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World of Warcraft : The "Battle Plan"

Posted Jun 22, 2005 by Tom Fletcher

Shane Dabiri has posted the "World of Warcraft Battle Plan" on the official forums. In the article he talks about the success of the game in the first seven months and gives a sneak peak into the future of the game including the news that an expansion is in development and that details will be released soon.

It has been over six months since World of Warcraft launched in North America, and we have seen much growth during that time. Just prior to launching in China last week, World of Warcraft had achieved a subscriber base of more than 2 million players worldwide. Thousands of new players around the world are joining the adventures in Azeroth each day, and the early signs from China are showing that World of Warcraft is proving to be very popular with players there as well.

You can read the full article here at the official "World of Warcraft" website.

World of Warcraft : Development Page Update

Posted Jun 22, 2005 by Tom Fletcher

The Under Development page at the official "World of Warcraft" website has been updated. Topping the list is the new high-end raid instance Blackwing Lair. If you missed the recent article about Blackwing Lair you can find it here. Also on the list is a few changes regarding the Honor System, Battlemasters and improvements to several classes.

On the Horizon Blizzard is looking to add more high level content, battleground siege weapons and the much talked about hero classes.

You can find the Under Development page here at the official "World of Warcraft" website.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Two New Devlogs

Posted Jun 22, 2005 by Tom Fletcher

Two devlogs covering the character skill system and the mission system have been posted on the official "Pirates of the Burning Sea" website.

To talk about skills, first we have to talk about archetypes. One of our goals has always been to ensure that we had interesting and useful things for every ship to do, so that choosing a sloop or a cutter wasn't automatically a poor decision, and so that rated ships were not the only worthwhile choice in the game. We feared the world implied by ensuring everyone had the potential to sail powerful ships - inevitably, the West Indies would be wall-to-wall 74s. We sat down to ask ourselves some questions about how we saw combat being structured, and after a lot of back and forth, we came up with five possible roles that ships could play in a fight: Scouts, hunters, dreadnoughts, support, and siege......

You can read more about the skill system here and the mission system devlog here at the official Pirates of the Burning Sea website.

EverQuest II : June Producer's Letter

Posted Jun 21, 2005 by Tom Fletcher

The June Producer's Letter has been posted on the official website. This month Scott Hartsman discusses quests, combat, PvP and "The Splitpaw Saga".

What's up with PvP?

 With the inclusion of Arena Champions in Desert of Flames, there's been a lot of talk lately about what our plans are for PvP in EverQuest II.

Lots of people remember that before we launched, we had always referred to PvP as "something that won't be in EQ2 for launch," but it's always been something that we wanted to include, just not unless we were able to take the time and do it "right."

That begs the question, "what does 'right' mean for PvP in EQ2?"......

You can read the full letter here at the official "EverQuest II" website.

General : 6 New Games Added

Posted Jun 21, 2005 by Craig McGregor

For those of you that might not have noticed - we thought that we would bring to light that we have added 6 new titles to our ever-expanding game list.  All of them are games in development or beta phases.  We encourage you to check each of them out! 

The new games:

Hero's Journey : Two Exclusive Screens

Posted Jun 21, 2005 by Craig McGregor

This weekly tradition continues today with two more screenshots of Hero's Journey, our 2005 E3 Game of the Show. Check back in one week's time for a Q&A and two more screenshots!

As usual, we hope you join the discussion on our Hero's Journey boards and cast your vote on their hype meter.

RYL: Unforgiven Wars : Now In Over 8,100 Retailers

Posted Jun 20, 2005 by Craig McGregor

Planetwide Games has made the following news release about RYL: Path of the Emperor now available in retail stores:

Unique Free Online Gameplay with Survey Participation Draws in Gamers Around the World to Play Without having to Pay the Monthly Fees and Participate in $1,000,000 Grand Prize Tournament

COSTA MESA, Calif., June 21, 2005 -- Planetwide Games ( innovative publisher and distributor of "RYL: Path of the Emperor" has announced today that major video game retailers such as EB Games, Gamestop, and mass market, electronics, and online retailers such as Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, CompUSA and will be among the first to sell the highly anticipated new Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game RYL: Path of the Emperor, according to Planetwide Games’ President, Kevin Donovan. RYL: Path of the Emperor is o! ne of the world’s most popular Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

On June 21, 2005, consumers will finally be able to get their hands on and purchase the retail box of RYL: Path of the Emperor. “Buying the retail box is the first step towards winning the $1,000,000 grand prize” says Donovan.  “Players who purchase the game at retail will now be eligible to enter the $1,000,000 tournament that starts on July 1, 2005.” Interested players can view more details about the tournament rules and regulations at

RYL: Path of the Emperor is the first MMORPG to offer a $1,000,000 Grand Prize to t! he winner of a Player vs. Player Skill-Based Tournament. All Tournamen t Players will have equal chances to qualify monthly for the $1,000,000 Tournament.  Player’s scores will start at zero at the beginning of each months qualifying. The RYL $1,000,000 qualifying tournament will start July 1, 2005 and will end April 30, 2006, culminating in a RYL: Path of the Emperor Final Tournament event to be broadcast live and to take place in conjunction with the E3 Video Game Expo in May 2006.

[ expand press release ]

MU Online : 0.99 Patch Live Tomorrow

Posted Jun 20, 2005 by Craig McGregor

WebZen has announced that they will be releasing their highly anticipated 0.99 patch for MU Online in a patch tomorrow.  The major highlights of this new update will include two completely new maps - Icarus and Tarkan.

You can get the full details on the update at this link.

Dark and Light : Exclusive Q&A #2

Posted Jun 20, 2005 by Craig McGregor

We sit down for the second in our series of bi-weekly Q&As with the team behind Dark & Light. This week we discuss a range of issues, and include two exclusive screenshots of the game!  A preview: With the world being as large as it is, are you worried about players “congregating” around just one or two areas of the game? Every game I’ve ever played it seems like one town ends up being the “center of the world” for all intents and purposes. Is there a system of any kind to prevent this from happening in Dark and Light?
Gilles Zedde:

There will be more than 400 safe villages in Ganareth, from the tiny hamlet with 2 or 3 buildings, to villages with 40 houses. Every city has its own characteristics, and its own economic loop depends on the resources available nearby. If the city gets convoys from its exploitations regularly, traders and crafters will offer products that are specific to the region. Moreover, every city has a limited number of plots of land players can exploit. Thanks to this system, players should spread on the whole territory.

To read the full interview, click here.

Guild Wars : Game Exploit Closed

Posted Jun 20, 2005 by Ben Krueger

The Guild Wars official site has an a short news bit on their exploitation policy.

As players may have noted, we took action to close a game exploit today. We would like to remind players that the willful use of exploits is against the EULA and the Rules of Conduct. Several players who used the exploit have had their Guild Wars accounts permanently banned. If you find an exploit, please contact us directly through We are grateful for the assistance of the community in such matters, and will attend to reports as promptly as possible.

The Matrix Online : New Ownership

Posted Jun 17, 2005 by Dana Massey

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has bought Monolith out of the MMORPG space. Today, the often rumored deal that would see SOE aquire the Matrix Online and the rights to an unannounced DC Comics MMORPG was confirmed in this article on Yahoo News from the Hollywood Reporter, as first seen by us on Blue's News.

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are set to announce Friday an exclusive long-term licensing agreement that will let gamers share a universe with DC Comics' Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Sandman and other action immortals.

The companies also disclosed that Sony Online had acquired Warner's "The Matrix Online" game. All 25 staff members currently operating the subscription-based massively multiplayer online game have been offered their existing position under the new ownership.

Click here for the full article.

General : Editorial: Innovation in the Industry

Posted Jun 17, 2005 by Dana Massey

James Pittiglio has written a fine editorial to debut as a new Staff Writer on our website. The article is entitled "Innovation in the Industry" and chronicles what he sees as the steps forward and what we can do to change them.

For the majority of us MMORPG players, we use our games as an escape from the real world. Of course, there are those who play these games to make a profit (illegally) or just to ruin others fun, but that is beside the point. When playing these games, you become so involved, you no longer worry about the bills that need to be paid, the grade on your last Statistics test (or the one you’re about to take tomorrow), or what you will be doing the coming weekend. No, instead you’re immersed in a fantasy world, looking to find the next greatest sword, or advancing in skill to vanquish some amazing, new foe. It has been like this since people have started playing these games.

Many people consider MUDs to be the first true MMORPGs, while others still consider the first to be one of any number of games including Meridian 59 by Near Death Studios or The Realm by Sierra / Codemasters. Since then, we’ve seen numerous technological advancements in various areas, most notably in graphics. We have come a long way from text-based adventures and MUDs, to 2D games such as The Realm and Ultima Online, and finally the first 3D games like EverQuest. Looking at games such as SOE’s latest game, EverQuest II, really puts these things in perspective. But what else has really changed?

You can read the full editorial here.

Roma Victor : Four Exclusive Screens

Posted Jun 17, 2005 by Dana Massey

Kerry Fraser-Robinson, the head man at RedBedlam, has passed along four new images of Roma Victor for you to enjoy. These shots show off the game and in one case: the UI.

Thank you to Kerry and Nick and RedBedlam for these images.

Auto Assault : New Recon: Airlifts

Posted Jun 16, 2005 by Craig McGregor

NCSoft has released a new recon section about Airlifts in Auto Assault.  A quick preview is below:

The Situation: your Biomek XR-11 Armoc has just been thoroughly totaled by a gaggle of Pikes near Fort Logan. No friendly Constructors are near by to help you out, the area is crawling with more unfriendly Pikes, and you lack the skills to repair yourself. What are you to do?

The answer: call in a quick airlift from International Negotiables Consulting (INC).

The histories are sketchy, but most people agree that INC was created before the apocalypse in a massive merger of some of the world's largest conglomerates. It was an attempt to consolidate revenue in the face of a collapsing world economy... After the collapse, INC was the only major corporation left standing that could manufacture and supply goods globally - its importance to the entire world was universally understood. When the Humans re-emerged from their Arks, INC had already been neutrally providing assistance to the Mutants and the Biomeks, and offered the same service to the Humans - all for a price, of course.

To read it all - click here.

Meridian 59 : Progress Report

Posted Jun 16, 2005 by Dana Massey

At E3 I had a chance to interview Brian Green of Near Death Studios about the progress of "Meridian 59: Resurrection". This classic MMORPG was relaunched in 2002 and continues to move forward today, with improvements like a new rendering engine added last year.

The game offers much of what a player would expect from an online RPG. It is a skill-based system, with large and meaningful PvP elements that focus on player skill as well as character skill. The game also features extensive guild and political systems that should intrigue the average player. With years of content and balancing under its belt already, you cannot find a more mature MMORPG – a blessing when it comes to game play, provided you can stand the aged graphics.

Despite their lack of resources, the team overhauled the game’s rendering engine for a significantly modernized appearance in August of last year. Brian showed me the difference in real time, and it was quite a change. Is Meridian 59 as pretty as other MMORPGs? Hardly, but it has the benefit of age, a mature community and all the content that comes with that age. One mistake Brian admitted is that they launched their refined graphical experience last year at precisely the same time as World of WarCraft hit shelves, obviously, a very hard time to garner any notice.

You can read the full article here.

Irth Worlds : Three Exclusive Screens

Posted Jun 16, 2005 by Dana Massey

Magic Hat Software has been kind enough to share with us three more exclusive images of Irth Online, the MMORPG currently in beta testing.

Thank you to the team for the images.

EverQuest : New Expansion Announced

Posted Jun 15, 2005 by Dana Massey

In a shocking development, SOE has announced that EverQuest is set to expand yet again! This new installment of the venerable franchise is entitled "Depths of Darkhollow". Here is the press release:


- For the First Time, EverQuest Players of all Levels will Play as Monsters and Experience the Story Through the Eyes of Some of the Most Powerful Creatures in Norrath -

SAN DIEGO, CA – June 15, 2005 – Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online gaming, today announced EverQuest®: Depths of Darkhollow™, a new expansion for the incredibly popular PC Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), EverQuest®. EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow is scheduled to be available at retail and for digital download from Sony Online Entertainment for U.S. $29.99.

“The passion and dedication of the EverQuest development team continues to shine through as Depths of Darkhollow is one of the best additions yet to the EverQuest universe,” said Chris Sturr, senior brand manager, Sony Online Entertainment. “Depths of Darkhollow offers something for players of all levels as they battle their way through spectacular new underground environments and countless new missions, raids and events.”

EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow will have players adventuring in raw, bleak caverns and facing the most formidable monsters yet. Featuring new lands with beautiful graphics, a bold new storyline, and fierce new creatures including Sporali, Clockwork Gnomes and the frightening Werewolves, EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow is the next great expansion pack for the fantasy adventure that is EverQuest. For the first time ever, players will have the ability to play as a monster and experience EverQuest lore first hand through the eyes of another character while they do battle against their ancient foes. Players will also utilize Spirit Shrouds to don the form of a lower level creature to join newbie friends in battle. EverQuest: Depths of Darkhollow is bursting with new adventures and features for players of all levels.

[ expand press release ]

We've also added a slew of new screenshots from the title to our gallery.

Istaria : Major Patch

Posted Jun 15, 2005 by Dana Massey

The official Horizons website now carries word of a massive patch that went live on their servers recently. Here are the goods:

The following additions, updates, and fixes were applied to Chaos and Order on 14 June 2005.

Major Game Updates:

Experience bonuses or penalties now use the highest rated member of the group instead of each group member's rating (to a maximum of 120). This means, among other things, if the highest rated member of the group gets no experience for a monster, nobody in the group will. Modified: Method that monsters choose a preferred target.

Characters will now have to pass the permission of the plot as well as the structure when attempting to access a storage structure (e.g. a house or silo) or trade with an NPC on a plot. For instance, if a plot's permission is set to Deny All, in addition to the "red barrier" around the plot, no characters besides the owner will be able to access structures on that plot, even if they are set to Allow All. Another example would be if the plot's permission were set to Friends only, those friends would be able to access structures that are set to Allow All or Guild Only (only for those friends also in the owner's guild), but not those set to Deny All.

Formulae now contain all previous tiers of their products. For instance, a Journeyman formula can now be used to make Beginner tiers of its item(s).

Road bonus is now more reliable but as a side effect the road bonus is removed immediately upon exiting the road.

You can read the full list here.

EVE Online : Q&A With Nathan Richardsson

Posted Jun 15, 2005 by Dana Massey

Nathan Richardsson, and to a lesser extent Magnus Bergsson, have taken the time to answer fifteen questions from our own Richard Duffek. The Producer of EVE Online went into great depth, above and beyond the questions, to provide you with complete answers. We appreciate it as always. Read on! I’ve heard EVE referred to as “One of the best games ever that no one has heard of.” The ratings and reviews you guys get definitely would seem to indicate the truth in this statement. Why do you think that EVE is such a well liked game yet doesn’t the numbers of some more well known games?

Nathan Richardsson: The community number one, two and three. We’re not only making a game for ourselves to enjoy but also for the like-minded people out there that enjoy a “Strategic-PvP-space-universe-MMO-economic-player-run-game” (That’s the express description of EVE, good for Starbucks and bars)

We spend considerable time with the community, in focus groups, on test servers and in our large volunteer network so the feedback has so many avenues to flow that good ideas spread fast. This feedback cycle has a tremendous effect on what we add to EVE .

EVE doesn’t appeal to everyone and that can clearly be seen in the numbers, we didn’t expect it to either. Those that do like EVE, however seem to love it (like us!) and our steady increase of players since launch is a prove of that. There are still many that haven’t tried EVE and we’re kind of envious that they have such a huge universe left to discover :)

In any case, we’ll be happy bunnies when we hit 100.000 players. Remember, we’re from Iceland, everything so far has been a blast and an awesome journey that is still just in its infancy! (Not to mention the dynamics of 100.000 players interacting within a single shard universe!). We are closing in on our target, but today we have a little less that 60.000 subscribers.

You can read the full Q&A here.

Star Wars Galaxies : What's On Deck

Posted Jun 15, 2005 by Dana Massey

Tiggs has posted word of changes to Star Wars Galaxies over in this thread on the official message boards:

Publish 18.0
Live - June 15th, 2005

Fan Fest Fixes!

  • Altered Lightsaber special abilities animations (Fan Fest)
  • Altered TKA special ability animations (Fan Fest)
  • Fixed bug where Guild Elections were constantly recycling (Fan Fest)
  • Ore mining units now come 5 to a crate, instead of 1 to a crate. (Fan Fest)
Respec Token
  • What is the “Token Respec”? In order to offer players a final opportunity to adapt their character's profession template, we are offering one final chance to revise your character's template. We are calling this the “Token Respec” process. As part of this process we are putting an invisible marker on each character which allows the character skills to be reshuffled. After the character template is revised, meaning when you have confirmed your new template via the system, the token or marker is used and the option to revise/respec is no longer available.
  • Once the new Token Respec option to revise the character template is live in the game, you will be offered a text window upon log in that asks if you are ready for your last “Respec”.
[ expand news release ]
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