EverQuest II + EverQuest + Lord of the Rings Online + Mines of Moria Interviews

  • black·guard  (blag' - ärd) n. 1. A thoroughly unprincipled person; a scoundrel. (!)
    The EverQuest 2 Community Manager Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder considers the legitimacy of Alternate Advancement (AAs), bards that actually play instruments (imagine that!), and some crafting questions in "Ask SOE #39" at EQ2 Vault.

    "Andrew "Tamat" Beegle: Will you guys be introducing AA's (Alternate Abilities) for the high-end players that grind to 60 and get bored out of their minds? Or at least something similar to that, enabling players to advance their characters past the max adventure level?
    Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder: We’re absolutely looking into the kinds of things we can do for parallel or post-end game advancement. Adding new character powers is a tricky balancing act. We want to ensure that whatever we put out there is fun, rewarding, and powerful. At the same time, the trick is for us to do so in a way where we do not cause a stratified layer of “you must have all of your extra advancement, or you can no longer play the game,” as that then steers the entire direction of the game toward the hardest of the hardcore, which isn’t desirable for the other 97% of the people who play."

    Take a look at the latest EverQuest 2 interview at EQ2 Vault.
    Other links you might enjoy:

    Features, Interviews
    Thu, Oct 27, 2005
  • LotRO Goes Canadian.
    The official Lord of the Rings Online site has posted a developer diary featuring Jill Harrington. Jill is the lead technical artist on the title. We called the Canadian embassy in Slovakia to see if they would comment on this story, but they were busy making pancakes and could only utter the following statement:

    You may have noticed an eerie Ringwraith or two lurking in some of our screenshots. While our talented modelers, texture artists and animators truly bring these creatures to life, I thought it might be interesting to give you a peek behind the scenes – or, rather, behind his robes – to talk about another important step in bringing characters to life: the character setup process.
    I am the lead technical artist on The Lord of the Rings Online and one of the most important parts of my job is to set up finished models so that they can be animated. Anything in the game that moves – whether it be a hobbit, a door, or a Ringwraith – has a skeleton built for it by a technical artist. We then attach the model to the skeleton (this is called "binding the skin"), and make sure that it deforms properly when the skeleton is posed (called "weighting" – as each point on a model has an amount of "weight" for each bone that affects it). We set up control boxes to make the animators' jobs easier, then pass the character on for animation. The software we use for this process is Maya, by a company called Alias." 

    You can read the entire Lord of the Rings Online Developer Diary at The Official Site.
    Related Links:

    Features, Interviews
    Mon, Oct 17, 2005
  • "We're not ready to talk about <insert your broad category of interest here>. Stay tuned!"
    Turbine sits down with MMORPG in one interview perhaps more notable for what wasn't said. It sounds like there's a lot of work to be done on the concepts behind Middle Earth's MMO; either that, or the Turbine team is being extraordinarily tight-lipped.

    " Will our actions be able to change things in the world? Can we take over and occupy buildings, or towns? Perhaps drive the orcs from a town and reclaim it?
    Jeffrey Steefel: An interesting question indeed – stay tuned for answers…"'s interview with Lord of the Rings Online producer Jeff Steelfel - click here!
    Other links you might enjoy:

    Features, Interviews
    Fri, Oct 14, 2005
  • One diary to rule them all.
    A new Lord of the Rings Online developer diary has been posted, featuring Chris Pierson. He must be an all-around cool guy because he's Canadian.

    Chris Pierson can count on one hand the number of people who have been at Turbine longer than he has. If the hand had six fingers. But still, it's been nine years now. Good grief.

    When he's not making hills or translating Sindarin, he helps the design team refrain from doing anything that would make Tolkien rise from the grave and wade across the Atlantic to wreak the wrath of the living dead upon Westwood, Massachusetts. He is a practicing Canadian, and writes novels and short stories, too. He would like you to buy his books, please.

    And be sure to ask him about Belegurth the Love-struck Balrog sometime. Be ready to duck. 

    Related Links:

    Features, Interviews
    Fri, Sep 30, 2005
  • Spirit shrouds and monster missions and evolving items, oh my!

    Craig Knapp, Producer for Everquest Live (not to be confused with "Everquest 2 Not Live: Down for Expansion Update This Morning), offers his insight on the upcoming "Depths of Darkhollow" expansion. For all the veteran EQ'ers, could you sum up what makes this expansion different from the others?

    Craig Knapp: When we started working on Depths of Darkhollow we wanted to stay true to what made EverQuest so unique in the first place, innovation. We wanted to make sure that each feature was something that hadn’t been done in the MMO industry and I think we’ve done that exceptionally well. In addition, I’m particularly proud that each of these features appeals to players of all level ranges and players of any play-style. As anyone in the gaming industry will tell you, that’s not easy to do.

    For the features list and more, read the rest of the Everquest: Depths of Darkhollow preview interview at

    Features, Interviews
    Tue, Sep 13, 2005
  • Cherries Jubilee? No, that's a "Dessert of Flames"!

    With less than a week to go for the heavy-duty Everquest 2 expansion "Desert of Flmaes" launch, we're pleased to offed you an exclusive interview with Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder, Sony Online Entertainment's EQ2 Community Manager.

    Want to know how to track your faction standing with the 70-80 NPC factions? What do know what the how adventures of all levels can fight in the in the new Quake 3-esque arena system? And the big question: when exactly will the much-discussed "Combat Changes" go live? TTH brings you answers to all these questions and more!

    "TTH: With regards to expansions, various MMOs have been criticized for catering too heavily to the high-level game while failing to keep the low-level game fresh and compelling for newcomers. While "Desert of Flames" is primarily geared to level 45-60 players, could you comment on what's in store for lower-level players in this expansion?

    Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder: Players of all levels will be able to participate in Arena Champions, our scenario-based PvP system that is part of Desert of Flames. All players in guilds will have access to guild vaults, which are a feature of Desert of Flames but will be accessible even to those without the expansion..."

    More, lots more, in the TTH Everquest 2" "Desert of Flames" SOE Q&A!

    Also check out the TTH "Desert of Flames" Preview!

    Features, Interviews
    Tue, Sep 06, 2005
  • I'm thinking Queen Antonia ought to know a gnoll from a drakota!
    Gamecloud has two more "Everquest 2: Quest for Antonia" finalist interviews for those of you that like to see hot women with give blithe answers to questions about gaming. Before you start with the letters, I think its cool when women play MMORPGs, and I'm sure there's plenty of hot ones that know their stuff. But these ain't it... case in point:

    "Gamecloud - Do you play Everquest II yourself or any other PC or video games?

    Carin Ashley - Yes, I do play Everquest II and other PC/video games. Everquest II is a unique experience in that it keeps you entertained and challenged at the same time.

    Gamecloud - What opportunities do you think will open up for you if you win the Quest For Antonia contest?

    Carin Ashley - I think winning the Quest for Antonia will open up many opportunities that I would not otherwise be able to experience without the opportunity provided by such a cutting-edge company as Sony Online Entertainment. You never know the future until you go after the possibilities and from there the opportunities can be endless."

    Let's face it: you, like SOE, just want to see some pics. Get your pics here!
    Gamecloud's interview with Anna Wainscot, and
    Gamecloud's interview with Carin Ashley.

    Features, Interviews
    Wed, Aug 10, 2005
  • One developer to rule them, and in the darkness bind them.
    Turbine has posted their Lord of the Rings Online Thursday Insider, posing the question, "
    Would YOU have agreed to be the Ringbearer? Why? " I sure wouldn't have. I can't stand weddings.:

    "Chris "NobOrBob" Foster (Designer):

    I wonder. In many ways, the great courage Frodo showed was in recognizing the immensity of the danger, and the greater danger that would come from passing the Ring to someone else. If I was aware enough of the danger, I think I would take the Ring. The real question is, would I be willing to hear and recognize the true depth of the threat, or would I willfully remain ignorant?"

    You can read the Lord of the Rings Thursday Insider at the Official Site.
    More LotRO information than Orcs in Isengard at

    Features, Interviews
    Fri, Aug 05, 2005
  • Please take your hands off of me Mr. Frodo. has posted a preview of Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. We were always confused about who was Sauron and who was Sarumon and so was the guy playing the slots machines who suddenly yelled:

    "Turbine has developed a very intuitive display for character and party status. There is no text onscreen in normal play. Instead, players' two health stats are described in a two-tone bar along the bottom of the screen. The first (and largest) portion of the bar displays your character's Endurance, which regenerates automatically. The left-most tip is another shade, however; it shows the character's Health, which must be healed magically or through resting in a camp or town."

    You can read the entire Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Preview at

    Features, Interviews
    Fri, Jul 08, 2005
  • Gnolls have a saga?
    GameCloud has posted a Interview with Sony Online Entertainment's Scott Hartsman covering the latest EverQuest 2 adventure pack, The Splitpaw Saga. While watching the clouds drift by we saw one that looked a lot like Lord Nagafen and it appeared he was writing this:

    " The folks at Sony Online recently release the second "adventure pack" for their hit MMORPG Everquest 2 titled The Splitpaw Saga. Gamecloud got a chance to quiz the pack's senior producer Scott Hartsman to find out more about their mini-expansion pack for the game. "

    You can read the entire EverQuest 2: The Splitpaw Saga Interview at GameCloud.

    Features, Interviews
    Mon, Jul 04, 2005
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