First Look At Global Agenda V1.3(A)

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - No Comments »

Players of Global Agenda have been waiting for Patch v1.3 for some time.  The first massive patch for the squad-based shooter MMOG is to introduce a myriad of new features across every facet of the game.  AvA, PvP, and PvE are all receiving tweaks and new content.  The User Interface is being retooled, trial accounts reworked, vendors and shops added, weapon acquisition and upgrading retuned.  PvPvE will enter as a new mode (not included in v1.3(a)).  The list just goes on, for eight pages.

Currently in its third month, there hasn’t been a single charge to a player’s account.  Hi-Rez Studios continues to abide by its earlier statement that subscription fees will not begin until the company has earned our money.  The scope of the upcoming patch and the issues it addresses make me think Hi-Rez is well on its way.

Patch v1.3 was supposed to be released in April.  Here we are in the first week of May, and we’re just receiving the patch on the Player Test Server (PTS).  Furthermore, the update has become so large, that Hi-Rez has decided to break it up into multiple parts, less we testers gorge ourselves all at once.  Hi-Rez will push out the iterations as the previous one is tested to completion.  It’s unknown how many sub-patches we’ll encounter and no final date has been set.

Hi-Rez Studios is in the midst of pushing the first iteration of the massive v1.3 patch to the test servers of Global Agenda right now.  The company was kinda enough to make the patch notes available to the general public here.

Eight pages is easily a TL:DR.  After the jump is a synopsis of what to expect for v1.3(A). Read more…

Cataclysm Leaks: To Read, or Not to Read

Posted by on May 7, 2010 - 5 Comments »

Fanart by TheNekow @ DeviantArt

I’m usually not the hugest fan of spoilers. Sure, if it’s about a book, movie or game that I have no interest in, then I don’t really care whether the main character was dead all along. But when it comes to those series that I am a fan of, I typically keep away from spoilers in favor of discovering the juicy tidbits on my own terms — by actually experiencing them in the moment.

And here comes the quandary. When you’re as big of a fan of WoW as I and most of you reading this are, it’s hard not to come across mountains of spoilers. And when they’re so easily accessible, it’s also hard to turn your head away. A peek of a screenshot here, a leaked little factoid there, a piece of guild chat that unwillingly meets my eyes in-game.

Pretty soon, and I’m hooked. What I have seen cannot be unseen! And it leaves me thirsting for more! It’s a real problem, fueled by my added self-reassurance that I need to know these things in order to write and podcast chat about them.

I suppose this whole rant was brought on by our readers’ reactions to the recent posts that include masses of leaked info from the Cataclysm Friends and Family Alpha. For some fans, seeing huge amounts of spoilers serves as a way to fuel the anticipation factor.

But it seems that of you also try to stay away from the hoopla. Some fans even are turned off by leaked information because, for them, it only dulls the rising anticipation of the impending game release. Some readers try to stay away from this information altogether, while others read the information that pertains to their class so they can plan for how to stay in the game, while avoiding all other spoilers.

It seems that those players have one thing that I do not, at least when it comes to WoW: Resolve. I’ve accepted my lack of it, and decided to embrace it. If it lessons my surprise while in-game, so be it — instead, I’ll score my cheap, little thrills now.

Who else has wrestled with the decision of whether or not to read WoW leaks and spoilers?

Cataclysm Dungeons: Halls of Origination Preview

Posted by on May 6, 2010 - No Comments »

Despite the massive info dump unleashed on the internet today, Blizzard is holding a little preview of its own, and surprisingly enough, it’s something that wasn’t featured in that deluge: the Halls of Origination. This new Level 85 dungeon is part of the Egyptian-themed Titan zone, Uldum. It looks a heckuva lot like you’d expect, mixing the slick, technolgical architecture of other Titan strongholds like Ulduar with the dusty and arcane affectations of a Pharaoh’s tomb. It also holds its fair share of secrets…

Of course, where there are ancient artifacts to be discovered, you’ll also find famed Dwarf adventurer, Brann Bronzebeard. Something powerful exists deep within the Halls of Origination, and guess what? You’re going to help him get to it!

According to the descriptions in the preview, the instance is a bit of a doozy, being perhaps as large as some of the old-school dungeons, as well as featuring seven unique boss encounters. Expect to weave through indoor and outdoor areas such as the Maker’s Overlook, Chamber of Prophecy, Tomb of the Earthrager, Vault of Lights, and the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Much like Ulduar, these all lead up to a hub area with four guardians to face off against: Titan constructs called the Keepers of Magic, Life, Chaos, and Radiance, respectively.

Defeating them, and ensuring the safety of the mysterious artifact they protect, may just save all life on Azeroth! For a few more screenshots, hit the jump! Read more…

Warhammer 40K MMOG Causes THQ CEO To Put Foot In Mouth

Posted by on May 6, 2010 - No Comments »

In a recent conference call with investors – the evil overlords of video game companies – THQ CEO Brian Farrell refused to give a subscriber guestimation for the highly-anticipated Warhammer 40K MMOG.  A smart move given the PR gaffe that Mark Jacobs kicked off when Warhammer Online failed to meet his 500,000 estimation of success.

Farrell said “We don’t need the kind of subscriber levels that people throw around, like a million subscribers, to make a lot of money on this title.”

THQ believes that the low initial investment and a highly-talented team enables the company to make a solid game at a relatively low budget.

Farrell managed to stick his foot in his mouth in the following breath.  “If we get anywhere near that level, we’ll be making a lot of money.”  God forbid the support and on-going development costs eat that pile of money.  Then he’ll look like a fool!

These types of statements are why I can’t stand reading about conference calls.  I know he is trying to placate investors to make them feel like their money is being well spent.  But CEOs come off sounding like greedy jerks.  Activision’s Bobby Kotick for instance.  It’s like a train wreck, I just can’t look away even though it pains me to see it.

Mr. Farrell, it’d be nice if you just gave us a break on the subscription fee.  Ya know, because you didn’t invest a boatload of money up front.  A pipe dream, I know.

THQ subsidiary Vigil Games is developing the upcoming MMOG.

Cataclysm Client Leaked, New Information Overload

Posted by on May 6, 2010 - 6 Comments »

With the F&FA version of the Cataclysm expansion for WoW leaked, data-miners have found pretty much everything in the game and are posting it like crazy. Boubille of MMO-Champion is leading the way. Here are some early highlights.

  • Early versions of the new talent-trees are available. Many of the planned changes are not in the game yet, including mastery.
  • Many new tradeskill items, including many enchants. Notably, these require item levels of 300, higher than anything available in Wrath of the Lich King.
  • Maps of new and old areas.
  • Models of bosses and other units, such of Neptulon and a fiery Marrowgar.

More after the jump.
Read more…

Blizzard Previews Battle.net’s Real ID and Facebook Integration

Posted by on May 5, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Blizzard’s revamp of Battle.net is creeping closer by the day, and today the company previewed a few of the new features that WoW and Starcraft II players will be able to take advantage of once the  service goes live.

Real ID is the means by which players will be able to communicate cross-faction, cross-realm, and cross-game via Battle.net. By using your Real ID to friend other players, you will be allowing those players to see and communicate with you no matter what game or character you may be playing on any game with the new Battle.net integration.  You will also be giving them your real first and last names, as displayed on the account information page.

Another function of Real ID is broadcasts, which will send out a message for all of your Real ID friends to see. Sounds a lot like Twitter or Facebook status messages.

And speaking of Facebook, Battle.net will be integrating with the social networking giant in order to allow players to import friends from Facebook to their Battle.net accounts, give status updates, and presumably more. The official press release states that more details will be announced as we get closer to Starcraft II’s launch.

It seems like Blizzard is just the latest to jump on Facebook integration, and it’s not something I’m particularly drawn to, but I know that soon I’ll be seeing loads of Starcraft II updates on my facebook feed. Other than that, I’m looking forward to the new Battle.net, mostly because I have some friends on other factions and realms that I’d like to chat with while we play. What are your thoughts?

Third Game From Cryptic Studios Being Unveiled In “Late Summer”

Posted by on May 5, 2010 - No Comments »

I absolutely hate when journalists report that news is going to be announced in the future (seriously, I’ve complained before).  “How is the revelation of future news actually news?” I ask myself.  I don’t know how they justify it, but I am going to let it slip because Bill Roper’s recent comments to MMORPG.com reveals a morsel of information on the project.

Roper, the new Chief Creative Office over at Cryptic Studios, said in the interview that the game will be unveiled in late summer.  “We won’t be making an announcement until late summer, and we’re still a ways off from launch. I can say that this is a game and a franchise (emphasis mine) we’re very excited about” he said.

The fact that he states that the game belongs to a franchise gives more credibility to the rumor that Cryptic is working on a Dungeons & Dragons MMOG.  Unlike Turbine’s wildly-successful Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, the title Cryptic is creating would be set in a different D&D universe, possibly the more famous Neverwinter Nights module.

Roper added that “The game is being developed around new design principles merged with Cryptic’s community-first approach to ongoing development.”  Hopefully, this means that it’ll be released with the ability to respec a character out of the gate.  Zing!

The rest of the interview can be found here.  It deals with Star Trek Online and Champions Online.

We’ll have the actual news for you when it drops later this summer.

For the Hoard 5 – The X-53 Touring Rocket

Posted by on May 5, 2010 - 2 Comments »

What’s this you say? A spare recruit-a-friend code that I had forgotten about? And the chance to use it on a shiny new mount? I’m there!

Join me on this quick episode of For the Hoard as I take the X-53 Touring Rocket out for a ride — and with a friend!

Thanks for watching! If you missed it, also check out my goodbye to the Zhevra, the previous recruit-a-friend reward. And tune in later this week for the conclusion to my run through Culling of Stratholme for the Bronze Drake.