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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|.

    Sat, May 06, 2006
  • Hardhats and steel-toed boots required.
    We are revamping our website! Sorry for any inconvenience. Expect it up and rolling at full efficiency soon!

    Sat, May 06, 2006
  • 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!

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • Is it too short? Your game, that is. (They have herbal medications and pump thingies for the other affliction, though we're not sure how effective they are.) Shayalyn contends that DDO didn't laucnh with enough depth of content to satisfy power gamers, and that now even the moderate gamers are growing restless.

    "Thing is, due to lack of planning or foresight or both, Turbine failed to realize that their game would be quickly consumed by the power gamers, who got to the end and went, "Is that it?" Enter the dragon; or rather the Dragon's Vault, DDO's first free content module. These new high-end quests were supposed to keep the power-gamers occupied for a while, but by now even some of the moderate gamers were beginning to grow restless repeating the same old quests on their steady grind toward the level cap."

    Find this witty op/ed at our
    d=191"> Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach Community Site.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • The long anticipated details for Echoes of Faydwer are here! New zones, new quests, and a whole new city await. Kiara takes a look at what we know, speculates on what could be, and gushes over the cute little playable race, the Pixies.

    The first thing that catches my fancy is the new starting race. Fae. Pixies even! Woohoo! How cute is it going to be to get to play a little winged fairy thingie? I'm betting they're going to be tiny and have butterfly wings (OOOO WINGS!!!) and flutter and be all deceptively cute and and and.... yeah. Have I mentioned that I'm excited about this?

    You can find this on our
    id=813"> EverQuest 2 Community Site.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • With all the controversy about Beta; when is the next phase, how do I get in, why am I not in yet, will there be an open beta, etc etc, it's nice to see someone take a light hearted look at being a beta tester.

    Medeor looks at what it takes to beta test and how well he fits, or doesn't ,into that profile.

    Of course, Real Life patience is the trait that goes against all the codes in my instant gratification gene pool. When I see something that I like, I want it NOW. Can you tell I am an only child? Therapy aside, I think I'm doing better. My master-of-the-obvious friends always let me know that the almighty key to being patient is still in development, we'll just have to wait for it.

    You can find this insightful article here on our Vanguard Community Site.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • Everyone is talking about the new elite items introduced by Guild Wars Factions. Curious what items are out there? Wondering where to find the dagger you covet for your assassin character? Here's a list of all the green daggers we've uncovered in Cantha, from "newbie island" all the way to Shiro.

    If you find a dagger that's not on this list, make note of the boss it dropped from, the area you were in, and screenshot the stats of the dagger. Send it in and we'll reward you with huggles and a thank-you credit on the site.

    Audrey "Samyel" Deutschmann
    Community Manager

    You can find the list here on our Guild Wars Community site.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • 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.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • 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.

    Fri, May 05, 2006
  • 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

    Fri, May 05, 2006
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