Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach has released a new Forum Roundup for our reading and learning pleasure:
Every Tuesday we will highlight certain threads from our forums. They will be helpful, positive threads started by our team or by our community that we feel the players would benefit from reading.
Read it here.
THe Guild Wars Factions Championship are winding up their seasonal playoffs with the final matches happening this weekend:
The final seasonal playoffs for the Guild Wars Factions Championship get started this weekend. Twelve matches will take place over Saturday and Sunday, with the first match beginning at 15:00 GMT on Saturday, July 1st. The semi-finals and finals will take place on the weekend of July 8th and 9th. The schedule page and playoff grid will be updated frequently over the course of the next two weekends so that you can keep up on match outcomes and rankings. And remember: You can catch all the matches on Observer Mode!
For more Guild Wars, click here.
Blizzard has updated their World of WarCraft website with info on Blizzard's presence at Comic-Con, New Wallpaper, a community spotlight, Realm Transfers as well as a new feature that Blizzard is offering for players called the "Paid Character Transfer Service":
We are happy to announce the availability of the Paid Character Transfer service for World of Warcraft. You can find this feature in the account-management section of the official World of Warcraft website. This new functionality will allow you to transfer characters to other realms (within certain restrictions) in order to join friends and family or make new friends and allies. Learn more about this new feature in our Paid Character Transfer FAQ.
The initial launch of the Paid Character Transfer service will only allow transfers between a limited set of realms. You can now transfer characters off of these realms:
We'll gradually scale up the list of realms to accommodate more players as quickly as possible. To start transferring your characters, just log in to the account-management section and click the Paid Character Transfer button. Good luck in your continued adventures in Azeroth, and have fun on your new realm!
Please note that because it is tied into the account-management section, the Paid Character Transfer service may be unavailable during the regularly scheduled weekly maintenance.
For more information, click here.
Webzen has announced that it was be pairing with Massive Incorporated to provide in-game advertising for two of their games, Huxley and All Points Bulletin:
NEW YORK and SEOUL – June 27, 2006 – Massive Incorporated, creator of the leading in-game advertising network, and WEBZEN Inc (NASDAQ: WZEN), a leading global online entertainment company, today announced plans to provide in-game advertising to two of the global publisher’s most anticipated massively multiplayer online games (MMOG’s). The agreement marks Massive’s entry in the Asian market and WEBZEN’s first services to provide in-game advertising.
Games included in the deal are the upcoming PC versions of the massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) Huxley and the urban action MMOG All Points Bulletin. Both games are slated for worldwide release and will include in-game advertising in each territory.
“As a premier global online games company, WEBZEN is dedicated to providing a realistic experience for our gamers,” said Nam Ju Kim, CEO, Webzen Inc. “The combination of WEBZEN’s global marketing know-how and Massive’s unprecedented in-game advertising experience ensures we are delivering the highest level of quality to gamers.”
Slated for release in 2007, the award-winning Huxley utilizes the UNREAL3 engine and WEBZEN’s proprietary networking technology to create an un paralleled twitch action gaming experience with up to 5,000 players in the same world. All Points Bulletin, developed by Real Time Worlds, Ltd. and designed by the creator of the Grand Theft Auto® franchise, is the only massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) to combine nearly limitless customization with intense urban action in a city that never sleeps. APB is planned for a 2008 release.
“Massive’s network represents the best global content in the industry, ever more so with the inclusion of Webzen’s award-winning games,” said Nicholas Longano, President of New Media for Massive. “We’re thrilled to work with Webzen to bring dynamic in-game advertising to the Asian market for the first time.”
Recently acquired by Microsoft Corp., Massive pioneered dynamic in-game advertising with the launch of the Massive Network in October 2004 and has since partnered with more than 60 blue-chip advertisers to seamlessly deliver ads into more than 75 million game sessions. Massive enables publishers and developers to capture significant new revenues through the aggregation of the video game audience which can be more effectively marketed to advertisers. Developers are able to integrate real-world ad campaigns that are timely and enhance the game environment with more realism.
For more on Huxley, click here.
Garrett Fuller chatted with the team behind Auto Assault in advance of their recent Update #1. This went live last week, so it should be noted that the interview was conducted as it launched.
| MMORPG.com: How will the respecs work? Do you respec all your skills at once, or buy points back one at a time? How much does it cost?
Brian Booker: There are retraining terminals available in most major towns in the game, including Tocado, Upside, and Fort Logan. Accessing the retraining terminal will give the options of retraining attributes, skills and crafting research skills. You can opt to retrain any combination of these. When you do, INC charges a fee and your character will respec. Basically your points are given back and abilities reset to base. You can then respend your points in any way you wish. The system knows how many points you have from leveling up and through mission rewards, so you will not lose anything you gained - only the ability to respend them in whatever way you want.
The first retraining is free and mandatory, while all future retraining will cost an increasing amount of clink. The first five to ten retrainings are inexpensive, but it does become increasingly expensive. After twenty or more retrainings, the fee climbs to four hundred script and remains fixed there. You can retrain your character any number of times, but there is a forty-eight hour delay between retrainings.
You can read more here.
Robert Fitzgerald debuts his writing on MMORPG.com today with "AI: Less A, More I". This editorial looks at the state of artificial intelligence in MMORPGs and explains where he'd like to see it travel.
|Call me silly, slap me with a wet noodle, but please tell me why there is always more artificial than intelligence when referring to AI. Have developers really hit the proverbial brick wall when it comes to improving AI ? Are we doomed to the current iteration of NPCs whose intelligence is on par with the "your door is ajar" voice in your car. Speaking of cars, my car can tell me where I am, where I am going, when it needs a tune up, and as an added bonus score tickets to the big game. The current generation of AI still has problems giving me accurate directions to the next quest. I realize I should be more impressed with the new and improved AI seen in some MMORPGs, apparently now instead of standing in one spot and giving you mundane quests the AI will move around the area giving them "life-like" behavior. Really, the only difference I see is that now finding the AI quest giver can become a mini-quest itself.
OK, so I seem to be complaining a lot. Well, I am. How is it that for $90 bucks my son can own a toy dog with realistic facial movements and understands more than 120 words and for the one time price of $50 and an ongoing $15 dollars a month I can't get a computer generated character to do more than spit unintelligible and boring dialog over and over again. Yes, I get it go kill the rats. Some developers have taken it a step further with their new and improved AI. Now, rather than offering up one or two lines of drivel, the new improved AI offers up two or three paragraphs of drivel with only one or two sentences of relevant information for the player. Am I complaining? Of course I am. I beginning to think I should spend $240 on one of those cool dancing robot sapiens instead of the current fare of games.
You can read more here.
Illutia has announced that they are beginning their live tests of their upgraded server software. They are warning players that there might be some especially buggy times ahead, and ask for their help in identifying them
We will be commencing our live test of our upgraded server software shortly. Please note that during this time there may be increased bugs, downtime and server may be rebooted frequently. While new features are close by, please remember that they will not all be added at once. They must be added slowly so that they will receive the full attention they need by testers and staff alike.
Please report all bugs to shivers@Illutia.com and I will pass them on to the developers :)
For more on Illutia, click here.
Hero Online has announced that their open beta will begin on June 30th. Those players who participated in the closed betas do not need to create a new account to take part in the open beta. They are even offering an item reward to players who played in the closed betas and qualify under the rules below:
First of all, we thank our players for their participation in our Closed Betas.
We have received much feedback regarding Hero Online in the form of bug reports, suggestions, criticisms and praise.
We are always receptive to the input of our players, and look forward to hearing more from players during our Open Beta which will launch on June 30th, 2006 and will last for a month.
Players who have participated in Closed Betas will not need to make new accounts to participate since we will not wipe any account information, however characters that they have created will be erased.
Nonetheless, we value the efforts that Closed Beta participants have shown and would like to reward them with an item during our Open Beta.
The criteria for receiving our Special Closed Beta Item are as follows:
Detailed information regarding this event will be announced more in the near future.
Once again, we truly appreciate players' effort and interest, and hope to see all in our Open Beta!
For more on Hero Online, click here.
Dark Ages has announced some information about their 4th of July celebrations. Their event will run from June 30th to July 5th:
Suffering from boredom, King Bruce has requested a fireworks show from one of the court jesters. The fireworks show will take place at the steps of Loures Castle, occurring once every Temuairian day(every 3 hours). In conjunction with this event, Areini will be randomly giving away a Pet Wasp to Aislings(registered).
((This event will begin on June 30th and will end on July 5th.))
For more on Dark Ages, click here.
MMORPG.com is happy to present an exclusive developer journal from Perpetual Entertainment's upcoming MMORPG, Gods & Heroes. This journal takes us into the world of the rogue in the game, and explains their feat tree, levels 1-20:
So now it's time to get to know our Rogue, let's take a look at their Feat tree! The Feat tree for every character consists of three Core trees and then two additional trees, in this case Distance Fighting and Close Fighting, to help specialize to your fighting preferences even further.
Class Core Skills are your basic skills and from these basic skills you will get all you need to fight as a Rogue. The traditional skills can be found here, like Stealth and Backstab, as well as some non-traditional skills for a Rogue, like Automaton Confusion (used to confuse all metallic creatures) and Flank (an advanced attack command for your Skirmisher minions). The mix in the class core skills alone make for a unique Rogue.
Read the article, here.
The people at Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online have updated their official website with a brand new Developer Journal. This one is penned by Rick "October" Schmitz, and tells about the life of a Lead Content Support Artist:
Hello there! Rick "October" Schmitz here!
I'm the Lead Content Support Artist on The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ (LOTRO). You may be wondering, "What the heck kind of title is that?" Well, it's the sort of title you get when you're crazy enough to work with Content folks and Artists.
While the majority of the LOTRO Art team is toiling away on all sorts of things you might expect to find in a game based on J.R.R. Tolkien's amazing books (like Orcs, Dwarves, Rivendell, hobbit holes and so on), the Content Support team makes some of the unexpected items that the Content folks dream up along the way. Though Tolkien may not have expressly mentioned many of these things, they're just the sort of items needed to make our Middle-earth feel realistic and believable. They are often things you would take for granted and only notice in their collective absence.
Read the whole Journal, here.
There's a fun little story published over at the EverQuest II website that is promoting a recent contest to see who can build the bnest EQII sandcastle. You can click the link below to read the whole thing:
EverQuest II Goes to the Beach!
It didn't take too long for the EverQuest II Community Team to catch wind of this month's Newsletter contest for EQII. The day began as any other with Blackguard at his desk, feverishly writing Update Notes and catching up on his emails. One email in particular however, caught his interest.
"Build a sandcastle?!" remarked Blackguard. "Why do all our players get to have all the fun? I could make the grandest sandcastle anyone has ever laid eyes on!"
Suddenly a voice chimed in, "Well, why don't you show us what you're capable of Blackguard?"
Alas, it was Brenlo, Halfling High-Commander of the SOE Community Team.<./P>
"If you think you can build a better sandcastle, why don't you head down to the beach and amaze us with your architectural skills."
Suddenly, heads began to pop up in all the adjacent cubicles.
"Obviously, you'll need some help in this endeavor!" exclaimed Raijinn, our fearless EQII Community Rep. "I better come along to assist you!
Eovania, our German Rep. was also quick to chime in, "Oh, I must come along. I love ze beach!" she said. "I vill and help you make ze best castle anyone's ever seen!"
"Oui, I must come along as well. The beach sounds much more pleasant than my desk right now." pipped in Soffrina, the French Community Rep.
Blackguard leapt to his feet and proclaimed, "Alright, we'll all go! Quick, everybody pile into the Community-Mobile!"
Read it all, here.
Mark Jacobs of Mythic entertainment speaks up on in the Camelot Herald, the news source for all things Dark Age of Camelot, about the EA acquisition. Mark assures DAoC players that their game will continue, despite rumors to the contrary:
It has been an exciting time at Mythic in the last few weeks, to say the least. But as you know saying the “least” is not my style, so I will say a little more:
1) It is business as usual here at Mythic. I have already commented on WAR, but let me say officially that there are no plans, implied plans or even, maybe if plans for DAoC going away. I can’t say much more than what has already been said (we’re announcing our expansion pack plans next month, the Roundtable is going on as scheduled), because I am still talking with EA about the business details and our future plans for Camelot.
2) The deal with EA was one that was carefully considered, and one that I am very proud of being able to present to our company. I’ve been around a long time and seen a lot of things in this industry, and I am confident that this deal was the right thing for Mythic, the employees, our investors and most importantly our Camelot players. As I have said many times in the last week, all the key guys I’m talking with at EA are long-time players (and fans) of DAOC!
3) Did I say “our players”? You bet. Mythic makes great games, but without great people to play them we would be just another game company or as I said many years ago, I'd be wearing a paper hat, name-tag and asking people "Would you like fries with that?"
There isn’t anything else that can be said right now, unfortunately. I have always prided myself on being open with the community, so you can believe that as soon as there is more to know, you will know it. Right now what we know is that the future is bright. Thank you all for being part of our past, and our future.
For more on DAoC, click here.
There's a new Dev Log outr over at Pirates of the Burning Sea. This one focuses on the change-over from Lua to C++:
Pirates of the Burning Sea Lead Developer, Joe Ludwig, has posted a new Devlog titled: Get Rid of Lua Day! Here's a snippet of what he had to share:
"We've been gradually moving game functionality from Lua into C++ over the past year and a half, but significant chunks of the game were still in Lua, so I took a day out of the schedule for every programmer and we made a single big push to get as much of the lingering Lua out of the game as possible. I would have to call the day a complete success."
To learn more about how the Lua removal process ultimately impacted game performance, you will want to visit this link!
Enjoy, won't you?
For more PotBS, click here.
The In Development section of Turbine's Dungeons and Dragon Online: Stormreach website, has been upadated with the fourth of four parts in their discussion of the different enhancements that are coming to the game with module 2:
Module 2 will be introducing a number of new enhancements (purchased with action points) that will let players further customize and specialize your characters. Almost everyone will be getting some new enhancements to choose from; this is the fourth in a four part series of articles featuring in-depth descriptions of what these new enhancements are and how they work.
Read it all, here.
City of Heroes has released some brand new information on one of their NPC Villain groups. In a feature that they call Villain Backgrounder, they take a look this time at The Contaminated. Below, you will find some of the info, but click the link at the bottom to read it all!
The Contaminated were once a small-time band of thugs who dabbled in the drug market, mainly to feed their own addictions. Looking for a cheap score, they broke into an abandoned Crey Biotech office building and found a forgotten stash. Instead of a quick and easy fix, what they found was an experimental drug now known on the streets as “Outbreak.” The gang members got the high they were seeking, and Outbreak spread throughout the neighborhood as quickly as its name implied.
An Outbreak high causes a feeling of invincibility in the user, an increase in violent tendencies, and a boost in physical strength. According to the Genetic Investigation and Facilitation Team (GIFT), prolonged exposure results in madness, as well as physical mutations, which can include glowing green eyes.
Coyote, a hero with an excellent record as a crime fighter, was assigned to help the Paragon Police Department in containing these violent criminals. In addition, he assisted Dr. Miller of the Rivera Medical Center in obtaining the samples necessary to investigate the drug. Dr. Miller identified Outbreak as a Rikti mutation drug, and was eventually able to develop a cure for the early stages of poisoning. Unfortunately, once madness has set in, the effects of the drug are irreversible.
Read it all, here.
Our friends over at Age of Conan have released Gameplay Preview #8. This one focuses on Spellweaving. We offer you a mere sample of the info available in this preview, so follow the link below to get the whole story:
Magic and Spellweaving
In Age of Conan we wanted the magic to reflect the world in which the game is based. Dealing with the arcane arts and siphoning the power of ancient gods is not something to be taken lightly. Just like our melee system, our magic system will also call upon the skills of the player. The player learning to balance their lust for powerful affects with the dangers that calling upon such extraordinary magic incurs.
There will of course be a number of simple and straightforward spells that casters can call upon, as you would see in other games. These though are merely the common incantations and curses that every young acolyte is taught, mere parlour tricks compared to what is possible with the magic in Age of Conan! Whilst useful in and of themselves the basic spells are merely the prelude to the true power that can be channelled – channelled through the art of spellweaving.
Our spellweaving system calls upon the caster to effectively weave an intricate series of incantations and spells into one final spell that can be unleashed to smite their enemies or aid their allies. It could be as short as weaving two simple spells together to boost their effect through to the fine art of combining up to twenty spells into a devastating blend of mystical power.
Read it all, here.
On Friday, The Matrix Online released a new edition of "The Other side of the Looking Glass" from Dan "Walrus" Myers. We've presented a sample, but there is lots more to read, so follow the link below for the whole story:
Because You’ll Hear It Soon Enough
Hi. My name’s Dan “Walrus” Myers, and I’m the Producer and Community Relations Manager for The Matrix Online.
For anyone listening to the upcoming Split-Infinity Radio interview, that’s part of what you’ll hear. My dual role may or may not come as a surprise to most of you. While I’ve been keeping it on the down-low, there have been plenty of hints as to what I’ve been up to around here.
There are a couple reasons I haven’t made any official announcements about my position. For most of the time since becoming part of the SOE family, I’d been acting as an associate producer to Andy Kaplan, helping take care of a lot of the day-to-day details. When Andy decided to take a new job back in February, it was decided that I was in the best position to continue developing the game.
As we were heading into the final stages of Combat Revision 2.0 implementation, we decided it wasn’t the best time to announce a changing of the guard. After finishing that up and getting CR2.0 into the game, things have simply been so busy that I hadn’t gotten around to an official announcement. Some folks found out at Fan Faire or E3, but overall I hadn’t given much thought to letting the community know.
Since I state it in the upcoming interview and am in the midst of a producer letter, anyway, I figured now was the time to confirm what many people have figured out. So, if I haven’t been as active on the forums as previously, maybe you can understand why. ;)
Now, let’s get down to business...
Read it all, here.
Turbine's Duneons and Dragons Online has updated their website with Chapter 3 of the continuing story by Keith Baker, a Player Screenshot Poll, Weekly Development Activities, and a new feature that is designed to help new players, the Stormreach Assistance Program:
We introduce our new assistance program to help new players to the world of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ONLINE™: Stormreach™
House Ghallanda welcomes new adventurers, and invites them to visit the taverns throughout the city. House Tharashk encourages veteran adventurers to seek out and assist new arrivals in their first adventures. The continent of Xen'drik will be mastered only by skilled and experienced individuals, and it falls to us all to work together to cultivate the talent we have arriving each day.
In the spirit of cooperation, House Ghallanda and Tharashk have partnered to reward individuals who assist new adventurers by helping them gain entry to the Harbor. We call upon the preferred professions of cleric, rogue and bard to guide their charges through the early tasks required by Gerald Goodblade or the rumored Low Road. House Representatives will monitor and select a few individuals each day who take the time to offer this assistance and reward them with recognition through the Stormreach community. You will see your name commemorated on the Aspirants Square fountain, and receive a special forum rank and avatar.
To read the entire article, visit the DDO Forums.
For more on DDO, click here.