Over the past few months, BBC News has recognized the increasing popularity of MMOs by running an increasing number of stories about MMOs on the technology section of their site. In past weeks they've taken a look at World of Warcraft. This time around they take a look at some of the competition, including Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, and Star Wars Galaxies.
With more than eight million subscribers, World of Warcraft dominates the online gaming market but some strong rivals are gearing up to take it on.
Gaute Godoger, game director at Funcom, said succeeding was important for the health of the online gaming world.
"The industry so needs competition to World of Warcraft," he said. "We need other strong games that can make people understand that there's more to it than WoW."
Funcom is developing an MMO based on the iconic hero Conan who was originally the creation of US author Robert E Howard.
Mr Godoger said Funcom was trying hard to make Age of Conan stand out when it launched in October 2007.
The whole tone of the game would be darker than many others to reflect Howard's vision of a corrupt lost age of Europe, he said.
This means it is likely to have a very different audience.
"It's for adults," he said. "We did not want to be a teen-rated game, we wanted to have the possibility of making a game that takes the licence seriously."
Read the full article here.
Ntreev USA, the makers of Trickster Online: Links to Fantasy, recently announced the addition of new content to their game. The new content includes a host of new skills and features, and two new starting areas: the Mermaid Palace and Tapasco Volcano, home of the Spicy Dragon. And let me tell you, a Spicy Dragon is the last thing you want to find down a dimly lit back alley in the Mermaid Palace.
Two new areas have been released. "Tapasco Volcano" is home to the most powerful Boss in Trickster Online, Spicy Dragon. Also added to the extensive world of Trickster Online is the new "Mermaid Palace" which includes an entirely new dungeon. These new areas will be full of brand new NPCs, monsters, items, quests and more.
With the recent addition of 2nd Jobs for Characters (Lv 50 / 40TM Lv) an entire arsenal of new Skills are available. Now, these new skills will complete a total of 99 skills, with 49 skills specifically for 2nd Job Characters. These new Skills will work in conjunction with the already released 2nd Job Skills and add more power and versatility to the Characters.
My Shop, the recently released Trickster Online cash shop for in-game items and more, has been a great success. Now, even more items are being released. New pets, drills, equipment, fashion items, My Camp items and more. Updates to the items available for purchase through My Shop can be viewed through the official website (www.tricksteronline.com) or in-game by clicking the My Shop tab of the user interface window.
A new feature has been implemented in a recent patch. This new feature, called Guild Battle, allows Guilds to compete against each other, head to head, in a PVP setting as teams. Several varieties of play are available in this feature including, Deathmatch, Team Match, and Monster Match. The Guild Battle feature also includes seven new, unique Arena Maps.
Since its release from Closed and Open Beta and now in its full commercial incarnation, more and more content has become available for Trickster Online. To continue this trend that has already included a website, forum redesign, the release of My Shop, My Camp, 2nd Jobs and more, Trickster Online will be updating the massive amount of content already available on a new regular schedule. New additions to all things Trickster Online will be made now on a bi-weekly basis. This new content will be announced on the official website as well as in the Trickster Online Newsletter.
Read more on Trickster Online here.
NCSoft has announced the opening of the new European official site for Aion: the Tower of Eternity. The new site features screenshots, concept art, game lore and more.
The avatars that represent the player in Aion are unique beings called Daeva. Considered demigods, the Daeva are hybrids of omnipotent divinity and fragile mortality. Born from mortal beings, Daeva initially develop as any human would, but those blessed with the destiny of becoming a Daeva will show exceptional qualities early on in their lives. It is only through hardship or a significant event that a potential Daeva will awaken the dormant powers within and ascend as a true Daeva.
Daeva differ from common mortals in that they are able to control Aether (more on this coming soon). While it is theoretically possible for humans to control Aether, it would take a tremendous amount of effort and training; very few mortals have found success in their attempts. Even those that managed to acquire the skill found their abilities limited. It is understood and accepted that Daeva are fundamentally superior to mankind in this aspect.
Visit the new site here.
MMORPG.com, Scions of Fate and iBuyPower.com have teamed up to bring you an exciting new contest for May 2007! From May 5, 2007 to June 1, 2007 @ 9PM EST we will be accepting entries into a random drawing where we will give away ONE Scions of Fate custom painted gaming PC! All you need to enter is a free MMORPG.com account!
As with all of our contests, the more days you login to MMORPG.com the better your chances of winning the contest (see official rules for details).
Ready to enter? CLICK HERE
A recent State of the Game article on the Guild Wars official site brings us an update on the state of competitive play in Guild Wars, specifically the state of the automated tournament system, which they hope to have up and running by next week.
In a recent article we discussed the upcoming competitive improvements for Guild Wars. However, as Leonard Bernstein once said, "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." We here at ArenaNet are trying to achieve great things and thus have ended up needing a little more time.
We have already implemented many of the announced changes, such as 1v1 competition and the 1v1 ladder. However, the automated tournament system has proven more complicated to implement than we originally thought.
It is important to us that we release a solid system. While we are almost there with automated tournaments, our programmers and testers have found a few issues that we are working to iron out. So, I am here to give you an update to our previous announcement.
First, we still hope to roll out the automated tournaments this month, but only just barely. We hope to have them up and running next week. This means the official start of qualifier tournaments for the May championships in the $100,000 Tournament series will begin a bit later than we originally anticipated (most likely May 9) so we can do live testing during the first week of May.
The announced May season will still happen. We are offering guilds and individuals the chance to qualify for the May championships where they can compete to win a share of that month's $10,000 in prizes. As previously announced, all guilds or players who earn at least 20 QP during the season can participate in the monthly championship. Because the season is shorter than planned, it may prove harder to qualify. In the event that at least 64 participants do not reach 20 QP, we will invite additional guilds and individuals from those who have earned the highest number of QP until we have a minimum of 64.
Read the full article here.
In this Devlog for Pirates of the Burning Sea, players recount there experiences during a battle on the high seas. An interesting read for the nautically inclined.
Some Beta testers wrote up after-action reports of a particularly exciting battle. I've changed the names to protect the innocent - otherwise, these are very nearly exactly their words and points out that players of varying levels with a variety of ships can have exciting battles together:
"Tonight we had some very good PVP action around Port of Spain. On the British side I (level 24) was in my brand new Mastercraft Brig, with B2 in her starter Halifax (level 11) as an escort. The honorable B3 (level 17) of Spain was our opponent.
The battle started with B2 taking some long range shots from B3. She quickly moved back to near me as I advanced. As soon as I was in range, B3 switched to chain (or it might have been bar) and shot at me from long range while I slowly tried to advance on his position firing heavy round. I ordered B2 to switch to dismantling shot and close in to work on his sails while I worked his hull with heavy round.
B3 made excellent use of the terrain, his skills, and repair consumables. Right as we were passing through the cave I realized that I had forgotten to load my new brig with any repair consumables. No repairing for me in this battle. Making good use of terrain and repairs he was able to get B2 and I separated. He dismasted the Halifax, followed with a round of anti-personnel, then boarded capturing the Halifax. As he was boarding I switched to star shot and closed in as fast as I could. B2 had already worked his sails down to about 68%, so it gave me a good start. He finished the boarding action when I was about 185y away I fired off a broadside of star, and then switched to bar as he was pulling away from me. One more broadside of Bar and I had him dismasted. At the same time he was firing dismantling shot at me as well and before I could get out of his firing arc I was also dismasted.
Read more here.
Later this month EverQuest 2 will be releasing the largest free content addition that the game has seen thus far. In anticipation of the event the EverQuest 2 official site has been updated with information and lore about the new zones and races, including the city of Neriak, Darklight Wood, and the Arasai.
As many of you have no doubt guessed, I'm talking about the next major live content release for EverQuest II. We've talked a lot over the past year about our commitment to making sure there's always something interesting going on in Norrath. What's coming takes that even further.
With Echoes of Faydwer, we had hoped that people would enjoy a return to a more traditional MMO starting experience, and were pleased with the results. We got a lot of positive reaction by introducing the starting city of Kelethin inside of Greater Faydark, as well as a new race, the Fae.
Later this month, we'll be releasing the largest free content addition that EQ2 has ever seen. The complement to that experience: The city of Neriak, the large outdoor zone of Darklight Wood, and a new playable race, the Arasai, one of the races who will be able to start there.
These zones are another collaboration with our SOGA studio in Taiwan, the same studio that developed the characters and environments for The Fallen Dynasty. Their artists working in conjunction with our designers and artists have really brought Neriak back to life.
We decided to go this direction for a couple reasons. As we were developing the storyline for Faydwer, we saw the potential both in gameplay and story development for a dark, twisted shadow of the Fae, and we've wanted to explain a few important things about this area of the world for quite some time.
Read the full article here.
The Vanguard: Saga of Heroes official site has been updated with a creature spotlight on the Ulvari, otherworldly beings known for their prowess is warriors and their insatiable hunger for magic.
The verdant islands of Kojan face daily ravaging at the hands of the otherworldly ulvari. These aberrations came to Telon on the heels of the fleeing raki population, whose world they summarily destroyed - just as they threaten to destroy Kojan. The ulvari hunger for magic the way a leech hungers for blood, and they will not stop until they have drained every last drop from the Kojani people.
Found throughout Kojan, but concentrated most heavily within the blighted lands, the ulvari have talent both as warriors and mages. They hold Tanvu under siege, having infected the minds of even high government officials with their corruption, and it is only by the sanctuary of a powerful artifact that the city has not yet been swallowed by them. The dream-warriors of Tanvu's Aurora family fight them daily on the dream plane, but they can only do so much to stave off what seems to be inevitable,and on the other end of humanity, the devotees of Ra'Jin operate under ulvari control, corrupting the lifeforce Jin with their spreading influence. Fortunately, the virtuous Lao'Jin have taken up the cause of fighting them back, and without their efforts, the whole of Kojan may already have fallen. It is rumored that even the emperor has tasted ulvari corruption, and that does not bode well for the future of Kojan.
Read more here.
The Dungeons and Dragons Online official site has been updated with an article profiling orcs. The article is made up of two stories, one illustrating the savagery of orcs, the other describing a more benign view of orc culture.
In ancient times a noble race of people saved Eberron from oblivion. These people fought heroically and labored selflessly to bind the evil that threatened this world. Many paid dearly in blood, sacrificing themselves in their epic struggle against darkness.
Several years ago I traveled to a very old community in the Shadow Marches and met with some of the descendants of these people. An ocean voyage brought us to the nearest port city and from there we made our way into the marshland. During our trek we were nearly asphyxiated by noxious swamp gases and were plagued constantly by great whispering clouds of midges. Once we arrived at the outskirts of the rustic village, however, the midges dissipated, replaced by a subtle smell of exotic herbs and gentle wisps of fragrant smoke.
I had the honor of attending a banquet that was held as a tribute to a few tribe elders who had maintained what the village people referred to as "the true druidic path". This is a way of life that they have passed down through many generations. From what I gathered, they believe a noble dragon teacher guided them on the beginning of this spiritual journey in ancient times. The speech of the oldest gentleman who was being honored was remarkable. Although he spoke softly, his words seemed to flood over the area and echo back through. A calming purity and powerful wisdom were intertwined with everything he said.
As I'm sure you now realize the people I'm speaking about are orcs, those creatures that are so often thought of as uncivilized destructive brutes. Contrary to this widely held misconception, many orcs live peacefully. Elegant simplicity and beauty pervade the old orc culture, and for orcs who live this way religion and honor hold far more importance than modernity or material wealth. Regrettably, not all orcs look to the wisdom of the elders, and many have been consumed by greed and the urge to dominate others. These fallen orcs appear to be playing a part in the latest threat that looms over Stormreach. Armies of previously disparate and fractious groups have begun coalescing not far from the city.
Read the full article here.
These days you can collect and save up points on your credit cards to put toward buying all sorts of useless junk and services. Gamers use their credit cards to pay for their gaming, why can't our purchases count towards something more useful to us? Blizzard has teamed up with the First National Bank of Omaha to answer this question with the World of Warcraft Rewards Visa, allowing players to save those points to put toward game time.
Blizzard Entertainment has teamed up with First National Bank of Omaha to bring you a Visa card that rewards you with World of Warcraft gametime! Sign up today, and once your application is approved, you will be eligible for special card rewards and benefits.
Accrue World of Warcraft gametime at the rate of 1% of every dollar in qualifying purchases. The World of Warcraft Rewards Visa is the only card that pays you to play.
Receive a month of World of Warcraft subscription time with your first purchase using the World of Warcraft Rewards card.
Read more here.
GuildCafe, a social networking site for online gamers, has announced Favorites, an all-new social bookmarking system.
GuildCafe Entertainment Inc., operator of the world's first social network for online gamers, today announced Favorites, the all-new social bookmarking system now available at GuildCafe. With other content-sharing capabilities already in place, GuildCafe's latest addition to its community-building tool set enables members to promote any article, video, or game content they want to share with other gamers.
"Various social bookmarking systems exist in the world of Web 2.0," said Jon Radoff, Chief Executive Officer of GuildCafe Entertainment Inc., "but Favorites is the only place where you can find content that gamers specifically are submitting--both in and outside of GuildCafe--organized in a single space. There's no need to weed out the unrelated clutter because it's all built around gaming and expressly categorized to all the games that our members play."
The smooth integration of Favorites with GuildCafe's core features, like personal pages and the blogging system, makes it easy for gamers to bookmark and find the items they want. With the tie-in to personal pages, gamers can quickly locate the postings that are important to their friends. Guilds and gaming clans may also organize their own list of favorite links and content that are shared amongst their own members.
Read the full press release here.
New Game World has announced the release of the Dmitron Expansion for Savage Eden. The expansion offers new items, quests, and monsters, as well as new skills and new areas to explore.
New Game World has announced the immediate release of the Dmitron Expansion for its popular Massively Multiplayer Online game Savage Eden developed by T Entertainment Corp. "This Dmitron Expansion is the exciting culmination of two years of development work by T-Entertainment and New Game World, demonstrating the teams commitment to our network of gamers", said Edward Andercheck, New Game World, Inc., Chairman, "We believe the Dmitron Expansion brings Savage Eden to an entirely new level of game play, with new challenges and opportunities to engage the players creativity".
Savage Eden's Dmitron Expansion introduces a new world and dungeon system, including fully updated game play, great new features and lots of new artwork. There are new quests, new challenges and better tools to engage the enemy with. Players can take on new roles as venders, or merchants. New guild, party and locator communications tools will launch players in this exciting expansion to both the Land of Eden and Foretold Strife universes.
Learn more about Savage Eden here.
MMORPG.com is very pleased to announce that we have teamed up with NCSoft to bring you a free trial of City of Heroes and City of Villains including the all new Issue 9 Update: "Breakthrough"! This 14 day free trial will give you full access to both games completely free with no credit card information required!
This is a great chance for our members to check out the new features in Update 9: Breakthrough - like the all new invention system and auction houses.
All you need to get the trial is your free MMORPG.com account. To get your free trial key just CLICK HERE!
Jon-Enee Merriex, a Game Master for K2 Network's Sword of the New World, stops by to give us this developer journal highlighting the game's "Multi-Character Control" feature.
MCC allows a player to take control of three different characters at once. The player becomes responsible for leveling all three characters, including upgrading their skills, stances and equipment. MCC also delivers amazing gameplay variety. If you want to be a healer, you can do that. If you want to be a tank, you can do just that. If you want to become a damage dealer, you can do that, too. If you want to be more balanced with a little bit of everything, you have that opportunity as well.
The best part of MCC though has to be that no matter what, you are never really locked into any specific job or function. And, you don't have to spend tons of time or gold heading back to a class trainer to change your build. Instead. you can just head back to your family's quarters and change your characters. In internal testing, if there is a group of us and we're all playing on our solo builds, it usually takes less than a minute to determine what classes to bring and completely regroup for squad play.
Read the whole Developer Journal here.
To promote the release of Issue 9: Breakthrough for City of Heroes and City of Villains, NCSoft will be reactivating old accounts that are in good standing, allowing former players to play for free until Sunday May 6th.
Have you played City of Heroes or City of Villains previously? Do you follow the game but are not subscribed? Are you interested to check out the new free expansion, Issue 9? Well now you can!
In celebration of the launch of Issue 9: Breakthrough, we have reactivated the accounts of our former players in good standing through late Sunday night (May 6th, 8:59PM PST / 11:59PM EST). Spread the word to your supergroup or guild mates and online friends who might not be playing CoH that now is the time to come back and check out the great new Issue 9, for FREE!
Welcome back to these Heroes and Villains and we hope that everyone has a great "City of" weekend!
Get the details here.
Norrath News, a new fan site for EverQuest 2 was launched this week. The site promises to provide up to date news and information, as well as exclusive interviews and hardware reviews.
What is Norrath News? This site is one that will have constant communications with SOE Everquest II staff as well as community managers and members all across Norrath. We will provide up to date news, interviews, and product information like no other site around.
What does Norrath News provide? We will provide the playerbase with up to date information about Everquest II as well as exclusive interviews and product reviews. We also provide an area on our forums for troubleshooting. These troubleshooting forums are for the players to post problems they are having in game. We will submit the top ten problems to SOE staff for review/fix. The forums are to be used not only for troubleshooting, but also as a community gathering to help one another.
The product reviews will be over equipment for your computer that will enhance gameplay. From memory to cases, our reviews will come directly from the product manufacturer. Our goal is to provide our players with the best reviews for the best products. If there are any product you would like to see on our site, please post it in the forums and we will investigate.
Another benefit to this site is the quick reporting of botters. Constantly in game there have been incidents with bot teams who flood the market with farmed equipment and ruin the economy for the sales of platinum. These are totally against the EULA and should be reported immediately with screenshots/movies. If you have a problem with a bot team, you can anonymously report these teams directly to us. Go to our contact form and send in the report. However you must email the screenshots/movies to us directly at email@example.com. The report will be sent to SOE staff for investigation.
To visit Norrath News click here.
Dungeons and Dragons Online has made some changes to the friends panel. Improvements include increased levels of customization, the ability to see a friend's class and level and more powerful sorting functions.
The first thing you will likely notice about the new Friends panel is that the information you see for each friend now looks a lot like what you find in the Who panel. When viewing your friends list you will see all the relevant information about your friend: race, gender, class, level, guild, and party status (when they are online). Looking for a rogue? You can now sort your friends list for each of these categories.
Unlike the Who panel where you can enter a comment about yourself for others to see, the Friends panel provides a custom comment entry where you can describe your friend (as another characters alt, their playstyle, anything you like). Simply select the friend you would like to write a comment about, enter a comment into the comment text field at the bottom of the panel, and click the update button. The comment will now appear in the entry for the selected friend.
The basic functions of the friends list remain: you can add a friend by entering their name in the text field at the top of the panel and clicking the 'Add' button. Or you can target the player in the game world, which will automatically fill in the text entry field with the players name. At the bottom of the friends list are three buttons: 'Remove' to remove a friend from the list, 'Invite' to send a request to your friend to join your party, and a new 'Tell' button to send a tell to your friend.
Get all of the details here.
In this article on the Guild Wars official site, Christian Brellisford dissects the winning tactics of a top ranked guild, and lays them bare so that the rest of us may learn.
In today's article I observe a top guild and shamelessly dissect their build. I detail why they chose their skills, talk about the opponent's guild hall choice, and discuss strategic maneuvers. While this is useful for people just starting PvP, regulars of Observer Mode may find this analysis quite familiar, and even comforting.
The current metagame is fluidly shifting. Recent balance changes have induced rethinking of previous skill choices. However, even with major changes to Spirit of Failure and Necromancer skills such as Price of Failure, Hex builds are still ubiquitous. Also, physical damage dealers like Warriors, Rangers, Paragons, and Dervishes are quite common in bunches for both gimmick and balanced builds.
The recent buffs to the conjure skills have also empowered melee characters. Specifically, a lot of teams are running various conjure skills on sword Warriors. The ability to use Sun and Moon Slash with a conjure adds quite a bit of extra damage against a team not prepared with proper removals or armor buffs.
These metagame conventions are followed by a great guild from Japan called Supernova Jpn [SpNv]. They recently fought against a top guild from Europe called Bambis Dont Say [Meow]. Both guilds have competed in tournaments and have experience under pressure. At the time of this writing, they also sat right next to each other on the ladder, making for an interesting and tightly-played match.
Read the full article here.
An interesting contest has been posted on the official site for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. To encourage players to test the new fellowship system on their test server, they are offering a custom made title for the first three players to find a reproducible bug.
Here is your chance to win a custom title of your choosing! The fellowship system is now on the Test Server and we would like to invite players to come break it for us. In fact, for the first three reproducible bugs sent to us, the submitting player will get to choose a title for their character on a LIVE server. Chosen titles must be appropriate and in accordance to the naming policy, of course, but other than that - it is all up to you!
Learn more about the contest and the fellowship system here.
From time to time, the folks over at Turbine give us all a look at some of the unique places they have created for Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. This time around it's Aughaire, the Meeting-place, the Gaelic inspired tent city where the tribes of the Hillmen gather to trade and maintain relations with other tribes.
In years past, when Arthedain and Cardolan strove to drive back the forces of Angmar, the Men of Rhudaur, under the leadership of an evil chieftain of the Hillmen, fell under the sway of the Witch-king of Angmar. As the years passed, the Hillmen were displaced northward by the better-trained and "civilized" Men of Angmar in preparation for a final war against the North-kingdom of Arthedain. After the defeat of the Witch-king's forces and the near-annihilation of the Angmarim, the Hillmen in the north gradually departed from the dark path laid down for them by the Witch-king and returned to their tribal ways.
Now, the Hillmen have become nomads, wandering the frozen wastes and hills of Angmar, content to hunt the great herds of aurochs, unconcerned with the doings of the strange folk who dwell in stone cities. Yet the clans still recognize the need to maintain relations with each other, in order to avert bloodshed as one clan infringes on the territory of another. In order to facilitate peaceful relations between their clans, the nomads established a neutral colony, a great tent city they named Aughaire, the Meeting-place. Here, the clans trade in furs, meats and produce, medicines, and slaves. A clan judge also resides here, an elder who mediates peaceful resolutions to disputes between rival clans.
Read more on Aughaire and its lore here.