Wintergrasp Queueing to be Updated

Posted by on April 30, 2010 - 1 Comment »

One of the biggest problems with playing on a server with a population imbalance is Wintergrasp. However, this may be a thing of the past in a future minor content patch.

The new model will be a “one in, one out” model. Put simply, the queueing system will only allow you to enter the battle if your faction has equal to or less players than the other side. This means, for example, that if 20 Horde players and 50 Alliance players queue, then 20 players from each side will be entered into the battleground. Additional Alliance players will only be added in when more Horde players enter the battle. There will be some “minimum cap” where players are let in regardless if there aren’t enough people in the zone.

This new queueing system was developed for the Cataclysm PvP zone, Tol Barad, but it seems that Wintergrasp will be a testing site for it. The old mechanic of a stacking Tenacity buff will most likely stay in place for Wintergrasp, but not necessarily Tol Barad. This will be useful when a lot of players leave, disconnect, or when players do not enter when the queue pops for them.

I am really excited for this change. Some of my friends has considered transferring off of Proudmoore because the population imbalance makes WG barely winnable. While I think thats a silly reason, I would really like to be able to do Vault of Archavon more often, have the extra 5% experience gain for leveling in Northrend, and and be able to collect stone keeper’s shards. I welcome this change with open arms!

Hit the cut for the full details and further analysis.

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APB (All Points Bulletin) Release Date Announced – June 29th

Posted by on April 30, 2010 - No Comments »

Realtime Worlds and Electronic Arts have announced the release date for APB (All Points Bulletin) for the PC on June 29th in North America, July 1st in mainland Europe and July 2nd in the UK.

Pre-ordering the game gives exclusive access to the following:

  • ‘APB VIP’ game time.
  • ‘Key to the City’ demo.
  • Exclusive in-game Asylum upgraded Criminal Car and Enforcer upgraded Patrol Car.
  • C.S.A Enforcer and Asylum Criminal clothing.
  • ‘Chicken’ and ‘Strike-a-pose’ exclusive Emotes.

The game includes 50 hours of game time out of the box. Once the 50 hours are up, players are given the option to pay £5.59 for an additional 20 hours, or the choice of purchasing a 30-day unlimited package for £7.99 with discounts available for 90 and 180 days. It was also announced that players can earn game time by actually playing the game.

David Jones, Creative Director of Realtime Worlds commented;

“We’re delighted to finally be announcing the release date for APB, and we’re looking forward to welcoming players on to the mean streets of San Paro. Gamers will soon get to experience a world of unparalleled customization, conflict and celebrity – whether they choose to be a Criminal or an Enforcer.”

If you are interested in making a preorder, head on over to either the official site or the EA Store. The game will be sold both via retail and digital distribution. The standard retail price will be £34.99.

For more information on All Points Bulletin, head on over to the official website.

Screenshot Of The Day Returns (Cataclysm Edition)

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Blizzard is bringing back a long-lost feature: the good old Screenshot of the Day. Once used as a method to highlight caps sent in by the community, it has now been re-purposed to give us a glimpse into the post-Cataclysm world. Every day from here on out, we’ll be getting a single picture from the expansion. Being the good little tabloid bloggers journalists we are, it’ll be tough not to analyze them to death. But I’m sure you’re all craving information as much as we are, and hopefully the return of this feature will help ease the wait just a little bit each day.

To view today’s image, you can either visit the official gallery (which mostly features an archive of old Wrath content at this point) or simply click the thumbnail below:

It’s a bit obtuse, isn’t it? A picture of a wall and some deep sea flora? There’s a high chance that this screenshot was taken somewhere in the zone of Vashj’ir or a dungeon in the Abyssal Maw. Sure, it’s not the most interesting screenshot, but undoubtedly your eye is drawn to one key aspect of image: the surly, little Sea Goblin bearing his jaw full of serrated, shark-like teeth ready to sink into any hapless adventurer that might wander by. I think it’s actually a really cool design, especially how many of the core design elements of the average goblin lend themselves to the underwater life (long ears = fins).

What say you, Lore Hounds?

Instance Gratification: DDO Episode 3 – Korthos Complete

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Lore Hound’s band of merry men (and the androgynous Warforged) completed Korthos Island this weekend.  After nearly a dozen hours, around a half dozen adventures, three levels and numerous trips to class trainers, the Instance Gratification team completed Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited’s lengthy starting zone.  This week’s video closes with a first look at what lies ahead, Stormreach and a ridiculous amount of more adventures.

Episode 4 will once again happen on Sunday, and is currently scheduled for an 11:00 AM EST start time on the Khyber server.  Please be sure to complete the tutorial questline of Korthos Island, otherwise you will not be eligible for a group invite.  We’ll be clearing the first few dungeons in the harbor district for Episode 4.  Supplies of DDO Point cards are limited, but still available to those that attend!

Don’t forget, Turbine is currently having a huge sale on Adventure packs in the DDO Store.  Amatera and I both picked up a pair of adventure packs that contain over 10 adventures in total.  All for less than the 500 point cards Lore Hound is giving away!

Prospective attendees should drop a line below so we can gauge the expected attendance.  Include your class if you’ve already decided upon one.  I currently have a warforged cleric (iTZKooPA) and a halfling bard (iTZKHuPA).

Recruit-A-Friend Mount Change

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - No Comments »

Recruit-A-Friend (RAF) is a program that Blizzard implemented for World of Warcraft to give new players an easier time leveling and current players a way to bring in their friends and level alternate characters. The way it works a paying account sends out a referral to a friend and that person gets a free trial of World of Warcraft. If that person purchases the game and starts paying the subscription fee both players get triple experience as long as they level together and can summon each other. Of course the person that sent the referral gets additional perks like a free month of WoW and the exclusive Zhevra mount.

Just this week Blizzard announced that there would be a mount change in the Recruit-A-Friend program.They will be replacing the Zhevra mount which you received after doing RAF with the X-53 Touring Rocket. This is great news for mount collectors because as I mentioned before in this post, these rocket mounts are extremely rare but now there is an easy way to get one. I wish that they would upgrade the Zhevra mount to the X-53 rocket but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

Rawr 3 Goes Into Beta

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - No Comments »

For a lot of World of Warcraft players out there, figuring out how to optimize your character can be a deeply confusing and frustrating experience. Sure there are several loot-ranking sites out there, but they still require that you sort through long lists of gear and you still have to be able to eyeball which equipment will give your personal setup the most bang for your buck. And then there are all those labyrinthine spreadsheets that min-maxers seem to be fond of.

Useful for those who are used to parsing such arcane knowledge, but not as helpful for all us regular folk! And that’s why Rawr has been such a wonderful resource for the community. This stand-alone program has long assisted players by allowing them to pull their character data directly from the armory and calculate precisely how different upgrades, enchants, gems, and specs would affect their performance on the fly. As straightforward as this seems, the software is flexible enough to let you play with options on your own if its provided suggestions aren’t to your satisfaction (as is sometimes the case with particularly finicky or experimental builds).

The latest version, Rawr 3, has just gone into beta. Sure, the interface is still familiar to anyone who has used it before, and undoubtedly new data has been plugged into the system, but there is one key difference between this and previous versions: Rawr 3 is a web app. Though the stand-alone release will continue to be supported while the latest update is still in its testing phase, this is likely the future of the program.

Not every aspect of it is completely operational yet, and there are undoubtedly still bugs to be worked out, but the final product should be just as functional as it always has been (if not moreso). Importing my Rogue’s data was as easy as it ever has been, and the fact that it runs on Microsoft’s Silverlight API — instead of something like, say, Flash — makes using it feel like a smooth and satisfying experience.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself tearing your hair out over how to improve your character, there has never been a better time to give Rawr a shot than now. And if the app, or Silverlight, gives you any trouble, do remember that you can still download and run the latest version of Rawr 2.

ArenaNet Posts Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto

Posted by on April 29, 2010 - 1 Comment »

As part of a new blog focused on the game, ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien has posted an extensive design manifesto detailing exactly what sort of direction that the upcoming Guild Wars 2 is intended to go in. Though their mantra of providing gamers with brand new experiences is key, this is more than an idle mission statement.

O’Brien states just how massive of a project that this is:

The first thing you should know about Guild Wars 2 is that, this time around, there’s no question that it’s an MMORPG. It’s an enormous, persistent, living, social world, filled with a wide variety of combat and non-combat activities. There’s so much depth here that you’re never going to run out of new things to discover.

Indeed, gone is the almost purely-instanced, PvP-focused gameplay. Not to say that it won’t be there in some form, of course, but rather that the scope is much grander than that of its predecessor. You may think this means that Guild Wars 2 is simply towing the line, following in the footsteps of the rest of the genre. Not so, says O’Brien! Peruse the following quote, and pay (or rather, don’t) careful attention the last bit:

So if you love MMORPGs, you should check out Guild Wars 2. But if you hate traditional MMORPGs, then you shouldreally check out Guild Wars 2. Because, like Guild Wars before it, GW2 doesn’t fall into the traps of traditional MMORPGs. It doesn’t suck your life away and force you onto a grinding treadmill; it doesn’t make you spend hours preparing to have fun rather than just having fun; and of course, it doesn’t have a monthly fee.

But it’s easy to say such things. How many MMORPGs have over-promised and under-delivered on their innovation? Or rather, how many have striven so hard to be different that they end up ignoring the core aspects of the game that keep players engaged? That’s where the rest of the design manifesto comes into play. Continue onward to see just how Guild Wars 2 plans on setting itself apart from its massively-multiplayer bretheren…

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Cataclysm Zones: The Echo Isles

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - 2 Comments »

In order to make sure that everybody gets a fair shake in the early going, Blizzard is giving two of the game’s existing races their own, special starting areas. While not as elaborate as those of the Goblin or Worgen, of course, it’s still nice to see that they’re paying attention.

In the coming months, players will have the opportunity to retake the Echo Isles from the evil witch doctor, Zalazane. Nascent Hordies of the Orc and Troll persuasion already pass this area as the first questing hub outside of the Valley of Trials, but from Cataclysm onwards, it will be the exclusive 1-5 introductory area for the latter.

As a beginning Troll, no longer will you be burdened with the menial tasks of slaying scorpions or picking apples (though, I will miss slapping lazy peons upside the hide). Instead, you’ll be charged with protecting the Darkspears’ newly reclaimed land from deadly predators and the encroaching Naga, who regularly threaten its safety.

But that’s not all, because this mini-zone has been completely re-jiggered! New Troll outposts and buildings have appeared on the islands, along with bridges that connect the archipelago with the mainland (I can’t be the only one that hated swimming across the inlet for every quest). And it looks even sexier with the new Cataclysm water effects.

Hit the break for full details and even more screenshots! Read more…