To accompany Mathew Reuther's first article on The Anatomy of a Launch, he also had the opportunity to ask a few questions of Funcom's Jorgen Tharaldsen. In this unconventions Q&A, Reuther comments on the questions asked and the answers given.
As there are significant overcrowding (queue) issues being experienced on a number of the more popular Early Access PvP servers, have any plans been put into motion (i.e. character transfers) to alleviate the pressure by offloading volunteers to other less populous servers?
We do have server transfer technology in place, but we need to see how things pan out a bit before making hasty decisions. We have the most pre-ordered PC game in gaming history, we have one of the fastest selling PC games ever, and we have sold way more a week after launch than I would have even dreamt of. We have hit well, and "everyone" wants to play Conan, which is great, but prior to shifting people around we need to make informed decisions. I have seen many posts on 'you should have known, you should have prepared', and we have! However, with the popularity we have, we are now facing conditions we never thought would happen. People love Conan, and they tell friends, which is awesome. In the meantime we are doing our best to ensure that we inform on load prior to people entering.
While becoming a victim of your own success is tragic in funny way, the fact remains that server load balancing I vital to those players affected by these overcrowding issues. While it is admirable that the company wishes to avoid making any knee-jerk reactions, it is also damaging to allow the status quo to continue on for too long. A number of servers remain queued during prime play hours, and this impacts normal play. It is not fun when every half an hour you lose a groupmate for five minutes due to a crash and queuing. It is also disappointing when you cannot create new characters to join your guildmates after buying the game.
Read the whole thing here.
New MMORPG.com writer Mathew Reuther pens this look back at the Age of Conan launch from his perspective.
Each new year sees a few high profile MMORPG releases. These game launches are something each early adopter of a new MMO eagerly anticipates yet dreads at the same time. The veterans of the massive online gaming battlefield can tell you some real horror stories. As new games come to market and eager gamers await the opening of the game servers, one of the most oft-repeated tales is that of Anarchy Online's 2001 launch.
The story of this launch is probably one of the most chilling MMO tales floating around the net, as when the game released it was nearly impossible for customers to actually play. The ambition of the game's creators to have one large world where every gamer who wanted to play would be able to interact with every other player was unheard of at the time. Even today only one game (EVE Online) has successfully achieved this goal in a large scale title. This ambition came at a high price as the in-game avatars actually generated so much stress on the game engine that a matter of walking fifty meters in the game world became an arduous journey that could take fifteen minutes or more. Though the game developers (Funcom, a minor development house based in Norway of all places) were quick to begin addressing the issues, the damage done by the initial problems is incalculable. Even post-fix efforts to woo customers back with offers of free playtime were not a resounding success. Though Anarchy Online remains profitable (albeit with an alternate revenue scheme) today, it is likely a shadow of what it could have become had the launch not been an abysmal failure.
Read the whole editorial here.
MMORPG.com is proud to announce our newest feature - the Guild List!
When you're searching for a new guild, sorting by alphabetical order or looking for the coolest name just doesn't cut it.
MMORPG.com is proud to present the Guild List. Made by gamers, for gamers, this tool allows you to search guilds on your game/server based on relevent terms - like raid times, recruitment status, and guild focus.
Whether you're looking for a new guild, looking for new members, or just want to immortalize your guild's status on your server, we invite you to add your guild!
Tonight at 10pm EDT (2:00 GMT), the EVE servers will be brought down for 24 hours to patch the newest expansion, the Empyrean Age.
Downtime sucks, even if it's for a good reason. And if you're wondering what to do while the universe is closed, stop on by the MMORPG.com Live Chat to hang out with friends, plot the downfall of your enemies, talk Factional trash, and gripe about downtime. As with our last Downtime Sucks chat, imaginary punch and pie will be available.
Event starts at 10pm EDT (2:00 GMT) and goes until CONCORD breaks us up. Users can connect via our Live Chat javaclient or via any IRC client, to server irc.coldfront.net port 6667. The chat will take place in #mmorpg.
Celebrations for the astonishing seven year anniversary of Battleground Europe: World War II Online began on Friday. Today, we present a dev journal that is designed to both introduce new players to the game and talk a little bit about the events of the last seven years.
On June 6th, 2008, Playnet Inc and Cornered Rat Software celebratd the 7th anniversary of the launch of a ground-breaking MMO that still boasts thousands of fans worldwide. Released as "WWII Online: Blitzkreig" in 2001, it is now known as "Battleground Europe"- a brutal, online World War II based PvP in which players choose to fight for the Allied or Axis forces as ground troops, fighter pilots or tank commanders.
Read more here.
MMORPG.com is happy to reportthat we have added NeoSteam to our Game List. This upcoming fantasy free-to-play MMO comes from JoyImpact and is currently in Open Beta.
The word Neo Steam is defined as the term designating the primary source of energy in the world of Neo Steam. The Neo Steam is the most important and vital factor wherein all the actions of the players inside the game revolves. Harnessing the power within the Neo Steam is very essential to each of the countries growth and advancement. The Neo Steam is a tool in crafting weapons, armors, infrastructures, and other machines. Aiming for the prosperity of their own nations, a massive war is about to begin as the three countries battle each other in order to possess the imminent power of the Neo Steam.
The story started during the ancient times; when humans lived an abundant and pleasant life taking hold of the technology to use magic and machines. Maestros who are knowledgeable and have exceptional mechanical skills, managed to develop a device that can store Neo Steam – the Neo Steam Receiver. Because of this innovation, the ancient science that they are using evolved much faster. Threatened of being overpowered, the king ordered the expulsion of the maestros into a remote and deserted island. The maestros continued their works developing the machines that could be used to take hold of the power of the Neo Steam. One faithful day, the island where the maestros were thrown sank down into the deep sea and the continent was banished from history.
Three little continents have risen from major upheaval and have been separated to each other and gave birth to the 3 major countries: Elard Kingdom, Rogwel Republic, and Takshan Clan. Bounded by their culture and faith, these countries inherited the ancient works of the maestros which is the Neo Steam Receiver. Desperate to take hold of the power of the Neo Steam, they race toward the Rope Isle to secure more energy sources aiming to develop their own countries and thus gave birth to the Steam Wars.
Check out the Game List entry here.
Hype the game here.
The folks at Pirates of the Burning Sea have announced a video contest, where participants are asked to create an instructional video to explain key game concepts, with a top prize of GeCube ATI Radeon HD 3650 (256MB GDDR3) Video Card.
We’re kicking off a new contest for those fans with a skill for creating videos! Over the next few months we will be holding a series of contests to see who can make the most educational video communicating how a specific in-game feature works.
First up: Boarding Combat!
While you are encouraged to share any hints, tips or tricks you’ve found to help you master the art of Boarding Combat, your video must describe all the steps it takes to make Boarding Combat work in Pirates of the Burning Sea.
Read more here.
CCP has announced details of the 2008 EVE Fanfest, which will take place from November 6th to 8th at Laugardalur in Reykjavik, Iceland.
It’s time to dock at the nearest station, climb out of your pod and prepare yourself for the fifth annual Party at the Top of the World. The EVE Fanfest will be held November 6-8 at Laugardalur in the heart of Reykjavik. Three “Early Bird” packages are available now from Icelandair: Germany, Holland and the US. (Note that the offer from Germany ends June 15, so act quickly to take advantage of the special rates.) Additional packages for other countries are in the works and will be announced when they are available. More information about Fanfest 2008 will be published to our website soon. Meanwhile, you can CLICK HERE to relive the excitement of Fanfests past.
Read more here.
Cryptic Studios has published a dev diary which details the level of solo content in Champions Online, revealing that the game will not only be solo friendly, but will also feature end game content specifically designed for the solo player.
Just a few years ago, Everquest was held up as the paragon of MMORPGs. Though several games had come out subsequent to it, none had ever reached its level of subscribers. As a result, many of the Everquest game mechanics became almost canonical. Central to this near holy set of testaments was that players must be forced to team. The philosophy is simple and effective. People play longer if they are playing with friends. If a player is forced to team up with other players, he or she will at some point make friends. I think Anarchy Online and Dark Age of Camelot chipped away at this foundational truth by introducing some levels of soloing, but large swathes of each game focused on teaming.
To be honest, I thought the same when working on City of Heroes. We actually created missions that we intended a player to get help with before finishing. Some foes were intended to be too tough for a single player to defeat. We assumed a player would get the mission, go into the instance, realize that he was facing a "boss," leave the mission, find a friend, and then tackle the "boss" together. I was pretty darn naïve back then.
Read more here.
Gravity Interactive has announced that players who pre-order subscriptions to Requiem: Bloodymare will get 3 days early access to the game, starting on June 16.
Requiem: Bloodymare will bring a new era of mature horror to the MMO space with its commercial launch. Players that pre-order subscriptions will be able to begin playing on June 16, three days before gamers using the free-to-play option.
This M-rated horror title brings a new option to mature MMO players looking for an alternative to the standard game fare. In addition to the controversial content, Requiem: Bloodymare’s gameplay challenges conventional MMO approaches.
Character development is not restricted to just choosing a class and skills. Players will use the DNA system to experiment with their own genetic code. Ghoulish experiments with DNA will allow characters to obtain traits that nature never intended.
Players will also not be tied down to just the skills open to their class. Using the Beast Possession system they will be able to transform into some of the most violent and grotesque monsters they encounter. Regardless of initial class, players are free to choose between monsters that rip prey to shreds with their bare claws to ones that call up dark magical forces that rot the flesh off theeir enemies’ bones.
The world is a deadly place in Requiem. When day turns to night the world decays in a Nightmare-ish landscape and terrifying monsters come to life. Imbued with unholy power, they are many times more powerful than the daylight denizens.
“We’ve put together a title that is going to turn the MMO world on its ear. Requiem: Bloodymare is, quite simply, one of the best free-to-play MMOs out there,” said Jay H. Choi, vice president, Gravity Interactive.
The game will be free-to-play with two levels of subscriptions. Players who purchase a Basic or Premium package for Requiem: Bloodymare will receive an exclusive 3-day early access pass into the game and a special experience bonus for the early period. Players must purchase the monthly package from June 5 to June 12 to be eligible.
Read more here.
GametTribe has announced that the next update for Dream of Mirror Online will include several new quests, and a host of new items.
As of next June 11th you will be able to prove yourself into 2 new hero quests in Blakatoa Peak: “Jason's Powerful pill” and “Wizard for Blakatoa peak” quests.
Furthermore GameTribe has planned a new batch of items to be released on the same day! In the Game’s shop you will find:
- Special mission card: would you like to restart some 1-time-only high level quests? Like the “Find out lover's spirit” or the “Dog-Tired's Red & White Lucky Peach “Missions? With this item you can! Enjoy once more the thrill of these amazing missions with your friends!
- Baby Big Bonus Pill: this item increase of 50% the experience gained and the item drop rate for one hour. If you want you can also use two of these Pills to get 100% increase.
- Double Heart Flypass: an unique fireworks to show your love!
- Hair Dye: brand new colors (Olive Green and Light Purple) to change your hairs’ look!
- Weapon upgrade books: available in different colors each one with a different kind of bonus.
- Teddy Bear costume: a new costume to personalize you character an look like a Teddy Bear.
- Two goodie bags (one for male and one for female characters): In the Coco Pupu goodie bag you’l have a chance to get a permanent Maid’s outfit (maid costume, maid headband or set of the two of them!), while in the Wild Pupu goodie bag you could find a permanent Tuxedo or eyepatch (or set of the two of them). If you don’t find a permanent costume you could anyway find some other valuable items such as Weapon upgrades, Scapegoat doll, regeneration pills, Hair Dyer and much more! After this period of three weeks, the permanent costumes will be sold separately also for another week for all the guys that will not be lucky enough to get them from the goodie bags.
Read more here.
MMORPG.com and IGG are proud to present another great beta testing opportunity for our great community! IGG has given us 2,000 beta keys to handout to our members so get one while they last! The beta test will commence on June 10, 2008.
Ready to get your beta key? CLICK HERE NOW!
MMORPG.com has been given 500 keys for the 3rd and final closed beta phase for Florensia. The beta test will commence on June 10, 2008. Get your key while supplies last!
All you need to get a free key is your free MMORPG.com membership. When you are ready to begin just CLICK HERE!
Recently, it was announced that Turbine would be receiving $40 million in equity financing from two different companies, GGV Capital and media giant Time Warner. MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood caught up with Turbine president and CEO Jim Crowley to talk about what the announcement means and a little bit about the future of the company.
Recently Turbine, the company behind Asheron’s Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online, announced that they have raised $40 million in equity financing from two companies; the first is GGV Capital, a “leader in expansion-stage venture capital investments”. The second, and more recognizable new investor is media giant Time Warner.
“This is truly an exciting time for Turbine. The addition of Time Warner, one of the world’s largest media companies, and GGV Capital, one of the financial community’s most sophisticated investors, adds a level of access, perspective and experience to Turbine that is singularly unique in the global online entertainment space,” said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. in the announcement press release. “Turbine has an extraordinary team, incredible technology and a growing portfolio of games based on some of the most popular brands ever created. With this funding we are uniquely positioned to change the future of online entertainment as we bring new titles to market, expand the platforms we support and introduce new technologies to sustain self-evolving game worlds.”
Read the whole article here.
The folks at Requiem: Bloodymare have released a profile and screenshots of the Bartuks, a race of warriors and one of the game's playable races.
Strength: High Strength and Solidarity
Weakness: Weak Spirit, Susceptible Minds
Characteristics: Bartuks are gifted with enormous physical power, but tend to be spiritually weak. They get easily enraged, a flaw that enemies sometimes exploit. Bartuks are generous to their allies, and fight alongside them with a strong sense of solidarity. Their decision-making process is simple: “help friend, smash enemy". Magic wielding Bartuks are generally limited to the black arts and fire magic, and they lack the intelligence to use more subtle magic.
Read more here.
SOE has posted Friends List management tips for new and returning players to EverQuest and EverQuest II during their Living Legends promotion.
So now that you're back in EverQuest II do you find yourself saying, "This is so great! I'm finding lots of old friends I want to keep up with," or, "The pick-up group I just played with was awesome. I want to stay in touch with all of those players! How do I do that?" If so, this handy guide will help you out.
When you make friends in EverQuest II, you can add them to your friends list. The Friend panel, by default, is mapped to the Y button.
There are two ways to add someone to your friends list:
- Enter their name in the "Friend" field and click the "Add" button or,
- Type /friend <name> in your chat bar.
From then on, you will be alerted when that friend logs in. You can also view their location, if they are not in roleplaying mode. You can check the "Online Only" box to view only the friends who are currently online.
Read more here.
Flying Lab Software has provided a preview of the UI changes that they're working on for version 1.5 of Pirates of the Burning Sea.
This patch, the UI strike team wanted to focus on some of the biggest sources of strife for our players, based on what we see in playtests and hear about on the forums. We also wanted to get started on upgrading and polishing some of the art pieces that have been neglected. Heres a preview!
Port Conquest StatusNext, we started working on how to better display all the port conquest information. Now you can quickly sort by nation, port name, status, contention points, etc., instead of scrolling through the entire list of ports. You can also filter out any ports that are currently peaceful, so you’ll always know where the action is. Your general contention points are also displayed on top.
By popular demand, our first order of business was to overhaul the Port Conquest Status UI. First, we pulled it out of the local map UI because it makes way more sense to be in the victory status UI. Also, there’s more room to play with in that UI, so we can display a lot more information.
Read more here.
For this week's Friday Feature on the Age of Conan official site, Funcom has posted an interview with the composer of the Age of Conan soundtrack, Knut Avenstroup Haugen.
To celebrate the release of the Age of Conan soundtrack (now available on iTunes), we are pleased to present this interview with our composer, Knut Avenstroup Haugen, covering the entire process of putting together the soundtrack, his background, and what goes into all of the exciting tracks you hear in the world of Hyboria.
What is your name and what do you do for Age of Conan?
My name is Knut Avenstroup Haugen and I create all the music in the game.
What is your musical background? Outside of Age of Conan, where would we have seen your work?
I started out studying the piano. I went to conservatories in Norway and in the Netherlands for a total of six years before I decided that what I really wanted to do was to write music. I studied a little bit of composition and arranging during my piano studies, but I really needed to learn more, so I went on to study composition and musicology for three years at the University of Oslo.
Read more here.
ArenaNet has posted a rewards calendar for Guild Wars which features a variety of tasty tonics.
In the first scheduled update of every month, one new flavor of the ever-popular transmogrifier tonics will be added to the Zaishen Chest, replacing the tonic from the month before. These special tonics, usable only in outposts and towns, will transform your character into the embodiment of that particular potion.
Open the chest for a chance to find one of these special tonics. If you're very lucky, you may even find an Everlasting tonic. These super rare variations have infinite uses, so they'll never run out.
Read more here.