Sun, 19 October 2008
As presented by Robotic Brent.
This is VirginWorlds Podcast #132 for October 19th, 2008. I am your host, Robotic Brent, and this is the Massively Multiplayer Gaming news for the past week.
First, you are probably saying, "Hey, that's not Brent, that's a robot voice." You are correct. Brent seems to have contracted a deadly throat slaying ailment on his recent trip to London, and while he doesn't sound all that bad, he can barely get two words out without coughing up a lung, and so, instead you have me, Robotic Brent. Interesting isn't it that I have nearly as much emotion in my delivery as Brent does. Ha Ha Ha.
Yes, Brent flew into the UK this past week for work. And aside from enjoying Boddingtons Pub Ale on tap and close to its home, he sampled very little of London or the surrounding area. It was one of those in and out work trips and he didn't get a chance to get away and meet any of the UK podcast crew. Brent sucks. He was particularly taken aback by that whole, left side of the road thing. Sure, seems obvious, but when he climbed into the taxi at the airport, it was strange seeing the steering wheel on the other side, and he had to admit, every car trip was a white knuckle adventure because it seemed like every turn would surely result in death and destruction. Somehow, he made it. Also of note, not every woman that sounds like Elizabeth Hurley, looks like Elizabeth Hurley. This was a horrible horrible realization that may take many months to recover from. All in all, it looks pretty much like home, aside from that whole left-side-of-the-road thing and the peculiar controls on his hotel room shower, which took quite a while to figure out.
At the top of the show, not much else to say. No new podcasts have joined the Collective this week, though there is one in the hopper that Brent needs to add. He needs to work harder. But I'll give him a break. He isn't a robot, like me, after all. My ability to process new data is far superior to his, he is but a one hundred and sixty pound bag of water, while I am a fine tuned machine.
Also, no new VirginWorlds supporters have been added this week. We are still hovering just under the mark for goal #2.
And now, here is the M M O news for the week.
Adventure Quest Worlds.
Artix Entertainment, creators of online, browser-based, role-playing games written for Macromedia Flash, today announced the release of AdventureQuest Worlds, its first 100% browser-based MMORPG. You may remember that Brent intereviewed the crew from Artix a few months ago, and they talked at length about their single player browser based games ... and they hinted at a possible MMO in the works. It has now arrived. The crew at Artix uses Flash to build eye catching battle-centric titles. Their previous work includes the Free to play titles, Adventure Quest, Mech Quest and Dragon Fable, which have had over sixty million players over the past 5 years. Now they have announced Adventure Quest Worlds, an MMO based on their most popular title, Adventure Quest. Daniel Vasile, Business Development Manager of Artix Entertainment said: “Our Beta testers’ positive responses indicate our move into MMOs was the right decision. We’re especially excited that AdventureQuest Worlds may be the first MMO developed by a small, family-owned game development studio. Our project shows MMO developers and players worldwide that a small, truly dedicated team can create a quality browser-based MMOG without spending millions of dollars.” The game play will, of course, involve battling armies of monsters in real time combat, performing quests, meeting thousands (nay, millions) of other players and donning customizable armors, capes, helms and weapons. Character classes exist, but in the spirit of casual play, the player can change amongst the different classes at any time and can level those class up independently, unlocking new skills and gear as they go. Artix is commited to weekly updates of new content, just as they have with their previous titles, so player can expect to have a ton of material to work through, whether they start playing at launch or later on. If you'd like to take a look at Adventure Quest Worlds, please visit www A Q dot com to sign up for a free account. It's all browser based, so no downloads are required. Congrats to this small family-owned business. While they're not the first to do this, Maid Marian Entertainment did it several years ago with a one man team, still they've launched a big game that will surely be a success, and they didn't need millions of dollars to do it.
CCP announced the next expansion for Eve Online this past week. It is called Quantum Rise. They haven't said much outside the press release yet, but here are a few things included in this free expansion: In game Corporations will be able to set their products apart from the rest by building trust in their goods through customizable storefronts. Industrial ships are being rebalanced to suit the needs of haulers and industrialists-including the latest edition to the fleet, a massive capital industrial ship dubbed the Orca. A new certificate system will give a quick and verifiable means to discern a pilot's skill level in trading, gunnery or countless other professions, providing plenty of bragging rights. Let's face it, ego is a big part of M M O gameplay. The release of Quantum Rise, much like previous expansions, will be done in multiple stages. The upgrade began with the recent implementation of technological breakthroughs such as Stackless I O and EVE 64 which upgraded the server hardware and streamlined communication between server and client to severely reduce lag. In order to enhance the ability for hundreds of ships to take place in combat at the same time, CCP will be making significant hardware and server improvements, they say, and I quote "to bring the most massive player vs player experience available, expanding a boundless universe into a limitless one." End quote. More to be revealed in the coming weeks. For further discussion of Quantum Rise, I, Robotic Brent, recommend the EVE Online Podcasts that you'll find on the VirginWorlds Podcast Collective, such as Warp Drive Active, The Drone Bay and Micro Warp Cast. Also be sure to check out two other Eve Podcasts that have sprung up somewhat recently, FlyReckless and Titan Weekly, you can find them linked on VirginWorlds.com.
Pirates of the Burning Sea.Blizzard's Next MMO.
Major avatar combat revisions are in development for Pirates of the Burning Sea.
Kevin Maginn, Lead Designer at Flying Lab Software, has written a dev blog on the subject.
Here is what he said: (Quote)
“Over the last few months, I’ve been working almost completely off the radar on just that: a major iteration of the avatar combat system. At the same time, most of the content team has been doing the same for the avatar missions; the animation team has been revising all the swordfighting animations; the UI team has been revising the UI and the particle effects; and the sound team has been iterating all the sounds of avatar combat.
In short, we’ve been stripping avatar combat down to its foundation and building up again. We’ve learned a lot from the first major iteration of the system; we know what worked and what didn’t, what was fun and what was dull. We’ve gathered a lot of feedback from you as well as feedback from our internal test team. We’ve applied that knowledge to create a new system that (in my naturally biased opinion) is much more fun and engaging, as well as easier to learn and easier to use.” (End Quote)
is probably an extremely good idea as most people felt that the avatar
combat system was just 'ok' and somehow, the ship combat, while
effective, didn't seem to carry the title on its own. Kevin did not
give any details regarding when this content would release, but let's
hope it is soon.
Sword of the New World.
Update 4 is currently launched or mid-launch.
There was a lengthy blog post on the subject, and I'd tell you about it, but if you are not a Sword of the New World player, it would not mean anything to you. Let's summarize. Sword of the New World is still getting very active additions, and as Brent has said in the past, this is a rather solid game for a free to play port from the east, perhaps the best one he has seen. I, Robotic Brent, didn't particularly like it, because, like Darren from Common Sense Gamer, I find ani-may style graphics emasculating and when you have a dual core processor and 3 gigs of ram, you should be very macho, not playing elfen looking boy-girls in lace and ribbons.
One note worthy addition to this game is the new premium subscription program, with a full customer support addition. All other players will only get basic support (game client issues, bugs, etc). That means if you are not premium but buy gold (via microtransactions), you will not get support. They are also working to get name change, gender change and character restoration options available to all players (these are paid changes).
The 3 available Premium packs look like this:
Basic Pioneering Pack (Trial Pack) [$4.95 once a month]
* 500 gold
* 1 Mystery Box
Veteran Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $8.95, 90 Days for $24.99, 180 Days for $45.99]
the Veteran Pioneering PackIncludes:
* 2000 gold
* 2 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 5% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.
next is the Expert Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $14.95, 90 Days for $39.99, 180 Days for $74.99]
the Expert Pioneering PackIncludes:
* 4000 gold
* 3 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 10% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.
and finally, the Master Pioneering Pack [30 Days for $24.95, 90 Days for $69.99, 180 Days for $129.99]
the Master Pioneering Pack Includes:
* 8000 gold
* 6 Mystery Boxes
* Receive 20% off on additional Gold purchases for the duration of the package.
Thanks to Jay for bringing this news to Brent's attention.
Surprise suprise, Michael Mor haim said the next MMO from Blizzard, which was confirmed as "happening", is not World of Warcraft 2. Well duh. Even I could have told you that, and I'm just a bunch of circuits with a pretty aluminum frame. I was talking to Human Brent about this a few days ago and he started to give in to the idea that Blizzard might in fact be building a Starcraft MMO to follow on the Starcraft 2 release, just like they did with Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft. He still thinks that is lame, but is starting to accept it as a predictable and boring possibility.
In other, some what related Blizzard news, the leaders from Blizzard and Mythic have been participating in some interesting mudslinging about who let who into which beta, game imbalance, who will win in the long run and so forth. It is rather ridiculous. I am shocked, completely shocked, that Jeff Kaplan from Blizzard was allowed to say anything to the gaming press about his expereince with Warhammer online or his thoughts. Typically Blizzard just remains silent and stoic as if to silently indicate that their competitors should, "Bring it". Mark Jacobs from Mythic, on the other hand, continues to talk the same way he did when Mythic was independent and not part of EA. This means, he pretty much says whatever he wants. In this case, I think he would be best served by being silent as well, and not implying that in the long term, war might beat wow, because that's crazy talk. My favorite part was when he said “If you look at ‘Warhammer,’ there were so many points [where] we consciously made the decision not to be like wow and to try to push the envelope. I think you’ll find that if you’re actually going to compare the two products, I would say wow is certainly a more polished game now than Warhammer is, of course they’ve had four years and billions of dollars, but if you look at the innovations in ‘Warhammer,’ you’d be hard-pressed to find as many in wow.” End Quote. After reading that, I laughed so hard, I had to reboot and defrag. Pushing the envelope? Innovations? Uh oh, segmentation fault-
City of Heroes.
Quick bit on City of Heroes and Villians. Zombies have arrived for the Halloween season. Go kill them. End of story.
Human Brent, being completely out of touch with the MMO world (gotcha) hasn't talked about this one before, but it is billed as a procedurally-generated moderately-multiplayer online world by one-man studio, Eskil Steenberg. As a computer, I took particular interest in the fact that this game or world or experience or whatever it is, is supposed to be procedurally generated and was made by a single fellow with a laptop, not that unlike myself. Rock Paper Shotgun .com , a great gaming website, has the first trailer video form this game, and calls it, quote, "A wondrous, impressionistic MMO world that facilitates player creativity and encourages co-operation, that looks incredible and sounds too ambitious to be true. It’s a bold, brave project of independent game development." end quote. And based on the video, this is true, though I have to admit, I was surprised at the level of violence depicted in this game called, Love. Or maybe I should not have been surprised. You humans do tend to be a tad ironic. To follow the development of this one-man MMO, visit: http://www.quelsolaar.com
Ok, short show for today, partly because news was light this week and partly because you're probably tired of listening to Robotic Brent. I'm sure Human Brent will surface soon enough. In the meantime, go check out some of his favorite sites, Massively.com and Gaxonline.com. Be sure to become a supporter of the site and various podcasts if you are willing and able, several podcasts still are seeking sponsors.
Have a good week gaming, and please be kind to your computer, we're amaziningly sensitive sometimes.
Sun, 12 October 2008
This week's subjects include:
Sun, 5 October 2008
VirginWorlds Podcast 130 is full of MMORPG news... first non-conference show in some time. Here are the topics: