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Final Fantasy XI : Update Teaser

Posted Oct 03, 2005 by Jon Wood

Final Fantasy XI are teasing us with some information about the new update coming this month. A new one-way portal and new areas pique our interest as we anxiously await full news on the update. For now, this is what the developers had to say:

Did Dynamis leave you thirsty for another challenge? We bring you "Limbus," coming in the October version update! Upon the completion of certain requirements, players will be able to enter one of the two mysterious new areas that comprise Limbus: "Temenos" and "Apollyon." Check the version update details in October for more information!

Also, a one-way door in the Grand Palace of Hu'Xzoi will become accessible from both sides for players who have advanced far enough through the "Chains of Promathia" story.

For more FFXI news, click here.

Dark and Light : Exclusive Q&A #3

Posted Oct 03, 2005 by Dana Massey

Stephane Quilichini, the Lead Designer of Dark and Light, leads the way as we resume our bi-weekly Monday Q&A series with the folks behind this massive online world currently in development. In a recent update to the FAQ, you mentioned that quests will be from simple to complex. Could you go into any detail about some of the more complex quests? Are there quests that are epic in size, perhaps follow a story-line?

Stephane Quilichini: Quests use a tree structure with multiple decisions, and it is quite possible for one quest to have several endings. Every answer a player gives to an NPC will have an impact on what will happen in the quest. The difficulty level will increase with time. For instance, in the hardest quests in the game, the player will have to manage his or her divine factions (a way to show your relations with each of the 9 gods in Ganareth) in order to speak with specific NPCs. In order to do that, they will have to somewhat damage their relations with their own god and gain interest from their enemy gods, and then speak with that NPC. This also means the player will not benefit from his or her own god’s protection, which can be a problem later on.

You can view the entire interview here.

Pirates of the Burning Sea : Dev Log and Screen Shots

Posted Oct 03, 2005 by Jon Wood

Pirates of the Burning Sea's art director has posted a brand new (and very short) entry in his dev log. Most notably, this developer points us to a new series of screenshots. Posted below are a day and night shot of vessles at sea. The detail on this game is extremely impressive. Notice the moonlight reflected on the night water.

New Screenshots!
It's been long enough since I posted a new batch of screenshots for you:
These shots are widescreen because I took them on my new w/s monitor. I must say, if you can spare the coin, widescreen is really the way to go when you play our game ;) I'm really loving the moonlight on the water shots - the only thing missing is the moon. Also, I had a dream the other night about a sepia toned ocean, so I've tried to recreate it in an open ocean area. Greg made us a beautiful shop last milestone - so much cool period detail to look at - as well as a bombed out version of the company office. And Nick, our particle effects guy, did an awsome job of smoking up Jeff's crime lord's office. Lastly, there's a shot of a medium schooner and a couple of shots of our character customization area.

For more Pirates of the Burning Sea, click here.

D&D Online : Monster Profile #21: The Wight

Posted Oct 03, 2005 by Jon Wood

The folks over at Turbine and Dungeons and Dragons Online have released the 21st in their series of monster profiles. These profiles give potential players an opportunity to see what they're going to come up against. This time they highlight the undead Wight.

Creature Type: Undead
Environment: Any
Attack: Slam
Special Qualities: Energy drain, create spawn
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-5)

Your first experience with level draining is likely to arrive in the form of a wight. Sometimes mistaken by young adventurers for a ghoul or ghast, this similarly craven creature can be found in comparable places: catacombs, ruins, and other places associated with the dead. Like their lesser cousins the ghoul, the wight is not without
some malevolent intelligence. They understand the speech of humans, though their undead minds remain immune to the mental spells of wizards, bards, and sorcerers.

The best advice to those seeking to hunt these undead creatures is to bring a trusty cleric dedicated to holy powers. With trust in his god or gods, and a bit of luck, these creatures can be driven off. Even if that attempt fails, spells such as holy smite are quite effective against the creatures. As with all undead, the fighter can brook a direct frontal assault against these creatures, but in that case should pay special attention to the creature’s likelihood to engage in an energy drain attack. Experienced combatants of these foes have pointed out that it is often possible to see the wight’s claw manifest that negative energy just before the attack appears. Finally, wizards and sorcerers should rely on direct damaging attacks. Wights cannot be said to be especially nimble, and remain vulnerable to elemental attacks such as fireball.

Wights, like many undead, remain a nemesis for bards and rogues. Bards cannot affect them with their fascinate ability or many of their spells. So bards should rely on buffing their companions, and healing them as needed. Rogues also rue these undead, and should make use of their Use Magic Device skill, or else see their ability to deal damage to these creatures, immune to both critical hits and sneak attacks, greatly reduced.

For More information on Dungeons and Dragons Online, click here.

Tantra Online : Exclusive Game Card Giveaway!

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Craig McGregor is proud to announce that we have teamed up with HanbitSoft to bring our community a unique new contest!  On November 3, 2005 we will draw 100 members from those that enter this contest to win 1 of 100 free 7 day game cards for Tantra Online!

As with all of our contests here at, the more days you login to our site - the better your chances of winning (see official rules for more information).

Ready to enter to win?  Just click here!

Dark Age of Camelot : Digital Distribution

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood


Expansions Available via Proprietary Integrated Download System

FAIRFAX, VASeptember 30, 2005 - Mythic Entertainment, developer and publisher of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games, today announced that in addition to their ongoing retail releases for the critically acclaimed Dark Age of Camelot®, existing and future expansion packs will be available through digital distribution for the first time in the game’s history. Players can now activate the critically acclaimed expansion pack, Catacombs™, and pre-order the upcoming expansion, Darkness Rising™, through a new in-game menu option. Once activated players can easily download and install the expansions to immediately experience the new features and content that each expansion brings to the game.

“For four years we have continually improved Dark Age of Camelot with both free and paid content to ensure that the game remains one of the industry leaders. We are excited to offer this new service to our subscribers providing them with almost immediate access to the latest major expansions for the ever-expanding world of Dark Age of Camelot,” says Mark Jacobs, President and CEO of Mythic Entertainment. “As always, we will continue to support our community with a mix of free and paid updates available both online and at retail.”

Catacombs and Darkness Rising are available for a $19.99 activation fee each. A bundle containing both expansions is available for $29.99, a $10 savings for subscribers. Former players returning to the game can re-activate their account, regain their original characters and choose to take advantage of the online availability of these new expansions. Darkness Rising is scheduled for download release this October and requires the original Dark Age of Camelot and Catacombs expansion to play. Darkness Rising will also be included, along with the original game and all expansions released to date, in the new Dark Age of Camelot: Epic Edition to be released at retail in October for $39.99.

For those who have yet to discover what has kept players coming back to Dark Age of Camelot for four years, a 14-day free trial version, which includes the original game as well as the Shrouded Isles, Foundations, and New Frontiers expansions, is available for download from

[ expand press release ]

General : STO Developer Blog: Executive Producer

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Star Trek Online's Executive Producer, Daron Sinnett keeps up abreast of a number of different topics ranging the scope of development for the production of the much-anticipated franchise game.

It's been a busy month and I'd like to give everyone a brief update on our progress:

* We're growing! STO now has 10 team members with recent additions including: Ira (Character TD), Eric (Systems Designer), Todd (Server Lead), Lorien (Production Assistant), Jesse (Level Designer), with more new additions coming soon. And we've recently moved into a great new office space that the STO team will call home. I should also mention that we're looking to fill a Reference Artist position. It is an entry-level position and a great opportunity to get into the business. I suspect there are a few of you in the community that know someone who could be our expert at compiling and cataloging Star Trek visual reference material from the web and other sources. Please see the Perpetual website for more information.

* Glen & Eric have been hammering through a lot of major design issues. You've seen the result of some of their work with Eric's recent economy post. Other significant accomplishments include ground and space combat designs. I'm really pleased with their results and I expect that we'll be revealing more about these systems in the next few months. One particular challenge was how to translate the traditional Star Trek roles (aka player classes) into meaningful roles for an MMORPG. They came up with a great system that will allow for a lot of variety with the ability for players to specialize within a few selected departments. The issue of player classes was a good example of where the mechanics of the series doesn't quite align with the good game design. I'm really pleased with how they've solved this dilemma for great gameplay without compromising the spirit of Star Trek.

* Ian is making great progress on our client engine and we're starting to see early examples of our real-time graphics. My short remark here doesn't begin to pay tribute to the significance of this piece of progress. We should be flying a camera around some sample interiors soon and having a character walking around is not too far off either.

* Ken and Ira have been playing around with ship interior construction techniques and most importantly, determining interior space proportions that both feel right and are 3rd person camera friendly. This is a tough issue and I can't say we've figured it out yet. But we're making progress.

* The design team is busy mapping out the interior of a Galaxy class starship as our first test of how we'll design a major hub. The challenge is to create a space that serves all the necessary functions of an MMO, is intuitive to navigate, consistent with canon, and offers the chance to see referenced, but never before seen places on the ship. It is amazing to me that we have the honor of being the first to create a functioning starship that will go far beyond even the movies and shows in realizing the true nature of these moving cities.

That's it for the quick update. We'll be rolling out some more new information and images soon.

Daron Stinnett - Executive Producer

For more information on Star Trek Online, click here.

D&D Online : Q&A #6

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Dana Massey

We took a week off due to a busy week last week, but we're back on track. This Friday and next we'll have five more questions and answers with Victor Watcher and D&D Online team. Sorcerers and Wizards are very similar classes. Both, for example, are Arcane spellcasters. In Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e, wizards must memorize their spells while sorcerers do not. How will this be handled in DDO?

Victor Watcher: The acquisition of spells is unchanged from the D&D 3.5 Core Rules. Sorcerers select their spells as their characters advance, and are always limited to that set of spells. Wizards are able to prepare a number of spells based on their level before each adventure, selecting anything that they have in their spellbook.

The main difference between the two classes that differs from pen and paper D&D is in the number of spells each class can cast. Instead of the spells per day system, we use the spell points system, under which a Sorcerer can cast more spells before resting than a Wizard.

You can read the full Q&A here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Dana Massey

Today we feature one exclusive look inside Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine Entertainment. This screenshot shows off one of the dark forests in the storied land of Middle Earth.

Thank you to the good folks at Turbine Entertainment for sending this in!

Lord of the Rings Online : Developer Journal: Chris Pierson

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online has released another developer journal. In this dev journal, Chris Pierson, a nine year veteran of Turbine Entertainment tells us about his experiences on this exciting franchise as a world-builder.

Hi. My name's Chris, which is confusing, since it seems like there are about a billion designers named Chris at Turbine. But I was the first – in a couple of weeks, I'll be nine years with the company. I'm old. But still not as old as NobOrBob (who was Design Chris #2). Or Floon Beetle, who, according to NobOrBob, is the Eldest of us all.

Speaking of which, I put Tom Bombadil's house in the world a few hours ago. More about that later.

I've done a lot of things at Turbine – writing game specs, making quests, proofreading press releases, helping plan our holiday parties, even defending our use of Sindarin. Those of you who read the boards may remember the kafuffle over the Rogmul's name. I'm the pedant who wrote the defense of that name. Yes, I know Elvish, which for those of you keeping track at home, adds an automatic 500 points to my Raging Geek Score.

Anyway, over the past few years I've discovered that one of my favorite things to do at work (besides the party-planning thing) is world-building. It started by accident, when a few of us were given hobbit villages to build. I made Brockenborings, and was surprised to find that (a) I liked the work, and (b) other people liked what I'd done. Next thing I knew, I was building Thorin's Hall.

These days, I'm a little more firmly entrenched in stuff Tolkien wrote more than a handful of words about. For a couple of months, I'm fleshing out the "skipped in the movies" parts of Eriador: from Buckland to the Barrow-downs. I got this part of the world because I'm known as one of the LOTRO team's "lore monkeys," being way too familiar with the books for my own good, and it's a seriously book-intensive area: Tolkien wrote a lot of description of these bits of Middle-earth. I mean, a lot. It's the part he wrote when he was pootling around, still trying to work out in his head what The Lord of the Rings was about, and a lot of it reads like fantastic travelogue of the countryside around Oxford. Which, in a way, it is.

As an example of what goes into world-building, let's take an area I'm working in right now, and which I'm growing very proud of: the Old Forest. Building a forest isn't an easy thing. You can't just scatter trees around and expect it to work, particularly in an MMO. There are many things you have to consider – performance, game flow, navigability, and aesthetics. All that while not forgetting that Bombadil's home is on an outcropping by the Withywindle River, not far from where the forest gives way to Tyrn Gorthad. Go, lore monkey.

To get the whole journal, simply click here.

*This story brough to us courtesy of Corduroy13

Dark and Light : Apostles Lore: Hogràn

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Dark and Light continues it's release of Apostles lore. The newest incarnation, featuring a Half-Troll Archer named Hogràn, in a short, but entertaining read.


Hogràn was extremely resilient. He spent most of his time exploring or hunting in swamp areas. He had a sulky temper and didn’t enjoy people’s company, he deeply hated Trolls and didn’t really feel like being in Human company either. The only ones he might have enjoyed would have been females, but they were getting so scarce that he had to visit increasingly remote places, quite often with unsatisfactory results at the end of the trip.

Hogràn had set a campfire at the edge of a forest and was recovering from a very long and tiring trip. He was about to slumber, when he heard muffled foot-steps right next to him. Alzeria was standing there, in front of him, her golden hair floating in the evening breeze, her eyes shining with a strange, fire-like glow. Early in the morning, Alzeria and Hogràn shared the product of their hunting and, for a long time, they talked about the problems in Ganareth since the Great Cataclysm had occurred and the Dragons had arrived. They shared many things in common: their love for hunting, long walks and solitude; but above all, their sheer hatred for Trolls united their destinies for some time.

Hogràn learned a lot from Alzeria. He soon gave up his ancient, rudimentary hunting techniques and learned how to use a bow. His technique grew more efficient, and his strong constitution allowed him to fire his arrows at a tremendous range. Training and tenacity soon gave results, and his shots became as accurate as they were damaging. Considering his great abilities, Alzeria decided she would teach him how to use a crossbow. Hogràn was able to span the biggest and most powerful ones with disconcerting ease. Hogràn and Alzeria parted ways almost as soon as his teachings were over; their own nature began to show-up within them again, and they didn’t want to spoil such a great and rare friendship.

Hogràn watched Alzeria walk away, perched on a stone peak, when he spotted a band of heavily-armed Trolls hiding between the rocks near the road. He didn’t have time to warn her: the Trolls were already attacking. He spanned his crossbow and impaled two Trolls who were about to knock her down from behind. She gutted the ones who were courageous enough to get close to her, but more than once, Hogràn’s arrows saved her from their devastating blows. When the fight was over, Alzeria lifted a Troll’s head in the air to prove her victory. As a further sign of friendship, she offered Hogràn a beautiful crossbow the Gods themselves had created. The crossbow was later buried along with him in the swamps of Birèrin, but other crossbows have been crafted based on the same model. They are as powerful as the original one, thanks to the moon crystals that have been placed within them.

For more Dark and Light, click here.

D&D Online : Alpha Journal #2

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online has released the second in their promised series featuring journals from some of their Alpha players. Thus far, the journals have taken the form of interesting stories, told from the character's point of view. Presumably, this is intended to highlight the importance of character and roleplaying that are so important to the pen and paper franchise. While this does not seem to sit well with some fans would would prefer a more directly informative approach, a careful reading of this week's journals will not only entertain those of us eager for DDO Alpha news, but will also reveal tidbits about the game itself.

 This week we have two journal entries focusing on combat. One features the continued adventures of Greyven, and the other introduces us to a new character, Neah. These journals were written by two separate people. Following the pattern of last week, the italicized text indicates comments that we have added to help explain something about the game.

Greyven’s Journal

"Movement along the western tree-line," warned Greyven. "How many?" Mithras asked, seeing nothing but trusting the elf's keen senses. "Let's find out," Greyven's arrow flew, striking something with a wet thud, followed by a crashing in the bushes. The rogue began counting, "One...".

As an elf Greyven gets a +2 racial bonus on his Listen, Search, and Spot skills. It is also possible to shoot an arrow in a general direction, rather than at a fixed target.

To read the rest of these journals, click here.

EVE Online : IBM Partnership

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Today, an IBM website talks about that company's association with CCP, the developers of the successful game: EVE-Online whose concurrent numbers have been the focus of a number of news stories here at in the past few months. The webpage itself talks about server technology and improvements in terms of concurrent user capacity. Says CEO of CCP, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, " Technologies from IBM have enabled us to grow all of our critical infrastructure from 1,000 to over 15,000 concurrent users in a way no other vendor could have."

Keeping pace with a fast-moving online games market

CCP [] is Iceland’s largest software exporter. The company is dedicated to creating and developing challenging, unique massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) in which the players are the central focus rather than the artificial intelligence (AI) around which most older-technology games are built; this new model raises human interaction to a higher level. CCP’s headquarters and its 50 employees are located in Reykjavik, but the backend equipment for running the company’s games is located in London.

The online games market is highly competitive, requiring companies to respond rapidly to advances in technology and continually find ways to stay ahead of the competition. Full-time availability is crucial for online games, as players will quickly turn elsewhere if a game is not immediately accessible.

Running successfully since 2003, CCP’s popular MMOG EVE Online is set in a science fiction-based, persistent world, where players assume the roles of spaceship pilots seeking fame and fortune across a vast, complex galaxy. To support EVE, CCP needed to upgrade its existing IT environment with an infrastructure offering the scalability to grow as the game’s subscriber base increased. Since trends in the world of online games and the behavior of game subscribers tend to be difficult to predict, CCP needed to start its upgrade effort with a small, cost-effective structure that could scale to meet the company’s growing needs.

To get the rest of this interesting article, click here.

Guild Wars : World Championship Announced

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

NCsoft and ArenaNet announce first Guild Wars World Championship

Competition kicks off in October; Finals set for Taiwan in February 2006

BELLEVUE, Wash., September 29, 2005—Players of the hugely successful Guild Wars® online computer game will soon get a chance to battle for supremacy in the upcoming Guild Wars World Championship. The competition, sponsored by NCsoft® and Guild Wars developer ArenaNet®, will kick off this weekend, and will come to an exciting conclusion with teams from America, Europe and Korea competing in the Guild Wars World Championship Finals during the week of the Taipei Game Show, which takes place February 16 – 20, 2006 in Taipei, Taiwan.

The inaugural season will begin Saturday, October 1, 2005, as ArenaNet resets the Guild Wars ladder at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (7 AM GMT). The ladder season will last three months, and will lead to playoffs among top-ranked guilds in three regions: America, Europe and Korea. Two eight-player teams from each region will then qualify to compete in Taipei for the Guild Wars world champion title in February 2006. Teams from Taiwan and Japan will also compete in exhibition matches with the world finalists.

“Players have been clamoring for a tournament ever since we launched Guild Wars in April,” said ArenaNet Co-founder Jeff Strain. “This sort of global competition has been in our plans from the start, and since the emphasis in Guild Wars is on player skill, the game is perfectly suited for tournament play.”

“We are pleased that the inaugural championship playoffs will take place in Taiwan where we’ll be able to celebrate the launch of Guild Wars, which will take place just a few weeks prior to the finals,” said ArenaNet Business Director Tommy Park.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week’s news that Guild Wars surpassed more than one million units sold in North America and Europe. And earlier this month ArenaNet released their Sorrow’s Furnace Update, a free expansion of Guild Wars content that offered two new explorable regions, new quests, new monsters, new items and more.

[ expand press release ]

World of Warcraft : Four Dragons Preview

Posted Sep 30, 2005 by Jon Wood

Still more in the steady stream of information coming out of Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Today, on top of thanking the sponsors of BlizzCon, Blizzard is giving us a small preview of  the upcoming "Four Dragons" outdoor raid encounter.

There is a disturbance at the Great Trees. A new threat menaces these secluded areas found in Ashenvale, Duskwood, Feralas, and Hinterlands. Four great guardians of the Green Dragonflight have arrived from the Dream, but these once-proud protectors now seek only destruction and death. Take arms with your fellows and march to these hidden groves -- only you can defend Azeroth from the corruption they bring.

Ysera and the Green Dragonflight

Ysera, the great Dreaming dragon Aspect rules over the enigmatic green dragonflight. Her domain is the fantastic, mystical realm of the Emerald Dream - and it is said that from there she guides the evolutionary path of the world itself. She is the protector of nature and imagination, and it is the charge of her flight to guard all of the Great Trees across the world, which only druids use to enter the Dream itself.

In recent times, Ysera's most trusted lieutenants have been warped by a dark new power within the Emerald Dream. Now these wayward sentinels have passed through the Great Trees into Azeroth, intending to spread madness and terror throughout the mortal kingdoms. Even the mightiest of adventurers would be well advised to give the dragons a wide berth, or suffer the consequences of their misguided wrath.


Lethon's exposure to the aberration within the Emerald Dream not only darkened the hue of the mighty dragon's scales, but also empowered him with the ability to extract malevolent shades from his enemies. Once joined with their master, the shades imbue the dragon with healing energies. It should come as no surprise, then, that Lethon is considered to be among the most formidable of Ysera's wayward lieutenants.

To finish this exciting preview, click here.

Trials of Ascension : Developer Journal

Posted Sep 29, 2005 by Jon Wood

Trials of Ascension has released a new developer journal today. The developer in question is known as Neutronium Dragon and he is the newset member of the ToA design team.

Greetings, ToA fans! Since joining the team as a member of the campaign staff and the writer for the various plots and lore, I've been promoted to a full-fledged member of the design team... and so I thought that you might like a little look into both the design process and how it complements my other work! A prime example is the changeover to using "geographic regions" as our method of defining what lives where - thus giving birth to Kezel Thunderhoof's well-received work!

Our original design for ToA had the world delineated by biome: Taiga, forest, plains, mountains, and so on. Every part of the world would fall under the appropriate biome, and the creatures and plants that would be found there would be determined (or at least heavily influenced) by the terrain type. There were three elements to the biomes: The shape of the terrain itself, the general temperature of the region, and the presence or absence of heavy growth.

To read the rest of this journal, click here.

Ryzom : Episode 2 and New Pricing Policy

Posted Sep 29, 2005 by Jon Wood

Nevrax Announces Episode2 and a New Pricing Policy

PARIS, FRANCESeptember 29, 2005 – Nevrax, the developer and publisher of the massively-multiplayer science fantasy game, The Saga of Ryzom, announced today the launching of Episode 2 of the game’s epic storyline and the coming introduction of PayByCash, with non-credit card payment options for Ryzom players.

Episode 2 is a series of dynamic events that are part of the overall storyline, supported by new gameplay features. Ryzom’s players will have the opportunity to really dive into the storyline and impact the game by helping to determine the outcome of the episode. Nevrax starts patching the first content of Episode 2 on September 29 and will continue to add content with a patch on October 6th.

On October 3rd, Nevrax will change the Free Trial and the acquisition of the game. The Free Trial period will be reduced from 14 to 7 days, but the cost of converting to a paid subscription, which includes the software, will be lowered from $29.99 to $14.95, which includes the first month’s paid subscription fee.

On October 10th, Nevrax will begin offering a new payment solution with PayByCash, a system that lets the player get a Ryzom subscription without having to make recurring debits from a bank card.

“The Saga of Ryzom is getting more and more attractive and accessible to players,” said David Cohen Corval, Nevrax’s founder and CEO. “With the addition of the PayByCash billing options and the new free trial offer and price, we have further removed barriers to trying this unique online game.”

[ expand press release ]

General : NCsoft Signs Outside Distribution Deal

Posted Sep 29, 2005 by Jon Wood

NCsoft Signs Outside Digital Distribution Deal For First Time To Partner With Leading Digital Retailer

BRISBANE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 29, 2005--NCsoft®, the world's leading developer and publisher of online computer games, has made two of its hit titles, City of Heroes® and Lineage® II, available for purchase on Direct2Drive, the successful online digital retail store operated by IGN Entertainment.

The award-winning City of Heroes is a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) that allows players to take on the roles of super-powered heroes in the 3D graphical world of "Paragon City(TM)." Since its launch in April of 2004, City of Heroes has grown into a major franchise title, spawning a passionate network of community and fan sites, forums and comic books. Lineage II, also an MMOG, is the sequel to the wildly popular title Lineage, which established NCsoft as a key player early on.

"We are thrilled that NCsoft chose Direct2Drive as the only outside digital delivery outlet to carry their games," Jamie Berger, vice president and general manager of IGN Entertainment's consumer products division, said. "Direct2Drive is dedicated to gamers who appreciate the best quality games, and our partnership with NCsoft further accelerates Direct2Drive's momentum as a leader in the digital distribution market."

"City of Heroes and Lineage II are massively successful games; we wanted to broaden our reach," said Dorothy Ferguson, vice president of sales and marketing for NCsoft's North American business. "Direct2Drive is a leader in digital distribution, offering AAA hardcore games from the best developers and publishers in the industry, and we're excited to be a part of the digital revolution."

Since launching in October 2004, Direct2Drive has been gaining popularity among IGN's largely 18-34 year-old male customer base with its growing roster of top games. Direct2Drive builds on the proven operational infrastructure of FilePlanet, IGN Entertainment's download site and IGN's separate HitPoints program, which provides full digital game downloads as rewards to IGN and GameSpy subscribers.

[ expand press release ]

RYL: Unforgiven Wars : Review

Posted Sep 29, 2005 by Dana Massey

Steve Wilson has checked in with his critical review of Risk Your Life. In one of the most scathing reviews we've ever published, Steve scores the game 4.3 out of a possible 10.

“Play To Win $1 Million Dollars.” The posters and box art for R.Y.L Path of the Emperor scream this out boldly. It is an interesting hook in the increasingly crowded massively multiplayer role-playing market. What is more, if an MMO has to use an out of game hook to entice players chances are there is not much in the game itself. RYL lives up, or more aptly down, to that expectation. And then they canceled the tournament.

The installation and initial patch went smoothly taking about an hour total on a DSL line. I used this time to read the impressive looking 130-page manual. Ten pages of the manual are devoted to world history. The confusing story that sets the stage for the game boils down to two races, the Humans and the hulking Ak’Kan, competing for resources in a new land. Between these warring factions the oddly named “God’s Pirates” made up of both races tries to broker a neutral peace, with no qualms about killing the other factions in the process. Although complex and convoluted, it is no more innovative than a thousand trite anime flicks. None of the back-story will make a lick of difference in the game however as there is almost nothing in the game itself to remind players of the overly detailed history. One thing that struck me as strange about the manual was the size of the type chosen, almost as if written for a very young audience.

Click here to read his full review.

Spellborn : Trailer and Screenshots

Posted Sep 29, 2005 by Dana Massey

The Chronicles of Spellborn have released a new in-game trailer from their ucpoming MMORPG. To go along with it, they also released two brand new screenshots. You can view the whole lot of it here.

Thanks to the folks at Spellborn for making this happen. Click here to see the trailer.

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