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Gods and Heroes : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Keith Cross

Today, we continue a series that will see the publication of one new, exclusive screenshot from the upcoming MMORPG Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising.  The star of this week's screenshot is the deady Chimera.

More on Gods and Heroes here.

Spellborn : Arena and PvP Q&A

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Keith Cross

Recently, Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to sit down and ask a few questions of the folks over at Spellborn International, the Netherlands based company that's making The Chronicles of Spellborn. Community Manager Pierre-Yves *Mirage* Deslandes took the time to provide the answers.

Well, I suppose we should probably start at the beginning. Will The Chronicles of Spellborn have PvP, and what kind of system do you plan on using (ie: arena only, open PvP, zone PvP, consentual, duels, etc.)

Pierre-Yves *Mirage* Deslandes:

Yes, The Chronicles of Spellborn will feature PvP for it plays an important role in the game. Although all the landmass is not “PvP-flagged” there are many “world-PvP” zones scattered around the Shards of the Enclave. These zones are the large and complex underground caves and mines network (known for being the places where ore and different ingredients needed for the players’ crafting needs can be gathered) as well as the outdoor Green District, like mentioned in the video preview from GC.

In addition to these mines there are also numerous fighting pits in the open-air, for the claustrophobic readers. These PvP zones are accessible throughout the leveling of the characters without any restrictions. As far as the end-level PvP is concerned the main feature is the Arena, located in the Quarterstone Shard. Providing you leveled your way up to 40 and talk to Arena Master NPCs, you’ll be granted access to this end-game feature.

Read the full article here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Chapter 7 Producer's Note

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Keith Cross

Star Wars Galaxies Producer Lorin Jameson has posted a few words on the Star Wars Galaxies forums about the upcoming Chapter 7 content update that will bring heroic encounters, the collections system, and more to the game.

Hi Folks,

Wanted to give an update as to where we are with things.  Blix and his design team have been hammering away on the Heroics for Chapter 7.  It has been a little noisy at the office during this time, as they are all on speaker phone and shouting a lot.  The encounters are definitely better every day and I know that players are going to enjoy them a lot.  The art is all done and Aurelia looks in great shape.  QA has been verifying the collections (there are over 90 so it takes time to get them all checked) but right now that all looks really solid.  I still had hopes that we could get the chapter out to test before Friday, but it will probably work out that we wait until the beginning of next week just because I would hate to have things problems over the weekend and not have folks here to deal with it.  Most importantly the chapter is feature complete at this point and looking good.

Although not by way of an excuse here, but in order to be absolutely clear on this, Chapter 7 has been going on schedule for the most part.  We began this chapter at the beginning of August after the bug bash.  I regret now my decision not to characterize that effort as a Chapter, since it took about the same amount of time and certainly added a lot of new stuff to the game, as well as fix a number of outstanding issues.  My team is working hard on this effort and is extremely dedicated, talented, and experienced.  Forum gadflies who like to characterize them differently are wrong, plain and simple. I know that folks are as anxious to get there hands on the chapter as we are to give it to you, but I will not put it out on test until it is representative of what we feel the final live release will be. Period.

Read the Producer's Note here.

Lord of the Rings Online : No Comment For Now from Turbine

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Jon Wood has spoken with contacts at Turbine who have offered no comment today on ysterday's late-breaking story on Jeff Anderson being replaced as President and CEO of Turbine. We are told however, that a full explanation will be given tomorrow (Friday).

Lord of the Rings Online : Balrog Screenshots

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Keith Cross

Five new images, some depicting Balrogs, have been added to our Lord of the Rings Online screenshot gallery.

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

General : Crowley New Turbine CEO and President

Posted Oct 04, 2007 by Keith Cross

Although there has been no official announcement, the Turbine official site now lists Jim Crowley as president and CEO of Turbine, with no mention of Jeff Anderson, Turbine's former CEO and President. At this time there has been no official word from Turbine about what has transpired.

Company Background

Turbine, Inc. is a premier global interactive media company. A team of entrepreneurs formed Turbine over a decade ago with the vision of becoming the leading provider of online entertainment. Since then, the Company has grown to over 200 employees and become the largest privately-held online gaming studio in North America. Turbine is a leader in developing, launching, and operating online entertainment. As both a creative and technological innovator, the Company has created some of the most popular and exciting game worlds on the Internet, like the award-winning Asheron's Call®, Dungeons & Dragons Online™: Stormreach™, and The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar.

  • Jim Crowley, President & CEO
  • Peter Faubert, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
  • Christopher Dyl, Chief Technology Officer
  • Helen Ra, General Counsel
  • Mark Cullinane, Chief Revenue Officer
  • Craig Alexander, Vice President of Production
  • Jerome Lalin, Vice President of Marketing
  • Mike Hogan, Vice President of Operations

Visit the official site for Turbine here.

Read more on the WarCry Network.

Spellborn : High House Torque Dev Journal

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Chronicles of Spellborn official site has been updated with another installment of their artistic dev journal series. This week's topic is the design, modeling, and texturing of one of the High Houses.

So you remember the High Houses and the concept of High House Torque? You do? Good. And for those who haven’t seen it yet, you can read all about it here.

One of the environment artists, Erik Bakker, has been working on it for a while now and the High House Torque is nearing completion. Erik has been doing the models as well as hand painting the textures. (More about modeling an texturing can be found here.

The basic model of the High House was fairly easy since, as described in the concept art blog, the building needed to reflect a certain characteristic and a more robust yet simple architecture suited the characteristic of Torque just fine. So we started of with a simple mockup of the building. Using mockups is a great way of testing a design. A mockup is a very, very simple version of a design and mainly consists out of cubes and cylinders and basic colored materials (in our case… one of the default materials is a very, very bright pink texture. If you don’t already have a headache, you’re bound to have one real fast). We then placed that mockup in the environment to check if it would fit. We can see the composition of the area; does it fit within the rest of the environment and if not, what do we need to tweak to improve it? But we can also playtest it. For example we can check if it’s not too big or too small, if the chairs are not too steep or too long, and do all the gameplay elements work out as intended? In the case of Torque, it all worked out just fine.

Read the full article here.

Warhammer Online : Battle at the Gates of Ekrund

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

As many people already know, the Warhammer franchise started out as a table top war game using miniatures and models. Most of the lore and locations in Warhammer Online are based on the existing lore, laid out in the original game. Now the tables have been turned, and the folks at Games Workshop have built a model of one of the early RvR locations in WAR. As it’s rare for any location in the Warhammer universe to sit at peace for too long, miniature armies of Dwarves and Greenskins soon began to duke it out for control of the Gates of Ekrund.

Warhammer's origins stem from a tabletop miniatures game in which two or more players battle each other by using one of over a dozen different armies available to them. The game is played on model terrain boards with the outcome of their troop’s actions being decided through a cunning use of strategy and the luck of the dice. Note however, that Warhammer is much more than just a game, it’s a hobby. Once a player chooses his army, he has a myriad of troop types to choose from to suit his tactics. Once the makeup of his forces is determined, a player can then begin to collect his miniatures and paint them in the color scheme of his choice. It doesn’t stop there though, as the player can build scenery and terrain on which to make his game playing experience that much richer.

In an effort to bridge the gap between tabletop miniatures games and the realm of online gaming, John Shaffer of Games Workshop, U.S. built a scale model of one of the WAR in-game environments; the lofty and ancient Gates of Ekrund. Using raw materials, like insulation foam, plastic sheeting and foam core, John recreated the imposing structure with help from some in-game screenshots. Two weeks after a meeting with EA Mythic staff, the gates were finished, and it was only right that a heated battle between the Dwarfs and their rivals, the Orcs and Goblins be waged amongst the shadows of Ekrund’s walls.

Read the full battle report here.

City of Heroes : A Look at the 14 Day Trial

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Jon Wood Managing Editor Jon Wood recently jumped into the 14 day free trial of Cryptic Studios' City of Heroes. In this At A glance Article, Jon gives his impressions of the game and a rundown of what makes it a unique MMO.

These last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with City of Heroes from Cryptic Studios. I have to say that for a game that launched over three years ago (April 2004), it’s really got quite a bit to recommend it.

I should really start this by saying that this is by no means a full review of the game. These At A Glance articles are designed so that the writer plays the game’s trial (in this case, 14 days), and reports back with their impressions, so here goes:

Character Creation

Right out of the gate players are met with the feature that, in my opinion, is the biggest highlight; character creation. Every MMORPG has it, but outside of the “virtual world” games (Second Life comes to mind), I have never seen such a diverse and interesting creation system. Cryptic Studios has done a fine job of allowing the players to feel like their characters are totally unique. Whether you want to make a costumed superhero, a “regular guy” or some kind of monstrosity, you can do it, and quite easily. A person can easily spend an hour or more choosing every detail of their character’s appearance… if they choose to. It’s also relatively easy to make a unique character in a minute or two.

Read the whole thing here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Design Competition

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has issued a challenge to Pirates of the Burning Sea fans. They need flag and sail designs for two factions in a story arc, and they're willing to pay out a chest of booty for the best design.

This from our friend Gavin Irby, Flying Lab Software Mission Designer working on the Role-Playing Story Arc missions:

“The RP Story arc is content complete and in queue for testing, but there’s one little bit of content left too add. How would YOU like to be the one to do it?

Part of the back story involves a conflict between the Knights of Malta and Algiers, which gets carried over to the Caribbean about 60 years before our game begins. By following the RP story arc, you’ll get a chance to look back into history and relive these events in a high level group mission.

For this mission, I need flags and sails to represent the Maltese and Algerian factions. After seeing all the great work our community did in the previous flag and sail contests, we decided that would be a perfect way to get these as well.

Here’s a brief description of both groups, as well as an example of their flag. Feel free to take creative liberties or, even better, show off your superior historical knowledge!

Get the details here.

World of Warcraft : Joe's World... Keeping the WOW in WoW

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, in his World of Warcraft editorial, Joe Iuliani poses the question: What keeps players interested in playing WoW and what draws new players to a game where so many people have already reached max level?

World of Warcraft is closing in on its three year anniversary.  There is no doubt that WOW had taken the gaming world by storm.  Their sales and subscriptions have been nothing less than extraordinary and nobody can really argue with their statistics.

In fact, they are many MMO players out there who never played anything but WOW (you really need to feel bad for them). Additionally, they have become the hurdle that almost every new fantasy based MMO must jump, so much so that most emerging games are accused of being “WoW clones”.

Even with these credits, the question is “After three years can WoW still hold a player’s interest?”

With more and more subscribers keeping their eye on the next MMO, how will WOW stay competitive in an evolving and expanding MMO world?

Read the whole thing here.

Guild Wars : NPCs, Splits, and You: Part Two

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Guild wars official site has been updated with another edition of their State of the Game series of articles. This week's article is the second part to last week's article titled "NPCs, Splits, and you" which focuses on split team tactics.

Teams often decide to run a build dedicated to splitting because it can force poor match-ups with opposing teams who may not be, for whatever reason, as well equipped to split. A 6/2 or 5/3 offensive split can pose a mismatch against opposing base defenders, the flag stand team, or sometimes both. When this occurs, one of the split teams can overwhelm its counterpart, and force the opposition into reactive play.

As mentioned in chapter one, the recent changes to VoD make gaining an NPC advantage especially important, and this has elevated the potential of dedicated split builds even more so than in the past. Guilds that want to run a dedicated split often choose one of these four isles (as well as Frozen and, to a lesser extent, Nomad's Isle). This installment will examine common offensive split tactics on these maps as well as ways to defend against them.

These maps have two primary strategic points of interest: the flag stand and the Guild Lord. When teams split, they are trying to draw the opposition away from one of these two points to achieve some objective. Typically this is capturing/holding the flag stand, or killing NPCs. In addition, split teams seek to capitalize on mismatches and kill opposing players to rack up death penalty (DP).

Read the full article here.

Tales of Pirates : Spring Town Chapter

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released information on the latest chapter of Tales of Pirates, which will feature three new lands, the new city of Spring Town, new NPCs, new monsters, and more.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here and paste the code (mmorpgcom). Spring Town Chapter is one of the new expansions of Tales of Pirates. In this new chapter, many new contents could be enjoyed by players, including the new islands, new mazes, new storylines, and above all, the splendid ToP Chinatown!

Here in this well-designed chapter, players could find:

  1. Three complete new lands - Spring Island, Summer Island and Autumn Island.
  2. A new City – the Chinese architecture-styled Spring Town.
  3. Over a dozen NPCs with strong eastern-flavored appearance.
  4. Lots of new monsters, and among them, the most conspicuous is the ferocious Black Dragon.
  5. New mazes and new cool items - brave pirates could obtain top-level weapons or armors by defeating the monsters in the mazes.
  6. And also, lots of new story quests are waiting for the pirates to accomplish!

Read more about Tales of Pirates here.

EverQuest II : Rise of Kunark Box Art Revealed

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

SOE has released a glimpse of the box art for Rise of Kunark, the upcoming expansion to EverQuest II.

Read more here.

City of Heroes : Issue 11: A Stitch in Time

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

NCsoft and Cryptic Studios have released a pile of information on Issue 11: A Stitch in Time, the upcoming content update for City of Heroes / Villains. Issue 11 sports such features as a time traveling story line where players can take part in pivotal moments in the history of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, as well as the much anticipated ability to customize the weapons that your character carries, new power sets, and more.

Issue 11: A Stitch in Time reveals that all that is and was is not as it should be! The mysterious Ouroboros organization, a group of beings from the ends of time, enlists the aid of Heroes and Villains to rewrite the past. Heroes and Villains are able to travel through time using the new Ouroboros System, which opens the gates to both new and existing content for players. Issue 11 also unleashes two brand new power sets: Dual Blades and Willpower, giving Heroes and Villains a slew of new power options. Additionally, Dual Blades offers Weapon Customization – taking the “City of” Character Creator to the next level! And the Inventions system is enhanced with new “Very Rare” Purple invention sets.

Ouroboros System

Through the mysterious Menders of Ouroboros, players gain the ability to “Flashback”, that is to travel through time and relive major events from the history of Paragon City™ and the Rogue Isles™. Heroes who travel back in time will embark on missions such as preventing the Circle of Thorns from unleashing a devastating demon on a defenseless world, a story originally presented in the City of Heroes comic book. Villains who journey through time will get the chance to assist Lord Recluse™ in his initial campaign to conquer the Rogue Isles, and much more.

Get all the details here.

City of Heroes : New Screenshots

Posted Oct 03, 2007 by Keith Cross

Six new images showing off some of the new features that will be added to City of Heroes with Issue 11: A Stitch in Time, have been added to our CoH screenshot gallery.

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

World of Warcraft : 2.2.2 Patch Goes Live

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Keith Cross

The latest patch for World of Warcraft has gone live.  Along with this announcement, Blizzard wanted to remind everyone that the latest in game event, Brewfest, will begin tomorrow.

Celebrated by both the Horde and the Alliance, the Brewfest is a time to enjoy the fermented fruits of the harvest: pretzels, cheese, and booze! The competing breweries Thunderbrew, Barleybrew, and the Ogres, all come together outside of all the major cities in a bid to outdo each other with their special ales, meads, and beers.

Revelers are working hard today to set up the booths and games in anticipation of the start of Brewfest tomorrow, October 3. The smell of the first fires are starting to waft through the air and inspire many an anticipating stomach to growl.

Observed by both the Horde and the Alliance, Hallow's End is the celebration of the break between the Forsaken and the Scourge. Adventurers can speak to innkeepers to get silly masks to wear during their adventures, and much more. This is just one way to celebrate Hallow's End. Read below for more things to do during spooky season on Azeroth!

Join in the Hallow's End festivities starting on October 18, and you can find yourself face to pumpkin with the Headless Horseman.

Read the 2.2.2 Patch notes here.

Zu Online : Top 5 Men

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Keith Cross

Last week, IGG released a top five list of the best looking and most beautiful female characters in Zu Online.  This week they've compiled a list for their male counterparts.

Grab FREE iPod Touch to click here-- and paste the code (mmorpgcom).

IGG reveals the description and shots of the top five male NPCs in their upcoming MMORPG - Zu Online.

1. Flight Guardian
He resides in North Temple, looks quite young, and holds the Staff of Dragon.

2. Guardian Monk
He resides in Desert City, is very strong, and holds a huge vajra. There is a magic wheel on his back.

3. Qingyan
He resides in Holy City, wears a hat and cyan robe, and looks handsome.

4. Tianyu Hound Herder
He resides in Northern Ice Field, usually wears hide, and holds a lash. He is good at animal language.

5. Snow Anchoret
He resides in Northern Ice Field wearing coir raincoat with snow. He often rides on the Tibetan Antelope. There is a big flag on his back.

Read more about Zu Online here.

Tabula Rasa : Launch Date Moved

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Jon Wood

Starr Long, the Producer of NCsoft's Tabula Rasa announced today that the launch of the game will be pushed back to November 2nd. Pre-Order head starts will begin on October 30th.

Many of you have heard my mantra for game development: "Stable, Fast, Fun. In that order." We need a little more time to make that happen.

To this end we are moving our Pre-Order headstart date to 10/30/07 and our commercial service start date to 11/2/07. This short but critical amount of time will give us time to address several issues including stability and balance as well as allowing our players to test the continent of Ligo (L38+) and our major changes to crafting for a few weeks rather than a few days. Our entire development staff feels this extra time is needed as does our beta community. We feel confident that this extra time will make a difference on launch day.

That said we are excited about launching the game and moving into a "live" environment where the entire future of the AFS is ahead of us. Expect more posts from Richard Garriott, Paul Sage, and other dev staff over the next few days as they discuss plans for elder content and content updates both long and short term. One of us will also be posting to the website every Friday in order to directly address your feedback, which you can submit via the Feedback Form found here on the website.

See you in game as we wrap up this final leg of testing and get ready for the end-of-beta blow out!

Starr Long

More on Tabula Rasa here.

Gods and Heroes : New Screenshots

Posted Oct 02, 2007 by Keith Cross

12 new images have been added to our Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising screenshot gallery.  Some of these images are higher resolution versions of screenshots we put up a few weeks ago, while others are brand new and exclusive to

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

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