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Pirates of the Burning Sea : Character Transfers in PotBS

Posted Apr 15, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has announced that character transfers in Pirates of the Burning Sea are now live.

On Tuesday, April 15th, from 1:30a Pacific Time, there will be a brief, rolling outage in order to enable server transfers for your characters. [note: this outage is now complete]

When Pirates of the Burning Sea launched on January 22nd, we introduced our customers to 11 new game servers. Through feedback from our players and evaluation of our server populations, it has become clear that key game features require populations of higher density in order to function at optimum levels. When you take into account both the disparity in player time zones and the delayed launch of our title in some countries, we were spreading our overall population too thin. Also, in more recent builds, we were able to improve our server technology to allow for an even larger population than we were originally equipped to handle.

Providing our customers with the best game play experience is our first priority. Condensing our populations will lead to a richer, more vibrant game play experience for all involved, and our customers whole-heartedly agree. The character transfer option will not be available to our Australian customers on the Invincible server.

Read more here.

Istaria : Name Change

Posted Apr 15, 2008 by Keith Cross

The team at Vitrium, the company that most recently took over Horizons: Empire of Istaria have changed the name of their game simply to Istaria according to a slightly re-done official website.

"We've always felt that it made more sense to have a name that reflected what the game was about," said Rick Simmons, President of Virtrium.  "And our game is about Istaria, and the stories of the people who inhabit the world.  It's always been confusing why the name of the game was "Horizons", but our website domain was "", and our main focus was about Istaria and the Gifted.  We've decided to change the name so that it makes a little more sense."

The game, originally developed by Artifact Entertainment, was purchased by Virtrium in September, 2007.  Since then the development team has brought new life back to a world many thought of as stagnant, and even dying.  "We've seen some real growth in the game in our first few months of ownership," Mr. Simmons said, "Players have responded well to this growth, with many of them returning to the game and official forums to comment."

From one returning player: "It's exciting to see what's been a returning player with many old accounts, I popped in to see how it was all going and decided to reactivate some of my characters. The sound of wings flying over the Saritova Islands just got a little louder, along with some very creaky old Saris brain muscles being stretched. Seeing devs who actually care about the game is heartening, and I'm happy to see the 'resurrection' happen. Keep up the great work !!"

The development team has shown a refocus on storytelling through an MMO world.  Heather "Velea" Rothwell had this to say about the new storyline focus.  "Our most recent triumph is being able to bring players who had once held characters on the European shard, Unity, over to play on our US shards, Order or Chaos.  This is something players from overseas have waited a long time for, and we're pleased that we can offer them the characters they'd worked hard to develop back.  But we didn't just bring those players back, we brought them back with a story of where they'd been, and why they came to the US shards."

"Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted" continues to hold a unique niche in the MMO market as one of the only games with playable dragons as a race.  As a Dragon, players begin as a hatchling, and progress through game play to become flying Ancient Dragons. The crafting and building systems in Istaria continues to hold strong appeal for the player community.  Players may own and build upon their own piece of land in Istaria, be it on an above ground plot for the biped races, or an underground lair for dragons. 

Asked for any closing words, Rick commented, "In Istaria, players make the world their own.  Whether in joining the war against the Withered Aegis, building their own unique plot, or just soaring the skies as a mighty Ancient Dragon, Istaria is a special place where people come together to be a part of a world that takes them away from everyday life.  It is the Istarians themselves that make the world special, and hearing their stories is what makes our world truly unique."

You can check it out here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Group Combat Missions

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks from Flying Lab Software have released a new Dev Journal on their official site talking about Group Combat Missions.

One of the new pieces of content that we’ve created for 1.3 is repeatable group missions for port conquest. We wanted to give players of all levels the chance to participate in group-oriented content to generate or reduce unrest so they could more easily participate in the PvP game. For the aggressors, this takes the form of destroying a fort’s defenses in order to make way for a ground invasion force. On the defender side, this involves protecting a fort from multiple waves of attackers on both sea and land.

Because this was designed to be group content but also repeatable, there were several design considerations I had to take into account while developing these missions:

Read it all here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Better Together: Grouping in Book 13

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Book 13: Doom of the Last-king, the upcoming free content expansion for Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar, will feature a number of big changes and improvements to the way players find and assemble their fellowships, and Turbine has provided this non-exclusive dev journal which describes those changes.

If you're reading this article, you probably already know that The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM is full of adventures you can undertake solo. With Turbine's frequent content updates (like the addition of the entire region of Forochel with Book 13), the amount of solo content for players continues to grow.

Even with all this copious solo-friendly content, one of the unique features of MMOs is the possibility of teaming up with good friends or perfect strangers to take on challenges that even one hero of Middle-earth could not surmount on his own.

Finding fellowships to work on what you want isn't always easy. Even when you're rolling out with a bunch of friends, figuring out what to work on isn't simple. To top it all off, even after you've drafted your A-Team and know what you're going to do, you still need to assemble before you can roll out.

Read more here.

General : $73,600 Average Game Industry Salary

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

Game Developer Magazine has published the results of their seventh annual Game Developer Survey and have found the the average American game industry salary is $73,600.

Game Developer Research is pleased to announce the debut of its sixth report, the 'Game Developer Salary Report: 2004-2008.' The in-depth 71-page report supplements the 2007 Salary Survey included in the April 2008 issue of Game Developer magazine and includes a full salary, benefits, and bonuses comparison for American, Canadian, and European game industry salaries over that time period.

More info here.

Age of Conan : Character Selection Screen Video

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Funcom has posted a video peak at the character selection screen for Age of Conan.

Every now and then, we rummage around and find some cool stuff on the way, and we just can’t resist sharing it.

For example, we were digging around the various arcane folders in our virtual haunted library and stumbled upon a video from some of the developers, obviously captured while they were working on something.

It was a hot new character select screen, one that’s never been seen before. Heck, half the development team probably hasn’t seen it. We watched it and we thought, well, that’s pretty cool. We should give that to people. Then we should leave, before Gaute comes stomping up to demand an explanation for releasing definite Work In Progress-type stuff.

So, here it is, the very latest, cutting-edge, ganked from the developer’s desktop, version of the character selection screen. What’s interesting is that has a life of its own, like a day-night cycle (it’s night in the clip you’re seeing), plus wind and all sorts of things.  Some of this is still not even ready for beta, much less public viewing, but we’re bringing it to you anyway!

Watch the video here.

Warhammer Online : Inevitable City Screens

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

EA Mythic has released these four new screenshots of Inevitable City, the capital for Chaos int he upcoming Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

Check out all four full-size images here.

Champions Online : Ask Cryptic

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios has answered anopther round of questions from fans of Champions online, Cryptic's Superhero MMO which is currently in development.

You asked, we answer! Today we cover more about villains, zombies and a hint at characters.

Do you think that with all the feedback, input, suggestions, speculations, questions and everything else that you've seen on your forums as of now, the community would be very pleased with the game? Or the game as it is right now? Or the game you imagine it to be in the distant future? (MeSoSollyWan)

Jackalope: I certainly hope people will be pleased! I know I love playing the game. But I think what people would be most pleased with is how much we listen to the community. I can give a very recent example. Last Q&A, we all but eliminated the possibility of customizing your animations. We had looked at it long ago, and frankly the feature was incredibly time intensive. After seeing the community responses, we huddled up and rethought the feature. Is there a way we could do this without sacrificing other elements of the game? That's produced an ongoing discussion between software, art and design. I can't promise you that we'll be able to get the feature in for release, or even how soon we could get in after release, but I can tell you that the community response really made an impression.

Read more here.

Angels Online : New Region Maps

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has provided maps of several of the new instances which will soon be playable in Angels Online.

The Angels Online team, from IGG, have already informed their valued players about the two brand new instances to be introduced into the latest edition of the game. Now they will also tease them with a wee preview of the maps of the new areas.

The upgraded version of Eden contains 8 brand new maps including the 2 new instances and 6 level-up & quest maps such as Sad Abyss, Fiery Path, Lava Cave, Flaming Door, Underground Square and Hell Palace.

Each map has its own innovative monsters and far more powerful bosses. So our players had better get ready to come face to face with some fiendishly evil challenges. But the rewards, of course will make it a worthwhile fight.

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : New Update, New Server

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Tales of Pirates have announced that the game will be receiving a content expansion and a new server called Dawn Sea.

Tales of Pirates will be releasing a new update patch at the end of April. And with an increasing number of TOP players, a new server called Dawn Sea will be released soon as well.

The new update patch includes:

  1. The New server Dawn Sea is available in Mystic Oceans
  2. A prison system has been released to combat bots. Cheaters may be sentenced to “life imprisonment”
  3. The first part of the “Golden Twelve Palace” event, Aries is available.
  4. New Apparel is available.
  5. The starting point of Hexathlon has been changed.
  6. Updated Black-market system is available.
  7. New items for obtaining extra EXP are released.
  8. The events for Valentine’s Day and Dragon Boat Festival were cancelled.
  9. Added the Fairy Box to the newbie box.
  10. A few bugs in some quests have been fixed.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Ten Most Wanted Fugitives in the Galaxy

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Sta Wars Galaxies have posted a list of the ten most wanted criminals in the Galaxy, at least according to the Bounty Hunters Guild.  Players can defeat all ten to earn a reward and complete this collection from Game Update 3.

The Bounty Check skill gives bounty hunters a chance to find one of ten named fugitives. These dangerous renegades are on the most wanted list of the Bounty Hunters Guild. Track and eliminate these criminals and collect your reward by completing this new collection in Game Update 3.

Most Wanted 

Bounty Check is a level 86 skill used by all bounty hunters. The check can be used on any non-elite humanoid target between levels 70-90. This skill has the chance of discovering a disguised fugitive. If you kill one of these wanted criminals, the Bounty Hunters Guild sends you a transmission and your kill is added to a collection.

Read more here.

Tabula Rasa : Looking for Squad, Control Point Changes

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

In the Most recent Feedback Friday Feature on the Tabula Rasa Community Site, they take a look at the various new features the TR team will be focusing their efforts on, including an improved Looking for Squad system and changes with clan owned control points.

Spring is in the air, the treemites are coming out to play and it feels like update time again. As stated in Starr’s update, the team has gotten smaller. With a smaller post production group, you have to concentrate on the things that will make the product better and prioritize features that will make the game enjoyable for the players. So the team got together, and talked about what that would make the project better in the short term based on their thoughts of the game and player feedback. We came away with two big features that we felt would really make a large amount of difference.

The first feature is a better ‘looking for squad’ system. We want to make sure people can find other players to play our game with. Tabula Rasa is much more fun when you play in a squad, so we need to facilitate that. Speaking of which, one of the things to enhance this system will be a better lock feature. When you lock a target, that target will now stay locked, regardless if it is behind you or not. Furthermore, there will be a lock for friendly and hostile actions. So if you are locked on a friendly, but switch to a hostile weapon, that friendly will still be locked when you switch back. This feature is going into testing now with 1.8.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Book 13 Spotlight Page Launched

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Turbine has launched a new spotlight page which highlights Book 13: Doom of the Last-king, the upcoming free content expansion for Lord of the Rings Online: The Shadows of Angmar.

Book 13: Doom of the Last-king is the latest free content update for The Lord of the Rings Online™! It’s packed with new features including Forochel, a new region to explore for higher-level players. Monster players can take on another role in the struggle between the Shadow and the Free People as a new healing class, the orc Defiler. Adventurers ready for a little downtime should check out the first Hobby, fishing! Return to Annúminas or check out the newly revamped Social panel options to find groups more easily than ever before. Join us as we unveil the next book in this epic adventure: Book 13: Doom of the Last-king!

Read more here.

WWII Online: Battleground Europe : 14 Day Free Trial

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cornered Rat Software has offered an open invitation to gamers to try out WWII Online: Battleground Europe for a 14 day free trial.

Bedford, TX, April 11th, 2008 - Cornered Rat Software is inviting gamers to a special 14-day free trial of their award-winning MMOG, "WWII Online: Battleground Europe" with great prizes and a special rank bonus for those who exhibit the skills and instincts to defeat their enemy in combat.

PC and Mac gamers can create a free 14-day trial account, download the game and compete in a test of skills on the virtual battlefields of World War II Europe. Each week, the player who scores the greatest number of kills in selected categories will be awarded a free 1-year subscription to "Battleground Europe". A special rank bonus, unlocking additional weapons and equipment, will be awarded to those trial players who perform above and beyond in their duty to defeat enemy forces. See the trial information page for more details at

Read more here.

Hellgate : Korean Launch

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Keith Cross

Hellgate: London has launched in Korean and Flagship Studios is calling it the most successful Korean Launch in 3 years.

San Francisco, CA (April 11th, 2008) - Flagship Studios today announced that its action role-playing game Hellgate: London has become the most successful online video game launch for Korea in the past three years with over 1 million accounts registered within the first two weeks of its open beta test. Hellgate: London is the first online game in over three years to use a monthly subscription business model.

After launching the open beta on January 15th, Hellgate: London quickly rose to the ninth most played online game, fifth most popular RPG and most popular online beta game in PC Cafes*, with over 1 million accounts. Hellgate: London was released commercially on February 22nd, and achieved record sales in its first week of presales.

“To become the most successful launch in Korea for over three years is an incredible achievement,” said Bill Roper , CEO of Flagship Studios. “This milestone wouldn’t have been possible for us to achieve without the incredible support of our publishing partner, Hanbitsoft, and our dedicated community in Korea . We look forward to expanding the Hellgate universe and building upon this success in the future.”

Read more here.

General : Mousing Surface and Razer GW Mouse

Posted Apr 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

Carolyn Koh gives us a quick look aat and her impressions of both the Razer Destructor Pro Mousing Surface and the DeathAdder Guild Wars Edition Mouse.

The Razer Destructor Pro mousing surface is the latest mouse pad offering from Razer. A hard surface, this mouse pad is larger than your average mouse pad and as it is a hard surface, is thinner than your average padded cloth mouse pad.

In order to develop this mouse pad, Razer called on pro-gaming teams for their help and the resulting product has earned their endorsements – which are printed on the product box itself. It is shipped in a beautiful padded case with a cut-out foam insert for easy transport to and from LAN parties and competitions. You wouldn’t want to accidentally bend this puppy!

Read the whole thing here.

General : A Chat about MMOGChart

Posted Apr 11, 2008 by Jon Wood

In her final report coming out of the Indie MMOR Developers Conference, Laura Genender talks to Bruce Woodcock, better known as "Sir Bruce" of the interesting and sometimes controversial traffic-tracking site

Last week at IMGDC I sat down with Bruce Woodcock, MMOG Analyst, and the man behind For those of you who haven’t visited, Bruce’s idea and actions have become six years of tracking MMO populations.

It all started in 2002, when Bruce was browsing a forum and a random, interesting post caught his eye. An Ultima (or perhaps ex-Ultima) player posted a story about UO numbers declining based on Ultima press release numbers vs. EverQuest press release numbers.

Read the whole article here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Welcome to Forochel!

Posted Apr 11, 2008 by Jon Wood

Turbine has posted this great (and interesting) dev journal about designing Forochel from a World Builder's perspective. In MMO production, World Builders are the ones who populate the world withe verything from hills to rivers to buildings to deserts.

After weeks of teasing the Isengard players and later the Live forums, it is now known without a doubt that Forochel is the newest playable region for The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Shadows of AngmarTM. With the launch of Book 13: Doom of the Last-king, players will get the opportunity to explore this brand new region (aimed at level 44-50 characters) and earn the trust of the Lossoth - the native folk of the Northern Wastes.

Forochel is a region that many of us on the World and Content teams have been looking forward to for a long time now. It is off the beaten path of the Fellowship, which affords us a lot of flexibility in terms of design. This new landscape also gave us an opportunity to try out some new tools that were just recently developed for our upcoming expansion, Mines of Moria!

Read it all here.

StarQuest Online : New Screenshots

Posted Apr 11, 2008 by Keith Cross

Six new images have been added to our StarQuest Online screenshot gallery.

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

Guild Wars : Guild Wars Art on Sarah Brightman Album

Posted Apr 11, 2008 by Keith Cross

Symphony, the Latest album from Sarah Brightman will feature art from Guild Wars by ArenaNet Art Director Daniel Dociu.

As some of our eagle-eyed players have noticed, Symphony, the latest album from world-renowned vocalist Sarah Brightman features art from Guild Wars. Several months ago Ms. Brightman approached ArenaNet Art Director Daniel Dociu, feeling that his art style was a great match for this album. The album and website include concept art from Guild Wars, as well as original art created specifically for Symphony.

For more information, visit the official Sarah Brightman website.

Read more here.

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