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New Ships for Burning Pirates I SOE to Spend Weekend in Vegas
Age of Conan Patches Itself Up I The Continuing Saga of Flagship StudiosI MMO Tidbits

MMORPGAMER
Issue #119 Vegas Vacation
July 28, 2008

Power Up

Welcome once again to MMORPGamer, the best collection of MMO News and simultaneously the best column written by yours truly to date. What a bonus!

I'm still taking a bit of a break from MMOs this week, but I have been replaying the excruciatingly difficult Gargoyle's Quest series, and it's still stupid hard. Gives me something to do while watching TV though. Yes, I'm so used to multi-tasking that just playing a game or watching TV is usually not enough stimulation anymore. It's sad, but I do get more done...whether I want to or not! Anywhooo...NEWS INFO IS GO!


  New Ships for Burning Pirates

Pirates of the Burning Sea

The latest patch to Pirates of the Burning Sea, 1.6, has made significant changes to the ship-to-ship combat which has been such a large part of Pirates' appeal. 11 brand-new ships have been added to the roster and are available at a range of levels. Flying Lab Software, makers of Pirates of the Burning Sea, has noted that these ships, especially the high-end level 50 ships, may seem overpowered. This is part of an attempt by the developers to somewhat rebalance the game.

This is because the disparity between a group of low-end level 50 ships and high-end level 50 ships has become too large, and thus the average level 50 ship has had its stats increased. The developers say they wanted to avoid nerfing the best level 50 ships that players have worked hard to get, but wanted the other level 50 players to have a better chance against those with better ships. The result is that many ships in the game have been rebalanced, and numerous types of ammo have had their damage percentages changed. A full list of the changes can be found here.


  SOE to Spend Weekend in Vegas

Sony Online Entertainment

Sony Online Entertainment will once again be holding their annual Fan Faire in Las Vegas from August 14-17 in the Las Vegas Hilton. Fan Faire is an opportunity for SOE to connect with the fans of the various MMOs they run, including EverQuest, EverQuest II and several other games that pretty much no one plays anymore. Oh, Star Wars Galaxies, you could've been so much cooler.

In any case, the three day MMO extravaganza will feature a bevy of panels, podcasts, demos and activities. A full schedule is available on SOE's official site, as are info on registration and hotel and travel information. The all-access weekend pass is going for $89, or you can purchase a $39 one-day pass. You can bet this will be a great deal of fun for anyone who plays one or more of the SOE MMOs, and amazingly weird and confusing to anyone who doesn't!


  Age of Conan Patches Itself Up

Age of Conan

Funcom's surprisingly well-received Age of Conan is continuing to move along at a brisk pace. For those who bought the collector's edition of the game, the buddy keys are now operational, allowing you to give up to five friends a week's worth of time to try the game. You can either lend them your install discs, or they can download the game for a small ($2.99) fee, with an additional three days of playtime in order to compensate for the lengthy download. More information is available here

Meanwhile, the latest update to Age of Conan went live on July 17th, bringing with it a number of changes. For one, dead team members will now receive credit for a kill if they are within range, and several emotes have been tweaked for better animations. A number of other minor changes in animation and to gameplay have also been made, and a full list can of course be found on Funcom's official site. Of particular note is that a sound effect and animation were added upon leveling up; players used to WoW and EverQuest had been complaining at the lack of the now-customary "ding".


  The Continuing Saga of Flagship Studios

Hellgate

We talked last week about the troubles facing Hellgate: London developer Flagship Studios. A week later, things have only gotten worse. Flagship now finds itself embroiled in a legal battle with its Korean partner, HanbitSoft, over the rights to the Hellgate: London IP. While a lot of this is very long, boring legalese, I'm going to try and condense the main points for you here.

The basic problem is that Flagship Studios does not own the actual rights to the Hellgate: London IP, but it is instead owned by Flagship Financing, LLC, a subsidiary of Flagship Studios. That financing group, in turn, has pledged the rights to its Mythos IP to HanbitSoft as collateral for a loan (meaning that if Flagship failed to repay the loan, HanbitSoft would get the Mythos IP). The group similarly pledged the rights to the Hellgate: London IP to the bank Comerica as collateral for another loan. This means that, given Flagship's current difficulties, the likelihood that they will be able to pay back both loans becomes increasingly less likely. Therefore, HanbitSoft is planning to acquire the Mythos IP, and plans to work a deal with Comerica to acquire the Hellgate: London IP. Furthermore, HanbitSoft plans to sue Flagship for the release of these rights (or repayment of the loan, which is likely impossible), thereby acquiring both the Hellgate: London and Mythos IPs to do with as they please.

This is presumably the reason that Mythos was shut down on July 18th. Everything from here becomes very speculative, but HanbitSoft may prevail simply because Flagship likely does not have the money to fight a lengthy legal battle. However, publisher Namco-Bandai may perhaps elect to intervene, and that would change things once again. We'll be sure to keep you updated as this convoluted tale continues to develop.


  MMO Tidbits: Bite-Sized News for Massive Games
  • Lich King Previews Talents
    The expanded class talent trees for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King are now available for viewing. Keeping in mind that these are based on the in-progress beta, and therefore subject to change, head on over to the official talent calculator page to see just how much awesomer your character will be once he or she hits level 80.

  • EA Confirms KotOR MMO in Development
    During an interview with Portfolio.com, EA CEO John Riccitiello confirmed that they are indeed at work on an MMO version of Bioware's much-loved Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic. Long rumored to be in development, this MMO will separate itself from Star Wars Galaxies by being set hundreds of years before the movie-current version of the Star Wars universe. Oh, and by not sucking. That's an important distinction.

  • Warhammer Online to Launch In September?
    EA's official Warhammer Online page is now listing the game's release as "September 2008". Is it true? Only time will tell if this is a gaff, but no official release date has been announced yet. Warhammer Online fans will have to wait to see if the long awaited title will indeed be reaching gamers' hands in less than 2 months, but we can only assume EA wants this thing out before Wrath of the Lich King pulls gamers back to Azeroth.


  •  Power Down

    And once more I disappear like the wind, patiently waiting for more MMO news to reach me, or possibly someone to start playing WoW with me again. Whichever. Until next week, remember: If you're not getting spammed by gold farmers, the server's probably about to crash.

    /respawn,
    Justin A. Harwood (mail me)


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