Global Agenda v1.2 Live Tomorrow

Posted by on March 15, 2010 - No Comments »

Hi-Rez Studio announces that Global Agenda will be progressing to version 1.2 during maintenance tomorrow.  The second major patch for the squad-based MMOG comes just two scant weeks after version 1.1 went live. I hope the developers at Hi-Rez are fully stocked with caffeinated beverages, because they’ve been busy.

Patch highlights:

  • Significant updates and new content for the Alliance vs Alliance gameplay, including the addition of Theft missions, defense capabilities, trading and abandoning of territories and a lot more.
  • 4v4 Arena Queues – The 4v4 Arena Queue is for pre-made teams of four players, and offers two new maps built specifically for 4v4 combat.
  • City Chat
  • Numerous bugs fixes and tweaks to PvE (animations), AvA, the AH and mail systems.

Read the full patch notes here.

Global Agenda will be down for patch application between 11:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM EST.  Patching should happen automatically through Steam.  No conquest zones will be available tomorrow to accommodate time differences and patch deployment.  Conquest play, including the two new maps, will be available on Wednesday.

Aika Open Beta – Tomorrow

Posted by on March 15, 2010 - No Comments »

Gpotato have announced that their latest MMORPG, Aika Online, will enter it’s open beta phase tomorrow, March 16th. The open beta will include all six playable classes, all the level 1-50 content, a full range of PvP options, and a player-run political system. New and returning players will also be able to participate in a regular lineup of PvP events, including the 1000 vs. 1000 battles. There will also be weekly castle sieges where guilds will battle for political dominance. There will also be a series of mounts, including the Warrior’s war hamster and the Dual Gunner’s hoverbike.

Anyone interested can sign up for the Aika Open Beta here.

GDC 2010: Star Trek Online Receiving New Playable Race "Within the year"

Posted by on March 12, 2010 - No Comments »

The sheer flood of information coming from GDC 2010 is mind-boggling, and I am sure we are all having trouble keeping up.  I know I am.  I’ve been on the fence about Star Trek Online since its release, so I’ve tuned in to any and all information on the title coming from GDC.

According to a Massively interview, virtual trekkies will be able to select a new playable race “within the year.”  Better still, the decision will apparently be up to the players.

Craig Zinkievich said:

There’s a huge amount of the dev team right now interested in doing Romulan. I think the Borg would be really interesting as just something totally different, totally different gameplay. There are a lot of really cool mechanics, a lot of really cool things you can do there. Really, if you’re in the MMO for the long haul, there are going to be a lot more playable factions, you can’t stop with those two. There’s Jem’Hadar, you’re going to be going to the Dominion, there’s Cardassians [...] so many playable factions that we can and will be releasing with the game.

July has been selected as Star Trek Online’s next big update, one that is to include numerous community requests.

We know that we just had a player survey when you first arrive at the site, and, like, ship interiors. [Players] want a whole lot more there, want a whole lot more functionality, why are other players coming to my ship, what’s going on there?

There’s a big huge outcry for first contact missions, diplomacy missions, more non-combat within Star Trek, so we’re really making sure with that July update we’re really focusing on that.”

Hopefully Cryptic Studios can deliver what the community wants. More importantly, I hope that Cryptic doesn’t let the community ruin its own game.  What race do you want to see this year?

Star Trek Online is available at Amazon for only $30 as of press time.  A deep discount.

Going Rogue Expansion Preview & Power Leveling

Posted by on March 11, 2010 - No Comments »

It seems like after months of waiting for any news of any content besides character designs, the new City of Heroes/Villains expansion pack, Going Rogue, is starting to take shape. In the last few months we have been introduced to such characters as the sultry Desdemona, the rugged Maelstrom and the evil dictator Tyrant.  That along with a few select screen shots and backgrounds was the only information being released.  Now as we get closer and closer to July more details are coming out in the form of new power sets of Dual Pistols and Demon Summoning.

Dual pistols blazing

Luckily before the Test Server closed down again I got to try out the Dual Pistols power set.  The power set is available as a primary power for blasters and a secondary power for defenders on the Heroes side.  On Villains you can choose it as a primary power only with the Corruptor archetype.  Previously these abilities were only partially available in the thug’s power set for Masterminds.  Much like the dual blades power set, it is a very stylistic power set.  In addition to giving you a wide variety of moves with an almost Matrix like feel, you also get the ability to change your ammo to toxic, incendiary or cold damage.  So in a way it is like being a controller and blaster combined into one.  I tested it out as a corruptor paired with thermal radiation as a secondary power and found that to be a good mix.  In many ways the power set is very similar to an arachnos soldier when it comes to Are of Effect powers.  It is definitely a set that gets better as you get into the higher powers.  As for solo vs. team play I would say that dual pistols could work well as long as you choose a good secondary power to keep your defensive power equal to your offensive power.

Group of Dual Pistols Fighting

The additional power set announced is Demon Summoning and will be available for those to try who pre-purchase Going Rogue in April.  From what I can tell it will be an additional power to the Mastermind archetype power set and come with a fire whip as a secondary power.  This should be an interesting combination and I look forward to giving it a try in April.

I did want to make a quick comment on the issue of power leveling, which has always been an issue for as long as I have been playing MMOs.  When City of Heroes first came out it was very easy for a low level character to join a much higher level team and get crazy xp and level up quickly.  Since those days NCSoft and now Paragon Studios have gone to great lengths to curve this practice.  By making team levels adjust to the highest player in the team the days of one getting higher or no xp  depending on the level gap are over. 

 While I don’t mind the occasional power leveling to get up to a certain power level, there is a limit to doing that.  What I don’t approve of is someone creating a character and then getting them to level 50 within a matter of hours or days by constant power leveling.  Many game developers work hard to great story arcs and content that can only be accessed at certain levels.  By just plowing through levels by power leveling many players miss out on badges or temporary powers that those missions give.  Sure you got your character to level 50 in record time but I ask that player “Did you really enjoy the content of what the MMORPG has to offer while power levelling ?”  I would say chances are no and that I think is a shame to hear someone say that.

Update on City of Heroes/Villians :Looking through a Dark Mirror

Posted by on March 10, 2010 - No Comments »

The start of 2010 has become a busy time in the world of City of Heroes/Villains.  That being said, I thought this would be a great time to get everyone caught up on the latest happenings in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles.

Snaptooth : a Seasonal Event Boss

Last month saw the annual Spring Fling event seasonal arrive where heroes and villains get to team together on missions in the shared zone of Pocket D.  For those who are not familiar with Pocket D, it is a zone in the game where both heroes and villains can meet but cannot fight each other.  During seasonal events there are usually missions that force both sides to complete a mission for rewards of badges, temporary powers or costume pieces.  As usual it was fun mixing archetypes on missions and allowed for some interesting team ups while trying to defeat the every annoying Snaptooth and his minions.

Things really did not slow down after the Spring Fling with the announcement of Double XP Weekend that took place this past weekend, starting a day early on Thursday.  This was followed very closely by the announcement of the release date of the Going Rogue expansion in July and more information on the coming free update Issue 17: Dark Mirror scheduled to arrive in April.

Example of the crowds of people that came out for Double XP Weekend

When it comes to Issue 17, like any new update, there are things I am looking forward to and some I don’t think I will get a lot of use out of.  Even though the game has given you the ability to add tails to your costume they have always been, like the hair in the game, very stiff and don’t react to what the player is doing.  Now with this release we are supposed to see tails that will react to movement by swaying or swishing.  I think this is a great improvement and will give some new life to some costumes.   Hopefully hair animations for characters will not be too far behind. 

Sample of what Ultra Mode will look like

Dark Mirror will also feature the debut of Ultra Mode which will give a heightened level of detail in lighting, reflections, shadows and water effects in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles.  Users will only be able to access this if they current video card meets the requirements.  A few years ago I noticed a huge difference on how the game looked when I upgraded from an old C.R.T. monitor to a flat screen display.  I saw colors that did not exist for me before and details I was sorely missing due to my old display.  Even though my video card in my desktop computer is not the latest and greatest on the market, I still hope my hardware will be good enough so I can enjoy this enhanced look of the game.    There will also be a way to send either influence or infamy (the in-world currency) form one character to another through in-game emails.  Even though a hero cannot send money to a villain or vice versa this will allow some of my more wealthy higher level characters help out my lower impoverished ones. 

Other noteworthy improvements include active missions increasing from 3 to 7, new story arcs for levels 20 – 30, strike and task force updates,  epic archetypes unlocked at 20 instead of 50 as well as the usual new batch of badges and player emotes.    This will give players access to Peacebrings, Warshades, Arachnos Soldiers and Arachnos Widows that they have been waiting for.  The Mission Architect mode, which allows players to create custom missions will be getting new additions such as maps, giant monsters, escort missions and forcing player to leave the mission manually upon completion.  While I have tried the player created missions I really have not gotten into actually making them, so all of these improvements won’t really affect my game play much at all.  Overall it looks like an exciting new update that I look forward to playing when it hits the live servers in a few weeks.

EmpireCraft 2.0

Posted by on March 10, 2010 - No Comments »

Today we received some new screenshots of EmpireCraft 2.0, which are posted below. For those of you not familiar with EmpireCraft, it is a browser based MMORTS game similar to Evony.  You have a town, created an army and try to take over other peoples towns.  There’s obviously more to it, but that’s the gist of it.

If you take a look that new screens, the top three, for Empire Craft 2, you can see that it is a major graphical update from the old school 16 bit graphics.  It’s actually looks pretty good.

Scott Brown Tells Us That Jumpgate Evolution Is Still Alive

Posted by on March 10, 2010 - No Comments »

I’ll admit to having a soft spot for anything science fiction.  Aliens, spaceships, time travel, anything science-y pulls me towards it like a vast black hole.  NetDevil’s reincarnation of Jumpgate, appropriately titled Jumpgate Evolution, had my ear for some time.  Then the title went dark after being delayed from its June 2009 release date.

NetDevil’s Scott Brown created a new thread on the official community forum to let the community know that the game is alive and well.  In fact, his bullet point list details some of the drastic changes that have been made since missing its original release date.

-”Battlespace” returning to more of its simulator roots from Classic, really a place to practice not advance. I know this will make some of you happy in that advancing will only happen in “real” space not instant action type playing. I still hope to have some achievements/leader board materials form here but not likely to have any equipment or pilot advancing type effects.

-Lots of work on missions. With the new design team map layouts, mission stories, the types of things you do in missions, etc is all MUCH more interesting and varied than ever before. The kinds of things we can now do is very advanced.

-Better faction definition. The stories in the game really tell all about your faction and why you are at war with the others. The story is also darker than before with many of the missions you fly feeling more gray than the typical black and white always doing the good thing type story.

-PvP. Lots and lots of work on systems for PvP, new maps, new game play, new forms of advancement, player built battle stations, capturing sectors, etc. The scope and feel of the massive space battles you will be taking part in against other players will be, IMHO, what really sets us apart.

-AI functionality. Tons of work on making the AI both the right difficulty (it was way to easy before) and also varied in behavior.

Looks like a handful of core systems and mechanics have recieved complete overhauls.  Consider my interests perked, for the second time.

With so many changes in the works it is no wonder why Jumpgate Evoltion is still without a release window.

NCSoft's Plans on Aion

Posted by on March 5, 2010 - No Comments »

In a recent press conference, NCSoft announced their Aion future plansAion 1.9 will hit live servers in March and Aion 2.0 will be available in May. In order to help players find groups or party members, a new “Looking for Group” feature will be added. The UI will also receive and overhaul, so now the skill bar can be moved anywhere on the screen. New skills will be added, as well as new stats – healing increase stat, magic critical hit defense stat, physical critical hit defense stat, etc.

To help players level up faster, “Energy of Salvation” will be added, as well as new daily quests, allowing players to undertake new quests every day, and new medals will be available as quest rewards. A two-handed weapon combining system will be implemented, and max socketing for items will be raised to 15+. A new name boutique will also be available, where players can purchase name brands.

It’s expected that three changes will take place after the patch 1.9 is implemented:

Firstly, it will be easier for players to level up. The existing Energy of Repose can boost players’ EXP gain in monster grinding. Through the added Energy of Salvation, players will obtain more bonus EXP. Furthermore, the cost of soul healing will be greatly decreased and more soul healing places will be added in different areas.

Secondly, the battle system in Aion will be changed. Currently, players will fall to the ground for one to two seconds if they are attacked by monsters and fall into stunned state. But in the future version, two skills that can be used to remove the debuff state will be added for each class at lvl 40 and lvl 48 respectively.

Thirdly, the updates will facilitate players’ operations. In Aion 1.9, if players press on a wrong key and thus sell any item mistakenly, they can use the buy-back function to buy their sold items back. Moreover, the movable quickbar will make players’ operations easier.