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2

Age of Conan Siege Demo looks amazing!

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few days now.  When I first heard of Age of Conan I was extremely interested in the potential of a PVP based game taken to the next level.  Right now the combat system is possibly being completely revamped, thus the enormous delay, but what I knew of the system when I first heard of AoC was that it had a twitch element to it and it actually could require skill.  Regardless of the impending new combat system, AoC fell off my radar.  I lost interest in AoC for some time because, to be quite honest, it didn’t look good enough to compete with Warhammer Online.  However now that AoC has seen much more press coverage and more information has been released I am starting to get lured in by the videos available on youtube and their official site.

I stumbled upon this Age of Conan Siege Demonstration while reading an article on what AoC brought to GenCon.  What I saw in this video gave me chills.  Outposts have to be built up over time (Weeks according to this video) and guilds will actually have to defend them against real player attacks.  These forts will have walls both outer and inner for defense and they can be attacked by real player catapults and have real battle damage done to them.  Everything I see in this video appeals to the PvPer inside of me.  The combat looked good and the characters with mounts looked even better!  I can’t do the video any justice by talking about it so please, if you’re at all interested in PvP or Age of Conan, watch this video!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TTsDVeurU8[/youtube]

After watching this a few times I am now trying to decide how I am going to come up with the money to play both Warhammer Online and Age of Conan.  Finding the time to play both may just prove to be impossible.

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LOTRO Housing: Everything you could possibly want to know!

I’m hooked when it comes to MMORPG housing.  DAOC and Star Wars Galaxies had the greatest implementations of any MMORPG housing attempt I have ever seen and EQ2 didn’t do so badly either.  I love owning property and decorating it.  There’s something amazing added to the immersion of a game when you don’t feel as though you are a guest in the world anymore.  It’s because of this passion for housing that I am excited to share with you all a great compendium of LOTRO housing knowledge.  I found this information compiled in one place on Turbine’s official LOTRO boards in a topic called “What we know about housing”.  Enjoy!

  • Instanced Neighborhoods
  • Multiple Housing Sizes
  • The House itself will be buyable, not buildable
  • First Area Being Developed is in Bree
  • Ability to Decorate
  • Items for Houses can be made via Crafting (New recipes)
  • Houses will have extra storage
  • Friends will be allowed to enter
  • To Be Released w/Book 11
  • Possible “Equip” Slots for House Upgrades
  • Raid Housing Trophies
  • Anyone who wants a house will be able to get one
  • No Kinship-only Neighborhoods
  • Possible ability to set entry Permissions
  • 30 Houses per Neighborhood

Read More for an enormous compendium of LOTRO Housing info! Clicky! -> Continue reading

3

LOTRO Free Trial and misleading statistics

Today Turbine announced in a press release that a 7-day Free Trial is finally available.  Nearly four months and several gimmicks later there will finally be a way for players to try LOTRO without having to go through another player.  As many others have noticed the press release included a few interesting notes worth mentioning:

“LOTRO has received critical acclaim from around the globe.  Since its launch in April, LOTRO has quickly become the second largest MMORPG with an estimated 4 million characters calling Middle-earth their home.”

Maybe it’s clever and perhaps it’s absolutely true, but does anyone else think it’s misleading to say you have 4 million characters playing?  It’s like they’re trying to say they have 4 million people playing.  Yes, I’m absolutely reading into this but why not just say the number of active accounts so that they are at least giving a number that means something.  I’ll use myself as an example here as an active subscriber.  I have something like 10-12 characters that consist of name holders, alts, extra bank chars(mules), etc across a few servers.  What if everyone had at least 5 characters on their account?  That’s 800,000 subscribers!  That’s NOT bad!  Personally I don’t think they have that many.  I’ve played on 4 different servers and given the number of current servers there’s no way they have 800,000 people playing the game.

Now how about that “second largest MMORPG” line?  Uh, no?  I’ll try and defend Turbine on this and hope they were just trying to be misleading instead of misinforming.  There are a dozen MMORPG’s that I can think of with more players.  But let’s just assume they were being misleading and they meant to say “second largest MMORPG in North America that requires a subscription”.  First off, we have no way to determine if that’s true because they’ve already made it clear they don’t want to be straight forward with their subscription numbers.  Given these perameters LOTRO has direct competition with (off the top of my head) WoW, CoH/V, and EQ2 in North America alone!  Let’s include the Asian and Euro market and we have Lineage 1 and 2, WoW’s world-wide market, FF11, and so on.  Now let’s take it a step further and count the FREE MMOs.. Maple Story, Gaia, and quickly you can see how ridiculous it is to claim LOTRO is the “second largest MMORPG”.

It’s not my goal to pick on Turbine.  I currently play LOTRO and I plan to keep playing LOTRO for a long time.  The game is starting to really get good and I am SO glad that I stuck with it through the rough times.  I’m simply curious why there’s a need to mislead people?  You have a great game with plenty of people playing and that should make you proud.  Hopefully this trial will bring more people to the game so that we can see continued growth and a long future for both Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online.

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Warhammer Online August Newsletter is here!

Check those inboxes people!  We have a great deal of information this month that was well due to us given the nature of last month’s “Look at our pictures” podcast.  The podcast wasn’t the only improvement this month!  This month’s Grab Brag(#17) goes into minor (yet interesting) detail on spell resists and character specialization.  Let’s look at the grab bag first and I’ll share with you the two questions that I feel were the best.

Q: Are any of the spells going to be on a binary resist system, or will all spells be on a partial resist system?

A: Resists are basically magical armor. They mitigate but do not completely prevent magical damage.

Q) You have said in early editions of the Grab Bag that the eight winds will work as resistances. As there is only the Bright Wizard as an arcane magic career, will players have options in “skill trees” or “magic trees” to assume other stereotypes of magic users like shadow wizards, beast wizards etc? And will we see the Imperial Colleges of magic in action in WAR?

A) Not skill trees, per se, but players will be able to specialize fairly significantly via the tactics and morale systems. We’ve completely overhauled the advancement system over the previous couple of months to greatly expand the opportunities for differentiation and specialization within a career-path. In most cases, this will involve providing two major lines of specialization (more for certain careers) and offering players the option (not just with magic users) to choose to push their character in one direction or another, or create a hybrid of the two. Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast that runs through all of this in exhausting detail.

So that’s pretty simple and actually really cool that resists will be, basically, magical armor.  Making a total assumption, if your fire resist is 200 then it will mitigate a percentage of damage done by a fire source of a certain level.  This is a fairly standard way of thinking for those of us who are veterans to MMO’s.  This also simplifies the system and allows for spell casters to feel that they are perhaps not completely useless against “uber” geared players; I always hated when my fireball would be completely resisted in PVP… such a pain.

Next up we have August’s Podcast which is my absolute favorite part of this month!   Josh Drescher fills our minds with everything we could possibly want to know about the strengths, weaknesses, fighting style, engagement style, and specialty of every single class type!  If you were on the edge about choosing a melee dps or a ranged dps or any other combination this will definitely give you the info you need to make the decision that matches your play style.  For me I know for certain now that I am going to play a Goblin Shaman.

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=iXQBjWuDPOk[/youtube]

The Beta journal this month is interesting but they can never really say much that we don’t already know.  It offers a small insight into playing a Dwarf Oathbearer but that’s pretty much it.   Paul’s video diaries deliver, as always, and offer yet again a look on the inside of the development of WAR with his touch of humor.  And of course I can’t forget to mention the Fan Art submitted by those with incredibly much more talent than me.

Alrighty!  Great month for Warhammer Online fans!  Who else is ready for September already?

A change in Warhammer Online’s Morale System

I found a fantastic interview on WarCry yesterday that features a Q and A at PAX with the Warhammer Online PAX team. In the interview Matt Lowery asks the WAR Pax team many fantastic questions but the one that stood out to me most was the change to the morale system.

WarCry: Can you explain a bit about how exactly the Morale system works? How do you gain it and use it?

Warhammer PAX: Being in combat. With Morale, we actually just made a major change in Morale. It’s one of those things that it’s almost like a living being, it’s still changing a lot. It use to be where you would actually spend your Morale at different levels. So what we are doing now is giving a lot more variety to Morale abilities at different ranks. So anytime you are in combat, your Morale will be building, and then you will be able to use those Morales in your power scale. So as you are in combat longer you can use more powerful Morale abilities. So lets say your Morale bar is at 80%, and you use your 80% morale ability, you don’t lose the morale, instead there is a timer before you can use the ability again. So ofcourse the more powerful the ability the longer the timer before you can use it again. So that’s the current state, I don’t know what it will be exactly in the end, but that’s how its being done now.

I’m not sure how I feel about this change. Before this change players would need to gain morale during combat and then spend it on abilities. You could use your abilities that use low morale and attack in little spurts or you could save up your morale and use it all on one of your high end abilities. However, now the system doesn’t expend your morale at all. You are gaining morale and will be able to spam your abilities (on a timer) regardless of worrying about losing the morale you’ve built up.

I suppose this could offer more diversity in combat and also increase the speed and flow of each fight. I’ll look at it in a positive light for now. Check out the full Q and A! It’s definitely worth the read.

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