Gaming Steve

MMORPG Archives - Page 1

February 24, 2008

Gaming Steve Episode 71 - 02.24.2008

Steve and Will WrightThe Game Developers Conference has come to an end and I've put together a fantastic roundtable to recap the show.

On the show I have Brent Lassi from VirginWorlds.com, Michael Zenke from Slashdot and Massively.com, and Michael Gordon Shapiro from MikeMusic.com (and the man responsible for the Gaming Steve theme song).

Mike even sings a bit of his theme song on the show ... something to behold. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 71 Program

  • Game Developers Conference Day 3 Recap
    • How on earth did one guy create an MMORPG with a player base of 1.8 million people?
    • The Chronicles of Spellborn is still alive and kicking.
    • What are Cryptic Studios and Jack Emmert up to?
    • What did game designers rant about this year?
    • Why do game developers dress so poorly?
    • What crazy game did Steve Meretzky design at this year's Game Design Challenge?
    • WebWars: EVE sounds freaking awesome.
    • Why is Age of Conan – Hyborian Adventures going for an M-rating?
    • Why is GDC the place to be if you want to get into the game industry.
    • Finally, we get all goofy after three intense days.

Download the show (56 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 71 (MP3).

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Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:30 PM | Comments (12) | Posted to MMORPG | Podcast |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 15, 2008

Why a Champions MMORPG Could Be Awesome

Recently it was revealed that the Marvel MMO canceled and that Cryptic Studios was instead working on a Champions MMO named Champions Online. Champions is one of the longest-running and best superhero RPGs and as the resident RPG guru, Steve asked me to take a minute and explain to folks why this is an awesome move.

First, I don’t really have any specifics about the upcoming MMO, so a lot of my feelings will change depending on whether the new game simply uses Champions characters and settings, or whether it uses the actual Champions game mechanics in any form.

I’m hoping it’s the latter myself.

One of the greatest things about Champions was the ability of the game system to model any superhero you wanted to create. It’s a point-based effects system, which means the game describes how it works, and you describe how it looks.

This gives you more variability and a greater ability to model characters. Here’s an example of what I mean. In Champions, the Flight power determines how fast you can fly, based on how many points you spend on it. Whether that Flight is you being carried along by a gust of wind (like Storm) or generating a jet of fire (like the Human Torch) is meaningless.

With a huge amount of effects to choose from, this allows Champions to model characters that are very difficult to model under any other supers system. This would be a great system for a MMO, since you’d almost never see characters that were similar.

Of course, Champions has some great IP as well, some excellent villain teams and some great super-agencies such as U.N.T.I.L. and their villainous counterpart Viper.

But it was always the game mechanics of the Champions system that drove me, and countless other players wild, so here’s hoping this game uses a system derived from Champions and not just the City of Heroes rules with a coat of Champions paint on it.

Posted by cwrice at 1:00 PM | Comments (6) | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

February 7, 2008

World of Warcraft Minis Announced – Government Orders More Money To Be Printed

WoW-Mini.jpg

Upper Deck can't seem to get enough of the World of Warcraft gaming franchise (and who can blame them). Last year they released the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, and now they are planning to release the tabletop miniatures game World of Warcraft Minis.

From the official announcement:

"Each premium pre-painted miniature will showcase a detailed version of an iconic World of Warcraft character and be mounted on a uniquely engineered removable base, allowing each figure to serve as both a game piece and a collectible. In the spirit of the action and adventure of the MMO, the World of Warcraft Miniatures Game will offer standalone raid and dungeon scenarios, letting players battle either individually or cooperatively against other teams of players or the game itself.

UDE will also launch a robust Organized Play structure for the new World of Warcraft® Miniatures Game, including everything from hobby and in-store tournament programs to Darkmoon Faire events and National and World Championship tournaments."

Of course this really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone with the recent success of the Halo ActionClix game from WizKids that WoW would go this route.

The game is to launch in "Fall 2008", so expect to hear about this game ad nauseam until it's finally released. The official site WoWMinis.com has very little information about the game (they promise constant updates), but the four minis on display look to be very detailed a definitely have that "Wow-feel" to them.

Ah hell, they could probably take a piece of coal at this point, paint it green, call it an orc and I'm sure it would sell a million copies! Let me at this game! Need more WoW!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 PM | Comments (8) | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 22, 2008

World of Warcraft Now Officially Successful – Passes 10 Million Subscribers

World of Warcraft

Some may have doubted it, thought it had reached a plateau, but today Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft has officially hit 10 Million subscribers. With 2 million in Europe, 2.5 million in North America, and 5.5 million subscribers in China, Azeroth now has the 80th highest population of the 221 countries in the world.

Blizzard was also happy to remind us that the Burning Crusade was the highest selling PC game in North America in 2007, as well as the record for the fastest selling PC game ever, at 2.4 million copies sold in one day. Because they so totally earned it, here's a quote of Blizzard co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime "gloating" over the news:

"It's very gratifying to see gamers around the world continuing to show such enthusiasm and support for World of Warcraft. We're always pleased to welcome new players to the game, and we're looking forward to sharing the next major content update with the entire community in the months ahead."

Blizzard also clarified that this subscriber number counts only those who have paid a subscription fee in the last month, use a prepaid card in the last month, or are using the free 1 month trial that comes in the box. Those using free trials or promotional codes, as well as expired subscriptions and prepaid cards, are not counted in this total.

I think it's appropriate to use the phrase here: Wow. 10 Million people all playing the same relatively hardcore game, all at the same time is really quite mind boggling. I myself have played World of Warcraft as much as possible for as little as possible (2 free trials and the 1 month that comes in the box), though I have always considering going back in if any of my friends would be willing to join me. The game really does have an addicting quality to it, one that I would probably have continued if I hadn't got my Xbox 360 just as the trial was ending. How many Gaming Steve readers and listeners count towards this incredible number?

Posted by Clayton Ashley at 6:00 PM | Comments (23) | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 28, 2007

Consoles and Video Games Give Their Resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year

Another year, another banner year for video games. Yet even video games have room for improvement, so do not be shocked to learn that your favorite video games, too, make New Year’s resolutions. And I managed to get a hold of their lists for 2008:

Xbox 360: I resolve to finally figure out how to fix my red ring of death and to start making money for Microsoft.

PlayStation 3: I resolve to stick to a single SKU and stop making Jack Tretton continuously put his foot in his mouth.

Nintendo Wii: I resolve to start to believe my own success and actually make enough systems so that eBay doesn’t turn into WiiBay next year. Oh yeah, and I resolve to stop making people from making Wii puns.

Sony PSP: I resolve to lose more weight and become the “super-duper slim”.

Nintendo DS: I resolve to come out with no more than ten new designs a year.

Electronic Arts: I resolve to not to milk BioWare to death and have them produce no more than one game per year … or two … and only very occasionally three. But never more than four games a year, I promise.

Activision: I resolve to act with class and only mention that I’m now the largest publisher in the world only in every other sentence.

Ubisoft: I resolve to stop cackling with evil laughter every time I mention Assassin’s Creed’s amazing success (giggle).

Take Two: I resolve to release GTA IV and then finally get acquired by a larger publisher.

Blizzard: I resolve to stop making people totally nuts and finally announce Diablo III.

BioWare: I resolve to act surprised when EA forces us to close our Edmonton office and then move everyone to Vancouver.

Bungie: I resolve to stop making Halo and start making some new Myth games.

Valve: I resolve to release the next Half Life 2 Episode before 2010.

GameSpot: I resolve to fire my employees with a bit more class than The Donald from The Apprentice.

Kane & Lynch: I resolve to stop getting people fired.

Guitar Hero III: I resolve to play in stereo on all systems – or mono – one of those two.

Rock Band: I resolve to figure out how to get those damn Guitar Hero’s guitars to work with my system so I can sell more copies.

Bioshock: I resolve to kindly be nothing more than a pretty remake of System Shock 2.

Halo 3: I resolve to stop repeating my own gameplay over and over and over again.

Halo 2: I resolve to stop being nothing more than a marketing ploy for people to buy Vista.

Mass Effect: I resolve to actually have a combat system which actually works and not just a pretty story. And no more driving and surveying again ... ever.

Assassin’s Creed: I resolve to stop watching the movie Groundhog Day and make my missions different once in awhile.

Super Mario Galaxy: I resolve to continue to piss off the hardcore gamer with my cute graphics and continuous Game of the Year awards.

The Orange Box: I resolve to get that Portal Gun into my next Episode of Half Life 2.

Call of Duty 4: I resolve to be an awesome 5-hour first-person-shooter on rails.

Heavenly Sword: I resolve to get a haircut.

Hellgate: London: I resolve to finally shut Bill Roper up now that I’m out, and not nearly as good as I was promised to be.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: I resolve to get on everyone’s “the best game that nobody played” list now and in the near future.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction: I resolve to stop making everyone motion sick.

Crysis: I resolve to start selling.

Unreal Tournament 3: I resolve to make people remember that I exist.

God of War II: I resolve to kill every single man, woman, child, and god in the universe.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: I resolve to continue to make people look silly while they play me.

Crackdown: I resolve to completely ignore my narrative and just throw cars and jump off buildings.

Manhunt 2: I resolve to go quietly into that goodnight.

Lair: I resolve to never listen to Sony again and release a game solely dependent upon Sixaxis’ motion control.

Lord of the Rings Online: I resolve to get the recognition that I deserve.

Fury: I resolve to teach everyone trying to release a sub-par MMORPG that you too can put your developer out of business.

Eve: Online: I resolve to do more QA testing.

Vanguard: I resolve to continue to be ignored.

Age of Conan: I resolve to continue to be delayed.

The Eye of Judgment: I resolve to stop letting people cheat and buy some damn cards.

Madden NFL 08: I resolve to continue my slow decline into retirement.

Two Worlds: I resolve to stop living off of Oblivion’s reputation.

The Witcher: I resolve to continue to be my awesome monster killing, fist fighting, drinking contest, womanizing self.

Portal: I resolve to be Still Alive.

Will Wright: I resolve to release Spore this year!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:30 PM | Comments (20) | Posted to Feature | MMORPG | PC | PlayStation 3 | Wii | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 12, 2007

Blizzard Confirms New MMORPG -- And I Have Details

WoW 2.0 South Park Style

Earlier today GameSpot reported that Blizzard has indeed confirmed that they are working on a new MMORPG that is NOT related in any way to World of Warcraft. I've been meaning to write about this for some time now but never really had the chance but now that the "cat is out of the bag" I thought now was as good of time as any to tell you what I know about Blizzard's new MMORPG.

For those who are regular readers to the site you'll know that my track record is pretty darn good when it comes to spilling secrets in the world of gaming. From confirming that Command & Conquer 3 was to be released on the Xbox 360, to breaking the news on the Zune release date, to detailed information on WoW Battleground enhancements I only release information that I am sure is correct. And the following info I am 100% sure is correct.

With that in mind here is what I know about Blizzard's new MMORPG. First is that it has only been under development for a very short period of time. Blizzard held their first internal meeting to discuss this new MMORPG they were going to develop with a small group of core developers during the last week of March 2007. Only the top developers from the WoW team were invited to this meeting and it was extremely small ... and top secret (of course). Even Blizzard at that time didn't know what type of MMORPG they were going to develop. This meeting was to act as an initial brainstorming meeting where this core group could throw around ideas and see what they would want to develop as a next game. Each member of the team was asked to present their ideas for what sort of new MMORPG they would like to develop that was specifically NOT WoW related.

From that meeting in March they began to start the initial development of this new MMORPG, and have begun work on it since April 2007. Right now they are only in the initial stages of development and are only working with a small group. But from what I know the general concept, genre, and intellectual property have been determined. Now all that needs to be done is to make the game!

And with Blizzard's track record expect to see something sometime in around 2014, and expect it to change multiple times during development. Remember that Blizzard spent seven years developing WoW from start to finish and just the "Friends and Family" Alpha Test for WoW lasted over a year. This game will go through the same spit and polish that WoW had to go through, although they do have considerably more experience this time around and are using the core WoW team to build the game architecture.

Unfortunately even I do not know what game genre they are developing or if it using an existing IP or a new one. That is one secret that nobody outside a very small handful of people know about. But I do know that they are going to be trying something different from WoW and it have a completely new gameplay experience than WoW. I wish I had more to tell you other than this, but as I start to hear more I will let you know. Stay tuned...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 5:30 PM | Posted to MMORPG | Rumor |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 7, 2007

Jean-Claude Van Damme Will Turn You Into a Sheep!

First we had Mr. T, William Shatner, and Willy Toledo showing their love for World of Warcraft. Well add one more C-list "celebrity" to the list as the "Muscles from Brussels" Jean-Claude Van Damme is now appearing in a WoW commercial for the French version of the game.

Luckily the European WOW web site provides a full translation of what he's saying ... not that it really matters, does it?

Jean-Claude Van Damme plays as a Troll Mage.

“My name is Jean-Claude Van Damme… and I am a mage.”

“Hand-to-hand combat for me: it's over!”

“Now I can cast powerful spells!”

“Just try messing with me… I’ll turn you into a sheep.”

“A sheep!”

“…Because we all are a bit like sheep, you know...”

“I am Jean-Claude Van Damme, I am a mage.

“And you?”

"What’s your game?"

World of Warcraft. Try it free at www.warcraft.fr!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 7:00 PM | Comments (5) | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

December 4, 2007

Convert Your World of Warcraft Character into a 3D Model

I believe this might be one of the signs of the apocalypse ... FigurePrints will allow World of Warcraft players to order customized 3D "figure prints" based on their in-game characters. Your character's race, class, weapon, and gear is printed using a high-tech 3D color printing machine used by the manufacturing industry to build prototypes, converting three dimensional computer models into physical objects. You can even add your character's name and customize their pose.

The site and service doesn't open until December 11th and their FAQ is a little sparse on real details. Oh yeah, and they aren't cheap -- $99.95 plus $14.95 for Shipping and Handling. Ouch.

Still, having a physical 3D model of your in-game WoW character in which you have logged hundreds thousands of hours played would be pretty cool to put on your deck.

Lord help me I might just have to reactivate my WoW account just to get one of these things. (see more examples after the jump.)


Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Comments (28) | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

October 16, 2006

MapleStory ... the MMORPG Seven Times More Popular Than WoW?

MapleStorySomething I love to do is try to find the "hidden gems" of the gaming world. Games which have little to no press but are fun, solid games. Games such as Puzzle Pirates, Weird Worlds, and Ticket to Ride are type of games which really get me excited, games which will generate little to no press, but yet have a cult following and are a ton of fun to play.

Of course, how do you find these hidden gaming gems? I have found GameRankings and GameFAQs as the best sources as they have exhaustive gaming lists. Often trying to find these games is a hit or miss exercise, often turning up something like Skydive! rather than Space Rangers 2. Which brings me to my latest find ... MapleStory.

Never heard of it before? Join the club, until I saw it listed as the number two most popular PC game on GameFAQs (right below World of Warcraft and above Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion!) I never heard about this game before. And don't bother looking for this game on Gamespot or IGN or any other major gaming web site, they all have no information on this game (it's not even listed in GameRankings). Yet this side-scrolling MMORPG game is wildly popular with an unofficial 50 million players worldwide. That would make MapleStory seven times more popular than World of Warcraft ... how can this be?

How can a game with no advertising and no press be so popular? I've seen this game listed as the #2 PC game on GameFAQs for over a year, and yet I have to find a single person who has heard or played this game! What is going on here? Why isn't this game getting more coverage? Could it be that MapleStory needs to spend some money on advertising to get some coverage? (That's a topic for another day.)

Well, I gave what appears to be the most popular MMORPG in the world a try for a few weeks and I will say that there is nothing groundbreaking here, but it is a fun, solid game that has a lot going for it. First of all, it's totally free to play (that's good) ... sort of (that's bad). You can download and play the whole game without paying a cent (that's good). However, if you want some cool gear or a cool pet you'll have to use "real money" to buy these special items (that's bad). This method of giving the game away for free while requiring players to buy the very best equipment is very popular with Asian MMORPGs and has proven to be extremely successful (that's good). I am still surprised that more western MMORPGs don't use this pricing method, but expect this to change in the upcoming years (Frogurt is also cursed ... that's bad).

The gameplay in MapleStory is strange combination of platform action, RPG character classes, pixilated graphics, and MMO grouping and ends up playing unlike anything out there. Exploring all the content in the world within a 2D environment takes some getting used to, but the colorful, bright graphics always make the journey interesting. But you will get a workout moving your character during fights while activating your special powers and trying to chat all at the same time. Whether this style of gameplay is fun or just a carpal tunnel syndrome trainer is undecided.

Like everything else in the game, the interface is solid and gets the job done, but the buttons are so large that I often felt like I was playing a game designed by Playskool. The character classes and quests are your standard RPG fare, nothing new to see here. But what the game lacks in originality in character classes it more than makes up when it comes to monster design. Where else can you kill candle monsters, zombie mushrooms, killer birthday cakes, and dozens of other bizarre monster creations? It's as if the designers took everything fun and harmless from your childhood and turned it into a man-eating spawn of the devil. Now I can see why this game is so popular throughout the world! Who can resist killing pink wind-up killer teddy bears?

Perhaps the best part of MapleStory is a huge friendly community (where did all of these people come from?). It's always easy to find a group and although many of the players appear to be of the "younger" crowd, the gameplay is light enough that you never have to worry about a Leeroy Jenkins messing up your "epic" quest.
So if you're looking for a fun, light MMORPG which doesn't cost anything to play, give this on a try. And those of you who are already playing this one, where on earth did you hear about it? And if you're one of the developers, what on earth were you smoking when you designed this game? Good job!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG | PC | Review |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

May 12, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 53 - 05.12.2006

E3 Expo 2006 Day 3Today I have the craziest show I have ever done. Not only do I recap this year's E3 but I have a whopping six interviews from the show floor ... AKA "The Super Interview Spectacular Show". Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 53 Program

  • E3 2006 Day 3 Recap
    • 00:00:49 Detailed hands-on preview of the Wii, its games, and a detailed report of too many games to list from the show floor.
    • 00:33:41 Super quick interview with Will Wright about Spore.
    • 00:34:33 Interview with Tim Train, VP of Operations and Development of Big Huge Games about the newly released Rise of Legends for the PC.
    • 00:53:34 Interview with Paul Sage, Lead Designer of Tabula Rasa from NCSoft.
    • 01:02:12 Interview with Mark Tucker, Lead Designer of Dungeon Runners from NCSoft.
    • 01:09:54 Interview with Michael Khaimzon, Lead Designer of Crysis from Crytek.
    • 01:16:25 Interview with Kevin Unangst, Director of Global Marketing for Games for Windows from Microsoft.
    • 01:30:06 Final wrap-up of the E3 2006.
Download the show (96 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 53 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
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Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:45 PM | Posted to Interview | MMORPG | PC | Podcast | Wii |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!