Press Releases

Full press releases sent in from various sources.

City of Heroes and City of Villains Merge

Ya know... it's long, but just read the press release -- with all the fluff and fervor that the marketing folks could drum up:
It’s All Access for City of Heroes and City of Villains
NCsoft readies the number 1 super-powered MMO for more

There is a reason for the rejoicing in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. It is official – NCsoft has completely merged the two games into one game universe. All current subscribers who only had one of the games (City of Heroes or City of Villains) now have access to the features of both games. Additionally, all City of Heroes and City of Villains games for sale at retail or online will grant access to both games.

This is the final step needed in preparing the IP for future projects, to be announced later this year. Paragon City and the Rogue Isles have always been a part of the same game universe. When City of Villains launched in 2005 as a stand-alone game, it did not launch with an extra subscription fee, so there has always been this feeling that they are closely related. What’s different here is that NCsoft has taken down the barrier where players had to have a City of Villains serial code to make a villain, and vice versa. Now, it doesn’t matter if you bought Heroes or Villains, you can make characters from either faction and experience their unique game content. Additionally, Heroes now have access to base building, which was previously only available if you had purchased City of Villains.

“In setting the stage for our upcoming plans for the IP, we felt the time was right to truly consolidate the City of Heroes and City of Villains universe,” said Brian Clayton, General Manager and Executive Producer. “We have removed all restrictions that were created when City of Villains launched in order to make way for some really cool content and features we have in the pipeline. This is an evolution of the IP that lays the foundation for what’s to come.”

The most recent game update, Issue 12: Midnight Hour, launched in May and included a wealth of features, including a new Greek and Roman inspired zone, Villain Epic Archetypes, Powerset Proliferation, as well as more character slots so that players can try out the new character powers and Archetypes.

“We know that character variety is one of our greatest strengths and that’s why our players love to create new characters” said Matt Miller, Lead Designer. “Even former players who reactivate will be pleasantly surprised to see new open character slots waiting for them.”

Uniting the City of Heroes universe enables the development team to focus on other features slated to come in future installments. Improvements to Supergroup Bases and raids, an offline character reward system, and the previously revealed Mission Maker are just some of the systems that will see the benefits of a unified City of Heroes game.

Oh, and there's also "Double XP weekend" starting on Friday, while we're on the subject of City of Heroes. - Social Network Site for MMO Players

I'm a little slow on this (most?) news, Blake Peterson dropped a note about a month back announcing his site's launch at . It's really an interesting idea and I'm curious how well it works over time. They've built a free service where you create a profile of info about yourself and which guilds/games you've had characters in over the years. With a system of email, forums and instant messenging, their goal is to help people reconnect with old guild... well, mates (sorry, I couldn't be bothered to formulate different wording there.)

I've browsed through the site a bit and it's really quite nice. I can imagine a social network tool like this would appeal greatly to folks who've built interesting friendships in the past but don't have accounts with all their old games anymore. I know I'm fairly curious what some folks I used to play Asheron's Call with are playing these days, for instance!

Of course, this kind of site will be most useful if it's existence is widely known about... so I guess I'm playing a part to spread the word for Blake. Maybe long-lost friendships can be rekindled by the use of such a tool, eh? Pretty neat idea, I think.

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.

Microsoft's New "Live Anywhere" Service Announced

Microsoft announced at E3 what had been hinted about for a long time... the Live Anywhere online gaming service will allow players on PC's (explicitly, Windows Vista boxes), Xbox 360's and mobile phones to all interact through the familiar Live platform. Well, it's not familiar to me since I own no Xbox-labeled machinery, but most of you know about it.

I figure this is big news for us since this may go a long way towards the type of cross platform connectivity that Final Fantasy XI pulled off with Playstation2 and PC. This could have some interesting side effects in the MMO space, as game communities become much more connected. Well.. I'm not sure what else to say about this. I have written and deleted a few paragraphs of thoughts on the subject, but I'm just going to stop now. :P

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 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. <>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 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:

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?
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