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General : Community Spotlight: Treatment of IPs

Posted Feb 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week, Community Manager Laura Genender returns to highlight a conversation on the boards that focuses on major IPs and the ways that they are turned into MMORPGs.

Star Wars Galaxies, Matrix Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Warhammer Online, even World of Warcraft - like any other media, our MMO industry has become host to a slew of games based on another IP (Intellectual Property). This week on the forums, poster Tristaan brought up the industry's use of IPs.

More specifically, Tristaan brought up the industry's misuse of IPs. "Developers have succeeded in destroying Star Wars, the Matrix, and LOTR," Tristaan says. "These should be on top...they are not and they won't be."

Read the whole column here.

Dreamlords: Resurrection : Dev Journal: The Dumbest Quest

Posted Feb 21, 2007 by Jon Wood

Jon Selin from Dreamlords returns with another Developer Journal. This time, he tells us all about The Dumbest Quest in the World.

The Dumbest Quest in the World exists. And more disturbingly, for a brief moment it existed in our game. The other day I was watching one of our designers exerting all his piss and vinegar as he was working on a new quest for Dreamlords. Then he shook is head, turned to me with a sad look on his face, and asked: "What do you think when we create utter crap for your game?"

I didn't know what to say at the time, and to be honest I don't even remember what my answer was. Given the question, it is more likely than not that my retort was a pun of questionable character.

A few days later, I was glaring at the true meaning behind his question. The Dumbest Quest in the World. Behind closed doors we call it "The Gay Quest", and no, it's not about gay bashing, the quest is actually about interracial homosexual relations, but it doesn't stop there... Oh well, I better explain it from the top.

You can read the whole article here.

The Matrix Online : The Other Side Of The Looking Glass

Posted Feb 21, 2007 by

The Matrix Online gives us their latest updates in newest edition of The Other Side of the Looking Glass.

Late and Early Other Side

Things got a bit tangled at the end of last week and this one is looking even more complicated. I was out last Friday and now, for reasons beyond my control, it looks like I'll be out the rest of this week, as well. So, I apologize for the lateness of last week's Other Side and will try to make this juicy enough to tide everyone over until next week.

Obviously that means talking about Update 50.

Does it Hurt When we do This?

We've been talking a lot lately about the hottest issues we want to take care of in the game. This has led to discussions about Discipline balance, weapon and clothing itemization, and future features. One result is that we're working on fixes for the much complained-about Knife Thrower tree for Update 50.

I know many of you were surprised when we actually improved the tree in Update 49. That was an unfortunate oversight on our part, as we were simply fixing some bugs with the abilities. We should have included updates for other abilities in that tree in order to rebalance things.

There are several adjustments that will affect how the tree plays. First, we adjusted animation sets that were too short, allowing "spamming" of various knife throws. Paralyzing and Blinding throws actually got assigned different Interlock animations from the other throws, which both adds variety and prevents rapid reuse. While Dracomet was in there, he also made adjustments to transition animations to reduce the "popping" from one animation to another.

We also looked at how the Spy tree's timers were set up in comparison to the Soldier tree's and concluded that not enough Spy attacks were on the same family timers. So, anything below the Spy discipline that currently uses a Ranged timer will now use a Thrown timer, keeping players from stacking multiple throws.

We reduced the Neuro Dart downgrade timers down to 15 seconds; putting it more in line with other abilities. We're also working on fixing the bug that allows Deadly Throw to be spammed, although that one is being more tricky than anticipated.

The QA team has been testing this suite of changes that addresses major concerns with our Master Knife Thrower tree. We'll only truly see the results when y'all get your hands on them in widespread PvP. Our hope was, if anything, to clamp down hard enough to remove the concerns--we'd rather hit it too hard and relax a bit than to revisit the tree down the road because we didn't do enough.

Read more here.

Final Fantasy XI : Adjustments To Besieged Update

Posted Feb 21, 2007 by

Final Fantasy XI Online offers a look at further adjustments for Besieged version update.

In the upcoming version update, we plan to make further adjustments to Besieged, including a level increase to the beastman armies, the addition of new temporary items, and new combat abilities for the Serpent Generals.

Beastman Army Level Increase

In addition to the maximum value for enemy forces being increased to 170, level 7 units comprised of new monster types will be introduced for each beastman army.Be sure to participate in Besieged to discover what deadly new opponents threaten the Imperial capital!

New Temporary Items

To coincide with the threat of powerful new enemies, the variety of temporary items distributed at the beginning of every Besieged will also be expanded. These new items will have an offensive focus, and their availability will depend on which NPCs have been taken captive and the overall condition of the Imperial defense.

Serpent General Abilities

The Serpent Generals will each receive unique new combat abilities to use during Besieged. Join the fight against the beastmen alongside these inspiring leaders!

Read more here.

Guild Wars : Design A Weapon Contest Announced

Posted Feb 21, 2007 by

Guild Wars announces new contest for players to design a weapon in game. Here is your chance to leave a permanent mark on Guild Wars.

Prepare your pencils! Organize your oils! Launch your laptop! Corral your crayons? Well, whatever medium you choose, the new Design-A-Weapon contest is your chance to make a permanent addition to the game, and to win nice prizes, too! Design a new weapon, shield, or focus item, and mail it to one of the six offices outlined in the rules. The Guild Wars Team will select up to 20 winners and the new items will be added to the game over the course of the next few months. Find out all about the Guild Wars Design-A-Weapon Contest here.

Read more here.

Entropia : Server Park Upgrade

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

Entropia Universe plans for server park upgrade.

Due to increased demand from new participants in the Entropia Universe, MindArk PE AB will be upgrading the Entropia Universe server park to the next generation of servers on:

Wednesday, 21st Feb. 2007, 08:00 UTC

Temporary disruptions and login difficulties may be experienced during this upgrade, and we thank all participants for their patience while this performance enhancing upgrade is implemented.

Read more here.

World of Warcraft : YouTube Hosts WoW Video Contest

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

YouTube hosts World of Warcraft video contest. Get your best Leeroy Jenkins voice going for this one.

YouTube is holding a video contest that asks you to record your funniest World of Warcraft moments. Have a pickup group go all wrong? Pulled a prank on your guildmates that had them all rolling with laughter? Capture it on video, and you could have the chance to win a gaming PC powered by the new Intel CoreTM 2 Extreme quad-core processor.

Read more here.

Anarchy Online : Craig Morrison Named Game Director

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

Funcom names Craig Morrison as the new Game Director of Anarchy Online. Craig comes with plenty of experience, we here at certainly wish him luck.

Funcom announces that 'Anarchy Online', the award-winning massively multiplayer online game set in a sprawling science fiction universe, is now under new leadership. Long-time 'Anarchy Online' devotee and Funcom Community Manager Craig Morrison has been appointed as the game's new Game Director, picking up the torch passed on by previous Game Director Morten Byom who will occupy a new position at Funcom.

Morrison has been following 'Anarchy Online' for years. Besides playing the game since before launch in 2001, Morrison has written hundreds of guides and operated one of the game's largest fan sites. For the past few years he has been employed at Funcom as a Community Manager, working closely with the players of 'Anarchy Online' and the potential players of 'Age of Conan', and he also been extensively involved in the planning and development of 'Anarchy Online' as part of the game's management team.

"It is a true joy for me to be working on 'Anarchy Online', and I am very eager to begin the job building on the remarkable success that the game has had for the last five years," said Craig Morrison. "The game is still a top priority for Funcom, and we aim to provide both new and existing players with an abundance of new and exciting content in the years to come."

While Morrison picks up the reins on 'Anarchy Online', previous Game Director Morten Byom takes on the role as Assistant Game Director for 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures'. Byom, who is tremendously experienced with developing online games, will be leading the team that is already well into the development of the Xbox 360 version of the game. Funcom is putting a considerable amount of focus on the console title, and is aiming to provide a completely new massively multiplayer experience for console players. The PC version is scheduled for release in October 2007, while the Xbox 360 release will happen later though no specific date is set.

'Anarchy Online' have won numerous awards since its launch in 2001, and over a million people have logged in and taken part in the science fiction-based online universe. The game holds four expansion packs to its name; 'Notum Wars', 'Shadowlands', 'Alien Invasion' and 'Lost Eden'. Players can download the game and play the entire classic version for free, and a paid subscription is only required if the player chooses to download and play the expansion packs.

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Jeff Anderson Part Two: Monster Play

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

Managing Editor Jon Wood recently had the chance to sit down with Jeff Anderson, the President and CEO of Turbine Inc. In this, the second part of a two part interview, Jon and Jeff discuss the Monster Play feature in the upcoming game, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

Last week, we brought you the first half of Jon Wood's interview with Jeff Anderson, the CEO and President of Turbine Inc. about the process of turning the well-loved classic Lord of the Rings novel trilogy into an MMORPG. Today, we bring you part two of Jon's interview. In part two, Jeff talks about the game's unique Monster Play system.

One of the major complaints that we heard about Lord of the Rings Online when details first started to be released was that there would be no evil races available for play and because of this, the game would not have PvP. You see, many fans of Tolkien's books are as much a fan of the utterly evil races as they are the bright and shiny hero races. Lord of the Rings was, for me growing up, the ultimate story of good vs. evil.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of PvP, but it really felt to me as though there was a missed opportunity here. When I asked Jeff Anderson, the President and CEO of Turbine, about this, I was relieved to find that while it was true that Turbine would not be including Orcs in their list of playable races, there was still a system in place that would allow players to get into the evil mindset and actually get our hands on some of Sauron's minions. Monster Play, I was told, would solve this problem.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Class Descriptions Updated

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

Lord of the Rings Online updates their class pages with new skill descriptions. With classes that are specific to Middle Earth you may find some skills not typical to your normal MMO.

We've just added new skill descriptions to each of our Classes pages!

Read more here.

EVE Online : Patch For Feb. 20th Delayed

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

EvE Online delays Feb. 20 patch. It seems like further testing is needed.

The patch deployment scheduled for Tuesday, 20 February has been delayed. The patch will undergo further QA and be deployed in the near future. We apologize for any inconvenience the delayed deployment will cause.

Read more here.

Age of Conan : January Contest Winners Announced

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

Age of Conan announces January contest winners.

In the January newsletter we asked you to send in your contact information and be a part of a sweepstakes that could possibly land you a bunch of nice Age of Conan loot. Here are the winners!

Hundreds upon hundreds of loyal Age of Conan followers have submitted their contact information hoping they will be one of the three chosen this month to receive some of the fantastic swag that Funcom happily sends out.

The winners have been chosen, and all of them will receive the Dreamfall PC game, a full-colored Age of Conan comic book and an inflatable Age of Conan toy sword. They will also receive one guaranteed beta spot each! One of participants will also receive a printed concept art signed by the art team. The winners of the January sweepstakes are:

Jimmy Kao


Christopher Rowe


Sean Mossey


Funcom will host another sweepstakes in the upcoming February newsletter. Be sure to check it out when it arrives in your inbox very soon. All members of the official Age of Conan fanclub, the Clan of Conan, will receive the monthly newsletter.

Read more here.

EverQuest II : Game Update 32

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by

EverQuest II gives us a look at Game Update 32. Lots of changes seem to be in store for players.

Welcome to the official preview for Game Update 32! As we close the doors on the Erollisi Day celebrations, it's time to look forward and see what's coming with the next update to EverQuest II. As always, there are a great number of changes that come with any Game Update. This week we are stopping to focus on a few of the highlights, including:

* The Estate of Unrest

* New Enemy Masteries

* Leaving Kelethin

* Changes for the Petition System

Read more here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Outside the Box: Founder's System

Posted Feb 20, 2007 by Jon Wood

This week in Outside the Box, Garrett Fuller looks at Turbine's Founder's System that has been put in place as a pricing system for their upcoming Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

When it comes to playing MMOs, there are many ways we can discuss the game play aspects. Mechanics, design, characters, skills, PvP. All of these things can be topics for debate or articles. In today's Outside the Box I wanted to bring up something that Turbine is doing with Lord of the Rings Online. It is about paying for an MMO. There are many pricing schemes that companies use to keep players in their game. Most charge the monthly fee, some charge for items and gear in game (a scary thought), but overall the business plans presented by MMOs are designed to keep you paying and playing.

The market is becoming more and more competitive. Players have less time on their hands to try and play every game out there. Most players stick to one or two MMOs and enjoy them over the lifespan of the game. If you eventually get bored, there are plenty of options. MMO developers need to start thinking of new ways to bring players in and keep them in the game while balancing their costs over time. Turbine has put an interesting plan in place for players getting in at the ground level. Not only does it address pricing, but it adds to the competition in the market.

To read the whole column here.

Guild Wars : State Of The Game Views Heroes' Ascent

Posted Feb 19, 2007 by

Guild Wars latest State of the Game looks at the changes made to Heroes' Ascent.

With the recent testing of changes to Heroes' Ascent, there is much to report, analyze, and reveal about this PvP area as it moves closer to being permanently updated. Our State of the Game article provides insight into the current state of HA, and offers strategies for use during this transitional period.

Read more here.

General : Matrox TripleHead2Go Review

Posted Feb 19, 2007 by Jon Wood

Carolyn Koh takes a look at Matrox's TripleHead2Go device that allows users to spread their computer screens over three different monitors, and how that technology can effect MMORPG gameplay.

What do you do after you've built yourself a screaming fast gaming rig that you dropped about $2,000 on? If you are like many gamers, you've already got a 17" or 19" LCD monitor with a wicked fast response time. So you lust after a 24" monitor, but that's... ouch... three times the price of the 19" monitor.

Then again, there's the really dreamy 30" screen, but you are entering the realm of diminishing returns and it's really hard to justify spending $1,500 on a monitor when the rest of your system cost you $2,000. What if I told you that you could get 51" - 57" of vivid eye-candy goodness for about $700? Would you do it?

When I was first asked about reviewing the Matrox TripleHead2Go, I was afraid that I would not have the hardware to properly review this neat little device. Where would I find three identical monitors? Would the screen size and refresh speeds have to be the same? The answer was that I didn't need three identical monitors.

I carted two 2004 vintage generic Dell 15" screens home from the office after work on Friday to supplement my 17" screen. Plugged them in, installed the software, followed instructions and... it worked. There was my windows desktop spread over three monitors.

Read Carolyn's whole review here.

Lord of the Rings Online : Race of Elves Movie

Posted Feb 19, 2007 by Ben Krueger

Codemasters and Turbine have released another gameplay video in the series that showcase some of the races in their upcoming MMO Lord of the Rings Online. This time around Elves are in the spotlight.

Race of Elves
Gameplay footage featuring the Elven Race.

You can view all of the videos here

World of Warcraft : Arena Tournaments Now Live

Posted Feb 19, 2007 by

World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is not live. Read up on this new additional form of PvP added for Warcraft players.

The World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is now live -- gather your allies, defeat your enemies, and prove that the prowess and skill of your team are unparalleled. The tournament will allow players to battle through the ranks for a chance to compete at live events, win prizes, and obtain the honor of being the best World of Warcraft PvP team in the world. For more information or questions regarding the tournament, please review the Tournament FAQ. Let the games begin!

Read more here.

General : Debate: Game Wide Markets

Posted Feb 17, 2007 by Jon Wood

Staff Writers Dan Fortier and Derek Czerkaski take opposite sides of the issue of game wide markets and auction houses. Do they help or hinder?

Dan Fortier:

One of the best and worst things about MMOs are the complex virtual economies they create. Poor planning, excessive hacking and infinite cash generation have caused serious inflation and top heavy markets for a number of popular games in years past. This weekend we are going to debate one specific issue in particular: Game wide markets/auction houses. The question will be whether listing all of the items in the game for sale and being able to buy them from any location is good or bad.

For some players, having every possible item available for bid or purchase from anywhere might seem like the most convenient way to runs things. The problem with this type of system is that only the most successful crafters/farmers will get their items sold since they can sell it for significantly less than Joe Nobody out in the borderlands, even if the items he creates are easier to gather/produce in the area he is in. Keeping markets specific to certain regions forces prospective entrepreneurs to develop a strong logistic system if they want to dominate a global market, which is the way it should be.

You can read the whole deabte here.

City of Heroes : Cryptic Studios is Hiring

Posted Feb 16, 2007 by Jon Wood

Cryptic Studios is looking to fill a number of developer positions at their studio, so if you've ever wanted to work on a game in areas like Web Programming, Art and more, this could be your chance. Cryptic is looking to hire gamers with the right skills for the job, whether they come from the gaming industry or any other.

Here is an example of some of the jobs that are available:

According to their website, Cryptic offers employee benefits. Check out their benefit summary.

To learn more about opportunities at Cryptic, check out this recent Los Gatos Weekly Times article or, you can have a look at this recent Q&A.

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