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Final Fantasy XI : 360 Beta Begins!

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

Are you a Final Fantasy XI fan? Do you own, or are you looking into getting a new XBox 360? If that sounds like you, then you might be interested to know that the FFXI Beta for the 360 started today:

 

Today marks the opening of the North American Xbox 360 beta! The free beta comes packaged inside the February issue of Official Xbox Magazine which hits stands on January 17th. Once you've gotten hold of the game, head over to the registration website to obtain the codes to activate your account. Our previous beta resulted in many strong friendships that carried over into the launch of the game in North America. We hope to achieve the same level of excitement with the Xbox 360 beta as well. See you in Vana'diel!

For more FFXI, click here.

Spellborn : FAQ Update and Forum Highlights

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

Our good friends over at The Chronicles of Spellborn have updated the Frequently Asked Questions section of their website. They have also compiled some Forum Highlights for our reading pleasure.

 

New TCoS F.A.Q.
FRIDAY, 6TH OF JANUARY 2006 :: POSTED BY FREEZE :: 13 COMMENTS

Just in time for the weekend we put up the new TCoS F.A.Q. This new section contains an enormous amount of information regarding The Chronicles of Spellborn. In the near future additional information will be added as we continue to work towards a comprehensive source of information. All of the questions are grouped into categories for ease of reference and quick navigation. Enjoy!

TCoS Forum Highlights
FRIDAY, 6TH OF JANUARY 2006 :: POSTED BY CORWYNN MAELSTROM

The Chronicles of Spellborn's forums have racked up more than 40.000 posts. These have been posted by some of our over 26.000 unique users. Thank you all for your interest in TCoS!

As usual, a lot of the recent threads which have come up are worth a read. Any one of the threads listed inside this article might make a great starting point if you're a new member, or just if you haven't seen them before. We're always on the lookout for active community members to join the Beta process, and getting out there to share some ideas is a great way to start.

For more The Chronicles of Spellborn, click here

Dark Age of Camelot : Naked Newbie RvR

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has announced another exciting weekend of events. The event? Naked Newbie RvR. Basically, the developers organize a big fight. Not too unusual for this particular game. However, the fun comes in when you're not allowed to wear armor and only newbie trainign weapons are allowed!

 

Did someone order a weekend full of Naked Newbie goodness? I will be hosting two separate Naked Newbie RvR events this weekend. The first will be Friday Night at 8:00pm EST. The second will be on Saturday at 3:00pm EST. To make things go a little more smoothly this time around, there will be a couple rule changes. From now on, Naked Newbie RvR will be held in the 1-5 BG to help keep out the undesirables. The center keep will be set to neutral for the event so there will be no guards or Keep Lord to harass us. So roll up your level one, get him out to your realm’s keep in The Proving Grounds, and get ready to have a good time!

  • No armor, only your freebie training weapon allowed.
  • Each event will last one hour.

Hope to see you all there!

Fore more Dark Age of Camelot, click here.

Auto Assault : Website Kits

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

Auto Assault has launched a brand new feature on their website. Every Wednesday in January, they will be releasing "Auto Assault-themed website kits". The first topic in this series is Biomeks. You can check it out by visiting their official site.

 

Website Kits: Biomeks — 01/04/06

Every Wednesday in January we'll be issuing a set of Auto Assault-themed website kits, filled with new screen shots, logos, wallpapers, art, and a lot more goodies. We'll have one specific kit for each race and a generic kit. This week's kit features the Biomeks.

Fore more Auto Assault, click here.

General : Call for Submissions

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Dana Massey

Happy New Year to all MMORPG.com readers,

Once again, I want to put out a call for writers to contribute to the site. To ensure we continue to bring you the best coverage, I would like anyone interested in compose an MMORPG-related editorial or research article of between 750 and 1500 words and send it to lepidus@mmorpg.com as a .doc attachment. Articles should include your first and last names, as well as your MMORPG.com user ID.

The best articles will be chosen and featured here on the site and those people will be offered an opportunity to join our team of Staff Writers. Staff Writers are not paid, although incentives exist.

All writers must be at least 18 years of age.

EverQuest II : Desert of Flames Review

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Dana Massey

EverQuest II: Desert of Flames was named the MMORPG.com Best Expansion pack of 2005. Rob Hinman took some time to review the expansion in this new review.

Undoubtedly, EQII can be declared as a very graphically intensive MMO. You need a fairly up to date graphics card to get a very good idea what EQII can dish out. The details in the armor and weapons are sometimes very intricate while other items are somewhat lacking detail.

Desert of Flames is no different. The desert landscape is rich in wildlife, monsters, and dangerous factions. As you run across the sand dunes you can almost feel the hot sun pressing down on you. If you have the right video card, you can even see a “heat shimmering” effect as the sun bakes many of the ancient structures.

You can read the full review here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : New Dev Log

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

Misha, of Pirates of the Burning Sea, has released yet another Dev Log. Thisa time, it gives us some of the feedback that was recieved during a recent beta session (their longest on record at 4 hours).Below, you will find a sample of the log.:

 

Beta Feedback
After our longest beta session yet (4 hours on Friday), I compiled some of the comments from the resulting forum posts. Some are positive, some are ...suggestions. :) So far, our beta testers have been generous in their feedback, which we greatly appreciate. They've helped us track down several important bugs, given some fantastic suggestions, but mostly confirmed what we believed already

  • the art is terrific but more would be better and many game systems are off to a good start but need tuning and polish.

AI

  • The AI either seemed confused or just non responsive. I was able to defeat the ship fairly easily by using grape shot on its crew near the left side where it wasn't firing at near point blank range
  • One thing I noticed about all AI in every mission is that I felt it was "TO" helpful to be a descent challenge. I'm not sure if I'm a glutton for punishment or what but I feel like missions are to dependent on your AI allies to really encourage grouping or even a proper challenge

Art

  • I must state the obvious. This game is Beautiful. I entered Ruddy cove, walked down the streets to the church and saw the beach with the sun riding low over that beautiful water. I loved it. A wonderful scene. I later logged on to the English town and found it enchanting as well.
  • last night was the first time I have been to the English Magistrates office. I saw the screen shots of the dust floating in the air but in person it was AWESOME. I think I stood there a while and just watch it...drewl
  • Chain shot is also very cool looking. Not so cool when your on the receiving end but I was completley shocked by it when it was fired at me. I didn't really expect the chains to be visible and whirling around...great stuff guys and girls
  • will later versions of towns have a welcome sign? … I had no real idea where I was
  • Is there an adjustment for text size? I find the text when people are speaking to me a bit small for my liking.

Get the whole dev log, here.

Guild Wars : Regional Playoff Info

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Jon Wood

The people over at Guild Wars have posted some information regarding the Regional Playoffs for the Guild Wars World Championship.

 

We've posted information about the Regional Playoffs of the Guild Wars World Championship in the Events Section. You can find the Ladder Bracket Rules on this link. Check back tomorrow for a listing of the participating guilds from each region.

For more Guild Wars, click here.

The Chronicle : Job Openings

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Dana Massey

Rapid Reality is hiring again and they specifically asked that our readers be told about it. Below you can find a wide range of jobs they're seeking to fill and information on how to apply - should you meet the requirements. Rapid Reality is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Position: Gameplay Programmer

Rapid Reality is currently seeking additional programming staff to assist with our ongoing projects. The individual must meet all of the below requirements and have a strong desire to work in the game industry. The individual will report to a lead programmer and be responsible for adding features to an existing engine with a given deadline.

Required Skills:

  • Strong C++ Programming Skills
  • At least three years programming experience
  • Experience with Game Programming
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Server 2000, and Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
    Exceptional Math Skills

Preferred Skills:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science or equivalent industry experience
  • Familiar with animation concepts and overall game development
  • Knowledgeable with MS-SQL Integration
  • Knowledge of Shader Programming
  • Experience with Linux development
  • Knowledge of C#
  • Visual Studio
  • T-SQL Syntax

Personal and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Willing to work and assist other team members with deadlines
  • Enthusiasm to learn new concepts and technologies as required
  • Ability to work on several projects at once
  • Able to take direction
  • Strong communication skills
  • Willing to interact with the company's community
  • Desire to work in a fast paced environment
  • Desire to work in the game industry and contribute to the company's future titles


Position: FX ARTIST

      The Rapid Reality team is now seeking to fill open positions for Effects artists for a variety of games. The applicant would also be comfortable with 3DS Max, Maya, and/or 3D programs, illustration, modeling, rigging, and or textures. Creative thinking is a must, as well as a solid work ethic.  An eager desire to learn engine capabilities is also needed. Experience in the industry is always a plus.


Position: TEXTURE ARTIST

      The Rapid Reality team is now seeking to fill open positions for texture artists to help with their current game load. Tiling textures and trim textures for interiors and even character texture work will be part of the job. Understanding the workings of UVs a must. A working knowledge of Max or Maya is needed, and other skills pertaining to the field are always welcome.

Experience in the industry is desired, as well.

[ expand article ]

General : Reader's Awards: Voting Closed

Posted Jan 06, 2006 by Dana Massey

With over 27,000 votes cast, we have reached the end of voting in our 2005 Reader's Choice Awards. Now comes time for the promised write-in support inspired run-offs in the Story and PvP categories. Voting in these two run-offs will begin tomorrow and run until next Friday, January 13th.

In the PvP category, EVE Online will enter the running against the top two vote getters: Dark Age of Camelot and Guild Wars.

In the Best Story category, things get a lot more murky. The vote was basically split evenly between four games, each finishing within a single percentage point of each other. As such, Asheron's Call will replace Horizons and enter a five-way run-off against The Saga of Ryzom, Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes / Villains and Anarchy Online.

Full results will be revealed on Monday, January 16th, 2006.

Conquer Online : Server Split

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Jon Wood

In an effort to ease the population on a popular server, Conquer Online is offering players the option to move directly onto a brand new server for their playing wants and needs.

 

To ease the population of the Kylin server, we give the option for our players on Kylin server to move their characters to the new server named Saturn in Galaxy Group.

If you wish to participate, visit http://account.conqueronline.com/enzf/split/Kylin/ to learn the details and start the process!

After you submit your move decision, please remember to check your move status by selecting "I wish to check My Current Move Decision. Here is my Conquer account ID and password" at http://account.conqueronline.com/enzf/split/Kylin/

Please make your decision before Jan 17, 2006 9:59pm PST. After that, we will NOT be able to undo your moving.

For more Conquer Online, click here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Version 1.81f Release Notes

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Jon Wood

Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has given us yet another set of Version Release Notes. This one, 1.81f, as always, comes complete with New Things and Bug Fixes (which you can read below), as well as PvP Notes and various World Notes (which you can visit their site to read):

 

NEW THINGS AND BUG FIXES

  • Fixed a bug preventing the pickpocket ML ability from working.
  • Damage Over Time (DoT) spells will now only register new attacks on targets for purposes such as breaking stealth if the player who cast the dot is still alive.
  • Players will now be rewarded credit for healing necromancers which have recently been in RvR combat.
  • There was a bug which prevented some player classes (such as the Armsman) from displaying all of their abilities on the player sheet. This has been fixed.
  • Players will now be able to perform all of their normally available combat styles, even when under the effect of a weaponskill debuff poison.
  • Releasing in a battleground for which a player has too high of a realm level will now send the player out to the last saved bind point.
  • All recall stones are now usable in Necromancer Shadeform.

To read the rest of the notes, click here.

Auto Assault : Armor

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Jon Wood

The developers at Auto Assault return from the holidays in a giving mood. Today, they are giving us a look at the use of Armor in Auto Assault.

 

Throughout the history of warfare the technological development of better forms of protection and ways of survival always follows the development of new weapon systems and methods of destruction. For instance, one side develops a new weapon and after an initial period of adjustment, the opponent fields a way of protecting against it. The new weapon proliferates to all sides and eventually the protection does as well, so the cycle begins anew. In the Central Wastelands, little of this process has changed.

In the wild and very deadly battles in the wastelands, a chassis’ armor protection is one of the most vital elements of survival. Aside from the varied set of skills the driver may possess, the armor is the strongest, most dependable line of defense for a chassis. Properly maintained, chassis armor doesn’t lose its protective qualities after a short period of time, nor does it wear out. In fact, one can generally improve their armor generally by the use of gadgets or other enhancements, far beyond their original manufactured capability. Certain kinds of armor can even protect against particular forms of attack better than other armor types.

Armor comes in many forms and shapes; some types are common across all factions and races, but represent the most basic kinds of protection: steel welded plating, battle plastics, and so forth. Given their diversity, however, the three races have developed their own unique forms of protection. Human defensive systems usually consist of high-energy shielding concepts, a specialty amongst Humans. Biomeks derive their armor from nanotechnology and possess some of the most hardened yet amazingly light materials on the planet. Mutants use a variety of classic armor types infused with Blood to form a unique armor system, utilizing the capacities of Contamination to the fullest.

Fore more on Auto Assault, click here.

D&D Online : Beta Journal # 7

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Jon Wood

After what we can only hope was a relaxing and enjoyable Holidays for the Turbine staff, the Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach crew have released another in their series of Beta Journals. This one, the seventh in the series, is called, "Tactics, Tactics, & More Tactics Part 1". Obviously, the first part in a multiple part series. As always, stay tuned to MMORPG.com for more: 

 

I have been playing the Dungeons and Dungeons & Dragons™ Online: Stormreach™ (DDO) Beta for about seven weeks now, and in this journal I’d like to share some party tactics that could make one’s enjoyment of the game’s action-based combat system that much better.

Initially I, like most veteran MMORPG players, did not give much thought about melee tactics (position, range, targeting, prioritize targets, and especially party combat tactics). Yet nor was I one of those players who would simply charge into the mob of monsters and swing away recklessly. As a long-time pen and paper (PnP) player and former Marine, there were some basic combat tactics that I automatically fell into using.

Position

Where are you in relation to your enemy; melee range, missile range, detection range? Consider line of sight, and not just for the path of an arrow. Can you see the enemy, and can she see you? Are there nearby crates to duck behind or other aspects of your surroundings that could be of use? In DDO, it matters! All these come into play when employing the game’s inherent combat tactics.

Flanking (+2 attack bonus)

When a monster is targeting a specific player for his melee attack, anyone else attacking that monster gains a +2 attack bonus. Be warned, though, that turnabout is fair play; monsters also get the same bonus against you! This is a subtle break from the norm that makes for a whole different game dynamic. If you wade into combat the way many MMORPGs let you, you’re going to take a beating! The key in DDO is to react to such a situation - move when you get surrounded - jump and tumble - don’t just stand there and get butchered like a sheep.

For more on Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, click here.

RF Online : Distribution Extended to Mainland Europe

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Jon Wood

 

RF Online for Mainland Europe.

  • The most anticipated MMORPG of 2006* to be released Europe wide.
  • Magical fantasy meets futuristic science-fiction action. 
  • Engage in the most epic battles ever seen in any MMO role-playing game.

Codemasters Online Gaming today announces that it has secured a license agreement from CCR, Inc. of South Korea to extend the distribution of RF Online to mainland Europe. The title, already one of the most successful massively multiplayer online games in the Far East, will be published simultaneously in the U.S. and Europe in Q1 2006 for PC.

RF Online (Rising Force Online) delivers a supremely rich gaming experience that has already attracted over 1 million players in the Far East since its launch last year and was recently identified as the "most anticipated MMORPG" at mmorpg.com*

Seok-Ho Youn, CEO, at CCR, Inc, commented:

"We have witnessed Codemasters' commitment to MMO games and we are pleased to award the license for the remaining European territories to the organisation. We are confident that Codemasters Online Gaming will be a leading MMO publisher in the West and we're looking forward to being a part of its success."

David Solari, Director of Codemasters Online Gaming, said:

"The response we've received from the RF Online community has been amazing and it has already attracted a surprisingly large following throughout Europe. Given that, until now, the title was not promoted across mainland Europe indicates there is a huge market for RF Online. This extension to our distribution agreement ensures that the game will be a major event in the Western MMO calendar when it launches in 2006."

With stunning in-game visuals and jaw-dropping character and environment detail, RF Online is an incredible next generation MMO game. It features a unique blend of magical fantasy mixed with futuristic science-fiction action and sees players engaging in the most epic battles ever seen in a MMO role-playing game.

RF Online is set to launch in Q1 2006 and will be published and operated in the US and Europe by Codemasters Online Gaming. For all the latest on the game, including the latest images, movies and to sign up for the Beta Test, visit www.rf-onlinegame.com

[ expand article ]

Dark and Light : Q&A #8

Posted Jan 05, 2006 by Dana Massey

In our latest Dark & Light Q&A, Jon Wood gets to ask the team about a range of issues that cropped up just before the Settlers of Ganareth beta. Next time, check back for a beta-related themed Q&A. We also have eight questions, as opposed to the usual five, this week.

MMORPG.comLess than 1 day after Settlers of Ganareth registration opened and closed, someone sold a key for $100 on Ebay. First, what is your stance on this kind of practice, and second, how do you respond to someone linking that kind of value to a free SoG key?

The Dark & Light Team: Sale on third-party websites of objects, accounts and all other data regarding Dark and Light and Settlers of Ganareth is not authorized by Farlan Entertainment.

People who use these services take the risk of their accounts being banned without any financial compensation. We will not tolerate advertising of these methods on our official communication systems for the game (forums, irc, ingame chat)... 

You can read their answers here.

Seed : Runestone Pairs With Alchemic Dream

Posted Jan 04, 2006 by Jon Wood

 

Runestone Announces Contract with Alchemic Dream

Aarhus, DenmarkJanuary 4, 2006 – Runestone Game Development today announced a contract with Alchemic Dream Inc., leader in customer services for MMGs, to provide customer support, localization and game mastering services for Runestone’s upcoming MMG Seed.

“Seed brings a new vision of the MMG gameplay experience to the market,” explains Aurélien Merville, CEO of Alchemic Dream Inc. “AI technology and stories systems involve the player in the universe to a new extent. We are happy to provide our dedicated services to Runestone in order to help this company getting and keeping a satisfied audience in a lively virtual world!”

“In Seed we focus on personal, interactive stories,” Lars Kroll Kristensen, CEO of Runestone Game Development says. “We want our players to immerse themselves into the world and to be active members of a greater community. Therefore it is important for us that they are in the best of hands both in-game and in our forums, and we feel confident that they will be so with Alchemic Dream in charge.”

[ expand article ]

Twilight War : Game Shut Down

Posted Jan 04, 2006 by Jon Wood

It is always sad when an MMORPG is forced to close. Unfortunately for Smiling Gator Productions, that is exactly what the New Year has brought with it. Yesterday, the developers announced that SGP would be closing, and that their game, Twilight War would close with it.

 

Patch Installation for 1.4.2 - 2006-01-04

It's not a Happy New Year here at Smiling Gator Productions.

Unfortunately, the end of 2005 is also the end of SGP. Our committed funds have run dry and we were not successful in the hunt for additional investment. The websites and email will be disabled in the coming days, so this is our last announcement before we shut down for good. Thanks again to our fantastic forums community for all the support and contributions! We hope you find another project and give them the devotion and incisive comments we've enjoyed reading for the past 17 months.

For those who are interested, the Twilight War community will continue on Twilight War HQ.

For more on Twilight War, click here.

Spellborn : Sound Article

Posted Jan 04, 2006 by Jon Wood

The developers at The Chronicles of Spellborn have released a new developer article. This time around, it comes from the Sound Designer, Matthew Florianz. Florianz tells us about himself and the process of sound for The Chronicles of Spellborn. In the article, he makes reference to Jesper Kyd, the award-winning composer who has signed on to work on the game. Kyd premiered one of the tracks for Spellborn on our December Podcast here at MMORPG.com.

 

Patch Installation for 1.4.2 - 2006-01-04

Hi, my name is Matthew Florianz. Before I tell you about what I wanted to achieve with the sound for TCoS, I first want to tell you a bit about my background. In the mid 90’s, my first paid job was as a graphic designer for a video game distributor. I made and adapted advertisements for magazines, created short commercial movies and websites. For these movies, music and sound were needed, and I picked up an interest then. At the beginning of 2000, I joined Khaeon Games. As part of the team I helped make two fps games and a sci-fi arcade shoot-em-up. Mostly doing level design, doubling as a game and sound designer during the so-called after hours. That, combined with my private interest in ambient music (www.matthewflorianz.com) is probably why I had all the needed experience in order to do the sound for The Chronicles of Spellborn.

An important element in my music, and thus my personal interest, is travel; how you experience the transition from one mood or environment to another. Both level and sound design have many commonalities, and something learned in one field can definitely be applied to the other. With level design there is the constant danger of achieving form through the collection of details. This results in very technical levels where the overall shape is as non-descript as all the little details. For music the same applies: if you forget the structure of the overall piece, all the individual elements don’t seem to work. So to me level design is not so much how a corridor looks, but how it connects the areas before and after it, much like music for me is mostly about bridging sound-areas.

For TCoS, on the most basic level, I want to achieve two things. First, to give players a sense of travel and exploration even if they go through the world with their eyes closed. This requires detailed and varying soundscapes for individual areas. At the same time (and almost at conflict with the previous) the soundscapes have to be subtle enough to allow external (player selected) music to be played over them. The question that is frequently asked (if sound can be turned off), taught me that sooner or later you will have heard all there is to hear, and will prefer to play your own music.

In this three part article I would like to tell you about the different aspects of sound, and how we implemented the dual approach mentioned before. In this first part you will read about the process of selecting the right composer, and finding the perfect music to fit the moods of The Chronicles of Spellborn.

Get the rest of the article, here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Dev Journal #6 & Screens

Posted Jan 04, 2006 by Dana Massey

The Navigation Zone is an important part of any sailing game. This form of dramatic compression zooms out and lets players travel across the open sea in a little faster. Troy Hewitt and Taylor Daynes penned this month's Pirates of the Burning Sea developer journal that explains this system. They also gave us five screenshots of it.

Welcome to the Caribbean – this is how you’ll be sailing from island to island in Pirates of the Burning Sea, the upcoming Pirate-themed Massively Multiplayer game from Flying Lab Software.

As you can imagine, the biggest challenge with any sailing game is the sailing, itself. How do you make sailing fun when your world encompasses all the Caribbean islands, and the continental coastlines from South Carolina to French Guiana? Sailing is fantastically interesting when there’s something exciting going on – a fight or a storm – but it’s terribly boring to sail around the Caribbean in real-time when nothing is happening.

You can read the article and see the images here.

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