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Anarchy Online : Virtual Items Sales

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Funcom has announced that they have launched virtual items sales in Anarchy Online on all servers in a new mini-expansion.  Among the new items that will be made available are hover boards and bikes, pets, social clothing, and more.

Durham, USA – October 12, 2007 – Funcom has now launched the virtual item sales in Anarchy Online. In yet another progressive move from Funcom, the players on Rubi-Ka are now able to purchase sets of points which can be used to acquire virtual items inside the game. The first virtual items introduced with the program come packed inside a new mini-expansion. Amongst other things the new pack includes hover-bikes, hover-boards, social clothing, pets and a luxury apartment. Our focus is to ensure that the virtual items do not affect gameplay balance.

The points are available in three different packages which can be purchased for 10, 20 or 40 USD / EUR, where 100 points is the equivalent of 1 USD / EUR. A new hover-board starts as low as 300 points, but the players can also purchase an entire range. As an introductory offer the players can purchase the entire new collection of boards and bikes for 2000 points.

“This kind of system puts the choice in the hands of the players by allowing them to take as little or as much of the new content as they like,” said Craig Morrison, Game Director on Anarchy Online. “It really adds an extra dimension to what we can provide in terms of fun social items, designed to look cool while being something players don't feel forced into. That extra element of choice has allowed us to add a much broader range of items than we might if we were simply targeting it into a self contained expansion.”

Read the full announcement here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Exclusive Screenshots Week Three

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross is pleased to bring you week three of our exclusive screenshot series from Flying Lab Software's Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Find out more about Pirates of the Burning Sea here.

General : MMOWTF: “MMOO!” The Cry of Gamer Cattle

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

This week Dan Fortier takes aim at the lack of complex game mechanics and challenging tasks in today's MMOs and the people wouldn't have these games any other way.

I took last week off in order to power up for this weeks massive textual carnage. The rants were getting a little too thin for my taste so I thought it might be time to bring back the old days. This weeks article (As always, I use the word loosely) is dedicated to all the gamers that love MMORPGs on easy mode. You can’t be bothered with complex game mechanics or challenging tasks and you can’t bear the thought of losing something once you’ve acquired it. You, my friends, get all my love this week. Enjoy.

In case you were never a fan of farm animals, the first word in the title is pronounced “MOO!” and has always been a popular phrase among mindless animals led to the slaughter. Sometime early in history we figured out that these animals were slow, dumb and really tasty. Not only were they really stupid, but would also eat all kinds of cheap grass while they stood around in pens waiting to be killed and eaten. Sheep also fit into this category and like cows also serve a useful purpose besides food. Most MMO gamers would also fit quite nicely into this pigeonhole as they prefer to simply follow the path of least resistance along a gradual path to l33tness. All the while throwing their money into the rotten cesspool of companies who did nothing but make a game a six year old could play with graphics to match. When was the last time someone made a nice sweater or jacket from your skin?

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Aurilian Treasures

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with an article about trading in tokens from defeated creatures for goods in Aurilia.

When adventurers make their way back to Aurilia after defeating a powerful enemy, they proudly carry back the spoils of war. New entrepreneurs in Aurilia are looking for special tokens that the defeated creatures leave behind. Find out more about trading your tokens to Aurilia's vendors to choose the reward you've been yearning for.

Prized Possessions

Defeating a heroic enemy is no easy task, and the successful combatants are well-rewarded for their efforts! Unique items can be dropped by these formidable foes, including schematics for weapons, items that can be shown off in your home, and more.

Read the full article here.

Age of Conan : Beta Progress and Server Set-up

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Funcom has posted an update on beta progress and the server set-up for Age of Conan in their regular Friday Feature.

Today we wanted to update you on something which has been a lively debated topic recently, namely our server set-up and our Beta progress.

We therefore wanted to give you some in-depth info on what you can expect when we launch in March. We would like to point out that this is how we plan things today, and that some of this may change.

First of all, when it comes to our main server centers for launch we are splitting them into two primary territories; North America and Europe. This is the core divider. This means that your primary server destination will be decided according to where you buy your retail box. So, North American gamers will only get the choice of North American servers, and vice versa. It is important for us to mention that this is done in order to ensure a best possible experience for US and European players respectively. We are aware of the fact that many would like to play with their friends across the ocean, but we have decided on this approach for the overall performance for the largest amount of players. Should you play on a server on another continent it would mean a potentially poorer gaming experience, latency wise, and we would like to avoid that at all cost. As most of you are avid MMO gamers you are well aware of how important latency time is in a genre like ours (not to speak of FPS games;), and this comes as a consequence of that. We are therefore not doing this to set up artificial boundaries, but to give you all the best possible time in Hyboria. If there is an absolute wish for you, or your guild, to play on another continent you will need to do so at your own initiative, meaning having to secure copies from abroad.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Stress Test Results

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has announced that they have successfully completed their recent stress test for Pirates of the Burning Sea.  They have posted a report detailing the results of the test.

With the help of the fine folks at FilePlanet and SOE, we just ran our first Pirates of the Burning Sea stress test weekend. The event was an unqualified success. Despite all the painful downtime and very long days, we learned things about our servers that we simply couldn’t have learned any other way. Fortunately the stress testers were good sports the whole weekend and every time the servers came back up the testers were always ready for more.

Starting last Monday, FilePlanet began to distribute stress test keys and to allow people to download the 4GB client installer. Midday on Wednesday, they opened the test to all FilePlanet members (not just subscribers). On Thursday at 3pm Pacific time, SOE activated the keys, and we put up the servers, letting all 15,000 key holders log in for the first time. The response was immediate. Hundreds of people were in and playing within a few minutes. The numbers continued to climb for nearly three hours. Everything with the servers looked really good, and the hardware itself was actually pretty bored.

That’s when everything went horribly, gloriously wrong.

Read more here.

Spellborn : First Quarter 2008 European Release

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Spellborn International has announced that are planning to release The Chronicles of Spellborn in Europe in the first Quarter of 2008.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Chronicles of Spellborn's (TCoS) European publisher, Frogster Germany, has set a launch date of Q1 2008 for that territory. This extra time will be used by Spellborn International for additional QA testing and incorporating more content.

Frogster Studios has also licensed The Chronicles of Spellborn in the Japanese market in one of the largest closings for a single product in Japanese PC game history. Frogster will receive a percentage of future subscription revenues and a non-recoupable advance license fee of more than $1 million USD. The identity of the partner and more details about the deal will be announced during G-Star in November.

Spellborn International recently completed a major milestone in the game development with the completion of a series of stress-tests to check server and network stability. With the heavy action oriented combat of TCoS, a major development initiative has been to maximize the number of players that can engage in combat in each zone. During the stress tests the game was able to accommodate more than 500 characters in a single zone.


Read more about The Chronicles of Spellborn here.

Tabula Rasa : New Screenshots

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

11 new images have been added to our Tabula Rasa screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

Tabula Rasa : Non-Exclusive Dev Diary: Control Points

Posted Oct 12, 2007 by Keith Cross

Tabula Rasa Producer Starr Long has penned a developer diary describing control points, a game mechanic intended to simulate the back and forth of war by creating a dynamic battlefield.

One of the fundamental goals for Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa was to simulate a war by creating what we call a dynamic battlefield. One of the ways we did that was to have the NPCs fight each other, but we wanted to take these battles a step further where they didn’t just fight each other sporadically as they encountered each other. Instead, we wanted them to actually fight over key pieces of territory which could alter the game environment in that area. These key territories are control points, and they are an integral part of what defines our dynamic battlefields.

Of course, there are more elements to the dynamics of the battlefield, but the control points are certainly a keystone of it. When the control points change ownership from the AFS to the Bane, for example, that changes a bunch of variables in the environment, including what NPCs are spawning and where they are spawning. In addition, this affects what missions are available to the players, so control point ownership even directly influences a player’s ability to complete missions. And it makes sense. If you were a soldier and had been asked to deliver a field report, for instance, and the destination base was under heavy attack, it’s unlikely you could just wander in, deliver your report, and then move on. You would more likely be ordered to help defend the outpost, or in the least, volunteer to stay and assist in the battle. Similarly, when I wander into a specific area in game that is under attack, I have to make an important decision, because what I’m fighting and where I’m fighting is directly linked to the control point. The fluid nature of where the front lines are and the ebb and flow of the battlefield is directly connected to the control points. As a result, a player’s decision to defend a control point personally impacts the face of that particular map.

Read the full dev diary here.

General : EA to Acquire Bioware, Pandemic

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

EA has announced that they have come to an agreement that would see them acquiring VG Holding Corp., the owner of Bioware and Pandemic Studios. There is no word on how this will affect Bioware's unannounced MMO project.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames™ and Saboteur™, in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer. "We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Read the full press release here.

RF Online : New Server

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks at RF Online have announced the addition of a new server.

Codemasters Online are excited to announce, that due to high demand, a brand new world has been opened for new players beginning to enter the 100% Free to Play Online game, RF Online. The new world – Lumen – will sit along side the existing RF Online server Novus where players can enjoy all the latest features and new content that the recently released Episode 2: The Pioneers of Novus has to offer.

More on RF Online here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Anniversary Celebrations

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks at Dark Age of Camelot have announced that they will be initiating additional zone bonuses to celebrate the 6th anniversary of their game.  Along with these numerical bonuses, they've also added a few sights and sounds in the form of fireworks over border keeps.

In honor of Dark Age of Camelot’s Sixth Anniversary, additional zone bonuses have been instituted that begin this evening and last for the next six days.

On Classic or Normal Ruleset servers the following bonuses have been added:

200% bonus to XP in all classic zones and dungeons.

200% bonus to BP in all NF zones.

On the PVP ruleset server the following bonuses have been added:

200% bonus to BP in all classic zones and dungeons.

200% bonus to BP in all NF zones.

(Note: BP was done in both spots as PVP servers already have increased XP bonuses in all zones.)

On the PvE Ruleset server the following bonuses have been added:

200% bonus to XP in all classic zones and dungeons.

200% bonus to BP in the capital cities.

(Note: BP was increased in the capital cities as this is where seals can be turned in that award BPs.)

In addition, fireworks have been enabled above each realms border keeps on the New Frontiers side of the keep to celebrate the anniversary! If you find yourself at the border keeps during the in-game hours of night, look up and be dazzled by the festivities!

Gat all the details here.

Final Fantasy XI : Harvest Festival

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Fall is certainly in the air, and the folks over at Final Fantasy XI are gearing up for their annual Harvest festival.

The start of the always fiendishly fun annual Harvest Festival has been set for Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 1:00.

This year's festival has all the makings of a truly memorable event; everyone's favorite bomb decorations will adorn the streets of the three nations, specialty shops will deal in seasonal sundries, and both classic and all-new costumes will debut!
The townspeople from San d'Oria, Bastok, and Windurst are decked out in their most horrifying ensembles and awaiting your arrival!

So go ahead and start stocking up on all those goodies that the monsters of Vana'diel can't resist!

For information on how to get involved in the Harvest Festival and more, be sure to check out the Topics posted on the day the event begins.

More on FFXI here.

Age of Conan : New Screenshots

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

13 new images have been added to our Age of Conan screenshot gallery.

To view the full size images, and to see the rest of the new screens, visit our gallery here.

World of Warcraft : TCG Collector Set Announced

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The World of warcraft Trading Card Game has announced a new collector's set with a focus on Warcraft's holiday event.

Joy to the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game (TCG)!  Upper Deck Entertainment’s (UDE) World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game (TCG) celebrates this holiday season with The Feast of Winter Veil™ Collector’s Set.  Featuring fan-favorite content from the online game’s holiday event, “The Feast of Winter Veil,” players can join Smokywood Pasture’s friendly goblins for a major feast when the product hits hobby and retail store shelves in November.

A perfect gift for World of Warcraft TCG and massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) players, the new collector’s set not only features unique content from the online game’s famous holiday event, but also contains 10 exclusive game cards and two exciting new mini pet cards.  Some of these cards include “The Adominable Greench,” “Hardpacked Snowball,” “Gingerbread Cookies” and “Metzen the Reindeer,” to name a few.  Players will be able to use all cards featured in The Feast of Winter Veil Collector’s Set will in the upcoming World Championship tournament and festivities from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, December 2 in San Diego.

Each box will also contain a booster pack from each of the previously released World of Warcraft TCG expansion sets (Heroes of Azeroth™, Through the Dark Portal™, and Fires of Outland™) and an exciting holiday deck box featuring artwork from the set.

More on the WoW TCG here.

Granado Espada Online : New Event

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

K2 Network has announced a new event for their MMORPG, Sword of the New World: Granado Espada. Below, find the story that leads up to the event, which takes place 3 times daily in-game.

IRVINE, Calif. – (October 11, 2007) – K2 Network, Inc. (, an online game publisher today announced details of the exciting new experience within its epic Age of Exploration MMORPG Sword of the New World: Granado Espada.

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, the heroic MMORPG, has more to offer than initially meets the eye. Delve deeper and while you become immersed in its breathtaking graphics, large scale maps, a game full of surprises and mysteries will unfold. Hidden dangers, treasures and fame present themselves to those that seek to become one with the world, and profit and advancement by some unusual means will follow!

As recalled by Ambassador Vartigus, an intriguing and poignant tale tells of Captain Sharffenberger, a smart and wealthy man courted by royalty who wanted him to marry one of their daughters. His heart however belonged to another, a love from his youth who was never forgotten. Adelaide Rosecraft captured his heart and they forged an unrivaled unity but she was sent to a far away land never to meet again. Their last night together they embraced passionately and both vowed never to forget each other…

Roderick Sharffenberger followed in his father’s business and in his thirties he became captain of his very own ship, St. Augustine, left by his father. Throughout all these years he kept the eternal secret close to his heart and never gave up his endless search for his true love. Then unexpectedly he received a letter from Adelaide expressing her desire to meet him at Porto Bello. He hastily sets sail but a dark storm engulfed his vessel and while the sea raged, he made a pact with the darkness, to grant him and his crew life so that he may see Adelaide one last time.

Though his intentions were good, compromising with the dark side of life could reap no real rewards and now Sharffenberger roams the sea, undead! Coming ashore, looking for his lost love, he kills, unmercifully everything that stands in his path.

This sad but poignant event to some, takes place 3 times a day on every world for gamers to become part of.  There are different level ranges for the event but all players can log in and participate.  When Captain Sharffenberger dies he drops loot and random players who participate are awarded costumes (items that change their character’s appearance) for their efforts.

More on SotNW here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Annúminas

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with another look at the landmarks and locations of Middle Earth.  Today they bring to light the history of Annúminas, the former seat of power of the kingdoms of men.

When Elendil of Westernesse came into Middle-earth after the destruction of Númenor, he settled at last in the northlands of Eriador and established the kingdom of Arnor. On the shores of Lake Evendim he built the great city of Annúminas, from which he ruled as High King over both the North and South kingdoms of Men: Arnor and Gondor.

Nine kings ruled Arnor after Elendil, though only eight dwelt in Annúminas. Isildur, Elendil’s heir, never sat upon the throne, for he was slain in the Gladden Fields while returning from the wars with Sauron in the South. Valandil, Isildur’s youngest son, took the throne following his father’s death, and established a dynasty that lasted more than 800 years. After the death of King Eärendur, his heirs fell to fighting and the North-kingdom broke into three realms: Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur. Amlaith, the first king of Arthedain, removed his court to Fornost, leaving Annúminas to fall into decay.

Read more here.

Dark Age of Camelot : DAoC Turns Six

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Keith Cross

Dark Age of Camelot has reached the respectable age of 6 this week, and DAoC Producer Chris Rabideau has posted a message of appreciation to the community for all the years of support.

Hello all,

It’s been six truly wonderful years since Dark Age of Camelot first opened its servers to the hungry Realm versus Realm masses; six years of high intensity melee combat and countless magical explosions on the battlefields of the Frontiers; six years of the deadliest and most compelling siege warfare ever seen in any live MMO to date.

Six years and still counting.

I suspect that few of you know who I am. My name is Chris Rabideau and I have been the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot since January of 2007. Perhaps some of the ‘old schoolers’ might remember me, but for the most part, prior to my role as Producer, I’ve not been in the public eye simply because most of the jobs I’ve held over the years didn’t require it. In the seven years I’ve been with Mythic, I have never moved off the DAoC project. I’ve worked in nearly every capacity, including content development, systems design, QA, and production. I remember running to the store for office supplies or server RAM back when Mythic Entertainment was a small company and we all wore many hats. I have a great deal of passion and love for this game, and I have a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for its community.

Read more here.

General : Forum Spotlight: The Solo Content Debate

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Community Manager Laura Genender trawls the forums and comes out with a thread that focuses on solo play in MMORPGs. member, Perilous1 brought up a hot topic from the MMO frontlines: Why do MMOs force us to group? From EverQuest to Lineage II, DAoC to LOTRO: rewards in MMOs, be it PvP or PvE, often scale their difficulty by numbers of users. You can solo to farm tradeskill items, group for EXP, and raid for gear. Trying to solo your way through many of today’s games is pointless – despite us being the heroes, most monsters can take 6 of us on and still sometimes win.

“This may seem like a small matter to most players,” states Perilous1, “but for those of us whose enjoyment of playing is tightly wrapped up in solo'ing, it's a real downer when you start to get into a new MMO and then have it rendered worthless to you because the Dev's rolled out another cookie-cutter design that could easily have been fixed and made far more flexible.”

Many users agree with Perilous, and it’s not always the solo-crazy. User Vendayn enjoys soloing, but not exclusively. “If a mmorpg has forced grouping, I'll probably quit pretty fast. Not to say I don't like grouping cause I do...just not being forced to group all the time to get anything done.” User Tabby_Cat sings a similar tune: “While [I] prefer to play in groups [I] do not like to be forced into it. [T]here are times where I just want to solo.”

Read the whole thing here.

City of Heroes : Issue 11: Weapon Customization

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Jon Wood

Last week, we brought you an interview with Matt "Positron" Miller about the upcoming Issue 11 update from City of Heroes / Villains. Today, the folks behind the game have provided us with the story behind the new weapon customization that will make an appearance in Issue 11.

One of the most often requested features for the “City Of” games is power customization. We already offer some of the most extensive costume customization of any MMO on the market, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what our players desire. They want the ability to customize every single bit of their character, including how their powers look.

Unfortunately, the animation and effects system that City of Heroes was built on didn’t lend itself well to customizing power blasts or altering the color of the fire attacks. Numerous powers have baked-in elements that would require a nearly insurmountable effort to get power customization to work at the level our players have come to expect. When faced with this fact, we decided that we would much rather devote the animation and effects time into new powers and new effects than going back over older powers and giving them a purely cosmetic facelift.

When it came to adding new powers to the game, Jack Emmert, the Creative Director at Cryptic Studios, suggested that we poll the players to find out what they wanted in the way of powers. We knew we wanted to do a melee set and a defensive set so that the melee archetypes (Tankers, Scrappers, Brutes, and Stalkers) could get some much needed love. When we reviewed the results of the polls, the defensive set that the players wanted the most was Shields.

Read the whole article here.

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