MMOBay.net Takes Over MarkeeDragon's Virtual Market

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - 1 Comment »

 

In a surprise announcement, the largest free virtual market for buying, selling and trading MMO accounts, MarkeeDragon.com, has announced they are getting out of the virtual marketplace business, sort of.  MMOBay.net, a leading auction site for virtual goods has acquired the MD forums, which are in the process of being transfered over.  No mention was made at what price the forums were sold for, but my guess is it was a lot.

In MD’s announcement Youtube video, he explains the move was so that they could try to legitimize the market over the next few years in the hopes that they could eventually make buying and selling MMO accounts not against the TOS agreements that most MMOs have today.  Quite a lofty goal if you ask me.

So what will become of MD?  Nothing has been announced yet, but they did say the new site will be launched sometime this week.  As for MMOBay.net, it seems that this will catapult them to the top of the account selling market as the combination of the MD forums and their own member base will make them one of the largest, if not the largest virtual market place online to buy or sell wow accounts.

Fantasy Earth: Zero to Enter Open Beta on March 3rd

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - No Comments »

FEzero

Fantasy Earth: Zero is an MMORPG developed by Fenix Soft and published by Square Enix, that was released in Japan on February 23 and was canceled several months later due to the lack of interest. The game was later on acquired by Gamepot and adopted a new free-to-play subscription model, which enjoyed much greater success when it was released on Square Enix’s PlayOnline service.. In Japan. But not anymore – Gamepot have announced that the Fantasy Earth: Zero Open Beta will launch on March 3rd.

While this is technically an open beta, there will be a character wipe after the end of Open Beta 1. But not all is lost: Gamepot have announced that they will be holding a Beta Bash where players have a chance to earn great in-game items for when the game Open Beta 2 launches. More information on Fantasy Earth: Zero is available on the game’s newly opened website.

Aion: Info about Patch 1.9 Leaked

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - No Comments »

leakedinfo

A secret link of “Aion Community Team” was found at the end page of Eye on Community 02.26.2010 which revealed(intentionally or not) some details on the upcoming Aion Patch 1.9. The information also notes that a larger update will release in late 2010. Ever since the info leaked, players have been speculating about whether this is the grand Aion 2.0 update or not. There have also been speculations about the level cap raising in version 2.0.

During this meeting hosted by the development team, we’ll finalize the plans for the upcoming Aion update. In addition, we’ll be discussing the larger update of late 2010 that follows the v1.9 content update. Communnity Managers have been invited and their attendance is mandatory. As usual, the information we discuss is confidential and should not be disclosed outside the company. This is especially important to all Community Managers that have been recently requesting the immediate release of information. We will be discussing new content for the entire player base, but this meeting will also address some of the upcoming content that will affect our higher level players. Some of those topics will include:

-Daily Quests for level 50 and below
-New abilities
-Stun attack defense system
-Two-handed weapon transformation
-Dark Poeta drop rate increases.

We’ll be serving light lunch featuring the usual Tutty ‘n’ Beans.
Please discuss any vegetarian needs with the office manager. Please do not come wearing one of the transformed shapes from the Solarius items–we want attendees to be able to readily recognize each other. Review the attached PowerPoint slides and come prepared with your company-issues Shugo personal assistant and translator.

Lord of the Rings Online – Volume III, Book 1 Now Live

Posted by on March 2, 2010 - No Comments »

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The latest update for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online, entitled Volume III, Book 1: Oath of the Rangers, is now live. It introduces 4 new skirmishes, Duo Mode, new high-level skills, and the Spring Festival to the game. The new skirmishes include the Necromancer’s Tower and Depths of Nûrz Ghâshu, and each one is intended for 12 players. Additionally, new crafting recipes and updates were introduced, as well as a new scenario featuring the Rangers of the middle earth.

More information about the new update is available here.

NetModerator to put an End to MMO Cheating/Farming?

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

crisp

Crisp, the foremost expert on behavioral analysis technology for online communities, today announced NetModerator for MMOs.  NetModerator promises to finally put an end to cheaters, spammers, farmers, botters, powerleveling and griefing.  Quite a list.

NetModerator will allow MMO companies to use real-time profiling to identify and deal with these naughty activities.

Crisp’s new control system gives moderators real-time management control of online interactions by reading, analyzing, reporting and intervening on abusive in-game activities and communications.  Installations of the system are customized to analyze the specific activities each customer wishes to monitor.  These include any or all of the MMO modules developed by Crisp as well as behaviors specific to a particular game.

This level of automation reduces the need for live moderation/customer service for low-level issues by up to 80 percent. The resources formerly dedicated to those activities can be directed to high instances that need high level human decisions.

“Gold farmers, cheaters and griefers are huge threats to the long-term success of any MMO.  Yet, the industry has had to adopt a passive model — waiting for players to report the problems after their experience has been ruined,” said Adam Hildreth, CEO of Crisp.  “NetModerator for MMOs gives companies a weapon that lets them actively detect and deal with problems before most players even have a chance to notice.”

Quite a lofty goal if you ask me, but definitely a welcomed one.  My question would be what is the percentage of false positives? I mean we all farm a little, powerlevel from time to time and if we get mad we might say some inappropriate things in chat.  I would be interested to see how this works while people are actually playing.

To find out more about NetModerator, check out the Crisp website here.

Global Agenda Advancing To V1.1 Tomorrow

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

mmoc_global_agenda_patch_v1.1Hi-Rez Studios announces that Global Agenda will receive it’s first full-fledged patch tomorrow.  The title will move to v1.1 after remaining at v1.0 (incremental patches aside) since launch in early February.

The patch includes a few additions that were highly requested by the playerbase including:

  • A much needed friends and ignore list.
  • New Conquest zones that have times more convenient for the international community.
  • Increased plate drops, used for crafting, by 50%.
  • Items can now be repaired.
  • PvP maps can be chosen, and players can filter PvE for “balanced” groups or the quickest group possible.
  • A report function has been added, tweaks have hit the AH, and numerous other small tinkers and improvements have been made.

View the full patch notes here.

The patch addresses some of the cons that I listed in my first impression of Global Agenda.  Hopefully the rest are in the planning stages.

Global Agenda will be down for patch application between 11:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM EST.  Patching should happen automatically through Steam.  The Public Test Realm will be (mostly) available during the downtime of the live server.

Star Trek Online – Pre-order Penalty

Posted by on March 1, 2010 - No Comments »

Star Trek Online LogoIt should stand to reason that pre-ordering an MMO should result in nothing but benefit; at least compared to someone who purchases it within the next few months. Over the weekend Atari offered Star Trek Online at a discounted rate of $10 off plus 60 days of additional free gameplay (for a total of 90 days). I would expect this kind of promotion to run a year or more after release, but certainly not 3 weeks after launch. Are players upset about this? You bet. They take it as a virtual slap in the face. Wait, it gets worse. Due to the tremendous outrage of the current player-base and the numerous posts that followed, Atari rescinded the offer from their website. Not only did they cancel the promotion, but they also canceled the extra 60 day deal they had made with players who purchased it over the weekend. This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon, and that did not play out well for the consumer.

Atari broke one of my rules of operating an MMO; “For every new player award, there shall be a veteran reward”. Keeping players is important, so it is good business to reward existing players with something of equal or better value than what you are awarding new players. Now the question is raised of who is actually responsible for this. Atari published the deal, so personally I am resting the blame on them. Whether or not  Cryptic Studios is completely exonerable, they are taking most of the flak. At the time of writing, they have not released a statement. At its neonatal stage, the last thing Star Trek Online needs is more controversy. I would like to hear your opinions though, and we promise not to ban you for it.

World of Warcraft Authenticator Hacked

Posted by on February 28, 2010 - 135 Comments »

WoW-Authenticator
The worst possible thing to happen to a MMO player is getting their account hacked. All the work that you put in to your account can be gone and the process of getting your character and items back is a painful and long process. Companies of course take steps to protect customers like Blizzard’s Authenticator for World of Warcraft but recent events show that even these aren’t fool proof.

The Authenticator for WoW has a reputation for being hack proof and because of that a lot of people own one. Basically what it does is it gives you a set of random digits that you put in with your original password. So every time you log in to your WoW account you get an extra random password that only the owner of the Authenticator can know.

From what I know there hasn’t been a case of an account that used an Authenticator getting hacked but that changed today. There is a virus going around that can hack the World of Warfcraft Authenticator. The virus intercepts the Authenticator code when you log into WoW and sends Blizzard a wrong one (which is why you can’t log in since you will get a “Wrong info” error) and then the people behind the virus have a few minutes to log into your account with the real Authenticator code. A Blizzard employee said this about the recently hacked WoW accounts that used Authenticators.

So the Authenticator is not a fail safe way to keep accounts safe but it is still a very good investment. If you want to check to see if you have the virus just search for the file “emcor.dll” on your computer. If you have it then your account most likely has already been hacked.

Tools like the Authenticator can only do so much. It is really unfortunate that people are getting hacked even with this security measure but it all comes down to the user. Safe browsing habits, a good anti-virus, common sense (against phishers) and things like an Authenticator can make your account virtually hack proof.