Dungeons & Dragons Online offers a look at the Litany of the Dead Part II Release Notes.
Several months ago the gates to the Blood Crypt opened and daring adventurers recovered The Heretical Path from the grasp of the vampire Brother Salasso. As a new moon rises over the hills of the Necropolis, Brother Nerezza, the second of the prophets, pens the final verses of The Twisted Apocrypha. The gates to the Shadow Crypt are preparing to open, click here to read all about what lies behind them.
Read more here.
City of Heroes and Villians gives us a look at the Issue 9 Update.
Issue 9: "Breakthrough"
Issue 9: Breakthrough, the ninth free expansion to the City of Heroes® universe, introduces an entirely new level of depth and gameplay to the franchise. Players acquire and invent new "loot," and have the option to buy and sell it using the new hero and villain auction houses. Along with Issue 9's other great features, this brand new system results in a wealth of new gameplay for players.
Invention System (Heroes and Villains) Using the highly anticipated Invention system, players acquire and collect "loot" in the form of Salvage and Invention Recipes. These will be used together to invent uber-enhancements, costume pieces, new powers, gadgets, and more. This creates a world of new activities, rewards and character evolution!
Auction Houses (Heroes and Villains) Where better to buy and sell all of these new items than in the new auction houses! Wentworth's Fine Consignments have sprung up throughout Paragon City™ while the villains prefer to do their bidding alongside "black-market" trucks placed throughout the Rogue Isles™.
Statesman's Task Force (Heroes only) This high-level PvE content allows eight heroes to team up in order to face and defeat Paragon's greatest enemies! Completing this difficult challenge results in some of the game's rarest loot! New Hamidon Encounter (Heroes and Villains) Not only do villains get their own end-game raid encounter with the "Hamidon," but the new experience is also brought to the Heroes side where players must use new tactics to bring down one of the "City of"s greatest threats.
Read more here.
Today marks is the first of a new weekly column from our News Editor Garrett Fuller. Each week, Fuller will highlight new innovations in MMO gaming as well as smaller games that you may not be so familiar with.
Welcome to our new column here at MMORPG.com called Outside the Box. Being that this is the first week we'll be running things I wanted to take the chance to talk a little about what the column will offer and how the readers can get involved. The goal of this column is to try to bring information about games that are not necessarily in the public eye. Also, more than anything else we want to look at games, whether they are major releases or smaller independent games, which will be bringing something new to the MMO table. I hope this column will help developers and players find information and share ideas about how to take the standard MMO game play into new and unique areas for all of us to enjoy.
Read the column here.
The Persistent Worlds 9Dragons website carried this note today. It seems like Persistent Worlds will be closing up shop. So far, the North American company, Acclaim, has no such message, and lists the Game Status as "Open". MMORPG.com will continue to follow this story as it develops.
It is with regret that we have to announce that as of Jan 22nd Persistent Worlds has ceased trading. The servers will be shut down in due course.
Read more here.
Visit the Acclaim 9Dragons site here.
Phantasy Star Universe offers promotional weekend for players to join the Xbox Live Community.
Are you an offline Phantasy Star Universe Phan? Are you still undecided about the PSU Online Community? Well, now we have a great way for you to try the PSU Online experience, and get a great start in the community.
Starting Saturday, February 3rd, at midnight PST, we will be having a super Sonic Demo Weekend! Play the demo, and join the PSU Xbox Live community, and you will receive a limited edition Sonic Statue room item with your account! Users must play the PSU Demo February 3rd-4th and purchase a GUARDIANS License for the PSU XBL community by February 28th to be eligible. Only one Sonic Statue per GamerID and GUARDIANS license.
Read more here.
ArchLord plans two new events for players in the next two weeks.
Do you have what it takes? Want to win some great prizes? Then be sure to visit the in-game events section for ArchLord to see the events that have just been added.
There are two events scheduled to take place over the next two weeks so you have plenty of time to get ready.
Read more here.
Star Wars Galaxies updates the Current Player Events Page.
Check out the exciting in-game events hosted by SWG players for SWG players! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we update the Current Player Events Page so that you can get all the specifics on the latest and greatest player-created events. Just take a look at what's going on and then jump into the fun!
Read more here.
Everquest II provides a preview of their Game Update 31.
Welcome to the official Preview for Game Update 31! The Frostfell celebrations have finally wrapped up and the citizens of Norrath are busy recuperating from the exhausting holiday season. But with the start of a new year, Norrath is also looking ahead: making plans for the coming months, anticipating the new life of spring, looking for love ...
Erollisi Day is a celebration of the power of romance! Dedicated to the goddess Erollisi Marr, the Queen of Love, this is a time for young and old alike to venture forth and seek their heart's desire.
Although Erollisi Day is traditionally a shorter holiday than Frostfell, it is nevertheless jam-packed with fun activities. Practice your best pick-up lines! Decorate your house with romantic pillows and flowers! Join a game and gather Erollisi Day hearts for cool prizes! This game is similar to Frostfell Candycane Grab'n'Tag, although some of the rules are a bit different. In addition, we've been making improvements based on the feedback from the Frostfell game. Thank you for all of your great comments and suggestions!
But while this is the season of love for some Norrathians, for others is it the season for looking good. And what better way to look your best than with a new hat? Game Update 31 includes four new profession hats; one each for Wardens, Furies, Necromancers, and Warlocks. If you're a member of one of these professions and you already have a profession hat, you can go talk to your original Hooloh and Relic quest givers to get the shiny new appearance. Be sure to tune in next week when we show off the appearance of these new hats in the Teaser feature.
We also have a treat for those who prefer to show off their stylish houses. The Frostfell fireplaces proved to be incredibly popular with the terminally house-proud, so carpenters will soon be able to make fireplaces all year round!
Love and fashion are all very well, but what about the meat of the game? Well, we have an interesting change in store for Enemy Mastery abilities (like Skeleton Master's Strike or Gnoll Master's Rage). Instead of learning many, many different abilities, each of which is good against one particular kind of target, you will instead learn one Master ability than can be used against any of the types of creatures that you have mastered! Less time spent searching for the right button; more time spent killing things and taking their stuff - that's our motto!
In addition, the way that you master different types of creatures - and gain the ability to do grievous bodily harm to them - is changing as well. Previously, you were granted the choice of one Mastery ability out of a small set when you reached certain levels. Now, however, you will instead learn to master your foes by completing the existing Lore and Legend quests that teach you about that particular enemy. When Game Update 31 launches, your existing Mastery abilities will be removed and any enemies for whom you have completed Lore and Legend quests will be added to the valid targets for your new, unified Mastery ability.
As always, there is more going on than just the highlights mentioned here. Early spring is a great time to get a head start on spring cleaning, and the EverQuest II team is starting by cleaning up some old annoyances and improving the overall experience of the game.
For example, we are improving the broker interface. Soon you will be able to search the broker for specific enhancements provided by adornments, and all your search results will take broker commissions into account when you sort by price.
We have also added a HUD popup message when you fail to start a ranged attack because you are out of ammunition or your weapon is broken. No more standing around wondering why you won't attack! Plus, ranged attack icons will be tinted based on distance, so you can tell at a glance if you are too far away.
And we've been working on pet behavior! Pets will attack more reliably on stairs, and caster pets have learned to stand back and cast instead of running into melee range. Plus, adjusting the behavior of your pet will now properly persist though zoning.
This is just a taste, of course. Make sure you check the Update Notes for all the details! But for now, have a good weekend and we'll see you in Norrath!
Read more here.
Dan Fortier returns this week to talk about his take on why players quit their games.
What an exciting week! I managed to wipe an entire hard drive of games (also deleting this week's article) and turned my motherboard into a Pentium BBQ. There nothing like inviting your friends over for some toasted ATI and smoked RAM while waiting for the local Fire Dept to hose off your smoldering tower case. Something good did come of the whole tragedy though, since this week's topic is suitably mired in that angst: What makes people quit games?
Not being one for gank and tells, I usually have a dim view of MMO hoppers that move from game to game without even getting their feet wet. It's not like the genre really fits that type of temperament either. Can you imagine grouping with someone with an "I don't have all minute" attitude? How can any game that requires hundred of hours of mostly repetitive content attract gamers with the attention span of a dope fiend?
Read the whole column here.
The folks over at Perpetual Entertainment's Gods & Heroes have given us a look at their Mystic Feat Tree.
Mystics are perhaps the most inscrutable of the Roman heroes in Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, as it is they who delve the deepest into the arcane powers of sorcery. Mystics conjure enigmatic energies both elemental and ethereal in defense of the Republic. In order to ruthlessly smite their foes, they can cast spells that deal massive damage to individual targets as well as entire groups of foes. Some of their most devastating offensive spells, however, are the ones that summon vicious and powerful creatures to aid them in battle. But Mystics' powers are wide and varied, as they also have at their disposal a number of charms for defending and strengthening themselves and their squad. One look at the Mystic Feat Tree reveals the overwhelming potential of these masters of the magical arts.
Dealing damage and weakening opponents is, of course, job number one for any Mystic worth his or her rune-embroidered robes. "Numinous Flame" is the basic spell for accomplishing that task: it conjures a blistering fireball that detonates in a fiery explosion upon impact with their unfortunate opponent's person. When they want to inflict direct damage and leave their adversaries with wounds that will also sap their health over time, spells like "Pierced Effigy" and "Snakebite" serve most admirably. When their enemy is another sorcerer, they can use "Silence" to stop them from casting and "Drought" to leech away their energy. But when a foe is already dead, what more can a Mystic do? "Charm Undead" stuns any undead enemy while they figure out which spell will best incapacitate that walking lump of rotted flesh. And if a Mystic finds him or herself beset on all sides with foes, "Spirit Wall" slows those foes down long enough for the casting of "Miasma," which envelops several foes in a cloud of lethal poison. Or they might just use "Firestorm," which allows a Mystic and his or her spellcaster minions to join forces in calling fiery death down from the heavens.
You can read the whole article here.
This week, Dan Fortier and Derek Czerkaski check in with our Saturday Debate. The question is, are beta test supposed to be for serious testing purposes, or are they merely a free trial of the game?
Back in the early days of MMORPGs, the beta phase of game development was nothing more than a tool for the designers to see how their ideas translated from paper to reality and to work out the bugs that would have otherwise been passed over. The list of players that were asked to join the early stages were those who were committed to testing and were eager to sacrifice their time to improve the stability and playability of a game that they were interested in.
How far we've fallen since then.
You can read the whole debate here.
MMORPG.com is pleased to release a new episode of our weekly podcast, Game/On. This week's show sees the return of the developer interview.
This week, former co-host Michael Hampden returns to MMORPG.com's Game/On, not as a host, but as an interview guest. Michael is now a Designer for Auran Development's Fury, and talk to us about his own story and how to break into the MMO industry.
Listen to the podcast here.
MMORPG.com is giving away 5000 beta keys for the 2nd phase of Scions of Fate. They are going *very* fast so get one while they are still available!
NOTE: If you were issued a beta key for Phase 1 it will still work for Phase 2 and you do not need to get a new key!
Hasani Davis gives MMORPG.com our first peek inside the new World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade.
After months of hype, pushed back release dates, countless banner ads, and lots of forum hype, the Burning Crusade has finally come out. Boys and girls, I won't over romanticize this and make it long winded in the beginning. I am going to cut straight to the chase and then go into detail. Okay are you ready, here we go...Burning Crusade is ...the same World of Warcraft as before, just more of it. There, I said it. You can click the minimize button and stop reading, or follow along while I start my long winded comments.
I waited in line for The Burning Crusade at 12 am on January 16th. Yes, I was one of many gamer geeks to get their copy that night. I even had the next four days off work, so I had plenty of time to sit back and get into Outland. It is funny putting faces to the many types of people that play WOW. Most of the crowds at the store that night were typical gamers. You could even pick out the "hard core" players based on how similar they looked to the South Park incarnations. A few others in the crowd didn't fit the bill at all. There were a few older players, even one old enough to be my dad, a guy very much into hip-hop, and about five female gamers as well. After listening to various stories from the people I was in line with, I asked the crowd what they wanted out of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Answers came back varied, but after one person said "more fun" they all agreed they wanted more "fun" out of this expansion. Having myself played MMOs for the past 15 years wanted a little more "fun" out of the game as well. Here was my chance, I stepped up in line and got my copy and raced to my car to get home for the install.
Read the whole editorial here.
Age of Conan begins their new Class Preview feature and takes a look at the Scion of Set.
This week we start taking a look at some of the classes in Age of Conan in a little more detail. First up for this weeks update we travel to the desert lands of Stygia to find out more about the Scion of Set from the Priest Archetype.
Dedicated to the god Set, the Scions are often considered fanatics whose dedication to their god reaches devotion that many would confuse for insanity. The snake god offers the constant promise of power beyond mortal means and demands nothing short of total commitment in return.
While well schooled in the healing arts the true power of the Scion of Set comes from their being blessed by the snake god. This grants them with the ability to inflict damaging poisons upon their enemies and call upon the poisonous powers of Set to augment their allies' attacks with the venom of the snake god or curse their foes.
When they are faced with the enemy at close quarters they prefer to wield their sacrificial and ceremonial daggers and are certainly no slouches at cutting and stabbing their foes in cruel and very intentional ways!
Lets take a look at an example of the Scion's special magical skills and how they interact with each other.
One of the very basic abilities that all Scion's learn is known as 'Venom Strike', available from level 20 once they have chosen to follow the path of Set. This is a simple and straightforward poison based attack that they can call upon.
However as the Scion grows in power and knowledge they learn abilities that will augment and mean that using 'Venom Strike' provides them with extra effects and bonuses.
'Devour Essence' for example is first learned at level 55 (and can be improved upon at level 70) adds a mana restore element to 'Venom Strike' granting the Scion a moderate amount of mana back every time 'Venom Strike' lands. You also have spells like 'Set's Writhing Hate' moving towards their later dark arts that can learned at level 70 provides a poison damage boost to the Scion every time they use 'Venom Strike.'
Those who truly show their unyielding commitment to Set and reach level 80 are rewarded with the ability to channel their god and become an 'Avatar of Set.'
With the power of their god cursing their very blood, the Scion becomes a giant snake, striking fear into their foes and temporarily giving them a powerful boost to their abilities.
This most powerful of ancient magic's increases the caster's magic poison damage and grants bonus poison damage to the caster's team. It also increases the amount of retributive damage from their 'Shroud of Snakes' spell line and causes the caster to actually be healed from poison damage, while continuously inflicts instant poison damage to enemies near the caster.
Like all Hyborian magic such power must be used carefully and soul corruption is always a risk, even for those as dedicated as the Scion. The art of using magic in Age of Conan revolves around timing the use of these powerful abilities so that you can inflict maximum pain on your opponents but avoid leaving yourself vulnerable to their retribution!
Read more here.
2Moons announces new contest for players to provide the voice of a character in game.
Acclaim Games announces the start of the official "Voices Over 2Moons" Voice-Over Contest. Players can get their voices heard--by everybody--in this unique competition where the gamers themselves can audition for character roles. Hundreds of gamers will have the opportunity to show off their voice talents and win a place in video game history as a character voice in the new MMORPG 2Moons. With nearly 150 lines of speech, there are plenty of opportunities for players to get creative and provide memorable voices for the 2Moons characters.
Players will submit their voice recordings to Acclaim, and the best and most creative entries will be selected for the "Voices Over 2Moons Finals." Video game industry veterans David Perry, Tommy Tallarico and Rusel DeMaria will pick the winners, whose voices will then bring various characters in the 2Moons world to life.
"David Perry and I have been making games since 'The Terminator' back in 1990", says Tallarico, "I'm excited to be helping with this new concept of not just user generated content, but user generated game assets. The users are helping MAKE the game, that's cool!"
Rules of the contest are posted at http://phpbb.acclaim.com/2moons/viewtopic.php?t=1594.
Read more here.
Voyage Century announces two new contests for the weekend of Jan. 18-23.
On January 18th - 23rd Voyage Century will host two special events: Geography Quiz: Players have been having a great time sailing the seas, visiting cities, and crossing continents. Now they can earn rewards for their geography skills, not to mention knowledge of Voyage Century! Visit voyagecenturyonline.com to win prizes and show the world who is master of the seas!
Screenshot Competition: Got a great screenshot of a battle? Snapped a picture of an unforgettable moment? Enter the screenshot competition! Players compete in three categories: best screenshot, most original, and most popular. The players themselves will choose the winners! For more details and to see the screenshots, go to voyagecenturyonline.com.
Read more here.
GAME WIRE announces Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Open Beta will close on January 23
Sony Online Entertainment and Sigil Games Online announced today that the Vanguard: Saga of Heroes open beta will close on January 23 at 11:59 p.m. PST. In anticipation of the January 30th launch of the fantasy-themed MMORPG, the servers will be shut down, and all beta character profiles will be transferred to a test server. The test server will open after launch with timing to be determined. For those who have pre-ordered Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, early access will be granted to the live servers before the official release date. More information regarding the early access will be released shortly.
Players can now pre-order Vanguard: Saga of Heroes digitally and at retail. Additionally, gamers that pre-order retail versions will receive an exclusive endurance buff scroll that will allow their character to sprint for longer periods of time (one per account).
Read more here.
Recently, the editorial staff here at MMORPG.com sat down to talk about the best of 2006. Today, we present you with our MMORPG.com 2006 Editorial Awards.
Before the dawn of 2007, we brought you our MMORPG.com Reader's Choice Awards, where our members got to vote on the games that they felt stood out in the year 2006. Today, MMORPG.com's editorial team gets a crack at giving out some awards.
While our categories are slightly different from those available in the Reader's Choice Awards, the MMORPG.com 2006 Editorial Awards shine the light on four different categories:
The categories are:
Come see who took home the prizes this year by clicking here.
Gamasutra has posted a report showing the growth in the Chinese Online game market. The revenues for 2006 rose up to 73.5% over the numbers in 2005.
According to a new report, the online games industry in China has recorded massive growth in 2006, with revenues up 73.5 percent over 2005 to a total of 6.54 billion Yuan ($839 million), 65 percent of which came from domestically developed games.
As reported by Sina, and translated by Gamasutra partner Pacific Epoch, China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) digital publication vice director Kou Xiaowei announced the news of the industry growth.
Apart from the 4.24 billion Yuan ($544 mil) brought in by domestically developed games, $20 million in revenues was recorded for Chinese games exported overseas in 2006. Casual games were also reportedly responsible for 18.8 percent of the yearly growth, with a total revenue of 1.23 billion Yuan ($158 mil).
The Sina report notes that China currently houses 90 online game development companies, 25 in Beijing and 20 in Shangai alone. Development staff for the companies hit nearly 14,000 employees in 2006, a rise of 11 percent over the prior year. Despite the tremendous rise in revenue and staff, only 8 new online game companies were formed in 2006, compared to 24 in 2005.
Market research firm IDC has estimated that revenue from the Chinese online game market, which hosts an estimated 31 million players, will grow 30 percent annually to 25 billion Yuan ($3.2 billion) by 2011, according to a related report from daily news site China Daily.
Read more here.