Game News

General news about specific MassMOGs and the like.

New WoW Alliance Race Revealed

Yippee skippee... the big news has arrived. I'm sure many of you want to know so I'll just throw you the frickin' bone and you can gobble up the juicy news as you see fit: The draenei are the new playable alliance race in the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft.

Wonderful.. now can I get back to playing A Tale in the Desert? Or how about Sin: Emergence?? Whoops.. that's not a massivity-spiffy hoohah... sorry, but it's a damn fine game! Support cheap episodic content!!! (Content that I own, not that I have to pay every month to pretend that I own... until I don't pay one month.)

ArchLord Beta Signup Now Live

News from Codemasters announces the opening of the beta sign up for the upcoming MMOG, ArchLord. I know you want it... you folks devour anything that says "beta". ...Well, I do too so I don't blame you. I'll be logging in right beside you, I'm sure. :)

It is with great pleasure that I can know announce the ArchLord Beta Sign-up has gone live! That's right, Beta Sign-up is now live! So head on over to http://www.archlordgame.com and register your interest in the Beta Sign-up! Whilst you are their be sure to check out the ArchLord Forums at and have a look around, ask some questions.
We are also running an ArchLord Beta Sign-up VIP program, so for all those that create fansites, are already members of guilds or are active community members will receive preferential access to the Beta program! So be sure to check out those forums, investigate the game and get creative!!!

Also, if you sign up by Monday morning, you'll have a chance to win a sketch of an ArchLord character made by the folks at MMOART. Here's the blurb on that from Tim "Mr. Ktat" Hodges, the community relations bloke for ArchLord:

I am happy to announce that courtesy of MMOART. <http://www.mmoart.com/>We are offering one lucky person who signs up for the Beta between today and Monday 9 am a personalised, unique sketch of a character of their choice from ArchLord!!

This is a really great prize and the guys at MMOART do some great work, check out their site for some awesome examples! So I'm sure you are all going to be hanging on to the edge of your seats for this. So good luck!!

Tabula Rasa E3 2006 gameplay trailer released

Mmmmm, nummy!... go snag the "sneak peek" (on 1up.com) of what the folks at NCsoft will be showing off at E3 to showcase the upcoming Tabula Rasa.  I really think it's best to reset your expectations of this game if you've been trying to follow its long development cycle before now.  The game is really different from what it used to be... understatement of the week, I suppose.  This trailer is impressive to me and helps me get into a different frame of mind about what the game will be like.   Since Richard Garriott's talk at GDC '06, as I've mentioned briefly before, I've taken a completely new view of this game and it's now one I'm looking forward to... maybe because I didn't know enough about where the old versions of the game were heading to "get onboard" with it?

Mmmmm... 1280x720 trailer!!  Nice.  :)

Sneak Peek: Tabula Rasa E3 2006 gameplay trailer

Richard Garriott and the Tabula Rasa team would like to share a sneak preview with you of the incredible gameplay trailer they’ve put together for E3 this year. It’s available here: http://www.1up.com/do/download?cId=2014235.

On the last title screen there's a sweet example of the pictographic language that Richard talked about at GDC... very cool.  I can read about half of it so far based on his talk.  Pretty neat.  Richard is well known by now for including such things in his games, but typically he has used more historical pictographic languages as a source.  This time he made the whole language himself.  I really need to talk to him more about this and formulate an article about it... it really was impressive to me.  Such depth in a game design is refreshing.  :) 

A Tale in the Desert 3 Beta Underway

Just a quick note to point out the open beta for A Tale in the Desert 3 has started up.  I'm a bit delayed on this announcement due to technical email doohickiness but here ya go.  ATitD has been one of the more interesting games to come along and the list of additions for the latest installment looks to give players some happy days ahead.  Go snag the Windows, Mac or Linux clients and give this non-combat game a try... don't forget to report any problems you find, eh?  It is a beta afterall and they would really appreciate if you help them iron out any bugs you find... bugs besides the scarabs you find wandering around in the sand.  Those bugs are supposed to be there.  It is the desert, ya know?

Guild Wars Factions Shipping This Week

The next installment of the Guild Wars online game, Factions, has been shipped to retailers and will be going live on April 28.  I figured you'd all like to know about this in case you're interested in getting in on the Head Start Event available to those who pre-ordered the game.  A blurb:

Those who pre-ordered the game will be able to participate in the exclusive Guild Wars Factions Head Start Event beginning at 12:01 AM PDT/7:01 AM GMT on April 27, 2006. These lucky gamers will have access to the game for a total of 48 hours, including a full 24 hours before the game’s global release. During the first 24 hours of the Head Start Event, ArenaNet has planned an exclusive in-game event titled "Day of the Tengu," in which players will join one-day-only "Day of the Tengu" quests, and earn exclusive in-game rewards.

 The new features include goodies like guild scrimmages, alliance battles, ranked character titles and other stuff that I also don't know anything about.  Read the full press release after the jump...

Adult MMOG "Spend The Night" On Hold

I know, I'm slow.. but maybe you're slow too and didn't see this news pop up a couple weeks back:  An adult MMOG that was in the works by Republik has been suspendedSpend The Night (here is an interview with the CEO from Oct.'05) was highly anticipated as one of the first big online games/worlds focused almost entirely on adult relationships and, well... sex.  Mostly sex for a lot of people, I'd guess.  They wanted to target female players (and not just players claiming to be female... REAL females) who were interested in the emotional side of character interaction.  Ultimately, the big drive for the game was to be the acting out of sexual fantasies with other avatars in a graphically rich world.

 Well... we'll have to wait a bit longer to see if anyone else comes out with a game like this.  Republik ran out of funds and places to secure new funds.  The game was fairly far along, even though most of the released screenshots looked rather limited.  I would think someone will find a way to sweep through and pick this property up for further development.  They have had a huge amount of traffic to their site this year.  You know it's a matter of time before a major product shows up on the market, don't you?  If you hadn't thought of this yet, you're just not paying attention... or you're too young to worry about such things, in which case, go back to a safer game and forget you ever read this.

Now, I know some of you are going to point out other games that are highly sexual already, but many of them are more emergent sexuality rather than part of the game itself.  Second Life is a giant emergent sex playground, but it's all from the players who want to introduce that element to the world.  Games like Furcadia are (arguably?) based roughly on real-world fetishes -- "furries" in this case... don't ask, you can research that one yourself!  They don't all have blatant sexual overtones as a part of the game's designs.

I'll add real quick here that I don't have a lot of experience playing Second Life or Furcadia, for instance, so I can't comment more than what I've heard from other players or read.  If I'm wrong about these games, by all means, post a comment and clear up the discussion!  :)

I'm pondering how to best handle the issue of adult MMO games on MassMOG.com and I haven't concluded that ponder yet.  Once I do, I'll be posting more info about the genre in a slightly "protected" part of the site.   It's very interesting and I think someone will unleash a massive hit when they dial in the concept and implement it solidly... like Spend The Night was looking to.

Sherwood Dungeon Enters Open Beta

Gene Endrody from MaidMarian.com sent word that their new iteration of Sherwood has gone into open beta testing.  Sherwood Dungeon is a free MMOG that runs in a web browser using Shockwave tech, which supports up to 2000 simultaneous players.  It's a 3D world that honestly really surprised me when I logged in.  I've done some development in Shockwave 3D in the past, but didn't get all that far into it.  I knew a lot about what was possible, but it was great to see a MMO experience shape up this nicely in a web browser.  Of course, I'm sure I was just sleeping through other projects that have been out a while, considering the other offerings from MaidMarian.com.  Color me clueless, I guess.

Sherwood Dungeon looks really nice and I look forward to playing it more.. and playing some other games over there.  Here's a post about the beta from their developer diary:

April 9, 2006
Sherwood Dungeon is in Open Beta.
 
I'm exhausted but very happy. It's taken seven months, but I hope Sherwood Dungeon lives up to expectations. This game features an infinitely deep dungeon filled with monsters and treasure. It includes character advancement, new weapons, magic rings and more. The new code base is faster and should provide a stable foundation for future enhancements. Sherwood Dungeon is in Open Beta, which means I'm still finding and fixing bugs.
 
Important Game Notes:
 
-Games are saved on exit and when you leave dungeon levels, but if you remove Shockwave from your computer, you will lose the saved game.
 
-The Dungeon entrance is in the Keep of Sherwood Castle. Player vs Player combat is valid only outside the Keep and away from the two smaller towers near the spawn point.
 
-The monsters get tougher the deeper you go, but you'll get more XP points. If you team up on a monster with a friend, the XP earned is based on the damage you do. The monsters in the Castle Level scale to level of the player, however you'll get only a small amount of experience from these. There's no level cap and the dungeon is infinitely deep.
 
-Make sure you keep re-equipping with higher level weapons as you go; you'll need them. The level of the weapon is listed along with the damage and magic bonus when you mouse over them in the equipment bar or inventory.
 
I hope you enjoy the game.
 
Gene Endrody

Recap of Auto Assault Meet & Greet

[update:  I found a link to the Denver Business Journal article posted online. Nice.] 

Ten Ton Hammer posted a recap of the Auto Assault meet & greet held near the home of NetDevil last week.  She talks about several discussions with various members of the team, as well as showing off some photos of the event.  My favorite is the top secret post-launch plans revealed on their whiteboard.  Good stuff.  If you're in the area, you can find a front-page article in the Denver Business Journal interviewing Scott.  I haven't found it online yet, but maybe they'll post it on their site soon-ish.

It was pretty sweet for me to see such a great turnout for them.  They're my friends from several years of gatherings after the monthly Colorado Game Developers Association meetings, of which I've been a part of since something like 1996 or so.  I first met Scott Brown and Ryan Seabury at NetDevil back when they were in beta development on Jumpgate.  It's so much fun to watch their company grow and improve to the levels that they're at now.  Very cool to see Colorado's companies succeed.  There are several other great projects going on around here and I look forward to our game development community growing even more.

I met several of the development team at the event and everyone looked rather healthy.  I'm sure they're tired, but they were very chipper about the occasion and all of them mentioned their excitement about how many people showed up to the party.  It was really nice.  Thanks NetDevil and NCsoft for putting together the event.

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