraft : Over 10,000,000 Served

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that the subscriber base for their wildly popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, has now topped the 10 million benchmark.

Subscriber base for Blizzard Entertainment®s massively multiplayer online role-playing game now exceeds 2.5 million in North America, while Europe passes the 2 million mark

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that subscribership for World of Warcraft®, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), has continued to climb, recently passing 10 million worldwide. Interest in the game has remained high in all regions, with thousands of new and returning players signing up through the holiday season. World of Warcraft now hosts more than 2 million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and approximately 5.5 million in Asia.

Its very gratifying to see gamers around the world continuing to show such enthusiasm and support for World of Warcraft, said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. Were always pleased to welcome new players to the game, and were looking forward to sharing the next major content update with the entire community in the months ahead.

Since debuting in North America on November 23, 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular MMORPG around the world. It was the bestselling PC game of 2005 and 2006 worldwide, and finished behind only World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade®, the first expansion pack for the game, in 2007.* In addition to being the bestselling PC game of 2007 in both North America and Europe, The Burning Crusade holds the record for fastest-selling PC game of all time, with nearly 2.4 million copies sold in its first 24 hours of availability and approximately 3.5 million in its first month.* Development is underway on World of Warcrafts second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, which was unveiled at the companys BlizzCon gaming festival in August 2007.

World of Warcraft is currently available in seven languages, with a Russian version in development and scheduled for release later this year. In addition to North America and Europe, World of Warcraft is played in mainland China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

For further information on World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King, please visit the official website at www.worldofwarcraft.com. To keep pace with the continued growth of World of Warcraft as well as development on other Blizzard Entertainment games, the company is currently hiring for numerous open positions -- more information on available career opportunities at Blizzard Entertainment can be found at http://jobs.blizzard.com.

More on WoW here.

Age of Conan : Engine Video

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Funcom have put together a video showcasing the engine being used in Age of Conan.

Video Interview Engine Video
Check out this demo video of the AoC demo.

More on AoC here.

General : SwitchBlade for Guild Wars and Hellgate

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blue Orb, the folks behind SwitchBlade, have announced plans to support Guild Wars, Hellgate: London, and Half-Life 2 by the end of January.  SwitchBlade allows players to play games on their PC using a console controller.

Maitland, FL - January 22, 2008 - Blue Orb, Inc., the company that brings the console controller experience to PC games with SwitchBlade(TM), has announced plans to add support for Guild Wars, Hellgate: London, and Half-Life 2 on January 29.

The game-specific solutions, called "Blades," are being fine-tuned by Blue Orb's user experience team, and promise to bring gamers a whole new way to play these popular titles. In addition to the new offerings, the World of Warcraft Blade has been upgraded, with new class-specific templates that offer a better controller experience to individual classes.

"The WoW Blade launch exceeded even our own expectations," said Aaron Levin, Vice President of Business Development for Blue Orb. "Its success has only reaffirmed our goal - to provide something that many people have been demanding; the console experience with their PC. It goes beyond just slapping on controller support. Our team creates a finely tuned experience."

Read more about SwitchBlade here.

Age of Conan : Official Conan Blog Updated

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Jon Wood

Jason Stone, better known as Athelan, has updated his official Age of Conan Blog with info and his opinion of the delay.

So I just got back yesterday, which for us here in the US is a lesser known holiday Martin Luther King day which celebrates the work of Martin Luther King and the nonviolent civil rights movement in the 1950's and 1960's. My wife and I had gone up to Oakhurst with my Father in Law to help him work some property that he purchase. This time it was mostly burn piles, rather than clearing brush. We had a good time but it was exhausting and we also got a chance to go ride our dirt bikes/four wheelers out in the mountains and I only fell over and ate the dirt once.

So big big news  yesterday. First we got the shiny new www.ageofconan.com website.

Then we got the announcement about the release date being moved to May 20th.

And an explanation from our very own Game Director Gaute.

Read the rest of the  blog here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Launch Delayed Until 10am PST- Update

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab sodtware has announced that the launch of Pirates of the Burning Sea has been delayed until 10am PST at the earliest, because of issues with SOE's LaunchPad.

Our launch is delayed until at least 10 a.m. Pacific time due to an issue with SOE’s LaunchPad. Our friends at SOE are debugging an issue they discovered during final testing and they expect to have it resolved, tested, and live within the hour.

We’re really sorry for this delay but are at least pleased that the issue was discovered internally before all of you hit it instead!

Update: Flying Lab says that SOE has now fixed the problem, and the game is on track to launch very soon.

SOE quickly fixed the issue with LaunchPad and they and we have been rerunning all of our final tests. So far all is well and we expect to go live within a few minutes. We won’t be live exactly at 10 a.m. Pacific time, but it won’t be long now at all. Thanks for your patience and PREPARE TO BOARD!

Read more here.

General : Closed Beta Begins January 28th

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

GameTribe has announced that the closed beta for Infinity, their new action MMO, will begin on Monday, January 28th.

Are you ready for a new adventure?

Next Monday January 28th GameTribe will launch the closed beta phase of its action game Infinity!

Enter the Arena with your Aterion warrior and fight against other players or side by side with your friends in the cooperative mode.

Limited access are available so run to GameTribe and register to get your chance to be one of the lucky beta tester: we’ll periodically activate new accounts.

We’ll send an email to all the lucky players that will be extracted!

The game main features are:

  • Fast paced action: fight alongside your guards to add to the combat mayhem and unlock powerful combos as you press on in the game!
  • Spectacular graphic: Infinity lets you feel the rage of battle and easily adapts to always give you the best point of view of the fight.
  • Chain combo system: use up to 42 skill combinations to destroy your enemy!

Be part of the action!

Infinity is waiting for you….

Read more about Infinity here.

Tabula Rasa : Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Tabula Rasa official site has been updated with an overview of news, and events that will be held this week.

We'd like to thank those that are already playing on the Public Test Server, logging bugs, and providing feedback on the 1.4 build. Already, we've been able to identify several issues and server stability improvements that can be made that will require one more iteration of 1.4. We hope to get this new build on to PTS very soon so that it may be tested for a live candidate. Thanks again for your participation!

Test Fest '08
Speaking of the Test Server, please make sure to check out our latest promotion where players have the opportunity to receive charcoal armor dye! Read more about Test Fest '08!

Multi Clan War: Player Event
Hosted by Foliage Pulverizers
Pegasus Server

We're looking for solo players and Pegasus clans of all sizes that can commit at least 4 players to a multi clan 2 hour timed war on Saturday, February 2, 2008.

We will arrange the wars appropriately depending on the number of clans entered. If you're a solo player we'll arrange a clan for you to participate in, possibly made up of other solo players.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : Release Date Push Explained by Director

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Keith Cross

Yesterday's announcement that Age of Conan would be delayed until May the 20th. As can be expected, fan response to this announcement has ranged from disappointment to support. As a result of this, Gaute Godager, the game's Director explained the move in a post on the official Age of Conan forums.

It feels to me I am the Herald of bad news (no, it is not a new class). Rather, I am the grey faced postman always arriving with the bills. I am the guy with a yellow post-it on your windshield confessing a fender bender. I am the only one in the elevator when the door opens, and a pretty lady enters reaching for her nose. It seems I only write to you with bad news – that’s all I do! I want to write this update to encourage you – we are on the right track, and by Crom we are close to the finish!

Although you might not see it this way, and you are frustrated, we delay because - it is right. It is the right thing to do! Naturally I sound righteous, haughty and bordering on arrogant when I say this: This is the right thing to do. You want something better than what you would have gotten in March. You deserve something better! I want to apologize – not for what we did but because some of you might have gotten upset. For that I am sorry. For this decision, and every one leading up to it – I stand by it 100%! This game will rock!

Ok, enough with the emotions, though I simply needed to get this off my chest. Why do we delay again? It is simple and it is complex:

- The level of bugs.

The previous delay was for a major reason – the combat control and balance. This is no longer the case. We have the big things under control, although not all has reached beta in the speed I would have liked to have seen! It is now simply getting in the things we did, polished. We have continued to receive fantastic feedback for the previous changes. See this article for instance: http://www.computerandvideogames.com....php?id=178652 if you worry that the game has not progressed. The previous delay was correct and time spent wisely, so is this - and so will this time be spent!

The simplicity of this explanation (bugs) as the reason behind the delay is that you have heard it before by all major players in the industry and by all others making computer software. Bugs are controllable on a statistical level, but I guess sometimes statistics don’t really reflect the experience. Although we have seen bugs go down as predicted by statistics, the increase in polish didn’t really follow suit. This discrepancy can only be explained that the bugs we have fixed aren’t by themselves flawless. Two bugs out of beta and one in. Again a well known phenomena. The added time should now deal with it. We are on the right track.

I guess you saw we hosted a large community event at the end of last week, giving the awesome Conan fan- sites a chance to see, ask and learn as much as they could about the nuts and bolts of the game. (And meet so many of you really cool people – how did you like the Stygian restaurant?) This event was all about giving as much info as we were asked (in addition to us presenting a lot ourselves;-). I think it’s safe to say that many of us had a great time at the event, but since so much info came out of it I also see the need to clarify some things. I am creating a State of the game update so you can learn more about how we are moving ahead. Today, however, I wanted to speak about the additional eight weeks of development, and the new release date.

Reading your concerns and replies about the delay on our forums I see, and understand, that many of you are concerned about the status of the game. I also see that many of you support our decision in pushing it back, since you have played enough MMO’s to understand. Like me, you know that the last stretch of polish is what makes or breaks our MMO straight-after-launch-first-impression. Like me, many of you know that making games is not an exact science. We are dealing with emotions, and fun, and technology and what have you.

Launching in March was our clear goal, even up to last week. As a listed company we are forced to deal with release dates in a different manner, especially since a lot of our value is based on Age of Conan. And whenever something changes, we need to inform the market first. Most of our people only found out this morning due to legal requirements. The final decision was something I and some of our key management people made over the weekend. The premise was simple. As we now moved into the home stretch, we took that last, long look at the state of the game. How would it be come March? Would it become like we intended it to be if we launched in March? The final word from our CEO came on Saturday evening, after we discussed this through the day. And here we are.

Let me be very clear about this; as opposed to our last pushback in August we are not about redesigning parts of the game this time around. Now we are on the final stretch, with the goal plain in sight. I have assured you before, but we are neither the first nor the last gaming company to add more development time to our game in the last stretch. That is not an excuse though, but ultimately it’s the quality which matters. That is the only yardstick which truly matters. This additional time is about hope. In only four more months you will know if we made the right move. I feel confident we have!

Yours truly,

Gaute

Check it out for yourself here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Countdown to Launch Screen - Launch Day

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Jon Wood

Flying Lab Software is launching Pirates of the Burning Sea today. Leading up to the launch, we have been publishing one exclusive screenshot a day. Today, in celebration of the launch (which happens officially at 9am Pacific), we bring you two.

 

 

 

 

 

More on PotBS here.

Age of Conan : Art Book Preview: Stygia

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Jon Wood

While in Norway, MMORPG.com was provided with samples from the Age of Conan Art Book. Today, we present this overview of art from the in-game area known as Stygia.

Check it all out here.

Age of Conan : Press Event Report Part Two

Posted Jan 22, 2008 by Jon Wood

Last week, Managing Editor Jon Wood traveled to Norway to visit the studios of Funcom's Age of Conan. Today, he presents part two of his report with a heavy focus on weather and mounted combat.

Yesterday, in Part One of this report, I told you about some of the things that I learned while visiting the Funcom offices in Oslo, Norway. Today, that article continues on to things like: Mounted Combat, Visuals, and more.

During our tour of the offices, we stopped by various production areas to talk about specific aspects of the game. The developers that we met all seemed eager to talk about the areas of the game that they have been working on.

They say that art is in the small details, those things that are present in an image, but that we don’t necessarily notice right away. For me, that has always included things like weather, time of day, shadows and the like, so it was interesting to learn a little more about those aspects in Age of Conan.

Read it all here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Pre-Launch Gold Selling Crackdown

Posted Jan 21, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has announced that they have issued a series of bans to various Pirates of the Burning Sea accounts for gold selling activities.  This crackdown on gold selling comes just days before the launch of Pirates of the Burning Sea on January 22nd.

This evening, Flying Lab Software staff issued a series of permanent bans as a result of gold selling activities by players of Pirates of the Burning Sea. Additionally, 24 hour bans were issued on multiple accounts found to have participated in the transfer of this illicit gold.

Please understand that we will investigate all reports of illicit transactions and we will following up with the appropriate disciplinary actions, which could include confiscation of the resources in question, and ultimately banning accounts that sell or buy these illicit resources.

In the future, if you are approached by someone seeking to sell you gold, you are asked to file a support ticket by typing /support in game, or by visiting our support site.

Customers are encouraged to share as much information as possible, including the characters name, the server where this occurred, the time of the incident and any links they may have shared with you during the solicitation.

Read more here.

General : Looking For Group Vol. 1 Published

Posted Jan 21, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blind Ferret Entertainment has announced the release of Looking For Group Vol. 1, a hardcover collection of the popular online gaming comic.

Montreal - January 21, 2008: Blind Ferret Entertainment ("Blind Ferret") is proud to announce the release of Looking For Group Vol. 1, a Hard Cover Collection of Issues #1 through #4 of the popular comic of the same name.

"This has been a project in the works since we created Looking For Group back in November 2006. To be able to put out such a wonderful product for our fans, and only a year after starting the property, is just amazing. We're just thrilled to be able to continue doing what we love, writing and drawing Looking For Group every week." Says Ryan Sohmer, Write and Co-Creator of Looking For Group.

2,000 copies of the Limited Edition book will be printed, with 1,000 going on sale on Monday January 21, and the remaining 1,000 on Thursday January 24. "Three months ago, we released our first major piece of merchandise for Looking For Group, a figurine based off the character of 'Richard'. At the time, we couldn't have foreseen the demand, and we sold out in under 24 hours. Unfortunately that meant that many fans missed out on the opportunity. We wanted to make this collection as available as possible to LFG fans, and as a result, we're committing to printing 2,000 copies," says Randy Waxman, President of Blind Ferret Entertainment.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : New Site

Posted Jan 21, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has announced that Age of Conan now has shiny new official site at www.ageofconan.com.

Durham, USA – January 18, 2008 – Funcom and Eidos are proud to reveal that a new website for Age of Conan has launched. Conveniently located at www.ageofconan.com, the site gives both new and existing fans an exciting look at the fascinating Age of Conan universe. Filled with several new videos, a selection of some of the best screenshots from the game, popular links and much more, the new site is an entertaining and informative experience for both new and existing fans.

“As an online gaming company we are always focused on improving our online presence, and the launch of the new Age of Conan website is a move we wanted to do prior to launch,” said Morten Larssen, VP of Sales & Marketing in Funcom. “With the new website we have tried to capture the very essence of what the Conan brand is all about, and we hope both fans and newcomers will enjoy it.”

To celebrate the launch of the new website Funcom and Eidos are also releasing a new trailer* showcasing the incredible qualities of the Dreamworld MMO engine. Shown for the first time at the CES convention last week, the new video gives a small peek into what the proprietary Funcom MMO engine is capable of.
Additionally three new teaser web trailers are now available on the site, each one giving a further glimpse into the world of Conan.

Read more here.

Visit the new site here.

Lord of the Rings Online : The Outfit System and Barbershops

Posted Jan 21, 2008 by Jon Wood

Turbine has released a new internal Dev Journal on the Outfit System and the Barbershops that will be introduced in the upcoming free update, Book 12.

In addition to bringing you the Month of the Guardian, the Month of the Burglar, the Month of the Champion, the Ettendeep, and Angmar Revisited, Book 12: The Ashen Wastes will also go down in history as introducing The Month of Avatar Customization - as we like to call these things here at Turbine.

Now, you might be asking yourself: "Why on Middle-earth would the devs be focusing on avatar customization when they've still got Mordor to build?!"

Well, anecdotally speaking, I can't recall a single Dev Chat (and as everyone who's had to wait while I typed up an answer knows, I've done a lot of them) where someone hasn't asked for additional character customization options. In fact, the request for just an option to toggle your shoulder armour off and on has come up in every one of our last 5 European Dev Chats (big shout-out to our Codemasters players here!).

We can take a hint, so we got to work.

But, we're not just giving you the option to toggle your shoulder (and glove) armour in Book 12 -- no, we're giving you more. Much more!

Book 12 introduces two brand new Avatar Customization features to LOTRO: The Outfit System, and Barbershops.

Here are the details:

Read it all here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Jan 21, 2008 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. I have a question I hope someone can answer. I am trying to find out what the cap on spell piercing bonuses is. I currently have a templated wizard, and when I type /bonuses, it shows a 20% spell piercing bonus. Since /bonuses show 20% to spell piercing, is that indeed accurate?

A. I sent this one over to the Balancinator, who was happy to reply. The spell piercing bonus cap is 10%. You do not receive bonuses to spell piercing beyond the 10%, but it is possible to equip items that take you over the cap. The /bonuses field should not report anything over the 10% cap. It has been entered into our bug tracker and is awaiting a fix. Thank you for pointing it out.

Q. If you are grouped with a character, and that character is pretty far away (e.g. at Druim Cain while you are at Crauchon), does that character siphon Realm Points for any kills you make? Even though that character is not in range to get any of the Realm Points?

A guildie was telling me that an AFK'er I was grouped with was cutting my Realm Point production in half, because the Realm Points were divided by the number in the group, and then apportioned out. So even though the AFK'er was well away from the zone I was in, he was impacting the number of Realm Points I was producing.

A. The Bearded Wonder helped out with this one: Being in a group affects the number of Realm Points you receive, regardless of the distance. The AFK character may be too far to get any Realm Points but the other character will get less than if they attacked solo. So if you know that your buddy is going to be afk for awhile, it’s probably a good idea for you to disband him from the group until he comes back, to get the highest gain in Realm Points.

Open the Grab Bag here.

Vanguard : Players Raid Footage of APW

Posted Jan 21, 2008 by Keith Cross

A number of player made videos have been posted on the Vanguard official site.  The videos are of players making their way through the Ancient Port Warehouse, and includes footage of a guild taking down General Vicus in less than 3 minutes.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the power of in-game video footage must say it all! Vanguard players from every server are saying it loud and clear: We've earned our way into Ancient Port Warehouse; we're killing mobs and taking names (and video)! Here you'll find some of the more recent player-shot in-game footage of raiding in APW. Enjoy!

Read more here.

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