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  • Microsoft drops Vanguard like it's hot

    Hoo boy. The folks at SOE and Sigil waited till TenTonHammer was travelling to E3 in sunny California to let this one loose. Stand back!

    - Sigil Games Online and Sony Online Entertainment In Talks To Co-Publish Sigil’s Ground-Breaking New Game -

    May 5, 2006 – Carlsbad & San Diego, CA – Sigil Games Online and Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online games industry, today announced that Sigil is working with Microsoft Game Studios on an arrangement to acquire the rights to its highly anticipated massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. These efforts have resulted in a tentative agreement for Vanguard to be co-published by both Sigil Games Online and SOE. All three companies will be showing the game at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) as they work closely together for a successful transition. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is scheduled to launch this winter.

    I promised myself I wasn't going to play up the antagonism between the Vanguard fan base and SOE. The jaded types over at the Vanguard forums are doing plenty of that, and the devs are doing a great job diplomatically responding. Much of the anger is centered around SOE's buyout of Verant's "EverQuest" and how the perceived downhill effect the change of hands had on the game.

    Here's the best post I could find on the argument:

    Originally Posted by Irenicus
    Any reassurance is moot.

    SOE takes care of customer support. They are publishing the game. Sigil might have launch covered, but do you think SOE will not change the input after the launch. Sigil is the small potatoe, SOE is the massive coporation (and an atrocious one at that), who do you think is really going to decide on the expansion content, updates, etc. Microsoft jumped ship as the backer. SOE is now backing this operation. We all were assured that at some point this year Vanguard would come out, after all, it has MS money. Now, who knows?

    No - you're completely wrong. SOE owns distribution, marketing, data center operations, and *technical* support (ie - when you have trouble installing the client, or a scratched disk from the retail box).

    Sigil owns everything related to development, in-game customer service, live teams, and on-going content development.

    And the relationship is setup, both organizationally and financially, to reinforce those roles.
    __________________
    Jon Grande
    VP, Biz and Legal Affairs
    Sigil Games Online

    If true, it's something of a win-win. No doubt SOE has spare support assets, and Sigil gets to stay true to its vision (which could be a good or bad thing... as soon as they lift the NDA, I'll letcha know!). But why would SOE want a game that's a direct competitor with their other titles like the still-kicking EverQuest and EverQuest 2? Competitive intelligence, perhaps? They could set up EverQuest 2 as a dyed-in-wool WoW clone and capture the hardcore niche with Vanguard. Diversification is good for the genre.

    Sigil and SOE are at loggerheads on other concept-level. Vanguard has a stigma against goldsellers so strong it's almost diagnosable under the DSM-IV. EverQuest 2's "Station Exchange" experiments with the secondary market daily. There are more... call them "divergent philosophies" at hand here, but to me, the biggest question is this:

    Why did Microsoft let go of the IP in the first place?

    Boomjack can tell you something of how the punctilious pinheads at Microsoft feel about deadlines, and apparently the Vanguard crew wasn't going to meet the original June 2006 deadline, no way, no how. When this became an issue, according to Sigil, they bought back their rights to Vanguard from Microsoft and entered into a co-publishing deal with SOE. It's a pat answer, and I kind of doubt Microsoft would let go of a winnah before launch for so simple a reason (they held on to Asheron's Call through launch and an expansion before handing the reins over to Turbine when the game was arguably past its prime).

    In the all-important eyes of the fans, this a shocking move. Of all the game companies to partner with, SOE is the least like Sigil, from all appearances. Surely there was a better way to let this particular cat out of the bag. It's all about the first impression, and given how we all love to chat this stuff up (and how forum communities love to play the martyr) the damage to Vanguard may already be done. And some games never recover from word-of-pottymouth (just ask Funcom and Anarchy Online).

    Anyway, check out the official press release by clicking |HERE|.

    News
    Sat, May 06, 2006
    Ethec
  • Well guys, it's that time. Yes, it's time for me to pack my bags, make sure I haven't forgotten anything important, like my DS or my iPod, making sure the child has enough kibble for the week that I'll be gone, etc.

    With that said, I will see you next week from glorious smog ridden Los Angeles where we'll be giving you the best straight up commentary of what's happening in the MMO community.

    If you haven't had a chance, read today's Loading... Boomjack has a great take on yet another IGE whamo. Keep in mind that we don't have gold or secondary market ads on our network for a reason. It's not to kiss up because honestly we make horrible butt kissers. It's because we're gamers too. I hope that you enjoy your time here and that our humor puts a better light on the happenings in this little world.

    Until next week... Awen out!

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • I promised and so I deliver. Erik was kind enough to explain the reasoning behind re-naming clerics to paladins. Here it is.

    We had no intentions of muddying the waters with that name change. We felt 'cleric' was just too passive of a name for our holy warriors. Simply put, it just didn't fit well with the lore. Of course, if we were trying to be historically accurate (which is not our aim), Paladins in the real world would have been gone about 300 or 400 years previous to guns. Still, we felt it was the best name for the class, so we decided to go with it.

    I guess we'll see how the public takes it. I have heard negative gut reactions from a handful of outside folks, however I hope from a game play perspective, people come to appreciate the choice. I also hope folks enjoy the lore that goes with the class and how closely it ties to the current events in Cantele.

    In no way, do we envision anybody being compelled to wear shining armor. You pick your outfit when you design your character and it has no effect on your stats or bonuses, you could look like a knight of old in shining armor -- which honestly would be out of place in this era, but you could be role-playing such a character from a time past -- or you could choose to wear dark leather and a long coat. Either way, it is the player's choice and either way it has no effect on the game mechanics. Currently, the only gear that you find that impacts your appearance are the weapons you acquire. Otherwise, your look is totally your own to design.

    What's more, with the ability to choose multiple classes over your character's career, you could very well build exciting combinations like a Rogue/Paladin or even a Sorcerer/Paladin. We believe these combinations fit in with the lore just as well as being a pure Paladin.

    Heroes and Heroins from many vampire stories might very well be considered part Paladin in our world.

    So there you have it. It makes a ton more sense now doesn't it?

    More Dusktreader news.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Well that's a word you won't hear developers use in a positive light that often... Exploit.

    There are six kinds of natural resources: wood, stone, metal, crystals, water/gas and animal products. They are used in the building and maintenance of a fort, as well as maintaining mana fountains. Each resource has its own purpose; animal products (strings, leather and others) are used for tents, water for life at the castle, etc. The resources can be found all over Ganareth, but you will have to find the suitable areas for the resource you are looking for. For example: On a mountain, you will gather mainly stone and metal, and not much wood.

    Read this developer log here.

    Get more Dark and Light News here.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • Remember all of those wicked cool features that Jeff and I talked about from our GDC visit? Now you can play around with them. Issue 7 is now on the test server.

    Issue 7 is now available for download on the Training Room Test Server!

    Free Expansion Issue 7: Destiny Manifest content is already active on the training room at this time and we will be testing the functionality and content of this patcher prior to any Live Server release. This content will not impact any gameplay elements of City of Heroes at this time.

    The download will begin after you exit your play session rather than prior to entering the game, and is purely optional, you can cancel at anytime.

    So, come help us test all the exciting new features including:

    - 2 New High Level Zones
    - Over 200 New Missions
    - 5 New Power Sets
    - New Base Features
    - Mayhem Missions
    - Patron Powers
    - Many new Quality of Life Features
    - CoH Art Upgrade

    Find out how to get onto the test server here.

    Details on what is available in Issue 7 can be found here

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • There's a new contest up at the official City of Heroes site.

    We are thrilled to announce a chance for you to flex your imagination and come up with a gripping storyline for an upcoming issue of the Top Cow City of Heroes comic! Submit a story concept to us and the winner’s idea will be turned into a script by Sean “Manticore” Fish!

    Timeline:
    Submissions can be made from MONDAY, MAY 8th at 8:00 AM CST until SUNDAY, MAY 14th at 5:00 PM CST.

    Submissions:
    In 100 WORDS OR LESS, give us an idea for a one-issue comic book story. Your story must directly involve something that has happened or is currently happening in the City of Heroes game. We will automatically disqualify any submission longer than 100 words so be creative and concise.

    You'll have to click here to read the rest of the details. If you have any modicum of talent, you should enter this contest. When you win and become a famous comic artist working for places like Marvel and DC, I'll expect free trade paperbacks for getting you motivated.

    More City of Heroes News.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • With the Warhammer Online E3 trailer propagating around the internet, and becoming a public file, we here at TenTonHammer have now taken it and thrown it up into our new video section for your viewing pleasure. As we are going to E3, the TenTonHammer staff will be getting a glimpse at the second half of this trailer and should be coming back with it, and hopefully more information on Warhammer Online.

    To satisfy your needs you can find the E3 Trailer here.

    Visit our Warhammer Online community for more Warhammer action.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • The 7th Newsletter for The Chronicles of Spellborn is now available.

    The 7th TCoS newsletter has been sent out! Among the regular items the newsletter contains a look at Guild Halls and information about the upcoming dev chat!

    Because of the large number of subscribers, it might take a while before all copies have been sent out. As always comments are welcome in the forum thread linked below.

    If you've been biting your nails waiting for it, take a breath, have a mocha and it will be there before you know it.

    More Chronicles of Spellborn news.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • BBC News has a story of the many problems that seem to be plaguing the giant World of Warcraft. Our own Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle is quoted in the article. Yep that smart guy belongs to us. If you haven't had the chance to read any of Jeff's articles, take the time now. It's good to see his insightful opinions recognized.

    Oh, I guess I should tell you about the story itself.

    Since it launched in November 2004, World of Warcraft has proved hugely popular and now boasts more than six million regular players around the globe. The game lets players control different sorts of characters, including warriors, warlocks, wizards, druids and rogues and take them adventuring in the fantasy world of Azeroth.

    However, some fear that this growth has come at a high price and the playability of the game is suffering as Blizzard, the company behind WoW, struggles to support those millions of players.

    One thing you can be sure of is that our World of Warcraft Community isn't being plagued by anything but an overabundance of great information.

    More World of Warcraft news.
    Don't have a place for your guild to call home? Check out Guild Portal. It has the best tools.

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
  • You've seen the game through the trailers. You've heard the interviews. Now it's time to bust a move over to The Archlord Official Website and sign up for the beta.

    So here we have it, Beta Sign-up is now live! So click on that shiny button in the top right hand side and register your interest in Beta!!

    We are also running a VIP program for all those active community members, those that are part of guilds and finally those that create fansites!!! So there we go guys get on there and register!!

    Its now a really exciting time to get on board with ArchLord!!

    Thanks!!

    Have fun storming the castle!

    More Archlord news.

    Breaking News from Ktat

    So some late breaking news...As a result of the massive surge of support that I've seen for Beta sign-up already. I am happy to announce that courtesy of MMOART. We are offering one lucky person who signs up for the Beta between today and Monday 9 am a personalised, unique sketch of a character of their choice from ArchLord!!

    This is a really great prize and the guys at MMOART do some great work, check out their site for some awesome examples! So I'm sure you are all going to be hanging on to the edge of your seats for this. So good luck!!

    News
    Fri, May 05, 2006
    Awenyddion
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