Eve Online: Tyrannis Launches

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - No Comments »

Icelandic-based MMO developer CCP announced that the thirteenth free expansion, Tyrannis, for EVE Online has been released to the server. Tyrannis opens up several new features, including EVE Gate, a front-end and social networking system. With Tyrannis, tools will be accessible via any web browser, allowing players to communicate within the game without being logged into the game. This expansion also introduces new Planetary Interaction, allowing players to scan the surface of planets and place structures on them, accessing the natural resources the planets harbor. With over 65,000 planets available in EVE, that’s a lot of new content.

All expansions in EVE Online are free to subscribers. To find out more about Tyrannis, visit the official site.

Blizz Trashbins Hunger For Blood

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - No Comments »

Hunger For Blood has been a controversial Rogue skill since the very day it was introduced as the new 51-point talent for Assassination. In the beginning, it was necessary to build up three stacks and then maintain those on a short timer (let it drop and you were sacrificing both your rotation and your overall DPS).

This mechanic quickly proved annoying, but the flat damage increase was too essential not to take advantage of. This particular aspect of HfB has been both troublesome for players and, at least in some ways, beneficial for the class design team. And we can look to the first few change to see why…

Right from the start, it was a clunky spell to add to the Rogue’s rotation, costing almost more Energy than its 3% damage buff per application was worth. In order to assuage the community’s mild annoyance (read: frothing rage), they bumped the coefficient up tp 5% per application for a total of 15% at max. Now you can see why the devs liked this (hint: the nature of HfB makes figuring out the math super easy).

Unfortunately, that also makes it an incredibly boring talent for the player. Several months later, it was simplified further to a single stack that provided the full buff for 60 seconds. Less clunky, maybe, but still banal.

It hasn’t changed much mechanically since then, but the great poison-swapping fiasco towards the end of last year saw Rogue DPS shoot through the roof. Since effectively dealing with that problem meant changing a core aspect of the game, Blizz gave Rogues their poison boost carte blanche and cut Hunger down to 5% to bring them back in line with everyone else.

Confused yet? Well, I wouldn’t worry your pretty little head any longer, because the slate is being wiped clean. Hunger for Blood is G-O-N-E, outta here!

Ghostcrawler

It’s going away for Cataclysm.

No word yet on what it may or may not be replaced with, but the decision to remove it from the game makes sense considering that their modus operandi for Cataclysm has been to remove as many of the flat buffs from the talent system as possible. Logic dictates the associated glyph is going in the can, as well. At the end of the day, I think this is a wonderful to decision and, to be frank, it was just a troublesome skill in the first place. Good riddance.

ArenaNet Talks Personal Story System in Guild Wars 2

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - No Comments »

ArenaNet posted an article written by Ree Soesbee, Lore and Continuity Designer, where she talks about the Personal Story System for the upcoming MMO Guild Wars 2. There will be a more in-depth character creation with the development of a player’s biography, which will directly impact the player’s personal story. One of these choices will be personality traits, which can impact how the NPCs will interact with the player. The player will also be able to align themselves with various iconic characters and orders, to further develop their personal story. The interactions promise to be tailored to the player, to give the player the feeling of a meaningful role in the overarching storyline.

It all sounds wonderful, especially to those who have been pining for a single-player RPG feel in a world populated by other gamers. There’s still no mention of release dates or upcoming beta registration, so stay tuned to MMO Crunch for more information as we get it.

You can read the entire article on the Personal Story System in Guild Wars 2 here.

World of Warcraft: Executive VP Talks Growth and more

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - No Comments »

The gang over at vg247.com managed to snag an interview with Blizzard Executive Vice President Frank Pearce. The talk centered around the stagnant nature of World of Warcraft lately, holding strong at 11.5 million subscribers since 2008’s launch of Wrath of the Lich King.

Pearce discussed that the release of Wrath in China and Cataclysm’s as of yet unscheduled release for late this year will once again pump up WoW’s staggering subscription base.

Other topics of interest ranged from Starcraft II to Diablo III and more on WoW. For the full interview with WoW’s Executive VP, click here.

Aika Online: Preview of Latest Expansion Ashes of Betrayal and Launch Date

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - No Comments »

Aika Online has announced that its latest expansion, Ashes of Betrayal, will be released June 17th. The expansion will feature a new region of the Darkrane Forest, home to the half bird, half human race of the Kynari. Quests in the newly developed region will focus around restoring order to recent turmoil caused by the death of a high counsellor including a new instanced dungeon to explore. New equipment and skill boosts starting at level 51 will also be part of the expansion. For screenshots of Aika Online’s Preview of Ashes of Betrayal, click here.

What Does Your Server Name Mean?

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - 12 Comments »

When I started playing World of Warcraft, back before any of the expansions were released, I was looking for the realm that my friends played on. Overwhelmed by the number of available servers and knowing only that the one I was looking for was a PvE server beginning with the letter T, I luckily chose the corrrect realm (Tanaris). Now that I know a whole lot more about Warcraft and its characters, organizations, and locations, most server names will stick with me pretty well.

For example, my current home, Executus, is named after the Majordomo located in Molten Core who summons Ragnaros far too soon. My old server is named after the desert zone where the Caverns of Time are located, and some of my friends are on a server named after a group of Shaman. Sure, knowing a bit of lore can help you remember realm names, but what can a realm’s name tell you about the server?

One of the lesser known facts of Blizzard’s server names is that each type of realm (PvE, PvP, RP, and RP-PVP) has naming conventions that can shed some light on the type of realm it is. Straight from the World of Warcraft game guide:

  • Normal realms are named after heroes, neutral characters or known places.
  • Player vs. Player (PvP) realms are named after demons and warmongers.
  • Normal Roleplaying (RP) realms are named after beneficial organizations.
  • Player vs. Player Roleplaying (RP-PvP) realms are named after evil organizations or cults.

Go through your realm list and see how much these four simple rules can blow your mind. Combine them with some basic knowledge of the Warcraft universe and you can figure out with high likelyhood what type of realm your buddies play on without even asking them. Talk about a way to impress your friends!

Of course, other games have other conventions for naming their servers, be they from their own lore, simple numbers, or just areas of the world in which they are located. What is your realm’s namesake, WoW or otherwise?

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: The Dragons of Outland Volume 1 – Shadow Wing Review

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - 3 Comments »

This review of World of Warcraft: Dragons of Outland Volume 1 – Shadow Wing is of the spoiler-free variety.

The first question everyone asks when they read the title of this new manga is “Why Outland?”  It’s a valid question, most players don’t set foot on the floating debris of Draenor anymore.  We’re done with that world.  Richard Knaak is not.  He doesn’t abandon a location just because it is no longer the hot dance club.

The Dragons of Outland series is a direct sequel to The Sunwell Trilogy that Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim produced as the first Blizzard manga.  In Shadow Wing we see the return of Tyrygosa and Jorad Mace, two prominent characters created by Knaak for the earlier collaboration.  The tale is a recanting of their initial excursion to Outland.  The pair arrived separately and for different reasons, but soon realize that their goals are one and the same.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the spoiler-free review. Read more…

Warcraft Villains Place In Top 50 Game Characters

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - 6 Comments »

Empire, a blogazine known primarily for its film coverage, just released its list of the “50 Greatest Video Game Characters.” Woe be unto gamers when a publication outside the industry (and, unfortunately, sometimes within it) attempts an article like this, but Empire has clearly done its homework. Their editors clearly have a pedigree in silicon as well as celluloid and have managed to largely avoid the most obvious or “popular” choices. Sure, some like Samus and Link are still there, but this being a UK publication means that both well-known and obscure PC game characters make the cut, as well.

In fact, they kind of dominate the list (hint: Mario is not number one), and that means our beloved Warcraft series gets a little bit of extra sugar. Oddly enough, it’s not Thrall or Jaina or Tirion or any of those other pansy do-gooders that place, but two of Azeroth’s most menacing villains.

Excusing the unfortunate misspelling of his first name (corrected later in the article), Arthas Menethil clocks in at number 25:

Of all the characters in Warcraft lore, Arthas Menthil is the most tragic. The heir to the throne of Lordaeron, Arthas set out to save his father’s kingdom from The Scourge of undead, only to be tricked into joining their ranks by taking up the cursed sword Frostmourne and ultimately becoming their lord and master, The Lich King. Talk about doing a one-eighty

In World of Warcraft, Arthas is currently the boss to beat for stalwart bands of level 80s, since Icecrown Citadel has unlocked its gates and it’s now open season on the Lich King for raiders everywhere. However, you don’t need to face him head-on to appreciate Arthas’ nuances. The character’s personality is most keenly felt in the dozens of lore-woven quests scattered throughout Northrend. Whether it’s watching him anoint Scala Sorrowgrave, riding alongside his mortal self during the Culling of Stratholme or doing his bidding in the Death Knight starting zone, Arthas enriches every aspect he touches, his backstory filling in as you level and making the Lich King’s final fall (and phat lewt drop) all the more poignant.

But, wait, Amatera. You said villains, which means more than one! Well, I think having an entire expansion dedicated to the Lich King has sort of clouded our thoughts as players. While Arthas is certainly foremost in our minds right now, he isn’t necessarily the most powerful character in the Warcraft universe, nor is he the most prominent one. Now, I’m not sure if I agree with putting this particular fellow a few spots above Ole Lichy, but he probably does deserve a place on the list. Hit the jump to figure out who it is! Read more…