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Issue 124, April 21, 2008
In the news
Funcom announced that the population of Hyboria will grow by 50,000 starting May first as that is the date that the open beta for Age of Conan will begin.

Read more here.
NCsoft unveiled the new NCcoin system that will allow players to purchase in-game items with real world money. This new program will make its debut with the mech fighting game Exteel.

Read more here.
SOE announced last week that the 2008 SOE Fan Faire will happen at the Las Vegas Hilton, from August 14th to 17th.

Read more here.
Get more news on our site here!
Hellgate London Review Staff Writer Joe Iuliani gives his us his impressions of Hellgate: London.

The quote on the back of the box cover was almost all I need to buy this game "The Creators of Diablo are bringing HELL to you". Just an observation, but those same creators certainly have some kind of fake leg fetish. In Diablo it was find Writ's Peg leg, in Hellgate London, one of the first quests is to retrieve Li'l Joey's prosthetic leg. It's a fitting homage to Diablo, but I digress. All I needed to see is the word Diablo on a game and I was already excited for it. For those of you who are fans of the way Diablo played, you will love Hellgate London. Playing Hellgate certainly felt a lot like playing Diablo again. There are many familiar aspects that former Diablo players will recognize immediately. Your inventory is graphed out for you, with certain items taking up more room than others. Fortunately, many necessary items stack (such as health injectors and teleport devices). In addition to your personal inventory, you do have a bank of sorts to store higher level and upgrade items for later usage.

You can read the full review here.
More reviews can be found on our site here
On-Site: Age of Conan Blog

Jason "Athelan" Stone, Game Designer for Age of Conan posted twice in the Age of Conan Blog last week, detailing the evolution of combat in AoC.

At E3 2005 we had combo's and directional attacks in and were demoing in one area called Eiglophian Mountains. We had some Picts riding a Mammoth, and a large NPC vs NPC battle we could start to show off the engine's ability to handle a lot of enemies. But we were still missing something, so we went back to our inspirations and dissected them like I did before but in even more detail. We looked for common traits and ways we could incorporate them. One of the big things that we noticed was movement in attacks. 90% of all fighting games the feet do not stay planted during attacks as balance must be maintained and often momentum and weight transfer are applied as well.

And so began the first of many major revisions of the Combat in Age of Conan, to add in movement to attacks. This meant more motion capture work, and implementation. It also meant code changes would be necessary to handle things like what happens when you can't move but still need to attack etc. At first this was solved by having pushback on impacts which created a tug of war type appearance. The issue was that mobs could then be pushed around and cornered, and that interrupting the animations all the time made it hard to have both attacks and impacts happening and look good.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of The Evolution of Combat in Age of Conan.

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This week's Game of the Week is NCsoft's City of Villains. Originally owned by both Cryptic Studios and NCsoft, the game has now come into full possession of the Austin-based studio. Along with its older brother City of Heroes, City of Villains has pioneered the superhero sub-genre of MMOs, blazing the way for Cryptic Studios' upcoming Champions Online and SOE's DC game.

For anyone who might be interested in a game that provides both a chance to play a bad guy and participating in (among other things) Mayhem Missions, designed for destruction and for a game that allows play styles ranging from the casual to the hardcore, you may want to check this one out.

Learn more about City of Villains, here, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, April 14
Hardware Review: Destructor Mousepad and DeathAdder Guild Wars Edition

Tuesday, April 15
HellGate: London - Review

Wednesday, April 16
Dungeons & Dragons Online - Module 7 and More: A Chat with Kate Paiz

Thursday, April 17
Lord of the Rings Online - Forochel Monsters

Friday, April 18
Lord of the Rings Online - Visual Impressions of Book 13's Forochel
Did You Know?
Over the weekend's Jon Wood and Keith Cross, as well as freelance writer/artist Matthew Goodmanson went on a 14 hour, 2 province, 6 state journey through space and time to attend the New York Comic Con. As the week unfolds, and the space-time continuum corrects various paradoxes caused by our passage, you can expect to see more of our coverage of the event
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