Aion: Info about Patch 1.9 Leaked

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - No Comments »

leakedinfo

A secret link of “Aion Community Team” was found at the end page of Eye on Community 02.26.2010 which revealed(intentionally or not) some details on the upcoming Aion Patch 1.9. The information also notes that a larger update will release in late 2010. Ever since the info leaked, players have been speculating about whether this is the grand Aion 2.0 update or not. There have also been speculations about the level cap raising in version 2.0.

During this meeting hosted by the development team, we’ll finalize the plans for the upcoming Aion update. In addition, we’ll be discussing the larger update of late 2010 that follows the v1.9 content update. Communnity Managers have been invited and their attendance is mandatory. As usual, the information we discuss is confidential and should not be disclosed outside the company. This is especially important to all Community Managers that have been recently requesting the immediate release of information. We will be discussing new content for the entire player base, but this meeting will also address some of the upcoming content that will affect our higher level players. Some of those topics will include:

-Daily Quests for level 50 and below
-New abilities
-Stun attack defense system
-Two-handed weapon transformation
-Dark Poeta drop rate increases.

We’ll be serving light lunch featuring the usual Tutty ‘n’ Beans.
Please discuss any vegetarian needs with the office manager. Please do not come wearing one of the transformed shapes from the Solarius items–we want attendees to be able to readily recognize each other. Review the attached PowerPoint slides and come prepared with your company-issues Shugo personal assistant and translator.

Lord of the Rings Online – Volume III, Book 1 Now Live

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - No Comments »

lord_of_the_rings_online

The latest update for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online, entitled Volume III, Book 1: Oath of the Rangers, is now live. It introduces 4 new skirmishes, Duo Mode, new high-level skills, and the Spring Festival to the game. The new skirmishes include the Necromancer’s Tower and Depths of Nûrz Ghâshu, and each one is intended for 12 players. Additionally, new crafting recipes and updates were introduced, as well as a new scenario featuring the Rangers of the middle earth.

More information about the new update is available here.

NetModerator to put an End to MMO Cheating/Farming?

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

crisp

Crisp, the foremost expert on behavioral analysis technology for online communities, today announced NetModerator for MMOs.  NetModerator promises to finally put an end to cheaters, spammers, farmers, botters, powerleveling and griefing.  Quite a list.

NetModerator will allow MMO companies to use real-time profiling to identify and deal with these naughty activities.

Crisp’s new control system gives moderators real-time management control of online interactions by reading, analyzing, reporting and intervening on abusive in-game activities and communications.  Installations of the system are customized to analyze the specific activities each customer wishes to monitor.  These include any or all of the MMO modules developed by Crisp as well as behaviors specific to a particular game.

This level of automation reduces the need for live moderation/customer service for low-level issues by up to 80 percent. The resources formerly dedicated to those activities can be directed to high instances that need high level human decisions.

“Gold farmers, cheaters and griefers are huge threats to the long-term success of any MMO.  Yet, the industry has had to adopt a passive model — waiting for players to report the problems after their experience has been ruined,” said Adam Hildreth, CEO of Crisp.  “NetModerator for MMOs gives companies a weapon that lets them actively detect and deal with problems before most players even have a chance to notice.”

Quite a lofty goal if you ask me, but definitely a welcomed one.  My question would be what is the percentage of false positives? I mean we all farm a little, powerlevel from time to time and if we get mad we might say some inappropriate things in chat.  I would be interested to see how this works while people are actually playing.

To find out more about NetModerator, check out the Crisp website here.

Global Agenda Advancing To V1.1 Tomorrow

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

mmoc_global_agenda_patch_v1.1Hi-Rez Studios announces that Global Agenda will receive it’s first full-fledged patch tomorrow.  The title will move to v1.1 after remaining at v1.0 (incremental patches aside) since launch in early February.

The patch includes a few additions that were highly requested by the playerbase including:

  • A much needed friends and ignore list.
  • New Conquest zones that have times more convenient for the international community.
  • Increased plate drops, used for crafting, by 50%.
  • Items can now be repaired.
  • PvP maps can be chosen, and players can filter PvE for “balanced” groups or the quickest group possible.
  • A report function has been added, tweaks have hit the AH, and numerous other small tinkers and improvements have been made.

View the full patch notes here.

The patch addresses some of the cons that I listed in my first impression of Global Agenda.  Hopefully the rest are in the planning stages.

Global Agenda will be down for patch application between 11:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM EST.  Patching should happen automatically through Steam.  The Public Test Realm will be (mostly) available during the downtime of the live server.

Star Trek Online – Pre-order Penalty

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

Star Trek Online LogoIt should stand to reason that pre-ordering an MMO should result in nothing but benefit; at least compared to someone who purchases it within the next few months. Over the weekend Atari offered Star Trek Online at a discounted rate of $10 off plus 60 days of additional free gameplay (for a total of 90 days). I would expect this kind of promotion to run a year or more after release, but certainly not 3 weeks after launch. Are players upset about this? You bet. They take it as a virtual slap in the face. Wait, it gets worse. Due to the tremendous outrage of the current player-base and the numerous posts that followed, Atari rescinded the offer from their website. Not only did they cancel the promotion, but they also canceled the extra 60 day deal they had made with players who purchased it over the weekend. This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon, and that did not play out well for the consumer.

Atari broke one of my rules of operating an MMO; “For every new player award, there shall be a veteran reward”. Keeping players is important, so it is good business to reward existing players with something of equal or better value than what you are awarding new players. Now the question is raised of who is actually responsible for this. Atari published the deal, so personally I am resting the blame on them. Whether or not  Cryptic Studios is completely exonerable, they are taking most of the flak. At the time of writing, they have not released a statement. At its neonatal stage, the last thing Star Trek Online needs is more controversy. I would like to hear your opinions though, and we promise not to ban you for it.

World of Warcraft Authenticator Hacked

Posted by on February 28, 2010 - 135 Comments »

WoW-Authenticator
The worst possible thing to happen to a MMO player is getting their account hacked. All the work that you put in to your account can be gone and the process of getting your character and items back is a painful and long process. Companies of course take steps to protect customers like Blizzard’s Authenticator for World of Warcraft but recent events show that even these aren’t fool proof.

The Authenticator for WoW has a reputation for being hack proof and because of that a lot of people own one. Basically what it does is it gives you a set of random digits that you put in with your original password. So every time you log in to your WoW account you get an extra random password that only the owner of the Authenticator can know.

From what I know there hasn’t been a case of an account that used an Authenticator getting hacked but that changed today. There is a virus going around that can hack the World of Warfcraft Authenticator. The virus intercepts the Authenticator code when you log into WoW and sends Blizzard a wrong one (which is why you can’t log in since you will get a “Wrong info” error) and then the people behind the virus have a few minutes to log into your account with the real Authenticator code. A Blizzard employee said this about the recently hacked WoW accounts that used Authenticators.

So the Authenticator is not a fail safe way to keep accounts safe but it is still a very good investment. If you want to check to see if you have the virus just search for the file “emcor.dll” on your computer. If you have it then your account most likely has already been hacked.

Tools like the Authenticator can only do so much. It is really unfortunate that people are getting hacked even with this security measure but it all comes down to the user. Safe browsing habits, a good anti-virus, common sense (against phishers) and things like an Authenticator can make your account virtually hack proof.

Mortal Online Open Beta a Dud

Posted by on February 28, 2010 - No Comments »

Normally when a MMO game reaches the open beta phase of its development cycle, it is pretty close to the version that will be released, minus a few changes and bug fixes.  However it seems that Star Vault, the developers behind Moral Online, have decided to go into open beta while the game is no where near a complete product.  Mortal Online entered the open beta phase a month ago today on Feb 1st 2010.

To me an open beta is that final extra push to get gamers excited about their game, to create buzz and to start lining up pre-order sales.  But when it comes to Mortal Online, not only am I not excited about the game, it completely crushed all my expectations.   Mortal Online was one of the top three games I was looking forward to in 2010, but after about an hr or so in open beta, I don’t think there is a chance in hell this game will even be released this year.

Almost nothing in the game is complete and in the 60-90 mins I spent in game, I couldn’t find one NPC that had any quests. [edit: there are no quests in Mortal Online, which I actually love, so don't flame me for this comment]  The game looks great, but to be in open beta just seems silly to me at this stage of the games development.  I can list all the incomplete features I found just in the short time I played, but even that would be a monster list.

Currently the games release date is stated as the first quarter of 2010 and with only a month left, I seriously hope they push that date way way back to maybe Q1 2011.

Aion Magazine Announced

Posted by on February 27, 2010 - No Comments »

aion

NCSoft has announced Aion Magazine, the brand new digital magazine to their latest MMORPG, Aion. Each issue will contain an exclusive in-game item and will cost you 3,99$, although there will be discounts for when buying either 6(10% off) or a 12(20% off) issue package, either of which will also include an array of in-game items. Details:

The Official Aion Magazine offers the high-quality design and editorial of a printed magazine together with the interactive content only offered by a digital magazine. Issue 1 is a massive 100 page issue, but each issue you can look forward to…
- Over 60 pages of editorial in the digital magazine every month
- Exclusive interviews getting you behind the scenes of the game
- Guild of the Month and Players of the Month features
- Getting Started section, helping you understand your class, the game, and key areas throughout Aion
- Expert Guides to key content to help you hone your Aion skills
- Bonus unique in-game item with every issue, exclusive to magazine subscribers

Preorders to the first issue, which will be released on March 26th, are being taken as we speak. If you are interested in ordering one for yourself, you can do so here.