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Monday, June 30, 2008

DC Details

PS3 Fanboy recounts some of the first details on Sony's DC Universe Online MMO as revealed in Edge magazine. I was always more of a Marvel person myself, but I am interested in how they plan to be better then City of Heroes/Villains. The character creator better be darn good to top CoX's.

The information about meeting famous comic book heroes and villains is not surprising or interesting. The focus on action is probably a smart move with this genre, especially since the game is a PS3, as well as a PC, release.

I do like this idea: "Lee also hinted at story events in DC Universe Online happening simultaneously with comic book DC Universe."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Think It's Easy to Make an MMO?

I'm a little bit behind on this news but if you haven't already seen it, check out the freeware game MMO Tycoon. Monitor forum buzz, add content and set level ranges as you try to increase your MMORPG's popularity.

I thought this game could have done a bit more with humor since there is so much potential for hilarious parody in this concept. Some more depth to the gameplay would also be nice. But I did find it an amusing and enjoyable way to waste some time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Horror...The Horror

In my last post I mentioned that for every possible genre of game, someone out there is trying to turn it into an MMO. The horror!

No, I literally mean the horror genre. It appears that Gravity gave it a whack with their "chillingly" titled MMO, Requiem Bloodymare. What is exactly is a Bloodymare? I think it has to do with ponies and ice cream and rainbows.

You can sign up and play for free. They make their cash by hawking a "premium package" and selling stuff for real money through the "Item Mall." Hmm...why not call it the Terror Mall of Death instead?
If you like horror and you try this game, let me know how it goes. The main reason I'm posting about this is I thought Gravity won the prize for the most unintentionally hilarious press release title of the year:

Okay, so I made up the second part...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

City-Building MMO

I was playing a little Caeser III last night (my personal favorite city building game) and I started wondering whether anyone was attempting an MMO based on city building. It just seems like if there's a gaming genre (RTS, FPS, SRPG, etc.) someone out there is trying to make an MMO out of it.

After some searching, it appears that Cities XL is the most likely contender. They just released a trailer last week so I know they're still kicking and they seem to have a relatively small but rabid forum fanbase.

How do they plan to make city-building an online community experience? From the FAQ:

"Build your cities in a virtual world populated by other subscribers.
This allows you to cooperatively create a living online community
Trade with others, specialize your city in specific activities such as tourism, entertainment, business development, recycling management and more.

Visit other cities and host events for others to attend and enjoy.

Cooperatively create a booming metropolis teeming with life and businesses.

Participate in competitions and enjoy a calendar of events that will keep you coming back to your planet.

Share your in-game experience with friends through a companion community website."

I'm not sure how succesful this endeavor will be but I enjoyed reading the blog postings and browsing the forums so I bookmarked the site to check back every 3 months.
Oh, and if you are a city-building nut and you are interested in the game - you can tell that the devs really read every forum thread and incorporate community suggestions. So get posting.

Monday, June 09, 2008

MMORTS Giveaway

The website Game Giveaway of the Day is currently featuring the MMORTS Saga. The game must be installed within the Giveaway of the Day timeframe.

Now, anyone can grab a free Saga account anytime they want so what's the big deal? Well, this giveaway is for the registered account. The free account has access to the market, pvp and other features locked. The registered account is the full, complete game and it usually costs $19.95. So that's what you're saving.

Be warned though, this is one of those games in which you are encouraged to buy booster packs. While you don't have to - it makes things a lot easier. You can play completely free forever, but most people will purchase booster packs at some point.

I tried this game for a few hours once before (with the free account) and I thought it needed work. But I'm not a fair judge since I don't like RTS games to begin with. It reminded me a bit of Pox Nora - with real time instead of turn-based play.

If you want further info, check out Saga's website, it's wikipedia page, or this interview.

I checked and it looks like they recently did another free giveaway involving FileFront.

Friday, June 06, 2008

MMO & Television Convergence: The Sequel

After my last post, I received an e-mail newsletter from Entropia Universe, the MMO with the real cash economy. I was surprised by two things:

1. Project Entropia is still around? I tried it quite some time ago (to be fair it was years ago) and I never thought it would last. It just seemed like a game built around a business model rather then the other way around. But it's still kicking so what do I know. Apparently they changed the name from Project Entropia to Entropia Universe at some point.

2. I saw this strangely worded headline in the newsletter: "Entropia Universe is First Virtual World Ever to Contribute to Emmy Award." What now?

It turns out Entropia participated in just the kind of television/MMO convergence discussed in my previous post. So it seems the Sci-Fi project is not as novel an idea as I thought. Obviously, this endeavor was much smaller-scale then the Sci-Fi project hopes to be but it was apparently a success.

You can check out the full press release here. Here's a quote:

"Last week in Cannes, France, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the winners of the International Interactive Emmy® Awards, recognizing the drama "The Truth About Marika," produced by Swedish Television and The Company P, for the best Interactive TV Service. The program successfully integrated television and the Internet, yielding an exemplary crossover experience for viewers that showcases the potential of future projects between the two mediums.

As part of "The Truth About Marika," viewers could participate in the show by helping to solve the mystery of a missing person. Clues were planted in the virtual realm of Entropia Universe, where viewers could collect the separate clues to solve a larger puzzle, leading them one step closer to solving the overarching mystery. Viewers could also interact with the avatars of the main characters of the show inside Entropia. "

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

TV Linked MMO - Science Fiction?

The Sci-Fi channel is developing an as yet unnamed MMO which will be linked to a television show.

You can read the article in the LA Times

The article itself is unique in that it takes until paragraph four to reference WoW. Also, the writer uses Matrix Online as the example of a licensed flop as opposed to SWG.

But, back to the matter at hand, just how will this MMO and the TV show on the Sci-Fi channel interact?

"For example, we can tell them that there will be an alien invasion at a certain place in the game, at a certain time, and to be there with all their friends and be ready. The outcome depends on them. And then that battle will be part of the universe in the show."

It will also be a means for marketing research of sorts:

"The virtual world that pulls in fans of the show will also give Buttler and his team hard data about which characters, settings and story lines stir the most interests. He said that will help the show's producers bend their story lines to audience tastes."

And maybe your raid will be on tv:

"The game will continue to grow, and 'footage' of players in battles or other mass gatherings will be incorporated into the series."

Nothing like a "mass gathering" for online fun.

I've seen some discussion of this story along the lines of "Battlestar Galactica is great so this will be awesome" or "Sci-Fi original movies are horrible so this will suck." But what about the game studio Sci-Fi is working with?

Trion World Networks is referenced in the article as "an on-the-rise gaming company based in Redwood City, California." What makes them "on-the-rise" is unclear. I had never heard of them, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So what's the scoop?

They have
a website.

They have
some loot.

The CEO likes to
talk smack.

They offer
a lot of career opportunities.

They are also
working on a fantasy MMO.

That's about all I've got. So will this succeed? Maybe, to some degree, but I'm dubious. I've yet to play an MMO that really makes the players feel like the outcome of their actions is important to the game world. Now their actions will change a television show? There will be some novelty value (gimmick value?) to it but I don't see this being perfected on the first try. I also don't think there will be quite the level of interaction between the game and show as implied by the article.

But hopefully it turns out to be cool. I do like to see companies trying different things, especially when they are talking about a dynamically changing universe. And I'm sure this is only the beginning of links between MMO's and other media.

G4TV seems to think the setting is Stargate but the article leads me to believe that's just wrong.

It's worth noting that the Sci-Fi channel recently launched a pretty decent new gaming site called
Fidgit edited by Tom Chick.