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Age of Conan : New CES Screenshots

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Ten new Age of Conan screenshots from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas have been added to our Age of Conan image gallery.

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

Zu Online : Thunder Calamity

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released an overview of the Thunder calamity in Zu Online, the first challenge on the way to becoming a Junior Immortal.

Today the folks over at IGG brief us on the Thunder calamity in Zu Online. Once a player's level has reached 60 they will be confronted by a very important choice; to carry on with their training or to accept the first calamity - the Thunder Calamity. If they accept the challenge then they shall have the chance to become Junior Immortals.

If the players decide to accept the challenge, they must first pay a visit to their Skill Trainer and clean up their Dishonor Points. For it is impossible for players to challenge calamity while still possessing dishonor points. Then they need go to Blue Mountain, Sky Lake, Miracle Town, Miracleblade Peak and Death World to defeat several Devils and collect their souls. The Skill Trainer must be asked to release these souls from purgatory so that they cannot disturb the challenge.

They should then get to Thunder Peak with the Thunder Stamp given by their Master and challenge the Thunder God. The Thunder Stamps come in three different colors; red, purple and azure. Each color represents a different route that they should follow.

On the way through Thunder Peak they will come across the fabled Thunder Lord. They may give the seemingly impossible task of collecting Demon Dust or the Thunder Heart. And the player may well risk their life in order to complete these tasks. But they should be careful that they don't judge books by their covers, for some of them may well help not hinder. Even giving some useful items that can aid the journey to the center of the Thunder Peak. It is at this sacred place that the legendary Thunder God's Hammer can be found. After the player has set eyes upon the fabled weapon they shall have the chance to complete the quest. And upon doing so there will be a rapturous clap of thunder to celebrate their arrival into the world of the Junior Immortals. At this point they must return to the Chief or their Skill Trainer to report the glad tidings.

Read more here.

Zu Online : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks over at IGG have been kind enough to send us three exclusive screenshots for their upcoming MMORPG, ZU Online.

Check it out here.

Warhammer Online : Fansite Grab Bag

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

EA Mythic as decided to take a different approach with the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Grab Bag, their regular collection of questions from fans and answers form devs.  Each month they'll post on a WAR fansite, looking for questions about a specified topic.  The honor of being the first site goes to WAR-RvR.net, where fans are asked to ask about High Elf Careers.

Greetings!

We're mixing things up in the new year with how we do grab bags. Each month we'll post on a random, active fansite asking for questions on specific topics to be featured in the Grab Bag: Q&A section of the January newsletter.

This month's topic? Previously announced High Elf careers! This includes the Swordmaster, Archmage, and Shadow Warrior.

To make sure your question is heard stop by www.WAR-RvR.net and visit the thread:

WAR Grab Bag Call For Questions - January

Be quick about it though - You only have until Thursday, January 10th, 2008 to do it!

Read more here.

General : CES Technology Report

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Jon Wood

Carolyn Koh is in las Vegas attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show;. While she's there's she will be speaking with a number of MMORPG developers, but before her interviews start, she sends this report on some of the cool technology that she has seen.

Corsair was showing off their high performance DDR3 SDRAM sticks. These beauts are 240pin, heat generating behemoths. Look at the heat sink on the Corsair Dominators. These guys run PC3-14400, verified at 1800MHz at latencies of 7-7-7-20 at 2.0V VDIMM and come with a lifetime warranty. As a comparison, Corsair's highest rated DDR2 memory is 1250MHz at latencies of 5-5-5-18. (DDR3 is not backward compatible to DDR2 hardware. Although they both are 240pin, they are electrically incompatible and have a different key notch location.)

Corsair also had 32gig, USB 2.0 Flash Drives to show off. It wasn't that long ago that hard drives were 32gigs. That makes saved games and operating systems conveniently portable (not to mention video and music). The Flash Voyager is a rugged drive encased in durable water resistant rubber and Corsair boasts that it has been shown to continue working even after having gone through laundry cycles, baked and even run over by an SUV. They didn't mention if it was the same drive though.

Check out the whole article here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Galactic Senate Openings

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

Some Star Wars Galaxies players may be happy to learn that there are currently several openings in the Galactic Senate.

The Galactic Senate gives players a stronger voice in the game and helps strengthen the dedicated Star Wars Galaxies community.

A Galactic Senator represents to the best of his or her ability the segment of community for which he or she has been appointed. It is the responsibility of the Senator to take into account the interests and sentiments of those represented in an unbiased and objective capacity, serving as advocate, leader, and unified voice for the players.

Appointment

Candidates for the Galactic Senate may be nominated by any player in good standing, and self-nominations are also considered. Clarity and influence are among the top desired traits for a Senator to possess. An election commission comprising of the Star Wars Galaxies Community Team will appoint the title of Senator to players from the pool of nominations. Once appointed, a Senator will serve a 6 month term at which point the position will be open to new candidates.

Read more here.

Vanguard : Un-Decking the Halls

Posted Jan 08, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Vanguard are un-decking the halls after the end of the Festival of Gloriann, house items, player gear, and a lonely reindeer.  They have also announced that character transfers will be taking place at the same time the holiday content gets turned off.

Characters currently in the queue to switch servers will be moved to their new homes on Wednesday, January 9th. Normally, weekly server restarts take place on Tuesdays, but in order to minimize downtime, character transfers will take place at the same time the holiday content is turned off.

Randolph the reindeer mount will remain in game, though unable to fly since the Festival of Gloriann has passed. All house and hall items should remain in game, as well as player goodies such as treats and snowballs.

Read more here.

City of Heroes : CoX Seeks Fan Submissions

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks over at City of Heroes / Villains have announced that they are seeking art and fiction submissions for the City of Heroes Fanzine.

Do you enjoy writing stories about your in-game characters? Are you an artist that likes creating City of Heroes themed pieces? If so, then why not submit your creation for possible inclusion to the City of Heroes Fanzine?!

If you haven’t seen the first issue of the Fanzine, you can view it here.

We’re looking ahead to the next issue of the Fanzine and would love to showcase your fiction or art! The deadline for submissions is Feb. 11th. You can find out more at the Fan Submissions web page.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Developer Profile

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with developer profile on Matt Boudreaux, who is employed as a programmer.

What is your real name? Matt Boudreaux.

What is your official title/position? I am a Programmer for Star Wars Galaxies.

How long have you been working on Star Wars Galaxies? I started in November. Doesn't sound like long but I've been fixing bugs since day 1.

What profession do you like to play in Star Wars Galaxies? Pre-NGE I had a Wookiee Creature Handler/Bio Engineer. After the NGE, I made a Jedi just because I had never been one before!

What do you enjoy most about your job on SWG, and why? The users are very dedicated to the game so its fun to interact with them and make some of the changes they've been asking for.

What types of things do you do in a typical day at work? Read my e-mail, work on any bugs assigned to me, read the forums, do research on new technology we may want to place in the game, drink tons of Red Bull.

Read more here.

General : SOE Meet and Greet in Las Vegas

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

SOE will be holding a community meet and greet in Las Vegas at Quark's Bar and Restaurant tomorrow, Tuesday, January 8th.

Because we simply cannot get enough of games, gamers, and warp core breaches bigger than a lesser giant's head – the Community Relations gang is heading to lucky Las Vegas, Nevada for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) on Tuesday, January 8th! If you're in the area, head on over to Quark's Bar and Restaurant located in the Hilton Hotel and Casino to enjoy great conversation with members of the Community team!

What: Community Get Together

Where: Quark's Bar and Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel, 3000 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

When: 7:00 p.m. PST, January 8th

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Pre-Boarding Party Boards Promptly

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

Fly Lab Software has announced that the pre-boarding party is now live, meaning  everyone who pre-ordered Pirates of the Burning Sea will have early access to the game from now until the game's launch in two weeks.

Our servers are live, SOE has flipped the switch on their end, and it’s time to play!

Beginning on January 7, 2008, all players who have successfully pre-ordered Pirates of the Burning Sea™ can gain access to the Pre-Boarding Party. The Pre-Boarding Party allows players to set sail for swashbuckling adventure prior to the commercial release of the game and the ability to keep their characters, equipment and skills after launch (subject to a level cap of 20) with purchase of final game software.


Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : DirectX 10 and NVidia Screens

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Jon Wood

Earlier today, Turbine issued a press release stating that Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is the first MMORPG to support DirectX 10 Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors. Here's what the press release had to say:

WESTWOOD, MA – January 7, 2008 – Turbine, Inc. announced today that The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ has become the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) to support the Microsoft DirectX® 10 API and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors for stunningly realistic imagery. The Lord of the Rings Online, named the 2007 PC Game of the Year 2007, now offers gamers with DirectX 10 graphics cards the most immersive online experience available today.

Players can now experience Middle-earth™ like never before with major improvements to The Lord of the Rings Online’s graphics, including upgraded shaders for water, particle effects and lighting for distant terrain. Players will also be treated to new levels of immersion with the new DirectX 10 exclusive dynamic shadowing features which render realistic real-time shadows in the vast outdoor environments of The Lord of the Rings Online.

“Turbine has a history of pushing the graphics envelope so we can deliver state-of-the art immersive virtual worlds,” said Fernando Paiz, Director of Game Technology at Turbine, Inc. “We began working with NVIDIA very early in the development cycle so that we could fully leverage DirectX 10 technology to achieve our goal of creating the most complete and authentic recreation of Middle-earth. The results speak for themselves as The Lord of the Rings Online has set the bar for what persistent online worlds can be.”

“The FPS genre has long dominated the race to better graphics but with this major update from Turbine, The Lord of the Rings Online players can enjoy graphics as good as or even better than many FPS games. This is an outstanding achievement and the whole Turbine team should be rightly proud of what they have produced,” said Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA. “This deserves the attention of the entire video games industry and all MMORPG players everywhere. It points to a future where we will see increasing blending of genres and deeper, more immersive PC gaming experiences. We are delighted to have been able to support this work.”

The Lord of the Rings Online delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time. From the quaint surroundings of the Shire to Angmar, the vile kingdom of the Witch-king, players will experience the world of Middle-earth as never before. The Lord of the Rings Online is available for purchase at major retailers across North America. For more information, or to download a free trial, visit www.lotro.com.

Turbine has been kind enough to provide us with comparison DirectX9 and DirectX10 comparison screens from Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

Check out the screenshots here.

Tales of Pirates : Wallpaper Design Contest

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they are holding wallpaper design contest to kick off the newest version of Tales of Pirates.

The new version of Tales of Pirates will be released soon and in order to celebrate the event; the Tales of Pirates team will be holding a Wallpaper Design Contest with big rewards.

Event Content:

Players can download some of the wallpapers from the new version of the game at http://top.igg.com/wp_more.php for reference. Participants, can fully show off their imaginations by using a variety of materials; such as screenshots and doodles to make wallpaper for the new version.

Event Duration: Jan 7th to Jan 21st

Voting Time: Jan 22nd to Jan 28th

Event Rules:

  1. The work should be related to TOP. You can use software (Photoshop) to design the wallpaper. Unique and original work is preferred.
  2. The format should be JPG, and it should be offered 800*600, 1024*768 and 1280*1024 resolution wallpaper respectively for each piece of work. So each design needs to be posted three times, once for each resolution.

To Participate:

  1. Participants should post their work with the server name, character name and TOP Logo to the correct place before Jan 18th. Your work should be titled with “TOP Wallpaper Contest”.
  2. The official will select some of the best designs and hold a vote to see which the best is. The winner will be announced on Jan 28th.
  3. IGG reserves the rights to use any and all designs submitted.

Rewards:

First Place (1): 500 IMP

Second Place (2): 300 IMP

Third Place (5): 200 IMP

Encouragement Rewards (8): 100IMP

Read more here.

Angels Online : Nightmare Cave Introduction

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released a preview of the Nightmare Cave, an area where players are asked to collect Dream Pieces from the demons that inhabit the area.

Angels Online, the new MMORPG from IGG is going to give players a little preview of Nightmare Cave.

It has been said that the mysterious cave was cursed by unknown power and many demons lives in the cave. These demons like absorbing people’s dreams when they are asleep, in doing so a magic fragment called Dream Piece will grow in these loathsome demons’ bodies. Two elder angels want you to collect enough Dream Pieces and they also give you some advice in case of accident.

  1. All the bosses’ magic defense is very high, so physical attack is preferred.
  2. The rebirth time for Ghost is 25 min.
  3. Evil Chieftain has ordinary skills. You only need to pay attention to your position and archer should control the attack damage.
  4. Soul Puller: Swordsman or Archer should offer the main attack damage. Since the boss has low attack power, your team only need 1 tank, but you should notice that there will appear man spider monsters after the boss’s death. So the tank should manage the hate of these monsters so as to protect other low defense teammates from danger.
  5. Bloody Hook: has relatively high attack power and high critical strike rate. you’d better challenge the boss after lvl 40, and recruit 2 healing teammates who need to take good care of the tank in your team and keep his HP above 1800, otherwise the continued critical strike will.
  6. The most powerful boss in Nightmare Cave can initiate 3 times continued critical strike, so your tank must have high defense, and your team should prepare enough potions.

Dream Piece:

The boss summoned by Demon Stone will drop 0~3 dream pieces (usually 3). Enough dream pieces can be exchanged for some awesome set, and the second same set will offer you additional abilities.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : A Look Ahead with Jeff Steefel

Posted Jan 07, 2008 by Jon Wood

News Manager Keith Cross recently had the opportunity to talk to Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel about the last year of Lord of the Rings Online and where Turbine's focus will be in 2008.

It’s that time of year again. A time when the New Year still has that new year smell. When every fortune-teller and futurist comes out of the woodwork to give their predictions about what our next run around the sun will bring. In that spirit, we thought it would be a good idea to dust off the old crystal ball and peer into the future of Lord of the Rings Online. Unfortunately, we overspent on poultices and herbal remedies in 2007 and we’ve been forced to cut crystal balls and other soothsaying devices from our dark arts budget. Luckily, there was plenty of room in our telecommunications budget, so I just picked up the phone and spoke to Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffrey Steffel to see what he had to say.

But before we can look forward, we need to look back on the year that was and what it meant for Lord of the Rings Online. LotRO had a notably smooth and relatively bug free launch in late April 2007. The launch set the bar for AAA MMOs and confirmed that a smooth launch is a necessary ingredient if you want to call your game AAA. Since launch, Turbine has been busy adding content and features in the form of free expansions, called books. Three books have been released thus far, opening new areas to explore, bringing quests with new foes to defeat, and adding new features like monster play, player housing, and more.

Read the whole article here.

Dark Age of Camelot : Grab Bag

Posted Jan 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Grab Bag returns this week to once again answer a myriad of miscellaneous questions from the Dark Age of Camelot community.

Q. My Dragontooth Bracer has resists which are sheared during fights. What class is able to shear resists? Is this a bug? It’s not like they are debuffed, because they are gone until I can reuse the bracer which may be 10 minutes or so. I have only had the resists drop during fights with alb groups.

A. Our Balancinator took a gander at this one: I will venture to guess that the group you fought had a Heretic in it. They receive a group buff shear reactionary proc in the enhancement specialization line. It is a 20-minute timed buff that is cast on the whole group. While the buff is active, it has a percentage chance to remove a buff from an attacker. For instance, the level 45 spell 'Accursed Misery' has a 5% chance to remove a buff from an attacker. This, most likely, is how the resist buffs are getting removed.

For those of you playing on normal servers, there is another way an enemy group can shear resists. The 'Battlemaster' level 10 ability 'Essence Shatter' is a style that procs a point black area of effect buff shear with a 350 unit radius.

Q. Does the 5% to magic damage on the Dragonbane Recurve Bow count against other players in RvR? I ask because the info does not specify PvE or PvP.

A. The Bearded Wonder looked into this for us. Here’s what he had to offer: The delve for the spell damage bonus lists the following: " - Requirement: vs Humanoids, Magical, Giants, Dragons" which indicates that the bonus is PVE based. You will not get any bonus against other players.

Open the Grab Bag here.

Guild Wars : Winterday Hats

Posted Jan 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

ArenaNet has posted the winners and honorable mentions for their Winterday Hat Design Contest.

The Wintersday 2007 Contest offered one Guild Wars player the opportunity to make a significant and historic mark on the annual holiday celebration. Players were invited to get into the spirit of the season and create a piece of concept art for our traditional Wintersday giveaway: a splendid piece of holiday headgear.

This special seasonal hat is only available on the final day of the festival when Grenth, Lord of Death and Ice, and Dwayna, Goddess of Air and Life, vie for the support of the citizens of Tyria in the thrilling climax to their yearly contest. The winner of this heavenly battle rules the wintry weather in the coming months, and generously rewards his or her loyal supporters with gifts, including a brand new hat.

Players responded to the call for helm concepts with excellent ideas of all kinds. From literally hundreds of designs, the Guild Wars team selected six top winners and fifteen honorable mentions. All of the winners are listed below. You can find the rules for the contest and the list of prizes here.

Read more here.

Elf Online : A Look at Crafting in Elf Online

Posted Jan 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Folks at Happymmo, the developers of Elf Online, have been kind enough to send us an overview of Elf Online's Production System, and MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood has decided to chime in with his own commentary.

Today, the makers of Elf Online released some new information on what the press release called their “Production System”, which plays an important role in the upcoming MMORPG. “High level armors,” says the press release, “rare pets, unique weapons… None of these could be done without the Production System.”

The Production System, which is the Elf Online’s name for their crafting system, is made up of two categories, Collection and Manufacturing. Each of these categories encompasses three sub-categories.

Collection includes the activities that you might expect in the way of sub-categories: mining, hunting and collecting. The second category, Manufacturing, includes cooking, manufacturing and forging.

Players will be able to begin learning Production System skills at level five. While they will not be able to learn all of the abilities, players will be able to choose one Collection and one Manufacturing ability.

After giving potential players an overview of the system, the press release went on to tell us hot the system will work:

As in almost any crafting system, specific tools are required in order to use the skills effectively. These tools will be available from the skill trainer. A second, more specialized NPC will be able to sell players better tools that will, in turn, produce better quality products.

If, for example, you were to learn the hunting ability, buying a high-quality hunting knife would allow you to do different things to the material in question. High quality tools used on high quality materials will, as a matter of course, give the best results to players.

Read more here.

General : NCsoft Thanks Child's Play Donors

Posted Jan 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

NCsoft has posted a thank you message to thank people for their support in raising almost $5000 for Child's Play in an online auction, which included the chance to have the bidders likeness appear in Tabula Rasa as one of the the auction items.

Everyone here at NCsoft wanted to send a Thank You to those of you who helped Child’s Play by participating in our City of Heroes and Tabula Rasa auctions. Together we raised $4,962.95 for an incredible charity that helps bring games and a smile to thousands of children every year! We hope that your holidays were bright and that your New Year is filled with fun and laughter.

Read more here.

Guild Wars : State of the Game

Posted Jan 04, 2008 by Keith Cross

The latest State of the Game article is up on the Guild Wars official site.  This time around the article looks at teamwork and synergy on the front line.

In GvG matches, games are most often won through teamwork. While coordination spanning all eight members of a team is important, high-end play actually places greater emphasis on compartmentalization. A typical balanced build of two Warriors, Ranger, Mesmer, Elementalist, two Monks, and a flagger can be divided into smaller teams. These teams commonly work in pairs, such as Monk pairs, Warrior pairs, midline pairs, and so on. Each pair needs excellent synergy to coordinate maneuvers and play at the maximum effective level. And, if the players themselves lack synchronization, they may have difficulty playing with one another. There may be discomfort, silence, or too much clutter over voice chat.

This discussion focuses on the offensive unit. This is typically composed of a pair of Warriors, so we will use the two-Warrior frontline as the standard template for explanations. For GvG battles, Warriors usually provide most of the offense because they are the most efficient killing power in the game. However, without proper synergy between two Warriors, much of this efficiency can get lost.

Read the full article here.

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