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Vanguard : E3 Update

Posted Jul 18, 2007 by Jon Wood Writer Carolyn Koh attended this year's, modified, E3. Now that she's back, she's filing this report on her conversation with the SOE team now working on Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and catching up on what's going on now that SOE has control.

At the Barker Hanger in E3 this year, I found Bill Fisher, Senior Game Designer and Adventuring Content Lead at a single lonesome demo station. Bill Fisher came to Vanguard from EQ, has been with Vanguard since day one and stayed with Vanguard. I simply asked him to tell me what was happening at Vanguard.

"We are improving and polishing the game," he said, telling me about the optimizing that has taken and is still taking place. "Players have reported as much as a 20% improvement in frame rate." He went on to list the things they had done. Increasing dedicated Quality Assurance staff, to be sure nothing falls through at patches, and a dedicated Bug Team were two. "We fixed 1,200 bugs in the first 1 ½ weeks after SoE took over the game. Game updates are scheduled for approximately every six weeks, and the ability to construct Guild Halls will come on live very soon."

Read the whole report here.

Godswar : Equipment System

Posted Jul 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released information on how the equipment system in Godswar works.

As we all know, equipment attributes have a direct impact on the pace of leveling-up, so the equipment system is very important in the game. The random equipment generation system of GodsWar Online ( is a major feature. Dazzling equipment modeling and unique equipment attracts the attention of many players. Creating his or her own weapon from a rare item, I think it is the wish of every player.

Players can obtain a wide range of equipment in the course of adventure. It is almost impossible to find two identical equipments in Gods War Online. Equipment collection is the core system of the game. Every character has up to 10 blanks for equipment. Players can choose various equipments for their own; some equipment with outstanding capabilities can bring all kinds of dazzling effects, making the player's appearance become extremely eye-catching.

There are four color (red, blue, green and yellow) stones in the game which players can purchase. Corresponding stones can upgrade equipment attributes. If the player has enough high-quality stones and uses them to strengthen equipment, it is certainly to strengthen an ordinary equipment to be a unique and super one.

The random equipment generation system greatly strengthens the gameplay of Gods War Online, Players cannot only upgrade various equipment freely, but also create your individual equipment by yourself. Want to have unique equipment? Gods War Online will give you an unexpected surprise!

For more on Godswar, visit

Voyage Century Online : Comic Contest Event

Posted Jul 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that the Voyage Century Online comic contest is now a permanent event on their forums.

IGG ( announced that a comic contest was added as a permanent event in Voyage Century ( Forum. Draw some comic strips of interesting stories in VCO.

Location: Event Zone in VCO Forum


  1. All the works should be related to VCO games.
  2. All the works should be original. Plagiarism is prohibited. Entries should be posted to the Event Zone in VCO Forum. You are considered to be participants as long as you set up your post with a subject such as: VCO+ comic strips or the entry will be considered invalid.
  3. Any off-topic post is prohibited. Once found, this post will be deleted directly. Officials will permanently close the player's account if you frequently flood the screen.
  4. One player is allowed to join with one main ID. If someone is found to use many IDs to post, officials will cancel the player's qualification.
  5. VCO officials will field an Event Committee to judge the submitted works. No judge is allowed to join the event.
  6. All works submitted are reserved by IGG.

Rewards: Every round will come out with 2 or 3 splendid works which are probably to be published on our official site and other renowned websites First Round from July,15th to July, 30th: Rewards: Aress Necklace

Read more here.

Tales of Pirates : Summer Carnival Kick-off

Posted Jul 18, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced a series of event to kick off their two month long summer carnival event.

IGG announces that a new large regular summer carnival will start in Tales of Pirates ( from July 16, which will lasts for two months, not only to meet our players' need but also to create a wonderful summer holiday for them. Events are varied everyday during this holiday. We will summon more monsters, give away more Top coins and design more new interesting events for you all.

The first round of the events from 16th to 22nd is revealed as bellow:

  • Monday - Mission: Convoy GM
  • Tuesday - Monsters Commotion
  • Wednesday - Life Skill Test
  • Thursday - May Day Card Surprise Exchange
  • Friday - All servers: Double Exp
  • Weekend - Monsters attack

To learn more about all of the events, visit

General : Forum Spotlight: Instancing

Posted Jul 18, 2007 by Jon Wood

Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at a thread from our forums that discusses instancing in MMORPGs.

This week on the forums, poster Elikal brings up a hot topic in the MMO world - Instances: Taboo or Holy Grail? Citing several games that either embrace instances or avoid them, Elikal poses his question and his own opinion to the community.

"My first MMO was SWG," states Elikal, "which is quite devoid of instances, which shaped my understanding of a MMO greatly. Then I move to EQ2, which uses instances, but only sparsely. The only game I played which uses a lot of instances was CoH, since all your missions are instances, but as CoH is shaped, you just cant make those missions otherwise, so it wasn't a big deal either."

Read more of this column here.

General : Cryptic Hires John Layman

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

Cryptic Studios, the makers of the City of Heroes and Villains games as well as the developers of the upcomming Marvel Universe, have announced that they have hired veteran comic book writer John Layman.

California-based MMO developer Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes, Marvel Universe Online) has announced the hiring of veteran comic book and video game writer John Layman as the company's new design writer.

Layman joined the company on June 25, and is currently working on Cryptic Studios' previously announced Marvel Universe Online, a new MMO set in the Marvel Comics universe. The game is currently in development for both the PC and Xbox 360.

Primarily a writer for Marvel Comics on titles such as Gambit, House of M: Fantastic Four, and Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, Layman has also written for more independent studios such as Image Comics and Oni Press (Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen of Alpha Squad 7). Beyond his comic book credits, Layman also contributed writing to Nintendo's Metroid Prime: Hunters for the Nintendo DS, and Konami's Marvel Trading Card Game for the PSP.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Galactic Senate

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with the announcement of the names of the newly chose Galactic Senate.

Congratulations to the newly appointed Galactic Senate! Over 800 nominations were sent in, and all positions are now filled. Here the community leaders who will serve in the Galactic Senate as a voice for all players..

  • Legacy Senator: Martokk
  • Legacy Senator: BadgerSmaker
  • Legacy Senator: Elyssa
  • Beast Master Senator: KrackenOne
  • Bounty Hunter Senator: TuCheck
  • Commando Senator: MasterCosmo
  • Entertainer Senator: Boscohark
  • Jedi Senator: ArkonPhoenix
  • Medic Senator: PhiberOptic

Thank you to everyone who sent in a nomination! The Senate will begin its business in short order.

View the full list of Senators here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exploring Middle-earth: Gramsfoot

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar official site has been updated with another look at some of the unique locations that have been created by the LotRO development team. This time the focus is on the fortress of Gramsfoot, a major stronghold of the army of Angmar, and the starting location for monster play.

Mount Gram, nestled at the northwestern edge of the Ettenmoors in the Misty Mountains, has long been an abode of goblins, though their greatest king, Golfimbul, was defeated and slain by Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took at the Battle of the Greenfields hundreds of years ago. Lying at the border of Angmar, Mount Gram has again become a fortress-kingdom of terrible power. Orcs, wargs, goblins, trolls, and other evil creatures now muster there to begin an invasion of Eriador.

The fortress of Gramsfoot is a heavily guarded stronghold at the base of Mount Gram, nearly invulnerable to attack. As the army of Angmar presses southward under the command of War-tyrant Akúlhun, it is here that the power of Angmar can be felt the strongest in the Ettenmoors. Cruel Akúlhun is prepared to sweep through the Ettenmoors and Trollshaws and raze Rivendell to the ground . . . if he can defy the Power that resides in the Hidden Valley.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : New Server-Side Spam Filtering

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at EverQuest 2 have announced that they have added a new server-side spam filtering tool to help reduce the number of spam messages that players receive while they play.

The EQII live servers were hot fixed with a new server-side spam filtering tool today. The purpose of this filter is, predictably, to reduce the number of spam messages you receive while playing the game. To ensure that there is no confusion about the new filtering tool, we would like to share some information about how it will affect your gameplay.

The new system will review messages sent, at the server level, and flag the messages that have been identified as spam. These messages will be contained and will not go through to the recipient in their initial form.

Get all the details here.

Guild Wars : Eye of the North Prerelease July 20th

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

ArenaNet and NCsoft have released new details about the release date and features of the prerelease bonus pack for Guild Wars: Eye of the North, including access to the sneak peek weekend in August, and access to special weapons.

Bellevue, WA., July 17, 2007--NCsoft® and ArenaNet® announced today that the prerelease bonus pack for Guild Wars: Eye of the NorthTM is set to arrive on retailer's shelves on July 20 and will include a host of compelling features, including exclusive in-game items and access to the Guild Wars: Eye of the North Sneak Peek Weekend set for later this summer.

The Guild Wars: Eye of the North prerelease bonus pack will be available from retailers in North America and Europe as well as at the NCsoft store at and via the Official Guild Wars online store.

Guild Wars: Eye of the North is the first ever expansion to the subscription-free Guild Wars franchise of fantasy online roleplaying games, which will be released to the public on August 31, 2007. This expansion will provide new content accessible to players who have any of the previously released Guild Wars campaigns (Guild Wars, Guild Wars: FactionsTM, or Guild Wars: NightfallTM).

Players who pre-order Guild Wars: Eye of the North will gain access to the Sneak Peek Weekend, August 24-26, 2007, where they will be able to log into the game for a first look at Eye of the North. Players will be able to explore the Far Shiverpeaks region of the world, home of the barbaric Norn. Everything players obtain during the Sneak Peek Weekend, including items, XP, Heroes, and loot, will be permanent and available when the expansion goes live.

Read the full release here.

Aion : E3 Update

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Jon Wood Writer Carolyn Koh took the time to drop by this year's E3 in California. Today, she brings us a report on NCsoft's Aion.

"No photos pleas," we were told, then reminded again as we sat down. This was NCSoft's 20 minute Aion presentation. Pronounced "Ion" not "A-on" we had Brian Knox, QA Lead speaking and Yong-Taek Bae, International Business Liaison running the demo. Aion is an original MMORPG developed in conjunction by both the Korea US studios of NCSoft. We got a glimpse of it at E3 2006 and the graphics were impressive - stunning even, but it was not far along enough to qualify for a vote as we were not sure if the movie shown was in-game footage or generated for marketing. What I saw was indeed beautiful.

The world of Aion resembles a globe that has been torn in half. The lower half is the world of the Elyos, a lush green world as it receives the benefit of sunlight. The upper half is the world of the Asmodians. Dark, cold and arid. In Eons past, the two halves were joined vertically by the Tower of Eternity and the Elyos and Asmodians were one people, but when the tower was destroyed in the 1000 year war, the factions turned on each other and blamed the other for its destruction. The PvP happens between the Dark (Asmodians) and the Light (Elyos). That is not to say Evil against Good, but we humans are simplistic creatures and that's what it will devolve to in most player's minds.

Read the whole report here.

Zu Online : The Music of Zu

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released some samples of the music that will be featured in Zu Online, their upcoming MMORPG based on the novel The Life of Swordsman.

Zu Online music tracks now available for the public #1

Think in the dark night, two high-ranked swordsmen in a keen duel. In the fight, they show their most deadly weapons and play their skills to the fullest; they even soar highly into the sky and the duel continues till the first twilight split the morning sky.

That's pretty much the same image you get when you hear the first music track ( that IGG released for Zu Online(, with the name Fight for Miracle Town.

Music tracks from games are both affective and effective to the gamer. Music in a game will always arouse your mood and instill various emotions depending on the sound, err, track, umm, soundtrack. Click the following URL to get a totally different feeling from the other music tracks from Zu Online:

For more information about Zu Online visit

Fury : E3 Update

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Jon Wood Writer Carolyn Koh is attending this year's, modified, E3. In this article, Carolyn unleashes the Fury as she brings us up to speed on the PvP game's development and talks to Michael Hampden, a former podcast co-host and current Content Designer for Fury.

In 2006, Unleash the Fury was the sleeper hit of E3. Several of the staff voted for it for Best Graphics and it won the "Most Surprising" award. It then went on to garner more interest at PAX and GDC, and then fans waited... and waited for more news. Well, the news is here. Unleash the Fury will be published by GameCock in the USA. Currently in closed beta, it will be released in October of 2007 and the business model will be unveiled in a couple of weeks.

More excitingly, there will be a free preview weekend beginning Friday, July 27th and running through July 29th. Client downloads will be available prior to that weekend and all interested will be able to preview the gameplay of this PvP game. Just as we sat down to demo the game; the power went out on us, so we talked about the game while waiting for an engineer or electrician to get more juice to the hotel suite.

Read the whole article here.

General : Earth Eternal: Complete Backstory

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

Iron Realms Entertainment has released all 34 chapters of the back story for Earth Eternal. The final chapters 25 to 34 tell of the end of the age of legend and the rise of man.

Mill Valley, CA, July 17, 2007 - Iron Realms Entertainment published chapters 25-34 of Earth Eternal's history of the world today. In this epic history that finishes off the Age of Legend we learn of how Atan freed Europe from the tyrannical and Vampiric Blood Kingdom and the years of prosperity that followed his deeds. The new chapters also contain the story of the Breaking of the Covenant and the curse which turned Beast into Man with tragic consequences. It concludes with the Bitter War against Man, the complete defeat of the Beasts in that terrible conflict, and their subsequent salvation by Gaia, the Earthmother.

Matt Mihaly, Iron Realms' CEO and lead designer on Earth Eternal said, "I've really enjoyed writing the story thus far. The fantasy geek in me loves to create worlds and since backstory is one place that we think the big guys don't have an advantage over us on I've put a lot of effort into creating a coherent story and world for Earth Eternal. Getting to the end of the Age of Legend and the beginning of the Age of Man is a huge milestone in the history."

Read all 34 chapters of the Earth Eternal backstory here.

Voyage Century Online : Figureheads and Screenshots

Posted Jul 17, 2007 by Keith Cross

IGG has released information on the use of figureheads in Voyage Century, along with 3 new images depicting figureheads which have been added to our screenshot gallery.

Figureheads are one of these equipments that of great importance to the ship attribute in Voyage Century Online ( They have great impact on the durability, propulsion, speed, number of sailors and attack of ships. Furthermore, you will have a much lower possibility to encounter such catastrophe as plague, storm, vortex and tornado if your ship were equipped with figurehead.

Catalog according to their function, figureheads can be divided into water series, fire series and wind series. Besides, each series can also be divided into Sword figurehead, Dolphin figurehead, Sea Horse Figurehead, Lion Figurehead, Beluga Figurehead, Falcon Figurehead, Mermaid Figurehead, Angel Figurehead, Titan Figurehead and Neptune Figurehead according to their level.

Water series figureheads will greatly increase loading capacity of the ship. Fire series figureheads will increase the numbers of cannon and ship durability. Wind series figureheads will increase the ship speed and number of sailor.

Still worrying about being plundered by the pirates? A trading ship with fire series figurehead with large numbers of cannons will grant you the ability to fight back. Found noting after tough exploring all around the world? A water series figurehead with huge loading capacity will turn you raiding ship into a trading ship helping you to get back from the loss of the resultless exploration

Paying attention to the capability of each figurehead, rebuilding your ship according to you specific need, you will have special ship better than others.

For more on Voyage Century visit their official site at

General : Blog Spotlight: Trash Talking and More!

Posted Jul 16, 2007 by Jon Wood

Every Week, Community Manager Laura Genender takes a look at one or more of the entries being created in our blogs. This week, she looks at GMTristan's blog entry about trash talking in MMORPGs.

The community is not just the players - designers, programmers, press, game support, and a slew of others make up the worlds and communities in which we virtually live. This week, our spotlight blogger is GMTristan.

GMTristan, otherwise known as Level Up Philippines' Marketing Manager Mon Macutay, has a blog that sports news from Level Up, but also general gaming topics, such as Cheating in Online Games, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Guildmasters, and more.

Read the whole column here.

General : Yoshi Maruyama Joins Sparter

Posted Jul 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

Sparter, the company that facilitates player to player currency transactions, has announced in a press release that Yoshi Maruyama has joined Sparter's advisory board.

Menlo Park, CA, July 16, 2007 - Sparter, Inc., maker of the Gamer2Gamer™ (G2G™) exchange platform for the global trading of virtual currencies, today announced that Yoshi Maruyama has joined the Company's advisory board.

"We are very excited that Yoshi is joining Sparter's advisory board," said Dan Kelly, Sparter CEO. "Yoshi is a visionary and well respected veteran of the gaming industry. We know that his expertise in the sector, his experience in working as a publisher, and his keen sense of the global market will be invaluable to us as we continue to improve Sparter's platform and services. More importantly, Yoshi understands how vital it is that we as an industry support consumer interest in trading virtual items. I am incredibly excited that a publishing executive of Yoshi's stature has agreed to work with Sparter in creating a workable solution for both gamers and publishers."

"I am looking forward to becoming a member of the Sparter family," said Yoshi Maruyama. "I believe that Sparter is the platform that can accommodate the needs of today's gamers as well as the rights of publishers in dealing with RMT. Sparter also offers the best opportunity to support our consumers and, through cooperation with publishers, punish the truly bad behavior like in-game spamming, bot farming and use of exploits. I hope to leverage my experience and relationships to facilitate dialogue between Sparter and other participants in the industry to develop a solution that benefits everyone within the gaming ecosystem."

Mr. Maruyama ended his tenure as the General Manager of the XBox Division at Microsoft Japan in September 2006. In this capacity, Mr. Maruyama was responsible for growing XBox market share and preparing the launch of the next generation XBox360 console. He also successfully led efforts to work with major Japanese game companies and creators to produce high quality games for the Japanese market. Mr. Maruyama brought in Hironobu Sakaguchi, a creator of the Final Fantasy series, and Mr. Akira Toriyama, a creator of the Dragon Ball Z series, to create Blue Dragon.

Before joining Microsoft, Mr. Maruyama served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of Squaresoft Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Square Co. Ltd., and one of Japan's largest family-owned game software developers. At Squaresoft, Mr. Maruyama increased Square's U.S. market development efforts. Within two years, the company became one of the most popular game developers in the country with the release of such titles as Final Fantasy 7, the first million seller title for Sony PlayStation in the U.S. He also negotiated a joint venture with Electronic Arts to create Square Electronic Arts, which eventually grew to be one of the most popular Japanese game publishers based in the U.S., with annual revenues reaching $100 million. Mr. Maruyama previously served on the boards of D Wonderland Inc. and Gama Internet Technology USA, Inc.

Mr. Maruyama began his career at Mitsubishi Corp. and later joined McKinsey & Company as a consultant within the financial institutions group. He then went on to become director of the Heisei Research Institute where he was actively involved in fundraising and organizing resources for the research and policy-making capability of the institute. Maruyama holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Waseda University and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College. Mr. Maruyama is currently a consultant with Alcantara Associates, Inc. where he deals with executive training and licensing of intellectual properties.

Star Wars Galaxies : Beast Master Developer Diary

Posted Jul 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

Thomas "Hanse" Eidson of Star Wars Galaxies has penned the fourth installment of his developer diary series giving a behind the scenes look at the beast mastery system.

Hey there! I'm Thomas "Hanse" Eidson and this is the fourth designer diary in the series I've been writing over the past several weeks. The first one outlined the specifics of what my job entails from a high level perspective. The second diary reviewed a player versus environment balance approach I used. The third diary sketched out how the Jedi expertise was created. In this fourth diary, I will go over my responsibilities with the beast mastery system.

As you may already know, I am a system designer for Star Wars Galaxies. A system designer, in short, makes broad decisions for entire sections of the game. Instead of focusing on small details, such as which way a building should face, we focus on how all the buildings should function. In this way, we are responsible for large changes to the game.

When the beast mastery system was first discussed, we simply called it a new pet system. Our goal was to allow a player the ability to control one creature at a time in the game. We wanted the pet to grow, eat, fight, learn, and have a personality. The range of pets available would be large and diverse. A system of discovery would need to be implemented so that the beasts would be craftable. Also, these pets would have special abilities and attributes.

Read the developer diary here.

Star Wars Galaxies : All About Armor

Posted Jul 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with an article spotlighting armor and its qualities in the Star Wars Universe.

Assault armor, usually worn by Bounty Hunters and Commandos, protects against kinetic damage well. However, this armor is more susceptible to energy damage. Assault armor also has an increased resistance to fire and acid damage over time.

Battle armor provides an even protection against all damage types. Battle armor is typically worn by officers and spies, who benefit from the lack of penalties as well as the increased resistance to poison and energy damage over time effects.

Reconnaissance armor, commonly donned by medics and smugglers, offers the best protection against energy damage with a small bonus to energy protection and a minor penalty to kinetic damage protection. Bleeding and disease damage over time effects are also reduced by this armor type.

The Jedi wear no armor, instead choosing to be clothed in simple robes. Traders and entertainers typically do not wear armor but seasoned professionals have the ability to equip it. These entrepreneurs tend to hire bodyguards during their travels across the galaxy, although the bravest choose to receive special training that will improve their expertise in combat and defense.

Read the full article here.

City of Heroes : Rainbow Prom

Posted Jul 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

The City of Heroes / Villains official site has been updated with a look at a recent event held in in-game called the Rainbow Prom. The event was held for the prominent gay and lesbian community in the City of Heroes / Villains games and was featured on

Hundreds of super-powered lesbians and gays let their magical hair down at a new LGBT prom recently. They danced, flirted, elected a prom king and (drag) queen, played outdoors in their underwear at a mountain ski resort, and levitated with robotic boots and angels' wings until they crashed the server. Yes, they were in a virtual online world called "City of Heroes."

Queer gamers have been making strides toward virtual equality for a while now. They've won the right to marry in "The Sims," "Fable" and "Fallout 2." A gay pirate named Bertram romances male avatars (game characters) in "The Temple of Elemental Evil." "World of Warcraft" nearly shut down an LGBT guild (players' group) in 2006, but ultimately backed off and apologized. Makers of the new online "Lord of the Rings," on the other hand, have scrapped the option of marriage altogether -- for straight as well as gay hobbits -- rather than face the issue of same-sex nuptials, not to mention interspecies wizard-elf unions.

"City of Heroes"' Rainbow Prom may have been the first virtual LGBT prom ever. Gamers were invited to finally enjoy the high school dance many missed when they were 18. At least 200 'toons showed up, organizers reported, and partied so hard they actually forced NCsoft to reboot the computer generating their virtual world -- several times.

Read the full article on

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