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D&D Online : New Module 7 Screenshots

Posted May 28, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks from Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online have sent us six new screenshots from the upcoming Module 7. These shots give a particular focus to the newly re-designed "Three Barrell Cove" area of the game.

Check out all eight here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : 1.4 Delayed Until Thursday

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has announced that the implementation of the of the 1.4 patch for Pirates of the Burning Sea has been postponed until Thursday Morning.

The deployment of patch 1.4 has been postponed until tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 29th). The downtime will take place between 1:30am and 3:30am Pacific Time. During this window, Pirates of the Burning Sea game servers will be unavailable while we upgrade to 1.4.

You can find information on the changes in 1.4, including some in-depth discussion of skill changes, by reading our Developer Logs.

You’ll want to keep an eye on the Important Announcements Forum for regular updates on our progress throughout Wednesday morning’s downtime.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

Read more here.

Champions Online : Team Profile: Dennis Adams

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has updated the official site for Champions Online with a profile of associate producer Dennis Adams.

Q: What do you do on Champions Online?
A: I'm an associate producer, which means I have the pleasure of managing the art team and designers on Champions Online – the concept artists, character modelers, animators, FX artists, powers and combat designers all fall under my jurisdiction. When you're entrusted with managing a talented group of folks like the ones we have here at Cryptic, it starts to feel less like work, and a lot more like a golden opportunity.

Q: How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before working on Champions Online?
A: I'm relatively new to the gaming industry. I spent five years working as an animation production supervisor at Walt Disney Studios, followed by a gig on The Simpsons Movie; all the while dreaming of "making videogames." I eventually got my break a little over a year ago after landing a job at a small game studio in San Francisco working on Star Trek Online. I then moved to Cryptic in February, and I love every minute of it.

Read more here.

Kaos War : New Funding for SRI

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

Shattered Reality Interactive, the company that is currently developing Kaos War, has announced that have recieved a new round of funding form a group of European investors.

May 2008 – After over a year of game development with minimal funding, Shattered Reality Interactive (“SRI”) announced that they have secured an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from European investors led by Netherlands based investment management firm Orange Dogs BV.

SRI is independently developing their flagship MMO title, Kaos War. The company and its CEO Damon Grow received immense industry attention from the original documentary series, "Creating Kaos." Since the documentary series ended a year ago, SRI has shown progressive growth by adding key team members including programmers, designers, artists, and administrative personnel. In January 2008, SRI successfully completed its gameplay demo to follow up its technology demo released in early 2007.

"This is a great sign for all independent game developers," says Damon Grow, CEO of Shattered Reality Interactive, Inc. "This funding shows that with good vision and determination, you can achieve success.”

Orange Dogs BV, with interests in Amsterdam and California, focuses in making investments in the online industry. The firm has previously invested in social networks, lifestyle services, mass technology adoption, and now online gaming.

Read more here.

Champions Online : Villain Profile: Ankylosaur

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted a profile of Ankylosaur, a power armor wearing super criminal.

Paul Bressler got all the bad breaks.

He was born into a poor family, and no one really understood him. He got kicked out of school because of a simple misunderstanding about what he and the principal's daughter were doing in the broom closet. He was tossed into juvie for a couple of burglaries and some joyriding – a luckier kid would have gotten a slap on the wrist.

Nothing ever turned out right. But Paul was convinced that he was due for a big score to make up for all his rotten luck.

He got his chance when the local VIPER nest hired Paul and his friends to help out with a job. Paul knew this was his shot at the big time – if he got in good with VIPER, he'd be on the road to Easy Street.

Read more here.

Wonderland Online : Vehicle Details

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released details about some of the vehicles that are available in Wonderland Online.

Wonderland is a world full of technology and adventure. Do you want to make various vehicles to help you explore the world? We' d like to introduce some ways to obtain vehicle designs.

Boat Design
Activation Location: Civilian's House of Welling Village
Reward: Boat Design
Activation Item: Chest
Quest process: Enter the civilian' s house and click the chest, the NPC will ask players to answer questions, if players answer correctly, they will obtain the boat design.

Raft Design
Activation Location: Civilian's House of Welling Village
Reward: Raft Design
Activation NPC: Tark
Quest process: Use 3 Lauans to exchange for the Raft Design with Tark.

Read more here.

Helbreath : Version 4.0, Bonus Experience

Posted May 28, 2008 by Keith Cross

Version 4.0 of the Helbreath USA client is now available, along with several events that give bonus experience points.

The NEW client is ready to go and is available to download from the Helbreath USA auto updater!!! There have been a few other bug fixes and changes that we’re excited to share with everyone. Check out the 4.0 Update page on the web site for more details.

If you’ve not been around in a while, be sure to read all the changes to get caught up!

As a way of saying thankyou and welcome back to everyone we’re giving away over 25 million experience points. In order to make the experience points available to all characters including your 180’s we’ve split the points up in to 3.2 million lots. Be sure to read the details on the experience points!

Read more here.

City of Heroes : Issue 12 Demo and Test This Thursday!

Posted May 27, 2008 by Ben Krueger Presents: Help NCsoft and Dyyno test its new streaming technology
This Thursday evening at 5pm PST / 8pm EST, City of Heroes / Villains lead designer Matt Miller and the NCsoft community team will be testing Dyyno’s streaming technology with a live demonstration of some of the new content from Issue 12: Midnight Hour.
Matt will give viewers a brief tour of the new Villain Epic Archetypes, including creating new characters in the costume creator and demonstrating their powers in game. As part of this, he will take viewers on a tour of the new Roman and Greek inspired zone, Cimerora, and he’ll try to answer your questions along the way.
This is a test and there is the possibility that technical issues could arise but we hope that you will join us to experience this exciting new technology and City of Heroes game content.

Join us this Thursday in our Dyyno Room!

Stargate Worlds : Mini-Game Design in Stargate Worlds

Posted May 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

Steve Williams of Firesky, the company creating the MMORPG Stargate Worlds, writes this dev log on the game's official page which highlights mini-games in the upcoming MMO.

My name is Steve Williams, and I am a MMO gamer and also a casual gamer. Give me an MMO, and I’ll play it. Give me a simple Flash game and I’ll play it. Wouldn’t it be fun if someone could mix the two flavors together and make a peanut butter cup of gameplay that would satisfy both MMO fun and casual fun?

So let’s talk about what mini-games are doing in a self-respecting MMO like Stargate Worlds - let’s talk about putting the peanut butter into the chocolate and making something tasty.

Since time immemorial, or at least the past few years, MMOs have focused upon two things: Killing stuff (and getting their loot) and making stuff for people to go kill stuff (and get their loot). As building games goes, that’s a pretty good spread of features, and it’s not too hard to make that work.

Read it all here.

Tabula Rasa : Talking to New Lead Designer Tom Potter

Posted May 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

Tom Potter, the new Lead Designer for NCsoft's Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, sits down with Managing Editor Jon Wood to talk about his thoughts on the game and where it's heading.

Can you give us an idea of your own personal game design experience?

Tom Potter

If you had told me when I was eight years old, "hey kid, you're gonna be making games someday", I think my head would have exploded.

Whether it was making my own rules for Axis and Allies, or actually sending Nintendo proposals in the mail (which were all kindly rejected), I always knew I wanted to be a game designer. But back then it really didn't seem like a viable career path. So I took a long detour through some other fields before realizing that is was in fact possible to make games and make it a career. I was a chemist for a while, but it just wasn't really fulfilling personally. So I made the decision to switch careers, and through a lot of blood, sweat and tears I finally got a chance to join the industry. Prior to joining NCsoft I worked at Iron Lore Entertainment as Lead Content Designer. While there I worked on Titan Quest, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, and a little bit of Dawn of War: Soulstorm. I joined NCsoft initially as a Senior World Designer and was responsible for making maps and instances. I just recently transitioned to the Lead Designer role which is really a whole new set of challenges. But the team is really fantastic and we're making strides towards making TR better and better with every update.

Read the whole interview here.

Age of Conan : PayByCash Offers Payment Alternatives

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom and PayByCash have announced a partnership which will open up alternative payment methods for Age of Conan players which don't require the use of a credit card.

Charlottesville, VA (May 27, 2008) - PayByCash®, a division of Internet Payment Solutions, Inc., will provide non-credit card payment services for Funcom’s much anticipated, award winning Age of Conan massively multiplayer online game for PC. With the support of PayByCash, Funcom can offer Age of Conan subscribers throughout the world access to premium content through more than 70 payment methods not requiring a credit card.

“Funcom is pleased to expand its relationship with PayByCash. Their product and support services integrate seamlessly into the Age of Conan website, allowing us to tap into a vast customer base that chooses not to use credit cards,” said Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “We are incredibly proud of the Age of Conan game and can’t wait to see players experience the amazing adventures we have created.”

Added Kevin Higgins, CEO of PayByCash, “We are excited to be a part of the Age of Conan release. We have seen the excitement generated by the million beta subscribers and phenomenally successful early access programs. We know that PayByCash increases the ability of Funcom to reach more premium subscribers worldwide through our partnership. Our business has a global reach, allowing players from every region of the world reliable access to Age of Conan’s premium content, using the payment method of their choice.”

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : PvP Tournament Results

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

FLS has posted the results from the PvP tournament which was held on the Pirates of the Burning Sea test server over the weekend.

The Testbed server PvP Tournament was held Saturday May 24th, 2008. Held in Irish Point, thirty-four participants crammed the docks to receive their skill points and inventory from FLS staff, fraxl and Rhaegar. Participants were able to try out the new skill sets, including the new Buccaneer class, as well as try out new ships for the upcoming 1.4 patch. POTBS Boarding party members were on hand to help players find their opponents and bridge the barrier of national chats.

Round one kicked off the tournament with 17 separate battles. Ventrilo was abuzz as the competitors discovered how to use their new skill sets and fight their new opponents. Enthusiasm ran high as the rounds continued and players worked their way through the double elimination brackets. Many players were heard remarking how they really enjoyed the competition and it got their adrenaline pumping. One player noted that even though he had lost the battle, it was one of the best one on one PvP fights he had experienced in Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : Worldwide Invitational Tickets On Sale

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced that tickets to the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational, to be held at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Centre in Paris on the 28th and 29th of June, will go on sale next week.

We're pleased to announce that additional tickets for the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational will be available on the Worldwide Invitational website next week.

This year's Worldwide Invitational will be held here in Europe, at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Centre in Paris, France, on the 28th and 29th of June. Both days of the event will feature a variety of activities including hands-on play with the latest versions of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II, the chance to meet Blizzard executives and developers in discussion panels and signing sessions, participate in community tournaments and dance, costume, and machinima contests, watch top eSports competitors from around the world play in exciting invitational tournaments and much more! Tickets are priced at ¤70 / £55 for the two-day event and can be purchased by credit or debit card.

You can find additional information about the event on our official website, including a comprehensive F.A.Q. and an interactive map of Paris, France, where the Worldwide Invitational will take place.

Read more here.

Angels Online : New Server Branches

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be opening two new server branches for Angels Online on June 3rd.

Angels Online is a cute MMORPG brought to you by IGG. Since its release in December of 2007, it has grown substantially in popularity with online gamers.

Following the release of a new edition 'Eden' in early May, and in order to offer a better service to new and existing players, IGG have decided to open a server branch in Nisroc and Sofiel on June 3rd.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tabula Rasa have returned from their long weekend with the Weekend Wrapup, which details some of the weekend's PvP action.

Friday Night Fights
A note from DeadRinger from PlanetTR...

It was FNF's 30th Event as we originated from the Orion Server! It was a great night of fighting as a number of new faces made their FNF debuts and started turning heads right from the start.

In the first round - Fare defeated Chandler, Andriss beat Machka, Venka overcame Darkspawn, Glass took out Inositol, Patton defeated Mordahel and Slamscape took out Bethel.

In the second round - Fare overcame Morse, Venka defeated Andriss, Glass took out Patton and Nagorski beat Slamscape

In the Semi-Finals - Fare defeated Venka and Nagorski beat Glass

In the Finals - Nagorski scored the win over Fare.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Lorebook Update: Baugarch

Posted May 27, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online Lorebook has been updated with a look at Baugarch, an elite warg that wanders the Chetwood with the the Blackwold brigands.

In the Chetwood, the Blackwold brigands have established an encampment from which they assail the various villages of Bree-land. The entire brigand band put together, however, is not as much of a threat as the guardian left there by Éogan of Angmar.

Wandering through the Chetwood and the Blackwold camp is a vile Warg that came with Éogan out of the North. Baugarch is feared by all who dwell there, even the wild wolves who make their den to the west of the Blackwold encampment. Many an unwary woodsman has vanished in the Chetwood, taken by the evil Baugarch.

Read more here.

Champions Online : Cryptic Rethinks Archetypes

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has posted a dev blog where they look at the design process of an MMO, and re-examine the role of character archetypes in Champions Online.

No game design is perfect. There are so many factors that go into the design of a video game, especially a massively-multiplayer role-playing game, that hitting on a perfect design from the start is nearly impossible. There are unforeseen elements that crop up from the interactions of dozens of game systems over a huge amount of game content. There are technical budget limitations that force designers to make decisions on how to evaluate whether to make game features simpler or cutting them entirely. As game implementation proceeds over the course of months and years, the initial game design may evolve into something quite different than original conception.

The initial game design is largely based on a game design vision, IP considerations, industry trends, and budget. The design process is shepherded by the creative officer of a company and the respective design leads, with additional consideration by company directors, investors, publishers, marketers, etc. Decades worth of game design experience go into the initial game designs for a project as it goes through much iteration of conceptual design, analysis, and buyoff from all parties involved.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : 400,000 Players Enter Age of Conan

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has announced Age of Conan as one of the fastest selling PC Games of all time, with more than 400,000 players entering the game since it launched last week.

Durham, USA – May 26th, 2008 – Funcom is proud to announce that Age of Conan is one of the fastest selling PC games of all time. More than 400.000 gamers have entered Hyboria over the last few days, with almost half coming from the North American market. This amazing figure for a PC game shows that the positive pre-order trend has transferred into actual sales, and people from all over the world are now flocking to the most savage, sexy and brutal MMO ever created.

Over the weekend an astounding amount of concurrent gamers were logged on to the game, making Age of Conan one of the busiest MMOs in the western hemisphere. With stock flying out of several retail chains, Funcom expects the number to increase in the days to come. In addition to the many gamers logging in, there was also substantial traffic to the Age of Conan websites, with more than 2,2 million unique visitors during the last ten days.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Fortaleza da Luz Playtests

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software is inviting Pirates of the Burning Sea players with at least one level 50 character to join them for a series of playtests in Fortaleza da Luz, the game's new epic mission.

In the early 1500s, the Knights of Christ established a grand bastion in the Caribbean and named it Fortaleza da Luz: “The Fortress of God’s Light”. Several years later, when Portuguese missionaries victualed there, they found the fortress in ruins; its denizens were nowhere to be found.

Over two centuries have passed, and something stirs once again within the walls of Fortaleza da Luz…

You can be the first to see this new epic mission content!

We are inviting active Pirates of the Burning Sea customers with at least one level 50 character to join us in our Seattle offices to participate in a series of playtests. These playtests will allow us to gather feedback on our new epic mission, Fortaleza da Luz. In addition to seeing brand new swashbuckling content, players will get some Pirates of the Burning Sea swag and a free dinner out of the deal. Sound interesting?

Sessions will take place in Seattle from 6:45 – 9:15pm on the following evenings:
Thursday May 29
Tuesday June 2
Friday June 6

Read more here.

General : SOE Podcast 36

Posted May 26, 2008 by Keith Cross

The 36th edition of the SOE Podcast is now available, bringing information and comentary on SOE's family of games.

Official SOE Podcast #36 is live!!!  Craig “Grimwell” Dalrymple delivers the news while Pex takes a vacation. Take a listen and meet Brad Wilcox Executive Director of Customer Service, and we chat with Emily "Domino" Taylor Game Designer, EQII Tradeskills!  Timmy stops in to update us on what's going on with him. Brenlo and Ashlanne talk about their trip to Seattle and class is in session so listen in to learn how to pronounce the EQ Server Name.

Read more here.

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