Just call it "New Game Experience Day" here on MMORPG.com. Today we have three features that look at this highly controversial introduction into Star Wars Galaxies. Today we have an exclusive interview with LucasArts, an editorial on changing games after launch and a review of the "New Game Experience.
The first article - an exclusive interview with Press and Community Relations Manager Casey Keefe - gives LucasArts the forum to answer four quick and basic questions about the decision to make this change and what it means.
| MMORPG.com: Are you worried about alienating the base that has made SWG a success to date? What do you say to those who feel betrayed?
Casey Keefe: That’s always a risk with the advancement of any game, whether it be taking an MMO in a new direction or releasing a completely new sequel. However, we have had multiple members of the existing player base, both casual and hardcore alike, come out in support of the new direction of the game who are really enjoying it.
To those that feel “betrayed” we understand their frustration, but really think they are missing out on a great Star Wars experience by not continuing to play the game with its new direction. I would suggest they give it a real honest try, if they do not like it after that then at least they have given it a fair shake, but don’t cast it off automatically just because it is something new.
You can read the full interview here.
In the second article, Lead Content Editor Dana Massey provides an editorial that looks at the ethics of wholesale changes to an MMORPG after it launched.
| Recently, Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts took the unprecedented step of offering refunds to those who had purchased the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack as the company announced some sweeping changes to the game.
This is the latest incident in a string of public relations misadventures for SOE and LucasArts as they make wholesale changes to Star Wars Galaxies.
Earlier this year, the much-criticized, but ultimately accepted – at least in terms of subscribers and informal polls – Combat Upgrade hit the servers to a round of howling from the fans. Then, in a recent Producer Letter, Julio Torres explained that the team would be making more moves to make the game feel more like Star Wars.
You can read the full editorial here.
Finally, MMORPG.com writer Rob Hinman turns a critical eye towards the changes and what they mean in this new review of Star Wars Galaxies post-"New Game Experience". His verdict? He gives is 6.3 out of 10, down from the 7.0 we gave the original title. Find out why:
| Due to the massive changes recently implemented within the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) Mmorpg, we felt it was necessary to update our review to reflect the changes brought out by the New Game Experience (NGE). We do hope that this review will provide you with the information needed. Also, I will refer to the combat upgrade (CU) along with the NGE. In the last 6 months, SWG has done multiple changes to the game and we’ll try to be as clear as we can.
Before we press on, I feel that I should give a brief explanation of the NGE. The NGE has taken all professions and merged them into 9 iconic professions: The Bounty Hunter, Entertainer, Medic, Smuggler, Commando, Jedi, Officer, Trader and Spy. Some professions were abolished entirely (such as the Creature Handler and the Chef). Without further adieu…
You can read the full review here.
Mythic Entertainment is a busy company these days. With Dark Age of Camelot still going strong, and Warhammer in developement, there seems to be lots to do. Today, Mythic released the very first Warhammer Newsletter. In the newsletter, they profile a number of developers involved in the project, including: Mythic President, Mark Jacobs.
To all those that are interested in Warhammer and WAR, welcome to the first issue of the Warhammer MMO monthly newsletter. I hope it will soon find a special place in your heart (or at least your inbox) as we bring you the latest updates on the progress being made on the game in an informative, and often times humorous, way. We will share our thoughts, our hopes and our visions as talk about Mythic, Games Workshop, Warhammer and, most of all, WAR.
Each month, this newsletter will feature sneak peeks, development diaries, and contests, as well as in-depth looks at the races, classes, maps, monsters, and systems featured in the game. Every so often, we will also include recipes gathered from all corners of the Old World for everything from Halfling Croquette to Skaven-on-a-Stick!
The benefits of being a subscriber are many. Not only will you get all the good stuff mentioned above, but you’ll also find exclusive art, screens, and wallpapers in every issue. Plus, you’ll get a chance to enter early rounds of the beta test.
The newsletter also shares a word from Lance Robertson, the game's Producer:
"Twenty-some years of Warhammer material makes our lives so much easier when developing an MMO - it's all right there to draw from! The emphasis on battle, conflict, strife, mayhem, etc. is a natural."
Finally, the newsletter introduces us to the Lead Designer, Steve Marvin:
"I've been product support (which is kind of CS, testing and host support rolled into one), associate producer, project coordinator, producer, designer and lead designer at various times, but I always really just wanted to be a monkey the whole time."
The good people over at Myth War have recognised a bug and are taking steps, not only to squash the pesky bug, but also to compensate players who were effected by it. The problem? Pets that are imbued with Magical Crystals are resulting in a negative value. The solution? A patch, taking place on the 24th of November (tomorrow). The compensation? Stone of Moon.
We are aware that pets that are imbued with Magical Crystals may result in a negative value. The 1.0.41 patch on 24-11-05,10am GMT +8 will restore the normal value and we will compensate players affected by the bug with 1 Stone of Moon per player.
Note: To collect the Stone of Moon, players have to email a screenshot of the affected pet with the negative resistance together with the Character nick and ID to firstname.lastname@example.org before 24-11-05, 10am GMT+8
Players can collect the Stone of Moon from any available GameMaster online at the following timing:
12pm - 6pm GMT+8 on 24-11-05
12pm - 6pm GMT+8 on 25-11-05
Any player found scamming using the same bug pet will result in account suspension.
For more on Myth War, click here.
Dark Age of Camelot is once again giving us a complete list of Release Notes. This newest set brings us changes and fixes in Classes, some General World Notes, Shrowded Isles World Notes, Trials of Atlantis World Notes, and much more:
CLASS CHANGES AND FIXES
Armsman, Warrior & Hero Changes
Heavy tanks are considered the defensive juggernaughts of the realm they fight for, and as such, will be getting added abilities and improvements to their classes.
Note: These abilities are currently only available on newly created characters. All of these will be available on previously created characters in the near future. Functionality of some spells are not yet finalized and will be adjusted accordingly. Please feel free to include any feedback you have in a bug report while testing these abilities on Pendragon.
To get all the notes and information, click here.
The makers of Dark and Light have announced that registration to the DnL forums, as well as email and password changes, will not be available beginning today. The issue is being caused by a "forum information update" and will keep these functions down for an "indeterminable amount of time".
Due to a necessary forum information update and the setting up of the payment system, registration to the Dark and Light forums, as well as some other functionalities (such as email and password changes), will be temporarily disabled from November 23rd 2005. While we will try to keep this disruption as short as possible, it will last for for an indeterminable amount of time.
We appologize for any inconvenience.
For more information on Dark and Light, click here.
Guild Wars has announced a brand new Guild of the Week, bringing our grand total now to 26. The honor this week goes to a guild known as Final Dynasty. For a time known as Final Dentistry, this guild has been around for quite some time, and recently regained the Final Dynasty title.
The Final Dynasty guild was first formed by group of school friends during the Guild Wars World Preview Event. The guild continued to play together through the subsequent Beta Weekend events, which eventually led to their decision to concentrate on the competitive aspects of the game. With their newfound focus on PvP, FnlD closed out the final BWE on a high note, finishing 23rd on the ladder.
The release of Guild Wars brought about many changes for the guild, as some members were lost to school commitments. The guild continued to restructure and play up to and through the PvPX weekend, but chose to take a hiatus afterward. The guild has since come back in earnest, after its founder, Vindexus, reunited with some of the guild's core members from the BWEs. When they found that the guild's name was unavailable because it was still reserved by an absent former leader, they started anew under the name of Final Dentistry—and often confused as Final Destiny or FniD—the guild has since acquired new members and recently regained the name of Final Dynasty. They have begun their re-ascent up the Guild Wars ladder, having previously reached a high of 17th. The guild aims to break into and retain a position in the top 10, and to become one of the "big names" within the Guild Wars competitive community.
For more information on this Guild, click here.
Blizzard's hugely popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, has announced another set of Realm transfers. These ones will become available as of November 23rd (today) at 3am PST.
The following realm-to-realm transfers will become available tomorrow, Wednesday November 23, at 3:00 AM PST:
Archimonde > Dethecus
Arthas > Gorgonnash
Bleeding Hollow > Dunemaul
These transfers will be available at the normal time, 3:00AM-3:00PM PST, until November 28 at 3:00PM.
Realm-to-realm character transfers are offered in order to alleviate queue times and overpopulation. If you're not satisfied with your realm's performance, moving to a realm with a lower population can make your play experience more enjoyable. Please plan accordingly and take advantage of this opportunity!
For more WoW, head on over to World of Warcraft.
Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach recently completed its stress test. Designed primarily to test the number of people the system can hold without figuratively exploding, the test can be fun as well. In this week's "Beta Journal" - number 4 for those keeping score at home - the player talks about their stress test experience.
The Stress Test Event is over and was a complete success…everyone at Turbine is thoroughly stressed!
Seriously, despite some downtimes the stress test went even better than expected. For this week’s Beta Journal, we thought we’d share a bunch of quotes from the Stress Test Event and Beta players.
“Hear Hear...3 Cheers!!! My overall first impression of the game is positive. First impressions go a long way... and you guys have nothing to worry about...hell of a job. I can see this game satisfying my need for a complex, no hand-holding or dumbed-down RPG... and it's an MMO!!! I can see this replacing all the wanna-be MMOs I play out there that reward people with a lot of time on their hands, rather than questing or hanging out for the fun of it. AWESOME JOB!!! I will be a paying and playing customer.”
“I just love the game so far. Great graphics, great design, great mood...It really feels like DnD. I like the beginning quest...content-wise/quest-wise, I feel like I'm playing an MMO version of Baldur's Gate II, and that, for me, is a compliment, since I think BGII was the best Dungeons and Dragons based computer game. Great job Turbine. Great job.”
“I can climb wheeee :) ”
“All I can say is:
I know these are simple and usually found in hack and slash games, but almost all MMORPGs nix at least one of those. It is so little to ask to have those things and I'm glad they're all in. Plus the fact that you can improve your skill in swimming/jumping, great idea. That makes rogues (if they so choose) literally all agile little nimble things bouncing around all over, which is how it should be. The switches/levers/etc. are awesome too. These things alone set DDO apart from all MMORPGs really. Always wanted to play a Gothic/Zelda-esque type MMORPG and finally it looks like I may have one. The interaction is 'key'. Can't forget the pulling yourself up ledges either. That is definitely a first.”
To read the rest of this Beta Journal, click here.
EverQuest II is reaching out to MMORPG players. Recently, their website has been updated to give both players and would-be players a look at how far their game has come since launch. Highlighting updates that have been done in the past, and updates to come in the future, EQII claims to be "the best MMO game".
EverQuest II continues to expand at a dynamic rate, not just in the type of adventures available in EverQuest II, but also in the physical size of the world.
Below are a few reasons why we believe that if you aren't currently playing EverQuest II, you should be. We are committed to our player base and are very passionate about making EverQuest II the best MMO game.
Tons of Content Added Since Launch
Since launch, an enormous amount of content has been added to EverQuest II at no additional cost to EverQuest II subscribers. In addition to changes that made the game more fun for soloists and group players alike, more than 1100 quests have been added to the game since launch on November 8th. We've added more than 1200 new items to the game, including more craftable items for tradeskillers, and more loot around the world. Almost 400 new spells have been added and we've worked diligently to make sure our spell effects are as eye-catching as they are powerful. Recently, we added 8 new areas to the world, so there are now well over 100 zones in the world of EverQuest II to explore.
That's not all. Our ongoing Live Updates include a very long list of new features, additions, and gameplay enhancements that make EverQuest II even more fun to play. They are:
To get a full rundown of the content additions, click here.
The Chronicles of Spellborn has given us something to pacify us while we wait for their Beta to start. Today, the have given us a good looking image to pass the time. The pic highlights the unique style of this game:
We’re closing in on the start of the Beta testing process. In the last week we’ve been making selections and preparing to send out invites. We’ve also been busy getting the Beta hardware and software up and running, and working out action plans for the beginning of our tests.
This is a shot of a combatant in the Quarterstone Arena. What’s that behind him . . . ?
Make sure to check out the concept art section for a new image featuring Arionite accessories as well!
For more on The Chronicles of Spellborn, click here.
Lineage II has announced a brand new in-game contest. This time around, it is a pumpkin growing contest. Yes, that's right, a pumpkin growing contest. Of course, this wouln't be the world of MMORPGs if there wasn't a catch. In order to grow your pumpkin, you need to collect a special nectar from monsters:
While traveling, the Great Magus Ahuron Raulian of the Ivory Tower helped a poor injured pixy who had broken her leg. As a special gift of thanks, the pixy sent him a box of pumpkin seeds. However, the pumpkins grown from the seeds have begun annoying him by asking for nectar day and night.
Refusing to throw the pumpkin seeds away for fear of angering the pixy, Magus Raulian has asked his agents to travel across the land and give away the pumpkin seeds to whoever can get the nectar to raise them. Those who grow their pumpkins and give them nectar just may hit the jackpot!
Event Managers are stationed in villages across Aden and Elmore. Nectar can be found on monsters throughout the world and traded in to the Event Manager for pumpkin seeds. After planting a seed, feeding the Young Pumpkin enough nectar will make it grow. Hitting a pumpkin before it has fully grown will cause it to wilt from lack of nutrition, so be careful!
Once grown, you can break it open to receive a special prize. Prizes can include potions, armor and weapon enchantment scrolls, A Grade Crystals, soul crystals, and more. You must work to break the pumpkin open quickly or the pumpkin will vanish.
Large Pumpkins can only be broken open with a Chrono souvenir weapon, and will require many people in order to break it before it escapes. Chrono Campanas may be purchased from the Event Manager during this event.
For more on Lineage II, click here.
Hero's Journey has loyally been doing bi-weekly Q&As with us for months. Today is no different as we bring you more questions and answers, as well as two exclusive screenshots (brought each week). One of which marks the return of shadows!
| MMORPG.com: Mounts have been mentioned as a means of transportation. Is there any chance we will see a variety of mounts, not just horses, and what kinds of mounts might those be?
Melissa Meyer: Because travel in Hero’s Journey will be inherently more convenient, there will be less dependency on mounts for transportation. They will certainly be useful for such, but players will probably enjoy their role in combat a bit more.
Similar to items, mounts will provide a player with additional abilities while the mount is in use. The player will likely find some of their typical abilities unavailable, as they would be inappropriate for mounted combat. (A jumping, spinning attack may be fun on the ground, but it’s a whole different thing while trying to balance on the back of a horse.) As with all inventory, players will be able to select the appearance of their mounts as well as advance their mounts abilities.
Types of mounts that will be available is still undetermined.
You can read more of the interview here.
The developers of the popular franchise game, Final Fantasy XI have announced that major changes will be taking place where the dragoons two-hour ability is concerned. Specifically, the developers have had a look at the job's wyvern pet, and plan to make some chages:
In the next version update, major changes are scheduled for the dragoon two-hour ability.
The development team does not consider the dragoon to be particularly weak when compared to other jobs, but we are aware that a large part of a dragoon's strength depends on the presence of his or her wyvern. After taking into account the wyvern's tendency to be quickly defeated in heated battles, and the dragoon's lack of a powerful special ability for use in missions and other critical situations, it was decided that improvements were necessary.
Simply raising the wyvern's HP and defense to increase its survivability would cause balance issues in other parts of the game. However, it was judged that improving the dragoon's two-hour ability would have less of an impact on overall balance, and so the following changes have been planned for the upcoming version update:
To get all the details, click here.
The good people over at Pirates of the Burning Sea have reached a decision. This decision does not revolve around gameplay, or contests, or game design, but it was so important that they left the decision up to their fans, who recently voted in an online poll. The winner? PotBS. PotBS is now the OFFICIAL acronym for the game:
The results are in, and our fans have made it clear: Over 70% of those polled chose PotBS as the official acronym of Pirates of the Burning Sea!
You can check out the final results by visiting this link! Many thanks to everyone that participated in the debate!
For more information on PotBS, click here.
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach, the latest offering from MMORPG maker, Turbine, has released the 25th in their series of "Monser Profiles". This time around, they are doing things just a little bit differently. Normally, we are able to bring you a concept picture of the creature. This time, however, Turbine is taking one out of the pages of "Harry Potter". This week's monster is the Spectre, and rather than presenting a static picture, they have given us one that moves:
Among the most powerful undead, yet still common enough for you to be likely to encounter it, the spectre is tougher and more dangerous than the typical wraith. It must be evaluated for its potent offensive ability and its dangerous (and annoying) ability to phase in and out of our plane. This will cause the creature to vanish occasionally, reappearing a few seconds later, often very close to you or one of your companions. Be alert, and keep moving when the creature phases out. It's the best way to make yourself less vulnerable to the creature phasing in behind you.
Once again, as was the case with other incorporeal foes, the apprentice's handy Magic Missile spell is your friend. Just about every other form of attack - missile, melee, and spell - involves a coin flip as to whether the attack will strike true or will be ignored as the creature twists between the ethereal plane and the one on which we live (unless you've been lucky to recover one of those relics of Xen'drik imbued with a ghost's touch, in which case, spectres and other incorporeal creatures shouldn't be much concern to you at all). Despite this powerful form of evasion, the best approach to dealing with the spectre is an all-out frontal assault. Spare no effort, save no energy as you reduce this creature to ectoplasmic tendrils and grave dust.
You must strike quickly, lest its most fearsome ability come into play: level-draining. These life-sucking spectres have the ability to channel your life essence out of your body. They feed upon your very soul, drawing nourishment from the living to the dead. The only time you should pause in your effort to destroy this creature is when your keen eyes detect that hideous negative energy has gathered about the spectre's hands. In that moment, run, block, tumble, or jump. Do whatever you can to not be touched by the spectre. The creature cannot harness the terrible energy forever, but should it strike you in that time, you will soon be among the living dead yourself, all of your energy draining away as you sit in one place for hours or days, staring lifelessly forward into oblivion as you engage in one rote task after another.
To read the rest of this profile, and to have a look at the spectre "movie", click here.
Recently, we reported here that Blizzard's popular World of Warcraft had spawned an offspring. That offspring just happened to be a 10 lb (yes, 10 lb) baby board game. The official website today includes a link to "Fantasy Flight Games", a site which had the pleasure of taking a first look at the monsterous board game:
This game is huge! We're not certain that we can adequately explain how big World of Warcraft: the Board Game is. We're not talking blockbuster, worldwide phenomenon huge - although it's that, too. We're talking pure physicality here. How big is this game? Glad you asked. 10 pounds. No bull. Not for a n00b.
To read the rest of this preview, click here.
Rapid Reality today announces, exclusively on MMORPG.com, that they have aquired MMOLands.com, their portfolio of games and the Aura Games Platform. This means that The Chronicle and all future Rapid Reality titles will switch to this engine from Kaneva. The result of this change can be seen in the eleven exclusive screenshots they sent our way. You can read the full MMORPG.com exclusive here.
| Rapid Reality, LLC completed terms today in acquiring the Aura Game Engine Platform developed by Aaron Boucher and the X-Src team, the MMOLands portal, www.mmolands.com, and each of the MMOLands games: Endless Ages, Race Lands, Ancient Lands, Museum Lands and other title still in development. Each MMOLands game will be transitioned to the MMOCenter portal and will be supported and enhanced by the MMOCenter team. The transition from the MMOLands portal to the MMOCenter portal will start in December and is expected to be completed by the first of the year. Along with the transition of the MMOLands Portal, MMOCenter will be updating each of the games over the course of the next few months with completely new art and updated functionality. More to come on the MMOLands transition at a further date.
Rapid Reality will no longer be utilizing the Kaneva Engine platform. Rapid Reality’s first game, The Chronicle, is in the process of being ported to the Aura Game Engine Platform. The company expects a two to three month technology porting process delaying The Chronicle Beta till late January or early February, with a targeted launch date of the beginning of March. Rapid Reality has been working closely with X-Src over the past weeks in porting areas of The Chronicle over to the new platform and is confident in their ability to meet this target date after the initial success they have had with ongoing porting process to date.
The latest version of the Aura Platform has brand new, cutting edge graphical ability and capability updates not previously disclosed that elevate the Aura Platform to new heights and sets a new marker for graphical quality for engines in this industry. Aaron Boucher and the X-Src team have been diligently at work over the past four years updating and enhancing the ability of the Aura Platform and with The Chronicle, will be showcasing graphic quality unrivaled in the industry.
Aaron Boucher has over ten years experience in 3D Engine development and is the founder of X-Src Corporation and the MMOLands portal. Aaron will continue to lead ongoing development efforts of the platform technology as a new member of the Rapid Reality team as the Chief Architect and lead developer. Coming to join the Rapid Reality team along with Aaron are Sean Barnes, Developer and Co Founder of X-Src and DJ Cassel, Art Manager at X-Src. Combined with the extensive talent at Rapid Reality, the combined teams will be stretching the limits and the imagination of MMO industry.
Check out the screenshots provided along with the article to see how the porting process is going. More updates to come soon on the porting process, the capabilities of the Aura platform, the MMOLands transition, where Rapid Reality is headed and the first in-game video trailer of The Chronicle on the new platform coming next week.
Latest Aura Graphics Engine specifications:
Rapid Reality, LLC is a technology company specializing in online video game development based out of Marietta, GA. MMOCenter is a subscription based game portal for all Rapid Reality games.
In recognition of our reputation for bringing you the best and newest MMORPG news and features, MMORPG.com is pleased to announce the launch of our brand-new weekly newsletter.
The newsletter will recap the week that was, and look ahead to the week that will be. On top of that, we will be bringing you: member profiles, forum summaries, material from our library and much more.
The first issue will be hitting inboxes worldwide tonight.
The developers over at MMOCenter have announced a new look to their website as well as a new contest.
The new look on the website is said to relfect "the new look and feel of the game The Chronicle". It contains not only a brand new look, but they have included brand new content as well.
Updated Website Content
We have recently updated our website with tons of new content and media, including glimpses of the power and beauty of the new look and feel of the game The Chronicle. Included in these updates are new in-game screenshots, character renders, concept art, developer journals, developer blogs and news about what’s around the corner…
The new contest is one that should be familiar to anyone who has ever been to a child's camp. A scavenger hunt.
On MMOCenter.com, we are hosting a new Scavenger Hunt contest for The Chronicle. The first 50 people to complete the Scavenger Hunt completely will receive a guaranteed Beta spot! Pre-Order Scavenger Hunt winners, who already have Beta Access, will receive a free month’s subscription! Please check the official Scavenger Hunt rules and regulations at www.mmocenter.com/v2/scavenger_hunt.php.
For more on The Chronicle and to take a look at this brand new site, click here.
The team building Dark and Light has provided us with more information and visuals from their game. This week we have another Q&A as David Souza asks them about tradeskills, races and more; and an exclusive screenshot.
| MMORPG.com: Can you describe to us a bit about the difference between Social Experience and Fight Experience and the advantages and dynamics they add to the game?
Dark and Light Team: Progression on both axis will grant you social points of fighting points. These points will allow you to use social skills or fighting skills.
You will be able to use your class specific spell or attack only if you have enough fighting points. These points will be granted as you face monsters.
On the other side, if you want to become a politician or develop crafter competencies, you will need social points. These points can be won while developing its profession, managing smartly its territory or exploring the world of Ganareth.
Any action that has impact on others grant social points: bringing crystals to a mana fountain of your alignment rises your social points.
You can read the entire article here.