This is a new live event just in from the world of The Matrix Online:
|Peace, and the things people do to wreck it. |
Neo is dead. A truce exists between the people of Zion and the Machines. Morpheus should be happy, but he is not. His life's mission was to find The One. He succeeded, but now his life is without purpose -- or is it? Earlier in The Matrix Online, Morpheus told the Oracle that Neo's physical remains belonged in Zion - in a holy place. He proclaimed that the Machines must return Neo's remains to humanity, and swore that until that happened, he would not rest.
The Hunt for Morpheus event in The Matrix Online began with the disgruntled Morpheus resorting to drastic measures to coerce the Machines into giving up Neo's remains. Empowered with a new mission, Morpheus set off bombs around The Matrix MegaCity. These code bombs threatened the fabric of the Matrix, releasing a virus that would show humans' "reality" and potentially crash the whole system.
Predictably, there quickly followed a ferocious effort to stop him. The Assassin appeared in the Matrix, sent by... someone... to kill Morpheus. The Assassin finally caught up with Morpheus in a waste water treatment plant - which is significant.
Morpheus had finished planting his latest code bomb when he sensed an unusual presence. A buzzing fly betrayed the porcelain-masked Assassin, who took his first shots at Morpheus. Morpheus dodged by jumping over a walkway rail and escaping down a dark alley. As Morpheus fled, the Assassin fantastically flowed through a small vent directly in front of Morpheus. Somehow, the Assassin could bend the rules of the Matrix.
Morpheus was caught off guard and had nowhere to flee. The Assassin opened fire, catching Morpheus in a hail of bullets that even he could not dodge.
It seems impossible to believe - Morpheus is dead.
For more information, click here.
We had a full hour with the team behind Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising and in this time we learned a lot more than even we could bring you in our "Gods and Heroes Week" previews. It was tough to roll it into one preview, but here it is:
| The defining feature of Gods and Heroes is squad combat. This was a key element that the team put on display for me. In Gods and Heroes you are a single hero, but like heroes of ancient myth and unlike avatars in the average MMORPG, you are not alone. In Gods and Heroes, each player upon creation is given their own personal instanced camp. This is Perpetual’s answer to housing in other MMORPGs. The team showed me several camps. One was a newbie camp that was scarcely a fire and a tent, while the other was a full out legionary installation with multiple tents, a large fire, wine casks, tables, chairs, etc.
In terms of personalization and decoration, your camp’s items range from functional to decorative. You can fully customize the camp simply by purchasing items and placing them where you wish – similar to Ultima Online housing. You can also invite friends and people you meet back to your camp to show off your achievements, or just go back alone to see your warriors and drop off loot.
You can read our full preview if you click here!
Turbine Entertainment's second game at E3 2005 was Lord of the Rings Online, formerly known as Middle Earth Online. This game is due out after D&DO in 2006, and will have the tall order of bringing the fabled books to life in an MMORPG. The article includes twelve new shots from the E3 press kit. Here our impressions after limited exposure:
| Lord of the Rings Online – the holy grail franchise for RPG gamers all over the world is going massive and Turbine Entertainment showed it off for the first time since the name change (from Middle Earth Online) at E3 2005. The focus was squarely on D&D Online, which we previewed yesterday, but from what we saw of Lord of the Rings Online it looks like it will be the flagship product for Turbine once it launches in 2006. Visually, thematically, and what little game play we did learn all left this game poised to pounce as a potential game of the show candidate in one year’s time.
Superficially, Lord of the Rings Online looks a bit like Dungeons & Dragons Online, except better. It moved and animated beautifully, and the slightly cartoonish feel felt like perfect for a representation of the books. Little touches, like the character leaning a little bit as he lugged a bucket of water to a fire, really made the game feel real. Turbine makes beautiful games and this one is the most beautiful of them all.
You can read our full preview if you click here!
A special thanks to Destin and the entire DAoC team for their time and energy to show us the future of DAoC!
Dana Massey has completed his preview of Irth Online based on his impressions from the E3 Expo recently held in Los Angeles, CA. A preview is below:
Tucked into the Kentia Hall, we found Irth Online. This game, along with Dark & Light, aims to create a large world, and no instanced content, which flies in the face of most other games in development. Due to launch in July and be available via digital download, Magic Hat Software will face some stiff competition, but luckily launch generally alone for a good few months on either side.
Visually, the game is adequate for a small company making their first MMORPG. It is not stunning, but nor is it appalling to the senses. Fans of Wish will be quickly familiar with many of the creatures, playable races and structures they find in this world as the team purchased many art assets from that cancelled title. The game features a nice 10 km view distance, and absolutely enormous world, which they claimed was 38,000 km2, a number I triple checked with the team. The game has no zones, a sharded approach, no instancing, but unlike its main rival Dark & Light does feature underground areas.
Their world has five civilizations, four of which are at war and the fifth being neutral. The fifth is for those who do not enjoy PvP and is a safe zone. The other four will kill players of opposing forces on sight and are in constant battle. Unlike Dark Age of Camelot though, the various factions are not physically segregated and only allowed to meet in the middle. The team is quite proud of the way they will mix PvP and PvE into one server, rather than artificially segregating them.
To read the full preview, click here!
On May 27, Shot Online plans to start a new contest in honor of Memorial Day. They will be giving out items (Such as an Ipod or PSP) to the top players in each level bracket. Starting the 27th of May continuing until the 31st. Read the full article below:
|May is a month for warm days, the end of the school year and the unofficial start of summer, beginning with Memorial Day. There’s not many better ways to celebrate the start of the summer season than with an exciting contest of online golfing game skills where players can win fantastic, fun prizes, through the Shot-Online Memorial Tournament. This tournament is coming hot on the heels of the well-received additions of a new character and new items for each character to Shot-Online in late April. Shot-Online is a persistent online golf game for the PC, developed by OnNet, Co., Ltd.
The Shot Online Memorial Tournament begins Friday, May 27 at 7:00 PM (CST) and concludes on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 PM (CST). Open to all Shot-Online members, qualification is available to the highest level character per ID. The contests will be played at the challenging “Gladsheim” course for 18-hole stroke play, for as many as 20 chances to play to win. Winners, from beginning (levels 1 to 11), intermediate (levels 12-30) and advanced (over level 30) levels, will be selected by adding the totals of the four score cards.
The top players will receive the hot new Sony PlayStation Portable, the stylish Apple iPod Shuffle or a DVD player.
Shot-Online is currently in beta in North America, is an online golfing simulation for the PC, featuring fully 3D graphics, motion captured animation, skill enhancement, golfing item purchases and exchanges and quests. To find out more details about the Shot-Online Memorial Tournament., please visit the official Shot-Online website. (http://www.shot-online.com).
About OnNet Co., Ltd
To view Shot Online's website for more information click here.
Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings are the two thing that inspired the modern craze we call fantasy MMORPGs. Turbine has the tall order of brining both franchises to life in that medium. Today we take a look at the game closest to release: Dungeons & Dragons Online. Does it live up the expectations of fans? Can it draw non-D&D players? Find out:
| Turbine is hard at work on two new exciting franchises and during a one-hour session, they showed off both Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. The former being the furthest along in development – we will start there. Turbine has a tough challenge to take the most celebrated pen and paper game in history and adapt it faithfully into the new medium. To do this they have chosen to set the game in Eberron, the newest world from Wizards of the Coast. This relatively new slate allows the team the unique position of reciprocal influence as their decisions help shape the franchise. The game and company names will draw crowds, but from what Turbine showed us, the team is not resting there. Dungeons & Dragons Online looks to be an extremely solid product with a bright future – even if you stripped away the massive names attached to it.
For those unfamiliar, the Wizards of the Coast world of Eberron is the newest release in the D&D family. The development team seemed quite excited about the high-fantasy setting this world provides them. The world is awash with floating towers, elemental airships and other amazing wonders - much less gritty than some previous D&D worlds. As mentioned, being a younger setting, it also allowed Turbine a unique opportunity. The license is not a shackle. For example, they have created unique and original creatures in house that have found their way into the Wizards of the Coast books, rather than be confined to a pre-existing library.
You can read our full preview if you click here!
MMORPG.com was lucky enough to go on a whirlwilnd tour on the Concourse as we saw the three biggest games in production at NCSoft and the recent smash hit Guild Wars. The article includes information on all four titles.
| Character customization was the fun of CoH and CoV is no different. They had some scary super villains, and once again, you could spend hours in production before you even bother playing the game. Then they took it to a new level with the addition of an evil headquarters builder. This is to CoV what character customization was to CoH. This is much like a simplified development tool, or perhaps the Sims. Here you can build the layer in a highly interactive and customizable visual interface. You apply textures, move floors, add rooms and generally have a lot of fun. The entire thing reminded me a bit of Evil Genius – in a good way. For those heroes out there, do not fret. This will extend back to the original game for those of you who buy the new title as well.
The new game is a series of islands that have become a home for all nefarious actions on Earth. The title features seven PvE zones where players can rob banks, abduct people, steal treasure and much more, as well as four PvP zones where the citizens of Paragon City will cross over with their evil opposition in full out PvP. The PvP model of the new CoH/CoV is more like Dark Age of Camelot – in that it is optional.
To read the full articles on Auto Assault, Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa and City of Villains click here!
We had a chance to visit the booth of Dark & Light in the Kentia Hall to take an hour long look at the game's demo as presented by members of the development team and Alchemic Dream. Here is our look at the future of this game:
| Dark & Light has been on the MMO radar for quite some time. Originally announced several years ago and a veteran of the E3 show, the folks behind this game were found at the front of the Kentia Hall. This year they once again showed off their game known for its massive view distance, as well as a slew of more details on the game mechanics behind this title. As the game bares in on a launch date later this year, this may be the last chance we have to see it at the show before it hits shelves.
The main defining features of the game are its long view distance, massive world and single server approach. The team employs BigWorld technology and a layering system of LODs (level of details) to allow players to see a long way. Their zoneless world is 50 km2 and is inhabited by the four playable races, plus variants: Trolls, Humans, Elves and Lutins; the later being a small sneaky race.
To read the full preview click here!
MMORPG.com is proud to announce our winners for this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo show. We have 4 categories - Best of Show, Best Graphics, Best Expansion and Best Booth. There were so many impressive titles being showcased at this year's show that the decisions were tough to make!
Ready to find out who won? Click here!
We have just received notice that Dragon Raja is now 100% free for life to all players. They have also announced that they have added a new "Dragon Mall" where players can buy items for their characters (presumably with real currency):
|Dragon Raja V1.4 is going Free-To-Play! Hard to believe? Well, believe it! No more monthly fees. No more hourly charges. No more nonsense. Game support and services will still be provided as usual, just like before. Also, item purchase stores will now be available. What does this mean? Well, it means you can now buy the items you want. More freedom to the player.|
Dragon Raja 1.4 The Resurrection of the Dragon: Return of the Heroes offers a total of five classes with several possible builds that further develops the player's characters. Dragon Raja features the most unique game concept of all MMORPGs—job skill system to make weapon, armour, item and ability to upgrade them to higher graded items.
Dual class systems, ability to duel different classes that could vary the character's build. Unique War systems featured in the Local War and Nation war system.
Among the cool new features we will be introducing in Dragon Raja v1.4 is the new Dragon Mall, where you can buy the cool stuff you want, without having to go through the gruelling process of leveling or waiting for a precious item drop. Now, YOU control your destiny!
After being mesmerized by the gorgeous RYL girls we composed ourselves enough to take a look at RYL: Path of the Emperor and see where Planetwide Games is taking their product. A glimpse at our E3 preview:
RYL, as it is more commonly known, made headlines recently for announcing a top prize of $1,000,000 to be awarded at next year’s E3. Sixty-four players will earn a spot and be flown to LA to compete in a tournament, culminating in the winner being given a check for a million bucks. It’s certainly incentive to get in there and practice your skills.
RYL is not intended to be as deep as other MMOs, nor is it designed so that players must spend months leveling. It’s more of an action-oriented game, explains associate producer Kyle Kessenich . Players start out on a basic map known as Almighty Ground. The pure PvP map of Caernarvon is also available in the game. Within the next month, Planetwide plans to release a third map of the Underworld. They also plan to increase the maximum level from 95 to 150, so players will have plenty of opportunity to get ready for the big contest.
To read it all, click here!
It was recently announced that the firm "Schatz & Nobel" filed a class action lawsuit agains Gravity Co. Ltd. - creator of the MMORPG "Ragnarok Online". In the suit they claim that Gravity issued false or misleading claims to their shareholders. This was taken from the Yahoo! business site:
HARTFORD, Conn., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C., which has significant experience representing investors in prosecuting claims of securities fraud, announces that a lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of the purchasers of the American Depository Shares ("ADSs") of Gravity Co., Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRVY - News; "Gravity") pursuant and/or traceable to Gravity's Registration Statement/Prospectus issued in connection with its February 7, 2005 initial public offering of ADSs (the "IPO"), together with those who purchased shares in the open market between February 7, 2005 and May 12, 2005 (the "Class Period").
The Complaint alleges that Gravity violated federal securities laws by issuing false or misleading public statements. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Registration Statement/Prospectus included positive statements concerning Gravity's growth prospects and demand for its products when, in fact, there was declining demand for its main product, Ragnarok -- Online; its mobile animation business was in decline; and its China operations were in peril. On May 12, 2005, Gravity announced that its financial results for the first quarter of 2005 were lower than expected. On this news, Gravity's ADSs fell from a close of $9.24 per share on May 12, 2005, to close at $5.60 per share on May 13, 2005.
To read the full story, click here.
While at the E3 Expo convention, we made sure to drop by the Sigil Games booth to check out Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. What we saw was quite impressive and we have put together a mini-preview:
A crew from Sigil Games Online was on hand to show off the company’s first big game. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is in the early stages, but already it looks impressive. Programmers David Forrest and Ben Tarr spent some time describing the game and the unusual approaches they are taking to the genre.
Not all races or classes are yet revealed. In fact, not all will be available at launch. The players are encouraged to explore and discover for themselves. At E3, the announced classes are Warrior, Sorcerer, Ranger, Pscionisist, and Cleric. Each character class will be different, even extending to the UI presented to the various players. The interface will customizable, so players will have the freedom to do what they wish. A couple of races, including goblins, orcs, kurashasa (cat people), and three types of elves were discussed, but there will be several more.
Group play is very important within Vanguard. Forrest explained that a level 25 Warrior will not be able to solo a level 25 dungeon. There are going to be solo options, but combat is only fully realized in a group within the game. As such, warriors, for example, can select an offensive target and a defensive target. While fighting a group of monsters, an attack on a cleric may cause the warrior to break off and jump in front of the melee. This is part of reactions, which help a player inside combat. Other reactions include the ability to fend off or even offensively counter attacks from opponents.
To read more, click here!
WebZen and NVidia announced during the E3 Expo convention that they will be entering a join technical and marketing relationship that will support WebZen's upcoming MMORPG "Sun". The official press release is below:
ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT EXPO-LOS ANGELES, CA-May 19, 2005 - NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), a worldwide leader in graphics and digital media processors, and WEBZEN Inc. (NASDAQ: WZEN), a leading global online entertainment developer and publisher, today announced a joint technical and marketing relationship that will support WEBZEN’s upcoming 3D massively, multi-player, online, role-playing game (MMORPG) titles for the PC platform. WEBZEN’s highly-anticipated Sun will be part of the NVIDIA “The Way It’s Meant To Be Played” program, and is debuting in the WEBZEN booth at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Additionally, a stage event will take place every day at 10:30AM in WEBZEN’s booth, #700 in the South Hall, to demonstrate how the two companies will be working together. All PCs used for the demonstration at WEBZEN’s booth will be equipped with NVIDIA® GeForce쳌 6 Series graphics processors.
To maximize the stunning visuals along with the compatibility, stability, and reliability of the games developed by WEBZEN using NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs), the companies will engage in a joint development and compatibility testing program. In addition, WEBZEN and NVIDIA will work closely to implement graphical enhancements that will utilize the advanced features found in the award-winning line of NVIDIA GeForce 6 Series processors and beyond. Joint promotions will also be initiated in an effort to raise the awareness level of each company’s products.
“As a company that is dedicated in transforming the computing experience, we are always eager to work with developers who are as passionate about graphics as we are,” said Mark Daly, vice president of content development at NVIDIA. “Combining our graphics know-how with WEBZEN creative talents will result in games that raise the bar in the online gaming space.”
“WEBZEN is very pleased to be working with the world’s market and technology leader in graphics processors,” said Dae Chun Park, Chief Marketing Officer of WEBZEN, Inc. “By adopting NVIDIA GPUs as part of our reference development platform and working with their experts in 3D graphics, we are confident that our upcoming games will remain at the cutting-edge of 3D technology, resulting in games that are bound to excite even the most demanding game players.”
We dropped in to the FunCom booth at the E3 Expo and talked with them about the future of Anarchy Online as well as their upcoming MMORPG "Age of Conan". A glimpse at our mini-preview is below:
First was the next expansion for Anarchy Online. Entitled Anarchy Online: Lost Eden, it represents a move toward more SciFi content, per user requests. To meet that request, FunCom is introducing some exciting things for AO players. Player controlled mechs will make their debut in the new expansion. Shades of Mechwarrior flashed across the screen as game director Morten Byom controlled his formidable robot through a cityscape. Players will also be able to control artillery, call in air strikes, and mine the battlefield as they participate in the escalating conflict between Omni-Tek and the Clans. To assist their side, players may donate experience to their factions.
To read this story and view the pictures, click here!
Dana Massey stopped into the booth for Simutronics at the E3 show and was very impressed with what he saw. For the first time ever we got to witness Hero's Journey in action and it looked great! A snippet from his mini-preview:
|As an MMO reporter at E3, I expected to see a lot of fantasy titles. After the first day of the show, one among them has risen up and made me take notice. Hero’s Journey from Simutronics has been on the radar for a while, but not until yesterday did we have a chance to see more than visuals.|
They designed Hero’s Journey with fun as the prime motivator. To achieve this, they did away with a great deal of the typical conventions you have come to expect. The most striking thing is their character customization. To date, games have made you chose your armor based on its skills rather than its look. Hero’s Journey lets you wear whatever you want and still effectively have it protect you. For example, you may dress as a pirate, a knight in shining armor or any other of the amazing combinations they offer. The frilly pirate shirt will act just as well as the armor for protection. Obviously, this sacrifices realism, but it ensures that players get to look how they want and still effectively play the game.
To read the full feature, click here.
Mythic Entertainment announced at the E3 Expo that they have a new expansion pack for Dark Age of Camelot currently under development titled "Darkness Rising". Reed Hubbard was at their booth today and got a chance to speak with them. A preview of his mini-feature is below:
E3 is full of new things and flashy announcements, but it’s also the place to see new twists on old, proven games. A perfect example may be seen in the Mythic booth where the upcoming Imperator and the hubbub over the announcement of Warhammer Online have taken most of the spotlight, but Dark Age of Camelot, the venerable older sibling to those games is present, too, and Destin Bales was pleased to show off the changes in the next expansion for the game, Darkness Rising.
The story concerns the demons from the multi-realm dungeon Darkness Falls rising up and threatening the realms. The kings from each of the realms appear and players may gain an audience with their king. Through this players will embark upon the champion quests, which consist of five levels and grant players some extra abilities. Upon achieving each champion level, a player gains a champion point that he may spend at a base trainer for a mid-level skill. A 50 hero, for example, may visit a caster trainer and gain a level 15-20 spell. Champion points are achieved through regular combat, so level 50 players have a new incentive to engage in PvE combat. RvR combat will increase champion experience as well.
To read it all - click here!
We stopped by the ATI booth today and took a look at Flying Labs Software and the upcoming high-seas MMORPG "Pirates of the Burning Sea". This was a quite impressive demo! We have put together a quick preview and some exclusive shots of the game:
The ATi booth is the showcase for a number of games, including the upcoming swashbuckling ship combat title from Flying Lab Software, Pirates of the Burning Sea. John Tynes and Rusty Williams of Flying Lab spent some time showing off their new game and did a fine job of impressing all who saw it.
The game takes place on the Spanish Main during the colorful time of pirates and privateers. Players will have the ability to choose from three nationalities (English, French, or Spanish) or may opt to become a pirate. Tynes showed off some of the character customization options, which currently include 14 areas from hats and bags to peg legs and hook. No parrots on the shoulder just yet, but players will be able to change just about everything to create their own version of Captain Kidd or Horatio Hornblower, depending on one’s leanings.
To read the full article, click here.
Day #1 at the E3 Expo has come to a close. Reed Hubbard has completed his report on the second half of the day, including a few more pictures. A preview is below:
| With an attendance of approximately 1 trillion people, E3 can get a bit crowded at times. There are a lot of people here, and most all of them are gamers clamoring to see the new stuff on display. Being a reporter from a MMO site, my focus is admittedly limited, but the game fan in me is just as interested in Battlefield 2 and SOCOM3 as I am in Dark and Light or Age of Conan. Even so, it’s exhausting to negotiate throngs of people just to get a 5-minute glimpse of a high profile title.
That’s why it’s nice to visit a booth that’s a bit off the beaten path, such as Mythic’s. Occupying a large space in one of the smaller halls, the area occupied by the creators of Dark Age of Camelot and the upcoming Imperator is a good place to get away from the crowd and focus on the company’s games. At 5:30, an invitation only event was a good place to cool one’s heels and speak with the company representatives, but this quiet spot would turn out to be one of the most exciting places in the whole event.
To read the full story, click here.