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Pirates of the Burning Sea : Art Evolution Journal

Posted Apr 19, 2006 by Dana Massey

In their latest developer journal, FlyingLab Software Lead Artist Bruce Sharp pens an article on the evolution of their MMORPG's art. The game's graphics are compared between last year and this year, both in pictures and words. You can also see just the new images here.

When I started my first day at Flying Lab Software, I’d seen the game in screenshots on the web and once during my interview. The course was clear in terms of what was missing from the game’s artistic direction: Romance! The game looked antiseptic in its art style, as if a lot of technical issues had been solved but few artistic issues had yet been explored, at least not the big, sweeping broad strokes that ultimately define the style or “voice” of the game’s imagery. As an artist I’m a true believer in the idea that the simple but abstract parts of an image, like the color palette (derived in our 3d space from the color of the ocean, sky, ship textures, direct light, ambient light, and distance fog), are where the image’s true power is; once established in an appropriate (and hopefully exciting) way, the image can then be populated with detail and content successfully. At the school where I’ve been teaching art since the early 90’s, I’ve noticed that a lot of students have this notion exactly backwards – most think that an image’s power comes from the details, which is where they put almost all of their energy, while ignoring the larger strokes like color, contrast, soft and hard edges, etc. Sadly a lot of game companies practice this same philosophy.

To read the full log, with before/after images, click here.

General : New Rules of Conduct

Posted Apr 19, 2006 by Jon Wood is pleased to announce another phase in our site's changes and upgrades. Many of you have noticed that the new servers are doing their jobs and the site is easier to navigate than ever. Also, our forums have been updated to get rid of those pesky double post issues that people had been having.

Today, launched our new "Rules of Conduct". Please take a moment to review the new rules, which can be found by clicking the "Rules of Conduct"  tab at the bottom of your screen.

We hope that these new rules will make an even more entertaining and enjoyable place to visit!

Istaria : New Lore: Prologue

Posted Apr 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

Horizons has released a brand new lore series. The new series is slated to run on their website every tuesday. This week, they give us the story's prologue. To read the whole thing, click the link below:


Book the First - Storm Rise

There is a Hall of Mirrors at Heart's Ease, Sonea Finder's plot, in Mia's Edge. Where did the Hall come from? From Sonea's building, mayhap. Or mayhap it is always with us, in this place or in that, in many places and it may be in no place at all save our hearts…

Whence came TaleSpinner? From the mountains, as draku do… from the Hall, or the Hall from her… who knows? Mayhap not Spinner herself.

And the Tale? Ah, the Tale…

Tales do not begin. Tales do not end. They wake, they sleep, they…. dance. And those who hear are as much a part as those who dance within. And now ye that gather these words… ye too are part of the Tale. The Long Tale of the Long Road.

What was Thunder? Who was Lightning? Why care?

There was a storm… and it rose.

To read the whole prologue, click here.

EverQuest II : Dev Chest

Posted Apr 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

Our friends at SOE's EverQuest II have released another Dev Chest. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a feature that links players immediately to forum topics on their official boards in which the developers have added to the conversation. Enjoy!


Sometimes it's hard to find the buried treasures contained within the EverQuest II forums. The Dev Chest highlights useful, insightful, or entertaining posts from the developers that you may want to check out. Get your treasure maps and shovels ready--we're about to discover a Dev Chest!

  • Did you happen to have an issue with The Obelisk of Souls and Paroxroz? If you did arathym has an answer for you!
  • With debate ensuing Vhalen heads off this hot topic, "Lucan is....a Paladin". Stop in to see the latest on this discussion!
  • Jindrack answers your questions "Tier'Dal on Faydwer?"! you know the answer to his question?
  • Do you hear something? Could it be tinkering in clockworks? Vhalen discusses "Gnomish Lore" in this can't miss thread full of all the tinkering you can handle!

For more on EQII, click here.

Guild Wars : Ladder Restart

Posted Apr 19, 2006 by Jon Wood

Guild Wars has announced that their ladder was restarted at Midnight on the morning of the 18th. This was done after a break because of the Guild Wars Factions Championship playoffs:


After a hiatus to accommodate the GWFC playoffs, the Guild Wars Ladder was restarted at Midnight this morning. Jump into the competition to vie for your share of fabulous prizes of cash, travel, and more. Catch the GWFC details here.

For more on Guild Wars, click here.

City of Villains : New Power Sets

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

City of Villains has provided us with information on their new power sets. The first part is a short description of the new power sets. When you expand the article, you get the extended descriptions:

Short Description - New Power Sets

Thugs (Mastermind)

The body rumbling arrival of the motorcycle, the cold metal sound of chains tightening, and the guttural growls of your thugs let everyone know that you are a Mastermind to be reckoned with. Call your gang of toughs to your side with a whistle, whip out your pistols, and let loose pure chaos onto the streets of the Rogue Isles with the new Thug Mastermind power set.

Electric Melee (Brute)

Harness the jolting damage of electricity with this crackling power set. Arcs of energy surround your fists, dealing out endurance draining damage as you master the searing strength of lightening to smash your foes!

Electric Armor (Brute)

With Electric Armor, you master this simultaneously damaging and protective force of nature in order to shock your foes while shielding yourself. Manipulating power to your advantage, this new set allows you to harness electric energy to do your bidding!

Dark Melee (Stalker)

Drawing upon the darkest currents of the underworld, this melee power set calls forth shadowy forces to smash your foes. Tapping into the Netherworld, you will deal out insidious damage striking fear into the hearts of those you destroy.

Dark Armor (Stalker)

Dwell in the shadows as you cloak yourself with the dark undercurrents flowing through the Netherworld. Guiding these shadowy forces to do your bidding, Dark Armor allows you to strike at the very heart of your foes.

[ expand article ]

The Legend of Ares : Closed Beta and Features

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

The folks from The Legend of Ares have informed us that their closed beta will begin on 4/24/06. Their open beta will begin on 5/13/06. They have also provided us with an interesting look at the special features that set this game apart from the others.

Thanks to MGame USA for the info!

MGame USA is about to launch the closed beta of 3D Medieval Fantasy Action MMORPG “The Legend of Ares” on 4/24/06. “The Legend of Ares” is free-download based MMORPG that emphasizes vast Quests that promote the party system and distinctive Guild, Nation and Territory Warfare System.

For more information about our closed beta, please feel free to visit our beta website:

Special Features of “The Legend of Ares”

Player vs. Player

Players will build up their own characters and fight against others from opposing Nation for their own as well as Nation’s glory.

Honor System

When a player kills another player from a rival nation or guild, they will receive one honor point. When a player is defeated by another player from the rival nation, one honor point is taken away. When a player accumulates a certain number of honor points, he/she will receive a rank within their nation's standing. The general rule of rank is: the higher rank a player achieves the greater the bonus that player will get towards his attack and defense power (see Ranking System on website).

National War

Fight players from your rival nation to increase your ability through rank and honor points! While players will begin their journey in "safe" zones, there will be areas of the map later in the game where both nations must venture. Players should be on their guard when in these areas!

Guild War

Player-created guilds will help players to level, hunt, and quest; but that's not all. Guilds will be able to wage war against each other regardless of nation-association, and can even band together to form alliances against their enemies. Alliance vs. Alliance and/or Guild vs. Guild warfare will be another way for players to achieve rank and honor points.

Territorial War

There will be organized Nation vs. Nation events where players of each nation will fight for control of areas of the map. Each area will have their respective bonuses to bestow on the winning side in addition to increasing the size of the player's nation. In this way, players will have a direct impact on their nation's prosperity as well as an impact in the progression of the story. Needless to say, Territorial War will be a great way for players to gain rank through honor points.

For more on The Legend of Ares, click here.

The Legend of Ares : New Trailer

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Dana Massey

In the first part of several trailers from the Legend of Ares, we see the start of an epic battle. This is a cinematic trailer we're mirroring here on

Thanks to Mgame for sending this over.

The Legend of Ares : Interview with June Lee

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Dana Massey

The Legend of Ares Lead Designer June Lee discusses MGame's new title with here today as we add it to our game list. You can learn about the key features of the game in our interview. What sets this game apart from all of the other MMORPGs currently on the market?

June Lee: One of the more unique qualities of the Legend of Ares is the warfare system. While there will still be the normal PvP encounters between players of opposing nations, there will also be a territorial warfare system implemented where players can participate to increase their nation’s size, honor, and abilities. Territorial wars will be organized events where players of both nations will have to sign up to participate. The ultimate goal of the T-wars is, as the name implies, to win areas of the map for each nation. Every area, once controlled, will bestow bonuses on the players of the winning side such as boosts to exp gain, money gain, attack power, and defensive ability. In addition to this, players of either side can also gain bonuses by increasing the number of enemies killed from their rival nation(honor points).

Another type of warfare available to our players will be guild wars. Guilds will be able to officially wage war against other guilds (regardless of their nations) and earn honor points that way. This system will even allow multiple guilds to ally together in their battles against rival guilds.

To read his full comments, click here.

Hero's Journey : Developer Journal & Images

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Dana Massey

Stephanie Shaver, Hero's Journey Designer, is nothing if not colorful. Today, she brings us another delightful developer journal and under the guise of telling us about Necromancers, Wizards and Rangers, she rants about everything under the sun. Hero's Journey developer journals normally appear every other Tuesday exclusively on

The wild-eyed finger-waggler in scorched robes. The wandering mystic who smells faintly of salted fish, cloves, and... mystery. The guy who wears robes with more pride than a Scotsman at the Highland Games. Wizards and fantasy go together like peanut butter and chocolate, like angsty hipsters and coffee shops, like otaku and bad hygiene.

Gearknights are to Gearsmiths as Wizards are to the Arcanum. Before the Ilvari showed up and made things complicated, there weren't Wizards in Elanthia -- just a bunch of Human empires that knew magic was out there, but didn't know how to harness it. The Ilvari bridged the gap between mystery and understanding, and things haven't been the same ever since. Would the world of Elanthia be in the state it is now without Wizards? Probably not. Are we better for it? No, but it sure makes the world history writing easier!

You can read the rantings of a Simutronics designer here.

Istaria : Patch Notes

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Horizons has released a list of "additions, changes and fixes" that went onto their server, Blight, yesterday. Enjoy!


The following additions, changes and fixes were applied to Blight on Monday, April 17, 2006:

  • Travel directly from New Trismus to Genevia Island is now possible.
  • Gaedin the Warrior Trainer now offers nine quests for warriors level 1 to 10.
  • An out-going portal is now available in Brandon's Shelf.
  • Blacksmith quests offered by Guran on New Trismus are no longer repeatable.
  • Bone Golems now classify as undead.
  • Breath of Lightning will dispel beneficial effects from the target on a successful hit.
  • Vital Defiance will no longer be removed by Expulse or Dispel.
  • Corrected the skill requirements and XP gains on hide strips when making lower tiered invisible leather caps using the Journeyman and Expert formulas.
  • Blighted Essence Hide and Leather armors will now use a Shining Tailoring Recharge Kit instead of the Bright Tailoring Recharge Kit.
  • “ Smelting Mastery X” quest can now be completed by speaking with Althanas the Great.
  • Refurbished Board Plane is now useable when making items requiring the woodworking or fletching skills.
  • Tazoon Prospecting Service Reports quest will now give out the proper reports when speaking with Fulthas.

For more on Horizons, click here.

Seed : Open Beta Week

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Seed has announced that it will be holding an Open Neta week that begins on April 25th, and will be available to anyone who applies for it:


Seed Announces Open Beta Week [April 18, 2006]

Community at Large Invited to Participate.

Aarhus, Denmark - April 18, 2006 - Runestone Game Development, developers of the upcoming genre-shattering massively multiplayer game Seed, announced today that starting on Tuesday, April 25th, its beta testing program will be open for an entire week to all who apply.

"We are looking forward to seeing crowds of players experiencing our game world as well as stressing and testing our systems to the limit," said Lars Kroll Kristensen, CEO of Runestone Game Development. “This will mark the home stretch of the development process as we prepare for next month’s launch.”

Everyone is invited to enter the Open Beta Week. Players need only apply at no later than Monday, April 24th.

This open testing phase will end just prior to the Seed launch on May 2nd, 2006. The client will then be available for free download, along with its 14-day free trial, at

For more on SEED, click here.

Final Fantasy XI : Version Update

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

For a while now, the developers of Final Fantasy XI have been teasing us with new things that are going to be coming out with the new version update. Well, it seems as though the waiting is over and the version update is here:


The highly anticipated version update for Treasures of Aht Urhgan is here at last! All of the exciting new content you've seen on this site, plus a host of other changes and additions can be viewed in detail here.

We are also proud to announce the simultaneous commencement of worldwide service for the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion disc! Details here.

For more on FFXI, click here.

Dark Age of Camelot : 1.83 Live Tomorrow

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot has announced that it will be implementing Update 1.83 tomorrow, April 19th. Below, you will find the expected downtimes for the servers as the update is made:


At 8:00 AM EDT, we will be taking down the servers in order to bring you 1.83. The servers will return (with luck) sooner than 1:00 PM EDT. Thanks in advance for your patience.

For more DAoC, click here.

World of Warcraft : Beastiary Update and CD Cover Contest

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Jon Wood

Blizzard and World of WarCraft have announced that they have updated their website's beastiary for the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion. Also on the site today, a brand new contest for the creation of CD covers.


The bestiary page for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade has been updated with two new creatures from the upcoming expansion. Learn more about the Broken, loyal servants of Illidan the Betrayer, and the murderous rock flayers that stalk the Blade's Edge Mountains of Outland. Check out the updated bestiary now!

For more on WoW, click here.

General : T-Shirt Contest Winner Selected!

Posted Apr 18, 2006 by Craig McGregor is proud to announce that we have a winner in our t-shirt design contest!

The winner is David Freund (username: dpf1978) from Ruckersville, VA USA.  This entry was given 345 out of 707 votes cast (48%) - you can view all the scores at

He will be awarded a $200 gift certificate to as well as $300 cash from!  Congratulations!  David's winning design can be seen below:

(click to enlarge)


Seed : Game / On Interview

Posted Apr 17, 2006 by Dana Massey

Our Game / On podcast begins a new feature: stand-alone bi-weekly audio interviews. These, coupled with debate shows on opposite weeks and a monthly full-length podcast, will ensure new audio content every week.

In our first interview, we chat with Runestone CEO and SEED Producer Lars Kroll Kristensen. Seed is due out on May 2nd, 2006 and Lars talks to Senior Editor Dana Massey about their progress towards that milestone, the features of their non-combat MMORPG and much more.

You can hear the podcast here.

Gods and Heroes : Interview with Perpetual

Posted Apr 17, 2006 by Dana Massey

Chris McKibbin - the Co-Founder of Perpetual Entertainment and the company's President - and Design Manager Stieg Hedlund answer our questions about the game's core features, what happened during the blackout and their relationship with Sony Online Entertainment. With the announcement of your deal with Platform Publishing, many of our readers were instantly concerned. What role will Platform/SOE play in the development and maintenance (post-launch) of Gods & Heroes?

Chris McKibbin: We are very excited about working with SOE Platform Publishing. As to how the relationship works, Perpetual is funding, producing, developing and operating G&H. This means that we handle everything internally, from running the live team, hosting the game servers, account services/billing, to technical support, and working with the community. SOE Platform Publishing handles retail marketing, PR, manufacturing, and our North American distribution. They bring an incredibly experienced marketing, PR, manufacturing, and distribution team to the table that helps to put more copies of the game on the shelves in more locations around North America.

You can read the full interview here.

General : Outside the Box: What We Learned

Posted Apr 17, 2006 by Dana Massey

City of Villains is the focus of Nathan's first look at a specific game begins a new series for our Monday columnist. Over the next few weeks, he'll be looking at different games and their inner-workings.

From time to time, Outside the Box is going to focus on one MMORPG, but this isn’t what you’d call a typical review. Instead of trying to quantify the entire product on a 1-10 scale or giving it a thumbs up or thumbs down, we’re going to dig into the nuts and bolts of the game, dissecting each of the design features to find out what was done right, what didn’t matter, and what was done wrong. Seeing as every incarnation of the “next big” MMORPG is adding to the gene pool of design features, let’s call this segment “What did we learn?”

I’ve spent the last week doing what a lot of subscribers have been doing - playing City of Villains. Having spent a brief amount of time on the first title in this series, City of Heroes, I was already familiar with much of what I saw happening in the sequel/expansion. For starters, they kept the exact same art style and layout. Actually, if you take any of the imagery from CoH, throw it into Photoshop, then swap out all of the blue for red, you get CoV art. Delicate, subtle changes like that walk the fine line between brilliant correlations to the original product and lazy, half-assed shortcuts in production values. The jury is still out on whether or not CoV has properly added to, yet still distinguished itself from CoH.

To read the full article, click here.

ArchLord : Four New Screens

Posted Apr 17, 2006 by Jon Wood

Today, we have added four brand new Archlord screenshots to our collection. The new screenshots can be found in out Archlord Gallery, here.

Thanks to the people at Codemasters for these screens!

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