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Asheron's Call : January Release Notes

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

Turbine has posted the release notes for Asheron's Call's January Update.

Hello and welcome to the Release Notes for the January 2008 update of Asheron's Call! This month we find that the seasons have once again changed, and a chill is in the air. With this change of seasons, we see the arrival of snow once again across the landscape. This of course means that players may run into a snowman or two in their adventures. Be careful though, as not all snowmen are friendly.

Some adventurers have been reporting that they have been having some problems recalling exactly what happened during some of Dereth's major events. Some feel that Aerbax is involved in this somehow. Perhaps speaking with Asheron could clear things up?

Lets see what else is happening in Dereth this month!

  • Alchemy peas have been added to the game. This will help those who use grenades create their wares in batches now. We suggest all those interested, speak with Janier al-Evv in Xarabydun.
  • With the turning of the seasons, the landscape has once again begun to take on a more winter feel.
  • The events that were started in October, will be turned off this month. This includes the Al-Jalima invasion, the Harvest Reaper spawns, and the the Majestic Pumpkin.
  • Frosthaven has once again become an active area. Make sure to check the area out and help the snowmen.
  • Rumors of a Snowman who is need of assistance have been floating around recently. They say he has been seen most frequently in the mountains to the northeast.

Read more here.

Star Wars Galaxies : Sait's Rebellion

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Star Wars Galaxies official site has been updated with the back-story to a new quest series that revolves around the defection of an Imperial Star Destroyer Captain.

Chief Olum heard the klaxons echoing through the ship and knew that the traitorous captain had put his plan into motion. The stormtroopers could be heard thundering down the hallways, carrying out Sait's orders to remove all crew members who were not loyal to him. Olum didn't have much time.

When Kenkirk had approached Olum the day before to test his allegiance, he was wise enough to keep his mouth shut. The Star Destroyer was in deep space, far from the eyes of the Empire, and the chief engineer was well aware that Sait had an entire legion of stormtroopers at his command.

"The captain has decided to join the Rebel Alliance?" Olum had asked the lieutenant.

"Don't be foolish," snapped Kenkirk. "The Empire will squash that little uprising before too long. This isn't about politics."

"Then what is it about?"

Read more here.

City of Heroes : Double XP Weekend

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

NCsoft has announced that they will be holding a double XP weekend from February 8th until the 10th in City of Heroes / Villains.

Double XP Returns!

Villains, prepare to plot your take over of the world in double time! Heroes, clean the streets of scum twice as fast! The ever popular Double XP weekend returns!

Starting on Friday, February 8th following our weekly maintenance period, all defeat rewards, including experience, prestige and influence or infamy will be doubled! This will continue through the weekend and conclude the night of Sunday, February 10th.

To discuss this event, join us on the Official City of Heroes Message Forums.

Read more here.

Warhammer Online : 2008 Events Schedule

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

The folks at Warhammer Online have posted a calender of events where they will be showing off WAR to the public.  Events included are the New York Comic Con, Toronto Games Day, San Diego Comic Con, Penny Arcade Expo, and more.

Waaagh!!!

Dying to show your support for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning or just learn more about the game and its development? Well stop on by any of the following events for your chance to get your Waaagh on!!!

We'll be all over the US and sneaking into Canada this year and we'll be doing it in style. Engage in RvR, meet the Devs, get to know some of your fellow community members and check out the rest of the show while you're at it. 2008 will be a year to remember!

Read more here.

Guild Wars : PvP Predictors Propose Predictions

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

Last week ArenaNet put the word out that they were looking for player's with the skills to become PvP predictors.  Now, the predictors have been chosen and they have made their predictions for this month's tournament.

You've seen the Xunlai predictions our writers made for past tournaments. More recently, we asked you to show off your own prowess at prognostication. And you answered. From the submissions we got, we gathered several likely PvP Predictors and published their results below.

Predictor: Prophet Jakal

GvG

  1. Dark Alley [dR]
    With players from famed American guilds [QQ] and [iQ], these players have ample tournament experience. Unfortunately they haven't been able to show this because of connection problems that have been plaguing them, including a last minute error that forced them to forfeit last month's tournament. If their connection is stable, expect [dR] to give a performance equal to their rank on the ladder.
     
  2. Close Encounter [cE]
    A guild reform including people from both [EW] and [vZ], I expect them to give any guild in the tournament a run for their money, especially if they are on top of their game. I expect them to easily deal with the Japanese split-oriented builds, but falter against [dR] whom they will have little experience facing.
     
  3. Supernova Jpn [SpNv]
    [SpNv] has proven time and time again that they can play with the best of them. Not only has [SpNv] been around for a very long time, but they have finished in the top 16 (seven times) in the $100,000 Tournament Series including 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes. Expect them to breeze through the Swiss rounds, but fight with lag and teams more capable of facing their play style.

Read more here.

Zu Online : Exclusive Screens

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks over at IGG have been kind enough to send us three exclusive screenshots for their upcoming MMORPG, ZU Online

 

See them all here.

General : Hardware Report - CES

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Jon Wood

Earlier this month, Carolyn Koh traveled to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While there, she had the opportunity to talk to a number of different game developers. Still, you can't go to CES without checking out the newest gadgets. Today, Carolyn gives us a look at some of what she saw.

Apart from the media events, hardware companies show on the floor of the convention center. Most are in the Sands Convention Tech area or South Hall. I made the trek out to North Hall just for Razer as they had a meeting room rather than a booth. CES boasted a “gaming” section this year which was dominated by furniture type gamer accessories as most other game hardware companies had other CE lines, or simply stayed where they’ve traditionally exhibited.

I started off hunting for my usual suspects that I’d seen at previous CES – Logitech – lots of “Digital Lifestyle” goodness: new remote, wireless keyboard, music server – Saitek was in the Bellagio and I ran out of time – that’s one I regret missing and Patriot memory was in a private meeting room – oh well, I then moved onto the other interesting ones that had come across my email as a member of the media, and some I ran across on the show floor. Some of them are doozies, so without further ado, here are the “nifty” gamer stuff I saw at CES 2008 in Las Vegas.

Read it all here.

Tabula Rasa : Designing Fault Lever

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

Tabula Rasa world builder David Vargo guides us through the design process and philosophy behind the Fault Lever instance in Tabula Rasa.

I think one of the important things about being a world builder is making a lasting impression on players through visually compelling environments.  I’ve tried to accomplish this goal in Fault Lever by keeping the level’s layout believable while fun, providing interesting highlights and details to the backstory, and focusing on the mood or character of these spaces.  

It was pretty clear how to begin Fault Lever’s design because the associated shared map, Thunderhead, had all of the relative environmental features I wanted to incorporate.  The design document called for an underground instance map connected to the north face of the massive Ligo Fault Rift.  The players’ ultimate mission within this instance is to turn off the four hammers (shockwave inducers) found within the shared map’s rift..  Because the mission objectives were closely connected to the shared map, I felt it important to integrate visually the rift and accompanying elements into the instance map.  However, this design direction presented unique layout challenges.

I had a strong desire to show how the interior spaces related to the exterior terrain features.  One of the ways I achieved it was by creating windows that look out from the control rooms in the instance map into the rift where the hammers are firing off their energy bolts.  That posed a problem where we had to make sure that I recreated all the shared map’s visible environmental features onto the separate instance map.  So I had to work closely with Michael Hutchison, the shared map’s world builder, to make sure any changes he made also made it to the instanced map.  It took more coordination than usual, but being able to see out onto the exterior was crucial because it allowed the players to create a visual link between the two maps.

Read the full dev diary here.

Wonderland Online : Collection System Preview

Posted Jan 25, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released a preview of the collection system in Wonderland Online.

Wonderland Online, an IGG game, has been highly anticipated by many players since it was first announced. Today the Wonderland team is going to give you a little preview of the collection system.

There are 3 major resources in Wonderland. They are ore, log and grass. To obtain them players need the corresponding collection skills such as mining, lumbering and collection. There will be a large demand for various grasses, such as Asakusa, Vine, and Fruit which can be obtained through collection as players make their way through the game. There are also some useless weeds, so players should spend some time improving their collection level so as to improve the efficiency of grass collection. When the collection level is high, it's convenient for players to either sell or use them.

To learn the grass-collection skill, players need to obtain five barleys from the monsters at the chicken farm of North Island and hand them to the farmer at the farm in the west of South Island. Also, the chicken farm at North Island is also an ideal place for lvl 12+ players to lvl up. Use cleaner when players are near grass resources, and then they can start to collect these grasses. Since few people focus on this skill, it's a good way to make money.

Read more about Wonderland Online here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Forum Moderation Policy Change

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

Flying Lab Software has stated that they will be making changes to their forum moderation policy for their Pirates of the Burning Sea forum.

As the Pirates of the Burning Sea community grows, and with it our moderation team, we have to evolve our community policies and tools to match.

As a part of this ongoing process, we are changing some of our forum moderation policies. From today onwards we will be using a system of warnings and bans that all moderators will follow.

How does this affect you? Well, website users who post something that violates the Community Rules will receive a warning. If you rack up enough warnings, you will get an automatic temporary ban. Over time if you continue to break the rules these bans become more and more severe and can result in a permanent revocation of your forum privileges.

We are reasonably hopeful that we wont have to issue bans very often, as our community has always proven to be both mature and thoughtful. These new moderation policies will assure that we maintain that high level of quality interaction on our forums, in addition to improving the communication of our expectations governing forum behaviours.

Read more here.

Stargate Worlds : Fans Respond to SGW Trailer

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

Cheyenne Mountain has compiled fan feedback on the recently released Stargate Worlds trailer, and they have chosen to share this information in the form of short article.

We've compiled a few numbers, plus comments from developers and fans, regarding the successful launch of the first game trailer for Stargate Worlds! Since the launch of the trailer at GameSpot (story), attention has spread far and wide on over 100 gaming entertainment Web sites. GameTrailers.com have registered over 150,000 views to the trailer so far. Stargate Worlds itself became the No. 1 most popular game on Gamespot for more than 10 consecutive days.

"It is exciting to part of a project that has so much passion behind it," said Stargate Worlds Art Director Howard Lyon. "Not just on the developer side, but from the Stargate fans. It is humbling and exciting at the same time. I think that the overwhelmingly positive response shows the level of anticipation, even at this early point. The teaser has already been great as a stimulus for discussion in the community and allows us, as the developer, to get more feedback and inspiration from the dedicated Stargate fan base."

Fans themselves have responded to the trailer on several gaming Web sites, including Stargate Worlds Forum. Here are just a handful of comments ...

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Explore Middle-earth: Echad Candelleth

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Lord of the Rings Online official site has been updated with a look at Echad Candelleth, one of the many Tolkien inspired locations created by Turbine for LotRO.

In the months after Strider brought four hobbits to the hidden valley of Rivendell, Elrond Half-elven sent forth many Elf-scouts and Rangers to search the surrounding lands for signs of the Enemy's servants. One of these scouts, an Elf-woman named Candelleth, established a way-station in Tâl Bruinen, the southern reaches of the Trollshaws that follow the course of the river Bruinen.

From this outpost, called Echad Candelleth, many scouting parties resupply and take much-needed rest from their arduous journeys. Echad Candelleth also sometimes hosts parties of hunters from Bree-land and from the villages east of the Misty Mountains. Recently, the outpost has given succour to hunters frightened by a strange creature seen wandering the woods of Tâl Bruinen.

Echad Candelleth is one of many locations created by Turbine to populate a relatively untouched region of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Lore-savvy adventurers stopping here may discover a familiar, though not entirely welcome presence in Tâl Bruinen.

Read more here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Puppy Wrangling and MMOs

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

The Pirates of the Burning Sea official site has been updated with a devlog from fraxl, which compares the difficulties of making an MMO with wrangling 100 puppies, as well as taking a look at UI improvements and more.

Building an MMO is not a simple task. It’s a lot more complicated than you think, even if you think it’s really complicated. At any given point in the development of the game, there are thousands of individual tasks of varying sizes to be completed. Deciding which tasks get done, when and by whom is not an easy job, to say the least. Up on the third floor, where designers and developers dwell, they have a way of discussing this sort of decision. I don’t think I’ll be letting out any proprietary secrets by passing it on here.

Basically, it’s like puppies. Puppies, like sexy new features, are something just about everybody loves. I mean, seriously.

But imagine now, that you have 100 puppies… and they’re running around, out of control. Maybe you can catch 10 puppies, but you definitely can’t grab all of them at once. Similarly, you might have 100 excellent ideas you could work on today, all of which would make the game better. There’s no way in the world that all 100 of those ideas can be implemented at once, so what to do?

For a while now, we’ve been so focused on launch that a lot of ideas had to be put off in favor of more life-and-death issues. We figured that you would all prefer to have a game client that rarely crashed rather than have chat bubbles at launch. Similarly, we thought server stability outweighed the importance of being able to make your avatar sit in a chair. We caught some rottweiler puppies and had to let some poodles escape, basically.

Read more here.

General : Chris Chung Speaks Out

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

Chris Chung, the new president of NCSoft North America, recently posted a few words about taking on his new position, his management philosophy, and plans for NCsoft's future.

In any organization, when you get a new person at the helm, there are bound to be questions as to what he or she is going to do. Rumors can start in the break room and quickly spread throughout the organization and beyond. It doesn’t matter what the change is. Change makes people nervous. Although it helps that I’ve been around as a part of NCsoft in one capacity or another for the last five years, there are still a lot people in the company that don’t know me very well. It can also be a burden coming behind someone so well known and respected, both within and outside of the company, as Robert Garriott. While I don’t think “filling the shoes” of someone with decades of experience and a sharp sense of business like Robert is possible, it will be a wonderful challenge trying.

Someone recently asked me what my job as a president of this company would entail. My response was that one of the reasons I believe I got the job is because I don’t have a special talent. If I did, I’d probably rather be a famous designer, programmer or artistic genius. I wasn’t blessed with any of those talents so I have to be satisfied with having the privilege to work beside these talented people every day and help them to bring their creations to the customers.

Read the full article here.

Zu Online : Talent Point Reset

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has announced that they will be resetting player's talent points in Zu Online, allowing player's to re-choose their talents as they like.

Zu Online Open Beta has lasted more than a month and the game has been greatly improved. Each day brings more bugs and patches, but is also bringing Zu closer to being a finished game world. More players are joining the game and experiencing this unique fantasy world everyday.

Here, the Zu Online team wants to say thanks to the players for their great support and indispensable help and advice. Meanwhile, to help players get to know the talent system better, all their talent points will be reset on January 23rd, which means they can reallocate their talent points as they see fit.

Read more here.

Angels Online : Combat Sytem and Class Introduction

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

IGG has released an overview of the combat system in Angels Online, and the games five combat classes.

As one of the MMORPG games operated by IGG, Angels Online appeals greatly to players because of its unique double training skills. Now, the AO team is making an introduction to the 5 classes of combat system in the game. Combat system has five classes, Warrior, Protector, Spearman, Swordsman and Archer.

Warrior: Waving a hammer and an axe to attack enemies for great damage. In close combat, Warriors usually appear on the front line.

Protector: The best offense is a good defense. Protectors are good at using shields to build defensive walls for their companions.

Spearman: Good at using spears. Spearmen excel at long distance attacks and can strike enemies with a lethal blow before they even know who's attacking them.

Swordsmen: Swordsmen are the mobile force of the army because of their outstanding agility and fast movement speed. They excel at sword techniques which increases the possibility of their long term survival.

Archer: Sharp eyes, strong arms and fast movement speed. Archers are good at long distance attacks.

Skills in close combat are preferred for players who enjoy the fun brought by participating in battle. Besides, in future territory battles, classes of close combat are critically important. Skills in close combat are Sword techniques, Axe and Hammer techniques, Spear techniques, Enhance techniques, Grappling techniques, Shield Protection techniques, Reserving techniques, Finesse techniques and Garment techniques.

Read more here.

DarkEden : Chakrams Race Added to Open Beta

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

DarkEden Online has added a new race to their open-beta horror game. The Chakrams are half vampire and half human.

SAN JOSE, CA - January 23, 2008 - Joymax, an independent developer of
interactive entertainment for the global market, has introduced a third
race, called "Ouster," to its vampire-themed massively multiplayer online
role-playing game, Darkeden. A unique race that is half vampire and half
human, the Ousters can use special summoning magic and wield bladed weapons
called "Chakrams."

New players can now receive special beginners' gear when they join the game.
Available for the first 14 days of play, the gear will better prepare
neophyte gamers to experience the dark, gothic world of Darkeden.

More on this game here.

Star Trek Online (Perpetual) : Case Dismissed

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Keith Cross

Shacknews is reporting that the lawsuit filed against Perpetual Entertainment by Kohnke Entertainment has been resolved out of court. As a result, the case against the former STO development studio have been dropped.

Shacknews has confirmed that PR firm Kohnke Communication's lawsuit against former Star Trek Online developer Perpetual Entertainment has been dropped following a mutual resolution.

"The latest development is that the parties have resolved their dispute," a source told Shacknews. "The dismissal of the case was filed with the Court this afternoon."

A representative of Kohnke confirmed the suit's dismissal this afternoon. "The parties have reached an agreement, but we can't detail any further than that," Kohnke told Shacknews. "Part of the agreement was that we would not detail."

Check out the story here.

General : Interview w/ David Solari of Codemasters

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, MMORPG.com's Donna Desborough took some time to speak with David Solari, the Vice President of Codematers Online. The two talked about micropayments in-game and the future of Codemasters.

MMORPG.com:

Micro-payments are becoming more common. What are Codemasters plans for their use?

David Solari:

Well we already have 2 games which support Micro-payments with RF Online and Archlord so we are getting some great experience there.

We are planning other micro-transaction games going forwards as it's exciting and growing business model.

However we are strong believers that certain games work best as subscription games and others as micro-transaction games. We also believe that this can change though a products lifecycle.

Read the whole interview here.

Angels Online : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Jon Wood

IGG, the company behind Angels Online, have sent along these exclusive screenshots for our viewing pleasure.

 

Check out the others here.

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