Mobile Auction House Video Preview

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Haven’t had a chance to check out the new mobile auction house? Take a peek at our first video preview:

Here are some of my impressions from using the app:

  • Very difficult and confusing to change characters.
  • Very difficult to manage large amounts of mail without logging into WoW.
  • Seems useful for bidding and getting notifications (when implemented)
  • Great for managing a few expensive items, less good for batch management.

Fallen Earth: May 2010 State of the Game [Update]

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - No Comments »

The month is beginning to wind down but Icarus Studios has just decided to throw up the State of the Game address for May.  The fact that these bad boys keep coming out monthly is enough to make me cheer (Yay communication!).  This is the first State of the Game since the restructuring at Icarus Studios/Fallen Earth LLC took place, which eliminated over 80 employees.  Despite the poor turn of events, development of Fallen Earth seems to be rolling along.

Developer Archangel started off by patting everyone at Icarus on the back for the smooth deployment of the massive v1.4 or Blood Sports patch.  The next patch, it hasn’t been given a label but we’ll call it v1.5, will actually contain another Blood Sports mode entitled Assault.  We were only given a short description of Assault:

In Assault, two teams of up to eight players will battle another team through a series of objectives where one team attacks and the other defends.

Icarus is continuing to play with the technology running Fallen Earth.  The upcoming patch will feature a handful of tech improvements, including a new weather system.  Weather will initially be limited to rain, thunder and lighting, a perfect trio for the Grand Canyon setting.  We’ll see more diverse offerings as time moves on.  Speaking of moving, the second big tech addition is a new travel mechanic.  Players have been screaming for faster modes of travel since the game launched, and they will have it soon.  A system along the lines of the bus stops in the PTS (testing realms) will be implemented.  Players must be level 20 or higher and complete a quest chain to access the system.

The patch will include a number of small scales tweaks including more environmental improvements, additional ambient lighting and enhanced water effects.  Bug fixes will obviously be a part of the update as well.  What was conspicuously absent is any mention of additional PvE content.  Blood Sports – a PvP-centric patch – brought players Deadfall, a large PvE sub-sector with a new faction.  There’s no mention of PvE content in May’s State of the Game.  Hopefully, we’ll hear something soon.

The next patch is expected to deploy in Q3 2010.  Thankfully, that isn’t all that Icarus is looking to deploy.  Archangel closed the address by declaring that the mobile applications will be going live “in the coming weeks.”  My new Droid phone is going to get a workout, and it won’t cost me an extra penny.


I shot an e-mail to the PR people for Fallen Earth after posting this article querying them on the lack of PvE content.  According to the rep, “the next patch won’t be quite as extensive as the last.  There are, however, plans for more…[PvE] content in a future update.”  The addition of rare spawns with associated rare loot, known as the Serendipity system, and new crafting patterns is all the PvE content Fallen Earth players will receive in patch v1.5.

in the coming weeks

Fallen Earth: Updates include Fast Travel and Weather System

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - No Comments »

Fallen Earth Project Manager/Producer Dave Haydysch has recently released Fallen Earth’s version of their official announcements with their latest State of the Game letter aimed at addressing issues brought up by its community of players. The focus was on recent additions to the game such as the launch of the Blood Sports (1.4) patch, as well as what players can expect in the future.

Fallen Earth will see the introduction of a new weather system, including rain, thunder and lightning.  Players can also expect to see a new system dubbed “Serendipity” which introduces rare world boss spawns, giving players an extra challenge with impressive rewards. Finally, the team will be adding a form of fast travel which could be seen as rather disruptive to the core game mechanics, but will cut down on long travel times.

For more information on Fallen Earth’s Fast Travel and Weather System, along with other updates from the game; click here to read the full update.

Champions Online: Serpent Lantern Expansion Arriving this June

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - No Comments »

Champions Online has announced details concerning the Serpent Lantern Adventure Pack set to arrive next month.

The expansion offers many new updates to Champions Online. The “adventure pack” features new enemies, locations and items centered around battling the games VIPER nemesis as you search for a powerful and mysterious object – the Serpent Lantern. There will also be new NPC’s to interact with, new costumes to unlock, three new perks, action figures to collect and a slue of other add-ons that will flesh out the new expansion.

For the fully detailed article and trailer from Champions Online on the Serpent Lantern adventure pack, click here.

A Look At Kill Screen Magazine

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - 1 Comment »

View in high definition.

You’ve probably heard that print is dieing.  Newspapers are going bankrupt, the magazine industry is condensing and people are losing their jobs.  It’s largely due to the Internet, the old guard being slow to adapt and that crappy economy we keep hearing about.  That did not phase the start-up magazine Kill Screen.

Kill Screen targets the niche market of people who take their video games seriously.  At billions of dollars of revenue a year, it is serious business.  There’s no ads, no reviews, no previews in Kill Screen.  Just poignant discussion of our favorite medium.

Those who want a collectible magazine that can stand the test of time.  One that any self-respecting gamer would be proud to display (“Hide those Nintendo Powers! Company is coming over.) should head over to the official website.  A single issue costs $20, while a subscription of $75 nets you four copies of the quarterly magazine and a bonus T-shirt.

Get on board before Issue 1 is deployed.

Blizzard To Nerf AVR Add-On, Why Not Deadly Boss Mods?

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - 5 Comments »

In addition to assisting raid strategy, AVR can also be used to make it look like Ironforge has contracted the measles.

Augmented Reality is a technology that’s gained a lot of ground recently, used primarily in advertising schemes or accompanying products to allow people to “interact” in the real world with objects that aren’t actually there. Usually this is accomplished by using a “target” (a card or other surface marked up with a special code), that when read by software through, say, a webcam, displays the fictional bauble above as though it truly exists. The user can then do things such as pass their hand over it to move it about or cause it to perform other actions.

Two examples that come immediately to mind are a line of toys based on AVATAR (the one with the blue people, not the kid with the funny arrow on his head) and Sony’s interactive card game, Eye of Judgment.

Now, not too long ago, a mod hit the scene called AVR. That would be Augmented Virtual Reality, and it works on the same basic principal, except it allows things to be drawn on top of or overlaid upon an already fictional world (in this case, it’s Azeroth). Blown you mind yet? The possibilities of such a plug-in should be immediately obvious, and it sure didn’t take long before people figured out how to use it to their advantage. One popular use was to mark the locations where people should stand during Sindragosa’s air phase so that you don’t wipe the raid (which is, in my experience, notoriously hard for your average raider to remember — yes, I’m bitter about it).

I found this idea so intriguing that I nearly made a video of it for Lore Hound, but retracted the idea when I realized that though the technology was cool, it wasn’t perfect. As it lays above the environment instead of specifically being pasted on it (imagine the way a puck is lifted just above the table in air hockey), changing the camera angle or using it on variable-height surfaces like stairs rendered it nearly useless. Still, the idea was great. You could place symbols on the ground to mark things, or put range circles/rulers around your character to figure out how far away you need to be from things, but of course this would make things far too easy when it did work.

People complain about World of Warcraft‘s difficulty all the time, but it makes you wonder how many of those players are raiding with a spartan, mod-free interface. How many of us are relying on one crutch or another to get through an encounter (and, as an added wrinkle to the argument, how many of those should have been standard and provided by Blizzard in the first place)?

Blizz is generally pretty lenient about the kinds of mods people create and we tend to depend on those that give us added information about the game world. I think the reason AVR is causing such a stir, though, is that it goes one step further and allows us to affect the environment itself. It exists beyond the two-dimensional plane of our user interface and expands into the third that Azeroth occupies, and that’s a major no-no. Here’s the official line:

AVR Mod Broken in 3.3.5

This is a notice that we’re making changes in 3.3.5 in attempts to break the ability for the AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) mod to continue functioning. For those unaware, this mod allows players to draw in the 3D space of the game world, which can then be shared with others who are also using the mod. In some cases this manifests itself through drawing/tagging/defacing the game world, but more popularly is used to give visual guides for dungeon and raid encounters.

We’re making this change for two reasons. The invasive nature of a mod altering and/or interacting with the game world (virtually or directly) is not intended and not something we will allow. World of Warcraft UI addons are never intended to interact with the game world itself. This is mirrored in our stance and restriction of model and texture alterations. The second reason is that it removes too much player reaction and decision-making while facing dungeon and raid encounters. While some other mods also work to this end, we find that AVR and the act of visualizing strategy within the game world simply goes beyond what we’re willing to allow.

The change we’re making in attempts to break the functionality is light in its touch and approach. When blocking any functionality we run the risk of affecting other mods, but we’ve targeted the changes as carefully as possible. If we find that the AVR mod (or any mod attempting to replicate its functions) are usable after 3.3.5 we will take further, more drastic steps. Read more…

Winds of Conquest Available Now

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - No Comments »

Good news for fans of browser-based games, Winds of Conquest is a brand new one that lets you find the excitement of building your own company. Be the best business manager, constantly evolving your company, protecting it by rivals, overcoming issues and doing everything else you normally get paid for doing. You can also manage your business places, transportation, factories and production, competing against other players in a round-based style to see who has the brightest future as a business manager.

Soul Master Details Revealed

Posted by on May 21, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Publisher GamesCampus has revealed details about Soul Master, their “genre-bending” MMORTS, which is also free-to-play, by the way. Soul Master will combine the character advancement of an action RPG with the depth and gameplay balance of an Real Time Strategy game. The game tries to bring together the best of both worlds, with you being able to create and progress a character, take them on various quests and missions just like in any other ORPG, but you will also be able to send your character out hunting for resources, constructing buildings and producing and upgrading their very own army of units with which to battle the enemies. More information on Soul Master is coming soon, and the game is looking nice. If you like anime styled characters, that is.