While those of us in North America have been able to enjoy Mabinogi for some time, our fellow gamers in Europe haven’t had the chance to check it out. That is, until now. Nexon Europe have just opened up the beta for Mabinogi in Europe, so anyone who has been curious about this fun little world can now check it out.
To add to all the launch fun, the Nexon Europe team have put together a video featuring lots of in-game footage from the world of Mabinogi. Between the recently revamped starter areas, job systems, real-time combat, and fun things like the composing/performance skill, it’s worth a look if you like free-to-play games. Check out the trailer after the break, or pop by the Mabinogi site to sign up for open beta.
Lord of the Rings Online fans have been speculating for a while, wondering what the name of Volume III, Book 1 was going to be. Turbine’s Sapience has been giving increasingly specific hints in a hangman-style game in the forums. Now the game’s over, he’s had his fun, and we have a title.
Volume 3:Allies of the King, Book 1: Oath of the Rangers is on the way, bringing with it plenty of new additions to the game.
Players will be returning to Dol Guldur for four skirmishes in the brand new twelve person mode, and a fifth skirmish in the Depths of Nûrz Ghâshu. Crafting will receive a some attention as well: players will be able to craft items up to level 65, and there will be crafting updates for Jewellers, Cooks, Woodworkers, Farmers, and Weaponsmiths.
Of course, these are just a few of the highlights for the newly-titled Volume. All the current details are on the official site, so take a look, and we’ll keep an eye out for more information!
Lord of the Rings Online
Earlier we got a small taste of what’s to come in Star Trek Online through the State of the Game feature, but already Cryptic is treating the community to a brand new “What’s Next” page that lays bare their free update plans for the next two months. While all the major points themselves are old hat, it’s the details of those major points that are in fact, new.
We’ve got a breakdown of the coming updates after the break, plus new screens in our gallery.
The last patch for Star Trek Online is now available to be downloaded and installed via the Cryptic Launcher. According to Cryptic Community Manager Stormshade, the patch will be the last one before the head start begins. The head start is for players who purchased a pre-order — if you haven’t purchased the STO pre-order and are interested in it, there is still time to do so. More information is available from Cryptic.
If you have been participating in the open/closed beta, your client just needs to be patched up to the latest version. There is no need to download and install an entirely new client. If you want to copy your game installation to another computer to run, just copy the folder across via normal means — again, no need to download an entirely new client. This patch which you’ll get is about 60 megs and is a quick download right now, although that is likely going to change once the masses get to it.
It’s also worth reminding people that their beta character has been deleted, and you’ll need to start anew.
The head start begins today at 10:00 a.m. PST.
Star Trek Online
Submitter Meredyth of on Ravenholdt writes, “Thanks to being surrounded by a deadly cloud at all times, the shadow priest is immune to the deadly mist traps in the upper spire of Icecrown Citadel. She inhales the noxious fumes as if they were a refreshing spritz on a summer’s day. The shadow priest is also a notorious liar.”
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We’d love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
World of Warcraft
Looking for Group by Michelle Madison is a fun WoW spoof of Lionel Richie’s Hello, is it me you’re looking for? The video was created using in-game footage, so there’s not many fancy machinima techniques. This seems to be Michelle’s first machinima video, so a lot of the production values are at that opening level of sophistication.
Michelle did a great job of the vocals, and I enjoyed her singing. I think she managed to nail a WoW-version of Richie’s singing, which is a pretty interesting trick to have pulled off. The video was fine for this level of work. It doesn’t have a lot of flash-bang, but mostly exists to complement the lyrics of the song.
Overall, this was a fun video to watch. I hope Michelle gets enough feedback that she continues grow a repertoire. If not, then I hope she at least enjoyed dipping her toe in the waters of machinima creation.
World of Warcraft
One thing that has been frustrating cloth, leather, and mail wearers for quite some time is the ability for players with a higher type of armor cherry picking through their armor. In some cases, this is due to poor itemization in the intended gear range while others are abusing gear scaling and the ability to sometimes double-dip into stats. However, this will likely stop in Cataclysm for several different reasons.
Bornakk revealed on the forums that gear will start having incentives to make you wear the appropriate type of armor. This means that holy paladins who are currently rolling on cloth and mail items will have incentives to stick to plate. What are these incentives? We don’t know. It could be as simple as something like the current gem socket bonus system or a little more complex like a percentage increase in a particular stat. This could even be a generic spec based set bonus that gave you something if completely geared in class appropriate armor. We won’t really know until more details are released.
This also comes on the heels of the post Bornakk made at the start of the thread warning that a lot of the tricks people use to eek those few extra dps through itemization will stop working in Cataclysm due to the stat overhaul. While this is technically old news, it doesn’t hurt to remind people. Attack power as a stat on armor is completely going away (with the possible exception of things like rings, necklaces, and trinkets). So, any plate damage dealers currently strutting around Dalaran in leather chaps might want to start building a second set of gear for when the expansion hits or they’ll be sorely disappointed when trying to level up to 85 using inappropriate gear.
World of Warcraft
A month after patch 3.3 and Icecrown Citadel dropped, Lume the Mad weighs in on its raid content with mixed feelings. Icecrown’s story, art, music, and general encounter design are all fantastic, he observes, but Blizzard’s approach to “gating” content is having an ugly effect on raids. When you’ve only got 10-15 shots at killing specific bosses, small issues rarely stay that way for long. “I have to pressure people with lag to sit so as not to potentially lose a shot at killing the boss,” he writes. “And when someone makes the most innocent of mistakes, people get pissed off. It’s not fun for them. And it’s not fun for me as a result.”
That’s the part of the gating system — “Raiders (having) the fear of God struck into them for wiping just once,” as Lume puts it — of which I’m not overly fond myself. A key raider lagging or disconnecting can result in a wipe on much of this content, and more particularly on the two bosses (Putricide and Lana’thel) for whom limited attempts currently exist. Both command very high DPS requirements, so even if you can easily afford the loss of a laggy DPS or two on something like Festergut (which is pretty baldly a DPS check in its own right), a single person going offline on Lana’thel-25 can wreck both the attempt and peoples’ nerves. Losing 4 Blood-Queen Lana’thel attempts last week due to the bug with Kinetic Bombs aggroing her through the ceiling during the Council fight was equally frustrating.
To play devil’s advocate, the gating system does have a few things going for it. As I’ve written previously, any honest player would admit that blowing through content isn’t an ideal way to experience it. The gating mechanic also pressures people to fix their mistakes more quickly, and that’s something raid leaders like a lot (let’s be honest, we’ve all been in raids where at least 75% of the wipes were due to really dumb mistakes). And Blizzard isn’t really restricting your ability to kill these bosses so much as it’s punishing raids that attempt to brute-force a kill without fixing strategy flaws.
Unfortunately, this has the side effect of punishing raids for more innocent mistakes or technical problems. Ultimately, I’d guess that gated content has a different impact on each raid, and it’s a bit irritating that some of this impact is out of the raid’s collective control.
World of Warcraft
Last month, It came from the Blog ran from Orgrimmar to Elwynn Forest in order to punch Hogger and play at the Darkmoon Faire. We took the zeppelin to Grom’gol and then ran north through Stranglethorn Valley and into Duskwood. Continuing north, bypassing the mountains, we crossed the river into Elwynn Forest. Hogger was downed multiple times and there were hijinx to be had at the Faire.
Of course, it was not all fun and games. Whereas most of the lowbies were protected, the stragglers were eaten by fierce jungle fauna. And we could have done without the Alliance funsuckers who KSed Hogger as well as preyed on flagged and naked lowbies. But overall it was a good time.
Below is the gallery for the Elwynn Extravaganza. Stay tuned for the Winter Veil and Battleground Bonanza II galleries.
World of Warcraft
The saga of Malfurion Stomrage continues in the latest book Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak. Today our friends at Simon and Schuster write in to let us know that the collector’s edition is now on sale for us all, in a limited edition of 5000 copies.
From the jacket:
Recently the Emerald Nightmare, an area of corruption within the Emerald Dream, began growing in size, transforming the Dream into a realm of unimaginable horror. Green dragons have been unexpectedly caught up in the Nightmare, emerging from it with shattered minds and twisted bodies. Druids who have entered the darkening Dream lately have found it difficult — sometimes even impossible — to escape.
Nor are these the Nightmare’s only victims: more and more people are being affected. Even Malfurion Stormrage, first and foremost of the druids on Azeroth, may have fallen victim to this growing threat. As uncontrollable nightmares spread across the world, a desperate quest begins to find and free the archdruid.
The collector’s edition costs $32 and will ship the week of March 8th, 2010; whereas the normal editions of Stormrage release on February 23rd, 2010.
Stay tuned to WoW.com in the coming weeks when we’ll have early reviews of the book for you, as well as an interview with author and Warcraft storyteller Richard A. Knaak.
World of Warcraft
Ghostcrawler posted a bit this evening on the philosophical direction Blizzard is taking in Cataclysm in three important areas:
New spells and abilities
Recycled raid content
The discussion originated from a mild QQ post about what the poster felt were the flaws in Cataclysm, and Ghostcrawler took that opportunity to clarify a few things that the community has been talking about since the initial announcement at BlizzCon 2009. Chief amongst those is that they are specifically designing talent trees now with an intention for there to be 5 to 10 talent points that can be spent where the player wants — and that talent guides like you find in WoW.com’s class columns will only go so far in the selection of the idea talent tree; the rest of the talent selection will be left up to the individual user.
Of course, this information isn’t exactly new per se, but it’s interesting to hear some of the refinements of it all as Cataclysm’s development progresses.
Ghostcrawler’s full statement after the break.
World of Warcraft
Their official site reads “Red 5 Studios is seeking highly talented and driven programmers to help us build a AAA massively multiplayer title.”
Well, maybe not. A report from Gamasutra gives the news that we never like to hear or report: Red 5 Studios — founded by former World of Warcraft team members — has laid off approximately 30 people. This report comes from a “reliable source” close to Red 5, and if the number is accurate, it’s nearly a third of their 100-man team. (That figure from a December 2008 interview with CEO Michael Weingartner.)
Red 5 Studios has been around since 2005, and as a rule has stayed very quiet regarding their ambitions for their upcoming MMO. They secured funding in 2006 and made some staff changes in 2008, but it’s been mostly silent on the Studio 5 front for the most part, until now.
Our best wishes go out to those affected by the layoff, and to all involved.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in as a tip!]
Update: Red 5 has confirmed and clarified this rumor via a press release announcing the restructuring of the company: “As part of the restructuring, some team members chose to part ways while others were let go.”
World of Warcraft
The end of beta event for Star Trek Online was a crazy smorgasBorg of some pretty epic proportions. The invasion forces were everywhere you turned, and it seemed like no matter how hard players tried, there were Borg everywhere. Thankfully, we’ve gotten some great Star Trek Online screenshots from players that we’ll be showing off — like today’s One Shots! This one comes to us from Neville, who writes in: This was a shot taken from Sol (Earth Spacedock) at the Open Beta ending event. I hope the Borg aren’t claustrophobic!
One Shots is all about your experiences in your favorite games. If you’ve caught something awesome you’d love to share with the world, send it in to us here at oneshots AT massively DOT com along with your name, the name of the game, and a description of what we’re seeing. We’ll help you share it with the world — or at least the chunk of the world cool enough to read Massively, anyway.
MMOPRG News, Star Trek Online
Masthead Studios CEO Atanas Atanasov recently dropped some info about the company’s upcoming sci-fi MMO Earthrise, briefly mentioning the advantages and disadvantages of Exploration and Battle Modes in an interview. The Masthead Studio developers are following up with more on this topic in their latest installment of Question of the Week, “The Beauty of Speed”.
Players who aren’t wielding weapons will be able to move faster, potentially evading combat situations. Entering this “Exploration Mode” in combat can also impart some benefits, namely that enhanced speed couples with shield regeneration. That speed could allow a player to minimize the damage inflicted upon them by attacks but also leaves them open to greater risk of harm, should they take a direct hit. The tradeoff for that speed is lowered damage resistance. Earthrise will offer certain abilities that affect battlefield movement as well. Have a look at “The Beauty of Speed” for more on Earthrise’s combat system, and the related discussion taking place among the game’s community members.
It’s an awkward time for Champions Online. After the last State of the Game post by Chronomancer, things were looking up. The latest patch was slated to fix Lemuria (colloquially known as Lagmuria, due to the extreme system hiccups), add more power to various power frameworks, nemesis changes, the addition of team looting, and changes to the crafting system. Furthermore, the same State of the Game post announced that Champions would be getting its first expansion — Vibora Bay.
However, with the deployment of the “kitchen sink” patch, most gamers have experienced more lag in all zones, some characters are locked in Lemuria, unable to log in, and there are issues with the crafting systems. If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Cryptic Daeke has confirmed that Vibora Bay will be a “paid expansion” which will add more content for levels 37 to 40 — a move which has sent many members of the community into what can only be described as “a frothing rage.”