Monthly Archives: October 2012

WarriorWarrior

Warriors are masters of weaponry who rely on speed, strength, toughness, and heavy armor to survive in battle. Adrenaline fuels their offensive power—the longer warriors stay in a fight, the more dangerous they become.

Adrenaline

With each successful hit, warriors build up adrenaline. Warriors can spend all their built-up adrenaline to unleash a single, devastating burst attack. The more adrenaline built up, the more powerful the burst attack.

Warrior Skills

Warriors can use more weapons than any other profession in the game, but they also have a range of unique skill sets at their disposal. Here are two classic warrior skill types:

Stances

These special skills temporarily boost the combat abilities of warriors. For example, Berserker’s Stance grants warriors passive adrenaline regeneration for a short time.

Banners

Warriors summon banners to boost the attack power of their allies. For example, Banner of Strength increases the damage of allies within its range. Warriors can carry banners or plant them in the ground, allowing them to continue fighting.

 

Interior Work In Progress Screens Interior Work In Progress Screens

 
Bohemia Interactive has posted a new (and short) developer blog on the DayZ site. Packed away within the blog are several awesome screenshots showing off interiors the team has been working on lately. They are clearly labeled “works in progress” but look pretty dang good already!

The village I used to take the screenshot in now has all its buildings enterable, including the sheds. Most focus has so far been on the buildings that are situated outside of the center, but focus now is turning to doing interiors for the city buildings. This is complicated by our desire to dramatically increase performance, and given the scene complexity inside cities we need to balance this with the desire to increase building scavenging opportunities inside the cities.

Check them all out on the DayZ Tumblr site.

 

Doing Right By Gamers Doing Right By Gamers

 

 

This week’s column devoted to The Secret World takes a look at how news outlets sometimes opt to frame Funcom’s game in a negative light despite the fact that, indeed, TSW seems to have already turned the corner. See what we’ve got to say and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

Like it or not, the way things are reported or framed creates a certain viewpoint that allows people to associate positively or negatively to a given article. A byproduct of being human is that we tend to create these viewpoints or write in a way that creates these associations without meaning to. We also tend to have something called confirmation bias, in which we favor information presented to us that confirms our existing beliefs or hypotheses.

 

lost Continentslost Continents

 

 

It seems that Lost Continents may be back on track because of a hardcore group of Developers who have not aloud their dreams to fade. Here is what the Lost Continents Website has to say:

Toiling away in the dead of night away from the watchful eyes of the public, a team of developers has been surreptitiously working on Lost Continents since the game was suspended in April. They have held firm to their beliefs in the game and have risen to every challenge in their path. Thanks to that core team, I’m pleased to announce that we have made significant progress towards bringing Lost Continents back into the light.

During the recent downtime, the core development team has continued working on Lost Continents. We have finished the basic game systems and built out a few zones to completion as a prototype of the game. The results are spectacular. The areas are gorgeous, as you can see from the screenshots below, and they allow us to begin experimenting with the in-game results of combat, traps, and quests. We’ve also begun actively seeking partners interested in helping bring Lost Continents to a shelf near you.

We haven’t spent the last few months sitting idle, but instead used the time to thoroughly review the design of the game in light of the changing marketplace. This has brought us to make some changes to the core design that strengthens the unique appeal of Lost Continents. In a lot of ways, we’re starting again from the beginning, but with the benefit of having a lot of the work done already. Here are a few of the major changes that we have made:

New Graphics Engine – Shortly after the production suspension, we spent a while checking out what commercial graphic engines were available and to our great pleasure, we came across a perfect fit very quickly. The engine has all the features we had planned to build ourselves and by licensing it, we can take the development time that would be have been spent crafting the engine and apply it to enhancing other areas of the game. At the moment, we’re in the final stages of licensing the engine. More details will be available when the deal is complete.

Higher Graphical Quality – In addition to the engine change, we’ve also decided to raise the minimum machine requirements allowing us to greatly increase the visual quality of the game. Below are several example screenshots taken from a pair of new zones that we’ve been working on recently using the new specifications.

New Team Members – There have been some significant changes in the team developing the game. Some have moved on to other projects and at the same time, we’ve added new members to the team. Of particular note is the addition of Doug Shuler who brings his considerable artistic experience to the team. You can see examples of Doug’s work in the screenshots and concept art displayed here. 

Zenimax’ MMO Philosophy

 

Last week during a special MMO-enthusiast press day at Zenimax Online Studios, we learned a lot about what ZOS hope’s Elder Scrolls Online will be to gamers. In this article we recap the team’s opening presentation which focuses on their core philosophy and design decisions.

 

You hear game developers talk about design a lot. You hear them talk about philosophy almost as much. The best part of the Elder Scrolls Online presentation last Wednesday was that we heard about the design and the philosophy behind the game, and then we immediately played it. For anyone who had doubts about Zenimax Online Studios’ monster undertaking, it is time to end those doubts. The game is playable, and it is amazing. So what did the team do to really introduce the hardcore press to the game last week? They gave us their design ideals, and then sat us in front of the game for three straight hours. You know you have a good game, when no one gets up for lunch.  But let’s go over how ZOS introduced their core philosophy behind the game to us all.

 

 

 

Empowering Players & BuildersEmpowering Players & Builders

Universe comes to us from none other than Xulu Entertainment. We had the opportunity for a guided tour of XU with CEO Nancy Solomon and CTO Joe Santos. Check out our preview of Xulu Universe and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Players are given access to a robust and fairly detailed set of builder tools that include the ability to create just about any type of environment desired. Builders can make games or social gathering spots or even medieval castles complete with quests and monsters to fight. The sky is the limit and the tools are as simple or as complex as a builder has skills to support. In fact, what the team is hoping is that professionals will take advantage of the tools to not only create content but also behavioral pieces or music or anything they can think of. In addition, builders can collaboratively share venues with others to work together in its creation.

 
 

Hints of “My Little Chocobo System”Hints of “My Little Chocobo System”

 

It might seem that battle-related content dominate the list, but rest assured, folks, we haven’t forgotten about other aspects of the game. For starters, significant improvements are in store for both Disciples of the Hand and Land, such as an overhaul of synthesis recipes, the introduction of the materia crafting system, and a brand new ability to avoid enemy aggro in the field. The growth curve for Disciples of the Hand, in particular, is in need of attention, and we’ll be taking a scalpel to that also.
The latest Producer’s Letter has been published on the Final Fantasy XIV with the tantalizing image you see below. Called the “My Little Chocobo System”, the letter teases players with the news that the system, which will be renamed, is still under wraps and will hopefully make its debut in the v1.19 patch.

Items with far-reaching impact have also been added to the list, such as Battle Regimens. It’s become clear that in order to improve Battle Regimens we’ll need to first rebuild the framework for the battle system, which can take place only after the new enemy claiming and linking systems are introduced 

A Game for CouplesA Game for Couples

I love my wife. But there are precious few games she’ll play with me, and even less MMOs. If she wasn’t so sweet and pretty, I swear I’d kick her out (kidding). With this in mind, when the folks at Gamania told me Lucent Heart is the perfect game to get my wife to try MMOs, I scoffed. But then last week I had the chance to sit down with Jon and Mark from the team, and well… I’m starting to believe that they’re onto something. Sure at first glance, Lucent Heart looks like little more than another F2P MMO ported from Asia. But I was surprised to find out just how deep the rabbit hole went, just how cheap and well-planned the cash shop is, and just how much my wife loves the cuter more “romantic” aspects of the game. Heck, during the closed beta they had a 45% female demographic… and believe it or not real women were playing female characters! 

Bringing PvP to the MassesBringing PvP to the Masses

What reaction did you get when you first announced you were adding Chaos to MapleStory?
It’s hard to imagine a “cute” game like MapleStory featuring the blood-thirsty PvP matches that many MMOs utilize. Nexon devs never let that lack of foresight on our part stop them from implementing PvP anyway. In a new interview with the MapleStory team, MMORPG.com Industry Relations Manager Garrett Fuller gets the low down on PvP. Read on! 

reorientation to the Party in WOWreorientation to the Party in WOW

 

When Everquest released in 1999, it ushered in a new era of video game play. Previous online games (most notably Neverwinter Nights) built on foundations of tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, which itself built on a rich tradition of heroic fantasy literature: powerful warriors, loveable rogues, enigmatic wizards, and wise sages able to heal wounds and answer the mysteries of the universe.

As a fan of all of the above, I’ve spent a lot of years playing games, reading books, and really looking at what makes them all work. Once we stop playing “pretend” as children, most of us leave behind unstructured, free-form play in favor of games with strict rules. Whether it’s roll twice on doubles or bishops only move diagonally, games with rules give us two very important evolutions in fun: First they define themselves as “the game that does X.” Second, they allow the players to distinguish themselves by their achievements and, more importantly, to win.

Which brings us back to Everquest (no, really, it does!). There is really no way to win a roleplaying game, but there are many small victories one can enjoy like hitting max level, having the best items, or even being the first person to complete a difficult quest or encounter. But a side benefit is “having the best character.” And this is where Everquest really took the ball and ran with it.

Tabletop roleplaying gamers are obsessed with their characters. I certainly am, and I’ve transferred that passion to all the video games I’ve ever played. Squeezing out one more percentage point of advantage regardless of the cost is a victory non-gamers can never understand (unless they are professional athletes). Everquest shipped with fourteen different ways to obsess, and also re-introduced the concept of “the Trinity.”

Groups that had a strong front-line fighter, a dedicated healer, and efficient damage dealers were more successful than those that did not. In EQ, players had several classes to choose from in each role, all with different abilities and ways to “win.”

Fast forward a decade to the introduction of World of Warcraft’s dungeon finder. The “unofficial” roles gamers had known throughout five years of playing WOW were now “real,” and in fact required to use the system. Not every class can queue up as a tank, but those that can have near unlimited access to group content. Healers are in even more demand, and just like that, builds that were impossible to level up became viable playstyles.