Archive for September 2010

Email From 38 Studios

September 28, 2010

Welcome to Amalur

Several months ago when we informed you of the discontinuation of the Azeroth Advisor, you kindly confirmed your desire to stay connected to the entertainment experiences being created by 38 Studios.  Since then, more details have been released about the worlds we are bringing to life.

Kingdoms of Amalur is an original fantasy universe that serves as the setting for both Reckoning and 38 Studios’ upcoming massively multiplayer game, codenamed Project Copernicus. Amalur’s cultures and expansive history were created by R. A. Salvatore, and the world is being brought to life through the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane. Legendary game designer Ken Rolston provides players their first journey into Kingdoms of Amalur through the hero’s journey in Reckoning. The story of Amalur will continue to expand through comic books, novels, toys and additional games.

We are preparing to launch the online newsletter for Reckoning, our single player RPG currently under development and scheduled for release in fall 2011.  Soon, you will receive a letter welcoming you to this newsletter, which will be distributed monthly beginning in October.
All of us at 38 Studios look forward to keeping you informed, engaged and excited.

Welcome to Reckoning!

Denise Kaigler
Chief Marketing Officer
38 Studios

Civilization 5 Gameplay

September 24, 2010

I just completed two games of Civ 5, and they are incredibly long but quite eventful as well.  The games took about a total of 10 hours each on two different difficulty levels.  During the first game I decided to just attack every civ and city state in site which turned out to be fairly effective.  I was in the renaissance era while others were in the  classical or medieval era, and most civs only had 2 to 3 cities.  It only took a couple units to take each civ out, so I decided to take the difficulty up a bit.

I played the next game at the prince level, and decided to go for the science victory this time.  My civ was growing nicely, I had good relationships with other civs that could provide me with resources which kept my happiness at a good level.  My cities were very productive, which allowed my to construct units, buildings, and wonders at a good pace.  Everything was going fairly good till I got to the modern era, and England decided to go to war with me.  The Queen kept throwing military units at me, but each of my cities had high defense as well as artillery units garrisoned in them, so they weren’t able to make a dent on me.  After fending off her attack, I decided to return the favor.  I threw some anti-tank and infantry units at her, and managed to take one city.  Unfortuneatly, she just swarmed me and took it back, after that it got quiet for a bit.

I gained some more tech and built a navy and a fighter plane, and spread a few destroyers, subs, and carrier along the ocean that separated my civ from England.  Their next effort to attack me was completely futile, as they were not even able to pass the ocean.  While my war with England was going on, Rome just cruised their way to victory ending the game.

This game is a lot of fun, and although it’s not a MMORPG I feel it attracts a lot of the same crowd.  I highly recommend it.

Global Agenda Tries to Capitalize on APB’s Shutdown

September 18, 2010

I just received this email today.  Some people may view it as insensitive I guess, but I don’t really have a problem with it.  I thought it was an interesting marketing outreach, and if it increases Global Agenda’s population then all the power to them.

An Open Letter to Shooter/MMO Fans from Hi-Rez Studios

Dear Shooter/MMO Fans: Image

The last few years have been rough for many fans of the Shooter/MMO genre.

Several innovative game titles with great communities have folded as they sought to bring together those of us who enjoy the fast-action, intense pace of a shooter, but also the character progression and persistence offered by MMOs.

Today, we mourn our latest fallen colleague, APB. In making APB, Realtime Worlds had a bold vision to make an MMO devoid of traditional tab-targeting, cast bars, and die-roll combat. We honor their effort and innovation, and greatly mourn the game’s closing.

Sadly, the APB server shutdown leaves their entire community with nothing to shoot or blow up tonight!

So between today and Friday, September 24, 2010, we are offering refugees from APB and other Shooter/MMOs an opportunity to join Global Agenda’s growing community more easily and affordably than ever.

We figure you deserve it. And you’ll fit right in since you already know how to aim.

All players that purchase Global Agenda on the game’s official webstore prior to September 24, 2010, using the promotion code “LongLiveShooterMMOs” will receive a 30% discount off the game. That’s $20.99, £13.12 and €15.75!

This one-time purchase gives you full access to the game’s content, with no monthly fees.

And, remember, you can try the game before you buy by playing the free trial, available here..

We at Hi-Rez Studios believe strongly in the Shooter/MMO genre. We celebrate and thank all developers advancing innovative Shooter/MMO concepts, as well as the fans that dedicate their time to playing and supporting these games.

Todd Harris
Executive Producer, Global Agenda

Do you want to play the most popular MMO

September 16, 2010

Ideally players should play the game that they enjoy playing, thus knowing how popular an MMO is should be a meaningless statistic, Since it tells us nothing about the game features that one would enjoy.  The simple reality is the game is popular because people enjoy playing it, which makes it a perfect statistic to look at when picking an MMO to play.  Of course there’s always exceptions, maybe you’re playing the game because there’s nothing better out.  In this case people don’t always play a game because they enjoy it, but for the great majority, popularity and enjoyment go hand in hand.

Even companies love to release subscription numbers when it’s in their favor.  If a company makes a subscription announcement at their peak of popularity, that will be the last time they will talk about subscriptions because an updated sub total would signify to players that the game is in its downturn.  Companies need to worry about something like their image when releasing information regarding subs, which leaves us in the dark.

It’s difficult to get updated info on MMO subs, take a look at this MMOGCHART.COM.  Take a look at his charts, then look at his analysis and conclusion, where you’ll find that he admits that the numbers from the companies and their employees can be completely made up.  I applaud him for his effort, but companies just do not want you to know this type of information.  There is a more exact tool that you can use to figure out which games are popular and that’s Xfire.

Obiviously, not everyone has Xfire, but there is enough of a random sample of players using it now to give us an accurate reading on statistics.  If you look at the top 20 games played per hour, I would say it is a fairly reasonable ranking of the most popular games.  While not as high as they use to be, WOW is still the clear favorite.  Aion at 8 and LOTRO are other MMO’s finishing out the top 10, Aion is the most recently released big name title, and LOTRO got a spike due to new subscription model.  Silkroad Online, Eve Online, and Guildwars are the other MMO’s in the top 20, and they’re all quality MMO’s.

Popularity is a good gauge of what games players are enjoying, so if your looking for something new to play, but just don’t know where to start.  I encourage players to check out Xfire to find out what is popular.

Blizzard Reminds Me That They Blow

September 15, 2010

It has been about 5 months since I deactivated my WOW account, so of course its about that time to be notified my account has been hacked once again.  I checked my armory and sure enough my priest is missing 5 pieces of armor, I guess they vendor it for every last piece they can grab off ya.  Obviously I’m going to have no gold left, but hey maybe I’ll have bags full of saronite and gems like the last time my account was hacked.

I changed my password, I don’t visit any bad sites, and I know not to click on the stupid fake emails, yet my account still manages to get hacked every-time I deactivate it.  WoW is the only game I manage to have a hacking problem with, out of many online games I played.  I haven’t even typed in my user-name and password for the past 5 months, so if they’re using a key logger then why would it be hacked now.   It feels like someone on the inside is giving out deactivated account info to some Chinese gold farmers, because there is just too much shit that doesn’t make any fucking sense.  Activated accounts are the ones keeping gold farmers in business, so why would they give out their info.

The most irritating thing about this mess isn’t the loss of gold or gear, because I can easily make up for those losses, but it’s the sense that your account can be hacked whenever someone feels like it and do whatever they want.  Blizzard is completely incompetent when it comes to security, but they have too many fanboys on their jock to give a damn.  I’ve seen hackers slip under the terrain and just warp too the closest nodes to auto mine, this is what they love to do with my account.  There’s the most common one where we have 20 female mages spelling out their companies web site in the city while in mid-air.  It’s nice to have a hacker on your side though, as I did once in WSG when it was 9 v 2, me and some orc, as the match started the orc tells me to wait in the flag room as he warps across the sky, and manages to capture and cap their flag before the other team even makes it to our side.

I don’t expect a game to be hack free, but Blizzard’s disregard to account security is a complete act of ignorance and stupidity.  I’ve never been too enthusiastic about WOW, I’m one of those ‘play for two months when new content or expansion is released then quit again’ types, but I would be surprised if I see myself in WOW again.

In Other Gaming News

September 13, 2010

I may be the last person to find this out, but in case you didn’t hear Civilization 5 is coming out Sept 21.  One of the best brand names out there in the gaming market, Civilization was the first game that I got addicted to, and I congratulate them for that.  Although I never stuck with playing the later Civ’s, I think now is a better time than any to jump back in.

Death Of The Explorer

September 10, 2010

Dungeons use to be so enormous it would take a group hours too fight their way through, and filled with a dozen of named mobs enticing players to earn their rewards.  The deeper you went the more rewarding, but only a few had the endurance and skill to make that journey.  Some zones were heavily populated, but the world was too vast for its population, which left some zones to be visited only sparingly.  Deep in the dungeons that players did not trek, those zones sparingly visited by players developed a sense of wonder for others.  What was in them?  What kind of challenges do they have to offer?  What kind of rewards?  Those players were called the explorers.

The explorers are a dead breed, not because they don’t exist,but because exploration has been systematically ripped out of the game.  Dungeons now are 30 to 40 minute instanced trips of thoroughly overused content, which players probably complete multiple times a week.  Rather than making their dungeons deep were few actually journey, they’re usually attached to a token system encouraging their repetitiveness.

A vast world filled with sparingly adventured lands, has now been traded for a world in which everyone before you has traveled thanks to the localized questing system.  A Forced hand-holding system that conveniently points you in the direction in which your suppose to go next, and making sure there’s a quest to take you across every square inch of the land, assuring there’s nothing left to be explored and taking out all wonder.  Why not just go off on your own instead of using the system?  Unfortunately, doing so would be completely counter productive as the localized quest system also acts as your reward system.  Not using it would essentially mean your playing as a handicapped player, not to mention all content would be exhausted, leaving no rare mob or rare loot to go after, thanks to this system.

I’m an Explorer, and many others fit the description as well.  If I could summarize all the main issues that plague the modern MMO industry this would be it.  They kill the explorers!