Role-Playing Games

Stats and character development is the name of the "role-playing" game, basically. With a role-playing game (RPG), you'll find games where character advancement and customization is a huge part of the experience.

Knight Online Expanding

News about an open beta and development for the increasingly-popular Knight Online:

The popular and free medieval fantasy MMO, KNIGHT ONLINE, has expanded. Players new and experienced can join an epic war of mass proportion, hunt many new monsters and compete in exciting Player vs. Player battles. The KNIGHT ONLINE: REIGN OF THE FIRE DRAKE expansion open beta is now available. In the KNIGHT ONLINE expansion, venture into the rumored Land of 7 Sins. Millions of other players worldwide will clash to ultimately slay the dragon.

Exciting additions include:

-Level cap has been raised from 70 to 80 with extra never-before-seen abilities
-Additional hunting territories with intriguing new monsters and bosses
-PvP updates with new fighting zones and tactical objectives
-A completely revamped user interface
-And more...

Drop by their site for more info and a bunch of screenshots (since my gallery isn't quite up yet.)

HERO Online Open Beta Starts Today

Hero Online is opening up for a public beta starting today. I don't want to stand in your way as you clamor for info about an open beta, so here's the beef:

1. Schedule:
- Duration: June 30 ~ July 29, 2006
- Launch Time: 4:00PM (US Pacific Standard Time, GMT -8:00)
- Hours: 24 hours

2. How to participate (For ALL players):
- Step One: Create an account.
- Step Two: Download the client.
** Closed Beta Client will not work for Open Beta. All players will be required to download new Open Beta Client.
- Step Three: Play!

**If players have participated in Hero Online Closed Beta or The Legend of Ares, you may use the same accounts.

3. Did you know?
- We are not going to wipe characters after Open Beta!
- There will be special rewards for those who have shown efforts in Hero Online Closed Beta!
- There will be many events throughout Open Beta!
- If players use internet browsers other than Internet Explorer, they may experience difficulties in the registration process.

EVE Online Goes Live in China

Big news for CCP Games as their space-themed MMOG has gone live in China with record numbers being set (according to them.. I don't have time to be a proper journalist and confirm this personally. Sorry, but I'm just lazy that way.) Here's a blurb from the big announcement:

Shanghai, China – June 13, 2006 – The first day of EVE Online’s open Beta in China resulted in a new world record for the number of simultaneous users playing in the same game world, as more than 30,000 users logged into the game server just hours after opening. CCP Games, an independent producer of massively multiplayer online games and producer of EVE Online, also announced that over 200,000 players from China registered for the game during the first day of the of the open Beta .

“It was quite amazing to see the population of EVE China exceed the population of Iceland in the second day of open Beta testing.” said Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games. “EVE China has been an exciting collaboration project and continues to be so, as we continue to refine the experience to accommodate for the steep growth rate of both our English and Chinese worlds.”

Cool beans! I like seeing indie studios having success, so I'm biased about stuff like this. EVE has come aLONG way over the years and a breakthrough in a new market is always fantastic news, whatever the company behind it.

There have been other attempts at the "one-world" game design where everyone in the game occupies the same server/game space. 10six was the first truly "massive" world from what I remember, where the numbers were supposed to have been capable to support one million simultaneous players. From what I remember, they never really got anywhere close to that number, so I'm not sure if the technology would have supported it or not.

I'm sure there are others around, but to launch a game in a new market with that many people right off... and to get another 200k signing up... rock on, CCP! That just kicks butt, I'd say. :)

Congrats to CCP and best hopes for continued success! Cheers.

"Transhumanist Day" in Second Life

I'll be honest... I don't know how to present this info. To just touch the surface of this topic seems to do it injustice, however, to dig deeper into researching what "transhumanism" is all about (or Wikipedia: Transhumanism) would take far more energy than I have inside me to allocate to that end. However, I'm not against bringing up a huge topic and pointing you in a direction with a pat on the butt... "go get 'em, kiddo!" So here goes the gentle pat...

There's a new island opening up in Second Life called Uvvy Island. If you're a SL junkie, that might mean something to you, but for me, it's not the point where my interest takes hold. Here's where I learned a new word: "The opening event (Wednesday June 7, 2006, 2 pm EST) will be a 'Transhumanist Day' dedicated to promoting the transhumanist worldview and outlining its scientific and philosophical roots." Umm.. a transwhat?

So let's dig a little deeper into what a transhumanist is: (from the first link above)

Transhumanism is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase. [read more here]

See what I mean about dropping a huge topic and then running like a chicken?? Here's where I start running... If you're more interested in the concept of "transhumanism" and you want to take part in the Transhumanist Day in SL, you'll find everything you need to know from the Uvvy Island opening announcement (same link as above). This will also be a voice-enabled event sponsored by Vivox, but you'll need to get that set up ahead of time if you want to participate... details for Vivox/SL support is here. If you're a SL user and you like voice chat tech, you'll want to get Vivox support turned on anyway. It's really cool tech that I saw in-depth at GDC and have yet to discuss here. In fact, you can call out from the game (I know, it's not a "game") to users of Skype-like services. Nice. But I digress...

So, I'll try to dig further into the whole transhumanism thing and see if I can muster more opinions on the subject. It's intriguing, to say the least. Run back here to post comments about the event if you go, please! Love to hear reactions. (I'm going to try to hit it, too.)

A Tale in the Desert III - Launches Saturday

Title's obvious, but many of you would like to know that A Tale in the Desert III is launching this Saturday, May 26. Rather than summarizing the announcement, I'm going to be lazy and post the whole thing... hooray for lazy!

(continue to the whole thing...)

NCsoft's Aion screenshots & E3 movie

Take a gander at screenshots and the just-released E3 movie showing off NCsoft's Aion. I'm loving NCsoft's super-sweet high res movies. Very nice to watch this stuff all spiffy and big for a change! Anyway, this is a new fantasy online RPG that honestly looks in some ways like what the earlier incarnation of Tabula Rasa. Me wondering much if some content assets are finding use in this product? Maybe I'm seeing things? (Sorry, I don't have time to dig up examples... you can do that yourself and send me a note about what you find, though! Ain't I sweet to let you do that? "Yes" is the answer there.)

Star Wars Galaxies' Proposed Combat Changes

Sony is toying with major changes to the Star Wars Galaxies combat system again. Last time they did this, it caused quite a ruckus, so here's the preface to the forum post announcing some of the changes being tested:

Please keep in mind that although we have this prototype working internally it's entirely possible that nothing will be like it is described here or we may end up not adding this to the game at all. You guys wanted to get more of the behind-the-scenes scoop on development and here it is.

To me, that reads a lot like "read this stuff over and post about it while we look for massive flames and cursing to see if you like it or not." Actually a great thing to see, if that's what they're doing. From what I understand, the last massive combat overhaul changed the game so fundamentally that many existing players were known to just log off permanently. That's a good example of what can happen if you don't focus-test your changes enough... or it's an example of something else. :P

However, I'm not playing SWG right now and I only played it shortly after launch, so I don't know what any of this stuff even means! If you know what's going on in SWG and you want more info, go decipher it yourself. :)

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!!

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