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Dark Age of Camelot : Servers Down

Posted May 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

For those who might be trying to log in to EA Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot, and are having problems, the game's servers are down today from 8am to 5pm EDT for "emergency maintenance". Here's what they had to say on the Herald:

All live servers and Pendragon will need to be brought down at 8:00 AM tomorrow, Wednesday May 16th, in order for the Operations team to perform emergency maintenance. We estimate that servers will up by 5:00 PM EDT.

Read the Camelot Herald here.

World of Warcraft : Patch Preview

Posted May 16, 2007 by Keith Cross

Our friends over at Blizzard have released a Patch Preview for the upcoming Patch 2.1. Patch 2.1 will include a new 25-man raid called the Black Temple.

Long ago on Draenor, the Temple of Karabor was the center of draenei worship. But the devout priests who prayed there are long dead, slaughtered by marauding, demonically corrupted orcs. In the massacre's aftermath the warlocks of the Shadow Council seized the structure and bestowed upon it a new name: the Black Temple.

The most difficult new challenge that awaits players in Patch 2.1 will be the hunt for Illidan in his own dark citadel - a quest to bring the reign of the evil overlord to an end. Watch our new Black Temple Trailer now to learn more about this new 25-man raid, and check out the Black Temple preview page to learn more about the history of Illidan's fortress - and why freeing it from his evil taint is of paramount importance...

Learn more about WoW here.

City of Heroes : OGDC: Cryptic Animation Rig

Posted May 16, 2007 by Jon Wood

Carolyn Koh files her third report from the recent Online Game Developers conference. In this article, Carolyn had the opportunity to talk to some of the people over at Cryptic Studios about their recent decision to release their animation tools to the general public.

Cryptic Studios announced that they were sharing their Animation Rig (known as Cryptic AR) on Wednesday, May 9th and launched their website at the same time, following immediately with a presentation by Sean Burgoon - the talented programmer behind CrypticAR and Shayne Herrera, Cryptic's Art Development Director.

Shayne opened the talk with a simple greeting, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." This writer chuckled appreciatively at his deep voice, a fair imitation of Cash's distinctive opening, and waited to see if he would be talking about CrypticAR with evangelistic fervor.

The Cryptic Animation Rig has been released under the GNU General Public License and is free to download and use. CrypticAR will allow animators of all experience levels to familiarize themselves with some of the tools used in a professional development environment. Unlike other free animation rigs, Cryptic AR is not an approximation of production tools, but the very tools currently being used to produce next-gen game visuals at Cryptic Studios. This is the same software that is being used to animate the upcoming Marvel Universe MMOG. The core concept of the rig is to provide the artist community with a free set of tools.

Read the whole article here.

Granado Espada Online : Five New Screens

Posted May 16, 2007 by Jon Wood

Today, the good people over at Sword of the New World have sent us five new, exclusive screenshots showing off their Fighter class.

You can view the full size images and all of the other screens, here.

Gods and Heroes : New Video

Posted May 15, 2007 by Ben Krueger

Perpetual Entertainment released a new video from their upcoming MMO Gods and Heroes during the recent Sony Online Entertainment Gamers' Day events. It's a great video and we've hosted it here for everyone to see.

Gamers' Day Event Video
Perpetual Entertainment released this new video for Gods and Heroes during the Sony Online Entertainment Gamers' Day events in New York and Los Angeles.

Checkout more MMORPG videos here.

EverQuest : New Screenshots

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

Today we've added 8 new images to the EverQuest gallery, showing of various locations, characters and monsters of Norrath.

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

Lord of the Rings Online : Characters of Middle-earth: Glorfindel

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

Lord of the Rings Online: the Shadows of Angmar has released another character bio, this time profiling the powerful Glorfindel.

The Elf-lord Glorfindel is one of the most powerful of all the Eldar of Middle-earth, counted great among the Wise. He remembers well the elder days of the world, and bears the great power and knowledge of ages past. His wrath can bring terror even to the Nazgûl of Sauron.

In the days following the fall of Fornost, Glorfindel came to the aid of Eärnur, prince of Gondor, as he pursued the Witch-king of Angmar back to Carn Dûm. Eärnur's host would have been destroyed, but the sudden appearance of the Elf-lord sent the Witch-king retreating in fear. It was Glorfindel who prophesied that no man would defeat the Witch-king, and who lent his steed Asfaloth to Frodo Baggins during the Ring-bearer's flight from the Nazgûl across the Ford of Bruinen.

In The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel was one of the chief counselors of Elrond and a powerful member of the White Council. While Glorfindel first appears in The Lord of the Rings OnlineTM: Shadows of AngmarTM at Rivendell, players should not be surprised if he appears at some unexpected moment as "an Elf-lord revealed in his wrath...."

Read more here.

General : Earth Eternal: First Video

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

Earth Eternal has put together a video showing off some of the monsters and races of the game world. The video depicts a Dragon, a Treekin, a member of the playable Feline race, and more.

We're proud to release the first Earth Eternal video for your viewing pleasure! What you'll see are three in-game creatures plus one in-game player character. The video takes place in a largely unadorned test area, and shadows are off in it.

We hope this video gives you an idea of the 'flavor' of Earth Eternal and leaves you wanting more. Our small team is committed to delivering a superb MMO experience, with no mandatory cost to play.

Watch the video here.

Vanguard : SOE Aquires Sigil Assets

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

John Smedley formally announced today that Sony Online Entertainment has acquired the assets of Sigil Games, which includes Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Sigil employees were informed that their employment would be terminated, but in his announcement John Smedley said that approximately 50 of these employees would be hired on by SOE to continue working on Vanguard.

Hello Everyone,

Today I would like to formally announce that SOE has acquired the assets of Sigil Games Online, including Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. As a part of this acquisition, we are bringing on approx 50 people from Sigil in order to insure that Vanguard continues to grow. SOE is dedicated to making sure that Vanguard is well taken care of and that we provide the same level of service we do for our other titles. In the near future we will come out with a publishing plan that will largely be driven by the strong player community that Vanguard has already built up. We plan on supporting Vanguard for many years to come, and you can expect many content updates as part of your subscription. Down the line we will of course be coming out with new expansion packs, but right now the focus is on making sure Vanguard is running the way it should be.

We are also officially opening up forums. In the past, our deal with Sigil didn't allow for this, but as with our other games we fill this is an important part of communicating with the playerbase. You can expect a strong presence from our community team as well as the development team members. While we realize that Sigil had said they wouldn't open up general forums, at SOE we fill this hampers our efforts to communicate effectively with the players. We will continue to support the fansites in a big way, and will be contacting many of them directly to discuss what this change means. By no means do we want to lose the strong fansite support by making this change, but we do think it's important to have a forum for players to communicate directly with SOE.

A few other items I wanted to mention

1. Brad McQuaid will be consultant to SOE as a creative advisor for Vanguard. Dave Gilbertson will be the person directly responsible for the day-to-day management of both the Sigil Carlsbad office as well as Vanguard.

2. We do not plan on making any major changes to Vanguard. Any changes are going to come from the team itself. We aren't mandating any big changes to the game. We've learned a thing or two with our experiences with the NGE and don't plan on repeating mistakes from the past and not listening to the players.

3. We do plan on spending a lot of time cleaning up legacy issues with Vanguard and making sure the game's performance improves.

Read the full announcement here.

General : Mayson's Musings: How to Kill a Giant

Posted May 15, 2007 by Jon Wood

In this edition of his column, Keith "Mayson" Sarasin takes a look at how PvP could be used to try to kill the giant that is World of Warcraft with its 8 million subscriber base.

I stopped viewing PvP as a mechanic of a game a long time ago. Many people believe that PvP is something that is added to boost sales and try to strike at a market that developers believe is very small. I now view PvP as a sort of litmus test of the team that will be working on the game. When a guild makes a decision to move from game A to game B they look for certain criteria. I know many guilds that left games like Shadowbane and UO to move to World of Warcraft. They knew that PvP was an afterthought but what the developers still don't seem to have figured out is that the PvP market didn't just expand a little in the last four years, it exploded.

Read the whole article here.

Age of Conan : Bear Shaman

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Age of Conan have updated with an overview of the Bear Shaman, individuals with a strong connection with the spirits of nature. The article profiles some powers and abilities of the Bear Shaman and their role in Hyborean culture.

Since ages long passed, certain gifted individuals - often referred to as wise men or wise women - have held a special, unbreakable bond with the spirits of nature. Within many of the primitive societies found among the hill tribes of Cimmeria, these men and women are held in particularly high regard due to their ability to call upon the powers these spirits possess. For these and many other Cimmerians - a people whose lives are greatly influenced by the creatures of nature that surrounds them - anyone who can tap into these powers are considered to be of great importance and wisdom.

Those of them who decide to leave their tribes and head into the world of great adventure, often call themselves Bear Shamans. With their ability to perform ancient rites and call upon the spirits of the bear, the Bear Shamans are a valued addition to any group of adventurers who wishes to tackle the challenges of Hyborian reality.

The Bear Shaman has received the more physical aspect of nature - while the Druid of the Storm will conjure up lightning and storms, the Bear Shaman focuses his power and energies towards himself, aligning himself through shamanistic rites with the spirit of the bear.

The Bear Shaman represents two sides of nature - Tranquility and Fury. The tranquil side of the Bear Shaman allows him to utilize powerful magic to heal himself and his friends. Tapping into the power of the wind, the Bear Shaman may heal both himself and his teammates by utilizing the very forces of nature itself. The "Renewal" spell grained at level twenty is one of many healing spells the Bear Shaman will have access to. His ability to resurrect friends who fell in the midst of a bloody battle becomes available to him at around level thirty, but the spell will become more and more potent as the Bear Shaman grows in power - allowing him to further diminish the detrimental effects of death.

Read the full article here.

General : CCP CEO to Deliver Keynote Address

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

CCP Games Chief Executive Officer Hilmar Petursson will be delivering a keynote address at Nordic Game 2007 in Malmo, Sweden on May 16th. The speech is titled "Tao of Virtual World Societies" and will discuss the balance between the developer's vision and the expectations of the player community.

Hilmar Petursson, Chief Executive Officer of CCP Games, will deliver a keynote address at Nordic Game 2007 entitled, "Tao of Virtual World Societies". The keynote will take place on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at the Malmo Exhibition and Convention Center in Malmo, Sweden. The two-day conference represents Europe's largest games industry conference showcasing executives discussing how social elements (such as networking and collaboration) will play an increasingly important roll in modern gaming.

Petursson will discuss the importance of achieving a balance between the development team's vision and the community's desires, resulting in successful game design and game play. Petursson assumed his position as CEO in January of 2004 and has led the company's explosive growth in terms of size and influence. CCP Games most recently announced plans for a two-year 200 person global expansion of the company, reflecting the global uptake of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), such as EVE Online, a leading sci-fi MMOG created by CCP.

Nordic Game is the event of the year for the entire Nordic games community; bringing together developers, publishers, distributors, researchers and retailers from the Nordic region and around the world - to meet, exchange ideas and get inspired by some of the world's most exciting industry leaders, as well as the latest games, products and innovations.

Read more about Hilmar Petursson's keynote here.

Learn more about Nordic Game 2007 here.

General : Blizzard Concerts

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

Video Games Live, the "live touring game concert", will be performing at the upcoming BlizzCon 2007 in Anaheim, CA as well as the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Soeul.

IRVINE, CA - May 14, 2007 - Video Games Live, in partnership with Blizzard Entertainment®, announces that it will create and perform special concert presentations for attendees at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, Korea and BlizzCon 2007 in Anaheim, CA. Each unique performance will showcase numerous pieces of music from Blizzard games.

Video Games Live is the most successful live touring game concert in the world. Created in 2002 by veteran game industry composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, Video Games Live has performed in front of over 75,000 people around the world since 2005. Included in these performances was the record setting premiere at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as other countries including England, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand.

"We're pleased to feature Video Games Live at the Worldwide Invitational and BlizzCon," said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "They've put on some great performances in the past, and we're looking forward to sharing the experience with our players at these events."

"What a great honor to be a part of these incredible Blizzard events," said game composer and Executive Producer Tommy Tallarico. "It's really great to see how connected Blizzard is to their players, and it's easy to realize why Blizzard's games have become so popular around the world. They really appreciate and understand their audience."

Find out more about Video Games Live here.

Gods and Heroes : New Screenshots

Posted May 15, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Perpetual Entertainment have released fifteen new screenshots that were used at the recent SOE Gamer Day.

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

Auto Assault : Dissecting our Baby: AA Post Mortem

Posted May 15, 2007 by Jon Wood

Carolyn Koh files her second report from the recent Online Game Developers conference. This time, she sat in on a talk with Scott Brown and Hermann Peterscheck from NetDevil, the company responsible for Auto Assault. In this talk, Brown and Peterscheck discuss their missteps while brining Auto Assault to market.

Day two of the ODGC saw me at the Auto Assault Post Mortem - a lecture presented by Scott Brown, the President of Net Devil and Hermann Peterscheck, the game's Producer, as they shared with conference attendees their missteps while brining Auto Assault to market.

"Want to make a great game?" asked Scott Brown, "Don't make a deal with milestones. There are better ways to do a game deal."

What Scott meant was that when it came to game design and delivering an MMOG, there are better measurables out there than milestones as contracted payment deliverables. Per the normal business models, a detailed time and progress schedule is tied to payment. However, with games development, planning out what you will be doing a year from now (or two, or three) is impossible beyond the most basic set of features. Without a dynamic and reasonably simple change process, developers will spend an enormous amount of time doing the wrong things at the wrong time or in the wrong order to meet the milestone schedule in order to be paid.

Most developers are unable to cover the costs of teams, in the event of missing a milestone. This puts incredible pressure on the publisher to pay for milestones they felt were not met, or cancel the project.

Read the whole article here.

Hero's Journey : Content Writers Wanted

Posted May 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

The folks over at Hero's Journey have posted a want ad on their official site sending out the call for content writers. If you're tired of the same old quests in MMOs, here's your chance to make a difference.

We are once again accepting new applications for Content Writers.

If you are a creative, self-starting writer interested in contributing to a rich and deep fantasy world, consider joining our Story team. Content writers are responsible for writing and designing quests, wyr, heroes, in-game storylines, and background lore. We need talented folks who understand how to craft incisive, compelling, and dramatic scenarios while maintaining a cohesive voice with the team as a whole.

Read more here.

Final Fantasy XI : New Expansion Announced

Posted May 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

A new expansion titled "Wings of the Goddess" has been announced for Final Fantasy XI. To mark the occasion, an official site for Wings of the Goddess, featuring a video showing off the game, has been launched.

The development of "Wings of the Goddess", a new FINAL FANTASY XI expansion disc, was announced today at the SQUARE ENIX PARTY 2007. In conjunction with this announcement, a new site has been created to provide the latest development details as they become available, as well as give fans the opportunity to view exclusive images from the expansion.

Visit the Final Fantasy XI site here.

Visit the Wings of the Goddess site here.

Guild Wars : For God and Guild

Posted May 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

The most recent edition of the state of the game articles has been posted on the Guild Wars official site. This week the focus is on the Gods in Guild Wars and their impact on Guild vs. Guild combat.

Five main gods represent different aspects of life to the people. Balthazar is the god of war, Grenth is the god of death, Dwayna is the god of life, Melandru represents nature, and Lyssa is the patron of mind and spirit.

The Dervish, introduced in Nightfall, is a spiritual disciple able to turn into living representations of each god. Using these Avatars, the Dervish has carved out a niche in the GvG world as a tough melee flag-stand character. Despite many other decent elite skills to choose from, the emerging standards for most Dervish Skill Bars are based on an Avatar.

The Avatars (Besides just Melandru)

Avatar of Grenth

This was the most popular choice for Dervishes when Nightfall first came out. This Avatar readily countered the massive amount of Monk Enchantments and the popularity of Searing Flames (powered by Fire Attunement) at the time. Teams had to bring proper Condition removal, though, because Blinding this Avatar was top priority for most defenses. However, this elite skill became a casualty of its own popularity, and the design team decided to scale back its duration. They also boosted skills like Mirror of Disenchantment to give teams more options for removing problematic Enchantments (like Aegis and Attunements). Avatar of Grenth still has its utility but doesn't last as long anymore and is an immediate target for Blinds and snares.

Read the full article here.

World of Warcraft : Tournament Dates Announced

Posted May 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

Blizzard has announced the dates and venues for the regional finals and the global finals for the upcoming tournament events for World of Warcraft and Warcraft III.

June 2-3, 2007 - American Regional Finals - San Diego, California

The American regional finals will be held at the House of Blues in San Diego. The House of Blues is known for exciting live music and southern-inspired cuisine. This popular entertainment center will be transformed into a top-tier gaming arena to host the World of Warcraft American regional finals and the Warcraft III Azeroth regional finals.

June 23-24, 2007 - European Regional Finals - Hamburg, Germany

The European regional finals will be held at the Hamburg Messe and Congress center. Located in the heart of one of largest cities in Germany, this national convention center will host the World of Warcraft European regional finals and the Warcraft III Northrend regional finals.

Get the details here.

Gods and Heroes : Beta Journals

Posted May 14, 2007 by Keith Cross

Beta testers in Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising give us a glimpse behind the curtain and relate their experiences and adventures as they test this upcoming title from Perpetual Entertainment.

I wanted to apologize for taking so long in getting a journal out to the community. We have encountered a few weeks of gaming problems that kept many if not most of us from testing over the last few weeks. Some of these issues were warping: you would run from point A to point B only to warp back to A. If you had outgrown area A, this made it impossible to progress. Another issue we had were the minions not leveling with us. It could be worked around by hiring higher level minions as you went, but this leads back to the first warp area problem.

All of these issues arose from a big patch we were given. I'm happy to say most of those issues are now resolved and we are happily back to playing again.

This week PE asked that we test Gladiators. I have been trying to level a Priest to do the comparison between Priests and Nomads, but, as of this build, Priests are way over powered. So I thought I would wait until that class is more balanced out before I do a comparison.

Unfortunately, until I get my class characters high enough, I don't have a whole lot to report. As a member of the original core team, we've pretty much stuck to playing up to about level 15. I don't think this is even 1/4 of the game. There are two starter areas for 1-10 level content and we have tested these areas too many times to count. The fact that we are still here, still doing the same areas, and still don't find it boring leads me to believe we have a great game coming.

Read the full article here.

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