Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dungeon Crawing With FriendsDungeon Crawing With Friends

 

 

ficial announcement and press release about Fortune Online. Fortune Online is a browser-based action-RPG currently in closed beta testing. The game will allow players to team up with friends to romp through endless dungeons and massive labyrinths. To celebrate the official announcement, Gazillion has released a brand new trailer. Check it out!

 

“Developed with our own patent-pending engine, Fortune Online sets a new standard for browser-based online games,” states Brian Booker, Producer for Fortune Online. “Our engine pushes Flash to amazing new heights, enabling us to create the kind of kick ass game that we, as gamers, like to play – a full-featured MMO we can all play together whenever and wherever we are.”

 

“Like at work,” continues Dan Fiden, Vice President of Publishing for Gazillion. “But only during lunch, of course. We at Gazillion Entertainment couldn’t possibly endorse the playing of games of any kind during normal work hours. Obviously.”

 

David Brevik, President and COO of Gazillion Entertainment and designer of Diablo, adds, “I know a thing or two about dungeon crawlers, and with Fortune Online you get into one with unparalleled ease. What we’re doing in a browser is simply amazing. It’s a great example of Gazillion’s focus – free-to-play, console-quality games right in your browser.”

 

Closed Beta ImpressionsClosed Beta Impressions

MMORPG.com’s Carolyn Koh and Bill Murphy recently had the opportunity for a hands on preview of one of the hottest MOBAs coming down the pike, Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes. They’ve both got the skinny on exactly how WoH plays and much more. Keep reading and then leave us a few comments when you’re through!

Fast, furious and fun. That about describes the short hands-on time I had with Wrath of Heroes over the last weekend. I’d received the beta invite and missed the first beta session because I work on the West Coast and they were testing on East Coast time but I had two hours with it the next day. I logged in knowing that Bioware-Mythic were really just testing the gameplay and balance on the characters already in game. No tutorial or cheat-sheets were available, although some tool-tips – such as the commands for chatting to your war band and setting radio buttons which also had accompanying dings to gain quick attention during the hectic combat. Some quick clicking around and experimenting and I found out how to chat in the lobby, look over the characters, moused over their skills for a description and I joined a random battle. Big red button. Couldn’t miss that. Then it was a lot of trial and error as I tested the various characters out.
 
 

A Review of Beta Patch 14′s Increased DifficultyA Review of Beta Patch 14′s Increased Difficulty

Last Monday Jay Wilson randomly announced via Twitter that they had doubled the monster damage for levels 1-13. This kindled a lot of positive feedback in the community as the most common complaint from beta testers seems to be how easy the game is. This notion forced Blizzard into making a promotional video for BlizzCon 2011 to promise players that in the later difficulties they will die, often. Despite that and their justification that the early game is a tutorial and should be treated as such, Blizzard made the call to beef it up.

The swift deployment of beta patch 14 caught us all by surprise as I expected to try these changes out around mid to late March at the earliest, not 3 days after the tweet. Not that I’m complaining, I was really looking forward to seeing how the difficulty has evolved with the sweeping buffs to all of the monsters in the beta.

My first go at the new patch was with a fresh Barbarian. Both the Monk and Barbarian received a passive 30% incoming damage reduction from all sources with this patch, which makes a lot of sense given that they will find themselves in harms way more often than the ranged classes. Blizzard has dabbled in trying to implement game mechanics that are more dangerous for ranged attackers (such as the Mortar modifier) which ultimately didn’t have the desired impact in practice, so this seems like an effective compromise. Although some may argue that 30% is overpowered, it’s likely an arbitrary number that will be adjusted as needed for balance if melee survivability ends up much higher than ranged.

Once I got past the introductory camp phase and onto Old Tristram Road, it was clear that Jay’s tweet and the patch notes weren’t just hot air. This beta test that I could previously play by resting my head on one side of my keyboard and rolling my face to the other and back was actually demanding my attention. The trivial AI found in normal kept the mobs from attacking in any sort of coherant or threatening manner, but the damage output is clearly more dangerous.

Where players will find the most risk will be against rare/champion packs and bosses. One particular scenario comes to mind where I was fighting a rare “Nightmarish” pack and got horrified into a group of champion Grotesque mobs. This was a near-death experience, even with my seasoned StarCraft 2 APM paying dividends in a swift and efficient striking of the Q key to consume a potion. Countless hardcore characters will weep and perish in similar unpredictable situations that different boss modifiers will throw them into, especially in later difficulties where rare packs can roll more than 1 modifier.

 

Issue #2 does not disappoint. In the opening pages we get a taste of what plagues the men of the north.Issue #2 does not disappoint. In the opening pages we get a taste of what plagues the men of the north.

 

Even Jacobs own people, who are described as being NOT barbarians, seem to be suffering from a dreadful force of some kind, an affliction of blood. In a rather dark but intriguing scene we discover why Jacob has left his home, being forced into combat with his own father. Then, just like that we are back in the present and are introduced to a woman who seems likely to be Jacob’s constant companion throughout this unfolding story. Whether this wizard, named Shanar, truly means well for Jacob is open to debate. I certainly was left with the sense that she was not telling young Jacob everything. Regardless her introduction does serve to inform the reader of some more grandious lore behind the Diablo universe, the Crystal Arch. First discussed in the Book of Cain, this artifact of perfect beauty resides in the High Heavens and resonates with a song that not only brings Angels into being but also somehow can shape the paths of humans. Again I was highly intrigued and can’t wait to find out more.

But before we can find out more Jacob’s past catches up with him and his pursuant countrymen attack. It seems they too possess this strange affliction of blood that drives them to act like wild beasts more than civilized men. Jacob takes up the Sword of Justice to defend himself but is reluctant to kill any of his attackers and ends up being captured and forced to witness more of his countrymen’s depravity. Luckily he is rescued by Shanar and the chase continues. I particularly appreciated the blast from the past as Jacob and Shanar flee through the black marsh, stumbling upon the ruins of the Forgotten Tower (of Diablo 2 fame). In typical comic book cliff hanger fashion, the final page introduces us to a new unforeseen foe. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next issue to find out more.

Aside from a decently interesting storyline both issues feature an art style that does a great job of evoking a sense of the menacing dark tones that make the Diablo franchise what it is. The angular and brusque line art of Joseph Lacroix and the very Diablo-ish color palette employed by Dave Stewart somehow stand set apart from Blizzard’s usual artistic style yet still manage to feel very Diablo. Both artists also did a fantastic job of portraying the infiltration of the sinister affliction of the Barbarians upon the men of the north, and left me wanting to know more.

If issues one and two are any indication, I think “The Sword of Justice” series will be both a highly entertaining read and also a great medium for advancing the lore of the Diablo franchise. So on both counts I applaud Blizzard and DC Comics. My only worry is that with only 3 more issues it seems like there is a lot of ground to cover to bring this story to completion. Of course who is to say that the story of Tyrael’s sword will end with this comic series? There is after all some upcoming web fiction; promised to the community in D3DB’s interview in December with Micky Neilson (a Senior Writer at Blizzard), who as it happens also had a hand in the Sword of Justice series. And of course there is always the impending release date announcement of a certain video game that is sure to be chalk full of lore goodies. I will not be surprised at all to see references to the Sword of Justice as we play through Diablo 3. But for now, we will just have to wait for another issue, left with a foreboding verse to tide us over and leave us wondering: 

Insider: When you begin creating a new cinematic, where do the storyline and script come from?Insider: When you begin creating a new cinematic, where do the storyline and script come from?

 

Nick Carpenter: We have a fairly standard process in place. It starts when the game teams and the story leads meet to discuss everyone’s basic expectations, as well as the main themes and motifs of the game. We often go into this meeting knowing the major ‘tent poles’ of the storyline, and can start building out the other story details from there. In the case of Diablo III, we knew how the game would begin — with the falling star crashing into the cathedral at New Tristram — and we also knew how the game would eventually

end [but we won’t talk about that just yet]. So we began by setting up the story with the intro and outro in mind, and those early meetings were really about creating themiddle of the story which would connect the two end points. Chris Thunig: Even after the initial story has taken shape, creating the cinematics remains a very fluid process. Good ideas can come from anywhere at any time, even very late in production, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to tweak things for the better. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say that we revisited the Act IV cinematic when the animators had some ideas about the way in which one of the characters performed a certain action, and how it needed a greater sense of defiance and heroism. We all agreed and decided to make changes to the action, even though we had progressed far into production at that point.

Once you have a rough idea of the story, how do you set about turning that idea into a cinematic?

Nick Carpenter: In addition to storyboarding all our ideas, we also focus a lot of time on the ‘animatics’ — moving 2D storyboards that give a sense of timing and pacing. We also like to score our animatics with music from other movies to enhance the sense of the mood at atmosphere that we’re ultimately aiming for. As Blizzard gets bigger, it becomes more and more important to avoid what we call the ‘grand reveal,’ which is keeping your work to yourself until it’s almost 100% done. By that point, it’s far too late to incorporate feedback, and there’s always plenty of valuable feedback. A much better approach comes from building rough versions of the footage early and sharing with as many teams as possible as soon as possible. Animatics are very effective in that regard. We can build them quickly and still convey a lot of the elements and emotions we hope to capture in the final footage.

Insider: How does the 2D animatic evolve into 3D footage?

Chris Thunig: Once we have the animatic in a place where we like it, we start blocking things out in 3D and layering in sound. Animators and artists start with simple skeletons and rough backgrounds to flesh out the space. The first 3D animatic is often called the ‘slap comp’ and from it we get a sense for how the cinematic is evolving into 3D space.

The slap comp goes out to many teams for feedback, and another round of iteration begins in which we start layering in more features, piece by piece. Details begin to emerge through rendering and painting, and eventually we start doing very subtle things, like supporting facial animations with muscle movement. These later stages can be very time consuming, which is why the earlier rounds of feedback are so vital. It’s important to start building all the meticulous details on top of a foundation that works.

How do you go about bringing specific characters to life? Where do all the details come from?

Chris Thunig: We use lots of real world reference. Early in the process various members of the team will act out the cinematic scenes on camera. This process works a lot like shooting live action, where actors take cues from directors and we get tons of takes. We even use props, as things like football shoulder pads can give actors a sense for the weight and bulk of angelic armor. People tend to move differently with costumes on, and you see this in their gestures and body language. All this footage goes to the artists

and animators to use as reference. When it comes time to create and animate the characters for the cinematic it’s a matter of getting the software to live up to the artistry. To aid the process we will sometimes look for reference to realize even seemingly trivial things. I remember we found a Blizzard employee with a haircut similar to Leah’s and we put her in front of a fan so the artists could study how her hair moves in the wind. Long render hours and many iterations later we head into the final polishing stage where a lot of tweaking and detailing takes place, and we try and give it that extra push that makes it a Blizzard-quality piece.

Were there any ideas for the intro cinematic that didn’t make the cut?

Nick Carpenter: Earlier versions of the cinematic were much more focused on the characters talking back and forth, mostly about the Eternal Conflict. We ultimately decided it was better to ‘show not tell,’ so we moved away from this direction and instead came up with the idea of establishing the Eternal Conflict by flashing back to it. We loved the concept of angels pouring down from the sky like a waterfall of diamonds into an ocean of demons, but there was no way we could create such sequences and still ship the game on time; it was essentially like adding another entire cinematic relatively late in the schedule.

That’s where the idea of the 2D animations originated. Here, we could show the same backstory in the context of a macabre, living storybook where the images come to life on the page. Through the constraint of time, we came up with the unique ‘storybook’ look for which I think the Diablo III cinematics will be remembered. This storybook grounds the sequence as a flashback — without explicitly explaining that it’s a flashback — and it even gives the viewer the sense that they are witnessing events with the weight of an epic, almost mythological past.

What technologies were used to create the intro cinematic?

Nick Carpenter: We use Pixar’s RenderMan as our primary rendering tool. It’s very good at displacing surfaces and adding both realistic motion blur and depth of field. During the development of StarCraft II’s cinematics it felt at times as though RenderMan was leading us, but for Diablo III we were able to apply what we learned during StarCraft II and get back in the driver’s seat. We also used VRay for matte painting passes, which is the modern equivalent of how 2D painters used to draw environment layers on sheets of glass to create a sense of depth. Also, if you look closely at the 2D storybook sections of the Diablo III intro cinematic, you’ll notice that we took the fibers in the parchment and separated them at different

z-depths in After Effects to create a 3D effect, almost like a star field.

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Insider: Do you think we’ll ever see a full-length theatrical movie from Blizzard Cinematics?

Nick Carpenter: If you look at the way Blizzard’s cinematics have evolved over the years, it’s a good guess that we’re likely headed in that direction. We get this question a lot, and it’s too early to tip our hands on anything specific, but, for now, I can say that we definitely hear you.

Insider: Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you’d like to share before you go?

Nick Carpenter/Chris Thunig: I just want to thank everyone involved! Diablo III was one of our biggest challenges yet. It was a labor of love and we can’t wait for everyone to see the story unfold in the final game.

 

Diablo III to Release May 15th, Digital Pre-Order & Download Now Available
One decade-long wait is finally over as another much shorter one begins, gamers all over the world will be counting down the hours until May 15th, the day Diablo III is released. We predicted last week that Monday, March 12th made the most sense for a release date announcement given Blizzard’s track record of release date announcements on Mondays, but it appears they’ve decided to curb that habit.

There are 3 ways to pre-order the game; you can do so on your Battle.net Account Page, through any major third party retailer or if you currently have a World of Warcraft Annual Pass (or plan on purchasing one) you’ll get the digital copy of the standard edition as a bonus.

It looks like those who placed Digital Pre-Orders and Annual Pass holders can pre-download the game right now! The game is encrypted though and installation is not available

until launch day.

We’ve closed entry on our release date contest and held a drawing for 3 users out of the 409 who correctly guessed May 15th to win the grand prizes. The lucky winners are

Yelrah, JCube and Hoffen. Winners will be contacted via email shortly to collect their information. 

Auction House Update & Introducing Diablo III Global PlayAuction House Update & Introducing Diablo III Global Play

With the time until Diablo’s return drawing near, Blizzard has added an informative Auction House guide to their official site.

One thing to note though, is that the Real Money Auction House will not be going live until the week after the game’s release. They want to be sure that the game and its players are ready before it is launched.

Blizzard Quote (Source)

Want to know more about Diablo III’s new auction house feature? We’ve just updated the Diablo III web site with a comprehensive Auction House guide that walks you through the ins and outs of Diablo III’s in-game item marketplace, including details on buying and selling, a breakdown of how the real-money auction house works (in regions where available), and more. You’ll also find some important information on Battle.net account-security requirements that players interested in using the real-money auction house will need to know about.diablo3 gold  is our company’s principally business in our company future’s sustainable development  strategic,and our professional will finish any customer’s prdominantly via dungeons , grinding,plus pvp which will launched shortly after diablo 3 released

The gold-based auction house opens its doors worldwide on May 15 with the launch of Diablo III, and we plan to bring the real-money auction house online approximately one week after that. This is a new service that includes lots of complex elements, so we are going to take a little extra time to ensure the game gets off to a good start before we flip the switch and open the real-money auction house for business.

 

What’s in a Name?What’s in a Name?

 

The Arena.Net blog has been updated with a new post by Content Designer Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda. In the new post, she goes into detail about how the team comes up with names for, well, everything in Tyria. It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at how lore is created for Guild Wars 2.One of the lore elements of the game that I find the most fascinating is the cultural evolution of charr names.We are a specialized, professional and reliable online supplier for guild wars  2 gold selling. We have been supplying fast and cheap guild wars  2  gold to our loyal and reliable customers for 7 years. If you want to buy guild wars  2  gold or get the latest news of cheap guild wars  2  gold, please come here. We provide not only the most

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In the original Guild Wars, the charr were brutish, savage zealots, and their names reflected this, echoing growls and roars – “Maim Deathrain” “Slaug Firehide” “Kaargoth Bloodclaw” and the like. 250 years later, the charr are the most technologically advanced race on Tyria, and their legions (though competitive as always) have fortified themselves into a far more organized and ranked force. Though the classic names are not wholly gone, most charr names have echoed this cultural change, drawing exhaustively from classic Roman influences – and not just classical names, such as Aestiva and Gracchus, but military sources as well! A ballista is a large siege weapon that was used by ancient Roman forces – but it’s also got a fantastic ring for a charr moniker.

 

 

Favorite Diablo III Classes (So far!)Favorite Diablo III Classes (So far!)

 

Join us for this week’s The List as we share our picks for our favorite Diablo III classes (so far!).our prestigious company will fullfill any diablo 3 gold transaction with fast delivery,any fraudulent misrepresensation or fake statement will exterminated from our company,any customer who purchase D3 gold will obtain extra 5%-10% gold as the remuneration for frequently purchase

I outright dismissed this class when Diablo III was announced. I’m not into the whole Ace Ventura voodoo motif, so I was mostly turned off by the outward appearance of the class. However, having played alongside a friend of mine who mains a Witch Doctor, I’ve come to appreciate the serious variety in spell effects and functionality that the Witch Doctor brings. It’s a visually interesting class to behold and there are simply tons of options to choose from.  I’m definitely going to have to give this class a closer look.  Also, you can create a tower of zombies as a Witch Doctor. SOLD!

Read more of Michael Bitton’s The List: Favorite Diablo III Classes (So far!)

 

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Screenshot of the Week: Special LOTRO Anniversary Edition!Screenshot of the Week: Special LOTRO Anniversary Edition!

 This week we have a very special Screenshot of the Week for you! MMORPG.com and Turbine have partnered on this week’s SOTW for a special LOTRO 5th anniversary edition with some awesome prizes.

If you haven’t participated in our Screenshot of the Week contest before, the instructions are pretty simple. All you need to do is post your very best screenshot of LOTRO (just one!) in the comments below and in reasonable dimensions (please don’t break the thread!).
Given the anniversary theme of this week’s contest, we’d like you to post a screenshot of your favorite memory from LOTRO and provide as detailed a description as you can (200 words tops, please!). While the screenshot ultimately matters, those with a great screenshot and a great story to go behind it will have even better chances at winning!The most competitive Price. By using a special price searching system to check the LOTRO Gold prices of our 150 major competitors.We are able to maintain the most competitive price for players to buy LOTRO gold,We guarantee 100% safe delivery method and take full responsibility for it, our company  have been completed thousands of transactions and meet over 1000 orders everyday, we successfully make all our customers delighted and satisfied.

Now, what is so special about this week’s prizes? We’ll be awarding three winners this week: a grand prize winner, a first prize winner, and a second prize winner, and they’re all in store for some awesome prizes!

Prize details below:

Grand Prize: Lifetime subscription to LOTRO

First Prize: Mithril Edition of LOTRO

Second Prize: 5,000 Turbine Points

We’re not messing around this week! So be sure to give us your best!

Submissions will be accepted between today and Saturday, April 28. We’ll select and announce winners on Tuesday, May 1.

Please only post a single screenshot. Duplicate entries will be disqualified.

 

Review in Progress Part Four Review in Progress Part Four

 

This marks the fourth episode in our continuing journey through En Masse Entertainment’s TERA. In this installment, we take a look at questing, gear, the epic action and more. Read on and then leave us your thoughts in the comments.sometimes you can use the coupon code to enjoy a discount for your wow gold. All we do is to make the players enjoy more benefit of their buy tera gold and can enjoy more fun in the tera game. Then lets talk about Payment methods. We receive the paypal and the credit card and also western union. You can choose which you like to pay for the order. After you order the cheap wow gold you should go to contact the live chat immediately. Then they can help you with all the questions and also send you the order in 15 minutes. What a quick speed! YES?
This will likely be the last installment of our TERA Review in Progress before our final score is handed out and we let you all argue over whether I’m right or wrong in the comments (hint: it’s subjective). It’s been a grand few weeks of TERA, really. As you’ve seen from the first review in progress, all the way up until now, I’ve found myself pleasantly surprised by what Arborea has to offer, despite what roadblocks there were at first glance with the game’s beta. I’m now level 30, I’ve done my fair share of questing, dungeons, and sought after the BAMs of the world like a pro with my guild at my back. This week, anxious guilds are vying for position in the game’s political Vanarch system, and next week we all start voting for the first group of territory rulers. In short, I’m still enthralled with TERA. But there are some cracks in the veneer.