News

  • Ever wonder how much our favorite MMORPG publisher is making? I certainly do. I chalk it up to an obscene amount of curiosity.

    If you're struck by the same level of curiosity that I am, you are in luck! Yahoo Finance has NCSoft's first quarter earnings report.

    By game, Lineage® posted sales of KRW 30 billion (US$32 million), up 1% from the previous quarter. Lineage II saw its contribution dip 4% to KRW 29.1 billion (US$31 million) from the previous quarter. Sales of City of Heroes/City of Villains and Guild Wars decreased by 58% and 57% respectively to KRW 6.5 billion (US$6.9 million) and KRW 6.3 billion (US$6.7 million).

    The first quarter results marked a downturn from the previous quarter and NCsoft attributed this to a lack of new product launches. The company explained the results were generally in line with forecasts made at the beginning of the year. NCsoft anticipated that sales will resume growing in the second quarter with the launch of new products. The company also revised its earnings guidance to KW 353 billion (US$375.8 million) in sales and to KW 50 billion (US$53.2 million) in operating profit based on product launch plans and market circumstances.

    I'm surprised by the decline in sales for both the "City of - " franchise as well as Guild Wars. They're both fantastic properties. Lineage 2, meh, doesn't surprise me in the least. I imagine that it's doing really well in the Asian market.

    News
    Thu, May 04, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • ToTheGame has an interview with an undetermined Funcom employee about their upcoming MMORPG Age of Conan.

    3. Funcom is responsible for breaching the MMORPG world with Anarchy Online, the first massive online game focusing on the future instead of the traditional medieval genre. Now, with Hyborian Adventures, you’re taking a step back into a lost civilization. What made the team consider such an idea?

    Well, we are just about to complete our take on the ages, with Age of Conan being at the end of the fourth age, Anarchy Online being in the sixth age, and our next online RPG being in the fifth age?. No, seriously, we had always wanted to make a fantasy RPG, and once we could start to free resources of Anarchy Online and Shadowlands, fantasy was the direction we first started looking towards. Not only did we have lots of internal motivation for such a project, but we were also “lucky” enough to get hold of a great license. And the more we dived into the Hyborian age, the more we understood how incredibly diverse the license was. It’s a far shout from the run-of-the-mill Elves, Orcs and Dwarves fantasy universes which surrounds us everywhere these days. In Conan almost everything is twisted and dark, and more than anything humankind itself is at the centre. True, there are evil demons, gods and monsters lurking everywhere, but the humans are the “rulers” of the world. This allows us to make a very different and more brutal and realistic fantasy experience, far from what you have experienced in any Online RPG before.

    You can bet that anything that Funcom makes will be good. I still stand by my statement that Anarchy Online was one of the best MMORPGs ever designed.

    More Age of Conan News.

    News
    Thu, May 04, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Auto Assault delay evident in NCSoft earnings drop

    Posting a 49% drop from projected Q1 earnings and a 45% drop in operating profits from Q4 2005, NCSoft now has investor confidence and nasty gadfly lawsuits to worry about.

    South Korea's largest publisher of online games, announced today its first-quarter earnings had dropped by almost half due to the absence of new products. In the January-March period, net income reached 6.8 billion won (US$7.3 million), down 49 per cent from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

    If Auto Assault had released on schedule in late 2005, maybe NCSoft's earnings would have been a little more steady. No crying over spilled milk, though. Hopefully the April release of Auto Assault and Guild Wars Faction will get NCSoft's bottom line back on track.

    Check out the NCSoft earnings alert at TMCNet.

    News
    Thu, May 04, 2006
    Ethec
  • Blizzard gets specific with planned hardware improvements

    It seems attention from Cnet and InformationWeek has paid off, and normally tight-lipped World of Warcraft Lead Producer Shane Dabiri goes to pains to list all the hardware changes in store to improve login and in-game performance. Also in the latest "Battle Plan" posted on the WoW official forums: new options for fee-based character transfers across realms and between accounts (but only if the accounts in question are in the same household).

    We recently brought a new World of Warcraft site online in North America -- the 5th one in this region. This not only allowed us to open new realms -- each site can hold approximately 40 -- it also allowed us to migrate existing realms over to the new, top-of-the-line hardware we used to build the site. As with previous migrations, this relieved pressure on our shared-database backend infrastructure, resulting in noticeable improvements in loot, auction house, mail, and instance lag and general realm stability for the players who we're moved to the new realms as well those who remained at the original site.

    Beyond this 5th World of Warcraft site, we are preparing to bring up a 6th site before the end of May, and we have plans to build additional sites in order to handle any increase in population we experience after the release of The Burning Crusade. All of our future sites will be built using the latest hardware and will give us the capacity to support new players and perform additional migrations and character transfers as needed.

    (...)

    On top of our efforts to evenly disperse our player population through coordinated realm transfers and migrations, we've begun testing our paid character-transfer feature. Scheduled to go live this summer, this feature will allow players to move their characters, within certain restrictions, to a realm of their choosing. This means that player's will now be able to join their friends on other realms without the need to wait for a pre-set mass realm transfer. In addition, this will also contribute to a balancing of the player load from realm to realm, which again is a specific way for us to reduce realm queues and lag. We know that many player's are eager for this service to be implemented, so we'll share further details as soon as more information becomes available.

    Battleplan Vol. 3 (at the WoW official forums) is one of the most detailed posts we've seen from the Blizzard crew in the nigh year and a half the blockbuster game's been live. Lots of answers, and more than a few new questions. Hopefully we'll be able to find out more from Blizzard next week at E3.

    News
    Thu, May 04, 2006
    Ethec
  • More Dofus for your money

    I just like saying "Dofus". This indy isometric MMO from French developer Ankama will sport a new expansion, or "extension", at E3 next week:

    Ankama announced today that it will preview the next extension to its primary online MMORPG Dofus, as well as two future games entitled Focus Arena and Wakfu.

    Wakfu. Dofus. Wakfu. Dofus. Fun to say games from Ankama. View the announcement in toto at MacNN.

    News
    Thu, May 04, 2006
    Ethec
  • One man's Crusade to make a top-tier MMO

    It's E3 time, so that means a number of small developers are out there promising the world. David Allen, onetime CEO of defunct Artifact Entertainment (which produced most of the once ambitious MMO Horizons: Empire of Istaria, though there was an embezzlement scandal at the top near Artifact's dire end- according to the rumor mill) is hard at work with developer Quest Online on Crusade.

    Quest Online says Crusade will offer PvE and PvP support for soloing and group-oriented adventure, and advises you to hop along to their website for a more in-depth look at what the game's about (and not, for example, a news item largely cribbed from their press release).

    Meanwhile, David Allen's talking it up. "As a group of dedicated gamers, we feel that the design of Crusade marks the direction we would like to see the industry go," he says.

    Read about David Allen's new gig at Eurogamer.

    News
    Wed, May 03, 2006
    Ethec
  • You've played Oblivion, now experience a different kind of Hellgate...

    Namco Bandai will show off a number of titles at E3 2006 next week, but the one we're most excited to see is Hellgate: London the near-future MMO with a demon-infested London as its theme.

    Namco will also show several PC titles, including Hellgate: London, which is being developed by former Blizzard North developer Bill Roper and his Flagship Studios development team. Other expected PC offerings include Mage Knight Apocalypse, based upon the popular board game, and Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, an upcoming RTS based in Games Workshop's popular fantasy universe.

    Check out Namco's full E3 lineup at Gamasutra.

    News
    Wed, May 03, 2006
    Ethec
  • An offline MMO?

    We often joke about single-player MMOs, but take away the player community from your average MMORPG, and what do you get? An agonizing single-player experience, the results of your labors during which no one will ever know about? Namco Bandai hopes the latest installment to their .hack series is received a little better than that. That's right .hack//G.U. is reputed to be the world's first offline MMO.

    When describing hack//G.U.’s content, Brian Glazebrook, Localization Manager for .hack//G.U., told us to think of the content found in the previous series. “Imagine getting all the content, [from all those games], minus the grinding areas.” It’s going to be a huge game, he promises. “hack//G.U. is going to be a huge game. There’s so much content. This DVD is filled to the brim.”

    More is necessarily better! That's the ticket. This game has all the hallmarks of success! Anyway, check out GameZone's article on upcoming single-player MMO: .hack//G.U. and see if you can make more sense out of it than I could.

    News
    Wed, May 03, 2006
    Ethec
  • Corporate gay bashing, or simply an appropriate response to WoW player complaints?

    Sara Andrews, the lesbian who caused quite a furor when she began recruiting openly for a GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgendered) guild, furthered her grandstanding campaign when CGW / 1UP published a feature describing her herculean struggle with big bad Blizzard.

    Blizzard stood firm. Another account admin named "Gorido" responded, "GLBT is a known abbreviation for Gay Bi Lesbian Transsexual... please review the harassment policy."

    Andrews shot back, "I refuse to recruit any other way, because there are WAY too many people on WOW that use REAL antigay terms, and I do not want those people in my guild." The simmering e-mails continued, until Blizzard at last invoked its terms of use, stipulating that players may not "transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard Entertainment, is deemed to be offensive," the operative phrase being "sole and absolute discretion," essentially claiming for Blizzard the right of final semantic arbitration.

    I'm a fairly live and let live kind of guy, but sexual references (straight or gay, and whether they be about the act or a lifestyle) really have no place in World of Warcraft or any online game.

    It happens, yes, and as long as Blizzard is treating all instances of offensive conduct with equal approbation, if Blizzard's treating all these reported "anti-gay" expressions with like diligence, I don't see any problem with their handling of the situation. Just because you're "here and queer" doesn't mean you get a golden ticket excusing you from felt harassment on the part of other players. In a US workplace, you have a legitimate claim of harassment against a coworker if you can prove you asked them to stop their offensive conduct (no matter what it is: it could be staring or throwing pickles at you) and they don't comply.

    In any case, I have to laugh at the subtitle: "Sanitizing Expression in Brave New Worlds". The Huxley reference supports their thesis, but unless something's dirty, it doesn't need sanitized, right?

    Just my 2 copper, as always. What's your take on the "Sounds of Silence" feature at 1Up.com? Let us know in our forums!

    News
    Wed, May 03, 2006
    Ethec
  • Eurogamer plays the dating game with the upcoming EQ2 expansions

    Eurogamer announced that the high level whet-your-whistle adventure pack "The Fallen Dynasty" will be available in June for a digital download cost of $8, which will be followed in mid-November by a full-scale retail expansion: "Echoes of Faydwer" for around $40.

    Anyway, the new expansion's called Echoes of Faydwer, and will be the game's third proper expansion when it pitches up in mid November for around $40. It introduces the Fae as a playable race - they're an enchanted lot of winged creatures, from the arboreal city of Kelethin, which will be a new starting city. (Arboreal means they live in the trees, Mum.)

    Get your Faydwer expansion pack fix (only 6.5 months more!) at Eurogamer, and be sure to check out our EQ2 - TenTonHammer community for all the latest!

    News
    Wed, May 03, 2006
    Ethec
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