PAX East 2010: Fallen Earth Mobile Application Live Demo

Posted by on March 27, 2010 - 2 Comments »

WoW Armory? Pssh. Mobile Auction House? Already old news. While other developers have been busy publishing basic push content on handheld devices, the people behind post-apocalyptic MMORPG Fallen Earth are allowing you near-full, real-time access to your characters right from your iPhone! Want to check in with your guild? Feel like working on some crafting skills while you’re waiting in line at the DMV? Maybe your OCD is just compelling you to re-arrange your bags at work? Yes, Lore Hounds, there is an app for that (and it’s really only the start of what this thing can do)!

Our very own iTZKooPA got to sit down with one of the game’s Project Managers (the mysterious and dashing “Dave”) at this weekend’s PAX East event to talk about the application and get an extensive live demo of its various capabilities. Even if you don’t currently play Fallen Earth (hint: you should), this is a seriously cool piece of software and something that every other major MMO developer should take note of. Check out the video below, we know it’ll wow you:

PAX East 2010: Chatting About Fallen Earth (New Content, Mounts, And More)

Posted by on March 27, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Things rarely go smoothly at the very moment when you need them to work the most (just ask the Canadians). Such was the case with Fallen Earth‘s new mobile application, as AT&T’s typically dodgy service delayed the live demonstration of the software on the Project Manager’s iPhone. Though an unfortunate turn of events, it did give iTZKooPA a chance to shoot the breeze with Dave and discuss a variety of different topics including new and forthcoming content (hello, new mount!), the recent split of the development team from parent company Icarus, and even a smidgen WoW talk finds its way into the proceedings.

Besides, everything worked in the end, right? Fans of Fallen Earth will no doubt enjoy the collection of clips below:

Heroic Lich King 25 Vanquished

Posted by on March 26, 2010 - 8 Comments »

The Lich King

how u do this

It was bound to happen eventually. 51 days after normal mode Lich King became available (and hence 44 days after hard mode), Paragon of Lightning’s Blade (EU) became the first guild worldwide to defeat the Lich King on 25 player heroic mode difficulty, effectively clearing all available content in Icecrown Citadel. They earned the Light of Dawn achievement and title for defeating him, as well as the Realm First! Fall of the Lich King achievement and title “Bane of the Fallen King”.

Ensidia recently transfered to Lightning’s Blade to race Paragon to the world first achievement “on equal ground”, as they complained that their previous server of Tarren Mill was too unstable. Guess Saronite Bombs couldn’t help them this time!

Currently, 160 guilds worldwide have defeated all heroic content in Icecrown Citadel except for the Lich King. Here are the current number of guilds that have beaten each encounter in ICC25, as of March 26th, 2010, according to wowprogress.com, in increasing order:

  • Heroic Lich King: 1
  • Heroic Professor Putricide: 171
  • Heroic Sindragosa: 264
  • Heroic Lady Deathwhisper: 607
  • Heroic Festergut: 928
  • Heroic Deathbringer Saurfang: 950
  • Heroic Valithra Dreamwalker: 1052
  • Heroic Blood-Queen Lana’thel: 1052
  • Heroic Blood Prince Council: 1291
  • Heroic Rotface: 1495
  • Heroic Lord Marrowgar: 1640
  • Heroic Gunship Battle: 1682
  • Normal Lich King: 1829
  • Normal Sindragosa: 4711
  • Normal Blood-Queen Lana’thel: 6778
  • Normal Professor Putricide: 9537
  • Normal Valithria Dreamwalker: 10005
  • Normal Blood Prince Council: 13129
  • Normal Rotface: 15843
  • Normal Festergut: 16971
  • Normal Deathbringer Saurfang: 32493
  • Normal Gunship Battle: 32781
  • Normal Lady Deathwhisper: 32806
  • Normal Lord Marrowgar: 33426

A lot of people will view this great achievement as a milestone in WoW history or claim that the game has been beaten, or too easy, or many other things. However, looking at that list, there are only a couple hundred guilds and hence a thousand or two players actually anywhere near defeating the Lich King on heroic in the coming months. A lot of guilds will be satisfied killing normal mode Lich King, and for them that is the end of the game. I think this is great evidence that the game is well-tuned. The best hardcore players spent about 2 months to clear ICC heroic, most hardcore guilds will take a few more, and many players will get to see his normal mode version die.

Even if only 50,000 guilds see normal mode Lich King die, thats still less than 1% of WoW’s 12 million subscribers that get to see the “end of the game”. If anyone claims that Paragon’s victory shows this game is “too easy”, I will have to strongly disagree with them.

FunCom Releases In-Game Footage Of The Secret World

Posted by on March 26, 2010 - No Comments »

Stormy clouds threatened to blot out the shiny California sun at this year’s annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, but it wasn’t because of some freak weather phenomenon. Instead, it was Age of Conan developers FunCom finally revealing in-game footage of their next MMORPG project, The Secret World. Entitled “Dark Days,” the trailer gives us our first look at several of the title’s environments, characters, and a little bit of combat to boot (all presented in a cinematic fashion of course, no HUDs here).

If this is your first introduction to The Secret World, then you’ll notice right off the bat it’s a little bit different from your standard massively-multiplayer game. Taking place in more modern times, it eschews typical fantasy trappings in favor of a world run rampant with conspiracy theories come to life. From secret societies to mythical creatures and the occult, if you’ve heard it on Coast to Coast AM, you can bet it probably plays some role in the universe of The Secret World. If that analogy doesn’t work for you, think Deus Ex with a broader approach to the subject matter.

But the setting isn’t the only aspect of the game that stands out. Project lead Ragnar Tørnquist (perhaps best known for working on 2001′s sci-fi MMO Anarchy Online) promises that this new title will turn the genre on its head by getting rid of both levels and classes. Instead, all character advancement will be done through an extensive customization system and player skill. If you hate grinding, it’s worth keeping your eye on The Secret World (heck, you can even play it completely by yourself). In the meantime, check out the preliminary footage below:

You can also seek further information and check out some new screenshots and artwork by heading to the official site.

The Lore Hound Audio Podcast: Episode 1

Posted by on March 26, 2010 - 9 Comments »

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Join all of the Lore Hound regulars with this inaugural podcast! We’ll discuss what we’ve been playing, WoW’s Patch 3.3.3, and some other MMO news from games such as Champions Online and Star Trek Online. We also have a few rumors about Nintendo’s newest handheld, the 3DS. Click the player above to listen, download the podcast, or subscribe via RSS, and let us know what you think!

PAX East 2010: Free Wireless – The Hard Way

Posted by on March 26, 2010 - No Comments »

My hotel is fickle about the release of the Internets.  First off, there is no free wired access, something many hotels “feature.”  There is wireless, but it’s far from reasonable, and it likely sucks.  At $13 a day I said “nowai” and decided to grab access to the tubes the fun way, by being a gigantic nerd.

Here’s what’s going on in the above picture.  My desktop is tethered to a hacked iPhone, not the most impressive feat.  Said iPhone is then connected to a switch, that I had the forward thinking to bring, which links up not one, but two netbooks to the world wide web.

The command center, along with help from those hounds back home, will be delivering you all of the goodies of PAX East with none of the hassle or traveling.

Welcome to Lore Hound.

Posted by on March 25, 2010 - 5 Comments »

Well hello there, Lore Hounds.

Somehow, you have found our site. Congratulations. We hope that you like what we bring to the gaming community and spend some time looking around.

Actually, there’s not a ton of looking around you can do yet, but that will be changing very soon. Lore Hound, as you can see, is still in its beta phase. We’re all excited to be bringing you guys content, mostly focusing on MMOGs but branching into other areas of gaming as well.

So we decided to go ahead and get the site moving with content, and we’ll fix up the layout as soon as we can.

So, what is all this fabulous content? Well, we’ve actually got a ton of great stuff planned. Expect to see: innovative video content, live game-play streaming, exciting visits to top gaming conventions, conversational podcasts, discussions on game design, retrospective blogging and, as our name suggests, looks at the storytelling behind game lore.

Gaming websites should be fun. We believe that analysis, straight-up news and play-by-play guides aren’t worth your time if they don’t provide some entertainment value. Lore Hound seeks to bring all that, and then some. Site visitors will hear about all their favorite MMOGs and get a chance to read and watch engaging, first-hand accounts of the games that they have yet to try.

Watch out, gaming world. Change is coming. And here are the members of the five-person team behind the site:

  • Cavin Smith, aka Amatera
  • Timothy Tusing, aka Heartbourne
  • Patrick Mulhern, aka iTZKooPA
  • Brandon Sato, aka Juggynaut
  • Christa Desrets, aka pixiestixy

You may recognize this group from a past venture with which we all were involved. But now we’re moving past that and aiming to bring you something even better. We were united by a shared love of World of Warcraft, but will persevere with the collective goal to conquer all MMOG evil.

Cheer us on. You’re all Lore Hounds now.

Relationships and MMO's

Posted by on March 25, 2010 - No Comments »

Picking up an MMO is a life-changing event no matter what way you look at it. Not only will it become an integral part of your daily life depending on your level of dedication, it opens up a whole new world that’s just a username and password away.

An MMO can be so many things to a user but above all it serves as a catalyst to help feed any lingering social needs. It diminishes the requirement to approach a person face-to-face in order to find a common ground or spark a conversation. When logging on to a server you automatically have one thing in common with everyone: the game. Generally, in meeting a person outside of a game you can’t help but develop initial opinions based on visuals. But in an MMO, personality automatically becomes the deal breaker. You can log in to an MMO without heeding to real-life standards such as clothes, good self hygiene, and still be accepted. Race, class, ethnicity, and religion all become secondary aspects to a user. All walks of life delve into MMO’s from all over the world without feeling alienated based on any given set of social mores. 

Like any major decision, there are definite benefits and downfalls to developing an in-game relationship. Taking the next step can either do a world of good or create a bevy of problems depending on the circumstances.

The Benefits of an MMO Inspired Relationship

One of the large scale benefits of joining an MMO community is the social transformations that can take place. An introverted personality can pick-up on social skills that extroverted players display in order to develop their own skill set that can be exercised in and outside of the game. Not only can it help you develop personal skills, it can be the catalyst for meeting that special someone. This doesn’t mean that you should go into an MMO expecting to find your soul mate, but there is always the possibility of hitting it off with a person you commonly play with whether it be a friendship or something more. Developing in-game relationships can transcend the fantasy realm and become a long-lasting tie.

Not only do MMO’s warrant the blossoming of in-game relationships, they help build upon pre-existing relationships. The leader of my guild, Brad, is a perfect example. He went to high school with his wife, Angie, but never really talked to her until after they both graduated. They added each other on MySpace as friends and she messaged him because he had World of Warcraft content on his profile. All of Angie’s Everquest friends had quit for WoW but she hadn’t yet decided if she wanted to play. Brad suggested she try it. It was the final push she needed to join the community and so she bought it. Angie needed all the patches and at the time dial-up was the only thing available so Brad offered to burn the patches to a CD for her. She met him at his work to pick it up and they ended up hitting it off. After that, they began playing WoW together on a constant basis. It gave them something to do with each other even if they couldn’t meet up face-to-face. They believe it helped to bring them closer together because they were in essence able to spend more time with each other whether it be a date online or off. Years later they married and still continue playing MMO’s together to strengthen their relationship.

The Downsides of an MMO Inspired Relationship

In joining a game server you instantly have access to thousands of people’s opinions. Although playing an MMO can help an introverted personality expand, it can also boost pre-existing frustrations. Many people sign up to an MMO only to find that they are unable to connect with other players. This can further feelings of social alienation you may already feel out of game and deepen a depression. Since you are exposed to what thousands of people think, you will soon find that not everyone has a strong moral compass. There are no repercussions to what people say or do in a game because behavior isn’t regulated. You are exposed to racism, prejudice, and sexism. The negativity felt in-game from one persons dialogue can boost any issues you may already be dealing with. Above all, it’s easy to be taken advantage of whether you are emotionally stable or not which can then lead to rash, life-changing decisions. For example, there have been multiple reports of players committing suicide because of failed in-game relationships.  

An MMO ripens your possibility of creating a long-lasting relationship but these relationships aren’t always necessarily healthy. I had a friend dating someone exclusively in-game. He was on cloud nine until things began to fall through the cracks. Towards the end of the relationship he developed control issues and a deep jealously for all other players she played with. After they broke it off, he went on to become severely depressed not eating or sleeping from that point on. Even if an in-game relationship you develop is strong, it can condone the neglecting of more pressing personal issues such as waning self-health and failing friendships. When you are attached to someone in-game it encourages you to play the game more and let everything else fall to the wayside.

As previously discussed, playing an MMO with a loved one can create a whole new level of connection but it can also form an insurmountable barrier based on game etiquette. A prime example is a real-life friend of mine had their partner begin an in-game relationship that escalated to flirting, endless hours of voice chatting, and hiding conversations. They then discovered the in-game relationship which lead to serious trust issues. Since the betrayal was in game, the cheating party didn’t realize the severity of the issue. Meanwhile, my friend questions their motives from therein and can no longer look at their partner in the same light.

Overall, MMO inspired relationships have their ups and downs just like any other tie. All it takes is good judgment and to realize that as much time as you spend on an MMO it is still just a game and you can’t let it consume your life.

Disclaimer: This article is filled with merely observations and does not serve as any final judgment.