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GameRifts News Archive

Welcome to the Archives section for GameRifts.com
Below you can find the archives for articles that appeared on our front page. If there was a specific item that you were looking for, our search engine will provide you a list of 30 items per page based on your keywords.

Archives

April 2004

EMI Sues EA Over Game Music:
Over on Yahoo.
EMI Group Plc, one of the world's largest music companies, has filed a federal lawsuit against Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest video game publisher, over claims of copyright infringement in EA's highly successful sports games.

The suit, filed in federal court in New York on Wednesday, says a number of EA's recent sports titles, like "Madden NFL 2004," "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004" and "MVP Baseball 2004" use songs that "embody copyrighted musical compositions that EMI owns, co-owns, administers or otherwise controls."
Posted April 23 2004 by Div Devlin



Even More DAoC News:
Backdated because somehow we missed the press release. Wed. was also the announcment for Dark Age of Camelot entering into Beta Two for their upcoming expansion, "Frontiers." Read On:
Mythic Entertainment, developer and publisher of the award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game Dark Age of Camelot, today announced that Dark Age of Camelot: New Frontiers has entered Beta 2 stage.

New Frontiers is a free downloadable expansion that reinvents the game’s unique Realm vs. Realm (RvR) combat system. Player characters from the game’s three Realms will wage war across new battlegrounds, battle to control new keeps and fight to control expansive new frontier areas.

More than 500 players will be play-testing the new RvR zones, abilities and strategies by the end of the week. This limited beta, available by invitation only, is estimated to last two weeks and it will be followed by a larger, open Beta 3. Mythic plans to make New Frontiers available to all subscribers in Summer 2004.

“Player testing of New Frontiers is now underway,” said Matt Firor, Executive Producer and Vice President of Development at Mythic Entertainment. “RvR has always been a key feature of Dark Age of Camelot. We consider the feedback we receive from this beta critical to development, as New Frontiers involves significant changes and balancing the game systems our players are familiar with. Our goal is to make Camelot’s RvR system even more accessible, fun and compelling forall players.”

New Frontiers features revamped geography for each Realm’s frontiers as well as updated siege warfare, completely redesigned upgradeable keeps, a Realm War status map, and much more. New travelling systems enable users to get to the action faster with boat service between the frontiers and the ability to teleport directly to a friendly keep. The expansion also overhauls the game’s Realm Ability system to further balance character classes.
Check out the expansion site.
Posted April 23 2004 by Div Devlin



Shadowbane Events Increase:
Ubi sends word that for a limited time within Shadowbane, exp. gains and loot drops are increased.
As part of a new Shadowbane event surrounding the upcoming 2.5 patch, Ubisoft is increasing the rate of character experience gain by 100% beginning tomorrow until May 5. The new Rise of the Upstart Gods patch is expected to launch at the end of this month. Also during that time, an official Treasure Hunt event will take place where many unique and powerful items can be discovered across the worlds of Aerynth. The two week long event is called Convergence, and more details can be found at the Chronicle of Strife community website (http://chronicle.ubi.com/). Patch 2.5 will introduce a wide array of performance improvements to the game along with new discipline and race runes. You can find a detailed list of the planned patch changes in the Chronicle's In-Development section (http://chronicle.ubi.com/About/In-Development.htm).
Wer also told that the free trial is for 15 days and includes their expansion, "Rise of Chaos."
Posted April 23 2004 by Div Devlin



Nvidia Sponsors Ballerium:
Majorem Ltd. sends word that Nvidia is going to sponsor the next two rounds of beta for the FPS/MMO game Ballerium, and that players will get a chance to win a new vid card and other prizes.
- First place gains a GeForce FX 5700 ULTRA with 128MB (worth over 200$)
- Places 2-3 would have to comfort with an Nvidia T-Shirt. Yup, the winner takes it all.
- A T-Shirt would also be given to the winner of the withdraw sum ladder
- Another T-shirt would be given to the Player which most of the users would agree was most helpful in the game, according to a survey that will follow.
That's pretty cool.
Posted April 22 2004 by Div Devlin



City of Heroes Changes Rules, Again!
After releasing info on how players can reserve their names within City of Heroes for launch day, the rules were changed yet again. This is now the third set of rules?
Hi there!

We wanted to inform you that based on your feedback, the beta and pre-order name registration process has been re-worked to a system we hope will work out better for all involved.

We encourage you to visit this page and read the specifics: http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/item219.html
Well, that change sure screwed up players day before live.
Last night in a surprise move, the folks at Cryptic decided to once again change their name reserving process - this time with about 24 hours left before the end of beta. Why was this decision made? It seems that a small, but vocal minority of folks on the message board were upset about the former policy. Cryptic, whether due to feelings of guilt, fear of the threatened "legal action" by a player or two, or concern that the 5-6 complainers might actually quit, chose to reverse their previous policy that they laid out just the night before.
Ouch!

Is another revision to the rules going to make it's way, again?
Posted April 22 2004 by Div Devlin



DAoC Transfer Split True!
Based off a hint we reported earlier (Read Below: April 20, 2004) on for Dark Age of Camelot, from the Friday Grab Bag on the Camelot Herald, Mythic announces the official news on splitting characters from one account and transferring them to another. From the Press Release:
Mythic Entertainment announced today that their flagship massively multiplayer game "Dark Age of Camelot" will be offering a new service to their subscribers beginning on April 27th. Known to players as "account splitting," it allows players to transfer one or more characters from an existing account to a new account. Because separate characters on one account cannot be played simultaneously, households that share accounts often want to move a character to a new account so the two characters can adventure together.

"Roommates, spouses, and friends often bring new players to the game by temporarily sharing accounts," said Matt Firor, Vice President of Development and Executive Producer at Mythic Entertainment. "Up until now, these new players had no way to move their characters from their friend's account to a new account of their own. They were forced to create a new character from scratch once they got their own account. Now, with our new splitting feature, Camelot fans can move their characters to a new account and keep playing the same character."

For a one-time fee of $40 per account split, customers will be allowed to move up to four characters from an established account to a brand new account, as long as the characters remain on the same server. Standard subscription fees for the old and new accounts will still apply.
What's more impressive is we even nailed the price. $40.00 is not bad at all.

Should I get a job in the game industry?
I think I'm looking for new employment.
Posted April 22 2004 by Div Devlin



Middle Earth Online Delayed:
Rutro.
Turbine and VUGames announce that Middle Earth Online is going to be delayed until sometime in 2005.
The Middle-Earth Online team at Vivendi Universal Games and Turbine Entertainment recently evaluated the development progress of the game and made the tough but correct decision to delay its release. The extra time in development will be used to add more content, more lore and more nuanced touches to the world, as well as enable us to extend the beta-testing period. At this time, the expected release date for the game is 2005.

We also decided recently to focus on getting content into the game rather than spend time creating a specialized version for this year's E3, so Middle-Earth Online will not be demonstrated on the show floor.
And no showing at E3? Something smells bad.
Posted April 22 2004 by Div Devlin



Ultima Online Server Transfers:
EA announces that thier "Character Transfer Service" within Ultima Online has gone live. Now, players can transfer one character to another server of their choice.
Moving day has arrived!

Take a character to a new shard today!

You can now move Ultima Online characters between shards for only $19.99! Meet new friends, re-unite with guild mates, and uncover new adventures!

Some reasons players would change shards include:
1. To meet up with friends who are playing on another shard.
2. To move to a shard with a more beneficial economy.
3. To meet new friends and take part in a new community.
Some restrictions apply.
Was'nt Shadowbane going to offer this for free?
Posted April 22 2004 by Div Devlin



City of Heroes PreOrder Rules:
City of Heroes has released the answers for players currently in beta, on how they can reserve their character names and get the three day head start prior to the game going live. It's pretty detailed. Only one character name per account can be reserved.

Check it.
Posted April 21 2004 by Div Devlin



In Browser Based Games:
News from the "browser based" MMO games market.

Red Redemption are announcing the launch of "Steel Law Online," a massively-multiplayer/multi-platform online conspiracy game.

Jajex launched their latest version a few weeks back for their massive multi-player fully 3D online world, "Runescape."
Posted April 21 2004 by Div Devlin



Lineage II Begins Banning:
That did not take too long Over in Lineage II is an announcment regarding their stance on the "Terms of Service" and how the will enforce it with the, "The Hammah!"
NCsoft has banned many accounts since the beginning of the Open Beta phase for Lineage II. Our aggressive stance has been required to combat the following abuses: the use of 3rd party macro software (such as bots), account theft, attempts to hack the game client, acts of fraud against other players, and any other acts that we deem malicious or against the Terms of Service.

In the interest of everyone's continued enjoyment of the game, we will aggressively identify and subsequently ban those who continue this kind of abuse. The NCsoft support team will swiftly respond with GM involvement, potentially leading to account suspension and even legal action.

This is part of our commitment to providing a fair and enjoyable gaming environment to all of our legitimate customers. We refuse to allow a few bad apples to ruin it for the rest of those who are enjoying Lineage II for the actual experience in the game.
Most folks I know have already tired of the treadmill for L2 and have left the game. Check out this review on our boards by Brogarn.
Posted April 21 2004 by Div Devlin



SWG Space Expansion Details:
Lucas Arts has released details on the upcoming space expansion for Star Wars: Galaxies.
The struggle between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance extends into space with Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed, the first expansion for the award-winning Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing game set in the Star Wars(r) universe. Releasing in fall 2004 for the PC, this highly anticipated addition will dramatically expand the Star Wars Galaxies franchise by providing players more than 15 different vehicles for space exploration and combat.

Starfighters and other starships will be featured in the expansion that can be used for both space exploration and combat, allowing players to join up with allies and fly familiar X-wings and TIE fighters into battle against faction-aligned opponents and AI-controlled ships. Transport ships similar to the well-known Millennium Falcon will also be added into the game, allowing players to venture through space with friends aboard.

Set in the Star Wars timeframe between Episode IV and Episode V, this first extension to the Star Wars Galaxies foundation opens 10 vast and distinct space sectors, spanning from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim, for players to explore while engaging their opponents in intense real-time combat or uniting with friends in battle or exploration. Players can embark on more than 100 new missions, venturing through asteroid fields, nebulae and space junkyards while honing skills in four new space-specific professions. The game also features two new and completely customizable species.

Since its launch in June 2003, Star Wars Galaxies has allowed players to live the Star Wars saga and become immersed in the classic Star Wars universe simultaneously. Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed continues the full immersion in the greatest Star Wars saga ever told: Yours.
Ok, the question to be asked though, will players get additional character slots?
Posted April 21 2004 by Div Devlin



DAoC Account Transfer Splits?
Drowned out last week by the echoed cheers for Dark Age of Camelot's announcment of the Catcombs expansion, was the subtle hint inserted into Friday's grab bag on the Camelot Herald that in the near future players will be able to transfer characters from one account to another. As written:

Q: My husband has been playing a character on my account when I'm not home, and has fallen in love with the game. We're going to buy him his own account and computer, but can we move his character off my account to his?

A: This is certainly one of the most popular questions I get. Every so often, I post it here, and I tell people that while we don't have that option right now, I appreciate their feedback and keep track of how many requests we get for it.

This time? All I'm going to say is you shouldn't roll up any characters on that new account just yet - keep it clean and pristine. And watch this space.
(Above Bolded for emphasis.)

Ok, this rocks. I need to hand it to the Mythic folks. I like them. They look out for the players. This is a win-win for everyone. My daughter can have her own DAoC account, thus allowing her to get off my PC with her own account. Mythic get's money, which they can inturn use to add more cool features. And, lest we forget the Ebay farmers who can create uber accounts stacked to the max for mad cash.

Some checking around (Thanks Lady!) shows that EverQuest offers a similar feature allowing a player to move 1 or 2 characters to an alternate account on the same server for $50.00; wonder what Mythic will charge, $40.00 would be cool I think.
Posted April 20 2004 by Div Devlin



Priest Renamed:
Preist, the FPS/Western/Horror/MMO themed game has bit the bullet and been renamed to "Rush Online."
The site has been de-englished, and no longer appears to be coming to North America.

Announced that beta would be starting towards the end of last year, which never materilized, it now looks that were not the market for this game. It was based off of the comic "Priest" in which players fought against zombies in the old American West, with injun magic and what-not.

See ya pardner.
Posted April 20 2004 by Div Devlin



Toontown Invades Japan:
You know Mickey Mouse? Bang! Bang!

Disney announces that their MMO Game, Towntown Online has made it's launch in Japan for kids and families to enjoy.
Walt Disney Internet Group today announced that its critically acclaimed Disney's Toontown Online is now available in Japan through a distribution deal with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation (NTT East) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corporation (NTT West). Hailed as the first downloadable massively multiplayer (MMP) 3D online game for kids and families, Disney's Toontown Online first launched in the U.S. in June 2003.

In Japan Disney's Toontown Online is now available to the 4.9 million subscribers to FLET's (B FLET's and FLET's ADSL), a high-quality broadband access service provided by NTT East and NTT West. The Japanese version of the game offers all of the same characters and unique game functionality as the popular U.S. version, but is a standalone MMP environment.
KeKe, La!

Congrats to the folks for breaking the mold and offering something new to more gamers!
Posted April 20 2004 by Div Devlin



City of Heroes Servers Named:
NCSoft and Cryptic have announced the name for their servers come release of their comic book inspired MMO game City of Heroes.
We know you've wanted information about the availability of servers. So, without further ado, here are the names for some of the planned CoH servers to help you with all your game playing and team coordinating needs. Please keep in mind that not all of these servers may be live on launch day, and it's also possible that more will be live. The final exact server setup will be based on load demand and server configuration.
"Justice"
"Pinnacle"
"Virtue"
"Liberty"
"Guardian"
"Infinity"
"Protector"
"Victory"
"Champion"
Where will you play?
Check our poll above right!
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Quick Hits:
Turbine gives a snapshot look on their page for Dungeons & Dragons Online with a brief overview. (Thanks GameBunny!)

Everyone is doing it now, so we may as well follow suit. Our version of quick hits, doing a fast recap of general gaming news. So we start with the new EverQuest 2 trailer available for viewing (requires QuickTime).

Death means everything, and World of Warcraft shares with us their death system. You die, but you don't. "OOOOooooOOOOO!"

Who could forget about Project Entropia, which will be making their way to E3 next month as part of Sweden's 20 game companies who are part of the hotspot for innovation in IT, and are now at the cutting edge of interactive game development.
I'm told that the long expected website for "Breath of Winter," the add-on to SpellForce - The Order of Dawn went online Friday. Someone send me the correct url, if ya can find it:)

Virtual Markets net cash payouts, and Julian Dibbell who for the past year has been running a test to see if he could make a higher salary as a UOMerchant filed his taxes on the due date. Check out how he did.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Darkfall Online Feature:
Adventurine was pretty busy last week! A new feature has been started on the Darkfall Online website in which BT Oren will give you a new perspective on the world of Darkfall. Called "Travels on Agon," you will get a close look at places you can visit when the game launches, as well as the people and monsters you'll encounter while there.
The travelogue will visit a different a place or region every 14 days. In addition to text-based observations, rich selections of graphical material (including screenshots) will indicate what the various locations and creatures look like in-game. As the series progresses, we will also use the travelogue to highlight and explain key aspects of Darkfall's gameplay.
As each chapter ends, you will be able to influence where the story goes next.

Three alternative destinations will be offered each time, and a community poll decides between them.

Check it.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Dragon Empires Newsletter:
Codemaster released their latest newsletter for Dragon Empires on Friday while I was out enjoying the 70 degree weather in Chicago after a freezing winter. Our weather is whacked! One day it's 30 and the next it's 70, go figure.

Anyways, in this installment they introduce a new creature to the bestiary, a female Alpha Predator which are the most vicious breed of creatures native to Fortitude. Are they saying females are vicious and creating a sterotype? Also is a new letter from Gadsolme, in which he comes to detail the prominent offices of the Redwing Empire.

This may already be old news, but be sure to check out the nine new screenshots in the gallery for the Empires.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Guild Wars E3 For Everyone!
ArenaNet announced their upcoming event "E3 For Everyone" taking place for Guild Wars running in conjuction with the E3Expo. This actually rocks.
ArenaNet is proud to welcome you to our Guild Wars E3 experience! From May 12 through 14, while Guild Wars is being demonstrated on the E3 show floor, players from around the world will be able to play the same experience over the Internet. This will give you a chance to take part in an E3 demonstration, something that is usually offered only to industry insiders!

This is a opportunity for you to play Guild Wars months before release, months even before beta testing. Our E3 for Everyone event will show our game in its alpha state. There may be glitches, but we're confident that the Guild Wars E3 Experience will make you a passionate fan.

This one-time-only E3 experience will include solo player quests, cooperative missions that begin the Guild Wars story, a competitive arena for multiplayer combat, and a competitive worldwide tournament that will run continuously with multiple levels and a variety of game types.
Copies of the alpha client will be available from PCGamer, GameSpot, the official Guild Wars website, as well as more links to be announced later.

Check it.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



MeO: Old Man Willow!
Old Man Willow has made his way into the revisioned MMO/RPG of classic Tolkien books for Middle-earth Online in devlopment by Turbine. From the World Section:
Deep in the heart of the Old Forest, Old Man Willow looms over the Withywindle River, spreading his rooted wisdom and malice to nearly every tree in the ancient woodland. He despises mortals for their assaults upon the living Forest, and uses his dominion over the trees to ensnare anyone foolish enough to enter this ancient remnant of a vast, forgotten wood.
Awesome screenshot.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Box Office Smash:
What a week and weekend for movies. Last week saw the DvD release of Kill Bill: Volume 1, followed by the theatrical release of "Kill Bill: Volume 2" on Friday. I rushed from work to catch the first show and missed it. Glad I did, as I'm told it had sell out crowds taking the number one spot over the weekend and raking in $25.6 million.

The "Punisher" took a healthy second at $14 million. Tommorrow is also the DvD release of "The Last Samurai," which is an awesome flick destined to become a classic.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Mourning Getting Facelift:
Mourning, the game formerly known as "Realms of Torment" in devlopment by Limitless Horizons has ganked their website once again for another facelift after rebranding and relaunching the information on the Realms of Krel domain. As posted:
The current site has been taken down in preperation for a future re-launch. The message boards will be kept up and active and all news and updates will be posted on the boards so check in often!

No ETA on site relaunch at the moment.
Join the community there on the boards here.

Meanwhile they have updated the games engine with new textures in which they released nine new screenshots of the games terrain last Friday.

Check Them Out.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Planetside Fan Faire:
Sony is holding a survey (registered account needed to vote) for Planetside in which they ask if you would be interested attending a Fan Faire for Planetside which would take place either during June or July in San Diego. Admission would run $100, with events including "Developer Panels, a Community Reception, LAN Gaming Room, Community Dinner, and other activities to be determined, such as a paintball event." So far, 1100+ people have voted, with 61% of the voters all saying "No!"

In other news, new vehicle variants with enhanced weapons, which are in development have been posted up for each empire.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Roma Victor Contest:
RedBedLam announced their logo competition for Roma Victor, their classic historically authentic MMORPG.
The winner of the logo design competition will not only see their logo used globally, but will also be presented with a replica 2nd century gladius sword - as used by the Roman legions - complete with an embossed scabbard featuring the winner's design.
The competition is open to all aspiring artists & designers over the age of 18, and all entries must be received by midnight August 1st 2004, the winner will be announced on August 14th 2004.

Check out the rules on how to enter. We need a logo for them too, so good luck!
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



Saga of Ryzom Manual:
Neverax has released a manual (in PDF format) to help folks out new to the open beta for Saga of Ryzom.

Included within is the games history and backstory for the role-play-ahs, basic actions within game (including how to create a character, basic controls, combat and magic, using the chat system, and gaining experience), and an advanced section (covering: crafting, mounts, and guilds).

38 pages, but I only counted 20 in all.
A good newbie guide.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



SWG Fan Faire!
Lucas Arts and Sony announce the first fanfest for players from Star Wars: Galaxies!

Taking place this June 4th and 5th in Anaheim they promise it will be a blast. Highlights to include:
- Meet and mingle with servermates
- Meet and chat with the development team of An Empire Divided
- Participate in panels and forums on all things Star Wars Galaxies related
- Play in both in-game and live events
- Win some very cool prizes from our sponsors
- Buy Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided and Star Wars related items
- Check out all the sights Anaheim, CA has to offer
Sony does know how to throw a fanfest without a doubt. Admission for this will set the fan back $89 if you pre-register, or $100 at the door. Included in the ticket price is admission to the weekend long event, which includes panels and forums all day Friday, followed by an official welcome reception complete with hors d’oeuvres. Saturday features a day full of panels and forums, the Live Adventure competition, a full banquet dinner, a costume contest and drawings for great prizes! You’ll also receive a free Anaheim 2004 Fan Fest commemorative t-shirt and badge.

Sign-Up Now.
Posted April 19 2004 by Div Devlin



DAoC Goes w/Instanced Content:
The press release from Mythic announces a new retail expansion pack in the works for Dark Age of Camelot which will introduce Instanced Content.

The full skinny on "Catacombs" is below!
Full Story
Posted April 15 2004 by Div Devlin



Dragon Empries Makeover:
The Dragon Empires website got a new doo, making them all shiney and new. Be sure to check out the new screenshots which were just released!
Posted April 15 2004 by Div Devlin



Soldner Fansite Contest:
This has to be the best contest evar!
EncoreUSA is hosting the ultimate contest for their title, Soldner. The contest involves creating a fansite for the game, marketing genius. Get a 20 or 30k in fansites overnight! Best part though, is the real prizes they are offering.
Spend a day with Wings, the developer of Soldner: Secret Wars. Enter your Soldner fan site for a chance to win a trip to Germany, servers and other great prizes. Create your own Soldner: Secret Wars fan site. To get you started, a fan site kit can be downloaded from the site.

Enter the contest!

If you are interested in Soldner, but can't make a fan site, enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 10 strategy guides from Prima.

Enter the sweepstakes!
Check out the details.
Posted April 14 2004 by Div Devlin



AC1 Expansion A Go:
Turbine sent out the official press release announcing that they have green lighted an expansion for Asheron's Call. From the release:
Turbine Entertainment Software Corp. today announced that fans of the award-winning 3D massively multiplayer online role playing game Asheron's Call(R) (AC) will receive a new expansion pack in early 2005. Available for the PC, the latest AC installment will offer fresh challenges to experienced players while welcoming new gamers to the colorful and exciting fantasy world of Dereth.
"When Turbine first created Asheron's Call we knew the game would be exciting, but we couldn't have imagined it would have such an overwhelming following of dedicated players," said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO, Turbine Entertainment Software. "This expansion is a great way to say 'thank you' to all of the AC1 players. They are the reason that AC will remain a popular and exciting online role playing game for a long time to come."
The Asheron's Call expansion pack is the first video game completely self-published by Turbine Entertainment Software. In addition, this project will be the first title developed in the company's new West Coast Studio located in Santa Monica, Calif. The expansion pack will be the third installment in the original AC series, following the launch of Asheron's Call in 1999 and the Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty(R) expansion published in 2001.

Key Expansion Pack Features
-- Graphics Upgrade: A substantial upgrade of Turbine's first generation graphics engine, the Turbine Engine(R), which serves as the backbone to Asheron's Call. The upgrade is expected to more than double the original texture size, resulting in more detailed characters, creatures and landscapes. Most importantly, the improvements won't significantly impact performance, allowing robust play even on lower-end machines.
-- New Elder Game: An intricate and involved strategic resource and land control system that will allow players to compete for enhanced skills and town ownership. Through a new land-raid system, players will also be able to invade other allegiance's territory and attempt to plunder the opposition's resources, skills and abilities.

In addition to these key features, there will be many new stories, monsters and hours of additional game play. Turbine also plans to support the expansion's release with a new story arc promoted through in-game episodic content. This approach will further build upon the massive amounts of existing content by providing new and exciting story lines and adventures. Turbine will release further details about the new chapter - such as the complete feature set - in future announcements.
Could this be the test bed for self-publishing Middle-earth Online and Dungeons and Dragon's Online. If Turbine flop's the release for an AC expansion 400,000 potetntial customers will not be affected, right?
Posted April 14 2004 by Div Devlin



Saga of Ryzom Enters Open Beta:
Themis sends out the press release announcing that French Developers Nevrax have opened beta for their upcoming game, Saga of Ryzom.
Nevrax (http://www.nevrax.com), an independent online game and software developer, announced today that the Saga of Ryzom, its highly anticipated multi-genre massively multiplayer RPG, enters Open Beta beginning today, April 13th 2004. Community relations and customer support for the beta will be provided by the Themis Group in the United States, and hosting will be provided by Jolt Online Gaming.
It's actually not that open of a beta afterall. You have to be a member of Fileplanet if you would like to explore the game this week:
The Beta 3 client will be available online exclusively through Gamespy's Fileplanet download service (http://www.fileplanet.com). Only subscribers of the Fileplanet service will have access to the Open Beta the first week, with open admittance beginning the week after. The Beta 3 client will also be distributed as a DVD insert in leading gaming publications in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
We currently have a small commando team inside game, and should have a preview out next week.
Posted April 14 2004 by Div Devlin



WoW, Furor from FoH Hired!
In a rumor released last night over on The Corp, has it that legenday guild Fires of Heaven a much renown and disliked guild from EverQuest, saw their leader (despised by most of the EverQuest Community) hired by Blizzard as a "Quest Writer" for the World of Warcraft team. From Corp News:
But Blizzard has a history of courting EQ players, both subtly, with their painfully similar gameplay, and overtly, by hiring former catass uberguild leaders. Like DAoC before it, the launch of WoW is shaping up to be a raiding party on Sony's playerbase, a plan whose wisdom has been questioned in the past, due to the fact that dividing up an ever-smaller pie just makes everyone hungrier. But now, they've finally abandoned all sense of reality, and have inserted their collective heads up their asses and sneezed.

According to many individuals close to both Blizzard and the various parties involved, Blizzard has hired Furor, reportedly as a Quest Writer.
The search for the truth begins. Is Furor on the team?

Thanks to AU, the truth is revealed:
"Yeah - we hired Alex a month ago as a quest designer. As I am sure you know, people in real life are commonly quite different than their online personas. We interviewed Alex along with 15 other candidates and hired him and a designer from Horizons to fill our quest designers positions. Alex is not here to make our game harder or more "cat-ass" as your fans like to call it. He actually has a pretty good head for casual gamer quests, and has already fixed quite a few newbie quest problems. Anyways, I have been waiting for the shit to hit the fan on this one, since I know he has polarized quite a bit of the hardcore MMORPG community, but its not like we are asking him to be our community manager..."
This is news worthy?
Posted April 14 2004 by Div Devlin



CoH NDA Removed:
Following yesterday's announcement of City of Heroes going gold, is the announcment that the NDA has been officially removed.
We are pleased to announce that the City of Heroes NDA has been lifted! This means that those playing the game are free to talk about all aspects openly. So what are you waiting for? Start sharing info and feel free to discuss the game on our public message board!
Now that the gag order has been removed, what do you really think of the game?
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



DAoC Siege Equipment:
Apologies to Chern who sent this in last week. Dark Age of Camelot has their "Siege Weapons" page up and running for the New Frontiers expansion. Included in the goodness are basic over view facts of siege weapons, as well as descriptions for each of the items that fall into the caried item categories.

They have Boilng Oil!
Learn More.
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



Eve Online Breaks 9k:
CCP announced that as of Saturday night, they have broken the 9k barrier within Eve Online for the most consecutive number of players online within game simultaneously!
This evening at 20:45, 9.144 played EVE Online at the same time. This is the thirteenth time this year that EVE Online breaks what is probably a world record for highest number of players together, at the same time, in the same persistent 3D world.
10k any day now! Since we have all these MMO Games which are making claims that they will release and support over 10,000 players online, we can say that CCP is making history and will be the first game ever to support this many players. Everyone which will release will just be following the ground work CCP already made. Ruins the bragging rights for other developers who have been advertising, "The Most Players Online In Any Game World," or for those who trademarked the term, "Ultra MMO!"

Congrats to CCP. Were watching!
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



Face of Mankind Beta Logs:
Duplex Systems has ended their first week of beta testing for Face of Mankind, and are excited. To go along with the excitement shared by testers within game, they have released the first impressions from their testing community for reading, as they write:
The first week of beta has flown by and it was so exciting for us developers and hopefully for the testers, too.

Everybody wants to hear how the game is evolving and what our testers do all day in Face of Mankind. We collected first impressions of their day by day virtual life.
Check em.
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



MeO Dev Diary:
Middle-earth Online has a new developer diary up which was released last week. This one is from GubTug with the role of Production Artist. Inside he tells about his enjoyment of working at Turbine, and goes on to give a a peep at the expanding sets of armor that will be in game.

Give it a read, it's his first.
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



MXO To Use AIM:
Warner Bros. announced that they will be using AOL's Instant Messenger Service within game for the Matrix Online. From the Press Release:
America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced that the popular AOL(R) Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM(R)) service will be seamlessly integrated into The Matrix Online. This marks the first time that players in a massively multi-player online game can link an existing AIM identity to a new in-game character, creating seamless real-time communication with other Matrix players as well as other AIM buddies - whether inside or outside of The Matrix Online.

The integration of AOL Instant Messenger into The Matrix Online will enable players to see the online presence of fellow gamers and communicate with them at any time. Players who are jacked into The Matrix Online will be able to send instant messages to their friends in real time, regardless of whether or not they are playing. This will enable players in the game to chat real-time with their online friends who are not currently playing the game to ask them for gameplay tips and tricks or alert them to jack in and join a mission.
I thought most people hate AIM now, and only use it in conjunction of Trillian?
Posted April 13 2004 by Div Devlin



World of Warcraft Preview pt3:
Olaf continues his look into the World of Warcraft in his third part of a continuing series released last Friday. In this installment he takes a look into, "Advanced Gameplay, Grouping, and Questing."
The most significant improvement WoW brings to the MMORPG table [with questing], is its take on that staple of fantasy role-playing. First off, there are a lot of them. And these aren't boring, randomly generated time sinks that some games offer. They are all hand crafted and, like many other things in WoW, they feel like they belong without coming across as clichéd.
Check it.
Posted April 12 2004 by Div Devlin



Themis Group Expands:
Themis Group Expands is the press release announcing two new hires joining the team.
Stamford, CT - April 12th, 2004 - Themis Group today announced that it has hired Jerry Godwin, the former customer service manager for Anarchy Online and head of Funcom's US office, to fill the position of Customer Service Manager. Also joining the Themis Group is Joe Blancato of Waterthread.org fame.

"I know the impact this group of talented people can have for any gaming company, new or well established," said Mr. Godwin. "I am really excited about my new relationship with the Themis Group."

At Funcom, Mr. Godwin spent over 3 years working his way from Gamemaster to Customer Service Manager and manager of the US office. During his time at Funcom, Mr. Godwin was relocated to Norway for 5 months, giving him invaluable experience with the European community. Jerry first worked with Themis Group while Themis was consulting to Funcom on Anarchy Online, where he found himself meshing amiably with the group and establishing camaraderie.

"We're very excited to have Jerry on board," said Alexander Macris, CEO of Themis Group. "His previous experiences on MMORPGs and existing working relationship with the team here are invaluable."

The Themis Group, founded in August 2001, has worked with leading online game developers and publishers on a variety of engagements in the past 24 months, including community management and marketing on NetDevil's Jumpgate, digital marketing on CDV's Neocron, Nicely Crafted's Time of Defiance, and Cyber Warrior's Rubies of Eventide. Themis is currently working with Mutable Realms to manage the beta test for its UMMORPG, Wish, and is providing marketing and customer service for Nevrax Ltd on the upcoming MMORPG the Saga of Ryzom.
Were not going to do smarmy today. Link: Themis Group

Discussion thread on Joe by CorpNews.
Posted April 12 2004 by Div Devlin



City of Heroes Goes Gold:
Competing with themeslves, NC Soft announced today that their upcoming Comic Book Based MMO Game, City of Heroes has gone gold! And Pre-Order players will get a three day head start to everyone else:
NCsoft Corporation, the world's leading developer and publisher of online computer games, announces that City of Heroes' has reached gold master status in North America and will soon be on its way to retailers in the United States and Canada. The company also announces that all customers who purchase the City of Heroes pre-order box and register their account will have a three-day head start in the game over customers who purchase the game on or after the launch date. The official launch date for City of Heroes is April 28.

City of Heroes, developed by Cryptic Studios, is the first game of its kind, a massively-multiplayer online game based on the comic book genre, where players can create their own unique super-powered heroes and defend the citizens of the fictional metropolis, Paragon City, from alien hordes, corrupt corporations, villainous gangs, and street thugs. The game boasts quite possibly the most extensive character creation system ever, allowing players to fully customize a truly distinctive hero or heroine.

The game will be available at a suggested retail price of US$49.99 and includes the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.99. Sixty-day game time cards will also be available at many North American retailers at a suggested retail price of US$29.99.
Are you ready?
Posted April 12 2004 by Div Devlin



Lineage II Goes Gold:
NCSoft also announces that Lineage II has gone golden!
Lineage II is the visually-stunning prequel to the world?s most popular online game, Lineage. Group with friends, tame powerful dragons, participate in epic struggles and lay siege to majestic castles in this massive medieval fantasy world created with Epic's Unreal engine.

The game will be available at a suggested retail price of US$49.99 and includes the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.99. Sixty-day game time cards will also be available at many North American retailers for a suggested retail price of US$29.99.
Where will you play?
Posted April 12 2004 by Div Devlin



Site Changes:
As you may of noted, over the weekend we had to make some drastic changes overall to the site. Some aspects are still broken, but we have been able to correct the problem with those annoying pop-ups which loaded on entry to a new page. Now, the cookies should be correct and you will only see a new pop-up every twelve hours. (Note: The message boards pull from a different database, so going to the boards and the regular site will cause a second pop-up. Were working on that.)

We also added two new features to the site. Now, you do not have to to every top site listing to get the word out about your Clan, Gaming Group, or Guild, for mmo games. Now, you can join into our MMO Guilds Top List, regardless of what game or games you may be in. Be sure to sign up, as each month we will be offering up a "Hall of Fame," and a "Hall of Shame." We may even be able to offer some prizes for the guilds that rise to the top. (Not gaurenteed!)

Last is that if you are ready to move away from free hosting companies, and are looking for reliable hosting for your start-up guild, or established guild, we now offer hosting services. Were MMO Gamers, and we know how hard it is to get a guild up and running. You need to the down and dirty to send people. We can host your domain name and webpages. Or, if you are a lrger guild in need of dedicated server space, we can help with that also. So, tell us your need and we can provide you a package.
Posted April 12 2004 by Div Devlin



Community Interviews:
Conquer Online
Warcry interviews Frank Chen.

Lineage II
1UP interviews Raoul Kim.

Wish
Markee Dragons interviews Dana Massey.
Posted April 8 2004 by Div Devlin



Big Man Leaves EA:
Electronics Arts looks like it's suffering from a break down, as President and Chief Operating Officer John Riccitiello, resigns.
Electronic Arts today announced that President and Chief Operating Officer John Riccitiello, responsible for global publishing, online and other corporate departments, has resigned his position effective immediately but will remain at EA for a transition period.
"I want to thank John for the tremendous contribution he's made in the past six years," said CEO Larry Probst. "His vision and leadership have been extremely valuable and he has built an outstanding team. I wish John the very best."

"My time at EA was the best work experience in my life," said Mr. Riccitiello. "Personally, it is time to do something different and I intend to start a private equity business. I'm leaving EA when the company is enriched with the best people, the best properties and a very bright future."

Mr. Probst will continue as CEO and assume interim responsibility for Mr. Riccitiello's duties while EA evaluates candidates to join the company's senior leadership team.
Was he based in Austin also?
Posted April 8 2004 by Div Devlin



DAoC Begins New Frontiers Beta:
Matt Frior posts over on the Herald that New Frontiers beta testing for Dark Age of Camelot had begun, as of two days ago:
just wanted to let you all know that we started Dark Age of Camelot: New Frontiers beta testing two days ago. Currently there are only a few allowed into the beta program; these are Team Leads and other Pendragon community members. We'll expand the number of testers in a few weeks - eventually our goal is to have a totally open beta that any subscriber can join.
Thanks Chern!
Posted April 8 2004 by Div Devlin



Matrix Online News:
HomelanFed reports that GameSpot is reporting that the new DvD release could become a collectors items as an interview with Ubi was included in the features. A new DvD is being printed which will cut the original interview out.
Posted April 8 2004 by Div Devlin



Shadowbane No More?
Could this be a prelude for the next MMO Game to be shut down? Ubi relaunches their official home page for their game line-up, and missing from the list is their MMO Game "Shadowbane" from their online games directory. Although it is still listed in the PC games directory, it is not listed in their top games or community section. URU remains though.

The Rise of Chaos expansion is down to $9.99 also.

Discuss: Is this the end?
Posted April 8 2004 by Div Devlin



World of Warcraft Preview: Part Duex!
For those just joining (stop hitting refresh!) the second part of Olaf's hands on look into World of Warcraft is available.

In this installment, he looks at the gameplay, Character Creation, His First Steps in this Great Big World, and ofcourse killing stuff.

Check it.
Posted April 7 2004 by Div Devlin



Anarchy Online Content Patch:
Anarchy Online has a patch bringing the game to v15.5 adding new content.
Among the most important additions you will find:
New dungeon:
The "Crypt of Home," is a brand new static dungeon found on Rubi-Ka. This eerie and atmospheric dungeon is aimed at players from level 60 to 110. The ?Crypt of Home? promises an intense and challenging combat experience, while holding substantial rewards for those who can conquer the end boss.

New chat interface:
multiple chat windows A brand new chat interface is available in Anarchy Online! Now You can have multiple chat windows open at any one time. We believe this will greatly ease in-game communication. You can tweak and adjust the setting to your own liking, so don't be afraid to experiment. You can also find a new guide on the chat interface.
Also added is a whole slew of additional improvements. Visit the in production site for the full overview.
Posted April 6 2004 by Haren



Community Chats:
Dragon Empires
Warcry chats with Ted Carron (Producer).

CGW Magazine
MarkeeDragon chats with Steve Bauman (Editor-And-Chief)
Posted April 6 2004 by Haren



Face of Mankind Starts Beta:
Duplex Systems announces that BETA ONE has begun for Face of Mankind, their MMORPG/FPS set in the 24th century. From the site:
During the next weeks, the Duplex Systems staff and our beta testers are working close together all day to improve the state of the game. Big thanks to all beta testers for taking this journey with us.
To sign-up for Beta, go here.
Posted April 6 2004 by Haren



World of Warcraft Cloaks:
The World of Warcraft site has five new screenshots about cloaks to keep you looking good, and feeling warm to cloak yourself in, when adventuring within game.

You already knew this, right.
Posted April 6 2004 by Haren



Filling In:
Div is taking a day+ one off, so I am filling in once again. Now that I have the keys, I'll be adding news as they arrive.

Since the site moved to the new server, expect us to take the pop-up's down over the next couple of days, if not by the end of tonight.

1) My PopBlocker is Not Blocking Them.
2) They Irritate Me.
3) The cookies broke, so they load on every page.

Div always breaking things, and making all of us suffer.
Thank me later, by snding any news updates I miss to news@gamerifts.com

Chow.
Posted April 6 2004 by Haren



World of Warcraft Preview:
Olaf knows the pain you endure, by not being one of the chosen few within the closed beta from Blizzard for World of Warcraft. To ease the suffering as an outsider looking in, he goes deep within beta to answer questions and offer his views as a gamer, for gamers with the first part of his World of Warcraft preview.
The more you play the game, the more you appreciate the graphics. Each region I traveled to had a consistent and believable feel. The scenery and landscaping is far from just eye candy. Not simply dressed up polygons existing solely to tax your rig or stroke an artist's ego. These things *belong* where they are in the gameworld. In the ravaged agricultural region of Westfall, something is amiss. Tension fills the air, even before you come across the first abandoned field. Getting lost on the streets of the massive human capital of Stormwind, and stumbling upon the Cathedral of the Light, I felt small. Humbled almost, as if it were a real holy place and I the uninvited heathen.
Read On.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



As The Market Turns:
Epic Games To Use NovodeX AG for the Unreal Engine
Epic Games announced they have selected Novodex AG, creators of the industry acclaimed NovodeX Physics SDK to provide advanced physics and simulation technology for their Unreal Engine technology.
"The NovodeX Physics SDK provides a rock-solid foundation for physics and simulation in the Unreal Engine," said Tim Sweeney, CEO Epic Games.
NovodeX's combination of raw performance and advanced functionality will allow Unreal to continue to raise the bar for spectacular effects and kick-ass gameplay.

Gateway Put Out to Pasture
Gateway is closing all of it's retail stores, 2,500 employee's getting the pink slip.
Moo.

GDC Credit Card Fraud
Scott Jenning is reporting over on his site BrokenToys that if you happened to use a credit card at the Cambodian/Chinese restaraunt next door, check your credit card statement. You may of been a victim of credit card fraud and charged for "Web Design Services."

Netdevil not Jumping with Jumpgate
Unconfirmed rumors which began circulating at GDC are that Netdevil plans to discontinue support for Jumpgate, to refocus on two of their console games in development.
/Sqaushed by Netdevil.
EDIT: "Netdevil does have other projects in development, with a major release scheduled later this year (check out Auto Assault at E3, in the NCSoft booth), Jumpgate is currently receiving the same level of support from Netdevil as it has for the past two years, and at the time of this writing there are no plans to change that." (Thanks to Istvan from NetDevil for correcting us!)

Sun Stops to Shine
Sun Microsystems cutting 3,300 staff members.

Warcry to Implode (90 Days?)
We recently heard that Ophelea the driving force behind the Warcry Network has left the building. Hearsay has it, that after a disagreement with management her jack-of-all-trades-do-everything-gal role was terminated. This could spell the doom for another network that covered MMO games specifically after all the work she has done over the past several years.

We wish Ophelea the best, and look forward to wherever she may turn up next. (Happy Birthday to J.The Damned Vulpine!)
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



EQ2 Goes Vociferous:
Sony Online Entertainment Inc. announced that EverQuest II will be the first MMO game to feature voiceover for in-game Non-Player Characters (NPCs). The voiceover will be comprised of more than 130 hours of dialog and approximately 1.5 million words (the equivalent of more than 65 feature films worth of content). The addition of voiceover to the game adds a new dimension of realism to the MMO genre that is unmatched by the current generation of titles.
"Including voiceover for NPCs in EverQuest II is an incredibly ambitious project," said John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment. "Few publishers could even imagine undertaking such a huge project, but we're committed to taking EverQuest II to the next level. By giving our in-game characters voices for the first time in a massively multiplayer online environment, we are raising the bar for the genre as a whole, breaking down the boundaries between static, text-driven interface and meaningful, cinematic interaction."
EverQuest II will deliver a unique online gaming experience to players with a cast of more than 100 actors, including well-known Hollywood talent. Featuring nearly 100,000 lines spoken by thousands of characters, the voiceover project is a major undertaking that is sure to mark the beginning of a new era for the MMO genre.

After launch, SOE will continue to add new voiceover content whenever new quests are added to the game. Additionally, EverQuest II players will have the ability to choose whether or not they wish to hear the voiceovers, giving them maximum control over their individual level of immersion and system performance.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



Eve Online: I Want You Back!
CCP is putting out an exclusive 14 day access pass to former Beta Testers for Eve Online to come back and take a spin through the galaxy.
First we would like to officially thank you for participating in the EVE Online beta test, without your help and support EVE would not be where it is today ? A fast growing world with tens of thousands of active players.

Since the Beta Test numerous things have happened and the game has not only grown in stability, but many new features have been implemented that have transformed EVE to what we all hoped it could be.

As a token of our appreciation, we are offering you an exclusive 14-day access pass so you can explore the world you took part in creating.
Former Beta Testers were sent e-mails with exclusive keys to unlock accounts for the trial.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



FungWan Online Gold:
FungWan Online the oriental martial art's themed game based off the comics by Ma Wing Sing has gone gold. Set against the backdrop of ancient China, the comic’s famous heroes and villains are brought to life in a fully interactive 3D experience. FungWan Online will be offering sponsor FREE game time for all till 9th April 2004.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



Saytr's Free In Horizons:
Horizons players have given freedom to the Saytr's on two more servers. Joining Shadow on the North American servers, both Dawn and Life players have freed the Satyrs from their long subjugation at the hands of the Withered Aegis. Twilight appears close with Expanse nipping at their heels, but the other shards may surprise everyone and become the next to liberate the Satyrs!

A status is available for all the caves and machines as of Friday, April 2nd.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



PotBS Ship Officers and DevLog:
Pirates of the Burning Sea has updated their information with a release on "Ship Officers." Within they look at the titles and roles of shipboard officers, from the Master to the Carpenter, with coverage of the British, French, and Spanish navies as well as civilian ships.

Also, the lead devloper Joe has a new DevLog up with a look at his trip to GDC.
Posted April 5 2004 by Div Devlin



EA PAYS THE UO COUNSELORS:
It's been a long and stupid battle, depending on whom you speak with.

Late last year, it was reported that the Ultima Online lawsuit between former counselors had been settled out-of-court, for an undisclosed amount. After exchanging forms with EA for the past several months, former counselors opened their mail today to discover this check from EA's official bank.

Discuss: Show me the money!
Posted April 2 2004 by Div Devlin



Dragon Empires Chat & Site Change:
Dragon Empires follows suit with everyone else as they redesign their website. Meanwhile, MarkeeDragon chats it up with Peter Tyson:
What do you feel will be the major contributions by Dragon Empires to the evolution of online gaming?(different/new/improvedsystems/aspects/play styles)

Peter Tyson : I think the look and feel of the world will be exciting to people as well as the unique style of the empires. I think we have a fresh approach to the fantasy MMOG that many gamers will enjoy. Also, I think the way the economy, politics and the combat are tied together is something new and very deep. It will take a while for players to really 'get it', but once they do they will see how powerful it it and how many options it gives them in perusing their goals.
Check it.
Posted April 2 2004 by Div Devlin



Denied For EQ:Fan Faire!
Nothing is worse then seeing another person you respect get the shaft. This weekend over in Las Vegas EverQuest is holding their Fan Faire in celebration of thier Fifth Anniversay.

AnyUzer from AnyUzer.com was looking forward to attending and was at the airport, where everything went bad.

He was denied entrance to the plane, because he is a web-site writer!
Just when you thought the waters were safe.

Read his tragic tale.
Posted April 2 2004 by Div Devlin

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